Sunday, 26 January 2014

Thrift haul at the Salv Boutique (loooong and overdue)

Hello friends!  I hope that you are keeping warm.  I live in Northern Ontario where the weather is like a sulky child....super deep-freeze cold one minute, then massive amounts of snow the next.  It's kinda like the weather is having mood swings.  Let's hope the weather eats some ice cream and lightens up.

Anyhow, I've been wearing a LOT of layers lately.  We're talking about wearing regular clothing (pants and a shirt), with thermal underwear and a long-sleeved tee under my shirt.  Then I'll top off the whole thing with an oversized sweater or cardi.

When I go outside, I need a parka, a hat, gloves, warm boots and a scarf to wrap around my face.  During deep freeze weather (about -40 Celcius with windchill) I have to cover up all my skin or I'll get frostbite.  

If you look at the amount of clothing the average person is wearing, the cost to purchase it can be daunting.  Some people scrimp by having a minimal wardrobe.  I can't do that, I like to have a large rotation of coats, office attire, and accessories.  The only way I can afford to do this is to thrift shop.

Last week the Salv Boutique (Salvation Army) had a terrific sale called "Mix and Match for $15".  This means that I could purchase any 4 items for $15.

Behold my thrift haul!  All the clothing was $3.75 each.

Bright coral cardigan
This cardigan was a hit at the office.  I wore it with grey check pants and a teal top.  My co-workers kept complimenting me on it.  This cardigan is Bianca Nygard, it probably originally retailed for $60.  It is unbelievably warm and snuggly.  I did have to do some minor de-pilling.  I used a manicure scissors to gently snip off the pills while I watched Storage Wars (love that show!).

Long-sleeved tee with stud and ribbon detailing around the collar.
Here is another Bianca Nygard piece.  It's a long sleeved tee with studs and ribbon around the collar.  I like tops like this because they look really nice layered under shirts and blouses....and we all know, cold-weather dressing calls for LAYERS!! This top looked brand-spanking new..I guess someone was cleaning out their closet after Christmas?

Long sleeved shirt


This top is by INC Concepts.  I loooooove this shirt!  It has a touch of spandex, and it layers really nice under sweaters.  The stripes are variegated gold thread, which gives them a 3D feel.

Wool tunic with embroidery

I wasn't sure about this vintage, button tunic. It was in great, clean looking condition.  But it needed to be dry-cleaned as it had a faint perfume smell.  I threw it into my cart because at $3.75 I'm willing to gamble on it because of my home delicate, cleaning methods.

What are my home cleaning methods?  Gee, I thought you'd never ask :)  Wool is naturally water repellant, it also repels dirt.  You can give it a good brushing (as long as you are not smushing in a stain).  Back in the day, it was common for English butlers to brush down wool coats and hats.  This is how people kept their clothing clean a long time ago (before dry-cleaning).  

Step 1. Brush down the wool material.  Use a brush with thick, firm bristles. 

You can't throw something like this into the washing machine.  The interfacing and wool is likely to buckle.  This item is fully lined, so I turned this item inside-out and sponged down the lining with a damp sponge. The sponge was moistened with a very dilute solution of baby shampoo.  I gave the wool a quick wipe down too.

Step 2. Sponge down the lining.  Quickly sponge down the wool.

Then I hung it outside in the sub-zero weather for a couple of hours. The dry cold conditions make the damp evaporate almost instantly. And when it came back in, it smelled like the fresh outdoors.

Step 3. Hang outside in the fresh air.

Evan Picone dress


When I got to this sale, I assumed the stuff in the "boutique" section wasn't included...until one of the friendly clerks came up to me and told me that the boutique section was included.  Holy cow, I dug into the racks with dire intensity after that.  I found a bunch of maxi-dresses from the 90s (perfect if you need fabric for a project), and this mint-condition Evan Picone dress.  I'm partial to neutrally taupey shades, so this dress will fit perfectly with my wardrobe.  I imagine this dress originally retailed for $80.  My price was $3.75.

The boutique section also yielded these new looking, boot cut Gap jeans.  The inseam is rather short, but so am I, so that works out well :)  
Gap jeans and my toes

Next I found a couple of NWT shirts from Bass.  I love Bass.  I took one shirt and left the other for someone else to find.


Close-up, check out the pin-stripes.

