Thrifting Dupes for Online Finds

Sometimes I am bad and go surfing on the secondhand interwebs for things I wish I had in my closet. It never ends well (see here and here). Lately, I’ve had a bit of restraint, and have been rewarded with in-person dupes for my internet finds.

It started with this French Connection sweater, which was, alas, too small for me:

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I loved that caramel-and-cream combo and the textured pattern, so I went looking online for that same sweater, with no luck. So instead of keeping an eye out online, I kept an eye out on my thrifting rounds for something similar:

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Cream & caramel colors? Check. Textured pattern? Check. This L.L. Bean sweater does the job, and for a lot less than the price of an online find.

Ta-da:

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In my French Connection searches online, I came across this fabulous tomato red number:

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Source

I loved the color and the split/hi-lo hem. The price was right ($11 – although I still had to pay $6.49 for shipping). But there was no way to tell if it would fit. I put it out of my mind by thinking about how disappointing it would be to have it show up and be too small.

But then, lo and behold, for less than the selling price of the French Connection sweater online, my very first Eileen Fisher find hit the nail on the head:

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It’s 100% merino wool and a great fall color:

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The lesson I’m supposed to learn from this is that when I’m tempted to snap up some online find, I’d do better to wait and let the thrift gods send me something just as good (or better!).

Buuuuuuut… after letting them sit for a few weeks, I just bought some cream-colored skinny jeans off the internet. I tried on a smaller size in the thrift store – that was my inspiration – so I am reasonably confident they’ll fit. Who knows, though – I’m 0 for 2 in terms of online thrift finds success. Let’s just hope this one breaks the streak!

 

What thrifting habit do you *know* you should give up, but you have a hard time leaving alone?

 

PS To all my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! (And a VERY belated Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers as well.) May you thrift super-chic outfits with stretchy waistbands to accommodate all the delicious food you’ll eat this week!

Thrift Finds: October 2017

First up, I want to share with you all Nadia at Happy Malista’s recap from her 10×10 challenge; she shared her outfits as well as outfits from a few other bloggers whose challenges she enjoyed, including yours truly! It’s sometimes hard finding a style blogger whose style is close enough to your own to resonate but different enough to inspire you; Nadia’s 10×10 hits that sweet spot for me. She’s convinced me I need to replace the blazer I used to own that was kind of a spring take on moss green…

And now, on to my thrift finds from last month!  Starting with the NOs:

A great soft dark grey turtleneck with split hem, made of supima cotton, that was too baggy – sigh:

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A Talbots sweater that made me feel like I live in a ski chalet – look at that great fringe!

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A wonky fit in the torso, though:

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I’m on the hunt for a caramel-colored turtleneck but this one was giant in the armpits:

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It hid its ginormous pits well, though:

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This dark cognac trench was a dream – 100% wool, and just had so much character:

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It was a little TOO oversized on me, and the color a bit intense – see how it’s the first thing your eye is drawn to in the picture, instead of my face? Sign of a tone mismatch.  Anyway, this would have fit my fantasy life (city dweller with a 20 minute walk across the Loop to get to my office) but not my real life (quick jog down the block to my office, then where do I stash this monster?), so I left it there.  Tear.

It’s hard to tell, but this riding jacket by Ralph Lauren was too big on me. The cut is very equestrian; can’t you see it paired with jodhpurs?

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But here’s where it shines – velvet collar and some purple woven in with that moss green. It’s like heather in a blazer!

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Various pants I tried out because I thought I needed grey jeans (probably not true):

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Several sweaters that didn’t make the cut, such as:

Loft – loved the diamond pattern but it was scratchy-atchy-atchy, as one of my kid’s storybooks says:

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Same with this Gap sweater – scratchy, and that neck plus those sleeves totally remind of the year 2000:

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Too much blue in this green sweater by Land’s End – but it fit perfectly! (Their tops are usually too wide in the torso for me):

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Italian wool from Banana Republic, too tight (that smudge is the mirror, not a sweater defect):

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And a J. Crew dress that underwhelmed, I think mostly because it was short enough to need leggings, but lightweight enough to show any lumps and folds from underlayers:

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That bottom half is navy, despite its greenish tinge in this photo.

 

And now, for the winners!

