Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Just Can’t Like It

I want to like this dress:

I really do.  But, I just can’t.  It’s just not right for me and it makes me pose like an idiot.  I’m perfectly capable of idiotic posing on my own; I don’t need the help.

This dress just seemed like such a good idea when I thrifted it months ago.  I mean, it’s red; I love red.  And it has stripes; I love stripes.  And it’s vintage; I love vintage.  And yet, I don’t like this dress.  I even took the time to hem it above the knee, thinking that might help.  It didn’t.  

At first I didn’t wear it because I wasn’t sure how to style it.  But, I like the styling today.  I think the ankle strap flats (Hive and Honey via Piperlime) and the thin belt (Steven Madden) are good choices.  Just with a different dress.  Luckily, my friend Alex has agreed to take this dress off my hands, which leaves me with just one more never worn dress in my closet.  After I wear that, I’m shutting my Nosh Opping Expedition down.

I’ll finish it up this weekend with look at my expedition log and a retrospective of everything that didn’t make the cut.  And then Maurice and I are flying home (he’s going to live in the backyard).

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Shopping for Giants – How to Thrift

Although I provided a large list of where to shop online in this post, and information on how to shop online in this post, most of my shopping is actually done at thrift stores.  I love thrift stores because, as Sal points out every season, there are very few current trends that you can’t find at thrift stores.  I’ve stated that fast fashion retailers (like H&M, Zara, F21, etc.) can be useful for trying out trends on the cheap, but they really can’t hold a candle to thrift stores in that regard.

And, unlike fast fashion retailers, thrift stores also contain high-quality, well-made garments for the same next-to-nothing price.  (Unless, of course, your thrift store has decided to charge more for items they think are vintage (yes, you, St. Vincent’s!)).  I’m not going to tell you that you’re going to find the studded velvet Miu Miu pumps of your dreams at a thrift store; you’re probably not.  But you can find some great pieces.

Here are my tips for thrifting like a giant.

One, be patient.  Seriously, proper thrifting should probably take much of the day, if not all day.  For me, it takes all day.  Especially for my trips to Portland; I like to map out all of the thrift stores I plan on hitting for the day.  This website is a national thrift store directory that I use to locate thrift stores in Portland and plan my day from there.  I usually allot a couple of hours per thrift store; some take longer and some take less.  Just remember, you need to allow enough time to go through the racks andto try stuff on.

Two, go west young man, go west.  Or, if you’re on the West Coast, go east.  Essentially, go where the people aren’t.  Thrift stores in big cities can be pretty picked over and a lot of the time the prices are higher due to the increased interest in thrifting (Darn you, hipsters! (angry fist shake to the heavens)).  On the flip side, thrift stores in smaller towns (usually inland for most of us) are lower priced and/or haven’t been plundered by the mobs yet.  And while you probably won’t find any DVF or Gucci at these stores, you can find a lot of great items, often handmade.

For example, I love driving to the smallish town of Albany, Oregon and thrifting there.  That’s where I found this fabulous handmade coatdress:

Three, thrift on vacation.  Thrifting on vacation is a great idea because even if you’re in a bigger city, there is a good chance the locals have already perused the selection and weren’t interested.  And you know what they say; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  What they locals pass up may be the perfect piece for your closet.

For example, I bought one of my very favorite skirts while on vacation in Santa Fe last spring; I wear this skirt all the time:

Four, size ain’t nothin’ but a number.  Especially when it comes to vintage.  Sammy, at Sammy Davis Vintage, breaks it down in this post, but basically, modern sizing and vintage sizing are completely different.  I have vintage dresses in size 20 that fit me perfectly.  I also have some from the 80s that are a size 12.  If you like something, try it on.  Don’t depend on the tag to tell you whether or not it can go home with you.

Five, buy petite.  I know it seems counter intuitive when you’re six foot and a size 14 to buy petite pieces, but trust me, it works.  Especially if you’re a fan of midi skirts.  All of my midi skirts are thrifted and most of them are petite.  I think they’re probably ankle length on the less tall, but on my giant self, they are the perfect midi skirt length.  This is true for dresses as well.

Here are some petite pieces I've thrifted:

Petite Dress

Petite Skirt

Petite Dress

Lest you think petite dresses won't fit your wider shoulders, they often have shoulder pads and are cut to allow for those.  I just tear the should pads out, insert my no-padding-needed broad shoulders and couldn't be happier.

