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thrift stores

what i wore: saint louis fashion week emerging designer competition

what i wore: saint louis fashion week emerging designer competition

The past month has been crazy but awesome, covering Saint Louis Fashion week for ALIVE Magazine on top of my usual client schedule and taking care of our now-five-month-old. For most events, I didn't even have a chance to take photos before handing off the baby and running out of the door, but I'm glad I did for this outfit.

This dress cost a whopping 34 cents. Well, I'm guesstimating, since I got it at the St. Louis Goodwill Outlet, where everything is 79 cents per pound. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out my guide to St. Louis thrift stores. I love the graphic nature of this traditional African mudcloth fabric. As I seem to do frequently, I cut off most of the length and hemmed it. I added a metallic gold belt from H&M, old Franco Sarto booties from Marshall's, a thrifted clutch, and black tights.  There's always a little extra pressure when going to an event where you know people will be making an extra effort to look chic, and I was really happy with my outfit. You know what that means - I'll be wearing it again soon!

 

thrifting a baby boy wardrobe

thrifting a baby boy wardrobe

I'll admit (although I'm not supposed to), I was a bit disappointed when I found out I was having a boy. Of course, I'm completely happy now that everyone's healthy and happy. I had been kindof looking forward to dressing a girl. Clothing choices are a bit more limited for baby boys, but at the same time, it's ok, because I wasn't going to be into super pink frou-frou stuff for girls anyway, so it would have still taken some searching. 

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

Baby clothes, as cute as they are, are something that are used for such a short time that it seems ridiculous to spend much money on. Above is a collection of some of the clothes I came across online that I really loved -  no surprise, I'm envisioning a French baby as I shop. However, the prices on these are crazy, up to $100 or more for some of them - again, for things they'll wear for months! Finding things secondhand is going to be the way to go for me.

Here's an assortment of some of the things I've found so far at thrift stores, which are close enough to the fancy stuff for me. The most expensive thing in these (bad iPhone) pictures are the shoes, which were $4. Most things were $1 - all infant clothing at the Goodwill is $1 per piece. 

PS those are baby Carhartts in the bottom left corner!

Many of the items still have tags on, and the rest (well, actually all of them) will get a few good hot water washes. I have not had great luck finding secondhand maternity wear, but perhaps because babies go through so many sizes so quickly, there's a huge amount of really good stuff out there. 

The absolute best day of thrifting baby clothes was when I got the pile of stuff above at the Goodwill outlet - 21 pieces for $2.84!! That's 13 and a half cents per item - crazy!  Cheap and giving new life to still useful things.

What do you think? Would you buy secondhand things for your baby? 

guide to st. louis thrift stores

guide to st. louis thrift stores

I've been meaning to write this post ever since I blogged my tips for thrifting. It's possible that you'd like to check out some thrift stores in St. Louis but just don't know where to go or where to start. Fear no more, here's my guide. However, all thrift stores are not created equal and so I've ranked the level of difficulty of shopping these stores from 1-5 (1=easiest, 5=hardest)

Savers


Four locations in the St. Louis area
Best for: clothes, housewares
Level of difficulty: 1 out of 5
Organized by: clothes by type and size

For the thrift store rookie, Savers is a good place to start. These stores are relatively new to St. Louis and they're nice and bright and clean. Clothes are organized by very specific categories (sleeveless shirts, short sleeve knits, short sleeve blouse, etc) and by size within each category. Because of this, there's less sifting you have to do to find your size, however, don't forget that sizing varies so much that a large in one brand and a small in another could both be a fit. I look at all sizes, but I'm hard-core like that. Books and housewares are also pretty current and in good condition. A word of caution: the tradeoff for the store being so user-friendly is the pricing - things are waaay overpriced. If you save up some donations (you know, from cleaning out your closet) you'll get a 25% off coupon, which helps.
Best find: Marc Jacobs dress for $13 (below), $200 Cuisinart grind and brew coffeemaker for $30

 

