Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where to Shop for Non-Vintage

Vintage clothes are awesome, but they're not appropriate for every situation.  Sometimes you need to look trendy and sometimes you just need to blend in a little more (ugh).  So where are the best shopping sites for new clothes at decent prices?

1. I know I am all over the thrift store all the time, but you just can't beat the price.  Often you can find new or nearly new clothing items for less than $5.  I run across those basic target boyfriend tee shirts at least once a week, and Forever 21 clothes wind up there quite a lot.  I'm not saying it's always a jackpot, but it's worth a browse before you move on to more expensive options.

2. Target.  It's not that well-made, but Target has a lot of really cute options.  They carry tons of basic tee shirts in a variety of colors, plenty of adorable summer sun dresses, and even some decent work wear.  However, if you're going to shop here for clothes, be prepared to run into someone wearing the same thing nearly every time.  You will look pretty cute, but it's going to be cookie cutter.

3. Forever 21.  It smells bad, it is disorganized, and it can be pretty tacky.  But it also has super trendy things at really good prices.  You get what you pay for, though.  The clothes aren't going to last more than 1 season (2 tops), and they're so trendy that you're going to hate them by next year anyway.  But it's good if you need a flashy dress for a party and don't have a lot of cash.  They also have some ok basic tanks, tees, and leggings.  Don't get the bulk of your wardrobe here though.  This stuff is cheap, and it looks cheap.  Plus, the factories where the clothes are made are pretty much sweat shops.  Some of the clothes pretty darn cute, though, if you can get past that guilt.

4. H&M.  Cute clothes at great prices.  Same issues as Forever 21.  A little more grown up looking clothes though.  You MUST try it on before you buy it.  The fit on this stuff varies pretty widely.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why Buy Vintage

1. It's ethical.  Whether you scour thrift stores for diamonds in the rough or browse etsy for a more refined vintage shopping experience, buying vintage means that you're not supporting big companies that outsource their labor to factories in poor countries with bad working conditions.  You're not sending your money to a corporation that underpays its employees, uses sub-par materials, or exploits its workers.  

2. It's green.  When you buy used clothing, you're preventing good clothing from going to waste.  You're also not taking part in the phenomenon known as "Fast Fashion" - where you buy something that is more or less disposable  that you only plan on wearing for a season.  

3.  It's interesting.  You're not going to walk down the street and find someone wearing the exact same outfit as you, and that is a good thing.  You'll stand out in a crowd in the best possible way.  

4. It's well made.  If an item has made it this long without falling apart, it was probably crafted with some skill.  You will find that many vintage items were either handmade and/or made in the USA.    You won't get that with clothing from most low to mid-range priced stores.  Even higher priced items are often made in China.  

5. It can be very inexpensive.  If you're willing to dig through piles and racks at the thrift store, you can get beautiful garments for pennies on the dollar.  If you're not, you can get plenty of really great clothes on etsy for the same price as Forever 21.  No, really.  You can find plenty of dresses in the $20-30 price range, and you can wear them for way more than a season. 

6. It's really fun.  It is sort of like playing dress up, except everyone will think you're unbelievably cool.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Photography Lessons

My etsy store photos are pretty mediocre dismal.  Luckily, sometime in the near future, I have a friend who is going to teach me some basic photography stuff!  I'm so pumped to learn something that might help increase sales!

In the meantime, I've been using a tripod and self timer to get some pictures of my clothes with a model (moi) in them.  They were pretty out of focus for the most part.  I did get one halfway decent one, though (you know, other than going bare-faced out of sheer laziness)! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Papa Was a Rolling Stone: A Father's Day Gift Guide

Dads are really difficult to buy for - or at least my dad is.  When I was a kid, my sisters and I always got him socks or a tie.  He always acted appreciative, but obviously no one wants socks and ties for a gift, like ever. So what should you get dear ole' dad (or the father-like dude in your life)?  Here are a few ideas, some from my shop and some from other shops.

