Pardon the absence, chickadees – biznass at my thriftique is, well, BOOMING.
By the by, we’re phasing out consignment and phasing in cash-for-clothes – if you’ve got castoffs to sell, we’d love to take a look! Email email@example.com to set up an appointment with me or my hetero-life-mate, Kate Goldwater.
I schlep it out on stock runs, but I’ve started classing it up a bit on my days running the store. For someone with an affinity for hiked-up hemlines and shredded denim, this is obvs uncharted territory.
I used to think cardigans, blouses and skirts of the non-mini ilk had some kind of transformative power – wear them in conjunction and poof! You’re Betty Draper.
A wildly irrational assumption, yes. I mean, they’re just clothes, for fuck’s sake – any power they have over us is always in our own heads. Alas, sometimes logic alone isn’t enough to cut through one’s own ridiculous projections.
Throw an effing amazing ladylike piece into the mix, and the argument for occasional elegance is a hell of a lot more convincing. The skirt above was unearthed from one of the back bins at Green Village Junk Shop. I was on the hunt for store stock at the time, but one look at this puppy was enough to convince me to sell it never. Tuck a white tank into it, throw on flat sandals and some jewelry and it’s not just the easiest outfit in existence – it’s one of the greats.
FYI you guys: While Green Village’s front racks are always ripe with vintage finds, its by-the-pound selection (and I use that term loosely) bears the highest of sketch factors. Successful guerilla thrifting generally hinges on hard work and endurance – where Green Village’s back bins are concerned, sometimes neither gets you jack shit.
Finding a skirt like this in a by-the-pound context is a matter of blind luck alone. Save yourself the agony, and stick to the racks. (Unless you have a borderline-psychotic addiction to digging a la moi, in which case, go for it.)
Now lookie, I wasn’t drawn to this skirt because tea-lengths are oh-so-haute-right-now. I just like to stick it to retail as much as possible. Attached to the occasional on-trend secondhand find is something I’m not nearly mature enough to forgo.
BRAGGING RIGHTS.A brief analysis of my vintage number and its Dolce Vita counterpart:
Similar button placement.
Similar color family.
A two hundred and nineteen dollar difference in cost.
How you like me now, retail? HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?!
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.
Today, Fashionista hinted that Topshop’s Chicago expansion might be borderline insane. It is. Topshop isn’t just a massive rip off – it’s a rip off that’s managed to frame itself as a reasonably priced alternative to expensive, on-trend apparel and accessories, when its average price point clearly says otherwise. I sincerely hope Chicago clotheshorses are wise enough to put it out of business as soon as possible.
My hatred for Topshop isn’t entirely cost-related – it’s worse. I actually really dig the clothes, trendy and poorly made as they may be. This makes me doubly bitter over not being able to afford the offensively inflated retail mark up on said clothes.
Enter resale, exit bitterness.
Lucky for me, Buffalo Exchange’s sublime selection of brands extends to Topshop. This hot little pink-tinged beige mini skirt retailed for $65.00, once upon a time.
Its $14.50 resale price is obvs much more palatable.
A reader recently asked why I don’t shop at Urban Outfitters.
I don’t know if it’s the music, the faux vintage and/or gimmicky tees, the uber-cute stuff at uber-offensive price points, or that my definition of SALE is rarely in sync with the stores’ reduced-price racks, but all of the above makes Urban Outfitters my personal shopping hell. I’m not saying I don’t like the clothes; I just don’t have the energy, dollars or patience to buy them in-store. This doesn’t mean I won’t buy them elsewhere.
Enter Beacon’s Closet, Park Slope.
The above skirt bears stylistic and material similarities to the Silence & Noise Sublimated Zebra Skirt, which retails for $38.00 and is currently on sale for $24.99.
What’d I pay for a gently-worn version of the same brand? $9.95.
I don’t know if Urban makes the Lux line anymore, so we’ll use another one of its in-house labels to deduce the original price of this garment. The BDG Flannel Pintuck Tunic retails for $38.00. Like its Silence & Noise brethren, it’s also on sale for $24.99.
The Lux floral print tunic cost me $14.95 – not a huge score in the grand scheme of things, but it fit like a dream so I gave it a go.
Why don’t I shop at Urban Outfitters? Because I can snag their stuff resale for less than its sale price.
The Alcove Thrift Shop netted me the following:
-Zara shift dress
-pony hair belt
-versatile vintage blouse
-military-inspired pencil skirt
The most expensive thing was the dress, at a whopping six bucks. Everything else was under $5. If memory serves, all the above came to less than $20.00.
That is the smile of a happy shopper.