Indie Alternatives

1. Secret Garden Vest 2. Tsarina Tee 3. Embellished Cavalry Dress

So by now, I think it’s obvious how much I love All Saints Spitalfields.  I’ve done more than one entry about the fabulous things they carry.  But how about if you love their stuff and just can’t (or won’t) justify a purchase of one of their amazing tees (see above)?  Well, I’ve found some lovely substitutes that I may like even just a wee bit more…

The first tee is a print made up of a collage of Audubon birds with jungle-canopy motifs–I bought this in an all0ver-print silk dress, and I absolutely adore it.

The second is a shirt I’ve been eyeing, and hoping it will get down into my price range (right now, the $45 clearance price tag is still too steep for a tee that’s not fair trade, made in America/indie, or organic–oh yeah, and I’m poor).

The third is a graphic of a horse skeleton, hummingbird, and some flowers.  Very Dia de los Muertos, no?  LOVE.  Remember that scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks when the armor all comes to life??  Well, this isn’t really like that, but it makes me think of it for some strange reason.  Beautiful print, in any case.

And now for the alternatives:

$20 by Isotope at Etsy.com

Bird medley, anyone?  Check out this tee from Isotope at Etsy.com.  Chock-full of Audubon’s finest avians, and what a buy; only twenty bucks!

And may I suggest just cutting the ribbing off the neckline?  It looks so nice and kind of makes it look less Hanes-y, more girly.  I also like to trim down the sleeves.  I end up doing this to most of my normal-gauge tees.

Etsy has so many wonderful offerings in the way of original tees–they are always my first stop when looking for something unique.

“A Deer Wearing Gym Socks” $22 at Society6.com

Now if t-shirt #2 is more your speed (Ha! Animals in clothing, how droll!), check this tee out from CharmaineOlivia at Society6.com.  A slightly more goofy take on the concept–but it’s so friggin’ cute, how could wearing this not bring a smile to your face?

“Fox Confessor,” $22 at Society6.com

Finally, for my favorite tee alternative, we have Fox Confessor, by Lindsey Carr/Little Robot. It is a morbid montage that makes my black, black heart skip a beat!  $22 can’t buy me happiness, but it can make me want to get dressed in the morning!

This shirt reminds me of a time my boyfriend found a dead fox right along the shore of Red House Lake in Alleghany State Park (Paterson, you mook, KEEP THE PARK OPEN!!).  I was afraid to take it (for the fur, people, not some other dark purpose) because it was a young, healthy-looking male with no visible signs of trauma.  Rabies is not uncommon in WNY.  Instead we reported it to the rangers and let it lie.  ::Sigh:: I think about that fur… a lot.

Anyway, Ms. Carr’s paintings are to die for.  Her allegorical style is most attractive…  in truth, everything this artist has listed is beautiful–buy it all!

Simply stunning. “My Deer Friend Flight Dress” by MeAndOli

For those of us who cannot live on t-shirts and jeans alone… make dressing up for work fun!

Check out this line by MeAndOli at Etsy.com.  Their prints are so lovely, I can hardly contain myself!!  A very friendly seller, and she does absolutely beautiful work, as you can see.  Custom digi-prints (we know how much I love my digi-prints!) make for a gorgeous, unique line of whimsical dresses.  The pretty little number to the right is a silk and cotton blend; lovely and comfortable in all seasons!  And at less than half the price of an All Saints dress, it’s a downright bargain besides!

And finally, for that really custom item you’ve been looking for…

Pelican Briefs by SlipperySlopeBloomer, $311

SlipperySlopeBloomer transforms old underpinnings with nothing more than the humble Sharpy.  Audubon’s prints have n’er looked sae sexy!  What would I do with a pair of control-top briefs bedecked in pelican-y goodness?  Well, duh… I’d wear them with my…  …  um… tutu!  At my trapeze lessons!  Perfection!  Seriously though, I’d find somewhere to wear these babies!!  I hope there will be some more daily-wear options available in the near future! 🙂

Gannet Corset, by SlipperSlopeBloomer, $492

I’m also quite taken with the Gannet corset.  One could wear that over a nice tank with jeans and enjoy a night on the town!

