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.

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