Clean out Your Closets to Build up Your Wardrobe

This weekend, I need to start my annual spring cleaning push, which has grown insanely stressful since Toy Story 3 has emotionally crippled me from tossing out the kids’ toys.

But clothing? Yeah, I can handle that. Especially if they can go to a good cause and I can shop for new threads for me and the girls.

Resale shops, thrift stores, charity shops – whatever you call them – St. Louis is bursting at the seams with great spots to drop off and pick up some great looks. If you’re searching for a unique, upscale resale experience or a place to donate fashionable threads, check out these three boutiques.

The New Kid on the Block

Opening this spring, the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition’s [RE]FRESH: A Fashion Coalition™ will offer foster and adoptive families and the general public teen fashion at an affordable cost.

According to Melanie Scheetz, executive director for the Coalition, [RE]FRESH will not only help fund programs that serve 10,000 people each year, it will offer job training to teens and provide foster and adoptive families on limited budgets a low-cost way to outfit their growing, trend-loving teens.

“[RE]FRESH will offer special pricing to foster and adoptive families, stretching the limited amounts kids in foster care receive for clothes each year – an average of just $340 per child!” she said via email. “This limited amount is far less than the actual yearly need. By giving foster families the opportunity to shop at a highly discounted rate, we are helping close this gap.”

[RE]FRESH, located at 1750 S. Brentwood, will be open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and open exclusively to foster and adoptive families on Thursdays.

To outfit the store for its grand opening, the Coalition is encouraging individuals, school and groups to hold clothing drives for teen clothing and accessories.

“We are asking for donations of new and gently-used clothing (sized 12 youth and up) for both guys and gals – things you would lend your best friend! In addition to stylish clothing, we need recycled accessories, purses, backpacks and new undergarments.”

To inquire about a clothing drive, contact Jen Frey at [email protected] or 314.660.6646. And be sure to check out www.refreshstl.org for an animated walkthrough of the new store.

Your Fashionable Best Friend

The stereotype of a resale shop is that it’s a crowded, bin-filled warehouse where you have to spend hours picking through MC Hammer pants and Team Building Workshop 1988 t-shirts to find that one diamond in the rough.

Push that picture out of your mind and head to Rung, 9739 Manchester Road in St. Louis. Polished, eclectic and stocked with professional looks any fashion-forward woman would drool over, this trendy resale boutique could easily be airlifted and dropped into a high-end mall and fit right in.

Even better than the fact that you can find items like Citizens of Humanity jeans and Free People jackets at discount prices is that 100% of the profits go to the Women’s Foundation of St. Louis, which invests in charitable programs that provide stabilization for at-risk women and their children.

“I believe Rung is unique in that it has truly created a sisterhood amongst shoppers, donors and people from various companies around the city,” said founder and owner Ali Kindle by email. “Women love the idea of networking and brainstorming and coming up with all kinds of ideas for helping other women in St. Louis.”

“The fact that all the profits go to the Women’s Foundation also gives me a chance to educate women on such a wonderful group and even I have learned so much about some of the issues surrounding women in our community.”

Rung is eagerly accepting dresses for spring, especially those in great patterns and colors. In addition, “Our biggest challenge for donations is purses and jewelry,” remarked Kindle. “Those items fly off the shelf so we always need more. Bright colored sweaters and sweater sets for spring and summer are always big, and those are hard to keep in stock as well.”

The Grandmother of Upscale Resale

Timeless, but far from stuffy, the ScholarShop is an innovator in fashionable retail. Located at 8211 Clayton Road in Clayton and 7930 Big Bend Boulevard in Webster Groves, the ScholarShop stocks clothes for the entire family from your favorite mall haunts to cutting-edge designers, providing a one-stop shop for the fashionable parent.

A St. Louis resale landmark since 1960, the ScholarShop has been outfitting the city’s fashion elite while helping its children fund the college educations they so rightly deserve.

Said LaTia King, external relations director for The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, “ScholarShop helps fund interest-free loans and grants to benefit more than 600 greater St. Louis students who are pursuing their post-secondary education and who could not otherwise afford to attend college.”

When I worked in Webster Groves, I spent many lunch hours navigating through the ScholarShop’s bright, welcoming store for treasures. And man, did I find them – a $25 black DKNY jacket I wore for years until I finally eroded holes in the elbows and a Calvin Klein dress I bought in 2004 that still hangs in my closet and is pulled out for special occasions.

I’m not the only one that has found great deals. According to King, prom dresses and suites are flying off the shelves this spring along with Easter outfits and other special occasion outfits.

What’s more fun to recycle than fashion? Spill your secrets – what’s your favorite resale store? Have you found a great deal you just have to brag about?

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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