Let’s Get Thrifty: An Honest Review of Thrift Shops Around AZ

DISCLAIMER: These are all the opinions of a high school student that spends way too much time and money on thrifting. I do not represent the opinions of anyone else!

Whether it be flared jeans, tennis skirts, oversized sweatshirts, or chunky sneakers, fashion trends are constantly flourishing as we change seasons and occasions. With everyone trying to keep up, it can be tough to find cute, yet ethically-made and bought clothing and accessories. Sadly, because of this difficulty, many people have turned to fast fashion as a way to satiate the need to keep up with trends. Multiple online shopping sites have become the hub for many teens to shop for aesthetically-pleasing and cheap apparel, so I would recommend doing your own research into the ethicality of different stores! The main draw of these brands is their low price and the ease of shopping online; however, little do we know, there are so many hidden gems around the valley and even online where you can thrift! For those who may not know, thrifting is buying secondhand items from certain places (think Goodwill) for a reduced price. Thrifting is a risk, but you never know what you’ll find on those racks! It’s almost like an adventure. So, today, I’ll be giving you, the lovely audience, exclusive reviews and summaries of certain thrift shops I frequent; hopefully, you’ll check them out too! As a side note, most of these ratings and opinions are what I’d like to call “pre-pandemic.” I wouldn’t recommend visiting any thrift stores currently unless you know their sanitization procedures, have sanitizer or gloves yourself, and always wear a mask! Let’s jump right in!

1. Goodwill

Rating: (Depends on the location, but overall) 3/5

Let’s get the most popular out of the way. Goodwills are quite common around the valley, and each has something a little different to offer! Personally, I always enjoy checking out the men’s short and long-sleeved shirts to see what I can use an an oversized piece or I’ll crop it. The dress rack and even women’s shirts are a great place to look as well. What knocks it down a couple of points, however, are two things. For one, every item has a particular “scent” to it that lingers after washing an article of clothing a couple of times. Some can tolerate it, others just can’t stand it. Secondly, Goodwill staff don’t necessarily comb through items carefully to find any rips, stains, etc. While these may be reflected into the price, it’s still a major bummer to find a cute band t-shirt with a hole in the armpit. If you don’t mind a little stitch fix here and there, you’re golden. Personally, however, the overall unreliability of the products Goodwill puts on its racks takes away some points.

2. Uptown Cheapskate

Rating: 4.5/5


This has to be one of my personal favorites! Located right near the Chandler Fashion Center, Uptown has to be one of the most modern and welcoming thrift shops I’ve been too! Filled with a kind, small staff, organized racks, and the most adorable fitting rooms, this is definitely a gem worth checking out. A unique aspect of Uptown, however, is when people come to donate, they comb through pieces carefully and only take ones that are in trend, in great condition, and have value. Carrying secondhand clothes from stores like Free People, Fashion Nova, and even Pretty Little Thing, Uptown always excites at a fair price. Speaking of the price, you might notice that items are a little more expensive since some come from luxury brands or even other retailers. I assure you, the quality, comfort, and adorableness are very fairly represented in an item’s price. If it makes you feel any more confident about this little shop of paradise, around 60% of my wardrobe is from here, with my favorite piece being a pair of five-inch, black, go-go boots for $13! Lastly, don’t forget to BYOB: bring your own bag! If you don’t use plastic, you get to put their money toward one of Uptown’s great causes.

3. White Dove

Rating: 4/5

White Dove is the epitome of “grandma/grandpa fashion.” Since many of their proceeds go straight to Hospice of the Valley, all the cute clothes you purchase are going to a wonderful cause! Taking an incredibly wide range of donations, White Dove never tends to disappoint. The racks that I usually gun for are the jackets/outwear and the pants! They have some wonderful straight-leg, flared, and skinny jeans for all shapes and sizes. They also offer an array of different CDs, books, maps, kitchen items, and even record players! Unlike many other thrift shops, one can truly feel and understand the history behind so many items on the shelves and racks. Furthermore, their jewelry is everything! From costume pieces to sleek chains and rings, White Dove is just the gift that keeps on giving. What knocks it down a point, however, is the coldness of the staff; on many occasions, it’s not the most welcoming environment. If you go with a friend or a group though, I guarantee you’ll have a blast!


4. Depop

Rating: 2.5/5

This is going to be a controversial one. Depop is an app that one can download on their devices and, essentially, it’s a digital thrift shop. People usually post certain items along with their pricing and shipping information. While they try to be as descriptive as possibly in the captions of each, the pricing is self-determined by the owner, which can be risky at points. Of course, it would make sense to see a pair of Air Jordans for $200 but not a knit sweater for that same price. While some have had a relatively good experience on here, I’ve learned that many shippers do not communicate nor follow through on their orders. All I can think about is the time I ordered a long, velvet green evening dress for $20…five months ago. Let’s just say, it’s not even in the state. Overall, Depop is a wonderful example of a fantastic idea with a lackluster execution. So, if you do order from them, I’d advise asking the seller questions and confirming any orders you make.

5. Antique Sugar

Rating: 5/5


Oh. My. Stars. DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ABOUT ANTIQUE SUGAR! As a hidden gem in Phoenix, this place is the real deal! With authentic clothing from the 40s to the early 2000s, this place is filled to the brim with vintage shirts, jackets, skirts, pants, shoes, bags, and more! After speaking shortly to the owner, Sarah Bingham, I learned that many of their items come from estate sales and normal donations, adding a lot of interesting history behind every piece. Furthermore, the quality of these timeless pieces can’t be beat. Even though this store is a little bit more expensive than your typical thrift shop, every item has history, is beyond rare, and is in wonderful condition. I’ve bought many of my long, flowy skirts here (mostly from the 70s) and I adore them to this day. If you want to spend your time in an aesthetically-pleasing space with kind, bubbly staff, and some quality vintage bops, Antique Sugar is the slice of paradise for you!

Well, my little, thrifty fledglings, I hope these ratings helped to share some insight into some wonderfully sustainable, enjoyable, and unique shops around the valley! Here’s to hoping that you find the fit of your dreams within the mysterious and everchanging racks of these stores. Remember to strive for the impossible, be extraordinary, and stay safe, Knights!