24 April 2012

Spring Fling

Now swaps are a commonplace thing in the ever so chic world of fashion blogging, and one I had read a lot about. Unfortunately RHode Island, while the mecca of many things, including but not limited to quohogs, the Big Blue Bug, Buddy Cianci and cronism, and coffee milk, we also have the oldest shopping mall in America, the Arcade in Providence, is not known for swaps. Indeed if any are held here I've yet to see evidence of it. That being said we're less than an hour from Boston, which seems to have an abundance of them. Now a very limited amount of research reveals that in Boston if not everywhere, The Swapaholics arethe girls you want ot go to if you want to swap accordingly. So when I saw they were having an event on April 18th at 40 Berkeley I immediately signed up, you know, go big or go home.
The location it was held at is pictured above. It is essentially a hostel in the more European fashion, with both hotel short stay accommodations and longer term units. The lobby has a cool vibe with its old fashioned mailboxes meeting mid century modern furnishings, but the whole building is unassuming from the outside. The bottom two pictures show what is called the living room where the swap was held. The picture on the left shows looking into the area that is shown in the picture on the right. The swap was behind where those chairs are overlooking the courtyard in a big room with many couches and chairs as well as a fireplace and refreshments table. And of course clothing racks. Now I had a few preconceived notions about swaps that have now been dispelled:
1.) I assumed that like when you consign clothing all items you brought to swap would be scrutinized. Now I'm not sure what its like for other consigners but usually a full body scan is less invasive than having clothing gone through. No one even looked in my bag, let alone examined my items, in fact I consigned a Chadwick's black and white polka dot skirt that had been rejected by my local consignment shop because it had a pull in it (a white line running through the black part of the silk) I time it, the skirt was on the rack less than a minute before a woman snatched it up and put it on over her red leather pants.
2.) No exit scrutiny either, we were on the honor system, trusted to only take out the same number that we brought in. Again no one checked my bag, and I'm sure some people took a few extras. I had reached my limit and was really tempted by a mauve ruffled blouse, which I probably could have taken. In retrospect I should have left the shoes and taken the blouse instead. However my conscience is clean I don't have to go to confession now.
3.) While the invite said that we would "be sipping cocktails in the beautiful courtyard" I shouldn't have believed it. Now logic dictated that even with the beautiful weather we've been having the courtyard would be too cold at 7PM. However cocktails implies that the hostel/hotel has a bar, which it didn't. Almost every hostel I've ever stayed in regardless of he location either had a bar (in cities usually) or you could buy a limited selection of alcohol at the desk. The event organizers brought in some sandwiches and some pink wine, but somehow that differs from the vision of cocktail a la Gatsby in the courtyard. Next time eat and drink first so by 8:30 you're not ready to pass out and have to stop at McDonald's on the way home.
4.) Don't be shy, I didn't really get that you flaunt your finds over you clothes like Brad Pitt wearing German soldiers scalps on his coat in Legends of the Fall. In fact if people weren't wearing things, they were trying them on. Some right over clothes, of in my case I slipped the shoes and belt on for an easy fit on the spot. Then I went to the bathroom which was full of half naked women just throwing clothes around with abandon. God, I really must be a prude not only would I feel like a fool wearing random bits of commandeered clothing over my own, there is no way in hell I strip in a public restroom with total strangers, even fashion has some limits.

I ended up leaving around 8:35 because I had my limit and no new swappers had come in for at least 20 minutes, plus I didn't want to get lost in the pitch black looking for my car. Overall it was a great experience, and something I would definitely do again. I met a lot of people including a dorky run in with Amy from Stylish Year, whois even cuter in person, in which I asked "are you Stylish Year?"As well as the entire staff of Artifacktori , and though I've never been I have a sneaking suspicion I'd be right at home there.

My first find was this black leather belt with a rhinestone buckle by Below the Belt, its really good quality leather and a nice fit with zero scuffing on it. I've been getting into belts lately, but big, bold ones and this qualifies even if it is a little narrow. It was missing one of the teardrop shaped rhinestones in the inner circle, however I replaced it with another rhinestone I pulled off a Christmas ornament, its cheaper looking and a slightly different shape but blends in well enough and is less noticeable than the empty spot was, if you look closely its around the 7 or 8 o'clock position on the inner circle.

This dress was definitely my best find, I zeroed in on it and was fighting my way to the rack and fervently praying the woman in front of me wasn't reaching for the same thing, I got it so apparently someone up there is on my side. A few minutes after liberating it I met the person who may very well be my fashion soul mate, Sara Antoinette Stevens of The Technicolor Dream Shoes when she saw that I had her dress, saying it was one of her favorites and hoped I enjoyed it, because it had been well loved. Check out her blog and in her latest post you can see the outfit she was wearing that night, fabulous!

The bodice is gathered and has three decorative buttons, and I believe that it actually can open up at that point, but really with such exquisite detail, why would you?

I did have to mend one or too places on the seem on the right hand side of the skirt. I think the dress is homemade because of this at the hem. It looks to me like the company logo printed on the edge of a piece of fabric off a bolt. The stitching inside is definitely machine but not super neat like a finished garment would be, that an the lack of a tag points to a home sewed item, not that I have any problem with that.

The colors were tricky to catch on camera, I had too play around with the brightness and blue saturation quite a bit. Over all it has a very opulent jewel tone quality to it with a cream colored background. Needless to say Sara is welcome to my firstborn child is she so wishes. Incidentally she also supplied the mauve blouse with the riffled color I valiantly walked away from.

I found the rhinestone belt first, then began to despair that I was out of luck for the rest of the night until I saw this. Now I suspected that it might be too small, and it is right across the widest part of the bust, but nit uncomfortably or unflatteringly so. If I lost five pounds I'm sure it would fit perfectly. Wouldn't everything?

Again the color came through very off, I'm still learning the camera's quirks. This is really a deep chocolate brown, and I have high hopes for it. I have not had great luck with brown clothing. I had another brown blouse like this from Banana Republic in a cotton blend, similar shape but with buttons rather than ruffles down the from that got mysterious bleach spots on it, the same thing happened to a brown skirt with a gold belt I had. I'm not sure if brown dye is very unstable of  what, but I'll make sure to wash by hand.

This was the real wild card item I picked up, it combined both things I gravitate towards and things I'm very wary of. I liked the ruffle and the lightweight cotton-denim-like blend, colors, and the zipper gave it character. THe length, a tunic type style tends not too be good because it clings to the butt and the Empire-waist makes you look pregnant. The halter top and tiny cutouts above are also not friendly for a busty girl. In this case however it works and didn't distort me to cartoon character proportions.

The fabric is really easy to iron and doesn't wrinkly like 100% cotton or linen does, there also has to be some Spandex in there because it has a lot of give.

I feel like this could be very preppy-conservative with a little sweater, but you can also unzip that zipper which opens up a whole other realm of possibilities.....

No comments:

Post a Comment