Ultimate Guide to Thrift Shopping for Clothing

Thrift shopping has been a serious passion of mine for as long as I can remember. As much as I love luxury goods and fast fashion, nothing gets me quite as amped up as spending hours shopping at Value Village rummaging for treasure. The prospect of coming across one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that I’ll have forever ignites some kind of carnal female "gatherer" shit within me. 

Since I was younger, I would go with my mom who operates the same way as I do once within the walls of a thrift store: shopping cart at the entrance, start from one end of the store until you make your way all the way through. NO SECTION GOES OVERLOOKED! This is NOT an activity I would ever partake in if under a time restriction. You’ve gotta go in knowing you could be in there for several hours. Pretty sure I have spent up to 6 hours in a Value Village. Is that wack?? Whatever, I’m proud of it. Through my many, MANY years of thrifting, I have picked up a ton of tips that I hope might help less-experienced and potentially apprehensive thrifters. This post is long overdue! Here we go:

-Like I said above, prepare to spend a few hours in the store. If you’re not in the mood to HUNT, don’t even bother. You really have to put in the time looking for the goods. 
-There are “good” and “bad” Value Village (and any other thrift store, but I'm a V.V. girl) locations. In my experience, the farther into the suburbs you go, the better. Suburban Value Villages are goldmines and not at all picked over. The one by my parents place in Ajax is my JAM. If you’re in Toronto, the only location I have ever had luck at is the one on the Danforth. My Nonna used to live just around the corner from it so I have been going to this location since I was like?? 2 years old??? It still has a special place in my heart and I always find the best things there. Sorry to say, but the Bloor & Lansdowne location is awful. 
-If you find something you love but it’s stained, ripped, or needs to be altered to properly fit you, just pass it up. It’s not worth it and chances are you’ll never get it altered (unless you have a tailor who you frequently go to).
-I don’t like to thrift items from stores that I normally shop at. Thrift stores these days have tons of items from Zara, Forever 21, Aritzia, etc. These are not things I typically like to go for. When I’m thrifting, I’m THERE TO THRIFT! Aka unique and/or vintage items only. If I do find something relatively current that I loooove and it’s in great condition, I’ll of course still pick it up, but this is rare. When I find an amazing item, I know I've really hit the jackpot when I look at the tag and it looks super dated with font from like the 70s.
-This one is imperative: go by yourself or with someone else who’s thrifting vibe will align with yours. For me, that means someone who wants to disappear into the Value Village vortex with me. My mom is the perfect companion, as are a few of my friends. 
-Certain categories have much higher success rates than others. Blouses, sweaters, trousers, purses, blazers, leather/furs, and vintage tees are all good bets. Shoes can be tough because they take a beating so most are not in great condition. Vintage denim (like Levi’s etc) is such a hot item right now and that makes it really challenging to find because it’s what everyone is looking for. 
-What clothing size are you?? Not anymore! Size means next to nothing when thrifting because of how many different decades the clothes come from. I’ve purchased trousers in size L that are probably from the 70s and they fit like a modern day size S. Also, things like blouses, blazers, and sweaters can still look great if oversized. So don't make the mistake of only looking in your usual size section!
-In that vein, make sure you take a thorough look through the men's and even kid's sections. Two of my fav finds ever (a double breasted mini houndstooth blazer and a vintage Clash tee) came from the boy's section. Menswear can have great sweaters and graphic tees. And don’t forget the seemingly random “fringe” categories for women’s like sleepwear (my #1 find EVER EVER EVER is a black and tan printed kimono-jumpsuit hybrid that came from the sleepwear section, they had categorized it as a “robe”), suits (they categorize most two piece sets as “suits”, including matching tops and bottoms), and gross as it may seem and not recommended for beginners, lingerie (silk and satin slip dresses are in abundance there).
-When it comes to styling thrifted & vintage pieces, it’s important to modernize the look and be creative. Remove the massive 80s shoulder pads from blazers and dresses. Pair a vintage blouse with leather skinny pants and white sneakers. Knot a shapeless shirt at the front and wear it with high waisted pants. Roll up/cuff sleeves that are too big and boxy. Artfully wrap and tie up big vintage scarves to make them into tops/skirts/hair wraps, etc. If you can’t think of how a thrifted piece would fit into your existing wardrobe and style, pass it up. It will just end up sitting unworn in your closet forever. 
-Once you've made your purchases and arrived back home, keep everything in plastic bags until you are ready to wash or dry clean it. Obviously we all know that second-hand items are usually not freshly laundered, so don't mix your thrifted purchases into your closet just yet. It freaks a lot of people out not knowing where the items came from and I totally get that! The first thing I do when I get home is sort my purchases into "wash myself" or "take to dry clean" bags. With items I am washing myself, I make sure to use a mesh bag and wash on the hot/cold cycle to get the items really clean and sanitized. When taking more high maintenance items like silks or blazers to the dry cleaners, unfortunately you'll have to be prepared to likely spend more on the dry cleaning than you did on the item itself.  

