Sunday, 26 September 2010

walmart finery

One of the main tenets I've learned for quirky fashion on a budget is that you can find great things anywhere.  Don't turn your nose up, and don't pass on something inexpensive that you like just because of where it comes from (unless you have a moral obligation against it -- I will never shop at Abercrombie and Fitch or wear anything that displays their logo because of the disgusting racist and ableist ways they've treated their employees, aside from all of the other offensive stuff they've done over the years; if your convictions keep you from buying things made under certain conditions, by certain companies, or from certain materials, go for it!).

I don't buy a lot of things from Walmart -- mostly underwear, winter socks, and a stock of basic stockings -- but sometimes I find rather lovely bits. I will even admit to buying some of the Miley Cyrus-branded t-shirts, because, come on! A heart-shaped British flag wearing a top hat? What's not to love? (Anyway her name's only on the tag. On the inside.) Also, Walmart has great sales -- which is quite possibly my main tenet of shopping: KNOW YOUR SALES. It might take a little bit of time, but it is completely worth it. Figure out which stores have good clearance racks, how well you can expect the things you want to end up on them (Rue 21: almost everything gets there within a few months; Claire's, it's mostly just things from specific collections that you can predict), and how long you might have to wait -- and then it comes down to intuition. Do I buy this now, or wait? Knowing the store helps a little with that. Me, I tend to fit the extra-larges in the younger-oriented stores, like Rue 21 -- and the extra-large sizes tend to be the last things to go. So usually I can wait out Rue 21's sales, and the thing I want will go down to as little as three dollars. Or one.

The basis of today's outfit -- the jaunty little dress -- I snatched up for a dollar at Walmart. I'd been watching it for a while, passed it up for five dollars last week because I was there for something else -- and voila! fate!

I have a profound weakness for stripes. My mother told me I looked like a pirate (which was better than the time she said I looked like a mystic she'd seen on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan, so), but that was sort of the idea. The military jacket was $7 at Rue 21 and is very cosy.

Now, our local Walmart is in the process of moving into a new Super Walmart building in the next month, so they haven't been getting in much new stock. So when my best friend Kyra (whom fate has decreed to live in ALASKA for some reason) told me Walmart was selling Keep Calm And Carry On t-shirts, I was first delighted, and then irritated -- but she told me she'd get me one and send it. The package arrived Saturday morning, and true to form (because Kyra is awesome), it contained a few extras.

The peacock feather is a pen. You can also see one half of a Converse-themed friendship necklace, thereby fufilling one of my abandoned adolescent daydreams. ^-^

I wore my teapot necklace with this, as it seemed suitably British -- and added turquoise stockings to alleviate the effect of all the black. Everything but the shirt and jacket are thrifted.

And now to dye my hair and return to you a new woman.

Monday, 20 September 2010

almost autumn

I said I wasn't going to take outfit pictures today. I lied. >.> I even wore a t-shirt and jeans, but ended up liking the effect too much. Curses! In my defense, the shirt is really, really lovely -- Mum found it on one of her sell-stuff-on-eBay Goodwill runs last year and knew I would love it.

I was feeling rubbish this morning and just sort of lurched towards my jeans and started digging in my drawer for the softest t-shirt I could find and ended up unearthing this one, which it pains me to realise I'd forgotten. My mother is awesome and knows what I like. 

That's right, it is covered in apples! I should really iron down the appliqués at some point; I use the iron so rarely (I KNOW SHUT UP) that I sometimes forget it exists and can help me. I love quirky t-shirts -- they're simple, but add a lot to my usual black jeans (Ross Dress For Less).

The beautiful little shawl I am wearing was knitted for me by my extraordinary friend Anna.

I am inordinately fond of my orange button earrings.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

what i wore this week, part two

-- You know, I was so backed up that I wasn't even going to photograph today's outfit, but then I liked it too much. We'll get to that in a minute! 

