February Thrift Finds

Let’s take a little trip back in time to some February thrift finds.

First up, the rejects.

Edited – I just found two more dress pics on my phone that I somehow skipped!

Handmade blue bamboo sheath
This baby was made out of beautiful fabric in gorgeous colors and I loved the notch neckline.  Alas, it was too big:
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Closeup on that pattern/colors:
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Yellow floral dress by Freaks of Go Go Spectators (since this appears to be the name of an album by the group Spiral Life, I assume this is also handmade)
I love the soft yellow and the thistles on the pattern, but it was TOO TIGHT across the hips:WP_20170215_13_41_43_Pro

Agh, that shoulder ring detail!  I die.  So sad this didn’t work.WP_20170215_13_42_08_Pro

Sweater dress by Loft
You know I love a comfy dress and a leopard print; the hem detail on this is great.  But it was pretty short…

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…and the fit was a little wonky near the bottom.  See how it pooches in on the righthand side?
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Plaid shift dress by Merona
I loved the color and the plaid on this dress but the fabric was cheap and the cut was fugly – much more muumuu than mod.

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Striped/colorblock dress by Gap
This may remind you of another dress I own; so when it felt a little too baggy/summer in Maine (where I do not, alas, live), I said no thanks and gave myself a pat on the back for resisting a pattern/color combo I love but already have.

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Colorblock dress, no
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I LOVED the color combo here – so bright and sunny! And I’d love to add a yellow dress to my repertoire. Plus look at how classy those pleats are and how pleasantly they symmetrize (new word?) with the darts in the bust!  Alas, the top was a smidge too tight across the chest (see the pulling?) and too big on the collarbone, and the skirt too short.

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Geometric blouse by The Limited
Cheapy fabric made the lovely color (below) and the potentially chic, loose cut all wonky – see how the hem flips up at the bottom and the fabric puckers diagonally across the middle?
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Ivory blazer
I didn’t get a shot of the label on this one. It had an odd combo of modern-looking lines (check out the shawl lapel!)and vintage length and cuff details:

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Striped shortsleeve blouse, Old Navy
I really wanted this to work as a flowy, chic alternative to my cotton tee of similar pattern, but it was just too big.  Boo.

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Old Navy plaid popover blouse
This shirt felt so good on – simple, comfy cotton – and has one of my favorite features – popover! Plus I loved the plaid and the colors.
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From the side, though, you can see that it’s pretty baggy in a not-on-purpose way.  And seeing these pics again I’m glad I didn’t go for it although I was pretty sad at the time because it looks pretty darn casual which relegates it to the weekend, not work-wear territory.  I already have a couple of weekend shirts I love and I don’t care who sees me wear them repeatedly so this one stayed on the rack.WP_20170223_13_49_46_Pro
Collective Concepts blouse
I’ve been looking for a palm print blouse; this had the colors but NOT the pattern.WP_20170223_13_51_55_Pro
Madras plaid shirt dress by Tommy Hilfiger
Great colors, great plaid, great shirt dress!  Just too short to wear without leggings (and who wants to wear a gorgeously summery shirtdress like this with leggings?) and too blocky/baggy in key areas:

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Hexagon sleeveless blouse by Gap Designed & Crafted
Love the colors in this and the pattern, and I definitely could use another sleeveless blouse in my work wardrobe.  But I could baaaarely button this sucker across the chest.  You can see that a bit here:
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…and even more here in the back:
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I’ve seen this one in the thrift store before and now know this size doesn’t fit me, so I’ll be on the lookout for a larger version.

 

Yellow ikat sleeveless blouse by Cremieux
Same story here; just too small.  But wouldn’t burst of yellow look great over white pants or skirt?  Going to keep my eyes peeled for something similar…
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And now, time for the keepers!  We got a lot this go-round.

Orange sheath dress by Anne Klein
I found this dream of a creamsicle-colored sleeveless sheath the same day I had my coat dress epiphany. This dress is a good orange for my skin (I think? at any rate it’s not a bad one) and it will be a great work dress, paired gloriously with my chrysanthemum cardigan and/or my white denim jacket (see below).

