Friday ReBlog: Why I Own Wooden Hangers

Janice over at the Vivienne Files had a post this week on making your closet feel like the clothes shopping experience you love most – in other words, bringing light, space, and visual appeal to your clothes storage area.

One of the big ways she achieves this is with wooden hangers, and I have to say, I agree with her.  Having my clothes all on similar, lovely-looking hangers helps make me feel closet-happy. Wooden hangers take up enough space that you’re reminded not to crowd the rack, which is also a big contributor to me loving the way my closet looks.

Another surefire closet-happiness booster? Having a cohesive color palette. Our closet is open, so I see it every time I walk into the master bathroom; I notice when a color is glaringly out of place or the racks are packed to the gills, and take a moment to decide whether it’s time to weed through my wardrobe again.

Going back to hangers: best of all, all my lovely hangers are thrifted – folks cleaning out their closets tend to donate in packs so I’ve been able to assemble very similar hangers for all my hanging garments.  Check your local thrift store to see what you can find!

Read more about my love for wooden hangers here.

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Have a great weekend, Thrifters!

Friday ReBlog: What to Wear to be Kind to the Planet

Edited:  Ha! This is what happens when you fall asleep at night next to your toddler instead of getting up to make sure your blog post is ready to go for the next day.

At any rate, check out this New York times article about what kinds of fabrics are most (or rather more since it’s all relative) environmentally friendly.  It ends with the no-brainer thrifters and capsule wardrobe fans have long embraced: “the most effective solution may be to keep wearing that old T-shirt that your family hates, buy used clothes or just make do with fewer articles of clothing.”

Happy (long for the US) weekend, Thrifters!

Friday ReBlog: Wardrobe Inflation

Here’s a good read on Adina’s blog about lifestyle inflation. Or, more specifically, since hers is a clothes blog and so is mine: wardrobe inflation.

As you have gotten older and either earned more over the years or gotten more used to the idea of spending money on clothes in order to get quality, have your price points for various items changed?

I’ve pretty exclusively thrifted the bulk of my closet for 10 years now, so I wouldn’t say my price points have gone up – if you don’t count the fact that my local Goodwill’s prices have gone up a dollar or two in most every category.  But my “quality point” has gone way up. I don’t buy crappily-made stuff anymore just because it’s a bargain, and I am buying less and less in general these days.

A few areas where I’m willing to spend more than I used to:

Shoes. I need narrow shoes with good arch support – and those ain’t cheap. About 40% of my shoes are retail (vs. thrifted); in the last few years I’ve spent $90-$100 on retail shoes when I previously wouldn’t have forked over more than $50. What changed? I decided that spending more on shoes I love and will wear for a long time is better than getting a “bargain” pair that are only so-so.  (But I also ask for quality shoes as gifts so it’s not always my money… does that make it wishlist inflation?)

Sunglasses. All my sunglasses are currently from Goodwill, from a 5K swag bag, orrrrr I found them buried in the sand at the beach – classy.  I am thinking about purchasing some high quality sunglasses secondhand (read: eBay or other e-consignment) because most of the ones that end up at Goodwill are flimsy and there’s no way to tell whether they have UV protection. I’ve read enough warnings on blogs by women a few decades older than I am to know that I don’t want UV-induced macular degeneration.

Winter boots. The last time I lived in the cold was 10 years ago and my footwear left over from that era is laughable. If I ever move somewhere cold again, I will invest in proper, water-proof, cold-weather boots. They may still be secondhand, but I’m gonna do it right.

 

Have you experience wardrobe inflation (or maybe deflation)?  If so, in what areas, and what’s your reasoning behind it?  Scroll down to share!

Friday ReBlog: Uniform Dressing

Thought you all might enjoy this take on uniform dressing from Kelly at Alterations Needed. If you’re wanting permission to wear the same outfit formula “pretty much every damn day,” this post is for you!  Plus her gentlewoman/garçonne style is so well done and so beautifully photographed. (And she’s got great alteration advice for petite-sized people.)

And here’s a profile of a real-life literal uniform dresser – a real estate professional who wears the exact. same. thing. every day.

Totally unrelated but too good not to share: the story of a thrifted green jacket that ended up selling at auction for almost $140,000.

Thanks Adina J at Blue Collar Red Lipstick for those last two recommendations, and Happy Weekend, Thrifters!

