Posts in the RANTS AND RAVES category

This morning I read Kelly Cutron’s little rant about Kanye’s style and how irrelevant it is to fashion people (read it here).  The first thing that popped into my head was..well yeah I never think of him when I dress in the morning!

She specifically goes on to reference his Givenchy ridden closet and says that most people who listen to his music can’t afford it anyway, unless they go for the Canal street version, so in reality he can’t be that much of an influence.

Consequently that got the ball rolling in my mind about the correlation between fashion and music and more specifically the way 80’s and 90’s hip hop style has had a very heavy hand in the way we have been dressing the past few years.

Below you’ll find a compilation of some of my favorite hip hop artists and their iconic styles. You name it, it’s infiltrated our fashion psyche —->

Bold ethnic prints, varsity jackets, heavy chains, bombers, camouflage, denim on denim, sportswear, bucket hats. TALK ABOUT INFLUENCE! Sorry Kanye.. Bai bai!

Shopping Sabbatical

  • By stefany.mohebban82@gmail.com
  • With 3 Comments
  • On 2 Aug | '2014
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While on a thrifting trip upstate in mid July I found myself exhausted.  Not physically exhausted but mentally, in a way only unhappy people feel.  I remember sitting in the car and saying “shopping doesn’t make me feel happy the way it used to.”

Naomi looked at me puzzled, as we had planned a two day trip which strictly involved shopping and asked what had changed.  The answer was simple, yet more complex in ways I could have ever imagined.  In that moment it occurred to me that it had lost its mystique and appeal partially because at this point in my life, I have acquired more items than one needs to get through an entire life span.  Sure, the items are amazing.  Most are unique vintage pieces I cherish and appreciate the artistic, stylistic and historic value of.  Despite their beauty and value, and at the end of the day,  they have stopped serving the purpose of making me happy and have strictly turned into dead weight.

I took a deep breath and began to tell her about missing that feeling I had as a teen, when I would babysit for weeks at a time and save up just enough money for that special piece I had been pining for.  Trouble always was, that by the time I had saved enough money to buy it, the item was already out of style (which may perhaps explain my disdain for trends).  I no longer feel satisfied after shopping.  I feel guilty, for adding yet another item to my already overstuffed closet, for spending money I could be saving for something far more useful (a conversation about what useful means these days will surely come up in a post this year).  So what’s the point of shopping? She asked..If it doesn’t make you happy and you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it!  Instead, you should take a year off and see how you feel.  BOOM!  My eyes lit up and I knew that was my answer.  Take a full year off of shopping (some restrictions apply such as undergarments and socks….)  and not only watch that savings pile grow, but also figure out new ways to wear the pieces I already own. In the conversation we also discussed what I would do with the money that I estimate I spend a year on shopping, and I suggested putting $500 a month away in a savings account and then doing something either for my own business with it (vintage truck anyone??) or putting it towards an experience (travel).  This final chapter of the adventure is to still be determined as I’m sure the answer will become clearer as the days go by.

This challenge was embraced fully as it struck me that besides the obvious upsides, I will now be able to devote my time and energy towards things that are far more important for my life.  I will take that time and visit more museums, take classes, start and FINISH cool projects that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and who knows! Maybe discover new things I love and bring new people and experiences in my life that I may have otherwise missed out on cause I was too busy bidding on Ebay.

I encourage everyone who reads this to absorb how life changing this sort of experience can be, and maybe just for a second.. consider joining me on this endeavor.

Mostly I look forward to sharing my thoughts as the months go by, as I’m sure all this spare time can only lead to some soul searching.

Wish me luck!

xx

Stefany

Fur Vest Manifesto

When I was young I despised my moms fur coats.  I happened to think that in them, she looked like a furry linebacker.  Throughout high school and college my feelings towards fur remained the same, truth is I had not been exposed to the right kind of fur, plus it had yet to make the comeback it has in the last decade. Once vintage shopping became a standard part of my life, my appreciation for the beauty of fur slowly reared it’s head out.  To this day I have never purchased new fur though.  Call it my love for animals, or my love for vintage, but the truth of the matter is I probably never will!
I find the charm of finding vintage fur part of the experience, you’d be amazed at the selection available to us, and to think of all the cute little old ladies that once owned this wonderful pieces. 
To give you a brief history of my fur purchases…my first piece was a beat up over sized double breasted chocolate brown rabbit coat I found at a thrift store about 5 years ago.  I look HUGE in it, but love it nonetheless, cause she’s so soft and keeps me so warm in the freezing NY winter months.
My second purchase was a fox fur stole.  I did a lot of research before making the purchase, assuring that the piece I eventually bought would incorporate into my outerwear collection seamlessly.  I loved the idea of a stole for it’s reminiscence of 20’s glamor.  The stole had to be something I would be comfortable wearing with my chucks and jeans, or an evening gown though, so eventually I settled on a piece I found on Ebay. 
My latest fur purchase was this INSANE vest that I can’t describe as anything other than shockingly awesome.  I was perusing the aisles of No Relations: one of my favorite second hand stores in the lower east side.  I had noticed her but didn’t think it was a purchase I was interested in making at the time since it was hot as balls out (early September?), until I ran into Joan of Vanhees Vintage there and she mentioned what a great find it was.  When I asked her why she wasn’t buying it herself, she said it had some damage.  That’s ok I thought to myself, perfection is WAY overrated anyway! 
So I decided to throw the vest on and my mind was blown.  This thing was EPIC.  My mom in the 80’s would have done a double take.
What propelled the purchase is that at this point in my life I’ve gained enough confidence to wear stand out pieces such as this vest with no reason at all except that I feel like it.  I used to think you needed an occasion for a wow piece, now I just think you need to love fun. 
Mom and I are overdue for a hang out, and you bet we’ll both be furry linebackers this time around, no shame at all.

Wearing my new favorite vintage fur, Mcqueen army coat, vintage Levi’s, Helmut Lang tee, vintage cardigan, Zara studded oxfords.

Inspiration Snob.

One of the manifestations of thinking of myself as someone with a strong sense of personal style is that I snuff a lot of sources of inspiration. I bring this up because I see it as a fault in some ways, but nonetheless part of what makes me who I am.
 Someone asked me the other day where I get my inspiration from and there was an awkward moment of silence during which my mind raced to find the most acceptable answer to this question without sounding like a complete asshole! 
If I had been honest with him, I would have confessed that I hardly look at magazines or trendy blogs as a guide.  I would have also told him that I heavily rely on street style… which I do and always have.  But not the kind of street style we know of today.  I speak of the way regular everyday men and women dress to do regular people things.  Not the crazy peackocking during fashion week or off duty models…. there’s something very uninspiring about the unattainable.  So, the list goes something like this: real people along with graffiti, architecture, nature and different cultures have always been an integral part of what truly inspires me and the way I dress.  I recognize how pretentious this may sound, yet I stand by it.
Blogs and magazines have a way about them, so contrived and hyper glamorized to a degree that’s often not inspiring.  I enjoy the realness of people on the street going on about their business and struggles of every day life.  The ways that people adjust to their environment and do things for practicality sake, or the way they interact and communicate with their environment via their clothes.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve never lived a very luxurious or glamorous life, at least not to the degree that I see happening all around me. This has made me appreciate beauty in resourcefulness, utility and creativity.  These qualities are my survival skills and I can spot someone who contains them in a heart beat because we have a way of visually communicating it that’s easilty recognizable.
I sound even more like an asshole now don’t I.  This one might be a lost cause, oh well.
This blog post partially came about because of the aforementioned conversation I had with a friend, but also because I was so thrilled the other day when I saw a photo on instagram that I truly felt inspired by.  And this WAS a street style photo… and she was probably a model, and she was probably wearing clothes that are out of my budget, but damn, I loved every minute of it.

Confession… this is appealing because A) I own that bag… B) I just scored a weird but cool vintage Ralph Lauren longer denim jacket from a thrift store C) I love wearing black D) I can pull this off easy!
I suppose this wasn’t a stretch, but there was just something that clicked when I saw this photo… perhaps it was it’s attanability, or maybe I’m warming up to the idea of being inspired?
Who knows..  either way, just look out for me in this outfit REAL SOON!

