Say Yes to the (Thrifted) Dress


Well now that we’re past the holidays and Valentine’s Day, chances are few of you out there are in wedding planning mode. So let me be the first to tell you– you’re about to take a wild ride on the sticker shock express. But fear not. Simply put down the bridal magazines and cancel your appointment at the fancy bridal store. Goodwill® is the best place to start.

Shocked? Don’t be. Plenty of happy marriages have started with thrifted dresses and decor. Unless your last name is Rockefeller, you’re probably more interested in spending money on the party and honeymoon than on a dress you’ll wear once.

But it goes beyond dresses, and so do the expenses involved in getting hitched. Pinterest is literally filled with DIY ideas for centerpieces, decor and even unique floral arrangements using upcycled vases and frames. It may not be a one-stop-shop, but it’s certain to be a completely you, one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests –for literally pennies on the dollar.

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Photos courtesy of Julie Collins

Claire Westlie and Bryan Lauer’s wedding is a great example. They got married in 2016 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Tipped off by a friend, she went to her local Goodwill to check out a dress that closely resembled one she liked that had a $1500 price tag. The big difference? This gorgeous Goodwill find was just $80 and cost more than she paid for it to get altered! All told, she got a beautiful gown she wanted for a savings of $1170. That’s some serious honeymoon margarita money, so it pays to keep an open mind.

Here’s some great inspiration of cobbling together the dress of your dreams from thrifted dresses, because when you think about it, who wears a dress right off the rack anyway? Don’t know how to sew? Don’t worry, there’s always someone willing to alter dresses and even then the savings are often substantial over buying new.

Need more proof? Some regional Goodwill stores host wedding and prom dress events of their own each year.  A Goodwill bridal event in Pennsauken, NJ recently had over 400 donated dresses from size 0-30, all for $49-$299.

Are you reading this from Florida? You can get free tickets to a Goodwill bridal show in Orlando on March 9, 2019 by clicking here!

Don’t forget the decor. The variety of items you can find at Goodwill adds the perfect shabby chic look, and puts a unique eclectic touch to your big day. Here’s a great example of items easily found in thrift stores– vases, ceramic figurines, timepieces, candles, old books, and tea sets that can really bring a tabletop to life.

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Photo by @mrs_plath

So go out! Get creative! It’s your day to make your own. There’s more than one way to throw a wedding, and we’re here to make sure it’s fun, memorable, and saves some of that precious cash for your future life together.

Job Center Spotlight-Rapid City

Each week we have been spotlighting our Job Centers. This week we are spotlighting our Job Center at 611 Lindbergh Ave. Rapid City, SD.  Our Job Centers are a great free employment resource for our community to use to search and apply for jobs, improve computer skills and access community resources. Our Job Center Representative, Meggan and Employment Specialist, Lisa are willing to help you reach your employment goals. Let’s learn more about Meggan and Lisa.


  1. What do you wish you knew more about?
  • The stars
  1. What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
  • Driving through the Black Hills
  1. What is the most interesting place you have been?
  • Redwood National Forest


  1. What do you wish you knew more about?
  • Non-work: I wish I knew how to speak the Hebrew language.
  • Work: I wish I knew how to speak the Lakota language.
  1. What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
  • Right now in this weather the perfect weekend would be: in a cozy log cabin in the mountains, with a roasty toasty fire going, having everything you need to have a fun weekend (family, movies, food, hot cocoa, electricity, warm blankets), surrounded by beautiful tall trees, and watching the big snowflakes come down, and still being able to see the sunshine.
  1.  What is the most interesting place you have been?
  • Crazy Horse Mountain in the Black Hills is one of my very most favorite places.


Josh’s Outstanding Progress in the Pre-Vocational Program

“Since Josh has been with us he has made huge strides even within the past year. He has come a long way being able to control the way he communicates to people”. Josh has become more productive in his work since he has been with Goodwill,” says Molly, skills trainer to Josh, looking over to him with pride.

One of the challenges that Josh faced in a job was communicating clearly with co-workers and customers. When Josh first started in the Pre-Vocational program he would allow for certain situations to affect his mood. Molly has been working on coping skills with Josh to help with mood swings. These skills have helped Josh become more productive and happier with his work.

