A Chic Thrift Store Experience with America’s Thrift Stores

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Disclaimer:  I collaborated with America’s Thrift Stores for this post, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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Two outfits under $10!!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to visit America’s Thrift Store in Gardendale, AL.  With a $50 budget, I set out to see what treasures I could find.  Now, this was not my first time at the rodeo, so I had an idea of what types of items I was interested in and what things I needed to keep in mind while shopping.  Here are a few of my tips for thrift store shopping:

  1. Use signage to guide your shopping:  Thrift stores can be overwhelming.  Rows and rows of racks packed with clothes often characterize these stores.  Thankfully, they are often marked with signs (e.g. Tops, Skirts, Dresses, etc), to help guide your shopping.  If you have an idea what you’re shopping for – perhaps you are looking for an interview suit or a dress for a wedding – then use the signs to help guide your visit that day.  In my case, I was open to everything and anything, so I shopped ALL the areas of the store. 😀
  2. Know the store’s discount policy and pricing for the day:  Thrift stores often have discounts they offer on certain days of the week.  Thursdays may be the day they discount all blue tagged clothing an additional 50% off, for example.  So, before you begin shopping, know what color tags have additional discounts.  This is especially helpful if you are shopping on a budget.
  3. Inspect all clothing carefully:  I cannot emphasize this enough.  I once found a pair of designer jeans that were priced at $5.  I was super excited until I got home and realized they had a huge gash on the inner thigh area and were completely unusable.  Sigh.  So, carefully inspect the clothing for holes, stains, tears, the works.  It will be worth the extra two or so minutes to make sure you’re actually getting a good deal.
  4. Wear fitted clothing:  This may sound silly, but you some thrift stores don’t have fitting rooms.  They do, however, often have full-length mirrors.  So, if and when they are void of fitting rooms and you want to make sure a garment is going to fit, you’ll want to be able to try the garment on over the clothing you are wearing.  This may mean wearing a fitted top and leggings if at all possible.  This will allow you to try on dresses, skirts, tops, and jackets.  Pants get a little trickier.  For pants, it helps to wear flowy skirts so you can try them on underneath the skirt.  Which begs me to tell you about the next tip…
  5. Plan head:  If you know you will be shopping for pants, plan to wear a skirt so you can try those pants on even if you don’t have a fitting room to use.  Also know what price you are willing to pay for said pants.  Have you already checked clearance racks at your favorite retailers?  A brand new pair might be priced similarly or sometimes less than what you might find at a thrift store…and they pants will be brand new.  So, do your research in advance of your visit!

So, with these tips in mind, I got to work.  I found A TON of stuff.  I’ve been meaning to post all my finds, but time has gotten away from me, so I’ve only managed to photograph two of the looks thus far.  That said, they are probably the best two looks I found at America’s Thrift!  The first look is a suit from The Limited.  The suit was originally $5, but was marked down an additional 50% off that day!  Score!  I wore it to an important meeting last month and loved how it fit, looked, and most of all, how versatile it was.  I wore the suit on the first day, then wore the jacket with a different outfit the second day.  A $2.50 suit and two outfits!

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jacket1

jacket2

I also found a brand new (or maybe used once) Ellie Tahari dress which I wore to a wedding this past weekend.  I gasped when I saw how much it was…$5 buckaroos!!  I could not believe it.  I’m telling ya, treasures await your discovery at these stores!!

Taharidress

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Why am I so tan in this pic, and so pale in the one above?!

So, if you’re looking for a good thrift store experience, be sure to visit any of their seven locations in the southeast!  Also, if you happen to have items to donate, you will get an additional 10% off your purchase.  So, be sure to keep them in mind next time you are in the thrifting mood, OR on a super limited budget for clothes-shopping!  Finally, stay tuned for the second round of outfits from this shopping trip.  I’ve got 5 other outfits to show you from this single trip and my $50 budget!

Be sure to check out America’s Thrift Stores on Facebook and Instagram!

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!

Founded in 1984, America’s Thrift Stores is a for-profit company that supports Christian ministries. A significant portion of our net profits are donated to local, regional, national and international family-centered ministries and charities. This funding enables these organizations to carry out their charitable works. America’s Thrift Stores pays federal, state and local taxes and receives no government funding. We provide over 1,000 jobs, as well as pay all of our operating expenses such as rent and utilities. This allows us to support the local community while providing quality products that everyone can afford.

America’s Thrift Stores relies on the generous donations of the local community, to collect used clothing and household items. We resell those items back to the community and share our profits with local Christian-based charities, providing vital funding to help serve needy families and individuals in your community. Your donations empower these ministries in their ongoing efforts to strengthen families, improve lives affected by substance abuse, and teach others about the love of Christ.

America’s Thrift Stores has 18 stores in the following states. Find a location near you.