1.  Does your dad have a hobby? Pay attention to what he does in his free time, and buy him an accessory for that.  Maybe a model airplane kit.  Fishing pole.  Tools.  Whatever.     Does he like photography?  Get him a vintage camera like this one.

vintage polaroid
2. Clothing and accessories are good if you have a good feel for your dad's style.  Find out his size and purchase accordingly.  However, don't buy something you like for him if it's not his taste.  Remember this is about him, so buy something he will actually enjoy.  These are a nice option if you have a little more money to spend and know your dad's shoe size.  

leather shoes
3.  Food or booze.  Sign him up for a beer of the month club, make him dinner, or bring him his favorite candy if he has a sweet tooth.  Or these spicy pickles are neat, if that's more this thing.

jalapeno pickles

4. Books - maybe a gift card to a book store if you don't know what he wants.  Or if you know your dad well enough to know what his interests are, find something cool and wrap it.  Wrapped gifts are just fun all around.

Whatever you do, don't get him socks or a tie, unless he asks for it specifically (he won't).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Diving In

Sometimes, you just have to do something that seems really dumb. (Sidenote: this is not my first seemingly dumb but ultimately right choice.  I did drop out of law school two weeks in, after all.)

Every once in awhile, you just need to throw caution to the wind and give yourself a chance to do something that you really want to do.  Because the only thing worse than failing is not trying and then wondering what could have been.

This week is my last week as a full time nanny.  My husband is pretty much the best and has decided that he can support us financially while I try my hand at making my etsy store work.  I'll still be working keeping books at a therapy clinic very part time, but he'll be carrying essentially all of the financial burden.  Hopefully my store will continue on the path it has been on for the past month, slowly but surely increasing sales and helping with bills, but if not, it will be a learning experience.  And it will be fun.  I haven't had a lot of fun since I graduated college, and I'm really excited to do something that I genuinely enjoy.

Plus, my sister-in-law comes to visit us for a week during each summer, and I've dragged her to babysit with me this past year.  I'm looking forward to being able to relax while she's here.

It's going to be a good summer.  I can feel it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Day in the Life

Right now I work as a nanny (transitioning out to work on my shop, but on the occasional day off to work on my store, here's what my typical day looks like.

6:00 Wake up, check etsy for sales.  Obsessively check my store metrics 10-12 times.  Drink copious amounts of coffee.  Surf web.
7:00 Make breakfast.  Check store metrics.  Check store metrics a few more times.  Add a new listing to store.
8:00 Shower, get ready, possibly write a blog post.
8:30 Post office to see my favorite lady Marva and ship any sold items.
9:00 Start hitting thrift shops, flea markets, etc.
12:00 Finish up shopping.  Make lunch.  Eat.  Check store metrics.
1:00 Record new items information.  Take photos.
1:30 Edit photos.  Check store metrics.
3:00 Catch up on Mob Wives.  Check store metrics.  Straighten up the house.
4:00 Walk dogs.
5:00 Start to make dinner. Check store metrics.
6:30 Eat dinner with husband.  Talk about store metrics.
7:30 List a new item.
8:00 Check store metrics.  Relax(ish).
10:00 Go to sleep.

Yeah.  That.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Opposite of Love is Indifference (An Ode to 90's Fashion)

I have a confession to make: I once hated 90's fashion.  Now, I love it.

I was born in 1989, so only my very young childhood took place in the 90's, but let me tell you.  There were plenty butterfly clips.  And JNCO jeans.  And sunflower prints.  And belly shirts.  I'm not saying all of those things are good.  In fact, a lot of them are pretty awful, but something about 90's fashion reminds me of how my older sisters dressed.  There's nothing cooler than older sister fashion sense, amirite?

So, how can you wear 90's clothes and accessories without looking like a fool?  Want to look like young Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore without getting strung out and smelly?  Here are a few tips.

1.  Subtlety is key.  Let's start with the infamous butterfly clip hairstyle.  In the 90's the (my) mentality was to get as many of those suckers into your hair as humanly possible.  That is not a good look.  It wasn't then, and it isn't now.  I distinctly remember my dad telling me he wasn't a fan of the hair gel heavy butterfly clip style I sported in 1999.  Here's a way to do it in a tasteful but playful way.  I'd stick with just one, but this pretty lady pulls of 3 nicely.
Tasteful Butterfly Clips
2. Make it mini.  If I recall correctly, everything was tiny in the 90's.  Mini dresses.  Baby tees.  Even mini purses.  Figure out your best body feature and choose accordingly.  

Great legs?  Try a mini dress.  
Mini Gap Dress
Rock hard abs?  Baby tee it up.  
Velvet Baby Tee

Not super stoked to show skin?  Go for a mini purse.
Yellow Mini Purse

3. Here's the most important tip.  Buy and wear the things you love.  Have fun with it.  Don't take yourself too seriously.  It's only fashion, after all.  

