Sunday, July 24, 2011

Express Yourself, with Lil Purses

One exciting fashion development that has come along with the blazing hot days of summer has been the revelation of little patterned purses. Over years of thrifting, I have accumulated about a million little novelty purses that have done little else but monopolize an entire dresser drawer's worth of valuable storage space. It is safe to say that it is a big purse world that we live in, and being a little, loud, albeit totally adorable purse can leave you left in the dust.

But Summer has proven the perfect opportunity to bust these guys out. Unfettered by bulky outerwear, fearlessly exploring a variety of color palettes, and making an earnest attempt at regaining a natural slope to my right shoulder, I am switching to the tiny purse team.

Here are some of my favorites; some are new acquisitions, and some have been around forever and are finally seeing the light of day. This first lil purse is one such, and has been my go to statement accessory of the summer:

I love the bright woven stripe and the tooled leather. I am venturing to guess that this purse originate from Southeast Asia, Thailand maybe, from the style and colors of the weaving. The satchel shape of this actually proves to very spacious as well, and I can fit quite a bit of stuff in it.

Another one with it's stylistic origins in the same part of the world is this ikat stripe purse with chain strap:

Although in this case it is certainly not authentic, ikat is an Indonesian weaving technique where the warp of the fabric is printed before it is woven, creating a vertically blurred effect. It is very cool. And it is also very IN right now, and I love to be IN. I also love the chain strap, which seems to be a really mismatched element.

Then there is this tour de force:

A two-toned floral tooled leather purse! This thing is just BEAUTIFUL if you ask me, and set me back a whole $4 in Milwaukee this past May. Add it to the list of epic tooled leather bags that OpSparkle has brought you over these past few months.

Then there have been a few carpet bags that have struck my fancy, like this sweet little pastel flame stitch bag:

I got this thrifting in Buffalo about a year ago, and every now and then it is the perfect compliment to an outfit.

And last but not least is the carpet bag that I found on the same Milwaukee trip as the tooled leather bag, for $2:

I love the red-browns and the quality of the weaving. I bet this thing is from the 70's, and it looks like it was never used. LOVE it.

It looks like something straight out of my favorite book, Woven Fashion!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Will Punch You with Color

Some key moments of summer thrifting have thus far involved choice uses of bright-ass color in the most unexpected of places. Bright, punchy colors are very much a trend throughout all of fashion right now, but never to be one to thoughtlessly succumb to the magnetism of a trend, I have found some pieces that transcend their apparent trendiness. There is no better possible way to illustrate this point than to show you this picture....

...of a seafoam green suede bustier. The combination of the descriptors "seamfoam", "green", and "bustier", have perhaps never before been linked in any human language until now. And what a joyless world it has been until now. I found this during mine and Holly's Green Bay Memorial Day thrifting blow out and I almost peed myself when I pulled it off the rack. Pretty sure Holly was jealous, an experience I am not often gifted with having. Check out the ruched back and snap up closure. I know enough about garment construction to know that ruching suede is not an easy thing to do, this is some real deal engineering.

And then there are these sweet (and chic!) fluorescent pink plush slip ons. I love the fleur des lis embroidery, and the gingham checked footbed. All around impressive detailing for shoes that probably sold for $8 at Kmart at some point.

Then there is this crazy homemade fluorescent floral printed tank top that I found in Milwaukee a few weeks back.

The bright color/print combo seems like something from an 80's little girl's swim suit, rather than an adult bell-shaped tank top. That is the beauty of finding such home sewing projects while thrifting is that there is always something charmingly not quite right about them.

And rounding things off, is this fluorescent pink washed silk oversized blazer from Express. It is a size XS and I am still swimming in it, even by oversized standards, making me skeptical about how it is designed to fit. If only I could be a fly on the wall of an Express store in '93 to see how they styled it.

It still definitely has potential.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Flowy poly tops you can actually wear in the summer!*

That would be ME!**
There are so many exciting things happening right now! True Blood just started a fourth season (and it is going to include the Eric amnesia storyline***)! The last Harry Potter movie comes out on June 15th! Jake and I will be at the Caffetto Craft Fair July 24th! IT IS SUMMER!****

I know I have been dangling my "special trip" to Chicago in your faces for like three months, but as I noticed a major trend in several of the items I pounced upon, I am sharing them here on their own: flowy polyester tops that you can actually wear in the summer!

