Friday, June 29, 2012

Stormy Weather

Last night and this afternoon we experienced some pretty fierce thunderstorms.  After a scorching hot 100 degree day yesterday...the cooling rain was appreciated, but not the thunder, lightening and loss of electricity.  We have lost electricity 4 times this month!  Thankfully, today it was only our for a half hour and not 6 hours like the last time.
There was citywide power loss, store closings and no traffic lights functioning.
I'm very thankful that there appears to be no serious damage or injuries. 
The storms did prevent me from being able to attend my ballroom lesson, and from seeing my ward (the individual I guardian for) I suppose I will have to attend a dance party tonight!

Sweater: Nine West, thrifted; Dress: unknown, thrifted
Hair style by wind power!
You can still see the dark sky in the background.  The sun was trying to break through and it was pretty windy.

These are the Cole Haan shoes I had purchased on clearance for $29.00 at Marshalls last winter; I initially purged them when I experienced my shoe guilt a couple weeks ago.  This was the only pair I regretted when I saw them in the thrift store window yesterday, I went in and bought them back for $2.00.  So glad I did.  

Cole Haan, Air Talia

I think the green beads in the necklace picked up the green of the shoes nicely.

My little practical joker
My "photographer" playing a trick on me.....he said he was snapping me, but turned the camera on himself.  I pretended that I didn't notice that the lens was not facing me and when I reviewed the pictures I was "surprised" to see his smiling face.

Have a great weekend, everyone.
Thank God it's Friday!
or, to me,
Thank God it's Dance Day

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The joyful benefits of thrifting!

I FINALLY figured out how to enable the 'REPLY' button in the COMMENTS!  Yay for me!  Geez, that took long enough.  To those of you who have commented, thank you; now I can finally reply directly to your comments instead of posting a comment separately to do so!

This thrift shopping habit is addicting AND sobering.  I believe since I have added the thrift option to my repertoire, my wardrobe is better than ever.  I am a better shopper in a thrift store than I am in a retail store.  I have a different mindset when thrifting.  I am more discriminating; I figure if I am going to take someone else's clothing home, I am going to be choosy.  I look at labels and choose higher quality brands.  I couldn't afford to do that in retail stores. There is a more unique selection available in thrift stores and I think more creatively.   If I need a garment, and I am shopping retail, I will usually settle for an item that I like but don't love.  As I examine each piece in a thrift store, I think about how I would wear it and what other items in my closet work with it.  When shopping retail, I used to pick up something that sort of appealed to me and put it in the shopping cart.....I didn't look at the fabric content, the label or the quality of the piece and I didn't consider how it would fit in with the rest of my wardrobe.  Shame on me.

In one of my earlier posts, I admitted that for years I was very resistant to thrift shopping.  I had many preconceived notions about the type and condition of clothing that was available.  I was so wrong.  I have found name brand pieces in perfect condition for pennies on the dollar. I was surprised to find that most of the clothing is in very good condition; clean and usually not in need of repair.  Again, shame on me.

My husband is very supportive of this leap into a new world of dressing myself.  He's been a long time thrifter.  I must admit, though, that my husband's thrifting was one of the reasons I was so put off by thrifting. Although he brought home some nice things occasionally, more often he brought home some really ugly things.
He has since upped his game with my help, and has learned to be more discriminating.  He has helped me to become more frugal.  Thrifting has been a win-win situation in my home.

Let's move on to the clothing........

I apologize for the poor quality of this photo, but it's was just a quick shot to see if the dress was going to work.  I have decided it will work...but I want to add wider straps.

This is the BACK of a evening lovely dress that I purchased at Goodwill for $7.00.  
 When I first tried on the dress....I was under a little pressure from the husband and son to 'hurry up'.  So I tried the dress on and loved it, but thought it was a bit too low cut in the front.  I purchased it anyway and planned to take it to the tailor.  Yesterday, I washed it (in the 'hand wash' cycle of the machine, in a pillowcase) and when I hung it to dry, I noticed darts on the 'back'.  Oops.....I had tried the dress on BACKWARDS!
De Laru dress; you can't tell in this picture, but the dress is a very soft silver metallic and has a luminous sheen
This is the front.  This way, it fits perfectly and needs no tailoring!  I like it even better this way. Leave it to me to try on a dress backwards...and still buy it!

Merona; $3
I have not had much luck finding cute skirts at thrift stores, but yesterday, I found this.  It's very cute on....

and I love the pattern.  Not sure how to style it yet.

Victoria's Secret; $1.50 each!
Since it was half price day, I picked up each of these Victoria Secret chemises for $1.50 each.  They were all in perfect condition!

