Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday Wish List: The Laurie Version

I would like to preface my Black Friday Thrifting Wishlist with this foreboding piece of astrological news I received the other day, via www.susanmiller.com.

"On November 26 and 27, Mercury and Uranus will be fighting, so you.... can't shop on those days because you won't feel you got value from your purchases. That is unfortunate because those are traditional days for shopping in America, falling just after Thanksgiving. There will be sales. You don't need those sales. Avoid them!"

Now, this could be potentially devastating if it were true. Holly, however, has somewhat effectively reassured me that this is most certainly referring to conventional Black Friday shopping, and not thrifting. I should hope that the planetary forces that control my very existence can discern between the subversive art of thrifting and the barbaric practice of flash sales and mall shopping. If not? Well, then, we are all in trouble.

Now on to my list. I do have a strong belief in being able to will things in to existence when thrifting. This involves possessing such a vivid picture of the desired object in ones head, that you effectively will yourself into finding it. It has happened to me before, and it is in that spirit that I create this list.

1: Of the utmost importance; I am in serious, serious need of some super cross functional, wearable, NYC-street-walkable, black pumps. It is unbelievable that I have survived this long without such a thing. The lack of such footwear is in fact such a handicap to my wardrobe, I just might cave and buy them new if I fail to find them this coming Friday. I hope it doesn't have to come to that.

2: Also embarrassing to admit; I have not figured out what the hell to wear with this amazing long velvet skirt I found last month. Any way that I style it I either look way too formal, or like a "70's Saturday Night Live Cast Member", according to my boyfriend. Not that that's a bad thing, just not exactly what I'm after. I don't think. Anyway, I need to find the holy grail top that makes this skirt sing that way that it deserves to.

3: In the realm of the super specific, a pair of crushed velvet platform shoes. I saw a pair a few weeks ago that were so perfect, but they were too small of course. I know this is a long shot, but a girl can dream.

4: COLOR. I was once told by a professor in fashion school that I was "color phobic". I am aware that this is rather true. My color phobia gets especially bad at this time of year, when I inevitably conclude that the easiest way to wear so many clothes and have them all coordinate is to wear all black. But it is only the beginning of the cold winter months, and I'm already getting black-ed out. I definitely need some color to punctuate the darkness of my wardrobe.

5: Dramatic blouses

6: Metallic anything and everything

7: A new winter scarf/ some patterned woven scarves in motifs that I will actually wear. I have nine million scarves but they seem to all be too colorful or too cheesy or to pagmina-purchased-in-Chinatown and I never wear any of them. Or wear then with a little shame. I know I can do better than that.

8: A cool chunky necklace. I will leave that one that open. Such bracelets would be lovely too.

And here is the official itinerary:

1) 9:30-11:00 SVDP (St. Vincent de Paul. The largest in the country) Green Bay

2) 11:15-12:15 Kroll's East (for crucial cheese curd/ butter burger break)

3)12:30-1:30 Fox Valley Thrift Green Bay

transit time to Appleton 1:30-2:30 with douchbag shopper traffic

4) 2:30-4:00 Fox Valley thrift in Appleton

5) 4:30-6:00 (hopefully later) SVDP Appleton

Black Friday Wish List: The Holly Version

As most of you know (I hope), the day after Thanksgiving marks the most epic day of our capitalist system—BLACK FRIDAY. Now, because I am sane, I have never, and will never, take part in this wacky tradition of sleeping in a Best Buy parking lot to knock $10 off of a Mad Men DVD set, mostly because I don't like sleeping in the car and also because I value my life and try to avoid being trampled by rabid Wal-Mart crowds at every cost.

BLACK FRIDAY does, however, hold a very, very special place in my heart. And I bet you can guess why that is. BECAUSE IT IS WHEN LAURIE AND I ARE BOTH IN GREEN BAY AND ABLE TO EMBARK ON THE BEST THRIFTING OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though, we have only been doing this for the past two years and every time, we have hit gold mine after gold mine. And there is something completely self-satisfying about knowing that while grown women are wrestling each other for 75% off copies of The Secret, we are finding our own awesome deals—deals that are far better, more exciting (and unknown) and a whole lot less stressful to get.

So...as we have been planning our third annual BLACK FRIDAY thrifting trip for months now, Laurie has, in addition to laying out a full itinerary for the day, suggested that we each share with you, our loyal readers, our hopes and dreams for the very special day—our Wish Lists.

