Saturday, July 30, 2011

Labels...or No Labels - and A Long Weekend!

I don't think of myself as a "label whore." To clarify what I mean by that, I usually won't buy something just for the label or brand alone. When I shop I look for quality, and quality can be found in nearly every store, and at every price point. A "name" label doesn't guarantee quality of manufacture (whether of the materials or the ethics behind the manufacturing).

However, I have learned over many years (nay, decades!) of shopping that sometimes a name brand can be a good shortcut to quality. For example, I love finding second-hand Club Monaco* clothing because I know that a) the company is Canadian b) many of the pieces are made in Canada and c) they use high-end materials and pay attention to detail when the garments are made. No seam on a Club Monaco item I've owned has ever come undone; no hems have ever unravelled and no piece has ever shrunk funny when I've washed it.

When I shop in thrift stores, I know that if I spot a clothing item with a label on it that I trust, that piece of clothing is going to be a good investment.

I will admit, though, that sometimes seeing a "name" label at a cheap price just sends a shiver down my spine! Could it be a score?

*I have no affiliation with Club Monaco, receive no compensation from them and only mention them because I like their company and product.

Thursday - It Must Be Ralph

I found this dress by hand; meaning, I was scanning the racks at a consignment score and the colour caught my eye...and then the fabric caught my hand!
This dress is a rough-knit silk jersey. It almost feels like burlap, except that it's silk so it's soft and not scratchy. It was $28.00. It's a bit on the long side, but I'm envisioning it with some boots and a sweater in the cold weather.

Vizzini looks ready to attach my legs.

Isn't the colour rich? I am in love with this olive green right now.

Speaking of labels...
I see by their website that Lauren by Ralph Lauren sells for about $130-160, so I think I got a good deal. I've bought RL before and have liked the quality.

I was perplexed about the size at first: 1X because the dress (although a little large) actually fits me pretty good. Then I noticed that it had been professionally altered: it's been taken in by about 2 inches on each side of the top.
The shoes are my Fergalicious ones that I found at the Bay last year (last seen here).

My belt is a cheap one; not leather, but I like the style and it's nice and soft. The cuff was handmade from a local designer and artist.

I like to mix in some vintage:
My Grandma J's leaf necklace. I love wearing it. I actually forgot to pack earrings with this outfit - my lobes felt naked all day!

Now, this isn't normally "that" sort of blog, but I had to show my vintage slip:
I got this in a thrift store for $12.95. I love vintage slips. They are usually nylon, easy to wash and are beautifully tailored. This one kept me nice and snug in my freezing office all day, even though my arms were bare.

Dress (Lauren by Ralph Lauren, consignment), cami (Plum), slip (vintage, thrifted), belt (Le Chateau), cuff (SkinznHydz), necklace (Trifari, vintage 50s, Grandma J).

Friday - Sucked in by a Label

I have to admit, when I pulled this top off the rack, it was because I saw the label first:
The only Chanel I have ever owned was a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume that my ex bought me. I used it to keep Othello from scratching our couches (it didn't work, but our house smelled nice!).

I tried the blouse on because of that label, and I liked how the blouse looked:
Vizzini was actually going under my skirt. He then proceed to try to climb my bare leg. What a devil!

The blouse was $25.00, which is not too bad. But would I still have bought the blouse without that Chanel label? I don't know...I might have hesitated. It was probably the deciding point on buying it. Does that make me a label whore? Do I care? Ha!

Seriously, I do think this is a lovely blouse. I love the blush pink colour, and the wrinkly fabric reminds me of overblown poppies. I also like that it shows off my tattoo a bit at the back:
All of the black lines on the top are elastic: the three at the waist and the one around the neckline (the neckline pulls down to an off-the-shoulder look which I am going to do at some point, just maybe not for a Casual Friday at work!).

I wanted to counter all that ruffliness with something bold so I went with my dark denim mermaid skirt (last seen here). I also wore my little short cowboy booties (these ones) which I'd sort of forgotten about.

I had to cover up for work so I donned my trust boyfriend blazer:
I wore it all day, and it's another example of a brand that I trust when I'm shopping. I met up with L and friends after work for dinner and took it off.

Jacket (Banana Republic, thrifted), blouse (Chanel, consignment), skirt (InWear, consignment), booties (Miz Mooz).

