Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Haori

It's no secret that I have a love for the dramatic when it comes to clothes. The bigger the sleeves, the better. Feathers, fringe, patterns, textures, sparkles, sequins, fur, leather, lace, and hardware. I'm for it all. Which is why when I found this 

smashed between a bunch of plebeian Forever 21 jackets at the thrift, I was all

The Kimono has all elements I like in a statement piece of clothing: color, shine, luxe fabrics, and as mentioned above, HUGE SLEEVES (see previous post for evidence of my love of large sleeves). I also love to stock kimonos in my shop, as they're a straight up pleasure to photograph. They can, however, be a hard sell, partially due to the aforementioned drama, but also because we Westerners are just plain unfamiliar with them. In an attempt to spread my love for kimono, encourage more people to wear them, and flex my styling muscles (which haven't been used in a while. I'm currently sitting on my couch in sweatpants and a Cubs shirt), I've put together a few different looks to help you incorporate a kimono with pieces you likely already own. First up...

Kimono Casual

vintage Levi's 501s from Rawson via Shudio, necklaces from Clyde's Rebirth, also via Shudio, thrifted Steve Madden boots, vintage tooled leather purse soon to be in my shop, Goorin Bros hat

Boho babes, you've got to wash that baggy macrame sweater sometime, and when you do, reach for a kimono. It dresses up a classic pair of 501s a bit, especially when worn with a brass jewelry stack that compliments the metallic tones in the kimono's print. And as the outer is an earthy, feel-good green, throw on all your brown leather goods and call your outfit made. Take that, Free People. This outfit is the real vintage deal.

While the above is perfect for fetching coffee and hitting on the cutie at the bookstore, the kimono can be used for dressier occasions as well (like when you finally get the courage to ask out said cutie from the bookstore). Enter...

The Carrie Kimono

1960s dress and 1940s shoes, from my shop 
Why is this look called The Carrie Kimono? Because it looks rather bedroomy to me, and there are wonderfully weird shoes involved. In my opinion, no one has done those looks better than Miss Carrie Bradshaw. I know I'm dating myself with that reference, but she's proven herself a fashion reference not to be forgotten.

For this look I flipped the kimono inside out to expose it's amazingly vibrant lining. Because the jacket lapels flip either way, it doesn't look inside out, and adds a needed dose of color to this little black dress from the 1960s. No jewelry leaves room for a wild pair of heels, which you should absolutely be wearing because look how much leg you're showing, girl! You can't wear flats with that kind of leggage. I forbid it. Also, screw pants. I always said this guy was smarter than he looked.

While that last look would be great for "da club" or the sexy, dark kind of restaurants only young 30-somethings take dates to, sometimes occasions happen during which you need to be covered, classy, and grandparent approved. These would be weddings, showers of all kinds except rain, work parties, and uncoupling ceremonies (everything Gweneth Paltrow does catches like wildfire so I'm assuming we'll all be going to these in a few months). For these occasions, I give you...

The Classy Kimono

1950s dress from my shop, 1950s shoes coming soon, 60s clutch from my personal collection

Since haori jackets aren't belted closed like other kimono (they fasten with little ties on the inside, but don't have to be), those looking for a more fitted silhouette could simply take a dress with a matching belt, and wrap it around the outside of the kimono instead of around the dress itself. This makes the kimono a little more feminine, while it's flowy fabric make a conservative 1950s dress a little less stuffy. This outfit is also comprised of only metallics. Since kimonos are typically made of matte or low luster silk, you can pile on all the shiny things without looking like a retiree going to casino night at the senior center. Also, doesn't it make a much more attractive jacket for evening wear than say, a North Face puffer? Ugh. I'm on a tirade about that right now. People (guys are guilty of this too. Puffers and suits don't go!) wearing their utilitarian outerwear over their fancy outfits. IT. HAS. TO. STOP. 

Whew! Well, there you have it. Three ways to wear the hell out of a kimono. If that didn't convince you to find one of your own, tune in next week for my post titled, *"You'd be Happy and Gorgeous Right Now if Only You Had Taken My Advice About the Kimono WHY DOESN'T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?!"

*working title

Friday, December 11, 2015


(Everything is vintage but the shoes. They're old Loeffer Randal.)

