Archives for category: Thrift Genius

Behold my most recent creations:

Exhibit A was so unreasonably simple. Just get a can of silver spray paint, dose your shoe (for me it was my old, worn down cowboy boots) of choice and let dry. This only took me 5 minutes. Exhibit B was somewhat more tedious. I stuck just shy of 500 clear-ended thumb tacks in rows into the foamy-platform base of a pair of thrifted Steve Madden shoes. This took a couple hours but once you get into the rhythm of it, you don’t really need to think about it much.

Cynthia - It Was Either The Cat or The Fan But The Fan is Unplug

I’m growing fond of lengthy titles like the above, even better if it’s a compound title with a colon or parentheses. Anyway, I’ve just decimated my closet for the first time since I’ve reached San Francisco and it really was about time, although now I’m realizing that without mounds of terrifying scraps of fabric, my wardrobe is actually quite meager. One of the problems I always run into when dividing my things into keepers and scrappers is how to wear an article. I have devised a list of things to consider about the capabilities and functions of garments for when you’re rummaging through your own piles of clothes or through thrift stores

1. Probably the most old school transformations – chop them pant legs off and get yourself a pair of shorts.

2. Long skirts can become strapless dresses. This style looks it’s best with a belt cinched at the waist but make sure that there is minimal bunching. Also make sure that the band is neither too tight nor too wide when sitting at the overbust.

3. Similarly, short skirts can become strapless shirts. Same basic rules apply, instead of a belt experiment with how it looks tucked in.

4. Button-down shirts have so many possibilities, it would be positively criminal to neglect them. See them used as skirts & dresses or just try buttoning them differently.

5. Sometimes halter tops can be worn as one-shoulder tops and sometimes one-shoulder tops can be worn as halters. Don’t try and force this one because it can look really cheesy if you’re trying to shove your head through an armhole or if your only strap won’t hold your top up. Beware, this is only for the bravehearted and lucky.

6. Don’t be afraid of a little t-shirt surgery.

7. Strapless tops can double as skirts, skin-tight skirts of course but since that appears to be in fashion, I don’t really see that as an issue.

8. Try things on upside-down, backwards, inside out, and sideways. There will be a whole set of new kinds of draping that may or may not work on a piece of clothing. You never know what you’ll discover. One of my favorite vests, I only wear upside-down, it’s just more interesting.

9. Try pushing both straps of a tank top onto one shoulder. Jane from sea of shoes did this with a classic AA tank and looked quite cool.

10. Another thing done by Jane from SoS that is quite amazing is that she used a pair of wide gauchos as a one-sleeved dress. It makes more sense if you see for yourself. That girl might just be the queen of versatile, I’m not sure yet.

11. Scarves can be used as many things. They can be tops, skirts, dresses, bags and belts. I promise to do a post on this soon to show you what I mean.

12. You know how American Apparel made a versatile dress that can be flipped upside down and the wider points on the skirt could be tied behind your neck and voila, a slouchy halter top? I’m pretty sure that you can do this with other wide, long skirts by using a safety-pin to fasten in the back.

13. Comparable with #2, strapless dressed can be transformed into long skirts. I’m not going to make any rules for this one, it should be fairly obvious whether or not this can be done.

14. Long necklaces can be strung together to create a ‘body cage’ effect when worn around the arms or over the torso.

15. Silly as it may sound, there are over 30 different ways to lace a pair of shoes, and although this may seem like such a minor, insignificant element of an outfit, think again, it may just be that one thing that sets it apart.

16. Try tops on TOGETHER. Something that may not look so amazing on the outside can look great underneath something else or vice versa, with maybe only the collar or cuff exposed. You can do this in lots of combos (button down/button-down, t-shirt/button-down, cami/button-down, t-shirt/cami, corset/cami, etc).

17. Thigh-high stockings and socks can be scrunched down and worn around the knees or ankles for a slouchy effect.

18. Long jackets and cardigans can be belted or just buttoned if you’d like for a modern, fall-ready dress. Try this with tights or leggings

19. Short poofy skirts can be used under other skirts or dresses to give them more body, this of this as a sort of modern crinoline.

20. If all else fails, go naked.

Hope you take heed to my suggestions and discover something new and exciting in your own wardrobes.

