Dollars + Sense: The Cost of Flipping Your Wardrobe

For those of us clotheshorses who are not sponsored by fashion designers and/or an individual brand, flipping a personal wardrobe is no cheap task. Depending on your style, your income,  and how you envision the end result, a wardrobe flip can be a manageable thing. In 2016, I flipped my wardrobe venturing into minimalist territory. I have always revered those who can rock clean lines with neutrals. I tried it with much success. I finally felt like me which I had not felt in many years. Also, my wardrobe was sorely lacking the basics [i.e., winter wear, quality fabrics, good undergarments, etc.]

I roughly spent under $1,600 to achieve a minimalist look [plus, add needed wardrobe staples]. The amount spent would have been lower but I did not [and currently do not] own a vehicle. I make all of my purchases online. I make no returns as I carefully examine listed sizes, customer reviews and the photos of each item. If I had a vehicle at my leisure, I would have simply taken the time and extra effort in sweeping through thrift shops and yard sales to piece together a minimalist wardrobe. What I wore during my minimalist phase I since have given away some pieces to family, friends and local thrift shops.

As I stated in an earlier post, I wished to make a return to femininity through looks of the late 1940s and early 1950s. This wardrobe flip has proven to cost a bit more than the last flip yet it has been worth it. I will stick with my current vintage/ vintage style wardrobe as long as it will allow me to. I used to own a great deal of real vintage [circa 1940s to 1970s] in the 1980s and 1990s. Through time, I have lost or thought I had outgrown my commitment to vintage. I have not. To date, I own less than a dozen vintage pieces. Everything else are vintage reproductions or vintage style pieces. Shoes and outerwear cost me the most as I choose to present a somewhat authentic look.

Again, the goal isn’t to spend all of your income in an unfocused manner. The goal is to pick pieces that you will keep and wear for many years to come and have some dollars left. Below are a few items to help you on your way:

Belle Poque Green Western Style sundress [eBay]
I own and joyously wear this lovely sundress. I’ve got it in two colors: black and green. The material is decent [It is of a cotton blend] and the length [on me] is below knee length but above mid-calf length. I like my clothes to hang authentically, so this piece is a cheat. If you are a stickler about getting a pin-point perfect period look, you are going to have to be willing to spend the money on true vintage or small vendors who recreate period looks to a ‘T’. Otherwise, many ‘retro’ pieces on the market are made from cheap materials and cut shorter allowing item to be cost effective and more modern.

1950s style atomic print circle skirt [PinPin Daisy]
White 1950s style Cap Sleeve Blouse [eBay]

I own this cap sleeve blouse in white and in navy. It, to me, is an essential piece for achieving a 1950s-style wardrobe.

Black high waist pencil skirt with kick pleat [Such As Su]
1950s style Butterfly sundress [Amazon]
Green Soft Leatherette “Dazzle” wedges [B.A.I.T. Footwear]
‘Murphy’ Black Culottes [Hell Bunny]
Black Battenburg Lace Parasol [Amazon]

Having a parasol while on foot is a must. Walking or standing in the hot sun is no fun especially if you have taken the time to do your hair, makeup and wear all of the undergarments that go into a vintage look. I own two parasols and they have been a godsend.

Ben Cooper Striped Monster Mask Swing Skirt [Vixen by Micheline Pitt]
This skirt would be something I would steer clear of. Never have I been a fan of kitsch-y vintage style prints. This item is pretty bad ass to me as it comes from the collaborative union of Ben Cooper and Vixen by Micheline Pitt. I own and love this skirt. It hangs just right and is definitely a talking point when out on the town.

1950s style true high waisted cigarette pants [Piplotex] *This item comes in a large array of colors
‘Marilyn’ 1940s reproduction black leather pumps [Royal Vintage shoes]


Ann-Margret: 78

Ann-Margret as smoldering teenaged nutjob Jody in Kitten with a Whip [1964] This movie is a real treat.

Ann-Margret Olsson [b. April 28, 1941] is an American actress, dancer and singer

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald [with Dizzy Gillespie looking over her shoulder] [September, 1947]
article/image courtesy of: Jet magazine [October 27, 1955]
article courtesy of: Jet magazine  [October, 1955]
An unfortunate but expected event from the past in which the slap of racism tried to hinder popular black American artists with a mixed band from performing [the then segregated] Houston Music Hall. With pressure from ardent fans, Fitzgerald, Gillespie and company were asked to play a set of all race shows at the venue. After one of their performances, members of the group were later arrested and charged for supposedly shooting craps in a dressing room. Fitzgerald, who was in the dressing room, was later cleared of any wrong doing. The rest of the story can be found in Gillespie’s biography, To Be or Not To Bop.

Ella Jane Fitzgerald [b. April 25, 1917 – d. June 15, 1996] was an American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

Barbra Streisand – By Myself/ Come Back To Me [1973]

Give this a listen. Do not pass up this kinda-sorta odd yet interesting Streisand medley, backed by what I am assuming are early 70s era analog synths and electric gadgets. As someone who is not a huge fan of Babs [meaning I enjoy some of her work from the past], this concept seems different for her.

I like it.

Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham’s dancers performing in conjunction with Cunningham’s equally heralded life partner, experimental musician/ innovator, John Cage [Footage circa 1967]

Mercier Philip “Merce” Cunningham [b. April 16, 1919 – d. July 26, 2009] was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than fifty years. He is also notable for his frequent collaborations with artists of other disciplines.


A Happening: Sound Investments

Donna Summer
Love To Love You Baby [Casablanca/ 1975] – Donna Summer
Thank You, Baby [Avco/ 1975] – The Stylistics
Love To Love You Baby [1975] – This is a duplicate copy. I listen to my 70s era Donna Summer l.p.s alot

Ooh-Child: Stairsteps & Others [Pickwick/ 1969] – various artists
Somewhere in The Carolinas – I have been neglecting working on digging up soul/ funk/ r & b finds over these past few years. Here, a few more discs to add to the mixture.