Tales from the Thrift: All the Things (I Didn’t Get)

Yes, friends, it has come to this: I now have to dedicate an *entire* post to things I did NOT thrift. Never fear, there’s a separate post coming up detailing my actual scores.

What, did you think I hadn’t bought anything? Come now, you know me better than that.

I’ve also started to do a bit of thrifting for friends, and I have to say I’m enjoying it tremendously. It’s really fun to try to spot things other people (with different tastes and needs than mine) might like. It’s a whole new kind of challenge … and you know I love me a good thrift challenge.

eShakti dress

eShakti dress

Speaking of which, I now kinda regret not getting this eShakti dress for a friend — I just found out she loves owls. This was the first time I’d ever run into this brand locally. I call that “thriftspotting”. There’s always a first time for everything, as they say.

J. Crew Collection dress ($20)

J. Crew Collection dress ($20)

This J. Crew Collection was cute, but two sizes too big and also strapless. I don’t do strapless. I have no idea why Goodwill priced it individually as a “special” piece, since far better brands have ended up on the regular rack. Maybe because this looks vaguely bridesmaid-y, and those sorts of dresses tend to get marked up at GW.

J. Crew Factory top ($5); ReneC skirt ($7)

J. Crew Factory top ($5); ReneC skirt ($7)

Cute separates (that kinda go together!) but not really my style.

Geox wedges ($15)

Geox wedges ($15)

side-view

side-view

Brand new Geox sandals — very cute, but a little too girly for me.

Anthro dress ($14?)

Anthro dress ($16?)

I have a funny story about this dress, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear all about it. For now, I will say that I was sad to see that this dress was a size 10, because I’m not.

Gap blazer ($8?)

Gap blazer ($8?)

I have this blazer in the coral version, and the green would have been tempting but, alas, wrong size again.

Joe Fresh blouse ($6)

Joe Fresh blouse ($6)

This was super cute (and 100% silk), but I’m generally not big on pussy bows, so I passed.

J. Crew blazer ($8)

J. Crew blazer ($8)

Wrong sizeitis strikes again … but I talked Nicole into buying it.

Plenty by Tracy Reese blazer ($8)

Plenty by Tracy Reese blazer ($8)

… but I was not able to talk her into this Plenty by Tracy Reese blazer. I’m sure it found another good home.

Aryeh dress ($13?)

Aryeh dress ($13?)

I think Aryeh is an Anthro brand — correct me if I’m wrong, peeps — but this dress was definitely not my style. I’m proud of myself for resisting the Anthro lure.

all the denim

all the denim

VV’s denim-pricing strategy eludes me. I’ve bought Paige, J Brand and AG denim for under $8 (without discounts), so I have no idea why old True Religions would be going for over $30. Boggles the mind.

DVF dress ($3.50)

DVF dress ($3.50)

You know what else boggles the mind? The cut of this DVF dress. That was … very unfortunate. I like to think I have a reasonably good figure, but this dress did it zero favours. I would never have thought I’d pass up DVF for $3.50, but I couldn’t think of a single person who would look flattering in this dress.

Twilight dress ($7)

Twilight dress ($7)

Legit

Legit

This dress might look like something your toddler would wear (reluctantly, after ample bribing if she’s like MY toddler), but it’s in fact a Very Special Dress. The label is legit — I googled it and it does appear that a version of this dress was worn by one Bella Swann in some Twilight movies. By which I surmise that Bella Swann has terrible fashion sense.

eci dress ($7)

eci dress ($7)

Another dress that fit weirdly around the middle. Not as egregious as the DVF dress, but not great either. I can see this being cute on someone else though.

Eleanor Prime scarf ($3?)

Eleanor Prime scarf ($3?)

vintage & made in Japan

vintage & made in Japan

This scarf caught my eye because of the print, and I googled the signature just for fun. (I always look for signatures on scarves — you never know what treasure you might find.) It turns out this is a Canadian designer, whose vintage scarves sell on Etsy for $25-30 a pop. If I was in the re-sale business, I might have been tempted.

Miz Mooz shoes ($25)

Miz Mooz shoes ($25)

I’ve been waiting to find a pair of Miz Mooz shoes in my size for ages … so it figures that when one finally turned up, it would be a pair of peep toes. Sigh. I have sworn off peep toes for good, so I couldn’t let myself buy these, but they were very cute.

Saint James cardigan ($7)

Saint James cardigan ($7)

Another thriftspotting first — Saint James!! I was pumped to find this cozy cardi-jacket, and even more excited to buy it for my mom.

BCBG dress ($22)

BCBG dress ($22)

I ended up buying this without trying it; I was in a rush, it was new-with-tags, and I remembered it from eBay (having been tempted to buy it before). Sadly, when I got home, I realized that I was not crazy about the fit on me — too straight up-and-down. It’s a nice dress (BCBG knows how to do an interesting print), but it’s better off in someone else’s closet. I returned it.

