This repost originally appeared on the site in November, 2004
Smitten . . .
Along with chocolate and spanx, I hereby declare my love for the Salvation Army. Sally, as I affectionately call my love, is perhaps the best store to ever exist. Saks, my former love, has nothing on this store. Where else could you find a John Paul Gaultier shirt, from BERGDORF GOODMAN, for $1.50? Two months ago, I found two vintage Norma Kamali dresses, perfect condition, $2.50 a piece. When I gave them to my best friend (they were a size 4), she was so excited that she started to shriek, hysterically, like she was possessed by some strange budget-shopping spirit. Later, she told me that sometimes she just likes to wear the dresses around her apartment, because they make her feel special. This is the power of Salvation Army.
There are many times that I head to Sally’s as a fashion last resort. For example, this weekend I needed a cocktail dress to wear to a business function. I found a beautiful black dress from Salvation Army with black lace insets for $5.00. I added a silver leather belt from the GAP, a pair of silver flats from the Nine West Outlet and a pair of silver square clip on earrings from Nordstrom Rack- for a completely stunning outfit. Totaly cost—$48.00.
Before running out to your local Salvation Army, it is important to know a couple key tips. One tip to shopping Salvation Army, is to make friends with the sales staff. Most people are so snotty towards the staff at the stores, that they often miss out on the greatest finds. Roxanne, the manager at the Jersey City Salvation Army who helps me find great items like my short rabbit fur jacket circa 1968 for 16 bucks, is officially invited to my birthday party. She also helped me find a green vintage Coach purse for $9.99, scoring an invite for Thanksgiving dinner.
Another tip to shopping the Salvation Army is to find out which color tag is on sale. Each week select stores place a different color price tags on sale—usually 50% off all items with the sale tag color. So my knit dress, originally from Bergdorf, was reduced from $6.99 to $3.50—less than the cost of a White Chocolate Mochachino.
The biggest tip to shopping a Salvation Army, is to shop it like you would a regular store. If it doesn’t fit right, don’t buy it. You don’t want to end up with a closet full of items that are will be returned right back to the store.
Last but not least, make sure you know the best days to shop your local Sally store. The best days to shop Salvation Army is the weekday—head over during your lunch hour. Wear comfortable shoes, because most Sally stores have hard cement floors.
The power of a good Salvation Army extends past yourself and into the local community surrounding the store. Sally stores help support the activities of the Salvation Army organization, which provide a wide range of social services to the community. So while looking fashionable, you are also supporting your community. That is real shopping power.