The extent of my sewing experience consists of half a school year in eighth grade home economics, and most recently in grad school (hand sewing for the conservation of historic textiles). As much as I was interested in sewing, I was too afraid of gender-based parental disapproval, even though I was well aware of the existence of tailors. My sister, however, was able to follow her interests. We were in the same junior high sewing class, but she went on to take sewing in high school. We both had to make the same things, but mine were always a mess. The final project was a sweatshirt with pockets. While I chose a masculine “sweat gray” jersey with white for the cuffs (a boy’s color, I thought in my head), she chose pink fabric with black for the cuffs and pockets. (She might look back and think that she was channeling Chanel, but I think a more realistic reference was someone like Lisa Lisa or the cast of The Facts of Life). But while her sweater was a proud example of her sewing progress, my sweater was a sartorial disaster.
One thing we both enjoyed doing was taking a trip to the local fabric store. George’s Textiles was in Downtown Lowell, and we often went with our mom for her sewing projects. There was something exciting about watching the clerk take a flat bolt of fabric and unfurl it on the cutting table. Then came crisp, finite sound of the fabric scissors (with the cast iron handles), cutting fabric. As much as I loved watching this, my favorite section of the store was the remnants. Maybe it was about finding something that was no longer being sold, and the anticipating of having something unique, but there I could find affordable pieces of fabric that my mother could use to make something small for me, like clothes for some of my toys (which were never intended to have fabric clothes). There was a time when I asked my mother to make something for me, but my lack of textile knowledge left the end product not exactly as how I imagined it. (Think of a hoodie with woven cotton instead of a jersey, with a pool ball motif a la Kid n’ Play).
Through school and my sister’s continued interest in sewing, I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of the fabric store. My understanding is that George’s Textiles is still there, but the focus of their business is exclusively on re-upholstery fabric. I live near an independent fabric store, but the standard for fabric shopping is Jo-Ann’s, where one of the locations is near my sister’s home. So we decided to go together, unbeknownst to us, for the first time in possibly over 20 years.
- St. John short-sleeve sweater
- Ivan Grundahl nylon cargo skirt
- YSL platform heel loafers
- Fendi monogram baguette
#Outerwear is just as important in the cold! Vintage and #thrifted #1970shousecoat (converted to outerwear), Vintage and thrifted #1980sbag , #Gap turtleneck, #forever21 leggings, #h&m belt and earrings. #color #pink #refashion #housecoat #winter #winterwear #cold #stylediary #streetstyle #outfit #ootd #wiwt #style #limstreetstyle #fashion #thriftstorefinds #thrifting #secondhandfashion #thrift360 #funfashion #colorful
DIM Girls’ Romper
During a recent visit to the local Target, my daughter saw (and wanted) a shorts jumpsuit. Inspired by the blog, I first looked at the outfit to see if its easy enough to make. Then I looked at the price tag to see if the time it would take to make the outfit would outweigh the cost and time of buying the ready made. There was no clearance sticker, so we walked. I remembered that I happen to have an unused girls’ jumpsuit pattern and plenty of fabric!
Got the pattern, fabric, tools, and got to work.
A minor edit had to be made during the fitting. After Busco, daughter and I discussed options, I took measurements and added 2 pleats to each side of the outer part of the shorts for volume.
Daughter enjoys participating in our blog-ventures. From brainstorming with us on styling outfits, to helping us take photos. She too lives a life of volume, structure and color.
- Handmade shorts jumpsuit by The Sin Embargo
- Pink T-Shirt
- Gray booties (gifted)
- Isaac Mizrahi handbag
- Plastic beads as bracelet
- Zara blazer (thrifted)
- BDG for Urban Outfitters printed jeans
- Forever21 V-neck T-shirt
- Vintage 1980s Carlos Falchi leather clutch (thrifted)
- Converse Jack Purcell sneakers
- Silvertone cuff, bamboo earrings, and necklaces
- 0 notes
- Style Diary
Shane is one of those people that I’ve known for years, but know very little about him. Through Facebook, I’ve been able to keep in touch with him and learn things about him, such as his taste in music, his appreciation for a good Halloween costume, and his T-shirt venture, Burlyshirts.
By happenstance we were going to be in Chicago at the same time for the annual leather community man-pageant, International Mr. Leather. He as a vendor at the leather market, and me as people-watcher and curiosity quencher. He needed some help setting up and breaking down his Burlyshirts booth at the market. Always down for anything fashion/clothing related, I heeded the call.
