These pants are an impossible-to-photograph colour, but the brightness is unmistakable. I doubled down and paired them with pumps of a matching colour (thanks, J. Crew, for keeping your colours consistent over the years), and I regret nothing. Nothing, I tell you! You gotta do what you gotta do to get through a Wednesday.
I love this blazer so, so much even though it’s kind of impossible to accessorize. I mean, adding anything over and above that ribbon seems too much, you know? So I didn’t, and kept my under-layer simple too. This black, peplum style Theory top — unassuming as it is — was one of my best thrift finds this year. It is simply perfect for work — the neckline, the slight but not overwhelming peplum, the pockets. You guys, it has pockets! Why don’t more tops have pockets?
Ignore the rather unfortunate colour-correction on these basement dungeon photos, and let’s talk dress. It’s an oldie, thrifted circa 2014 — around the time my return to the workforce post-baby #2. It was comfortable and forgiving then, and so it remains, 2 years and 30 fewer lbs later.
Now, as far as I know, Ralph Lauren doesn’t make jersey dresses out of magic, but they are uncommonly durable and dependably flattering, at least in my (non-sponsored) experience. Pregnancy ups and downs aside, I don’t tend to experience many weight fluctuations, but I know that many women do, and that it can be a cause of wardrobe frustration. There aren’t many garments, on the whole, that will accommodate a swing of one or two sizes, but these dresses are an exception. The material has a good weight and nice feel to it, and is machine washable — so the quality is good, especially if you can snag these dresses at places like TJ Maxx, Ross, or Winners (where they periodically end up on sale for under $40) … or, of course, at your local thrift store.
My advice is to size up. For reference, I typically wear a size 8-10 in RL sheath dresses, as compared to 4-6 in most other brands; the precise fit of RL dresses varies from style to style, but I find those sizes generally give me some room to breathe without being baggy. If you are one of those women who experiences periodic weight fluctuations, I would recommend buying one size up from whatever size of RL dress fits most comfortably (i.e. not skin tight, but not baggy) at your lower weight. These dresses tend to drape nicely even when they fit more loosely, especially around the hips. The place where you might notice the biggest fit issue is around the bust/armholes if, like me, you tend to lose or gain weight in that area. And with that, I think I have exhausted the topic, but do let me know if you have any questions.
The rest of the outfit is merely an update on one I’m almost certain I’ve put on the blog before (but was too lazy to locate). All good things aside, the print of this dress is not my favourite, and it’s extra tricky because it combines navy with brown, which throws off my accessorizing game. I cheated my way out of this dilemma on this occasion by adding purple shoes and a neutral blazer, along with my vintage Mulberry Fitzrovia bag, which never gets enough love.
For this month’s Tuesday Night Thrift adventure, Nicole and I hit up the Goodwill store on 51st Avenue, one of my frequent haunts. Before I show you what I found, here are some things you need to know if you’ve never stopped into a Goodwill before, and want to give it a try:
• Goodwill organizes its store by categories; within each category by size; and within each size by colour. This is helpful if you have a set list of colours that you shop for (or, conversely, avoid).
• Most prices at Goodwill are standard, and determined by category. So, for example, in Edmonton (and Calgary) all dresses cost $7, all pants cost $8, etc. Some pieces are individually priced, but they are typically placed on separate racks. There is no rhyme and reason, in my experience, to what clothing Goodwill will price individually – hockey jerseys and 90s prom dresses being an exception. Bags and shoes (and household objects) are always priced individually.
• Every week, Goodwill has a “50% off colour tag” sale. The concept is simple: each item has a plastic coloured tag (or coloured sticker, in the case of things like shoes) attached to it. When it’s “50% off green tags” week, all items with green tags are … you guessed it, 50% off.
• Goodwill is a non-profit (unlike, for example, Value Village) which means, among other things, that you won’t get charged GST (sales tax) on your purchases.
• Goodwill does not give stamps or coupons for donations, but will do so for purchases. For every $25 you spend, you get a stamp; with 10 stamps, you can get $15 off any purchase of $25 or more. It’s not a huge discount, but considering the standard prices (and the weekly sale), Goodwill is still one of your best bets for getting the most value for your bucks.
Alright, enough talk: let’s look at my thrift spoils. Nicole and I were not keeping score, but I think I came away from our excursion pretty well … even though there was only one, solitary Anthro piece to be found, and I didn’t even end up getting it:
I talked someone else into trying it on, but I don’t think it was a winner for her either. Oh well. Moving on, I was super tempted by this Alice sweatshirt (official Disney swag, y’all) – my kids are currently obsessed with AiW, and I’m thrilled – but I decided to be generous and pass it on to Nicole.
I did get the Madewell sweater on the right (above). It’s forest green (colour palette, check!) and vaguely fisherman-y, and that’s my sweater catnip right there. It’s going to get a lot of wear this winter, especially on weekends, and I am debating having it replace one of the Vince sweaters I thrifted earlier this year, which has been something of a disappointment.
I also scored two pairs of medium-rise J. Brand skinny jeans. The regular medium wash (Utopia) pair replaces my old William Rast skinny jeans (too big). The teal pair (Riviera wash) is a substitute for the *grey* J. Brand skinnies I thrifted recently, only to decide after one wear that they were too big. I re-homed those with Nicole, which means that this pair is 100% guilt-free.
I was on the fence about these Rag & Bone wood wedge sandals, but my rubber arm was conveniently twisted and I bought them. I’ll have to decide next year if that was a good idea or not.
Funny story about this Rebecca Taylor top. I was loitering near the changing rooms, waiting for Nicole to finish trying on her finds, so I stopped to look at the “reject” rack nearby when – lo and behold – I found this. In my excitement, I went to show it to Nicole … who thought I was bringing it for her to try. The result was a hilariously awkward exchange, which Nicole insisted we recreate for the benefit of some of the other ladies who had joined us for Tuesday Night Thrift; check out her post to see/read all about it. Bottom line: this top had my name all over it. Sorry, Nicole! (I did make it up to her, don’t worry.) It will replace my old Rachel Roy floral top, whose print I still adore but which no longer fits very well.
Last but not least, the ladies talked me into buying this vintage velvet dress. It was on sale for $3.50 so I bought it mostly for a laugh. I know velvet is super on-trend right now, but I have traumatic memories from the 90s that prevent me from embracing its resurgence. However! I like the dropped shoulder details on this dress, and am telling myself it has a Vivienne Westwood vibe – hello, neo-classical aristo-quirk! There is a small hole at the bottom of the zipper in the back, which I will need to try to fix, but overall it’s in remarkably good condition – and it was made in Canada!
All in all, I spent just under $48 for all my loot. It goes without saying that these were all things I *absolutely* needed* (fresh out of everything, I am). You can stop laughing now, plz. All kidding aside, apart from the shoes and the dress, the other things I bought are quite practical and will replace/upgrade existing pieces in my closet … which is my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Stay tuned for an announcement about next month’s Tuesday Night Thrift — Nicole and I are working on something to make it extra fun.
Note: Chapter 10 of A Temporary Engagement is now up. Read it here.