Inside my Closet: My Favorite Vintage Finds

How’s a girl with Neiman Marcus taste but a Walmart budget supposed to get her fashion fix? Easy! Shop vintage.

I come from a family of bargain hunters. If you know me in real life you’ve probably heard the stories (or seen the FB updates) about the some of my amazing shopping adventures with my Mom and Sister (they usually sound something like this: “Just scored a Moshino blazer at Goodwill for 4 dollars” Friend: “How is that even possible?!“) I can’t explain it but the women in my family seem to have this innate skill for finding cool stuff for cheap. Between my hometown’s thriving thrift & vintage scene and my Mom & sister’s hand me downs, whenever I come home to visit I always bring an empty suitcase because I know I’ll be  coming back to Toronto with lots of goodies.

My Mom and sister have amassed quite the collection of clothing over the years. They’ve finally decided to turn their treasure hunting skills into a business and open their own vintage store on Etsy. It’s called Ghost Club and I’m sure I’ll be mentioning it from time to time because I really want their business to be a success! Since I’ve been home in BC I’ve been helping them organize the store and shop for more stock. The problem with going on these treasure hunting missions is that I inevitably end up buying things for myself too. Since I had fun showing you guys what’s inside my purse, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into some of my favorite new additions to my closet.

(I’m no fashion blogger so in lieu of modeling them myself, I’ll let Judy & Francine  the trusty Ghost Club mannequins do the honors!)

1. Adrienne Vittadini Oversize Silk Shirt ($6): This is one of my favorite shirts ever. I love the bright floral print and the uber soft, flowy silk. It looks cute worn un-tucked or knotted at the waist.

2. Nina Ricci Tomato colored silk top ($16): this top was a bit of a splurge but I fell in love with the color and the hand-sewn ruching. I wear this style of top often  (either un-tucked over skinny pants or tucked into a high waisted pencil skirt) and thought the bright color would be a nice addition for spring.

3. Michael Kors shirt ($7): I don’t know about you guys but I have a major soft spot for anything safari inspired for spring… which could be why I love this cotton shirt so much. This shirt isn’t vintage but I did manage to pick it second hand, in like-new condition. It looks great with a pair of skinnies, crisp summer shorts or tucked into a pair of high waisted trouser jeans. The hat was purchased in Panama by my Dad’s friend.

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Inside my Bag 2.0

I don’t know about you but I never get tired of seeing what’s inside people’s bags. I find it fascinating what people carry with them on a daily basis. Maybe I am just totally nosy…

I did a post about what’s inside my bag two years ago so I decided it’s time for an update.

Meet my purse. I’ve been carrying this around everyday since I got it in December. You can read the story behind why I bought it here.

I like the orange and beige piping. I feel like it adds a preppy, nautical feel to the bag. Let’s take a look inside! (clockwise from the top):

1. Random pamphlets + my Christian LaCroix notebook (for jotting down blog ideas)

2. Gym lock: I always forget to take it out of my bag after I workout.

3. Kissaholic lip gloss by Booty Parlor: I got this from Ohhh Canada and I actually really like it. The lifestyle in Victoria is very laid back so this is just enough color to make me feel dressed up in a pinch.

4. Burt’s Bees lip-balm: My lips are always dry so I need to carry lip balm at all times. I love my Burt’s Bees because it’s made of natural ingredients and it doesn’t give a weird aftertaste.

5. Black Pilot hi-Techpoint pen: my favorite kind of pen. period.

6. Pink iPod shuffle: I love to workout to music but I don’t like running with my iPhone. This is perfect because I can clip it onto my shirt and keep my hands free.

7. iPhone 3GS: I love this phone. The pink case is from Aritzia where I used to work.

8. Camera case containing a Cannon Power shot camera: There’s so much beautiful scenery in BC that I like to carry a small camera with me whenever I am visiting.

9. My keys with their “Matryosh-key” key covers: The mini pink purse is my keychain and the other pink thing is my Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt points card (which encourages me to spend a disturbing amount of money on frozen yogurt)

10. Miu Miu wallet/clutch: I originally used this as a clutch but then when I was in Vegas I started using it as a wallet as well and it just stuck.

11. Cat eye sunglasses: After reading “The Help” this summer I desperately wanted a pair of 60’s inspired cat eye shades. I found this $7.99 pair from Joe Fresh at Superstore and have been wearing them instead of my usual Marc by Marc Jacobs pair ever since. Meow!

Let’s take a closer look…

These pamphlets are actually the 2012 Eden Fantasys sex toy catalog and an application form to join Denny’s frequent eater program. I feel these are very…telling.

{Two of my favorite things: sex and greasy breakfasts.}

Lastly, I need to show you guys a close up of my notebook. I bought this with a gift certificate I received for Christmas. I really enjoy Christian Lacroix’s paper products. The quality is really nice and they aren’t as expensive as you’d think they’d be. The pattern on this notebook grabbed me…it’s really pretty!

The inside is even more stunning. How could you not be inspired when you open this notebook?

(I love how it says “Belongs to” in French and gives you a space to write your name)

Now for the million dollar question: How many bags does a self-proclaimed purse addict bring with her for a 6-week trip? Answer: five. How many does she actually use while she’s on said trip? One. Go figure.

What’s inside your bag?

Learning to Spend on the Right Things

I didn’t make any real New Years Resolutions this year (except for one: “Learn how to drive” – more on that later). I already have a long list of things I have been working on since November. One of the things I do want to focus on in 2012 is “spending money on the right things.”

