What I Wore: Floating Crop Top & Saltwater Sandals

If you had asked me whether I would ever wear (let alone title a post with) something that could be called a crop top, I would have laughed – and bet money against you.  Although I wore some shortish things in my youth, as an adult I’m just not into exposing my midriff (my mother is sighing with relief – I’m sure from her perspective it was a near thing for awhile there).

Now, though, I guess I owe myself some theoretical money:

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What is happening??

Sleeveless top: Dahlia – thrifted
Chrysanthemum skirt: no label – thrifted

Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts
Bracelet: Monet – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwater by Hoy – retail

But actually, theoretical me comes out on top because while this appears to be a crop top…

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…it’s actually a faux crop:

IMG_5811Secret under layer!

You may recognize this top in all its glory from my summer wardrobe:

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I paired it with a high-waisted skirt and simply tucked in the lower layer et voilà, an apparent crop top that gives me a whole new silhouette whose breezy floatiness pairs perfectly with hot summer weather:

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A little DIY necklace action:

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That’s a dolphin down there in case you can’t tell.

Cuff closeup:

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Closeup on that chrysanthemum pattern:

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We’re headed to a lake next week for a family reunion and I own no waterproof shoes.  My Clarks sandals were also starting to hurt one foot – they have pretty solid arch support but can’t snug tight enough around my narrow feet to keep the arch in place. (My feet are also slightly different sizes, which means one foot was hurting but not the other. Go figure.)

So I decided to try out Saltwaters, a waterproof sandal that’s also chic enough for work. Check out the lovely caramel color and gold buckle (and ignore my straggly toenail polish):

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That chic ankle strap holds things in place enough that my super-narrow feet don’t move around even though the footbed is wider than I need.  You will notice a few little spots on them – this is how they look after a trip to the playground unexpectedly turned into some delightfully muddy trail exploring. These babies did really well – a swipe with a damp cloth afterwards and they were like new.  I also wore them on the 4th to throw a football in a field in the rain (do we detect a pattern of weather-related adventures?) and then wore them to work the next day without any cleaning.  BAM.

They don’t have any arch support but since I’ve been happily wearing sneakers without any arch, I figured maybe having no arch support at all was better than an arch support sticking me in the wrong place. A Google search confirmed I have normal arches and should be able to make no-support work.  We’ll see long-term.

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I bought mine online and paid about $50 – not unexpected for decent quality sandals. If you buy some, make sure to pay attention to the women’s size, not the kid’s size – mine run true to the women’s size listed. (Apparently ModCloth lists the size differently than the rest of the internet, so shopper beware.) They’re sometimes made in the USA (I can’t tell from website whether my particular style was – I hope it was for labor conditions). Many reviews say to soak them in water first, then mold to your footbed – I haven’t had time to try this out yet.

 

Have you tried Saltwaters? Would you wear a “crop” top – or an actual crop top?  Scroll down to share!

 

What I Wore: Classic Nautical

This is 100% classic Leah. A muted nautical palette, print-mixing, gold accents, and a “gentlewoman chic” silhouette:
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Everything thrifted but the necklace & sunglasses:
Top: vintage Jacqueline Ferrar (yes those are shoulder pads!)
Pants: Bandolino
Shoes: City Sneaks
Belt: J. Crew
Cuff bracelet: Monet
Necklace: vintage from my grandma
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban via Costco

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Styling: It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve ever showcased this outfit on the blog or on Instagram, but I do wear it often – so often that I don’t even have to think about the pairing. The boxy fit of this blouse plus the longer, tailored sleeves dress up the chinos nicely.  I’ve also done this look with dressy sandals and champagne flats, but it’s summer casual at my office, so I just went all out with the floral sneaks.

Thoughts: This outfit isn’t groundbreaking, but it is “me.” The color palette and tailored top + casual pants just feel like no-brainers and I feel relaxed and chic at the same time.
Do you all have an outfit you wear so often it doesn’t feel remarkable to you at all – yet it has enough oomph to keep you coming back? Scroll down to comment!

