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Style Steal

Crop top? AA (here) Skirt? Thrifted (by Merl) Necklace? Vintage (from Merl) Hat? h&m
Purse? Thrifted Sandals? Flat Sandal in Vaqueta Cuero by MTNG c/o DNA footwear (on sale!)

Giving credit where credit is due... This outfit is a complete rip-off from Merl. I drove down to Chicago and walked into Merl's apartment where I met the impeccably dressed Karyn and reunited with Merl, flaunting an Angelina leg in her thrifted skirt twisted to the side.
I was all like, 'girl, where'd you get that outfit?' to Merl as I went around and gave every cat and human in that room a hug.
That's how I ended up braving American Apparel to get the exact crop top Merl had on and then dug through her clothes pile to later wear her skirt too. I also borrowed the necklace and the Egyptian style bracelet from her jewellery display and topped it all off with my own hat, purse and sandals. At least I brought something to the table...

And of course, I, like Merl, had to flaunt the Angelina leg every chance I got. Which was all fun and games until I decided to take the stairs into her studio a few at a time (bigger steps= more leg) and somehow got my foot caught in the hem of the skirt. If it had been a slow motion sequence in a movie you would have heard three tiny pops as the three safety pins fitting the skirt to me snapped open. And then you would have me, in underpants, standing in the stairwell of the studio space with my foot stuck in the skirt which was now on the ground.

I don't know why this stuff happens to me. Probably to help me out with blog content.

(*Thanks to Merl for the pics! I totally screwed up when I transferred them over from her and lost some of the sharpness and I don't want to bother Merl again because she has more important things to do than babysit my computer confused self. Bah! Just saying that the slight blur is my bad, not Merl's. She is a champ.) 




   Dress? Wayne Clark, thrifted Shoes? Aldo (still love 'em, on sale here) Purse? Beverly Feldman, bridesmaid gift Necklace? Clyde's Rebirth (here)

This dress was a bit of a hassle to figure out, but obviously well worth the effort because it has a polka dot circle skirt. Really anything with a circle skirt is worth the effort.
What makes the dress tricky is that the fit on the chest is a little snug compared to the fit of the rest of the dress and then on top of that, the waist sash is supposed to be a drop waist. I tried to respect the slight 1920's nod that the designer obviously gave this dress but I spent half the day wearing it with a drop waist and I fidgeted the entire time. The waist sash is huge and really awkward (picture of it undone here, it's like the size of a skirt in itself...) and I couldn't figure out how to raise the waist and hide some of the volume of the waist tie in a half elegant manner.
And then I remembered being in Grade 11 and learning to tie a Windsor knot so I could wear a tie to school, just like our Canadian hero Avril Lavigne. And that bad moment of fashion direction totally redeemed itself because I tied the waist sash in a loose interpretation of the Windsor knot and suddenly the dress made sense on me.
Sometimes you need to make bad fashion choices in your life, just so you can appreciate your personal style growth. And so you can learn to tie a tie.


Some Thoughts


Blazer? Thrifted Shorts? Gap boyfriend shorts (size down! here) Shoes? Derek Lam 
Purse? Vintage, gift  Scarf? Hema

Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to write and I stare at my computer screen for an hour and then tell you a story about my cats. Other times I feel like I have so much to write that I can't seem to have good segue and I end up... just telling you a story about my cats.
Let's forget about a cohesive post today. Here's just some thoughts.

Most importantly, my girl Kate Middleton had a baby. You already heard that part. What you didn't hear is that I cried when I heard the news and then cried again when I saw the sweet family in their festive blue leaving the hospital. I didn't even know I cared that much... or at all! What is wrong with me? We can probably explain away tear fest #2 as tears of envy over Kate's fresh blow out. She looked fabulous...

Also, last week I drove myself down to Chicago to hang out with some pretty cool ladies (more on that later I am sure). It should be noted that for the first time in my life, I have a vehicle that is reliable enough to make the 8 hour drive. It should also be noted that I actually hate driving long distances and the drive was making me a bit nervous beforehand. When I snow plow I drive for way longer than 8 hours, so the apprehension to driving for long distances is a little weird. Whatever. I got layers people, like an onion...
And after all the fuss, the drive was fine. It turns out I just need a mix of country music, classical music and political talk shows to keep me alert. Again, I am a layered and complex person...

Finally, my knees legit look like babies in the first picture. Anyone else get that sometimes? Can we start a club or a support group or a funny hashtag on Instagram at the very least? #babyfaceknees

That is all. For now.


