Aug 142014

(YC!N has closed its program and taken down contributor’s content, so I’ll be posting some of my old writing work here that I don’t have another outlet for, such as this piece.)


Trends come and go, but one thing that never goes out of style is vintage fashion. And sometimes — like now — it’s extra hot.If you’ve been ogling Katy Perry’s vintage style or the sexy burlesque looks from Christina Aguilera’s movie, here are some tips to get you started. But I warn you now — this is one addictive habit. And it can get mighty pricey depending on where you shop. 

Be the Queen of the Bargain Basement
So, where do you shop? If you are a treasure hunter with a limited budget, thrift stores and yard sales are a great start. Now, you will have to wade through a lot of garbage, but you will get the best prices. I own vintage fur wraps in multiple colors for my retro styling closet (the only fur I own or will ever buy, for the record) and nearly had a coronary when I picked up most of them at once at a Goodwill. Seems someone had just donated a collection, and they had priced them at under $20 each. (Not typical pricing even for a Goodwill, just so you know.)Imagine, if you will, a grown woman hyperventilating in the middle of a Phoenix Goodwill on Senior Citizen’s discount day. It wasn’t pretty. It’s a wonder I didn’t get my own complimentary straightjacket.

Get in Touch with Your Inner Fashion Hipster 
Best bets for vintage goodies at your local thrift store: coats, formal dresses, purses and lingerie. Remember ladies, Courtney Love built a career on vintage baby doll nighties as dresses. You’ll also find lots of vintage gloves and scarves, as well. The jewelry cases tend to yield few good finds in thrift stores, but always do a quick scan, and I also scan for anything leopard print anywhere in the store. Rawr.

On the higher end, you have the trendy vintage boutique stores, which mean wading through a lot less junk for your treasures, but paying a lot more. Since I tend to buy and collect for my photo studio styling closet, not for me, I’m less concerned with sizing, so I love eBay, and it’s newer competitor, Etsy.

Etsy can be a bit cheaper, and as it’s dedicated only to vintage finds and hand-crafted items, you can find some very cool customized vintage vendors there. Of course, those custom items can be very pricey, but so cool and unique. I always wish I had taken more home economics classes and learned to sew when I browse there.

The Label and the Damage Done 
Regardless of where you shop, be sure to check your garments thoroughly for damages, staining and funky odors — this is one area where we don’t need the funk. Even in nicer stores where they have sorted through the damaged goods, customers can be careless with these very fragile items, ripping them or leaving makeup stains. If it absolutely must be cleaned post-purchase, let the professionals handle it.

When it comes to style, I’m always more concerned with the look than the era, but if you are looking for true vintage, the best way to verify an authentic vintage piece is if the tag is still intact, and is obviously old. This is one place where we want to see age and yellowing, and unless some designers get smart and start mimicking vintage labels, trust me, you can tell if it’s an oldie but goodie.

Hot tip — care instructions for garments weren’t required till the ’70s, so if they are there, you can bet your item is not true vintage, or is from the ’70s and ’80s if you dig that kind of thing (and if you don’t dig the ’80s, don’t you know they are back in style? I could have made a fortune if I’d hung onto all those bad clothes of my youth.).

Sizing Up the Goods 
Ladies tended to be a bit shorter and more petite back in the day, despite all the too-thin models hype. Sure, we have some super thin types, but overall, women are a little “healthier” these days. You may need to check hems to see if they can be let out or if you find a great sweater you like that’s a bit snug, when it’s damp from your washer, stretch it out and dry flat. If you are shopping on eBay, most vendors are great about posting measurements in inches for garments, but also note how much give is in the fabrics — a little stretch in that wiggle dress may give you just the wiggle room you need.

Someone May Have Worn it Before, But You’re the Only One Wearing it Now 
The best part about buying vintage is you know no one else is going to show up in the same outfit. Plus you can impress your friends with your daring, “buck-the-current-trends” attitude, you fashion daredevil. And if you’re a savvy shopper, you’ll have plenty of moolah left over for all the things that make like worth living — sexy shoes, tiki bar cocktails and hot tattoos. And if you get all that, you just may get the grand poo-bah of accessories — your very own vintage rocker boy.

So get to your local thrift shop or vintage boutique and make Bettie Page proud, girls.


Dec 302013

My latest passion is food photography. This photo was shot in my hotel room at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. I have two rule for staying in nicer hotels (read: NOT Motel 6): Jump on the bed and order room service. Plus then I can shoot my photos without everyone staring at me.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Dec 262013

My first car show and Photoshop was still a new toy to me, so I sort of went a little crazy with it, as I am usually a realist when I edit a photo. But these cars were creamy, especially this sweet pink Cadillac.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Dec 252013


I emailed the band asking for photo credentials and an interview and didn’t really expect any response as no one really gave me the time of day except my psychobilly bands. So I’m sitting in the lunchroom of the nursing home I was working at, or the “henhouse” as I called it, listening to hordes of loud women talking about their kids and “American Idol,” and my cell phone rings. I answer it, and I hear, “Hi, this is Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks.”


We arranged to meet up before the show and it was my first interview. I didn’t even have a tape recorder and was frantically trying to scribble his answers. I think I may have apologized about trying to keep up and he told me, “It doesn’t matter. You’re going to write what you want anyway.”

I could not make heads nor tales of what I wrote down later and gave up. And for the record, I got my ass kicked shooting these — I was the only photographer who attempted to shoot this from the front and shot about half the show up front before finally moving to side stage after a guy stage dove on my head, snapping my head back and taking me to the floor. My neck hurt for weeks after that.

Dec 242013


Santarchy is one of the many things that make Detroit one of the most awesome cities on the planet. Yeah, you read that right. But just keep reading all the stories about how the city is dead, because it’s one of the best kept secrets in the country, at least if you’re into music, art and a huge sense of community spirit.

In this case, each year during the holidays, one night is set aside for buses that taxi hordes of drunks from bar to bar  all night, and the only requirement besides the small fee is that you must dress like Santa or an elf. Imagine hordes of drunken Santas and elves descending on your neighborhood bar. And drunken Santa mosh pits.

Detroit rules.

Dec 232013

I got to the venue they were playing that night beforehand to pick my background and set up lights, and had 15 minutes to shoot them as they got off the van. Literally. Thank god for those red booths.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers