Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Blues

   Warning:  what you're about to read is not going to be the most compelling post.  I just rolled into town after spending the weekend in Fargo, ND and I’m feeling rather, "Blah."  This is a typical mood for me once a trip is over.  I think of it as, “Back to Reality,” mode. 
   I've been looking forward to heading north for months.  Not only did I get to visit my brother over the Halloween season, (yet another perfect reason to force him to watch B rated horror movies with me), but we attended the Fargo Record Fair with my father. This activity is actually becoming an annual tradition for us.  Last year was our first time attending this event and I didn’t think it was possible to have more fun than we did then.  Yet again, I was wrong!  I know, it’s hard to believe.
   Before arriving at the Fair I'd smugly stated to our little group that I had my doubts I’d find anything there that really interested me.  I'm aware I just bragged about how much fun we all had at last year's event. However, I was certain that North Dakota could not twice produce anything that would impress me.  Let me clarify, in the past I’ve stated I can be a snob when regarding clothing.  This declaration is also accurate when describing my taste in music, movies, and…uh...let’s just leave it at, I can be a real ass.  I literally went into the Fair thinking I would leave virtually empty handed.
   …and that’s the last thing I really remember.  I think from the moment I started flipping through the first crate of albums I fell into some kind of fugue state and started hysterically handing over wads of cash to vendors.  Yep, from the moment I found an amazing 90’s compilation tribute album to Black Sabbath I knew I wasn’t dealing with the usual tired selection of discarded Steppenwolf Greatest Hits records.  I was in trouble!
   Of course trouble can be a whole heck of a lot of fun.  I ended up leaving the Fair with a huge stack of, what I consider, unique selections and absolutely no money to my name.  In fact, I actually had to leave a few albums behind that I desperately wanted simply because serious pangs of guilt were starting to set in.  Let me repeat, this habitual over-spender was starting to actually feel guilty!  That's heavy.
   I guess one would assume I titled this post, “Sunday Blues,” due to the fact that I'm now seriously broke.  I’m here to tell you, “You obviously don’t know me.”  I’ve got, "The Blues," because the euphoric escape from my everyday mundane existence is over.  Wow, reading that statement back to myself makes me wonder if I have more than just, “The Blues.”  It's called boredom people and I hear vinyl can be the cure for it.
   Now that I have a whole new selection of 80’s new wave and punk to listen to I anticipate good times ahead.  I may have to return to the adult responsibilities all of us face, but I certainly don’t have to accomplish them while listening to mature music.  Furthermore, I now have the perfect album line up for my impending, “Winter Angst,” mode.  In fact, all of my, “modes,” are compatible with the music I purchased at the Fargo Record Fair.  So one could argue there was a method to my madness.
   At this point you may be wondering what the point of this whole, “sad,” post really is since I’ve not once mentioned the photographs above.  Um…I’m wearing blue?  That’s all I got folks.

Jeans:  Gap
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Belt:  Thrifted
Bracelets:  Amrita Singh
Sunglasses:  Dolce & Gabbana

Sunday, October 23, 2016

But...they told me to buy it!!!

