Tales from the Thrift: Once More, With Feeling

More, more, more. That’s my motto when it comes to thrifting, apparently. If you follow my IG, you’re not surprised. It’s the thrill of the treasure hunt that gets me every time. Following a bunch of expert thrifters on social media doesn’t help; seeing their awesome finds makes me all the more excited to go out there and thrift to my heart’s content. That’s what social media is for, right: encouraging questionable decision-making? #kidding #notkiddding

Let’s see what the thrift had in store for me most recently:

Liberty for Target ($6)

Liberty for Target ($6)

I love Liberty prints, but some of them aren’t particularly wearable — not for my current lifestyle anyway. This was a pass for me.

unknown brand ($13)

unknown brand ($13)

I’m honestly a bit sad I passed on this jacket. The sleeves were faux leather, and it’s a style I’ve actually thought about trying before. I ended up passing because I don’t really have much need for casual jacket options, and the price on this one seemed a bit steep at the time. With a 30% off coupon, it would have been around $10 and … actually, what was I thinking? I probably should have bought it. Oh well.

Dolce & Gabbana belt ($8)

Dolce & Gabbana belt ($8)

It’s too bad about the hideous buckle, because this was a nice red leather belt otherwise.

RACHEL Rachel Roy dress ($18)

RACHEL Rachel Roy dress ($18)

Passed on this RR dress. Every time I hear that name now, I just think of Becky With The Good Hair. Or, if I’m lucky, Bucky With The Good Hair. #TeamWinterSoldier4Evah

Lord & Taylor pants ($4)

Lord & Taylor pants ($4)

I almost got these; the fit was great and see above re my love of Liberty prints. I didn’t because I’ve accumulated quite a lot of pants recently, and I rarely wear pants to begin with; a floral pair simply wasn’t going to get enough wear.

Joe's Jeans ($12)

Joe’s Jeans ($13)

Value Village has wised up to designer denim. Thirteen dollars for a pair of jeans? No, thank you.

J. Brand jeans ($3)

J. Brand jeans ($3)

On the other hand, I’ll take $3 J Brand capris, even if they have a ridiculous star print on them. I cannot believe these originally retailed for over $300. Too ridiculous!

Adriano Goldschmied Stevie jeans ($4)

Adriano Goldschmied Stevie jeans ($4)

AG Stevies for under $5? YES, PLEASE. These looked small, but I tried them on anyway because … Stevies, duh. Surprisingly, they fit. What can I say, they are beyond stretchy. At home, I washed them and then accidentally put them through the dryer. Ugh. They came out looking like, frankly, kid’s pants. And still — somehow, miraculously — they fit. Definitely not work-appropriate skinny jeans, but perfect for weekends. They are unbelievably soft.

MaxMara coat ($7)

MaxMara coat ($7)

I found this trench before the Burberry, and bought it as an interim replacement while my trench search continued. It’s too large for me, however, so I’m definitely passing it on now. The material is very soft and luxe-feeling. I hope one of my friends is looking for a trench …

Boden skirt ($5)

Boden skirt ($5)

so pretty!

so pretty!

This Boden skirt was too pretty to pass up, even though it was also too big for me … so I bought it for my mom. She loves it.

Boden top ($4)

Boden top ($4)

pretty details

pretty details

Ditto with this Boden top. I’m glad to see more Boden pieces making their way into our local thrift stores.

Maeve blouse ($12)

Maeve blouse ($12)

Loved the colours of this Anthro blouse — so much so that I bought it at “full”, undiscounted VV price.

Reiss belt ($7)

Reiss belt ($7)

I’d loved to find an actual Reiss piece one of these days, but I’m happy with this belt in the meantime.

Diane von Furstenberg top ($4)

Diane von Furstenberg top ($4)

DVF for under $5? No brainer. I love the feel of the bamboo lining — it’s incredibly soft. Would love to find some pyjamas made out of bamboo, but it’s probably an expensive material. (Yes? No? Anyone know?)

BCBG jacket ($13)

BCBG jacket ($13)

I’m pretty sure I remember this jacket when it was in stores. Love the draping, the soft faux suede, and the lovely dove grey colour. Impulse buy, but no regrets about this one.

