Chicago Thrifting with Nicole of Manic Pop Clothing
Meet Nicole of Manic Pop Clothing. We're been online friends for a long time, and I'm sure we met once or twice many moons ago, when she was a coworker and friend of my younger sister. We all grew up in West Michigan, but went to different high schools. Nicole lives in Chicago, and is a fashion school grad. She has the life of most fashion school grads, working a full-time job and using her spare time to sew and work on new designs.
After grabbing lunch at her favorite hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant uptown, Thai Uptown, we walked over to her favorite thrift store, "the best in the city". And it was pretty fantastic. I was so happy to be in the middle of a lively thrift shop. Whenever I thrift, as most of you also experience, I'm the only 'young' person in the store, and there are very few people shopping, only an employee or two. City thrifting it so different! The shops are a well oiled machine, with employees everywhere, constantly straightening the racks, putting things in their right place, bringing out new merchandise all day. And there are so many shoppers! Fighting to find those hidden gems, there are so many other young people there, sifting through the racks and filling up their carts.
And the clothing is amazing! So many name brand and designer clothes, some of which are marked less than the Old Navy dress next to it. While the prices are more expensive, they have half priced Fridays every week (I wish we could fill up a whole suitcase on Friday!). I found a handful of things, but had to keep in mind that my checked bag was a few pounds over. I traveled up to Chicago with my sewing machine and tools to work from my hotel room. I couldn't really buy much but still managed to find a few great pieces.
Since I currently live in Florida, being in Chicago is tough. It is unusually cold this week, yesterday's high being 39 degrees. By comparison, Matt reminded me that is was high 70s in our backyard while he played with Zeus. Thanks, Matt haha.
Naturally, I've been freezing my bum off, wearing jeans and boots all week, paired with my infinity scarf (made by your truly), and the handful of light sweaters I own. I've lived in the south so long, I have very few warm clothes. My 'winter' coats are midwest fall jackets. There's really no point in a winter wardrobe past a handful of jeans and tissue tee cardigans, since I get to wear the really heavy stuff maybe a few weeks out of the year. For the past four years I've just layered and gotten through the little cold spells we had. Packing for this trip was difficult to say the least.
I was so excited when I found the long knee length oversized sweater, above. Taking my elastic belt I'd had on with my high waisted jeans, I put it around my waist, and voila, warmer outfit. "Just cinch it with a belt!" I can hear Matt now, in a joking voice when I'm wearing oversized clothes and making them work.
Nicole's perfect score was a vintage sewing book on tailoring. On top of the tailoring book, she also found a handful of vintage sewing books, that she collects from the 60s and 70s. In the clothes section, Nicole scored a badass throwback dress she is going to tailor to her size (check out her blog, and maybe she'll show you how she does it), and two sweaters she is going to cut up and refashion into a color block sweater. Always honing her sewing skills, I can't wait to see what she does with them!
Now this suit bag was the Best. Find. Ever! It's a vintage American Tourist suit bag from the 60s or 70s. In preparing for a festival in a few weeks, I have to sew a ton of vegan-friendly accessories, i.e. I can't have leather anywhere on my handbags. Plus, the festival asks that no animal products be sold, which is fine by me. All my leather comes from old clothing I find at thrift stores, but still, they don't want any animal products in what they buy. This vinyl suit bag is going to be cut into a million pieces, making a TON of beautiful handbags more durable, and vegan friendly! I can't wait to see how much of the hardware I can salvage.
AND! BONUS!! Nicole found me a book, "Serger Shortcuts", as she knows how much I dread using my serger, and it is currently gathering dust in my garage. I also met up with my other design friend, Sara, and she gave me a few hints on how to adjust my tension settings on my serger, and I'm almost positive all three of us have the exact same serger!
I can't wait to get back to Florida and get that girl out of my moving boxes that are half unpacked in the garage. In the bottom of one with all my embroidery loops and floss sits that dusty thing, and she is screaming to make pretty things! Soon, my girl, soon.
I'm having the best business trip ever! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, and is staying warm, wherever you are.
Today is the day (cue the Yo La Tengo song that is my favorite). Today is the day I trek all around the city with my friend Michelle to market my handbags to local boutiques. So exciting! Agh!
Check out Nicole's pages here: