Everyday Thrifting

David Morgan, Yes, David is Here

A Good Look Contributor



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: optimizing your thrifting finds. Enjoy!

Each of these outfits contain one or more thrifted elements. How do you incorporate your Goodwill finds into your everyday wear?

Recently, I have begun maintaining a Flickr set of some of my daily outfits. Going through the few pictures I’ve posted so far, I’m surprised out how much of my clothes are from the Goodwill. I know I thift a lot, but certainly didn’t know it was that much. Everyday, at least some part of my outfit is thrifted, a testament to both the versatility and diversity of thrift store shopping.

Whatever the occasion, I guarantee that you can find a look within the thrift store. The most important tip I can offer in debunking any feeling of hesitancy is that:

  • Price does not determine style, and not even quality.

I have had pairs of pants worth hundreds of dollors rip after a few months, and I’ve had pants bought for dirt cheap last for years.

While I definitely appreciate the value of exceptional craftsmanship, and understand that some well-made clothes are truly worth the investment, you really cannot determine the quality of thrifted clothes based on price.

  • The hierarchical rules of fashion just do not apply at the thrift store.

Both high and low-end pieces have the same playing field and price point, which definitely puts the cash-strapped fashionisto at ease.

In short, if you are worried that thrifting will make you look cheap, I assure you it won’t. Dior coats share the same rack as high school varsity gear, and both are there for your wearing pleasure.

Each of these outfits contain one or more thrifted elements. How do you incorporate your Goodwill finds into your everyday wear?

If you are a thrifting pro, what high-end pieces have you stumbled upon at the thrift store? And how does thrifting influence your everyday style? Perhaps our examples will ease the worried minds of strict department store adherents 🙂

When you #ShopGoodwill , not only will you look good, you’ll feel good, too! Because your purchases support Goodwill’s programs and services. Head here to find GoodwillNYNJ store locations near you!


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.

Clothes for the Blah Days

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: mood-altering outfits. Trippy, man… Enjoy!

My happy outfit, 100% thrifted from top to bottom (including the shoes)!

What do you wear on your “blah” days, those days when everything is grey and all you want to do is sleep? We all have them, yet most of us don’t have the convenience of stopping everything in our lives to wait for the “blah-ness” to be over. Life still moves; there is much work to do and never much time to do it. On days like this, what you should wear is often the least important decision on your mind. In fact, sweatpants and a wrinkled tee seem like the only saving grace. Instead of opting for that couch potato uniform, consider these tips for choosing an outfit on your “blah” day:

– Think of the psychological effects of color. Steer clear of the greys and blacks, and even the darker hues of other colors when feeling “blah.” Green is the easiest color your eyes can see, and is often known for encouraging feelings of peace (think of how images of nature make you feel.) Similarly, yellow and orange often produce feelings of optimism, and are known for stimulating creativity (like a sunny day). Purple and bright blues always make me feel happy too. Of course there exceptions to every rule (some say yellow has adverse affects), but try incorporating these and other colors colors into your look on your sad days and you may notice a difference! Check out these great articles here and here to learn more about Color Psychology.

– Wear your best fit. Gloomy days are not the best days for wearing clothing that is too tight or too loose. Tight clothes can encourage subconscious feelings of confinement and anxiety, while loose clothes may leave you feeling apathetic or lazy. Be sure to wear your best-fitting and most flattering clothes on your “blah” days.

– Opt out of loud prints. I would recommend a clean color palette on those days when you’re feeling down. While a frenetic print is visually stimulating, it may be a bit much on a day when you are already emotionally vulnerable, and could even encourage feelings of anger (it’s like watching an action movie when you just feel like crying). Instead, try softer, plain colors, or a very simple pattern like polka dots or stripes.

My thrifted green, polka dotted always cheers me up.

– Choose soft fabrics. When you’re feeling sad, choose luxurious fabrics to wear like a silk tie, a cashmere sweater or your best cotton shirt. I strongly believe that all of our senses influence our emotion, even the sense of touch. Similarly, put on a bit of your favorite cologne or perfume to make your sense of smell happy.

Hey! C'mon get happy! 🙂

Now that you have a fabulous outfit on in spite of your gloomy disposition, the last, equally important thing to do is to look in the mirror and smile. Turn that frown upside down!

T-Shirt Tips!

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: perfecting the everyday t-shirt. Enjoy!

I dyed this Goodwill tee myself, creating a wholly unique piece from an everyday thrift find - and you can too!

Everyone needs at least a couple of good t-shirts in their closet. They are a staple for any wardrobe, and come in endless varieties. If you can’t find anything else at the Goodwill, on any give day, you will definitely find a cool t-shirt.

