{Almost daily outfit of the day} Stripes and sparkle 5.31.12


J Crew striped top; thrifted Bitten jeans; Nine West pumps; Forever 21 rhinestone collar necklace; thrifted vintage rhinestone necklaces; thrifted Michael Kors rose gold watch

Today marked the occasion of my oldest child graduating from elementary school. There was a fair amount of pomp and circumstance, along with a really sappy movie made by PTA moms depicting moments from the past year that I am sure was designed to elicit tears from parents. While most moms in the audience were wearing Nike Tempo shorts and sweats and tee shirts, I decided to throw on a pile of rhinestones necklaces and heels for the event. Because sometimes the simplest excuse to get creative with my outfits is the best.





Beach, bikini, body.


The lifeguard stands at Long Island's Jones Beach are ten feet high, but at the age of five or six I would have told you they stretched as tall as skyscrapers. I can remember sitting in one during a particularly sweltering summer day when I became separated from my family and was waited to be rescued. I can still remember the panic that lodged in my chest, the stomach-lurching view of the sand beneath me, the relief I felt when I was found.

I grew up about twenty minutes from the beach, in a modest apartment in Queens, and spent many summers building sandcastles and jumping waves and collecting shells and eating tuna salad sandwiches on tattered beach blankets. I got peeling sunburns and so many freckles that my camp counselor nicknamed me Spot. I also wore one-piece swimsuits that always rode up my butt, but I didn't care. I was just too busy, you see, chasing my cousins and looking for my shovel and ducking greasy applications of sunscreen to worry about silly things like swimsuits. I adored those afternoons at the beach. I adored them in a way I adored a Happy Meal or a new Barbie doll. That's what beaches are when you're young and innocent and free: places of total happiness.

But as I got older, Jones Beach became something different. Once I entered puberty, and my body filled out with curves that were as unwelcome as a splotchy birthmark on your face, I was seized with the terror of removing my cover-up and exposing my body to the beach goers around me - specifically, other girls my age. They wore string bikinis and Ray Bans and the glossy sheen of Ban De Soleil. They were confident, and chic, and splayed their long limbs on beach towels their moms bought at Benetton. Where I once splashed and played, I began to cower and flinch. I spent a lot of time in those days trying to apologize for my body. My legs were too squat. My stomach was too round. My butt was too defiantly a butt, a round thing that protruded where I wanted it to lie flat. I remember the agonizing dilemma of whether I would keep my tee shirt on once I dove into the ocean. Doing so was as good as admitting that my body deserved to be covered up, as if even I knew it was too flawed to be exposed to the public.

And so I hid as best as I could. I stopped going to the beach altogether. I made excuses when my mom planned outings. There were no sand castles for me, no sunscreen to apply, no tuna salad sandwiches to eat. And no swimsuits to wear.

I don't live near Jones Beach anymore. Actually, there isn't a beach anywhere near my house. But there are neighborhood pools, where I accompany my kids for long afternoons of swimming. It is at these pools where I sit, fixated on the women around me, wondering how my body compares to theirs. Could I wear a bikini like the woman next to me has on? Do I dare expose my thighs, my stomach?  What about a skirted tankini, meant to conceal that fleshy upper thigh area all women seem to despise? It seems that donning one is the same as hiding in my tee shirt - an admission that I have something worth hiding.

I wish I could go to the pool and just swim. I wish I could relax, and enjoy the breeze rustling my hair, and the sweet summertime scent of coconut SPF. But I just don't know how. I don't know how to enjoy being in my skin without those nagging voices in my head berating me. I don't know how to exorcise that screech that my body is just not good enough. Perhaps I never will. It's a tough thing, this learning to accept my body just as it is, and to stop comparing it to those around me.



{Almost daily outfit of the day} On the fringe. 5.29.12


Vintage thrifted suede vest; Lucky Brand 'Indian' motorcycle tee; thrifted Paige jeans; Gap sandals; Urban Outfitters necklace; vintage leather cuff; thrifted Michael Kors watch

I see a lot of weird stuff while thrifting. Indian beaded, acid-wash cocoon jackets. Seventies plaid, fringed ponchos. Polyester jumpsuits with bedazzled collars. Floral shortalls and satin tracksuits and acrylic stripper heels. Most of these items make me inwardly cringe in a way only really tragic fashion trends of the past can. When I do drag one of these items home, they usually hang forlornly and lonesome in my closet as I try to figure out how to wear them before admitting defeat and donating them back.

