Friday, October 31, 2014

Grand Rapids Street Style: Brooke's Vintage Liz Claiborne Glasses


Brooke's Vintage Liz Claiborne Glasses

Meet Brooke from Rockford, Michigan!

I met Brooke at a punk matinee at Grand Rapid's Tip Top Deluxe this past Sunday! She was sitting at the bar with a friend when I complimented her hair (love this assymetrical cut on her) and asked if she was wearing anything thrifted. Her response? "Everything I'm wearing was a gift to me." She laughed. She had recently cut the sleeves off her jean jacket, and she talked about how she tries to thrift most of her clothes. "Except for these Betsy Johnson boots," she said. "These I bought online. But I only paid $100!" I love Brooke's laid back, layered style! 


 Go ahead, cut the arms off your jean jacket. Don't be scared! I did it recently, too, and I've worn the heck out of mine!
 Vintage glasses are THE BOMB. And I love me some Liz Claiborne.
 Casually layer jeans or jean jackets with gray and black for a cool and casual look.
 Shorts with leggings, tights, and boots=so fall appropriate.

 A good pair of boots is totally worth it. Every time.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

MIXED MEDIA: mixing metals and mixing prints and textures for fall fashion


mixing metals and mixing prints and textures for fall fashion

I had fun mixing houndstooth, tweed, gold, silver, black and brown in a recent outfit (which was primarily thrifted with the exception of my shoes and necklace!).

A little bit of menswear, a little bit of silver and gold, and mixed fall fabrics!

You've seen the zebra bag here before. ;)

b g i k m j h

What do you have cooking for fall? Are you mixing anything up?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seven Plaid Looks for Fall: Thrifted Fashion

I've been rocking plaid since September but I feel like October is the month to "up the ante". Check out my Pinterest "Love Plaid" board here for more inspiration!

1) Red Buffalo Plaid with Black and a sock bun

See the blog post "Give The Plaid To Me" here

IMG_0253b-22) Long sleeved cotton Madras plaid under a knit sweater

See the blog post "Let Your Tail Hang Out" here

IMG_00063) Plaid shirt dress with cowboy boots

See the blog post "Thrifted Plaid Dress" here
4) Tartan Plaid pleated skirt with white turtleneck and navy tights

See the blog post "Tuck It In" here
5) Stripes with teal, black and classic Tartan plaid

See the blog post "Look What I Found" here
IMG_00496) Red double-breasted plaid blazer with vintage funky print blouse and jeans

See the blog post "A Plaid Thanksgiving" here
IMG_22387) Blue Tattersall plaid blazer with a striped dress and chunky heeled boots

See the blog post "Seven Dollar Stripes and Plaid" here

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clarity in Transparency: Delighting in the Small Once Again With Maura

Image courtesy of

Clarity in Transparency: 
Delighting in the Small Once Again With Maura

 “That’s a pretty color,” Sarah says, swirling her toes in the water gently next to her father’s foot. “Thank you,” Maura replies softly, with happiness. “It’s called ‘Cherries on Fire’.”

     I’m in love with Transparent, a wonderful new 2014 Amazon Original Series featuring an incredible Jeffrey Tambor as a newly transitioned transgendered woman, Maura. Formerly known as a retired male Professor of political science with three children ranging from twenty-somethings to thirty-something, Maura has begun her transition in later life, and the dark, emotive comedy and drama that ensues have been totally captivating me (a person who rarely watches television).
     Why? Well, first and foremost, I find the writing and acting to be totally superb. Secondarily, like any other human connecting with an art form, Transparent hit me in the proverbial “feels”, and it has sparked so many wonderful thoughts inside of me about body image and how we, as humans, journey through life with such amazingly complex senses of self.
     The emotional stress and complexity of transitioning as a transgender person is something that I will never be able to fully understand, because it isn’t my personal journey—but that doesn’t mean I can’t be an ally for my dear transgender friends, and all of the wonderful people I know (and don’t know) who identify on the LGBTQ spectrum. In fact, I’ll soon be offering a very thought-provoking feature and interview from an incredibly eloquent friend on what it is like to transition as a transgender woman, and that experience has been so educational for me. It’s important for me to offer that perspective because it isn’t fair for me to speak for a group of people who can absolutely do it for themselves, and powerfully so.
     Still, whether you are a cisgender individual (someone who identifies with their biological gender) or a transgender individual (someone who feels a deep disconnect with their biological gender and identifies emotionally and otherwise with the opposing gender), you will certainly feel a thousand moments of uncertainty in your lifetime.
     Do I look fat?  
     Do I smell bad?
     Do people find me attractive?
     Do I have a silly sounding voice?
     Are people laughing at me when I walk out of the room?

