Thrifted Wicker Lunch Box

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This little gem cost me $2.99 at my Goodwill. I have torn the inside lining out because it was stained and the elastic was dry-rotted (the elastic was intended to hold utensils and condiments), and plan to use it as a handbag.

 

 

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Recent Thrifted Finds – Winter 2012 Review

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A thick black leather belt with an awesome silver crescent moon belt buckle. $2 at my local animal shelter thrift store.

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Thick white leather belt with a big gold buckle. Again, $2.

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This little gem was found at my all time favorite vintage shop EVER, Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb in Carlisle, PA. If you live in the area, hit it up. I have found some awesome pieces here. This belt was $6. From the geometric shape of it, it looks to be from the eighties.

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White leather ankle boots. Slouchy and cute. I found this at my nearest Goodwill. They were $6.95, which admittedly is a little expensive for thrifting, but I find good shoes so rarely, I just had to.

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Wild West velvet waistcoat. I can’t say no to velvet vests or jackets. $3.95 at Goodwill.

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Long-sleeve button-up blouse with black cording detail. It is repeated on the cuffs as well. It’s a little Grandma-ish but I like that. I am still questing for the perfect white button-up blouse, and this one is pretty awesome, but I am looking for one that’s silkier and has pockets. The quest continues! $3 at the animal shelter thrift store.

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This bag is what thrifting dreams are made of. It’s a 50s/60s era snap-closure handbag. Just awesome. The outside is like those heavy velvety curtains your Grandma had. $4, local thrift store.

 

My New York City Shopping Trips Part II: Greenwich Village’s Curated Goodwill Store

My record shop craving having been fulfilled, I now wanted to seek out some thrift stores and swanky vintage boutiques.

2. “Curated” Goodwill Thrift Store 

Address: W. 8th Street between MacDougal and Sixth Avenue

In my pre-trip research, I read this article about a curated Goodwill store in Greenwich Village. With all the talk of Ferragamo, vintage Dior, Ann Taylor, and other name-drops, I was so excited to check it out, I could hardly keep my pants on. Maybe I just have bad luck, but the only designer items I saw were in the window display, and those there being held for a silent auction. The window had some 90s Jimmy Choo clogs and Kate Spade heels, but nothing really relevant to current trends.

Don’t get me wrong, you can certain tell that someone was hand-picking all the items — there wasn’t any junk or damaged items like you might see in your average Goodwill, but all in all, it seemed like it had already been picked over. It is in a swanky neighborhood with a lot of vintage stores in the vicinity, after all… but, it was still fun to look. The store was clean and well organized, which is impressive, considering the amount of people who are in and out each day. Long story short, I left empty handed.

Final thoughts: Check it out if you’re in the area, but don’t make a special trip.

 

My New York City Shopping Trips Part I: Bleecker Bob’s Record Store

From Saturday to Tuesday, I stayed with my mother in New York City, where she lives. (You can read her blog here.) Before heading up there, I had spent a few hours researching vintage boutiques, record stores, and thrift shops that I might want to visit while in the city. Let me tell you, there are so many of these stores in NYC, it feels overwhelming if you want to narrow it down to a doable number, and there wasn’t any good reliable list of vintage/thrift stores to fall back on. Anywho, one click led to another and I ended up finding a bunch of stores with addresses on Bleecker Street, so I decided to make it easy on everyone with me and just try and shop on and around that street. I didn’t get to every store I had on my list but I did get to see quite a bit. Here is what I did.

1. Bleecker Bob’s Golden Oldies Record Shop

Address:118 West 3rd St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

Hours: Sun-Thur 11-1am Fri-Sat 11-3am (Crazy weird hours, right?)

I did not get a shot of the exterior of the store, but this is a good one. The prices were reasonable and based on rarity and condition. The place was not picked over, as is the case with a lot of record shops. The majority of the records are organized alphabetically/by genre, so you didn’t have to dig for all eternity if you had something particular in mind. I spent more than I normally do on records, but I was on vacation, so I got crazy. I bought The Ramones: End of the Century ($24), Kraftwerk: The Man Machine ($13), and a Siouxsie and the Banshees single Cities in Dust ($10). These are bands that I have never found on vinyl in any of my travels, and they are three of my favorite bands, so it was worth the money. Sadly, the Ramones album skips (not sure if it is my record player or what, because I can’t see a scratch).

