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!

Thrift Finds: September 2017

Let’s take a look back at September’s thrift finds – the stuff I’ve been thrifting as I shift back to a colder climate!

First up, a few dresses bought at the Davis Square Goodwill in search of a good candidate for the town festival. This sleeveless number by Talbots you’ll recognize from the What I Wore post since it ended up being a hot day:

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Less orange, more coral in real life.

This striped Gap dress with bracelet-length sleeves also came home with me. With its thick knit it’ll be good for transitional temps; plus the stripes will work in my more casual workplace:

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Despite being a color I love and having roll-tab sleeves (y’all know my affection for these), this long-sleeved romper made me feel like a Coachella attendee. Too short and sort of…sloppy? floppy? for my taste and my lifestyle:

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I can’t decide if it’s better or worse from the side:

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But that miss was redeemed by this scarf win:

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Next up was a trip to Sister Thrift in Framingham, which I visited after the one in Watertown. The lighting in the fitting room was abysmal; I apologize in advance.

This sweater had my favorite fitted proportions but too many bobbles on it, like your aunt crocheted it for you in 1986:

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I’m pretty sure there’s a hand-crocheted blanket with that exact motif on the bed in my parents’ guest room.

This cardigan was a great color and had nice drape but was too big across the shoulders/in the sleeves. Wanh-wannnh:

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Diane von Furstenberg in the wild! This puppy was 100% silk, my size, and check out that ginko print! I love it. Sadly the white was pretty dingy, the v-neck was waaaaay too low for work, and the hem was too short, so I left it for someone else:

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This Caslon sweater dress came home with me, to be paired with leggings. This eBay listing will give you a better idea of the color – it’s much more of a royal blue. Sweater dress + zipper details + pockets = win in my book:

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This military green field jacket by United Colors of Benetton also came home with me. Nice and cozy for New England fall, it reminds me of Nancy’s monster-bashing outfit in Stranger Things – which, let’s be honest, is half its appeal. My favorite part is the contrast plaid lining, which no one ever sees…but I know it’s there!

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My last thrift stop for September was the Goodwill in Portsmouth, NH, where I was on the hunt for some longer-sleeved casual tops. All my long-sleeved tops are either blouses are sweaters, but in this casual, cool temps environment, I’m finding a big need for more t-shirt-like, long-sleeved tops that can layer under warmer stuff.

Thus I give you this salmon-colored Chico’s 3/4 length top with pearlescent buttons (on the sleeve, too, although you can’t see them here), which is made of Pima cotton and was half off. BAM:

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The color is much less dark in real life:

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Paired with The Savile Row Co. polka dot vest, thrifted

Here’s another longer-sleeved tee, by Olive & Oak. Yep, those navy and white stripes are pretty similar to the Gap tee I wear to death, but this one has full sleeves, a neck that doesn’t flirtatiously reveal my shoulders, and a fun contrasting stripe there at the bottom. #thriftjustification

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Check out that hi-lo hem:

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I saw someone rock a warm oatmeal long-sleeved tee under a vest earlier in the day and figured I’d try to replicate it. This one was too greige and washed me out:

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But this one, by L.L. Bean, was just the right oatmeal color with a little cream heathering for visual texture (and a mock turtleneck! joy!):

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It’s going to be great under my navy vest (see above) and my cream/caramel/grey cardigan from last winter:

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Last but not least, a fun cotton moto jacket, by Gap I believe, with sleeves too big, but I thought you all would enjoy it:

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What’d y’all thrift last month? Should I have bought the moto jacket? Comment to share your thoughts!

 

 

Local Thrift Stores: Davis Square Goodwill & Sister Thrift, Watertown

Hey all! Today we have a little tour of two different thrift stores in the Boston area. On Thursday I’ll share some of the things I found therein for my September thrift finds post!

First up is Sister Thrift in Watertown. Sister Thrift is a small, nonprofit chain supporting the Humane Society, which is A+ in my book. I’ve visited two so far; they are of the “small, packed, and you never know what you will find” variety while still being well organized.

On this visit I didn’t snag any clothes for myself, but I did find some great toys for my kid to spend her birthday money on, and as I mentioned earlier, some notecards, office supplies, and throw pillows.  Prices on dresses were a little higher than I’m used to ($8.50) but everything else was priced decently.