 

Friday ReBlog & My 10×10 Wardrobe Challenge

I think I’ve mentioned the 10×10 Wardrobe Challenge before; it’s the brainchild of Lee from Style Bee but I found out about it through Caroline at Un-Fancy. Starting on Monday they’ll be teaming up for a spring 10×10 wardrobe remix and I’m playing along. You can, too!

What’s a 10×10? Both of the links above explain in more detail (and have helpful tips and examples!), but basically you pick 10 pieces from your wardrobe and wear nothing but those items for 10 days.

There aren’t super strict rules – you can count shoes in your 10 or not; you can do 10 straight days or two work weeks; if you have a special event during the 10 days you can leave your formal outfit out of the 10; etc. The point isn’t rules for their own sake, but limitations that spark creativity. Creating 10 different outfits out of only 10 pieces will likely produce new combinations you’ve never thought of, give you new insights into your style preferences and wardrobe versatility, and assuage some of your “I have nothing to wear” and “I need to go shopping” feelings.

Today I’ll share my goals for the challenge, the parameters I’m following, and the 10 pieces I’m including. Next week and the week after I’ll feature shots of how I put them together as outfits. And I’ll follow all that with a post on what I learned. Teaser: I may have had my biggest epiphany of the whole process before I’ve even started!

A tip before you get started: check the 10-day forecast and try to cover all eventualities with layering. My temps will (likely) run from the 50s to the 80s every day so I’m aiming for lightweight long sleeved blouses with a blazer/spring coat for early mornings and AC.

The Goals
I really like the general types of clothes in my closet (slim pants, pencil skirts, etc.) and feel like my wardrobe is already very mix-able, so I’m not looking to discover radically new combinations or silhouettes. What I would like to do is get over the hump with a few pieces I’ve been excited to try out but just haven’t worn yet. Do you ever have that problem in your closet or, say, with a new recipe or a new book? You know you want to incorporate it into your life but until you put it on/cook it/crack it open for the first time, it feels easier to go with tried and true favorites. I’m gonna just go for it with some new pieces that have been sitting on the bench for too long and see how they do.

I also want to challenge myself to post legitimate outfit posts every day for two work weeks. So far I haven’t found a camera set up/photo op time that consistently works for me, which means I haven’t used my Lenten thrifting hiatus to share more outfits/how-I-styled-it posts with you like I wanted to. This challenge is a good excuse to change that.

The “Rules”
Like Caroline’s, my remix will run next Monday through Friday and the Monday through Friday after that so I can focus on my work wardrobe. Although both Lee and Caroline count shoes in their 10, I won’t because I only ever wear the same two or three pairs of warm-weather work shoes that go with everything (you can see them in my spring wardrobe; click the link below) and I don’t think I’ll learn anything new from including them.
Also, accessories definitely don’t get counted in my 10. :)

The Players
All from my spring wardrobe.

Four blouses:
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Banana Republic; Chico’s; Forever 21; Banana Republic Heritage. 

I’ve only worn the muted red BR shirt once; including it will give me a few more test drives to figure out how to style it. I want to find out if the Chico’s top feels too casual for work with its lovely light cotton and tie neck. And I broke the BR leopard print in during cooler weather so I want to deliberately pair it with skirts to get myself out of the mindset that its darker colors belong in fall/winter.

Two skirts:
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Ann Taylor; J. Crew

I haven’t worn the white one yet at all since I tend to associate all-white clothes with hot weather, but I want to find out if it’s a keeper. It’s labeled two sizes larger than I normally wear but is actually tighter fitting than I’m used to; I’m guessing it shrunk in the dryer, which also explains why the lining is peeking out the bottom. I’m on the fence and need to give it a few good wears to decide.

One pant:
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Vince Camuto

One dress:
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H&M

Haven’t worn this puppy yet; it has interesting structural details I’m a little unsure about (aka weirdness in the chest), so I’m excited to see how I like wearing it.

Two finishing layers:
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Arthur S. Levine; Merona

I definitely won’t need these when it hits 80 outside, but my office runs cool and mornings will still be brisk.

Have you ever done a 10×10 (or similar) challenge?  Want to join in on the fun? Check Un-Fancy today for the hashtag to share your outfits on Instagram, or just document your challenge for yourself – you may be surprised by what you learn!

 

Friday ReBlog: Capsule Wardrobe Discussions

Wow, this week had my number – the flu hit my kid and my spouse just as work cranked up. Then my kid got strep yesterday.  Bah!  Apologies for radio silence/skipping my regular Tuesday/Thursday posts – fingers crossed that today marks a return to sanity and routine!