Chaps; $1.50
I like this for nights I don't feel so 'silky'

Bill Levkoff; $15.00!
 And here is the dress I posted about previously; my great find.  It needs to be let out a pinch to make it fit comfortably under the arms, but I have a great seamstress, Rosemary, who can do just about anything.  She's amazing....she has even made a too short ballroom gown longer for me.  Not everyone can work with specialized ballroom dance gowns...but Rosemary is my gem.

Trinni; $4
I was on the fence about his dress.  I love the pattern, but it's a bit more body hugging.  I snapped the picture (above) to see if I could pull off this dress...and I decided that I can, if I have Rosemary make wider straps, to balance the upper half with the lower half.

This top is a blouse...that looks very similar to an orphaned pajama top that I purchased!
Covington; $3.50

I couldn't resist this pretty red was brand new with tags from a specialty shop...called 'The Maid's Secret Closet'.  What a cool name.....I tried to look up the shop online but didn't find anything.

I was very attracted to this kind of loud pattern, but I am not totally sure I can pull this look off.  I put it back on the rack three times, but kept going back for it. It's silky and feels lovely against my skin.  I love the colors.  To me, it has a slightly 60's-70's retro feel (Partridge Family!) to it.  I decided put 'loud pattern' caution to the wind and get it.  

Here's the pajama top....looks so much like the blouse I purchased!  I'm almost tempted to wear this as a top, paired with some ivory trousers....

I've spent quite a bit of time in thrift stores since my 'conversion' from retail; I'm learning how to spot the real bargains; clothing that will last and that I will love for a long time to come.  
My wardrobe now reflects my tastes and style better than it ever has.
Thrifting has been a real treat!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Victorian Cravings

I have always loved modernized Victorian clothing.  I've always loved costumes.  At least part of the appeal of ballroom competition for me is the opportunity to wear a glorious gown, dramatic makeup and hair.  I enjoy Halloween costume parties.  If there's an opportunity to dress up, either in costume or in a formal dress, I'm there.

Before I show you a wonderful online site that carries some fantastic clothing, I want to brag a little bit about my newest Goodwill find...and my last for awhile, because I am going on a shopping ban post haste.

This is what I found;

This is a Bill Levkoff dress.  I already own it in this color and I paid full retail price for it.  I purchased it for ballroom related formal events in which I am a spectator, not a dancer. Today, I found this same dress.  At the Goodwill!  I found it in black.  For $15.00.  In perfect condition.  Sigh.  The one caveat is that it is a pinch too snug in the underarm fairly easily remedied problem!!!!  I bought it!  

Happy dance!!!!

Now for the cravings:

I've been perusing a favorite site of mine, Victorian Trading Co and putting together a list of beautiful things I'm craving...they are all beautiful and mimic Victorian styling, but are modern enough to integrate into a current wardrobe.  This is a really fun site to browse.

Aren't these pantaloons adorable?

And these granny boots?

I craving some fun additions to my wardrobe....Victoriana anyone?

Oh so cute!

I would wear this as my daily winter coat! Luxe!

I love this corset belt.  I wouldn't wear it with my daily clothing...but I would love to own it for a Renaissance pirate costume.  Currently, I wear a black corset for that costume...but this would be more authentic looking, I think.  

By the way...all of these items are way out of my current budget, so I can only shop in my imagination...and I'm having fun doing so.

What do you think?  Do you like to dress up or wear costumes?
I would love to hear about it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A poetry and fashion challenge from "My Vintage Curves" blog

My Vintage Curves is a lovely blog written by the lovely Antionetta in Italy.  She has some very unique ideas and has issued a challenge today to pair fashion and poetry.

I have decided to take her challenge!  Please note that this is my second post of the day.....I wanted to keep this post separate from the last, but please be sure to check out my previous post for a very special Goodwill treasure that I found.

I chose one of my favorite poems by Lord Byron; "She Walks in Beauty"'s actually lingerie that I have worn as a dance dress; shoes, Anne Klein iflex; book, the Selected Poetry of Lord Byron by Leslie Marchand

"She Walks in Beauty"

She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies

One shade the more, one ray the less
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent

~ Lord Byron

The poetry of Lord Byron and Pablo Neruda, two of my favorites; belly dance scarves in ivory and fold, pearlized vintage compact, a gift from my Mom

The compact

Anne Klein iflex.....super comfy kitten heel shoes...clearanced at 80% off at the ridiculously low price of 12.99 at DSW!

What a fun and interesting challenge this was!


Special Goodwill Find Today!

I will be creating two posts today; one for today's outfits and very special Goodwill finds, and the other to respond to a wonderful challenge from another blogger.

