About Nadya Ershova

Posts by Nadya Ershova:

Diary of a Frugalista: DIY Princess Crown

Want to look special this Christmas and stay on budget? Then this DIY tutorial is for you!

I will show you how to make a fun and sassy accessory: a wire crown. It will bring out your inner princess and will have all eyes on you at any party!

Originally I spotted this lovely DIY project in the Free People blog. I fell in love with the idea and decided to make a similar project with a few modifications.

What you will need for this project: wire, wire cutters, pliers,  and an old necklace.

I used Artistic Wire 18 Ga that I bought at an art supply store. To decorate the points of the crown, I used an old necklace which I found at a recent clothing swap.


1. First, make a wire circle that will become the base of your crown. It should be a little bit bigger than your head. Before cutting the wire, try the circle on your head to make sure it fits properly on top of your head.

2. After cutting the wire, wrap the ends tightly around the base using the pliers. Make sure the ends point away from your head: It will prevent them from scratching your skin.

3. Then, cut eight pieces of wire of about 21cm in length. These will become the crown points.

4. Bend the wire pieces in the middle.

5. Decorate the points with some beads. Use the pliers to twist the tips of the points to fix the beads.

I wanted to use the big gray plastic “pearl” beads, but their holes were too small. The necklace had also smaller metal ones with bigger holes;  there were precisely eight of them!

6. Bend the ends of the points to prepare them for attaching to the crown base. Try to not make the bent ends too small; otherwise, it will be difficult to do the next step.

7. Arrange the points symmetrically along the base. Begin with two in 180 degrees from each other.
Hook the ends under the base wire. Using the pliers, wrap the ends around the base wire as tight as you can.
Then, place two other points  in 90 degrees from the attached ones and repeat the steps.
After completing you should have four points evenly attached as show on the picture. Attach the other four in between.

Again, try to point the ends of the wire towards the outside; it will prevent your head from getting scratched.

And here comes the crown!

Happy DIY-ing! Make this Christmas special!

My blog: dushonok.com

Diary of a Frugalista:Stamped Denim

Diary of a Frugalista:Stamped Denim

When it is gloomy and rainy outside, it is the perfect time to stay at home and start some DIY projects!

Today I will show a sequel of my  Bleached Denim post. Let’s stamp!

My inspiration was these bleached-n-painted jeans shorts. I loved the idea of combining a bold black and white design with the subtle denim texture. The problem was… I could not do it by hand because I am so bad at drawing! What could be the solution? Stamping! Stamping is perfect for me. It is very easy to do, and gives a greater uniqueness and personal touch than what you can find in stores.

To my surprise, it was not easy to find good stamping accessories in Montreal. Some stampers were available at the art store DeSerres. Stamping kits were there too, but they were paired with a regular paint that is not suitable for fabric. Even Dollarama failed to help: I was only able to find toy stampers for kids there.

Of course, I could have bought the accessories on the Internet. But I did not want to wait – it was time to get creative!

I made a stamping inkpad out of a dish sponge that I cut through the middle. Small air-tight plastic containers from Dollarama became inkpad cases. The fabric paint was bought at DeSerres. Also, I bought a few floral and heart-shaped stampers there and got a bag of toy finger stampers at Dollarama.


At first, I did some sample tests. I diluted the pink paint with a bit of water and poured it on the sponge.  Then, I stamped the fabric and realized that- surprise, surprise! – results are better when stamping is done on a flat surface.

After stamping is done, the design needs to become permanent! The paint gets fixed by ironing for 5 minutes in cotton selection. Once fixed, the design resists machine washing and dry cleaning.

After waiting for the paint to dry, I washed the samples. Woo-hoo, it looks so cool!

Floral stamps looked pretty too.

Although I liked the resulting floral pattern, I wanted to make a geometric ornament with circles and rectangles. To do that, I bought an eraser and used its wide side as a stamper. The circle was made out of a finger stamper with the shape part removed.

The result was not perfect enough for me. The surface of the eraser side was too large, and the paint got unevenly distributed across the surface. The same happened with the circles.

