Thriftster’s Guide to Pittsburgh Thrifting

Courtesy of lifespacepittsburgh Highway Robbery is a comfortable venue with a good selection of clothing from the 70s, 80s and 90s.


Grace Rosello | Staff Writer

Courtesy of lifespacepittsburgh
Highway Robbery is a comfortable venue with a good selection of clothing from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Knowing where to thrift can be difficult in a city like Pittsburgh, where myth has it that the people are perpetually out of fashion. This guide to thrifting curated for Duquesne students recommends stores which are affordable and cater to both a modern and vintage sense of style.

Location: 2700 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

 Goodwill Southside is a large thrift location in a venue that feels like an old high school gymnasium. The selection of clothes here is acceptable — a good mix of grandmother/grandfather clothes, young adult clothes from stores like Old Navy and Forever 21, as well as a balance between available comfortable items and fashionable items. Particularly good finds include Pittsburgh sports T-shirts as well as inexpensive, high-quality homewares. The location of this Goodwill is interesting due to its proximity to the universities and colleges in Oakland as well as young professionals living in Southside. Keep an eye out too for blank notebooks and used binders for classes. Student discount day is Tuesday (25% off with a university ID card). This Goodwill location has a rack that is specialized with the time of the season — past displays have included winter coats in December, incredibly campy ugly Christmas sweaters just before Thanksgiving and Halloween costumes in the weeks preceding Oct. 31.

Transportation from Duquesne: Duquesne University Southside Loop Bus; walking, from the Duquesne steps and across the 10th St Bridge to 27th Street and East Carson; taking a city bus is doable, however requires a transfer: take any 61 (Outbound) to Forbes and Atwood, board a 75 (Inbound) at Fifth Ave at Atwood and get off at Sidney St at S 27th St.


Location: 4405 Butler St #3011 Pittsburgh, PA 15201

 Mello and Sons has a wonderful vibe. On a lazy summer weekend, the doors are open to the outside and the interior is dark and cool. Lining the walls are vintage Levi’s denim jackets and jeans. The owner of the store keeps a record spinning as he helps customers: sometimes Bob Dylan drawls, another day Hank Williams. There is a charming section of vintage children’s clothes at Mello and Sons, including baby jumpers and little Converse. Mello and Sons is the most expensive vintage store in the area with denim jackets priced upward of $300.00, however, the investment in such classic Americana may last (and be worn for) a lifetime. The store is included in this guide to thrifting in Pittsburgh for simply how incredible the curated pieces are as well as the wonderful location in Lawrenceville, an area lined with unique boutiques, coffee shops and hipster eateries. Besides children’s clothes and vintage denim, Mello and Sons have cool neon signs set up in the back, a table bedecked with incense and vinyl for sale, a great rack of affordable sweatshirts ranging from $45 to $60, and a pile of scratchy, woolen vintage blankets for sale. Note as well a basket in the back for the items on sale.

Transportation from Duquesne: City bus — board a 71A or 71C Outbound at Forbes Ave at McAnulty Dr and get off at Craig St at Park Plaza. Wait for the 93 and ride to Butler St at 52nd St.

Location: 5993 Centre Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15206

 Goodwill Shadyside is a small Goodwill location with high quality donated items from brands including Ralph Lauren and Adidas. This Goodwill is well-stocked for the student searching for professional clothes for interviewing or working at an internship. The store has a commendable selection of blazers, dress pants and sweaters for both men and women. The store is often busy because it is known as one of the Goodwills in the area with the trendiest clothes, in part due to its proximity to the wealthy homes in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Shadyside. Additionally, the homewares are wonderful here from enamel Dutch ovens to donated ceramic mugs. Finally, this store has promoted a section of basic pieces that have been particularly selected for their capacity to be upcycled, meaning repurposed with embroidery or patches. Note that student discount day at Goodwill is on Tuesday (25% off with a university ID card).

Transportation from Duquesne: City bus (71B Outbound). Board at Forbes Ave & McAnulty Drive; get off at Highland Ave Opp. Baum Blvd.

Location: 1411 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

 Highway Robbery is a clean, modern second-hand vintage store. Most of the colorful vintage clothing in the store is focused from the eras of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The quality of the goods is high — think thick denim, dress and T-shirt fabrics with little tearing or holes and varsity leather sports jackets with no stains. As a second-hand vintage store, the prices are definitely above those of Goodwill (for example, $28 for a pullover sweater); however, the quality and durability will not disappoint. Highway Robbery receives extra points for a comfortable venue, including faux fur white chairs for people waiting for the waiting room. Highway Robbery also has a good selection of accessories, including vintage pins for 5ks from ages past.

Transportation from Duquesne: City bus (48 or 51 Outbound) Board at Smithfield St at Forbes Ave and get off at E Carson St at S 14th St; or walking, from the Duquesne steps and across the 10th St Bridge to 14th Street and East Carson.