And now it's the weekend...the long weekend! Happy BC Day to my fellow West-coasters and Mainlanders, and happy [insert your province] Day to my other Canadian friends! I took Tues/Wed off this week, so I have some extra days - woo!

Saturday in Black and White

This morning, I went to WW:
This outfit is a good example of finding quality that's not attached to a brand name. I found this top in 2009 and I've only worn it three times, exactly a year ago, here and here. It's a nothing name brand; never seen it before, never heard of it, never seen it since, but it's great quality and it's tailored really nicely.

This is my eyelet skirt that I just got (see here). It has no label at all, as someone removed it prior to dumping it off in a thrift shop. I was attracted to the good quality cotton, the three different patterns of the eyelet and the good cut. I would have bought it regardless of the label, if it had one.

L and I went for lunch today, and since it was sunny (!!) I wore a my thin corduroy jacket over it all: I tend to shy away from Gap items (although not Banana Republic, same company, how hypocritical of me!) because I find a lot of their clothing is not the best quality, but it's interesting that I still have many Gap items in my closet...ha ha. I rarely venture into Gap stores, because I don't like that all their clothes are made in China, although I seem to have no issue with buying them second hand!

Jacket (Gap, consignment), top (I.N. San Francisco, consignment), skirt (no label, thrifted), shoes (Kenneth Cole Reaction, consignment).

How do you feel about labels? Will you buy something just for the brand? Do you only buy certain brands, and if so, why? Has a brand label ever convinced you to buy something even though you might not have if it didn't have that label?

Food for thought...have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Changes, New Things, Old Things

Man, I miss posting more often. Hopefully, things will settle down in the near future.

Casual Weekend Thrifting Outfit - Sunday

Anyway! Let's get right to it. On Sunday, I went thrift shopping with Elaine. We hit all our favourite stores and found some great deals. I dressed for comfort and for heat, because we actually had a summery day! Hurray!
This is another of my maxi-skirts (last seen here, scroll down) - I love the long, flowy style.

I wore my paper hat:
My walking shoes were essential - we covered a lot of ground! I'm wearing a cami with a sheer cardigan tied over it.

The outside shot:
Of course, every exposed bit of skin is sunblocked to the hilt!

Here's a shot of the hat:
I added the grosgrain ribbon and the mink pin that I wore in my hair on Friday night - I think I might just leave that on there!

Cardigan (Guess Jeans, consignment), cami (Mexx, thrifted), skirt (Jones New York), shoes (Kenneth Cole Reaction), hat (Delux), pin (vintage, thrifted).

Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip - Monday

I bought this blouse at one of my favourite thrift stores for $9.99 - I fell in love with the colours.
The colours reminded me so much of Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip - does anyone else remember that? I loved that stuff! I grew up really close to a little corner store, and I knew every candy ever made from about 1974 to 1989 when I left home. I vaguely recall that Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip was around 15 cents.

The outside shot:
This skirt came out much better with a top tucked in and a bigass belt (this is what happened last time).

The stuff:
Oh, I love my Fluevog Senscha Teapots (last seen here)!

The glittery bits:
I haven't worn those wooden hoop earrings in ages - I've had them for over 5 years, though. They are light as a feather.

Blouse (Express, thrifted), skirt (Plum), belt (Gap), shoes (Fluevog Teapot "Senscha"), bracelet (Jacob), wrist-wrap (Club Monaco), earrings (Le Chateau).

The Blues: A Farewell - Tuesday

Due to the unexpected stress of life lately, I've had to make the difficult decision to give up my At Work Weight Watchers group. It was so sad to break the news to my group. I am going to miss them so much, but I'm turning them over to my original leader, who I know they will love. I got lots of hugs and some emails that made me quite teary.

I am still doing my meeting at the main centre on Tuesday nights, and I hope some of my daytime gals will come and visit me.

I wore this awesome blue sweater that I picked up off the sale rack for $6 at a thrift store:
The bizarre thing is that I used to own this same sweater about 6 years ago, when I was 50 lbs heavier! Of course, I wore an XL then - but isn't that the strangest thing? Very apt, also.

When I owned it before, I had to sew the back up by hand:
I adore the little crystal buttons! The colour is so vivid, and yet, I own very little blue. I'm just not a blue gal (well, not in my clothes, anyway).

I last wore this skirt here, back in October. Sadly, it was nice and warm as our weather cooled off yet again!

Sweater (Plum, thrifted), skirt (Nygaard, consignment), shoes (Enzo Angiolini, thrifted), necklace (50s vintage, Grandma J).