You’re familiar by now with my new cable knit sweater by Workshop by Andrea Jovine:

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Here’s my new goose down coat by Larry Levine; it retails for up to $200 but thrifted for $20. I may not be psychologically ready for the cold, but I will be sartorially ready for it!

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It’s just this side of dark charcoal, so hopefully it will not wash me out quite as much as pure black. Honestly, though, if I’m warm and I paid 10% of MSRP, I don’t care. Functional wins out over everything else in this case.

Here’s my first Eileen Fisher find! A bright, orangey red that is sort of intensely bright – what a great fall color:

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Check out that split hem!

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To wit, here it is styled:

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And this tan/cream patterned sweater by L.L. Bean:

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There’s a cat balancing on my phone!

…with a fun hi-lo split hem:

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Here it is styled:

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And last but not least, this merino wool plaid scarf in colors that complement my wardrobe in stellar fashion:

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Overall, a pretty good month.  Onward to November!

Did anything in my finds catch your eye?  What did you thrift this past month?

Finding the Perfect Cable Knit Sweater

I hate cable knit sweaters.

I can’t really deal with how preppy they look, how plain and boring it feels to see the same. twisty. pattern. repeated over and over.

NO

If they are your jam, I apologize now.

The closest thing I’ve ever owned to a cable knit sweater was this mint deal from a few winters back…and it was a flop. But how catalogue-worthy is this shot?!  Haha.

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Then one day a few weeks back, I spotted this baby on Instagram:

And suddenly my attention was captured.

What made this different from the samey-same feeling of traditional cable knit sweaters and cardigans? First of all, the cable knit was BIG and BOLD which considerably reduced the twee factor.  Second, there was other texture going on – a sort of chic waffle that is one of my favorites – and it made the cable knit a feature, not the whole story.  Then that split hem (another favorite) updated it out of the traditional prep aesthetic. And the flecked knit job (yet another fave) brought even more texture and visual appeal.

Refinery, the Instagram account that featured the sweater, is a consignment shop in Oregon City, Oregon. I have no idea whether they ship, but I was so taken by it that I inquired whether it was still for purchase (nope). I then spent a bunch of time searching on ThredUp, Poshmark, etc. for the sweater, which is by Urban Day.  No luck.

Then I figured I would just keep a thrift eye out for something similar, and saved the image on Instagram for easy visual reference while thrifting. (Did you know this is a thing? There’s a little bookmark or ribbon-like icon below a post that lets you save it to your “collections.” Learned that handy little tip from The Anna Edit in this video, where she uses the save and “collection” features to keep style notes that help her flesh out her seasonal capsule wardrobes.)

Lo and behold, the thrift gods smiled upon me, and I spotted this baby by Workshop by Andrea Jovine not long after:

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Don’t worry, I don’t actually store my sweaters on hangers – that stretches them out!

Giant cable knit? Check. Other texture of a waffle-y variety? Check.  Split hem? Check.  Flecked yarn? Nope, but you can’t have everything.

This sweater has quickly become a favorite – I feel like its relaxed chic vibe, particularly its loose semi-cropped silhouette, instantly catapulted me into realms of style blogger cool I rarely reach. And it is so soft. 

Something you can’t see in the pictures?  It’s got some not-so-nice pilling happening. More than I can reasonably tackle in one sitting.  This means the yarn is made of short fibers, which are cheaper (and poorer quality).  So as much as I love this sweater for what it is, I’ll be keeping an eye out for a higher quality upgrade.

So cozy:

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Sweater chic:

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What are your feelings on cable knit?  And what’s an item or style of clothing you had to find juuuust the right version of before it even remotely appealed?

 

Thrift or Treat: Thrifting for Halloween at Savers

This is my very first sponsored post. That means that Savers sent me a gift certificate to go check out their Halloween selection. Thanks Savers!

One of the most fun reasons to thrift shop – and a great way to ease newbies into thrifting – is hunting for costumes:

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Molly Ringwald costume at a rollerskating party, circa 2008. That sweater was thrifted for the occasion; afterwards I wore it, unironically, in real life. #noaccountingfortaste

Halloween – aka primo opportunity to thrift a costume – is just a few weeks away. So when Savers asked me if I wanted to peruse one of their stores for costume thrift finds, I was all over it.

