April 02, 2010


This post is largely inspired by a post on Corazones Rojos, in which she describes a dress with which she will never ever part. She asked readers to respond in kind and it seemed like a perfect focus for a photo shoot with the lovely Malin Laney (you can also visit her here, and here. ). I also realize that this outfit provides an opportunity to begin talking a bit about my thrifting/gleaning philosophy. Let the fun start... NOW!

The Items with which I will Never Part:
*Dress: a 1990s take on the 40s(?). I got this way back when I first started thrifting in Southwestern Virginia as a teen in 2002. (I do believe I was with you, Sonya.) It was a couple sizes too big but the perfect length so I just tied it up tight and wore it almost every day for a year. Then I learned an important lesson: always check the care tag before you put something in the dryer. Especially if it is rayon which will shrink, producing a dress that now fits perfectly in the body, but no longer fully covers my bum. As a result, this dress has been put through the rigors of layering, proving itself worthy of a permanent place in my heart and wardrobe.

And it has also been immortalized in this portrait of me from 2006 by the one, the only, Georgia. While she was working on this painting, I actually found the same print in yellow on a different silhouette and had to give it to her.

I also started having some serious fun with Photoshop-- can you tell? I love the lomo effect! I will have to use it abundantly from now on...

*Sunglasses: Vintage Ninna Ricci from an incredible little deadstock sun glass shop in Southern Italy found a year ago. I would like to be buried in these, please.

*Bakelite Bangle: after years of searching for a bakelite thrifscore, I finally found this bracelet just last fall in rural (and I mean rural) Oregon with my mom.

This is my attempt at Photoshop pin up art effects. The tutorial has a snag for Mac users, so this is as far as I got. Curious about my petticoat yet?

*1950s Petticoat: An amazing free pile score with a kinda neat story that helps illustrate part of my thrifting/gleaning philosophy.

So here's how I got the petticoat:
Back when I first moved to Portland in 2007 I had met a woman, Rae, who ran a women's clothing swap. It occurred during my normally scheduled Friday night shift, so I couldn't attend, but wanted to contribute. The house I lived in at the time was a royal mess occupied by royally messed up individuals. And as a result of a royally messed up party, our front door did not lock. So I just left her some bags of clothing inside the hallway, left for work and returned 8 hours later at midnight. Left behind was this petticoat with a note "found this in a free pile on my way here, thought of you".

My Philosophy:
People always want to know my "secrets" of thrifting. And I do have some serious skillz in this department, but it all stems from an underlying "philosophical" framework which is not secret at all.

I believe in the thrift gods, and thrift karma. Thrift karma extends beyond the thrift store, but the general concept of gleaning. Today the verb means to "extract (information) from various sources" but it originates within ancient agricultural systems. I use the term in a way that combines both the historic and modern sense of the word, meaning to extract goods or information from various unexamined, discarded, obscure or otherwise undervalued sources. This includes thrifting, hand-me-downs, free piles, yard sales, flea markets, and resale shops. [In general, when I refer to gleaning I mean second-hand. Serious clearance bin or Marshall's finds do deserve merit and fit into my concept, but they do not interact with a cycle of reuse the same way as second-hand goods.]

One of the greatest compliments I ever got was that I was "in tune with the ebb and flow of free piles." That's exactly how I see thrifting and gleaning. It is about understanding an energy flow and being able to vibrate on that plane (told y'all I was new-agey!) A basic tenet of my gleaning philiosophy is:
You get what you give. True for all aspects of my life.

Like yin and yang, this material plane has two sides to it, an "ebb" and a "flow." You must nourish both sides in order to achieve balance and therefore harmony. Giving freely and regularly ensures two things: 1) you will have more space 2) you will open up any blocks in your gleaning energy flow. I see myself as a "steward" for special items which have been overlooked despite still being usable and delightful. (Kinda like my beloved dandelion). The energy I exude, either in a thrift store or just in the world (especially Portland though) actually makes the items find me, not the other way around. It may sound crazy to some, but the proof is in the pudding:

I feel vain for posting so many pictures of myself, but I am super stoked about Malin's mad skillz!

That and it was hard to stop playing with Photoshop last night!

Thanks again! Hope you enjoyed this post!


  1. love love love all the pics!!!

  2. damn that was quick!! I just posted this like 3 minutes ago!! Thank you, and thanks more to Malin Laney! (and the creators of Photoshop tutorials)

  3. Lovely pictures!
    This made me think of you, but it might be more eyecandy than productive since it's been discovered.

    I think it's harder to score a find in nyc because people seem to know what they've got...

  4. OMG, OMG, OMG All of the photos really. Are truly bella. Beautiful, STYLISH, Vintage. OMG. That photo of you squinting, with your hand over your eyes. OMG SO HOT, SASSY, SEXY, BELLE. (sometimes the jealous fairy's appearance is a good thing! It's like a kick in the rear!) You look so gorge, I'm jealous. Don't spect me not be pursuin my own vintage vibe when you make it look so hot.

  5. rexi! I love you. Hope that was posted from your blackberry! We will have to vintage it up for an old time movie-star photo shoot next time I'm in Va. We could shoot it at Hollywood cemetery!

  6. thanks for all the info on how to make photos larger. im slowly editing my blog setting to make my images bigger and the blog prettier! been meaning to do that but never knew how to/wasnt really bothered to. so thanks!

    also i really like your brown shoes and your "thrift karma" philosophy

  7. why yes, yes they are fake, but only the one at the bottom :). and tutorial is too much to work for, and I am lazy so I won't do it, but thank you :). I really love your old fasion- style :). It fits you perfectly! :).

  8. Great pictures, really love the way you edited them!

  9. GORGEOUS is all I need to say =D


  10. really great outfit it works!!!




  11. Super cute photos. :) I really like your hair too!! Happy Easter.

    xx Love & Aloha

  12. LOVE your petticoat :)
    perfect outfit
    great blog too
    stop by some time xx

  13. Thanks everyone for such kind and supportive comments! Hope to keep it up in the future!

  14. Thanks for entering my giveaway!

    Very cute photos!

  15. Thanks everyone for such darling comments! I hope you will keep up with this blog and share your own!

  16. ok, so, i recently found my boot soul mates (yes, groan, i love a bad pun) on ebay. these boots are magical. i'm in my own fairy tale everyday and have taken to wearing that embroidered apron you gave me. though it is a less visceral experience, i'm now willing to believe that the thrift karma philosophy can be applied to ebaying.

    mb, thoughts and comments on virtual thrifting? is it also governed by the thrift gods?

  17. yes; I would consider ebay def. to be in the realm of "gleaning". I'm willing to be that the karma/thrift gods and situations pertaining to each type of gleaning venue (thrift shop, yard sale, ebay etc.) differ slightly, but are all governed by the same general principles. Good question!

  18. I have not much time, but I've got many useful things here, love it!

  19. I just loved your photos, of you wearing your lovely Petticoat, and you look so lovely, I adore beautiful Petticoats,
    will start my own Blog, and upload Pics of my self revealing gorgeous petticoats, from under my beautiful Skirts or Dresses, and Lots of photos, of grgeous, and adorable, vintage sheer, frothy, multi-layered petticoats, and nylon, / chiffon panties, as I adore beautiful 1950s-1960s vintage clothing, if you would like to chat share our admiration for beautiful Petticoats Ect, here is my email contact,



looking forward to hearing from you!