Right after I uploaded these photos I called the salon and booked a hair appointment. I haven't had a haircut in just over a year, partially because I hate getting my haircut but mostly because I don't really notice the state of my hair until someone points in out, but even I can see that it's getting out of control. When your locks are as wide and unruly as this ridiculous jacket's ridiculous sleeves, you know it's time to fix that shit. 

I don't know what I'll do with it yet- probably nothing but a trim. I know we can't blame our mothers for everything, but I swear, a childhood of forced Dorthy Hamills and mullet lites (that's what I call the hair I had from second to third grade. It wasn't quite long enough in the back to be a full blown Joe Dirt, but it wasn't quite not a mullet, either) has made me hesitant to ever changing my hair in a big way. I wish I weren't so scared, as I think it would be awesome to have pink hair, or a side shave with steps, or a mod bowl cut. How do you guys amp yourselves up to try something new? Do you just get drunk beforehand? Do you stop by your weekly fight club meeting? Do you bitch to your mom until she reminds you that bringing you into this world was much more painful than your haircut, so shut the fuck up already? I'm willing to try anything. 

Have a good weekend, dudes. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Migraines and (Party) Monsters

Goorin Bros hat, Clyde's Rebirth necklace, vintage everything else

Because we are transitioning into a new season, my head has once again turned on me. Today is the first one this week I haven't been woken up by a migraine! Oof. And the thing that really gets me about migraines, is that on top of feeling like your head is trapped under a city bus, you can't even distract yourself from the pain, because all light and sound makes you want to barf. Of all the things I could have been afflicted with, migraines really are the worst for a television lover. I still look forward to getting the flu every few years or so just so I have a good excuse to lay on the couch and work through my "must binge" TV list. Plus, I get to lose five pounds without trying and boss my husband around without having to pretend to feel bad about it. The flu fucking rocks, man. 

Anyhow, I'm feeling better and am pumped to celebrate my best bud's birthday all weekend. Last night while talking to my mom, she was telling me about how she and my youngest brother had been discussing introversion and extroversion in an attempt to better understand themselves. They both hate large groups and have to practically be tied down to stay at a big event for longer than 15 minutes. I already knew this about them, but it was interesting to hear it from my mom first hand. It makes me wonder where my inner party monster comes from. Like, I've been looking forward to New Year's Eve since July. And Jill's party this weekend? I already have three outfits planned AND a sweet gettin' ready playlist to jam to while I attempt to apply eyeliner then wash off said eyeliner because I messed it up, then try to apply it again, mess it up again, then wash it off again and just decide to wear glasses. Good times! A life without parties and dinners out and getting into trouble sounds like an episode of How I Met Your Mother to me (that is: pedestrian and boring). But I am glad we're talking about these things, my family and me. It's easy to stop asking the people you've known forever about themselves, because obviously you should already know everything by now, right? People change, though, and one minute your mom is your mom and the next she's one of your best friends who hates going to the club and you're like, BUT WHY?! And then she tells you why and instead of half listening to your parent's personal matters the way you did in your twenties, you really listen, and sympathize, and understand.

I mean, I still think I was mixed up at birth, being the sole extrovert in this clan of Ron Swanson's and all, but I suppose it's helpful to have an understanding of one's captors. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kindness of Strangers

 Wearing 1950s jeans, Pendleton 49er jacket, and blouse. 1980s boots and belt.

Hello! It's been a while since dabbled on the blog. That's partly because I go through phases of, "I hate the word 'blogger'" and, "Is this a productive way to use my time?" and, "What does it say about myself that I like to take my own photos then publish them for all the Subway Jareds and Donald Trump supporters of the world to see?" It's also because, during marathon training time, I'm almost never not sweaty or just showered. Basically between the months of June through November, I constantly have wet hair, and I'm not one of those sleek ladies who can pull off that look. Trust me. But yesterday I got a really nice email from a total stranger, who just wrote to tell me she recently found my blog, likes it, and wants to know where should she shop for vintage in Detroit. I couldn't help her with the Detroit thing, but her kind words gave me the nudge I needed to trade in my pajama pants for jeans. When you work from home long enough, there comes that day when you cannot remember the last time you weren't wearing pajamas. So thanks, Jennifer. I needed that. As did my pajamas. I'm pretty sure I heard them sigh with relief when I took them off.

