Thursday, April 16, 2009

Featured Etsy Shop: Poppy's Wicked Garden

Wow, just wow. We found this shop while researching the skirt blog, and we were just going to do a cute spring top blog today but we can't resist featuring Poppy and her amazing Wicked Garden instead.

YES. We absolutely adore the colors, the aesthetic, the banding, the geometry, the model - and also the prices. We picked some of the lower-cost items in the shop to show you, and for sure some of the more incredible gowns and intricate pieces aren't quite as thrifty, but we are definitely going to hit the sale section!!

Every one of these pieces is a stand-out, something that will really make an outfit amazing and that no one else will be wearing, you can be assured. From left to right, top to bottom:

Dot top in navy and violet, $23.00
Damask Elegance top, $23.00
Mauve abstract hoodie, $66
Eggplant Flower Garden top, $23.00
Convertible Indian-print dress/skirt, $33
Convertible Op-Art print dress/skirt, $33

Luscious, saturated color. Convertible skirt-dresses! (This is our new favorite trend- we have been wearing our tube sundresses over tights all winter and can't wait for them to come up above the bustline!!) Upcycled/recycled awesomeness! We are in awe, and can't wait to own a Poppy original, can you?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What We Wore Tuesday: First Picture Edition

We went a little bit 50s today, we think (maybe we have it on the brain).

Please pardon poor photo quality... Um, yeah.

We got a tiny bonus at work a few weeks ago and headed to Marshall's to spend it. We found this luuurvely silk taffeta skirt with massive pleating detail, for about $30. We don't mind paying more for real silk (even if our fiance swears it couldn't possibly be silk and that it's plastic... he's never seen taffeta before). It's voluminous, for sure, but we still think it's a fairly flattering silhouette.

It's been a super pink week, apparently, as today we chose this silk/cashmere blend cowl-neck sweater in powder pink, from Victoria's Secret online clearance a year or so ago. The sweater kittens... quite nice we think.... sweaters are far underrated. We probably paid under $30, because that's generally our single-item maximum for Vicky's clearance. You will notice that a good proportion of our wardrobe comes from their awesome sales, so keep your eyes out! (We get waaay too many catalogs from them, as you probably do, but the sale/clearance section on the site is where we shop!)If you like turtlenecks, they have this one on sale for $7! This one is silk and cashmere, so the $39 clearance price isn't quite as scary...

Not showing: sparkly silver glitter tights- not sure where we picked these up, to be honest, but an inch or two of these showing above the boots when we're walking is a nice touch, we think :)

It's just a pink sweater and black skirt, in the end (with awesome boots, Famous Footwear), but we hope the detailing and retro silhouette give it enough va-va-voom... what do you think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Essential Spring Piece: OOAK Skirt!

OOAK means one of a kind, in case that was like "huh?" for you.

We have scoured etsy for you for the most fabulous, (mostly) thrifty, unique handmade pieces there are to be had (within our taste parameters, of course).

We're going to go a little heavy on the purple here, so bear with us...

From left to right, top to bottom:
Patchwork by ChopstixWaits, custom, $75
Matroyshka skirt from madebylovewithhannah, Cotton, made-to-order, $68
"Pink is the New Black" by our favorite skirt shop, AKattyWampusTale, OOAK, $56
"Funky Skirt" From Nancy's Needles and Pens, $15
Slip skirt with applique by sewsewsuckurtoe, custom, $23
Orange "flirt skirt" by RaspberryBaby, only $29- multiple sizes available!
Batik hippie skirt from Marudhara of Thailand, $20!
Gorgeous coral print skirt from econica, cotton/linen, a splurge but worth it at $90
Black/white print from BoutiqueMiaByCXV, custom sizing, $42.99
Tie-Die with lace by LucidOpticLab, on sale for $15! (We may steal this one)
And finally, "Mangosteen" purple ruffle cotton pointy-hem skirt from cottonfields, $15!

We think buying whatever is at the mall shops or wherever else people shop for work clothes is sort of... boring. We don't want to risk someone else wearing the same piece! Ha. Maybe we have a problem with this need, but we certainly enjoy finding special, individual pieces.

Happy handmade hunting!

Monday, April 13, 2009

What We Wore Monday: Almost No Black Edition

We really should have taken a photo, because there is not a single internet image available that represents the fabulosity of today's skirt, found at TJ Maxx for $10. We turned it down the first time we saw it (culled from a group of several skirts), then kicked ourselves for two weeks and were THRILLED to come back to the same store to find said skirt tucked deep into whichever rack we had secreted it. Score.

