Friday, January 31, 2014

On This Gray and Mournful Day

Old Navy Coat
American Eagle Top and Jacket/Cardigan
J.Brand Jeans (gift)
Cole Hann Loafers (thrifted)
Leather Bag (gift)

I talked earlier this week about thrifting tips and today I'll share a few of my ebay shopping tips.  Again, it's not really new info but it might help out a little bit.  I've found shopping on ebay really cuts down on any impulse buys because I like to think over everything for so long that I end up knowing I really want it.   So with that, I hope this helps!

1.  Ebay is BIG
Ebay is really overwhelming if you don't have a very good idea of exactly what you want. Say you want a pretty, floaty kimono.  Rather than type in "kimono" and get 12,333,856,001.8 hits, narrow it down.  I usually start with a brand I know and like so I might try "Winter Kate Kimonos."  I get 27 hits and an idea what I might want.  I usually have a very specific item in mind when I go to ebay and this helps keep the overload down on hits.  You can just browse if you don't mind wasting an entire day but I have a sort attention span and tend to abandon ship after ten pages so being specific really helps me.

2. It's Probably Cheaper On Ebay (Unless is's the new discount store/designer collaboration.
Don't feed the vultures.)
When I see something in a magazine I always check on ebay.  J.Crew stuff is expensive(to me anyways) and rather than buy stuff from them, I just look on ebay.  They recreate a lot of their styles so you can find items from a year of two ago that's pretty much the same as this year's stuff.  I've  found beautiful silk shirt dresses on ebay for between $10 to $40 that are almost brand new. You can also find current, in store stuff usually for a little less on ebay. I've been looking for a pair of leather shorts(don't judge me!) and Rag and Bone pairs on selling on ebay for a 1/4th of their retail price.   J.Brand is another popular brand of premium jeans that you can find for really cheap, I just did a search and found jeans in various cuts(bootleg, straight, wide and skinny) going for as little as $5.99.

3. Be Specific
This a tighter version of rule one.  If there's something you're looking for, type in the full
name or item name/number.  If you want a silk button down, rather than type "silk button down"
try "J.Crew Blythe blouse, size _." You want leather shorts? (Ahem) Try "rag & bone leather shorts,
size _."  A pair of Steve Madden boots? Rather than type "steve madden boots" try "steve madden Nita (or what ever the style name is) size _."  Always type in your size, it's beyond irritating to find
the item you want at a crazy good price but it's way too big or way too small.

4. Set a limit of how high you want to go
Ebay has either "Buy it now" or "Auction" items. I personally like "Buy it now" items because
it bugs me when someone outbids me at the last moment.  If you do try an auction, there's an option to set your maximum bid when you place a bid.  the maximum bid option will set how high you want to go on an items and it will automatically bid for you when someone else bids, up to the amount you set. this means you don't have to wait out your auction, waiting for those sneaky people who bid at the very last second but it's also good to have an idea of exactly how much you're willing to pay for something.  You dont want to get into a bidding war, get worked up and whoops, you won and it's way more than you wanted to pay.  This keeps the impulse buy at bay.

5. Know your Size
Before bidding(unless you've tried an item on in store and you KNOW it fits) measure yourself.  Bust, Waist,  shoulders, hips, calves(for boots) KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS.  And once you know your measurements, make sure you know the measurements of whatever you're bidding on.  Most sellers provide this info but if they don't just message them and most are more than willing to measure an item.  If someone won't, don't bother, it probably won't be a great experience buying from them.  Jeans can be a tricky thing so unless you've worn the brand before of tried them on for fit reference (such as if you're like me and hippy, Citizens of Humanity and Seven for Mankind don't fit so well.  Many of their jeans are cut slim through the hips and thighs where a  brand like Rag & Bone tends to be cut bigger through the hips and thighs but smaller in the waist.  By having an  idea of how a brand fits you, you can decide which jeans will have a decent fit.)

6. Read The Fine Print
By this I mean read EVERYTHING.  Read if they ship to your state/country, shipping charges, details about the clothing and what condition it's in, where the seller ships fro, everything.  I don't really like to buy from China based shops on ebay, the clothing is usually really small, quality can be hit or miss and the shipping can take forever.  You may also be liable for customs charges although many of the China based shops say they're classify it as a "gift" on the customs forms. (This is illegal.)  You also don't to glance over the pictures, think the dress looks great, buy it, get it home and realize there's a huge stain on the back that you forgot to read about.

7. Be Patience
If you don't see what you want, just wait.  Eventually it will show up on ebay and rather than settle for something else, just wait for what you really want.  This goes for price as well!  I love Winter Kate dresses but most of the time they're really expensive, even on ebay.  A while ago many sellers were having sales and there was dresses going for under $50.  I've been waiting on a pair of Dolce Vita heels for over a year now, waiting for them to drop down in price from over $200 and just the other day I found them in my size for $49 while they're currently going for $89.99 plus shipping.  Just wait, you don't have to get all of your closet  "wants" in one day or even one week.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our Love Will Never Be Blue

Hat c/o H&M
Tommy coat (thrifted)
Talbots Sweater (thrifted)
Joie Silk Dress (ebay)
American Eagle Outfitters Necklace
Leather Bag (gift)
Leather Ridding Boots (Very, very old and worn.)

