Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Most Layers: Tights, Boots, Slip, Dress, Jacket...and Another Request

I always find myself in the doldrums this time of year. It's cold, it's grey, and nothing in my wardrobe inspires me. However, today I dressed for absolute warmth. Dagnabbit, it's cold outside!
Although I didn't go overboard in my purchases over the holidays (you know I'm just itchin' for a good shop!), I do have a few new-to-me things that I can make outfits out of. Like this jacket.

  • Jacket - CAbi, consignment; purchased here for $40.98
  • Dress - Olsen, consignment; last seen here (2nd outfit) in January 2016
  • Boots - Marc; last worn here in October 2016 with a dress of many colours
  • Coat (below) - Hilary Radley, thrifted 

I really enjoyed wearing this jacket all day - it's a thick cotton, but not so thick that it felt constricting. I took the Christmas decorations and tree down at work today, so I was actually a bit sweaty in this by the end of the day.

I have my hands in my pockets...and I'm looking at the roaring wind tossing the trees around outside the den window.
I am surprised that I haven't worn this dress in a year! It's a lovely pure red, and nice and warm (and washable! it's in the wash right now).

Back detail.
I wore a full vintage slip under this, but it caught at the tights and the hem of the sweater dress. Ah well. It kept me warm!

Trying not to look as cold as I am! I am getting tired of the same coat/hat/gloves/scarf combos, though. Scarf/toque are Danier Leather, gloves are Club Monaco (consignment).

The stuff:
A dark, blurry picture. How thoughtful of me! 

  • Earrings - local


Reader Mujeril requested, "It would be nice to know your shopping tips; how you spot the garment you want to look [at] closer, what are things you pay attention and finally what criterion have to be filled that you buy the item. And maybe some tips how to spot great value piece."

That is a darned good request, but you know, I have been blogging a long time, and I have actually covered this before. Dig in, and enjoy this bigass post here on thrift shopping with me! 

Feeling lazy? Here are my tips:

  1. Dress for shopping: Wear clothes you can take on/off easily, minimal accessories, skip the lipstick, wear shoes you can slip on/off, carry a cross-body bag (hands free!) and be prepared to take your clothes off/on several times. 
  2. Go for the good stuff: Dresses, jackets/blazers, skirts, blouses (not knits), outerwear, shoes, then belts/scarves/jewelry/accessories. I don't bother with jeans or sweaters (most of the time), or anything in t-shirt material, usually. You're not going to find the good stuff on a rack of ratty t-shirts or a sea of jeans.
  3. Colour, pattern, texture, shine: I look for these gems to pop out on the racks. For colour, it's got to be rich or saturated, no fading. For pattern, I want timeless ones (dots, plaid, paisley) that don't look dated (hello, 90s florals). Texture has to be felt - you can teach your hands to discern quality fabric. I touch everything, and I can pull wool, silk and cashmere off a rack without even looking at the content. Shine...well, I'm a crow. I'll always look at and for shiny details; it's not always allover shine that grabs me.
  4. Examine before you try on: Look for the heart-breakers (moth holes), deal-breakers (rips, smells or stains), or the "I'm too lazy to actually do this" issues, like sewing up a seam, or taking an item to a tailor. Don't even bother trying them on, just put them back. 
  5. Pose it and move it: Strike your most flattering pose, walk towards the mirror, sit down, cross your legs. Walk a little more if you can, doing your regular stride. Move your arms like you're lifting or getting something from a shelf that's a little too high. You'll find out quickly if it's a "standing only, dang, this is short" or "I can work all day/dance all night in this" piece.
  6. Construction matters: Turn it inside out and look at how it's made. Look at how the seams are finished (or not). Look at the buttons, the lining, how the pattern lines up with itself. The more you do this, the more you'll learn about garment construction (I don't sew, but I can spot something well-made!), and the better you'll get at spotting fabulous quality garments. Look for seams that give shape - they are what makes a garment fit perfectly.
  7. Ignore sizes: I wear a 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 38, 40, 42 and B - and none of those are bra sizes! Carry a tape measure if you must, but unless a garment is obviously way too big or small, it's worth a shot trying it on. Even shoes! I wear a 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 39, 40. They all fit. Go on, try 'em on.
  8. Look at accessories: Sometimes you can find great quality and designer names (note my Fendi belt from yesterday's outfit!) for cheap. Also, if you don't have a lot of time, have a Zen moment in the vintage scarf bin, teaching your hands to recognize silk. 
  9. And lastly, Prices: Thrifting something cheaper than retail, especially WAY cheaper than retail, is still a waste of money if you don't love it and wear it. Yes, it's a cheap way to try a trend, or give something a shot ("it's only $5.00!") - and hey, I have done and still do this myself! But you should love everything you put on your body. Every. Single. Thing. Otherwise, what's the point? 

