Monday, July 22, 2013

A Year of Dressing UP not DOWN

A little over a year and a half ago I was watching an episode of Project Runway (total junkie!) and the graceful Laura Bennett made some statement or other about how black riding pants and a crisp white button up was her version of sweatpants and a ratty tee, and that it was a slippery slope once you started to dress down.  Something hit me then, and I realized that she was right and somehow in the back of my mind I logged it away as true, important, and actionable.

Previously I had spent 6 months in Japan, where wearing jeans is unpopular and walking out the door without makeup is pretty unusual. The Japanese (and many other societies) put lots of effort into their appearances, whether crazy or sedate. There is no "jeans and t-shirt" in Japan. This struck me as interesting when I was there, but since I wasn't too much in the habit of wearing jeans or t-shirts I didn't think much of and adapted right along with the culture. (I took only my favorite pair of jeans overseas)

What Laura Bennett said on that episode really reminded me of Japan, and re-focused the stark contrast I felt when coming home to America. What were we doing in this first world country when we walked out the door in Spongebob pajamas and ratty old white t-shirts? Really. No think about that. What are we saying, about ourselves, about our culture, about our values? Nothing good, that's for sure.

At some point after watching that episode and having that little epiphany, I decided to make a conscious effort to dress UP, and not down. Contrary to what you may think, dressing up does not always have to involve makeup or mean you can't wear your favorite jeans. What it means is a year of having respect for yourself, and reflecting it in your appearance. It doesn't mean dressing trendy, but staying true to yourself while bringing a level of present-ability to your appearance that shows the thought and effort you put in.

From learning basic hair styles to choosing tasteful or bold accessories, it's often small details that really push you from "dressed" to "dressed up." In this year, I found comfort in walking out the door knowing I looked good, and feeling approachable and attractive for the entire day. It was worth the extra time in the morning.

I've never looked back. I've never wished I was wearing pajama pants in public or wished I had slept in an extra 10 minutes and left my hair sticking out all over the place. Better yet, people notice. You think they don't, but they do. You exude an air when you are dressed nicely. People tell you you look nice. They compliment the things you are wearing and look at you in a different light. After awhile it goes from "you look nice today, what's the occasion?" to simply "you look nice today!" Nowadays, I hear a compliment about my appearance at least once a day. Sometimes from complete strangers, other times from coworkers, friends or family. No matter where they come from, they are endlessly gratifying. The pleasure of looking good to a stranger and looking good to a spouse are completely different, and you really never tire of either. Not just looking good, but the confidence and self assuredness that come with presenting yourself as you want to be seen.

So how did I do it? How did I decide to open up my closets and put myself out there to the world? How did I decide that the things I love that seem too fancy for everyday wear are really acceptable for me to wear everyday? Simple. I committed. I committed to a year of dressing up, and never dressing down. I looked at my wardrobe and removed the things that didn't fit me right, didn't flatter my shape. I got rid of the blouses that popped buttons when I spread my arms. I nixed the pants that sagged too much or were too tight. I stopped buying clothes I loved but didn't fit me correctly. I got rid of the comfy shirts with holes in them or turned them into night shirts. I took these things to a donation center or a consigner depending on their condition. I sold some of them online. I gave them to friends with the right shape to make them work. I went to a clothing swap. I got them out of my wardrobe, and filled my wardrobe with thrifted and vintage pieces that really work for my body and my style. I stopped being shy about wearing dresses or pieces that I would have previously considered too dressy for everyday wear.

Around the same time I made this commitment was when I started selling vintage. I'll have to do another post about how the dress up, not down philosophy and Foxburrow Vintage are so closely connected... and perhaps a post with a few tips for how others can dress up not down without a lot of cost or changes to their wardrobes. Until then, stay inspired.

Some outfits through the year... plenty of learning curve in there!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fall 2013 Fashion Trends for Vintage Lovers

Part of why I consider myself a trendy vintage shop is because I try to keep on top of the trends and buy pieces that can integrate well into the modern, trendy wardrobe. Right now I'm in the process of cultivating my Fall 2013 collection and before I give you a sneak peek of what I'm bringing to the table let's go over the best trends for vintage lovers that will be cropping up this fall.

Trends can bring back a real resurgence in classic design elements. One of my favorite trends for the Fall 2013 season is the pastoral trend.

Pastoral harkens back to the times of abundant countryside and a simpler and more handmade way of life. I'm a huge fan.

Vintage aran sweater (original pin on Pinterest)
Aran knits are traditional, intricate, and so so beautiful. Versatile and easy to mix into the modern wardrobe. From fitted to slouchy, you can expect to see them this year!
Fair Isle Sweater (original pin on Pinterest)
This sweater was in one of my favorite Etsy shops, Dear Golden.  It's long sold now but you can continue to expect lots of fair isle sweaters this year. No longer relegated to old men and alpine skiers... quality fair isle knits are truly vintage gems.

