Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Next Best Thing(s) to Hogwarts - Seattle Edition

I feel compelled to tell you all that Mr. CP thinks I'm delusional and slightly unbalanced. See, I have this unswerving belief that I was meant to go to Hogwarts. No, really. I'm serious. I've always just assumed that my super-secret, ultra-magical invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry got lost in some sort of freak postal accident. You know how unreliable owls can be. Mr. CP, though, seems to think that Hogwarts isn't real. Gasp! Isn't real? Isn't real?! To deal with my grief over the very possibility that Hogwarts may, in fact, be fictional, I've found some local places to fill up the emotional and psychological voids that Mr. CP created with his dream-crushing cynicism (or "realism," as he calls it... psh). Note: Mr. CP also loves HP, though I'm now questioning the depth and sincerity of his self-proclaimed adoration.

Two Big Blondes

Catering to women sizes 12 and up, this local consignment store is a godsend if you sit somewhere in that size range. That means that if you're under a size 12, then this probably isn't the place for you. I'm not kidding when I tell you that you can find just about anything in this store. Up front you will find all the designer duds. They have a particularly large assortment of Eileen Fischer plus-size garb, and an impressive collection of vintage designer shoes and bags. In the back part of the store, you will find racks and racks full of everything from t-shirts to evening gowns. Best of all, twice a year they host their annual bag sale (which I mentioned recently in this post) during which you pay $6.50 for a giant trash bag, mosey on into their clothing-filled basement, and load stuff up to your heart's content. While sometimes a bit pricier than Goodwill, I've still managed to nab some really good deals there. It's just a matter of looking around, and keeping in mind how the item was originally priced in the department store from which it originated.

Best finds:
New York and Co LBD
Brand new red kitten heels
Vintage leather Coach bag
This skirt

University District (or U-District) Goodwill

Oh. My. What can I say about this place, except that it is perhaps the finest example of a Goodwill I have ever stumbled upon? In addition to being a great place to find costumes and the like, this store has an amazing assortment of day-to-day clothes that will set your heart aflutter. The second floor (yes! There's a second floor!) is full of vintage clothes, and an assortment of dresses, while the bottom floor is filled with men's and women's clothes and shoes, and a small kitchen section. I've seen stuff from Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, and J Crew for sale here for dirt cheap. Side note: While I don't particularly mind the noticeable musty smell that some thrift stores have, it's worth mentioning that this one smells like... nothing, really. It just smells clean and a bit dusty.

Best Finds:
Marc Jacobs Looooong Cable Knit Sweater (new with tags)
Banana Republic Sweater
Banana Republic Short Sleeved Top

Ballard Value Village

Value Village is a chain of second hand stores unique to the West Coast and parts of Canada, as well (I think). Locations vary. The one in Ballard took the place of an old grocery store, and they have some amazing goodies. I spotted a number of Eddie Bauer and Talbot's sweaters, along with some more unique options, as well. This is definitely worth a look if you're local to Seattle, or visiting and interested in thrifting.

Best Finds:
Vintage heels
Halogen (Nordstrom brand) Cardigan

Trade Chic

I have only recently started exploring local boutiques. I finally drove over to Redmond to check this place out, and I am so happy that I did. This boutique caters to plus sized women. While they certainly had things in my size -- a US 14-16, depending upon the item -- they had far more options for women size 20 and up. I've only been once, but this is already a favorite destination. They carry a number of brands that I've only ever seen online -- b&lu, Kiyonna, LucieLu, Svoboda, and a slieu of European brands I had never heard of. Trade Chic also has a generous and well-chosen selection of second-hand items in the back of the store that serve as a nice counterpart to the pricier items located up front. Because the store carries both new and used items, prices are all over the place. Typically, the prices in boutiques see me dissolve into tears or heart-palpitations (or both), but this place did neither! Expect to spend somewhere in the $50.00-$80.00 price range for a new dress (sometimes more, sometimes less).

While the store-front is located in Redmond, WA, Trade Chic does have a small selection of items for sale in their online store. You can find them here, or at tradechic.net

Best Finds:
Offensively colorful skirt
Wool coat

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