Archives For April 2013

Puffy Shirt

April 25, 2013 — 5 Comments

Leather and lace // We So Thrifty

Leather and lace // We So Thrifty

Alright guys. Upon viewing my outfit, you know there is only one place this post is going. It was headed there even before the exchange I had with my husband about this particular combination. That exchange went like this:

“You look like a…(VERY LONG PAUSE)…beautiful woman.”
“Matt, you can say it.”
“…Say what?”
“You can say I look like a pirate. I want to look like a pirate. I’m going for pirate.”
“Oh GOOD. You look like a pirate! A beautiful pirate.”

I originally thought I’d frame this post around spring cleaning, and how it can lead to finding things you forgot you had. After all, I thrifted this puffy shirt nearly 36 weeks ago (according to my instagram records) and it took a closet-wide clean for me to discover it anew. But c’mon, there isn’t much to say about cleaning other than you should do it more often than I do. Instead, I’m going to seize the chance to post this clip, and call it a day.

That episode aired 20 years ago. TWENTY YEARS! The pirate trend Kramer referenced has finally come around. No one ever did the old “character wearing something embarrassing” bit quite like Jerry & Co., but there have been a few similar scenarios in the last two decades of multi-camera sitcomdom. Like the puffy shirt, though, both of those examples revolve around items that, while supposed to be embarrassing, I’d happily wear. Chandler’s Mr. T bracelet has never been more in style (…don’t make me say “arm party”), and Barney’s Ducky Tie is actually pretty hot right now.

It turns around sitcoms aren’t just comforting filler TV to watch while waiting for the next episode of New Girl, they are mighty fine fashion forecasters as well. Who knew?

Leather and lace // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket: Salvation Army | $7.99
Lace blouse (puffy shirt): Valu Village | $4.99

Greetings comrades! I realized, when posting my Goodwill thrift trip a few weeks ago, that A) These sorts of posts are really fun, and B) They’re really easy. So, I’m going to make them a bit more of a regular feature around these parts. They’re also a little truer to my day-to-day. Yes, sometimes my day-to-day includes posing in front of a brick wall and giving some sultry side-eye to a group of dandelions, but in order to get to that part, I first have to spend a great deal of time in front of four other walls and a mirror, gathering the goods. So, without saying much more, let’s start another…

Behind the Seams // We So Thrifty

This time, I’m taking you to Valu Village. Let’s talk about Valu Village for a minute: They’re the big box chain gang of thrift stores. They’re roomy, clean, and everyone knows about them. People who don’t thrift know about Valu Village. Because of this, VV can get away with some very suspect pricing. Almost all of their dresses are $12.99 and up, and everything else is mostly $10. That’s why you don’t see all that much from Valu Village on the blog. Every so often, though, if I have the time and am willing to exercise the patience, I can find items of value that warrant the higher price tag. That’s challenge I took on for this trip.

vv thrift trip

As usual, it took a few strike outs before I hit anything good. Item numero uno was this yellow lacy mini. You’re only seeing the top half of it, because only the top half was suitable for a woman of nearly 27 years. The bottom half was better suited for 21-year-old-Julie, who belongs to a bygone era, characterized by much later nights and much shorter dresses. Next!

vv thrift trip 8

Contrarily, the second item swung the pendulum a little to far the other way. This beige, stretchy Joe Fresh shift dress was nice enough. I could have gussied it up with a belt, and it would have sat comfortably alongside my other “boring office” clothes. But, blah. I don’t need another office dress. I’m not that old.

vv thrift trip 5

The third item, thankfully, hit the right balance. It wasn’t too short, nor was it a total snore. Rather, it was perfectly respectable length, with neon stripes and a groovy back. While this one was marked a little high at $12.99, it still had tags that listed an original price of $40, and a clearance price of $23. So, I’m bought something brand new for less than half of the clearance price. Happy dance!


