Auburn Museum exhibits historic shoes from our Vintage Fashion Collection

by Seattle Goodwill, Seattle Goodwill
August 12, 2014

By Christine Palmer, Curator of the exhibit and volunteer at Seattle Goodwill’s Vintage Fashion Collection

My mother and I marvel at how she wore platform pumps in 1944, I wore them in a revival in 1974, and in 2014 young women are wearing them again. A new pair of shoes can make a woman feel great, and they last longer than a box of chocolates.

When you look at a pair of vintage shoes, you are also looking at a piece of someone’s past. The exhibit “Sole Obsession” at the White River Valley Museum in Auburn features several pairs of historic shoes from Seattle Goodwill’s Vintage Fashion Collection, and reveals that throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, women relished wearing attractive shoes. All shoes in the Auburn exhibit are “dressy”—there are no saddle shoes, hiking boots, or Uggs.

Each pair of shoes on display was carefully researched, and is shown with an interpretive information panel on the wall so visitors enjoy the history of the shoes on view. The staff of the museum has considered a women’s shoe exhibit for some time, after successful exhibits featuring women’s undergarments, hats, and swimwear, and is now proud to present this dazzling assemblage.

Vintage shoe collectors, who often shop at Seattle Goodwill stores, look for brand, model, condition, material, and color of the shoes—in addition they seek stylish footwear which represents a particular era. If you’re looking for the value of vintage shoes visit the websites of museums that have historic fashion collections to see what shoes they have acquired to give you an idea of what shoes are valuable—and what shoes are just old. The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an excellent resource.

Sole Obsession” will be on display through November 9, 2014 and Museum admission is $5. The exhibit includes some of the Seattle Goodwill’s Vintage Fashion Collection historic shoes on display. Please visit the White River Valley Museum's website for more information.

Shoes in the exhibit also came from the White River Valley Museum’s vintage shoe collection, Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique Historic Fashion Collection, Supercalifragilistic Vintage Fashion Show Collection, the Eastside Heritage Center, the Renton History Museum, and four private local collectors. 

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Western Days 2014

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
August 11, 2014


It is that time again—yes, you guessed it—time to round up your friends and family and head on over to Goodwill in Marysville for their annual Western Days sale! This Friday and Saturday, the doors will open at 8:00 am to wide selection of western-themed items. The sale will feature boots, hats, a variety of clothing and accessories, saddles and tack, art, and much, much more!

There are boots that are meant for trekking through muddy fields,  boots that are perfect for a line dance or a hoedown, boots for men and women—and hats to go with ‘em! All that to say, we’ve got a lot of boots. There’s also a wide variety of clothing, ranging from John Deere paraphernalia to genuine leather fringed coats. For the little ones, there are horse figurines, rocking horses, toy tractor sets, as well as some kid-sized cowboy (and girl!) boots and western-themed clothing. There’ll be belts and buckles to go with them, horse saddles and tack, furniture and home décor, jewelry, accessories, and a variety of art. The Western Days Sale is an excellent place to find just the item you’re looking for while supporting Goodwill’s free job training and education programs.

So come on down this Friday and Saturday to rustle up a pair of chaps, a fringed leather coat, or a saddle! Scroll down for a quick preview of a small selection of the stock for the sale! 

Boots in all sizes, shapes and colors. Vintage western toy sets, Native American art, crafts, and more!

Vintage 1955 paint by number artwork. 

Cowboy hats & Bolo ties

Genuine leather fringed coats

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The Thrift Whisperer: Interview with Kim Holcomb

by Katherine Boury, Seattle Goodwill
July 29, 2014

You probably know Kim Holcomb as a reporter for King 5’s Evening Magazine, but did you also know she is a dedicated thrift shopper? She has her own blog, The Thrift Whisperer, that focuses on her unique finds – including my personal favorite (the vintage Trifari ring that she bought at the South Lake Union Goodwill). Kim shares some of her best finds and tips for shopping thrift.

How did you start shopping thrift?
My first experiences were at thrift stores in Venice Beach during high school, in search of worn denim. But I didn’t make thrifting an essential part of my lifestyle until I moved to Seattle. My sister-in-law gets full credit for introducing me to Goodwill, especially for kids’ clothing!

You have a personal blog, the Thrift Whisper, that you share some of your best purchases. Why did you start the blog and what kind of feedback do you receive?
It all began with a few photos I posted on Instagram, showing off what I’d found and listing the prices. People went bananas. So I decided to begin blogging as a way to better explain my purchases, and encourage others to try re-sale shopping. One day at work, my friend Jessica admired a bag I’d found at Goodwill and said “You’re like a thrift whisperer.” And the name of my blog was born!

You include the prices of your purchases on your blog. Do you find that your readers are surprised that you can put together a stylish outfit for such a reasonable price?
I think that’s the biggest point of interest, for sure. My friends who live in places outside Western Washington are consistently impressed by the variety and quality of items I thrift, as well. I think we live in a unique market for re-sale. People support sustainability and donate some amazing things.

