Vested in Vests

Winter vests are an interesting and confusing clothing item. They are made for the cold weather, and yet they have no sleeves. They are, however, gaining increasing popularity in designer clothing lines and retail outlets. So how do you actually wear a vest in a fashionable way? This week, I visited the Goodwill in Natrona Heights and found some great examples.

First, I found this black, microfiber vest. It is similar in style to an Eileen Fisher vest that was just released this season for more than ten times the price! I paired it with maroon long-sleeved shirt and a pair of Lucky Brand jeans. Add a paisley scarf and some sparkly studs to complete the ensemble.

Next, I picked out this Kelly green puffy vest. To avoid looking like a character from an episode of South Park, wear this vest with a pretty, lilac-colored turtleneck and boot-cut pants from Levi’s. Leave the vest unzipped to show off a dainty pendant necklace.

These types of vests are best worn in a casual fashion. I love the idea of pairing them with some lace-up ankle booties for a ski resort ready ensemble just in time for the snowy weather!

How do you style a vest?

Black vest: $1.99; maroon top: $3.99; jeans: $5.99; green vest: $1.99; lilac top: $3.99; jeans: $5.99; total: $23.94.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA Natrona Heights

4005 Freeport Rd

Natrona Heights, PA 15065

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

4 DIY Ideas for Unplayable Records

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Every time I visit a Goodwill store I can’t help but notice the piles, stacks, and boxes overflowing with vinyl records from every genre and every decade imaginable. Most of these records will live to see another day on the turntable, but sadly, some may no longer be playable. Give a record a second life by turning it into one of these awesome DIY projects! We visited the Goodwill SWPA Pinterest page for some inspiration.

1. Bookend: While this record bookend is shown holding books in place, it would look even better next to your record collection. Just hold the record over a metal pan and pour boiling water over top of the part you want to bend. Wait for it to cool down and outfit your bookcase with this fabulous accessory.

2. Wine rack: This piece is just as functional as it is beautiful. It is modern and edgy, but also inexpensive and easy to make! Again, carefully heat the record in the oven until it is malleable and then use protective gloves or metal tools to bend it to the desired shape.

3. Serving tray: This delightful serving tray is perfect for desserts. Use it to serve some at your next listening party or concert.

4. Side table: Take a regular side table and fasten a record on top to add some musical flair to your home décor.

With so much variety at your local Goodwill, take an opportunity to look through the record stacks during your next visit. You may find your new favorite song or a new craft project!

Make sure you visit our Pinterest page for more DIY project ideas!

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A picture of a great selection of records at the Goodwill in Peters Township! 

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

Perfectly Plaid

I love playing with different patterns and textures, especially in the fall. Layering season brings a million new wardrobe possibilities. More than anything else, however, I look forward to pulling out my collection of various plaids! They come in the form of boots, sweaters, jackets, and yes, even tartan pants!

I’m a little obsessed, but it’s for good reason. Plaid comes in endless combinations of colors and on endless combinations of clothing. If I am feeling a little more 1990’s grunge, I will wear an oversized plaid button-down over a pair of jeans and vintage boots. On the other hand, if I feel like channeling a little bit of British royalty, I can wear a plaid trench coat over a sophisticated and tailored cocktail dress.

This week, I found a plethora of plaid at the Goodwill in Cheswick. First, I found a beautiful (and warm) plaid trench coat with elaborate buttons and a velvet collar. This could easily go with any outfit from work attire to the very casual. I decided to pair it with a chambray, button-down shirt and dark khaki pants for an everyday look. The trench coat adds a little elegance to a very simple outfit. Finish the look with a brown leather satchel and boots.

I fell in love with the plaid tie-front blouse as soon as I saw it. The tie at the neckline adds a secretary circa late-60’s vibe. I combined it with a very sophisticated black jacket and straight-leg denim pants. Wear it with black velvet kitten heels for a comfortably chic weekend look.

How do you style your plaids?

Plaid trench coat: $9.99; chambray shirt: $3.99; khaki pants: $5.99; boots; $3.99; satchel; $1.99; black jacket: $3.99; plaid blouse: $3.99; jeans: $5.99; heels: $3.99; total: $43.91.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA Cheswick

1210 Pittsburgh St,

Cheswick, PA 15024

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

Every Season, Every Reason

I am constantly on the prowl for cute clothing that is also extremely versatile. I measure my success in terms of how often I can wear an item, for what occasions I can wear it, and how may different ways I can style it. In short, my shopping mantra is “For every season, every reason.” It truly is an all-consuming task finding that perfect match!

