Category: Success stories

Tales From The Thrift: One Lucky Weekend

I’ve never played the slots, but I think I can sometimes imagine the feeling of hitting a jackpot when I’m thrifting. It doesn’t happen every time, of course, but in a way that’s part of the fun. Sometimes the finds come slow and steady; other times, they come fast and furious. Take the weekend before last; I made a quick stop at Goodwill, mostly out of habit (and on the hunt for books), not expecting much. Other than pants, I haven’t found much there (or elsewhere) lately.

The first thing I saw, was this huge display of Canadian-made pottery.

pretty display
pretty display

Very pretty, but I resisted because if there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s another collecting hobby. I have enough already. For example, Royal Albert teacups:

Royal Albert teacups
Royal Albert teacups

I almost squealed when I saw these in the display case … and then again when I saw that they were priced at only $10 a piece. This type of floral-on-black pattern is my favourite, and I didn’t already have these two. Have I mentioned that morning glories are some of my fave flowers?

vintage vibes
vintage vibes

The same display case also contained this pretty lilies of the valley teacup (also Royal Albert, natch) … and a large hobnail bowl. Milkglass is, you guessed it, another one of my collecting hobbies. I felt like I had died and gone to antique heaven. And while I did not find any of the books I had come to look for, I did spot this interesting (vintage) hardcover. A theme suggested itself, so I added it to my cart (along with an illustrated hardcover edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea — for the kids, when they’re older).

LL Bean trench
LL Bean trench

I also picked up this like-new LL Bean trench for my mom. It’s her birthday next month. Shh, don’t tell her.

The dress racks haven’t been all that lucky for me lately, but I always take a quick peek. You never know. Sometimes, something like this is just waiting to be found.

Betsey Johnson dress
Betsey Johnson dress

I’ve never been a huge fan of black dresses. I mean, in theory, yes. But I often just end up feeling “blah” when I wear them. But this LBD? I could wear it every day. Look at those pleats!

all the sparkly goodness
all the sparkly goodness

I adore this dress beyond words. I think it must be relatively old because the label says that it was made in the US, but the style is quite timeless. I was admiring a dress that was almost identical a few weeks ago at Holt Renfrew. I could not justify spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a twinkly dress I might only get to wear once or twice a year, no matter how much it made me feel like the princess my inner 10-year old would like to be. But $7? Oh, hell yes.

Finding this dress made me so happy, but it was not the end of my weekend thrift luck. The following day, I had to drop off a couple of bags at Value Village for donation, and decided to make a quick stop.(Cue my husband: “You always say that, honey.” He’s a patient man.) As it happens, it did not take me long to find this:

DVF "Amalia" dress
DVF “Amalia” dress

A brand new (with tags!) DVF wrap dress … what are the odds? Now, wrap dresses are not really my thing, but I loved the contrasting prints, and figured that — worst case scenario — I could always sell this beauty. But once I got it home and tried it on properly, I wasn’t so sure I was ready to part with it. On one hand, I could probably make a tidy profit if I sold it (the better to fund my future thrifting adventures). On the other hand, it’s hella cute. Decisions, decisions.

What’s Old Is New Again

Dress, Joe Fresh; cardigan, J. Crew factory; belt, H&M; scarf, Winners; bag, Marc Jacobs; shoes, Manolo Blahnik
Dress, Joe Fresh; cardigan, J. Crew factory; belt, H&M; scarf, Winners; bag, Marc Jacobs; shoes, Manolo Blahnik

This outfit is an updated take on an old favourite from a year or two ago. I love this scarf so much, and it’s the perfect accessory for a simple/plain dress and for a cold day. Which is very apropos at the moment, what with the windchill effect that Mother Nature seems to love throwing our way. This was my comfy & cozy take on Friday casual, and I have to say that I didn’t miss my jeans one bit.

earrings, Winners
earrings, Winners
shooooes!
shooooes!