After experimenting more, I decided to use the most narrow side of the eraser. It greatly improved the quality of the prints. Hurray!

I liked the brick pattern the best. Instead of the circles, I decided to use the star finger stamper.

Ok! So the pattern and the technique was all set! It was the time to prepare the shorts.

I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store.

Then I cut and bleached them using the instructions I have recently published.

Stamping time! Making the very first prints was so exciting!

The left part was stamped with stars. Some stamps turned out to be untidy, because the circular edge of the stamper left marks. Another hint: to get a good quality print, use good tools!

On the back, I only stamped the pockets.

Before fixing the design, I waited one hour to let the paint dry.

Fixing by ironing was long and inconvenient, so I decided to use a different method! I baked the shorts in the oven for 5 minutes with the temperature at 300F.

(OMG, my oven is so dirty! Have not noticed before!)

Here comes the result! I rolled up the trouser legs and sewed them underneath in a few places. After baking, the fabric got some yellowish tint. The tint was resistant and survived washing, so I decided to pretend it was by design!

The view from the back. The flaps need to be ironed after every washing.

Stamping is cool!

A few practical tips from my experience:

  • Quality of the print depends on the quality of the stamper, so it is worth to spend money on accessories.
  • Do stamping carefully on a flat surface; to make sure the fabric was  flat, I put a magazine inside the shorts.
  • The fabric should be stretched and secured with pins.
  • Whitebright paint will probably not be visible on a light cloth; while choosing the paint, pay attention to what fabric it is designed for (darklight).
  • It is much easier to dry the paint in the oven than doing so by ironing; of course, it will work only if the garment has no plastic details or buttons.

This is it! Happy stamping!

My blog: dushonok.com

Diary of a Frugalista: Confession Of a Swapaholic

Hi, my name is Nadya, and I’m a swapaholic.

Unnamed cotton dress found at the first Mega Swap event. It always gets tons of compliments

Just about three years ago I was a regular girl who was spending up to half of her salary on clothes. My wardrobe had trouble swallowing up all the stuff I crammed into it. My storage room contained two big suitcases almost bursting open because of the stuff inside.

My then husband hated Thursdays and Fridays. On these days, the balance on our credit card suffered severe losses.

But I could not help it. My girlish nature demanded new clothes on a regular basis, period!

Vintage jeans dress from 80s found at the YMCA swap event last year

Then everything suddenly changed.
One day I met Aleece (the founder of The SWAP Team) who came to visit a friend working in my office. Aleece told me about The SWAP Team and their clothing swap events. Shortly after, I participated in my very first swap.

A whole new world opened up right in front of me!

I got to exchange the clothes I was bored of for new-to-me, cool ones. I even managed to find some pieces that would be impossible to buy in a regular store.

That fascinated me.

Vintage dress found at the last Mega Swap event

I loved the feeling that I had while going through the racks and looking for interesting pieces. It was the thrill of the hunt and the anticipation of surprise. I felt like a kid in front of a box full of chocolate eggs with toys inside!

Then I began to meet people who found the items I brought to the swaps. I was looking at the things that used to belong to me … and I felt kind of proud of myself! The choice I made the other day when decided to buy them was greatly appreciated by somebody else. In addition, it was interesting to see how the others blended my former belongings into their style.

Divided dress found at the last Mega Swap event

I realized that I had started helping to save the environment much more than before. Instead of participating in blind consumption, I took part in a nature-friendly exchange that produces no greenhouse gasses — only a lot of fun!

Vintage dress from 80s found at the last Mega Swap event

My suitcases became empty, so my husband was happy. I got a great new wardrobe and saved tons of money!

This all made me very much addicted to clothing swaps. I recognize my condition, and I am very happy about it!

Suede shorts found at the last Mega Swap event

Vintage dress from 80s brought by Aleece at the YMCA swap event last year and found by me

Diary of a Frugalista: DIY Bleached Denim

This summer bleached denim is one of the hottest trends. Partial bleached and “acid wash” items give a wardrobe an unusual trendy twist, and there is no wonder why it is so popular. It looks very attractive!

