It's A Cinch To Pinch Those Pennies

Last week I promised to share with you where I found the bottoms in this picture.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I got these jeans at a thrift store for $4.98. In fact, I purchased everything you see below at one of three thrift stores I periodically pillage.

For my fellow disabled Spashionistas and anyone on a tight budget or a fixed income secondhand stores can be a boon. You're letting somebody else pay full price for a garment that has the potential to make you look fabulous when you score it for a lot less money. There are obvious downsides to the thrift store experience. You have to be willing to wade through a sea of so-so clothing to find that rare piece that's perfect for you. You also have to be willing to have it altered if it's a close fit.

Take these jeans, for example. These happen to be Nine West and fit me perfectly except for the length.

Given the fact that I'm on the short end of petite I expect any pants I find are going to be too long. I paid $6.98 for the jeans and another $9 to have them hemmed (you didn't really think I could sew, did you?). For around $16 I have name brand jeans that fit like a glove. The Westbound Petite I'm wearing in the photo above, along with a pair of Old Navy Sweetheart Jeans purchased for $5.98, are the only pants I've bought that didn't need to be taken up.

Other notable summer tops include the pink One World ombre  for $3.99; the RXB turquoise embellished tunic, also $3.99.

The black and white "mystery"  label-removed tunic for $2.98.

The gorgeous Ilyse Hart LTD black pencil skirt with white lace looks like a million bucks but only cost me $3.99! The third black and white item is a Sangria dress that I purchased for $5.99.

Fall picks start with the Sarah Arizona Petite dark sage top for $4.99 and the Worthington Petite black wrap top at $3.99.

This Ann Taylor Loft grey fringe wool skirt with appliqued flowers was a steal at $8.98.

Winter clothes are hard to find secondhand. This is especially true for sweaters that can't be altered and tend to arrive at the thrift store stretched, snagged, or pilled. When I find a great sweater I pounce on it. Take these two for instance. The white is a Raphaella angora/lambswool blend for $7.98. The pink Valerie Stevens is cashmere and set me back $10.99.

By my calculations that's a total of $84.81, including the $9 alteration fee, for 13 items. That averages out to $6.52 per piece. Is there any sceneario by which this does not qualify as awesome?

Please excuse the quality of these photos - I lent my photography rig to Vogue magazine. They promised to have it back in time for this shoot but, well, you know how that goes!

What's your best thrift store/charity shop/consignment boutique find?

Fashion Friday: Teacher's Pet

It's that time again when teachers and students alike file back into the learning institutions of our country to educate and learn from each other - and yes, I believe it's often a reciprocal process, especially if either has a disability.

Here we have an inexpensive red shirtdress from Kohl's that's appropriate for student and teacher alike. I've chosen to accessorize from a student's POV with a denim backpack and some youthful baubles but you can swap these out for more sophisticated pieces if school's out for you. This week's challenge is styling around the DAFO leg brace. I had never heard of these until I read about them on Kristen's Life With Cerebral Palsy and was immediately inspired to incorporate a DAFO brace into this week's look. Normally I'm not a fan of the Ugg booties but, in this case, they afford both ample room and pretty camouflage for the brace. While they don't occlude it completely they are an infinitely more stylish choice with this outfit than a pair of athletic shoes.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Fashion Friday: Retro '70's Lib

All this talk of platform shoes got me in the mood to go retro this week.

The seventies brought us stronger women through Women's Lib and less structured clothing via the likes of Halston and Diane Von Furstenberg, to name a few. It also ushered in the leisure suit and Disco - but I prefer to focus on the positive influences of the era. This set pulls together a romantic yet sophisticated blue jersey dress with a silver chain accenting, but not cinching, the waist. The dress is the perfect canvas for the accessories I've added. The silk velvet shawl is admittedly too heavy for summer but is ideal for the transition into cooler weather. I couldn't resist pairing this with low-heeled white oxfords and vintage shoulder bag. Both would work beautifully with the blue rolling walker, complete with built-in seat if you need to strike a pose. The earrings, vintage ring, and retro shades round out the nod to a bygone era.

Next week's Fashion Friday will serve as a companion to the weekly post. Both will focus on, what else, shoes!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Fashion Friday: L'été [French Summer]

Starting today with the help of Polyvore I intend to post an outfit every Friday with a common thread that is something I can wear either using my crutches or wheeling around in my chair.

This week I wanted to pay tribute to my French heritage by creating an outfit ideal for a Summer stroll. Everything you see here can be found by searching for the word "French" on Polyvore.

L'été

The dress is fun and pretty. The lacey butterfly sleeves cover any upper arm issues without looking heavy. The elasticized waist guarantees  it won't twist or ride up while wheeling or walking with crutches. The ballerina flats are bright and comfortable; appropriate for chairs and anyone who doesn't "step-out" of strapless shoes. The over-the-shoulder bag will stay put regardless of whether you're hoofing it or wheeling around. It's also a great way to incorporate the season's trendy tangerine color if it's not in your color palette. Add a few accessories in a muted oranges and bronzes, bright fingernails and muted makeup - if you can manage it - and voilà! You've got a great outfit you can wear anywhere from casual day at the office to dinner and a movie.

I'm not posting specific labels and prices here - although these will show up on my Polyvore page - because I'm focusing on shapes, colors, and functionality. I know how tight money is for us Palsies and it's an issue I will be addressing at length in future posts.

Would you wear this outfit? What are some of the functional issues you need to take into consideration when you go clothes shopping?

We Can Work It Out

And we should work it out.  I don't care how mild or how severe your CP is we Palsies deserve to look as good as anybody else.

The way you dress reflects how you feel about yourself. It doesn't determine your worth as a person, but it does determine your estimation of your own value. It lets other people know how much or how little you think about the package you're presenting to the world. I think it's really, really important for those of us with Cerebral Palsy to understand that we have the potential to be as valuable as anyone else. It's equally important to understand that we are being judged for our physical appearance far more critically than our able-bodied counterparts. It's not because people are jerks - although some people clearly are. It's because as human beings we are physiologically hardwired to notice differences in our environment and that includes people who look or move in a way that is radically different from the norm. In other words, people are going to notice you because you are handicapped. All the political correctness in the world isn't going to change that. It's just going to make others that much more hesitant to approach you for fear of saying something offensive.

Do you want someone else's first impression of you be of nothing but your disability? Are you so nicely wrapped that people are staring at you - in a GOOD way - because they'd like to interact with you? Or do you look like you either think little of yourself or wish you owned Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility?

Why deny anyone the opportunity to get to know you? Change their preconceptions with that first glance, that first impression. You can do it. I have done it, and I know that for a fact because people I've met that have become friends have told me so.

It took me far too long to come out of the shadows. Don't waste another day of your life waiting for the world to change. Change your world - today.

I want to get to know you! I want to start a movement with you. I want to recruit you as a fellow Spashionista. I want us to help each other look like we're worth our weight in gold; because we are!