Friday, September 28, 2007

Black Black

Black wrap sweater, Bloch. Black lace top, Newport News. Black strapless dress, Moda International. Silver acorn necklace, Express. Black pumps, Michelle D.

Looking at today’s photo, you might think you have the wrong blog. I don’t think I’ve ever worn all black (at least, not in the last year). The closest I’ve come is a black and gray outfit last November. (I was going to link to the entry from last November, but it is a truly horrible picture.)

I was instructed to dress in black for an audition I have this evening. I wanted to at least wear brightly colored shoes, but I don’t want to be labeled “that person who can’t follow simple instructions.”

Speaking of “Black Black,” that is the name of my favorite gum. I used to chew it when I lived in Japan. It had a mint and menthol taste and was rumored to contain both caffeine and nicotine. It was great to clear the sinuses and wake one up. I should look for it next time I visit Jungle Jim’s. I could use a piece today, after a late night at the thee-ay-tah.

(All black outfits are difficult to photograph. If you want to see the details, I think you can pick most of them out by clicking on the photo to see a larger view.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Fair Lady

Short-sleeved linen blazer, Forever 21. Orange dress, The Limited. Brown pumps, Antonio Melani. Necklaces, Body Central. Bag, Caprice (vintage).

I love “theater people.” When I moved to Cincinnati, just over three years ago, I knew no one but my husband. I got involved in local theater to make new friends. While some groups are admittedly clique-ish, others welcomed me with open arms. It was such a relief to be my real, goofy self, after having to maintain a military demeanor for almost four years. I consider myself fortunate to have collected a large circle of friends who are as screwy as I am. One of my very sweet cohorts is taking me to see My Fair Lady tonight, at the Aronoff. Yeah for theater dorks!

I’ve included a close-up of this Caprice purse so that my readers might be able to help me name the types of skins used. I’ve identified most of it as snake. I think the wavy bands may be ostrich (and the circular marks are where the feathers used to be). I’m at a loss on the pebbly skin to the bottom left and the other textured skin on the bottom right. Are there any exotic skin experts out there?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On Trial: Striped Shirt

Sheer black tank, Mossimo. Striped shirt, Forever 21. Black slacks, Nine & Co. Black pumps, Michelle D.

The second item from my wardrobe on trial is this striped shirt from Forever 21. What I love about it: the colors. The stripes are pink, burgundy, khaki, chocolate, cream, and black. What I don’t like about it: the colors, fabric, the length. I know I just said that I love the colors, but at the same time, I hate them. While I like the individual shades, the overall effect is sort of muddy. I feel like this shirt is always dirty looking. The fabric doesn’t help. The sheer, wrinkle-prone material looks as if I scrounged the shirt from under the bed, even when it’s freshly washed and ironed. I might be able to forgive these faults if it also weren’t so short; I can barely tuck it in. (You can see the shirt untucked here).

So why have I kept it? Nostalgia, I suppose. It was the first thing I ever purchased from Forever 21. I first visited the chain at the Pearl Ridge Center in Honolulu. I was in Hawaii to inspect the Classified Materials Control Center for one of our units and managed to take a few days of leave in conjunction with the trip. My mom and sisters flew out from Washington State to see me. We didn’t spend ALL our time in malls (although, after being shopping deprived in Okinawa, malls held incredible allure for me), but I did manage to begin an on-again, off-again affair with Forever 21.

What should I do with the striped shirt?
Keep it
Swap it
Alter it
Give it to charity
Other - I'll tell you in the comments free polls

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Service Skirt

Black top with lace overlay, Moda International. Green skirt, from my USMC service uniform (and embellished by me). Black slingbacks, Audrey Brooke. Cameo choker, thrifted.

Mike said I might be court-martialed for desecrating my service uniform skirt. I added black lace at the hem and a lacey trim at the waistband (hidden by the shirt today). I don’t have anything to fear. My obligated service, both active and inactive, has long since expired and I can do what I will with my old uniforms. I’m planning on making a skirt and a purse out of some old camo trousers.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Navy and Coral

Navy tank, Merona. Coral blouse, Worthington. Navy skirt with white polka-dots, Side x Side (thrifted and altered by me). Brown, peep-toe pumps, Antonio Melani. Faux pearls with medallion, Newport News. Snakeskin purse, Caprice (vintage).