Gotta run, my tamagotchi is hungry (there's an app, seriously).  


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Going to the Chapel....

And we're gonna get married!

Actually I'm already married, but if I were going to do it over again, I would do a few things differently.

First, I would mother effing elope.  Weddings are expensive.  And dramatic.  And did I  mention expensive? I wish I had just taken the dollars spent and put it towards, oh I dunno, a house?!

So!  Here's what I would do if I could go back in time.

1.  Courthouse wedding!  You don't need a fancy dress or veil or shoes or anything really.  Wear jeans if you want.  (I don't think I'd wear jeans, though.)  Here's a dress from my shop that I think would be gorgeous at a courthouse wedding or elopement.
2. Go to your favorite restaurant with your favorite people.  Make it fine dining, and limit it to your immediate family and closest friends.  It won't be cheap exactly, but it is MUCH cheaper than mediocre food for 200.

3. Make your own bouquet.  Either go to your local flower shop and ask for help or stop by Whole Foods flower department.  They have decent prices for gorgeous flowers, and there's nothing wrong with a simple and pretty bouquet.  You can have it preserved and framed for your house for not too much money!

4. Have a baller honeymoon.  With all that dough you saved on your dress, food, flowers, and venue, you can probably afford a much nicer honeymoon.

Ready, set, get married!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Scouts Honor

Right now I'm not the hugest fan of Boy Scouts as an organization.  While I think it's great they're going to allow gay members, I think it's too little too late, and I also think that there isn't really any issue allowing boy scout leaders to be gay (and out).  Homosexuality isn't contagious, and I personally think there's absolutely nothing wrong with it in the first place.  I don't see any reason to even talk about it in this context other than to say, do what makes you happy, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone .  

Anyway, rant over.  What I really want to talk about is boy scout inspired clothing.  It's pretty great.  

Here's a dress currently available in my store on etsy that covers all the basics of scout-inspired clothing.

Let's go over all the fun details:
1. The colors are scout colors - army green, red, and tan.  It's awesome.  
2. POCKETS!!!  There's a pocket on the left breast and also two pockets at the hip!  Carry your supplies in there!  (No, don't - unless you want to look hippy and not in the peace & love sort of way.)  
3. Cut - this is cut similar to a boy scout shirt, but it is tailored to a feminine shape.  That is what I call the best of both worlds. it!  Or at least be inspired by it.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

10 Things (I hate about) Me

Since I'm having a hard time figuring out what to write, and also since I have virtually no readers, I thought I'd do one of those "get to know me" posts for when new readers finally show up. Here goes!

1. I am very honest, almost (or totally, depending on who you ask) to a fault.  I'm sardonic, sarcastic, and a pretty much a barrel of very dry laughs.
2. I met my husband at 18, married him at 21, and am trying to get knocked up at 23 (although no dice so far).  I know you want to tell me about the statistics.  Please don't. I already know!
3.  I graduated college at 20 with the world's most useless degree - philosophy. Hence the online shop in lieu of a real job.
4. I work as a nanny for my real dollars (shop is mainly for fun now but will hopefully turn into more later).
5. I have two dogs (mutts), and they hate each other. We're working on it.  Slowly.
6. I went to culinary school, and it made me hate cooking for awhile.  I've come around though, and I love it again.
7. I'm Jewish but I'm a very bad Jew.  Have only been in a temple once since my wedding over 2 years ago, and it wasn't by choice.
8. I hate raw onions with everything within me.
9. My favorite kind of food is Indian food, but only from Silver Coin (shoutout peeps who will never ever read this!!).
10. My goal for this year is to learn to sew.  I made curtains for my house last year but I used stitch witchery.  Dreadful.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Outfit of the Day

This time of year is the most difficult time for getting dressed.  Wear jeans, and you're going to sweat.  Shorts and you're going to freeze.  So what's a girl to do?  My favorite go-to in between seasons outfits are vintage dresses. They're usually on the longer side (below my knees), so there's not too much exposed skin.  Also, the fabric is not especially breathable (hey polyester!), and while this might not be ideal in the hot summer months, it's perfect for a day when you don't want to feel every cold breeze on your legs.  Here's what I wore for one of those cool but not cold days:

To buy this dress, click here!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mother's Day Guide

