What I Wore: Leopard Print & White Pants

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

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

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

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

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

 

May Thrift Finds

First up, the rejects:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Droopy sleeves/big armpits ahoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vintage Bracelet Makeover

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

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

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Victory is mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mmm, that vintage patina…

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

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

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

In the jewelry section I found this number:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Work Wardrobe

With weather regularly in the 80s here in the ATL, it’s time to post my summer wardrobe! (And as the title implies, this is for work – keep your eyes peeled for my casual summer stuff in a week or two.)

You’ll recognize pants, skirts, dresses, and a top layer from my spring closet; mostly it’s the tops that swap out.  You may have noticed from Instagram (on the side bar ->) that I’ve already been freely swapping short/sleeveless items from this “capsule” into my spring lineup; likewise, I’ll be using some of my long-sleeved spring blouses during summer as weather and context dictate.

Last but not least, my “disclaimer” from my spring post bears repeating: Since I broke up with (strict) capsule wardrobes last summer, this post does not contain every. single. piece. of clothing I will wear for the next few months; but it’s pretty close! My goal with a seasonal wardrobe like this is to have a curated closet full of things I love to wear that play well with one another; you’ll see that idea reflected in the color palette, style, and limited number of clothes shown below.

Without further ado, here’s what’s on the roster for summer 2017.

Tops
It’s time to break out the short sleeves and the no-sleeves! These all have a boxy or flow-y cut and lightweight fabric (mostly cotton or high quality polyester) to keep me cool during the Hotlanta summer.

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Beige floral – Talbots; sky blue sleeveless – Dalia Collection; white sleeveless with lace – Loft; navy polka dot – Jacqueline Ferrar; coral flowers – Old Navy; blue/green ikat – Old Navy; gold crepe – Zara

 

Jackets/Blazers
Fewer top layers this time around because it’s HOT.

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Navy blue blazer – Charlotte Russe; white denim jacket- J. Crew

Pants
I found the blue trousers I’ve been looking for!

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Alfani

Still in the mix from spring:

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Banana Republic; Bandolino; Vince Camuto

I also added these babies back in since summer is rather casual around here:

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Loft


Skirts
No changes here; these have worked really well for me. I do need to get the navy skirt repaired, though, because the tacking on the hem has come undone in one spot.

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Taupe – H&M; navy – J. Crew; white – Ann Taylor

 

Dresses
Out went the long-sleeved blue Land’s End dress – too hot. (Don’t worry, it will make a reappearance this fall.)

Staying on from my spring wardrobe:
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Orange creamsicle sheath – Ann Klein; white sheath – H&M; blue sheath – Ann Taylor; caramel shirtdress – New York & Co.; teal/pattern A-line – vintage

I haven’t worn the orange sheath much – I think its silky smooth lines make it a liiiittle too formal for my taste/environment.  Having a little structure (as in the white and blue sheaths) seems to break things up a bit and hit my sweet spot.  I’ll keep the orange one tucked into the back of my wardrobe in case of any formal summer occasions and then “make an assessment” (Old Gregg, anyone?) at the end of the season.

I haven’t worn the caramel shirt dress AT ALL yet – it’s a bit too short and the weather’s too hot for full-on leggings underneath. I’m looking for some above-the-knee white legging-shorts (sheggings?) to make it work, because otherwise I love it.

New this go around:
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Blue stripe – Old Navy; olive shift – Theme; Swiss dot shirt dress – Old Navy

I’m excited for these more casual dresses since our office really dials down the formal vibe over the summer. The olive shift dress is a new cut and color for me but I think it will work really well with my skin tone and I love the casual-yet-polished sleeve roll (plus who can resist the whole horsebit Gucci nod? Fun detail). The olive shift and the shirt dress also need sheggings, so keep your fingers crossed. (I think I’ve created an inverse wardrobe exponent…)

Confessional interlude: I bought this frick-frackin’ Swiss dot shirt dress by Old Navy AGAIN. (The first someone had cut it and left it with a raw hem so I had it hemmed to tunic length but the shoulders/bust were too small and I eventually, ahem, busted it. The second time I thrifted it as a shirt but didn’t love the hemline and didn’t like wearing it untucked which made it unacceptably un-versatile.) It’s a little less form-fitting and a little more, well, shirt-dress, and I’m hoping that once I find that elusive pair of off-white sheggings this outfit will stick. Third time’s the charm? I’m ether charmingly optimistic on this one or deliberately obtuse – only time will tell.

