Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cozy cozy cozy!!!

Wool Sweater with Elbow Pads

Not only did I have the pleasure of getting engaged this past Tuesday, I also picked up this way amazing wool sweater at the Salvo Army in Redwing! Perfect for a pull-over outerwear piece (see my obsession with sweaters as coats here), this little number is totally classic—from the suede elbow pads, to the chunky neck (with matching chunky button), to the perfect oversizedness of it.

Absolutely in LOVE!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Urban Outfitters is TOO Hilarious

Even though I used to spend hours and hours perusing the sales racks (and the cute sales boy, Jared, who is now apparently a born again Christian) at Urban Outfitters in college, now I get a migraine every time I step into one. The thing that pisses me off most about UO is how blatantly it co-ops thrifted style and jacks up the price about five million times (all while making the goods in sweatshops). Every time I go into one, I am constantly gravitating between finding myself thinking "I could so get this thrifting," and wanting to poop all over the self-referential/self-loathing hipster merchandise.

So imagine my surprise/delight when I opened up the most recent UO email (I get it for work. Research. You know.) for "Holiday 2010" and found several pieces that I have already thrifted. Some of these might be a bit of a stretch, but I found them close enough to see a resemblance.

First....the long sleeved, crushed velvet, black mini dress:

The UO version will set you back $49, mine (below) was about $2. It is worth noting that this week, I almost picked up a velvet leotard for $2, the top of which looks very similar to UO's "Cope Velvet Tank Top," also priced at $49, but decided against it as I am sick of completely disrobing every time I need to pee.

Velvet Mini Dress

Then we have the short black and white geometric sweater:

Short Grey and Black Sweater

I suppose technically, mine is gray and black, but it still looks a lot sweeter AND was about $57 less than the UO version.

And then there are the little leather riding boots:

I see the UO ones as a mix between these two pairs but for a fraction (about 5%) of the price:

White Lace-up Booties

Brown Leather Buckle Booties

Apparently, according to UO, long sweaters are also in style this season, as seen with these:

Kind of reminds me off this sweater, except that mine was $4 (as opposed to $69 and the absolutely insane price of $98) and looks about one million times cooler:

Crazy Print Large Sweater

And then, finally, we have the faux fur coat.

Faux Fur Coat

Not only do I not look like some washed up prom queen in it, but mine was $4, instead of $168 (do they know that you can thrift real fur for less than $50??).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Sacrifices, or, More Velvet

Halloween will push even the most reasonable people to extremes. Even people with limited budgets to spend far more than they ever normally would thrifting on a single, in this case, two-piece outfit, all for the sake of one glorious evening of imagination and adventure. I am referring to myself. What pushed me to such extremes? Velvet, of course! What the hell am I going to be for Halloween? Why, clearly, a unicorn!
The two-piece in question; black velvet puff shoulder lace up back shrug, with fitted (with boning) sweetheart strapless velvet dress, $25 Salvation Army NYC.
I mean it practically screams "UNICORN!", am I right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Top Autum Top

One of the best things about thrifting is that, since you are getting such great deals, you are more free to experiment. I've found throughout the years that my thrifting purchases often fall within one of two categories: trends and classics.

Now, I am using these terms a bit more liberally than your average fashion publication editor. When I say "trends," I don't necessarily mean it the same way as when Glamour boosts for the 52nd time that "military-inspired" style is in (again) this season. I mean "trends" as in items that may be linked to larger mainstream trends (such as Laurie and my hoarding of 90's florals, as seen here), but that ultimately fill my need for a certain sort of item (like preppy footwear, as seen here and here).

"Classics," on the other hand, have absolutely nothing with J. Crew branding and have everything to do with staying power. To me, "classic" items are those which outlive their trend expectancy (though sometimes this happens as a happy surprise), that year after year are a pleasure to unearth during my seasonal purging.

Ribbed Burnt Orange Top with Button Details

One such piece that has been with me for years is this super vintage top. It is one of those pieces that surprised me—so many of the details indicate disaster, but together, they somehow work, sort of like a charming dysfunctional family. I absolutely love the cut (something about the flow on top and weird blazer fit on bottom is so much more flattering than recent renditions of this shape), the ribbed, nasty burnt orange fabric, and of course, the gold button details.

