Where to find cheap, close and creative clothing

By Katie van Kampen, Contributor

Learning to become a more sustainable shopper is not always easy. Although there are lots of thrift shops in Hamilton, many pieces might not be the right match for you. To help you along your journey, we’ve compiled a list of thrifting spots— each unique in their own right. Using the categories below, you may just find your perfect match. Happy shopping!

Best aesthetics

Out of the Past (308 Ottawa St. North)

Price: $$

As you walk into Out of the Past, there is a smiling cat in the window to welcome you. That same cat is stamped on the sale tags. Yet, underneath the grinning feline is the word “Woof”. You see, Out of the Past is a paradox. The store has very specific alternative, punk and grunge vibe supported by a curated playlist of new wave, late 70s music. Somehow, there is something for everyone here.

The walls are covered with different clothing articles, ranging from a Halloween section to a rack of black band shirts and a cabinet dedicated to steam-punk inspired goggles. The owner handpicks the store’s clothing from used clothing factories. All of the pieces contribute to a unique aesthetic within the store through both its décor and the items offered.

Cheapest prices and best cause

New Horizons Thrift Shop (520 James St. North)

Price: $

While unassuming from the outside, New Horizons has a variety of clothing for men and women at very reasonable prices. I saw multiple Danier Leather jackets priced below $30, which can retail for well over that price.

New Horizons is a thrift shop that reinvests its revenue back into the program and services of Welcome Inn Community Centre, such as in their after school and senior programs. All donated clothing is and unsuitable clothing is donated back to the Diabetes Canada Association. If you want to shop on a budget and support a charity while you’re at it, this is the thrift shop for you.

Most bang for your buck

The Thrifty Designer (203 King St. East)

Price: $$$

From the outside, this looks like a trendy boutique clothing store with a dark minimalistic exterior and impeccably dressed mannequins. However, inside there is something more unique waiting. Owner Leslie Smith-Aragon upcycles clothing, giving the clothes a new chance at life. She also picks out forgotten and previously loved items such as scarves, sweaters and other fabrics to create entirely new and individual pieces.

There is a large selection of formal wear such as blazers, vests and dresses at reasonable prices considering their quality. For example, a blazer was priced at $60 and looked like new. If you are in the market for more formal attire, this is a perfect option as you will be purchasing something unique and sustainable from The Thrifty Designer.

Most Variety

Hamilton Antique Mall (233 Ottawa St. North)

Prices: $$

Walking past this building, you wouldn’t know that there are three floors of antique clothing, furniture, toys and other items waiting to find a new home. The Hamilton Antique Mall is a collection of booths — all rented to various collectives. You’ll have to search around to find the clothing booths, but that in itself is an adventure that could fill an otherwise uneventful day.

Much of the clothing you will find here has a vintage style but are all previously worn pieces. Each booth is unique with a specific theme in mind. I found one booth with darker pieces reminiscent of the 90s grunge era, but also a more cheerful booth with pastels and clothing reminiscent of the 50s. Hamilton Antique Mall is a perfect way to spend an afternoon trip on Ottawa Street, hitting up the many restaurants along the way and having a browse through the many booths you can encounter — you’ll be sure to find something!

Closest to Campus

Deju Vu New and Used (262 King St. West)

Prices: $

Deja Vu New and Used has been operating in the heart of downtown for the past 36 years. Walking in, you can immediately appreciate the diversity of the store — with an entire rack of sunglasses, leather jackets and jeans. The store is well-organized with every item having its own home. The walls are aligned with notable pieces from an astronaut Halloween costume to handbags and sweaters.

Clothing is sourced from multiple places, mostly Toronto suppliers, but all are picked with diversity in mind. For a wide selection of used clothing via a fifteen-minute bus ride from campus, this is the best place to go if you want to get out of that Westdale bubble but have to make it back in time for your next midterm!

Images courtesy of Photo by Cindy Cui, Photo Editor and C/O Out of the Past

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