Category: Thrifting

Tales From The Thrift: Hits & Misses

It’s been rather quiet on the thrifting front lately; I’ve had less time (and inclination) to go lately, and the frequency of my scores has decreased in proportion. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating for any aspiring thrifters in the crowd: the more often you thrift, the more amazing things you will find. One thing I have noticed locally is that prices have gone up. Goodwill has increased its standard prices by 50 cents here and there; no big deal, especially considering that they are still running their weekly 50% off colour tag sales. Value Village prices on the other hand … oof. Scoring good deals is still possible (premium denim is where it’s at, as you will see shortly), but more and more of their people are wising up to designer labels. As both a VV shopper and donor, I have very mixed feelings about this. I have debated taking more of my donations to Goodwill (which is a non-profit, unlike VV), but Goodwill does not offer donation coupons in my area. I still support both organizations/companies with my shopping dollars, but I am doing so with a grumble when it comes to VV.

Burberry or not Burberry?
Burberry or not Burberry?

I’ve been seeing a ton of fake Burberry in thrift stores lately. It’s funny how coincidences like that happen. I have no idea if these pants were real or knock-off, but judging from the quality and workmanship alone, I sure hope it was the latter. With that said, Burberry is totally not my thing, coats and trenches excepted.

BDG jeans
BDG jeans

I have no personal experience with BDG brand denim, but I’ve heard good things online. I almost bought these two pairs to try out the brand; you’ll see in a minute why I ended up not getting them, but I am definitely keeping my eye out for it, and will probably end up buying some BDG in the future. For, um, blog science … or something.

all the premium denim
all the premium denim

Seriously, though, thrift stores = treasure trove of low-priced premium denim. I have found pretty much every brand you can imagine, including (in addition to the above) J Brand, Acne, Citizens of Humanity, Rich & Skinny, and others. Ironically, the brands that are priced highest at VV are the likes of 7 For All Mankind, True Religion, and Rock & Republic (although prices vary wildly, even within the same store). I have bought my fave brands (Rag & Bone, AG, and Pilcro) for under $10, and often under $5 — in brand new or like-new condition.

no, seriously!
no, seriously!

More denim. The Fiorucci’s were a nostalgia moment; anyone else growing up in (Eastern) Europe in the early 90s probably has fond memories of that brand.

Anthro brand top
Anthro brand top

I have been finding very little Anthro lately, which is probably for the better. I did spot this floral top … and passed, because it is not my current style. Pat on the back for restraint.

Boss blazer
Boss blazer

I am always low-key looking for my next great black blazer, so I was initially excited to see this Boss version on the rack. The price did make me raise an eyebrow; while it’s certainly low compared to retail, it is very high for thrift where most blazers are $10 or under. And then I had a closer look, and saw that, on top of everything else, the condition was not good. Pro tip: always check the inside collar and armpits on blazers. Dirt/residue in those places is often hard to get out (and dry-cleaning sometimes just “bakes” it in more) and nobody has time to deal with that — there is always a better blazer to be found.

Aritzia brand sweater
Aritzia brand sweater

I was tempted by this sweater — look at that huge funnel neck! — but ultimately decided to pass because of the length. It was not quite a tunic, but longer than I prefer my sweaters. I didn’t see myself wearing it enough (especially not for the rest of this year), and the bulkiness would have made storage a challenge.

Free people jacket
Free people jacket

Leather jackets (real or faux) in good condition and current style are few and far between in thrift stores, but since I adore my Joe Fresh version, I always keep an eye out for them. This Free People jacket was a decent deal (about $18 if I recall correctly) and in pretty good shape. The style was not my cup of tea, however, so I passed. Nicole did not approve.

Pilcro & AG
Pilcro & AG

Remember how I passed on those BDG jeans? Well, it just so happens that I found another pair of skinny grey jeans (which I’d been hunting for months) and dark red cords on the same trip — both made by two of my fave brands. Of course I bought them. And since I never say no to AGs (or Pilcro or Rag & Bone), I also snagged a pair of dark grey skinny velvet cords. They were $3. I am not kidding.

Babaton silk shell
Babaton silk shell

This cobalt blue shell is not quite on all fours with my colour palette, but it’s close enough to Dazzling Blue and I knew it would work well with lots of existing pieces in my closet. It was less than $3, which for 100% silk was a no-brainer. There was a tiny spot on the blouse, which I didn’t notice when I bought it, but it luckily came out when I (hand) washed it. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have about 20 outfits featuring this blouse lined up in my Stylebook app. It’s going into heavy rotation starting next month

DVF blouse
DVF blouse

This DVF blouse was a similar story, albeit the colour is definitely off-side my palette. It’s a really lovely, really unusual blue. Not cobalt, not royal blue. I tried, but couldn’t accurately capture it on my camera phone. Since I love blue in almost all its incarnations, I decided to get the blouse, even though it will probably be difficult to wear with anything except black.

