Monday, August 27, 2012

Life Lessons: Being True to Thine Own Self

Due to my reinvigorated thrifting spirit, I decided to spend my Friday off thrifting up a storm. The plan was to hit up the Robbinsdale Unique and the ARC Value Village (relatively) close by, but the combo of VIP day (25% off for cardholders) and the poor junk to treasure ratio of Unique kept me busy for a good two hours, leaving zero time for the second shop. 

As I recently mentioned, my thrifting scope as of late has been largely limited to housewares—something I maintain is the result of "fashion fatigue." A few months off the fashion, and an impending season change has gotten me back on the horse, though I must admit I'm confused about what direction to take said horse in.
The five soft cover books were considered "children's" and thus each cost whatever 25% off of 69¢ is. STEALZ.
Thus, I found myself in an annoying, and potentially dangerous, situation. After some initial non-clothing fabulous finds (six Harry Potter books for six bones, and A Discovery of Witches, the newest mystical trilogy I am delving into), I combed the clothing racks for a solid hour, putting item after time into my cart, all the while knowing deep down that I had a pile of duds. 

By the time I came to my senses (aided, in part, by an elderly chap's comment that "it looked like a lucky day" for me), and realized I had to start making decisions, I had a cartload of crap.

Most items were easy to discount—a patterned H&M maxi dress for $7; a misshaped, wayyyyy too oversized ivory-ish sweater that reminded me of boogers; an initially promising boxy black button up that was spun from the thickest poly-fabric I have witnessed in recent times—but there were an handful of "vintage" items that I was having a harder time settling on. This was a particularly difficult task, as I have been satiating my 70's dress sensibility more as of late, and four of the major items at hand were pieces that more or less could fit that decade: a calf-length, color blocked suede jacket; a hand knit sweater and two vests (one a red, suede, cowboy-style, fringed number; the other a cropped, denim, patchwork Gunne Sax piece). 

After some hemming and hawing, I realized that what I had in front of me was a thrifting novice's dilemma—pieces that, by virtue of their existence, and connection to the past, made me think they were good vintage. Except they weren't. And I didn't need them. And, perhaps even more importantly, they weren't perfect. 

Perhaps could have been...but not.
Case in point: The suede jacket. 

What. Do I really want to dress like a cast member from That 70's Show? I think not. Actually, in many respects, this piece is pretty sweet. But one of the snaps was busted, and it just felt...dirty. AND I am not a huge fan of this color scheme. So...back to the racks it went. 

Add to your imagination: slightly unflattering cut that rests high thigh and huge bell bottom...sleeves.
I was drawn to the nasty, 70's version of primary colors in this piece, but the acrylic yarn used to knit it was so gross feeling that it made my skin crawl. I just couldn't do it, and thus sacrificed my vision of myself as an art teacher/mother of a Waldorf student from this time period. 

Clearly I was having a fashion identity crisis—perhaps due in part to the fact that it had been so long since I had indulged in a good thrifting session. It seemed as though I was trying to make up for the fact that I wasn't able to imagine treasures into existence by allowing myself to settle.

Party and business all the way around (plus pockets!).
But settle I did not. The sole piece of clothing I did come away with was a keeper—a vintage, highwaisted, wool skirt that can be both party (perhaps with this wacky sweater) and business (for that "job" I may get some day). 

Moral of the story: To thine own self be true! 
Your closet will thank you.

Friday, August 17, 2012

GET WILD! Patterns galore!

One of my favorite things about thrifting is the crazy patterns you find. Even though this fall it appears as though high fashion magazines want you to believe that "crazy patterns" and "crazy pattern mixing" is so in that just about anyone can do it, I think not. It takes a trained eye, and a no-holds-barred attitude when it comes to wild patterns. What they don't tell you is that if you are going to go down that route, you must do it with attitude! This means that if you are out at a bar and decided to wear a shirt as a dress, you need to not give two hoots if someone calls you out on it! Wear those patterns with pride and no one can stop you!


