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.

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Feeling Lauren Bacall Vibes

My friends know me best for rocking  florals, but one print I’ve always loved? Polka dots, of course.

There’s something about this classic design that purrs old Hollywood. Think of any leading lady from the past and I guarantee you she rocked polka dots. However, no one made adorable circles look so fierce quite like Lauren Bacall.

ba107c542e97a3326b7b24205dbc49db e96c9eb80cdd05ef957e78e8e298c505 1372894886101008687yZP0nuNcYes reader, I’m aware this screen siren owned The Look and no one else can go near that, but I was feeling some serious Lauren Bacall vibes on a recent thrifting trip.

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I found this label-less sheer navy dress with white polka dots and I was in love. I just felt like me…The pearls I wore to my shopping outing definitely enhance the overall appearance of the dress, but I was loving its casual, yet put-together retro style that works for brunch, a casual night out…or just because.

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The shoulder pads needed to be popped. For the record I always take off shoulder pads from any piece. I’m just not into the linebacker look. Yet, this dress was coming home with mama.

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But lately, I was feeling inspired by this fellow New Yorker. Earlier this year, FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) featured an exhibition titled “Lauren Bacall: The Look,” which was dedicated to her legacy in the fashion world, as well as her relationships with the many designers lucky enough to dress her.

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It was a real treat to stand just inches away from garments that once hugged the star.

Check out that pink French creation, a gift from 1968.
Check out that pink French creation, a gift from 1968.

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I may not be BFFs with Yves Saint Laurent, but I’m all about channeling My Look, with the help of Ms. Bacall.

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The Fitting Room Chronicles: Getting Dior for 19 Bucks (and Other Things)

Ever told yourself, “I’m only spending x amount of dollars and no more” before entering a store? I did today – and failed.

But I did succeed in other areas. Here me out.

I must say, I’m very thankful for being a thrifting fan. I probably save way more money than the usual shopper who prefers snagging their outfits at retail stores. For example, I found this majestic Christian Dior kimono gown – and it was only 19 dollars. Good luck spending that amount in Christian Dior for anything.

Christian Dior Kimono Gown
Christian Dior Kimono Gown

At first, I wasn’t going to get it because it was super wide for a size medium. I probably could create a couture tent while staying overnight at Yellowstone National Park (yeah right, I don’t camp hahahah).

Glamping
Glamping

But upon applying a leather corselet belt to cinch everything in and enhance a waist, I was in awe by its rich autumnal hues and flowy fabric, an ideal ensemble for the cooler fall months in New York City. And it’s Dior, enough said.

Dior, baby.
Dior, baby.

Oh, and for 19 dollars, it will always fit. Now that’s a deal.

Another win I earned during my shopping trip? This comfy Zara dress made out of linen and cotton. It’s super breathable for the sticky, icky summer we’re experiencing.

Zara
Zara

Beware of seemingly cool fabrics, like silk, during the summer. You’ll feel like this:

Hot potato.
Hot potato.

But for 15 dollars, Zara will keep me looking (and feeling) cool for casual days and nights out.

Winning with Zara.
Winning with Zara.

But not everything was a major success today. And I think my wallet is pretty thankful about that.

There was this dress. It looked fabulous on the hanger. But on me? It looks like I was being devoured by Ursula. And if you ever saw “The Little Mermaid,” you would know Ursula is not someone you want to piss off.

The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Noooooooo!
The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Noooooooo!

There was also this ensemble. It was a flowy Japanese waist drop dress. I love how super comfortable I felt, but I wasn’t crazy about how I looked. I don’t need guys offering me seats on the subway because they think there’s a bun in the oven.

Japanese  Waist Drop Dress (without belt).
Japanese Waist Drop Dress (without belt).

I applied my usual belt and while I looked better in it, this dress wasn’t made to be held in. Rather, it wants to be free. I’m just not sure if we’re a right match.

Japanese Waist Drop Dress (with belt).
Japanese Waist Drop Dress (with belt).

I tried it on. More than once. I decided to leave it behind. I kinda miss it, but if we meet again, I know it was meant to be. We’ll see.

Don't offer me a seat on the subway. Actually, let me sit. I'm tired.
Don’t offer me a seat on the subway. Actually, let me sit. I’m tired.

I also found this black and white dress.

It looks good...
It looks good…

But as you can see, it wasn’t exactly the best fit…

Nah.
Nah.