Final thoughts: Go there!

Are thrift stores getting too pricey?

Items for sale in my etsy store!

It has been quite awhile since I last visited Goodwill, so I thought I’d make the trip this evening. I got some really amazing finds this time, and I am really excited to get it all cleaned up and ready to photograph for you all. (Though they were great finds, they need some serious TLC — including dry cleaning.)

But… something is bothering me. Every time I visit Goodwill, I see the prices go up and up. Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. Today I saw six fall and winter jackets that were priced at $50. That’s essentially retail price. Sure, they might be real leather, or “vintage,” but that doesn’t mean they’re worth the price of a brand new jacket. Many of these coats had dirt, stains, and tears on them. This is absolutely ridiculous. Just because an item is made of leather doesn’t mean its worth the price of a new garment. Just because an item is old enough to qualify as vintage does not mean it is worth the price that a curated vintage boutique would charge. Vintage shops sell items for higher prices because the items are still chic and fashionable and still in a wearable condition. No one is going to buy those jackets. They were in cuts and designs that are not translatable to today’s fashion, and they were stinky and in very used shape. Shouldn’t the price reflect that? Is Goodwill getting greedy? Who is determining these prices? These are all DONATED ITEMS. $50 is just too much.

Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. I am forced to wonder if they realize that it’s not just the people on the receiving end of the charity efforts who stand to gain from these types of thrift stores — there are a lot of people who do all their clothing shopping at second-hand stores because of low income. A lot of families cannot afford to buy retail, and stores like Goodwill offer them a chance to shop for a variety of styles, brands, and seasons that would not be available to them otherwise. They get a chance to have some say in their personal style because of the variety second-hand shops offer.

How do you feel about this issue? Personally, if I want something bad enough, I will buy it anyway. The fact that part of the sales go to charity makes that easier, but now that they’re upping the prices on more mundane and generic items as well, I am disheartened. Is the art of the thrift store hunt in danger? Let me know what you think with a comment. Click the text bubble next to this entry’s title to chime in.

Small End of Summer Yard Sale Haul and Yard Sale Tips

 

 

 

Went to a few yard sales today with my grandma, who has recently started her own etsy shop. I haven’t had much luck at finding good stuff at yard sales this summer, but today my luck changed.

I found an awesome old bag that I assume was for a camera. It’s real leather, but the strap is very dried out and it’s cracking, so I will probably have to replace it. The best part — it was free! Then I found a wicker handbag at a Mennonite garage sale for $0.50. Not too shabby. At one garage sale, I found a neat bag of old Halloween decorations, which had these two blinking buttons that you see pictured above. Not pictured, I found three pairs of vintage earrings that need some TLC, 90s Tupperware brooches (I know, weird), and an old advertising yard stick for my workspace/craft room. (Oh, yeah, I made myself a work space that I will have to share with you guys. It’s furnished completely with second-hand awesome-ness, including a mid-century TV stand I found on the curb and carried home.)

Yard Sale Tips

1. Here’s a good tip I learned from my grandma — a lot of yard sales start on Thursdays, so it’s the best time to get the good stuff. Antiques dealers and vintage hunters get their early for the best stuff. They’re your competition!

2. Late Saturday afternoon is the best time to get cheap prices, because sellers are ready to throw in the towel. They are probably more willing to negotiate, and start throwing items to the curb, free to anyone who wants them. Being late has its advantages!

3. Check the free boxes! That is where I find the weirdest, coolest stuff. I found that cowhide bag in a free box. Once, I found an 1800s Bible that sold on eBay for $60. So, you just never know! Just be shameless and raid those boxes! Remember, they want that stuff gone.