   ‘Tis the season for all vintage apparel collectors to feel seriously jolly.  No, it’s not Christmas, but it may as well be.  There’s no better time for a clothing enthusiast to hit the thrift stores in search of wild one of a kind finds.  Yep, it’s better than Christmas for those of us concerned with alternative fashion.  In this blogger’s opinion not even the massive mailing of holiday catalogs can beat the ultimate thrill of thrifting during the Halloween season!
   In defense of this last statement I’d like to argue the official color of Halloween is black.  BLACK, for God’s sake!...the color adored by fashionistas, artists, hipsters, beatniks, elitists, and goths.  In addition, if one takes into account the amount of lace, leather, fur, chains, and fishnets that often make an appearance on this most sacred of seasons, it’s hard to decipher a costume party from a Saint Laurent fashion show. 
   Of course this argument hasn’t even added the vintage equation into the formula yet.  During the month of October thrift stores magically begin to hand select their most outlandish vintage.  They organize these, “crazy,” pieces into one area of the store that they define as clothing intended for Halloween costumes.  Suddenly, the work is done for me.  I don’t have to spend endless grueling hours searching through what seems like a million discarded pieces from Coldwater Creek and Dressbarn.  Okay, I’ve got to take a moment here to state yet again, “What woman wants to wear a garment from a store that has the word BARN in the name?!”  The leap to farm animal comparisons just doesn’t seem that far.
   Sorry, I can’t seem to let that one go.  Anyway returning to the topic of thrifting during Halloween, it’s definitely the perfect time to conveniently find the best vintage clothing at secondhand prices.  Admittedly, I have a nasty habit of buying vintage on Etsy quite frequently.  I do this as a result of this website's superior selection when regarding this type of apparel.  However, due to the ease of simply typing in one’s wish list, most sellers are able to get away with charging rather exorbitant prices for their wares…and they should.  It’s not an easy task to find an original 1980’s denim Guess tote bag in perfect condition…however, someone did…and I gladly paid them an arm and a leg for it.  I guess what I’m stating here is, "it takes skill to locate quality vintage clothing."  I don’t believe everyone is capable of doing it.
   This being said, Halloween is the only time of year that dummy-proofs the process of shopping for vintage clothing.  One can go down the, “costume,” aisle and find potential in almost every item.  Unfortunately, it’s not just one individual that's in search of vintage treasures.  During the month of October alternative fashionistas everywhere converge into the space of about two aisles.  While it should be a time of comradery among peers, it often results in competition.  Again, Halloween is a time of bloodshed.  Maybe Michael Myers was bloodthirsty because some little twenty-something beat him out on the cutest little orange Go Go dress he'd ever seen.
   In closing, my mind was focused on the glory of the Halloween season because of the jacket I’m wearing in the above photographs.  This piece is but one of my finds from this year's, “costume,” aisle at Savers.  I put it on and instantly knew it was coming home with me.  In fact, it was so obvious even two very kind ladies who looked like they had no clue clothing existed outside of the Dressbarn told me, “I had to buy it!”  Yes, it was yet another Halloween miracle.  Savers transported those women out of the Barn and into the 1980’s where potentially they could find the original founders of Dressbarn and change that hideous name.

Jacket:  Vintage
Skirt:  Vintage  (Diane von Furstenberg)
Sandals:  Vintage
Belt:  Thrifted
Earrings:  Vintage
Bangle Bracelets:  Amrita Singh

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Who wants to shop when you could swap?!

   Awhile back I had the pleasure of attending one of the most fun fashion events I've ever been to.  Yes people, they call it a clothing swap and if you've never been to one I'm here to tell you, "Go, GO NOW!!!"  A clothing swap is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s an event that provides a venue for individuals to bring gently used, cast off items from their closet in order to trade for the misfits of others.  What I’m getting at here is it’s an opportunity to not only clean out your closet, but replace the sad little holes left behind FOR FREE!!! 
   Admittedly, this last swap was not my first rodeo.  Sioux Falls has been savvy enough to host several of these types of functions.  It’s at this time I would like to sincerely thank the individual who continues to organize forward thinking events, like the swap, for our community.  On behalf of all self-proclaimed fashionistas I would like to state, “Thank you Ms. Jessica for continually attempting to put our little city on the map of Midwestern Style.  Your efforts have not only made a huge impression on my wardrobe, but also introduced me to other like-minded individuals who dress for art, rather than purpose.”  If you find yourself reading this and wonder, “Who the heck is this Jessica chic?  What can she do for me?”  Well, I’m here to tell you the answer is to check out her Etsy store at  Again I'll state, “Go, GO NOW!”  Considering how much of my own wardrobe has come from her shop, one can bet after purchasing from Elofson they’ll be looking like me in no time.  Wait, that statement may not be the best endorsement.
   Alright, I’m done with the shameless promoting.  Returning to the topic at hand, I had a delightful time at the clothing swap.  How could I not?  I received free clothing in return for the crap I didn’t want in my closet!  Let’s focus on that last statement for a moment.  Admittedly, each time I’ve attended a clothing swap I’ve felt this subtle nag of guilt in the back of my head.  I worry, “Other people have donated all this great stuff and I’ve brought a hodge-podge of shit that even I decided was too weird for me to wear.”  However, I’m continually shocked at how diverse both the clothing and the people at these swaps are.  There seems to be a fit for every fish out of water. 
   I was delighted to see several of my items get picked up by other individuals.  In fact, one of these pieces was an over the top, 80’s windbreaker jacket that I wore on this blog a couple of years ago while snapping glamour shots with my parents, “fabulous,” Chihuahua.  Upon bringing this piece to the swap I thought, “Who the hell else would wear something so garish?  I really shouldn’t be bringing this.”  I was thrilled to realize there are other weirdos in town just like me and by the looks of them I must be making some correct fashion choices.  Suddenly I was like, “Do I really want to get rid of that jacket?”
   At the end of the night my friends and I gathered to admire all of our found treasures.   My favorite scores of the evening included a fantastic pair of vintage, leopard print, Donald Pliner mules and the vintage Mickey Mouse sweatshirt I'm wearing in the above photographs. This shirt actually reminds me of another close friend of mine that has one similar to it.  I saw it and immediately thought, “I always liked her shirt.”  Thinking of this now I can’t help but marvel at the irony of acquiring such a uniquely coveted item at a clothing swap.  Maybe my long distance friend was hiding among the masses of women trading each other for treasures.  Furthermore, maybe my couture cohort who organized the whole event knew this was the only place I could find such a piece.  Lastly, upon leaving the swap my companions and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that one of them had taken a rather strange western style shirt without realizing it had been one of the items I had originally donated.  I guess my overall point here is that fashion not only keeps me entertained, it keeps me connected.  As unique as I like to consider myself, we’re all just sharing one big closet.

