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Whitney Bukszar, right, of Somerville models a $20 prom dress from The Salvation Army during the Thrift Store Fashion Show on Saturday.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Whitney Bukszar, right, of Somerville models a $20 prom dress from The Salvation Army during the Thrift Store Fashion Show on Saturday.

Armed with fashion
Spring looks at bargain prices at Salvation Army fashion show

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

Maythion Casteel of Falkville got his first chance as a fashion model Saturday and bought the Brooks Brothers suit he wore for just $6.

To brighten the black suit, he spent another $3 for a purple dress shirt by D'Amante.

This bargain buy and others could have been yours if you moved quickly after the fashion show presented by the Salvation Army's thrift store in Decatur.

This event drew models of all ages and genders who put together nearly 70 outfits to showcase spring looks available at next-to-nothing prices. It was held in the Salvation Army gym next to the thrift store on 14th Street Southwest.

"This is the first fashion show we've ever had," said coordinator Tina Henderson, thrift store manager, who wanted to show off the many types of second-hand items available in the store. She enlisted Carolyn Patterson, caseworker and thrift store manager in Athens, to announce the models and describe the outfits.

Henderson said she began recruiting family members and friends, such as Casteel, her brother, to be sure she would have enough models, and then others began arriving at the store to volunteer as word got around. Models got $5 gift certificates to purchase clothing afterward.

Some didn't get to use their certificates on what they modeled, however.

"A lady was wanting my blue denim dress with jacket as soon as I got off the runway," said Edna Garrett of Athens, so she let her have the $3.75 set by Denim and Co.

Garrett said she shops and volunteers at Salvation Army thrift stores in both Decatur and Athens.

"A lady came up to me in Wal-Mart the other day and said my blouse was pretty, and I told her I got it at the Salvation Army store," she said.

Casteel figures he's ready for spring, church and other dressy occasions with his new ensemble. "I thought it looked good when I picked it out," he said, and he modeled in black dress shoes he got at the thrift store several years ago.

While 9-year-old Tonya Ervin of Decatur modeled an Easter dress, she kept her eye out for casual attire others were showing and afterward scoured the racks for several pieces she liked. She came up with khaki Union Bay Capri pants and a String Bean print shirt, just $2 each, and then added a beige string sweater for $2.50 to complete the look.

Kayla Elkins, 9, modeled a white satin dress decorated with lace, pearls and embroidery and a tulle overlay over a long skirt.

"She's going to be in a wedding, so I'm buying it for her for $10," said her mom, Glenda Elkins of Hartselle, who was pleased with that bargain. It probably cost $100 to $150 new.

"We love to shop here; we're always in here looking," Elkins said. "This is the first time Kayla has been in a fashion show, and she really enjoyed it."

Several of the teen models eyed gowns they could wear to their proms.

Kim Little of Decatur modeled a blue and black formal backless gown, and she also chose a silver-embroidered shirt by Joseph A. for a mere $2 and was looking for pants to match.

"I shop here all the time; this is where most of my clothes come from," she said.

Tyeshia Jones of Decatur does, too, and often, because her mom works in the store. On the runway, the 15-year-old showed off a rose-colored evening gown with silver beading; the Adrianna Papell design was priced at $3.75.

Prom preview

"I'm going to buy it to wear to the Decatur High prom," she said, as she also checked out a purple evening gown.

Whitney Bukszar, 15, of Somerville modeled a pink prom-style gown and then went casual in jeans and a turquoise sequin-trimmed top over a tan insert that showed at top and bottom.

"My grandmother goes to church here, and I've come here my whole life," she said, both for church and, on other days, to shop.

Bukszar said she thinks it's a good place for teens to find mix-and-match pieces and dresses they can afford, and on Saturday she headed into the thrift shop afterward because many items were on sale for $1.

For some, the event became a family outing. Sonia and Sergio Bibiano of Decatur had family and extended family members in the show, including Kimberly, 1, Eddy Roberto and Estafani, 3, Jennifer, 6, and Lucero, 12.

Shane Casteel of Decatur, the show director's nephew, chose green dress pants by Hanover Square and matched a green striped shirt by Botany 500. Wife Tonya was too busy backstage dressing their children to model, but she got 18-month-old Isaac into a $5 ivory-colored tuxedo, dress shirt and bow tie and 5-month-old Trey into a $2 blue checked john-john, decorated with teddy bear appliqué, and a white shirt by Guess.

Loveanna Hernandez of Athens showed off everything a 15-month-old might need to dress up for spring: a yellow and blue dress with butterflies, a lavender ensemble, and a black-and-white lace dress.

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