It’s been a hot minute since my last thrifting update, but I’m a woman with a one-track mind, and that track is all thrifting, all the time. (I also work sometimes, and there are some kids running around here somewhere that sometimes need stuff from me, and I write a bit now and then … minor details, ok?) I have decided that “stress thrifting” is a thing, and while it may not be as cute as those dogs they send to old people’s homes to cheer up the residents (is ANYthing cuter than those dogs?), it is serving me well. Particularly on days when I hit the thrifting motherload … which, frankly, is bound to happen more frequently, the more often one goes. It’s a law of thrift or something.

Anyway, enough jibber jabber — take a look at my recent finds:

Kenneth Cole shoes ($17?)
Kenneth Cole shoes ($17?)

I lied … first up, some things I didn’t buy. These T-strap shoes (sandals?) were cute, but not quite my style. My outfits usually have so much going on, I like to keep my shoes simple.

B. Makowsky bag ($40!)
B. Makowsky bag ($40!)

I rarely find nice leather bags when thrifting, so this B. Makowsky gold hobo was a standout. A metallic bag is surprisingly versatile, so I recommend it to people wanting an alternative to black for an everyday sort of bag. The leather on this bag was in pretty good shape — very soft, lovely to the touch — with just a bit of rubbing/scuffing on the hardware. Too bad VV wanted FORTY freaking dollars for it. Now, $40 for a good leather bag is not bad, but it seems a bit ridiculous at a thrift store. Similar bags are selling for $30-60 on eBay, for reference.

OK, gripe over. Let’s talk about things I actually bought.

Print ($5)
Print ($5)

I don’t only thrift for clothes, you guys! I bought this print of the countryside around San Gimignano (still in its wrapper!) by an Italian photographer initially because S. Gimignano is one of my favourite places in Tuscany (which is my fave area of Italy), but I think I won’t be keeping it. I’m going to frame it and give it to my mom for Mother’s Day. She loves S. Gimignano as much as I do, and I think it will be a nice memento.

Banana Republic pants ($8)
Banana Republic pants ($8)

These BR Sloan pants might not seem like the most exciting thrift find, but trust me — they were. I love Sloan pants (and have worn them at work almost exclusively for the past 2 years), but I am beyond fed up with the fact that they never seem to go on decent sale (in Canada, at any rate). I am not paying $60+ for a pair of pants that, frankly, could be better quality. (I just love the style, sigh. Non-baggy knees, FTW.) Anyway, finding a pair of Sloans in my size, in good condition (i.e. not shrunk), in a colour I actually need (navy) is a small thrifting miracle.

Adriano Goldschmied Stevie cords ($4)
Adriano Goldschmied Stevie cords ($4)

My other Holy Grail brand for pants is Adriano Goldschmied. I adore the Stevie cords; one of the few downsides of losing weight last year was the fact that my old pairs of Stevies no longer fit. I was beyond pumped to find a new pair, in a gorgeous forest green colour — and they were 50% courtesy of Goodwill’s daily deal.

Joe Fresh ($7)
Joe Fresh ($7)

My inner colour magpie couldn’t resist this psychedelic floral. The inside tag is cut off so I can’t be sure of the fabric content, but it feels very nice and soft and silk-like (even if it’s probably polyester).

Stuart Weitzman pumps ($9)
Stuart Weitzman pumps ($9)

Stuart Weitzman is one of my fave shoe brands for its high comfort level. For $9, these peep toe pumps were a no-brainer. I’m not a huge fan of peep toes generally (I find them uncomfortable), but the cut-out on this pair was pretty small, and didn’t seem to pose a danger to my toes. The shoes were in fantastic condition save for a few small knicks on the inside part of the heels. (The leather is finished so that it looks intetionally distressed, which threw me off for a second when I first saw them.)

Lida Baday blazer ($8)
Lida Baday blazer ($8)

Lida Baday is a fancy Canadian designer, so it’s always great to find her (made in Canada) pieces in thrift stores — far better than spending hundreds of dollars on them at Holt Renfrew. This blazer has a lovely, sleek, waist-defining cut so I had to buy it even though I have a bazillion blazers. Had to, I tell you!

