Monthly Archives: November 2009

Slow Southern News

  • Saints fever is translating into big t-shirt sales atNew Orleans retailers.
  • The Krewe of Muses is hosting a holiday market on Thursday, December 3rd from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Kingsley House. There will be a bevy of vendors offering up hats, jewelry, t-shirts, scarves, ties and more. Admission is $20 which includes parking, light food and wine. 
  • The Freret Market is this Saturday, December 5th from noon-5:00pm. The market offers homegrown food, fashion, and music every month.
  • If you are looking for something more low key  head toFlanagan’s Pub for Miss Malaprop’s handcrafted shopping party Thursday, December 3rd from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Mallory will be showcasing several crafter’s work with a focus on environmentally friendly products.


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Clean out your closet, not your wallet

I am a veteran at selling and buying clothing at resale stores. I first discovered secondhand stores in college and I’ve been an avid shopper ever since. The difference between second hand and thrift store is selection, pricing, and atmosphere. Instead of having to spend hours sifting through racks of ratty, old items someone has done the work for you. It is also nice to walk into a store that is clean with sorted and sized racks.

 Get the look for less

 Just like the mall there is a wide variety of secondhand stores that cater to a wide variety of customers. There are shops out there that specialize in every type of clothing, from designer to vintage, career wear to casual.  The beauty of this system is that you can get rid of clothes you don’t wear and turn them into cash or new items that will actually see the light of day. Read on for my tips on how to successfully get those clothes out of your closet and into a store.

1. Know the store

 Not all second hand stores are the same and one shop’s top seller is someone else’s sale rack. It is a good idea to drop by the store and take a gander at the racks or call and ask  what they are looking for. If you have a stack of office appropriate suits one store might say no thanks but another might take them all. Don’t be discouraged, especially if you have several secondhand shops in your area.

 Rain boots display

2.  Clean and presentable
You are presenting your items for someone to buy. Make sure you have recently laundered them ( last year doesn’t count) and an iron never hurt anything. If you have handbags make sure to clean up the insides especially if your makeup exploded. Items with stains, holes, extremely faded or pilly will never make the cut so don’t bother bringing in that blouse with the ketchup stain down the front.

3. Cash, clothes, and cars
Sure it sounds like a rap video but that isn’t my point. Clothes and cars are similar in that they lose value once you drive them off the lot. When people buy used clothing they are looking for a bargain. Just because you paid $200 for that pair of Rock & Republic jeans doesn’t mean the next buyer wants to! Even if you’ve only worn  (or never wore) that cocktail dress from last year’s holiday party for a few hours it makes it now used.

Patent leather driving moccasins, $8 at Plato’s Closet

4. Don’t expect miracles
 If you aren’t wearing it chances are no one else is either.  Those gaucho pants from 5 years ago? Yea everyone hates them and admit it you do too. That said buyers really do want your closet in their inventory! Don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions so you can figure out what is selling for them. Someone’s old shirt could be your amazing vintage rock tee find.

5. Where does that percentage go?
Don’t be surprised when the shop takes a chunk of the profits. That money goes towards paying employees, the light bill, taxes, advertising, rent etc…. If you want more money either A. try to return the item or B. take a chance on Ebay or Craigslist.

6. Know the difference
 You have two choices when it comes to selling your clothes. Consignment shops typically give you 40-50% cash since you don’t get your money until the piece sells. It really isn’t any sweat off their back- you just take the piece back if it doesn’t sell but your piece could sit in the store for months. A buy/sell/trade offers 30-40% in cash but you get your money that day. Therefore if your clothing doesn’t sell at full price (or not at all) then they lose money on that item. Don’t be surprised when these types of stores charge less for the same item that a consignment shop would charge more for. Some people prefer to wait it out while others just want to get the cash up front.  However almost  all stores offer 50% store credit so it is usually smart to take the store credit.

7. The more current the better
So you bought into that new acid wash denim trend and you are now questioning your sanity? Bring it in. The younger the trend the more covetable it is. Hate those big exposed zippers? Someone else will love it. Can’t walk in those thigh high boots? Let someone else try.  Trust me.

8. Expensive doesn’t mean better 
 We all love designer pieces but they still have to be cute. Just because it says “Prada” across the chest doesn’t mean it is desirable! Most people would prefer something moderately priced with a modern cut vs. something outdated just because it was expensive.

