Thrift Overhaul


This is my beautiful friend Emily. I met Emily in 1st grade when I had just immigrated to Canada and her best friend was the only one in the class that spoke Dutch. I learned English and stole a best friend that year.

25 years and a few houses later, we still live near by each other. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I remember Emily shares a home with her husband, 3 lively (read: occasionally wild...) children, 3 cats, a big dog and a hamster.... or two. She works as a vet tech and always takes the time to answer all my cat (and sometimes dog... it's a long story) concerns.
I asked Emily when she last really went shopping for new clothes and she replied that it had been a 'long time'. For me, sadly, a 'long time' might be a few weeks but for Emily, it means a few years. So I challenged myself to update Emily's wardrobe at the thrift store.


I obviously think blazers are the cat`s meow, and while not everyone has to be as crazy about them as I am, a blazer or two is a good addition in any closet. This wool blazer zips up for a more dressed up look but also easily works well with a casual Minnie mouse shirt (not thrifted... from my closet via Old Navy). Then again, Minnie works well with anything.
Also, those calf hair leopard print flats were actually thrifted a few years ago. Emily tends to be my dumping ground for good thrift deals that I can`t leave behind and that don`t fit me. I don`t think she is complaining.


I love this dress on Emily!!! It's the perfect length, a super flattering drape and it's... machine washable. Apparently that's important to busy moms? I got both the dress and the sandals on 50% off day at Talize. I'll say it again, as much as I prefer a quiet evening to get my thrift on, with the ever increasing prices, it's good to put on your brave face and hit those sale days. 


Again, except for the scarf, all the items in this look were found on the 50% off day at Talize. The sandals are leather, the jeans fit well and the Gap shirt is easy to wear and long enough to move around in without getting untucked. It's basically a really simple and wearable look and the silk scarf steps it up from the other moms at the playground. 
I'm kidding. It's not a competition. 
Or is it...?


I threw some serious side eye when I saw the price on these shoes. No one saw the side eye though, so did it really happen? Despite the price, I kept coming back to them. They are leather Nine West t-strap sandals with a wider heel for stability and they were in near perfect condition. Though, it should be noted that Emily can rock stilettos with a dog on a leash and 3 girls running around (away?) and does not need a stable heel... But the wider heel is nice and the shoes can go with a plethora of outfits.
The midi pleated skirt can easily become a wardrobe basic as well. It's polyester and washable... and adorable. 

I went shopping for Emily on my own, so there were a few things that ended up getting exchanged before we arrived at this final edit. Besides getting the sizes right without having her with me, the trickiest part was putting together functional outfits. The thrift store is where I usually let myself go crazy and I rarely think of function. Hence the heaps of sequins in my closet... But shopping for someone with a completely different life than mine was a fun challenge. 

The best part was that at Emily's birthday party last weekend, her outfit was 67% stuff that I thrifted for her... I call that a success. 
Thanks again Em for being my guinea pig and for letting your kids watch a lot of TV while we took these pictures. I hope you get lots of wear out of your thrifted goods!


Dorothy said...

she looks awesome! great job!

maria said...

My cousin is a hottie :)!
Good job!

briannelee said...

You did an awesome job! I love each and every outfit.

Merl said...

She looks so happy and confident in all the photos! You did a superb job Ms Yen.. two gold stars from Mama N :)

ps....i miss you like whoa.

Unknown said...

Awesome! You could totally be a personal shopper XD

LTHL said...

Your amazing at thrift finding!!!

Jony said...

You did a great job!!

x Jony

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

So cool. Fabulous outfits for a fraction of the price of retail plus all those good vibes knowing that you aren't contributing to the problem.

You make my thrifting efforts look pathetic. I think you need to give classes where you take people with you thrifting so they can learn to do as well as you did here.


Sophie said...

I've got the sudden urge to go thriftiness now! Love the last outfit.

Marie a la Mode said...

