While we are no longer accepting submissions for the Thrift Store Runway monthly Contest, in support of Thrift Week 2015, please check out some of the past submissions and see how our contestants were able to come up with stylish, thrifty looks all for under $50. For more information on the history of Thrift Week, please visit BringBackThriftWeek.org. Happy thrifting!
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The March judging cycle is now closed! All entries submitted by midnight March 31 will be posted by the afternoon of Tuesday, April 8. The April winners will be announced on Monday, April 28. While we have enjoyed viewing all of your submissions, this will be the final competition that Thrift Store Runway will host. It has been a pleasure to learn from your thrifting endeavors and to work with our talented team of writers. While the competition has closed, the website will remain for your viewing pleasure. A special thanks to Analisa Chase for being our March judge. We can’t wait to see who she chooses!
Have you ever wanted to be a magician? To effortlessly transcend the obstacles which you think prevent you from looking the way you’d like to look, but are too budget conscious to become? Thrifting for secondhand finds is like waving a magic wand for a style makeover, or what we like to call a ‘thriftover.’ You can go from downscale to upscale, trendy to timeless, and funky to functional all in one stop.
Meet 24-year-old Alexandra. This young mom attends classes, works retail, and cares for her three-year-old child. Between raising her daughter, selling trendy fashion at a local retail store, and hitting the books, this Bronx born and raised ‘fashionista’ doesn’t have time to shop—much less the money to spend on designer fashion. But with an open mind and the magic of Housing Works—a trendy chain offering second hand fashion in New York City—she was able to create a wardrobe beyond anything she’d ever thought possible.
Alex’s thrift shop experience resulted in a head-to-toe ‘thriftover’ that consisted of outfits for lunch, work, and play that were either comprised of name-brand panache (YSL! Gucci! Charles Jourdan!) or contained a unique vintage find.
Cute and Casual
A woman can feel comfortable while still looking cute and coordinated—especially in a sweet color like peach or a polka dot pattern. Here, Alex dons a secondhand style that feels fresh. And all it takes is pairing a dressed denim jacket with a vintage caramel leather backpack and white vintage leather flats that not only look great, but make for easy walking on the streets of New York.
Designer and Vintage Finds
- Peach denim jeans by Ann Taylor
- Shirt by Raoul
- Leather backpack by Latico
- Vintage denim jacket
- Vintage shoes
Alex has to dress to impress for work. Her challenge is creating a look that is intriguing, but not intimidated. Here, she marries “edge” with “sophistication” by pairing an 1980s-inspired oversize blazer with a plum wrap dress.
Designer and Vintage Finds
- Dress by Walter
- Blazer by Jariya
- Shoes by Charles Jourdan
- Vintage handbag
- Vintage belt
A busy mama deserves time for herself, but don’t always have the time to “dress to impress.” Here, Alex wows with a look that’s key for lunch, brunch, or dinner in the city by combining a high Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) black skirt with a low Chicos textured top for a black and white look that is confidently chic all over!
Designer and Vintage Finds
- Skirt by Yves Saint Laurent
- Top by Chicos
- Heels by Bandolino
- Necklace by Valerie Peyton Horn
- Belt by Gucci
- Black vintage purse
There you have it. This time-saving mother stopped at one shop and walked out with not one, but three designer outfits. So what are you waiting for? Your ‘thriftover’ is waiting for you!
About Housing Works:
Housing Works Thrift Shops are New York based. Their mission is to end AIDS and homelessness. Visit Housing Works store locator to find which of the city’s 12 stores are closest to you, or bid on their designer treasures online! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Greetings from Phoenix, Arizona!
Let me start by saying that thrifting in Phoenix turned out to be less about shopping for myself and more about proving that thrifting was a worthy endeavor for my thrift-averse friend. Yes, you read that correctly. I have a thrift-avers friend. I’m sure you’re familiar with the type—the mall rat, princess, girly girl who would NEVER step foot inside of a thrift store.
One day, during a late brunch, this friend was trying to convince me that the city was so “overrun” with thrift stores that finding anything worth wearing would be short of lucky. Of course, I took that attitude as a challenge. I wanted to change her perspective of thrifted fashion by styling her in something that she simply could not deny. My task was to find her chic thrifted items that she could wear to an upcoming job interview. The stipulations were:
- No black clothing
- No tight-fitting clothing
- No busy patterns
- Made of light-weight material
Unlike my previous trips, I hit the Phoenix thrift stores armed with a best practice plan and with a mission focused on professional wear rather than vintage fashion. My two-step best practice plan was simply:
- Make a list of the thrift shops in the area
- Call each store and ask about their weekly promotions and tag sales
Calling each store allowed me to strategically set my daily course and optimize my chances of ‘scoring’ a better deal.
My ﬁrst stop was the Savers in Scottsdale. Savers is a major competitor to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. It’s spacious, clean, and relatively inexpensive. Being a fashionista, I wanted to challenge my friend’s sense of style and picked up a 1970s Rockmount skirt with a tribal print for a $1.99. But she rejected it. “Cute, but no patterns on interviews,” she insisted. However, the stop wasn’t a totally bust. This Savers store had an unbelievable shoe section. I was able to “score” a pair of ﬂats for $1.99 and a pair of leather sandals for $3.99.
I was still on a mission for my friend. So I hit the road again. This time I opted to stop at The Bee’s Knees (2222 N 16th St) before hitting the major thrift retailers. I was pleasantly surprised by the service I received there. The store owner, Julie, took me on a personalized tour of the indoor outdoor Beehive building. This store focused on community building. To meet this mission, the Bee’s Knees wasn’t just a thrift store, it was also an art studio (with a sewing room), coffee shop, and garden that featured art pieces from emerging artist. Honestly, I was on a mission in heaven!
I commandeered Julie’s help in finding an item that was suitable for an interview. She introduced me to a J. Peterman silk cardigan for $15 dollars. By thrift store standards, $15 on a cardigan can be considered a “splurge,” but I decided it was worth it for the quality of the garment and the personalized customer service.
After making my purchase, I circled back to the Salvation Army. It was 50 percent off day, so I was able to find a pair of Wild Pair pumps for $2.99 and a pair of black pants for $1.99. I know. I broke the “no black” rule. But she asked for chic, and I was determined to give it to her. In the end, she loved the garments so much that she hasn’t stop thanking me. The best part was that the entire outfit costs under $20! That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a ‘thriftover’ success!
That’s it—the end of the beginning. Five weeks of exploring the thrift shops of the west, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this experience. Each city had a unique thrift culture, but my favorite turned out to be Oakland. (I’ll never forget how that Valentino dress met me at hello).
The anticipation is over. The February results are in. A special thanks to Keren Charles for taking the time to judge the entries.
Wearing a dress over pants is not an easy trend to pull off, but thanks to great layering this winner did so effortlessly and with sophistication. The bold print of the dress, styled with a white button down and statement necklace, paired with denim, makes this look an easy transition from day to evening.
I am a huge fan of sequins so this look immediately caught my attention. I love how this winner styled her sequin skirt with a printed blouse. She clearly knows the art of mixing prints and textures.
Leather pieces can be a bit intimidating to wear because they are often associated as being a wardrobe staple for members of a rock band or a biker crew. This winner certainly makes that stereotype a thing of the past. She shows us how black leather pants can be paired with animal print pumps and a duster to look very luxurious and feminine. Plus that vintage Audrey Hepburn t-shirt is a welcome touch of nostalgia!
There is something about a bustier that screams sultry and seductive but this winner pairs it with a mini skirt and it exudes elegance and style. I love how she kept the accessories very minimal, so it does not compete with this attention-grabbing look.
I love that this winner wore her classic Leslie Fay dress in its original form. The elegant silhouette of the dress and her choice of accessories make her the focal point of this look. Instead of the compliment being, “That’s a pretty dress,” the compliment would be “You look beautiful in that dress.”
It’s time to discuss San Francisco.
With its captivating Golden Gate Bridge, quaint trolleys, and abundance of personality, San Francisco gave New York City a run for its money. My first stop in this magical place was the Goodwill on Haight Street.
Vibrant and frequented by artists, tourists, and young professionals, I predicted that this store’s prices would be moderate to high. Rather than scour the racks for affordable items, I immediately asked a store clerk if there were any special promotions. It turned out to be “Yellow Tag Day.” Unfortunately, this did not include vintage items. I didn’t find anything that I loved, so I left empty handed with hopes of better luck at my next stop.
My jaw dropped when I arrived at the Thrift Town on Mission Street. It resembled a mall with two floors that were overstocked with gently used housewares, books, and clothing. But quantity did not equal quality. Uninspired by the selection, I again left empty handed and discouraged. After successfully thrifting in L.A. and Oakland, I now found myself in a “thrift drought.”
Unwilling to lose hope, I took a second look at my research and realized that I’d forgotten about Clothes Contact on Valencia Street—a store known for selling vintage by the pound. To my delight, the store was having a mark-down sale when I arrived. Vintage, which usually sold for $10 per pound, had been reduced to $7 per pound! Between the price and selection, I have to admit that I went a “little” overboard.