Ben Sherman pea coat ($8)

Ben Sherman pea coat ($8)

A black peacoat that fits like a dream? Sign me up! My coat game will be stronger than ever come fall. I’m pumped.

T. Babaton pants ($8)

T. Babaton pants ($8)

Black, cropped trouser-style pants that fit great? Even though I don’t love wearing pants, I had to get these.

Cartonnier blazer ($8)

Cartonnier blazer ($8)

Another black blazer, you say? Well, yes, I do have a few already. But! This one is a thick knit, with a nice lining, so it will be a nice, cozy option come fall. Also, it’s double-breasted and a bit of a loose fit, so it’s a different style than my other black blazers. Makes ALL the difference, I tell you!

Arnold Churgin shoes ($12)

Arnold Churgin shoes ($12)

Impulse buy because they were brand new and handmade (according to the label). Arnold Churgin is a well-known shoe store in Calgary, or at least it used to be. (C-town peeps, is it still around?) In addition to selling designer brands, Churgin also made its own shoes, and I believe the quality was supposed to be quite good. I may not end up keeping these, because the style is not quite up my street, but we’ll see.

Arcadia bag ($4)

Arcadia bag ($4)

Talked about this bag already. Love, love, love. Needed a bit of TLC, but I did manage to get the worst schmutz off with some rubbing alcohol.

before & after

before & after

Always be careful when cleaning a patent leather bag with rubbing alcohol or acetone. Test a small patch to make sure the leather is not affected; I’ve never had issues, but better safe than sorry. There was nothing to be done in this case about the colour transfer and small pen mark; both had sunk below the patent coating, making removal impossible. I understand that it can be possible to remove both provided you do it promptly, before they settle. Just a PSA.

colour transfer & pen mark

colour transfer & pen mark

Still, the worst of the colour transfer is not particularly visible. Here’s the “bad” side of the bag:

the "bad" side

the “bad” side

Not so bad, really.

Tadashi Shoji dress ($12)

Tadashi Shoji dress ($12)

Last but not least, I found this sparkly Tadashi Shoji mini dress which I simply HAD to buy, even though I have no idea where I’ll wear it. All I know is that WHEN I do, I’ll be able to pretend I’m a Hollywood starlet. #priceless

Nina Dobrev red carpet-ing it up

Nina Dobrev red carpet-ing it up

Have you been thrifting lately? Hit me with your finds in the comments.

L’Orangerie

Blazer, Theory (thrifted); dress, Anthropologie (thrifted); shoes, Stuart Weitzman; bag, YSL

Blazer, Theory (thrifted); dress, Anthropologie (thrifted); shoes, Stuart Weitzman; bag, YSL

I rarely wear orange, but when I do … I go all out, apparently. Thank goodness this greige blazer goes with everything because I was feeling rather stumped by this dress the morning I decided to wear it. I didn’t want to default to black again, but I also didn’t want to be too bright, even on a Friday. I do like that the blazer also “adults” this dress a bit, which is probably needed to make it a viable (albeit casual) work option.

Both the blazer and the dress were thrifted, and cost about $20 altogether. My cost-per-wear metrics are getting better every day, you guys. That’s another wardrobe stats post, for another day. (Two in one week? I wouldn’t do that to you.) The shoes and bag are closet faves, and proof that those two categories are worth upgrading. You can get away with a lot, when your shoes and bag are on point. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

watch, Swatch

watch, Swatch

orange creamsicle

orange creamsicle kind of day

Wardrobe Statistics

How do you guys feel about another wardrobe statistics – are you with me? Good. Be forewarned, this one is going to be heavy on numbers. I was inspired to write it after reading about Emma Watson’s Met Gala outfit, which led me to discover the #30Wears movement; it’s been around for a while, but this would not be the first time I’m behind the times, so please bear with me. The premise is solid – making purposeful clothes purchases guided by ethical and sustainability principles – but what really intrigued me was the question that it poses and from which the hashtag is derived: would you wear a particular piece at least 30 times before disposing of it? That sort of thing is practically catnip for this numbers nerd. I was really curious to see what answers the question, applied to my existing wardrobe, might yield.

