Ask Leah: Thrifting Workout Gear & Underwear?

Ask me a question! (6)

A few weeks ago reader Whitney asked on my Facebook page:

I’m wondering- what do you do about workout clothes/underwear? I spend a lot of time in both and while I don’t like buying brand new from a lot of the companies, those are items that-when used- just have that “ick” factor I can’t get past.

“Ick” factor is an understandable worry for many folks who have thought about thrifting, whether workout/underclothing or not.  The mantra I share with them is one I borrowed from Bea of Zero Waste Home:

A washed secondhand undergarment is cleaner than a new one from a department store.

Click here or here for some really GROSS/toxic reasons why this is true.  (If you are a true germophobe, the “ick” factor of new clothes may permanently scar you, so it might be best to take my word for it.) Continue reading “Ask Leah: Thrifting Workout Gear & Underwear?”

What I Wore: Turtleneck Weather

This weekend it truly felt like fall.  We had a “cold” front come through—“cold” meaning lows in the 40s and highs in the mid-60s Fahrenheit—so for church on Sunday I busted out the tweed, the turtleneck, the long cardigan, and the fall accessories.  Oh, and socks with my dress shoes—it’s the first time it hasn’t felt sweaty to wear the two together!

I give you our pumpkin, Mr. Morris:IMG_2451

Continue reading “What I Wore: Turtleneck Weather”

Friday Reblog: Thrifting Runway Fashions

Click here for a reblog from Already Pretty via Radical Redneck Diva on thrifting runway trends. It’s the “everything old is new again” approach: if you want a shirt with a pussycat bow (an item of apparel with feminist roots, it turns out!), you best believe they’ll be some originals from the 70s lurking in your local thrift store.  Or a shirt with sleeves too long—yes that’s a thing—easy to find at a thrift store.  Or a jumpsuit, vintage LizSport has got you covered:

$3.99 vintage #lizsport # jumpsuit… This may come home with me. #thriftfinds #lastchancechamblee

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

Something not mentioned in the original post: if you are thrifting a current trend with an item more than a season or two old, it’s likely the trend will look, well, not completely current; each time a “classic” look comes around, designers put a fresh spin on it by updating details small and large—lines, colors, an exterior zipper or see-through panel, fabric, etc.
Make your revamped style look “on purpose” by pairing it with other modern-looking pieces that showcase the item without dating the entire outfit—e.g. a pussycat bow blouse with some slim jeans and ankle booties; a well-cut blazer over a retro jumpsuit.  Alternately, if you score a truly vintage garment, you can play up the retro vibe with some funky accessories that hearken back to the same era as your piece—e.g. knee-high boots with your mini dress or high-waisted flares with that pussycat bow.  Either way, give it some thought, and give it a try!

 

What trends have you thrifted?  What made the look work—or crash and burn?  Scroll down to tell us!

Can I Wear “Tribal” Prints?

On Tuesday I showed you my recently thrifted tops for fall.  One of those pieces is a “tribal” top from Xhilaration, meaning it features a print drawing from the art of some sort of tribal culture, often indigenous to the Americas or Africa.  (This phenomenon also happens with Indian, Polynesian, and Asian cultures, although I haven’t seen those labeled “tribal”—I’m thinking henna as decoration, fish hook necklaces and puka shells, Chinese character tattoos…unfortunately the list is pretty long.)

In the case of my shirt, we’re talking about a riff on a Navajo pattern:

IMG_2376 Continue reading “Can I Wear “Tribal” Prints?”

Thrift Finds: Fall Edition

A few weekends ago I went a-thrifting to fill a few holes in my wardrobe, namely: fall-worthy tops.  I am doing just fine on sweaters due to my August thrifting excursions, but it’s still not cool enough to wear those lovelies (can’t wait!!).  I have several, probably too many, cardigans to layer on top of blouses for this early fall, cool-in-the-morning-warm-in-the-afternoon, battle-of-the-AC-vs.-heat season.  But things to wear under them?  Not so much.  Turns out swimming pool tops and bright coral floral tops don’t speak to my fall sensibilities.

So I went looking for items that were a little longer-sleeved, but not overly warm in and of themselves; pieces that had not quite as eye-popping of a palate that would layer nicely.