Josh loves to work in the store helping customers and producing wares. Josh is proud that he has become successful with Goodwill. Josh has made significant progress going through the program and is currently still working on goals that he wants to achieve which includes working out in the community.

Ramp Up Your On-The-Go Lifestyle With An Athleisure Upgrade

Athleisure has been infiltrating the fashion market and is expected to do so through the new year. As people make their new year’s resolutions, some of them may be to make 2019 a healthier year, with more time spent focusing on strengthening their muscles and minds. Athleisure – a mix between loungewear and workout clothes – can help people reach their health goals. After all getting dressed for the gym is half the battle. In addition to being cute weekend wear, athleisure attire can also serve as reminders to take an hour or so out of the day to focus on becoming healthy and strong.

I was browsing the racks at a department store the other day and found myself at eye-level with the sweatshirt of my dreams. It was a gorgeous soft shade of Glossier-esq millennial pink that all brands seem to be coveting lately, and had sleeves that puffed out just enough to show that it was a fancy sweatshirt that you could almost get away with wearing to work instead of the gym. The inside was incredibly soft and insulated. I wanted it and knew I’d probably live in it, so I checked the price, to find it was whopping $70 for an elevated version of a sweatshirt that would be worn more as a sweater. I passed on it, lamenting full priced fast fashion retail prices and also realizing that I could purchase an entire wardrobe for that price at my favorite Goodwill® store in the city.

January is a fantastic time to pop into your local Goodwill store and checkout all of the new donations that have come in. People clean out their closets for the new year, making room for new items and donating some brand new or well loved clothes to an organization that is dedicated to helping families thrive, by providing job training and assistance programs. When I went into my favorite Goodwill store right after the holidays, I found an incredible amount of designer items with tags still attached – think full-priced pants, dresses and sweaters that are originally $440 being sold at Goodwill for under $20. My biggest steal? A Missoni sweater tank top that would normally be a couple hundred dollars, that I scored for just $8.

I’ve seen some amazing athleisure deals as well. Pair a fun and warm sweatshirt with a fun pair of patterned leggings for a weekend look that will encourage you to be on-the-go.

Check out some of my favorite looks from the athleisure trend below:

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1. Sporty Stripes

Stripes are all the rage in athleisure wear – weather you have stripes down your pants or down your sleeves, the trend can add an additional pop of color to your outfit or flaunt some awesome brand logos.

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Photo: @campbellhuntpuckett

2. Pleather Leggings

Paired with an oversized sweatshirt or chunky sweater, these pleather leggings are perfect to wear to brunch or to work during the week.

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Photo: @nephotog

3.Cropped Sweats

These vintage brown wool cropped pants were an awesome thrift store find. Pair cropped sweats with cute booties and a leather jacket to dress it up for any occasion, while still staying comfortable.

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Photo: @felicia.czo

4.Strappy Crop Top

Whether you’re heading to the yoga mat or the beach, a combination cropped outfit can be the perfect look. Pair a colorful crop top with a pair of your comfiest leggings so you can be on-the-go running errands and on the treadmill – just don’t forget to pack a sports bra in your bag!


Tiffany’s Step in the Right Direction


The choices in our life define who we are. Tiffany knew that the choices that she would make after her treatment for alcohol and drugs would be the key to staying sober. Before Tiffany came to Goodwill she used to wait tables and bartend, and she knew that she couldn’t be in an atmosphere where she would be around alcohol. It would make her too vulnerable.

Tiffany needed to find a job where she could stay sober, but she said” I didn’t know what to do. I was lost as far as a job.” Tiffany posted on Facebook that she needed a job. She was contacted by the Store Manager of the Mason City store about a position available at Goodwill. Tiffany was attracted to Goodwill because, “I liked the intimacy of a smaller store.” A step in the right direction Tiffany believes that she made when she came to Goodwill.

Currently, she has been with Goodwill for 2 years and during that time she has become a Team Lead and obtained her Forklift License. Tiffany cares about Goodwill customers and provides the best customer service to them because for Tiffany its about the bigger picture and it’s the little things that make a difference.