Nifty and thrifty: A guide to second-hand shopping in Saskatoon

By in Culture

Second-hand clothing tends to be cheaper and better for the environment than fast fashion. For a midsized city, Saskatoon is home to a surprising range of second-hand clothing stores which meet every need, style and student budget.

For those that are new to thrifting, the idea of wading through piles upon piles of clothes may seem intimidating. Fear not! With some determination, patience and an eye for style, you can still look first class even when shopping second-hand.

Second-hand stores can be broken down into three categories: consignment stores, vintage stores and real-deal thrift shops.

Consignment stores buy new or gently used clothing from customers and sell the goods on their behalf. This means that not only can you get a good deal on some new duds, you can also make some cash by selling your old ones.

A top consignment store in Saskatoon is Plato’s Closet, located in Sutherland. All of the clothing sold at Plato’s Closet is virtually brand new. They only accept items for consignment that are well cared for and currently in style and sell them for prices that are well below retail price.

Plato’s Closet is the place to go when you need solid basics for your wardrobe or if you are new to thrift shopping. Well organized by style, size and color, it is a far less intimidating experience than the endless aisles of the Salvation Army. You might not find any unique or rare treasures here, but no one will be able to tell that you bought your clothing second-hand.

If you love retro style, but don’t have the time or energy to devote to searching for that perfect piece, vintage stores are ideal. Vintage stores do the hard work for you, finding great clothing items from places like Value Village and reselling them.

I can recommend two great vintage shops in Saskatoon. The first, Midmod Vintage, is a true gem in the middle of the city. The entire store is like something out of another era. The clothing is definitely one-of-a-kind, which can be a positive or a negative depending on your personal style.

The second place is Goldie’s General Store, located above The Hollows restaurant in Riversdale. This cute store carries vintage clothing, accessories and household items. What it lacks in selection it makes up for in quality. There’s one catch, though: it’s only open on Sundays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. You may have to block off some time to visit this store, but I promise you won’t regret it.

Because vintage stores tend to carry older and more unique items, the prices tend to be higher than those at a regular thrift store. You pay for the convenience of having great things curated for you. However, if you have a real love for quality clothing and shoes, it can be worth the price.

Finally, there are the classic thrift stores. I’m talking about the giant stores crammed full of grandpa sweaters, velvet paintings and stacks of used CDs. Although thrift stores may seem intimidating, this where you’re going to find the real treasures at the best prices.

Saskatoon has a couple of excellent thrift stores — Value Village, the Salvation Army, Village Green and Worldserve Thrift Store. All are great options for clothes, shoes and other accessories. You’re definitely going to need to do some digging before you find anything worthwhile though, because in addition to having some awesome pieces, thrift stores are also cursed with a lot of crap.

On the bright side, these places are usually run by charitable organizations, with some of the profits being donated back to the community. They also accept donations during your shopping experience. If you like your shopping to come with a social conscience, thrift stores are the perfect fit for you.

While it may take a while to get used to hunting for deals, second-hand clothing can be a great addition to any wardrobe. All it takes is time, patience and perhaps some advice from an experienced thrifter to make the experience a success.