SXGW Style Guide 2015

sxsw clothes


by Melissa Massello of

About four years ago, I watched a video with Brooklyn designer & blogger Jessi Arrington, who gave a lifestyle-altering, positively inspiring, super awesome TED Talk about her festival and conference style. In a nutshell, she wears nothing new. Jessi set off to TED with nothing but seven pairs of undies in her suitcase. In her 5-minute talk, she shared what she found to wear, sourcing only secondhand clothes from local thrift shops, plus lessons she picked up along the way. HOW COOL IS THAT?

I vowed to try it myself, and with SXSW now right in my own backyard, this year will be my second year I've gone completey #SXGW -- South by Goodwill! Here are three of the outfits I put together using only thrifted items (many from last week's Big Big Big Sale when everything was 50% off!), one each for SXSW Interactive, Music, and Film.

SXSWi Style

As a veteran startup junkie, I can tell you that it's every tech girl's mission to look trendy, casual, not too girlie, and still comfortable. You know, because you're mainly sitting at a computer, networking, or live-posting to social media umpteen hours a day, in a predominantly male-dominated field. Which is why I love, love, love this combination of "fancy sweatpants," flats, and layering pieces.

The J.Crew long, lightweight cashmere cardigan ($4.99) is great for both this manic weather and the AC in the panel/session venues. The Bird by Juicy Couture lightweight wool tank underneath ($2.99) is semi-sheer for a little sassiness at the nighttime parties, layered over a black bralette. The Allen B. Schwartz "fancy sweatpants" ($2.99) have a funky, modern floral pattern on lightweight acrylic fabric and tuxedo details, making them both classy and comfy. The Stuart Weitzman vintage, tasseled patent leather loafers ($6.99) are dressy with a menswear vibe and on-trend, but still walkable -- which is clutch! Lastly, the Forever21 cross-body bag ($3.99) is in trendy metallic copper, but also just big enough to hold wallet, charger, smartphone, badge, business cards, and all the other smaller items essential to surviving a long day of conferencing in style!

SXSW Film Style

Paying homage to The Breakfast Club, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a SXSW world premiere of the newly restored and remastered version on Monday, I channeled Molly Ringwald for my screening-and-party-going Film style. Using all vintage items scored at Goodwill (and Feathers on South Congress), I think it hits that perfect medium between likeness and modern, not too costume-y. All you need to recreate the look is a blush pink top, a leather pencil skirt, decorative vintage belt, and boots!

"Spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself, and a little less time trying to impress people." ~The Breakfast Club


SXSW Music Style

Everything 1970s is back in style in a big way this year, and there's no better place than a live music venue in Austin to channel your inner Stevie Nicks. The key is a leather bag and boots with a bohemian dress (or top with jeans).

This What Goes Around, Comes Around embroidered, tasseled cotton dress ($6.49) was my major festie inspiration, paired with some Cynthia Vincent suede booties ($12.99) and a vintage Brazilian leather bucket bag ($4.99) that was my must-have at ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest already last year.

What are YOU wearing to SXSW this year? If you're wearing thrifted items from @austingoodwill, tag us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SXGW15 for a chance to be featured! We’ll be giving away $25 Goodwill gift card to the winning submission.






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