Monday, February 28, 2011

I simply remember my favourite rings ....

I've been feeling crummy all weekend and cranky as a result - so in an effort to cheer myself up and hopefully provide some interesting content to you, I'm going to show you something that pretty much always makes me happy. Readers, these are some of my favourite rings:

I bought this arty one from an antique dealer. I think it's 1970s. There was a pendant too but I didn't have enough money! Oh well. I love how the rock/stone looks like a yummy piece of caramel toffee or something. Good thing it's entwined in goldish wire or I may try to pop it into my mouth!

Ditto for this Sarah Coventry ring - it just looks like candy, doesn't it? It has an opalescent quality to it but it's costume all the way. I think the look or technique is called foiling.

This flower one is Sarah Coventry too - the top glass piece is a bit off kilter but I love it nevertheless.

You can see how the 'jewels' are tiered to look like the layers of a petal. So sweet. Sarah Coventry, btw, is collectible but not expensive to buy. Each of these rings were $15 or under.

Not sure if this one is vintage but I thrifted it for a couple of bucks a few years back and I really think it's pretty - it reminds me of something semi-Medieval or Tudor or something! The filigre does look rather regal, actually, like it is twisting into crowns. There are five amber-hued stones around one side and five gold-toned balls on the other.

This sterling silver one isn't vintage but I thrifted it for a few dollars and I love the big ball on top set with all the tiny blue and clear glass pieces. It reminds me of the 'millennium ball' pendant I bought by Carolee just before the year 2000. And gee, doesn't this look like an engagement ring or something??

Friday, February 25, 2011

Airport bling

Every time I fly to West Palm I go through the Charlotte airport in North Carolina. There's this shop there where pretty much all the costume bling and accessories is $10 a piece. Last time, I picked up this silver tone ring. Look at the detailing! So boho - so Anthropologie-like! And doesn't it look like an expensive ring? It has weight, let me tell you.

I could have bought a handful of the same ring this time around and given one to every gal pal I know. But this vintage-esque ring caught my eye. It's not as substantial as the former, but I liked the brass-like antiqued look and the faux rhinestones.

The shop has necklace and earring sets for $10, along with belts, cufflinks, and some hair accessories. Definitely worth a pop in if you happen to be flying through and need to kill some time before your connecting flight.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What I (he) bought at Glam Vintage, West Palm Beach

I was there for only a weekend, but hello, how could I not shop vintage while in West Palm Beach?

Glam Vintage was recommended to us by a stylish gal at Anthropologie. Owner Kathryn Jacobson specializes in clothing and accessories from the 1930s to 80s, with a special place in her heart (like me) for the 1970s.

The shop is located on this highway known for its antique stores and the odd thrift shop. I didn't have a chance to check out any other storefronts, but this one looks as though it could be the gem of the lot.

I fell in love with this 1970s (?) gold-tone necklace for about 30 bucks.

The necklace looked pretty fetching with this 1970s dress with a label that reads "Futura Couture of New York". Love it. The frock fits me perfectly (the sizing is wee so I can't gain a fraction of an inch around my waist) and I adore the style, colours and pattern.

V-necks typically don't look good on me but the almost halter-style bodice actually flatters and, well, quite frankly enhances my rather modest bust.

I should say that my dearums bought me the dress, sweetie pie.

Next time you're in Palm Beach check it out. Prices aren't thrift but they're not bad for vintage. Dress can start as low as about $30 or $40. Mine was $120 US.

You can always take your honey with you if you're having financing difficulties, tee hee.

3300 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

$2 Escada jean jacket takes me a long way

Well, dear readers, I haven't posted in the last few days as I got my wish and jetted out to West Palm Beach for the long weeked, yay!! And my $2 Escada jean jacket, as you can see here, came along with me for the ride!

I'm wearing it here with a thrifted vintage necklace, and that Italian-made cotton dress with embroidered skirt I found for a twoonie at the same sale (the monthly $2 Clothing Sale in Toronto). I knew the dress and jacket would look fab together. In fact, when we were shopping in Anthropologie in West Palm (just browsing, of course!), one of the sales people was all over me about how great the dress was!!

But back to the jacket. It was perfect for the warm yet breezy Florida evenings and went with everything from dresses to skinny jeans, as you see here. Quite the preppy couple I'd say!

