Sunday 20 October 2013

Deb Gets a New Wardrobe

I have a question for women everywhere: could you itemize your wardrobe, every piece, in a quick list?  I couldn't, but my new friend Deb can and did prior to our thrift shopping date last Friday night at VV Boutique.  She had:
  • 2 dresses
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 3 skirts
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 4 pairs of heels
  • 6 belts
  • a vest/shirt thingy lol
  • 2 shirts
  • 2 scarves
Well Deb, at least laundry doesn't get overwhelming!  (until now!)

Deb is a pretty cool person.  Despite her young under-30 age, she has done some incredible things like, oh...become a farmer.  Most of us are happy if we can get something on the table; Deb on the other hand went out and grew her own food, for her family and her community.  Right there, Deb gets my respect.  She runs Heritage Harvest Gardens and spends the growing months in jeans and tees that she can get good and dirty.  Deb is a dedicated farmer but that's not all she does!  Like all of us, she has a life outside of work and needs clothes to go along with it.  

After losing a significant amount of weight this summer, Deb did a great job editing her closet and culling anything that didn't fit or suit her current style.  She has a Pinterest style board that revealed much about her personal  aesthetic; scanning through, I picked up on a definite romantic rocker vibe which, as it turns out, concurs with her past as a steam-punk aficionado!  Her board is full of plaid chic style and plenty of other pieces that are conducive to the VV shopping experience.  In other words, I had plenty of thrifting faith that we would find great pieces in good condition for Deb's new wardrobe!  Find we did!
 We had to call in the heavy artillery (hubby) to help carry it all out!

Deb finished the evening with 42 new pieces at an average cost per item of $8.36.  I like to calculate this in case the volume gets lost in the total cost!  Sure, some of the items were small pieces like earrings, however, BT (before thrifting) I would have thought $8.36 for a pair of earrings was a great deal, and an unbelievable steal for the bigger items like a winter coat!  In case you're wondering, if you factor in my thrift guide fee, the cost per item jumps up slightly to just over $10 per item.  I hope you agree that this still makes for budget-friendly shopping!

To break it down, Deb got:

5 jackets
1 vest
3 pairs of pants
3 dresses
2 skirts
7 tops (plus 3 layering tanks)
2 cardigans
3 hats
4 scarves
3 earrings
3 necklaces
= New Wardrobe! 

I learned three valuable lessons with Deb: firstly, put the big items like coats in a separate cart; secondly, hit the fitting rooms earlier (!); lastly, take more photos!  We were a bit rushed in the end so unfortunately I did not have time to capture all the pieces and show Deb all the ways she can style them.  But I caught some highlights:
These two coats are right on trend, can be worn as an outer layer in Fall, or as a finishing layer in the winter months.  They can be styled with jeans, those fab boots from her closet a plaid shirt and cozy scarf - add some earrings and a cute messy pony and Deb will replicate many pins from her Pinterest style board!  [Deb, I don't recall if I mentioned my fave blog for hair tutorials, but here it is - The Small Things.  She has so many easy-to-do styles for the hair-do-challenged among us (like me!).]  You can also style these coats over more feminine pieces to get that mix of soft and tough, romantic rocker look.  Deb also scored two winter coats - a classic charcoal car coat and cozy colourful wool plaid that will be perfect for outdoor play with her daughter. 
This studded belt can be worn at the waist or hips to bring a touch of rocker to any feminine piece.

The photo on the left features Deb's own plaid top accessorized with a couple simple necklaces.  You can do this!  Plaid deserves a necklace just like any other shirt!  Wear a layering tank, open a button, add some pumps for date night or boots for errands and you've got yourself plaid, elevated!  Ain't No Mom Jeans is a fan of plaid and have many excellent posts on how to style plaid.  For example, Deb, check out this ANMJ post on plaid + puffer vest + jeans + she-booties.  Shana looks plaid-chic and so will you in this look!  Deb, that post is also a great one for styling your vest - such an awesome score! 
Deb's style board also featured lots of wine/oxblood and warm colours like olive, brown, taupe, so I wanted to find her something in that colour family.  She scored a few pieces including the forgiving cowl top on the left and another piece that was pure rebellion but we won't discuss it.  Note Deb: you can wear this shirt UNDER an open plaid shirt; add one of your coats or the vest and you've got your 3 elements up top to complete your ensemble!  Though Deb didn't pin bright colours, the other two tops embody youth and vitality and looked great!  She can dress them up, dress them down, scarf them, layer them, belt them!  

