2011-06-29

Quick Fix

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Dress? Thrifted Shoes? Coach, Winners Belt? Thrifted Bangles? Thrifted and UO Purse? Tignanello, thrifted


We can't seem to lose these moody clouds. The constant low light makes getting a clear photo with our fair to middling camera difficult. There are many times when have I wanted to take the evil credit card out for a little adventure and come home with a new DSLR camera; one that gives us some control over our settings. But we never even cracked the instruction manual on our current camera so why am I assuming that we would read the new manual like a bedtime story? And there is the fact that I have, up until now, not taken the blog to trade publicly on the blog stock market, so I would feel bad spending money on a better camera just so my vanity shots can be perfectly crisp.


Obviously I still liked the photos enough because I had to stop myself from posting a ridiculously ridiculous number and only posted a ridiculous number. I just loved the clouds in the sky painted like a water colour, the still reflection of the pylon (and that sentence sounded poetic until I used the word pylon... would delineator have been better?) and as a random bonus, the kids playing soccer in the background.

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I preached a few weeks ago about having respect for vintage garments while you are doing alterations. However, I had no qualms hacking the sleeves off this rayon dress. It took the dress from being a dime a dozen to a baker's dozen.


Why yes. That was the best line I could think of... I'm ashamed but I'm too lazy to think of something better. Also still too lazy to read the camera manual...

2011-06-27

I'm Not on Vacation But Kels is

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I'm posting at Snappy Casual today because Kelsey is on vacation. Trying my best to be snappy and casual... while getting out-dressed by a group of cougars. It's a true story, click here to read all about it.

2011-06-26

Lost and Found

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Pants? Zara Shirt? Industry, Winners Shoes? Coach, Winner Belt and clutch? Thrifted Bracelets? Crazy lady at The Ex... yes, way cooler than friendship bracelets...


Last weekend I would have viewed this outfit as a gift. This weekend I saw this outfit as comfortable and cute and Matt saw it as classy. Yes, the couple who alliterates together (cute, comfortable and classy...), stays together...
You see, last weekend I was running on two weeks of surviving off one elastic and two bobby pins... So, if I had known that these pants had one bobby pin in its pockets and this clutch had two hidden in its depths, it would have been like Christmas morning. But by the time I found those little treasures, Matt, Bec, Kyle, Stella (husband, 3 cats) and I had already had a family meeting and decided to purchase a new pack of bobby pins. Today, I went all out and put at least 10 pins in my hair. I took the bobby pins I found in my outfit and scattered them around the house... I hope I find them back in a two months when I really need them.


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2011-06-24

Captain Obvious

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Skirt? Ralph Lauren, thrifted Sequin vest? Thrifted Necklace? Archives Vintage (I got mine in Texas at a pop up shop but through the miracle of the Internet you can get one here) Cross body bag? Thrifted Shoes? Coach

For some reason, people always feel the need to point out the obvious when I am wearing this necklace. 'You're wearing a horse around your neck.'
'Yes, it appears I am.'
What I really want to say is 'Now that I've got your attention, can I just point out to you how hard it is to tuck a wool sequin vest into a snug waistband? Also, I love my little cross body bag but it doesn't even hold a pair of sunglasses. It does hold lip gloss though, which is good, because I am absolutely addicted to lip gloss. And these shoes? I bought them in a terribly selfish moment of 'I had a bad week so I deserve something new' and now I feel the need to wear them a lot to make them worth the investment but I also feel a twinge of guilt every time I do wear them...'
But I would never say all that to someone; I would just blog it instead. I save my cuss words for real life and my clothing ramblings for the blog. It's about balance.


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2011-06-22

I Like This

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Skirt? Thrifted Shirt? Thrifted Shoes? Jeffrey Campbell via a giftcard I won Cuffs? Auction Purse? Thrifted


I am fighting the urge to ramble on uncontrolled about how much I love this outfit. I got the silk shirt for two dollars and the wool skirt for five dollars and I felt like a million dollars. That's the magic of mathematics at a thrift store.


And while mathematics is my strong point at the thrift store, it was my downfall at the auction I got these cuffs at. I forgot that you are bidding to set a price for each item, so I smugly thought I scored both of these cuffs for $20 but it turns out I had to pay $20 for each cuff. I kept my face free from disappointment though, didn't want the people to see my newbie status at the auction...


