Month: January 2008

for once, a single accessory manages to render me utterly speechless

night city scarfblack night city scarf

Etsy :: Night City Scarf – $85

“After seeing a 1983 Cosmo cover a few weeks ago with this shimmering fabric draped all over a naked body, well that was it. I hunted down the supplier and have made Night City Scarves. The fabric is brass that has been enameled and it’s unbelievably flexible and fluid and will last a lifetime. It is not rigid and moves just like fabric. Each hexagon is 1/8″ in diameter and they are machine linked together. It’s at once luxurious, retro, and rock and roll all wrapped into one! I think it’s the perfect scarf for when you don’t want to wear an oversized wrap at a dinner party.”

gahhh… drooooooool… need. $85. NOW.

An aside: To the mofo who stole my favorite jacket at the bar last night:
May you die alone with nothing but your hateful, hateful self to keep you company. And perhaps some stray cats to gnaw at your rotting corpse.

Sorry, but DAMN. I am forlorn beyond measure.

thrift stars of the week! 29 Jan 08

there is a single tear of joyous envy running down my face right now.

those are the most perfect brogues EVER. NEED.

I remember in the early 90s when these weird cowboy booties were insanely popular and I hated them more than anything. Well, I’ve changed my mind.

i never thought i would ever be able describe a ginger-haired girl in a little black dress and geek specs as “ethereal.”
I must be on ether.

white thrift pixie boots
the accessories are doing it all to a simple vintage dress. i especially love the elfin buckle boots and rustic clutch. anja hosts another amazing blog.

lady smaggle always finds the greatest dresses.

print scarf, ankle boots
accessories!! love em! they’re like the sauce on spaghetti. who wants to eat just plain noodles?

60s inspired tie
60’s inspired and smile-inducing.

stararah is too adorable for words. make sure you stop by her wicked blog.

alice in wonderland
the snail and the cyclops fell down the rabbit hole and came back with that bag.

penguin sweater thrift clothes
this is the cheeriest winter get-up i’ve ever laid eyes on.

vintage society girl
vintage society girl makes me want to believe that print jumpers are the new LBD.

Karmaloop LLC

Ask Painfully Hip: I need a sweet leather bag that’s as roomy as my summer tote

Parmida, my friend in Vancouver, sent me this question along with a plethora of links to gorgeous floral and print totes.

So my darling, here is my dilemma: I love totes because they have so much space, but I want a big nice black leather purse to serve the same purposes. I now work and live in a shmucky area of town, so I can’t carry around my totes like I used to. But most oversized purses are quite ugly to me. I like simplicity, classic looks. Can you suggest anything?

When I read this question, I immediately thought of the adorable Irene Adler and her stunning collection of large leather vintage satchels.

I was lucky enough to find a similar bag in burgundy mock-crock designed for laptops for $30 at Winners (aka the Canadian version of TJMaxx), but I’ve also seen a few at thrift stores here and there including one with the tags still on which said Balenciaga, but I’m going to stick to my guns and pretend I was right about my assumption of it’s falsity. I would also do a search on eBay for “vintage satchels.” Try to find one that includes a shoulder strap just in case you’re totally high-maintenance and require the use of both hands, for whatever reason.

But if you’re not as lucky as I am lately (I’ve been bowing down to the gods of karma and begging them to keep that other shoe from dropping), there are some pretty boss new versions to be had online. I’m including leather-like goods as well for the sake of wallet-weakness (and the karma gods).

Lauren’s big brown bag $33 with 15% painfullyhip discount code

Geo retro doctor bag: $61 with 15% painfullyhip discount code YUM.

embossed snakeprint satchel $20


Temperley London bags at

check me out: attempting to claw my way out of a heavy funk

The questionable weather, my 2nd contraction of a flu virus within a week, overwhelming stressiness, and the fact that apparently there’s a conspiracy to turn Sacramento into a retirement town (aka shut down the only decent dance club in the city) has really gotten me down. I could barely get myself out of bed this morning. So. Just to spite the suckage, I decided to put on the most obnoxiously bright, cheerful, and totally impractical outfit I could find.

sleeveless, cropped wool sweater: thrifted, $8
high-waisted mini skirt: thrifted 75 cents
electric blue belt: thrifted, $1
f$%&ing beautifully saturated vintage silk scarf (seriously the best thing ever): traded for my thrifted 50 cent earrings with a girl at a bar
electric blue vintage pumps with buckle detail: thrifted $4
pleather bomber: Le Chateau $80

