Thursday 30 October 2014

Happy Thrifted Halloween!

Halloween is THE season for Value Village, so naturally, I get my family's costumes there every year!  Here's a little throwback to my first blogged costume in 2012...
Bat Girl and I had a few martinis that night.

And last year!
There *may* have been martinis last year too... 
Let's just go ahead and call it a VV Boutique Style Halloween tradition.

The first of us to get a costume this year was my daughter, and she is the only one that got a "new" costume, but I had a good reason.  In order to get 30% off my shoe collection, I needed to spend $20 on new red tag Halloween items.  That was the only excuse I needed to snag the perfect costume for a spunky little girl who likes to do things her own way (I have no idea where she gets that from)...
I love my little Ariel!
Her brothers didn't think it was a realistic costume because there was no shell bra.
That's an interesting discussion to find oneself in.

My hubby helped the boys look for costumes one day while I looked at more shoes everything else.  He made a smart play: they could hardly resist the "new" costumes so he had them select what they wanted, then went looking for used pieces to make the same costume - a much better deal and I was able to use a filled 30% off sticker card on those items which would not have applied to new red-tag items.  Brilliant, Mr. Style, brilliant. 
Every mermaid needs two ninja side-kicks.
I wouldn't mess with any of them...
They styled this shot themselves. 

Mr. Style and I couldn't quite decide what we wanted for our costumes for a Halloween party last weekend.  We anticipated the host family would be going with a Peter Pan theme so went with complimentary costumes...
Real men wear wings.
It's not as easy as you might think to find a man-sized green dress, but we lucked out, did a bit of DIY and the rest is history!
This was as close as I could get him to pompom heels.

Tinker-man took home the adult costume prize that night!  As for me, since Tink was taken and there was already a mermaid and Wendy...
Tiger Lily!
Come to think of it, all the women in the original Peter Pan (except sweet Wendy) have a bit of an attitude...
A little DIY with scissors, a glue gun and a sharpie was all I needed to complete my costume!
I even found leather moccasins in the right colour!!
Ribbons and a feather from my craft stash and $1 thrifted green leather belt!

I can't recall how much everyone's costumes were, but mine was less than $25 including the wig.  I find it way more fun to create a costume from thrifted pieces than buying new and I'm already thinking of what group costume we can do next year!!  I hope you took advantage of all that Value Village has to offer at Halloween, and if not, there's still time before trick or treating tonight!
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Black & White With a Pop of Colour

Yep, black & white with a pop of colour was the Monday Style Prompt... yesterday.  But since I ventured out only to fulfill my motherly duties and spent the rest of the day sick in bed, I waited until Tuesday to break out the inspiration piece for this prompt - the houndstooth top that I scored at the St. Albert VV Sneak Peek.
Houndstooth top $8 VV Boutique

There is something classic about black and white, and adding a pop of colour makes for easy dressing which is exactly what I'm looking for on a Monday - or Tuesday - morning!  Now, I originally planned to pair this with a black skirt and tights but lingering Cough required me to select something with pockets to hold my tissue and lozenges, etc. 
Black trousers $3.50 , red shell $4.20 VV Boutique

These trousers are not my fave but I just can't seem to find "the perfect" pair of black work pants.  I will keep looking, even if it means going thrifting every week.  I'm *so* dedicated.  
Miz Mooz shoes gifted but thrifted
Accessories from my closet AND VV Boutique!

The nice thing about black & white is that ANY colour will work for your pop!  I chose red for no particular reason except that my "new" thrifted wool-cashmere coat put me in the mood for red.
The 3-button cardi requires something underneath!

I snatched up this top because houndstooth is right on trend and the style is kinda "mod" which is also a fall trend.  It is notable that this top is labeled as a Cleo petite; I am NOT a petite in any way but it just goes to show you that you must try on when thrifting.  You might be pleasantly surprised like I was with this piece!
Swing coat-ish, ponte knit, houndtooth perfection!

How about you?  Did you embrace the Monday Style Prompt this week?!  If I've demonstrated anything so far, it's that you can actually wear the Monday Style Prompt any old day or every day of the week!  Tomorrow, I will be wearing black and silver with a pop of SNAKES!  Tune into Instagram to see a Halloween spin on this prompt!   For those of you who tagged me on Instagram or Twitter, thanks for playing along!!  

