Monday, May 17, 2010

SILLY BANDS: The new Pogs
Last week, my amazing, brilliant, and hilarious 11 year old cousin, Izzy Freelove Brown, URGENTLY asked if I could send her some "Silly Bands" ASAP because they were sold out at all of the Party City's in Providence. Huge deal, clearly. I had no idea what these were so she sent me a picture right away:
Obviously, since she didn't have enough already, she needed more, fast. She made it clear that if she did not receive these as soon as humanly possible, it would surely be the end of her middle school cool-career. Not only did she ask me for one pack but, being Izzy, she told me that she would appreciate 40 to 60 packs, if possible. Well, because I ain't no Donald Trump, I sent her three packs and soon found out that she actually only received one because her hooligan sisters, Maddie and Charlotte, each stole a pack - making me look like a bad older cousin. Thanks guys!
Photograph taken by Marissa Dwyer, animal-band professional
But anyways, these little $1.99-a-pack rubber bands are pretty cool - I am not going to lie. Not only is each color shaped as a different animal but, most importantly, they are neon, so I obviously bought myself a pack (or two, NBD) and have been getting comments up-the-wazoo. This new fad is growing, even amongst the older-folk - or maybe just me... But since I felt so out of the loop when Izzy sent me a 911 facebook message, I though I'd share this new phenomenon with all of you so that you can look cooler than I did.

Real Live Fanny Packs...

As I said: the FANNY is back...
Have you noticed? Day-by-day, the fanny has slowly, but steadily, been makin' its move back into everyday life and, as you all know, I am so, so happy about it. According to my poll a couple of weeks back, some of you were hating on the fanny but I promise, soon enough, you will want your own.
Yes, lots of people make fanny faux pas. FYI: they should absolutely not be worn as an upper-butt pouch, or a doggy-holder, or as a bathing suit, as shown in the images below (Thank you for your amazing paparazzi skills, Marissa Dwyer).
AND guys... if you feel like a fanny will deprive you of your masculinity, you can always go with the thigh-pack:
Ha-ha, just kidding...
BUT, as seen on sites such as style.com, the ultimate what's hot and what's not style website, fanny packs are making their way back onto the coolest waists out there...
So... Get em' while they are hot or don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Flowers, Photo Albums, Chocolates, Cards...
Yes - absolutely thoughtful gifts BUT why not shock your mom, Nana, or anyone who you commemorate on Mother's Day with a lil' vintage spunk? In most cases, they will never expect it and the 'thoughtfulness-card' will be dropped like never before.
Personally, I know that my wonderful mother loves sentimental things that remind her of growing up which - I think - a majority of parents and adults tend to get a little teary-eyed over.
So, although I know it is a little last-minute - if you have time and haven't already spent your hard-earned dollar billz on a great gift - go to your closest thrift store, antique store, or, in my case, your favorite vintage website which will be jam-packed with anything you could ever want.
My mom had briefly and recently mentioned to me that she was in search for a durable, "hip", and, big beach bag so I went to my favorite vintage website, www.etsy.com, clicked on the vintage section and searched "wicker large beach tote" and, to my delight, pages and pages of results popped up instantly.
After weeding through the pages, I found dozens of totes that I LOVED but had to remember: this was not a present for me, but for my mom, even though we have very similar tastes and I frequently go "shopping" in her closet whenever I am home...Shhh!
After admiring the fabulous results, I dwindled down the finalists to the perfect bag - just for her - not surprisingly, from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, VixVintage, who has been collecting vintage items for years and years. She quotes Confucius when describing her vintage-seeking style: "Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it" - which I 100% agree with and tend to mentally note whenever I am vintage shopping. I highly suggest you check out her Etsy Store: VixVintage ASAP.
But, yes, back to mom. My mom LUCKILY received the bag this morning - thanks to Vix's speedy shipping - and immediately called me, left two voicemails (typical), and even texted me (not an easy move for her, trust me), and even figured out how to take a picture on her phone and send it to me (actual text message picture from mama Wein herself shown below)!
Her tech-savvy and extremely shocking moves made it clear that I had hit the nail on the head this year which, obviously, made me happy because she is an amazingly awesome mom!
So, even if this cheap, speedy, and incomparably thoughtful gift-giving suggestion is a little too late, there are always birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and so on...
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Old & Dumpy to Vintage Chic

