Style Icon Interview: Fashion Writer Felicia Walker Benson

We hope you enjoyed Part One of GoodwillNyNj’s Style Icon Interview with Felicia Walker Benson! As Editor in Chief for the popular fashion-lifestyle blog ThisThatBeauty, Beauty Expert for Examiner.com, New York Correspondent for The Makeup Girl and a contributing writer for Essence.com and LVCMag.com, Felicia has perfected the art of personal style while keeping it real for thousands of beauty lovers.

Beauty Expert, Style/Beauty Blogger & GoodwillNyNj Style Icon, Felicia Walker Benson

In this second half, Felicia shares how to have magazine style without massive price tags, how to  use your beauty cabinet to compliment your closet, and, for all those future Style Icons out there, how to break into the big bad world of fashion journalism.

So now, without further ado, please enjoy Part Two of our latest GoodwillNyNj Style Icon interview:

We love the challenge of looking good without spending reams of dough – what little style tricks can make a $20 outfit look like a Vogue fashion spread?

A great necklace (think statement piece) can work wonders in your life. It can transform a basic black dress or crisp white shirt and jeans into something spectacular and on trend!

And for makeup? It seems all the big designers accentuate their fashion creations with specific makeup looks…

Makeup is a great investment if you have $20 to spare. My advice is to research your favorite beauty blogs and traditional magazines to get a sense of current trends and inspiration. Next, think about the best way to tailor said trends to match your personal aesthetic. Then dig in the crates (by “crates” I mean your current makeup stash). Take stock of the products that you currently own.

Think creatively about how you can use your current stash to create trend influenced looks. Next assess your “gaps”. What’s missing? What one or two key products are you missing in order to create a makeup look that is fresh and modern? Once you’ve properly assessed your “gaps”, THEN you can take a field trip to your local mass market drugstore and get your shop on (TIP:Coordinate your trip with a Buy One Get One promotion). By researching trends, tailoring to suit your taste, and then assessing the key pieces you need to complete your look….you are able to strategically spend your $20 on items that will deliver maximum impact/ ROI.

Now, of course we can’t ask you about trends without bringing up the actual clothes themselves…

My advice for incorporating the season’s hottest fashion trends is very similar to my advice for makeup. Research trends, tailor to your specific style, take stock of what you own, then fill in the gaps with a few strategic pieces that update your look.

We like your focused approach! Speaking of goal-orientated style, what advice do you have for young men and women who dream of becoming fashion writers, but can’t wrangle tickets to fashion shows or afford each season’s designer items?

My first piece of advice (and I hope Nike doesn’t come after me for copyright infringement) is to “JUST DO IT”. You don’t need an invitation to fashion week to write what lives in within. If writing about fashion is your passion, there’s nothing stopping you but you. Information is abound. Start a blog. Begin networking. Join organizations/ groups that support your interests.  As for attending actual shows…if you’ve got “Internet”, you’ve got a ticket to Fashion Week as most shows are livestreamed these days.

Add http://www.thisthatbeauty.com to your must-read blog list & see how much more beautiful life can be!
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Goodwill’s Get Set for Easter Sale!

Style, Style Everywhere

Welcome to “Style, Style Everywhere” – the updated version of our “Mid-Week Mini-Break” feature. Here, we show off what our chic shoppers are finding in their local Goodwill & sharing on their blogs. It’s a pretty impressive array – and we hope it inspires you to check out the Goodwill near you and get your Style, Style Everywhere on, too!

These Ralph Lauren Purple Label heels sell for up to $500... but if you're a secondhand style queen like ReDressionista, you'll snag 'em for $4 & still have a penny to spare.

The Great ReDression: Find: Leather, made in Italy pumps; Ralph Lauren Collection; Retail: $300 – $500; $3.99 Goodwill Gainesville…. Because in the end, we all win: more closet space for the Boca babes, $4.00 for Goodwill Enterprises, and the shoes? They go to that fabulous ReDressionista who will need designer pumps for the job she’ll soon land.

This beautiful vintage typewriter might just cost the same as it did in 1970 - $12 at Goodwill. Inflation shminflation, courtesy of your local Goodwill.

Notes from the Republic: goodwill lunchbreak score. TWELVE DOLLARS. Early 70s Smith Corona Coronet Electric 12 complete with original case. WHO GIVES THESE THINGS AWAY??? I just found it online for over 100$. crazy. today wins.

Brenda compares a traditional store's "Goodwill"-themed sale with the bargains she regularly finds at her local Goodwill. The result? Secondhand wins. The evidence? Well, you'll have to see it to believe it...

