She'd always giggle when momma teased daddy every morning, "want some coffee in your sugar dear?" Wonder if daddy would laugh now, knowing a bucket load of sugar is the least of our worries. Now there's eel anus, arsenic, and antifreeze in a sweet pint of ice cream. What a knee slapper.
So I was minding my own business a few weeks ago, just laying around being a couch potato, my eyes glued to the pages of Clean by Alejandro Junger (you know the one, Gwenyth Paltrow's fave book of all time....and when do I ever suggest you listen to Gwenyth, but I owe her my life now) and he had the nerve to write in his book what I was already learning from Michael Pollan with the help of a few documentaries -- that pretty much all our food is corn. Now, this wasn't as shocking or upsetting as when I first learned this only one year prior whilst reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, but Mr. Junger here, in his sterile white doctor's lab coat and wickedly charming smile, was asking me to go down to my kitchen and find something in my pantry, freezer, fridge or countertop that didn't have some form of corn in it. Challenge eh? I was bored and up for it. I ran down the stairs faster than a spoiled brat on Christmas morning, confident my healthy lifestyle would reveal purity at its greatest. Well, low and behold my gosh darn hot cocoa had everything but cocoa, my salad dressing had corn chemicals that really have no business on my salad, and my freaking ice cream had more than a dozen forms of corn! Yeah, ice cream...had corn in it....all through it and around it. There was the corn syrup, who had to bring along its brother high fructose corn syrup (oh, because one kind isn't enough!) along with dextrose used to thicken that bad boy up (because corn starch is probably way too expensive for the creamery conglomerates these days) with some help from xantham gum that is a thickening bacteria agent that they feed corn syrup to get all sweet and goopy (but not always, I won't lie, since I did learn they sometimes feed the xantham milk products...ha, but cows are fed corn grain, so there!) and of course hydrogenated vegetable oils to fatten your ass right up.
Allot has been weighing on my mind as of late thanks to the ever-disappointing mass market fashion industry rearing its Medusa head time and again. And while I will be devoting my entire weekend to peeling back the layers of the little ethical choices we do have left, it goes without saying that ... when in doubt, thrift! How vexing it must be to hear the widespread outcry from certain bloggers (you know the kind, the ones that eat Prada for breakfast) mourning over the Bangladesh tragedy, pointing out that while they wholeheartedly feel sympathy for those suffering, they just can't seem to get themselves to stop shopping long enough to modify their consumerist choices. Oh how bourgeois a predicament. While they helplessly deal with the inner turmoil of having no power over the addiction to superfluous purchases and unequivocally poor quality clothing, I will wield my well-trained power of restraint (because yes, it takes effort to not be a freakin hypocrite, trust me I know...I was formerly very happy as Ms. Hypocrite USA) to not set one foot in a chain store again until due diligence is done. Not everyone has the luxury of whining over not being able to help themselves, because some people still live paycheck to paycheck (like me....fashion isn't all glamour and wealth) and some people have the means but lack the desire to constantly subject their wardrobes to repeated offenses (like me). So wherever you are on the spectrum, I thought offering up a silver platter of thoughtfully curated vintage inspiration each week would help you curb those impulsive buys at Zara and J. Crew and instead adopt a piece of history. It might sound like justification hogwash (and sometimes, isn't it always? after all, its fashion people) but honestly, as a true history buff, I find nothing more titillating than digging a gem out of a haystack and fantasizing about the era it was born in. Did it clothe a woman who had lunch with Diana Vreeland? Did it board a bus to Poland? Who knows! But that's the whole point. So first, a few tips from a discerning vintage rookie. 3 TIMELESS TIPS FOR INCORPORATING VINTAGE INTO YOUR WARDROBE
Know your ass-ets girl. For me its my décolleté, my derrière and now after a brutal month of pilates, my legs (but only if exhibited from thigh down because I'm of average height, not a supermodel). For you it could be your long torso, flawless back, or shoulders which lend well to 50s sweetheart necklines or 90's crop tops. Vintage is the one chance to know your body more intimately than your OBYGN and the mister (or misses, hey!). While its not always necessary for those that are fond of an era come hell or high water like I am with 70s boho maxis no matter how much my waist is lost in the process, for others still experimenting, it saves a hella time to narrow down your most flattering options, especially for online shopping. You'll soon be styling and mixing up your vintage pieces like Rachel Zoe.