While the printed, pattern and statement tees are fun and plentiful, what is equally as exciting is what you can do with a simple, plain tee. I consider these to be blank canvases, because not only can you pair them with nearly anything, they are so inexpensive at the Goodwill that you can rip, alter and mark them up without feeling any bit of guilt. Instead of taking the easy route with a printed tee, try some of my favorite ways to embellish a plain one.

  1. Pin it up! At your next Goodwill visit, grab a plain tee then dive into the jewelry section for pin and brooches. Grab a bunch and create a cool pin collage on your tee. This is a five-minute craft project anyone can do, plus you can always take off the button and pins for something else later!

  2. Cut and sew! Embellish a plain tee with some fun fabric prints and lettering. All you need to do is cut out the images, prints or letters you like and stitch them on. You can either hand-sew them or use a sewing machine. For the example below, I took a piece of striped fabric from an old pajama set and a few letters from an ill-fitting t-shirt. It’s now one my favorite shirts to wear!

  3. Stitch it! Sketch a design using a soluble fabric or chalk marker, then follow along the lines with your sewing machine. Play with the different stitches available, like zig-zag, or try using different color thread. This tee took me about 15 minutes to stitch up and completely changed the look of this former basic tee!

  4. Tie-Dye it! Revive this classic hippie fashion statement! Dye your shirt with vegetables extracts like purple cabbage, beets or carrots, then wash and dry for a completely unique shirt. I found the shirt below already dyed, but tie-dyeing is an incredibly easy and fun craft! Learn more about the process, and some great vegetables for dyeing with, in this great tutorial.

There are so many other ways to embellish an old, plain tee. What are some other ideas you have?

Salute! Get Into Military Gear

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: bringing the military into your wardrobe. Enjoy!

Thrifted outfits incorporating military pieces.

With a brother in the Army and a very good friend in the Navy, I am definitely accustomed to, and have grown to love, military wear. I love the clean lines and crisp uniforms, the masculinity and durability of fatigues, and the rich colors of deep navy, clay brown and dark green (especially the green, which is probably my favorite color to wear).

One of my favorite teenage crafting moments was when I restyled one of my brother’s old Army BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) jackets. I tore it apart and gave it a slimmer fit, and distressed the sleeves and collar. Since I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time, I altered it by hand, a very long process but one that definitely payed off. I loved that jacket, though sadly it was lost in a future move to a new house. Nevertheless, the affection for military wear stayed, and I have fun incorporating it into my daily looks.

Military clothing is strong and rugged by nature, making them perfect items for men to search for in a Goodwill, and luckily, there is a lot of military clothing to be found!

Be sure to browse your t-shirt aisle for those great, basic army tees. They usually come in Green and Brown. They are just great to have around, and you might be surprised at how often you grab for them in the morning! They look cool with nearly anything.

An example of a great, thrifted army tee.

A lot of Goodwills have a uniform section, a great place to find a neat pair of formal military pants. These pants are great to keep in handy for unexpected job interviews or a last-minute fancy dinner. They usually last a very long time and maintain a clean crease. Be sure to pay attention to the care instructions though, as some are dry clean only.

Don’t overdo it. Wearing military pieces should not appear as if you are wearing a costume. Be sure to tone down your military finds with items from your own closet. Unless you are in the military, I wouldn’t recommend dressing up in head-to-toe combat gear.

I also love flightsuits (shown in the first image), and have been lucky to find a few on my thrifting excursions. When worn, I’m so surprised at how bohemian they look, especially with a simple pair of sandals. While this is a strong look, pairing it with a bunch of fun accessories tones it down considerably. I also took a brown flightsuit and cut and hemmed the top portion then added a simple drawstring for a cool pair of scarecrow-esque pants. I love them!

I added a piece of thrifted fabric as a tie for my altered military pants. I love how the colors compliment each other!

The next time you are in the Goodwill, get your “Top Gun” on and try a few military looks. Experiment with cool combinations, like your favorite jeans with an army tee or a pair of combat boots, or a cool BDU Jacket with a pair of grey, blue or purple khaki shorts. Army-chic (or Navy or Air-force) never goes out of style.

Now tell me: What is your favorite military clothing or accessory? How do you incorporate them into your daily look?

Accessorize It!

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: making accessories the main event. Enjoy!

This photo is an example of how different accessories found at Goodwill can create an entirely new look with the same outfit!