vv thrift trip 7

I snapped a picture of this item because it illustrates something important about Valu Village’s pricing structure: they may jack up the prices on H&M and Forever 21, but they still price wacky vintage stuff on the cheap. This weird, dropped-waste, sheer black thing with bows all over it was too big, but it was the only thing in my change room for $4.99. So, if wacky vintage is your thing (as it is sometimes mine), yay.

vv thrift trip 6

Ahhh. In every thrift haul, there’s always one that will leave you second-guessing, especially if you take pictures of it on your phone and continually return to said pictures. This dress London Times was coooool. It had this fantastic asymmetrical ruffle detail. It was dramatic and fun. BUT it was $24.99. Valu Village, that’s crazay! Also, pictures aren’t always that reflective of the truth – in addition to being way too much money, it was was also too small. I made the right choice in leaving it behind.

vv thrift trip 4

In my attempt to thrift some pants, I added two more misses to my score card. The coral pants on the left were awesome and silk and made me feel like Aladdin, but they were too short, and the ones on my left were a totally unremarkable pair of gray trousers. Sadly, I did not land a third “just right” pair this time. I stand by my hypothesis that pants are dumb and we’d be better of as a species without them.

vv thrift trip 3

My last three finds were just what I needed to end my trip on a high note. Remember the leopard death shoes from my Goodwill visit? Well, in compensation for that earlier scare, the thrift world offered up these similarly-patterned, extra-cute Steve Madden peep wedges for a mere $9.99!  Actual retail price (said in Price is Right voice)…$84.95!

vv thrift trip 2

I then hit up the sunglasses rack for two pairs of $0.99 sunglasses. I refuse to pay more that $5 for sunglasses because I lose them faster than you can say “UV Protection”. The pair you see above are for when I want to look like I belong to an early nineties bicycle gang, and the second pair are when I want to wear some that are moderately less embarrassing, and purple.

So, let’s recap the haul:

  • 1 fun sun dress;
  • 1 pair of leopard flats;
  • 2 pairs of cheap sunglasses; and
  • 3 more reasons for summer to get here A.S.A.P.

And that’s all she wrote for this edition of Behind the Seams. Until next time!

Lucky Number Seven

April 10, 2013 — 12 Comments

Vintage Spring Dress // We So Thrifty


In my last post, I featured a few of the items I left behind at the thrift store, and a few of the reasons I left them. Some were left because they were too small, others because they were too big, and still others because they weren’t quite right. One of the items I passed on was a $7 Target sweater, and while $7 doesn’t seem like much, I knew I could do more with those dollars than a too-short sweater. After all, $7 at the thrift store is like $40 in real life. Basically, 1 thrift dollar = 5.7 regular dollars. Whoa. I just did math! Anyways, because I know the value of a thrift dollar, I passed on the sweater and patiently waited for something better to come along.

Well friends, patience paid off. Granted, I only had to wait three more days for the -50% sale at Talize, but still. On sale day, I marched into Talize, and spent no more than 10 minutes in the dress section before heading to the change room. On the way there, my patience was tested by four unruly children playing hide and seek in the racks, but I just hit their mom with a pretty severe glower and headed on my way (yeah yeah, that might be me some day, but in the meantime, I’ll glower all I want). A $3.50 dress and some $3.50 sandals were the only standouts in my haul, so headed to the checkout and was out the door in no time. Upon pairing my new items with the right accessories and a welcome bit of sunshine, I’ve concluded that I put $7 and a bit of patience to very good use.

…And having just read a forecast that includes the words “ice pellets,” I’ll need all the patience I can get. Here’s hoping spring will also be worth the wait.



