What I Wore: Town Festival & Preaching with a Pattern

Hi all! A few what-I-wores from the past few weeks, wherein I bust out a new thrift find and accessorize an old one (and where I achieve somewhat better focus for my outfit shots). These outfits spanned the hot, then cool, then hot again end-of-summer weather we’ve been having in New England; if you’re having the same kind of weather, hopefully you’ll find them useful!

First up, my outfit for the town fair, which involved 5+ hours of walking around booths and staffing our own, getting to know people, nabbing books at the library sale, and eating Thai food and cupcakes the girls soccer team made. I needed something casual but easy to spot as I wandered the crowds being introduced and introducing myself hither and yon. Luckily a thrift find the day before at the Davis Square Goodwill hit the spot:

Dress: Talbots, thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts
Bracelet: Monet, thrifted
Shoes: Saltwaters, retail

I pulled an ERII and decided to dress myself in one color for visibility; after that it was a matter of adding simple accessories for a touch of detail (necklace) and for functionality (bag):

Bag: Marco Avané, thrifted

I love the warmth and cheeriness of the coral/salmon color and its polo shirt-adjacent feeling, which fits my town’s casual vibe so well.  It’s like the Massachusetts version of this dress, which was too stiff and scratchy and formal but whose color I loved:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


Here’s a look at the collar, which was wide and casual but whose neat finishing polished things up a bit:


A closeup on the bag for those who haven’t seen it yet:


…and on the necklace, although this shot showcases that I need to spend a little time with the sweater stone on my new purchase to tame the micro-pills.  This shot is also rather pink in color whereas the above shots come out more on the orange side; the true hue lies somewhere in the middle:


One sizing note for Talbots, for what it’s worth: this dress was marked a full size smaller than what I normally wear. I’m not sure if that’s due to vanity sizing at Talbots or just that their items tend to be a little roomier in fit, but it’s a great reminder that you should trust your own eye on whether something might fit rather than the size label.

PS I wore this same outfit this past Sunday for preaching in a late-September heat wave and it worked perfectly to keep me cool yet looking collected.


Up next: Sunday preaching. It was dumb to wear both long sleeves and leggings underneath my robes on a hot September day, but this ensemble was just right after worship was over and the robes came off:

Dress: Land’s End, thrifted
Leggings: F21, thrifted
Wedges: Bandolino, thrifted
Scarf: no label, thrifted
Cuff: Monet, thrifted
Squinty eyes: sun reflecting off house window

Let’s get a closeup on that scarf, which I found on the same trip as the Talbots dress:


With scarves, I don’t really know what I’m looking for until I see it; this was a clear “YES” right on the rack. It has a few pulled threads and even what looks like a burn hole smack in the middle, but the pattern disguises all of that (as does rolling it the right way). My love of blue, polka dots, and print-mixing also outweighed its imperfections; who could resist two different dot patterns AND the awesome scallop effect at the bottom?

Have you ever bought something with imperfections you knew would be hidden by placement or pattern? What do you think of my finds? Do you agree with my (no longer so) revolutionary stance that it’s okay to wear white after Labor Day, particularly if it’s HOT?

Travel Wardrobe: Cold Weather in a Carry On

No Friday ReBlog today because I haven’t been reading enough (any?) blogs over the holidays to find good stuff for ya.  It’ll be back next week; in the meantime, send me your favorite thrift- or style-related blog posts at leah AT thriftshopchic DOT com or leave ’em in the comments.

We went to the Great White(ish) North for a week over the Christmas holiday and I had to figure out how to pack for cold weather in a carry on. The limited parameters on my wardrobe were not as dramatic as this trip when I packed my stuff and my kid’s into a tote bag (which I promptly forgot), but I did need to think practically about how everything would go together since warm clothes take up more space and thus afford fewer slots to play with.  Everything is thrifted unless otherwise noted.

Using the template from the How to Pack a Travel Wardrobe post, I’m factoring in:
-length of trip (6 days);
-weather/activities at destination (cold; family time + church + exercise); and
-laundry facilities (check!)

