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!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where I Explain Why I’m Blogging.

I used to use LiveJournal. Remember that? I barely do. Next came MySpace, now Facebook. I have lots of photo albums and posts on Facebook detailing my thrifting exploits, but there isn’t room for a lot of detail. Even then, I still feel like I’m spamming a bunch of people who couldn’t care much less about some 1960’s drink set I bought. I thought starting a blog might mean I could spare my high school friends and possibly find some people who ARE interested in the pink lace 1950’s suit I found.

But, as I said before, it’s not just about old shit. Even if I didn’t put together some crazy ensembles, I’d still shop at thrift stores. I thought it would be nice to encourage others to do the same, specifically in my home base of Columbus, Ohio. I wanted to provide a useful resource for people who wanted to thrift: locations, hours, what their sales were like and other reviews. Will this mean that I find less great stuff? Will Americans ever fall out of love with consumerism? It is entirely possible that I will find less great old shit at thrift stores, and I am completely fine with that. I would be ECSTATIC if I could encourage someone to buy second hand when they normally buy new consumer goods. I don’t care if it drives up the cost of vintage either. Back to my original point about no one getting screwed over when I purchase something? That goes for dealers as well. The great old shit is still going to someone who will love and appreciate it; it’s just going to someone who does not have the time or obsessive nature I have. At the end of the day, as long as someone is making the choice to buy secondhand over buying a new consumer good, I am happy.

So I’d like to be a good example. Show people what sort of great stuff there is to be had in thrift stores. Though my outfits tend to be a bit more eccentric than the gen pop, I hope to be an inspiration. And probably entertainment.

Where I Explain Why I Thrift.

I have always admired a vintage aesthetic. That is a lovely way of saying “I like old shit.” Ever since I was young, in fact. My possemate suggested that we can trace it back to the programs we watched and characters we admired as children. Hers was the mother in Parent Trap. Mine? Wizard of Oz and Annie. Dust bowl, Depression. But my tastes change so often that I can’t nail down any one influence. I can say that I don’t stray all too far from the 1940’s – it’s a look I often return to. It’s not always been easy to find a volume of authentic pieces in thrift stores, however, so I would buy pretty dresses and skirts and shoes and things in stores.

I have always been thrifty. Sometimes a cheapass for cheapness sake, but most often because I didn’t have a lot of money. Thrift stores made shopping a bit more within my grasp. I’ve always had a lot of clothing. A. LOT. I really enjoy shopping. Well, enjoy is the wrong word. I get a little obsessed. For me, there is nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt. I’m not your typical woman that way: I do my shopping alone. I like to focus. But I would also shop at discount stores like Gabriel Brothers, Schottensteins and TJ Maxx.

What finally made me commit to buying secondhand whenever possible was an irreverent little film called What Would Jesus Buy. The tone of this film is quite lighthearted, but it made me think seriously about where our goods come from and who is screwed over in the process. Around the same time I was shopping in an Ann Taylor store and took a wrong turn looking for the dressing rooms. I stepped into a room full of one suit in mid-steam and massive boxes full of beautiful suits wadded up into balls in plastic bags. It was like pulling the curtain back and seeing the Wizard. I, like most people, had been operating with some sort of delusion wherein I thought some sort of Pretty Clothes Fairy had waved her wand and deposited all these things into little boxes in little malls.

What can I do? If I can guarantee that no one was screwed in the making of my stuff, I will happily spend the money. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. I decided to do the next best thing: I recycle. Buying second-hand means there is one less person creating a demand for new crap.

Thrifting for me is not about snagging some vintage treasure. It is a human rights issue. With an added benefit of pretty dresses.

Where I Stop Procrastinating.

Instead of allowing the blog idea to languish until I had the perfect header, today I got a wild hair and decided to go for it. So here you go. Design will evolve as I figure out what the hell I want to do, but this works for now. Hello, and thank you for reading!