Archives For ralph lauren

Easy Does It

March 6, 2013 — 19 Comments

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Two weeks ago, I decided I needed a new winter coat. Like, “new” new. As in, not from the thrift store (yes, that still happens sometimes). I have suede coats and vintage trenches galore, but I still lacked something 100% suited for Canadian winters at their worst. While I am fully aware winter is on its way out, March can be pretty crummy. So by purchasing a parka now, I’d still get some use out of it, and I’d get it at least 50% off. Because my limbs are about 25% longer than the average person (I guess I’m doing a percentage thing in this post?), I knew I’d have to do a far amount of scoping to find something that works. Not too long into my search, I ended up at the Long Tall Sally website. This store was formerly a Tall Girl, and Tall Girl pretty much got me through high school, because ankle pants just weren’t in style back then.

Guys, I was on that website for hours. HOURS. Days changes to nights. Food expired in my fridge. G.R. R. Martin finished the last two Game of Thrones books. It was that long. While normal people speak of the ease of online shopping, I find it to be one of the more difficult and insane activities human beings have taken to. There are too many options, too many colours, too many sizes, and too many styles. How do you choose between charcoal or slate? Textured or non? Size 8? 10? 12? IT’S TOO HARD.

This overwhelming experience stood in stark contrast to how I usually shop. You know when I found that navy Ralph Lauren blazer? On my lunch break. You know what it costs me? $2. You know what size it is? I have no idea. I just bought it ’cause I liked it. Same story goes for that colourful scarf, and the belt, and the purse. While some people might find the limitations of thrifting frustrating, I find them positively freeing, because there are only three questions I have to ask myself:

1) Do I like it?
2) Does it fit?
3) Does it smell?

And that’s it. So simple!

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While I eventually did eventually order a coat off of the Long Tall Sally site, I’m still terribly anxious over its impending arrival. Should I have listened to customer reviewer 104 who said it might fit funny at the hips? Or should I have gotten the one with the down filling, even though reviewer 3762 said the down clumps at the bottom? I chose the coat with toggles, do I like toggles? What IS a toggle, anyway? I thought that was something people did to their emails?

Even after I’ve made my purchase, the options not chosen are still nagging at me. But have I ever had a single regret about the $2 spent on this Ralph Lauren blazer? Nope. Online shopping has opened up a glorious new world of infinite possibilities, and if that thing floats you’re boat, live it up like you’re on a boat. I, on the other hand, would basically drown in the sea of too many choices. Like this! Thus, I think I’ll stick to the thrift stores. 90% of the time, anyway.

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Blazer: Salvation Army | $2
Belt: Talize | $0.99
Bag: Salvation Army | $5.99
Boots: Me Shoe | $50 (from $250!)
Photos by the lovely Yen!

Small Stores, Big Scarves

December 30, 2012 — 19 Comments

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I’m coming very close to the end of my year-long Mall fast, and I’ve already talked, at length, about the continued appreciation it’s given me for thrift stores. In addition to fostering my love for all things second-hand, it’s also increased my appreciation for local and independent retail vendors. You’d think, given the fact that both my parents are small-business owners, this appreciation wouldn’t need any fostering. After all, those very parents run a second-hand bookstore (White Rabbit Books), and Mom also co-manages a family flower/gift shop that my Opa and Oma started years ago (Vanderburgh Flowers and Gifts). But when your parents do something, it can sometimes stop seeming important or cool, because they’re your parents, and they’ve done it all their lives. But this Christmas brought it all back home again.

While this outfit is comprised almost entirely of thrifted items ($5.99 skirt, $4.99 shirt from Salvation Army, $0.75 Ralph Lauren belt from Bibles for Missions), the real star in this ensemble is my technicolour dream scarf. This scarf was a gifted to me by Mom, and available from Vanderburgh’s.

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This scarf, combined with my own experience in shopping for Christmas gifts, is a shout-out for shopping local and independent. As I set out to do some gift shopping for the recipients on my list, I was prepared to suspend my Mall-ban. If any of my Secret-Santa draws wanted something that could only be found the Mall, I would have fought the crowds and made the trip. Lucky for me, no one placed any such item on their wish list. Thus, my 6’8 Dad received a new sweater from Gilbert’s, a Hamilton retail landmark; my friend’s new babe is now decked out in an adorable ensemble from Mon Petite Chou down the road; my Mom-in-law received some goodies from Ten Thousand Villages, and other aromatic soaps and such from Vanderburgh’s.

While I did pick up a few items from large chains like Best Buy and Marshall’s, those trips highlighted how much more enjoyable my small-shopping was by comparison. When you shop at smaller, independent stores, you’ll often meet the owner of the business, which means they’re excited about what they’re selling you. They have a personal, vested interest in your satisfaction, because that’s what keeps their business afloat. They’re people like my Mom and Dad, who are basically the best ever. I realize this is starting to veer into Preach-ville, so I’ll wrap it up with this: you get nicer stuff and meet nicer people. If that’s not enough to entice you, take a good long look at my scarf: it has reindeer on it, you guys.

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On Christmas, I discovered that my secret Santas followed a similar shopping pattern. I came home with a beautiful throw, new reads, and the cutest salt n’ pepper shaker of all time, all from independent retailers (Oh! I also finally got some Tom’s, and they feel like slippers you can wear in public, which is what I’ve always wanted in shoes).

That overly-jubilant expression in the last photo is largely attributed to the post-holiday sugar high from too many treats. But when the snacks run out, and I inevitably crash, I’ll have my rainbow scarf to get me back out in the snow, like an excited golden retriever. Or reindeer.

This Warm December

December 7, 2012 — 37 Comments

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For those of you who know me in real life, or have been reading my blog since the beginning, you’ll know I’m pretty big on Christmas. Like, schedule a holiday photoshoot with all my friends and add fake snow big. Come December, the lights come out, the cider starts brewing, and the Christmas music playlist gets two sizes too big. Now, I’ll confess something here: While I do, from the bottom of holly-and-ivy-lovin’ heart, love Christmas, I also hate winter. Hate it with the fire of 1000 suns (which is an ironic way to put it). That hatred is partly why I distract myself with tinsel and Bing Crosby.

However, I recently thrifted an item of clothing that has me warming, just slightly, towards those frigid five months we call the Canadian winter. That item is the sweater dress you see here. A few words on this dress: This dress is Ralph Lauren. This dress is cashmere. This dress has real leather elbow patches. This dress came from the Salvation Army for $11. This dress retailed at an original price of… $425.99!!!! (I think that’s the first time I’ve ever bolded anything on this blog. That’s right, I love this dress so much I’ll commit typographical sins on it’s behalf).

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I’m going to go out on a limb here, and call this the greatest thrift find since that lady found that Jackson Pollock. And so, for that reason, I’ve concluded that maybe winter (even without all the Christmas bling) isn’t so bad after all. The moment I put this on, the ugly white snow on the lawn didn’t seem as imposing, the bare branches appeared friendlier, and the temperature moved from soul-crushing to pleasantly brisk. I could never wear this dress in the summer, and that gives winter one big cashmere-covered point.

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Egg nog and carols and Dasher and Blitzen will still soften the blow of the cold winter days ahead, but after Santa has dropped off all his goodies for the year, this Ralph Lauren will take care of the rest.

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P.S.: I recently refreshed my blog layout! More importantly, you can now get your daily dose of thrifty goodness by typing in http://www.WeSoThrifty.com. No “wordpress” needed. Stick that in your stocking and call it a Christmas present.