donate buttonThis is Alden’s second entry in the series “Grist dared me to make a change.” Read the first here. And support her dare with a gift to Grist!

Secondhand outfitClub Monaco dress, $12.99; black tank top, $9.99; long necklace, $9.99; gold star stud earrings, $1.99; BCBGirls black open-toed pumps, $12.99; black purse, $9.99; from Goodwill Greenwich Village. Total for outfit: $47.95.Alden WickerGoing into this challenge, I thought my first shopping trip would be an all-day affair. I was pretty sure I would have to go to at least three different stores to find seven wearable outfits. But I hoped I would up my chances by checking out the new Goodwill in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

When this first-ever curated Goodwill opened at the end of April, it got a huge amount of play in the local fashion blogs, accompanied by an enticing picture of a rainbow of assorted Keds. The PR copy promised “Ferragamo, Burberry, and Dior, as well as brands such as Anne Taylor, Mossimo, and Nine West, all at super reasonable price-points.”

When my friend Casidhe met me there, I was already knee-deep in dresses, none of them designer brands. I’m sure this place has been thoroughly picked over already by the downtown hipsters, leaving behind the usual “Holy-crap-what-on-earth-is-that” leopard-print hoochie dresses. In short, this is still a Goodwill, not a high-end consignment boutique. But it’s much larger than the Upper West Side branch where I usually drop off my old duds, and I found that with some thorough scouring, the racks would yield up some not-so-bad finds.

Take for example the dress I’m wearing today. It’s a perfectly chic Club Monaco sweater dress for the price of a Forever21 top. It just needed a black tank to wear underneath, which is the kind of foundation piece I thought I would never find. Score! I’m going out to dinner tonight with my boyfriend, so this hot little number fits the bill nicely.

Even Casidhe, who was just there for moral support, tried on a nice blouse and told me that she wanted to come back on a day when she had a little bit more energy and do some serious shopping.

On the purse and shoes: These seemed to be the hardest items to find. I’m guessing that’s because you never grow out of shoes and purses, or realize that they make you look fat. This purse looks pretty good from far away, though it would be better with a longer chain. And the shoes are great. I’m just worried that if they aren’t comfortable, I’m going to have a very painful week, as they are one pair out of only two I found that are fit for public consumption. (Those Keds are long gone.) Any tips for finding shoes and purses?

Stay tuned tomorrow, and I’ll tell you more strategies and challenges I discovered for shopping at Goodwill, gauge the reactions of my coworkers and friends, and reveal my next outfit. Meanwhile, why don’t you make a gesture of good will to Grist, with a donation?