As much as I love the outfit itself, we must really talk about the shoes. After over a year of patient stalking, I finally snagged the Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes of my dreams. Of course, I couldn’t wait to wear them. Luckily, they are a wonderfully versatile shade of burgundy, which means that I could add them to this (and any other) outfit with no difficulty. The eBay listing had them described as “brown”, but the pictures suggested that they were, in fact, a brown-based burgundy; that, combined with a very good price, pushed me to pull the trigger, and I am ever so happy that I did. The shoes are in fantastic condition, and if my other pairs of Manolos are anything to go by, will last a long time. They are very comfortable, save perhaps for the strap which will hopefully soften a bit with wear. Since I plan to wear them as often as I can, that shouldn’t take too long.

repeating an old favourite
repeating an old favourite
statement scarf
statement scarf

Tales From the Thrift: Lightning Strikes Again

Let’s be honest: after thrifting a like-new Burberry trench back in May, I knew it would be a hard score to top. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, and all that. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been very lucky in the last six months, and have found some wonderful things … just not new-Burberry-trench level of lucky. Until last month.

Last month, I found these:

Louboutin Bianca 140 mm
Louboutin Bianca 140 mm

Unlike other dedicated thrifters I follow on IG, I’ve never seen *any* Louboutins at the thrift store before … real or otherwise. I was fully prepared to conclude that these were of the knock-off variety — because, really, what are the chances? — but I decided to investigate nonetheless. Only one of the shoes was out on the racks, with a sticker directing me to ask for its mate — which sticker just so happened to cover the embossed logo on the inner sole. I waited to flag down a Value Village sales associate, and got busy with my Google-fu, trying to quickly find tips for identifying authentic CLs. After a few minutes, I was finally successful in my first endeavour, and was told to follow the person to the back of the store. This was the beginning of an amusing episode.

red soles
red soles

The employee went into a no-entry area. I waited (and Googled). After another couple of minutes, she eventually came out with the second shoe, which she proceeded to hand over with palpable distrust. Under her watchful eye, I tried on the shoes to make sure they fit, then had a close — and very quick — look at the (un-stickered, thankfully) logo on the second shoe, while under the continued eagle-eyed supervision of the VV sales associate. The logo, along with the other signs (like stitching, leather quality, and soles) looked good. The employee asked me if I was going to buy them, and I said yes. She took the shoes from me, and escorted me back to the front of the store to a cash register, holding on to those shoes very tightly. In fact, she only allowed me to touch them again once I actually paid for them. The whole thing was a bigger production than shopping at any luxe boutique I’ve ever visited. It was funny in retrospect, though I was a bit mortified at the time.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t 100% sure of the CLs’ authenticity when I bought them; I hadn’t had enough time to properly research them (and I wasn’t going to get more time if the VV employee had anything to do with it), and although they looked legit, there was a chance that they might have been a very, very good replica. I ended up taking the risk because I felt the odds were in my favour based on my preliminary research, and because I figured I could return them within 7 days for an exchange otherwise. I wouldn’t recommend taking that kind of risk unless you’ve got the benefit of a similar (or better) exchange/return policy, or unless the price is low enough that you wouldn’t feel guilty “throwing away” that amount of money.

These CLs were priced at $90, which is quite high for a thrift store, but very reasonable when considering the original retail price (over $1,000 CDN). They are in great condition except for a couple of minor knicks on the heels, and have the protective red rubber sole (Chic brand) already attached, which saves me an extra $30-40 in cobbler’s costs. I paid $60 after a 30% coupon, which makes them an even better score. My subsequent research confirmed that they are authentic, so I’m a happy camper.

thrifting hall of fame contender
thrifting hall of fame contender

I think it’s fair to say that Louboutins in a classic colour and in my size (40) are a rare find. This particular style would not have been my first choice because of the platform and 5.5 inch heel, but thrifters can’t be choosers. I was briefly tempted by the idea of reselling them for a profit, but I think I’ll be happier holding on to them; they complete my thrifted shoe trifecta — Manolo Blahnik (times two), Jimmy Choo, and Louboutin — and I may occasionally dare to wear them in public and feel like an Amazon. Unless someone is willing to trade me a pair of black Manolo Blahnik Campari pumps (size 39.5), in which case I’m all ears 😉