Forest Green Sweater (pin on Pinterest)
Not only are knits in, but all shades of green are in for Fall 2013, too! With the color of the year being Emerald (Pantone), it's certainly not a surprise to see variations of this stunning green all over the place for fall. I look great in green so I'm pretty excited about this.
Original pin here
 I just love this look for fall. Something about the stark green of the pants mixed with the neutrals is just enchanting.
Original pin here
More green and knits...

Another great trend for the year is bold repeating prints and traditional plaids. How could you resist?
Plaid shirt (pin on Pinterest)
Plaids never truly go out of style, and mixed with flannel material they are a warm, traditional look for fall that is both functional and stylish.
Fall plaid skirt
Plaid isn't limited to shirts, either. With the right cut and fit, a plaid skirt is lovely and classic (with the perk of usually being warm!).
Red white and blue, baby
So perfect. Plaid skirts can transition easily into spring if the colors are right. A good color palette and fit are a must and a plaid skirt can become a necessary staple in your wardrobe in no time.

To sum up, the most wearable trends this coming fall for vintage lovers: All shades of green, repeating patterns and plaids, pastoral, and knitwear.

Stay tuned to see a sneak peek of what Foxburrow Vintage is preparing for you for Fall 2013! I've thrown in a bit of a surprise to keep things exciting and am bringing my own sense of style to the already established trends.

For more great styling ideas, check out my personal style board on Pinterest.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Well I've been away from the Etsy shop too long! The vintage has been piling up but the time to photograph and list it has been going down --- this week was a change in pace and a chance to list some of the beautiful vintage goodies I've collected. Here's a charming collection of vintage dresses for you!

Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1960s Screen-printed Shift Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1950s Perfect Floral Day Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1970s Peplum Floral Sheer Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1980s Rayon Maxi Peplum Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1950s Silk Taffeta Brown Polka dot Cocktail Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1950s Lace Overlay Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1940s Silk Form Fitting Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1950s Metallurgy Cocktail Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
1970s Silk Bow Maxi Dress
Foxburrow Vintage Dress
80s does 50s Metallic Gold Polka Dot Dress
So what are you waiting for??? Get dolled up! See the Dresses Section of Foxburrow Vintage Etsy shop for even more lovely pieces.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fashionable Summer Reading

If you don't already know, by day I am a bookseller. I spend my time making pretty displays and matching customers up with the books they need or (even better) want.I love what I do for my day job, and my love of books follows me around through all aspects of my life. Recently, I've been drawn to books that have an element of fashion to them.

This one intrigued me because of the subtext, which is that it is a true story. The gist of it is this: some teenagers absolutely obsessed with Hollywood and high-end fashion burgled some seriously rare and fashionable garments from the hottest names in Hollywood. Apparently they made a movie out of it, which is probably crappy. But the story sounds interesting - how do people get so crazed with the world of fashion that they go to these extents? Is it the way the garments make them feel...or something else? I am interested to read and find out. Has anyone else read this? What did you think? 3.5/5 on Goodreads.

Buy it here: The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales (writer for Vanity Fair)

This was laying around at the information desk the other day and I picked it up and started flipping through it. I don't know anything about Lauren Conrad since I am not into TV shows or celebrity culture, but I do know that she is a style icon and, in my opinion never looks too over-the-top, but more reasonably down to earth. I really enjoyed what I read of this book... it included tips on how to pare down your closet when it's overwhelming you, how to choose things that are the right fit and style for you, how to shop when the store seems overwhelming, and more. The one thing I did notice is that she seems to think everyone can afford to have a tailor and get everything dry cleaned, but hey...the other tips were great. I'd be interested in picking this up just to read more enlightening hints. 4/5 on Goodreads.

Buy it here: Style by Lauren Conrad

Monday, July 1, 2013

Things I Learned from the Vintage Bazaar

The Vintage Bazaar was a great experience. The community of sellers and organizers was fantastic and the shoppers were great, too. As you can imagine, though, preparation for something that big is time consuming and long. While it's still fresh on my mind, I wanted to write a blog post that I can refer to the next time I'm ready to do a big event. And perhaps others getting ready for a trade show will find it useful. It wasn't my first ever event - I've done some craft fairs for my handmade items, but it's the only trade show I've ever done and certainly the biggest event I've ever done.

My first step was to do research and to sit and think of EVERYTHING someone might need. I have to say I did a great job at this. There were only two inconsequential things that customers asked for that I did not have.

My next step was to figure out how to get all of these items and components on the cheap. I couldn't very well spend hundreds preparing for the event, so I had to make do with what I had.

