October 23, 2017

Black Tie Event – Evening Gown for $5 (Frugal Fashionista)

Sep23

I am the face of Goodwill (thrift store) and proud of it.

This silver evening gown was bought this past month at Goodwill for only $5.

I could be invited to a Black Tie event with a guest list of millionaires, and I would feel completely comfortable shopping at Goodwill for that evening. (Yes, I do have some good ones in my area.) In fact, I have been invited to events like that, sprinkled with movie stars, and while the majority of the women spent months fretting, shopping and spending thousands of dollars on their evening attire, I wined and dined with my dress bought at Goodwill, by my choice. Money at that time was not an issue for our budget, butย  I found something second hand that I loved, so should I have felt like I needed to buy something new?

Should my surroundings or the guest list or a fear of what others think change who I am? Just a simple girl who is completely content with her Frugal Fashionista wardrobe?

I feel privileged to have the opportunity to recreate, re-purpose, recycle, redesign and revamp not just my wardrobe, but my home, with treasures found on my weekly hunts.

Unfortunately, I just found out that fellow members of my local community do not agree.

If you follow Balancing Beauty and Bedlam on facebook, you never know what status update I might share. Thursday, my readers found me in a bit of a tizzy from the front page article in my community newspaper entitled,ย  “No goodwill for Goodwill.”

I was shocked and dismayed to find a vocal outpouring against the proposed Goodwill store going in a few miles from my home. I would be completely sympathetic if the main discord was over the increase in traffic congestion, or even the possibility of property devaluation. My husband and I have chosen to live down a private road, so we wouldn’t desire extra traffic either, but as the article states, when all those arguments were addressed and proposed solutions given, a real rumble remained…

“They don’t want the type of people they believe Goodwill would attract to their neighborhood.”

I’m confused because I am the type of people that store would attract.

The ignorance of some of the narrow minded statements were heartbreaking to me, and a truly telling state of our society. You can read through my Facebook updates and read the comments, if you are interested. I will be formulating a detailed response, and I will share some of my thoughts when I spend all of October writing 31 Days to Balancing both Beauty and a Budget.

In fact, I am thinking this is a topic that needs a video of me sharing my heart.

But until I do, know that this is the face of Goodwill (with my $2 yard sale necklace and earrings.)

This is the face of thrifting, of stewardship, of living green, of savings where I can, so that I can spend and give generously on other areas that I choose. Those areas will not be the same for everyone, but for our family, they work.

This is the face of an 80% off Living Lifestyle.

This is the face of a girl heading to New York City next month, planning to walk the “red carpet” in her $2 black Thrift Store dress that she just found yesterday (or maybe, just maybe, she’ll wear the $5 Goodwill dress.)

Isn’t it wonderful that she has the option?

Yes, I am pretty thankful for second hand shopping.

It has met my needs, my wants, and now allows me to build my savings account, live debt free, and share with others in need.

I will be the new face of Goodwill and proud of it!


Comments

  1. I LOVE Goodwill!! I just went there today in search of maternity clothes and hit the jackpot! I have been dissapointed with the “big” stores and the selection or lack ther of that they have. Way too go on your finds!! You look amazing!

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    Libby Reply:

    @stephanie, I hear you on the maternity clothes! I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I’ve been able to almost entirely stock my wardrobe from thrifting. Most of it is not “technically” maternity. But that’s OK because I can still wear it after the baby is born. Only thing I’ve had to go to a regular store for is pants. I’m 5’10 and have always had an extremely difficult time finding long enough pants through thrifting, let alone long enough maternity pants. But I still bought them extremely discounted at a regular store. My husband is extremely proud of my Goodwill-ing because now we can save all that money for the baby. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I love this! I wish they could print this entire post in the newspaper!

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  3. Wow. I’m always amazed when blatant ignorance makes front page news. In this struggling (gasping for air) economy, thrift store shopping is more prevalent than ever. It is no longer limited to that “kind of people”. Millions of people across the US have been knocked off their designer-shod feet by layoffs, pay cuts, and decreased sales. My own father lost his $100K+ job, spending 8 months unemployed before settling for a $35k pay cut … in a state 1600 miles from home. He had been sole provider of the household, with my mom and 7 of my siblings still at home. They went from being considered rich, to struggling month to month to make ends meet. They never understood my love of Goodwill before, but now they’re all addicted. Not because they have to, but because they can.

