Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where I Introduce The Flock

Big News: I’m getting married! Next September. One of my best girlfriends commented once that, if she won the lottery, she would make her husband marry her again every week so she could plan a new wedding. I stated that this sounded like absolute torture and, if I ever got married, she could plan the whole thing. She knows my taste: tell me the date and send me a bill. My fiancée and I got engaged in France and announced it with a Facebook status change (it was cheaper and, well, more amusing than calling everyone). By the time we were back in the states she had much figured out. I have very few parameters:
  • I want it on a Sunday due to Jewish tradition and also helpful that it's cheaper.
  • I want it in the early afternoon, say, 1:30. I don't want to feed people a meal, just dessert and alcohol. I'd like it to be done early enough so that we can have some lower key fun after.
  • I don't want to buy a bunch of Made in China garbage that people were screwed in the making of and will get thrown away after the wedding.
  • I want a band, preferably mine.

And that's pretty much it.
I am blessed with the best posse a girl could ask for who are doing all the frou frou décor stuff that would make me want to gouge my eyes out. I generally prefer crafts that have a practical, old lady purpose, like making coasters out of rags.

I consider myself a power thrift shopper and think that  instead of finding The Dress, I will find multiple dresses and then choose later which one(s) I'll wear. I just threw out there that maybe I'll bring my discards to my wedding to use as props/costumes for the photo booth, and everyone I've mentioned this to thought this was a fun idea. So now I also have a reason to buy vintage bridesmaid gowns as well. I’ve also thus far been able to acquire gowns from each decade from 1940s-2000s, so I have this fun “Collect Them All!” thing going.

Now on with the show!

This one isn't exactly a contender, but it's a wedding dress I already own, so it's being included in the Flock.

I bought this one before I was even engaged - about a week before - as I couldn't resist the style. Plus I figured it was good to be prepared, just in case I became engaged to Mr. Darcy. 

This gown was purchased during half-off day at the Salvation Army by my office, a recurring theme in my life. It really is quite beautiful - it was obviously hand-made for someone. And I love the fact that it is so modest, except for the major amount of cleavage.

This one is my first modern-looking dress:

I already had the blue jacket. The dress was a different half off day find - It has never been worn & still has the bridal shop tags. It looks nice enough on, but it's not necessarily "my style." I don't care all that much for strapless bridal gowns, but I thought it would look nice paired with a bolero or something. Or maybe I could shorten it to just below knee length and wear it for my reception? It was too great of a deal to pass up though. It is quite pretty on its own for a more modern bride.

This is the first dress I've tried on thus far that really felt like "me":

Purchased on eBay for a whopping $15.50, this is also "new old stock" from a bridal shop. No internal tags. My only problem is that neckline: I don’t like sheer tops any more than I like nothing there: I think it looks weird. It needs a solid neckline. Right now I’m leaning toward taking off the flutter sleeves entirely, taking the neckline down to the collar bone and adding a Peter Pan collar with the satin from the sleeves. Also would prefer the sleeves to have a puff shoulder and short, with the satin banded at the bottom. And those are all real buttons in the back:  the rest of the dress closes with a zipper. I seriously think it’s from the 80s, but you would never guess it. It’s a really good cut for me: it has a dropped waist, which is good for me since my torso is so long, but that lace panel in front comes up to the natural waist. And the butt bow is perfect, very 20s-30s, and the ends of the bow go to the floor.

I tried on this dress at an antique store ages ago, but couldn't justify the expense. I mean, I could justify the purchase in general, because who doesn't need to dress like a Disney princess? But at the time it was something like $45? It was marked down to $15, my magic price.

Apologies for the grainy photos. 1940s satin gown in ballet slipper pink. 8 kajillion buttons on the back. Needs some love. It is quite darling, I think. Might make for a nice reception outfit.

I troll craigslist here and there: my fiancé and I just purchased a house, so right now I'm looking for furniture and things and it is an obsession as much as my thrifting. I saw a listing for a vintage gown, no price listed. I started emailing with the person who listed it and it turns out that the original owner from the 50s is still alive and donated this dress to their non-profit for their yearly sale.

