Finding Formal for Less at the Thrift Store

Although winter has felt never-ending this year, the promise of spring is right around the corner! Spring is known for being a season both of new life and of events galore. From spring weddings to graduations to new jobs, formal wear makes all kinds of appearances in the spring season. Some of my favorite formal finds are from arc Thrift Stores, and I want to share with you the best ways to shop formal on a budget!

Whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit for an outdoor wedding or want to feel extra confident before that job interview next week, arc is an awesome place to find amazing pieces for less. When looking for formal wear, focus on finding classic pieces with a unique flair that fit your personal style. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed with all the options at the thrift store, so focus on finding one or two staple pieces and build off those.

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Patterned Pants and a sleek button-up have made this outfit my interview go to!

When I was granted the opportunity to take part in a prestigious internship this past summer, I knew my wardrobe was going to need a serious business professional overhaul. I needed to find pieces that were classic and sophisticated, but I didn’t want to look too stiff or unnatural. A great way to spice up your workplace outfits is to incorporate fun patterns or textures. When choosing a statement piece (like patterned pants or a brightly colored sweater), let that be the focus of the outfit and keep other elements neutral in color/pattern. When looking for pieces at the thrift store, focus on searching for colors or patterns that you love, and look in the button up, blazer, and blouse sections to stay dress code appropriate.

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The unique cutout drew me to this dress and it has been a staple in my closet ever since!



One of my favorite things to thrift for are dresses, and that comes in especially handy in the spring and summer when it seems like just about everyone is getting married. The “wedding guest” dress can be an elusive hunt but finding the perfect piece can mean finding a staple dress for seasons to come. When looking for a semi-formal to formal dress, the element of timelessness is essential. A piece that looks sophisticated and beautiful without being easily dated is ideal and will last you years to come. At the thrift store, start by deciding what length and style dress you want before choosing a style or pattern, and don’t be afraid to try something new or step out of your comfort zone.

The spring is all about new beginnings and exciting changes, so don’t be afraid to let that reflect in your wardrobe! And know that wherever those changes take you, arc Thrift is a great place to explore and define your style 😉

Happy Thrifting,


Instagram: @emily_karbach

Party Decor Ideas for Kids and Adults

It’s that time of year again! We just LOVE Halloween at arc Thrift Stores!! It’s spooky, fun, a little silly, and super creative!

A lot of you are probably planning your kids’ school Halloween party, or having a party at home for the neighbor ghosts and goblins. Maybe you’re having your friends over to celebrate with a more adult-themed version of trick or treat!!

Well, at arc you will find everything you need to make the most ghoulishly delightful party ever!! And, the best part? You don’t have to drive all over town and you don’t have to spend a ton of money! It’s one-stop party décor shopping at arc!!

Here are some ideas:


Little potion bottles can make a great Halloween decoration for your tablescapes. Mineral oil and food coloring mixed with a bit of water to create the potions in the bottles is inexpensive and easy. Buy your little potion bottles in all shapes and sizes from the Bric Brac department of your local arc Thrift Store. You can then fill them with little plastic spiders or plastic eyeballs or fingers to create a creepy décor piece. Bottles range from $0.49 to $1.99 each

Spooky Candles:

  • Votive candles (at arc for $2 – $5)
  • Black, orange, and green felt (at arc for .50 a sheet)
  • Glue

Wrap votive with black felt. Cut out pumpkins from orange felt and add green accents (leaves, top of pumpkin, etc.). Attach with glue.

Wrap votive in orange or green felt. Cut out bats with black felt. Attach with glue.

Candy Man:


  • Jeans ($8)
  • Flannel Shirt ($5)
  • Cowboy hat ($2)
  • Cowboy boots ($15)
  • Baskets ($1.50/each)
  • Candy
  • Pumpkin (carved with silly face)
  • Newspapers

On the table where your party food will be served, lay out the jeans and shirt, as if a person were about to wear them. Stuff the arms, chest, and legs with newspapers. Cut out sections in the jeans, and leave the buttons of the shirt open.

Fill baskets with candy. Slide the baskets into the cut out sections of the arms, the open (unbuttoned) area of the chest, and legs of “Candy Man.”

Place jack o’ lantern as the head, and top with the cowboy hat.

Adult version:

 Candy Man isn’t just for kids!! Instead of the flannel shirt, boots, and cowboy hat, pick the jersey of your favorite rival football team (Patriots, anyone?!?) ($10 at arc). And, instead of candy, fill the baskets with chicken wings, chips, and dip!!


Ghoulish Gummies

  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1/2 cup of corn syrup
  • 6oz packet of your favorite flavor Jell-O
  • 4 envelopes of unflavored
  • Gelatin

Dissolve the corn syrup in cold water with a spoon. Dissolve the
Jell-O and gelatin in the corn syrup and water mixture. Transfer to
small pot and cook over medium heat until bubbly. Remove from heat and carefully pour into fun, Halloween-inspired ice molds or cake molds (available at arc for $4 – $8). Set on the counter for 5 hours (no need to refrigerate) and carefully remove from molds.

Adult version:

Change the amount of water to ¾ of a cup, and add ¼ cup of vodka.

Monster munch

  • 4 cups popcorn
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s prices
  • 1/2 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup melted white chocolate

Pour popcorn and candy onto a cookie tray (at arc for $3) and drizzle with chocolate.

Allow to harden and break up with fingers and either put into a large
bowl or separate into treat bags (box of 25 at arc for $5) and tie with orange and green ribbon (at arc for $2 a roll).

Adult version:

Instead of candy, use nuts and chocolate chips. Drizzle with caramel.

