Preloved/ Pre-owned and Vintage Handbags

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t follow treads and I do covet some of the latest and greatest designs introduced into the fashion world.  However, I can rarely justify paying full price for anything, especially for a high-end luxury piece that is very expensive.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I do make the exception if I have a gift card or if I’ve saved up long and hard for it (e.g. my pretty wedding shoes).  What I do appreciate more is a great deal.  If I can’t afford something, I just don’t buy it.  I might slip sometimes and buy it, but then I end up having to return it later.  Keep in mind that that would apply for regular retail purchases.  All the consignment stores I’ve purchased from do not allow exchanges or refunds.  I always keep that in the back of my mind when I shop pre-owned!

I appreciate great craftsmanship and attention to detail when it comes to fashion.  Vintage pieces have more history, uniqueness and appeal to me.  With luxury items, it doesn’t need to be in season for me to love it.  I prefer to have statement pieces that speak to me or happen to compliment items in my closet 😉  I didn’t get into buying preloved (pre-owned) and vintage items until I shopped in L.A., San Francisco and New York.  As shopping consignment was becoming a trend a few years back.  It was evident that when people own high end luxury handbags in particular, they put a lot of care into the bag especially since these babies come with hefty price tags.  So these consigned items are usually in pristine condition.  California had so many options of buying luxury preloved and vintage items.  I even stumbled across a pop-up luxury consignment store in L.A. a few years back.   The name of this particular place was called, “Divorcee’s Closet” LOL.  I’m so glad that the option of buying preloved items is now becoming more accessible to Canadians.

When I was in the U.S., I loved sites like Gilt (mostly sells new items but from time to time there will be a flash sale of vintage luxury items. Bonus: Gilt ships to Canada), Fashionphile and Yoogi’s Closet.  At the time, the dollar was at par so I was getting great deals!  I was able to add LV as well as Prada and Chanel to my collection.  When my husband lived in the U.S., it was a lot more convenient to order from these websites.

There is still hope for us fellow Canadians looking to score amazing vintage finds.  Here in Toronto, one place that I was shockingly surprised to find vintage items for sale was at Winners and Marshalls, during their Red Carpet Event.  I found some items that made me do a double take.  “Hermes bracelets for $150?!? That had to be a mistake.”  But low and behold…my eyes did not deceive me.  They were preloved vintage items with a little note attached to it.

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I took a picture to show you some of the things that I found.  Yes, some of the preloved vintage items were still way out of my budget (like the $9,999 Hermes handbag, the Louis Vuitton bag and the Cartier rings), but bangles and bracelets at $150 were definitely a score!

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This large pre-owned Louis Vuitton handbag I found a Marshalls during their Red Carpet Event. Look out for flyers for their next event!

If there aren’t any Winners and Marshall’s stores in your area selling vintage and pre-owned pieces, try checking out some consignment stores around the city like Extoggery, Haute Classics, Consign Toronto and Kind Exchange.  Extoggery, Haute Classics and Consign Toronto are stores where you’ll have to fork over a little more for luxury goods but there are still deals to be found with enough patience and persistence.  With Haute Classics and Consign Toronto, you have the convenience of  shopping online.  Kind exchange is more along the lines of a slightly upscale Value Village.  You don’t find very many high end couture pieces but if you are just looking for something current and trendy on a budget this is the place for you.  Since it is smaller than Value Village, there is less rummaging around to do.

You can become a great consignment shopper, and the key thing is to do your research.  I find that even when I’m shopping in consignment stores, I will go on my phone to find the item and see if I’m truly getting a great deal.  Go to Google or major department store websites to compare the original prices of the actual item or similar items.  You can also search on eBay to find comparable items in that condition.  My personal rule is that it must be at least half price to make it worthwhile if I’m not buying it brand new.  Many times, I’ve scored brand new items with tags at these shops, so again, it pays to do a little bit of digging.  An added bonus is that they guarantee all their items are authentic.  It also doesn’t hurt to ask if it comes in it’s original box or with a receipt (hard to come by but I always ask)

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Here are a few items from my pre-loved collection.   Purchased at less than 1/2 of  the retail price <3

If you have an item that is just sitting around in your closet, why not consign it?  Keep in mind, many places will require that you leave the items with them for 30 to 90 days, and you do not receive payment until the item has sold.  For the convenience, they take at least 50% (on average) of what the item ends up selling for.  Someone will appraise your item and list the price at the store.  You can try to suggest a price that you feel is fair, but they will give you a realistic amount as they know what items typically sell for.  Different places have their own selling options and policies.  Some options include selling it directly to the store for them to re-sell, you will get your money right away, but the payout is less.  If you consign and have them sell the item on your behalf, you usually get more value for your item.  However, if your item does not sell after a certain period (60 days usually), it is your responsibility to come back for it, or they will donate it.  Also, some places require clothing to be dry-cleaned before being accepted.

