Thrift Camaraderie + A Relaxed Posting Schedule

Hello Thrifters!  Just a note to let you know that I am entering a busy season in my personal/work lives and will not have a regular posting schedule over the next few weeks.  I hope to still post occasionally, just not on a schedule. Because let’s be honest, nothing stops me from thrifting, so I might as well write about it!  Making sure I have the time to write quality, engaging posts for you all is another thing, though, so I’m giving myself permission to be flexible.

I am so grateful for your readership and your willingness to be flexible with me!  Your engagement in and enjoyment of this site makes the whole thing really rewarding and I am absolutely thrilled that you read and contribute to the wonderful community that is Thriftshop Chic.

In the spirit of that community, check out this week’s thrift camaraderie encounter. (TC = chatting up your fellow thrifters, particularly giving/asking for advice on whether to purchase a particular thrift find. It’s a special kind of interaction that thrift stores seem to encourage and I LOVE IT.)

This woman needed something to wear for an evening event to raise awareness of and fight against rape and sexual assault.  Teal and purple are sexual assault and domestic assault awareness colors, respectively, so this long-sleeved romper was pretty much perfect:

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I can’t get over the sequins (must be the 5% of me that wants to dress like Luke Spiller), and we both agreed that the long sleeves balance out the leg exposed by the shorts. Did I mention it has pockets?

She said she had looked several places and finally came to Goodwill and hit the jackpot.  Yes!  Thrifting is the perfect way to find an outfit or accessories for a one-of-a-kind event at low cost.  She may never wear this romper again (although I totally hope she does), but for $6.99 she doesn’t have to – she can just donate it back and let someone else enjoy it in all its sequined glory.

 

Have a great weekend, Thrifters!

Happy International Women’s Day – Supporting a Women-Owned Clothing Business

Hey all – Happy International Women’s Day!

If you’re like me and haven’t been active enough on (American) social media to realize there was a whole “wear red, strike” movement going on, I’d like to encourage you to do something else awesome today – support a woman-owned business by making a Kiva loan.

Kiva is a non-pofit that takes loans as small as $25 from regular people like you and me and uses them to create microloans that fund entrepreneurs all over the world – often women entrepreneurs.  Today they’re doubling the impact of your microloan so it’s a great day to give!  If you can spare $25 (or more) for the length of the loan, it’ll be returned to you and you can then reinvest it to another entrepreneur or put it back in your wallet.  You can browse hundreds of women-owned business’ profiles to decide which you’d like to support.

I’m funding Hawa, a 32-year-old woman who represents the Abahuje Cb Group, a Rwandan small business collective whose members sell secondhand clothing.  Can’t think of a better match for this blog!

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Source: first link below

Click here if you’d like to join me in funding Hawa and her group, or click here if you’d like to browse other entrepreneurs’ profiles.

However you choose to celebrate/protest/invest/support today, cheers!  The future, as they say, is female.

 

A (Very) Brief Hiatus

Hello faithful readers! Just a short note to let you know that as I work on some personal projects, finish up the busiest part of my work year, and get ready for our trip to Ireland at the end of the month, I’ll be slowing down on posts. I promise to be back up and running with a “what I’m packing in my carryon” post before the end of the month.  I very well may have a few more posts before then since I have to dress myself everyday anyway and I basically never stop thrifting. :)

In the meantime, I’d still love to hear your travel tips if any of you have been to Ireland.  (Thanks Carol for your great recs the last time I mentioned this!)  To give you an idea of where we’ll be (and thus what attractions we might see): we’ll start in Dublin, head down to Glendalough for a day hike, drive over to Galway/Connemara for a couple days, and then I get to co-officiate my college best friend’s wedding (!!) in Spanish Point before heading back to Dublin for an afternoon.  I’m trying to convince the spouse to do an afternoon of curling/Irish football in there but he watched a match online and thinks he’ll die. Ha.  Scroll down to share!

In the meantime, happy thrifting!

 

Survey Results + Some of Your Questions ANSWERED

This is my only post for the week, since American Thanksgiving is this Thursday and I’m taking time to enjoy family and FOOD.  Check back next week for fun posts on closet cleanouts and sanitizing (or not?) your thrift store finds.  And Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!  

 

Thank you to everyone who took the Thriftshop Chic reader survey!  I thought I’d summarize the results so y’all know what to expect in terms of forthcoming content and adjustments around here.

There were 32 responses, which is not nearly as many readers as this blog has, so if you didn’t take the survey but want to offer a contrary (or affirming) opinion in the comments, please do so!  The more data the merrier.

Here we go!

 

60% of y’all prefer to have posts appear full length on the homepage so you can simply scroll to read the whole shebang.  The downside is that you have to click through to comment, so please continue to do so.  I love your comments!