As it turns out, my new favorite thing to wear is old women/80's and 90's tops. These numbers definitely fit into this category, courtesy of Family Thrift, a store which just happened to be having a 50% off storewide sale the day we were thirfting in Chicago.

F yes.

First, the three tops I found at above sale:

PJ top
Weird silky asian-inspired pajama top with multicolored buttons!

Leopard top
High gathered neck (not a turtleneck, but not quite a mock turtle neck) leopard print number! Grrrrrrr! This is the kind of top that prompts your friends to exclaim "OH! Leopard print!" when you show up on their doorsteps wearing it. Trust me, I know from experience.

Floral Top
Floral button down with the most flattering cinched waist I have ever seen on an otherwise boxy poly top!

Golden Top
Then the golden number I almost turned down at the Savers out in the burbs, until Jackie and Steph convinced me to get it. The color of this piece didn't translate well in the photo, but the golden rod color of this top is so amazing, and the cut so cute that I am very glad I was listening to my friends and thrifting partners that day!

The best part? This is just the tip of the iceberg of my finds from the trip! But you will have to wait to see the rest because now I need to get back to my internet television watching! It's been real!

*Full disclosure: since cutting back on my thrifting and thrift blogging (because I am so busy watching television shows and reading the smutty novels that inspire them), I had a momentary lapse in what I had/hadn't blogged about and almost did a repeat of my summer dresses post. Whoops.
**Considering the fact that the only other person posting on this blog has living in NYC for over six years, this is not a difficult question to answer.
***I also may or may not have had a few drinks while watching the most recent episodes of True Blood on the internet.

Friday, July 1, 2011

What is Summer for if Not for Dresses?

There is no thrifting prize greater than a fantastic dress. It is as simple as that. Many a thrifting strategy claims "dresses first" (second only perhaps, to "shoes first") as its primary tenant. On any given thrifting adventure, making it to the dress section first can mean the difference between edging out one of your best friends/competitors/total, and surely undeserving, stranger, for one of the more epic finds in the store, and attempting to concentrate all of your inner darkness into the look that you will direct at She Who Got There First. And who wants to deal with that?

As someone who has mentally punched many friends/competitors/total undeserving strangers/Holly in the face for getting there first, I can adamantly say, not I.

I can also adamantly say that this summer I have been doing a pretty damn fine job of getting there first when it comes to dresses, and have quite a few beauties to show for it. Most of these I collected over the course of an extremely fruitful three hours of power thrifing in Green Bay with Holly over this past Memorial Day weekend. The fruits of which were so grandiose, it will take me the whole summer to encompass them all here. So DO stay tuned.

Here are some of my fave dress finds, which, on a totally unrelated note, serve as a veritable Who's Who of 90's mall brands.

In the lead off position I have a dress that I described to Holly as "the All That Jazz dress to end All That Jazz dresses":

There are so many factors that make this dress epic, even for All That Jazz. Firstly is the blue floral denim print, which defines an era. It so defines an era in fact, that some bitch down by the river at the Flea Market That Will Not be Named sells denim skirts with such prints for 50 bucks a pop. All I can say is, if you are that desperate for floral denim, then please, be my guest.

Then there is the sweetheart neckline, which is flattering on absolutely everyone, and the mirrored dome buttons for the cherry on top. And it wouldn't be an All That Jazz dress without some cutout back detail:

Next is another staple 90's mall brand, Paris Sport Club. Paris Sport Club was the coveted store brand of such mall retailers as Maurices (which is still actually around, I believe? I don't get to malls much) and Vanity. But more importantly, who doesn't want to run around this summer in this precious little floral baby doll dress:

The double front and back scoop neck lends a little sexy to the little girl silhouette, and the print is oh so pretty:

And this one I REALLY love. It is from Casual Corner, which is maybe why I feel so grown up when I wear it:

I was totally jacked beyond belief when Holly passed this up over Memorial Day weekend and handed it off to me. Those brief moments that she held it in her hands, contemplating it, passed like an eternity in my mind. As she gestured towards returning it back to the rack, I blurted out that I'd take it if she was passing. And the rest is history.

It is hard to see the better details of this piece because of the optical affect of the polka dot print, but there are lots of good features: the wrap front top, short dolman sleeves, button detail waist, and if you couldn't tell, it's actually PANTS. Yes, it's a jumper. PSYCH. The most elegant jumper, ever.

And it's even work appropriate. The only thing better than an awesome thrifted dress is an awesome thrifted biz-casual jumper.