Thrift Shopping for the Holidays

Michelle and Ruth help check out customers at Second Act in Iowa City.

With Halloween officially over and the holidays approaching, thrift stores are starting to ask their customers to bring in old sweaters and festive apparel that could be worn to the annual office Christmas party. The National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops (NARTS) predicts a large increase in sales for the resale industry this holiday season. Seventy eight percent of thrift stores that are NARTS members say that their sales increased, at an average of 35 percent, within the past year. Since resale has evolved from the image of dark, musty junk stores, to well displayed stores that offer value and selection without the new-price markup, consumers are heading out to thrift stores to not only do their wardrobe shopping but to pick up unique gifts during the holiday season.

Second Act consignment and resale store located in Iowa City is getting ready to accommodate to the needs that the holiday season brings. They’ve recently cleared their store of Halloween costumes and are bringing out sweaters dressed with sequins and tinsel, gifts that mom will love, and an outstanding supply of quality winter coats to prepare themselves for this years holiday shoppers. While the resale and thrift shop industry continues to grow annually by 7%, the holiday season is helping bring a surge of new business in.

Melissa Williams, owner Second Act, first saw the rise in sales during the holiday season 10 years ago. She noticed that the stigma of dirty “used” second hand clothes was slowly leaving the industry and the trend of wearing vintage was on the rise. Williams works hard to stay on top the of the industry trends by asking her customers for donations that will help the store thrive. Each year she sets aside a stash of festive apparel that will suit her shoppers during the holiday season. Second Act is also the only place in Iowa City that offers costumes year around.  The store is one of the largest second hand stores in Iowa City and has rooms to separate the costumes they have to offer. Whether you’re looking for a fantasy, 80’s, or western themed costume; Second Act has a room designated for each look that you want to disguise yourself in. Williams and her bookkeeper Ruth, both have seen growth in the store within the past few years. Ruth recalls a time where vintage was overlooked and now she points out different girls in the street wearing vintage clothes and sees high end retails shops designating a section of their merchandise for vintage apparel.

If you’re trying to catch the trend of thrift store shopping, this holiday season is a great time to start. It’s much easier to find something of higher quality and a lower price at a thrift store and the satisfaction of finding the “it” piece is priceless. Whether you’re saving some money this holiday season or surprising your friends and family with a unique one-of-a-kind gift, thrift stores can help you accomplish it all. For more information and tips on holiday shopping at thrift stores, follow this link for a list I’ve put together using pictures, tips contributed from different people, and videos to help you get into the spirit of Holiday saving.

Below is a list of thrift stores in Iowa City where you can get your holiday shopping started:

Second Act

538 Olympic Court Iowa City, IA
Phone: 319-338-8454
Hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 5:30pm,  Saturday 1pm- 5pm, Sunday 1pm – 5pm

Crowded Closet

1213 South Gilbert Ct. Iowa City, IA
Phone: 319-337- 5924
Hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 5:00pm,  Saturday 10am- 4:30pm, Sunday closed

Stuff

1027 Highway 6 Iowa City, IA
Phone: 319-338-9909
Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 8:00pm, Friday – Saturday 9am- 5:00pm, Sunday 12pm- 5:00pm

Goodwill

985 Highway 6 East Iowa City, IA
Phone: 319-337-3548
Hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm, Saturday 9am – 6pm and Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Artifacts

331 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA 52245
Phone: (319) 358-9617
Hours: Monday – Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am- 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Decorum

323 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA 52245
Phone: (319) 354-2183
Hours: Open on Saturdays (hours are not listed)

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My 80’s Halloween

Every Halloween I purchase my costume at a second hand shop. This year I chose the lovely number above at Second Act in Iowa City. Walking into the store I had no idea what my plan was for this year’s Halloween. I came across an amazing rack of 80’s sequin- over the top- dresses tucked away in the back of the store. This dress had me at polka dots and the gold foil sleeves that deserve their own area code. I knew that I needed this dress so I built my costume around it.

Inspired by the puffy sleeves I decided to use this dress as a premise for my 80’s prom queen costume.

What I used:

  • Bright Pink Lipstick (MAC Impassioned)
  • Baby Blue Eyeshadow with Blue glitter
  • Pink blush
  • Tiara
  • Fabulous 80’s dress from a thrift store
  • Fish nets
  • Kitten Heels
  • Scrunchie for your side pony tail
  • Neon barrettes to randomly place in your hair
  • Bubblegum (to obnoxiously chew

This is just one idea that I came up with using a second hand garment. With some imagination and creativity a thrift store is a great and affordable place to great your own unique costume.