Rhinestone snake bracelet, $58 price tag still attached got it for $20

9. It is good for the environment
Selling and buying used goods has a myriad of benefits aside from padding your wallet. Selling your clothing keeps things out of  landfills and buying has an even bigger impact because you are not contributing to the manufacturing of new items. For example many vegetarians feel okay buying used leather goods since they aren’t directly supporting the leather industry.

10. Great! Where can I unload my goodies?
Check out my post on buying secondhand in the New orleans area or feel free to do some name dropping in the comments w/ your favorite places to shop. I’m including my top 4 places in the 504.

Shops to try:

Buffalo Exchange*
Funky Monkey
Plato’s Closet*
Swap Boutique

*indicates multiple locations

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Black Friday

I’m the first to admit that I avoid malls at all costs during peak shopping times. This means I will be nowhere near a food court or a parking garage come Friday and neither should you! There are a slew of deals to be found and with a little creativity you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

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Roughing it in style

I’m going to take a break from the Gulf Coast today to talk about the southwest. After Katrina I relocated to Phoenix, AZ for 3.5 years. While I wasn’t satisfied with my adopted city I did get in a lot of hiking, particularly in  the Grand Canyon. I took more trips to the canyon than I can count and I hiked to the bottom 3-4 times a year. In less than a month I will be making a trek to Phantom Ranch for the 10th time.

 Feeling stylish on the trail but not looking like a fashion victim is a tough mountain, err canyon to climb. When you are covered in sweat, snow, dirt, mule poop, or whatever else you want to feel somewhat cute but can’t run the risk of looking like a fashion freak by sacrificing comfort and mobility. Having the proper gear and clothing is crucial not only to your comfort but for your safety as well.

These silk cargo pants from Da-Nang are easy on the eyes. Silk is also very insulating but I’d throw a pair of thermal leggings underneath for an added layer. The side pockets are perfect for throwing a camera or a mid trail snack in.

This Salomon brand trail runner tee is a nylon spandex blend that will keep you warm and dry. Available at REI. Just throw on a shell and a wind resistant jacket and you are ready to tackle cold climes.
Salomon Trail Runner Warm Tech Tee - Women's
I’m okay with a silly winter hat so long as it remains functional. This acrylic and wool blend from Monica Burnett satisfies both needs. I usually warm up quickly and start stripping away layers so this open weave hat would be great for me.
Of course you can’t leave your digits exposed to the elements. These Sugoi gloves from REI Outlet will keep your hands warm and they also have a gel grip. This is important if you use trekking poles such as myself and need to keep your “sissy sticks” in hand vs. tossed down the trail.
Sugoi Wallaroo 210 Gloves - '08 Closeout
Since the whole point of hiking is the scenery I’ll share with y’all pictures from my last cold weather excursion to the Grand Canyon. These were taken Mardi Gras 2008. Even when I didn’t live in New Orleans I always took time off work for Mardi Gras.
 
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Slow Southern News

  • Stop in Feet First now through Sunday, November 29th at receive discounts if you bring in canned or non-perishable food items. Bring in 2 or more items and receive 20% off your total purchase. Bring in 3 or more items and receive 30% off your purchase. All food will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.
  • Stop by Buffalo Exchange for 75% off sale merchandise now until the end of the month.
  • Local clothing line LiaMolly will be having trunk shows  on Wednesday, November 25th  from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Loa in the International House Hoteland on December 16th same time, same place.
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Slow Southern News

  • Ruby is giving away a free gift with any purchase now through November 30 for all of their Facebook fans. Also stop by tonight for Hammond’s Starry November night from 5pm-10pm. There will be food, cocktails, music and of course shopping! Pick up a game day tee or a great pair of jeans from their latest shipment of James, Ringspun, Blaque Label and Rock Revival.
  • Tomato is opening their second store in Baton Rouge this weekend. Visit them 2353 Perkins Road in the Southdowns Village. Store hours are Monday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm.

  • Buffalo Exchange is having its annual Coats for Cubs drive. From now until April 22 drop off your unwanted fur coats to your local Buffalo Exchange and they will be shipped to the Humane Society of the United States for use in rehabilitating wildlife. The fur is used as bedding to comfort injured or orphaned wildlife and since 2006 Buffalo has collected 3,885 furs for Coats for Cubs.