    You can find things in thrifts stores that aren’t available anywhere else. You aren’t limited to the trends set by designers in LA, NY and Paris. Vintage, handmade, classic, or retro styles … you can find it all. Not only is it a frugal choice for you, but it helps the world as a whole. Your money goes to support others, whether it be a charity or to help those in need of job skills and employment. You help the environment – stuff that would have ended up in landfills finds a new home, and those things that would have been manufactured (to later end up in a landfill) are no longer necessary.

    I never pay retail. I buy used or severely clearanced (think 75- 90% off, preferably topped with another 25-30% coupon). Even at Goodwill I shop the sales first, only paying “full price” for a few choice items. People complement me on my fashion choices & home decor all the time. What they don’t know is how little it cost me! They don’t know that I paid $1 for that $50 blouse. Quality is quality, no matter the price.

    Does this frugal attitude work? I am a single (divorced) mom of two kids. I make $9 an hour. And I just bought a 2,000+ sf house. Yeah, I got a loan – I didn’t pay cash. But I’ve paid extra on it every month. You see, I can- because I save on every little thing. So that I can buy the things that really matter – a back yard for my kids in a safe neighborhood, with enough money left over to take care of our needs and give to others. Because I’m one of “those kinds of people”.

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    Jen Reply:

    @Erin, ERin – I don’t know you, but I can tell I love you already.
    You and me both…we are those kind of people together, girlfriend. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Erin Reply:

    @Jen, ๐Ÿ™‚ The feeling’s definitely mutual then. I follow dozens of $ saving blogs and this one’s my favorite. Your posts feed your readers – body and soul. Anyone can post the deals, but it’s the real life application that makes the difference.

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    Nettie Reply:

    I was going to comment, but Erin said it for me.

    I think the newspaper needs to interview ‘real’ Mom’s like Erin and Jen!

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    JP Reply:

    @Erin,
    P.E.R.F.E.C.T response!!!
    GREAT job and thanks for being the voice of reason!

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    Kathleen Reply:

    @Erin, love it too… people need to give Goodwill, Consignment Shops etc and 2nd look…it is soo worth it!

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  4. You go girl!

    Ok so I’ve never had a comment system tell me my comment was too short! LOL! I tried to publish my comment and it said it was too short, try again. Oh dear. Never before have I been told I wasn’t wordy enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. You are so beautiful and lovely — inside and out. I’m new to my little slice of suburbia and have often wondered why the Goodwill store is such a long drive from where I am. I think you’ve probably hit on something.

    Erin is so right — in this economy, the “type of person” that shops at Goodwill is the “type of person” that is responsible with his/her wallet.

    Our local paper did have an article about one woman in a nearby community who didn’t buy anything new for a year that wasn’t consumable. No school supplies, furniture, clothes, etc. The only exception she made were tires for her car because she felt like that was a safety issue. It really wasn’t a matter of finances, but ecology for her. It’s a matter of both for me, but primarily finances. But why can’t we make it “hip” and “in” to recycle your clothing and furniture?

    Every one of those people needs to read Melissa’s latest post on Beth Moore’s blog about what it takes to be happy, and what type of people we need to be.

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  6. It’s just common sense. And I find things at our thrift stores that you have to go out of town to buy new. Those are really gorgeous dresses! I do snap up the good ones when I see them. $5 is good insurance to have an amazing dress to wear for a special event. But why wait? During grad school, we had several “black tie optional” Christmas parties for our starving counterparts, and everyone had a blast. This year, we are going to repeat the experience, so the kids can get in on the action.

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    Patti Reply:

    @Kristina, Kristina, your comment reminded me of our newlywed days in a small town where there was no entertainment of any kind except that which we made up. So we would take movies all year long of our adventures (softball games, parties, cookouts, picnics, etc.) and then hold our own “Academy Awards” where all our friends came dressed in formal attire. We often held parties where we made up the theme on the spur of the moment and those were the most fun!!! We would tell everyone to go home and come dressed up in some homemade costume and then we gave out “awards”. It was a hoot to see what folks put together…. or we’d have “beach parties” in the back yard where there was no beach for a hundred miles. It is all in how you approach life – and most of us have very fond memories of our “cheap” entertainment.