(photo by Shane Ruff)
It probably goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed helping out. As I walked by the booth during my people-watching excursions, I couldn’t help but notice dozens of manly men poured into the booth in search for graphically strong and thoughtfully designed T-shirts for bears, fetishists, and every gay in between. It was non-stop, and it was fascinating, fun, and furry.
I’m incredibly happy for Shane and wish him all the success in the world. I look forward to seeing his goods at other events this summer. And his T-shirts!
- Burlyshirts “Prancing Pig” T-shirt
- Banana Republic long sleeve shirt
- H&M shorts
- Jeremy Scott for Adidas high-top sneakers
- Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas Y-3 messenger bag
- Marc Jacobs “Veritas Inlustrat” leather bracelet
- 0 notes
- Style Diary
Spring Stroll: York Beach, ME
- Vertigo dress coat (TJMaxx)
- Vintage 1980s sweater dress (thrifted)
- Red leather Longchamp bag (thrifted)
- Goldtone cuff, plastic and brass bangles, 14K gold Necklace, earrings (gifted)
- Nine West floral print ankle-strap heels from the 1990s
Meet Your Makeup
My good friend, comadre, and soon to be blogger Cara-lista, asked that I join her for a make-up event at the Prudential Center in Boston. We signed up through Facebook for consultations at the Makeup Forever Makeup Bag Remix Tour. I was familiar with the brand through Cara-lista, who is quite the makeup connoisseur and loves their products. She has been obsessed with makeup since she was about thirteen years old, so I consider her a makeup expert.
The event brings makeup education to cities around the US. They teach techniques and best practices that work for your face shape and skin-tone. And did I mention it was free?! I liked that they asked that we bring our own makeup bag to teach how to properly use makeup with products we already own.
Truth be told, I was a little intimidated. Mixing foundations and concealers on your own to get the right color for your skintone? Unheard of! And not to mention the hundreds of color choices and combinations! But with Cara-lista by my side, I knew I wouldn’t be swindled into buying things I didn’t need. With Busco’s help on what would be an appropriate outfit for a sunny cold Boston day, I spent the day playing with makeup.
- Forever21 Cardigan
- Vintage 1980s leather skirt (thrifted)
- Viktor&Rolf for Samsonite luggage bag
- Guess black leather boots
- Red Plastic Bangles, Forever21 earrings, Vintage 1980s green belt
- 1 note
- Style Diary
- style journal
- vintage look
- personal style
- style bloggers
- boston style bloggers
- boston bloggers
- leather skirt
- vintage leather skirt
A Fishtail To Tell
I’ve had this dress for a while, but hadn’t worn it. I love the back design, the graphic print, and the structured shoulders (even with removed shoulder pads). But when I tried it on at home, it felt like a little too much dress. So after putting my head together with Busco, we decided the remedy would be to hem the dress. Thus, a new Do-It-Myself (DIM) quick project was born.
I’ve been changing hem lengths on my dresses for years. However, this dress has a row of buttons down the back that I didn’t want to loose. So we decided to do a fishtale hem, which was a new way of hemming for me. I did a quick check for online tutorials, but they all left the skirt unhemmed. This could work for some fabrics, but not for this dress. So I measured, pinned, cut, pressed, and sewed with very satisfying results!
Busco had been wanting to style me in a “neo-global tribal” look since we started writing the blog. It’s not really my style, so I had been politely putting it off. But he brought it up again from being inspired by the dress, so I could object no longer.
- Vintage 1980’s dress with customized hem (thrifted $1.00)
- Vintage 1980’s Carlos Falchi clutch (thrifted)
- Nine West suede heels
- Betsey Johnson black knotted stretch belt
- Vintage 1980’s red hoop earrings, bangles, Puerto Rican camandula bead necklace worn as bracelet, handmade animal bangle by The Sin Embargo
New Year, New Stroll
On break for the holidays, the family and I decided to get out on New Year’s Day for some fresh (FREEZING COLD) air. We took a scenic drive up north.
- Vintage 1980’s leather bomber jacket (thrifted)
- Missoni for Target shirt
- Vintage 1980’s wool plaid skirt (thrifted)
- Stubbs & Wootton Palm Beach carpet bag (thrifted)
- Black pashmina from NYC
- Silver cuff, silver bangles, silver hoop earings, silver dome rings
- BCBG leather boots
Sometimes, Life IS a Picnic (Dress)!
