As college students, the need to save money and the desire to expand your collection of clothing, books or music often proves to be conflicting. Luckily, Chicago is home to an abundance of unique and versatile second-hand stores that make adding to any collection easy.
Here are four great spots to thrift that are just off of the Red Line.
Howard: Lost Eras (1511 W. Howard St.)
Whether you’re looking to complete your Halloween costume, add vintage flair to an outfit or find an authentic antique piece to tie your living space together, Lost Eras can provide goods from nearly any decade.
Just a five-minute walk up the street from the Howard L-stop, Lost Eras’ extensive inventory requires more than just a quick peek inside. Upon walking in, customers are welcomed by a nearly overwhelming assemblage of period pieces — jewelry to the right, furnishings to the left and clothing immediately in the center. The store also boasts multiple costume rooms and a basement filled from floor to ceiling with vintage findings.
With reasonable prices, it’s hard to beat the truly vintage, one-of-a-kind material Lost Eras offers.
Bryn Mawr: The Brown Elephant (5404 N. Clark St.)
The Brown Elephant is a hip and popular spot to submerge yourself into the world of thrifting. This 1900s theater-turned-resale store makes it hard to leave empty-handed.
The shop shows off a grand array of resale items with prices displayed directly above each section. Clothing is set at the same price depending on the garment, simplifying the shopping experience. The inclined entrance, distressed walls and high ceiling of this historic building provide thrifters with a genuinely vintage experience.
The Brown Elephant is great for not only augmenting your wardrobe, but contributing to an important cause, as proceeds go towards Howard Brown Health’s efforts to fund care for LGBTQ+ and under-insured/uninsured individuals, according to its website. If you find your trip to The Brown Elephant successful, make sure you stop into the business’ other two Chicago locations.
Argyle: Uncharted Books (5140 N. Clark St.)
Anyone who enjoys a good book — or a cute dog — shouldn’t exclude Uncharted Books from their list of go-to bookstores.
Uncharted Books’ eclectic collection of titles would please any bookworm. Readers can grab from shelves labeled “Anthologies,” “Young Adult” or even “Staff Picks,” nestle themselves into the cozy and private corners of the store and enjoy the company of the business’ furry friend — a Siberian husky named Ramona — as they read.
The balance between dark and light academia, along with some fall decorations, makes Uncharted Books a welcoming and cozy spot to pop in and pick up a new read. Settled on North Clark Street in Andersonville, this bookstore’s charmingly compact space is ideal for anyone who enjoys both the intimacy of a small bookstore and the assurance of diverse options.
Belmont: Reckless Records (929 W. Belmont Ave.)
If you’re fond of the subtle crackle of vinyl on a turntable or the aesthetic display of album covers as wall art, Reckless Records might be the music store of your dreams.
Walking in, the vast collection of used and new records and CDs is apparent. The store is organized alphabetically within each genre — helpful for anyone who wastes no time when it comes to developing their record collection. The simple layout of the space makes navigating the shop’s extensive stock an exciting and straightforward experience.
While the shop does offer brand new copies of records and CDs, Reckless Records’ second-hand collection is both inexpensive and comprehensive. From Little Feat to Clairo to Lizzo, Reckless Records offers a variety of options for anyone who is seeking to find anything from a 1970s classic rock CD to their favorite underground pop artist’s debut album.