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Confessions Of A Fashion 'It' Girl: "I Am Obsessed With Thrifting"

If you can't afford it, don't trip. Just thrift!

Style

One thing I've learned when it comes to fashion and budget is if you can't afford it, don't trip. Just thrift! I grew up middle class. My parents --both from Haiti, migrated to New York before I was born. They were a poor, young couple but eventually made ends meet, so I'd say by the time me and my four siblings came into the picture, we were skimming the lines of middle class. I get my "Broke with Expensive Taste," approach to styling from my stylish dad. I can remember his unique pairing of his blazers and ties, and his incredible Tom Ford cologne.

As a child, my dad made sure we had clothes on our backs- and I mean the designer kind! He worked in the high-end department store Bloomingdales on 59th and Lex which granted him access to discounts (even on sale items). This of course allowed a young me to remain decked in high end clothing like Moschino, Guess, Calvin Klein, I.N.C., Stella McCartney- you name it. However, if I wanted to remain 'F' for Fly, I definitely had to be on my "A" game! My dad's only request in exchange for looking my best was that I bring home good grades. Sounded fair enough! Too bad back then I couldn't fully appreciate my high-end clothing at the time since I had grown so used to it. Back then I had no idea all these major labels I was clothed in.

However, my fashion life would change when I started thrifting, which I actually got into by accident. One day a quick trip running errands with my mom turned into me stopping in front of my first thrift shop. My mom is a "save every single dollar to the last penny-penny pincher," she always found great deals on clothing. I admired that.

(Dress $12 from Brooklyn Thrift Shop)

Being one for a good sale, my mom stopped to look through a clothing rack parked outside of a Brooklyn thrift store. This was the 90's now, and I'd never seen a store like this. It wasn't bourgeois like a Macy's or a Bloomingdale's, but more so a dope mash up of various clothing closets all in one. My mother turned to me, frozen in my awe and asked the question that would change my life (and style!) -- "Alex, do you want to go in?" I replied "Yes!" and the rest, as they say, was fashion history!

I started thrifting by my junior year of high school, when my parents could no longer afford to expense my wardrobe and buy me clothes. "Thrifting" is the art of shopping around from store to store for discounted fashion finds, usually of the previously-owned kind, many of which can be a vintage "steal of a deal!"

In the 90's I'd go thrifting in Brooklyn, especially Brighton beach. You have no idea what $20 could buy back then! It was insane. But this is also where the creativity took place. I had to learn how to wear my high-end designer clothing with my thrift finds and make it all look current. I could wear a pair of jeans three consecutive days out of the week and no one ever knew.

In the 90's, I usually found shirts for $1, $5, and $8, and because I purchase so many at a time, they give me a discount, leaving me with a few bucks left to shop some more! I purchased a lot of my thrift finds in Brooklyn and Manhattan. As I got older I'd go to Long Island and Queens there awesome places to thrift as well.

You can find a lot of designer stuff thrifting. Like awesome pieces that will never be replicated. You also have to be open-minded and hella creative because thrifting isn't easy... so patience is key! You literally have to dig through racks of things and kind of figure out how to bring some pieces to life with cool accessories, shoes, hats and handbags that you may already have at home.

Thrifting isn't easy so patience is key. You definitely have to develop an eye for it, because you'll almost never find your size. I'm an 'XS' and I can assure you everything I've purchased at thrift stores has been a size 8 ranging to a 14. but, I make it work!

Thrifting became a way for me to separate myself from the crowd. In high school everyone's style was all the same, almost uniformed. I hated it. I thought to myself "this is style?!" People call this "getting fly or best dressed?!" So I rebelled and did my own thing.

This is a denim Gap jacket that I found at the thrift shop for $8 bucks and the shorts were $5 bucks. What a steal! I paired them with my Jordan 3s and a simple white button up! Comfort x 10

My androgynous style started with always wearing my brothers clothes because at the time (90's) baggy clothes were in style. I even wore my dad's button ups! My dad hated it and continued to purchase these high end women Moschino clothing, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Guess, Polo, Tommy Hilfiger etc. hoping his precious daughter would outgrow this "Tomboyish" style that she single handedly OWNED.

The in-crowd couldn't understand me and I could never reveal my secret. 'Where did u get that top?! Why did you get the white Jordan's instead of the red ones? Where did you get that necklace from? That's an amazing backpack, where is it from?!' Thrifting became my thing, my outlet.

I've seen people wear trends that they didn't like. Their reasoning with wearing this "trend" was because it was "in." Thrifting became a way for me to escape these "trends" and what's popular. I NEVER cared for those things.

I naturally have a pretty healthy imagination --thrifting helped fused my imagination and creativity together

I'm 100 percent all about individuality.

Here are three of my frequent places I thrift in New York:

L Train Vintage -- 1377 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop -- 1430 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028

Housing Works - Soho --119 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007

Happy Thrifting!!

All images courtesy of Alex Douby

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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