I AM (the) MOANA (of thrift shopping)!

In the same way that Moana comes from voyagers, I come from dumpster divers. My Great Granny Florence would go “shopping” at the dumpsters in Alexandria, VA and bring home any and every item that was in reasonable and recognizable condition. My first jewelry box was a mini wooden wardrobe-style contraption (like, 11 inches tall) that she rescued from one such dumpster. It made.my.life. and I still have it.  The things she didn’t gift or use for herself, she cleaned, laundered, and donated to the Goodwill. Amazing, right?!

Florence was a thrifty caretaker which might have come from raising six children by herself during WWII and having to stretch every resource as far as she possibly could.  It also could have just been her nature.  It’s surprising – or maybe not? – that her daughter (my dad’s mom) was the exact opposite, indulging in the finest clothes, etc. Well, I always loved the excitement and passion that I saw on Great Granny’s face when she showed us the treasures that she found and imagined the ways that they would be used in their next life.  As I grew up, learned about the world, and was responsible for buying my own clothes, I quickly realized that thrift shopping was made for me: I can thrift clothes that are higher quality than those I could afford new, and I get a warm gushy feeling inside from saving someone else’s well-loved items from going into a landfill. And when I want to update my wardrobe? I can take the high quality, well-loved pieces back to a Goodwill for their next journey!

I went shopping last week for the first time in a li’l while and it was a smashing success! I hit up the fancy Goodwill (in Westport, CT) with the goal of tackling the pants situation. Pants and I have a thing. But y’all it paid off! $60 later and this was my haul.

Yes, I took individual photos of each item. And yes, I learned adobe photoshop so that I could make this collage. #goals #motivation #marketableskills #someoneplzhireme Clockwise from top left: Jeanne Pierre cotton brick red sweater (obsessed with the texture); Ann Taylor Loft black and white geometric sweater shirt; Abercrombie&Fitch pink crop sweater with moose detail (moose’s have my heart); Levi’s distressed, cropped denim; Talbot’s cropped blue pants; plaid sweater with pink stripe from unknown brand.

The Levi’s were $25 which is more than I’ve spent on a single item of clothing in a really long time.* But they made me feel SO GOOD that I decided to go for it. I can’t explain it. I haven’t worn an outfit this deliberately shapeless in a long time but something about The Pants feels absolutely magical. I love the rise, I love the wash, and there’s a certain other je ne sais quois that puts some extra pep in my step.

Denim and sweater from Westport Goodwill, thrifted teal, Talbot’s peacoat from Charlottesville Goodwill, white headscarf from http://www.sleepandsparkle.com, shoes by Naturalizer via Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale.

The Talbot’s pants were $11.99. I saw the shade of blue and immediately recognized them as being the match to a Talbot’s skirt I thrifted about 5 years ago in Charlottesville. It was the first skirt I bought in my adult life that fit my curves in all the right places so I was thrilled to see a matching pair of pants!

The bears and I had a post-nap dance party. Everything piece of this outfit brings me intense joy.
Grand Central Terminal
My dear friend Hannah and me in the Grand Central Terminal after a restaurant week double date with our favorite people. I’m wearing my new fave Talbot’s pants.  (Hannah’s style has always been #goals for me!)

Moral of the story? Go in with a goal. Y’all I tried on 75% of the pants that were in the Goodwill. And 99.99% of those fit like a joke. But I was so excited about the two pairs I bought that I wore them the same day I bought them and without laundering them. *gasp* And those baggy Levi’s and that red sweater? I wore them 3 days in a row without a second thought! If the clothes don’t make me want to dance (I had a good 45 minute post-shopping-nap dance party) then they don’t come home with me.

The headscarves are, of course, from http://www.sleepandsparkle.com. I hope that people pass my scarves down for generations the way that I pass on my favorite clothes and accessories!

*Note: All of my shoes – except for a pair of steel toe cowboy boots that I bought at a thrift store in Laramie, Wyoming – come from retail stores. I wear a women’s 12.5 which I can’t reliably thrift.

Thrift tip: Forget the numbers

Hi friends! I’m jumping in here with another tall tip / thrift tip.

Don’t look at number sizes at the thrift store. Have an idea of your body’s shape and scout out clothes that match what you know about yourself.

