Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Oh Ma'am...Ma'am!"

   Not so long ago I scored a 1971 vinyl pressing of, “Rockin At The Fillmore,” by Humble Pie.  While I totally admit that I’m not educated when it comes to this particular band, I was impressed by the presentation of this album and had a rather psychic feeling that it was destined to be good.   In other words, these dudes looked legit. 
   In addition to all the wonderful worn out denim and long hair that was displayed on the inside cover, I found myself simply drawn to this band’s name.  “Humble Pie,” I thought, “now that’s a group I can really sink my teeth into!”  Honestly, writing this now I can only reflect on how ironic it is for a blogger who posts glamour shots on the internet to be attracted to a name like, “Humble Pie.” Subconsciously, maybe I’m just waiting for my slice.
   In fact, the other day I believe I experienced a pretty good taste while shopping for…you guessed it…vinyl records at my local Barnes & Noble store.  On this particular occasion I was anticipating a pretty great day.  I had received a BN gift card from my father for my birthday and was quite excited to go spend, “fun money,” on one of my favorite things.  I had also decided that in honor of my delightful afternoon of music shopping I would make an effort to look spiffy.  As a result, I put together the ensemble I’m wearing in the above photographs and headed out the door with my, “Oh so precious,” official list of albums I'm searching for.  Side Note:  I would like to apologize to any acquaintance I've made admire, “THE LIST.”  I'm embarrassed at how many times a week I pull that baby out of my wallet in order to show it off to friends and family.  So, why do I do it?!  Am I flaunting the quantity of albums I intend to buy?  Do I want credit for all the time and research I’ve put into constructing the selections on, “THE LIST?”  Maybe I just want people to notice that, “THE LIST,” was thoughtfully typed in Times New Roman font and available to print out for the masses.    
   Anyway...sorry, “THE LIST,” always gets me off topic.  Returning to my story, that afternoon I went to Barnes & Noble feeling confident.  Not only was I wearing what I thought was a pretty smart outfit, I was carrying, “THE LIST,” that could not steer me wrong.  As I was browsing the music department I happened to be carrying two David Bowie albums that I don't yet own on vinyl.  I had pretty much made up my mind that this was an error that had to be immediately corrected when suddenly I heard, “Oh Ma’am....Ma’am!”  In the back of my mind a faint inner voice thought, “Is that person talking to me?  Nah…I’m not a Ma’am.”  However, the person kept speaking, “Ma’am!” it insisted.  At this point I looked up and was confronted by an attractive twenty-something hipster chic who was staring directly at me. 
   “Ma’am,” she continued in her almost slurred, “too cool to care about proper pronunciation,” speech.  “I see you’re holding David Bowie albums and I just want to tell you that I HIGHLY recommend that you buy them.  He is my FAVORITE singer.  Really, he is seriously THE BEST!!!”  I stood there dumbfounded by the fact that this child was viewing me as an old lady who was so uncool I couldn't possibly know the music of David Bowie.  Suddenly I thought, "Did I hallucinate this morning?!  Am I actually wearing a bedazzled seasonal sweater with matching leggings?"  I then reasoned even if I was, Bowie loved over-the-top costumes and what screams this more than some of the crap select, "uncool," women wear?  How dare this young woman exert ownership over a musical genius who arguably belongs to the twenty-somethings of the 1970's! I should know!  I think of myself as an honorary member! I was insulted…I was appalled,…I was unfortunately no longer going to buy any David Bowie that afternoon out of pure spite. Instead, I looked directly at her with my signature resting bitch face and responded, “I’m glad you like him.”  I then put both albums back on the shelf and grabbed the equally desirable Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell selections an, “old lady,” like me was expected to purchase.  That afternoon I walked out of Barnes & Noble feeling a little bit humbled…
   …for like a minute.

Skirt:  Ann Taylor
Wedges:  Etienne Aigner
Belt:  Anthropologie
Necklace:  Vintage

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's a shirt, It's a dress, It's a plane?

