Americana: July 4th, Fashion and Style

As you don your red, white, and blue and head out to enjoy the beach, social gatherings and fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday, what favorite all-American style in fashion history will you be wearing?

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This classic white sundress featured in Vogue Magazine, July 2012, should be a staple in every womans wardrobe.  Years after this Ralph Lauren made it’s debut in stores across America,  it is considered a staple whose “trend”  life extends beyond the pales of being current.   Well designed fashion will always be in style no matter how many years have gone by.  It’s equally as fashionable today as it was back in July 2012.

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Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2016 RTW inspiration boards were pasted with printouts of vintage posters and pictures of all kinds of handmade, homemade souvenir embroideries. That summer,  sundresses, printed scarves, sandals, straw hats and bags—things that women from all over the world could enjoy wearing while celebrating patriotic holidays.  While this specific dress was actually inspired by Italian living, American women can cetainly take ownership!

The 2016 collection use of stripes which ranged from soft and subtle to bold and extra large in horizontal, vertical or diagonal patterns and remains timeless.  Perfect for the fourth of July.

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From the time Esquire first introduced America to the Varga Girl in 1940,  Alberto Vargas’ classic choice of fashion, many of which were patriotic, remains inspiration for July fourths today and for decades to come.

Alberto Vargas (PinUp) is a great source for Americana and patriotic fashion inspiration. Inspired by the Folies Bergère of Paris, The Ziegfeld Follies was a series of elaborate theatrical revue productions (and the more elaborate high class Vaudeville variety show) on Broadway in New York City from 1907 through 1931.

Alberto Vargas was painting in a store window in May 1919 when he was asked by a representative of the Ziegfeld Follies to show his work the next day to Mr Ziegfeld … he was to become the most famous and prolific pin-up artist of all time.

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Whether you choose to wear a UNIF Americana Denim Jacket, a classic Ralph Lauren white dress, Dolce & Gabbana stripes or if your style is to inspire others with fabulous fashions of the past, remember two things:

1) Have a happy July 4, 2017 holiday!
2. Have a safe July 4, 2017 holiday!

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75% sale on all Nordstrom brands (repost)

(Screenshot) Presidents day sale…You NEED to take advantage of these prices!
This is a re-post for anyone who may have missed it over the weekend.
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Rockabilly in a rural town

For close to 35 years I’ve lived in and around Palm Beach and Broward counties (Florida).  For the majority of those years, through all of the boyfriends, apartments, jobs and cars I’ve been through, the one thing that has remained consistent is my personal style.  I have always been a small town Rockabilly girl in a big city where fashion and personal style says just as much about who you are as a person as does the company you keep.

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Rockabilly do rag.

One of my favorite accessories is the do rag.  I like it because for most of my life I’ve only had long hair.  I have a big forehead so bangs of some sort have also been a part of my forever look.  The thing about a do rag is you can never have a bad hair day, and in a city of high humidity, that’s pretty cool.  It’s also pretty cool that I don’t have to take a shower and get all gussied up just to run to the convenience store for a pack of cigarettes.  Dirty hair?  Who cares?  I’ll just tie it up, covering my roots and off I go like a fashion plate!

So anyway…  back to the story of my my Rockabilly look!  I’ve recently moved to a very rural, agricultural town where the mjority of the population either works for the Sugarcane industry or for CAT corporation (Caterpillar Inc).

Suffice to say, the do rag doesn’t mean what it did in the big city…  The agricultural community knows my secret!  Do’h!!

In a small, rural agricultural town, a woman wearing a do rag is not sending the same fashion forward signals that it sends in Palm Beach.

 

In the palm Beaches I had style inspired by history, vintage posters and WWII.   But for my new agricultural neighbors,  they know exactly why I’m wearing my do-rag!  They know my hair is dirty or that I’m having a bad heair day.  While they still get a kick out of it because it’s not worn as commonly as it once was, the do-rag is closer to their roots.
Click here shop KirstenRaye’s full mix & match wardrobe

 

There’s a great vintage Ralph Lauren Western Wear Rockabilly skirt I would have kept for myself but it’s a size or two too large.  The link above will take you there.

The right word: Upcycle, Recycle or Restore?

When I bought this Dooney & Bourke bag, it didn’t look like this…

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It was a very scuffed up, abused, tan/camel leather that, when I saw it, my heart sank when I could see and feel how well it’s made. It’s a very strong and sturdy bag.  Certainly there must be something I can do to salvage it, right?

When I got the bag home the first thing I did before bringing it into my apartment was to wash down the leather with saddle soap, and bleach the inner lining. Such a pretty, supple leather.

As luck would have it, one of the first people I met in my new, rural, farming town was a leather worker whose job is to keep his employers’ saddles and leather goods in top shape. I gave him a call, he invited me to bring the bag to him, and with a smile he handed me everything I need to “practice a new trade”. I’m very thankful. It was a fun project and I’d like to do it again. The question is, what was I doing? Was I Upcycling? Recycling? Restoring?

