What I’m Looking For

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Leather purse // We So Thrifty

A few weeks ago,Yen, Bekah and I hopped on the highway and headed to a city not too far down the 401. Value Village London was celebrating their grand-reopening, and we were lucky enough to be invited to do some damage in the new store, which was bright, clean, and packed to the brim with freshly-organized thrifted goods. (It was also ALL ABOUT the Halloween life, but I am so so not there yet, even though they had a stinkin’ cute selection of baby costumes. For the love of all that is good and sweaty, let’s not rush summer, okaaaaay?)

Anyhoo, what I loved about going with two serious thrifters was that we, without a parting word, immediately split up, and got to work. We’d occasionally meet in the skirt section, or pass like ships in the night by the change room, but these pros know that thrifting is a solo sport. After an hour or so, we all met up again by the housewares to regroup. We refined our loot, tossed the extras, and headed back to Hamilton.On the drive home, one thing we all remarked on was how attentive the staff were. Not that that’s unusual, but these guys were EXTRA helpful. Around every corner, someone would ask “can I help you find what you’re looking for?” While they certainly meant that question in a general sense, we joked that the thrift store is the only place in which that question almost doesn’t apply. The thrift store is the one place that, most of the time, you have only a vague idea of what you’re looking for. The thrill of the thrift is always in the surprise, and that’s the beauty of it.

I wasn’t looking for a spaghetti strapped medi denim dress, a cheetah print mug, a cozy sweater or a pair of Brazillian sandals, but I headed home with all that an more. So, to the extra-chipper staff at VV London: No, you can’t help me find what I’m looking for, but that’s just the way I like it.

Dress: $12.99 // Value Village
Purse: $3.99 // Value Village (straight-up stolen from Yen’s cart)
Huarache sandals: $30 // The Edit

Barbie Girl

80s Barbie Dress // We So Thrifty

80s Barbie Dress // We So Thrifty

80s Barbie Dress // We So Thrifty

80s Barbie Dress // We So Thrifty

When I shared this dress straight from the thrift store change room on Instagram, I said it made me feel like I “walked out of the Barbie colouring book I had when I was eight.” I’m happy to report that, upon wearing this dress in the wild, that is still 100% true. In fact, I’m now beginning to suspect this dress has magical Take On Me properties, and when I wear it, the world itself becomes a Barbie colouring book.

I wore this dress to a birthday dinner out on the Hamilton waterfront. While the food was only OK, the atmosphere was incredible—the sun setting on the choppy water, the boats bobbing like birds off in the distance, the warm summer breeze that we all dream about for 9 months out of the year—just the best. After dinner, we took a stroll along the bay, and with each step, a new page of Barbie’s California Dream Colouring Book came to life. There was a roller rink, an ice cream shop, an assortment of adorable dogs, an old-timey trolley giving tours, and if that’s not enough, seniors and hipsters alike chillin’ on the hillside, taking in a free jazz performance (I’d also wager that AT LEAST one of the dudes on the water from the nearby Hamilton Yacht Club is named Ken).

barbiecoloringbook02And because the internet is a blessed-wonderful-nostalgia-giving machine, YOU TOO can relive the joy of a Barbie Colouring Book. Just click on that happy quartet of waspy teens to the left to make all your California dreams come true. (h/t to this blog for the scan!)

Since I can’t wear this dress every day, I think I’ll dust off the ol’ Laurentian pencil crayons and give this page a whirl. Just hoping I’ve still got the crazy skills on display in this photo:

L to R: Adele, Me, Robyn, and Laura, who is too cool to colour, and would rather play with an actual Barbie.

Dress: Salvation Army | $6
Shoes: Payless | $25
Sunglasses: The Edit | $15

Committed

Black floral dress // We So Thrifty

Black floral dress // We So Thrifty

Black floral dress // We So Thrifty

Black floral dress // We So Thrifty

I’m here, guys! Still here! While I have no plans to let this blog die, I also have no plans to increase my sporadic post-per-month rate. So, it’s best if you just view this blog like a surprise Beyoncé album: There is no predicting its arrival, so just enjoy it once it’s here. (Did I just compare myself to Beyoncé?)

