15 Seconds of Thrifting Fame

I had the slightly surreal experience this week of being recognized in public as a thriftstagrammer.

Here’s how it happened.

(Prepare for a short story to be made long.)

I’d figured out rather recently that I should be tagging not the brand of my clothes in Instagram posts, but the store where I thrifted them.

I started off tagging brands because I thought people would be inspired to thrift by seeing the great brands that can be found secondhand. This was…pretty pointless. If people search IG for, say, Banana Republic or Vince Camuto, they’re likely looking for retail looks they can buy now, not thrifted looks they’d have to scour online secondhand stores to find.

BUT. Thrifters want to know where they can find great stuff, regardless of whether they nab a specific item I showcase (which, after all, is pretty unlikely). And for people who do want to search for one of my finds, they can ask me for the brand in the comments.

Plus, it’s more fun to be connected with the people behind store brand accounts – they’re more likely to leave comments and to invite you to special events, and if you develop a relationship with them, they might be willing to hold an awesome find from their IG feed for you.

And as I discovered last Friday, they might even recognize you when you patronize their store:

I was browsing the racks at Sister Thrift in Watertown when an energetic blonde woman came up to me and asked, “Are you Leah?” As a pastor I run into people I know every time I get groceries, but I had no idea who this woman was. “I’m Tiffany, one of the co-founders. I saw you shopping and thought, I recognize her from Instagram!” She proceeded to thank me for mentioning Sister Thrift whenever I sport items from their stores.

“You’re welcome,” I said. “Thank YOU for having such awesome stuff at really good prices.” (True. I visited another store after them and was not impressed, price-wise.)

Well that had already made my day – how delightfully unexpected! And then Tiffany asked the cashier to give me 20% off my purchases. Uh, yes please! The thrifter’s dream.


What I found that day – Gap & J Brand.

So if you’ve ever wondered whether it’s worth it to post all those outfit pics on Instagram – it could earn you celebrity status and a discount. Just be sure to tag those hard-working thrift store IG accounts!

The end. :)

Thrift Finds: March 2018

Long time no see, Thrifters! You know it’s been awhile when my last post was also thrift finds… from a month ago.

I’ve been happily busy with work (Lent, Holy Week) and thus away from the blog. To jump back in, I thought about doing the Spring 10×10 (click here to read about what a 10×10 is) but it was scheduled to start on Good Friday (hello people, busiest time of year for a pastor!) and also it snowed yesterday. So nope.

But I did have some good March thrift finds and I would love to share them with you all. I’ll classify them by thrift excursion so I can keep track of what’s what. Here we go!

First up: Global Thrift in Waltham.
I did a quick run through just before closing and didn’t find anything I wanted to try, but did find a gorgeous J. Crew linen dress in a Light Summer coral not remotely my size:

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Wanh wannnnhhhhh.

Here’s another Light Summer number in the weird college-student-party-dress length that always cuts off people’s legs while simultaneously threatening to show their assets:

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Why do people wear such short hems?! #rantover

 

Next up, the Goodwill in Seabrook, NH on the way to visit my inlaws. I have one complaint against New Hampshire Goodwills: they sell a bunch of new stuff alongside the secondhand things, and while this is handy when I want to buy underwear or socks and still support a non-profit, it just kind of spoils the feel for me. Plus the way they display it sometimes makes it hard to distinguish between new and not; the new stuff is usually cheaply made; and I didn’t find good undies this time.  #rantnumber2over

Nope on this cable-knit sweater – the overly bright white and the cheap quality overrode my love of cowl necks:

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Too small:

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This pleated dress with attached camisole-like liner actually looks better in retrospect than it did in the dressing room – it was a bit baggy on:

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Great colors on the stripes; wonky neck:

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Despite the picture which makes it look sort of milk-chocolatey, this NY & Co. blazer was the exact right brown for Light Summer. Too bad it was so baggy in the chest/armpit area!
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These two t-shirts came home with me as they were simple but with details that added a twist. Ralph Lauren Jeans is on the left; on the right is No Boundaries (a Walmart brand that almost never passes the quality test, but this one did).

