Threads + Thoughts | On Why I Choose Vintage

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Recently, while creeping on Elizabeth’s blog, I came across a post she did on ethically made clothing. In this post she discusses our cultures obsession with fast fashion and instant gratification. She expresses concern over our societies consumption of items we neither value nor hold on to for any real length of time. It is disposable fashion, cheaply made by underpaid and poorly cared for workers in a sweatshop half the world away.

I had already hastily banged out the first draft of this post when I then encountered a post by Ellie of Thrift Eye, which introduced me to this video…which got me to thinking more about why and where I shop the places I do.

I choose vintage and thrifted items for a lot of reasons. When I was a teenager, just discovering thrifting, I was in it for the price tag. Bang for your buck? You ain’t seen nothin’ till you’ve scoured a thrift store with me. I could go in with my measly tips from my hostessing shifts at a local restaurant and walk out with a whole new wardrobe. And cute shit for my room to boot. But I also loved turning other peoples garbage into gold. I guess it’s a tendency I’ve had since I was a kid, dumpster diving with my brother in the apartment complex my dad lived in to pass the time (gross, I know. I spent a lot of time unsupervised as a child). I found an odd sort of beauty in these discarded items. Birthday cards and thumbed-through magazines, old clothes and children’s toys. They were still, fundamentally, what they had been designed to be. People had just gotten tired of them, and so they were abandoned to a garbage bin, a dumpster, a landfill.

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Fortunately, I grew out of the whole garbage picking thing (sort of*) and fell in love with thrift and vintage stores. I think for me it’s the history. There is a certain mystery to a thing that has known a whole lifetime before you. It’s the same sort of feeling I get when I walk through a museum or an old building. There are stories here, imbued in these objects, encapsulated in these things that most people treat so callously.

Perhaps that is sentimental of me. Perhaps a bit materialistic. But in a world where an island of garbage exists in the Pacific Ocean which is believed to be twice the size of Texas…perhaps we should reconsider our policy of “out with the old, in with the new” and have a little more concern and care for the objects we populate our lives with.

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I’ll admit, I’ve spent my fair share of change at places like Forever21 and H&M. Urban Outfitters still makes the best fitting jeans I’ve ever worn. But lately, my conscience has been nagging me. It’s not just the environmental impact of our gross over consumption which disturbs me, but also the social implications of an industry which capitalizes off the poorest and most desperate populations in order to produce it’s goods.

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And this is true for much more than just our clothing. This sort of shady business exists in everything from the products we use in our home to the food we put in our bodies. I don’t want to be a part of it any more. I don’t want to give my hard earned cash to companies that do terrible things, mistreat their employees, lie to and manipulate their customers and generally contribute more to the worlds ills. I’ve made it a general policy of this blog to only feature independent artists, designers, and craftspeople. All of my wish lists are pretty much exclusively curated from Etsy, and that has been a very intentional choice on my part. I wanted to use whatever limited influence I have to direct people towards spending their money on indie business, to send their hard-earned cash to someone who was working equally as hard as them…not to some wealthy CEO kicking it on a yacht in the South of France while Indonesian children sew together cheap tube tops for their company. That’s not what I believe in, those aren’t the business’s I want to support or condone. I also believe that there is a way to dress fashionably and affordably without having to go through the likes of F21 and H&M, and that investment pieces should be investments because their really effing cool and well made, not just because they have a fancy designer name.

So, I suppose the point of all this pontification is that I want y’all to take a long hard look at your closets, at the places you spend your money and where those dollars go. Do they support local, independent business? Do they go towards pieces you really love and will wear for years to come? Or are you throwing your cash at conglomerates who design and manufacture pieces that are intended to fall apart/fall out of style within six months of purchase. And I want you to ask yourself why? Why buy something that every fifth girl you run into is going to be wearing? Why buy something that is so transient, they didn’t even bother to make it well? Because it’s cheap? Because it’s trendy? Swing by your local thrift store and you’ll realize all that cheaply made 90’s throwback shit they’ve got at F21 is available there for $3.00 and it’s actually from the 90’s.

Allright. Rant over. Here’s a gratuitous booty shot to lighten things up.

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:: outfit details ::
white cami :: vintage :: thrifted | denim skirt :: vintage guess usa :: thrifted | shoes :: reef :: thrifted | leather back pack :: vintage :: thrifted | braided leather belt :: vintage :: thrifted

Femme Fatal | Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe

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Frida Kahlo is a Femme Fatal for a bunch of other reasons that have nothing to do with her iconic style and truly epic threads,  By the time she was eighteen she had survived both polio and a horrifying trolly accident and would live the rest of her life in unimaginable pain. She was an outspoken communist, openly bisexual and intensely talented. Her artwork, personality and image are synonymous with the Surrealist and Mexican art scenes of the mid-twentieth century. She carried on many tumultuous love affairs, with both men and women, the least of whom were Georgia O’Keefe and Leon Trotsky, not to mention her notoriously unfaithful husband, Diego Rivera, the great Mexican muralist. She kept monkeys and loved dirty jokes, drinking and dancing. She lived in a big, blue house surrounded by cacti and made art that still stops people in their tracks with it’s power. For all these reasons and many more, Frida Kahlo is a genuine bad ass, but since I just discovered these stunning images, we’re gonna talk about her clothes.

