Sunday, November 27, 2016

Might've been Missoni

   While the weather might be taking a turn for the worse, thrifting right now couldn't be better.  “Why?” a secondhand novice may ask.  “IT’S UGLY SWEATER SEASON!!!”  Living in South Dakota requires me to wear sweaters for a large portion of the year...and thank God for that!  Seriously, without sweaters and blazers I would have no clue how to dress myself.  I think this is why I struggle so much in the summer with styling outfits.  I can’t get away from t-shirts.  At least during the colder months I can mask my t-shirt affliction by pairing them with a snazzy cardigan or overcoat.  See, I’m still only wearing a t-shirt and jeans but now it looks fancy.  Yep, I cheat.
   Not only do I cheat, but I’m also cheap when it comes to my outerwear.  I simply can’t justify paying full price for mainstream sweaters that are boring.  Just because this girl has the common sense to stay warm doesn’t mean she doesn’t possess the frivolous need to stand out in a crowd.  I guess what I’m getting at here is, I’ve never seen a sweater with sequins and shoulder pads at The Gap. 
   This last sentence brings me to the important question of, “What banishes an article of clothing to a thrift store's ugly sweater rack?”  While some pieces are obvious seasonal train wrecks created only to destroy the wardrobe of well-meaning middle aged woman, other items are simply old.  Let me clarify when I say old I mean vintage…like the stuff hipsters will pay big money for if presented in the right setting.  Since when does vintage mean ugly?  Please don’t interpret this statement wrong.  I'm thrilled to have Savers pull all of their mohair lovelies and display them in one organized area.  However it does break my heart to think anyone would consider these one of kind treasures ugly, solely because of their age.  However that's society today isn’t it?  People equate old with ugly.
   I’ll admit some vintage fashion items aren’t for everyone.  For example things like:  linebacker shoulders, more sparkle than a Vegas showgirl, and enough fringe to make even Cher jealous could all be considered questionable trends.  When one really considers it all couture from the 1980’s might be defined as borderline ugly.  Of course, this is something I find hard to fathom since these things help construct my dream sweater.  While there are a lot of garments for the garish available, some vintage items I’ve come across in the ugly sweater aisle are truly timeless.  An example of this can be found in the pictures above.  The cardigan I’m wearing in these photographs was one of my finds from last year’s ugly sweater selection.  For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would define this piece as ugly.  In fact it’s this blogger’s opinion that this sweater looks like something that could have been created by the iconic Italian label, Missoni.  As soon as I extracted it from a mass of cardinal and Santa adorned atrocities I knew it was meant to go home with me. 
   Lastly, as I sit here admiring how nice this, “ugly sweater,” looks in photographs I wonder how many times I’ve labeled something, “hideous,” that another individual may find beautiful.  Perhaps an article of clothing can only be ugly while hanging on the rack.  Maybe when the piece in question finally finds its’ fated owner it transforms into the distinguished beauty it was destined to be.  Is it possible the ugly sweater rack is full of potential Cinderella stories?  Maybe…however, it seems more likely that this blogger, with a tendency to romanticize and an attraction to all things tacky, might just be walking around in ugly clothes. 

Sweater:  Vintage  (Ugly Sweater Rack at Savers)
Belt:  Vintage  (Etoile)
Boots:  Vintage
Purse:  Frye
Necklace:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Roberto Cavalli

