Thrift Store Thrills

Shopping at a thrift store, for many, only happens when in search of a costume or something for an ugly sweater party. For me, it’s almost a weekly occurrence. I’ll find wardrobe staples for my personal shopping clients on a budget, tonnes of accessories, and don’t even get me started on how many sets of hot rollers I’ve picked up for $4!

 More importantly, for me, it’s the thrill of the hunt! I walk in with excited expectation of the unknown treasure that will present itself to me! The fact that the finds are uber affordable is really just icing on the cake! All very Style Hunter Fox.

 This is why my first stop, when I’m after a special occasion outfit, is almost always a thrift store and there are several reasons why I’m often successful.

Dresses, especially ones that are even slightly formal, will probably be worn by a woman two or three times before she feels like she has been “seen” in it by everyone and will therefore be donated. These dress racks are full of items that are in excellent shape, classic, current and in all sizes.

Hot & Cold with Melanie. Photos by Dano Tanaka.

Hot & Cold with Melanie. Photos by Dano Tanaka.

I’ll go in with an open mind. You can’t go thrifting and expect to find, precisely, a long, mustard yellow, satin, shift, to  look like autumn, in a size 6. But you can go, thinking, something that represents one of the four seasons for this year’s Art and Soul event, “Hot & Cold” at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I pulled off a shimmery blue winter look for myself and a very glamorous, green summer for my very busy friend for $40, total!

 

Thrifted maxi dress, bracelets, and necklace. Purse was from a clothing swap so even better, it was free!

Thrifted maxi dress, bracelets, and necklace. Purse was from a clothing swap so even better, it was free!

I go when I have plenty of time to sift through the racks and try on loads of stuff. I’m never surprised to walk out with more than expected. I needed a dress for a tiki style photo shoot, last summer, with photographer Dano Tanaka. This red, Hawaiian print was perfect but the maxi dress clearly had to come home with me too! Considering I was styling two other models for that shoot as well, the fact that I found five colourful, wooden bead necklaces, with parrots, was a huge score!

Photo by Dano Tanaka at Ron's Boom Boom Tiki Room.

Photo by Dano Tanaka at Ron’s Boom Boom Tiki Room.

 

I stay fussy about fit. Buying an item that doesn’t fit right and clutters your closet, unworn, just because it was only $5, is still a waste of money. Unless that dress is special enough to be worth the cost of alterations, don’t buy it! But don’t get me wrong, sometimes alterations are more than worth it! The straps and length were both miles too long on this incredible metallic knit dress that I wore to “Bond & Beyond” with The Winnipeg Symphony, but some slight alterations made it my own. The beaded neckline is even more stunning, in person.

Bond & Beyond!

Bond & Beyond!

 

 I am open to random bits of brilliance. This old, lace, wedding dress, white fur stole, strands of pearls, and lace gloves were all thrifted separately but came together to form this bit of magic.

Winter in Spring by Dano Tanaka.

Winter in Spring by Dano Tanaka.

So please! Keep an open mind, don’t be rushed and only buy what’s really great. You really never know what treasures you will find! Those can be your Thrift Store Thrills!