Monday, January 31, 2011

The early bird catches the worm - or could they be fake?

Now I get why people buy expensive sunglasses: they just look so much better than the cheapie ones. Like these purple Coach shades I recently thrifted at my fave new thrift shop, Canadian Thrift. They're just so substantial - and they're purple to boot!

Actually, I left them there for a day to think about it before going back and scooping them up. The owner told me today numerous folk have come in asking about them. Ahem.

Now I'm not an expert in detecting designer knock-offs - though I have rather quickly passed over what must be the poorest imitations of Prada and Burberry handbags in some thrift stores - but these glasses just felt right; they had wonderful detailing and a certain weight to them that just made me want to be all movie-star poseur. The lesson I'm choosing to extract from this latest thrift venture? Don't underestimate your gut when thrifting!

Do you have any tried and true tactics for detecting fakes when thrifting? Is it a gut feeling for you, or do you have extensive knock-off knowledge? Please share!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Valentine's thrift gift pour moi?

Do I need another lamp? I have divulged somewhere in the contents of this blog just how many lamps I have, so I won't repeat myself here. Let's just say it's a style obsession - a true love, perhaps? But changing up the lamps in my life is a fun way to give my space a bit of a face lift.

And this mammoth ruby red glass base lamp, in the window of my neighbourhood thrift store, is just to die for, isn't it? My mummy is sending me some money for a Valentine's giftie, the sweetie, so maybe I'll buy it.

After all, it is red. And je love it .... Actually I've never quite seen anything like it. Natch, I would toss the exceedingly ugly shade.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Table bling with vintage brooch

I did promise to show you a few creative ideas for using vintage brooches you find in the thrift and vintage stores but never know what to do with - and finally, I am delivering!

There's no rule that says you have to wear a pin on yourself. My philosophy is this: treat pins as an accessory you can use to dress up a tablecloth, a lamp shade, or even a chair (providing you don't sit on it!).

Having a splashy dinner party? Want to jazz up an expensive looking black quilted tablecloth (that was actually picked up at the Dollar Store)?

Simply gather the tablecloth at the corner of the table and stick in a blingy shiny pin! Then accessorize the table around the colour scheme of the brooches.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage necklace by Regina, in action

We interrupt regular programming about vintage pins for several reasons - namely to be timely as this is the last post I'll do with my OLD haircut, having just gotten a sassy shorter do that's a bit of a cure-all for the winter blahs I've been having of late.

In a way the theme is the same as the pin posts: how to incorporate a vintage piece of bling into my wardrobe that I haven't had much luck incorporating!

I'm not kidding: I've worn this vintage Art Deco style glass necklace stamped "Regina" (about which I can find no information) once. And that was with a tee, and it didn't look too great, trust me.

I thought the green stripe in this (new but designed locally in Toronto) jacket matched the necklace exactly - it brings out the necklace without being overly matchy-matchy.

The piece is glamorous, but obviously pairing it with a glam outfit isn't going to give it much mileage. I like the idea of wearing it with every day clothing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Horseshoe pin on my hat

Ok, this is the most obvious way to wear a pin, aside from a coat or a lapel. Never really done it except for my mini-photo shoot in my apartment tonight, but I love this blue horseshoe pin I bought a decade ago at a flea market. It looks pretty jaunty on my thrifted wool beret and a recently thrifted wool trench, n'est pas?. Perhaps I should find un airplane and fly ma butt to le grand Paris pour un cafe in my little Frenchie getup!

If you are of a different fashionista temperament, you may enjoy more pins on your hat. Tonight on my way home I saw a lady with a tiny cluster of what looked like earrings or buttons on the ribbed part of her toque - tres chic!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Got the blues?

In honour of the winter blues, and the snow that's falling down tonight, I am happy to bring you this vintage blue snowflake pin I thritfed for two bucks. It is signed Coro. The New York jewellery company, Coro, I know, made various levels of costume jewellery in its 80-year history starting in the early 1900s. There were budget collections for the masses, so to speak, and higher-end collections that are worth more and more collectible today.

Judging by the signature and my still growing knowledge of vintage costume jewellery and the myriad of ways signatures changed in companies of this elk, I'm guessing this pin is anywhere between 1940-50 and not really high-end, but decent enough. The 'stones' (which have this lovely iridescent quality to them) are prong-set and the back is sturdy and there's even a hole to string a necklace through if you want to make it into a pendant.