Sweatshirt:  Vintage  (Aquired at the clothing swap)
Jeans:  Guess 
Purse:  Vintage (Etsy)
Ring:  (Purchased at a craft fair)
Sunglasses:  Prada

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Urban Prairie Girl

   I like to think of myself as a real woman of the world.  What I mean by this is that I consider myself to be a fairly wise individual.  Wise and modest, ironic isn't it?  Let me clarify when I state, “wise,” I don't mean book smart.  While I’ll proudly boast to picking up more than the occasional book, I'll admit that serious literature is not my first love.  Likewise, I don’t have the best attention span when it comes to topics that don’t immediately interest me.  For example, math was never my strong subject.  Let me tell you, if my teachers could have just worked the occasional Frye boot budget into a story problem I would probably be a freaking engineer today.  Sigh...sadly, smart is definitely not the first word that comes to mind when defining myself.
  Lately, I guess a more accurate adjective to describe how I like to think of myself would be enigmatic.  Yeah…I like the sound of that.  One may think that accomplishing the status of, “mysterious” would be a pretty daunting task for the everyday individual residing in boring old South Dakota.  I mean, how difficult is it to interpret the woman in the above pictures?  You got your silo?...check.  Prairie skirt?...check.  Fringe purse?...check.  Recently purchased secondhand Wu-Tang Clan album queued up to play on the old turntable?...uh, check?  Wait, this outfit doesn’t scream early 1990’s hardcore hip hop?!  The hell you say!  If you think this skirt looks cool merely blowing in the wind you should totally see it while I’m doing the Running Man.  “Who the heck does the Running Man anymore,” you’re probably wondering.  “This lady…in heels,” I answer.
   Of course, “this lady,” is the absolute only person to do that dance in like twenty years.  At least that’s what was explained to me by some of the hip youth of today.  Apparently, these youngsters have turned their attention to more current moves like the Whip/Nae Nae, the Stanky Leg, and the Dab.  Wait…I’m not certain it’s THE Dab.  Maybe one just does a Dab.  That’s a question for the kids at my workplace.  However, there’s one thing I know for certain.  The Etsy artist who originally sewed this skirt for me probably didn’t intend for it to be Dabbing anywhere…especially on an acreage in South Dakota.  Dabbing…did I say that right?
   I guess my overall point here is my life can be kind of convoluted.  At one time I had a good friend of mine say to me, “Rayna, you have a lot of interests!  I don’t think you have time for all of them.”  I'm starting to suspect I took this statement as a challenge.  “Why can’t I mix my, “Little House on the Prairie,” inspired look with hip-hop,” I wonder.  Depending on one’s opinion maybe these pictures are proof of why one shouldn’t do such a thing.  Like my friend said, “I have a lot of interests.”  Sometimes these interests come together to create a very, "enigmatic," outfit.  I like to think it’s just this type of wacky ensemble that shows the depth of my wisdom when regarding fashion…
   …or, it could be that the Etsy artist I purchased this fantastic skirt from calls her shop Urban Prairie Girl.  As I mentioned before I can read pretty well, especially when the topic interests me.  I suppose it’s conceivable that this outfit and my startling choice of music while wearing it was not a result of my expertise in cultural diversity.  Maybe it’s more likely a subliminal consequence of a cool online shop name.  Either way, I’m going to perfect the Whip while wearing this skirt.  Hip hop vixens beware.

