Vintage Fashion Debunked.

Is “debunked” the right word? I don’t know. I used to think that I looooved vintage fashion. The idea of a string of pearls sitting around in a jewelry box that’s been passed down since the Titanic? Maybe it belonged to Rose De… Dewitt? Google says “Dewitt-Bukater”, but I’m just going to call her Rose Dawson because we all know she should have scooted over and let Jack climb up on top of that door with her. He didn’t have to freeze to death. It’s not always all about you, Rose, people are dying.

But the pearls. Let’s get back to the pearls. Did she have pearls? Oh, wait – no, she had that gaudy necklace that she chucked it into the ocean at the end of the movie. Way to be a hero, Rose. People have been looking for that.

But when you say something is “vintage” – that’s what people imagine. That’s why they say “ooh… ahh…”, because they’re envisioning something that somebody wore back in the day. It’s a romantic idea that something has been around longer than, you know, a Forever 21 t-shirt that you ripped and threw away after one wash. It tells a story. It’s been around the block. It’s seen some stuff.

When I was in high school, one of the girls came to school one day wearing dangly paperclip earrings. Like, dangly earrings, made of paperclips. Tiny paperclips clasped together dangling from her ears. And when everyone said, “Oh! Those are… different!” – she told us that she found them in her grandmother’s jewelry box and that they were “vintage”.

Vintage paper clip earrings. From Grandma’s jewelry box. Like Grandma was a true fashion pioneer back in the 40s who just strung a bunch of paper clips together and then said, “Yea, I’m gonna keep these. Let me just put these in the jewelry box next to my pearls.” 


Did they even have paper clips back in the 40s? When did they start making paper clips? Were people even writing on paper back then, or was it all parchment and quill pens?

Okay, I guess it’s the 1940s, not the 1800s. You shouldn’t come here expecting a history lesson. We’re here to talk about clothes and stuff.

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How to Shop Your Own Closet.

I was inspired to write this post because I *didn’t* buy a jacket. 

Back story – I have fifteen thousand jackets at home. Probably. I haven’t counted, but I know that when I open up our “coat closet” (also doubles as our laundry/shoe/vacuum/Swiffer closet) most of the coats that I see in there are mine. Maybe three of them are Kyle’s. And one of those I bought for him. 

This post could have just as easily been titled “Confessions of a Shopaholic” or “How to be a Crazy Coat Lady” – but honestly, that’s a little embarrassing and – based solely on my experience today – I am clearly turning a corner outside of my consumerism mindset. 

Exhibit A: I did not buy a jacket. I *almost* did. But then, I didn’t! Yay! (Isn’t this a great story so far?) 

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Spanx. They aren’t just for Moms.

I wouldn’t say that I have “anxiety” about wearing Spanx (and honestly, no one SHOULD have anxiety about wearing a brand of sucky-in-y underwear – because that’s essentially all they are) but I HAVE noticed that when I’m wearing a tight dress, along with – what is essentially a modern day girdle – I feel, a little…. well, anxious. Stiff. Uncomfortable. There’s a tightness in my chest…/abdomen. 

I mean, most of that is the sucky-in-y part of the underwear that I paid $50 to literally wedge myself into so that I could look good in a dress for a few hours, but you know what I mean. I worry. The Spanx alter blood circulation to my brain (probably, I don’t know.  You’d think they’ve got to be cutting off some circulation around my torso. Otherwise, are they even doing their job?) My inner fat girl that needed the Spanx in the first place starts sending paranoid, worried signals to my brain. 

“What if people can tell?” I think. “Can people tell that I’m wearing a girdle?” 

I honestly do not know how anyone would ever be able to “tell”, unless they came over and lifted up my dress and said, “Hey I see you’re wearing some funny underwear under there.” And if someone ever does that to you, I can PROMISE you that the the highlight of that story will not be “I was wearing Spanx”, it will be “A stranger lifted up my dress. It was weird.”

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THAT TIME I WORE WOODEN SHOES.

Oh, but not just any wooden shoes — platform shoes. With a heel. A large, wooden, platform heel.

I KNOW. I blame Lizzie McGuire. Because I was fifteen and saw Hilary Duff wearing them in a Candies ad and thought that if she was wearing them, then I should wear some too. (They must be “in”, right? This is Candies. I’m not over in the old lady section of Kohls- this is the JUNIORS section. EVERYTHING in the Juniors section is cool. I’m practically shopping in Hilary Duff’s closet, I bet she wears these every day.)

So I bought myself some wooden shoes with a platform heel. Whoever said advertising doesn’t work has clearly never met a desperate-for-style fifteen year old girl walking around Kohl’s with her mom.

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RIPPED JEANS. BECAUSE, FASHION.

I’m sure my dad wasn’t the first parent to tell his teenage daughter “no” when she asked him for a pair of ripped-up, faded, holy jeans. “They have holes in them,” he’d say. “Who would pay seventy dollars for a pair of jeans that have holes in them? I can’t even donate jeans like that to Goodwill.”

Dads. They just don’t understand fashion.

I bought my first and only pair of “holy jeans” for the same reason that I bought a velour tracksuit (circa 2003) and a whole bunch of big sunglasses: because Jessica Simpson wore holy jeans and tracksuits and big sunglasses and she was Jessica Simpson. She was married to Nick Lachey. She was in that movie Dukes of Hazzard. She thought tuna might be chicken, which at the time, I thought held a solid argument. The can really does say, “chicken of the sea“.

So when I saw Jessica Simpson wearing jeans with holes in them, I decided that I had to go out and buy some jeans with holes in them. Because Jessica Simpson made them look chic. And effortless. Like she was fashion-y, but she wasn’t trying too hard to be fashion-y. It just happened. She just woke up, threw on whatever was laying around, and BOOM! Instant pin on Pinterest.

Of course Pinterest didn’t exist back then.) So I didn’t know what kind of “holy jeans” to buy. I had to rely on episodes of Newlyweds and the Juniors department at JcPenny to guide me on my style choices. Which is how I ended up with my very own pair of holy jeans – and they didn’t come from my attempt at spending hours with scissors, sand paper and a copy of Seventeen magazine that featured an article about using sand paper and scissors to rip up your jeans. (This was a real article, by the way. I remember, because I asked my dad if he had any sand paper laying around in the garage. #JustGirlyThings)

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Braiding your own hair is hard.

I don’t know how to French braid. Fishtail braid?

Regardless, I can only do ONE braid. The easy one. The one with three strands of hair and a normal amount of fingers. No YouTube tutorials required.

I don’t know if being a halfwit when it comes to hair is all that uncommon. It seems like when I talk to… well, basically anyone who can French braid their own hair, they seem shocked that I don’t know how do something so simple. Like I’m telling them that I don’t know how to use a comb. “REALLY?” they say, as I explain how my hairstyle skills rival that of a Stay-At-Home Dad’s. “But it’s SO EASY!” they say, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I must be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe I’m adding too much hair. Maybe I need more fingers.

The day that I learned the easy, no-frills, nothing-fancy-about-it braid was a big day for me. I think I was ten or eleven. Up until that day, I can remember taking two strands of hair and twisting them around until it resembled… I don’t know, something, a pretzel twist maybe?… and then trying to convince people that it was a braid. But not like, a regular braid. Like a COOL braid.

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