I keep thinking to myself that finds aren’t as plentiful this year as last, but the truth — as will become apparent shortly — is that I’ve still been finding quite a lot of stuff. True, there haven’t been any “big name” scores for a while now, but lovely pieces still abound. I think part of the problem is #thriftenvy. I follow a bunch of thrifters’ IG accounts (many of them re-sellers whose business depends on frequent thrifting trips) and seeing their phenomenal finds sometimes makes my thrift scene pale by comparison. I like seeing what others thrift, so I don’t want to stop following these people, but I do need to keep my expectations in check. Easier said that done, though, right?

Maeve top
Maeve top

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity for a quick stop at the VV in Red Deer, which went some way to reconciling me to my local thrift scene. No doubt about it, Edmonton thrifters have it way better. There were only a couple of pieces that caught my eye, like this Maeve top, but I left empty handed. The top wasn’t quite my style, and it looked a bit rough around the edges. I should mention that prices in Red Deer also struck me as somewhat on the high side; with that said, I’m beginning to lose patience with my local VVs too. More on that in a minute.

Babaton sweater
Babaton sweater

This was the other piece I spotted in Red Deer. I was quite tempted to get it, but ultimately passed because I’m not sure that long open cardigans like this fit my style. I have a couple of them already, and don’t reach for them all that often, so I thought I had best leave this one behind for someone else to enjoy.

Left: J Brand; right: Simons
Left: J Brand; right: Simons

Back to Edmonton. Two pairs of pants that didn’t work out. The J Brands are similar to a pair I already own, and the button had already popped off, so … pass. I was intrigued by the (faux) leather leggings, but they juuuuuuust barely fit me and I am not convinced that I could have sat down while wearing them. Sadly, another pass.

Teenflo blouse
Teenflo blouse

I liked the look of this blouse (made in Canada!) but pussy bows are not my thing.

LK Bennett camisole
LK Bennett camisole

I love LK Bennett stuff, but this camisole was too big, and too sheer.

Joie blouse
Joie blouse

I generally like Joie stuff, and it’s a brand that VV hasn’t discovered yet (to jack up prices), but this peasant style blouse was not, well, my style.

Hispanitas pumps
Hispanitas pumps

Goodwill is quickly becoming my fave thrift store, both for the prices and for the selection. Especially when it comes to shoes … as you will see in a minute. These Hispanitas were not my style but, do not fear, for I did not leave the shoe aisle empty-handed.

Deletta dress
Deletta dress

Maybe I need to re-think my stance on (or, rather, against) green? This Deletta dress would not have fit my lifestyle (or tush, let’s be honest), but the colour was lovely. Also? The dress was $7 — thank you, Goodwill. In contrast, it seems like almost any dress at VV is now $17.99 or more. Needless to say, I’m not impressed.

Ecote dress
Ecote dress

I liked the Art Nouveau-ish floral print of this dress, but it was in hella rough shape, so I passed. Probably for the better, since I do gravitate towards pants on weekends; I don’t need more casual dresses.

H&M blazer
H&M blazer

I’m pretty sure this H&M blazer is ancient, because I remember seeing Fran wear it years ago on her blog, and lusting after it. I had to get it, you see, for nostalgia’s sake. With that said, though my style has veered away from preppy for the most part, I can still myself wearing it. I love the details, which are quite nice for a fast fashion piece (pretty contrast lining, faux leather buttons, elbow patches). The blazer is in shockingly good condition for its age too. It should be a fun piece for fall.

Talula blazer
Talula blazer

It’s purple and it has pansies on it, and it was also brand new and only $8, so don’t judge me too harshly for buying YET ANOTHER blazer.

Ted Baker top
Ted Baker top

I was really dubious about this top when I bought it, but once I got rid of the smocked hem, I really fell in love with it. It’s probably going to be one of my fave tops this summer. I love the dolman sleeves, which surprises me because I’m not usually a fan. I don’t advocate buying pieces you’re not 100% sure about … except when I do it, and it turns out well. What are rules anyway?

