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I have nothing to wear!

“70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30 percent should be icing and fluff — that’s color, pattern, shine, and accessories. Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed.” – Michael Kors

This morning was a morning like a thousand I’ve had before, where I stand in the middle of my wardrobe room panning the garment racks and feeling like I have nothing to wear. Anyone that comes into my house and sees this room thinking “wow you have a lot of clothing!” Then the jokes about me needing more clothing or I’ll be naked follow. Truth is I love all of my clothing, when I stop caring about them I pass them along or sell them. My issue lately is the changing of the season, conflicted between summer and winter, feeling too cold or too warm. Most of my dresses are very light which can only be worn comfortably a short time during the summer. This most recent summer it was cold and rainy almost the entire time, September was warm. I wasn’t able to wear most of my summer closet to be perfectly honest.

There are many ways to fix this issue but I think ultimately it comes down to a positive mind and cleaning out the closet. Every few months I spend a few hours combing through every piece of clothing I have. The brutal decision: do I like this, do I wear this, does it fit…? I need to be brutal with myself and not keep things just for the sake of keeping them. It will feel better to have less, so I need to buckle down and make that conscious effort.

Dress for the Job You Want!

I had written a post about this same topic three years ago but I felt it was time to revisit it. Here is a passage from the first post:

I can’t imagine you haven’t heard this English idiom. Essentially what it means is you should not prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone, however, when the reputation of the business is lowered due to the “appearance” of its employees – the line needs to be drawn. When I interview a potential candidate for this relatively simple sales associate position, my first reaction is based on punctuality. My second thought is based on appearance. My third thought is based on personality (due to the nature of our small shop, personality is key to the team working well together.) My fourth thought is about the ability to do the job well.

Working in fashion retail for all these years and any appointment I have gone to in a business oriented environment, I am always seeing black. Black, black and more black. I understand though as black business suits are easy you just swap out the blouse underneath to change it up. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but you didn’t come to this blog to hear me talk about basic black business attire! I love colour, even if its only present in my heels and jewellery. I feel a world of difference when I wear it.

I dropped off a resume and portfolio package to a potential employer one morning wearing this very exciting bright coloured combo. Although its not quite what I envisioned in my dark dreary basement wardrobe room that morning, I thought the coral blazer matched the dress perfectly, but as it turns out in day light its orange in the dress, not coral. Oh well the fun citrus colours do play well off each other!

My philosophy has always been to make a statement when dropping off a resume or interviewing. I first thought of this years ago when I was at an interview for a local government office position with dark brown hair, sporting hot pink underneath. I styled my hair up so that it was less noticeable and died it solid brown after I was hired for my first day. When the CEO walked into the office that day her first reaction was “Oh! Where did the pink go? It was so cool!” Over the next month different employees would walk in and say “you’re the girl with the pink hair, but where’s the pink?” Who knew it would make such a statement!

Now not only is bold bright colours and patterns part of my every day wardrobe, I make a point of wearing a striking bright dress with matching jewellery and a blazer for any professional meetings or events. Making a statement is everything! You can get lost in the crowd of black business suits so make sure you are wearing something “wow”!


Body Positivity

Let’s talk body positivity for a moment. Every day I’m subjected to body shaming remarks, customers exchanging “I don’t like it” remarks to one another, unwarranted opinions that deeply effect people. For me every day at work, I can vouch that skinny-shaming (or fat-shaming for that matter) is 100% an everyday occurrence. “Everything would look great on you, you’re small!” That’s not a compliment, that makes a person feel bad because they know they have a hard time finding things to fit too. No one has it “so easy” no matter the size.

Your breasts are too big, your breasts are too small, your hips are too big, you have no hips at all, you have a big bum, you have no bum at all, you’re too tall, you’re too short…

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
― Steve Maraboli

I don’t ask for an opinion, I don’t appreciate fake compliments and do not ask for a compliment at all. I am dressing for me. The passive aggressive statements such as “I like those other jeans better you don’t look as big” I’m a size 6-8. These are my thighs, my hips, my bum. Why does it effect you which pair of jeans I’m wearing?

We should be free to dress for ourselves without the unwarranted remarks. I feel great in my clothing that I have styled, in one opinionated remark about a previous outfit makes me feel bad about myself and like most women, not likely to wear it again. When this happens I unknowingly dress based on this persons opinion when it’s clear we have completely opposite tastes.