The short answer is: no, for the most part. The slightly longer answer is: no, with the exception of bags, coats, shoes, and black cardigans/blazers. For the really long answer, read on.

Let’s start with a quick inventory of the things currently in my closet. These numbers are ever-shifting targets, because I acquire new (to me) things all the time. Bad Adina! But also: good job, Fun Closet Adina. (I’m sure Emma W. would disapprove of Fun Closet Adina. I guess I’m Team Slytherin, or something. Moving on.) Here’s what I’ve got, along with the most worn item in each category:

Category      Total items     No. of items worn at least 30 times     Item most worn
Tops                      34                0                                striped top (26 times)
Jackets                   21                0                                 black blazer (28 times)
Outerwear              14                4                                 camel coat (223 times)
Pants                     23                2                                 skinny jeans (81 times)
Skirts                    33            1                                 black skirt (44 times)
Sweaters               26                3                                 black cardi (71 times)
Dresses                 52                0                                 black dress (27 times)
Bags                      25                8                                 black (commuting) tote
Shoes                    56                10                                black pumps (87 times)

This looks pretty pathetic, doesn’t it? I always knew that my closet sees a lot of turnover, but these numbers are quite stark. Let’s delve a bit deeper, though. How long, exactly, do clothes hang around (har har!) in my closet?

Vintage                    No. of Items
2010 or older             10
2012-2014                   64
2015                          57
2016                          74

Put another way, about a third of my clothes are more than 2 years old, and about a third are less than 1 year old, with the remaining third falling in the middle. I’ve been, um, busy this year. As far as trends go, it looks like coats and sweaters tend to keep the longest, with the remaining categories turning over almost completely about once every two years. It could be argued that the last 3-4 years may not represent the best data set, because of life changes and fluctuating weight (two pregnancies, two mat leaves, etc.), but I have a suspicion that the results would be the same regardless.

I think it all comes down to this: I like variety and I like bright, colourful things. I also get bored, periodically, of those bright colourful things, and want to exchange them for new ones. The basics tend to stick around much longer, usually until they fall apart. But “basics” in this context mean all the black things: black sweater, black cardigan, black pants, black blazer, black skirt, etc. And skinny jeans. The exception is coats/outerwear. Because I hate to buy coats, and because I also actually need to wear coats for a large part of the year, coats tend to get a lot of wear and stick around for a long time, regardless of style, colour, etc.

(Please note that the stats above do not include shoes and bags, which would probably skew the numbers a bit towards the older side. Also, “vintage” means years spent in my closet, rather than since production. I buy a lot of things secondhand, as will become apparent in a moment.)

I also decided to look at the composition of my closet, because there has got to be some good news in there, somewhere. Right?! So, I decided to look at the provenance of my clothes; due to time constraints, I looked at this only at a very high level. Ideally, I would like to tally the actual country of manufacture for each piece in my closet, but because I don’t currently track this in my closet worksheet, it would take a long time to tabulate at the moment. It’s definitely something I’m considering tracking on a going forward basis. For now, here goes:

Provenance                         No. of Items
New/Retail                                  59
Thrift                                            64
Consignment                               72
Swap/Gift                                     8

This, I feel good about. Over 70% of my clothes are pre-loved, which means that, although my environmental footprint is by no means small, it’s not quite as large as it would appear at first blush. I’d like to be able to say that the majority of my clothes have, in fact, been worn 30 or more times – if not by me, then by their previous owners – but I actually don’t think that’s true. Most of the clothes I thrift or buy from consignment (or eBay) come to me either brand new (some with tags) or very nearly new. A lot of clothes leave my closet (their second home, at the very least) only barely worn. It is entirely possible – and I hope it’s true – that they get their third lease on life in another closet. In my experience, however, the biggest driver of the rapid cycle of clothes production is not poor quality. Most clothes that end up in thrift stores are perfectly fine (fit excluded, which is a separate issue perhaps). Other factors are in play here, including the thrill (and relatively low personal cost) of novelty. I know that’s my weakness, for sure. And it’s a big reason why I’ve become an increasingly dedicated thrifter.

I want to hear your thoughts! Tell me if you’ve ever considered the #30Wears challenge (and question), and whether you think your closet would pass it.

1 2 3 395