I love a picnic. Usually I’m always on the go and have been since my first summer job at 15 years old. From work to home to kids to everything in between (in heels).
So I like to metaphorically dig my heels into the ground and slow down for a picnic, at least 3 times a year: Spring, Summer and Fall. Its relaxing, and kind of fun. And yes, even the picnics are thrifty: all foodstuffs from home, a homemade blanket, carefully stored games and toys that we’ve had for years. And the best bargain: our imagination.
- Hand crocheted blanket from late 1990s by Mom and me
- Vintage 1980’s dress
- Marc Jacobs tote bag
- Vintage 1980’s fucshia pumps
- Custom headpiece by The Sin Embargo
- Vintage white plastic necklace; red hoop earrings; plastic jade bangle; plastic clear/navy blue bangle
Fishnets & Lip Syncs
My recent trip to Las Vegas included an off-strip casino concert outing to see Morris Day & The Time. Admittedly not a group I would rush to see, the experience unearthed a nearly repressed memory: My junior high school lip sync performance of Fishnet.
Fall of 1988. It was the second annual lip sync contest, created by Music Teacher. First prize was dinner at the restaurant of your choice. Music Teacher showed us a video of last year’s winners, three girls lip syncing to Show Me by The Cover Girls. Decked out in their oversized, belted, buttoned-down blouson tops, stretchy pants (currently known as leggings), pointy flats and a big bow to the side of the hair, they Roger-Rabbited, Cabbage Patched, and Wopped their way right to first place. I was impressed. Mira’s friends wanted to enter the contest. I don’t know why they just didn’t decide to do a song with female vocalist or group, but one of them really wanted to do that song, so they needed a guy. Enter me. They were going to be my back-up dancers. It was clear that we not only wanted to win, but we needed to raise the performance bar so that next year’s 8th graders could see us on video.
The styling was simple. The four girls wore alternating black & white (black skirt, white top, white skirt, black top). The fishnets were Halloween costume accessories. Fishnets on a bare leg would be too risque for the girls, so they decided that white pantyhose under the black fishnets would not only reinforce their modesty but also look cool. I wore a white tuxedo shirt with black buttons from my First Communion, black pleated baggy dress pants, a black tie and white shoes. With my hair plastered on the sides with gel and curly on top with a deliberately descending curly bangs, I never felt more dashing.
A copy of the song was made for me to learn the lyrics. Without the original liner notes or the internet, the only way it made sense to me was to write out the lyrics as I listened to the song was stopping the cassette every 10 seconds so that my writing could catch up to the song. The rudimentary choreography which consisted mostly of arm-based moves was rehearsed to perfection. My only memory of it now is the Cabbage Patch at the beginning, one girl at one end pointing at me, then I point at the girl on the other end, as though I were a dance conduit and an “on bended knee” finish.
We won. But I was an even fussier eater than I am now, so in my head I would have been content going to McDonald’s. But the girls had higher aspirations. It was decided that Music Teacher would take us to dinner to a restaurant hotel that at the time was the Lowell Hilton. It wasn’t bad, but I remember eating a piece of chicken fat I mistook for meat. I was drinking Diet Coke at the time and when I asked for a Diet Coke, the server asked, if I was on a diet, to which I replied “does it look like I need to be on a diet?” Music teacher, embarrassed by my rudeness, gave me the hairy eye. I retreated into my menu.
I don’t remember much else about the dinner other than seeing the $50 dinner bill. I had never seen a restaurant bill that high in my life. At one point Music Teacher did jokingly say “I could’ve had three lovely young girls to dinner”, referring to the other contestants. But you know there’s always some truth to those statements made in jest. But we didn’t care. We were having fun as a group, as friends. Maybe that’s also why I didn’t care where we went. It was hard being one of the only boys that hung out with girls. But I did it, and at least for that one moment, it paid off. In an $8 chicken soup and a Diet Coke.
I don’t know if anyone ever recorded our performance. Maybe I’ll look for it on Youtube. But the Morris Day version is out there. Click here to watch the official Morris Day Fishnet music video.
