Meet Miss Abena: an avid thrifter, vintage style lover, fashion blogger for 'A Few of My Favorite Things', and an all around stylish chic.
I'm so in love with her unique style! I have been looking forward to doing a style profile on her for a while. So, I recently spent the day with Abena in one her favourite parts of the city, Kensignton Market. Throughout the day we spoke about fashion, her sense of style and she also introduced me to her world of thrifts shopping as we visited a few of her favourite spots to shop in Kensington Market...
Of course, she was looking fab and I especially loved her unique mixture of prints in her look, so we did an impromptu mini shoot while hanging out. This was a great opportunity for me to test out shooting with my new Nikon DSLR camer, which I think came out nicely :)
Welcome to the fabulous fashion world of Miss. Abena...
My Style is affordable, feminine, classy, unique and simple. I don't like to look like everyone else, I like to look different. I really love vintage fashion but I also like to mix it with modern clothing, so I am very versatile. For example, I'll put on $2 pants from the thrift store and mix it with $50 shoes from Zara.
Who are your style inspirations?
It is a mix between Tracee Ellis Ross and Solange Knowles. Their look is very eclectic and not mainstream. I like their style because it is feminine and sexy but not too sexy. I find their style to be tasteful, modest and not overdone.
Describe your style journey?
I've always been into fashion since I was little. Back in elementary school and highschool, I would only wear pants and never wear skirts. I would also only wear very dark colours. It wasn't until my last year of highschool that discovered my fashion look and I fully realized my sense of style.
When and how did you get into Thrifting?
I've always been into thrifting, my mother was actually the one who introduced me to it. She would take me to the thrift store and there I would always see unique items. When I started thrifting myself in 2001, I was mainly buying clutches at first. When I moved to Windsor in 2003 for University, I began to thrift more frequently as I was on a limited student budget. Finally, one day I saw a picture of Tracee Ellis Ross in nice outfit that I wanted to replicate, however, when I looked for the outfit in regular retail stores I could not find it at all. Then, I went to a thrift store and was finally able to find something similar to achieve her look. From that day on, I decided that I would mainly shop for my clothes in thrift stores.
What was the first item you bought from a thrift store?
The first item a bought from a thrift store was a nude clutch purse from goodwill in 2001.
What do you like about thrifting?
I really like that I can get good quality items in thrift stores. I love leather, so am able to find a lot of good quality leather items for very cheap, such as a leather jacket. The vintage style has become very popular in fashion. But, I feel like why spend over $100 buying vintage looking clothes in retail stores when I can achieve the same look from clothes I find in a thrift store for less than $20. However, I do also mix clothing from regular stores with my thrift clothes..
How would you describe your current look and where did you got each item?
I would describe my current look as comfortable. I was going for a British Grunge look when I was putting this outfit together. I like to mix prints a lot. I got my shirt from the Salvation Army for $2. My shoes are from Zara and were on sale for $25.99. My top and jacket are from H&M. My bag is from Zara and the scarf on it is from Anthropologie; it's actually a table napkin. My sunglasses are from Kensington Market while my Headscarf, watch and earrings are from a thrift store. Finally, my rings are a mix from H&M and Ebay.
What hairstyles are you into?
I used to like long hair, but now I like to wear my hair short in a pixie cut or a bob. I also really like big curly hair, like Tracee Ellis Ross's.
What is your make-up style and products that you use?
I like a simple make-up look. I like using products from Makeup Forever, Benefits, Bobby Brown, and Black Radiance.
What style of shoes are you into?
I'm into good quality shoes that are comfortable. My favourite style of shoes are black stiletto pumps, those are my go-to shoes. I also really like kitten heels and oxfords. I'm currently getting more into sneakers; I've been wearing new balance and converse sneakers more now. I dislike open toe shoes so prefer closed toe, and also dislike platform heels. Most of my shoes are from Zara and ASOS.
What style of bags are you into?
I'm mainly into clutches and leather bags. I also like over-sized totes and am becoming really into the current mini bag trend.
What accessories are you into?
I really into rings. Right now I'm really into knuckle rings.
What are 3 essential style items you cannot leave house without?
1. A little jacket
2. A scarf/handkerchief
3. A pair of Sunglasses
Is there a new style that you are thinking of trying?
I'm thinking of dying her hair grey and wearing it in a short pixie cut. I'm not sure yet.
Where you like to thrift?
I mainly thrift at Value Village and Salvation Army. I like Salvation army the most, because the prices are very cheap plus they don't charge tax. I go to thrift shops all over the city. When I thrift, I usually go in looking for a specific item, not really to browse. Now I don't thrift as much as before, I've slowed it down since I don't want to become too addicted. I am now more into buying investment pieces from thrift stores as well as consignment stores. There is a consignment store I really like in Kensington Market.
What are some great designer finds you've purchased from a thrift store?
I've gotten an Oscar De La Renta dress for $7.99. I've also gotten a Fendi wallet, Gucci earrings and Stuart Weitzman shoes while thrifting.
Aside from thrift stores, where else do you like to shop?
I like to shop at Zara, especially for shoes. I also shop at H&M and J. Crew. I do a lot of online shopping as well on ASOS.com, Nasty Gal.com and Ebay. I shop more online than I do in retail stores.
What advice would you give to those thinking about trying thrift shopping?
You have to have patience, because going through all the racks can sometimes be overwhelming. Going to a thrift store is also not all about getting vintage items. You can get current fashions there as well, such as items from J. Crew, H&M, Joe Fresh and Zara. Also, you should go in looking for a specific thing.
What would you say to those who are skeptical about thrifting?
A lot of people have misconceptions about thrifting. They think it is all dirty and old-fashioned clothing. However, you'd be surprised what you can find at a thrift store. People should just try it.
What is your fashion motto?
'Fashion its not about the quantity, its about quality and how you put it together.' People care about brand too much, but fashion should not be about the brand. You can buy expensive brands but it still doesn't look good. If you don't know how to put a style together, it doesn't matter how much you paid for it. Fashion should be affordable and fun. Don't be too busy with your fashion or do too much, simplicity is the best. Just find your own fashion style and stick to it.
It was such a fabulous day interviewing, hanging out and exploring Kensington Market with this chica! I think I might have to give this thrifting thing a try.
Make sure to check out her blog on Tumblr: http://a-fewofmyfavouritethings.tumblr.com/
And also follow her on Instagram so see more of her personal style: @abena.donkor