Sunday, September 29, 2013

Splurge --> Steal - Shoe Edition

Splurge --> Steal - Shoe Edition

Splurge --> Steal - Shoe Edition by tierneyvandervoort featuring thin strap high heel sandals

|| Shoes are amazing. Let's face it. They take a drab outfit and make it fascinating instantly. I've always been of the opinion that if your hair is done and you have great heels on, then the rest of the outfit just falls into place. Not all of us (myself included) can afford designer heels though. So here are some examples splurge look-alikes. Enjoy! ||

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Value of Investment Purchases ///

Lately, I've been re-evaluating my fashion purchases.  I love to shop as much as the next person, but after cleaning out my closet recently and finding far too much to toss/donate, I came to the conclusion that I'm not investing on classic pieces that will see me through the years.

I think people hear the word 'classic' and images of tweeds, button-down shirts, trousers and loafers come to mind, and although I love all of these babies {have you checked out Jack Wills or Steven Alan?}, I know they're not for everyone.  What I, personally, mean by 'classic' is something that you just absolutely adore.  A piece you love so much you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you'll be adorning yourself with it for years to come.  In fact, it'll fall apart before you want to stop wearing it.  That's how much you love it.

I read a book recently:  Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline.  It was a true eye-opener.  In the back of our minds I think we all have an a certain assumption of what the conditions for textile factory workers are.  In many areas across the world, those conditions are, indeed, terrible.  And to add insult to injury, they're paid too little to even live on. 
More often than not, extended families {as opposed to just parents and children} that work in textile factories are forced to live under the same {tiny} roof to save money and get by.

The most poignant idea I read in Elizabeth’s book was this:  When you spend $7 on what looks like a fabulous blouse from Forever 21 {for example}, how much of that $7 went to the laborer who made it?  Imagine how that money is divvied out.  A certain percentage must be allotted to cost of materials, shipment costs {how much it will cost for the factory owner to send the blouse to the fashion retailer in the USA}, factory operation/maintenance costs, laborer costs {how much the laborer gets paid to make it} and very possibly more.  Suddenly, $7 split up that way doesn’t seem like a lot.  The laborer won’t get very much for making that blouse.

So how does that laborer make any money at all?  They make hundreds {if not more} of that same blouse.  And they have to make them fast.  When production is that rapid, quality is lost.  That blouse may only have cost $7, but it’s a good thing because it certainly won’t live out the year!

After I read Elizabeth Cline’s book, I found myself reshuffling my fashion priorities and asking myself new questions:  How often will I wear this?  Do I really love this?  Where can I realistically wear this?

I was surprised {while going through my wardrobe} how little I wore many of my garments.  And it wasn’t just because of the seasons.  That sweater wasn’t lying on the bottom of my dresser drawer because it was a little too warm out.  I wasn’t wearing it because it had 1 inch long studs festooning the shoulders.  Only a year later that sweater seemed entirely outdated.  That’s about $25 I’ll never get back.

So, I made the decision to only buy items that I absolutely adore; things that flatter me, but will withstand the test of time.  I must confess, I’m pretty sure that if I walked into Forever 21 or H&M or Gap, I could find something I love within minutes.  But I know that that dress or top or pair of shoes won’t last.  They’ll tear easily, pill too quickly, stain randomly, shrink or {even worse!} stretch out unexpectedly.  Just in one closet clean sweep alone I probably donated/tossed out a couple hundred dollars worth of items that I only wore a handful of times because they’re already outdated or they simply fell apart.

It’s a personal decision, but in my eyes, I’d rather spend a little more on clothes that will last rather than a few dollars on clothes that are too trendy and go out of style within months or fall apart after one season.  It means I shop a lot less; hardly ever as a matter of fact.  But I prefer it that way.  I do a lot of window shopping and that has its merits.  I find myself coming back to the same dress or blazer or pair of shoes; coveting them and drooling over how beautiful they are.  I can’t afford them now, but I’ll save up for them.  It means that when I actually can get them, I love them that much more because I had to wait and earn them.  Saving makes them special and the quality is top notch.

And there’s the added benefit of being capable of looking on 5-year-old photos of myself and not exclaiming, “Oh my Gad!  What, did I live in neon and studs?!”  My ‘slow fashion’ purchases will look fabulous 1 year from now, 5 years and decades into the future!  I say ‘slow fashion’ because better quality clothes are made in smaller factories where time is taken to produce a superior garment.  The laborers here are paid much more {something they can actually live on} and the batches are smaller so attention can be paid to attractive details that you just don’t find in places like Forever 21 or H&M.