 

Kinds of posts you like to read on Thriftshop Chic: Outfit posts, thrift finds, thrifting tips, and edited closet/capsule wardrobe all came in about equal for posts you love most. All of these are also posts you’d like to see more of.  Duly noted – expect to keep see more of these!  Styling posts, Friday ReBlogs, and ethics are pretty close ties for second in favorite kinds of posts.  Expect to keep seeing these kinds of posts.  I’ll still throw in occasional travel wardrobe, DIY, and  beauty/personal care posts, but the focus will be on the above.

 

Turns out half of you are happy with Thriftshop Chic the way it is.  Cool!  Glad to hear it.  For the other half of you, I could improve your Thriftshop Chic experience with:

  • more photos: in the last few weeks I’ve worked to include more photos, and if I can figure out a selfie photo set up you’ll see even more.
  • more embedded content (instead of linking to other posts): I can imagine it’s annoying to have to click over to some other page to see what I’m talking about.  I’ll keep linking to an entire post when I’m referencing the written content/the concept featured in the linked post.  But if I’m just referencing an image (“Hey, remember that skirt I found last year?”), I’ll embed the image into the post you’re already reading.
  • posting more often: I’m so glad you’d like more content!  I try hard to keep a T/Th/F posting schedule because I know I can handle it.  I do love an occasional outfit post thrown in for fun on Mondays, so I’ll also do those as my schedule permits.

 

Posts you’d like to see me write – please add more in the comments or “second” if you’d like me to tackle one of the below:

  • Practical considerations when making an outfit (too hot, too cold, it’s raining, I have to dig in the dirt): I plan to tackle this via more “how I styled it” posts where I walk you through why I chose different elements of my outfit.  But I have to say, our weather here in the ATL is pretty mild compared to some of you.  So if you want to write a guest post about dressing for months of rain or snow or heat, or “I have to help my relative move and then go on a date night,” or what have you, hit me up!
  • Thrifting for kids – I wrote about creating a capsule wardrobe for my toddler here, and will soon do another round of stuff I’ve recently thrifted for my toddler.
  • Thrifting with plus-sized friends/”more fatty fat fashion” – check out my Instagram for plus-sized thrift finds for the latter.  For the former, if our schedules will ever line up, I’ve got feelers out to some friends who are all over it. I’ll also plan to do a post specifically on thrifting for bigger bods. LET’S DO THIS!
  • Why can’t I ever find pants OR long sleeves that are actually long enough?  Search for the Talls and Longs, my friend!  They do exist in Thrift Land – and if you do a little internet research on which brands regularly make these (I think Banana Republic does for example), you’ll be ahead of the game.  Or you can just wear your sleeves short and call it “bracelet length” or your pants short and call it “on trend ankle pants.”  I’m kind of kidding, but kind of not.
  • Sanitizing/cleaning your thrift store purchases – look for my approach to cleaning thrift store finds next week.
  • Capsule, casual wardrobe ideas for older ladies/senior thrift style/”older women” – Since I am in my early 30s, I am not an expert on style for older women – but I do know thrifting, and I think a lot of what I see in thrift stores translates well to a variety of ages.  So I’ll tackle this topic as a conversation that I hope you all will chime in on.  I’ll also point you to some resources written by women who can claim the expert label.  Should be fun!  Look for this in the next two months.  In the meantime check out the age-related section of this post.
  • Linings, fabric blends, artificial fabrics – I’ll do some research and noodle around on this one – look for a  post in the next month or so.
  • Which areas of your wardrobe are easiest and hardest to supply exclusively from the thrift store?  Great question!  Pants, tops, jackets, dresses are easiest.  Shoes are hardest – I have a narrow foot and need arch support (this is why you’ll see me wearing retail shoes in some of my Instagram posts). Unless a secondhand store has a “new” section with overstock from a retail store, I don’t bother with socks or underwear since they’re either not sold or in cruddy condition; same with bras.  I want to look into ethically made socks and may do so with underwear as well once my current stock runs low.  Any suggestions?
  • My evolving style as a preacher AND fashion lover.  Ooooh, interesting!  Per the asker’s full question, we’ll tackle how to dress for your vocation, modesty, and personal freedom through clothing.  Look for this one between now and the end of January.

 

Thank y’all SO much for helping me learn more about my readership and sending in so many great post ideas.  Again, please chime in below with your own 2 (or 20) cents about any of the above.

 

Reader Survey + Thrift Tips

I’ve whipped up a quick survey geared towards helping me understand more of what you want to read here at Thriftshop Chic.  It’s under 10 questions and, depending on how loquacious you want to be, it could easily take you under 2 minutes.

Click here if you’d like to take it – I’d be supremely grateful!

