Isn't it about time that your own personal style hits the runway and takes flight?
It's time for spring cleaning, but wait before you toss that belted cargo jacket from Rue 21 and a ruched bodycon from Body Shop. You can always move those "cheapie" pieces from economy to first class with top notch accessories like sunglasses from Oscar de la Renta, rings from Vince Camuto, and leather moto boots from Coolway USA.
Isn't it about time that your own personal style hits the runway and takes flight?
I was busy yaking on my cell as I was exiting the passenger's side of Loris' car when my left foot was caught in the strap of my purse which was on the floor. In a matter of seconds, I was ejected into the parking lot like a cannon ball! With cell phone still in my hand and a yaking thrift sister on the other end unaware of what had just taken place, Loris ran to my side asking "Are you okay?" I was a little embarrassed but okay and thankful for strong bones. I didn't see any marks on my knees and wondered how that happened and Loris said "You fell on your side." Huh? Anyways, then I was thankful for the added cushion of extra pounds packed on over the last few months. Lesson learned. If your purse has both handles and a strap and you're not using the strap then, "TAKE IT OFF!"
Days later, the same purse became my life saver. I haven't been doing well in the fashion category lately. I lost a dear cousin in January and now I've lost another cousin and with everything else going on in my life, I have become somewhat of a fashion slob which is totally embarrassing to Loris. We were on our way to my granddaughter's volleyball game and I was looking a hot mess and Loris was too hurt to speak on it. But, little did she know that my "murder bag" was also a "medicine bag" which contained 6 items that I needed to go from blah to beautiful before entering the doors of the YMCA for the game. They both went inside without me and only God knows the conversation they had about the way that I looked with two fuzzy braids, no makeup whatsoever, and men's sandals that I had borrowed from my friend.
I sat in the car and did my brows and lined my lips with a dark brown pencil. I applied blue mascara to my lashes. I put on black matte lipstick and then topped with dark plum. I put on a choker, redid mu two braids, and put on my ankle boots. Hah! Good thing that everything I needed was in that "killer bag" that I'm still carrying and my girls breathed a sigh of relief when I strutted in.
What's in your bag?
I was tickled pink to see the CEO of a small chain of thrift stores across the "Bible Belt" while out shopping on yesterday. I wanted to say "Hello" and pretend that we were old friends, but he was busy conversing with who I assumed were investors and managers, while some shopper/shoplifter left a cart filled with price tags from items snatched right under their noses. I laughed when I thought of how disappointed they must be that their pot of gold turned out to be "fools" gold and that their supposed "cash cow" just dropped a load and they fell head first into it. And best of all, greed has come back them smack dab in the middle of their backsides!
Thrift store closings are hot topics these days, well at least among my circle of former thrift lovers. Yes, I say "former" because many of us have decided that most of our time and dollars are better spent in retail stores. Uh-huh, "retail", you read it right. Many of us are going back to retail while watching the list of thrift store closings grow longer and longer. Thrift store chain Savers, the largest chain of non-profit thrift stores with a total of 350 stores in the US and Canada, is closing a total of 14 stores this spring due to lagging sales performance. The Salvation Army Family Store of Madison County, Alabama is closing by the end of the month and we can't help but wonder "How in the heck does a thrift store go outta business with all of the free donations and tax credits?" Even for-profit stores can "pimp" a charity for donations, right? Then, we discuss discuss our theories of who we think should be next on the "biggest loser" list and why.
Let's talk about the "who".
It's no secret that a local thrift store is my least favorite. Aside from a couple of managers and employees, the store is nothing to brag about but definitely something to complain about. Since changing ownership a few years back, the place has taken a nose dive and I can't help but think "That's what you get!" They have sucked the fun out of thrifting with a jumbo straw and the remaining customers are all singing in unison "Old thrift store ain't what it used to be!" either to "boogie oogie" or "gospel" instrumentals; whatever's playing at the time.
Now, on to the why.