Consignment shops are a great way to find affordable luxury items.  They also help to support the local economy, encourages recycling, and even helps you make a few bucks.  If you are finding that the items at the various consignment shops are still out of your budget, you can always wait for one of their sales.  Even though I’ve never been to a Kind Exchange sale, I was told by the sales associate that they have a “Fill a bag for $20” sale.  I don’t think you’ll ever encounter that kind of sale at a high end consignment shop but I’ve been to sales where they have slashed their prices in half 🙂  It never hurts to ask when their next sale is.

Consider making it a girls’ shopping/consigning trip, and you can consign your items at the same time as your girlfriends.  Once you’re there, you can shop and compare notes on whether or not an item is a good buy.  I have a girlfriend who’s so organized. Before she consigns all of her items, she will print off a list of each item and list how much she purchased the item for and what she’s hoping to consign it for.  Many of her items are NWT (new with tags).  She lived in NYC for a few years, so her selection is amazing!  Before she consigns her items, she’ll show us all the pretty pieces first.  That way it’s win win if we end up buying it from her.  She’ll make a little more money than putting it on consignment and we pay a little less than buying it on consignment;)

Do you know a great place to buy vintage clothing and accessories?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Clothing with a Cause

Here’s a local brand that has been creating quite a buzz lately…Peace Collective.  I ordered my t-shirt awhile back, and I love the message on it: “Home is Toronto.”  More importantly, I love the message that the company stands behind, which is the importance of battling against poverty.  Their mission statement: “JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER – For every garment purchased, Peace Collective will provide two healthy meals and a snack to a child in the Canadian educational system.”  Their company supports “Breakfast for Learning” which ensures students begin school well nourished and ready to learn.  I learned recently from their blog that they also collaborated with Lululemon for the 2015 Pan Am Games…so cool!

IMG_1833I love to pair my t-shirt with my different blazers and sweaters.  I think it’s always fun to dress up a t-shirt!  I also wear my nude pumps with everything!  Usually, I also pair the t-shirt with a blingy necklace, but there was already some bling on the shoulder pads of my blazer:)

FullSizeRender (28) OUTFIT DETAILS:
JEANS:  Zara  (Similar pair)
PUMPS: Jimmy Choo (patent look)
T-SHIRT: Peace Collective
BLAZER: Purchased in L.A. @ a consignment store (similar design)

Side note: My husband lived in California for 3 years for school so I got many of my great deals there.  If you are ever in the L.A. area,  consider using Yelp to locate  some great consignment stores:)
I’m on the hunt for this blazer from H&M from a past season. Love the fancy detail on the shoulder pads.  It retailed for $49.99 U.S. and I’m hoping it’s a design they will bring back!

Below are some cute stickers that came with the t-shirt.

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This year I will be attending TEOF’s (Toronto Educational Opportunity Fund) Annual Lunar New Year Banquet, where proceeds go towards supporting the TEOF’s mandate to provide nutrition to young learners.  More specifically, it is a charitable organization supporting child nutrition and the Kindergarten parenting programs of Inner City schools.

food for thought

It’s always good to know that things that you wear can support good causes!

Proud to be Canadian!

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Love being Canadian!

Happy New Year everyone!  Mother Nature sprinkled some white love for us and has given us a white New Year!  I was contemplating staying in my Pj’s all day but then I decided to throw on a sweater that’s just as comfortable…my Roots Cabin Cardigan!   It comes in Birch White as well.  It’s the perfect sweater for lounging around in and if I need to dash somewhere quickly, it’s not frumpy and it’s acceptable to be seen in public in.  In fact, it’s both cute and comfortable…my kind of sweater!  I know that Roots is now an international brand but I love how it has Canadian roots;)

As a gift to congratulate me for launching my blog, Tiffany from “The Paper Suitcase“, bought me a signature Hudson’s Bay Blanket…I love everything that’s a part of the HBC collection.  Not only is it sold at Hudson’s Bay, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this collection on sale in Canadian airports.  If you are not familiar with it, it’s a signature collection inspired by over 300 years of Canadian history!  I have been coveting this blanket forever…thank you so much sis!!