No fun backstory today. I’m just digging navy and coral together.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Snake-print Dress

Black wrap sweater, Bloch. Snake-print halter dress, Charlotte Russe. Dark jeans, Express. Yellow pumps Victoria Spenser. Red bag, Target. Black hoop earrings, Wet Seal.

This dress has such history! I bought it in early 1999 to wear out dancing in Phoenix. It was on steady rotation through my club wear until I went into the military that fall, and then it was retired to a storage bin. I’m glad I hung on to it because it was perfect on stage, playing Jessica Hahn in The Gospel According to Tammy Faye last June. On Saturday night, I went to see one of my Gospel castmates in The Fully Monty, along with two other Gospel-ites, so it was only appropriate to resurrect the dress once again, but I toned down the trashiness with jeans and a sweater. On Sunday, I washed it and hung the dress in the back of the closet, where it awaits its next great role.

Famous Dress

What’s a bored girl to do, all alone on a Friday night, after drinking two glasses of Vendage a Trois? Twirl, twirl, twirl (and document with photos).

Denim jacket, brown cami, and printed dress, Forever 21. Moth medallion necklace, Anthropologie. Embellished flip-flops, American Eagle.

Perhaps it means I’m a total dork, but I get really excited when I see an item of clothing I own featured in a magazine spread or a movie. Like when I was watching Season I of Heroes last week and (in the episode where she meets her mother) Claire was wearing my Takeout sweater! I had to pause the DVD, run up stairs, and wear the cardigan for the rest of the night, despite the fact that the house was near 80 degrees. I was similarly thrilled when this dress was pictures in a NY Times article about inexpensive dresses. However, I wouldn’t dare wear mine without a cami underneath!

(Picture from the NY Times article - just in case you couldn't access the page.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

September Brights Mix

Turquoise top, A Byer (thrifted). Black, lace-edged cami, New York & Company. Red rose-print scarf, flea market in California. Black skirt, Moda International (bottom half of a skirt suit, goes with this jacket). Yellow pumps, Victoria Spenser. Gold-tone necklace, Body Central.

I haven’t worn a brights mix since February. I thought it was time, once again, to wear a bunch of random colors.

I read in Lucky and then on You Look Fab that one can remove marks from patent leather with nail polish remover. I was a bit skeptical, but thought I’d try it on my yellow patent shoes. The second time I wore them, I stepped on my own foot, leaving a black streak on the yellow patent. I tried removing the mark with soap and water, windex, patent leather conditioner, and my fingernails. None of them budged the streak. A cotton swap dipped in nail polish remover was the most effective, but it didn’t completely remove the mark. However, it didn’t damage the shoe’s finish, either, so I’m mostly satisfied. (I wonder if I would have had better results with a nail polish remover that had a higher percentage of acetone.)

Before, Me and My Arsenal, After

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Strawberry Shortcake

White, cropped eyelet jacket, Forever 21. Pink cami, Deep Los Angeles. Khaki slacks, Moda International. Pink crescent earrings, Khaki slingbacks, Linea Paolo

Growing up with a name like “Kasmira,” I had to endure more than my fair share of nicknames. Either no one wants to spit out the three syllables or they want to call me something more fanciful (as if my given name isn’t unusual enough). My latest moniker is “Strawberry Shortcake,” due to (I assume) my small stature and red hair. Today, I’m dressing and smelling (in Petite Cherie, by Annick Goutal) the part.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On Trial: Thai Skirt

Black sweater with flutter sleeves, Ann Taylor Loft. Red Thai silk skirt with gold embroidery, Thailand. Red patent flats, New York and Company. Red and gold bangles, Ramayana. Gold coin earrings, Urban Nomad.

You’ve seen my closet and I’ve confessed to having 30 skirts. Although only seven (9%) of you said it was time to make some donations to charity, I took your feedback to heart. I need to do a better job cleaning out my closet!

Each week, I will wear something that doesn’t often see the light of day and ask for your opinion. Should I keep it? Swap it? Alter it? Or give it to charity?

