What I Wear Every Weekend

Surprise! A weekend-related post for the weekend.

Though I can be fickle with my weekday wardrobe – thrift something one week, donate it the next – I am a creature of habit on the weekends. In spring, here is the shirt I reach for without a second thought every Saturday (and often after work or church):wp_20160924_17_00_19_pro

It’s by Gap and made of incredibly soft, worn-in cotton.  It has my favorite width of stripes: not too thin or thick and evenly spaced so the shirt doesn’t appear too white or too navy. The drop shoulders make it look a little more modern although I wouldn’t care if they were normal shoulders. The wide neckline feels laidback as does the loose, but not sloppy, cut.

Most often than not I pair it with these cut-offs. They’re Gap jeans I thrifted 10 years ago right after I stopped buying retail. They were already cut to this Bermuda-esque length, which is just right for breezy days when shorts would feel too chilly.  And although they’ve stretched out a leeetle too far for their own good, I can’t give them up. They are perfectly worn in and just feel right. (I even wore them in one of my engagement photos lo these many years ago!)  I can roll up the edges for a neater look or let them go frayed when I’m feeling a little more free spirited.
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Both pics from this post.

That’s it!  If you see me wearing something else on a Saturday, it’s either unseasonably cold (and I’m in jeans) or someone forgot to do laundry.

Do you have a weekend “uniform”?  If so, scroll down to share.

Street Style: Ireland

Inspired by Janice of The Vivienne Files and Susan of Une Femme, I was determined to capture some street style shots for you on our trip to Ireland.

First up, this woman in the Newark airport en route to Dublin was wearing the chicest version of overalls I have ever seen:IMG_4922

The slim cut, the suspender-like straps, and the color paired with simple black (and boots that tie up the back!) were quite striking.  I only ever saw the outfit from the back but that was enough to convince me.

There was another woman in the airport sporting a super chic ensemble (I’m going to be using “chic” a lot in this post…) that I didn’t get a snap of, but it looked something like the photo below. Color the tunic sweater camel and chop the cowl collar in favor of a very structured white dress shirt collar peeping through; then morph the pale messily-coiffed white woman into a woman of Asian descent with an elegant updo.  I was struck by how structurally elegant but also livable the look was; and by how the pants were not skinny pants (as often seen in tunics-over pants looks), but more trouser-like.  Her ensemble stood out in a sea of business travelers.

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Now on to Ireland itself.

Maybe it’s because I owned an Old Navy track jacket in similar colors in college, but I couldn’t resist this jacket with corals/greens/browns and hummingbird/flower applique, spotted at the Dublin Flea Market:

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This woman was a chaperone on a high school field trip to Glendalough which involved a good bit of walking in some cold, muddy-ish conditions.  Yet her ensemble, with its bright colors and details like pompons and red gloves, was eminently cheery and stylish:

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Well done, Teach!

 

I saw quite a few of these plaid blanket-style capes, worn both inside and outside to add extra warmth:

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Our waitress at Ard Bia in Galway (where we had the most delicious poached eggs and avocado on toast) wore this great mix of chambray/washed out denim in two shades plus a marled cardigan in a muted red over a soft white tee that hit “late winter/early spring by the sea” so perfectly:

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It also worked really well in the airy, light, almost minimalist interior of the restaurant.
Here’s a very luxe neutral coat – look at that popped collar! – with a punch of flame via her bag:

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A shot of the boots (get it?):

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Overall I noticed a lot of joggers on young men; shorter skirts over tights on young women; and dark or neutral colors when it came to outerwear – I definitely stood out in my red wool coat.  I also would’ve stood out if anyone had known I was wearing leggings under warm corduroy pants – clearly everyone was more accustomed to cold weather than I was!

