Too Thrifty Chicks

Think.Thrift.Create


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Man of the Moment: Raymond Metzger

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Guest Contributor: Raymond Metzger of The Dapper Diamond District 

Guest Photographer: Shoccara Marcus of Shocphoto Imagery LLC.

Some years ago I looked into my wardrobe and noticed I had way too much black. Black jackets, black shoes, black shirts, you name it, it was probably black or at least pretty dark. My reasoning?…..It was safe, black matches with everything right? Wrong. Realizing my mistake I decided to look for some great classic pieces to add to my wardrobe that would last me years to come.

Game changer
Seeing that I was in undergrad at the time, I didn’t have the resources to buy all of the items I wanted that would help insert some color and life into my wardrobe. That’s when I decided to pay a visit to the thrift store. I love a DSC_0274-editbargain just as much as the next guy and thought, “Hey, let me see what I can find.”  Now a graduate student, I still  frequent the thrift store saying “Hey, let me see what I can find.”  Since I am still on a budget,  always looking for unique pieces, and my personal style has matured, the thrift store was a great option for me then, and still is today.

Break it up

Maybe there’s too much of one color in your closet, you’re looking to change your style up a little bit, or just shopping on a budget you may just find your next favorite jacket, shirt, or who knows what at the thrift store. At times I like to put together outfits that are completely thrifted (not even realizing it sometimes), but I also love to take a thrifted piece and mix it in with some newer items for a unique look and feel.

In both of the outfits here I am rocking vintage thifted blazers that were real steals. I paired them with newer items from Zara, American Eagle, Polo and Urban Outfitters. When I head to the thrift store I usually have a hit list of what I’m looking for so I don’t go overboard. Here are a couple of rules I like to go by and some tips that may help you on your next visit.

Mixing PatternsThe Dapper Diamond District Rules:

Look around. You never know what you might find sandwiched between two items you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. Learning to sift through the rack will help you to find that great item you’re looking for.

Quality check. Perform a quick quality check of any thrift store item that you might purchase. How is it holding up? Loose stitching? Is it damaged beyond repair? Or do you like the item with a little wear? Also check the garment care tag. What is it made out of and what brand is it? I’m certainly not all about the brand name, but it can help to give you a little history of the garment.

Mixing Patterns_4Cheap doesn’t mean you should buy it. Don’t get caught buying every reasonably priced item. It may just end up with a permanent home deep within your closet never to be worn. If you like it but you’re not sure how you might wear it, leave it. You probably will be unsure at home too.

Sizes aren’t universal. The tag on that one says small, but it looks kinda big, the tag on this one says large but looks just right. Just try it on and see how it fits.

Good Luck!

Mixing Patterns_2I would like to thank Reese and Ricks for having me here, and to you for reading. It has definitely been a pleasure.  I can’t wait to work with the Too Thrifty Chicks again, and hopefully they will be cooking as well..lol.   — R. Metzger

We’re so happy Raymond stopped by to share his style with us! If you’re wondering why he’s hoping we’re cooking, check out the Valentines’ Day post we did over at the Dapper Diamond District!


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Finding Hidden Gems on eBay

Guest Contributor: Avery Watkins, Jr.

eBay is a vast site full of useless stuff.  Stuff that won’t match your style. Things that will be a waste of money. But if you look photo 2 (4)closely, you will find a true gem. I get a thrill from finding great things on eBay, but that’s not my main reason for using it. I find shopping for clothes on eBay easier than going to the thrift store, because I don’t always have good luck finding men’s clothing at thrift stores. I’m patient and don’t mind waiting for things, so I use my computer skills to search for exactly what I want on eBay. Most times, I’m looking for specific things and searching on eBay makes it easier to find.

With all that said, shopping on eBay is an art and there are things to keep in mind.

