Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Treats! Thrifting with the one, and only, Jackie Katers!

Over the past few months, I have made a concerted effort to cut back on my thrifting. WHY?!?!, you may ask, your mind screaming with confusion. Trust me, the initial shock and disappointment when I first admitted that this cut back would be wise was not easy to deal with. As time has gone on, however, the pain has subsided and I've found myself with healthier thrifting habits. There are a variety of reasons for this move—finances (you know you have a problem when you can't afford your thrifting habit), time, space, and the general unease you start feeling when you need to wade through clothing to get to your bed. I am pleased, however, to announce that my thrifting addiction, though not completely quelled, is at least, momentarily, under control.

One great thing about my new healthier thrifting lifestyle is that I have limited thrifting trips almost exclusively to special occasions—major sales, an actual need for an item, when friends are in town, or when I am on vacation. Though limits can sometimes be ass, doing this has made thrifting all that more special. Case in point: my last major thrifting haul in the Twin Cities, when my friends Jackie and Steph were in town at the end of April.

Of course, I was game when Jackie told me she wanted to thrifting while she was in town. Though Steph had to miss out on the fun due to her work (they were in town for her business), I picked up Jackie early one day from their fancy hotel without a pool or coffee in the room (why!?) and we mapped out a plan. In then end, we hit up two Value Villages, one Unique, one Savers and a Chinese food buffet. Needless to say, we had deals exploding all over the place.

Witness, if you will, the most kick ass jacket I have ever laid my hands on.*

Vintage Denim Jacket with Leather Detail

A 1970's denim jacket with suede detail that includes a tri-color collar and weird geometric design, which, by the way....

Vintage Denim Jacket with Leather Detail (back)


Obviously, these details in themselves are enough to declare this jacket amazing. I am, however, not done! This jacket actually has a perfect fit on me and avoids the nasty boxiness that so many denim jackets have. Plus...

Vintage Denim Bellbottoms
Vintage Denim Bellbottoms (detail)

IT CAME WITH A PAIR OF MATCHING BELL BOTTOMS! Unfortunately, the bell bottoms are about a size 24 waist, so they are among the items for sale at the upcoming Caffetto Craft Fair on Sunday, July 24th, which Jake Thompson of Fashionasty and I will be at. I am okay with passing them on, however, as wearing the jacket with the pants would be a bit matchy-matchy by my standards.

In a further turn of awesomeness, the other day I was wearing this jacket at my friend's record shop Yeti Records, when a girl they knew told me that the jacket (and pants) used to be her's! If that didn't just blow your mind, I label your mind as un-blowable.

Obviously, the jacket in itself is enough to declare my shopping trip with Jackie a success, but there is more!

Witness, if you will, my new collection of Compagnie Internationale Express items!

Express Tags
Polka Dot Skorts
Polka Dot Skorts (detail)

Baggy, sheer 90's floral pattern pants and polka dot shorts with front button flaps!

It keeps going!

Jordache Denim Shorts
Jordache Denim Shorts (back)

High-waisted Jordache denim shorts! Initially, I was afraid these would ride up on me a bit too much. But as my co-worker Oakley insisted the other day, sometimes you have to embrace your cameltoe. I have and these are now my new favorite shorts.

Other great day-to-day gems:

Vintage Silly Striped Sweater
Vintage Silly Striped Sweater (detail)

This adorable vintage striped sweater. The colors are amazing.**

White Cutout Shoes

I know I recently posted about these cut-out white slip-ons, but I had to include them so you get an idea of the breadth of my shopping success.

Then there are the wild cards!

Best of the Midwest Leggings

The "Best of the Midwest" leggings (that would be my legs, clad in these pants).


I could not pass up this poncho because the blue tassel balls on it are pretty much the most genius touch of amazing I have ever witnessed on a poncho.

Floral Asian-style Tunic
Floral Asian-style Tunic (detail)

While this vintage, floral, kimono-dress/tunic didn't exactly fulfill my need for a sweet, embroidered jacket, it has quenched my thirst a tad bit. I couldn't turn down the pattern.