Ah, and I almost forgot – I was the only woman (besides the nun with whom I co-officiated, and she had her own headgear) to miss the memo on wearing fascinators at the wedding we attended.  I’d previously attended a wedding in Europe that involved hats so I shouldn’t have been surprised that all the Irish women had head attire, but even the American women had all figured it out. From vintage emerald green velvet pillboxes to flapper-style feathered headbands to more sculptural numbers, they were stunning.  I’ll just have to deal with my disappointment by reassuring myself that my job was to keep all the attention on the bride – who looked absolutely stunning!

Congrats Ashley & Dave, and many blessings on your married life ahead!

 

 

How to Wear Culottes in Real Life

Today, a look at how to wear culottes, the newest in pant leg silhouettes. I was not sold on this trend (for me, or anyone) until I saw the following two women work it. One is a more wintry look while the other shouts summer; what do they have in common?

A defined waist.

Sure, you can wear culottes with something baggy or oversize, but to me the look becomes very “fashion” or off-duty model – architectural and statement-making rather than style I want to live in. In my opinion a closer cut on top balances the bloom of the pant legs below.

Here is Lee of Style Bee rocking a striking silhouette and an even more striking color palette, with boots for cooler weather:

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Her blog features several more ways to style these kind of pants – one of her wardrobe staples – as well as a review on the Everlane (read: responsibly made) version of these pants, pictured below. This top has a little more give but still highlights the waist:

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Even this blousier top is tucked in, keeping the waist the focal point of the outfit:

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Thanks to Lee I had this silhouette kicking around my brain as a style possibility, but still one pulled off by a style blogger who is supposed to have an edgier look than the rest of us.

And then I saw a random woman wearing culottes in a bookstore. She was working in a nearby office, proving real people wear these to real jobs; and I’d guess she was in her 50s or 60s, proving that this trend is not just for the young folk.

I’m still not sold on this trend for me, but if I *were* going to hop on the bandwagon, I would do it exactly the way she did – a little sailor chic, a little Audrey Hepburn:

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I have that shirt, that red pant in a different cut, and those shoes. Bam.

PS check out the buttons on that fly!
PPS sorry I cut off the bottom of the pants in the second photo. :/ Unbeknownst to me, my finger was in the way as I tried to surreptitiously capture her fabulous style.

 

What do you think of the culotte look? Are you convinced by these takes on it the way I was?

 

My Secret for the Perfect Blazer & a Blue Blazer Cage Match

I admit it, that title is a bit dramatic.  But since I’ve already used “A Tale of Two Blazers,” I went with it.  Also, it’s not really a cage match as I right now I plan to keep both of my new finds (below)… but depending on which I reach for more, one may eventually win a permanent place in my closet.

First, though, let’s start with my revelation vis-a-vis the perfect blazer. After many false starts and fitting-room frowns, I realized that I like lapels that are long and narrow, not wide and curvy:

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Love the tweed, though!

In general I prefer a silhouette without a lot of curve.  My blouses tend to be a little loose, not fitted, so they can fall in a straight-ish line from my shoulders to hips.  I don’t do form-fitting on the bottom, either – my go-to pant is slim, not skinny. Even my sheath dresses, which do follow the form of my body, don’t do much curving – because I ain’t got a lotta curves.

And I already knew I didn’t like jackets with too much of an hourglass shape.  So I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that a key part of my loving a blazer is having lapels that elongate my look instead of adding width/curve.  This “aha” moment made it that much easier to flip through a rack of blazers and sift out good candidates.

I got a chance to put this epiphany into action last week while thrifting for a special occasion dress. You may recall that I was not happy with my navy wool blazer of yore because it picked up every fuzzy lint ball and stray cat hair and when I washed it (THAT was dumb) it didn’t reform back to the silhouette I liked.

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So I was on the lookout for a replacement blue blazer – and found two.

The first was this navy number by Charlotte Russe:

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Please ignore horrid yellow lighting.

The inverted lapels are unexpected and create that long line I love.  The decorative buttons are a great detail and in a nice neutral palette, and the permanently scrunched sleeves at my favorite length mean I can look chic without having to shove them up my arms all the time.