In Which I Impulse Buy on Poshmark

I’m not usually one for online secondhand shopping since you can’t try things on and secondhand sites either don’t do returns (eBay) or else make you pay return shipping (ThredUp). But I’ve found online shopping to have one really good use: when you find something in a thrift store that you absolutely LOVE that’s not your size but you’re reasonably confident another size will fit you, get on the internets and search for it.

Granted, this works best for mass market brands and even better for big box brands like those found at Target – you have a much better chance of finding the piece in question for resale online and you are more likely to know your size in that brand.

This combination worked in my favor a few months back when I found a dress by Merona that I fell for hard but that was just too small:

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I’m not sure if this is best described as “marled” or “Donegal tweed,” but I loved it. It had the texture I crave in muted red/navy, colors already in my wardrobe; it’s chic enough for work; and it has zipper details (a trend I know will one day go out of style but magpie that I am, I cannot help myself):

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You can tell from that last photo that I’ve learned to use the manufacturer’s tag to search online for the same piece. (Thanks Adina J!)  Except an internet search with those digits yielded zilch.  So I started searching for the dress the old fashioned way, using keywords like “Merona,” “blue dress,” and “sleeveless.”

After some interesting detours, I found it in two sizes that might work for me on Poshmark. I had thought that (in line with their name) they only sold higher end and designer items, but either they’ve lowered their standards or they’ve always had a wide array of price points.

I figured I should ask the sellers of the two different sizes available what their thoughts were on fit. To do this I needed to sign up (of course), but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was using my Google account – literally one of the quickest “get back to what you were actually trying to do” experiences I’ve had. Once I’d typed my queries, folks responded within the hour and were friendly and helpful in their replies, which is in line with Poshmark’s self-described social, active community.

A quick aside on Poshmark, for those unfamiliar with it (as I was). In the world of online secondhand shopping, it’s sort of a hybrid – individual sellers post their wares like on eBay, but Poshmark provides shipping labels like ThredUp. They will also, like eBay, provide a refund/free return shipping if the item is not as advertised; but unlike ThredUp, where you are welcome to return the item if you don’t like it (albeit after having paid return shipping), purchases are final.

Another eBay-like feature on Poshmark is the option to “make an offer.” Offers are binding but expire in 24 hours; in other words, if the seller accepts your price, you automatically buy it. If they don’t, nothing happens and you are free to purchase at their asking price.

Back to the dress. The first seller apparently hadn’t worn it as she simply relayed fitting information from Target’s website, but she was very prompt with her reply. (I wear different sizes in different Target brands, so that wasn’t super helpful.) Since the listing had only been up for 12 hours, I figured I should buy it right away if I didn’t want it to get snapped up.

So I asked myself if I was willing to spend $15 + $1 shipping on a dress that might not fit. $15 is double what I normally pay for a thrifted dress, but when it checks all the boxes and makes your heart sing, it’s pretty darn reasonable.

[About that $1 shipping fee – you get $0.99 shipping on your first order, but the way they advertise it is a bit deceptive. The “limited time” offer is described as only good during your first 24 hours, so I thought it was good for any purchase made within the first day, or that I could fill up my cart with items from various sellers and get $1 shipping for each item. Nope. Because items are sold by individual sellers, each item requires separate shipping (like eBay; unlike ThredUp).  Good to know if you plan on buying something bulky on your first day that will cost more than standard shipping.]

Once I had clicked “submit order” the seller messaged me to say she’d ship within the next day – hurray!  Upon arrival I was charmed by the packaging she had chosen and her sweet thank-you note: IMG_5413IMG_5414

I was not charmed, however, by the fit:

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Not the seller’s fault, of course, but more of a cautionary tale re: buying clothes on the internet. I could have spent another $20 or so to get the “right” size, but at that point I’d already sunk enough money into the dress and I wasn’t sure the “right” size would fit well even if it didn’t swamp me.

So I simply donated it back to Goodwill and considered it my $16 reminder that I don’t buy clothing online unless I’ve tried on the exact garment – including size – elsewhere. (See this post for the first time I learned that lesson.)
I know some of you all have had better luck with online thrifting.  Do you have any tips for this jaded internet shopper?  Do any of you join me in swearing off online clothes shopping?