But do you need to buy a pair of bleached jeans at the store? Of course not! It is a great DIY project which is fairly simple to do.

I fell in love with it as much as everybody else and decided to give it a try.

I bought jeans pants and a jeans shirt at Renaissance and got three bottles of Clorox bleach from Canadian Tire.

There are many instructions about the bleaching process on the Internet. However, it turned out that almost none of them reveal all the tricks and secrets. Still, I accomplished this project by trying, failing, and finally succeeding. Let me tell you my story of bleaching.

The original items: The jeans and the shirt.

I wanted to make bleached shorts.
At first, I put on the jeans and marked the new length in front of the mirror. Then I cut the legs a couple of inches below the marked line.

I folded the shorts in two and attached them to a hanger with clips.

Then I put them into a bucket with the bleach and kept there for about 3 minutes.

After taking the shorts out, I left them hanging for half an hour. Then I rinsed them in clean water and left them hanging for a night.

In the morning the bleaching became more visible (the picture on the right).

After unfolding the shorts I got an unpleasant surprise. I saw ugly looking yellow stains everywhere on the fabric!

It turned out that some cloths are not suitable for bleaching.

The stains can show up for two reasons. Some indigo dyes may give this unpleasant result. Also, the fabrics with spandex may turn yellow while being bleached. The threads of spandex cannot be bleached, and they produce this yellow tint while the main fabric threads are becoming white.

I tried to wash the shorts, but the stains did not get off.

Well, I had nothing to lose! I put the shorts back to the bleach.

I decided to bleach the shirt along with the shorts. The preparations for bleaching take some time, and it is more convenient to bleach more items at once.

This time I brought the bleach and the bucket to the balcony. The bleach produces hazardous vapors, and it is better to handle it outside.

I bleached the shorts for half an hour and did not rinse after. Then, I hung them outside.

Now it was time to take care of the shirt.

At the first I put the sleeves in the bleach. Then, I carefully bleached the body part while making sure that the bleach drops would not stain the rest.

Both items spent a night on the balcony.

In the morning of the next day the results looked quite good. The shorts got bleached very well, and all the stains had vanished. The shirt got a yellow stripe along the white part. It did not be wash out, and I put the shirt back into the bleach.

Meanwhile, I took care of the shorts. Plain white shorts looked a bit boring, and I decided to rip them off and to make a fringed edge.

While making the shorts even shorter, I left some allowance for the fringe.

To make a fringe, I used scissors with the sharp ends. I loosened the threads from the other side of the cloth where the weaving pattern was simpler. Loosening was boring, and I made the fringe only on the front part.

The holes were made using the same scissors. To make the edges look more “used” and ripped I used a sand paper.

I also made some holes on the back pockets.

After finishing the adjustments, I washed the shorts, so the sanded spots and the threads felted and looked more used and torn.

Here is the result!

As you can see, the shirt got a blue border. It appeared during the second bleaching, because the level of the liquid was higher. The border ate up the yellow stripe which showed up after the first try.

Here is an outfit with the bleached jeans shorts. They look great with a front knot shirt that allows to show off the non-bleached top part of the shorts.

Here I combined the bleached shirt with my DIY collar which I made this spring.

Bleaching was a fun project. I enjoyed experimenting and have collected all the information I needed. Now I want to share it with you!

Here are my tips for the denim bleaching:

– while working with bleach, use gloves to protect the skin on the hands;

– do bleaching outside, for example on the balcony, because it is hazardous to inhale the bleach vapors;

– use green bleach which breaks down to salt and water; read the label before buying;

– always dispose the bleach and water with bleach to the sewing system; it will neutralize of the any leftovers of bleach;

During the bleaching, the fabric can get a yellowish or brownish tint. To avoid this, follow these guidelines:

– bleach turns spandex yellow, so avoid bleaching elastic denim;

– while looking for a jeans item to bleach, take a close look at the fabric; if it is yellowish on the light spots, it will probably turn yellow after bleaching, too;

– sometimes some particular indigo dye reacts to bleach by turning yellow;

– thus, try first to bleach an example of the cloth; in my case I could have done it with a piece from one of the cut-off jeans legs;

– do not expect to get a pure clean white color after bleaching; if it is your goal, you should use a white fabric dye;

– the threads that stitch the item would probably keep their original color and would not get bleached.