Always shop bigger when in love or in doubt, but never shop smaller (yes, this goes for you Mad Men addicts too, spilling out and hugging curves is far different than looking like a sausage tube). The point is not to extend your bad habits of over consumption for the sake of impulsion. Yes vintage is a wonderfully magical world of first dates that woo you, but if that first date doesn't fit you right, bringing it home would make for an awkward next morning. So tame the beast and stick with pieces that truly fit, and when all else fails, larger sizes can usually be tailored down beautifully.
As a novice, build your collection of vintage by reigning in the basics. That's why Spring 2013 trends is the quintessential place to begin. You can never go wrong with geometric, florals, leather, and lace so long as it fits your aesthetic. Don't abandon your personal style for trends, but rather let the timeless nature of them steer you in a direction of effortless style. It makes mixing a piece of cake. I'm no Nicole Richie, so I tone down by bohemian collectibles with denim motorcycle jackets or pair 80s padded blazers in neon brights with frilly white dresses as you saw yesterday in this post. Feel revvin to give this a whirl? Alright, cancel that trip to Zara, Mango, H&M, et al, and see if vintage whets your appetite. (<-- you thought I would say something more cheeky there didn't you!)
Note: This took a few hours to put together and I'm happy to curate it if there's even one piece that reflects your tastes and saves you from clicking buy at GAP's latest sale. I included all price points and nothing over $500 for rare/designer, as finer vintage usually seems unattainable, but I have my secret sources where this isn't the case and I'm sharing them just with you.
I am so hopelessly infatuated with a few new blog discoveries this month that trying to embark on soaking up all the intelligent prose, cultural perspectives, and tasteful curations are more rewardingly distracting than sifting through eBay all night for ACNE in my size or Givenchy for less than $500 (which is like finding the gosh damn loch ness monster). But I digress. My new sister from another mother has clearly been found in Kali who not only analyzes the building of wardrobes and fashion consumption mindfully like Jess, but just so happens to be French. So...well...yeah, enough said. I think I've made it quite clear I surrender to all words uttered by French women. Why? Not because they are a superior bunch (ok well...perhaps, but then I get slapped for saying so) but because when you have never been steered wrong by someone, wouldn't you continue to listen? Such is the case for me and the French. From literature to fashion, gourmet delicacies to their take on community and family, I find my exploration of European tendencies a neverending love. And so I was quite enamoured with Kali's post briefly showcasing her wardrobe culling, or wardrobe emptying as some call it. Since I am doing the same as you saw here, it was only natural I take interest in her suggestions as well. I shall direct your attention there, because in all honestly the fashion stylist and editor in me finds it simply second nature, or even an innate ability since birth to be able to decipher what to keep, toss, and donate from an overflowing closet based on certain criterion I've established for myself after revisiting my sense of personal style, and articulating these tips for others sometimes seems more difficult for me than it should be.Kali simplifies it quite ingeniously, most specifically the notion of making five outfits out of one piece to see if its worth keeping. While its fantastically common sense to keep only items YOU WILL ACTUALLY WEAR (helloooo people) I also thought it makes for a great impulsion blocker while shopping- mentally pairing an item with pieces already back home. So even though I purchased this handmade dress from Etsy years ago (and in the end am deciding to part with since my curves have only doubled in volume since), it was inevitable that I would try Kali's tip on for size. Pun intended.
Ah yes, and I am a busy woman. I had time for only three outfit pairings. Hopefully she doesn't fail me. I really am held together by star stickers and pats on the back from teachers.