It’s no secret: I love clothes. I love to keep my closet on constant refresh – especially as the seasons change. As a Minnesota girl, I get the chance to reinvent myself every season! The downside COULD be painful to my wallet. But I found the Twin Cities best-kept shopping secret a few years ago and thought I’d share it with you gentle readers. But I’ll caution you right now: if you are a size small with a penchant for vintage and polka dots…stop reading. Maybe you go to Macy’s instead of what I am about to tell you 😉
Where is this magical place that is both kind to your wallet and chock full of amazing finds all specifically catered to you? It may not the first place you think of to score designer goods at a ridiculous price… but I urge you to consider the nonprofit Arc’s Value Village. Now you may be thinking “ok cool…another thrift store” but this one has an added bonus: a free personal shopping service created by Michelle Raven.
I schedule my appointment every season. I believe you have a 90 day grace period between appointments so it works out really well for me to utilize it every spring, summer, fall, and winter. The process is pretty simple and takes about 10-15 minutes to set up your style profile within the personal shopping site. I always add a link to my Pinterest Style Board to give my stylist an idea of who I am and the types of patterns, fits, and styles I am drawn to. As many of you know, I headed back to into an office environment and was desperately in need of business professional clothes. And while I love higher end brands… I do not love their brand new mall prices. So I made sure to specifically add in my style profile that I was looking for office attire.
Recently I had the pleasure of working with Sara Stomschar-Lott as my stylist and let me tell you, she did NOT disappoint. She had a full rack waiting for me with my own private dressing room set up with everything a working woman could possibly need. I was met with Jcrew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Black House/White Market, and Calvin Klein all in my size and flattering fits. Some items still had their original tags and had never been worn!
Each appointment is an hour, which may sound like a long time, but when you have 50+ outfits to try that hour goes by so quickly! I remember my first appointment years ago my main concern was hurting my stylist’s feelings if I came across an outfit or clothing that I didn’t like. I was nervous to tell them no! But my worries were naught; there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything or “minimum” amount of money you need to spend. I think we can all remember our days of buying Silver jeans from the Buckle and being stalked around the store. You don’t get that vibe at all which I think is so important in making their clients feel comfortable with the service.
My total came out to $135 for 25 designer pieces and I know for a fact those Banana Republic or Calvin Klien dresses I purchased retail for more than $135 each.
I love that Arc’s Value Village is local with 5 Twin Cities locations. I’ve been to 4 of the locations since I don’t venture over to St. Paul very often and I’d say that Richfield or Bloomington are probably where I’ve found most of my favorite scores. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve most likely seen me in an Arc’s outfit.
Thanks for following along! I really do enjoy sharing my thrifting finds with you. I hope you find some value in the tips, tricks, and places I share. If you’re interested in getting some serious fashion steals using the personal styling service, head over here and you’ll be on your way to a budget-friendly wardrobe!
*DISCLAIMER*As with most thrift stores, some of the clothes do tend to come with that “thrift store” scent but that doesn’t deter me from a good deal. A good washing or dry-clean 9 times out of 10 takes care of that.
There is something about that first cool breeze of fall that always has me heading to my closet to inspect my shoe situation. And every year, I find myself lacking. These are what I am crushing on for Fall 2017:
I am a sucker for the classics. These are my go-to’s. They look great with everything, match with everything, and the price tag is 100% reasonable.
I call these my “about town” shoes. Perfect for the inner athleisure-lover in all of us. If I am not allowed to run on this knee of mine – at least I can still look sporty!
These posy pink Hunter boots are my favorite fall statement maker. I was able to buy them off eBay for $50 a few years ago and my love affair has yet to cease. Fall can b moody and dark but I still like to bring a little color into my every day – regardless of the season.
I’ve had my eye on these (and their gray sister) for years. My favorite way to wear these: black tights, a black miniskirt, and my favorite red sweater.
There’s something so whimsical about these gold little ballet flats. I love to add a bit of sparkle on my feet and keep the rest of my outfit neutral. Wear these with a pair of black skinny jeans and a well-fitted black sweater for the ultimate in autumn chic.
What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!
Good Sunday Eve to you and yours,
This weekend I was privy to a lovely winter wedding in Minnesota. But fear not gentle readers, it was a balmy 63 degrees on the day of wedded bliss. And the uptick in warm wintery weather certainly opened up my wardrobe possibilities. No need for tights and warm booties…
I could bear to bare (some skin).
My winter pallor was to be given a little rosy love by my favorite gals at GoGlow and with a slick new razor I was both sleek & golden; my preferred state.
There is so much I love about these particular pieces. This vintage 60’s-era pink brocade dress was found at Via’s Vintage this past summer. It’s definitely a cooler weather dress (the material is a bit heavy for summer) but it was ideal for this particular temperate February day. The collar is encrusted in tiny starburst diamantes which practically beg for a high up-do (the higher the hair, the closer to the heavens, AMIRITE?) With a little love from my teasing comb and a hell of a lot of hairspray – that blonde mane of mine was not budging. I usually prefer a messy french twist, I say “prefer” because I cannot wrangle it smooth. And a pearled clip because pearls are always a good idea. ALWAYS.
