Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I think my red outfit beats hers, though. I have a sweater, stolen from my mum, a sash borrowed from another dress, a burgundy dress I got from Forever 21 from my October experiment (which I will post about), my apple necklace (thrifted), black leggings. I wish I had red leggings, but I don't. I also try to be wary of buying things just because I want them for one outfit.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I have come to conclude that big thrift stores (Value Village, Salvation Army, Goodwill) are the best places in the world to shop. Here is why: with any other kind of clothing store, your options, your creativity, your decisions, are limited to what the store has decided is worth selling. At a thrift store, anything wearable is sellable. That means that there is no one trying to influence your decision. As long as you are brave, you can wear anything.
Also, it is cheap and cheap=good for students, my friends.
I am also, it should be generally declared, an expert at thrifting. So here are some good rules for thrifty people that I have conjured up in my long beautiful hours at the local Value Village:
1. Move fast. If you want to come up with good finds, you basically have to go through EVERYTHING. That means you have to enter the thrift store with fire in your eyes, scattering people as you come. Move three hangers at a time through every section of clothing in your size; you don't have to look at everything individually. You should be able to tell whether something is worth looking more closely at by the fabric. If the fabric is ugly, or cheap-looking, skip over it. If you have time at the end, before the thrift store closes or you have to go, you can browse idly through the vinyl, housewares, etc, but if you want to find good clothes you need to be able to see everything.
2. If you think something might be worth trying on but aren't sure if it is dorky YOU MUST TRY IT ON. If nothing else, consider it a purging of the last remnants of fashion dependency; you're used to people telling you what to wear even if you are the kind of person who ignores it, but at a thrift store, your own judgement isn't even affected by the desire to be fashion-contrary.
Note: Another nice thing about thrift stores is that, in browsing through a hundred ugly, odd, and dated clothing items, your mind gets all washed clean. You forget what everybody has decided is fashionable. All you can remember is what you like, because that's part of you.
3. However: if it is shabby, stained, or damaged in any way, you may not try it on. Because you're buying used, you run the risk of looking shabby if you don't commit to only buying perfect clothes. Also, unless you're adept with a needle and never procrastinate, don't buy something that you think you can alter. You will probably decide it isn't worth it.
4. Ignore the changeroom rules if at all possible. Collect as many items as possible, and take them all in at once. One thing that must be understood about thrifting is that, because of the diversity in sizings, 95% of what you take into the changeroom won't work. It will fit wrong. What you need to do is bring enough so that other 5% still gives you some nice options.
5. Limit what you buy. Because thrift stores are so cheap, it can be tempting to buy everything that fits. I usually only let myself buy one thing, though, because odds are, I'm blinded by the low price, nice fabric, etc, of some of my finds, into thinking they're nicer than they are. By only letting myself choose one, I force myself to be more objective.
6. Dresses are the easiest thing to thrift. Guys' clothes are the hardest. I only let boys come along with me on the rarest of occasions, and then I dedicate myself to finding awesomeness for them, because otherwise they get totally jaded with the whole experience. That's not really a rule. Oh, well.
Good thrifting fortune to you.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
one of my trusty always-right outfits. i never feel like i am pretending to be somebody else when i wear this outfit. it also has a market lady slash bag lady hint of an effect, adding to its unpretentiousness, i hope. but i speak of "effect," which is only a letter away from "affect." what am i saying?!
i'm wearing a necklace with a clay pendant made by Annie Ling, my good friend who is now also my good friend in New York City, in the Documentary and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography. she is a maelstrom of artistic adventure and i love her to bits, but it helps that the necklace looks so incredibly perfect with everything i wear. (a conditional love, yes.) the necklace is technically my mother's, but i steal it regularly.
maybe you can see the blurred lizards floating in the foreground - a mobile made out of (stolen?) telephone wire, bought at a market by the side of the road in south africa. overlooking knysna's warm-water estuary, we browsed the miniature volkswagens and giraffes, row upon splendid row. the touch of homemade love! here is one lizard in focus.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
e.g. sportswear (Olympics), farmers, firefighters, sleepy University students
If clothes only serve a practical purpose, why wear them in the Bahamas, in a moviehouse, or in your livingroom?
If clothes are only meant to accentuate your looks, why not wear lingerie all day? Yes, a rather vulgar notion, but the point is, many sheep conform to society without knowing why, and your answers will help to jolt them out of their dull reverie.
Look here for even more spectacular Harper's Bazaar shots from the fifties.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Like all loving grandchildren, Val thanked her grandmother for the nice dress and then altered it severely. She is now putting off the day when she tells her grandmother. Photo on the left.
This outfit I like for its simplicity, and for the two details that you can't see very well--her red hair band and her necklace, which has nice designs. I also like the printed cloth on the wall but I can't give her credit for that.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
The hub of inspirational street fashion, Hel Looks, has provided me with my first subject. Please remember, this is merely a casual analysis, not an informed opinion. Also, nothing I say is a comment on this person as a person, but only on the way she dressed herself. It will be a positive review, never fear.
a. Choose outfits according to context and relationship.