This vest spoke to me when I was in the Goodwill the other day. It's suede. It's fringed. It's adorned with wooden beads and silver grommets. It would look appropriate paired with leather chaps on a Harley rider. It's strikingly different from anything else in my wardrobe. And it was marked down from $365 to $6.99.

I threw it on with a motorcycle tee and felt pretty hot. And I realized that sometimes it's fun to play against the rules.






On Fridays I Smile - Week in review 5.25.12

I've been posting pics of things that have made me smile on Sundays for just over a year. I love sharing daily snapshots of my everyday life with you. But I'm not sure how many of you actually catch up on blogs over the weekend. So I've decided to start sharing my smiles on Friday, when y'all  have the chance to drop by.

So here we go...

On Friday I smile.

I share these moments with you. 

Enjoy.


It's already sweltering here in Dallas, so on Tuesday I decided to escape the heat with a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art to see an exhibit on art of the twenties. Among the painting and sculpture, there was an instructional film clip from the mid-twenties introducing people to the rotary phone, and teaching them how to use it. It's hard to believe rotary telephones were once considered so technologically advanced.


Rad El Camino parked outside the Goodwill outlet in Sherman. The fact that the owner named it the Royal Knight makes it even more awesome.


Bruno Magli snakeskin and leather pumps, snapped up at Goodwill for fifty cents. You'd better believe I smiled BIG that day.


I took my kids to McKinney Trade days last week, where I drooled over antique furniture and housewares and my kids ate corn dogs and fried pie made by little Amish ladies and we all felt infinitely better about ourselves.


Last night I attended the inaugural event for the Dallas Blogger Society with my friend Metsy. I dropped my business card into a fishbowl and won a gorgeous pair of Kendra Scott earrings, which thrilled me because 1) I have never won anything in my ENTIRE LIFE, and 2) I love earrings. I also drank a Russian Mule (a cocktail comprised of vodka, simple syrup, ginger beer and lime juice) served in a copper mug. It was divine.


Now it's your turn. 

What were the best parts of your week? Leave a comment and share your smiles!

Photos taken with Instagram: dresscourage



Thrifting 101: A guide to thrifting in Dallas and the Dallas suburbs


Every few weeks or so, I get a friendly email from a reader asking where I go thrifting.  And I love answering them. It feels great to introduce new thrifters to my favorite stores, and even better to share regular stops in Dallas to thrifting enthusiasts.

This week, as part of my Thrifting 101 series, I decided to compile all of my most-visited stores into one helpful post. These are stores where the cashiers know my name (or, at least my red hair) - places I stop into again and again, where I find both vintage and new merchandise for myself and my family. I should note that there are many more thrift stores in Dallas that could be added to this list, but I'm only including stores I have been to myself.

Garland (about ten minutes from Dallas):

Garland Road Thrift: 10030 Garland Road Garland 75040 - Highly recommended among Dallas thrifters. Prices are slightly higher than Goodwill's, but you'll find new merchandise from J Crew and Loft among vintage pieces. Don't miss the evening wear section.

Texas Thrift: 1406 W Walnut Street Garland 75040 - The largest in the state!
Thrift City: 1725 S. 1st Street Garland 75040
Salvation Army 1905 S Garland Ave Garland, TX 75040

Dallas:

Salvation Army: 5554 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas 75235 - Don't miss the special room in the back. I've bought most of my Ferragamos here!

Dolly Python: 1916 North Haskell Dallas 75204 - A fantastic indoor flea market/antique mall/thrift store

Value World: 2223 S. Buckner Blvd. Dallas - Somewhat scary neighborhood, great vintage. No dressing rooms.

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift: 3052 W. Northwest Highway Dallas 75220 - Look for new Michael Kors and Fossil watches. Many Dallas socialites donate to this store.