All of this is thrifted. \o/

Thursday! Tromping about in the rain on errands with Mum and sisters. It was a bit chilly, so I finally got to wear my favourite dress from last winter, which I fell in love with for the crimson colour, the lovely buttons, and the long sleeves. So cosy! And the fact that it's a bit too short just gives me ample opportunity to dress it up with various skirts and things underneath. 

The cape I am wearing for the first time -- another summer purchase tucked away (Mum found it for me!). I love capes -- I have several, and tend to wear them around the house half the winter -- because otherwise I run around swaddled in a quilt, and that not only looks awful, but it's very awkward as I can't use my hands. 

Somehow I did not get a picture of what I wore to the coffee shop on Friday, which is appalling as it is one of my favourite ensembles in recent times -- very witchy and autumnal, but more in a Shirley Jackson sense than a strictly goth one. Never fear, I shall wear it again before long. And now we come to yesterday! 

Goodwill had a sixty percent off sale on Saturday -- yeah, I know. Anyway I FOUND TROUSERS. This is always a source of great joy and astonishment, because there are times when a girl needs to have trousers, and I so rarely find any that fit me and that I like. (None of my jeans are secondhand. I probably pay more for jeans than anything else that isn't really special and exciting, because it's so hard to find anything that works.) Anyway, they have buttons and things! I am in love! And if only I were Paul Revere for Halloween this year instead of the year I was ten! Uh, I mean.

The one element of the outfit that wasn't thrifted. Claire's had an Alice in Wonderland collection to coincide with the Tim Burton film, and this necklace, oh heavens. It is a TEAPOT and a little TEACUP AND SAUCER; what could be lovelier? I have had my eye on it for eight months waiting for it to go on clearance, and it finally did this week. 

Trousers! Also favourite flats, though I keep having to hot-glue the medallion back onto the left one.

I love when I hastily combine a bunch of things I've never worn together on a Sunday morning, when I am in a sleepy haze trying to get to church without injuring myself, and end up loving the result. (Mostly because thisis rare. For one thing, I do not often experiment on Sunday mornings.) All of this but the turtleneck and necklace have been in my closet for a while -- I think I got the stockings for forty-nine cents on heavy clearance at Ross. It's all very cosy and cheerful and I didn't even stab myself in the eye with my mascara.

The necklace was half-off at Rue 21: and yeah, I love it.

And with that, I end my week. (On a Sunday -- in my end is my beginning?), and seeing that my back is now quite stiff from all of this typing I will refuse to let myself wear anything new and exciting tomorrow! Uh, maybe.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

what i wore this week, part one

Soooo... whoops. I seem to have a backlog of Things To Post at the moment. My brain's been a bit of an unpleasant (and messy, very in need to airing) place for a while, and I keep taking pictures and forgetting to edit and post them. Here are a few selections from the last week or so.

This lovely grey number is quite possibly my favourite dress -- I snagged it for five dollars at Ross Dress For Less last winter, and it is not only lovely, simple, and flattering, but extremely soft and comfortable. It tends to be a go-to dress for sick days or sad days or travelling on account of its cosiness -- and, another benefit: it is extremely versatile. It's a short-sleeved, lightly shaped handkerchief-hem dress that pulls over the head -- I've worn it with jackets (like this striped bolero), camisoles, floral thermals or lace blouses underneath; with boots and flats and various belts and petticoats. Also: it is fantastic for dancing.

Beloved Turkish pashmina scarf and skeleton key from the house -- I've always wanted to wear these keys but they never seemed to suit the ribbons I usually string things on. This little cord is perfect.

What I wore to go traipsing about town on Tuesday. I'll admit the weather was a little warmer than the sweater suggests, but, uh. I am stubborn? It varied, anyway -- I was bicycling and got chilly sometimes. The skirt is from the Goodwill warehouse sale earlier in the summer; it's so old-fashioned and storybook, I can't help but adore it. (It's also quite good for layering under solid-coloured dresses or skirts that are a bit too short or sheer.) 