Knowing it would be cold, I started off with this wool/cashmere/angora sweater from the Loft, which is as cozy a garment as you’d hope to find:


Then I picked out tops to go underneath:

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4 tops, with plans to either rewear or wash depending on how many living room dance parties were to be held.  L to R: Coldwater Creek, Piazza Sempione, Loft, J. Crew

I also tucked in a sleeveless undershirt in case it got REALLY cold – didn’t need it but was glad it was there.  And I wore leggings (see below) under my pants when were going to be outside for a significant amount of time.

Then pants that picked up the colors in the sweater and would serve as great neutral bases:

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L to R: Banana Republic, IT! Jeans

I wasn’t keen on the grey at first, since I had a grey turtleneck; doing too much grey because it’s just depressing when it’s dark and cold. But the corduroy on the dark grey ones is almost like velvet, making them so chic I knew they would dress up my otherwise comfy outfits.   I thought about bringing my navy cords, too, but since I couldn’t justify 3 pairs of pants (no room!), I decided to keep the grey and just not wear it with the grey top.  (Look for a post next week introducing the caramel velveteen pants.)

Same ol’ earrings every day, plus one pendant necklace, the cream and dark taupe of which would jive nicely with my sweater:


Necklace DIYed from Goodwill parts.

I went for one these two, to cover church (bronze flats by Clarks – retail) and everything else (navy Pumas):


Plus sneakers for running (retail).


Workout clothes:
Luckily my sister-in-law is pretty devoted to her running schedule so I knew I’d get a chance to run with her – motivation!

I packed a silk undershirt to layer and keep me warm:


And a bamboo tech shirt to layer on top:


It wasn’t cold enough to need more than that – I just had to run about 5 minutes to warm myself up and the silk kept me nice and snuggly.

I also brought bulky but oh-so-worth-it track pants from highschool to keep my legs warm while running.

I brought two pairs of leggings, one for sleeping and one for layering under the track pants, both American Apparel (retail).  Here was my shirt to sleep in (and to wear one day before I slept in it):


Faded Glory.

Sadly, I discovered ANOTHER hole in it, so it’s hereby consigned to winter sleepwear with no daytime cameos:



I wore my trusty red wool peacoat on the plane (well, used it as a blanket) and packed my freshly thrifted winter accessories in the outer pocket of my carry on so I could get them out first thing after landing:


J. Crew


No tags.

Here are my outfits.  There’s not a lot of variety, but I liked the formula.  Furthermore, I had no one to impress and just wanted to look put together and feel WARM.  Mission accomplished:

(worn twice)






(worn twice – except for the bowling shoes, those were just worn once)


What are your strategies for packing sufficient cold weather clothes into a small space?  Do you ever just pick one simple outfit formula and wear variations of it to keep packing super simple?  Scroll down to comment, and Happy New Year!



Fall /Winter Wardrobe Preview

We’re still in hot temps here but I know many of you have already started the slide into fall weather so I’m going to post some of what I *think* will work as my core/fringe items to get those autumnal juices flowing.  This is not an exhaustive or restrictive list but covers most of what I plan on wearing.

As you may remember, I’ve been restyling my cold weather wardrobe as I try to figure out some styles I love that keep me warm. I’ve been doing it during the summer to give me time to think about additions and go slowly without the pressure of chilly temps right around the corner – but this also means I haven’t been able to wear any of the clothes together yet! So consider this most definitely a first draft.

(Also, the cords below are currently at the tailor to be transformed into actual slim pants instead of boot cuts, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.)



Mixing my core/fringe model with a dual-silhouette idea borrowed from Un-Fancy, I’ll do two core silhouettes – my go-to silhouettes that most of the clothes in my cold weather closet can participate in – and a fringe silhouette – the one I use occasionally to mix things up a little and that’s made up of some pieces that don’t mix and match as well with the core silhouettes.

