Monday, October 31, 2011

INSPIRATION: Sheer Fabric.

I have a new love - sheer fabric. I have never pictured myself as being a person who wears sheer fabric despite having thrifted a sheer floral blouse a few months ago. My boyfriend at the time told me it wast he ugliest thing that he had ever seen which put me off wearing it (while that may sound harsh of him, he's just very honest about things like that and didn't mean it in a hurtful way etc). Recently I wore the blouse out with my current boyfriend to have a few drinks and he complimented my outfit which made me realise I really did like sheer materials.

It's also getting quite warm here (I live in Australia) so sheer materials are going to be lovely for the summer heat. Since I enjoy collecting images of trends I like for inspiration, I thought I'd share some with you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

REVIEW: Thrifting by the Kilo @ Summer Hill's Anglicare Warehouse.

Today I finally did something that I had been wanting to do for at least three months, I attended the Anglicare Warehouse located in Summer hill which I had found reviews of online stating that it had a "$6 a kilo" policy. I had originally wanted to go with someone, however, having being unable to organise it with them and being (somewhat) in the area, I decided to stop putting off the visit. This post is a review of the warehouse and also contains some my thrift haul from the trip.

Location: 105 Carlton Crescent, Summer Hill, 2130 (A on the map above).
Contact number: 02 9798 7888.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday. From memory the sign out the front said that it closed at 3pm Monday - Friday (and closed earlier on Saturday - I think about 1pm), however when I called up I thought the man told me it was open to 5pm on the day I called (a Friday). I'd suggest enquiring before you go, like I did.
Getting there: On one side of Carlton Crescent is apartment buildings and on the other side is the train tracks (further up is the station, so you can easily get a train to Summer Hill and walk up). There was no designated parking, rather you simply had to be lucky enough to find a spot on the curb. I wasn't lucky enough to get one of these parks and instead parked near the wood pizza place which is also located near a Franklins (assumedly the parking spots were for shoppers).

If you choose to park here be careful, it was very hard to find a park (was about lunch time when I arrived) and all the parking bays are dead ends so if there are no available parks you must do a 3 point turn (in this case a 94739473947 point turn) to get back out. When I managed to nab a park there were 3 or 4 cars all sort of stuck around the entrance because they had followed each other in, and were having trouble getting out.

I don't believe there is a back entrance to the shop and I simply backtracked down Carlton Crescent until I reached the Anglicare sign (there's also a big sign reading 105 there). The warehouse is actually located behind the apartments so you must walk down the designated drive / walkway to actually get to it. It felt a bit weird and you have to go round a corner. When I was doing this an elderly couple rounded the corner from the direction I was going and almost gave me a heart attack.

The place is divided into two sections, the actual part of the shop which is priced per kilo (or the 'market') and a small room off to the side which is a normal Anglicare store, and where you can purchase all your goods. Below are a few things of note which I came across while there:

1. Terrible signage.
It's actually $8 a kilo now, something I only discovered when I was trying to find out where to pay (I'm not complaining at the price increase, rather that it took me so long to find the sign). To pay you must go into the normal Anglicare store with your 'market' goods, however, there is a sign above the door stating that you must not bring goods from the market into the store, leaving me pretty confused for a while.

There is also no signs indicating what is actually included in the $8 a kilo bundle. I assumed it was everything related to clothes at the very least (ie. shoes, bags etc) however I was later informed when asking the cashier that this was not the case. Only clothing (tops, bottoms, dresses etc) are included. This left me a little annoyed as I did come across any signage stating this and there is no separate pricing on the shoes or bags (I was eventually told they were $6 a pair, which I was actually really happy with, however, was still annoyed that this wasn't written anywhere).

2. Service.
Now, I understand that many people who work at thrift stores (as they are usually run by charities here) are volunteers, however, there is still some paid employees. There was only one employee that I could find that I could approach (I did spot some in the 'out of bound' zones sorting things), and this was the cashier. However, the entire hour I was there the cashier was on the phone trying to understand some rate plan for her phone / internet. She answered my queries about pricing while she was on hold and only hung up half way through actually serving me when I was ready to make my purchases. I think the most annoying part was that she kept saying to the person on the end of the phone that she was at work and to make it faster.

3. Organisation.
Everything was thrown into giant tubs / crates for you to riffle through (which was actually kind of fun). At first there doesn't look like there is much there, but when you realise that inside the tub is solid clothing it becomes pretty impressive. You have to be willing to spend time riffling through the tubs if you want to find anything, many people there (who I gathered were regulars from their conversations) would sort of empty one tub into another while searching so that they could get to something underneath. This is a fine approach as long as you take into consideration others around you - someone might not appreciate it if you start messing up their own pile by throwing your unwanted goods into it.