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hitting a Humdinger

   During one of my frequent trips to Goodwill I scored the vintage skirt I’m wearing in the above photographs.  Honestly, I think this piece was destined to be mine.  I absolutely adore paisley prints and this color combination has to be one of my favorites.  Of course, keeping with classic Rayna behavior, I’ve been hording this gem in my closet for over a year without once letting it see the light of day.  This is a BAD habit of mine.  I keep the best pieces in my wardrobe private.  I’ve analyzed this trait multiple times and still don't fully understand my actions.  Am I afraid to ruin these items by using them?  Am I waiting for the absolute perfect occasion to, "debut," them?  Do I feel like I’m not worthy to possess them?  Maybe I have some type of pirate-like hidden treasure obsession.  Whatever the reason for my neurosis might be, I've recently decided to combat it.  What good is having all these beautiful things if nobody ever gets to see them?
   The day I took these photographs I fully embraced the last statement.  Not only did I finally wear my perfect paisley skirt, I also decided to style it with a pair of Dr. Martens boots that I’ve shamefully neglected for more time that I’d like to admit.  Again, why have I not been wearing these amazing shoes?  I truly believe it has something to do with my quest for the pristine.  The irony here is the more beat up Dr. Martens get, the more choice they become.  It’s called character and it's a quality that improves most things in life.
   I guess I could relate that idea to my own appearance as well.  Lately, I’ve started to feel kind of old.  I find myself looking around and trying to guess the ages of other individuals.  I think things like, “I’ve got to be older…Just ask how old she is…Seriously look at those shoes, she may be older than me….Oh crap, shouldn’t have asked…My God, I could be her mother!”  I think my recent obsession with age has something to do with the fact that I’m definitely part of the older demographic at my current workplace.  Colleagues often tell me they're in their early twenties and I’m like, “When did I become the old one?” 
   Of course it didn’t help that recently one of the children at our facility remarked that the sweater I was wearing made my hands appear really wrinkly.  Granted, it was an embroidered, “granny type,” garment that was in question.  Perhaps that escalated the crypt keeper appearance of my claws.  I guess what it comes down to is no matter how much I try to preserve my appearance my, “character,” is going to show.  I can’t freeze time in an attempt to stay pristine. 
   As a result of this revelation, I’ve decided to start actually enjoying the secret treasures in my closet.  I figure they’re never going to look better on me than they do now.  This statement brings me to the final point of this blog post.  Sometimes glamour shots don’t go so good.  There have been several occasions when I've taken pictures and thought, “Wow, give it up girl.”  I think these moments simply make me more desperate to get the perfect photographs in order to reassure this, “old lady,” that she’s still got it.  After looking at the pictures above, my matured mitts don’t bother me as much.  I think, “Yeah, this lady’s still got it and she’s deserves to flaunt it with the finest luxuries she can afford.”  In this blogger's opinion, that idea goes for any woman reading this post.  I highly recommend dressing up in your favorite things and taking hundreds of pictures of yourself until you get the ones that remind you of just how fabulous you are…despite your hag hands.  Also, keep in mind glove season is upon us and Ralph Lauren has some serious beauties to offer.  Hopefully they will fit over this treasure hunting pirate’s hook.

Skirt:  Vintage
Boots:  Dr. Martens
Belt:  Anthropologie
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Bracelets:  Thrifted

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ade Due Damballa...Give Me The Power, I Beg Of You

   As usual the title of this post has little to do with the fashion aspect of my blog.  In fact, the only connection between it and the outfit I’m wearing is that I took these pictures around Halloween while I was binge watching horror movies.  The irony here is it’s now November and, considering our country’s political climate, I find Chucky’s voodoo chant even more appropriate for the times.  It’s not unlikely that in the future we will find those in power reciting these words in the hopes of possessing other humans to carry out their unseemly deeds.  Actually writing this now, I’m not so sure that’s not what’s already happened.  Perhaps on Election Day the people of the United States were under the ancient supernatural, “spell,” of one individual’s aggressive rhetoric.  Please forgive me.  I know our country’s situation at this time is not something to take lightly.  However, I have to joke in order to keep my feelings of panic at bay.
   I can hear the sighs of many individuals now.  “Another drama queen…another sore loser…why can’t we all just come together and love one another?”  I’ve read all of these statements on my Facebook feed.  However, let’s not kid ourselves.  There’s not a lot of love in the air right now.  Do I believe that our nation’s next president is an intentional hatemonger?  No, I don’t.  However, I do believe he has made enough careless statements regarding race, gender, and sexual orientation to enable those in our country with serious prejudices.  In my opinion Trump is a rabble-rouser, and a darn good one at that.  Specifically it's his supporters with extreme viewpoints that frighten me the most.  Not only is it disturbing that in the year 2016 there are so many of them, but also that they feel there is a political leader who will provide a platform for their archaic worldview.  Basically, when the KKK is inspired to have a parade in honor of our next President there is a problem. 
   Unfortunately, I believe many well-meaning individuals in this country have resigned to the idea that, “Well, it’s not my problem.”  Honestly, this apathetic outlook is quite alluring.  Even this blogger will shamefully admit to a few moments of, “Bah, all these politicians are the same anyway.”  Considering my position in life, this statement may be true.  I am a Midwestern, white, American citizen who lives a financially privileged lifestyle due to the incredible hard work of, “my man.”  When one really considers it my reality is the type of 1950’s lifestyle that radical conservatives would probably approve of…often endorse…are desperate to protect.  So why am I so distressed at the outcome of this election? I blame it on two words, empathy and compassion.  It’s this blogger’s opinion that one can endorse these values while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle, (full of frivolous spending and ridiculous glamour shots.)  In other words, the nice guy does not always have to finish last…except this time we did…and it hurt.
   Despite the fact that there are countless reasons I could define as to why I am so dismayed, I will use one story as my final explanation.  Currently I work at a facility that provides childcare for low income families.  Many of the kids that I interact with are the children of immigrants.  The day after the election my workplace was an extremely tense environment.  Several kids were visibly upset.  In fact, one child came up to me in tears stating, “Donald Trump was going to make her father go away.”  I could see the anxiety and pain in her eyes.  I put on a brave face for her and grabbed her hand stating, “The President is only one person and needs the approval of many others in order to get things done.”  What my broken heart could not reveal to this terrified little girl was that this is precisely what she should be afraid of. 

