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

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

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.

Weird Science

Polka dots + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Polka dots + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Polka dots + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Polka dots + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

First off, there is some strange magic in this top. I’mma tell you right now my belly is about 200% bigger than it appears on screen. Something about the pattern on this blouse is spinning you a web of LIES. Lies that will come crashing down as soon as you see a side profile. But hey! I’ll take it!

I found this blouse in one of my regular visits to Yen’s shop. The tag on it read “oversized vintage sheer blouse,” and at first I was like “who you callin’ oversized TAG?” And then I realized this blouse fits a 6ft1 8.5-months-pregnant lady, so yes, it is definitely oversized. And for that I’m grateful.

The other item of note in this outfit is my new (p)leather jacket. All you have to do is scroll through the past six months of entries on this blog, and you’ll understand why I needed a new one (I’ll save you the trouble: I wore my old one every day and now it’s gross). I took a trip to the Salvation Army on their 50% boxing day sale (still wearing my old gross one), and this one jumped off the rack. It’s not real leather, so I’ll keep that dream alive, but it did feel like a step up from the cheap bombers you’d find at a place like Sirens or Stitches or wherever the cheap teen clothes are sold these days. It said it was designed in Canada, and even provided instructions on how to care for the fake leatha. It was certainly worth the $7.50 investment, and who knows! I may even be able to zip it up in a few months!

The greatest thing about this find didn’t reveal itself until I had a chance to Google the label though (isn’t that often the case?). This jacket is from a clothier called AbbyShot. AbbyShot creates only the finest replica wear from your favourite sci-fi movies, tv shows, games and anime. It’s geek wear! All geek wear! Which is just fantastic. 

I looked over their website, and their jackets go from $100-$500, all from a little Canadian company operating out of Newfoundland, Canada. So, obviously, I need to go to there.

The only missing piece in this wonderfully nerdy puzzle is I don’t know what movie/tv show/multiverse my jacket is from. It’s not anywhere on their website, and my searches have turned up fruitless. So, my fellow dorks, please take a close look and let me know who I am in this jacket, so that I may I know what kind of magic abilities or mega-cool weaponry I can pretend to have. I’ll be delivering a human in 2-3 weeks, and any additional superpowers would be most appreciated. ;)

Jacket: Salvation Army | $7.50
Blouse: The Edit | $26
Pants: Talize | $7
Clutch: Salvation Army | $5

 

 

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

Bumps & Balrogs

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Hello friends!

One of the advantages to being a very lazy blogger is that, since I update so infrequently, I don’t have to generate any kind of original idea – I can just give all of you the ol’ family-reunion style speech on what’s new. If you’re my family – too bad. Maybe you’ll get some new material when you see me in person this weekend over turkey and more turkey (it’s Canadian Thanksgiving, you yankees).

Obviously, things have grown since my last post. Chief amoung them? The bump. It’s at that strange stage where you can’t really get a handle on how big it is, because depending on the angle, I can look anywhere from 5 to 9.5 months preggo. The first photo in this post? Hardly-bump! The last photo in this post? Holy-bump! (Since I get to see the the full picture in the comfort of my own home, I assure you “holy-bump!” is now the more accurate descriptor.)

Again, though – I’ve been really incredibly blessed in how my pregnancy has progressed so far. Compared to what I know is the norm for so many women, it’s been a breeze (and I just heard a story about a woman giving birth at 26 weeks after emergency appendectomy, so am not taking any of it for granted). Sure, I’m now the World’s Worst Walking Companion (because I have to pee every 20 minutes), and I had to end my relationship with nylons (I never liked them anyway), but things are moving along swimmingly. Literally – this little babe is definitely doing some crazy butterfly stroke in my uterus. It’s adorable.

I also definitely thought that, being nearly 6 months into my pregnancy, I would have had to purchase or thrift a lot more new clothing. Not so! I bought two stretchy maternity long sleeve tops and a pair of maternity jeans, and that’s the only preg-specific clothing I’ve accrued so far. As for everything else, I’m getting everything I can out of my current closet. I was never one for a Herve-Leger-style body-con dress, so I’ve found it pretty easy to work with what I’ve got – especially since it turns out I don’t actually know everything I’ve got. I just found this pleated skirt in the Mines of Moria, ie: my disastrous closet, after some intensive cleaning and organizing. I bought this skirt from the Salvation Army at least 4 years ago, maybe 5, and had completely forgotten about it for years. Just shows what you can find if you’re willing to dig deep! It might me a Balrog, or it might be a pretty pleated skirt. Both have their perks.

And perhaps that’s where I’ll end it today, because, honestly? I have to pee. Happy thanksgiving!

_

Jacket: Talize | $12
Necklace: Salvation Army | $3
Bag: Talize | $9
Skirt: Salvation Army | I don’t recall the price because who knows what kind of ancient currency we were using five years ago?

_

Photos by Yen!