Here are some great things I found but didn’t take home – pics from my old phone’s crappy camera:

Chartreuse velvet blazer by J. Crew:

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Tweed blazer by Banana Republic I would have snapped up if it had been my size:

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Oh hello chic Chico’s jumpsuit, sz 2 (that’s like a large in Chico’s sizing):

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Some winter coats I wish would have worked:

A puffer coat by Calvin Klein (with a broken zipper):

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A faux fur olive green wrap coat by Jennifer Lopez which was super chic but didn’t strike me as able to stand up to New England winters:

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Sorry the picture is so shapeless; it’s hard thrifting with a kid in tow!

 

Next up, Goodwill in Davis Square (Somerville). There were two floors, with women’s upstairs:

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And men’s, kids’, and books/housewares downstairs:

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The prices were reasonable (on par with Goodwill of North Georgia’s before their recent price hike) and the selection was pretty good! The women’s shoes were scattered across the tops of the racks which was annoying; I didn’t have the time or patience to wander around checking them all.

One big upside: they do returns! I can’t remember if it’s 7 or 9 days, but when we ended up accidentally buying a $14 wolf costume for our kid (miscommunication for the win), it was great to be able to return it.

It was a good visit and I nabbed a few things I’ll share in my September thrift finds post. Here’s some of what I spotted, clothes-wise, but didn’t take home.

 

Gumby! (and collection bins filled with Trader Joe’s bags):

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I shared these on Instagram the other week but for those who don’t follow me there, some of my finds.

An Xhiliration blouse, size small, with a great pattern BUT SOMEONE CHOPPED OFF THE BOTTOM:

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Not really, it’s just cropped and I’m annoyed because otherwise it would make a great work top for someone. But short-torso’d readers, perhaps this is your dream?

Uniqlo turtleneck that was made of some kind of classy fleece:

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Super chic cobalt blue Kenneth Cole jacket with great shoulder and pocket details. I couldn’t find this exact coat online but I imagine it retails for $100+. Love the collarless collar:

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The tiniest tweed jacket, with velvet collar!

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Odille (Anthropologie brand) dress in mustard:

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And what I wore for the excursion, as it was on the warm side:

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Floral blouse: Old Navy, thrifted
Shorts: Bebe, thrifted

Sneakers: City Sneaks, thrifted
Bag: Marco Avané, thrifted

 

There are two more Sister Thrifts in the Boston area and two more secondhand stores in Davis Square to check out. I’ll keep you posted next time I visit one!

 

Thrift Finds: Dressing My Kid for Fall

Since we have recently moved from Hotlanta to a place with real fall (hello, New England), here’s a round up of what I’ve thrifted to help my kid keep from freezing on the playground.

My strategy was to keep the pants fairly neutral so I didn’t have to worry whether the tops clashed; and to skip the uber-girly stuff – I’m allergic to pink in high doses, and my kid doesn’t care yet (unless you’re talking about unicorns or T. Rex; then she has an opinion, which is “YES, ALWAYS”).

First up, tops:

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Gap, Gap, Vince, Carter’s, Gap 

That bunny hot air balloon shirt is much more of a coral color than the intense tomato it looks like here.

Sweatshirts
Worn with or without a shirt underneath, depending on the weather:

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Jumpin’ Beans, H&M, Oshkosh

Check out the little sweatshirt V on the heart top and the t-shirt hem on the bow top:

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My kid’s clothes are cooler than mine.

 

Next we have pants:

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H&M, Garanimals, Nannette Girl, Oshkosh (the dirt is my child’s, not from the thrift store; laundry day!)

Both pairs of non-stretchy jeans have these genius adjustable elastic inside the waistband that means my skinny lil’ kid can wear pants the right length that don’t fall down to her ankles:

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You move the button to whichever slit you need, and there’s one on either side to keep it even. PS See the polka dots on these? My kid is way better at patterned pants than I am.

 

Next up, dresses:

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Gymboree, Old Navy, Carter’s

The one on the far right is obviously meant for summer, not fall, but our sweet neighbor nabbed it for us at the Goodwill a few months ago and I couldn’t leave it out! I love that orange embroidery.

Hoodies

The one on the left is like a fuzzy stuffed animal inside. The one on the right has a detachable hood, retails for $38, and was $6 in the boy’s section of the library consignment shop. Don’t be afraid to check both gender sections for your kid – you might find a gender-neutral classic or something marketed to a different gender from how your kid identifies but that your kid loves. Because how else am I supposed to find dinosaur shirts for my dino-loving daughter?  (Still on the hunt for that one…)

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Xhiliration; Polarn O. Pyret

 

Shoes & Underwear

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Same for undies – the minion underwear was in the “boys” section but my kid loves them, so I bought 2 pair. Plus that extra elastic seems to fit better on her bum.

