Fashion for a Cause
by Holly Wilensky A.K.A. The Dress Recycler
Jun 24, 2010 | 17082 views | 0 0 comments | 815 815 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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A shopper holds up an outrageous find: a leopard graphic leotard.
If you like vintage and second-hand clothes for a bargain, then The Housing Works is a guaranteed score, because you can do good while looking good! The Queens Ledger headed to the Housing Works Warehouse (48-49 35th Street) in Long Island City this past Saturday for one of the largest charity thrift and second-hand sales in the city. The proceeds benefit homeless and low income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.

The Housing Works is the largest community-based AIDS service organization in America. The angels of The Housing Works run programs that include housing, medical and mental health care, meals, job training, drug treatment, HIV prevention education, and social support to more than 20,000 people struggling with the disease.

When I caught wind of the Housing Works warehouse sale in Long Island City, it was my full intention to be first in line. However, due to pending circumstances, I ended up being closer to the 500th person in line! Showing up only one hour after the doors opened at 10:00 a.m., the sale already resembled more of a rock concert than a thrift sale. The 25-foot tall rolling bins overflowed with vintage and second-hand clothes for shoppers’ rummaging and grabbing pleasure.

The clothes were everywhere, including on the floor and the bins, draped over the walls and stacked on tables. Luckily I’m an expert vintage shopper - otherwise I would have drowned in the super-sale mayhem.

“It was an eat-or-be-eaten crowd, but I got some great stuff!” said Regina, a woman I chatted up while waiting on the checkout line. “This is like a sport…these shoppers are professionals!”

We nodded in agreement while watching the crowd sort through the monstrosity of clothing. Needless to say, we made it out alive, our sacks filled to the brim with great vintage pieces for an even greater price!

Check out to see how you can donate funds, clothing, furniture or your time. You can volunteer or visit one of the 15 New York City locations to shop and help a worthy cause. Housing Works has a monthly warehouse sale where the public is permitted to enter the facility and fill up a generously sized paper bag for 20 bucks.

For more frugal fashion finds, styling tips and fashion education please visit
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