Travel Wardrobe: Weekend in Chicago

I’m lucky beyond measure to have a great group of high school girlfriends who get together whenever we’re all in our hometown. Instead of waiting for the holidays or the next wedding, this year we decided to do a proper weekend in the city we call home (even if most of us live elsewhere): Chicago.

With just over 48 hours to wine, dine, and catch up on each others’ lives, we hit the ground running.  Here was the outfit I wore to travel and then for dinner at a local Italian restaurant:

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Shirt dress: Merona (I previously mis-IDed it as Gap) – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

Side view:

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Roll those roll-tab sleeves for better ventilation.

It held up surprisingly well given that I wore it to work, sweat in it for an hour waiting for a state trooper in the Atlanta heat following a minor car accident, sat in it for a two-hour flight, and then wore it straight to dinner since my accident meant I took a later flight and had no time to change.

You know what the cure for all that nonsense is? Good friends and a good negroni.  :)

The next morning I was up for a run around my hometown wearing workout clothes I had thrifted on the way to the airport. I had forgotten my usual running stuff at home since it hadn’t dried yet. Thrifting to the rescue!  For under $10 I had perfectly serviceable shorts, a running bra, and a tank top, all of which I left at my parents’ house so I don’t have to pack workout gear next time I go home. Genius.

After meeting up for coffee with two of the ladies, we hopped on the train and headed downtown to meet another friend (two others had joined us for dinner the night previously but couldn’t make the city festivities). We hopped into a ride service to get to her apartment and had the most Chicago-esque conversation possible with the driver. Topic #1: the Cubs’ prospects for beating the Cardinals that day (done!); topic #2: where you can eat the best Chicago-style hot dogs (I don’t eat meat but if I can help it a Portillo’s jumbo cheese dog will be my last meal before I leave this earth); and topic #3: obviously Lou Malnati’s does the best Chicago-style pizza.

Once we met up with our city-dwelling friend, we went for a stroll along the recently completed riverwalk and stopped for pictures with the giant deer…

deerThis is the definition of #random. Source

…before sitting down to rosé and a cheese plate at City Winery. The people-watching was excellent as party boats and kayakers trawled the Chicago River and people meandered alongside it.

Here’s my “day” outfit:

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You can tell I’m super happy to be in my favorite city with some of my favorite people. The guy behind me, however, might be picking his nose. Can you spot the Chicago theater sign?

Shirt: Zara – thrifted
Shorts: American Eagle – thrifted
Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted vintage bracelet (closeup below)
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

I tucked the front of this split-hem shirt into my shorts to give the outfit a jaunty little flair and let the back hang out to give some interest and showcase the two-toned gold thing going on. Sorry I didn’t get any side shots! I still feel a little weird asking people to take outfit pics, even though people generally oblige and they always turn out better than what I take myself.

Next up: dinner at Momotaro, a very hip Japanese restaurant. I swapped my shorts for my white Banana Republic trousers to dress up my dinner look a bit; the gold lamé shirt I already had on took care of the rest.

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What our table looked like.  Source

We feasted on small plates like tomato tartare with milk bread, mentaiko spaghetti with cod roe and an egg, age dashi tofu (a round tofu cake with watermelon turnip purée, scallions, and flaked tuna), shishito peppers, una kyu (barbecued eel roll), and sashimi and beef fried rice for the half of us who eat meat/raw fish. Black currant mochi and green tea chocolate crunches were dessert.

I unfortunately took no pictures, since the lighting was so dim and we were all too focused on salivating over our meal (that part’s not unfortunate!), but here’s what the internet shows for the tomato tartare:

C201503-D-Momotaro-Japonais-by-Morimoto-Reviews-Momotaro-tomato-tartare-cc8a5e00YUM.  Source

My favorites were the tartare (not actually involving any meat) and the shishito peppers, but everything was delicious, including the cocktails. Thanks abundantly for dinner, Steph (and David)!

Next we headed up to the rooftop bar at London House, the hotel where another friend had snagged us a comp room thanks to how often her husband travels for work.  Many, many thanks Maddie (& Dan)! The view was incredible – and kind of scary? especially after a cocktail or two:

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By this point I was feeling extra fancy since my normal vacation digs are friends’ guest rooms and my normal vacation fare = Subway on the road. After much laughter and only one broken glass, we headed back to our room and drifted off to dreamland.

The next morning I was up for a run along the lakefront. Running in a different spot from my normal route is one of my favorite parts of vacation; there’s something truly invigorating about taking your exercise while taking in a new (or newly revisited) view.

With Chicago in particular, I have a lot of memories: visiting downtown often for field trips and theater as a kid, interning one summer on Michigan Avenue, and taking a college course on Chicago architecture in literature. So I still love to get facetime with treasured landmarks like the Art Institute lions, the Field Museum, the bronze Bowman and Spearman, the Congress Hotel, and a distant Sears Tower (I will always call it the Sears tower). I even tipped my hat to the alien monstrosity that has landed on Soldier Field, then turned around to run on the lakeside, ending back at the Wrigley and Chicago Tribune towers by the hotel.

