What I Wore: Boxy Silhouette

In which I try out a new-to-me silhouette.

I feel like Lee Vosburgh from Style Bee in this top:

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Still working on focus, folks…

It’s a much boxier/wider silhouette than I’m used to:

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Turtleneck: Coldwater Creek, thrifted
Sweater top: Banana Republic, thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts

Jeans: Paige, thifted
Socks: Target, retail
Flats: Trotters, repainted from my mother-in-law

I’m pretty sure that’s mostly due to this being a size too big. Here’s how Banana Republic styled it, for reference:

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Source – same top selling for $18 on Poshmark. It retailed for $60 and sold at Goodwill for $9. PS If you love this top, Poshmark is selling it in Medium (the size I’m sporting here) in the source link and in XL here.

And here’s how much – sloppier? – it looks me:

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A size smaller would probably still have given the “boxy” effect without being quite so big. And I usually advise against spending money – even at secondhand prices – on something that doesn’t fit.

So why did I buy it? I was really drawn to the boxy cut – something I’ve played with in blouses but never in this sweater/sweatshirt-y fabric. It felt like the overblown boxyness was adding a structural element I tend to stay away from, and I thought it would be fun to play with.

I was also smitten with the the feel of that fabric – it’s basically a sweatshirt on the inside. Plus it’s the exact right color for my cold-weather wardrobe – an eye-matching blue, part of a two-tone knit with some texture/depth that doesn’t just read “solid”:

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FWIW Banana Republic calls this “chambray”

And the split, hi-lo hem sealed the deal – I just love that detail so much:

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It looks much more reasonable from this angle!

I’m not sure if I’ll keep it as is, living into (over-shooting?) a new-to-me silhouette, or whether I’ll get out the family sewing machine and try to slim it up a bit while keeping the boxy feel. (Keep in mind this would have to be project #3 or #4 after I re-familiarize myself with, say, how to thread the machine.)

Thoughts? Good tutorials for the sewing novice on how to size down sweaters?

PS Speaking of Lee of Style Bee, she’s got a 10×10 fall style challenge going on right now (along with Caroline of Un-Fancy). I have done two of these in the past and really enjoyed them, but I’m postponing this one because despite the cool snap that inspired this post’s outfit, Boston just had the hottest September and first week of October on record (climate change anyone?) and it won’t be letting up any time this week.  But I don’t want to miss out on the fun – since I’ve been stocking my closet for my own Atlanta-to-Boston climate change (ahem), I have a lot of new-to-me fall pieces I’m excited to play with.  So my current plan is to do my own 10×10 in a few weeks when fall is actually here.  I’d love to know if you’re doing the 10×10 this time around!

What I Wore: Town Festival & Preaching with a Pattern

Hi all! A few what-I-wores from the past few weeks, wherein I bust out a new thrift find and accessorize an old one (and where I achieve somewhat better focus for my outfit shots). These outfits spanned the hot, then cool, then hot again end-of-summer weather we’ve been having in New England; if you’re having the same kind of weather, hopefully you’ll find them useful!

First up, my outfit for the town fair, which involved 5+ hours of walking around booths and staffing our own, getting to know people, nabbing books at the library sale, and eating Thai food and cupcakes the girls soccer team made. I needed something casual but easy to spot as I wandered the crowds being introduced and introducing myself hither and yon. Luckily a thrift find the day before at the Davis Square Goodwill hit the spot:

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Dress: Talbots, thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts
Bracelet: Monet, thrifted
Shoes: Saltwaters, retail

I pulled an ERII and decided to dress myself in one color for visibility; after that it was a matter of adding simple accessories for a touch of detail (necklace) and for functionality (bag):

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Bag: Marco Avané, thrifted

I love the warmth and cheeriness of the coral/salmon color and its polo shirt-adjacent feeling, which fits my town’s casual vibe so well.  It’s like the Massachusetts version of this dress, which was too stiff and scratchy and formal but whose color I loved:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

Here’s a look at the collar, which was wide and casual but whose neat finishing polished things up a bit:

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A closeup on the bag for those who haven’t seen it yet:

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…and on the necklace, although this shot showcases that I need to spend a little time with the sweater stone on my new purchase to tame the micro-pills.  This shot is also rather pink in color whereas the above shots come out more on the orange side; the true hue lies somewhere in the middle:

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One sizing note for Talbots, for what it’s worth: this dress was marked a full size smaller than what I normally wear. I’m not sure if that’s due to vanity sizing at Talbots or just that their items tend to be a little roomier in fit, but it’s a great reminder that you should trust your own eye on whether something might fit rather than the size label.

