For as long as photographer turned fashion and lifestyle blogger Bethany Marie can remember, she has always loved putting together outfits. Even as a young toddler, she would throw tantrums if anyone else dressed her; she always wanted to dress herself.
At the young age of 3, she began putting together outfits for herself.
“I started seeing color flows and began putting things together to make an outfit,” she says.
Growing up, her annual birthday gift from her mother was always money to go shopping for clothes.
“There was never a time I didn’t love clothes; it is something that has always been a part of my life," Bethany says.
Fast-forward a few decades and Bethany now makes a living sharing the outfits she puts together both on herself and from behind the camera. Fashion and photography have always worked hand-in-hand for her from the beginning. Before Pinterest or Instagram, Bethany began posting outfits and pictures of herself on lookbook.nu, a website that allows users to join and share their fashion looks. She was also shooting model tests for modeling agencies in Seattle and found herself helping the models decide what to wear. That turned into bringing outfits to shoots to help style and outfit models for the shoot, and it was a turning point for Bethany where she found a deeper love for fashion as her profile began growing in the fashion community.
When Instagram launched, Bethany jumped on the social media platform, posting photos of herself in outfits, mindful of the setting or background of these photos. Brands that were on the platform began noticing her and began reaching out and sending her free items to wear and promote on Instagram. She also saw that some of the users she followed on lookbook.nu had begun fashion blogs. This inspired Bethany to launch her own fashion blog, writing about the brands that sent her products.
Despite all the goodies she was receiving, Bethany stayed true to her roots, which were planted in “thrifting,” finding hidden treasures at second-hand stores.
“As a kid, my dad would always take me thrifting, and we would try to find things," she says. "It stuck with me. When I was young, designer denim was hugely popular. I’d go to thrift stores so I could buy some without spending tons of money. My love for shopping really is intertwined with my love for thrifting.”
And that love has created a unique niche for Bethany to exercise her passion for fashion and styling with gems she finds at local thrift stores, and to share these finds and outfits on her blog and social media accounts. Visit BethanyMarie or find Bethany Marie on Instagram @bethanymarieco.
Do you love what you do today as much as you did when you started?
I still love it—putting outfits together, being in front of the camera, thrifting—but the blogging industry has changed a lot in the last couple of years. It’s gotten away from being about fashion and more about how to be successful on Instagram. When you have a website that relies so much on a social media platform, it can be exhausting. I love being able to be creative and sharing my love for photos and fashion, but I am not sure where the future will lead.
What would you call your style?
Honestly, it’s constantly evolving. I love to have timeless pieces that are basics and can be worn for years. I also love current, trendy styles as well as lots of black, leather and gold. So, I go with how I feel: I could be in a flowy, Free People outfit one day and then a completely Pacific Northwest outfit the next. My current basic outfit is: white leather sneakers, black skinny denim and an oversized sweater with a designer handbag.
What are your tips for thrifting?
Look through everything. When you’re scanning items, look at the material and then the brand. The quality of the material is your first clue that it might be a designer brand. Also, look through all the sizes; oftentimes you’ll find a lot of stuff misplaced. It might take two hours, but you can leave with amazing stuff if you take the time to look.
What’s your method of finding high-end and luxury items?
First, head straight to handbags and shoes, and look through those because it takes less time to sift through these sections. Look through everything because a lot of stuff can be hidden. Then go to coats, then bottoms and then go through tops last because you’re least likely to find anything in that section.
What are your favorite thrift stores in the area?
- Value Village in Woodinville. I found a Dolce & Gabbana cropped tweed blazer for $4 and two pairs of Prada boots for $14 each.
- Ballard Consignment in Ballard. I found a beautiful pair of black Celine trousers that looked brand-new for $30. Head to the back corner of the store for the clothing section.
- Value Village in Everett. I found a Max Mara plaid wrap-style coat for $11 that looked nearly brand-new and a pair of Chanel slides with a small heel for $30.
- Goodwill in Lynnwood. I found a Max Mara polka-dot silk wrap dress for $10.
- Value Village in Crown Hill. This is the only one in Seattle I go to because it’s not picked over and overpriced like you will find at most places in Seattle proper.
- Buffalo Exchange in Seattle. I found a Fear of God pea coat for $60 that retails for $600.