Views from the hotel:

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So many architecturally magnificent buildings masquerading at ground level as 7-11s (or in this case, Hard Rock):

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When you randomly meet a dinosaur on your run (Field Museum):dinosaur

Railyard with a great view:

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Part of Millenium Park being put to good use:

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It’s a fountain; the mouths of the people portrayed spit water. I always wonder who those people are and if they ever get weirded out seeing their gigantic selves as part of a public art installation…

I got several more GREAT shots but my phone is still misbehaving and corrupted most of them. Grumble grumble grumble.

Breakfast and a shower later, I was ready for the train ride back to my parents’ house for lunch and goodbyes to all:

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Shirt: Madewell – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted
Braided leather belt – unnamed, thrifted
Accessories: same as above

^^That is the best my mane ever looks – right after I went for a run (and didn’t wash my hair). Go figure.

Closeup on the bracelet-turned-necklace:

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All this packed in the Samsonite Silhouette I borrowed from my mom, the tan twin to my grandma’s aqua blue bag – you can see it below.

Fistbump to Cori, who wants you to know she thrifted everything in this rad outfit except the shirt (and who is my environmental soulmate; she snagged that empty Starbucks cup beside us for recycling):

IMG_7577Oh hey Wrigley building and Tribune Tower.

Cheers, ladies – here’s to friendship and to next time!

In Which I Impulse Buy on Poshmark

I’m not usually one for online secondhand shopping since you can’t try things on and secondhand sites either don’t do returns (eBay) or else make you pay return shipping (ThredUp). But I’ve found online shopping to have one really good use: when you find something in a thrift store that you absolutely LOVE that’s not your size but you’re reasonably confident another size will fit you, get on the internets and search for it.

Granted, this works best for mass market brands and even better for big box brands like those found at Target – you have a much better chance of finding the piece in question for resale online and you are more likely to know your size in that brand.

This combination worked in my favor a few months back when I found a dress by Merona that I fell for hard but that was just too small:

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I’m not sure if this is best described as “marled” or “Donegal tweed,” but I loved it. It had the texture I crave in muted red/navy, colors already in my wardrobe; it’s chic enough for work; and it has zipper details (a trend I know will one day go out of style but magpie that I am, I cannot help myself):

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You can tell from that last photo that I’ve learned to use the manufacturer’s tag to search online for the same piece. (Thanks Adina J!)  Except an internet search with those digits yielded zilch.  So I started searching for the dress the old fashioned way, using keywords like “Merona,” “blue dress,” and “sleeveless.”

After some interesting detours, I found it in two sizes that might work for me on Poshmark. I had thought that (in line with their name) they only sold higher end and designer items, but either they’ve lowered their standards or they’ve always had a wide array of price points.

I figured I should ask the sellers of the two different sizes available what their thoughts were on fit. To do this I needed to sign up (of course), but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was using my Google account – literally one of the quickest “get back to what you were actually trying to do” experiences I’ve had. Once I’d typed my queries, folks responded within the hour and were friendly and helpful in their replies, which is in line with Poshmark’s self-described social, active community.

A quick aside on Poshmark, for those unfamiliar with it (as I was). In the world of online secondhand shopping, it’s sort of a hybrid – individual sellers post their wares like on eBay, but Poshmark provides shipping labels like ThredUp. They will also, like eBay, provide a refund/free return shipping if the item is not as advertised; but unlike ThredUp, where you are welcome to return the item if you don’t like it (albeit after having paid return shipping), purchases are final.

Another eBay-like feature on Poshmark is the option to “make an offer.” Offers are binding but expire in 24 hours; in other words, if the seller accepts your price, you automatically buy it. If they don’t, nothing happens and you are free to purchase at their asking price.

Back to the dress. The first seller apparently hadn’t worn it as she simply relayed fitting information from Target’s website, but she was very prompt with her reply. (I wear different sizes in different Target brands, so that wasn’t super helpful.) Since the listing had only been up for 12 hours, I figured I should buy it right away if I didn’t want it to get snapped up.

So I asked myself if I was willing to spend $15 + $1 shipping on a dress that might not fit. $15 is double what I normally pay for a thrifted dress, but when it checks all the boxes and makes your heart sing, it’s pretty darn reasonable.

[About that $1 shipping fee – you get $0.99 shipping on your first order, but the way they advertise it is a bit deceptive. The “limited time” offer is described as only good during your first 24 hours, so I thought it was good for any purchase made within the first day, or that I could fill up my cart with items from various sellers and get $1 shipping for each item. Nope. Because items are sold by individual sellers, each item requires separate shipping (like eBay; unlike ThredUp).  Good to know if you plan on buying something bulky on your first day that will cost more than standard shipping.]

Once I had clicked “submit order” the seller messaged me to say she’d ship within the next day – hurray!  Upon arrival I was charmed by the packaging she had chosen and her sweet thank-you note: IMG_5413IMG_5414

I was not charmed, however, by the fit:

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Not the seller’s fault, of course, but more of a cautionary tale re: buying clothes on the internet. I could have spent another $20 or so to get the “right” size, but at that point I’d already sunk enough money into the dress and I wasn’t sure the “right” size would fit well even if it didn’t swamp me.

So I simply donated it back to Goodwill and considered it my $16 reminder that I don’t buy clothing online unless I’ve tried on the exact garment – including size – elsewhere. (See this post for the first time I learned that lesson.)
I know some of you all have had better luck with online thrifting.  Do you have any tips for this jaded internet shopper?  Do any of you join me in swearing off online clothes shopping?

Spring 10×10 Remix: Days 6 & 7

I’m doing the 10×10 spring remix hosted by Un-Fancy and StyleBee. All this work week and next, I’ll be using 10 pieces of clothing to create 10 different outfits, using self-imposed limitations to spark some creativity. All the details – and the clothes (all thrifted)– here.

Leave it to me to forget that work would be closed this past Monday (observance of Easter); I spent the first half of the day in pjs and the second half in workout clothes. And yesterday was a whirlwind of meetings, prepping for church council, and voting in a special election, so today you get TWO 10×10 outfits. Aren’t you lucky? :X

Day 6

Post-vote pics at home from a very fore-shortened perspective (thanks to the Spouse for capturing photos):

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H&M dress; J. Crew belt; Monet cuff bracelet; sandals by Clarks (retail); “I’m a Georgia voter” sticker courtesy of the GA elections department (placement courtesy of my preschooler).

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Blazer by Merona

Styling notes: I did the same trick with my belt as last week, turning the buckle part around to the back so it didn’t weigh down the belt below the waist seam. I’ve trimmed up a bit from running more lately; I think it may be time to put another notch in my belts so this isn’t a problem the rest of the summer.
I’ve stuck with a relatively simple necklace here, in a length that fits the v-neck; come full-on summer I’ll probably pair this with some of my bold, shorter necklaces. I could probably also pair this shorter necklace with a longer pendant, but as I’m a fan of cleaner looks that’s probably a stretch.

Thoughts on this outfit: So this dress is a keeper. I love the cut, the length, and the different (for me) neckline. I’m just going to ignore the odd lining around the neck, or perhaps chalk it up to “character.”
The blazer is super comfortable, like wearing a sweatshirt, and I love the silhouette as well – my ideal blazer silhouette, skimming without flaring. I’m going to wear it with my blue sheath dress as well, but if I can’t convince myself it goes with my grey dress pants, I’m not sure how much additional wear I’ll get out of it. Y’all know I love print mixing, but layering this pattern right on top of my patterned blouses doesn’t always look right. And I want blazers that work with most of my wardrobe, not just 1 or 2 pieces. I’ll probably keep it through this summer and then send it on if I don’t find enough slots for it.

Day 7
Today we’re back in blouse-and-pencil-skirt territory.  Huzzah!

I paired the linen/cotton “soft wash shirt” from Banana Republic with my H&M pencil skirt and the same Clarks sandals (retail) above:WP_20170419_12_11_55_Pro

I had planned to keep the same jewelry as well, until I noticed that the (mostly) solid color blocking here felt kind of… boring. The outfit was asking for a little more interest, so I swapped out my gold studs for dangly earrings I made, and suddenly there’s a bit more oomph happening:
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Closeup on those earrings, made from thrifted parts:
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Here’s the outfit in profile:
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Styling notes: added some pizzazz to plain outfit with a little more “out there” jewelry; rolled those roll-tab sleeves ’cause it’s gonna get warm this afternoon.

Thoughts on this outfit: blouse + pencil skirt = win. Love the earrings.
Still not sold on the shirt; it is very soft but still has more structure/stiffness than my normally silky blouses and thus doesn’t lay as well when tucked in. Relatedly, the texture is a little too…hmm… rustic? for my taste. I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t look quite as polished paired next to something smoother. But my white skirt is also textured and this skirt is rumpled enough to pass as textured… ha.
I know I want to be able to wear it out over pants, and that would involve tailoring (either by myself – yipes – or an actual tailor), so I might just leave it as is and donate it for someone else to enjoy. When you’re using two paragraphs to convince yourself about a thrift find, it may be time to let it go.

 

How’s your 10×10 going? Whether you’re doing one or not, is your spring weather throwing you curveballs fashion-wise?
I’ll be away from the office this Friday and Monday as well, so look for Day 8 tomorrow and Days 9 & 10 next week.

 

February Thrift Finds

Let’s take a little trip back in time to some February thrift finds.

First up, the rejects.

Edited – I just found two more dress pics on my phone that I somehow skipped!

Handmade blue bamboo sheath
This baby was made out of beautiful fabric in gorgeous colors and I loved the notch neckline.  Alas, it was too big:
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Closeup on that pattern/colors:
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Yellow floral dress by Freaks of Go Go Spectators (since this appears to be the name of an album by the group Spiral Life, I assume this is also handmade)
I love the soft yellow and the thistles on the pattern, but it was TOO TIGHT across the hips:WP_20170215_13_41_43_Pro

Agh, that shoulder ring detail!  I die.  So sad this didn’t work.WP_20170215_13_42_08_Pro

Sweater dress by Loft
You know I love a comfy dress and a leopard print; the hem detail on this is great.  But it was pretty short…

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…and the fit was a little wonky near the bottom.  See how it pooches in on the righthand side?
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Plaid shift dress by Merona
I loved the color and the plaid on this dress but the fabric was cheap and the cut was fugly – much more muumuu than mod.

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Striped/colorblock dress by Gap
This may remind you of another dress I own; so when it felt a little too baggy/summer in Maine (where I do not, alas, live), I said no thanks and gave myself a pat on the back for resisting a pattern/color combo I love but already have.

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Colorblock dress, no
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I LOVED the color combo here – so bright and sunny! And I’d love to add a yellow dress to my repertoire. Plus look at how classy those pleats are and how pleasantly they symmetrize (new word?) with the darts in the bust!  Alas, the top was a smidge too tight across the chest (see the pulling?) and too big on the collarbone, and the skirt too short.

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Geometric blouse by The Limited
Cheapy fabric made the lovely color (below) and the potentially chic, loose cut all wonky – see how the hem flips up at the bottom and the fabric puckers diagonally across the middle?
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Ivory blazer
I didn’t get a shot of the label on this one. It had an odd combo of modern-looking lines (check out the shawl lapel!)and vintage length and cuff details:

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Striped shortsleeve blouse, Old Navy
I really wanted this to work as a flowy, chic alternative to my cotton tee of similar pattern, but it was just too big.  Boo.

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Old Navy plaid popover blouse
This shirt felt so good on – simple, comfy cotton – and has one of my favorite features – popover! Plus I loved the plaid and the colors.
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From the side, though, you can see that it’s pretty baggy in a not-on-purpose way.  And seeing these pics again I’m glad I didn’t go for it although I was pretty sad at the time because it looks pretty darn casual which relegates it to the weekend, not work-wear territory.  I already have a couple of weekend shirts I love and I don’t care who sees me wear them repeatedly so this one stayed on the rack.WP_20170223_13_49_46_Pro
Collective Concepts blouse
I’ve been looking for a palm print blouse; this had the colors but NOT the pattern.WP_20170223_13_51_55_Pro
Madras plaid shirt dress by Tommy Hilfiger
Great colors, great plaid, great shirt dress!  Just too short to wear without leggings (and who wants to wear a gorgeously summery shirtdress like this with leggings?) and too blocky/baggy in key areas:

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Hexagon sleeveless blouse by Gap Designed & Crafted
Love the colors in this and the pattern, and I definitely could use another sleeveless blouse in my work wardrobe.  But I could baaaarely button this sucker across the chest.  You can see that a bit here:
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…and even more here in the back:
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I’ve seen this one in the thrift store before and now know this size doesn’t fit me, so I’ll be on the lookout for a larger version.

 

Yellow ikat sleeveless blouse by Cremieux
Same story here; just too small.  But wouldn’t burst of yellow look great over white pants or skirt?  Going to keep my eyes peeled for something similar…
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And now, time for the keepers!  We got a lot this go-round.

Orange sheath dress by Anne Klein
I found this dream of a creamsicle-colored sleeveless sheath the same day I had my coat dress epiphany. This dress is a good orange for my skin (I think? at any rate it’s not a bad one) and it will be a great work dress, paired gloriously with my chrysanthemum cardigan and/or my white denim jacket (see below).

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Plus this or this:
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The accompanying coat dress did not, however, make the cut, due both to baggy sleeves and giving me a She-Ra chest that I have in no way merited:WP_20170209_13_59_56_Pro

 

Talbots floral shortsleeve blouse
The accent colors go great with my summer wardrobe, but I’m a bit worried the background color is too close to my skin color and will wash me out.  Also, looking at the thickness and contrast of that neckline I’m not as excited about how abruptly it cuts off… We’ll see how much I reach for it this summer.
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Here’s a slightly more in-focus pic with one of my blue blazers before I removed its extraneous buttons:
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The Savile Row Co. polka dotted vest
I am wearing this as I type, which after wearing it practically 9 days straight is a good sign that I still like it a bunch (and that this sucker goes with everything!). My favorite part is the back hem (which you can’t see here unfortunately) because it’s curved and a bit lower than the front hem and it just makes it look more shapely and less boxy like vests are prone to do.
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Fun2Fun geometric popover blouse
Apparently this blouse retailed for $48. I love the fit – the little pleat under the placket makes it a little flowier than other popovers – and of course the roll-tab sleeves and the open collar.  I’m not sure I love the giant geometric print, though – it just feels too blocky and big for my style.  I may play with it this season and then pass it on.
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See the difference in the way it flows (and in the length) from the blue plaid popover above?WP_20170223_13_48_12_Pro

 

Floral blouse, label cut out
I LOVE the colors on this blouse.  The sage and moss greens, the deep reds and warmer pinks, the little pop of gold in the buttons… it straddles the line between “warm” and “cool” colors but I think I (a person with a warmer – ahem, apologies to artists, more yellow-based – skin-tone) can pull it off. Also shoulder tabs and an open collar for the win:WP_20170223_13_53_09_Pro

Nice skimming fit in the torso:
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Close up on the pattern and collar:
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Marled grey unlined blazer by Merona
Once again Merona brings it with a great-fitting blazer.  I don’t know why these work so well for me – mass-manufactured big box clothing line would not seem to be the place where you’d find great blazer cuts which are hard to do anyway – but they do.  And although it’s stretchy and feels almost like a sweatshirt, the fabric is substantive enough to hold its shape minus the lining.  Win.

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Look at that fit, in both the sleeves and the torso/bust!
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The grey is a little too light/”cool” for my taste, but I couldn’t resist how perfectly it fit.

 

That’s a wrap!  Did we notice a pattern that I said “yes” to a few things I don’t love mixed in amongst with things I do?  That’s part of the reason I took a step back and gave up thrifting for Lent – I was starting to relax my parameters in the rush of thrifting things that were great finds in some way, but not perfect for me and my wardrobe at this moment.

Once something is in your closet it’s a lot harder to let go of. You start to justify its presence and you already feel attached to it in via “shoulds” – “I already have this, I should wear it” – even though you don’t love it.  Hello Endowment Effect.

I’m hoping that this Lenten thrifting fast will not only give me more headspace for all things spiritual but will also restart my relationship with my closet and help me tap back into that feeling of finding a perfect wardrobe match instead of falling for also-rans.

What’d you think of my finds?  Do you have trouble saying “no” to something that’s close but no cigar when it comes to closet love?  Scroll down to comment!

 

January Thrift Finds

January was a fruitful month.  Let’s start with the finds:

Another plaid blazer from Merona, this time in cerulean – such a great combo of navy and bright blue to perk up cold days:

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I’ve worn this puppy several times already.  Here’s an example of it in action:

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I like including awkward outfit outtakes for your viewing pleasure. 

And again:

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More on the blazer here.

 

snow leopard vest from Old Navy, blogged more about here:

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So snuggly in cold temps!

 

Coach riding boots for one tenth of the retail price; more about them here:

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These need some inserts to make the hard soles comfier but so far I’m happy with them otherwise.

Ba-blam:

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I re-found these metallic pants by Rock and Republic which I had regretted passing up several months earlier:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

They fit like a dream. Now I just need to concoct a date night where I can wear them with this:

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Bandolino metallic wedge sandals to replace my worn out Clarks (more here):

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I’ve also worn this chrysanthemum cardigan by Isaac Mizrahi Live! (yes yes, a QVC brand – surprisingly good) several times:

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After thrifting a muted red shirt for a friend, I’ve been looking for one, knowing it would go with pretty much all the clothes. This red Banana Republic shirt gets the color just right, is a great blend of linen/cotton and has a much higher quality than the Old Navy one I’d had my eye out for:

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Sorry about those undergarments showing through.  I should better coordinate my lingerie when thrifting.

Excited to wear this come spring (and maybe even a little bit before the end of winter!).

 

I’ve had the same two pairs of pajama pants forever – one since highschool and the other, preowned by a roommate, for almost 10 years.  They were both baggy and didn’t do a great job of keeping my legs warm.  One day I spotted a man wearing essentially sweatpants but cooler, and it dawned on me that I never felt cold in my childhood when wearing sweatpants with elastic cuffs.  Since these are now popular again (having been rebranded with the fancy moniker “joggers”), I figured I could pick some up at the thrift store and I was right:

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So cozy.  I love that they don’t ride up and feel like a sweatshirt inside and the marled fabric makes them cool.  Plus, pockets!  I promptly donated my other two pants to Le Goodwill (after thanking them of course).

 

At the tail end of the month a thrift-loving friend came to town and we blew through a few thrift stores, including St. Philip Cathedral Thrift House, where I found a perfectly blue casual dress that was just slightly too big – wanh wanhhhh – and this chic little jacket by Kenar:

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I like the texture (surprise) and the cut.  I haven’t figured out exactly how I’ll wear it (apart from over my casual red dress), but I’m sure I’ll think of something.  It may replace my snakeskin blazer…

 

I’ve been looking for a sleeveless denim dress and really dig this number…

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…minus the floppy pockets that add bulk to the bottom half:

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But yes, I got it, with plans to have my mother-in-law help my cut off the pockets and sew the seam closer to the shape of my body.  I don’t think it will be super complicated but her legit sewing skills will help make up for the fact that I can’t remember how to thread a sewing machine.  (Yes I could get it tailored but I’m going for some bonding time instead.)