The front has little bows on it - my coworker commented that it looked like they were handles for the bluebirds who are supposed to be carrying my dress. The back has a detachable train with lace detailing that matches the lace on the dress.

Another of my half-off day escapades - this time I found a dress that is almost certainly not a contender for my actual dress, but at a price of $4.99, I couldn't leave it there. 

The real find of the day was that veil - it was half off, so a total cost of $3.49. As it turned out, when I looked at my receipt later they forgot to charge me for the dress. So it was $3.49 for both. 

I tried it on and I couldn't really determine if I am supposed to wear it over my face. It feels a bit like a burka, if so. But hey! We could always trick my fiance into marrying my homely sister with it!

And, while I'm at it, what would have been dress number seven if it didn't cost $89 (25% off that day, but still):

It was pretty va-va-voomy. I think I'd have to wiggle down the aisle.

I bought another dress on eBay. This dress looks SO perfect and SO EXACTLY what I want, it of course doesn’t fit.

1960s era gown - I now have all decades from 1940s-2000s represented. It's in beautiful condition and is the first dress I've purchased that has the original train AND veil..

Though the one thing my gowns all have in common is that none of them are indicative of their own period: I have a 70s prairie revival gown, a 90s Regency gown, a 60s gown that looks like a Shakespearean costume. It's a relatively slim skirt with a detachable train - what the train lacks in length, it MORE than makes up for in volume. But my poor fiancé had to help me into it: those mutton sleeves don't allow for much movement. He tried not to look while zipping me in...
I swear to you all, I DO NOT go out looking for dresses. I thrift shop the same amount I did before, I just look at the wedding dresses now where before I never did. I think I have a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants body: I am the size every woman in Ohio was when she got married. Or something.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where I Hope To Sell More Than I Keep.

I have been doing well at limiting my shopping as of late. This week? Not so much. I had my standard half-off throw down on Wednesday at Salvation Army which resulted in a handbag, a chiffon scarf, a pair of VS panties (What? I washed them!) and NINE dresses. My total damage was only $27.09 which becomes more impressive when you know that $5 of that was an Anne Taintor handbag. That makes the average cost of each dress I purchased just over $2. Plus I hit up the Delaware Goodwill and bought a few things. The big problem is that I might be moving out of my house when my lease ends November 1st. I will have been living in that same house for seven years and the idea of picking up and moving all my shit is traumatic enough without having to move a bunch of other stuff that I just intend to sell. I'm hoping the stress of thinking about this will put a fire under my ass to get this stuff sold. I will have most of this listed on eBay or etsy by the end of the weekend... except the handbag.

I embrace my "bad girl" status
The following will be listed on eBay tomorrow:

Looks like Gidget! The Limited 5/6

Love that bright white & kelly green together

Love this Little Black Dress!

Three of the dresses I found still had the original tags from Lazarus! Those will go up on etsy.

This might go up on etsy, might go to a friend. It has pockets! It's vintage 60s. I love orange Hawaiian prints: they remind me of an Elvis movie.

And two dresses to feed my weird dress obsession. This one is homemade and has good bones. Something really good can happen with it, I just feel it! I found the belt at the Delaware Goodwill and it didn't occur to me until I got home that the square buckle coordinates perfectly.

This one - I can't explain. I love plaid, I love Peter Pan collars. I'm thinking of taking this one to full-on jailbait territory with a short hem and little cap sleeves.

In the same "get this shit outta my house" vein, I'm going to try and sell my sofa and chair too:

Not for sale but deserving a mention for being cute are my guinea pig Potato and his girlfriend Reno who belongs to my roommate. She was sticking her face through their cage to get at his food. It was darling. Guinea pigs are awesome.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where I Channel A Canteen Girl.

This whole outfit just reminds me of this song:

You may remember this dress from last week’s haul at Salvation Army. It being a pre-vanity sizing 6 I was a little unsure, but I’m down enough water weight that I think it looks quite alright. So alright, in fact, I am awful tempted to keep it. At least I can have temporary custody until it finds a forever home. That’s really what I’m running after all: vintage clothing foster care.