Saturday 25 October 2014

Dark Floral Casual Friday

The Monday Style Prompts are meant to help relieve one little decision on a Monday morning - and maybe enable some weekend thrifting!  I don't know about you, but sometimes that one little decision makes the difference, so this week I was more than happy to carry on with the dark floral prompt all week long.  I was busy Instagramming during the week and finally had time to get some shots of my casual Friday dark floral look.

Kismet grey floral blouse 4.20, Lida Baday blazer $4 VV Boutique
JBrand denim and Miz Mooz pumps from my closet B.T. (Before Thrifting)

Casual Fridays means different things to different people.  I rarely wear denim on casual Fridays but I think it is acceptable IF you dress it up.  Wearing denim with casual styling moves right on past Friday to weekend wear, IMHO. 
I wore a lilac shell underneath, $1.40 VV Boutique and finished my outfit off with She Does Create earrings and...
A belt, just in case.
$1 from the Thrift on Kent store in Kitchener

This outfit will go down in history as the outfit I was wearing when I popped into VV Boutique for some Halloween pieces and was recognized by one of my followers, Kim!!!!!  I have always secretly hoped that I would be recognized one day, so it's a dream come true!  Thank you Kim for introducing yourself and making my day!

And now for a recap of Dark Floral Week:

It was a fun week, but I'm also looking forward to wearing something besides floral, starting with some black and white and pop of colour!

Monday 20 October 2014

One Dollar Dark Floral

If you follow the style mags and blogs, you probably know that dark floral prints are off your granny's bedspread and right onto stylish women everywhere.  To be honest, I am not sure what differentiates a bedspread from a fashionista, or a chic floral pattern vs. an ugly one... I thus conclude it boils down to:
  1. whether YOU love it
  2. how YOU style it
  3. going forth with attitude
I have several dark floral print pieces, each unique in their own way, and I gathered them up to audition for this week's Monday Style Prompt.
I have worn some of them here, here, here and here and some have only been featured on Instagram (so you should probably tune in there so you don't miss any dark floral action).  For today, I decided to wear a piece I scored for ONE DOLLAR at a small thrift shop in Montana...
How could I possibly resist for ONE DOLLAR?!!

Basically, this top gave me a good reason to wear the booties which seem vintage to me...
I heart green everything.  Except maybe vegetables.
They got to go for two unexpected nature walks today.  Which, as it turns out, is the limit for comfort.

Then the booties gave me an excuse to get my matchy-matchy on...
H&M Blazer $7 VV Boutique
This is what I call my "static buxom" pose.
Watch out, Tyra...

It's all quite matchy-matchy, or as my friend called it, "put together."  I'll go with that!  Did anyone else try dark floral and like it?  If you missed the Monday-Style-Prompt-boat, never fear!  There will be another one next week (stay tuned to Facebook!) and this week, I plan to wear my dark floral all week long!  
One dollar thrifted shirts make me smile.

Pretty sure "Dark Floral Week" will have its own TV series by this time next year, like Shark Week but less bloodshed.  Or more... You'll have to tune in to find out!

Saturday 18 October 2014

Fall Fun in a Thrifted Sweater

I had every intention of going out into the world today... run a couple errands, maybe do a little thrifting but instead my Saskatoon friends were in town for the afternoon, so instead we ate good food, drank good drink and played in the leaves...
Perfect leaf-playing sweater, don't you think?
Kimchi & Blue mustard sweater $3.50 VV Boutique
JBrand denim and TOMS from my closet
Needed to do something useful with the leaves, like throw children into them.
Why should the kids have all the fun?
This pile is big enough for grown women and...
five children!
Turns out afternoon wine doesn't improve my posing ability.
Just me and my $3.50 sweater hanging out on a Saturday afternoon...
I'm thankful for this beautiful fall day, my family and my friends! 