This post by Caroline at Un-Fancy is a few weeks old but I’m still making my way through the comments, which showcase a wide variety of approaches to capsule (or capsule-ish) wardrobes.  I read collections of different perspectives like this like I eat popcorn – I can’t get enough!  They’re great for inspiration both in the particulars (hey, I could try out that idea) and in general – as I read I felt myself getting excited to do a spring wardrobe cleanout, so stay tuned for that.

She’s also done a Q&A about her own capsule wardrobe and a closet tour if you’re interested.

 

Have a great weekend, Thrifters! And here’s to a healthy household Chez Thriftshop Chic.

 

Friday ReBlog: Decluttering by Color

Janice over at The Vivienne Files is doing a two-parter on decluttering, and her first method is based on color. (No surprise given she’s a master at building capsule wardrobes based on color palette!)

It’s worth the read-through on your own, but a few highlights that caught my interest:

“You’ve got to WANT to accomplish something – your own personal something – when you plunge into this process. If you’re currently perfectly happy with your wardrobe as it is, don’t do this; there’s nothing to be gained!”

I think where the impact lies in this great insight is not avoiding a cleanout when you’re happy with your wardrobe, but defining your “personal something” when you’re unhappy with your closet but don’t know why. No one wants to spend a lot of time and effort decluttering according to someone else’s rules or approach only to still be unsatisfied with the results!  Take a few minutes to write down (or talk through, or Pinterest, depending on your style of learning) what you’d like to achieve from a closet makeover: a consistent color palette, a style refresh, to end up with only clothes you thrill to wear, etc.

That brings us to her second observation I want to engage:

“With all the respect in the world to Marie Kondo, I’m NEVER going to feel joy from a black tee shirt, but having a handful of them is really important to being well dressed, in my life.”

I don’t particularly care about defending Marie Kondo, but I do think (depending on your personality and style) that it’s possible to have an entire wardrobe composed ONLY of things you love – right down to your knickers. (Maybe underwear’s especially important in this category since only you will see it, but it can brighten up your whole mood to know you’ve got Animal underpants on under an otherwise somber or formal ensemble!)

An undershirt I thrifted at one point comes to mind. No one was ever going to see it, since it was designed to be worn as a base layer.  But it was made of the softest Pima cotton, and it felt luxurious every time I put it on.

My point isn’t to be dissatisfied with your wardrobe if your really practical pieces don’t “spark joy,” but to encourage you not to settle if you feel rather “blah” about a practical piece – it’s scratchy, worn out, cheap, doesn’t fit quite right… There’s likely an alternative out there just waiting to be thrifted that will give you, if not joy, a little more pleasure when getting dressed.

 

What are your thoughts on making sure you have figured out your raison d’être before decluttering, or about having your mundane pieces “spark joy”?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Thursday ReBlog: “Dressing Like a Grown Up” and the Crème de la Crème

It’s Thursday, yes, but I’m posting my Ireland packing list tomorrow so you get a “Friday” ReBlog today.

First up, Duchesse at Passage des Perles responds to Vanessa Friedman’s New York Times article “How to Dress Like an Adult.”  Some good food for thought in both categories.  I just went in for a (thrifted, of course) dress-coat as a topper to replace a long slouchy sweater in part because it felt more put-together, more “grown up” for my work life (post next week!).  And to Ms. Friedman’s point #3 – essentially, take care of your clothes – I also just bought a travel-sized steamer to reduce that “sat under a pile of clothes” look things get when I don’t hang them up right away.  (I’ll write a review in a few weeks when I’ve tested it out a few more times.)

 

Second, Adina at Blue Collar Red Lipstick waxes eloquent on wearing only the crème de la crème of her wardrobe and how she’s moving from a wardrobe full of 7s out of 10 that worked just fine to 10s all the way.  (She now says she gets the Marie Kondo “spark joy” thing.)  While I’m not holding on to so-so work horses in the same way she was, I am holding on to some “meh” pieces that I just don’t wear/like because they are interesting/unique/good quality.  Great inspiration if you’re looking to really go for the gold, wardrobe-wise.

 

What are your thoughts on making a wardrobe out of 10s and dressing as a grown up?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Friday ReBlog: Keeping a Piece Past a Year, Anti-Hauls, and the Bag I Should Not Have Bought

A couple of interesting bits for you today on this lovely Friday.

First up: the comments in this post over at Un-Fancy are a great discussion on when/why/how you let go of a piece – do you follow the oft-cited “if you haven’t worn it in a year, let it go”?  Or do you stash away classic faves to see if you love them again in a year?  I tend much more towards the former, but I have stashed away one or two pieces (e.g. sailor pants) of which I’m not currently enamored but have a lot of personality and that I can see myself loving again.