As she may have mentioned in the past, Laurie has a very strong belief in the ability to dream up items and eventually find them thrifting. In order to find such items though, you need several things: one, a clear idea of the item you are looking for; two, the willingness to hold out for the perfect item to fill this void in your life; and three, the refusal to let the lack of finding such an item get you down and the perseverance to keep going.

I admit, however, that I am less skilled at this practice than Laurie. My personal preference, in fact, is to stumble upon treasures that I didn't even realize I wanted until I see them.

Still, it is always good to have goals in mind, even if you don't reach them. So for my BLACK FRIDAY 2010 Wish List, I am looking for:

1. A wedding dress. For real. I am totally into thrifting a wedding dress. I am also not the kind of girl that has been dreaming of her "perfect" wedding dress for years, so my only requirement is that it is vintage and sparkly. And preferably not white.

2. Cool, colorful (possibly vintage) hankies. It is winter now in MPLS, which means that my nose is always running. I like it to run in (eco-friendly) style.

3. Winter biking gear. Lots of wool, specifically with socks and long johns/base wear. A cool face cover thing that either has, or can be easily modified to have, breathing holes. Stuff that is water proof. Bright colors. I want to look like a crazy winter biking clown.

4. X-country skis and boots (not really clothes, I know, but I want them).

5. Black leather short shorts. I sacrificed the tan suede ones to Laurie. I am hoping I am repaid handsomely.

Look forward to seeing how we make out—we will definitely keep you "posted"!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

H.P.: Wizarding Fashion

Last night I went to go see Harry Potter and witnessed a group of teenagers who were dressed for the occasion, my friend Molly pointed out, as though they were on acid. And it was true—the whole lot of them looked like some sort of hippie/fairy/pagan/wood-nymph cult. They all had "wands" and crazy spirals painted on their faces to accompany their "wild" get-ups. What was even better was the fact that they were clearly having the time of their lives. It all made me feel really jealous that when I was their age, I was listening to alt-rock and shopping at Hot Topic.

So, in a nod to my garishly dressed teenage fellow film buffs, I've decided to fashion my own outfit suitable for the viewing of HP VII, part I.

First, you gotta get some Luna Lovegood hair.* This chick has totally banging hair—her wild bunched mane made me resolve to start taking fish oil again and to keep growing mine out.

Faux Fur Hooded Coat

This crazy faux fur hooded coat was a find at the Dig'n'Save in Madison. The trim has gotten a bit matted from the years of wear, which kind of grosses me out, but as it happens, this coat is perfect for winter dog walks and biking, so it is totally worth the $1 or whatever I paid for it.

Hooded Deer Sweater Coat

I recently found this great hooded sweater overcoat at my new favorite Salvo Army. I love the colors and the deer/moose pattern. Very hippie/fairy/pagan/wood-nymph-like!

Longsleeved Lux Scoop Neck Top

This black longsleeved scoopneck Lux top from Value Village might not look like much, but I threw it in because going topless to the movie theater is apparently illegal.

Then we have these nifty accessories:

Light Olive Scarf

A light olive woven scarf like this one is perfect for keeping the draft out, as well as looking like you are one with the earth.

Rabbit Fur Sack

I admit I don't remember where this rabbit skin pullstring sack came from, other than some point in my childhood, but I simply couldn't offer up this outfit to the H.P. gods without it. And you'd probably need some place to stow your lip gloss and ticket stub (for scrapbooking).

Brown and Gold Geometric Necklace

I believe this necklace came from Unique and it is one of my favorites as I am huge fan of simple, geometric jewelry, especially in earth tones (pagan) like gold and brown.

Sparkly Lacey Skirt

For the fairy/fantastical element, this sparkly/lacy skirt will do the trick.

Plain Black Leggings

Again with the basics, but you know, it's cold so your mother probably won't let you out of the house without your black Cuddl Duds** leggings from the Halloween Bootique.

Suede Fringe Minnetonka Booties

Of course, where would you be without your lace-up, suede, fringe Minnetonka booties (though one of the girls was actually wearing a pair like these, so I can't take total credit)?

Add some random knitwear, a wooden stick (i.e. wand) and a copious amount of patchouli and you are ready for some H.P. movie magic!

I only wish I could be/was this cool. For real.

*In doing a google image search for this photo, I found out that there is Harry Potter illustrated porn. I must be getting old because this shocked me. Here, I thought HP was a pure obsession of peoples'. I need to go scour my eyeballs now.
*Actual spelling. I know.

Kimono Crack

This is my new favorite thing in the world, and there are so many things to be favorite about it. So many things in fact that I will denote them in list form.