Well, I now need to budget myself a wee bit better. I’ve got some big plans coming up and the moolah will be needed. But at least I have Dior to dry my tears.

Fin.
Fin.

Celebrating Marilyn Monroe at Pop!

Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe would have been 89 on June 1st. Although she passed away at age 36 in 1962, her legacy has lived on, capturing the hearts of millions throughout the world, including mine. So when Pop International Galleries in SoHo was debuting a new exhibition dedicated to Ms. Monroe, you know I was going to be there. The exhibition is called “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe!” and it features the works of seven renowned photographers who’ve captured the many iconic and even little-seen looks of the Hollywood star. Here are the photographers you can expect to see:

Lazlo Willinger
Lazlo Willinger
Milton Greene
Milton Greene
Kashio Aoki
Kashio Loki
William Carroll
William Carroll
George Barris
George Barris
Bert Stern
Bert Stern
Andre de Dienes
Andre de Dienes

For the exhibition opening, I gave my usual corselet belt a break *gasp* and decided to go for a golden vintage-inspired dress by……drumroll……H&M.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

H&M always offers great deals, but I usually prefer waiting for a sale, where you can easily get nice pieces for half the price, which is exactly what I did with this floral cotton dress.

Photo by Alexcia Foster.
Photo by Alexcia Foster.

It seems to no longer be available, but I’m really into this one ($34.95), this one ($30), and this one ($24.99).

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The lipstick I’m wearing is Revlon’s creamy Certainly Red. It’s less than 10 bucks and lasts beyond glasses of wine and savoring French cheeses at a gallery.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

This photo was taken when I was nearly photobombed by Mike Myers. You might know him from films, like “Wayne’s World,” “Austin Powers,” and even “Shrek” for you youngins out there. Of course, I didn’t say anything. I’m a New Yawker. We don’t do that. It’s all about the quick glances, WTF stares, and quiet smiles of acknowledgement.

Yeah, I know.
Yeah, I know.

The evening ended with a quiet stroll through Washington Square Park in the Village.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

The “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe” exhibition ends on July 1st, so go check it out pronto!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Becoming So Hot (and Not)

When it comes to clothes, I know what works for me: chic black ensembles, bold blues, and flower power.

But I also like to shake things up.

At one of my usual thrifting adventures in the West Village, I spotted this vintage dress with a label stating that it comes from India. It’s a sheer grey gown highlighting a low-cut v-neck, as well as loads of sparkles.

Shine bright like a diamond. Kinda.
Shine bright like a diamond. Kinda.

Some people like to reserve their jewels for a special night out. Personally, I believe every day is an occasion to dress up. Life is a grand ball and you’re the star. So why have your jewels collect dust at home? Would a grand dame do that? Exactly.

Rocking three dollar pearls from a church flea market. Tres chic!
Rocking three dollar pearls from a church flea market. Tres chic!

You’re speaking to someone who used to wear shoulder sweeping rhinestone earrings that look as if they came from Blanche Deveraux’s bosom. In high school.

Thank you for being a friend.
Thank you for being a friend.

While I love how I can easily rock this look for either running errands on Saturday mornings or enjoying cocktails past 5PM in the Meatpacking, its look is pretty deceiving. On a sizzling 85 degree day, this outfit overheated, causing me to melt five pounds worth of sweat. At least I’ll be more ready for bikini season.

Do you feel that heat?
Do you feel that heat?

Still, for $21, I took it. Hey, it will keep me warm during the cooler fall.

I’m also a not-so-secret fan of green garments. Except whenever I wear one, I feel like a walking M&M.

I may look tasty, but I feel stupid.
I may look tasty, but I feel stupid.

I really did like this jungle-inspired dress, but something about it made me go no. I don’t know if it was the fit, style, or even color, but it just didn’t feel right. So I let it go. It wasn’t true love because I have zero regrets.

No.
No.

When shopping, if you aren’t absolutely in love with what you find, don’t get it. The outfit may look like a great deal, but if it’s just taking up real estate space in your closet, you’re pretty much just making a retail donation. Save your precious greens for something you’ll really love and actually wear.

Still no.
Still no.

That’s all there was to this adventure. Wait, you’re complaining? Hello, I merely spent 21 bucks and am ready to rock something that will make me so hot…literally.

But I don’t care…I love it. Good luck getting this song out of your head.

So take that and go shopping, lovelies.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Look out for more adventures soon!

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!