We're talking fully-lined, spring-green tiered petticoat lace. Amazing. It really defined our spring look last year (and there's nothing wrong with it this year, either).

This one is pretty cute, similar, although not as voluminous. It's available online from Firebird Clothing in the UK for 28 pounds... ~$41 as of today...

We paired the terrific skirt with a bright pink sweater. This is not a color combination we would normally go for, but because we'd been dying to wear this hand-painted silk scarf our boss brought back for us from a trip to China-- it has bright green leaves and big pink flowers-- we went for it.

The sweater we found for under $20 at Filene's Basement- it's similar to the one at right (unfortunately sold out) from Target... We really enjoy the boatneck detailing-- anything a little "different," you know... and they do still have a few nice pink sweaters on clearance like this one in plus sizes, this one in deeper pink, and this one, too, all $25 or under. We are definitely not above Target clearance for essential pieces!

We capped off the floral motif (from the scarf and floral lace) with these adorable rose-applique boots we bought on Etsy... Black boots are a subject for another day... one might say (our friends might say) that we have a terrible addiction and one can only own so many pairs, but we so enjoyed the ribbons cascading from the lace today. Hooray for girly details!

Today we talk about vintage 50s dresses

We are attending a 50s-themed wedding in May for our dear co-worker and her sweetheart, whom she met (but didn't date) in high school and has been with for something like seven years... awww...

We were looking at Marshalls for a reasonable spring wedding dress (we have a cousin's wedding to attend the weekend before as well) but suddenly realized that what we really should be doing is looking on Etsy for a genuine 50s dress! (Or a handmade replica...)

Most of the new designs are out of our price range, as are quite a few of the vintage pieces. But we put together a little collection of some of the more amazing ones we found- not all of them right for us, but that's why we're sharing!

From left to right, top to bottom:

Please tell us which one you think we should buy!!

Happy Vintage Huntin'

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What we wore today: Professional Dress part II

Another day of forced conservatism. A bit sad, but it was OK. We wore this terrific floral circle skirt from Victoria's Secret London Jean collection, which we got on clearance for about the same as this ebay listing for it!

It's lovely, super comfortable, lined, cotton, with pockets (but they're hidden so it's flattering), such saturated color and lovely print... it's honestly just perfect, down to the cute cotton ribbon tie. We wouldn't normally wear such a print, or really any print at all in a skirt, but the black/white/blue was striking and we do love it.

A few more circle skirts we also love:

This one from BarriePace is certainly not inexpensive- $79, but down from $148-- and we personally never wear brown nor white-- but it's definitely a fun look (could use a some bigger jewelry, in our opinion, though), and the little faux shrug here is actually not that gouging at $29 on clearance.

We seem to be finding a lot of brown lately, which we'll gladly pass on to our sisters! We found a great deal in this cute printed skirt and jacket set, $33.94 if you join some sort of shopping club... not sure about all of that, but it's a cute look to seek out. We would enjoy a periwinkle scarf and peridot chandelier earrings and a cute brown suede platform peep-toe with this. But we're into matchy-matchy.

A few incredible one-of-a-kind looks we loved... this skirt is just amazing...  If you find a piece like this, who cares what it costs?! You can only be thrifty most of the time, you know? 

We also love this turqoise circle print skirt at right, rom Weezi in Canada, found on flickr, although we can't quite figure out how to purchase it. She's certainly one to watch, though. We love the light, summery feeling her clothes evoke. 

However, since it's not summer yet, we paired our circle skirt with a black sweater- ribbed, with faux shrug detailing like the white short-sleeve above... While looking for something similar, we found this adorable ruffly cardigan that is on clearance for ONE DOLLAR for our full-figured sisters. We have one just like it and it really dresses up and (well, to be honest) goths out a simple sheath or jeans and ballet flats. (OK, so it's Fashion Bug, but whatever, it's a dollar!), or check out this lovely detailed pullover on clearance at Soft Surroundings for $19.99. 

Now... we hate to tease you with something that's discontinued, but we'll leave you, perhaps salivating like we are, with this incredible version of the faux shrug in teal velvet by Boston Proper, one of our favorite catalogs to cut pictures out of for "someday" sewing projects... Oh, the sadness that it's gone... We'll hope for happy thrifting karma, that we may find something as wonderful. 

