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U.S.A. Popcorn Adventure #99
August 25, 2009

She's A Thrift Girl

The Devil Wears Prada + Vintage Shopping

When aspiring NYC writer Andy Sachs snags the prestigious job as second assistant to the feared and ruthless Miranda Priestley, editor in chief of the top-notch fashion publication Runway Magazine, she's blind-sided by the opportunity of a lifetime -- one that she never expected, and isn't so sure she ever wanted.  In the cautionary confection, The Devil Wears Prada, Andy is forced to compromise her values to survive in a dame-eat-dame world where breakfast is skipped in favor of fitting into a size zero, and a stiletto clad heel will gladly impale you for a promotion.  Meryl Streep is wickedly sharp-tongued as the merciless fashion executive, and we can't help but cringe when watching Andy clumsily clamor her way into her boss's good graces.  The film boasts an all-star supporting cast, including Emily Blunt who shines as Priestley's snobby senior assistant,shamelessy vocalizing her distaste for Andy, and Stanley Tucci as the flamboyant Nigel, long-time Runway employee and loyal servant to Priestley, who takes sympathy on the newcomer and acts as her personal mentor.  The film takes an unexpected turn when the once naive Andy realizes she may be crossing over to the "dark side" of the fashion realm, and although masked by the glare of Priestley's Prada shades, we adore this film because underneath it all it shoots straight to the heart of a girl discovering her strength while facing the obstacles of the big city.

We love watching Hathaway and Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, as much for their acting chops and catty characters as we do their creative ensembles.  We caught this film just in time for our annual back to school shopping spree, and decided what better way to kick-off the new school year than with a fun film inspired tour of local flea markets and vintage shops.  We began our day early at the weekly Sunday flea market, where you won't pay more than a $1 entry fee for access to the endless array of cool vintage concert tees, retro print dresses, and perfectly worn in, slouchy cowboy boots.  As we cruised through aisle after aisle of unique garb, trying on funky fedoras and charm necklaces, we picked out the perfect first day of school outfit complete with prada-esque sandals and a new pair of $5 sunglasses--worth every penny!  The flea market has something for everyone, from antique mirrors (for the decorator in us) to vintage movie posters, to baseball cards and bicycles.  And when shopping wears you out, grab a cheap hotdog or falafel to give you that much needed energy boost.  We scored big time at the swap meet, but decided to continue our journey by stopping at neighbor thrift stores, where we found an awesome selection of second-hand designer brands and discounted vintage digs.  Our day of pampering proved to be no big expense, and really, who can put a price tag on that kind of quality time?

 
Film Title: The Devil Wears Prada
Directed By: David Frankel
2006, Rated PG-13, 109 minutes


Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about this Film:

  • Why It's Worth It: Meryl Streep's performance is a high-point of this film, acid-tongued, relentless, and extremely multi-dimensional. Anne Hathaway captivates our hearts with her small-town girl lost in the big city vulnerability, and Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci entertain as the hilarious supporting chorus of fashion divas.  Despite Miranda Priestley's brazen edge, we savor the fleeting moments when we catch a glimpse of her softer side, and we completely relate to Andy's struggle to balance a budding career with friends and romance.  Part fashion show part compelling drama, The Devil Wears Prada is an energetic and heartfelt adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's novel, sure to provide hours of enjoyment for tweens and teens alike and to get them dreaming big about their own fancy careers.
  • Red Flags:  This film is pretty safe for tweens and teens, but be warned that about half way through the film there is a brief scene in which Andy flirts with her frustrated boyfriend (played by Entourage's handsome Andrian Grenier) by flashing him her new lace lingerie she was gifted at work.  Another common thread throughout the film, made light of through humor, is the starvation endured by the fashion world for the sake of vanity.  Given the high rate of eating disorders among female youth, take this opportunity to talk to your kids about healthy eating habits and nutrition.
  • Further Viewing:  The character of Miranda Priestley is loosely based on Anna Wintour, the highly-speculated about, editor in-chief of American Vogue.  Arriving in theaters August 28th in New York, and September 11th in Los Angeles and select cities, R.J. Cutler's The September Issue, is a documentary chronicling  trend-setter Anna Wintour and the legendary fashion glossy, Vogue.

Our Tips for Talking with your kids about this Film:

  • Literary Savvy: The film is based on Lauren Weisberger's 2004 novel The Devil Wear Prada, which follows Andrea Sachs as she busts her butt to satisfy the ultimate boss from hell.  The best-selling author also penned fast reads Chasing Harry Winston and Everyone Worth Knowing, which chronicle similar subject matter, and are perfect ways to introduce your young teens to challenges of juggling a personal life and a career. 
  • Charity Savvy:  One of Miranda Priestley's impossible demands is that Andy track down the unreleased Harry Potter manuscripts for her daughters before they leave on the train for summer camp.  In real life, one of the prop books used in the movie sold for $586 in an online auction, and the proceeds were donated to Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that outfits disadvantaged women in professional clothing to assist in their transition to the workforce.  Click Here to learn more about the organization and how to get involved.
  • Family Secrets:  Miranda Priestley appears elegant and together throughout the film, donning Valentino gowns and lavish fur.  In one particular scene Priestley is exposed and vulnerable, red-eyed and puffy faced without any make up, as she worries to Andy about the news of her divorce will affect the twins.  This scene is one of the most tender in the film, and the decision to appear without any makeup was actually Meryl Streep's own.