BOOTS. Okay, I am beyond thrilled with these boots and wore them almost every day for a week. They are flat, and really comfortable and just the sort of old-fashioned lost-in-the-woods boot I have been wanting for years -- and probably the closest I will get to my long-dreamed-of knee-high brown Legolas boots for a long while yet. They look perfect with dresses and did I mention comfortable?

Claire's gloves (finally wearing them lots -- bought them with birthday money in the summertime as there was only one pair left), pretty kitschy little ring I snatched up for a quarter at a yard sale.

First pair of actual proper shorts I have owned since, um. I do not remember. Early adolescence? I was convinced for years that I had dreadful legs (which I probably did, then -- it was only after I started exercising regularly that my legs acquired muscle tone and an actual consistent shape), and then I don't like most shorts anyway. I still want a high-waisted pair with lots of buttons, but these were three dollars, and they fit, are comfortable, are not too tight in the thighs, and lace up the front (over a zipper for convenience), which gives them the dash of unconventionality that I crave.

The t-shirt. It is my very favourite t-shirt of all the t-shirts that ever were. Um. Probably. I've racked up a decent collection of quirky and pretty t-shirts, but this one -- my love for it knows no bounds. It is Threadless' Vampires Beware shirt -- various folkloric methods of revealing and killing vampires. As my novel-in-progress is a vampire historical fantasy and I've researched this stuff inside-out (...sometimes for fun. folklore is my thing), this is extra awesome.


More tomorrow! Let this be a reminder to me: NEVER GET BACKED UP.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

being an intrepid heroine in expensive sweaters

More spoils of the Goodwill sale! I am always in need of sweaters, as I get terrifically cold during the winter and tend to huddle into layers of clothing and blankets and cats -- and in desperation over the last five years have accrued a lot that don't fit right or some such, so finding new ones to replace them (sweaters take up too much room anyway!) is always excellent. And the weather these last two days has been perfect: just cool enough to wear a sweater, but the sun was out and warm all day yesterday. 

Sweater number one is from Saks 5th Avenue. Ah, thrifting, you are so good to me. I love the bit of puff to the sleeves. And with my wool Banana Republic skirt (which turned up in Goodwill brand new with a $99 price tag -- we bought it for $4), I felt incredibly posh. If only my underwear wasn't from Walmart.

I found a Bartholomew! My gloves (Claire's) don't really go, I don't think, but my hands were chilly. The stockings were one of my DIY projects this week -- cutting up ill-fitting stockings to make thigh-highs or knee socks. I think I am going to have to get myself some garters, though. 
I adore these shoes (thrifted), though I wish they were a bit more comfortable: the balance is a little odd. I want some flat brogues terribly, but haven't found any yet -- not even any on eBay, not in my size (9-- which makes it harder) at a good price. I wear these less than I'd like as they feel really weird to wear around the house: they're very noisy, and as I said a bit teetery.


Today it's been a bit chillier and rather less sunny, and I am cosy in sweater number two, which is one of the snuggliest ones I've ever had. Quality tells, I suppose -- this one is J. Crew, whose sweaters and cardigans I would terribly love to browse with no thought of expense; Emily Martin always has such fantastic ones.

For NaNoWriMo this year, I am writing a WWII-era gothic fantasy YA (Britain, woods, lots of tramping about in boots and coats), and plan to spend much of November dressed essentially like this -- all mossy, earthy, rich colours, with boots and sweaters and tweeds and stockings and scarves. Really, planning my story is what led to this outfit; I will likely be paging through pictures of film costumes for further inspiration in the future. 

The skirt was another successful DIY fix-it project, hooray! (I have a bad track record with these things, though really, trying to sew new buttons onto a heavy wool tweed coat with no prior experience will end badly.) The skirt is slightly too large -- it fits, but it hangs wrong; the waist fell down lower than it was meant. But for one reason or another, a basic black skirt is next to impossible to find, so as it mostly fit I snatched it up, brought it home, and stitched in a fold at the top. Unlike my safety-pin improvisations (I am all about class, guys), it has not yet popped open and sent my skirt tumbling down my hips. The stitches are pretty ugly, but you can't really see them anyway. 