1: It is a kimono

2: It is a CROPPED kimono. I don't know if I have ever seen a cropped kimono before in my life. It is such an obviously good idea I am embarrassed I didn't think of it first.

3: It is a silk cropped kimono

4: There is some serious, serious textile action going on here. Within this silk cropped kimono, there are two jacquard patterns; a floral and a paisley, and two printed patterns; a geometric and a floral geometric combo (closeups below). A very eclectic mix of traditional kimono motifs and modern designs. As a textile design junkie, this is like crack in garment form.

5: As a new addition to my wardrobe, it serves a completely unique purpose of anything else I own. It works like a cardigan, but no other cardigan I have is either woven, printed, multi-patterned, or a kimono.

So there you go. Not bad for $5.

Roses on dot background print, from the lapel. I love the hard graphic background with the placed rose print.

Traditional Japanese cherry blossom and bamboo jacquard. There is a lot of depth in this, very luxurious.

This is a traditional Japanese geometric kimono print. I love how modern these designs tend to look, but they are old old old.

Black on black paisley jacquard. A little textile history for you; the paisley pattern originates in Persia and India, but the name is Scottish.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cross Country Text Message Thrifting Bonanza

While I was at work the other day, I received a text from Holly, who was thrifting in Minneapolis at the time. Holly has a habit of texting me while thriftng, and often times, I find it maddening. Especially when the text is "Just found a pringle cashmere grey cardigan for 10 bucks worth it or no?" I instantly snap in to a jealous rage over her more flexible schedule and her more bountiful thrifting resources, and issue some decidedly unfriendly, snappy remark, along the lines of "get bent". Sometimes she even truly believes that I am angry with her. This is a problem, I am aware.

In this particular instance however, I detected the hesitation in her question, thought fast, and managed to fashion a personal shopper out of the experience. The following events resulted in me securing said Pringle cardigan as well as a pair of tan suede hotpants, for $16, in Minneapolis, via text message, from the comforts of my Manhattan office. The transcript of our communication, and the images of my new treasures, are below.

holly --> laurie
Just found a pringle cashmere grey cardigan for 10 bucks worth it or no?

laurie---> holly
yes! if u don't need it and r happy with yr botegga cardigan** i will buy it from u

Send a pic if u can!

Sounds good! Also just found a pair of tan suede vintage short shorts and im practically crying with happiness

laurie---> holly
U kill me when you this, you know that, right?

Well if its any consolation at least you are getting a sweater out of the deal!

True! Ur a friend indeed. I can't wait to see it!

(approximately 30 minutes later)

Want the shorts too? They are a bit too snug. 6 bones

Do u think that they are "me"?

Do they remind u of jane fonda?

Hmmm yes i guess. They are sweet

I'll take them. Christ how did i just spend 16 dollars thrifting in MN sitting at my desk in NY?

Well its pretty clear we have to blog about this

I was gonna say.

I can't wait to see what i bought!

My second vintage Pringle sweater of the season. What are the chances?

I am now waiting in agony for Thanksgiving when I will see Holly in Green Bay to get my hands on these sweet, sweet little puppies.

**referring to this past summer when Holly and I were thrifting together and she found a gray Botegga Veneta cashmere cardigan for $3. She didn't know the label and that this was probably a $700 sweater. I had a attack of conscience when I considered telling her that Botegga Veneta was a Walmart brand. But I am a friend, and I did the right thing.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Little Surprises

I imagine that working at a resale shop is quite different from working at a "normal" retail shop—not only is the merchandise changing daily, but it is also a complete crapshoot what you can come up with.

I have had a couple of really amazing moments at work when we have gotten in merchandise that I have also found thrifting. I generally find these moments to be mind-blowing, as one of the beauties of thrifting (and resale shopping) is that you tend to feel as though each item you find is one of a kind. These experiences at work break this illusion, but I like to think that they are merely a reflection of some kind of mystical fashion current through which we are all connected.

Dark Teal Silk Dress

I found this dark teal silk dress thrifting in Green Bay over a month ago. I believe it was my first shift back at work after this trip that the same one appeared on the Everyday People racks. This dress was one of the most tried on for several weeks before it finally found its current owner, so I take that as a measure of my good taste.

Button Down Dotted Tank

Last week, I was tagging items at work and to my surprise, found myself holding the same shirt as the one in this photo—except it was slightly larger and pink, instead of turquoise. Not only that, but I just happened to choose that very day to debut my top at work! Who would have thought that this button up Honors Juniors top would find its way, not just to my pretty little hands thrifting at the Halloween Bootique, but also to my work?! Fabulous!