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee

What You Will Find In Our Stores:

  • Name Brands & Great Values
  • Gently Used Clothing and Household Items
  • “Thrifty Treasures” (Unique finds and one-of-a-kinds)
  • Friendly and Helpful staff
  • Quick, courteous, and reliable donation pick-ups and drop-offs
  • Over 8,000 items added daily in every store

Thrifty Thursday’s – The Interview Suit

Well, it’s here!  Med school, residency, academic…all sorts of interviews!  It’s “interview” season.  I attended a scientific conference earlier this week and met a young woman in the elevator who was in town for a medical school interview.  She was dressed in a black pants suit, with a green silk top.  Simple, conservative, safe…all in all, she looked great and very put together.  Any interview candidate is likely to be stressed about “what to wear”, given that a first impression is usually the ONLY impression they are likely to make!  So here are some of my tips and suggestions for possible interview outfits:

The Suit

You can’t really go wrong with a black suit.  It’s also great because you can switch out the top and have multiple outfits.  Here is one not-so-expensive option:

This suit is available at JC Penney, with the jacket and pants totaling $58.98.  Not bad, right?  Add a skirt for an additional, $19.99 and you have two suits under $100.  For the top, I personally prefer a short-sleeved top.  You never know what the temperature variability will be once you get in a building, so IF you should have to remove your jacket, a short-sleeved top is always better than a sleeveless top.  A long-sleeved top is also great, especially if you’re out interviewing now with temps dipping below zero in some parts of the country.  The short-sleeved top featured above is a nice option.  It comes in 3 different colors and 1 print, AND is only $12.95.  Perfect!

If you’re not a big fan of black suits, then grey, navy, brown, or tan suits are also a good options.  I would not stray from those colors, though.  Here are some other pieces that I think are quite nice and also affordable:

Target

 NY and Company

H&M

You may be thinking, why is B suggesting we buy our interview suit(s) at places like JC Penney, H&M, etc??  Well, the truth is, nearly 100% of the time, what will give a great first impression is the fit of your suit, not the cost of your suit.  I once interviewed in a $10 suit and was asked if I purchased it at J Crew, where suits often retail for nearly $200 – at least.  The suit fit me impeccably and was styled with accessories from Forever 21.  Moral of the story:  You don’t have to spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks!

So, pay attention to how your clothes fit.  Here are some tips to consider about the fit of your interview suit:

1.  Walking and sitting

  • Can you walk and sit comfortably in your suit?  This is going to sound silly, but practice sitting and walking in your suit before wearing it to your interview.
  • Does the skirt ride up as you walk?  If yes, then wear a different skirt.  The skirt will not stretch or lengthen once you get to your interview.
  • Perhaps you are considering wearing tights under your skirt.  If so, does the skirt stick to your tights and bunch up?  Wear different tights, or wear a different type of skirt.  Or forgo the tights altogether if you can get away with it.

2.  The hem

  • Pay attention to the hem, for both your skirt and pants.  Your skirt should be AT LEAST knee length.  If you sit down and you need to pull your skirt down, then yes…IT IS TOO SHORT!
  • Decide what heels or flats you are going to wear with your pants.  The bottom of the hem should sit right on top of the toe box of your shoe.  Anything longer or shorter, then the pants should be hemmed accordingly.

3.  The top

  • The top I recommended above is a v-neck top. Make sure that when you bend down, you don’t give everyone a view of everything on the inside!  If the top is too loose up top, where a thin, fitted tank top underneath.  Or go with a button up or crew neck.  Crew necks are nice because you don’t have to worry about buttons popping off, or fitting so tight that your shirt forms gaps between buttons.
  • With crew necks, make sure to wear a bra whose outline is not going to be visible.  T-shirt bras are nice options for crew neck tops.
  • Okay, this may be a bit too TMI (aka too much information), but if you tend to sweat a lot, you may consider wearing either a really dark top, or a white/cream colored top.  The last thing you want is to take your jacket off and have sweat stains because your nerves are throwing your flight or fight response into overdrive!

4.  The suit

  • Make sure that you can breathe, stretch, etc. in your suit.
  • Also make sure that no panty-lines are visible with either your skirt or pants!  If they are, go up a size.  No one will know that you wore a 6 instead of a 4 to your interview.  All they care about it that they didn’t see the outline of your panties while walking from one interview to another. 😉
  • Try on your jacket.  If you can give yourself a hug, the fit of the jacket is just right.  If you can’t cross your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug, it is too snug and will be quite uncomfortable to wear the day of the interview.
  • Sleeves.  The sleeve should end right at your wrist.  Do not fold the sleeve over or tuck the sleeve underneath.  The options I gave you above are pretty inexpensive, so use the money you saved and have the sleeves tailored to your fit.

So what do you think??  Let me know if you happen to come across other affordably-priced options.  To all of you reading this post and actually going on an interview soon…good luck!!  This is an exciting time in your life.  Make the most of every interview you go on, and ROCK THEIR SOCKS OFF!

Until next time!  Stay Chic!