Book Review: Thrift Score

It all started when I was a kid. I would walk to the convenience store, get a blue raspberry lollipop filled with gum, and head to the thrift store a couple shops down in the strip mall, where I would peruse stacks of used books and feed my Archie comic addiction with their huge selection. I poked around other parts of the shop—at furniture, wicker baskets, old wedding dresses—but I wasn’t interested in that stuff yet. As I grew older, moved around, and found new thrift stores, the sections I checked changed: black clothes to cut up and safety-pin back together when I had just started high school; boots, belts, and shoes; dresses to alter once I started sewing, cassette tapes for when I got my car, and vinyl to play when my roommates had record players. Over time, I learned that the key was to check every section and leave your trip open to the thrill of discovery.

Now imagine someone who has dedicated most of his or her life to learning these tricks of the trade, someone who can perfectly describe the thrill of the hunt, the ever-growing mental list of things you want to find, the triumphs and tribulations of searching for that perfect item amongst the discarded. Al Hoff is that person, and reading Thrift Score feels like sitting down and listening to a real thrift expert funneling years of that knowledge straight into your brain. In her introduction, Hoff mentions that the content of Thrift Score is as varied as what you might find in a thrift store, and this observation is apt. Chock full of facts, tips, and trivia, it’s hard to believe so much information can be crammed into one book.
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Ave Wornette


I was born in Honolulu and spent most of my childhood in the desert of southern Arizona. I’ve lived all across Canada, eventually settling in my hometown of Ottawa. I’m studying geology at Guelph, but it was my interest in the world of fashion, art, and creativity that brought me to the big city, and to WORN. I love all sorts of fashion and culture, and my personal style is still evolving (kind of like a Pokemon). Movies and music are a big inspiration to me, and I love everything from the doe-eyed heroines of David Lynch to the bad girl attitudes of early 90s hip-hop video vixens. When I was a baby, my mom used to hang my dresses on the wall and let me pick which one I wanted to wear – I still love playing dress up while I choose outfits (oh, for a futuristic revolving closet like Cher’s from Clueless!). I’m so excited to be an intern here at WORN, this summer is going to be awesome!

Current Inspirations

The Considered Ensemble
Instead of street style photos, people describe their outfits and you just imagine them. I love it! Even though you don’t see the actual clothes, it feels a lot more personal.

“In Her Closet” at Modelinia
For those who have dreamed of closets stocked with glorious designer clothes, here’s a little sartorial inspiration – this video series peeks into the wardrobes of models.

What I Wore Today (Drawings)
A collection of daily outfit drawings instead of photos. The aspect of artistic style adds a whole new facet to the clothes, and the person – an outfit you might not look twice at in a picture can be a beautiful sketch or adorable cartoon.

Mr. Newton
I like the way this guy describes his life. Every day is impossibly glamourous and there is no attempt at modesty, it’s great. He has a very distinct voice, both in text and in his consistently gorgeous street style photos.

Selleck Waterfall Sandwich
Exactly what it sounds like. Eat your heart out, Hercule Poirot, there’s a new mustache in town. And it’s accompanied by a variety of sandwiches and water features.

To The Nines

WORN’s favourite Ottawa boutique Victoire held a charming night of shopping last week. Katie and Regine have been collecting gorgeous vintage cocktail dresses for months in preparation for this night, and it showed.

I prepared for the evening by listening to the original Crybaby soundtrack on the way there. (Sidenote: Lovers of retro kitsch, watch this movie! Unconvinced? Read its tagline: “Too young to be square… Too tough to be shocked… Too late to be saved”? Ultimate classic.) Upon arrival the atmosphere did not disappoint – the girls had all the best 50s and 60s jukebox hits playing, sweet bite-sized snacks and little cups of blackberry wine, and of course the amazing selection of dresses filling out the racks! Not a surprise, then, that the whole space was filled up with well-dressed ladies (and gents) browsing, mingling, and enjoying themselves.

did I mention the La Chatte Bottée shoes?

cute girls in cute dresses

the lovelies of Victoire – Ula, Sage, Regine, Katie, and Natasha

Aw! What an awesome night, girls. Katie and Regine’s true love of vintage shone through in every detail of the night, from the dresses arranged neatly by colour to the satin ribbons tied on every hanger.

- text by Averill Smith, photography by Kevin M.