Category Archives: Thrifting

50 Shades of Faux Fun – Part 2


There’s a certain movie coming out soon that is featuring lots of shades of grey, so I thought an outfit featuring that hue would be a timely choice.

My look started with this fitted grey herringbone dress from Banana Republic. Today Banana Republic is known for it’s chic, classic clothing, but according to Wikipedia: “It was founded in 1978 with the name “Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company” with a safari theme; in 1983, Gap purchased the company, changed the name to simply “Banana Republic”, and gave it a more upscale image.”

The ¾ length sleeve on this dress makes it appropriate almost all year round.Blog19
I paired it with a dramatic silver and gold waterfall necklace.Blog18 I love this necklace and it’s one of my favorite pieces of jewelry from Goodwill. It certainly makes a statement! To lighten up the serious tone of the dress, I added this faux fur bag. Faux fur isn’t something you want to wear all the time, but it adds a fun element to your wardrobe.

The star of this outfit (in my mind) is the boots!Blog20 I found these at the Goodwill store in Reading (Muhlenberg), PA and while they were priced at $25, I knew from the style and feel of the construction that they were worth the investment. I didn’t realize until I investigated them when I got home that they were Frye boots. Frye has been on my “holy grail” of fashion finds since I started thrifting. According to it’s own website, Frye is the oldest continuously operated shoe company in the United States! They retail for approximately $300 and you can still find this style available online. The dark charcoal grey makes them extremely versatile and you could also pair them with skirts, skinny jeans or leggings.

Grey can be a cool or a warm color, but it is always a perfect choice when dressing for the office. Add some unique accessories and you’ll be rocking this “Hazy Shade of Winter”!

Dress: $5.50
Boots: $25.00
Bag: $1.00 (Outlet store purchase)
Necklace: $9.97

Total: $41.47



About The Blogger
Kirsten is a 40-something mom, wife and marketing professional. She loves all things crafty, tasty and fashionable, especially while being frugal. She enjoys hunting for treasures at her local Goodwill stores to decorate her home and wardrobe. She is a stylist and volunteer for the fundraiser the Goodwill Runway Show, which is held every spring in Reading, PA.

Dressing for the Holidays


Today we are talking holiday classics and I don’t mean the Bing Crosby Christmas album your grandmother loved.

‘Tis the season for parties, events, and holiday get-togethers! But you don’t have to break the bank for festive attire to be dazzling at your gathering.

Start with a classic LBD and you’ll never go wrong. From a company cocktail party to an elegant dinner out, a little back dress is the most versatile piece of clothing in your wardrobe. Wear it to work with a blazer and classic pumps and swap out your accessories at the end of the day to be party-ready.entire outfit

This version has the embellishment built in so you don’t have to worry about finding a statement necklace or earrings to accent it. The ruffled and beaded neckline makes a simple knit velour dress a comfortable and stylish choice.


A simple pair of gold hoops is always a classic choice and will not compete with the details on the dress. A graphic metallic clutch is trendy and can accommodate your necessities and a must-have bright holiday red lip gloss! The leopard flats are a comfortable alternative to stilettos. The low heel is perfect for dancing the night away or networking at your company party. The leopard is a neutral and will coordinate with many things already in your wardrobe after the holidays.

Kirsten in LBDThe last accessory you need is the most important – your smile. Spending time with family and friends to celebrate the holidays is a gift. Cherish it.


Outfit from Goodwill in Morgantown, PA, Total: $22.43
Dress – $5.50
Clutch – $4.97
Earrings – $4.99
Shoes – $6.97


About The Blogger
Kirsten is a 40-something mom, wife and marketing professional. She loves all things crafty, tasty and fashionable, especially while being frugal. She enjoys hunting for treasures at her local Goodwill stores to decorate her home and wardrobe. She is a stylist and volunteer for the fundraiser the Goodwill Runway Show, which is held every spring in Reading, PA.

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!

Make Your Style Work for You this Ugly Christmas Sweater Season!