Need an inexpensive way to spruce up an average outfit? Goodwill is a goldmine for accessories, and your go-to for a cheap wardrobe upgrade! Many people think I have a lot of clothes, but the reality is that I have a lot of accessories.

I own dozens of scarves, hats and bags just so I won’t have to spend a lot of money on too many clothes, or think of too many outfits throughout the week. We all have our favorite pairs of jeans or our favorite tee, and the beauty of accessories is that they give the illusion that these faves are new each time you wear them!

My scarves and ties collection... Nearly everything was thrifted!

Accessories add personality to boring office attire, and a little zing to evening wear. The best part is that it’s completely optional. You can easily take off a scarf or hat as your mood changes throughout the day. Here are my tips for finding the perfect accessories at Goodwill:

  • Get colorful! Accessories are the perfect way to bring some color into your wardrobe. If you typically stick to neutrals in your staple pieces, try not to do the same with your optional ones.
  • Remember the season. If it’s summertime, I wouldn’t recommend wearing a wool scarf, nor would I opt for a silk one in the winter. Change your accessories as the seasons change. The warmer it is, the lighter your fabric choices should be.
  • Don’t worry about finding specific colors or pieces, or even coordinating your accessories with a specific outfit. Just focus on what looks cool to you the moment you see it. Accessories are a wonderful way to bring a bit of the unexpected into any look.
  • Think of your assets. Like clothes, accessories are great for accentuating your best features! Grab a tie that matches the color of your eyes, or pick up a pair of glasses that compliment your facial structure (round frames are great for square heads, square frames are awesome for round heads). Let a few accessories emphasize the best you!
  • If bag-hunting, remember the luggage section. I’m a huge fan of luggage-wear as everyday-wear. Small, vintage travel bags are perfect for carrying your books, wallet and miscellanea, and are often very durable for long-lasting use. I like to call them “statement bags” because they’re big enough to add flavor to any outfit.
  • Don’t forget the jewelry. The best place to find one-of-a-kind jewelry is at the Goodwill. Grab pins to personalize a tote bag, and don’t forget classic accessories like brooches or wrist cuffs. They’re small additions that can brighten your day. Like anything in life, it’s all in the details!

My accessory collection is a testament to my inspirations, whether it is Edie Beale from Grey Gardens, jazz musican Miles Davis or the cool cats of the Harlem Renaissance. I would have never explored these looks had it not been for my nearest Goodwill. Your accessory collection should reflect your inspiration too, and your neighborhood Goodwill is the perfect place to find it!

What’s your favorite accessory you own? I’d love to know!

My bag collection, courtesy of secondhand stores!

Share your fav accessory thoughts; come tweet to us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Fan Page, and teach us a thing or two about pocket squares and bolo ties.

Now that you’ve got your accessorizing down pat, get out there and get looking good with Goodwill, gentlemen!

Mother’s Day Sale!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Come celebrate with your original style icon. All day Sunday, May 9th, women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and pocketbooks are 15% off. Take Mom on a fashion free-for-all at your local Goodwill and see exactly who gave you  your killer good taste!

It’s a 90s Party!

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: how to channel ’90s inspiration into a Hip Hop Hooray outfit. Enjoy!

In the 90s, party rap saw the lowering of jeans and a decidedly baggier fit. Machismo stormed onto the scene and into the conscious of Middle America. This 1990 get-up taps that "anything goes" energy, and makes me wanna Jump, Jump while doing it.

Maybe it’s because I live in the Bronx, the grafitti-laden birthplace of hip-hop, but I’ve been really into old school hip-hop fashion lately, particularly that of the 1990s. I’m jamming to Salt n’ Pepa, watching Kid & Play and their house parties, and even taking the occasional visit to Bel-Air to meet The Fresh Prince. This decade gave us clothes that proclaimed “You Can’t Touch This.” Whether one liked it or not, the 90s marked a major shift in fashion, if not all of popular culture.

The inspiration behind the outfit.

Keeping with the 90s feel, my latest Goodwill find is a super-baggy jean jumper, a throwback to this crazy (sexycool) decade. I happened to find it in the women’s section, which leads to my first tip:

Explore ALL sections of your Goodwill. Now guys, I know it may be difficult for you to be seen perusing the blouses and purses, but I recommend this for two reasons:

  • Like in any store, people don’t necessarily put things back exactly where they found them. This is especially important to remember when Goodwill shopping, as that one misplaced item may be the exact thing you need in your wardrobe. Browsing all the sections of your Goodwill ensures you’ve covered all the bases.
  • Successful Goodwill shopping is part luck, part persistence and part creativity. Try on anything that looks cool to you, even if it may be a bit gender-bending. I’m not necessarily advocating cross-dressing (unless that’s your thing), I’m simply saying that things can easily be altered or changed slightly to fit your style and shape. Like people, clothes don’t easily fit into two categories of black and white. There is a fantastic grey area of pants, scarves, belts and more that the bold (or not so bold) fashion-loving guy can explore. Besides, rigid gender constructs are so last millennium.

