Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peep show

I kinda like these semi-lame, semi sexy shots in which I snap pics of myself in the mirror (not having a photog that follows me around all day, alas): they're somewhat illicit in my opin, a snapshot, if you will, into a life that's glanced at from behind.

There's nothing especially thrifty about my outfit here. The skirt was a dress, purchased in a West Palm Beach gift shop, that I've pulled down and used as a skirt as the elastic is going, and the tank was a cheapie new purchase. The 70s belt is vintage, natch.

What I really wanted to show you is this gorg crystal pendant. It was supposed to be a gift for a friend, but then I found something more appropriate and kept it, which really worked out as I love it! The crystal is suspended on a long gold-tone chain. I hauled out the magnifying glass when I got home and could barely make out, in tiny tiny print on the clasp loop, a Birks signature. Looks like the piece may be gold or gold-plated too - I can't quite make it out, though. I can't tell if this piece is vintage - what do you think?

Found at one of my fave shops, Continuum Modern Vintage on Pape Avenue at Danforth Ave. in Toronto.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Like, groovy shades, man

Peace, fellow groovy hipsters. I'm here with my $1.99 thrifted 1960s (70s?) shades to spread the word of harmony and happiness through thrifting. It, like, saves the world, man - I mean woman! I'm an equal opportunity thrifter! And I've been working all weekend so I'm in a bit of a silly mood - can you tell? And what do you think of my shades, btw?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just beat the 99-cent bling deal

Two words: 49 cents.

This 1970s gold-tone pendant reminds me of that retro Coke TV commercial with a bunch of people singing "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" - there's a Christmas tree involved, too, but I can't recall if it's the people who form the tree or if there's an actual tree in the picture. Anyway, this pendant is like a Christmas tree and just evoked that memory in me.

I didn't have a chain to put it on, but then I realized I had this vintage signed gold-tone chain I never really wear as it's too plain pour moi.


Add a jump ring and we may just have a Grunge Queen special!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We went; we modeled; we shopped!

Oh, the fun we had. My gal pal Marsha (pictured here in this lovely vintage dress and matching summer hat) and I had so much fun this past weekend at Toronto's Common Sort, a veritable treasure trove of second-hand and vintage clothing and accessories (with locations on Queen Street East AND West).

Owner Nicole Babin has it bang on: not only can you shop like a crazed deal diva in her stores (the Parkdale Queen West location is larger and packed with good stuff), but you can also bring in your stylish duds and if Nicole likes 'em, she'll let you trade them in for other stuff in the form of a store credit (think she can give you cash too - but hey, once you get there you'll want to shop til you drop).

Also a fashion photog, Nicole does this really cool thing where customers come in and model her wares, and the pics are posted to her website blog. In return the happy model gets a store credit - and as you can see, Marsha put hers to work right away with this gorg vintage blue drop waist dress (on the sale rack for five bucks!) and matching shoes that she took home with her! Doesn't she look stunning?

Using my credit and then a bit more, I went home with most of this outfit: Paige denim capris ($34 and they fit me like a second skin); Juicy Couture tie-dye tank ($18) and darling Banana Republic scarf with animal print motif ($14). The gold ballet flats, Kenneth Cole, were found for a twoonie at the $2 Sale in Toronto, and the vintage John Hort bag isn't mine but I may have to go back for it!!

The 'reveal' post with Marsha and I modeling the Common Sort duds picked out by the resident stylist - coming!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

99-cent thrifting streak??

Nothing could beat the find featured in yesterday's post, but I have to show you another 99 cent find I dug up this weekend in the most unexpected of places: a bead and craft shop selling mostly imports from the Philippines, largely jewellery making supplies.

But there's a section of vintage bibs and bobs in the store, mostly broken, that you're supposed to do something crafty with. Since I am not at all crafty, but rather a vintage bauble junkie, I sat on my butt on the floor for a good half hour rifling through the stuff, eventually unearthing this modernist style pendant - completely intact! For 99 cents to boot.

Totally my style. Maybe I'm on a 99-cent spending streak!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Danish modern pendant for ... guess how much?

