An unusual find

LogoAs many of you know, I love thrift store shopping. It’s the thrill of the hunt and finding something unique or special that keeps me going back. That, and the prices! It’s not looking for something that I need, but finding something I can have even if I don’t need it because every item in the store is so affordable.

When I saw this particular garment, I knew I needed it. Well, actually I just wanted it really badly! I wanted it to fit perfectly. That’s the only problem with thrift store shopping; everything is one of a kind. If it doesn’t fit, there aren’t any other sizes to try on.

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As is often the case with second hand clothing, the size tag had been removed, but it looked like a possibility, so I headed for the dressing room and discovered that I was in luck! $2.50 made it mine!

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I’m not actually sure what to call it! Made of delicate translucent polyester with slits almost to the waist in front and on both sides, it clearly isn’t a dress. Perhaps tunic is the right word.

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Whatever it is, it’s incredibly lightweight and comfortable and the black piping is a nice finishing touch.

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In these photos, I chose to wear it with black and white camis and last year’s white sateen crop pants, but it looks great over black leggings too. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I think it would also look good worn unbuttoned as a long vest which gives it added versatility. Its final advantage is the fact that it packs well taking up almost no space in a suitcase and adding virtually nothing to its weight, something that I almost always consider when buying clothes.

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Shopping Sue’s closet

logoMy sister-in-law, Sue, loves to shop and has a larger clothing budget than I do. She has excellent taste and knows what looks good on her. Many of the sales clerks in her favourite mall know her by name and are familiar with her personal style. I am often the lucky beneficiary!

As a child I didn’t wear hand-me-downs, not because we were well off or because I didn’t want to, but because I was the oldest daughter in the family and had only one female cousin who is ten years older than me. There wasn’t anyone to hand clothing down to me. As an adult, however, and a frugal fashionista, I am more than happy to wear pre-owned clothing, especially Sue’s! Though I’m taller, we are very similar in size and can usually wear one another’s clothes without alteration. Though Sue tends to wear dramatic colours (she says I need more colour in my wardrobe!) and I favour neutrals, we have similar taste in clothing and we love to shop together.

Last month, we got together for our annual girls day out… lunch and shopping. Though I bought a couple of items, most of what I came home with came from Sue’s closets! Before I arrived for the weekend, she had done a major closet purge and I was met with several large bags of clothing to sort through and try on. What fun! I came away with one dress, one skirt, four sweaters, three golf shirts (like me, Sue is an avid golfer), three dressier tops, a warm fleece pullover and two handbags. That was just a tiny fraction of what was in the bags which then went to my daughter and, after she chose the items she wanted, to a thrift store.

Here’s my favourite item from Sue’s most recent castoffs. I love its loose fitting blouson style. With elastic at the hem, it’s great at camouflaging a midsection bulge and the colours coordinate with so much that is already in my wardrobe. I know I’ll wear this one a lot especially when the weather gets warmer.

This is far from the first time that I’ve benefitted from Sue’s extensive wardrobe and her generosity. In the past, she has also acquired a few items from me, but I’m a minimalist in comparison, so her gain has not been as great as mine. Shopping Sue’s closet started me thinking about clothing swaps in general. I’ve never taken part in a clothing swap party, but I’ve been reading up on the idea and I’ll share what I’ve learned next week on Fashion Friday. See you then!

Brand new, but second-hand

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I volunteered at the Good As New, our local thrift shop, on Wednesday afternoon and had hoped to find something new to share with you today, but that was not to be. Though I tried on several items, some didn’t fit and others simply didn’t inspire me. Then I remembered that I had yet to wear one of my recent frugal fashionista purchases.

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The royal blue sleeveless top, originally from Laura, one of my favourite Canadian fashion retailers, still had it’s original $65 price tag on it when I bought it for just $2! I can’t imagine why anyone would buy a garment and then donate it to a thrift store without ever wearing it, but the Good As New has recently set aside one rack especially for brand new items because they receive so many of them. Obviously, in spite of our present economic downturn, we are still a culture of excess!

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When I was young, I refused to wear anything without sleeves because I was very self-conscious about my skinny, toothpick arms. Once I started working out, however, I began to feel differently and now I’m very comfortable in sleeveless tops and dresses.

The polyester/spandex top is just loose enough to hide the little bit extra that I carry around my waist these days and the silver grommets around the neckline and on the shoulders dress it up a bit.

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My sister and I are off on a road trip to visit our brother’s family this weekend. Perhaps this outfit should go with me. The white jacket is a hand-me-down from my daughter, or perhaps I should call it a hand-me-up! The pants are the white crops that I’ve featured in a couple of other posts recently and the shoes are a favourite pair of denim flats from Payless ShoeSource that are several years old and, sadly, almost worn out.

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Black lace

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3Lace is on-trend for 2016 for both evening and stylish daytime wear. My latest frugal fashionista (thrift store) purchase, a black lace top, is feminine without being too girly and, unlike some lace garments, it doesn’t remind me of my grandmother’s curtains!

For me, versatility is an important factor when I’m shopping for clothes and this top definitely fits that bill. It can be worn with dressy pants, jeans, capris or even a pencil skirt. It isn’t lined, so I can wear it over any number of different camisoles. It looks good over both black and white, but I especially like it over khaki as shown below.

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Black has never been the best look for me, but the khaki camisole underneath seems to soften the overall effect. Even so, this much black close to my face can leave me a bit tired looking. Adding a little extra colour to my face helps overcome that. Hence, the bright lipstick, something that I seldom wear.

Considering the fact that I seem to be perpetually packing and unpacking our suitcases, I also think about how well a garment will pack before I buy it. Again, this top works well. It takes up hardly any space, weighs practically nothing and doesn’t wrinkle. It has to be hand washed, but I can easily wash it out in a hotel sink (after all, isn’t that what they’re for?) and hang it overnight to dry.

At just $2, this was definitely a bargain! I wore it to a conference last week, to church on Sunday and here, I’m wearing it for a day of shopping.

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That brings me to another recent purchase. I bought this handbag brand new at a garage sale for just $8! It still had its tags on, the handles and zipper pulls were still wrapped and the tiny silica gel packs were still inside. It had clearly never been used.

No, it isn’t a Tory Burch (I’ve been asked twice), it’s from La Terre Fashion, but what do you expect at a garage sale? It’s very well made and I love it!

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Frugal fashionista!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3I looked through my closets yesterday and counted 24 garments purchased at our two nearest thrift stores; the Good As New here in Sedgewick and Twice Nice in the neighbouring town of Killam. Add to that a couple of belts, several scarves, a pair of shoes and a favourite necklace and I am clearly a frugal fashionista!

In our area there’s no stigma attached to shopping second hand. In fact, the shops are social gathering places frequented by people of every social and economic status and, for many of us, searching their racks for bargains has become a delightful game.

Richard and I were invited to the home of friends for dessert and drinks last evening. Here’s what I chose to wear.

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The sleeveless cowl neck top (originally from Reitmans), the necklace and the shoes were all purchased at the Good As New for a grand total of $9. The pants were bought new a couple of summers ago.

Over the next few Fridays, I’ll be sharing more of my thrift store finds, evidence that it’s possible to dress with style even on a limited budget.

What about you? Do you shop thrift stores too?

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