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  7. I grew up shopping at garage sales, Goodwill and thrift stores, not because we necessarily had to, but we were able to do so much more with our money, because we did. And, I’ve carried that into my own family. In fact, it pains me to pay full price, when I know I could do better at GW. It’s fun and we can fill a bag for what it would cost to get a new shirt at the mall. I’m proud to be a Goodwill shopper – recycling and reusing is smart for all kinds of reasons. I even wore a thrifted dress on my album cover.

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  8. Jen!! You…look…stunning. And you have your dressES for our picture party on the beach next year (or wherever a group of crazy bloggerfriends end up in one place together). While the serious content you’ve shared surprises and saddens me, I’m thankful you’ll be a positive voice in the midst.

    Lookin’ like a princess…feeling like a princess…little girls know what they’re doing when they place dress up, don’t they? I bet your daughters LOVED seein’ mama all dressed up with no where to go. Yet :).

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  9. I saw you at becoming 2011 and I absolutely agree 100% its like you were taking my thoughts and making them look pretty on paper(I’m not so good with words! Lol). I am that type of people. me and my husband are going to have a ‘day date’ thrift store shopping saturday. Not because we have too. Not because we need something we can’t afford otherwise. But because we both truly enjoy the ‘thrill of the hunt’ we love going home thinking, I can’t believe we found this for that price!! For him its books, for me its clothes, toys, household, you name it. And when I get complimented on things, and I do, I do not mind letting someone know I got it second hand, because that absolutely SHOULD be a point of pride. you were smart enough not only to save money, but to do something environmentally friendly too. That has come front and center for me now that I have two kids. From recycling to composing to thrifting, I want my kids to know how to take care of their world. Their life.

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  10. I haven’t seen the article but I feel the same disappointment that you do. Whether you shop Goodwill or thrift or yard sales out of necessity or choice, we are all human beings loved by God. If we cast a condemning eye to those who have less we face the possibility of being there ourselves. I love the hunt for a good deal. My daughter is getting married in 2 weeks and I would have loved to have bought my dress at a thrift store. Couldn’t find anything that would fit the color scheme and was flattering so I bought one at Ross. I spent less than $75 on everything, shoes, jewelry, etc. $75 for an entire outfit. I still consider that a bargain!

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    Elaine Pool Reply:

    @Marty, my daughter got married in May, & I made a skirt to go with a top/shrug combo I already had. Fabric & pattern bought online, shoes bought locally on BIG sale, and it came in under $40. I got many compliments on my outfit. Who NEEDS new!!!!

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  11. Speaking of the wedding, I have yard saled and shopped craft stores with my 50% off coupons and shopped online. I am planning a bunch of posts on how to have a wedding for 250 guests for $5000 or less. That includes the church, the Alumni House at UNC-G, 2 photography sessions and the wedding, etc. It is a TON of work but it can be done!

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  12. Angie Gullett says:

    I love goodwill! I have found lots of good bargains there. I think it is awesome that you found those good bargains on the dresses. Very beautiful!!

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  13. Jen, I love your blog. You inspire me to live below our means. I recently went on a 7 day cruise with my entire extended family and both of my formal dresses came from Goodwill. I looked every bit as elegant as my family and my dresses were only a fraction of what they paid.

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  14. Include the link to this post when you send your letter in to the NW Observer! Great post and beautiful dresses on a beautiful person!

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  15. We’ve been in the same position as Erin’s family; a bountiful job one day, gone the next. Most families in America now are one phone call or pink slip away from the same situation. I have so enjoyed your fashionista series each week, for the thrill of the hunt as well as the philosophy behind your decisions. I believe you’ve started a “Face of Goodwill” movement here.

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    Elaine Pool Reply:

    @Gillian, oh, I LOVE it! “The Face of Goodwill!”

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  16. First off, those are amazing dresses! WOW!

