Tucson is clearly not the fashion capital of the world. But many students at the UA like to add individuality to their wardrobes by shopping at local thrift and vintage stores.
At the same time, they can save a lot of money buying fashionable clothing at cheap prices - as well as furniture, appliances and just about everything students need to survive college. The idea of buying used clothing or furniture may sound repulsive at first, but UA students quickly realize the price is almost always right at thrift stores.
Goodwill may retain the stigma of an undesirable shopping establishment, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to find a good buy there.
Even if you're a stickler for name brands, Goodwill has them. From Guess to Nipon, Nine West to Enzo Angiolini, men and women can easily unearth great finds here.
Beyond the sea of used clothing are several practical household items students will no doubt need for their new college homes.
Mary Dungan, a sophomore majoring in English, said she occasionally shops at the Goodwill located at 2907 N. First Ave.
"I got a dresser," she said. "Once I got a purse from Jordan for $5; it had a camel on it."
Television sets, stoves, kitchenware, even computers are available at Goodwill, as are other practical tidbits. Books, ranging from $0.50 to $3, include dictionaries and thesauri; you'll no doubt need these for your composition courses.
For years, UA students have also been shopping at Thrift Value Village (300 N. Fourth Ave.). It is one of the largest thrift stores in Tucson and sells everything Goodwill sells, and a lot more. Clothing, furniture, golf clubs - you name it.
Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a couch and chair that you'll probably end up tossing at graduation, go to Value Village and get a decent set of furniture for less than $100. Couches range from $40 to $125, chairs from $3 to $50.
You can even get an entire kitchen dinette set for $70 to $125. Plus, every dish, cooking utensil and appliance is available at Value Village.
"U of A students are regular customers," said Danny Ramirez, who works at Value Village. "In August, they come and buy furniture, then in April and May they donate it back to us."
Computer science sophomore Jeff Hendy said he shops at thrift stores about once per month and especially likes to shop at Value Village.
"I actually just bought a futon at the thrift store last week for $50," said Hendy. For students exclusively interested in clothing, here are a few thrift and vintage stores you will definitely want to check out:
Buffalo Exchange, which sells some of the trendiest clothing and shoes, is a chain thrift store with three locations in Tucson. The one closest to the University is located at 2001 E. Speedway Blvd., just east of North Campbell Avenue.
"I come here with no agenda and that way the only thing I buy are things that really stand out," said Sage Whitmore, a physiology senior. "Otherwise, I'd just buy crap."
Whitmore especially likes the T-shirts at Buffalo Exchange and likes to donate clothing he no longer needs to the Casa de los Niņos Thrift Store, where donated money helps needy children. UA students also sell clothing for money at the Buffalo Exchange.
"Halloween is a great time to come here," said Rachel Marie, a liberal arts sophomore who works at Buffalo Exchange.
Members of UA fraternities and sororities also shop here in search of outfits for date dashes and secret theme parties.
If you should ever join a fraternity or sorority, or you're just looking for a unique Halloween costume, there are a few more stores on Fourth Avenue you might want to familiarize yourself with.
The Tucson Thrift Shop (319 N. Fourth Ave.) and The Other Side (321 N. Fourth Ave.) are both owned by Arlene Leaf, who opened the stores more than a decade ago. These stores, though separate, offer unique vintage clothing and costumes for sale or rent.
During the school year, date dashers frequently shop there, according to Markelle Valdez, who works at the Tucson Thrift Shop. Date dashers also frequent the Other Side, according to employee Jessica Gonzales. From tuxedos to wigs to hats, these two stores have a wealth of funky articles to choose from.
"We get a lot of business from the theme parties that fraternities and sororities do," said Crissy Burgstaler, a history senior who works at vintage clothing store How Sweet It Was (419 N. Fourth Ave.).
Kanella's (338 N. Fourth Ave.), a store that sells new and vintage fashions from the 1960s and 70s, is unique because date dashers can get retro clothing from the 1980s here.
Costumes like flapper dresses, pimp suits and cowboy gear are also available. Kanella's also has "the largest selection of vintage cowboy boots in Tucson," said Nathan Bently, who works there.
Desert Vintage & Costume is another great place for period costumes and has merchandise from the 1950s and earlier.
So whether you're looking to save a few bucks or go buck wild buying novelty items, Tucson's thrift stores can certainly suit many of your shopping needs.
2001 E. Speedway Blvd.
2907 N. First Ave.
How Sweet It Was
419 N. Fourth Ave.
338 N. Fourth Ave.
The Other Side
321 N. Fourth Ave.
Thrift Value Village
300 N. Fourth Ave.
Tucson Thrift Shop
319 N. Fourth Ave.
Casa de los Niņos Thrift Store
1302 E. Prince Road (SE corner of Prince Road & Mountain Avenue)
Desert Vintage & Costume
636 N. Fourth Ave.
St. Vincent de Paul
820 South Sixth Ave.