Today we talk about scarves.

Scarves are one of our favorite accessories. Since we wear a lot of all-black and we live in New England, they serve the twofold purpose of jazzing up an outfit and keeping us from getting frostbite of the neck. While we're not big fans of the pinned-or-tied-kerchief scarf (reminds us too much of our mom), we do like to use a cool scarf as a big necklace, hair ribbon or belt.

If you've been reading, you know we like to buy vintage when we can. It's not only thrifty, but good for the earth. Here are some bright, eclectic vintage options from Etsy, several on the super-cheap, all totally gorgeous!

From left to right, top to bottom:
Maggie Rouff Paris collection, silk, $60 at GeneralWhimsy2
1960s geometric print, silk, $10 at RoomForCake
Psychedelic "Warhol" print, unknown material, $10 at DriveThruVintage
Silook Japan, polyester, $8 at VintageEmbellishment
Pink japanese print, acetate, $10 at PetiteKaloo
Oscar De La Renta, silk, $15 at TheCuriosityShoppe
1970s geometric mod print, silk, $8 at TheLuckyFish
Large rainbow shawl/sarong, polyester, $14 at TheKoruBranch
Oscar De La Renta striped teal with gold threading, silk, $15 at Autumnie

We know that it's quite nearly summer (or, if you're in Boston, quite nearly spring), but that doesn't mean knit scarves are out of the picture completely. The chunky wool ones should probably go back in the closet (if only to promote the power of positive thought!), but think about lighter textures and fabrics... These finds from Etsy are a few of the beautiful handmade textured scarves available. On the left, from alonalona, a UK fiber artist, sari remnants that would otherwise be thrown away are spun into luscious yarn and then hand-knit into this beautiful, airy long skinny scarf, $16. On the right, in a gorgeous peacock- colored blend of designer Italian yarn and microfibers , a fluffy, fun, light decorative option from Maine-based designer Cathy of BabbidgePatch, handknit, $35.

Three of our favorite other sources for cool scarves are the bargain stores, of course- we often find cute ones for about $7 at Marshalls, street and craft fairs, and Oona's vintage resale in Harvard Square. Happy accessorizing!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What we're wearing today: Victorian Edition

Today is a "professional dress" day at work, which means that Houston, we have a major problem. You wouldn't say that "conservative" is a part of our general repertoire, but our boss actually said "wear THE MOST CONSERVATIVE THING in your closet." Technically, this would be an interview suit, but technically we are also NOT a size 8 right now and so technically we'd be busting out of said suit. So, the hunt was on for an outfit to cover up all of our naughty bits but not make us look like one of the Duggar girls (shudder)...

We chose an ankle-length black linen skirt with a drop waist and ruffles at the hem, quite similar to this one from Organic Bouquet (although without the drawstring). We absolutely adore ruffles, especially in black (again, the whole "punkish girly girl" thing is our favorite). They add so much texture and interest to what would otherwise be such a plain and, yes, conservative, look. We got our skirt at either Marshall's or TJ Maxx (oh, the love!) for under $20. If you have the time and patience to pore over the racks, you can find such incredible pieces, especially beautiful fabrics for a fraction of their original cost, like silk, linen and cashmere.

Up top, a plain black long-sleeved crewneck from Mossimo at Target, from the clearance rack, less than $7. We don't understand paying a lot of money for a T-shirt; therefore, we refuse. Our cleavage hasn't been this covered up since it was snowing- we keep checking to make sure it's there!

And over that, a simply divine burgundy velvet blazer with yet more ruffled trim... ours is from Kohl's, Apt. 9 brand, and was deep in the seasonal clearance racks at $17! We are still kicking ourselves for not grabbing the black one, too.

We absolutely adore a nice tailored velvet blazer... especially one with princess seams, "locked and loaded" construction (as Stacey and Clinton would say) and beautiful feminine detailing. We found this beautiful vintage piece on Etsy...

At $44.00, it's a bit of investment to us, but it really does look to be in pristine vintage condition, and look how gorgeously it shows off the model's curves! Yowza!

We also spotted this absolutely incredible equestrian-courtesan-gypsy-inspired corset jacket on a site we'd never seen before, Chinatowner, for $55. It's polyester, which is sad, but still, we're fairly sure we might die if we don't own this soon. Oh, the lace, the satin ribbon, the flared hem and bell sleeves, the *drooooooool*

Style Icon of the Past: RAYANNE!

