Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipe: The Party Dress

I purchased this dress almost a year ago at the much-frequented Oxford Circus Topshop in London. It was my first vintage purchase while in London, and finding it completely changed my outlook on shopping, style, everything! Before I pulled this dress off of the vintage rack in the bottom floor of Topshop, I had never owned anything so daring. I was attracted to the ruffled neckline (I LOVE having ruffles up by my neck!), and as soon as I put it on, I fell head over heels for the way I looked in it. I felt like a different person, from a different time.

It’s not even that wacky by my standards anymore, but when I bought it, I began to see the merit of purchasing more unusual pieces.

My Aztec-man earrings, generously gifted to me by Vintage Underground. I love it when my jewelry has a face.

The changing foliage matches my belt. I love Vermont in autumn…not so much in winter though.

Vintage dress, purchased at Topshop, Oxford Circus, DKNY tights, Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, Thrifted belt, Vintage snake ring, purchased at Vintage Underground, Vintage earrings, gifted from Vintage Underground

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back From the Market: Middlebury Thrifting Part 2

Treasures from my Middlebury thrifting extravaganza continue!

For a while now, I’ve been on the hunt for the skirt equivalent of this dress. This skirt comes pretty close. It hits at the right length, and has the perfect amount of movement.

My ram’s head choker and large amber-colored ring are from the Middlebury Flea market. The necklace was $3, which still amazes me. I have a major soft spot for animal motifs, and the brown and black stripes are vaguely harlenquinesque to my eye. The resulting combination of these factors is a necklace that I want to wear daily.

The man who sold the ring to me told me that it is a “poison ring.” It opens up, and I guess one would put their poison of choice inside. I am still figuring out my ideal ring shape, and this ring is definitely different from the ones I usually wear. I love it though; it looks so old and rich.

I bought this leather jacket at the amazing Spitalfields Market in London. It was crafted by a local designer.

American Apparel silky loose crop tank, Thrifted skirt, Lace bra, purchased at Saffron, Bucktown, Chie Mihara shoes, Leather jacket from Spitalfields Market, London, Thrifted vintage “poison ring”, Thrifted vintage ram necklace, Vintage necklace, purchased from CatseyeVintage, Etsy

Friday, September 24, 2010

Back From the Market: Middlebury Thrifting Part 1

This past week I went on a thrifting expedition in downtown Middlebury, and it was very successful! I started out at the annual flea market, where I picked up (among other goodies) this wonderfully heavy Monet bracelet. It was $8. Holler.

After the flea market, I was so inspired that a girlfriend and I hit up Round Robin, a local thrift shop, and discovered this velvety corduroy skirt by J. Crew. It’s about 4 sizes too big, but I thought it would be ideal for a paper bag waist experiment.

I amplified the collegiate sensibility of the skirt with this amazingly baggy Millau tee and textured tights. My favorite vintage necklace is the finishing touch.

Millau tee from LF, Thrifted J. Crew corduroy skirt (size 10), Thrifted vintage boy’s belt, Kate Spade tights, Vintage ankle boots, Gifted vintage necklace, Thrifted vintage Monet bracelet

Tales of my thrifting adventures will continue soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Online Shopping & the Power of Flowers

So it's started. My shopping withdrawal is already forcing me to search out every available outlet for retail therapy. Today I spent some time on, which was amazing because I can literally find anything for my home, plus shoes and bags! I seriously considered getting a new twin bed set for my dorm room.

My online inspiration doesn't stop with shopping; I have been obsessed with this image from The Sartorialist (so effortless of course!):

I did my own take on the bow/headscarf, mixing some of my favorite floral patterns.

This frothy blouse form French Connection reminds me of cotton candy. I passed a French Connection on my way to class every day for 8 months of living in London; so much temptation!

These shorts are crazy! And yet they go with so much of my wardrobe...

French Connection blouse, Louche shorts from Joy, London, Hue tights, French Connection wedges, Thrifted vintage scarf

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recipe: The Deadly Poppy Field

I was drawn to this blouse mostly for its Wizard of Oz motifs: big puffy poppies and that brilliant red were just too good to pass up! I love all stories/films that reference an alternate universe (Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wizard of Oz).
The silhouette is more Victorian than I usually go for, what with the high neck and buttoned sleeves, but stepping out of my comfort zone is critical to the continuing development of my aesthetic.

I’m wearing my Trifari earrings all the time! They are just bold enough to have a presence without being overpowering.

