You see, sometimes “eco-fashion” or sustainable shopping sends our thoughts immediately to items that are made of hemp or some seemingly unattainable fabric and that seem high in price (more on that later, as I do believe that our price sensitivity has drastically changed since the inception of fast fashion, and also that the eco-friendly options out there are multiplying and quite stunning) – but if your budget doesn’t allow, or your personal taste hasn’t jived with any of the eco-friendly designers out there yet, thrifting is an excellent way to reduce your environmental footprint and save money. It also means you have a 10000% chance of not looking like everybody else – which I believe is a bonus, especially in an office environment.
So – on my way home from a meeting one day, I stopped into The Paul – the higher end version of Ottawa’s beloved St.Vincent De Paul Charity shop, and made away with (I’m saying it like that because I literally felt like a bandit who had to run out as soon as I made my purchase because it was too good) this 100% silk Babaton blouse for $15 (pictured, and happened to be on my list), and a pair of REAL suede pants for $20 (pictured, and which I’ve already worn about 3 different ways to multiple engagements), which I then had hemmed to an awkwardly ridiculous height to make them look a little more interesting. Which brings me to a next point – thrifting is an opportunity to tailor your clothes to exactly how you want them.Because the initial price is a little less than what you would pay retail, there is some cushion to customize. And in an age where we praise individuality but everybody seems to look the same, this is key.
My shoes are secondhand Manolo Blahniks that I found on therealreal.com. If you haven’t checked this site out yet – do, the product and prices are usually good enough to justify the shipping costs. My bag is vintage Burberry, courtesy of my mom from when we used to live in the UK.
What’s your favourite thrifted find? I’d love to know!
It took me a little while to realize that this outfit belongs in a different decade. Perhaps since it feels like decades since I’ve posted (Sorry!), this type of retro-inspired outfit is appropriate. These jeans were purchased with the intention of being worn in the fall and winter. Sure enough, I didn’t wear them much this summer (see this post about forgetting pants altogether), so I’m happy they were matched up with some over the knee boots and a textured Designer’s Remix sweater. At the risk of highlighting the bulkiest part of my leg between Pretty Woman footwear and a textured sweater, the overall result is not so bad. But what do you think? Is white denim a staple in your closet?
Anyone who knows me knows I love shopping consignment. No matter the occasion, the season, my mood, or my current geographic location; a good consignment store will immediately capture my attention and – if it’s good – will hold me there.
Which is likely why I can’t get enough of this new online consignment boutique that is (amazingly) based in Ottawa called Alfred&Co. For anyone who wants a closet refresher while feeling like you’re simultaneously high-fiving the environment and your wallet, this is a great site to shop on. While I’m normally old-fashioned when it comes to the art of online shopping (I like to touch, feel, see and then walk out of a store feeling triumphant with my product), I have made a few successful consignment purchases online which makes me think it’s OK.
What is most amazing about this site however, is the woman behind it. I was introduced to Alicia through a mutual friend and discovered that she is a cool person living in Ottawa. They do exist! Her taste and style are an offspring of the time she spent surrounded by other really cool people in University and inspired the goods at Alfred & Co.
I had the lovely opportunity to spend some time with her, ask her questions, dress her up in some of her amazing offerings (sooo yes, that beautiful yellow cashmere sweater is for sale) and take pictures of some of the goodies she carries.
What made you want to start an online consignment boutique?
So many reasons! To name a few: I felt there was a hole in the Ottawa market. I was always looking for high quality consignment goods without having to search through a million pieces in hopes of finding a gem, and had a hard time finding them at reasonable prices. Also, having lived with 5 other girls throughout University (on Alfred Street), I’ve learned just how much “life” a single item of clothing can have.
Your inventory is amazing! Where does it all come from?
There’s a wide mix of people who consign with us. A few of them I knew beforehand but most have found our store online or through social media. As it turns out, our best pieces are often from our best shoppers.
What is your current favorite piece that you have in stock?
Ewww, that’s a tough one. It’s hard to pick just one, with new gems coming in every day. Navy Salvatore Ferragamo Varina Flats, Yellow Cashmere sweater dress from J. Crew, Micheal Kors Brown leather jacket and the uber timeless camel and caramel Prada bag.
What inspires you when picking the clothes you will consign?
Six months ago when we started we were trying to appeal to everyone. As of late, we’ve developed a better understanding of our clientele, and now when picking clothes we have our ultimate consumers’ style and taste in mind.
Any tips for first time online consignment shoppers?
Get excited about spending less for great style! Use our filters on the website to search by designer, size and colour.
Do you shop consignment or do you crave new pieces every now and then?
Yes, certainly, always have. I tend to wear a mix of new and pre-loved items. It’s nice to buy new things, but it’s also nice to see my dollar go that much further with consignment goods.
This isn’t your full time job; you manage properties, have a day job AND a child as well as the boutique – how do you do it?!
I don’t have time to answer this question!
What is your favourite type of style and what is your style?
Tough to define, I switch it up almost every day of the week. I think some friends would describe it as preppy with a bit of edge, and others would describe it as edgy with a bit of prep.
Thoughts on online consignment shopping vs. in-store?
Visiting friends and family in NYC, Florida, Toronto and San Francisco, I always checkout local consignment stores to see what they have to offer. I find it’s a fun angle for travelers. Online business has changed the game for retail. If the store is dedicated and forward thinking, then you can shop favourite consignment stores in any city or country from the comfort of your own home. We were excited to have already shipped items to Italy, the UK, and across Canada.
What do you see in the future for Alfred & Co?
That’s a really fun question and without giving too much away, I’ll just say BIG THINGS and a lot of gorgeous fashion!