PS I wore this same outfit this past Sunday for preaching in a late-September heat wave and it worked perfectly to keep me cool yet looking collected.

 

Up next: Sunday preaching. It was dumb to wear both long sleeves and leggings underneath my robes on a hot September day, but this ensemble was just right after worship was over and the robes came off:

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Dress: Land’s End, thrifted
Leggings: F21, thrifted
Wedges: Bandolino, thrifted
Scarf: no label, thrifted
Cuff: Monet, thrifted
Squinty eyes: sun reflecting off house window

Let’s get a closeup on that scarf, which I found on the same trip as the Talbots dress:

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With scarves, I don’t really know what I’m looking for until I see it; this was a clear “YES” right on the rack. It has a few pulled threads and even what looks like a burn hole smack in the middle, but the pattern disguises all of that (as does rolling it the right way). My love of blue, polka dots, and print-mixing also outweighed its imperfections; who could resist two different dot patterns AND the awesome scallop effect at the bottom?

Have you ever bought something with imperfections you knew would be hidden by placement or pattern? What do you think of my finds? Do you agree with my (no longer so) revolutionary stance that it’s okay to wear white after Labor Day, particularly if it’s HOT?

What I Wore: Preacher Casual

I’ve mentioned before that my new office is on the more casual side – jeans, capris, unfussy tees and polos – especially compared to where I previously worked. As the pastor, I’m aiming to appear polished but not make anyone feel under dressed in comparison (not that there’s too much danger of that since I run by the church in my sweaty workout clothes all the time…), so over the last few weeks I’ve played with translating my rather dressy wardrobe staples into my new style environment.

I’ve kept in rotation my collection of blouses to bring more casual ensembles up a notch, and added my trusty blazers to dresses in need of a little warmth or formality. But I’ve stashed my pencil skirts and wedges in favor of pants and sneakers/sandals; kept my sheath dresses mostly under wraps in favor of my more casual dresses; and left my trousers in the drawer in favor of chinos and jeans. I even wore shorts to the office once, gasp!

I don’t plan on donating my dressier dresses and skirts, since I love them and since they’ll come in handy for Sunday mornings and formal occasions. I’ll share some of those Sunday AM outfits in another post, but here’s a few examples of where I’ve landed for weekdays filled with office work, pastoral/hospital visits, and practicing communion choreography.

First up, a variation on what I wore my entire first week: jeans + blouse. Please note the authentic office decor including a not-yet-mounted-but-already-drawn-on-by-office-children white board:

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Blouse: no label, thrifted
Jeans: Paige, thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters, retail

The best thing about this blouse – besides the delightful colors in the floral pattern and the collarless neckline – is the hem. It draws the eye pleasingly upward instead of chopping me in half horizontally:

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And the toes! Can’t forget to showcase the nail polish matching the shirt:

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This is a level of coordination I rarely achieve.

Basically all last week I wore these jeans plus a similar top. E.g. these:

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Banana Republic Heritage, Loft, Chico’s, Old Navy.

Here is another work outfit, on the even more casual side, which I posted last week:

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Shirt: Kenar, thrifted
Jeans: Paige, thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks, thrifted

Each day I chose sneakers or sandals depending on the morning’s briskness. I added this blazer one especially cool morning:

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Mercer & Madison, a new thrift find already coming in handy.

This week I was feeling the need for something fresh, so I broke the outfit mold – and found a place to take decent outfit pictures! (Now I just need to work on focus and exposure, ha.)

Behold, my shabby chic garage siding, and a dress/blazer combo:

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Dress: J. Crew, thrifted
Blazer: Charlotte Russe, thrifted

Cuff bracelet: Monet, thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters, retail

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^^I wore this for staff meeting and some office work.

The day before I sported this outfit for office work & pastoral visits:

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Top: Jacqueline Ferrar, thrifted
Pants: Banana Republic, thrifted
Belt: J. Crew, thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet, thrifted
Necklace: street vendor, Washington D.C.
Sandals: Saltwaters, retail

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Love that pop of leopard and gold showcased by a little t-shirt tuck.

