2011-09-30

Thrift Day. Details.

I wouldn't say my blog is super useful. I talk about my cats and about nothing a lot and that seems to suit just fine. But if you were coming here to learn anything, I would want you to know that the best reason you have to get to the thrift store, is for a chance to upgrade your wardrobe. I've said it before but I'll probably keep repeating it. Because repetition is the mother of learning and the father of tedium but regardless... Thrifting is an awesome way to shop the trends and all that fun jazz, but it is the best way to build a quality wardrobe on a budget.
When I found the unlabelled red skirt last week, I knew it was a good one because it was lambswool/cashmere but also because of the multiple hanger loops. That got me thinking that I should do another post about how to spot quality... but this time strictly by high end construction techniques... So, these are little clues to help you spot the good stuff even if the item doesn't have a label or if you don't have a supa fancy phone (like me, let's hug...) to google an unfamiliar name brand...

Multiple hanger loops- This skirt I found last week has 4 little hanger loops, one on the front and back of each side. I reckon that has to do with the fact that the weight of the garment is more evenly distributed and you don't get the slouch in the garment like you do sometimes when there are only two hanger loops. Because you are paying more for high end garments you are also expecting them to last longer and this is just one little trick to keep a garment looking better in the mad house we call our closets.
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Interior belts in strapless dresses- I got this dress over 5 years ago. It's layers of silk with a corseted waist. It's a bit tight on my hips, so some seasons it fits and other seasons I can't walk but I've worn it plenty in the last years and so have a few on my friends... like a Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress but without a crappy movie to go with it. It's easy to see that it's good quality based on the silk fabrication and the design but the interior belt is a good sign too. Strapless dresses get their support to stay up from the fit around the waist. A good strapless dress shouldn't pinch tightly and create an armpit roll but you shouldn't spend all night hauling the goods back into the dress either. This is where an interior belt comes in. It supports some of the weight of the dress and keeps the dress in place. A good designer knows this and will take the effort to put one in.
Also, this dress also has an extra hanger loop as well...quaility2

Enclosed seams- I've shown the close-up of the seaming on this Marchesa dress before but it's worth noting again that a very high end garment will have beautifully finished seams. A well serged seam works fine in most clothing but in high end clothing the inside of a garment should be beautiful like the outside. Hence, fully enclosed seams... This technique takes waaaayyyy more time than a simple serge finish and... time=money...
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Hidden fastenings- This Victor Costa dress has a hidden placket that snaps up to conceal the zipper in the skirt. The zipper is hardly noticeable without it because there is so much volume from the crinoline but the placket was still put in just to be 100% sure that the fastening is enclosed. The idea is that a well made garment should fit perfectly, and the attention should be on the garment and its design, not on the construction that made the design possible.
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The common element between these high end construction details in my thrift finds, is the extra effort they require in the technical design and construction process. They are the little things that can easily be slashed to make a budget but a luxury designer would never dream of skimping on these details. These are some of the details you pay for when you purchase high end merchandise at Saks or Holt Renfrew but these are the same details you get for free if you are on the look-out for luxury at your local thrift store. There are many more little details that are indicators of quality and as I find more, I shall report back to you. Because repitition is the mother of learning... oh wait, I already said that today...

2011-09-28

Gold Member (?)

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Jeans? Joe Fresh Sweater? Thrifted Bag? Roots Shoes? Ralph Lauren, DSW Bracelets? Thrifted


And then it happened. I wore gold jeans. And I felt a little rockstar and a little ridiculous at the same time.
Yet, oddly enough, I think these gold jeans are going to become somewhat of a staple for me. When you live in Canada and you have to endure that thing that sticks around for way too long, you know, that thing called winter, you do what you can to keep some variety in your wardrobe. I've had sparkle goodness jeans before, a copper pair from an h&m sale rack (worn here... a long time ago) but I had to do the elastic through the button hole to make them not pinch. At some point I realized that pregnancy wardrobe tricks should be reserved for pregnancies and those copper jeans went in the donation pile. Thankfully, the gold jeans not only button up, they are even comfortable.
Oh yes... and a note about why I've been wearing my glasses lately. You see, I woke up one morning to find my last pair of contacts dried out in the sink... It must have been quite a party the night before. Once again, I felt a little rockstar and a little ridiculous.

2011-09-26

Iconic

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Skirt? Ralph Lauren, thrifted Dress as shirt? French Connection Shoes? Derek Lam, Holt's Last Call Belt and clutch? Thrifted Bracelets? Crazy Lady at The Ex Hair? Tutorial here


I feel like this outfit is a bonnet and a sleeve away from being Little House on The Prairie. And if I ditch the skirt to reveal the rather short dress that I am wearing as shirt, my outfit could potentially be a pack of hair extensions and a contour spray tan away from being Gossip Girl. Basically, my outfit is somewhere between two iconic Americans; Laura Ingalls Wilder and Serena Van Der Woodsen.

And now we shall mourn that I flippantly dared to call Serena Van Der Woodsen iconic... Though let's be real, I mean no flippancy when I say that Laura Ingalls Wilder is iconic. She was pretty much my childhood hero...

