The Fitting Room Chronicles: Regrets…I’ve Had a Few

Ever had a moment inside the fitting room where you were trying something on that looks absolutely magical on the hanger, and you think it’s going to work out, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t? Perhaps you look more like a sack of potatoes with one crop too many, a zipper is being rowdy, or a thread is loose…Something seems off. So you leave it behind, thinking, “Oh well, maybe next time.” Your wallet may be feeling nice and hefty, but come sunset, your mind is overflowing with thoughts of that garment. Desire overpowers your senses.

You. Must. Buy. It. Anyway.

Except, when you go back the next day, it’s gone. Poof.

Gone.
Gone.

Here is one thing you must remember:

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Yes, I’ve had many thrifting regrets. There was that Kate Spade navy number made fit for a 1950s socialite. The floor-length gown with plenty of gold beading. The super delicate 1920s flapper dress with fading lace. The silky pink Oscar De La Renta pajamas.

You get the picture.

These things could have been mine. But for whatever reason, I didn’t think we were a match. But we were! And they ran off to another shopper, someone who believed in them. Someone ready to love without commitment issues.

Silly me.

Here’s a prime example:

You're in danger, girl.
You’re in danger, girl.

I found this floral dress by an unknown designer. When I tried it I thought, “Geez, I have that many rolls?” “How big is this thing?” “I’m feeling meh.” “Do I really need another black dress, former goth girl?” “Stephanie wearing florals, predictable much?” “Come on, Steph. That 20 bucks can go to something else. Like another amazing dress.”

Fool.

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The next day, I thought, “But wait! It’s perfect! It’s large enough to hide bloat during you know when!” “It’s florals, I love florals!” “Black everyday!”

When I went back, gone. We never had closure.

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Moral of the story? If you’re unsure whether a vintage piece really looks good on you or not, take plenty of photos from all sides. Really look at your images in the fitting room, while you still have the piece in your sweaty, unsure hands. Is there a part of you that still wants it? If so take it – remember, it’s one of a kind, so you may never see it again. If you feel nothing, well, let some other dame enjoy it.

But seriously, think about it and think hard before letting go. And if you do feel that sense of urgency to get the piece later on, go immediately to the store, no more than 24 hours since the last visit. You’ll have a better chance of retrieving it. However, be aware that someone else may have beaten you to it. This is a thrifting hunt we’re talking about.

I will get over it, eventually. But first, let me deal with my sorrow with some retail therapy.

“It Really Was Raining”

For my day job, I do more writing, which includes interviewing interesting people. Like models. You know, those gorgeous sirens you see on the cover of magazines and towering billboards.

They often tell me how they always look so immaculate, as well as what shooting for those covers are really like. It usually involves dipping their near-nude figures in an ice cold beach just when the sun rises for the best lighting and wearing sweat-inducing armor for couture hours on end.

If we could all look like this 1950s model in the rain.
If we could all look like this 1950s model in the rain.

I would always think to myself, Well surely it can’t be that bad. Just look at you. The world is your giant oyster and it offers all the pearls you want.

Well, I got a taste of it. Somewhat.

While visiting South Street Seaport one semi-gloomy (and unusually chilly) Saturday during the summer season, I was compelled to be photographed to remember the time I went all the way downtown. Then, it started to rain. Jordan suggested to use the umbrella as a prop. This was the result.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

But reader, it really was raining. Fat, ice cold droplets of water were smacking my face, the wind was blowing each minute with full vengeance, and my hair provided unforgiving whiplashes. But nope. I was going to get my picture. I guess this is what real models go through.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

My dress is a vintage 1970s bohemian pink floral maxi from the West Village. The label is unknown, but I love how easy-breezy it is for the summer. The gown makes me feel as if I’m ready to stroll through the streets of Tuscany. I added a wide leather corselet belt to accentuate my waist and avoid that dreaded pajama feel.

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You can get a similar look: ’90s grunge pink maxi for $34.50, a soft rayon maxi for $39, a 1970s butterfly sleeve non-floral pink maxi for $40, or a more tannish floral maxi for $48. If you’re looking to splurge, I really like this 1970s-inspired coral maxi for $98 or this 1930s French gown from Paris for $148.25. When shopping from Etsy, always make sure to note the measurements provided on any listing and don’t hesitate to reach out to the vendors with any sizing concerns you may have. I always do.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Even in the rain, I let my hair down (literally). But I must tell you, those Goody Spin Pins are a must-have for a quick bun. They’re less than $10.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And smiled, wearing Revlon’s pinky-red “Cherries in the Snow” creme lipstick. It’s also less than $10.

But in the end, there were cocktails to be found at Fresh Salt. I had the cup of rosé while Jordan sipped on a bourbon cocktail. Both were divine.

Drinks at Fresh Salt.
Drinks at Fresh Salt.

I’m certainly not a model. But at least I can now say I played one. In the rain. It was messy. But worth it. Now I can go back to eating my burger.

The end.
The end.

Just Another Rooftop

I may be afraid of heights, but this New Yorker prefers wining and dining up in the clouds surrounded by skyscrapers. Really, why would anyone want to break a sweat in 90something degree weather in a stuffy room when you can catch a cool breeze up above everyone else?

Having Cocktails in the Sky.
Having Cocktails in the Sky.

Francis and I make it our mission to visit every rooftop spot in town, so when we were invited to culinary extraordinaire David Burke’s SPYGLASS above the Archer Hotel in midtown, needless to say we were going.

Our View.
Our View.

SPYGLASS is fantastic because it’s walking distance from many offices in the area. So whether you had a rough day at work or simply just want to kick back, this is a swanky rooftop that requires zero subway or taxi transportation, depending where you are. Just a simple stroll will do. Your nostrils will thank you if sticking your nose into someone’s armpit in a too-tight train or being glued to the chair of a cab on a sweltering day isn’t your thing.

Enjoying Ourselves.
Enjoying Ourselves.

SPYGLASS also gives you a direct view of the Empire State Building while you’re enjoying lobster dumplings, oysters, and thirst-quenching cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, the Village will always be my home away from home no matter where I am, but this local deal isn’t too shabby.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Now for the dress. I absolutely fell in love when I saw this piece in a West Village thrift store. It features the brightest orange flowers I’ve ever seen. Seriously, you can light up any room with this thing.

Photo By Francis Rodriguez.
Photo By Francis Rodriguez.

Unfortunately, I don’t have too many details about the dress. No label was found, but it came in excellent condition and was around 25 bucks. It reminds me of a 1950s (or even 60s) cocktail dress. Since the dress zips from the back and not the side, it comes from a later period (not the 50s). That’s one trick to tell if your ensemble is possibly more modern or much older. Also, this outfit highlights a full skirt, so no petticoat is require to add some dramatic flair. Just be prepared to slap people around with your hips.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

I paired the dress with matching navy patent pumps to keep the look more uniformed. The focus remains on the dress, as opposed to dizzying anyone with too much going on.

Original Fire & Ice Ad.
Original Fire & Ice Ad.

As for the lipstick? That’s Revlon’s Fire & Ice, which was first introduced in 1952. It was reportedly one of the many shades of red Marilyn Monroe wore. You can still find it in nearly any drugstore for less than 10 bucks.

Marilyn Monroe, 1952.
Marilyn Monroe, 1952.

The lipstick is a very bold, fiery red shade, so I blotted it just a bit to tone it down. Again, I wanted the dress to be the focal point. I finished my look with champagne.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

This was our view for the evening.

Our Evening View.
Our Evening View.

So seriously, what are you doing down there? Start rooftopping it!