Buffalo Exchange: 3424 Greenville Avenue  Dallas 75206
Thrift World:  3046 Forest Lane Dallas 75234 No dressing rooms.
Lulu B's Antique Mall:  2639 Main Street Dallas 75226
Goodwill Westmoreland Avenue location: 3020 North Westmoreland Road  Dallas, TX 75212

North of Dallas:

The Thrift Store Plano: 1806 K Avenue Plano 75074 - My favorite thrift store in all of Dallas. I've found Armani, Bruno Magli, Coach, Ungaro, and Victor Costa here at unbelievable prices, along with brand new merchandise from J Crew, the Gap, and Anthropologie. No dressing rooms.

Plaza Thrift: 817 North McDonald McKinney 75069 - Recommended to me by a blogger friend, this store is similar to The Thrift Store. No dressing rooms.

Goodwill Carrollton: 18230 Midway Road Carrollton 75287
Salvation Army Plano: 5900 K Avenue Plano 75074
Goodwill Alma location: 6104 Alma Drive  Plano 75023
Goodwill McKinney: 2010 North Graves Street 75069

Lewisville:

Thrift World: 1358 W. Main Street Lewisville 75067
Thrift City: 1565 W. Main Street Lewisville 75067
Goodwill: 919 W. Main Street Lewisville 75067

Feel like taking a road trip? The town of Sherman is quaint, filled with antique malls, and has some excellent thrifting to boot!

Sherman:

Goodwill Texoma Parkway location:  1836 Texoma Parkway Sherman - 75090 One of the largest Goodwill locations I've ever visited!

Goodwill Lamar St. location: 2206 East Lamar Street Sherman 75090 - Situated next door to the Goodwill Last Call processing center, where you can find appliances, home decor and odds and ends at prices even lower than those at Goodwill retail locations.

Salvation Army:  426 W Houston St. Sherman 75090

Also...if you're looking for higher end vintage, you should DEFINITELY check out:

Vintage Martini: 1106 W. Main Street Carrollton 75006 Voted best vintage store in Dallas multiple years in a row. Fantastic customer service.

Decades Vintage: 2912 Maple Ave Dallas 75201


On embarrassment

Shame


The pre-teen years are a bitch.

My daughter has recently crashed into this world of unpredictable mood swings, melodramatic apologies and promises, abrupt changes to her body and friendship drama. Do you remember your pre-teen years? I think they're almost harder to witness than they were to endure. Handling  my daughter's behavior triggers all the confusing feelings I had as a pre-teen, when I was hormonal and moody and generally impossible to be around. At thirteen I had perfected the art of the perfect door slam, the kind that rattles windows and makes you jump and ends with a satisfyingly boom. I wondered why my body was sprouting hair in places hair has never been. I suddenly needed to wear a bra. It pinched and made me feel like I was being strangled. I whined and complained and moped and OH MY GOD IF YOU DON'T BUY ME GUESS JEANS I AM GOING TO DIE, LIKE SERIOUSLY DIE, AND THEN IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT WAAH WAAH WAAH I HATE YOU.

I remember my mom was angry at me. A lot. We fought and cried and apologized and fought again. I was her little girl and her snarly teenage daughter all at the same time. And now my own daughter is the same, saving her allowance for stuffed animals one moment and wearing deodorant and hiding in her room the next.

Last month she came home from school crying, inconsolable and withdrawn. I asked her what had happened.

"Maddie isn't my friend anymore," she wept.
"What happened?"
"She said I was bossy and told EVERYONE, Mom. So now I have no friends."
"Wow," I replied. "That's awful."

We were silent. I didn't know what to say.

"I'm so embarrassed," she confessed, in a small, quiet voice. She looked down, studying her feet.

I might not be an expert on the wild ways of pre-teen behavior, but embarrassment I get. I've felt embarrassed over bad haircuts, early outfit photos on this blog, bad decisions I've made and even worse behavior I tolerated from people. And I especially feel embarrassed now that my marriage has fallen apart. I've developed this weird habit of telling close friends and family the truth of why we're splitting up. I don't know why I do this. The messy details and terrible mistakes I've made certainly aren't anyone else's business. But I share them anyway. And then I feel embarrassed afterwards.

