Goodwill Goes Uptown

Thrift Store Tips From Your Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist

Many Fashionistas I know already shop at thrift stores such as Goodwill. I am amazed at some of their cute finds. I, too, caught the thrift store bug and shopped a Goodwill store in Manhattan in the Chelsea District while we vacationed there. While I can only rate that experience in the Big Apple as so-so, I am excited about a new type of store coming near my neighborhood: Vintage Vogue by GW (located at 2361 E. 62nd St., east of Glendale Mall on the avenue). The store will feature vintage and thrift store goods for men and women as well as handbags, jewelry and more—often with the price tags still attached!

I have also occasionally shopped vintage, since I was born in the wrong era: I love the 50s dresses, hats and overall look. Anyway, I once purchased a beautiful yellow dress that had cap sleeves, a gathered waist and a very full skirt. It was a soft damask fabric with one flaw: someone had spilled punch on the front of the dress. I washed it, and the stain was gone, but I always wondered: What happened? Did Peggy Sue have an argument with a beau or jealous friend who poured punch on her and made a scene? Was she clumsy and spilled on herself and leave in embarrassment? I will never know!

As you venture out to thrift and vintage stores, here are some tips to think about:
No 1 Rule: When you see it, grab it—even the maybes—if it doesn’t fit, you can put it back.
2. Keep in mind fashion trends as you shop. Look at magazines or blogs to see what’s current.
3. Ask the store if they have special sale days.
4. Bring cash: many thrift stores don’t use credit cards.
5. It there is not a dressing room, improvise, Wear tight fitting clothes so you can try items on over what you’re wearing.
6. Closely inspect items: turn them inside out, look at collars, see if there are stains or missing buttons, and take a whiff to check for odors.
7. Make friends! Share a smile or a conversation. That same person may give you an item that didn’t fit, and you should do the same!
8. Bring your own shopping bag.
9. Bring a few necessities such as a snack, bottled water, gloves and wipes. (Consider it an indoor hike.
10. Pack light: Leave the heavy purse and coat at home. These stores can be crowded with merchandise and people! (Source: Brandhyze Stanley,

If you’d rather shop online, go to You be surprised at what you will find there.

Don’t forget: the proceeds from Goodwill help provide jobs and a host of employment services for the disabled and others who need assistance. Shopping at thrift stores can be fun, and you are helping people! What’s better than that?

Happy shopping!

Beth Divine, Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist