Month: March 2009

thrift star of the day: le chat chic

mini dress and knee socks plus size

originally uploaded by lokello for wardrobe_remix

Lovely Lokello has the greatest smile known to man – it even outshines her amazing leather jacket (thrifted) and that adorable orange cat who is obviously admiring her innovative black sock / white shoe combo. More girls should learn that a big gleaming smile is, hands down, the best accessory.

By the way, check out our amazing turquoise romper featured in an acidwash blog post over at the super sweet vintage auction site, Market Publique! Yay! Thanks, MP.

Painfully Hip Remix: Maximize your closet and nail down your personal style

It’s funny how times like these can spawn a rainstorm of buzzwords (is anyone else already sick of the word “recessionista?”). “Shop your closet” is a recession-triggered slogan which alludes to making do with what you already have. So I’d like to resurrect the following classic post which, although over a year old, can be even more useful today.

Do you have an over-flowing closet, but nothing to wear? End up wearing the same boring things over and over? Or maybe you get really confused and have no focus when you go shopping. Think you know what you like, but fear you can’t pull it off? Well then sweetie, you need to keep reading…

1. Figure out what you love.
Take out the top pieces in your closet that you love, not neccessarily things that you wear all the time. I’m talking about your most special, going-out pieces. Like the overtly impractical cocktail dress that you spent too much on because you had to have it. The over-sized peacock pendant that you shouldn’t wear dancing cause it hits you in the face when you pogo, but sometimes you can’t resist anyway. Your favorite uncomfortable shoes, your grandma’s silk Pucci scarf from the 60s and that hat you sometimes wear even on good hair days. Whatever it is, if your heart goes pitter-pat when you put it on, pull it out. But be selective and forget about trends. Try to lean more toward things you’ve had and loved for a while, not just your newest and trendiest acquisitions.


2. Take a look at your favorite go-to staple pieces.
Pull out your perfectly worn out indigo skinnies. Your Audrey-est little black dress. Your comfy leather shoes, slouchy grey cardigan, colorful vintage sneakers, well-tailored black jacket and very versatile pair of flats. Choose the things you wear the most, while thinking mostly of their aesthetic value; how good you think they look on you, not how comfortable they are. You’re trying to figure out your personal style, not what to wear whilst hungover on your couch watching the 3rd season of Arrested Development.

3. Assess your tendencies.
Ponder your choices and think of a few words that describe your aesthetic. According to my picks, I tend to gravitate more toward 60’s styling and feminine details combined with edgier, more casual pieces. Next time you go shopping, think about these 20 pieces and try to choose things that enhance them and round out a strong aesthetic. But don’t be too strict for too long. Always allow room for your style to evolve. Choose your trends carefully and don’t let them rule your style.


4. Learn to sew.
As you are going through your closet, start setting aside the pieces you’ve held on to for a while but never wear. Consider why this is. Is it too dressy, too frilly, too girly, fits weird? All of these things would be fixable if you just bite the bullet and learn just a few simple sewing skills. Removing a superfluous ruffle, replacing buttons and hemming jeans are a few things that take mere minutes to complete and can turn something “blah” into something a little more “oh hell yes!”
Start by reading 6 Sewing Tips for Beginners from The Closet Seamstress.

5. Confidence, confidence, confidence…
Do you really want to live the rest of your life worrying about what people think? Those rare pieces that give you more confidence are few and far between. I hate it when people say, “I’d love to wear that, but I’d never be able to pull it off.” Pshaw, my friends, pshaw. With the right amount of confidence, you could pull off zebra-striped overalls, even if you’re not M.I.A. Once you’ve figured out what you truly love, the only thing left to do is rock it like wee Stella…


When in doubt sneer, strut or just grin and no one will ever doubt your style choices ever again. Besides, who gives a poop if they do, they call it personal style for a reason.

thrift star of the day: cherry gun

cherry gun
originally uploaded by cherry gun for wardrobe_remix

Ack! Why didn’t I ever think to cross a “1930s paper boy” look with a touch of “1940s pin-up?”
Oh RIGHT, its because I’m not a freaking genius.

BTW, is now optimized for iPhone! Enjoy.


Painfully Him: Vintage Tees and the Quest for Perfection

Hallelujah! This is Painfully Hip’s 500th post! And what are we going to do? Well, seeing that we already had our millionth visitor and 2 year anniversary landmarks this month, we thought we’d mix it up.

Awesome All Day is the funniest pop culture blog you’ve never read. That is until you read this guest post on vintage tees from an irish man with a big heart, a magnificent beard and a great collection. Before you know it, you’ll be getting a foam finger tattooed on your neck.

Thanks, Rory!

by Rory

I was born with a torso.

It’s not the biggest or the greatest torso in the world, but it’s mine and I love it. If you’ve got one of these things you know how difficult it can be to keep them covered (I’m looking at you Girls Gone Wild). Fortunately, over the years I’ve become pretty good at wearing shirts. Amber just noticed this and asked me to do a guest post sharing my phenomenal t-shirt know how.


Vintage t-shirt hunting is a lot like hunting in real life except with less needless animal slaughter. If you’re going to try to find shirts from local thrift stores, fashion boutiques, and parental closets the best strategy is to scour the racks frequently and to keep in mind three simple factors.

The Fit: By far the most important facet of a solid vintage top. No amount of ironic graphics, non-sequitur slogans, or awesome album artwork can make a t-shirt that fits like a muumuu or upper body prophylactic look cool. Great shirts are shirts that fit great, that’s what makes them attractive, not the logo or comedic value.

The Condition: Does the shirt have pit stains (before you put it on)? Are there holes around the collar/ base/ or underneath the arms? Some vintage shirts can be more expensive than a mail-order bride who knows how to cook and loves to wrestle, so it’s key to make sure that you can use them again and again without worrying about them decomposing into nothingness (the shirt, not the bride). Softee shirts seem to be the standard nowadays, but a thick cotton shirt from the late 70’s early 80’s is going to hold its shape and be a lot more durable and flattering.

The Cost: Don’t let your kids starve to death because you NEEDED that epic Metallica shirt (honestly, there are plenty of other reasons to let them starve). Shopping locally is a good way to avoid paying too much for your sartorial cravings but, if you just can’t seem to find exactly what you want, you should check out these two Ebay stores. Their prices are usually decent and you get the added bonus of outbidding suckers at the last minute.

Smith and Pooter: I don’t know which one is Smith and which one is Pooter… I think it might be like one of those things that just sounds better when you say it together, like Starsky and Hutch or Sodom and Gomorrah.

Hattrick Vintage: This is really great Ebay store that has a wide variety of t-shirt, jackets, and vintage hockey apparel (which Amber keeps trying to convince me is a real sport… Maybe a real Canadian sport).


There is also this truly massive t-shirt database called Teenormous where you can search for over 62,292 shirts (and counting) If you really want to find a particular image to adorn yourself with. Think Google but, with less porn and fashion blogs.

It’s vital that before you go online and try to restart the economy with your debit card, get yourself measured. Vintage shirts tend to run smaller then their tags let on (that or I have an eating problem and refuse to acknowledge that it affects my girth). Fortunately any online store worth its salt will give you the measurements of what they’re trying to sell. Most tailors will measure you and tell you your size for free, so go ahead and take advantage of them.

In conclusion I’ve created a short video to express the joy that my t-shirt collection has brought me.


Supa-scores! Things I am in love with this week

I have been on a major vintage-scoring roll lately. Here are my absolute favorite things in my closet to sport this week.

High-waisted leather pin-up shorts (Thunderhorse Vintage, $22) – For SERIOUS. These made of the most soft, thin, buttery leathah ever. I cannot believe my luck. The shape is EXACTLY what I’ve been craving- with the slight flair at the bottom, they breathe well enough that I just might be able to wear them into the depths of summer, and believe me, I will be wearing them every chance I get.