Thrift Friend


Featuring my little bunny Elisha again (I think she's cool with being called a little bunny, at least by me...) Mostly I wanted to share that she thrifted this amazing backless BCBG number and got 50% off because it had stains. She soaked it in the bathtub, the stains came out and everybody lived happily ever after.

I used to be pretty indiscriminate about asking for discounts. I'm Dutch, I'm just looking for a good deal! Or that was my excuse. And then some of my friends became small business owners and designers and I realized that sometimes asking for a deal is a little like kicking a kitten; a sleeping kitten. I now save my haggling for flea markets, garage sales and non-charity based thrift stores. Not that I am taking things up to the front for discounts every time I go to a thrift store but if I think something has been priced a little high at a for-profit thrift store, I have occasionally asked if they can do anything about the price. I'm polite and if it's a 'no', I carry on my merry way...
That said, stains and damage are fair game for discounts, especially when you are shopping second hand. The sorters may have only handled the item for a few seconds and never spotted the damage. It's tricky, especially with stains, to evaluate if it is still worth buying though. With Elisha's dress, it was worth the buy because the stains didn't look to be oil based and the material is polyester. You know I love silk but removing stains from silk can be more complicated based on the actual fabric and design of the garment. Polyester can handle a lot more and you would be surprised what a soak in the tub will take out.

So give all thrift finds a thorough once over before heading to the cash. It's worth it to be fully aware of any potential nasty surprises and to ask for a discount if you think you can handle the problem. You can use the money you saved to buy your cat a new neon play mouse. You could also move your couch over and find the old cat toys but it's probably easier to just buy a new one. Just saying...


Where Blogging Meets Thrifting

(Posing in my favourite hand-me-down night shirt, with my favourite stuffed animals and my favourite poster. Basically this would have been my FB profile pic if FB was around back then. Thankfully, it was not...)

I grew up with second-hand everything... especially clothes. Hand-me downs from my older brothers (there was a definite lack of ruffles and pink in my childhood) upgraded into hand-me downs from an older girl at church. Growing up we went garage saling (it's a verb, trust...) every Saturday and would hit up all the bags sales at local thrift shops. Thrifting became cool when I was in high school, so I obviously went because I also wanted to become cool, and now here we are, a few short years past high school (liar!) with a blog and a closet that is probably 66% thrift. Still working on becoming cool.
It's pretty obvious I love thrifting and that's why I am so excited to be partnering with Savers and hosting a thrift work shop in Austin, TX next month with TxSC!!!! I know, Texas in August... I am sweating already. I would like to think this heat wave we are having is prepping me to go to Texas...
To be honest, I mostly go to TxSC for the sheer fun of it. There is lots to learn, and tons of chances to network but I like going to meet up with my friends of the Internet and to meet new friends of the Internet. Meeting up in an awesome city isn't too shabby either. That said, I love that TxSC is open to all kinds of different ideas and dedicated to hosting it a unique conference. I am tickled pink to I have a chance to share about thrifting. I am probably never going to host a conference workshop on boosting SEO but thrifting? That, I can talk about for ages...
Not that I have ages to talk. I'm going to have to cram as much knowledge as possible into a short time span to allow for plenty of time to actually thrift in a giant Savers! I hope to talk about customizing your own thrift route, seeking quality (predictable...), cleaning your finds and how a few simple alterations can have you seeing potential everywhere. If you are going and have any suggestions or questions, I am totally open to hearing them... I will try to contain my side tangents to pack optimal thrift knowledge into the time slot.

Blogging is a crazy ride and it has changed so much in the last 4 years. I think it used to be just a place to share online but now it (and its corresponding social media channels) is a legitimate business. That transition has always been a little shaky for me. That's probably a whole blog post on its own... But when I feel a little lost or out of place in the current fashion blogging landscape, I always return back to what I love blogging about the most; thrifting. I don't know what the future holds, but I know it includes thrift stores;) And I am excited I get a chance to share more about my passion at TxSC next month. Thanks Savers and TxSC!!! I'll see you soon! I'll be the girl hugging the air conditioner!!!


Got Game (+ giveaway)


Dress? Vintage and handmade, thrifted Necklaces? Bottom; c/o Loft, middle; gift from Merl (here), top; thrifted Clutch? thrifted Sandals? MTNG c/o DNA shoes (here)

One time when I wore this dress, it split its back seam (this happens more often, let's blame my hips...) and my Mom had to have my back, quite literally, so I could walk to my car. But other than that, this dress has been good to me. I've actually worn it a ton in the last few years (here, here and here). It goes from a bit dressier to casual very easily. That's good because I started out this particular day dressed up with heels and ended the day with my MTNG sandals, wrinkles and dog hair all over myself. Sandals, heels, wrinkles, dog hair... this dress can handle it all.
The other thing of note is the fact that I can't stop wearing all. the. necklaces. One used to suffice but now, why wear one, when three is even better? Marisa told me I have necklace game and I think I like that term... My latest addition is the long, colourful necklace from Loft. I love that it has good weight to it (I don't know why I am a freak about this but I hate flimsy jewelry... I want it to be solid) and it layers with all my other good stuff.