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Plus this or this:
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The accompanying coat dress did not, however, make the cut, due both to baggy sleeves and giving me a She-Ra chest that I have in no way merited:WP_20170209_13_59_56_Pro

 

Talbots floral shortsleeve blouse
The accent colors go great with my summer wardrobe, but I’m a bit worried the background color is too close to my skin color and will wash me out.  Also, looking at the thickness and contrast of that neckline I’m not as excited about how abruptly it cuts off… We’ll see how much I reach for it this summer.
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Here’s a slightly more in-focus pic with one of my blue blazers before I removed its extraneous buttons:
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The Savile Row Co. polka dotted vest
I am wearing this as I type, which after wearing it practically 9 days straight is a good sign that I still like it a bunch (and that this sucker goes with everything!). My favorite part is the back hem (which you can’t see here unfortunately) because it’s curved and a bit lower than the front hem and it just makes it look more shapely and less boxy like vests are prone to do.
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Fun2Fun geometric popover blouse
Apparently this blouse retailed for $48. I love the fit – the little pleat under the placket makes it a little flowier than other popovers – and of course the roll-tab sleeves and the open collar.  I’m not sure I love the giant geometric print, though – it just feels too blocky and big for my style.  I may play with it this season and then pass it on.
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See the difference in the way it flows (and in the length) from the blue plaid popover above?WP_20170223_13_48_12_Pro

 

Floral blouse, label cut out
I LOVE the colors on this blouse.  The sage and moss greens, the deep reds and warmer pinks, the little pop of gold in the buttons… it straddles the line between “warm” and “cool” colors but I think I (a person with a warmer – ahem, apologies to artists, more yellow-based – skin-tone) can pull it off. Also shoulder tabs and an open collar for the win:WP_20170223_13_53_09_Pro

Nice skimming fit in the torso:
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Close up on the pattern and collar:
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Marled grey unlined blazer by Merona
Once again Merona brings it with a great-fitting blazer.  I don’t know why these work so well for me – mass-manufactured big box clothing line would not seem to be the place where you’d find great blazer cuts which are hard to do anyway – but they do.  And although it’s stretchy and feels almost like a sweatshirt, the fabric is substantive enough to hold its shape minus the lining.  Win.

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Look at that fit, in both the sleeves and the torso/bust!
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The grey is a little too light/”cool” for my taste, but I couldn’t resist how perfectly it fit.

 

That’s a wrap!  Did we notice a pattern that I said “yes” to a few things I don’t love mixed in amongst with things I do?  That’s part of the reason I took a step back and gave up thrifting for Lent – I was starting to relax my parameters in the rush of thrifting things that were great finds in some way, but not perfect for me and my wardrobe at this moment.

Once something is in your closet it’s a lot harder to let go of. You start to justify its presence and you already feel attached to it in via “shoulds” – “I already have this, I should wear it” – even though you don’t love it.  Hello Endowment Effect.

I’m hoping that this Lenten thrifting fast will not only give me more headspace for all things spiritual but will also restart my relationship with my closet and help me tap back into that feeling of finding a perfect wardrobe match instead of falling for also-rans.

What’d you think of my finds?  Do you have trouble saying “no” to something that’s close but no cigar when it comes to closet love?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Thrift Shops in Ireland…and Why I Gave Up Thrift Shopping for Lent

Our trip to Ireland last week was glorious – a great mix of wandering city streets in Dublin and Galway, hiking in Glendalough and the Burren, and celebrating in pubs and at the wedding of a dear friend.  But in between, of course, I made time to stop in pretty much every thrift shop (“charity shop” in that part of the world) we passed – for the first half of the week, anyway. More on that in a second.

My spouse was a willing accomplice since he was looking for a tweed sport coat.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I soon realized there were dozens of such shops and I would have to be quick in each one if I wanted to see things like, say, Trinity College.

First up, the Dublin Flea Market, held in Newmarket Square on the last Sunday of the month (we had grand timing!).  They had indoor and outdoor stalls with everything from secondhand clothes to LPs to furniture to Guinness signs and handmade jewelry, original prints, and cactus stained glass.

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Oh hi Beatles record in great shape for €10.  You can’t find that stuff in the US.
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Tweed candidate…alas, too big:IMG_4946IMG_4947

Original Dublin prints by the lovely lady below:

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Did I mention the croissants and the falafel?

