Sideways

While Jamie and I were in Palm Springs, I found the most fantastic vintage store adjacent to the place we had Sunday brunch. The Frippery is a vintage lover’s gold mine.

Post-brunch, I dragged Jamie and my maid of honor who was also in Palm Springs, in the store. While Jamie went out on a mission for cold brew, Amanda graciously waited for me to seemingly try on dress after dress, giving me the honest feedback. In addition to scoring a dress, Amanda discovered several concert buttons circa the 1980s: Adam and the Ants, The Cars, The Clash, and the Stray Cats. (The latter reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers mom character wondering what a stray cat was.)

About the dress: I do not know the brand and I do not care. The acid color fever dream of the print was enough to sell me. I love that it is cut generously though the midsection. I know what you are thinking and before you say it: It is not a maternity dress. I carefully inspected the cut and can confirm that there is not extra fabric at the stomach; it is simply a trapeze cut dress.

After Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Atascadero, and Monterey, Jamie and I concluded our friendship roadtrip in Napa.

My husband and I are members of several wineries but our favorite is Gundlach Bundschu; we even celebrated our engagement weekend there. After the friendship roadship wine tasting, we wandered the grounds. Though my husband and I used to visit all the time, it occurred to me that we had only been there in the winter. Running from the car to the tasting room without considering walking the grounds was standard. This time, we walked the grounds and am kicking myself that we had not explored it sooner.

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Frock Star

Did anyone else catch this particular Lilly Pulitzer dress showing up on their Instagram feed on more than one lady’s Easter post? No doubt it is a great dress, so great in fact, that I purchased the Goop version of the style just last year and when the collection went on markdown. Luckily the general public’s aversion to Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwyneth Paltrow-related product kept the dress from getting too popular.

At the end of April, I discussed my own growing aversion to matching all of the gals sporting Lilly Pulitzer on my own Instagram feed. {No doubt that they all look adorable; I just feel resistance to looking like everyone else employing #resort365.} Only after I drafted this post discussing my reservations did my awareness hit an apex over Easter with the Maisie dress.

It was perfect timing because I had just shopped eBay like a mad woman and stocked up on vintage Lilly Pulitzer. Stocking up may be a bit of an understatement, actually. More like, I cleared out shift dresses in my size. Five shift dresses later and I satiated my need to not only go shopping and sustainably so, but also updating up my Lilly Pulitzer supply sans looking like everyone else.

Pro tip: when it comes to the Lilly styles from the 1960s and 1970s, go up a number size; this is especially crucial when shopping the online secondary market because oftentimes returns are not accepted.

Can we talk about the design of the dress? It is unlike anything that the brand currently carries. I am living for the fact that the hemline is longer yet it is still a shift dress. Rather than feeling constricted in the bottom half of the dress, the side slits provide ample room to move, walk, run. It is the perfect dress for someone who is a pear like myself. Cut to me scouring the secondary market for more.

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Frock You!

As mentioned in my Shopping Moratorium four weeks ago, I starting poking around on eBay for vintage pieces in my favorite preppy brands: Lilly Pulitzer, J.Crew, Vineyard Vines (or at least as vintage as I could get as it is barely twenty years old), and Brooks Brothers. Ever since I found the best Brooks Brothers dress from the 1980s via my favorite Philadelphia vintage store, I have been addicted to finding my next vintage frock. Compound that with the fact that I started noticing many people that I follow on Instagram wearing the same Lilly Pulitzer style. I am not ready to give up on one of my favorite brands yet, I do not want to wear what seemingly everyone else is wearing either.

Cut to me going on an eBay shopping spree for vintage Lilly Pulitzer. Shopping the secondary market embodies the quadruple bottom line. The prices, at least for this brand, tend to be lower. Shopping secondhand has social and environmental benefits as it keeps garments out of landfills and does not create sweatshop demand. Call it inspiration from the last sustainability documentary I watched. Lastly, I happen to love the vintage aesthetic, whether it be the period of the 1960s or 1990s.

The dress is secondhand Lilly Pulitzer and judging from the tag, likely from the 1990s. I will take a pass on the flannels and the chokers; this is the 90s revival that I can get behind. I bought the Gemma Redux (an aughts jewelry brand that has since sadly shuttered) earrings and Lilly Pulitzer bangles from eBay, too.