1. Know what you want.  As I said, there is a lot of stuff on eBay. You can type in one term and get thousands of results. If you know what you want, it helps you refine the search.  If not, you will waste time looking at stuff from all over the world for all genders that have nothing to do with your interests

2. Know your size margin of error. In other words, be ready to buy a little big or small, depending on the look you are going for and be ready to call your tailor.  Some clothes are used just like a thrift store and some may have already been tailored, shrunken, etc. Never assume the cut and  size will fit you like something you already have in your closet.

3. Reading is fundamental:.  Because you can’t try the item on or smell it or see it, you have to pay extra attention to the details in the item description. Just because it shows you a picture of a great shirt/blouse/blazer you have been looking for,  doesn’t mean they’re selling you that.  You need to read to make sure they aren’t just selling you the sewing print or some buttons (lol). Spend time reading the description AND check the sellers ratings. People don’t hesitate to let you know a seller is good or bad.

4. Know your price. eBay has two pricing structures: “buy it now” and “bidding.” Buy it now means you pay the fixed price that is shown and you get the item. Bidding means you and anyone else can submit a price offer for an item, which can lead to a bidding war. Knowing how much you want to pay is really important when it comes to bidding. Don’t overbid. Nothing is worth more than what you feel comfortable paying for it.

5. Patience Patience Patience.  Finding what you really are looking for could take weeks, days, hours, or a few minutes. You never know, so have patience with it and you will find a gem. One of my favorite purchases took a while to find. I found a photo 1 (2)Ralph Lauren brown tweed blazer  that usually retails for more than $300 for $65.

6. A Word about Bidding Patience. It is extremely important to be a patient bidder, because you might find the item of your dreams but the bidding is going on for a whole week.  Don’t place your max bid in early. Bid low and just wait to the final seconds to put your final bid to increase your chances of getting the item.

I like eBay, because I can find specific things without having to spend a whole day in a thrift store, and I can do it all while sitting on my couch. If you need something immediately, eBay might not be the best option. But if you have some time and patience, check it out. There are some hidden gems there.


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Tidbit Tuesday: Quick Headboard Solutions

I cannot tell you the last time I had a headboard for my bed. Actually I can…it was before I went to college! It’s not because I didn’t want a headboard. They can be quite useful. I just never saw any that I liked when I shopped for them. Last year I had the idea of making one, but never got around to it. This year I decided I’d stop procrastinating.

I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Alexandria looking for old shutters. My original plan was to piece together different types of shutters to make a headboard, but when I got to the store and saw these, I knew my life would be so much easier because the set was already wide enough to fit my bed and tall enough to take up some wall space.

Shutters before they were cleaned and hung

Shutters before they were cleaned and hung

I bought two sets for $10. I cleaned them up (boy were they dusty!) and then hung them on the wall using these Interlocking Flush Mounts for $1.29 each (I needed two sets) from Amazon. After cleaning the shutters and about 30 minutes of measuring and marking, this is what I ended up with:

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Like me, Ricks also had neglected hanging a proper headboard. Her room posed an additional challenge because her bed is anchored on a wall with a window right in the middle of it. Ricks’ vision was to use a screen that could double as a headboard and a filter for the light coming into her room. Guess what we found hidden in our basement? A screen! The previous tenants left it behind. You know what they say…another person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Ricks hit the jackpot!

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She cut out some of the rectangles using an exacto knife and replaced them with sheets of fabric to give it the look she wanted.

old fabric replaced with new.

old fabric replaced with new.

Hanging her headboard was tricky because she had to work around the window frame. To solve the issue, she purchased a pre-cut strip of wood from Home Depot that was roughly the width of her window frame, sawed it in half, and mounted the headboard to the pieces of wood. She used the same flush mounts I did before adhering it to the wall.

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The final result gives her exactly the look she wanted to achieve while allowing light to come in through the room’s only window.

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Using low cost and free materials, both of us now have headboards that cost less than 15 bucks. If you’re interested in making a headboard and need inspiration, spend some time googling DIY headboards. You’ll find amazing options.