Upcycle: Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Recycle: Convert (waste) into reusable material. Return (material) to a previous stage in a cyclic process. Use again.

Restore: Bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate.

Well I guess I didn’t restore it because my Dooney & Bourke bag used to be a tan/camel colored pebbled leather.  I removed some of the pebbling and created new texture in place of it, and also significantly changed the color.  It’s actually much prettier now than it was in it’s previous state, even when it was new.

I’m pretty sure I recycled my Dooney & Bourke bag.  I converted an old, abused bag and returned it to a state where it can be used again.

I’m positive I upcycled it!  To me, this bags appearance is far more attractive than the original.  If I were shopping at Dooney & Bourke, I would place a higher value on the custom red-brown leather bag.

Anyway, with a little guidance from my new friend, I stripped the bag, reconditioned it, treated it, gave it a marbled blend with leather paint and polish, antiqued it, then polished it.  It took about 3 days between drying times and sleep.  Since it was the weekend, I didn’t do much else so it took about 30 hours of actual hands on (manual labor) time.

What do you think?  Is it upcycled, recycled, restored or maybe a little of all of the above?

  •  Side note – whoever programs spellcheck for the world needs to update his dictionary.  “upcycle” does not need to be corrected.  It is correct, in every sense of the word.

 

75% off Sale on all Nordstrom brands!

(Screenshot) Presidents day sale…You NEED to take advantage of these prices!
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I threw a temper tantrum on eBay

Aside from the agony and self torture I put myself through when I know I’ve done something wrong,  after sitting down with myself for some serious self  introspection I’ve come to realize that it’s more than just a tantrum.  It’s that I lost faith in my own self and as a result I allowed myself to succumb to fear which,  turned inward becomes anger.    Anger is never good.  How very self destructive.

Ebay can be very stressful for  small businesses and I wonder how many others experience the same anger in their journey, be it on their way back up from a fall, fighting to find a new niche or just getting started?

If I [we] allow it to become a pattern then I’ll [we’ll] always fail…. even when I [we] don’t.  That’s the outcome of my self introspection following my tantrum,  but what was my tantrum about?  Something so simple.  Lack of patience.  I owe @DevinWenig an apology as well as @AskeBay an apology.  I’m probably being harsh with myself and they’re probably used to it but this doesn’t make it right.  It makes a miserable environment that potentially can get me into trouble with eBay.  If I’m depending on eBay for my livelihood, and if I’m genuinely thankful for the opportunity to be my own boss, work at my own pace, sometimes in my pajamas, have an unlimited earning potential and a bright future, then why am I creating my own roadblocks?

My temper tantrum was this;  I became a snot nosed child throwing puff punches at eBay for no other reason than I can’t control EVERYTHING.  I can micromanage every aspect of my life, I can be a controlling girlfriend, I can be a controlling pet owner, but what I can’t be is controlling of eBay.  It drives CRAZY!!  Crazy lady comin’ through!

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In my defense, the bidding didn’t look like this [above] when I threw the tantrum.  It looked something more like this [below]…

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..and this is why I lost control of my sanity.  The thing of it is this; when I run auctions, which is mostly what I do as opposed to “Buy it Now”, I know that the bidders will bid the item up (or down) to it’s resale market value.  I may think the end result is wrong, but the truth is,  the buyers/bidders drive the market.  I know this.

I know my product.  I’d like to think I choose my products wisely.  I’d also like to think I know it all.  What’s great about eBay is what’s driving me insane.  It’s that I can control nothing {insert grrrr noise here} in a life where I control everything…. but my temper.  I can be such an asshole… but lets get past that and move on to what I’ve learned.

For home based eBay businesses, especially those with limited storage space, auctions really are the best way to survive and earn a living.  There are variables that come into play, and having to compete with cheap Chinese knockoffs or an over saturated market in a very competitive niche has very little to do with it.

My niche is fashion.  I love fashion.  I know fashion.  I have an entire eBay careers worth of experience with fashion.  While I don’t know everything there is to know about fashion, I’m smart enough to conduct searches through eBay’s completed auctions section to find out what’s selling.   I don’t watch T.V. but I do watch YouTube videos, social media videos around the web and news videos.  All of the women I see in the videos have one important fact in common and that is that they all wear clothing as do the women at the cash register as I’m reading the tag lines of Vogue Magazine, Cosmo and all of the Rag Mags.  If I’m in a long line I’ll grab one and start browsing.  If I see something interesting, I’ll buy the magazine.  One need not be very bright to do this.

What I’m saying is, if you know your product and you proactively seek out new information, it really is impossible to fail.  But then there’s more.  What days do the average, mainstream Americans get paid?  Do their shopping?  Do their browsing and bookmarking?  There’s a synchronicity to it.