I saw this pendant hanging from a bunch of chains and baubles in a thrift shop, but it stood out amidst the junky stuff. I thought it was glass at first until I noticed its smokiness - definitely a stone. There was a signature on the back but all I could make out was "Sterling." I really liked the design, so I asked the gal how much it was.

She said, "Two dollars." Poker face response on my side. Then in a heartbeat she said, "Ninety-nine cents!." I guess she mistook my lack of response for dissatisfaction with two bucks. But in truth I was amazed she'd let go of it for a mere twoonie.

Of course, dear readers, I bought it.

Got it home, took a peep under the glass, and see this is a piece signed AE From, otherwise known as Nils Erik From, a Danish jeweller born in 1908 who developed his own jewellery line. This would be a piece from the 1960s or so. The jewellery is no longer in production.

Did a quick search on Ebay and there's a lot of From pieces out there, but they're not cheap. An identical pendant on Ebay but with Rose Quartz was listed at $500. Granted, online listings don't always represent the true value of a piece, but lots of other From pieces were priced at several hundred dollars.

Anyway, I really like it and after seeing other From pieces online, I'm going to look out for them! Not bad for 99 cents!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Look at the tag, I say

When thrifting, I follow these rules: feel the fabric, look for colour, style and tag, in that order. An item has to be in a colour and style that rocks on me, but if it's a crap fabric, I won't touch it. If all those points are met, I take a peep at the tag, and my thrifting spidey senses are normally rewarded.

I'm never disappointed when I find the gorg microfibre dresses made by Toronto label Bionic Women. New, these frocks sell for $150 and up, a price I can't afford even though I love the make.

Used, I have found them from $9.99-$19.99, screaming deals for locally made wrap dresses with simple yet exquisite styling. Here I am in warmer days in one of my faves, with a fake tan.

Here's another one, this time with white legs.

I can't find the pic of my sis in the Bionic Women dress I bought for her. But the black dress pictured above is one she bought for herself while thrifting with me.

I feel partly guilty, partly jazzed when I find well-made locally-produced clothing in the thrift shop, as I know I should be supporting these micro designers by buying new. But the fact is, I often can't afford it (ok I did buy ONE Bionic dress new, at 50 percent off. No pic though). Can anyone relate?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ugliest, most perplexing thrift shop find to date

It may not be the most disturbing of thrift shop finds - creepy porcelain clown figurines, a raccoon head fur hat, underwear, and retro electronic sex devices beat this one out by far in the ICK department - but I must say that this plastic stool, replete with faux plastic roses and unexplainable plastic overlay, sure ranks number one for the ugliest of decor pieces I've spotted in a thrift shop to date. It was $6.99 - a deal! - at Canadian Thrift.

It got worse, if you can believe it: there was a little switch on the bottom. Yup, if you plugged the stool in, parts of it (behind the roses, perhaps?) lit up - who knows? Perhaps it vibrated too. A love stool? 

What was disturbing, though, was strolling along Queen St West this past weekend and finding the exact same stool in a moth-ball smelling junk shop.

I pride myself on being a style diplomatico, but I have to wonder: who, in his or her right mind, would have made something like this? Worse still, who would have bought and actually proudly displayed this in a living room? I'm not sure I want to picture that living room, go there in my head.

What's the freakiest, ugliest or most disturbing item you've seen while thrifting?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wool trench, Goodwill

It's been raining like crazy this spring - good thing I have a warm wool trench to get me through! I found this deep blue wool trench by Evan Picone at Goodwill for less than 10 bucks. I love it. Every time I wear it - which is frequent these days - I feel like I'm in France.

I'm wearing it here with thrifted suede booties made in Italy ($14.99); this funky round leather purse made in Vancouver and found at Value Village for $12.99; vintage blue shades made in Italy found in a vintage shop; and my Anthropologie scarf - bought new but so worth it based on the compliments I get every time I wear it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I wanna be a cowgirl

Well, you always see me tired, at the end of the day, with circles under my eyes, but I had to show you the cowgirl  earrings I bought for $2 on the way home - yeehaw!

I never wear earrings anymore, really. Perhaps it was because I recently interviewed a gal who is part of a Cowgirl Choir in Toronto - but hipster cowgirl style has been on my mind of late.

They're silver and super light - see? A horseshoe, horse head and saddle dangling from - you guessed it! - a cowgirl hat to boot!