And finally, the piece that was speaking to me so much that as Jackie and I were preparing to leave our last shop, I ran over to the nightgowns and started sorting furiously, until I grabbed this and exclaimed "I KNEW YOU WERE HERE!"

Weird Bedazzled Tunic

Strangely enough, though this is now probably the most fucked-up piece of clothing in my wardrobe (really, how can you beat a floor-length, turquoise, cowl-neck sweatshirt tunic with a psuedo-southwestern bedazzled design on the smock (plus the nifty little white detailing around the arm)?), I have a feeling that this piece is at least a distant cousin to the bedazzled sweatshirt Laurie's friend Julie found when they went cult/commune thrifting in Staten island.

Now, if that isn't worth some restraint, I don't know what is!

*Even with all the amazing jackets I have found thrifting (many which I have shared on here and have declared that they are actually the most amazing jacket I have ever had), I stand by this statement.
**I also need to point out that when I uploaded this photo ages ago, I named the piece "vintage silly striped sweater." How this sweater is humorous, I am not sure.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Special Trip! To Austin, TX

I feel a bit neglectful that it has taken me this long to relay to the world my fantastic finds from my last trip to Austin, TX, that I took almost two months ago, especially since I am heading back in just a few days. But the flip side of my negligence is that I am able to relive my past glory, which, by this time, I have honestly nearly forgotten. But thanks to my excellent record keeping skills, these gems didn't slip through the cracks. And, aside from the unfailing promises of tacos, and new and exciting tequila experiences that Austin always holds, this belated recap serves as an excellent means of amping me up for next trip back next weekend. So, let's get AMPED together on these super sweet find from TAY-has.

First up is my first find, this killer sequin vest:

Come Fall, this piece will be my new best friend when I am in need of a quick and easy punch of glitz. Which is like every day, right?

Shorts were on the top of my wishlist when I headed to Austin, and these floral silk culottes filled that niche quite perfectly.

Very pretty stained glass effect in the print:

A little $2 Farragamo silk tank, handed off to me by a friends whose boobs didn't quite fit in. can't beat that!

The proof:

On the way to our first thrift store, one of my posse of thrifters/wedding goers asked if anyone was on the look out for anything in particular. I called out that I was in much need of a black trench coat/raincoat to deal with the ridiculous rainy cold Spring that was dominating NYC weather at the time. Lo and behold, about three stores deep, I find this guy, with a half off purple tag.

$4 later, I have a sculpted shoulder shawl collar raincoat of my very very own. Check out this pleated puff shoulder detail:

It was a damn good thing I found this, because it rained for the following two weeks upon returning to NYC, and I pretty much lived in this thing.

Next is a piece that is already on my "can't wait to wear" list for Fall, this pink metallic chunky ribbed wrap sweater:

Then, in a pre-airport thrifting power hour the likes of which I have never seen before in my life (3 stores in 1 hour), I scored these puppies, brand new (!) heeled oxfords, for $7. This find was especially victorious considering 1) The exigent circumstances under which they were found, and 2) That I have long been coveting such a pair of shoes, but have held out on purchasing them because of my mystical belief that I will someday find them thrifting for a fraction of the price.

Can't. Beat. That.

Friday, June 24, 2011

One More Reason Summer Should be Longer: Vintage Romper/Swimsuit Things

Though it might be false to assert that just now there is an upswing in the popularity of vintage fashion, I am going to go out on a limb here and state that, with the internet, vintage shopping is certainly a bit more accessible, to the point where one might even venture to say that the market has become saturated.

One downside to this movement towards online (and real time) vintage shops is that it makes finding vintage pieces at thrift stores all that more challenging. On the other hand, it makes the thrill of finding such a piece approximately eleven times more exciting. Over my years of thrifting, I have come across some true vintage gems, of which the most perplexing I share with you now: the romper/jumper/swimsuit.

