One of my favourite parts about thrifting is finding that amazing item that is great quality but CHEAP. Shoes are my favourite find because, as a footwear designer, I really value construction and materials but, as a poor person (planning a wedding), I can’t afford to spend $300+ on shoes that are up to those standards. Therefore right now my shoes are normally middle of the road $150 and I get them fixed up every season. For this reason the shoe section is always my first visit. The problem with thrifting and shopping vintage that even if you find a great pair of shoes chances are they’re not your size. My favourite past finds are riding boots from a garage sale and leather combat boots from Browns both blogged about here. This past weekend I did it again. I went to the Value Village at Queen East and began my normal routine of browsing through the shoes first. I didn’t have much hope because this location is generally picked over by the trendy people that live in the neighbourhood but then I saw them. They were on the top shelf- boots, leather, and seemed very like the Frye ones I like but can’t afford. The price tag said $14.99… I was skeptical. Am I insane or are these boots probably worth +$200? Real leather: check. Good quality thick leather: CHECK. Solid outsole: check. Brand: La Botte Guardian…French and unknown to me…must look up. Size: 7.5… PERFECT. I clutched onto them as I walked around all the other trendy customers… how did they miss these? Am I sure about how amazing they are?
I think everyone who thrifts has those few items that you look for each time you go. Each time I go I have list in my head of what I’m looking for, but try to keep an open mind so I don’t miss anything awesome. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to look through an entire department because I forgot to just browse. My top go-to spots are 1) shoes 2) dresses and 3) jackets/blazers because I feel, in Canada, you can never have enough outerwear. I’ve become a bit of a jacket addict so if I find a jacket I love at a second hand store it’s a bonus. For a while now I’ve been looking for that classic tweed jacket. The problem I usually face is the fit. When you go to the women’s section size small, most items have shoulder pads or are too big. This normally causes me to shop in the boy’s department. But when I was at my regular Value Village, sifting through the women’s size small rack with little hope, I found it! Meet my very own cute little black tweed jacket.
A Little History
source: Coco Chanel
A lot of Inspiration
Today the tweed suit is still popular but in separates. Here’s some stylish ladies who show how to modernize the tweed jacket. How inspirational!
source: Aime La Mode
source: Wendy’s Lookbook (great blog!)
source: Clemence Posey via Fab Sugar
source: La Mode
Leather Jacket (in my dreams)
Sequin shorts (that’s classic right? I’ve been searching for these for a while. I may end up making them)
That’s one classic checked off. Yaay!
As a frequent second-hand shopper, it’s easy to go in and out of vintage stores and find that someone has already grabbed the good stuff. As much as I love vintage-saturated areas to shop in, it’s makes it difficult to find something really great. Common Sort, a thrift store full of fantastic “hand-picked recycled fashions” (at a good price point) is just out of reach of densely-populated shopping areas, making it worthy of a visit.
If you’re the type of shopper who wants the vintage experience but doesn’t want to over-pay for second hand clothing or hunt through one hundred racks for a great find, Common Sort is the perfect shop for you. They hand pick their clothing according to their customer and will “trade” in your old clothing for money or credit within their store. Even though my shoes were rejected, (no hard feelings, it’s nice to see that they’re picky) they accepted the rest of my old favourites and paid me on the spot (yesssss). While rummaging through my clothing, they gave me the chance to browse around (nice tactic, it’s impossible to leave with nothing!) and I found this lovely navy suede clutch-bag originating from Brown’s. I’ve been obsessed with large clutches, so this was a great find! Together with cafes, pubs and restaurants, shopping at Common Sort completes the perfect day down Queen East so take a friend or go on a date in this area- you will have tons of fun!
Now with their new location in Parkdale, whether you decide, “Queen East? or West? Common Sort will find you.
