Thursday, February 27, 2014

What to Thrift Shop for Now

Style and trends come and go, which means they come and go at your favorite thrift stores, too. (Remember that jean jacket you got rid of but time and time again wish you hadn't?)  Here are some of this spring's trends that may be easy to find second hand right now.

See this previous post for some tips on thrift shopping and where to go here in Toledo.

Photos courtesy of Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters, Asos, Mod Cloth,
TopShop, TopShop and Asos, respectively.

What are you thrift shopping for? 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Thrift Shop

I love to thrift shop! From fancy estate sales to thrift stores and garage sales, my heart goes pitter patter searching through racks and rooms for that special find. It comes second nature to me, but in case you're new to the thrifting game, here are a few things you should know:  

Photo courtesy of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Don’t be a snob.
Big deal you’re shopping gently worn clothing. If it’s good quality and you love it, forget any preconceived hang-ups. Buy it, take it home, wash it, wear it, love it. If it looks great on you, what’s the difference?

Do your research.
Research the thrift shops, consignment stores, antique malls, estate sale companies, auction houses and garage sales in your area. In the Toledo area, I enjoy shopping at the following stores, four of which are within 1.5 miles of each other on Reynolds Road:

Take advantage of discount days. 
Sign up for your local thrift stores’ e-newsletters or like them on Facebook to stay up to date on days to shop with discounts. Locally, Savers and Neighborhood Thrift have 30 to 50% off about once a month, which they promote via email and Facebook.   

Time it right.  
If you’re shopping at a store on a discount day or going to an estate sale or garage sale, get there early.  Find out if your favorite second hand shops stock on certain days and go then.  

Be patient and give yourself plenty of time.  
Sifting through rows and rows of stuff takes time. If you don’t mind this, then take your time. If you do, thrift shopping may not be for you. But if you’re still willing, look for colors and shapes that look good on you, check the label to see if it’s a brand you typically shop and try it on. 

Yes, try it on.
Sizes and cuts continually change, so if you find something you like but the size seems a bit off, try it on. Sometimes I'm a size 4, sometimes an 8. If it doesn't fit right, but you still like it, you can have it altered. See more about alterations below.

Shop with something in mind.  
I like to do this because if I don’t, I’ll end up with stuff I don’t need. I often go for work clothes that are more classic in style because they don't drastically change over the years, yet people may grow out of or get tired of older items in their closet. Seriously, there is almost no reason for me to shop for new professional clothing when I can find plenty of business and business casual attire from Loft, Ann Taylor, Talbots and more at Savers.

Other styles and trends are cyclical, meaning they come and go and then return again. For example, denim jackets are at times very popular and then not so much, so they're often found in thrift stores. You can also find great coats (see previous post); leather skirts; button down shirts in chambray, traditional plaids and interesting patterns; retro T-shirts...  I've found fantastic dresses for date nights and weddings and I've tried out trends that I weren't sure were "me," very inexpensively. My most recent on-trend find? A studded black vest for my inner biker/punk.

Also, be sure to check out the accessories, housewares, home decor, furnishings, books...  Take inspiration from Pinterest. Stay tuned for what to thrift shop for this spring in an upcoming post!

Scrutinize each item.
Examine items carefully for holes, tears, stains, too much wear, broken zippers, missing buttons… Some flaws can be repaired for a small cost. If you really like it, it may be well worth it. I find it really easy to drop items off at the tailor. But if you suspect you’ll never do it, don’t buy it. 

Don’t settle. 
Oh, it’s only $2.99, from Express and barely worn? You must buy it! No. Look at each item and ask yourself, “Is it useful or beautiful?” If not, move on! (I try to follow this helpful guideline when shopping at any store and cleaning out my closet.)

Consider altering it. 
If you find something that you almost love – maybe it’s the color, pattern or a particular detail that catches your eye – consider taking it to a tailor, or a friend who can sew, to make it just right. You may find a pair of pants that's a liiiittle too short. Take a look at the hem to see if there’s enough fabric to lengthen the legs. If that cute skirt is a bit too matronly, have it shortened. Or reinvent it completely!

I recommend investing in alterations only if the piece is made of quality fabric that will wash well. Simply tell your tailor what you want, ask questions and depend on his or her expertise. If altering a fantastic find makes it fit perfectly or more unique, then I won’t hesitate. My tailor knows me by name. Hers is Phyllis and she’s at My Shop on Rugby Drive, 3658 Rugby Dr.

