Why I choose to thrift

I’m starting today’s post off with a few personal thoughts before diving deeper into the topic. After sharing that majority of my clothing purchases in 2016 were actually thrifted, it sparked some really great dialogues (thank you!!) asking how I got into thrifting and why I continue to buy secondhand.

To be frank, my response to “Why do you thrift?” is two-fold:
1. From a financial aspect, it can be more wallet friendly to buy secondhand. I say “can be” purposefully, because it is very possible to spend more on rare pieces than buying new at retail (e.g. vintage designer purses). For the most part, it’s wallet friendly.
2. There’s a huge negative environmental and economical impact to countries who export fast fashion labour that goes widely unspoken of. Many people who work in factories producing clothing sold to consumers as dirt cheap prices get paid dirt cheap wages. Often, many of these factories do not meet safety standards, do not provide healthy work environments, and don’t treat their labour force fairly. For these very reasons, I have a hard time continuing to support businesses who exploit human labour and am actively learning what it means to be a conscious consumer.

In an effort to spend (and save) more consciously, I’ve decided to own less pieces in my closet and get creative with thrifting the majority of the new-to-me pieces that get added as I rediscover gaps in my wardrobe staples. Instead of filling the landfills with more unwanted clothing, I’ve been shopping consignment, Goodwill, eBay, and Poshmark to hopefully reduce the amount of waste produced. Some of my favourite pieces – many of which you’ve seen on the blog – are thrifted treasures!

the demure muse // vintage Coach Legacy purse
thrifted vintage Coach Legacy purse from Falling for monochrome post, Sept 2016

Thrifting is something that’s been part of my life since I was a kid. Because I used to spend a couple weeks every Summer living with my grandparents, my grandma used to take me along to run her daily errands. Aside from learning how to pick the best produce at the grocery store and the Chinese names of my favourite dishes at dim sum, my grandma taught me how to be a smart thrifter. It was her passion for finding good deals and patience for waiting it out for the perfect piece that helped to shape the way I thrift today. I have so many fond memories of going to Goodwill stores with her, which is probably why I have such a positive association with the stores as an adult today.

As a blogger who has felt the pressures of trying to stay up to date with trends in the past, I have definitely fallen victim to supporting fast fashion. As I’ve grown older and have started to settle into my personal style that isn’t heavily influenced by the window displays of stores, I have gotten better about thrifting pieces based off of the styles more than off the labels.

I know that thrifting and buying secondhand isn’t for everyone. There have been many times that I’ve talked about thrift finds to people who gave me the stink eye about buying used items, but to each their own! I personally love the thrill of finding unique pieces and knowing that I’m helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

If you’re ever curious about learning more about the “cost” of fast fashion, I highly recommend checking out the documentary The True Cost.

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Cabin fever

This past weekend, my partner and I took a short road trip to Crystal Mountain (~2 hours outside of the city). While I usually opt to stay indoors on chilly Winter days, we’ve found ourselves on a mountain snowboarding almost every other weekend since the end of December. Even though I was still recovering from the last snowboarding trip, I tagged along for the drive to enjoy being outdoors in the powder. I go a bit “crazy” (aka have too much energy for my own good) when I get cabin fever!

pnw outfit
This has got to be the most stereotypical west coast, Pacific Northwest-er, outfit I’ve ever worn! I call it my “cabin outfit” because I dream about wearing it to a cabin on a winter getaway. In reality, I wear it to work on an almost weekly basis. I love this outfit because it incorporates: a thrifted piece, a gifted top from my family, and a borrowed beanie and backpack from my fiance (what’s his is soon-to-be-mine, right? haha!). I haven’t owned a flannel buttondown since I was about 10 years old, which my grandma bought to help me brave the winters as a kid who hated being outside at recess. Over the holidays, my family (back in Toronto) decided it was about time for me to own a flannel shirt since apparently not owning one and living in Seattle is a faux-pas.

Seattle winter hike
UGG Cecile boots styled
outfit details:
plaid flannel buttondown: American Eagle (exact)
cable knit cardigan: thrifted via Goodwill
UGG Cecile boots: c/o J.Jill (exact)
leggings: Lululemon (similar)
Especial Primo backpack: Timbuk2 (exact)
beanie: borrowed from the fiance ;)

how to style flannel
If you’re wondering what’s up with my thigh-high snow legs, there’s a funny story behind that. You might’ve already read it on Instagram over the weekend, so feel free to gloss over this paragraph if you did! While we were taking these photos, there was a really cute spot I wanted to walk further over to. T was asking if the snow was packed enough to stand on, since he was only wearing sneakers after having changed out of his snowboarding boots. “Trust me! It’s packed solid!” was my response and then not a moment later after making that statement, I fell through into thigh-deep snow!

Of course, we couldn’t stop laughing about it and that’s how we ended up with this set of silly photos. Moral of the story is to never trust me as your snow tour guide. I will get too excited jumping around in it and end up with soaking wet socks for the 2 hour car ride home from falling through non-packed piles of snow.

