Fashion Savvy on a Fashion Budget

Goodwill is an ideal resource for finding fashion basics and one-of-a-kind items.

By: Lorrie Jackson | Category: Consumer News | Issue: March 2007

(L to R): Sonya Pliler, Owasso store manager, Mary Ann Davis, Melinda Gutierrez, Tina Creek

Bargain Hunters everywhere share a little secret. They dress like they have a million dollars, but they do not. They look like they just stepped out of a fashion magazine, but they did not. They love expensive things, but would not dream of paying full price for those items. And Bargain Hunters work hard. They hunt through the racks at T.J. Maxx, Stein Mart, and Ross, search the best consignment stores for hidden treasures, and are always on the lookout for other places to shop, places that will help them keep their little secret.  

If you are a bargain hunter, and you have not added Goodwill to your list of desired shopping spots, it is high time to do so. Many people think of Goodwill as just a thrift store, not realizing that famous designer names visit its racks every week, names like Jones New York, Gap, Ellen Tracy, Liz Claiborne and many others.  In fact, an article entitled “The Bargain Hunter’s Guide to Style,” featured in the January 2007 issue of In Style Magazine, lists Goodwill as one of the recommended places to shop for the style conscious who are on a budget, stating: “Vintage boutiques and used-clothes stores like Goodwill can be fashion gold mines.”

"Our customers are fashion savvy on a fashion budget.  We call it "Fashion Frugal".  They like to mix bargain finds into their seasonal wardrobe along with more expensive items they find in department stores. Goodwill is the ideal resource for finding basics and one-of-a-kind selections at very low prices."

According to the Tulsa area Goodwill’s Director of Retail Sales, Rita Gilliam, one of the secrets to mining out the fashion gold at Goodwill is to visit often. “If you come in with a particular item in mind, whether for style or color, and you do not find it that day, come back the next day or later in the week,” Gilliam says. “You are more than likely to find it because we receive so many shipments.”

The In Style article affirms that shopping often at places like Goodwill is one of the keys to finding those hidden treasures others have overlooked. “Think of shopping as a treasure hunt,” In Style writer Anna Holmes advises. “Smart cost-conscious shoppers live to find that diamond in the rough.”

Goodwill is filled with such “diamonds in the rough,” with sizes ranging from infants to plus size and styles for everyone in the family: men, women, children and even teens. “As we have grown, we have had many teens come to shop here,” notes Sonya Pliler, Branch Manager at Owasso’s Goodwill. “It is fun to watch how thrilled they get to find name brand clothing that fits their budget. And it saves them a trip to the mall!” Accessories abound at Goodwill as well, including shoes, belts, purses, jewelry. “Gently used” is the operative word at Goodwill; nothing goes on the floor without a complete inspection for quality. And according to Pliler, some things arrive in brand new condition, having never been worn and still sporting their original store tags.

Another suggestion the In Style article gives to Bargain Hunters is to make friends with sales people at your favorite shopping spots so that they can keep you informed about any upcoming sales. According to Pliler, this is easy to do when you regularly shop Goodwill. “Customers love to come here. Once they discover that perfect item or experience the values and atmosphere, they are hooked.”

Bargain Hunters are not always just looking for clothing. Many other items are available at Goodwill as well, like collectibles, dishes, antiques and books. “Collectors come in here often to see what we have,” says Pliler. “It’s always fun to see them get excited at a great find.”

So if you classify yourself as a “bargain hunter,” be sure to visit Goodwill and visit often. Not only are you sure to find purchases that fit your style and budget, but you can feel good knowing the money you spend goes to help those in need. “What sets us apart is that when you shop here, you’re supporting our programs and helping people to become more independent,” Gilliam points out. “The people we serve are directly impacted by both customers and those who donate. Both are the lifeblood of our organization.” For more information on Goodwill and how its programs benefit the community, visit

Footnote: In Style Magazine, January 2007, “Bargain Hunters Guide to Style” by Anna Holmes, pp. 106-116

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