Baseball Shirt DIY

Upcycled baseball shirts sell well on my Etsy shop—to girls like me who don’t like to wear boring and boxy tees to show support for the home team. So when I was given last-minute Dodgers tickets yesterday, I remembered I had set aside a thrift store Dodgers shirt for myself. I sewed on the denim braided neckline detail (denim from a discarded, recycled pair of jeans) in the passenger seat of the car, on the way to the game.

Skateboard Bag Holder

I love a bar that has a hook for a lady to hang her handbag. At the Venice Beach Ale House, they have recycled skateboard wheels. Here’s my vintage Coach hobo (a recent thrift store find).

Style Rebel: Documented by Dad

Like a lot of teens, I liked to rebel with my style. I wore a lot of black while my contemporaries were wearing bright neons, and I decided to wear my black lace-up ankle boots to my high school graduation ceremony. I recall both my grandmothers expressing confusion about my choice and trying to talk me into wearing “nice white pumps.” (Nice white pumps were not in my closet and would never find a place there.) It may be that my parents also talked to me about it, but I don’t have memories of them trying to mettle. What I do recall is the close-up photo my father took of my white graduation gown, black dress, and black boots—and then finding that photo in a frame. Dad has a great sense of humor, and (like my mom) has always been loving and supportive. On the occasion of Father’s Day, this makes me a very lucky girl.

Kitchen Sources for Beauty: Corn Starch

In my quest to eliminate unnecessary products and waste, I have tried to cut down on shampooing. I’ve actually tried to stop shampooing altogether (google “no poo” and you’ll find tons of testimonials from those who have successfully stopped shampooing; there’s even a “no poo” Wikipedia entry), but I lost patience during the dirty, greasy hair phase. So now I try to shampoo once or twice a week and get through the in-between days with corn starch. There are plenty of dry shampoos on the market and I tried a few from the beauty closet when I worked for a fashion magazine, but most of these products contain artificial fragrances and other ingredients I won’t use. I read that straight-from-the pantry corn starch could be used and I’ve found it works just as well. I keep it in the bathroom and dip my fingers in the jar to apply to roots on non-shampoo days. Hair maintains its natural shine from healthy hair oils, while roots get a quick de-greasing. Until I try quitting shampoo again….

Style Crush: Stevie Nicks

I’ve had a style crush on Stevie Nicks since I was a kid (a voice crush, too). As a teen, I found out we shared a given first name (though hers was spelled with the “ph”) and I tried to adopt the nickname of Stevie, but I discovered that nicknames you give yourself never stick. I recently stumbled upon this demo version of “Gypsy” and I’ve gone to her catalog for a refresher, also looking to old live performances on YouTube as part of my Stevie Fix. (I just found out she’s got a new album out, too.) To me, she’s always been undeniably sexy and also the kind of sensitive and sweet that doesn’t hurt your teeth. This video shows images of her many amazing looks: the floppy hats, shawls, ribbon chokers, sheer and lace layers, dresses that twirled with her movements—and that hair. I loved how she would hold out her arms, with sleeves or a shawl giving her fabric wings, like she was preparing for liftoff or maybe coming in for a landing. Her voice was enough to let you know she meant every word, but her moves made you a true believer. I remember loving “Leather and Lace” and thinking she was just like that, tough and soft in just the right balance. And that’s how I wanted to be. (Still do.)

Style Rebel: Boys in Skirts, Girls in Culottes

I loved reading the news story today about a boy who protested his school’s no-shorts dress code by wearing a skirt. When I was inducted into the honor society in high school, I was told that girls were required to wear skirts to the ceremony. That pushed my rebel button—even if I wanted to wear a skirt, there was no way I was going to!—and I set out to find a way to break the sexist rule. (This was the ’80s, not the dark ages.) So I wore culottes—standing with my legs together, it looked like a skirt. They were olive green and corduroy and I thought they were cute (similar in style to the ones in this pattern from an Etsy seller).

Recycled Fashion: Always a Bridesmaid Dress

I’ve been in two wedding parties; Cori chose a navy crepe sheath for the bridesmaids, while Kristen chose a silky lavender halter dress. I was lucky to like both dresses; we’ve all seen horribly poofy and pastel bridesmaid dresses in movies (and it’s likely you’ve seen one or two monsters in real life, too). As a regular thrift shopper, I’ve also seen discarded dresses on the racks—if these dresses were living and breathing, I’d say they hang hopelessly. Which is why I liked reading today about a new site that recycles old bridesmaid dresses, Newlymaid.com. Now, if you’ve got a bridesmaid dress taking up space at the back of your closet, you can ship it to Newlymaid, where they’ll use the material to make upcycled creations or donate the dress to Clothes4Souls. Then you receive a discount on one of the site’s little black cocktail dresses made from recycled fabric. Voila: More closet space and less for the landfill… . Oh, and I cannot wait to see “Bridesmaids.”

Style Souvenir: Strawberry Bag

New regular feature I’ll be posting about style souvenirs…

This is Maggie from Venice, whom I encountered on a sunny Saturday, wearing a whimsical wool strawberry bag. When I complimented her on the bag, she thanked me and added, “I got it in Indonesia, at a strawberry farm.”

NY State of Mind

In response to the news, I’ve found myself in a New York State of mind. This morning, just when the coffee was kicking in, I packed my lunch in my I Heart NY tote bag and put on a Ramones T-shirt—without deliberately thinking about making any kind of I Love NY fashion statement. It was when I started humming Billy Joel’s ode to the great empire state that I noticed my choices. Good live version of “New York State of Mind” here.

Easter Florals

I grew up on the East Coast and Easter helped to signify the long-awaited arrival of Spring. Except for the few years I remember a snowfall or cold snap, Easter meant that crocuses were popping up and we were able to play outside in short sleeves again. Also, I was able to dust off the sandals to wear with my Easter outfit. I delighted in picking out a new Easter outfit each year, usually a dress or matching skirt and top combination in colors that matched the Easter eggs we colored. This year, I shopped my closet and wore a green and purple silk floral blouse I picked up at a thrift store months ago but had yet to wear (not new, but new to me).

Family Style Flashback: Mom’s Polka Dots

I love this photo of my mother (holding me), looking stylish in a polka-dotted bikini and with her hair up. I asked her to tell me about what she was wearing in the photo and she replied: “The handbag wasn’t mine (looks like it belonged to the woman on the blanket). It was a headband in my hair (marble brown and heavy duty plastic) and the clip matched the headband. The bathing suit was a Catalina (got it in A&S and loved it).” She thinks we were either at Cape Cod or Gilgo Beach.

Vintage Find: Polka-Dotted Skirt

I found this cute black-and-white, polka-dotted silk Ungaro skirt on the bargain rack at a vintage shop in my neighborhood, Venice Vintage Paradise. I was wearing jeans and the shop owner taught me a new trick to find out if a skirt might fit. She told me to check to see if I could wrap the skirt’s waistband around my neck—if I could, the skirt would fit. She was right.