Altering clothing is always a bit tricky. There’s a 50/50 chance your final result can end up looking like a five-year-old got scissor happy, or with some little planning and a little luck, end up with something you will actually wear, like my floral dress. When I found this dress/wrap/thing at Value Village I loved the body of the dress but the sleeves and shoulder pads made me look voluminous so they had to go. After wrestling with the idea of alteration and visualizing my ideal end result, I decided to go for it. Hopefully I could resurrect this weird/cool garment with a few minor changes.
I took off the sleeves with a stitch ripper at the seams, and used a zig-zag stitch on the edge to prevent the woven fabric from fraying. I then turned the edge of the armhole under and sewed a 1/4 seam allowance. This is the end result and I’m really happy with it! The weather just needs to cooperate so I can take this dress/wrap/thing out into daylight.
Thanks Mom and Dad for the Value Village gift certificates! They’re the perfect birthday gift… even though I know you secretly think I’m weird for requesting them.
I would love to hear what you think or if you would’ve altered it differently. Let’s hear your thoughts!
I hate backpacks. I always (somehow) offend people when I say this but it’s how I feel. I think they are ugly, bulky and make people look like turtles. My bitterness for backpacks comes from being squished by the accessory on the subway. Why do you have so many things on you? Do you really need all those textbooks? This is very poor commuting etiquette.
The problem? I need one. I bike a lot when the weather permits and as lovely as it looks to wear a purse it’s not very practical and dangerous if it slips off. So when I found this lovely and weird vintage-y option I scooped it right up. If I’m going to wear this weird contraption it may as well have majestic animals on it.
Found at: Value Village, $5
Shopping is the only way I’m going to get out on a day like this so I thought I would share this map to let you know about this great area for vintage clothing. The amazing map was made by artist Keith Jones and can be found at any of the locations. (Thanks Silver Falls for the artist info!) It’s a great way to show the vintage shops in the area as I’m sure some of them get missed (like Penny Arcade – had no idea it was there, and it’s definitely worth visiting!) I rediscovered this map again in my messy room and wanted to scan it in for you guys. Just click each picture to make it bigger.
A tidbit about each store:
Categories: Toronto Vintage
If you want to spend an entire day sifting through great vintage clothing at great prices, 69 Vintage Collective is the place to go. Gloria, blogger for Urbanebloc, and I stepped into this seemingly small shop to find that the vintage never ended! Along with the main floor and back room, 69 Vintage collective has three vintage boutiques upstairs! Lost & Found, Stacked, and Rozaneh are located in what were bedrooms full of great clothing, shoes, and friendly employees playing oldies on their laptops. Bring a friend, snacks and many reusable bags (you’ll need them!).
69 Vintage Main Floor
Merchandised into categories, the sequin addict, fur fanatic, and fisherman sweater lover (this is a type of person right?) can find their section easily and well-stocked. The back room is Buy The Pound where 1lb of items costs $15. With the cute dresses, scarves and huge collection of shoes, you’ll find yourself recruiting your strongest friends to help carry all your finds. January 21st is the official launch of 69 Vintage Collective so make sure to attend!
Double Take is a thrift store I visit often and encourage you to!
It’s downtown, students receive a 50% off discount, and it is
one the cleanest thrift stores in Toronto. Unlike regular second-
hand shops, Double Take occasionally has sales, so you can walk in and skirts are 30% and jackets could be 50% the next week. This is also my go-to place for belts which are $1, unless behind the counter like the few featured, but as you can see the prices are not much higher.
The store supports Yonge Street Mission, founded in 1896, whose “…diverse programs make a positive difference in the lives of families, seniors, socially isolated adults, homeless street youth, and the many children growing up in our low-income community.” So go shopping! It’s for a good cause.
Location: 310 Gerrard St. E (Gerrard and Parliament)
Keep on Reading to see items I’ve purchased from Double Take!
Shopping at I Miss You vintage is like sneaking into a party at fashion week, brushing shoulders with the Carine Roitfeld and and stealing dieting tips from Daria Werbowy. I had a heart attack when I saw YSL and Missoni, then again when I saw Chloe and McQueen, and I finally died when I discovered Chanel.