After that, I took the allotted tent space and plotted out with exact measurements the layout of my booth for the day of setup. Don't wing it. You need to get there and know where everything goes. After I plotted the layout, this added more things to my "need" list such as tables, chairs, garment racks, etc.

Please note that I have an prime account. I find this invaluable for my business. I am able to get inexpensive supplies and large items shipped to my door in two days at no cost to me. (Plus I can watch Downton Abbey with their Prime App!)

Here is my checklist with some notes as to why the item was important:
  • Tent - I had a blue tent, because I borrowed it from a family member. It was not ideal because it tinted the clothes. A white tent would be best. You may want one with sides or without. I have this one on my amazon wishlist. One with a window will give you the most airflow - it gets stuffy during the summer.
  • Garment racks - I used cheap garment racks from Amazon, as this is what I have been using to store clothes in my home and I already had 2. I wouldn't say this was a mistake per-se, but I had to limit how much clothing I could put on the rack to keep it from toppling over or breaking. I had one rack break at the end of the first day, and I taped and re-purposed it the second day as a low-to-the-ground shirt rack.If you use cheap racks, just be aware of their weight limitations under wind, customers tugging on them, etc.
  • Folding tables - I had a long 6 footer for my craft shows that folds in half. I got it at home depot for $45. I also had a small 2.5x2.5 foot card table. These were used for displaying housewares, jewelry, handbags, etc.
  • Pop-up changing room- I got this one from Amazon. I had more comments about how smart and clever this was than anything else. Lots of people asked where I got it. It is LARGE and takes up lots of space, but is 100% worth it. Almost everyone who bought something tried it on. And since it was under the tent, it wasn't as hot inside as I expected. It has an open top so there is some airflow. Someone else suggested a cheap way to do this with a hula hoop and a shower curtain. 
  • Floor length mirror - When selling clothes, don't forget a full body mirror! I used my home mirror. I think I got it at Wal-Mart back in college for $5 during their "back to school" dorm rush. It's thin and does the trick.
  • A step-ladder - I used an old wooden ladder splattered with paint so it doubled as a tool and a display piece. Use it during set up, and then drape it with blankets and vintage linens. Here are some great ideas for using your step ladder for display: Put necklaces or vintage belts on it, Put some painted boards between the rungs and use it as a shelf, or  put an assortment of little vintage items like gloves on it. I'll post a picture of how I used mine when I get my computer back up and running. Click here for lots of ideas on pinterest.
  • Other display pieces - You may want a shoe rack, a book shelf, a print block drawer for jewelry or smalls, or any other number of items you can use to display your wares. Think ahead!
  • A sign - I made a bunting with my shop name and tied it together with a chalk board resting next to my dress form. I used printer paper and printed the words, and then used spray adhesive to attach them to poster board and cut them out. This makes them nice and sturdy so they aren't flipping around in the wind and getting heavily damaged. 
  • A dress form or other way to display a garment in front of your boot

And now for the small items:
  • Receipt book
  • Square reader (invaluable to close sales. Make sure you have one. I had a $15 minimum for cards)
  • Tags/labels
  • Business cards
  • Chairs (I got fold up camping chairs for myself and a friend. If you are there for an entire day, trust me you will want to sit eventually)
  • Small dinner tray table for keeping pens, tape, receipt book, etc.
  • Hangers - Make sure you have enough! I had to send my husband and a friend on a bonsai run  for more. Make sure you have the right hangers to hang wide-neck dresses or skirts.
  • Scotch tape
  • A music player for set-up energy
  • Twine/heavy duty string
  • Clips with hooks from Ikea - These were perfect for hanging garments along the edge of the tent and for clipping up my sign.
  • Scarf spinner w/ clips
  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • Spare paper
  • Sharpie
  • $100 in cash (40 in singles, 40 in fives, 20 in tens) - I made all prices to the dollar to avoid change.
  • Small purse to carry cash around (cash boxes are too vulnerable)
  • Cooler with more bottled water than you think you could ever drink
  • Snacks (avoid overly salty snacks)
  • Bags (virtually everyone wanted a bag to take home their purchase)
  • Storage tubs to transport garments
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Signup sheet for your e-mail newsletter on a clipboard
  • Sign telling what type of payment you take
Things I did not bring but will next time:
  • Duct tape
  • Small sewing kit
Other things you will need to do:
  • Figure out an inventory system you can use to reconcile sales and make sure you don't have sold items listed on your online shop
  • Tag your items with prices, or else go with a flea-market ask and tell style. I don't recommend this as you can easily make a mistake and under-value something, forgetting how much you paid for it.
I'll add more items as I think of them, including a download-able checklist of all of the items I mentioned before... but right now I have to go unpack all those garments and put my racks back together to get my shop back on track and active again!

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