This amazing, vintage, kimono-style muumuu situation. It was probably intended to be worn as pjs, but you bet your sweet bippy I am going to wear this to a fancy event some day. Some day. Also, I love the pattern so much at it is currently on my list for "tattoo inspirations" (sorry Mom).

We have SO much to catch up on—like what has transpired with my challenge of thrifting Sheila's summer wardrobe. We have some results, and we had some duds. Luckily, some of the "duds" meant they were passed to me, like this boxy, black and white floral patterned top. It spoke to my grandma and goth style preferences perfectly.

I love this pattern. Love it. 

I found this weird 90's style button up during the same Saver's run as the above kimono dress. I feel like it was meant for some comic artist, who loves Talking Heads and Keith Haring.

And finally, since it is almost (almost!) sweater weather, I have this child's "Glamour Knits" top that is stylistically in the vein of the comic top. I feel very "Claudia" wearing this. You can't go wrong with weird knit patterns. EVER! (Just don't forget your ATTITUDE!).

WE ARE BACK! With farmers' market style chic!


I am sure many of you have been anxiously waking every morning, leaping to your computer and checking to see if we have rebooted Operation Sparkle and have posted about our great deals and steals. For those of you who have been doing that, I am sorry. It is for you, however, that I'm doing a very special OPERATION SPARKLE DOUBLE FEATURE!

Now that I am sort of on instagram (it is on my man's i-touch, which makes it a bit difficult to access and utilize as most instagram users can. My name is "doublepeace," which you may or may not be able to use to follow me. I'm really a novice at this new technology), it is pretty ridiculous to not share my amazing thrifting deals with the world! Plus, after a brief break from the thrifting world (two years working in a resale shop and years of giving into my thrifting obsession whenever I had the chance really started to do a number on my closet), I am ready to get back on that horse! I can't speak for Laurie, of course, but I do know that her recent move back to Milwaukee has exploded her thrifting options out of the water, so if we keep pestering her, maybe we can get her to share her recent treasures as well.

So again—deepest apologies for denying you of the magic of Operation Sparkle for so long. We have both been really busy, and had a lot of personal junk to deal with over the past year. Thankfully, thrifting will never go away, and you know that when you set something free, and it comes back to you, it is true love.

Or something.

So, for my first post of two back on the horse, I present you with a look that may be at least stylistically suitable for being on a horse (though not at all practical): Farmers' Market Style Chic!

While I have, on account of my busting closet, been looking more for housewares during my thrifting escapades instead of clothing and fashion accessories as of late, I did find a perfect outfit on a recent trip up north with my fabulous friend Mary. I say "perfect," because one of my many style icons is this chick that I once saw driving around with her man (or brother or friend) in a pick up truck in Chicago. They were both wearing various shades of brown, and looked like the coolest urban farmers you could imagine. I wanted so badly to emulate what they emulated to me within the 5 seconds that I saw them: people who worked their urban landscape and looked fabulous in sun hats and earth tones.

I am totally digging this 90's floral maxi dress. It is a bit large on me, even when I utilize the totally 90's back tie, but with a belt, I think it works. I recently rolled up to my friends' house wearing this, along with huge, vintage, blue-tinted sunglasses, and they told me that I looked like I was "from the future, coming to tell them something." Which I can totally get down with. 

I also dig this dress because it reminds me of Phoebe singing about Smelly Cat, who, along with Claudia and Dawn from the Babysitters Club, was one of my few fashion icons growing up. And speaking of strangers whose fashion I want to emulate/be, I was also drawn to this dress because it reminded me of this cute girl I once saw working at the bakery by the thrift store this came from in Ashland, WI. She had braids and a dress sort of like this, and made me think that if I moved up north and worked in a bakery, I could be just as stylish as her. I also imagine that she works part time at a farm and has a really hot boyfriend.

These vintage leather shoes, purchased at the same thrift store as above dress, are one of my best finds of the year. I maintain they have magical properties, as they looked really narrow and small, but somehow fit on my feet perfectly. They are also the answer to my summer footwear debacle: sandally, but not too sandally.