Have I told you how much I love this outfit? Oh, I have? My apologies.

2011-06-19

Burn

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Skirt? h&m (old) Shirt? Gap Shoes? Cole Haan, consignment Necklace? Flea market


What you can't see in these pictures are the odd sun burn patches on my body. I'm ashamed of them because if you have ever had the pleasure (or punishment) of working with me, you will know that I am the sunscreen dictator. Working outside does give me a tan in the summer months but I am always yapping to everyone about wearing hats and sunscreen. In fact, any of my co-workers have probably heard the 'this is the only skin you were given, take care of it' speech as often as you have heard Rolling in the Deep. The radio in my truck got stolen months ago and I still hear that song too much... it was good the first 437 times though.


We took advantage of the fact that we actually had free time this Saturday and went to the beach, where I made the classic mistake of missing little sections of my body with the sunscreen... Hence the patchy burn. That was the bad part though. The good part was relaxing on the beach and ignoring the 'to do' list and reading a trashy novel instead. Reading weak literature on the beach makes you smarter... try it.

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2011-06-16

Thrift Day. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

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Dear Previous Owner of this fantastic, vintage Victor Costa Dress,
Thank you for donating this dress to Talize. I am duly grateful. But what the bad word did you do to the neckline and sleeves? And why????
Signed,
Jentine


I am all about reworking and altering thrifted garments to make them work for you. Just because the 80's and Balmain love shoulder pads, that doesn't mean you do. So buy that hot pink blazer, take out the shoulder pads, replace the clown face buttons and wear it next time you buy a slurpee at your local 7/11.
What I can't handle is thoughtless brutality against beautiful vintage clothing. Sometimes I can be dramatic... but seriously, there is no reason that someone needed to take scissors to the neckline and sleeves of this dress. Does the 'Holt Renfrew' label inside the dress not garner a little more respect than that?

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I am guessing there was a costume party and a last minute fit issue that resulted in the quick snip of the lace... It's not unsalvageable, I plan on cleaning up the cut edges and perhaps finishing them with a thin ribbon trim... but sewing with lace is painstaking. I hope to wear this to my brother's wedding in Holland this summer and maybe I will even remove the sleeves to make it more festive looking. After all, nothing says festive like bare arms, just ask those kids from that show that made fist pumping far too popular. The difference is, if I do remove the sleeves, I will keep them intact in case I ever want to put them back on and I won't just hack off the sleeves with little regard for the history of the garment.
The thing with high quality, classic, vintage garments is that they can be worn in any decade. A slight tweak, a new shoe and whatever little dog is popular that year and the dress/jacket/skirt is current again. That's why it's important to keep the integrity of the original garment. Do the alternations to make the garment fit, carefully make little changes to keep it flattering but don't just hack it on a whim. Respect the dress. Especially if it's got a surprise sexy back...


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2011-06-14

Love For Sale

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Scarf? Vintage DvF Shoes? Coach, Winners Shorts? French Connection sample Tank? Joe Fresh Jacket? Zara Purse? Thrifted


So... about the scarf swap. I know I said that it might be fun to swap with me because I intend to send sweet love ramblings along with the scarf but maybe if you knew that Jessie sent me a beautiful vintage DvF scarf, then perhaps you might wish that you swapped with her instead. I don't blame you, when I opened the package from her and saw this silk scarf, I immediately saw that she was trying to buy my love. If she had thrown in another cat for me, it might have worked.


Jessie sent me the prettiest scarf with a big 'Diane' signature across the whole thing. The only problem with it is that all the pink in my closet is more of a hot pink and that pink settles somewhere on the colour wheel between the softer pink and red of the scarf. So then when I paired the scarf with a pink item of clothing, everything looks like it was just a bit 'off'. Are you following what I am trying to say or are you making that face I make when Merl tries to explain some html code to me?


All that to say that I decided to keep the outfit neutral and let the scarf be the focal point. And while I couldn't find a dress to match the scarf perfectly, I did find a wall. No big deal.