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2011-09-24

This Week I Thrifted...

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Skirt? Thrifted Sweater? Gap, thrifted Belt? Thrifted Necklace? F21

What? A Cashmere/wool skirt. It has no brand label attached but the finishings and the hand of the fabric speak of luxury. And you know I'm fancy...
Where? Talize
How much? $7.99 minus 10% and a donation coupon.
Why? I'm horrible at making big life decisions. I just stew ideas, grind my teeth and turn the same things over and over in my head. So this weekend I went to Talize to think. Maybe that's weird but there is something peaceful to me about searching through racks of potential. Not only did the little thrift trip clear my mind, it was also the most successful thrift trip I've had in over a month. I cleaned up.
This skirt is perfectly on trend with its longer hem and vibrant colour and the quality is top notch. I wish you could feel how soft the material is. It's as soft as Kyle, our softest cat... I now wish you could feel how soft Kyle is. But you'll just have to believe me...

Oh thrifting, thanks for being my therapy... again.

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What did you thrift this week?

2011-09-23

Upgraded Track Pants

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Pants? h&m Sweatshirt? Joe Fresh Necklace? Joe Fresh Shoes? Kate Spade, thrifted Clutch? Thrifted

Once the weather gets colder, I settle into a week day, after-work routine. I get home from work, kiss my cats, check my inbox to see if I'm cool yet, take a hot shower to regain circulation and then settle in for the night with my yellow track pants and fuzzy blanket. Yes, the same yellow track pants and fuzzy blanket I have been rocking for years. I'm such a little remixer.

This week I replaced my old after-work favourites with my comfy apricot pants and new sweatshirt. Only because it's not too cold yet... once the temperature drops even more and Matt starts guarding the thermostat again, the blanket and trackies are back. But for now, I can be appropriately dressed when the guy canvassing the neighbourhood for the NDP knocks on the door. And if Matt asks me if I want to go out for dinner, I can add a little sparkle and I'm ready to go... in 5 minutes. That's a record.

I really like my apricot pants... almost as much as I love those yellow trackpants.

2011-09-20

Changing Tastes

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Poncho? Thrifted Jeans? Gap Boots? Winners Belt and Purse? Thrifted



I feel a bit like I am disappointing my brother by wearing a poncho... He probably doesn't remember but we used to bond over our mutual hate of the poncho. A few years ago it just seemed like every woman decided that it was the clothing item of choice and for a time, our church was a sea of ponchos.


I just did a Google image search for ponchos (you bored? waste time here) and as it turns out, there is such a thing as a good poncho and a bad poncho. The ponchos of my youth can definitely be classified as bad ponchos but this one is all good. I just hope my brother likes it too... Though I worry that without our mutual and all consuming hate of ponchos, my brother and I have nothing in common. Maybe I can introduce him to the Litas and we will have something new to dislike together...?

2011-09-19

Reunion

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Sequin jacket? Thrifted Button-up? Brina and Em, Winners Shorts? Joe Fresh Shoes? Latitude femme, Style Sense


This weekend it was finally my high school reunion. I wore this the day after. The reunion was held at a workshop and I knew it would get cold at night, so I dressed warm, keeping my cold bloodedness in mind. I would have liked to wear this though; it's my favourite mix of casual and ridiculously sequined.


Reunions are a funny thing. If I don't see a really close friend for 3 days, I can't wait to talk to her and catch her up on how the cats have been sleeping, the size of the pile of dishes in the sink and what way I've been parting my hair... But when an old classmate asks me after 10 years 'Anything exciting happen to you?', I can't think of the right words and I end up saying 'Not much... and you?'. Which is bull$hit, right? Because in 10 years so many things have happened; exciting things, crazy things, sad things... It's just hard to sum it up in one tiny conversation without sounding like you are a)bragging b)insane or c)using them as therapist...


Even though high school reunions have very high potential to be awkward and uncomfortable, I do think that our reunion went quite well. Which is nice, because me and two other classmates planned it all and it was a lot hard work... I am quite glad it is done now. If I could give any advice to people concerning upcoming reunions, I would recommend not volunteering to organize the whole thing, instead put your efforts into thinking of the perfect answer to 'Anything exciting happen to you?'...

2011-09-15

Inspiration

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Seeing all the stylish girls in Utrecht, Holland last week made me feel inspired me for the autumn season at hand. Bring on the layers, colours and knits...! The Dutch girls always look breezy yet chic as they deal with the bike commute through the city and the temperamental weather. While I was there, I tried to keep up. And I ate droppies (picture #3).

Matt also felt inspired by Dutch fashion.


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He now wears these klompen working around the yard. I think they must hurt, at least until he wears them in, but he's too stubborn to admit it. After all... his klompen bring all the girls to the yard...
Ha... is this song stuck in your head now?

2011-09-13

Scene Stealer

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Pants? JoeFresh Cape? Zara Boots? Charles David, thrifted Purse? Thrifted Bracelets? Winners, Market in Holland and Crazy Lady at The Ex.

