Thrift shop: "I look incredible"

La (Found)erie's foxy mannequins
I live in a thrift-rich neighbourhood in a vintage-packed city. All levels are offered, from rock-bottom by-the pounds to consignment Chanel.

In the windows of La (Found)erie, well-dressed as any hip boutique, I see the ruffled blouses, bomber jackets and power suits of former eras, displayed with verve. 

I admire the thrifted ensemble more than the strenuously-styled designer outfit: twentysomething women in adjustée housedresses, heels and anklets; my French class colleague in a sweeping purple velvet coat with deep cuffs, and young bucks in flying scarves and Sansabelt trousers. 

Both sons wear thrift assiduously picked by Etienne's sweetie, Tash.


A Taylor Swift look from La (Found)erie
But in Montréal, it seems very few women get rid of good, current-looking clothes

Thinking that finding these was a price-point matter, I checked the upscale consignment in a posh neighbourhood and was surprised how dated the jackets and dresses looked. You could not have given me anything.

Nowadays I don't so much shop vintage as drop by for the memories.

When you have more wrinkles than a '60s crinoline, the retro look holds less charm than it once did. In the '50s dresses I once trolled for, I'd now look as if I'd never bought anything, just kept my old clothes for a half-century, a hipper Miss Havisham.

Accessories can still deliver great value; belts are often single-digit bargains.

When a cat lolls in the window's sunspot, and Passion Pit are playing, I stop in, letting the nostalgia flow, carried back by spectator pumps. A girl who can twirl an '80s dirndl with aplomb (cat's-eye liner helps) gets admiring looks.

Spring specators
I especially enjoy "enhanced secondhand": the used-plus-indie format, found in boutiques like Arterie, who offer curated vintage clothes and objects mixed with fresh merch by young local designers, and new European shoes. While certainly not as cheap as the Sally Ann, the quality is uniformly higher.

Lamp and necklace, Arterie


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop" is my current Favourite Nutty Song

In a St. Laurent friperie, when someone started humming "I'm gonna pop some tags", three other browsers picked up the chorus.

I wear your granddad's clothes
I look incredible
I'm in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road...




12 comments

RoseAG said...

I like that video too!

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I love Montreal! It is at the top of my favorite cities in the world. I hope to return someday and I will hit thrift shops!

Susan said...

What a fun entry today!

lagatta à montréal said...

L'Arterie is also involved in cat rescue.

I have found decent, not out-of-style clothing at charity shops and church bazaars, but it is rue that there is a lot of démodé stuff there, even at churches and charities in upscale neighbourhoods, and some old things simply look cuter ... on young things.

I've had more luck with jewellery, scarves and other accessories. Don't forget the "Raspberry Béret" (Prince)...

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

We have only a handful if thrift shops and their offerings are varied some days there is a bounty and others it is quite dreary. The consignment shops have better quality garments and accessories but the prices are much higher.
It looks to me like your shops are much better at showcasing their stuff!

Gretchen said...

You are fortunate to have multiple thrift shops to peruse - we have a couple consignment stores, and a few thrifts, but the stuff overall is schlock. You can hunt through shops in Alexandria or Washington with better success, but it is a day-long effort, and I'm not really interested in acquiring much, so it's an effort I'll do with my teens. If I luck into something (a pair of Cole-Haan loafers, an Italian turtleneck sweater), great, but I'm not seeking anything any more.

materfamilias said...

So would you infer from this that there's a tendency in Montreal for women to buy more carefully -- quality pieces that they then hang onto for longer so that the thrift shops and consignment stores have much less coming in? Or do you have another theory?
Your writing, your photos -- and that video! -- make this such a fun post today. Thank you!

frugalscholar said...

In my grad school days, I worked in a vintage shop and also worked thrift stores to find things to sell. Stressful times! Interestingly, I've never worn vintage; I always felt like a clown!

I find tons of current stuff here--lots of nouveau riche (more accurately, upper-middle class) in the next town. Come on down.

Duchesse said...

Pam: Come back anytime!

lagatta: There are always cats in the window there. I think most old things look best on the young!

hostess: Many of the vintage stores here are indistinguishable from the coolest boutiques.

Gretchen: I think they are best for the young who can rock nearly anything.

materfamilias: That's exactly what I think. And as one of my native Montréaler friends says, "This is a city where people will put their entire paycheque on their backs."

frugal: I find it hard to believe another human could possible have your karma.




LunaStitches said...

I used to wear more vintage than I do now. Have a great 1950s era black suit that I used to wear in parts - the jacket and skirt never seemed to fit me at the same time, which was probably a good thing. I can't seem to part with it even though I haven't worn either piece in years.

Love, love, love "Thrift Shop" - so funny! Love the messages Macklemore is presenting about consumerism and gay marriage.

birdybegins said...

I love that song!

I too, basically don't shop in thrift stores... I tend to just shop in sales and outlet centres to keep costs down.

Kai Jones said...

In my hometown, Portland, Oregon, we have not just one but two plus-sized only resale shops. One has plus-sized women's clothing, the other has both men's and women's. I count this as a very lucky phenomenon.