Hyperbolic comparisons aside, I had to post this dress because it’s my favourite thrifted thing in a long, long time. AND, I worked hard for it. Yes, thrifting can be hard work. Sometimes I find what I’m looking for without even trying, but other times, I have to visit every thrift store in town twice in the span of two weeks before I find it. “It,” this time around, was a dress for my dear friend’s wedding.  Not just any dear friend, either: I played a role in setting up this dear friend with her now-dearly-beloved husband (and don’t you think I didn’t brag about that all day: Matt had to tell me to scale it back when I boldly announced “LOOK at what I have CREATED!” upon entering the ceremony).

But back to the dress: I’m not exaggerating when I say I really, truely hit up every thrift/resale/consignment/vintage spot in town: Value Village, twice. Salvation Army, twice. The Edit, once, Bibles for Missions, once. I could go on! It was my second trip in as many weeks to Talize that finally yielded this winner. It hit every note: colourful, fun, comfortable, and, most importantly, wearable without the aid of any sort of special undergarment. The holy grail!

So there you go. I suppose the take away from this post is that you should never, ever give up on your dream*,  and that I am, more or less, Beyoncé.

_

Dress: Talize | $17
Clutch: Clothing Swap | $0.25
Shoes: Payless | $25

*You are allowed to give up on your dream if your dream is finding thrifted wedding shoes the day of the wedding, but there’s nothing in your size at Value Village, so you just have to go to Payless and be done with it, because your hair doesn’t curl itself.

 

 

The Simple Life

Vintage blue day dress // We So Thrifty  Vintage blue day dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage blue day dress // We So Thrifty

Friends! This is going to be brief, for several reasons. The first of which is tucked into my bosom courtesy of an ergo carrier and may wake up any second. But even if my baby wasn’t in that “ticking cry bomb” stage, I don’t think I’d have much to say about this dress – and that’s exactly why I like it. This $3.50 vintage beauty is as simple as getting dressed gets:

Step 1) button up;
Step 2) add belt;
Step 3) eat brunch;
Step 4) put leftovers in ample-sized pockets.

Yep. I think I like the simple life.

Dress: Salvation Army | $3.50
Belt: Salvation Army | $2
Huarache sandals (like the Beach Boy song!): The Edit| $30

Baby Blue

Denim jacket + white dress + slip on sneakers // We So Thrifty

Denim jacket + white dress + vintage back pack // We So Thrifty

Denim jacket + white dress + slip on sneakers // We So Thrifty

Denim jacket + white dress + vintage back pack // We So Thrifty

Denim jacket + white dress + slip on sneakers // We So Thrifty

Matching thrifted denim // We So Thrifty

babyjeans1

I know, I know. Connor and I entered a “Who Wore it Better?” contest and I LOST BY A WIDE MARGIN.

This post not only settles that score, but it also settles the “what is the world’s most versatile garment?” argument. You may say “what argument?” To which I say: “This is the internet. There are arguments wherever you choose to find them. What a time to be alive!”

And so, I’d like to publicly declare the jean jacket as the World’s Most Versatile-and-Consistently-Age-Appropriate Garment. I challenge you to find any other item that would look as good on a 28 year old and a 3-month old. I’m telling you right now, I have a pair of onesie pajamas, and the site of me as a giant teletubby would haunt your dreams forever.

Just last friday, when catching up with my sister Robyn, she mentioned that her eldest is now a total grown-up because she requested a jean jacket all on her own. She too ended up with a thrifted Gap jacket like mine – way to go, niece!

So there you have it. One argument settled on the internet, one bajillion to go.

_

Banana Republic Dress: $14.99 | Value Village
Gap Jean Jacket: $29.95 | Second Chance Consignment
Shoes: $10 | Target
Backpack: Thrifted gift from Mom

Comeback

Printed thrifted dress // We So Thrifty

Printed thrifted dress // We So Thrifty

Printed thrifted dress // We So Thrifty

Printed thrifted dress // We So Thrifty

Printed thrifted dress // We So Thrifty

Ahoy! Or, more appropriately, hola! (The reason for that will reveal itself in a few sentences).