 

Vintage and Thrift Shopping in your city

Local weekend swap meet or flea market

Vintage stores along in a hip shopping neighborhood

Age Recommendation: 11 and up

Time Allotment: 3-4 hours


Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about this Adventure:

  • What Worked for Us:  It's best to start this spree on a Sunday morning, when the city is bustling with yard sales and flea markets.  We chose a popular flea market as a starting point, because it has the most expansive array of goodies on display, and we knew we could spend an hour or two there and walk away will a bag load of stuff--boy were we right!  Be prepared to bargain with vendors, and never buy off the bat, before checking out other booths for lower priced options.  Remember--the more you buy the better the deal, so snag bunch of necklaces with your friends, instead of just the one, and you' end up saving as much as 25 percent.
  • What to Look For: In the film, we loved the timeless classics adorning the film's svelte femmes, as well as the glitzy bangles, retro-print dresses, and Hermes silk scarves worn by the on-screen style mavens -- so costume jewelry and vintage frocks topped our list. Floral prints are all the rage right now - so, it's never been a better time to go vintage - anything goes! Also, jean shorts and high-waisted skirts. It's harder for tweens and teens to pull off vintage shoes, but let them try to find handbags and hats and old sweaters. Bring a copy of Teen Vogue along for inspiration - this year's back-to-school issue is full of wild style combinations that our daughters love.
  • Trendy Shop Spots:  We are lucky to live in a big city with lots of shoppertunity, but with so much to choose from, it's important to know how to weed through the junk so as to best utilize your time.  Google your city + vintage shops, and read user comments and feedback on a few sites to discern which places are worth visiting.  Crossroads Trading Company is one of our favorite stores, and has locations in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County.  Buffalo Exchange is another worth-while resale chain that has dozens of locations across the map.  Many resale boutiques  sell both vintage duds and classic-inspired new items, and remember to always keep your eyes peeled for sidewalk sales and block parties, where neighborhood vendors host impromptu sales days-- usually you can snag lots of items for $10 or less.
  • Lunch Break: Shopping can be exhausting, especially under the scorch of the August sun, so it's important to calculate time for snacks and refreshments into your day.  Often times flea markets and farmers markets go hand in hand, so when possible we love to interrupt our day of shopping to nibble on a fresh, local treat.  If you aren't feeling quite as eager to munch on organic produce for lunch, our favorite flea markets tend to have hotdog and pretzel stands which make for a perfect, and savory, energy boost.
  • Mommy & Me: When you've got your daughter all to yourself for the day, we say milk it for all it's worth.  Enjoy a relaxing lunch at an outdoor café, and take a much deserved breather from bargain hunting--take this time to review your purchases, and figure out what's left to check off the shopping list.

Our City Editors' tips for enjoying this Popcorn Adventure around the USA:

  • Anywhere: Google your city + Flea markets or vintage stores
  • Boston: The SoWa Open Market is Boston's only weekly artisan outdoor market, with over 80 unique vendors. Located at 540 Harrison Ave, Boston, Mass, the market is open 10 am to 4 pm, every sunday through October 25, and offers an impressive range of product from clothing, to pottery, to art, to produce.  
  • Chicago: The windy city is home to both a Buffalo Exchange and a Crossroads trading company, but the real hidden gems is Una Mae Clothing, located in Wicker Park, which offers both designer duds and a delightful array of vintage gear from sundresses to 70's gowns to western button down shirts for men.
  • Houston: Voted "Best Vintage Clothing" by the Houston Press, "That 70's Shop" located at 2202 Bissonnet, 713-874-1970, provides one groovy trip into the past.; With a friendly, knowledgeable staff and reasonable prices, the shop offers a quality selection and lots of bright, bright paint (on the walls). Dig around a little and you can usually score a fun new outfit.
  • New York: New York is our nation's fashion capital, so naturally it is a mecca for thrift shops.  We think the highlights are Screaming Mimis at 382 LaFayette Street, What Goes Around Comes Around at 351 W. Broadway, and Stiil Hip, one of the only resale and second-hand shops for younger kids, located at 183 Grand Ave. in Brooklyn and perfect for back to school shopping.
  • San Francisco: There is a lot of wacky fashion to sift through in this city, but you're bound to uncover a few winners at the Alemany Flea Market in Bernal Heights.  Full of unique antiques, oddities, trinkets, and food trucks, this market is a guaranteed way to pass a sunday afternoon in style.  Also on the shopping agenda should be The Wasteland and American Rag, two amazing resale shops with a great selection of marked-down designers, both with other locations in Los Angeles.
  • Washington, D.C.: The Eastern Market on Capitol Hill since 1873 is one of the oldest and most popular markets in D.C, offering an array of crafts, vintage attire, and produce.  One of the biggest and best Thrift stores in D.C is Rage Clothing, located at 1069 Wisconsin Avenue--stop by to find discounted designer brands and unique pieces to change the entire mood of your wardrobe.

 
Want more? Here are KOTC's picks of films, books, music, and websites that connect your family to more culture.



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