Friday, February 26, 2010

My style blogger look

This is my The Sartorialist inspired shot, a style blog I'm absolutely hooked on (along with thousands of others).

It's been a busy week but the other night I spent hours scrolling through the artsy, individualist and just plan different street fashion photos posted there.

Sometimes when it's cold outside (as it is in Toronto, brr) it's easier to get into a bit of a style rut where you're not as inspired about what you're wearing. Let's just say this blog was the perfect antidote to my wardrobe malaise.

I didn't think too hard about this ensemble - I just internalized the confidence and the vibe of The Sartorialist and voila, boho Euro chic!

Of course, the entire outfit is second-hand thrift, with the exception of the new leather belt picked up for $2 at the dollar store!

American Eagle Outfitters wool houndstooth blazer, under $10 at Stretch Thrift.

Underneath, sheer MEXX top with sweater cuffs and cowl neck, $3.99 at Stretch Thrift.

Bongo skinny jeans, $14.99 from Value Village in Ottawa.

Purple booties, around $14.99 at Value Village.

I was joking with friend and fellow reporter Christopher Reynolds, who graciously took these pics, that this particular shot really is my The Sartorialist shot ....

I was poking fun at the "chicness" of some of the people featured in the shots on that blog as invariably they're walking with a cell phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other (especially the London, Paris and Milan shots), looking tres nonchalant.

So here I am looking nonchalant, holding my Blackberry.

I've never advocated ciggies as a style motif but I hate to admit it some of these people do look very chic holding their smokes. Sure the look would be different if they actually were sucking on the things ....

Happy weekend! If you're in TO and driving this blizzardly morning, drive safely!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

True blue 1930s lamp

This look is part of my breakup reorg. It's not perfect - the cords are still showing on the floor - but I'm really digging the simplicity.

I lost the black tablecloth, changed the painting to a retro print, shortened the table, and streamlined the clutter.

I'm really pleased with the lamps.

My style isn't modernist at all but I've always loved the white bulbous lamp I thrifted for a few dollars.

But I've never paired it with an all-white, contemporary shade until now.

I just love the clean simplicity of it all.

Think it looks great next to the blue bowl I thrifted a few weeks ago.

That's my cure-all if I want to jazz the place up and create a new look: I switch up the lampshades on all my lamps and rotate them. It's like 'play' for decorating.

I also like the hint of blue accents here.

The blue lamp is new, a 1930s glass lamp I found at an antiques shop on the Danforth. Not exactly thrift store price but I love it too much.

The shade isn't perfect but I'll keep trying. Lately I've really been into placing two lamps on a table that are the same height and positioning them symmetrically. It just looks elegant.

In contrast to the fiery red area in my pad, this corner - the dining room - is simple and serene. I'm calm just looking at it.

And I'll refine the look as I go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silly poses, thrifted retro belt

Let's just say I don't know how models - or fellow fashiony bloggers - do it.

I'm trying to model my latest find here and I'm having problems looking natural.

Oops here I'm looking too natural!

Right then! Let's focus on the find at hand: a retro 1960s? chain belt with ball bobble, thrifted for $3.99 this weekend!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seeing red

My most heartfelt thanks for the many kind comments from dearly beloved readers and followers on yesterday's post. I salute you all!

Speaking of hearts, I'm still seeing red over my V-day breakup.

Seeing a trend here? I decided to group all my red elements in one area, to pack a real wallop.

There is something to be said for having a certain amount of drama in one's adode. I'm a frenetic mass of energy - mostly productive - at the moment so why not have that reflected in my digs? It inspires me to tackle multiple projects with ferocity.

Offset that red with bright punches of primary green and orange and we're off to the decorating races.

When I'm feeling more calm, more serene, I'll evenly distribute the red throughout my space, to spread out its raunchier effects.

For now I'm content to revel in the red. This is truly what I call emotional decorating: having your digs reflect your state of mind, or mirror a desired state of mind.

A postscript to yesterday's post: this reorg wasn't really the redo of the century in terms of moving furniture around, but you can see if you've been following GQ for a while how changing up the accessories can create a wholly new look in your pad.

The Grunge part: of course you know everything here was either thrifted or found in the trash, don't you?