This is it!

Happy bleaching!

Diary of Frugalista: Items for the Mega Swap

Diary of Frugalista: Items for the Mega Swap

By Nadya Ershova

The Montreal Mega Swap is coming soon!
This time, I have prepared a big pile of clothes to swap!

I will show you some of my favorites. I like these items very much, but I have stopped wearing them for various reasons. The items have been hanging idle in my closet for a couple of years already, and now they are looking for new, appreciative owners!

As you may have noticed from my previous posts, I usually take a lot of pictures of my outfits, a habit that developed a while ago. As a result, I already have plenty of pictures of the items I am swapping. I will show you some photos to give an idea of how you can wear these pieces.

I’m giving away two items from this outfit.
Can you guess which ones?

The first one is the yellow BEDO sweater, medium size. The fact that it’s 30% alpaca makes it very warm and cozy. It is a great piece; unfortunately, yellow does not flatter my skin tone, so I am giving it away.

The second one is the blue Ben Sherman shirt, medium size. It was bought in England almost 10 years ago and since then, I’ve worn it only occasionally. The shirt has spent the last two years in the closet. Now it is surely time to find it a new owner who would appreciate it more than I!

One item from this outfit goes to the Mega Swap!
What do you think it is?

It’s the Nine West shoes, size 7.5. They are made of genuine leather, both inside and outside.
As you can see above, they make a perfect companion to a black-n-white look. Since I do not wear b-n-w outfits anymore, the shoes need to go to make some room in my tightly-packed closet.

Again one item of this outfit goes to the Mega Swap!
Can you guess which one it is?

It’s the Zara shoes, size 7. Since my wardrobe has lost most of its brown items, these shoes do not match anything anymore. A new owner is wanted!

I’m giving away two items from this look!
Try to guess which ones!

One is this great Trf Denim jacket, size Large. After I lost some weight, it became too big for me. It has spent two years hanging in my closet and now it is looking for a new loving owner! It simply deserves to be worn often.

The second is this stylish belt from L’Officiel, size Small. It will make a girl with a thin waist very happy. My waist is not thin enough, hehe.

Seen on a beach in San-Francisco…
One item from the beach outfit goes to the Mega Swap!

This time, it’s the Rocket Dog Converse sneakers, size 7.
The shoes are looking for a sporty yet stylish girl who is not afraid to look bold!

Come to our Mega Swap, and you will find these great items and many more!

Diary of Frugalista:DIY Safety Pin T-Shirt

written by Nadya

While browsing my favorite DIY blogs, I spotted this t-shirt. Old tee and safety pins, wow! I loved the idea from the very first glance. The project seemed to be super-easy to do, and I got too many basic boring t-shirts in my closet.

Here is the original boring t-shirt.

I bought two boxes of safety pins at Dollarama for the total price about $2.50.
I needed only the silver ones, so at first I had to become Cinderella to separate them!

Here is the result! The golden pins are sorted away, and the silver ones are sorted by size.

First comes the neckline.
Initially I wanted to use the medium ones to get a bolder effect, but there were too few of them. So, I took the small ones.
Attaching the small pins was the longest part of the process. After some experimenting, I decided to make the distance between the pins approximately 1 cm.

The biggest pins came in handy, too. I attached them to the pocket.
Then, I made two small cuts in the place around my waist line and attached the medium pins.

Safety pins!
In total the t-shirt now carries six big pins on the pocket, six medium pins on the cuts, and sixty-four small pins on the neckline.

Here comes the result!

I have worn it a few times already, and I can tell you that it is easy to look after.
Initially I intended to wash the t-shirt by hand, since the fabric might get damaged by the metal pins. However, by mistake, I put it in the washer with all my other clothes, and it survived! The pins and cuts and fabric were all intact. No need to bother with manual wash!
Another thing that worried me was that my long hair might get stuck in the pins. So far, no problems here either! The pins close well, and my hair does not get caught into them.