It's nice to get some killer light for a change!  This last week has been so enjoyable to shoot photos in after a month and a half of garbage light.  I keep forgetting each winter how awful that time is, the sun hardly rises over the mountain range, it's cold and the light just isn't worth anything, the whole world feels as if it's being bathed in blue.  speaking of blue, or rather bluing(which we weren't) I once dyed my grey pony purple.   He was very light grey who usually made a mess of himself and just before shows we'd have to use blue to get the grass stains off him.  We only get the bluing sit for 5 mins and then wash it off but I got distracted once, forgot about the bluing and by the time I'd remembered, he was PURPLE.  No amount of baths could get the color off and I became the girl who rode a purple pony in jumpers.  Ghost the pony was quite miffed because 1) he hated bathes and 2) he was a pretty macho little pony.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Remember When

Forever 21 Jacket (thrifted)
Old Navy Sweater and Waxed Jeans
Carlos by Carlos Boots
Leather Bag (Gifted)

Well, I guess I've been wearing this jacket quite a bit lately. That means either it really was something I needed in my closet or I'm in a wardrobe rut.   I've been trying to learn how to play with proportions because I want my sense of style to grown and I've learned a cropped jacket can be a really valuable items if you like those "awkward" length dresses of tops.  They just kinda balance everything out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Through The Mist We Roam

American Eagle Outfitters Scarf and Bag
Forever 21 Jacket (thrifted)
B.B. Dakota Dress (thrifted)
Leather Studded Boots (thrifted)

I love shooting in the mist, it's tricky with the light and trying to get a clear shot but that's part of the enjoyment.  Even a plain landscape transforms and adds an air of mystery to the same tree you pass by day after day.

Monday, January 27, 2014

2nd Anniversary Giveaway

Alaskan Weredork just had it's second anniversary and to celebrate, one reader will be able to choose an Iphone4 or Iphone5 cover free from Iconmesis!  Iconmesis is a UK based company that sells cellphone covers but with an artistic twist.  Rather than your usual sparkly, rhinestone encrusted cover they have reproductions of whimsical works by Cat Sims, Fifi Lapin and others.  (They also currently have a 50% off sale running right now.)

               (Cat Sims)                                         (Fifi Lapin)                                         (Karin Soderquist)

These are a few of my favorites, I've been meaning to replace my old phone cover with something a little bit cuter(it's a plastic Otter case, sturdy but not much else.) but they only produce covers for the IPhone4  and IPhone5.

One Alaskan Weredork reader may have their choice of any cover, just leave a comment stating which one you'd like and your email. If you have either Twitter of Facebook you may like them (Facebook or Twitter) but if you're not on either platform it's okay.   The giveaway will run for a week and the winner will be announced on February 4th! (I'll pick a name out of a hat or something.)  I'll announced and then email the winner so please leave your comment no later than February 3rd.    Good luck!

*I am not being compensated for this giveaway.

Misty Kingdom

Stormy Kromer Hat
Scarf (Gift)
Wool Sweater (thrifted)
Joie silk Blouse (ebay)
J.Brand Jeans (gift)
Dublin Leather Boots (gift)
Leather Bag (thrifted)

Polar Vortex meet Pineapple Express.  Alaska's had some record breaking warm weather lately but a few days ago the Interior got some freezing rain that made travel pretty treacherous. (Apparently I am now not the only one who's slid backwards down that evil hill.)  The rain fell during the morning, temps rose to 40 degrees and then as the sun set it all started to burn off, creating this beautiful mist over the fivers and fields.   Usually when we get "mist" in the winter it's ice fog and it's -50 below outside and not a huge amount of fun for pictures so it was a delight to take these.  It happened two days in a row so I had a few fun sets of pictures. (And the roads are so much better now so yay.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

You Could Be My Luck

Tommy Coat (thrifted)
French Connection for Sears Dress
Dooney and Bourke Bag (thrifted)
American Eagle Outfitters Leather Belt
Leather Boots c/o H&M

If you've read Alaskan Weredork for a little while you've probably realized I thrift and shop on ebay quite a bit.  I've been asked if I have any tips for either so I thought Id break it up into two posts.  Most of it's not really earth shattering stuff - you won't go to the thrift store tomorrow and find that Gucci bag (although if you do TELL ME) but hopefully it might help a little.  so here we go, Tips for Thrifting!

1. Ooooh, what's that smell?
Thrift store have a reputations for smelly clothes and that can be true but most garments will smell just fine unless you have the world's most sensitive nose.  However, there is one item killer. Even if it is the most bestest, prettiest thing in the world, f it smells like cigarette smoke,  leave it. I've tried numerous things and nothing the smell just will not come out.  The good thing is, it's the only smell I've notice that is impervious.  the old clothes smell?  Most times it'll come out the first time you wash it but if not, zip it in a dry cleaning bag with either some fabric softener sheets of a little bag of ground coffee beans.  Works every time.