Oversize fish necklace (Thunderhorse Vintage)- I always feel like I’m wearing some kinda whimsical breastplate when I’m wearing this. Makes me think it could stop bullets.
Filigree bird earrings – I just have a filigree fetish. I’ve had the black ones for a while and are consistently my favorite pair, so when I saw these colorful rooster ones for $5.99 on eBay, I just had to own them too (BTW, if you like vintage bird earrings, Penelopepups Vintage has an AWESOME pair here.
Native American necklace – I scored this at a flea market for $10, the dood said he made it with his own two hands. So I guess this doesn’t qualify as vintage, but… SCORE.

Buckle boots – $8 at the flea market. By far the most comfortable and versatile boots I own.

70s deadstock terrycloth dress (Thunderhorse Vintage) – Eek! Sherbet-colored chevron stripes?? Sign me up! This still has tags on it from the 70s, but it just felt wrong to remove them when they’ve been on this long – call me crazy, but I just tuck them in and wear it anyway.

Orange woven wedges (Atelier, $1) – Comfy cozy and sexy as hell.

Of course, this is just the tip of the ‘berg. I have some amazing things in great condition that weren’t my size that I just couldn’t abandon to the unnamed masses. They’ll be up in the Etsy store later this week!

Also, welcome Chicagoans! I was featured on the front page of via Being Totally Sweet in Chicago today! Thanks, Ira, and CONGRATS!


Haha, I feel like that title alone brought me back to the 80s where words like AEROBA-CISE were being thrown around. Well, brace yourselves for 88 mph in a Delorean because Thunderhorse Vintage is about to flex your capacitors.

These outfits went heavy on accessories and over-the-top on nostalgia.

Check out these amazing vintage harem pants with an 80s neon geometric pattern. The shape is very chic at the moment, so working against their former A-Ha loving self, we threw on a slim black tank, a metallic floral vest and a large dose of unpredictable accessories. My model, Jillian called this her favorite outfit and couldn’t help completely rocking it.

Who doesn’t love a leather bustier? Let us know because we’d like to avoid them. Layer it over a cropped 80s mom dress and a green leather mini skirt with some 50s cat-eyes, and you’re running the front desk at Ghostbusters HQ.

hammer pants
hammer pants trend
leather bustier, leather skirt, jeanine ghostbusters
jennine ghostbusters
sitting in harem pants

Vintage Harem Pants sold
Metallic Floral Vest
Baroque Jeweled Belt (worn as harness) sold
Art Deco Pendant Necklace
Hot Pink 80s Secretary Blouse sold
Amazing Leather Bustier
Futuristic Waist Belt
Seafoam Leather High-Waisted Mini Skirt
Shiny Black Ankle Boots
Silver Lace Oversize Hair Bow sold
Gold threaded cateye specs sold

Please note: The clothes in the futuristic secretary outfit range in sizes from 6-10 so check em out!

Painfully Hip Design Collective Launch!

Here, marking the receipt of our ONE MILLIONTH VISITOR (can you believe it???!), it’s finally happening! I know I said this would be posted today, but here I am 10 minutes after midnight, finally clicking “publish.” I have a whole new appreciation for Etsyers now. This. is. a. lot. of. work.

Here here! Announcing the launch of the Painfully Hip Design Collective’s Etsy store!
Our first photoshoot was tons of fun. Featuring clothes from Thunderhorse Vintage at 2522 J st Sacramento, who specialize in 80s and 90s vintage, this shoot started out as art for a News & Review Article I was working on, but turned into so much more.

Jen is incredibly sweet and creative and generally amazing… oh… and her vintage collection?? PRISTINE. I pretty much have to mop up after my overzealous drool glands every time I go to her store. So when she said I could go ahead and make her part of the collective by offering up every single piece in this shoot for sale to YOU, well, I couldn’t wait get the eye candy up on this page!

