Taking That Next Step

M. and I celebrated our four-year anniversary recently, after delaying the celebrations for about two months. (Two months?! Yeah, I’m impressed by how long we delayed it too. It was poor timing on our actual anniversary because I was inundated with freelance work, and then more stressful things kept popping up!) To celebrate, we went to a Spanish tapas place and ate way too much food. Of course, I had to put together a special outfit to mark the occasion:

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My “classy lady with a bit of sass” pose.

Outfit details: Round black sunnies (thrifted); wooden bead earrings (DIY); fishnet top (thrifted from Buffalo Exchange); black organic cotton bra (a Brook There original, made in the US!); vintage black patent Dofan handbag (from Beacon’s Closet); navy-blue pencil skirt (thrifted from Crossroads Trading); wooden watch; rhinestone bracelet (thrifted from Monarch Thrift Shop); black pumps.

Four years is a ridiculously long amount of time to me. Before M., I’d never had a relationship last longer than six months. I find it very difficult to trust myself and others, and I don’t have an easy time letting go and relaxing. Our relationship has been an exercise in both of those things. Somehow, in the midst of all my worries about the future (both founded and unfounded) and my fear of being hurt, I’ve still managed to stick with this person and grow alongside him. There are plenty of ups and downs: I am a much flightier person than I would like to admit (see: trust issues), and there are plenty of painful misunderstandings between us. We still have many things we need to improve on. But M.’s commitment to keep working through everything together is what makes it comfortable for my hand to find its way back into his in the end. And I’m glad we continue to have the chance to learn from one another.

Now that that bit of sentimentality is over, I’d like to announce that. . . M. and I moved in together last month! This step feels both gigantic and small at the same time. We’d talked about this possibility in the past, but with all of our uncertainties about life, we weren’t sure that it was a good idea. Then, suddenly, three months ago, it sort of clicked in our heads that it didn’t make sense to keep living apart. Yes, we still have a lot of looming question marks, but we also know each other so well. We’ve always made a point of trying to communicate as much as possible (although that is not always easy). We already spend half of the week with one another. Rent is expensive. And in the worst case scenario, we know we’re both mature enough to be reasonable with each other. So, now we are roomies and partners! I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s wonderful to come home to the person you love, and to be next to that same person every morning. And it’s very nice to be able to split household duties. ūüėĀ There are a few living-quarters issues to iron out, as there almost always is in any roommate situation, but I think we’re doing okay. I’m pretty determined to make our household as eco-friendly as possible, so we’ll see how that goes. M. is very open to composting, but I sense some hesitation about my idea to get up early every Sunday morning and jog to the farmer’s market . . . *Brandishes riding crop*¬†I will not allow any lazy Sundays in this apartment! ūüėąūüėČ

Having to fit two apartments’ worth of stuff into one has also taught me a huge lesson in economy and minimalism. Even though I’ve been moved in for about a month now, I’m still not fully unpacked because there isn’t enough space for me to arrange all of my stuff. I’ll need to start downsizing, truly, truly downsizing. It’ll be a good thing. As much as I love “stuff,” having so many possessions can also be anxiety inducing, especially when I’m trying to find something and I have no idea where it could be. I’ve been trying to be more minimalist for years, but I don’t take any real steps unless I have no other choice. And now I’m in a situation again where I have no choice! So look forward to some posts about how I try to either repurpose or donate some of my overflowing stash of stuff!

Alright, that’s enough from me for today. Thanks, as always, for reading. And cheers to taking that next step. ūüôā

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‚̧ S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

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Leopard Print and Flowers

M. and I attended a wedding a few weeks ago. I was hoping to sew a new dress for the occasion, but with my gigantic workload, I failed to put one together in time. So, as usual, a thrift store was my savior. I popped over to one of my favorite thrift stores in the city, Monarch Thrift Shop, and came out with a leopard print number that fit all of my requirements: (1) has pockets!, (2) is flattering, and (3) is machine washable.

Because I am an overachiever and like to try to DIY everything, I crocheted myself a flower necklace to pair with the dress. I used this pattern, but I definitely made a mistake because, as you can see, my flowers do not look like the ones in the pattern photo:

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Full-length bathroom mirrors are a blogger’s best friend.