I know I promised to experiment with ways to use brooches but this pin is too new for me to do anything more than snap a pic of it. I am a bit blue with all this cold and greyness of late, but I have a feeling this pin's sparkly prettiness may help to cheer me a wee bit, even if it's just sitting on my bedside table gleaming at me through the gloom.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mirror, mirror

Did I need it? Of course not. Do I ever really need anything I thrift? Rarely. But I love things of beauty that are cheap, cheap, cheap - like this wee mirror, made in Italy, I found at Canadian Thrift for about 5 bucks.

It's so sweet isn't it? Metal. Kinda beat up. Kinda chic. Just my cuppa tea.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monet pin for hardly any money

I really restrain myself in thrift shops when it comes to buying up pins. They're always in abundance and are typically super cheap. But they invariably end up in my 'collection' doing nothing but sitting in my jewel box dedicated to all the pins I never wear ....

This vintage Monet pin, found in the jewellery-brimming cases at Canadian Thrift at 1053 Pape Avenue, was a couple bucks. But I just loved it on sight. Like most of the vintage bling I'm attracted to, I'm guessing it's 1970s. And it's large enough to make a real statement on my winter coat, which is where it's residing now.

Think I'll make a point (get it? tee hee) of showing you some of my pins next week. Maybe we can generate some fun ideas about how to wear them!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vintage faceted shades: which is thrift?

Can you tell which pair of faceted sunglasses I paid a 'vintage' price for, and which I paid a thrift price for? One pair was $300; the other, a buck.

I kid you not. I bought the $300 pair as I loved them (and let me tell you, I had to really love 'em to drop a buck like that). They were never worn. And faceted sunglasses just can't be found any more new - they just don't cut them that way these days.

Well, just goes to show: you can always find it thrift (if you are willing to literally dig around). The other day I unearthed some faceted shades in a bin of sunglasses at my new fave thrift shop (Canadian Thrift in Pape Village). The magical price: a buck.

Jeepers. I think I like the cheapie ones better! Can you tell which were the vintage thrifted ones and which were the never-worn but pricey vintage ones?

And by the way, which ones do you like better on me? Had to ask, tee hee.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I got me some vintage bling afterall

Do I look like that cat that ate the canary here? (and like I have a lamp sprouting out of my head? oops).

I must confess: I didn't just spend a buck at the jewellery club the other night. I also came home with this 1980s chunky Lucite necklace I've been eye-balling for some time now (you'll see it featured a few posts below), from a seller and collector with impeccable goods.

I'm very happy with it. It's a lovely piece for my collection and just perfect with turtlenecks. And all the shiny colourful bits make me want to smile. It's quite amazing how sparkly, shiny, clear things never fail to transfix!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby it's cold outside but it's summer in my apartment

Minus ... twenty ... five ... degrees C with the wind chill this morning, on Blue Monday, what the radio announcer has just told me is the most depressing day of the year for peeps in this part of the world. My tootsies may be numb when I step outside soon, but in my sauna-like apartment this morning they're as snug as can be - in these thrifted Italian shoes I picked up at Value Village the other day for $12.99.

They're in such good condition that there's still a sticker on the bottom.  My trusted thrifting eye didn't mislead me: the shoes are by  Aquatalia - ie: handmade in Italy with the best leather and suede, so the website says. I could tell the quality was impeccable when I tried these on in VV: all leather sole, upper and straps; straps that flex when you wear them; cushy, comfy upper; thick yet stylish heel - perfect for summer frolicking!

May have to give my white legs a faux tan and have a little summer party in my apartment. To get rid of those Blue Monday blahs. In the meantime, stay warm out there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

One Buck Pick-Me-Up at the jewellery club last night

It's been a crap week - shows on my face eh? - so last night's Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club meeting was a bit of a tonic. Nice to see the gals, talk about bling, and well, shop. We pass around this "buck bag" every meeting, into which members throw little bibs and bobs they've found, and we toss in a buck if we take something from the bag.

I really liked this 1970s style necklace. I love the matte pieces mixed in with the tarnished ones. I'm wearing it here with a thrifted black Ports sweater.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fast fashion-y sweater but I like it

I see the Kenzie label in a lot of smaller boutiques and I don't mind the label, but I find the line too pricey pour moi. Plus I'm not a big Made in China thrift shopper, preferring older makes that were actually made in Canada, or Italy, or France.

But this metallic wool-blend Kenzie cardi, Made in China, was only $8.99 at my local thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, and it's just perfect with a cashmere turtleneck and the wool boucle leggings I've been living in now that the cold temps have arrived in Toronto. (P.S.: the wool 1980s-esque scarf was only a couple of bucks at Goodwill and brand spanking new - I had one like it when I was 13!!).

