1. Sweater Weather (by HMK)

    Summer is not a natural time, for me. After all, most of my ancestors lived on chilly, rain-soaked islands, where the sun shone but rarely, and there were more sheep than there were people. (Or so the family lore goes. It may be that there are some slight factual inaccuracies to it.)

    Whatever the case, I was definitely not made for the sun. My skin burns and I wither, when it is hot and bright outside. When it is summertime, I cope, more than I enjoy myself. Yes, I have light, sleeveless dresses to wear. And yes, they are pretty. But I know, and they know, that we do not really belong together. They know, even when I am wearing them, that my heart is firmly and ardently lodged—that my eyes are idly and eagerly wandering—elsewhere.

    I am something of a cad, to my summer dresses.

    And when the time comes, I shove these dresses to the back of my closet, without hesitation, remorse, or regret. (Caddish again.) And out come the warm things. The thick sweaters. The long coats. The heavy tights. The ones that I truly love.

    I am at ease in these garments, in the autumn. I am at peace with the weather gods, as they make the days ever brisker and the nights ever chillier. I am content, to watch the skies darken and the days shorten and the leaves die.

    In short, like many English majors, I read way too much Keats in college, and I think that it poisoned my brain.

    But poisoned it pleasantly, I think.

    This sweater dress is the beau ideal of an autumn dress, for me. (Summer dresses, my apologies, but I have already forgotten what you looked like and what you felt like and basically everything about you.) This dress feels like wearing a blanket, but happily does fit the way that a blanket would. It retains a faint glimmer of summer’s flash, in its subdued nod towards sparkliness—but it lets the darkness win. This dress sees the turning of the tide, towards blacker nights and shorter days and sharper air.

    And I see it, too, and am delighted.

  2. The Jordan Baker School of Dressing (by HMK)

    What: Really quite dazzling spangled Express dress
    Where: Goodwill
    Price: $9.00 (!)

    I wonder if I wrote a single paper in college which was not in the “Female People: What About Them?” school. My tendency is to doubt it. I was an English major and a Women’s and Gender Studies minor, and when I was casting about for a paper topic, I invariably landed somewhere in the “Ladies: What Are They Up To?” vein. Even when I took lit classes which focused on male authors, who created mainly male characters, still, I wrote about women. I found them in the nookies and crannies of stories—on the edges and margins of novels. I wrote a paper about representations of women in Treasure Island. (There are, like, NO women in Treasure Island.) I wrote about depictions of women in the travel narratives of Mark Twain. (Spoiler alert, Twain doesn’t really care about lady travelers, or about ladies in general.) But I did, and I do, and so I wrote paper after paper after paper in college on the subject of “What Women Are Doing,” regardless of what I happened to be reading or studying.

    So of course, when I wrote about The Great Gatsby, I wrote something in the “Bobbed-Headed Women: What’s Their Deal?” family. And while I wrote diligently about Daisy and Myrtle, my heart totally belonged to Jordan Baker. I loved that 1) she had an actual job (even if she was not terribly scrupulous about how she did that job—details), 2) that she was invariably sardonic and icy and sour, and 3) that she dressed in an elegant, severe, angular way, entirely unlike the girlish Daisy and the sexy Myrtle. Jordan was IT, for me. I tried to argue that she was a subversive figure in the text, who defied the “slut/bitch” boxes that Myrtle and Daisy got shoved into. (Without much success, I’ll grant you, because the novel doesn’t really support that reading, but still. Fun.)

    I don’t have much of the Jordan Baker-esque about me, I’m afraid. I couldn’t hack it as a professional (or amateur) athlete—not even as a crooked one. I couldn’t manage to remain as blithely cool and heart-whole as Jordan does, through all of her amused dabblings with men. And I can’t quite pull off that “simple, but severely perfect” aesthetic which Jordan managed with such aplomb. But still. I loved her when I was as a college girl (always scribbling about women who made less interesting novels more interesting for their presence), and she has it now that I am a college professor (who does… pretty much exactly the same thing.)

    So when I happen across a dress that I think Jordan Baker (who didn’t approve of much) would approve of, it delights me. This dress is just such a one. I paid $9 for her (which I NEVER do), just because I loved her so. This is a dress which, much like Jordan, has secrets which she staunchly refuses to disclose. Are her sequins gray or blue or lavender? It is impossible to tell. Is she, when it comes down to brass tacks, a dress or a shirt? It is difficult to say, for certain.

