My friend WendyB has written frequently about her love of leopard. Take a look at the Patrick Kelly leopard dress on her. She positively roars in that leopard, but I’m more of a fraidy cat (yep, puns intended). I have a fondness for leopard print, but I’ve always been shy about it and stick to a few choice accessories. Best ones: the London Sole ballet flats I wear with jeans (skinny or wide-legged look best) and a black top or sweater; and a long skinny scarf I wear in my hair on good or bad hair days. (See the scarf modeled above on Buttons, my childhood teddy bear.) I’ve been less inclined to wear leopard clothing, but found a blouse during one of my recent thrifting missions for my Etsy shop. It’s got a leopard print with roses and seemed like a good find on the rack, but I wasn’t sure of the shirt’s age or origin and I won’t sell list anything in the vintage section of my shop unless I’m sure of its history. Then I tried it on and it became mine. Another recent thrift store find was a jersey T-shirt in a leopard print, but I discovered a hole in it after bringing it home so I’m using the fabric to make accessories, including hair bands and jersey necklaces like the one pictured. Next up: upcycled shirts with leopard fabric details I’m adding to the neckline. On a roll…. Wendy also posted that fellow blogger Sheila has declared this to be leopard week. Today, I’m representing with my flats.
Even before seeing purple represented so well at the Oscars last night, I have been thinking about how it’s time the color made a comeback in my closet. The pictured book was a gift from my parents many years ago and includes the poem by Jenny Joseph about wearing purple.
Here’s the ID bracelet mentioned previously in a post on things I wear that make me feel young. I made this bracelet when I was a teen, using the glass turquoise beads from a broken set of rosary beads and lettered beads I got from a shop on Long Island called Fantasyland. My mother shopped at Fantasyland for all her crafting needs—and it was one of my favorite places for tagging along. Mom went to the section with dried flowers and other materials for her wreath-making and flower-arranging; I went to the bead section and marveled at all the colors and varieties. On a counter in the jewelry section was a large fishbowl filled with hundreds of lettered beads and I remember digging for the letters in my name. The first bracelet I made was by stringing those lettered beads with colored plastic ones on elastic thread. Later I taught myself to cut and twist wire to make chains of beads (using rosary beads as my model), but the elastic bracelet was a hit with junior high friends who paid me to make them similar bracelets and necklaces. I was happy for my own reason to visit Fantasyland and to collect some cash for doing something that was so much fun. Making stuff, including jewelry, still ranks as one of my favorite activities. When I recently consolidated all my beads and jewelry-making materials in plastic bins, I found the pictured Fantasyland postcard and other beads acquired way back when—including the remaining beads from the rosary used to make the ID bracelet, which I put to use by making the dangly earrings seen to the right of the bracelet.
Wise people say you should do what you love; for those in business, that translates to selling what you love. When I shipped this vintage unicorn locket/pendant to a buyer, I packed it up slowly, thinking a bit woefully about how I liked it enough to want to keep it. When I shop for my Etsy shop—for everything from vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories to T-shirts I then remake into upcycled styles—I choose what I love. In the beginning, I wanted to keep it all. Now, I will sometimes get to the point of photographing an item when I reconsider—just for a moment or two. I paused with the unicorn pendant. A unicorn pendant! Of course, I’m happy to make a sale and excited that someone out there will wear it and treasure it. But I’m going to be on the lookout for another unicorn pendant to call my own.
I read about a survey in which the average English woman was said to own more than 20 pieces of clothing she never wears. You know, the neglected items that hang at the back of the closet or get pushed to the bottom of the dresser drawer. I’m betting the same would hold true for American women. I get it. I’ve purchased items that have never gone into heavy rotation—and some I’ve never worn at all. Sometimes I find myself wanting to love an item and trying to talk myself into loving it. It might be by a designer I usually love, it might have been a total steal, it might be perfect except for the way it hangs on my hips. It just doesn’t look right? It’s gone. It just doesn’t feel right? Gone. I have adopted a strict closet admittance policy: I have to love it. It has to fit right and feel right and look right. Love it or lose it, plain and simple.
I am a big thrift shopper and encounter huge bargains regularly and this has made me discriminating—even if it’s a Marc Jacobs top with a five dollar price tag, I won’t get it if it’s the wrong size or in a color I don’t like to wear. (Exception to the rule: if it looks like something I could remake or alter it by employing some simple DIY tricks with a needle and thread, then I might get it…). Because I often find items I DO love while thrifting, I truly believe that what is trash to one woman really can be a treasure to another. I live for treasures. And for the items I have that don’t pass my love-it-or-lose-it test, there’s eBay. I went through the closet last week for another sweep and put the items online for treasure-hunters. A Levi’s jacket with nothing wrong with it? I have another denim jacket I adore and this one simply sat in the closet for a year. But someone else already scooped it up. I’ve got similar stories for the Theory pants, Trina Turk jacket, Barneys New York blouses and more….
The jasmine is blooming on the porch and I get to breathe in the rich and sweet blossoms before leaving for work in the morning and when coming home at the end of the day. I love the deep pink buds that hold the delicate white flowers. It’s like the pink of my don’t-leave-home-without-it lip gloss, Jane Iredale’s Cosmo PureGloss. So when I find myself having to refrain from gobbling up the flowers because they smell so good, I put on a little gloss and dab on some of Aftelier’s jasmine solid perfume, another makeup bag staple that comes with me wherever I go.