PHEW ok I think that's all for now! Honestly if I could leave you all with one final and very important tip it would have to be: don’t get discouraged if you don’t find much the first time you go. Give it a month and try again, or try a different location! It takes a while to find your thrifting groove and to start to have an eye for unique/quality/timeless/whatever-it-is-you're-searching-for pieces. The saying practice makes perfect is definitely true when it comes to thrift shopping! Good luck and please leave any of your own tried-and-true tips below!

Clover & Sloane

So happy to be a part of today’s launch of Clover & Sloane - a brand new brand offering the sweetest dresses and jumpsuits. All of their pieces are so ideal for dressing up or down! I paired the Soho black jumpsuit with sneakers and a leather moto for daytime (above), and dressed the same jumpsuit up the day before with tan block-heeled booties and an oversized peacoat to go to the art gallery. The Carroll dress features my fav print of the season, cherries!!! I wore it out for a coffee date with a cozy cardigan, tights, and sock booties, though I really need it to be summer ASAP so I can wear it bare-legged with a straw hat… Clover & Sloane’s pieces feature sweet feminine details like ruffles, bows, and girly prints, done super tastefully in the most wearable styles and silhouettes. Shop now at cloverandsloane.com

Cranes in the Sky

Just returned from South Beach and I just have to express my love for it! It is the place to go to be EXTRA, but for a quick and easy getaway somewhere hot, beachy, stylish, and fun, there isn't a better place to go. The bar and restaurant scene is amazing... Some of my fav spots include the Broken Shaker (the bar at the Freehand hotel), Ola (amazing Latin food), Casa Tua (incredible Italian in a gorgeous courtyard patio setting), River Oyster Bar (in Brickell, so good), Habitat (for brunch or lunch, such an adorable patio), Mandolin Aegean Bistro (Greek, featured in Vogue), and Dreamer (most adorable brunch). The pool at the W Hotel is my fav but the Shore Club also has a great vibe. Our stays down there never feel long enough and there are so many other things I would love to do that I haven't had the chance to yet! Itching to go back and see the Museum of Ice Cream, explore the design district, and drive down to the keys. 

I'm wearing my favourite outfit ever from MISSPAP... A crane print culotte and kimono set paired with fluffy block heels and a cute little backpack that perfectly fits my DSLR camera. Easy, stylish, fun, and just a little over the top... just like Miami ;)

Make Me Blush

Now that we are a few weeks into 2018, I wanted to take a moment to put together a brief post about why last year was such a significant year for me. I had a lot thrown at me in 2017: I got laid off from my job of 6+ years, I had a flood in my apartment that rendered it unliveable for 2 months, and I dealt with a considerable loss that brought grave disappointment and uncertainty. I also traveled to amazing places, started a new job, and began to take charge and ownership of my life and the direction it was going in. Looking back on it all, everything I went through made me stronger and more confident that I can handle all of the ups and downs that come my way. Over the last year I threw myself into my passions, overcame anxieties, stood up for myself and my ideals, and of course made a lot of mistakes. When I needed people to lean on, I was so incredibly lucky to have the best family and boyfriend a girl could ask for, plus the most amazing and supportive friends both old and new. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but it’s funny how much the beginning of a new year can feel like a brand new chapter full of hope and opportunity. In 2018 I want to keep pushing myself to do better and to get outside of my comfort zone, but also not let setbacks and things beyond my control get the best of me. I want to use the start of a new year as an opportunity to have a more positive outlook overall, one that consists of mindfulness, gratitude, and composure.

With all that said, this was my New Years Eve look! A little blush velvet wrap number from Tobi. I layered a blush mesh bodysuit underneath to make it a bit more weather-appropriate, and added in some star earrings and a pair of thigh high boots. Rung in the New Year in style and good spirits.

Blizzard Attire

Happy 2018 guys! It's been a while since I've posted... The holidays and work have totally taken up my time but I'm hoping to get back on track with regular posting. I have a few posts lined up over the coming weeks! These photos were taken over the holidays at Elliot's family cottage in Muskoka. I have always been a warm weather person and I liiiiive for the summer. Winter and I just aren't meant to be, but the beauty and allure of winter up north is undeniable and this year I finally can say I appreciate it. 