If you loved the project and want to repeat it, than I have a good news for you! Even if you do not have an appropriate t-shirt, you can always get one at our upcoming clothes swap event. I am sure you will find plenty of them!

Good luck with finds and with experimenting!

Diary of a Frugalista: DIY Collar

Diary of a Frugalista: DIY Collar

written by Nadya Ershova

Hey, guys, how are you! Feeling good? Spring is all around! It is time to wear high heels, pretty coats and decorate yourself with chic accessories! Speaking of which – what is your favorite one?

This spring my number one accessory is a detachable collar. It is also one of the hottest accessories of the season. You may see it on the pages of the Vogue magazine and around the necks of popular fashion bloggers. Being an outstanding piece on its own, the collar also helps to update an outfit or give it a new twist. But do you need to buy it in a regular store? And pay a pretty penny? Of course not! It is very easy to make one out of an outdated shirt or from a shirt from a thrift store!

I did one myself, and the whole process took me only one evening! It required as little as a blouse, scissors, and a thread with a needle!

First of all I spent some time searching for a proper blouse at Renaissance, my favorite second hand store. I was looking for an item with a laced collar without buttons. Look what I found, a perfect one!

It was easy to cut off the collar along the seam where it was attached to the blouse.
I took scissors with sharp ends and carefully poked the fabric. While cutting I followed the seam.

I also cut off two buttons from the blouse to make a collar fastener.

I attached one button on each end of the collar and sew a button loop.

And that’s it! The fancy lace collar is ready to wear – and it cost me as little as $5! If I bought one at a regular store, it would have cost me at least $35.

A friend of mine got really enthusiastic about DIY collars and made three of them! The first two are really fancy; they are embroidered with pearls which Marina got by taking apart old beads (check the collars out here and here). She also made a third minimalistic collar out of a man’s shirt which she bought at Village Des Valeurs. Marina decided not to decorate it and gave it to me as a present. I wear it with a beige coat.

Marina used the same approach that I described above.

As you can see it is very simple to make this trendy accessory!
The only limit is your imagination!

Diary of a Frugalista: Get Inspired

Diary of a Frugalista: Get Inspired

written by Nadya Ershova

If you follow this blog at all, you know how much I like second hand clothes! I shop at the Salvation Army and at Renaissance all the time, and I have almost given up first hand shopping. At some point it even made me think I am special…but recently I have realized that second hand stuff is more trendy than I thought! In fact, modern fashionistas wear second hand enthusiastically.

While shopping at Renaissance I often see trendy dressed girls with big piles of clothes in their shopping carts. It is always a huge temptation for me to look inside the carts to see what they have found and what I have missed.
In my fashion blog on Chictopia I made a poll “Do you like second hand stores?”. Here are the results I got:

  • 48% – Yes, it is cheap to shop!
  • 52% – Yes, a perfect place for inspiration
  • 0% – No, do not like to wear used clothing
  • 0% – No, I like only new things

As we see, the second hand stuff has been well adopted by the trendy wardrobes.

One of my favorite fashion blogs is Hel Looks, a blog about street fashion in Helsinki, Finland. The Finnish fashionistas often dress in second hand; for me, they are an unlimited source of fashion inspiration!

Let me show you my ten favorite Hel Looks.

Suvi, 23
“I’m wearing a Sfera hat and skirt from Spain, a Vila jacket and second hand boots.
I like hats, hoods, reddish and down-to-earth colours and interesting details like the sleeves on my jacket.”

Stephanie, 26
“The dress, the hat and the jacket are vintage, the shoes are a gift from my mother and I knitted the scarf I’ve knitted myself. I like old clothes, the 60s is definitely my favorite decade. Frida Kahlo, Patti Smith and the women’s rights movement inspire me.”

Sandra, 24
“I have a thing about vintage dresses. It’s harder and harder to find good vintage, but there are still good addresses in Paris and London where I shop. I don’t want to look like everyone else. I like fashionable clothes but with a twist. The film Gone with the Wind and the decades from the 50’s till the 70’s inspire me. Coco Chanel and Sonia Rykiel have always been my favourite designers.”

