Tim Lambright, 57, of Everett, inside Value Village, one of the many thrift stores he frequents for his Spiffy Thrifty Fashion sideline gig to help people update their look for cheap and to stock his closet. He is known as SpiffyThriftyMan on Instagram. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Tim Lambright, 57, of Everett, inside Value Village, one of the many thrift stores he frequents for his Spiffy Thrifty Fashion sideline gig to help people update their look for cheap and to stock his closet. He is known as SpiffyThriftyMan on Instagram. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett’s Spiffy Thrifty coach can help you look chic on the cheap

Tim Lambright’s hobby is helping people look first-rate in secondhand clothes, especially us in the stodgy PNW.

EVERETT — Fashion coach Tim Lambright wants his clients to dress their best.

That’s why he takes them to thrift shops. It’s where he stocks his closet.

What’s up with that?

The mission of Spiffy Thrifty Fashion is to bring flair to the stodgy PNW on the cheap.

“I call it the ‘spiffy 50,’” he said. “If they put $50 in their pocket and $50 in my pocket, we go to thrift stores and I spend four hours with them to update and build their look.”

He has his work cut out for him.

“Men in the Pacific Northwest don’t dress very well. We look like we’re either going for a hike or just rolled out of bed,” he said.

Not him.

Tim Lambright inside Value Village wearing a completely thrifted outfit. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Tim Lambright inside Value Village wearing a completely thrifted outfit. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

In the aisles of Value Village, he’s the odd man out.

I met him on a Tuesday, senior day for 30% off for thriftier thrifting. He pushed the cart with poise, scanning the racks with a discerning eye, not unabashedly raking through the castoffs like the rest of us do.

He wore a tailored suit jacket, jeweled lapel pin, bright tie and handmade English alligator-ostrich shoes that sell new for more than the average car payment. His mustache curled above a coiffed gray beard, his hair slicked back.

He said it took him 45 minutes to get ready, from the time he got out of the shower.

It took me five minutes to throw on my black T.J. Maxx grandma jeans, purple shirt of 10 years and call it done.

My jeans got the nod.

“There’s a lot of women’s pants that can be worn by either sex,” he said. “I’m wearing a pair right now.”

Huh?

“They are more stylish,” he said.

He didn’t look like he was wearing women’s pants.

Spiffy Thrifty Fashion is a sideline for Lambright, 57. Another is Spiffy Bartender for private parties.

Tim Lambright browses the men’s suit jackets while putting together a spring themed outfit at Value Village. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Tim Lambright browses the men’s suit jackets while putting together a spring themed outfit at Value Village. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

He’s also a spiffy substitute teacher. The married father of five is in school to be a teacher, a second career after many years as a pediatric X-ray technician.

He does about 20 Spiffy Thrifty Fashion gigs a year. He recently offered a session as a prize in a trivia contest in a class he was substitute teaching at his children’s Christian school, where students wear uniforms.

Von Sandeno, 15, won and went with Lambright on a spree to five thrift stores.

Spiffy Thrifty Fashion coach Tim Lambright, left, adjusts a scarf on Von Sandeno, 15, during a thrifting session on April 1, 2023. (Submitted photo)

Spiffy Thrifty Fashion coach Tim Lambright, left, adjusts a scarf on Von Sandeno, 15, during a thrifting session on April 1, 2023. (Submitted photo)

“He showed Von what kind of scarf would look good on him and how to tie it,” said the teen’s mom, Lisa, who went along. “He went to the vest section and talked about waistcoats and how to use that. The colors that work together were really educational for us. This was an opportunity to explore lots of different styles and try new things.”

Von’s haul included 11 shirts, a vest, jacket and scarf, two pairs of men’s pants and super nice Italian leather boots, all for under $200. His mom plans to hire Lambright to take her shopping next.

Von Sandeno, 15, in an outfit selected from thrift stores in a session with the Spiffy Thrifty Fashion coach. (Submitted photo)

Von Sandeno, 15, in an outfit selected from thrift stores in a session with the Spiffy Thrifty Fashion coach. (Submitted photo)

Lambright and fashion go way back.

