Month: March 2008

thrift stars of the day

i definitely need more brat pack in my wardrobe.

ah liebemarlene, it must be exhausting maintaining this level of cuteness all the time. darling.

vintage fabric dress
ivy frozen is a DIY guru. she made this out of another, much less adorable vintage dress. magic!

this totally makes me want to cut a hole in the middle of a bath mat and wear it to like, a cocktail party hosted by jesus.

next time i go to sleep, i wanna fall down the exact same rabbit hole.

vintage dress
matchy matchy done right.

seven easy pieces in three short installments, part II

hi everyone! here’s installment number two about updating and reducing your wardrobe… hope you’re all having a great week!


along with the personal style upheavals spring brings, i feel like the “environmental awareness” trend has been gaining more and more intensity.
(this is amazing and wonderful and really really awesome.)
more people are thrifting, re-fashioning, re-cycling, buying vintage, second hand, (or hand made) off of ebay, etsy, and all the other small-business-ish sites out there, and otherwise just reducing their fashion intake.  

interestingly enough, it was in the ’80’s that donna karan introduced her “seven essential (or easy) pieces,” which consisted of a collection of seven garments – a bodysuit, a coat, a jacket, blouse, skirt, pants and something a little fancier for the evening – that, when owned as whole, would pretty much cover every basic clothing need.
the pieces were created to work together and could be mixed and matched to take you from day to evening. the collection itself was designed for simplicity and ease in stylish dressing for the modern woman (as donna karan viewed her.)
(i find this particularly amusing since the ’80’s are not really remembered for their minimalist and environmentally conscious approach at anything…) 

donna karan recently re-introduced this concept with her icons collection. (you can also read more about it here.)

icons 1 donna karan 2donna karan 3
donna karan 4  donna karan 5  donna karan 6

these aren’t necessarily the seven pieces i would create my wardrobe with, (and not really in the price bracket i shop in), but i’m in love with this concept. it’s something i’ve been playing around with in my head for a while, and cleaning out my closet has made me start thinking about it more seriously. how nice would it be to be able to open up my closet door and know that almost everything i own is something that not only looks good on, but also works well with the rest of the things i own? how much stress would be eliminated if my clothing options complimented each other, rather than being a clashing pile of ill-fitting prints and patterns purchased in a fit of “oooh! pretty!” rather than “what exactly will i wear this with?”  in order for this to work though, it means adding pieces to your wardrobe that fit with what already resides there, and not just blindly buying anything that sparkles. it takes a bit more thought and planning and less impulse, but i don’t think those are bad things to practice, by any means. i’ve found that most impulse buys have lead to unnecessary credit card bills and a pile of things i realistically won’t ever wear, but feel too guilty about purchasing to donate to goodwill. 

so with all of this in mind, these are the questions i’ve been pondering:
• what exactly would i choose, if i were creating my own “seven easy pieces?”
• would this collection be seasonal, or would i have an entirely separate set of pieces for spring/summer and fall/winter?
• would i limit myself to seven, or would i increase that number a bit? ten easy pieces? even more?
• what sort of trends (personal or commercial) would i follow in creating this collection of pieces, or would i try to maintain a sense of “timelessness?” is that even possible?
i have worn some of my favorite things for years, but i think that’s more of a personal preference than an actual stylistic “timelessness.” i could be completely wrong here, but when i hear the term “timeless,” elastic-waist slacks and shapeless jumpers come to mind, which i feel achieve their title by never really being a fashionable choice to begin with, and therefore eliminate the danger of being given the opportunity to fall from grace.  
please share your thoughts on this with me! i want to hear how you answer these questions.

windy chic

Apologies for the scanty posts of late, we’ve been in Chicago the past couple days and our gracious hosts have been keeping us graciously busy. We are having an amazing time and are currently waiting for a cab to take us to deliciousness, a thing that is very prevalent in this awesome city. So in honor of the windy city, here’s a photo of a very ungracefully wind-swept SJP.