Since Charlotte Russe is super fast fashion, I am skeptical about how this will hold up.  Surprisingly, though, it is much less rumpled than most of the unlined jackets I find in thrift stores, even from significantly higher pricepoints.   I actually like the fact that it’s unlined as it makes a nice finishing layer without adding a ton of bulk/warmth, since I tend to wear blazers in spring/fall when a fully lined wool jacket in Atlanta = sweat.

 

The next day I found this medium blue baby by H&M:

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I LOVE the color – it’s hard to find blue blazers that aren’t navy (and often a severe shade of it).  I also love the ponte fabric and the satin-y finish on the top line of the pockets.  I’m a little iffy on the pointiness of the lapel notch and the topstitch detail, but the long/lean line is in effect and that’s what I value most.  The fit also runs nicely along my torso.

I was *not* in love with the large silver buttons (I don’t wear silver jewelry and the tops ones hit right at bust level), so I removed them.  You can see where they were stitched on; it’s not as obvious when I’m wearing it and the ponte may bounce back over time.  I’m definitely going to sew a button back on to the only non-decorative spot in the middle; if the other spots are still noticeable in a week or two I’ll find some gold/bronze buttons and resew them as well.

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Obviously H&M is also fast fashion.  I’ve noticed that as far as blazers go, people tend to hold onto well made ones and not donate them ’til they’ve gone out of style (which is why you lots of blazers from the 80s and 90s at the thrift store).  Most often cuts and styles that feel more current are of the fast fashion variety because it’s a lot easier to donate something that cost you $30 vs. $200.  There are occasional exceptions but I’m not holding my breath to find them.  I’ll keep you updated on how these two hold up.

 

What do you think of my finds and my impromptu blazer surgery?  What’s most important to you in a blazer or a jacket? Scroll down to comment!

 

A Structured Dress Coat; or, in Which I Take a Page from the Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine is a big fan of the coat dress, or the dress coat (sometimes it’s not clear which is which):

images 02 Nov 2011 - Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge visits the UNICEF Supply Division Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark Kate-Middleton-243783
Source, sourcesource.

I had never entertained the thought of wearing such a garment myself until a super-soft, structured number by Tahari by Arthur S. Levine jumped off the coat rack section and into my hands all by itself.  I loved its sleek, tailored lines and the drama of the collar:

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Check out the contrast stitching and those chic pockets:
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My first thought was “this is a great piece and it would look great on someone else who wears coat dress/dress coats.”

My second thought was, “Why can’t *I* be that person?”

So into the dressing room it went!  A la the Duchess of Cambridge, I think it works well over dresses, either open or closed:

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This will be great for scarves, I can see it now.

It makes a more dressed up, grown up alternative to a long cardigan, and nips in just a touch at the waist:

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Here it is with a fun plaid scarf I picked up:

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I’ve learned from experience (and other bloggers) that adding an outside-your-comfort-zone piece to your wardrobe is best done when it’s paired with other favorites and it’s inside your comfort zone in some other way – e.g. the color matches your palette, it’s a familiar cut, etc.  So it helped that this dress coat was a gentle shade of navy (color palette – check) and that it looked great with the dressy corduroys and neutral top I was wearing (plays well with wardrobe staples – check).  It made it easy to focus on the fresh vibe this new silhouette added to by repertoire instead of trying to imagine whether it would work.

Here it is on its first official engagement (yes, on yet another thrifting expedition):

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Sleek, no?  Chic, feminine, Dr. Who-esque, yes?  

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Metallic top: Pull & Bear, thrifted
Dress coat: Tahari by Arthur S. Levine, thrifted
Cream corduroys: Lauren by Ralph Lauren, thrifted & tailored

Socks: Target, retail
Shoes: hand-me-downs from my mother-in-law, repainted
Necklace: DIY from Goodwill finds

I rate this outside-my-style-comfort-zone experiment a success.  What do you think?  When have you gone outside your style comfort zone and had it work?  When not?  Scroll down to share!