VINTAGE MAKEOVER: BEFORE AND AFTERS
As I previously blogged - many-a-time I have visited local, small-town thrift stops and, at first glance, seen racks and racks of frumpy and unattractive items BUT if you truly have that vintage crusading drive and take a closer and more creative look - the potential of many of these "beastly" items are unimaginable...
My hometown thrift store, The Andover Thrift Shop - amidst many other small-town thrift stores - has provided me with dozens of dirt-cheap yet ultra chic, old-school gems that tend to hold a special place in my closet and, more importantly, my heart.
A couple of weeks ago, during a weekend trip home, I bought eight or nine pieces for a mere twenty-something dollars - you, honestly, cannot beat that!
Five of these pieces were items that had most likely been collectin' dust on the shop's racks for years because, like I said, at first glance, they were drab, outdated, unstylish, and downright ugly but their lurking potential immediately caught my eye. So, I bought em' and immediately brought them to my favorite tailor, Emily, and after explaining my desired changes, let her work her magic.
In an attempt to lure more of you to your hometown, cheap, and one-of-a-kind thrift shops, I documented my vintage makeovers in hopes that, in the future, you don't judge the book by it's cover if ya' know what I'm sayin'...
(take note: due to lack of models and my not-so-great photography skills, these pieces don't look half as fabulous as they do when worn!)
1.)BEFORE - long and unflattering AND AFTER - a cute cropped, biker, snakeskin bombshell jacket:
2.) BEFORE - a heavy, knee-length, archaic romper (not the trendy-type) AND AFTER - a v-neck floral mini dress with cinched waist and rolled sleeves:
3.) BEFORE - a retro calf-length, boxy moo-moo AND AFTER - a mod patchwork mini shirt-dress with pockets and a self belt:
4.) BEFORE - an Amish-style shoulder-pad polka-dotted mess AND AFTER - a deep v-neck cap-sleeve wrap mini dress:
5.) BEFORE - the most awkwardly-length and uncomplimentary - to say the least - dress AND AFTER - a soft cotton short-sleeved teal top with cinched waist (could also be a beach-type cover-up) and zip-up back:
I hope you are able to see the potential at your local, small-town thrift stores also because - if not - you are really missing out!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Back to the Roots, Baby

During a recent weekend trip home, I made a visit to my all-time favorite hometown thrift store, The Andover Thrift Shop. At first glance, it seems to be filled with old-school moo-moo's and 80's silk short-sleeved hawaiian button-down shirts, but if you go into the shopping experience with a positive attitude and a little determination, you can find an abundance of goodies. For instance, I found a teal double breasted vintage blazer-like vest for only $2! Yup...I am being serious - that is cheaper than a coffee at Starbucks!
AND...If you find a piece that catches your eye but is too long, too big, too wide, or, in general, just a little awkwardly shaped - bring it to your local tailor or dry cleaner and they can fit it to your liking! I recently dropped off some pieces at the tailor so I will be sure to show you how they turn out...STAY TUNED!
Due to the reality that the city tends to be a little pricey - in all aspects of life - I definitely suggest that you visit your local, small-town thrift store(s) to find unique, CHEAP, vintage finds and REMEMBER: don't be discouraged if something doesn't fit perfectly - that can be changed!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Finding the 'PERFECT' jacket is like finding a needle in a haystack - if you are looking in the wrong places. If you journey to a department store or yearn for the newest designer frock - you will, most likely, end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you really want that timeless 'it' jacket, I have found that thrift stores, consignment stores, hand-me-downs, and flea markets will always have just what you're looking for. Consignment stores - although they can still be pricey - will have one-of-a-kind designer duds for half the price - what more can you ask for?!
Best friends, Annabelle and Skye, found their always-in-style jackets for nothing!
Annabelle, aka "Sloane", found her FRINGE - totally in right now - western brown suede jacket and her white leather Ferris Bueller jacket from consignment stores in Connecticut - both for amazing and reasonable prices. And, I can promise you that she will be sporting both of these jackets for a long, long time.
Skye found her beige/tan suede biker cropped jacket at a city mission in Schenectady, New York, for pennies and was given her army green combat tough-guy, Barbour-like coat as a hand-me-down from her sister, Chloe.
"Chloe bought this army green jacket about 15 years ago from a boutique in Connecticut because she thought it looked like something Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, wore. It has definitely become a staple in my wardrobe." -Skye
I came across this amazing beige western fringe 70's jacket on Etsy for $30! Or check out
Make these unparalleled wonders yours!