What are some of your favorite finds?
It’s hard to narrow them all down! But I’d say my absolute favorites are a vintage Celine bag I bought for $50; a vintage wicker clutch by Italian brand Rodo I found for only $8; a vintage watch-ring by Trifari for just $6.50; and a hand-beaded cocktail dress by designer Carmen Marc Valvo that retails for $800, which I bought for only $80.

If someone was new to shopping thrift what tips would you give them?
First and foremost, go with someone who can help you navigate the store. Thrifting can be overwhelming, especially for people who are used to sales clerks and traditional store racks. It’s also important to know brands and retail prices, so you’ll have a good grasp of the savings (and understand why some things cost a little more than others.) Be patient. Go often. Pay attention to the tag colors - I’ve saved a TON of money by limiting myself to 50% off tags. And finally, don’t buy something if you can’t use it immediately. It’s not a bargain if it just sits in your closet!

Do you have a store you shop more frequently? 
My favorite location is in South Lake Union - it’s like a boutique, and I’ve had the best luck finding accessories and brand new shoes there. I also shop Ballard frequently because it’s large and has a great selection of housewares. (I’ve gotten some great dresses there, too!)

How would you define Northwest style?
In my mind, Northwest style means finding multiple ways to express yourself through clothing. Since we have no choice but to layer 9 months a year, we have to think about outerwear as much as our primary outfit. But that gives us so many more ways to make a statement! I love mixing patterned tights, slouchy beanies, and statement scarves in the winter.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the thrill of the thrifting hunt; clean lines and muted colors; unique jewelry and high heels; my friends and co-workers’ senses of style; and a few select fashion blogs. Thrifting is a great way to save money, recycle, and find your authentic style. Have fun!

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Family Health & Safety Fair

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
July 23, 2014

There is a lot to navigate in the world of healthcare! This Friday, we’d like to help you with some of those topics at our Family Health & Safety Fair! Come out to our Administrative Services building in Seattle on Friday, July 25 from 10am – 3pm for resources, information, free health screenings, free food, prize drawings, and activities for kids. All ages are more than welcome to attend!

We’ve partnered with a number of local organizations (listed below) to provide information and resources on health and safety. At the fair, there will be professionals you can talk to about medical coverage, worker safety, diabetes, breast cancer, and much more. You’ll also be able to get a free screening for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI). If you’re a woman over the age of forty, you may also be able to get a free mammogram and pap screening provided by the YWCA. Mammograms and pap tests are limited, and available by appointment only. You can call 206-461-4493 to check availability and make an appointment.

This event is open to the public, and we’d love to see you there! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get connected with the health and safety resources that you need!

Exhibiting Partners Include:
OSHA  |  Molina Healthcare  |  Washington State Department of Labor & Industries  |  Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County  |  Seattle | King | Snohomish YWCA  |  Swedish Medical Center  |  Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program  |  Univision – KUNS Seattle  |  Susan G. Komen for the Cure Puget Sound

RSVP and get event updates here: 

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Thrifting is more fun than traffic

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
July 22, 2014

It has come to our attention that our summer of traffic is supposed to be rather busy today. With Westbound I-90 down to one lane this week, President Obama in town, a Mariner’s game, and construction projects all over the northern Puget Sound region—it’s pretty likely that if you’re out and about at a high-traffic time, you might get caught in it.

With 24 stores all over the north Puget Sound region, Seattle Goodwill has got some places you can take a break from the traffic and get a little Summer Thrifting done. Here are some of our tips to ease your commute:

1. Pick a side of Lake Washington, and stay there.  
With uncertainties about where POTUS will be commuting, there’s the potential for 520 to be closed while I-90 West Bound is down to one lane. If you can avoid crossing the lake, do. In the meantime, if you’re stuck on the east side, check out our Bellevue store or head south to our Renton store, and avoid using West Bound 90 altogether. If you’re on the west side, out Seattle store is located just off of the 90/I-5 interchange in the International District.

2. Avoid the Mercer Mess.
Getting on I-5 at rush hour is no fun any day of the week, but with many people heading around Lake Washington rather than over it, there’s potential for a LOT of backed up traffic. Instead, stop by our South Lake Union store—and then take Fairview to the Mercer entrance ramps when you’re done. OR—swing up to our Capitol Hill store (with free parking!) and hop on I-5 from the Olive/Denny ramps when you’re done.

3. Plan for game day traffic.  
There’s a 7:10pm Mariner’s game against the Mets at Safeco. Fortunately, the largest Goodwill in the country sits right up Dearborn from the stadiums—and is open until 9pm.  

4. When the freeways get backed up, so do surface streets.
Most locals know that when I-5 and 520 get backed up, so do the surface streets. If you’re one of those I-5 avoiders who takes the stoplights over the gridlock through Northgate and the U District, take some time off from needing to choose between getting stuck behind left-turner or a right-lane bus, and stop in at Goodwill on the Ave in the U-District.

And don’t forget to bring a snack, a water bottle, and some calming music on your commute! It’s going to be a busy day for Seattle-area traffic—but you don’t have to wait in it!

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