Speaking of nice strangers, Mike and I sat next to one on a plane a couple weekends ago on our way to Philly. Her name is Elsbeth, and she goes to a very good university in Indiana. Not the top 10 party school that I went to, but one that requires SAT numbers greater than one's height in inches. Anyway, the second I woke up from my plane nap, she asked me if we were famous, as we definitely seemed famous, because we looked very "put together." Then she told me I look like Zooey Deschannel (not true, but sweet), asked what I did for a living, then enthusiastically complimented my business card. She was on her way to Scotland, where she was spending Thanksgiving with her family. Though, later she asked us if we thought she could even get to Scotland, being that she just realized her Passport was expired and all. I told her to go for it, as she was too nice to disappoint with the truth. I hope she was able to go, as her plans sounded rad and while all young people have to learn some lessons the hard way, there is really nothing to be learned from the post office passport line.

Now, I know it's not Christmas's fast approach that is cheering my mood, as I'm still very "bah humbug" about that bitch, but these pleasant interactions with kind strangers are not lost on me. Sometimes I see people I want to give a compliment to, or talk to them about the book they are reading, or ask how the hell they managed to get that vat of acid onto the red line (true story), but I never do in fear I'd be bothering them. Though a card carrying grouch myself, I was anything but bothered at these recent uninvited conversations. I rather enjoyed them (I'm still surprised by this though)! Maybe it's time I stop worrying about what it means if I'm a "blogger," or if I'd weird someone out by starting a conversation. So far only lovely things have come from both. 

All that said, a crazy dude tried to steal my camera while I took these photos today. 


Thursday, June 11, 2015

One Suit, Five Ways

There are a few phrases we vintage sellers hear over and over again from people who aren't familiar with wearing vintage. They include:

My mother/grandmother had one of those!
You make a living selling this stuff?
The clothes are all so tiny!

and finally...

I really like vintage clothing, but I could never pull off something like that.

That last one really gets my goat. I very strongly believe that style is a state of mind, and any outfit is game if it's created out of confidence in oneself and love for the pieces. I also think that people give clothing too much power, especially vintage clothing. The vintage virgins I've encountered seem to think that donning a 1960s dress will make them look like a Mad Men extra, or wearing a 1940s day dress will make them look matronly, or an 80s number will make them look like Ralph Macchio, etc etc. I want to take people by the shoulders, shake them, and say, "You can style it however you want! The power is yours! The clothes are yours! Make them your own!" But instead of risking an assault charge, I thought I'd put together an example for how to style vintage in a way that feels "you," and how to include vintage pieces into a modern wardrobe. I do this with most of my vintage pieces, as dressing head-to-toe vintage has never really appealed to me. I'm a modern lady who loves her minimalism, feminism, and wearing underwear that doesn't have hooks and boning. Mixing the old and new fits my personality, and if you're just starting to dip your toe into the vast vintage pool, it'll work for you, too.

So, here's the outfit. It's a seersucker suit from the 1980s with a lot of great details and boat loads of potential. Not to mention it's super lightweight and perfect for these swampy summer days ahead.

I think most people would see the above and think, "Meh. It's from the 80s. It's seersucker. It's a suit. Three strikes, lady. I'm out." And I get that. Not many people are wearing stuff from the 80s, or seersucker, or suits. Unless you're my friend, Sam, that is. He wears all of those things, sometimes at once.

 Sam in seersucker, and his beautiful wife and my dear friend Ashley, who is wearing a dress from the shop. I love them and their preppy, whiskey-soaked ways.

As Sam proves, seersucker has serious potential beyond being the required summer uniform for all Brooks Brother's employees, and today I tore up my wardrobe and unearthed the heels I haven't worn in an embarrassingly long time just to prove it so. I purposely chose modern basics to mix in with the suit to show that with just a little creativity (and you really don't even need all that much, I stuck with one color palette because almost everything I own is navy blue), vintage can fit pretty seamlessly into your current wardrobe, whether you're a corporate lady...

or some yuppie who hangs out on boats, 

or a tomboy,

or an artist, 

or just some spaz with with big hair and glasses. 