     If you have had the easier road, like me, of identifying as cisgender, you may have been taking many everyday “luxuries” for granted.
     Think about it for a moment. Let it sink in. For a transgendered man, something as mundane as trimming a beard could become the most rejoiced act of self-care ever cherished (instead of a dreaded chore).  For a transgendered woman, carefully brushing out the tangles from long hair could be blissful, rather than an annoying. For an individual who simply desires, so wholly, to present to the world the physical identity they feel is their own but yet they do not possess, the simple form of the body and its grooming rituals could become a beautiful ceremony. Yet, it could be a beautiful ceremony for anyone of any gender—and why not?
     Concerning the subtle nuances of gender—everything from the assumed power of a male to the soft femininity of a woman; a confidant stance or a delicate gait—it is well know that our society pushes an unfathomable amount of gender appropriation on people every day. So many imposed ideals—“Wear this, not that”, or “Be sexy but not too sexy”, or “You’re not allowed to self-express that way”—create such an unrest among people that all humans (cisgendered and transgendered alike) experience turmoil at times in their lives, as they construct their “looking-glass selves”.    
     No matter our gender, or sexual orientations (two entirely separate entities), we can find moments of joy inside our bodies and senses of self. We just need to slow down—to Maura speed.
      “That’s a pretty color,” Sarah says, swirling her toes in the water gently next to her father’s foot. “Thank you,” Maura replies softly, with happiness. “It’s called ‘Cherries on Fire’.”
     This quote, from Transparent, is at the very end of the half-hour long episode six, “The Wilderness”.
     Maura is relaxing in the hot tub with her oldest daughter, Sarah, processing another difficult day that has been filled with plenty of transitional turmoil (and not just her own). As she takes a drag from her cigarette, she stares into the darkness, and I image she is reflecting on all of the minute victories and hefty barriers that she has already encountered in her transition to womanhood.
     Yet, right from episode one, Maura stops to take joy in so many small moments. A blouse that she is excited to wear, clip-in hair extensions, and the pretty toe-nail polish that her daughter has complimented her on in the shade of “Cherries on Fire”. She relishes these opportunities because the joy she feels in being able to finally express herself gives her an abundant amount of gratitude.
     What if anyone, at any time, could tap in to that kind of gratitude?
     What if you took a few moments today to appreciate a freckle, a slender finger, a boisterous laugh, a crisp collar, a perfectly plucked eyebrow, or a bit of sparkle on your ear? This is not limited to any gender or orientation. It’s about being present—taking joy in the small things that you can do for yourself each and every day. Even if you feel as though you can’t stand your body for one more moment. Even if your body isn’t the one you want to be in. Perhaps you can find one feature, or one accessory, or one self-care ritual that you can express gratitude and joy for. I know that moment is worth experiencing.
     I’m turning in for the night—in fact, looking forward to watching the next episode of Transparent—on my Amazon Prime account whilst relaxing in bed, but I’m going to be watching with a conscious mind, thinking of ways in which I can feel gratitude for this life I live, and this body that I’m living in.
     It’s a gift.

Additional Reading and Resources

Transparent Official Trailer from Amazon Studios

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What I wore to the Lumber Baron's Ball: 1920's style and Event Recap


What I wore to the Lumber Baron's Ball: 

1920's style and Event Recap!

We had a great time at the Lumber Baron's Ball! The staff of Watermark 920 did an excellent job as usual, elegantly decorating and creating a perfect 1920's atmosphere! The food from Ryke's was delicious, of course, and the band was great, too. 

