I always find myself in the doldrums this time of year. It's cold, it's grey, and nothing in my wardrobe inspires me. However, today I dressed for absolute warmth. Dagnabbit, it's cold outside!
- Jacket - CAbi, consignment; purchased here for $40.98
- Dress - Olsen, consignment; last seen here (2nd outfit) in January 2016
- Boots - Marc; last worn here in October 2016 with a dress of many colours
- Coat (below) - Hilary Radley, thrifted
I have my hands in my pockets...and I'm looking at the roaring wind tossing the trees around outside the den window.
- Earrings - local
Reader Mujeril requested, "It would be nice to know your shopping tips; how you spot the garment you want to look [at] closer, what are things you pay attention and finally what criterion have to be filled that you buy the item. And maybe some tips how to spot great value piece."
Feeling lazy? Here are my tips:
- Dress for shopping: Wear clothes you can take on/off easily, minimal accessories, skip the lipstick, wear shoes you can slip on/off, carry a cross-body bag (hands free!) and be prepared to take your clothes off/on several times.
- Go for the good stuff: Dresses, jackets/blazers, skirts, blouses (not knits), outerwear, shoes, then belts/scarves/jewelry/accessories. I don't bother with jeans or sweaters (most of the time), or anything in t-shirt material, usually. You're not going to find the good stuff on a rack of ratty t-shirts or a sea of jeans.
- Colour, pattern, texture, shine: I look for these gems to pop out on the racks. For colour, it's got to be rich or saturated, no fading. For pattern, I want timeless ones (dots, plaid, paisley) that don't look dated (hello, 90s florals). Texture has to be felt - you can teach your hands to discern quality fabric. I touch everything, and I can pull wool, silk and cashmere off a rack without even looking at the content. Shine...well, I'm a crow. I'll always look at and for shiny details; it's not always allover shine that grabs me.
- Examine before you try on: Look for the heart-breakers (moth holes), deal-breakers (rips, smells or stains), or the "I'm too lazy to actually do this" issues, like sewing up a seam, or taking an item to a tailor. Don't even bother trying them on, just put them back.
- Pose it and move it: Strike your most flattering pose, walk towards the mirror, sit down, cross your legs. Walk a little more if you can, doing your regular stride. Move your arms like you're lifting or getting something from a shelf that's a little too high. You'll find out quickly if it's a "standing only, dang, this is short" or "I can work all day/dance all night in this" piece.
- Construction matters: Turn it inside out and look at how it's made. Look at how the seams are finished (or not). Look at the buttons, the lining, how the pattern lines up with itself. The more you do this, the more you'll learn about garment construction (I don't sew, but I can spot something well-made!), and the better you'll get at spotting fabulous quality garments. Look for seams that give shape - they are what makes a garment fit perfectly.
- Ignore sizes: I wear a 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 38, 40, 42 and B - and none of those are bra sizes! Carry a tape measure if you must, but unless a garment is obviously way too big or small, it's worth a shot trying it on. Even shoes! I wear a 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 39, 40. They all fit. Go on, try 'em on.
- Look at accessories: Sometimes you can find great quality and designer names (note my Fendi belt from yesterday's outfit!) for cheap. Also, if you don't have a lot of time, have a Zen moment in the vintage scarf bin, teaching your hands to recognize silk.
- And lastly, Prices: Thrifting something cheaper than retail, especially WAY cheaper than retail, is still a waste of money if you don't love it and wear it. Yes, it's a cheap way to try a trend, or give something a shot ("it's only $5.00!") - and hey, I have done and still do this myself! But you should love everything you put on your body. Every. Single. Thing. Otherwise, what's the point?
Thanks, Mujeril, for your question! Happy shopping!