Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dye me a river... Or a new shirt

There is something that I have learned being a struggling Artist, well... there are many things I learned but that is another story. This one is how to be creative with your wardrobe, on a dime store budget. For years and years, I didn't have more than $40-50 dollars a week for food, soooo that being said, you may imagine that my budget for clothing was considerably less and credit cards were completely out of the question, thank god.

Luckily for me, I am extremely creative and lived in Los Angeles, where flea market fashion runs a gamut, as long as you knew where to shop. One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday, back in the day, was hit up Jet Rag's dollar sale. Located off of La Brea Avenue, just North of Melrose Ave. Jet Rag ropes off their parking lot, throws down some plastic tarps and tosses bags and bags of overstock, donation, and non sell-able items, for all of LA's fashion forward (and broke) to scramble through for their latest fix. It really is a free for all, and sometimes fights break out as to who touched what first. All this for a buck. You can imagine then, that my gal pals and I would fill our garbage bags to the rim with our $20 budget. (who needs to eat?) I mean 20 items of clothing for $20 bucks can do a lot for a burgeoning musicians arsenal of clothing. Sure, some of it was pure shit, but other finds would be THEE certain accessory, to round out that old stage outfit, that suddenly became new again!

It was a divine way of making us girls, that chose to Rock in the trenches, still feel like we were ahead of all the trends that were soooo last season anyways.

So, I have decided to try a little something. For all the girls who have decide to chase after the arts, who don't have the cash flow of let's say, Carrie Bradshaw, I am creating a 'Frankie Spencer' way of shopping. If you don't know who Frankie Spencer is, then you may want to pick up a copy of my book This Rock in My Heart, so we can all be on the same page, so to speak.

To start out my experiment of $20 buck shopping. I like to begin with a look in my own closet. Shirts I am tired of, but I still like the cut, T-shirts that have faded, things like that. After finding what I am looking for, I walk to the nearest market, (I am not paying for gas with my $20 bucks) and I buy a big bottle of good ole Rit dye for $3.99, black is usually my color of choice, then to round out my evening I buy a lovely aged Gouda cheese for $4.99 and a bottle of wine with my change. Now I was lucky enough this evening to have Bridlewood's table wine to be on sale, so my snooty pallet was happy. There was my $20 bucks well spent AND I got to eat cheese and drink wine!

My clothing pieces of choice were three J Crew tanks, one white, one gray, and one a mustard color that I felt perfect for a throw back of hippy rocker chick style... The ole' tie-dye! I knew I had a ton of rubber bands,(since I had no more money and the wine was now popped) and I had a ball twisting the fabric this way and that, adding knots and bands where ever I felt necessary. Now I must remind you that I have a toddler running wildly around the house and the idea of rubber bands and twisting fabric is fascinating to him... so all I can say is, he helped.

The other experiment was a white vintage bohemian shirt, which I loved but didn't wear that often because who am I kidding? I don't wear a lot of white. This shirt was perfect for dying, since it had pretty little embroidery of flowers around the entire trim, that would certainly pop out with the help of the black dye grabbing more of the thread than on the fabric.

I dyed everything in a large pot on the stove, after wetting all the clothing initially, over a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring constantly with one hand, while noshing with the other. My two year old even helped with stirring (and eating the cheese) since lets not forget, being a mommy never stops but we can still have fun and be fashionable, damn it.

To say the least, I am pleased with my 'new' tops. The three Tie dyed tanks turned out awesome and unique, with picturesque striations on each one. These tanks will dress up well with some fitted black or dark jeans (even white if that is how you roll) with a great rocker vintage belt, dangley earrings and metallic bangle bracelets or leather cuffs, with your favorite boots or heels and a vintage clutch.

They also will dress down perfectly with your favorite workout pants and flip flops, taking you straight to yoga at Runyon Canyon in style.

I got really excited with my experiment and decided to continue this for the next month. (My wardrobe needs a little va va voom anyways) I remembered how creative I used to be, when my income was under $20K a year and I realized that instead of spending too much on things that come and go, I will try to see... really see how far the dollar would take me once again. The Frankie Spencer fashion plan. So here goes... join me if you dare. This is gonna be fun.


Tommie V

1 comment: