This stellar pair of overalls cost me eight bucks at Buffalo Exchange.
I layered them over a Theory blouse (also Buff Ex – $21.00, WORD) and added navy tights and black Etienne Aigner oxfords (Mommy’s closet). Decent, but still missing something.
Blazers: The ultimate outfit finishing tool. I snagged the vintage number pictured on my latest stock run to Goodwill Outlet Center, where I paid fifty-five dollars for thirty-seven pounds of clothing.
The actual cost of this blazer? Approximately 75 cents.
Hot diggity DAMN – it’s been awhile. AuH2O is taking over my life AND I LOVE IT. Shopping for the store has brought a whole new sense of purpose to my Cheap JAPtastic life, for reals. I’ve honed some of my amateur DIY skills, and learned some new tricks as well. Among said new tricks? WINDOW DISPLAY.
I mean, come on, you know what it’s like to put outfits together: You lay it out on the bed; you think it’ll look amazing; you try on the combo; it looks like hell; you repeat the exercise until you’re out of steam; you resort to one of your standbys; you vow to never play dress up when you’re trying to get out the door again. Maybe that’s just me and I’m a total nutter. Whatevs.
Most apparel looks radically different on the hanger than it does on the body, but outfitting a mannequin gave me a whole new outlook on playing dress up. When you’re the model, the arduous task of dressing and undressing coupled with the self-criticism that tends to go along with trying on clothes results in one thing: Fear. Nothing kills creativity and boldness like being afraid of how it’s going to look. And while dressing a mannequin didn’t obliterate the insecurities exacerbated by trying new things, it changed my perspective on the whole getting dressed thang. When something doesn’t look good on us, our first instinct is to kick our own asses: We’re always too short, too fat, too pale, too old, too whatever. When something doesn’t look good on a dummy, you realize it’s not the body that’s the problem – it’s the garment. Maybe it’s ill-fitting, maybe it’s a weird pairing, maybe it’s made by a designer who’s ignorance of the female form is unparalleled (see Marc Jacobs). Granted, our dummy’s a size 4, which is still a far cry from the average American woman (size 14). But it has boobs, and it’s a lot more realistic than the less-than-zero mannequins gracing most retail stores today.
I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a dummy to avoid all the crap that arises whilst trying to get dressed. I just think reminding ourselves of the obvious when we do so – that more often than not, it’s not us, it’s the clothes – is a solid idea.
Where the eff was I? Oh riiiight – this outfit! Pairing tweeds and animal prints AND studs is kind of wild, and certainly not something I would have thought up sans the freedom afforded by the glorious headless dummy.
Apparently, it worked: A customer came in a few days after the outfit had been on display and asked to try on the skirt. I took it off the mannequin for her (unlike Goodwill, Housing Works and Angel Street Thrift Shop, we DO sell things from our window display on the spot :P): She loved it, bought it and left giddy over her material buzz. The naked-bottomed dummy gave me another chance to play dress up – an activity that, thanks to AuH2O, isn’t quite as scary as it once seemed.
Outfit deets: Vintage Tweed Peacoat, $14.00; Moschino Cheap ‘n’ Chic Cardigan, $28.00; Luella for Target Miniskirt (hand-studded by yours truly), $28.00.
Where office attire’s concerned, slut style seems to be all the rage this season. Risque Business, if you will.
Rocking a look like the above in a professional environment takes some serious balls. The Britney Spears-inspired thigh-high socks and mini-skirt pairing doesn’t say “promotion” so much as “afternoon quickie.” Even in a workplace with a flexible dress code, it’s pushing it.
Risque Business might be daywear in the fashion world; in the real world, it works better as evening garb. I took a cue from shopbop, and came up with this potential going-out outfit inspired by the risque business trend.
Mixing black and navy is a nod to any menswear look. The “socks” are cut from an old pair of navy tights; the navy belt was three bucks at a New Jersey thrift store.
The black mini slip is a hand-me-down from Mom; I wasn’t a fan of shapewear until I realized its high versatility quotient. Much like a good bra, a decent shaper slip dress is a worthy investment. It slims the frame when worn under dresses, and also answers some of life’s most difficult questions, i.e.
What the eff do I wear under this transparent vintage slip schmata?
I snagged the aforementioned slip at Zachary’s Smile’s Attic Sale a few months back; were it not for the awesomeness of shapewear, I’d still have absolutely no idea how to wear it.
Where the risque business trend’s concerned: Keep it dark. Keep it simple. And keep it short without exposing your hoo-ha.
Every time there’s a season change, I’m overwhelmed by the variety and volume of new merch all over again. I yearn for an omniscient sartorial guide to steer me toward what I want and away from what I don’t: My brain is too saturated with glossy features, luxe ads, sponsored posts, editorial endorsements and product launches to know the difference.
Enter Shopbop Lookbooks: No Fall Trend Report is more drool-worthy or relevant to my personal taste. Shopbop doesn’t just have a knack for highlighting the best of Fall’s apparel, accessories, handbags and shoes; it manages to style the goods in ways as creative as they are wearable. I’m not saying go out and buy the site’s latest and greatest – the prices attached to its goods exemplify material obscenity. Browsing Shopbop Lookbooks is a look-don’t-touch exercise only. We look; we note; we hit a thrift, resale, vintage or consignment store; we review our notes; we find a version of a coveted thing for a fraction of its shopbop price!
Here’s a breakdown of one of the site’s coveted looks, and some tips on how to shop ‘it second hand.
Contemporary sweaters and leggings can easily be found at resale shops or buy-sell-trades. Stick with stores that stock seasonal, on-trend apparel: Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet, Second Time Around and Crossroads Trading Co. are all stellar bets. (Crossroads, kindly stop depriving us east-coasters of your awesomeness, and open an NYC location).
The odds of that kickass Elizabeth & James blazer popping up at a resale shop anytime soon are probs non-existent, but fret not, chickadees: You can get the same look by sewing metallic trim onto the shoulders of one you already own!
Order online from M&J Trimming, or hit your local fabric/craft store for the necessary materials. Hip hip hooray for DIY.
Stay tuned for more trends and ways to shop them second hand.
I have absolutely no idea where I purchased the dress pictured below.
It was somewhere in Williamsburg, possibly near Metropolitan Ave, definitely in a not-yet-fully-gentrified area – a charming vintage hole-in-the-wall, run by an English Bulldog and his musician owner. The mysterious store was open late enough for me to stumble upon it in between weekend bar stops.
That’s code for “I was tipsy enough to get conned into paying $45 for a floral mini dress.”
Whatevs. Some things are too cute to pass up after two Tequilas on the rocks.
I’m all about high hemlines, but this dress uses its innocent print as an excuse to take it to the limit: It fails the fingertip skirt test by the length of one whole hand.
Why, then, do I still feel comfortable wearing it? (And by ‘comfortable,’ I mean with flats and non-pasty legs. Obvs.)
Built-in bloomers. That is some old-school awesomeness right there. It kinda feels like a diaper; then again, it covers the hoo-ha sans bike shorts so NBD.
Granted, the dress is still short enough to suggest itself as a catalyst for crotch shots. But as long as my legs take the focus off my matted, frizzed out, schvitzy August blob of a hairdo, I’m cool with a little overexposure. Fall – and the freedom to blowdry that comes with the season – can’t get here soon enough.
(Photo deets: Belt, DIY material collateral (zero dollars); necklace, Mom’s (legally thieved); sparkly eye shadow, CVS (Physicians Formula, $9.95).