We drove up from the city late one night and the forecast was clear. As we drove further north, however, we were suddenly enveloped into a complete whiteout. The snow was falling fast and heavy, it completely shrouded our vision to the point that we could only see a few feet ahead of us. The storm was completely mesmerizing and it felt like a winter fairytale. Pine trees heavily coated with snow tightly surrounded the road and everything was so quiet. There was something so magical and ethereal about it all and as corny as it sounds, I felt so at peace and lucky to be able to experience winter at its finest. It was probably way more nerve-wracking for Elliot since he was behind the wheel, but I trust his driving and the fact that our lives were in his hands haha. We made it to the cottage safely and went straight to bed, and the cold morning came clear and bright. During our stay, we headed to a nearby road to take some pictures in my very appropriate winter attire. I'm wearing these jeans by Tobi. Love the wash and the rise! So easy to wear, even in the winter... toss on a cute pair of booties and a cool coat and you're set :)

Fall Style with Zaful

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Teamed up with Zaful on a style post to make my fall looks shoppable. I have recreated all of my looks with items available on Zaful, plus you can use code brandrewardZF for 12% your entire purchase (including sale), in case you weren't tempted enough by their prices already! As you can see I have been pretty enamoured with my beret and newsboy cap so far this season. As sad as I am to say goodbye to summer, fall has been pretty fantastic so far and I have definitely felt a shift in my style towards layering and texture. Read on to see the looks and click the links below each collage to get shoppin'!

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La Dolce Vita

Naturally, Italy is one of my favourite countries to visit, being the (half) Italian that I am. In all honestly I could go every year and never tire of the energy, food, beaches, architecture, history, style, people.... and so on. This year, my family rented an Airbnb villa in Levanto to explore a region we hadn't been to before, Cinque Terre. I'll dedicate an entire post to the 5 towns, but in this post I wanted to focus on the area and house we stayed at in Levanto. When travelling to Cinque Terre, the options for entire homes to rent are pretty slim. Each town has small apartments and hotels, but we wanted a larger house with an outdoor space as there would be 6 of us traveling together. We came across Villa Mesco, which is right at the edge of Cinque Terre, in a town called Levanto. The villa is literally at the start of the hike between Levanto and Monterosso (the first of the 5 towns, heading from north to south). It looked absolutely beautiful on the Airbnb listing, with a sprawling yard covered in plants, archways, flowers, and a huge patio, plus a pool. We were absolutely not disappointed upon arrival! It was such a perfect place to stay and use as a base to explore the entire region. The house itself is a very traditional, classic Italian style home, so we didn't expect anything too updated. This suited us just fine. The pool and patio were perfection, and the house was very spacious. It's at the top of a hill so the views were just incredible. The only downside was having to hike up and down the hill to get anywhere, but we definitely were able to work off all the pasta and gelato so no harm done! Levanto itself is bigger than any of the 5 towns that make up Cinque Terre, so there were many grocery stores, shops, restaurants, etc., and the town never felt too crowded or busy as it doesn't draw the crowds as much as the 5 towns do. This was great because Levanto has a large, beautiful beach that we could ALWAYS get a spot on (you won't get a chair in Monterosso, the only town with a full beach, unless you get there first thing in the morning). A few other things we did in Levanto that were so enjoyable included renting a small boat to explore the coastline by sea, trying nearly all of the gelato and focaccia shops in town, and exploring the streets. There was also an amazing restaurant in town that we loved called La Loggia, with a gorgeous stone patio, and a bar with delicious cocktails that we went to one night, called Controvento. Levanto was such a great area to stay in and explore the entire region from! Our Airbnb made the experience an absolute dream.

(Wearing a Whistles striped linen/silk blend midi dress, ASOS nude flat ring sandals, Karen Walker Helter Skelter tortoiseshell sunglasses, and a Forever 21 black straw hat + a Shine & Gold romper "Spell on You", Zara white sneakers, and a Forever 21 tan straw hat)