The outfit I wore was totally secondhand and pulled from my own closet--I couldn't really find a fab sequin-y number and so I opted to create a softer look with a 1920's waistline utilizing a brown skirt and shirt combo. The pearl string was thrifted for 99 cents from Hope's Outlet--and the beaded purse was as well, some time ago, for two dollars.  The brown rounded toe heels (though a little tall for that decade) were purchased secondhand at Love Inc. last year for around 5 dollars. If you've followed my blog, you may have already seen that the flapper style headband was a DIY from completely secondhand items I had laying around the house!

If you consider that none of these items were truly new, that brings my outfit cost down to absolutely nothing!

Check out the pics below for more of my recap and also see the entire album on my photography page!




^^^ This gal had the right idea about snagging something glitzy for the event--a budget friendly and eco-friendly RENTAL at Rent The Runway! Have you checked out this website? Wear a pricey dress for a night or two, at a fraction of the cost. =)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just in Time for Halloween: DIY Flapper Headband


Just in Time for Halloween: 
DIY Flapper Headband

Looking for a pretty and inexpensive Halloween costume? Dressing for the Lumber Baron's Ball this last Saturday (1920's themed) taught me that putting together a decade appropriate outfit can be a totally frugal affair! I'll have a re-cap of my outfit (which was totally based out of my closet and thrifted, of course) later, but I wanted to share the simple and 100% secondhand "flapper-style" headband I created using only items I had laying around the house, and my sewing machine.


In fact, that's why I'm sharing! Let's face it, you could easily go out and buy some sequined elastic and a feather, bust out your hot glue gun, and make a head dress in minutes. But why buy something new and waste resources when you have all the scraps and bits at home to put together this romantic gem?



I gathered my materials; a fabric flower I had laying around, reclaimed cotton lace, a vintage brooch, some odds and ends pearls...a few random get the picture!

Also:  thin waistband elastic, scissors, a spool of thread, and a needle.

I had the elastic laying around in my sewing drawer. I measured a piece at a comfortable width for the circumference of my head, and then I sewed the ends together. 


Then, I stretched the elastic while stitching some salvaged cotton lace over it, to "pretty up" the elastic. I wanted a softer, antique look with the white--rather than bright, flashy sequins.


I arranged the flower and brooch the way I liked it (positioned off to the side and together, as the focal piece) and then sewed them on to the elastic, trying the headband on every now and again to test the fit/mockup.


From that point, I sewed all of the jewelry bits around the flower and brooch (underneath, and around to create a "crowned" effect) and...voila!


Clearly, it's not rocket science--I mean, I sewed some stuff on to an elastic headband! 

But the idea here is:

What can you use for your Halloween costume this year that you already have laying around? How can you reduce your consumption of goods, and what might you be able to salvage or use secondhand?

Share your creative ideas on my Thrift Trick Facebook page!

Monday, October 6, 2014

COUNTDOWN to the Lumber Baron's Ball: What to Wear

COUNTDOWN to the Lumber Baron's Ball: 
What to Wear!

It's almost here! The Lakeshore Museum Center Lumber Baron's Ball at Watermark 920!(Check out my other announcement and hair post here). I must admit--I'm not certain what I'm wearing yet! I think that this era is easy to nail if you are dressing as a man--check out the great resource (shown below) I found on Pinterest with 1920's men's fashion. You can also view my entire Pinterest board (1920's Life) here!

1920s Fashion for Men: A Complete Suit Guide


SO. What if you are a woman and you don't have the luxury of finding a fantastic vintage dress from the 1920's in time for the ball? Read on...

DRESSES Well, they weren't made to hug curves. That is the only sad aspect of 1920's style for those of us who like to highlight our curves! Fortunately, showing a little leg or arms, or even cleavage, was more acceptable. The dresses of the 1920's were designed to hang a bit on the torso, so the idea is a low waistline. However, they were "glitzed" up with feathers, sequins, bows, pins and all kinds of adornment, so if you find yourself in a pinch, you can always try:

  •  "Bedazzling" a dress that is already in your closet with the right basic shape! 

  • Layering a long shirt over a seperate skirt with a low belt--drapey necklaces or fancy brooches can help the items flow together!

    SHOES Get a feeling for the classic "T-strap" show with the picture on the left, or visit this awesome gallery from Vintage Dancer to see what other types of styles were popular in the 1920's! Remember, overall, that platforms and tall, spikey heels were not popular. I personally think this would be the easiest element of your outfit to thrift! 
The Oxford look and heels with buttons, straps and low chunky heels were popular.

