Cheap Thrills: the best thrift stores in Burlington

Anna Kolosky, Staff Writer

With spring semester just beginning, it’s hard enough to pay for expensive textbooks, much less find new clothes that won’t break the bank.

That’s why, one chilly Tuesday afternoon, I decided to search Church Street for the best bargains and clothing selections. Here’s what I found. 

Dirt Chic

After a cold walk from campus, this shop was a welcome sight. With tall windows showing off unique outfits and folk music playing, Dirt Chic was definitely a relaxing spot.

The store boasted a large selection of clothes, from women’s and men’s to maternity and children’s clothes. All size sections were labeled clearly, making it easy to find your size right away.

“We really run the gamut as far as demographics,” owner Anya Huneke said. “We kind of cater to everyone, and we try to make everyone feel like they’ll be able to find something.”

Hueneke also said that the store has four, half-price sales that each last anywhere from one to two weeks.  The sales happen at the beginning of each season, and occur throughout the year.

Most of the clothes I found were under $20 and were from popular staple brands like Express or Gap. They also had $5 sections for a number of items such as dresses, jeans and scarves.

“I think it’s a particularly good place to shop because it’s community-oriented,” said senior Maud Mayer, an employee. “When people bring in clothes that we’re not interested in for selling, we have good connections with local service organizations.”

Dirt Chic is interested in helping out smaller organizations such as Shalom Shuk and 52 Kids, Mayer said.

Shalom Shuk is another thrift shop dedicated to helping to helping the underprivileged and the local community, while 52 Kids empowers Ugandan children through education.

Dirt Chic is an excellent place to shop because of their wide variety of affordable clothes and involvement in the community.

Battery Street Jeans

At my second stop of the day, I was immediately drawn to the $5 rack of clothes outside of a store that was filled with a variety of vintage sweatshirts and t-shirts.

When I walked in, I saw that it was filled to the brim with chunky sweaters and jackets, making Battery Street Jeans the perfect place for all of your winter clothing needs. The store also boasted a wide selection of t-shirts, flannels, dresses, jeans and shoes.

A majority of the clothing cost as low as $5, but some of the bigger, heavier coats could cost anywhere from $60 to $80. But for the quality, I thought that these options were still cheaper compared to other retail stores.

In addition to clothes, Battery Street Jeans also sells used records, VHS tapes, video games and books.

And for anyone looking to support local artists, this shop sells original prints by Burlington artists like Nikki Laxar and Dug Nap. Between Laxar’s colorful prints of animal drawings and Nap’s hilarious Vermont-centered paintings, there’s something interesting for everyone to find.

After purchasing two greeting cards with Nikki Laxar drawings and a skirt for $18, I definitely think Battery Street Jeans is worth checking out.

Downtown Threads

The last stop on my search, Downtown Threads, is located in the heart of Church Street, upstairs from Tradewinds. The bright, vibrant turquoise walls pair well with the quirky vibe and unique clothes this store has to offer.

They have a large selection of jeans, shirts, dresses and shoes and offer vintage clothing as well. Although a bit on the expensive side, a little digging helped uncover some great clothing options ranging from $5-10.

Additionally, Downtown Threads has the option to fill a bag with clothes from a trunk for $5, a great option for anyone on a budget.

Sophomore Paloma Wallace said that she really enjoyed this store’s selection of sweatshirts and dresses and thinks that they offer fun and funky items well.

“I like going there when I want a certain item,” Wallace said. ”Like a cool Hawaiian shirt or a neon windbreaker from the 80s.”

For those who are interested in more than just clothes, Downtown Threads also sells work by local artists. Some merchandise includes stickers, magnets and pins

With its central location and variety of items, Downtown Threads is definitely a place to visit for anyone looking for great finds at reasonable prices.

Overall, I think the stores I went to had a lot to offer for college students shopping for clothes on a budget.

Although farther away from Church St, Dirt Chic and Battery St Jeans both had a great variety of clothes at low prices. Additionally, Downtown Threads is a great place to check out for its convenient location and statement pieces.