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Red Racks

Three locations in St. Louis 
Best for: housewares
Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5
Organized by: clothes by type and size

Like Savers, Red Racks is relatively new to St. Louis and well-organized, if slightly less spiffy. Pricing is decent and there are often 50% off sales - for instance, Labor Day, September 2nd, everything in the store is half off.
Best find: 16-piece midcentury set of dishes for $20

 
dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Goodwill

Multiple locations in the St. Louis area, search for one near you here 
Best for: clothes, shoes, housewares, baby clothes
Level of difficulty: 3 out of 5
Organized by: clothing is only organized by type, not size

There are so many Goodwill stores out there that it's often just the most convenient thrift store to hit regularly. Clothing is relatively current, but the best thing about shopping at Goodwill is their partnership with Target. Goodwill stores are the recipients of donations of unsold clearance merchandise from Target - new, with tags on, often while the same items are still for sale in the store. Recently, I've seen houseware items from the Nate Berkus for Target line and from the designer collaboration Prabul Gurung for Target. When shopping for my nieces, I've seen the same large amounts of baby clothes with tags still on. And if you're understandably a little skeeved out by used shoes, there are also many pairs from Target with tags on. Unfortunately, there's not much furniture in most of these stores (although my best find does happen to be a piece of furniture).
Best find: midcentury modern desk for $25

 

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Value Village

Three St. Louis locations 
Best for: the occasional vintage find
Level of difficulty: 3.5 out of 5
Organized by: clothing is only organized by type, not size

When I first moved to St. Louis, Value Village was my go-to spot. They always had a good amount of vintage clothes, but either I've gotten more picky, or the supply has dwindled. There's still a huge amount of clothing, so you never know when you'll come across a gem. Oddly, the company that owns Savers is also called Value Village, but since these stores don't show up on the Savers/Value Village site, I guess they're not affiliated.
Best find: Several great vintage dresses

St. Vincent de Paul

Four St. Louis locations 
Best for: furniture
Level of difficulty: 4 out of 5
Organized by: clothes only organized by type

This is a very basic thrift store, hit or miss for the most part. Clothing is pretty dingy and usually not worth the effort. The real reason to hit this store is for the furniture. Just in terms of quantity, there is a huge amount, much more than any other thrift store in town, so the odds are just better of finding something good. 
Best find: our midcentury dining room table, four chairs, and buffet for $200

 

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Salvation Army

Website's not very helpful, but the location I usually go to is at 4121 Forest Park Ave, St Louis, MO 63108
Best for: the occasional vintage find
Level of difficulty: 4 out of 5
Organized by: clothes only organized by type

The Salvation Army has an ok assortment of everything: housewares, clothes, and furniture. In general, the clothes are just old and nothing special, but there are always a few vintage dresses and blouses tucked amongst the rest of the wares, you just have to search harder to find them. Same with the furniture, every once in a while there are nice mid-century finds, but for the most part it's bad 80's junk.
Best find: Bottega Veneta belt for $1, Diane von Furstenberg dress for $7, Frye boots for $10

Goodwill Outlet 

http://www.mersgoodwill.org/shop/goodwill-outlet-store/
Best for: Housewares and decorative items
Level of difficulty: 5 out of 5
Organized by: absolutely nothing

The Goodwill outlet is not for the faint of heart. Items are piled in large bins and you have to pick through mounds of stuff that was deemed not good enough for a Goodwill store. Many people actually wear gloves, which is honestly not a bad idea. If you're not scared off by all of that, there is no cheaper thrift store - all items are $.79 (yes, seventy-nine CENTS) a pound, except for books and glassware, which are $.39 a pound. If you are in need of mass quantities of mason jars, glasses, dishes or items to repurpose (spray paint, refinish, etc.) this is your place. Also good if you need books as decorative items, there are lots of vintage books with interesting cover designs. There is some furniture, but not much.
Best find: midcentury dresser in rough condition for $6

 

So, tell me - if you don't normally frequent thrift stores, is this helpful? Have I missed any? Anyone have any secret locations they want to give up?