Behind the Seams: I Take the Village

April 19, 2013 — 12 Comments

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!

12 responses to Behind the Seams: I Take the Village


    I love the dress and shoes you found. I think that yellow lace dress could’ve been made into a top too. But I guess it depends on the price.


    uncommonprincess April 20, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I love when you do this kind of post!



    I was in a VV and a lady was looking at a large art print for a wall and she called me over to share her shock that they wanted $100 for it! It looked like it was from Winners, where it probably cost $49.99. On the other hand I got an unworn Lida Baday coat for $19.99 and online similar ones are $1600.


      Julie Van Huizen April 25, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Bananas! That’s the stuff that really grinds my gears. But good on you for finding such an amazing steal to redeem VV again!



    The leopard flats are so cute!

    The biggest “chain” thrift shop in my neck of the woods is Goodwill, and they price based on category (ex. all tops are $3.99, all dresses are $5.99). But I’ve been to Goodwills in other towns that appear to price based on brand– I once saw a shirt from Urban Outfitters for $19.99 at a Goodwill. I always wonder who prices items at thrift stores.

    I hope you post more thrift store trips! I like these posts, too.


      Julie Van Huizen April 25, 2013 at 8:47 am

      My sister once spent a few short weeks working at a thrift store, and she said it’s a bunch of teens pricing as they go. That explained much to me 😉



    Oh no! I liked the filled dress that you put back! I think I’ll pin it to my refashion inspiration board 🙂



    I really like the Behind the Seams posts, especially as I live in Toronto and can relate directly with the prices. I agree with the VV prices ( I thought I was the only one with this viewpoint.) Hopefully you’ll a post on a new chain I see opening here – National Thrift Store. I visited once and noticed a number of pieces were never worn. I keep waiting for the 50% of day but nothing has happened yet.


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