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Thrift Like a Man

I love taking people thrift shopping - helping them find quality pieces at great prices, witnessing the thrifting spark take's wonderful!  All of my thrift-guiding clients have been women... till now.  Last night, I had the pleasure of taking a young* man thrift shopping.  (*Young enough to be Next Gen but not so young I could be his mom.)  Eric is a work colleague of mine, a tech guy that has helped me out of more than a few jams.  In fact, he's been so helpful, we let him in on where we keep our secret candy stash.  Inner circle...  He asked if I could help him shop for some updated wardrobe staples, so we met at VV and I hit the men's clothing racks expecting the same success that I find in the ladies'.  Well, long story short, Eric found a grand total of 5 pieces at an average cost per piece of $10Is my disappointment audible?!  Before I muse about the experience, let me show what he DID find...
This mint-condition Michael Kors shirt fit perfectly!
This alone would be worth anywhere from $70 to $170 regular retail...
Eric liked the vertical stripes on this dress shirt.  Dressy enough for trousers, casual enough for jeans.
The tailoring and pattern on this one made it a nice addition to Eric's selections.
Mexx trousers fit nicely and had some stretch so Eric can comfortably climb under people's desks to fix cords 
and do whatever other magic those tech guys do.
Oakley cardi manly sweater.
At lease we can say he has preferred colour palette.

Even though Eric didn't go home with a huge haul of clothing, he was satisfied with the outcome.  He dislikes shopping (??? I don't get it) and wouldn't have had the patience to sort through the racks alone.  Even in regular retail, Eric has troubles finding pieces that fit well so five good pieces were worth it.  He tries to buy good quality labels then wears them till they're dust.  Sound like any men in your life?  That explains the lack of second-hand selection - men tend to hang onto their clothes a lot longer than women.  There's far less attrition and if they're like Eric, if they have one good pair of brown shoes, there's no need for another.  Uh, I cannot relate to this line of thinking.  
He already has brown shoes so put these back, 
but it was satisfactory to me to prove that you CAN find a full range of sizes second-hand, including sz 13-14!!

I recommended that Eric try and find a blazer...
Perfect condition but too short in the arms... keep looking Eric!!

Maybe it's just because I've been binge-watching Suits, but I do think both men and women should have professional pieces at the ready and, with thrifted prices, most can afford them.  Eric asked me what difference it makes how you dress.  Well, aside from the fact he obviously he hasn't seen Suits, I think dressing well reflects self-respect.  There's a huge range of "dressing well" so I should clarify that I mean putting some effort into YOU.  I guess tech guys have a sort of instant authority because the rest of us are at their mercy to be able to do our jobs best, so they don't necessarily have to dress to earn respect.  Still, there's a big difference in professional cred between jeans and a t-shirt and this: 
As but one example.
This is what I think of as business casual for men.
(You're welcome lady readers)

It was my style-consultant duty to search men's style on Pinterest.  I'm very selfless like that.  It got me thinking about where men can turn to for style inspiration.  There are plenty of great male style bloggers but Eric doesn't read style blogs (except mine??) and he doesn't do Pinterest or social media or read mags like GQ.  My advice then for a young guy like Eric is to just keep an eye out while watching TV or movies or looking at websites or whatever - make some (mental) notes about what kind of guy-style you like then shamelessly copy.  Consider a Pinterest account because that's where you will find all the links you'll ever need for things like:
How to Roll Up Your Sleeves: The Italian
Just right. Too small. Too big.

  • And so much more!  
Keep in mind that style isn't only about what you wear.  Find a good hair salon and get a good cut (and whatever else; take care of your man-business).  Invest in a good belt and wallet (you can find these thrifted) and yes, even a nice man-bag can up your style cred exponentially.  Last but not least, mind your mannersNow I sound like a mom but if nothing else, I would want my two sons to behave like gentlemen, so I think it's fair advice for Eric too.  

Eric had a definite idea of what he did not like...
I know I'm right that this Eddie Bauer plaid piece was awesome 
but I couldn't convince Eric that the colours weren't "too wild."
This with a plain white tee would have been nice, right?
Eric, you might come down with a case of Thrifting Regret...
Skinny jeans were way outside Eric's comfort zone, but at least he tried them on.

I learned a lot about thrift shopping with boys.  You men have less selection so that means you have to check in more often, but you can be quick about it!  Just amble past the blazers and button-ups and shoes!  Like the ladies, always try things on, and wash before you wear with some vinegar in the fabric softener section of your washer to neutralize any lingering Old Spice.  Dry clean quality garments and consider tailoring for pieces in excellent condition - it will still work out cheaper than regular retail.  BUT it's not only about the bottom line; more expensive doesn't mean better, and cheaper isn't the only reason to thrift.  There are many local charity thrift shops and the bigger chains like VV and Goodwill support local non-profit partners.  Then there's the whole environmental benefit, conscious consumerism, etc.  All together, these make a compelling argument for thrifting like a man!  Thanks Eric for the shopping fun!  I hope you like your pieces and I DO expect to see them at work!