The shoe crates while amazing (so many shoes!) were the worse because nothing was tied together. I think I spent most of my time trying to find matching shoes. While I found two pairs, I left disappointed as I couldn't find the match to a pair of cute heels I wanted. The only way to have found it would have been to attempt the approach mentioned above, and when I was looking at the shoes, so were other people, so I didn't want to offend them.

4. Other shoppers.
A majority of the other shoppers were elderly or appeared to be mothers. When I arrived there was a few girls of a similar age to me (I'd say between 17 - 19) leaving with some of their purchases. I had no problems with any of the shoppers, although there was one lady who kept talking to me while we were looking through the shoes. She was quite pleasant (and at first I thought she was staff), although once she asked what my shoe size was she kept showing me shoes that looked about my size. While I was polite about it, I can't say we shared the same taste in clothing.

5. Changing rooms.
While the anglicare 'shop' had two change rooms, the 'market' part had none. It did have a few mirrors upon a wall though. I didn't try anything on (which is extremely out of character for me) and decided to treat it as pot luck.

6. The Anglicare shop.
I actually didn't look here because everything seemed quite expensive (paying $12 for a second hand tie didn't appeal to me, especially when I could have brought one for $1 in a special trolly within the warehouse that were of an equally good condition). Everything was hung up on racks, nice and neat, however it was incredibly crowded and I didn't want to knock anything over.

7. Pricing.
Apart from the Anglicare shop, I was very satisfied with pricing. Shoes were $6 a pair (which is very cheap in comparison to my local thrift stores on a usual day) and the bag I brought was $4 (no idea if this was standard for all bags or not). $8 would buy you a kilo of clothing, $12 would buy you a kilo & a half, $16 would buy you two kilos etc. They did have a chart up with this information on it. With this said, if you only wished to purchase one item of clothing (which I was going to do originally), you must still pay a minimum of $8. Due to this I decided I might as well do a bit more rummaging and at least come up with a kilo of things to make the trip worth it.

Overall, I cannot complain about the experience. While there was a few things that could have been improved, the only important factor I believe was the signage. I would definitely recommend visiting the warehouse if you're nearby. If thrifting was a video game, the market of the warehouse would be the 'hardcore' mode. You really do have to hunt for some gems, I actually found my arms were getting sore from rummaging so much. I think it was worth it though. I ended up spending $24 (which is a lot for me to spend in one thrift trip) and had a lot to show for it. To be honest, I was expecting to have to redonate a lot of it once I actually tried it on, however I'm happy with everything. Onwards to the pictures:

These boots cost me $6 and are a perfect fit. They have zippers on the inside of the shoe so that you can easily put them on. The toes were a bit scuffed so I used a permanent marker to go over the scuffed bits and help blend them in.

I got a second pair of (somewhat similar to the first) shoes. These were not scuffed at all, however, I could not get the top of the shoe to balance hence why it is drunkenly leaning against the wall. The downside of this shoe is that it does not have the zipper of the first and thus is a bit of the pain to get on, at least, is a pain to get on one foot. While foot slips in comfortably while the other has trouble getting my heel down pass the hard part in the heel of the shoe. I've been meaning to get a pair of those really tight stocking-like socks, so I am hoping that this will ease the process of putting the one troublesome shoe on. It sucks, particularly because I managed to get it on without so much trouble at the actual store, but for $6 I can hardly complain.

This was actually the first piece of clothing I decided to buy, largely because it's not something I would typically pick out and therefore wanted to experiment with it. Basically it's like a poncho, except it has two massive sleeves. I feel it's very summery which is the look I'm trying to achieve this summer (how original!).

Again something very out of my typical range of clothing. Being oversized and summery are also repeat offenders. The bottom front is actually designed to tie together (or so I think) and the sleeves are three quarters with a rolled edge.

The last picture shows a much closer colour to the correct colour (the others seem quite washed out). While I love button up shirts, I love them even more when they're of a light material rather then stiff-business like ones. This shirt has that light material I like, plus is a lovely sandstone colour. Once again it is massive on me, however, I intend to wear it tucked into a pair of denim shorts with the sleeves rolled up (like picture two).

I put these two together as they're both made out of a sheer black material (and I'm lazy). I brought the first to wear beneath my ever growing collection of sheer tops. The blouse on the other hand interested me for reasons that I could not explain. I'm quite a fan of the collar that you tie at the front. When you tie it as if it's a bow-tie it leaves a reasonable portion of skin between the top button and the bow in view. I'm also considering tying it loosely or tying it behind my back so that it has a really big v at the front. Currently it looks stupid over top of the sheer singlet and without it, it's incredibly transparent so I'm not sure when I will actually wear it.

