Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gandalf, this one's for you!

A few nights ago, I was up late finishing an article and decided to treat myself with some online television viewing. While I should have launched right into the newest season of Parks and Recreation, I instead decided to check out The New Girl, that seemingly abhorrently awful new Fox sitcom staring Zooey Deschanel. Really, I wanted to see how insulted I could feel. As it turned out, my expectations were fulfilled and it was just as I imagined it would be—sexist, not even vaguely funny, and shaped by television producers' assumptions surrounding the posh/hipness of 20 somethings (more loft apartments, PLEASE!) and the never ending belief that if a girl wears glasses, no one is going to bone her, because, please, that is sooooo dorky.

My biggest beef with The New Girl?

That one of their tactics to drive home just how lame this girl was to have her reference Lord of the Rings. Clearly this was too much for her kind-hearted male roommates who reacted to this action as though she had told them they could contact syphilis just by touching her. Now that I've got that rant off my chest, let's delve into the real matter at hand, shall we?

In response to this blatantly sexist and totally lame assertion by Hollywood that haute chicks can't be down with the LOTR, I present you with my most recent GBC finds, as influenced by all that is "dorky" and "lame" in Hollywood land.

First, totally dorky accessories.

Contrary to popular belief, sunglasses are for dorks. Their cousins, after all, are just normal glasses, made so people can see, which is totally gross. Sunglasses are lame because it means that you are trying to protect your eyes, and someone who is interested in taking care of themselves clearly doesn't know had to party.


So, naturally, I picked up these four pairs. I am especially in love with the second from the top pair.


Big, cartoony buttons are dorky to the max. I don't even need to pretend they are dorky, because that is how dorky they are. These all came in one of those grab bags, along with an uncomfortable one about Jesus. My favorite is clearly the dorkiest of them all, the one that says "Left Handed Genius." I am going to wear it all the time, because its true. I also am going to sport the "Happy Winter" one when I feel like being deeply in denial.

A beautiful metal woven bangle is lame because it reminds people of the Renaissance festival and faerie themed jewelry.

Not exactly "accessories," but still lame, because what kind of cool people drink things like coffee and tea? I made the executive decision to stock up on these mostly 25¢ mugs because Chris is forever taking mugs out of the house and losing them. I picked Gandalf-inspired mugs, a Cathy mug (it says "Woman on the move!") and one that says "I'm Proud to Be a Farm Wife," because those were the dorkiest ones I could find.

Now for the clothing!


This vintage carpety fabric vest is something only a true lover of LOTR would wear. Unless they found a knock-off at Forever 21, which would then make it "cool."

Button-downs?! Come on, SO LAME!


For real though, I've been looking for a chambray and black silk button-down forever, so finding these was like Christmas.

Then we have these 90's dresses that the "dorky" girl would wear once she got rid of her glasses and suddenly became hot.



This navy with little sunflower trim number is extra sweet with its keyhole back.

Polka dots?! Scalloped heart neckline?! Little bow on the back that I will have to slightly fix because one side is detached but it's okay because the whole thing was a dollar?! SO LAME!


Then we have this totally Grandma eyelet blouse. Fewer things are more dorky than Grandmas and eyelets.


Finally, this vintage red dress that no matter what way I spun it, couldn't come up with a way to make it dorky. It's impossible to put this on and not imagine myself on the streets of Paris, probably being photographed from some super tres chic street fashion blogger.

I guess the lesson to be learned is that in even the dorkiest of girls, there is a cool one underneath.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall is SO IN Right Now

I always find it humorous when fashion designers/magazine editors/whoever gets paid to espouse their fashion "expertise" declare certain colors are "in" for the season—now it is jeweled tones! Emerald green! And then a bunch of totally early 90's orange and magenta for color blocking! While the concept does bring Meryl Streep's face-punch inducing "cerulean sweater" monologue from that equally face-punch inducing film The Devil Wears Prada to mind, I do have to admit that sometimes these people are on to something.

While I am excited to be contradicting this fall by wearing lots of pastels and white shoes*, I am also embracing a color palette more suited for fall. Just the other day, I celebrated having the day off from work by hitting up Unique's 25% off Customer Appreciation day and it became clear that my subconscious was clearly influenced by the changing of the season. Much in the same way that little 12 year-old Holly prepared for her first day of 8th grade with silk color-blocked button-downs, high waisted jeans and scrunchies,** all in shades of navy blue, forest green and maroon, my fall wardrobe is being peppered with colors that one can most readily find in the Crayola "Bold" marker box.

First the tops.

This almost red-orange top has me freaking out. I mean really. The pseudo short-sleeved/no sleevedness of this top is messing with me in the best possible way.

I found this oversized goldenrod silk top in the men's section.

Can't you tell?

I realized after washing it that it was missing two buttons, but it's all good. The overall bagginess of this whole situation means I probably will just wear it as an overcoat sort of deal. I could always sew on new buttons, but let's be real here. Who has that kind of time?

Now for the bottoms....

You can never go wrong with denim pencil skirts. I would like one in every shade of rainbow, please, but for now, I'll settle for some forest green action.