Jeonga, 30
“I love primary colours. They make everyone happy. Now I’m wearing second hand which I’ve bought in Australia and in Finland. The hat, the socks and the scarf I bought at UFF yesterday. I mostly buy second hand, because it’s unique, fun and cheap.”

Anna, 23
“The cape is from Vintage Ansa and it’s also called Anna. The beanie is a gift from a friend, the scarf is self-made, the pullover and the bag are second hand. I like nude, beige and other down-to-earth colours. I like loose, comfortable and droopy clothes like big pullovers.”

Jade, 21
“Today I have a black day. I’m wearing a hat from Vintage Ansa, a Weekday dress, shoes from Zio and a Fjällräven backbag. Right now I’m inspired by the colour orange and my pink hair colour.”

Anna-Sofia, 20
“I made the vest out of an old men’s shirt. The high platforms are handy when standing in the festival crowd. I like brim hats, straw hats, cropped t-shirts with high-waisted jeans, capes, knits and layers.”

Meeri, 23
“I just came from Barcelona where I accidentally found a store called Me and My Bitch. I bought 10 things, including this shirt and pants. The handbag is my grandmother’s old. I like vintage, especially the 50s. I appreciate ethic production, naturalness and handicraft in clothes.”

Annika, 21
“I’m wearing a vintage hat from Beyond Retro in Stockholm, a vintage Max Mara coat and shoes from Lilly. I like soft and comfortable clothes. I couldn’t live without hats and other accessories. Italian movies from the 50s and the 60s inspire me.”

Molla, 32
“I’m wearing a second hand shirt and a self-made skirt and bag. To celebrate Ofelia market I added some steam punk inspiration like brown colours and the magnifying glass necklace from Sofia. Crocheting inspires me. My style often resembles an urban commando, with men’s trousers and combat boots. I would like to wear more 50s elements though.”

What inspires you?

Diary of a Frugalista:My SWAP finds of the year

Diary of a Frugalista:My SWAP finds of the year

Photo taken by Christian Roy

Written by Nadya Ershova

December is here, and so the end of the year comes along. It is time to summarize the results of the past SWAP season.  This year my wardrobe got a great update thanks to three clothing swaps!

The first one was at the YWCA.

Left: my favorite fall item! Right: a black blouse with a pink lace inset, which I also got at a swap event, the one at Place-Des-Arts.

This SWAP brought me my biggest catch. I have already written about it here, but I cannot resist the pleasure of talking about it again and again. So here it is! My favorite dress ever: a grey dress from the 80s. As you remember, it was Aleece who brought the dress to this event. She bought it in a Brooklyn vintage store, but eventually realized the color didn’t suit her, so she decided to swap it! The dress was made in the 80s, but the cut was inspired by a 50s revival which was going on at the time. I wore it to the Piknic Electronik, got my picture taken for the SWAP gallery and even gave an interview for the SWAP video.

Another great piece I got at the event was a hippie flowery coat. It stayed abandoned in my closet for quite a long time, because I have a hard time combining patterned clothes, but this fall, I got a fashion epiphany! Solid blue, brown, and pink pieces help the coat  stand out, making the coat my favorite fall item.

The biggest event of the year was the mega Place-Des-Arts clothing swap.

It lasted for two days and occupied the whole of the Grand Foyer Culturel (indoors) of the Place des Arts. I was volunteering, and thus did not have much time to hunt. Still, my instincts helped me spot a few pieces which now occupy an important part of my wardrobe:

First, I want to show you my three dresses.

Better knee long!

Esprit brand dress

This nice blue dress is made of cotton and the top part fits perfectly. The secret of the perfect fitting? The dress has elastic insets on the back. The stylist consultant who volunteered for the event, Jeff Golf, gave me a great suggestion: if I shorten the dress up to the knee, the silhouette will be more balanced. I haven’t got around to shortening it yet, but I totally agree with him.

