Thursday, May 26, 2011

My favorite pair of jeans, now short!

Not too long before I moved to Maryland in 2005, I found an adorable pair of pink jeans at Plato's Closet. It didn't take long before they became my favorite pair of pants—they were already soft and broken-in, they stayed up without a belt but still gave me plenty of leg room (a frequent problem I have with jeans is that they are designed to be skin-tight, which I hate. Consequently, I usually buy them a size or two too large, causing the waistband to be much too loose), and, heck, they were pink! At that time, I felt like walking around in pink pants was a pretty daring thing to do.

Well, five or six years of being my favorite certainly didn't make these pants any newer, and by the end of 2010, they were faded in spots, faintly stained in others, and patched at the knee. I knew their end was near, but I was reluctant to let go my only remaining comfortable pair of pants. But their fate was sealed when I splattered blood all over them in an unfortunate accident just after Christmas.

Fortunately, before I threw them in the rag box, I observed that the upper portion of these pants was relatively unscathed. Sure, they were no longer the brilliant color they used to be, but at least the fading was pretty even throughout. So I set them aside for repurposing.

This morning, I finally finished them. It was an easy fix. I trimmed them to mid-thigh length, hemmed the bottoms, and voilĂ ! A new pair of shorts for my rapidly-growing collection!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Did you ever want something so bad, you would sell out your soul and your entire value system to have it? What would cause you to stoop to such degeneracy? Drugs? Riches? A Lamborghini?

For me, it's Yoshi.

Not too long ago, I decided I could no longer function as a human being if I did not have a T-shirt with Yoshi on it. I have some T-shirt transfer paper, so I thought about making my own Yoshi shirt. I scoured the Internet for pictures of that huggable dinosaur. I found some, terribly lo-res, which I would have had to beef up with significant reworking in a vector graphics program. I was prepared to put in the hours for such a noble cause, but then I remembered what happens to T-shirt transfers after a few washes. They crack and look awful; thus I concluded I'd have to resort to commercially produced apparel.

And now it's confession time: After some serious online shopping, I finally settled on a Yoshi shirt that would meet my needs. It was 21 dollars, after factoring in shipping. Twenty-one whoppers! I shock myself. You understand that usually my upper limit for any T-shirt is 5 dollars. In making this purchase, I'd not only completely tossed thrift to the wind, but I'd done it for an overly commercialized Nintendo character! My shame ran deep.

But then on Saturday, my new T-shirt made its first public appearance on the streets of Annapolis. I was walking along the sidewalk in a semi-daze, as is my habit, when a kid and his parents passed by. The kid shouted, with all the enthusiasm of an 8-year old with no inhibitions, "YOSHI!" That broke through my stupor. I had just gotten the reaction every unfashionista dreams of—unsolicited (thoroughly, genuinely excited) approval of my outfit! Victory is mine.

You know what's scary about all this? With my Yoshi craving assuaged, I'm starting to feel the burning need to have a T-shirt with characters from Cave Story on it. Have I developed some strange video-game-fan-fashion fixation? Am I going to need an intervention? Only time will tell.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Run errands like a rock star

Now when I got dressed this morning, I had every intention of loafing around the house all day. Thus, when I selected my clothing, I wasn't shooting for glamor—just comfort. I grabbed a plain black T-shirt because I didn't feel like wearing any of my other ones. Then I chose a knee-length white skirt simply because it was really the only thing I have that would look OK with a black T-shirt. Except jeans, and those are anything but comfortable. I tried to settle down for a good day of clerical work, when suddenly, I decided I absolutely could not wait any longer to acquire a decent office chair.

You know, sitting at a computer blogging all day (and occasionally doing some real work, too) is no good for one's posture (and we all know one never looks good with a hunchback, no matter how fine the clothes over it) and my mutilated old desk chair with no backrest was just not going to cut it any more. So I abruptly changed my plans and decided to run out and fetch myself a new sitting apparatus.

