Lisa and the $10 Fashion Challenge...



Have any of you reading this seen “American Pickers” the television show?  It’s a show that follows two guys as they hunt down antiques to re-sell to clients who don’t have the time, inclination or know how, to accomplish it.  In my own way I have been doing this for years.  In the late 70’s in Madison, I would go to the local thrift stores, buy up 40’s and 50’s dresses and accessories, and re-sell them to the burgeoning vintage clothing boutiques that were popping up on State Street.  This taught me not only sound buying practices, but also a lot about clothing construction and quality.  One of our FFB interns Lisa Roehner was given a picking assignment by me, and here’s what transpired, in her own words….

Sweet heart bodice with peplum dress

 For my challenge, I was given two things to work with a $10 bill and a coupon for buy one get one free on clothing for the charity thrift chain Value Village. I was instructed to take the money and pick some items, which could be sold in the resale market.  With the economy these days, many more people are looking to re-sale shops for high-quality fashion items at a lower cost.  Some people pick clothes at thrift stores, estate and rummage sale looking for quality items to re-sell, which saves the consumer the time and the hassle of searching for themselves. So working as a picker for an afternoon, my goal once at the store was to find what I thought would bring in the most profit for the $10 that I was given. What I have learned from Bjorn this summer is that dresses are the most sellable item. So the rack of dresses was my first stop. When encountering a rack of so many dresses, I don’t really spend my time going through them all one by one.  As I browse the rack I look for nice fabrics, vintage items and pieces that are well tailored.

Laundry by Shelli Segal dress

The first thing on the rack that catches my eye is the details of a white dress. It has a high neckline made of lace in a polka-dot pattern.  When I pull it off the rack I discover that the bodice is heart shaped and that it has peplum at the waist. When closely examining the garment I discover a small opening in the seam, which I felt was a minor enough flaw, so that the dress was worth buying and repairing.


Paisley maxi dress


When picking up that dress, the one next to it stood out to me.  The fitted style of the sheath dress is one that is hot right now; also the fabric and tailoring seemed very high quality.  I took a look at the tag and I find that the dress is vintage Laundry by Shelly Segal. I discover a price tag of  $7, which would be a significant portion of my $10 budget.  I do have a buy one get one free coupon, and in addition it is half-price on all clothing day so I decide to look for a third item that is $6 or less.


Styling by Lisa


Having to find an item with a $6 price tag was a bit more of a challenge.  I browsed the skirts and jackets but ended up back in the dresses remembering a print that had really stood out to me. It is a very brightly printed maxi-dress from the late 60’s. It is in perfect condition and is made in a style that would flatter many women. So I choose this dress as my last piece.


Armani jacket over maxi


I met my challenge. Buying clothes for resale was a lot of fun. I love shopping and by doing this I got my shopping fix without much expense. It turned my love for shopping from being a drain on my back account to something productive… not that I didn’t end up with a piece or two for myself also! 





Here are the dresses Lisa found styled with some other accessories from the FFB warehouse.  Lisa took all of the photos, herself.





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