Happy Thrifting,

Elvira

How to Style Thirfty Finds

Now that you’ve accepted and taken part of the thrift store world, you’re probably wondering how to pull off all these new clothes. You don’t want to look like a walking cartoon wearing three different prints. You hope to resemble those cool girls that hang around Urban Outfitters or that shop at Nasty Gal.

You’ve got the clothes, now all you need to do is style yourself.

By using this nifty new social media tool “Storify” I’ve carefully collected a list of articles, images, and YouTube videos to help you create a look for yourself from the clothes you thrifted. I hope these tips and tricks inspire you to do something different with your wardrobe; try something new by pairing together some items that you never thought would work together. Pair a fitted blazer with a funky printed blouse or try a velvet garment in the fall that will keep you warm and trendy.

Follow my link here to help style your freshly thrifted clothes.

Photo:

xo

Elvira

Thrift Your Costume

Halloween Costumes 1980

Halloween Costumes 1980 (Photo credit: Zombie Normal)

Halloween is only three days away and what better reason to go to your local thrift store than to create a costume!

Around this time, most thrift stores have their Halloween decorations out and organized. Most stores also have racks that are dedicated to costumes and outfits that fit the holiday. Personally, I’m not a fan of spending $59.99 on a sheath of polyster that will expose over half my body. Instead I opt for the creative fulfillment of finding and piecing together my own one-of-a-kind costumer at Goodwill or any great second hand shop.

If you don’t want to add to the million girls that will be a police officer, school girl, nerd, or cat woman this year- bring a friend and head over to a thrift shop. Don’t be afraid of the crazy ideas and costumes you’ll find.

Also, Refinery 29 posted this awesome slideshow on how to thrift and create 6 different super easy Halloween costumes & Ecouterre also posted a slideshow of 9 costumes under $15.

Happy Thrifting

xo

Photo

DIY Glitter Shoes

Everyone needs some sparkle in their life, and with New Years Eve just around the corner why not invest in some mod podge and turn your old beat-up heels into something fabulous.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 jar of glitter
  • 1 bottle of mod pode
  • Tape
  • Paint brush
  • 1 pair of thrifted shoes

Step 1: In a bowl mix your modge podge and glitter together. The consistency should be 80% glitter and 20% modge podge, and still a little runny.

Step 2: Tape off the area that you would like to glitter.

Step 3: Apply your first layer of mod podge to the shoe and let it sit for an hour

Step 4: Once the first layer is completely dry apply two more layers of your glitter + mod podge paste

Step 5: Take the loose glitter and completely cover the already mod podged area

Step 6: Wait a few hours until the glitter is completely dry

Step 7: Once it’s dry, carefully peel off the tape

Step 8: Say hello to your new & improved shoes!

 

xo,

Elvira

Goodwill Hunting

The picture above is my shopping cart at Goodwill, I found so many things they let me bring the shopping cart into the fitting room!

This weekend I took my friend with me to our local Goodwill. It’s been a few years since I’ve been digging around at Goodwill. The one thing Goodwill is always good for is funky, cheesy, and amazing sweaters. My friend was nervous about our shopping trip, it was her first time at Goodwill. Unfortunately Goodwill has a stigma for being “dirty” or  a place where poor people shop. On the contrary it is one of the main places where growing teenage girls, wealthy middle aged woman, and old people with amazing vintage clothes donate their goods. Goodwill is the creme de la creme of second hand shopping.

One exciting thing about Goodwill is that none of their merchandise is priced. It is color coded ranging from $1-$5. It’s so cheap that they don’t even have to price it! If you can get over the fact that the clothes are second hand, it’s a shopaholics heaven.

What experience have you had with Goodwill?
xo

Elvira

Thrifting for a Cause

Merci

My name is Liza Showalter, I am a mother of two, I have a15 year old and a 8 year old, both girls.

And I love downtown Iowa City

I work for Catherine, she and Sheila Davidson, who owns Revival, this was their idea and she just asked if I wanted to a part of this again. Because, we were open in April and May.

The concept is to be able to give people affordable name brand clothing, we have

Tory Burch dresses that are $80 instead of $500, and they’ve been used once or twice.

We also give 10% of our proceeds back to the community. Last time we did four charities; Domestic violence, Crisis (center), a shelter house, and James gang for the arts.

This time we’re just going to split the 10% between Mission Creek and Domestic Violence.