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Despite the awful lighting, both are good Light Summer colors. You can see the yellow shirt (which is a tad big and looks better under a blazer) featured in my Easter outfit:

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Those pants, btw, are also a new-to-me find off of eBay – they arrived on Good Friday so it seemed clear the universe wanted me to wear them on Easter. More about them in a post to come.

Last but not least from Goodwill, this cheeky little shirt by Express which is also super comfortable. Pretty sure I can’t wear this to work so it will be my leisure shirt (or I can wear it under a blazer to look like I’m in on the shirts-with-words trend while obscuring the actual words).

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A quick Saturday-before-Palm Sunday visit to the Garment District to rent a donkey costume:

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I hadn’t been here in about 15 years… last time I was a college student on a budget, digging through the pay-by-the-pound section:

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I’ve since graduate to the racks, where I found some great patterns…

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…and consignment store prices. I tried on three Light Summer finds.

I’m on the hunt for a chambray dress, but this one was too baggy, and for the prices I wanted something just right:

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A yellow cashmere(!) Lord & Taylor sweater that was great except for being too short – when I raised my arms, out came the midriff: IMG_20180323_121255582

And a pink top in which I absolutely swam:

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Last but not least, a quick stop into Restoration Project in Belmont. This is a small store supporting a non-profit that trains adolescents & adults with brain disorders and injuries in the furniture restoration trade; as you might imagine, they have a great selection of furniture. So it’s already a great cause; and somehow, unlike many other small stores linked to deserving local charities that end up with a hodge podge of meh selections, this store is packed full of modern, fresh, quality finds. I buy something every single time I stop in, and often come home with a new closet favorite.

This time:

Nope – great rise on these Kancan jeans but sausage calves down below:

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Practically no-rise on these otherwise great white jeans (insert rant number 3 about lowrise pants – and get off my lawn!):

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Such a fun, mermaid-y look in great Light Summer colors…

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…that was too big. Plus the yoke was a dingy, cheap-looking white:

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The colors on this silk Ann Taylor button down were glorious, but it was a size too big (fixed by a tie in the front) and had a few snags. What do you think – should I have bought it and styled it thus?

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This Eva Mendes skirt is pretty awesome in terms of feel – very lush – and architectural detailing. I love the built-in belt for definition:

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But it was at least a size (maybe 2?) too small.

Here are some shorts that hit me in all the wrong places and are way too baggy in the legs:

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Here’s on I brought home – great drape, length, and detail with that center pleat…

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…but although it has Light Summer colors in it, the grey in the pattern makes it feels so…muted…compared to my recently re-chromatized look:

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Meh. We’ll see how I feel about it, maybe over my purple pants.

Speaking of purple, Restoration Project was in rare form with the Light Summer purples. Check out this strapless gown I wish I had somewhere to wear:

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And this purple men’s v-neck sweater in Italian merino wool by Express that became my Good Friday outfit:

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And this sleeveless crop-ish silk top by Bloomingdale’s, two sizes too large:

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I feel like all the cool Instagram kids are wearing crop tops likes this with highwaisted jeans. I think maybe I could pull it off, especially as a fun (and inexpensive) experiment, except for the fact that it’s so wide:

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What would you do with this top if you were me? Try to tighten it up with some hand sewing, while still leaving enough flex room to get it over my head? Wear it as-is and pretend it’s on purpose?

You can see more of the sleeveless top’s extra fabric in this pic of a vintage maxi skirt I nabbed. The skirt is super comfy with its flat front and elastic waistband and I liked the kicky little pleats in front:

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I plan to wear it with my Saltwater sandals and a tank this summer, but in a better color. I want to dye it a color other than this 1980s peach, which is not Light Summer (or particularly appealing). Thoughts on a color to choose?

And last but not least, a vintage Maggy London dress I considered wearing for Easter for about a minute – and rejected, mostly because I couldn’t figure out whether the shoulders would look good once I removed the shoulder pads:

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Happy Easter/chag Pesach sameach to those who celebrate!

 

Thrift Finds: February 2018

As I continue in my Light Summer wardrobe overhaul, February has been a month of delicious thrift finds!