And as a thank you, a quick appetizer of thrifting tips to chew on as you head into the week:

  • Look outside the plus-sized section for plus-size clothes.  They’re often mixed in with everything else.
  • Same goes for maternity clothes – often thrift store employees don’t recognize maternity brands to sort them out.
  • Line for the dressing room?  Wear a close-fitting tank top or undershirt to be able to try on tops in public (thanks Nicole for that tip!)
  • Trying on a dress but don’t want to take your shoes, socks, and pants off again?  Just unbutton and drop trou like you’re using the toilet, then try the dress on over your head.  If your imagination can’t remove the pants from the ensuing visual, well, just go ahead and take ’em off.
  • If you have the luxury of a fitting room with more than one hook, set up a quick system to help you sort your finds: NOs on one hook, YESes on another hook, and MAYBEs on a third hook (or on the YES hook if you only have two hooks).  Another option, particularly if you only have one hook?  As you hang your tryons back on the hook, face all your YESes forward and your NOs backwards, tucking each NO at the back of the batch.

One more link to the survey, if you’re so inclined.

Happy Halloween!  (If my toddler wanted anything to do with putting on a costume, I would’ve gone as Shere Khan with a side of skulls.  You?)

 

A Goodwill Tour & Grand Opening – Decatur Store

Accidental double post this morning, y’all – check back tomorrow for that post updated with photos!

Oh my goodness, y’all.

A Goodwill Grand Opening is like Black Friday.  People wait outside in a line for hours and then the store is mobbed in a rush of craziness.  Polite craziness, no killing-each-other-over-TVs craziness.  But still craziness.

IMG_3601Every cart looked like this.

Never again.  Because the checkout line?  It took an hour to get through.  My legs hurt just thinking about it.

 

BUT.

 

The part before the doors open was super cool.

I got to roam the newly stocked aisles all by myself, and dang if they weren’t gorgeous.  It was hard to look at some great finds and then walk away until it was time to shop.

IMG_3547 IMG_3545 IMG_3552It’s like an I Spy game.  Check out my Instagram feed (sidebar on the right) for more pics.

And I wasn’t super quick on the draw when it came to the doors opening (that was also tour time behind-the-scenes…), so I missed a few things I had my eyes on (like the hangers lower right above.  Sigh).  But if you can’t have a sense of humor about your luck and let others enjoy good finds, too, where’s the fun in it?

 

Re: lines snaking out into the parking lot, I asked Sidney, who was a lovely host and works in marketing at Goodwill of North Georgia, what the big deal was.  Turns out Goodwills (at least here in northern GA) like to put out their best stuff for grand openings, and they have weeks leading up to the big day to select the top tier items out of the backlog of donations they’ve received while the store was in the final stages of preparation.

So you get shelves that look like this:

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(Special price shoe wall of my dreams:)

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And racks that look like this:

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And some really amazing finds, like a whole shoe section full of Vans from baby- to grown man-size:

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Yes those are all Vans.

 

An hour later, though, that shelf is going to look like this:

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If you can’t stand rushed shopping situations, stay home.  But if you love the adrenaline of trying to nab the best deals alongside some stiff competition, get in there and enjoy yourself!

My advice if you want to get in on the grand opening goodies is to go in right when it opens and spend 15 minutes cruising, then hop right into the checkout line.  You can always come back and enjoy the ever-changing merchandise at your leisure.

Also, bring something to do in line (for me it was work email on my phone).  Or talk to other shoppers waiting their turn at the cash registers.  I met some great people that morning.

 

Pre Show

Various folks involved in making this Goodwill happen spoke before the tours and door opening, and despite the potential for such speech-making events to be dull, they were engaging and told a great story.

Did y’all know that Goodwill of North Georgia has 2.9 million donors every year, opens 3-5 new stores per year (that’s mind-blowing), has revenues in the millions and used that money to put 16,000 people to work last year?  Their goal for this year is to assist 20,000 folks with job training and placement and they’re on track to exceed that amount.  This location’s new career center will be a huge help towards in achieving that goal.

Diara shared his experience as a graduate of the career center program, vice president of the alumni program, and now a participant in GoodBiz, an entrepreneurship program he’s using to get his web development and marketing business off the ground.  He teared up talking about how his 9-year-old daughter sees herself as a content contributor now that he’s a small business owner and how it’s changed his whole family’s outlook.  (He also recently went to DC to talk with legislators about Goodwill’s work.  Awesome.)


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The eminently tall Diara telling his story

Like I needed another reason to donate and shop…

 

 

Behind the Scenes

We got a tour of what lies behind those double swinging doors you commonly see in Goodwills.

Donations get dropped off here and immediately sorted for what’s usable/not:

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Some things do get trashed but pretty much everything that can be sold, either on their floor or to salvagers/recyclers, is.  Here are bales of extra clothing that isn’t in good enough condition to be sold; they’ll go to a clothing recycler:

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Usable items get sorted by store area and tagged with the color of the week, which helps the store track how long merchandise has been on the floor.  Typically, if an item is going to sell, it’ll do so within a month; items on the floor at the end of that time period get pulled for recycling.

