Christmas can be a REALLY expensive time of year, especially when you have a big family. As our pool of cousins continues to grow (there are 10 of us plus 4 kids of cousins who count themselves as cousins too), it is challenging to buy something for everyone. For the past few years we’ve solved this problem by drawing names Secret Santa style. This year, we added one rule - the gifts had to be thrifted or handmade and under $10. As a somewhat creative bunch, we encouraged gifts like art and poetry. I am neither an artist nor a poet, but I am a damn good thrift shopper. I was excited when I got Sammi’s name since she’s in college and I figured I could make her something cool to wear. When I say “make”, I use that term loosely since I’m more of a “let’s cut the bottom off and call it a crop top” kind of seamstress.
Since Sammi is at Gonzaga in Washington, I figured she could use something warm to throw on for a casual, college look or post workout (she plays soccer and has a sporty side). Instead of doing my usual crop it and call it a day routine, I decided to add a bit of creative flair by trying my hand a reverse tie dying. Reverse tie dying is the process of using bleach to lighten a colored fabric. Only having a vague idea of how to accomplish this, I did what the millennials do--I watched a YouTube video.
The first step, of course was thrifting a hoodie to tie dye. This ended up being the easiest part because a perfectly good Champion hoodie was sitting in our donate bag. One very odd and surprising 90’s revival has been the reintroduction of the Champion brand into the zeitgeist. Kudos to their marketing team for making this random sports brand cool again. Teens in LA love it, so I figured the trend may have made its way up north to Spokane.
The second step is where the magic happened. I added an inch of bleach to a spray bottle and filled the balance of the bottle with water. After giving the bottle a little cocktail shake (don’t drink it, just shake it!), I scrunched the hoodie up in my bathtub and went to town with the spray bottle. Within minutes the navy color started lightening to a peachy-pink. After a couple hours of just letting the sweatshirt hang out in the bleach, I flipped it over to the opposite side, scrunched it again and repeated. A couple hours later I plucked the sweatshirt from the bathtub and threw it in the washing machine. Bam! Done! Well...almost. True to my nature, I had to get the scissors out and...you guessed it. I cut it. I wanted to achieve that oversized, yet cropped look, so I removed the front pockets from the hoodie. This ended up being an easy, fun DIY gift AND I managed to clean my bathtub at the same time because why not multitask? The most expensive part about this gift was priority shipping it to Spokane.
After all that Christmas crafting, I had to get real about my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve got to admit that like most people, my New Year’s resolutions generally have to do with going to the gym, cutting carbs, or doing something else that reflects my deep desire for those Instagram gym glutes. Well not this year. In 2020 my backside is taking a backseat to my eco-friendly resolutions.
In 2020 I’ve resolved to do (and not do) quite a few things, but my list was so boring that even my iPhone was bored when typed them into my notes app, so the only one I’m going to share is that I’ve committed to shop secondhand for all* my clothing. All...but not like...all-all. Exceptions to this include undergarments/socks, workout stuff, bathing suits, accessories and shoes. Ug, I’ve been teetering back and forth on whether “accessories” should count but bottom line is that there is a Gucci belt that I’ve been eyeing online and I haven’t been able to find it preloved in my size.
Note that secondhand doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve got to find clothes in a thrift store and sift through a bunch of random things for what I want. If I’m looking for something really specific, I shop Poshmark. I recently found the sold out Free People denim dress that I really wanted last season, after fashion blogger and designer Arielle Charnas rocked it with some adorable, gingham, lace-up sandals. When I want something designer (which is like...always), I shop The RealReal. If I want something unique and vintage, I use the GEM app (note, Ukay LA will soon be featured on this app!). There are so many easy ways to shop sustainably now that I hope this resolution actually sticks. If you’ve already broken one of your resolutions, I hope you ditch that busted one and join me on this one--if not for the entire year, maybe for a month. If that is too intense, you can start by thrifting light with just 1 item per month, instead of buying something new. If you don’t quite know where to start, check out this 12 months of thrifting challenge from my favorite thrifty fashion blogger and podcaster, Dina Younis. A commitment to thrift is kind of like a commitment to forego the junk food in the office...it is easier to accomplish when you are not alone, so hit me up if you take the plunge!