I read an article in Psychology Today about embarrassment. According to recent research, revealing embarrassment is nothing to be ashamed of, and in certain ways it might even benefit us. Part of what makes embarrassment so embarrassing is the fact that it’s a dead giveaway of a private internal state. Feelings we would rather not display for all to see become obvious. But being transparent isn't such a bad thing. Sociologists argue that embarrassment reveals that a person cares about others and values relationships. In other words, it's a way of saying, "I feel bad for messing up, and I want to do better next time because this relationship matters to me." Furthermore, people who feel and display more embarrassment will not only behave in a more trustworthy and pro-social manner, but will also elicit more trust and cooperation from others.

So embarrassment? Not so bad. Being embarrassed about the dissolution of my marriage just means I care about my relationship with my husband and want to do better, despite the fact that we're getting divorced. My daughter's embarrassment with friends proves her regret for her behavior and sadness for letting her friend down. Of course, as a pre-teen, she's not yet able to understand that. But I do.

And I won't feel embarrassed for being embarrassed anymore.



{Almost daily outfit of the day} Denim fairy tale. 5.21.12


Thrifted vintage silk blouse; thrifted Bitten jeans; Gap belt; Nine West pumps; estate sale vintage clutch;  Forever 21 pyramid bracelet; thrifted Michael Kors watch

Once upon a time there lived a girl who was obsessed with jeans. She spent countless hours in malls, department stores, boutiques and off-priced retailers searching for the perfect pair. She talked to friends about the benefits of high-rise versus low-rise, boot-cut versus straight leg, skinny versus flared. She poured over blogs featuring long-limbed young women cavorting in fields with their hipster boyfriends in their jeans. She wished she was them.

It was very tiring, this obsession with jeans.

In pricey boutiques, she examined designer jeans. "Too expensive!" she huffed.
In Old Navy, she pulled on straight-legs. "Not flattering!" she exclaimed.
In The Gap and Nordstrom's and J Crew and Madewell, she tried skinny legged versions. "I can't breathe!" she panted.

Then she went thrifting. And there, among the eighties pleated and tapered jeans, she spied the perfect pair. They were distressed, but not too distressed. High rise, but not too high. Slim-legged, but not too skinny.

They were also $2.95.

They were perfect. The girl was happy. And she stopped obsessing about jeans once and for all.






{Happy Mother's Day} Vintage celebrity mothers in photographs


Happy Mother's Day weekend! In honor of the holiday, I'm sharing photographs of some of my favorite classic movie star moms. Even in these private photos, their glamour is inspiring.

What are your Mother's Day plans?

 

Clara Bow


Josephine Baker


Marlene Dietrich


Vivienne Leigh


Rita Hayworth


Thrifting 101: A trip to the antique mall


When I was growing up, my mother, aunt and grandmother would embark on day trips to go antiquing. They'd travel from our Queens apartment to faraway destinations like the Berkshires in Massachusetts, or Cold Spring Harbor in Long Island, or the Upper East Side, or a garage sale down the street. Sometimes they returned home triumphant, clutching serving platters or paintings or jewelry. But more often than not, they came home empty-handed. I remember questioning my mother as to why she bothered driving three hours just to walk around a dusty store. What was the point, anyway?

Now, as a vintage enthusiast and mild antique hoarder, I get it. An afternoon spent wandering though displays of Depression glassware and vintage hats and dusty first editions of books can't be beat. There's something delightful about digging through booths filled with curiosities from the past. I adore the fact that I never know what I'll see. Truthfully, I rarely make a purchase. But I love the hunt.


Antique malls are a wonderful option for those squeamish about shopping at thrift stores. If you've never visited one, can best be described as indoor flea markets. Antique malls are especially prevalent in the South, where hot weather keeps people indoors. Items are generally in great condition and more fairly priced than in vintage boutiques. There's also a huge selection of things to be found - everything from decorative items, like the vintage buoys above, to housewares, collectables and vintage jewelry. Antique malls are a great place to pick up mason jars, or a 20th century pine farm table, or architectural salvage.


Of course, I'm most interested in vintage clothes and accessories. Unfortunately, pickings tend to be slim - most dealers have just a few pieces, often hats and jewelry - but occasionally you'll get lucky and find an entire booth dedicated to vintage clothing.


If you're unlikely to consider buying vintage lingerie at a thrift store, look for it at an antique mall. Pieces are very clean, well-displayed, and fairly priced. A vintage slip under a dress adds an extra bit of glamour to an otherwise ordinary outfit.


