The old adage of the broke college student while cliche, is undoubtedly true. With a full term of courses and loads of extracurriculars, I know I’m not the only one with little time left in my schedule to earn a paycheck that covers anything more than my groceries for the week. It’s more than my limited budget that has drawn me to thrift stores, however. Though not every trip yields spectacular treasures, I know I’ll enjoy hunting through dusty shelves and cluttered racks of discarded wares. Thrifting takes patience and a keen eye, but when it came time to decorate my new apartment, I knew I would be able to unearth some forgotten treasures to personalize my space. This scrolled mirror was one of the first things I picked up before I moved into my freshman dorm, and with a fresh coat of paint it looked like new, without losing its vintage charm. The vintage doilies on my shelves, while not spoiled of a thrifting excursion, were hand-me-downs from my grandmom. If you couldn’t already guess, I’ve dubbed by interior design aesthetic “chic grandma.”
I found this embellished cross necklace at Rice’s flea market several summers ago, and this bronze tassel necklace was hiding in the housewares section of one of my favorite secondhand stores back home, Deja Vu. I spent an entire weekend procuring a series of different frames to house photos I took while I was abroad this summer. I painted them all white and am working on filling up an entire wall.
I found this copy of Shakespeare’s Othello at Jules Goldman Books & Antiques on 2nd St in Old City, and I make a point to stop in each time I’m down there for First Friday festivities. I found a slew of National Geographic issues from the 1960s at the end of the summer, all in pristine condition and for 50 cents each. I picked up one with a map of Europe circa 1962, featuring the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. That, along with a map of France from 1960, now hang on my wall.
This silk Bill Blass scarf was picked up at an antique mall in the suburbs, and I found this beaded purse at American Thrift in South Philadelphia.
My dream thrift find is probably a working record player, or maybe a designer piece or two to complement the Dior skirt I found for $3.50, but until then I’ll have to keep hunting.
Words and photos by Courtney Denton