Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shopping for Bakelite

Bakelite bangles galore from Gaslight and Shadows Antiques

In an effort to make my blog a little more vintage focused I’m starting this series where I’ll provide tips for finding the very coolest vintage stuff. To get the ball rolling, I’m focusing on Bakelite because I just think it’s darn cool.

Dandy Bakelite silverware from Eddie Ross's blog

What is Bakelite? Bakelite was essentially the first kind of plastic ever made and because of it’s strength, it was widely used to make lots of stuff like purse handles, kitchen doodads, radios and of course my favorite jewelry! Although Bakelite is still produced in limited quantities today, the majority of Bakelite products you’ll find these days are vintage. Bakelite also comes in a range of colors and opacities. Part of the reason that I love it so much is because of the dark shades of yellows, greens and reds that are perfect for fall and winter weather.

Vintage Bakelite pin from Decatique Studios

Where to find it: eBay is a great place to find loads of vintage Bakelite pieces. Those crafty Etsy members have also used repurposed Bakelite to make some really unique accessories. Though many vintage sellers don’t have the most sophisticated websites (which makes sense I suppose) but if you can navigate through the sites, there are some great things to be found. and Citrus Avenue Collectibles have huge selections!

Custom Bakelite cufflinks from 19 Moons

Is it real? As a collectors item, Bakelite tends to be on the expensive side so there are several tests you can do to determine if that goodie that you’re pining for is real or an imposter. The first and easiest trick is to rub the piece with your fingers to warm it up. If it’s real, the heat will cause a chemicaley formaldehyde smell. You can also run it under hot water and wait for that same smell. Another way to test the authenticity of Bakelite is to knock two pieces together. If they’re both real, you’ll hear a deeper clunk sound as opposed to a lighter clink sound that comes from other plastics. If you’re hardcore enough about your Bakelite, you can also try the test that many experts use which is taking a cotton swab soaked in 409 and rubbing it on the piece in question. If the swab turns yellow, that means it’s real, if not, you may have a faker.

Bakelite ring by Petit Oiseau

Happy shopping!

Monday, November 2, 2009


...My new Etsy shop La Poubelle Vintage! I've been working for the past few months on putting together my first vintage collection to be sold on Etsy and it has finally launched. It's a mix of high and low vintage pieces and like a true budget babe, I'm keeping the prices as low as possible. Please check it out and let me know what you think! Here are a few pictures from the store.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Layering Essentials

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, not just because of the changing leaves, beautifully mild temperatures and hearty fall foods, but also because of the flexibility it gives me in my wardrobe. By layering, I can make my summer favorites last a few months longer while still trying out some of my new cold weather purchases. Since living in New York, I’ve also found that this time of year, temperatures can change quickly so layering is an absolute essential. In the spirit of layering and wanting to show off a couple of new purchases, I’ve decided to highlight some of my favorite cover-ups.

This navy blazer is my go to piece in the fall and spring. It’s actually a boys prep school blazer that I bought on eBay for dirt cheap. I’ve found that boys blazers have a great fit for me, tight in the arms and slightly boxy through the body.

This ruffled jacket is my newest purchase resulting from a recent trip to H&M. I think it’s the perfect combination of ‘80s decadence and romantic ruffles.

This leather motorcycle jacket has been in my closet since high school and only fuels my misgivings about getting rid of clothes, as I had thought about donating it many times in the past and now wear it almost daily.

Another new baby from H&M. I’ve been dreaming about a longer tuxedo jacket all summer but I couldn’t resist this cropped version when I tried it on. The $35 price tag made the purchase a necessity.

Even though this sweater reminds me a little bit of a Christmas-themed bathrobe, it’s about the comfiest thing I own. I usually throw it on for running errands since it pairs perfectly with jeans and moccasins.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mixing it up

A few weeks ago, I took a trip back to my old stomping grounds in Ithaca. One of my favorite stores in the area that I actually worked at while I went to school, is Petrune. They have the coolest shop filled with vintage pieces and accessories, they also recently moved into a larger space and started carrying some new labels like Tulle. If you're ever in the area, it's definitely worth checking out. I picked up a few things while I was there and just got around to taking some pictures of them.