They took a perfectly operating store and attempted to transform it into a trash collecting beast, an empire of second-hand goods, but it's slowing but surely going to ruins. First of all, we don't appreciate "Californy" city slickers trying to play us for fools all in the name of Christianity while collecting our donated goods and adding their profits to the devil's money bag. That free junk that they sell, a lot of that crap is donated by us, repurchased by us, and then redonated by us. They take it, increase the price each time they resell, then ROTFL as the next thrift addict takes the bait. But you know how the old saying goes "You can't fool all of the people all of the time so guess who's not donating back anymore? You're right! A lot of "former" thrifters that I know simply refuse to donate any goods plus we're spending as little money as we can when shopping there. We've learned to feed what's left our addictions by choosing "over priced" items that we like (if we are lucky enough to find any) and then putting most everything back before we leave; enjoying the experience with minimal cost. Hah! It's our version of a "nicotine patch" the single thrift cigarette that we puff, snuff out, only to relight it the next day making it last all week! It's called Thrift Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Hah! That's what we all are saying. Employees are getting the best goods and jacking up the prices of Basic Editions and Faded Glory. Foolish right? Even the poor folk who care very little about style aren't buying it anymore. Those cheap, shapeless, worn, torn, and tattered items just sit on the sales floor until sold to the highest bidder in a third world country and the lonely shoe sold to the amputee at a veteran's home. You know a shoe without a mate is in high demand, right? Of course you didn't know that; only a greedy thrift store owner would!
I sit and shake my head at how an insatiable greed plus Google is driving thrift stores further into a trashy grave. They throw wrenches into their own wheels of productivity, while doing price comparisons with retail chains along with eBay and Poshmark sellers. They are obsessed with individuals who are making profits on thrifted purchases. "No way", they say. "We can't have that!" Then walks in the Processing Sheriff, whips out the pricing gun and the price goes through the roof! Still shaking my head.
Those slickers thought that we weren't too bright, just because we might see a UFO every now and then, huh? Well, those of us country bumpkins who have been thrifting for years are just sitting back on our bags of valuable goods from days gone by while watching thrift stores play out a sorry hand with a bright red flag pinned to their back ends. Sorry guys, but that bull called greed is charging at cha and we're the cheering crowd!
Now, it's our time to ROTFL!
It was around September of 2016 that I decided to join a Facebook thrifting group. The administrator gave members permission to post what they wanted, as often as they wanted, which included fashion related as well as inspirational posts. So, I did what most thrift enthusiasts would have done, I jumped right in posting my 25+ years of goodies; not realizing the significance of the proverb "Look before you leap!"
I started with my vintage Coach collection, offering tips on how to spot a fake and even destroying some of the counterfeits found in my collection. I then moved on to Dooney & Bourke, Brighton, and on and on. Remember, I've been thrifting for years and I have a lot of high end stuff...which turned out to be a problem for some. Someone should have told me that Facebook group administrators consider their position as seriously as a powerful billionaire leader of the free world does. If they feel threatened in any manner and imagine that someone is trying to steal their imaginary spotlight, here comes the wreck-less behavior, the "shadiness" with mud slinging and other childish antics. God forbid that you should cease the "likes" because in all honesty, you're just not that into their style. It only took me a second to see that those ludicrous posts were directed towards me, but I continued with my "goodie show" while pretending to be unaware of her calculated moves. Apparently, my quality items inflicted some sort of emotional pain (envy) on ole Trump-ess and I would be lying if I said that I didn't begin to enjoy it.
Long story short, when there was no end in sight for my "goodie posts", ole Trump-ess, kicked me out of the White House, I mean the Facebook thrifting group, but not before I had hours and hours of laughs at her expense. Would I join another group? Probably not! If you're thinking of joining a Facebook thrift group, it would be in your best interest to take a sneak peek at the some of the posts. If they don't align with your taste in fashion, then your posts won't be well received and it won't be long before you're shown the door too!
Here's the Coach bag and blog post that started it all!
Look before you leap!
