Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boho bling, not yet worn

I'm supposed to be hanging around the Blackpool Tower today, but alas, the Holiday Gods want to give me more nesting time with my Brit mannie, who has not only been looking after me and my broken foot, but is as of this morning flaked out on the couch after an emergency tooth-pulling episode.

Aren't we a pair of sad sacks.

So, in honour of the Glastonbury Festival that just wrapped up in England (which is the new millennium version of Woodstock, I'm gathering) I'm showing you a fab piece of boho-inspired bling I bought the day I left Canada for England (which I haven't had a chance to wear here yet as I've been living in yoga pants).

I loved it on sight when I plucked it out of the case at my fave neighbourhood thrift shop, Canadian Thrift in Toronto, as the chunky, rough-hewn chain reminds me of the 1970s pendant necklaces designed by Raphael. The large disc pendant also has a distinctly boho vibe to it, and you know my penchant for bohemian chic. Not sure if it's vintage - what do you think?

It's quite large, which could be a style challenge as all I'm seeing in my mind's eye is some Woodstock hippie dude from the 1960s wearing it with super wide leg jeans ... and nothing else --- but perhaps it's the painkillers.

On that note, back to the couch.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thoughts on Brit fashion mags, as I convalesce

I wish I could show you a pic of moi frolicking in the northern English countryside - today is the first warm, rain-free day we've had in the last six days. Alas, the Grunge Queen is sitting on her butt reading mags and a Nick Hornby novel (set in northern England, of course) as she broke her toe/foot yesterday - the same one she breaks on an annual basis just by looking at it the wrong way.


But my mannie is looking after me, never you fear.

What I love about some of the chick mags here is you get free stuff with them - in this case a (rather toxic) liquid and pencil eyeliner duo and a (very nice) metallic pewter mineral powder eye shadow. (Last year my Brit mannie boought me one with a lip gloss - if you think I didn't love him before that you can bet I did after!).

I'm not a huge magazine buyer anymore, but I'm pretty sure we don't have the free-makeup-with-magazines phenom in Canada.

I actually like Brit fashion mags way better than the North American kind. They're cheekier (usually there's a funny he-said-she-said dual column where a male and female columnist give their perspectives on a particular gender or sex topic); less celebrity-obsessed; and contain lighthearted features (like the one in the cute, book-size Marie Claire, about a group of college grads 10 years on, a "Where are they now?" type thing); as well as neat fashion spreads (like what bloggers are wearing to the Glastonbury fest - which is essentially the Woodstock of the UK); and finally more serious features about female political figures.

In North America, the ethic of fashion mags seems more hyper-obsessive insecure. Generally, I hate them. So I am finding UK mags rather refreshing, like a breath of (cool, northernly English) fresh air.

Look, my mannie got some too - but all he got was a free magazine with one.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scrag-about England outfit

I wanted to show you all the fab outfits I had planned for my holidays. Alas, the weather has been so chill in northern England that I've been living in my scraggies. No matter. It has been rather nice to put the Blackberry-toting glam girl in me on hold and just hang, sans makeup, with my British mannie.

My scrag-about outfit, though, is pretty thrifty. The jeans, by Angel Jeans, were $3.99, if memory serves, at a Toronto thrift shop. They look like premium denim to me although I can't find much info on the California-based company as all the links I find are dead.

Both tops are thrifted and the Kenneth Cole ballet flats were picked up at the $2 Sale in Toronto. The sunnies are vintage 1970s made in Italy and were about $30.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Made in England vintage bag thrifted in - guess where?

Wimbledon (on the tube). Wine. Rain. Cold. Marks and Spencer Simply Food. This is some of the verbiage and experiences surrounding my first few days in England, which- don't get me wrong - have been glorious.

Today while my hunny and I were running around, I dragged him into a second-hand charity shop (they're all over the place in Jolly Old) called Barnardos. I was bloody freezing (having packed sexy warm summer togs), so I found  a cute fleece for about four pounds. There's not a heap of vintage in the second-hand shops here, so my spidey senses started tingling when I saw this vintage gold lamé handbag.

Let's go in for a closer look. Just look at the patterned fabric on this baby. And the clasp. Bloody gorg, I say (tee hee, am talking like a Brit, no?). And it was only a pound forty-nine. That's about two dollars and thirty-three cents in Canuck bucks.

The clasp is so pretty too, isn't it? All the little rhinestones are intact too.

Even better that the purse is made in England as it'll be a true vintage souvenir for the Grunge Queen. I actually have a vintage purse at home that I thrifted (which you haven't yet seen) with the same label as this, but it's a pretty quilted silver one. This gold one will be a happy companion piece.

Monday, June 20, 2011

They're new, but they're fabulous

This is my Birthday Suit ha ha. A new 1970s-style pantsuit bought with my Birthday money proceeds. I'm wearing it with my 1970s necklace I featured the other day as the pantsuit is so low cut.

I liked it so well that I bought a second one in a smaller size and a different pattern. Psychedelic bay-bee! And hey, I did have some Birthday money left! Thanks sis, for the pressies!

Friday, June 17, 2011

More 1970s bling

I found another one of these 1970s mosiac-inspired pendant necklaces at the thrift shop the other day. I liked it way better than the plain oval one I found a while back, so I bought this one and sold the other one at my recent garage sale.

I can't make out what the design is but it reminds me of Native Canadian art.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Strategically placed (vintage) jewellery

Eeks. You're always catching me at the end of the day, when I'm tired looking and have missed my chance to have some photog snap me in all my vintage thrifty glory.

So I snapped this pic of myself alone on my balcony tonight after I got home. I'm wearing this darling linen peplum-style blazer with crochet detail that I picked up at a consignment shop a couple years ago.

The issue is, it's a wee bit too low-cut for the office, and added to that I have a rather unsightly scar on my chest that interferes, shall we say, with the aesthetics of a low cut top (and in normal circumstances, I have no problems showing said scar, really, but I tend towards the conservative approach when in the workplace).

My catch-all solution these days: hide whatever "cleavage" I have plus said scar with, well, a bit o' bling.

I found this 1970s piece at Toronto's Sunday Antique Market for about $35 a year or so ago - expensive by Grunge Queen standards, but it was so different (I have only ever seen one other piece like it, in a fellow vintage maven's collection) that it warrented the investment. You can't see the entire piece here as it's hidden in the folds of my jacket, but it extends way down to cover my scar.

It's not an every-day piece, by any means, so I haul it out when the occasion warrants it. And, because it is so long, it serves the very practical function of letting me show more, and less, at the same time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vintage lovers have garage sale

My gal pal Marsha and I had a blast this weekend. We decided, practically at the last minute, to have a garage sale. Here she is showing off some of the vintage 1980s bling she was selling that day.

Here I am with an odd lamp that someone gave me, which ended up going in the donate pile at the end of the day.

My $5 jewellery table was a huge success - and there's still heaps left so stay tuned and I will tell you about the next sale!

I REALLY wanted to shop Marsha's table with my proceeds. This leather handbag made in Spain was so gorg (and not $5!), and it was calling to me, bigtime. But Marsha, a true friend, refused to let me buy it! She knew I needed my cash for other things!

The one thing I bought: this mod serving tray, $2. I thought it would be a cool way to display and organize my thrift store and vintage jewellery - what do you think?

I really love this idea. It's almost as though it IS a food tray, and every morning I get to pluck out some yummy delicacy to go with my outfit, as though the glinting pieces are luscious gum drops!

I must confess: I traded one of my $5 necklaces with Marsha for this pretty pin (signed, but I can't make it out). Marsha knows me well as she had a feeling I'd like this one.

See? Here are all my pretty vintage rings, all in one place.

More garage sale wisdom: I didn't have time to price every thing, so pretty much everything was $5. Easy peasy. I also kept my mind open to possibilities: someone wanted to buy the pink hard shell suitcase that I used to transport my dresses in and had no intention of selling. Sold, for 10 bucks!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Dress, Veronica Slater, et moi: bloggers bond

Remember this dress? Fellow blogger Veronica of Veronica Slater Presents found the same style of Pucci-esque print silk dress in a thrift shop that I also thrifted. Doesn't she look fabulous in it? I love the chunky necklace accessory.

Veronica and I met yesterday, in the flesh, for the first time, after commenting on and following eachother's respective blogs for months and months. Not surprisingly, we got along like old friends. Look, we even look like kindred spirits here, with out short dos, oversize sunglasses and bracelets!

I love this photo of us. I hope I didn't freak Veronica out too much as I found myself opening up to her about all kinds of things going on in my life. Just goes to show that if you bond in the blogosphere, chances are you'll bond in 'real' life. I find thrift bloggers are of a certain ilk, to be sure - but Veronica, just so you know, doesn't just blog about her FAB vintage purse collection.

As you'll see from her blog and website Veronica Slater Presents, Veronica blogs about living better (in three languages to boot), and all the wonderful stuff that comes along with that. She shares her ideas for gifting, giving and living better weekly on the Boreal Express, a CBC Radio-Canada chaine premiere show. Here she is sporting a spunky jumpsuit and a wonderful belt from the 1990s. Quelle style!

Veronica was kind enough to snap a pic of me wearing a Franco Mirabelli dress I thrifted for about ten bucks, made of this gorg fabric which is the Toronto designer's signature.

Here's Veronica again in her lovely thrifted dress. Veronica, I had such a great time with you. I sure hope we hang out again (and maybe do some thifting too?)!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More orange

I'm really digging the orange shades I showed you in my last post. They happen to go with my thrifted Matt& Natt handbag, which you see here, and this "new" orange hippie style sundress (only $21). The white cotton jacket was found for $5 at a clearance centre years ago.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Colour my world, bigtime

Today I saw the world through orange-coloured sunnies, literally. Quite the experience. Don't try this if you have a headache as I bet it will hurt. Aren't these 1970s shades super funky? I found 'em for $1.99 at my favourite local thrift shop, Canadian Thrift.