The first item up for trial is this Thai wrap skirt. What I love about it: the fabric. It’s genuine Thai silk, dyed a rich red and woven with metallic thread. What I don’t like about it: the length, the style (wrap), the fit. I’m afraid the floor-length skirt overwhelms my (almost) 5’5” frame. This morning, getting on the bus, the uncouth person behind me stepped on my hem and nearly sent me toppling back down the stairs. I dislike wrap skirts. This style always looks awkward at the waistline, creating a paper-bag waist effect. I struggle between concealing the waist with a long shirt or baring it with a tucked in blouse and then adjusting the ties each time I stand up. While it seems that a wrap skirt would fit anyone, that isn’t the case. The skirt looks terrible unless it falls in an uninterrupted column. It does not accommodate curves well. Finally, try walking in a floor-length column. I’m reduced to mincing geisha steps.

What should I do with the Thai skirt?
Keep it
Swap it
Alter it
Give it to charity
Other - I'll tell you in the comments free polls

Cherry Blossom

Cherry blossom pink, cropped cardigan, Moda International. Missoni-esque dress, Lipstick. Khaki slingbacks, Linea Paolo. Bead cluster earrings, World Market. Black bag, George ($5 at WalMart!)

I ordered this little sweater online last fall and the color was described as “cherry blossom.” It looked red in the Victoria’s Secret photographs but much more pink at home. Still it isn’t quite pink, either. It has a bit of orange in it, but it isn’t coral. The color defies description. “Cherry blossom” is probably as close as I can get.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mail Bag: Shopping Frequency

I swear – I am not making this up. This is REAL reader mail!

Question: how often do you shop? You seem to have so many clothing items to coordinate, that fit, that aren't outdated. My closet has about 10 outfits in it (leftover from school where wearing the same outfit more than once every two weeks was a faux pas). I never seem to have time to go shopping, so I never have new items. So my question is, how often do you have to shop to keep your closet interesting?


How often do I shop? That’s a difficult question to answer. I plan on shopping about once a month or so, and that’s usually a trip to the thrift store, to Target to see the new GO designer collection, or to find something I “need” (like silver shoes). I actually end up shopping about three times a month, give or take. I do a lot of spur of the moment purchasing – falling in love with a skirt as I browse the Victoria’s Secret catalog, entertaining myself at the mall while Mike looks for the latest UFC release, becoming sidetracked during a trip to Target to (ostensibly) get cat litter, or popping over to TJ Maxx on my lunch break. I have a very full schedule, so I take advantage of shopping opportunities as they appear.

Regarding your observation that I “have so many clothing items to coordinate, that fit, that aren't outdated:”

  • They coordinate because I gravitate to the same colors and shapes. When I look at something new, I try to imagine how it will fit with existing items in my wardrobe before I buy. I have a pretty good idea of what will look good with my coloring and shape and try not to stray, even when tight, purple jeans are all the rage.
  • Everything fits because I’ve been the same size for over 15 years (since my junior year of high school). That’s plenty of time to collect a hell of a lot of clothes.
  • I consider most of my purchases “classics” or at least classic to my sense of style. When I do buy trend items, I wear and wear and wear them while they’re in style so that I don’t feel bad ditching them in a year or two. For the most part, though, I shy away from extreme fads that will look outdated quickly. (Or I learn to conceal their faddishness with layers!)

The only shopping I NEED to do is to replace items or to update with trends. I think once a month is often enough to accomplish both. The "need" shopping usually takes me to the internet or a large chain store because I'm looking for a specific item and a reputable retailer. For WANT shopping, I try to stick with thrift stores, swapping, or super duper sales. I engage in "want" shopping on whim (but, dear God, I need to rein in the thrifting). Whether it’s “need” or “want” shopping, I’m not the sort to spend an entire day at the mall. I’d rather just visit a store or two as the mood strikes and then go do something else.

It sounds like you are interested in updating your wardrobe but feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect. It may sound overly obvious, but making a list can help. I keep a mental list of the things I need for the upcoming season:

  1. long gloves (nabbed a ruched, velvet pair today at TJ Maxx for $12)
  2. more long-sleeved t-shirts
  3. tights
  4. black socks (that look different from my husband’s or else he STEALS them)
  5. new black boots (but not till the January sales!)
  6. a down jacket

Then, when a shopping opportunity appears, I not only browse for what catches my fancy, but also for what is on The List.