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2011-06-13

How Scarves Get Swapped

Usually the most exciting thing I get in the mail is a tax reassessments. And that is usually accompanied with a mini breakdown. Lately though (despite the postal strike on the island of Canada which has slowed down service a bit...sad face), I've been getting some pretty scarves from some of my Internet bosom buddies, namely Jessie (the mastermind behind the swap!), Katy and Kendi. The good news is that we are hosting a giant scarf swap so we can all be bosom buddies! ... I totally wanted to say bosom twice... three times... Ok, back on track... Here are some details...


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+ sign-ups start today and go through sunday the 19th at noon
+ send your full name, mailing address, email address & blog URL (if you have one)
to jessie [at] theconcretecatwalk [dot] com
+ participants will be connected with another blogger
and notified of their matches on monday, june 20th
+ everyone who joins should be able to find and send a scarf
to their match by the end of this month
+ every one is encouraged to post about the scarf they've received
and link back to the person who sent it
(however, non-bloggers are MORE than welcome to participate!)

a few guidelines:

+ the swap is open to residents of the US and Canada
+ the scarves should be of good taste, and in great condition.
vintage, new, second-hand... whatever you'd like to send,
please make sure that it is also something that you would like to receive
(while still keeping the purchase price under $10)
+ the scarves don't have to be real silk,
but please look for the silky square or rectangular shaped ones
(like the ones featured in our posts) vs. any type of winter scarves.
+ please ONLY sign-up if you are absolutely sure you can participate.
I would hate for anyone who joins us to have to go without a scarf!


You know what I like best about this swap? That it's low effort and low cost. I feel like I need a PowerPoint demonstration to illustrate those points... though I shall try my best without pie charts and bar graphs.
Low effort? Nice scarves are easy to find, especially at a thrift store or you might already have a stash...
Low cost? I mailed mine as regular post. I wrote a card with sweet nothings, slid a scarf inside, kissed the envelope and threw some stamps on for good luck. It was the cost of one of Matt's endless supply of coffees...
So... if you want a chance to swap a scarf and a hand written love note with me or if you just want to swap scarves... sign up!!!

2011-06-12

Spring Edition

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Dress? Gap Shoes? French Connection warehouse sale Vest? Thrifted Belt? Thrifted Purse? Winners


We took these pictures last weekend before things got a little intense around My Edit (yeah, that's what my family calls me now... as they should). If things had been posted in chronological order as had been intended, you might have noticed that I wore my vest two days in a row. Kendi would be a proud mama. And while making Kendi proud is a daily ambition of mine, I actually threw this last minute when Matt saw that a button hole from the vintage dress that was holding me together was shredded. This vest has been a good addition in my life and it was worth every cent of the 450 pennies that spent on it and not candy (though my 7 year old self would disagree). It actually came with a skirt too but while the vest is a perfect fit, the skirt would fit just one of my thighs. I am hardly exaggerating with that statement... it's the oddest thing. I should have taken a picture but it would have been hard to keep the photo family friendly... and I have already donated the skirt back.


And as we are speaking of odd, let me mention the spring, which went from horribly miserable to summer in an instant. This gave us a very small window of opportunity to get my spring catwalk pictures under the tree canopy at Dundurn Castle. One week, there were hardly buds on the trees and the next week we had leaves. We had a chance to quickly shoot some pics last weekend while it still looked like spring and I almost chickened out because there were some people in a Ikea mosquito net with balloons (this sounds wrong, I'm sure it was ok) getting pictures taken in the same area. I'm glad we got the picture though... else I would have had to photoshop something and with my skillzzz that would have looked like this on Regretsy.


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(autumn and winter posts here and here)

2011-06-09

Thrift Day. Someone Else Loves Sequins Like I Do!

(It worked out rather nicely to have a guest thrift poster this week. Gives me a chance to get my head on straight again...
I met Elissa from Dress with Courage in Texas for the Style conference this March. I am pretty sure I didn't even really start our conversation normally, I just leaned over and pet her sequin jacket. As it turns, we both love thrifting and sequins and so we ran off into the sunset together. Or... she's here this week, guest posting for me about her (our) obsession with the shiny.
Check her at her own piece of the www for much more thrift advice and wisdom here.
Meet Elissa...)


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I have a completely predictable, slightly insane routine when I go thrifting. I enter my favorite store, stand in the doorway, and steady my nerves for what is sure to be hours of hunting and digging. My eyes scan the racks hungrily. Then, like a magpie, I seek out garments that are shiny, sparkly, and twinkly. My friends, I am on the hunt for sequins. Loads and loads of sequins.

