Vintage clothing has become a staple in the fashion culture of today. Thrift stores that used to serve a niche market are booming, especially in the city. Philadelphia is home to an array of stores that carry everything from past clothing made by name brands such as Guess and Adidas, to simply pieces from the closets of our parents. While some of these stores have hiked their prices up to match the growing demand from the public, thankfully for the surrounding college students there are still plenty that offer reasonable deals. One of my absolute favorites is Retrospect, a small store nestled on South Street.
When you walk in you are immediately immersed in racks upon racks of clothing, but it is relatively organized. Most of the women’s clothing is towards the front of the store, but no need to worry if you are a guy, a big sign in the back reads “Yes we have men’s clothing.” I have seen styles that range from the early 20th century to 90s streetwear. They have a large selection of graphic tee shirts and crew necks. Vintage Champion clothing is currently trending and I have seen countless pieces at Retrospect being sold for about half the price they are listed on online forums. You can also find many hidden gems, like Levi jean jackets and vintage Adidas and Nike windbreakers and streetwear. The vast majority of the clothing is in nearly perfect condition despite its previous wear, but every once in a while you will run across a piece with a bit of paint splattered on it or a rip or tear. Personally, I think sometimes the wear adds to the appeal of a piece.
Along with clothing, they also have accessories, books, shoes, and household items. The ornate mirrors and seats double as products to be sold and décor that adds to the stores aesthetic. The shoes line the shelves that run along the side of the store and, while the selection is not huge, they do usually have a few pairs of vintage Puma, Nike, Vans, and Converse shoes for significantly cheaper than retail prices.
The cherry on top is a consistent deal they offer, 50 percent off of anything dated two months in the past or longer. The prices are not as low as a true thrift store such as Goodwill, but they are still significantly cheaper than surrounding consignment stores and online forums such as Etsy. I actually know quite a few people who find great pieces in the store then are able to resell them online for much more.
Retrospect is just one of the thrift store gems in Philadelphia, but because of their consistency in replenishing the racks with on trend vintage clothing and the chill atmosphere of the store they have quickly made me a frequent customer.