The Most Affordable NYC Thrift Stores

Not everything in New York is expensive.
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Sifting through those budget-friendly thrift finds. Photo: iStockPhoto

Sifting through those budget-friendly thrift finds. Photo: iStockPhoto

In New York City, there are vintage and thrift stores aplenty, but finding one that's actually affordable can be hit or miss. So we did the leg work for you, popping into shops we heard about, read about or just happened to pass by to survey their inventory and the price tags that come along with it. Here are our favorite NYC thrift stores  that won't break the bank.

10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas

To break down this very large Williamsburg thrift store for you, the spacious back room is home to the shop's pricier pieces — avoid. The even bigger front area is where you'll find classic vintage styles (fisherman-style sweaters, faded denim, army jackets, etc.) priced around the store's sweet spot of $30. This locale is run by a thrift-savvy team from Japan, which, in the vintage and resale business, means they know exactly what they're doing when it comes to sourcing and trend forecasting. 
10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas, 285 North 6th Street, Brooklyn

Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop

Designer and high street names fill this thrift shop, whose proceeds go towards a cure for arthritis and greater access to health care. Although we found a pair of Calvin Klein pumps for $75, shoes cost between $30 and $65. Wool coats are in the $100 range and dresses can fall anywhere from $20 to $126. Banana Republic and Loft are regularly spotted, especially in the sweaters department, which is priced from $25 to $35. For denim, Genetic, 7 For All Mankind and Escada go for $25 and up to $50.
Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop, 1430 Third Avenue, Manhattan

AuH20

Every piece at this cozy shop costs less than $30. (Seasonal items, such as a wool winter coat, might go up to $40.) The overall stock is a hodgepodge of recognizable brands and no-name apparel and accessories that are carefully sourced by owner Kate Goldwater. We spotted a white crew neck sweater by Burberry for $30 and a Pendleton pajama shirt for $12. Plenty of silk floral dresses — à la Reformation — sported $12 price tags, too. The shop also offers a rack of $10-and-under items.
AuH20, 84 East 7th Street, Manhattan

Beacon's Closet

This buy-sell-trade business prides itself on being founded in Brooklyn. It now has locations in Park Slope and Bushwick, and Chelsea in Manhattan. (Its flagship in Williamsburg moved north to a bigger space in Greenpoint, boasting 7,500 square feet.) The buyers at each location are fashion-savvy with their own unique taste, which means its inventory caters to those looking for trendy and designer-name pieces priced at about a third of its original retail value.
Beacon's Closet, 74 Guernsey Street, Brooklyn, and additional locations

Buffalo Exchange

This buy-sell-trade chain spans across the U.S., and its New York City stores have tapped into buzzing neighborhoods and boroughs — Brooklyn, Chelsea, East Village and Astoria, Queens. A manager mentioned to Fashionista that buyers aim to offer a variety of price points that appeal to most people, depending on its quality, brand and desirability. (Trending styles will likely dictate a higher price tag.) On average, a T-shirt starts around $7 while an occasional high-end find can cost as much as $400.
Buffalo Exchange, 332 East 11th Street, Manhattan, and additional locations

Crossroads Trading

Crossroads hails from the west coast and, like its buy-sell-trade competitors, focuses on trends and brands on a seasonal schedule. Its two locations are in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. You'll come across an average price point of $22 but basics can start as low as $7.50. When it comes to designer-name items, such as an Hermès or a Chanel handbag, prices can exceed $2,000, so we suggest doing research on a piece's retail value before cashing in.
Crossroads Trading, 24 West 26th Street and 135 North 7th Street, Brooklyn

East Village Thrift Shop

Skip the bags and accessories at the front of this neighborhood mainstay to spend time searching through the six fully-stocked railings — you'll need it. Among the thrift stores we've visited, this is the most affordable overall. Tops are as low a $2.99 and the highest priced one we found as only $9.99; sweaters and sweatshirts are just as low, from $4.99 to $7.99. Jackets and coats range between $12.99 and $34.99; dresses from $10.99 to $14.99.
East Village Thrift Shop, 186 2nd Avenue, Manhattan

Housing Works

You'll find designer-name items at the dozen Housing Works outposts in trendy neighborhoods like SoHo, Chelsea and the West Village. Good deals can be found in footwear in prices from $45 to as low as $5. Jackets by Theory, Jil Sander, Moschino and Ralph Lauren are around $100. Dresses are the same: Vince and Reiss go for $100 and one by Marissa Webb for $185. While prices are on the higher side, a percentage of proceeds go towards the city's homeless and those with HIV/AIDS.  And if you happen to visit during a sale, you could find a true steal: A Marc by Marc Jacobs coat, originally priced at $125, was reduced to $40.
Housing Works, various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn

L Train Vintage

Items generally cost no more than $50 among L Train Vintage's seven locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We also found certain styles in bulk, such as an entire rack of fleece pullovers by North Face and Columbia ($10 or $15). Each outpost houses similar styles but if you have the time, we suggest checking out a few as one might stock more of a certain item than others. For example, a Brooklyn location had a notable stock of vintage leather handbags by Coach, which ranged from $15 to $40.
L Train Vintage, various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn

Rags-A-Gogo

Owner Joshua Suzanne has had her shop open for 25 years, stocking it with Americana classics, from denim jackets with shearling trim and Baja-style hoodies to perfectly worn graphic T-shirts and crew neck sweatshirts. Levi's jeans, overalls and blazers go for $38 while jackets are $48 each. T-shirts range from $15 to $25; accessories like hats, belts, scarves, handbags and ties are priced between $5 and $20. Leather items, from boots to motorcycle jackets, are pricier at $78 to $125.
Rags-A-Gogo, 218 West 14th Street, Manhattan

The Society Boutique

This Upper East Side spot is brightly lit and organized, a departure from the usual thrift shop ambience. Corporate attire flourishes here, including black blazers averaging $35, skirts priced between $25 and $35 and button-down tops for $15 or $25. Denim goes from $25 to $40 and coats can cost over $100 or $200. Jewelry and bags are stocked behind a counter and overseen by a sales associate. With handbags costing at least $100 (an Hermès was on display, too), this shop's precaution is no surprise.
The Society Boutique (also known as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Thrift Shop), 1440 Third Avenue, Manhattan

Vintage Thrift

This shop's nicely sorted donations benefit the United Jewish Council of the East Side. An entire rack of denim is priced at $10 a pop from Gap and Joe's Jeans while office-ready pants (think Banana Republic) are between $16 and $35. Skirts can go for $18 to $35; gowns and dresses ring in at $28 and $35. Jackets are as low as $25 alongside a camel-colored Michael Michael Kors jacket for $60. Sweaters are priced around $20 and a Calvin Klein turtleneck was $16. There's also a section dedicated to items sized from 12 and up. While this location's supply evokes a vintage sense of style, its West Village location offers a more fashion-forward selection.
Vintage Thrift, 286 Third Avenue and 242 West 10th Street