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Frida is a collection of images captured by Ishiuchi Miyako. The photographs catalogue a collection of Frida’s garments and personal items, which had been locked inside a bathroom in “The Blue House”– or the Museo Frida Kahlo,  for nearly fifty years. The contents of this bathroom were placed there by a grieving Diego Rivera, who sealed off the collection with instructions for it not to be opened until fifteen years after his death. Just imagine, that bathroom, full to bursting with all that bright silk and embroidery…the smell of her still clinging to the fabric as all those skirts and frocks and scarves languished in the shadows for nearly half a century. Miyako, whose work has centered around the strange intimacy of objects, was tasked with documenting the collection in 2013.

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When you think about Frida’s iconic style you must also consider that she wore her clothing as both a shield and a distraction from the incredible physical disabilities she suffered from. She wore the traditional long skirts of the Tehuana which served to not only conceal her mangled lower limbs, but also as a proud feminist and nationalistic gesture to her heritage. She wore shoes with one stacked heel to even out her polio-stunted left leg. She decorated her casts and corrective corsets so that even the instruments of her agony became art. Her clothing became as much an expression of her unique perspective on the world as her vibrant paintings. She dressed as she did for many reasons, and her style is iconic because it is as thoughtful and startling as her artwork.

Learn more about Frida Kahlo…

Images via the Michael Hoppen Gallery and good old Google Image Search

Worn | Rooftops

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These shots are from when I was still living in Tahoe, back when it was still warm enough to wear sandals and tank tops and pretty mexican skirts. Now it’s freezing and there’s snow pouring from the sky and I’ve fled to the relative warmth of San Francisco (though it’s raining here, this is somehow preferable to snow for me). I am due back in Tahoe soon to help my mom out with the craziness of the holidays.

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 {top//thrifted | skirt//thrifted | sandals::DSW | vintage leather bag:: Wasteland SF}

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The Freshest of Princes

The Freshest of Princes

Behold, The 90’s Man

Behold, The 90's Man

Witchy Woman

Witchy Woman
I always put Halloween costumes off to the last possible moment, and usually end up throwing something together out of the contents of my closet and a few chaotically purchased/borrowed items the day of. This has always worked rather well for me, as my style is already fairly costume-y as it is, so my wardrobe lends itself nicely to playing dress up.
I don’t have a camera this year (le sigh) and I haven’t actually finished putting together my costume, I can’t show you it. Instead, I’m posting a little get up I created utilizing the wonders of Polyvore and the Internetz. Behold, my vision of a gloriously vintage witch’s costume. Lady-like with a hint of wickedness. A little bit inspired by the new season of American Horror Story and by my general fascination with witches, witchcraft and the dark arts. I would wear most of this with or without the holiday. Any excuse to wear opulent jewelry, beaded shifts and warm woolen capes. Oh, and those Tory Burch dragonfly heels? Oh. My. God. I die.
What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Timewarp | Sassy Magazine October 1990 Twin Peaks Fashion Spread

The Internet Gods have been kind, children. For they, in all their divine wisdom and benevolence, have seen fit to bestow upon us these gorgeous scans of Sassy Magazine‘s fantastic October 1990 fashion spread, inspired by Twin Peaks. Tracked down by the incredibly diligent and gracious Remyrouge, and shared on the addictive tumblr Sassy Magazine LIVES.

I am crying.

Also, I think I just figured out my Halloween costume.

 

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In other Twin Peaks related news; the very smart lady behind the very stylish blog Urban Tease, recently shared her senior thesis for the whole wide internet to read. Entitled “She’s Dead – Wrapped in Plastic”: Unwrapping Rape Culture in Twin Peaks. It’s a fascinating exploration of the underlying themes of misogyny, victim blaming and rape culture within the Twin Peaks narrative.
In addition to being one incredibly intelligent lady, Chloe is also outrageously hip and her style is incredible. Check her out over at Urban Tease.

Happy Birthday Freddie Mercury

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In honor of one of my personal icons, Freddie Mercury–whose birthday was yesterday, BTW–I threw together a few looks inspired by a few of the talented singer, song writer and performer’s stage ensembles. Freddie was through and through a showman, and his wardrobe choices both on and off the stage were bold and graphic. I tried to capture a little of that flair and flamboyancy that made Freddie’s style so iconic. Bold stripes, bright colors, leather and studs and vibrant contrasts were all signatures of Freddie’s look. How would you recreate Mr. Mercury’s look?
Freddie Mercury Outfit 1
Freddie Mercury Outfit 2

Window Shopping | Autumn Wishlist

Autumn is my favorite season, and even though San Francisco gets all Indian Summery as soon as the rest of the world starts to layer up the scarves and the sweaters, I’m still uncontrollably drawn to autumnal color palettes and chunky knits. Maybe it’s because all my favorite holidays are in the fall (my birthday, Halloween and Thanksgiving) or maybe it’s just because these colors sort of already dominate my closet…either way, I’m smitten. Here are a few of the things tempting me to throw away all my money.
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1|A cozy brown Sweater for snuggaling up in.
2 | Some sweet Jeffrey Campbell x Nasty Gal Rum Moto Booties for kicking ass and taking names in.
3 | These oxblood colored ASOS High Rise Skinny Cords.
4 | This gorgeous Pamela Love Feather Cuff is calling my name.
5 | I’m in need of a new pair of eyes, and these Vintage Wayfarer Specs are the epitome of retro cool.
6 | I want an Army Green Parka to keep out the fog.
7 | This adorably nerdy Harry Potter Ring speaks parsltounge to the geek in me.
# |and some cool Numerical Cookie Cutters for all the baked goods I’m craving.
what are you lusting after this autumn?

timewarp | 1920’s girls having fun on the stairs

1920's girls having fun on stairs via retronautimage via retronaut

a gaggle of stylishly dressed ladies goof off on the stairs. serious shoe/frock-envy going on right now.

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