Shoes
No change here apart from the fact that I need to get my Trotters champagne flats repaired – the sole is flopping around on one of them and Gorilla Glue didn’t work.  Any DIY suggestions before I take it to the cobbler?
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Clarks sandals (retail); Bandolino wedges (more about these here); Champagne flats (more here); Floral sneaks (more here)

And there you have it!  I’ll keep my eyes out for sheggings, an off-white blazer, and some open-toed, muted red flats and that’s about it.
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Have you all switched over to summer wear yet? Scroll down to share!

Friday ReBlog: What to Wear to be Kind to the Planet

Edited:  Ha! This is what happens when you fall asleep at night next to your toddler instead of getting up to make sure your blog post is ready to go for the next day.

At any rate, check out this New York times article about what kinds of fabrics are most (or rather more since it’s all relative) environmentally friendly.  It ends with the no-brainer thrifters and capsule wardrobe fans have long embraced: “the most effective solution may be to keep wearing that old T-shirt that your family hates, buy used clothes or just make do with fewer articles of clothing.”

Happy (long for the US) weekend, Thrifters!

Dressing Up a Breton Stripe Tee, Two Ways

My last few Thursday nights have been marked by a distinct lack of sleep. But Mama’s gotta work; wearing this Madewell Breton stripe tee (which is super comfortable – it basically feels like pajamas) is as close as I could get to staying in bed.  How to dress up such a casual-vibe top without completely scrapping the comfort factor?

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Decidedly casual.

I wore the outfits below on two consecutive Fridays to play with the styling a bit:

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Both: shirt, Madewell; blazer, Charlotte Russe; sneakers, City Sneaks. First: pants, Vince Camuto. Second: pants, Bandolino.

And how’s here I added some spit and polish:

The blazer was key to smartening up both of these looks; its touch of stretch kept it from feeling too confining or stiff.

How I dressed it up in the first photo: the “cigarette” pants are in a slim cut and a neutral hue. The necklace (closeup photo below) lends a little gravitas – it’s a focal point with some character.  And my cuff bracelet makes the whole thing look “finished.”

How I dressed it up in the second: the tucked shirt and skinny belt give a pulled-together look. While the sunglasses-as-headband look definitely reads “beach” in parts of the country, they are my first well-made, non-scavenged pair and they made me feel more dressy. (More on these in a later post.)

Admittedly the floral sneakers round this down to the casual end of “business casual.” If I really wanted to dress up, I would’ve combined all the polished elements listed above into one outfit (grey pants, tucked/belted tee, statement necklace, cuff bracelet) and skipped straight to my bronze wedges:
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But the combos above passed muster for Casual Friday in my office and prevented me from feeling like a slob even though I *did* feel like going back to sleep.

Here’s a closeup on the necklace, a vintage number that belonged to my Grandma:
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Do you have any tricks for dressing up t-shirts?  Or for masquerading pj-level comfy outfits as workwear? Scroll down to share!

 

Thrift Style for Older Women – Part 3

In Part 1 we pregamed; in Part 2 we went thrifting. Today Part 3 is all about inspiration to get those style juices flowing. These women are the experts I mentioned back in Part 1 – some in thrifting, some in retail, but all in style. (May I note for all you spring chickens out there: I regularly read several of these and the style inspiration therein is in no way limited by age – so click through and read what speaks to you!) Scroll down to share your favorites, that we all may benefit.

Thrift blogs
These first three are all Canadians who know (and link to) each other.  Please help me expand and diversify my list of thrift blogs by older women!

