2011-02-10

Thrift Thursday. Taking Chances.

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It would be a much better story to say that love happened at first sight and we were inseperable from that moment on but the truth is, it was a moment of lust and then it was three years of the cold shoulder before the spark was rekindled. And that is why I, like Celine Dion (I have quoted this song before but it guides my life like a Northern star), believe in taking chances at the thrift store.

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I found these boots years ago at a Value Village in Winnepeg when I went to visit a friend. At the time I loved the colour of the leather and how unique they were and even though at $10 I thought they were priced pretty high for a Winnepeg VV (remember in university speak, $10 is 2-3 drinks...), I took them home. It ended up taking me three years to get the courage to wear them, another 6 months to break them in and we have, since then, been living together in harmony for 1.5 years. I wear them a lot...here, here, here... and I am grateful that 5 years ago I had the insight to purchase them for Future Jentine.

I realize that the recommendation of taking chances at the thrift store could lead to potential hoarding situations. I wrote before that when I started to thrift very regularly again two years ago, I went a little overboard... it was partially because everything was so cheap but it was also because blogging suddenly gave me the confidence to wear what I wanted. It seemed like everything had potential and it all came home with me. Yes, the sparkly,mid-length, turtleneck dress with tassels was interesting and unusual but I looked like a Mennonite figure skater and that dress got donated back from whence it came. I don't doubt that one season all trend reports will predict the Mennonite figure skater look is so 'in' (after all, how long can we proclaim stripes and florals as the next big thing? ) but the dress just never looked nice on me. And I should never have bought it. But Future Jentine had not written a post yet about when to take chances at the thrift store, so we shall not punish Past Jentine...

And while I totally think the thrift store is a good and cheap way to try new trends (leopard, boyfriend blazers, sequins are all easy finds...), in this post I am referring to taking chances on styles that might not be current and are not available in multiple variations at your local F21. When I bought the boots five years ago, the chunky heel was, well, not cool (and back then I still reallllly cared about that) but I still bought them. I will take a chance on an item in a thrift store if the item passes this checklist...

Quality- Well, I am predictable... harping about quality again. If you are going to take a chance on an item and keep it in your closet for a while, it better be good enough quality to even deserve some room in prime real estate. A good brand, nice finishings, nice material... you know how we roll...

Timelessness- I wouldn't call the boots I thrifted timeless but the look of the heel is something that will come in and out of style over the years. Some trends will die (or at least I hope they will... insert exhaustive list here...) but other things are just on a constant cycle... skinny, flare, wide leg... mini, midi, maxi... it's worth gambling on something that is bound to come back in style.

Personal preference- An item might be great quality and be as timeless as Snooki's pouf but if it doesn't appeal to me, it's easy to leave it behind. I love brown leather...boots, belts, purses... nothing shows age and wear better, so the boots attracted me immediately. You know what you like and what works with your body (and if you don't Sal will find you and preach sister). The odd thing is that as my confidence in my own style grows, I find myself caring less about what is trendy and more about what I like. And that is why I am glad I also took a chance on this vintage dress. I love it and will still love it 5 years from now... when everyone is wearing tasseled turtleneck dresses, jumping aboard the Mennonite figure skating trend...

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Do you take chances at the thrift store?

30 comments :

Kitty said...

I take thrifty chances alot! Its like a rush - maybe even an addiction?

Today I took a chance and bought dark green leather riding boots on ebay. I have been watching for a great pair (not counting the 20 pair I already own) but I thought I wanted deep brown. This pair popped up on auction and I spent three days trying to talk myself out of bidding. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought the green would be just unusual enough to make me feel silly happy when I wear them! We'll see how it goes!

The Suburb Experiment said...

I do! But like you said, it has to be something of quality. I think you can get away with the crazy as long as the crazy looks expensive.

Jenn

Carmia said...

Fantastic post - and boots! I can't remember ever taking such a chance at a thrift store myself (maybe that's just because there aren't any good ones in my area and I have to drive ages to get to one), but I did once talk a friend into taking a chance on a pair of thigh-high Pierre Cardin boots at a thrift sale. Four ( or five?) years later she's still loving them. :)

The Daily Fashionista said...

I tend to take a lot of chances, with the intention that if it doesn't work out I can always mend it or wait until I'm in the mood to wear them. Oddly enough, I took a chance on some boots about a month ago and have yet to wear them. They're super cute, Aldo, and are in trend right now, but I'm still trying to get the courage to put them on. I may try it out this weekend:)

Stella said...

Those boots...<3. Anyway! I definitely take chances while thrifting. I figure that if I try to make it work and I'm not just feeling the look, I'll sell it or pass it on. But for the most part, I'm really happy with taking chances! There are lots of things that I've bought on a chance that I now won't get rid of because I'm very happy how they turned out!

Rachel said...

Awesome boots - I covet them every time you wear them!

I do take chances, but sometimes I don't get the courage to actually wear the item. Like this purple wool plaid skirt that I bought this year. It's adorable and about 1.5 in above the knee and I've styled it several ways (in the privacy of my bedroom) but I just don't have the chutzpa to wear it!

I still kick myself over not buying a Bob Mackie vintage black quilted blazer/jacket that I came across last summer for $4. $4!!! It was 100+ degrees outside and I just said "nah" I don't need another black blazer. It's the purchase I most regret not making at the thrift store.

Love your Thrift Thursdays!

DomesticJenny said...

Love that dress!

Sofia said...