This has been my uniform of sorts this week as the thermometer dips to minis 20 degrees C with the windchill. Ug.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Would Anna Wintour approve?

This is my Anna Wintour impression with a pair of thrifted glasses I picked up for under $10 the other day (at my fave new thrift shop, Canadian Thrift) - not bad eh? I think I look somewhat serious and intimidating, like the American Vogue editor-in-chief often does in photos, at least - as though I am scrutinizing some runway collection and about to release my verdict to the shiny beautiful masses.

There. I've managed what could be termed a smile. Wintour may roll her eyes at my cheapie thrifted glasses - they say they're by Identity and are "Designed in Italy" but the make is in China - sounds a wee bit like they're trying to be something they're not, doesn't it? But I liked the shape - they made me think of Wintour right away even though her trademark shades are much larger. I thought I could perhaps summon the necessary aloofness to wear them with as she does - with heaps of 'tude.

One whimsical element (and somewhat designer-ly as I have seen similar glasses by Gucci and others online) is the floral detailing on each arm - there are even a few darling little coloured faux rhinestones too, very Italian! Darling, wouldn't you say?

I'll be wearing them in the Spring, when sunny skies warrant donning a pair of spif sunglasses. Right now it's too grey to even think of shades, and even if I did wear them it's so cold out that they'd likely freeze to my face! Here's to an early Spring!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dream lamp & decor piece found a la thrift

Remember these gorgeous hammered hanging lamps I showed you post-Thanksgiving, found at the Ottawa-area Third World Bazaar? I've actually been coveting them for two years now. They're made in Egypt and cost $50-$150 or so depending on the size. I loved them and even though they were tres affordable, I couldn't spare the cash to buy one.

Well, looky looky what I found in a thrift shop the other day! It's a cut-out orb, likely from the Middle East, that's suspended on a think chain. It actually had a lightbulb and cord attached inside (it flips open), but since the electrical wasn't standard for this country, I took it out.

Isn't it beautiful? Best part: it was $3.99, at the just-opened Canadian Thrift shop on Pape Ave. Je love it. Right now I'm treating it as a decorative object. It's hanging from my window blinds looking more pretty than functional. In the summer I could pop a tea light in it and hang it outside over my balcony.

Just goes to show that you can find even the most specialized of items at your local thrift shop!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Can a thrifted dress change your life??

You bet your bottom dollar thrifty-loving booty it can. Yes, as I take a look back at 2010 and all my thrifting exploits, I can most definitively say that a thrifted dress changed my life - for the better, natch.

The frock in question: this silk, Italian-made designer dress (must have been influenced by Pucci; I call it my Pucci dress anyway) I found at Value Village for just under $20.

I'm wearing it here, along with a spray-on tan, the night before I left for West Palm Beach to fly to my best friend's wedding.

Fast forward a few days: Here I am in West Palm, after my best friend's wedding, with a pal. I COULD have kept this dress, also thrifted, on when the whole gang went back to the hotel bar to party. But no, some sixth sense told me to go back to my hotel room and slide into that slinky Pucci number. Don't ask my why.

Let's just say my Pucci-esque dress was noticed by someone else in the bar who wasn't a member of our party, who, unbeknownst to me as I leaned over the bar to order yet another glass of wine, honed in on a certain thrifter's booty in her clingy thrifted dress. Then, so the story goes, he saw her face. Needless to say he was smitten right then and there, tee hee.

Here I am, a few hours later, in, um, a different part of the hotel, still wearing my thrifted Pucci-esque dress (with a thrifted silver and crystal necklace too, come to think of it). And a big goofy smile too.

The rest, as they say, is history - but let's just say that my darling, darling mannie loves that dress (and this picture) to this day. And I must admit I feel rather indebted to it as well. Finding my dream man: Not a bad return-on-investment for 20 bucks, eh?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Forgotten table in the trash

There aren't just sad little Christmas trees curbside this week. This solid wooden table has been here all week, in a well-known trash pile I walk by every morning, which is behind a neighbouring apartment.

By solid, I mean heavy solid wood. Look, there are even extensions and legs, the whole shebang, just waiting to be picked up by someone.


I can't really believe no one picked it up. The garbage was collected the other day and I don't think any one had salvaged it by then. I really do hope someone saved it in the nick of time, as they say. How sad that it could be making its way to the dump at this very moment. If I didn't have three tables already, I would have considered it, believe me!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

January blahs & vintage bling

I got the blues, bigtime. My solution: bling, and colour.

I've been eying this 1980s Lucite necklace at the last two Toronto Vintage Costume Jewellery Club Show & Sales.