Lots of things were happening this weekend in Hamilton... Locke Street Festival, Supercrawl, Country Music FanFest...
On Saturday night my friend and I walked to Supercrawl and along the way we happened upon a crowd gathering for a Fanfest after-party event. It was easy to see exactly who was going to what event. The Supercrawl drew the artists and hipsters and Fanfest was all about cowboy boots and hairspray. And while the love of plaid unites the hipsters and the country crowd for a brief moment, it all falls apart at the sight of a fancy moustache or a cardigan.
I don't know exactly where I fit in with my outfit that night. But it didn't really matter because no one pays attention to red pants and a big old cape... when there is a baby around. My friend had her two month old daughter in a sling and she completely stole the show... someone needs to teach the young ones respect...

2011-09-11

Sweet Emails and Great Dresses

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Dress? Marchesa by notte, thrifted Wool blazer? Thrifted Shoes? DvF, StyleSense Necklace? Joe Fresh Wristlet? Coach, bridesmaid's gift


One time I recieved an email that referred to me as a 'top name blogger'. I printed out a copy, showed my boss and asked for a raise. He didn't care. At all.
Another time I got an email addressed to Dear Sarah. I know my name is kind of complicated and I am fine with spelling mistakes and butchered pronunciation but not name substitution. My name is Jentine, not Sarah.
This last weekend I got an email from an wonderful reader who found my thrifted Marchesa dress at a consignment store for $300. She even sent proof. See?
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This was officially one of my favourite emails. Further proof of how awesome thrifting is. Thrifting is how I have a chance to upgrade my wardrobe. For $8 you can get you 3 kitkat bars, 2 packs of stickers and 3 packs of gum at the dollar store. Or you can get a Marchesa dress at a thrift store...


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2011-09-10

This Week I Thrifted...

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Dress? Thrifted Necklace? Flea market

What? Vintage, wool,, long sleeved, pretty friggen awesome dress
Where? Value Village
How Much? $12.99
Why? Don't know where to start on how much I love this dress. I love the long sleeves, the pattern mix, the length of the skirt and it's quality. It's in near perfect condition (I need to put one stitch on the neckline) and I can't wait to wear this with a super high pair of heels and some mulled wine this autumn. Note: I'll be drinking that mulled wine, not wearing it... unless I drink too much then I may wear some.
Sadly, as thrilled as I am with this dress, this will be my last thrifting trip to my Hamilton Value Village for a while. I have extensively bitched about Value Village's prices before and even threatened a break-up but this last trip cemented my decision. The stained Mexx shirt dress for $17.99 got my blood pressure up high but it was the Urban Behaviour polyester dress (if you are unfamiliar with UB, click here for a price sampling... I think it's kind of like a Charlotte Russe?) for $24.99 that broke a bit of my thrift heart. I don't mind paying $13 for a high quality, wool dress; I would prefer to pay $3 but $13 is still value for my dollar. But when a thrift store puts items at higher price points than consignment stores or even a good sales rack, the point of thrifting is lost for me. It's a pity because some of my favourite thrift finds (here and here) have come from this very Value Village. I thrift because I love the thrill of the treasure hunt and seeing crazy prices on mediocre items steals all the joy out of the experience. And so, I'm breaking up. Maybe it's over like Robyn and Ted or maybe time will heal all wounds, like Ross and Rachel. I'm not going to start a boycott campaign complete with a Facebook page and some bad spelling; I may write a letter (be afraid, very afraid...) but for the most part, I'll just be taking my thrift elsewhere. Peace out Value Village, I'll be back when you stop stealing my thrift joy.


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2011-09-08

A Perfect Day

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Dress? Bruuns Bazaar (found in Holland) Shoes? DvF, StyleSense Clutch? Thrifted Brooch? Permanently borrowed from my parents

The biggest reason we went to Holland was for my brother Albert's wedding. I had big plans to wear this to the wedding. Until I actually took a good look at the invitation and saw that while the ceremony and standing reception were in an old church and the surrounding grounds (above), the dinner was on a beach. And a dramatic, vintage Victor Costa dress doesn't mix well with sand and salt water.

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The wedding was a fantastic party! It's always special to be somewhere with my whole family (it's been two years now) and to savour those moments. Beyond that, the weather was absolutely perfect as well. Considering that the whole summer in Holland has been cold, rainy and miserable, this day of complete sunshine was almost a miracle. It's funny, throughout all the stresses of wedding planning, my sister-in-law never seemed to spend much time worrying about the weather. Huddled under an umbrella and bundled in sweaters, she would confidently tell me that the Saturday of the wedding was going to be 'so beautiful and warm'. There was stress over music choices. There was stress over tie knot options. I even remember stress over how my brother should stand at the front of the church (arms behind or at the side... yeah, that happened...) but there was hardly any stress over the weather.

And my sister-in-law was right. The day was beautiful. We witnessed them exchanging vows, enjoyed champagne and cupcakes on the grounds of the old church and then headed through the dunes for an casual BBQ in a beach pavilion. When the sun set, we danced and danced and danced. Well, except for that brief interruption when my little brother decided to do push-ups on the dance floor and everyone rallied to support his... efforts. Yeah. It was that good of a party.