Planning a shopping trip once every four weeks or so works for me, and I keep an open mind (and eye) the rest of the month.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Pink shirt and brown slacks, Moda International. Brown beads, Kohl’s. Beaded belt, Target. Brown peeptoe pumps, Antonio Melani.

This is kind of a weak start for the week. I keep reading about how oxford shirts are so “in” for fall. I think they look dull.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Striped Stomach

Black wrap sweater, Bloch. Striped tank, Mossimo. Black scarf, illicit souvenir from Fiddler on the Roof. Jeans and brown clogs, Gap. Brown purse, thrifted. Silver bird medallion necklace, Xhilaration.

I have two of these striped tanks from Target. They are so long that they could almost be worn as dresses. I’m never sure how to work them into an outfit. Topping them with another layer works, but horizontal stripes over one’s stomach and butt aren’t usually a good idea.

This photo is also a reminder to myself to wear less makeup. I wore only mascara and lipstick this weekend and loved how fresh it looked. (I usually wear every imaginable product, minus lip liner, every day.)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Green and Navy

Cropped jacket, Wilson’s leather. Navy sweater and green tank (beneath sweater) Mossimo. Jeans, Lucky. Green scarf, Ramayana. Green purse, JC Penney? Brown clogs, Gap. Golden apple watch necklace, Forever 21. Belt with colored stones (worn, doubled, as a necklace), Camp Foster PX.

The FINAL green outfit of the week. I have no idea why I am doing this odd shoulder-hunching thing in the photo. I actually wore a different outfit (hot, huh?) most of the day (to paint sets for House of Frankenstein), but changed into something more presentable for date night with the hubby.

So, it’s POLL TIME. I thought I’d do one poll for casual and one for business casual green outfits.

Favorite Casual Green outfit
Green and Lavender
Green and Khaki
Green and Navy free polls

Click the image for a larger view

Favorite Business Casual Green outfit
Green and Brown and White
Green and Black
Green and Plum
Green and Lace and Tartan
Green and Military Black free polls

Click the image for a larger view

Friday, September 14, 2007

Green and Khaki

Khaki dress, Forever 21 (thrifted). Green tee, Steve and Barry’s. Theatre-themed belt, some department store. Denim, Express. Khaki wedges, Montego Bay Club. Silver hoops, Nine West.

I wore this to rehearsal. I love wearing dresses over jeans. You get both comfort and coverage.

I thought this would be the last of the green outfits, but I’ve got one more planned for Saturday.

Green and Military Black

Emerald green, satin blouse, Express. Black skirt, from my USMC dress blues uniform. Patent mary janes, Xhilaration. Patent, quilted headband, Claire’s Boutique. Earrings, from my wedding.

On Monday, I got the clever idea to dye my olive drab skirt (from my USMC service uniform) black so that I could wear it to work. I couldn’t do it Monday night, because of rehearsal, but I planned to do it on Tuesday night. By Tuesday afternoon, though, I realized that I already had a black uniform skirt. Despite the name “dress blues,” my skirt (and the matching jacket) for that uniform are black. So, instead of dyeing the green skirt, I’m going to add black lace trim to make it look less uniform-like. Both skirts are great for this fall’s ladylike trend. They are highwaisted, fitted (all my uniforms were tailored), and well-constructed.

I was so excited to add two new skirts (for free!) to my workwear closet that I counted my collection. I am appalled to share with you that I have 30 (THIRTY) work skirts. I didn’t even count the estimated 15-ish casual skirts in my other closet or the five or so I have up for swap. Who needs 30 skirts? I must remember this next time I go thrifting.

I’m wearing green again to rehearsal tonight. You can expect a Best O’ the Green poll along with the photo.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Green and Lace and Tartan

Cream lace blouse, H&M (via swap with my other car is a spaceship). Lime green cami, Deep Los Angeles. Plaid pants, Express. Lime pumps, Colin Stuart.

Outside, on this chilly morning, I added a denim jacket (Forever 21) and a pink scarf (swap from deliolith).

This is an international sort of outfit. The top came from a swap with girl in Germany and the scarf was swapped from Italy. Check out Wardrobe Swap Shop on flickr. It’s all sorts of fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Green and Lavender

Pale green blouse, Ann Taylor Loft. Lavender, open-weave cardigan, Free People (thrifted). Dark denim, Calvin Klein. Wedges, Montego Bay Club. Opal and sterling earrings, some store in the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso, WA.