… aaaaand blooper! This was taken right after falling through the surface of the snow into thigh-deep powder. As you can tell, I was having a splendid time with snow down my boots!! This is my, “hey can you help me out of here?” face.

plaid flannel outfit - blooper
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Working off the holiday cookies

Happy holidays!! Hope you all had an amazing holiday season (for those who celebrate)! This time of year always makes me extra grateful because of all the quality time I get to spend with those who I may not get to see very often during the rest of the year. This holiday season is particularly special because of the fact that this is the first time my partner and I are splitting time between our families together. Historically, we’ve spent our Christmases separately, only reconvening in the new year to have our own little holiday party for two (or three, now, as Sushi Magoo the cat has come into our lives).

Aside from spending our days in sweatpants, eating holiday cookies, and replaying our favourite childhood video games, my favourite part has been sharing our love of winter activities with each other.

outdoor skating outfit ideas
outfit details:
Cambridge coat: c/o J.Jill (exact)
blanket scarf: Moorea Seal
leggings: Lululemon
oversized pom pom beanie: Uniqlo

outdoor skating trail
red pea coat styled for skating
We spent Christmas Eve on an outdoor skating trail, listening to the pop-country-oldies mashups of holiday tunes. Skating is something that I loved to do as a kid, but haven’t had the opportunity to practice much as an adult. As T and I tried to out-skate one another, I snagged the toe pick of my right skate in a small divet of the trail and fell straight onto my knees! The price to pay for trying to be a show-off, I guess! ;) haha!

Thinking back to the last few days with the family, I can’t help but think about all the holiday traditions we have and what new traditions T and I will start in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed for Christmas Eve skating to make the list (although I could do without the giant bruises on the knees)!

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Comfy and cozy holiday traditions

Growing up as a child, there was one holiday tradition I would always look forward to. I can’t quite pin point the year it started, but I remember being excited every Christmas to get a new set of pajamas from my parents. My mom always picked out the cutest prints (she caught on to my love of cats early :) haha) and sometimes matched the sets between me and my siblings. Sadly, the pajama gifting tradition ended a few years ago. I still have all the sets my parents have gifted over the years (the ones that fit, anyway) because I’m too much of a sentimentalist.

This year, I’m excited to turn the tables around on my family for our old holiday tradition!

karen-neuburger-sleep-set
karen-neuburger-poncho-print
After being introduced to the fun, holiday themed poncho set from Karen Neuburger, I’m excited to share a few of the sets with my family. The layers make it easy to bundle up or down on winter mornings or evenings. I personally find myself snuggled up under the fleece poncho in the mornings, while sipping on tea and finishing up some light reading before getting started on my weekend errands.

karen-neuburger-pjs
While this particular set is quite festive, there are a lot of beautiful floral prints or straight solid night dresses available on the Karen Neuburger site. Best of all, if you’re in a pinch for last minute holiday gifts, a lot of these PJ sets are available with 2-day Prime shipping on Amazon too!

Huge thank you to Karen Neuburger for making such cute PJ sets and sharing one with me in exchange for this post.

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Holiday party outfit

Unlike previous holiday parties in the past, my party outfit prep took a bit of a difference approach this year. As a refresher, my outfit last year was the show stopper piece. It was light, frilly, and nothing short of festive! While I felt awesome wearing this to holiday parties and on NYE, I didn’t feel so awesome all the times I saw it hanging in my closet unworn this year. Without a fancy occasion to re-wear the Chi Chi London dress to, I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake this year.

This year, my approach was to find pieces that I could easily re-wear to other events throughout the year, both for casual or formal events. After all, my goal is to build a versatile closet with the least amount of items. The more I thought about buying a single dress to fit these purposes (this gorgeous crushed velvet maxi dress was a top contender), the more I realized I would end up in the same situation I was in with the Chi Chi London dress from last year. In the end, having separates to work with felt like the route that would provide the most versatility and re-wearing of either pieces in the future.

holiday party outfit idea: blush maxi wrap skirt
outfit details:
cropped moto jacket: MISSGUIDED (similar)
twist front crop top: Topshop c/o Octer.com (exact)
blush satin maxi skirt: Lulu’s (exact)
Gentle Souls wedges: c/o J.Jill (exact)
14k gold filled line earrings: Fresh Tangerine (exact)
glamorous over-the-top statement necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique (exact)
glasses: Warby Parker (exact)

This satin blush maxi skirt was the first piece that was purchased. I absolutely love the weight and the sheen from the material. What I don’t particular like is how easily the fabric pulls. I’m usually expectant of satin material to pull (a little bit, when something pointy rubs it), but this skirt fabric pulled from a car seat belt, the corner of a gift bag, my jacket zipper lightly rubbing on it. If you can name an object, I can probably point to a pull on my skirt from it!

everyday wear transformed to holiday party outfits ft Happiness Boutique statement necklace
The top was a bit of a challenge to find. I originally thought I was going to get a flowy, cold shoulder top to pair with the skirt, but ended up finding this crop top using Octer.com (more on this in the next post), when shopping across stores to find the most complementary top.

Being able to re-wear my beloved cropped moto jacket (purchased earlier this year), along with the wedges from September, as part of my holiday outfit, felt really great! Also knowing that an accessory like a statement necklace helped to jazz up the outfit while keeping the base pieces basic enough for everyday wear, I’m excited to reintegrate the crop top and maxi skirt into my daily rotation.

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