Vintage Floral Jumper
Close Up of Vintage Floral Jumper

I think I almost wet myself upon finding this floral piece at Value Village a couple years ago. It is in excellent condition, has an adorable cut and the deep blue floral pattern is to die for. And did I mention the pockets?! It was close to causing a second excretion of bodily fluids when I tried it on, however, because it almost didn't fit—too short in the torso! Before the tears welling up in my eyes (yes, having to pass up a piece like this would make me cry) could overflow, I realized, happily, that the straps were adjustable, so that the piece just barely fit. I justified its purchase, only later to question if I could wear such a thing without feeling like a weird Katy Perry wannabe.

Vintage Plaid Jumper
Close Up of Plaid Jumper
Back Detail of Plaid Jumper

I totally freaked out when I found this piece at Savers last spring. The color (best represented in the full shot) is amazing and the button details (a sash that buttons in the back, right above the tush? How cute can you get?!) are simply delightful.

I say theses are perplexing because they are not quite rompers/jumpers in the sense that we typically think of rompers/jumpers—as having actual shorts. These pieces are a bit more bootilicious, though the small fit of the blue floral piece leaves very little to the imagination, while the larger fit of the salmon plaid number passes as short shorts. I then venture to believe these would-be rompers are actually vintage swimsuits, which is most likely the case, given the intricate lining of them. Still, the fabrics are so thick and the cuts are such that they don't exactly incite fantasies of lounging around the beach while wearing them.

Thus, these amazing vintage pieces offer a conundrum—how does one wear them!? As previously mentioned, the larger cut of the plaid piece allows for more modesty, and thus can pass as actual clothing in public. The blue one, however, with its cheek hangage, seems only appropriate for some sort of fetishy, pin-up, jib jab photo session, which really isn't my thing. As it is such a treasure, I can't part with it, so for now it will hang forlornly in my closet until the perfect opportunity arises for it to shine.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Gift of Thrifting, Pt 2

I so loved Holly's post about how awesome my thrifted B-day gift to her was (so awesome that perhaps it will make up for the fact that I forgot, while hanging out with her and doing shots, shots that could have very well been Birthday shots, the night before her Birthday, that her Birthday was the very next day? Perhaps?) that I decided I had to show off her awesome thrifted Birthday gift to me: Woven Fashion, by Vivienne Bateson.

The first best thing about this gift is that it is personalized. When you pay $1 or $2 for a book, you do not feel timid about defacing it with a personal message, as the gift is already valueless. In this case, Holly raised the value of the book by referencing Mark Walberg's DIY chest tattoo in the classic film Fear, in her personal message to me: "Laurie Marman 4 EVA".

They next best thing about this book is the layout. The format of the entire book is as above; left page, a model wearing the DIY woven garment in question, the opposite page, a closeup of the DIY* textile, with all that glorious white space uniting the story. Thank the goddess someone thought of this before NYLON magazine.

The third best thing about this book is the professional models (i.e. above). This lady is SO PUMPED about her homemade serape, and who wouldn't be.

A money shot of some hand woven suspenders, that I had to include.

And OMG you thought feather extensions were wild! How about a feather CARDIGAN! Go crazy on it, whole world.

And then there are two whole pages of close up images of various handmade obi-style belts. This is basically pornography to me.

Hence, Holly knows me so well. Best. Gift. Ever.

*Sincerest apologies for the over use of "DIY". It is so unlike me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Gift of Thrifting

Even though having friends all over the country is a bit of a bummer in that you don't get to hang with them all the time, it does have its positive attributes. In addition to having a reason to travel, one of my favorite things about having friends in places far away is the exchange of items via the postal service, which is, in my opinion, one of our nation's greatest institutions.

Nothing is better than coming home from a long weekend away to find a package waiting for you. That is, until you open it up and find the most sweetest kick ass birthday present sent to you by none other than your thrifting blog partner.

Crazy Geo Boxy Top
Crazy Geo Boxy Top (detail)

I have no idea where Laurie found this gem, but I am 99.9% positive it was at a thrift store. It has so many amazing attributes, I had to wear it the day after receiving it (in other words, the next time I got dresses). The crazy color combo and pattern! The contradiction of boxy cut and flowy fabric (which always results in a perfect fit)! Reinforced fabric front to ensure modesty! A pocket! All by a company with one of the sweetest graphic tags and conceptual names I have ever seen: Sudden Impact.

