This week, some of Saskatoon’s most fashionable were invited to share how to make budget- and environmentally-friendly choices when it comes to shopping for our wardrobes.
The folks at Wild About Saskatoon asked me to host an event as part of NatureCity Festival 2017, so I got creative with their request. Do Sask is all about connecting with other people in the community, so I thought what better way to mix the two values of environmental preservation and meaningful connections than with a sustainable style focused clothing swap?
The Pop-up Swap in the Park was a charity fundraiser for the YWCA that also provided folks with insight on increasing the life of their wardrobe. People were invited to register to get the location of the event sent to their inbox two days before the swap.
In the weeks leading up to the pop-up swap, nearly 30 people registered. Unfortunately due to weather warnings only a handful actually showed up.
Here’s what we learned when three amazing stylists agreed to give us their favourite tips on sustainable style.
*This post has been edited as of November 6, 2017 to reflect business closures.
PickNic’s Catering provided a delicious spread while we discussed sustainable style.
We all loved nibbling on this fantastic array of colourful appetizers. The beet hummus went pretty quickly. The raspberry iced tea was divine! No need to gush over the cupcakes – they were just as good to eat as they are to look at.
Krysta Arsenault from the YWCA gave us some insight on what programs are offered through the Crisis Shelter and how our donations have an impact.
Next up, we heard some great fashion (and let’s face it – life) advice from Je Suis Style, Paramount Day Spa & Boutique, and The Knick Vintage.
K-Lyn from Je Suis Style (edit: now closed) brought in models to demonstrate how to upgrade an item from their closet that they haven’t worn, or never wear.
Model Amber Hoffart chose her chic vest and K-Lyn styled the outfit around it, bringing in the casual joggers with a striking floral heel.
K-Lyn’s top tips for styling a wardrobe with sustainability in mind are:
- Fashion doesn’t need to be expensive to look good. Brand name clothing isn’t the be all end all of fashion. You can purchase clothing from Walmart, Value Village, Costco, etc. and still be stylish and save money.
- Throw away those “ratty” pieces that are damaged (holes, stains, rips, etc). If it’s an essential item you always wear, replace it.
- Wear items you never seem to get rid of during your closets raids. Ask a friend (or hire a stylist 😉 ) for help picking out an outfit to go with that shirt or pants that sit at the back of your closet. A second opinion makes a difference!
- We all have flaws or parts of us that we don’t like to show. Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Nothing is worse than going out and feeling uncomfortable the entire time.
- Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box with your style. Have fun with your clothes and wear whatever makes you happy.
Chelsey from Paramount Day Spa Salon & Boutique gave some vivid examples of how accessories can make or break your style.
Chelsey’s keys to being thoughtful about your wardrobe are:
- Accessorize! Adding stunning accessories can change an outfit dramatically. Go from drab to fab with a simple add-on to any outfit. For example, incorporating jewelry, shoes, hats, purses, belts can flip a basic black dress from workday to weekend in an instant. No need to break the bank on these items to look fabulous.
- Be Patient. Those great pieces at affordable prices are out there. Stay on the lookout and don’t settle for any item because you feel you need something new.
- Know what’s in your wardrobe. If you are adding pieces to your closet it’s best to get items that can be paired with what you already have. Otherwise it will sit in your closet because you have nothing that goes with it.
Sarah Gaudry from The Knick Vintage gave us some tips on choosing quality items and the importance of staying patient throughout the process.
Here are Sarah’s tips on becoming your own curator of vintage fashion:
- Get a feel for quality items. While shopping second hand, touch the fabric of your item and bunch it up in your hand. If it hold its shape and feels good give it a second look. On the other hand, if it feels itchy or like it will fall apart then put it back on the rack. Some styles and fabrics were meant to stay in the 70’s. Natural fibers always look best over time.
- Browse fast-fashion stores to see what’s on trend. You don’t have to buy the latest design brand new to look cutting-edge. If you see a pattern like leopard print or staple item like overalls that’s back in style go to the thrift shop and try to find it there first. When you do find it check the tag. Was it made in the 1940’s? Even better!
- If you find an item you love, but needs TLC put it back. We like to think we can fix things, but ultimately an item that’s damaged will only sit on your floor waiting to be fixed rather than being worn.
- Make a list. Come shopping with a list of things you are looking for, but don’t live and die by it.
- Stick to pieces with clean lines and classic shapes if you don’t want to look dated.
- Know your own personal size. Do not get caught up in the number on the tag. You may need to try on three different sizes to find yours since modern sizing has gotten smaller over time.
- And above anything: BE PATIENT! If it doesn’t feel right today just put it back for someone else to enjoy.
Bonus: Consider a tailor if you’re getting a deal on the item. Spending $20 on a $5 dress may just be the best money you’ve ever spent. If you have a pair of pants that you love, but are out of style Sarah can tailor the design to give them new life.
Lastly, we started sorting through the piles to find our new gems.
The stylists themselves even got in on the swapping pile action!
So much appreciation to these three fashionistas for taking the opportunity to talk about keeping style sustainable.
P.S. This is my ‘shit happens’ when registered guests don’t show up look.
Thanks to my amazing volunteers Jacinda Johnston, Janelle Kowalchuk, and Linda Wood who provided much needed backup on picture-taking, set up and tear down.
wish you would have known about the Sustainable Style clothing swap in the park? JOIN THE DO SASK FACEBOOK GROUP to get updates on events like this and more.
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Only got $20 in your pocket? No need to worry! There are plenty of options at Saskatoon’s best second-hand shopping spots.