If you want to shop my Roots look for less, Bluenotes carries some very cute Canadian sweaters.  I actually got this Canadian sweater below in Stratford when we went to watch a production at the Stratford Festival.  The quality is comparable to Roots and just as warm and comfy.  I purchased my sweater for $39.99 and I was able to take advantage of their buy one get one 1/2 off promotion.  The sweater pairs well with skinny jeans and Hunter boots!

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Happy first Day of 2o16!!

Mild Temperatures in Toronto

I love not having to wear bulky items this winter. This year’s mild weather in Toronto has allowed me to maximize my usage of these pretty gloves.

I’m not a fan of the cold but a white Christmas is pretty ideal.  However, for the rest of winter I’ll take mild temps any day.  The mustard colour gloves were another amazing find at Winners.  For under $20.00,  the cute leather accent should be more than enough reason to say “Yes, please!”  A bonus is that they are touch screen smart gloves that allow you to stay connected while being warm and stylish at the same time.  You don’t need to take your gloves off to swipe your phone or tablet…amazing!

My black leather Burberry gloves, I found on sale a couple of years ago on a last minute trip.  It’s really hard to catch Burberry sales but when I do, I’ll make sure to notify you all:)

My go-to item to stay warm when I need to quickly dash, is this stylish wrap.  Some refer to it as a large shawl or a poncho.  But at the cost of $39.99, it’s perfect for dressing up any outfit!  I purchased it at Nordstrom in Michigan.  I’m excited that Nordstrom is coming to Canada!  I hope their Nordstrom rewards and their VIP programs are comparable to the US!

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I fell in love with this shawl at Roots.  I can’t seem to remember the name of it, but it’s a part of their Cabin Collection.  Fingers crossed that it’ll go on sale…because it’s still way out of my budget for a shawl.

Speaking about staying within budget, I got these bad boys this week for $2.00/each (5/$10).  They’ll have to come out when the weather gets colder because they are thicker.  Best of all, most of these finds are the Thinsulate brand…so they’ll be super warm!  Head over to your nearest Ardene store now to see if they are on sale there too!  Or, if you want the convenience of shopping online at Ardene’s, shop their sale section and you can get similar items for 3/$15.

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Marshall’s Red Carpet Event – Not to be missed!

Alright, I get it…Marshalls, Winners and HomeSense can be a pain to maneuver around, but there is indeed an art to shopping these TJX stores.  If you have a whole day to spare then by all means you can browse to your heart’s content.  It’s rather daunting having to go up and down the aisle scanning row after row, hoping something will catch your eye. I usually only have this luxury when I’m visiting the US where time is not of the essence.  Often times, I go to these stores looking for something in particular.  Lately, it has been gold accent pieces for my guest room.  I’m constantly on the go, so I don’t always have time nor the luxury to browse as long as I would like.  Yesterday was a unique story.  I don’t typically go to Marshalls to score high end luxury pieces.
My friend had a yoga class at 6:30 and asked if I wouldn’t mind killing some time with her at Marshall’s before her class.

OMG if you haven’t been to Marshall’s lately, you are missing out!  There are many good finds to be had.  And have you heard of their Red Carpet Event? The advertisement looks like this.  At their last event, they had Valentino’s Rockstud pumps there!  I couldn’t help but take a picture.  I would have called them mine if they had come in a different colour so the search continues.

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You can buy a similar design at DSW.  I actually bought a pair when I was in Boston, but when I tried them on at home, the fit wasn’t that great on me so I returned them.  I shouldn’t write them off so quickly because they looked beautiful on the other girl next to me who was trying them on.  The link I provided was to their Canadian site.  Bonus: Boxing week starts early at DSW so it’s an extra 20% off if you shop 2 or more items 🙂

Back to my Marshall’s adventure.  You are not going to believe what I scored yesterday – A pair of Christian Louboutin Anjalina 120 studded patent-leather pumps!  They were a fraction of the price that it was listed at on: Net-A-Porter (a luxury online store.)  And the studs are pretty in both silver and gold.