I guess I lied. You will see me wearing another purple item. I thrifted this lavender sweater at Valley Thrift on Saturday. Honestly, I think the color looks terrible on me. I’m experimenting with it over colors that flatter my face.

I wore my hair in a French braid all day today, with a headband to sweep back the wispies. I showed up at work at 7:30 a.m. with my hair braided and one of my coworkers asked if I did it myself. Ummm….who ELSE would be doing my hair that early in the morning?

Green and Plum

Plum shirt, New York and Company. Green linen skirt with beading, embroidery, and ribbon accent, Richard Malcom. Blue beads, Xhilaration. Khaki slingbacks, Linea Paoloa.

This is the only purple item you’ll ever see me wearing. I look terrible in purple; it makes my skin and eyes look gray. This purple has a lot of red in it, so it isn’t quite as terrible against my face as a bluish-purple. I only bought the shirt to coordinate with the embroidery of the skirt.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Green and Black

Black shrug, INC. Green dress, Max Studio. Black lace blouse, Newport News. Sandals, Gianni Bini. Feather chandelier earrings, Claire’s Boutique. Green scarf with paillettes, TJ Maxx.

I read on You Look Fab that the European way to autumn-ize your wardrobe is to add a scarf and/or hat before resorting to cardigans and jackets. Euro style must be catching on in the US because the latest People Style Watch has a spread on ways to fasten your scarf about your neck. I’m sporting the flip today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Green and Brown and White

Brown linen jacket, sheer green shirt, and golden apple watch necklace, Forever 21. Brown and white skirt, Andre Oliver (thrifted). Green peep toe pumps, Wet Seal. Orange fluffy cat, Monty.

This week is GREEN WEEK. I’ll be wearing green every day. Why? Just because. I don’t really have a reason. Maybe it’s that actual fall weather may be arriving soon and I want to wear a few of my more summery pieces before it gets chilly.

Here is further evidence of my dorkiness. Five outfits (all featuring green) assembled and hanging on the back of our guest room door. I’ll be wearing these shoes:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Color Yourself Happy

Fashion Lady and I get together once or twice a month. We inevitably end up dishing on fashion – what we like, what we want, what we bought, and what other people say to us about the clothes we wear. Oddly enough, we both hear a similar comment from our coworkers (and we work at different companies): “You wear so much color!” One could interpret the comment a couple different ways. It could mean, “My God, are you color blind? My eyes are bleeding.” Or it could mean, “I wish I could introduce more color into my wardrobe.” I prefer the latter. There is nothing wrong with an all black wardrobe, but if you are interested in punching up your color quotient, these are a few of my color mantras.

Punch It Up. The simplest way to add color to a neutral wardrobe is to add a single, bright accent color. Adding red shoes to a black and white outfit is probably the first example that comes to mind. Don’t feel limited to red though. Try hot pink, instead, with black and white. Add bright turquoise to browns. Carry a purple bag with your all gray outfit. If you find a color you love, buy many accessories in that color. Then, sprinkle them liberally through your neutral outfits.

Opposites Attract. The surest way to create a “get noticed” color combo is to wear opposing colors from the color wheel. However, I’d stay away from purely primary mixes (like red/green), and, instead, mix petal pink and lime or persimmon and turquoise. Pairing opposites looks fresh, bold, and fun.

Watch Your Saturation. Nope, this isn’t an admonition against drunk dressing. (Heck, a little wine may be just what you need to get your inspiration on.) Saturation refers to the intensity of the color. Ever read about jewel tones or pastels being the season’s “look”? These are colloquial terms that refer to saturation. A pulled together look consists of color combinations that are matched in saturation. Hot pink looks great with leaf green (at least I think so), while pale pink looks better with light green or even soft gray. You can mix colors that may one may not normally think of as “going together” (like yellow and purple), if you keep the saturation the same (mustard and amethyst). While you can create a unique look by mixing saturation (like Queen Michelle’s off-color palette), it’s an advanced skill.

