Expert: It’s not hard, if you know how to look
By Alicia Ebaugh PICTURED:
Kellen “Bubba” Hicks, 6, shows off a new school outfit of polo shirt and shorts he found at Goodwill for $3 on Saturday. He modeled them as part of a back-to-school fashion show sponsored by Goodwill. Photo by Alicia Ebaugh
MICHIGAN CITY — Parents don’t need to spend a chunk of money on back-to-school clothes for their kids — thrift stores can provide trendy and traditional gear at a fraction of the price it would cost new, says area wardrobe coach Kathy Friend. And on Saturday, she proved it.
Ten local children between 6 and 11 years old came to the Michigan City Goodwill store to participate in a back-to-school fashion show. Their mission: Pick out an entire outfit for less than $15 in 20 minutes.
“You can find anything at a thrift store that you’d find anywhere else,” said Friend, South Bend. “You can usually outfit them from head to toe for about $10, actually.”
The challenge provides several lessons to children, Friend said, like how to budget money and make decisions on their own about what they should wear. It helped that Goodwill was also having a 50 percent off sale Saturday, meaning they could actually spend $30.
“You’ll really end up saving lots of money if you look for sale days,” Friend said.
To Nathan Patrick, 10, Michigan City, the challenge was easy. A student at Fairhaven Baptist Academy in Chesterton, he has to wear nice slacks, a button-up shirt and a belt each day to school. Patrick was able to find all of that, plus a pair of shoes and backpack, for $10. His twin brother, a student at Joy Elementary School, put together a white polo shirt and madras shorts for about $5.
St. Stanislaus student Katlin Clemons, 11, didn’t look for a uniform, instead pairing a red sleeveless top with a black vest and black skinny jeans, rounding out the outfit with a pair of Ed Hardy sneakers. Total cost? $9.
“Fashion is not all about the brand names, but you can still find very good items in thrift,” Friend said. In fact, Friend was wearing a pair of silver Coach sandals she picked up at an area Goodwill for $20.
Each child walked out of the store with bulging bags containing the outfits they picked out, plus whatever else they could find within their budget.
“If you get kids involved at this age in their own spending, they will realize how much things cost, especially when it’s their own money,” Friend said. “They’ll find out what it means to make a bad decision or a good decision.”
Five back-to-school trends
(that parents can steal, too):
• The “Military look” — cargo pants and styled jackets are everywhere.
• Menswear for girls — boyfriend blazers can be prettied up with a belt or ribbon at the waist to become more form-fitting.
• Animal prints — leopard prints, especially, are always in style.
• ’80s-inspired — bright colors, skinny jeans ... or brightly colored skinny jeans!
• Vests — with or without buttons, in prints and solids.
Source: Kathy Friend, wardrobe coach
Thanks to The News Dispatch for covering the Back To School Fashion Parade at the Goodwill store in Michigan City. It was an exciting afternoon, with some great kids! And, to Alicia (the reporter) you are awesome!