This week, I just so happened to luck out and find a navy and violet faux wrap maxi dress at Goodwill that met all of my criteria for chic and adaptable apparel. It looks great with a simple denim jacket, floral embossed wedges, and some bold cocktail rings. Just by swapping the accessories for black, round-toed pumps, a lace-trimmed blazer, and more decadent jewelry, this one dress will take you from a backyard barbeque in the middle of June to a fancy wedding in late October. It is truly a goldmine.

Obviously, not every piece of clothing you buy is going to meet all the criteria for a versatile piece, and it does not have to either. Every once and a while, I let go of my urge to find the best overall value and crave that crazy, off-the-wall item that will only go with this one thing for this one day. It is important to have a good mix of unique items as well as the everyday basics like jeans, t-shirts, and flats. It makes your wardrobe much more interesting and fun to play around with!

When shopping for those perfect pieces, remember to check out your local Goodwill store first. Not only will you help yourself in a quest to expand your wardrobe, but every purchase will help people in your community improve their quality of life through work and related services.

Dress: $4.99; denim jacket: $9.99; blazer: $4.99; wedges: $3.99; pumps: $3.99; total: $27.95.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA South Side

2700 East Carson St

Pittsburgh, PA 15203

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

Play with Patterns

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The button-down shirt and sweater combo is classic and copied by nearly every designer out there. How do you keep it looking fresh? By combining colors, patterns, and accessories you can create a fresh, new combination every time.

Plaid shirts are always plentiful, especially in the fall. I paired this red and blue plaid blouse under a knit sweater. To add an interesting twist to an otherwise ordinary shirt and sweater combo, I added these black skinny jeans with red zippers down the sides. Complete the look with a pair of Converse or other sneakers and a bold beaded necklace.

If you’re a little more daring, you can mix two different yet complementary patterns. I combined a navy polka dot blouse with a multi-colored chevron sweater.  Remember to pair mixed patterns with a neutral piece for balance. I added a pair of medium wash boot-cut jeans. Wear brown lace-up ankle boots and a long pendant necklace to pull it all together.

So what are complementary patterns? Patterns with similar colors, different sizes, and different type tend to coordinate the best. For instance, a large leopard print combined with a black and white pinstripe would work well because they are entirely different types and sizes, but similar colors.

For the men out there, the same is true for jacket, dress shirt, and tie pairing! A standard matte suit jacket, striped shirt, and paisley patterned tie is a classic pairing but you can mix it up by opting for a plaid jacket, plain dress shirt, and striped tie.

How do you pair your patterns?

Plaid shirt: $3.99; white sweater: $3.99; zipper jeans: $5.99; polka dot shirt: $3.99; chevron sweater: $3.99; boot cut jeans: $5.99; total: $27.94.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA Belle Vernon

140 Finley Rd

Belle Vernon, PA 15012

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

A-tisket, a-tasket, and lots of great Fall jackets

What do I love most about the cold weather? Aside from pumpkin lattes and hearty fireplaces, I look forward to pulling all of my jackets and coats out of storage. Coats are versatile, stylish, practical, and easily worn for days at a time; who could argue with that? I have wool pea coats in nearly every color of the rainbow, army surplus jackets, leather coats, and many more just waiting to complete my outfit on those chilly days. I found a lofty collection of jackets at the Goodwill store in Monroeville so you, too, can bolster your coat collection.

First, I love this red fur-trimmed anorak perfectly suited for an outdoor adventure. Pair it with some brown knee-high boots and jeans. For work days, consider a conservative grey pea coat such as the one in the middle, or spruce up your everyday dress pants and blouse with a bright purple quilted jacket. The paisley lining adds a touch of unexpected finesse. Add a cream-colored cashmere scarf and matching hat to complete your ensemble.

I love a good solid leather jacket. They are trendy but also classic. Wear it over a skater dress and thick tights tucked into heeled ankle boots. Accessorize with a long silver necklace and an eye-catching cocktail ring.

Last but not least, I am a sucker for this plaid wool coat. For a fashion forward fix, pair it with a complementary plaid like designer Anna Sui during the Fall Fashion Week runway shows. The trick is to find other plaids in coordinating colors and contrasting pattern “size.” For instance, a small, black and white tartan would look stunning underneath this jacket.