    This dress likewise seems like it will be revealing—with its V’ed neckline and its slight straps—but in the end, it conceals and hides more than it discloses. (The V discreetly halts just below the collarbone, and the straps, though they look fragile, once in place, refuse to budge.) This dress looks like a trifle, but it’s not. It’s armor.

    Perhaps that is what attracted me to this dress—that it looks delicate to the eye, but feels spiky to the touch. That it is not a dress with any softness about it—that, like Jordan, it is striking, but chilly, hanging aloof even from the body of the woman who wears it.

    I do not want to be Jordan Baker. If the gods are kind, they will spare me from both epic professional implosions, and from men like Nick Carraway.

    But I would enjoy dressing like her, from time to time—quite literally trying on a toughness which I admire, as much as I fail to possess.

  3. The Fit (by HMK)

    What: Gloriously poofy, silky blue-and-white Limited skirt, with the most wondrous, deep pockets you can possibly imagine
    Where: Goodwill
    Price: $3

    There are many things which, as a fashion historian, I ought to know, but which, notably, I do not. And many of these things swirl around questions of fit. What was a size 14 in 1944, as opposed to 2014? How was dress sizing different in 1924 than it was in 1914? My students ask such questions all the time—and they are good questions, and they are right to ask them. It’s just that I don’t really have any good answers to give them. Sizing is both a shifting thing, and a shifty thing. It varies dramatically by decade, and by brand, and by region, and, seemingly, by whim. It is decidedly tricky to know what a size 14 MEANS, whether we are talking about fifty years ago, or twenty-five years ago, or now.

    Perhaps it doesn’t really MEAN anything.

    Like a politician blessed with a golden tongue and an entire absence of conscience, sizing in clothing promises us many things which it cannot possibly deliver. It promises us order. It promises us consistency. It promises us that we can rely on it. Wherever we roam, if we know that we are a large, we can go into any store in any nation and buy a large garment with a peaceful mind and a trusting spirit.

    Or can we? Like most women, I know better than to trust the easy lies which size tags tell me. I know that I need to trust myself and my own judgment much more than I do their blithe sorting of garments into a discrete number of arbitrary piles.

    This skirt professed to be in “my size” (whatever that might happen to mean.) I suspected that it was not, but, seduced by its pattern and its silkiness and its vast pockets, I tried it on anyway.

    And she did not fit me, was decidedly off-kilter on me, and I loved her fiercely, nonetheless.

    What, after all, does it mean for a skirt (or for a person or a place or a job) to be a “good fit” for us? It seems like it should be obvious. Just read the tags, pay attention to the data, read all the fine print, and you’ll be able to sort out the good from the bad before the cloth of a garment so much as hits your skin—before you’ve put one arm through one sleeve, or slipped one foot into one shoe.

    But—no. Numbers and words alone will not do. A skirt can insist till it is blue in the face that it is a large instead of a medium, a petite instead of a tall, and you can still try it on and find out that it is not your home. It affirms that it is, and it is labeled as though it is, and it seems like it is—but it’s not, and all of our frustrated rechecking of the offending, inaccurate tag can’t make it so.

    But can we rely on our consistently fickle eyes any more than we can on these willfully inconsistent labels? I am not sure that we can. My eyes, for example, told me that this skirt would not fit me. And it does not. It settles about four inches south of where it is supposed to. Its waistband slings lower, its hemline dips longer, its pockets settle around my legs rather than around my hips. And my eyes told me, before my hands even found the (lying) tag that this would be so—told me that this skirt would not fit me in the way that it was supposed to.

    But how is anything “supposed” to be, really?

    I put on this skirt and I loved its strangeness and its softness and the dizzying swirl of its pattern. I loved that it made me feel light and grounded at the same time. So what if it slid where it should have stuck and swelled where it should have been flat and was loose where it should have been tight and tight where it should have been loose? In the end, none of that seemed to matter.

    Because we fit.

  4. Normcore (by HMK)

    What: Very practical, very unremarkable Mossino black shirt (bless it)
    Where: Goodwill
    Price: $3

    I did not become a thrifter to wear normal clothes. There are plenty of normal clothes around to be worn, goodness knows. It is not difficult to find them.

    Personally, I seek to make it a point not to do so.

    I became a thrifter because thrifting inevitably leads one to the strange. To the vintage dresses possessing odd ruffles in unexpected places. To the spiky shoes featuring strange floral growths on the sides of their toes. To the peculiar skirts containing unexpectedly deep pockets, and weirdly unfinished hems.

    There are normal things in thrift stores too, of course. Sneakers in neutral colors. Sweatpants in unfussy fabrics. Jeans to suit any number of different tastes, which carefully avoid offending any sensibilities. Such things are surely there.

    I just try to make a point of not looking at them.

    And then, there are the normal things which you DO look at, and find, to your dismay, that you actually want. It can be dreary, to want normal things, when you’ve based your entire sartorial philosophy on neither wanting nor owning anything in that vein. But sometimes it can’t be helped. The normal has an allure all its own, after all—the allure of the comfortable and the familiar and the remembered.

    I wanted this black shirt, and it is so, so very normal. No weird sleeves. No unusual fabrics. No distinctive cut. It is just a nice black shirt, which is soft to the touch, and can happily, unthinkingly be worn near, under, or next to just about anything.

    This shirt is easy, and it can feel dispiriting, to want easy things. Aren’t we, as virtuous and hard-working citizens, supposed to eschew the easy path? Aren’t we supposed to be suspicious of things which come too easy? Isn’t there merit in the struggle—in picking what is challenging and difficult precisely because we welcome the challenges and difficulties which it presents?

    Oof. I mean, sometimes, sure. The really strange dress which you can wear only when it is between 65 and 70 degrees (no hotter, and no colder)—that can be worth brooding over and planning for. The really stunning shoes which require extensive calculation about how long you will be able to stand in them before your feet revolt from raw pain—those are worth staring at schedules and mapping out the locations of nearby chairs for.

    And I will fight for things which are difficult when they are worth fighting for, I promise, I will.

    But I cannot fight all of the time, nor do I wish to. I suppose I must acknowledge that there is a place in both my heart and my closet for things which are easy—for things which bring me neither great distress nor great joy. There is something to be said, perhaps, for garments which are not grand adventures, in and of themselves—but which are safe and comfortable harbors, from which we might plan such adventures, in future.

    And so I will sink into the dark, unremarkable coziness of this shirt, and dream of all of sartorial strangeness which is yet to come.

  5. Left Behind (by HMK)

    What: Insane mint-green American Eagle jean jacket, not at all suitable to the current season (or to… anything, really)
    Where: Goodwill
    Price: $4

    Some things are meant to be left behind. Many things, perhaps. And that is not a judgment of either these things’ intrinsic worth, or of our innate capacity for constancy. There are books intended to divert us for an hour and dresses designed to amuse us for a season—but delightful as they may be, when that hour and that season has passed, it falls to us to put them back on shelves which are not ours—to send them off to live in closets not ours.

    The things that we truly treasure, we take and keep with us, however cumbersome or inconvenient they may be. I will gladly haul a heavy book or an unwieldy dress or a fragile object from city to city and from place to place—if is the right book and the right dress and the right object.

    If they are not—then I will leave them behind.

    Like most thrifters, I have left vast streams of things behind me, in my thrifting wake. That is one of the grand things about buying dresses for $3 and chairs for $7 and shoes for $4—when they no longer suit you, you let them go, and you do not regret it.

    At least—you usually don’t. This jacket, now—she I regretted and fretted over quite a bit, after I had left her behind. Because, the first time I saw this jacket, I failed to buy it—and failed to buy it for the stupidest, most adolescent reasons possible. I thought it was too—everything. Too flashy, too strange, too silly. I am a 33-year-old academic, with a penchant for dark colors, who thinks about Fashion as a Serious Thing as part of her job. Surely, there was no place in the closet of such a person for a jacket such as this one—light and bright and distinctly unsomber? Surely, I should leave it behind for the next, 17-year-old thrifter to snap up, to make part of her (infinitely more suitably) youthful wardrobe, and life?

    I thought that I had realized that such notions were sheer bunkum too late. (One realizes things which should be self-evident too late all too often, after all.)

    But the universe is sometimes kinder to us than we deserve. Many times, perhaps. Because I went back to Goodwill, many long weeks after I had first spied her, and the jacket was still there. And she was still flashy and silly and strange, and I still wanted her very much, indeed.

    And now that I have her, I shall not be foolish enough, to leave her behind.

  6. Thrifted What I Wore: on me, everything thrifted but the leggings. On L, everything but the shoes/hat/suspenders.

  7. Where You Are; Where You Have Been (by HMK)

    What: Insanely charming plate featuring the most wondrous (Eastern) state in the Union, New Jersey
    Where: Goodwill
    Price: $3 (a bit much for crockery, but I do adore it.)

    It feels like tempting fate—like actively and deliberately thumbing one’s nose at the universe—to assert that one is a fortunate being.

    And yet I AM a fortunate being, and I cannot deny it.

    I am fortunate in my friends, fortunate in my family, fortunate in my profession. I am fortunate that I have new and lovely places to travel to, and that I have a steady and lovely home to return to, once those travels are over. I am fortunate to love both where I come from, and where I am.

    I didn’t know, when I went on the job market, where I would end up. And I didn’t think about it too much, either. I read the job description first, and I noticed the location second, if I noticed it at all.

    And usually, I didn’t. I just blanketed every corner of the country with applications, and awaited the results.

    And tried not to think too much, about the results.

    I never would have anticipated that I would ever live in the Midwest, in a small town that I’d never heard of, in a state that I’d never thought of. And I never would have expected that I would come to love it as I have, or to feel as at home here as I do. I always vaguely thought that I would live my life on the East Coast—maybe exchanging small town quiet for city bustle, one day. Or maybe going back to a pretty suburb like the one where I myself had been raised—living once again in a small house, under big trees.

    But—no. I love the state that I grew up in—its dense cities and soft beaches and myriad accents and bustling roads. It nurtured me, educated me, taught me that it didn’t matter if people called you a sinkhole or an armpit or a blight. Not when you knew that you were really a garden, lush and varied and strange.

    And I love the state that I have chosen—or rather, the state that has chosen me. I love its thorny history and open skies and odd obsessions. I love that I should not belong here, but that I do—that I would never have imagined being happy here—but that I am.

    And so I will hang my New Jersey plate on my Illinois wall, and tempt the fates in both places, by knowing and (declaring) myself to be a very fortunate being, indeed.

  8. Thrifting Ruts (by HMK)

    I recently listened to a podcast that was all about our pop culture ruts. When it comes to what we listen to, read, and watch, what are our own personal, inevitable go-tos—and how do we branch out from those, without losing our own taste? Intriguing questions, those.

    I know that I certainly have my own pop culture ruts. Movies: set in past. Featuring dresses. Not too violent. Lady protagonist preferred. Books: written or set in nineteenth century. Lady writers preferred. Lengthy descriptions of bonnets particularly appreciated. Music: Electronic. Witty. Lady singers preferred. Amazing album art welcome.

    And I am very fond of my ruts. Yet I also seek to embrace getting jolted out of them. At least I hope I do. One day, I really will watch The Wire, and catch up on all the Melville I never read in school, and listen to a singer who has never once been featured or reviewed in Bitch magazine. One day.

    Just maybe not today.

    Much like our consumption of pop culture, thrifting (and dressing in general, I think) is always a delicate balance between embracing what already makes us happy, and reaching for what challenges us. As I have talked about elsewhere on this blog, there are numerous sartorial paths which it makes me distinctly uncomfortable to even contemplate treading. Short dresses and skirts. Form-fitting garments of any ilk. Really, really bright colors. My fashion comfort zone/Happy Place is very much 1970s Feminist Dystopian Novel Garb—let there be garments shaped like sacks, in colors resembling day-old porridge. BLISS.

    That said, I promise you that I do recognize the benefit of moving outside of what we already love, into the realm of what we are intrigued (but a bit intimidated) by. I try to abide by that notion in my thrifting life, and buy things which I find beautiful, which also make me distinctly uneasy.

    And then again—sometimes I do not. These shoes, for example, do not challenge me one bit. They do not subvert my usual taste, or provide me with any glimpses of any new horizons.

    And I do not care.