 

My Style Icons

My style ranges from drapey cardigans over skinny pants to vintage dresses to oversized Liz Claiborne sweaters.

But if I were to describe my *ideal* personal style with an equation featuring stylish people of the world, it would look like this:

1/2 Inès de la Fressange + 1/2 Nicola Sturgeon + a dash of Luke Spiller.

Expressed visually, this would be:

style iconsSource; Source; Source

Let’s take a closer look at each piece of the pie.

 

Inès de la Fressange – Gentlewoman Chic

Model/businesswoman/muse/author Inès de la Fressange exemplifies the feminine side of gentlewoman chic with her fitted blazers, trim trousers, bold blouses, and always a touch of funk – see those two-toned shoes peeking out from underneath her pants?  And I count at least 3 patterns in this ensemble, maybe 4:

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Let’s admire the bold contrast here between the yellow and the monochrome jacket, with the whole look pulled together by that playful, yet ascot-like scarf.  And that superbly cut blazer!

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Also, brava to another poster child of gentlewoman chic, Garance Doré, for that incredible photo. Source

 

My take:
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Nicola Sturgeon – Stylin’ Power Dresses

Leading up to her election as first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon started working with an Edinburgh dress boutique to create a wardrobe of solid-color sheath dresses with unique twists – what the boutique owners call “a soft power look” (check out the NY Times article on her wardrobe here – and then we can all talk about the politics of how women’s dress and physical appearance affect their electability as public servants):

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Shoulders!  She has this one in at least 3 colors – source

…for example, in orange:

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Hello asymmetrical neckline and slit on the side:

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Bonus: the completely fabulous, satin-y contrasting lapel on this blazer – that’s some edge, woman!  Theresa May, take note. (Or not.  Since, you know, how stylish or chic you look ≠ your ability to govern.)

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My take:

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While I do love a good plain dress for its versatility and the great canvas it makes for accessories, I really thrill to dresses like Nicola’s and the one above with its unexpected neckline and sassy gold chains.  Right now it’s the only one in my closet that fits the bill, as most of the rest of my dresses are solid-color and plain.  But here’s a throwback to a couple I loved that had to be sent on due to pilling:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

Ahh, back when I did bathroom selfies.  Good times.

 

Luke Spiller – Glam Rock

Luke looks, sings, and moves like the love child of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger.  I’ve already blogged about his style here; suffice it to say that his boldly metallic, besequined allure is called to mind every time I spot a glitzy top I should say no to.

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My take:

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And… last week I found these exact pants I had long ago regretted not thrifting and I bought ’em without even trying them on.  They’re amazing:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

Now to figure out where to wear them.

 

Who are your style icons?  Could be someone you know personally, a character in a movie or book (illustrations help), or a public persona.   Keep in mind that it’s not about emulating someone else’s look to a T, but rather helping you define your own style.

If you’ve never tried to figure it out before, I encourage you to give it a go.   Once you’ve identified a person or two or three, ask yourself: what is it about their sartorial presentation that sets your heart aflutter? How do they exemplify what you love to wear?  I’m willing to bet it’ll help you sharpen your own aesthetic.  Scroll down to share your thoughts!

 

Gentlewoman Chic

You may have heard the terms “garçonne” and “modern gentlewoman” – most recently popularized by Navaz Batliwalla in her book The New Garçonne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman. (Review here and interview here.)

The French word garçonne translates as “tomboy,” while the “new” or “modern” part of the equation refers to the grownup aesthetic involved. Instead of ball caps, ringer tees, and Chucks, we’re talking fedoras, menswear-inspired blazers, and brogues:

Navaz Batliwalla Kelly Alterations NeededGarance Dore women's tux
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I’ve noticed that women who are drawn to the gentlewoman look pay an incredible amount of attention to quality and detail.  And no wonder – menswear, well done, is a feast of texture, pattern, and line all in a pleasingly balanced structure. Looking at the above photos, particularly those from Kelly’s blog Alterations Needed, has me itching to collect more perfectly cut blazers (like this one), sumptuously textured fabrics, and sleek flats. I might even pull my grandpa’s fedoras off the hooks on my bedroom wall where they hang as heirloom decor.