While I was at Monarch Thrift Shop, I managed to find some vintage Givenchy clip-ons there for $4.00! I also wore those to the wedding.

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Unfortunately, the clip-ons turned out to be too loose in the hinges; one of them fell off while I was dancing during the wedding reception. I managed to find the one that fell, but I definitely don’t think I should wear these anymore if I’m going to be moving around a lot.

Outfit details: Red crocheted flower choker (DIY); maroon wrap top (made in the US); leopard-print dress (thrifted); vintage red-leather heels (thrifted); vintage gold Givenchy clip-ons (thrifted); black leather handbag (a gift from my Mom).

Hopefully I’ll be able to write posts of more substance and with more frequency soon. Just two more weeks until I am done with this hellish workload!

‚̧ S. (a.k.a. MisplacedPen)

P.S. I post a lot more regularly on Instagram @misplacedpen. Follow me, if you’d like. ‚̧

Time-Traveling

Hello, hello. Welcome to my denim uniform:

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I’m visiting from the seventies. I was all ready to go out for a night on the town when some force pulled me into this weird future. I met the 2017 version of myself, who told me that I’m not actually going to go out and have fun tonight because we have a gigantic freelance project to do. She was very mean and gave me a lecture about the importance of hard work. Then she shoved a giant stack of papers in my hands, said “good luck,” and ran out the door.

I’m glad I was wearing sunglasses, so I could maintain my cool-girl look while tears rolled down my cheeks at the thought of doing work on a Saturday night.

In all seriousness, I actually do have a lot of work to do. It’s all my fault, really. I wanted to have some extra pocket money (especially since I have a major and expensive dental procedure coming up) so I took on a gig editing a two-hundred-page manuscript. Of course, as soon as I started working on it, I realized how much I hate not having free time. Especially since I’m the type of person who overexhausts herself on¬†everything. Walk up to me on any given day and ask me what I’ve been up to, and I’ll tell you how I’ve been¬†working on five different personal projects in the past three hours. (This may sound like a “humble brag,” but I am actually telling you about a huge flaw of mine, because I never actually finish any of my personal projects on account of my having so many things in my queue.)

I decided I would go work in a coffee shop today, and to cheer myself up I put together a fun outfit. Lo and behold, working in a coffee shop by yourself can be frustrating, because every time you need to go pee you need to pack up and bring all of your stuff with you (I don’t want to risk losing my laptop…). So I decided to try working at home. Now I’m sitting in the kitchen distracting myself by writing a blog post. Sigh.

This is the brooch I wore on my denim jacket today:

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Right now I feel like that person hanging from the rope.

Psst, I got the brooch at a thrift store in Hyde Park. For $3. I love thrift stores. They’re a great place to source unique fashion, and you’re helping keep these items out of the landfill (although not all thrift stores are alike in terms of how they handle unwanted donations, so do your research!).

I actually stopped in a thrift store on my way from the coffee shop (yet another example of how I have procrastinated today) and managed to snap some grainy full-length photos of my outfit:

My usual photographer (M.) is out of town this weekend, hence all of the selfies.

Outfit details: Denim jacket (thrifted); maroon wrap top (US-made); black bralet; air balloon brooch (thrifted); fringe-hem jeans (DIY); western-style brown belt; coral-striped socks; bright red kitten heels (thrifted, possibly vintage, perhaps from the 80s?)

My favorite part of this outfit is my shoes and socks combo:

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Look at that wonderful Waldo witchiness. Plus that fringe!! (You might recognize that fringe from this post. ūüėÄ )

All right, I think it’s time for me to go. I hope you all enjoy your Saturday nights! Wish me luck with mine. . .

‚̧ S. (a.k.a. aMisplacedPen)

I’m on Instagram!

I’ve joined the black hole that is Instagram (psst, I’m @misplacedpen). There’s no denying it, social media is addictive, and I may be addicted. From the first few days of using it, my takeaways are that:

  1. I love how easy it is for me to see snapshots of what sustainable-fashion and zero-waste bloggers are doing to treat the earth better, and
  2. I hate how easy it is to lose two hours admiring what said bloggers are doing to treat the earth better. (Not to mention the time spent admiring new offers from sustainable brands. . .)