    I am, for example, very comfortably in love with the color brown. With oxford-style shoes. With moderate, blocky heels. With a 1930s-esque aesthetic. Check, check, check, and check.

    Sometimes, the things that we thrift are lightning storms in the distance—violent beauties which we are equal parts dazzled and frightened by. And sometimes, they are warm baths, soothing and familiar, drawn to not to startle but to comfort us, in a world where comfort is sometimes in all too short supply.

    And I say, let us bask in these familiar delights, while also keeping our doors eternally cracked open a smidge, to admit delights as of yet unfamiliar, and unknown.

  9. Thrifted What I Wore: on me, everything is thrifted but the shoes. On L, everything but the shoes and pants.

  10. The Pleasure of Answered Prayers (by HMK)

    What: Delightful gold earrings
    Where: Goodwill
    Price: $2

    It has been quite some time, since I was in Sunday school. I am a woman of 33, after all, and long ago settled into a comfortable, sloppy agnosticism. I am too soft and lazy to be a proper atheist, yet also too bristly at being asked to worship a male god and a male savior to return to the Presbyterianism of my youth. And so. A largely secular WASP, with a lingering fondness for any religious ceremonies focused on either food or candles (or better yet—both), I remain.

    From what I remember of sermons and Sunday school lessons gone by, one was always encouraged to be distinctly wary of answered prayers. We think we know what we want, and what will be good for us, and for the people we love. But we don’t, always. We see things with our narrow human eyes and feel them with our partial human hearts, and consequently sometimes pray for things—for something to change, or for someone to remain the same—which would benefit precisely no one.

    And, sloppy agnostic that I am, I can still totally buy that argument. Thank God (whatever from the divine might take—I told you, I am sloppy) that many of the things that I prayed for in my youth did not come to pass. I actually quite like being tall, now (though I prayed very hard as a lass not to be.) Turns out, it was quite beneficial for me to bomb math quizzes and math tests and math classes when I was a girl, rather than having unearned A’s benevolently showered on me from above, as I had so fervently prayed for. I prayed very unwisely, and very selfishly, when I was a whippersnapper. The Formless and Mysterious Divine—was very wise to roll her eyes at me, and to pay me precisely zero mind.

    But thrifting prayers, now—I see a distinct benefit to those being answered. I love the unexpected element of thrifting—of findings things at Goodwill that you never hoped for, because you never knew that they existed, in the first place.

    But I am also a human being, and sometimes I like getting exactly what I want, exactly when I want it. Sometimes I do not want to be startled by the wondrously unexpected—I want something pretty, and nice, that I explicitly asked for. And I want it now, please.

    I asked the universe for earrings precisely like these, and the universe kindly provided them to me, promptly and without fuss. I wanted earrings that would go with everything (check.) Earrings that were simple, while still being unusual enough to be interesting (check.) Earrings which did not hurt my ears, and which priced in at under $3 (check, and check.)

    I have enough Scottish Presbyterian blood in me to believe that self-gratification is not the primary reason that any of us were placed on this earth. (Scottish Presbyterians—not such big proponents of self-gratification.) We are here to be kind, and seek to do as much good (and as little harm) as possible. To not be a blight on the landscape, but rather a benefit to it.

    But I am enough of a soft, lazy agnostic to believe that self-gratification—when it comes at no cost to others, and brings great delight to ourselves—is also quite a charming thing.

    So when I next pray to the thrifting gods for a special boon—I will not blame them, should I be ignored—but neither shall I feel guilty, should I be answered.

  11. On Purchasing Yet More Vintage Clocks, Which Do Not Work (by HMK)

    In my thrifting life, I have purchased a LOT of vintage clocks. Very few of which, technically, work. And I recognize that, theoretically, working is the purpose of clocks. We have clocks so that we might have a means (more reliable than squinting up at the sun) to let us know what time it is.

    I will admit that I think it can be very overrated, knowing what time it is.

    My predilection for clocks which do not work has been a source of amusement (and bemusement) to many of those who have set foot in my home. Or my office. Or anywhere else where I happen to dwell. It has been gently suggested to me that perhaps I have hit what might reasonably be considered to be a sane number of non-functioning clocks, for one person to own. It has been kindly pointed out to me that I might one day come to be mistaken for some manner of serial killer, if I insist on decorating my abode with eerie, motionless clock clusters.