She is wearing a striped collared shirt that adds an air of formality and care to her clothes, indicating that she cares about her appearance, and therefore, for the people on the street who have to see her. Nothing about her outfit is offensive in the West, generally. Her glasses give me the impression that she can be serious and focused if she wants to be.
b. Be aware that clothes tell a story.
She is carrying a weathered (leather?) briefcase, obviously because she wants to, not because she can't afford a new one.
[Side note: This ties into our generation's palate, formed by a deep-rooted nostalgia for the past. I think the cause of our nostalgia is a lack of story and tradition in our own lives that we believe was present in the past.]
The briefcase may be important to her because of where it came from, or, she may just like things that do not look factory-made. The little belt also adds shape to the shirt, flattering her figure, which is more the fifties look - a time when convention was very important, for better or worse.
[Side note: It's true that one-dimensional (American?) consumerism loves products that are flat, clean, and shiny new. The irony is that we, nostalgic and environmentally friendly as we wish we were, spend just as much money on worn clothing and accessories, all so that we can feel down-to-earth. Our desire to be more simple by wearing anything that looks historic and therefore from a time of hand-made goods - as if it was bought from Mr. Degas next door in his little shop - requires us to live anything but simple lives. However, it's a good thing that we turn away from the anonymity of the suburban commuter's culture. Whether we will ever be more than fake versions of the past is the real concern.]
c. Be imaginative.
She isn't wearing completely matching colours. The sweater is bright and bolder than her shirt, but still informal enough for on the street. Her black flats and grey leggings take care of the cute factor. Her hair, in my eyes, is the most important part of her look, because it's a little wild in a playful way without being unattractively out of order.
[Side note: Our generation's obsession with cuteness seems to be connected to our desire to be simple. Being cute is a child-like characteristic, and childhood is often less stressful, because of one's ignorance of the complexity of reality.]
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Immediately, these keywords come to mind: wealth, pleasure, suntanning lotion, perfect blue skies, sunglasses and manicures, men's suits, shine, leisure, drinking, sex.
Nothing is wrong with any of those things when they're enjoyed in the appropriate contexts, but this picture is a world of exclusion, where nothing else is allowed in, not to mention that the relationship between the man and woman is very clear - there is no sense of trust, child-like wonder, knowing love, or anything that could allow for imperfection or human frailty. The man overcomes the woman, while she coldly glances up at him. They inhabit a harsh, unkind, gated community, and all of this is evident merely based on the way they have chosen to carry themselves and dress themselves.
c. Be imaginative. You are not a carbon copy of Paris Hilton, even if you wish you were, so use your imagination and do something that might relieve people on the street from the boredom of routine. All rules are only there to give you something to work with - as with being given a piece of paper, or a piece of land, what you make of the basics is the exciting part. There are so many ways to express and communicate through your clothing, whether you celebrate, mourn, flirt, dream, or work.
I will try to use these rules to evaluate clothes, in a series of posts, so that I can test their relevance. If you, dear reader, have your own ideas about rules for dressing, please share them.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
anyways, all things aside, these shoes are the delight of my soul. they are sweet worn purplish-brown leather and for once (and this is marvelous when they're thrifted shoes) they actually fit me perfectly. they are pretty scuffed, and though i kind of like that, my parents think it is the second greatest faux pas to wear unshined shoes, so i must hie me to the mall and fetch some brown shoe polish soon, and then i will flash about the world in the prettiest shoes of all. so.. there.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Since then, I wear it when I feel the need to be Really Me, although, it is probably closer to the feeling that I Wish I Were Her, that untouchable woman of the 1930s.
To conclude, it is only fitting that I drink tea from an Elegant Teapot while wearing my Elegant Hat, and so, to let you imagine yourself in my position, I have provided a picture of my math homework in the kitchen by the blossoms in a bottle and the aforementioned object.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
closer look at my attempted miniature beehive. i think i could have pulled off a beehive fairly well. also, i was going to the movies. for some reason, that always always makes me want to dress up.
the immortal twiggy. she's much more mod than i was today, but i am going with the 60s tradition of the dark eyeliner/pale lips combo. twiggy is pretty cool.. but quite twiggy.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Sail Away Dress.
I love corset-style tops; they're terribly flattering, but they're only corset-style so they can be sweet and pretty instead of vampy. Also, the sheer bottom of this dress lends itself to fun times with vintage slips.
Fairy Tale dress. You can see the fabric, but it is tres awesome. If you visit the site, look at the close-up. It is kind of bleedy; it looks way clearer in this picture. I'm pretty sure this dress wouldn't flatter me, though.
