This past Monday, i.e. Valentine’s Day, the window display at my thriftique was a shitshow of pink. I figured I’d temper the girly vibe/commiserate with uncoupled shoppers by donning an all-black ensemble. It wasn’t until a customer commented on my outfit that I realized the true source of its inspiration.
- You know that movie The Craft?
- Know it? I was OBSESSED with it for most of middle school!
- Me too, and your outfit kinda has that early-nineties witch vibe going on. Love the nod to goth!
If ever you find yourself chanting Earth-Air-Fire-Water in your head and feel the need to express your inner witch, a nod to goth can be achieved via the following:
A little black dress. Mine’s from H&M: I resisted scissoring it into a minidress for four solid years, leaving it knee-length for classy occasions, synagogue and/or funerals, but I’m happy I finally gave in. The lining started shredding as soon as I’d cut it, so I want with the raw thang and hemmed it with a loop stitch to keep the hem in tact.
Note: Loop stitch is not a technical term – it’s what happens when you poke a needle and thread through the inside of the garment close to the interior edge, then loop it around the exterior edge in lieu of poking it through the outside of the garment. If that makes any sense.
A black blazer (a vintage Goodwill Outlet Center find, in this case). In its original form, the four-button blazer had two visible copper buttons and two hidden heinous plastic buttons. It looked fine buttoned up; unbuttoned, it was a decidedly not-hot mess.
A blazer that cannot be worn both open and closed is a blazer undeserving of a place in my wardrobe – clearly, the situation had to be remedied. Luckily, the blazer had two matching copper buttons on its sleeves. I snipped them off, and trimmed the fabric shielding the heinous plastic buttons. Then I snipped those buttons from the garment, and sewed the copper ones onto the vacant button space. If it looks unfinished, GOOD. It’s SUPPOSED to. We have a raw, badass witchy theme going on here!
The shoes are a no-brainer, as black, lace-up, combat-inspired boots epitomize the nod-to-goth look. These are Miz Moos, and Mommy got them for me at Marshalls because she is awesome.
Chokers are a staple nineties accessory, so I threw a vintage Jewish star charm onto a long silver chain and wrapped it around my neck three times. I also added a killer vintage wrist cuff, and topped the whole thang off with ripped black tights.
“We are the weirdos, mister.” Bah!
I said BRRR, it’s COLD in here (I said there must be some Clovers in the at-mo-sphere!…sorry). Even fashion’s pre-spring psychobabble can’t change the fact that it’s effing freezing in NYC. A few weeks ago, I realized the heinous extent to which I was unprepared for this winter. Oh sure, I have sweaters, heavy coats, the secret weapon that is the Uniqlo Heat-Tech top. What was my winter wardrobe lacking, and why?
Insulated, cold weather boots. Because they’re fucking ugly.
When I realized maintaining my protest against fugly footwear meant sprinting around town to stay warm, I cut my losses; I hate cold weather boots, but I really fucking hate exercise. So I sucked it up, hit Century 21, and spent money I didn’t have on shoes I didn’t want to wear. The shoes in question are faux shearling-lined, rubber-tipped, lace-up snowboots by Khombu. Utterly and totally meh. Also under forty bucks, so whatevs.
Here’s a few moderately attractive cold weather boot alternatives to my subpar Khombus, for those of you suffering similar predicaments.
Buzz Front Lace Sport Boot, Pajar, $136.50; Sorelli Tall Boot, Sorel, $140.00.
Moola Ankle Boot, Cougar, $119.95; Bobcat Knee High Boot, Annie Shoes, $56.96.
Kia-2 Boot, Miss Me, $59.95; Firenzy Plaid Boot, Sorel, $120.00.
A month or so ago, I popped into Hamlet’s Vintage – purveyor of the offensive $15 beat-up tee – on a mission: I needed tall, black, flat boots. Again.
In the past year alone, I have gone through not one, not two, but THREE PAIRS of tall flat black boots. When I say “gone through” I don’t mean I’ve lost them or damaged them: I’ve simply worn them out.