Baraschi dress ($13)
Baraschi dress ($13)

I also love Yoana Baraschi pieces, and I couldn’t resist this beautiful lace print. (I’m starting to sense a theme here — when did this turn into Adina’s favourite brands list?) Even at full price ($13), this was a great deal … except for one tiny detail. This is a size 14. I hemmed and hawed over it for a while, then decided to get it and take my chances: I will see if I can get it altered to fit (without ruining the dress entirely), and if not, I will pass it on to a friend. Stay tuned.

Edited to add: spoiler alert: I found a new tailor, and I can safely call this dress an unqualified success. Pics to come!

Bill Blass scarf ($4)
Bill Blass scarf ($4)

Cute polka dot impulse buy.

Eileen Fisher dress ($11)
Eileen Fisher dress ($11)

I know veteran thrifters (especially re-sellers) love Eileen Fisher pieces, but this was actually only the second time I’ve ever seen the brand in one of my local haunts. I’m glad that VV hasn’t caught on that EF is a thing, because I was able to get this for $11 without using one of my precious 30% coupons. I had to have it because it’s a beige version of my grey tube dress, which I’ve worn a ton. This one is also a fantastic lightweight knit (made of Italian yarn, so — fancy!) and a good length on me (almost ankle-length). Can’t wait to wear it!

Vanessa Bruno sweater ($7)
Vanessa Bruno sweater ($7)

I know this doesn’t look that exciting in this photo, but this sweater is amazeballs, you guys. As soon as I touched it, I knew it was special. The wool/alpaca blend feels and looks so luxe. I took a look at the label and vaguely recognized the name as one of those high end but lesser known brands. When I looked at the inside tag and saw that the sweater was made in Italy, it confirmed that I had stumbled upon a winner. I didn’t even bother trying it on before I bought it. Luckily, it fits like a dream.

Escada dress ($10)
Escada dress ($9)

Hands down, one of my fave thrift scores ever. This Escada dress is in perfect condition, and fits beautifully. It makes me feel a bit like a 1940s femme fatale. Priceless.

Prada dress ($7)
Prada dress ($7)

This cute, flirty Prada wrap dress was a nice score, and also a bit of a lesson. I almost passed right by it. The Goodwill dress rack is jam packed, so it’s sometimes almost impossible to make enough room to properly see each dress individually. I usually just scan for interesting prints, and look for labels I recognize. In this instance, I could barely see the print (the rack was extra packed that day), and the tag was literally hanging by a thread and turned backwards. I don’t know what compelled me to stop and take the extra effort to turn the tag around, but I’m glad that I did. That was lesson #1: sometimes, it pays to take your time.

Lesson #2 happened at home. One of my weird thrifting-related hobbies is looking up the things I find online. I like to know their original retail price (remember my weakness for statistics), and see how other people have worn them. Well, imagine my surprise when I found an all-black version of this dress on eBay listed as having a MSRP of US$2,500. Needless to say, my jaw dropped a considerable distance. The lesson is … retail prices are whack. And also, do your homework because sometimes even if you think you know, you have no idea what you’ve actually found.

21 Comments on Tales From the Thrift: The Motherload

  1. I am in LOVE with that Prada dress! This makes me want to go thrifting! And I am a fan of keeping the stats on what I purchase (purchase price vs. MSRP; cost per wear, etc.) – It makes me feel good as I see the price per wear drop on my spreadsheet!

    • I love, love, love wardrobe stats! Especially with thrifted stuff because I feel like I’m ahead of the Cost-per-wear game from the get go.

  2. Omg on the Prada msrp! Great score. I loved everything you got. You make me want to check out the thrift stores again. I haven’t gone in a while because I haven’t had luck finding anything decent at my local thrift stores the last few times I went.

    • It’s rarely this good every time. You get on a lucky streak, and then you hit a window when you find nothing exciting. As I said, the odds are more in your favour the more often you go. It helps when thrifting is a hobby, in and of itself, because then you do end up making more time for it than otherwise.