Well, I’m spent.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my (mostly) more cost-effective/righteous-in-the-way-of-supporting-individuals-versus-corporations entry.  I invite any and all comments, and encourage everyone to send praise to and/or purchase from these fine artisans I’ve so proudly touted!   Cheers to all! 🙂

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Professional Wardrobe Tips: Laundry

I did about 8 years worth of costuming and wardrobe for a professional theatre while I was trying to figure out who I am/what I want to do with myself.  Truthfully, I wish I could’ve stuck with it, but I’m too chicken to stay in an industry that has a very low glass ceiling.  I like the security of a retirement fund, and non-profit theatre does not a nest egg make.

Never once did I wake up in the morning and think, “Guh, I don’t wanna go to work today.”  Not once.  I worked with an amazing set of people, learned more about fabrics and materials than I could have just about anywhere else, and got a primo education in clothing maintenance, couture sewing techniques and tailoring… and I got paid for it.  Then I went back to school and paid them to get a piece of paper that says I know how to do all that I learned while working.  Ha.  Amazing how this world works, eh?

Anyway, I learned quite a bit about how to launder/take care of clothes, and I wanted to share just a few tips for keeping your lovelies, well… lovely.

1. Wash anything that isn’t a towel or a  sheet in cold water (this may be labeled the “Bright Colors” cycle on some machines).  Cold water keeps stray particles (such as stray dye or dirt) from sticking to your clothing–it also helps stains let go.  Alternatively, hot water opens up the fibers in many fabrics, making them more susceptible to absorbing unwanted particles (but it kills the bacteria in sheets and towels).

For goodness sake, zip up your zippers and un-button your buttons. Wanna know why all your favorite softy rayon and cotton tees get those strange constellations of little holes??  Cuz you washed your jeans in one big, unsorted load (for shame!) with the zippers all hungry for soft rayon-y goodness and they ate them!  Unbuttoned buttons won’t stretch the fabric where they button (this makes even the skinniest of us look rotund–the “bursting button” look is never attractive, ladies).  It also keeps the buttons from falling off.  Sorting is never a bad idea, but if you have to crowd everything into one load (hey, I do it too!), make sure that your zippers are at least closed.

Don’t shirk on the hand-washing.  Lingerie, fine silks and anything else that’s fragile means you need to take a little extra time.  It’s not so bad.  Keep a separate hamper for these items and do them all at once.  Many will tell you Woolite is the way to go–I was taught that Woolite is not so gentle as many would have you believe.  We used Dawn dish detergent (a little dab’ll do ya) for all flimsy unmentionables.  Don’t try to cut corners by throwing them all in your machine on delicate with a bit of dish soap, either, or you’ll have something akin to the time my boyfriend loaded the dishwasher with hand-washing detergent: a big-ol’ soapy mess (or your very own impromptu suds party, if you’re the “glass full” kind of person).

Swish your silkies in a cold soapy basin–do not wring them or twist them.  Any make-up or other stains should be pre-treated before washing.  When you’re done swishing them in the cold soapy water, move them into another basin full of water (coldish, please) and rinse.  Again, do not wring or twist the silkies.  Once they are rinsed properly and are free of soapiness, squeeze them gently to remove as much water as possible.  Then lay them out on a large bath towel.  Cover with another bath towel and roll the whole thing up like sushi.  Use your body weight to lean on the roll and squish out any remaining water into the towels.  Unroll and hang somewhere private.  🙂

2.  Some things cannot or should not be washed at all (such as fragile vintage items).  To keep these items fresh between dry cleanings, spray them with a mixture of 2 parts cheap rot-gut vodka (the kind you wouldn’t even serve at a frat party) to one part water (distilled if you have it, but no big deal if you don’t).  If you wanna get extra fancy, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (2-4, don’t go crazy).  The alcohol kills any bacteria it hits (concentrate on pits and extra-sweaty areas), and there is no smell because it all evaporates as it dries.  This ONLY WORKS WITH VODKA–don’t go tryin’ this with gin or whiskey or anything else because you run the risk of smelling like a total lush or worse, staining your beloved clothes.  There you have it: your very own wardrobe spray for pennies-on-the-dollar compared to buying Febreze, etc.  It works better, too.  I taught that trick to Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath’s road crews.  This works well for anything else you might wear more than once between washings, too (like those jeans you need to wear three times before they look perfect).

