Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thrifting Guide: Part 1

The key to thrifting is to take your time and look at every item on a rack. Don't just look at the first ten and move on. There are vintage clothes, expensive fabrics, and high-end designers to be found for a few dollars an item, but only to those who take time to read tags, look at and touch the garments.

Ideally, we like to have 2-4 hours in a large store like Savers or Re-Style, 1-2 hours in a small store like the Salvation Army or Idaho Youth Ranch, but any amount of time will do. If you have one hour, just look at tops and skirts. If you only have fifteen minutes, just look at accessories.

We love the Re-Style on Fairview and Five Mile, because they are having a sale for the indefinite future - $1.00 for any clothing item. They still get new items every day, so we're trying to hit it once a week until the sale is over.

Besides, who doesn't love helping the puppies and kitties?

So here's the rule: If there is one thing you like about an item, try it on. Sooo maybe it has a great print, OR it's 100% silk, OR it's a really vibrant color, OR you think it will fit, OR it has fancy details, OR you think it's hilarious, and so on. If there is one thing you like, try it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Plea for Compassionate Shopping

One of my biggest motivations for shopping secondhand is the prevalence of the sweatshop industry today.  Here, human rights advocate Charles Kernaghan tells about we raised the standards for work safety and fair wages for U.S. citizens and how we can extend those rights to citizens of developing countries.

This breaks my heart, obviously. I don't think that many people could watch that video without crying, but what good are our tears if they don't motivate us to change our habits? There's a reason that corporate mega-stores like Walmart and Target are able to discount their items so much - the cost doesn't go away. It is taken out of the wages and working conditions of people in developing countries.

So shop secondhand! Next time you need a new dress, decorations for a party, wine glasses, a lamp, or a birthday gift, stop by a couple thrift stores before you go to the mall.

For example, say I want to wear a somber but fabulous outfit today in mourning for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire:

Vintage Socialite patent-leather kitten-heels: Savers, $8.00
Leather belt: Idaho Youth Ranch, $1.00
J. Crew drawstring tee: Idaho Youth Ranch, $3.75
Not giving my money to companies who use child-labor: Priceless :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011



Raf Simmons' Spring line for Jill Sander was full of bright corals, magenta, emerald and sapphire in riotous combination. I love the ostentation of loading on eye-popping, explosive color. Here's Nicole in some fearless hues we dug up at Savers, Salvation Army, and the like:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stand with the Teachers' Union

The average American income is $44,000 dollars a year. That's for those who are lucky enough to be employed. The national unemployment rate is 9% - that's 13.7 million people. The unemployment rate for blacks is significantly higher at 15.3%, and hispanics come in at 11.6%.

The high unemployment rates are not temporary. Our jobs have been permanently outsourced overseas so that corporations can exploit people whose governments do not regulate safe working conditions or fair pay.

The 400 richest people in America together have assets and capital to equal the combined assets of 155 million of their countrymen. They have not been pouring this money back into the economy, so that it can "trickle down". They are hoarding it. This isn't class warfare, it's genocide of the middle class.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fashion Magazine Disillusionment

Jason brought home this month's In-Style magazine for me, because it had Julianne Moore on the cover. I don't buy fashion magazines anymore. I used to read Harper's Bazaar and Vogue like the bible, but then I got poor. It was impossible for me to contemplate the virtues of thousand dollar shoes and million dollar jewelry when I was struggling to pay rent.

Now that I've been out of the retail fashion world for two years, flipping through a magazine is a very different experience. It still offers the basics on cut, proportion and volume, plus guidelines for dressing one's body type. I always liked Harpar's Bazaar and Vogue because they dealt with fashion's hot-button issues too: age, beauty, femininity, and money.

In spite of these good things, the force that drives the existence of magazines like In-Style is advertising. If they can't turn around all of those topics to make you want and buy more new fashion, they're out of business.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Aching for Spring...

Nicole and I have been spending hours planning all of her spring outfits. We've found some amazing vintage pieces at thrift stores, and have been mixing and matching with last year's clothes. Here's a little preview of what we've been working on.

1. Simple, focused color palates

2. Masculine shapes with feminine details

3.   Loafers

Friday, February 25, 2011

Evolution: A Love Story

Seriously, evolution is so ballin'. I don't know what I used to think. I didn't think; I followed with my mouth open. Glug glug glug. I happily swallowed all of those lies about "Darwin's Black Box" and how evolution reduces us all to biological machines.

Evolution did not cause the holocaust, the brain of Stalin, or the 1960's (more like the 1860's). Evolution is not a morally corrosive theory, nor is it a theory in the sense that it is theoretical.

Evolution is a theory in the way that gravity is a theory. All scientific theories are unprovable but falsifiable, and evolution is yet to be falsified. It is heavily documented, supported by scores of evidence, and contains all of our gains in biological knowledge over the last 150 years.

It is happening all around us, all of the time, and it is beautiful. Its indifference and lack of consciousness makes the stunning reality of life on this planet superior to any concept of god I once treasured. It is the justice of our genes, the brutality of the universe, and the struggle to survive. It makes no qualitative judgements. It has not the mind to judge.

I can't teach anybody anything about evolution. I am just a student who's having my mind blown on a regular basis.