Ephemera


Bag and a Beret

Suzanne Carillo
challenge your style try something new spring florals for women over 40 suzanne carillo

Fellow Atlantan Rhoda has a regular feature on her Southern Hospitality blog about stylish finds for those over 50 which often features thrifted pieces:
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On Instagram, Darlene Fadem of Las Vegas:

A post shared by Darlene Fadem (@darlenefadem) on


Handmade:
A Colourful Canvas


Non-thrift Style blogs
Note: there’s a lot of emphasis on blogs like Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced StyleSaramaijewels (Instagram), or Judith Boyd’s Style Crone where the looks are fabulously larger than life. I dig those looks both for their sheer boldness and the styles themselves, but if you’re reading my blog chances are you’re not going to wear opera gloves or turbans in your daily looks. (Correct me if I’m wrong!) So in this list I tried to aim for women who had more relatable, down-to-earth style.

Senior Style Bible (blogger Dorrie Jacobson is an 80-year-old retired Playboy bunny and her style is ON FIRE – although lately she posts more regularly on Instagram)
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So What to Twenty!
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Une Femme d’un Certain Age
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Fashion on the 4th Floor
A Fairytale Ending with the Fab 40s

Privilege

The SequinistAbout Me Collage

Petite Style Studio
work style, office style, petite fashion, fall fashion, 9to5, office outfit, business casual, feminine work style, dressy, lace skirt, midi skirt, jcrew, h&m, petite style, petite style studio, affordable style, easy style, fashion over 40

That’s Not My Age

Accidental Icon

High Heels in the Wilderness
 black zippered jacket from Lulu Lemon, pink Hot Chillys base layer turtleneck from Bushtakah, black joggers from Aritzia, black boots from Stuart Weitzman, fuchsia tweed coat from Max Mara

 

Last but not least, an edit – I’m adding on a blog that isn’t focused on the author’s personal style, but IS geared toward this audience and teaches you how to pair colors and silhouettes to create a wardrobe of stylish things that work together (which is, after all, my own wardrobe goal!):

The Vivienne Files

Thanks Jill B. for catching this oversight!

What are your favorite style/thrift blogs written by/for older women?  Scroll down to comment!

Travel Wardrobe: Quick Trip to Raleigh / Durham

We went to the Raleigh/Durham area a few weekends ago for a friend’s wedding. It was a long weekend involving everything from a wiffle ball tournament at beautiful Umstead State Park (complete with Yogi Berra/Abraham Lincoln custom-made t-shirts) to, obviously, a wedding, at the lovely and delicious Caffé Luna. The rehearsal dinner was at Sitti – tasty Lebanese food. We also ate at Lilly’s pizza (good beer, pizza was fine but I think I’d pick a different flavor next time) and at Elmo’s Diner for brunch where the huevos rancheros hit the spot. The locals love Elmo’s so the lines were long but moved quickly.

We didn’t have time for a Durham Bulls game (which we have enjoyed in the past) or to hit up the Marbles Children’s Museum (only $5 a pop!) but they’re both on the list for next time.

Here’s what I wore:
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Yes this is a Goodwill dressing room – I continue to be unimpressed with North Carolina Goodwills in terms of cleanliness (my legs are hiding a Bojangles cup and other trash someone left in there) and selection – I think I took maybe one picture of a so-so find. But maybe I’m just spoiled by the Goodwill of North Georgia?  

Also, those same red shorts with this top:
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Travel uniform:
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The full (poorly lit) shot:
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Attire for the rehearsal dinner & wedding, only I wore that same white denim jacket as above as my top layer:
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Running attire:
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Nothing like a run around Duke’s beautiful campus to put you in a good mood – even in the rain!

How did my wardrobe work? Turns out, not that well! I broke my own rule for creating travel wardrobes and forgot to check the weather. Well – I did check the weather, but I did so two days out, and by the time we were ready to leave the forecast had taken a major dip temp-wise and rain was predicted for two of the days (thankfully not the day of the wiffle ball tourney).  So I was pretty darn wet and cold for a portion of the weekend.

Also, I packed an extra dress I did not end up wearing because it felt too summery for a rainy wedding day:
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[Full thrift disclosure: you may recognize that as a dress I’d marked for giveaway oh…almost two years ago!  But I just couldn’t part with it – I love the colors and the bodice and the fuller skirt is a nice summery addition to my army of sheath dresses.  I have since stuck it in my “festive occasions” wardrobe (I just made up that term…) and it’s been worn for Easter twice and, as you now know, it’s on my wedding attire roster.]