    Secondly, that’s just sad about the attitude regarding the consumer base of Goodwill. Makes me mad and I want to write all kinds of things that I probably shouldn’t say. Anyway, thank you for speaking up and being a very beautiful face for Goodwill!

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  17. Jen, you’d look gorgeous in a paper sack…just sayin’! I love your Frugal Fashionista mindset, the Goodwill and YOU! Blessings sweet friend. <3 -Jen

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  18. Great post Jen! I completely agree with you! ๐Ÿ™‚ People just don’t understand the beauty of thrifting and yard sale-ing. Makes me sad, but I guess it leaves more awesomeness for the rest of us. Ha!

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  19. Great post…and although you look amazing in all the formal options, the grey satin is to die for IMHO. The controversy over the Goodwill in your area is kind of funny to me…..I was in a mall a few weeks ago for the first time in maybe a year or more (can’t remember why, must have had something to do with back to school). I remember remarking to my husband how low class the patrons seemed (forgive me, but that’s what I said–keep in mind, I was one of the patrons that day :P) I told him that I was much more comfortable with the shoppers at my favorite Goodwill….and it’s true. I thrift because I’m a ‘greenie’, and the ladies and gentlemen who frequent my favorite Goodwill are simply uber bargain hunters…. I especially love the well dressed young business men who shop there regularly. I’m siding on the comments that op-posers to a Goodwill in their neighborhood are simply ignorant and the same people who would have no issue with a Walmart in the same location–but that’s a whole other argument.

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  20. First off – you look amazing in those dresses. How wonderful that you have the option of shopping at Goodwill and other thrift stores. Shouldn’t everyone have that option? I am so sorry for the ignorance shown by people against the Goodwill store. keep up the good work!

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  21. Wow, Jen I nearly cried reading this. Great article!

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  22. Woohoo and well said! Amen sista. Keep preaching it!

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  23. We have a similar situation going on in my town, but the only difference is it’s a YMCA some neighbors are opposing. They, too, are afraid of the “type of people” it will bring to their community. But it’s these same people who will be the first ones to sign up when and if a new YMCA actually gets built. Plus, as someone who works at one of the other Y’s, I see people from all walks of life using our facility – just like Goodwill and thrift stores.

    I’m an avid thrift store shopper (Rescue Mission in my area). I get compliments all the time on my outfits. And I’m proud to say where I got them. How I wish that thrift stores were popular when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s.

    I grew up dirt poor in a family of 8. So poor that there were times we did not have electricity in the summer or hot water to take baths. New clothing was a luxury we could not afford. Now, every time I walk into a thrift store I keep thinking that it sure would have been nice if tehse stores were around when I was a kid. Then, maybe my siblings and I would not have gotten teased by the outdated and ratty clothes we wore.

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  24. I think most people do not understand Goodwill. I have found many things at Goodwill from clothes to my kitchen table which I just love but if it wasnโ€™t for blogs like yours and others I would have never stepped in one. I think getting the word out and changing people minds of what they think Goodwill is will be the key.

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  25. The same newspaper article ran here in my hometown about a year ago before the new GW store opened here. The article listed the same argument of the type of clientele shopping there as the main objection. Now a year later, a neighbor just told me the GW store was in need of donations (esp clothing) because the store is continually selling out. I’m still amazed that in today’s economy that personal pride is still interfering with living a debt-free, less stressful life.
    Signed,
    A happy GW shopper

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  26. You look absolutely lovely in both. Maybe you can be like an Oscar presenter and change 1/2 way through :). I love thrift store shopping–probably 75% of my family’s clothing and more like 90% of our home decor comes from thrift stores and other second-hand sources. With 6 kids, it helps our budget, but it also helps us live more abundantly than we could if we had to pay for everything full-price retail. Maybe they were referring less to the Goodwill’s clientele than to the Goodwill workers themselves–but that it is still sad, in my opinion. The work programs at the Goodwill give people a chance to learn skills so they can support themselves and their families.

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  27. Jen, you rock! Keep up showing us the Face of Goodwill!

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  28. I couldn’t agree more with you. The end.

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  29. Watch out NYC, this beautiful girl is on her way!