College is Life

Wicked Awesome Dudes
College is the perfect time to utilize your vintage spunk - whether it be at a fraternity theme party, springfest, sunday brunch in the dining hall - or just anytime you want. Before you have to dress in work-appropriate clothes, get it all out - wear your neon windbreakers and wicker hats all day, every day - because you can. And a 'stache never hurts...
Two perfect examples: Christopher Bennett (Gettysburg '12) and "Webster" Smith (Conn College '10) - always rockin' the neon vintage adornments - summa cum laude.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Best Kept Secret

Beacon's Closet
Although I have fallen in love with many a' vintage stores - from the small, $1-find, second-hand shop in Ogunquit, Maine to Camden Market's open-air vintage stalls in London - I have finally found the all-time jackpot in terms of vintage shopping: Beacon's Closet (you may have seen it's TV debut on the latest episode of HBO's 'How to Make It in America' - which I highly recommend)...
Beacon's Closet is a clothing exchange store - meaning that instead of waiting for your item to sell like that of a consignment store, Beacon's Closet will buy, sell, and trade items on the spot - daily. They search for the best of the best - whether if be vintage or ultra-modern pieces. Among their two stores, both in Brooklyn, NY - the eldest in Williamsburg (1997) and the baby, in Park Slope (2002) - they have accumulated thousands and thousands of the most must-have vintage pieces, for both men and women.
They don't stop at clothing - they have shoes, bags, jewelry, household items, gifts, and more. The store is extremely organized, which I have found to be one of the ultimate key aspects of an ideal shopping experience, and the staff is always friendly and willing to help you find whatever you may need. Most importantly, however, unlike that of many NYC vintage stores, the prices are more than reasonable - almost a steal!
And, if you're too lazy to travel to the actual store (although I highly recommend you do) - or you don't live in the area - you can now even shop their amazing collection online via their website.
Although I have bought a plethora of items at Beacon's Closet - way more than I should have - and all of them most definitely rank amongst my "favorite vintage items", the most notable and useful items, thus far, have probably been my royal blue sequin snap blazer and my black leather over-the-shoulder, slouch, zip-up bag with multicolored stone detail. I will definitely have both of these pieces in my closet for a long, long time...

Friday, April 2, 2010

YOU MINX, YOU

The new gaudy garnish: Minx nails
Getting your nails did is always the 'cherry-on-top' to the perfect outfit so if you're rocking a retro, bedazzled, vintage outfit - the minx manicure can really complete the whole look - on the real.
A minx manicure is basically when a 'minx technician' heats up a flexible sticker-like film and then molds it to each of your nails. There are a wide variety of designs - from basic silver or gold metallic to a multicolored floral hippie design. My personal favorite is the black and gold metallic leopard print design shown above.
Although this new fad is expensive and therefore should be saved for a special occasion,it is a modern way to bring it back to the past.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NYC Vintage HOTspot

CHEAP JACKS
The first vintage store I fell in love with in NYC was CHEAP JACKS - "America's Vintage Clothing Capital : the look, the price, the place" - on 303 Fifth Avenue (on the corner of 31st Street). This two-floor vintage haven is packed with both men's and women's clothes and accessories from all over the world. Jack, who has become the ultimate vintage connoisseur, has filled the gigantic store with the best of the best. I have yet to visit the store without purchasing something due to the amazing collection and uber-friendly and helpful staff, including Jack himself - who is more than happy to help you pick exactly what you're looking for; he'll even alter it while you wait.
Some vintage stores are hard to maneuver. Cheap Jacks, however, is organized. It's almost TOO easy to find exactly what you are looking for, (in my case, that would be everything). The store is separated into men's and women's, and then even further, into decade. Need a funky 80's prom dress or bowling jacket? a 70's summer dress? Or a miniskirt from 1965? Run to Cheap Jacks ASAP - Really, go now, because there is HUGE store wide sale going on as you sit here reading this post.
My favorite buys have been my blue and teal 70's sequin and beaded tops and a black fur vest from the 80's, shown in the picture below. If you love vintage clothes, you will die for Cheap Jacks - I promise.