Be Matchy-Matchy. Or not. If you’re wearing your hot pink dress, should you wear your hot pink shoes? I say, “Go for it!” (And I have.) It isn’t the most sophisticated look, but it’s fun and will garner you attention. But you don’t need to be overly color coordinated. If you pay any attention to the In Style spreads, you’ll notice that while the whole outfit goes together, it isn’t entirely color matched. For example, adding red pumps to an outfit mostly in shades of blue and neutrals is unexpected and sophisticated (check out this example from Fashion Lady). If you don’t want to match, don’t, but try not to add more than one “unmatched” color into the mix and be sure to Watch Your Saturation.

Black and Brown Go Together. And so do black and navy. I don’t recommend wearing just a navy dress and black shoes, but if you throw a matching black belt and perhaps a black purse into the mix, the look is chic. The key is to mix these colors as if you meant to do it, not as if you got dressed in the dark. I find this trick especially useful to incorporate navy items into my wardrobe. I already own black and brown footwear. Who wants to maintain navy as well? By incorporating black into my navy ensembles, I don’t need navy pumps. If your feeling gun-shy about combining black and brown, try using leopard print as a bridging piece, as pictured here.

Are you ready to add color to your wardrobe? I’ve recapped some of the above advice and grouped it by difficulty.

Beginner. The beginner has a wardrobe of mostly neutrals (black, brown, gray, white). Pick your favorite color and use that as your guide to purchasing colorful items. Add one colorful piece to a neutral outfit to Punch It Up. Be Matchy Matchy. People will think your style is sharp!

Intermediate. Pair opposite colors, but Watch Your Saturation. Try incorporating two colors (other than neutrals) into an outfit. Add an accessory in a third color to be not Matchy Matchy. You’ll hear the words “chic” and “sophisticated” used to describe you by folks at the water cooler.

Advanced. Mix black and brown or black and navy. Mix saturations. Wear an outfit composed of three or more colors (but don’t turn into Rainbow Brite). You’ll notice people giving you double and third takes as they struggle to digest your outfit. Some people won’t get it, but true fashionistas will.

Most importantly have fun and wear your colors proudly. You can carry almost anything off with the right attitude. If you are truly happy with a wardrobe of neutrals, don’t change. But if you’re longing for more color in your life, don’t think it’s only for those “fashion-y” people. Wear what you love, and others will love it too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mail Bag: Secondhand Strategy

What a great Saturday! I got to go out for lunch with two of my good friends, attend a TDW party, and GO THRIFTING! What a coincidence that I should find some fictional fan mail regarding this very subject in my imaginary inbox:

Dear Kasmira,

You have shown us some incredible thrift finds! What’s your secret? Whenever I go thrifting, I find only novelty sweaters and polyester pants. Sometimes, I don’t even get that far because I’m overwhelmed by the racks and racks of smelly clothes. How do you find those gems?

Secondhand Stores Stink

Well, Stinky, I know where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a thrift store when I was a teen, but the double lure of cheap prices and one-of-a-kind (or last-of-its-kind) items is enough for me to brave musty smells and crowded stores.

The first obstacle to thrifting is to find a good shop. While good lighting, helpful sales people, and dressing rooms are nice, my #1 priority is that the store’s merchandise has a good turn rate. You don’t want to visit a secondhand store and find the same, moldering items month after month. How do you know if a store has a good turn? Sometimes you can see evidence of a stock maintenance system (like colored tags that correspond to the time period a garment entered the store) and sometimes you just have to visit repeatedly to see if items are moving. You can be relatively sure that stores that have specials (like 50% Wednesdays, etc.) or are always crowded go through their inventory regularly.

Once you’ve found a good shop, how do you deal with the endless selection? Personally, I only shop for certain items.

Skirts. I like to thrift for skirts because the fit isn’t exact. You can buy a size larger or smaller than usual and they’ll usually still fit. They are easy to slip over your clothing in the middle of an aisle, negating the need for a dressing room. Finally, skirts are easy to alter. You can shorten them and/or add trim to update their look.

Sweaters. I am a cold person and cannot get enough of sweaters. I like thin cardigans for the summer and chunky turtlenecks for the winter. I’ll never understand how so many pristine, high quality sweaters make their way into the thrift market. I’m not complaining; I snap them up! Sweater coats (like the pictured, thrifted item to the left) are big again this fall and the secondhand stores are full of them. Update the look with a wide belt. Like skirts, sweaters can be tried on over your clothing.