The sunglasses, watch, flats, and coat is still available and is linked below. Both the stone and navy versions of the coat come in tall. As for the dress, I link similar Lilly Pulitzer patchwork dresses. Bid on, y’all!

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Old Books and a Vintage Look

Old City Philadephia is home to my favorite vintage stores. Primarily known for being the gallery district in the city, it is also home to several goldmines when it comes to thrift shopping. Shopping the secondary market is something in which I have been engaging more often, as it is a sustainable practice, especially when it is from a local outpost rather than an online source. For the past few weekends, whenever I am in the area, I inevitably drag my husband into any store which has a secondhand rack. Count me in for any vintage frock from a classic label.

I bought this dress from Meadowsweet (47 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106) several weeks ago. It is a Brooks Brothers and from the looks of it, I would guess it was released circa 1982. Though the snaps and hook and eye closures were in less than perfect condition, those were easy enough to reinforce and more importantly, the pleats were in pristine condition. I was instantly smitten and at 72 dollars, can you blame me? Like my vintage concert tee shirt collection, this dress was instantly one of the most priceless items in my closet.

Just down the street from Meadowsweet is a two story bookstore, The Book Trader (7 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106). It is a secondhand bookstore and to say it is epic would be an understatement. I have left there with some amazing finds, my favorite being a coffee table book on contemporary art. Whenever we have guests in town, we always make sure to bring them to this two story bookworm gift from above. Two weekends ago, my husband and I happened to wander into a previously undiscovered room on the second floor that housed a collection of records that rival my father’s collection. And that my friends, is an extensive collection.

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Betch, Pleats!

In mid-December, my husband and I made a trip up to the Poconos to visit Ledges Hotel. Ten-out-of-ten recommend getting away from the city. I think the Poconos are underrated as far as Pennsylvania destinations go. After mentioning it to my manager at work, he told me that the Poconos has come a long way, as in decades past, the area the the reputation as a cheesy honeymoon / romantic getaway destination. As in, over-the-top oversized jacuzzi bathtubs and heart-shaped rotating beds.

My boss’ description did not align with our experience at all. Our accommodations (read more about them here) were nothing less than clean and modern luxury set within a natural environment that inevitably must be the envy of other comparable hotels. Frosted with snow, partially frozen and partially flowing, the falls are breathtaking. Waking up sans alarm, to a window featuring the ledges while snow flurries were falling, was a winter highlight.

Shall we discuss the outfit…

The suitcase is vintage. In a time when tartan has become so popular, I like having a tartan item that I know nobody else will. (Fact: I just returned this skirt because it turned up on so many other bloggers’ feeds. I loved it, but I get the sense that it is just going to be too ubiquitous of this season.) I bought the suitcase at a trunk show earlier this autumn, via a vintage vendor. I was walking out of the trunk show and target-freaking-acquired. My husband insisted that I go back and look at it because even he could recognize that it is my style. What he did not know if that there was another tartan suitcase at the vendor’s booth. Spoiler alert: this is one of two tartan suitcases that I purchased that day. I can feel my husband rolling his eyes at my “hoarding” tendencies as I type. Expect to see the other go with me to NYC next month.

The cardigan is merino wool. (No polyester!) It comes in tall (petite and standard sizes, too) and in six colors. Lucky for you, in each color, there is a nearly complete size run in the tall sizing. Naturally, I bought the heather green and the candy apple and the pale gray. I have discussed my love of a tall sweater once and again, and guys, these styles do not come along often. Some people call basics, such as the cardigan, boring. I have worn this style since high school and I think there is something to that. Now that they are released in tall, all the better!

My velvet top is sleeveless and slightly cropped. This shirt is available in tall (again, also in petite and standard sizes), so no inappropriate midriff here, especially when worn with a bottom that hits at the natural waist (we will circle back to that). The top has bra stays so undergarment exposure is not an issue. I actually bought the top on deep discount last year, when it was issued across height size and in no more than four colors. It was issued again this year, again in all the height sizes, but in a whopping seven colors. It speaks to the longevity of the item. Act now, this shirt is marked down to $39.99, final sale (relax, it runs true to size).