Love both of your thrift experiments. I bought some old man trousers at Goodwill last year, because I just loved the idea of wearing old man trousers. And I wore them. And it was a bit silly. But I loved it, and am wearing them again as soon as it is warm enough for thin fabrics.

Lindsay Jean said...

I'm always so jealous of these boots whenever you post them! I need to keep my eye out for the really unique finds and then have the courage to actually wear them!

Work With What You've Got said...

No, but my husband takes chances for me ;)

The Snakecharmer said...

Hello beautiful!
After reading your post about silk scarves thrifting, I felt inspired to write my own with tips I have learned over the years. I would really appreciate if you had a look at my blog.
xoxo
Patricia

grace said...

I definitely take thrift store chances. I use the thrift store as a way to add things to my wardrobe that I am not sure are going to work for me--recently I'm especially fond of thrifting odd scarves and jackets.

Martina Lynne said...

I like what you're saying about how to take chances and on what. I find thrift shopping to be the best place to take chances on building my own personal, eclectic style instead of just trying on new hip styles. I mean, how else can I buy silk scarves in preposterous patterns by the pound and then try them on in two dozen styles?

Futurelint said...

I might take too many chances at the thrift store! Anything weird and unusual gets put in the cart! But, if I try it on and it looks crazy, back it goes! I'm getting better at being honest with myself about what I will and will not wear and what I can fix and what I cannot.

K.Bean said...

I have a rule for taking thrift store chances: I must wear it one time for each dollar I spend on it. Sometimes this makes a crazy 70s polyester blouse an easy indulgence, other time it helps me back away from an overpriced madcap 60s cocktail dress.

$1 / wearing. Works for me.

Sarah said...

I love Snookie's poof more than you can imagine and wear it on a regular basis when I talk in my jersey accent. Moving on. I agree, there are some things that you just have to try, it's how you figure out what you like and really really should never try again....like some old lady trousers that you tried,despised,and paid someone to take them away for you, okay so I'm still bitter.

From Suns To Moons said...

I can't believe you don't like Snooki's pouf! That sh*t is as timeless as the trench coat. You know what I like? That last dress you're in because it reminds me of the time I discovered your blog and chuckled at your "beefcake with arms" self-reference. I'm paraphrasing here, too lazy to find the actual post, but you know what I mean.

Kayla said...

I loved this whole post. This one really hit the nail on the head!Not to mention those boots are way more timeless than Snooki's pouf!

Cubicle Chic said...

Great post and awesome boots! I definitely take more chances at thrift stores. Since the price point is lower, I feel like I'm not risking as much in purchasing an item that I'm not entirely sure will fit perfectly into my wardrobe. What I've found is that those risks sometimes lead me to discover that I actually DO like patterns, colors or a little craziness. It's always fun to find something new :)

inanenvelope said...

There is one thrift store that is a regular drop in place for me. I've gotten a few great dresses (including a great DVF) and have seen some quality pieces - that were unfortunately not my size. I say thrifting in a store, yes. Thrifting online has not been so successful for me since I couldn't inspect the quality.

Oh and pricepoint is always important. If I can get something of equal style and new quality for a better price, I won't buy it.

Terri said...

A definite YES, I take chances...because they are at thrift prices. A recent example would be a leather skirt...

LyddieGal said...

First of all, those boots and that dress are extremely gorgeous!

and yes, i take chances at the thrift store. bright yellow 80s blazer - yup. Velvet pants - yup. Blue suede 80's pumps - up.

I'm always looking for stuff with potential, even if it might not be right away.

Chic on the Cheap

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

I've never been much of a thrifter, but that's only because I don't really know where to go! I'm definitely going to try to start. I love your blog, always great to see fellow Canadian bloggers!!!

frills-and-lace.blogspot.com

Rossella said...

nice shoes


let me know your thoughts on my new blog entry and follow me at:

My Couture Diaries
My Couture Diaries
My Couture Diaries

Karla said...

Definitely! I find things that I wish I could find at retail stores for a reasonable price but usually don't. Walking away with a $2.00 silk blazer or a $.50 silk blouse is the best when I compare the crazy prices retail stores give to cheap materials.

Recently I purchased a $1.50 leopard print blazer that I would definitely not have bought for retail price. Thrifting and I are gonna be friends for a long looong time.

A.Co said...

Good. Again. Another good post.

I DO take chances at the thrift store... for instance: I bought an emerald green wool-poly-blend 'suit' (and by suit, it came with a skirt)... the blazer is short, with sharp edges and shoulder pads, it closes asymmetrically. Now, maybe this is starting to sound 'trendy' and not 'chance-y' but lookit, longer blazers are in style right now, right? Right. I prefer them myself howeverrrrr I thought this was chic (it's certainly 80's) and would grow to love it.

I also bought a denim jumpsuit. Yes. Jumpsuit. It zips up the front. It's from Le Chateau and it was brand-spankin' new (minus the fact that Le Chateau probably sold it 5 years ago). Now, I know jumpsuits are kind of in right now, but denim? That's TIGHT? Not really. Did I mention it zips up the front and has spaghetti straps?

And scene.

A.Co @ A.Co est. 1984

SIENA.STYLE said...

I really like your outfits!!!kiss from prague <3

poca said...

Those boots are fantastic. So glad you did take a chance!!

I definitely take chances all of the time but you are so right - QUALITY is key.

Thank you for your eloquently written guidance!

xo,
Your fellow thrifter - Poca

www.stylespotrun.com

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