These hats were priced between eighteen and twenty-five dollars.


Racks and racks of vintage dresses. Most were from the 1970's and 1980's, and priced anywhere from $30 to $100 depending on the designer and style.

Do you shop at antique malls? Any favorites near where you live?


{Almost daily outfit of the day} The trauma of pants 5.9.12


Thrifted J Crew chambray shirt; Old Navy cropped chinos; Old Navy belt; Gap sandals; thrifted vintage Coach bag

Ah, pants. Spending an afternoon finding the right pair is akin to hunting for the Holy Grail, only with more tears, hand-wringing, and prostration before God. Mind you, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with pants. The right pair keeps you warm in winter, makes your legs look slimmer and longer, and does truly magical things to your butt. However, the wrong pair gapes at the waist, makes your legs look stumpy, are cut so low that they require a bikini wax and leads to unfortunate conditions such as camel toe and visible panty lines.

My issues with pants are a result of legitimate disastrous experiences in them. There was the time that I tried to pull off super-wide legs I'd swooned over at Anthropolgie. They looked like they were eating my butt and swallowing my legs, but I insisted on buying them anyway.

That was particularly unfortunate.

I consider myself incredibly lucky that I found these cropped green chinos on clearance at Old Navy this week. They're flattering, comfortable, and trendy for spring. I love how they fit. I love how they look. And I love that they were just $12. However, I do not love that this pair were the last available in the store and online in my size.

Oh pants, how you torment me. 





Therapy, and the pursuit of happiness.



Last week I made my return to therapy. Although the circumstances between my husband and I demand it, the mere thought of being back in counseling makes me twitch. I am no stranger to the therapist's couch. I started going as a teenager, when my parents were proceeding with their own divorce and signs of my eating disorder started to crank up. My early experiences weren't exactly positive. I was belligerent, and caustic, and occasionally hostile. I answered questions monosyllabically. I watched the clock and counted the ceiling tiles and made grandiose bargains with my mom that I would do anything, ANYTHING, instead of going to the therapist, such as all household chores - including cleaning my brother's room, which smelled like sweat socks and hormones and stale Dr. Pepper festering in Big Gulp cups.

I remember my first therapist. She had bad hair. Really, really bad hair, the kind bleached to a jaundiced shade of yellow and shellacked into place with Aqua Net. She wore a lot of scarves and her office smelled like patchouli. I called her Herr Doktor.

We sat. She took notes.

"What are you writing?"I asked.
"Notes."
"Well, thank you," I said, voice dripping with disdain. "Notes on what?"
"Observations."
"Observations of me?" I screeched.
 She stopped writing and looked at me.
 "Is it important to you, how people observe you?"
"Not particularly," I said, which was a bald-faced lie.
"Elise," she began.
"MY NAME IS ELISSA. ELISSA. GET IT RIGHT, YOU MORON."
 "Does is  upset you that I mispronounced your name?"
I started at her blankly.
She kept writing.

I studied my cuticles.

It wasn't until I was in treatment for anorexia that I warmed up to therapy. In the beginning of my stay I didn't have the strength to avoid communicating with my assigned therapist. In treatment, you see a therapist four to five times a week, whether you like it or not. You sit in endless group therapy sessions. You do "homework," assignments dictated by your therapist on subjects such as what staying in your eating disorder causes you to lose. You cry a lot, and journal, and get good and angry, and make bargains to get out, and occasionally toss your dinner across the dining room table. But eventually you relent, either because you'll do anything to get out or genuinely want to get better.

I wanted to get better.

So I talked. And talked, and talked, and talked. I talked about my mother. I talked about my husband. I talked about my father. I talked about my dreams. I talked about food, and how I hated it. I talked about my body, and how I hated it. I talked until my throat was sore and didn't think I had anything else to talk about, until I went to my next session and discovered I had a lot more to talk about.

After I left treatment I saw a therapist for awhile, until I relocated from Des Moines to Dallas and decided I had "graduated" from therapy. Mind you, I came to this decision completely on my own. I crowed to my husband that I was cured. I didn't need therapy anymore. I was Over It.

