Independence Weekend Sale!

Celebrate Independence Day the right way – give back while you get what you need. Shop Goodwill for your summer outfits, your awesome shades, and your beach towels, and you’ll be supporting an organization that helps Americans looking for work get the tools the need to find employment. Happy 4th of July!

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The Donation Movement

Big news from Goodwills all over the world: we’re starting a movement – the DONATION MOVEMENT. Grab your (upcycled) tie-dyed tees and your incense, folks, because this one’s going to be big.

From here on out, we’re teaming up with countless partners to make the impulse to DONATE as second-nature as the impulse to RECYCLE. The same way you know your recycling is important to our earth’s future, we want you to know your donated goods have the power to make a difference in people’s lives, strengthen communities and create a healthier environment.

We’ve even got a logo for our movement. Check it out:

Eventually, you’ll see that little D on anything and everything you can donate to Goodwill, from jeans to computers to video games.

To check out the Donation Calculator (which is pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves) and learn more about the Donation Movement, click here.

Now go sing about peace, love and reusability with flowers in your hair, movement-makers – the Donation Movement has begun!

Style Icon Interview: Fashion Blogger Mariel Strouse

Last week, fashion-blogger/style-setter/GoodwillNyNj Style Icon Mariel Strouse shared her blend of New York know-how & good ol’ fashioned Southern style with us, telling us how to incorporate classic thrift items to create an modern American look.

Our newest Style Icon in her favorite Goodwill find - a silk and wool coat dress found at the Astoria store for just $10. Now you see why she's such a style icon! For more proof, visit http://preppywithatwist.tumblr.com

This week, the 20-something writer/stylist behind Preppy with a Twist shares her thrifting tips, favorite Goodwill treasures and – even more valuable – her top-secret good luck charm Goodwill stores full of preppy finds. Enjoy & remember to pop your collar before reading… 😉

Hello again, Mariel! When you go thrift shopping, what do you always try to keep in mind – and keep an eye too out for?

Sometimes I go with a mental shopping list of things my wardrobe is lacking, but thrifting is a bit spontaneous for that strategy to work well. I always, always check the dresses first, followed by the scarf bin and the bookshelves (searching especially for fashion and art books).

Do you have a favorite Goodwill, one especially stocked with prime preppy finds?

Darn, I have to give away my secrets! My very favorite Goodwill is the Flatiron/Gramercy location on 23rd Street. The staff is super friendly and I usually find something amazing. Astoria is a close second (gotta rep the home turf). I’ve had luck finding preppy things in all sorts of neighborhoods — but the Upper East & West Sides do turn out tons of conservative, high quality clothes for a prepster in the making.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when heading to their local Goodwill?

A lack of patience. Even though thrift stores are fairly well organized, the volume of stock and mix of sizes means you need a lot of time and a good eye. Sometimes the best stuff is under a pile of trash – learn to love the thrill of the chase!

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…)

I’m going with the wildcard answer on this one – Lady Gaga. Who wouldn’t want to try on all of her ridiculous costumes?

What’s your favorite Goodwill find?

I found a gorgeous 60s era silk and wool coat dress at the Astoria Goodwill for just $10. I wore it to the opera and felt like a million bucks!

Why do you shop at Goodwill?

Great prices and a great cause!

Have you ever donated to Goodwill?

Of course! When I was growing up, my brother and I used to have a yard sale each year after we cleaned out our closets. All the leftovers went to Goodwill!

For nearly 100 years, GoodwillNyNj has been a pioneer of “reduce, reuse, repurpose.” Imagine: NY & NJ programs reaching as far back as 1915… If you could visit a Goodwill store in any 20th century decade & then travel back to 2010 with armloads of finds, which decade would you choose – and what would you hope to buy?

I’d have to say the early 70s– because I’m a hopeless Mad Men era fan, and by that point, people would be getting rid of the previous decade’s circle skirts, wiggle dresses, and swing coats…I would love come back to 2010 with a truckload of midcentury glamour!

Thanks, Mariel!

Goodwill and the Sewing Experience

Good news, dear gentlemen readers: we’ll be featuring a weekly column by GoodwillNyNj Style Icon David Morgan all about secondhand fashion and DIY style. This week: seeing Goodwill through a sewing needle’s eyes. Enjoy!

The complete ensemble, weird fez hat included 🙂

I have a confession. Although I work for BurdaStyle, an amazing sewing community, I’m still a beginner when it comes to sewing.

My mother bought me a sewing machine a few years ago, and while I vowed to become an expert sewer by this time, that sewing machine seems to have collected more dust than mileage. I indeed do a bit of sewing for my job (and can sew up a tote bag like nobody’s business), but my specific role involves more time spent in front of a computer than planning my next stitch. A few days ago, however, I decided that it was high time I take advantage of the amazing resources at my fingertips, and thus took on the challenge of creating my first garment.