Big floral print: $4.99 at thrift shop

Green Krohler loveseat, $50 at garage sale

Floral lamp with chunky base: $6.99 less 50 percent at Sally Ann (red shade was new but on mega sale)

Every single pillow you see here: thrift, consignment or junk shop, various prices but nothing under $10 each

Orange April Cornell blanket found for under $10 at Value Village

Chrome chair and big wood dresser: trash finds

Orange blown glass vase, Made in Canada, thrifted for $9.99, and retro green decanter, a gift from my best pal

Painting of lady: $9.99 in framing shop that was closing down

Oh, and the console that has all the coloured glass on it? Got it from the same jerk who gave me the bowl I broke yesterday. Thrift and love, it happens.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Breakup Reorgs

Keep your eye on the yellow kidney-shaped dish on the rad; there's a story here.

But let me begin with this:

Ah, breakup reorgs.

I'm inclined to redo my digs whenever I'm bored, avoiding something, or in need of some therapy.

Add a recent breakup (on Valentine's, of all days) and you have a rather manic recipe for the reorg of the century.

I'm divulging highly personal details, yes, just keep your eye on that yellow dish. Doesn't it look pretty in the sunlight?

It was part of the reorg, having previously occupied the dining room table. I moved it to the rad and perched it atop some inspiring papers and design booklets.

I should also mention it was part of the fallout from a relationship that ended five years ago. The guy was a twit but when I left him he gave me this Canadiana bowl that we thrifted together at the Sally Ann for $17. Romantic soul, he was.

Tonight, that bowl just slid off the rad and crashed to the floor.

Now Dag, my cat, was nearby, but I'm taking the bowl's demise as a sign from the universe - a sign that I made the right choice, a sign to accept something as final, and - yes - a sign that I'm whole, with my integrity intact, even though what I thought was a relationship has been shattered beyond repair.

So. Time to thrive. I'll pick up the pieces, doncha worry.

Tomorrow: less personal philosophizing and more reorg pics!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dancing Queen

I have a stuffed up head so I don't much feel like dancing, but
when I do I'm donning this sequined 1980s top with a One + One tag (remember that store?).

I snagged it at Goodwill for $6.99.

Yellow isn't really my colour but I will jazz it up with blue eyeliner!!

It's a bit of a sack shape - my gold 1970s elasticized belt will cinch it in a bit and give it some shape.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ring a ding

I love costume jewellery from the 1960s and 70s.

This cocktail ring was $6.99 less 50% at last week's Goodwill sale.

It's pretty big huh?

I love the gold detailed base - it makes me think of a magical seascape.

I recently joined the Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club, and may be selling some of my items at their second annual sale in Toronto.

There's no website but mark your calendars: Saturday April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Leaside Memorial Gardens on Millwood Rd. at Laird Dr.

Many of the members who are selling have been collecting for years and have some rare signed pieces. Others are like me and have fun costume-y items for under $50.

There will also be vintage and retro handbags and vanity items like mirrors, pillboxes and so on.

Outside vendors are welcome to sell, and admission for the public is free! If you want to rent a table to sell please email for more information!

Think I'll keep this ring pour moi!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Get a Head

Is this image too distressing, I wonder? Me, my neck, with no head?

I was having a bad face day, and I really wanted to show you the 1980s? necklace I picked up at Goodwill's 50 percent off sale on my way home from work last Friday night.

Normally I NEVER do 50 percent off days as I can't stand the crowds, nor do I have the pluck to fight with strangers over designer coats and such.

But the bonus this night is that the jewellery case was all but ignored. This was $8.99 less 50 percent. I can wear it low as I am here, or rock it up as more of a choker - that is, if my skinny little neck can handle it done up so tightly.

More jewellery to come tomorrow.

P.S. Thanks to those who responded to yesterday's post. Please see the comments section for the outcome.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is there a thing as too much boho?

I have until 9 p.m. to exchange this at Value Village.

It seemed a no brainer when I bought it 7 days ago for $9.99: a 100 percent dress, made in Paris, label Rene Derhy. The floral boho look got to me, as did that "Paris" tag.

But is there such a thing as boho overboard?

Am I going to look like a castoff from Little House on the Prairie if I wear this?

It's very fitted on top, then tends to balloon a little at the waist as the skirt flares. I could sex it up with dark stockings and silver shoes, but I'm not 100 percent sure I can carry it off and look, well, NOT like Holly Hobbie.