And now I find myself clutching a Kleenex box on a therapist's couch. Even worse, I'm being given eerily similar homework assignments to the ones I had in treatment. This week I had to make a list of things that I want, that will make me happy, with no regard to the wants of my husband, family and  friends. I'm finding this to be a lot harder to do than it sounds. Perhaps it's because I can't even ask my husband to change the station on the radio without worrying that he won't like the music I select, and then get angry at me, and then stop speaking to me. So I say nothing, and sit there feeling guilty for even thinking about changing the station in the first place.

How can I figure out what makes me happy when I can't even change the radio station?

I wonder if I'm the only one struggling to determine what I want. A simple Google search on the pursuit of happiness reveals over nineteen million results. That means millions of people are offering advice and asking the same questions I am. Honestly, it isn't realistic for me to even consider a life path without regard to the needs of my children. But really, what do I want for my own happiness? If I could do anything, and live anywhere, and make my home look exactly as I dream it to, and work anywhere, and do anything for fun? What the hell do I want, anyway?

It's a little daunting to think about.

For today, I'm not thinking about the big things. I've decided on sushi for lunch.  And new green capris with a chambray shirt for tomorrow's outfit. And New Girl on TV tonight. Because, for now, those are the things that I know will make me happy.

It's a start.


{Almost daily outfit of the day} Sailor stripes 5.7.12


Forever 21 tee; thrifted Anthropologie skirt; thrifted Ferragamo wedge espadrilles;  vintage estate sale clutch

Today I am wearing a skirt with a boat on it. My encounters with boats, and with boating in general, have been limited. In college I had a brief yet illustrious career as a member of a co-ed crew team. Now, lest you think I sat amongst a group of buff athletes, rowing strenuously alongside them in synchronization, I must confess that I was the coxswain and never even picked up an oar, much less rowed a stroke. In case you're unfamiliar with the sport of crew, the job of the coxswain is to sit at the stern of the boat, yell at the rowers to stay in rhythm, and steer the boat. The cox doesn't work out with the team. She doesn't help clean off the boat after practice. She perches at the front and enjoys a perfectly lovely morning of gliding along the water while her teammates huff and puff and send her dirty looks for yelling at them.

Truthfully, I was a terrible coxswain. I had an unfortunate habit of steering the boat into the marsh that lined the river we practiced on. And most of the team hated me for yelling at them while they rowed. I might have been a little too enthusiastic about that part of the job. But you know what? I loved being on the water, even though our call time for practice was 4:30 am. I loved being part of a team, even though I wasn't exactly athletic. It was grand. And I loved wearing my little crew jacket with my name embroidered in curling script. That was the best part of all.






On Sundays I Smile - Week in review 5.6.12

On Sundays I Smile.

I share these moments with you.

Enjoy.


On Monday I caught sight of this hot air balloon drifting above my house. Someday, before I'm old and gray and change my mind, I'd like to take a hot air balloon ride myself. I imagine it to be one of the most peaceful, idyllic rides ever, aside from the fear of plunging to my death.


Magnolias in bloom in my backyard = summer in Texas.


I must not eat cupcakes for breakfast. I must not eat cupcakes for breakfast.


Am I the only person who thinks it's sort of weird that it's only socially acceptable for us to drink at Sunday brunch if our alcohol comes in the form of a Bloody Mary? If I slammed down shots of vodka, I'd get looked at funny.  But order a round of Bloody Marys and you're a brunch hero. Who came up with this rule, anyway? I suppose it's the same person who decided that eating cake for brunch is okay, too, as long as we're eating pancakes.


Wandered into an old fashioned candy shop after church today. Left with a bag of cinnamon gummy bears. Felt infinitely better.


My biggest smile of the week: A sleeping dog on my lap and a good book on the Kindle. Kind of the perfect combination, no?

Now it's your turn. 

What were the best parts of your week? Leave a comment and share your smiles!

Photos taken with Instagram: dresscourage


You're invited to a curated vintage garage sale!


Big news!

On Saturday I'm hosting a curated vintage garage sale at my home from 10 am to 3 pm. I've planned to open a shop on Etsy, but decided to start things off with a private sale before getting to work listing items because I'm lazy and the thought of listing 120 pieces of clothing is daunting to say the least. The sale will feature clothing from the Victorian era through the 1980's, from brands and designers such as:

Ferragamo
Victor Costa
Neiman Marcus
Christian Dior
Albert Nipon
Mary McFadden
Burberry
Armani
Gunnie Sax
Bruno Magli
Coach
and more!

