Style Icon Interview: Vintage Shaun’s Shaunya

Shaunya is the superfine style eye behind the site Vintage Shaun. Her curated finds have been featured on The Today Show and in Time Out New York, The New York Times, and The Blay Report. Shaunya shops Goodwill like a pro, pulling fashion out of every rack in her path. This Spring, she’s pairing up with us and Kimberlee VDW in our first ever #SpringFling contest. It was only a matter of time before we named her our newest GoodwillNyNj Style Icon!

Introducing our newest GoodwillNyNj Style Icon, Shaunya of Vintage Shaun!
Introducing our newest GoodwillNyNj Style Icon, Shaunya of Vintage Shaun!

We hope you enjoy reading Shaunya’s musings on the retro threads, Lil’ Wayne, Power Shopping and more as much as we had hearing them. Enjoy!

How did you first get interested in thrifting? Were you raised to reimagine fashion as a youngin’ or did this passion come later in life?

I started thrifting as a teen actually I was around 13. I was obsessed with retro/vintage threads from the 70s and thrift stores and vintage stores were the best place to find them.

How would you describe your own personal style?

Lil’ Wayne has this lyric “I’ve got so many styles, I am a group.” That’s me, right there. Some days I’m super glam, some days it’s bohemian, some days it’s sporty casual. My style is less visual and more psychological in that I’m never trying to look like someone to the tee but I am inspired by eras, icons, trends but never at the same time.

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

I grew up influenced by what I like to call Power Shoppers and I was always influenced to shop well and keep in mind to get more for your buck.  Do I have a budget when I shop? Not really – more because I know my closet and I live within my means. With that, budget doesn’t influence style; some of the people I think have the best style are far from having huge shopping budgets. I also know people who have unlimited budgets and the worse personal style. With saying that, a great eye and being resourceful is priceless and the best outfits are usually the ones with the least credit card debt.

What does “style” mean to you?

Style is truly a talent that is cultivated.  It’s about being educated in fit, trends, fabric. It’s knowing what to buy and when to wear it well. Style isn’t seeing an outfit and buying the exact outfit and wearing that same exact outfit down to the shoes every time. Style is creating a remarkable outfit out of a well-curated wardrobe.

Where do you find your fashion inspiration today?

Everywhere. I’m super visual. It can be a reality show, a vintage photograph, a blog, a tabloid or even a magazine. Just last night, I was obsessed with a print Megan Draper had on in Mad Men and now I’m super dreaming about it.

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

New York Style is adventurous and sharp and dandy. It’s the only city in the US that is a built in runway. Your walk to the train station or to catch a cab is sort of like a fashion show and New Yorkers know that, so no matter what they wear their best even if they’re getting on mass transit.

Do you think a New York & Northern New Jersey Goodwill would be any different than another city or state’s Goodwill? If so, how? If not, why not?

Do I? Well, of course. First of all New York and Northern NJ are known for high real estate and with high real estate comes, high end shoppers and high end donations. This is the epicenter of fashion and shoppers and donators are aware of that.

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

When I’m thrifting I’m always looking for great quality pieces that will be appreciated whether by me or my clients.  I’m always looking for a wow piece. Even if it’s just a white shirt, you want a well-tailored white shirt and luckily, thrift stores are the place that you’ll find those stellar pieces.

Do you have a favorite Goodwill? Have you found any Goodwills to be especially stocked with prime finds?

There is a Goodwill in Downtown Brooklyn (258 Livingston Street) that has an amazing selection of coats. I’ve seen Max Mara and Oscar de la Renta coats at that location and sort of had a coronary. The Upper West Side Goodwill (newly renovated at 217 West 79th Street) that we shot the video had an amazing assortment of cocktail attire. I spotted a dashing acid green Tibi dress that would be excellent for a brunch as well as a plethora of just gorgeous cocktail attire. I was in there and said: with this Goodwill here, no woman should ever cry that they don’t have a great special occasion dress.

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

It’s weird to say but usually they are shopping with a very narrow vision or too broad of a vision. I see patrons look for a specific dress they saw in the most recent issue of Vogue and there is about a one in a billion chance of that. I tell people shop with an open mind. Look for items that will anchor your wardrobe and add depth and make it easier on you in the future.  At the same time, I see people shopping for the sake of shopping and just buying junk. Those are the people who literally have nothing to wear because they don’t think about their purchases they just buy for the sake of buying.

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…)

OOOh, okay well Solange Knowles would be first on my list followed by Stephanie Seymour and all that Alia she has, of course Rachel Roy and my style icon Tracee Ellis Ross.

What’s your favorite Goodwill find?

A butter soft leather skirt that still had the tags on it. Leather is so on trend now but to me it has always been a wardrobe basic.

Why do you shop at Goodwill?

It’s fun and amusing and affordable and you walk out with treasures of excellent quality with a portion of the proceeds going to a good cause. It’s full circle shopping with excellent karma.

Have you ever donated to Goodwill?

Of course! I donate for so many reasons primarily it’s earth-friendly and it goes to a good cause.

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 2013 with armloads of finds, which decade would you choose – and what would you hope to buy?

I love the early 1960s, the Camelot era, think Betty Draper pre-divorce, Jacqueline Kennedy. The coats, the evening wear, the pocket books it was 24/7 glam all the time. 

We’re mad for Mad Men style, too – pencil skirts, swing coats, penny loafers, oh my! (And all things you can often find at your local Goodwill store!) We hope you enjoyed our time with Shaunya as much as we did – and we’d love for you to enter our #SpringFling Contest to win a styling session with the GoodwillNyNj Style Icon herself. Here are all the details you need: https://goodwillnynj.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/goodwillnynjs-springfling-12-days-left-to-enter-win/

Hope to see you soon!

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