If you are new to Savers like I was, it’s a for-profit thrift store chain. Although a small amount goes to local nonprofit partners, percentage-wise, the overwhelming majority of what you pay goes to Savers.  Nothing wrong with that – pre-owned items still end up with a new lease on life – but since I was confused by some of the messaging in the store about donations and non-profit partners, I want to be clear.

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My first impression was that Savers is really on it vis-a-vis Halloween.  A lot of thrift stores sort of half-heartedly assume you will come thrifting for a costume but don’t do much to make your search easier. By contrast, Savers has a smorgasboard of strategically organized offerings.

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This Savers location had one of the better collections of used costumes I’ve seen, including these gems.

For the Trekkie:

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Classic skeleton:

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Ms. Muffet:

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Merida:

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For when your friend goes all out as Thor but you’re lazy and just want to put on a Loki t-shirt:

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And Supergirl – which I would have bought for my kid if we didn’t already own this exact outfit (thanks Uncle Chaka & Uncle John!):

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Next up: themed costume sections with potential secondhand costume ideas and accessories in one spot. Here we have all things clown, with rainbow craziness as the centerpiece of your costume…

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…plus retail accessories to finish it off:

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There was a similar pirate section, superhero section, etc.

Then there’s retail makeup (something you probably don’t want to get secondhand):

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And for those in a creative rut or working on a deadline, Savers has a line of retail costumes:

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The quality on these was pretty low and the prices pretty high – $25 for a cheap Luke Skywalker-esque costume when you could have thrifted an old karate jacket and brown pants and borrowed your kid’s lightsaber – so as with all but the best pre-made costumes, I recommend you skip this section.

Last but not least, and my personal favorite: costumes made out of non-costume thrift finds.

How often do you see hideously out-of-date wedding dresses at the thrift store? Find one that fits reasonably well (or can be safety-pinned), dump some red paint on it, and you have zombie bride, newlywed ghost, or Carrie at a prom-gone-wrong:

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Or skip the blood, paint your face white with heavy black eye makeup and some white streaks in your hair and you’ve got bride of Frankenstein.

Next up, the erstwhile Kate Middleton at a disco roller party:

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…right??  Or you could do a modern-day take on Rainbow Brite, a unicorn, etc. etc.

Your preschooler wants to be a bumblebee? Grab this and some pipecleaners for antennae and you’re in buzzzziness (sorry, couldn’t help myself):

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This has mermaid written all over it:

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SO much leopard print to be had at thrift stores – just grab bottoms like this and a leopard print top, paint your face, stick on some cat ears, and you’ll look purrrfect:

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Olive green pants + aviators and you’re Tom Cruise from Top Gun:

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This is decidedly Hamiltonian – pull some knee-high socks over leggings or up to meet knee-length capris, thrift some brogues, use a chiffon scarf as a cravat, put your hair in a ponytail, and you’ll look as fetching as a federalist:

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This + fedora + one of those grabby arms to reach things on the top shelf = Inspector Gadget:

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Throw this over some puffy snow pants and get yourself a fondu fork (there’s at least one in every thrift store) for a 1970s ski bunny ensemble:

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Tweed pants (also easy to find at the thrift store) + this gorgeous heather green/purple tweed blazer by Ralph Lauren = Scottish game warden. Put on some waders and carry around a fishing pole and you’ll be a fly fisher. Or slap on your nicest leggings and a pair of riding boots, top it off with a black baseball hat and be an equestrian à la Lady Mary:

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Stuff this with a pillow, stick on a sheriff’s badge, top it off with a faux-fur Russian-style hat with ear flaps (also plentiful at the thrift store), and you’ve got Marge Gunderson from Fargo – bonus points if you’re already pregnant:

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Y’all, I am not even that creative in the costume department but just by strolling through the aisles I came up with over a dozen ideas.  The thrift store is the place to concoct your costume – and Savers’ mix of thrift finds, accessories, and makeup makes it so easy you might even be able to one-stop-shop your look.

Now I want to know – what costumes have you thrifted?

Thanks again, Savers, and Happy Halloween hunting, Thrifters!

Thrift Finds: September 2017

Let’s take a look back at September’s thrift finds – the stuff I’ve been thrifting as I shift back to a colder climate!

First up, a few dresses bought at the Davis Square Goodwill in search of a good candidate for the town festival. This sleeveless number by Talbots you’ll recognize from the What I Wore post since it ended up being a hot day:

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Less orange, more coral in real life.

