By Ally Champagne
Winnipeg has so many great avenues to experience, one of them being the vintage, consignment or thrift stores. My girlfriend introduced me to these in the spring of 2002. She always had the cutest outfits, jewelry and decor – which she found in various thrift stores.
Young people entering the workforce may find, once they have paid their monthly expenses like student loans, car payments, rent and other necessities, they are stuck with a dilemma: very little is left to spend on fashionable clothing items.
I find the vintage stores excellent because they provide you with one-of-a-kind, classy, and often designer-style items at a price you can afford.
Last year, while browsing at the Value Village on Jefferson Avenue, I came across the most beautiful Nygard skirt for $13. And, more excitingly, I had the perfect sweater and top to go with it. I receive compliments every time I wear it.
We have a variety of high-end vintage stores such as The Closet on River, Ragpickers Anti-Fashion Emporium, Ruby Slipper Vintage Shoppe, Rhymes with Orange, and Second Sensation Boutique. Each offers a variety of items as well as promotes local jewelry designers.
For instance, Ragpickers has been here since 1984, and now warehouses the largest costume collection which once was Mallabar’s. This could be the perfect place to find your next statement outfit for attending a concert like Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run Tour (you just have to call ahead to book an appointment with the shop).
Shopping in these vintage boutiques requires patience and a good eye in order to spot the perfect deal. You must be ready to spend some time going through racks and racks of items. Not only can you find your treasures there, but many of the high-end stores take articles on consignment.
Second Sensation is a favourite for the well-dressed divas, because they love to stock their shelves and racks with a host of high-fashion designers including Chanel and Prada. You can find shoes, accessories, evening gowns, and beautiful suits to do you proud at your workplace at a price you can afford.
Thrift stores may have less-than-attractive storefronts and dim lighting, as well as dingy flooring, but don’t let that deter you. Each store has something to offer especially in the retro area. And you can find some of the best blue jeans and jackets without the high price tag.
So begin by mapping the stores you would like to see (you can easily access this information on the ‘net). Read the reviews as this will give you an idea of which stores will carry what you are looking for. Many shop with a couple items in mind, and find this method successful in preventing them from buying too many other articles.
Having a smart phone is essential when looking for vintage pieces: you can research the item to see if it has value. Some items may be priced low yet be valuable on the trade circuit. This point alone brings about many scavengers looking for exactly this type of item.
As you browse, keep an open mind as you see for example a beautiful suit on the rack, only to find it is too big. If the price is a steal, consider buying it and taking it to a tailor to have it taken in. This approach can keep you on-budget, while leaving your friends wondering if you have won the lotto.
And lastly, the unwritten laws of thrifters: when you buy an item, get rid of another item in your closet. After all, you do not want to become a hoarder. And go out in packs. Your friends will be able to help you create an incredible wardrobe on a shoestring budget. Happy deal hunting!