The Fitting Room Chronicles: A Tale of Nos

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t always leave a thrift store with a dress or 10.

Sometimes, I do encounter a day where I just don’t find what I’m looking for. I’m itching to spend money, but nothing speaks to me. Everything looks and feels blah on my body.

And guess what? It’s A-OK.

Aside from the obvious that you’ll have more money in your wallet for future shopping sprees, you should be a bit more choosy when expanding your closet. To get more bang for your buck, it’s crucial to invest in timeless pieces where you’ll rock a particular item for years to come. If an item has a short shelf life, it’s a poor investment that will leave your wallet slimmer and your closet crowded with uninspired pieces.

When it comes to fashion, don’t look for flings or one-night stands that only look and feel good for a moment. Discover true loves, or pieces you’ll treasure for years to come. Look for items that express who you truly are without saying a word.

Here’s what happened on this particular day:

IMG_5887
1980s Sun Dress

Dress #1: A 1980s sun dress

Why it Didn’t Come Home: The fabric was bulky for a sizzling hot day in the city, there were some glaring stains that would be costly to remove, and the colors were on the meh side.

Do I Regret Leaving it Behind: Nope.

IMG_5888
Floral Hot Pink Dress

Dress #2: A floral hot pink long sleeved dress that may/may not have been by Betsey Johnson

Why it Didn’t Come Home: I didn’t feel like it would get much use at the moment.

Do I Regret Leaving it Behind: Kinda. It was a beautiful dress with a bold, gorgeous pattern. However, it did resembled many other pieces in my closet already, which is probably why I gravitated towards it. I never saw it again, so I would like to think it wasn’t meant to be.

IMG_5890
1980s Hot Pink Suit Dress

Dress #3: A 1980s hot pink suit dress

Why it Didn’t Come Home: Who wants to feel like a giant Pepto-Bismol bottle?

Do I Regret Leaving it Behind: Hell to the no.

IMG_5891
Street Fair Find

What I Wore to Shop: A blue and white navy-inspired striped dress I found at a street fair in Manhattan.

Why it Came Home: I usually stay away from striped dresses because I feel wide in them. However, this airy little number made me feel super confident and cool for a warm day in the city.

Do I Regret Buying it: Not at all. The dress is still in my closet. It may fit a little snug these days, but I can still rock it – and I will.

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:

10628205_343464629171948_6112711236976701179_n

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.

IMG_1546

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.

IMG_1542

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: So I’m Going to Need a New Bra for This

Summer is not quite here yet in New York City, but at a smoldering 85 degrees, we’re getting a taste of it.

Despite the sweat-inducing temperatures, I continued on with my weekly ritual of visiting my beloved thrift store. Unlike a typical clothing boutique, you just never know what surprises await you.

Normally I find so much treasure, I struggle to carry pounds of clothes on top of my 5’2″ frame as I tip-toe to the fitting room. This weekend, my finds were quite minimal, but that’s okay. My wallet is thankful.

Find #1

According to the tag on this silk black dress, it comes all the way from Paris. While it hugged my curves in all of the right places – and I can’t ever resist a black outfit – the side zipper was completely broken. I would consider a piece like this a “project,” which means that, if I were to purchase it, I would collaborate with my tailor on tweaking it to create a more custom fit, including replacing the zipper. While I’m not against a project, the efforts would have been costly in this case. The dress alone was 40 dollars, and with any additional changes, we’re looking at a price tag worth over 50 bucks. In this case, I didn’t think it was worth the splurge, so I let it go.

Posing with an open (and broken) zipper.
Posing with an open (and broken) zipper.

Find #2

Ever fell madly in love at first sight? I did. This hip-hugging floral Tracy Reese dress looked like a dream on the hanger. Her dresses are worth over 300 dollars, but I could have taken this home for a mere 23 dollars. Sadly, my Dominican butt was like nope. Sure, I was able to zip it all the way up, but I also had to take multiple quick breaths just to let oxygen past through my body. And sitting? Ha! That’s just for amateurs.

Not breathing can look quite glamorous for five secondsdeargodwhenwillthisend?!
Not breathing can look quite glamorous for five secondsdeargodwhenwillthisend?!

Lucy can relate.

When a piece runs large you can easily work around it, but too small? Ugh is the answer.

Find #3

Normally I’m very against all things strapless. Being well endowed on top, I need support or my back will punish me with unforgiving aches. And let’s be real, when was the last time you looked forward to wearing a strapless bra? But sometimes, sacrifices should be made. Especially with a discovery like this.

We have a winner!
We have a winner!

While I was feeling down about the previous dress that wouldn’t fit, this one was two sizes smaller and works great. Okay sure, it’s a vintage size, but work with me people! The tag says it’s by Beginnings, which is/was based in New York. I tried researching it, but nothing seems to be available. The price tag? A lovely 14.

I can’t wait to rock this gown sooner than later. Unfortunately, I will need to buy a strapless bra.

Daphne gets it.
Daphne gets it.

I will say this dress made me get over the Tracy Reese outfit. It’s like that moment when you’re about to get back with an ex, only to find out there’s someone way better waiting for you and ready to take you out. Don’t ask me how I know this.

In short? Today was a good day: for myself and my wallet.

The Fitting Room Chronicles

What is this?

Just Me. In a fitting room.
Just Me. In a fitting room.
Before I had a blog, or even Instagram for that matter, I used to photograph myself in fitting rooms.

Just Me. In a fitting room.
Just Me. In a fitting room.

I tend to shop alone, not because I don’t adore the company of friends, but when it comes to thrifting, I like to leisurely hunt and even arrive early to stores so I can get first dibs on fresh batches.

IMG_1366

And with no one around to tell me whether I look good in something or not, I would photograph myself so I can get a better view of what an outfit really looks like on me. Sometimes I would eventually send it to friends for a second or third opinion.

IMG_0492

Once I joined Instagram, I began showcasing these images to share my ]experiences on thrifting, informing people how I know what really works for me, as well as any tidbits on buying vintage. I received such wonderful feedback from people that it ultimately inspired me to launch La Vintage Vida.

IMG_0611

Now I’m going to you show on this platform those recent discoveries. Sometimes it will be comical when a zipper gets stuck or even tragic when a beautiful gown is just five sizes too small (ugh), but most of the time, these stories all end on a happy note.

IMG_1365

Look out for more adventures soon!