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Fashionista: Creating that L.L.Bean look without the price

It’s a new year. Finally! It’s time for new resolutions, and tops on that list is to work on a 2021 budget. I have to say I always set aside a small fund for apparel shopping, and Goodwill allows me to do that. Shopping at Goodwill means major savings!

One thrift tip while secondhand shopping is to duplicate a high-end look for less.

I love L.L.Bean! You can’t beat the high-end quality. However, when it comes to my new budget plan, I can’t spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of L.L.Bean boots.

My plan was to find a cute and comfortable boot — and a coordinating look — that would match the L.L.Bean style but not the price. It began with the $9.99 boot, which is adorable and so comfortable with the fleece lining. And the price? Bring on the savings. I paired it with an oatmeal-colored sweater that is a blend of cotton and wool, which makes it comfortable and not itchy. Add the soft red flannel shirt, and you have an L.L.Bean look for about $25.

Keep within your apparel budget and look like you spent more by shopping high-end looks at Goodwill.

Cost breakdown: Boots, $9.99; Gap skinny jeans, $4.49 with 50% off color tag of the week; Gap sweater, $7.49 with 50% off color tag of the week; Relativity flannel shirt, $4.99.

About Therese Bishop: Therese is Goodwill’s fashionista and always is on the hunt for her next great treasure. She writes regularly about her fashion finds.

Get fit with thrift: tips for buying secondhand workout clothes

You shopped around for the right gym membership that fits your needs. From the classes offered to the equipment available, you wanted to get the most for your money while you’re working hard to stay in shape. The same standard should be set when it comes to your workout clothes, whether you are working out at the gym or at home. Keep your clothing budget in shape as well while you’re shopping with these helpful tips on how to find workout clothes at your local Goodwill thrift store.

Many thrift store workout clothes are new.

When you start looking for thrift store workout clothes, you may not realize that many items are actually new with tags. Not only are these items brand new, they are priced much lower than regular retail stores. Keep your eyes peeled for these new-with-tags options and you may be pleasantly surprised by the deals you can find!

Thrifted doesn’t mean poor quality.

Most of the thrift store workout clothes available at Goodwill are in excellent condition. If you’re new to the world of thrift shopping, you might assume that used items are stained, damaged or worn out. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Most items are in like-new condition and still maintain the same quality as brand new, especially if you look for high-quality brands.

Buy your favorite brands.

When you have favorite brands that you love, search for those same brands when shopping at Goodwill. This helps ensure that the style, fit and quality you’ve come to trust will be the same when you purchase thrift store items. Goodwill has a wide variety of new-to-you name brand workout clothes like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour available. Finding the brands you like at thrift store prices you’ll love will feel as good as meeting your new fitness goals.

Stock up on staples.

Workout staples like black leggings, comfortable shorts and tees should be staples in your workout wardrobe. These items can be worn for years and can be paired up with other items in your closet. When you have items you can wear multiple ways, it just makes life easier, right?

Quality, inexpensive workout clothes are easier to find than you think. Keep these tips in mind when you’re thrift store shopping because your gym wardrobe is about to be revamped.

Fashionista: Be a sportsanista with active wear from Goodwill

A 2021 goal for most people is to start a workout plan. But before you can get to work, you will need activewear to inspire you to workout. Let’s face it; workout apparel can get pretty pricey, especially the high-end labels. Well, before you lift those 3-pound weights, check out Goodwill to see what the thrift store has to offer.

I found this teal Under Armor tank in the clearance section for only $1.99, and this cute hooded sweatshirt jacket was a steal for only $4.49 (after the 50% off color tag of the week). I love how it is super soft and offers great details with a combination of three types of gray fabric.

The striped leggings are from the Goodwill boutique and have become one of my favorites.  They fit so well and help suck in my tummy and backend. They make you look as if you did 100 squats. I guess if you wear these you wouldn’t have to even workout! Ha!

Looking great for workouts has never been easier.

Cost breakdown: Under Armor teal tank, $1.99; sweatshirt, $4.49 with 50% off color tag of the week; and new-with-tags Kyodan striped exercise leggings (boutique section), $7.49 with 50% off color tag of the week.

Head to Goodwill before you work out. You won’t break a sweat with these sweet savings!

About Therese Bishop: Therese is Goodwill’s fashionista and always is on the hunt for her next great treasure. She writes regularly about her fashion finds.

Fashionista: Winter coat for $1.99 on clearance? Yes, please!

I have to admit that when I enter the golden gates of savings at my local Goodwill, I head straight back to the clearance section. The prices are reduced to pennies on the dollar.

In a recent visit, I headed over to the clearance section, and my eyes immediately fixated on a beautiful winter double-breasted coat. It had the lovely detail of these crystal-like buttons.