The secret with, like, thrift stores and second-hand stores and consignment is to move the material around a lot. So that what people didn’t see last time they were in and this time they come in and it looks like a different store.

Because, you know, you do have to dig a little bit, to find great deals but also it just kind of refaces the store. And it’s fun to see something different when you come in.

They’re more willing to give it up (clothes), per say, when they know it’s going to a good cause.

And we did have such good luck last time we were here, that a lot of the same repeated donors came and gave stuff again.

Last time I noticed we had a lot of high-end bags, this time we didn’t get as many, but I think that you can only have so many Louis Vuitton bags.

I’m putting together a Halloween Facebook today, so just putting together some of the weird, funky stuff we have. Like, we have a “Thing 1” sweatshirt.

Catherine and Sheila wanted to find a better way to give money back to the community, and also do something that they were experts at. So they knew it couldn’t fail.

Do you take only cash?

Nope we take credit…

 

(Background noise, sales exchange.)

FEATURE: White Rabbit

This week I will be interviewing Cortnie Widen, owner of my favorite vintage apparel shops in Iowa City. I remember when I first discovered this gem of a store nearly 4 years ago. I was a freshman looking for something different to wear, that not every girl on campus had in her closet. Since that first day, I’ve always loved going back to White Rabbit. It’s always a hazard as I know that I’ll fall in love with almost everything.

Over the years, Widen has stayed true to her vision for the store and their selection is always consistent. The vintage clothes are meticulously picked to compliment this years latest trends while giving you a unique fabric or detail that you wouldn’t find at a department store. Each time I leave White Rabbit, I’m usually on the phone gushing to my friend about how I just found the best thing ever.

I’ve never met Cortnie Widen and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about thrifting, fashion, and her adorable store.

xo,

Elvira

REfurbished Tweed

I’m wearing: Vintage yellow stone necklace from the 40’s, Polka Dot Top from H&M, vintage tweed skirt, and beige bow flats found in a second hand shop.

While I was out hunting for my next find, I came across this tweed skirt. The first thing that caught my attention was the quality of the tweed and the beautiful colors woven through turquoise. When I first held it up to get a better look, I knew the length had to go. Here is my photographed journey of turning this tweed skirt into something worth showing off.

What you’ll need: a really cool tweed skirt that needs some attention, scissors, buttons, thread, a hand sewing needle, and a steady hand.

First: Try the skirt on and decide what length you want. I found safety pins helpful in trying out different lengths. Once you’ve decided on a length, have a friend be your fit model and cut the skirt while being worn. This will ensure precision and an even cut.

TA-DA

Look! You can see my knees. (gasp)

I did a raw cut with no hemming. This just means that I left the edge of the skirt untouched after it had been cut. I think this adds a rugged look to the feminine skirt.

Now, Details. By now you know that I love the little details. It’s frosting on top of the cake. It’s necessary. I purchased this skirt at Crowded Closet in Iowa City, IA, and this second hand shop also has buttons, needles, fabric, etc. I picked up a set of gold cabochon buttons to add to the pockets. I hand sewed two buttons to each pocket by hand.

And there you have it! A tweed skirt that doesn’t look like something your grandma would wear.

This skirt cost me $2 and the buttons cost $2. My grand total is $4 for this chic steal that will look amazing with a pair of black tights and leather booties in the fall.

xo,

Elvira

For Better or for Worse

As I start to develop this blog, there comes a time and a place where I have to answer the question of “What is your blog about?”

Usually I give the brief description of a thrift store fashion blog because, I love fashion, obviously.

Tonight I was challenged with, “Those stores are ruining the economy.”

Sure, you can argue that. Besides that being an overly dramatic statement, thrift stores do in fact provide us with dirt cheap clothes. These clothes are usually in good condition and sometimes you can even find designer names, *gasp*.

Although thrift stores are on trend and gaining popularity with college students and people between their early 20’s and late 30’s, I don’t agree with the argument. Earlier this week I interviewed Kate Martens, a thrift store enthusiast and she mentioned that buying used clothes has a stigma attached to it. It’s this stigma of not wanting to be the girl/boy shopping at Goodwill and coming across as not having money.

If your like me and you love shopping but don’t have the budget for new clothes, thirfting is your Paradise. Since trends repeat and styles turn over, with some searching and patience you can have the trendiest clothes and do it for next to nothing. Better yet, everyone loves the word “vintage”.

Vintage = Cool

So if thrift stores are doing better and corporate chain stores are not making as much, we’ll survive.

Keep thrifting,

xo

Elvira