      I’ve been thinking about starting a “personal thrifter” service, because my closet is FULL but I still enjoy the “treasure hunt”. Too bad that’s not a viable profession, LOL!

      • I love the treasure hunting aspect of it too. Unfortunately, the thrift stores near me don’t carry much of items in good condition (think holes and stains).

        I quite enjoy thrifting dresses for my toddler, but noticed the one shop I go to have raised their prices quite a bit lately. I’m better off finding good clearance deals for similar pricing.

        I got lucky a few months back when I found some items in better condition at a Savers. It looked like they had a bunch of inventory from the now defunct Twice website. I found a Marc by Marc Jacobs casual top for $8. And a Boden lace top for about the same.

        Keep posting your finds. I really enjoy reading your blog 🙂

  3. Yessss! Clapping for you and your amazing finds!

    You mentioned in an above comment that the trick to great thrifting luck is simply going often. I couldn’t agree more. Some days, I leave empty handed. Then…there are those really special days that make all of the “dud” days worth it. I had one this weekend, in fact. Charlotte Taylor hummingbird-print, silk midi dress that I almost bought at Anthro a few years ago for 248? Scored it for $5! Along with a few Banana Republic cardigans ($3/each) and a gorgeous, floral print Zara blazer ($5). WIN!

  4. Love your thrifting posts, especially as a girl from Canada (I get some good pointers about brands)! I think the scarf and the Vanessa Bruno sweater are my faves. When you search through the dress racks, do you go through all the sizes just in case?

    • I definitely look through all sizes, especially dresses and skirts. I rarely do it for pants or tops because I haven’t got the patience (those sections are usually much larger), but I would recommend it if you are looking for those items in particular. Sizing does vary, especially with European labels, so thrift store employees sometimes mis-place items on the racks because they are not familiar with the numbering system. Also, some stores like Goodwill don’t organize things by size anyway.

  5. Why do Sloan pants alway shrink?!? I thought I had a bad drycleaner…so many pairs have come and gone in my closet (luckily I can almost always score a few bucks by selling them on eBay and let me tell you–they go FAST). Too bad I’ve haven’t had much luck buying them used.

    • I have no idea. I always thought they shrunk because I accidentally ran them through my dryer a few times. I have never had a problem with other pants (ok, mostly jeans because Sloans are pretty much the only dress pants I wear regularly) shrinking if they are machine washed then air dried. So weird!

  6. Add me to the list of people whose Sloan pants become capris after a while. I’ve always attributed it to the fact that I don’t dry clean them.

    I also love the AG Stevies – I found a few pairs for under $15 on eBay at the tail end of last summer but once the weather got cold they shot up in price and I haven’t seen any for cheap lately.

    • Yeah, I thought the same about the Sloan pants. It boggles my mind that they shrink even if dry cleaned. Why, Banana Republic, why??

      AG Stevies are the bomb!

  7. I love your thrifting posts! No good thrift stores near me that I know of, my method of shopping is similar to yours, but replace thrift prices for just really good clearance deals or sales. Which is the best I can do. I love the ‘value’ I get on a really deal, but I wonder if you’re similar to me in terms of a particular label/brand influencing you too much. Do you truly love every designer thing you’ve purchased or do you have a bias and like something better b/c it is from a high-end designer? Just curious b/c I’m totally guilty of this! Sometimes I think I can be a bit of a label whore…

    • I am totally a label whore at times. It doesn’t mean that I buy things I actively don’t like simply because of the label, but the label is sometimes the extra push to get me to buy something I’m not 100% sure of. My fallback on that is always that the resale value is better, so I’m more likely to get my money back if it doesn’t work out. Take that Prada dress: would I have bought it if it was $50? Probably not. I don’t love it fifty dollars’ worth. But I like it enough to spend $7, knowing I can easily make that money back (and probably more) selling it even at consignment (where you usually take a loss if you’re selling things you bought at full retail cost).

  8. And here I thought my $50 vintage Chanel skirt was a find. You win, lady! Both the Prada and Escada dresses are superb!