When I sat down in November to brainstorm on ways I could improve my life & love myself a little bit more, I noticed a lot of things were out of balance:

I had a brand-new, unworn Alexander Wang top in my closet but I hadn’t been to the dentist in over a year. I love my Prada eye-glasses that I wear in the evening but I can’t watch any films with subtitles because I have neglected to get the prescription updated (for like, 2 years).  I always seem to have money for nights out with friends but I can’t use my lap-top (the computer I use every day to write and work) without plugging it in because the battery has been dead for god knows how long. My daily wardrobe consists of a lot of white or light colored tops but the only flesh-toned bra I own died about a year ago. Since then I’ve just been wearing black bras with my white T-shirts in hopes that everyone will think I’m doing it on purpose to be “edgy and urban”. I have the confidence to pull this off but really, I just need to buy more bras. Of course there are also all the chiropractic appointments, doctors appointments and bills which were all put off because my mind and wallet always seemed to be elsewhere.

Yes, I have messed up priorities of the First World kind.

I’ve known these truths about myself for a long time but have just been in denial. Although I do enjoy the pretty things I am fortunate enough to own, by not taking care of other areas of my life I’ve created a lot of extra stress. A lot of the negative thoughts I have about myself relate back to how I manage my finances. I want to love myself more and part of that means changing the way I spend my money.

While I am on this topic – I’m pretty sure I’m not the only young professional woman who has felt like this at some point. I feel like we live in a culture where we’re told that it’s OK to make certain sacrifices in order to look good or have fun. When I used to work in high-end retail, several of my co-workers would routinely forgo real groceries and live on a ramen noodle diet just so they could afford the latest $750 handbag on a retail salary. A good friend of mine recently confessed that she owns 20 Marc Jacobs handbags (at $400 a pop) but feels sad that she’s never traveled internationally. I call this the “Carrie Bradshaw-ification” of society. It seems like somewhere along the line we lost our way and it became OK, even chic, cute & urban, to own a closet full of very expensive shoes at the cost of being able to do other things like own your own home. How did this happen and how do we make it stop?

Although I’ll never forgo good food for fashion (I love my veggies & whole grains too much) and try to travel whenever I get the chance, I’ve definitely been the girl at the party with the killer vintage Chanel handbag who has to demurely reach into her handbag mid-conversation to turn the ringer off her phone because creditors are calling about her  large unpaid phone bill. There’s nothing cool or glamorous about it. It’s actually just a shitty scenario that makes me feel like I failed somewhere while on the path to becoming a fully functioning adult.

The great thing about this situation is that I have the power to change it.

So, what does “spending on the right things” mean?

For me, it’s not just about spending money, it’s about spending the time to actually take note of what my real needs are. It means looking after myself, paying my bills first and only spending on experiences & things that will improve my quality of life.

This holiday season, with the help of loved ones, I’ve been able to get a few things that I actually need that will improve my life in small (but large) ways:

1. Matryosh-keys Key Covers: Following my move in October, I realized I had way too many keys on my key ring that all looked very similar. Opening the front door to my apartment building would always involve a few minutes of utter confusion trying to figure out what goes where. I saw these key covers at Nood in Victoria ($6) and decided they would be the perfect way to separate my keys and play up my Eastern European heritage at the same time. It may seem inconsequential but no longer having to spend that 2 minutes feeling frustrated every time I leave my house makes a big difference.

2. The Magic Bullet:  This sounds like it should be the name of yet another luxury sex toy but it’s actually a blender. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a blender before but I love this thing! I like to make green smoothies but I have been avoiding making them because my blender is difficult to clean and it doesn’t fit in my new fridge so I can’t store leftovers. Now I can make a single serving smoothie with less fuss and waste. (Thanks Mom!)

3. Ombrello Black Riding Boots. These are probably one of the nicest gifts anyone has given me. My shoe collection is full of pretty high heels but the boots that I wear on a daily basis were worn out, hurting my feet and causing back problems. My Mom bought me these for Christmas and I absolutely love them. They’re incredibly comfortable, great quality, water-proof and I feel amazing whenever I wear them. I know I’ll have these boots for many years to come.

4. Michael Kors purse: This was my Christmas gift to myself. I know what you are thinking: THIS WOMAN CAN’T POSSIBLY NEED ANOTHER BAG. Yes, I do have a bit of a handbag “problem” but let me explain: I  love my purse collection but I realized something recently: a lot of my bags aren’t cut out for day to day wear. With the exception of my black Longchamp bag & a few summer purses, when loaded up with my daily essentials they hurt my shoulder (and this dominoes into back pain). My body was in pain all the time so I just didn’t notice. This purse isn’t as exciting as some of my other ones but it’s actually comfortable! Plus, it’s a bit smaller which will encourage me to carry less stuff on a daily basis. It was brand new but previously owned so I was able to get it at a very good price. No shoulder pain = worth every penny.

My Dad, instead of giving me a physical Christmas gift, decided to pay for some of my counselling sessions which is way better than anything he could have physically put under the tree.

Instead of hitting up the Aritzia winter sale (which I do enjoy oh so much) I’m using that money to book an appointment with a personal trainer.

Now when I’m faced with making a purchase I try and ask myself “Do I need it? Am I going to feel good about myself for spending my money on this?” If the answer is “no” and the money would be better spent on something I need more, I walk way. Taking control like this feels pretty amazing.

I’ve also started keeping a list of things I actually need and only shopping from that list. It takes a bit of discipline but it works! I already have my next purchase planned out: an electric toothbrush. It’s never too early to start preventing gum disease.

I wonder if Carrie Bradshaw ever worried about her gums?

What does “spending on the right things” mean to you?

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