I stumbled upon an incredible wonderland in Waltham called Global Thrift with a huge selection, decent prices, and a friendly, fun-to-be-around staff. (Seriously, if you get into a discussion with the cashier about how your cousins dolled you up and made you lip sync to Linda Ronstadt songs when you were little, it’s a good day.)

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught my IG story showcasing the racks and racks of clothes, which are color-sorted, neat, and uncrammed (I’m looking at you, local Goodwills). They have several well-lit dressing rooms that don’t need to be unlocked because they’re right by the cashiers (looking at you again, GW). Between a visit on Monday and a visit on Friday (can you tell I love this place?) there was new stuff on the racks.

They are a for-profit, locally owned business; they support a foundation working to end homelessness and they give vouchers to folks at a local shelter in need clothes. My kind of people.

Let’s start with the misses, just for fun.

I’m on the hunt for light-colored blazers; this cool Zara number with no collar looks great buttoned:

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But I like my blazers to look good unbuttoned, too, and alas, it bells out in a way I do not care for:

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The baggy sleeves and special item $15 price weren’t doing it for me either. I had faith I’d find something better.

This green blazer was a perfect match for Light Summer’s palette but was made out of cheap, stiff, shiny stuff – nope:

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Too bad, as it fit decently.

 

Next up, some blouses – looking ahead to spring!

The color is just a bit too muted on this salmon number, plus it was baggy and mediocre quality fabric

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Which is too bad, because look at the cool button details on the back:

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I’m not a huge fan of color blocking, and the fabric was cheap; but the green on this blouse was a perfect Light Summer color:

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Too tight in the chest!

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Lovely blues, great cut, but that slick/stiff feel of cheap…poly? in this Liz Claiborne shirt – I’m used to better from her. Plus it was a little

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Can you tell by my smile that I love the print on this Van Heusen tee? It’s a perfect Light Summer hue, its Provençal-style fabric reminds me of happy days in the south of France, and I dig the split hem and navy blue back (hard to see, sorry!). It is about two sizes too large, though, as evidenced by its hospital gown chic:

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I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled on online secondhand sites for it in a smaller size.

This tee had a great mix of Light Summer white and pink with some darker Winter pinks in there – but too big:

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Baggy, saggy fabric made this Banana Republic top in a great purpley taupe a NO:

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A dress with awesome pleats & salmon color, a not-awesome stain, and a size (or three) too big:

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The awesome Light Summer green of this Gap vest – which, sadly, was too big – is just making me beam:

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Plus how adorable is that faux fur hood? I’ll be looking for you on the internet in a better size, green vest:

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Corduroys by D. Jeans in a great soft grey that fit fine in the legs but were a little too loose in the waist:

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I’ve learned that that give, while it feels minor in the fitting room, equals constant hitching up in real life, and I want to spare my congregation & my colleagues from clergy crack. You’re welcome.

Still on the misses, here’s a sweater by Pink Rose that was both too warm in color and too see-through – I want to be able to wear my sweaters without a layer underneath:

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And now, on to the hits!

First up, some amazing drawstring pants by Zara Men. I’ve thrifted a pair of Zara Men pants before and loved the slim but slightly slouchy fit and the huge POCKETS that men’s pants have. (There’s a whole rant in there about why women’s pockets are so tiny – sexism + keeping the handbag industry profitable being the short version. I’ll spare you.)

Anyway, look at this linen chambray! I die:

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Here’s a better pic, just so you can glory in them with me:

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Come warm weather, I’m getting my steamer out and these babies are getting WORN.

I surprised myself by liking this Old Navy dress with a pleated skirt. The pattern was simple and fun, the blue can pass for Light Summer; but mostly the fabric felt uber-soft and lovely against my skin. It’s a tad bit big in the bust, but I have plans for that:

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Another linen summery item, this time a charcoal-and-white striped Girl Krazy blouse with roll-tab sleeves (my favorite). I can’t wait to wear it with trousers and a blazer for a menswear/gentlewoman chic feel. Bonus: it’s new with tags:

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And a smooth-as-silk poly tunic with brass studs and ace tailoring by Pomelo – SO excited to wear this one:

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A couple of Light Summer sweaters to improve my winter sweater palette – Gap Designed & Crafted followed by Loft:

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I love the texture of both of these:

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The side seam with overlapping hem is a great detail:

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And let’s finish this where we started, with a couple of Light Summer blazers – yes!