I was a bit on the fence with this printed mid-calve skirt, but I'm glad I got it. There are pockets this piece as well, so really, there was no question. And no matter what fashion magazines say about how "patterns are so in right now!," patterns always have, and always will be, in with me.

This burnt sienna vintage highwaisted skirt is probably the piece I am most excited about from this trip. I am digging the color and love the cut and the little scalloped action at the top. Pieces like this make the changing of the seasons for me.

And finally, proof that thrifting isn't just for super stylish finds, but that it is also useful for finding practical goods at outlandishly cheap prices, a much-needed rain jacket. This puppy will be perfect while I bicycle on those drizzly fall mornings. The little heart motif is a bit girly for my tastes, but as patterns on the inside of rain jackets always make me a little giggly (little ducks? little umbrellas? love it), I think I can deal.

*Keep your laws off my body.
**I was totally the inspiration for the start of this little company called American Apparel. You are welcome, Dov.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Transitional Thrifing: A Bad Day of Thrifting is Better than a Good Day at Work

I find that attempting to thrift in anticipation of a changing season is often disappointing. While the "real" fashion world prefigures/cultivates our anxiety over having all the key trends in line four months before the weather changes, thrift stores are generally unaware of the consumerist neuroses that has possessed us and generated a sudden and desperate need for snakeskin pants in August. Thus, my attempt to utilize my trip back to WI to visit my family for Labor Day as an opportunity to establish the foundation for my fall wardrobe, utterly failed. Because despite the universal belief that fall magically happens the day after Labor Day (certainly a marketing strategy), it actually does not. Mother Earth has no regard for our silly holidays and how we falsely demarcate the changing of the seasons by them. Nor do thrift stores.

From a sampling of six or so thrift stores in Milwaukee and Green Bay over an extended Labor Day weekend, the temperature of the water was still definitely summer. And, even more unfortunately so, it seemed to be the dregs of the summer goods. The stuff that had sat in the back for a few months or was still trickling in after some odd-timed closet purgings. There were a few extra sweaters and jackets maybe, but no real show of force in the fall items.

Thus, my haul, though modest, did produce some interesting pieces and a general flavor of what this time of year actually is: transitional. One day it's 75 degrees and the next it's 55. The weather is schizophrenic and so your wardrobe has to be as well. While we are all trying to make fall happen for our own feverish desire to freak out on new trends, there is still a definite need for our summer standbys.

And so I present my finds, on a scale of Most Summer to Most Fall.

For obvious reasons, this piece falls (ha!) in to The Most Summer slot.

A killer late summer swimsuit find, this thing defies all conventional swimsuit knowledge. The bizarre gold metallic and floral trellis-like placement print is incredible. It has removable straps and can be strapless or not, depending on how far you want to push it. And it still had the tags on it, eliminating the inevitable, even if minimal, gross out factor of buying second hand swimsuit. AND, it is one of two finds from this small group of items by the brand Newport News. I have no idea where this brand outlets, but I though Newport News sold cigarettes. I have been schooled.

Although, if there were a cigarette company that also sold apparel, this is precisely the kind of thing I would expect them to make.

Definitely on the still summer end of the spectrum, in the Summer Called, It Wants to Take the Boat Out Today slot, is this cute lil' multi color nautical stripe tee.

Nautical stripes have been The Trend That Will Not Die for a solid three years now, but the colors and the great 70's silhouette are enough to counter the super-trendiness of this top.

Edging towards a middle position, at Potentially Do-able for Fall, is this, also very cute, red tee with ruffled edges.

I used to not "do" red, but now that I do, I can't stop. The ruffles take this tee from boring to subtly exciting!

Smack dab in the middle, in the Jewelry Has No Season slot, is this killer chunky gold triangle necklace.

This is such a statement piece of jewelry, that if you're wearing it, it doesn't matter what else you're wearing, if you know what I mean.*

In the most satisfying of slots, the This Is Actually Exactly What I Was Hoping to Find to be the Foundation of My Fall Wardrobe slot, is this neutral-toned, wallpaper-floral printed silk blouse.

I ADORE the palette that is going one here, and the romantic Victorian wallpaper floral design. It is truly exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to find on this trip. As if it hadn't already swept me off my feet, it still had the tags from it, from TJ Maxx, and the tag looked exactly the way that they did in the 90's when I worked at the service desk at the TJ's in Green Bay. Perhaps I even sold this blouse the original owner, when I was 16 years old? The romantic floral, perfect Fall silk blouse, now steeped in the nostalgia of my youth.....

The silhouette wasn't perfect on this, but I took it in an inch or so on each side and now it is the perfect amount of oversized. I haven't worn it yet, but absolutely can't wait.

This blouse is probably only 15 years old, tops, but they don't really do printing like this anymore, sadly.

Falling solidly at the end of my list is the Nothing is More Fall than Goth slot, is this black sheer silk peasant tie neck blouse:

It's hard to get a good idea of it from the picture, but it is very nice, and it is the kind of "staple" item that is key to your wardrobe. While thrifting is often defined by the "wow" pieces, it is also the best way to fill in on those great basics that get play forever. And yes! Bookending my list, this blouse is the second Newport News find from this trip. I am receiving a very confused picture of this brand.