Dress, Jones New York Sport (garage sale); New York and company belt; shoes, Anne Klein iflex (clearance)
Today's dress was a $2.00 garage sale purchase!  It's so soft and stretchy and comfy...I felt like I had nothing on!  Perfect for casual days; I still felt put together and not frumpy!  I added a wide stretchy belt and I think it enhanced my curves in a rather nice way....which is no easy feat!  My iflex shoes were super comfy to walk in all day too.  

Anne Klein iflex, clearanced at DSW shoes

Judith Jack earrings
I also wore a Judith Jack necklace that had a small filagree heart shaped pendant that is similar in style to the earrings but forgot to snap a picture.
Two lovely lilies bloomed today on my patio!

I went to the local Goodwill store to drop off some clothing items that I have purged. I decided to take a peek inside to see if I could find a black 'boyfriend' style cardigan I have been looking for.  To my delight, an employee was placing some posters and prints into a bin for $2.00 each.

A variety of prints and posters...
These are not your typical cheaply printed posters; these were posters printed by well know graphics companies.  These are the posters you pay about $20.00 and up for (unframed); they are art posters printed on high quality paper. 
I used to work at a franchised Deck the Walls; a company that frames prints, posters and other works of art.  I absolutely loved that job...and I became very familiar with many artists works.

Needless to say, when I saw these prints, I had to take some time and look them over....I found many treasures!  When the Goodwill employee was putting out the prints, I happened to notice the large sleeves that they prints were stored in were the same type used at the store I had worked in.  Then I happened to see MY OWN DISTINCTIVE HANDWRITING on the labels of the storage sleeves!  The prints were from the store I had worked at!  The store has been closed for about 6 or 7 years, and I had not worked there for many many years.

There were hundreds of prints and the Goodwill store manager told me she would not even be able to put them all out today.  I was so excited....I carefully sorted through them and chose 30...yes...30 prints to take home.  Most of the prints are very large....focal point size prints that will need special framing.  I found prints from one of my favorite contemporary artists, Steve Hanks, and even a Terry Redlin print!
I plan to keep several prints to frame for my home and several of them will be gifts.

Steve Hanks

I also picked out several to give to my dance coach for his brand new studio.  I can't wait to show them to him.

I was a little worried that my husband might be upset that I spent so much, but actually he was pleased with my idea of giving them for gifts and he had several ideas in mind.  I also found two special golf prints for him to put in the man cave he has been working on.

Finding these prints was special for me.....they were a great find, made more meaningful because they came from the store I had worked many hours in.   I used to spend hours perusing the prints and catalogs and always imagined which ones I would choose for my home someday.  At the time, even though framing was dramatically discounted for employees, I couldn't afford to purchase as many as I would have liked to.  Now, I have some of those I dreamed of owning and I purchased them for a great price!

I'm going back tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Style Icon

I had a tough night dancing last night. My lesson was not one of my best, and I struggled at the dance party. I hadn't danced for two weeks due to my Mom's hospitalization and my own twisted ankle.

I wasn't consistent,my focus was lousy, my posture was not stable and I wasn't bending my knees enough to send my steps forward enough to create that lovely sweeping motion.  Sigh.

I'm calling on my inner Ginger Rodgers .  She is my style icon and my dance icon.

Come on Ginger......I need some inspiration!

A Night to Remember

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dance Night = Happy Night

Today was ANOTHER scorching hot day.  My son had ANOTHER ball game.  I wore this thrifted dress and stayed cool and felt very comfortable.  The green color of this scarf appears to be more blue than yellow, but the lightest color of the scarf is actually the same as the dress.  
This is the thrifted Newport News dress that I posted previously...$3.50!  This was in pristine condition!

Dangling my weary feet before a night of dance
At the game, it was hot and miserably hot and my feet were aching.  I dangled them for awhile and they began to calm down's a good thing because I had dancing to do!  See, my versatile snake print sandal shows up again.
Scarf closeup...the light green is actually the same color as the dress....The Limited scarf

My son, the willing photographer snapped this photo of me just before I was leaving for the dance party at Marcel' tonight.  I was so tired and drained all day..that I had little focus during my lesson and then during the dance party....I was just short of being make of jello.  I was wiped out by the end of the night!
Dance party dress; New York and Company...before I discovered the joy of thrift...

Brighton necklace

Each time I walk into the studio, something is different.  Today was no different; there was a lot that was different...but this was my favorite change.  I was snapping pics of the bench and Marcel suggested I allow him to take a pose with me sitting on this lovely bench...I felt like I was the Queen and this was my throne!
This is a lovely bench in Marcel's new studio...I love the ornate carvings.....

Marcel and I in "promenade" position...
By this time, I was totally wiped out.  I couldn't focus at all or dance well....but the joy of dancing overrode any weariness!....As much as I love dance...I am happy to be home!