Crazy Geo Boxy Top (tag detail)

Snap Leather Gap Mini Skirt

For maximum effect, I was going to wear it with this Laurie-approved lovely Gap snap front leather miniskirt that I recently picked up thrifting in Green Bay, but switched at the last minute to simple black denim cutoffs for ease in biking.

White Cutout Shoes

Then I added this sweet cut-out leather slip ons I found thrifting with Jackie way back in April here in Minneapolis. Though their narrow cut wrecks havok on my bunion (get over it), I have been digging these shoes lately. A pop of white leather on the dogs goes a long way with any outfit.

Rest assured this full outfit will be rocked soon, most likely the next time I sport my birthday gift.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Sundresses of My Past are Now The Sundresses of My Present

After six months of winter in Minneapolis, we have suddenly entered summertime with temps in the 80s and gorgeous sunshine! Though the past few days, where was an excessive heat warning with temperatures dancing right around the triple digits, really messed with my concept of reality/made me question if I really did, in fact, "love" hot weather, I do have to say that this summer weather has increased my joy in getting dressed every morning tenfold.

Perhaps it was our extended, and brutal winter, but there times when I truly believed I would never see a warm day again. During these dark times, however, there was the faintest sense that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel—and of course, that light would be shining its rays upon all the amazing warm weather clothing waiting patiently, wrapped in garbage bags in my basement, to be put to good use.

In celebration of the return to summer, I present some of the items I was/am most stoked to bring out of hiding, starting first with the quintessential summer item—the sundress.

All That Jazz Floral Dress
Floral Dress Close Up

My All That Jazz tropical floral wrap waist dress. I mean, duh. Who wants tequila!?!?!

Vintage Red and Blue Striped Dress

This blue and red stripped number came to me one particularly fruitful Salvation Army trip during the cold weather months. It was dirt cheap (I believe around two or three bucks) and I knew it would be perfect for those hot days when you want as little clothing as possible touching your skin. This is also the dress I wore on one of the first really nice days we had here, and maybe it was because people had been deprived of seeing sundresses for half a year, but I got like five compliments from strangers about it.

Red and White Polka Dot Limited Dress

Perhaps it is because this is my most recently thrifted summer dress, but this little red and white polka dot Limited number is currently the one I am most excited about (so much so that it is at the top of my list of things to pack for my weekend trip to Chicago for a family wedding (along with bike shorts in case the Windy City lives up to its name)). This is one of the many amazing finds I uncovered during Laurie and my fast and furious Green Bay Memorial Day weekend thrifting adventure (stay tuned for more gems), and it might just my favorite of all the finds from the trip! Its 90s without being too girly (in fact, I venture to argue it is a bit bad ass riot grrl-esque, should I wear it with some Doc Martins, which I have been contemplating purchasing for some time), and has this perfect fit where it is both form-fitting and breathable—the perfect combo for a summer dress.

Little Polka Dot Limited Sundress

Wow. Upon inserting this photo, I just realized that I now have two polka dot Limited dresses. This one came, of course, from our Black Friday Thrifting expedition of 2010. I had to wait a full seven months to even think about putting this on, and I was beyond stoked when I realized that it fit perfectly. I first wore it on Mothers' Day, when I had to work and my boss instructed me to "wear something matronly." She was kidding, but I decided to wear my most matronly outfit, which, as it turns out, looks like an angsty teen from the 90's—this dress, black lace bloomers, ripped black tights and my witchy buckle shoes. I may or may not have done this on purpose.

Seafoam Green & White Striped  Summer Dress

Found while thrifting with Jake, this H&M seafoam green and white striped sundress has become my go-to for those super hot days (meaning, I have worn it twice since it has gotten hot). I love it mostly because I can totally wear it without a bra, which is a must when you get sunburned.

Vintage Strappy Floral Dress

Finally, if I want to be a bit more fancy, there is this awesome vintage strappy floral dress, also from our Black Friday Thrifting trip.

What is even better than thrifted sundresses? I'll let you know....