The idea of vintage and thrift clothing has taken on a chic spin lately and, in many cities, consignment and secondhand shops are packed with stiletto wearing fashionistas in search of the next big thing.
But in Portsmouth, is buying secondhand the sign of a budding-style icon or just a sign of the times? Depending on where you go, there may be a different answer.
Corner Consignment situated on 980 East Main Road has been in business for 22 years and according to sales associate, Kirsten Castner, there has been a tangible change in recent years.
"I would definitely say that with the recession, we've had a bit of a boost in sales as well as consigners who are trying to make money on their old clothing," said Castner. "Also, it seems like more consignment shops are opening up locally because there is a market for it."
Corner Consignment holds clothing for women and children and, according to Castner, though there is a mix in the customer base, the majority of the market consists of women between 40 and 60 years of age.
As for the fashion aspect, "I think what has made thrift more popular is because of all of the things you can find. The items you find in thrift stores are more one of a kind. You can't find them new," she said.
The Poplar School's thrift shop at 324 East Main Road is a store that depends on inventory through donation. Joanne Dunlap runs the store which had been in its particular location for about five years.
When asked her opinion on the change taking place in terms of the type of customer, "there are absolutely more people shopping here because of the economy," Dunlap said. "We don't get many teenagers, but we do get lots of young mothers who are buying stuff for their babies. We sell a lot of children's clothing."
According to Dunlap and sales associate Lisbeth Gregson, the trendy aspect of buying thrift is not apparent. "We get some young girls, but not particularly, during special times like looking for prom gowns or something like that," said Dunlap.
Though there may be opportunity in the future for Portsmouth patrons to amp up their secondhand style, as of now, necessity over novelty still rings true.