I decided to try and create our Andre pattern, a super-cute swimming trunk with a slight vintage appeal that I loved. Here’s what I learned:

– Let Goodwill ignite your creativity. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Goodwill finds are cheap enough for you to embellish and alter them to your heart’s content. Not only that, there are a surprising number of craft resources found at Goodwill to inspire you to make entirely new creations all your own. Browse through the book section to discover resources on sewing and other crafts (I discovered an amazing, 1970s macrame instructional, and a bunch of vintage sewing tutorials on various shopping trips), or venture off to where the crafty things are to pick up a few skeins of yarn, then learn to crochet or knit. At Goodwill, shopping is a cheap investment that reaps huge rewards.

With my thrifted fabric, I dived into my most advanced sewing experience yet. I printed and assembled the pattern, carefully cut my fabric, then hesitantly began to sew. Three hours later, with much help from a very patient friend and co-worker (thanks Alden!), I emerged with actual, wearable (and cute) shorts! Anxious to show them off, I paired them with a thrifted Solar System tee and my favorite thrifted shoes. I then found an awesome fez along the street carts of Harlem, and couldn’t resist picking one up to add to the ensemble.

The finished shorts, handmade by me!

Now that I’ve created my first garment, the sewing bug has bit me hard. Next on my list? This awesome vest pattern (which I modeled for the site). I encourage you to let Goodwill ignite a sewing spark of your own!

Grab a piece of fabric or a bedding sheet while you’re there, and try making a simple bag first (A Good Look just featured this great, easy-to-make one in “Boutique You”), then move onto other, more challenging projects. You’d be surprised at what you can create!

Style Icon Interview: Fashion Blogger Mariel Strouse

Fashion-blogger/style-setter/Goodwill-lover Mariel Strouse impressed us with her blend of New York know-how & good ol’ fashioned Southern style. This twenty-something New Yorker pulls outfit inspiration from her childhood in Florida, French cinema, Mad Men, a whole library of Vogue and the city’s thrift stores, bringing it all together on Preppy with a Twist. It’s clear this New York belle is 100% a GoodwillNyNj Style Icon.

Love our newest Style Icon's rockin'/refined sense of style? Then you'll love preppywithatwist.tumblr.com, updated daily with Mariel's outfits and fashion musings.

We got the chance to chat with Mariel about her style, her thrifting, and her blog Preppy with a Twist, over the weekend. We hope you enjoy her charm, candor, and go-with-everything pearls as much as we did!

Hi Mariel! How did you first get interested in thrifting?

My parents have always been bargain shoppers, and my mom taught me a ton about recognizing good quality at low prices. We always shopped thrift stores for home goods, but in high school I started drifting over to the clothing section. I’d say I became a real pro in college and once I moved to New York – now I’ve got the bug and go thrifting even on vacation!

How would you describe your own personal style?

I chose the phrase “preppy with a twist” as my blog title since that’s the best way I can define my own style. I like classic, American pieces, often in bold colors or with something trendy mixed in. I tend to dress a bit girly, because it’s important for me to feel pretty and the garments that flatter me best often highlight my curves. I’m also drawn to vintage items, but I always keep the overall look grounded in a modern aesthetic.

You describe your mission as “bringing southern preppy style to the big city” – what do you love about the preppy style and how does vintage shopping tie into that?

To me, “preppy” is all about clean cut, classic, American style. My wardrobe is built around items that have been around forever, and it’s much more special to me to find a heritage piece — one of great quality with a bit of history, too.

What role does your budget play in shaping your own personal style?

Having a limited clothing budget forces me to be far more creative in the way I dress. I took a few months off from purchasing clothing (whether new or secondhand) and that was honestly a fun challenge – now when I shop, I am far more discerning about the pieces that make the final cut and come home with me.

I also think thrifting helps me to have individual style – I have a slight obsession with J. Crew, but I don’t want to look like every other girl who shops there, so mixing in thrifted items that no one else around owns makes me feel special and unique.

What does “style” mean to you?
Style is a really a visual representation of one’s personality– I know I’m drawn to certain types of clothing, but at the same time I can learn, take risks, and evolve.

Where do you find your fashion inspiration today?

I look to fashion bloggers like Jessica Schroeder of What I Wore and Kimberly of Fabfindsunder50.com – these ladies take clothing that is accessible to me price-wise and wear it in so many fabulous incarnations. On the red carpet, I always love to see what Diane Kruger, Reese Witherspoon, and Natalie Portman are wearing. Also Christina Hendricks – girl is representing the curvy chic!

We know you’re based in the New York area, and so are we! What do you think defines New York City style?

This city is all about ambition and being who you want to be — New Yorkers really have no fear about wearing what they want to. I secretly love getting stared at for wearing super awesome shoes or wild colors!

Do you think an New York or Northern New Jersey Goodwill would be any different than another city or state’s Goodwill?

Most people would agree that NYC has some of the best shopping in the world…so its residents will also donate the best clothing in the world. I once found a CAROLINA HERRERA (!) cocktail dress at the Chelsea Goodwill. I’m still cursing that it wasn’t my size – but I think it would be very hard to come up with such a find anywhere else.

