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Category Archives: Salvation Army

Secondhand quick tip: How dressing like a Hoochie Mama can save the day!

Not a Hoochie mama in this picture. But there have been several times I've taken home the title - when there's no dressing room available at my favorite thrift store. (BTW - this outfit was a gift to me from my dear friend Ericka. It's past the season to wear white, but I really wanted to show off this picture!)

One of the major inconveniences thrifty divas run into are the stores with no dressing room. It can be quite annoying to find a piece that looks like it’s perfect for you, but there’s nowhere to try it on! And – because most sales are final, if the “fit” doesn’t fit you’re pretty much stuck with it! Two of the worst culprits I’ve found are Value World and Salvation Army stores. Both lure you in with their low prices, but when you look around for a room to try out your find, you get a closed door with a tacky sign reading: DRESSING ROOM CLOSED. 

There are NO dressing rooms at Salvation Army stores. You'll want to wear clothing that allows you to try on outfits.

But, alas, my dears, there’s a way around it! You just have to know how to dress the part. Because I’m living a bit too large to show you (nearly 9 months preggers), I’ve drafted Codi – my oldest daughter – to demonstrate this age old style secret.

Step #1: Dress like a Hoochie Mama

Step #1 – Dress like a Hoochie Mama: Codi wears a pair of skin tight leggings. (Please note: I usually don’t approve of my child dressing like a Hoochie, but it’s okay for the purposes of the Pretty Preggie blog).

Step #2 - Find your fabulous fit!

Step #2 – Find your fabulous fit: Codi found a skirt she absolutely loved – a multi-colored Missoni (originally sold at Chicago’s Marshall Fields for $525, then marked down to $189, then marked down to $1 at the Carmel-West Goodwill).

Step #3 – Slip it on:Codi easily slipped the skirt over her Hoochie Mama leggings. 

Step #3: Slip it on!

It fit perfectly! The leggings are also great for slipping on pants or shorts when there’s no dressing room.

One other way of trying on clothes when no dressing room is available, is to find an inconspicuous corner of the store and have a friend hold a coat in front of you as you attempt your quick change. I warn, you may become a prime target for thrill-seeking gawkers – or earn the permanent Hoochie Mama label if a strong wind blows down that coat!

Be careful, save time, and don’t feel bad about being a Hoochie.  It’s fun and you’ll have a great excuse.

DeShong Perry-Smitherman, The Secondhand Pretty Preggie

*By the way, the Carmel West Goodwill has plenty of dressing rooms. 


Pretty Preggie Spotlight: Salvation Army Family Thrift Store & Donation Center

A true Salvation Army lover realizes the search and rescue of fabulous finds for ridiculously low prices is worth the time it takes to cut through the clutter.

Pretty Preggie Spotlight:  Salvation Army Family Thrift Store & Donation Center

Salvation Army Family Thrift Store & Donation Center

3620 Bethany Rd, Indianapolis, IN  46268
Phone:  317-471-8262
If there’s ever a shopping spot where I  leave needing a hot shower to get rid of the grime, it’s the Salvation Army.  No matter which location I travel to, I go home feeling the same:  baptized in the funk of crawlspace clothes, Frito feet and grandma’s attic.  But as I always say, there are several saving graces to any Sal’s:  No one will bother you, everyone is helpful, and if you are a true treasure hunter, you will leave with clothes, shoes, boots and even jewelry that costs pennies compared to normal retail, resale and consignment store prices.

This place is absolutely, positively, fabulous and tacky at the same time!

Sights:  This place is absolutely, positively, fabulous and tacky at the same time!  First off, you’ll need a map to navigate through your shopping adventure.  The signage here is limited to four walls that point out the women’s, men’s and housewares areas.  There is no additional signage to let you know where to find skirts, tops, dresses and blazers.  But a true Salvation Army lover is okay with the confusion, because she realizes that the search and rescue of fabulous finds for ridiculously low prices is worth the time it takes to cut through the clutter.  Sal’s has everything from high-end vintage coats to wraparound dresses that never go out of style.  No matter your age, size or socioeconomic level, it’s a shopping spot that has something for every taste.
Smells:  Sensitive noses need not  shop here.  The stuffy, musty odor of lived-in clothes permeates every square foot of this huge Family store.  At Sal’s, it seems many donors could care less about washing, dry cleaning or steaming their clothes before dropping them off in the back of the building.  In fact, be careful not to take home something that came straight from a donor’s dirty clothes hamper.  There is little or no care taken toward improving the look or smell of the clothing you buy here – a great way for Sal’s to keep overhead costs down.
 Labels:  Everything!  From Dickies to Dior.  You name it, it’s there!

There is NO dressing room and limited mirrors. You'll want to wear clothing that allows you to try on outfits.

What’s in it for Pretty Preggies:  No maternity section.  But, I found two wrap dresses, a beautiful top and a wonderful vintage jacket – all for just $7.49 – half off the original price!
Sizes:  All sizes.
Sounds:  Christian and gospel music.
Price ranges:  $ – Extremely low.  Sal’s also honors the color label system.  Half-off on the color of the week.Helpful Hints:  Pack your hand sanitizer and latex gloves if you’re a germaphobe.   Also, there is NO dressing room and limited mirrors. You’ll want to wear clothing that allows you to try on outfits.  I’d wear a thin tank (for slipping on tops and dresses) and a long, flowing skirt (to try on pants/jeans).  You could also ask an attendant to allow you to use a bathroom to try on outfits.     

This dress cost $1.10! Sal's has everything from high-end vintage coats to wraparound dresses that never go out of style.

Why I love this place:  It may sound strange, but Sal’s actually brings out the creativity in me.  Because it’s full of vintage coats, jackets and dresses, I go into a different kind of shopping mold.  I become a huntress – looking for outfits that are more imaginative and less conservative.  Over the years, I’ve found that the most compliments I’ve gotten about my clothing, come from the steals and deals I’ve gotten from Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I also LOVE Sal’s because the folks at the register will cut you a deal!
Enjoy your thrifty adventures at Salvation Army!  It’s worth the work!
DeShong Perry-Smitherman
The Secondhand Pretty Preggie