Blazer:  Thrifted
Dress:  Vintage  (Handmade)
Belt:  Etoile    
Boots:  Vintage
Purse:  Wilson’s Leather
Necklace:  Zandbroz Variety Fargo
Sunglasses:  Vintage

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Phooey to Patterns!

   Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the patterns of my life.  I’ve mentioned multiple times that I'm a true creature of habit.  I don't like change.  At least, that’s what I’ve always thought.  However lately, I’m noticing I’m more adaptable than I first considered myself.  My God, could I be open to spontaneity? 
   For example, in the pictures above I’m wearing a button down shirt paired with my sweater vest rather than my usual, "uniform," of a solid colored t-shirt.  “What, that’s just insanity!” you think.  Agreed, however since beginning my new job I’ve been wearing almost nothing but button down shirts.  Surprisingly, I’ve realized I really like them.  In fact, this break in routine was so major that my boyfriend, (whose name is Al, so you can probably guess his interest level when regarding fashion,) even said to me, “So when did you start wearing dress shirts?"
   I guess I began wearing them around the same time I discovered the polo shirt.  While I will NEVER wear a polo shirt anywhere other than work, I will say they're an easy way to casually, “dress up."  Again, I had a fellow co-worker comment to me, “I have a bunch of polo shirts at home I never wear.  I should give you some of them since you like them so much.”  In response to this I looked around the room and thought, “Who the hell would wear ugly polo shirts?...wait…is she talking to me?” 
   Actually, it’s not just my clothing patterns that have started to alter.  I also have been trying to relax my behavior.  Just last week I finally was able to relaunch my, "dead in the water," music blog.  Up until now, I simply haven’t had the time to pay attention to it.  Between work and everyday tasks I couldn't keep up with the rigid guidelines I had created for myself.  I mean, who really has the time to listen to an album on three separate occasions, take notes, do additional internet research, and then write a detailed report reviewing it's content.  Honestly, the whole process kind of sucked the joy out of an otherwise lovely hobby.  “Who burns incense while doing homework?” one may wonder.  "Sigh...Yep, that would be me."
   However, in my quest to break patterns, and possibly enjoy my albums again, I’ve decided to say less and listen more.  My music posts are now shorter and there will be no note taking!  In addition, after releasing last week's post, on a THURSDAY rather than my usual Wednesday, I’m feeling like a real rebel.  Actually, I was feeling so out of character that I decided I would go to the grocery store today WITHOUT A LIST!!!  I literally thought I may become paralyzed in the store without one.  To my surprise, I ended up leaving with what I considered a decent selection of responsible food…minus the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…and the French Onion Dip…and the Totino’s pizzas…oh yeah, and don’t forget about those delicious cheesy crackers they make into little peanut butter sandwiches….fine, who am I kidding?  All of that crap would have been on my official list anyway, had I made one.
   I guess I just wanted to finally be able to state I’m starting to realize the potential in the unexpected.  Right now I seem to be going through a phase where I want to take my regular patterns and mix them all up.  Damn it! I’m going to wear polka dots, hearts, and floral prints all at the same time!  Do you want to know why I would do such a thing?  Because I’m a button down shirt wearing, no note taking bad-ass, who shops for groceries without a list.  I anticipate I’ll also be drinking a lot of Pepto-Bismol in the near future…WITHOUT measuring it first.

Sweater Vest:  Thrifted  (Handmade)
Jeans:  Kasil Workshop
Boots:  Dr. Martens
Purse:  Monserat De Lucca
Scarf:  Etsy
Ring:  Guess