Surprise! Miss me? Good. Ditto. Discussion on the absurdity of Spring’s Retro Trend shall heretofore commence. Clarifying the meaning of “retro” as it relates to style is probs a good place to start. Let’s jack some knowledge from Wikipedia:
Retro is a culturally outdated or aged style, trend, mode, or fashion, from the overall postmodern past, that has since that time become functionally or superficially the norm once again. The use of “retro” style iconography and imagery interjected into post-modern art, advertising, mass media, etc. It generally implies a vintage of at least 15 or 20 years.
You hear that, chickadees? Old shiznat is In. So In that Topshop sent two chicks from its design team over to AuH2O yesterday to spy on us, which was half-flattering and half-absurd. (What’s wrong, Topshop? Is the shitstorm of sparkles and feathers and other overpriced barely-wearables not going as well as you’d hoped?)
Retro basically means stolen from the past. This makes it the easiest trend in the history of trends to thrift, should you choose to incorporate elements of it into your wardrobe. Tie-front blouses, long skirts, printed button down shirts – there’s about nine kajillion of all the above in every shape, size and color in every Salvation Army Family Store and every Goodwill Outlet Center on the planet. For serious.
The tops below were snagged on a stock run earlier this week… before I’d even browsed Shopbop’s latest trend schmend lookbooks. The extent of the Retro sham eventually became clear.
Swearsies, my vintage striped blouse is 100% silk too. Nothing’s wrong with it, aside from the fact that it’s been duplicated, coined the “Clean Sheer Striped Shirt” and perverted by Madewell‘s $95.00 pricetag. Grossness.Am I on glue here, or does the earth-toned, Safari-inspired trend thing happen EVERY SINGLE SPRING and just rotate what it calls itself? I guess this year it’s masquerading as Retro; next year it’ll be Natural or something equally vague. Whatever.
A few small differences between my thrift find and its retail copy, err, inspiration (also by Madewell – someone on that design team def digs Goodwill.) One: Mine is linen – a fabric of equal caliber to silk, IMHO. Two: Mine is olive, as opposed to poop brown. Onto the prints!Okay, okay, I’m aware that the Tommy Bahama number at left isn’t objectively attractive. It could possibly be deemed ugly as sin. Guess what? I don’t give a RAT’S ASS. I think it’s AMAZING. I think it’s my favorite top I own right now, and I think I’m going to wear it all spring and summer, possibly to family events, where it will undoubtedly embarrass my mother.
My feeling is, if you’re gonna go tie-front, go big or go home, and if you’re gonna go print, go loud while you’re at it. I wore it to work yesterday, assuming it’d be slow because it was a weekday and the weather was absolute shite. We ended up getting slammed for the bulk of the afternoon, which obvs means that in addition to being awesome, the Tommy Bahama is also lucky.
For today’s version of the aforementioned lucky top, see the Adhan Sleeveless Blouse by Equipment. It’s a little less loud and little more modern… I might even call it cute. Oh, except it’s effing two hundred and forty two dollars.
I’m sorry, but a top costing more than two Benjamins better take ten pounds off, make my boobs look perkier, go with every thing I own, and have a lifespan of approximately 75 years. If it doesn’t do any of the above, it’s not a top at all. It’s a FELONY.
Peacey outtie and a big fat MWAH.
This is a dress from Marc by Marc Jacobs‘ latest runway show.
The technical term for a dress like this is vintage-inspired. Horseshit. This is highbrow copycatting at its most uncreative.
I mean, if you’re going to highjack a design from a previous era, at least DO SOMETHING to it to make it your own. Why buy a pricey, vintage-inspired dress if we can snag an authentic vintage one for hundreds of dollars less?
I found this gem of a dress in the back bins at Green Village Junk Shop.
The clothes there cost $2.00 a pound. So this dress cost me approximately 15 cents.
Thrifting a Goodwill Outlet Center isn’t just challenging: It is a trying test of spirit and will. I’ve been at it for two years now, and it knocks me on my ass EVERY SINGLE TIME.
High volume thrift is a dangerous journey. Here’s how the clothes-by-the-pound game is played:
- Approach massive bin of donated crap.
