We Shopped Our Closet for an NYE Outfit and You Can Too
I’m not entirely sure when I started mood boarding my New Year’s Eve plans but I believe it was sometime after my first kiss. It was 2002 and I had just gotten silver glitter bands on my braces. Armed with a new Nirvana t-shirt (from Hot Topic, naturally) and lime green eyeshadow, I struck up the nerve to invite my crush over to my house to watch the ball drop. Before the clock struck twelve, we snuck off to the driveway to watch the non-existent stars (light pollution, amirite?) and smooch on the oil-stained concrete under my parent’s Buick. This Hallmark moment was punctuated by my parents rushing out to wish us a happy new year and my crush thwacking his face on the bumper above our tween heads.
Shortly thereafter, said crush became my boyfriend, and then my best friend’s boyfriend — all before I was fully aware we were even over. Instead of blaming this saga on the tragedy that is teenage love, I blamed it on New Year’s Eve, as if whatever happened that night foreshadowed the year that followed. Two years later, I watched the Jude Law remake of 1966’s Alfie and my dream NYE took shape. I needed to be a smokey-eyed Sienna Miller — a manic tornado of sequins and champagne — and accepted nothing less.
For my own pride, I’d like to tell you that I’ve dropped this adolescent fixation but… I haven’t. Although I can tell you that I now realize that both Alfie (1966 and 2004) and my first boyfriend really sucked, which feels like progress.
If you’re a Selva Scout, you’ve already heard all about how this December has, unfortunately, gone a little sideways. Our first and second concepts for the piece you’re reading now fell through, and with the impending holiday, it was hard to coordinate a crucial shopping trip before one of our favorite thrift stores closed (R.I.P. Savers on South Lamar). For a second there, it seemed like my most-favorite piece of the year might not come together. Most-favorite because, yes, I clearly have unresolved issues with the holiday, but also because I know first-hand how alluring fast fashion can be this time of year. I myself have run into a Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters at the last minute and bought a pink faux-fur coat or sequined halter. I’ve also rush-ordered pearl earring cuffs from ASOS and metallic heels from Steve Madden. Hi. My name is Magdalena and I am a panic shopper.
However, this year — by some Scroogian miracle — I’m leaning into a concept that rattles even this seasoned-thrifter: shopping your closet. That is, looking at your closet with fresh eyes and challenging yourself to create new pairings.
This secondhand red, glittery dress ($4.50) was collecting dust in our studio closet, just waiting to have its day. The burgundy faux fur collar-turned-wrap ($1.50) and jewel-toned necklace ($2) was sourced for a reader-led shoot we did in February. And the black velvet turtleneck ($5) was a piece from our model and intern Aaliyah’s closet, thrifted ages ago.
And here’s the eco-conscious makeup I used to make things more festive:
This year, I have no idea what I’m doing. No Pinterest boards have been made and no tickets were purchased. Whether you’re going to a glitzy cocktail party or sharing a pizza with friends on the couch, I encourage you to follow my wobbly lead. Bring out last year’s dress and style it with a twist. Pop a colorful turtleneck underneath or a jewel-toned sweater on top. Resurrect the sport coat you wore to your brother's wedding or that jumpsuit you bought for a single interview. I myself will be retiring the NYE trifecta (fur, sequins, and velvet) and wearing a Little Black Dress™ from who-knows-when, my favorite plaid jacket, and a lot of silver eyeshadow instead.
I mean, until next year. I can’t make any promises about next year.