This striped Gap dress with bracelet-length sleeves also came home with me. With its thick knit it’ll be good for transitional temps; plus the stripes will work in my more casual workplace:

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Despite being a color I love and having roll-tab sleeves (y’all know my affection for these), this long-sleeved romper made me feel like a Coachella attendee. Too short and sort of…sloppy? floppy? for my taste and my lifestyle:

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I can’t decide if it’s better or worse from the side:

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But that miss was redeemed by this scarf win:

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Next up was a trip to Sister Thrift in Framingham, which I visited after the one in Watertown. The lighting in the fitting room was abysmal; I apologize in advance.

This sweater had my favorite fitted proportions but too many bobbles on it, like your aunt crocheted it for you in 1986:

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I’m pretty sure there’s a hand-crocheted blanket with that exact motif on the bed in my parents’ guest room.

This cardigan was a great color and had nice drape but was too big across the shoulders/in the sleeves. Wanh-wannnh:

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Diane von Furstenberg in the wild! This puppy was 100% silk, my size, and check out that ginko print! I love it. Sadly the white was pretty dingy, the v-neck was waaaaay too low for work, and the hem was too short, so I left it for someone else:

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This Caslon sweater dress came home with me, to be paired with leggings. This eBay listing will give you a better idea of the color – it’s much more of a royal blue. Sweater dress + zipper details + pockets = win in my book:

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This military green field jacket by United Colors of Benetton also came home with me. Nice and cozy for New England fall, it reminds me of Nancy’s monster-bashing outfit in Stranger Things – which, let’s be honest, is half its appeal. My favorite part is the contrast plaid lining, which no one ever sees…but I know it’s there!

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My last thrift stop for September was the Goodwill in Portsmouth, NH, where I was on the hunt for some longer-sleeved casual tops. All my long-sleeved tops are either blouses are sweaters, but in this casual, cool temps environment, I’m finding a big need for more t-shirt-like, long-sleeved tops that can layer under warmer stuff.

Thus I give you this salmon-colored Chico’s 3/4 length top with pearlescent buttons (on the sleeve, too, although you can’t see them here), which is made of Pima cotton and was half off. BAM:

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The color is much less dark in real life:

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Paired with The Savile Row Co. polka dot vest, thrifted

Here’s another longer-sleeved tee, by Olive & Oak. Yep, those navy and white stripes are pretty similar to the Gap tee I wear to death, but this one has full sleeves, a neck that doesn’t flirtatiously reveal my shoulders, and a fun contrasting stripe there at the bottom. #thriftjustification

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Check out that hi-lo hem:

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I saw someone rock a warm oatmeal long-sleeved tee under a vest earlier in the day and figured I’d try to replicate it. This one was too greige and washed me out:

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But this one, by L.L. Bean, was just the right oatmeal color with a little cream heathering for visual texture (and a mock turtleneck! joy!):

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It’s going to be great under my navy vest (see above) and my cream/caramel/grey cardigan from last winter:

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Last but not least, a fun cotton moto jacket, by Gap I believe, with sleeves too big, but I thought you all would enjoy it:

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What’d y’all thrift last month? Should I have bought the moto jacket? Comment to share your thoughts!

 

 

Thrift Finds: Dressing My Kid for Fall

Since we have recently moved from Hotlanta to a place with real fall (hello, New England), here’s a round up of what I’ve thrifted to help my kid keep from freezing on the playground.

My strategy was to keep the pants fairly neutral so I didn’t have to worry whether the tops clashed; and to skip the uber-girly stuff – I’m allergic to pink in high doses, and my kid doesn’t care yet (unless you’re talking about unicorns or T. Rex; then she has an opinion, which is “YES, ALWAYS”).

First up, tops:

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Gap, Gap, Vince, Carter’s, Gap 

That bunny hot air balloon shirt is much more of a coral color than the intense tomato it looks like here.

Sweatshirts
Worn with or without a shirt underneath, depending on the weather:

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Jumpin’ Beans, H&M, Oshkosh

Check out the little sweatshirt V on the heart top and the t-shirt hem on the bow top:

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My kid’s clothes are cooler than mine.

 

Next we have pants:

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H&M, Garanimals, Nannette Girl, Oshkosh (the dirt is my child’s, not from the thrift store; laundry day!)