She’s currently wearing the shoes on the left (Saucony) and will grow into the ones on the right (Stride Rite). Between the two pairs there was only one pair of inserts, so I moved them to her current shoes and will put them back in the bigger ones when she grows.

These $2.50 rain boots have gotten some good use – both for puddle jumping and for playing pretend around the house.

 

Tops for end of winter/spring
In general I try to avoid buying clothes for my kid to grow into because I can’t predict in what season she will be in which size. But with cold weather that lasts into April here, I figured these next-size-up long-sleeved shirts will get some good use before she outgrows them:

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Circo, Land’s End, Carter’s

Those of you with supernatural memories out there will recognize the floral ringer tee from my kid’s thrifted wardrobe a few seasons back. We got a ton of use out of it so when I saw it in the next size up I couldn’t refuse. Also, that coral-looking tee in the middle is significantly pinker in real life. In case you were wondering.

 

Still on my list: a proper winter coat and winter boots. The consignment shop at the library may come through. The consignment shop also sells kids’ figure and hockey skates – welcome to New England! – and I am waiting to see whether we skate enough to justify buying a pair since they’ll only be good for one season.

Do you thrift for any kids in your life? If so, what do you look for?

 

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?

Style Sightings: Late Summer in Boston

In honor of the first day of fall, here’s what I’ve seen around the Boston area as we’ve reached the end of summer. Hopefully those of you in warmer climes can get some current style inspiration from this; those of you in chiller abodes can file these away for next year (or revisit your warm weather stuff for that random heat wave in October).

First up, this chic lady in line at Costco, whose outfit I would copy whole cloth:

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Unsurprisingly, I am a fan of the red pants + print blouse look. I might have done something prints with the shoe as well but really can’t complain because those colors are great.

Oh hello, young gent in Davis Square pulling off a man romper:

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I’m sad I didn’t get a picture from the front because the styling made it clear this wasn’t a mechanic-style jumpsuit but something designed with fashion in mind. It was my first spotting of the man romper in the wild and I love that he paired it with Chuck Taylors.

Another lovely print/solid pairing, this time with delightfully floral pants and long-sleeved topper to match. Bonus points for color coordinating the shoes:

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If my wardrobe hadn’t already made the decision long ago to keep my prints on top, I would be all over pants like this. Great way to keep warm but still embrace a summer aesthetic.

Now we turn the corner into fall. I spotted this woman at a farm stand and the long cardigan in motion just made the look:

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And that little black bag!

From the front:

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The colors were great muted hues for autumn (although I would have swapped the black tee for cream or white) and the cardigan coziness just put it over the top. The patterns in the striped scarf and the marled cardigan add just the right amount of interest to a solid-heavy outfit. Win.
And at Fenway, a great use of overalls over striped shirt captured in a blurry photo on the T:

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With the denim jacket and that little pop of yellow in the handbag – love these colors all together!

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What’s the weather (and thus style) doing in your part of the world? What do you think of these snippets of Bostonian style?

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?

 

Moving and Minimalism – Part 2: Toys

Although (as we discovered in Part 1) I am not a decor minimalist, as we have moved into our new home I have embraced a completely different aspect of minimalism: keeping my kid’s stuff boxed up because she does not miss it.

This kid is the only grandchild on both sides, and we have very generous neighbors and friends who often give her toys as well (many from Goodwill, yay!), and despite my regular trips back to the Goodwill she has more playthings than she knows what to do with. After we boxed them all up to move, she asked about some items that were put away, but overall she seemed content with the few things we’d kept out.

Once we got to Boston I decided to ride that train and piled unopened boxes of toys (and books – oh, the books!) in her closet. Grandma brought down a box of dinosaur toys, the church left a dozen little animals all around the house for her to find, and we had play-doh and markers for the coloring book pages my sister drew for her. (Yes, both the church and my sister are amazing. I think The Sister should sell custom coloring book pages, yes?)

The kiddo was perfectly content with that initial load for the first week or so, and we have slowly, slowly added things, either by opening an occasional box or by letting her use her birthday money at the thrift store. (8 dollars goes a long way shopping secondhand!) We also found kid-sized hockey sticks at the thrift store and my husband, who played when he was a kid, has had a blast teaching her backhands in the backyard using a ball the church gave us.

With fewer things around, she seems to play longer and more creatively with what she does have, and there’s a lot less to clean up/keep track of. I simultaneously can and can’t believe that it hasn’t occurred to her to wonder where former obsessions like her pop-it beads and code-a-pillar are. I’m hoping to drag out the toy reveal as long as possible, maybe with a rotation where we pack one toy away as we bring out others.