Before we hit the racks, Deb shared her shopping priorities: a winter coat (check) and skirts.  We found the versatile hounds-tooth print skirt above along with a charcoal skirt (not shown)Not every skirt can make the transition to winter, but these selections will be perfect with tights and boots. 
Deb also scored some flattering dresses that will be transition seasons paired with a finishing layer and tights.  For example, check out this shot from Kendi Everyday's Instagram...
I see Deb's black jacket with the black and white dress above - clean, simple, feminine + tough!  Deb and I also talked about slipping a sweater over a dress to make it look like a skirt, and Deb's blazer from her closet would go well with any of her dresses and tops.  In the #mixnotmatch rule-book* it says: "take pieces you love and mix them with other pieces you love without worrying too much about coordinating them in order to develop your unique style aesthetic."  Deb has several belts that she loves, so I would recommend trying them on with her shirts, skirts and dresses in different ways and combos.  Try them over a cardi (click here for a video tutorial from J's Everyday Fashion), under a cardi, with shirts tucked and untucked.  Deb's pins feature a ladylike silhouette so I would like to see a skirt with tucked shirt, belt, pumps.  Deb seems ready to take my dress dare and wear her new skirts and dresses for everyday life - and why not?!  At these prices, it's okay to wear them momming around or any other daily task; we might as well enjoy our wardrobes now rather than save them for rare special occasions.
*there is no rule book
Deb's plaid shirt is practically reaching out to touch the hound-tooth skirt.
Clearly they belong together.

We closed the store down and were blessed to have such amazing patient staff as we finished up our trip, like Deloris below...
 Don't let this photo fool you.  She always dresses like a flapper.
Kidding, Deloris!  Thanks for being so awesome and making our shopping experience so good!

Deloris also shared something exciting about local Value Village stores.  They have a new initiative where you get stickers for every grocery-bag-sized donation that can be redeemed for up to 30% off your purchase!
You can collect stickers through till December 31st and redeem them through till March 31, 2014.  THANK YOU Value Village for hearing your donators and customers and taking action!

It was a true pleasure to shop with Deb, get to know her better and witness another rewarding thrifting experience!  I have full confidence that Deb will style up her new wardrobe and do me proud!  (But I am available for early morning tweet consultations if necessary!)
 A beautiful full moon shone down as we left the store.


  1. Nicole, everything about that evening was AMAZING!
    I have so many new clothes I have no idea what to do with them all lol
    I've been wearing the khaki green jacket and the pink-plaid shirt already. Love my infinity scarf from HandmadeTherapy with that jacket.

    I feel so stylish and ready for any occasion :)
    My mom can't wait to book a shopping trip with you. She'd steal half my new-to-me clothes if they'd fit her lol

    - Deb

    (and I promise to get some pics to you soon :) )

    1. You are most welcome Deb! It was awesome to meet you IRL and a privilege to help you shop! You look fantastic - inside matches outside! And I would be thrilled to shop with your mom one day! I bet she's a blast, like you!

  2. nicole - wow-what a great job!
    & deb - you LOOK great! - way to go girl! i def need your weight loss tips - or is it being a farmer - working 24/7 for months on end? let me know :)
    looks like you guys cleaned out the store - i LOL'd cuz it looks like you closed the place down too, looks like the lights are dim in behind deloris...ha ha ha!
    i love the skirt, i love the vest, i love the dresses, and the purple shirt with plaid scarf----super-super cute----and even i can see the mix-y match-y possibilites- (thanks to nicole!)
    so FUN!
    i am so happy for you deb- you deserved a little pampering after your long hard summer.
    enjoy the fun clothes - we, (nicoles make overs), should get out some nite for a catch up visit! cheers

    1. Thanks Su for your kind comments!! Deb is a hard worker and a fun person - so glad I got the chance to know her better, and doing it while shopping makes it all the better!

    2. lol Being a farmer definitely helps ;) Keeping it off during the winter months will be a challenge :P
      Love all the new choices in my wardrobe! I don't feel like a frumpy farmer when I have to leave the house now.

  3. Great job, Nicole! Awesome finds, Deb. I too know what it's like to lose track of time at Value Village and need to hit the fitting rooms earlier. Was talking to a cashier there and she told me that their store gets the most donations in Canada. Wow!

    1. Wow indeed! Fun facts about VV Boutique!

  4. That's so awesome, ladies! Deb you look amazing! Nicole, I will contact you soon, I'm just wondering when I should time it to re-vamp my wardrobe as I had a baby just 4 weeks ago...

    1. Thanks for reading Mira!! I would love to help you shop and VV is the perfect place to shop through the post-partum transitions! I would say:

      1. give yourself tons of grace in the post-partum period. There is no rush. I go by the "kindergarten diet" approach

      2. Whenever you want some clothes that fit to help you through this transition, drop me an email. You don't need to wear mat clothes till you're back in pre-preg! A few key pieces can make you feel great and carry you to the next stage/size! Wish I had known this after my babies!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Wow - amazing. :) I love your ability to find such great finds, like the houndstooth skirt and leather jacket! I'm impressed!

    1. Thanks for reading Von! VV never disappoints me - I find tons of options for every size and style! Love it!


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