Every unfashionista worth her salt knows that any public appearance, no matter how small—even a jaunt to Ikea to pick up mass-produced office furniture—is worthy of a proper dose of vanity. Thus, I completed my formerly humble outfit with a rather ostentatious pair of knee-high boots. When a friend of mine saw these for the first time, he dubbed them "rock star boots," owing, I'm sure, to the rather industrial-looking treads and the gold studs doing accent duty around the feet and at the top. These boots already made an appearance in a previous post, but this time I have made an effort to show you exactly what they look like. I bought these boots used on eBay and probably paid too much for them (considering that the zipper tab broke off one of them the second time I wore them), but I was desperate for a pair of black boots that didn't have pointy toes like my old ones. And also had the entire heel intact, and not worn down a half-inch from walking for miles in the park. But if I paid too much for these boots, I love them nonetheless. They are probably the edgiest thing in my wardrobe. And not to mention, I wore them on a first date with someone who ended up being my steady date. Lucky boots! 10.99$ plus 12.99$ shipping suddenly doesn't seem that bad at all.

Just for the fun of it, in my photo of the whole ensemble, I have digitally added makeup such as I would wear if I were indeed a rock star but hadn't yet made it so big that I had a personal trainer to help me lose ten pounds and a personal stylist to make my thin hair miraculously poofy and a personal makeup artist to inform me that the lime green eyeshadow and fuschia lipstick was gimmicky and if I was going to use such colors I should use them in a bigger way.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not to be confused with "hip"

Tree-hugging earth mother that I am, I own my fair share of long flowy skirts and long flowy tunics. Fashion dictates that loose clothing on top should be paired with tighter clothing on the bottom, and vice versa. This makes it clear that there really is a body under all those folds of fabric.

Hippie sensibilities, on the other hand, dictate that everything you wear must be loose and flowy—if you wear anything at all. This makes it clear that you care more about peace, love, and the environment than about how you look. A noble goal. And one that I'd honestly prefer not to reach. Fashion is fabulous. I do my part for the planet by buying everyone else's old castoffs. But that doesn't mean I want to look like I'm wearing old castoffs. Nor does it mean I want to be completely hidden under hand-embroidered, all-natural pieces of sackcloth.

On occasion, I do this anyway. Rainy days like this one, where the temperature is expected to hover between sixty and seventy all day, are perfect for a long-sleeved yet lightweight blouse. And Saturdays like this one (I wrote this post a few days ago), when I'll spend the majority of my time seated in front of my computer wanting to be comfortable, are perfect for long flowy skirts. On days like this one, I discard my aesthetic sensibilities in favor of comfort and don my full hippie gear. The result is below.

Confession: I tailored this shirt to be slightly less sackcloth-like than it was originally. Now, while it's a bear to pull on over my shoulders, it's narrow enough around the waist that I still look like I have a waist.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thrift Store Find of the ... Indeterminate Time Period

Patience pays off.

For over a year now, I've been thinking about getting some winter boots. Ever since those back-to-back blizzards between 2009 and 2010, to be exact. Pairs and pairs of Uggs and their knockoffs met with a turned-up nose. Pay that kind of money for ugly shoes with soles that leak in the snow? Ugh. You're kidding me! Eventually, I settled for a pair of waterproof hiking boots, since I needed hiking boots anyway, but I always kept alert for a pair of real boots. Boots that were both within my price range (i.e. nothing to next-to-nothing) and capable of handling foot-deep snow without a whimper.

Today (just in time for the arrival of summer) I found them. I feel blessed with some kind of magic boot-finding ability. Three times now, I have found a wonderful pair of boots, the last of its kind, that just happened to be in my size. The first was the chunky brown boots that I wore for Military Fashion Show, found in like-new condition at a thrift store during a half-off sale and thusly bought for an astounding 5 dollars. The second was the amazing pair of knee-high brown boots I modeled in the previous post. Again, half-off, and again, in my size despite being the only pair remaining on the shelf. And lastly, these glorious calf-length suede boots with fuzzy trim that lace up the front and zip up the side, with rubber soles and a practical 2-inch heel. Cute enough to wear every day, durable and warm enough to tough out whatever Father Winter can throw at them. I found them at the thrift store, but they seem brand-new! The only flaw I could find was a pale stain on the toe of the left boot, which I managed to mostly scrape off with my fingernail. And all this for just $8.99! I don't know if you can begin to fathom my joy.

On today's trip to the thrift store, I also found a pair of brown jeans that didn't fit that great (too loose in the waist, too narrow by the ankles), but pants never fit me that great. I think with some minor modifications, I'll be able to make them look decent. And I've been wearing jeans a lot lately, so it'll be good to have more than three pairs.