Elsamanda sweater
Elsamanda sweater

Speaking of favourite pieces, this might be one of the year’s, right here. I L O V E this sweater. Love, love, love. I love the colour, and the silhouette, and the chunkiness. I’ve worn it 4 or 5 times in the last few weeks, and I’m planning to wear it a few more times before the month is over. This is now a brand on my “investigate further” list.

J. Crew skirt
J. Crew skirt

Some of you may remember this skirt. I used to have it. In fact, I still have it — in storage, in my basement. My old skirt is too big now … but this version fits just right. Did I buy a duplicate? For $5, you betcha.

box o' stuff
box o’ stuff

This box of stuff, including a silk Joie tank top, cost me just under $20. Did I mention how much I love Goodwill? These are not the only books I bought recently, either. Some are things I want to read (for fun) now, some are things I bought to round out my library. You never know when a complete history of the French Revolution will come in handy.

Vince Camuto pumps
Vince Camuto pumps

Ok, the moment has arrived. Let’s talk shoes. As I mentioned, Goodwill has been really good to me in this category recently. These Vince Camuto pumps are actually cobalt blue not purple, and they’re intended to be a back-up/future replacement of my beloved J. Crew Everly pumps in the same colour. Those have held up well for the past 3 years or so, but the suede is starting to show some wear. Since I know I get quite a lot of use out of them, I jumped at the chance to be proactive and prepare myself for the day when they’ll need to be retired. I’ve heard good things about Camuto shoes, and these pumps were practically brand new and only $17, so it was too good a deal to pass up.

Jeffrey Campbell flats
Jeffrey Campbell flats

I love metallic shoes, particularly in this pewter/gold colour which I find super versatile. Also, brand new leather flats for $10? Who would pass that up? No one.

Aquatalia flats
Aquatalia flats

These Aquatalias were also brand new, and only $7. Still, I hesitated a long time (like, 10 minutes, which is an eternity in a thrift store) before I decided to take the plunge. I loathe the colour. OK, maybe “loathe” is too strong a word. I don’t like the coral/salmon pink. I also don’t like the peep toe thing, although these flats are pretty comfy. So why did I get them? For the price and the quality (the leather is beautiful and in pristine condition), I decided they were worth getting even just as a “beater” pair — you know, shoes to throw on when running errands and such. And, of course, if they don’t get worn at all, there is always next year’s clothing swap. I’ll chalk them up as a “gift” for one of my swap buddies.

AGL flats
AGL flats

I saved the best for last, you guys. Predictable, but that’s what one does with one’s “treasures”, right? These AGLs are brand new, and just happen to be my favourite style; last month, I bought the same AGLs in a different colourway at a consignment store. That pair cost me $65; this one, only $12. You can imagine how thrilled I was to find them. I was already planning to “save” my other pair for special occasions to avoid wearing them out too fast. Now, I have options.

I’m hoping to get the same lucky break with my other beloved pair of loafers, the Kelsi Daggers I have been wearing non-stop for a year. No luck yet (and I’ve been scouring eBay too), but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Other pieces in the same category: my Aritzia black pants, Theory blazers (navy and greige), and Club Monaco turtlenecks (the black is already showing wear, sigh). All staple pieces I have come to depend upon. And that’s my other pro-tip: when you find something you truly love (and wear often), seize any chance to get a back-up at a good price.

What have you been thrifting lately?

11 Comments on Tales From The Thrift: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

  1. ah that Babaton sweater! Good to know what’s in your wheelhouse though. I also agree with getting good quality, reasonably priced shoes even if they’re not totally your thing. I always regret when I pass on them and it is really nice to have an extra pair for errands (or swaps). Does Edmonton have a Bunz community yet? I’ve been doing some swaps on there. Aaaand don’t even get me started on VV and their ridiculous pricing. I rarely go there now. My faves in Ottawa are St. Vincent de Paul, Sally Ann and there is the odd small church thrift store or two.