Dear Dress

Belted t-shirt maxi dress // We So Thrifty

Belted t-shirt maxi dress // We So Thrifty

Belted t-shirt maxi dress // We So Thrifty

Belted t-shirt maxi dress // We So Thrifty

Dear dress,

We’ve only known each other a few days, so this may all seem just a little bit sudden. But I’m a firm believer in saying how you feel – and I feel that I love you. It was only a few days ago – the first day of summer – when our paths crossed and our destinies would forever be intertwined. I found you at the Salvation Army, burried between a very sparkly jumpsuit and a pilling sundress that had seen better days, but you lept off the rack and into my arms just the same.

It’s hard to say precisely why I know we’ll be in love forever, but I think it’s because I could actually wear you every day. And this summer, I just might.

I’ll wear you with birkenstocks around the campfire, and the next day, even though you’ll smell vaguely of hotdogs and I’ll pretend not to like it, I’ll wear to you the farmer’s market and buy flowers simply to stick them in my purse and take an instagram. I’ll wear you to the office on those disgustingly hot days where I really don’t want to wear anything but the Bullwinkle pajama shorts I had when I was 9.

I’ll wear you on the sandy shores of PEI, and you’ll end up covered in salt water because I’ll shout “I’m only going up to my knees!” just as a big  wave comes in and knocks me on my butt.  I’ll wear you to my first-ever lobster dinner, and together we’ll leave food hall covered in melted butter and full of meat that came from a clawed monster of the sea.

I’ll wear you to the grocery store, the coffee shop, and the church. And I know you’ll be up to the task. Why? Because a heather gray t-shrit maxi is the clothing-equivalent of a dependable ol’ workhorse. Giddy up, my dear dress, we’re in for a wonderful ride.

Sweatfully yours,

-Julie

Belted t-shirt maxi dress // We So Thrifty

Belted t-shirt maxi dress // We So Thrifty

Dress: Salvation Army | $12
Belt: Salvation Army | $2
Watch: Salvation Army | $2
Clutch: Clothing Swap | $0.50
Sandals: Spring Shoes – really old

The Dog Days are Over

Vintage gingham + seafoam // We So Thrifty

Summer's end // We So Thrifty

Vintage gingham + seafoam // We So Thrifty

Picnic wear // We So Thrifty

Picnic basket // We So Thrifty

Oh, nuts.

I’ve been trying very, very hard to deny the arrival of fall. Usually I’m all “BRING ON THE PUMPKIN FLAVOURED SCARECROW LEAVES!” or something, but for some reason, I can’t muster up the usual cinnamon spiced-enthusiasm. But I think I’m going to have to board the hay ride sooner rather than later, because as I view the photos posted above, I can’t deny the “final days of summer” vibe they’re giving me.

The context largely contributes to that . Yen snapped these photos at a picnic in the park two weeks back. She prepared some Korean sushi, and we brought along our Matts for the final Seven Sundays concert in Gage Park. She knew this was the last chance we’d have to sit in front of that gorgeous seafoam band shell (colour-coordination accidental!), and I now have to admit that it was probably my last picnic of the year. The roses will keep wilting, the sun will set earlier and earlier, and the nights will soon call for sweaters instead of vintage gingham.  Don’t get me wrong: if we do encounter a mid-October heat wave, I’ll break out the cut-offs and margarita mix like it’s July 31, but warm nights like the one in these photos will soon be a rarity rather than the norm.

Since I’ve come to terms with summer’s inevitable demise, I’m glad that I big adieu to it in the right way: I can hardly think of a more “YAY PICNIC! YAY SUMMER!” outfit than the one I’m wearing. I picked up this (reversible) gingham top from New Olds on James Street for $10, this skirt is the summeriest of colours, and I finally got to use this way-too-cute picnic basket my Mom thrifted years ago. It’s like I conducted a mini-purge of my most-summeriest items.

So long, sweet summer. I totally get why Dashboard Confessional got all emo about you. Sing us out, boys.

Vintage gingham // We So Thrifty

Roses are pink // We So Thrifty

Top: New Olds | $10
Skirt: Salvation Army | $5.99
Shoes: Salvation Army | $3.99
Basket: Mom

Good blouse, great lakes

Nautical blouse + sailor shorts // We So Thrifty

Nautical blouse // We So Thrifty

Nautical blouse + sailor shorts // We So Thrifty

Dear everyone,

Today is Canada Day. Actually, that’s a big fat lie, today is actually June 29. See, I’m being a responsible blogger, and preparing a post to automatically publish on July 1. Why can’t I publish this post myself on July 1? Because I’ll be on VACATION. ON A BEACH! WITH WATER! SAND! AND SUN! I’m leaving my email, my Facebook, and my Twitter behind (but keeping my Instagram, because one of the perks of a good vacation is being able to brag about it via overly-filtered photograph). What am I taking? This made-in-Italy blouse from the Salvation Army, these made-in-UK shorts from Talize, two bottles of SPF 30, and four bags of candy from Bulk Barn.