    And yet. I will not stop purchasing vintage treasures such as this one. I cannot. Because I KNOW, you see. I know that there are still clocks out there which are unlike any clocks which I have ever seen or dreamt of or owned. I know that some of them are lovely and damaged and strange, and belong nowhere else on earth so much as they do with me.

    And I know that it is one of my solemn tasks in life to find them, and think they are beautiful, and make them mine.

  12. Cutting Your Thrifting Losses (by HMK)

    I recently turned 33, and I would not claim to feel any wiser now than I did when I was a young (?) lass of 32. Because I am not sure that I have learned very much, in the past year. I still have no sense of direction (I have lived in the same charming town for three charming years, and I still retain an impressive ability to get lost, amidst said charms.) I still cannot parallel park for beans (granted, living in a small town renders that skill largely unnecessary, but still—surely, as a functional, tax-paying adult, I should be able to do so, anyway?)

    The one thing that I do feel as I ease into my 33rd year (as the title of this post would suggest) is a newfound ability to cut my thrifting losses. When I was a young thrifter, I was quite the clinger. I never wore that pair of brown heels that I got at Goodwill (because they pinched my feet and on reflection, I thought that their particular shade of brown was terrrrible), but dammit, I paid $7 for them, and I was keeping them, come hell or high water. I always passed that one yellow skirt by, when flipping through my closet, because it didn’t go with anything I owned, and I had come to realllly hate the ribbon detailing on its hem. But it was legit vintage, dammit, and how could I let something that was both vintage and unusual go back out into the world?

    I’m not sure exactly how or why it came to be, but I woke one day to find that I was not a clinger, anymore. I didn’t like those brown heels? Out they went. I never wore that yellow skirt? Into the donation pile. My 32-year-old self hung onto shirts which fit strangely and earrings which pinched and sweaters which were dreary. My 33-year-old self—does not.

    I guess I did learn something last year, after all.

    Take this dress. (Please!) Or rather, raise a glass in its honor and memory, since I own it no more. As Lucy Snowe might say, it is good, it is beautiful, but it is not mine. I tried it on in the thrift store, and I lovvvvved it. And rightly so. Look at that pattern—its richness, its strangeness! Look at that silhouette—its primness, its angles! A dream of a dress, this one.

    But when I tried it on at home, I found that its fabric chafed me. As in, left red patches on my skin chafed me. I found that its neckline choked me (to the point where I was literally clawing at it, like it was not so much a dress as it was a noose.) I found that it fit me in a way that was impressively unflattering, being tight and loose in the worst possible places and ways.

    Do not mistake me. This is a beauuuuuutiful dress.

    But I can’t wear it.

    Mind you, my 32-year-old self would have spent a good solid six months trying to do so, anyway (“Maybe if I wear two layers under it, I won’t get a rash this time! Maybe if I put a belt on it, I will look less like a sack of malformed potatoes every time I wear it! Maybe if I hold my head differently, it won’t make me feel like I can’t breathe!”, etc.)

    My 33-year-old self hung it from her closet door for a day, let her eyes drink in its beauty, and then let it go—to an owner whose skin it won’t chafe, whose neck it won’t choke, whose body it will flatter.

    Thrifting losses—cut.

  13. Lost and Found (But Mainly Lost) (by HMK)

    A partial list of places where I have lost earrings, since I started wearing them four years ago:

    -Classrooms. I pace when I teach, and sometimes my pacing sets my earrings flying, to destinations unknown. (Let me note that my ears are not pierced and I wear only clip-ons, which helps to explain how such flights are possible.)

    -Airplanes. I cannot abide wearing earrings on planes, but always think that I can, and likewise think that wearing jewelry whilst flying is a sign of being civilized (and because of said foolish convictions, lose earrings to seatback pockets, where I stuff them, and then forget about them.)

    -Coffeeshops. I take my earrings off to read (basically earrings are only actually on my ears when I am in motion), and then I leave them on tables and window sills, where they get swallowed up into the void into which we all must one day disappear. (But into which my earrings disappear rather more frequently.)

    -My own home. My dear apartment is by no means a vast mansion, and yet somehow earrings get swallowed up within it, never to be seen nor heard of again.

