Shopping, Style and Beauty

A New Spin(ster) on Your Summertime Wardrobe

Updated: Aug 08, 2011 11:40
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With the arrival of summer, NYC has begun to regain its spunk. People are outside!  Drinking margaritas!  Laughing, smiling and being half-naked!  As a California girl with a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, this change-of-season has done everything to lift the Daria-esque melancholia that I suffered from all winter. It’s time to break out clothes that are carefree, and maybe a little wacky… just like our warm-weather attitudes. Rather spend your cash on those summertime margs? No worries, I’ll recommend looks that can be found at thrift stores, bargain bins, and Duane Reade. Today’s style inspiration: the ultimate “carefree” dresser, the Crazy Cat Lady (or CCL).

I have to confess, I have a soft spot for spinsters. Everyone thinks that they are sad hags who sit around watching soap operas and crying into their fourth glass of Pinot, but I beg to differ. Some spinsters– the fabulous ones– chose not to get married, and spent their glory days doing things like traveling and having interesting jobs and boning a lot of younger foreign men. Sounds like a good life to me. The spinsters I envision just “do them” and don’t give a fuck, even if it means wearing slippers in public and animal hoarding.

The trick to looking spinster-chic as opposed to spinster-disaster is to not do too many “statement pieces” simultaneously. You wanna walk the crazy line without completely flying over the cuckoo’s nest. To get CCL style IRL, I suggest that you add one of these key pieces to your next summer look:

A  kooky hat:

CCLs love chapeaus, mostly because they hate taking out their rollers to go to the grocery store. The most famous CCL to don head-coverings was Little Edie Beale, but wacky toppers have also graced many a runway.

Hats shield you from the sun, cover up greasy sweat hair, and scream “look at me!” in the way that is essential to CCL style.  Scarves, a la those worn by Little Edie, can be purchased at any thrift store. Cheap turbans are harder to come by, but don’t underestimate the power of ethnic beauty supply stores which usually offer a plethora of styles for $2-$5.

A printed frock:

Florals, stripes, and polka dots? Whatever, you’re old and unmarried; you ain’t got no one to impress but yourself. CCLs have total freedom in dressing and are usually alcoholics, leading them to wear the most head-spinning prints imaginable. Good thing prints are all the rage this summer!

Head to the nearest Salvation Army. Don’t spend two and a half hours scouring every piece of clothing in the store– these prints should pop! Walk briskly down the aisles and pick out the loudest, craziest dress you can find (and trust me, you’ll find a lot). Is it a muumuu? Great. Does it cost less than $5 because whoever priced it thought that it was too ugly to sell and didn’t realize that barf prints are major this season? Yeah, babe, you scored!

A pair of clogs:

CCLs hate wearing shoes with laces because tying them requires effort that cuts into their “me” time. An excellent alternative is a clog, mule, or slip-on. I have these ugly-cuties, found at Marshalls for $20.

Clogs can frequently be found at overstock stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls because normal people think that they are hideous and don’t buy them. But not you! You’re a fashion risk-taker! However, if clogs aren’t your thing, old lady gardening sandals are also cute and can be purchased at Duane Reade for $10-$15.

Well, that’s it! Just adopt a cat (or 5), and you’ll be spinster chic and summertime carefree, with plenty of margarita money to spare. Head over to the park, unbelt that muumuu, slip off those clogs, and feel the grass between your toes. Do you and don’t give a fuck.

Want more spinspiration? Check out these famous CCLs: Lynn Yaeger and Iris Apfel.

Grey Gardens image via

Prada, Vena Cava, and Chris Benz runway images via

Sperry Top Sider Clog image via Zappos


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Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven is a natural-born storyteller from California, but she
lives in New York now. She likes dogs, nail art, and Mexican food,
but mostly she likes scoring sweet deals at thrift stores. She tends
to have a flair for the dramatic.