What jacket will be keeping you warm this season?

Jackets: $9.99 ea.

Featured Store:

Goodwill SWPA Monroeville

2604 Monroeville Blvd

Monroeville, PA 15146

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

Decorate for Fall!

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While you’re at your local Goodwill store looking for your new Halloween costume, pick up some items to decorate your home for the swiftly approaching holiday season!

This week, I found a collection of Halloween-themed decor including cupcake foils and flags and a hefty felt trick-or-treating sack. Even if you’re not too crazy about Halloween, pumpkins are a tried and true Fall decoration good for the entire season. I especially love the straw pumpkin; it would fit nicely anywhere from a mantle to a coffee table.

How do you decorate for the holidays?

Remember to submit pictures of your Halloween costumes assembled from Goodwill items on our Facebook page. Submissions are unlimited and there is a $250 grand prize for best costume!

All items pictured range from $0.99-$2.99 ea.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA Monroeville

2604 Monroeville Blvd

Monroeville, PA 15146

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

It’s Time for Goodwill’s Halloween Costume Photo Contest!

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It’s that time of year again—time for Goodwill’s Halloween Costume Photo Contest! With so many opportunities for creative and inexpensive costumes at your local Goodwill store, the possibilities are endless.

Submit your costumes made of Goodwill items on our Facebook page for a chance to win a grand prize of $250!

And just in case you need a little inspiration, I made a list of my favorite DIY costume ideas.

  • Where’s Waldo: Look no further. I found this red and white striped shirt and blue jeans at the North Hills Goodwill. Pair with a striped hat and horn-rimmed glasses to complete your costume.
  • Bat: I love the idea of repurposing an umbrella into bat wings.
  • Gameboy: Buy a dress and a few t-shirts in different colors. Sew on pieces cut from t-shirts for a cute, eco-friendly ensemble.
  • Carmen San Diego: If you happen to find a red jacket, the rest of this costume easily falls together.

For more ideas, make sure you visit our Pinterest pageHappy shopping!

Striped shirt: $3.99; jeans: $4.99; total: $8.98.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA North Hills

7221 McKnight Rd

Pittsburgh, PA 15237

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

Photo of bat costume courtesy of www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com.

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Every time I visit a Goodwill store, I have to browse through the t-shirts in the hope that I will find a delightfully charming new addition to my collection of obscure travel tees or pop culture tops. This week, I struck a gold mine.

As a fan of The Office, it’s not surprising I was drawn towards this Dwight Schrute shirt featuring his popular catchphrase “Fact.” I also found a new with tags heather blue Marvel t-shirt starring some of the company’s most famous characters and a clever zombie-Star Wars hybrid shirt that reads “The Living Dead Strike Back” in lieu of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Graphic tees such as these are also perfect for the layering season. Wear them with your favorite pair of jeans, a pretty cardigan, and a scarf. Fact: nerdy chic is always in!

What awesome t-shirts have you found at your local Goodwill?

Shirts: $1.99 ea.

Featured Store:

Goodwill SWPA South Side

2700 East Carson St

Pittsburgh, PA 15203

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.

Fit For Fall

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The Mercedes-Benz Fall Fashion Week concludes today. Over the past seven days, we had a glimpse of what was in store for this coming season and created ways to incorporate these trends into your wardrobe with clothes from Goodwill!

  1. Greens: Pantone declared emerald green their official color of the year. Military styles and colors are back in this season as well. I love the combination of jewel tones with an emerald cardigan and amethyst chiffon blouse.
  2. Animal prints: Fun prints and patterns, from animal to classic plaid, are in this season. Pair your prints with a conservative top and jeans for a fashionable weekend ensemble.
  3. A touch of punk: Studded accessories and leather jackets are big right now. Pair edgy items, such as these black leather studded flats or multi-chain necklace, with feminine and classic pieces.

How would you incorporate some of this season’s trends into your daily apparel?

Green cardigan: $3.99; purple blouse: $1.99; leopard cardigan: $3.99; black blouse: $1.99; jeans: $4.99; flats: $3.99: total: $20.94.

Featured store:

Goodwill SWPA South Side

2700 East Carson St

Pittsburgh, PA 15203

For locations and hours of all 30 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania retail stores, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.