I love the subtle pin stripe and ruffle on this shirt.  It will look fabulous with the denim trousers below.

Gap flared trousers

Interesting finish on these trousers
I really liked the finish on these trousers.  The fading gives it a lot of texture.  Kinda like stars in the midnight blue sky.

Silk blouse with paisley pattern

Love the paisley!!
I love silk blouses.  I love paisley.  This shirt is a no-brainer.  Silk is an excellent insulator for keeping warm.  Sadly, in dry conditions it clings to the body and creates staticy hair.

Vintage hockey jersey
This mint-condition, hockey jersey was another no-brainer.  My youngest stepson has already snapped it up.  Wow, I wish I had the energy to go to the outdoor rink.  But I'm too warm and comfy at home...maybe next weekend.

As I strolled the aisles at Salv Ann, I found this fabulous American Eagle parka in brand spanking condition!!  The price tag was a very reasonable $14.  I debated getting this parka.  I liked it because it was a shorter length.  Ideal for when the weather warms up, which will happen....eventually (I hope).

Who gets rid of a new parka in the winter???
I kept putting the parka in my cart, then putting it back.  Then I had a stern talk with myself.  I convinced myself that $14 was a good price to pay for outerwear.  Since it was a nice piece to add to my springtime rotation, I put it back into my cart.

Imagine my surprise when the clerk told me it part of the sale.  This NEW parka was $3.75. Happy. Dance.

The best time to find a great selection of warm weather clothing is in the winter.  This sale was no exception.  This is what I found.

Oversized Nevada button-down

This oversized button-down is made of light weight cotton.  Perfect for tying over a summer dress.  Nevada shirts retail for about $25 at Sears.

Sheer, patterned blouse with faux-leather cord


Jessica sleeveless top

Lightweight, perfect for spring!!

RW strapless dress with abstract floral pattern.
C'est chic, non?

Jones of NY shirt

This will keep me professional looking and cool!

Talbots seer-sucker, pin-striped suit
I love thrift shopping because I get to try things outside of my normal comfort zone. I would never pay retail for this Talbots seer-sucker suit.  I'd be too afraid of looking like an extra on Golden Girls.  But for $3.75, I'll take a chance.

Oh, the 2 piece suit was $3.75 TOTAL.  That means the blazer and pants clocked in at less than $2 each!!

This suit set looked brand new.  I cleaned it using my at-home, delicate cleaning process. I can hardly wait to wear it when the weather warms up!!!

Another 2 piece set follows.  This is a lovely, drapey rayon skirt and blouse set from India.

Check out the embroidery!

Drapey goodness!

There is a boutique close to where I work that sells clothing like this.  This 2 piece set would easily retail for $50.  My price was $3.75.

Banana Republic Lurex embroidered jacket

Lurex embroidery baby!!
 I am a total label whore (so sue me).  I love thrifting Banana Republic pieces, especially when they are quirky.  The low pricetag gives me the opportunity to wear something I normally wouldn't invest in.  I used my at-home cleaning method on this too.

I'll probably pair this jacket with a cream dress or tee and capris.

Did someone say "cream dress"?

More embroidery!!  Squee!!

Woo-hoo, an embroidered, lightweight cream-colored dress!!  Brand-spanking prolly retailed for $50.

Aha, another dress!!

Apt 9 lace dress

 This dress fits perfectly!!  It's another one of the many items that were new.  I'm lucky to live in a town where people do a lot of recreational shopping, then don't wear what they buy.  I think an Apt 9 dress would retail for about $30.

Embroidered hippie goodness!

Do you know people who go on vacation, and bring back handmade clothing?  Sometimes the clothing sits, unworn and unloved in a drawer.  Then it gets donated  to the Salv Army where I snatch it up for $3.75.  

Whew!  I think that is all the clothing.  I also picked up some accessories.

White sandals
These sandals were $7.  Very lightly worn.  I wiped down the inside and the soles with rubbing alcohol.

Nine West clutch
This Nine West clutch made my heart go pitty-pat.  It's new (the tags are intact).  But it has marker on it.  I think I'm going to cover it up with stick-on jewels.  $6.


I debated about buying the purse for a couple of days.  Then I decided to snatch it up for $6. I like the bucket structure of this bag. 
Another Nine West purse


Whew!  I still have a ton of pictures to share with you.  Stay tuned for more posts!!

happy thrifting