In the meantime, I still have old clothes that I feel guilty throwing away.  So, I’m going to refashion them.  This old dress for example is something I wore maybe twice and will never wear again.  This was a Marshall’s purchase.  I took the studs lining the hem and cut them off.  Yes, studs are trendy, but I’m hoping to find an understated way of re-fashioning them.  Perhaps applied to an old clutch?  Or over the pocket of a baggy old T-shirt?  Or {along a completely different vein} maybe I’ll glue them to a picture frame to adorn my room.  {Stay tuned!}

I’m not suggesting that every time someone needs a new top they absolutely must spend at least $100.  But I can’t be the only one who’s cleaned out their closet and been shocked with how much they tossed!  And if you added up all those clothes, how much did you throw away?  You may have only spent $15 on a sweater and $10 on a top and $20 on shoes, but you just tossed two sweaters, four tops and three pairs of shoes.  That’s $130!  That kind of money could buy you one nice silk top.  $130 for one item may make some gasp, but you're not really buying a label, it’s investing in a piece that will last.  The reason that it’s more expensive is because often it’s made from biodegradable or natural fibers (silk, cotton, linen, etc.), laborers are paid more, and the facilities are smaller with better working conditions.

It’s food for thought, at any rate.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Christmas Crystals ///

For the past couple of years now, my mother and I have had this collection going.  I'm trying to remember when and how it first started...  I think it actually began with my own personal mini Christmas tree.  Let me explain:
Refracted, twisted light...
Ever since I was a child I've been mesmerized, stupefied and hypnotized by Christmas trees.  I just love everything about them.  The symbolism, the beauty.  I love how every tree is personalized every year by all walks of life: little handmade trinkets from the children, sentimental bobbles from friends and family.  The color, the lights.  I love how everything twinkles when you walk by as thousands of bits of metal, glitter, tinsel, glass and crystal throw points of light in the periphery of your vision.  Simply magical.  In fact, I think the tree nicely encapsulates the best of Christmas.  The magical parts.  The small parts that, I think, sometimes get lost in the shuffle of Holiday shopping, deadlines, in-laws, and five-course dinners.
My mother shares my sparkle obsession.

Our newest additions
 So it was no surprise when, on a day much like this last year, I spotted from across a cluttered antique shop floor some old chandelier crystals.  Not the cheap cut glass kind, the kind that actually throw rainbows.  Even without the benefit of sunlight it was clear how brilliantly they shined.  They glittered between my fingers like diamonds.  I felt like a bandit!  I quickly scooped up every last cluster of jewel-like crystals into the make-shift pocket I had made with my shirt and scampered away to show my mother.  I found her quickly in an adjoining room and showed her my treasures.  Her glee exceeded even mine.  We both knew instinctively what these crystals were destined for.  The down side was that Christmas was at least 4 months away.  The up side was that each cluster was only $3.  Pricey if one had thousands to choose from, but in an antique store, where you're lucky to find more than 2 of any one item, $3 was a steal.  We left positively laden with riches.

Sunset rainbows.
Ever since then, we've been keeping our eyes peeled for antique chandelier crystals.  We've gotten pretty good at spotting them and telling the difference between glass and 'gold'.  Every antique store we visit, every tag sale -- we're looking.  Of course, we look for all sorts of one-of-a-kind finds good and glorious (pottery, vintage clothes, costume jewelry), but our favorites (the crystals for example) are always in the back of our minds.

 On our last outing to Brimfield, Massachusetts (every year there are 3 GIANT antique fairs in Brimfield Mass.  One in May, one in July, and one in September.  The whole show is so huge it takes up fields and fields of real-estate!) we hit the mother-load!  One seller sold nothing but antique chandeliers and loose crystals.  Oh my goodness, did we have fun!
We'll take our treasures and rewire them with floral wire and add them to the others for our tree this year.  They'll nestle nicely between our old Christmas ornaments, both handmade, store bought and gifted.
Over the years our tree has become quite full, but it's the hunting and creating with loved ones that's the fun part.  Then, my mother, father and I pour a glass of wine and enjoy reminiscing as we arrange them all over the tree every year.  It's a lovely tradition that I want to live on.  I'll do it with my children (when I have them) some day.  And every time I walk by my Christmas tree I'll smile, no matter the year.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rejuvinating Weekend

Rejuvinating Weekend

Rejuvinating Weekend by tierneyvandervoort featuring a long jumper

|| Tough week? Here's the remedy. A sweet, feminine outfit to pair up with the perfect rejuvenating weekend. A therapy candle, cuppa tea and cupcake to feed the senses. Pretty things: threadbare stacking rings, star-studded headband and signature perfume. To top it off: a Jane Austen marathon. Nothing beats this combination! ||

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Snowless Winter ||

Snowless Winter ||

Snowless Winter || by tierneyvandervoort featuring an orange leather tote

|| An outfit for those rare winter days with no snow to kill your shoes. Bundle up in layers and throw on the shades! ||