I possess a very strange and passionate attraction to evening wear. Despite the fact that I am not a 1980's soap opera star, minor celebrity, or teenage contestant in the Universal Royal Beauty Pageant, I lust for sequins and gowns. I have very rich fantasies of pulling on a sequin-encrusted dress so heavy the weight of it bends hangers into submission, and wearing it while strutting through the halls of an ostentatious marble and onyx mansion, preferably decorated by Donald Trump. I'd gracefully tuck the train underneath me while sitting through tedious cocktail hours. Sweeping yards of fabric would trail behind me as I climbed the steps of The Metropolitan Opera, or waltzed into the supermarket. Perhaps I'd wear it while washing the dishes. In such a garment, I'd use words like "darling" and "scandalous" and attend obscure charity events for causes like amoebic dysentery and sharpen my nails into glossy red talons and get into long-winded debates regarding which private club is more exclusive, Shinnecock Hills or The Maidstone and we all know The Maidstone is the best, don't we darling.

It's likely I'll never attend a charity event, or own a mansion. But I can play the part in my sequined top or glitzy bed jacket. Even a novelty vest has the same effect. Wearing sequins makes me feel like a pretty pretty princess. They're colorful, eye-catching, and surprisingly versatile. Thrift stores offer a load of options when it comes to sequined garments. Whether used as trim on a blouse, applied in rows on a vest, or entirely covering a minidress or skirt, there's no shortage of choices.

Given their delicate nature, vintage sequined clothing requires extra care and attention. Often, professional dry cleaners will provide special care for sequined clothing. But occasionally they refuse to dry clean this type of garment because of the fragile nature of sequins. Dry cleaning sequins is always a risk because the sequin itself could get altered.

However, if you want to try and care for your sequined clothes at home, here are a few tips:

For starters, if you see a loose thread, don't pull on it! This is good advice when it comes to any garment as it could compromise the make of the clothing. Sequins are often held together with a delicate length of thread, and pulling the thread from one loose sequin could unhinge an entire row.

As soon as you take off your sequined dress, shirt, or skirt, hang it up immediately, preferably inside out. Throwing it over a chair or onto the floor will make it more susceptible to snags, and could even bend the sequins if stepped on.

Be careful when spot-cleaning a sequined item. Surprisingly, some sequined garments may require less dry cleaning than other clothes because sequins act as a protector to the fabric. A small spill can usually be taken care of with spot-cleaning, but if you rub the garment too roughly or vigorously you could cause further damage to the sequins or the fabric.

Pay attention to where you are walking, and avoid corners and sharp edges. Snagging that pretty sequined blouse on something is a sure way to stretch, rip, or in other ways compromise the fabric.

Notice whether the sequins are sewn in or glued on the dress or blouse. Sequins that are sewn on are more stable and likely to last longer with proper care. Sequins that are glued on can more readily fall off if cleaned in hot water. If the glue melts, the sequins will fall off. So try to use cold water whenever the care label allows.

If you'd like to try cleaning sequined clothes at home, hand wash with a gentle soap such as Woolite. Sequins can get snagged easily so it always best to wash by hand. Air dry the garment flat.



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(It's Yen again... seriously, Elissa's vest has a sparkly golfer on it... I am in awe.)

2011-06-07

Real Life

I've always admitted that there is a divide between my real life and my blog life. It's not that I am not honest on my blog. I am prone to an occasional rant against constant baby talk or people who don't spay or neuter their pets, but for the most part I keep my blog life neatly controlled under vintage dresses and sarcasm. Sarcasm covers a plethora of personal struggles.