I’ve been uploading my own snapshots too, including my outfit from this past weekend:

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Hello hello, that’s me, laughing at how addicted to Instagram I’ve become in the space of a week.

This outfit was also my entry into Beacon’s Closet’s #beaconsturns20 giveaway! (Follow the link for details on how you can enter; the giveaway runs through the end of May and the basic requirements are that you have an item bought from Beacon’s and you have an Instagram account.) Beacon’s¬†is a well-curated vintage & resale store (as I’ve probably mentioned many times before. . . . Can you tell I like them?), and they have an online shop! I spend way too much of my free time checking out their online offerings.

Anyways, if you’re curious what else I’m up to outside of this blog, find me¬†(@misplacedpen) on Instagram and say hi! Maybe even follow me. ūüėČ I have a couple of detailed shots of my accessories up on there, and a nice photo of my roommate’s cat. Mreow.

I’ve also updated this blog with an Instagram button to the right that you can click on to be directly linked to my profile (if you open up any one of my blog pages or posts, you’ll see a right-hand sidebar full of things to click on). I’m currently extremely overwhelmed with work and life, so I haven’t had the time to figure out how to import the photos from my Instagram feed into this website. I’ll get to it soon, fingers crossed!

Outfit details: Fishnet top (from Buffalo Exchange), denim¬†jacket (thrifted from Village Discount Outlet), silver sports bra (brand is US-made Beyond Yoga, but was bought at Beacon’s), seafoam green high-waisted shorts (made in the US), gold leather bag (from Beacon’s), fishnet tights, navy studded loafers, vintage doorknocker earrings (from Vintage Underground)

‚̧ S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to write about any organizations or businesses that I have mentioned. This post expresses my honest opinions.

Mushrooms and Fishnets

I’ve been wearing a lot of black lately. Am I mourning my transition into the mid- to late-twenties? the state of the world? tragedies in my personal life? Am I trying to maintain a stereotypical New-Yorker image because I want to play up a part¬†of my identity that I fear I am losing? Am I becoming my mother, who went through an all-black-clothing phase that lasted for at least a decade of my life?¬†ūüėģ

Either way, all-black outfits have begun to feel a lot more natural for me. Besides any psychological purpose that they may serve for me, starting off with a mostly black clothing base allows me to amp up my accessory game. I feel like I have a lot more leeway to play around and showcase unique patterns and shapes in what I wear to accessorize.

This is especially important because I have a huge weakness for unique socks‚ÄĒin the last year of my journey to become a more ethical consumer, my only failing so far has been in the sock department. I had bought a pair of amazing¬†(but not explicitly ethically-sourced. . . ) mushroom-patterned socks a couple of months ago. Not only are they patterned with spore-releasing shrooms, but they also glow under UV light! When I bought them, I was super excited to wear them, but then they sat in my sock drawer for days, then weeks, then months. I kept pulling them out, ready to wear them, then worrying that they would clash too much with the rest of my outfit and putting them away again. I started feeling guilty about having paid for a thing that didn’t quite fit into my shopping ethics and then not using the item at all.

A few weeks ago, as I was assembling an all-black outfit for a dinner with M., I realized that the mushroom socks would add just enough flair to my look to prevent it from being too monotone. The result is the below ensemble:
DSC02699.jpgIt’s been a while since I’ve worn an outfit that I would describe as “fun,” and for me, this outfit was fun (M. called it “spunky”). I had a great night out, and I feel a little more confident about wearing my mushroom socks!

But, after having so many mixed feelings about the purchase of these socks, I think I’m ready to reduce my sock habit. I’ve already made so many changes to my other consumption habits; why can’t I change my sock shopping too? Maybe I’ll even stop buying socks I don’t need . . . Sigh. I think it’s time I start decluttering my closet and donating or repurposing items that have been languishing in there for ages.

Outfit details: Silver-chain tassel earrings (DIY), sheer black silk top with balloon sleeves (from Crossroads Trading), silver bralette (made in U.S.A. by Beyond Yoga, but bought “with tags” from Beacon’s Closet), high-waisted black shorts with gold toggle clasp (from Crossroads Trading), gold leather satchel (from Beacon’s Closet), black fishnets, mushroom socks, maroon leather sneaker-mules (from Beacon’s Closet).