I love how she’s simultaneously completely helpless and totally chic. Demonstrative of the power of a pair of good pumps.
Don’t forget, Chicagoans, to come to out Major Hip Replacement Clothing Swap on Sunday! See ya soon!

seven easy pieces in three short installments

disclaimer: when i started this post, i had no idea it would get so out of hand. but it did. and since i don’t want to scare anyone off, i’ve broken it down into three more easily digestible sections about the joys of re-thinking and reducing your wardrobe. my next series will be called “summing your point up in one concise entry – attn: diana.”

i know for a fact i’m not the only one out there who starts itching to change something when the seasons start to shift. in certain cities, fashion week – both spring and fall – are more noted than the corresponding seasonal change. people use spring and fall to sort out and re-evaluate not just wardrobe choices, but many different of aspects of their lives. welcoming in a new season is almost like having a mini new year – i make resolutions, reflect on what it is i have accomplished, and what i hope to accomplish over the next few months, and i use all the shuffling – both the mental and the physical – as an excuse to re-evaluate my closet and discard the things that aren’t really working for me any more.
i say that i am not the only one who does this, because i have been seeing this theme spring up on many other blogs and websites i frequently lurk on.

i just preformed the equivalent of a wardrobe root canal, and it feels amazing. three garbage bags were hauled to the thrift shop up the street, (not to mention the four crates full of clothes i will soon be listing on ebay…) and getting dressed has suddenly become EASIER. tricia royal wrote a series of how-to articles (that are way better than i could ever hope to do, so please read them if you feel inspired to jump on the spring cleaning bandwagon), on downsizing and de-cluttering your wardrobe, over at bits and bobbins. she guides you through the process in a way that makes the task feel less intimidating and more like fun, and talks about why having less in your closet will actually make you feel like you have more options. among other things, you will know that everything in your closet does the following:
• works together
• looks good on you, and
• fits into the category of who you want to present yourself as.

tricia gives a list of questions to ask yourself regarding each garment in your closet, before you make the decision to keep it. reading this list got me thinking how it’s crucial to have a strong idea pre-wardrobe-overhaul of how you want your finished project (yourself!) to look after you sort. (in a way, it’s like building a house. you need to know if the finished building will be a sprawling ranch house or a three story victorian before you buy your materials and start hammering things together.)

the beautiful gala also gives her wonderfully helpful thoughts on this topic in her article “things to do before the seasons change”. she suggests writing a style concept, which is sort of a style outline for yourself. she gives a super amazing example here, and i highly recommend reading it, because there’s really no other way for me to express how fun and easy she makes this somewhat daunting project sound.
(and yes, i am working on one of my own, which i will most likely post on my blog if this sort of thing interests you.)

thrift stars of the day

fashion fillers
roses, roses, roses on a rosy-cheeked lass. all hail spring.
(of course you must check out her lovely, lovely blog)

it girl rag doll
she reminds me of one of those pretty and mischievous fairies in Willow. i dunno why, i think those fairies were nekkid.

the snail and the cyclops needs no introduction. style oozes from her pores. it’s like she can’t help it.

happy ham, egg and chocolate-eating day! make sure you take advantage by wearing something atrociously pastel.

check us out: Goodwill Tour March 2008

Eve and I had to run some errands to the shitty (we’re sorry Vacavillians, but it’s at least sorta true) town of Vacaville, so we decided to make a silk purse out of the sow’s-ear-of-America and go thrifting. And boy howdy, are we glad we did.

gaggingly adorable red beret with blue wooden beads – $2
airy blue pin-striped blouse with ruffles – $7
twee and practical red woven leather wedge pumps – $3
I told her she looks kinda Bonnie and Clyde crossed with Funny Face.

Amber (…hm, I think next time I’m going to try this outfit with a mini skirt or a floaty dress instead of hurrying into ratty old jeans, this is looking a bit too “I wanna date The Strokes” for my taste):
crocheted flutter-sleeve V-neck – $2.50
extra long beaded chain necklace – $2
shrunken double-breasted blazer (from the boys’ section) and my favorite thing du jour – $3
Eve’s explosive pointy leisure-class Cole Haans with metallic cut-outs – $3

cole haan loafers

…We also got some cozy warm ankle boots, 3 silk blouses, some high-waisted black jeans, a pair of loafers, some cloud-like chocolate leather easy spirit jazz shoes, some 80s deco earrings, another pair of red pleated leather kitten pumps, a so-soft rugby striped thermal, 3 statement belts, 2 silk graphic scarves, a warm and delicious men’s coat for the hubby of Eve, a kneeling chair, some brand new fireplace pokers, a slouchy 80s sweatshirt and 2 lovely sweaters.