Secrets of a Secondhand Shopaholic: …I have this obnoxious sense of “Thrift Pride”.  No matter how great their [traditional stores’] deals are, I think that my way of shopping is better… To further explain my point, let me show you Exhibits A and B: for less than $20 [at the local Goodwill], I bought: 4 Tops @ $2.29/each; 2 belts @ $1.59/each; 1 pair of shoes @ $3.59; 2 pairs of pants @ $1.99/each.

Whatever this cost Mr. & Mrs. Dude LOL (&, somehow, we bet it wasn't much), it was 100% worth it.

Dude LOL: My wife took me to Goodwill and I found treasure. We haven’t played it yet, but this can’t not be awesome.

Style Icon Interview: Fashion Writer Felicia Walker Benson

As a makeup expert, style/beauty writer and Goodwill fan, Felicia Walker Benson pours her heart and soul into her passion for all things fashion and beauty related. Felicia is Editor in Chief for the popular fashion-lifestyle blog ThisThatBeauty, as well as a Beauty Expert for Examiner.com, the New York Correspondent for The Makeup Girl and a contributing writer for Essence.com and LVCMag.com.

Beauty Expert, Style/Beauty Blogger & GoodwillNyNj Style Icon, Felicia Walker Benson

We were recently lucky enough to chat with Felicia – and the combination of her sense of humor and her sense of fashion has us 100% convinced that this smart, stylish beauty is every bit the perfect GoodwillNyNj Style Icon.

We hope you enjoy Part One of GoodwillNyNj’s newest Style Icon Interview:

Hi Felicia! So how did you first get interested in the world of beauty and fashion?

I have been a card carrying beauty devotee for as far back as I can recall. Don’t most kids spend their allowance at the local beauty supply store? From hair care, to skin care, makeup, fragrance and everything in between…I’ve had an affinity for beauty ever since I was a wee lad.

With respect to fashion, I began working in a professional job fairly early on. At that time, my responsibilities and profile within the company were significant but my disposable income, ahem, was not. I had to get rather creative when it came to piecing together ensembles and fitting in with my corporate counterparts.

While I’ve always had a very strong sense of personal style and an eye for interpreting trends, working in an uber professional environment while still in college encouraged me to stretch my talents and work miracles on a shoe string budget!

What does “style” mean to you?

Statement piece accessories, the perfect LBD, and killer Louboutins are great, but that’s window draping — not style. Style is understanding who you are at your core and allowing that to resonate. While apparel is a component of style, it does not start and stop there. Style is reflected in how you carry yourself. Style is not defined by labels. In fact, the most important label, with respect to style, is label “YOU”. Personal style is a branding tool. It announces your aspirations and accomplishments!

Now, we asked our Facebook fans this, so it’s only fair we ask you, too: Who do you wish would donate their entire wardrobe to a Goodwill near you? (Supermodels, big sisters, rock stars, and politicos are all fair game…)

Oh jeez Louise! I would absolutely die a thousand deaths if Diane Von Furstenberg sent a trailer load of can’t-miss essentials to my local Goodwill. I would be rendered partially comatose if I walked into my local Goodwill and found a rack labeled “From The Set of Grey Gardens”. I would give a limb (any limb) if I were offered first dibs on Tracy Ellis Ross’ Goodwill donation (clothes from both her personal life and from the set of “Girlfriends). Tracy Ellis Ross actually comes with a bonus as I imagine her Goodwill stash would undoubtedly include frocks Momma Diana.  Jackie O is cliche but you can not deny her classic good taste. Lastly, Victoria Beckham would be my choice for aspirational wares.

What’s your favorite Goodwill find?

I recently snagged a rather saucy little silk Jersey geometric pattern Laundry dress for about $8. New, with tags!

Why do you shop at Goodwill?

Well, uh, you see, there’s this little thing called the “recession” right now so….
Seriously, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt! From time to time I afford myself the luxury of shopping non-sale items…some finds are too good to wait for a price reduction. However, I love shopping Goodwill because its like a “box of chocolates”. Other than a great deal, you honest to God never know what you’re going to get…and that thrills me to no end!

Have you ever donated to Goodwill?

Yes and often. After Mama ThisThatBeauty gets her cut the rest gets carted to my local Goodwill. Hello tax deduction!

Add http://www.thisthatbeauty.com to your must-read blog list & see how much more beautiful life can be!

Pretty inspiring, doncha think? Don’t forget to check in next week for Part Two of the interview. In the meantime, keep sharing your great finds and style tips with us onTwitter and Facebook – we love hearing from you!

Sweater Vest Tuesday Lives On

We are a sucker for creative ideas that promote secondhand clothing in a light-hearted way. So maybe that helps explain why we’ve been keeping tabs on Sweater Vest Tuesday – a weekly celebration an item easily found at your local Goodwill.

