Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blogtoberfest Day 12: Clothes, Clothes and More Thrifted Clothes

When I started thrifting I did not initially have much success finding clothes that fit me, were of good quality and that I liked. It was a similar learning curve to learning to shop for flattering clothes after having my first two babies. At first, it seemed like there was never anything that ticked any of the boxes, let alone all of them. Over time, I learned which garment manufacturers would usually fit and suit me. Knowing which companies make clothes that work for you is a good start when searching the racks of the thrift store. Some of the clothes made by Nygård International have been clothes that suit me when it comes to basics. Even though it is still a Canadian company, the clothing is now manufactured elsewhere. The black pants and white linen blouse are both made by the company and I believe the jacket might be. The jacket is missing its label but does have the care label which denotes that it is 100% cashmere and also has a Canadian union made tag. The classic design and quality materials and construction suggest one of the higher end Nygård lines.

Alternatively, the jacket could also have been made by the well-regarded label Louben. Also a Canadian company, all of the garments that I have seen with this label have also been labelled 'Made in Canada' like this double-breasted camel hair jacket that I found at the Cathedral's Nearly New Shoppe. Camel hair has always been a classic luxury fabric that has come to the forefront of fashion in recent years. This jacket will definitely fulfill some Modern Vintage Fashion Maxims: giving new life to something used, quality material and workmanship, and vintage styling (late 50's/early 60's)that looks perfectly modern.

When shopping at the Nearly New, I also found this Betty Barclay skirt. I immediately liked the fabric and seam detailing but was unfamiliar with the label. This skirt will probably have a shorter life in my wardrobe but will add spark to my classic pieces. It is very tempting while thrifting to fill your cart with clothing that is on trend when the prices are so low. Ideally, a wardrobe should be created in the way that our grandmothers gradually built there wardrobes with mostly classics that fit them well and were made to last. Excitement came in the form of accessories or the 'new piece' of the season. Buying 'too much' can be a good thing when you are experimenting with determining your style or grappling with body size changes as long as you can be discriminating about what you actually wear i.e. it should fit and you should be wearing the garment rather than the garment wearing you. Most thrift store clothes are inexpensive enough that if they do not work you can donate them or,if you make the decisions of what not to keep while the tags are still on, return them.

I wore two thrifted outfits today: The pants, blouse and jacket for the day and this dress to an orchestra concert. A plaid, early 60's style dress is like several similar ones in my closet but is the first one that I found at the thrift store. The shoes, my handbag(not shown), and headband are also thrifted. My wrap is silk and baby alpaca and was bought retail. It is a Fair Trade, made in Peru item that I love and use frequently. While not exorbitantly expensive, I may not have felt comfortable buying it new if it did not possess both its ethical and sustainable qualities. Loving it also made it easier but if you are not mindful when shopping it can be rather difficult to differentiate what you truly love and what is just catching your attention.

Along with sharing what is possible with a thrifted wardrobe in this post, I wanted to encourage a balancing of how we now build our wardrobes. Thrifting gives us the opportunity to discover which clothes really work for us without it being so expensive that we cannot afford to learn from mistakes. We can also start to fill our closets with quality, lasting items like our vintage sisters and determine which retail we choose to support such as hand-made, fair trade and sustainable clothing.


Reduce, Reuse and Rummage said...

In the early '90s I worked in a high end women's clothing shop and we carried all the Canadian lines like Nygard, Louben, Mr Jax, Joseph Ribkoff etc. At that time there were still all made in Canada! How I wish that I would come across that sort of clothing again. Whenever I see the labels in the thrift stores I get nostalgic!
I love the colour and style of your coat. It is a keeper!

Jenifir said...

While I believe that for most people building a wardrobe of well-made clothing that suits your personality is important, thrifting also gives us the opportunity to learn other things about ourselves and clothing. Please listen to what Jessi Arrington has to say about wearing thrifted clothes. I loved it!

Helen and her Daughters said...

Love this post. I am trying to build a thrifted wardrobe. I have found some great pieces over the past year. You are right that it is easier to find things when you know what brand fits you best.