Zara dress ($70)

Zara dress ($70)

This was wasn’t a thrift find, but I figured I’d add it here. I impulse ordered this floral tunic from Zara, and then hemmed and hawed for a week over whether to keep it or not. I loved the print (it reminds me of the Gucci Flora print I’m obsessed with) and the fit if the dress, but I hated the side slits and the slight sheerness of the material. Not to mention that it was 100% polyester fast fashion. Oh, and $70 to boot. Do you know how many dresses I can thrift for that amount? Needless to say, this dress went back. It’s Gucci or bust, baby!

If you’re not experiencing thrift overload, check in tomorrow to see what things did end up finding a home in my closet. Spoiler: it’s gonna be another long post.

Navy Dress Overload

Dress, Nanette Lepore (thrifted); necklace, MaxMara; shoes, Ivanka Trump; bag, Mulberry

Dress, Nanette Lepore (thrifted); necklace, MaxMara; shoes, Ivanka Trump; bag, Mulberry

Yup, another navy dress. For anyone keeping score at home, that would make 3 in total. What can I say? The thrifting gods provide, and one must not question. I liked this Nanette Lepore version too much to pass it up … so I didn’t. Instead, I did the next best thing, and purged the other two navy dresses I had.

The other Nanette Lepore dress in my closet (eyelet) was a little bit too loose in the bust and had a slightly less office-appropriate vibe, so letting it go was an easy decision. The Milly x BR dress, which I got in my last clothes swap, was a harder piece to purge; it fits quite nicely, and it’s perfectly suitable for work. However, it was just too similar in style to this one, such that if I had kept both, I’d be in a “splitting my wears” situation — in other words, not getting a lot of wear out of either dress. Ultimately, I decided to trust in the quality of this dress based on the brand, and the Milly went into my swap pile for next year.

Let me say this: playing closet Survivor games is all fun and whatnot, until I start second-guessing myself and feeling sorry for the “losers”. I have a rescue complex when it comes to clothes — and I wish I was kidding when I say that. Tell me you have a tough time letting go of clothes too. Please. Anyone. Anyone? Sigh.

cardigan-ed up

cardigan-ed up

grin it and bare it

grin and bare it

Tales from My Closet: Coat Game

Ah, my coat game! For most of my adult life, my coat game was the very picture of “weak”. I’ve mentioned it before, but I have an unexplained reluctance to spend a lot of money on things that are more functional than pretty. And, let’s face it, no matter how beautiful a coat might be, it’s true raison d’etre is functionality – at least in my neck of the (cold, wintery) woods. As a result of my weird quirk, I spent years looking vaguely disheveled on my commute to work, and elsewhere when exposed to the elements. Back in those days, I had 2 or 3 coats in total (at least one of which was always non-fashionable heavy-duty parka) and gave them little thought at all.

The situation started to change after I bought my MaxMara wool coat (long story you can read here), which proved to be a little like Diderot’s dressing gown; it invited – nay, begged – me to up my coat game. With my thrifting turned up a few notches in the past year, it became a very easy (and inexpensive) proposition. I was organizing my downstairs coat closet the other day, and realized that I have managed to accumulate a pretty sweet (and extensive) collection of outerwear. Naturally, my thoughts immediately turned to cataloguing it, because what else is a collector to do?

Let’s take a look, shall we?

MaxMara Camel Wool Coat

MaxMara coat

MaxMara coat

The one that started it all. I have worn this coat well over 200 times in the almost-2 years I’ve owned it, which tells you everything you need to know about it. I’m loath to tell people what they need to buy, but I would strongly urge you to consider adding a camel coat (or trench) to your wardrobe. It really does go with (almost) everything.

Purchased: 2014
Cost: $270 (after sale + gift card; retail $800)
Cost-per-wear: $1.20

J. Crew Lady Day Coat

J. Crew coat

J. Crew coat

I love the style and colour of this coat, but the fit is a bit off for me. It was a bit snug when I bought, and now it’s a little loose, but the bigger problem is the sleeves – they’re too long for my stumpy arms. It’s a vicious circle: I don’t wear the coat enough to justify (likely costly) alterations, but without alterations I probably won’t wear it any more often than I do. Still, it’s a nice alternative to have, especially for special (wintertime) occasions when I’m wearing a dress.

Purchased: 2013
Cost: $100 (via Kijiji; retail $350)
Cost-per-wear: $4.00

Soia & Kyo Coat

This was a consignment find – great price for a good, made-in-Canada brand – and I thought a black wool coat would always come in handy. I don’t wear it as often as my MaxMara coat, but it’s nice to have an alternative.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $25 (via consignment; retail $350)
Cost-per-wear: $1.80

Amaryllis Pink Coat

Amaryllis coat

Amaryllis coat

Impulse buy! I actually admired this coat on a friend, then found it at Winners on the clearance rack. I like the cocoon-like shape, and the Pepto pink colour seemed fun. It’s now a little bit big on me, but I’m keeping for the sheer fun value. It will probably fit again at some point.