I originally thought this was a long top and had hoped to wear it as a dress with something under it, however, it turned out to be long enough to wear without stockings / tights. When I first tried this on I was really unhappy with the fit and felt rather dumpy. I then paired it with my white sneaker wedges that I thrifted a while ago and was really happy with the outcome (especially after my sister saw me in it and said it was very pretty). It was obviously the lace detail that won this one for me, although, the fact it has two pockets was also attractive. While the top is fitting, the rest leaves something to be desired and makes me appear larger then I am. I feel the wedges balance this out by displaying my rather slim legs.

The final thing I picked out (which was actually the first thing I looked at when I walked in) was this bag. The straps easily fit inside to make it a clutch. I've been looking for a plain black clutch for ages, particularly one big enough to fit my camera + phone inside. This is probably going to become an essential in my outfits. And yes, I forgot to take a photo of it on my camera so these are from a webcam.

Hopefully once all my new clothes are washed I will post a few photographs of them being worn so that they will look much more flattering.

Friday, October 21, 2011

THRIFTING 101: Five Handy Thrifting Tips.

Some of you may have already read my 'Thrifting 101: What is thrifting?' post back from July, if you haven't, I suggest you go and read it. This is my second addition to this series that I am writing and contains five handy tips to make your thrifting trips more enjoyable and hopefully more successful (or at least, less disappointing so that when you get home you don't discover that you brought a whole bunch of things you don't really want).

1. Have an open mind

This may seem obvious to some but it is essential for an enjoyable, successful thrifting session. Thrifting isn’t quite like shopping in a ‘proper’ shop when everything is laid out neatly, comes in multiple sizes, full of all the latest ‘hot trends’, where you can just walk to one section and pluck something off the rack. My favourite thrift store organises all the shirts by colour (ie. all the red on one rack etc) and then has all the skirts together, all the shorts together, all the denim together, all the heavy jackets together etc. Everything is also tightly packed so when I go there I don’t simply look at the colours I like, I look at everything because there are always hidden gems hiding away and this is important to remember.

Pull things out of racks and inspect them. If you like the detail in them then sling them over your arm or into your basket so you can appraise them properly at the end. When you pick up an item and absolutely love it but see that it’s a size too big, don’t put it down straight away. Not only do some shops have weird sizing (ie. I thrifted a pair of XL shorts that only just fit me while I’m usually a small or medium fit) but there are various ways to wear an item of clothing rather than just the way it is intended. Perhaps an oversized graphic shirt may be ideal to pair with tights to create the appearance of a dress, or just for a lazy day at home.

So yes, don’t dismiss things straight away.

2. Try everything on.

This again may seem obvious as it’s something you would probably also do in a “normal” store, however, it’s even more important in a thrift store. It’s very easy to pick up a unique piece and think that it’s absolutely amazing for whatever reason and then get home, put it on and be very confused as to why you look like you’re wearing a potato sack. It’s just as easy to put back a piece that you don’t think would be very attractive that if you had tried on, you would have fallen in love with.

When you try something on, don’t just stand there and stare at yourself in the mirror, twirl, inspect yourself from every angle. Try folding the hem up to make a dress shorter, or folding the sleeves up on a shirt or blazer. Tuck in a blouse or button it up all the way, pull something at the back to make it tighter. The idea is to find a way to wear something that flatters you and is something you would want to wear. This leads me to my next point:

3. Wear one of your staple items or something comfortable.

When you try on something it can be very difficult to imagine what it looks like when paired with another piece of clothing. If I know I am going to go thrifting I try and wear an item of clothing that I would most likely pair what I buy with (ie. my favourite shorts which get worn with everything). Even if the colours don’t match while you’re trying something on, it makes it easier to see the kind of style you might achieve.

On the other hand, it can also be useful to wear something comfortable and easy to take off / put on while thrifting. I have never been to a thrift store with more than 2 unisex changing rooms (as in little boxes enclosed by curtains and with a mirror inside), and very tiny thrift stores may not have any at all. If you are unable to use a change room for whatever reason, you may still be able to inspect some items of clothing in a mirror / reflective surface. Now, I’m not encouraging to people to get their gear off in the middle of a shop, but if you’re wearing something light (ie. tights or just a plain t shirt), it would be quite easy to try something on over the top of that.

