Thursday 28 August 2014

Back to Reality

Even though the kids don't return to school until after the long weekend, as a school-based Occupational Therapist, I started back to work today.  Just like any good school girl, I kept myself busy avoiding the reality of summer's impending end by pondering what to wear for my first day.  Ya know, it's the important things you consider when you're a professional...  I have a *few* options to choose from, and ended up using a beautiful silk skirt as my starting point...
Oh what?  I didn't notice the tag says size 6!
(pretty sure they sewed it on upside-down)
Etcetera is a pricey brand as it turns out.  This skirt was likely $185 regular retail!
Cobalt tank $4.20, Kische (a Nordstrom brand) black tee$5.60, 
Etcetera skirt $10, shoes $5.50, bracelet $2.10, black leather skinny belt $3.50 - all VV Boutique

What should we talk about first?!!  How about how the back of my top was sheer so I felt like rebel all day!  
Um, any parents of children I'm working with who might potentially be reading, 
by "rebel" I mean "rebel with a cause to be the best OT."  Fo sho.

How about how I added a belt just so I could knot it?!
Knotted belts are happenin this Fall.

Or, we could talk about my Matchy Matchy Syndrome...
Oh what?  I didn't notice my bracelet and shoes match perfectly!

Or we could talk about how I love love love these incredible vintage shoes...
These leather shoes of perfection had never been worn until today...
 Original price tags on the sole but not a single scratch or scuff... 
I almost hated to wear them out, but loved wearing them out even more!

We could also talk about how I ran back for a black blazer to throw on as a finishing layer and instead came down with my floral bomber jacket...
This outfit just went from good to great!

From this photo on, my day went from great to good... my van wouldn't start so I needed a boost and was late (shocker), then I wrapped up my day with a trip to the dentist.  Actually, the time in-between was pretty great!  Saw all my work peeps, met some new work peeps, had people besides my kids to not get laugh at all my jokes... Now I just have to decide what to wear TOMORROW!

Wednesday 27 August 2014

St. Albert VV Boutique Sneak Peek

Edmonton is a great thrifting community!  As of this week, we have SEVEN Value Village locations in and around Edmonton.  I've been to them all and have never left disappointed.  Pretty impressive!  Yesterday I went to the Sneak Peek event at the new St. Albert location...
So happy to be there early enough to witness this awesome moment!
All the staff out front for a group shot!

I was almost first in line to experience a brand new store!
Ready to run in!  
Pretty sure I could take these people down but that would leave a bad first impression.

Value Village generously offered me a gift certificate to shop the St. Albert Sneak Peek event and as usual, I had no shortage of pieces to consider!
My cart was almost full after only the footwear, bags and scarves.
That's a Gucci bag on top!  
(I left it behind because I just can't do a fanny pack.  You'll understand this if you were an OT in the 90s.)

I was so happy to see many of my thrifting friends there!  Then, we all went our separate ways, focused on our mission to hunt the best scores!  Um, at least I think we all went our separate ways.  Maybe it was just me....  Before I share what I did buy, let me share my no-pile.
If I was building my wardrobe, all of these pieces would be great options!  
However, I'm trying to keep my closet under control, so I had to make some hard decisions and leave these behind.
I may already be having some TRS (Thrifting Regret Syndrome)...

To stay focused, I kept repeating my fall style list over and over.  I may have looked a tad crazy eccentric, because I'm pretty sure I was talking aloud: "plaid, green, chunky knits, leopard, bold colour" and so on.  It paid off though because every single yes-piece fit my list!  In order of appearance:
Houndstooth swing cardi is the perfect mix of it-pattern plus mod-vibe AND it's ponte knit.  Swoon.
Chunky-ish sweater AND open-weave AND blush.  That's a sweater triple-play!
My official shopping partner, my sister of She Does Create, found me this purple-patterned cardi.
This piece will make jeans and a tee way more interesting!  Shannon, I probably need some accessories to coordinate.
Chunky knit in a camel-y mustard?!  Come to Mama!
This plaid skirt is London Fog and will be fab with tights in the winter - I love me a winter skirt in a classic print.
The charcoal cozy chunky knit is Italian wool, soft as butter with a funnel neck.  
My J Brands have already asked this sweater out on a date.
Mr. Style would like me to wear this classic plaid flannel shirt everyday.  
When I tried to explain that plaid is having a fashion "moment," he said, plaid is always having a moment in my closet.
 This Jacob dress is another houndstooth ponte knit score!
The perfect dress to transition to fall and winter!  Can't wait to try it without another outfit underneath.
I had so many bag options, it was a lengthy elimination process.
In the end, I went with this red Italian leather P'Elle bag.  I liked the cross body size and the bold colour.
After, I realized I probably chose it because it matched the outfit I was wearing.
I also had several shoe and boot options but in the end, took home only these Clarks black leather booties in mint condition!
I don't think they've been worn!
I also found Clarks booties last year at the Sherwood Park Sneak Peek, so that makes a new tradition.
Oh, and I bought the socks too - couldn't resist the green pattern!