The second dress is from the brand Esprit. It is made of thin silky polyester and has a lining. It does not stick to the body, and has a loose-fitting cut that makes it very comfortable during hot summer days. I love the tricolor Indian pattern, and that its blue hue goes well with my eye color.
I wore it for the second day of the SWAP and showed it to the visitors of the event. “Look, I got it here yesterday!” Some girl from the crew recognized the dress. She had spotted it on the racks before I did, but the size didn’t fit her. The dress was clearly waiting for me 🙂

Amazing shoes

No doubt, you have noticed the summery sandals in the previous picture. Yes, I got them at the clothing SWAP event, too! The wedges are made of wood, but the shoes are not slippery at all. They have rubber cover pieces attached to the sole. The straps may promise some blisters, though. If it is indeed the case then I will simply swap the shoes again.

The golden flats you see on the picture were also found at the YWCA event!

The third dress is a real godsend. Given the quality of the fabric and the look of the label, I believe this is genuine 80s. It is always the dream of a thrift shopper or swapper to find something this genuine. The brand is FIORICCI and it still exists, you can check it out here: http://selecteddenim.com/.

I know you would say it fits me perfectly. It does! However, it is not easy to put on – and it is even more difficult to take off. The thick fabric does not stretch much, and the skirt part is quite tight. Still, I am very determined to wear it as often as possible!
It is actually made in Canada! Good old – oh, I guess I am allowed to say it – vintage stuff!

Emanuel Ungaro

This incredible Emanuel Ungaro vest was a piece I fell in love with at first sight. The color, the cut, all this was an ultimate match with my style and appearance. The beige goes well with blue, so I combined the vest with a pair of jeans and an awesome 70s style hat I found at Renaissance.

Porcelain skirt

The third event was at the Piknic Electronik festival.

It was a pretty small event compared to the Place-Des-Arts one. The SWAP Team had only one tent. However, the items  present  were very different from the ones usually present at swaps: more accessories, more bright items – the SWAP team did its best to match the festive spirit of the Piknic!
At this swap, I got a milky white maxi skirt with embroidered flowers.The skirt is made of wool, and it wraps over the body. I like it very much; it reminds me of a fine Chinese porcelain with a delicately hand-painted ornament. However, I have trouble finding items to pair it with. Winter is approaching, and I think I might be able to match it with something like a black fur Russian hat, a faux fur black coat and big army boots with ribbed soles. Maybe you guys have any other suggestions on what to combine it with?

Cat eye sunglasses

I also grabbed some over-sized, cool-shaped sunglasses. The outer corners are elevated a bit, giving them a cat-eye look.
Every fashionista needs to have many accessories to accent her outfits. However, when the style changes, the old accessories do not fit it anymore and need to be replaced. Well, when that happens, bring your not-fitting-anymore sunglasses, belts, bracelets and necklaces to our events and exchange them for the ones that do fit!

Part of my growing collection of swapped clothes

The year 2011 is almost over. It brought me tons of positive emotions and great clothes. I cannot wait to see what new clothing and emotions the next year will bring!

Diary of a Frugalista:Volunteering at a Mega Clothing Swap, July 2011

Diary of a Frugalista:Volunteering at a Mega Clothing Swap, July 2011

by Nadya Ershova

The S.W.A.P. Team organized a mega clothing swap on July 9-10 in the Grand Foyer Culturel (indoors) of the Place des Arts in partnership with Zoofest and Renaissance. I was a volunteer for both days.

The First Day
On Saturday my shift started at 7 AM, and that wasn’t an easy thing to do. I am definitely not an early bird, and on weekends I usually wake up around noon. This shows how motivated I was to participate in the event and to see how things would be going from the very beginning. 🙂

However, coffee early in the morning is a must — our managers felt the same way and took care of that. Everything goes a lot easier if you have a coffee in your one hand and a croissant in the other — mmm !

Laura Vizbara (on the right)

Our designer Neelan Rach showed us how to arrange the racks — we wanted our visitors to feel excited about swapping right away!