Both pairs of non-stretchy jeans have these genius adjustable elastic inside the waistband that means my skinny lil’ kid can wear pants the right length that don’t fall down to her ankles:

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You move the button to whichever slit you need, and there’s one on either side to keep it even. PS See the polka dots on these? My kid is way better at patterned pants than I am.

 

Next up, dresses:

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Gymboree, Old Navy, Carter’s

The one on the far right is obviously meant for summer, not fall, but our sweet neighbor nabbed it for us at the Goodwill a few months ago and I couldn’t leave it out! I love that orange embroidery.

Hoodies

The one on the left is like a fuzzy stuffed animal inside. The one on the right has a detachable hood, retails for $38, and was $6 in the boy’s section of the library consignment shop. Don’t be afraid to check both gender sections for your kid – you might find a gender-neutral classic or something marketed to a different gender from how your kid identifies but that your kid loves. Because how else am I supposed to find dinosaur shirts for my dino-loving daughter?  (Still on the hunt for that one…)

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Xhiliration; Polarn O. Pyret

 

Shoes & Underwear

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Same for undies – the minion underwear was in the “boys” section but my kid loves them, so I bought 2 pair. Plus that extra elastic seems to fit better on her bum.

She’s currently wearing the shoes on the left (Saucony) and will grow into the ones on the right (Stride Rite). Between the two pairs there was only one pair of inserts, so I moved them to her current shoes and will put them back in the bigger ones when she grows.

These $2.50 rain boots have gotten some good use – both for puddle jumping and for playing pretend around the house.

 

Tops for end of winter/spring
In general I try to avoid buying clothes for my kid to grow into because I can’t predict in what season she will be in which size. But with cold weather that lasts into April here, I figured these next-size-up long-sleeved shirts will get some good use before she outgrows them:

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Circo, Land’s End, Carter’s

Those of you with supernatural memories out there will recognize the floral ringer tee from my kid’s thrifted wardrobe a few seasons back. We got a ton of use out of it so when I saw it in the next size up I couldn’t refuse. Also, that coral-looking tee in the middle is significantly pinker in real life. In case you were wondering.

 

Still on my list: a proper winter coat and winter boots. The consignment shop at the library may come through. The consignment shop also sells kids’ figure and hockey skates – welcome to New England! – and I am waiting to see whether we skate enough to justify buying a pair since they’ll only be good for one season.

Do you thrift for any kids in your life? If so, what do you look for?

 

Thrift Finds: August 2017

Most of August was spent getting ready to move and then moving. But – I know you’re shocked – I managed to fit some thrifting in there anyway!

Check out the decor and lamp shades I thrifted in August to help stage our house here.

And now for the clothes.

Floral cotton popover blouse by Old Navy
Y’all know me and my love for popover blouses:

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I’ve been looking for something with palm fronds, which has proven surprisingly tricky to find with a navy background instead of black. This one is like…a chic version of a Hawai’ian shirt. It’s also beautifully lightweight for those truly hot days. I’m in.

PS For those keeping score at home, yes I did have another tropical popover in blue, which I loved, but which was a tad too tight on the chest/shoulders. Aaaaand I also had another navy floral blouse – one which was less vacation-y printwise, but with a flowy cut that just looked sloppy on me. So when the Old Navy number came along with its perfect fit, I heard the universe telling me to let go of the other two less-than-greats.

You are the weakest link(s). Goodbye:

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I am pretty sad about losing that awesome tropical print/color scheme. Sigh.

 

Plaid cotton popover blouse by Kenar:
Another cotton popover blouse – are we detecting a pattern here (pun intended)?

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I had been pulled toward a similar white-on-blue windowpane plaid popover before, one that didn’t fit so well:

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Another reason for rejecting that earlier edition was that it was too casual for work and I already had a plaid weekend shirt. But since moving to the Northeast, I’ve found that work attire (at least in my office) is quite a bit more laid back. The good fit on the new find makes it sleek enough for work while the plaid keeps it kickin’ for the weekend:

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Plaid shirt: Kenar – thrifted
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted

Next up, the Paige jeans that were miraculously left waiting for me in the fitting room at the Goodwill. I’m wearing them in the picture above as well as here:

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Vest: Savile Row Co. – thrifted
Shirt from my alma mater, retail
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted
Bag: Marco Avané – thrifted

Paige jeans, for those unfamiliar, are made in the USA and retail for around $200. BIG SCORE. These Skyline Skinnies were like new and fit me perfectly – no belt needed, which is a big plus in my book.  I’ll just have to adjust to having a second pair of jeans in my wardrobe… but with a cold climate and a casual office I imagine they’ll come in handy!