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Ingenious method for brewing multiple artisanal coffees in one go.

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More on various Dublin flea markets here.

Bonus – the Dublin Flea Market is right next door to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery if you fancy a tour and a nip (we did; it was delicious and very informative about the distilling process and the Irish whiskey industry, including the time an entire whiskey warehouse went up in flames and the Dublin fire brigade put it out with manure):

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In Dublin we also poked our heads into an Oxfam shop. (Thanks Eimear for the heads up on good streets for charity shops in Dublin.  It’s very handy that they seem to all cluster together!)

First up, Vincent’s, the savvy branding for a St. Vincent De Paul shop:

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A nice blend between a Chanel-style blazer and a moto jacket:

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Someone please explain that brand tag to me?

RIGHT next door (so convenient), an Oxfam shop:

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We walked past a few Enable Ireland shops as well but they were closed when we happened to spot them.

After those first two shops I realized I was going to have an entirely different thrift store experience from the States.  The shops were much, much smaller than your typical Goodwill or Sally; more comparable in size to family-owned small town thrift shops I’ve visited.  The selection was therefore much narrower, featuring mainly inexpensive brands with a few high street and vintage pieces thrown in.

My spouse and I talked about why this was with our Air BnB host.  The Spouse and I contributed hypotheses that rent for urban shop locations would be higher per square foot than a big box-size store in suburbia, and that Americans buy a TON of clothes; but when I did some research it appears that the average Irish adult spends just as much, often more, on clothing every year compared to the average American.  Scrap that idea.  Then our host Aoife (pronounce EE-fah) mentioned the climate as a common reason for lower inventory: clothes stored in Irish attics are prone to moisture damage because it’s so wet.  I can see that as a reason for low vintage stock (bye, Granny’s gorgeous wool coat from the 50s!) but am not sure how often this affects newer clothing stored just during the off season.  Can anyone in a wet climate weigh in?

 

Next stop was Galway.  Our first outing (apart from scarfing fresh fish and some Galway Hooker at Hooked – yum) involved a wander through Salthill and 2 more charity shops.

As Good as New:

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Oh Dorothy Perkins, I was dreaming of charity shops full of your sassy floral prints, but this one Chanel-esque blazer is all I found:

IMG_5077Lovely, but not my colors/size.

Gorta:

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I almost got that hedgehog scarf but then didn’t – although it was quite endearing, I decided it was a little too cute for my personal style. This brought my total thrift purchases in Ireland to a grand total of: 0.  Shock!

The Spouse, however, had forgotten his hat and figured a secondhand shop would be the perfect place to pick one up:

IMG_5096See how it sort of ties together at the top?  Subtle yet unique (or at least that’s what I told him!). The Gourmet Tart Co. was lunch on our first full day in Galway.

Also in Salthill we perused a secondhand bookstore where I scored my dad some books about Irish railroads:IMG_5080

And where I failed to convince my spouse to buy either the Public Enemy or the Peter Gabriel LPs, both just €10, because he was afraid they would crack in our carry-ons on the way back home.  :(IMG_5081

All this secondhand goodness in a charming neighborhood right next to the sea and happily dotted with pubs and traditional music:

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Later in the afternoon we wandered into a mall built around a medieval wall:

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Complete with tower for sale:

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And concealing a lovely little consignment shop where I wish I’d had room in my suitcase (and wallet – it was €50) for this felted wool number:

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Lovely floral dresses:IMG_5147

Our second full day in Galway was Ash Wednesday, and as I had decided to give up clothes shopping for Lent, I determined to avert my gaze from all further charity shops encountered on our trip.  I was almost successful; still hunting for a present for my sister, I did stop into one next to the Aldi where we went grocery shopping on our last morning in Galway.  (Aldi in Ireland is magically twice the size and has 4 times the wine section of Aldi at home.)  No luck for a funky little present, though, and I managed not to even look at the clothes.  High fives.