Before I put it in my cart, I checked it over for stains, loose buttons and tears. I found nothing wrong, and in the cart it went.

I can just hear my hubby saying, “Honey, another coat!?” But for the price of $1.99 I simply could not pass it up. I did spend a little on dry cleaning, but this coat will take me through the winter season. Let’s face it; winter lasts until late April so all of this is justifiable in this purchase.

So, honey, I promise not to bring home another coat … at least, this season!

Goodwill has a great selection of coats, winter vests and even new hats and gloves. Shop GW and indulge in your favorite items. Is a beautiful coat on your list, even though you may not need another? Yes! You have my permission.

About Therese Bishop: Therese is Goodwill’s fashionista and always is on the hunt for her next great treasure. She writes regularly about her fashion finds.

5 thrift tips: How to shop secondhand like a pro

Regular Goodwill thrifters know the key to secondhand success is keeping an open mind, having fun and knowing what you are looking for while remaining flexible. If you want to be in the know, too, we can help you learn how to thrift like a pro. Here are our five tips.

Check the fit and the color

One of the easiest traps to fall into when thrift shopping is to buy it all. That’s easy to do when you know you can add a lot for a little. The key is to be selective, so you find items that bring out the best in you and add flattering pieces to your wardrobe that you can’t wait to wear and wear again and again. You want your thrift treasures to become your go-to pieces.

Ask yourself some questions before putting it in the cart. Are the sleeves long enough? Is it a color you wear? Does it complement your skin tone or wash you out? Does it have a hole? If it does have a hole, that’s not an automatic no. We thrift pros know how to get out our needle and thread and fix a hem or a hole in the armpit of a sweater. No one will be the wiser!

Be in the know

Goodwill features a color tag system, and each week puts one of the colors at 50% off. That means that each week a portion of the store is 50% off. If you don’t know what the color of the week is, just ask or look around for the signs. And while you’re asking, find out what day of the week the color changes. (Hint: Goodwill NCW changes its color tag of the week on Sundays.) Who doesn’t love a bargain on top of a thrift-store bargain?

Also, join the rewards program and be rewarded with special perks and promotions. If you aren’t a member, ask your cashier on how you can become one.

Pick your favorites

Pressed for time but in a shopping mood? If you only can dedicate 30 minutes but you need your fix, don’t comb the entire selection of apparel, for example. Instead, check out the category or categories you love most and stick to those, such as skirts or patterned tops. Focusing while shopping never was a bad thing and it could pay off with a big reward.

Add value to your wardrobe

Take a mix-and-match approach to your closet to be budget-minded. Don’t buy anything when thrift shopping unless it goes with something you already own. By mixing and matching you can make your wardrobe go further and not add impractical purchases to your closet.

Take inventory

Before you head out to your local Goodwill thrift store, check out your own closet. Look for pieces that will match clothes you wear less often, or not at all, because you never quite found a great combo. Likewise, snap pics of pieces that you love and would wear more often if you had another item to go with them.

Guide to thrifted fitness equipment

By Josh Crowe

To start your fitness journey right, why pay full price for fitness equipment when shopping thrift can help you get in shape for less. The price tags on fitness equipment shouldn’t raise your heart rate; save that for the actual exercising.

In addition to buying your workout apparel at your local Goodwill, there is a variety of equipment you can pick up. By purchasing your equipment from your local Goodwill, you can take pride in knowing that you are getting healthier while saving money and knowing you are helping people in your community.

Find fitness equipment in like-new condition along with items that will help you along your fitness journey and work out from the comfort of your home.


The versatility and compact size of dumbbells make them a staple of any workout routine. Use them in a variety of exercises and keep them tucked away. Opt for the fixed dumbbells or grab this unique spin on a dumbbell — the shake weight. Price: starting at $1.99

Fitness system

If you are fortunate enough to find an entire system with all the pieces, pick it up. These generally contain all the items needed to start your fitness journey. Price: starting at $9.99

Jump rope

Sometimes the simplest piece of equipment can help you get some the best results. Cue the jump rope. Check out the benefits of jumping rope in this Livestrong article. Price: starting at $1.99

Pull-up bar

A pull-up bar can be intimidating, but it’s fantastic for upper body workouts. A door pull-up like the one pictured allows for multiple grip options that target different areas of your upper body. If you are looking to start a fitness system like P90X you will want to add this to your cart. Price: $14.99

Workout mat

A workout mat can help your hands and feet stay in their places. Working out on hardwood while working up a sweat means you’ll slip around, and carpeting doesn’t make it easier. A workout mat is the perfect solution. Price: starting at $4.99