Do I look deranged? I was trying not to.
You can purchase the dress here and go about gettin’ corns for your country yourself.

Dress and shoes are both thrifted. Shoes are Enzo Angiolini Eadanette and were a great find. I wear a size 6 ½ which doesn’t turn up that often at thrift stores. Every great pair of shoes is an 8. So if you wear an 8, let me know.  The large bangle bracelet was a gift from my mom, who found it at a church rummage sale. She encourages this behavior. I’m sad to admit the other bracelets and necklace are from Forever 21. That store is like a museum of examples of rampant consumerism and worker exploitation. But damn, do they have excellent accessories. See? I’m not perfect. Ukulele is from DaSilva (this is important information). Hair is second try at sleeping in pin curls. The secret was smaller pieces of hair and Lottabody

It is massive before it is brushed out.
That's better!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Where There Is Lots Of Copy To Write.

I have some fun things going on this weekend. Tonight I am going to a great restaurant called The Top for Manhattans and beef. Oh, how I love the beef. Tomorrow is pedicure morning and going to the cinema for Water for Elephants with some friends. Oh, how beautiful the costumes are. Somewhere in there, it's my goal to stick the following stuff up on etsy: let me know if you see anything you like and I'll hold it back!

Oh crap, I have my work cut out for me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where I Show Off A Haul.

I typically drop in to a thrift store a few times a week but I ALWAYS hit up the Salvation Army on South High Street every Wednesday. Prime example of how you can find things at any thrift store if you just know how to look.

Where the magic happens

This particular Salvation Army store is conveniently located a hop, skip and jump from my office. They, like many, offer discounts on colored tags every day of the week. On Wednesday EVERYTHING is 50% off. Well, used to be. Now everything but the most recently acquired merchandise is 50% off — this week blue tags were exempt from the sale, last week green.

I have a few rules I impose upon myself when thrifting to keep from being featured on Hoarders. I'll tear apart my whole OCD methodology in another post. The rules that are important for half-off day are

  1. If I'm purchasing something for myself, I have to be sure I will be able to get my money back out of it when I inevitably tire of it after three or less wearings; and
  2. if I am buying something for resale, I have to be sure I will make at least four times what I paid for it.

That is an amazing return on investment and if I were doing this full time I would accept far less. But I have a job and a life and limited time to photograph stuff and list it on eBay and etsy, therefore causing all the crap I bring home to accumulate in big piles and haunt me.  These two rules keep me from bringing home loads of cute shit that I would love to find a good home for, spend time and effort listing it, then make $1 on the transaction. But patience does pay off.

I left behind a few things last week as I couldn't justify the purchase: they were new, not half off. I'd since forgotten about those things until today when I saw them again. And they were half off.

This is adorable, strapless, Hawaiian print. Exempt from the 4 times rule, as I got it for my possemate, Amber. New with tags, even. Though I am pretty sure I can make that 4 times back if she is not interested as I paid $2.50.

Here is one of the dresses I saw last week and passed by as it was $6.99 full price — a much better deal at $3.49. It's a modern Liz Claiborne dress but a dead ringer for something from the 1940s: the floral print rayon fabric, banded waist and dolman shoulder. Oh, and it has pockets! I love when dresses have pockets. It makes my boobs look kinda giant though. I'll wear it once and see what Frisby says.

My other "new with tags" acquisition, this one was half off, originally $7.99. You can't tell just draped on the sofa like that, but it is way slinky and sexy with that embroidery at the thigh and a fishtail hem. Very pin-upy. It's marked a 14, but I will be damned if that's a 14 in any sizing. I'd have to wear Spanx with it. And may. I'm considering removing those tags and wearing it to my band's show on Thursday.

