Thrifted Wicker Lunch Box

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This little gem cost me $2.99 at my Goodwill. I have torn the inside lining out because it was stained and the elastic was dry-rotted (the elastic was intended to hold utensils and condiments), and plan to use it as a handbag.

 

 

Recent Thrifted Finds – Winter 2012 Review

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A thick black leather belt with an awesome silver crescent moon belt buckle. $2 at my local animal shelter thrift store.

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Thick white leather belt with a big gold buckle. Again, $2.

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This little gem was found at my all time favorite vintage shop EVER, Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb in Carlisle, PA. If you live in the area, hit it up. I have found some awesome pieces here. This belt was $6. From the geometric shape of it, it looks to be from the eighties.

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White leather ankle boots. Slouchy and cute. I found this at my nearest Goodwill. They were $6.95, which admittedly is a little expensive for thrifting, but I find good shoes so rarely, I just had to.

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Wild West velvet waistcoat. I can’t say no to velvet vests or jackets. $3.95 at Goodwill.

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Long-sleeve button-up blouse with black cording detail. It is repeated on the cuffs as well. It’s a little Grandma-ish but I like that. I am still questing for the perfect white button-up blouse, and this one is pretty awesome, but I am looking for one that’s silkier and has pockets. The quest continues! $3 at the animal shelter thrift store.

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This bag is what thrifting dreams are made of. It’s a 50s/60s era snap-closure handbag. Just awesome. The outside is like those heavy velvety curtains your Grandma had. $4, local thrift store.

 

Outfit of the Day 12/20/2012

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Silk Alexander McQueen-esque scarf, $11 from Rue 21 last year; grey silk button-up blouse from a “fill a bag for $2” thrift store; dalmatian print Vince Camuto belt from Ross (discount store) for $12.99; black skinny jeans.

 

Kat Von D starts a weekly fashion vlog on YouTube

I have tried to focus mainly on blogging with my own original content lately, but I just have to share the news about my personal fashion idol, Kat Von D. Like her, hate her, whatever — but the girl’s got style. Just get a load of her shoe “closet” (which is actually a shoe room). I wish I had space for the shoes I have now, let alone an entire room.

She also has a great informational video on mourning jewelry here, something I adore but can’t afford (at least not authentic antique mourning jewelry). This is a subject I am very interested in. If I may add to the little lesson given in the video, in centuries past, women were expected to wear black for up to  year after their husbands died as a visual display of widowdom and grief. Those who could afford it often willed money to be used after their death to pay for mourning rings, which might have the departed’s initials, portrait, and many times actual hair from the body, to be distributed to their loved ones. I think that is fascinating.

Kat Von D has stepped away from the reality show world, but is still very busy! She is still tattooing at her very own shop, High Voltage Tattoo in LA. She is also working on an album, finishing a new book, and designing a new line for her fashion brand, Kat Von D Los Angeles.

 

My New York City Shopping Trips Part IV: Hamlet’s Vintage in Greenwich Village

4. Hamlet’s Vintage

162 Bleecker Street (Greenwich Village)

New York, NY 10012

I heard about this place from reading positive Yelp reviews. From the way people raved about it, I pictured it as a large, open store. In reality, it is one itsy bitsy room. There were a lot of costume-y pieces that I couldn’t see being very practical — more like those things you buy with the best of intentions, and then you never actually wear them out. (I have this child’s size kimono that I thought was just so rad in the store, but now has been living exclusively in my closet for a year.) There were some cool things, like authentic vintage military jackets, but what a lot of people may not know is that army surplus stores sell vintage military clothing too, for waaaay cheaper. I did see some metallic knit sweaters that tickled my fancy, but I didn’t buy anything here either.

I am used to vintage stores here in Pennsylvania, where there is a gotta-have-it item at every turn. I usually have a hard time not spending too much at vintage stores, because I want everything, but this trip I just didn’t have any luck. Granted, I am cheap (or as this blog would suggest, thrifty) but I am willing to spend more on a unique vintage piece with character. Vintage stores sell a lot of what you can find in thrift stores, but the draw is that they have the crème de la crème, the best of the best, weirdest and funkiest vintage finds. That’s why people are willing to spend more.