    I love them both! Although, just cause I’m curious and worried you’ll be cold, what are you going to wear over the gorgeous dresses???

    I know you have a frugal plan for that, too!

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  30. I am aghast. “Those type of people”? That sounds like social snobbery at its best. In an age of “tolerance” and “acceptance”, where are politically correct activists to shake their fists?

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  31. Incredible! I love your dresses and totally agree with finding them second hand. Having a young girl in college, I know formal wear is out of sight expensive. We have always found clearance racks and sales. She has always looked amazing. When she comes home from college, we hit the local Goodwill. We found furniture for college…it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do to make a bunch of things look cohesive and intentional! She makes her own artwork (and sells it on the side for spending money!). She’s learning to stretch a dollar. My college age son is a little slower to learn but is seeing the way his sister can make things work. He recently enlisted her help to get things for his apartment and pull it all together.

    As to the statement about “those people,” here’s my answer for that. For years, I have worked our church’s consignment sale. I loved the ministry of helping people learn to be good stewards with their money by selling things they no longer need, making a little money, buying things at greatly reduced prices, and the funds that we keep going to help those in need in our community. However, the heart of the matter hit me square in the eyes a few years ago. Three ladies were checking out in my line; they all were speaking in Spanish. I do not speak Spanish but I could tell from their gestures that they were discussing their finds and matching up outfits. When they were done, one of the ladies looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “You will never know what it means to me that my little girl looks like your little girl at school. She loves the clothes I find here and she says she feels pretty. I can use my money and buy an entire season of clothes, shoes and coats. I could never do that somewhere else.” You could have knocked me over. I went around to hug her and we just had a moment together. Isn’t that our mother’s heart? We want our kids to feel special and beautiful (or handsome…or like they fit in) without compromising our financial house in the meantime. We want them to know that while clothes do not make the person they can fit in with others and be the someone special in the beautiful gown that costs $5. Quite frankly, if I had to buy a gown right now at full price, I just wouldn’t go at all. And I don’t think we have to be spectators of life just because we chose to be frugal. That just means we’re smart! Preach on…this is a good word today! : )

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  32. Beth Stephens says:

    HI ya!
    Love love love the dress. Fell over on the price! Now let me get this straight, people actually want to pay more and have a limited selection for their clothes…Out right ignorance.
    Do they also walk past a penny, bc it is not worth picking up. I went to spring break on pennies before the machines at the grocery store did for you for 7 percent. I don’t have friends that won’t go to thrift stores with me…and if anyone does perhaps they too are too ignorant to pick up the penny and recycle. Boy, some people are really making thier lives more difficult. Besides Thrifting is FUN!!!!!
    Thanks for this website. I love love love it!
    Beth

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  33. The same thing recently happened in a nearby neighborhood. They fought Goodwill like crazy stating the same reasons you have mentioned. The store finally opened and a woman that works there told me that NOW the people LOVE having the store there. Hopefully it will open in your area and people will have their eyes opened to the truth. You have taught me SO much. Thank you! The other day someone commented on my “expensive” outfit and asked how I can afford to dress that way with 4 children. I thought of you and all your great tips because the entire outfit was put together from thrift stores.

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  34. That is so unbelievably sad that folks actually think like that! And so telling of society that they “think” certain types shop there and therefore they are unwilling to even contemplate a place that helps “those people” both in who they employ but by all of the shoppers who are blessed by the store. Are you responding to the newspaper? I think you should!

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

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  35. Beautiful dresses….Spandex would be good to use too ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Ruth Reply:

    @Agnes, Wow, that was incredibly uncalled for. I think Jen looks stunning in those dresses. She is an amazing example to everyone who reads this blog.

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    Kristina Reply:

    @Agnes, Wow, seriously?

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    Beth Stephens Reply:

    @Agnes,
    If you can’t say something nice, please don’t speak.
    Geez oh man, do you have any soap to clean laptop.

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  36. I think you can see from the outpouring of comments that you are not alone. I have to agree with each and every one of the above.

    I would have to say there is a revolution taking place as more and more people try to get out of credit card debt, live within their means and be good stewards for our planet. And still feel like they can be seen in public without fear of criticism.