Your local Goodwill sells tons of health and wellness books for workout inspiration. Along with the health and wellness books you can find cookbooks that will help you make healthy foods. Price: starting at $1.99


Rather than buying a fitness DVD for “three easy payments of $39.95” check out the DVD section where you can find a variety of choices to suit your fitness goals and interests. Yoga, Pilates, cardio, dance, step aerobics, kickboxing and more. Price: all media $1.99


To accompany you along your fitness journey or a book you picked up on healthy shakes, be sure to grab a blender/juicer. The Magic Bullet sells new for about $40. Buying secondhand not only will save you money, but it’s also a better choice for the environment. Price: $9.99


Put those cookbooks and that blender to good use and pick up a lunchbox. Bringing a lunch to work will help you save money and keep you on your fitness path. Price: starting at $2.99


Please don’t leave the store until you’ve looked through the shoe section. Wearing shoes in a home workout can help lessen the impact of many workouts that incorporate plyometrics or jump training. Price: starting at $4.99

Water bottle

Staying hydrated is key during and after your workouts. While you’re searching for your workout equipment be sure to grab a water bottle. Price: starting at 99 cents

Ideas for a new you in the new year

By Sophie Leppanen

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, we flip the calendar and start afresh. The beginning of a new year brings reflection, resolution and an opportunity to reset. It’s a wonderful place we return every year to refocus on what’s important to us now.

If you’re looking for inspiration to make for a better you in 2021, remember that Goodwill is here as a resource to support your efforts. Here are some ideas for a new year, new you.

Explore something new

Looking for a new hobby? Do you want to learn more about the night sky? Stargazing can be an expensive hobby, but we found this fully functional telescope at Goodwill for just $14.99. Do you want to learn how to knit? Give thrifted yarn a new purpose. A new hobby is a great way to fill your time with something enrichening that you look forward to. Consider outdoor winter activities, puzzles, crafting and much more!

Spend more time with your furry companion

You can never go wrong spending more quality time with loved ones, and playing with stuffed animals can be fun to do with kids. Stuffed animals also make great toys if your goal is to bond more with your furry companion in 2021. If your pooch shreds new pet toys quickly, try a thrifted stuffed animal instead.

Adopt a peaceful evening routine

According to the National Sleep Foundation, routine and regularity are healthy for our bodies. This might cause distress if you’re one of the many who struggle with falling asleep. Incorporate candles into an evening wind-down routine to help the body and mind relax – precursors to a good night’s sleep. There is something about the flame that is so peaceful and comforting, especially when paired with pretty crystal and glass pieces. The pieces pictured start at 99 cents. It will be a purchase that pays for itself 1,000 times over in good nights’ sleeps!

Go down a belt punch hole

Instead of thinking about weight loss in terms of pounds, focus on getting to the next punch hole on your belt. It’s much more fun to look down at your sparkly belt to measure progress than stepping onto a scale. All belts at Goodwill are now $1.99, so this goal is definitely as fashionable as you want to make it!

Figure out your finances

Thinking about personal finances can be stressful and overwhelming. If you’re ready to regain control of your finances, know that there is support every step of the way from Goodwill’s Financial and Debt Services Solutions. Financial counselors will help assess your financial situation and put together a manageable plan that helps you sleep easy. Visit Goodwill’s Financial and Debt Services Solutions page if you’re ready to take a lifechanging step in 2021.

Read more

With everything from children’s classics, fiction and history to recipes and romance, there are so many cool books to explore your budding interests. Get lost between the covers of a good, old-fashioned book and discover a new world that awaits.

Be generous

When you donate and shop at your local Goodwill, your support stays within the 35-county region we serve and directly benefits your neighbors. Eighty-five cents of every dollar you spend at Goodwill funds programs and services that make a life-changing impact on individual’s lives and our communities. Thank you for your support and generosity.

Fashionista: Buffalo plaid makes for a ‘Wonderful Life’

I’m a big fan of classic movies, and one of the all-time bests is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” My favorite part is the pre-courting scene where George and Mary are singing, “Buffalo girls won’t you come out tonight … aaaaand dance by the light of the moon.” George then proposes that he will lasso the moon for her.

Perhaps you can’t lasso the moon at Goodwill, but you can lasso up some savings. Sorry, I just had to say that.

I’ve had this Princess Vera Wang silk-like buffalo cami for a while. Black and white buffalo is great on its own, but when I found this adorable red and black buffalo plaid flannel shirt, in my mind I was picturing the two together.

The cute ruffle around the neck is unique and adorable, and they pair well together. This pair of black high-waisted skinny jeans is a post-holiday season bonus. They are extra stretchy for comfort and have enough elastic to give you added room after all the cookies, candies and a bit of Bailey’s — in tribute to George Bailey, of course!