Judith & Charles blazer
Judith & Charles blazer

Lastly, this light grey pin-striped blazer was not quite what I was looking for (I want a medium grey, plain blazer) but the quality and condition made it too good to pass up. It’s made out of light wool, and judging from the lining, it was not worn by its previous owner. Judith & Charles is a less well-known label but they feature a lot of great business wear options, and their pieces are made in Canada. A blazer like this would run about $400; definitely worth checking out if you see it in thrift stores.

And that is it, my friends. Tell me all about your thrifting adventures this month.

Tales From The Thrift: Moar Pants

I had good intentions about being VERY discriminating in my thrifting this past month, and I did stick with that. Mostly. But sometimes, life just throws lemons at you and what can you do except make lemonade? Replace “lemons” with “pants” and … well, my analogy breaks down, but my point is that when the thrift store throws premium denim at you, you say thank you very much, and you buy it. Mmmm, lemonade.

Ahem. There was a bunch of other things I saw and didn’t buy. Surprise!

Maeve dress
Maeve dress

I previously thrifted an olive version of this Maeve dress, but it didn’t work out. Once bitten, twice shy. Also, the orange would definitely not work for me.

Holt Renfrew bucket bag
Holt Renfrew bucket bag

I’ve been low-key looking for a bucket bag for a while now, and I was certainly intrigued by the olive colour of this (vintage?) leather Holt Renfrew number. But the condition was quite poor, and somehow Value Village wanted $25 for it. Pass!

Stuart Weitzman heels
Stuart Weitzman heels

I love Stuart Weitzman’s patent tortoiseshell. Too bad these wedges were a touch too small and had the dreaded peep-toe.

Anthro-brand pants
Anthro-brand pants

Spotted-not-thrifted a bunch of Anthro-brand pants. The Free People pair would make for an awesome Halloween costume – they were vaguely Beetlejuice-y.

Kate Spade heels
Kate Spade heels

Talk about a blast from the past! These Kate Spade pumps had clearly seen better days, but it goes to show that fashion is ever cyclical; those block heels would fit right in at the moment. The flower perhaps not so much.

Bruno Cuccinelli
fancy Italian jeans

Fancy Italian jeans, with fancy labels. These were marked as a US size 4 … and fit more like a size 0. No vanity sizing for Europeans.

Vince jeans
Vince jeans

I didn’t know that Vince had branched out into denim. Sadly, this pair was too big otherwise I would have given them a trial run. You can never have too many skinny jeans, right?

J Brand skinnies
J Brand skinnies

I mean, right? How could I say no to these J Brand’s … especially since they were a gift from my thrifting sistah, Nicole? They filled the “extra light wash skinny jean” hole on my denim spectrum (lighter than my “light wash” AGs, darker than my new “almost white” Rag & Bone pair). Truth is, when you can get premium denim for under $10, exploring the subtleties of different washes kinda makes sense.

J. Crew top
J. Crew top

Nicole was also kind enough to bring me back this J. Crew top from her travels in Utah. The colour is bang on for my colour palette, and I love the subtle “shadow stripe” motif.

See You Monday leggings
See You Monday leggings

Yes, friends, I did buy these leggings. In my defence (and do I really need one?), these are strictly lounge-wear. My husband is crazy about them for some bizarre reason. Go figure.

Sparrow cardigan
Sparrow cardigan

Yep, another Sparrow coatigan. This one is less aristoquirky than the last, and should pair nicely with my many, coloured, casual skinny pants.

Banana Republic faux leather pants (!)
Banana Republic faux leather pants (!)

Going back to pants, I somehow ended up with a pair of faux leather cropped, pleated, tapered trousers. They sound like a bad idea, and probably ARE a bad idea, but I was intrigued. Can I make these work? Who knows? The beauty of Goodwill is that I don’t have to bet a lot of money on a potentially losing hand.

J. Crew pants
J. Crew pants

Do I need this pair of pale blue, chambray-esque trousers? No. But they might come in handy this summer. I am allowed to dream of summer, yes? And for $7, the dream is so very reasonable, don’t you think?

Left: AG; Right: Pilcro
Left: AG; Right: Pilcro

It might seem like I always just buy anything and everything that comes across my path, but that is not true. I did make some hard decisions this month … like choosing only ONE of the above pairs. Both brands are long-time faves of mine, but I ended up going with the AGs this time because they were softer and because I thought the colour would work better with my casual wardrobe.

Rag & Bone x 2
Rag & Bone x 2

And then I went and bought TWO pairs of Rag & Bone, because at $8 apiece, why not. The colours (olive/khaki and burgundy) are perfect.

Things didn’t always work out so well, however. There was also a pair of Pilcro high-waisted skinny jeans that I BADLY wanted … until I realized that they had a big rip near the crotch. I briefly considered trying to get them repaired, but ultimately passed. But, oh man, they were amazing. So much so that I immediately looked them up on eBay, only to find them listed for over $100 plus shipping. Sigh. And so concludes my pants-buying spree, winter 2017 edition.

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.