First up, a slightly iridescent grey number by Oasis with a dramatic, long ‘n’ lean lapel and a couple of tucks in each shoulder for an understated pouf:

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Look at that trim line! So refreshing when the vent on blazers so often sticks out funny in the back:

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Another long and lean lapel with some funky notches happening in this Kenar light oatmeal blazer – yes please on that smooth silhouette!

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Again with the good fit on the vent:

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Let’s see those two in better lighting:

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Yes. Please.

Thanks thrifting gods – I’ll see you next month. Mwah!

Light Summer Colors: What’s Hard (and Easy) to Find

One of the joys of a PCA (personal color analysis) is knowing exactly what “your” colors are – the ones that complement and enhance your skin tone. The burden is that sometimes *your* particular colors aren’t on trend; if your purple is softer/darker/lighter than Pantone’s Ultraviolet, you may have to wait another fashion cycle (or three) before you can buy purple clothes retail.

Enter the thrift store, where the colors of seasons past all live together in glorious harmony, and where you are much more likely to find “your” version of blue, purple, yellow, etc.

But. I’ve noticed that even with a veritable rainbow of colors at my fingertips, it’s still harder to find some Light Summer (my palette) colors than others. I suspect this is due in part to what particular kinds of colors have been popular over the last several years; it’s mostly due, though, to different seasons wearing different colors more easily.

I’m no expert here (dive into the delightful rabbit hole of Christine Scaman’s 12 Blueprints for that), but as I’ve dug into the subject of personal color analysis a bit, I’ve picked up that, say, Light Summers can rock a wide variety of blues (even fudging some that aren’t our best), but that orange will likely never be our friend. A special warm/cool blend of coral, yes, but that can be hard to find, since coral tends to err on the side of warm. Likewise, the very muted, cool yellows in Light Summer’s palette are tricky to find – fashion has favored mustards or warmer, lemony yellows for years, so that my yellows are more likely to be found in grandpa cardigans or strangely cropped pullovers or cableknits from an unfortunate slice of the 90s:

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Likewise, ALL the pinks that hit that elusive warm/cool spot beloved of Light Summers seem to be cable knits or cardigans, neither of which are my favorite. Why, fashion designers, why?

On the other hand, greys are pretty easy to fudge, and teals and blues call to me from the racks like beacons of cool, soft, lightness:

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These are some of my “easiest” colors to wear, and end up therefore being the “easiest” to spot – even if they don’t all come home with me.

If you’ve been analyzed – or if you know your best colors – which are the easiest to find? Which are harder? What’s your take on the magic of finding “your” colors?

In Which I Try Girlfriend (or Mom?) Jeans

When I was at Restoration Project last month looking for some neutral pants for my Light Summer wardrobe, these pants looked like just the light, lovely color of blue that would light up my new (to me) wardrobe:

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They’re by Gap and they’re labeled “Best Girlfriend Jeans.” Huh?

(This article will help you make as much sense as possible of all the jeans named after relationships in your life. Which is not much, because as the photos included show, what one brand calls a Girlfriend jean is someone else’s Boyfriend jean, etc. I still have no idea what makes jeans borrowed from your best girlfriend better than jeans borrowed from just your regular girlfriend. Le sigh.)

As far as I can tell, what Gap means by Best Girlfriend is jeans with a midrise waist and tapered but not skinny legs, that are rather roomy in the hip/thigh:

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So….Mom Jeans. But cooler. (I think.)

(I should note that depending on the style, I wear two different sizes in Gap jeans and this is the larger one, so the fit might not be designed to be quiiiiite this loose. Yet they were such a dreamy color, and incredibly comfortable – very soft, good stretch – that I decided to branch out, style-wise.)

Mind you, this is only the second pair of jeans I own, the first being skinny jeans (the Paige Skyline – thank you thrift gods), so I feel like quite the cool kid in my slouchy denim. I’ve worn them a couple of ways so far: around the house when I want to look dressed but still want to feel pajama-level comfort, over leggings for some added warmth…

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Distributing ashes outside for 2 hours in Boston in February is cold!

