I have a dear sweet friend at church who is very fashionable and whenever she sees me, she says, "You always look SO cute, Kasey! Where did you get that??" And she always gets so exasperated because my answer, about 90% of the time, is "Goodwill outlet!"
Let me confess something to you: I used to be a shopping snob. I didn't do Goodwill- whenever I thought of shopping at Goodwill I thought of oversized stained t-shirts, women's suits from the 80's (complete with shoulder pads) and polyester. LOTS of polyester. To be honest, the thought of thrift store shopping repelled me.
Then we started having kids, and we were on a budget. We started checking out Goodwill just for random things we needed that we considered okay to buy used. Then I saw that they had some pretty cute kids clothes, and kids grow out of their clothes practically faster than you can buy them, so I relented. And then an occasion would come up where I would need something specific in a hurry that wasn't in our budget (like a black skirt or something) and so I would go there to see if I could find something just for this one time. Then I found myself putting lots of things in my cart to try on...and I became hooked.
So if any of you out there might feel a little wary of thrift store shopping like I did, I am here to dispel the myth of the Polyester Palace! Here are a few of my favorite Goodwill Outlet finds and some tips for making the most of your own thrift store shopping.
I LOVE the cut of this satin top. So slimming! Incidentally, the skirt I'm wearing is also from the Goodwill outlet- knee-length black satin with wide pleats. I paired this with opaque black tights and a cute pair of satin Steve Madden pumps- also from Goodwill. ;-)
Super soft teal drape-front sweater (Banana Republic) and the perfect pair of black pants (okay, they may be polyester, but they have a great modern style!).
Love this sheer black drapey top with dolman sleeves. It has just the right amount of sparkle around the neckline to make it perfect for a night out.
Tips on thrift store clothing shopping:
1. Don't go with expectations. It's okay to be hoping to find something, but it's always best to go with an open mind so that the deals find you.
2. Go often. Stock changes constantly, so rather than doing one blowout trip, break it up and go frequently in order to spend less on items you really love.
3. Know your size and what shapes work best on you (not all places have dressing rooms) Shape and fit are FAR more important to me than color and/or pattern. The idea is for the garment to make YOU look good and for people to notice you, not what you're wearing. Also keep in mind that these clothes may have shrunk or stretched from their original size, so try to train your eye to be able to recognize your size.
4. Be familiar with brands. Name brands = quality and style. Once when checking out at a Goodwill store the cashier looked at the clothes I had picked out, including the Steve Madden shoes, a cashmere sweater and a DKNY shirt, and said, "Oh, girl- you knew what you were looking for!" Yes. Yes I did. :-)
5. When in doubt, check it out. You might not always be able to tell what something is at first glance (see last photo!)- things aren't styled like they are in retail stores, so pull it out away from the other clothes to see it alone and get a better perspective. That peach blouse might actually look pretty great once you get it away from that olive green sweater!
6. Don't get too excited over the price and buy things you won't use. You know what I'm talking about. You've done it. Admit it.
7. Look for staple items- they're always there! Basic black skirts & pants, basic button-up blouses, jeans, etc.
8. Evaluate wear & tear vs cost. If an item is damaged, can you- and WILL you- take the time and/or money to repair it? Be honest with yourself!
9. Step outside your box. Thrift shopping is a great opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new without risking too much cash! Try going bohemian or punk. What have you got to lose?
10. Saving $$ on clothes means you can spend extra on accessorizing! Even a very basic thrift store find can look fabulous when paired with the right accessories. Get some pretty new earrings to bring out the color in your new shirt.
Are you a thrift store fashionista? What was your best find??