Loved this tag from ShopSRJ and done by Trina Leavers and HaveLouisWillTravel so I thought I’d give it a whirl on this balmy NY morning (just kidding I keep my Popsicles on the porch now). 1. Who are your style icons: Bette Davis for makeup and the Downton cast although I suppose for everyday it’s Shay Mitchell. 2. Best style tips and advice? Choose a fitness idol with the same body type as you and wear what you like as long as you’re covered in all the legally mandated areas. 3. What was your style like as a teenager? Oh dear – California girl turned to normcore turned to Veronica Mars layered grunge 4. What type of outfit do you wear most? Dress and leggings 5. Who is your favorite designer? Alexander McQueen and Chloe… Oh and Rag&Bone… Oh and Balmain!
At last night’s Center for Safety & Change charity shop, I had a brief Oscar de la Renta Greek Islands circa 1964 moment before picking up some Nicole Miller baubles instead. While the travel pangs are still around, there was really no excuse to buy the whispy pink empire slip dress… instead I’ll go on coveting that dress, the sun, the olive oil, and these shorts from Clover Canyon.
The Closet Confidential tag recently had every fashionista peering guiltily into her closet and wondering
where she had gone wrong. What was your biggest waste of money? How about your first splurge? And that oldest item… why do I feel guilty for not owning anything older than five years?!
If your closet is the road map of your life, it certainty has its ups and downs, from that first shopping spree when you discover fashion, to the style purge/hoodie binge that is college, back up to a chic and sensible wardrobe of your fledgling career days. If this is my wardrobe’s pinnacle moment, where’s my Channel 2.55? Can I at lease get a little piece of the Pheobe Philo Celine action?
Well those highfalutin dreams may be a little off but we can still rock the label love on the lower tiers of the wastrel bracket. I’ve been managing a serious vintage addiction lately (that’s hipster for expensive thrift shopping) and there are some serious finds out there if you know how to look. Which brings us to here, 5 ways to get high… to get your closet high… to still pay rent and have a nice wardrobe (BTW happy 4/20)!
1. Decide your price point before you buy. Jumping from $5 t-shirts from H&M to $50 pre-owned Helmut Lang leaves a bruise on your wallet, even if said $50 shirt started at $225. The thing about vintage shopping is you really never know what you’re going to find. From last season’s Zac Posen pleated dress to Versace’s animal friends button down circa 1995 it is difficult to predict what you’ll see and it is imperative that you make a quick buying decision. The easiest scale for translation is to look at the price, if you can’t afford it then you can’t buy it. At the end of the day a t-shirt is just a t-shirt. It’s also important to judge the label and the quality of the item. My Zac Posen dress was $140 and is both a wonderfully made dress and from a designer I love. It was more than I was hoping to spend that day, however I had budgeted some money for a dress for an upcoming event. (Don’t forget to budget for dry cleaning and alterations.) The ultimate high item is the piece cut so well that someone doesn’t need to see the label to turn green with envy.
2. Jewelry counts. I recently read a 30 before 30 list that was blessedly free from the usual “go skydiving even if you hate roller coasters” BS; this post suggested buying a piece of jewelry that you would actually pass down to your children. This seems like a nice little way to look forward while still spending a bit on yourself today. Large stones can really change an outfit and the transition from costume to legit jewelry can have a massive impact on your outfit. A timeless piece will avoid all fads while still speaking to you on an emotional level. That kind of gravitas will add a high to any outfit.
3. Leave the cheapies for the basics. Those dollar store socks are one thing, but work button downs with holes or stains? Got.to.go. Look for high-end cuts in mid-range stores and outlets. Large outlets like Saks off the 5th can be a great place for work-wear highs, and work-wear is the part of your wardrobe where the majority of the funds should be going anyway. Ideally, you wear it more and it can actually help get you ahead. Express is a good resource for high-end cuts and their fabric is usually descent but if it feels weird in the dressing room stay away.
4. Don’t fall prey to high-price but low-end. Oh all those beautiful and drapey jersey knit tee, the whimsical muscle tanks with witty sayings, the amazing sequined loafers with leather tassels. Sigh. There are a lot of designers with really low quality standards and that Sunday splurge will be a slightly frayed regret by Wednesday. (Vintage shopping side-note: stores like Saks have their own set of rules regarding quality. Anything with a Saks tag will be well-made.)
5. Find the next big thing. Well-made pieces in fun and experimental designs tend to crop up around the senior shows of wannabe designers. Attend shows for locals designers and artisans and keep up with them. You may have just found the next big thing and if you haven’t your hand-made snake-skin bucket bag is still a one of a kind.
Every week I tune into Witches of East End to see Freya (Tatum) choose between the goodly doc and his naughty bartender bro and also to see what Aunt Wendy (Amick) is wearing that episode. From her signature “antique” amulet to her endless supply of Topshop kimonos – every outfit she has is perfection and always finished with a simple silver bangle high on her arm. The perfect blend of fantasism (we’re making up words now) and the utterly mortal bohemian, I love everything so much I pretty much rotate my own wardrobe based on hers. Finding a good fashion template is great because it makes getting dressed that much easier. This weekend we’re going for leggings, a black tunic, and tons of enchanting bling a la episode s1e7 Unburied.
For the weekday-workday we’ll have to class it up a bit. Forget the skimpy camisoles Wendy uses to keep “warm” in those oh so temperate New York winters. Finding a few snuggly pieces that still have her eccentric flair should be easy this season with stores beginning to stock their own takes on the runway trends.