…and on snowy days when I’d rather stay at home and want to bring that comfy feel into the office:

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The transition to New England style is complete.

I actually really dig them with the white button down shirt I wore to get a good picture of them for you – I guess it’s a case of good lighting + colors in the same season really lighting each other up:

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The only negative is that I have to keep yanking them up as they work their way down my derriere – we’re not risking crack territory here, but of course it makes things look slumpier. I’m excited when sweater season is over to pull out a belt and wear them hitched up and styled with button downs and tucked in blouses for a relaxed look that maintains its lines.

Do you sport any Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Mom/Dad/Grandpa/whatever the newest person-related style is? Why or why not, and how do you style them?

 

Getting Stains out of Thrift Store Finds

Many an article on thrifting advice will advise you to skip the stained, torn, snagged, or otherwise damaged thrift find. In some ways, this makes sense – you shouldn’t let thrift prices (“But it’s so cheap!”) lure you into buying something that is poor quality or damaged beyond repair.

But stains, tears, and snags are often fixable. Can you sew by hand? Great, you can fix that hole in the armpit or along the side seam. Got a crochet hook (or a bobby pin or a tapestry needle)? Great, you can fix the snag in that sweater. Have a box of powdered oxygen bleach? Buh-bye, stains.

Which is what I’m going to show you today.

I present to you this lovely Y-neck tunic by Atmosphere:

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It’s made out of the kind of high quality polyester that’s a decent dupe for silk; it drapes well; and it’s a good polished but not uncomfortable blouse for Sunday mornings (aka work).

It came with some sort of coffee-like stain on the hem, front and back:

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(It’s a little hard to see; one day I’ll learn to take close ups of stains before I fix them.) I figured someone had spilled on it, washed it, and then donated it when the stain didn’t come out of that first wash.

The Goodwill cashier very thoughtfully pointed out the stain to me and asked if I was sure I wanted to buy it; when I said yes, she replied, “Well, we do have a 7 day return policy if it doesn’t come out.”

O ye of little faith!

Actually, I didn’t know if it would come out, but I figured $6 + the possibility of a return were good odds.

I dumped a little powdered oxygen bleach (I have this brand – not an affiliate link) in a bucket I keep for soaking stained stuff (great for baby/toddler stains!) and added some lukewarm water to dissolve it. Then I stuck the offending hems into the water, draped the rest of the shirt over the side of the bucket, stuck it on top of the washing machine where my kid couldn’t tip it over, and let it sit overnight.

The next morning I checked to see if the stains had disappeared – they had! – and then stuck the shirt in a regular load of wash, taking it out to hang dry as soon as the cycle stopped.

Et voilà:

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No more coffee stains!

Lest you think this was a fluke, there were also the white shorts that I thrifted knowing they had period stains on them (yes, yes, you may throw up in your mouth a little if that skeeves you out). I applied a paste made of the above-mentioned oxygen bleach + water and let sit overnight, then scrubbed out with an old toothbrush and water. I did that a few times as the stain got fainter; I also let it soak just like I did this blouse and I think that worked better than the paste. Just soak/wash/air dry/repeat until the stain has faded away completely. Hanging to dry in the sun also helps.

Here they are, clean as new:

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I can’t say this will work on any/all stained thrift finds; I’m sure some items get donated because their previous owner has already tried EVERYTHING, to no avail. But if $6 of your money is worth the possibility of ending up with an unstained, new-to-you piece you love, give it a try. Especially if there’s a return policy. :)
What minor mishaps have you successfully fixed – and what kinds of defects are you willing to thrift?

November, December & January Thrift Finds

The end of the year was busy enough at work that I didn’t showcase my thrift finds from December…or November! So I’m covering them here along with January. This will probably feel like overload but most of it was actually thrifted in January – that’s what happens when you switch color palettes! Rest assured, I’ve given away as much as I’ve thrifted, with more donations sure to come.

Let’s bring some order to this giant mountain of finds.