Recent Style Sightings

I need to get better at my stealth camera skills, because I keep seeing people dressed in chic, imaginative ways and I want to share their style with you (without making myself look like a total paparazzo – paparazza?).

Here’s a roundup of my recent style sightings.

At Goodwill, not a great photo but indeed a great outfit. I’d guess this woman was in her 50s and she is rocking the relaxed pants look:WP_20170519_15_21_24_Pro

You can’t see from the photo but the pants have a subtle navy/white (or maybe black/white) pattern that looked really fresh against the navy blue top. In my opinion, though, what makes the look is the metallic belt she used to accentuate her waist.  Some great hoop earrings and chic flip-flop-style sandals finished it off. She gets an A in Relaxed Summer Chic.

Next up, an airport traveler doing super-wide-legged pants the best I’ve ever seen them:WP_20170522_13_39_58_Pro

They have almost a skirt effect, and she paired them with a short-sleeved plain white tee which she tucked at the waist to create a clean break and keep her upper half more fitted. That trick really balances out the silhouette and keeps biiiig pants from overwhelming a look.  I first saw her wearing just the plain outfit but she later added a scarf with a gorgeous foliage/floral print that really popped against the simple black/white ensemble.

Airports are GREAT places to spot good styling and as we have a lot of travel on the schedule this summer I’ll be keeping an eye out for more looks to share with you.

Last but not least, this fantastic look was spotted at an art festival in Decatur a few weeks ago. I love the simple shift dress in a bright color with bold accents and a contrasting bag:

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I think the downward gaze and sunglasses sufficiently obscure this woman’s identity but I’m new to this so please chime in if you think I should block it out with a smiley face.

So summery! And from the rear, her backpack pairs perfectly with the accent colors on her dress:
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What styles are you spotting lately?

Thrift Camaraderie + A Relaxed Posting Schedule

Hello Thrifters!  Just a note to let you know that I am entering a busy season in my personal/work lives and will not have a regular posting schedule over the next few weeks.  I hope to still post occasionally, just not on a schedule. Because let’s be honest, nothing stops me from thrifting, so I might as well write about it!  Making sure I have the time to write quality, engaging posts for you all is another thing, though, so I’m giving myself permission to be flexible.

I am so grateful for your readership and your willingness to be flexible with me!  Your engagement in and enjoyment of this site makes the whole thing really rewarding and I am absolutely thrilled that you read and contribute to the wonderful community that is Thriftshop Chic.

In the spirit of that community, check out this week’s thrift camaraderie encounter. (TC = chatting up your fellow thrifters, particularly giving/asking for advice on whether to purchase a particular thrift find. It’s a special kind of interaction that thrift stores seem to encourage and I LOVE IT.)

This woman needed something to wear for an evening event to raise awareness of and fight against rape and sexual assault.  Teal and purple are sexual assault and domestic assault awareness colors, respectively, so this long-sleeved romper was pretty much perfect:

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I can’t get over the sequins (must be the 5% of me that wants to dress like Luke Spiller), and we both agreed that the long sleeves balance out the leg exposed by the shorts. Did I mention it has pockets?

She said she had looked several places and finally came to Goodwill and hit the jackpot.  Yes!  Thrifting is the perfect way to find an outfit or accessories for a one-of-a-kind event at low cost.  She may never wear this romper again (although I totally hope she does), but for $6.99 she doesn’t have to – she can just donate it back and let someone else enjoy it in all its sequined glory.

 

Have a great weekend, Thrifters!

Updated Post: Updating My Basic Jewelry

And now, with pictures! Sorry for the technical snafu yesterday and thanks to those who pointed it out.

I am a wear-the-same-basic-jewelry-every-day kinda gal. Sometimes I throw in a statement necklace or swap in a more casual bracelet, but most days you’ll catch me wearing a metallic cuff bracelet, my wedding/engagement rings, and gold stud earrings.  Today I’ll tell you about updating my bracelet after it sustained damage, and adding a ring (whoa!).

