Hi, I’m Laura Madden! I’m a fashion advocate, model, and creator of Laura Madden Lifestyle, a lifestyle brand, and blog that supports sustainable fashion brands and reports on the intersection of style, sustainability, and self-esteem.
My passion for shopping at Goodwill first stemmed from an environmental stance. I believe that secondhand shopping, whether high-end consignment, vintage or thrift, is the most sustainable shopping you can do because the resources have already been used and you are extending the lifecycle of discarded items that would otherwise be sitting in a landfill.
Sadly, the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, only after oil.
Three years ago I watched the True Cost documentary (please watch if you haven’t!) and started working as a personal shopper & stylist at a thrift store in Minneapolis. Both experiences changed me forever. I couldn’t believe the beautiful items I was finding- some new with tags. And the prices- incredible!
Same thing with Goodwill. Yes, I believe it is the best thing you can do for the planet shopping-wise, but also budget-wise and let’s face it- it is the most shopping fun you will ever have!
As was the case with this project for Goodwill AZ! I hope you can see from our video that I had a TON OF FUN scouring the racks! As you’ll also see here, I found A TON OF GREAT LOOKS! I only showed 6 of them here, but everything is so mix & matchable that I have new outfits for weeks with my finds. Thank you, Goodwill!
Look #1: Vintage red silk top with Black pants.
Honestly, I’m not one for trends, but red is like the hottest color on trend for fall…so I couldn’t help myself to this blouse. But even more important for me- shopping quality and shopping for classics! This blouse will never go out of style, and I LOVE that it’s vintage, likely dating to the 80s (It had huge shoulder pads, but I had them removed). The quality of all clothing back then was solid- you can just feel the difference from most of the contemporary trendy stuff you find off the racks today. And the black pants- so versatile! A solid forever piece that I can wear with SO MANY THINGS!
Look #2: LBD, yellow vintage belt with yellow shoes.
I’ve never met an LBD I didn’t like, but this one is fun, kitschy, and even comfy (yes, it’s true). Honestly, the LBD is something you need more than one of in your wardrobe in my opinion. You will always need one for something- black tie event, evening wedding, dinner date, girl’s night out, a conference, etc.- see what I mean. I’ve got an arsenal to choose from whenever I might need a great solid dress. Easy!
Look #3: LWD, vintage white belt.
Ok- a white dress may be a bit of a stretch for me because I’m such a klutz, but like the LBD you will always need a cute, well-fitting dress. And like the black one, it’s dressing made easy. One and done! Just add accessories and pretty much everything goes with white. I kept the look monochrome- white head to toe is very slimming (I think).
Look #4: Floral mini, Black crop top, Black oversized vintage blazer.
I know this little mini-skirt might read a little young for a girl in her 40s, but I just fell in love with it! And I believe in surrounding yourself with beauty to lift your mood, so that’s how this cutie made it home with me. I also had an intention to find an extra-long black blazer- and of course, I’m a sucker for anything vintage. I advise in getting crystal clear on what you intend to find before even leaving your house. Shopping can be overwhelming, especially at places like Goodwill because the selection is so vast. I’ll do an Instagram or Pinterest search for items I want to find, then snap a screenshot on my phone so I will have that reminder to keep me on track. I don’t believe in buying anything that is not useful, beautiful or meaningful to you. Otherwise, it is a waste of space and a waste of money.
Look #5: Snake print pants, striped button-up.
Again, this is all about classic pieces that I see myself wearing forever, such as a striped top- I’ll always need and wear it! And the snake print pants- I’m obsessed! I consider snake a solid neutral (obviously) and lucky for all of us, it is a super hot trend this fall as well!! I added an extra splash of animal print with the shoes because- well, this is all about having fun with your fashion, and mixing prints (ALL OF THEM) is another huge hit for fall. I added my own personal touch with the black tie on the blouse for extra fun and flair.
Look #6: Vintage electric blue silk blouse.
One of my sustainable shopping tips is to buy natural fabrics and of course to shop secondhand. Silk is a natural fabric that lasts forever if cared for properly. I LOVE that this is vintage, this color, and it fits perfect! If something doesn’t fit well, then it is a no for me, unless it is an item that you really NEED and LOVE and you are confident you can have it tailored. I paired it with simple shorts and a pop of color in the shoes, also from Goodwill AZ.
I hope you enjoyed my sustainable shopping finds! The theme of this mini-wardrobe was about having fun with your fashion. You can stay on trend, dress for your best life and live a sustainable lifestyle all by shopping pre-loved items found at Goodwill AZ!
I’m looking forward to connecting with you at www.laura-madden.com and on Instagram (@lmlifestylist) where I share my sustainable fashion style, shopping finds & style tips, and confidence boosting content.
Photographer: Emily B. Saunders Photography