What is even better is that this top can be worn year 'round, but its color makes it ideal for fall.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This Week's Finds!

It was a good week! Here are the highlights!
This is an amazing cut out tunic, with a hood, and bell sleeves. It is a actually a swim suit cover up from the 80's (I believe) but it is definitely suitable for more than just the beach.

I LOVE this antique floral toile print. It is very wallpaper-y in the best way.

This sweater vest is just utterly charming.

This crazy abstract jacquard upholstery pattern jacket/blazer/shirt fulfilled the wtf? category this week.

And in the world of long skirts, this is a freaking fantastic velvet button front floor length skirt with GOLD BUTTONS. The picture does not do it justice.

Friday, October 22, 2010

For Simpler Times

My love of thrifting means I have a lot of weird items in my closet like this gorgeous silk screen sheer top Laurie found at Unique during one of our 2009 summertime thrifting trips. Since she doesn't "do" red, she was gracious enough to let me have this cat-astic number.

Silk Screen Sheer Cat Top

Sexy, right? At any rate, I have loads and loads of weird pieces like the one above and yet, there has only been one, in my whole history of used clothing shopping, that makes my wonderful boyfriend grimace and laugh nervously when he spots me wearing it.

My "drug rug."

Baja Pancho

Referred to as "Baja Ponchos" by the expensive designers who attempted to make these things "hip" for people other than high school stoners, I have been on the lookout for one (perhaps in a nostalgic turn for my younger, more innocent days) for ages. Usually they are too thick and "ruggish" and very boxy. This one, however, is absolutely perfect, from the colors (unbelievable!) to the shape (flowy and long enough to cover my butt, which is a must for legging wear), to the price (approximately $3). Connotations aside, this tops off my ideal fall time bonfire outfit.

More on Beating the System

The most ridonkulous thing I have seen lately is this link from my great friend Molly. If you don't feel like clicking on it, have no fear, I will explain it. It is a "vintage" item from an online shop called cutely "NASTY GAL." The item just happens to be the very same Wilson's leather dress that I blogged about a few posts ago:

Leather Cutout Dress


Now while I admittedly spent more on this dress than I normally would thrifting ($12.99), the price was nowhere close to what NASTY GAL is asking: a whopping $198 (S&H is free on orders over $150). That's almost as much as my meds cost!

While I am all for the apparent increase in the love for "vintage" or "used" clothing in our society, things like this also highlight how ridiculously unstable the economics of it is. I suppose you could get all into things like supply and demand and all that shit, but truthfully, I slept through most of my economics classes. What I CAN tell you, however, is that $12.99 is not $198. I can also tell you that this is PROOF that thrifting is a million times better (more exciting and easier on your checking account (unless you are me)) than shopping for "vintage" clothing online.

Don't be duped! I pity the fool who buys this dress!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the Defense of Thrifting...

Today I was reminded of the awesomeness of thrifting beyond the thrill of feeding my addiction to hoarding crazy clothing—namely that it is an excellent way to, as Laurie says, "beat the system."

I thought I'd throw this experience out there, even though it has nothing to do with stylish clothing, mostly because it made the fact that I overdrew my checking account on Monday due to an unexpected, uncontrollable thrifting session (Carrie Bradshaw's voice squealing "But I have an addiction, SIR!" kept running through my head) totally a thing of the past.

Today I traveled to a thrift store (the Salvation Army on Nicollet and 37th) that I had never been to before (proof that one should always be up to trying new things). My goal was simple—to get furniture, namely a work table, for my basement studio. I walked away not only with a sturdy work table, but also two wooden dining room chairs and a yarn basket for a mere $7.40! UNBELIEVABLE! The table was only $2.50, which blew my mind (thanks to a markdown from $20 to $5, plus "half off" green tags), with the chairs setting me back $1.99 and 99¢, respectively, with the yarn basket (also half off) ending up at $1.50. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I can't!

There is no reason to buy things new, there really isn't (unless we are talking underpants, then I am in full support of purchasing unused items).

Here is a shot of one of the dining room chairs—check out the awesome embroidered seat. This thing is ancient and gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Time Footwear maybe asking yourself, "what exactly is the best sort of footwear to sport with my long, hippie, witchy skirts?"