It’s that time of year again! Break out your twinkling necklaces and sport those ugly Christmas sweaters. When you get that invite to an ugly Christmas sweater party, don’t be afraid to go all out! There are so many options these days. And the thing that I like best about ugly, festive sweaters, there is no judgment. For the most part, ugly is the new celebration. This year I wore an ugly Christmas sweater paired with some black jeans, high socks, and leather shoes. My friend Alexa wore a sweater as a dress, paired with sparkly tights and high heeled boots and thick socks. Make your style work for you this ugly Christmas sweater season.

Be sure to enter the Goodwill Keystone Area Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest for a chance to win a $100 Goodwill gift card! See full details and submit your entry, click here!


Outfits for Any Date

Here are a couple of pieces I found at Goodwill that I felt would be cute for different types of dates.

The first one (blue dress) is for a more summery, perhaps lunch date. It’s definitely a daytime dress – not something that you would want to sport at a night club.

bluedress1 Adjusted

On the other hand, the green dress is for this exact purpose, this dress is a little more daring. You could wear this dress on a date or you could wear this to a bachelorette party!

Alex green dress 2 Adjusted

Finally my third pick was this purple silk top which could be paired with quite a few things depending on your wardrobe. I chose to pair it with white pants. This outfit is for the more sophisticated date. Now I just need a date!

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All the pieces were under $6!

Peace and Progress,

Alexandra K.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Floral Blazers

I’m often asked about whether floral is in or out, or if it’s even acceptable. It can be as long as you stick to one fashion rule – Keep it simple. Rather than talking about floral, let me show you.

I literally found these two blazers side by side at a Goodwill store.

Floral dontAdjusted2         

Floral do Adjusted

Here we have what might look like two very similar floral blazers to some people, but to others, like myself, I see two different things.

First, the pink blazer is decked out in everything from shoulder pads to lace and bead trim, and it’s completed with a cinched waist. Also not to mention the bright pink floral pattern! This blazer, in my opinion, is just over the top. It screams out of this decade. Now the second blazer, it’s simple. I could see Kate Middleton wearing this one. It isn’t loud or embroidered to death. It’s just pretty and elegant and does the job.

Floral do outfit 1Adjusted

So when you are deciding on a floral piece, keep in mind that simple is always the way to go. Your floral is the staple to your outfit, let it accentuate your clothes – not disguise them.

Peace and Progress,

Alexandra K.

Summer Dress Tip for the Office

Blazer 1Recently it was time for many of us to take off our 4th of July party hats and put on our work clothes and get back to the grind.

In my recent visit to Goodwill, I found a blazer that I felt was perfect for the upcoming work week. It’s getting hot and humid outside, but the air conditioning is cranking inside. When I came across this jacket, I thought it was the perfect solution for the office in the summer. I can pair it with a lot of different things and it was only a few dollars.

The trick with work outfits is not to over do it. Keep things simple, professional and classy. You’re at work to get the job done and it is important to make a good impression.

Peace and Progress,

Alexandra K.

Blazer 2

Introducing Rebecca Botvin – Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner – Men’s Shirt Remix


Introducing 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner of the Men’s Shirt Remix Category, Rebecca Botvin.

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

Rebecca Botvin head shotI started redesigning clothing in college, long before Goodwill was cool! I was baby stepping into it and just learning how clothing was put together and experimenting to see what could and could not be taken apart and reconstructed. You learn a lot about sewing by taking things apart. I started “hard core” redesigning when my tween and I were having a hard time finding clothes that she liked in retail stores. The older she got, the smaller her choices were and the quality of the garments diminished in the Junior sizes. She’s learned that she can totally customize her clothing to not only her taste, but also to her size, and not spend a fortune doing it.

I shop at Goodwill because my money can go farther. Most items I buy are barely, if at all, worn. It really is my favorite store.