Santorini Summer

Santorini has been one of my dream vacation destinations for years now, so I had my expectations set sky-high for our trip there. I went with my boyfriend after parting with my family in Italy and we were so excited to get there. So umm... Without sounding like a complete whiner, I was unfortunately underwhelmed by our experience. Don't get me wrong, the island is absolutely beautiful and photos can't do it justice. It's pretty magical being in the whitewashed towns just barely clinging to the crumbling cliffsides. The landscape is absolutely surreal... the island is literally a massive red rock rising from the sea, created by a volcanic eruption a bazillion (approx.) years ago. We kept looking around in amazement wondering how the heck they even decided, "hey, let's build some white houses in the side of the cliff OF A VOLCANO!" Of course, this is an amazing sight to see, so Santorini has become a worldwide destination for honeymooners and also anyone else with a pulse. I'm not sure if this revolving door of tourists has led to the inhabitants becoming hardened jerks, knowing that their hospitality (or lack thereof) will not affect vacationers from visiting, but I sadly found that the a lot of people on Santorini were not the friendliest. Obviously this did not apply to everyone and we DID have encounters with some absolutely lovely people at some restaurants and hotels. Will give recommendations on these spots below. However, this leads me to my next issue (I PROMISE THERE ARE SOME REDEEMING FACTORS COMING UP!): the ASTRONOMICAL prices of everything. I know, I know, Santorini is not the place to visit if you're on a budget (unless you want to stay somewhere not central, use the bus system to get around, and seek out inexpensive meals). I am by no means a cheapskate, but we felt like we were getting ripped off at every turn. For example: a taxi from the airport to the port was quoted 30 euros by our taxi driver. First of all, it's only a 10 minute drive. On top of that, we asked another couple who was also heading to the port if they wanted to share a taxi with us, and the driver says "IF YOU SHARE IT IS 25 EUROS PER COUPLE, TOTAL 50 EUROS." I'm sorry but that is notttt how taxis work sir. We are all going to the same dang destination. Meals, hotels, and excursions are all also off the charts expensive. Finally, Oia (the main town), while absolutely stunning, is too crowded to be able to enjoy yourself. The streets are narrow, winding, steep… and completely clogged with people. If you value personal space and sanity, you will likely not enjoy yourself. Imerovigli/Thira have a very similar look to Oia, and they are located near the middle of the island (Oia is on the north part). These two towns are much quieter and more pleasant to walk around. A lot of the most amazing hotels are in Imerovigli, and both Imerovigli and Thira have their share of great restaurants. Much more enjoyable!

OK, now that I have explained why Santorini is THE WORST PLACE EVER IN THE WORLD (it's not.), I will say that there were several places/experiences that made our time worthwhile. See below:

Santo Maris Oia: My heart swells when I think about this hotel. No, it is not on the cliffside, but trust me, unless you either want passerbys peering onto your patio all day or want to spend $2500+ a night for a little privacy, you do not want to stay directly in Oia. Santo Maris is just off to the side of Oia main town, connected to it by a footpath that gets you into Oia in less than 5 minutes. The staff at Santo Maris are absolutely lovely. The resort grounds themselves are extremely spacious with 5 pools, a few bars, plus one restaurant that was very good. The suites are large, beautifully designed, and decorated in the most chic boho style you could imagine. We sprung for a suite with its own plunge pool, and it was absolute heaven. We seriously lucked out with our room as it was on the very edge of the property so we had complete privacy as well as panoramic views of the sea and insane views of the sunset. The wisest thing I did when we stayed here was take advantage of the proximity to Oia and head there at 8AM by myself one morning. The streets were blissfully quiet. Literally the only other people around were shopkeepers opening up, couples in their wedding dresses & tuxedos taking wedding photos, and some bloggers prancing around on rooftops with their photographers (lol, wish that were me. Darn Elliot just had to go to the gym.) I walked around and took tons of photos, admired the views and the town, and was able to seriously enjoy myself. By 11AM, Oia is too packed with people to even move around. 
La Maltese: This is not a recommendation for the hotel (which we stayed in and did not enjoy), or the restaurant, or even really the bar haha (super overpriced)… this is a recommendation for the view from their rooftop bar/restaurant. La Maltese is one of the highest up spots on the cliff in Imerovigli, so this lends to some amazing views. I would suggest going for sunset if possible, and I suppose just suck up the cost of a cocktail and take in the views. Actually, our breakfasts here every morning were pretty fantastic, so that is certainly something I could recommend doing at La Maltese (double check to see if its available if you are not staying there). If you do go in the evening, be warned as this hotel closes down for private events very often. The 3 nights we were there, they were closed for 2 of them. Super annoying as we could not even enjoy the main area when it was booked out.
Anogi: One of my best memories from Santorini is having dinner at Anogi in Imerovigli. It is super authentic and affordable, and the food is delicious & traditional Greek. The staff were so wonderful and kind. We ordered wayyyy too much food and wine and spent a few hours eating and drinking. Cannot recommend this place enough.
Onar: Upscale restaurant in Imerovigli with a large outdoor space and beautiful views. The food is inventive and so good. The prices are a bit on the high side but we found it was well worth it as the portions were larger than we expected and the quality was there! The service was great as well.
Skaros Rock Hike: Easily accessible from any hotel in Imerovigli and well worth doing! The big rock in the background of lots photos of Santorini is Skaros Rock. There is a path you can follow all the way down through the streets in Imerovigli. Go past a church and the hike starts! It is not long or particularly difficult, unless you want to go to the very top of the rock which I probs don’t recommend unless you’re an avid rock climber. Instead, keep going on the main path to the very end. You’ll notice it continues downward towards a tiny church, called Ekklisia Theoskepasti. I think a lot of people miss hiking down to the church because you literally don’t know it’s down there until you start the downwards portion! It was amazing and I was so happy we kept going and found the church. I couldn’t believe that they had built one in such a remote cliffside location. The roof of the church is easy to climb on to fulfill all of your blue-and-white church rooftop photo dreams! Or am I the only one who really wanted to do that while on Santorini…

