Thrifting thrills: Senior Aubrey Rudy has a knack for transforming ordinary vintage clothes into a stylish wardrobe

Senior Aubrey Rudy has a knack for transforming ordinary vintage clothes into a stylish wardrobe


Photo by Mary Sebbas

Rudy tries on a fashionable pair of sunglasses and a hat in the Salvation Army in Noblesville. Rudy enjoys shopping secondhand and expressing her personality with what she finds.

Mary Sebbas and Emily Haynes

She walks in through the large glass doors with the words Salvation Army inscribed in big red letters. The musty aroma of mothballs brings nostalgia of years past and she feels comforted by the friendly faces awaiting her. As she looks around, various items of clothing that would normally be tossed aside, transform into stylish outfits the world is eagerly waiting to see.

This is life through senior Aubrey Rudy’s eyes. Rudy believes thrifting is a fun and rewarding pastime that allows her to express her sense of fashion.

“I like how it’s not easy,” Rudy said. “You go to like a weird kind of vintage store, you have to look through everything. You might look through 100 things before you find one thing that you actually like, and I think that’s so rewarding and cool.”

Rudy finds a sense of joy in thrifting, seeing it as fulfilling to search for pieces that fit her sense of style. Although most people only thrift occasionally, to Rudy it is more than just a hobby.

”Last year, my 2019 resolution was to commit to not buying any new clothes,” Rudy said. “I haven’t bought any new clothes in a year or two, because I’ve only bought them secondhand.”

And by doing that, Rudy has given up a staple of teenage years. Occasionally accompanied by fellow senior Grace Pearson, she turns thrifting into an entertaining and consuming experience.

“Whenever we go thrifting, it’s always fun to watch her run off into the aisles because at that point I know I’ve lost her attention until we get into the fitting rooms,” Pearson said.     “She is always on a mission whenever she enters a thrift store.”

At the surface, only buying second hand may seem to be a difficult goal to meet. Even so, Rudy decided to begin regularly thrifting for reasons beyond appearance and value.

“It seems so obvious that there’s so [many clothes] that already exist, there’s so much already out there,” Rudy said. “I think the point is that you’re trying to get rid of clothing waste, and so you’re only buying things that have already existed.”

By cutting down on clothing waste, Rudy believes she is helping the environment and before she started thrifting, she aimed to put her money into companies that do good for it.

“I think it’s important to support those types of people who make new fashion and new clothes while also being cautious of the environment,” Rudy said. “It’s also important to invest in things, and invest in people that are trying to do good.”

Rudy makes sure to make an attempt to put her money towards clothes that make a difference. When it comes to thrifting, many people are often turned away by the difficulty of rummaging through vintage clothes , but Rudy considers herself lucky.

“I like the things that look like they’re really old, or they look vintage, or they kind of look strange but interesting,” Rudy said.

Due to her unique style and fashion taste, Rudy is able to transform any piece of clothing she comes across.

“[Aubrey] can transform something that’s outdated and ugly into something so cool and fashionable,” Pearson said.

By sorting through items that past owners did not find value in, Rudy has found new ways to express herself and help the world around her.

“There’s more of a focus on what you can do for the environment too, now,” Rudy said, “and so [thrifting] became a thing of, ‘If I can enjoy it, why not do it almost all of the time?’”