Q+A with expert thrifter Alysse Bryson
Alysse Bryson, Director of Market Development for King 5, has been a passionate thrifter for many years and has even camped out the night before for the annual Goodwill Glitter Sale. She shares some of her favorite tips for shopping Goodwill.
Why is fashion or style important to you? Who inspires you?
As a young teenage girl, I fell in love with fashion and fashion magazines. I would actually wallpaper my bedroom walls with full page fashion ads (with a little Tiger Beat teen heartthrobs thrown in LOL). I would save all of my allowance and money I earned doing various things like babysitting or helping my dad with his company’s monthly invoice mailings. (I can stuff envelopes in record time!) I would use all of my money to shop at the Goodwill and the local shopping mall in the small town of Centralia, where I was born and raised.
My fashion inspirations list is long! I love collecting coffee table books on famous designers and fashion houses. Along the same lines, I will happily watch any fashion documentary when given the opportunity. I most recently watched the Alexander McQueen and Dior Four Seasons documentaries. (both very well done) Naturally, I’ve seen very episode in every season of Project Runway. I’ll be eager to see what Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn do with their new partnership with Amazon. As far as some of my favorite designers, some of my favorites include: Christian Siriano, Marc Jacobs, a new local brand called Universal Standard.
When did you start shopping at Goodwill?
I started shopping at the Goodwill back when I was a kid. Hunting for treasures almost feels like a sport to me. The thrill of finding that special item you didn’t know you needed is so exciting! I’ve also used the Goodwill over the years for home décor updates, baby clothes for my nephew Bryson, and DIY projects. (Example, my mom and I made an amazing quilt out of old denim jeans that I absolutely love.)
What is your favorite thrift find?
Ohh, now that’s a really tough question. If I had to pick just one, I think it would be the Hermes bracelet I scored at the Glitter Sale a few years back.
Do you have a favorite Goodwill?
I have shopped the Goodwill locations all over the Pacific Northwest. The one I most frequently visit is the location on Dearborn. It’s the closest one to my house and I think I have a special “connection” with it from camping outside, overnight with some friends a few years back for the Glitter Sale.
Do you have any tips for someone that is new to thrift shopping?
People always ask me how I find such great things and I think that happens because I go frequently. Now, that doesn’t mean I buy stuff every time I go. I like to stop by once per week at Dearborn and cruise my favorite isles. I also like to drop items off every time I go. It amazes me what people will throw away. I live in a small condo complex and I’m always finding perfectly good things set next to the dumpsters to go out with the weekly garbage. When this happens, I try to clean up whatever it is (if it needs it) and bring it in to donate. Perfectly good items have no place in landfills. I firmly believe we all need to do a better job protecting our environment and to live as sustainably as possible. I have always loved the quote “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
How do you define Northwest style?
I think the Northwest has a very casual style. While I enjoy dressing casually at times, I often travel to other markets around the country and I become even more aware of how casual we are dressed compared to people in other cities. An example of this would be going to the Seattle Symphony or a show at the 5th Ave Theatre. You will see people in jeans standing next to people in evening gowns. It’s really all over the place.
I know you are a fan of the Glitter Sale. Any tips for people shopping for the first time? I love the Glitter Sale! I’ve gone several years. My first year was with a large group of gals and we got there around 5am. There were already about 200+ people in line in front of us. Another year, I had two good friends come up from Portland and we showed up at 12:30am with camping chairs, sleeping bags, and large golf umbrellas and slept outside. There were about 30 people in line in front of us this time around. I’ve also shopped the pre-sale and attended the Glitter Gala that had a pop-up shop.
What trends are you looking forward to?
Like it or not, the 90s are back and it feels like it’s a combination of grunge mixed in with looks from the movie “Clueless.” What I personally love about fashion is that you can do whatever you want to create your own looks that may or may not include looks that are currently trending. While I do sometimes like trends, I don’t like fads. I do have some regrets that a few years ago I finally purged a plaid business suit (skirt, jacket with shoulder pads, pants) that was black, gray, and cream with a small pop of yellow that I got in the late 90s or early 2000s. If I still had that in my closet, I would most certainly be rockin’ it this fall.