Awesome stockings were in my birthday package from Kyra, and I wore them for my birthday and then NEVER AGAIN because summer is EVIL. (Okay, okay, I like summer. But I go mad not being able to wear stockings.) Boots are from Land's End! (Thrifted, of course.)

This scarf has been a staple of my cold-weather wardrobe for the last four years. I am convinced that it once belonged to Sirius Black. How it got into a Goodwill in Northwestern Pennsylvania is anyone's guess. HE LOST IT OKAY. The ribbon's from the scrap ribbon box my mother keeps. The earrings -- BUTTONS!! *-* -- uh, that was my reaction when I first saw them; Claire's had a fantastic autumn collection two years ago that included a lot of button jewellery, including these earrings. The key is one of several skeleton keys that goes to this house. For some reason most of them have ended up in my bedroom...

Hey look, I found another kitty! This is my baby Willow, and she wants to kill me. (She's really very affectionate, but she'll be damned if she's going to let a human dictate what she does.)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

another dress in waiting

On Monday, our area Goodwills had a 50% off sale. Yes. Our Goodwills have sales. This fashion blog largely brought to you by the Ridiculously Fantastic Goodwills Of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Anyway, I snatched up a dress that my thirteen-year-old self would have craved heartily, in those heady days of Tolkien first love, and while I quite like it -- especially the buttons -- I feel I can't really wear it as is without it coming off as sort of a weird costume -- the nineties trying mediaeval, or something. I'm no seamstress, but I can sew a little, so suggestions on how to edit or wear this would be welcome! It fits quite nicely, and there's a cross-laced tie-back in the back that shapes it for my figure, but otherwise it's just -- there. And the buttons make my usual interest-adding method of belts and waistcoats awkward.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

september feels like september at last

 These last two days have been chill, grey, and windy -- my favourite weather! Taking scaldingly refreshing showers and snuggling under the covers at night and downing copious amounts of glorious Earl Grey: perfect. Also, it is time to break out the cardigans. BEWARE. I am a bit mad when it comes to cardigans.

We had a small barbecue at church, and I still smell of woodsmoke.

I acquired this lovely vintage cardigan -- possibly with real fur, and the pearl-esque buttons are very nice -- at Goodwill some months ago, and it has been languishing in my closet ever since, waiting for cooler weather. It is very 1950s and dear.

Another favourite shirt, largely due to the odd neckline.

And here is my winter coat, at long last. When you buy most of your clothes at thrift shops it is sometimes required to be far too patient. I have Made Do the last several years with long coats -- which are splendid, but not always practical for every day, or bicycling, or those times when you are awkwardly aware that you look more formal than everyone else all the time -- or unsatisfactory short coats, and while I have a couple of beautiful dress coats (including my Russian fairy princess coat which I shall show off later) laid by, I haven't had anything easy and casual that I liked in years. This is only a very basic classic pea coat, but it is all wool and perfect. Also I bought it for, I think, five dollars.

I could probably mention every day how much I love my gloves.

cardigan, blouse, skirt, coat, scarf // thrifted
bow, key necklace // Claire's
tights // Anna
boots // Kyra
owl earrings (<3!) // my mother (she knows me too well)
fingerless gloves, rings // Rue 21

Friday, 3 September 2010

it's the sound of wild electricity

Technically, it is September at last. The weather does not think so: it persists in being, not hot, not sunny, but heavy and humid. A thunderstorm has been brewing, but it has yet to open the sky over my town, though Sarah in Pittsburgh reports Epic Rain. 

I am trying my best to dress Septemberishly without succumbing to heatstroke and/or drowning in my own sweat. Ergo today's outfit.

The ring is one I had my eye on for a very long time, and lo! it turned up in a clearance bin; I am so pleased. (I have a severe weakness for skeleton keys, as one may well guess.) 

dress, blouse // thrifted
cameo necklace // Blue Moon Beads pendant on re-appropriated chain
shoes // Kyra
ring, headband // Rue 21
earrings // Claire's