And then today, in a moment of panic, my personal life and online life met in violent crash.
My Mom called me at lunch to say that my Dad was missing. My Dad has suffered from a slow form of Alzheimer's for many years and those are words you never want to hear. I know it has happened before; people with dementia wandering off, and yet, that knowledge is no comfort as you play the 'what if' game in your head. I was at work and immediately set off with my co-worker and dear friend, Dorothy, to drive through the neighbourhoods around my parents' house. My Dad always goes for little walks and I assumed that we would find him shortly. I was worried but the police were canvassing the area and by this time some of my bosses and community members were also out in full force... looking for the guy in the turquoise shirt. And then 2 hours turned into 3 hours and the sense of urgency got higher. My Dad would probably just keep walking until he was found and because he 'looks' normal, no one would think to approach him and so he would just walk on, without water or food. Then when 3 hours turned into 4 hours, we turned to social media. I never thought I would say this but google groups, facebook and twitter are my new best friends. If you know my family in real life, you will know that we are a private family. I admit I can over share under the power of a glass of wine but we bear our struggles and deal with our family issues in amongst ourselves, so for us to post big 'Where's my Papa?' messages on Facebook was a huge deal. Soon we had church members, bus drivers, former co-workers and current co-workers all keeping their eyes open for my Dad. If my Dad wasn't found soon, it was going to hit the local media and we were going to start working on an organized search. But when 4 hours turned to 5 hours, someone received a text message from their wife (who had seen something online) to be on the look out and he happened to see my Dad... a long way from home.

And so my Dad is safely home, exhausted after almost 5 hours of walking, presumably with no food or drink. I too am exhausted, thrilled to have my Dad back home safe (apparently he was walking to our house? Which cements my status as favourite and only daughter) but aware of the changes that will affect our lives as a result. It's easier to live in a little bubble. My Dad and I have a great relationship, I often take him out thrifting, for a walk or for a fancy lunch (anything is fancy to Dutch immigrants...) but I like to pretend it is never going to get worse and my Dad will be the one guy who gets cured. Everyone tells me their stories of their grandmother or great grandfather who has Alzheimer's and how they would do cute things like leave the tea towels in the bathroom and I bitterly (and selfishly) think 'This is my Dad! He's not old like your grandmother...'.

But this is our reality. I can't make him better. I can thank God for his safe return. I can spend time with my family. I can open myself up to help from the community. I can keep Twittering...ok, I hope I never have to post an urgent message again...

But for the outpouring from the community I am extremely thankful. This is the part of my life hidden under thrifted sequins.

2011-06-05

Props

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Vest? Suzuya, thrifted Pants? Seven for all Mankind, thrifted and hemmed Shirt? Calvin Klein, Winners Shoes? Kate Spade, thrifted Purse? Roots

It can be a little difficult to look half natural in outfit pictures while incorporating some variety in the poses. I am a big fan of using whatever props are in the area. Sometimes things get awkward and I end up looking like Tom Cruise couch jumping or like dinosaur poo. This time I used the grocery cart left at the side of the variety store to keep it interesting. The pictures with the grocery cart made me think I should be yelling at my kids (they would be off camera, I'm a fashion blogger, not a mommy blogger... I hate sharing the spotlight) to keep their sticky chocolate pudding fingers away from my white pants. Maybe props are not my strongest suit...

In more slightly awkward news... I asked someone at work to email me some pictures for a landscape design and I told him my email address was sexylandscapelover at gmail dot com. He thought I was serious for a bit there. I find this concerning. I obviously need to work on being more humble and less sarcastic. And I would work on it but I am just too busy yelling at my imaginary kids to stay away from my white pants.

2011-06-02

Babies and Parking Garages

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Blazer? Braemar, thrifted Shorts? Joe Fresh (past season but I got 'em for $4!) Shoes? Jeffrey Campbell Bag? Roots Bangles? Mexico and thrifted


I have only one issue with these shoes... they can be obnoxiously loud. Usually it doesn't bother me because I temper my naturally determined stride when I wear them to keep the clomping to a minimum, but on this day, I was in a rush. We had just a few minutes to see my friend and her brand new daughter before visiting hours were over and we had to run from the parking garage to the hospital in a tunnel over the roadways. And I was that twerp, wearing ridiculous heels to the hospital, and the tunnel echoed every. single. step. I was so annoying I wanted to talk about myself behind my back.


The good news is that the mother is doing well, the father is doing well and the baby is doing well. The only thing that wasn't done well was my newborn baby hand-off. It always happens. My hands suddenly get clumsy, chests accidentally get touched and babies get tangled with arms as I try to successfully keep a baby supported while passing her over to someone else. A mother came over to help the transition and I clomped dejectedly back to the truck to try and catch the last light in the parking garage for outfit pictures.



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