PS Yes I know skinny jeans are not really the hot new thing these days… since I tend to lag behind in trends (see: how long it took me to adopt skinnies in the first place), I’ll probably be wearing cropped mom jeans in about 2-3 years. You’ve been warned.

Mercer & Mason white blazer, new with tags
I’m digging the long, lean lapels on this blazer and the warmth it provides on brisk early mornings/late evenings here in New England:

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At no loss for blazers, I had pretty much decided I didn’t need a white one until I wore my white denim jacket to a wedding and felt under-dressed. This TJ Maxx brand features decent quality fabric and the lining keeps it toasty – linings were often problematic in Atlanta for this reason but are ideal here! The slightly off-white color will go with everything without washing me out (I hope – pasty white winter skin may yet prevail).


Olive faux suede ankle boots by Leila Stone
I know these don’t look terribly olive in these pictures, but they’re definitely on the green side of taupe.

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I’m calling these an impulse buy despite the fact that two or three days passed between when I first spotted them and when I bought them. I loved the subtle touch of color (it’s hard to find ankle boots that aren’t black/grey/brown), the asymmetrical “cuff” for lack of a better term, and the sassy little tassels on the zipper pull (although I wish the hardware was gold, but that’s my inner magpie speaking). They have my favorite toe shape – halfway between pointed and round – and the wood-like heel also appealed. It plays well with my wardrobe, unlike the other common option for heels, which is black. And they’re my size, hurrah!

But….

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…there’s a reason they had been donated to Goodwill. These shoes are faux suede, and judging by the tear in the fabric near the zipper, not high quality faux suede. Other evidence they are not well made, or else that they are very well worn, include wear spots near the toe and the heel on that same side (which luckily is the inside of the shoe, but it will still show).  And the heel is really too high for my personal comfort.

So why did I buy them? Mostly as a stop gap. As soon as I saw these, I started dreaming up all the delicious fall outfits they would complete, and I went looking online for something higher quality (and, most likely, retail). After spending an hour or two perusing different options, I realized that this was madness; I already had ankle boots I love, I was about to move and didn’t need to spend $100+ on new boots, and life would go on without my having a pair of olive shoes to make all my wardrobe dreams come true.  So to stop myself from pulling the trigger on something expensive and unnecessary, I spent $6 on these and told myself I could sew up the rip, my micro commute could survive the higher heel, and they’ll be fun while they last.

So now let’s see if I get any use out of them or just enjoy how they look on my shelf!

 

Last but not least, I thrifted a file organizer for my new office and a slew of hideous yet functional Laura Ashley thank-you notes which I have liberally sprinkled amongst my wonderfully generous and thoughtful congregation. And a couple of decorative pillows I have yet to convince the spouse are aesthetically pleasing. (To be fair, he was the one who started the throw pillow conversation…)

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Right??? I like them too. $17 on Etsy; jacked up to $40 retail; $4 at the thrift store. BAM.

I also thrifted a goodly fall wardrobe for the child, which I will post separately.

 

So, your turn. What did you thrift this past month? Have you ever bought something ridiculous and/or crappy to stop yourself from spending a lot more money on a higher quality version? Or do you have way more self-discipline than I?

 

In Which I Impulse Buy on Poshmark

I’m not usually one for online secondhand shopping since you can’t try things on and secondhand sites either don’t do returns (eBay) or else make you pay return shipping (ThredUp). But I’ve found online shopping to have one really good use: when you find something in a thrift store that you absolutely LOVE that’s not your size but you’re reasonably confident another size will fit you, get on the internets and search for it.

Granted, this works best for mass market brands and even better for big box brands like those found at Target – you have a much better chance of finding the piece in question for resale online and you are more likely to know your size in that brand.