Thanks, Mujeril, for your question! Happy shopping!


  1. I love the proportions. Wow never would have thought to layer that awesome jacket over the dress! Great looking on you!

  2. That "outerwear"! How fabulous. And hey - though I'm in a bit of a wardrobe funk right now, I'm always living vicariously through your adventures :)

    Thanks for including the great tips re. wardrobing, thrifting, etc. Very generous of you! *.!Happy New Year!.*

    1. Thank you, Rebecca, so nice to see you, and happy that you are still reading! Happy New Year to you!

  3. I really like the way the embroidered jacket looks with the red dress! Beautiful way to layer. Your last tip is such a god one too! I am returning an absolutely gorgeous skirt (seriously beautiful) because the material was clingy and see-through. I love it in theory, but definitely don't love it on me so I'm returning it rather than trying to make it work and failing to feel comfortable in it and getting rid of it in my next wardrobe clean out!

    1. It's a good way to layer a fancy item over something solid. I'm so glad my little tips were helpful, thank you, Mica!

  4. Such an interesting jacket and it looks fab paired with the dress, tights and boots.


    1. I know, you see why I had to have it! Thank you, Veronica!

  5. The jacket looks great over the red dress, and you could wear it with grey tights and boots too. Thanks for re-posting your thrifting tips. Even though I've been an avid thrift shopper for at least 25 years, I still enjoy reading other people's tips for successful thrifting.

    1. Yeah, I probably will do that at some point. The jacket has some good potential. You are very welcome - I like reading others' tips too!

  6. I liked the jacket when you bought it but thought it was rather a dull colour. Just goes to show what happens when you are creative (and skilled) with creating outfits. LOVE this jacket over the red dress!!!

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm feeling quite drawn to "dull" neutrals due to being rather colourful with my hair. I'm so glad you've changed your mind, hee hee!

  7. Hello Sheila,
    Love the red dress+ Cabi jacket + Hilary Bradley jacket, the details on the cotton jacket are fabulous. Love the boots too. I enjoyed your tips and follow most of them, wearing a one pice dress usually, no make up, and easy to slip out of shoes.
    I will buy something stained if took easy to get out, I am a good laundress! I will also buy things that need to be altered, is the price of the item is compelling enough, and the item is very special to me.
    Great post! Love your coat, too, so warm looking,
    I also do not like this season, too cold! the days too short!
    I will ask you this?
    Nothing in your wardrobe inspires you?
    That is hard to believe, as I have seem so many brilliant pieces. but I can chalk that off to winter doldrums.
    xx, Elle

    1. Thanks, Elle! Most avid thrifters eventually figure all these things out, I'm sure. I do buy things once in a while when they have a stain that I think will come out, but it's on a case-by-case basis.

      Yeah, I'm not feeling terribly inspired - I am COLD and most of the things I want to wear are not warm enough for this weather. I am also in a bit of a funk, well-spotted.

  8. Oh, I shudder just to think of how cold it may be.
    It's amazing how the more you go thrifting, the more you learn.
    One of the first things I do when I find a second hand shop is just run my fingers through the garments and when my fingertips feel something different it's usually a find... I got some trained little fingers ;)

    1. You would hate it, Lorena! Yes, I can pull out the cashmere every time! It's like magic, isn't it?

  9. Hello Sheila, well funk or not you continue to bring plenty of pizzaz into my life! I have you on the blog equivalent of speed dial so I can catch up with you each day you post. But I've never commented to say how much I look forward to seeing what you've worn that day, along with your written comments. Thx so much for your commitment

    1. JP, thank you so much for dropping in and commenting - it really means a lot to me. Blogging is somewhat of a thankless job (I get no profit, and it does take time), so I do hugely appreciate it that you've let me know that you're out there! :)

  10. Such a great advice, thanks for sharing!
    And I like your red dress and that long jacket, it's a fab piece, with lovely details and it's great for layering too!

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. I like the jacket - it's going to be fun to play with when it's not so cold out.

  11. Today's outfit was delightful but overshadowed by your wonderful guide to shopping. Yes, I do quite a lot as suggested but not all, although I will in the future. I'm a real Magpie picking out all the shiny, sparkly things first then work back from that. Great tips, thanks x

    1. Thank you, Anna! I'm happy you enjoyed my little guide - it is how I generally shop. You and I shopping - we would be fighting over every shiny thing!


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