Picture 2

I’m sure by now, you all know (due to my incessant reiteration throughout the life of DL), I happen to be a relentless thrift shopper. You could say, as many others have, that I am, in fact, addicted to it. This dependency has been, for the most part, a highly enjoyable and profitable hobby, but to be honest there have been some disadvantages. For one, I have been spoiled by the unpardonably low prices, actually to the point where buying a $20 pair of jeans from F21 seems like a rip off. Secondly, I am broke all of the time now. I know I just said that it was one of the least, uhm, financially demanding habits (well, compared to being a heroin addict…), but you’re probably underestimating how often I go thrifting. The advantages of thrift shopping overall are so infinite that I won’t even get into that, I can, however, tell you about what the scene for second hand is like in San Francisco.

Let’s break it down now.

PROS:

1. Compared to Costa Rica, the chic-meter is notably higher in SF, this means that there are more fashionable people to donate clothes to Goodwill, or wherever they should choose to donate to.

2. Compared to Costa Rica, the overall wealth of the city is higher so people can afford to supersede their wardrobes seasonally and shop first-hand.

3. The city is divided into so many sub-cities so different from one another and the thrift stores in each of the areas reflects the personality of the area. For example, the Goodwill on Haight street is divided into thrift and vintage in keeping with the plethora of edgy vintage shops practically right next door whereas the Goodwill nearest Union Square/Downtown on Geary street has a lot of past season H&M garments.

4. Everyone here has such a different style to begin with, I mean that there are so many different subcultures that when, through trickle-down, their clothes end up in thrift stores, there is room to play with elements of each group. Imagine a fisherman vest and Hot Topic-esque leggings.

5. When you shop at Out of the Closet, you get a free condom with your purchase.

CONS:

1. I reiterate, the chic-meter is much higher in SF, this also means that the people who frequent thrift stores have a much keener eye for those exciting, unique pieces so some thrift stores have a feeling of having been picked through or combed over a few times before you got there.

2. There is a large thrift shopping community especially among college students which is sort of a double whammy because not only is there more competition, but the competition is also sort of poor (everyone knows college kids are always broke).

3. There are TONS of vintage shops, similar to #2, this pretty much means that there are even larger forces out to get to the good stuff before you.

4. There really aren’t even all that many thrift stores in the city to begin with, I mean at least not as many as you would think. A quick google search will show you that there really is a limited number.

5. Bed Bugs are back in California if you hadn’t already heard. Shopping at second hand stores is an easy way to bring this new trend back to your home. Remember to always wash used clothes when you bring them back with you. Bed bugs are gross, no one wants them.

Look out for a post on the SF thrift shopping skinny coming soon – the best and worst thrift stores in San Francisco, scandal will surely ensue.

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sources: Susie Bubble, NY Times Magazine, Google images

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Bustier, thrifted // Skirt, thrifted men’s shirt // Shoes, somewhere in New York

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Shirt, Michael Stars // Skirt, thrifted // Harness, DIY // Coat, vintage // Shoes, vintage

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sources: facehunter, stylebubble, LIFE

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Pants, MNG // Cumberbund, thrifted // Shoes, hand-me-downs // Shirt, __

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Dress, Zara // Belt, vintage // Pants, MNG // Shoes, mother’s

Top to toe in chaotic floral prints. Possibly somewhat inspired by Susie’s jeggings post. By the way, I hate the term, but I love the garment. I think I like them better a la Topshop than a la American Apparel. I hate how Susie always seems to post things exactly when I’m thinking of doing the exact same thing, she just gets there sooner. For example, I hate the amazingly original idea (pshh) to do a OD on leopard print post, but lo and behold, later that very week, Susie done it. But, then again, what doesn’t she do? Just so we get this straight, if she starts rocking one-legged pants and DIY epaulettes, thats proof enough that she’s reading my mind.

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Outerwear, unknown // Dress, thrifted // Corset, thrifted + customized // Tights, unknown // Shoes, Buffalo Exchange

I came across this top the other day in one of my local thrifting haunts and was instantly attracted to its beaded umbrellas and heavy-hanging bat wing shape. My first thought was to pair it with a pair of white leggings with little knots at the bottom, but the overwhelming disco-ness of it all put me off of that notion and I quickly decided on a pair of more modern beige cut-offs and classic black suede heels. This is one of those cases where gaudy = swooning.

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Top, vintage Bonnie Boerer & Co. // Shorts, Gap // Shoes, Zara