4. An effective  haggling maneuver at yard sales is bundling. If a seller has items marked higher than what you’d feel comfortable paying, suggest a single price for multiple items. Take them to the seller and ask, “Would you take $5 for all of this?” and insert your offer as you see fit. The seller feels like they are getting more money and you get more for your buck.

5. Try to see the potential in an item, while still being realistic. For example, today I saw an awesome black wool coat that looked like it was from the 40s at a garage sale. It was marked $5. I thought about haggling, but I smelled it, and it smelled like mildew. Mildew is a difficult thing to get rid of, and in the end it was going to cost me too much, so I decided to pass.

6.To build on the last point,  use all of your senses to help you make the right choice. Be realistic about whether you will give an item the TLC it needs. I have a lot of stuff sitting around that I said I’d fix up, but haven’t. Don’t be like me!

Good luck with your yard sales while the weather permits!

 

 

I picked up this lovely collar necklace at a local antique mall called Route 30 for $5. The price seemed a little steep since it probably isn’t any older than the eighties or nineties but it was one of those times where I felt like I’d regret it if I didn’t get it.

And here are some snapshots of the jewelry I’verecently made for my etsy shop, The Betwixt Boutique:

For my rad readers, I have created a coupon code for you for The Betwixt Boutique. Enter coupon code THRIFTY at checkout.

 

Thrifting Haul – Spring Inspired

So I haven’t been doing as much thrifting and yard sale hopping as I’d like to (dumb full-time job work schedule — curse you!), but although they are few and far between, I have found some real gems.

Find #1:

I picked up this cute little needlepoint shoulder bag for $3.50. I reminds me of the old-fashioned needlepoint handbags (like this) but with a more rustic pattern. I don’t think it is vintage, in fact it seems quite new. But, hey, at $3.50, I’m down with that.

Find #2:

I also found this cute watermelon-esque polka-dot scarf for $1.  It needs pressed, but I think this will help me add some color to my work outfits. I tend to slide into either too much black or too much beige at work.

Find #3:

I am totally enamoured with this high contrast 90s Gitino cross-body. $2 from a church thrift store in the next town over.

Find #4:

This poor bag is a little worse for wear, but I still love it. It’s a 1960s pillbox handbag from an awesome vintage boutique in Harrisburg called the Atomic Warehouse. The owner gave me a good deal on it: $10! I have seen these only a handful of times, and usually priced at $30 to $60!

Find #5:

This skirt has side pockets and buttons up the front. I found this for $3.50. Not sure if this will become part of my skirt collection or if it will end up on etsy. I need to give it a test run. I have an outfit concept in mind, but I am not sure if I’ll be venturing too far on the granny side. I was inspired by this:

 

Don’t worry, there’s plenty more to share! Stay tuned, thrifters.

 

New etsy store, The Betwixt Boutique

So, I decided I wanted to create a more recognizable image for my etsy shop. I made a new one, and this time I named it “The Betwixt Boutique.”

Here are some of the lovely vintage items you’ll find in my shop:

I’ve haven’t been much of a fashionista lately, if I’m honest. I started a new job in March at an optometry office. This is my first job that I’ve actually worked full-time. I find it hard to much of anything after work, because I work long hours. There’s little reason to put anything nice or exciting on. I’d like to find some less boring work clothes — especially pants. It’s a work in progress.

I promise I will post some personal outfits soon. I swear!

My recent thrift store finds.

I have had some pretty extraordinary luck in thrifting lately. I now have a full time job, so I have been focusing on finding chic things that will fit into the constraints of my work dress code. I shouldn’t really say constraints, as it’s not that rigid for women, but I have to say withing dressy to business casual. When you think about it 40 hours seems like only a small portion of an entire week, but it really feels like most of my time is spent at work, so when I get home, I have no reason to change and nowhere to go, so I am feeling fashion deficient lately.

Anyways, enough of my blubbering, and on to my treasures!

Silk/chiffon sheer leopard skirt, Miss Ruth's Time Bomb (vintage boutique), $14.

Sadly, as awesome as this skirt is, it doesn’t fit me. And it is badly damaged, but I am going to use it for my mannequin (who seems to fit it perfectly) for the purposes of pairing it with other items for etsy photographs. This skirt is definately old. I am thinking at LEAST 1960s era.