Casual Fall Dresses—Simple Short Sleeves and Not Strappy

The thing that kind of sucks about cold weather (well, really there are a lot of things that suck about cold weather, this is just one of them) is that it no longer becomes appropriate/practical to wear cute strappy dresses—not only do you freeze your tokus off but if you wear a sweater over them, you get your nice wool all sweaty.

The solution? Dresses with sleeves!

Now, I haven't had the pleasure of finding a whole bunch of dresses with long sleeves that I like (long sleeves are ass), but I have come across several excellent button-up short sleeved numbers. What is great about these is that not only can they collect your sweat, but they can also be worn in warmer weather.

Here are some of my favorites:

I am a big fan of these slightly conservative cuts—a tad boxy in the button-up top, tie around the middle, mid-calf grazing flowy skirts.

Homemade Buttonup Patterned Dress

This one is so weird—obviously handmade, with the strangest combo of patterned fabric. I can't figure out if the main fabric (which also covers the buttons) is supposed to be christmas lightbulbs or some sort of weird plant. Regardless, whoever made the dress must have ran out of the lightbulb fabric, because the pockets (yes, there are pockets) are two different fabrics:

Homemade Buttonup Patterned Dress (pockets)

Homie say what?

Striped Dress

I am not sure what is going on with this dress, but it sort of reminds me of some sort of nurse's uniform. Regardless, I always feel very "fresh" when I wear it.

90's Floral Dress

And...for good measure, a 90's tiny floral print All That Jazz button-down dress. If I wasn't sitting on the couch watching Couples Retreat with Tara "Wild Womyn" Zachman, I would throw on some bitchin' boots and this number and run out to party. But...I am watching Couples Retreat instead. Thinking about Applebees.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bethesda and the Discovery of Menswear Sweaters

Last winter, I became disillusioned with sweaters. Thrifting was yielding few interesting results in that department which is so crucial to winter dressing. Upon a visit to Bethesda, I decided to check out the men's sweater section on a whim, to see if they had anything to offer. And did they ever! So began my obsession with menswear sweaters, which continues into this year's increasingly cold season.

Although they may not be much for eye candy, they do the trick with their subtly androgynous detailing.
For reasons that may not be clear, this seemingly drab little V-neck is one of my favorite sweaters. The fit is perfect, the V-neck is high, and the yarn is taupe with a super subtle pink, blue, and white melange. And then there is this adorable all over striped bird jacquard motif that I just love. It is so much better than the stupid tiny skull motif that (everyone stole from Alexander McQueen and ruined) is all over everything lately.

It's vintage Gap!
Charcoal gray polo sweater with a breast pocket. I love breast pockets on sweaters.

This one I did not find at Bethesda, but on the other side of town at St. Vinny's. A boxy double breasted cardigan with a breast pocket and gold and black enamel buttons. I might have worn this more than any other sweater last winter.

My Capey Two Cents

I can very much relate to the high experienced related to a good cape find, so I thought I'd chime in. I found this tie neck wool cape last winter in Wisconsin on "Girl's Day; We're Just Four Girls, Doing What We Want" circa Christmas 2009.

For a whopping $2 I scored this cape that, upon returning to NYC, got me noticed by a Refinery29 street fashion photographer. That's how you beat the system!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Retail Therapy As Seen With Capes

I was majorly bumming this morning. Super bumming. The kind of bumming that can only be caused by the realization that people have officially proven their idiocracy and where there is nothing left to do but go thrift store shopping.

While I feel a bit panicky about the amount of money I spent today, I do have to admit that self-soothing with some amazing thrifted finds is a better way to go than some other options (like moving to Canada or drinking an entire bottle of vodka).

In particular, I am pleased with two pieces that are best described as "capey."

Huge Black, White and Orange Scarf/Shawl

I love large scarves, and this one is huge and a great plaid. The black and white is classic, while the bit of burnt orange running throughout gives it a pop that keeps things interesting.

Huge Navy and Off-White Cape Coat (front)

I experienced the elusive "thrifting freak out" that only happens when you stumble across one of those most amazing finds with this Manos Hands of Fate-inspired navy and off-white wool cape coat. I started sweating, my heart was beating hard and I was worried that, like a mall store, I would get in trouble for trying to take it off the display. NOT SO! Without a second more of hesitation, I disrobed the display and took the coat as mine. ALL MINE! (this kind of reaction is what happens when you get the "thrifting freak out.")

