Frivolous Universe


Thrift store fashion print mixing Tibetan breastplate photography Matthew Wade

Kelly: Why do we fight each other? A thought bubble rises from some bottomless pit of soul to explode at the surface with resentment.

Thrift store fashion 70s ship n shore shirt photography Matthew Wade

Bethany: As I get older, I am recognizing the fight is sometimes more within myself than with the other person. My insecurities skew how I interpret or relate to the other person’s actions. If I am worried about being likable or interesting, I am sensitive to when the other person doesn’t ask me questions about my life.

Thrift store fashion print mixing color blocking photography Matthew Wade

K: Nine times out of ten, it’s all me. When some truth becomes newly clear to me, I want to pass it around like a bowl of candy or a tray of Kool-Aid in paper cups. I can have trouble tolerating someone who doesn’t understand my most tender discovery.

B: I wrestle to accept my shortcomings. And I often find a way to resent those very same shortcomings when I see them mirrored in a friend or lover. I feel as though the success or failure of my own personal growth hinges on the self-awareness, or perceived lack thereof, of the people I care about. I’ve been known to drive myself crazy with this line of thinking.

Thrift store fashion vintage Russian Fur Hat photography Matthew Wade

B: When I see someone where I have been before, I feel connected. It tortures me most when I can’t understand where someone is coming from, why they did what they did. Past memories morph. Did we ever like, love, or know each other? The ground dissolves.

Thrift store fashion photography Matthew Wade

K: It is a profound loss. Itching like a lost limb, a phantom consciousness natters on inside my head: What if there were some outside thing? A rock, a shoe, or a shovel? A hammer or a mirror? Could we have found a touchpoint to bring us back to ourselves? 

Thrift store fashion vintage embroidered jacket beret photography Matthew Wade

B: The only thing we control is our own perception.

Thrift store fashion print mixing color blocking vintage embroidered jacket beret photography Matthew Wade

K: We cannot come together without losing something. To get a sacred amulet, you must surrender a sacred amulet.

Thrift store fashion color blocking print mixing vintage embroidered jacket beret photography Matthew Wade

B:  My desire to be close again is frantically noble. I struggle not to compromise to the point that I muffle my self-respect.

Thrift store fashion beret vintage silk embroidered jacket photography Matthew WadeK: My life is in a state of flux. As I rapidly unearth a new self, my relationships struggle to adapt. Newer friends like Bethany are giving me the courage to let others go.

Thrift store fashion 2 photography Matthew WadeB: Over the last year, I lost a best friend of nearly ten years. Very rarely did we ever talk about our hurt feelings. Two of the the last times we did is when I gave up. Her interpretations of my actions were so far off from any motives I would ever have. I didn’t know what to do. I wouldn’t be friends with me if I was who she thought I was. I grew distant. Things festered. My own understanding of her actions were probably wrong too. In the end, it was our insecurities that eroded our relationship.

Thrift store fashion print mixing beret vintage embroidered jacket photography Matthew Wade

K: Who knows why it ends? Who knows what steers our actions? Maybe I too am addicted to Samsara. For better or for worse. Till death do us part.

Idaho thrift store fashion photography Matthew Wade

Peace. Peace. Peace.




Yellow XL nightclub dress; Vintage Tibetan Naga ethnic headhunter necklace from Armor Bijoux;  70s Ship N’ Shore vintage polyester blouse; 70s Ship N’ Shore vintage maxi skirt; Mexican silver and lapis necklace; Chinese Ver Marai Cheongsam lace dress; vintage Russian fur hat; vintage palazzo pants; Bamboo yellow vinyl platforms


thrift store fashion vintage Country Sophisticate blouse mini skirt__with_thigh-high_boots

Mountain Home is one of my favorite places to go thrifting. A small city of 14,000, it is home to Mountain Home Air Force Base.  People are always moving there from all over the country and then moving away. With so much toing and froing, lots of possessions get left behind and donated to thrift stores. A few weeks ago, Kim, Kelly, and I made a foray to Mountain Home to visit Kim’s aunt and uncle and to spend some quality time shopping for vintage and second-hand clothes.

thrift store fashion vintage Country Sophisticate blouse mini skirt__with_thigh-high_boots

The first thing I found while thrifting was a 1960’s pimento green lady’s dress coat for $7.99. The mink-collared coat was in mint condition. My squeal of delight was short lived, however, when I discovered the sleeves were two inches too short for me. Kelly started jumping and simultaneously tried not to throw her two-inch shorter arms up in the air. Our FU rule: If it looks better on someone else, they get it.

Luckily, my disappointment was short lived. Mere moments later, I spied this leopard-print mini. Since I’ve been wearing so many retro, feminine silhouettes to the office, it feels good to switch things up. I coupled the miniskirt with a vintage blouse I found at the same store. It’s a bizarre blend, but somehow these prints complement each other with their spotted texture. Pairing an animal-print mini and modest vintage blouse is so wrong and yet so infinitely right.

thrift store fashion vintage Country Sophisticate blouse mini skirt__with_thigh-high_boots

When we were done thrifting, we headed to Kim’s aunt’s bunkhouse to finish my outfit. Aunt Veronica pulled out these thigh-high bitch-boots from her closet. Kapowlicious. Oh the confessions these boots could tell about Ronnie’s hippie, biker, and bouncer days . . . .  The boots begged to be worn with her thick leather belt.