Maybe today’s footwear isn’t tough enough for the city’s mean streets; maybe I tend to stomp aggressively instead of tread lightly; maybe I have a slight Napoleon complex. Whatever. I was cast as the elephant in a childhood zoo-themed ballet production. I’m not morphing into some dainty graceful creature anytime soon.
It’s not like I haven’t tried to extend the lifespan of my last three pairs of tall black flat boots. All Dr. Cobbler does is prolong the inevitable: There is no chocolate coated miracle pill for bringing dead shoes back to life. At least, not after I’ve worn them.
When my last pair expired, I vowed to do things differently. THIS TIME, I would purchase boots constructed to withstand destruction; boots that looked at the subway grime and grey clotted snow and toxic puddles and scoffed ‘BRING IT ON.’
So I popped into Hamlet’s Vintage, discovered they were having a sale, zeroed in on a pair of tall flat black riding boots, paid their $110 sale price (not great, not awful) and thought it’d be smooth sailing from there. The boots have been kicking my ass ever since.
The issue isn’t strength or durability – old school riding boots are built for post-apocalyptic conditions.
The problem is that they’re designed to “follow your body’s contours” i.e. suffocate the lower halves of your legs so you look as though you’re one with the horse or whatever.
Well WHAT IF THERE IS NO FUCKING HORSE?
Then you wear them out for an hour and realize your feet are numb and your ankles are blistered because leather of this thickness and stiffness doesn’t even exist anymore and your entire lower legs, from knee to big toe are screaming in shock and protest.
Then you go get Toughstrips Band-AIDs and they don’t work, so you try moleskin, except instead of putting it on your feet, you use it to line the interior of the boot for permanent padding. This makes wearing the riding boots bearable, and after three weeks of continuous battle, they finally start to soften and give.
Then, and ONLY THEN, can you be pleased with the purchase you made one month ago. This is where I find myself today.
I couldn’t resist sharing my fabulous good fortune with you.
Found these custom “Made in England” gems at my local shoe repair for $25.00!!!
They’d been sitting there for 3 weeks waiting patiently for their rightful new owner; yet unfortunately, every lady who tried to slip into them was immediately met with the sore disappointment of an unforgiving narrow leg. The couple who own the shoe repair aptly named them the “Cinderella” boot.
And so, in my fifty-first year the heady OOMF I received, when pray-tell they exclaimed, “you’re ‘Cinderella!’” led me straight to the decision to dress up as Betty Draper at the Mad Men Soiree I would attend on Saturday night.
And she lived, happily ever after.
Too cute. So cute in fact, that I’m almost not bitter at her snagging a pair identical to my $110.00 riding boots for $25.00. Almost.
Just kidding. She got me into riding boots to begin with; I got her into shopping cheap. That makes it a fair trade, methinks. Way to go, Mom. Thanks for sharing. :)
Vintage Vertigo Paris jeans; old school Radu workout tee; Melissa wedges.
Also: Many of you have asked after the origin of the stunning, buttery, over-the-knee boots pictured a few days ago.
The brand: Tashkent by Cheyenne
Retail value: $600.00+
What I paid: $145.00
For full deets on this epic score, see Resale Realizes a Buttery Boot Dream.
Dear Cheap JAP,
I am a legging whore but when I’m not wearing leggings, I go for the skinny jeans tucked into boots. The problem is, my jeans bunch up and are all uncomfortable tucked into the boots. A friend of mine told me a while back, that she heard about a new invention that kept the jeans in place–no bunching or anything. Of course, now I can’t find it because I don’t know what it’s called. Do you know? Or do you have any other recommendations? Maybe use the clasps that hold my sheets onto my mattress?
This is a common problem, fo sho. The solution requires the magic of an old pair of tights. Bust out the scissors, grab some old and/or damaged hosiery you’d otherwise trash, and cut off the legs a few inches above the knee. Observe:
Pull on boots. Doneskies. :)
(If you find your old tights’ elasticity has expired, a pair of stockings or knee-highs from any drug store is an excellent alternative. That is all.)