Let’s talk this gem of a coat – which also happens to be one of my thriftiest thrift finds. I found it at (where else) but at Arc’s Value Village. I think I paid all of $19.99! The little love is originally from Banana Republic and is extremely structured. Great for walking, not so great for sitting. I think my favorite part is the gorgeous pop of floral accent on the inside silk lining.
I wasn’t going to fight the direction this outfit wanted to go and thus the pink cat-eye Kate Spade sunnies had to make an appearance as well. Trusty black pumps and a silver Michael Kors clutch that was borrowed from my friend Megan 3 years ago completed the ensemble. Want your clutch back Meg? 😉
If anything, this outfit made me yearn for spring and summer even more. It’s such a freeing feeling to take off your wool socks and push them into an unnatural position inside 3-inch heels.
I am going to go back to listening to the 50 Shades Darker soundtrack on repeat now. Have a great week lovelies!
PS: I will be writing up a before/after post on this dress as well. It was tailored within an inch of its pretty little life – as are many of my more special pieces. Tailoring can be a life-saver for those of us who don’t fit the “ideal” body mold!
Hello, gentle readers.
Today is Valentine’s Day and to commemorate the slaughtering of St. Valentine, the Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius Gothicus, I dressed up in a light knit heart sweater and twirled around Minneapolis in my feather-soft tulle skirt. As one does.
While at one of my favorite discount stores Marshalls a few months ago, I spotted a white sweater with red hearts emblazed on it. And visions of a Valentine’s Day Photoshoot (VDP) danced in my head. After all, no self-respecting fashion blogger could pass this opportunity up. It was to be mine for a healthy sum of $9.99. Score. Check one item off the list of VDP.
As my mother can attest, I’ve been on the lookout for a tulle skirt. But I refuse to spend $100 on something that really can only be worn a few times a year and to a few specialized events. So when I get that fated email from Express that they were running their 50% off sale AND I had some rewards points to use up AND there was this lovely pink tulle skirt available for purchase…it was fate.
So I kicked up my red high heels and completed this look with a bright red lip (thank you Dior) and of course the go-to basic-bitch VDP prop… balloons! I love living in Minneapolis for many reasons but one of my favorites is that this urban jungle o’mine has the perfect variety of backdrops for this Downtown Blondie. This particular VDP was taken in Northeast MPLS near some of my favorite breweries.
Galentine’s, Valentine’s, or just another Taco Tuesday – I hope your day is exactly what you want it to be!
Hi there. Hope you are staying cozy today. The skyscrapers are barely visible through all the blowing snow and there’s a kid learning how to drive in the snow in the parking lot adjacent. Oh winter in Minnesota. If you haven’t heard, there’s a little something called the Polar Vortex on its way. Luckily, I found this dream of a thrift find last winter and was eager to bust it out again.
I love all things pink and girly so when personal style Michelle Raven posted this Jcrew coat was currently at the Arc Value Village store…I knew it had to be mine. Much to my extreme joy, it was in mint condition AND in my size. Now of course the big question: price? I had turned to my trust Google machine and had found out it was retailing for $365. But not this beauty. I was able to scoop her up for a grand totally of $24.99. My own personal pink coated fairytale.
The belt is from local favorite The Golden Pearl Vintage. Much like the color pink, anything with a bow is a must have for me. They were kind enough to alert me to the bow belt’s presence in the shop and with the flash of my Visa… it was mine for $14.99. To conclude…
Bows+Belts+Pink+Coats= A Very Happy Downtown Blondie
The best part of vintage-hunting for me are the pieces I come across by happenstance. As if this dress/belt/shoe was placed there for me; patiently waiting to be plucked from oblivion by me and only me. One of these pieces was found a few months ago at The Golden Pearl Vintage in Northeast Minneapolis, one of my favorite haunts.
As I my dress du jour was being hemmed by their lovely in-house tailor, something sparkly caught my eye. If you didn’t know, a well placed sparkle is pretty much my spirit animal. And there it was, the most perfect little Peter Pan collar. My first thought was – would it fit my neck? I come from a hearty German stock and however dainty I wish to be, I tend to err on the stocky side of appendages.
But alas, the collar fit! Clasped into place, I knew I was on my way to a very intimate Peter Pan collar love affair. As I mentally went through my wardrobe piecing together all the tops that would match, I was also mentally throwing out every single boat-necked shirt I own. The collar could and would match everything I own… just kidding. One cannot PP collar everyday, lest I grow bored and lose the novelty of such a piece.
I think it pairs well with yellows given the warm details of the little adorning jewels. So from canary yellow summers to mustard-inspired falls, this little gem of a find is sure to brighten up the long grey Minnesota winters ahead.