Category: Thrifting

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.

Tales From The Thrift: Luck Be a Lady

My thrifting luck improved as the month went on, even as the frequency of my thrifting decreased. Work — it gets in the way of all the fun! (Said with tongue firmly in cheek, as this was actually a very rewarding, if busy, work month.) However, that’s probably for the best; I’m in the process of revisiting my wardrobe management philosophy, and consequently my approach to thrifting, so I am practicing restraint. I know, hard to believe.

First up, a couple of things I didn’t buy:

cute, but not my style
cute, but not my style
vintage Bally's
vintage Bally’s

There were plenty more things in that category, but my thrifting trips lately have been of the whirlwind variety, so I rarely have time to gather photographic proof of the finds I leave behind. I also tend to use my phone as a bribe to the youth contingent joining me on some of these adventures, which gets in the way of my efforts as a thrifting documentarian.

Sparrow coatigan
Sparrow coatigan

This was the only Anthro piece I bought this month, and the only purchase I’m kinda-maybe regretting (or preparing myself to regret in the future). I will always love Anthro’s aesthetic, but I’m not loving it on me at the moment. Still, this knit coatigan was too cute to pass up, at least for a short trial run. It has tulle, people. I can kinda see Helena Bonham Carter wearing something like this. I could not resist.

Ted Baker blazer
Ted Baker blazer

No second thoughts about this Ted Baker blazer. I love the check and the contrast (floral!) lining; the cropped fit makes it easy to pair with dresses and skirts. Also, I’m fresh out of blazers, I tell you.

Banana Republic Factory blazer
Banana Republic Factory blazer

Did I mention that I was fresh out of blazers? Yes? Well, then you will understand why I had to buy this BR (Factory) brick-coloured number. In all seriousness, I liked the fit and decided to take a gamble on a mall brand after my experience with the plum H&M blazer I bought last year. The lining on this one, though still 100% poly, is not bad at all. I thought the colour would be intriguing, even though it’s a bit too close to my own hair colour; I like that it’s bright, without being in-your-face bright. Muted colours are my jam right now.

Lord & Taylor sweatshirt
Lord & Taylor sweatshirt

I rarely thrift for comfort/lounge wear, but this was 100% the deal here. I was also impressed that this Lord & Taylor sweatshirt still had all of its beading intact.

Joe Fresh dress
Joe Fresh dress

Long time readers will be familiar with this dress. I used to have wear it all the time, back in 2014-2015. It was, indeed, one of my fave dresses. I ended up purging it when the size I originally bought became too big. Well, sure enough, the same dress is now turning up in thrift stores. I decided that this was a sign; the next time my (current) size popped up, I grabbed it.

Dex dress
Dex dress

Nothing special about this dress, except that it seemed like a good option for my up-coming vacation (and hella cheap). May or may not keep it afterwards.

Philosophy blazer
Philosophy blazer

This was one of my favourite thrift finds … of all time. It’s such a beautifully cut blazer. I gushed about it already this week, so I’ll just leave off there.

Your turn: tell me all about your recent thrift finds, and if you have thrifting questions, hit me up in the comments.

Tales From The Thrift: New Year’s Tidings

The end of December and beginning of January were a bit of a thrifting wasteland, to be honest. I always enjoy checking out my local thrift stores, whether or not I find something neat to buy, although after a series of “busts” a bit of fear does creep in — what if I never find anything awesome ever again? Pure silliness, of course, but I’ve been spoiled with thrifting luck too long, I suppose.

all.the.shoes
all.the.shoes
So many shoes, so many Cinderella’s-stepsisters moments. I was particularly sad about the Frye boots being several sizes too small. The west end Goodwill is a treasure trove of cool shoe finds. Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at those gingham flats in the top left corner.

Bottega Veneta!
Bottega Veneta!
That’s right. My first time thrift-spotting Bottega Veneta — sadly, not in bag form.

Max C tunic; Theory sweater dress
Max C tunic; Theory sweater dress
In the spotted-not-thrifted category, we have a couple of tunic dresses, including the Theory number on the right. The tunic silhouette is not my favourite, and both of these pieces had other drawbacks for me. The one on the left was too cutesy for this 36-year old, with the bow and the whimsical bird print, but would look darling on someone with a different aesthetic and/or age bracket. The sweater dress was a great colour, but I tend to avoid long, heavy sleeves, and I hate dropped waists.

Guinevere (Anthro) cardigan; cashmere cardigan
Guinevere (Anthro) cardigan; cashmere cardigan
Two more pieces that had potential, but did not come home with me. I loved the colour of the Guinevere cardigan, but the condition was pretty woeful. The vintage cashmere cardigan was cool just for the origin story, but it was shrunken (either deliberately or through some laundering accident) and I don’t wear that style typically. Also, it had mismatched (and missing) buttons, which would not be a huge problem except that I’m lazy; this is the sort of thing that would become an unfinished project at my house.

salt & pepper shakers
salt & pepper shakers
These cute shakers were at the antique mall, and I tried to convince two of my friends to buy them with no success. In retrospect, I deeply regret not buying them for myself. The kitsch is strong with me, what can I say.

vintage brooch; Wedgwood box
vintage brooch; Wedgwood box
I did buy this pretty butterfly brooch at the antique mall. (The pink Wedgwood box was a gift from my friend — thanks, J!) It is not secret that I am obsessed with butterflies, so this brooch fills a very important niche.

Juicy Couture charm bracelet
Juicy Couture charm bracelet
Talk about a blast from the past! Who remembers the heydays of those Juicy Couture velour track suits with writing on the arse? I am going to reconfirm my basic bitchness here and confess that I really wanted one of those for a hot minute back in the early ’00s, but was too cheap/poor to buy one. Thank goodness. This charm bracelet is pretty cute, tho.

Calvin Klein pumps
Calvin Klein pumps
I’ve mostly sworn off pony/calf hair pumps because they always end up shedding like crazy and going bald (no matter the original price point, it seems), but I could not resist this CK pair. I love the black/white combo, and the fact that the “animal print” is very subtle and unusual. The pumps were in like-new condition, which should buy me a few extra months before they start to disintegrate. For $10, that’s a bargain I’ll happily accept.

Tod's loafer pumps
Tod’s loafer pumps
I also got these cool Tod’s loafer-style kitten heels for my mom, who is lucky that my “Cinderella’s big-footed sister” syndrome struck again — otherwise I would have kept these for myself.

Phillip Lim for Target dress
Phillip Lim for Target dress
I remember the Phillip Lim for Target collection — it was the first Target designer collab we ever got in Canada, and I ran to the store early on the first day it arrived to see it for myself. I still have the cotton pieces I bought that day, although I only use them for loungewear around the house these days. I’ve been seeing more and more pieces from the collection turn up in thrift stores recently, but I’ve avoided the 100% polyester ones. This dress, on the other hand, is 100% cotton and struck my fancy for some reason. The orange will probably clash terribly with my skin tone, but I decided to indulge my $7 whim anyway.

J. Crew sandals
J. Crew sandals
These J. Crew Sydney sandals fit perfectly and may be just classy enough to wear to the office come summer. Maybe? I’ve never done open-toed footwear in a work setting before, and will probably chicken out and save these for fancy date nights and such. If you work in a semi-formal business environment and you’ve taken the plunge, so to speak, tell me all about it.