Inside My Closet: Erin Hemmerling

Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingWe are excited to be starting a new series where we visit the homes and closets of some seriously stylish and interesting people. Erin has been one of our beloved sales associates for a few years now, and just by looking at her you can tell she’s a cool and noteworthy gal. She let me snap some pictures of her bedroom and told me a bit about her favourite clothing pieces she has found over the years.

Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingTell us about your style.

Having literally just thought about it, my style is basically an accumulation of influences from all the female figures I’ve looked up to in life. My mom, my Barbies, the early 2000’s pop divas who’d make me late to school cuz I’d be waiting for their videos to come up on the Countdown, and my younger, purer self who dreamed someday of being a fashion designer (my million dollar design was a ¾ length baseball shirt with a heart in the middle) AND a DJ (I’m selling my DJ controller if anyone’s interested!!!)

My truest self comes out when the sun goes down – something feels weird about taking the TTC in broad daylight wearing my rainbow jumpsuit and 5-inch platforms, I guess. I’m a huge clothing collector and I’m not crazy about wearing the same thing twice which is why I’m so lucky to be a part of Common Sort. The funny thing is, a bunch of us CS gals live together and we NEVER share our wardrobes. I often end up coming home with Amalia or Meghan’s old clothes which had been sitting in their closets the night before. It’ll always comes back to the ladies in my life.

Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingThis is the dress I’m being buried in. It’s also one of the first pieces I ever collected when I started working in second-hand clothing. Missoni is one of my favourite brands, but you gotta admit they’re kinda hit-or-miss. Obviously the story of this dress had to do with a fancy grandma passing it down a few generations. I’ve only ever worn it once when working the Vintage Crawl and I distinctly remember wearing nothing underneath (Ou La La!) and later finding out from my co-worker that it was completely see-through (C’est La Vie!)Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingI am OBSESSED with hoops earrings. I have a monthly allowance for at least 2 multi-packs from Claire’s. They just compliment every outfit I own. I got my Erin earrings custom-made at the CNE on my birthday, cuz how could I not?Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingI attach memories to EVERYTHING I wear, and the last time I wore this cloud print shirt in 2015 I knocked over a lava lamp on stage at Double Double Land deeming myself “The Girl Who Broke The Lava Lamp On Stage At Double Double Land”. I am still not proud of this moment and I haven’t been able to wear this shirt since, but it’s still the best shirt I own and it’ll forever have a special spot in my second drawer.Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingI made these 8 ball earrings out of keychains. I have a growing keychain AND earring collection so it made sense to combine them. I think jewellery design is my next pursuit in life – but don’t hold me to it!!! Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingI don’t shop fast fashion stores often, but If I do, I’ll check out the sale section. The crazy thing about this two-piece is I found the top at Forever 21 and the bottoms at Zara. This has happened to me on a few occasions working in second-hand where I’ll buy something one season and have a totally matching piece come in the next, and every time it feels like it was meant to be. I once called this outfit “I just auditioned for ABBA Mania” and it makes its way out on special occasions. I’ll NEVER get over the fact that it cost me less than $20.Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingOk, these are a story. Whatever the internet says – listen to it. There is NO way to successfully apply glitter to Crocs.

I love to add a comedic element to my outfits when I can, and my friends know this. When my best friend Ashlyn got married this past May, she let us choose our own shoes to wear with our bridesmaid dresses. She was apparently going to let us choose our own bridesmaid dresses until she remembered she’d picked me to be in her wedding party.

I spent 3 nights decking out these Dollarama Crocs in $40 of fine glitter. I thought cheap foam would work better than the special plastic. We all grew up in small towns where Crocs became classic but I’d also had a weird feeling that they were about to make a comeback. There’s still glitter on our kitchen floor and apparently it’s forever embedded in Ash’s living room carpet.

As I was walking down the aisle, I felt the layer of glitter snag on the bottom of my dress and COMPLETELY lift up from the shoe. I thought I was going to trip up the altar and I think my heart sank further than hers. Luckily, I was holding her brother’s arm and made it up alive, but obviously my shoes did not. The photographer was just as sad as I was, but hey, at least my feet were comfortable!!!Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingMy method of thrifting has always been this: I walk into the store and pick up whatever (literally) catches my eye first. I’ve always been attracted to bright colours and crazy patterns, and this Custo Barcelona jacket was sticking out like a sore thumb – I HAD to take it home – so badly that I think I still owe my friend shopping with me $100 for buying it… (Sorry Pete)Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingThis jacket was the first thing I ever bought at Common Sort! Straight off of the repairs rack! I still haven’t fixed the giant hole in the shoulder but WHO CARES when you have an Ace Of Spades as a zipper pull. I dress thematically whenever I can and one of my biggest style regrets was not wearing this to the casino in Niagara Falls – my friends and I dressed up in wigs and fur coats instead. It probably wouldn’t have been worth it anyways considering we almost got kicked out for taking a picture of the Britney Spears slot machine.Inside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingInside My Closet: Erin HemmerlingThis is one of the first things I bought at our Common Sort in the Annex. I’d been feeling really down on myself for most of the summer, and when I found this jacket embroidered with “One Of The Elite” on the back, I couldn’t help but cheer up. I never thought a children’s dance jacket could make me feel such a cute confidence!!!