PS Chicago hipsters: Don’t forget to RSVP to our Major Hip Replacement Clothing Swap in Wicker Park on March 30th! We really wanna see your clothes… er I totally meant to say you there!

thrift stars of the day

the theme of these wardrobe remix picks is unrelenting CUTENESS with a side of maximum adorability.

a sweet, sweet layer cake of fashion-y goodness.

ah irene adler. the personification of cute.

big bow
mad hatter chic!

it girl
grampa socks and loafers, joy of joys.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Lancome Gift with Purchase

your site needs to be wearing a bit more green or it’s gon’ done git pinched.

Finally some new site badges in honor of the re-launch of nightlife photog blog, TakeOverTokyo. Nick’s going to be helping us out with some photography because (a) he’s awesome and (b) my damn camera got stolen. Yay, no more shitty cell phone photos! So sport one of these badges if you’re on our blogroll and you think you may be as hip as…  

karen o yeah yeah yeahs 
the ferocious Karen O 

 joanna newsome
the sprightly Joanna Newsome

leslie hall ghetto blaster
…or the incorrigable Leslie Hall

  I dare ya.
Now go drink some green beer.  

witty titles are not my forte…


We have a new Painfully Hip guest-poster! The ridiculously adorable Diana from Bouy: of assets and assholes. We’re really excited about her future with us. She’s planning on taking a month-long thrifting roadtrip across the US, blogging about it the entire way! When it gets under way, we’ll be featuring installments of her adventures. Score! Here’s her introductory post about finding her purpose and personal style.         

hi. my name is diana, and i get pretty obsessed with things. the lovely amber gave me the green flag on sharing some of those obsessions with everyone over here, and i’m pretty excited, because few things are better than writing about things i can’t stop thinking about.
so the reasons i get out of bed in the morning are as follows:

  1.  i have to check the vintage auctions i’m watching on ebay
  2. by getting out of bed there is more of a possibility i will encounter a thrift store
  3. my sewing machine is not in my bedroom
  4. i have exhausted all photo possibilities from ever angle of the above-mentioned bed
  5.  my laptop needs to be plugged in

 i also harbor a deep love for color theory, pretty much all music, and writing about things.  mostly things that have to do with the topics listed above.

 i moved to brooklyn a year and a half ago with the grand idea that i would work in fashion.  i was (fairly) fresh out of school, and i pictured the transition from education to industry to be a fairly painless move – actually, i pictured it to be the same encouraging community i’d experienced in the classroom, only i’d be getting paid.
that was the wrong impression. 

my first year in brooklyn, i spent a large percentage of my non-work hours locked to my laptop, searching for the encouraging community i was having a difficult time finding in my new home.  i devoured any style and diy/indie/vintage/”unique” fashion site I could find. there were the standard street style sites – the sartorialist, wardrobe_remix, stylesightings and hel looks, and then there were the personal blogs…

at this point, i feel that if all else fails, i will still be fine because i have bits and bobbins. i credit tricia royal with doing most of the leg work necessary to pull me out of my biggest funk to date. (i still haven’t figured out how to express my gratitude without sounding creepy and stalker-esque.) her style, her consistently cheerful and encouraging disposition, her use of color, her awe-inspiring design skills, and her photographs –oh! the photographs! – how can you not fall in love with her?

there are others out there too, that i find myself returning to, day after day, and drawing energy and inspiration from (this is a very edited list…)

  • elegant musings is like a one-girl factory of awesome.
  • icing is one of those dangerous places you disappear into for hours without even realizing you’ve been gone.
  • stylebytes, moderniteter and themoldydoily –is it possible for me to be all three of you when i grow up? please? please?

seeing people use style as the jumping off point for so many aspects of life – using it as an expression of self, a creative outlet, a way to bring color into the everyday, a way to have fun with your surroundings – has lead me to start thinking about things in entirely different terms – i don’t put clothes on in the morning to simply cover my body, so why should i work a job that isn’t enjoyable simply to pay rent?
it’s really the next logical step, right?

what we choose to surround ourselves with, what we wear, the way we act, what we do to survive, in an ideal setting, these should all just be an extension of ourselves, not something we escape from on the weekend when we get to slip out of “responsible functioning human” mode.

i’ve been thinking about this – obsessing over it, actually – for quite some time now, and i feel confident in my opinion that it’s possible to be a fully functioning human, and still be responsible to yourself.
here’s to personal style and discovering what drives you.
let the games begin.

thrift stars of the day


i love the gladiator platforms with the beautifully rich textures. magnifique!
 all. thrifted. that’s it, i’m moving to the midwest.
…and after that, i’m moving to Thailand. Boboniaa and her perfect jumpers just make me want to kill myself.
Those shorts are perfect. In every god-given way.