Tip of the Week – Second Hand Clothing Shop (in Store) Like a Pro

shopsmartIt’s Thursday of long weekend and I am one happy girl. So happy I thought I would share a few of my tricks to second hand clothing shopping (in store) – like a BOSS.

Growing up in a house with four women including myself and one man [sorry dad] I found myself at a young age learning the value of a dollar and how to stretch it.

Since I could not always afford the latest and greatest items to hit store shelves or simpy did not want to lose what seemed to be countless days of saving to buy one sweater, I would run to my local thrift store to see what I could grab.

What is funny is that back then shopping at these sort of stores wasn’t super “cool” yet now-a-days it is all the rage. With talk comes competition and now these stores are full of people looking to find eclectic pieces on the cheap.

As a skilled professional in second hand shopping I thought I would relay some of my thrifty shopping practices just don’t tell everyone…

  1. Avoid searching for the good stuff – it is all by the change rooms: Everyone spends hours going through racks, why is this when people have already done the dirty work for you? Over by the change rooms is where all the good stuff is- labels and all. Chances are it just did not fit the person who found it. Check out the racks right by the dressing/change rooms first. Sometimes they (the try on with no success racks) are also scattered around the room and the employees are putting items back on the racks -don’t hesistate to look at those racks as well.
  2. Ask the floor sales person for the item(s) you are looking for: The people who stalk the floors have generally seen most of what is out there – they are your “in” to saving time and finding that funky piece you could of skimmed over.
  3. Check for pit stains: Most people spot the rips but not stains. I do not know how many times I walked out with arm-pit stained clothes. Now, I remember to start looking for that before I get to the check-out line.
  4. Don’t leave your good stuff in the cart: That 6 items per person thing never works for me truth me told always bring the good stuff in with you in the change room. Leaving your cart full of awesome things = people stealing it from you.
  5. Special Sales Days: If the store you frequent has special sales days (ex. one monday of the month) never go shopping the week after that day. Everything has been picked and the store needs to be regenerated with goods – just saying.

Guess who is hitting up some auctions this long weekend? Come back soon for tips on “How to Bargain Like There’s No Tomorrow.”


Sally Ann & Charlie Chaplin

Good Evening Readers,

My recent Value Village shopping expedition proved to be quite enlightening and provoked my instinct, dare-to-compare.

In my post called, Thrift Stores the Valuable Debate I promised I would show what can be found at another popular thrift store, The Salvation Army.

The thought of the iconic Charles Spencer Chaplin or as we know him Charlie Chaplin simply takes my breath away. His character emitted originality and in my mind he was one of the memorable actors of all time.

IMG_1810When I came across this picture at the Sally Ann from Charlie Chaplin’s movie, “The Kid” (1921) I was ecstatic. Pictured in this doorstep photo is Charlie Chaplin and John Leslie “Jackie” Coogan. The Kid was Chaplin’s first length movie.

I bought this item for $3.99 and after some investigation learned that it was laminated by a company called Sefem Incorporated and was Made in Canada. I left the store with only this in hand even though I realized it was not a big ticket item. In the future I will be venturing back to these thrift stores in search of something a little more rare in the meantime I will cherish my picture. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a long lost Charlie Chaplin film?

A little history for fun:

This year (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of when Chaplin hit the big screen as the Tramp. Charlie sported a bowler hat, tight coat, pair of baggy trousers, clunky pair of shoes as well as the famous cane and unmistakeable well manicured mustache.

It is time I see some bowler hats on the streets this spring.



Thrift Stores – The Valuable Debate

Can anything of monetary value be found at your local thrift store these days?

It is a BIG question that has been on my mind for quite some time. Since a young age I always thought A. all these thrift stores have regular antiquers/collectors that go in and scout (every day) for valuables, hence by the time I arrive there is nothing left. Or B. there is the occasional person (or staff member) that gets lucky and snags that one amazing piece not knowing its worth.

Today I visited my neighbourhood Value Village thrift store with a watchful eye. Overall Value Village showed me a fabulous time but in the end I did not find anything of much “extra/added” dollar value. This brings me to my next thought that sometimes worth can be measured in more than just resale dollars.

My next visit will be to the Salvation Army and I will compare my findings to these insightful ones below…

Made in England

IMG_1758This exceptional plate caught my eye simply because of its ornate details. I instantly checked the back of this vintage beaut and saw Cauldon England Est 1774 # 2483.

For $5.99 I grabbed this Royal Cauldon and plopped it in my cart. Whether I use it as a display piece or luncheon/dinner plate this Hobnail Flowers Series was a steal of a deal. Online, I have seen the same item sell between $11-$20. 

I plan to dive deeper into the world of back stamps also called marker stamps in an upcoming post. Come back soon to learn all about How to Identify an Antique.

A 16th Century literary landmark


Find # 2 was a plate with an illustration type graphic presenting the wording, The Old Curiosity Shop Immortalized by Charles Dickens Antiques and Modern Art.

The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel written by Charles Dickens in 1840. It has been said the novel was referring to or inspired a building dating from 1567 in central London with the same name. After a solid attempt tonight I was unable to find an exact match to this plate online. I may of overpaid at $2.99. On the bright side it is pretty rad and apparently Queen Victoria read (and enjoyed) the book in 1841 so maybe I should read it to.

Bianco & Nero

IMG_1773Lucky number 3 was a Bianco & Nero, Abbott China mug (or holder of some kind) that I got for 99 cents. I found out that the image imprinted on the mug is from a Vintage Italian Bianco and Nero Dance Theatre poster circa 1908. There are many reproductions and prints out there. As with my curiosity shop score I was unable to retrieve an exact replica of what I got online.

Pricing these two items above is on my list of “To Do’s” this week. Time to bust out the keywords.


The learning continued as the fourth novelty item grabbed my attention with the wording BOUTARI. I just loved the shape of this little mini pitcher/jug. My search results failed me again but after looking at the colourful image on the side on the pitcher featuring a window with the sun outside and bottle of wine with a glass – I put it all together.

IMG_1767IMG_1768I believe this showpiece may of come from (or was a promotional item sold at a shop near or far) Boutari . It is a winery founded in 1879 by an impressive man named Yiannis Boutari. The logo looks a little different than the one on my jug but this is my best guess and people do change their branding from time to time. Greece is on my bucket list of places to go so if I am there I will check this wine out – it has rave reviews as the best wine in Greece. The jug was $2.99.

Taylor G -Dallas Texas 

Art to wear? The last item I grasped was a embellished vest with the label Taylor G- Dallas Texas. What I found out is this apparel came from a company established in 1994 in Texas. Records show it sold read-to-wear women’s clothes. I think the business is closed but regardless definitely think Taylor’s got style. I cant wait to wear this $7.99 find.