At my place of work I choose not to give any opinion when a customer asks my opinion because I tend to disagree with my coworkers opinions. This is the nature of people. One says it’s too big, one says it’s too small. One says it washes you out, one says its a great colour on you. We are all different and our opinions will always be.

Go with your gut and dress in such a way that makes you happy. This is the shape of my body, this is who I am. Don’t tell me otherwise.

After-Holiday Tips

outsideI made a video before my trip showing some of my tips for going on a solo adventure. I had a list I thought I had it all figured out, quite simply because it was my 5th time going away. I still ran into a few glitches that were simply an oversight on my part and undervalued a handful of items! Here are a few things that I want to address from my trip because not everything will go the way you planned.
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Financials Behind Consignment, The Gamble

To explain the numbers when thinking about consignment I’m going to use the information from one of our “shopaholics” who often brings $3,000 worth of brand new items in one session to start my post.

First let’s talk best case scenario, you’ve managed to snag a brand new winter coat by Flash that’s 90% down-filled and super light. The new price tag on it says $475. At a consignment store like the one I manage, arguably they would price it at 1/3 of the retail value. In this case due to the new tags and high value, we price it slightly higher at $200. Assuming this coat sells at regular price, the consignor receives $79.

A more likely item is a heavier fall weight, wool blend coat from RW&Co regular retail about $150-200. We have it priced at $60, it sells the same day, the consignor receives $23.

A pair of used UGG boots, visible water damage on the toe area, regular retail $200 we would normally price around $60 if it was mint, but these are not, so we price them at $40 with an “AS IS” condition note. They sell at $40, the consignor receives $15. Continue Reading

We Are All Equal

Anyone who has ever worked in customer service knows how awful it can be. Some days the awful overshadows the good. Granted the ratio of good to bad is probably far better good than bad, but what do we tend to remember? Just like travel reviews, we dwell on the worst parts of the holiday and not the positive parts. Something I experience every single day working in a consignment clothing store is verbal abuse, completely unwarranted and without any resolution.

I’ve gone home some nights in tears, unable to sleep over how I was treated or perhaps dreading the eventual retaliation from trying to end the conflict. Of the many names I’ve been called, threats I’ve received, a few gems include “a real piece of work” that I have “no customer service” and that I should not ever “work with the public”. I’ve been attacked by all kinds of consignors and shoppers alike on a regular basis. Friends ask me why I don’t quit. Some days I ask myself that too.

This month a disgruntled consignor who was told she could not use our private bathroom, proceeded to mutter that I could shove her account money “up my ass”. Really? Its just a bathroom, there are 5 other public ones in a single block radius.
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Tips for Consigning Clothing

pricetagsRemove the sales tags if it shows a low value or a price sticker.

    I collected a few sales tags to show you what people leave on their clothing that they are bringing in. “Outlet $9.99 Compare at $19.00” “Value Village $5.49” “Value Village $9.49” If the store prices based on a 1/3 rate of the retail value an item with a price tag of $5 would have to be sold at $1.60 of which the consignor would receive .64 cents. That is assuming the prices don’t drop or go on sale.

    It is in your best interest to remove the label from the inside, play on the fact that most people wouldn’t know the item is from Streetwear Society or George. At the very least remove the price tag. I find a lot of women think that because their items have original sales tags that it will increase the value of their items, it does not in most cases. The only instance where it would is if the item is an expensive highly sought after item such as a Lululemon jacket ($250) or Frank Lyman dress ($200).

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Resistance and the Art of Not Shopping

How surreal it is to be writing a blog about the art of not shopping, being that I am an avid thrift shopper. We’ve read a million times that we need to be a less wasteful society, big on recycling, protesting against fast fashion and converting to efficient methods in our daily lives. I recently read Patrice’s blog post How Taking a Shopping Hiatus Can Lead to a Better Wardrobe and reflected on my own shopping habits and style. When you stop and think, you know what you wear regularly, what is a staple in your wardrobe and an idea of what your “style” might be.

gotooutfit I have never felt that I have a particular style, I just like things, I buy – I try it out. Patrice talks about her “go to uniform” and I started wondering what mine would be. A lot of women I’ve noticed recently, have a “go-to” that is leggings and a long tunic. I have never found leggings to be comfortable and I don’t find long tunics to be particularly flattering on my figure so that’s definitely out for me. But I do think high waist skirts and tucked in blouses are one I repeat often. I love my skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, big bold jewellery and a layered look. I have started the process of moving, with the intention of buying my first home so I am packing up off-season clothing and starting to take a closer look at my current closet. With my situation I am deciding if things are better to be sold, donated or brought with me.
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How Consignment Works

I am often asked about how I can afford to thrift as much as I do, they suggest my wardrobe is massive and bursting at the seams. I buy a lot of clothes, that we will admit up front. But I am buying clothing at a fraction of the retail price so you need to change your way of calculating. I only buy secondhand knowing that I get bored of things and change my style frequently. I also have the ability to open up my closet on any given day and pull out a ton of pieces that are not screaming my name.