Vintage blouse from RadVintager, Etsy, AG “Catwalk” jeans, Bloomingdales belt, Stuart Weitzman boots, Vintage Trifari earrings, purchased from Vintage Underground

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recipe: Collegiate Style

Being back on campus has been an absolute whirlwind, and I’ve only now had the time to put together a post. I’m coordinating with a beautiful and talented photographer here at Middlebury (Denise Hofmann- see her blog here!), and I’m very excited about all of my upcoming looks. I’m also now writing for and posting looks on Beauty and the Budget’s new column, Chic Beauty!

This look exemplifies my style for class: crisp, but a little rumpled. I like to play around with the reigning aesthetic of my college – preppy – by adding my own little twists. The shorts turned out perfectly, thanks to my incredible tailor back in Chicago. I long ago realized that any garment can be reconstructed to fit like a dream.
I also recently discovered Kate Spade's line of hosiery. I want all of them; they're so quirky!

My early fall coat! There is nothing more timelessly chic than a good trench. It is already chilly in Vermont, so I throw this on almost every morning before dashing off to my lectures.

Vintage corduroy shorts from PennyLaneVintage1973, Etsy, Rugby Ralph Lauren oxford, Kate Spade tights, French Connection Wedges, Vintage KJL chess necklace from persephoneclothing, Etsy, Vintage earrings, gifted from Vintage Underground, Bucktown, Grandmother's Rolex, (J. Crew trench)

Isn't Middlebury College beautiful!

Friday, September 3, 2010

On the Move

This morning I’m heading back to finish off my undergraduate education at Middlebury College. Located in a tiny but astonishingly picturesque rural town in Vermont, Middlebury will certainly provide some lush (and quaintly collegiate) settings for upcoming posts. It’s been 15 months since I was on campus (I was in London for all of last year), and I have to admit that I have butterflies.

One major downside to going to college in an isolated rural environment is the complete lack of shopping. There are a few small thrift/vintage shops in town, but I usually forget about them because a brutal winter descends all too quickly and then walking anywhere is daunting. The closest “city” is just under an hour away, but its retail offerings are mostly of the mall variety/cater to the ski bum culture of VT. All the more reason to devote several hours a day to scouring the depths of Etsy and other online shopping meccas.

In this isolation, I am forced to reinvent new outfits much more rapidly. Let’s see what I come up with this year!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shopping Trip: Bucktown

Chicago has the capacity for some pretty serious retail therapy. Of all the neighborhoods and suburbs replete with fashionable opportunities, Bucktown is my favorite. This trendy little vintage realm centers on the tricky 3-way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen. I could spend every day in Bucktown and still manage to leave many stones unturned. The two shops that I must enter on any Bucktown sojurn under self-threatened pain of death are Una Mae’s and Vintage Underground.

The spunky Una Mae’s at 1528 N. Milwaukee Ave. features men’s and women’s contemporary fashion on the ground floor (I’ve found pieces by B.B. Dakota and Blank in the past), but nowadays I’m typically drawn to the lofted vintage area. Amidst some pretty dead-on retro furnishing, one can always find a brilliant vintage dress or top. The selection is always very well-edited and easy to shop.

Vintage Underground at 1834 W. North Ave. is literally underground. A veritable emporium of costume jewelry, the shop has also recently expanded its apparel section to include some of the most intact and fascinating sets I have ever seen in person (some with matching shoes!). For the collectors out there, signed costume jewelry abounds. It can get a little overwhelming, but the staff are more than willing to cull their treasure trove for whatever you want.

Both shops are very reasonably priced (everything I found was under $50), so naturally I scooped up a number of goodies! Most have been set aside as holiday presents (delayed gratification), but one thing that I could not wait on was this incredible Trifari earring set from Vintage Underground:

With 5 pairs of interchangeable plastic disks, this set is an example of ingenious mid-century design and a little piece of vintage history. The Trifari designers were so clever with their jewelry, enabling practical women to make 5 pairs of earrings out of 1. I am not a serious collector, but I do appreciate how rare it is to have the full set in its box.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recipe: Wearable Art

I bought this sculptural scarf/necklace on a whim after Susie Bubble blogged about it years ago. It sat in my closet for a while because it intimidated me; the few times that I wore it, I felt like I didn’t have the right pieces to pair with it. Now I’m older (and bolder) and loving it! Of course, when Susie blogged about it, she wore about 5 of them at once, all in different colors. I’m not quite there yet!

Martin & Osa tee, American Apparel disco pant, Adriatic Wave warmer-necklace, purchased from Giia, Etsy, MICHAEL Michael Kors shoes, Bracelet from E Street Denim Co.