Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Goodwill Hunting

Hayden Williams Illustrations 

I do not typically shop at my local Goodwill store or thrift stores. Before you label me snob, let me explain. First a little background on two events/conversations.  

While in Virginia, several of the women at my opening were discussing their outfits. Both very tastefully dressed in clothing that flattered.  Both mentioned they had purchased their items at a local Goodwill.  Good shopping and both were happy with the extremely reasonable price.  

Both of these ladies could well afford department store pieces however the town did not have an upscale department store. They both mentioned that a trip to a nearby city and upscale boutique had provided nothing they felt comfortable purchasing; high prices and selection being the problem. In their case Goodwill provided a reasonable and attractive alternative. 

An event later that same week provided me another view of thrift store clothing. This group also could well afford higher-end fashions, however readily admitted their outfits had come for thrift stores. Likely because they were self-conscious about going to the mall and shopping openly, they shopped Goodwill/thrift stores. It was obvious that no one had told them “do not buy” that out-of-style, awful color, or ill-fitting item. It is not about size it is about style. 

I am sorry to say, that many outfits I saw that evening did not look acceptable for being in public. I am not sure if it was self-image, self-awareness, or lack of planning.  

Where I shop, asking and receiving help is provided with the experience. I will typically ask; “How do you think this looks?” “Is this too short?” “What accessories will look good with this?” 

Looking attractive and paying a reasonable price, are not mutually exclusive. I shop sales, both on-line and in traditional stores. I browse catalogs and frequent blogs that feature fashion advice. I am intentional about my purchases when I purchase at department stores. I find exactly what I was looking for, or sometimes not what I was looking for, but is perfect. Plus, I can return items that do not match what I already have. And best of all, I am not purchasing too much, hoping for something that will work. 

Most of the time, based on price, quality, designer brand and careful consideration, the outfits come together. Quality clothes last longer for the money you spend, are more comfortable, and make you look and feel pretty while you wear them. 

I do share some of my interesting choices in this blog's fashion layouts.  

If you are going to shop thrift stores, shop wisely.  Many items are there for a reason.  Someone has decided that an item no longer works, thus donating it to a thrift store. My personal choice is to have a smaller number of quality items as opposed to many/any low value items. 

It matters how we look - represent yourself and our community well. Take pride in your appearance. Upgrade your wardrobe, self-esteem and public image with mindful shopping. Escape - Shop quality. Look your best. 


  1. There's no accounting for taste for many - even cis women. I'm a bargain shopper, mostly out of necessity, but I have rarely shopped at thrift stores. Consignment shops, however, can yield better results. Many of their owners are particular about what they will accept on consignment, and I've negotiated some good prices on high-end clothing and accessories (their marked price is usually not firm).

    I know a cross dresser who shops thrift stores almost exclusively, and on a regular basis. The fact that she has an extensive wardrobe is a source of pride for her - even if, in her late fifties, it is made up of the same style clothing she's been wearing for the last twenty years. What doesn't fit in her closet is hung on racks in a storage unit that must cost at least $50.00/month. Essentially, she has her own thrift store in the storage unit, but she's blown all of the savings by paying to store it! Not to mention that the "newer" clothing is pretty much indistinguishable from some of the 20-years-old stuff.

  2. The storage thing is so typical for many. If I have not worn it in a year it goes. I too have frequented consignment shops. The Palm Beach Shops are unique with designer stuff and gowns only worn once to a ball. Fun to try on and imagine yourself at then ball. And Cinderella, how was the ball.