I give you my finds:

teenpLo green & blush 3/4 length sleeve blouse (polyester made to feel like silk).  
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Continue reading “Thrift Finds: Fall Edition”

Fall Bag

Confession: I’m not a big purse person.  When my mother tried to get me to use purses in high school, college, etc., I refused–I didn’t need to carry around a bunch of STUFF.  MEN don’t need purses.  And anyways, I have a backpack for the big stuff and pockets for the small stuff.  Pphhhht.

Fast forward 10-15 years and all of the sudden I look down and WHAT IS THIS THING DANGLING AT MY SIDE like some sort of PERMANENT GROWTH?!

Oh, it’s a purse.  (I still call it a bag, though—purse sounds like…my grandma?) (P.S. Mom is always eventually right about stuff like this.)

What changed?  A messenger-style bag had me covered for grad school and a chaplaincy residency where I needed to transport lots of paperwork.  My next job had less paper but still required space for keys, phone, wallet, pens, etc. and you know most pockets in women’s professional wear are a pitiful place to try to carry more than chapstick. (Not to mention it’s rare that skirts and dresses, if those are your thing, even HAVE pockets.  Because why would women need functional, practical garments?  Sexism, bah.)

Said job also had a classy sartorial vibe so I figured it deserved better than a logo messenger bag I got for free at some conference.  Enter purse number one:IMG_1692

You may recall that it bit the dust at the beginning of the summer after a good solid year of use. Not bad for a previously-owned PVC-covered bag (you didn’t think that was real lizard, did you?).  But also not great—PVC wears easily and I tend to be hard on my workhorse possessions, much to my Yankee husband’s possession-protecting sensibilities.  Ideally I’d like a bag that carries me through more than 12 months.

To replace this first bag, I went for a seasonal number in a similar style but with lighter colors, less PVC to tear, and more room to hold summer accoutrement:
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I have thoroughly enjoyed this bag and plan to break it out again next summer.  Its cotton weave is easy to clean; that casual fabric + gold = the perfect classy summer vibe.  But again, quality-wise it’s not a long-term bag, and the color scheme and fabric are definitely not a great fit for fall.  Also, its generous size meant I was piling all sorts of stuff into it without regard for my poor shoulders, which were starting to complain.

So I went looking, over the course of 2 or 3 thrifting excursions, for a bag in long-lasting leather, a more manageable size, and a nice cooler-weather color. I also wanted something without big labels (I’d rather draw attention to my personality than a brand) or a lot of doodads that end up looking dated.

Voilà, my new (to me) fall bag, by Nine West (and a glass of wine, lovingly referred to in our house, along with coffee, as “Mama juice”–thanks Linds!):

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Inside dividing pocket keeps things a lot more organized than my previous catch-all:IMG_2396

You can also see it featured in some of my Instagram photos on the sidebar over here–> (Click “load more” to see extra pics.)

I like the clean lines and the way it warms up my fall outfits without shouting too loudly or being too trendy.  That’s part of why thrifting is great—the random assortment of treasures at any given thrift store means you never have to sport the same trapezoid-with-tassles or slouchy satchel as everyone else.  Relatedly, if you don’t LOVE cognac or marsala or whatever this season’s Pantone colors are, you can find YOUR colors through donations from seasons past.

 

What are your feelings on purses?  Would you thrift one?  If you eschew buying new leather for ethical reasons, would you thrift it instead?  What do you think of my find??

Scroll down to comment!

 

Travel Wardrobe: 48 Hours with No “Luggage”

This past weekend we again relied on Spirit Airlines to spirit us–ahem–away to Chicago for a friend’s wedding.  I covered Spirit’s luggage policy here—in short, you pay for any luggage beyond a personal item, baby gear, and/or medical equipment. As you might guess from the title of this blog, I am le thrifty, and so was determined to fit all my accoutrement for the weekend into my “personal item” (which yes, is a tote bag—a bit bigger than your traditional purse-like personal item.  The spouse packed in a backpack).

Take a peek below to see what went into my “personal item” for a weekend that involved a wedding, church, and lounging around my parents’ house.  (It was also supposed to involve running, but turns out fall arrived in Chicago this weekend in the form of cold mist, gray skies, and crashing waves on Lake Michigan and, well, staying inside to eat waffles and drink tea was much more appealing.)  All items thrifted unless otherwise noted.

