56 - Babushka in the Desert

Poncho - UO, Top - Hanes tee DIY fringing, Shorts - Vintage DIY cut-offs, Purse - Ross Dress for Less (holla!), Jewelry - Flea Market + Konstantino, Boots - Vintage from eBay

Nicki took that first picture after our awesome Santee Alley adventure. Isn't it rad? Below is my post about our Santee Alley adventure. I'm actually kind of bummed that I wore this shirt, because while at Santee Alley, I picked up an awesome pair of leggings and sunglasses that looks amazing with this top. I think you will just have to deal with seeing it in another post very soon!

Shopping at Santee Alley is a great way to get inexpensive goodies, but it raises a lot of questions for me about the way I shop. Buying inexpensive goods is a double-edged sword: it's good for your pocket, but inevitably supports the type of labor that can be purchased for extremely low prices, which isn't ideal. The alternative is buying designer, which typically supports fair labor and creativity over knock-offs, but for someone my age, it can perpetuate the cycle of typical American debt endemic in our economic system. I think that the key is balance. I purchase a lot of thrifted/vintage, which is great because it is both affordable and encourages garment recycling to cut down on waste. From there, I supplement with slightly higher-end styles and fast-fashion labels like Forever 21 and H&M, without going overboard. I try to be responsible with my purchases by using these 10 tricks:

  1. Whenever I want a trend item or crazy statement piece, I go to the thrift store first to find the item first. Because it's a trend item, I probably won't wear it for very long, and I'd rather re-use existing styles than purchase something I will get rid of very soon. This works best with 80s/90s looks.
  2. When I'm looking for something a bit more contemporary, I'll stop by a secondhand store that specializes in newer styles. In LA, the best shop is Wasteland by far, but you can also find good things at Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads. Prices are about half of what they would be new, and everything is in great shape.
  3. I buy accessories and simple basics like cardigans from Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters only if I think that I won't be "over it" very soon. Sometimes they have amazing pieces, like my grey-ish knit turban from Forever 21. $5-$10 rings are found at my favorite Fairfax Flea Market vendor's booth, and sunglasses are just $5 at Santee Alley.
  4. I never buy things just because they are cheap. I used to do that, but then I ended up with a closet full of cheap things made with shady labor, and I didn't love any of them so I never wore them, and then I just ended up tossing them out, which is super-wasteful. I only buy cheap items if I absolutely love them.
  5. I save up to buy higher-prices staples that I will use for a long time, like shoes, jackets, and jeans. I like my jeans a very specific way (very tight, high-waisted, and indigo with no wash), so I can never find them at a thrift store. 
  6. I DIY a lot! If you aren't crafty, you should really give it a shot. It's a great way to recycle your old clothing and get the look for virtually no money. My first attempts at DIY were awful, but you really do pick up tricks and get better with each project.
  7. I have a rule. Mine is $30, but yours can be whatever fits for your pocketbook. I let myself buy any one piece if it's under $30. If it's over $30, I make myself think about it. Almost always, I end up not wanting it. I check the sale section of Urban Outfitters, Tobi, and Forever 21 online very frequently because I can get awesome things for under $30.
  8. I occasionally make myself buy things that I would "never wear", and then force myself to wear them the day after I purchase them. That way, I can't shove it in the back of my closet for later. Doing this helps me broaden my horizons and insures that I don't end up in a style rut. 
  9. I clean out my closet frequently. Some items go into "back stock" and are tucked away. Some items are put into "sentimental boxes" if I have a particular attachment to them. This includes old concert tees that are falling apart, favorite jeans that have been ripped to shreds, something I was wearing when I met my highschool sweetheart, gifts given to me by family members forever-and-a-day ago, etc. 
  10. I recycle things when I am done with them. Some pieces are forced upon friends. Some items are sold to Wasteland so that I can make a little extra $$$ off of them. If Wasteland doesn't buy the pieces, I donate them to Goodwill or Salvation Army. 


  1. you look so comfy and honestly i feel the same way you do. its all about thrifting man, it always makes my looks more fun and i get the last laugh when i spend close to nothing on an awesome outfit.


  2. That blanket wrap is AWESOME! The colors and pattern is just simple enough to wear with several outfits.

    I totally agree with your list, especially 4&5, I think being selective about what you put in your wardrobe definitely leaves more room for individuality.

  3. immediately after setting my eyes upon that first picture I was reminded of one of those cute little wooden russian dolls.

  4. ohhh & I love your skull bracelet find too!

  5. Thank you so much for all the Wasteland love! Girls like you are what keep Wasteland what it is! xx

    -The Wasteland Gang

  6. Love your rings and wrap!
    I agree with you about buying clothes -- my first stop at any store is always the sales rack. It may seem cheap to my friends (since my county has a lot of high-income people) but I'm like 'You guys are insane, I find some of the cutest things in the sales rack!'

  7. I love the first photo especially, and tip #8 is amazing.


  8. that's so crazy! just last night i was planning on doing this to most of my t-shirts. looks awesome! let's hang out this week! you're pretty!