For more, non-giant-specific tips on thrifting, I’d suggest this post of Sal’s and this post of Sammy’s.  I'd also suggest exploring their blogs further; they are both great resources on thrifting.

Happy Shopping, All!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Stuff and Things

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday.  I didn't work and while I intended to still post, I didn't even log in.  Instead I got some sun, ran some errands, broke the washing machine and pinned a bunch of crap to Pinterest. You can follow me on there, if you're interested, by using the button on the right.

And now on to the Saturday Stuff and Things.

Last Saturday I went to a Jazz Concert at Cathedral Park in North Portland.  I had never been to Cathedral Park but I wanted to go after seeing the lovely pictures Stacey at Gray Skies takes there.  And it was as cool as I'd hoped.  The St. John Bridge has lovely Gothic, cathedral-like construction:

The park is right under the bridge and it was the perfect setting to listen to jazz on a hot summer's day.

On Sunday, I went to see Florence + the Machine at Edgefield and it was the best concert I have ever been to.  Her voice is even more magical in person and she is a great performer too.  One thing that surprised me was how personable she was.  Funny even.  For example, she told us all about her Portland adventures saying she got the "whole Portland experience" because she went to Powell's Bookstore (where she bought a 90s copy of Virgin Suicides), went to Voodoo Donuts and in a coffee shop heard two men with full sleeve tattoos discuss where to get the best line tattoos.  And when her hair fell from dancing, she borrowed bobby pins from the crowd to pin it back up.

Anyway, this is Florence:

Sorry it's not a great photo; I was mesmerized by her voice.

And here are some pictures of The Machine:

Seriously, best concert ever.

Although, I anticipate the concert I'm going to today will be pretty fun too.  We're going to a music festival of 80s cover bands.  Yes, it's pretty much my dream music festival.  We're going to see Journey cover  band Stone in Love, Bon Jovi cover band Steel Horse, and, for the first time, Guns and Roses cover band Appetite for Deception.  So excited!!

Finally, I am obsessed with the new song by The Killers, called Runaways.  Please to enjoy:

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Waists Are Like Eggs

I worry about the waist on this dress:

Specifically, I worry that it’s a drop waist; or an almost drop waist.  I don’t like drop waist dresses on me; for my body, waists are like eggs; they’re better when they haven’t been dropped.    And this dress looks like its heading towards being dropped or at the very least drooped.

I know a dropped waist can be nice for the short-waisted, but I’m not particularly short-waisted so they just look funny on me.  In fact, the only reason I hadn’t worn it before was out of concern about the waist.  But I think belting it worked fairly well:

Which is good because outside of the questionable waist, I really do like this dress.    I love the length, the print and the colors.  And I think it’s another floral that will work well for fall with tights and boots.  Today, however, I paired the dress (vintage, thrifted) with the woven belt (thrifted) and nude platform sandals (Banana Republic). 

Happy Thursday, All!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mauve and Mock Dots

This blouse looks like polka dots from far away, but is actually a teeny, tiny floral print:

I love polka dots, but I love the idea of mock dots too.  In fact, I like pretty much everything about this blouse.  The only reason I don’t wear it more often is that it’s fairly short.  I know, I know, crop tops are in.  But, I can pretty much guarantee you that the bare midriff trend is not one I’ll be participating in.  You’re welcome for that.  Also, midriff is a weird word.

In order to avoid baring my midriff (sadly, repeated use doesn’t make it less weird) today, I paired the top (thrifted) with my mauve skirt (vintage, thrifted).  This skirt was originally a rather awkward length, so I hemmed it above the knee which allowed me to wear these ankle strap flats (Hive and Honey via Piperlime) that I can’t seem to stop wearing now that I’ve rescued them from The Giants Closet.  I also added a vintage Sarah Coventry double pendant necklace (via Red Fox Vintage).

Because this top works well with skirts with a higher waist and I have quite a few of those, I’d say it’s definitely a keeper.  And so is this particular skirt; it’s actually proven to be a pretty good closet workhorse for me, especially now that it's shorter.