Black denim vest, thrift store, $3. Printed maxi skirt, same thrift store $3.

I found this black denim vest at the animal shelter thrift store for just $3. I’m beginning to have quite the vest collection! The maxi skirt buttons up all the way in the front and also cost $3 from the same thrift store. Here is a better shot:

I can wear it to the beach or to work. I like that kind of versatility.

Lush red velvet skirt, $2, from a vintage boutique's bargain bin.

I had hoped this awesome velvet skirt would fit me, but unfortunately it’s a little too big. This one is probably going to find its way into my etsy store.

This is a better representation of the skirts color. Reminds me of red wine. (Yum.)

Crazy tribal print maxi skirt, thrift store, $3.

I am madly in love with this skirt. Of course, with my dumb luck, the first time I wore it I popped a button off of it, so I have to sew a new one on, but that’s because I am not used to wearing maxi skirts and caught the hem when walking. Here’s a closer look at the print:

Well, that’s it for now. I have a batch of vintage jewelry to show off next time. Stay tuned, and let me know what you think of my finds with a comment!

Featured Fashionable Item: Vintage Train Cases

It’s sad that people don’t use these all that often these days. Vintage train cases are like mini-suitcases, intended for carrying luggage or goods for short trips. Think of them as predecessors to the “caboodles” of the 1980s and 90s. I have two myself, one that I use to keep my “for sale” jewelry.

This is my favorite of the two:

It says “Lady Baltimore” on it. How cute?! I got it for $2 at the local charity thrift store. Haven’t seen any as good as this one since. Not like I need more stuff… But this is great for me to use to carry all my handmade/vintage jewelry from place to place and makes for a great display too! I’d like to get a few more like this to use for displays at consignment shops/other places that will allow me to sell my jewelry (when I get to that point).

Here are some lovely train cases I found on etsy.com. All relatively affordable too. Click the images to view the sale pages.

From etsy seller PocketFullofHeirloom. (When I first read the name, I mistook heirloom for herion. Eeek, I jump to conclusions when I read.)

From etsy seller Carolsthreads.

From etsy seller rustmagnet.

From etsy seller WellWudJaLookAtThat.

Thrifty Finds: Velvet Matador Bolero and Tuxedo Shirt

This matador jacket (or bolero if you prefer) was purchased at a consignment shop called “Classy Rags.” It was $11.50 which is kind of pricey for me when it comes to used items, but I kept thinking I’d regret not getting it. I am definitely going back there, because there were some really gaudy silk blazers that I am remorseful for not owning. The tuxedo shirt is from the CVAS thrift store, and it was purchased during a “fill-a-paper-bag-for-$5” sale.

Check out the cool detailing! Very soft, but a tad bit big on me. I’ll still wear it. Reminds me of this:

See the gold cording detail.

I really want to get some photos of my outfits but every chance I get it’s overcast and/or my stupid camera is non-compliant. Don’t get a Fujifilm Finepix S1800. It’s outdated now, so you probably won’t anyway, but just a heads up — the on/off switches malfunction.

Enjoy!

Featured Fashion Icon: Vampira (Maila Nurmi)

My all time favorite band The Misfits dedicated a song to this mistress of the dark: “Two inch nails / Micro waist / With a pale white feline face / Inclination eyebrows to there.” That snippet of the song’s lyrics pretty much sums it up. Vampira was a character developed by the great Finnish beauty Maila Nurmi. Vampira was one of the great horror TV hosts (like Elvira), the first to be exact, making her TV debut in 1954. She starred in Ed Wood’s disastrous (but oh-so-good) Plan 9 From Outerspace. Her tradmarks are her tiny cinched waist and her harshly arched eyebrows. She’s iconic.

I may have already featured her, but this bears repeating. Her look has been an inpiration to the goth and horror-punk scenes.

Thrifty Finds: How much is $1 worth?

A ring! I apologize in advance for the webcam pics. My real camera won’t turn on (eeeek!), and updates are needed!