    However, I sometimes feel my local Goodwill has raised their prices too high. For example, just today I picked up a Halloween item, turned it over to look at the bottom, and the original Walmart sticker said $2.24. What was the GW price? How about $2.99? Umm….isn’t thrift shopping supposed to be cheaper than buying brand new? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this either.

    Because we are thrifty with how we spend our “extra” money, it allows us to make our house payment, car payments and maybe, just maybe take small vacations. In any case, I love thrift stores, yard sales, outlet stores, clearance racks and shopping at Aldi for my groceries. All of these allow me to make the most of our hard earned money.

    I hope you find a way to politely put “those people” opposed to your GW in their place. And of course, you always look fabulous. =) Can’t wait to hear how you approach this.

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  37. Amen! I’m that face too! And proud of it.

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  38. Oh c’mon ladies….you never had a friend say, that’s doesnt look good on you maybe try this? Or maybe that’ll look better w/ spandex? My intent was not to be unkind! she’s beautiful and the dresses are beautiful as well. The material of the dresses are, however, clingy, silkly and you could see more than you’d otherwise want to keep in…kwim?

    Lighten up girls. Spandex are a wonderful thing!!!

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    Jen Reply:

    It’s fine, Agnes. No big deal because honestly, you are right.
    ..I read the article, put on the dress within an hour of reading it and had my son take the picture just for the article, not because I was trying to look my best. In fact, I saw my little gut and actually thought, hmm….I should do something about that and then I decided not to because the bottom line is I’ve gained weight and for some, that makes me more approachable.

    For the first year of my blog, I had comments from everyone about how skinny I was and that I could pull off thrifting because I was tiny, now that I have put on some pounds, I have comments about needing Spanx (which would ruin the whole beauty of the $5 gown, spending $60 on Spanx..hahah Although, trust me, when I wear this in public, it would be worth every single penny). Honestly, with modeling any kind of clothes, I can’t win and I’ve just come to accept that with writing a blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bottom line on these pictures, I was in shorts and a Tshirt with paint stains all over them just a few minutes before they were taken. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Joy Reply:

    @Jen,
    I usually buy the Assets brand of Spanx at Target. It’s a more affordable line of “fat suckers” from Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx). I usually buy it on clearance.

    But for my sister’s wedding I had to break down and spend $40 (that’s after Kohl’s coupon and sale) and buy a Bali’s version of a Spanx strapless “fat sucker” slip. It killed me to spend that much, but I had to keep the “girls” in, too. LOL. My matron of honor dress was spaghetti strap and was not very flattering on curvy girls. LOL.

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    Joy Reply:

    BTW, not saying you’re fat because I think you look fabulous! ๐Ÿ™‚ “Fat sucker” is just my nickname for anything “Spanx-like.”

    Celeste Reply:

    @Joy, THIS is good to know. I was actually going to invest in a Spanx body smoother, just waiting until I can afford it. I’m going to check out the Target version. Thanks for the heads up!

  39. Jen, the dresses are beautiful and you look beautiful in them! I am always a little envious b/c I can never find the treasures you do! But, because of you I keep searching! You are truly an inspiration, keep up the good work!

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  40. God Bless You! This blog is an encouragement! Thank you for taking your talent of thrift and writing so we all can learn w/you. While it seems that I almost never find my size at Goodwill {My friend beats me to it!}, I find great stuff for the family. When I do shop at stores I NEVER pay full price! I love second-hand shopping!

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  41. Jen – You look movie-star gorgeous in your dresses.

    I’m proud to be considered “one of those people”! I was raised shopping Goodwill and learned at an early age about shopping for quality and timeless, classic style. It was always fun to pick up the trendy items at fraction of the original cost. I lived on the wrong side of the tracks and the “in” crowd couldn’t figure out why I was dressed as well as or better than them!

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  42. If people are upset about the “type of people” who would frequent a Goodwill store, they are simply ignorant of the fact that it is now tres chic to shop there, thanks to you and so many others who campaign for us to save our money! I know I have shopped at ours and our Salvation Army so much more over the past three years than my family EVER did growing up.