It’s no news that I shop at thrift stores a lot. As a matter of fact I’ve begun in the last few years to really pride myself in my skills at finding super cool gems where others refuse to look (Ew someone wore that already?).
I’ve told many friends before when discussing second hand shopping, that I strongly believe it makes a person so much cooler, even distinguished, while building character and a strong sense of self.  I say this because it takes a unique kind of eye to make something out of nothing, finding treasures and seeing the potential in someone else’s discarded items.  You tell me it ain’t cake to find beautiful things if you’re shopping at Barney’s.
To give something a second chance is a pretty sweet feeling and it also forces you to be a lot more creative.  But if you are reading this now you probably already know all this and feel very similarly, right?. 
What I really think we ought to discuss though is the few pretty cool discoveries I made about myself my last visit to the thrift store.

Realization #1:  I met up with a coworker the other day and she had on these fantastic cluster earrings and of course I noticed them and asked where they were from (cocky one I am, I already knew she was gonna say vintage and a flea market.. but I still asked.. and yes they were vintage clip ons from the flea market) and then it occurred to me that I’ve been neglecting clip ons for a really long time because I was under the impression that they are uncomfortable.. and also why use clip ons when I have perfectly pierced ears.  Well it turns out I’ve developed a pretty bad reaction to costume earrings.. they always end up leaving me some weird rash.. so clip ons all of a sudden became a very appealing option to me.  Guess what! I found the COOLEST pair of them today.  They look very 80’s but at the same time very ethnic and very now in some weird way.  RIGHT?
On top of all that, the guy running the thrift store saw me trying them on and said they “opened up my face” which I’m not really sure what that actually means, but it has to be a good thing or he wouldn’t have said it.
In addition to that he said they made me look taller. How? I have no clue but I’ll take it.

Realization #2: I’m pretty darn skilled at spotting designer stuff without seeing the tag.  Ok this is kind of a no brainer if you shop vintage a ton, because you become very familiar with designers and their aesthetic but still… I saw below sweater vest (yes I said sweater vest and yes I will be wearing one this fall) and KNEW instantly that it was a Missoni.  I proceeded to scan the inside for the tag and the previous (clever but not clever enough) owner had cut it out.  For a second I doubted my magical talent, but then…… I realized they had forgotten to cut off the size tag and voila.. any doubt I had was instantly diminished, cause well, I even know what the size tag looks like. Now a Missoni sweater vest mine for less than your Starbucks latte.

Today I’d like to discuss that very fine line between ugly and ugly beautiful because it exists.  It’s as real as day and night and to have the intuition to know when something is just ugly ugly rather than making that leap to beautiful is crucial to being stylish.  I’ve given this plenty of thought in the past but a purchase I made today at the local thrift store really took things to the next level, even for a veteran such as myself.

The image above is of a silk Saks Fifth Avenue vintage blouse I picked up for a wholesome $15.  And yes what you see is piles of puppies, birds, flowers, butterflies and even a ladybug on the collar.  WHY but WHY I ask myself is this the most amazing blouse I’ve ever laid eyes on, as opposed to the most awful.  Let’s dissect by starting off with the fabric.  This gem is 100% silk, and a really nice quality silk at that.  Next up the details.  The buttons are pretty gold ornate ones that were definitely used on more expensive items when this garment was made (wild guess is late 80’s).  CHECK.  Next up is the print itself.  Ok, so we can all appreciate the irony of a kitschy print, right?  Truth be told though it can quickly transition to being plain ugly if not done properly.  What I think makes this print INCREDIBLE is the placement of the print and how the center where the buttons fall happens to be a clean white.  The added bonus are the placed bugs outside of the main motif such as the butterfly and ladybug at the bottom along with those along the collar.  
Colors are also crucial here.  The fact that its primarily black and white with splashes of colors found in nature, takes it from cheesy to sophisticated, in other words it’s the natural quality of the colors that works to its benefit.  Lastly fit is also quite important, if not the most important.  The shirt was clearly made really well and drapes and curves in all the right places.  
Now that’s a lesson in spotting the goodies at your local thrift store. GOT ALL THAT?
 Happy shopping and good luck finding all the ugly beautiful items out there just waiting to be discovered.
 