That concludes my finds from last night, but let me say, I saw so much more that I loved!!  Thank you Value Village for the gift certificate!  Stay tuned to see how I style these pieces into my everyday thrifted wardrobe!  The official Grand Opening of the St. Albert location is tomorrow, Thursday August 28th and you should definitely go!  Great deals to be had, unique pieces right on trend for Fall, friendly staff and a shiny new store!  It's a thrifting dream come true!  

Back-to-School Thrifting

I could have called this post "Bleeding Money in August and September."  If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about.  This is an expensive time of year and if you're like me and my family, you spent all the money this summer.  Luckily, my kids are quite accustomed to regular trips to Value Village balance therefore they are totally fine with a thrifted back-to-school wardrobe.  Maybe that will change as they get older and if so, they can get a job.  Meanwhile, I have been keeping an eye out for back-to-school things for my kids while thrifting and am pleased to report great success!

VV Boutique shared some "BTS" data with me - did you know that 98.5% of VV's "kids" items are $8 or less?  For a full back-to-school wardrobe including coats and footwear, families can expect to spend $100 or less per child at VV.  That eases the BTS financial burden significantly.  And, I might add, a child's thrifted BTW wardrobe can be every bit as stylish as regular retail (just like mommy's thrifted wardrobe)!  My oldest son, the priority for BTS clothes this year after a summer growth spurt, said about his thrifted pieces:
I like the cool designs.  They feel cozy.
He's 8 and very eloquent.  He has a pretty easy style - jeans and a t-shirt - though last year he did a great job styling up his thrifted blazer for school photos ("It's okay Mom, I know how to do this," then proceeded to put a tee under a button shirt with the blazer and jeans).  I found him several wardrobe staples, most at 30% off with my filled sticker card from donations and some at 50% off from sale days.
Jeans ranging from $2.10 - $4.90
Tees ranging from $2.80- $3.50
Plaid from $2.10 - $3.50
Gym shorts $1.50 a piece on sale day.

Gap fleece coat $6.30 and new-with-tags Puma hoodie coat $7

My 6yo son was able to move into most of his older bro's clothes but I thrifted him some "new" tops and better fitting jeans assuming, if he's like his mother, a little novelty goes a long way.  Also, the hand-me-downs do tend to wear out faster as the kids get older.

Ranging from $1.40 to $3.50

As for my 4yo daughter, there are so many cute clothes available in stores these days but, as much as I would like to dress her up in all the latest, she simply doesn't need it and doesn't care.  She has a closet full of hand-me-downs and thrifted pieces - she is lacking nothing. So, I didn't buy her BTS clothes.  Is that a confession?  Should I feel bad about it?  Nope.  Instead it leaves me able to respond when she does ask for something (while we're thrifting) or when she grows out of pieces or does need something.  It will be enough novelty for her when I do the dreaded great seasonal closet changeover and bring out all the cool-weather pieces.  Hmmm, maybe I should try that in my own closet... nah.

I have 5 tips for back-to-school thrifting:
  1. Thrift on sale days or with a coupon - you know BTS is coming, you know approximately what size your kids are.  Keep that in mind and start collecting pieces on sale days.  I aim for at least 30% off or more.
  2. Ignore the ads; layering for little boys is BS questionable.  Every time I try to send my boys to school in layers, things end up in the lost and found.  Maybe it's just my kids, but regardless, pay attention to what THEY like to wear and get that for them, even if you really think they'd look handsome in a t-shirt, chambray and sweater vest on a daily basis.
  3. Don't buy what they don't need.*  It only translates to overwhelming laundry.  Also, see my confession about my daughter above.  There will be plenty of times when they constantly need more clothes, so if they're not in that phase, embrace it!
  4. Donate what you're done with.  At Value Village, you can get a discount with donations; Goodwill offers a tax receipt.  Proceeds from Hope Mission Bargain Shoppe and the Bissell Center Thrift Shop support our community...  It just makes sense to donate.
  5. It's not only about getting the best deal.  Nowadays, new regular retail children's clothing can be affordable and occasionally cheaper than thrifted.  But the bottom line is not the only line.  Reducing and reusing are valuable practices with clothing, and worthwhile teaching to our children.
*This does not apply to mommies especially with regards to shoes or dresses.  Or bags.

It's not too late for back-to-school thrifting!  There are sales happening this weekend, so when you're out and about wondering why they need 5 "large" glue sticks and 4 "white" erasers and trying to find them still in stock somewhere, stop at a thrift shop and pop some BTS tags!

Sunday 24 August 2014

Fall Style List

I'm about to say what we in Edmonton all know already: fall is in the air.  Sure, there will be more warm days and time to enjoy the sun, but there's a chilly undercurrent!  Or maybe it's my impending return to work next week...  Either way, it's not all bad because September is also the time for the best magazines and new clothes and new shoes and new lunch kits and new routines.  It's invigorating!  On my San Fran getaway, I didn't even pretend to read a book; I just snagged the magazines off the presses and scoured them for Fall inspiration.
I consider this to be my back-to-school homework!

I'm not an uber fashionista, if you haven't caught onto that already.  I'm an everyday working mom of 3 with a limited budget and limited time.  I am looking to Fall mags for inspiration not replication.  Considering that there is a 50% off sale Monday at VV Boutique and the new St. Albert location opens next week, I thought I would share what is on my Fall style hunting list


As I scan the different thrift store sections, I keep my eyes peeled for pieces with these prints in my size...
Plaid - particularly plaid shirts in more traditional colours...
Leopard print cardi would be awesome, but I'm not opposed to other wild things.
Dark florals on tops, bottoms, scarves - I have a few already so that means I'm ahead of the trends. HA!
J's Everyday Fashion has styled this hounds-tooth skirt so many ways, I can't help but want one for MY closet!
Nature-inspired prints including chic butterflies.
Acid wash jeans
Acid wash.  I don't know what's happening to me or if a 40yo can pull this off, but I likey.
Gingham - a purple gingham shirt was one of my early VV purchases, but I donated it back long ago and am looking for another in classic blue.


I love all colour and have a decent representation in my wardrobe, but I will be scanning the racks for pieces in these colours to update my collection!
Love all the brights!  Plus shopping now will help me prepare for Black Out Style!
That's what I tell myself, don't say anything.
aubergine, t-straps
I have a noticeable lack of purple in my closet, so I will be looking for aubergine, especially combined with colour-neighbours like fuchsia!
Green is my favourite colour and I'm happy to see it's still going strong after emerald was the Pantone colour of the year for 2013.
Pastels have been "in" since last Fall, right through spring and summer.  
I'm happy to keep wearing soft pastels - they seem to soften cold winter.


I am keeping my eye out for a few specific pieces, because, you know, I'm fresh out of clothes.
Chunky cozy knits - I don't know about wrapping a giant scarf around my neck or wearing big bulky sweaters (I get hot moving around during the day!), but this is Canada so it's nice of the fashion community to determine that sweaters are stylish.
Wrap blouses will add an interesting line to your outfit, either under a jacket or cardi or all on their own.
One of these days, I WILL find a classic trench at VV Boutique, I just know it.
Red Sweater, I'm coming for YOU!
The classic round-toe black pump, always in style 
Classic black round toe pumps have been on my radar forever.  I can wait, I can be patient.
(since I have a *few* other pairs of shoes to tide me over)
While we're talking shoes, I might as well add t-straps to my hunting list.  These are stunning!
A chunky gold necklace and skinny green leather belt are on my list.
Thrifted prices makes having an assortment of bags reasonable!
I am keeping my eye out for statement bags, trapezoid, boxy, taupe, colourful clutches and tiny top-handle bags.

So, that's *it* for my fall style list!   I pulled all of these images from my VV Boutique Style Hunting List on Pinterest after flipping through the fall mags, checking out the style blogs and perusing Pinterest in general.  The best mags IMHO were Redbook and People Style Watch.  
This makes me want to go thrifting!  And it makes me excited for back-to-school, back-to-work!  If you were to pick a number one Fall trend to try, what would it be?!!