Up until recently, this vintage cuff was my bracelet:

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It was my grandma’s and I loved wearing it. It reminded me of her and had a style you just don’t see anymore. Paired with relatively simple outfits, it really popped.

But costume jewelry from the 60s isn’t made of Teflon. After several years of wearing it almost every day, it cracked.

I still wore it for awhile, since the crack wasn’t super noticeable. But it kept catching on things, and I realized that if I ever wanted to get it fixed I should probably stop wearing it to prevent further damage. So onto my dresser top it went, where I could still see it every day and smile at the memory of my grandma:IMG_1852

In the meantime, I had a serious case of NAB. (Go Fug Yourself readers will recognize this acronym as “Needs a Bracelet.”) I knew I wanted a cuff; they don’t flop around like bangles or cut off you circulation like elastic bracelets and they’re not infernally hard to put on like regular ol’ clasp bracelets are. Unsurprisingly, the last bracelet I had worn to death was a cuff as well; they just feel elegant and “me.”

So I started searching the jewelry counter at the Goodwill. I found a few bangles in good color schemes (off white and gold) and a silver cuff I really liked, but no gold cuffs. After several weeks of keeping my eyes peeled, I stopped into the Thriftique and lo and behold, this baby was waiting for me:

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At first I was worried it would feel a little too bold – it was a much yellower gold than my previous bracelet, more in your face. But it was much narrower than my last cuff, and I loved the beaten texture. I reminded myself that Grandma’s cuff took some time to move from giving me an “I AM WEARING COSTUME JEWELRY” feeling to being my signature statement piece, and then I gave it some time.

Now it feels like a natural part of my wardrobe and fits with seemingly everything (and doesn’t get caught on sleeves like my last one did).WP_20170614_09_34_20_Pro (1)

The stamp on it says Monet, which is a J.C. Penney brand; quality-wise it’s not going to be around forever, but when it “dies” (as my spouse likes to say) I can thrift a new one that will have its own character, or go back to wearing my grandma’s repaired cuff.

 

I have a whole collection of rings, mostly my mom’s vintage stuff and a few sentimental pieces from junior high/high school when I was an avid ring wearer. But I rarely pull them out, mostly because my bracelet is hogging the attention in the hand/wrist department and I don’t want to compete. I was looking through them for some reason a few weeks ago, though, and was struck by how the color and bold style of this one matched my recently acquired cuff replacement:

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It was my mom’s original wedding ring (she has since moved on to something with diamonds). It’s a Möbius strip, which I think makes for great symbolism. I absolutely LOVE how simple and yet unexpected the design is; in my head this is a top-tier style-blogger level of finger jewelry, though quite a bit chunkier than what’s popular in that set.

When she got married her fingers must have been TINY; it doesn’t fit on my ring finger, so I wear it on my pinky which I think gives it more panache anyway:

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It’s a tiny bit loose; I have to be careful when I get my hands wet. I’ll probably take it to a jeweler to size it down.  Any recommendations?

 

So there you go; secondhand jewelry all the way. I hope you enjoyed the update and would love to know what treasures you sport every day!

 

Friday ReBlog: Why I Own Wooden Hangers

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

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

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

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

Read more about my love for wooden hangers here.

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Have a great weekend, Thrifters!

What I Wore: Leopard Print & White Pants

June in Atlanta has been strangely…80s.  As in hovering around 80 degrees and lots of rain.  I can tell it isn’t really “summer” yet (as Hotlanta defines it) because I can still get away with wearing these lined white pants without my lower half sweating to death:

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Leopard print blouse: Banana Republic Heritage, thrifted
Pants: Banana Republic, thrifted
Belt: J. Crew, thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet, thrifted
Sandals: Clarks, retail
Necklace: heirloom (the dove is by James Avery)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban, Costco (post on these coming soon)

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Styling: I paired bright white with more muted leopard to tone this whole thing down a bit – we’re not talking beachfront BBQs just yet. For a footwear alternative, this outfit would have been great with my champagne Trotters flats, but I still haven’t doctored them up yet and I wanted to show off my toes (hard to see but they’re painted a surprisingly lovely, warm shade of beige). Rolled up sleeves, of course – and a bracelet to showcase the resulting forearm. Clubmasters to top it all off, because it’s sunny out and the colors go great with the leopard. (And yes, I am one of those annoying people who uses sunglasses as a headband.  At least they’re not my beach-scavenged purple and yellow wayfarers!)