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What Would…

Common Sort | What Would...

AUDREY HEPBURN CHOOSE?

While Audrey Hepburn may have passed 24 years ago, her style is one we still look to for inspiration, whether we are aware of it or not. Audrey had a knack for mixing masculine with feminine, creating a look that was classic, accessible and wearable. Her timeless style is what made her an icon and will continue to inspire us for years to come. We’d like to imagine that if she were still alive today and walked in one of our stores these would be some pieces she would choose.

Common Sort | What Would...Zara skirt size S – $18

Common Sort | What Would...vintage dress size L – $11

Common Sort | What Would...vintage straw hat – $19

Common Sort | What Would...Joe Fresh button down size L – $10

Common Sort | What Would...Jil Sander trousers size S – $88

Common Sort | What Would...Jones New York shorts size 12 – $28

Common Sort | What Would...Escada flats size 40.5 – $85

Common Sort | What Would...Talbots shirt size M – $8

Common Sort | What Would...vintage skirt size S – $18

Common Sort | What Would...vintage dress size S – $26

Common Sort | What Would...Jones New York shirt size S – $28

Common Sort | What Would...Gingham trousers size S – $14

Common Sort | What Would...Carlo Pazolini slingbacks size 37 – $42

Personal Style: Inez Genereux

Common Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: InezNext up on our personal style series, one of our buyers, perpetually colourful with a smile that could brighten anyone’s bad day, Inez. Common Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: InezTell us a bit about yourself.
An angel who lives for love and laughs.

How long have you worked for Common Sort and what’s your favourite part of the job?
I have worked at Common Sort for a collective time of about 2 and a half years. I took a break for a year to work on my art practise, styling and fashion presentation.
While I was away from Common Sort I found myself thinking about the communities that the stores are apart of more than any other part of the job. There are very few retail businesses where people of many different levels of economic status’ can enter and find clothing that suits all of their needs, aesthetically, functionally and financially. The price of new contemporary clothing that you buy in a mall is outrageous. Those prices are lies, and it isn’t fair that some folks have a more challenging time paying the price of those lies than others. The amount of times I have heard people exclaim while shopping at Common Sort  “this regularly retails for so much more“, is in the hundreds. The cost of living in Canada is so high, I feel that Common Sort offers a tiny bit of reprieve from the oppressiveness of consumerism.
As much as I truly love fashion, the nature of fast fashion is destructive to the planet. Even independent designers struggle with needing to make their clothing affordable enough for themselves to make small runs of garments, so most of all the clothing we see is made from synthetic materials and flown across the earth to be sold in North America. Common Sort buys directly from the general public, and we get so much clothing in every single day. It blows my mind to think that almost all of what we get in would end up in a landfill otherwise. Well! these are some of my politics in a nutshell, but I should say I also LOVE the thrill of finding a piece of clothing with a lot of character, especially vintage. Garments were made with more consideration towards fabric and wearability in the past. Things were made to last.Common Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: Inez

How would you describe your style?
A cartoon of Cameron Diaz playing a pop star who by night, is the secretary of a cult.