‚̧ S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to write about any organizations or businesses that I have mentioned. This post expresses my honest opinions.

Fringe!

It’s a short post today! I wanted to show off my “new” fringed jeans. I spent over a week on these babies, patiently fraying them with a seam ripper while I watched TV shows or listened to podcasts. Then I cut a rectangle out of the left knee area, because why not? The more loose threads, the merrier.

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Outfit details: Round sunglasses with gold-tone bridge, vintage gold-tone clip-on earrings (from Monarch thrift shop); violet-pink lipstick; sheer turtleneck top (made in the USA); striped crop top; rings (DIY and from Tough & Pretty); fringed jeans (DIYed using old denim); olive suede booties (from Encore Resale thrift store)

This is probably the best photo I have of how fringey the fringe is (please ignore the mess that is my room):

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Friiiiiinge!

These jeans used to be a pair of bootcut jeans from a store that I will not name, as I had bought them many years before I decided to become an ethical¬†consumer. I’ve owned this pair for at least five years now, and I’ve probably worn it less than twenty times. I didn’t like the way the jeans¬†looked on me because they were a little too long and bootcut. To be honest, I had bought them because they were on super sale. But they’re also made of high-quality denim and it seemed like a shame to give them up.

Then I came across Honestly WTF’s¬†DIY¬†tutorial for fraying jeans.¬†She beautifully documents every step of the process. I followed her tutorial fairly faithfully, although, when I was finished, I did use my sewing machine to run a small zig-zag stitch over the unfrayed portion of the hem to ensure that it wouldn’t keep fraying after I put the jeans in the wash.

I stopped the fringe right around my ankles; that way, if I get tired of the fringe, I can lop it off and turn the jeans into an ankle-length pair! I want to make sure that this item of clothing can have a long life in my closet, because reusing what you have is the most sustainable way to consume fashion.

I’m itching to try these jeans out with a pair of heels! The styling possibilities are pretty exciting, and I’ll get to feel fringey goodness swishing around my feet. That’ll have to wait until warmer weather though!

‚̧ S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

 

Lavender in the Fall, and a Quick Update

I’ve been rather politically oriented in my last couple of posts, but I’m returning to form here, for the moment. Amid all of this chaos, fashion is still a great solace to me, and I’m committed to maintaining my ethical fashion goals.

For the past few months I’ve been itching to get my hands on a fitted mock neck sweater, and during my latest trip to the thrift store, I found this lavender gem. While this piece isn’t exactly what I’ve been looking for, for $1.00 it was certainly close enough!

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I wore the above outfit to get a cocktail with friends during a spell of strangely warm weather in Chicago (I’m sure there are many more spots of unusually warm weather to come…). I paired the lavender top with a pair of skinny jeans and a high ponytail, but when I was staring at the whole combination it looked a little too “preppy” for me. So I added some edginess by creating deep cuffs with the legs of my jeans and throwing some fishnet socks and my studded navy loafers into the mix.

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The clip-on earrings I’m wearing in this photo were made by me! I whipped these babies up in about fifteen minutes using silver tassels I had on hand and a mix of wooden beads and jade glass beads. Unfortunately, during all of the chaos of the past couple of months, I’ve lost track of their whereabouts… I’ll have to do some wading through the mess that is my bedroom.

By the way, I have a new job! I’ve moved into the editing department within the company I’ve been working for! I’m technically starting out at entry level again, but I already feel much happier and more fulfilled doing something that I love.

And, I have a new freelance assignment! I took an editing class a couple of years ago when I began seriously contemplating editing as a career, and I now work in the same department as my former editing teacher! Unfortunately, he is retiring, and he decided to recommend me to one of his former clients. So now I’m editing a research paper and learning a lot about statistical terms. That’s been occupying a lot of my brain space whenever the election isn’t.

Last, but not least, I’ve made a couple of other environmentally and ethically conscientious purchases that I can’t wait to share with you, and I have a new page for my site that is in the works. Stay tuned!