Lucky for you, I have got the answer(s)!

I am sure you are thinking that I am going to say "tall boots." You are wrong, however, mostly because I don't have any pictures of my tall boots uploaded yet. Still, tall boots certainly are one avenue to go. But here are some others:

Nine West Teal Loafers

For days that are not super cold (so that you have the option of going sockless), you can sport some little numbers like these teal Nine West moccasin loafers I snagged at the Halloween Bootique for the insane price of $1.99. You can, of course, wear tights with flats like these, but I prefer to go bare.

Minnetonka Wallaby-style Booties

These Minnetonka Wallaby-style booties are another way to keep the hippie/natural/"I just want to play in the woods" vibe going with your long skirts.

Classic Brown Leather Shoes

These are quite possibly my most favorite shoes I have found thrifting—vintage lace-up pointy leather not quite booties, not quite oxfords. Regardless, they are classic all around, and would look great with tights or thin trouser socks.

White Lace-up Booties

I found these white lace-up leather booties with little wooden heels in Green Bay a couple weeks ago, and couldn't believe my good fortune, especially because I kept finding leather booties that were always a size and a half too small for me. I squealed when I found these. For real.

Brown Leather Buckle Booties

These buckle bootie flats I found at a Value Village last summer with Laurie are another way to keep the bootie trend going with my long skirts. Like the other shoes, these would look best paired with some tights or thin socks.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It was a Good Day for Turtlenecks

Last weekend I had a wedding to go to in Philadelphia. I had never been to Philadelphia before, and aside from free booze, "thrifting opportunity" was the primary thing on my mind. I knew I would not have much time in the 24 hours that I was in town, with no car, to maximize on a new city's worth of thrifting. To get by, I found a Salvation Army between the bus station and the hotel and resolved that it would have to do to satisfy my thrifting urges for the weekend.

It was mediocre overall, and overpriced, but I did come away with two pieces I am pretty excited about, and they are both turtlenecks! Or "T-necks", as we call them in the business.

This first one is pretty amazing. A camel colored vintage Pringle of Scotland cashmere sweater, I am thinking from the early 60's, for $4.50. Bear in mind that a Pringle sweater these days runs in the $800+infinity range.

The tag says "Pringle for Bonwit Teller New York". A little wikipedia research tells me that Bonwit Teller was one of the big deal 5th Avenue department stores in New York, from 1895-1990. This sweater must have been specially made for them.

And here we have a Perry Ellis blue and black space dyed over-sized turtleneck. I love me some space dye. I'm not sure if it's men's or women's, but it is perfect with a mini skirt regardless.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Wondorous World of Long Skirts

Though I never, ever wish to put my bike in the garage for the winter, it does slightly excite me to have an excuse for experimenting with a new level of layering—specifically that of the long skirt. While I am not a fan of long skirts getting stuck in my bicycle wheels, I do love how magical I feel with a nice long skirt swishing around my ankles. There is something about the inherent modesty in a long skirt that feels saucy, like the time when I got dressed up for my fake Rumspringa and went to see a musical concert.

Here are some of my favorites that I have thrifted over the past years:

Ankle Length Forest Green Suede Skirt

I was super pumped when I found this ankle length, forest green suede skirt (with pockets!) because I had been deeply regretting passing up a similar Calvin Klein number (in tan) weeks before. The whole situation resolved in my favor, however, as the Calvin Klein skirt was priced at a very steep $15 at Value Village, while this Talbots (to which my mother said, "that is a very good brand!") one set me back a mere $2.99.

Long Denim Skirt

Take your pick of long denim skirts out there—they are almost as numerous as art teacher denim overall dresses (almost). I chose this one due to its light color and simplicity.

Navy Floral Button Down Long Skirt

Floral Button Down Long Skirt

I bought several long floral skirts to cut in hopes of mimicking last spring's 90's floral mini trend. While I did successfully shorten one (photo to come), I left these two button down numbers in their original state, anticipating a need for longer versions. I may still knock off a few inches on one (or both) but for now, they are staying looooooong.

Tiny African Animal Print Long Skirt

This African animal print skirt with pockets is from the same manufacturer as these crazy pants. I am not surprised in the least.

