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Don't let NYE catch you with your pants down.

Updated on the 1st of every month

by Olivia Deane

Clothing trends are forever revolving and either come back to haunt us or remind us of good times gone by. The theory is that if you keep something in your closet long enough, it's sure to make a come back either sooner or later.

Retro is all the rage these days, whether it's 70s chic or 80s glam. Both looks and eras are revisiting the mainstream both in boutiques and second-hand shops across town.

Urban Outfitters on St- Catherine is a definite trendsetter when it comes to the retro look. You feel as if you just stepped into the fantasy world of Jem and the Holograms. Retro pumps, neon tights, finger-less gloves and colorful plastic bangles and earrings surround you as you take a trip down memory lane. Of course all these imitation articles come with a high-class price tag, and why pay more when you can get the real thing from a friperie for a fraction of the price??

Thrift shops otherwise known as friperies, line Mont- Royal Avenue and are popping up all over Montreal. Retro Raggz, one of the many boutiques on the street, has a vast selection of vintage goods ranging from "trucker caps", leather jackets, Stonewashed jeans, and shabby printed tees.

What makes this boutique special is the "print your own t-shirt" concept, where you can choose from hundreds of catalogued designs from Fat Albert, Strawberry Shortcake, Trans-formers, Michael Jackson and Popples to the California Raisins. Prices start from $14.99 to 24.99, depending on the quality of the t-shirt you choose and whether you prefer long or short sleeve.

The t-shirt was considered the ultimate casual wear item of the 1970s. After the tie-dye shirts of the late 60s, the 70s made the t-shirt their own by adding embroidery, appliqué and a message. The message was in the form of a corny joke, a slogan or a picture of an icon. Carmela, Angela and Val, friends visiting Retro Raggz from Toronto for the weekend, appreciate the fact that creating your own t-shirt gives you the freedom to create your style. " If you shop at a store like Le Chateau for example, you'll see at least three other people with the same shirt on the street," says Val "designing your own shirt is original and funky." Angela purchased a zip hoodie with the phrase "Barbie is a Slut" in hot pink on the back, while Val chose a more low key picture of Curious George and admitted that she had been looking for the print for years and couldn't find it in Toronto.

Éleonore, the salesperson at Retro Raggz, says that second-hand stores and getting more and more popular, so the prices are going up. "If you want something cheap and ugly, then go to Villages des Valeurs," she says.

Speaking of which, Villages des Valeurs one of the biggest chain second-hand stores in Montreal, is a great place to find vintage treats that are dirt-cheap. Just as their slogan "The ultimate treasure hunt" suggests, you have to look high and low to find something worth your while. With a little patience and perseverance, you will be able to find great buys along with diamonds in the ruff. For the ultimate retro look, take a peak at their selection of accessories like belts, jewelry, hats and shoes that sell for under $5.

"What's fun about retro stuff, is that you are able to mix and match with things you already have a home and create your own up-to-date look with outdated trends," says Tamara Greene, a student on a budget who is a regular at Villages des Valeurs.

Tips for smart shopping in thrifts shops:

- Always check for holes, missing buttons and broken zippers before you leave the store.
- Once at home, wash all clothing items in hot water before wearing.
- Disinfect all earrings and jewelry in rubbing alcohol and water before use.

Updated on the 1st of every month

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