    • I have not heard of Bunz. Is it similar to Craigslist/Kijiji but for swapping? I used to sell/buy a lot on Kijiji, but found it getting worse and worse with time. People over-value what they have, and under-value what others have so I never had much luck with trades on Kijiji, for example. I would def be interested in a wider swapping circle type thing … I love doing clothing swaps with friends every year.

      • Yes, it’s just an app where people list all of their goods (and services) that they want to get rid of. If you see something you like, you make an offer with something of yours (listed on your profile or not)! No money is allowed to be exchanged though. I don’t use it for things that I actually want to recoup a decent value from, more for things that I would just donate anyway. So probably not very designer friendly, though I do see some designer stuff from time to time. I just checked, and Edmonton has one now too!

  2. Adina I used to be so into back-ups too. If I loved something I would rush out to buy an identical whatever. But I found that what I liked SO MUCH even a few years prior, became, meh, too quickly. Then I had two of whatever that I didn’t love and had to deal with. Sure for some trendier items that’s not surprising, but I’m talking about some basic items as well. So I stopped getting back-ups and then I realized (or convinced myself of), that I could find something similar if I wanted, but it would be fresher and updated. I find that within a few years, even the style of a plain white t-shirt can be so different (length, neck shape etc…). Regarding your thrift envy, I know what you are talking about. I started to follow some re-seller instagrams and it’s unbelieveable what people donate!! But I would not want to go to a Goodwill outlet every day, I think re-selling for a livelihood would take the fun out of it.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, and I’ve had that experience with what I would call statement items, but less so with things that are “staples”. Work pants and shoes are the best examples, for me. I have bought a few pairs of Sloans over the last 3-4 years, and it is still the style to which I come back, again and again. Because I rely on thrifting, where I can’t just “order up” what I need, when I need it, I will buy what I know I may need when I find it. I currently don’t have a back-up pair of black Sloans, but if I came across a pair, I would def consider buying it (at thrift prices, mind you).

      Same thing with shoes — I have spent months, and sometimes years, looking for the exact same shoe when it needed replacing. My black Stuart Weitzman pumps and my black Jimmy Choos are good examples. Both are beat up pretty good, and should have been replaced months ago, but I can’t bear to part with them because I haven’t found another pair that looks and wears as well as these old pairs do. If I found the exact same style(s) again, I would jump on them in a heartbeat. I know exactly what I’d be getting, and that it would work for me.

      The only “staple” that I “grew out of” in the last 3-5 years was cardigans. Luckily, I had no back-ups, haha! So there is that risk of a possible style change, for sure. Buying back-up is definitely a know-your-risk situation, and not something I’d recommend on a closet-wide basis.

  3. I waffle on the backup question. I just ran across a wonderfully comfortable, cute pair of Sam Edelman flats when looking for wedding shoes. I’m debating buying them in multiple colors but it seems kinda wasteful. On the other hand, everything else I own is a variation on the same 4 garments, so why stop there?

    • Hahahaha! Just be sure that you will wear all of those colours. My experience with buying multiples (as opposed to true back-ups, i.e. identical items) is that one, or at best two, of them will get lots of wear and the others will languish. I have 4 or 5 J Crew Jackie sweaters in various colours, and while the black (and to a lesser extent the burgundy) has gotten a TON of wear over the last 3-4 years — to the point I am now wearing my back-up because the first one wore out –the others hardly see the light of day.

  4. Ahh, those salmon peep toe flats would be perfect in my wardrobe! I’ve been looking for something flat and either coral-ish or muted red and with some toe action for summer. The hunt continues…
    My experience with backups has been more like Vicky’s; I think you’re right, though, that it’s about knowing which parts of your particular wardrobe have high rate of style turnover and which stay pretty much the same.

    • A bunch! I really like: thespiritedthrifted; lifepreloved; thristsofine; lucythriftsworld; editstylecloset (reseller); idontpayretail; nothingtowear82; travelandthrift (reseller); the dealqueen(reseller)

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