Journalism student shows off thrifting skills in blog

Jessica Lee

The Goodwill outlet store on Burleson Road is a madhouse on Saturday morning. Thrifters frantically pick through unsorted bins scattered throughout the giant warehouse looking for fashionable treasures. Many wear gloves to avoid touching undergarments that might not have been washed before donated. The “ick” factor is high, but the pleasure in finding a great piece makes it all worthwhile.

Journalism and Spanish senior Natalie Garza certainly knows her way around the chaos. She holds up a Bill Cosby-esque sweater, inspects it for any possible mysterious stains, remarks that she thinks she can make something of it, and tosses it into her shopping cart.

The thrifting aficionado started her style blog, Closet de Natalie, a year ago with the hope of providing fashion inspiration to her readers in the same manner that the blogs she reads inspire her. She had no idea that the blog would bring out her inner bargain hunter.

“After a couple months, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to keep paying for new clothing,” Garza said. “I needed a cheap way to wear new clothes on the blog, and thrifting ended up being the best way to have a lot of clothing options.”

The blog that Garza thought was going to be just a fun hobby has since turned into a major part of her life. Garza regularly finds herself staying up late editing photos and coming up with witty titles for her blog posts rather than working on important school assignments.

And her dedication shines through the blog. Garza’s ability to take something as absurd as that Bill Cosby sweater and morph it into something that looks like it could have been retailed at Urban Outfitters is pure talent.

“I’m never going to be able to go back to buying everything retail,” Garza said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

For the thrifting novice, Garza suggests starting with Savers. The store, though similar to Goodwill, has a more upscale vibe. The clothes are all nicely arranged on racks, and overall, the store just seems cleaner, Garza said.

But do not expect to simply walk into a thrift store and find exactly what you are looking for. Garza explains that thrifting involves going into a store with the mindset that you could walk out with anything.

“You have to go through a lot of crap to find what you want,” Garza said. “Give yourself a couple hours. With lots of dedication, you will leave with something you never expected.”

Garza said the best part of blogging is the positive feedback she receives from readers. Fashion blogger Jessica Quirk, the face behind style blog What I Wore, complimented Garza on one of her first outfit posts. Garza was ecstatic. Quirk is one of Garza’s biggest style icons, and the comment was a huge ego boost for the fashionista.

But blogging isn’t without its downsides. Garza has received negative comments for her adventurous style, but don’t expect her to change what she wears to fit in anytime soon. When it comes to fashion pet peeves, Garza has one, and it is prominent around the UT campus.

“I hate leggings as pants,” Garza said. “It’s so unflattering, and it’s sheer!”

Fellow blogger Tolly Moseley, the voice of Austin Eavesdropper, praises Garza’s fashion sense. “She can make elastic-band waists look hot,” Moseley said. “And Lord knows that is hard to do.”

At Goodwill, Garza picks up one of those skirts with an elastic waist. She begins to sift through the items she has placed in her shopping cart, deciding what she would actually wear. The five-pound wedding dress gets discarded. Findings in hand, Garza heads to the checkout where the salesperson weighs the load, and charges her a mere $1.39 a pound.

And with that, she heads home to style the items for the blogosphere to enjoy. 

Printed on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 as: Fashion blogger gives thrifting advice