Back-to-school season is in full swing with SF public schools back in the classroom today and Bay area colleges starting within the next week. It’s time for catchy Target commercials and cheap, trendy new threads.  The Bay area has a variety of alternative places to maintain that high fashionable status while keeping money in the bank. Talk about swag…

Crossroads Trading Co.– With four locations in the city, the recycled fashion boutique accepts and sells fall fashion trends. This season, trade in flannel, messenger bags, trench coats, chunky sweaters, capes or bold stripes.  Earn cash for your clothes or just buy some of those. Visit for more information.

Salvation Army– It’s a guaranteed treasure-finding hot spot. There are ten different locations in the city, from the Mission to Bayview. Check daily for different colored tags for an additional discount.

Goodwill– It’s Salvation Army’s cousin– Goodwill offers similar findings from hats to glasses, shoes to overalls. Visit one of their 17 retail stores in the San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties.

Out of the Closet– Support a good cause while abiding by fashion’s laws. Funds earned by the shop benefit AIDS/HIV treatment. It’s owned and operated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Visit one of three stores in the city, or travel across the bridge to the Oakland and Berkley locations.

If you’re feeling some Little House on the Prairie inspiration, just make your own clothes. This Thursday, visit Workshop on McAllister Street and master some sewing skills. From 7:30-10:30 p.m. you can learn how to put on zippers and buttons, and simple construction skills for making your own threads. Visit the website for more information.

Photo Credit:Kevin Dean