Repurposed Gems

by Madeline Felauer

After spending months lingering in my brother’s hand-me down sweatpants, the opportunity has finally arrived for me to show the world I do own more than one pair of pants! Despite my excitement when looking at my overflowing closet, I scrunch my face at what I see. Nothing is giving me that needed retail euphoria. My mind is instantly shifted into shopping mode, beginning the quest for “new” and suddenly my body zings with metaphorical lightning. I’ve realized there is a place where I can fulfill this desire, a place where I will leave with a one-of-a-kind piece, previously owned but “new” to me!

If this sounds familiar or is too close for comfort, quick, listen! Get on your bike, hop on a bus, saddle a donkey, hijack your kid’s Big Wheel or maybe hop in your car, and head to this address: 214 East College Avenue. Your new haven is Beatnik Bettty’s, the whimsical brainchild owned and curated by Monika Austen. Within this space, Monika has carefully chosen garments of all sizes and styles which focus on quality and originality. Falling under the category of thrift, the concept is a scavenger hunt but also provides the satisfaction of snagging a Stella McCartney sweater for $20. When speaking with Monika about her experience as a thrifting extraordinaire for her store, she was able to recall this exact Stella piece. For thrifters of all ages, there is always a find that leaves you feeling like you hit the jackpot. These tips will ensure you a stunning piece that not only fits your bank account, but also challenges your style! 

When thrifting: 

  1. Don’t just go to your typical size! 

Often, previously loved clothing has been washed, dried, and ironed, which can result in shrinkage or loss of elasticity. Look at other sizes! By putting on blinders, you may miss a top that looks amazing oversized or a maxi skirt that fits perfectly as a midi! 

  1. If the pattern, texture, material, or cut intrigues you, grab it!

By grabbing an article and adding it to the pile, you can sort through the yes and no items later. This leaves room for initial reactions, which may be more genuine than contemplating or overthinking in the aisle.

  1. Give things a chance that you might not usually like. 

Only in a thrift store can you find basic staples such as faded jeans as well as an Aunt Lynn’s orange sherbet fur coat under the same roof. You might be surprised by your choices when you expand your horizons. 

  1. Check for quality!

Currently, quality over quantity is becoming more important than ever. Check your clothing seams and feel the material! Leather boots will last longer than pleather. You will know when a garment feels cheap, so trust your judgment! The better the garment is made, the longer you can enjoy it!

More thrift stores in Appleton: Bethesda, St. Vincent, Fox Valley Thrift, Goodwill, Bargain Garden.