Peacock Pattern - Wednesday

I bought this gorgeous blouse on Saturday at a higher-end consignment store that I don't go to very often because their stuff is about double the price of other thrift stores...*grumble* But they do always have amazing things. The blouse was $25.00.

Vizzini is helping me. Actually, he's waiting for me to open the door so he can make a mad dash for Inigo's food bowl.

The blouse is quite long and has a lovely bias cut to it, but I like it tucked into this high-waisted skirt (last seen here).

I packed this thin jacket for work (cursed AC!):
I had it on only after I got full-on goose-bumps in the office. I last wore it here.

Windy again. *sigh*

Isn't that draping on the neckline nice? I love the brown/cream background, and the peacock feathers have bits of purple and green in them.

The stuff:
Of course, I pulled out my purple belt and green shoes (last seen here) to go with the blouse!

The accessories:
My faux Gucci bracelet, and swirly earrings.

Jacket (Pelican Cove, consignment), blouse (Anne Klein, consignment), skirt (Bedo, thrifted), belt (Plum), shoes (Marc Fisher, consignment), bracelet (faux Gucci, gift from Mom and Dad in the late 80s), earrings (Plum).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Daze of Days (Including a Full Vintage Outfit)

Drapey (Not Working With My Figure) - Thursday

Some days you just don't want to wear clothes that show everything; sometimes you just want to be covered up and be all drapey and flowy.

Thursday was one of those days. I was browsing around in my closet, looking for something to wear, when I found this brown dress. I've had it for over 3 years and it's one of those basics. And yet, I hardly every wear it. Last time was here, a year ago.

I've been bored with my clothes lately. I think it's partly the weather, because it hasn't really felt like summer until this weekend (woo!), and I haven't been able to wear all my lovely light summer clothes. So here we are, with a camisole, dress and cardigan.

Outside:I realized, wearing this very loose-profile outfit, that I'm totally used to wearing form-fitting clothes now. I used to live in baggy clothes when I was 50 lbs heavier. However, as I tell my WW group, "I worked damned hard to get this body, and I'm going to show it off!" Ha!

The stuff: I love the vintage-y look of these shoes. I wish I'd bought the python printed ones as well. *sigh*

That's my Grandma J's necklace and earrings, from the late 50s/early 60s (heh, I've worn these shoes and this jewelry before!).

Cardigan (Bobeau), dress (Suzy Shier, consignment), camisle (Esprit), shoes (Guess), necklace/earrings (Renoir, vintage, Grandma J).

Double Leopard With Ruffles - Friday

I wanted to have a simple, comfortable ensemble for Casual Friday:
This is my third wear of this sweater (last seen here, scroll down), and this is my awesome A-line denim skirt from Caro.

Outside:I thought I'd be more horrified by the double leopard than I actually was - I think it's because the cardigan is more orange, so it doesn't come across as totally matchy-matchy (don't get me wrong, I love matchy!).

Cardigan (Twelve Layers, thrifted), skirt (Bebe Sport, swap from Caro), shoes (can't remember, the Bay some years ago).

Mid-Century Modern - An Art Gallery Expedition - Friday

I've gone to many dos at the local Art Gallery; they always have something fun going on. This week, they have a new exhibit of Canadian mid-century furniture and housewares opening, so they had a little gala event for opening night.

This is a great shot from Elaine:I love all that wonderful teak and clean lines.

We were encouraged to wear our best "Mad Men" Don and Betty Draper outfits, so of course, I busted out the vintage! This is my real vintage dress (last worn for my niece's baby shower and we're now coming up on her 2nd birthday!) that I got back in 2009 for around $25 at a thrift store.

The jacket you see hanging behind me came with it - it was chilly out in the evening so I wore it for the walk to the gallery.Vizzini helped me take pictures.

The shoes are also vintage:
I featured these on my "Never Seen - Clothing Archive" series in May 2010, but I haven't actually worn them in over 5 years. It was great to be able to show them off again.

Check out the insides:
They are a size 10, have a AAAAA (that's 5 As) heel, and they say "a "Red Carpet" invitation to a unique way of life". Isn't that awesome? I got these over 10 years ago in a vintage store - probably didn't pay more than $30 for them.

I love the details:
The black part is actually the sole (it's all one piece) and wraps up around the sides and back of the heel.