Why did I give up thrift shopping? (For clothes for me, at any rate – clothes for my kiddo or husband or friends and books/homewares are still fair game.)  I realized I had been too often thinking of my free time in terms of how I might fit in a run to the thrift store – as opposed to a run through my neighborhood or a run after my kid as the “tickle monster.”  Like a goldfish (or maybe an invasive plant?) my highly enjoyable habit had slowly grown to take over as much time as I allotted it – and sometimes more.  During Lent I want more time for spiritual habits like prayer, contemplation, reading theological and ministry-related books, and generally doing things that ground me (e.g. spending time with my family).  I knew thrifting would cut into all of that.

I also realized that although I’m rather satisfied with my current cool weather wardrobe and have MORE than enough for spring/summer, I’ve kept shopping. And more often than not, I kept finding something I just “couldn’t” leave on the rack.  If I’m shopping with a friend or my spouse, trying to help them find the perfect secondhand find, I can be totally disinterested in clothes for me.  But if I’m just popping in by myself to check things out, I have a harder time saying no to something I really like – even if I know I already have a surfeit of clothes in my sartorial stash.

Frequent shopping is part of successful thrifting – if you don’t look often, you won’t find the gems.  But my wardrobe, and my inner life, can go 6 weeks without more clothes to clog them up.

No worries for all you readers, though – I have plenty of post ideas and plan to spend more time writing about how I’ve styled what I already have, something you all have asked for.  Also check back in the next few weeks for posts about outfits I wore in Ireland out of my carry-on suitcase; packing tips; Irish street style snaps; and, if you’d be interested, a post on our favorite (non-thrifting) things we did on our trip.

Sláinte, and for those who observe it, have a meaningful Lent!

 

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!

 

Thrift Store Review: Out of the Closet

Last week my friend Allen tipped me off to a new thrift store in town, and it was not 48 hours before I had to go see it in person.

Out of the Closet  at 1858 Cheshire Bridge Road is an outpost of a California-based chain of thrift stores of the same name.  They opened about 4 months ago and are a non-profit with proceeds benefiting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  Here they are all decked out for Valentine’s:

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The store is a respectable size, clean and well-organized, and even has some decorative touches (do you spy that cowboy boot banner up top?).  Plus there were free Snickers! (Oh, and condoms.  Yay for sexual health!)

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The prices were reasonable – on par with Goodwill in our area, some cheaper, some a bit more expensive.  The staff were personable and helpful, and they provide free HIV testing, which I am totally down for.  And in fact, while I was there, someone came in for a test.  Know your status, people!

They have a stellar men’s section, which is exciting because my spouse is always complaining that he can’t find good men’s stuff at the Goodwill.  I picked up two shirts for him right off the bat (Happy Valentine’s Day, darling!  #GivetheGiftYouWishYouCouldGet).  Here’s one:

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But he’s looking forward to visiting on his own to try on all the things.

On the flip side, the sales associate told me they need to grow their women’s section a bit – bring them your women’s clothing donations!

Still, I managed to find a dress I liked and a bag I probably didn’t need.

This dress by H&M is my favorite sheath silhouette but with more structure in the bodice.  It’s quite similar to my cream sheath dress for winter but lighter, and with a longer hem, both of which mean I can wear it in spring, without leggings.  Score.

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Sorry it’s blurry!  The line you see on the skirt is from my dark leggings; won’t be a problem with just underwear.

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Where the bodice and lining meet shows through in a way that is…interesting?  Reminiscent of a sweetheart neckline (or Jessica Rabbit), I’m not sure how I feel about it.  We’ll see if I embrace it or use a scarf to cover it up.  (It’s not ideal to buy something you’ll have to keep covered, but I may end up loving the unusual detail, so I took a chance.)

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Here’s the bag – no label.  It’s made of vinyl (I think) with an embossed snakeskin pattern.

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It’s faux-suede inside which makes for an interesting texture contrast. The little stitched circles conceal a magnet closure.

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Love the zipper details – and they give a little extra room when unzipped:

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The pocket flap inside that is only attached to the bag in one spot instead of being sewn onto the inside wall.  That might get annoying, can’t tell yet:

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What do you think of my finds?  If you’re in Atlanta, have you checked out Out of the Closet yet?  (See my other Atlanta thrift store reviews here and here.)  Scroll down to share!