…and last but not least (lesson learned), stay… away… from the eBay community message boards.  The majority of the people who post messages are posting them in angst.  They are impatient too.  They are venting, being negative, spreading false information, often insulting to one another, sometimes passively, sometimes aggressively, but most important, they are affecting your psyche.  Misery loves company.  If they are down, they want you to be down too.  If you read it enough, it begins to set in.  Don’t let it set in.  Just don’t read it.  Take it out of your bookmarks.  Forget it exists.  Think of it this way, when is the last time you saw one of the larger, more financially fit businesses hanging out and posting?  They are busy being financially fit what is what the rest of us should be doing.

Yesterday was for learning.  The day before was for practice.  Today is for taking the trophy.  It’s an old saying my gymnastics coach drilled in my head when I was a kid.  It’s stuck with me all my life.

So in the end, my zero bid blouse sold for it’s resale market value.  I allowed myself to forget what I know and I grew impatient.  Bidding usually doesn’t gain momentum daily.  Auctions are awesome and for the most part, if done with forethought, turn out right 🙂

Crossing the world with a stranger

Liégeois Sylvain, Place du Marché 27, Battice, Belgium.
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I’m a small town girl and would never have experienced world travel had I not met the most wonderful couple in a thrift store.  Girls like me aren’t fortunate enough to experience the finest things in life but today all of that changed, if only for an hour or two.

As I walked in it’s grungy doors my eyes were immediately drawn to the “collectibles” department where the isles were freshly restocked.  There was very expensive pieces of pottery, dishes and ceramics, each having a makers mark from all parts of the world.  There were Starbucks mugs from several different states, some had dates, others were holiday mugs.   After inspecting all of them I realized they all came from the same place and  as I toured the store I realized that these were the the belongings of an elderly couple whose  remnants told a story of great love, extensive travel and what I perceived to be a very sudden and sad ending..   but the story in and of itself was one of the most beautiful stories that could ever be told.

As a young couple, they loved to travel.  They vacationed under the stars in Paris, enjoyed fresh baked pastries in Venice, raced down the slopes of Switzerland on ski’s and traveled the Ryfylke Tourist Route in Norway.  Each piece of pottery, every souvenir dish, ashtray and mug, terrine, and figurine  that I examined took me further and further away from my own little town and it was then that I can honestly say was the only time I’ve ever experienced true love.   They weren’t just a couple.  They were more than just traveling companions.   The story I was able to quietly and peacefully put together in my mind was that two people who were very much in love, were friends, partners, confidants, and lived only for each other in every moment of their time together.  The more I looked at on the shelves, the more their story unfolded.

As time went on and age began to set in,  their travels became  closer to home but not after many years of world travel and luxurious stays.  As a young couple, they were married in California.  They honeymooned in Paris and threw a key in the canal.  Shortly after the honeymoon they relocated from California to Florida, I think it was after an earthquake.    At one point they went to Africa but something went wrong and they didn’t stay long.  They flew back to Europe by way of Germany where they drank beer from steins.

As time moved on, beer turned into wine for her and liqueur for him.  I think he drank much more than she did.  His collection of tumblers was far more extensive than her carafe and glass collection.  I think she was sick.  Not in her mind, but physically.  For this he pampered her and took the best of care of her until the end of her life.  She lived a happy life.  She never needed for anything, only her health, but that wasn’t until later, after many years of marriage.  He probably drover her insane LOL.

It wasn’t until after his passing that I discovered this great love affair.  An affluent couple who really lived life.  They didn’t just go through the motions as so many couples do, they LIVED.

My senses felt alive, I experienced great love, overwhelming joy and in the end, was overcome with the sadness of their parting from this world.  I believe she passed before he did, probably explains the extensive liqueur accessories collection.  Regardless of the way it ended, their life story gave me an insight to something I’m sure I will never experience in my own life and I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit with them.  They shared a love that few people ever get to experience.

I took home a souvenir from my travels from California, to Florida, across Europe, down to Africa and back across the United States…  It was made in France and was purchased in Belgium at some point between the mid 1960s to 1970s. I can envision her face lighting up with joy and smiling at her husband as she finds her treasure at Liégeois Sylvain. I know she loved it. She took good care of it.

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I know she’s used it at least once because there was a bit of gravy stuck to the bottom. The inside of it is glazed so it cleaned up real easy. No chips, no stains, no cracks. Only an old gold colored sticker on the base. Liégeois Sylvain, Place du Marché 27, Battice, Belgium.

For as many times as I have shopped at thrift stores,  this is the first time I have ever experienced someone else’s life through their discarded belongs.  As tragic as their ending may have, their memory has created a moment that will forever live on through my minds eye.

Yeah…  I did sell it on eBay.  The memories can’t be sold though.