Thoughts: this outfit is a total win for me. The subtle leopard print brings some funk while the lines are clean and classic. It’s summery chic, with a definite nod to the Inès de la Fressange-inspired side of my style.

Closeup on the jewelry:
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Are you wearing straight-up summer clothes (for your neck of the woods) yet?  Southern hemisphereans, are you in your cold-weather duds yet?  Scroll down to share.

 

May Thrift Finds

First up, the rejects:

By Loft, a blouse-with-skirt number whose colors I loved but whose drop sleeves and sheerness I did not love:
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I don’t remember who made this but it was too big in the bust and the neck felt too formal for my life:
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This blazer by Stile Benetton made me look like a fussy governess from the 1950s:
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This lemony dress of sunshine was too big (and probably too Sandy from Grease for my personal style):
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Meow!  I LOVED the color block/print thing happening on this Ann Taylor dress but not the way it pulled across my hips (it was too small):
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Ugh, these smudgy mirrors!  you can barely tell that this sweater has some lovely gold pattern on the sleeves.  I liked it fine but decided it was too similar to other sweaters I own, plus pretty dark for my skin tone:

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I cried that this vintage handmade beauty didn’t fit me:

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Check out that print! And the buttons… such a great pattern:WP_20170519_15_03_32_Pro

Great lapels on this blazer but too big in the sleeves (and everywhere else):
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This burgundy moto jacket by Mossimo is so cool, and yet so cropped (particularly from the side).  I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for a cropped jacket, mostly because if it’s cold enough for a tweedy jacket like this, it’s too cold to leave my middle protected by just one layer of fabric:
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Last but not least, completely for your viewing pleasure, a tweed suit by Gap circa… 1980-something?  1990?  The only thing I loved about this was the navy suede collar and how fun it was to pose in:
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So itchy!

 

And now, the keepers. As you may remember I’ve been looking for some more casual dresses, which I found; a fancier-looking one slipped in there as well.

Let’s start with this charcoal shirt dress by Gap. Gives the shape I like, it’s all cotton (great for weather where your clothes need to breathe), and I can layer it for fall/winter as the color will go perfectly with my winter cardigan:
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setting off that blond hair…

Patterned beige and white gathered dress.  I felt like Queen Letizia of Spain in this:
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More in focus:
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It is too big through the arms/armpits (see below) but I couldn’t resist it (despite the fact that it’s BEIGE and the pattern looks like a wall sconce). I just felt so long and elegant in it, and I am confident I can use some of the tricks from New Dress a Day to remedy the arms/armpits…once I finally get our sewing machine out and re-teach myself how to thread it.

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Droopy sleeves/big armpits ahoy.

Speaking of sewing things myself, this spunky little striped Old Navy number with great stretch and excellent sleeves (this length might be a new fave) had a few little holes along the side seam (next photo), which I hand-sewed shut one evening in front of a few episodes of Spirit (or maybe part of Star Wars…my kid is big into horses and Yoda at the moment).

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See those shady holes?  Already fixed!
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In action here:

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

So this one belongs in the “keepers turned into rejects” pile.  Self, you should have known that buying some version of this top for the third time was dumb because you had already rejected it twice and its scratchy, too-big ways would come back to haunt you:WP_20170519_14_52_21_Pro

I put it on once at home and said “nope.”  You all will be glad to know that even experienced thrifters still make mistakes.
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This, however, was a big ol’ winner. The light olive color is right up my alley/skin tone and the turned-up sleeves feel polished and current:

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The Gucci-esque closure (which actually works) is a great detail that takes it from neutral territory to funky and interesting:WP_20170525_14_08_48_Pro

In action(movie):
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I also got some Etienne Aigner brown boots for $7 which will look great with this dress + leggings come fall. I’ll have to showcase these boots in a another post because the photos I got were super blurry.
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That’s it!  How was your May, thrift-wise?  Anything fun on your thrift list?