Purchased: 2015
Cost: $36 (retail $100+)
Cost-per-wear: $1.50

Ben Sherman Pea Coat

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman

The cut of this coat is impeccable, and it’s a great transitional piece for spring/fall. Or (occasionally) summer, if you live in Edmonton. It can be dressed up (pants) or down (jeans).

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $8 (thrifted; retail $250+)
Cost-per-wear: $1.60

Burberry Trench

Burberry trench

Burberry trench

The unicorn! I spent YEARS looking for a replacement trench after my cheapie Gap one bit the dust, and I am so glad I waited until the perfect one found me. I love the style and fit, even though a small part of me wishes it was a plain, solid colour not a pattern. Such a small quibble, all things considered.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $8 (thrifted; retail $1,800+)
Cost-per-wear: $0.80

Elie Tahari Trench

So, after not having a trench for years, I now have two. Like I said, it’s good to have alternatives, and a plain black trench is a good one for the Burberry.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $20 (thrifted; retail $300+)
Cost-per-wear: $10

Club Monaco Wool Cape

Club Monaco cape

Club Monaco cape

I actually “borrowed” this from my mom a couple of years ago, and never returned it. In my defence, I was the one who convinced her to buy it in the first place. Wait, is that a defence, or a further indictment? Anywhoodle, it’s a nice dressy option for transitional weather, with the bonus that it can become a part of the outfit if needed. Pin a brooch on it, and call ‘er done.

Purchased: 2009-ish
Cost: Free to me but originally $25 (via consignment; retail $150+)
Cost-per-wear: $0

Joe Fresh Wool Cape

Joe Fresh cape

Joe Fresh cape

Yes, you are seeing double; that is basically the same coat, with a different label on it. I can only assume that one of these copied the other. I believe that, at one point, the chief designer for Joe Fresh used to design for Club Monaco. I don’t know which was the chicken and which the egg, but I enjoy having both options available.

Purchased: 2009-ish
Cost: $20 (via consignment; retail $150+)
Cost-per-wear: $***

Tommy Hilfiger Denim Jacket

Tommy Hilfiger jacket

Tommy Hilfiger jacket

This is one of the few coats I’ve bought at retail – and I don’t just mean at the mall, but at full price to boot. Denim jackets are just too hard to find secondhand, you guys. Nine out of every ten will look awful on me, so having found the magical one a few years ago, I didn’t hesitate and splurged. No regrets, I still wear this regularly in the summer.

Purchased: 2013
Cost: $80 (retail $80)
Cost-per-wear: $2.70

J. Crew (Factory?) Grey Field Jacket

J. Crew Factory jacket

J. Crew Factory jacket

I bought this to replace my old Old Navy khaki field jacket, and figured that the grey colour would be equally versatile. I wasn’t wrong, but I still found that I missed my khaki version. (Though not for long – see below). This is a nice option for spring/fall casual wear.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $20 (via consignment; retail $100+)
Cost-per-wear: $2.90

Club Monaco Khaki Field Jacket

Club Monaco jacket

Club Monaco jacket

I couldn’t resist getting this, even though it’s sleeveless, because of the style and colour. The sleeveless aspect makes it a little less functional (or, rather, restricts the amount of time I can wear it) but does add some additional flair (hah!). I’m not generally a huge fan of green, but I love khaki/olive, and find it very versatile.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $8 (thrifted; retail $200+)
Cost-per-wear: $2.70

BCBG Faux Suede Jacket

BCBG jacket

BCBG jacket

This is definitely a flair-only piece, since it won’t do much to protect me from the elements, but I like it. When you’ve got your bases already covered, it’s nice to add a little fun to your wardrobe, right? Right.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $13 (thrifted; retail $200+)
Cost-per-wear: $6.50

Joe Fresh Faux Leather Moto Jacket

Joe Fresh jacket

Joe Fresh jacket

How did I survive for 35 years without a leather moto jacket? Who knows. I’m so happy to have found this version to fill the hole in my life. All joking aside, a moto leather jacket? Surprisingly versatile, you guys. Jeans, pants, dresses, skirts – it goes with everything.

Purchased: 2016
Cost: $10 (thrifted; retail $60)
Cost-per-wear: $0.80

Let’s summarize: For a little over $600, I have acquired 14 jackets & coats (not including my non-fashionable heavy duty parka, which of course I still have). The total retail cost would have been somewhere close to $5,000, but of course ain’t nobody paying that when we’re talking secondhand shopping. (Only 3 of my coats were bought new.) It’s sustainability that helps the environment, your closet and your wallet. Win, win, win. Achievement level “coat game on fleek” unlocked.

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