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

Secondhand outfitFlowered dress, $19.99; men’s shirt, $9.99; sandals, $12.99; sunglasses, $5.99; gold star stud earrings $1.99. Total for outfit: $50.95.Photo: Alden WickerMy outfit yesterday went over really well! The editorial team all loved it. My editor said I looked stylishly French, and — unprompted, mind you — the CEO interrupted herself in the middle of a sentence to tell me how cute I look.

I’ve read that artists actually like to work within some sort of parameters, that boxing themselves in, paradoxically, encourages more creativity and artistic excellence. So maybe shopping at Goodwill has unleashed my inner fashionista. After all, walking into a big department store is overwhelming. My heart rate actually goes up faced with all those choices.

Yesterday, four of us at work got into a conversation about buying used underwear. Three of us thought that it’s really gross. If it’s a matter of price, one can go to Kmart and get a three-pack for $9.50. One coworker, however, pointed out that it’s really just a mental thing. If you are struggling to make ends meet, just throw it in the wash with some bleach. Personally, I prefer to go new. (I’m a big fan of PACT organic underwear.) As one coworker put it, “Used underwear crosses the line between cool and thrifty, and crazy and schlumpy.”

I had wanted to give equal weight to other thrift stores like Salvation Army and Housing Works while shopping, but I did such a thorough job at Goodwill, I’m set for the week! I actually had to pare down my choices to a final eight outfits. In fact, I think I went a little overboard. But there are still a couple of things I have yet to find: athletic shoes and casual flip-flops. I’m going to my friend’s mountain house this weekend and I will be hiking and horseback riding and doing other summery things. So far I’ve only found tennis shoes of the orthopedic variety. Help!

Yesterday was such a success; I’m going bold today with my outfit. Also, my outfits for the rest of the week require those black heels again, and I would like to give my poor feet a break. Unfortunately, these sandals are cute, but are working hard to give my feet blisters. No wonder they were given away! You’ll also see that I’m wearing a watch. I cheated. The watch was mine before but it looks so darn good with the shirt, and I missed being able to check it yesterday.

So, what do you think? Is this outfit amazing? Or just embarrassing? Speak up, and support the amazing — and almost never embarrassing — work of Grist with a donation.