Also also, I should have had the foresight to realize that my preschool-aged flower girl would want me to walk with her down the aisle and opted for a jacket/blazer in a more formal fabric than white denim.  I don’t think it ruined anyone’s wedding (especially since the groomsmen – and my kid! – were wearing Chuck Taylor’s), but I would’ve felt a little dressier.

Live and learn, friends, live and learn.

What do you think of my travel wardrobe?  Have you been to Raleigh/Durham?  If so, what do you recommend for the next time we head that way?

Thrift Style for Older Women – Part 2

In Part 1 we talked about what to do before you thrift to increase your chances of success – and to make it an enjoyable experience! Now it’s time for the The Main Event – finding great clothes at the thrift store.

  • Concern yourself first and foremost with quality. Nothing makes me sadder than grown women (of any age) wearing shoddy, shlumpy stuff when there’s great, affordable stuff to be found secondhand!
    A big benefit of shopping pre-owned clothes is getting to see whether clothes have worn well or are starting to show their poor construction. Avoid pilling, holes, snags, flimsy/super wrinkly fabric, and items that look misshapen on the hanger (particularly blazers, where poor construction is often obvious right on the rack). Natural fabrics (wool/silk/linen/cotton) are always a good bet, although you still need to check cotton and wool for pilling, which means the fibers used in making the fabric’s yarn were not very long. A little pilling = time to get out your sweater comb/pumice/shaver. A lot = time to put it back on the rack. If you’re not very familiar with how natural or high quality fabrics feel, just check tags on every garment that piques your interest until you start to associate a particular feel with a particular fabric.

    Pro tip: if a clothing label has poor grammar/punctuation, a font that looks like it came off your 1994 Mac LC2, or a font that looks like a 6th grader doodled it in their diary, quality is likely to be poor.

If it looks like these, it’s likely a SKIP:
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If you find this font RUN AWAY:
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Source
  • Reader Vildy commented last week with some great ideas on how to combat bad lighting that can disguise poor quality or the true color of a piece: “The church thrifts that are my favorite have dim yellowed lighting so bad that what you think is brown turns out to be purple” while “some larger stores like Goodwill have glaring unnatural lighting.”  “Take it over to a window” for natural light, she suggests – and take “a small hand mirror [to] check a color against [your] complexion.”  Reading glasses or a pocket flashlight are great “to see size and fabric composition” on peskily small tags.
  • Stuck with wonky “funhouse mirrors“?  Vildy uses that hand mirror to see the rear view.  I’d also suggest stepping out of the dressing room to check things out in a better mirror (sometimes located outside the dressing room) or to ask a fellow thrifter for an unbiased opinion.  Nothing like thrifting camaraderie to help you out!
  • Here’s another tip from Vildy, especially for smaller, independently-owned thrift stores: “Often [store] volunteers miss out on easily repairable damages [due to] that low light coupled with sometimes advanced age – like missing buttons which you’d have to pay to replace or a torn lining inside that you’d have to sew up or moth holes (in plush garments like camel’s hair coats you can tease the pile back through with a needle).”  Many times they “will gladly reduce the price or give it to you for free. The flip side of that is the volunteers are only human and they often have notions of what is much more valuable (‘it came from my daughter and she only buys good things’). I never argue against their preconceived ideas and they give me deals elsewhere.”