2. Read Those Tags
Okay, if you find a silk blouse and you love it, don't put it back because it says dry clean only.  Some silks you can carefully hand wash and dry but really,  putting back a silk blouse because you don't want to pay four dollars to dry clean it is nuts.  If you want nice stuff, you have to take care of it and a little extra just isn't that bad to have something that you love.

3.  I'll Make That Alteration! (NOT)
sometimes you find stuff that makes you say, "This 90s church lady dress will be amazing once I chop it up, sew on different sleeves, make it backless and so on."  You most likely ill not do this and it will stay in your alterations basket for the 90 years.  If a shirt is just missing a plain white button, go for it because buttons are easy and fast and it's something you can do while shielding your eyes from the goring that dude just got from the bull on "Bull Riding PAINEXTREME" you'll watch that night.

4.  FIT
This goes along with number two but if something DOESN'T fit, don't buy.   It might only be 99 cents but if you'll never wear it because you need safety pins to keep it on or you're always yanking on it, it's money ill spent.

5.  Know Your Brands, Silks and Cashmere
Thrift stores are the great equalizers.  I've found Dolce and Gabana dresses for the same prices as Forever 21 and it's AWESOME.  However if you either don't know your brands or your fabrics/cuts/qualitly it can be hard to know what's a find and what you could have gotten cheaper at Target.   By researching brands you like, knowing what qualitly silk and cashmere feels like(Banana Republic use to have lovely cashmere and it's gone  really down hill the past few years.) you'll be able to tell what still has life in it or if you're even going to be able to put it into the washer.  This could also go for leathers, many companies use to use thick leathers that wore beautiful and held up.  Now everyone uses micro thin leathers that fall apart before they get that lovely  worn in look.

6.  It takes Time
Just what it says.  Don't walk into a thrift store or a flea market and expect to find a vintage Oscar de la Renta Coat for $2 of whatever.  It probably won't happen your first time and you might walk away from the store empty  hand, unhappy and thinking wicked thoughts about all of those bloggers who seem to find amazing things every time they set foot into a thrift store.  Don't give up and don't stop returning.  It might be your first time, it might be your 103rd time, if you keep at it you will eventually find something amazing.  I use to never find shoes or decent handbags at the thrift store and the best I could find seemed to be Old Navy.  Gap jeans would get me excited!  I couldn't understand how bloggers like Linda over at Little Tin Soldier could find vintage DVF shirt and St. John shorts, it just blew my mind.  But I kept going and one day I found a Christian Dior skirt and it was like a heavenly chorus.  I've kept at it and even though I couldn't find any decent handbags for what felt like forever, I did finally find a Coach leather bag.  And then another.  And by learning to keep my eyes open, digging through the piles and learning to recognize the nice purses from the "eh" ones, I ended up with a decent little collect of nice bags that has cost me less than the price of buying one brand new Coach bag. That's awesome but it has taken time.

7. Where To Start?
It's kinda overwhelming to walk into a thrift store.  It's not like a department store where you can take a quick browse of the floor and now what they carry and what's out.  It's just racks and rack of clothes and the only thing that stand outs to your eye is that god awful Hawaiian mumu.  Depending on your time limit or how enterprising  you're feeling, go to your favorite garment rack first.  If you like and wear mostly dresses, go look at those, or whichever.  It breaks it down and if you find nothing, just move on.  Once you gain an eye and feel for what is quality, you'll be able to skim through the racks and tell off the bat what nice and what's probably Forever21.  If you're a mom and you're shopping with your kids, take them to the toy or book aisle first.  Give them a little while to have  some fun and find a little treat for them(If I go to the thrift store, the kids each get a tiny bit of money to spend on a treat.)  Once they have their treat and are happy, move along to your favorite aisle and either let them chill will their toy or book on the floor(relax, bring wipes, the floor won't kill them.) and you'll be able to browse in relative peace.

8. Know Thy Thrift Stores
If you live in a fairly large city you probably have access to tons of thrift stores.  Smaller towns can be tricky since you might have one but seeing as many places in the lower 48 a pretty close, chances are the next town over has some sweet spots.  Find out where the thrift stores in your area are located and then hit them.  If you don't like marathons, go to a different one each week and don't get discouraged if one is awful.  Just move along to the next.  Fairbanks has two, a Salvation Army and a Value Village with a few consignment shops mixed in.

I hope this helped a tiny bit.  The biggest thing I can say is keep trying.  It's easy to give up because you won't find great stuff every time but you have to keep at it.  Good luck everyone!   And because I love hearing stories about awesome thrift store finds, what's the best thing you've ever found at a thrift store?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Don't Take My Sunshine Away

American Eagle Outfitter Scarf
Miu Miu Jacket (thrifted)
Old Navy Tee
J.Crew Skirt (thrifted)
MIA2 Heels (thrifted)
Woven Bag (thrifted)