Local fashion influencers get thrifty on social media

Griffin Sendek | Multimedia Editor. Pittsburgh influencers Julia Gretz and Esperanza Lorena use Instagram and TikTok to share thrifting tips and recommendations.

Elizabeth Sharp | Staff Writer


It comes as no shock that the thrift shopping scene in Pittsburgh continues to grow along with the city. As spring approaches, updating closets with new pieces will again become a priority for many.

Pittsburgh is not far behind larger cities when it comes to the thrift scene. Many neighborhoods now include a variety of thrift or vintage stores for local customers to enjoy.

Thrift shopping is the perfect way to spice up your closet without breaking the bank. It also allows for finding one of a kind pieces and unique vintage items for the upcoming season.

Julia Gretz, a local thrift influencer, uploads content on TikTok related to the Pittsburgh thrift scene. She currently boasts over 9,000 followers on the platform.

She got her start in thrifting when she was in high school and would thrift with her mom.

“It was something fun to do together, and it had very affordable prices,” Gretz said.

Since then, she has immersed herself in the Pittsburgh thrift scene and shares ways her followers can do the same.

In terms of how social media has directly impacted the thrift scene, Gretz explained that TikTok and Instagram are the largest platforms thrifting is gaining traction on. The promotion of local thrift stores through social media apps allows smaller and community-run businesses to be recognized by local shoppers.

Gretz also highlighted the sustainability aspect associated with thrift shopping. Buying clothing secondhand allows the reduction of energy wasting and resources needed to make new items.

Gretz also offered some tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed at a thrift store.

“Go in with a plan of what items you may be looking for and focus on one section at a time. Also, doing some research in advance, like looking at reviews on TikTok, can be helpful,” she said.

She also mentioned that routinely checking thrift stores will often lead to the best results. Stores are constantly receiving donations, which leads to them putting out new pieces for sale.

Another Pittsburgh fashion influencer, Esperanza Lorena, offered some insight on how social media impacts the thrift scene as well.

“I think that social media has been a great outlet and resource for people to share their style, inspire others, and for fashion inspiration,” she said. “Social media has also made people a lot more aware about the negative impacts of fast fashion in the world. Not everyone can afford to not shop fast fashion, and that’s why thrifting is such a great alternative. It’s sustainable and affordable — the best of both worlds.”

In terms of fashion, Lorena explained that thrifting is great for finding pieces that are classic, neutral and easy to mix and match. Thrift shops tend to carry a variety of these types of items, which makes shopping for them at these stores that much easier.

Both influencers offered their own personalized lists of the best thrift stores in town.

Gretz and Lorena agreed that Thriftique is a shop that should be at the top of everyone’s list.

“I almost always find exactly what I have in mind when I thrift there. They have an amazing selection of both designer and non-designer clothing at affordable prices,” Lorena said.

Thriftique is located in Lawrenceville and is presented in a large warehouse setting, which allows for an immense clothing selection. The store also offers a fairly large collection of home decor items.

Another shop both Gretz and Lorena recommended was Clothes Minded, located in Bloomfield.

This shop is more curated toward vintage clothing, which makes for some unique finds. The shop also carries accessories and, occasionally, designer pieces.

Gretz also mentioned the benefits of Facebook Marketplace. Even though it’s not considered a thrift store, it functions in a similar way. It still provides the benefit of buying secondhand and supporting local sellers.

Specific to college students, Facebook Marketplace is a great resource to use when trying to find things like apartment furniture and home decor, according to Gretz.

Gretz can be found on TikTok @juliagretz and Instagram @juliagretz. Lorena can be found on Instagram @theurbandarling.