L and I had a nice relaxing day on Saturday: we went for brunch at our favourite diner, then I did some thrifting and he headed off and did his own thing.
Don't forget to check out Visible Monday over at Patti's "Not Dead Yet Style"! I'll be on holiday tomorrow, but will be back on Tuesday.
I admit I was freezing on the stairs this morning!here under a jacket, and not really visible the first time I wore it.
I'm wearing it with the same pants as I wore the other day here, only with the full pant leg unrolled. I really like this pant width.
My outer wear is what most people saw me in today. It was a lovely and sunny (but cold!) day, so I bundled up:
Blouse (Spenser, consignment), trousers (no label, thrifted), shoes (Two Lips, thrifted), belt (Club Monaco), coat (Bebe, thrifted), hat (thrifted), scarf (Danier Leather, thrifted), gloves (Parkhurst).
I went to the Hospice Thrift Store and the St. Vincent de Paul store. Both are always good for a couple of good scores.
I found a wonderful vintage slip that fits me perfectly.
I found a black half-slip for $3.00 as well:
What was really exciting, though, was the plethora of royal blue pencil skirts that I tried on at SVdP. I ended up with this one:
It's a wool and cashmere blend. It has a very small waist and full hips - I sat down in it to make sure I'd be able to work at my desk.
For someone who claimed to have invented the mini skirt (along with Mary Quant in the 60s), this is an awfully long skirt, however, it is indeed by Andre Courreges*! Although he is usually associated with the 60s, he continued to design clothing well into the 80s, and is still around.
|My label looks authentic - the skirt's hang loops help support this (source* for labels)|
*linking for informational purposes only
Anyway, guess what I paid for a high-end authentic French designer skirt?
I know Megan Mae is going to squeal when she sees this purse:
It's by Tina of Montreal, a brand I can't find anything about.
Some notes on thrifting:
I've had a few commenters lately remarking on my amazing thrift finds, and lamenting that they don't have the same kind of luck, but it's not luck! I have just trained myself to look at clothes really carefully. And here you go: all my secrets for thrift shopping!
I shop very quickly in thrift stores - it takes me about an hour at the most to do a full small-ish store (a big warehouse store like WIN takes longer). I have a few tests that I've outlined that speed up my searches.
The Feel Test: I've learned to hone in on the good quality composition by feel; I can pull out all the wool and silk from a rack of clothes in seconds. I have come to loathe the feeling of plastic-y fake fabrics.
The Colour Test: For racks of clothes, I scan along the tops of the hangers to see pilling, fading and ugly colours and patterns - that eliminates 90% of them. The tops/skirts/sweaters that jump out to me visually are those that are saturated, non-faded colours and interesting patterns.
The Brand Test: I look at the brand labels of the items that pass the feel test and the colour test. I'll always pull out a Danier Leather item, for example, and if I recognize the brand as being a bit more obscure, I'll take a closer look. I don't bother with anything by mall stores (unless it's a really cool/well-made item that passes all my inspection tests).
The Composition Test: I love clothing made in the Canada, the US, the UK or another non-third-world country. I look for good construction; linings, seams that lay flat, nice embellishment details. I flip items inside out and check the construction, and look for the content label. With all items that I consider purchasing, I will lay them out and visually inspect all seams for ripping, pulling and evenness. I check under arms and down the fronts of shirts and sweaters for holes/snags, pilling and spill stains. Always check the tops of slits in skirts (for tears) and always look at the bottom of zippers to see if the seam is pulling apart. These are all deal breakers for me - I don't sew, I don't get things tailored (I'm lazy), and it's a waste of money for me to buy something damaged.
The Try-On Test: I try on everything that passes the other tests. You never know until you try it on! Sizing is crazy erratic (eg. Size B!??), and you won't know if that vintage size 14 fits until you put it on.
Note: all of these tests work in conjunction. So, for example with my Courreges skirt, I spotted the colour right away, then touched and knew right away that this was a wool or wool blend. I pulled the skirt off the hanger and looked at the label (by this time I was getting excited, but you can't get your hopes up!) and turned the skirt inside out, noting the loops, the lining (faded but not torn), looked at the button (intact) and zipper (original, no stitches pulled at the bottom). I checked the top of the slit (no pulling or tears). I held it up (WTF? Size B?) and thought it might fit, worth a shot for sure! I had two other cobalt blue pencil skirts in my shopping basket that also passed the tests - it was a day for cobalt blue pencil skirts. The other two skirts didn't work; one was too big, and the other didn't fit right. In thrifting, you have to get used to disappointment - things are not going to be in your size, they aren't going to fit, they might be damaged. Just move on...more cool stuff is just waiting to be found!
Shop by Sections: Thrift stores can be daunting. Racks and racks of clothing crammed in willy-nilly. You're lucky if they're sorted by colour, although that does seem to be something that all my thrift stores do. Yay!
I go through shoes pretty quickly. I only look for unusual styles in good materials (leather, primarily). Shoes made out of pleather tend to go hard after a couple of years and are not worth it. Purses are the same. I look for vintage, and open them up and look at the linings, see if there are any labels, and see where they're made, and what they're made of, and for general wear and tear. Again, I look for leather for the most part.
With clothing, I skip jeans and pants, although I'll give them a visual skim to see if there are any unusual colours or patterns. I usually go through every skirt (I'm a bit of a skirt junkie, I admit it), touching them first for fabric. Sweaters and tops are pretty fast, using the feel and colour tests first.
Lastly, I go through the belts and scarves. For belts, I'm only interested in leather (or more Smoking Lily obis, but no such luck today). With scarves, I want silk or wool only. I also go through any jewelry in cases, and look for wear and tear and missing stones. I like seeing a stamp on jewelry, but for unique pieces, that's not essential for me.
And now, the one thing about thrifting that I haven't covered...
The Price: This actually doesn't matter to me that much. If I found a blue pencil skirt that passed all these tests in a department store or boutique and it cost $69.99, I would probably still buy it.
The price is fun for gloating about, but it's not the be-all and end-all, and if you thrift a lot, it can become about "the deal" as you get spoiled by low prices. That's a trap! Don't ever buy an item just because it's a good price if it doesn't pass all these tests!
I hope this has been useful and maybe your next thrift shopping expedition will be a little bit easier. Do you have any shopping secrets you want to share??