The books, too, are still boxed up apart from the one we initially opened. In the meantime, by George, we have discovered the library! We never took her in Atlanta because she was in daycare (so no need for the daytime programs libraries offer) and the full-size adult bookcase in her room was so full it had books we had never read. But while the kiddo’s at home for the foreseeable future, we tried out the kid-friendly mini-branch in our town, and it’s amazing – you can check out toys while you’re there (great fun without adding to our toy collection at home) AND there’s a kids’ resale shop that benefits the library. You know that’s the first place I went! In the next few weeks I’ll share what I found there to keep her warm during cold Boston winters.

Like lots of parents, I wrestle with how to keep her toys/books at a manageable level – and how to effectively involve her in the process so she learns to do it herself. She’s an enthusiastic kid and once she’s spied something that’s been tucked away, she’ll want to play with it (even if she ends up abandoning it twenty minutes later). Luckily, she’s great at playing with things in the store without needing to take them home; but asking her whether she wants to donate something rarely gets a “yes.” She’ll also randomly ask about X toy she hasn’t played with in weeks, which makes it hard to donate things on the sly – a technique that is starting to feel disingenuous now that she’s a preschooler and old enough to realize what’s happening.

Given all that, moving and keeping everything in boxes is an unexpected boon. I’m planning on having a conversation with her about how much better it can feel to live with less stuff, and as it starts to sink in, maybe she’ll pull the trigger on a few of those donations herself.

 

What have you done re: keeping things in boxes after a move? Dealing with your kids’ stuff in a respectful but practical way?

Thrift Finds: August 2017

Most of August was spent getting ready to move and then moving. But – I know you’re shocked – I managed to fit some thrifting in there anyway!

Check out the decor and lamp shades I thrifted in August to help stage our house here.

And now for the clothes.

Floral cotton popover blouse by Old Navy
Y’all know me and my love for popover blouses:

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I’ve been looking for something with palm fronds, which has proven surprisingly tricky to find with a navy background instead of black. This one is like…a chic version of a Hawai’ian shirt. It’s also beautifully lightweight for those truly hot days. I’m in.

PS For those keeping score at home, yes I did have another tropical popover in blue, which I loved, but which was a tad too tight on the chest/shoulders. Aaaaand I also had another navy floral blouse – one which was less vacation-y printwise, but with a flowy cut that just looked sloppy on me. So when the Old Navy number came along with its perfect fit, I heard the universe telling me to let go of the other two less-than-greats.

You are the weakest link(s). Goodbye:

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I am pretty sad about losing that awesome tropical print/color scheme. Sigh.

 

Plaid cotton popover blouse by Kenar:
Another cotton popover blouse – are we detecting a pattern here (pun intended)?

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I had been pulled toward a similar white-on-blue windowpane plaid popover before, one that didn’t fit so well:

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Another reason for rejecting that earlier edition was that it was too casual for work and I already had a plaid weekend shirt. But since moving to the Northeast, I’ve found that work attire (at least in my office) is quite a bit more laid back. The good fit on the new find makes it sleek enough for work while the plaid keeps it kickin’ for the weekend:

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Plaid shirt: Kenar – thrifted
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted

Next up, the Paige jeans that were miraculously left waiting for me in the fitting room at the Goodwill. I’m wearing them in the picture above as well as here:

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Vest: Savile Row Co. – thrifted
Shirt from my alma mater, retail
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted
Bag: Marco Avané – thrifted

Paige jeans, for those unfamiliar, are made in the USA and retail for around $200. BIG SCORE. These Skyline Skinnies were like new and fit me perfectly – no belt needed, which is a big plus in my book.  I’ll just have to adjust to having a second pair of jeans in my wardrobe… but with a cold climate and a casual office I imagine they’ll come in handy!

PS Yes I know skinny jeans are not really the hot new thing these days… since I tend to lag behind in trends (see: how long it took me to adopt skinnies in the first place), I’ll probably be wearing cropped mom jeans in about 2-3 years. You’ve been warned.

Mercer & Mason white blazer, new with tags
I’m digging the long, lean lapels on this blazer and the warmth it provides on brisk early mornings/late evenings here in New England:

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At no loss for blazers, I had pretty much decided I didn’t need a white one until I wore my white denim jacket to a wedding and felt under-dressed. This TJ Maxx brand features decent quality fabric and the lining keeps it toasty – linings were often problematic in Atlanta for this reason but are ideal here! The slightly off-white color will go with everything without washing me out (I hope – pasty white winter skin may yet prevail).


