The Silky Way
A silk dress to close out Silk Week! Busco and I went back and forth on a couple of options, but we both agreed this one best represented the flowy, silkiness of silk. And because it’s thrifted, no new silkworms died in the making of this dress, minimizing the demand for new silk.
- Vintage 1980s silk dress (thrifted)
- Fergilicious platform stiletto heels
- Vintage 1980’s pink clutch (thrifted)
- Assorted plastic and wood bangles
- Vintage 1980s wooden earrings
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Silk Week! vintage, designer, and vintage designer silk scarves and dresses.
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An unexpected stroll through the cobblestone streets of downtown Lowell. Busco invited me to the New England Quilt Museum for the opening of their new exhibition, SILK! So I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw for an impromptu outfit of the day moment.
- Vintage 1980’s knit dress (thrifted)
- Vintage 1980’s patent leather check-style bag
- Banana Republic open-toe heels
- Betsey Johnson knotted belt
- Goldtone cuff and earrings
- 14K gold necklaces
Sinspiration: Jody Watley - Still a Thrill
I was very excited to hear that my friend P was going to see Jody Watley at Yoshi’s in San Francisco last week. I’ve only seen her perform once in Boston, long before the concert-going compulsion I developed in the last 5 years. I was going to one of the local gays bar on a whim. There was no standing for hours to get a spot at the front. There was no CD cover in my pocket for an autograph. No pictures taken. I was too cool for school, and it’s on my list of concert-going regrets.
I enjoyed her music very much, but my taste in music changed in college, so music from my childhood and adolescence became background music to the music I was listening to at the time. One day on the hunt for CDs, I came across a house music compilation CD with a remix of Saturday Night Experience. Being the househead that I was at the time, I was able appreciate the idea of her working with house DJs like Little Louie Vega and Ron Trent. I bought it the compilation CD just for that song, without even listening to it. I knew I’d like it, but I was wrong. I loved it. Soon thereafter I bought Midnight Lounge. The jazzy, vibey, house-tinged CD was very current, very contemporary, and a great CD, but I appreciated her vision and evolution as an artist and musician.
In retrospect, this was nothing new for her. Looking back at early career music videos and images on the internet, she has been quite the forward-thinker with her music and personal style throughout her career. I read a magazine article once where she described how she styled her looks for album covers, I became impressed at how multi-faceted she is regarding to her style, image, and artistic identity. I remember once in high school my cousin describing a look she wanted to put together, to which I replied “Oh, like Jody Watley.” It stuck with me because it was one of the few times that you can ascribe a look to a musician. Cyndi Lauper had the skirts and hair, Madonna had the mid-drifts and bustiers, and Jody had the powersuit and hoops.
My favorite look (and music video) is Friends. Not only does she serve Eastern influence, but the video was also very fascinating. Runway, drag queens, voguers, hip-hop dancers, and of course, the incomparable Rakim.
So It was only fitting that I style Mira in the spirit of Jody Watley, another one of my all-time style favorites. I follow her blog and on Facebook, and am very hopeful that I get to see her perform again. But this time I’ll be front and center. With a sharpie, some vinyl and a CD cover in tow, but I will bring my excitement, most of all.
- Blazer (thrifted)
- Sparkle & Fade palazzo pants (Urban Outfitters)
- Fergilicious patent platform heels
- Vintage 1960s silver clutch (thrifted)
- Vintage 1960s Las Vegas feather headpiece (thrifted)
- Sterling silver hoops; thrifted pearls
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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
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Embargowatch: Tapered Shift Dress
Following the Sinspiration of the tapered chevron dress, we wanted to call out the retro silhouette that is new again: tapered shift. Comfortable, forgiving, and thoroughly modern.
- Vintage 1980’s Nicole Miller tapered shift dress (thrifted)
- Obsession Rules booties
- Vintage 1960’s turquoise color chunky beaded necklace (thrifted)
- H&M tapered green metallic hoop earrings
- Polished goldtone finish cuff
Made in Puerto Rico: Just Like Home
Husband and I make it a point to go to Puerto Rico every two years. Not only do we get to visit family, but I want my children to familiarize themselves with our culture, all the while escaping the frigid New England winters.