 

Where do you fall on the formal/casual divide? How do you dress something up or down as the occasion/setting requires?

 

Travel Wardrobe: Weekend in Chicago

I’m lucky beyond measure to have a great group of high school girlfriends who get together whenever we’re all in our hometown. Instead of waiting for the holidays or the next wedding, this year we decided to do a proper weekend in the city we call home (even if most of us live elsewhere): Chicago.

With just over 48 hours to wine, dine, and catch up on each others’ lives, we hit the ground running.  Here was the outfit I wore to travel and then for dinner at a local Italian restaurant:

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Shirt dress: Merona (I previously mis-IDed it as Gap) – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

Side view:

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Roll those roll-tab sleeves for better ventilation.

It held up surprisingly well given that I wore it to work, sweat in it for an hour waiting for a state trooper in the Atlanta heat following a minor car accident, sat in it for a two-hour flight, and then wore it straight to dinner since my accident meant I took a later flight and had no time to change.

You know what the cure for all that nonsense is? Good friends and a good negroni.  :)

The next morning I was up for a run around my hometown wearing workout clothes I had thrifted on the way to the airport. I had forgotten my usual running stuff at home since it hadn’t dried yet. Thrifting to the rescue!  For under $10 I had perfectly serviceable shorts, a running bra, and a tank top, all of which I left at my parents’ house so I don’t have to pack workout gear next time I go home. Genius.

After meeting up for coffee with two of the ladies, we hopped on the train and headed downtown to meet another friend (two others had joined us for dinner the night previously but couldn’t make the city festivities). We hopped into a ride service to get to her apartment and had the most Chicago-esque conversation possible with the driver. Topic #1: the Cubs’ prospects for beating the Cardinals that day (done!); topic #2: where you can eat the best Chicago-style hot dogs (I don’t eat meat but if I can help it a Portillo’s jumbo cheese dog will be my last meal before I leave this earth); and topic #3: obviously Lou Malnati’s does the best Chicago-style pizza.

Once we met up with our city-dwelling friend, we went for a stroll along the recently completed riverwalk and stopped for pictures with the giant deer…

deerThis is the definition of #random. Source

…before sitting down to rosé and a cheese plate at City Winery. The people-watching was excellent as party boats and kayakers trawled the Chicago River and people meandered alongside it.

Here’s my “day” outfit:

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You can tell I’m super happy to be in my favorite city with some of my favorite people. The guy behind me, however, might be picking his nose. Can you spot the Chicago theater sign?

Shirt: Zara – thrifted
Shorts: American Eagle – thrifted
Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted vintage bracelet (closeup below)
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

I tucked the front of this split-hem shirt into my shorts to give the outfit a jaunty little flair and let the back hang out to give some interest and showcase the two-toned gold thing going on. Sorry I didn’t get any side shots! I still feel a little weird asking people to take outfit pics, even though people generally oblige and they always turn out better than what I take myself.

Next up: dinner at Momotaro, a very hip Japanese restaurant. I swapped my shorts for my white Banana Republic trousers to dress up my dinner look a bit; the gold lamé shirt I already had on took care of the rest.

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What our table looked like.  Source

We feasted on small plates like tomato tartare with milk bread, mentaiko spaghetti with cod roe and an egg, age dashi tofu (a round tofu cake with watermelon turnip purée, scallions, and flaked tuna), shishito peppers, una kyu (barbecued eel roll), and sashimi and beef fried rice for the half of us who eat meat/raw fish. Black currant mochi and green tea chocolate crunches were dessert.

I unfortunately took no pictures, since the lighting was so dim and we were all too focused on salivating over our meal (that part’s not unfortunate!), but here’s what the internet shows for the tomato tartare:

C201503-D-Momotaro-Japonais-by-Morimoto-Reviews-Momotaro-tomato-tartare-cc8a5e00YUM.  Source

My favorites were the tartare (not actually involving any meat) and the shishito peppers, but everything was delicious, including the cocktails. Thanks abundantly for dinner, Steph (and David)!

Next we headed up to the rooftop bar at London House, the hotel where another friend had snagged us a comp room thanks to how often her husband travels for work.  Many, many thanks Maddie (& Dan)! The view was incredible – and kind of scary? especially after a cocktail or two:

LH Rooftop ChicagoSource

By this point I was feeling extra fancy since my normal vacation digs are friends’ guest rooms and my normal vacation fare = Subway on the road. After much laughter and only one broken glass, we headed back to our room and drifted off to dreamland.