(Currently istening to: Clinic)


The Guild, Inc.

thrift stars of the week! 24 Jan 08

Last week business was as slow as molasses in winter, but when it rains, it pours (you want a few more clichés?? more where that came from)! The work has been absolutely piling up on me this week and my (entirely too numerous) Thrift Stars (from wardrobe_remix) have been left languishing in my Inbox. I wish I had time to write my little quips but if I keep putting it off, all this gorgeousness will just slip through my fingers.

snail cyclops


mens shoes

maggie gyllenhaal

floral cardi





la meow




brown dress

black red

high waisted pencil skirt


Elf Cosmetics

help me, you mad DIY geniuses…

I found this necklace at Creatures of Comfort for $197! Anyone have any ideas at all on how I could recreate this on the cheap…?


Anyone? Anyone at all?? I’m utterly stumped. 😉

EDIT: Um… OK OK, I’m not really all that stumped! It was supposed to be a hilariously un-funny joke. Get it?? Sigh…

prepare yourselves for some stunning mediocrity

I have a sewing machine finally (thanks, Mum)!! My perfect workspace set-up is complete! Any self-respecting graphic designer/fashion-blogger would be happy here:


    -500 gigs of harddrive space hungry to be filled almost completely with music? check.
    -laptop stand which swivels for bedtime movie-watching and working whilst hungover? check.
    -ukelele (not pictured) for the systematic slaughter of Beirut songs? check.
    -sewing machine for some janky-ass futzing and likely future victim of my wrath? check.

So get yourselves ready for some gleefully awful DIY. I can’t sew worth beans, but that ain’t gonna stop me! Ohmanohmanohman…!


check me out: a true canadian ex-pat

Although I do miss Canada, I don’t miss it’s dodgy weather. So what do I do at the first sign of vaguely spring-like weather (here it comes in January, in Vancouver it usually doesn’t come till, oh, JUNE)? Like a true canadian ex-pat, out come the shorts.

Erin Fetherston for Target pleated velveteen shorts: clearance, $6.99
old man hat originally from H&M: FreeStyle Clothing Exchange, $9
black T-shirt with keyhole and button: gift from mum
gray oversize Jacob cardi: thrifted, $5
wooly over-the-knee socks: Target, $3.99
black Blowfish moccasins (Lori’s Shoes): a gift from my friend Rich

Yeah, I did the cliche Chicago pose with the hat. So sue me. I didn’t feel like putting on makeup.

Ask Painfully Hip: How do you make great finds at the thrift store? or How to be a thrift star!

Hi Amber!

I just recently discovered your website and I thoroughly enjoy the photos you post of fantastically stylish, but very unique-looking women. I am making it my goal this year to seriously explore, research, stomp around the city, do whatever I can to source out cool thrift stores. So here comes my frank question. These women look so amazing and seem to find great items in thrift/vintage shops. I, of course, will not overlook the fact that what they exude of their character in their ensemble contributes to how interesting it looks. But where are they finding these cool pieces? I find myself feeling just….boggled…by where I need to go to find something as interesting as what these girls wear. Perhaps I am not dedicating enough time or patience to digging through the racks? Are there any stores, or tips, you could suggest? Thanks for your time and have a great day!


Thanks Nadia!
I know. My mind is boggled daily at the genius of our thrift stars. However, before you get too intimidated, you should keep in mind that quite a few of our most featured ladies are professional thrifters! They make it their job to find boggling pieces to resell on eBay, so they spend much more time than most of us playing dress-up and filling their closets (and ours) with glorious, glorious vintage. So don’t get too down on yourself! That being said, here are a few tips to help you in the time you do spend with your nose in the mothball-scented racks.

1. Head for the hills!
Skip the picked over thrift stores that are right in the middle of the city. You’re getting what’s left over when all the hip kids that live there (and work in the thrift store) have made off with all the good stuff. Go to the ‘burbs where old church ladies are pricing vintage lacoste shirts at 50 cents.

2. Be there first! Have a score-gasm.
Most thrift stores have certain days when they put out their “new” inventory. Ask the clerks and find out when that is. Get there early that day and you won’t be disappointed! Perhaps an almost new pair of Irregular Choice shoes worth $80 (seen it!)? A skinny vintage leather bomber? A Pucci scarf…? Its a treasure hunt. Just yesterday I scored an Oscar de la Renta corduroy blazer in perfect condition for only $3.