Thrifty alert!! Michael’s (the craft store) has these cool floral roses in several varieties for only $1 each. I bought two. Here’s the one I wore today:

Grainy picture, but it's a gem atop a rose decal, with fancy metalwork.

I have two!

I also got three clip in fabric hair flowers for $1 each. (My hair is getting so long that I’ve been lazy with it, so I am trying to spice it up a bit. Seriously, my hair is only an inch or two from my butt. I love it but it gets sooo knotty. I am considering getting it layered to make it more manageable but I have bad luck with hair stylists.)

Last week, my boyfriend and I decided to go to the big antique store near his house. When I say big, I mean five buildings big. We only went into two, but here’s what I found:

Only $2!!!!!!!!!

It was only $2! The stone is actually a thin hollow piece of celluloid, so it’s fragile, but cool nonetheless. It was falling off, so I used my super glue pen and fixed it. It’s a very cool, dramatic piece with a chunky chain. (Alliteration!)

A dollar can go a long way if you know where to look!

If you like this post, comment, digg it, tweet it, whatever floats your boat — anything helps get the word out about my blog!

Vintage Inspiration: Golden Girls!

Reminds you of Kiera Knightly, right?

Rue McClanahan (yeah, Blanche on the Golden Girls) looking absolutely gorgeous. You can understand why her GG character was so conceited. She was a true beauty! She is pictured wearing a lacy bustier.

She rocked those dimples.

Betty White, who happens to be very popular right now, in her youth. She really was gorgeous.

Just a girl here...

Bea Arthur looks great as well! She really was a pretty woman! I love her hair here.

Posing in a swimsuit.

This is Estelle Getty, who portrayed Sophia on the GG. A great vintage swimsuit!

If you like this post, comment, digg it, tweet it, whatever floats your boat — anything helps get the word out about my blog!

Recent Thrift Store Finds…

Well, I’ve got some stuff from the Salvation Army and some stuff from a church thrift store to share this week.

Here’s a vintage cotton candy pink accordion pleat skirt with what looks like fruit slices printed all over. I love it.  I got this at a church that has a thrift store where you can full a paper grocery bag for $2.

A closer look at the detail…

Nautical? Candy stripe? I love it! A waist cincher belt that will go great with a few skirts I’ve got in my wardrobe. Same bag sale.

A nice thin leather belt from that same store again. They had a ton of similar belts, and I thought it would be a handy piece to add to my wardrobe.

Lace “Express” blouse, like the kind Prince wore in the eighties! Not vintage, but still cool. $3.99 from Salvation Army. (Actually it was half of that because it was “Family Day,” so everything was half-price.)

There are more things to come, so stay tuned.

Street Style Round-up: Sweet Summer Looks

Here are some really neat (and thrift-store doable) looks from Lookbook.nu and beyond.

Striped tops are all the rage right now. They pair well with vintage denim shorts.

Shorts would be wise with a poncho/shawl like this. Looks great, though!

Suede fringe boots with shorts? I love it!

I have got to get a pair of harem shorts like his…

Capri length tribal pants… I want them.

A cool mash-up of several eras — rockabilly hair, 7os punk skirt and tights, and 90s hip-hop jewelry and shoes.

That’s all for now.

Street Fashion Round-up: 6 Looks You Can Recreate with Thrift Store Finds

I’ve collected some spring and summer appropriate looks from street fashion sites that are totally doable on a thrift store budget. You won’t be able to exactly replicate the look, but with some Goodwill trips and using what you’ve already got, you could work these looks into your own outfits.

1. Loose fitting blouse / ripped skinny jeans combo

Dolman style tops are really easy to find in retails stores right now. I got a purple dolman sleeve top at DEB for $3 off of the clearance rack a few months ago. But, hello, this style was popular in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, so it’s definitely possible for you to find something similar in thrift stores with a little hunting. Grab a pair of snug fitting light wash jeans, tear if you wish, and voila! This woman has spiced up the outfits with accessories, like her rad sunglasses.