 

January Thrift Finds

January was a fruitful month.  Let’s start with the finds:

Another plaid blazer from Merona, this time in cerulean – such a great combo of navy and bright blue to perk up cold days:

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I’ve worn this puppy several times already.  Here’s an example of it in action:

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I like including awkward outfit outtakes for your viewing pleasure. 

And again:

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More on the blazer here.

 

snow leopard vest from Old Navy, blogged more about here:

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So snuggly in cold temps!

 

Coach riding boots for one tenth of the retail price; more about them here:

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These need some inserts to make the hard soles comfier but so far I’m happy with them otherwise.

Ba-blam:

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I re-found these metallic pants by Rock and Republic which I had regretted passing up several months earlier:

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They fit like a dream. Now I just need to concoct a date night where I can wear them with this:

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Bandolino metallic wedge sandals to replace my worn out Clarks (more here):

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I’ve also worn this chrysanthemum cardigan by Isaac Mizrahi Live! (yes yes, a QVC brand – surprisingly good) several times:

WP_20170105_12_07_12_Pro (1)6tag_110117-185131 WP_20170112_16_15_56_ProThose chrysanthemums are a lot more metallic/blingy IRL.

 

After thrifting a muted red shirt for a friend, I’ve been looking for one, knowing it would go with pretty much all the clothes. This red Banana Republic shirt gets the color just right, is a great blend of linen/cotton and has a much higher quality than the Old Navy one I’d had my eye out for:

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Sorry about those undergarments showing through.  I should better coordinate my lingerie when thrifting.

Excited to wear this come spring (and maybe even a little bit before the end of winter!).

 

I’ve had the same two pairs of pajama pants forever – one since highschool and the other, preowned by a roommate, for almost 10 years.  They were both baggy and didn’t do a great job of keeping my legs warm.  One day I spotted a man wearing essentially sweatpants but cooler, and it dawned on me that I never felt cold in my childhood when wearing sweatpants with elastic cuffs.  Since these are now popular again (having been rebranded with the fancy moniker “joggers”), I figured I could pick some up at the thrift store and I was right:

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So cozy.  I love that they don’t ride up and feel like a sweatshirt inside and the marled fabric makes them cool.  Plus, pockets!  I promptly donated my other two pants to Le Goodwill (after thanking them of course).

 

At the tail end of the month a thrift-loving friend came to town and we blew through a few thrift stores, including St. Philip Cathedral Thrift House, where I found a perfectly blue casual dress that was just slightly too big – wanh wanhhhh – and this chic little jacket by Kenar:

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I like the texture (surprise) and the cut.  I haven’t figured out exactly how I’ll wear it (apart from over my casual red dress), but I’m sure I’ll think of something.  It may replace my snakeskin blazer…

 

I’ve been looking for a sleeveless denim dress and really dig this number…

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…minus the floppy pockets that add bulk to the bottom half:

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But yes, I got it, with plans to have my mother-in-law help my cut off the pockets and sew the seam closer to the shape of my body.  I don’t think it will be super complicated but her legit sewing skills will help make up for the fact that I can’t remember how to thread a sewing machine.  (Yes I could get it tailored but I’m going for some bonding time instead.)

 

 

 

Blooper Reel

A couple of also-rans in the search for a muted red shirt:

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I have a fondness for Lauren Conrad’s color palette and patterns (though not for her TV shows):

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Sadly, too big.

Looking for a top with some yellow in it since it would play well with the rest of my closet.  This marinière by Gap was not it – it hit funny at the waist.  Too bad ’cause it had a great split hem:

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Oh, how I wish this blazer in my favorite blue hue had been slightly less baggy:

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Oh PS, it retailed for $229.  Wanh wannnnnh.  I suppose I could’ve paid to have it tailored although I don’t know how expensive that would be… but sometimes when I find something expensive and pristine I just want to leave it for the next person whom it *will* fit to a tee.  You feel me?

 

I liked the color on this and the gorgeous buttons but oh hi, that split is getting a little close to my lady parts:

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The side view was pretty revealing in the bustal area as well.

 

This shirt dress with roll-tab sleeves by Speed Control was right up my alley but the color was a little intense and the fabric a little cheap:

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I was so sad about this simple, super-soft, casual dress in my favorite blue also being too big.  It would’ve been a great blue version of my casual red dress which has paired so well with so many things:
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That’s it for January.  What did you thrift/skip this past month?

