Vintage, secondhand and thrift shopping in Phoenix: The trends

There was a time when people who shopped for one-of-a-kind pieces at Antique Sugar vintage clothing boutique in Phoenix didn’t say they were thrifting. That’s changing.

Co-owner Annamarie Sanchez does not consider her shop a thrift store, but she sees customers buying high-quality pieces and tagging her shop on Instagram saying, “I thrifted this at Antique Sugar.” 

Sanchez likely isn’t alone in her observation.

Nearly three in four consumers surveyed who  shopped secondhand last year consider themselves thrifters, despite the wide variety of price points at vintage, consignment, thrift and online stores, according to a 2022 resale report by Thredup, an online consignment store.

Thrifting:10 top secondhand stores in metro Phoenix for clothing, jewelry and home goods

Is vintage the same as a thrift store? 

In the fashion world, vintage refers to garments made 20 or more years ago, said Sarah Bingham, Sanchez’s partner at Antique Sugar. 

Thrift stores stock their shelves and racks with donated items of all eras and price points. Boutiques typically don’t take donations and are looking for specific items.

To Sanchez, thrifting means getting a “bang for your buck” at a big-box store like Goodwill or Salvation Army, not necessarily buying one piece for $80.

Anna Sanchez, a co-owner of Antique Sugar, a vintage clothing shop, inputs inventory into their system in Phoenix on May 4, 2020. Sanchez said they don't plan on re-opening on the 8th, and will look at how the cases for COVID-19 go over the upcoming weeks.

“You’re being thrifty by spending less and getting a good deal,” Sanchez said. 

However, she did say the term may be evolving because when people say thrift now, they do not necessarily mean cheap. 

Exclusive:New stores in metro Phoenix: Flip flops, makeup, plus-size fashion

How Phoenix vintage shops select their merchandise

The criteria for selecting merchandise at local resale boutiques like Antique Sugar and the Bee’s Knees Thrift and Consignment Store requires an eye for one of a kind pieces

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