2. Blazer / oversized tee / opaque tights / slouchy boots

Every thrift store has at least one rack of blazers. A few weeks ago I got three New York & Co blazers for work for just $5 each! Oversized teeshirts are overabundant in places like Goodwill and the Salvation army. Vintage slouchy boots are more sought after, but as you saw in a past entry, it’s possible to find them for good prices.

3. Layering different prints, fabrics, textures, eras…

This outfit combines so much at once without looking bad. There are some expensive pieces in this outfit — like the Alexander McQueen sheer scarf (if it’s authentic), but even this can be replicated with thrift store finds. Most thrift stores and vintage boutiques have a rack divoted to scarves. The metallic shoes might be a challenge. However, there are a lot of 80s and 90s esque items in this outfit that are likely to be found while thrifting.

Here are some other cool looks:

My Fashion: Dali Art Gallery Exhibition

Getting dressed up for openings for the art gallery that I work for at college is a lot of fun. Not to say that the art is somehow less important. I really enjoy fine art, and this particular exhibition was a collection of Salvador Dali prints illustrating The Divine Comedy. Super cool. So here are some cool outfits from that night…

Super cool vest and great maxi-dress.

Gorgeous dresses!

My outfit...

Weirdly lit face, and my outfit again.

I am wearing:

Leopard print button up top, Burlington Coat Factory, $9 ish

Faux leather waist cinching belt, Body Central, $9

Vintage leather pencil skirt, thrifted, $2

Silver faux snakeskin platforms, Steve Madden, $3o

I can’t resist Steve Madden shoes. Those were expensive, but I had to buy silver shoes for my friend’s wedding when I was a bridesmaid. Love them though.

“My Style” throwbacks…

Some pictures I never got around to posting and some from before I started this blog.

Queen of Hearts Costume

I am wearing:

– Yard sale earrings (little running bunnies) – $0.10

– Halter dress (Salvation Army, can’t remember the price but probably less than $4)

– Black and red polka dotted vintage skirt (Thrift Store, $2ish)

– Red vintage apron, vintage (antique store, $3, which I thought was kind of pricey)

– Claire’s and Kohl’s bracelets

-Red wedges (Payless, can’t remember the price)

I wore that outfit for an Alice in Wonderland dance. I was proud of myself for putting together a pretty cute ensemble.

Sailor skirt (flea market) and moon boots (Payless, $6).

Got the skirt at a flea market and the belt is a plastic fish scale belt. It’s vintage. And amazing. I think the skirt was $2. The person I bought it off of had sewn it herself. So, it’s one of a kind. I sound pretentious. I apologize. I love this outfit.

All black outfit, but crappy picture.

I wore this to a formal dinner at my university. I have had those ridiculous platform mary janes since high school. I got them at Hot Topic on super clearance for $4!

Zombie Axl Rose costume.

Axl Rose is a huge influence on my style. I guess he’s kind of a douche and is really gross looking now, but in the 80s and early 90s he was a mega-babe and had badass style. I love the way he combined aviators with rolled up bandanas. I am wearing a vintage leather vest I purchased off of eBay after looking at too many Kat Von D photos. Basically this is a combinations of Kat Von D and Axl rose. I would love to see their lovechild.

Sidenote: eBay is a great place to find used clothing. It’s cheaper than most etsy stores (because etsy sellers are aware that they can charge a pretty penny for old clothing) and has more selection.

My Lizzie Borden costume...

Nothing about this really screams Lizzie Borden, but it was a last minute Halloween costume. I used some bloodied gauze (a decoration, not real) as a hip scarf and wore a groundhog skull I found along some railroad tracks as a choker. I have a puff-sleeved button up with a waist cincher corset over it, and a black peasant skirt.

Another shot...

I'm the one in the polkadot skirt.

I like this picture because it shows how much my style has changed. (This is from about three years ago, give or take.) I still like my outfit in this picture, but since I am 21 years old now, I’ve had to grow up a little. Still, I kinda wish I could dress like this. I have to get a job, though.

Well, that’s it for now. I am posting entries in spurts because I am stalling on doing my homework.