Vintage clothing isn't just for vintage enthusiasts, and just because something is old doesn't mean it has to be styled that way.  Stay tuned for next time when I fashion a colonial bundling sack into a sexy and modern bandage-style dress for a night in da club!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Freedom of (non) Choice

I don’t like to “throw” people in conversations. When I can tell I’ve said something the other person wasn’t expecting to hear my heart sinks, because then I know I’m going to be asked to explain myself. And goddamnit, I hate explaining myself. It’s why I have a handful of close friends who already know everything about me. So I don’t have to explain anything ever again. Explaining why you feel a certain way about something inadvertently shows the listener a side of yourself you may not have planned on sharing at that particular moment, if ever at all. For private people like me, being asked to explain is the deepest, darkest, smelliest ring of hell, especially when the subject in question pertains to such a personal matter. Though I’m starting to get the feeling that “Are you going to have kids?” is no longer being considered a personal question, as it’s asked of me more frequently than I remember to floss. When I’m uncomfortable in a conversation, my reaction is to flee. But if someone is blocking the door or I’m too many beers in to be sneaky about it, my body fights back by spewing out poisonous barbs of brutally honest truth.

“I’m kind of indifferent to the whole kid thing,” I say to Nosey Person Number 8,011. “I think I’d be happy either way.”

Ugh, there, see that? No one is expecting to hear that. At this point, the listener’s eyes widen a bit, and sometimes they do that thing where they jerk their head back real quick, as if trying to avoid a bee. Sometimes the mouth falls open just a little.  Depending on whether they were raised Catholic or in one of those progressive churches that has a “rock” band and a giant projector, their eyebrows lower or raise.  It becomes immediately obvious that he or she does not believe me, and even though THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ASKED THE QUESTION and therefore should accept a simple and polite answer as truth and move on, I get why they don’t. I, as my husband likes to remind me, have an opinion on everything. I think hockey would be much more interesting if there were random patches of thin ice for the players to fall through. People who eat leftovers for breakfast should raise their standards for living. Unless it’s cold pizza eaten over the sink. That’s the best breakfast in the world. I think it’s disgusting and bizarre that the United States has yet to have a female president. I am adamantly against throwing minor drug offenders in jail. I think people over the age of 70 should have to take a driver’s test every year (or every time they hit someone, whichever is more frequent). Cats are better than dogs unless the dog is my dog. Thai food is far superior to Chinese, and I think climbing Mount Everest is a great way to thin the herd of bored, rich, white people. Opinions. I’ve got them in spades. Until it comes to the occupancy of my uterus, that is.

The reason I am indifferent isn’t because I don’t care. It’s because I’m happy with the way my life is now, but could also see my husband and I being happy with a child. If we didn’t have a baby, we’d spend lots of time together going out to eat, drinking, dancing, talking, walking the dog, arguing over whose turn it is to feed to the cats, making travel plans. There is no hole in our relationship that feels as though it needs to be filled, so why plop a time-consuming, sleep depriving, sex-zapping baby into such a harmonious situation? That’s the reason not to have a baby. But maybe that sex-zapper could deepen our relationship in ways we can’t fathom right now. Maybe having a baby, as Leslie Knope advised April on the same topic, “is like adding another player to a really great team.” There’s the issue of loneliness. If I die first, I want there to be people around for my husband to bother. If he dies first, I’m going to ask out our UPS delivery guy. Our kids would hate it until they met him and realized the reason I like the UPS guy is because he’s really friendly and talks a mile a minute, just like their dad. That weird but wonderful family stuff, that’s the reason to have a baby.

See, I’m such a good arguer that I made equally great cases for both sides. Do you understand why I, and many other women, am feeling indifferent, now? Because there isn’t just one path to a great life. Happiness, security, love, and spontaneity live under a lot of different rocks and whether you choose to have a baby or not, there’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting involved. Choosing not to choose may seem like a cop-out to some, but to me, it’s feels like I’m opening myself up to possibility, which, let us not forget, is a privilege that is assumed by men yet fought for by women. By choosing not to choose, I am gifting myself the freedom to be happy with whatever happens instead of burdening myself with choices that don’t even come with guaranteed outcomes. I’m not choosing baby or no baby. I choose myself. And since I’m pretty fucking fantastic, I guess I don’t see what’s so hard to believe about that.

