Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thrifting and some thoughts

Going to the thrift stores can seem to be more than slightly addictive. For someone who likes to make things it offers all sorts of potential materials to alter or work with. Often I find raw materials: lengths of fabric, ric-rack and seam-binding and buttons. Other times I find things to be transformed: worn-out purses with hardware to be re-used, shrunken sweaters, hats, damaged linens and broken jewellery. This habit that started when looking for raw materials has transformed the way I shop and how I look at things. I have always been cautious about how I spend money while still having an eye for luxury and quality. When I was looking for sweaters to felt, I started to notice sweaters that suited me and were in beautiful condition. I also started to find other articles of clothing that suited me and before long I was looking to the thrift store first for most of my wardrobe. I have often been able to find very good quality labels, like this cardigan from Holt Renfrew and try out colours I do not usually wear, like this turquoise.

Although I have on occasion been surprised by what I find, the best clothes tend to come from specific stores. One of my favourite sources is the Nearly New Shoppe at the Cathedral. This is were I found this Liberty of London and it is not the first Liberty item I have purchased there. I have also found some of my beautiful vintage handbags and costume jewellery that I will feature in a future post. Many of the donations made to this charity shop are made by people who bought quality items that were made to have lasting value. With a few exceptions, this is not now the norm in the retail world and is a refreshing advantage when it can still be found in the thrifting world.

Along with the Liberty print shirt, I found two silk shells, one black and one winter white, that will be good under jackets, a black and white gingham shirt in silk and another old purse to add to my collection. At some point soon I would like to actually model the garments that I thrift like my favourite thrifty fashion blogger, Missa. First I need to figure out how use a tripod or a mirror and then maybe I could grow a few inches and lose a few pounds (and about ten years). I am kidding about the second part but I am starting to think a lot about a vintage diet. After teaching pilates in the fitness world for ten years and living the ballet world for much of my childhood, I approach the idea of a diet with many reservations. That said, I have been thinking a lot about how our society eats now as compared to how our grandparents ate and I think that there is a need for further examination. It would seem that I am not the only one to think about this as Queens of Vintage has wondered this and the Imperial War Museum in London is featuring an exhibition on the Ministry of Food. While I would not say that I am fat, I no longer fit into some of my favourite vintage finds or some of my favourite clothes from the past. In an house with three young boys, it would seem likely that I am simply eating a little too much for a forty-something woman whose favourite physical activities do not involve snow and sub-zero temperatures.
Just as I am not inclined to make resolutions at New Year's, I will not declare that I am on a vintage diet but I am certainly going to think a little more about easy it is to eat a chocolate bar and how I really do not need to eat the whole thing to enjoy it. I do hope to bring some war ration recipes to the blog and with time, I may be able to use the lovely vintage buttons on a jacket for a slightly smaller me.


Fine Hand said...

beautiful Liberty print blouse...what a find for thrifting in this fair city of ours!

Thrifted Treasure said...

Great post and great finds, I'm not sure if you already read Grunge Queen's blog? But I think you'd love it, she finds the most amazing clothes in thrift shops and models them along with decor.

Kate said...

Great post! I am always in such a rush to get in and out of op shops that I never really get past the manchester and habedashery these days. I always gaze longingly at the women's wear and think one day when i have time.
ps. I think you should definitely give crochet a go. X

gardener-b said...

If thrifting were an Olympic event, you would be heading for the podium. Well done.

Amy. said...

I love to look at thrifty things with fresh creative eyes too. It is a challenge that not everyone can meet. Love to hear about your adventures.
PS- send me your address so I can send you the Teddy Bear book I showed on my blog that you commented on. Put the subject Teddy Bear Book on the email.

grunge-queen said...

Jenifer, wow, Liberty of London? Lucky gal! Where in Ottawa is this shop, pray tell? I'm going to try to check it out the next time I'm home! And I'm visiting here regularly as I always want to get a thrift fix when I'm in Ottawa visiting the fam, but never know where to go as there don't seem to be that many, and natch, I'm not up on the Ottawa scene any more ....

I've heard of the High Fashion label you mentioned on my blog, btw - I think they're strictly wholesale but I hear they have a fabulous warehouse sale once or twice a year ... come to think of it there's probably a Spring one coming up!

Thanks for finding me (Thrifted Treasure and I started our blog the same week over a year ago, and she won my year giveaway so we're solid blogging pals!). And to get a bit personal, I was a dancer in-training in Ottawa many years ago - was one of the first students to go through the Canterbury Arts program - hey maybe we know eachother, wouldn't that be cool?