With all of my love,
S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

My Wardrobe Workhorse (a.k.a. One Skirt, So Many Outfits)

During my teenage and¬†young adult years, I had assumed that if I wanted to have an interesting wardrobe or be considered a stylish person I would need to own hundreds and hundreds of clothing items‚ÄĒit’s easy to feel that way when mainstream fashion media¬†and red carpet stars seem to have completely new wardrobes every season and fast fashion stores like H&M encourage quantity over quality. I’ve let go of my “more is better” belief, but as I was curating my blog photos for this post it still felt taboo for me to show myself wearing something more than once within the same month.

But, if I am trying to cultivate a sustainable wardrobe and showcase my efforts in doing so, I will have to start choosing quality over quantity. One major signifier of quality is rewearability. Plus, I always get excited when I see a garment repeated in a blogger’s outfit posts because I like to see how someone wears the same piece over time; hopefully some of you out there feel the same way.

So, let’s start with my self-made red skirt. Yep, my last post featured it. And this post will feature it again! ūüôā Because I wasn’t kidding when I said that I love this skirt. It is truly a wardrobe workhorse!

Without further ado…

Three Ways to Wear One Skirt:

(1) Try color-blocking!

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Here I’ve paired the skirt with the silk-blend tee that I thrifted from Crossroads Trading Co (first posted here). I really love the resulting combination of yellow, white, black, and red. I feel like I’m channeling¬†a really angry bee in this outfit. I added my pair of maroon faux fur earrings (DIY! and half hidden against my hair…), because bees are a little fuzzy, right?

As an aside, I’d like to take a moment to note that these are the first and only photos of this skirt that I’ve posted where the pleats are actually sitting properly. If only those pleats would sit like that every time! Maybe it’s because I never iron this skirt before wearing it…

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Yay laziness!

(2) Play with contrasting styles of dress:

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Why is my bottom half blurry in this photo? Did my photographer capture a warp in the space-time continuum?

I really like the contrasting silhouettes of such a short and tight top with the poofy and prim pleated skirt. The houndstooth pattern of the top, the fishnets, and the studded navy blue loafers add some punk rock vibes to what might have been a preppy silhouette.

(Apologies if anyone from the punk &¬†punk rock scenes is reading this and believes I have used the terms incorrectly. I’m simply referring to fashion tropes, but feel free to enlighten me to a better use of the terms and/or a different way I could have described my outfit!)

Full disclosure: The houndstooth top is from American Apparel, a company that leaves me with a mixed bag of emotions. I like that they are committed to American manufacturing and they are widely accessible, but I wish they had more environmentally friendly options (like using more linen and organic cotton and less polyester) and their marketing campaign is arguably sexist. Usually I avoid them because I don’t want to support a company that I feel so uncomfortable about. But¬†I couldn’t resist one of their recent summer sales, and I had been itching for¬†an off-the-shoulder top for a very long time. I could have tried to make the top, but this was a case of convenience and price winning out.

(3) Try a tonal ensemble!

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As an adolescent, I was never a huge fan of pink. To me it was “too girly.” Only in the past five years have I realized how sexist that idea is: inherent in my initial dismissal of pink as “too girly” is the idea that being girly is a bad thing, and inherent in that¬†is a very specific (and false) idea of what it means to be a girl. Pink is not inherently a “feminine” color; it was actually once¬†considered more suitable¬†for boys. The meanings associated with one color¬†can change with time, but ultimately a color is, well,¬†just¬†a color.

Once I started letting go of my stereotypes about pink, I realized I actually really like it. I like the attention-getting *pop* of a neon pink and the subtlety of a pastel pink. So when I was trying to find an outfit for my former roommate’s wedding, I realized that this neon pink sweater (thrifted from Goodwill!) and my red skirt would go great together! Add¬†some pink-violet lipstick and my vintage red leather heels and I am a walking display of reds. I’ve always wanted to try tonal ensembles. While what I’ve done here is not quite tonal layering, it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten!

So why does this skirt work so well and get worn so often?