   Throughout my adventures in thrifting I’ve become accustomed to encountering articles of clothing I simply can’t identify.  For instance, it’s not uncommon for an avid thrifter to reach into the two dollar bin at Goodwill only to pick out THE CUTEST belt…headband…wrap bracelet…necktie they’ve ever seen!  When it comes down to it, a garment that no longer has a factory tag to label its’  specific function suddenly becomes fair game.
   Of course, this fact is only heightened when the piece in question happens to be something that is handmade.  In a case like this the true intention of the clothing in question can only be known by the artist who created it.  Wow…who knew fashion could be so philosophical?   Actually, I think it could be argued that fashion and philosophy have been closely related since the 1800’s when Hans Christian Andersen wrote a fine little fable entitled, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”    Much like the emperor in this tale there have been several times I’ve felt duped into thinking my wardrobe was something that it’s not, simply because others have told me so.  I hear, “Wear those wide legged pants Rayna.  “Glamour,” magazine says they’re the hottest thing on the runway this season."  In reality the, "hippest," pants of the season make my ass look two sizes bigger but, "Who cares?!  Glamour told me to wear them!"   
   Perhaps it's because of these frequent faux pas that I find myself constantly attracted to items of undefinable origin.  Basically, I love the mystery of used clothing.  When one really thinks about it thrifting is kind of like, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”  A person has the potential of creating a lot of excitement out of virtually nothing.
   Honestly, I have no idea if that last sentence made any sense at all but I feel like this post is about embracing ambiguity so I’m going to run with it.  As a result, I would now like to focus my attention on the pictures above.  It just so happens that in these photographs I’m wearing an example of one of those pieces I’m not certain I’ve correctly identified.  
   Recently, I found myself in my local Ragstock store.  While I was there, scavenging through the, “Recycled,” section, I came across what I defined as an incredibly cute top.  It was handmade by some talented individual who lovingly cross stitched a large portion of it's front.  I gasped at the workmanship that this item displayed and knew that it had to be mine.  This was despite the fact that its’ overall length was a tad shorter than I generally like my shirts to be. 
   Upon looking at the pictures of this post, I think it’s fair to state that I made a solid six dollar purchase the day I picked up this item.  Of course, as I continue to look at these photographs I find myself wondering if my new prize item is, in fact, an actual shirt intended for an adult.  To begin my, “shirt,” has ties in the back that make it possible to cinch its overall shape.  However, these ties are located rather high on this garment, making the overall cinching effect happen at a rather awkward place on the body.  In addition, the delightful pockets that were included by the original artist are also placed in a position that is virtually unusable…at least by this blogger’s gibbon armed standards.  I'll admit the thought has occurred to me that I may be wearing a piece that was originally designed to be a small child’s dress.  At the very least I suspect I’m running around in some tween’s, “horrifying,” homemade birthday gift from Great Aunt Ada.  I want to state that in either case, I don’t care.  I just want to parade around in front of people and shout, “Hey, look how beautiful my new clothes are!”  Wait…you can see them, right?

Shirt?:  Thrifted  (Handmade)
Jeans:  Gap
Wedges:  Ettienne Aigner
Purse:  (Purchased at the National Gallery Of Art in Washington, D.C.) 
Belt:  (Hand-me-down from Dad)
Necklace:  Ettika
Sunglasses:  Kate Spade

Sunday, August 14, 2016

That skirt from the 90's...that I wore in the 90's

   I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m not a pack rat.   A borderline hoarder…maybe, but a pack rat I am not.  "What’s the difference", you ask.  Actually, I’m not positive there is one, but let’s see where this rant goes.  
   One evening a horrifying show called, “Hoarders,” introduced me to the idea that one is not required to save garbage until it hits the ceiling in order to be defined as a hoarder.  Apparently, excessive collecting can also be a sign of this mental affliction.  Up to this point I'd always considered my shopping habit acceptable.  I reasoned my behavior did not qualify as hoarding since I store my purses in dust bags that are placed neatly in Rubbermaid tubs.  However, according to the fine folks of one of the most terrifying shows I’ve ever been subjected to, I have a hoarding problem.  I now understand one does not have to live in a home that looks like the inside of a garbage dumpster in order to meet the qualifications of this addiction. 
   OK, so admittedly I’m a, “bit,” of a hypochondriac and should never have been allowed to watch this program in the first place.  Although, now that I’ve been exposed to the idea that owning as many handbags as I do may not be a normal and healthy way to function I find myself actually considering whether I need another purse.  “Do I HAVE to have the new multi-color, fox fur Loeffler Randall tassel pouch?,” I ask myself.  After seeing, “Hoarders,” I feel like my eyes have been opened.  Emphatically I find myself answering, “Hell yes I need it!  A TV show told me I’m a, “sick,” woman.  I deserve a little happy in my life.”
   One could probably make the argument that joking about mental illness is in poor taste.  However, I can’t help it.  It seems with age my previous issues with hypochondria have greatly diminished.  Unless it’s Ebola, I just don’t give a crap anymore.  Oh yeah, and I guess that Spontaneous Human Combustion thing still freaks me out.  Can that possibly be real?...because I’ve found myself getting really hot before and I could have swor…..okay we’re going to end that bit of crazy right there.
   I stated earlier that I’m not a pack rat.  This is something I've always been proud of.  While I’ll admit to, "collecting," items I’m interested in, I'll also state that once I’m tired of something I get rid of it.  There have been many occasions where I've cleaned out my closet and given away bag loads of clothing and accessories.  I've always felt good about giving people things. In addition, there's a sense of triumph about creating more space in an overstuffed closet…more space for new things…like the LR tassel pouch that arguably takes up little space to begin with. 
   In my opinion, the most interesting thing about cleaning out one’s closet is seeing which items make the cut.  Often, these pieces are ones that I've previously underestimated.  An example of this can be found in the skirt I’m wearing in the above photographs.  This item is literally something I bought in 1998 during my first year of college.   In addition, I bought it upon receiving my very first credit card!  I remember nervously filling out the card application at the store while wondering if I would receive the approval of the company.  Funny, I never even considered my parents approval.   In the end the evil empire of credit came through for me.  That fateful day an eighteen year old would-be fashionista was given a gold charge card for the Express store. 
   The rest is history.  Surprisingly, this skirt has prevailed all the closet cleanses I’ve had since college.  What can I say?  I liked this piece in 1998 and I still like it now.  It’s a classic item of clothing that I believe will survive anything.  Huh...I wonder what it’s odds are against that Spontaneous Human Combustion thing?

Skirt:  Express  ( the 90’s now considered vintage?)
Shoes:  New Balance
Purse:  Sundance (Gift from Mom)
Belt:  Thrifted
Necklace:  Amrita Singh

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"It's a little funky, but it'll work"

   I titled this post after something my boyfriend said to me the other day.  It was the weekend and we were getting ready to go out for the afternoon, when I asked him if the outfit I’m wearing in the above pictures was OK to wear in public.  His exact response was, “It’s a little funky, but it’ll work.”  Leave it to Al to really charm a girl. 
   However, as much as I would have preferred him to say, “It’s fantastic!  You look amazing!” I was in agreement that this ensemble was a little strange.  I’ll admit that a sundress paired with awkward length cutoffs equals odd.  Really though, who in their late thirties would wear a dress this length?  I suppose one could argue that this dress is not meant for someone my age, but until now that thought never occurred to me.  I just reasoned, “Pair it with my favorite grungy house shorts!”   
   While on the topic of shorts, I do want to give myself some credit for actually wearing them.  There was a long period of time where I wouldn’t be caught dead showing off these knees.  It seems the insecurities regarding the exposure of my legs have diminished with age.  This is ironic considering I assume my legs were better looking about ten years ago.  Of course, I wouldn’t know since I myself only saw them a handful of times.  There was that period of time in high school where I spent about five months wearing the same pair of knee length cutoff shorts paired with a Baja poncho and black converse high tops.  At the time nobody thought that, “Was a little funky.”  Man, I miss those days of grunge.   
   I guess the overall theme of my post is, “different strokes for different folks.”  Some individuals would never think to pair a dress with shorts.    In addition, there are probably people that wouldn’t define what I’m wearing in these pictures as actual shorts.  My answer to them would be, “Baby steps people.”  Not to mention, my grungy 90’s self would never allow any garment to expose my thigh.  This statement does not mean that I condemn those who opt for the more conventional length of short.  I just want to go on the record that, “It’s not for me,”…at least not without tights and boots.
   Reflecting on the idea of, “Different strokes,” makes me think of a conversation I recently had with someone.  This individual happened to be about six years old.  She came to me and asked in the sweetest voice, “Rayna, do you have any daughters?”  Usually this type of question immediately annoys me.  Needless to say, I’ve been asked it frequently.  However on this occasion, looking at those big innocent eyes, I couldn’t feel anything but, “Awwwww…”  I responded, “Nope, no daughters.”  She continued with, “What about sons?”  I answered, “No, no sons either.”  She stood there processing this information when she suddenly got a smug look on her face and stated, “I know…you gave them away, didn’t you?” I was stunned that this little person even thought of that option.  I responded with, “No, I’ve never had any children.”  She suddenly looked extremely confused and repeated emphatically, “So you’ve never had any baby come out of your tummy?!  To which I replied, “No, never.”  I could have…and probably should have… let the conversation end there, but I felt an explanation was in order.  I continued with, “You know, just because you’re a woman does not mean you HAVE to have a baby.  Some ladies don’t want to have babies.  They want their lives to belong to themselves in order to pursue the things only they are interested in, instead of taking care of a child.”  At that moment, as I was wondering if I had exposed too much to this moldable mind, I saw her disposition change.  She looked extremely happy.  She smiled huge at me and answered, “Rayna, I don’t ever want to have a baby.” She then marched off with her head held high.  I expect to see her in knee length shorts soon.

Dress:  Thrifted
Shorts:  Thrifted
Sandals:  Sanuk
Purse:  Sundance
Necklace:  Handmade by local artist
Bracelet:  Vintage  (Gift from Mom)