Thrifting Down the Mainstream

This beautiful blonde in a baby blue embroidered dress is Laura Burhenn from The Mynabirds. She used to be in another band called Georgie James with a counterpart blonde, John Davis, who is now currently in a really neat D.C. band, the Title Tracks.  It was so unfortunate that she had to part ways with John, who is well known for having a voice like that pretty punk, Elvis Costello.

When the interviewer on Laist’s website asked Laura about the church imagery in the photos you’ll see below, she said:

Those photos were based on that blue dress. I found it at the Salvation Army in Iowa and thought, “I have to wear this dress!” It was like a strange version of a wedding dress that Dolly Parton might have worn. There was something really formal and special about it. I wanted to do the photos in D.C. proper and so we did them at St. Stephens Episcopal Church. They put on a lot of punk shows there and Georgie James had played there a number of times. It’s just a really nice community center. I never even thought about it as a religious place. I just liked the image of a woman sitting in the church pews for the cover. It’s very mysterious. She looks like someone who’s contemplating something deep.

There really is no shame in thrifting. I used to go to my local thrift shop a few times a month back in high school and never admit to my covert visits. Although a lover of great fashion designers’ talents, I still should not have been ashamed of my whereabouts for Saturday shopping sprees. It didn’t help having a credit cards-and-caparisons cousin with just about unlimited funds on my scattergood father’s side of the family. Thrift stores were my tiny treasure coves for the flat broke with the heart for art.

Besides, it seems that thrifting has been more of a fad lately, as seen in fashion blogs all over the internet. With this new wave rave for vintage, even Goodwill is raising their prices because the more affluent kids are ransacking their racks for one-of-a-kind retro rompers and sixties sandals. I’ve been scavenging these stores secretly since I was a kid, and now slowly everybody else thinks it’s actually cool to enter the dusty doors of Thriftopia. I could’ve been my high school’s fashion editor if it weren’t for the mainstream fashion mania and my succumbing to it. The same group of kids who wore nothing but what the magazines told them are most likely drooling over the vintage dress Burhenn wore in these press release photos (more below.)

This transition of the mainstream to vintage might or might not be in full effect soon. I just don’t like it when a newbie joins the bandwagon late and wears nothing BUT vintage clothes. That is why I do not really define my style in a solid “vintage-only” category. I like to create my own vague references with mash-ups of different decades and cultures—or at least, that’s my goal.

I see clothes as I see music or movies. You have to be open-minded to the possibility of finding treasures in any place and not be stuck with one piece, genre, style, decade, or brand name. This sets apart the people who can think for themselves from the crowd followers.

Regarding modesty, I see it as being a touchy subject even to religious communities. I know I make people smile when they see my clothes but they get somewhat uncomfortable hearing and reading about the reason behind my clothing choices. Perhaps someday soon the mainstream will drift (and thrift) in the direction of modesty. One can only wish (and pray…)

Thanks to Tawny for interviewing me last week! Read the interview on her blog.

Here are the rest of Laura’s nifty, thrifty, and modest photos in church:

This shot was taken right after making the video for “Let the Record Go.” I embedded the video right below this photo to explain the cake mess!

The friendly fashionable fiends before the food fight:

The Mynabirds- Let the Record Go (I spy: a skull, a gun, and poison!)