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)

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

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

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

 

Tips to Thrift

Thirfting can be an overwhelming experience for all your 5 senses. The store could resemble a neglected warehouse with low yellow ceilings and the distinguished smell of old cardboard boxes might even discourage you. Most stores do us the favor of color coordinating which will save you from going blind. I always have to remind myself to not go overboard with the patterns, cue my love for miu miu. These are my tips to savvy thrifting, that will hopefully save you from that impulse buy with red and white unicorns all over it.

1. Be patient There will be plenty of gadgets, shirts, cardigans, and velvet to observe. I always start with the printed items then go to basics that are DIY worthy. Sometimes you will find something excellent and ridiculously cheap. Other times you’ll end up with nothing.

2. Always try it on I don’t care if it costs a dollar. Please try everything on. Chances are there might be holes, stains, and odd flaws that go unnoticed on a hanger. Keep in mind that you are trying on old clothes with old designs, sometimes the fit is too 90’s for our own good.

3. Buy prints with caution I understand that you want to be bold and different, maybe even a man repeller. Some prints can turn out disastrous when they come home with you and your roommate see’s your newest find. I always ask myself how I can style the shirt/skirt/pant, and if so, what combinations can I make with my current closet.

4. Shop in small doses It’s very easy to go overboard. It’s cheap, it fits, you are inspired by Pinterest. I get it. Just remember, quality not quantity.

5. Smell it A wise woman will check the armpits of a used shirt before buying it. My sister once reminded me that dead people wore these clothes.

Till next time,

Elvira

xo

If you have any smart or funny tips, please share them with us!

Photo cred: Thrift store Polaroid