Final thoughts: Worth checking out if you have the budget and you’re in the neighborhood, but it’s very small.

My New York City Shopping Trips Part III: Monk Thrift Shop, Greenwich Village

3. Monk Thrift Shop

Address: 175 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10011

 

This, admittedly, was not on my list, but I was drawn in my the signage. Honestly, it was disappointing. Things were expensive, making it more vintage boutique than thrift store. There were some high end designer items, like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Gucci, and D&G. However, a lot of items (weirdly enough, especially the designer items) were in bad condition — tears, stains, and missing buttons and hooks. Everything I liked was upwards of $100, which threw me off because there were posters saying”Dresses $9.” I saw none. They did have a lot of legit vintage clothing, however. They also have men’s clothing. I didn’t buy anything here, but I enjoyed sifting through the racks.

Final thoughts: Pass on this one. Too expensive for the quality of the items.

Are thrift stores getting too pricey?

Items for sale in my etsy store!

It has been quite awhile since I last visited Goodwill, so I thought I’d make the trip this evening. I got some really amazing finds this time, and I am really excited to get it all cleaned up and ready to photograph for you all. (Though they were great finds, they need some serious TLC — including dry cleaning.)

But… something is bothering me. Every time I visit Goodwill, I see the prices go up and up. Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. Today I saw six fall and winter jackets that were priced at $50. That’s essentially retail price. Sure, they might be real leather, or “vintage,” but that doesn’t mean they’re worth the price of a brand new jacket. Many of these coats had dirt, stains, and tears on them. This is absolutely ridiculous. Just because an item is made of leather doesn’t mean its worth the price of a new garment. Just because an item is old enough to qualify as vintage does not mean it is worth the price that a curated vintage boutique would charge. Vintage shops sell items for higher prices because the items are still chic and fashionable and still in a wearable condition. No one is going to buy those jackets. They were in cuts and designs that are not translatable to today’s fashion, and they were stinky and in very used shape. Shouldn’t the price reflect that? Is Goodwill getting greedy? Who is determining these prices? These are all DONATED ITEMS. $50 is just too much.

Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. I am forced to wonder if they realize that it’s not just the people on the receiving end of the charity efforts who stand to gain from these types of thrift stores — there are a lot of people who do all their clothing shopping at second-hand stores because of low income. A lot of families cannot afford to buy retail, and stores like Goodwill offer them a chance to shop for a variety of styles, brands, and seasons that would not be available to them otherwise. They get a chance to have some say in their personal style because of the variety second-hand shops offer.

How do you feel about this issue? Personally, if I want something bad enough, I will buy it anyway. The fact that part of the sales go to charity makes that easier, but now that they’re upping the prices on more mundane and generic items as well, I am disheartened. Is the art of the thrift store hunt in danger? Let me know what you think with a comment. Click the text bubble next to this entry’s title to chime in.

New shoes from TJMaxx

I need some new heeled shoes for work, so I picked these up at my local TJMaxx, a discount clothing store, for $34.99, a bit more than I usually pay for shoes. They normally would have retailed for a higher price in a normal store.

In some cases, you get what you pay for, and cheap shoes just don’t last.  At an event for one of my work-study jobs in college, one of my shoes broke, so I was stuck wearing my snow boots for the entire evening. The shoes were $15 from K-mart. Live and learn, right?

They remind me of these shoes I have been seeing on Japanese and Chinese fashion blogs:

 

Thanks for reading, thrifters!

Thrifting Haul – Spring Inspired

So I haven’t been doing as much thrifting and yard sale hopping as I’d like to (dumb full-time job work schedule — curse you!), but although they are few and far between, I have found some real gems.

Find #1:

I picked up this cute little needlepoint shoulder bag for $3.50. I reminds me of the old-fashioned needlepoint handbags (like this) but with a more rustic pattern. I don’t think it is vintage, in fact it seems quite new. But, hey, at $3.50, I’m down with that.

Find #2:

I also found this cute watermelon-esque polka-dot scarf for $1.  It needs pressed, but I think this will help me add some color to my work outfits. I tend to slide into either too much black or too much beige at work.

Find #3:

I am totally enamoured with this high contrast 90s Gitino cross-body. $2 from a church thrift store in the next town over.