OK. Some final pieces of advice... we did not go to the red or black sand beaches while on Santorini. We had been on Ios prior to arriving, and the beaches there were incredible. Santorini is definitely not a beach island and I have heard that the beaches are not worthwhile. Santorini is better for shelling out some big bucks on a hotel and enjoying the pool and outdoor spaces there. That being said, make sure you have complete confidence in what you are booking. Read tons of reviews and pay attention to complaints. We unfortunately found that the other hotel we stayed in, La Maltese, did not look much like the photos and had inaccurate room descriptions. This was very disappointing as the place had a lot of good reviews, but upon digging deeper we noticed a few people had the same complaints as we did.

So, in conclusion... Based on our own experience, am I glad we went? Yes. Would I rush to go back? I don’t think so. Hope I'm not coming off as unappreciative… Just trying to keep it real! Honesty is key right? Not everything in blog land is magical sunlight, skipping blissfully through the streets, snapping picture-perfect moments! Although sometimes the stars align and you do get that ;)

In Bloom

Back from a short hiatus! As Drake would say, “I might take a breather but I won’t ever leave you”… in this case meaning posting on Good as Gold. No matter how much time passes between blog posts, rest assured I will always come back! I hope to be 90 and taking OOTDs at the bingo hall… or whatever activity seniors are doing in the year 2080. Jet pack water aerobics? Knitting with laser light beams? Sign me up. 

Anyway, back to the topic at hand! What could be better fresh content to return with than CHERRY BLOSSOMS?! Dayle and I had an annual tradition of taking blog pictures amongst the cherry blossoms at High Park every spring. When she moved to Australia for a year, I took it upon myself that year to keep the tradition alive! My boyfriend and I headed there early on a Saturday morning… and then basically turned the car right around. People everywhere. Families. Dogs. Mass chaos. Stampedes. Things being set on fire. OK maybe not the last part, but it was total mayhem and we are not fans of crowds. After that experience, I decided to avoid High Park during cherry blossom season… very sad as it is so beautiful. So, imagine my delight this year when Allie told me she came across a little cluster of cherry blossom trees in bloom near her dog park! And, BONUS, unobstructed #views of the CN tower. Naturally we headed straight over. 

It was a beautiful spring day and I had been dying to wear this new pink floral ruffle set by Toby Heart Ginger (via Princess Polly). I half wore an old denim jacket cause like… cold forearms… obviously… not just an aesthetic thing… kfineitwas. I also added some dainty gold necklaces, big gold hoops, a vintage straw clutch, anddddd to keep things cool, plain white sneaks. I’ll never tire of pairing girly things with more casual items like sneakers and oversized denim jackets. Spring is totally in the air as referenced in these pictures! We are so excited to bring you more sunny content through the summer! 

Shiny Boots of Leather

Kendra wearing: Zara olive utility duster jacket, Forever 21 grey ribbed tank, Forever 21 white skinny jeans with rips, Forever 21 suede tie choker, Forever 21 crescent moon necklace, Geox leather buckle boots

Living in Canada means (for me at least) that every fall I have to start thinking about a new winter boot. The past few years I have basically given up on trying to find anything remotely stylish because I KNOW they'll be completely destroyed due to salt and snow come winter's end. Normally I'll buy an ugly cheap pair I don't mind ruining and wear them to death while traipsing through the snow banks and slush puddles. Well, that ends this winter! Thanks to Geox I have a new pair of beautiful riding boots that will help me look like someone who actually takes pride in their appearance in the winter (hehe, is there anyone out there who doesn't let themselves go even a little bit in the frigid months?). The perfectly pointed toe, full-zipped calf, and buckle detail are all components of my ideal winter boot. Of course, this is Toronto we're talking about, so on particularly nasty days I will definitely be pulling out some old boots to battle the elements... but on days with a little less snow and ice, you'll be sure to find me in this stunning pair!

Thanks to Geox for partnering with us on this post :)

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