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Goodwill Keystone Area Fashion Blog

“Be fearless with your scissors and Sew outside the lines!”


We’d like to introduce you to Susan who won the Avant Garde Category in the Goodwill ReDesign Contest. She created a winning design from a lampshade, wedding dress, and a vinyl window blind. Yes, you read right. We repeat a lampshade, wedding dress, and a vinyl window blind. It was absolutely brilliant.

Image courtesy of Berks County Living.

What is the ReDesign Contest?

The Goodwill ReDesign Contest required interested participants to buy items at Goodwill and transform the pieces. There were 4 winning categories:

  • Avant Garde – Create an innovative look that is experimental and pushes the boundaries.
  • Re-purpose the Dress – Transform a dress (wedding, prom, formal) into another article of clothing.
  • Accessories – Construct an accessory (i.e. handbag, hat, jewelry or shoes) using a variety of items.
  • Social Media Favorites – Finalist with the most likes on Facebook won this category.

They submitted an entry form, receipts from Goodwill, and before and after photos of a redesign to Goodwill Keystone Area. Entries were judged on the use of Goodwill items, originality, overall appearance, and technical ability. Selected finalists walked the catwalk in their designs at the fundraiser Goodwill Runway Show in April 2015. Each category winner received a $75 Goodwill gift card and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Berks County Living.

Susan MacCombie won the Avant Garde Category.Sue

How did you get started in re-designing clothing and why do you shop at Goodwill?

Goodwill items are always clean and in decent order. I love walking in to a store and seeing all the colors lined up. May sound strange, but it reminds me of an impressionistic painting. And I love 50% off sales.

What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a re-design piece?

I Goodwill shop mostly at the stores within Goodwill Keystone Area. There are plenty of Goodwill shops to go to. I have my regular route that I take and I can hit at least 5 shops in one day! I look for elements in a piece that are attractive or that catch my eye. I then look for pieces that will blend with it. Sometimes I go with an idea in mind, sometimes I just get inspiration from the pieces I come across.

Explain and describe how you created your winning design.

SusanM-AvantGardeI knew I wanted to work with a wedding dress and that I liked the look of a diagonal opening. I wanted a stand up collar which I had trouble finding until I came across some pleated lamp shades. I wasn’t sure I could bend the (lamp) shade without breaking it, but it worked. I was going to put trim fringe on the bottom, but after the lampshade, I thought why not use a vinyl window blind to give it some swing. I cut the slats off just above the opening for the cord and use that to attach it to the skirt of the jacket. After a lot of fussing and tweaking, it all came together.

What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?

AWESOME! It was a blast. Winning my category was just the icing on the cake. I enjoyed the whole process of the event. There was such great camaraderie among the designers, models, and organizers. And the food was delicious!

What advice do you have for aspiring re-design artists?

Be fearless with your scissors! Sew outside the lines and combine the unlikely. Trust what you like.

Yellow – Straight From the Runway


One of the hottest colors on and off the runway this summer is yellow! You can wear this color in any shade and it will flatter your newly tanned skin.

My personal favorite is the soft pastel yellow. I got a light sweater in this color at my local Goodwill. It was just a few dollars.shorts soft and yellow sweater

While I was there, I found a sleeveless top in a bold yellow, perfect to wear during the hot summer days.Yellow bring shirt

I also bought a sunny yellow J.Jill top for $3.75, and it’s extremely comfortable and could be worn almost anywhere.Yellow top

You don’t always have to wear a size that fits you perfectly as long as it complements your body type. It’s ideal for a lazy afternoon, yoga class, any thing that you could think of where you want to dress relaxed and look good at the same time.

Peace & Progress,

Alexandra K.

Rompers for Summer


Make these comfortable pieces a summer staple in your wardrobe! Rompers make it easy to slip on and go without much thought.

I found a cute, floral romper from Goodwill, which only cost $5.00!

I bought a gray and white stripe romper at the end of last summer season. It was brand new and the original tags were still on.

It’s nice to be able to wear such a comfortable and relaxed style especially during those melting hot days of summer.

Peace & Progress – Alexandra K.

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You can practically never go wrong with a sundress. They are always a great idea for a beautiful day, a family event, or even a concert!

However, be sure to wear the right sundress for the right summer occasion.

For example, the blue dress (picture on the left) that I bought at Goodwill is perfect for the boardwalk. This style of dress is comfortable, but it should stay at the beach.

For something other than the pool or beach, I always try to think, “What would Kate Middleton or Blake Lively wear?” They have a classy and timeless style. I found a black and white floral dress (picture on the right) at Goodwill and it appears to be handmade. It’s tasteful and works for many occasions and events!

By the way, each dress was just $5.00!

Peace & Progress – Alexandra K.

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Cleanout Your Closets & Get Ready for the New!



By Certified Professional Organizer and Owner at The Clutter Crew, Vali G. Heist


Goodwill Keystone Area Blog
It’s springtime! And many of us need to clean out our closets to make room for some fresh, new looks. Cleaning out your wardrobe may be easier said than done, especially if you haven’t done a closet shakeup since high school (you know who you are) or you live out of your laundry baskets (you aren’t the only one). Even though it may be overwhelming, the results are well worth the effort, so let’s break it down.