3. Context, context, context…
I cannot overstate the importance of a good sense of context. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hideousness that engulfs the racks. Muumuus, terrycloth jumpsuits, tawdry christmas sweaters, stretched out bicycle shorts, mom jeans… In your hurry to sift through it all, you might nonchalantly skip over your new favorite piece. Try to make a day for yourself when no one is waiting for you when you can take your time and just try on everything. Get to know what looks good on your body, what would fit with your current wardrobe, what makes you feel happy! Think of how the piece would look with your favorite pair of jeans or new moccasins. Some ridiculously 80’s sweater might look totally hip with your edgy haircut and designer ankle boots. If it tickles you, TRY IT ON! Don’t be too quick to toss it aside because you don’t think you can pull it off. Challenge yourself!

80s sweater80s sweater

…Also, don’t stay stuck in the women’s section! If you’re petite, check out the kids section for a shrunken blazer or a little dress you can wear as a top! Or head over to the men’s section where you can find oversized cardigans or some nicely cut trousers. Think about ways you can alter things as well. Maybe that dress is overly precious as is, but hem off a few inches? A sophisticated mini dress.

4. Play dress-up.
This is the fun part. Get all your loot home, pour yourself a glass of wine and spend a day ransacking your closet. Maybe invite a good (open-minded and positive) friend over for a second opinion, but remember you’re trying to challenge yourself. Try your new finds on in different combinations and with different hairstyles. Try layering them under and over things you already have. Try different colors of tights, different kinds of shoes and accessories. Go crazy, loosen up. Get used to seeing yourself in a new light (repeat to yourself, “I’m a thrift STAR!”) and maybe soon you’ll have the confidence to wear some of your crazy concoctions out of the house.

5. Post on Wardrobe Remix.
One of the rules of wardrobe remix is to post an outfit that you actually wore. So do it! Swallow your self-doubt and rock your new finds! The cool thing about wardrobe remix is that the more creative you are, the more good feedback you tend to get. And the more good feedback you get, the more confident you’ll feel.


6. Don’t have time for all that? Spend a little more money and shop online or in vintage boutiques.
Keep in mind that most vintage pieces, however used, will usually be better quality and last longer than a gauzy $9 sweater from Forever 21, not to mention the sweatshop free, recycling karma points you earn when you purchase them. So if you have too little time and a bit of extra money to spend, eBay, online vintage shops and boutiques are a worthwhile alternative to thrift stores. They have stylish people doing all the digging, legwork and quality control for you. Some stores even hire stylists who will put the clothes into context with current trends on a hip model. Here’s a list of some of my favorite online shops to get you started.

Billie Goat Vintage
Liebemarlene Vintage
The Olive Shoppe
Sally Jane Vintage
Vintage Revolver
PastModern Vintage
La Meow Vintage
Tin Roof Vintage
Mill Street Vintage
California Vintage Connect
Indie Cult Vintage
Vintage Amour
Get a discount with coupon code PAINFULLYHIP at:
PenelopePups Vintage
ModCloth Vintage

thrift stars of the year: 2 glaring omissions

So apparently, the two most obvious thrift star of the year (as in, DUH!) choices were blatantly omitted. I can only blame my own stupidity and the fact that it took me 4 hours to write that post, I was always meaning to include them, but I guess they just got lost in the shuffle. These two girls were in fact the first Wardrobe Remixers we ever featured on this blog and the fact that they were omitted…? Well, no more excuses, just abashed repentance (Thanks to Athena and Ranna for pointing it out). Here they are, better late than never:

Once dubbed “the hippest girl on the internet” by Eve (and for a short time by Google as a result), Boboniaa never disappoints. Her daring color combinations, signature silhouettes (lots of slouchy t-shirt dresses, colorful round-toed pumps and over-sized accessories) set against bright cement walls are always eye-candy for our site. Thanks, Boboniaa, for always bringing it. We absolutely love your lovely, cartoony grin and joyous sophistication.

Besides having one of the best fashion blogs we’ve ever read, Leibemarlene also runs an incredibly consistent vintage eBay store. This girl is style, personified and wears almost exclusively vintage. Lucky for us, she’s always imparting her wardrobe wisdom and sharing her thrifted treasures with the entire interweb. So even though we can never hope to have as much innate fashion instinct as she does, we can at least buy the clothes right off her painfully adorable back.