Philly AIDS Thrift

Old Clothes, New Styles

A not-so-new trend is sweeping the nation. Hipsters swear by it. Pop music hits have been written about it. It’s cheap, it’s smelly, and it’s fashionable. It’s thrift shopping.

Many teens and twenty-somethings are devoted to the hunt for used clothes that are the perfect mix of quirky and vintage, with just enough ugly mixed in. You could be on a quest for a pair of Doc Martens from the 80s, some wildly printed tights, or a worn leather jacket. No matter the purchase, here’s the bottom line: The cooler you are, the more you thrift. Luckily for us, Philadelphia is bursting with thrift stores. I discovered one recently and learned how easy it is to get sucked in by the thrift-shop craze.

But this was no ordinary thrift shop.

Philly AIDS Thrift Interior

Philly AIDS Thrift interior.

Located at 710 South 5th Street, Philly AIDS Thrift is a two-story paradise filled with anything and everything a shopper could desire. The clothing selection ranges from 50-year-old children’s T-shirts to perfectly faded American Eagle jeans, with plenty of oversized sweaters and Hawaiian-print skirts mixed in. An entire room is dedicated to shoes of all shapes and sizes while another is stocked with used books and magazines. There’s even a section solely dedicated to antique lamps.

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If you’re spectacularly low on cash, don’t fret. Instead, imagine walking into a room filled with clothes, a wondrous place where each piece costs only $1. Do you have it? Can you see the endless outfit opportunities? Yes? This is the Dollar Heaven Sale, held on the first Saturday of every month.

But Philly AIDS Thrift is far more than a place with cheap attire. When you shop there, you are supporting a worthy cause. The store is a registered nonprofit run mostly by volunteers. Proceeds are donated to the AIDS fund that contributes to HIV research, shelters, awareness campaigns, and other services in the Philadelphia area. Since its opening in 2005, Philly AIDS Thrift has raised over $1.2 million.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered the wonders of thrifting, or maybe you’re still buying your skinny jeans and “vintage” dresses from Forever 21. No matter where you are in your thrift journey, it’s worth taking the trip to Philly AIDS Thrift. You just might find that perfect striped fedora or vintage sundress—and help those with HIV/AIDS while you’re at it.

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