Until Next Time,

R&R


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Randomly Reese: Leggings, Blouses, and Skirts….Oh My!

When I shop, I buy things because they have potential or because they make me happy–not because “everyone else is doing it.” I’ve pretty much been that way the majority of my life (at least since I’ve been able to pick out and buy my own clothes). There are some things that consistently make me happy: blouses, ruffles, graphic tees, leggings, blazers, high waisted skirts, and bow ties! I couldn’t put EVERYTHING I like in these photos, but check out how I pull together some of the elements I love to create fun, functional outfits.

A fun day in the park: I’ve always liked swings. I tried to relive the days of my youth…seemed a lot harder to propel myself forward than it used to!

If I can't have fun in it, I don't want to wear it!

If I can’t have fun in it, I don’t want to wear it!

I'm pretty sure the little kids in the park don't appreciate me playing with their toys!

I’m pretty sure the little kids in the park don’t appreciate me playing with their toys!

Lounging: I heart my DIY bench (read about how I made it HERE). It’s the perfect place to sit, people watch, and read. I love this skirt because it’s flowy and comfy. I love the sweater, because it isn’t bulky.

Comfy skirt + sweater

Comfy skirt + sweater

I call this my “Little House on the Prairie” look. On first glance, this skirt isn’t the cutest thing in the world, but adding a head wrap and a cute jacket gave it so much life! BTW, does the scarf look familiar? It made an appearance as a top when I was on vacay. Read about it HERE.

Gosh this head scarf gives me life!

Gosh, I live for head scarves!

That purple lipstick? Awesome addition to my collection…thanks roomie!

STOP! Collaborate and Listen...Reese is back I got a brand new invention (ok...I'm done reminiscing about Vanilla Ice)

STOP! Collaborate and Listen…Reese is back I got a brand new invention (ok…I’m done reminiscing about Vanilla Ice)

I like tees. They make me happy. This tee has a skull that reads, “Midnight Party.” To dress it up, I added shiny leggings and a pink, Michael Jackson-inspired jacket.

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I'm having a private party

I’m having a private party

When I wear a heel, better believe it’s a fly one. Love these black booties! I found the belt at a thrift store for half off. I had to get it, because I know how much these belts retail for. I purchased the blouse from Minerva Vintage Closet on Etsy. If you get a chance, check her out. Cute clothes and excellent customer service.

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There you have it folks. This is how I roll. 🙂 If you missed Ricks’ last style post, check it out HERE. She’s pretty awesome and so is her style.

Until Next Time,

Reesey


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What I Wore to Work: A Conversation Starter

2013 marks a really cool milestone in my professional journey: I’m teaching my first undergraduate class! I had my first class last week, and in addition to planning the syllabus and outlining the first day, I spent plenty of time thinking about what I would wear. As Ricks and I lounged on our couch the night before my first day, I mused about what kind of vibe I wanted to set. I fell asleep before I could figure it out. 🙂

The next morning, I woke up and decided I wasn’t going to go the dress pants/button down route. I figured I would take advantage of being in a relaxed academic space and wear something that was much more comfortable and representative of my everyday look.

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The outfit turned out to be quite the conversation piece as we talked about what it means to have a “culture” and how it’s reflected. After students shared, I brought up my outfit and what it reflects in regards to things I hold dear. I absolutely heart the “I Love Beeing Black” tee, and one of the reasons is the outline of the African continent in the heart. Part of my identity–a choice I’ve made about my identity and it’s relation to the world–is how I locate myself. I am a woman who values being a member of the black disapora. I spoke about how locating myself in the disapora and not just America is significant to how I see the world, power relations, and social justice work.

What a great conversation starter! Students began discussing how they see themselves located in (seemingly) multiple cultures and what that means in terms of displaying (performing) who they are in different contexts. I explained that yes, I love quirky fashion and challenging ideas of what makes “good fashion.” In the classroom, I used both of those things to open up a conversation about the ways we think about ourselves, our surroundings, and what define us.

Places to go, people to see.