Here’s my first core silhouette, continued from summer into fall:


Torso-skimming top over slim pants.  This silhouette will cover a variety of temperatures with some lightweight tops, some toppers (cardignas, blazers, ruanas, etc.) over lightweight tops, and finally proper sweaters (with shell underneath for really chilly days).  Please ignore the tag on the top – recently thrifted and not yet worn! – and imagine the pants a little slimmer in general.  All my slim trousers were at the tailor.


Second core silhouette: sheath/sweater dress over leggings and long sleeves (as needed)

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Two more dresses I’ll be wearing in this manner: here and here

Merona – Land’s End – Merona – Jacqueline Ferrar – George – all thrifted


Here’s my fringe silhouette, moving from the starting list last winter to more of a relief pitcher this year:


Fitted top over flares
I like the chic, long lines of this silhouette, but I got a little tired of it last year, so it’ll make some appearances this year but not take top billing.  Now I’m mixing metaphors…


And here are the items that will fit into each silhouette:

Skim over slim – lightweight tops

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Japna – Madewell – Meadow Rue – Merona – Ambiance Apparel – Piazza Sempione – White Stag – Coldwater Creek –  Pull and Bear (detail of sweater worn in silhouette photo above) –  all thrifted


Skim over slim – sweaters

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Liz Clairborne – Gap new with tags – Forever 21 – Mossimo – French Connection – Liz Claiborne – Loft (the back is more interesting) – all thrifted


Skim over slim – toppers

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Old Navy – Loft – Haberdashery by Personal – Merona – Cartonnier – all thrifted


Skim over slim – bottoms

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Uniqlo – Ralph Lauren new with tags (to be tailored to slim fit) – Banana Republic (to be tailored to slim fit) – Chico’s – F21 – all thrifted


Fit over flare – tops

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Banana Republic (featured in silhouette photo above – Express – both thrifted


Fit over flare – bottoms


Old Navy – thrifted



Just one coat, because it makes me just that happy:


J. Crew – thrifted

This feels like a lot, but not counting leggings, shells, or outwear, it’s 35 pieces – right about at the sweet spot for typical mix-and-match capsule wardrobes (although I do have a few more things on my thrift list that might either grow this list or elbow some of these items out of the way!).  I’ll keep you updated on what works, what doesn’t, what gets worn and what sits at the back of the closet or drawer.

What’s in your capsule or edited wardrobe this fall/winter?  Scroll down to comment!


Happy fall!


July / August Thrift Finds

August ends tomorrow, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m done thrifting for the month.  (But now that I think about it, I could conceivably hit up one last place Wednesday after work…tempting….)

Although I’m still feeling pretty satiated as regards my summer wardrobe, I have picked up a few new things since my last Thrift Finds in June, so I thought I’d share what I found.

Continue reading “July / August Thrift Finds”

Travel Wardrobe: Holiday Weekend Edition

We’ll be hitting up New England this winter for a holiday weekend, and since many of you will be traveling for (American) Thanksgiving, I thought I’d show you what I plan to wear in case it helps you pack for your own adventures.

Staying with family in the past several years, I’ve come to realize I rewear the same pieces of clothing every day—when we’re in the Northeast visiting my in-laws, that means whatever I’ve brought that’s warmest. (Thankfully, they have a coal-burning stove where you can generally find my Southern-acclimated self cozying up during all but the sunniest hours of the day.)

My wardrobe strategy for these trips?  I sleep, run, and lounge in layers, and make liberal use of my in-laws’ washing machine when I’ve done all 3 in the same garment and it’s time for some freshening up.

Yes, I can hear all you Northerners chuckling right now.


Taking our cues from the How to Pack a Travel Wardrobe post, I’m factoring in:
-length of trip (3 full days, 2 travel days);
-weather/activities at destination (cold; family time + church + spouse’s high school reunion + exercise); and
-laundry facilities (check!)

With all that in mind, here’s what I’ll be packing for our next trip (everything thrifted unless otherwise noted):


Top to bottom, left to right: Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Holiday Weekend Edition”

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.

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”