Here’s how it works:
1) Gaze upon the lovely photos.
2) Marvel on the garb.
3) Fall in love.
4) Click!
5) Purchase!
6) Don.
7) Soak up ensuing envy.

Rendered in acid-washed turquoise denim, this romper with its twee detailing is terribly in vogue. Paired with boyish accessories and some androgynous sex-appeal, this outfit is ready for romping and hopefully numerous invocations of the words “kids these days”.

We made this high-waisted plaid skirt too cool for school by mixing it up with a 70s souvenir shirt, tooled leather belt and 40s inspired platform heels.

orange oversize cardigan

oversiz hair bow
bow tie on a girl
turquoise romper

Chunky Orange Cardi
Swirly Carpet Bag Purse sold
Oversized Silver Lace Hair Bow sold
Multi-Color Chain Necklace
Painted Tooled Leather Purple Acorn Belt
Impossibly Cute Pleated Schoolgirl Skirt sold
Late 70s Souvenir Tee
Tan 40s-inspired Strappy Platforms
Treaded Ankle Boots
Mixed Print Ruffled Tuxedo Top sold
Black Satin Bowtie sold
Brass skinny belt
Epic Turquoise Romper sold

Collective Members Credits:

Clothing – Thunderhorse Vintage
Model (a very talented friend who eats like a horse if you can believe it) – Jillian Oliver
Photographer (need a talented photographer, or specialized moped parts?) – Mike Rafter
Hair Stylist (who fell down from heaven to save my ass) – Crystal Candelaria
Wardrobe Stylist(s) – Amber Mortensen, in collaboration with Jen Ayres and Jillian Oliver

While it’s true that Jillian here is a TINYKINS if ever there was one, many of these things will fit up to a size 6, so check it out! Next week I’ll be featuring some larger sizes in a much more ambitious shoot that walks the line between Metropolis Futurism and Jean Harlow’s Hollywood. Brace thyselves.

Two more glorious outfits from this shoot (including some very controversial hammer pants) will be added Monday. Stay tuned!

Please note: Prices are set by Store Owners. If you’d like to make an offer, email me.

Thank you all so much for making this all SO worth it!!

thrift star of the day: style up to here

originally uploaded by the owl and the grapes for wardrobe remix

It is a tough thing to swallow that parts of this outfit were bought by the kilo – she looks like millions of bucks. Pure cloche bliss. Miss Emma Peel of the Owl and the Grapes is just devastating on a spiritual level.

Oh happy day! Tomorrow marks the launch of the Painfully Hip Design Collective, a motley co-op of talented local designers, vintage curators, photographers, models, makeup and hair stylists, all working together to create beguiling, artful fashion editorials.

What does this mean besides candy for your peepers? Painfully Hip readers will get exclusive access to the featured one-of-a-kind designer or vintage pieces for purchase on the Collective’s new Etsy site! The goal is to expose the exploding northern California fashion scene, its pristine vintage, and all the things we are capable of.

I am seriously, seriously excited about this! So much so that I can’t resist revealing a lil’ sneak peek of our first shoot, featuring clothes from Thunderhorse Vintage, who specialize in the 80s and 90s:

More tomorrow! Check back often to be the first to get your hands on one of-a-kind bootie!

To wear, not to wear (and how to wear): harem pants

By Mary Catherine

I think we all happen upon trends that we’re just not sure about. I fought the comeback of leggings and I lost that one–happily, it turns out. But I also wasn’t sure about dresses over pants and I stand by that one…which brings me to my current conundrum: harem pants. Amber and I were talking about if they’re actually Hammer pants or maybe gypsy pants? I think all the names apply, with maybe the dropped-crotch aspect being a definitive characteristic of the Hammer variety. For the sake of this post, I’m going to refer to them all as harem pants and say upfront that I don’t think the extreme dropped crotch helps anybody and all the crotches here are just–looser, let’s say.

What I’m talking about is a silhouette that is different from the skinny pipe-leg jean silhouette that we’ve all been seeing for a while now. I have a couple pairs of pleat-front shorts and I love them. It’s different, feels a little more retro-modern and has a casual, less body-conscious look overall which can be interesting.