I wish I could show you the sassy outfit I wore them with, but alas, I have no dedicated camera person to snap my looks. But you can see I matched the shades with my purse, a thrifted Matt & Natt beaut that's just perfect for the summer that we are now finally enjoying!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Very special vintage coat, for a very special occasion

I haven't worn this vintage coat for years - as you can see, it's pretty special: a 1930s style (wool) with these gorg embroidered sleeves. I bought it when I was 19 (over 20 years ago!) for just under $200. I remember I had to borrow the cash from my sis, who always saved her bucks (no big surprise I was always shopping, eh?).

I had the opportunity to wear it this past weekend, to a party given in honour of a lovely lady who recently passed away, who I was lucky enough to meet and write about the month before she died. She was 104 years old and had lots of pluck and a great story - and I think she would have appreciated this vintage coat.

I've accessorized the coat with a vintage bag I found at Value Village for $5.99, and some thrifted Nine West slingbacks in excellent shape found for around $8.99 at my local thrift shop, Stretch Thrift. The scarf is vintage silk Liberty of London, a couple bucks at a junk shop.

The day wasn't about me, but I wanted my outfit to do justice to a wonderful lady who led a great life. It felt good to be pulling out all of my really special items that I never wear, for one day - some vintage pieces are for just that, and in this case, the occasion certainly warranted it.

Here's to Minnie. Rest in peace.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thrifted frock that changed my life inspired another thrift stylista!!

I've shown you this thrifted silk dress with an Italian label before, but I'm featuring it again as it was exactly one year ago that I wore it, and met my dream man in it. The dress, apparently, influenced the way he thought about me - let's just put it that way!! This is me at a recent party, in THE DRESS.

This was me a year ago, with faux tan, just before jetting off to the place where I happened to meet my gorg Brit mannie.

A spin-off of an already great story about a thrifted dress is this: there's a reader of this blog, a lovely lady whose equally lovely blog, Veronica Slater Presents, I also follow. The story goes that Veronica saw this dress on Grunge Queen and loved it so well, and the story behind it, that she searched high and low in the thrift shops before finding her own dress, exactly like this one!

Love it! Veronica, you will have to think about sharing a photo of you in your frock!

I dedicate this post to Veronica, and to my lovely man - both of whom know quality when they see it, tee hee!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Can you really let go of nostalgiac stuff, even if you never wear it?

As you look at this rather freakish close-up, that is the question I'm pondering tonight. I bought this 1970s?-esque pendant at a church sale years ago for a couple bucks at most. I have worn it - once. It doesn't really fit into my life or style, but I still love it.

I love it because it reminds me of those 1970s Christmas Tree ornaments we used to hang on the tree while growing up - you know, the cut-out balls with the foiled concave insides. It is just special, even though I never wear it.

But the agony sets in as I'm in the process of saying goodbye to some material things in my life, and this baby has gone in the sell pile, then out, then in, and is now in limbo. So the question is, do you get rid of pieces that rank high on the emotional resonance scale, or do you favour practicality, and pass it on to someone else? That, dear readers, is the existential question for tonight!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm to sexy for my (vintage Franco Mirabelli) shorts

My thighs look like tree trunks but I'm trying to ignore that for all these fab reasons:

1). I was modeling second-hand duds found at and styled by the vintage goddesses at Common Sort in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood. Owner Nicole Babin buys, sells and trades second-hand and vintage clothing and accessories, and she has this amazing blog where she posts pics of her customers modeling her wares. Fun eh? She's multi-talented as she's also a fashion photog and snapped the photo of me, above, and all the pics on her blog.

2). The shorts are by one of my fave Toronto designers, Franco Mirabelli, who has been making gorg women's styles for 25 years (found in specialty boutiques across North America and in his three Toronto boutiques, Mirabelli). His clothing is to die for (see that lime green tee in my header? That's by him) and he sources most of his fabrics from Italy AND he manufactures in Toronto AND he's just an all round nice guy.

So how could I resist when Nicole (left) brought me her lovely stylist (pictured right, whose name I can't remember), who in turn brought me these (1990s?) shorts? Well, dear reader, I couldn't. And I was having so much fun with the Common Sort gals (see post from last week, below, on my Common Sort adventure with gal pal Marsha), that it was all for the fun of it any way! For a run down on the rest of the outfit, all second-hand, follow the Common Sort link at the top of this post.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

BCBG dress 20 years old, $5.99

Notice: hips in this picture appear larger than they actually are.

Joke. Well, the pattern does make one look bigger. But I do love the mosaic print of this cute BCBG dress, found for $5.99 at Canadian Thrift. I wore it with a hot pink knit bolero and sassy strappy heels.

The neat thing: I work in Toronto's design district on Wingold Ave., where all the fashion brands wholesale to retailers. I walked into a cafe for lunch today and a woman said, "That's BCBG. I sold that dress to stores in 1992."

Who would have thought? The dress is in such great shape, and so stylishly applicable, that I thought it was somewhat current. Wonder if the BCBG brand is so timeless and as good a quality today?