Now we posted on the group a few weeks back, thinking it was an annual occurrence. Well, faux pas on us! It’s a weekly event, and they’ve been keeping their Tumblr page up-to-date with some great fan photos. Here are a few of our favorite photos from celebrants in the New York & New Jersey area:

"Mike in Erial, NJ bringing the powers of the sweater vest to sub at Paul VI. Thanks for the wake up text at 7:03am. It certainly made my morning…" sweatervesttuesday.tumblr.com
"Lisa in Thornwood, NY. She can’t get enough of those sweater vests. I am waiting on a picture of mother and son… Get on that." sweatervesttuesday.tumblr.com

Remember, Goodwill fans, YOU have the power to bring Sweater Vest Tuesday to your NY-NJ neighborhood. All you need to do is find a vest (easy to do at Goodwill, where most are well under $10), take a photo, and send it on to Mike at MikeDel423@yahoo.com – who, by the way, was born and raised in New York… Coincidence? We think not.

Happy Sweater Vest Tuesday, New York and New Jersey!

Style, Style Everywhere

Welcome to “Style, Style Everywhere” – the updated version of our “Mid-Week Mini-Break” feature. Here, we show off what our chic shoppers are finding in their local Goodwill & sharing on their blogs. It’s a pretty impressive array – and we hope it inspires you to check out the Goodwill near you and get your Style, Style Everywhere on, too!

This girl has style. STYLE style. Browse her blog's outstanding photos & see what we mean. There aren't even words...

11:11 The Photo Blog of Crystal Wood: A slight break from my Art of Layering project. I came across this long blue maxi dress on my latest Goodwill run and I figured it’d be perfect for this upcoming summer. For those hot lazy days when I don’t really want to wear much of anything I can throw this on and be at ease. I love it with the pop of red from these new Guess shoes I found.

My Arts Desire stumbled on serious silver treasure in the wee shopping hours of the morning. Worms, shworms; at Goodwill, the early bird catches the silver platter!

My Arts Desire: Lucky for me, being an early bird for my first errand I hit the proverbial jackpot at Goodwill. The entire grouping of these old yummy tarnished silver service pieces had a price tag of ten dollars! Six pieces! Ten dollars!

What happens in Vegas should most certainly NOT stay in Vegas - and with Vegas Goodwill's blog (complete with links to ShopGoodwill's auctions), even us East Coasters can enjoy Sin City finds like these Chrome Hearts shades.

Vegas Goodwill: Yes, those are Chrome Hearts Sunglasses . . . at Goodwill. Las Vegas, with some of the best shopping in the world, is home to a Chrome Hearts retail store, so it should be no surprise that their merchandise has found its way to our Goodwill. Wouldn’t you LOVE to know the story of how these ended up in a shopgoodwill.com auction!

Style Icon Interview: Fashion Writer Adriana Nova

We hope you enjoyed Part One of GoodwillNyNj’s Style Icon Interview! In it, Essence.com, Honey.com &  StyleHive.com writer Adriana Nova discussed what constitutes good style, how to spot never-fail Goodwill finds, and the second chance used clothing deserves.

Published writer, fashion blogger and GoodwillNyNj Style Icon, Adriana Nova

In this second half, Adriana covers how you can look like a million bucks for just a handful of bills. Plus, for all you fashion bloggers out there, Ms. Nova shares some insight on what you really want to know: what it takes to become a professional style writer – and, if you’re as awesome as Adriana, a Goodwill Style Icon, too.

Adriana, as a contributor to Essence.com, StyleHive, and Honey, we know you know a ton about fashion – but how about affordable fashion? What advice do you have for the girl or guy who wants to make a unique, personalized fashion impression without dropping endless cash for one-of-a-kind boutique creations?

My advice is that it’s entirely possible – and that you might end up looking better than the girl or guy who has endless cash resources. It’s akin to that old saying about good manners: they have nothing to do with class and everything to do with upbringing. Similarly, a keen sense of style has nothing to do with the size of your bank account and everything to do with your decisions.

If you’re working with limited funds, the key is to be strategic about your purchases (see the recommended Splurge and Save items below). Scour eBay, online sample sale sites, consignment shops and, of course, thrift stores like Goodwill for quality goods at prices you can work with. Get together with like-minded fashion friends for seasonal swap parties to exchange clothes. Repurpose current pieces in your closet with tailoring, trim updates, etc., like putting new buttons on a coat.

We’re big fans of repurposing – it’s the easiest way to create a completely unique look. Sometimes, though, we can’t help but want to follow a trend. What, if any, are the trend pieces worth the splurge, and what can be found for less?

Splurge: Handbags, coats, and shoes.

Save: Denim, separates (blouses, blazers, trousers), and accessories like sunglasses, costume jewelry, and belts.

Now a question close to many of our readers’ hearts: What advice do you have for those who dream of becoming fashion writers, but can’t afford each season’s designer items?