I wish I could stop thinking/consequently asking every person that crosses my path whether it’s a good idea for me to go platinum.  I get that it’s super edgy, different, striking.  All these words have been used to describe this dramatic change, and even though I am a fan of being all of the aforementioned qualities, I still can’t imagine it looking *good* on me.  Is different for the sake of being different enough?  Coloring my hair doesn’t have to be a permanent change obviously, yet it feels like asking this question is about something entirely different and much deeper than a color job.  It’s about being comfortable with letting go of something that’s been part of my identity.  I’ve always been the black haired, middle eastern, exotic girl.  What would going platinum do to that?  Who would I become?  Would I love her?  Would she feel out of place?  How would this drastic change affect the way I like my clothes? My style?
I’ve been going back and forth about all of these issues for weeks now.  Am I overthinking it all?
Most likely, yet I can’t help getting all heady when it comes to aesthetics and image.  I recently tried to think of any olive skinned girls who had successfully gone platinum and made it work.  I’ve fallen a bit short.  Any girl that does look good with a platinum color is fair skinned as far as I can recall.  Here goes my list:

Selma Blair: She’s a hottie, but def much fairer than I am. 

 Oh Edie, you sure are perfect aren’t you.. I would do it just to be compared to her :)

Kate Winslet: Probably one of the most beautiful women out there.  She would look good with a bag over her head.. so maybe she’s not the best example.

Ok, miss Gaga: Only using this example because she’s Italian and her skin tone may be sort of similar to mine.  Yet I still think she’s lighter and isn’t the best resource for me to use.

Another beauty who can pull off the platinum pixie no problem.

Agyness:  Another white girl!  See the pattern here?

 The quintessential platinum babe of my generation:  But will it work on me?

Do you see what I’m saying here?  All these girls can pull it off because they are essentially way fairer than I am.  If ANYONE can show me a good example of a girl with olive skin who pulls off platinum hair I AM DOING IT.  Until then i’ll just talk about it.

There are times when I question whether I’m successfully getting my message across about the way I view fashion and style.  On the outside it may appear as though this blog is simply about buying clothes at thrift stores and bragging about how little they cost.  On the contrary, it’s meant to look beyond the cost of items, and focus on the truth that style is inherently unrelated to the amount someone is able to spend on their wardrobe, but much more about the way they are able to creatively escape that confinement and achieve the unimaginable.  This is precisely why I often forget to mention who the designer of something I am wearing is, or where it can be purchased.  My intention has never been to get the reader to go out and buy the same item I’m wearing.  Rather, it’s meant to give you the confidence and inspiration to walk into a thrift store, a Zara, a department store, or the Chanel store in Soho and OWN whatever it is that you’re buying, never letting the item dictate your originality and creativity.  There is no one brand, item, price point right for everyone.  The key is to get to a place in which you are so comfortable with yourself, a garbage bag would look amazing on you.  That is at the crux of true style.  It’s an art that has no perfect, is and will always be a work in progress, but happiness does come with the journey as long as you embrace every step of the way. What’s right for my wallet or my body is most likely not the same as what’s right for you, but by communicating with each other and being open and honest about who we are, we can only get better at it. I encourage comments even if they are negative, because I am learning as much as you every time I write a post or share a photo on Instagram.  I’ve been giving this idea a ton of thought, because in this over saturated digital world we take part in it has become so difficult to separate the original and interesting, from the contrived.
Trust me when I tell you I am not beyond falling short of this myself.  It’s a constant battle not to get sucked into the appeal of consumerism, and the mentality that what you have is no longer relevant, and feeling as though in order to look good you need to constantly shop and feed into the latest trends.  It often helps me to step back, look at what I have, and assess whether items will enhance who I am, or just feed the flaky ego.
That perspective is also quite useful when gauging if something is great for somebody else, but not right for you.  I find myself confusing that sometimes, not realizing right away that something I’m admiring on another person, may not necessarily work for me.
Sorry to get so preachy, but I felt it was crucial to make a stance on how important staying true to yourself is, as I find that I don’t communicate that enough verbally.  So thanks for reading my ramble and have an amazing weekend.
xx
Stefany