 

 

 

Blooper Reel

A couple of also-rans in the search for a muted red shirt:

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I have a fondness for Lauren Conrad’s color palette and patterns (though not for her TV shows):

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Sadly, too big.

Looking for a top with some yellow in it since it would play well with the rest of my closet.  This marinière by Gap was not it – it hit funny at the waist.  Too bad ’cause it had a great split hem:

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Oh, how I wish this blazer in my favorite blue hue had been slightly less baggy:

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Oh PS, it retailed for $229.  Wanh wannnnnh.  I suppose I could’ve paid to have it tailored although I don’t know how expensive that would be… but sometimes when I find something expensive and pristine I just want to leave it for the next person whom it *will* fit to a tee.  You feel me?

 

I liked the color on this and the gorgeous buttons but oh hi, that split is getting a little close to my lady parts:

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The side view was pretty revealing in the bustal area as well.

 

This shirt dress with roll-tab sleeves by Speed Control was right up my alley but the color was a little intense and the fabric a little cheap:

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I was so sad about this simple, super-soft, casual dress in my favorite blue also being too big.  It would’ve been a great blue version of my casual red dress which has paired so well with so many things:
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That’s it for January.  What did you thrift/skip this past month?

 

What I Wore: Cerulean Plaid Blazer

You may recall my first foray into plaid blazer territory:

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Last week I found another plaid blazer by the same brand (Merona), same size, featuring some gorgeous blues:

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It came home with me, of course, although I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to wear it. Those are some pretty striking hues:

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It’s hard to tell but some of the skinny lines are pretty much purple.

But I figured I could use it in place of the lint-collecting navy blazer that had lost its shape in the laundry. (Yes, I know, not a good idea to wash a blazer. Sometimes I am lazy and foolhardy.)

My first attempt at creating an outfit with it turned out rather Dionne and Cher from Clueless:

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Source

The high contrast plus the turtleneck made for a very 90s vibe. I wasn’t really feeling the throwback look and figured I could fix it with a crew neck top, but I was already dressed and was feeling the late-to-work look even less.

I tried again on Sunday, a grey and cool day that practically shouted corduroy and plaid – style notes as you scroll through:

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Why is it that Merona blazers fit me better than most fancy-pants brands I find at the thrift store?  Not that I’m complaining…just curious about their spot-on fit, which I associate with higher quality stuff than Target brands.

 

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Sweater: Gap Designed & Crafted, thrifted
Corduroy pants: Style & Co., thrifted and tailored (waist taken in)
Blazer: Merona, thrifted
Socks: Target, retail
Ankle boots: Lucky Brand, gift from The Sister
Necklace: DIY from Goodwill finds

This time I think the softer oatmeal shade and the crew neck on this Gap sweater made things a little less eye-popping. The marled texture and split hem on the sweater also gave it a more current feel:

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As did the snakeskin print ankle boots:

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Next time it’s truly chilly I’ll be excited to pair this blazer with my navy turtleneck sweater to see if tamping down the contrast but leaving the high neck will work as well as I imagine.

 

How would you wear this bold blazer – if you would wear it at all? Was Clueless a cinematic touchstone of your youth?  If not, what’s your favorite stylistic movie reference? Scroll down to comment.

 

What I Wore & How I Styled It: Steve Urkel Chic

Last week, without realizing it, I dressed like a great style icon of the 90s – Steve Urkel:

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I subbed a belt for suspenders, but otherwise I had his look down: coordinating cardigan, high-waisted pants, high hems on those pants, and ankle socks:

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Swiss dot cotton button down by Merona – thrifted
Wine corduroy pants by Style & Co. – thrifted

Merino wool cardigan by Talbots – thrifted
Leopard print hair belt by J. Crew – thrifted
Socks by Target – retail
Shoes by Clarks – retail

How’d I get to this fabulous combination?

First up: base pieces.  I started off wanting some warm hues after a week in my travel wardrobe‘s polar palette, so I paired this button down with these pants:

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The current iteration of this shirt, you may have noticed, is a true button down instead of the former popover tunic. I swapped the tunic version (too narrow in the chest/hips) for this same brand/print in a slightly larger size.  Yes, I cried a little to lose the popover cut and length, but I wanted to wear this great textured pattern more often than the constant tug-and-reposition act was inspiring me to do.  Comfort over style, people – or rather, style informed by comfort.

Next: a topper. My workplace is chilly in some spots but the temp outside was supposed to hit 66 F – hey Hotlanta, I love you so much this time of year! – so I decided to add a thin cardigan I could layer/unlayer with ease.  I went back and forth between the one on the left (from my spring wardrobe), which would have made for an interesting contrast in hem lengths, and the one on the right, which brought some extra punch in the pattern department:

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Hmm, the outfit on the left is basically this same outfit, translated for warmer weather.

