The Fitting Room Chronicles: Channeling Stevie Nicks

I will never be Stevie Nicks. No one could be Stevie Nicks except Stevie Nicks herself. She is a blonde witchy love goddess who must be worshipped and adored. This fellow Stephanie isn’t worthy.

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I had an amazing opportunity to check out a Stevie Nicks photo exhibition in SoHo, and to say that I was inspired would be an understatement. These are what you call SELFIES. Bow down.

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There are many ways to pay tribute to this iconic artist with your wardrobe. A bohemian white lace dress, loads of fringe, a crimson velvet gown with ruffled sleeves, wide-legged pants – anything that a spellbinding 1970s singer would wear really.

But in my case, I decided to go with bat sleeves.

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I’m not usually a fan of velvet, as everything tends to stick and the fuzzy texture drives me insane, but I felt like an enchantress in this simple black body-hugging velvet dress with sheer bat sleeves. I was compelled to twirl, cast spells, and sing “Edge of Seventeen,” one of my favorite songs since childhood.

But  you know what else we could use for a Stevie Nicks party? A crimson 1970s silk dress with a cape.

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Stevie also happens to be a fan of red hot dresses too.

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With the cool, crisp fall season upon us, and Halloween around the corner, now is the time to sprinkle some Stevie Nicks magic to your wardrobe. Who wouldn’t want to dress up like a legend, and feel warm with all of those layers?

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The Fitting Room Chronicles: Channeling Louise Brooks

When many think of flappers from the “Roaring ’20s,” images like these come to mind:

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Colleen Moore
Colleen Moore
Clara Bow
Clara Bow
Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck

And of course, there are 1920 fashion guides, like this one, to help:

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But one overlooked garment from the famous era is the kimono. And really, what’s not to love about this comfortable, silky loungewear that instantly adds glamour to your home? The kimono was also big during this era as it was looser, easy to wear, and functional. The 1996 book, “The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-To-Wear in America” gives a lot of wonderful insight about the traditional Japanese piece and its impact in the United States over the years.

One silent screen star who made the kimono one of her signature looks was Louise Brooks. Apparently, it was her thing, along with a carefully cut bob.

Kimono-101

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During one of my thrifting adventures, I found this bold red kimono. While it’s more on the wiggle side, eliminating that loose comfort one would expect from a more traditional kimono, I felt ready for my close-up.

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Loungewear? Pul-eeze. This baby was meant to be worn out. I will need to work on my tip-toe walking, as modern steps won’t do in this gown, but that’s just another workout that comes with fashion.

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It sure beats those usual flapper getups that every Gatsby-obsessed dame goes head over heels for. And don’t get me wrong, I adore those waist-drop dresses too, but sometimes you just have to stand out. And who wouldn’t want to learn a thing or two from the “Kansas Cleopatra?”

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I can’t wait to rock this dress for a special occasion. Hopefully all those gin cocktails from past dinners and soirees haven’t caught up to me yet. How tragic would it be if my big ol’ butt couldn’t squeeze into this again?!

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Feeling Red Hot (and Blue)

The Pope has been in town for the last several days and all I can think about is Milan Fashion Week. And the It-color to make all the fellas say Ciao, Bella! goes to an oldie, but goodie: juicy, cherry red.

Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film "Funny Face." Based in Paris, yes, but the sentiment is still the same.
Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film “Funny Face.” Based in Paris, yes, but the sentiment is still the same.

For Fall 2015, Gucci presented this rich, lipstick-hued gown, but at $4,900 it’s quite the splurge. So, I decided to go thrifting and see what I would discover during my adventures.

I did find this delicious cherry print dress, but sadly, my Dominican curves were not having it.

Ugh!
Ugh!

However, I did find this swinging, saucy little number that made me feel compelled to prance through a vineyard in Tuscany.

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I would like to think that Sophia Loren would approve. At 14 bucks, it was coming home with me.

Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren

Then I found this grand Diane Von Furstenberg dress in a deep sky blue with black roses, all complementing my moody merlot lips. It was an unexpected, but welcoming surprise.

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I have to admit that it felt like giving birth to myself just squeezing into the piece, but once I wore it, the dress felt like a dream. I could even cross my arms and everything! The beau gave me this gown as a gift. And for $40, he too was graced with a deal.

What I wore to go thrifting.
What I wore to go thrifting.

I may not be in Italy this time around, but I’m set on delivering some drama to my autumnal wardrobe. How will you be celebrating the fall season in style?

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Wiggle Here, Wiggle There

On Facebook, a friend of mine posted this definition of the wiggle dress:

1950s actress Jayne Mansfield
1950s actress Jayne Mansfield

A dress whose hem is narrower than the hips, causing the wearer to walk in short strides with legs close together, producing a sway or ‘wiggle’ of the hips. A fitted dress which enhances an hourglass figure. Every gal should own a wiggle dress or two or ten.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Wiggle dresses were extremely popular in the 1950s, when blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield wore dangerously alluring, tight-fitting garments dresses that felt like second skin and flaunted every single curve on their breathtaking bodies.

Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield

Marilyn Monroe was even known to have dresses sewn directly on her figure. One example that comes to mind is her infamous “Happy Birthday” dress, which she wore in President John F. Kennedy’s birthday bash in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Marilyn Monroe in her
Marilyn Monroe in her “Happy Birthday” dress.

I did not find a similar piece and I won’t be impressing government officials anytime soon, but I did find this lovely nude number.

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I believe it’s from the ’50s, and in true classic wiggle fashion, it fits like second skin. Sitting? Ha, that’s just for amateurs. But the best part? It was a mere 18 bucks. Gotta love those thrifting deals.

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Ladies, you need a wiggle dress, whether it’s for date night or a “just because” evening affair involving jazz or cocktails. Most vintage-inspired clothing lines offer them (Stop Staring! and Pinup Girl Clothing quickly come to mind). Or, you can hunt for one while thrifting.

Regrets? I have none.

The Fitting Room Chronicles: When Your Favorite Thrift Store Has a Sale

When your favorite thrift store has a sale, you know it’s time to celebrate. I can't even.

I can’t even.

These sales don’t happen too many times during the year. After all, you’re already getting a decent deal on pieces that previously cost double, sometimes triple, the price. So when they do offer a sale, you better seize the day.

Do you know when your favorite thrift store is going to have a sale? Black Friday may sound obvious, but this isn’t always the case. Here are two important tips:

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Ask (No Really, Ask)

This may sound like a major “duh,” but try to make friends with the salespeople. They know the ins and outs of the store. They can tell you when sales are expected to occur during the year, as well as when items will be discounted to make room for new merchandise. Also, these folks can tell you when new inventory is in stock so you can take advantage of their treasure before anyone else.

Make Note of the Changing Season

As the sun-soaked days of August are slowly (and sadly) coming to an end, salespeople/owners of thrift stores need to think about the changing season. In this case, it’s the cooler month of September. To make room for new fall-friendly merchandise, they need to get rid of all the summery staples they have in stock. My store had a three-day sale to make this possible, with prices going up to 50% off. And even though you may be thinking about autumn pieces too, I still like to get sweet gear on sale that I can use with seasonal layers, like scarves or cardigans. Go back to the first rule and find out when your store will be having any sales to coincide with the changing season.

I had to pull a Destiny’s Child and think about bills, bills, bills before going crazy here, but here’s what came home with me:

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A Free People dress for $14 that requires zero tailoring for a perfect fit? Don’t mind if I do.

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A brand new H&M dress (with tags still on and all) for $13 that also needs little to no tailoring? Sign me up.

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A floor-length gown that could be from any time between the late 1950s-early 1970s for $11? Yes, please. I am also aware that some tailoring will be involved, but I can’t help being 5’2″!

Three dress cost me less than $40. Not too shabby.

Speaking of the fall, it’s nearly here…you might want to begin checking out those end-of-season sales starting…now.

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.

The Fitting Room Chronicles: The ’90s Are Back (Kinda)

The 1990s were all about collecting Trolls (the dolls, people!), attempting to wear baggy jeans a la Kriss Kross that were so huge, Jimmy Hoffa was probably hiding in them, Puka shells, and those jelly sandals that melted under the sun, along with your feet.

Thank the lord the 1990s are over.
Thank God the 1990s are over.

But not all of the ’90s were bad! We had the Spice Girls (Ginger will always be my girl), those pacifier necklaces that I apparently had in every color, all the babydoll dresses graced by Courtney Love, and plenty of Black Cherry or Toast of New York lipstick.

This is more like it.
This is more like it.

Perhaps I feel somewhat grossed out that the ’90s are considered vintage to some. I mean, I was alive in that era! I remember it well! That was like, 20 years ago! As if! Whatever!

Yup.
Yup.

Anyway…

On a recent trip to one of my favorite thrift stores in The Village, I found this blast from the past.

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TGI…S (it was Saturday).

Normally, I don’t go for cartoony prints or super body-hugging ensembles, but this was somewhat perfect. Back when I was a wee child of the ’90s, I remember bootleggers on the block selling these awesome Looney Tunes t-shirts that would go perfectly with Kriss Kross jeans. This reminded me of those and I was feeling rather nostalgic. Also, as super body-hugging as this outfit was, I felt like I was wearing one big t-shirt. Win.

Just me.
Just me.

Do I still think the ’90s are technically vintage? Not really. But I’m also pretty biased. Personally, anything between the ’30s-’60s is considered vintage to me, and then we’re entering retro territory (hello ’80s and ’90s). Maybe because these eras are nowhere near my lifetime and finding such pieces in near-excellent condition for a swell price is like discovering gold, they hold a greater status for me and such, can be members of the true Vintage club. Honestly, pieces from ’70s-’90s are super accessible at stores, and hello, I was alive during the ’90s! I remember grunge bands when they were still touring in Seattle!

But enough of all that. I’m just going to kick back with one of my favorite throwbacks right here:

Frasier fans, represent!
Frasier fans, represent!

Who knows, I might bring these back, too:

You're my butterfly, sugar baby.
You’re my butterfly, sugar baby.

Are you kidding me? No I won’t.