Black leggings, black fringed ponchos, black boots, and now black lipstick...hey, what's going on here? Well, I'm not exactly at a high point in my life, but I'm far from being at my lowest. Choosing dark clothing and makeup doesn't necessarily mean that you're slipping down a slippery emotional slope, black just happens to be a favorite when it comes to clothing choices. And it's a little twist on my usual burgundy lipstick...turning it up, up, up until it goes "black"!
It's her birthday and she doesn't look a day over 18!
Loris chose a boho look for her special day with:
A fitted bodycon by Nicki Minaj
OTK boots by Vince Camuto
Fringed hobo bag by B. Mackowsky
Silver coin choker from Walmart
Hat from her grandfather
Bangles by Brighton
Vintage sunglasses by Wildfox
Not only am I the blogger behind the pretty face of Nappy Model, I'm also her personal shopper. So, I thrift the stuff, she puts it all together, and then looks cute for the camera. Simple as that!
Wanna be styled by me, BeBe? Umm...you will have to get permission from her!
Loris and I have loved thrifting for many years, but due to the increased prices of second-hand items at local thrift stores (which are way past insane), we've decided to spend our dollars elsewhere, and a lot more of them.
Ahhh, the joys of retail shopping: clean environment, friendly employees who rely on sales commissions, and items that you can actually return for a full refund. There are sales racks with additional discounts off the sale prices like the awesome deal on Vera Bradley that I enjoyed this past Friday at Dillard's. Used Vera Bradley bags at thrift stores can range from $9.99 to $19.99 and even higher. Now, why would anyone pay this price for used VB bags, when Dillard's crossbody hipster bags were marked down to $22.00, plus an additional 20% off with a 30 day return policy? With savings like those, I purchased a crossbody bag (retail $45.00), lunchbox (retail $34.00), and backpack (retail $104.00) for less than $85.00 Wow!
It makes perfect sense to do the math first, and thrift store prices may not be such a great deal after all! And..Dillard's gives back to the community by supporting our job readiness training workshops!
We're spending more of our dollars where it counts the most...maybe you should try it!
Yesterday was dark and cloudy; a day for staying in your jammies and enjoying a good book but not for this Alabaster City Schools teacher who found her rays of sunshine with Brighton accessories and a much needed shopping spree at Nordstrom Rack.
Her outfit consisted of:
Black and white striped turtleneck from Kohls
Waxed skinny jeans: Thrifted
Black/animal print loafers: Sam Edelman (Belk)
Camel corduroy blazer: Thrifted
Cranberry wool beret: Express (Thrifted)
Brighton backpack: Thrifted
Brighton belt: Thrifted
Brighton stackable bangles: Gifted
Chase those clouds away with Brighton' accessories!
You really ought to do your research before donating to a charity store. Why?
She's an evening manager at a local thrift store. While pretending to straighten the racks, she is actually selecting the items that she wants, enough clothing to dress the entire family plus grandkids, along with home furnishings for pickup after the day shift has gone. Later, when the coast is clear, a family member casually loads them into a shopping cart and out of the store. And...guess who you'll see selling these same items at weekend yard sales? You guessed it!
A lady in Chicago noticed that when certain employees were present, nice purses were absent, But, on their "off" days, she was able to find nice purses at prices as low as $6.99. When, she brought this to the the attention of the store manager, he asked if she was reselling the purses that she bought. Her answer was "no", but she noticed that the nice purses went from hanging on the walls at $6.99 to being locked in display cases with prices from $69.99 to $89.99 to a whopping $129.99! These prices are for used handbags (retired patterns), not new with tags, but visibly worn bags that can be purchased "new" at, near, or below thrift store prices. That's price gouging and I sincerely hope that none of those overpriced bags sell!
Do you see why it matters where your donations go? If you're donating for a good cause, be sure that cause is being addressed. Ask the management about their "so-called" charitable donations. What are they doing for the community other than hiring individuals who are severely overworked and underpaid? Do a walk through inspection. Are their prices fair or inflated? Would the less fortunate benefit from that particular store or fair better shopping at a discount chain?
Do your research. If your donations are not helping the disadvantaged, they are only feeding the insatiable greed and thrift store theft!
Wait before you donate!