Generational Thrifting & Deal Hunting with Teens

It was so exciting to discover that today’s teens like to find a deal and have found the value of thrifting. Generational thrifting has shifted from the thrill of the mall. Deal hunting is one of the top reasons most teens I spoke to mentioned and dressing uniquely and not like everyone else since everything is a one of a kind at Goodwill. I chatted with friends and neighbors on this topic, and some shared they have regularly thrifted or haven’t done so in years or never have.

Teens have dialed into the awareness of how fashion impacts the environment and sustainability. So it is not just about finding a deal, although it’s a bonus.

Generation Z

When our 14-year-old granddaughter, Emily, visited Ohio, we shopped several Goodwill locations and found tees and shorts for Summer. She especially loved our local sports team’s memorabilia and purchased an almost brand new button-up Cleveland baseball team jersey and Cavs shirts for her and her father. The little corduroy purse she bought for two bucks got so many compliments from strangers.

Generational thrifting
Emily in thrifted Cleveland gear
Generational Thrifting
Tessa in thrifted college sweatshirt
Generational Thrifting
Emily in thrifted tee

My 18-year-old niece, Tessa, joined us shopping at North Olmsted Goodwill’s and found some charming décor pieces for her room and a few t-shirts. Another niece Raeley, 20, talks all about how 98% of her wardrobe is thrifted. She loves the vintage vibe of finding past-era pants and jackets and t-shirts from old rock bands. She has a hack of styling some hippish looks, and it works for her style.

Baby Boomers

The older generational thrifter is my sister Kym 63, who calls Goodwill her ‘happy place’ and regularly stops by the one near her in Cincinnati. Her favorite finds are home and garden décor, as well as vintage purses, gloves, and unique blazers. She often uses her finds in flat lay photos for her social media posts and shares them with me.

I have to admit my sister Kym influenced me to dig deeper into Goodwill thrifting years ago because she was finding so many great pieces, many times better than the garage sale items I saw at the time.

Being in the Boomer generation myself, I love popping into Goodwill’s on the hunt for unique dinnerware for layering when entertaining. I always check out the art, mirrors, and accent furniture. I’ve never shied away from restyling my finds with paint or fabric. It’s a fun challenge. I recommend my clients take their teens for a little generational thrifting and deal-hunting of their own. It opens up inspiration and communication, always a good thing.

Generational Thrifting
Kym’s flatlay of thrift finds

Generational Thrifting

Kym’s vintage purses finds

Generational Thrifting Tips

Tessa’s Finds with Friends:

  1. Brand new University of Texas sweatshirt.
  2. She finds time to pop into Goodwill 1-3 times a month with friends.

Kym’s Top Items to Thrifting:

  1. Garden cloches, apothecary jars, and enormous vases.
  2. Particular addictions are lamps and lampshades (she has a whole closet of shades for the
  3. seasons

Kym’s Pro Tip: keep a list of what you need and measurements—Paper, pen, and measuring tape.

Emily’s Reasons for Thrifting:

  1. I love finding unique, relaxed, and comfortable clothing for totally cheap.
  2. The thrill of thrifting with friends is a bonus, and we always have a blast.
  3. I like thrifting with my mom for back to school because we get so many more items for so much
  4. less than the mall.
  5. Everyone can afford Goodwill.



Traci McBride

Blogger Bio: Traci McBride

Traci McBride is a Life Stylist and founder of TeeMcBee Consulting Ventures, LLC, focused on individual personal styling and wardrobe management since 2008. Traci worked with and has been certified by Style for Hire’s Stacy London celebrity stylist.

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