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

I usually shop at the Shillington Goodwill. It’s large and the closest one to my house. When I’m redesigning a piece, I start with the foundation – do I need jeans or a top? There needs to be enough material, so the first thing I look for is the size of the garment and inspect it for any holes or stains. If the garment isn’t perfect, then I need to be able to work around the problem area. I only work with natural fibers (cotton, wool, linen), so I usually pull 2-3 different options and then mix and match them to work.

How do you create your re-designs?

Redesign Mittens
Botvin-redesign mittens

The mittens are created from 100% wool sweaters, lined with 100% cashmere sweaters. I felt the wool sweaters in my washing machine and then cut out the mittens. Depending on the size of the sweater after felting, I can usually get 1-2 pairs of mittens from 1 sweater. I use the same pattern for the outside on the mittens as I do for the lining, which I cut out of the cashmere sweaters. I hand embroider a design on the mittens and use different embroidery stitches to fit the cuffs into place. I swear, putting your hands in these mittens is one of the happiest feelings in the world!

Redesign Dress

This little girl’s dress is made from a vintage Smurfs bed sheet. This was a real find!

Botvin-redesign dress

The dress is a simple shift pattern that buttons at the shoulder. Since the bed sheet is very sheer, I made the dress reversible with a heavier solid cotton on the other side. The dress can be worn in the summer, or with a shirt and tights in the winter.

Redesign Pants

My daughter is petite. Many of the jeans I found in her size at Goodwill had a design on the bottom (frolicking kittens, flowers, etc) and I guess that isn’t cool to wear in middle school. I cut the offending design off the bottom and attached a linen ruffle to make up for the length. You can do this several ways, but I decided that pinch pleating the linen had a more finished look.

Botvin-redesign pants

The entire project – start to finish took about 1/2 hour. It’s a great first project for a beginning sewer.

Redesign Coat and Stuffed Animal

The wolf coat and stuffed animal were made out of a 100% wool felt blanket and women’s wool dress skirts. I had the items dry cleaned first, so I could inspect for any thin areas that I might have to work around. I worked off a commercial pattern and mostly followed the directions. The lining and toggle buttons were purchased because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted at Goodwill and I had an impatient seven year old.

Botvin-redesign coatstuffie

Redesign Class

I taught a beginning sewing class at the Yocum Institute for Arts Education last Spring. One of the project that the girls did was to make a skirt out of a men’s dress shirt.

Botvin-redesign class

They learned about basic cutting and fractions. They also improvised and made a few “scarf” accessories with the material they pieced together.

What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?

I had a great time at the Runway Show! I was impressed with how well-organized the entire event was – from communication to timing. The organizers made a real effort to include the redesigners in the show, and it was just thrilling to see the audience’s reactions to the items being shown. I brought a group of friends with me, and we had a fun girl’s night out – snacks, drinks, the show, and shopping…..really a fun time!

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

My main advice is to just buy something that speaks to you and take it apart. Don’t be afraid to cut or to sew. The most effective way to learn is by making mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are the most brilliant additions.

Accessorize Your Wardrobe This Spring

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

It’s spring and Goodwill Runway Show time! What a great way to inspire us to spruce up our wardrobes or get motivated to create something brand new. Here are a few items you can purchase at Goodwill to help you accessorize your spring wardrobe.

Spring Scarf
Brighten up a current outfit or tie it on a handbag to accessorize.

Fashionable Belt
Choose a belt that changes the look of a tired outfit.

Brightly Colored Handbag
Complement an outfit for a special occasion without breaking the bank.

Spring Shoes
Many of the shoes at Goodwill are gently-worn. Look for a pair to complement your spring outfits.

New Outfit
If you are feeling creative, shop the aisles and look at the fabric of the clothing instead of the style of clothing. Use that fabric to recreate a whole new piece of clothing. (I found two men’s shirts in spring colors to make the dress I’m wearing at the Runway Show!)

Designer Staple Piece
Browse the designer racks and find a staple piece to supplement your current spring wardrobe.

