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You’ve seen the movie Clueless, haven’t you? If you haven’t, I think you ought to. It’s become something of a generation-definer for some of us, it’s awfully funny, and if you’re an English Lit nerd, you can pick out the basic storyline of Jane Austin’s “Emma” as depicted by airheads.

Anyhow, at the beginning of the Movie clueless, there’s a voiceover that goes something like,

“I know this looks like a Noxema commercial, but I actually have a way normal life. Every morning I wake up, brush my teeth, and pick out my school clothes.”

As she says “school clothes,” it shows her playing with a paper-doll type program on her computer which superimposes images of her wardrobe over a photograph of herself and proclaims her first ensemble as a “miss-match.” Bear with me here…this will be relevant in a minute.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Clueless, or just liked the movie and want to see the scene again, it shows up in the following clip, from an interview with the costume designer for Clueless:


Anyway, this past weekend-ish, I was photographing some of my wardrobe…some things I had made and never documented and some new stuff I bought in about a $75 thrifting spree because almost all of my older summer tops were getting ratty! I cut up or threw away some of my most outrageously raggedy old clothes, downgraded some of my still-wearable-but-not-for-work stuff to home/weekend wear, and went out hoping for the best. While I didn’t find much of what I was specifically looking for (short-sleeved pullover tops in bright, warm colors) I found plenty that would do (mostly sleeveless turtlenecks in bright, warm colors). I don’t know what’s up with sleeveless turtlenecks; it’s kind of a stupid style but it’s oddly flattering to my figure, so whatever. I guess I will wear sleeveless turtlenecks. I’d have preferred more short-sleeved tops because I have kind of bad skin and get breakouts on my shoulders, but I’m not that self-conscious about it.

I got two “new” skirts that are fabulous! I really like those wildly-flowered Lily Pulitzer (or similar) a-line skirts. One of my new skirts is also kind of Lily style, though not that brand. It’s two-tone pink on white with some black accents and a dark pink grosgrain ribbon around the hipline.
thrift scores 157

The other fabulous skirt is this velvet-trimmed flowered silk flamenco-dancer affair. I ask you, are there two more satisfying words in the fashion lexicon than silk and velvet? This skirt is wonderfully flouncy and swishy and twirls beautifully. I know that normally only little girls are supposed to be excited about twirly skirts, but the fact is, I do like to give it a whirl once in a while. In private, of course.
thrift scores 133
This outfit is all-silk…the top is silk, as the shell of the skirt; its lining is polyester satin.

Other than the two skirts, I got a bunch of tops because I had to either throw out or downgrade most of my existing summer shirts.

Thrift scores (mostly tops)
1. thrift scores 164, 2. thrift scores 157, 3. thrift scores 140, 4. thrift scores 120, 5. thrift scores 115, 6. thrift scores 113, 7. thrift scores 110, 8. thrift scores 104, 9. thrift scores 102, 10. thrift scores 086, 11. thrift scores 083, 12. thrift scores 076, 13. thrift scores 063, 14. thrift scores 060, 15. thrift scores 056, 16. thrift scores 053, 17. thrift scores 049, 18. thrift scores 136, 19. thrift scores 150, 20. thrift scores 149, 21. thrift scores 095, 22. thrift scores 088, 23. thrift scores 040, 24. thrift scores 031
This is basically the whole haul, plus a couple of older tops and jackets I photographed to round out the mosaic. All of the shirts/blouses/tops/jackets were secondhand, while several of the skirts are things that I made. Apparently these days I mostly wear green, pink, orange, or brown. I used to wear almost exclusively orange and brown, so I have branched out a bit. Not less than 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have touched a pink outfit with a 10-foot pole, but I now realize that I was being a jackass and eschewing pink for some sort of misguided Freshman Feminist bullshit reasons. Now, I realize that various shades of pink are quite becoming to a bruentte with a yellow undertone to her complexion. I’m not going to go totally Elle Woods with it, but I don’t run screaming from it either.

I’ve had for a while an older Lily skirt that’s obnoxiously yellow-orange-and-lime-green and I wear it any time during the year. I have winter sweaters that will go with it and now I have summer tops that will go with it. Resort wear? Not even! I wear it to work as there’s no dress-code rider against frivolity and since it is mid-calf length and loose-fitting, there’s no modesty issue either.
thrift scores 083

I’d been hoping to find a yellow top to go with it, but couldn’t find anything I liked. I have other stuff that a yellow top would go with too. Most of the yellow stuff I found was very pastel, and pastels don’t generally look so very good with my semi-sallow skintone. I tend to look both sickly and grubby all at once. I later went into the American Apparel store on the Plaza and found a top I liked, but I thought it was overpriced for what it was. Instead I am going to buy some bright yellow cotton jersey and make the dang thing myself. What it is is a v-necked tee-shirt with slightly puffed sleeves. I have a good tee-shirt pattern and can mock up the sleeves, and I can get the fabric for probably about $5 as opposed to nearly $30 for a ready-made shirt from American Apparel.

Now on to the Clueless connection. In the course of photographing my finds, I learned that some of the tops I had chosen to pair with skirts I own don’t quite work with those skirts (though they work with plenty of other things in my wardrobe, so it’s not wasted money). See below:
thrift scores 128 thrift scores 110 thrift scores 095
In matters of color or proportion none of these quite “work.” It’s not egregiously awful, but it’s not that great and I guess I now know not to use these combinations as outfits. That watermelon pink top in the third picture looks really great with this drapey pair of black pants I own and it looks good over a slimline pair, too. I think because of its tunic-length cut and slightly fussy detail, it’s best to wear it with something very plain. The two green tops just don’t work with the tapestry skirts, though I think the darker top might work with the dark, appliquéd skirt.

I’m still working on the pants situation, but improvements are underway. I have a couple of simple patterns that have consistently provided becoming results, so basically I just need to sit my butt down in front of the sewing machine on a regular basis and make some damn pants. Overall, though, I feel a lot tidier and better pulled-together since I ditched a bunch of worn out or unbecoming tops and got some that actually work on me.

While I was looking for either a video clip or a transcript of that scene from Clueless, I found that one of my Internet Friends, Jennifer had written up a fun little entry about the fashions of Clueless, specifically how the guys’ “fashion” has sadly not changed that much in the decade-plus since that movie came out. Please check it out!

2 Responses to “Secondhand fashion passion”

  1. Julie Stark says:

    Well I am just jealous with a capital J! That is an awesome looking wardrobe you have there – great job! You are motivating me to do some thrifting of my own.

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