Our first stop was a restaurant that the son’s godfather T recommended called Made in Puerto Rico in Isla Verde. It’s a jibaro-themed restaurant (Puerto Rican redneck or country folk). The staff interact with that delicate balance of familiar & rude, deliberately using Puerto Rican slang, colloquialisms, and terms of endearment like condena’o to make you feel at home. T told us that when he called to make reservations the attendant on the other end said in Spanish ”what the hell do you want?!” He was caught off guard at first, but he went with it.
Traditional Puerto Rican country music performed live
Screens project images of vintage Puerto Rican life. I was enthralled, and kept thinking how Mother would’ve enjoyed seeing them.
Replica of El Morro fort sentry tower which cleverly disguises the restaurant’s projectors and other equipment.
Political commentary on the IVU, a recently passed and implemented tax law.
Vintage horse race game referred to as pica, played during festivals/carnivals. This probably wasn’t the original intent, but it’s good to see there are alternatives that don’t include live animals for sport.
On the way to the bathroom…
I’ve seen perfume dispensers, etc., but this was a first for me. Fight tropical humidity with a curling iron rental!
The placemats, with a recipe for mofongo with fried pork.
Husband’s dish: Churrasco (steak) with white rice and beans.
My dish: Chuletas Kan-Kan (pork chops wrapped in bacon, topped with sauteed onions) with white rice and beans. Tostones (plaintain fritters) as an added side dish.
The servers were in country garb (girls housecoats or day robes and hair rollers, men in guayavera shirts, clam diggers and straw hats). This particular server had a terrific smile and when I saw she matched her lipstick with her outfit, I had to take a picture. The happy accident? Me wearing my vintage night gown as a maxi-dress.
- Vintage 1970’s night gown worn as maxi-dress (thrifted)
- Wood bangles, layered gold necklaces
- Kana espadrilles
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
Sinspiration: Channeling Chanel
We haven’t found one of the holy grails of a thrifting (a Chanel bag), but a recent vintage find reminded us of a bag used in Chanel’s SS 2013 collection. Recreating the entire look would’ve meant putting Mira in a bathing suit in January. Instead we pulled the fakiest Chanel-looking outfit, and got “sinspired”. We learned that the bag was actually made with real hula hoops. Hula hoops are a no brainer to find on the cheap. Now if only we can find a couple yards of Chanel leather and hardware.
- JCrew black ruffle button down shirt
- Vintage 1980’s jacket (thrifted)
- Vintage 1980’s Liz Claiborne skirt (thrifted)
- Vintage 1980’s Echtes Leder Handverarbeitet leather bag (thrifted)
- Jean Michel Cazabat sequin open-toe heels
- Vintage 1960’s daisy brooch; Jessica Simpson oval-shaped goldtone earrings
A few weeks ago I attended my day job’s annual sales conference in California. The conference includes an an awards night, which is one of the few times I can glam up. With Busco’s help, we came up with the perfect look. I’m happy to say that my vintage look did not go unnoticed. Being called the Latina version of Audrey Hepburn by co-workers was quite the compliment. Too bad my company doesn’t give awards for best dressed employee.
- Isaac Mizrahi for Target dress
- Badgley Mischka T-Strap platform heels
- Fendi multi-color baguette (thrifted)
- Vintage sterling silver beaded bangle
Shiny and Not So New
As chance would have it, the Nevada State Museum was presenting a fashion exhibition titled Vegas Style (click here for the website). An exhibition small in size yet large in stature, the garments in the exhibition make up for its size in glitter, sequin, and all around fabulousness. Some of my favorite garments:
Frank Sinatra’s suit
Costumes from the Excalibur hotel
Vintage Vegas Showgirl!
Sammy Davis Jr.’s suit
Blue dress that belonged to actress/performer Liz Renay
The one and only Liberace’s suit and piano
Costume for one of The Flying Elvi
And some shiny, vintage Vegas Glamour!
In the other gallery, the permanent exhibition of the history of Las Vegas also included some vintage garments from showgirls and Vegas VIPs.
Even with an exhausting weekend of Lady Gaga, a burlesque show, a mob exhibition, and outlet mall shopping, the exhibition gave me the vigor to continue scouring the dozens of local thrift stores for vintage contraband. Had I planned better, I would’ve made some time for some estate sales. Next time.
We love to travel, and every time we travel, we include some time for thrifting. The hat and cape came from two separate thrift sources in two different states over a thousand miles away. Vintage from two different periods. Put them together, you’d think they were a set. Reunited and it feels so good!
