On Thrifting Maternity Clothes

 

My advice:

Do it.

Pregnancy is the perfect time to thrift clothes because you’ll only need them for a finite time and you don’t want to lay out a fortune for a new wardrobe—you got a baby coming, after all!

Except for a couple of gifts and one pair of jeans on clearance, all my maternity clothes were second hand—passed on or lent out from other mamas, thrifted, or consigned—and I did just fine.

In fact, my maternity wardrobe was pretty ideal: cute, coordinated, and stylish without being overwhelming (because, see above, I didn’t buy a ton!).  Essentially it was a maternity capsule wardrobe, and as such, it was also a great chance to try out a different color scheme from my usual—instead of muted reds, navies, and neutrals, I got to play with springy greens, heathered purples and some fun plaids and corduroys.

Read on for ideas on how to thrift yourself some maternity clothes. Continue reading “On Thrifting Maternity Clothes”

When You Just Can’t Help Yourself; or, Can I Wear Colors That Don’t Suit Me?

 

I have a confession to make.

I LOVE chartreuse.

There’s something about that acidy, lemon-lime color that just draws me in—maybe it’s the way it pops next to navy and muted red, some of my other favorite wardrobe colors.  Or maybe it’s that it’s a little bit badass—not a color for those faint of heart!

Either way, I love it.

And it looks pretty horrible on me.

The lighting here doesn’t really do it justice, but you get the general idea that chartreuse wears me instead of the other way around.  It washes me out and is really too strong for my skin tone and coloring:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

But.

Part of me doesn’t really care.

This is a big no-no on style blogs; as with cuts and styles that flatter you, there’s a lot of blog and website space dedicated to finding “your” colors—the ones that complement your complexion and coloring instead of overwhelming you.

In theory, I get this concept—as Tamara at Glowing Color says, you want clothes that draw attention to you, not clothes that hog the limelight: “If the eye is drawn to your face first, you have a winner.”  This is partly why you won’t often see me in jewel tones or black—they overpower me. (And too much black is just…depressing.  Renouncing black is another fashion no-no but I claim it as my TRUTH.  Take that, NYC fashion elite.)

But.

Rules are made to be broken and fashion and style are supposed to make you feel good.  If that means wearing a color you LOVE despite its not being “right” for you, then I say go for it.  If you’re feeling timid about it, wear the hue in question away from your face—on the lower part of a top or on a skirt/pants, or wear it as a top but wear a scarf around your neck in a buffer color.

The bottom line, though, is that life is too short to wear clothing you don’t love.  So wear colors that make you SMILE.

Check out Peter Lappin’s take on this age-old predicament over at Male Pattern Boldness (yes, that is the most fabulous blog name ever; yes, you should RUN not walk over there if you love sewing, either as spectator or participant, particularly menswear).

 

What are your thoughts on the wear-it-or-leave-it color debate?  Scroll down to share!

 

 

Friday ReBlog: Fashion & Self Care

It’s the last day of Style Rehab week here on Thriftshop Chic.  Take a look back at how you can use fashion as a fun tool to help you feel your awesomest, to see my fall wardrobe adjustments, and to find out how to build a capsule wardrobe for kids.

 

First, a BIG thanks to Janice Riggs over at The Vivienne Files for adding me to her blog roll, and a big welcome to Vivienne readers!  Glad you’re here.

 

On Monday I wrote about how not caring about style, or not having fashion skills, does not really matter in the grand scheme of things.  I also sounded off on how folks say that “putting yourself together” is a means of self-care, mostly because I think our culture emphasizes looking good at the expense of prioritizing care for our emotional/social/physiological/spiritual selves.  We’ve all had moments where a nice outfit and a put-together face was masking some real inner turmoil that might’ve benefited from seeing the light of day and being attended to.

But here’s a different take on it from one of my regular reads:

Dress Up, Every Day on Une Femme d’un Certain Age

What do you think?  Scroll down to add your 2 cents.

 

 

Happy Thrifting!
Leah

 

 

 

How to Build a Kid’s Capsule Wardrobe

 It’s Style Rehab week here on Thriftshop Chic.  Take a look back at how you can use fashion as a fun tool to help you feel your awesomest and to see my fall wardrobe adjustments.

 

Have you ever found yourself drowning in the clothing of the small people with whom you live?  Today, we’re going to tackle a style rehab that will keep you and your kids SANE and stylin’!

kid's capsule wardrobe

Continue reading “How to Build a Kid’s Capsule Wardrobe”

Fall Closet Rehab

It’s Style Rehab week here on Thriftshop Chic.  Take a look here at how fashion can help you feel your awesomest and here for how to improve your wardrobe stylistic sense; tomorrow we’ll build a kid’s wardrobe capsule!

Sometimes, you like most of the clothes in your wardrobe, but something is just off.  Outfits you think should come together nicely just look…weird.  Frumpy.  Trying too hard.

You ever been there?

Lucky for you, this problem does not demand a full-on sartorial engine replacement, but rather a simple style tuneup to get things running right again.  (I can’t help myself with these metaphors. Sorry.)

Two good times to do a wardrobe tuneup: at the beginning of a season and/or at its end.  For summer, I did it at the end of the season because I’d gotten into a good groove and knew what I had loved and what had sat, unloved, at the back of my closet. (See my summer wardrobe rehab here and here.)

For fall, I’m cleaning out a few weeks into cooler weather.  I had a little trouble getting started on the right foot; outfits I wore to work felt not quite right, not quite me—and I couldn’t really tell why.  After a summer of LOVING all the clothes I wore, it was really obvious that I wasn’t on the happy style train with my autumnal garb, so I decided to jump in early to figure out what wasn’t clicking and fix the problem.

closet rehab autumn Continue reading “Fall Closet Rehab”

Reader Question: How do I improve my wardrobe stylistic sense?

It’s Style Rehab week here on Thriftshop Chic.  Take a look back at how you can use fashion as a fun tool to help you feel your awesomest and look for a fall wardrobe tweak and a kid’s capsule wardrobe later in the week!

Ask me a question! (6)My sister (aww, she reads my blog and comments on every post!  I love you Sestra!) has a play/fun/home wardrobe with which she’s pretty happy—it’s comfy, it’s in colors she likes, and it’s a great expression of her artistic and geekgal sides.  (One of my favorite pieces? The CrashOctopus hat she designed.  Which reminds me—you should check out her blog because she is a stellar artist and she does commissions.  Christmas gift anyone??)

But her work wardrobe—corporate office in an Engineer-y field—is a tougher nut to crack.  She needs plus-sized business casual ensembles that are comfortable, not too form-hugging, work with closed-toe shoes, and, most of all, make her feel fab.  It’s hard being a woman in a field still dominated by men—on top of all the general cultural messages women get about appearance = values, she has to deal with male colleagues making sexist comments about female coworkers’ physical attributes (yech, misogyny).

In her own words:

What if you fail miserably in fashion sense and have no idea what cut works for you?  I’m so bad at fashion.  I base my wardrobe entirely on comfort; all my stuff that I love is not suitable for work. So I have a bunch of work clothes that work – ha – but I don’t love them.

Today, we will tackle her dilemma in 5 fun steps, sharing generally applicable style inspiration along the way!

Stylistic Sense (1)
Continue reading “Reader Question: How do I improve my wardrobe stylistic sense?”

Should You Care about Fashion?

It’s Style Rehab week here on Thriftshop Chic.  Tune in later in the week to develop your own style sense, tweak your wardrobe, and build a kid’s capsule wardrobe later in the week!

Tomorrow we’re going to tackle my sister’s question about how to improve your wardrobe stylistic sense.  One of her recent comments: “What if you fail miserably in fashion sense and have no idea what cut works for you?  I’m so bad at fashion.”

But first.

I would like to clarify something.

Being “bad” at fashion or style is not something that makes one iota of difference about your value as a *person.*

Fashion is, in the great scheme of things, inconsequential.

 

SMASHION

Continue reading “Should You Care about Fashion?”

Friday ReBlog: Thrifting Off Season

Dina Younis of Dina’s Days posted this on Instagram yesterday (let us appreciate the delicious fall colors and beautiful composition—y’all should follow her!):

Her observation is totally true.  While I did just find a winter coat in November (note: still not truly cold weather here in the ATL), I typically find great stuff off season.  I start looking for spring/summer things in January and for fall/winter stuff in the middle of summer—not coincidentally, just about the time I start getting sick of whatever weather we’re in the middle of.  It just brightens those seemingly endless, nasty, slushy days to browse through bright florals and cools down a hot August day to contemplate warm knits in leopard prints.

Click here for more on why this makes sense/how it works (and pics of the leopard print sweater in question).