Slips. This is a recent addiction of mine. I love the details available on older slips. Not only are they pretty, but they are highly functional under the many unlined skirts I wear. Some people dye them bright colors and wear them as outerwear. (I am told an “acid” dye will dye polyester.) There is a bit of an “ick” factor associated with wearing someone else’s lingerie, but you can’t find these sorts of hems, trims, and necklines on a modern slip. Slips are usually sized by the bust measurement. (And, yes, I also try these on over my clothes, in the middle of the aisle. Shopping with me is highly entertaining.)

Purses. I love vintagey purses. I’ve thrifted a total of four purses this summer. One of them has become my everyday staple. My gold and silver purses are my first selection for a night out. This weekend, I thrifted a genuine snakeskin purse. The best thing about shopping for a secondhand purse is that one size fits all.

I don’t even pause at the sections containing pants, jeans, or shorts because I don’t want to bother with a dressing room (if one is available) or with returning the item if it doesn’t fit. Cotton shirts (like tees and tanks) are usually not worth thrifting, unless they are obviously unworn, because they have such a short lifespan. I wish I could find blouses or dresses I like, but the items I find are usually very large and ugly. My friend Julie has had great success with finding outerwear, but I haven’t been so lucky. The thought of thrifted shoes makes me a little queasy, but I would buy a lightly used pair if it was amazingly cute. Finally, you could not pay me enough to take home someone else’s panties, bra, girdle, or intimate lingerie.

Besides carefully store selection and targeted shopping, the other key ingredient to a successful thrift experience is the right attitude. Thrifting is a treasure hunt. It’s an adventure. Think of yourself as a crusader, cutting your way through the terrors of novelty wear and evil armies of snot-nosed children to find your holy thrift grail. Then go home, take a shower, and wash your treasure to remove the secondhand funk.

If you’re on a budget or like unique items, secondhand stores are great places to patronize. No one has to know that you shop there, but it can be fun to reveal the source of your new items. Be prepared to turn your friends green with envy when they compliment your new, quirky bag and you say, “Oh, this? $2 at Valley Thrift.”

(Pictured outfit: Sweater coat, Energie (thrifted). Sheer black tank, Mossimo. Lace overlay cami, Halogen. Dark denim, Calvin Klein (overdyed by me). Black moccasins, American Eagle. Silver bird medallion necklace, Xhilaration.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Black and Khaki

Black lace blouse, Newport News. Black lace overlay cami, Halogen. Khaki skirt, Talbot’s (thrifted). Black and khaki sandals, Gianni Bini.

I guess I’ve been on a black and khaki kick lately. I’ve worn this color combo three of the four work days this week and a total of five times since July.

Which outfit is the best black and khaki combo?
Black and Tan
Kissy Trousers
Black and Khaki free polls

(Yes, the center picture is a khaki/black combo. It just looks washed out from the bright sunlight.)

Click to see a larger version

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kissy Trousers

Sheer black tank, Mossimo. Black cami (beneath), New York & Co. Khaki trousers with self belt, Moda International. Black patent maryjanes, Xhilaration. Faux pearl necklace with medallion, Newport News.

This is my menswear/flapper inspired outfit. I don’t feel it photographed as well as it looked in real life.

It felt very weird to tuck my shirt in. I usually only do the tucked look with my oxford bodysuits. Tucking in a real shirt is high maintenance, especially when you visit the restroom as often as I do. TMI, I know.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No More Minis at Rehearsal

Turquoise cardigan with green stitching, Xhilaration. Green tee, Steve and Barry. Denim mini, American Standard Tyte (thrifted). Moccasins, American Eagle (via Payless). Four-leaf clover necklace, Okinawa PX.

This is not an Outfit (with a capital “O”), but just something I thought would be comfortable for rehearsal. I’ve journaled it here to remind myself to never wear a mini to rehearsal again because:

1. It is very cold in the cafeteria (where we practice). My legs were purple by the end of the evening.

2. When you sit in a mini, on stage, everyone can see your underwear. A strategically placed script helped the situation, but I’m pretty sure I flashed everyone when I took a spill during my tap routine.

