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.

How to be a fashion blogger.

I don’t know how to ask someone to take a picture of me “for my blog” without sounding like a… like a total… what’s the mom-approved-PG word for douchebag? Because that’s what I sound like. A pretentious douchebag. It’s hard for me to take myself seriously when I’m saying, “Hey will you take a bloggy picture of me in front of this fountain?”… which is usually followed by, “What should I be doing? Should I, like, look off into the distance? Or, look over my shoulder? Should I smile? Is that weird? Smiling is weird, right?”

Sure. Smiling in a picture? Totes weird. Only serial killers and ax murderers do that.

Rarely is this magical moment complete without me asking, “Is it cute? Will you take another one? What should I do with my hands?” 

I never know what to do with my hands. And I alwaaaays ask if it’s cute. Like the person behind the camera is ever going to tell me:  “I don’t know, Jenn. You’re twenty-seven years old and still pretending to be a model. Is THAT cute?”

It’s not cute. In fact, the whole thing usually feels so awkward that I fidget for about five seconds in front of whatever fountain/brick wall/lake front/rooftop view I’m standing in front of and then ask, “Did you get it? Is it cute?” 

Like I’m Beyonce or something. IS IT CUTE? Sure. Like my personal paparazzi fan club was just begging to take a candid picture of me. “UGH. DID YOU GET IT? ARE WE DONE HERE?” 

Wearing a leopard print bra to a job interview.

I’m not big on superstition, but I once held a rabbit’s foot in my pocket while I was taking an important exam.

And by “important exam”, I mean a sixth grade science test, and by “rabbit’s foot”, I mean a picture I ripped out of magazine of Justin Timberlake. It was earlier that year when I discovered a “lucky rabbit’s foot” was legitimately supposed to be, like, you know… a rabbit’s.. FOOT… and I was like “What kind of sick person carries around some dead rabbit’s chopped off foot? How does that bring them good luck?” 

It doesn’t. When you think about it, the concept IS a little Jeepers Creepers, ya know? 

But a picture of Justin Timberlake during his Ramen noodle hair and N’sync days? Yes. That will TOTALLY bring you good luck! Probably. If you write the answers on it somewhere in very small print and only look at it occasionally when the teacher isn’t paying attention. Ya know, for luck.

Of course I wasn’t smart enough to do that. Which is probably why I thought I needed a “lucky charm” to get through a sixth grade level science test in the first place. As long as I had a picture of my fake boyfriend “Justin from N’sync” in my back pocket, I was sure to do well. It was magic, and luck, and the Gods and a higher power – and my crazy little eleven year old brain that legit thought some sort of voodoo could make me a really good guesser – all working together.

Ah, to be eleven and weird again. 

I don’t remember how I did on that test. But – to ease your mind – I went on to go to Junior High, and High School, and College, and now I’m a Regional Sales Manager in Chicago, so – however it turned out – I guess not being able to retain information about volcanos and bugs didn’t ruin my life. 

Decorating our new apartment!

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: “We need shelf liner.”

Shelf liner used to be just one of those dumb “extra”, “Mom”-type things that somehow found it’s way into every apartment that I’ve ever lived in – cut up, and laid flat in the kitchen cabinets.

I say “somehow” like it magically appeared there. It didn’t. My mom would buy this stuff for me – because she’s a mom, and it’s kind of a “mom” thing – and say “This is to line the shelves of your kitchen cabinets before you put the dishes away.” And I would say “Oh, okay, cool” – even though I had no idea why. Does it stop your plates from sliding around? (Can plates really just “slide” around in there?) Does it stop your glasses from smelling like *shelf*? (Aka, wood). Can it keep you from getting splinters?

I don’t know. It might just be wallpaper for the kitchen cabinets. But – whatever it does – I knew that I needed it for our new apartment before I could put the dishes away. God forbid we put away our Target brand plates and funny wine glasses that say things like “I make pour decisions” into a cabinet with naked shelves.

Shopping for spring trends!

