Etsy Part 1: My Favorite Purchases

I noticed that in a lot of my articles, especially those about shopping, I mention Etsy as one of my all time favorite online shopping sites. This most definitely hasn’t changed, so I thought it deserved an article all its own. I’ll talk about how it works, the awesome stuff you can find there (in a word, everything), my favorite shops and stuff I’ve bought, and a little extra fun.

I first discovered this site when I became a member of Offbeat Bride, an online community for non-cookie cutter people who want non-cookie cutter weddings. Actually, I discovered a lot of my favorite shops when I was planning my wedding. All the girls raved about Etsy constantly, so I had to check it out. I’ve been hooked ever since. As I’ve said many times, it’s like Ebay in that it’s a site that hosts countless shops held by individuals. The difference it’s all about vintage and handmade items, so everything available is unique, and there’s no bidding. You can find EVERYTHING here, from the stupid, ridiculous, hilarious, amazing, useless, perfect, gorgeous, clever, and everything you never thought you needed SO badly. Best. Site. Ever. Want to see some of the things I’ve bought as an example? If you like what you see, click the pictures for links to the shops.

This is the first thing I bought besides a pendant made of watch parts. It’s an alternative to a ring bearer pillow, made like a treasure chest. I found it so perfect and elegant, and so unique. The seller added red roses at my request. I now keep it on display in my living room.

These earrings are really simple, and really pretty. They go with everything. EIGHT bucks. The shop is one of my favorites for elegant steampunk jewelry.

This is a beautiful gold hair vine with pink accents I wore on my wedding day instead of a veil. It’s made of wire so you can bend it to work any way you want. Around a bun, horizontally across the back, along a french twist; the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately the shop no longer seems to exist, but there are a lot of shops selling similar items still out there.

This soft shrug was bought just in case it rained on our wedding day. This was also custom made for me in a vanilla color. A while later the name of the shop, Pinar Eris, was bugging me, because it was just so familiar. So I plugged it into my trusty Wikipedia and read that this designer has actually made dresses for the Oscars. How amazing is that?

From Poppenkraal, another great shop for gorgeous Victorian and Steampunk style jewelry, fancier than London’s Gate. Now you tell me where else you could ever find earrings like this.

Etsy has a huge selection of beautiful hair clips, and this one is definitely stunning. It even curves, so it conforms to the shape of your head without sticking out like one I bought from another shop. Just make sure you have some good glue. This one is currently sitting disassembled on my coffee table. I really hope I can bring it back to life 😥

This here is a perfect example of what we here on Etsy call “upcycled.” It’s like recycled, but it’s just been revamped to be made better, not something entirely different. This lovely item is a pimped out vintage clutch. It’s too much fun.

This amazing Victorian necklace is another purchase from Poppenkraal, and was only $35. It even came with extra beads in case any fell off. So far, they haven’t.

My first vintage dress. It’s too big, and I knew it would be. Maybe I’ll have it tailored down – in a temporary way, I wouldn’t want to damage it. Even so, I’m in love with this dress. The color, the golden sheen, how light it feels. Even its size. With a belt it looks even older than the early 1960s. It billows almost in the way of something from the late 1910s, or early 1920s. At least that’s the feeling I get. It makes me feel like I should be sitting on a porch on a hot summer night while it rains. Do I sound ridiculous? That’s how you know how much I love this dress.

This is a phone I bought last Christmas for the owner of the Foxy Shoppe. She’s been an incredibly generous sponsor of Drawn and Plastered, and she’s such a great lady. I had to buy her something to thank her. I’m pretty sure this phone is from the 70s, but it was made to look like it’s from the 30s. When Pam opened the box she was speechless. It turns out it’s exactly what she’s been wanting since she first opened the shop. Now it sits out on display.