So, go and visit your local Goodwill! There a so many cute winter shirts, warm sweaters and winter apparel. No need to put a string around your finger to remind you of all the savings.

Cost breakdown: NoBo skinny high-rise jeans, $5.99; Princess Vera Wang cami, $7.99; and Gap buffalo plaid flannel shirt, $8.99.

About Therese Bishop: Therese is Goodwill’s fashionista and always is on the hunt for her next great treasure. She writes regularly about her fashion finds.

How to dress your snowman this winter

By Josh Crowe

When winter weather brings an abundance of snow, it means it’s time to bundle up and head outside to build a snowman. Whether you want to make your snowman stand out from the crowd or go all out in that timeless, traditional look, be sure to dress your snowman in thrifted gear this winter for some added fun.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Sports theme

Show your support for your favorite professional, college or local sports team with jerseys, tees, hats, mittens, gloves and accessories like a football, helmet or foam finger. Think in terms of color themes, too, like green and gold or red and white — wherever your sports fandom takes you. If you want to get even more creative, have two dressed-up snowmen face off each week and change it to represent the teams that are playing one another that week.

Shop: Scarves, hats and clothing starting at $1.99

Vacation theme

If your vacation plans have turned into a staycation, live vicariously through your snowmen. Set up a vacation scene with a few snowmen dressed in Hawaiian clothes or something tropical. We can dream, can’t we?

Shop: Sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts starting at $4.99

Movie/TV theme

Set the scene from a favorite movie or TV show or highlight some of your favorite characters and be the talk of the neighborhood. We are embracing all things “Star Wars” with this cool look.

Shop: Robe and lightsaber starting at $2.99

Classic theme

You can’t forget this timeless classic snowman — simple and traditional. Grab a top hat, scarf, mittens for the ends of sticks and such accessories from home as a carrot and lumps of coal.

Shop: Scarves, top hats and mittens starting at $1.99

Animal theme

If you really want your creativity to shine, add your favorite pooch or pet to keep your snowman company while out in the cold. Dogs really are a man’s best friend!

Shop: Collars and leashes starting at $2.99

Craft theme

If the snow falls short and you’re in the snowman-building spirit, here is a unique way to create one using a few tins and some paint. To complete the tin snowman, add a ribbon or scarf and some buttons and you’re set.

Shop: Tins and scarves starting at $1.99

Comfy winter clothes to beat cabin fever

Beat cabin fever from the outside in. Just because it’s dark out and you are inside more than ever doesn’t mean you need to match the mood with shades of black and gray.

Show Mother Nature you’ve got this by adding personality with secondhand winter clothes that make you feel alive and energized, whether you are working from home, watching a movie or playing cards with the kids. Combat the cold with comfy winter clothes that will keep you — or at least your heart — warm on the chilliest of days.

These secondhand winter clothes are treasures you can turn to for a dose of coziness and comfort when you need it the most!

Pullover sweaters

Oversized, loose sweaters are made for stylish winter wear that keep you looking professional for those virtual meetings from home yet are perfect for crawling under a blanket, like this new-with-tags knit turtleneck sweater from Aerie, originally marked $59.95, or this new-with-tags, speckled batwing sweater from The Loft in charcoal gray and white.


Get more wear out of your summer tees and tanks by wearing them underneath this winter must-have. Form-fitting layers provide the perfect balance for the looser cardigan style. This nubby, olive green cardigan pairs well with navy, camel, burnt orange, steel blue, coral and cream and would coordinate well with leggings. We also love it with this floral shirt in emerald tones. Plus, pay only $14.99 for the combination by shopping thrift.

Floral prints still have a place in winter fashion as long as they feature a darker palette, like in the case of this cardigan from Maurices, which offers shades of burgundy, sage, rust and blush. We love it paired with the burgundy long-sleeve shirt underneath, but what we love even more is the price — $9.98 for the two!


A comfy winter clothes essential is a stylish sweatshirt. We are jumping on the sherpa bandwagon because you can’t beat them for comfort and warmth. Plus, they are extremely trendy. Popular styles at secondhand prices? Win-win. If you find a sherpa sweatshirt at Goodwill, grab it because it won’t be on the racks long. We can’t wait to cuddle up in this gray and white one from Original Weatherproof Vintage.

Ponchos and capes

Ponchos are so on trend this season, and they fit perfectly in our quest for winter fashion ideas that are trendy yet offer that lived-in, easy feeling. Pair with leggings for that added comfort level.

This camel-colored ruffled cape looks bold and beautiful paired with a more fitted crewneck sweater from The Limited. You’re ready for anything the day brings with this put-together, name-brand look that only cost us $17.98.

So, go on and check out secondhand winter clothes to give you the boost you need to get you from now until spring!

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