Meet the Central Valley's 'queen of thrifting'

Elizabeth Startuche hopes to prove you don't have to 'spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks'.

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Friday, August 19, 2022
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Elizabeth Startuche has held five titles in the Miss America Organization, including Miss Tulare County, but hasn't spent more than $11 on gowns.

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Tulare woman could be called the 'queen of thrifting'.

She spread a message to save money and the Earth on National Thrift Shop Day.

Elizabeth Startuche is the reigning 'Miss University Heights'.

She's held five titles in the Miss America Organization, including Miss Tulare County, but hasn't spent more than $11 on gowns for the competitions.

In fact, she made a dress out of receipts, mostly collected at Visalia Rescue Mission thrift stores.

She says fashion is the second-highest polluting industry in the world, so she advocates for 'sustainable shopping' to cut down on the environmental impact of clothing.

Startuche hopes to prove you don't have to 'spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks'.

"Every garment that you buy second-hand is one less garment that's going to go to our landfills. And the second reason that you should thrift is that you're supporting local businesses, local people and local charities," says Startuche.

In fact, the dress she wore for our interview is 7 years old, pulled out of a donation bag.

Startuche also hosts 'fashion swaps' and lists her favorite thrift stores on social media, many of which are in the Valley.