I would have passed by my all time favorite thrifting finds – a Talbot’s pea coat, Express jean jacket, and badass steel toe cowboy boots – if I had been hung up on numbers. My pea coat is a PETITE! You guys I’m 6 FEET TALL. But when I saw the coat on the rack I knew the darts looked like they were in the right place for me and the length looked like it would hit just above my knees – PERFECT!

Bonus: my peacoat doubles as the perfect travel blanket!

On the other hand my jean jacket is an XL. I have thrifted clothes in every size from XXS to XXL.

Rocking my thrifted Express jean jacket (from Goodwill) with a thrifted dress from the German thrift store, Humana, in Cologne, Germany.

Women’s sizing has changed a LOT in the last 20-30 years: a size 10 in 2000 might be closer to a size 2-4 now, or vice versa.  And that’s fine!

Your body is fabulous EXACTLY the way that it is. Don’t fall prey to the nonsense that is spouted by the fashion industry. Know yourself, know your style, and rock the hell out of it!

Tall Tips Tuesday

This week’s tip is my favorite: buy yourself some shorts and let ‘er rip. Not the shorts, but your life.  Yes shorts can be that life changing.  If you are tall, chronically ill, and/or like to play, then this tip is for you.

My favorite brand of shorts is Jockey’s women’s slip shorts from Target because they are a lightweight athletic material AND they cover me up. Also they’re NOT SPANX! They’re JUST shorts! #FREEDOM!

Tall problems answers: I bought this BCBG dress at Goodwill and guess what? It’s too short. *Surprise!* Just kidding that’s not a surprise.  Instead of crying I wore slip shorts and then I went to take my recycling to the recycling center.  #missionaccomplished
Chronically ill problems answers: If you zoom in on the right of this photo you’ll see me – a chronically ill person – plopped on the floor of the gallows at the El De House in Cologne.  It doesn’t feel awesome to not be able to support myself in gravity but I’d rather show up, sit down, and learn about the Third Reich than not show up at all.  And wearing shorts means I don’t have to work hard to keep myself covered which is good because I work hard to look awake.
Inner child problems answers: You guys if you wear shorts then you can wear dresses AND do cartwheels in the park!  You can also do cartwheels in the park if you wear a dress withOUT shorts.  It just depends on whether you want an audience.

Shorts are my favorite!

Tall Tip Tuesday!

This is the first post in the #talltiptuesday series, inspired by Stasia Savasuk and her #sistertiptuesday!

When Stasia announced the 6th round of Style School at the end of last year I thought “I’m doing it!”  But then I thought, “I’m a 6 ft tall triangle. There is no amount of wisdom in the world that is going to help me put together what I WANT to wear since I can’t even find a shirt that both covers my wrists AND my belly button.  My body is hopeless and I’m doomed!”  #shakespeareanmelodrama

L to R: Wearing dad’s college basketball shorts and brother’s too-small shirt; Wearing an expensive, too-short shirt AND SLEEPING ON THE PVTA while stone cold sober! Narcolepsy much?; I give up.

Stasia calmed my fears and I went on to let SSS6 change my life.  Today I have a combo tip/sappy message of hope for all of the tall gals out there who, like me, are frustrated that you’ll never find clothes that will allow you to express your personality because the legs are too short, the sleeves are too short, the WAIST is ALWAYS TOO SHORT!  OR you’re a triangle and you can’t find dresses that fit your top half AND your bottom half.

This is my formula as a tall triangle.

These days, I put on some tights (winter) or skim shirts (summer) and tie a shirt at my real waist – over a baggy dress with a wonky, too short waist – and I’m freakin done!  Once I understood what my proportions were (thank you, Stasia!), I was able to gerryrig tall outfits using items from thrift stores that worked for me and my power words.  Now I have access to basically any dress anywhere ever.

Why yes, that is Matisse’s blue nude with Tobias Funke’s cutoff jean shorts.  #nevernude #arresteddevelopment

The bottom line is that if you don’t feel fantastic, “change your pants, change your life” i.e. it’s not about your body, it’s about the damn clothes.  This is my favorite Stasia-ism!  Because why should any of us ever feel frustrated about having the body that we have?  There’s nothing we can do about it except love it, adorn it, and use it to do all of the amazing things that we have planned for ourselves!