My favorite part of the outfit is the skirt. I tend to like to wear skirts lower than my natural waist unless it is designed in one of two ways:

  • If a skirt is not a mini and it comes in tall sizing, I do not mind wearing it at my natural waist.
  • If a skirt does not come in tall, but in the case that the length is modest enough to wear on my waist (meaning, not mini cut) and it is cut with copious fabric around the thighs. Y’all this means the skirt either needs to be a generous a-line, or circle cut, or pleated.

When I saw this skirt, I had a Paul Walker (R.I.P.) moment in She’s All That. “Gentlemen, we have a winner!” This skirt in my regular go-to sizes has just too much fabric. More fabric makes one look larger. Sometimes this would discourage me, but I went a size smaller and loved the result. It is also handy to have all that extra fabric around your stomach when you overindulge in lobster mac and cheese at lunch and still have a full half day schedule ahead of oneself.

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Historic Bridges of the MidAtlantic: Loys Station Covered Bridge

The Loys Station Covered Bridge is wood covered bridge in Thurmont, Maryland. Like its nearby (and I like to imagine) sister bridge, the Roddy Road Covered Bridge, the Loys Station Covered Bridge is a king post wood covered bridge which was also a subject of an “incident” with a large truck, leading to a rehabilitation of the bridge.

It was built in 1848, an approximate two-to-twelve years prior to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge (circa 1850-1860). Originally it spanned ninety feet over Owens Creek, although a concrete support pier and steel reinforcement beams to the wood deck were later added. Like many of the nearby bridges – the Roddy Road Covered Bridge and the Bullfrog Road Bridge – it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It occurred to me that there was likely a statewide push to designate these structures around that time which lead me to wonder if they were at risk for demolition in the late 1970s. Something to research later (and likely consequently fall down a rabbit hole)…

An arsonist attempted to destroy the bridge in 1991, via lighting a large truck on fire and driving it onto the Loys Station Covered Bridge. A preservation effort was employed and raised the $300,000 necessary to fix the bridge. In addition to the monetary costs, Loys Station Bridge also required three years of work to reconstruct.

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Historic Bridges of the MidAtlantic: Thomas Mill Bridge

Last weekend the husband and I wandered out on the Fairmount Park and along our walk, we encountered the Thomas Mill Bridge.

I happen to love a good historic structure, bridges included. Did you know that along with HABS (Historic American Building Survey) and HALS (Historic American Landscape Survey), the National Park Service also administers HAER, which is the Historic American Engineering Record, which documents historic bridges.

While the Thomas Mill Bridge has not been documented by HAER, it was documented via HABS. This was the modus operandi prior to the inception of HAER in 1969, as numerous covered bridges were listed through the HABS program. Additionally, the Thomas Mill Bridge is also listed on the National Register for Historic Places, as well as counting as a contributing structure for the Chestnut Hill Historic District; the district itself has been listed since the mid-1980s.

The Thomas Mill Bridge was built in 1855 and renovated in 1939 and 2000. It is the only covered bridge in Philadelphia and the only covered bridge in a major American city.

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White at the Museum

Listen up, Philadelphians! If you have not purchased your ticket to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Young Friends Fall into Art Party, what is your holdup? The November 3rd party date nicely corresponds to the opening of the latest Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibit, Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now. While it already opened last week, it is well worth the ticket price to get a better experience in viewing the exhibit. Who hasn’t experienced some sort of outrage at the throngs of tourists just snapping away iPhone photos. Completely ruined my experience at the MoMa.

I digress.

If the PMA fashion collection is not enough of a draw, the ticket includes an open bar. #pop #fizz #clink

On the topic of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Perelman Building which is the nearby little sister location of the PMA, is my favorite part of the museum. It is never crowded and beyond underrated. In fact, my favorite exhibit of 2018 (so far) has been in the Perelman Building: Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey. With Lichtensteins and vintage concert posters, what is not to love?

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Burnin’ for Breakfast

Turn your sound up and listen to my favorite Blue Oyster Cult track. Don’t miss the first few licks, before the cowbell kicks in, that is my favorite part of the song!

Who else passed out extra early on July 4th? Show of hands please.

Who else woke up with a minor headache, presumably triggered by one too many margaritas? Again, a show of hands?

Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.

Did anyone pass out in a combination of their standard pajamas and a vintage concert tee shirt? I pat myself on my creatively dressed back from coming up with this combination. While the shorts portion of my get-up was part of a set released this summer, the tee shirt is much more older. What is fantastic about concert tee shirts is that if you are sure it is vintage, as opposed to vintage-inspired, it is easy to place the year it was released. According to the back graphic, this tee dates back to 1982. Confirmed by my parents and their collection of ticket stubs, they were both at the show where the tee shirt was procured for a mere five dollars the year before they married.