4. Inspect everything before you buy it.

In second hand stores a majority of things are second hand (fancy that!). This means that it is quite possible they have signs of wear and tear, whether it is a missing button, a few stitches coming loose or a stain. Some things aren’t identifiable at a first glance so make so you have a reasonable look before you purchase it. For example, the other day I picked up this cute floral silk sundress which was a lot cheaper than the similar dresses nearby. Confused, yet happy with my find I went to put it with my “try on” pile only to notice a yellow stain across the white front. While it wasn’t hugely noticeable, it was obviously there. Sad, I decided to put it back.

Some things are repairable, particularly if you have basic sewing skills. With that said, try & check for:
- Buttons (missing, whether they are loose, if they have spare buttons attached etc).
- Seams (if they’re coming undone, this includes the crotch).
- Stains (especially the front, sleeves and underarms of shirts / dresses, the knees of pants, and the behind of pants / skirts / dresses).
- Faults (sticky or broken zippers etc).
- Other damage (ie. pulls, rips and tears, areas of the fabric worn thin etc).

Obviously this is not an exclusive list, rather the most obvious things I can think of. If you can think of any more obvious things feel free to drop me a comment.

5. Don’t just buy something because it’s cheap.

I am so guilty of this that it’s not funny. I pick up something that I found agreeable for whatever reason, but don’t really know if I want to buy it but then see the price tag, make a face like ‘O_O’ and add it into my buying pile. Just because something is cheap does not mean you have to buy it. It’s a depressing feeling to open your wardrobe and see a bunch of clothes, but not anything you want to wear. It’s even more depressing when you donate a shirt that you thrifted and haven’t worn, back to the place you thrifted it from.

If you feel you really have to buy something because it’s cheap (I know the feeling, dw), at least make sure that it something you can see yourself wearing and looks nice on you. Buying that neon green sequin mini dress for $2 may seem like a good idea at the time, but when you get home I can almost guarantee you’ll be feeling buyers remorse.

I’d also suggest you be wary if you’re like me and pick up an item and think ‘Oh, with a few minor modifications this would be amazing. Plus it’s really cheap, score!’. Unless you’re particularly dedicated / motivated, it’s going to sit on your ‘to-do’ pile for a lo
ng, long time, possibly forever.

Happy Thrifting!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10. Hello, I'm The Doctor.

This image is of the Eleventh Doctor from the episode 'A Good Man Goes To War' and was taken from a costume index located here. As previously discussed here, I'm intending to attend a Halloween event at a local club as the Eleventh Doctor and while I don't expect it to be identical (as I'm purely thrifting it / doing it on the cheap) I would like it to bear a close resemblance. I realised it would be a lot easier to find a plain blue shirt similar to the picture above then some of his other shirts and this lead me to thrifting the two below:

I couldn't decide which one I preferred so I got both since they were only $1 each. The one I am wearing is (from memory) a XL in mens while the darker one I am holding up is a female one. While the mens is my favourite, it's very long in the sleeves so I'm not sure if that will prove to be annoying or not. I've also had one other person tell me they prefer the mens shirt as well, if you think one is more suitable then the other, feel free to reply to this post giving your opinions or reply to my tumblr post here. Below is two picture of all my bits thrown in together:
I need to find a burgundy (closest description of the colour I think of) bowtie or tie (since I watched a youtube video on how to tie it as a bowtie) and purchase myself a sonic screwdriver. I'm contemplating making myself a fez even though it's not from that episode, I just think it would be more recognisable.

Also yes, I am aware that my blazer is not identical, it did only cost me $4 after all. If I come across a better one I will be purchasing it however this will do for now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

09. Thrifting Onwards to Halloween.

With Halloween this month I've been trying to think of a few costumes to wear to attend my favourite club - Hot Damn, which is having a 'Mega Halloween Party'. To help me think of the perfect costume I made a list of requirements which was as follows:
  1. Has to be inspired by something I personally like.
  2. Something at least reasonably recognisable (being a club I don't think too many people will get it if I turn up in something heaps obscure, not to mention answering "So.... what are you suppose to be?" every five minutes strikes me as annoying).
  3. Inexpensive and something that won't upset me if parts are damaged / stolen / lost.
  4. Something comfortable / suitable for a clubbing location (in other words, massive props are a no-no but looking easy is encouraged).
After looking at this I decided I was left with a few options, my favourite one wearing something Doctor Who inspired - probably something from season 5 / 6 as it would be more recognisable. I also considered going as Ash Ketchum since I own his hat / a home-made version of his overshirt or, if all else fails, a zombie. At the moment I've settled on constructing a (very casual) version of femme Eleven, so here's a picture of him from season 5:

