Friday, September 7, 2007


I absolutely LOVE Goodwill (maybe even more than Gabe's!). However, it is perhaps one of the most daunting of digs because some days you're just sorting through someone's smelly old t-shirts. On the flip side, there's the possibility of finding a "vintage" Lacoste polo for a whopping $2.50! If that's not motivation to roll up your sleeves and start digging, then you're a lost cause.

Goodwill is a gold mine for finding "vintage" pieces;I keep putting vintage in quotes because not all items are necessarily vintage. It's just that I have been to plenty of so-called vintage stores that were basically a refined Goodwill charging $50 for the same aforementioned Lacoste polo.

For those of you that have never shopped at Goodwill, it's time for you to get broken in piece by piece.

Polos: Lacoste, Burberry, Ralph Lauren--the best place to look for polos is in the men's section. Just be careful not to buy a size XXXL men's polo if you're normally a women's Small/Medium.

Sweaters: Once again the men's section seems to be the best place to start looking. The key thing to remember when buying Goodwill sweaters is to look for ones that are made from natural fibers such as cotton or wool. Also, be sure to look for moth holes; some may be easily repaired, but others aren't worth it.

Truly Vintage Concert T's: Now this may not be up everyone's alley, but if you like those old Queen, Journey, REO Speedwagon t-shirts (and you don't want to buy the $45 replicas) then look no further than Goodwill. It is kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack, but finding that metallic screen printed Queen Bohemian Rhapsody shirt is totally worth it.

Skirts, Suits,Dresses: When sorting through these racks I generally go for vintage shapes/styles instead of designer labels. That's not to say you can't find designer pieces, but sometimes an 80's Escada suit is better left untouched. These are generally pieces that you'll want to try on since the sizes can vary so much. Keep in mind what's "in" for the upcoming season and you may just find the perfect black pencil skirt for $5. Also remember that when you're paying such a nominal price, it's definitely worth your money to look at an item and see how it could be altered for an updated look. This can be as simple as taking the hem up on a skirt by a few inches.

Furs: I sometimes think it's surprising the amount of furs you'll find at Goodwill, but some of them are quite nice (especially after a good cleaning) and rather affordable. Paying $50 for a mink stole is not bad considering what they normally cost. In addition, many people that are not keen on wearing furs find vintage pieces more socially acceptable. All in all, you get a cheap fur that's not affecting the current supply/demand chain of furs sold in stores and it's probably got a great history to it (feel free to use your imagination here).

Accessories: While I have never had success with handbags, belts, or shoes, I have found some lovely scarves! These will probably cost you about $1; 100% silk might be $2. This is another area where I don't look for labels; I look for colors and patterns that I like. I am still optimistic, though, that one of these days I'll find a Pucci scarf with my name on it :)

So, if you're on the edge of your chair googling to find the nearest Goodwill, figuring out when you have time to make the journey, I have something to satiate your appetite. I've recently discovered that Goodwill has an online auction! I can't say that I've had a lot of time to explore this, but I did type in Jimmy Choo the one day and a pair of shoes (not my size) popped up for $60!

You should be set now; don't get discouraged if you don't find any clothes. There's always the housewares, record albums, etc. that can be quite intriguing as well!

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