This combination worked in my favor a few months back when I found a dress by Merona that I fell for hard but that was just too small:

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I’m not sure if this is best described as “marled” or “Donegal tweed,” but I loved it. It had the texture I crave in muted red/navy, colors already in my wardrobe; it’s chic enough for work; and it has zipper details (a trend I know will one day go out of style but magpie that I am, I cannot help myself):

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You can tell from that last photo that I’ve learned to use the manufacturer’s tag to search online for the same piece. (Thanks Adina J!)  Except an internet search with those digits yielded zilch.  So I started searching for the dress the old fashioned way, using keywords like “Merona,” “blue dress,” and “sleeveless.”

After some interesting detours, I found it in two sizes that might work for me on Poshmark. I had thought that (in line with their name) they only sold higher end and designer items, but either they’ve lowered their standards or they’ve always had a wide array of price points.

I figured I should ask the sellers of the two different sizes available what their thoughts were on fit. To do this I needed to sign up (of course), but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was using my Google account – literally one of the quickest “get back to what you were actually trying to do” experiences I’ve had. Once I’d typed my queries, folks responded within the hour and were friendly and helpful in their replies, which is in line with Poshmark’s self-described social, active community.

A quick aside on Poshmark, for those unfamiliar with it (as I was). In the world of online secondhand shopping, it’s sort of a hybrid – individual sellers post their wares like on eBay, but Poshmark provides shipping labels like ThredUp. They will also, like eBay, provide a refund/free return shipping if the item is not as advertised; but unlike ThredUp, where you are welcome to return the item if you don’t like it (albeit after having paid return shipping), purchases are final.

Another eBay-like feature on Poshmark is the option to “make an offer.” Offers are binding but expire in 24 hours; in other words, if the seller accepts your price, you automatically buy it. If they don’t, nothing happens and you are free to purchase at their asking price.

Back to the dress. The first seller apparently hadn’t worn it as she simply relayed fitting information from Target’s website, but she was very prompt with her reply. (I wear different sizes in different Target brands, so that wasn’t super helpful.) Since the listing had only been up for 12 hours, I figured I should buy it right away if I didn’t want it to get snapped up.

So I asked myself if I was willing to spend $15 + $1 shipping on a dress that might not fit. $15 is double what I normally pay for a thrifted dress, but when it checks all the boxes and makes your heart sing, it’s pretty darn reasonable.

[About that $1 shipping fee – you get $0.99 shipping on your first order, but the way they advertise it is a bit deceptive. The “limited time” offer is described as only good during your first 24 hours, so I thought it was good for any purchase made within the first day, or that I could fill up my cart with items from various sellers and get $1 shipping for each item. Nope. Because items are sold by individual sellers, each item requires separate shipping (like eBay; unlike ThredUp).  Good to know if you plan on buying something bulky on your first day that will cost more than standard shipping.]

Once I had clicked “submit order” the seller messaged me to say she’d ship within the next day – hurray!  Upon arrival I was charmed by the packaging she had chosen and her sweet thank-you note: IMG_5413IMG_5414

I was not charmed, however, by the fit:

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Not the seller’s fault, of course, but more of a cautionary tale re: buying clothes on the internet. I could have spent another $20 or so to get the “right” size, but at that point I’d already sunk enough money into the dress and I wasn’t sure the “right” size would fit well even if it didn’t swamp me.

So I simply donated it back to Goodwill and considered it my $16 reminder that I don’t buy clothing online unless I’ve tried on the exact garment – including size – elsewhere. (See this post for the first time I learned that lesson.)
I know some of you all have had better luck with online thrifting.  Do you have any tips for this jaded internet shopper?  Do any of you join me in swearing off online clothes shopping?

Thrift Camaraderie + A Relaxed Posting Schedule

Hello Thrifters!  Just a note to let you know that I am entering a busy season in my personal/work lives and will not have a regular posting schedule over the next few weeks.  I hope to still post occasionally, just not on a schedule. Because let’s be honest, nothing stops me from thrifting, so I might as well write about it!  Making sure I have the time to write quality, engaging posts for you all is another thing, though, so I’m giving myself permission to be flexible.

I am so grateful for your readership and your willingness to be flexible with me!  Your engagement in and enjoyment of this site makes the whole thing really rewarding and I am absolutely thrilled that you read and contribute to the wonderful community that is Thriftshop Chic.

In the spirit of that community, check out this week’s thrift camaraderie encounter. (TC = chatting up your fellow thrifters, particularly giving/asking for advice on whether to purchase a particular thrift find. It’s a special kind of interaction that thrift stores seem to encourage and I LOVE IT.)