The next morning I was up for a run along the lakefront. Running in a different spot from my normal route is one of my favorite parts of vacation; there’s something truly invigorating about taking your exercise while taking in a new (or newly revisited) view.

With Chicago in particular, I have a lot of memories: visiting downtown often for field trips and theater as a kid, interning one summer on Michigan Avenue, and taking a college course on Chicago architecture in literature. So I still love to get facetime with treasured landmarks like the Art Institute lions, the Field Museum, the bronze Bowman and Spearman, the Congress Hotel, and a distant Sears Tower (I will always call it the Sears tower). I even tipped my hat to the alien monstrosity that has landed on Soldier Field, then turned around to run on the lakeside, ending back at the Wrigley and Chicago Tribune towers by the hotel.

Views from the hotel:

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So many architecturally magnificent buildings masquerading at ground level as 7-11s (or in this case, Hard Rock):

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When you randomly meet a dinosaur on your run (Field Museum):dinosaur

Railyard with a great view:

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Part of Millenium Park being put to good use:

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It’s a fountain; the mouths of the people portrayed spit water. I always wonder who those people are and if they ever get weirded out seeing their gigantic selves as part of a public art installation…

I got several more GREAT shots but my phone is still misbehaving and corrupted most of them. Grumble grumble grumble.

Breakfast and a shower later, I was ready for the train ride back to my parents’ house for lunch and goodbyes to all:

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Shirt: Madewell – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted
Braided leather belt – unnamed, thrifted
Accessories: same as above

^^That is the best my mane ever looks – right after I went for a run (and didn’t wash my hair). Go figure.

Closeup on the bracelet-turned-necklace:

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All this packed in the Samsonite Silhouette I borrowed from my mom, the tan twin to my grandma’s aqua blue bag – you can see it below.

Fistbump to Cori, who wants you to know she thrifted everything in this rad outfit except the shirt (and who is my environmental soulmate; she snagged that empty Starbucks cup beside us for recycling):

IMG_7577Oh hey Wrigley building and Tribune Tower.

Cheers, ladies – here’s to friendship and to next time!

What I Wore: Blue “Crop Top” for Work

Here’s a what-I-wore shot from last week, featuring the “faux crop” shirt that’s also in this post. I love how the bright, robin’s egg blue pairs with the navy in the pants – one of my favorite color combos:

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Shirt: Dahlia – thrifted
Pants: Alfani – thrifted
Shoes: Bandolino – thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet – thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts

From the side – a much better view of how this whole thing looks untucked:

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Do you like my post-beach hair? Ha! The salt gives it outrageous body and waves for a few days, but eventually it just turns coarse and I have to wash out the salt. I went to bed with it fine, but woke up with things out of control and no time to wash, so up it went into a bun!

A little better shot of this necklace than last time:

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And just for comparison, how different this top looks when half-tucked into a skirt:

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Do you have a favorite color combo for outfits? Which look do you like better? Click through and scroll down to comment!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 10

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity.

Day 10: Beach & Home

My in-laws live in coastal New Hampshire so you better believe that when it turned out to be sunny (unlike our weather last week at the lake!), we hit up that beach like nobody’s business. What a way to go out!

Beach uniform:

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Hat: unlabeled – thrifted
Halter top: Ralph Lauren – thrifted

Bottoms: Target, retail

I wore this dress as a coverup – how versatile!

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Jumping bracingly cold waves with Mini Me in her Wonder Woman suit (gifted from uncles who spoil her deliciously):

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Happy as a clam:

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We hit up a seafood joint with the sweetest, most succulent fried scallops, then nipped back to the in-laws’ to shower and pack and drive to Boston to catch our plane.

The travel uniform in a slightly different permutation from yesterday:

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Love that salty beach hair that won’t quite stay put…

Top: Gap – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted

Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail

Here ends the 10×10 remix for this go-around. Come back tomorrow for a round-up and my thoughts on the whole shebang!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 9

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity.

Day 9: Goodbye Lake Champlain, Hello New Hampshire

Here was my outfit for driving 4 hours from Vermont to The Granite State, where we stopped over for a night before flying home:

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My 5-year-old cousin made that twist braid – didn’t she do a great job?  I can never get those to stay.