Fun fact: to help with that rolling inventory concept, the color of the week changes on Sundays, so stop by that day or Monday to nab things that have just been marked down.

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Detailed instructions for pricing and tagging items:

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Then merchandise waits its turn to travel to the floor (which happens several times daily).

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The smooshed angle of this shot gives you an idea of how crowded it was…

And then you buy it!

 

Store Review

As I mentioned, the shelves were lined with their best stuff, so I won’t know until my next visit (and believe me, there will be a next visit) how their selection shakes out.  But I was pleased with what I saw – Willi Smith, Loft, Gap, Talbots, Vans, Justin boots, etc. – and with the organization (by color). Nothing was crammed or in disarray.

The changing room doors have locks on the inside, which means they don’t automatically lock when you close them, hallelujah!  That’s one of the biggest frustrations of other area Goodwills with self-locking changing room doors – no one’s using the stalls but you can’t get in without tracking down a store associate.  (They also had a call button at the fitting rooms, though, so it’s possible the doors do get locked back up periodically.  You’ve been warned.)

The store is spacious and well-lit and the aisles are decently wide.  One downside is that the line to the cashiers runs parallel to about half the dress section (just like in the Piedmont store), which means it’s harder to get at those dresses if there’s a line.

Big bonus: oversized try-on mirror for all your quick over-the-clothes try-ons.  (This is also where the best thrifting camaraderie happens.)

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Overall, it’s a great store and a great location.  This site used to be an eye-sore after an old K-Mart pulled out, but now the store, career center, and eventually Goodwill of North Georgia headquarters are bringing new life to the neighborhood.  Just seeing the re-done parking lot and newly planted trees put a smile on my face.  And I’m hopeful that the other stores in the existing shopping center will get a boost from this new anchor store.  (Shoutout to Madras Mantra if you love Indian food – very tasty vegetarian food.  Try the lunch buffet.)

 

Speaking of food…arguably the best part of the whole thing was the vegetarian breakfast frittata.  The catering was done by a Goodwill career center graduate… I’ll get her name from the gracious folks at Goodwill to share with all of y’all in the Atlanta area because it was That. Good.IMG_3590

 

Hope you enjoyed the tour.  Tune in on Thursday for my finds from this store!

Would you ever brave a grand opening like this, or do you prefer to wait a few days for things to settle down?  Scroll down to comment!

 

 

Grand Opening of a New Goodwill

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Fun announcement: the Decatur Goodwill on Lawrenceville Highway is opening this Thursday and yours truly will be there for a behind-the-scenes tour and a preview of their store layout and merchandise.  I am such a geek about the behind-the-scenes part…I’ve always wanted to know how Goodwill organizes the massive amount of donations that come in and out of there.  Yay!

It starts at 7am so I don’t think I’ll be live-streaming it (who wants to wake up that early??), but I will definitely Thriftstagram it.  (You can access my Instagram feed by clicking on the square pics on the righthand sidebar, or you can go to Instragram and find me @thriftshopchic.)

Would y’all be interested in a video of the tour posted later in the day/week, or would you prefer photos and written narration?

 

 

We’re Back!

Yello!  I’m back from a lovely Christmas hiatus that bled into the New Year due to busy-ness at the job.  When you work at a church and have 7 funerals in 2 weeks, ya don’t get much time to blog.  Yipes!

But I’m happy to reunite with you all and I would LOVE to hear from you about what you’d like me to write about in 2016.  Do you have a style or thrifting question?  Do you want to see tours of different thrift stores and their goods?  Do you want more capsule wardrobe videos?  More hard-hitting pieces (ha) on feminism, the ethics of fast fashion, and cultural appropriation?

Scroll down to weigh in and get us off to a bang in 2016!

Stay tuned this week for how to dress for cold weather if you come from a warmer clime and how to thrift yourself a great winter coat.

Happy New Year, Thrifters!

 

Sick Week

Hi friends,

Just a note to let you know that this week the blog is on hiatus due to sickness at our house + some other writing assignments.  Check back in next week for some fall updates & special occasion-wear posts!

 

Thrift on, Thrifters!

-Leah

Ask Me a Question!

A friend posted on my Facebook page this week asking for thrift styling advice.  She mentioned it would be great to have an “Ask Leah” feature where readers could send in queries re: thrift store strategy and thrifting dilemmas, how to style your thrift finds, how to make the most of your closet on a budget… anything to do with thrifted style!

Ask me a question! (3)

 

So send me an email at leah at thriftshopchic dot com and I very well may feature your question in a post.  Pictures happily accepted but not necessary.

 

Happy Weekend already–is it just me or has this week been a looooong one??