T-Shirt:  Insight  
Skirt:  Etsy  (Handmade)    
Boots:  Vintage  (Made In Brazil)
Purse:  Banana Republic
Belt:  Vintage
Earrings:  Purchased at Zandbroz Variety  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Power to the Pod People!

    Recently, I went on an outing with a good friend of mine.  On this particular evening we were kindly invited to check out Sioux Falls’ own Paisley Pod Mobile Boutique.  “What the heck is that,” you ask.  Well, let me tell you!
   The Paisley Pod is literally what it sounds like.  It’s a clothing store on wheels!  Upon checking out the website I came across the description, “Think food truck, but fashion.”  Could I possibly enjoy this more than falafel,” I wondered.  Doubtful, but I was willing to try.
   Upon entering the Pod, I braced myself for disappointment.  I want to explain this statement by clarifying I can be a real snob when it comes to apparel.  I'm obsessed with the quest of unique and handmade vintage.  I love the idea of styling outfits out of items nobody else is wearing…items nobody necessarily should ever wear…items someone wore decades ago and finally came to their senses and got rid of.  Yes, these are the type of garments I’m in search of.  I rarely step outside of my dark and often musty box of vintage fringe, sequins, and shoulder pads in order to see what the people of 2016 are purchasing new. 
   Despite the fact that The Pod was a far cry from my usual scene, I was pleasantly surprised to find some items I seemed not to be able to live without.  The night concluded with a new pair of earrings and some of the coolest leggings I’ve ever seen being introduced into my closet.  I decided to feature both of these items in the photographs above.
   I’m always shocked when I find new clothes that I want to purchase.  This is not a statement I’m proud to admit.  However, it's something I’ll own up to.  I’m not saying I NEVER buy new clothing.  I’m simply very particular on what I choose.  Occasionally I’ll find myself in the mall and I’ll be stunned by how great the selection at The Limited is.  “Why am I so attracted to this,” I think while holding a cardigan that is identical to twenty others on the rack.  In addition, just last year I walked by The Express and was in awe of their selection of paisley Boho dresses.  From a distance I could have sworn they were vintage!  Even better they were only a fraction of the, “real deal’s,” price.  “Can I buy this and still live up to fashionista standards,” I questioned.  “Nah,” I decided.
   Now all I can think is, “What an idiot!”  I look at these pictures and wonder why the heck I’ve been such a punk.  I absolutely love my Paisley Pod leggings and am convinced that despite the fact they're not 1980's vintage they are still something worthy of an outfit inspired by Patti Smith.  In fact, the likelihood of me finding pants of this caliber that are legitimately vintage is near zero since anyone cool enough to own them at that time would probably still be wearing them today while hanging out in the same dark corner of the CBGB building. 
   I guess my overall point is, “Hipsters don’t be limited by your own hang-ups!”  Just because other people are wearing it doesn’t mean you can’t as well.  Perhaps, other people are wearing it because it’s seriously cool.  Likewise, maybe the rest of society has abandoned shoulder pads because they’re obnoxious.  Yes obnoxious, much like one’s breath after eating falafel off a food truck.  Now, if I could only talk the ladies of The Paisley Pod into selling that as well…Yep, me and my shoulder pads would be there all the time…undoubtedly in search of cucumber sauce and a larger pair of leggings.  

Cardigan:  Free People
T-Shirt:  Hellz Bellz  
Leggings:  (Purchased at The Paisley Pod)
Shoes:  Libby Edelman
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Earrings:  (Purchased at The Paisley Pod)
Sunglasses:  Vintage  (Playboy)