 

Metallic Wedges and Making Room for the Pieces You Want

You’ve probably heard the idea that if you’re ready for something new to come into your life (a job, a relationship, a piece of clothing) but you’re holding on to the old one, what you’re really communicating to the universe is that you aren’t ready – not yet.

I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure seems to work as far as my wardrobe is concerned.

I had been thinking about upgrading my attracts-all-the-fuzzies navy blazer for a few weeks, but hadn’t let go of it yet because I was afraid I’d need it for an outfit.  Then I realized that holding on to it was probably clogging up my attempts to find a fresh one, so I thanked it for its service – this post is starting to sound very new age – and put it in the donation bag, and lo and behold, found my new (to me) blue plaid blazer on my next thrift trip:
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Since this bag’s straps now have split and are coming out of the body, I’ve been looking for a new (to me) leather bag for several weeks with no luck.  The bag in better days (and not just because of the wine):IMG_2393
I kept thinking it was such a great bag and that surely I’d need it for the rest of winter, but then I just started using my gold bag instead, which looks a little summery but works just fine.  I finally put the leather bag in the donation bag last week (yes, yes, after thanking it – it’s been through a lot!); I’ll let you know what turns up next.

And now, for the star of the post.

In the last few years these great Clarks metallic wedge sandals have been my go-to to dress up my summer wardrobe. (They’re thrifted! Still can believe my luck).   They’ve accumulated so much wear that, even last summer, I was taking pictures only from the bird’s eye view to obscure the wear and tear on the wedge heel.  But even here you can see the paint peeling off the sole:

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I thanked them awhile back and started keeping my eyes open for their replacement.  My criteria?  Moderate wedge heel for a dressier look than my more casual flat sandals; dull metallic to go with all my summer clothes; comfortable.

Last week I found them:

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I’ll miss the cool braided look of my old wedges but am happy with these.  What do you think of them?  And what’s your experience with holding onto things you aren’t really ready to let go of?

 

November / December Thrift Finds

I thrifted steadily through November and all the way up through the end of December; in the course of assembling this post I realized these were two fruitful months!  While several pieces that came home with me were for warm weather, all the winter goodies in this haul required some trimming of my cold weather wardrobe (the updated version of which will soon appear on this very blog).

 

First up, the rejects.

It was really hard to say no to this Loft brocade sweatshirt top:

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Because multiple textures!  And neutral/gold!  And a split hem!  But the brocade material made the front super stiff and prone to awkward pointy parts:

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Gorgeous green silk shirt with cranes and hexagons on it – too big, wanh wannnnnh:

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Loved the tunic length on this top by Zara woman, but it was pretty baggy in the arms and the print was too busy for me:

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This Lucky Brand sweater was basically a rag rug in cardigan form – I wanted to love it so hard because who wears rag rugs?  And my great grandma made rag rugs we still have.  It would have been so funky, and it has such great colors, but the drape was just too tent-like.  I think it would be great for someone with a more earth-mama style:

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Linen top by Old Navy – too wrinkly, and too big in the armpits:

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Pro tip: how the item appears on the hanger in the thrift store (super wrinkled, misshapen) is a good indicator of how well it will hold up at home.

 

Mustard blazer by J. Crew – I wanted more of a lemon yellow and the cut was too bulky in the chest, plus the sleeves were reallllly long:

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Great texture and cream/grey color on this cardigan by Madison Studio, but again, too wide for me:

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Closeup on the texture:

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And now, the keepers:

Leopard print shirt by Banana Republic:

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More about my quest for leopard here.

 

Red dress by Talbots – great for summer and also for layering in winter:

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Wool/cashmere blend red blazer by Kate Hill:

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Caramel velveteen bootcut pants by !iT Jeans:

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Caramel crew neck sweater by J. Crew:

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Caramel shirt by Jones New York – more here:

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(More on my red/caramel obsession on Thursday.)

 

Cream heathered sweater by Gap Designed & Crafted:

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Split hem on this baby (also a little pilling I need to take care of):

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Cold weather accessories:

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Jones New York black party dress & Chico’s two-tone blazer – more here:

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Neutral mod dress – more here:

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White skirt by Ann Taylor:

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With pockets!