If you were a child of the 90s like we were, you remember (and presumably loved) My So-Called Life. We personally worshiped A.J. Langer's character, Rayanne, the bad girl with the fabulous personal style. (True, we should probably be commending the costume designer, but it's difficult to tell where A.J.'s character and her own taste diverge...)

It is virtually impossible to find any good photos of most of what she wore, but there were myriad amazing Punky Brewster-esque color and pattern combinations, lots of BIG jewelry, and fun hair (bleach streaks, mini braids, big pops of color in accessories :) ). While of course we can't all walk around sporting our brother's flannel shirts anymore, lest we be mistaken for home bums (and as adults we should probably eschew the backwards baseball cap), we can still take some lessons on individual dressing from this fictional icon. Here, seemingly the only posed photograph taken of AJ during this time period, we have a gorgeous textured gold-and-copper tunic over light stonewash jeans, a batik scarf and a leather hobo bag, accessorized with what appears to be (are we wrong?) a phone cord wrapped multiple times into a bracelet, big silver earrings and colorful plastic barrettes. Could her hair be any more gorgeous, cascading in those lovely little waves? We should all be so lucky. Nothing here matches, it's possible she could be considered slightly insane, and yet it's so.freaking.perfect.

In this rather poor-quality still from the show, Rayanne mixes bold colors and floral prints for our absolutely favorite "punkish girly-girl" look. How cool is she? The headband is divine. She did always go for that oversized blazer/flannel thing, and we believe in flaunting what you got a little bit more zealously, but still, so much fun. Claire looks like somebody's grandmother, doesn't she? We also commend Ricky's adventurousness with color and pattern (and eyeliner), but let's stick to Rayanne.

When A.J. walks the red carpet, she can certainly look amazingly glamourous in some astronomically expensive gown, like all of the other stars... but we like to see her in something a little bit bohemian, with a lot of personality, like this adorable summer shebang. We LOVE a simple tank with an embellished skirt- this one has beading, embroidery, beautiful fabric, AND a matching satin ribbon tie. Excuse us, we just fell off our chair. We have to admit, though, that we wouldn't have gone with the white sandals here. We think that soleless jeweled t-straps would have been totally gorgeous (you know about these? Gypsy embellished heaven!) Or, since barefoot probably isn't an option, a strappy metallic sandal, to pick up the beading in the skirt, would have looked less clunky. To pick up a fabulous wrap skirt of your own, check out Etsy shop Siam2U, a one-woman show in Thailand, for only $25!! Happy hunting!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tonight we're talking about handbags.

We know that some of you girls are tied to your uber-expensive Louis and whatnot (and why did every girl I know work at Coach at some point?), although we have to admit, we totally and utterly We used to get by on Army-Navy surplus and/or street fair bags (and for some reason people have a real penchant for gifting us small purses... we must have fifteen of the things). However, we recently splurged on what (to our thrifty selves) is an expensive (=Benjamin) handbag. This was because, after searching hither and thither, nigh and high, it was the most appealing in every aspect; however, especiallyso since it is made from what appears to have been a ridiculously 80s purple leather jacket. HoakonHelga is a genius!

No pictures really do it justice- mine nor hers- but you can trust me that it's beautiful, and the perfect size (about a cubic foot ;). It's true that you never know when you'll need to jam, so pick a bigger one than us if that's a concern.

Recycled/upcycled, whatever you want to call it, used leather has all kinds of benefits to the earth, including fewer toxic chemicals used in tanning, less water used in washing, and of course, since no one is going to wear a cropped, pleated, shoulder-padded, eggplant purple leather jacket anytime soon (I'm surmising), keeping good material out of landfills. We don't have to mention the spiritual and environmental necessities of using as much of an animal as we can if we have had to kill it- but we just did.

Another bag designer I absolutely adore on Etsy is alkdesigns. Just plain gorgeous work.

Let's hope she fills up her shop a bit more.

These two amazing bags are under
$100 and $50, respectively,
and have so much personality and were created with such exquisite detail, saturated color and beautiful fabric that it almost hurts us to not purchase both. We hope they go to a good home.

Get something that isn't like everyone else has; after all, you're going to have it on you more than just about any other accessory you'll own!