First up, online thrift scores, covered in more detail here:

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Abercrombie & Fitch waterfall cardigan; Lands’ End plaid flannel; Rock & Republic skinny jeans

 

Next, my first attempts at thrifting within my Light Summer color palette (read more here and here):

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Chaps; J. Crew

Ironically, I think both of these are a little too bright for Light Summer. I don’t looooove either of them (fit on the pink one is a bit loose at the waist, while the blue one is a bit too boxy and, well, cable knit) but I’d keep the pink one if the color were a better fit. I’m tempted to bleach it to see if I can get the color to fade a smidge; anyone tried this at home and care to share your tips?

My next round of Light Summer thrifting yielded better color matches (although those yellow pants may need a bit of fading, too – and I’m still not sure how to style the purple ones), but I went all Baskin Robbins on it and ended up with a bunch of colors that are overwhelming to wear together:

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Calvin Klein; Banana Republic; Forever 21; no label; Banana Republic

And a few dresses I’m really excited about that won’t make their debut until spring/summer:

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Gap, S. Wear

Plus some Red Sox, because that will always be my color palette:

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Luckily for me, reader Kim made a great comment right as I was resurfacing from this rainbow deep dive suggesting I focus on neutrals with some pops of color. So my next thrift run yielded this:

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Gap; INC; Loft; Ralph Lauren; F by Façonnable; Elie Tahari; Bandolino; J. Crew

 

And finally, a touch more color, because I can’t help myself:

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CALS; Forever 21; H&M; Zara; J. Crew

Pretty sure the light teal button down is a touch too bright, but it fits like a dream; and pretty sure the tie-front Zara blouse isn’t a perfect white for me. As I’m learning, though, you can fudge a bit on some aspects of your palette if the rest of your outfit is spot on. We’ll see how these work; the tie-front blouse is probably the first of many since I am very much feeling the tie/bow front blouse again after a few years of hiatus.

How cute is that cactus shirt?! And we know I love a popover blouse. Here’s a closeup of the print:

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Here’s what a couple of successfully Light Summer outfits have looked like lately, thanks to these finds:

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Colors lighter in real life on this one:
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Looking at these reminds me I forgot the SHOES I scored online this month – both Trotters, my go-to brand for granny chic shoes that run narrow enough to fit my skinny feet, and both a champagne-y gold in line with the brushed metallics that complement Light Summer coloring:

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Love the low-ish heels and the woven texture (very similar to these).

And here it is again in oxfords (!!):

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This is definitely in the gentlewoman-chic category. They’re a bit tight with socks on so they’ll probably stay indoors until spring; we’ll see if I live up to them or not!

 

And now, the misses!

Too orange:

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Great color (despite bad lighting that makes it look super saturated) – but lumpy right around the waist:

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Too small- yeep!

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Too big:

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Also too big – and a bit too fussy:IMG_20180118_150858959

Great colors, wrong sizes:

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Boden; Forever 21; Lands’ End; J. Crew

These Vince pants fit ah-MA-zingly but the weird painted stripe on the side made them look like badly done DIY. I think they were going for a tuxedo pant effect, which I totally would have gone for if it had been fabric:

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That’s all for now – I found some good stuff today, though, so check back next month for more thrift finds!

Winter 10×10 Wrap Up

Here are my last three outfits of the Winter 10×10 (which I did wear in sequence, but did not post on in sequence. It’s been a week).

Day 8
Buttondown shirt by F by Façonnable
Cardigan by INC
Pants by Elie Tahari
Boots by Lucky Brand – everything thrifted but the boots

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So I like how classic (button down + khaki-ish pants) blends with funky here (waterfall-ish cardigan with zipper details + snakeskin ankle boots). And the slightly longer length and the curved hem of the button down avoid the “chopped in half” look. Not something I would’ve thought to try without this challenge; also not something I loved so much I’ll do it all the time. I give it 7/10 for unexpected success.

 

Day 9
Button down by F by Façonnable
Hi-lo cableknit sweater by Workshop by Andrea Jovine
Paige denim
Puma sneakers – all thrifted

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The only thing in this outfit that was in my original 10×10 was the button down. Oh well! I’m back in my comfort zone here with some great shirt tails peeking out, lovely summer-y colors on top, and some texture thrown in for interest. Wearing my snakeskin ankle boots would have added just that much more pattern to break up the long block of navy on my lower half; 9/10 for this slightly more casual, monochrome look.