3. Tight minis ride up. Usually, I wear this skirt with tights and the friction keeps everything in place. With bare legs, I spent the night tugging the mini back into place.

I looked, and felt, uncomfortable all evening.


Striped jacket, Merona. Geometric print dress, Max Studio. Sandals, Gianni Bini. Feather chandelier earrings, Claire’s Boutique.

I started out the day without the jacket and felt rather plain (despite the blue purse). At lunch, I met my friend Jamie (aka Diva) and she returned my blazer to me. (I had left it at her house last Tuesday.) I was cold, and I thought the pattern mix would be interesting, so I put it on over the dress and wore it for the rest of the day. You can see the two patterns better below:

Jr High Style

Daddy Likey has a contest going for best junior high fashion confession. Unfortunately, I don’t have any colorful stories of how I emulated some pop star. I was just plain dorky. I never owned a pair of Guess? jeans, though I longed for them. I had to make do with discount clothing from Sears or JC Penney. Interestingly, though, in all three dork-tastic junior high photos, you can see hints of the budding fashionista.

6th grade. I’m growing out my first perm. I should be wearing glasses, but I’m too vain. (My vanity will eventually lead to my flunking out of math class because I can’t see the daily quizzes.) I freakin LOVED this sweatshirt. It features a puffy, white bear painting himself to look like a panda. I remember wearing it with short, white shorts on a field trip and thinking I was the ultimate in stylishness. Even back then, I appreciated the classic combination of black and white, punched up with a bright color. I did not, though, have an appreciation for hygiene. For some reason, I boycotted brushing my teeth for weeks at a time.

7th grade. By God, this picture is painful. Again, you can see that my fashion roots run deep with the layering. I’m pretty sure that this shirt had turquoise in it, so I felt that topping it with a turquoise jumper was quite sharp. I attempted and failed at mall bangs on a daily basis. Instead of a defiant claw, I ended up with insipid fluff. My favorite shirt from this grade isn’t pictured here. (I must have gotten it after the start of the year.) It was a white, baseball-style shirt with 3/4 sleeves, one of which was yellow and the other pink. It had a “Troop Beverly Hills” emblem on the chest. When I wore it, I felt pretty and popular. It mysteriously disappeared at my Grandma’s house the following summer. I pined for it for years. Even now, I’d kind of like it back, for nostalgia’s sake.

8th grade. Things were looking up. I got a spiral perm and highlights. I still wasn’t allowed to wear make-up, but I’d sneak some of my mother’s or apply a friend’s at school and then wipe it off before I got home. This shirt is sort of cropped, but, hey, that was in style (and it doesn’t have any bears or weird checks on it!) By this time, I really started getting into jewelry. I remember going nuts over the cheap bracelets at 2 + 2 at the Clackamas Towne Center (in the pre-Claire’s Boutique days). Even back then, I carefully sorted and stored my jewelry. Each pair of earrings had its own, tiny ziplock bag and the entire collection was stored in a decorative tin. I wore these fan earrings almost daily, until I finally lost one. The “K” necklace is my mother’s but I appropriated it for many years.

While dorky to the end, at least my style improved a little between 6th and 8th grades. I left animal prints and jumpers behind. I embraced a simpler style of clothing and showcased my flair with accessories. I was never cool, even in high school, but I gradually strayed less and less from my fashion ideal. I zeroed in on the things I love – color, layers, and accessories – and eventually found a way to make them work with my look and wardrobe.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Silver and Navy

Navy wrap dress and navy tank, Merona (I’m a whore for Merona). Silver belt, Luxury Divas (via Amazon). Silver peeptoe slingbacks, BCBG Girls. Silver earrings, Target.

I passed on these $22 shoes last Tuesday. Although I said, “It would be a crime of fashion NOT to buy these,” I felt guilty about the two shoeboxes already in my arms. I had non-buyer’s regret the next day. Later in the week, I tried to make up for my error at the Dillard’s near my house, but they weren’t having the same fabulous sale as the store at Crestview Hills. By Sunday, I had persuaded Mike to drive over to Tri-County Mall, but it had already closed for the day. Bound and determined to have these shoes, I stopped by the Tri-County Dillard’s again on Monday morning, waited 20 minutes for the store to open, and bought the last pair. Was it worth it? Oh, yeah. They look hot and are super comfortable to boot.