Neelan Rach, Jana Piest (both on the right), and volunteers

We also had to lay out the shoes. There were so many of them! I spotted lots of items that I gave away for the event. When the swap started, I saw girls trying on “my” stuff and felt very happy. The items would find a new  home and would not end up in a landfill somewhere! Swapping is good.

Dresses and shoes waiting for new owners

Now, if you want to see some nice swapped clothing, look no further than the people organizing the event! Here are some examples:

Aleece Germano

On the first day, Aleece Germano, President and Founder of The S.W.A.P. Team, chose a lovely second-hand pink dress.

The next day, Aleece was wearing a black dress with a red belt. She got the dress at the swap we held at the YWCA back in February.


Sabina Tang

I liked Sabina’s dress. On Friday night she went to the volunteers’ swap where she found a few nice items such as this red leather belt. She decided to wear it with her outfit the very next day.


Neelan Rach

Neelan’s outfit was both practical and stylish. I simply fell in love with his Chanel purse!

So, of course, seeing so many people swapping (there were over 400 visitors all in all!), you cannot help it but sneak through the clothes a bit as well and try something on, when you have the chance — just for the fun of it!

Look at our first finds! Annie (Annie Cliche, Montreal Chapter Director) found a white jacket with a leopard collar. Stephanie was having fun trying out a funny summer hat with a matching purse.

Annie Cliche (on the left), Stephanie (on the right)

The dress in the following picture was one that I had already noticed when arranging the racks. It was made out of silk and had a balloon skirt. I would have loved to take it home with me. Unfortunately, it was a small size, and it didn’t fit anyone else but the very skinny Annie.

Sabina tried on a velvet beige vest with flower shaped holes, but eventually decided to leave it.

Annie Cliche (on the left) and Sabina Tang (on the right)

Cole, Annie’s daughter and our youngest volunteer — she is only 8 years old! — dug out a nice head scarf and a matching purse. Look at her, this girl will definitely become an advanced thrifty fashionista in no time!

Cole Cliche

The fitting rooms simply looked like magic. They were constructed with white, slightly glossy curtains and were lit up with red LED lamps from the inside. In front of the fitting rooms was standing the dream of every girl — a personal style consultant. Stylist Jeff Golf of Montreal wardrobe consultants Ludique was mainly there to help out with one crucial question: “Shall I take it or not?”

Stylist Jeff Golf

Aleece giving the opening speech (on the right)

The Second Day

On the second day I came at noon when the first public swap session started.

I was super-busy during most of the day.

First, I was assigned to the PR team and had to check the stamp on the visitors’  hands before allowing them to go into the swap area. Also, I answered questions from people passing by. DJ THE WIG from Boston was playing music at the event all day long, which attracted lots of attention.

Later, I was helping out at check-in. Looking at the participants, it was very clear from the beginning that guys were a rarity at this event — but the ones that came, gave away some really nice stuff, like designer jackets, leather bags and wool sweaters. Believe it or not, some of the women coming to the event brought along their suitcases! They left the swap with their luggage filled with nice clothing.

Later on, I joined the sorting crew and helped them put more items on the racks that people had brought to the swap. Busy!

Since The S.W.A.P. Team was partnered with the Zoofest, we also had some artistic and music performances during the event, like the group Street Hearts:

Street Hearts (on the left)

Small cardboard labels were attached everywhere. They presented some interesting statistics about clothing consumption and recycling.

Statistic labels

While working on the floor and refilling the racks with clothes, I suddenly spotted another item I brought for the swap! It was a brownish orange jacket of great quality, made in Russia by a local designer. I used to like it a lot — however, I recently changed my color scheme to bluish gray, so this piece didn’t fit my wardrobe anymore.

The orange designer jacket I brought for the swap event

At five o’clock my shift was over.

I spent two great days full of excitement and joy. I worked with nice and dedicated people who care about nature and the environment. I liked this volunteering experience very much, and I will definitely help out again at the next event.

And of course, I did find something for myself. 🙂 Three nice dresses and a few other items. I will write about my finds in the next post.

Stay tuned!

I totally forgot! A picture of me appeared in the 24H newspaper, July 11. I am the girl in the middle with her head tilted down. Wooh-hoo!

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