    Thank you for reminding us that we don’t have to spend a fortune on clothes and accessories, AND we don’t have to feel guilty about buying secondhand!

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  43. I’m appalled and saddened. I learned about thrift stores and Goodwill from my BFF who was never able to have clothes from anything BUT when I moved to VA. She is one of the kinds of people the store attracts. The child of a single mother, who managed to raise three kids, living in a low income neighborhood. All three kids are college graduates and STILL second hand shoppers! I love eighty miles, EIGHTY miles from “real” thrift stores and I drive there for fun. I don’t know what they mean about the people. There can be bad people in the middle of the mall…when I go second handing, I see lots of college aged kids, older ladies puttering through, families, with kids excited to get that toy or shirt, whether it be used or not! Yes, there may be a few “scary” people, but who are we to assume?! It BREAKS my heart that there are some that cannot see beyond stereotypes and fear. Goodwill. Named appropriately. Maybe seeing the sign daily will somehow seep in.

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  44. Jen, I just have to say, you are absolutely STUNNING.

    And I’m so sad that our culture puts so little value in stores like Goodwill, and with so many people in debt too! I would LOVE for them to put a Goodwill store closer to me!!

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  45. Wow…I am surprised at the negativity surrounding a simple GW store. It’s really sad that we can so easily judge those we deem to be “beneath” us.

    You are beautiful in every single one of your thrift store finds!!

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  46. I think your friends and neighbors will be surprised when they find out you are the face of Goodwill… and pleased. You will open them up to a whole new way of shopping and thinking! You look beautiful!

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  47. I was screaming, with tears in my eyes “You go girl!!!!!!!” the whole time I was reading! I love you!!!!
    Angela

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  48. For the GREEN aspect alone I can’t believe more people are not into thrifting. Are we not teaching our children “reuse- renew- recycle” from the minute they enter school? Isn’t upcycling one of the most growing trends today? I am glad your lovely and fashionable self is the face of thrifting….you can change people’s attitudes with your blog and that is really a wonderful gift!!

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  49. I love it that you are not hesitant to share your feelings and thoughts on issues some would consider controversial, especially when narrow-mindedness and ignorance is involved. There are people of all economic backgrounds that shop in such stores. I’ve seen more middle- to upper-class folks shopping thriftstores these days than lower income folks. You stand firm in your beliefs and ideals and I respect that about you. One woman’s giveaways are another woman’s treasure!

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  50. Jen—you are my hero!!! I was not happy about that article in the community paper. I am ashamed that we have people in our town who think so highly of themselves. The man who made the comment, “I think God I am not that poor….” made me sick!!! That pride may have him end up in the employment line getting a job at Goodwill!

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  51. You go Jen!! ………..you ROCK Goodwill! They aren’t going to know what hit them!!

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  52. Wow, Jen!!! I do think you need to respond to the newspaper with the photographs and your comments from this blog. I seriously cannot believe that anyone thinks it is negative to shop in a thrift store or Goodwill, especially in this recession. I also know for a fact that lots of those people who are protesting do not know that many of their peers are shopping in secondhand stores, too. I have heard of girls making their debutante gowns from wedding gowns found in thrift stores and I know many “well to do” women who have gone to other cities (such as Charleston, SC) to buy secondhand formal wear for their own parties and weddings. So the joke is on the folks who think they are special because they do pay full price for their gowns. In my book, that is just lack of imagination!!

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  53. I was so inspired by this post that I went to TWO Goodwill stores yesterday and found the most beautiful red semi-formal dress to wear to my husband’s company Christmas party…for less than $5! That was at the first store; the second Goodwill store I visited had just opened this week, and it is in a very nice part of town. I just barely found a parking spot! I teach at a school right down the road from there and my husband jokingly (kindly) commented that some of the kids may see me wearing their moms’ castoffs. This doesn’t bother me! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Jen Reply:

    Oh Cindy – that just warms my heart to know you found a Christmas dress….YAY!!! So fun! And honestly, that’s the best way to do it is to buy ahead for something like that.

