Time to enjoy the outdoors, is your wardrobe ready?

I went for a hike on Irvine’s Shady Canyon trail the other day (“hike” is an exaggeration, but “walk” sounds like what you do when you wander around Costco). Wildflowers were blooming, the hills were green from all the rain, the sky was a bright blue with fluffy white clouds, and I was greeted by many cheerful fellow hikers with friendly dogs. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors enjoying our spring weather. If you haven’t tried this trail, it’s an easy walk that goes gradually uphill (even an out-of-shape person like me can do it). It winds around houses and the Strawberry Farms golf course, but at times you feel like you’re out in the wilderness, seeing an untouched California landscape.

Now that it’s spring, we will all be getting outside more. The thrift shop is the place to buy tops, pants, or shorts for local trail hikes or beach walks. You’ll need a hat and sunglasses, too, so look for those. Or if your idea of being outdoors is dining al fresco on the patio of that hot new restaurant, we’ve got outfits for glam spring dining covered, too.

Spring won’t last forever, so readers – stop reading this and go outside! (With the help of the ALI thrift shop, of course!)

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NO DEBATE ABOUT THIS!

I don’t know about you, but I’m TIRED of hearing about debates. I’m starting to feel that what began as a good idea has morphed into a huge uncontrollable thing that occupies all our attention for weeks on end. Kind of like when you start out with a nice little baby, and then it grows into . . . a teenager.

Now there are a lot of things we can debate, in politics and in life (dogs v. cats, vanilla v. chocolate, the Angels v. the Dodgers, leaving the seat up v. leaving the seat down, and on and on). But one thing that there’s NO DEBATE on: the ALI thrift store is the place to shop!

Whether it’s clothes, shoes, housewares, gifts, toys, or timeless treasures, you’ll always find great quality, great prices, and no sales tax when you shop with us. And the money we make at the shop goes to support our programs here in Irvine, so you’re helping people in your community, too.

The ONLY debate you’ll have when you visit Assistance League of Irvine will be: how much stuff should I buy?  SHOP NOW

EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO ASK . . . YOU CAN AFFORD IT

By ALI Member, Marta Mahoney

I just spent an afternoon at the beauty salon. Naturally, while at the beauty salon I read a fashion magazine. It was a brand-new issue featuring the latest fall styles. Each page showed a trendy fall dress, sweater, skirt, or coat, accompanied by a sidebar reading, “Wear this with . . . ” showing possible shoes, boots, or purses that would complete the outfit.

All this was pretty standard fashion-magazine stuff, except that most of the shoes, boots, and purses came with the note, “Price upon request.” (And this wasn’t even a high-end fashion magazine!) Now I don’t know about you, but my clothing budget isn’t based on “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

At the thrift shop, we don’t have ANYTHING that says, “Price upon request.” Yes, we occasionally have items where the tag has fallen off, and in that case we will take the item to the back room to be re-priced. Yes, we occasionally have items where the price sticker has been put in some obscure spot, but eventually we’ll find it. Yes, we have fragile items in our display cases where you will need to ask one of our volunteers to take the item out so you can see the price sticker, but the price will be there!

And even if you HAD to ask the price – at the thrift shop, you could afford it!

Bottom line: Read the magazines to scout the latest fall fashions. Then come to the thrift store to see what you can find that will be totally in style, without your having to ASK if it fits your pocketbook.

The Vintage Dress

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I just went to an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art called, “Diane Von Furstenberg:  The Art of the Dress.”  This exhibit, which runs until April 1, 2014, celebrates the 40th anniversary of Von Furstenberg’s iconic “wrap dress.”  200 examples of the dress, both vintage and modern, are on display, along with artwork, photos, and other memorabilia.

Those of us of a certain age remember this as “The Dress” in the 70’s.  Everyone had one.  The Wrap Dress had bold colors, geometric prints, cleavage – and you could wash it.  No more shirtwaist dresses with Peter Pan collars – the wrap dress was sophisticated, modern, and In.  (And according to one of the old advertisements on display, it only cost $80, which seems unbelievable nowadays.)

Going to a show like this brings back instant memories and makes us realize why certain items are timeless.  I often have the same reaction at the thrift store when I see a piece of vintage clothing, housewares, or toys.  There’s a reason people are still buying classic sweaters, CorningWare casserole dishes, and Monopoly games.  They worked for our lifestyles back in the day, and they work now.

If you’re going to be in Los Angeles this month, check out this exhibit, which is in the old May Company building at 6067 Wilshire (LACMA West).  If you’re not going to be in Los Angeles, check out the ALI thrift store for your vintage fix!

– Marta, ALI Volunteer