Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 13: -3 Degrees and the Strappy Summer Dress

Those of you following us on twitter probably witnessed Laurie Marman's first tweet ever (if you haven't checked out our twitter feed, and want to know more about the inner workings of Operation Sparkle, updates on thrifted finds and our deepest, most profound thoughts about things like being stuck awake watching America's Sweethearts, you can see it all at @opsparkle). While Laurie routinely wants to stab me in the face out of jealousy for my more frequent access to thrifting opportunities, I almost threw my computer across the room reading her first tweet.*

Why so much hostility? Well, while Ms. Marman was tramping around New York City in her crop top, my region of the woods has been contending with over 17 inches of snow, negative degree temps (without the windchill), and the collapsed roof of the Metrodome (Boo hoo. Guess all our tax money is going to go to giving a pro-sports team another new arena. Just what we need). Though thrifting has undoubtedly provided me more cold weather fashion options than in the past (I did, for instance, utilize this amazing boxy blue angora sweater yesterday), survival, not cuteness, becomes a priority when it is so dangerously cold out. When this happens, outfits begin to err on the side of lumpy dump, not chic, but I am trying.

So while we have been digging out cars and moving them from one unplowed side of the street to the next, forging paths through three foot high snowdrifts (in the city) and slapping each others' thighs in feeble attempts to prevent frostbite, I have been longing for warm weather dressing. All which brings me to my #5 find: the strappy floral vintage dress.

Vintage Strappy Floral Dress

Vintage Strappy Floral Dress (Detail)

Check out the bunching by the nape of the neck! LOVE IT!

While this piece has all the trappings of a perfect vintage dress (fits like a glove, boning still intact, cute pleating down the front, precious floral pattern, handmade (!)), it also has some downfalls, namely the slight uneven fade of the fabric and a strap that I discovered had been reattached with a safety pin.

Now, working at a resale shop has made me much more aware of rips, stains, holes and other imperfections that often plague thrifted clothing. Being the sort of person who doesn't have much skill, or patience, with sewing, I tend to overlook these flaws, insisting that, despite my mother's pronouncements that I look like a "homeless person," it's just PUNK.

Laurie, on the other hand, having first been self-taught, and then educated at NYC's finest, is handy and ambitious with her clothes fixing magic. My point is this—while thrifting, it is good to have a realistic picture of what you are either willing to put up with, or are willing (and able) to fix. As this standard of perfection varies greatly from person to person, it is helpful to have a baseline before you go into a shop. Doing so can prevent you from spending money on an atrocity that sits in your closet for months before you donate it back. It can also ensure that when positive attributes overcome the negative ones (in your personal opinion), you score totally rad purchases like this vintage dress was for me.

*At Operation Sparkle, we do not condone violence. We do condone recognizing negative emotions, talking about how they make you feel and sending out positive vibes. Pos. Tude.


  1. I think you mostly like the part about the metrodome collapsing. Also, we went to Lotus for dinner tonight and it took us an hour to get there. And then we got stuck on some ice trying to turn onto Lyndale and almost died. But it was totally worth it.

  2. They must really think you've dumped me now. You never take me ANYWHERE anymore! GOD!