  9. you and i share a very similar fashion philosophy. that poncho is THE poncho. I wish I could wear shorts as often as you do, but my area is cold most of the time:(

  10. Ha you totally do look like one of those little Russian dolls, but instead of a smaller one inside, there's this awesome fringy t shirt and sparkly handbag. Love.
    I really wish I could shop like you. I am the worst. I just sorta grab whatever strikes me like Supermarket Sweep or something. This post turned you into super-frugal Joey's dream girl.

  11. God, I love your jewerly :)))
    Nice outfit. You are very pretty!

  12. love the cape! great print. my oma used to call me babushka when i was little. this got me all nostalgic.

    january, x

  13. Oh man, this outfit is really badass. Dammit, I need a poncho now. (And that first photo of you is trés adorable, I really must say.) All of your warm-weather looks make it so much easier for me to cope with the cold weather here. ;___;

    Thank you for that 'ten tricks list' you shared. It may just become my Ten Commandments in terms of shopping. My finacee and I actually put together a box of clothes we want to donate, and I tried selling them first, but no one on my personal blog took to it. Though I suppose I could try selling them off on my blog here, but I kind of like the idea of giving clothes to the people who need them. (They're teenager-y screened tees anyway.)

  14. absolutely love this entire outfit! AMAZING!




  15. Love the rings, love the poncho, love it all.


  16. just found your blog from loobook. I LOVE IT, your style is great and im a huge DIY girl. so props to you for making some cool pieces

    check out my blog if you like, im a new follower of yours


  17. You have an absolutely amazing style!
    You're featured a collage-post on my blog today:http://www.blueisinfashionthisyear.com/2011/04/how-to-wear-biker-jackets-and.html


  18. I love your thoughts on shopping...it is so important to set up a way that works for you, and you are so right about buying cheap things because they are cheap and then tossing them...I do though love this look, and definitely love all of your rings!
    xo Cara

  19. <3 this is so fabulous!!!


  20. your ring collection is goddamn phenomenal.

    this is a great list, and so similar to the way i shop. i also used to buy cheap everything until i started working in a consignment shop, and realized how easy it is to find barely-worn, high-quality items for pretty good prices. never going back to my old ways, that's for sure.

  21. love the jewelry you're wearing!

  22. Great post! and I feel the same way about being on a budget, I sometimes have to stop and really think about the production practices that I may be supporting when always buying the "Cheap" alternative. I have a similar method where I put myself limits, for certain trendy items. I love to shop vintage and thrifted items, and love the fact that you search there first before buying it new. I will try to incorporate this into my shopping habits, such a great idea. At first I thought I may have spotted you in DTLA on Sunday at the A Current Affair vintage pop up event, but it may have been another girl wearing the same cape! :)

  23. Awesome rings and I LOVE the first pic! Very Esmerelda!


  24. so grunge I love it !!
    and I love your rings so much :D

  25. absolutely cool!

    amazin combo

    love every detail!


  26. C'est plus que magnifique!! :)

  27. WOW, you've got such an amazing style - just followed you!


  28. Aww, this is beautiful,
    I loved it !

    Henar ♥
    ...OH MY VOGUE!

  29. This look is awesome -- love all your rings and things. Just came across your blog and so happy I found it. You have amazing style! <3

  30. Ah, so many of our rules are the same :) I totally agree with your perspective.

    You look fantastic, really inspirational look.

  31. FIRST - that first pic is amazing and I love the word babushka, my mom used to call me that as a kid when I was bundled up in winter. anyways...
    I am without a doubt, highly supportive of #1 - I do that all the time! I try to thrift everything first... even if it's just like a cardigan at urban outfitters. I also fall in line with a lot of your other rules... I like this $30 rule. I think I do use it to some degree, but need to stick with it. Purchasing vintage/thrift can also go to a good cause, too! Shopping at a lot of thrift stores in Fresno goes to benefit some sort of community cause...
    Anyways,ramble ramble. I loved your words in this post. well done mad. Is that a bad nickname? it just seems right. what IS your nickname?

  32. no way that was you! I was walking out and only spotted you from the back! you got my attention because I have a similar cape. Did not really know it was specifically you till I saw this post!

  33. I also love the first photo!! It is a great mix between fashion style and art!! The color contrast on the pic is perfect!!
    x milla


  34. Hi!
    I love your shirt with fringes, it are the best this seasson!
    You have cool rings!

  35. Darling, you look amazing. Such a great style. You are so beautiful.

    Love Iben

  36. You always come up with the best posts! A+ for everything, pictures and content! <3

  37. Your thoughts on shopping are perfection! I couldn't have said any of it better. I'm really adoring your blog, it's so honest and intelligent, and you're style is so so beautiful.
    You know what's up! :)

  38. cool cape !
    Nice ring collection you have there :)

  39. This look is absolutely amazing. The top is perfect and the bag and the poncho go perfectly together. We like everything about it!
    P.s we are slowly falling in love with your blog, this is the first time we stumbled upon it!
    Leah and Georgia ♥


  40. your style is just so unique, reminds me of 70's. keep it up. love reading what you have to say!


  41. First of all, I love your blog!
    And second, I recently bought a top like the one you are wearing in this post and I was still looking for a way to mix and match it. You really helped me out with this post, thanks!