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Let’s hear it for New York – &, of course, Northern New Jersey! Don’t forget to check in next week for Part Two of our interview with our president of prep, Miss Mariel. In the meantime, keep sharing your great finds and style tips with us on Twitter and Facebook – we love hearing from you!

Goodwill and BurdaStyle: Boutique You

It’s officially summer! Ice-cold lemonade, outdoor concerts, trips to the beach – the season is chockful of good things. In fact, there’s so much to do, it can be hard to get settle down, close the blinds and catch some real, reviving zzzzzs. Solution? This week’s Boutique You project: the Marcel Eyemask.

No need to leave the glamour out of your nap; find the most outrageous fabric at NY & NJ's Goodwills and create an eyemask that rivals the craziest dreams!

Filled with lavender and weighted with rice, this little mask does big work to help you relax. BurdaStyle’s got the no-stress pattern right here, and your local Goodwill has more than enough fabric to outfit your eyes for each & every nap you need. You could even tailor your fabric choice to meet your dreams – we’re thinking zebra print for a subconscious safari, ourselves…

If you make an eyemask you love, come show it off! You can either tweet us a pic or post your photo on our Facebook wall. Hope to see your beautiful creations soon!

Father’s Day at Goodwill!


Show your father a little love and plan some quality time together with a Goodwill Good Deal Safari. Take dad hunting for the best finds at your local Goodwill – all men’s apparel, footwear and accessories are 30% off all day long on Sunday, June 20th.

Buttons and Time

Good news, dear gentlemen readers: we’ll be featuring a weekly column by GoodwillNyNj Style Icon David Morgan all about secondhand fashion for men. This week: quick thrift picks & DIY tricks. Enjoy!

Fifteen minutes is all you need to score the ideal Goodwill find.

On two occasions this week, I walked into two different Goodwills exactly 15 minutes before they were supposed to close. I’m not sure how this happened, as both days I thought I had given myself enough time to make it. Yet somehow, I barely did.

Perhaps this was fate, since at each store I had only enough time to find exactly one amazing item and pay for it. While I am not necessarily an advocate of waiting until the last minute, I do believe in making the most out of what you have, even with time. So with all the determination and skillful shopping I could muster, I ran to the Men’s section and hunted for a bargain like a mad man.

When the announcer gave the impending warning, I emerged, proudly holding a cool tuxedo vest on the first day, and a pair of new American Apparel slacks on the other. The Goodwill Gods were certainly smiling.

While my new vest was cool enough as it was, I decided to add a little of my DIY-style to it. A few weeks ago, I had created a button collage on one of my old hats (shown on my personal blog, Yes, David Is Here), so with a bit of buttons left over, I decided to do a similar design on my vest.

A touch of DIY turns this last-minute bargain into a one-of-a-kind treasure.

This is an incredibly easy project, and can be done under an hour with a few buttons, needle and thread. I love how this once-formal vest is transformed into something completely casual! Still, I feel compelled to remind you:

  • A button covered vest is one thing, and a button covered outfit is another. Please don’t go overboard with your DIY creativity. One of the most challenging skills any of us creative types must master is the art of restraint. While Goodwill finds are a great way to dip, dabble and experiment with various restyling and remaking techniques to our crafty heart’s content, be selective with how much you decide to do. It’s important to look fashionable, not like a school craft project.J

I left the pants as they were (I was in desperate need of basic pants), and paired the two finds with thrifted handmade, leather shoes and a thrifted button-down shirt. A simple outfit indeed, but one that I really love! My shopping time at Goodwill never fails, even when down to the last minute.

Goodwill and BurdaStyle: Boutique You

Experiencing creative withdrawal now that the Renegade Craft Fair has past? Have no fear – this week’s Boutique You’s project should give you a quick boost of DIY delight to get you through the week – plus it’s the perfect accessory for all those summer overnights you’re planning. Enjoy: the Easy Drawstring Bag.

These little sacs are the perfect size for your heirloom jewels and thrifted gems, and best of all, you can make them from practically any fabric found in your local Goodwill store!

BurdaStyle’s got the big-fun little-stress pattern right here – and your local Goodwill has more than enough fabric to keep you busy mixing and matching looks. Start your summer party inside the suitcase and go wild storing your trinkets in polka dots, stripes, paisley and print bags. We dare ya.

If you make a bag you love, come show it off! You can either tweet us a pic or post your photo on our Facebook wall. Hope to see your beautiful creations soon!

Massive Mid-Year Sale!

Join us this weekend for our massive Mid-Year Sale! Everything in every one of our Greater New York and Northern New Jersey stores* is 50% off this Saturday and Sunday, June 12th through 13th!

*The Goodwill Fulton Street Store is the only exception to the sale. Goods there will be priced as usual due to the store recent reopening. We appreciate your understanding and support!