My question is -are they one of those items that only works on the tall-skinnies or is there a way for the rest of us to pull them off? I remember seeing Sienna Miller in a pair a few years ago and I thought she looked great. She’s not incredibly tall or emaciated, and though she got a lot of flack for them, I thought it was a really interesting choice and she looked cute. And I’ve been seeing more versions of them popping up here and there and they have me feeling curious…So I trolled around on the interwebbies today looking for more examples and found a few that were terrifying, but some that I thought really worked.


Both of these are from the ebay store Funkin Junkie. And though their model is clearly thin and probably not 5’2″, I think she looks great because she got the surrounding elements and proportions right. When you have some voluminous fabric, it’s best to keep everything around it fairly simple and on the fitted side. I would think a snug little tank top is key if you’re going to go blousy below. And I was thinking, too, that proportionally, the high, fitted waist could do a lot of favors in terms of making one’s waist appear smaller and maybe disguising some of things some of us might want disguised in the bottom area. And for my money, seeing a bit of the ankles seems to be very helpful in giving the look room to breathe. I also think you need the highest possible heel in your closet.

Urban Outfitters had a couple of them as well:

Again, a high, chunky heel and a little bit of ankle. The first ones I can see as a great springtime-throw-them-on-with-a-tank no-nonsense outfits. I know the second ones aren’t technically harem pants, but I thought they were super-cute and the silhouette is similar and I think the same rules apply.

I was also thinking the thrifting possibilities for these–especially the pleated pants– would be pretty good for a bit…I found a bunch (about 20 different pairs) on etsy that I am considering…Even though I am 5’2″, I think I can pull them off by keeping the blouson effect fairly tamed (perhaps a simple alteration here and there), and following the rules above.

What do we think? Is it a do or a don’t??

Mad Boy: America’s Most Stylish 8 year old

Oh happy day, Eve just found out seconds ago that the lil’ tinykins currently inhabiting her womb is a BOY! Soon to be named Ennio. Yesterday we were agreeing about how it seems that no amount of frills and lace can make a baby girl any cuter, but the absolute cutest way to dress a boy is to dress him like an old man.

In celebration of today, I just HAD to post these photos from GQ of Arlo Weiner (son of the creator of HBO’s Mad Men), currently being touted as America’s Most Stylish 8 year old. Needless to say? I believe.

Arlo Weiner velvet suit

“This is my Valentine’s Day outfit. The jacket and the pants are velvet. I love the tie because it’s really two ties stacked on top of each other. (My dad had to tie it for me.) The pink tie matched the pink shirt. I wore brown-and-white argyle socks for a random pattern.”

arlo weiner

“My mom got the jacket for me—I love it because I love Frank Sinatra and this is like something he would wear. I wore the jacket with the pants because I like the different plaids together. I thought the blue in the necklace brought out the blue in the pants. It’s a blue orb with fire around it.”

arlo weiner top hat

“I have a lot of black outfits these days, so I needed the red ascot to add some color. I love red and black together—they each make the other stand out. I’ve worn this to school about 12 times.”

arlo weiner most stylish 8 year old in america

“The hat is like a Frank Sinatra hat. I wore the jacket with the tie because green and gray are my favorite blend. I’m holding my dad’s bag in the picture, but at school I use my dad’s old brown leather satchel.”

arlo weiner, the most stylish 8 year old in the world

“This is my favorite outfit. The tie is a regular tie, but I tied it like that because I’ve seen it done that way in old English movies. Even though the tie and the jacket are different colors, they’re both striped, so I thought they looked right together. And I wore the vest and pants together because they’re both shades of red.”

It’s really funny too that Diana posted about stylish young’uns yesterday. We’re just on the same mission to elevate “cute” into the art-form it is.

Check out more of the adorable Arlo Weiner here: Continue reading Mad Boy: America’s Most Stylish 8 year old