Now that we’ve talked quality, on to some other parameters:

  • Unless your body still has its pre-adolescent proportions, skip items sized with odd numbers; they’re designed for the “junior miss” demographic that most of us left behind somewhere in highschool. Even if you are the same weight/height as in high school, odd-number cuts are far less likely to accommodate curves, hips, and breasts.
  • Decide what equals “too short” and avoid it. Refrains I often read on style blogs and comment sections: “I’m done with ‘low-rise’ and ‘crop tops'” or “Why are all the dresses cut up to here??” It goes without saying that what qualifies as “too short” is completely subjective; but if the fabric doesn’t cover what you want covered, move on – even if it’s perfect in every other way. You’ll forever be tugging at/hitching up something, and you deserve clothes that don’t need your attention every 5 minutes.
  • Same with sheer. If you are into camisoles, a sheer layer adds interest via texture, pattern, or color. But if camis aren’t your cup of tea and you don’t particularly want to show off your undergarments, skip it. Read why I gave up sheer here and how 81-year-old blogger Dorrie Jacobson rocks it here.
  • Figure out a color palette. Contrary to popular style blog advice, this does not have to mean picking 3 neutrals and 2 “accent colors” and sticking to them religiously (although if that works for you, great!). The point is to choose a range of colors, big or small, that can mostly be worn together so that you don’t end up with what I call a wardrobe exponent – essentially one-off items that don’t match much of what you already have and therefore require you to buy several other pieces to get workable outfits.
    My best advice for how to create a palette? Learn about color analysis and how saturation, brightness, etc. work. (This post demonstrates how I walk a friend through determining which clothes in her closet hit the same color family. Spoiler: she crafts a wardrobe out of a LOT of different colors and almost no neutrals.) If you are into seasonal analysis (aka the four/twelve seasons) or want to know what colors will make your skin tone sing, google “personal color analysis.” The field has changed a lot since Color Me Beautiful came out; even if you think you know your season it’s worth revisiting, particularly because our season can change as we age.
  • Look for brands that will deliver good quality and good style (most of the time – every brand slips up or has seasons where quality goes south). I keep a list of decent brands I regularly find at the thrift store, but here’s a short list of higher quality brands that cater to grown women, in no particular order: Vince Camuto – Talbots – Banana Republic – Land’s End – Chico’s – Ralph Lauren – NYxDJ – New York & Co. – Willie Smith – Elie Tahari – Arthur S. Levine – Loft – Ann Taylor – Anne Klein.

And remember that your likelihood of success increases if you thrift often.

Thanks, Vildy, for your great suggestions; readers, scroll down to add your own!  Next week I’ll share style and thrift blogs from older women, so keep your eyes peeled.

Friday ReBlog: Wardrobe Inflation

Here’s a good read on Adina’s blog about lifestyle inflation. Or, more specifically, since hers is a clothes blog and so is mine: wardrobe inflation.

As you have gotten older and either earned more over the years or gotten more used to the idea of spending money on clothes in order to get quality, have your price points for various items changed?

I’ve pretty exclusively thrifted the bulk of my closet for 10 years now, so I wouldn’t say my price points have gone up – if you don’t count the fact that my local Goodwill’s prices have gone up a dollar or two in most every category.  But my “quality point” has gone way up. I don’t buy crappily-made stuff anymore just because it’s a bargain, and I am buying less and less in general these days.

A few areas where I’m willing to spend more than I used to:

Shoes. I need narrow shoes with good arch support – and those ain’t cheap. About 40% of my shoes are retail (vs. thrifted); in the last few years I’ve spent $90-$100 on retail shoes when I previously wouldn’t have forked over more than $50. What changed? I decided that spending more on shoes I love and will wear for a long time is better than getting a “bargain” pair that are only so-so.  (But I also ask for quality shoes as gifts so it’s not always my money… does that make it wishlist inflation?)

Sunglasses. All my sunglasses are currently from Goodwill, from a 5K swag bag, orrrrr I found them buried in the sand at the beach – classy.  I am thinking about purchasing some high quality sunglasses secondhand (read: eBay or other e-consignment) because most of the ones that end up at Goodwill are flimsy and there’s no way to tell whether they have UV protection. I’ve read enough warnings on blogs by women a few decades older than I am to know that I don’t want UV-induced macular degeneration.

Winter boots. The last time I lived in the cold was 10 years ago and my footwear left over from that era is laughable. If I ever move somewhere cold again, I will invest in proper, water-proof, cold-weather boots. They may still be secondhand, but I’m gonna do it right.

 

Have you experience wardrobe inflation (or maybe deflation)?  If so, in what areas, and what’s your reasoning behind it?  Scroll down to share!