What’s your favourite piece you own?
ALL of my clothes are each my favourite pieces. I don’t buy clothing to have a cohesive wardrobe, I buy individual pieces that barely go with anything else lol. They all stand on their own. But honestly.. my favourite piece of clothing I have is a very very plain, boring ass mid calf length black cotton skirt with a thick elastic waist band. Originally from Forever21, I bought it because one summer I was very sick and it was all I could handle wearing on my lower half. It kind of looks perfect with everything and I also feel like I would have gone totally bonkers that summer without it. It’s kind of a horcrux for a part of my soul now.Common Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: Inez
Some tips on how to style an outfit.
Instead of styling tips I’m going to share the best advice I ever got on getting dressed. I used to feel soooooo stressed out about finding the perfect outfit for work, or a party or a date or something. I felt like if it was an important event then I had to have a new combination of clothing pieces so the memory would be preserved in that outfit. But it is so hard to put together a new look under pressure. Someone told me just to wear your favourite go-to outfit, the one you KNOW looks good, even if it isn’t very special anymore. The last thing you want is to be pulling on the hem of a dress or constantly checking your self out in a mirror every second you get because you feel uncomfortable. Put comfort first always, but consider expanding the boundaries of that comfort zone sometimes. Everyone has the capacity to push a little bit here and there. Go for it.Common Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: Inez
Favourite trend at the moment?
Literally I have no idea what is trending. I’m really into clogs and ska inspired outfits right now tho.
Favourite designer(s)?
ReBaie by Rebee,  Atelier Wonder and like Gucci lol.
Favourite season for dressing?
A few years ago I made a promise to myself I would NEVER wear an all black outfit in the winter, so I think it’s fun and challenging to come up with exciting looks throughout the darkest days of our year.Common Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: InezCommon Sort | Personal Style: Inez
Think of your style 10 years ago…are you embarrassed by it now? 
My style when I was 16 was really similar to where I am at now *in theory*. I liked and wore vintage clothes, I have always been really inspired by the Fruits fashion blog, and I liked to make my own clothes sometimes. One thing I should note is that 10 years ago I was really into Happy Hardcore and raving. Just let that simmer in your imagination for a moment. I think I looked sick and I have so much respect for my younger self for absolutely not giving a heck about what other people thought about how I dressed. I still apply the PLUR vibe to my visual and empathetic self now.

WHAT SHE WORE// Shorts, Top and Shoes: CS, Sunglasses: vintage, Bag: Courage My Love

*photos by Alex Spence and mural by Caitlin Taguibao

Five Under Twenty / 2

Common Sort | Five Under Twenty

Another round of low cost pieces for those that don’t want to spend too much while shopping for new clothes; it’s easy to put together an outfit for under $100!

Common Sort | Five Under Twenty

vintage skirt size M – $16

Common Sort | Five Under Twenty

Leather fanny pack – $16

Common Sort | Five Under Twenty

Forever21 romper size L – $12

Common Sort | Five Under Twenty

Zara camisole size M – $14

Common Sort | Five Under Twenty

H&M velvet mules size 37 – $17

Thrifting Tips

Common Sort | Thrifting TipsCommon Sort | Thrifting TipsSometimes walking into a thrift store can be overwhelming; there’s so much stuff and where do you even begin? Even though we have done all the picking and sorting and weeding out the “meh” stuff for you at our stores, it’s still a ton of clothes, each different from the next. Being a good thrifter is definitely a skill, and to be one you have to really like searching. If you are already a pro thrifter, then this post is old news for you, but for those looking to get better at finding the gems, we have put together a list of some tips we think could be helpful.

Common Sort | Thrifting Tips

LOOK THROUGH EVERYTHING; that means searching all sizes, checking both male and female sections, checking the tops of our racks, bag wall and all the mannequins. Maybe the piece you find is better oversized? Or you could find an unlikely piece hidden in the men’s section.

WEAR SOMETHING EASY TO TAKE OFF OR EASY TO LAYER OVER; there is nothing more annoying than being layered in clothes and shopping for new ones. It’s best to wear a simple outfit that you can take off easily, so that trying on clothes doesn’t feel like such a burden.

Common Sort | Thrifting Tips

COME OFTEN; At our store we are constantly getting new clothes and putting them out. To find the very best stuff coming frequently is the best way to find the real gems. You’d be surprised how quickly pieces hit the floor and leave that very same day.

THINK ABOUT WHAT WILL WORK WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY OWN; It’s easy to be attracted too many pieces you find, but knowing what pieces will actually get worn is the key to spending your money conscientiously and avoiding adding pieces to your closet that will never see the light of day. If you can think of at least 3 different ways to wear the pieces you are eyeing, then it will probably be a good addition to your closet.

Common Sort | Thrifting Tips

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ONLY BOTTOMS, FIND A TOP SIMILAR TO ONE YOU ALREADY OWN (AND VICE VERSA); Maybe you aren’t wearing something that goes with all the pants/skirts you’re trying on. Grab a top from a rack and use that to be able to gauge whether the bottoms really work for you. It’s surprising how your opinion can change on a piece if you are wearing something that seems familiar to you.

IT WILL LIKELY BE GONE IF YOU WAIT; The good and the bad thing about our stores is that pretty well everything is a one-off. If you really love something, don’t wait too long to think about it. It will likely be gone by the time you come back for it.

Common Sort | Thrifting Tips

CHECK SALE SECTION; Sometimes some really great pieces, especially designer ones, end up in sale section. You may find that Prada top at an amazingly reduced price.

RESEARCH TRENDS; while we keep our eye out for trends and pick based on that, it’s always good to come into the store with an idea of what is in fashion and what you would like to be wearing. You may not find it, but coming with a game plan is always a good idea, it can be overwhelming with all the possibilities if not.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any thrifting tips as well! Lets share the knowledge.