Wash your new finds.  
Read the label for laundry instructions. I try to avoid “Dry Clean Only” duds unless I love it or I won’t need to wash it often. Washing can deteriorate clothing, so for my more fragile pieces I only wash when necessary. I send newly acquired, pre-owned pieces with a “Dry Clean Only” label to the dry cleaners. But for subsequent light cleanings, I use Dryel, an at home Dry Cleaning system. Sterilize shoes, jewelry and other items with rubbing alcohol.

Buy something, donate something. 
Make room in your closet and drawers for your new thrifted stuff by donating some of your own gently worn clothing that you don’t enjoy anymore. One item in, one item out.   

Thrifting is good for us and the earth!  
Proceeds of many thrift stores go to charitable organizations and causes and it’s a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle.    

Have fun!

Where are your favorite places to thrift shop? Have you acquired anything exceptional recently? 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Coat with No Label & Plaid at Work

The other day a woman followed me into a high end boutique to ask me where I got my beautiful red coat. To her disappointment, I admitted it was from Savers, a thrift store, and it had no label.

“Well it’s beautiful,” she said before she left.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Valentine's Day Wish List

Most photos are courtesy of their respective companies

1. Rose gold watch: Michael Kors
I'm in love with rose gold and I've been pining for a watch in the popular pink metal - perfect for Valentine's Day!

2. Flowers from a local shop: Floral Pursuit
I like to support small businesses whenever I can and buying flowers from a local shop is a super easy way. Floral Pursuit was recently opened in downtown Toledo by northwest Ohio native Audrey Ackerman. The 23-year-old, yes 23, created a natural and intimate atmosphere where customers can create their own arrangement or depend on her talent.  The shop sells “grab and go” bouquets for around $15, perfect for last-minute men this Friday. 

This pink shade is just lovely for the holiday and I love Estée Lauder's lipsticks! 

This Chantilly lace push-up bra and high-waisted thong set is sexy and sweet. 'Nuff said.

5. Kiss me clutch: Debbie Brooks clutch available at Leo Marks Jewelers
This funky clutch from New York designer, Debbie Brooks, is made of Italian leather and ideal for a date night out! You can find it and more of her colorful bags, cell phone covers and jewelry at Leo Marks Jewelers on Secor Rd. Also, at Leo Marks, you can shop several jewelry collections from fine to fashion, including Hearts On Fire, Verragio, Chamilia and Ti Sento Milano. If you don't find what you're looking for, they can custom design something. Plus, it's independently owned and the staff is always oh, so friendly and fun!

6. Sentimental wrap bracelet: StoryPeople
I love StoryPeople! They have a variety of pieces from prints and books to vases and bracelets. They feature heartwarming quotes, or stories, that capture and portray the human heart. This one says: "deciding everything is falling into place perfectly as long as you don't get too picky about what you mean by place. Or perfectly." Sums up my life :)  

7. Monogram lovers necklace: River Valley Designs
Monogrammed items are so thoughtful, yet simple, for Valentine's Day. This adorable lovers necklace was handcrafted by Ohio native Danielle Kritz. She creates custom designs that reflect a minimalist aesthetic but speak to the heart.

8. Chocolate from a local chocolatier: Maumee Valley Chocolate and Candy
Another easy way to shop local and it is so yummy! Maumee Valley Chocolate and Candy makes fresh fine chocolates, truffles, turtles and gourmet popcorn. Plus, they offer retro candy, packaged nuts and chocolate covered strawberries, pretzels, oreos, bacon, potato chips... Pick up a gift basket, sweet bouquet or box of assorted truffles in Uptown Maumee for your Valentine.  

9. Heartwarming stud earrings: Petite Studs
These cute studs are made for sensitive ears, literally with allergy free posts and figuratively with adorable gingham. Petite Studs was started by a graphic design student in Toledo and sells studs in a variety of colors, prints and even glitter for only $10 each. Plus, she's received over 100 5-star ratings on Etsy! Seems like a sweet deal for your sweetie! 

10. Old fashioned love letter: My love
It doesn't get much better than an old fashioned love letter from your true love. That's what I'm hoping for.

Happy Valentine's Day, loves!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Work to Play with Grace Adele

Sometimes, as a fun-loving, young professional, I have a busy day that involves going from work to play.  On these days I try to wear an outfit that easily transitions from the office to dinner & cocktails, or wherever I may be headed, with a few quick changes.  My new bag and clutch from Grace Adele helps me do just that.