Thrift Store Thursday: The Label Frocks

July 29, 2010

I had a hard time finding the perfect Thrift Store Thursday Frock yesterday. I DID find a great Kenneth Cole frock for $2 that only needed a 6" hem (shown in blue) but I like to find dresses that need alterations that I've never shown you before. Just taking it in the sides and upping the hems isn't that ground breaking.

So after I hit the Sal Val and Community Aide I stopped at Gabriel Brothers. Now for those of you living on the West coast who haven't heard of them before, Gabriel Brothers isn't a thrift store but more of an outlet store where retailers sell their damaged, unsold or overstocked items. You can find a lot of good name brand labels like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, etc. They certainly aren't as cheap as a thrift store but all their inventory is brand new, often still with tags.

And I found this great Express Studio reddish orange party dress for.....drumroll.....$1! They were having an outdoor clearance sale and the zipper was broken so no one was going to touch this pretty piece.
So I bought it with the change in my minivan's ashtray and took it home. Now, as you can see it's strapless. It looks like that at some point it came with the option to add straps because it had the fabric hooks on the inside but somewhere along the way they were lost. So I went to JoAnn's and bought some adjustable straps and Rit fabric dye in red and orange to match the dress.
As you can see I think the straps came out pretty close to perfect. Now, I think this dress looks way better without straps but I'm being realistic. There's no way I'm lasting an entire evening with no straps and this bust.

If you have a strapless dress that you need straps for, try this trick. I also moved the hooks for the straps to under my armpits because it looks more modern.
I also replaced the zipper and now that YOU know how, you can snatch up all those unwanted sale dresses with broken zippers and have a fabulous wardrobe too!

Two years ago, Gabriel Brothers were selling last season's Ann Taylor dresses retailing for around $150-$200 for only $3-$7!!!! Because they all had broken zippers. I snatched like seven and still wear them this year!

20 {comments}:

Rachel said... Best Blogger Tips

This Gabriel Brothers sounds fantastic. I'll have to add it to the list of things to explore when I visit family on the West Coast.

Ana @ Don't Fear the Ripper said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh wow, awesome finds! I am so jealous that your thrift store has such amazing prices. My local Goodwill is SO expensive! Thank you for directing us to that outlet store, I'll check it out! LOVE YOUR BLOG!

A.J. Dub. (Amy) said... Best Blogger Tips

So how did you fix the zipper? I thought that maybe this was going to be your topic. :)

Katie said... Best Blogger Tips

I wonder if the companies cut the zippers on purpose? Sometimes labels are cut.

Stephanie said... Best Blogger Tips

I l-o-v-e Gabs. It's the long as you are prepared to sift through the racks. Great find! ♥

Leisel said... Best Blogger Tips

I actually like the red dress BETTER with the straps! Awesome job on the dye-ing! Love them both. . .

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

Lovely! I'm assuming you took out the old zipper before putting the new one in? If so, any tips/secrets a beginner should know?

KimRader said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow. I never realized you are in PA. I too love Gabe's! I never thought about buying all the things that need fixed there - great idea!

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

A.J. Dub & Emily,
I just used a seamripper and ripped out the seams connectting the zipper to the dress but if the dress is a little big you could just cut out the zipper with the fabric still attached, if you do that just be sure to cut down the entire length of the dress and sew back up from the bottom after you've fixed the zipper.

Here's the invisible zipper tutorial link that I posted last week:

Denise said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like my kind of store! I like to check out our local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. When I go I remind myself that I will only buy things that have the "color of the week" tags. That way I get them at 50% off the normal price. And I can focus on looking for things with that tag instead of OHHHing & AHHHing over every thing I see:)
Happy Thursday

Hermione J. Schwartz said... Best Blogger Tips

I *LOVE* Gabe's, too! We have family in Pittsburgh and always go shopping when we are in town. Gabe's, Goodwill, Salvation Army, St. Vincent''s all better in PA.

The thrift store prices are way better in PA. Where I live the Kenneth Cole dress would have been at least $9, but probably more. A good deal, but not a steal.

The red dress is gorgeous! I never thought of dying straps. Genius!

Erica! said... Best Blogger Tips

Here on the East Coast we have the Oops Factory. But Gabriel Brothers sounds much better! Oops just gets crappy broke stuff most of the time...


SewLindaAnn said... Best Blogger Tips

We have tons of thrift stores, but nothing with those prices and great clearance shops like you have. Another good reason to move to the other coast!

Sisters of Grace said... Best Blogger Tips

love the blue dress, so very cute:)


sertyan said... Best Blogger Tips

What a great way to save money BUT still look fabulous and classy!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I LOVE LOVE LOVE "Gabe's"! We don't have any where I am (SE PA), but there's two right near our family in Eastern Ohio--which I'm sure to hit up every time we head out there! I love it!
Great finds!

Erin said... Best Blogger Tips

Okay, I live outside of Philly and want to know where this Gabriel Brothers is!!! Do tell! Do tell!!!


dss0400 said... Best Blogger Tips

You have such great stuff. I love your blog!

dss0400 said... Best Blogger Tips

I love your blog. You do some great stuff!

ARK said... Best Blogger Tips

You are so brilliant...we need to go shopping together/...

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