  1. Durability: I put a lot of care into the sewing of this skirt. While there are many things about it that I would do better next time, overall it is a very solidly built¬†piece because I made it intending to wear¬†it¬†for years. The fabric I chose is also very hardwearing: it’s a medium-¬†to¬†heavyweight “eco twill” made from organic cotton and recycled polyester that was probably intended for bags and work clothes. Which means it’s a little heavier than most dress fabrics, but it won’t tear or wear down anytime soon.
  2. Color: The skirt is a solid color, which makes matching it up with other clothing items a lot easier because I don’t have to worry about clashing patterns. While red isn’t typically considered a neutral color, it works with a lot of garments I already own.
  3. Pockets: A lot of ready-made garments that are marketed to women do not come with pockets. And even if they do, the pockets are usually tiny and unusable. But pockets are inherently practical features; they exist to keep things in, oftentimes important things like keys or tissues for¬†allergy season. And I like practicality in my clothing. I also like to have a place to stick my hands if I’m feeling awkward. The pattern for this skirt included pockets in the side seams (woohoo!), but even if it hadn’t, I would have found a way to incorporate them, because I NEED POCKETS. (For more information on the politics of¬†pocket distribution between the genders, check this article out.)
  4. Silhouette:¬†The pleated, knee- to midi-length skirt is a classic silhouette and can be worn well¬†by people of a variety of figures. And, as you saw above, I can rotate this skirt between a variety of formal and casual looks, which means I’m going to keep pulling it out of the closet year after year.
  5. Weight: The skirt is not quite summer weight, but it’s not wool coat weight either. It’s a nice in-between that works in all seasons. In the summer, the¬†skirt’s volume still lets air reach my legs so I don’t suffocate. And in the winter, I can wear tights with it without feeling too restricted.

So, there you have it. My trusty old skirt came back for a few encores, and will likely come back again. I hope you all like her as much as I do!

‚ÄĒS. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

Tidy Unraveling

I’m back in Chicago, and while it’s nice to be in my little apartment again, near many of my good friends and close to my dear M., I do miss the feeling of being on vacation, even if vacation is just a week in my family home. Returning to work reminds me that I am ready for a career change; I’m still a little worker bee in appearance, but 90% of the time I am at my desk my mind is very much elsewhere. If I’m not worrying over the things I need to do to build my editing career or trying to drag myself back into fiction writing, I’m mulling over the hundreds and hundreds of clothing items that I want to bring to life. I have too many ideas, too much fabric, and not enough time.

So, to represent the slow and steady unraveling of my mind, my poor mind that is currently imprisoned in a mind-numbing desk job for forty hours a week, I brought my new thrift store purchase (the lacey sweater introduced in my last post) out to play. Unfortunately, my regular (and reluctant) photographer was not around, so I made do with the self-timer on my camera:

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I rolled up the sleeves of the sweater and tucked the front half into my skirt to decrease some of the volume and to bare a little skin (gotta enjoy the sun while it lasts!). Since the sweater is so lacey, I wore a black crop top underneath it. I actually made the crop top myself, out of a stretchy faux leather‚ÄĒhence the slight sheen in the second photo. If you’re interested in construction notes, I think I used the bodice from the free “Sonja Dress” pattern, available on Burdastyle’s website and created by Salme Patterns, but I’m not 100% sure as I made this top a very long time ago. The crop top looks nice from afar, but when you inspect it, it is obvious that I was a very ignorant sewer (not that I am that much more experienced now…). For example, the hem is bound with a woven bias tape. So even though the fabric is stretchy, the hem has lost all of its elasticity thanks to my weird design choice. And if I seam ripper the hem out, then there will be weird holes in the top, because faux leather is not forgiving… If I had added a zipper to the crop top, the hem binding wouldn’t be an issue, but of course I did not. Which means I can barely stretch the hem over my chest. Putting the garment on or taking it off is a real fun time.