    And I bought the cutest hand bag that had my initial monogrammed on the side. You could tell it was an expensive one. I had it at church and someone said, “where did you get that? I had one just like it?” We had a good laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  54. I love Goodwill and shop there almost every week!
    You are an inspiration in those gowns!
    Not to defend the people in the article, but some people think that you have to be income qualified (like welfare) to shop there. My husband thought that I was “taking” clothes from people that need them when I first began shopping there. As you know, Goodwill is a retail store that makes a profit to fund their programs.

    Keep up the good work!

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  55. Wow; really?! I guess the people in your town are all spendthrifts, then, who would rather throw away good stuff and see it go in the landfill than buy used-but-good and help steward the planet and finances? (I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek here.) Seriously, though…are they afraid that people are going to show up Goodwill so they can deal drugs or something? Or do they believe that only pristinely perfect people shop at Wal-Mart or Target? Crazy!!

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  56. A BIG HUGE hug to you! I Thrift and am proud to say so, and try to explain the reasons to people why, you summmed it up so well. If I cant buy “made in America” then I will buy from a store that at least gives back to my community, this goes for all Thrift stores and garage sales.

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  57. Kudos to you for being the “face of Goodwill AND goodwill”. And for not bowing to the pressure of mass consumerism just because it’s expected. In today’s economy and with so much waste in the world, it is the intelligent and the thoughtful that find creative ways to reduce waste. This is something to be proud of. And you look GORGEOUS!

    I so miss Goodwill. We do have thrift stores (called charity shops) in London, but they are very small shop fronts with limited merchandise. AND they tend to be expensive (because rent is so high – and also finding my size is an issue, but that’s another story). Still, when I need a new handbag, pair of shoes or top, I hit the charity shops FIRST before buying something new. I’m always on the look out for something cute for my wardrobe. A couple weeks ago I found the sweetest skirt. It’s a perfect fit, very flattering, and looks brand new. At just ยฃ5, it was a huge savings over what it would have cost new (ยฃ25).

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  58. That silver gown is drop-dead gorgeous on you!

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  59. I totally love Goodwill. It’s difficult for me to rely on it, with three growing boys and a baby–kids clothes tend to get treated a lot rougher before they are donated, than adult clothes, but because I’m on a budget (self-employed writer), I hit Goodwill for myself. I mean, what girl doesn’t love to shop? When I walk into my local “Goodies,” as I call it, I permit myself to buy whatever I want. Also, they give me punch cards, so I can get a free $10 for every $100 I spend. There are “Goodies” in the three towns around me, as well, so that’s pretty awesome. I’m tighter than the gal who used to write Tightwad Gazette, but Goodies is my mall. I hate that we’re supposed to be embarrassed of this place for some reason. In my area (Southern Indiana), the local women’s shelter gives vouchers to their ladies to go there and shop. As a survivor of domestic abuse, that means a lot to me.

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  60. I learned to love thrifting 10+ years ago, from my high school friends. My mother HATED that I shopped there. Her belief was the same as that in the article…wrong kind of people. She grew up poor, so I think she felt this cultural stigma against thrifting. Anyway, within the past year or so she would say to me “Oh that’s a cute top. Where’d you get that?” Of course my proud respone “Goodwill/Salvation Army.” So I finally convinced her to go with me on a shopping trip to Goodwill (in her town even!) She LOVED it! Now I think she goes more often than I do! ๐Ÿ™‚ I now ask her…”That’s new! Where’d you get that?” And she doesn’t hesitate to respond “Goodwill!”

    I agree, it’s sad that people had that negative of a response. But what I think they need is a little paradigm shift and a little time and they will come around.

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  61. You look beautiful! I stopped by to enter the Lands End giveaway but had to comment on this post.

    I love love Goodwill (or as I call it, the GW.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I went to a red carpet event in Hollywood last year for Honda and I wore a dress that I got on clearance at a local boutique. I think I paid less than $20 for it! I hit the GW at least once a month.

    If you’re ever in Nashville, I can tell you my favorite Goodwill store. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  62. I was in the workforce for 21 years, but have not been in 11 years…….I say that because I used to only buy new……Now that I am a stay at home mother, I only buy from thrift stores…and I love all the great deals I get…Last week I bought a purse that sells for $189 in the store for $7.99 at Goodwill….I love being “that kind of person”…..

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