Clothes Contact was a convenient place to shop for guys and gals who wanted inexpensive vintage clothes without all of the digging. The merchandise was organized by era and by color. Since items were sold by the pound, there were no price tags on the clothes, so I felt more inclined to “throw it in the bag.” And “throw” I did. I picked up EVERYTHING that I liked (which amounted to 40 pieces of clothing), found a well-lit corner, and spent the next 30 minutes carefully inspecting each garment. I ended up purchasing three items for a total of $14. Not bad.
My favorite item this go-round was a 1980’s, black romper of the Laura and Jayne Petite Collection. Trendy and comfortable, this romper makes for a perfect outfit for an art gallery opening when paired with a pair of ankle boots.
I fell in love with this 1980’s day dress by C&A Western. The mesh sleeves with a matching pocket on the front are darling additions to what would have been an ordinary dress.
Overall, the California thrifting culture was good to me. I came to the conclusion that in California, shopping at thrift stores should be reserved for the major cities and searching for finds, or as I like to call it, “scoring,” is best suited for the suburbs. I also learned that quantity is not always reflective of quality, and that it’s always worth asking if there is a planned promotion or sale.
While I’ve enjoyed thrifting across California, I’m ready to hit a new state. Next on the list is Pheonix, Arizona. Tune in next week to read about how my adventure in Arizona compared to those in California.
What the video review of Road Trip to Thrift: The Oakland
Happy belated Valentine’s Day, love Bugs! This Valentine’s Day I wanted to wear something extra special—preferably red, preferably vintage, and preferably sexy! So imagine my delight when I discovered a ravishing vintage Valentino dress that embodied the very essence of L-O-V-E for under $5!
My search for the perfect Valentine’s dress began with a trip to downtown Hayward. I was on the lookout for vintage clothes and street art. What I found was that Oakland was like a jewelry box and its street art was its marvelous accessories. The roads were lined with truly captivating grafﬁti-decorated cafes and vintage shops. I was genuinely ﬂoored by the amount of talent in the city.
On my way to Eco Thrift, I spotted a Salvation Army store nestled in a little shopping complex on A street in downtown Hayward. I couldn’t resist the temptation to go in. My curiosity was immediately rewarded with what I like to call a “pre-store-score.” As per usual, I walked by the plethora of housewares and furniture and straight to the dress section where a “40% off Dresses and Accessories” sign greeted me! “YES!” My day had gotten off to a fabulous start and was about to get better. Remember that “eye” I mentioned in an earlier post? Well, it proved itself once again when I spotted a 1970’s Valentino dress and a vintage romper by FADS cleverly hidden on the racks. The red Valentino dress ($3.99 after discount) was PERFECT for Valentine’s Day, an engagement dinner, or—dare I dream—a night in Paris!
Comfortable and warm, the romper has become my “Friday-Frolic Errands and Exploring” outfit—especially in the Bay Area, which tends to be a bit windy and cold. An adorable addition to my collection of cute and comfortable casuals, I can easily dress this romper up with a pair of nice five-inch heels, a pair of wooden earrings, and an array of bronze bracelets.
After making my purchases, I continued on to the Eco Thrift on Mission Blvd. Eco Thrift is like the Macy’s of second-hand clothing, furniture, and housewares. I’m beginning to think that massive thrift stores are a trend in California, because it would’ve been quite possible to spend hours sifting through racks of clothing. Thankfully, Eco Thrift had a curated vintage clothes section with moderate prices.
The average vintage dress ranged from $14 – $20. (Sadly, I wouldn’t be “scoring” vintage gems here for $3.99). On the other hand, modern dresses, slacks, and tops averaged $3-$4 each. But the highlight of Eco Thrift was the “Collectibles” section. I found an impressive array of statues for $40, but passed on buying anything after learning that there was going to be a 75% off sale on Sunday in observance of President’s Day. This would bring the price down to $10, which was surely worth the wait.
After leaving Eco Thrift, I made my way to Thrift Town—another massive thrift shop in Oakland with a bevy of housewares. This Thrift Town curated its vintage clothing under the “Better Clothing” section. The selection was small and moderately priced, but the only “score-worthy” item I found were a pair of vintage Gap overalls. I decided to hold off on purchases until Monday to see what the President’s Day Sale would bring. My patience paid off. I found a chic pair of Steven Madden Platform heels that retail for $80 at Macy’s for a more than reasonable $8 (marked down from $20). WEPA! I’ve since then dubbed these my new favorite comfortable wardrobe pumps!