I have wiggle dresses from the 1950's, fluid maxi dresses from the 1970's, tailored blazers from the 1940's, vintage western shirts, 1980's prom dresses, an abundance of vintage sequined blouses, and everything in between. All items are in pristine condition and tagged with measurements regarding size and fit.

If you can't make the sale, and are looking for something specific, drop me an email at dresswithcourage(at)gmail(dot)com - I might have what you're looking for! I'd be happy to ship anywhere in the United States and Canada.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come on by! Leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you the address of the sale.

Thank you all for your support!



Thrifting 101: Tips for thrifting your summer wardrobe


Ah, summer. It's the scent of honeysuckle blooming in my backyard. It's the sharp sweetness of a ice pop bought from the ice cream truck. Summer is the cute guy you had a crush on in camp, the one who always wore Ray-Bans and oxford shirts with chino shorts. Summer is the tropical smell of suntan lotion and the flip-flop of flip flops. It's chlorine wafting from a pool, and the salt spray of the ocean, and a bone-chilling dip in the lake.

Summer is also shorts. And tee shirts. And tank tops. And sundresses. Like the arrival of seasons preceding it, summer brings the urge for new pieces to add to my wardrobe. However, if you're like me, you'd rather spend money on a vacation than another pair of denim cutoffs. Thankfully, thrifting can satisfy your cravings for new summer clothes while saving you a considerable amount of cash.

If you'd like to try to thrift your summer wardrobe, here are a few tips:
  • Go soon: It's likely that most shoppers at thrift stores are stocking up on their own summer wardrobes right now. While stores such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army process thousands of pieces a week, generating new inventory daily, smaller stores do not. 
  • Search by material: Lightweight fabrics such as linen, cotton, chambray, voile, batiste, eyelet, and silk are more preferable in warm weather than wool and polyester. Other summer-appropriate accessories, such as straw clutches and white leather purses and belts, should be considered too.
  • Be thorough: Think you found the perfect sleeveless blouse? Check carefully for perspiration stains, especially around the armholes, collar and lower back. This type of stain is particularly hard, if not impossible, to remove.
  • Consider the men's section: I've found amazing vintage concert tees in the men's department, along with lightweight oversized shirts and woven belts.
  • Set limits: Would you consider wearing a thrifted swim suit? What about sandals? If not, don't waste time lingering in those sections while thrifting.
  • Think beyond clothes and accessories: Planning a picnic, barbecue, graduation party, camping trip or other outdoor activity? Thrift stores are great places to find supplies. Vintage quilts and picnic baskets; bicycles and roller skates; glassware and cookbooks; and tablecloths and linens are among the items you can thrift.
  • Get crafty: Turn vintage Levis into cutoff shorts and long sleeved dresses into sleeveless versions. A bit of altering can also bring up a hem, turning a maxi dress into a mini or pants into capris.
Do you have tips for thrifting during warm months? Have you started thrifting for your summer wardrobe?




{Almost daily outfit of the day} Vintage skirts and compressed internal organ syndrome: an overview 5.2.12


Gap Outlet tee; vintage thrifted skirt; thrifted Banana Republic flats; vintage estate sale clutch; Forever 21 and eBay bracelets

Friends, today I would like to introduce you to a terrifying-sounding yet mostly innocuous medical condition called Vintage Skirt-Induced Compressed Internal Organ Syndrome, also known as VSI-CIOS. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, nausea, the inability to tuck in shirts, and confusion regarding whether the waist size of women in the 60's and 70's was as tiny as clothes of that time suggest.

VSI-CIOS is often a mix of two diseases:
  • Chronic Obstructive Denial: In CID, the patient insists on wearing vintage skirts with waist sizes that do not correlate with their actual waist measurement.
  • Compulsive Thrifting Disorder: Victims of CTD spend an excessive amount of time in thrift stores, despite intervention by friends and family to reduce this time-sucking behavior.
So far, researchers have identified victims of VSI-CIOS as female vintage enthusiasts with the confounding ability to sacrifice physical discomfort for personal style. You might get VSI-CIOS if you have a tendency to to spend an excessive amount of time in thrift stores, find yourself compulsively buying vintage skirts with waists that squeeze and pinch, and irrationally justify their purchase through statements such as "This skirt is Satan's handiwork, but I'm wearing it" and "OH MY GOD I CAN'T BREATHE...but I sure look cute."