Surprise surprise – I just couldn’t resist the contrast of two great patterns (one subtle) in related colors and chose the cable pattern one.

I buttoned the top several buttons because, left to its own devices, the top button flops around and doesn’t stay put, but I left the bottom several unbuttoned because I wanted the contrast in patterns to show through:

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Since the hem on this shirt isn’t as long as it used to be, I next had to decide whether to tuck or untuck.  The relatively similar length of the button down and the cardigan answered that for me – I’d much rather have a visual contrast between hem lengths than have them line up in a way that cuts me off:

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Well, then, of course the high waist drew attention to itself and looked funny with no belt.  Out came my trusty leopard belt – a print that functions like a neutral:

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A little less of a closeup:

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Last but not least, metallic bronze flats that would pick up the warm browns in the belt and the shiny gold of the cardigan buttons; and striped socks with all the constituent colors represented (a feat that makes me ridiculously happy):

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That’s a lot of sock showing.

 

So what do y’all think of my high-tide, pattern-mixing homage to Urkel – is it “No sweat, my pet”?  Or more along the lines of “Got any cheeeeeeese”?

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Scroll down to comment!

 

Thrift Finds: September & October

So, these past two months were fruitful at the thrift store.  In fact they were so fruitful that you’d be forgiven for thinking I no longer have an “edited”/”minimalist” closet.  But – surprise! – I also gave away a fair number of things and am still at my self-defined acceptable number of hangers….except for two areas: blazers and pants.

For blazers, I’ve been looking to cross a “statement” blazer off my list, and in exchange for the two I’m trying out

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Snakeskin by Isaac Mizrahi Live!; Plaid by Merona

…I may give up my camel blazer.  It goes with everything but in a way that involves a large swath of what is basically untextured tan – blah.  (And we know how I feel about the necessity of texture or at the very least visual interest.) I do love the contrast lining on the camel blazer but that’s about the only interesting detail on this sucker.  And and, I think the plaid being a size smaller is a better fit than the camel. So I’m sitting on it but it’ll probably get donated and free up some space by the end of the month. <– already in the donation bag

Speaking of texture, my pants drawer is noticeably more full than last time I showed it off (left), and I blame corduroy:

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The photo on the right doesn’t even include the wine cords below which are at the tailor’s. Sheesh.

These two in particular are culprits, having joined the ranks this past month:

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Wine-colored cords by Style & Co.; “Scotch pine” cords by Jessica Simpson

Also joining in the pants department:
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Banana Republic jeans – more on them next week.  Flares, I know!

Here’s a luscious two-texture Joan Vass Studio sweater I wrote more about here and here:

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Still loving this and wearing it regularly.

 

And new (to me) Pumas!

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Also more on them later this week.

And although I just pooh-poohed camel earlier in this post, I did pick up a camel skirt I’d been looking for. I don’t think it made it to a thrift list but it’s been in the back of my mind ever since I got rid of this one – quick recap, I knew I wouldn’t be excited to wear the winter-weight skirt I donated, but I can definitely rock this cotton-based one in fall/spring/summer:

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Pockets!  By Merona.

Looking forward to pairing it with button downs and popovers and maybe even a turtleneck or two! Wild.

 

And throwing it back to a thrift list hole from spring (which was unsatisfactorily filled by this silk first attempt), a blue sheath dress by Ann Taylor:

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Isn’t it lovely? I dig the color and I LOVE the neck; the neckline and the little chain detail at the waist bring some interest without making it overly showy.  It also fits like a glove and is the perfect length.  Can’t wait to wear it (this fall mayyyyybe? If not, definitely spring) and give you better pictures.

In the same outing I found this Virgina Hill shirt dress – after a long drought, apparently it was raining blue dresses:

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Excited about the shirt dress nature of it – it’s basically a dress version of the blouse silhouette I dig.  I also love the gorgeous color and the 3/4 length sleeves (my fave).  The length is a little short for my work/church wardrobe. Since I don’t often wear dresses casually and work/church is 85% of my wardrobe, though, I’m going to have to find a way to wear it regularly – maybe with leggings or maybe out on dates. Thoughts?

And last but not least, by Chico’s – another spring/summer find, inspired by this top I pinned from A Pair and a Spare:
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It’s a popover tunic (my fave!) and has a gorgeous Delft color palette going on.  Now I just have to be patient for several months (or some surprise tropical vacation?) until it’s time to wear it.

 

And now, the rejects!

Mulberry stretch skirt by femme with a cute back zipper detail – love the stretch but it was too tight.

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Textured blazer by… Liz Claiborne I think? Love the texture in there but you can see how big the arms were on me by the funky little pooch on the upper left arm – excess fabric is the culprit:

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Faded Glory 3/4 sleeve striped Henley – loved the colors, the length, and the sleeve, but the buttons made it too casual for my work wardrobe and the pilling made it too lo-fi for my wardrobe, period.  What it taught me, though, was that some tan/gold-ish stripes on cream would work well with the cords-and-blazers look I’m reveling in this fall:

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Oh ps it’s kinda sheer.  Or you just shouldn’t try on your shirts with a darker bra than you plan to wear it with in real life.