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Pink/blue popover by Dalton:

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I’m thinking this is pretty tribal-inspired and might have to get re-donated – what do y’all think?

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Navy floral blouse by Loft:

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I love the colors and can’t WAIT to wear this in spring, as I’ve been keeping an eye out for something with a bold floral print:

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Bamboo tech shirt by Tasc Performance to replace an old one I’ve had since high school:

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With thumb holes:

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What thrift finds have you scored lately?  Scroll down to share in the comments!

 

What’s on My Thrift List – Winter Tweaks

Time for an update on my thrift list – both what I’ve checked off my last list and what I’ve added. This is actually self-serving because writing it down helps me remember what I’m looking for when I’m cruising the thrift aisles. But hopefully you’ll find it interesting as well.

From the previous list – found

-Soft-structured blazer – Found!
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In retrospect I really should have done the “work” pose featured in the poster on the door. #schuylersisters

-Since this will be the season of turtlenecks, a turtleneck in this color (but not this tight):
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I went for a delicious merino crew neck sweater with 3/4 length sleeves, which just felt good (on my skin) and right (in my wardrobe) – a new-to-me color that’s in the tan family but doesn’t look sickly on me:
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YES to that caramel/cream combo, and also to this combo:
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Statement jacket – Found, in spades!  Full post here.
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Grey Pumas – Found!  Although they’re blue.  But I love them.  Full post here.
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-One or two more thin sweaters that act like shirts; particularly a Donegal tweed version in cream or blue (or juuuust the right red).  I have a feeling this might be a long thrift hunt. 
I did find another thin sweater but it is kind of a heathered cream, not a Donegal tweed, for which I will keep my eyes peeled.  Heathered cream here:
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Shot of the awesome split side seams and closeup of the great pattern to come in the Nov/Dec thrift finds post.

-White pencil skirt – found! Will share in the November/December thrift finds soon.

-Sleeveless, collared leopard blouse like this but without cutting off armpit circulation:
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Found! Look at how close this pattern is to what I was seeking, but with dark grey instead of black, which makes it even better, as do the roll-up sleeves which bring it into 4 seasons here in Georgia:
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More on that shirt here.

Still looking

-Ivory puffy vest to go over my shirts when it’s not cold enough for a full-on coat
Still looking, but did find a taupe version that I will showcase in the Nov/Dec thrift finds

-Old school sleeveless denim dress – still looking

-Silk/nice poly blouse in cream with tiny red polka dots
I thrifted the below shirt months ago for my friend who is afraid red will wash her out, thinking that a sort of chambray-like take on red would do wonders.  I told her she could pass it on if she didn’t want to keep it – and she did, which is fine, only now I wish I’d asked for it back to wear it as a version of tiny red polka dots.  #thriftregret  but also #thrifthope because I’ve found duplicates of other Old Navy shirts often enough that I may yet find this one too.
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Additions to the list:

-Cream blazer to go over a red dress, a caramel sweater, a blue dress – oh, so many things! – the likes of this Banana Republic one.  It was too small, I cried:

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Does this make for an over abundance of blazers?  I think I’m headed for my typical pattern of “get too many then pare it down to what you need.”  What can I say, it works for me!

-Riding boots in brown or cognac.  Most tall boots I find at the thrift store are either cheap or heeled (or both) so I may need to start looking at consignment stores.

-Navy blue velvet blazer.  Hoping to find one to replace my wool one – to take the whole look up a notch, as it were.

-Brown leather bag to replace this one which is doing fine in the body – but the arm straps are covered in cheap thin leather that has split in multiple places and they’ve come out of the body

-Navy polka dot short-sleeved blouse in silk or nice poly because this one has a rip in the back :(
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-a cream-based plaid scarf with some red in it to go with/pop my red winter coat; something like this:

 

The end!  What are y’all on the hunt for lately?  Scroll down to share.

Leopard Print – Solved

I wrote here about my love of leopard print and the search for a way to do it in more of an all-over fashion – i.e. a shirt.  I postulated in that post that perhaps a sleeveless number might do the trick, thinking that less fabric = less overwhelming.