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Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: 48 Hours with No “Luggage””

Sick Week

Hi friends,

Just a note to let you know that this week the blog is on hiatus due to sickness at our house + some other writing assignments.  Check back in next week for some fall updates & special occasion-wear posts!

 

Thrift on, Thrifters!

-Leah

Thrift Finds: Baby Shoes

A small person I know was in need of new-to-her shoes and her parents are down with thrifting. (You should be too, if you have a small person in your life–often pre-loved baby items are barely used because the kiddo who previously owned them outgrew them without doing much damage.  And as Bea of Zero Waste Home says, “A washed secondhand undergarment is cleaner than a new one from a department store,” so don’t let germophobia stop you!)

On the list of preferred characteristics for said shoes: able to take a beating, and nothing crazily pink.  Because, have you looked at anything to do with little girls’ clothing options lately?  The PINKness is overwhelming. Just Google “baby girl clothes”–your eyes will burn with pink overload (or water with happiness if you love magenta).

This is funny, because easily half my baby clothes growing up were blue (with a good smattering of yellow, green, and orange alongside some pink), as were two dresses my mom passed on from her 1940s babyhood.  So it’s not as if pink is the sole appropriate hue for girls.  But for some reason, we’ve been determined lately to equate the two in a way that seems, I don’t know–limiting, at the very least?  Or, when combined with messages like the following gems, oppressive at the worst?

7e0de20b301656a25307ba6b32da7c2a   il_340x270.647967418_4dd4
Let’s discuss objectification of infants AND moms AND the cave-manning of dads (left), or the policing of women’s bodies/relationships/agency (right).  It starts in the crib, people!

Anyway.

I did some looking during my last few trips and voilà! This is what I found:

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“Aw, (s)he got the velcro.” -Macklemore’s Thrift Shop.  If I had to guess I’d say early 90s?  A treasure.

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Corduroy Mary Janes–it doesn’t get much more “fall” than corduroy.

 

Both pairs are sturdy, and although both pairs have touches of pink and flowers (because, see above), I think on the whole they are rather inoffensive for folks trying to avoid drowning their babies in gender roles.  I hope the lucky recipient of these found kicks enjoys ’em!

What are your favorite baby items you’ve thrifted? Scroll down to comment!

 

What I Wore: I Overslept!!

Check my Instagram sidebar for today’s super-quick outfit: throw on a dress and wrap a scarf around your neck and you’re suddenly chic, no matter how late you slept in!
Land’s End stretchy knit dress + scarf from a visit to the Tilonia co-op in Rajasthan several years ago.  Check the site for their fall sale on socially responsible, hand-printed gorgeousness!

When you tease your friend for thinking 9:30 is an early coffee date (because your child never lets you sleep past 7:30am), and you and your child proceed to sleep until 9:22am, 8 minutes before said “early” coffee date, the universe is laughing at you.

Ha. Ha.

What do you wear in such circumstances, besides a panicked look on your face?  (Let us pause to enjoy the fact that the past tense of panic is spelled with a k.)

Grab the one-piece closest to hand (hopefully it’s clean…well, not super dirty?), throw on a statement necklace for that no-effort polished effect, add a headpiece (sunglasses, bandana, hat) to hide the head grease (see what I did there?), and rush out the door with said child in tow.  (For your kid, consider ways your child’s pjs can double as real clothes.)

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Camouflage for the urban jungle of crepe myrtle trees…

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The bandana option.  Pics taken after the fact–clearly no time beforehand! Thrifted onesie, antiqued necklace, gifted sunglasses, earrings, & shoes, bandana from 7th grade.

If you’re not really into onesies, you don’t have to choose a jumper-type garment to milk the benefits of one-pieces; put on a dress if that’s your thing.  But the reason one-pieces work so well in general is the same reason they work on shot notice: you don’t have to find two separate items that match in order to be fully clothed. Or, if we’re setting the bar particularly low, you only have to find one semi-clean item instead of two.

What are your tricks for getting dressed and out the door in a jiffy?  Scroll down to comment!