My costume will be comparable to this although I'll also be donning a fez ("I wear a fez now, fezes are cool" is probably one of the first things I think of when I think of Eleven). So yes, I'll be wearing a blazer, button up shirt, bow-tie, fez, boots, suspenders and most likely tiny shorts. Personally I think that Eleven would be a shorts kind of gal, if you know, he was a gal, and since I'll be at a club I don't really want to look overly boyish / be running around in dress pants for the entire night. I'd rather something a bit more 'flirty' purely because of the location. I already have the boots / shorts, and intend to make the fez - unless I can find one somewhere (which is probably unlikely), however I don't own any of the other essentials. This lead me to a very quick thrifting trip at Lifeline after work today. I only purchased two things, and they are as follows:
This blazer is from Table Eight and cost me $2 (marked down from $4). For some reason I thought it was a lighter yet similar colour to Eleven's blazer and thus brought it on for my costume, on returning home I discovered that I have the worse memory ever and was left completely boogled as to how I thought they were similar. However, I did see one of a more suitable colour there today and shall be returning before the end of the week to purchase it (this time I'll make sure I print off reference pictures). I don't usually buy light-coloured clothing (except for white band shirts / white dress shirts) so this is something pretty different for me. I think I may couple it with some of my darker dresses.

The only damage is to the 'fake pockets' which have been slightly torn to make real pockets. This is a blessing in disguise as I hate fake pockets with a passion and intend to unpick them properly.


I am a huge fan of oversized shirts and button up shirts, so I love being able to combine them. This shirt also cost me $2 and I knew from the moment I ran my hands over it on the rack, that I was going to purchase it. I love the colour, texture and the slightly transparent fabric that delicately drapes across my torso. The label reads '1626' which I have never heard off, although it did strike me as a 'size' shop (as it sells size 16 - 26). Google it only revealed the link to 'Autograph' which sells "fashion for the curvy woman" (direct quote), which seems to support my idea. The shirt itself is a size 18 which means it is far, far too big for me. Despite this, I really like it and intend to wear it tucked into a cute skirt or pair of shorts. I actually saw a woman in a similar shirt a few days ago with the shoulders cut out like this. I'm tempted to try it with my shirt but I think I'll practice on some old ones first.

08. Grandma, What A Big Wardrobe You Have!

I know I haven't posted here for quite some time, so apologies. Originally I was going to relocate to Dreamwidth, however, there wasn't many blogs for me to follow and such so I've decided to stay here. Recently my family & I visited my grandparents. Not only does my grandmother love thrifting (although, usually for antique related things), but she's a massive hoarder. Her husband has been slowly going through many of the things stashed away in their basement to give away so she got out some of her old jewellery boxes and that and told us we could have what we wanted from them because the rest was going to be donated. I'm going to have to ask you to ignore the dopey faces I'm pulling since it was hard to make sure I was actually photographing the jewellery without it moving, haha. The header picture is one of my favourite thrift finds (although, really, all my thrift finds are my favourite finds), it was only $2 or something but I adored the nautical symbols + the navy stripes that you can't see. Plus, it's oversized so I love it even more. Anyway, my finds were as follows:

Really long string of amber-like beads.

Two chains (only one pictured). Both were a bronzey / copper colour which didn't come out in my webcam so I gave up (plus they kept swinging and coming out blurred, haha).

This necklace is broken, however, had really nice clasp like things so that it could be five-stringed. I intend to cut all the beads off and restring them so it's got the original five strings again.
I thought the clasp was really nifty on this. I think it's suppose to be a choker, which isn't really my style, however, it was way too nifty to pass up.

The necklace is broken (no clasp, missing a few beads), however, I really liked the centre piece of it so decided to keep it so I can restring it in the future. The dark thing in the second picture is a goldy brooch of some flowers. I don't really wear brooches, however, I think it would look nice with my navy blazer.

Last but not least I ended up with two rings - one is a large man's ring which I could wear on my thumb or put on a necklace, it's just a plain silver band while the other is much smaller and has a small pattern on it that I find quite cute.

Non-jewellery related I ended up with these two gold coin purses. I absolutely adore the opener thing at the top. Sadly parts of them are coming unconnected from the actual purse part so I'll have to see if my father can help me reconnect them. I'm not sure how much actual use they'd get, but I thought they were pretty! I also ended up with this:
My grandmother's evening purse. It has a matching handle and inside is a lovely yellow colour with a pocket. I have no idea what I'm going to use it with since it's a bit flash for my usual outings, however, I thought it was way too nice to get rid of.