I have no idea what era they're from but I'm guessing 1990s - just seems to fit, in my opin.

Have you ever thrifted something that made you rethink a style choice (in my case, earrings) that you thought was long past?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hipster nuts n' bolts pendant necklace - really

When I first saw this pendant necklace in the case at Goodwill, I thought, "Oh, that reminds me a bit of a Raphael", a Toronto-based jewelllery designer who was big in the 1970s and whose pieces are quite collectible.

Well of course I knew it wasn't a Raphael - his look is very distinctive and I'll show you the pendant I have by him sometime - but this piece is similar in tone as it has a rough-hewn, industrial look to it.

More so than I thought 'cos when I took a closer look I saw that it was made of screws and bolt-type thing-a-ma-jigs. It's actually really well made, and a statement piece to boot!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sexy orange skirt (thrifted) inspires 100% thrifted outfit

Now that Blogger is working again, somewhat at least (it looks like they have deleted comments from Wednesday), I am going to show you today's outfit, 100 percent thrifted (excuse bad, flat hair).

It all began with the tight sexy Femme Carriere skirt I thrifted at Goodwill for $4.99. I typically look straight as Olive Oil in this style of skirt but this one actually makes me look like I have some curves.

The grey microfibre top by luxury retailer Holt Renfew was thrifted for a few dollars. Matt & Nat orange (vegan) handbag, thrifted for maybe five dollars. Shoes by Gerard Darel, found at a ten dollar sale at a local consignment shop. Blazer (tag cut out) a few bucks, and disco "Wonder Woman" belt found at a vintage store for $15 - def the most expensive thing here.

Even the ring was thrifted - 50 cents - as was the necklace (can't see it so I'll show you later).

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1980s necklace that will present a fun challenge!

I've admitted that I find 1980s plastic bib style necklaces oddly attractive, and that even though I am drawn to them I have mixed feelings about wearing them. Ditto for this 1980s necklace with painted blue, yellow, peach and gold detail, $4.99 at Canadian Thrift.

Not sure what I'll do with it but I'll try to snap a pic when I figure it out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Steal of a boho ring

Thrifted vintage costume jewellery can be such an inexpensive way of not just getting that retail thrill on but also expressing the essential you. Perhaps that's why I'm such an addict: a ring bought at the thrift shop, such as this $5.99 vintage mega cocktail ring, allows me to express my burgeoning boho style ethic in a cheap, yet forever chic, way.

I'm really pleased that places like Value Village over price the mass market stuff and under price vintage finds such as this ring - perhaps they know the masses go for all the mediocre sterling stuff and contemporary costume bling in the case, and realize there's only a niche sort of customer that would find this ring attractive.

But if H&M suddenly decided to knock off this ring, it'd suddenly become all the rage. Do I sound cynical? Perhaps. But the pricing system of these places, generally, benefits me and feeds my particular style whims in a way that's wholly conducive to my budget. So how can I complain?

What gems do you find in the thrift shops that tend to be, in your opin, woefully under priced?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Million dollar life I could have with these thrifted vintage earrings

Dah-lings! I'm so busy leading a fascinating life in my new thrifted earrings that I can barely stand still for you to seeee them!!

Yah right. The look says it all, my thrifty pals. And though I am no longer an earrings person - I reserve all my bling thrifting exploits for pendants and the occasional brooch - I simply could NOT resist these absolutely GORG vintage earrings I found in the Value Village showcase for - wait for it - $5.99!!


Does it matter I don't lead the kind of life these earrings (not clip on but the screw on kind) surely merit?

Not really. I could play dress up with them in my apartment, introduce them to all the lovely glam thrifted dresses I never get a chance to wear ....

Mmm. Let me think. Or I could somehow manufacture a glam Grace Kelly type life, and jaunt around the French Riveria in some flashy sports car convertible with the top down - with the earrings, of course.

Only thing is, I'd need to make a million dollar life for myself, all because of these $5.99 thrifted vintage earrings.

Perhaps I'll see if I can integrate them into my existing life and wardrobe before doing anything too drastic?