This woman needed something to wear for an evening event to raise awareness of and fight against rape and sexual assault.  Teal and purple are sexual assault and domestic assault awareness colors, respectively, so this long-sleeved romper was pretty much perfect:

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I can’t get over the sequins (must be the 5% of me that wants to dress like Luke Spiller), and we both agreed that the long sleeves balance out the leg exposed by the shorts. Did I mention it has pockets?

She said she had looked several places and finally came to Goodwill and hit the jackpot.  Yes!  Thrifting is the perfect way to find an outfit or accessories for a one-of-a-kind event at low cost.  She may never wear this romper again (although I totally hope she does), but for $6.99 she doesn’t have to – she can just donate it back and let someone else enjoy it in all its sequined glory.

 

Have a great weekend, Thrifters!

May Thrift Finds

First up, the rejects:

By Loft, a blouse-with-skirt number whose colors I loved but whose drop sleeves and sheerness I did not love:
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I don’t remember who made this but it was too big in the bust and the neck felt too formal for my life:
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This blazer by Stile Benetton made me look like a fussy governess from the 1950s:
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This lemony dress of sunshine was too big (and probably too Sandy from Grease for my personal style):
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Meow!  I LOVED the color block/print thing happening on this Ann Taylor dress but not the way it pulled across my hips (it was too small):
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Ugh, these smudgy mirrors!  you can barely tell that this sweater has some lovely gold pattern on the sleeves.  I liked it fine but decided it was too similar to other sweaters I own, plus pretty dark for my skin tone:

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I cried that this vintage handmade beauty didn’t fit me:

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Check out that print! And the buttons… such a great pattern:WP_20170519_15_03_32_Pro

Great lapels on this blazer but too big in the sleeves (and everywhere else):
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This burgundy moto jacket by Mossimo is so cool, and yet so cropped (particularly from the side).  I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for a cropped jacket, mostly because if it’s cold enough for a tweedy jacket like this, it’s too cold to leave my middle protected by just one layer of fabric:
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Last but not least, completely for your viewing pleasure, a tweed suit by Gap circa… 1980-something?  1990?  The only thing I loved about this was the navy suede collar and how fun it was to pose in:
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So itchy!

 

And now, the keepers. As you may remember I’ve been looking for some more casual dresses, which I found; a fancier-looking one slipped in there as well.

Let’s start with this charcoal shirt dress by Gap. Gives the shape I like, it’s all cotton (great for weather where your clothes need to breathe), and I can layer it for fall/winter as the color will go perfectly with my winter cardigan:
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setting off that blond hair…

Patterned beige and white gathered dress.  I felt like Queen Letizia of Spain in this:
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More in focus:
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It is too big through the arms/armpits (see below) but I couldn’t resist it (despite the fact that it’s BEIGE and the pattern looks like a wall sconce). I just felt so long and elegant in it, and I am confident I can use some of the tricks from New Dress a Day to remedy the arms/armpits…once I finally get our sewing machine out and re-teach myself how to thread it.

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Droopy sleeves/big armpits ahoy.

Speaking of sewing things myself, this spunky little striped Old Navy number with great stretch and excellent sleeves (this length might be a new fave) had a few little holes along the side seam (next photo), which I hand-sewed shut one evening in front of a few episodes of Spirit (or maybe part of Star Wars…my kid is big into horses and Yoda at the moment).

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See those shady holes?  Already fixed!
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In action here:

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

So this one belongs in the “keepers turned into rejects” pile.  Self, you should have known that buying some version of this top for the third time was dumb because you had already rejected it twice and its scratchy, too-big ways would come back to haunt you:WP_20170519_14_52_21_Pro

I put it on once at home and said “nope.”  You all will be glad to know that even experienced thrifters still make mistakes.
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This, however, was a big ol’ winner. The light olive color is right up my alley/skin tone and the turned-up sleeves feel polished and current:

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The Gucci-esque closure (which actually works) is a great detail that takes it from neutral territory to funky and interesting:WP_20170525_14_08_48_Pro

In action(movie):
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I also got some Etienne Aigner brown boots for $7 which will look great with this dress + leggings come fall. I’ll have to showcase these boots in a another post because the photos I got were super blurry.
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That’s it!  How was your May, thrift-wise?  Anything fun on your thrift list?