Illustration via Victor Khomenko

You know that feeling you get when you’re into someone that pays you no attention what so ever, but one day finally acknowledges your existence with a nod/smile/gesture and all the emotions you felt for them are washed away and replaced by this feeling of conquest that quickly turns into this feeling of I’ve been there done that -it wasn’t nearly as good as I had imagined in my head?
What I’m really trying to say is that humans are primitive creatures, and at the end of the day we are all about the chase, and once we have acquired what we thought we wanted SO much while it seemed so out of our reach, we are over it, and ready to move on to the next.
Unfortunately, this phenomena applies to humans and objects alike.  I am referring to the I NEED THAT SHOE OR I WILL DIE BECAUSE IT’S NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE AND I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING THE INTERNET FOR A WHOLE 4 HOURS AND MY SIZE IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!!  But then you finally find it somewhere in Japan and they can expedite the shipping to you for only $150 because that’s totally worth it, they are that amazing after all (the shoes, and Japan). So you stalk the fed ex guy every day until the package finally arrives, and you don’t even wait until you have closed your door before you are tearing into that box like a scavenger in the wild and finally they are yours, and they are beautiful and you immediately put them on and prance around your apartment and make yourself some lunch and you are so exuberantly happy that they are yours, and then you have to go out and you take them off and you place them next to the rest of your amazing shoe collection and forget about their existence. Wait, what.. that doesn’t happen to you?  Oh.
How do we discern then, what we actually will get a ton of use out of and will love a long time, rather than the pieces we only love for the chase, for their unavailability.  Well easy for one, if something is unavailable, and you suddenly love it more than you did when you thought it was available, that’s a good warning sign.  Second, if the item is kind of not like much else you own, but you just saw it on somebody else and it looked so damn good on them, you must have it too, that’s a problem.  What I used to do when I shopped was try to have variation.  Buy pieces that were out of my “comfort zone” or colors that I didn’t have much of already because well.. variety is good right?  Not exactly.  The thrill of this new and different piece would quickly wear off and I would go back to wearing pieces that were tried and tested and true to me.  So my new take on shopping is, if I have something like it already, I will probably wear it.  Does it matter that I now own 5 black motorcycle jackets?  Not really, because I wear them with pretty much everything, and those subtle differences like length, cut, hardware, texture, really do make them different enough for me.  Recognize your uniform, and then buy things that complement it.  Don’t get sucked into the hype of a product because a really cool girl on the subway, or on Instagram looks so awesome wearing it.  Most important question should always be, Is It Me??

Road Trippin: Part One.

As some of you may know, I spontaneously decided to hop on a cross country trip my high-school friend was taking to L.A.  I bought my plane ticket on Friday afternoon and off we went bright and early Saturday morning.  I have ALWAYS wanted to do this trip. Having done both coasts to a degree, I can’t deny that the middle has been neglected for the past 20 years. 
Besides missing on the nature and beauty of this country, the appeal of being able to find local antiques and vintage has always been a dream of mine, each state offering it’s unique share of goodies to be discovered.  Because we only have a week on the road, it’s been hard to stop for more than a few hours each day to take in the local shops and food, but we have certainly done our best to use the time wisely and beyond that ridiculously boring stretch of going south via West Virginia, there has been some really cool eats and finds.  Equipped with my Pentax K1000 I have focused on finding quirky signage, street art, architecture and culture to capture, and will share some of the best upon my return to the Big Apple. 
The road can get quite monotonous, so while being cooped up in the car for up to 8 hours at a time can suck in major ways (holding pee in for extended periods of time really builds your bladder muscles) I’ve found clever ways to entertain myself.  The atlas for one thing has become my best friend… a great tool not only for navigation but trivia knowledge as well.. I may be an expert at State nicknames at this point…. Did you know that Utah is the beehive state? or that Wyoming was the cowboy state?  Fascinating!

Here are some of the high’s and low’s starting at the Big Apple all the way to the Land of Enchantment.

Doin things the old skool way with maps and highlighters

 Snow and more snow: All along West Virginia…

Pit stop in Meridian, Mississippi was bitter sweet.
Unfortunately the downtown had endured a tragic fire that they were never able to recover from, but in attempts to bring back some life you can find these beautiful carousels all around the town.  For more info: Around Town Carousels Abound.

New Orleans: SWOON! Must. Go. Back. For. Jazz Fest. 
I fell madly in love with the charm of this town.  So much life, beauty, culture.. Great food and people are so nice!  I also found the cutest vintage shop which I will do a feature on soon. :)

 Next stop:  Austin, Texas.  I had a great brunch and using the thrift buddy app, found a great thrift shop across the street from where we stopped to eat.  Let’s just say I made out really nice.. Stay tuned for post about my thrift finds!

Texas has been great to us, the views are incredible. We took a scenic route and caught the most amazing sunset.  

   

 Right before getting to New Mexico we stopped for some tex-mex at a local restaurant.  The decor was nothing short of “authentic”.

Next up for us: some desert and more desert… Arizona and finally….California… HERE WE COME!!!