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SATC to Square One

Lately, I have been bingeing and re-bingeing the first season of Sex and the City, much to my husband’s dismay. While I unquestionably love all episodes of SATC up to “Ring a Ding Ding”, the first season of Sex and the City was the best season. It had the best style. I said it. I meant it. I am not taking it back. To be frank, I am partial to late nineties fashion. The minimalism, the color palette, and the futuristic allusions.

In the mid-aughts, I read an article about color theory and why certain types of colors – metallics, neons, primaries – come into style in certain years. This article explained that the metallic colors that dominated the end of the millennium, were a reaction to looking forward to the future. In the years that the adults fretted about the millennium bug, it would only make sense that we dressed in the palette of computer chips. 

These days, the kids are really into early nineties styles; a few glances of what I see walking around Center City and my mind goes to Reality Bites, Singles, and the first three seasons of The Real World. I am looking forward to the day that late nineties Calvin Klein minimalism takes over. Goodbye, chokers. Hello Prada nylon. Over the past few weeks, I found a few items that recall that era. Here is hoping that what I have found is an indication of better things to come.

clockwise from top right: pink tank // stone camisole // asymmetrical dress // slip dress // one-shoulder shirt // grey v-neck camisole // satin cropped pants // mockneck dress

Getting Festive With My Bad Self: For Dad

For parts one and two and three.

I stress out about Dad’s gifts the most. The only time I have ever seen him get excited about a gift was Christmas 2002, when my sister, mom, and I tracked down a KROQ promotional record of “Shake It Up” by The Cars released circa 1982. Very limited release, very happy Dad.

These vintage items are very hard to track down and to be honest, very risky.

I never know if he is going to like what I gift, so I started giving him more utilitarian items that I know he will end up using. Classic plaid pajamas, done.

 

green tartan // red plaid

For part five click here.

Holy Hell, ESPRIT is back!

 

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#vintage
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Has any logo felt so iconic?
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first season
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second season

Guys, do you remember when I re-instagrammed the photo of Drake wearing an ESPRIT sweatsuit? Around the time I briefly touched on how a rude and definitely now townie girl in my geometry class put me down for being rather statuesque and having the confidence to wear a pair of ESPRIT chunky heel loafers?

I don’t take back wearing any of my high school ensembles. Everything I wore felt timeless and very ME. It was my freshman year of high school that my mom brought me to the newly opened McRaes in Biloxi. We shopped the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger section of the juniors department, but more than either of those premium designers, the ESPRIT section captured my sartorial interest.

ESPRIT served my need for coordinating sets. (I wish I hadn’t give them away in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) I had a green bias plaid skirt and heathered green v-neck knit top and a khaki, blue, and a color that could only be described as vanilla, bias plaid skirt and fair isle vanilla, khaki, and blue sweater, that I layered over a sleeveless blue knit. During a McRaes semi-annual sale, my mom bought me a “blueberry” plaid wrap skort which I work with a white sleeveless Gap button up and an horizontal striped blue, purple, pink, and white spaghetti strap tank dress. Between the chunky heel loafer and the plastic clear sandals and the black bowler-style handbag and straw purse with pink gingham lining, I had the ESPRIT footwear and accessories to complete any A+ look. Guys, I have to be real when I say that I do not take back any of these outfits. I wore them then and I would wear them now.

Imagine how jazzed I was when I found out that Opening Ceremony teamed with ESPRIT for a collaboration, especially after ESPRIT pulled out of North American operations. My enthusiasm for the brand was only bypassed by a past boss and mentor. Jen, who I worked for from 2002 to 2004 and again 2006 to 2008, studied and graduated with her interior design degree from Mississippi State in the early 90s. Her then-career intention was to design ESPRIT stores. In fact she once shared with me that her dorm room was wallpapered with ESPRIT ads torn from magazines.

The second season of ESPRIT by Opening Ceremony has been marked down. There are still many winning pieces in stock. These are my picks:

 

I need this set.

shirt // skirt

 

 

sweatshirt // sweatpants

 

 

dress

Here is hoping for a season three!