My mom, Linda, would often take my brother and me shopping at thrift stores and garage sales around Saskatoon. Although I reluctantly joined her kicking and screaming for most of my childhood (the smell turned me right off – and I was a brat who wanted to have name brand clothes like the cool kids), I’ve developed a renewed appreciation for her bargain lessons as an adult. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Being a single, working-mom of two didn’t leave Linda much room in the budget for shopping sprees and Wal-Mart trips. So she’d make the best of her limited cash supply and got creative with whatever coinage she had to style both herself and us with thrifty finds. I have some good memories of pulling together new outfits for less than $10 a pop.
Since then, I’ve grown up to become a bonafide thrifter for two main reasons:
- Adulting 101. Cash is tight and I’d rather buy groceries than a $100 dress.
- When people compliment me on my duds they tend to follow it up with, “So, where’d you get that?” Most of the time the answer will be either from a vintage store, or a thrift shop. And there’s a difference between the two.
It can be a bit overwhelming to start thrifting if you’ve never done it before. Stick to these three tips to make it out alive:
- Always know what you need before you start.
- Set a limit and stick to it (both time & money).
- And put back the stuff you don’t really need or love.
If you get excited about the possibility of searching through piles of options for a hidden treasure, this post is about all the gems you could find at Saskatoon’s best second-hand shopping spots.
As a reminder these picks aren’t organized in a countdown format.
*This list has been edited as of November 6, 2017 to reflect business closures and location moves.
A shop so nice it has its own jingle. According to Planet S Magazine’s “Best Of” their owner is one of Saskatoon’s most beloved small business owners. It may be because she’s a believer of sequins and second chances. Check ’em out for vinyl, vintage and all sorts of other funky stuff.
You’ll want to be prepared for this one, as the entire community gets together on one day of the year to purge their household treasures and haggle with buyers. They’ve been doing it since I was a kid, but now it’s gotten so big that they have to set up porta potties and mobile ATMs. This year, they have a pancake breakfast and a BBQ lunch.
Morning meeting with the YWCA Women’s Shelter Coordinator. To offer classes, programs, and bodywork services to the women and children there. #community #service #ywcasaskatoon #ywca #womensequality #equalityrights #womensright #clairty #love #health #healingbodies #healinghearts #yxe #bodywork #structuralintegration #rolfing
The YWCA will always be near and dear to my heart. All proceeds support the Crisis Intervention Programs and Services. Check this hole in the wall often as they get new donations all the time.
Echo Apparel *Edit Now Closed
You never know what you’ll find, but you know the experience will be easier than most. From designer duds, to vintage items and upcycled treasures – Echo strives to organize it all at clearly-marked, modest prices. If you’re into locally hand-crafted jewellery, you’ll find a selection of originals in store.
Plato’s Closet *Moved Locations
According to a source, Plato’s has a lot of new items from brands like Silver and Guess with the price tag still on ’em at a super low cost. This could be due to the many people who buy new clothes without thinking about whether they’ll wear them, or not. (I have a friend who had a closet full of clothes with the tags still attached.) No judgement here, just more deals for us frugal folk!
New location: 3, 415-115St E, Saskatoon
Have you always wanted to dabble with designer duds, but struggled to justify the heart-wrenching digits on the price tag? At Stasia, you’ll find high-end apparel at a pretty reasonable consignment cost.
SuperThrift *Now Closed
If this store were a movie it’d be a mixture of Gremlins, Superman, Little Miss Sunshine and Empire Records. You’ll find a whole lot of everything at SuperThrift, so use your time wisely!
Mid Mod Vintage *Now Closed
Midmod is a vintage furniture shop with a range of Danish modern pieces circa the 60’s and 70’s. If you want your apartment to have that cool look that hearkens back to the era of American Hustle, Midmod should be on your list.
The Knick Vintage
Run by a young female entrepreneur out of Ideas Inc., The Knick has a pulse on what’s trending in the vintage world. Sarah travels far and wide searching for deluxe items you just can’t find at your average shop. Choose a piece at The Knick for history and style.
Plus, she offers hemming if you really love those pants, but they are way too long for you.
Value Village Circle Drive
With the resurgence of 1990’s fashion (crushed velvet, spaghetti straps and chokers), you’ll have a field day at the VV Boutique. Value Village is definitely somewhere I frequent on the regular because they have such a wide variety of options to poke through.
Two Locations: one on Circle Drive and another in Stonebridge. In my opinion, the Circle Drive location tends to have the better selection of the two.
BONUS Avalon-area “Sailing”
Next to my mom, my uncle is the champion of garage sales. Last spring, he took me out with him for about an hour around Avalon area. I picked up a trunk full of awesome stuff including a set of tinted blue goblets for $5 (like the ones in the picture) and a $200+ kettle bell for a bargain at $25. This is a good area to drive by every once in a while during the spring/summer months.
This post is dedicated to my mom, Linda, for teaching me how to be thrifty.
Like the thrill of the hunt?
Join the Do Sask Community for a Pop-up Clothing Swap as part of the Nature City Festival on May 24. Come out and meet others doers, enjoy some refreshments, and swap clothes in the park. The location will only be revealed to registered guests, so get on the list today!
DO YOU LIKE THESE TEN SPRING PICKS FOR the best second-hand shopping in SASKATOON, OR DID I MISS YOUR FAVOURITE? JOIN THE DO SASK FACEBOOK GROUP TO HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE DISCUSSION.
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Contact Do Sask, or reach out on Facebook if you would like everyone to know your pick 10.