I wanted to create some contrast with the delicate and gothic look of my top half, so I pulled out my trusty red pleated skirt to add some polish. I’ve never gone over the construction of my skirt on this blog, which is a shame because I want to give it the spotlight it deserves. The red fabric I used is an “eco twill,” which is made from a combination of recycled polyester and organic cotton. The fabric is heavyweight and was rather stiff when I first washed it, but it has softened over time. For a pattern, I used the skirt portion of Burdastyle’s “Princess Dress” (#121, 11/2012).¬†The skirt pattern was pretty simple, although even after I took out four inches from the hem (I am short), it still used a lot of fabric (pleats seem to do that…). But I had to draft my own waistband, and I decided to use a simple rectangle. After a whole lot of trial and error, I’ve come to realize that my waistbands need to be a little curved in order to sit on my waist nicely. However, if I am feeling lazy or am restricted by time (both of which are often the case), I go with the simple, flat, rectangle waistband anyway… I am definitely still an amateur when it comes to sewing. But the invisible zipper insertion for this skirt went surprisingly well given how new that technique was to me at the time; the zipper isn’t completely invisible but it’s close enough that I’m not embarrassed to wear it out. The skirt also has pockets! Pockets triple the likelihood that I will regularly wear X garment.

Anyways, back to the focus of this post, which is my new (old) sweater. I love it! It’s rather oversized so, combined with the pleated skirt, this is a more voluminous silhouette than I’m used to sporting, but I think the sweater’s laciness balances everything out and I’ve actually found that I enjoy the “largeness” of this outfit.

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Here’s a shot of my shoulder (and side of my face…), so you can see the lace up close. I’m also wearing vintage clip-ons here (which I scored for $5 in Park Slope)!

There’s a second reason why the sweater’s delicate nature appeals to me. As I was paying for it, the cashier marveled at how none of the little threads had been torn. However, when I began to hand wash it I discovered there were indeed a few unraveling bits. I was a little disappointed, and tied off all of the loose threads that I could find, but I’m certain that there will be more breakage in this top’s near future seeing as I plan to wear it often and I am not the most graceful person. The more I consider it though, the more I think a slow unraveling will result in an even more beautiful and interesting garment. Now I am actually excited for the process to continue!

So concludes my adventures playing with thrift store purchases! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend full of joy and compassion. These past few days have been a little rough for me since M. and one of his closest friends had a very large falling out and I’ve been doing my best to support my healing partner. It’s been a reminder to me that we are all flawed human beings and we all make mistakes; what’s most important is that we acknowledge our mistakes and that we do our best to listen to one another. Ultimately, as a human species, we are all in this together.

Much love to all of you,
‚ÄĒS. (a.k.a. A Misplaced Pen)

Charitable Fashion

It’s been a hectic three weeks, my friends. My new roommate and I had a small apartment fire (everyone and everything are¬†fine, although we had to clean off a lot of¬†soot after the fire was put out), then I almost chucked our new air conditioner out of the window (be communicative and coordinated when¬†working with a partner to install an air conditioner!), and now I’ve just applied for a new job (which has involved lots of anxiety flare-ups)!

It is definitely¬†about time for a vacation. So I’m back in Brooklyn this week, and while part of my “vacation”¬†has been devoted to a few work- and career-related tasks, I’ve also been eating, drinking, and (window) shopping quite a bit! It’s been nice.

Speaking of shopping…there are a lot of things I love about living in Chicago, but it’s hard to beat New York’s fashion scene. And one of the things New York excels at is the sheer abundance of¬†fashion. Interesting and unique¬†clothing / shoe / accessory stores are¬†everywhere, which can be overwhelming. It used to be overwhelming for me. I like to shop, but I am the kind of person who takes her time and mulls over each item, and when there are several¬†hundred stores at my fingertips, there are a lot¬†of items to mull over.

But ever since I’ve made a commitment to support¬†ethical and sustainable fashion, I’ve realized that I feel much less anxious when I go shopping. And that’s because I know my options are limited. If there is only one eco-friendly and/or ethical store in this neighborhood, then that’s where I’m headed, end of story! It’s surprisingly freeing to know that if this place doesn’t have what I’m looking for, then I’m done for the day and it’s time to put my energy elsewhere.

That’s what I was thinking about as I was walking through Soho after a dessert date with one of my best friends. I was happy not to be overwhelmed by all of the high end and high street stores that were surrounding me, but I also really wanted to get my shopping fix in. Soho used to be my go-to shopping destination, and walking through the neighborhood brought waves of nostalgia for my uninformed, consumerist past. Unfortunately, the only ethically and environmentally conscious clothing store in the area that I could think of was Reformation, and¬†they are a bit out of my price range (although they¬†are having a sale¬†right now…). And then I remembered Housing Works Thrift Shop!

