Pearl’s Precious Gems: Elaine Sanford



Elaine Sanford (left) with her style crush Anne Grey (right). (Photo contributed)

Elaine Sanford is an extremely talented tailor, designer, and costumer based in Lunenburg who we like to refer to as the “Queen of Frenchy’s”. Elaine has dressed people for a living for over 25 years, working with many of them in the film industry. She has an eye for quality, well-made pieces, and loves nothing more than the thrill of the thrift.

What’s your favourite thrifted piece you own?

I have had so many, I’ve been doing this for so long that I can’t even really say. All kinds of amazing name brands… Gucci, Comme des Garçons, etc. A lot of them are from Frenchy’s and some from Value Village too.

I find exciting things all the time. When I find something in the wrong size, but just too exquisite to leave behind, I will usually buy it anyway. I’ll have somebody in mind that will just lose their mind when I give it to them. I love doing it and can’t stop!

What’s a favourite memory tied to thrifting?

When we first start working on a show, we would get the breakdown and see how many cast members we have to dress. We would always dress the background from Value Village or Frenchy’s because we didn’t have a big budget for those characters. We would take a day and drive to the Valley or Digby and make our way back and stop at every thrift shop along the way. We had a ball, a riot, I loved it.

Where do you get your fashion inspiration? Any local fashion crushes?

I’m on Instagram and there’s a few people I follow. None of them are stars or anything, they are just people who are interesting to follow. When you’ve been dressing people for 25 years, you have an eye and a feel — the inspiration just comes from everything around you.

Locally, I would have to say Anne Grey. I just love the way she dresses. She loves vintage, her style tends to be a little bit of vintage mixed with newer classic pieces. She has her own style and combines pieces in a way that’s spectacular. She layers in creative ways and always finishes off with amazing shoes. She’s always on a quest for shoes. She really knows her style. 

Any hot thrifting tips?

When you find something you think you might be interested in when thrifting, don’t hem and haw or examine it too much. Drop it in your basket and keep on going no matter what. Once you have gone through all the racks, find a mirror, hold up pieces and edit as needed. A lot of it may end up going back, but oftentimes those items you aren’t initially sure of, might end up being your favourites. Lastly, after you’ve filtered through it all, try on only the best of your finds, that way there’s no wasted time.

Eilidh MacDonald is owner and operator of Pearl’s Vintage & Thrift at 11 King St. in Lunenburg.


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