This green dress was marked down to only $5 because the zipper was broken and the seams are coming apart a bit. Nothing that a few stitches can't fix. Not that I have anywhere to wear it but I think it's such a charming little cocktail dress.

Dress, vintage; shoes, Charlotte Russe; headband, repurposed necklace

I also found this little white cover up. I've been really into crop tops lately and I thought this could be a nice little cover up for summer evenings.

Shirt, vintage; dress, Urban Outfitters; necklace, vintage; sandals, Gap

This beaded top was something I picked up on a whim. It's not something that I would normally wear but I thought the beading was interesting and I saw some good layering potential in it.

Beaded top, vintage; tube top, shorts, belt, H&M; pumps, Pink

Here are some close up shots of the beading since it's hard to see in these shots.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chasing the Dream

It seems like every day when I’m getting dressed, all I want to wear is a white blousy peasant shirt. I search my closet from front to back, expecting to find something but never coming up with anything acceptable. Since this seems like such a closet basic, I think it’s time I added one (or two or three). My requirements are this: crisp white color, lightweight material like linen, a nice drape but not a totally shapeless sack. Should be easy enough, right?

You can always turn to Gap for a blouse that is just preppy enough. I like the cut of this one, it’ll be perfect with jean cutoffs and sandals this summer. Get it while it's hot, it's on sale now for $20!

Piped Blouse from Gap, $19.99

This Fossil blouse isn’t exactly what I had in mind but the cascading ruffles down the front hooked me. I also like that it’s sleeveless so I can stay cool as a cuke.
Fossil Skylar shirt, $29.99

So this shirt is a little off topic but I can’t stop clicking back to it. I love the blue and white pattern and sequined patch. I think I would get a TON of use out of it.

Mermaid Heart Top from LuLu's, $54

So I’m breaking my rules again since this one is ivory instead of a plain white but the fit with the nipped in waist and billowing sleeves is too perfect to pass up.
Gather 'Round Button Down from Anthropologie, $49.95

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Summer Sandal Philosophy

I am a firm believer in the flat summer sandal and an ever firmer believer in buying them dirt cheap since I wear them practically to death. Case in point, I've already worn down the 3 or so pairs that I already bought this season so it's time for round two! Lucky for me, people already have fall on the brain and are majorly discounting their sandals. Here are some options I'm considering:

These dark brown color and rows of neat studs make these Target sandals feel much richer than their $25 price tag. I might have to throw my "no ankle straps" rule out the window...

Mossimo Sandals for Target, $24.99

Urban Outfitters has an amazing summer sale going on, last week I snatched up this maxi dress, this bib necklace and this backless tank for mega cheap. Their sandal selection is great too, I'm digging these suede cage sandals.

Urban Outfitters suede cage sandals, $39.99

I tend to find Aldo a little overpriced for what it is but I think these intricately beaded sandals are definitely worth $20, don't you?

Landucci sandals from Aldo, $19.98

Sometimes I find the sheer volume of shoes on Piperlime's site to be a little overwhelming to sort through but I did find these sandals by Emma Pink. The ladylike cut is balanced by a nice pop of neon color.

Emma Pink sandals from Piperlime, $39.99

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Need These Summer Dresses. Now.

Pintuck Citrus Jersey Dress from Fred Flare, $29.99

My summer uniform consists of a little dress and flat sandals. It’s rare that I differ from this formula too often. That being said, by the end of each summer, all of my dresses have been worn to DEATH. I’m in the market for some new dresses for this season and happened to be looking on Fred Flare’s website. I knew they were the place to go for kitschy accessories but their clothes are darn cute too. There’s a ton of cute dresses that I’ve got my eye on like this denim jumper, this tie-dye dress (ok so I’m obsessed with tie-dye), and this preppy striped one. They’re all totally reasonably priced too so shop away!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Guest blogger preview

I’ve gotten the opportunity to do some guest blogging for Sandra at Debutante Clothing. She writes mostly about vintage and vintage inspired clothing and has a really great eye for style. Here are a few photos from my photo shoot, and by photo shoot I mean my friend taking pictures of me on the street while various moving men and construction workers heckled me. My first post should be up shortly so check it out!