Welcome.

I have made a lifetime art out of thrift shopping.  Not the fancy kind – “vintage shopping” – where you peruse carefully-edited collections of retro chic finery, cleaned and masterfully displayed (although I love this too), but the down-and-dirty thriftiest of the thrift. Salvation Armies and Goodwills and the odd St. Vincent De Paul Society.  It takes strength and determination to wade through these filthy, gritty racks, but it provides me endless enjoyment.  The sport of the chase. While I have found many vintage-store-worthy garments over the years, I have also run across my fair share of head-shakers.  The garments that make you stop in your tracks just to say “Oh yes.  This is a no.” When I found (ok, created) a kindred thrift spirit in Alexis, it was clear we needed to document these atrocities.

But there is joy amongst the woe.  Much like my favorite-ever thrift store outfit, Pepe, sometimes I find something stretches so far into the wrong that it circles back around into the very right. Something that walks the fine line between amazingly bad and amazingly good.  Finding Pepe refers to the quest for garments that toe this line. While there are a few Pepes in this blog, the majority are just disasters.  I post these images as a warning.  Those who remain ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

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Taste the Rainbow

You may think this picture is out of focus because it was shot in low light, with an iphone camera, on the fly without time to focus, rushing through the process because there was a long line of people waiting for the dressing room, a line which included a woman who had already graciously offered Alexis and I the opportunity to share her dressing room because she “wasn’t afraid of showing us her naked fat.”  But you would be wrong. This picture is out of focus intentionally because both psychologists and ophthalmologists recommend not viewing it in clear light and crisp focus.  It is written in various medial journals, textbooks and WebMD.com that direct exposure to this frenzied mish-mash of textured acetate mixed with rainbow tie-die polyester chiffon, melded together with merrow seams and handkerchief hem detail in a cacophony of bad taste fit only for a twisted Stevie Nicks voodoo doll might cause a combination of ruptured retinal veins and immediate psychological trauma.  It’s possible that with several years of PTSD therapy one can recover from the mental strain well enough to be declared legally self-functioning, but unfortunately there’s not much that can be done about the bloody eyeballs. You can thank us later for sparing you.

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Watercolored Wonder

Alexis looks fine in this shiny florida-bungalow-sofa-fabric Jackie O suit with miniature plastic cheese Danish posing as buttons. She looked so fine that 3 different people who worked there told her how great she looked and commented that she should immediately buy this horrendous piece of synthetic fiber upholstery and wear it to a wedding.  We smiled politely and took the photo as quickly as possible.  This was the first and only time I felt a bit guilty about taking these photos.  But not guilty enough to hit delete.

OK if I’m honest Alexis actually does look pretty good in this one.  The girl can rock a pastel pencil skirt – who knew.

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Calico Patchwork Sack of Dress

Remember Holly Hobby?  Remember when Holly Hobby started feeling pressured by her manager who constantly reminded her that her career is based on maintaining a flat, slim-looking profile so she developed an eating disorder and one night when the stress became too much gorged herself on sturdy calico denim and then, feeling ashamed and guilty, forced herself to vomit it all back up?  This dress remembers too.

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Lime Green Cotton Formalwear

Sometimes you want to go to prom in a strapless dress.  And sometimes you don’t have a prom to go to but you want to make and wear that prom dress anyway, only you don’t have any black duchesse silk you only have lime green cotton canvas, and sometimes you make the strapless sheath dress sort of the wrong length so instead you decide to turn it into a strapless corset top with a coordinating full-length skirt, and then you are so ready to go to prom that you can barely contain yourself but you still don’t have one to go to so you try to make your own party by painting a really big flower with metallic fabric paint right smack on the lime green cotton canvas corset top.  This was one of those times.

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Ginger Scalp Skin Skirt Suit

This baby glistened at me from across the store.  It slithered like a raccoon, it shimmied like a snake.  It called “cheeeeeeck meee oooouutttt.”  I thought it was just a puke/rust-colored subtly patterned crushed velour oversize tshirt with shockingly poor construction.  But when I pulled it off the rack I realized that no!  It was a puke/rust-colored subtly patterned crushed velour oversize tshirt with shockingly poor construction and a matching skirt.  It was only fitting that when I tried it on the shade of the fuzzy fabric perfectly matched my ginger locks, leaving me looking like I had skinned some of my own clan and swathed myself in their pelts. Fabulous.

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Orange with Orange & Orange

This t-shirt top is orange.  And this t-shirt fabric elastic waist skirt is orange.  And this button-front collared shirt jacket with oversized shoulder pads is orange.  But fortunately all 3 garments are adorned with chunky bas-relief dogwood flowers and absolutely enormous plastic pearls.  Whew.

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