Most people are not able to be this brutal as most people think of how much they spent and have an emotional attachment to things. The most emotional attachment I have ever felt with clothing is my inability to wear it after experiencing something traumatic or unpleasant in that outfit. For instance if someone broke your heart and the red dress was their favourite, you’re not likely going to want to wear it again because it will remind you. I have had a few items that have been tainted by experience so I need to remove them from my closet.

Don’t get me wrong I do donate a lot of items, but many items are still in great condition and worthy of generating extra cash. In working at a consignment store I know exactly what to look for and what will sell to our clientele. Each store has its own processes and requirements, so I can only speak to our way of doing things. Let me tell you a little bit about how consignment works.

Lightly worn items are brought into the store clean, pressed and ready to go on hangers. These are items that are in style, in season and purchased within the last two years. My job is to analyze each item that is brought in to decide if it is suitable for resale, quality and if we would potentially have a buyer for it. Once I decide to keep an item I change it over to our hangers and double check that there are no stains, rips or flaws. Once I have processed all the items I return the hangers along with any “no thank yous”. Continue Reading

Tips for Thrift Shopping


If you cannot view the video above, please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwYxutG-jJg

The number one question a thrift-lover is asked on a regular basis is: “How do you ever find anything?!” The thing about thrifters is we don’t see these shops as gross, we look past the scent lingering in the air from unwashed clothing, we see the limitless potential in every piece we see. The fun is in the search, the reward is discovering that magical piece whether its clothing, home decor or furniture. In these stores it is all one of a kind and to me, that’s something special.

I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos and read plenty of blogs regarding the do’s and don’ts of thrift shopping. They all have similar points but a few I would disagree with based on how I go about it.

Try it on or wear your thrifting uniform

I used to load up a cart with items that looked like they would fit, I was pretty certain I was about this size and if not well I didn’t spend much so it’s okay. Its this attitude that gets you spending and wasting. More recently I have been taking the time to try things on, even if its just over top of my clothing. Now I don’t have a thrifting uniform (leggings, tank top as your base layers with easy to slip off shoes) I just go after work so whatever I’m wearing is how it is. Granted, this doesn’t make it easy usually for trying things on – so I have to really love it before I go through the effort in the change room.

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Appropriate Work Attire


If you can’t see the video above please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awne0y5yUy0

I had written an extensive article (or rant) two years ago about the importance of dressing appropriately in the post: Dress For The Job You Want. I referred to the job hunters I was seeing come into the shop as “looking like they rolled out of bed, as if they didn’t mean to go out in public they were simply doing their laundry at home…” On to explain that “yoga” pants are not dress pants, they are meant for… wait for it… YOGA!

As a clothing store we are trying as employees to be fashionable, knowledgeable as to what to wear with different items that we stock. As a manager, its exceptionally frustrating to try to communicate this simple idea to staff: You must look the part! I find as a society we care less and less about our appearance and feel that if we simply show up to our jobs that that’s good enough. As if the employer or business should be thankful that you showed up at all to help them out. You know what I think? Its not about them, its about YOU. Do you want customers to question whether or not you are an employee? Have your employer looking you up and down trying to be polite but really wishing you would take a hint that you need to dress more appropriately?
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Lessons of 2015

Here we are at another year’s end, saying goodbye to 2015 when it feels like yesterday we were saying hello. Did I accomplish everything I set out to? I did not set any concrete resolutions as I do not believe we can hold tightly to them, I do not like putting weight on my shoulders that is not necessary. “Goals” shouldn’t be a pedestal.

I now sit with a cup of cocoa, reflecting on the past year and pondering the future. I managed to sneak two tropical vacations into this year, a few thrifting trips to Ottawa, a trip to the bead stores in Toronto once or twice. I added a full time yoga routine into the mix as well as a second job increasing my work days to 12 hours. Continue Reading