Pinterest-Worthy Baby Shower…on a Budget

All this was done under $20 thanks to arc Thrift!

All this was done under $20 thanks to arc Thrift!

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Here’s the truth: I’m in the stage of life when all of my friends are either getting engaged, getting married, or having a baby.  I love to party plan as well as attend parties, so this time of life ain’t too shabby!  However, party décor is expensive, my friends.  Plus, I’m on Pinterest every day and just wonder about the income of the people who can recreate these freaking adorable parties.  I, on the other hand, opted for a career that won’t ever pay well a career in the school system, so I need all the help I can get planning these Pinterest parties.

Then came the day that my best friend got preggers.  With the now impending baby shower, I knew that I was in a pickle.  I wanted to do a cute DIY baby shower, but not have to donate blood to do so.

I immediately got on Pinterest for baby shower inspiration.  So many cute ideas, so little time (and money)!  Days went by as I thought about how I could pull this off.  Then it dawned on me:  I have an arc Thrift Store right around the corner!  They were bound to have some of the items I saw in the pictures.

I headed to arc that night.  I was nervous.  I was excited.  I was nervously excited.  As I walked through the aisles, I began to get a vision.  I walked by vases, baskets, serving trays, and so much more.  I pictured these items in my house, and all of a sudden, I knew I could do it.  And by golly, I could afford it.

– Guest blogger, KW

DIY arc thrift

Platters, vintage frames and vases were perfect for decor.





A Green-ish Thumb

DIY CraftsI have an obsessive love of vintage pyrex. The beautiful designs and bright colors bring out hoarding tendencies within me that I’m not proud of. For these reasons, I do anything I can to make vintage pyrex useful within my home. If it’s useful then it’s not hoarding…right?

After I saw this beauty at my local arc ($3.99!), I knew I wanted to do something “useful” with it. This is my favorite pyrex pattern—the friendship pattern—in a small, casserole dish. I decided that beyond the normal cooking and serving uses it would be great to see if I could use it as a planter. I’ve seen some gorgeous succulent plants lately and wanted to try my hand.


With the fabulous “planter” already picked out, I then hunted for some rocks or decorative stones that I could use underneath the plants in order to let them drain. ARC did not disappoint: a bag of rocks for 69 cents. I headed to my local garden store to find some succulents and was able to select a whole variety of small plants to group together and fill the dish.

Untitled4 I filled my pyrex with a couple inches of rocks and then took my time and arranged the plants throughout. I put the biggest plant in first and then slowly filled in the gaps.

After I had arranged all the different varieties of plants in the manner that I wanted, I went back through and placed some rocks around the plants just to make it look nice and neat. I LOVE how it turned out, and now I have one more piece of vintage pyrex on display!

– Julie W.


Make Your Own Mug

So the other day I went by arc Thrift and I bought a white mug for my latest (affordable) craft project!  I wanted to make my own custom designed mug.  These are great for gifts, special occasions or just for plain fun.  Next, I hand drew on the white mug with a sharpie (preferably a sharpie paint marker), you can find these for cheap at any arts and crafts store. You can use all kinds of colors and designs on your mug, get creative and crafty Colorado! Be sure to wipe the mug off with a damp cloth and dry it before you start drawing.  Once you have completed your artwork its ready to be baked.  Heat the oven to 365 degrees and put the mug in there while the oven is heating up, this will prevent it from cracking.  Now once the oven heats up you will want to bake to start a timer and bake it for 30 minutes. Afterwards let it sit in there while the oven cools.  Take it out. Wash it. Enjoy it! Image


– Lian, arc Thrift’s college blogger

Thrifty Thanksgiving Table Decor

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By Stephanie May of

I’m so excited to be a guest blogger for the ARC this week!  I absolutely love thrifting, and on most weekends, you can find me at the ARC with a coffee in hand, grabbing treasures as fast as I can. With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m thinking about Thanksgiving decorations just as much as I’m thinking about the food.  A beautiful table makes any party or event feel fancy and special, and it doesn’t take a lot to achieve it. 

Before I went to the thrift store to pick out my supplies, I first came up with my color palette.  I chose black, white, brown, and metallic for my theme and set off looking through the store.I started thinking about a tablecloth, and I knew I wanted to do something non-traditional.  I headed over to the stationary and office supply aisle (one of my favorite sections of the store) and found black paper, brown mailing paper, a roll of wallpaper, and a really cool black and white calligraphy practice pad.

To make the table cloth, I used the back of the wallpaper as a base on the table, and then taped it on the bottom where the seam is.  I cut up the paper into squares and triangles (small, medium, and large pieces) and used plain glue to adhere them to the wallpaper.  I did some of the pieces side by side, and some of them overlapping.  This takes a little while to glue them all down, but if you have a helper or two (this is a great project for kids!) it will go very fast.  I wanted the pattern of the table to be unique and different from something that you could just buy at the store and I really like how it turned out!

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For the rest of the table, I was also able to thrift some black ribbon, white candle holders, dried white flowers, a black vase, beads and gold jewelry, black and white fabric to make napkins, and a metallic fluted pan.  I used the ribbon around the base of my wood crate, and for napkin rings.  The gold jewelry and beads were also used on the napkin rings, and I used the fluted pan and black vase to create height in the center for the dried flowers.

I hope that my table has given you some inspiration of how to use thrift store finds to decorate for the holidays!  I love that you can easily choose different colors and textures, and get a totally different feel and look.  I really enjoyed putting this together – thanks so much to the ARC for having me as a guest blogger! 🙂