Isn't it fab?

May have to call the dealer and see if it's still available.

If you're interested in joining the club, we renew memberships at our first meeting of the year next week, so leave a comment or send me an email and I'll send you the email of the appropriate person to contact.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thrifted regrets & looks you hated from 2010

Regrets. I've had a few. But not that many in the thrifted department! When you start thrifting you want to buy literally EVERYTHING because it's so cheap. That, dear reader, can lead to the odd mistake. Then, as time goes by, you refine your eye and pick only quality goods.

Here are some of my thrift regrets, some of my thrift looks I wasn't sure about - and a couple items readers hated.

WRONG IN SO MANY WAYS. Not sure what planet I was on when I bought this belt - perhaps in the land of Flash Gordon or Chronicles of Narnia? Oops.
FUGLY PHASE. I bought these shoes around the same time I bought the belt. Coincidence? Maybe I was possessed by evil thrifting spirits that took control of my normally savvy thrift style.
SHE HATED THEM? I loved these vintage Made in Italy shades I bought at a local vintage shop. But a reader begged to differ, leaving a comment that the shades didn't suit my face at all.
TRUE, I'M CONFLICTED ABOUT THRIFTED FUR. But I can't help loving this vintage 1970s suede coat with fur collar - chic and it keeps me so warm! One reader expressed disappointment over my choice.
CAN YOU SAY PINK? Of course I thought I looked grand in this thrifted dress, scarf and coat when I wore it last winter. Now, well, I guess my style has evolved. I still like the big scarf though.
HELLO, BARNEY. I DO like the colour of this thrifted coat, really, but it's a bit Barney and I think the proportions are a bit off - and the look, combined with the thrifted plastic (plastic?? oh dear) boots is more than a bit clunky.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My fall & winter 2010 uniform: thrifted blazer, skirt, statement shoes & 1970s bling (plus new cashmere & tights)

FALL: J. Crew wool blazer; skirt with saucy leather waistband and front pleats; faux croc shoes from Spain; vintage 1970s pendant chain by Raphael (cashmere sweater a gift and crochet tights bought new but on major sale at a warehouse sale).
WINTER: 1980s wool blazer with big gold buttons; high-waisted skirt; vintage 1970s chain; Stuart Weitzman platform pumps in mint condition! (cashmere sweater, another gift and tights, also new - until I ripped 'em, that is).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thrift looks of the year: spring & summer

Couldn't believe I found this 1970s? Lucite-like and silver-tone chain at my local Goodwill for $6.99

In honour of the New Year I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at some of the looks I've created using pretty much 100 percent thrifted vintage and contemporary goodies. Enjoy! Tomorrow I'll do winter & fall!

SPRING: PUNKER CHIC. 100% thrifted! Teenflo mini skirt; J Crew wool blazer; generic black top; Nine West booties; vintage chain.
SUMMER: MARILYN MONROE. Cotton dress made in France; elastic vintage belt; vintage shades (shoes and necklace new).

SUMMER: MRS. ROBINSON. 100 % thrift! Wrap dress by Toronto designer Mark Foreman of the Bionic Women label; 1970s belt; white slingbacks; vintage chain; vintage shades.
SUMMER: CREAMSICLE. White wide leg pants; vintage chain; retro shades; sterling silver bracelet (top new and FREE in a press kit; purse new too but on sale!).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, new look a la easy peasy bohemia

I've been a wee tired and bored with myself of late - a line I snatched from a Bruce Spingsteen song that perfectly encapsulates my feelings. And when I start feeling that way only one thing can help: an apartment re-org.

I was in the mood for a new look, but not in the mood for lugging big pieces of furniture around. So all I did was shift a couple of Persian rugs around and reposition one love seat so that the two love seats are facing one another - an easy way to create a cozy nook - and then moved the blue chair where the blue loveseat used to be.

I put good old Uncle Ugly (the 'family heirloom' table that my folks picked up 35 or so years ago at a garage sale, which I spray painted silver a few years ago) back in commission as a coffee table, and piled colourful decor and coffee table books on him to add to the clutter-cozy effect.

It's amazing what moving around a few pillows, lamps and paintings can do - see the low hung Paris scene over the large wood dresser to the right of the white mirror? That just happened that way as I had another painting there and didn't even bother to move the nail. Easy peasy bohemian style is what I'm all about, remember.

Before my little re-org I was questioning my boho look, characterized by clutter, lotsa velvet, and colour and texture. Now I'm in love with it again. Just goes to show that a little re-jig can work wonders on your psyche.

Happy New Year!