Oakland was an art-filled vintage find success! My next stop is San Francisco, and I can’t wait to see what it has to offer.
Tune in next week for my take on the area’s flea markets and thrift shops.
Watch the video review of Road Trip to Thrift: The Oakland Experience usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B30vc7BGCS4DQ2NjZ0I4cW9LX2s/edit?usp=sharing
Once again, we have received more than 50 entries, which means the February winners are looking to win $500 each! The February judging cycle is now closed! All entries submitted by midnight Friday (February 28) will be posted by the afternoon of Monday, March 3. February winners will be announced the week of March 16.
All entries posted from here on will be judged in the March cycle. A special thanks to judge Keren Charles. We can’t wait to see who she chooses!
Meet you March judge! Analisa Chase lives by the motto, “style is personality, and personality is style!” She is a contributor to Cityblis and is a fashion blogger. This entrepreneur and mother of two is a lover of all things fashionable whether new or old. Her blog, The Fashion CHASE focuses on fashion, style, beauty and being unique. Her specialty is in pairing second-hand items with high-end buys to create a clean a fashionable look.
By Jason Phillips
Infused with elaborate customs, ornate masques, and vibrant beads, Mardi Gras is one of the most awaited celebrations of the year. The secret to pulling together an outfit without breaking the bank is to combine thrift shopping with a do it yourself (DIY) project.
How much do you love shopping? Because if you want to make the most extravagant outfit you’ll need to start wondering through flea markets and thrift and consignment stores in search for the perfect pieces. Look for items with feathers, sequence, lace, beads and rhinestones—each of which can help you create a festive look. Whether you choose to make an outfit or buy it from a local thrift store, it’s paramount that you think opulent dresses, beautiful color combinations, and dazzling shoes.
Let’s not forget that every costume isn’t complete without its equally enticing mask. It’s amazing how simple it can be to make your own masquerade mask. All you need is a bit of imagination and craft. Find inspiration online and then hit the flea markets and thrift shops for materials such as lace, beads, and sequence that will help you make that one-of-a kind masque that everyone will vie for.
Making the Masque:
Making the perfect Mardi Gras mask demands patience, essential tools, and a bit of crafting. For the best results make a sketch of your mask and lay out your materials before starting the project.
- Premade plastic mask – preferably white
- Spray paint
- Hot glue gun, spray adhesive, or all purpose glue
- Plastic band or ribbons
- Plastic jewelry
Let’s get to work!
Now that your tools are all set, it’s time to start the process.
Step 1: Paint the white mask.
- Use bold colors and opt for spray paint because it easier to handle
- Let the mask dry
Step 2: Shape the eye and mouth area
Consider upturned, wide set, or cat-eyes for a secretive or mischievous look. Combine glitter with lace to create an air of mystery.
- Use a pencil to draw an outline of the eyes on the mask before cutting out the shape
- Use scissors to cut out the shape
Step 3: Add the beads, sequence, glitter, and/or lace
Sequence masks are excellent for Mardi Gras celebrations. The more sequence you add on your mask, the greater your chances are of getting noticed and hailed for your accessory.
- Use a pencil to draw out the section for each of the material you have selected
- Glue the material onto the mask in their corresponding sections
- Let the glue dry
Step 4: Add the feathers
Feathers are extremely appreciated at Mardi Gras parities. Opt for the most colorful types—bloody red, fuchsia, and turquoise are a few choice colors.
- Affix the feathers on the interior side of the mask using small dabs of glue
- Let the glue dry
Step 5: Add the band
Opt for an elastic band or a ribbon to fix the mask on your face. This will you to go hands-free
- Wrap the ribbon around your head the way you would a blind fold
- Cut the ribbon
- Fold the ribbon in half
- Cut the ribbon down the middle
- Glue the tip of one ribbon to the right side of the mask
- Glue the tip of the other ribbon to the left side of the mask
- Let the glue dry
Voila, your masque is complete, and now it’s time to show it off at the Mardi Gras festivities. Remember, whether you’re trying to craft the most mysterious and enticing mask made with black lace and gold glitter, or you want to have fun with an insane amount of feathers on top, the end goal is to be pleased with the result.
Jason Phillips is a freelance fashion writer.
- Thrift Week 2015 January 14, 2015
- March Winners April 28, 2014
- For the Love of Prints April 8, 2014
- The $2 dress part 1 April 8, 2014
- Spring Essentials April 8, 2014
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