So, I went shopping today. And I walked into this little store called The Buckle. Or is it just Buckle? I don’t know – but you know which store I’m talking about, right? It’s supposed to be this very boho-trendy/Coachella fashion/”I paid way too much for this t-shirt” kind of store. (I know, because I’ve paid way too much for a t-shirt here before. )

But I was in the mall, I’d had my Starbucks, and I was feeling pretty good. (Plus I’ve been saying for the last, like, week and a half that “I reaaaaally want some new clothes for summer”. There is no reasonable explanation for this. It’s not like the only thing I have in my closet are clothes made of wool and fur and winter-y things.. But apparently all of the t-shirts and shorts that I have in my closet from last year are, like, sooo 2016.)

I know. I’m the worst. Some people collect dolls, some people eat trash, my addiction is that I buy a lot of clothes. We all have our things.

That time I bleached my hair.

I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me that I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.

These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.

I mean, I get it. My natural hair had “dimension” (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural LOW-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.

But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. (Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia.) But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one that she picked.

A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom has never been like a “regular” mom. She’s a cool mom.

(Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.) (Click the heading to read more)

When you wear the same pair of pants for everything.

You should know something about me: I am a hoarder. (Well, okay, no I’m not. But I collect pants. Not so much in a “collection” sort of way, but more so in a “I can’t get rid of these” sort of way. Because some day I might wear them, even though they’ve been in my closet for two years and I haven’t worn them yet. But, like, the day COULD be coming. Why risk it?)

It’s gotten to the point where I have to squish everything down just to get the dresser drawer closed. I’m like The Little Mermaid with her thing-a-ma-bobs in the cavern. I’ve got skinny jeans, flair jeans, jeans that are too short (even I don’t know why I still have these. Am I waiting for them to come back in style?), jeans that I can only wear with heels (because they’re too long), jeans that I can only wear with boots (because they’re too short), jeans that I can’t button but also can’t get rid of because “I’m going to wear these again!”…and, ugh. Just, ugh.

Hoarders is going to show up on my door step one day, just you wait. “We hear you have a lot of pants,” they’ll say. “We’re here to help.” And I’ll say things like, “No! You can’t get rid of THOSE – I’ll wear them again, I promise! I just need to lose fifteen pounds and start doing squats!” Stay tuned. It’s going to be a great episode.

The day my yoga pants went to yoga class.

I love yoga. I mean, I’m not good at it or anything – I don’t know what I’m doing, or how to breathe, and it took me a year just to figure out what “cat cow” was…. But I love yoga.

I love rolling out my little, pink yoga mat in the middle of my living room floor, and picking out a yoga video from my favorite yoga YouTube channel, and pretending that I’m confident and relaxed as I stumble (and sometimes fall down) through the twenty or thirty minute sequence of my favorite YouTube yoga instructor saying “just breathe”.

I LOVE YOGA, or whatever it is that I’m doing on my living room floor (mostly just trying to twist my body into weird shapes and pretend that it’s totes relaxing). It makes me feel good. But to say that I actually “do yoga” feels a little bit like saying I’m a salsa dancer after taking a couple of Zumba classes. It’s just not the same. My yoga pants have spent more time grocery shopping and walking to 8 AM college classes than they have on yoga mats.

We all have our “things”. Mine is pretending that I’m flexible and mildly coordinated.

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.

The Floppy Hat.

I bought a floppy hat before it was cool to buy floppy hats. I don’t know if it was seen as “uncool”, but you didn’t see them in every single H&M and Forever 21 like you do now. Instead I bought mine on a “Fourth of July” sales rack at Vanity, and I’m pretty sure it was meant to be ironic. Like, “Oh my gosh, Karen! We should all wear these funny hats and pretend to be hoity-toity. It’ll be a riot!”

Who’s Karen? I don’t know.My imaginary basic white girl friend. Because basic white girls are the kind of girls who buy those hats. (So, that explains why I own one. Obviously.)

I was invited on a boat for the 4th of July a few years ago. Not like one of these party boats you see in Chicago. Not like a yacht that you see rich people have in movies. A little four person speed boat (are they called speed boats? I don’t know. I might have just made that up. But you know what I mean.Like something you see the Coast Guard Search and Rescue team in.)

So anyway. I was invited on this Search and Rescue looking boat with my friend and her family, because we were spending time at Grand Lake St. Mary’s… which consists of water so green with toxic algae that it has since been issued a Public Health Advisory. People have been hospitalized from swimming in it. A guy once walked out of it cover in slime. And I’m pretty sure I swallowed some of it when I was there back in 2008. But, you know, boating! Yay!