Places to go, people to see.

Who knows what I’ll wear next week? Who knows what class will be like next week? I’m sure I’ll wear something fun and equally sure the class will be great. What I set out to accomplish for the first class was 1) disrupt any preconceived ideas of what a professor “should look like,” 2) set the tone for a course in which I hope students will constantly evaluate stereotypes, assumptions, and long held beliefs and 3) have a dynamic conversation to get students thinking about important themes for the course. After a GREAT first class, I’d say mission accomplished.

Great first class....mission accomplished!

Great first class….mission accomplished!

I’m lucky to work in an environment where I can play around with professional dress norms. I hope this post encourages you to push the boundaries more and show as much personality/individuality in your work life as you do in your personal life.

The all stars  had to make an appearance. Oh the places we will go!

The all stars had to make an appearance. Oh the places we will go!

Do you wear fun outfits to work? Share them with us!

Until Next Time,

-Reese

 


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Tidbit Tuesdays: Thrifted Gifted

With just eight days left, we’re in the home stretch of merry-making and gift-giving that culminates on Dec. 25.  If you’re still scurrying around trying to get gifts consider rescuing some fabulous finds from a thrift store. This year my cup runneth over with little people. And while I’m sure they’d prefer all manner of technology and gadgetry, I have decided to go for nostalgia. There’s no better place than the thrift store to look for nostalgia.

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Toys in mint condition from the Goodwill!

Last year, two tiny humans entered my life and I wanted to get them something special that toddlers could enjoy. They’re still too small to really know what they want for Christmas so I get the joy of giving them what I want them to have and this Radio Flyer car and wooden rocking horse caught my eye during my adventure with Reese at the Goodwill on Bustleton Ave. in Philly.

Shining like new!

Shining like new!

Best of all the toys were in great condition and super inexpensive at $6.99 and $5.99, respectively. All they needed was a little TLC in the form of some cleaning and a coat of polyurethane. All in all, the toys and spiffing up, cost about $20.

Not going to lie, I took this thing for a test drive. The craftsmanship is so great that it should be passed down from generations to come!

Not going to lie, I took this thing for a test drive. The craftsmanship is so great that it should be passed down from generations to come!

Don’t sleep on your local thrift store for gifts for all occasions. Look for items that are in excellent condition or that only need a little elbow grease to make them like new.

Until next time…Keep it thrifty.

Ever given or received a cool vintage or thrifted item as a gift? Tell us about it and we might feature you here.


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Rock the Vote

Election Day 2012

M. Ricks rocking a thrifted blazer and skirt combo to the polls on Election Day where she was able to cop the hottest accessory on the streets — an authentic “I voted” sticker. There’s only one way to get one of these bad boys and they’re so hot that you can’t even BUY them in stores. You might have to wait in line like they’re the freshest pair of the newest Jordans, but they’re even hotter than that. The only place to get one is at your nearest polling place. But don’t sleep. If you don’t get your sticker today before your polling place closes, it will be too late. Sorry no rain checks.

We here at Too Thrifty Chicks love to look good for less. But you know what we love even more? Civic responsibility! We don’t care for whom you vote, but please make sure to vote. Today. Like as soon as you finish reading this post.

As a citizen, native or naturalized, it is your right to register to vote, and it is your responsibility to vote whether you do it via absentee ballot, early voting or standing in the longest of lines on Election Day.

No matter what anyone tells you, your vote matters. And if for some reason your candidate doesn’t win, stay engaged. The person who does win is still YOUR representative. That means it is your right and your responsibility to hold every elected official accountable.

It doesn’t matter the party affiliation or personal belief system, when they are elected and make decisions that affect YOUR life they should be expected to be held accountable to YOU. Why? Because once you take office you no longer just represent the politics of the people who elected you. You represent ALL of the people in the geographic area that you have been elected to serve.

For those of you who have lost your right to vote and are working to have this right restored — we see you. Keep up the fight!
— R&R