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Nifty, thrifty and best of all handmade






Meet Alison and her nifty little vintage and handmade shop. 





How did you get into thrifting?
I’ve always adored old things. I had an “antique box” as a child. But I actually didn’t get into thrifting until the end of high school. 


 What makes an item really stand out to you?
My eye has gotten better. I skim a rack of clothes and what pulls me in is texture. Vintage clothing has a very different texture than most clothing today. Some modern clothes imitates the vintage texture and gets pretty close, though. 

 Vintage 60s/70s Victorian Gothic Cocktail Ring 






Is there a certain style that you are drawn to, or do you try to stock a wide range of things in your shop?

Personally, I love mod style from the 60s. But I also enjoy many styles from 70s & 80s. For myself I am more picky. But for others I can appreciate how others express themselves and will often buy things that I think someone else will love. 


 Ruffle lace bolero jacket


What are your top sellers?
My top sellers are hard to determine because everything I’ve ever had was of a very limited quantity. It can pretty unpredictable on what will sell fast. I think that when my shop has been more stocked with vintage clothing, it helps my handmade items sell better. 



 Vintage bingo card hand bound notepad







Define southern style.

I‘m not really sure how to define Southern style only because It seems like there are people from all over here in the South. But I can say that I think Southern style probably has a warmth and charm that is as sincere and down to earth as Southern hospitality!


 One of a kind brass and copper charm bracelet


You can purchase these items as well as many others via Alison’s Etsy shop.



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Mannequin Mondays

I’ve often said that when I hit the lottery (too bad I’ve never bought a ticket) I’d wear ball gowns to do the most menial chores like washing the dishes and vacuuming. Well when that time comes this would be my first pick.
Harold Clarke located in Rubenstein’s
102 St. Charles Ave., 504.581.6666
Thanks to Leslie of Nola Eats for snapping this pic for me.
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Show & Tell

I’ve never considered myself a shoe person even though my husband would beg to differ. A deep sense of lust doesn’t overwhelm me when looking at a pair of platform sky high heels. I instantly wince at the pain factor and stick to shoes that I can primarily wear to work. I do however like to wear fun colors and patterns so I couldn’t  pass up these J. Crew suede chartreuse driving mocs when I saw them. I love wearing these with navy or  contrasting them with another bright color. Since I walk to work everyday I don’t exactly baby my shoes and these won’t last but a few more months.  Let’s all sit back and cherish them before I wreck them beyond wearability.
 
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Beautiful metal






Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into metal smithing.

My father was a silversmith as a hobby and had a workshop in the basement. I began experimenting with his tools and supplies as a teenager. I then spent many years exploring other mediums and art techniques, coming back to metalsmithing after inheriting his tools. I have made my living as a jeweler for the last 6 years.

To me jewelry should be a personal representation of oneself vs. a fashion item. How are your interests and personality showcased in your work?


 I embrace hand-made, especially when it comes to jewelry. My very favorite designs come about when I try to make what I want to wear -not just make something because I think that it will sell. Many of my designs reflect collections that I have, my most cherished being a wall of heart milagros that I have collected over the years. I want my pieces to feel like they’ve been around for awhile, have soul, or a story to tell.


 I couldn’t help but notice the circle themes in your work. Is that a conscience design decision?


The circles in my work are not a conscience theme, but  come from designing what I  like to wear.

How does living in New Orleans inspire your work?


 New Orleanians have an attachment to their town and all things New Orleans that I don’t think exists in many other places. It is very inspiring. It is a town so steeped in history and ritual that it can be a little intimidating to try to reflect that.
New Orleans is very lucky to have several great art markets. I love our creative and very supportive community. Being a regular vendor at a few of these helps me strive to always improve my creations.


Define southern style.

 For me, Southern style is easy and not too fussy; can it be in our humidity? It is also slightly worn around the edges with a touch of funk, a little flirtation and a measure of mystique thrown in. 

You can purchase Kiki’s designs on Etsy as well as Bywater Art Market (3rd Saturday of every month) and the Arts Market of New Orleanss at Palmer Park ( last Saturday of every month)
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