February 25, 2022 | OPINION | By Maddie Mollerus | Illustration by Sydney Morris

The Arc Thrift Store is at the center of Colorado College culture. Its grandpa sweaters, baggy jeans, and tie-dye t-shirts define the style of CC students. Walk up to anybody wearing something you suspect might be thrifted, compliment them, and there’s a good chance that they’ll say, “Thanks, I found it at the Arc!”

The Arc holds a special place in many students’ hearts — one of the first things that my friends and I did as first years was go shopping at the Arc. I also love that the company employs workers with disabilities and donates a portion of their sales to nonprofits. A worn-in, $7 sweatshirt with a random logo might sound like the perfect find, but sometimes you’re in the mood for a little something more.

If you’re looking to branch out and try something new, you’re in luck, because Colorado Springs has no shortage of second-hand clothing stores. As someone who strongly believes in retail therapy (if this doesn’t sound like a healthy coping mechanism, I also go to therapy at the health center, don’t worry), I’ve been shopping all over town. I’m going to share my favorite vintage, consignment, and thrift stores around the Springs for every style and budget.

Eclectic CO

214 1/2 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903

Type: Vintage

Price: $$

Eclectic is a Downtown staple! In addition to featuring cute, local, handmade gifts, they have an impressive selection of vintage clothing. They function as a co-op and sell clothes, accessories, and jewelry from multiple shops. Eclectic has vintage styles ranging from the 1960s to Y2K. Their inventory includes racks of jeans, sweaters, skirts, jackets, and more. My favorite picks: Wrangler Jeans and Colorado tourist sweatshirts.

Redoux Consignment Boutique

119 E. Bijou St., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903

Type: Consignment and Vintage

Price: $$

If you’re looking for higher-end brands at affordable prices, look no further. This woman-owned shop has shirts, sweaters, jeans, dresses, and more from brands such as Lululemon, Lucky Brand, and Free People. They also have a huge selection of shoes. Their vintage selection includes gorgeous, upscale dresses and coats from the 1960s and 1970s. My find: patterned Alice & Olivia bell bottoms for only $48!

Leechpit Records and Vintage

3020 W. Colorado Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80904

Type: Vintage and Thrift

Price: $$

Leechpit is a record-lovers’ paradise. Oh, and it has really cool vintage, too, ranging from the 1960s to the 2000s. They have a sizable collection of both men’s and women’s clothing, with jean jackets, sweaters, dresses, and more. Leechpit also has shoes and bags. My picks: vintage band t-shirts and cowboy boots.

Aailan Art & Home

220 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903

Type: Vintage

Price: $$$

Aaillan’s vintage clothes are from the 1980s and 1990s, and if you’re looking for something with flair, this shop has it! Dramatic patterned robes, beaded jackets, and sequined dresses adorn their racks. It also has shoes, belts, bags, jewelry, homewares, and crystals. My picks: a fuzzy white mini-bag and Gucci baby shoes.

Clutter Thrift Boutique

1414 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80909

Type: Thrift

Price: $

Visiting this thrift store would be worth it just for the building itself! This flying saucer-shaped building will pique your curiosity before you even see what’s inside. Packed floor-to-ceiling with goods, you’ll probably leave with more than you planned on buying. Luckily, Clutter often has major sales, sometimes marking down clothes and shoes to just $2.99!

I challenge you to visit at least ONE of these second-hand clothing stores! Even if you’re not into thrifting (can you even call yourself a CC student if you’re not?) it’s super good for the environment. Not to mention, supporting small businesses is very cool. I promise you’ll find something good!

Have a favorite second-hand shop that I didn’t mention? What’s your experience with thrifting? Need fashion advice? I would love to hear your thoughts! Email me at m_mollerus@coloradocollege.edu.

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