    -Public parks. Apparently. Though this one is a relatively new. I went to read outside this weekend and (true to form) took off my earrings and (equally true to form) lost them, in the depths of some unknown bush or shrub.

    Sometimes it is our duty in life to resist and seek to conquer our vices, and sometimes we simply have to shrug before and accept them. I hope that I continue to try to battle my actual, damaging vices and my more significant, distasteful qualities. But my Earring Chaos, I have simply shrugged before and accepted. I never pay more than $3 for any given pair, and I never expect to keep any given pair for more than a year.

    And I have shed tears over lost books and lost places and lost people, but never once over lost earrings. When it comes to earrings, I am uncharacteristically at peace with the idea of losing something both abruptly and completely. My earrings are beautiful, I love them, and then they go, at moments of their choosing, to places of their choosing.

    And I grieve for them not at all.

  14. Maybe a Last Trip to Savers Before the Big Move? (Doubtful Though). By Kelli Oliver

    Top Pic:

    -Cardigan Sweater (for me): H&M, $7-ish

    -Preggo Skinny Jeans (for me, obvs): $6-ish

    Middle Pic:

    -baby girl clothes: various brands: $10-ish

    Bottom Pic:

    -baby girl clothes: various brands, $12-ish

    So, we’re having a baby girl!! Found out on Wednesday. And I may have bought her a tutu today … that she won’t be able to wear until she’s about 2 years old, but that’s what thrifting is all about—planning ahead. 

    Oh and we’re also moving to the Boston area (Arlington, MA to be exact) in exactly one month and a day, so sorry for the MIA here. 

    I realized today that thrifting for a girl is quite a bit more time consuming than it is for boys. There’s just so much more stuff to sift through, and most of it is oh so fugly. 

    Holly and I have had many a conversation on the sad state of thrifted cardigans, and perhaps, cardigans in general. The vast majority of them are about as exciting as yesterday’s bowl of oatmeal that’s still siting in the sink, and make one feel about the same. I managed to find one that’s a lovely peach color with some fun texture, and a good length for my frame (on normal people, it would be a cropped deal), so I’m upgrading it to this morning’s toast with jam level of awesome. 

    And, I managed to find a pair of preggo skinny jeans, which is a major accomplishment. A stroll through the thrifted maternity wear section tends to cause a quaking fear that pregnancy makes one give up all hope of fashion self-respect, but the section was redeemed today. Thank you previously pregnant lady who fought the misguided belief that gestating a child equals yoga pant doldrums for nine months. 

  15. A Thrifter’s Back to School Wish List (by HMK)

    Just so the universe is aware, for my last thrift before a new semester begins, it would be delightful for me to find anything (and if the universe is feeling madly generous, everything) in the following vein:

    -Frames to hang the new pictures I wish to hang in my house. Frames with character, if possible—if they are worn around the edges and show evidence of having hosted beloved art before—I will like them none the worse for it.

    -Mugs. I need mugs which are consecrated to my office (and the endless river of coffee and tea that I shall soon consume there), and can’t quite bring myself to part with any of the ones which I have at home. Something red and cheery might be nice?

    -Interesting (if also, by some miracle) comfortable new heels to teach in. It has been a summer of flats, and I am eager to take to higher ground once again, without, if possible, brutalizing my feet in the process.

    -Belts. I had gone off of belts for quite some time, but now feel a resurgence of interest in them. Something new to liven up my endless parade of sack dresses could be a nice change for the fall.

    -New clothes to exercise in. Maybe in the fall, I will actually exercise…? Pretty clothes would be encouraging in this regard, anyway.

    -Bracelets. I am literally down to one bracelet (!), which I love, but will soon be weary of wearing, if I must wear it all the bloody time. More arm candy, please.

    -More professional-y type earrings. A lot of my current earrings are dangly and bright and silly. Which I love—but having more clipped and square and severe goodies for the academic life, would be helpful.

    -All of the fall clothes. Literally, all of them. I have a small handful of fall dresses and skirts and shirts that I like—but it really is the smallest possible of small handfuls. Getting a new fistful of tweedy, autumnal goodness to add to the pile—would delight my heart not a little.

    Thank you, universe, for your time and consideration in this matter.