Student’s Corner

Shopping second-hand is an amazing way to help the environment. Buying used clothing helps keep clothes out of the landfill and give them a new life. The fashion industry produces 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and textile production releases an estimated 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gasses annually. Reusing other people’s clothes helps prolong their life and reduce the demand for new clothing.

My mom introduced me to buying second hand when I was younger, often finding clothes for me and my younger brother at Once Upon a Child and Lu’s Back Door and sports equipment from Play it Again Sports. As I’ve gotten older and can go shopping on my own, I have also enjoyed shopping second hand. With the rise of online retailers such as Depop, Poshmark, and ThredUp it’s easy to buy used clothes without ever leaving your home. However, I prefer trying on clothes in person to know they fit well. This reduces any waste or transportation emissions from shipping clothes to myself and then sending them back. 

Here are some of my top places to shop second hand in Rochester.

Plato’s Closet

Plato’s selection is geared towards teens and young adults. You’ll find a lot of American Eagle, Hollister, Aeropostale, and now a decent amount of Shein. Plato’s is not very generous when it comes to paying the people that bring them clothes and they can be very selective. They also often have a selection of used Uggs and Hunter rain boots behind the counter. I enjoy Plato’s more than a less selective donation center such as Goodwill because the clothes are tailored more to styles I have a higher chance of liking. Unfortunately, Plato’s must spray some sort of perfume in their store because everything I buy there has the same smell and it can be hard to get out of some items. There are three Plato’s locations around Rochester in Greece, Henrietta, and Victor.

NTY Clothing Exchange

NTY (New to You) is very similar to Plato’s except it is smaller, in Pittsford, and claims to only take “higher-end” items. However, I have found plenty of the same brands that Plato’s sells including various Target brands and American Eagle. The main specialty of NTY is their high-end athleisure rack that has LuluLemon and Athleta items where I’ve found a few great tops.


I have unfortunately not had good luck finding clothes at Goodwill. However, I would recommend checking one out if you are looking for cheap dishware and glassware, books, and maybe furniture. There are seven Goodwill stores in the Rochester area but I can only speak to the Henrietta and Victor locations. If you want to get even lower prices than the Goodwill stores, there is also a Goodwill clearance center (“the bins”) in Henrietta. I definitely recommend bringing gloves and low expectations. This is where you may find some hidden gems or the donations that didn’t make it to the stores or didn’t sell. Both regular Goodwill stores and the clearance centers seem to require a lot of patience before you’ll find something you really want but it can be worth it for the low prices.

It’s important to keep in mind the idea of overconsumption when thrift shopping. The average consumer purchases 60% more clothes than they did 15 years ago. When shopping, ask yourself, do you genuinely want the item and will definitely wear it? Or are you buying it because you sort of like it and it’s a “good deal”? While buying second hand items is a great way to help the environment, buying less items in general and using items for a longer period of time is even better. 

Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24 (T5)