What luck have you had thrifting off season?  Scroll down to comment!

Happy Friday!

 

Strategies for Thrifting Trends

The Friday re-blog a few weeks ago about thrifting runway trends got me thinking about thrifting trends in general.

In some ways, I like to think of thrifting as a second-run theater where all the movies show up 2 months late but the tickets are $1.50 so you don’t mind waiting; plus 2 months is enough time to hear from other moviegoers whether that new blockbuster is really worth your money. (This is how I ended up seeing Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 only last week.)

So it goes with clothing trends–there’s a definite delay in their arrival at your local thrift shop, but you get them for a lot cheaper AND there’s a buffer between you and any short-lived, ill-considered trends (personally I’m thinking of all things neon).  You have some time to let new trends, colors, etc. marinate and decide whether they really fit your style, instead of just succumbing to fashion peer pressure–“everybody’s wearing military parkas, so I must, too!”

Military parkas--a trend I've studiously avoided
Military parkas–a trend I’ve studiously avoided

Full disclosure: I tend to be a late adopter for the reasons stated above plus the fact that sometimes it just takes a while for something to grow on me (slim-cut pants come to mind…), so I’m biased.  You may not be as patient, or you may be more adventurous or spontaneous, or you may just want to be able to do the fashion equivalent of talking about The Martian in the staff lunchroom the Monday after it comes out.  No judgment here!

So if you want to enjoy trends but also shop secondhand, how quickly do trends cycle through the buy-donate-resell cycle–that is, when can you expect to find them in thrift stores?  Well, it varies.  A really popular trend can take awhile to show up on thrift racks because EVERYBODY is buying them and actually wearing them, and the greater the trend’s staying power, the less likely folks will want to donate their own pair (I’m looking at you again, slim-cut pants and skinny jeans–took forEVER for them to show up in thrift stores).  On the other hand, the more popular a certain style, the greater circulation and the greater chance you’ll see it come through eventually, and probably not before the trend has completely jumped the shark.  But it’s a guessing game.

My advice to navigating the trend/thrift rollercoaster?  First, since (almost) everything old is new again, look for donations from a few years (or decades) ago and repurpose those vintage items for today.  I guarantee you that chambray existed before J. Crew picked it up, and flared/wide-leg pants have definitely cycled in and out a few times just since I’ve been paying attention to clothes–which is not counting the bell bottoms of the 60s and 70s.  Thrift stores can be the best places to find those newly-repopularized items because it’s the first place they go after they’ve been evicted from someone’s grandma’s closet or childhood bedroom.  Maxi dresses, cross-body handbags, cashmere sweaters, sequins, velvet, palazzo pants, silk scarves, riding boots…this ain’t their first rodeo.

Second, if you’ve discerned what your style is really about and what colors/cuts/fabrics/detailing are your jam, you can determine, with a certain amount of cool-headedness, whether a trend is something you even care about at all.  If this year’s Pantone color doesn’t do it for you, but you’d buy one of everything in 2013’s color Emerald if given the chance, then avoid this year’s trend and snatch up all the donated Emerald merchandise you can find.  True style is knowing what’s you and wearing it with confidence; if you truly love something but it’s no longer “on trend,” it’ll stick in your wardrobe and become your signature; when people see you wearing it, they won’t think it’s behind the times but rather see it as part of your look.

 

What trends have you skipped–or wished you’d skipped?  What trends have you embraced because you know you’ll love them forever?  Or do you embrace new fashions, using thrifting to add some inexpensive trendiness to your closet?

How to Winterize Your Wardrobe

Way back when, my friend Sheena asked for a post about how to winterize your wardrobe.  Many of you are heading from the pleasant, crisp, colorful wonderland of Fall into the time of nasty winds, chilling rain, and grey skies I like to affectionately call November.  And some of you Northerners have already seen snow (perish the thought!).  So it’s high time to tackle her question.

WINTERIZING your WARDROBE
Ya dig the slightly 70s Winter Wonderland vibe?

When you are creating a capsule wardrobe (read: curating your closet so you own only things you love and wear), one of the benefits is having fewer clothes to clean/maintain/fold/store.  To double down on that benefit, it makes a lot of sense to bridge some of your warmer weather clothes into fall and winter.  Fewer overall items to care for, and fewer $$ out the door!  Read on for my tips on how to make it happen.
Continue reading “How to Winterize Your Wardrobe”