My baggy jean jumper is such a cool piece for me that I wouldn’t care what section it came from. I’ve been really into extra-large onesies lately (just my latest style quirk) and this is a perfect fit. I paired it with a thrifted tank top and a pair of regular-priced shoes, leading to a next tip:

Go high and low. Don’t segregate your closet. Mix and match both your high and low-end pieces to create a really fantastic look. The beauty of regular Goodwill shopping is that you can save the money you normally would spend at a designer store. This means that when a must-have item is seen at said designer store, you can have the money to grab it! Pick up an amazing pair of designer jeans, for instance, then pair it a thrifted tee or hat.

No matter what the price is, remember that it’s all in the way you wear it. Regardless of how much you paid for an item, you can make it look like a million bucks.

So the next time you’re in your local Goodwill, explore those hidden nooks and crannies. You never know what amazing item you’ll come across. And be sure to remember what you already own in your closet. You may find the perfect accessory for that ridiculously expensive suit.

David's favorite Goodwill is in the Bronx. Have you figured out which one it is yet?

Now get out there and get looking good with Goodwill, gentlemen!

Style Icon Interview: DIY Style Blogger David Morgan

We hope you enjoyed Part One of GoodwillNyNj’s Style Icon Interview with David Morgan! Last week, crafter-blogger-creative David Morgan told us how a limited budget actually expanded his style, allowing him to transform his wardrobe into a “museum of curiosities,” including everything from tribal fabrics to high-wasted shorts to vintage farm overalls. Yup – 100% Style Icon.

Blogger, singer, crafter, miscellaneous fashion muse, & GoodwillNyNj Style Icon David Morgan

In this second half, David shares his tips on becoming a fashion blogger, transforming an Average Joe wardrobe into a signature style, and time-traveling in the name of swoon-worthy thrifting finds.

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

How can the Average Joe personalize his clothes to create a unique style? Are there any basic shopping or upcycling tips you can share with our readers?

Whew, where do I start?!  The very first thing the Average Joe can do to personalize their style is by understanding who they are. Of course, this is a perpetual work-in-progress, but in order to have your own style who have to figure out what you really like. Try listing all the things that inspire you, whether it be movies, books, music or anything in between. Find images related to these inspirations and keep them near you as mini-mood boards when shopping.

Secondly, realize that good style does not happen overnight. If you have always been in the habit of jeans and a t-shirt, for instance, incorporating other pieces should be a gradual but consistent process. Attempting to completely change your wardrobe in a one spree will make you look forced, and you will probably resort to your old ways in no time. Instead, try buying at least one article of clothing that is unlike anything in your wardrobe at least once a week. Dedicate one day a week as your “Play Day,” and incorporate the new piece into your daily wardrobe. Remember: clothes should be fun!

Next, do not be afraid of color! Many people are, and they miss out on a lot of amazing clothes. Figure out what colors work best with your skin tone and make a concerted effort to incorporate them into your daily outfits.

What advice do you have for young men and women who dream of becoming fashion designers / super crafty creators?

Resist peer pressure. Your style should be just that — YOUR style! People will always criticize, whether it be good or bad. If you like what you are wearing, that is really all that matters.

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?

If I could visit a Goodwill in any time period it would be the 50s. The quality of clothes were impeccable during this time period, and I’d walk away with armloads of cardigans, button-down shirts and slacks! I’m also a fan of luggage pieces from that era, and would definitely grab a few travel wallets and carry-on bags while I’m there. I love old books too, especially vintage childrens books and instructional books, so I would need to grab a bunch of those as well. Hopefully I could bring a friend along to help me carry all that stuff!

Have you ever donated to Goodwill?

Yes, I have donated a lot of things to the Goodwill, though mostly I am the consumer!


There you have it: advice from a secondhand fashion master! Be sure to add YesDavidIsHere to your must-read blog list & see how stylin’ the budgeted life can be!

Spring into Summer Sale!

Looking to get a jumpstart on your summer wardrobe?

Drop your spring cleaning donations and stock up on new sunny finds at your local Goodwill in the Greater New York and Northern New Jersey area. From 7pm to 9pm Thursday, April 29th and Friday, April 30th, everything in the store (everything!!) is 25% off!