The geometric pattern (both on back and front) and shape of this coat blow my mind almost as much as the fact that it has pockets. Suffice it to say that I am in loooooooooove.

More Amazing Bethesda Bags

A year or two ago, I found this amazing array of technique-y little handbags in one visit to Bethesda. When something like this happens, it makes me think that they had to have all belonged to the same person, and were donated all at once. In this case, the person had a fantastic appreciation for awesome little statement bags. These set me back a whopping $2 each.

Woven leather is very much "in" these days, but this has got to be one of the coolest uses of woven (faux) leather on a bag I have ever seen. Metallic silver and copper woven to make a pin wheel effect. And you can never go wrong with a chain strap.

Very choice sueded earth tone color blocking.

And this little Victorian needle point number, in perfect condition. What's not to love?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Multitasking/Crazy Pants are Cool

Sometimes I can't stop from posting on this thing because it feels like home. Anyway, I was just looking at the pants I was wearing and felt a rush of inspiration. Not sure where it is going to go, but I am definitely going to incorporate that inspiration into either a Twin Cities Runoff poster or a painting. Stay tuned!

Crazy Pants

Also, one of the beauties of photographing all of your clothes is that you are reminded of things that you forgot you have, like these awesome highwaisted jeweled and suede detailed flowy pants, also purchased from the Halloween Bootique at Value Village.

Flowy Black Pants

Flowy Black Pants Detail

I love having a party on my bottoms!

R.I.P. Bethesda, Home of Amazing Bags

It may just be the age-old East vs. Westside rivalry that exists in the Green Bay area, but I don't necessarily have as strong of a connection with Bethesda as Laurie (go Eastside!). It could also be due to the fact that I simply haven't had as many chances to hit it up as she has, due to her long summer vacations home/Gap corporate policy. Still, it saddens me greatly that I will never have the chance at increasing these thrifting hits, as we are now saying a fond farewell to Bethesda.

In particular, I will always remember Bethesda for two of my most favorite bags.

Little Ruffle Leather Purse

Little Leather Ruffle Purse Close Up

As I am prone to carrying a water bottle with me at all times (hydration!), I rarely find opportunities to utilize smaller purses, but I absolutely could not pass up this great little ruffled leather one. I love the orangish color (my favorite purse of all time, seen here, is the same color), the double strap and its simplicity. FABULOUS!

San Fran

San Fran Tote Close Up

Nothing is more fabulous than this amazing San Francisco double-sided tourist tote. I love San Francisco and I love this bag. While the fabric isn't the best (cloth over plastic has not stood the test of time) and I have had to repair it million times to keep my pens from spilling everywhere, I do so with unwavering love.

The best part of this bag? If you look closely, there was a printing mistake. "Golden Gate Bridge" was printed as "Golden Gated Bridge," but someone sharpied over it. On both sides. I wonder how many bags that poor sap had to fix. I totally appreciate that sort of attention to detail.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bethesda Thrift Shop, Never Forget

Holly and I are both extremely saddened by the recent news that Bethesda Thrift Shop--one of Green Bay's very finest thrift stores--closed its doors forever this past Friday. Just down the street from our high school, it may well have been the very place we first started thrifting.

Throughout the years, Bethesda has provided me with some of my best finds, which I will be commemorating throughout the week.

I found this fantastic series of tops (and one dress) this past July, on what I did not know would be my last trip to Bethesda ever. These pieces are a bit unseasonal, but their quality speaks volumes about the kind of things you could expect to find at this gem of a thrift store.

This crop top is perhaps one of my favorite things I found all of this past summer. The print design and the color quality are completely amazing.

Another all time favorite find of the summer. This poplin and mesh striped top is still in heavy rotation on in to the fall.

Silk tank top!

This mesh/cut out, T-shirt/swimsuit cover up is from the same family as this tunic that I found a few weeks ago in NYC.

Another swimsuit cover up, this cotton tunic has mesh stripes running through it.

And to wrap it up, the world's most perfect black tank dress. The little old lady at the counter charged me the T-shirt price rather than the dress price for it, on account of the length.

Unicorn Context

In case my previous post about my perfect unicorn outfit left too much to the imagination, here is the final product, Velvet Unicorn.

Sadly, the velvet shrug was sacrificed to the Halloween dance party gods, and is in my possession no more. I will consider it an offering to insure future amazing Halloween thrifting finds.