What we're wearing today

Today we are wearing a FABULOUS hot pink silk skirt from Calvin Klein that's very similar to this little tamale by Ralph Lauren, which apparently retails for $755! 0_0
We got ours for, as we recall it, less than $10 at Filene's Basement, due to this flamboyant color, which some people might feel a bit meek about pulling off, and also its having accidentally been marked a size 2 (never trust the labels in markdown stores- just learn how much fabric you need to get 'round your arse!)

We paired it with a silk/cashmere blend black square-neck decolletage sweater (hey, there's a cute guy in our office; flaunt 'em if you got 'em) from Vicky's online clearance. We doubt we paid more than $30, but it was years ago (thrifty tip: take care of your fabric and it will last!). There is scarcely a place we like to find sexy bargains more... you did know they had more than just unmentionables, right?

Tall black boots from Famous Footwear, $30. They're not real leather, but new leather uses so much water to finish, that synthetic is fine by us. Fabulous argyle-pattern fishnets, CVS, $5. Yes, CVS. It's not just your mother's L'Eggs in an egg anymore. Black-and-silver chandelier earrings (made by us, quelle surprise!) finish everything off.

You walk a little differently when you're wearing a piece this fantastic :D

Things We Love- In General

We love natural fabric (especially organic). Silk, satin, (silk) velvet, linen- and even modal and rayon are made from natural fibers! (Who knew?)
There are some super-comfy and fun lounge clothes in soy and bamboo blends at awesome Oregon-based Etsy shop DancingTreeCreations, like the adorable Soy V top (available in 2 colors with five color options for the trim!). At $40, it's a bit of a splurge, but for an organic cotton blend, entirely hand-made in the US, not too bad. Don't forget that non-organic cotton is one of the world's most polluting crops :(
We own the soy V dress in black with purple trim, and it's divinely soft; we wear it as a jumper in the winter over a longer purple skirt and thermal long-sleeve, and if the sun would ever come back, we'd enjoy it as a fabulous, floaty little sundress.

If it's not bright or black, we're not interested. We do own a tiny bit of baby pink, but other than that we love jewel tones best of all!

TEXTURE and EMBELLISHMENT! Because, as we know, normal is boring. Why go plain when you can have embroidery or brocade or crushed pleating or beading? We're fawning over this skirt with rose velvet trim from The Velvet Garden, the best online goth consignment shop! Only $15 (and we get the feeling this one is new and handmade, not pre-owned)

...and DRAMA!
We'll shamelessly plug our own jewelry here, because it makes a statement but is always affordable. Nothing finishes off an outfit like some sparkly, swingy, light-bouncing, dramatic chandelier earrings. Here, one of our most versatile pairs, Pythagorean Iridescence ($13), goes with just about anything. If you wear earrings like this, maybe not so much with a necklace. We like Christmas trees, but one statement piece in one visual area is probably enough. An up-do is nice, too. We like to throw our hair up in a messy bun or french twist and secure it with a paintbrush for a "that-was-a-nice-quickie-but-I-have-to-get-back-to-my-art-now" look, but a lovely hair stick would add a little extra flair. PurpleMoonDesigns has some beautiful handmade beaded options for less than $20/pair, or for the truly thrifty, head to your local Chinatown or oriental gifts shop and pick up some painted chopsticks for $1!

Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name?

I'm Desiree, and I'm the Thrifty Stylist. It's not as though I think I am some kind of fashion icon like Ms. Johnson here, and I'm certainly not employed in any gainful manner in telling anyone what they ought to be wearing (yet, haha). But I do have a lot more fun with clothes than most people, and I am an avid bargain-hunter (and -finder), so what better way to spend my time than blathering on about creating funky, fun looks for almost no cash?

Sometimes I'll take pictures of what I'm wearing; other times I'll draw them (like, if I forgot to take a picture :D). Sometimes I'll feature guest finds from friends who have come upon incredible bargains. Occasionally I'll just feature someone who has amazing, unique style!
I'm in love with Etsy, where I sell my jewelry, yes, but where there are thousands of designers making incredible one-of-a-kind clothes, some of which you just might be able to afford... and I'll share with you my favorite thrifting places in the Boston area and online.
I'm drawn to (read: obsessed with) purple, but I'll try to branch out a little bit into some of the other colors ;)

Oh, and I'm going to write in the royal We. It somehow seems less narcissistic, although it's surely moreso.

Welcome, enjoy, tell us what you think, and please come back soon!


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