And lucky for you local readers, Loft just opened up a new location in Lime Ridge mall and they are letting me give away a $50 gift card to their new location. Just tell me your best pun and leave a comment. Or... actually just leave a comment with a way to get a hold of you if you win. Obviously, this giveaway is for local peeps... Unless you are planning a getaway to the Hammer sometime soon;)...

*Giveaway closed. Thanks for entering!


Short and Sweet


Dress? French Connection, Winners (similar here and here) Shoes? L'attitude Cuffs? Vintage, auction

I can't believe this dress hasn't had a real blog debut... I did a little post wearing it about 4 years ago (is my hair red?) but my mom wasn't even reading my blog then, so it hardly counts. I think the beading on the front is heavier (more beads than sequins) and the dress has stretched out a little in the front. I now wear it backwards; it is admittedly still short but the coverage is distributed in a better way...

I wore this out for some drinks on a waterfront patio of Julie's birthday. I know this upcoming week is going to be really hot and there will be times when I shall whine, be it on twitter or to Matt, but mostly I just love the summer. Sitting outside, seeing pretty sunsets and wearing dresses backwards without tights... it's all the good stuff right there. So keep your back-to-school sales and autumn yearnings away from me for a bit yet.


And this is apparently what I look like when I spot a cute kitty coming out from under Matt's truck and try to coax it over. Distracted much? Looking back through the pics, I spotted the cat actually walking across the frame behind me in the 4th posted picture... What a cute little photo bomb...


Popping Tags

I do believe Hamilton is starting to get itself a little vintage scene. The thrifting has always been good but there seem to be more and more vintage shops popping up. 
The following shops are some of the vintage and consignment boutiques I visit in the area. I can't believe I am telling you my secret haunts, please leave me the dresses... and the sequins... and the tulle... and some leather ankle boots. Thanks. 

Modify your Closet - I have actually consigned a ton of stuff at Modify your Closet this past year. With my store credit I then get to do some guilt free shopping and buy pretty things... like this heart shaped purse inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
If you are new to shopping for second hand clothing, Modify is a good place to start. Items that make it to the floor have to be clean, in very, very good condition and seasonal. There is a mix of mid and high-end designer and vintage. And it's all displayed and organized in a shopper friendly way.
But my favourite thing about going to Modify, is hanging out with the people that work there. Melanie, who owns the store, is pretty fantastic and she shows me the new stuff she just got in that hasn't even been priced yet. That makes me feel special. And everyone likes to feel real special...
I just love chatting about good clothes and Melanie does too.

Girl on the Wing - This sweet little boutique just opened up a few doors down from Modify. The owner, Whitney, is a Ryerson girl like me, so we have solidarity on that point... She has plenty of fun vintage and some new goods, including Saltwater sandals and bathing suits from the amazing Andrea Iyamah (who is Hamilton based!).
Whitney also loves to throw shopping events. She makes a good sangria, just strong enough to convince Julie to buy the floral dress pictured above. That dress actually needs no sangria encouragement... It's pretty fabulous.
This Friday (today!!!! July 12, 6-9 pm) she is hosting a shopping party with all proceeds going to cover the vet costs of three rescue kittens she has taken in. A gal with a heart for cats and a love for vintage? My kinda lady...

Revolving Closet - I have to include Revolving Closet... It is totally unlike the two mentioned above. It's my kind of place; you need some time and some patience to dig through to find the treasures. It is not hipster, chic or perfectly merchandised (though the windows are always co-ordinated with the nearest holiday) but it is just two levels packed full of bad, good and amazing. Revolving Closet is all about the hunt. And so is Jentine (yeah, referring to myself in the 3rd person in writing... a new low).
Besides the good finds (like the suede and leather jacket above), the very best part of Revolving Closet is the lady who runs it. She is past retirement age and still comes in faithfully 6 days a week. I don't really know how to describe her besides salt of the earth. She is just super. Her prices are low, you can haggle if it seems fair (for example she lowered the price on a dress with some sun bleaching on it...) and she almost always has a dollar rack with some things worth checking out right at the front.