Although I wear my fair share of dresses (and am not afraid of a skirt in summer), I frequently borrow a page or two from menswear, though not as nattily as the women pictured above:

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What is your take on the “modern gentlewoman” look or garçonne chic? Have you read the book? Scroll down to comment.

 

Preacher Style

In the comments section of my reader survey, someone asked me to write about this:

“Your evolving style as a preacher AND fashion lover. I’ve always loved clothes but I went through a very conservative ‘modesty’ phase back in the 90’s (think covered up shapeless, long denim dresses) and looked frumpy most of the time. Even my husband didn’t like it. Ugh, what can I say but that I felt convicted at the time. It took many years before I was able to dress myself with freedom. I’m curious about your personal experience :) ”

I love this topic – thanks for asking about something I wouldn’t have thought of writing about on my own!

Let’s start with a story:

One memorable attempt at dressing to preach involved a navy shift dress in something silk-like with half-rolled short sleeves and stripes of color along the bottom – pink, orange, red, green, and white, maybe? – in varying widths.  I felt desperately chic in it, especially since it was a thrift score and thus proved one could dress stylishly secondhand.  I was so enamored of it that I refused to recognize (despite my mom’s warning) that it was too short and wore it to my home church to guest preach.
50761908This gives you the general feel.  Source

My high school French teacher and mentor – Madame, we call her – came to hear me preach, and as folks gathered for worship, I greeted her in the pew before turning around and bending over the next pew to kiss the cheek of one of the elderly church ladies who have loved on me since I was a toddler.  A perilous move, turns out.

Madame shrieked my name (at a moderate volume) and when I turned around, the look on her face was one of complete mortification; though this happened several years ago, I can recall exactly how high her eyebrows shot up.  “Leah, that dress is REALLY short!” she exclaimed. I still wonder exactly how much she saw, but I have never had the guts to inquire.

By then it was too late to do anything about it – the prelude was starting and I was leading most of the service and in any case I didn’t just happen to have a backup dress hanging up in the narthex.  Calling to mind the lesson imparted by another mentor who once chided me for failing to network at an advocacy event because I had felt self-consciously underdressed, wearing flip flops and a billowy summer skirt in a crowd of suits, I took a deep breath and went for it.

But why was this such a problem, you might be thinking, since preaching doesn’t involve turning around and bending over backwards in front of the congregation? (Now THAT’S a visual.)  Well, friends, you have not thought through the logistics of giving a children’s sermon while sitting on the chancel floor in the shortest shift known to humanity and trying to angle your sidesaddled knees such that your confirmation sponsor, jr. high social studies teacher, mother, and the parents of the kids you babysat for years don’t see your underwear, all while wrangling preschoolers who don’t really want to sit still while you tell a story.  Let’s just say I have a lot of sympathy for Lindsay Lohan and anyone else who’s accidentally flashed the paps.

 

Although I have a mad amount of respect for people who dress in a way that expresses their faith, dress has never been a way I’ve expressed my own faith. (This directly correlates to my liberal Christian upbringing and current progressive Christian faith.)   In grad school, when a classmate took on a nine month modesty project – head covered, shoulders covered, knees covered, no makeup, no pants – to see how it affected her sense of self and her relationship with God, I felt no impulse to experiment with the same.

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Me, dressed in shorts to lead worship next to Lauren doing her modesty thing at the time.

Neither has dress ever been a way that spiritual authority figures in my life have tried to moralize or shame me, which does often happen with clothing choices (particularly for girls and women).  For that I am profoundly grateful – in my book shame and religion shouldn’t mix.