 

Day 10
Left: Button down by Ralph Lauren
Blazer by H&M
Ryder pants by J. Crew
Boots by Lucky Brand

Right: Button down by Ralph Lauren
Sweater by Old Navy
“Mom” jeans by Gap
Puma sneakers – everything thrifted but the boots

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This was Sunday morning – church, aka work – and Sunday afternoon, respectively. Again, the only thing in either of these outfits that was in my original 10×10 picks is the button down shirt. At least it was in both!

First, Sunday AM (on the left): I LOVE these Ryder pants – they are sort of canvas-y in texture yet much more polished than chinos or more casual pants; they fit like a dream. The boots add some fun and work superbly with the length/taper of the pants; but the rest of the outfit is boring, with a harsh contrast between the white/navy and my face. It just washed me out. I did look quite professional for a post-church meeting, though. (And let’s take a moment to appreciate my beach-vibes hair, which happened on the blustery walk home.) 5/10 ’cause I like the bottom half but not the top.

Sunday PM (on the right): once again with sweater-over-button down – now that I’ve figured out the formula I apparently can’t stop wearing it. The mom jeans + looser sweater together reads a bit too baggy for my taste, but I have to admit it was a super comfortable outfit, which is just what Sunday afternoon calls for. The warm-ish gray and light blue of the pants also does my face a lot of favors – much less harsh than the outfit on the right. 8/10 and would up that to 10 if I could do the colors of those jeans in a slimmer cut.

 

Conclusions & Musings

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I’ve successfully figured out how to layer a sweater over a button down – the keys being a thick enough sweater to stay put and not show shirt folds; a slim-fitting button down; and shirt tails long enough to poke out from underneath the hem of the sweater. As mentioned above I am wearing on semi-repeat; enjoy :)

I happily threw the challenge out the window 2/3 of the way through when I felt like I had gotten all the “interesting” outfits I could out of what I had chosen, and instead spent 3 of the last 4 days wearing new-to-me things I was excited to style (and which I learned from – e.g. nope to the white shirt + navy blazer combo!). Note to self: maybe don’t thrift stuff right before the challenge and then not include it in your 10×10. :)  As Carol commented, “If you have something new to you, of course you want to wear it right away!!!”

What I enjoy from these 10x10s is that the constraints help me find interesting or unexpected ways to wear things I already have. I didn’t feel that way this time, at least in part because I picked some pretty similar pieces to start with.  In previous 10x10s (spring; summer; fall) I gave my choices more thought and ended up with more engaging possibilities.  So if I want that feeling back next time, I’m going to have to plan a little more than “what do I feel like wearing the next 10 days?”

What do you think of the outfits I came up with – both inside and outside the lines?

 

 

Treating the Thrift Store Like Rent the Runway

One of the best parts about shopping at the thrift store is finding things you’d love to try out – new styles or colors you want to play with but that may not be permanent closet additions.

Like this houndstooth wool J. Crew sweater with bedazzled Peter Pan collar:

A post shared by Leah (@thriftshopchic) on

Fun to wear! Festive! A great fall color. But not really a hue I love or a level of flash I want to regularly sport. For $6, though, I was able to wear it through autumn and the holidays and not feel bad about donating it back to Goodwill after Christmas.

Paying thrift prices means you can essentially Rent the Runway for your regular wardrobe. (For those not familiar, Rent the Runway lets you rent designer clothes for a black tie or special event, then return them, all for a fraction of the retail price. They take care of cleaning the clothes for the next person.)

As someone who believes in an edited wardrobe, I advocate against willy-nilly thrifting things you won’t really wear just because the price is cheap. But if I know something will make me smile every time I put it on, even if I only wear it a half dozen times (or for one special event) – and if I know I’ll be happy to donate it afterwards – it’s worth the thrift.