The first piece of advice is that fashion writers themselves can rarely afford each season’s designer items, so don’t get into the biz if it’s money you’re after. A living wage is possible, certainly, but it takes time and momentum, which you’ve got to be willing to build largely on your own, to establish yourself.

One of the best pieces of advice I heard about blogging, in particular (but applies to many fields) is that if you wouldn’t do it as a hobby and for no money, you probably shouldn’t get into it at all. There’s a lot of hard work, long nights, and thankless effort involved. That said, it can also be incredibly rewarding, especially when an audience (of even one or two) connects with your writing.

Figure out what you have to say. Do it through just writing exercises, which can be as simple as picking a runway look and articulating your opinion about it. Look at how other writers approach the craft, and observe people both in and outside the field.

Approach fashion as you would any academic topic: learn its history, its players, terminology, and how the business works. Search your network for any fashion connections and, if you find one, ask if you can meet to learn about their experience and ask them questions. If possible, find a mentor to help guide you and provide feedback.

Most importantly, keep at it and never stop learning: it’s the key to staying both motivated and informed.

You can read more of Adriana's style insight at her blog http://www.RealCurbAppeal.com.


Brooklyn Goes (St. Patty’s Day) Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – and may you have the luck of the Irish on your next Goodwill run! There is something really satisfying about hunting for a fashion treasure under the rainbow of items in your local Goodwill – and we recently visited the amazing Goodwill Livingston Store in Downtown Brooklyn (258 Livingston Street on the corner of Bond Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11201) with only one thing in mind: GREEN – being green, buying green, and saving green. We hope you enjoy these 4-leaf-clover-worthy finds!

1. For Her:

Tap into Joan Jett's celtic side with bright green leather & show just how punk-rock the Irish can be for just $19.99... leaving a lot of dimes for the jukebox, baby.

2. For Him:

A little bit more country than rock n' roll? This meadow-green dress-shirt brings those emerald hills right into your cubicle - and might just match that kitschy green beer you'll be drinking later tonight. For $4.99, we'll toast to that.

For Baby:

Dress up your little Sweet Pea in pistachio green - for $1.99 and $2.99 an item at the Livingston store, even baby's got it easy being green!

4. For Kicks:

We can't help but smile, Irish eyes and all, at this Afro Ken toy. He may not be a leprechaun, but we'll take him as a good luck charm any day of the week!

We’ll have more info on the Goodwill Livingston Store for you in the coming weeks – but be sure to stop by 258 Livingston Street soon to scoop up these amazing green deals… all 15% off today only as part of our big green St. Patrick’s Day Sale.

Happy Green Hunting!

St. Patrick’s Day Sale This Wednesday!

Planning your weekday shopping sprees? Count your 4-leaf clovers; GoodwillNyNj’s having a big green sale just for you on Wednesday, March 17th!

Style, Style Everywhere

Welcome to “Style, Style Everywhere” – the updated version of our “Mid-Week Mini-Break” feature. Here, we show off what our chic shoppers are finding in their local Goodwill & sharing on their blogs. It’s a pretty impressive array – and we hope it inspires you to check out the Goodwill near you and get your Style, Style Everywhere on, too!

The fabulous fashion blog Bromeliad visited Florida & came back full of Goodwill finds. Grays never looked so good!

Bromeliad: Here’s my haul from the Goodwill store… I got: new black peeptoe flats – walkable and cute; a grey comfy work dress; a ruffled sweater by the British label Wrap (My mom actually found this.); a set of of white sailcloth curtains (Not pictured. Yet.)… Only buy what’s cheap and fabulous. Lots of cheap adds up to expensive and then a need to clean the closet and give a pile to Goodwill.

Leave it to Man Hands Lizzie to find the perfect touch to a monochrome look. We are in love with this lil Goodwill fish!

Man Hands Lizzie: Alas, woe is me!  I love belts but I have no waistline.  Still I’m compelled to buy belts, especially when they’re priced this low… Awww… look at that.  It’s a fish belt and when I saw it I felt like I found the end of the rainbow.  It’s made of fabric and tassels and it could look really enhance an all black outfit.  An artist from Atlanta called Susan Maddox designed it.  Price: $2.59.

There are so many reasons we admire Pixiepine - her style, her social consciousness, her eco-awareness... &, of course, her stellar eye for Goodwill finds!

Pixiepine Blog: I love a Goodwill run! I have found so many great things there lately, which really strenghtens my committment to my 2010 challenge to myself…Í’m working on the Compact in which I will attempt to not buy anything new for 1 year (besides food, toiletries, etc.). Instead, I can choose from any variety of sources: garage sales, Ebay, Goodwill, thrifting, trading, handmade, free, etc. etc. etc. (yay!)… Oh the joy!! Oh the bargains!! I might be the best dressed no-new-stuff lady ever!!