day 162: {thriftday} timeless?

Fashion has always been pretty important to me. Can you tell?

No, but really.

I feel like while I’ve been talking about being thrifty and buying second-hand in the last few weeks I’ve perhaps missed out a key element in why I feel like I’ve been successful at thrift stores. Many times, I get this comment “I never see nice stuff at thrift stores. You just luck out, I guess.” Well, maybe I’m partially lucky when I go to thrift stores, but I think a big aspect of being lucky when buying your clothes at a thrift store has to do with how you are looking.

Let me try to explain.

The above picture was taken 8 years ago. I feel like the clothing I was wearing could have fit in 1970, or 2003, or right now (well, not right now, because it’s 4 degrees outside, but you know.)
So what am I getting at, you ask? Am I just posting old pictures and trying to make a post around them because I accidentally left my camera at my husbands office this morning and can’t do a proper post? Well…partially. I did want to post a picture of what I was wearing today, because it was a pretty thrifted dress for $3 that I got the other day. But the dress got me thinking about the definition of pretty when we think of clothing. I am starting to get frustrated by how the fashion industry says certain things are good to wear this season but if you get caught dead in them next season, then forget it. You’re out of the cool club.

This dress I bought is straight out of the 80′s, but at the same time, not. It’s blue, turquoise and purple flowers, button down, collarless bodice, elbow length sleeves and a fuller above the knee skirt. The cut of the dress seems like it could fit any era though. When that dress was new, someone bought it and people probably said to the wearer, “That’s a pretty dress. You look really nice in it.” Then the fashion industry said “Blue, turquoise and purple flowered dresses aren’t cool anymore.” And the dress ended up in the thrift store. Did the dress change? Nope. So why shouldn’t it look pretty on someone again?

My point, in a very roundabout way here is that when shopping second hand, throw away your ideas about what you’ve seen at American Eagle just the other day or what you saw on Fashion Weekly on TV. Pretty things will always be pretty, and if you wear it right, no one is going to say “Are you going to a 1970′s dress up party?”

I’ve gone through so much frustration in the last few years with clothing, because some of the styles that are “in” just look awful on me. I loved the look of “thrown together” oversized tops with leggings and boots. But I mean, for real…has anyone over 110lbs ever pulled that off? Probably not. The truth is, styles that are more structured/tailored are a lot better for me (actually, for most people–but I digress…) And all these nude/pale peach/antique colours that are in all the stores now? They look good on tanned people. They do not look good on someone such as myself, who has skin tone the exact shade of most of the items of clothes. So why should I bow to what the “higher-up fashion guru’s” say I should wear?

Again…pretty things will always be pretty…it’s just that our perception of “prettiness” is easily swayed by media.

So what do you like? What looks pretty on you?

Here are a few things I look for when shopping second hand:

Colour/Pattern. This is a big thing for me. I know what shades look good on me, and since most thrift stores are arranged by colour, then that is usually my first indicator.

Cut. Is this something that will be comfortable and still be non-frumpy? Will it make my mid-section look twice as big? That’s a bad thing…in case you were wondering.

Quality. I see a TON of stuff from Superstores Joe brand in thrift stores. Don’t get me wrong, they have some cute things but I don’t want something that feels like it was tailored while the seamstress was blindfolded and will consequently fall apart the second I put it on. If the item is cute enough and isn’t too complicated then I will take the chance even if the sewing looks a little dodgy because I know my sewing skills can fix small problems. But if you are ever concerned about something being a little worn and might fall apart and you don’t know how to fix it, don’t buy it. I don’t care if it’s only $3. That’s not thrifty. That’s just silly.

So wear something pretty. Even if it’s pretty 1960′s. Or pretty 1980′s. Because dressing pretty is pretty timeless.
Heh…terrible pun.

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