Wow you found some great pieces for her! Love that floral dress, it's gorgeous.

Margreet Sonneveld said...

Emily looks wonderful!Didn't realize she's a Mom of three! Say hello to her!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a stunning series of photos! Beautiful woman,and beautiful outfits! Add to that the pleasure of knowing she is my daughter, but bias notwithstanding, you did an amazing job! Especially love the floral number! And the little monkey sidekick is pretty cute, too! :D Mrs.H

GFS said...

You did a fab job!

Jane said...

Um so this is amazing. I seriously need to steal you for a thrift store shop. But I think part of my problem is the thrift stores in TO are really picked over...

The shoes are amazing, well everything is amazing. I think you have found a new job as a thrift stylist.

Anonymous said...

Love this! Great outfits, lovely model, v. clever stylist!

Loulou said...

You did a terrific job! Such great outfits. She must be very pleased. And those Nine West shoes were worth the price tag.

Jennifer said...

I bet you guys have the best time thrifting together!

xo Jennifer


Carrie said...

What a chic mom! The outfits are cute and practical. I tend to not be very focused at the thrift store, but this showed me that you can put together a great capsule wardrobe with some patience and focus! :)

Anonymous said...

You did well for Emily. i love the last look!

Anonymous said...

I need someone like you right now! No good thrift shops where I am in Auckland Nz, and no time to shop either (I have two littlies). When I fancy something new I rummage through my drawers to find something I can alter! Love all her looks but am especially lusting after the pleated skirt. Cris

losmerinos said...

Love this post - and Emily looks REALLY good in all the outfits; the dress is my favourite!

Rachel Frend said...

Those finds are amazing, that dress! Great job!

VividVoltage said...

You did a great job and all, but come on that head scarf, you're friends are SO much cooler than mine! I am in the same friends with babies bracket but none of my own, I don't know any one that would let me put a head scarf on them. It looks great and it really set her apart from other playground moms in a SO cool way.

Congrats to you on all the fun outfits as well as the awesome friends who put you let you do what you do so well!



Laura said...

This was such a fabulous idea to shop for a friend and to think of her in mind! That maxi dress especially looks amazing on her!


Linda said...

I'm volunteering to be your next guniea pig. I know, it's kind of me.

Chilel said...

U should quit your day job and become a professional shopper or stylist. Ur friend is lucky to have you. And side note: I thrifted the exact same pair of Nine west for $14 but I decided to sell them because as much as I loved the heels, they were too small for me....boohoo

Danica Stark said...

you have a lovely blog.
It would be great if we will follow each other :)
What do you think?
Danica Stark
Follow me on GFC

Like Me on Facebook
Let's be twitter buddies
Love my Bloglovin
Besos from me

Danica Stark said...

you have a lovely blog.
It would be great if we will follow each other :)
What do you think?
Danica Stark
Follow me on GFC

Like Me on Facebook
Let's be twitter buddies
Love my Bloglovin
Besos from me

Amber Solis said...

That is so sweet Yen. Looks like you did a great job finding some awesome items!!


Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

Well done with the thrift store finds. I"m curious to know what you think of midi skirts. I tried on one at Joe Fresh the other day and liked it, but have been so trained into thinking I look best in skirts that are just above my knee that I wondered if it looked dowdy on me (I'm 50 something, by the way). What's your opinion on midi skirts? Only for the young and cool? Are they coming back in?

jentine said...

Grace- I love a midi skirt! Worn with modern flats (sandals even better) or heels, they look really current and pretty. I honestly think that the trend cycle is so fast now that we can call anything 'in style'. Just wear what you wanna wear, as long as you feel good;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love this! You should do this more often.

Laura HH said...

I am very impressed that you found a jacket that fits Emily so well without her with you!

amanda said...

love, love these. She looks lovely and happy and comfy (the trifecta of good outfits). where does one sign up for a thrift makeover from you?? I'm half kidding... but only half ;)