Cast your vote as today is the last day I can exchange it for something else! It's in my bag, tags on and with receipt, on the ready if I need to shuttle out to good 'ole VV after work.

Thrifty Valentine's Tribute

Happy belated Valentine's! This is my thrift tribute to that day: The Men in Your Life, Timeless Advice and Wisdom on Managing the Opposite Sex, dug up for $1.99 at my local thrift store.

Written by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux in 1968 and reissued in this 2004 pink-clad hardcover, this pocketbook contains many witty tidbits of advice, organized into alphabetized blurbs on various topics and running the gamut from "absence", "accessories" and "actors" to "sins", "skin" and "slaps".

Some of the tips are charmingly dated, while others - like Dariaux's claim that men will soon be using enough beauty products as women do, are alarmingly accurate.

I love her thoughts on "chic," something which she says depends not on intelligence, money or beauty, but rather on "ease" or "nonchalance".

A great little gem.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blue boho dress tunic

This is turning out to be Kelly's Fashion Week, given my apartment is a mess and hey, I don't often show you how I incorporate thrift into my daily fashions.

I love this blue knit dress I picked up at Goodwill last year for $ 6.99. It's got a Made in Paris tag, and natch I was attracted to the boho look.

I paired it with a cashmere turtleneck and a necklace I bought at a Toronto boutique made by a recovering drug addict - all proceeds went to the artist.

I dig how the necklace lines up with the embroidered flowers on the neckline of the dress - it's as though they were made for eachother!

Normally I wear this blue dress as a tunic over jeans, a turtleneck and high boots, but I really needed a break from all the layers and pants yesterday.

I froze my butt off on my way to work, but I felt pretty and feminine all day.

P.S. Those are the Kenneth Cole Reaction boots I've been wearing to death, picked up at Value Village for $49.99. I had quite the dig at VV the other night - more to come!

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Colour me purple

You know my love for purple, and my penchant for second-hand coats.

Ok ok, so I got another coat! Hey, we have wardrobes full of multiple items of everything else, so why not coats, especially in a cold climate where it can get depressing wearing the same one for half the year?

This one was $14.99 at Value Village - which by the way has NOT been bought by Wal-Mart (a rumour I've heard swirling around thrifting circles).

It's belted, and made of a lush wool-cashmere. Looks hardly worn!

My style may be funky bohemian and may very well change like the wind, but I love the classic-cut belted coat.

It can look good with absolutely anything.

I can wear the belt around my waist or wear it low, with the coat open, for more of a runway look.

Thanks to my unofficial photographer Antonella!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowy morning; Ali MacGraw look

Snow has finally arrived in the megacity, a light dusting that is surely a portent of the deep snowdrifts to come ....

I've been practically living in my latest thrift coat, a 1970s suede and fur collar belted beauty. $40 at, you guessed it, Stretch Thrift.

It's quilted and super warm, and I flip up the fur collar to keep me warm. I still have conflicted feelings about second-hand fur, but I can't deny it's the warmest thing in this cold climate ....

This is my Ali MacGraw look, helped in part by the toque.

Thanks to reader and friend Cathy for snapping a pic on the ever-charming Dufferin bus!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Handmade hearts

The very best Valentines I've ever received were from my twin sis when we were growing up.

We used to make Valentines for eachother, and the tradition even lasted into our twenties when we were away at school.

This one was when we were 22. She was an art student and made the paper!! The one underneath was a pastel drawing of two hearts.

I used to love making Valentines for her. When we were young we'd cut out these huge hearts from construction paper, then layer smaller and smaller paper hearts in different colours inside them. Then we'd fold tissue paper like an acordian and glue it around the edges of the heart. So lovely. Wish I had one to show you but they didn't make it through the years.

My oldest friend made me this wood plaque with a painted cookie heart glued on top. It wasn't for Valentine's Day but she made it for me when I was sick and in the hospital. She carved "I care" on it; and I'll cherish it forever.

Just goes to show, if it comes from the heart, it doesn't matter if you're not crafty.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My mosaic pin

Isn't this a pretty pin?

I've always wanted a mosaic pin but have never found one while junking - the old ones are too dear to end up in the thrift shop I suspect.

This one was 10 bucks at The Elegant Garage Sale on Bayview Ave in Toronto. You can tell it's old.