That being said, I did grow up with parents who had some ideas about what constituted appropriate church clothes – particularly a mom who was not happy with anything too tight, too short, or too midriff baring.  I chafed against this (literally?) in junior high and high school, but a few years into adulthood I sort of naturally grew out of spaghetti straps and skintight glitter pants, and the memory of my mom’s chastisement softened into helpful parameters: if something pulls, it’s too tight; if something rides up all the time, it’s too short, etc. etc.

As the story above illustrates, though, I didn’t grow out of more “risqué” (my mom’s word) dressing all at once. As I began to dress less casually in my work life, the too-short-shift experience helped redraw the line for me about clothes for leading worship as well.  If it’s cute/trendy/chic but makes me feel distracted from or self-conscious about the task at hand, I’ll save it for the dance floor, not the pulpit.  If it passes the get-on-the-floor-and-play-with-kids test (dress/skirt hems) along with the raise-your-hands-high-to-give-the-benediction test (that one’s for midriffs) and the crouch-down-to-rescue-the-fallen-hymnal test (visible crack for pants), we’re good.

As for level of formality?  I have seen so many people shunned for what they wore (or failed to wear) to worship that I would rather dress down to help people feel welcome than impose rules on what is respectful enough for a house of faith.  I was raised in a wear-your-best-to-church environment, but I’ve also pastored an informal church start and a homeless community, so I learned a long time ago that you can worship God no matter how formal, groomed, or skin-showing you are.

Casual style from my new church plant days:

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I figure God doesn’t really care, but on the flip side, I understand that people do.  A lot of folks were raised to believe that the way you dress for worship shows respect for God. That’s why, practically speaking, I wear a) what makes me feel comfortable and b) what shows general respect for my parishioners’ sensibilities but c) nothing too fancy so as not to make less formally dressed people feel uncomfortable.  (This is also why I breastfed in church but often in the back pew.  I assume not everyone is comfortable with nursing in public.)

Reflecting the surroundings, I started off like this in my current church:

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Until I realized that all the other women in the congregation, save one, wore pants:

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Then we moved to a less formal space:

15590434_678276485677347_6599297226904845813_n+100 points for that mid-sentence facial expression.

On a related tangent, I don’t feel any compulsion to dress a certain way at other events because I am a pastor – if I’m going to work out, or go dancing, or go to the beach, I’ll don what I personally feel comfortable wearing in those situations (which, admittedly, is really not that edgy to begin with).  My spouse once wondered whether we should buy alcohol at a liquor store further from home so we wouldn’t run into our neighbors or seminary classmates – nope.  I’m invested in reminding church members and the world at large that clergy are people, first and foremost – called to a specific ministry, yes, but not necessarily any more pious than anyone else.  And most definitely allowed to express themselves through clothing!

For weddings/ordinations/formal worship services I add the oatmeal-colored robe, cincture (rope around the waist) and a stole:

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Or if I’m marching in the rain, here is the super-chic water-repellent outfit I wear (same stole as above, better view):

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What have been your experiences with spirituality and dress, modest clothing, or shaming around clothes?  If you grew up in a faith tradition or currently participate in one, what are your thoughts on what’s appropriate to wear to worship?  There are such a wide array of opinions and experiences out there – I’d love to hear yours!

 

 

How Are Riding Boots Supposed to Fit?

I’m asking the question in the title because I found tall boots (one of the things on my current thrift list) at Goodwill the other day that were flat, cognac-colored, had gold accents, had toes that were not too pointed and not too rounded, and were leather. (I’d be happy with high quality vegan options but usually anything not leather in the boot section is cheapo Target ware.)  In other words, they were perfect.

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Except.

My image of riding boots includes a fitted shaft:

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But the shaft of these boots was rather wide relatively to the circumference of my calf:

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This pretty quickly turned into a mental battle over whether the “must buy” reaction I had outweighed the less-than-ideal width.  In my experience, saying “yes” to a less-than-ideal find, out of fear that another version won’t crop up, often leads to thrift regret – and wasted $$ when eventually a better find appears.  But with such a rare find, I was finding it hard to say no.