Looking for accessory inspiration? 

We've already covered hair and hats in my hair inspiration post--so it's time to get started.

What are you wearing to the ball?

Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm Bringing Beauty Back | Re-Writing "All About That Bass"

I'm Bringing Beauty Back | Re-Writing "All About That Bass"

OK. So, I'm late "weighing" in on this one, and I know it.

The thing is, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this song because, well, it's everywhere! On the radio, when I'm out shopping, topping Taylor Swift in the charts! And, unfortunately, stuck in my fiance's head, which completely enraged him and made me laugh.

People obviously like the song, because it's hugely popular at the moment. When it first came out, so many dear friends messaged me to share it with me. It was sweet that they thought of me when they heard it, and the association was well intended. However, upon my first listen all the way through, I was pretty perturbed by the lyrics. I also didn't care so much for the fact that it seemed as if Trainor was "accessorizing" with black people. If you haven't heard the song yet, check it out. The lyrics are seemingly innoccous until you get into the first verse, where Trainor begins to drop little notions that don't exactly resonate well with me. 

As many others before me have noted, the song seems to suggest that women should frame their ideas around their physical worth based on what men like...but then it gets worse. Trainor calls out the "skinny bitches" in a passive-aggressive voice, but recants a moment later when she claims all of us are "perfect".  We know this isn't helping women out there--I mean, it makes sense that we would validate all bodies and shapes. You can't possibly succeed at raising the confidence of a particular set of women by tearing another set down. This is only creating unrest and feelings of inadequacy amongst people who really DO need to embrace their perfection.

Some people claimed that listeners should "just have a sense of humor about it", when folks like me expressed concern. Against all good judgment, I made the mistake of reading the comment section from an article regarding Trainor's recent chart-topping, only to find this comment from Bill, who wrote on 9/11/14 at

"I think it's fun. It's obvious she's not a bombshell and she knows that. It's obvious that this type of song is an uphill battle for someone like her, and she knows it. So, she put all that aside and made the song anyways just for fun to see what would happen."


I'm sorry, but why is Meghan Trainor not a bombshell? And how is her song like an uphill battle? Please do explain. Because her entire physical persona is presented for your evaluation. So enlighten us, Bill, on all of the "obvious" shortcomings that she has.

But I digress.

We (women of all shapes) have worked long and hard to appreciate our bodies. We simply can't tear eachother down, and though it may seem that a "thin" girl couldn't possibly be offended by the lyrics to this song (a possible perception of a world thought to be dominated by some sort of elite perfection), we have to consider the message we're sending.

Though there have been so many interesting commentaries on this matter, I thought it might be thought-provoking to simply flip the script. 

Here are selective passages from "All About That Bass", rewritten from the opposing perspective:

Yeah it's pretty clear, I ain't no size fourteen
But I can shake it, shake it like I'm a beauty queen
'Cause I got that perfect shape that all the boys chase
All the right gaps in all the right places

Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size
She says, boys they like little flat tummies to hold at night
You know I won't be no thick-figured, plus size or big and tall,
So, if that's what's you're into
Then go ahead and move along

I'm bringing skinny back
Go ahead and tell them chubby bitches “Hey!”
No, I'm just playing I know you think you're fat,
But I'm here to tell you that,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top


It's pretty clear how upset people would be if these lyrics were in a hit song. Perhaps outraged might be a better explanation! I have a feeling that, deep down inside, the intent for "All About That Bass" was positive. Yet, when a song is so catchy, and really gets gets in to your head, that's even more opportunity for the same message or mantra to be sent, over and over again, to your sub-conscious mind. It becomes a subliminal meditation!

When it comes to messages about self-acceptance, we can only hope that more high-profile artists will begin incorporating lyrics that empower and compliment ALL body types, and more importantly, encourage self-love that goes beyond the reflection in the mirror.

In closing, I've re-written just a small portion of "All About That Bass" with a message that I feel is more important than booty--which, by the way, NEVER LEFT THE BUILDING (so we didn't need to bring it back).

(Re-written Thrift Trick Style):

I'm bringing beauty back

Of all varieties and cultures that

Women belong to--we’ll define it as

Your soul and spirit. 

Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!

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