There is no known cure for VSI-CIOS, largely because the sweet siren call of a great vintage skirt is hard, if not impossible, to resist. Attempts to come between a vintage enthusiast and her apparel should be regarded as potentially life-threatening and extremely dangerous. 

I confess that today I am a victim of Vintage Skirt-Induced Compressed Internal Organ Syndrome. But when the skirt is this great, I could care less.








Breaking up with brands: Are we emotionally attached to the brands we wear?



I spent my first year of college at a preppy, insular university tucked away in a rural town in upstate New York. This school was a drastic contract to the arts high school I attended in New York City, where students were likely to wear thrifted clothes and Doc Martens and put on performances in stairwells and dye their hair colors not ordinarily found in nature and, on occasion, do drugs in the bathroom. Truthfully, the only reason I enrolled in the college was because they offered me a substantial scholarship - money that gave me the chance to attend college, period. I was broke, and needy, and kind of desperate to attend a college with a leafy campus on a lake and Gothic-looking buildings and a library that dwarfed the one in my neighborhood. So off I went.

Every fall and spring the campus would become blanketed with catalogs from J Crew and L.L Bean. This was back in the day where J Crew was defined by preppy, boxy silhouettes, the kind of clothes that could be monogrammed. Cable-knit sweaters, cashmere cardigans, pastel oxford shirts and chinos comprised the uniform of most students. After a semester of feeling like an outsider, I decided that if I adopted the same uniform, I'd fit in too. The clothes seemed nice enough. I ditched my ripped Levis for chinos, my vintage tees for polo shirts, my Docs for loafers. The J Crew catalog became my bible. I folded down pages and used my meager savings from a part-time campus job scooping ice cream to order pastel twinsets and wool sweaters.

I asked my friends how I looked.

"You look...constipated"
 "Like you're being strangled or something."
"I think my grandmother has that exact cardigan."

I was baffled. But eventually I realized that underneath my J Crew and L.L Bean I was still me, a broke music student from NYC with a penchant towards ripped jeans. I was never going to fit in. Eventually, the mere sight of the J Crew catalog made me twitch. I couldn't leaf through it without triggering the desperation I felt as an eighteen year-old. I never put on another twinset again.

I thought about this experience when I came across an article in the New York Times about the relationship women have with specific clothing brands. The article hints that whether we leave a brand due to a shift in personal style, disappointment with the brand itself, or lifestyle changes, it causes an unexpected emotional toll. One woman mentioned that her decision to stop shopping at a particular store was "as devastating as a romantic breakup." Another talked of her difficulty getting rid of Juicy tracksuits, explaining that keeping them was akin to "hanging onto photos or mementos of an old relationship."

J Crew aside, I've has other brief, passionate affairs with clothing brands and stores. I was once hooked on embroidered blouses and twirly skirts from Anthropologie. I stalked store displays and hoarded catalogs. Wearing Anthropologie made me feel special, in a way expensive boutique clothing can. Eventually I became disenchanted with the brand due to their rising prices and manufactured atmosphere and stopped shopping there regularly. Now I rarely visit at all. Sometimes I miss my trips there. I still slow down when I pass an Anthropologie display, and occasionally imagine myself stopping in for a ruffled tank or maxi skirt. But the store no longer has the same appeal.

It's no surprise that the relationship we have with our clothing is psychological. What we wear, and how we wear it, is a way we communicate with the world. It's a tool we use to define who we are, what we do, and what we value. For example, my $8 thrifted silk vintage dress says that I'm an individualist, a cheapskate and lover of the past. It also says that I hate shopping at the mall and value luxurious fabrics and classic styles, rather than fast fashion and less expensive materials.

Now I ask you: Are you loyal to brands you've worn for years? Have you ever become disenchanted with a clothing brand?  Are there brands you once loved that you no longer wear? Why has this happened? Do you believe we are emotionally attached to brands?