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The adorable house logo, calling out to me as trumpets sound in the distance.

I was ecstatic! Housing Works is an amazing, New York-based organization that provides a variety of services (including housing and healthcare) to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.¬†To help raise revenue, they run several thrift stores, including a used book store that my Mom used to bring my brother and me to when we were younger (it’s the perfect place for a cash-strapped parent raising a voracious bookworm). The Housing Works thrift stores stock a lot of designer goods and are very well curated. So, what better place to search for some new duds?

I had twenty minutes until the Soho store closed, so I started flipping through the racks and staring at the shoe selection. Unfortunately, everything seemed to be not my size, not my style, or not my budget. I started to lose hope when, in the rack of black clothes, I spotted something lacey, long, and oversized. The tag said $5.00. I grabbed it, brought it into the dressing room, and tried it on. It was everything the inner goth punk kid in me dreamed of! (Photos and outfits to come!)

I headed to the cash register, ready to fork over my money, when I spotted a choker in the display case. It was a style of choker that had been on my wishlist for literally a year; I had actually been saving for an ethically made version of it that was over $150.00. Price tag of the Housing Works choker? Ten dollars. Even better, it matched a pair of vintage clip-on earrings that I had bought earlier this week!

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The choker! And the matching(ish) clip-ons! (Apologies for the crappy flash, it’s 3:30 am…)

Oh, my heart, it jumped for joy as I brought everything over to the cashier. Even he paused¬†to¬†appreciate¬†my finds! (The cashier actually took so much time to stare admiringly at what¬†I was buying¬†that his¬†co-worker thought he was searching for the price tag on the shirt, ha ha!) I’m so happy that I took the time to both satiate¬†my inner shopping fiend and support a good cause.¬†Yay, sustainable shopping!

Now here’s some self-indulgent outfit of the day photos:

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Contemplative bathroom selfie. That light is soo interesting…

 

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Dressing room selfie. I love me some suspenders. And you can see the lacey shirt in the background!

(Psst, my outfit has some sustainable elements too. The black v-neck is from Pact, a brand that sells organic and fair trade cotton basics; their boyshorts are super comfy, I wear them all the time! And the clip-ons [these are the ones that match the choker] are from an antiques store in Park Slope, Brooklyn, called Antique Raiders. Check them out sometime, the store owners were very nice and the merch is quite affordable.)

So, that’s been my day¬†of ethically conscious¬†shopping!

By the way, I have some reading to recommend. It’s an article, so it’s not going to take too much of your time, but it’ll be depressing. It’s worth it though. Because it’s about our planet, and it highlights all of the reasons why I want to lessen my environmental impact. In this article, the author makes it¬†abundantly clear that we need to start healing our beloved Earth, because climate change is already noticeably affecting weather patterns, ocean temperatures, and animal migration. After reading it, I felt terrified and¬†somewhat hopeless. But then I remembered that it is not actually too late. Not yet. But if we cease our efforts to stop climate change now, then we won’t have any chance on this earth at all.

So, whatever you can do to lessen your environmental impact, do it. Meat consumption creates a huge burden on the environment, so if you are a meat eater, try to have at least one day a week when you only eat vegetarian items. Reduce unnecessary consumerism: take the time to consider whether or not you will use the product in question enough times to justify its purchase. Donate unwanted, gently used items instead of throwing them away. Use reusable bags when you do make purchases. For better or worse, money is power, so spend your money on things that won’t further destroy our planet.

And, as the article suggests, use your political power. Consumers don’t just have power in the market. If you can contact your local representative directly and let that person know how much the environment means to you, whether it means expressing your opposition to an oil pipeline or applauding your government for installing solar panels, do it. Because if enough voices band together, ultimately government officials¬†must respect the will of the people.

Okay, end rant. It’s definitely time for bed.¬†I hope that you’re all having a good weekend, and that you’re loving yourselves and your planet in the best ways you can!

‚̧ S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to write about any organizations or businesses that I have mentioned. This post expresses my honest opinions.