But then, on a thrifting trip at the beginning of this month, I found this number by Banana Republic Heritage:

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BR’s “Heritage” label features “easy-care, natural fibers” for “sophisticated women on the go” – whatever that means.  One thing it does mean is that this baby probably retailed for $80-$100+.

It has a tailored fit (signified by a numbered size instead of just S/M/L/XL); it has roll tab sleeves (my favorite!) and button tabs on the shoulders as an interesting detail; but most of all, the print is more muted, more neutral, thanks to an absence of the brassy yellow tones found in classic leopard:

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I’ve already worn it several times (as you have probably noticed on Instagram) and I look forward to working this baby in all year round.  The silk blend contributes to its ability to be worn hot or cold; I’m thinking it will look great with skirts, white or red pants in summer, and of course my ever-growing collection of winter corduroys.

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An IG outfit outtake, because I love you.

How do you feel about this version of leopard?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Thrifting for Blue Jeans – a Thrift Upgrade

When was the last time you called your denim “blue jeans”?  

I mentioned here that after many faithful years my Forever 21 jeans were wearing out and I was looking for a thrift upgrade.  The other week I had a chance to thrift; after a quick browse-through for other items on my thrift list came up empty, I decided I had time to devote to an initial round of denim hunting.

The search for jeans can be overwhelming even when you’re shopping retail.  My approach to searching racks and racks of secondhand choices while maintaining my sanity involves keeping in mind two things:

  1. It will likely take multiple visits to find a winner.
  2. Priorities – what features (fit, wash, cut, fabric, brand, etc.) are most important to me?

In this particular search, my priorities were the feel and the wash – I wanted something supple and thick in a darker, richer blue than my current pair.  Color is a quick visual differentiator, so I looked first for the right hue.  Next, with a brief touch I could tell whether a pair I’d spotted in the right color met my “feel” requirement. Only then did I check to see if the size/cut was right.  If you care about pockets, this is also a good time to check whether the pockets are heinous.  (One disadvantage to this method was that I sometimes got excited about a pair only to find it was capri.)

Next: given that sizes vary between brands – and within brands between seasons! – I pulled anything that was my size or one size bigger/smaller.  (It helps here to know what your waist size in inches – e.g. 29/30/31 instead of 8/10/12 – since many brands now size this way.)  I was also flexible about cut, given that I’ve had success getting a wider leg tailored to a slimmer cut.  (If you don’t want to pay for tailoring and have access to a sewing machine, Thriftanista in the City has good tutorials on DIYing a hem or a altering a pant leg at home.)

Here’s what I took to the dressing room:

Pair #1 by Not Your Daughter’s Jeans: too short for pants that are supposed to get me through cold weather. Also I was least impressed with this fabric – fell short of my expectations for NYDJ given rave reviews I had read on retail style blogs.

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Pair #2 by J. Brand: too skinny to even get all the way up mah legs.  I so detest pants you have to literally peel off.  (I have seen this pricey and popular brand several times at the thrift store but have yet to find success with them.)
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Pair #3 by Banana Republic: great cut but didn’t button.  Wanh wannnnh.

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Pair #4 by Banana Republic: same brand AND SIZE as the previous number, and yet they fit perfectly in the waist.  As you can see, the pant leg is just a little more flare than your average bootcut; not my preferred cut.  But it checks off my priorities: the feel is luscious and the color is a gorgeous deep blue with stitching in a great contrasting rust color.  Bonus: the length is already just right, as evidenced by the break.

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Attitude.

Per rule #1 above, I fully expected to leave the thrift store with nothing other than more information about what I would look for next time.  But given my priorities, these last ones were winners.  I haven’t decided yet if I’ll get them tailored; unexpectedly, the wider leg feels like a fresh option to call on amidst a wardrobe of slim fit pants.

Here’s how they look next to my old F21 pair:

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And next to my newly thrifted Pumas LINK – great match in color:

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What do y’all think of the pair I picked?   What do you prioritize when shopping for jeans (thrifted or otherwise)?  Any tips for thrifting for denim?  And most importantly, SHOULD I TAILOR THEM TO A SLIMMER CUT??    Scroll down to comment!