Even a mini vacay wouldn't be true to the 'ole blogging spirit without a camera shot in the mirror pose!

This was such a fun outfit: a cheapie stretch tank; a 1970s belt; a $1 vintage necklace; and a skirt/dress I picked up in West Palm last year. With the jacket it's a fun-funky outfit (I call it my Cyndi Lauper look).

I'm just so pleased that a $2 designer jacket took me from pretty to prep to pop. The distressed detailing and buttons makes it a feminine yet funky staple. And it's given me great wardrobing practise for when the warm weather arrives here!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thrift shop for boys, but girls like it too!

So who are these guys and what do they have to do with the Grunge Queen?


If you like the items I've been posting from a shop called Canadian Thrift, meet the owners, pictured here wearing the hockey jerseys they sell, new and used, in store.

The uber neat thing about this thrift shop is that, unlike most, it caters to men.

Hockey jerseys, lumberjack shirts, leather jackets, electronics — everything to appeal to a man. I tell you, it's an odd walking into a thrift shop and see more men than chicks! But natch, there's tons of chicky stuff here too, as you can tell from the items under my label, Canadian Thrift!!

Take a gander at an article I wrote last month for the Town Crier newspapers in Toronto called
Two-Men and a Thrift Shop.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This is where I wanna be, in my thrifty dresses & vintage bling

This is me in Florida last summer, wearing a cheapie dress I bought in some US airport on my way to FLA and a vintage 1970s necklace bought in Toronto - oh and a fake tan too. Even the Grunge Queen can do holidays a la cheap!

In truth, this is where I'm trying to get to in the next few days, but the Fates, it seems, are waylaying me at the mo.Wah. Sorry, I rarely vent or get uber personal here, but boy oh boy, do I need this right now.

If I am successful, I will pack the same dress I wore the last time I was in Florida, this silky ethnic print dress I found (new!) at a little shop IN THE SUBWAY in Toronto, if you can believe it, for $12.99. The label is Striking, a label I've seen for $60+ for dresses in more fashionable parts of town.

I'm wearing it here with a another 1970s vintage necklace, thrifted for under 10 bucks, and some retro shades I picked up in a vintage boutique for around $30.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1980s plastic jewellery?

I'm not sure what to make of the (what I'm guessing is)1980s plastic jewellery I sometimes dig up in thrift shops. A piece such as this has this almost Art Deco high style look to it, yet - much like the mood of the1980s - it's plastic. Quite the paradox as far as I'm concerned. And this necklace, which I ended up giving to a pal, even has sterling in it.

Again, I felt torn when I found this pink (pink?) plastic (pink plastic?) necklace for, like, 50 cents. I mean, if it were, say 10 bucks, I wouldn't have bothered. But for 50 cents, sure, I'll try it on for style (with my old hairdo). And in my wee thrifting hear of hearts, I'm oddly torn to this style.

What do you think? Fugly or funky??

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Score: $2 Clothing Sale in Toronto

The $2 Clothing Sale may just have ruined thrift shopping for me forever.

Here I am yesterday at The Walmer Centre in Toronto, wearing a darling distressed jean jacket by ESCADA. Fellow thrifters, it was two smackeroos.

The sale happens every second Saturday of the month. It's a rummage-sale style event featuring casual clothing that isn't appropriate for Dress for Success Toronto, a registered charity helping clothe low-income women in professional attire so they can wow people in interviews and get jobs. All proceeds from the sale benefit the DFS's sister organization, Dress Your Best, which helps clothe men for employment, and children.

Here's Dress for Success Toronto volunteer and former client, Irina, modeling a coat she picked up for a twoonie yesterday. Behind her is DFS Toronto volunteer and pal Marsha - more on her later.

I wrote about the sale about a year ago in my shopping column for the Town Crier newspapers in Toronto (check out Yes, You can find thrift shopping in Midtown if you are so inclined) - but I will say my take on the sale this time 'round is cheerier.

See? Marsha and I are pretty happy. We met some great gals and bonded over the piles of clothing, whereas last year I found many of the women uber grabby. After we did a first round, Marsha and I congregated, with a bunch of other ladies, around one of the lone mirrors and started trying our stash on.