It was a deal because there's a tiny bit of red missing on the right-hand side. I can try filling it in with something, but I don't much care as I love it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fellow bloggers' style at the junk shop

Funny how as you read the blogs and comments of your fellow thrifty bloggers, you get to know their design and decor sensibility.

These typewriters, for example, are without a doubt something Thrifted Treasure would go ga-ga for.

Think she may also like this retro industrial chic dish rack.

I love the rack and the dish, which has an Old World feel crossed with a boho look.

Speaking of boho I kinda like this framed print (with reflection from light fixture, sorry) - it has an undeniable boho look to it, and I love the colours and the patterns.

Have a feeling Thrift Candy and Bohemian Vintage would also like it.

And this authentic Victorian Luck Wreath?

Sonya and Dime Store Thrift
just may be inspired by it for one of her crafty wreath or decor glitter projects.

As for these retro babies ...

Thrift Shop Adventures may dig their wackiness.

All found at a neat junkster salvage store called World Headquarters in the Junction in Toronto.

2885 Dundas St. West

Owner Mark Taaffe is an auctioneer:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Made in Canada glam for $4.99

In keeping with yesterday's post: I have a thing about made-in-Canada retro handbags.

Most, like the one you see here, are architecturally beautiful. Now I'm sure design isn't endemic to Canada or anything, but when I found it at Goodwill yesterday for $4.99 I had to restrain myself:

It's a pebbled leather or faux croc bag in excellent condition. The inside, as you see below, is all suede and the interior tag reads, "Handbags by Paragon, Toronto Canada."

I'm thrilled.

Just look at the shape.

Isn't it fab?

I feel like donning my muff and my retro 1950s coat.

But that would be overload. I think I'll have to bring it into this century and funk it up a wee bit.

Any suggestions?

I'm thinking tight jeans, booties and a sexy top.

A retro made in Canada purse label I love is John Hort, although again, I know little of the designer except for his being big in the 1950s and 60s and based in British Columbia, Canada.

Sad to know these histories are being lost, though I suppose we preserve them by admiring and sharing the goods when we find them.

Still, if any one knows anything about Paragon or John Hort, or has knowledge of any other retro handbag designers from their native country, please do share!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Made in Canada and the future of thrift stores

What do you think of my new wool boucle jacket?

Debbie Shuchat, made in Canada, found at Stretch Thrift in Pape Village, $6.99.

Very Chanel, with a twist.

I love Debbie Shuchat. And it's nice to find her creations with a Made in Canada tag on them.

I'm pretty sure she's started manufacturing offshore, as with so many designers around the Globe.

You can still find samples by her that say Made in Canada at the Mendocino outlet stores, but that's another story.

Buying this jacket made me realize something horrible: as more and more designers move to offshore production, that Made in Canada tag will become more and more rare shops as the years go by.

I know that places like China are developing quite a manufacturing economy, and that the quality of garments made there isn't as always as bad as some say. But still, in order to keep prices low for an ever-demanding consumer, certain things are sacrificed in the rag trade today. That means cheaper labour and a trend towards disposable clothing that falls apart in a season.

So my worry is this: what will the clothing in the thrift stores of the future look like?

Will they be crap, remnants of this disposable type clothing that seems to be the mainstay of mass market fashion today?

Will there be a good quality Made in Canada piece to be found?

Is there another future for thrift shops I'm not considering? Brr. I sure hope so. In the meantime I'm hanging onto all the wonderful Made in Canada pieces I've dug up in thrift shops, as there's no doubt they are (outside of micro designers) becoming a rarity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scary things in the window

Normally the stuff in thrift shop windows lures people in, rather than scares them away.

This chair, recently showcased in my local thrift store, was somewhat questionable, especially with the $149.99 price tag.

But it was solid wood. It was just so huge, and so ornate, and in my opinion, really ugly.

It sat there for a while. They slashed the price. Then one day, it was gone.

This one made me gasp.

Now I know fur hats have experienced a bit of a comeback in the world of fashion, but this one, featuring the actual head and beady little eyes of a raccoon, was truly horrific.

What's even more horrific: I saw the hat in the window only a day or so ago.

And last night on the way home, I saw that it was gone.

It was slightly disturbing that the head was on its side. Was the shopper so anxious to get the hat that it was snatched off the display head in a flurry of excitement?

Or did the hat run away?

Brr. I sure hope I don't bump into that thing in the neighbourhood.