Thrifty Fifty

Dress Code offers high-fashion clothing for low prices.

(DoNorth/Arnold Barretto)

A mannequin showcases a light-wash denim jacket paired with a simple white top and a dark-wash denim skirt. Brightly colored dresses are lined up on a clothes rack in the middle of the store—each dress channeling a different personality for a different occasion. Designer bags and clutches from Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors with prices starting at $20 and up decorate the wall. High heels and flats are neatly arranged by size and color.

DressCode caters to all. To the fashionista extraordinaire, this is a hidden gem. For the down-to-earth resident looking for everyday clothes, this is the perfect spot to shop. Located at 17 Bridge St., DressCode is a discount haven for the money-saving connoisseur.

Established in 2009 by Julie Woodley, DressCode sells stylish brand-name clothing at an affordable price. Prior to opening the thrift shop, Woodley worked as a teacher at Northeastern Clinton Central School. She was laid off and raising three children by herself. Woodley had to figure out a way to make ends meet. Inspired by Plattsburgh’s tight-knit community and presence of SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College, she decided to start a consignment business.

Compared to other thrift stores that accept donated clothes, consignment shops consists of consignors—people who bring their clothing to a shop for resale and a percentage of the profit. At Dresscode, there are 3,000 cosigners who get 40 percent of the profit if their clothes are resold, and the store receives about 40 bags of clothes per week.

After five years of owning DressCode, Woodley passed the torch to her daughters Jessica and Caitlyn Lapier. For the sister duo, becoming co-owners was a smooth transition. Both worked at the store from a young age. Caitlyn remembers being 12 years old and helping her mother at the shop where she learned to use the cash register and tag and organize the clothes customers left behind.

Caitlyn, a 23-year-old SUNY Oneonta alumna, uses her background as a mass communications major to help advertise the store. She studied abroad in Perth, Australia, for one year where she learned about international fashion trends, which allows her to stay on top of the latest styles.

Her 22-year-old sister, Jessica Lapier, studied fashion business management at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the alma mater of many fashion-industry influencers including Nina Garcia, editor-at-large of Marie-Claire magazine, and designer Calvin Klein.

The sisters took over the business in 2014 and changed its image to channel New York City’s fashion scene with designer clothings and stylish accessories. They offer diverse articles of clothing, from a Louis Vuitton mini-backpack to vintage denim jackets for a wide range of customers.

Thrift shopping, similar to digging for treasure, requires patience and hard work. Buyers can find their ideal outfits without breaking the bank because at DressCode, aside from designer clothes, nothing costs more than $25. DoNorth set out to find summer fashion essentials for under $55.  

Karl Lagerfeld once said, “One is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress.” Audrey Hepburn proved that statement by wearing an iconic custom-made Givenchy dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The classic little black dress is timeless. DressCode sells a similar outfit for $16.99. The tight-fitting, hip-hugging dress can be paired with dangling earrings or a simple choker necklace for an edgy twist. For a night out, pair the look with classy black high heels and own the dance floor.

When it comes to stylish summer outfits, the options are endless. For $9.50, a faded-blue collared shirt with a thin fabric is an affordable beach must-have. Paired with a plain white tank priced at $4.50, the shirt can be tied with a knot in the front for a down-to-earth vibe. Top the look off with a pair of light-wash ripped jeans for $14.99 and the $1 navy blue mini-belt. This outfit is only $30—perfect for a sunny summer afternoon. Whether for strolling down the boardwalk or enjoying long walks on the beach, this look does not disappoint.  

From shades of apricot to bright tangerine, orange is definitely the new black. Another look is styled with summer must-haves: A knotted white tank top and a bright orange mini skirt. The tank top costs $4.50, and the bodycon skirt costs only $1. This outfit is perfect for family get-togethers and date nights.

These six articles of clothes are wardrobe staples for the summertime, and at DressCode it only costs $52 plus tax.

Through their shared love of fashion, Caitlyn and Jessica Lapier enchanted the North Country with their “Plattsburgh based, Manhattan minded” sense of style and frugal consignment shop.

Issue 11: Summer/Fall 2018

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