So I know this blog is supposed to be about all our DIY projects, but I had a pretty stellar trip to Goodwill and I figured, with as much as I talk about the place, I could probably share this info. Read on and hear about the most epic and unexpected thrift experience I’ve had so far, but DON’T JUDGE til you get to the end! I mean it! Okay, continue…
Backing up…now that I’m working again, I decided I needed some new work clothes. I have all the basics but was really getting bored with wearing black pants and a top every day. I spent some time shopping around online and found an amazing blog called J’s Everyday Fashion. Essentially, J is an everyday girl who has great style and kindly shares her outfit ideas and amazing finds with the world via her website. I browsed her site for a while and came to two conclusions:
1. I need new clothes, like, yesterday; and
2. I should probably try to do it without spending a ton of cash.
I decided there were a few areas of my wardrobe that I wanted to expand, thanks to some inspiration from J. First of all, the girl loves pencil skirts and who can blame her? I always forget this staple, especially when we’re in the middle of a chilly Indiana winter. I have a few that I bought as part of a suit set (black, navy, gray) but what fun is that? I decided that I would be on the lookout for new skirts in fun colors.
Also, I gained a new respect for cardigans after looking through her outfits. Paired with a skinny belt, I think it’s a good alternative to wearing a jacket to the office. And finally, an overall goal was to try to inject more color into my wardrobe, either through clothes, shoes or accessories. J has a pair of yellow pumps that I became kind of obsessed with…I figured I wouldn’t be able to find yellow shoes, but some pops of color were definitely needed.
So, I planned to make a few stops in the mall last weekend. I had some money set aside from returned Christmas gifts ($78) that I thought might get me started, but I was planning on investing some serious cash. Before heading to the mall, I had some free time and decided to run in to Goodwill and take a look around for a cool piece of furniture to re-finish or a new (totally unnecessary) home decor item. I’ll admit, 99% of the time I blow right past all the clothing racks but on that particular occasion I had the urge to walk through and check out the goods.
I have been missing out.
Now, I realize I kind of sound ridiculous talking about the shopping opportunities at Goodwill but just hear me out, ok? I have proof that it might be worth your time to look through the racks. Not only did I find some awesome things, but they all seemed to fall right into my plan. After putting in some time going through the racks, here’s what I ended up leaving with:
FIVE pencil skirts…purpley/blue, red, maroon and a couple navy…different lengths and materials:
Two sweaters…one tan (Gap), one mustard (Target) – a color that I happen to be loving right now:
A mango (?) cardigan from Banana Republic:
A bunch of silky blouses in different colors…great alternatives to a button-up under a blazer:
(sorry this pic is so contrast-y–it was the only way to show the detail around the neck line)
Most of the stuff I’ve shown is either vintage or from an everyday mall store, but I also found some higher end items, like these James Perse cargo pants:
And this basic black dress…
…that happens to be from a pretty well-known department store:
Don’t worry, I also found some casual items to support my favorite sports teams:
And a like-new fitted Calvin Klein button-up for Bryan:
Lastly, I picked up a cute floral cover-up from Victoria’s Secret:
And some accessories, including…wait for it….YELLOW PUMPS! yesssssss!!
The absolute best part of this trip is that I went to check out and the total for all this stuff ended up being $78.34…within ONE DOLLAR of the amount I had in my pocket from only two returned Christmas gifts. Unbelievable, right?
Now, lest you think I don’t realize that Goodwill has a lot of duds too, I snapped a few pics of the most entertaining items that I left for someone else, like these pajama pants that are just waiting for a fun party…
Or this cowboy shirt…
I think I kind of have a love/hate relationship with this giraffe skirt:
So, the moral of this post is to at least try thrifting if you’re on a budget and want unique items. I figured out a couple guidelines for shopping at thrift stores that might help if you end up going:
1. Forget what size you think you are. A lot of what you’ll find in thrift stores is
old vintage, which means that the stores that sold the items may not have followed the vanity sizing that most modern stores do. In my case, although I’m usually a size 0 or 2, some of what I bought says 6 or 8 on the tag and fits perfectly. Ignore the size and just try it on!
2. Don’t rush. As you may know, clothes on the racks of Goodwill and other stores are not arranged by size…usually they are only sorted by clothing type (men’s/women’s, blouses/pants/coats) and color. That means you really have to take the time to go through each rack to find things that will fit. But, going back to point # 1…you’ll probably find more that fits than you expect.
3. Don’t be brand specific. Come on – don’t be a snob. You are shopping at Goodwill after all. Ignore the brand, even though it is fun to find designer pieces.
4. The dressing room is your friend. Other Goodwills might be different, but mine will only give you a store credit for returns. Granted, probably not a big deal to someone who shops there as much as I do, but save yourself the hassle and just try it on there. I tried on several pieces that looked great on the hanger but didn’t work for me (even though size-wise they should have worked perfectly).
Anyways, hope this will inspire some of you to become thrifty with your clothing purchases, even just for fun.
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