It was meant to be…my eyes zoned in on them and they were in my exact size 37.5!  I was just given a VISA gift card for Christmas so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  FullSizeRender (6)I have a feeling that these will go perfect with my leather jackets, my edgy purse and my ripped jeans;)

 

 

My go-to black handbags and clutches

We all know that one staple item in your closet should be your go-to black bag…but what happens when you have more than one?  It never hurts, especially if 3 out of the 6 were priced at $10.00 or less!  A bag does not necessarily need to be expensive to be functional, practical and stylish.  Here are 6 bags (some of my favourites) from my collection.  It’s pretty evident that I have a love for the cross body bags and clutches 😉

My glittery clutch was a steal at $10.00 at the Canadian National Exhibition Centre!  Yes, you heard correctly…the CNE has a whole mesh of shopping areas in a great hall (warehouse like) that is reminiscent of a flea market with a fancy Bombay outlet thrown into the mix.  I’ve actually used it for a wedding as well as a couple elegant functions.FullSizeRender (14)

And what is better than a cross-body bag that serves dual function.  I was at Value Village, shopping for a Halloween costume this year.  As the fluorescent light flickered slightly above me I couldn’t help but glance up, to my left was the cutest cross body bag hanging on the wall.  Not to mentioned it was in my fav colours at the moment – black and gold…yay!  I had to do a double take because the price tag read $6.99, I knew I could do no wrong taking it home.  I did the happy dance in my head  but at the same time crossed my fingers in hopes that it just might fit my iPad as well as my cards and cash.

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Cross body bag. Holds iPad and has a zipper component for your cards and cash from VV Boutique 😉

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This story has an even better ending, I scored two finds that day…another skeleton (skull head) cross body bag was hidden and hung directly below.  $9.99 was what the price tag read!  Value Village was VV Boutique for me that day!  Disclaimer: Earlier in the day I did go to another Value Village store but left empty handed.  After leaving 2 Value Village stores, I still had no costume but went home with 2 very pretty purses.

After securing my finds, I rushed home and wiped & sprayed them down twice (inside and out) with my Lysol wipes and spray.  These babies can disinfect anything – I need to get over this if I want to continue scoring vintage finds:)  I took the first find to the dining room and I slipped my iPad slowly into the bag – my heart squealed in delight…it was a perfect fit!  It even fit with the case on!  It’s now the perfect stylish way to transport my iPad.  My second find screams perfection when I want to have more of an edgy look.  It makes me want to channel Alexander McQueen but at $9.99, I don’t have to worry about ever scratching it or losing it.

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Skull Cross body bag. VV Boutique

The other black clutch is a vintage bag that belonged to my mom.  She used a black strap with it and rocked it with her stylish ensembles in the 90s.  To give it a modern twist, I took off the straps and made it one of my go to clutches when I feel like adding a little retro timeless style into my wardrobe.

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Mom’s Vintage Purse

I absolutely adore this Rebecca Minkoff cross body bag below.  This bag I actually took from my sister.  She had bought it and never used it, so I told her that it only made sense for her to share the love as it matched my leather jackets perfectly.  How adorable are the hanging leather strings!

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Rebecca Minkoff Cross body bag – Nordstrom Rack in Michigan

My last go to bag is my Tory Burch bag.  It can be carried as a handbag but also has a second strap that can turn the bag into a cross body bag!  My husband purchased this bag for me two years ago and I still love it as much as I did the day I first laid eyes on it.  It’s definitely a little more of an investment than the other bags but the bonus was that he did get it on sale.  I think it’s worth the investment as I think I carried it for 4 months straight when I first got it.  I use it frequently when I rotate my black go-to bags.  Shop this similar design at Tory Burch. Or this other black handbag which is currently on sale.

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Tory Burch Dual Cross body bag/Handbag – Tory Burch Outlet, Florida

Once I start creating my fashion diaries, you’ll get to see my bags on me for my lookbooks so you’ll get a better idea of how they look with particular outfits!

I do own a couple other high end luxury black handbags but I’ll save those for another post because many were purchased on consignment!  I’ll usually only pay retail for high end luxury brands if I have a gift card or catch an amazing department store sale.  Or unless I’ve saved long and hard for it…and even then it’s very rare that I’ll splurge on a full price item.  You know when they say shopping is a high… it’s actually a bigger thrill for me when there’s a huge sale or when I get an online notification that something that’s in my wish list is now on sale 🙂  If you can relate, this blog will be right up your alley.
I’ll share with you my favourite consignment stores in the city and what websites I use to order consigned items online.  Plus exclusive sales I try to never miss…stay tuned 🙂