- Vintage 1960’s Kathryn of Fort Lauderdale pillbox hat (thrifted)
- Vintage 1980’s Lord & Taylor cape (thrifted)
- Vintage 1960’s black leather handbag (thrifted)
- Forever21 black & white striped sweater
- Betsey Johnson faux leather white belt
- Kova&T jeans
- Obsession Rules suede booties with goldtone heel
- Assorted vintage and contemporary wood, plastic, and brass bangles
- Vintage 1980’s black & white polka dot earrings
Embargo Watch: Suede
I took a course in 20th Century fashion last year, which partly inspired the writing of this blog. On more than one occasion we talked about the impact of the industry on the environment, and how that affects current and future fashion trends. One such conversation was regarding the use of furs and leathers. The general consensus was that as long as there is a demand for luxury items, and as long as animal skins are considered a luxe material, there will be a demand for animal skins. So in tribute, I’m calling out a skins trend - suede, in particular.
Mira and I do not believe in the inhumane treatment of animals. We are hopeful that that technology will provide the industry with a quality alternative to leather. But until then, we are content purchasing vintage leather garments. This will minimize the demand for leather, not to mention minimizing the impact on coin.
- Vintage 1980’s purple suede peplum jacket (thrifted)
- Gap cinnamon red suede front-slit skirt (thrifted)
- Diane Von Furstenberg forest green suede strappy heels
- Vintage 1960’s black suede handbag (thrifted)
- 1990’s goldtone earrings and heart-shaped brooch (on shoulder)
- Goldtone cuff
Original hardwood floors, glass doorknobs, French doors, stained glass, columns, wainscoting, built-in cabinets and ironing board, this is my home. Since its construction in 1930, the home had two previous owners before we purchased it in 2005.
“You just don’t see this often” is a frequent statement made by contractors, technicians, and others who stopped by and have noticed the woodwork. So we’ve unexepectedly become one of those families you see on HGTV that want to maintain and preserve the unique characteristic of our home. I never thought we’d be like that, but here we are.
On a hot day two summers ago, I was doing my motherly duty and blasting my kids with the water hose. An elderly couple walked by, then stopped. The lady introduced herself and told me she grew up in this house. She told me her father was the original owner of the home which was purchased by a local builder. She wandered around the yard with a nostalgic look. She turned to the kids and said “when your a kid, everything is grand”, referring to the size of the outside space. As the couple walked away, I told her that she was welcome to come back anytime.
I was fascinated by the random occurrence. I never really thought about the history of any of the places I’ve lived in. I don’t think I’d ever walk through my old neighborhood for a stroll down memory lane. Maybe it’s because they’ve become bad neighborhoods since we’ve left. But I’m happy to be crafting memories for my children and maybe one day they might do the same. And whether it’s welding car components (Husband), quick sewing ideas (Daughter and me), or music beats (Son), we all enjoy crafting. So it seems fitting that we ended up in this kind of house.
Some early 20th Century relics left behind by previous owner(s)…
Before we had the idea to turn our our thrift store adventures into blogventures, I was doing the designer resale thing on ebay. At the time the high-end consignment stores in Boston only took couture from recent seasons (no vintage), and other stores wouldn’t give me what I thought they were worth. The thrill of the auction was something I didn’t count on, but enjoyed. Especially when you had a bidding war! My most memorable finds and sells were:
- Vintage 1980’s Emilio Pucci for Form Fit Rogers multi-colored mini-skirt
- Vintage 1970s’s Valentino silk chiffon sunburst pleated cocktail dress in saffron
- 1990’s Yves Saint Laurent black strappy platform heels
- Vintage 1980’s Diane von Furstenberg cotton slip skirt with ruffled hem
- 2000’s Moschino multi-color scarf
- 1990’s Prada nylon pochette bag, in powder blue
Unfortunately, this was so long ago that ebay doesn’t have the listing, and I deleted the pictures from my computer after I sold the garments because always needed the memory. In the course of this blog I might look for them online, and if I find them, I”ll insert them into this entry, because I don’t want to forget what they looked like. I also never occured to me to give first dibs on my finds to Mira like I do now. And it never occurred to Mira to put her foot down and claimed it for her own. She’s worked up her nerve and courage since then. And we’re both better for it.