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Shopping for chic bargains

Avalon Exchange in Squirrel Hill is full of hidden gems. Get your friends together and search the clothing racks for your perfect purchase. (credit: Alexandre Kaspar  | Photo Staff) Avalon Exchange in Squirrel Hill is full of hidden gems. Get your friends together and search the clothing racks for your perfect purchase. (credit: Alexandre Kaspar | Photo Staff)

There is a great difference between cost and worth — designer brand names such as Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, or Marc Jacobs might be worth everything to you; however, the trick is to find these wonderful pieces of art at extremely cheap prices. After all, just because you want to dress well doesn’t mean that you have to pay as well.

Clothes are the ultimate form of expression, from Lady Gaga’s meat dress at the Video Music Awards to Michelle Obama’s latest wardrobe change. Fashion is also a societal convention — you will not get very far in life if you do not look respectable. So yes, fashion and appearances are everything today. However, the economic downturn is also something that must be taken into consideration. As college students, it is often hard to keep up with the latest fashions while remaining within a budget.

Avalon

This shop in Squirrel Hill is always a great place to start — you can always find some of the latest fashions if you are willing to dig through massive piles of clothing. It is definitely worth investing some time sorting through pile after pile until you find your perfect match: the perfect pair of blue jeans or an olive-green jacket. You can always try them on to see if they look as good as you thought they would. Yet, also keep in mind that Avalon sells second-hand clothing, and therefore you must beware of rips, tears, stains, and missing buttons, so be sure to inspect all clothes before purchasing them. Hygiene is also always important — always wash the clothes that you have purchased from Avalon or any other second-hand store before wearing them, since you never know where they might have been before you purchased them!

Goodwill

However, for those seasoned Avalon shoppers who are looking for more amazing deals and cheap prices, consider this: Goodwill stores. What are the advantages of Goodwill? There are multiple Goodwill stores in Pittsburgh, so if one store does not suit your clothing cravings, another store just might have those designer clothes that you have been dreaming about. The key to Goodwill shopping is to just go out and try various stores in the areas closest to Carnegie Mellon. It is also possible to procure completely unused pieces of designer clothing from these Goodwill stores — you simply have to be willing to search and search and search.

Thrift stores

If the Goodwill stores do not suit your fancy, there are also other great thrift stores in the Pittsburgh area — Hey Betty at 5890 Ellsworth Ave. is another conveniently close-by thrift store available to Carnegie Mellon students. With hot vintage fashion and collectibles, Hey Betty caters to college students with a taste for vintage clothing.

For those who are wondering if all the time and effort that goes into clothes shopping is worth those designer brand names and stylish clothes, the short answer is that it is up to you to decide. Just remember the difference between cost and worth. If those brand names are worth the time and effort to you, then you should definitely be on the prowl for the best thrift stores and second-hand stores in the area.