- Plunge arms into bottom of bin; grab as much clothing as wingspan/bicep strength allows; yank in upward direction.
- Sift through first pull; put promising items into cart.
- Repeat 4-5 times for current bin.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for every subsequent bin.
How large is a massive bin of donated crap? Five feet wide, nine feet long, four feet deep – and that’s a conservative guess.
How many massive bins of donated crap exist at Goodwill Outlet Center? Forty or so – enough to scare the shit out of me.
Why do I continue to frequent a place that leaves me battered and brain-fried? Because it’s the biggest payoff in the history of thrift. (Also, because I need stock for my thriftique: We bust our asses to find it cheap so we can price it cheap. You’re welcome. :P)
Sifting through mountains of damages, stains, dated fugliness and suspicious odors isn’t fun by a long shot; trying the stuff on when you’re done sure as hell is, but it’s not the ultimate reward. The best part of all the work that goes in to foraging kickass stock? Watching someone fall in love with something it took me hours to find. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I guess I’m in the right business.
A few finds from my latest AuH2O stock run.
More laters. Mwah!
P.S. Dig the polaroid frames?! Picnik, I LOVE YOU. :P
A few mornings ago, me and my greasy hair took an L train back from my boyfriend’s apartment, and I realized I had a crucial decision to make: Wash and blow dry my hair, or get to work on time. I could have done both at ludicrous speed, but I was low on energy that morning; the thirty-minute time suck that is the wash/blow dry cycle was more than I could reasonably handle. Was it possible to omit the exercise and still have a good hair day? Maybe. A half-ass blow dry (i.e. what happens when you dampen your dry, unwashed hair, dab on some straightening serum and dry it in sections) never lasts more than a few hours. An up-do was an option, but I effing hate wearing my hair up. Ditto for au natural – my strands are too thin for that shiznat. I was about to resign myself to a wash/blow dry cycle at ludicrous speed, when it dawned on me: Dry Shampoo! I hopped off the train and hauled ass to CVS in pursuit.
Many beauty magazines will tell you dry shampoo is available in your local drugstore. They are lying. After scanning the appropriate aisles and coming up dry-shampoo-less, I remembered my mother’s penchant for baby powder.
Mom is a baby powder fanatic. She uses it in place of deodorant, she sprinkles it in shoes, her make-up area’s covered with the stuff. I’ve even seen it on her shoulders a few times… does that mean she uses it in her hair??? I hightailed it to the diapers aisle, found the baby powder, and got my answer.
What’s in dry shampoo that makes it suck up the oil and grease so effectively? Cornstarch. Also a key ingredient in any good baby powder. Booyah!
I sped home to my apartment, giddy with anticipation. The baby powder did exactly what I’d hoped, and then some: I went from greasy flat mess to Brazilian blowout in approximately ten seconds. Hello AWESOME.
Baby powder isn’t just my newfound alternative to the wash/blow dry cycle; since that morning, it’s become one of my favorite styling products EVER. A good dry shampoo will run you anywhere from $15.00 – $35.00. What’d I pay for my Johnson & Johnson? $3.49. Loves it!
I’m generally unimpressed by the prices at Manhattan-based charity thrifts a la Salvation Army and Goodwill: Both chains tend to use their upper crust locations as grounds for ripping people off. There is, however, one exception to the marked-up donations trend, and it happens once a week at Salvation Army’s Hell’s Kitchen location.
For six days a week, one color tag gets highlighted on the 2nd floor’s big red board. Everything tagged in that color is 50% off. But every Wednesday without fail, something magical happens: Salvation Army pulls a switcheroo. On Wednesdays, the merch tagged in the color highlighted is the only merch that isn’t on sale. Everything else – i.e. over 75% of the store – is 50% off. Happy hump day to us all!
A few dresses from my latest haul, snagged at 50% off their original Salvation Army price:
For shirt dresses like the above, Banana Republic charges around $120 a pop, and that is a travesty of epic proportions. Paying $3.49 for one isn’t reasonable: It’s robbery.
DAMN it feels good to be a GANGSTA. Bah!
An uber versatile, 90s era Candies trench dress for $2.99?! Can’t beat that shiznat.