The great and awful thing about that Salvation Army is that it is a Polyester-Palooza. I'm a sucker for weird polyester. Dress #1 reminded me of candy, so that was a no-brainer. Dress #2 was there last week and I didn't even try it on. This week, at $1.99, it became far more attractive. I felt like it looked really wonderful on, but I really dig the matronly look. Last but not least, the jumpsuit. It needed to come home with me. It's actually a cream color with no stains and it is long enough; no small feat with my weird proportions. I am all torso and it is a major pain in the ass with things like one-piece swimsuits and polyester jumpsuits. Lemme tell you though, that jumpsuit leaves nothing to the imagination. 

There you go, a typical Wednesday for me with a typical damage of $15.56.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where I Am Knee-Deep In Dresses.

Yesterday was beautiful: lots of sunlight. Perfect day for photographs! Inside. Of clothing. I had a few things that were already set aside for sale, and then I went about photographing my personal things. All of yesterday’s photos are still on the camera, so I don’t have a total count. Not including dresses that I will not list because they were gifts, I have 15 more vintage dresses to photograph. That’s not counting my vintage that is currently being altered or in the mending pile. Also doesn’t count any of my modern dresses. This is turning into quite the serious undertaking.

It has been quite pleasant though, going through my closet and becoming reacquainted with my clothing. I have an awful lot I’ve never even worn. Most because it’ll never fit, but some because I’ve just plain forgotten about it. There are quite a few I’ve only worn once or twice – it makes me feel like a proper socialite!

All photos will be stored in the following album if they are to be listed on eBay:
eBay Photos!

Photos of my personal collection will be housed here until they are listed:

Virtual Closet

There are separate albums for modern and vintage dresses because I'm OCD like that.

If you would like to be nosy and flip through my online closet, please feel free!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where I Sell the Clothes Off My Back.

I own a lot of stuff.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating. I have always had a lot of clothes: I wasn’t all that old when my mom had to resign my closet to have two levels. In addition to my chest of drawers and 8-drawer vanity. That solid, Amish-made drawers and vanity is still in use. I have a 6-foot long 2-level closet in my bedroom. I also have a closet of equal size that holds all my dresses, a hall closet that holds my current season coats, and a basement that houses my out-of-season coats, dresses and furs.

Recently I’ve started to feel a bit buried by all this stuff. Last autumn when I purchased a leather coat from the thrift store for less than $5, I commented that whoever got rid of it probably did so in lieu of getting it cleaned (which it needed). I never wanted to be that person, who didn’t want to bother with maintenance; I align myself with the “make do and mend” philosophy. But I started getting to the point where I felt like my crap owned me

Two specific events added up to one turning point. Recently I was pulling all my spring and summer dresses out of the basement and taking them up to the second floor closet. It took 3 trips. THREE. Yesterday I was putting away all my hats. Well, “putting away” might not be the best term. 

 It’s just picture hanging wire and mini clothespins. Takes up less space than a hat rack.

So I was looking for extra pins as I’ve acquired some additional hats and looking in all my vintage hat boxes. I purchased one box at an estate store a month or so ago and inside was a hat I’ve never seen before. Not only do I own things I’ve not yet worn or will never fit into, I own things I don’t even know I own. It feels excessive.

So came the idea to sell the clothes off my back. I’ve recently restarted my eBay empire to get rid of the last few things I don’t need or want any longer and I have an etsy account I’ve not really done anything with. I think things sell better on etsy the more you have in your store, as it just increases your exposure. Why not list every single piece of vintage clothing I own? Everything will be listed for a fair price with the crap I really want to unload at a deep discount.  eBay is changing their fees so that there will be no cost to list: why not do it with my entire wardrobe?

This is a massive undertaking, so it may happen in stages. I am surprised at how little the idea frightens me. And, well, relieved. I think Hoarders has caused paranoia in everyone: none of us wants to be THOSE people. I don’t want to be paralyzed with fear at the idea of getting rid of anything. But really: I shop all the damn time. I have so many new things coming in that my closet should have a revolving door.

In the end, what matters is that the things I love go to someone who will love them too. Just because I like something doesn’t mean I have to hoard it all.  If you would like to shop my collection, bookmark me!