Find #4:

This poor bag is a little worse for wear, but I still love it. It’s a 1960s pillbox handbag from an awesome vintage boutique in Harrisburg called the Atomic Warehouse. The owner gave me a good deal on it: $10! I have seen these only a handful of times, and usually priced at $30 to $60!

Find #5:

This skirt has side pockets and buttons up the front. I found this for $3.50. Not sure if this will become part of my skirt collection or if it will end up on etsy. I need to give it a test run. I have an outfit concept in mind, but I am not sure if I’ll be venturing too far on the granny side. I was inspired by this:

 

Don’t worry, there’s plenty more to share! Stay tuned, thrifters.

 

Win Nasty Gal for life! Nasty Gal Hosting a $10,000 gift card giveaway!

Hey, I’m in!

Enter at Nasty Gal’s website, nastygal.com. The clothing and accessories for sale at Nasty Gal are super rad, but also super expensive. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have $10,000 of pure mad money to spend shamelessly on your wardrobe?

This is not a sponsored post! I am just really jazzed about such a crazy giveaway and wanted to share a chance to win with my readers.

Review of online shoe / accessory store JustFab.com

Tempted by those commercials of women admiring shoes on the internet at work, I decided to take a look at JustFab.com for myself. I wasn’t really planning on buying anything, but when I saw a one day only deal for 50% off my first purchase of shoes I frantically searched for an acceptable pair.

So, I thought I’d pass my experience on to those curious about this store.

Pros:

1. You will always get a discount (of some kind) on your first order — at least 20% but I was lucky enough to get 50% off.

2. Shipping (except expedited) is always free.

3. Exchanges are free. They pay the shipping for exchanging.

3. Nothing on the site is over $39.95.

4. They predict what types of shoes and other accessories you might like.

5. With every purchase you make you earn points which can eventually be redeemed for free shoes.

Cons:

1. Nothing is under $39.95. Every single thing is the same price, like Dollar Tree. Some things — like the jewelry are not worth the price. Now, to be fair, sometimes they do have deals going on, like select styles being two for the price of one.

2. When you sign up, you take a style personality quiz, but it isn’t really in-depth enough to capture your personal taste. It just forces you to pick your favorite out of a number of lukewarm items and celebrities. In my case, almost every question’s choices were all unappealing to me, so the “stylist hand-picked” shoes in my personal boutique weren’t really things I liked.

3. When you make your first purchase, you become a “VIP” member, which basically means that unless you opt out each month by the 5th day, they will charge you $39.95 and send you more shoes. You cannot opt out of this “VIP” thing unless you cancel your account altogether. However, you can decline each month by clicking “SKIP THIS MONTH” on the homepage, but again, this be done by the 5th of each month.

4. Browsing their items is tiresome. You cannot simply type in a keyword and search for what you want unless you know the specific name of the shoe or accessory. You can’t see all of their shoes at any given time. I am not sure why this is. What the “stylists” chose for me was pretty limited, and didn’t really reflect my style.

Here’s what I settled on:

They send them in sturdy packaging, and they ship quickly. I ordered on a Tuesday night and had my shoes by Saturday. They come in their own shoe box just like shoes from a real store. My pair has creases around the ankles as if someone wore them already. Maybe they were returned? It’s not a huge problem, but it makes me think that they were made very, very cheaply. They feel kind of cheap. I will definitely need to put insoles in them as there is no padding for the balls of my feet, which is the part that you put a lot of your weight on when wearing heels.

All in all, the shopping experience wasn’t ideal for me. A lot of the shoes I really loved were out of stock. I would rather not see them at all if I can’t actually buy them. I like to search directly with keywords to find what I am looking for, not hunt and click through pages and pages looking for something to pique my interest. I really dislike that you have to remember to log on every month and opt out unless you want to buy shoes. The site would be better if you could just buy what you wanted, when you wanted, without all that hassle. Seems to me that they just want you to forget so they can charge you another $39.95.

Shortly after getting my shoes, I joined ShoeDazzle.com out of curiosity. They have a more stylish selection of shoes, but other than that, it’s basically the same store. I will try them next. They have Jeffrey Campbell “Lita” lookalikes, but you have to get on a waiting list because they’ve already sold out!