And finally we come to my most recent purchase, dress from about 1958-1960 (according to the style of zipper) by Mr. Mort. It fits great except for a little room in the shoulders which I stitched up. It seems to me like a poor girl’s version of that stunning tweed Dior dress Dita von Teese loves so much. All I’d need to complete the look is some long leather gloves. I wore it during the long day I spent traveling to Vegas, and felt like a lady Cary Grant or somebody from Mad Men. Traven7 is the very best when it comes to beautiful perfect vintage dresses from the late 40s to the early 60s with full skirts. Her prices are high but everybody knows she’s worth it. I’ve missed out on a few of her dresses before because they sold so quickly, but I’m so glad I finally got this one.

Wow. It seems I got pretty excited there and rambled on a bit. Let’s say I save the rest for another post?

Wardrobe Essentials

I just want to say that I don’t believe there is any such thing as “wardrobe essentials.” Aren’t you sick of hearing about these over and over? It’s always the same things. Black pants, jeans, White button down shirt, LBD, etc etc. But look, obviously we’re not all so much the same. The last time I wore a white button down was at least 6 years ago. Essential? Not so much. I only own jeans for cold and very lazy days. Some of you might not have either of those. As we all know from reading this blog, simple casual dresses are at least as easy, if not more than jeans, and that’s something I will endlessly preach until they day they invent something better. And the LBD, while nice and useful, did not enter my wardrobe for some time. I still don’t think I need one. The little RED dress, that’s where it’s at.
The point is, you don’t need other people to tell you what to buy or what to wear. You can accept help on what makes it easier and what looks very nice, but to use the word “essential” and parade it out there like you’re fashionably deficient if you don’t have these things is just stupid. You need to figure out what YOUR essentials are based on what you like and what your lifestyle is. Hell, maybe that means scrubs in your favorite color. For example, heels are a major essential for me. Anything else falls in the category of slippers, whether appropriate for outside the house or not. You may not feel even remotely this way. Fun, glamorous, versatile dresses are my biggest essential of all. But while I think you should definitely TRY these things, if they’re not for you they’re not for you. If you fight against this it’s going to accomplish just the opposite of what these people preaching “essentials” say they will. You won’t feel put together, you’ll just feel weird and uncomfortable.
How can you figure out what your essentials are? It’s as easy of thinking of your favorite things. What do you gravitate to every day, what do you love, what makes you happy? Think of this in a fairly simple way. Not “the pinstripe pants with the chain on the hip” but maybe “funky/dressy separates.” It should be stuff that really encompasses the essence of who you are while allowing for plenty of variation. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment a little outside this territory either. It’s the key to really evolving your style and your image of yourself. If it feels wrong, don’t worry about it. But it just might feel very right, and then you’ve taken a step forward and discovered something new. How exciting is that? This way you let yourself be your own style guide. You’re better than being told what to do by TV and magazines. They don’t know you. You do.

Girdle Zone

Being heavily into corsets, I’ve never been particularly interested in girdles. I guess I’ve just always thought of them as a lesser kind of corset, a “corset light”, if you will. Nevertheless the thought of getting one has crossed my mind. Not everyone wants to be bound down to 20 inches at all times, but that hourglass shape is incredibly addicting nonetheless. I just don’t feel right without it.
So it was when I was browsing a message board dedicated to vintage lifestyles and clothing that I found mention of this website, Girdle Zone. I had to have a look.
This site is a lot bigger than I would ever have thought a site about girdles could be. But the fact is there is a lot to do with history, romance, politics, and our senses of self as women that’s all tied up in girdles and the way we perceive them among other notable kinds of underwear. I was immediately fascinated by all the psychology that goes into girdles, and I was pleased to see that they really do hold just as much mental power over us as corsets do.
So you may find that a girdle is a powerful and extremely pleasurable and sexy expression of your femininity, a protective exo-skeleton that grants a feeling of power, or you may feel that you associate them with a repressed pre-feminist time. Either way, you can’t look into the subject without having some sort of emotional reaction. I’ll let you decide for yourselves how you feel about these charged garments.
http://www.girdlezone.org