What do you think? Hi-low dressing has been all the rage for years now - do you think I could mix them up with skinny jeans, or perhaps some wide leg pants?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pretty vintage pin for my mommie

I always seem to pick up pretty vintage pins for my Mom, this gorg purple floral cluster pin being no exception. My Mom actually wears the pins I give her too, so I hope she'll find a way of integrating this one into her wardrobe as it is just such a beaut; I couldn't leave it behind.

It isn't signed, but all the stones are intact and they're prong-set. I just loved the purply hues and the design of the piece, and I think she will too!

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there!

Friday, May 6, 2011

How I wore my 'new' thrifted rocker bracelet

I show you heaps of bling but rarely document how I wear it! Here's me wearing one of my most recent thrifty acquisitions: the chain bracelet with the big black stone. I rocked it out, as you can see, with some skinny jeans (new but cheap at Costa Blanca), booties (Nine West, thrifted), tunic (gift), tank (new) and rocker necklace (gift).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coro pendant and an inspired blogging solution

This pendant isn't really my style but I loved it on sight and thrifted it for literally a couple bucks. I was really attracted to the blue. Got it home and flipped it over and saw it is signed Coro piece. Initially I was going to find a gold chain and rig it up, but then I Googled "Coro blue stone pendant" or some such thing and came across this lovely blog, Oriental-Rose.

Can't believe my haphazard Google skills found the very same piece! Now if you scroll down from the original link, you'll see that the designer fashioned a lovely pearl and gem-like necklace for the pendant.

Mmmm. That got me thinking. I took a rummage through my Tickle Trunk and dug up one of my first costume jewellery finds from my university days, a sturdy 'pearl' necklace I don't really wear anymore as it's too staid for my style. I actually almost got rid of it recently but some sixth sense - or perhaps my semi-hoarding instincts when it comes to bling - made me hang onto it.

Well, hell. What's the use of reading blogs if you can't take some inspiration from them? I'll have to find a jump ring or something, but that's all the pendant needs to transform it into a true statement piece!

I'm just so thrilled about the idea - now hopefully it won't take me five months to find the ring. The cool thing is the pearls can be worn long or wound around the neck twice for a choker effect. The strand does the Coro piece true poetic justice - so much better than a boring old gold chain, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Warm weather is coming so (thrifted) dresses on the mind

Ever blow-dried a "new" dress with your blow dryer just so you could wear it out, clean? That's just what I did with this thrifted dress Friday night, found at Value Village. It's a heavy microfibre dress made in the USA (becoming a rare tag, just as the Made in Canada tag is), which in my mind indicates good quality.

I wasn't sure about it at first as it fits loosely around the waist - and I do look a bit shapeless here - but it is a classic shirtwaist without the waist, in colours I like that look good on me. Plus summer is coming and I need to prep myself for dress season - it will come!

PICS snapped by pal Parmjit Parmar of Montana Ridge Enterprises.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Church rummage sale booty

I'm writing an article on rummage sales in midtown Toronto for one of the magazines I write for, so my gal pal Marsha and I set off bright and early yesterday to hit the hallowed halls.

Marsha got some pretty good booty. Thank God I was too busy interviewing and snapping pics of people; you and I know I don't really need anything.

Of course, even while working I simply could not not check out the jewellery table. I hit the bling table immediately, along with piles of others. People always go for the bling straight off and the jewellery table is typically a madhouse. I didn't find any real loves, but this carved sandalwood piece with green stone won my heart for a whopping 50 cents. I strung it on a leather cord to max out the boho effect.

Another bohemian type necklace pendant for a few bucks. Marsha picked this one up for me and she was right about it being my style.

This chunky modernist ring: a buck.

A pendant of Queen Elizabeth I: only a twoonie ($2). People may be going ga-ga over Kate, but I'm a fan of this daughter of Henry VIII.

Jewellery tables at rummage sales are pretty brutal. You need to decide which type of shopper you're going to be: the pushy elbowing type, or the stealthy type with long arms and fingers that can slide in between gaps and and pick up what you want. Guess which type I am?

This silver-tone pendant (which I strung on a long box link sterling chain I've had forever) is a bit odd, but sometimes it's the oddballs I'm attracted to the most. It actually looks good worn low on a long chain. Would rock with jeans and a simple white tee.

All in all, not bad for $7.50.