Megan

How I Thrift Without Buyer’s Remorse

A thrift shop is a treasure chest. You never know what you’re going to find, which is why it is best to visit frequently. I don’t go to secondhand shops as often as I would like. Thus, I have to remind myself to exercise a little restraint on trips like these. How do I shop intentionally in a store full of bargains?

First, I allow myself to pick up any and every item that speaks to me. If I bypass something that piques my interest, someone else might scoop it up (and we can’t have that). I see the other shoppers as my opponents, and from the moment I enter the store, I am competing with them for the best finds.

After hunting and gathering to my heart’s content, it’s time to edit. I’ve found it helpful to research products by brand name on my phone. On my last trip to Goodwill in May, I returned a set of teacups and saucers to the shelf when I discovered they contained lead.

After letting go of items that I don’t have any use for, it’s time to edit again. I hold each item and, à la Marie Kondo’s method, ask myself if it sparks joy. If I’m in possession of any excessive products at this point, I return them to their original places.

Finally, I evaluate how the item(s) I am left with will fit into my life. At the end of my last excursion to Goodwill, I walked away with a Sail to Sable dress for US$ 25. The original tag read $198, and even after paying $50 to get it tailored, I still consider the price a bargain. (The vertical, white inserts on the sides were added to allow for more hip room.) If I factor in cost per wear, the dress was practically free. I’ve been wearing it several times per week and intend to do so for the rest of the summer. It gets washed in a bucket and hung to dry between laundry loads.

Works Sighted

Sail to Sable dress (thrifted) // Superga 2750 Cotu Classic

Beach Essentials

The number of items I deem necessary for a trip to the beach depends on the location and duration of my stay. If I’m going to Cape May for the day, I’ll need a chair. A towel will do if I’m planning to sit by the water for an hour or two. For a leisurely walk in the sand, I’ll forgo a bathing suit and opt for a sundress instead. If I find myself at a European beach club or seaside hotel, I’ll leave the serving of the food and drinks and the seating arrangements to someone else.

Works Sighted

hat // bathing suit // / sunscreen // chapstick // bag

umbrella // sunglasses // pen // notebook

towel // chair // cooler

The Neely & Chloe Edit

Although I can’t recall when I first became acquainted with Neely & Chloe, I remember that it was the mini lady bag that sold me. It reminded me of the Mark Cross overnight case that Lisa Carol Fremont (played by Grace Kelly) carries in Rear Window (1954). The lady bag and the overnight case differ in size and price, but they both embody the same classic spirit.

Sisters Neely and Chloe Burch established their brand in 2015. One of the founders stated the following in a behind-the-scenes video: “The product should be more about you than it is about us. That’s why the logos are all on the inside of the bag.” In a society ruled by consumerism and fast fashion, it takes some effort on the part of the consumer to seek out designers with this mindset. The products in this edit speak for themselves:

mini lady bag // Out to lunch at La Grande Boucherie.

laptop sleeve // Working remotely from Ralph’s.

billfold // Picking up a book at Albertine.

small vanity case // Montauk for the weekend.

ring tab // Home sweet home.

large vanity case // Disconnecting in Tahiti.

Further Reading

New York Guide

Get to Know Neely & Chloe Burch, the Sister’s Behind the Chic & Affordable Accessories Line (Making it in Manhattan)

Tory Burch’s nieces have a collection of cool handbags that won’t break the millennial wallet (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Little Black Dress

Credited to the practical mind of Coco Chanel, the little black dress is a wardrobe staple of which it pays to have a few. I find that two or three is a sufficient quantity to aim for. If you vary the silhouettes and/or fabrics of your selections, you’ll always have an outfit at the ready. The LBD can be dressed up or down. It pairs effortlessly with different types footwear and accessories. An office wardrobe workhorse, it also goes well with a cocktail after hours.

Works Sighted: Vince dress // Marc Fisher shoes

Further Reading:

The Underclass Origins of the Little Black Dress (The Atlantic)

Hearts and Found Madeline Dress

Shopping at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

I’m a card-carrying member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art once again. The temperature-controlled building provides respite from the heat and a shopping destination. In addition to books, postcards, branded items, and products bearing images of famous works, the museum store also sells design-focused merchandise. The items in the selection I’ve curated spoke to my artistic soul. A PMA sketching trip is on the horizon.

Works Sighted

sketch book // writing paper // book

pencil set // pencil sharpener // writing paper

book // book // pencil case

How to Discover New Brands in 4 Steps

A brand’s products speak to its history and vision. Thus, reading a business’s about page is on par with making a wish list. Recently, I became aquatinted with the following brands: Poppy and Sage, Verve Culture, and Papillon Press. The process by which I became aware of them can be easily replicated. Here’s how to discover new brands in four steps:

Step 1: Make a Map // I started designing city guides to map past shopping experiences and ones on the horizon. Adding pins to the Philadelphia Guide compelled me to make an immediate plan to visit Moon + Arrow, a boutique that had been on my radar for years. Destination: 742 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

Step 2: Go Brick-and-Mortar // Having the opportunity to experience carefully-curated spaces with my senses is a privilege. When I opened the door to M + A, the scent of something pleasant wafted over me. I was transported to a sunny seaside place void of SEPTA buses. A basket tote by Poppy and Sage and a citrus press by Verve Culture further inspired my vision. As did sea-glass-tinted Moroccan glassware (also under the Verve Culture label).

Step 3: Talk to Shop Employees // My conversation with a lovely M + A employee led me to Walter Pine, an oasis and floral studio across the street (729 S 4th St). In a green sea of houseplants, I discovered Papillon Press, a letterpress company specializing in notebooks and greeting cards.

Step 4: Research Online // Upon returning home, I took to the internet to investigate all of the brands I’d been introduced to during my outings. Compiling a mental list of most-liked products provided an opportunity for reflection.

Founders Roll Call: Poppy and Sage: Robert and Carly Waters // Verve Culture: Jacquie Lewis, Jules Vertrees, and Sarah Laping Garland // Papillon Press: Madeleine and Vernon Wiering // Moon + Arrow: Chelsea Pearce // Walter Pine: David and Christina Cavagnaro

Works Sighted: Scenes from my visit to Moon + Arrow