By Luis Lucero
For any out of towner who just moved to New York City, their first day of living here is something of a milestone. In the case of Lauren Pfieffer (pronounced Pie-fer), originally from Mansfield, Ohio, she just celebrated her two year anniversary of moving to the city. “It’s been really great so far”, says Lauren. “I do miss Ohio a lot, but New York really feels like home to me.” While she’s done several stints managing social media for companies like Richard Leeds International and Kiehls, Lauren’s true passion lies in fashion. Especially vintage and thrifted fashion. “All of my clothes have been thrifted and I’ve been thrifting since I was about 16.”
A simple trip to a Catholic Church rummage sale back in Ohio was enough to get her hooked. Lauren also credits her small town upbringing as a key factor. Aside from not being able to easily obtain major designer fashion products in a place like Mansfield, the rust belt affected countless residents in the Ohio area, making thrift stores an absolute necessity in the region. Among her favorite locations are Volunteers of America and Goodwill, as well as various local garage sales, rummage sales, and even a local store that supports families affected by cancer. Upon leaving Ohio, Lauren discovered that New Yorkers have a much greater understanding of how much value could belong to vintage items. As a result, there’s more stores dedicated to vintage clothes, rather than plain thrift stores. But Lauren still managed to find a few new locations to create her new wardrobe in Brooklyn. Aside from the usual Goodwill, she also frequents both the Salvation Army store in Downtown Brooklyn and a smaller local chain called Urban Jungle/L Train.
Since 2009, Lauren has been running her blog Passing Whimsies, originally titled Someone Like You, after the Sarah Dessen novel of the same name. Aside from showing off her latest thrift hauls, she’s used the blog as a means of connecting with others online with her writing prose. Many of her thrift posts include long winded captions that aim to create a more personal and intimate environment than what could be found on any other fashion blog. Three years later, she started her Instagram, creating her current title after discovering that Someone Like You was already taken as a username. As Lauren explained, “A whimsy is a passing fancy. And I’ve always had these moments of passing fancies, whether it be fashion, plants, or home decor. All the things I fall in love with as I move along in my life. They’re just passing whimsies.” While Lauren initially saw her blog as a personal project, it was through Instagram that she started to gain somewhat of a sizeable following, with over 7,500 followers as of publication, “People don’t even refer to me as Lauren, they simply call me ‘Passing Whimsies’. And yet, she has no real interest in becoming a full time social media influencer. “For me, I would worry about losing my love and passion for it, if it became my full time job. If I did it for monetary reasons, I wouldn’t love it as much and my passion wouldn’t show through like before.”
But it’s not all fashion and thrifting on Passing Whimsies. On both the blog and Instagram, Lauren found the courage to be open about other, more personal topics like mental health, body issues, and trying to live in New York City on a working salary. “It’s really hard sometimes when you’re afraid of feeling or looking stupid, or letting others see a more vulnerable side of you, that you push your dreams and wants aside. I hope that in trying to better myself, I could help others better themselves too and let them know that they’re not alone in their struggles.” And in the end, posting on both platforms would pay off big time. During her sophomore year at Kent State University, Seventeen Magazine made Lauren and her blog the subject of a full spread feature regarding clothing styles for girls with pear shaped bodies. This would later result in Lauren gaining a summer internship in New York City at both Seventeen and Cosmopolitan the following year, setting in motion a powerful love for the city and desire to work & live here after graduation. Though Lauren’s stints at Richard Leeds and Kiehls provided her with even more valuable tips and advice in regards to social media, she hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of returning to Seventeen/Cosmopolitan Magazine if given the opportunity.
While Lauren greatly misses her family and hometown in Ohio, she also feels that her life and career are both in a good place since moving to New York City. “I hope that my future holds something in which I’m happy wherever I am.” And throughout her personal journey, her many followers on social media will be along for the ride.