Some details of the dress - check out the size tags I found:
Size 14 has changed a lot in over 50 years! This was just right in the waist on me, but big in the hips and bust.

Some of the lovely seaming on the bodice:
I like the "woven" look of it.

The neckline is so amazing:
You just don't see details like that anymore.

I wore my non-vintage Aldo Accessories bag:
Vizzini's having some water. I am not a purse or bag person, so I don't really have many vintage bags. This was close enough and it held what I needed to carry!

With the jacket on:
Totally matronly! Why make such a giant, unflattering jacket for such a fitted and lovely dress? I don't understand this style at all.

I mean, really!
Could it make my waist look any wider??

Outside so you can see the colour:
Fab, isn't it?

I wanted to bouf out my hair, but realized too late that I don't actually own any hairspray! I made do with hair paste and a combination of mousse and ratting it with my fingers.

I also haven't dyed my hair in a while, so I needed to hide the roots line:
This piece of grosgrain ribbon worked great, with this vintage mink brooch pinning it closed.

I also wore my Grandma J's full set of copper jewelry with it:
I felt very snazzy. L and Elaine and I all wore our vintage and had a smashing time. They had a little "living room" set that you could have your picture taken in, posing with props for a vintage look. Then they projected the pictures with funny captions on a screen behind the two DJs:Both of the DJs were dressed like that - very groovy!

Dress/jacket (vintage, thrifted), shoes (Red Carpet, vintage, thrifted), jewelry (Renoir, vintage, Grandma J), purse (Aldo Accessories).

Lazy WW Outfit, Post-Ultimate and Shopping - Saturday

I worked for a few hours at the WW centre on Saturday morning, then dashed off to play Ultimate after. I wore my easy-to-change in and out of clothes:
I last wore this dress in January as an "at home" ensemble. That black cardi is becoming a workhorse, as are the shoes.

I went thrifting after lunch and found a few things. Yay! New stuff to make new outfits. What fun!

Hope you had a good weekend!

Dress (BCBGMaxAzria, thrifted), cardigan (Kensie), shoes (Kenneth Cole Reaction, consignment).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Blues and a Mystery Outfit

On Tuesday, my noon At Work Weight Watchers meeting started another 26-week session. A whole bunch of new people, a LOT of administrative work for me, and a swack of stuff I had to transport on the bus. It was an exhausting day.

Here's how I looked in the morning:
The weather is still stinkin' rotten (windy, cloudy, highs of maybe 20/70 degrees) - this totally doesn't feel like July! August had better be hot and sunny or there is going to be trouble!

Anyway, I had to wear a jacket or else freeze in the morning - this is my trusty cream tux jacket (last seen here). I forgot I had this blue top (my casual tops don't reside in my closet; they go in my dresser), and I haven't worn this skirt for a while. I think last time I wore it I wanted to do the blue shoes with it.

And this is me at 8pm when I got home from my evening WW meeting. Still holding it all together. I only wore the jacket when I went outside/on the bus, so this is actually what I looked like all day. I have a mustard cami under the blue top because that's a really low neckline.

I got a lot of random comments on this outfit: a lady on the bus told me she liked my skirt, another woman at a stoplight liked my shoes, and my WW group liked the whole outfit (I told them I had a blog, but not how to find it).

Jacket (Club Monaco, consignment), top (Oxmo), cami (InWear), skirt (Nygard), shoes (Feet First), necklace (vintage 80s, Grandma J's), earrings (Aldo Accessories).

Today, I went with yellow again - I figured that since it got sunny when I wore yellow on Monday, maybe I could cause it again, hee hee.

It worked! That sun glare ate my foot!

This outfit is a total mystery to me, as neither the cardigan nor the skirt have any tags (aside from the washing/fabric tags) to identify what brand they are. I last wore the skirt here, and the cardigan more recently here.

The outside shot:
The wind is blowing my hair crazily.

I liked all the greens in this outfit (L commented on them). Usually, I pick out the colours in the skirt for my accessories: the blues, the reds, the yellows, but this time, I just kept it fairly simple.

Except for this:
I picked that wrist wrap up in Club Monaco a couple of months ago and promptly forgot about it. It was regular $49 (it's real snakeskin), marked down to $9. That's more like it! It can be worn as a belt, but it's a little skinny for my taste.

Cardigan (no label, consignment), cami (Reitman's), skirt (no identifying label, thrifted), shoes (Circa Joan & David, thrifted), wrist wrap (Club Monaco).