Woven Pattern Skirt

I may shorten this little number and use the bottom as a wrap-around scarf. Not incredibly thrilled with it as is, but this is an excellent example of trying to see potential in pieces—I love, love, love this fabric, and it was only about 79¢.

Chevron Pattern Long Skirt

This vintage chevron woven skirt came into my life yesterday and I can't wait to wear it out with black tights and shoes. Sure to be a conversation piece.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goth Night

In celebration of many things—the upcoming Halloween season, witchy fashion, and XS'* weekly "Goth Night"**—I present to you the leather cutout sexy dress. I am not sure where/when I will get the chance to properly don this number, but if Goth Night has taught me anything, it is that there is a time and place for sexy leather wear in an empty loft apartment while blasting industrial German techno.***

Leather Cutout Dress

Leather Cutout Dress Close-up

A close-up view...the leather detailing is the same on the back and front of this number, ensuring for an extra sexy time.

*XS is Green Bay's best gay club. It is also its best bar/club/place for dancing. I also now feel like I am 45 every time I go. But it will always hold a special place in my heart.

**Goth Night is when the club DJ spins his best selection of the Cure, Nine Inch Nails and System of a Down. The five resident Green Bay goths dance on stage and while waving their arms (covered in studs and straps of black fabric) and vacantly gazing into the distance. Goth Night takes place every Sunday.

***I apologize for the lack of "flow" in this post. My next-door neighbor apparently thinks that talking to her child like a mouse will do wonders for his language development and is distracting me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top 3 Out of Season Finds

Sometimes, the most successful thrifting happens out of season. You find an awesome sundress in the middle of a Wisconsin January, or a fantastic winter coat during a sweltering NYC July, when it sickens you to even touch wool. This tends to happen because most people thrift in season, leaving the out of season categories much less picked over, much more treasure heavy, and often priced to move.

The drawback of this being you have to wait IN AGONY for the appropriate season to wear them in. Such is the theme of this post.

Here are my Top 3 fall/winter garments that I found over the course of the summer months that I have had wait OH SO PATIENTLY to finally be able to wear, ranked ascending order, by level of excitement.

This only comes in third because it is the most recently found. In NYC in August, for $3. How amazing is this color, and how more amazing is the print??? I am going to wear it with a black leather mini skirt.

This un-freaking-believable color block dolman sleeve vintage wool coat that cost me $5 in Milwaukee in May. Dry cleaning it cost four times as much. I still have a few months to go on this one.

A winter coat is one of the holy grails of thrifting, to be sure. But because I hate the cold and never want it to come, this comes in second.

Simply put, the world's greatest sweater coat. With LEATHER APPLIQUE AND SILVER STUDDED SHAWL COLLAR. Enough said.
Found in Buffalo in April, where it was, in fact, still winter. A six hour drive back to NYC later, it was most definitely spring, and too hot for this doosy of a cardigan.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Though there were moments this past weekend where I felt as though I was experiencing the downside to my thrifting addiction (mainly an insatiable need to keep thrifting, at the expense of all else, even if it resulted in neglecting my family, my friends, my health and the gorgeous unseasonal sunshine), I have to say that my trips to four Green Bay thrift shops resulted in some great goodies. Here are two of the treasures that win top billing (the third will debut in coming days...though you can check out my flickr account and guess what number is right up there) for best finds.

Dooney and Bourke Purse

A vintage Dooney and Bourke "small square Surrey" handbag for $7 (at the West Side Saint Vincent DePaul, which was crap for clothes but good for accessories. The major downside was that I was unaware that they did not take credit cards, which resulted in a few less items than anticipated). Since purses were "buy one, get one free" (WHAT?!), I also acquired this number, which was the best I could do, given the rest of the selection.

Boar's Tusk Necklace

THIS is quite possibly the most crazy, awesome piece of jewelry I have ever seen. The woman working at the Salvation Army where I got it said she believed it was a boar's tusk, due to its shape. Honestly, I don't even care what it is because it is that awesome. They had it priced at $29.99, which is very steep for GBC thrifting prices (and thrifting prices in general), but as it was deemed a "collectible," the selected 50% off category for the day, I got it for $15.

All my amazing, normal GBC thrifted priced goods, can be viewed here.