“Since I was 5 years old, when I got my first pair of 3-inch platform shoes,” he said. “I always liked to not wear the typical things that most boys were wearing. I was drawn to patterns and color. The first day in seventh grade I wore light blue corduroy blue bottoms. I can still hear the swish of the corduroy.”

An outfit example for men put together by Tim Lambright hangs on the rack at Value Village. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

An outfit example for men put together by Tim Lambright hangs on the rack at Value Village. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

That was in South Carolina. His 20 years in Washington haven’t turned him stodgy.

“I enjoy changing out my wardrobe on a regular basis,” he said. “I do a lot of mixing with outfits. I love black and red. I really got into the ’70s Elvis look after seeing the Elvis movie. My closet isn’t as big as people think.”

He has more clothes than his wife. She asks him for advice.

Lambright’s approach to coaching women is different than men.

“Finding what looks good on you that you’re not trying to dress too young or being Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek. Find that happy medium,” he said. “Mostly I want women to look and feel beautiful in what they’re wearing.”

Tim Lambright tests out different tie colors with a lavender shirt while putting together a spring themed outfit at Value Village. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Tim Lambright tests out different tie colors with a lavender shirt while putting together a spring themed outfit at Value Village. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Most clients are guys. He gives them sartorial books to choose a style and does a color analysis of their hair and skin tone.

He has done his homework where to shop.

“I’ve hit every thrift store between here and Seattle. They all have something different to offer,” he said. “A lot of times I go in to just sort of scout it out. I want to stay married, so I don’t go every day.”

His Everett circuit: Value Village. Goodwill. Assistance League of Everett. New & Again Thrift Shoppe.

Marysville’s Value Village is terrific for shoes, he said, and he scored a $6,000 mink coat there for $28.

Thrift shopping can be overwhelming. The stores are a massive melting pot of garments originating from hundreds of closets shoved together on racks.

Lambright strategizes his hunt-and-finds.

A multicolored tie paired with a lavender shirt, gray suit vest and patterned pants are layered on top of each other while Tim Lambright puts together a spring themed outfit at Value Village in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A multicolored tie paired with a lavender shirt, gray suit vest and patterned pants are layered on top of each other while Tim Lambright puts together a spring themed outfit at Value Village in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

In the long rows of men’s dress shirts, he looks at the bottom for French cuffs, which hang lower than regular cuffs and require cuff links.

Jewelry is important. His earrings match his ornamental ring. A lapel pin is a must.

(Spiffy Bartender tip: Put clip-on earrings on the edge of a cocktail glass to dress up a drink.)

He scours designer labels, but he isn’t a snob about it.

“It doesn’t have to be great quality to look great if it looks great on you,” he said.

Contact Mr. Spiffy at lambfather7@gmail.com or Instagram @spiffythriftyman.

Is there a person, place or thing making you wonder “What’s Up With That?” Contact reporter Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Former president Donald Trump is seen with a bloody ear as he is assisted off the stage during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa., on Saturday. MUST CREDIT: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post
Pops, screams and then blood: On the scene at the Trump rally shooting

Isaac Arnsdorf, Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post BUTLER, Pa. - The… Continue reading

Biden, Democrats, Republicans denounce shooting at Trump rally

Reaction pours in from government leaders

A bloodied Donald Trump is surrounded by Secret Service agents at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa, on Saturday, July, 13, 2024. The former president was rushed off stage at rally after sounds like shots; the former president was escorted into his motorcade at his rally in Butler, Pa., a rural town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Trump rally shooting investigated as assassination attempt

President Joe Biden gave a brief televised statement, condemning the violence as “sick.”

Firefighters and EMTs with Sky Valley Fire tour Eagle Falls while on an observational trip on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, near Index, Washington. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)
Beautiful but deadly: Drownings common at Eagle Falls, other local waters

Locals and firefighters are sounding the alarm as Eagle Falls and the Granite Falls Fish Ladder have claimed five lives this year.

A view of the south eastern area of the Lake Stevens that includes lakeshore and UGA that is a part of the city's annexation area on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 in Lake Stevens, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens fight to take over sewer district could end soon

The city and sewer district have been locked in a yearslong dispute. A judge could put an end to the stalemate this month.

Lynnwood appoints new council member after abrupt resignation

Derica Escamilla will take the seat vacated by Shirley Sutton in May, who claimed the city had a “total lack of leadership.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.