 

If you don’t have trouble saying goodbye to a piece after a handful of wears, this approach will let you have fun with your wardrobe and keep you from holding on to any self-imposed wardrobe rules too tightly. If you tend towards a capsule wardrobe ethos, “renting” or “borrowing” select items from the thrift store can also spice up an otherwise static collection of clothes.

It’s a closet catch and release without the environmental impact of fast fashion shopping – or the impact of dry cleaning that Rent the Runway stuff!

What’s your approach to short-term adds to your closet? Is it a fun way to add variety, or does it encourage you to buy stuff you don’t need and won’t wear?

Winter 10×10: Part 2, aka Mission Aborted

Click here to read about the 10×10.

Let’s start with Day 5:
Lands’ End plaid shirt
INC waterfall(ish) cardigan
Loft corduroy pants (deep purple although it’s hard to see)
Rain boots, no label – all thrifted

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This is not a look I had planned but it solved the problem from my previous cardigan outfits – looking chopped in the middle. What fixes the issue here is the longer length of the plaid, the pattern that breaks up what would otherwise be blocks of color, and the way the purple (again, hard to see) of the pants and the dark berry of the plaid make my base layers look like one long column. Thanks to Danielle for getting me thinking in this direction!

I love the contrast of the plaid and white, and the long line of the base layers. The style is a little mixed – casual, homey plaid and more sporty, technical cardigan with those gold zippers – so I give it an 8/10. (On a non-rainy day I’d swap out the rain boots so their giant clunkiness doesn’t figure into my rating here.)

 

Day 6
Blue button down by F by Façonnable
Sweater by Loft
Corduroy pants by Loft
Snake print ankle boots by Lucky Brand

All thrifted but the boots (gift from The Sister)

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I have to say, this look is a 10/10 for me – great textures, neutrals with a pop of color – and a great finish with those snake skin boots.

 

Day 7

Apparently I didn’t plan my mix very well this time – a white button down + white cardi doesn’t work so well; neither does a sweater under a sweater. So I have now paired nearly every top with every finishing layer that makes sense. It feels boring to me to just swap out pants with looks that are the same on top. Plus I just thrifted some more Light Summer-ish tops and was itching to get them in rotation.

So here’s Day 7 – all things not included in my 10×10 line up!
Pink button down by Forever 21
Cable knit sweater by Workshop by Andrea Jovine
Mom jeans by Gap
Sneakers by Puma – everything thrifted

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I wish the shirt tails of the pink shirt poked out below to give that same burst of color in my other buttondown/sweater combos (which, full disclosure, really only happen if I’ve rucked up the sweater hem because that Loft sweater is so long!). I thought the shorter length of this sweater would take care of it but this button down is shorter in the torso than the others I’ve recently thrifted.

In this closeup, though, everything looks divine:

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Let’s talk Mom Jeans. Gap has labeled these “Best Girlfriend Jeans,” whatever that’s supposed to mean – I think they’re supposed to be a slightly more tapered version of Boyfriend Jeans? which are a looser, straighter fit, like you borrowed them from your male significant other (that’s making a lot of assumptions about you, your orientation, your relationship status, and how you like to wear your jeans – but then, that’s marketing). They are looser in real life than they appear in this shot and oh so comfy. They’re my laze-around-the-house jeans, almost pajama territory. That being said, I don’t particularly like how sloppy they look if I haven’t just hiked them up; I think with a belt I could reign in their slouch factor. I’ll post more thoroughly on them in the future.

5/10 for this outfit. It’s comfy and I love the colors together, but the torso feels too short without the shirt tails and I’m not sure the pink is quite right for my face.

Speaking of which, I have had a really hard time picking out Light Summer pinks – finding something that’s the right saturation and not too warm has proven tricky. This pink, for example, looks like it belongs with the other pinks in my swatchbook – but it doesn’t seem to be doing my complexion any favors. That could, of course, be down to this sweater being not quite the right white or my foundation still being a bit too orange…sigh. This whole find-your-seasonal-colors thing is more complicated than I had anticipated.

 

Day 8 may well see a return to my original lineup – e.g. the blue button down with the white cardi – but Days 9 and 10 may be a free for all, especially because I recently found some stellar J. Crew Ryder trousers that will be A+ for church. Tune in next week for a full recap!