While it may not be July 1 as I write this, it will be July 1 as you read this, so perhaps all I’ll say is that this country is the greatest. We have the most Great Lakes, the most hot Ryans (Gosling, Reynolds), and the most outrageous made-in-Canada TV programming. At this point, you may point out that I should probably be wearing items that are made in Canada, but the beauty of this great country is that we don’t care where you’re made – once you’re here, you’re Canadian.

Oh Canada!

Nautical blouse + sailor shorts // We So Thrifty

Nautical blouse + sailor shorts // We So Thrifty

Blouse: Salvation Army | $2.99
Shoes: Talize | $11.99

Photos by Yen!

Polka dots and perfect tees

Polka dot blazer + plain white tee // We So Thrifty

Polka dot blazer + plain white tee // We So Thrifty

Polka dot blazer + plain white tee // We So Thrifty

This blazer is from the Salvation Army, and so is that necklace. Those jeans are from Plato’s Closet, and the shoes are pre-loved, too. But my shirt? My shirt is brand new, and I think it’s the start of something good.

As ya’ll know, I spilled a whole bunch of words on the Bangladesh factory a few weeks ago. I discussed some of my thoughts on the fast-fashion, and came clean about my own role in keeping the industry poisoned. Mainly, thrifting doesn’t hurt the industry, but it doesn’t fix it, either. I concluded I should try to use the money I save when thrift shopping on “items that are made by businesses that pay attention to human rights…and retailers that won’t wait for a building to collapse before they realize something is terribly wrong.”

Well, that all sounds very well and good. But in practice, I didn’t know where to begin. Would I have to start dressing like a yogi, and spending hundreds of dollars on hemp rompers?

On the very day I published that article, I came across this instagram from one of my favourite fashion-grammers, Karla Reed (that’s a thing, right? Grammers?). I always need basic tees in my wardrobe, to ground all the crazy crap I thrift, and so a few basic tees seemed a good place to start.

I did some research on Everlane, and I really liked what I found on their website. They want to be open and honest about how and where they make their clothing. However, I did find some of the phrasing on their “About” page a little ambiguous. So, I had a revolutionary idea – I emailed them. It went something like this:

…while I appreciate much of what I can find on your “About” page, I wonder if you’d be willing to provide any more specifics. First, you tout your tees as made in America, and list the majority of your offices in America, but also “seek out the best factories around the world”. What role do these global factories play? Where does the manufacturing process start and stop? I’m also pleased that you try for a “hands-on approach…to ensure a factory’s integrity. As an added assurance we also require stringent workplace compliancy paperwork.” Does this paper work ensure better working conditions, or any sort of conditions, for the employees? Safety measures, etc? More broadly, what does it mean to you for a factory to have “integrity?”

I’m very grateful to have been pointed in your direction, but this extra bit of information and detail will mean I can whole-heartedly endorse your products. Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soon!

I sent off the email, and expected some kind of automated form letter in reply. Instead, I was really impressed to get a good response from an actual person (named Sam!) within a week of my initial inquiry:

Hi Julie,

Thanks for reaching out and for the compliments. Most of your questions can be answered on the article that was released in the New York Times.

The biggest concerns around production for our team are (a) great conditions for workers and (b) high quality. As a first filter, we target facilities that are already working with other luxury brands. Our factories produce for The Row, James Perse, Prada, etc. Even so, we visit every facility to ensure that they are top-notch. While many of our products are produced in the U.S., we have decided to produce some things abroad. In sourcing, we found that the U.S. couldn’t match the quality we needed for some items. For example, silk made in the U.S. is usually quite messy in the stitching, so we decided to produce in China—a place known for silk.

We are a young company finding it important to develop a relationship with our factories and their owners. Regarding compliancy standards, we first seek out certification from SGS and follow accordingly with Labor Laws. We have been to our factories and are able to see first hand the conditions of the work place, combining that with the laws abided we do feel secure with these conditions.

Enjoy the tees and have a great week.

All the best,
Sam

The NYT article Sam linked to also offered up a few more encouraging words on how Everlane selects its factories:

Mr. Preysman says Everlane has long received questions from customers “around where the products are sourced from and how we can tell that the labor is good.” It is an inexact science, he said. But he added that he looks for factories certified by independent outside organizations and has executives spend time with a factory’s owner to see if he or she “is a decent human being.”

Additionally, just a few weeks ago, Everlane placed a call for photographers on Instagram. They’re offering five all-expenses paid trips to China, and allowing these five photographers to document their newest factory in China. I like that they have nothing to hide. Satisfied with these answers, I placed an order in good conscience for two large tees – one in black, and one in white. Their v-necks start at $15, and with shipping costs to Canada, my total order came to about $45. For items that I will wear every other day until their threadbare, that’s a bargain.

While my plain white tee might be the least exciting piece in this ensemble, it certainly has the most to say.

Polka dot blazer + plain white tee // We So Thrifty

Jeans: Plato’s Closet | $15.00
Blazer: Salvation Army | $7.99
Necklace: Salvation Army | $2.99
Shoes: Salvation Army | $5.99
Tee: Everlane | $15.00