Olive faux suede ankle boots by Leila Stone
I know these don’t look terribly olive in these pictures, but they’re definitely on the green side of taupe.

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I’m calling these an impulse buy despite the fact that two or three days passed between when I first spotted them and when I bought them. I loved the subtle touch of color (it’s hard to find ankle boots that aren’t black/grey/brown), the asymmetrical “cuff” for lack of a better term, and the sassy little tassels on the zipper pull (although I wish the hardware was gold, but that’s my inner magpie speaking). They have my favorite toe shape – halfway between pointed and round – and the wood-like heel also appealed. It plays well with my wardrobe, unlike the other common option for heels, which is black. And they’re my size, hurrah!

But….

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…there’s a reason they had been donated to Goodwill. These shoes are faux suede, and judging by the tear in the fabric near the zipper, not high quality faux suede. Other evidence they are not well made, or else that they are very well worn, include wear spots near the toe and the heel on that same side (which luckily is the inside of the shoe, but it will still show).  And the heel is really too high for my personal comfort.

So why did I buy them? Mostly as a stop gap. As soon as I saw these, I started dreaming up all the delicious fall outfits they would complete, and I went looking online for something higher quality (and, most likely, retail). After spending an hour or two perusing different options, I realized that this was madness; I already had ankle boots I love, I was about to move and didn’t need to spend $100+ on new boots, and life would go on without my having a pair of olive shoes to make all my wardrobe dreams come true.  So to stop myself from pulling the trigger on something expensive and unnecessary, I spent $6 on these and told myself I could sew up the rip, my micro commute could survive the higher heel, and they’ll be fun while they last.

So now let’s see if I get any use out of them or just enjoy how they look on my shelf!

 

Last but not least, I thrifted a file organizer for my new office and a slew of hideous yet functional Laura Ashley thank-you notes which I have liberally sprinkled amongst my wonderfully generous and thoughtful congregation. And a couple of decorative pillows I have yet to convince the spouse are aesthetically pleasing. (To be fair, he was the one who started the throw pillow conversation…)

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Right??? I like them too. $17 on Etsy; jacked up to $40 retail; $4 at the thrift store. BAM.

I also thrifted a goodly fall wardrobe for the child, which I will post separately.

 

So, your turn. What did you thrift this past month? Have you ever bought something ridiculous and/or crappy to stop yourself from spending a lot more money on a higher quality version? Or do you have way more self-discipline than I?

 

Moving and Minimalism (Or Not) – Part I

Moving is a great time to come face to face with your relationship with stuff – whether you want to or not.

With our recent move, I was mostly in the former category. While our move was stressful in some ways and there was a lot of work involved, I relished the chance to go through all our possessions and get rid of what we didn’t need or want. (My spouse willingly halved his t-shirt collection, joy!)

I returned things to those from whom we had borrowed them, passed other things on to friends, and made many, many trips to the Goodwill – not the least of which was to say goodbye to Daniel, the man who worked the donation door at our closest GW and who had become a friend over years of frequent closet-cleanout donation runs.

We decided to stage our condo for selling potential, and as we prepared to do so, I wondered whether I would experience the epiphany some minimalists (for example) describe when staging their homes. You know – It feels so open and light! We should have done this years ago! It’s a popular minimalist concept to stage your house as if to sell, but then just live in it. (See what I did there? Popular concept, pop minimalism!)

But as I sat in our echo-y condo, the majority of our belongings already on their way up Boston, I realized I’m not the stereotypical minimalist who thrills to clean white walls and sparely furnished rooms. Contrary to my relative non-attachment to stuff (see: closet cleanouts above and my willingness to ditch wedding gifts we’ve never used), I missed our things.

I didn’t miss individual pieces, per se, but the feeling that the things we have more or less purposefully accumulated and come to love made our house into our home. Without them (and with the addition of the weird chemical smell of new carpet), our place just seemed… sad.

Obviously, the memories you make, people you love, pets you adore, etc. are more important in making a home than stuff is. But as I follow the aftermath of Harvey and the ongoing reality of Irma and think back on the houses I helped gut and the waterlogged possessions I shoveled into dumpsters after Katrina – man. I ache for the families who, while safe and sound, will come back to houses full of the ruins of familiar pictures they’ve walked past, kitchen utensils they’ve used, couches they’ve curled up on every day for years. The things that made the house theirs, even if the people and pets they love – please, God – made it through.

Even if we don’t let it rule our lives, stuff is important. And I’m grateful that ours is intact and that the stuff we staged with will arrive today so we can keep making our new house feel like home.