Thrifting is having a moment. Whether it’s on TikTok or Insta, some of the most popular social media accounts are all about showing off their vintage fashion finds. If you’re looking to get in on the trend, we’ve compiled a list of eight of the coolest thrift stores in the Midwest to get you started.
This rediscovery of the joys of thrifting is a response to “fast fashion” trends, where buyers purchase and discard clothes after just a few wears. In an era of sustainability, people are re-examing the environmental impacts of their shopping and consumption choices. Thrifting can be environmentally friendly and a great way to find deals on wonderful used items that slipped through the cracks.
One of the best things about thrift stores is that each one is unique. The selection often depends on whatever used items or donations find their way to the store. A selective shop owner might also play a role in carefully curating a unique collection of vintage gear.
Either way, part of the fun of thrifting is that you never know what you’re going to find. Our picks for the best vintage stores in the Midwest can get you started.
Boomerang, Kansas City
Sometimes going thrifting is like going on a treasure hunt. You look through racks, boxes, and piles of items, just hoping to uncover that gem that’ll make the whole trip worth it. And while the treasure-hunting aspect of thrifting has appeal, sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little more…straightforward.
That’s when you know it’s time for a trip to Boomerang. This Kansas City, MO, institution sorts all its vintage items by decade. So whether you’re looking to style yourself after a 60s flower child or seeking some 80s-era high-waisted pants, you’ll know exactly which rack to check out. Timeless items, like cowboy boots, get their own dedicated section.
Wild Man Vintage, Lawrence
If you’re looking for one of the most unique thrift stores in the Midwest, Wild Man Vintage is one of the most trendy thrift shops in the Midwest. Located in the college town of Lawrence, Kansas, this store claims to have the largest selection of vintage clothing in the entire state. They primarily stock trendy fashion finds from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. But, as with any good thrift store, you’ll never know what’s going to be on display.
Originally opened by a student who started buying and selling used clothes to pay for his college education, Wild Man Vintage has been a hidden gem in Lawrence since 2004. They also buy vintage clothing, so if you’re looking to sell some of your parents’ old threads, this is a spot where you can do so.
Crowded Closet, Iowa City
A nonprofit thrift store run by the Mennonite Central Committee, Crowded Closet is an Iowa City gem. The store’s proceeds benefit local and global charities. In addition to donated clothes, you can find housewares, furniture, and even houseplants at this sprawling store.
Crowded Closet has been a staple of the Iowa City community for more than 40 years. The store’s popularity has caused it to move three times over that period, each time into a larger space. It remains a well-run, clean, and organized store with a staff of dedicated volunteers. The variety and huge selection always make shopping there an exciting experience.
One of the best spots for unique fashion finds in North Dakota, Revolver has an amazing selection of vintage clothing and accessories. Featured on thrifter Laura Caldwell’s Midwest Pickin’ Adventure YouTube series, this locally-owned shop is a fashionista’s dream.
Owner Melissa Anderson says customers come from as far away as Canada to sample her carefully curated selection of second-hand goodies. And, thanks to her impeccable tastes and the extremely welcoming vibe she creates in the store, you’ll be sure to go back, no matter how far you traveled to get there.
The Twin Cities are home to a booming vintage scene. They undoubtedly host some of the most unique thrift stores in the Midwest. Rewind Minneapolis is one you absolutely want to check out if you’re looking for some hand-picked vintage finds.
Located in northeast Minneapolis, the staff selects everything offered at Rewind. You’ll find clothes and accessories for both men and women, all very reasonably priced. Items move off the shelves quickly there, so every time you visit, you’re in for new offerings and a unique experience!
Flying Worm Vintage, Omaha
Located in Omaha’s Old Market district, Flying Worm Vintage is undeniably one of the coolest thrift stores in the Midwest. Boasting funky decor and fantastic threads, the store is a prime destination for thrifters and trend-setters.
You’ll find styles dating back to the 1930s in Flying Worm’s patchouli-scented aisles. Whether you’re looking for boots, bomber jackets, or a pair of retro shades, this store has something sure to inspire you. And if you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for, that’s okay too. Flying Worm is well known for its “grab bags”—pre-packaged bags you can purchase at steep discounts without knowing exactly what’s inside.
Earth Exchange, Superior
Bigger isn’t always better—but sometimes it’s nice to have an amazing selection to pick from! Earth Exchange in Superior, WI, offers three floors and 20,000 square feet of mostly used and recycled goods. In addition to a wide variety of clothing and fashion, the store sells furniture, electronics, and even books.
Earth Exchange advertises itself as an “upscale thrift store,” so it isn’t necessarily the place to find the cheapest items. But it is a locally-owned shop, and they offer discounts if you bring your own things to donate. It’s located in the state’s northwest corner, close to the Minnesota border and the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline.
Red Tab Vintage, Aberdeen
Red Tab Vintage makes the list because it is truly one-of-a-kind. This store is part coffee shop, part vegan bakery, part vintage clothing booth, and all positive vibes. In addition to an eclectic collection of second-hand clothes, they also sell used books and the wares of local artists.
Owned by a sibling duo, this shop has been a fixture in Aberdeen for almost 30 years. You’re sure to find something unexpected if you make the trip to Aberdeen to visit Red Tab. Whether that’s used clothes, an enjoyable conversation, or live music is anybody’s guess!
The benefits of thrifting are many. You can fill up your closet for a fraction of the price. It’s more sustainable than buying the newest throw-away fashion every season. And you can put together a unique style that is all your own. It’s also just a lot of fun! Now that you know the coolest thrift stores in the Midwest to visit, it’s time to go out and find some vintage bargains for yourself. Happy thrifting!
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