Shirt: Gap – thrifted
Shorts: Bill Blass – thrifted
Hat: unlabeled – thrifted
Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwater by Hoy – retail

I think this can now be called my official travel shirt. I always wear it on airplanes (and apparently in cars) because it’s lightweight yet longish-sleeved, so it does well with shifts in temperature as AC goes on/off, working up a sweat as you run through terminals, etc.  Both top and shorts have some give to them which makes sitting for long periods more comfortable.

Details:

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Once we got to New Hampshire my spouse and I busted out the workout gear and went for a run in the rolling hills dotted with farms. It was absolutely gorgeous – flowers everywhere, blue sky, cows, lusciously painted old farm houses, fresh air… Since we often visit in the winter, I forget how beautiful New England is in the summer.

What’s your go-to travel wardrobe? Scroll down to share!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 7 + My Entire Travel Wardrobe

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 7: Fishing and a Concert

I wore pretty much the exact same outfit as on Day 6, because I’d only worn it for a few hours the night before.  Plus, it was cold enough for pants and I only brought one pair.

Look Ma, I caught a fish!

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That night we headed to a concert at the Snow Farm Winery in South Hero with cooked-on-site pizza and locally made ice cream.  It was cooler with a bit of misty rain so I stuck with the same outfit pictured above.

Here’s the band setting up:

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Since there wasn’t much going on clothes-wise today, I figured I’d show you what’s in my bag.  As you have probably noticed, I went with a muted red, blue, and white palette to keep everything mix-and-matchable:

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Lace yoke top, Old Navy; embroidered 3/4 sleeve top, Lucky Brand; striped tee, Madewell; floral tee, Old Navy; sleep shirt, no label; halter swimsuit top, Ralph Lauren; swimsuit bottoms, Target (retail); striped 3/4 length tee, Gap; red shorts, Bebe; blue shorts, Bill Blass; red pants, Bandolino; striped dress, J. Crew; hat, unlabeled; sunglasses, Ray-Ban (retail); running tank & shorts, Champion; running shoes, Champion (retail); crossbody bag, Marco Avané; sandals, Saltwater (retail).  Everything thrifted unless noted otherwise. Not featured: pj shorts (thrifted), windbreaker (gift – pictured in first picture at top).

For those keeping score at home, the pieces for the Remix include: 2 3/4 sleeve tops, 2 tees, 1 sleeveless top, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of pants, and a dress, for a total of 9 items (10 if you count the sandals). PJs, workout gear, and outerwear are not included.

All packed in this:

IMG_1362My trusty Samsonite tote inherited from my grandma. It’s at least 40 years old, maybe more.

So far I’ve been pretty happy with this mix. With laundry in both places we’ve stayed, I could easily have gotten away with less, but it’s been nice to have variety.  I haven’t worn the lace yoke top yet; given the chilly temps here in Vermont, I probably should have swapped it for a lightweight sweatshirt. But my windbreaker over my longer-sleeved tees has done just fine in a pinch.

What’s your approach to a travel wardrobe in a small amount of packing space?  Scroll down to share!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 6

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 6: Even More Lake

I spent the vast majority of this day in pajamas and workout gear, only getting dressed right before dinner.  When there are boats to ride, a lake to swim in, gorgeous country roads to run, and s’mores to roast, why bother?

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Shirt: Lucky Brand – thrifted
Red chinos: Bandolino – thrifted

Cuff bracelet: Monet jewelry – thrifted
Belt: no label – thrifted

The gardens at this lake house are quite spectacular:

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Wild bachelor’s buttons and the lake on my run:

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As you can see it’s been overcast but it hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm.

See ya tomorrow!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 5

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 5: Lake Champlain

Hello from the Green Mountain State!  After a hellish travel day involving 5 hours of flight delays and 7 hours in the car (including driving through the night), we’re now hanging out with the other side of the family in Vermont at a beautiful lake house. See the water in the background there?

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That glass is full of delicious local cider which we paired with delicious local cheese.  I heart you, Vermont.

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Shirt: Old Navy – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted
Cuff: Monet – thrifted

Sandals: Saltwater – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

When your spouse tells you to quit posing with his glass because you’re drinking all his cider:

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But you don’t listen:

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I wrote this while watching my cousin clean a bass he caught on the dock. Now off to go swimming in the chilly water!  I’m thinking that horrible travel day was worth it. See ya tomorrow!