- Missoni by Target top
- Kenneth Cole skirt
- Michael Kors heels
- fishnet black pantyhose from late 90’s
- Vintage clutch
- Silvertone earrings, sterling silver scarab necklace and dome ring
In the Spring of 2012 I took a felting class. At the time I was working for RISD so I was able to sign up for RISD Continuing Education courses for free. Taking into consideration my schedule, the commute, and my interest in the fiber arts, felting made the most sense.
Felting is the process of creating felt, which is the attachment and intertwining of wool fibers with water and agitation (wet felting) or with a needle (dry felting or needle felting). The process for wet felting is basically as follows:
- Lay down the pieces of felt in a “cross-hatching” layout
- Wet with cold water and soap
- Press down
- Wet down with hot water and soap
- Agitate to desired consistency, shape, size, etc.
The most difficult part for me was the agitation. Imagine washing clothes on an old-fashioned washboard. For someone like me who perspires profusely at the slightest hint of manual labor, it is my least favorite part of the process.
My favorite thing to make was a felt clutch. I still want to perfect my technique of felting marbles into the felt so that they are stationery and don’t break through the felt and fall out. Another favorite thing was the unintentional Barbie dress I made (it was suppose to be a vase but ended up with a hole at the bottom). Felt vase with hole in the bottom = shift-style Barbie dress. The instructor loved the idea so much she took a picture to include it as part of her education portfolio.
At the end of the course I was able to take a bunch of felt home. Now I have to buy a washboard type device, some oil soap, and figure out what I want to make as future Christmas and birthday gifts. Everyone will get felt by me!!
Felt scarf with gauze netting (in process)
Felt “sampler” to practice technique, turned into clutch at the end of the course
Felt two-tone clutch and cloche hat
Felt pocket/container with shells, felt cuff bracelets with marbles
Felt Barbie dress
This stroll was actually a road trip back home from an amazing concert weekend with Husband.
- Zara strapless bodysuit
- Urban Outfitters peasant skirt
- Vintage Dooney & Bourke purse
- Charles David platform heels
- Gucci prescription sunglasses
- 14K Gold hoop earrings, necklaces, and rings
- Gold-plated cuff, brass bangle, and gold-plated cocktail ring
El Pecado de Oyuki is a Mexican soap opera, or “telenovela” from the 1980s. This was one of the many Spanish-language soap operas that we watched with our mom. You’d think that we’d be too young to watch soap operas, but as long as there wasn’t any nudity, mom was OK with it. Violence? OK. Drugs? No problem.
It quickly became one of our favorites. The story takes place in post-war Japan, and is about a Japanese girl turned geisha who falls in love with an English aristocrat, against the wishes of their families. Her English love gets killed by her brother, but she is accused of the murder by his parents. She is sentenced to 20-years but released 5 years before the end of her sentence as a result of her brother’s deathbed confession.
We were fascinated (and couldn’t understand why) they spoke Spanish. But we later learned that the actors were Latin actors with facial features that could pass as Asian. Adding to the fascination was learning about the world of the geisha, pre-Memoirs of a Geisha. We were fascinated by costume, hair, makeup, the way she spoke, danced, behaved. We’re not sure how accurate the portrayal was, but we didn’t know. To us, she was a walking work of art!
And ever since then, we’ve been inspired by Japanese culture, collecting decorative objects, books, and vintage kimonos/robes!
- Vintage child’s kimono/robe
- Vintage child’s tuxedo cummerbund
- Joe’s Jeans denim jeans
- Nine West shoes
- Emilio Pucci handbag
- Plastic plum bangle, painted wood bangles & earrings
Husband has a job where he gets to travel all over the world. So when his work destination is within a 5 hour driving radius, the kids and I pack our bags and meet him for the weekend. Saratoga Springs, NY would not be on my list of places to see, but since that was where husband would be, it became the family travel destination for the weekend.
Saratoga Springs, NY is apparently known for its horse racetracks. Summer is peak season for horse track enthusiasts, so there would be plenty of people, and is probably one of the more exciting things to do in the area. I didn’t know what to wear exactly, so I tried to channel Kentucky Derby. In a sea of jeans and T-shirts, I was a little overdressed. I noticed people looking, if not the outfit, definitely for the headband!
The icing on the cake of this new experience was a winning bet! More money for thrifting!
- Isaac Mizrahi for Target dress
- Vintage Leather purse (Made in France)
- Nine West gladiator high heel shoes
- Vintage belt
- Custom headpiece by The Sin Embargo
- Sterling silver earrings, rings, and beaded cuff bracelet