Remember, shopping at Goodwill is all about supporting their mission of helping people with disabilities – all while helping you watch your hard-earned dollars. Accessorizing at Goodwill: it’s a win-win! Find a store near you at

This article appears in the Goodwill Runway Show Program. Join us for the fashion event of the year, the Goodwill Runway Show! See how you can be stylish without maxing out your credit cards. Models will walk the runway wearing the latest trends found at Goodwill. This is Goodwill’s largest fundraiser in Berks County!

Date: Thursday, April 24, 2014 doors open 4:30, show begins 6:30

Location: Body Zone 3013 Paper Mill Road Wyomissing, PA 19610

Tickets: $40.00 include happy hour, silent auction, runway show and Goodwill boutique.


Pennsylvania artist turns to Goodwill for inspiration and supplies.


By Goodwill Keystone Area blogger Tony D.

At Goodwill, our slogan is “More Than Just a Store.” Goodwill is many things to many people including affordable quality clothing, job training for community members with disabilities, local donation spot for clothing and household items to a non-profit making a positive difference in the local community.

Recently we were happy to learn that, for Pennsylvania artist Kathie Lister, Goodwill is a source of inspiration and her go-to spot for great deals on supplies for her creative art designs.

1. How did you get started in sculpture and why do you shop at Goodwill.DogSculpture
I was a business executive for 30 years but my undergraduate degree is in fine art. (I was a fashion design major and I too occasionally buy clothes at GW and redesign them). I always wanted to do “art” so when I retired I thought about what I really liked. My best friend dragged me to a GW in Virginia when I visited her and I was hooked. We spent hours looking and laughing. I found a ceramic poodle from the 50s that was so funny and kitschy that I bought it… 99 cents. I began seeing other ceramic dogs and an idea was hatched. My belief is that if you have enough of anything you can make something out of it. I went on to collect lots of dogs, old salt and pepper shakers, and generally anything that looked whimsical. Mind you, this is stuff I would never have looked at before. DUST collectors. I make elaborate centerpieces to hold flowers and candles but best of all are fun to look at. I shop at Goodwills because I buy this stuff in volume and frankly the prices and the surprises are terrific. It never ceases to amaze me what has been made into a ceramic object. One of my favorite ceramic planters is the back half of a horse. Too funny.

2. What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a sculpture piece?
Too numerous to list. Mostly southern NJ and PA locations but I have been to stores in Virginia, Florida, Maine and Colorado where I have a second home. I look for pieces that are slightly older( doesn’t have to be vintage) and strike my fancy. It can be anything!!! Truly. My new great pleasure is going to the Goodwill outlet and buying big boxes of stuff for pennies.

3. What style of artwork do you prefer?
The pieces that I make have to have a utilitarian purpose. I cannot do Art for Art sake. That seems too pretentious for me. I admire those that can produce that way but it is not for me. I create mirrors, lamps, vases, sconces, candle holders etcetera as long as they are a bit whimsical. I have made tissue box holders completely covered in cut up ceramics just to work on technique. There is a fair amount of labor and technique involved in what do as well as toxic coatings. Plenty of power tools are used too.


4. Have you ever displayed your work in any exhibits?
I have exhibited at Brigitte Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, Moore College of Art and a juried art show to benefit the William Penn Charter School. I have been at this for almost two years since I retired.


5. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Don’t worry what other people think! Do what you love. I did not pursue this with the intention of making money. When I do sell something however it provides validation of what I am doing. Had I started when I was was just out of art school I would have been too concerned with others’ opinions. Sometimes when I start a piece I will ask my husband what he thinks. I can see the wheels turning as he tries to come up with a tactful answer since he is rather conventional when it comes to “art” and heaven knows, with the work that I’d do there is a fine line between “wow that’s cool” and “what was she thinking?”

Special thanks to artist Kathie Lister for sharing her story. If you enjoy Goodwill re-design projects, be sure to check out the finalists for our Goodwill Runway Show Re-Design Contest finalists and vote for your favorite by clicking LIKE on your favorite in our Facebook photo album – CLICK HERE.