Monday, February 9, 2015


It’s here. The day most people dread and some deny altogether. My 30th birthday. I mean, I’m not surprised to be super old now. I have size 12 crow’s feet, can no longer jump on a trampoline without having to put a heating pad on my back afterward, and, while definitely nowhere near Libertarianism, my world view creeps closer and closer to Ron Swanson’s with each passing year. Nothing is my business, and nothing is anyone’s else’s business. Unless that business is barbecue ribs. But that’s a different kind of business. A restaurant business. Look at me, I’m getting senile already. What was I even talking about? Trampolines? Ribs? Put me out to pasture, I’m done. I’m old.

I joke about being sad to say goodbye to my 20’s, but the truth is I’m the exact opposite. I’m fucking elated to be rid of my 20’s, because frankly, I was terrible at being a 20-something and I don’t like doing things I am terrible at. I understand why I was supposed to enjoy them. I recognized even then that I was in a position of great privilege, being a strong, somewhat attractive, 20-something with no real responsibility but to keep my grades up and, you know, “find myself” (barf). But I could never get myself to really enjoy it. While I could drink a fifth of whatever and tan and smoke and run and skip class and get naked and get arrested like the best of them, my heart was never really in it. I’ve been wanting to be old since I was four, when I’d pretend to read the paper and ask my grandparents for sips of their coffee, forcing myself to like it. No matter what my age, everyone my age gave me a headache and all of my problems would be solved by simply aging. I’d no longer have to live with my family, and then I wouldn’t have to go to school anymore, and then eventually I’d retire and wouldn’t have to work, either. And then, THEN I’d be my true self:  a 65 year old woman with many cats, one dog who loves cats, and one husband who loves us all. Hopefully I’ll be living between an ocean and a mountain, with a vegetable garden that my herd of very well-behaved goats do not eat. I’ll also be driving a Subaru Outback. I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted a Subaru Outback.

While I’m still many years away from 65, I have to say that 30 is feeling pretty good. After years of at unfulfilling, disappointing, soul-sucking jobs, I’m finally pursuing a career that makes me happy every single day, even when it’s hard. I love owning an online store, tracking the stats and making plans to expand and grow my business. I love the personal side of it, when I go to an appointment and a perfect stranger makes a pot of coffee while we pour over her late grandmother’s clothes and she tells me the story behind each party dress. I’m invited in their lives for an afternoon and leave with a bit of their family history that’s going to live on through others. I’m grateful to be a part of that. I’m grateful that, even though it has taken me longer than others, I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Not everyone gets that chance. I count my lucky starts I’m able.

For the first time in my entire life I’m really happy with my body. I’ve gone up a dress size, have gained 10 pounds, and several inches. But this is all because I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and have made huge strides in my fitness and overall health. I started lifting weights on the regular, and not just dinky five pounders like I’ve used in the past, but heavy weights paired with hard, heart pumping plyometrics. All of this helped me get through another marathon training cycle strong and injury free. I even crossed the finish line 33 minutes faster than when I ran my first marathon at the age of 24. I like the way my body looks, but mostly I appreciate it for what does for me. That’s not to say I don’t miss fitting into my smaller vintage dresses like I used to, but would I trade being able to wear those dresses for my new muscles? No way. Just a few days ago I reached my goal of being able to do 30 pushups by the time I’m 30. And that feels a lot better than fitting into a dress.

Unlike in my early to mid-twenties, I’m now taking real responsibility for my short comings, and am working to make improvements where I need to. It’s easy to pass the blame on others when you’re young and everything and everyone is temporary to you, but I now have lasting relationships and long-term responsibilities that deserve my best. I, like all humans, will always have my bad days, but becoming more self-aware has helped me snap out of funks, not take things out on others, and make better decisions. Again, I don’t nail it every day; maybe not even most days. But I haven’t gotten into a bar fight or eaten through three boxes of mac and cheese in one sitting just to stop feeling feelings in a really long time, so I’m getting there.

Lastly, I’m glad to say that I’m finally comfortable with who I am. At 30, I’m no longer worrying what other people think of me, or worrying about not being smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. This person I’ve become is a little weird and eats too many donuts and is short tempered but working on it. But this person has also accumulated a group of friends who are not just friends, but are family, a husband who is supportive and silly and really hairy, and a life filled with hilarity and thoughtfulness and hope for the future. This 30 year old person I am feels like it could kick the ass of the 20 year old person I was. Turing 30 feels like coming home. Coming home to a plate of delicious barbecue ribs.