Whatever didn't work was tossed into the air for another to grab, with a "Who wants a medium MEXX sweater?" or "Designer skirt, size 14, coming your way" shouted out for good measure. It was all very civilized and in fact way more of a chick thrifting love-in than the rag 'em tag 'em every-gal-for-herself sale I reviewed last year.

For $20, I walked away with ten fab pieces - one of which was this preppy striped cardi by Point Zero. Other finds of note: fitted crossover Parkhurst sweater in mint shape; silk linen fitted tunic by Alfani; DEX velour zip-up jacket; the Escada jean jacket, a darling white cotton summer dress made in Italy; Kenneth Cole Reaction ballet flats; a wool Holt Renfrew blazer jacket; a blue wool-mohair jacket by Josephine Chaus - oh and these crazy yet chic purple pants I will show you in a sec.

Marsha is equipped with an equal if not superior style eye to me. Here she is in a never-worn Elie Tahari jacket. Darling. The straw bag is cute too, but I think she may have left it there.

Marsha wasn't sure about this Josephine Chaus jacket. I think she thought it was too staid and conservative pour moi. I agree the look is a bit too precious for my style, but I plan to funk it out with skinny jeans and a huge scarf. The jury's still out on this one. If it doesn't work out, hey, the joy of the two buck chuck is I can donate it back to the organization or another charity thrift shop!

Here I am in the Kenneth Cole Reaction flats. I swear, they were sitting on the shelf with all the other shoes for hours and no one picked 'em up!! The great thing about the sale is once you finish your first round and toss the rejects back on the table for other gals to pick up, you go back for round two, and round three - and you keep finding great stuff that you didn't see before as the sale-goers (if they shop like me, at least) are constantly revising what goes into their pile.

Here's a closer peep. And to continue, that's the paradox of the sale. At two bucks a pop (for mostly chick clothing, but there's the odd designer blazer for men in quite large sizes, I found), you'd think you'd go ballistic shopping. But I found the chicks in my circle were very discriminating. We selected only the best labels, only the styles and colours that looked good on us, and only the clothing that fit into our lives.

Here's the Holt Renfrew blazer. The long style may be a wee bit dated, but I loved the colour. Think I can wear it as a coat/jacket, again with skinny jeans, and it'll look pretty preppy cool.

Here's me trying to show you the Italian-made dress with the Escada jacket. I call these shots my 'boudoir' shots as they are in my bedroom and fuzzy, as though I've been caught in the moment by some hidden camera (though, of course, the camera is in plain sight!).

I knew the jacket would rock with the dress, and some spanky heeled sandles I picked up on sale last summer. Now all I need is a golden (spray-on) tan - oh yah and a beach.

Mmm. This pic doesn't represent the potential of these pants - or shall I say gouchos? Sorta but not quite. I actually do think they're retro as the label inside says size 8, and I am def not a size 8! I find vintage pieces that would be quite small sizes today always seem to have what we would think of as larger sizing, relatively speaking. Perhaps peeps were smaller back then?

Ok, I look a little silly here, but I'm trying to show you a close up of the pants without cutting my head off. I can't figure out if the pants are wool or some kind of industrial-grade polyester. The fabric is thick and the weave is tight. There's this cute little cuff at the bottom of each leg too. I wore them last night to dinner with some boots and a sweater with a boho piece of vintage bling, and they looked quite swishy.

NEXT $2 CLOTHING SALE: Saturday, March 12, Walmer Centre, 188 Lowther Ave. (closest subway is Spadina). Mostly women's clothing and sale normally runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but you can always email to confirm. There is a Facebook page but it looks out of date.

TIPS: Bring a big (or several) reusable bags to carry and haul your stuff in as they don't have bags. Cash only. Wear a lightweight jacket or if you drive, leave your coat in the car. Bring water. And good manners - no pushing! There's a whole range of mostly ladies' used clothing and accessories, from mass market to designer and vintage, and there's a whole range of sizes including quite large sizes, so there's something for every one.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vintage costume brooches I've had for 20 (or so) years

Finding that old-style pendant at VV the other day made me think of the older-style brooches I have that I never really wear as they aren't quite my style. But just because they sit in a drawer doesn't make them any less special.