Vintage Bracelet Makeover

Last Saturday I finally got to visit Chalice Thrift at the First Christian Church in Decatur. (Church nerd note: they’re Disciples of Christ, which is the cousin to my denomination, and they do really rad justice and service work with the proceeds from the thrift store.)

They’ve been closed the last 3 times I’ve been by, so I was thrilled to have a look inside.  Plus they had Danish butter cookies and lemonade for all, and Danish butter cookies are the way to my heart (especially the kind with crystallized sugar on top).

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Victory is mine.

They also grow blackberries which made my child happy (well, that and the cookies. And their lovely clean bathroom they let her use):

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Inside the shop was set up like a boutique, with different rooms for women’s, men’s, kids, housewares, books (a veritable library!), etc.:

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I wanted to get back to park time* with my family, so I made a pretty quick sweep. (*Atlantans with small people should check out the Decatur Toy Park. Sponsored by this same church, it’s basically a fenced-in park filled with larger-sized toys, particularly wheeled ones, donated for all to use. There are also swings, small slides, and a mini free library, and it’s across the street from the thrift store. It’s also just down the block from Dancing Goats if your toddler woke you up earlier than nature intended and you need some coffee. Win-win.)

During my sweep, this vintage earring/bracelet combo immediately caught my eye:

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I’ve long been a fan of vintage costume jewelry for the sheer chutzpah it brings to an outfit. My grandma had a lot of great pieces I’ve enjoyed wearing over the years, although I’ve scaled back from wearing complete earring/necklace matching sets in the same outfit.

So I wasn’t sure what I would do with this set, particularly since I prefer cuff bracelets to linked ones. But I couldn’t resist the palm frond motif or the golden color, halfway between taupe and caramel, that would go with so much of my wardrobe. It felt like a fresh, subtle take on the palm frond trend that’s been going strong the last year or two:

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Mmm, that vintage patina…

I bought it without a plan and wondered if I’d basically just donated $4 to Chalice Thrift (not a bad thing, but I like to spend thrift money on things I’ll actually, you know, wear.)

Later that day it occurred to me that I could make this bracelet into a necklace by removing the clasp on one side and attaching chain to both ends.  A quick perusal of my miscellaneous jewelry-making bits confirmed that I didn’t have enough chain (or the right color) for what I had in mind.

So it was time for a trip to the Goodwill to hunt for parts. (We also took the opportunity to teach our daughter how to wisely spend her birthday money; $8 goes a long way in the kids’ section of a thrift store. I’m proud to say that after playing with a bunch of cheap toys she bought one book and kept the rest of her moolah for another day/charity donation.)

In the jewelry section I found this number:

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(My friend pointed out that I could’ve gone to Michael’s and maybe spent less buying new chain, but I’d rather buy secondhand and experience the thrill of the hunt. Plus this was only $4 and I’m getting a lot of other beads/jewelry bits out of it, including some to make earrings for this same friend. Win-win again!)

Using jewelry pliers I took out the chain sections, including the short braided section (on the left middle in the photo above), and left the lobster claw clasp where it was.  I attached the braided chain to one side of the single chain, then took two of the necklace’s jump rings (small metal circles used to connect chain to beads/hang pendants) and used them to attach the chain pieces to the bars at either end of the former bracelet. You can see the jump rings and the braided chain section up close here:

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I like how the braided part adds a little asymmetrical interest.

This shot gives a better sense of where the necklace falls – I can adjust the length from almost choker down to this “bib” size simply by attaching the lobster claw to any of the chain links:

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Here’s another few shots of my new necklace in action from Instagram – when I make “new” jewelry I’m excited about, I tend to wear the heck out of it:

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

What do y’all think of my $8 vintage bracelet makeover?  Have you Atlantans ever visited Chalice Thrift?  Scroll down to comment!