 

Next: have you heard of “haul” videos on You Tube?  The idea is to go out and buy a bunch of stuff (or thrift – but usually these are retail affairs), and then make a video showing off your clothing/makeup/shoe purchases.  It’s a weird blend of consumer excess and vicarious living and I can’t bring myself to watch them.

(There’s some hypocrisy here of course because I do monthly “thrift finds” posts where I show you what I thrifted in the last month. I imagine they do inspire more consumption when you see a look you’d like to emulate, but since you won’t be able to go out and buy the same exact thing, and I don’t make money off of you clicking through to buy a piece I found, I’m okay with it.  Plus I love seeing what others have thrifted even when it’s totally not my cup of tea.)

To the topic at hand: apparently there is also the anti-haul, pioneered by Kimberly Clark and profiled by Anna of The Anna Edit here.  Kimberly’s anti-haul mantra is “Don’t need it.  Not gonna buy it.”  The idea is you go through products (in this case makeup) and describe why they’re not worth buying.  I love that there is someone out there doing this.  It’s a good corrective for those days when I waltz into a thrift store, see a bag that fits the parameters I’ve been looking for, and then realize I am happy with the bag I have and have no reason to purchase a new one (I thought I needed two, one for winter and one for summer, but that is a lie).  “Don’t need it.  Not gonna buy it.”  Thanks Kimberly.

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But it was snakeskin print…

But whoops, I did buy that bag because it was before I read about anti-hauls.  (That’s no excuse, I should know not to buy bags I don’t need.)  Luckily for me, though, the purchase went to a great cause because I was shopping at Out of the Closet, a new (to Atlanta) thrift store benefiting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  Look for a post about it next week!

 

Alright y’all, I’m off to enjoy the weekend.  Happy thrifting!

 

Friday ReBlog: Bits & Pieces

This isn’t really a ReBlog (although it is on Friday).  It’s more of a random assortment of stuff I wanted to share with you.  I enjoy reading this kind of mishmash on other blogs and hope you enjoy it here!

First up, a couple of real-life fashionistas I’ve spotted in the last few weeks and wanted to share with you.

This woman at Costco was wearing several shades of “red,” from pink to mulberry to purple, and pulling it off with aplomb – I think because she married so many shades.  Two might have looked off, but several made it obvious this was intentional.

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Even her bag trim is mulberry!  Style note: the lighter colored shirt (blush pink or white? hard to tell) worked to balance out the intensity of the other shades.

 

This gentleman browsing the book section at the Goodwill had the plaid/vest combo down.  And that short scarf gave it some verve!

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I would not have thought to pair yellow-toned cords with the deeper shades above, but it works – the light mustard leavens the heaviness of the other tones while the texture still says “cold weather.”

 

Here’s a sparkly top I couldn’t resist buying that would fit in perfectly with my fantasy style (and that I will likely never wear in real life):
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Sequined fabulousness by Jean for Joseph le Bon.

Why do I buy these things (occasionally, but still)?  I try to stick to the maxim “you don’t have to own to appreciate,” but sometimes I get so smitten with something that I am not successful in resisting.  I enjoy looking at it hanging in my closet for several weeks or months, maybe wear it once, and then redonate it.  I guess if the money is going to a worthy cause, it’s not that bad of an occasional habit.

 

Here’s a great piece by someone who uses thrift stores as her family’s primary source of clothing out of financial necessity and has some thoughts on what folks with more resources should donate.  It made me think of our discussion on whether thrifting contributes to gentrification (part 1 and part 2).  The author echoes what I heard mentioned by several financially strapped folks and employees of thrift stores – that people with more means shopping at thrift stores means their doors can stay open for people with fewer means.

Another secondhand shopping option has just gone live: ReStitch, the online thrift store run by Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin.  They have tens of thousands of items up, so go check them out – and if you decided to buy anything, come back and let us know what you think!

Last but not least, the spouse and I are headed to Ireland next month so I can officiate a friend’s wedding.  We’ll be flying into Dublin and the festivities are in Co. Clare.  Any suggestions for places to see/things to do?  I’ve already noted addresses and opening hours of three charity shops (aka thrift stores) in Ennis (surprised?) but the only other thing on my list are the cliffs of Moher.  I need help.
PS Get excited for a travel wardrobe post before the end of February!

 

Have a great weekend, Thrifters!