I remember picking up this cameo brooch when I was about 19 - can't recall exactly where but I used to do a lot of church sales with my fam around this time (thanks to my Dad), so I have a feeling a church was the source. It's not an expensive cameo that I can tell. I have seen more intricate and ornate ones, with finer detailing, that are more collectible - plus the cameo part looks plastic and the really valuable ones are made of shell and sometimes even coral, if memory serves. Still, I'm sentimental about this gal - reminds me of my youth, tee hee.

Vintage can sometimes be a nebulous term, with no hard and fast dates (I consider the 1980s vintage but not the 1990s, but perhaps it depends on your vantage point in time!). Still, I would hazard a guess this shell stick pin is antique, meaning over 100 years old.

My Mom gave it to me for my 19th Birthday. I love it, but in truth I am not certain how to wear it (back in the day it would have been worn in the yoke of a high collared dress, I suspect), and it is a wee old-fashioned. And the back clasp is so crude I am scared it will fall off and be lost forever if I wear it. But of course, I love it and will never let it go.

This must surely qualify as antique too. It was another gift I received when a teen, from an aunt. It was apparently from a collection she had amassed in LA. I have worn it only a couple of times - many, many moons ago -  but have a renewed appreciation for it. The style is a wee bit old fashioned, true (I can just picture some prim Victorian lady in it). But I love the black lacy effect and the polished glass piece - purple to boot! - how could I not dig that?

I'm a little out of my element in describing these last two pieces as I'm not familiar with the styles and conventions of eras before the 1940s, maybe 1930s. Regardless, maybe I'll see if I can integrate them into my wardrobe. Even if I don't they make me happy sitting in my little drawer for special things.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thifting blues, x 3

I have, without a doubt, been feeling blue of late. So how fitting that, when I was at the Value Village 50 percent off sale the other day, the three items I picked up were all blue!

Not in insipid powder or sky blue, oh no - this blue packed a wallop, such as the kind only the most furious of winter blahs would permit: a bright, dark, luscious, royal-almost-indigo blue.

The shape, colour, heavy chain and darling detailing on this 1980s-esque purse just could not be denied. It was only $3.99 with the discount. Where will I where it? To be decided.

These Italian shoes were in mint condition - the soles not even worn! I love the jaunty colour, natch, and the chic style. Will be cute with cropped pants or jeans, methinks.

They're leather, and, as you can see here, fabric that you can see through -- love it!

They're by Gianni Gregori. Under 10 bucks with the 50 off.

This bright blue straw purse made in the Philippines (only $2.50 with the discount) was, as with the others, in mint condition. It has a cute blue rope strap, but I tucked it inside as I think it makes for a way more chic clutch.

Will be very ooh-la-la with some of my summer wrap dresses (thrifted, of course!).

So on an optimistic note: here's to summer coming!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I never do 50% off thrift days as they're normally nuts, but .....

Ever thrifted something for $10 you may not have thrifted for $20? Or thrifted a piece you absolutely adored, but never in a million years thought was your style?

That's what gets me off about thrifting: you can explore your alter style ego without spending wads of cash on new outfits.

Take this Victorian-esque piece of costume jewellery I dug out of the case at Value Village yesterday. It was 50 percent off day and I happened to be walking by after taking a photo for work. I nipped in - it was surprisingly quiet for a sale day (normally there are line ups and I avoid the place at all costs) - and saw this in the case and fell in love - even though it's a style I wouldn't normally wear. It was $10 with the discount.

It looks vintage but my gut and whatever trained eye I've developed buying vintage costume jewellery tells me it's really contemporary. But it reads "gold-filled" on the stamp, it's sturdy, and I love the huge pinky-red glass 'stone' - so unusual a colour.

I wore it today with a sexy sweater by Tristan & Iseut I recently thrifted for a few bucks (that is exactly the style of a sweater I have long long missed that a nasty ex boyfriend kept - good Karma that I got it back, just in a different colour, tee hee!), and a thrifted Liberty of London silk scarf that picks up the pink hue.

I feel really happy with it and it brightens my day. Come to think of it, I wore pink yesterday too - must be in my stars this week.

Actually I bought three other things at VV yesterday - and they're all the same colour! Can you guess? Will show you tomorrow - let's just say the colour is on the opposite side of the colour spectrum, emotionally speaking.