Finally, let’s not forget the nails. Her long black nails filed to a point are daring and sexy. While I may not be brave enough to make mine that pointed and then try to remove my own contact lens, the overall effect is easily replicated. Thank you OPI in Onyx.
tank Urban Outfitters
Bangle House of Harlow
As Sheldon Cooper pointed out in The Big Bang Theory Renaissance Faires are anything but historically accurate. What he failed to notice was that from a design perspective they offered up some pretty enticing ideas. Every year my friends and I go to our local Ren Faire, partly for tradition and partly for the frozen bananas, we also refuse to dress up and then immediately feel boring and lame for being the only ones without elf ears. While lobe prosthetics may not be on the catwalk this year it is easy to embrace the whimsical au natural ease of forest folk and meade wenches.
Old school chain mail – Steve Madden Shiney Sandals $99 (at Macy’s)
Lady of the forest – Forever 21 Boho Doll Shift Dress $29.80
Friend to the animals – House of Harlow Talon Cuff $85
Renaissance princess – House of Harlow Electric Charge Cocktail Ring Red $55
The queen’s jewels – House of Harlow Kaleidoscope Fingerpick Necklace $88
Travel in layers – H&M Patterned Kimono $29.95
The weather is officially on the warm side! I’m popping my Allegra, opening all the windows, and heading to the shops for some flesh-bareing duds.
My budget this season is a whopping $150!
Trends I’m searching for and where I found them:
Tropicana Cool – crazy florals or even more up to the minute – leaf prints!
Little lacey dresses. The idea of a cut-out sounds nice on a summer day but I would never ever wear something displaying half my midsection, nor the flank of my back, or anywhere really, these little lacey eyelets are so small they are airy and fresh but I can still say I’m totally dressed.
Hard core sandals. Flip flops are great at the beach but running errands sometimes I feel like I’m in danger of flopping onto my face, as a die hard boot wearer 90% of the year I want something that’s comfortable and sturdy but not hideous.
Hard core Cool accessories. My studded leather jacket is about to be tucked away in the confines of my closet for at least three months, my combat boots have already been boxed up, my leather cuffs will become torturous once the summer heat rolls in but will my wardrobe have to lose all it’s bad-ass behavior? No way! My tropical prints can be edged up with a chunky belt and maybe an explorer’s vest, going more Jungle Jane than summer with grandma in Boca, my lace dress will have hard silver accessories such as mid-sized door knocker and a chunky chain. But in lew of my motorcycle jacket I’m looking to add another constant, a bag or shoe that still holds the edge I enjoy.
What Gatsby? The twenties trend has been pretty intense for the past few season, and since its usually scooped up in the form of a party dress its been alive and well throughout every season. I already own two completely fabulous limited edition Dorothy Perkins (UK) flapper dresses and I wouldn’t add anymore since my life isn’t that fabulous. (I still haven’t found a way to make these work appropriate…) Now that the film is finally out I think people will branch out their 20s
Inspired fashions to include the preptastic yacht-wear. I don’t usually play on the side of prep but it is kind of the easiest choice – it is always appropriate. This year I want a light weight loosely knit white sweater for those crisp night on the beach. Wearing neon underneath takes it away from Bayside cool and loading on the jewelry also hardens up those soft lines.
So what’d I buy?
H&M Eco-friendly maxi dress – $20! A maxi dress on the beach feels pretty luxe and at this price you won’t weep when you get suntan lotion on it.
Blue and White lace mini – TJ Maxx – $25. Ok I can’t honestly call this a suggestion because its from TJ’s and the odds of yours having the same is slim, but this is proof they exist and can be affordable. The original price on this was $45. Old Navy also has a line of eyelets for under $40 that are pretty adorable.
Brown leather sandals – Born $30. These were on sale and they didn’t list the original price, they are probably at DSW. Born’s are insanely comfortable so they’re worth good money but they go on sale a lot so I wouldn’t pay full price.
This bag isn’t a name brand and was $25. There are tons of studded bags this season and if you have the lust for it it is crazy easy to buy a cheap bag and some studs. You can glue them on with jewelry glue and it will take 5 minutes or if you want to keep it for more than a season you can go all out and pierce the fabric with proper studs.
Forever 21. I know I can’t believe I said Forever 21 either but bear with me… This is not your high school Forever 21. Ok you still need to dig, their sizes are wonky and their shoulders are incredibly narrow on the more structured pieces like jackets, also if you’re plus size the section is laughably small and all the pieces don’t seem to come in the smaller sizes (which sounds like a silly observation but if you’re in a small town with only a Forever 21 at the mall then everyone knows the clothes you’re wearing are specifically plus sized, not really a draw, but this could be only the store by me). However, their stuff is nice and super on trend and cheap. So if you want a pleather mini skirt you can get once for under $40 and then regret it and not have to fret over spending several paychecks on it. I got the white cable sweater here for $20. I get so many complements and no one can ever believe it’s from F21 (because it’s not a sparkly tube top – which they don’t even seem to sell anymore!!!!).
Grand total – $120!
I’m sure I’ll find something for that $30 I have left over… Perhaps a Derek Lam for Kohl’s bathing suit top… I got everything I wanted pretty cheap and it covers a large array of wants. From beach to boardwalk I’m covered.
In other news I have recently learned Uniqlo sells shorts that are not up your business… This may be old news but if you don’t love short shorts here ya go! They’re in cute colors too!