Old Sock Drawer

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#064: Fashion and the (starving) university student

August 24th, 2009 by Mary Leong

Currently listening to: “Manchester England” – Hair (2009 New Broadway Cast)

This is a bit of a throwback to Phoebe’s blog entries (one and two) from ages ago, with regards to campus trends and sartorial choices. A new school year is coming up in two (!) weeks, and what better way to celebrate/mourn (take your pick!) than with a bit of a wardrobe revamp? Having spent the past week doing a spot of wardrobe cleaning-out (and looking for quirky pieces to replace those discarded), I’ve decided to compile a list of fun, affordable, and sustainable outlets, to satisfy all end-of-summer shopaholic tendencies. Being a shameless and unapologetic vintage/secondhand/thrift junkie, my list definitely will not feature American Eagle or Banana Republic – but I do trust you’ll have fun rummaging through piles and piles of frothy fabric and delightfully pre-loved one-of-a-kind pieces looking for a new home!

The Salvation Army
Ah, the classic one-stop for pulling something, anything – ranging from a vintage University of Saskatchewan sweatshirt ($2.99) to a green high-waisted satin pleated skirt ($7-ish? a while back). You must have one in your nearby vicinity, but every outlet is a new adventure! Other fun things include SLR cameras and Poloroids.
Best find: A white halter minidress with ink-sketched scenes of Paris on it ($7.99)

Value Village
The discount department store, indeed. I still can’t quite decide whether I prefer Value Village or the Salvation Army, but Value Village definitely trumps the SA in terms of collection and diversity. One could very easily spend hours sifting through countless racks and countless pieces. Some of those pieces look right out of an 80s movie, or a 60s hippie commune. And it’s not just clothing – you can find tons of wonderful junk such as typewriters (!), spools and spools of yarn, garden gnomes, jewellery, and board games as well.
Best find: Large fuzzy grey cardigan ($5.99)

Mintage Vintage
With two branches, one on Commercial Drive, and one on 4th Ave, Mintage is fairly accessible. Home to tons of gorgeous vintage ranging from 70s gowns to old cartoon print T-shirts, Mintage can be pretty pricey, but it is also known for its wicked sales, such as the $4.99/pound sale, and the $5-a-bag sale. In the former, a pound of clothing quite literally costs $4.99, while in the latter, a bag is purchased for $5, and the shopper stuffs it to the brim with as much as one can possibly endeavour to carry home. Either way, they both sound like pretty good deals to me.
Best find: Toss-up between 60s floral print dress ($1.00) and black velvet blazer ($1.00)

In Again
Just two or three doors down from the Mintage branch on 4th Ave, this tiny little consignment store is crammed floor to ceiling with fascinating pieces. As a matter of fact, I was just there today, and spotted some quirky items, such as a dark red crochet sheath dress (lovely, but not quite my size – but it is 50% off right now!), and a hot pink fringed blazer (wicked detailing, but not quite my style). Naturally, I came away with my latest…and best find…
Best find: Neon 60s mod minidress ($16)

Deluxe Junk
Located in Gastown, Deluxe Junk houses a startling range of vintage dresses and tops. All pieces start off fairly pricey ($30 – $50 ish, with exceptions). By the time a month or two have rolled around, prices drop by nearly 50%, so patience is advised – but you wouldn’t want some other grubby hands snatching up that twenties-inspired flapper dress you’ve got your eye on – so constant vigilance is key! I haven’t bought anything there yet, but I’ve got my eye on several hats at the moment, so we’ll see how that comes about…

Conveniently tucked away on Granville St., Used has an absolutely delightful collection of oddities, including a great hat, tie, jewellery, and shoe collection. Fun fact: around Halloween-time, Used has tons and tons of crinoline, so if you require any for costuming purposes, check it out. They’re fairly decently priced, all things considered. I have yet to purchase anything there (hello, screaming wallet, do stop that dreadful din!), but my frequent visitations are always a fun interlude to an otherwise busy and stressful week.

Shopping secondhand is terribly fun, for it’s always a new adventure. Sure, it’s unpredictable, and perhaps not the best idea if you’ve got a very clear mental picture of exactly what you intend on purchasing, but if you’re simply looking for a quirky addition to your wardrobe, there’s no better way to go. You can be sure your outfit will not be a carbon copy of squalling high-schoolers’; there really is something to be said about originality and creative assembly of one’s daily attire. Besides, what better way to do a tiny part for our overburdened, overstretched planet by re-using perfectly good items, while indulging in a little frivolous materialism? So, to shop or not? It’s your call. But if you ever come across any gorgeous 70s swing dresses, you know where to find me.

Tags:   2 Comments

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tyler Aug 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Neat deals :) I usually just stalk flyers and online websites for deals and then strike if its a good enough deal. Maybe I should try spontaneous deal hunting sometime 8D

  • 2 Mary Leong Sep 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Haha, spontaneous vintage trawling is a lot of fun! Value Village is having a 50% off sale on Sept 14, so keep your calendars clear!