This post is my glorious, much-anticipated return to blogging. I’d compare it to that time Jay Z or Cher came out of their retirements, but they don’t have the following I do.

You’ll notice that my affinity for sarcasm is still here, as is my love for tacos and pretty thrifted dresses. Let’s break the latter down a bit more: This brand-new American Rag dress is from Value Village, and the first piece of post-pregnancy clothing I treated myself to. It’s a bit ironic because I actually could be super pregnant in this dress – it’s roomy. I think I got used to looking specifically for belly-friendly items – but hey! More room for tacos! (You could say “more room for baby number two!”, but if I ever get around to writing about my labour, you’ll understand why it will be some time before our little banana gets an apple or an orange to play with.)

Now, the tacos part: In keeping with post-pregnancy firsts, I wore this dress on my first date with Jentine since the B.C. era (Before Connor). It was predictably grand – we ate tacos and drank margaritas  and took pictures of our not-at-all-seasonally-appropriate attire while curious strangers looked on. I’m happy to report that hamming it up in front of a camera is very much like riding a bike: you feel a little wobbly at first, but you’ll be poppin’ that hip  in no time.

And now that I’ve muddied up a metaphor, I’ve hit every requirement for a typical post. I’d say that makes me officially back in the game.

_

Dress: Value Village | $24.99
Clutch: Winners | $7.99
Boots: Target | END OF DAYS CLEARANCE PRICE.

Final Stretch

Vintage blazer, knitted toque, riding boots // We So Thrifty

Vintage blazer, knitted toque, riding boots // We So Thrifty

Vintage blazer, knitted toque, riding boots // We So Thrifty

Vintage blazer, knitted toque, riding boots // We So Thrifty

Vintage blazer, knitted toque // We So Thrifty

Happy 2015 friends! We’re all but a week into January, and the weather has finally decided to go all “Canada” on us at at last – it is cold and it is terrible. The above photos are not at all indicative of what it presently looks like outside, nor what one needs to wear in order to GO outside (never forget).

Since I’ve now granted all of you your customary blogger weather update, we can talk about the more obvious things on the agenda: I’m havin’ a baby soon!  Relatively speaking, of course. As you can see, the baby is bigger. It’s also incredibly comfortable in its cozy uterine apartment, and will most likely stay a few days passed its eviction notice (January 13). SO FAR, I’m ok with that. There are still things I’d like to get done, and I’m really enjoying this time to squeeze in a few more dinners with friends and daytime errands, etc.

I think they also say this is about the time I’m supposed to enter hyperactive “nesting” mode, which I’m not sure actually exists. Oh, I organized the heck out f my kitchen yesterday, but that’s because I’m usually not home enough to truly look at my kitchen/the general disarray of our abode. It’s not so much “nesting” as it is “you have to live in this mess now so maybe you should clean it you slob?” Also, my iMac is broken, so that too has contributed to my willingness to clean.

Annnyshways, seeing as this could be the last maternity outfit you see, I think it’s actually a fitting summary of what’s got me through these past few months. Nearly everyday for the last 5 months or so, I’ve worn the same H&M stretchy tank dress (which is now a tank top), with either black leggings or stretchy black pants It’s the under armour to all my attire. I hardly wear any of the three “maternity” pieces I bought, so my advice is avoid that overpriced, boring stuff as much as you can. Instead, I’ve managed to have some good luck buying big, buying stretchy, and buying vintage or secondhand when I can. I bought this stretchy tunic from the Salvation Army a few weeks ago, and it sits alongside many similar items in my closet. It’s not “maternity” – it’s just XXL and contains a decent amount of lyrca.

If that sounds incredibly boring (it does, doesn’t it?) keep the fun stuff to items you know you’ll wear post-pregnancy, like my big-ass pop-pom toque! I got the last one from The Edit’s stash from last winter. It’s glorious and warm (but impossible to wear inside a low-ceiling vehicle). It also balances out the giant beach ball I’m smuggling. Symmetry!

That’s about all I have to offer in terms of advice, and I’m coming close to the end of my patience with using a track pad laptop that’s not mine, so that’s where I’ll end it today. If I don’t pop in before I...pop (#nailedit), thank you truly for kind comments and well-wishes on this blog and instagram over these past few months! Everyone has just been a total peach – both in real and internet-life. You guys rule!