Moms, man.  They're pretty neat.  I mean, they wipe your butt, take care of you when you're sick, teach you to chew with your mouth closed (I hope) and to say please and thank you.  And all they get is one measly day out of the year.  I say that you should really go all out if you had a good mom.  You don't really need to spend a ton of money, although its a nice gesture if you can.  Still wondering what you should do for your mama for Mother's Day?  Here are some ideas:

1. If you can cook, do that.  If you still live with her, make it breakfast in bed.  If not, have her over to your (cleaned) house for brunch.  I'd go for this French toast recipe, with some bacon, fresh fruit, coffee, and her favorite juice.  If she drinks, have mimosa ingredients.  Moms love mimosas. If you drink but she doesn', pour some whiskey in your coffee and be cool.

2. Step two: flowers.  Just go to the market and buy the ones that look the least dead.  Moms love flowers.  End of story.  (Side note: some moms prefer living plants to cut flowers, so buy accordingly.)

3. A card is always nice.  Make one or just buy it.  Here are some that made me giggle.  If you're not sure if your mom would like a funny card, go sappy.  Sappy never hurt anybody's feelings.  And hurt feelings are NOT what you're going for.

4. This is not necessary, but if you can do it, it's nice.  Buy (or make if your crafty) a gift. Has she been wanting a kindle?  Get it.  How about a cute scarf or handbag?  Does she wear jewelry?  That one's pretty fool proof.  Is she super duper picky?  Gift card!

If you follow some or all of these steps, you'll end up with a really happy mom come Mother's Day. If you don't do anything, you're a turd.  Don't be a turd.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Shop for Vintage Dresses Online

Vintage dresses can be a difficult item to shop for.  For one, the sizing system was on a totally different scale, and there wasn't a ton of consistency among various brands.  So what's a girl to do?

Know your measurements.  The most important ones are bust, waist, and hip.  The rest are nice to know if you're shopping for something really form fitting online and can't try on, but otherwise those three should be enough.  Measure with a soft tape measure, and don't measure tightly unless that's how you like your clothes to fit.

Now that you know your measurements, you can start looking at dresses online.  A lot of sellers will tell you the original size of the dress, what it fits like (approximately) by today's standards, and its measurements flat.  The measurements (again) are important. Double the flat measurement, and compare to your 3-dimensional measurements.  If an item has an elastic waist, ask the seller to stretch and measure to get an idea of the range of fit.  Never trust a seller's claim "fits like a 6!" without measurements to back it up.

Another thing you want to keep an eye out for is length. In a perfect world, we would all find dresses that fit perfectly and are all the right length, but let me tell you, if you are not particularly tall (and sometimes even if you are), it isn't going to happen.  Go for a dress that fits your measurements up top, and either learn to sew a hem or invest a few bucks in getting it professionally hemmed.  It shouldn't be terribly expensive, and you can select your most flattering length.  Vintage dresses, although super neat, we're not cut the same way we are used to wearing them.  They were often past the knee (midi-length), which doesn't look good on most people.  Considering having dresses hemmed opens up a whole new world of dress options that, with a little work, could be perfect for you.  If you have a little extra cash to spend on alterations, also be open to dresses that are bigger than your size all around.  You can have them taken in at a tailor, and if you can do this, you have a much greater selection of dresses with a wider variety of colors, styles, and cool details.

After you've figured out what sizes to look for, you can really start digging to figure out what you want regarding color and cut. The best way to do this is to browse for fun without any pressure.  Don't wait until you need to find something, because you'll never match the picture in your head up with something real.  Peruse when you're bored, bookmarking or favoriting everything you kind of like.  Then, when you do get ready to purchase, you have everything already picked through, and you can just figure out your favorites.

Lastly, think about what shapes, patterns and colors flatter you.  What looks good on you depends on your hair color and length, skin tone, body type, and stature.  Think about the qualities that your current wardrobe items have.  What is it about your favorite dresses make them your favorite?  What items do you get the most compliments on?  Take those basic ideas and apply them to your search for vintage dresses.  However, don't be too firm in your requirements.  Just because you've never worn a particular color or style of dress doesn't mean you shouldn't.  If all else fails, just look for things that jump off the page at you.  If you are drawn to it, consider it.  Chances are if you think it's neat, other people will too,

Pro tip: you can wear just about any color (yes, even the ones your mother said washed you out) on any skin tone with the right blush.  Just apply a bright pink, coral, or bronze color on the apples of your cheeks and you're good to go.