It’s important to see how many items in each category you have before you decide to keep or donate. Empty your closet floors, shelves and sort by items. For example, make separate piles for your handbags, shoes, and belts. Then, go through the hanging clothes and sort by type: short sleeve, long sleeve, pants, skirts, blazers, evening wear, etc. Last, don’t forget to clean out the drawers.

Then go through each pile and decide if you should keep or donate items to Goodwill. It’s time to donate it if:
• It doesn’t fit – that means too small or too large
• It doesn’t fit your current lifestyle
• It’s faded, pilly, out-of-date, or ripped
• You haven’t worn it for two seasons (even if original tags are still on it)
• You don’t feel comfortable in it
• Your mom gave it to you because she thought you would like it (and you don’t)
• The last compliment you got when you wore it was 1995

Can’t decide whether to keep or donate? Call a friend to help sort and give you an honest opinion. And here’s another green tip: take out the empty hangers and recycle the wire ones to the dry cleaner!

You can do this!

7 Secrets of a Goodwill Fasionista



Story submitted by guest blogger Wendy Kerschner.


Goodwill stores offer a unique shopping experience and the opportunity to add a signature piece to your wardrobe. Making an amazing find at Goodwill is indeed the luck of their daily inventory, but it’s also in the eye of the beholder!

Arrive with an open mind. Although you may find a complete outfit during your shopping trip, consider this experience as an opportunity to purchase individual pieces to add to your existing wardrobe.

Allow an hour. Because Goodwill has a wide variety of clothing and accessories, you’ll need to allot yourself ample time to peruse the goods and try things on.

View from above. Look at the clothing from the top of the hangers (if possible). From here you will have a view of the item’s color and fabric. You’ll be able to see what you like in terms of cotton, polyester, spandex, and mixes and you’ll be able to recognize the right color or the right fabric at a glance.

Be open to all sizes. Just because you are typically a certain size, doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a small, a medium, a large or even an extra large. Goodwill provides the opportunity to take risks with clothing sizes.

Trust your instincts. When you try something on and look at yourself in the mirror, you will know instinctively if that piece is for you. Does it look good? Does it highlight your best features? Does it make you feel good?

Bring a friend! To maximize your Goodwill shopping experience, bring a friend. While they look for clothing for themselves, they will also be looking for you (and vice-versa). Friends typically know what you look good in and are happy to make suggestions.

Have Fun! In the dressing room, anything goes! Try on something you typically might not wear. You could surprise yourself!

Yes, No or Go! Party

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Story submitted by guest blogger Wendy Kerschner.


After having a baby and deciding to return to a professional office setting, I realized my wardrobe needed to be edited. I was ready to donate some clothes to Goodwill. As I looked through my closet and questioned what to keep and what to part with, the decisions were too hard to make on my own. What I really needed was honest advice from my friends.

I called five of my closest friends and asked them to come over to my house on a Friday evening and bring 5-7 items of clothing from their own closets. I told them to bring their own clothes that were questionable. I named it the “Yes, No or Go Party.” Each person would try on their items and the other women would give the item one of three votes: YES, NO or GO!

It was a great night! Each guest showcased her clothes by strutting in front of the friendly panel. We also enjoyed wine and ate snacks (Caution: friend’s opinions are even more honest with wine). The night was a huge hit, filled with outbursts of laughter and newly made memories. The best part was that we successfully edited our own wardrobes while gathering two huge bags of clothing to donate to Goodwill. I’ve hosted two YES, NO or GO parties since the original and encourage you to have your own party!

This Winter Go for an Oversized, Thick Sweater!

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This winter go for an oversized, thick sweater. Wear it with your favorite leggings and winter boots. I always want to look like I walked out of an L.L. Bean catalog…which was pretty easy when I found a L.L. Bean sweater at my local Goodwill store. Only $4.50! What a steal! A brand new L.L. sweater costs between $50 to $100.

When it’s snowing and cold, comfort is in and these rustic looks are becoming more popular this season! And here’s a tip – look for these comfortable items with earth tones like browns, tans, warm grays, and greens.

Peace & Progress, Alexandra K.

L.L. Bean Sweater at Goodwill : Only $4.50!

Stylish Layering for Winter


Vests are popular this winter, and a plaid shirt with an outdoor vest is a timeless, cozy pairing.

This southern inspired look keeps things casual and classy. This layered outdoor look is easy to throw on and just go – without feeling overdressed or underdressed.

And a vest is a perfect alternative when you don’t want to carry a coat.

Goodwill vest: $5.50

Peace & Progress, Alexandra K.

Crazy for Turtlenecks


I am crazy about wearing turtleneck sweaters this year and finding a place for them in my wardrobe. I think they are making a strong comeback. I’m seeing them highlighted in fashion magazines and websites. This simple look is warm and effortless. As we go deeper into the winter, everyone should own a cozy turtleneck. These sweaters compliment any body type.

And, of course, Goodwill is a great place to find turtleneck sweaters.

Turtle Neck
Goodwill green turtleneck: $4.50


Turtle Neck 2
Goodwill white turtleneck: $3.50