Blazer: Salvation Army | $3.50
Tunic: Salvation Army | $5.99
Toque: The Edit | $40
Boots: Hudson’s Bay | On sale $130
Handmade leather tote: Gift from Mom that she got for FREE from one of her thrifting spots! She’s still the champ.

Winter Berry

Berry vintage coat // We So Thrifty

Berry vintage coat // We So Thrifty

Berry vintage coat // We So Thrifty

Berry vintage coat // We So Thrifty

Berry vintage coat // We So Thrifty

Let’s get right down to it: Check out my AWESOME COAT.

In any other instance, this coat would warrant use of the word “awesome,” or capital letters, but when you’re extra-preggo, it warrants the use of both of them together. Because not only is this vintage wool coat beautifully constructed, made-in-Toronto, and full all sorts of lovely detailing and with super-soft fur, but I can do it up – for a good four more days at least! Miracle of miracles!

Alright, I’m playing up the struggles of maternity dressing a little here. Truth be told, it hasn’t been that much of a challenge. It just narrows down your choices in a big way. I fully admit I alternate between two pairs of pants and a variety of tunic things most of the time. It’s also made me an even-more selective thrifter, as I really can’t take something home and figure out how to wear it later – if I can’t get it over the hips in the change room, it’s not happening. This may sound like a convenient excuse for spotty blogging, but it’s true! Most of what I’ve thrifted throughout my pregnancy is very practical and wearable. There are only so many words one can pen about an XXL polyester tunic, and they are “This is an XXL polyester tunic.” But a coat in this colour and condition, scored for $25 from the Salvation Army? On that, I could write a novel.

Looking back over the past few months, the only other thrifted item that deserves praise in a public forum is this number my Instagram pals with recognize from a few weeks ago:

Vintage maternity dress // We So Thrifty

This one would have made it into a proper blog entry if I hadn’t been a bozo and left my camera at home. Matt’s aunt Betty found this vintage Pea-in-the-Pod dress from Valu Village for $16, and I freaking love it. She actually brought it home for herself, having no idea it was a maternity piece – she just loved the real mink cuffs! Once she got home, however, she realized it was too big, and curiously roomy in the tummy. She figured out it what it was, and I’m tickled that she thought of me. She sent the dress home with Matt at a family wedding, and one week later, I wore it to another family wedding. It’s really almost bizarre how well it fits – the sleeves are SO LONG, and I have monkey arms! It’s destiny, I tell ya.

Both of these items, what with their fancy furs, are so perfectly suited for Holiday festivities, I’m now 100% aboard the Polar Express to Santaville. In fact, already reserved my seat with the Big Guy himself. Catch you on the North side, my fellow carollers!

Coat: Salvation Army | $20 
Purse: Talize | $10
Booties: The Edit | $30
Dress: Valu Village | $16
Clutch: Salvation Army | $5

Scarf Blanket

Plaid blanket scarf // We So Thrifty

Plaid blanket scarf // We So Thrifty

Plaid blanket scarf // We So Thrifty

Plaid blanket scarf // We So Thrifty

Plaid blanket scarf // We So Thrifty

Plaid blanket scarf // We So Thrifty

What’s this? A post not six days after another post? What kind of regularly-scheduled programming am I running here?! It’s almost like a real live blog!

This miracle of miracles is a result of an extra-long weekend. A little more time, a little more effort put into my appearance, a little more willingness to document that effort. That said, I would have been wise to sit on this one for at least another month, because as my brother-in-law accurately observed, I look like Christmas. But I don’t want to talk about Christmas until I’ve consumed all of the sale-price Halloween candy AND tweeted something judgey at America about Black Friday while I secretly troll Amazon for deals.

So, we will keep things seasonal. Let’s talk about scarves. They’re appropriately autumnal, right? Anybody with an active Pinterest account will tell you that people are all crazy for the blanket scarf trend again this year. The trend kicked of last year when everybody lost their minds for the Zara tartan scarf. I can be real enough with all of you to admit I kind of wanted it, too. It was the Tickle-Me-Elmo of the scarf world! (Is that a dated reference? How about “It was the Furby of the scarf world!” No? The Tamagotchi? Still no good? Ugh. Maybe I’ll be more up to date on toy trends when I have a baby.)