White Elephant - White Elephant doesn't always have a huge amount of vintage on the floor. Hollie and Jane, who own WE, focus primarily on carrying beautiful hand-made and Canadian-made accessories, gifts and jewelry, but in the back of the shop, there are always a few racks of carefully edited vintage. This vintage is all top notch; mostly from the 50's, 60's and some 70's... The quality is great and some pieces have been slightly altered to make them more wearable. The quality of this vintage is reflected in the prices but if you are looking for a fancy dress or a bridesmaids dress, you are making a good investment with some fanciness from White Elephant.
And if you have a chance to get to one of their dress sales, you will have access to a ridiculous amount of amazing and fancy vintage. Also amazing? The throngs of women  going crazy for racks and racks of vintage.

Netty Vintage - I saved the best for last.
Yeah, Netty Vintage is not actually in Hamilton, it's in Brantford and that is probably a good thing. Because if Netty was walking distance from me, like some of the others on this list, there would be trouble...
Thanks Ginny for introducing me to Netty Vintage, I owe you big time!
But seriously... Netty Vintage takes up the bottom floor of a century home and you walk from room to room overwhelmed with vintage goodness. There is so much stuff! And her prices are great! When she has a sale, I break into cold sweats. I got the dress above (silk!) for $10! I walked out of her last sale with a giant bag for $45. I felt like I was stealing. So I ran to my car really fast to make a clean getaway...
Jacqueline, the proprietor (fancy words up in here...), named the store after her grandmother and knows her stuff. She herself is always impeccably dressed and I love her dedication to both vintage and Brantford.

When I started writing out this post, I noticed that each of these stores are run by some pretty cool women. Women who, if you meet them (and you should!), are as unique as their stores, but they all have the love for vintage clothing in common. I am 100% sure I have babbled excitedly about a seam or a design detail to each of these ladies and they have all responded with enthusiasm, not polite interest.

Yes, of course, the idea of starting my own shop has always niggled on my brain (you don't hoard clothing and not consider the idea at the very least), but for now I am content raiding Hamilton's finest of their finest...




Dress? Thrifted Purse? Thrifted (similar here) Heels? Aldo (here, on sale, so worth it!) 
Bracelet? Thrifted Sunglasses? Moschino (here)

If you've been a long time reader of my blog, you can probably look at the above pictures and predict what I am going to write.

I would probably write that I love vintage dresses (early 90's this one is... you decide if you feel ok calling that vintage yet...). Check out the sweet inlaid crisscrossing at the sides of this one! Sigh. They just don't make 'em like that any more!
I would also write about how I (again) matched the dress to the wall. And that even though I was looking for a good wall, I didn't mean to (again) match one to my dress. This one just happened to be on the way home and abandoned. Which are key elements in the choosing of walls. 
And since we are being predictable, I will give you a cat update as well. They are doing well; a little sweaty and lazy in the heat but they are still adorable. The other day we caught them sleeping with their backs actually touching. This kind of affection has not happened since Stella, the cuddler, passed away last year, so Matt called me upstairs and we admired the feline sibling moment together. We stared at their close quarters like it was a museum exhibit and they stared at us like we were crazy. They then moved away from each other and pretended it never happened. They've probably been BFF's behind our backs this entire time...

And there you go, a post most readers could have written. Some vintage dress talk, some coloured wall talk and some cat talk.
Most people wouldn't have known about the cats cuddling though, that stuff is pure insider information...


Let's Go to the Beach, Beach


Sandals?  Flat Sandal in Vaqueta Cuero by MTNG c/o DNA footwear Skirt? Nougat Top? Marc Cain, consigned 
Necklaces? Thrifted and J. Crew Tote? Russell Gibbs Hat? h&m Hair? Some lake water and split ends

I'm a big fan of my new MTNG sandals. They are the perfect balance of plain and interesting, if that makes any sense at all. I wanted to wear them out the second I got them, but it was pouring out and it didn't let up all day. I had to wait a whole day to wear them. Torture.
I did however, get plenty of opportunity to wear them this last week because we had a little vacation. It wasn't perfect weather all week but there was enough sun to enjoy lots of beach time and fill in my work boot tan.

In general, the vacation was pretty great. We had a cottage near a beach and did a lot of nothing important. I am a consummate list maker and worrier over things that matter naught, so it took me a bit to relax at first. Eating bacon, buying cheap cat print blankets from the bargain store and sweeping the layer of sand off the kitchen floor does not need to be carefully written on the to-do list. These things can just happen on their own...
I woke up Friday morning and told Matt that this was the best sleep I had had in a long time. He told me he could hardly sleep because he was so sun burned.  If that doesn't say successful beach vacation, I don't know what does...