So I made a list:

In the “must buy” column: these babies, made by Coach, retail for $200 but were priced at only $20.  They were also my size, if a little wide in the foot.  I *never* find quality cognac/brown, heel-less boots in my size at thrift stores.

In the “less-than-ideal” column, that wide shaft had me feeling like:

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I admit I don’t pay that much attention to riding boots, having never intentionally shopped for a pair. Can you wear riding boots more loosely and have it look purposeful, avoiding a sloppy or dated feel? Not to be a slave to fashion trends, but there’s a difference between knowingly working a non-trend look and unintentionally invoking 1979 (above).

Surprisingly, the internet has a lot to say about how you can wear your boots, including ample visual evidence that the wide legged look is just as acceptable as the fitted look:

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Source, source, source, source.

Convinced I wouldn’t look completely unhip and clueless, I bought ’em, and promptly wore them the next day:

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Same boots, different Goodwill.

Scratch that one of the thrift list!  Bonus: my spouse thinks they look nice.

 

What do y’all think of the wider shaft?  Any styling tips from those of you who sport riding boots on the regular?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Exploring New Clothing Territory: Vests

This post is about quilted/puffy vests.  Sorry if you got all excited for 90s-era or tuxedo-style numbers!

In college I had a red, slim, quilted vest by Caslon.  I remember it being the first piece of clothing my mom convinced me to spend $50 (!!) of my own money on.  She explained the concept of investing in a quality piece you’ll wear for years – and she was right.  It was quite chic and a great color, and I wore that puppy on the regular for 6 or 7 years, easy:

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College me, posing in said vest at an Olympique Marseille football-watching club in France.  I have no idea what Che is doing there.

I haven’t gone in for quilted vests much since then – mostly because the styles available now tend more toward the sporty (not my style), and it’s hard to find a silhouette that doesn’t add a lot of visual volume.

Indeed, my next vest wasn’t purchased until 2012, when I picked one up last minute from Costco for a family trip to Scandinavia. (Judge away.  I was thrifting 95% of the time but got seduced by the bright, inexpensive clothes at Costco and the idea that you need to buy new/specific clothes for travel. Lies, I tell you, lies!)

And then, ironically, I wore it thrifting at the Salvation Army shop in Oslo:
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What, you don’t thrift on vacation?

It packs down to almost nothing and is filled with down, so it’s a great layering piece. But it’s been stashed in the back of my closet pretty much since 2012.   If I had to say why, it’s – again – because of its rather sporty style and the unfortunate volume added where none is wanted.

Two of my coworkers regularly wear puffy vests and manage to look chic, though. (One thing that appears to help the volume problem is not zipping them up.  Who knew?)  So lately I’ve been kicking around the idea of giving quilted vests another try.  Luckily for me, picking up a vest from Goodwill costs about $5 instead of the $25 at Costco (or the much higher price tag in retail stores).

Here are my two picks:

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Old Navy – thrifted

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Nau – my version is taupe.  This is 850 down and retails for $185!

The liner on this vest is 100% recycled polyester, and the down inside is also re-used.  I love the asymmetrical zipper which takes it a little more in the direction of everyday chic rather than camping chic.

My spouse laughed when he saw the Old Navy one – “You’re still on that leopard print thing, aren’t you?”  Yes, dear, I am.  It is NEVER going out of style, so get used to it!

I know, I know, I just said no more winter clothes – but although I didn’t showcase them in my winter wardrobe post, I did indeed write that proclamation after I’d bought these.  And I’m hoping these babies will help me get more wear out of my existing wardrobe by pairing with my turtlenecks, which I have neglected rather severely this winter.  Additionally, I think the taupe vest will transition quite well to spring, for those days when it’s still a bit chilly but I don’t want a full blazer/coat/thick sweater.

What’s your take on quilted vests – do you wear them or no?  For those who do, any tips for styling them in business casual appropriate ways?  Scroll down to comment!