Lace-up Dickensy shoes always meet with approval.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Because it is Monday, I'm going to post my three favourite photos this week of people and clothing. They are all from Africa because lately I've been listening to a lot of Afro-Beat radio and wearing wooden bracelets.
First. My parents at a wedding in Johannesburg sometime in the 80s.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
This is le hodge-podge. It is partially inspired by dora in this qc comic, but only partially.
I would like to talk about glasses frames. They are part of the outfit. They are not my own. Two people (both boys, actually, so I'm surprised I don't care more) have mentioned they think that wearing frames when your eyesight is in perfect working order is pretentious. To them (and anybody else who happens to agree) I say- um.. nonsense! Accessorizing your face is not any more pretentious than accessorizing your neck with jewelry/scarves or accessorizing your face with make-up. Just less people do it. But that's not a good reason not to wear something.
The necklace, which makes me happy, I got thrifting last night. It has an immense wooden elephant on it. Also a hybrid lion-wolf. They are red. Here are two of my deepest-held clothing philosophies: 1- If it has animals on it, it is drastically increased in awesomeness. 2- In the words of a wonderfully dressed girl (emily of some girls wander) "red is my neutral".
In this picture I am also wearing my heinously small red shoes. I have yet to wear them out because they pinch my toes, and I feel like my feet are being mugged after about ten minutes. If I'm ever going somewhere where I get dropped off at the door, sit down for a few hours, and then get picked up again, at the door, I will wear them. Because.. um.. 'round here, we do love red shoes.
Also, I have never dressed up as spring and only the 'knickers over tights' thing (and I guess the red-and-black thing) is inspired by a webcomic. I would feel weird dressed as a webcomic character.
P.S. I apologize for small pictures with poor lighting. Sometimes you are a girl who lives in a basement with a borrowed and not particularly amazing camera. So, the lighting is bad. The pictures are fuzzy. They can be nicely clicked bigger though...
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I've had luck with these lately.
For instance, when I walked into Stouffville's gem of a vintage store, Chic Thrills. Let us proceed by making this a visual presentation: You are walking down Stouffville Main against a chill, untimely spring wind, but what the heck; you walk into this store with the most amazing vintage displays on the mannequins: read; fashion heaven. (read also: spending casualties). You enter, breathe in the aroma of sweet sweet vintage clothing (or maybe the perfume of elderly ladies) and hop to the back of the store, fall before the alter of shoes, and pray.
You get the picture. I suppose this is a special vintage clothing store because it's in Stouffville, and in the words of a disciple or two, "can anything good come out of Stouffville?" (We have had some pretty rotten baseball championships, let me tell you).
The wonderful thing about this store is that it's homegrown, small, and situated one store down from a coffee shop- The Love of Joe- which boasts a private library of 1984 and Jane Eyre amongst other classics and things I wouldn't condescend to read... by the way, I picked up the tastiest Columbian coffee ever there, and I would certainly go back.
Right. Back to Chic Thrills. Really, besides proximity to decent coffee, this shop has a lot of really great jewelry. For me, it was a "just touch, don't buy" limit. For some items, prices run around 15 dollars, others up to 30 or more. They have some real classy stuff if you don't mind spending money. Also some cameo earrings running at 30, but I limited myself to drooling.
Besides jewelry, they do have a decent selection of skirts- the lacy frilly kind that makes you feel all happy to find even though, honestly, they're not that rare- 80s style tops, vintage looking lace tops, the most amazing brocade pants I'd ever seen but would have to gain a few pounds to fit into, ...and a whole wall dedicated to formal wear.
The only downside of this store is that I'm too much of a dunce to figure out how things are sized. For the most part, things are ordered according to colour. That creates some confusion, but what have we been put on earth for except to overcome obstacles, try on clothing, and buy if need be?
Not to become anti-climactic: this store ALSO has an amazing selection of footwear. It would rival Aldo, especially because the footwear is actually -interesting-. The problem with footwear, that classic problem for anyone with an affinity for drop-jaw shoes, is the large amount of highly confused shoe-makers. They consistently put the pattern INSIDE the shoe, where it is obscured by the foot, rather than where people can see it. No one seems to have caught this gross mistake, or else merchandise was too expensive to redo it. What started out as a mistake has become a fashion repeat. Blah. Anyway. Nice shoes.
I happened to pick up a perfect 71/2 size kitten heel, brown satiny (probably polyester) with an Indian beaded pattern. Excitement ensued. That's why I actually bought a coffee and chucked a whole loonie into the Tuition Fund at Love of Joe, because these shoes were 15 dollars. (Although the barista at Love of Joe's was talking on his cell-phone while I waited, like, how important can that be compared to me?? I have shoes, and I am -really- -REALLY- important!!) and I had a loonie to spare. The sum of all this is: go to "downtown" Stouffville, stay FAR far away from Walmart and the box mall there, and go to some of these lovely small town places; they won't last forever... unless of course, you spend your tuition on vintage clothes and coffee.