Kelly and I immediately headed to the wintery yard next door to photograph our thrift store finds. Kim’s uncle Boyd watched from inside and was concerned we would get too cold. Kelly climbed his trees and broke branches to get just the right angles for the photos. Thanks to Kim, we have documentation of the behind the scenes.


After the daylight faded into crimson reds, yellows, and amethyst, we all cozied up around the kitchen table. I filled my belly with fresh cod cooked in vegetable broth from the garden, baked potatoes, salad with feta and pomegranates, and Aunt Ronnie’s famous pickled eggs and beets. I felt sixteen again and more at home in Boyd’s house than I had felt in a long time. Boyd’s home is cozy, humble, and personal–decorated with memories from a life of trail guiding and guitar picking–while most people’s homes are large spaces filled with empty things.

thrift store fashion vintage Country Sophisticate blouse mini skirt__with_thigh-high_boots

Dinner ended and I sat to the side in the kitchen as Kim and Ronnie cleared the table. I observed. Kelly and Boyd migrated to the living room to sit in two coupled arm chairs. Both of them are musicians. They each picked up one of Boyd’s four guitars and began to share their songs. Framed as if on a flickering stage by the kitchen door, Boyd sang Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game.” Ronnie watched as Kelly smiled and listened and said, “There goes another woman falling in love with the Cowboy.”

Next, Kelly played one of her songs. In it, General Lee of the Civil War lies awake in his tent at 3 A.M., praising the Lord for the young men who will die in battle in a matter of hours. Kelly has a huge voice married to a slight, songbird’s frame, and her lyrics are piercing. The words simultaneously speak to those who believe in war and those who don’t. The chill her song gave me swallowed me whole. It’s the chill of recognition that highlights life’s beauty and tells a person when they or someone else has a gift, a calling. The chill is living awe.

thrift store fashion vintage Country Sophisticate blouse mini skirt__with_thigh-high_boots

Photographer: Kelly Lynae Robinson

Leopard-print polyester mini, MODA International, thrift store, $3.5o
Vintage blouse, Country Sophisticates, thrift store, $4.50
Wool scarf, family trip to Russia 2002
Thick leather belt, Bad-ass Aunt Ronnie’s closet
Thigh-high leather bitch boots, Bad-ass Aunt Ronnie’s closet


The clothes we wear have power not only over others, but also over ourselves.

Adam Galinsky
Professor at Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University

For the last few weeks of being M.I.A, I have been settling into my first office. This is a serious step in my career. I am analyzing everything about this new chapter in my life down to what I wear. Even though “dress for success” is not a new concept, I have been researching what it means for me. Google searched articles advise professional women to wear closed toed shoes, pant suites, and to avoid overly decorative feminine adornments. Greys, blacks, and navies are the suggested color palette. All these helpful tips make a straight jacket sound exciting because at least it would be unexpected. To be fairthere were a couple of articles that advised women to dress traditional but add personality with shoes, belts, and jewelry. Men are supposed to use subtle pattern mixes with their ties, suites, and shirts.

Vintage 70s polyester pants, striped pajama blouse, blouse bow tie, velvet heels, thrift store fashion IdahoSince I am a graphic designer and photographer I have been lucky to have creative leeway in how I dress. Now however as an independent contractor I am meeting with business owners outside the marketing and creative world. I wonder if my playful and colorful aesthetic sense discredits my ability to create appropriate and strategic designs.

Vintage 70s polyester pants, striped pajama blouse, blouse bow tie, velvet heels, thrift store fashion Idaho

New York Time’s Mind Games: Sometimes a White Coat Isn’t Just a White Coat article discusses not only the affects our clothes have on others but also the affects they have on us. Women who wear more masculine clothes in interviews are seen as more intelligent and competent and as a result are more likely to get hired. Research from Professors Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University discovered that what we wear affects our cognitive process. This phenomenon scientists refer to as enclothed cognition. Adam and Galinsky learned when people wear a doctor white lab coats, their attention span increases sharply. In one of their studies participants wore the white lab coat, half were told the coats were doctor coats and the others were told the coats were painter coats.  They were then given a test on selective attention based on their ability to recognize incongruities  such as the word red in the color green. Those who thought they were wearing doctor coats made 50% less errors than those who thought they were wearing painter coats.

Vintage 70s polyester pants, striped pajama blouse, blouse bow tie, velvet heels, thrift store fashion Idaho
If clothes have the ability to affect how I perform and performance is most important, I have concluded I should wear clothes that I associate with the traits I want. People might associate conservative and traditional dress with competence and intelligence, but I see it as a uniform and uniforms are for following and conforming. I want to be successful and that means I need to focus on being an individual, an independent, a leader, a creative, a risk taker, experimental, aesthetically versed, and resourceful. My thrift store style is my way of practicing all these traits.

My 70s Ka-Po-wer Suit

Vintage stripped 80s blouse: Cabrais, thrift store, $2.50
Blouse bow: borrowed from another blouse, thrift store, $3
Vintage 70s polyester rust pants: no label, thrift store, $3.50-$5.00
Velvet heels: Sam & Libby, thrift store, $6

Vintage 70s polyester pants, striped pajama blouse, blouse bow tie, velvet heels, thrift store fashion Idaho

Photographs by Marcus Pierce