3. Stain Removal:

Blood:  use your own saliva (it has enzymes that break down your own blood better than anyone else’s).  Any saliva will do,  but your saliva is best if it’s your own blood.  Chew on a piece of scrap muslin and get it saturated, then use it to remove the stain (this saved my butt when I had a nosebleed on a one-of-a-kind vintage silk floral dress I was tailoring).  I know, I know, gross.  But it works!!  The sooner, the better.

Make-up:  pre-treat using a degreasing agent, such as dish soap with a toothbrush.  Lipstick needs a bit more finesse–a chalk pen (such as “Janie On The Spot Dry Chalk Stick”) works well for this sort of thing.

In general, Ivory soap is a gentle pre-treatment for lingerie.

Toothpaste (plain white paste, NOT gel) has a mild abrasive and works nicely for stubborn stains with a tooth or nail brush.  Use a whitening paste where just a touch of bleach may be needed.

Always use cold water on stains.

Always read the label (even if you don’t follow it exactly).

Sweet Land

“Let us hope we are all preceded in this world by a love story.”  -Don Snyder, Of Time and Memory


…Thus begins what is possibly the single most romantic film I have ever seen.  ::Sigh::  I don’t mean to get all moony-eyed and waxy on you, but forgive my swooning and watch “Sweet Land.”  It’s available to watch instantly on Netflix.  The soundtrack is phenomenal; the story, perfection… the trailer is here.

Tokidoki, artichoke-y!

Too Faced Naked Eye Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection ($73 Value), $35

Tokidoki Pittura Brush Set, $35

Sephora’s email blasts are dangerous.  But if I buy both of these, I’ll get free shipping.  Now if I could just go without food for a week, I could afford them.  ::Sigh::

Madam? Meet Henri…

I went to Henri Bendel for the first time today.  Ladies, this place is like crack.  I saw that stupid movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic or whatever, but for a moment or two in those glittery walls, I understood what her problem was.  I walked outta there with so much dopamine in my system, I didn’t care that lunch was over and I had to go back to my sad, sad life on the outside.

I’m telling you, the lighting, the arrangement of each product, the music… even the smell… all worked in perfect harmony.  It was the Optimus Prime of merchandising.

I work for free.  I have no income to speak of.  Yet I almost lost my will completely and it took all the strength I had not to buy something.  Beautiful pave starfish rings (oh, starfish have been my summer obsession)… enameled songbirds… CEOLACANTH?/MUDSKIPPER? NECKLACES 40% OFF!!!  How did I resist??  Divine intervention, I suppose.  Actually, I convinced myself that since my birthday is in three weeks, there was the off-chance that someone who loved me verrrrrry much might have them waiting for me after the cake (ahem, yellow with real buttercream, please–they’re all on the second floor by the spiral staircase–shhhh!).

Bah.  Humbug.  It only hurts when I think about it…   I could make those things instead of spending an average of $150 for each one (even with the 40% off–ouch!).  But the question is… will I?  Nah…

These boots weren’t made for walkin’…

Arrgh!! And they're even MORE on sale now--WHY can't this boot be comfortable?!

So I broke down last Friday and headed out to All Saints to snag those lovely pony boots if they were still there in my size.  Well, they were (YES!!!!).  So I tried them on.  Um… I haven’t been that let down since  my first (and last) kiss with my good Lieutenant.

Ladies, those boots are horrifically uncomfortable!  Now, I’m the type who can ignore a little discomfort of the feet.  I’m a bloody fashion major, here.  But this was ridiculous.  No padding on the insole, nothing.  Now I would expect that in a $300 pair of boots the manufacturer could spring for a heel pod–hell, how ’bout just a little bit of high-density foam, eh??  Come ON, All Saints!  Those boots were on clearance because they HURT!

Even as I was trying them on, a woman next to me said, “Ooh, where’d you get those?”  And I replied, “They’re on clearance! Over against the far wall!”  She was so into them, she tried a pair on as well.  Both pair remained in the store that day.  Bummer.  I’m highly irresponsible when it comes to a sweet-arsed pair of boots, but even I couldn’t bring myself to take those puppies home.  ::Sigh::  So no pony boots for me.

She's just so cute I can't stand it!!

Instead I came home and ordered a bunch of Princess Choo Choo paraphernalia off Ebay to ease my as-of-then unsatisfied urge to acquire.  I’m not sorry–now I have a sweet appointment book in which to record all of my not-interviews and unimportant tidbits of everyday drivel.  But that drivel looks awfully nice with kitty faces all over it!

“Lookin’ for the guy who stomped my Ma…”

Last night was something of a challenge.  My sister is away for the weekend, no guests are slated to visit, and I was afraid I’d be lonely.  I stayed up rather late drinking wine with a friend, and just as I was heading to bed, I saw it.  In the dim light coming from the street I noticed a rather sizable dust bunny tumbling past me… but it stopped on a dime.  Odd, I thought.  Odd because now that I live by myself, free from heathen suitemates, I keep my digs quite clean.  There are no dust bunnies here.  Also odd that a dust bunny should quit its meandering tumble so suddenly.

Odd because it was NOT a dust bunny.  It was a giant. freaking. COCKROACH!! Sonova-coleoptera!!!

We stared at each other a moment, frozen in our respective disbelief.  I was barefoot (but then again, so was she)… my flip flops were too far away, oh no, too far, too far…  I’m five-foot-ten, oh so far away from the floor… by the time I could even bend to grab something she could be gone off under the bed!  My only chance was to slowly bend around, eyes on her all the time, and grab whatever I could slowly… slowly now.  My hand closed around the 7″ heel of a gladiator platform… slowly now… I had managed to get into a crouch while she stood there, eying me warily.  I brought my arm up to position, carefully gauging between time and space… the platform went down fast and…

…The funny thing about high-heeled platforms is, the higher the heel, the less surface area on the front platform itself.  This sad fact ran through my slightly inebriated head as I watched her scurry under the laundry cart.  Shoot.

Had I had all of my mental faculties at this moment, I might have taken the opportunity to find something a bit more appropriate, something with a bit more surface area.  Alas, the gladiator platform with the ice-cream-cone heel would have to do–I was running out of time–if she got to the bed, it was done, and I could say goodbye to a good night’s sleep for the next week and a half.

I readied myself for another blow and wheeled the cart backward and she made a break for it, a break for the bed!  My iron shoe came down once more… MISS!!!  Lucky for me, the impact of shoe to floor made her freeze for just a little too long… another blow and she was done.  Well, almost done–I had to hit her quite a few more times until she stopped moving (Lord knows what the neighbors must have been thinking).

Poor thing, I felt terrible.  The thing is, they’re just so big, I can’t help but be hyper-aware that they’re  living, breathing, cognitive beings.  She knew there was a big possibility that she wasn’t going home last night (Dear God, please let that home be far away in someone elses’ apartment!).

Called my mom for moral support and flushed the roach’s mortal remains just in case she was in the family way (eggs make for a very unhappy ME should they hatch and come back to avenge their mummy).  After Mom talked me down, I tried to go to sleep.

I kept waking up to dreams of three-legged undead cockroaches crawling their way back out of the toilet, wailing sub-sonically for their missing limbs (which I dutifully scraped off the underside of my now-tainted platform and flushed), and altogether scaring the bejeebers outta me.

At dawn, just as the sun was peeking through the blinds, I woke up again, groggy and itching like mad from mosquito bites (I really don’t know why I bother wearing shorts) and cockroach dreams.  I covered my poor legs in calamine lotion and downed two sleeping pills (which, coincidentally, are the same compound and dosage as Benadryl), and prayed the dual effect of anti-histamines and barbituates would take effect and allow me to sleep for more than an hour straight.

My lazy butt rolled outta bed at 12:50pm–I’m allowed!!  Now I just have to get to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight… but that’s easier said than done when there’s an undead cockroach somewhere in your pipes…

Why Grandmother, what big eyes you have!

Want!

HOORAY FOR NEW EYEBALLS!

…So I was reading the news the other day when I happened upon this article in the New York Times:  \”Do big-eyed contact lenses pose health threat?\”.  And what do I do upon reading it?  Go directly to TokioShine.com and order them, of course!  Now, we all saw the Bad Romance video.  I haven’t been so excited about a music video since “Thriller,” and I was like, four!  If I came away with anything from Gaga’s video, it was this:  I could not rest until I had a polar bear robe of my own, and some great, big, anime-eyed contacts.

This article not only reminded me of said desire, it even gave me the means by which to order said contacts.  Sick!  Will update when my new EOS Max Pure Greys arrive…

…buy yourself somethin’ pretty!

This weekend, my sister and I entertained a guest (Gratis en Vogue‘s R.C.).  We had a great time shopping, exploring, and lazing about for three days straight.  Of course, we took her to Kinokuniya (where I picked up the BEST inspiration book for jewelry), Crumbs (my new favorite red-velvet cupcake spot), and Anthropologie (big sale right now, ladies!).  But we also went down to Soho so that I could show her All Saints (512 Broadway, south of Prince), Topshop and Pearl River Mart.

Well, you already know what happened at All Saints–my ponygirl boots were on sale and I didn’t get them (there’s still time, I hope).  Topshop was chock-full of lovelies, and I was especially taken with their lingerie-inspired dresses–they looked like they jumped right out of those old Bonny and Clyde-type movies.  But the winner of the day was Pearl River Mart.  It’s like no other Asian import store I’ve ever been to.  Right away, I found this bag (LOVE IT!!!):

"First Lady of Fabulous" Tote, $13.50 by Blue Q

I know, you’re SOOOO jealous, right??  Three people asked where I’d gotten it before I even left the store!  This bag is made of recycled materials (grain sacks) by Blue Q, and %1 of sales supports The Nature Conservancy.  Beautiful!  It was all I could do not to snag a Blue Q wallet ($20) as well, though I did control myself.

If you don’t live in NYC, you can snag your own here: Mighty Michelle Shopper.

Pearl River Mart, $6.50 (Score!)

Last week, I suffered through the heat at the Governor’s Island Veuve Cliquot Polo Tourney, and spent nearly the whole time wishing I’d had a parasol.  I had been hoping to find one the next time I came to Pearl River, and was not disappointed.  The lower floor had many beauties to choose from–all under $7!  I came home with this guy:

Cute, huh??

Can’t wait to go back when I have more time to see everything!  This is THE place to go for fun novelty and last-minute or low-priced gifts.

One more store worth noting was called Callalilai, located at 518 Broadway (there are 3 other locations, as well).  They consider themselves a “Japanese-French fusion label,” and it’s easy to see those influences.  Prolly why I like it so darn much.  I found myself attracted to the Central-American-inspired dirndls ($109), each one different from the other, all sporting beautiful woven stripes of traditional and funky patterns.  I lusted after the “geisha” print dress, but eventually found myself driven out by the discordant strains of the Black Eyed Peas, “My Hump.”  Call me a snob, but I can’t stay in a store that plays horrible music.

Pony up!

??!!

…Must be strong… must be… prudent… can’t… resist… good grief, they’ve got horseshoes on the soles, for goodness’ sake!!  Ladies, these boots are on clearance for $175, they are in my size…  they leave little horseshoe prints in the dirt as you walk away, and they. are. daily. wearers, ladies!!  I hesitate to even publish where they are for fear someone else will get there first.  ::Sigh:: I can’t afford these!  And yet… it almost seems I can’t afford NOT to get them!  They are beautiful!!!  You can view these boots, and even buy them (but leave those 41s for ME, ladies), here:

Buy them!

All Saints Spitalfields is a British company that utilizes decidedly Japanese tailoring methods.  They just opened up their first storefront in NYC a couple of weeks ago.  I adore their stuff, so needless to say, I had to stop in last week.  Big mistake.  I now want just about half the inventory.  I found myself obsessing over a silk dress covered in an Audubon bird print–it looks like the ornithology wing of a natural history museum threw up all over it–and I ended up going 4 days before I had to go back and buy it.  Biggest purchase (besides boots) I’ve ever made.  And I’m not sorry, so there.  The first day I wore it, I got lots of compliments.  Plus, it’s so different!  I just love to curate.  Hence… the boots.

Any self-respecting ponygirl NEEDS these things in her wardrobe.  Also, I need these things in my wardrobe.  So Poodle, if you’re reading this,  you know I always ask for boots for Christmas… I don’t mind waiting… 🙂

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