Vintage Dress: Talize | $3.50
Sandals: Talize | $3.50
Purse: Salvation Army | $5 (I used an old gold necklace to fashion a new strap)
Belt: Salvation Army | $0.99
Earrings: Ten Thousand Villages

Remember how in my last post I was all “so put on your pink dress show winter who’s boss!”? Yeah. That lasted about a day and a half. Then April came and I saw the words “windchill of -12,” and I started feeling like a petulant child again: “NO MORE OUTFIT POSTS UNTIL YOU GO AWAY WINTER! NO MORE!” I have florals that want to be worn, sandals waiting to be buckled, and nylons that I yearn to symbolically burn. Alas, all of those things will have to wait just a few more days. In the meantime, I realized it’s been a while (like, a year) since I posted a behind-the-seams thrift trip. This should serve as the perfect filler while we wait (not so patiently) for spring.

Behind the Seams // We So Thrifty

Over the Easter weekend, Matt and I headed to the USA to visit some in-laws. You may recall that last spring, I scored this excellent $1 rainbow dress from a Grand Rapids Salvation Army, so I was eager to try my luck again. This time, we started at a Goodwill. For the longest time, I thought we didn’t have any Goodwills in Canada. It turns out we do, but we don’t have any in Hamilton, so, same diff. Either way, Goodwills are a rarity for me, so they always feel like a bit of a treat. This one was particularly nice – well organized, decent selection, nice size, too. That said, thrifting in the USA is a bit like looking into the future for Canadians. In 2012, mega-retailer Target recently announced its impending arrival in Canada, and the first wave of stores have just opened up. Upon hearing this news in January, I quipped this on Twitter. That was probably a little harsh, but seriously accurate. Nearly every third item at the Goodwill we pillaged was Target. All that Target could seriously dilute the quality of the haul if you’re not smart about it.

All that said, I took my fair share of Target pieces into the change room, because trendy cheap crap is quite a siren when it’s $8 or less. Let’s talk about those things first:

Target stripes

Target Prabal Gurung // We So Thrifty

Target Neon // We So Thrifty

The striped dress, while cute, was just a little large. It was also a little flimsy, and one of those items that I tried to justify with “I could wear it to the beach!” Then I remembered that I don’t live in the OC, and, sadly, the time I spend on a beach every year adds up to about 8 days if I’m lucky. The second black and white Prabal Gurung dress was priced attractively: $3.50 for something that Target is still selling for $44.50. BUT the zipper was busted (quality merch), and let’s be real: I don’t fix things. The only item that almost made it to the check-out line was that cute little neon sweater. But it was a little short, and I had the sneaking suspicion it was something that, upon laundering, would become a lot short.

Ripped Jeans // We So Thrifty

Florals // We So Thrifty

On to the non-Target items: most of them were just all just a half-size away from being perfect. The jeans above were rated R in the back if I wasn’t careful, and the minis were adorable for spring, but a touch too tight. But worry not! The last item I tried on (which was the first item I picked up) was an easy win:

Nicole Miller // We So Thrifty

This Nicole Miller blouse is a beauty, especially for $3.50. I love the colours, and it’s something I can wear to work and play.

I’m just about ready to wrap up this re-cap, but not before I share with you one last thing, because it’s extra bizarre sort of concerning. Among the mostly-pre-worn shoe shelves, there were big piles of never-worn shoes called “Chatties.” I suspect some new-stuff-retailer had a surplus order of these shoes, and gave a whole batch to Goodwill. All of the brand-new shoes were priced at $9 – quite a bargain. I took a liking these leopard print loafers, and was just about to slip them on when the label caught my eye:


GAAAHHH! What the heck, right? I didn’t even know that was possible! And why are you selling these shoes, Goodwill?! Yikes. When I saw these, it reaffirmed that my rule of thumb is the complete opposite of Barny Stinson’s. He may believe that new is always better, but I’d say that old is the way to go. We do both agree that suits are nice, though.

Scary chemical shoes aside, it was a good trip. While I didn’t find all that much, the few things I came away with are wearable, quality pieces, and they won’t give any of my future offspring a third eye. That’s the real target for any thrift trip. More than that, I can pat myself on the back for exercising restraint, and bringing a sense of practicality into the change room. Maybe I’m not such a petulant child after all.