Well, I didn’t buy it. Not because of any personal will power or anything – we don’t have a Zara in Hamilton. However, when fashion bloggers all get together at their special secret conference this year and declare a new favourite scarf, I won’t be tempted by that one at all, and that’s because I got myself a REAL blanket scarf. In fact, I might even say it’s the realest. (Sidebar: spell-check is not adding a red squiggly line under “realest.” Is the “realest” a real word? Is Iggy Azalea to thank/blame for this? Am I an idiot for not knowing this?). This scarf is the realest because I’m pretty sure it’s an actual blanket, and not a scarf at all. Jentine was honest with me about it when I bought it off the mannequin at her shop: the tag actually read “Blanket or scarf?…You decide!”

Well, I’ve decided: It’s a blanket. But that won’t stop me from wearing it as a scarf, or using it as a blanket, or using it as a Christmas tree skirt–AH! Christmas! There we go again. Get behind me, Santa!

Sweater: Bibles for Missions | $2.50 (worn previously here)
Blanket Scarf/Scarf Blanket: The Edit | $26
Boots: The Edit | $30
Jeans: Motherhood Maternity | $50 (cheaper than what I usually have to pay for a 36′ inseam!)
Purse: Talize | $10
Cat ring: Kimberly’s Deja Vu Boutique | $8

Oops

Floral skirt + knotted top // We So Thrifty

Floral skirt, knotted top // We So Thrifty

Floral skirt, knotted top // We So Thrifty

Floral skirt, gator bag // We So Thrifty

I’ve only thrifted one piece of clothing for the baby so far. Only one. I say that almost like a confession, because I honestly feel like people might judge me for it. This blog is proof that I like to buy clothes, lots of them, for myself. So, what gives, Julie? WHY YOU NO THRIFT FOR BABY?

Truth be told, I find it really truly hard to buy baby clothes – even new ones. We aren’t finding out the sex of the baby until he/she arrives, and yellow and green onesies aren’t all that exciting (even though I know they’re necessary). When I thrift shop for myself, I’m always on the lookout for interesting pieces – a strange label, good vintage, etc. etc. But I’m finding it nearly impossible to do the same for the little VH1. I’ll pick up something funky, and while I’d wear it in a grown-up size, I all the sudden think “Is this stupid for a baby? Will the baby sweat too much in it? Is it too gender-specific? What if my baby is a giant and comes out 6-month size and won’t even need newborn clothes?!” (That last one is a totally legitimate fear, by the way – Dutch people have monster babies).

When thrifting for the tiny one, I also find myself finally judging thrift stores like other people must judge them. Me? I’d pull something out of the garbage for myself if it were a quality piece, but I’m finding myself suddenly far more critical when it comes to the teensy clothes on the rack: “MY BABY CAN’T HAVE MYSTERY STAINS ON THEIR CLOTHES.”

Maybe all this is just a way to placate the guilt I have over this new skirt. I mentioned last entry that Matt and I had our ultasound a few weeks ago, and the whole thing put me on such a baby-high, I stopped at the thrift store on the way home from work that day with the specific hope of picking out something special for the babe. I came home with…this skirt. Oops. But it was only $2.99!

If I could add just one more excuse before singing off, I’d also mention that we don’t actually have a nursery yet. We’re putting up another room in our condo, and I’ll be sharing my walk-in closet with my offspring, but as it stands, all the gifts we’ve received so far for this golden child are randomly stuffed in with my clothes.

Perhaps next time I’ll visit one of those kid-only consignment/thrift stores – that’ll eliminate the distraction of stretchy floral $2.99 skirts again. And you know what? Matt’s already got plans for that new wall we’ve gotta build, so they’re will be a designated “baby space” in no time.  I’m sure once that happens, them baby clothes will be flying off the shelves! Onto new shelves! In our place!

There. Guilt absolved. Let’s go thrifting.

Floral skirt, knotted top // We So Thrifty

Skirt: $2.99 | Salvation Army
Bag: Gift!