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Boy’s Club

Alternately Titled: Gracey Wears Khakis

These are the only khakis I own.  I have had them for years and if I’ve ever worn them, I don’t recall.  They just aren’t really my style.  I know a lot of women wear khakis, and with great success, on a daily basis, but to me, they feel like menswear, which I do NOT know how to style so I usually avoid borrowing from the boys.   Today, though, I thought I’d give it a shot:

Is it truly androgynous?  Probably not.  But, it’s a level of androgyny I feel comfortable with.  And I really do feel like the looser fit of the pants, the neutral color palette and even the tie-neck blouse are a nod to menswear.  I paired the pants (Gap) with a semi-sheer black sweater (Target) layered over a cream bow blouse (Old Navy).  I also added black suede heels (Me Too via Nordstrom Rack).  I could have gone with flats, which may have been more authentic, but that would have put this outfit way outside my comfort zone and I am not that adventurous.

This outfit is actually a result of my heading back into the Valley of the Duplicates in The Giants Closet.  I have these same pants in grey also and have this same sweater in beige.  I’ve worn the grey pants at least once before, but am not sure I wear either pair enough to warrant having/keeping two pairs.  As for the sweater, I wear the black version fairly frequently, but don’t know that I’ve ever worn the beige version.  Because it’s beige.  I’m just sayin’.  But, I’ll try to wear both of the other pieces this week and decide if I really need all four pieces or just one pair of the pants and one of the sweaters.   Or any of the pants and sweaters.  So many decisions…

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!



WildFox Couture on Friend in Fashion
           Wildfox knit via Eyegasm brands (03 9528 7300), Roxy ombre denim shorts, Minkpink shades, Bijouterie bracelet stack

And we're off.

California bound. Mexico. Then Vancouver.

A short break from the blog, but in the meantime you can follow my adventure on:


Bon voyage!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shopping for Giants – How to Shop

In my first Shopping for Giants post, I listed websites that carry giant- (tall and/or plus) sized clothes.  I do a lot of my retail shopping online because the fact of the matter is, not many stores carry “Long” or “Tall” sizes in their brick-and-mortar stores.  However, it’s not enough just to know where to shop like a giant; you also need to know how to shop like a giant. 

Online shopping can be tricky because, as you and I both know, just because something is labeled as “tall” doesn’t mean it is actually long enough for a tall person.  Just like we know a size 14 in one item is not always a 14 in another, even with the same retailer.

So, here are my tips for navigating the tricky world of online shopping.

One – know your measurements.  I’m not saying you have to memorize them (because, really, no one likes a show-off), but you should take them down and keep them next to the computer where your do your online shopping.  Most, if not all online retailers offer a size guide and knowing your measurements is the key to using it.  You do NOT want to assume that XL in your language means XL in their language and end up with a size 8 dress (unless that’s your size, then by all means, have at it).

Two – know your body.  I am broad shouldered with arms I like to think of as muscular.  I have a fairly flat stomach, but wide hips and healthy thighs.  My legs aren’t super long considering my height, but I have very long arms.  All of this means that if the feedback on a product is that it’s tight through the shoulders, arms, hips or thighs, it probably won’t work for me. 

Which brings us to number three…

Three – read the reviews.  I very rarely buy from an online retailer that doesn’t offer customer reviews.  And I definitely prefer customer reviews.  Some retailers, like Nordstrom, offer their opinion of how something fits, but if there are consumer reviews, I generally depend on those.

Is someone complaining that the inseam on a pair of pants is way too long, even with 3” heels?  Great!  That means they might actually be long enough for me:

Martin Fit Linen Trousers at Banana Republic

Customer reviews are especially helpful because many reviewers indicate if they are tall or curvy, often even giving their height, weight or measurements so that you can really tell if something will work for you: 

Even if you’re not worried about length, customer reviews offer the best information for construction and fit as well.  Is something more boxy than slouchy?  I don’t need more box in my waist, so no thank you:

Open Knit Textured Sweater at Gap

Four – look at the models.  If something appears too short on the model, it’s probably not going to work on me.  Is she in danger of flashing her underthings?  Then I can almost guarantee that "dress" will only work as a tunic for me:

A model showing a lot of thigh in a Greylin dress at Piperlime

At the same time, if the sleeves of a blouse are too long on a model, maybe it will actually work for me:

Suno Blouse at Bluefly

Of course, this tip works especially well for those websites, like Piperlime, that actually give you the measurements of the model or mannequin:

So helpful!

Five – consider your choices carefully.  Remember, you can’t try these clothes on and if you live in an isolated area, it could take some time, and money, returning items that don’t work for you.  So, know your measurements, know your body, read the reviews and find brands that work for you.

Happy Shopping,