 

This was an attempt to carry the cream/tan stripe thing into another shirt, but this shirt – I can’t remember the brand – is definitely too small:

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I love the short hem and gold buttons on this acrylic number from the 80s – it’s very Golden Girls, and would go great over dresses (as modeled below). Aren’t those pockets sassy?  But it had a stain and was too big for me in the shoulders, so back on the rack it goes to be picked up by some deserving bridge-playing lady who needs it for a luncheon out and has better stain-lifting powers than I:
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I loved this top by Pleione (a new-to-me, mid-range Nordstrom brand).  It’s a neutral take on leopard, has an unusual pleat in the middle that gives it good drape and a little swing, and an open collar.  It was too big for me and the drape is not my style, but I think it’d be perfect for Anna from The Anna Edit (basically this plus this):
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Showing off the pleat; a straight-hanging view is on my Instagram.

 

Loved the print on this shirt dress, but body-hugging much??  I think I could make it work if my style was a loooot sexier:
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Loved the diagonal seam on the front of this sweater by Quinn, and the color – but it was sheer and didn’t seem to be high quality, so nope:
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I loved the color on this and the interesting pattern, plus the split t-shirt hem is a great detail.  But it was getting a little close to a tribal motif, it hit me funny in the mid-section (pic on left) and was too tight in the chest (pic on right):

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This great popover tunic by Tiny was, in fact, tiny.  Love the colors, the length, and the pattern (possibly also tribal? I feel like this is a minefield since you don’t know what’s problematic until you know it is) but I am literally holding the top closed over by bosom:
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My favorite kind of business shirt – popover tunic, with great buttons, color detail, and 3/4 length sleeves! – by Express, I think? (Y’all, I’m bad at getting brands on items I’m trying on!) But it was too tight in the midriff as you can tell from the telltale navel dimple shadow just below the placket – like a donut:

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That’s it for this roundup.  What have you thrifted/skipped lately?  Scroll down to comment!

 

A Tale of Two Statement Blazers

One of the things on my fall wardrobe thrift list was a statement blazer.  My inspiration for a statement jacket was this toreador bolero number festooned with ribbons, and – surprise – I have yet to come across anything approaching that amazingness.  Instead I have found both a snakeskin print and a plaid in unexpected colors:

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Snakeskin: Isaac Mizrahi Live! (Why does that sound like a talk show? – Googles… – turns out it’s a QVC brand.  Aha.)
Plaid: Merona – It’s the same blazer I own in camel but a size smaller, which I think is actually a better fit.

The first one feels like something a Jersey snowbird would wear to the casino, while the second gives off the vibe of a school blazer featuring oddly chosen spirit colors.  Or maybe your grandpa’s sport coat ca. 1973:

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Why yes, that’s orange, pink, and green all competing on a blue background.

I think I’m more into the ugly-chic of the second one, particularly since it adds more color to my closet than the snakeskin version (see this post on needing more color in my neutral-heavy fall/winter wardrobe).  Although I don’t own any pink of the variety featured in the plaid (or any orange – at all), I DO have that snazzy green in pants!  And I definitely have lots of that blue.  I’m excited to experiment and see how it wears with the rest of  my wardrobe.

The snakeskin version is meant to be kind of a neutral topper vis-a-vis my blue and grey turtlenecks and blue/grey/colorful pants.  (If leopard can be a neutral, so can snakeskin, darnit!)  I’m not sold yet, though: it’s suuuuper soft in that unstructured blazer way I love, but the area where the side seams meet the hem pooches out a little bit (you can kind of see it in the picture) and I can’t decide if getting it tailored will be worth it.  Does anyone have an idea of how expensive that would be?  Currently the seam doesn’t continue all the way into the hem so I think it will involve more Frankensteining than I care to pay for.

 

What do you think of these “statement” blazers?  Do you own any bold, printed jackets like this, and if so, how do you style them?  If not, may I suggest the thrift store as a great way to inexpensively try out the concept?  They always have a wide range of options, from subtly interesting to downright wacky depending on how crazy you want to get.

 

PS Click here to take the ThriftShop Chic Reader Survey and help improve your blog experience!  Under 10 questions in less than 2 minutes.  Thanks!

 

Thrifting Trends: Pantone “Evergreen”

I’ve mentioned before that I like browsing my boss’s Talbots catalogue for inspiration – go ahead, judge me.  One of the colors they featured this fall caught my eye in this corduroy pant.  Talbots calls the color “Scotch Pine,” which is a great name – and I am a sucker for well-named colors. But basically it’s just their take on Pantone’s Evergreen, one of the colors they’ve selected for fall/winter 2016-17. (For the record I like Talbot’s version better, but it might just be the depth added by the corduroy.)

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Pantone Evergreen; Talbots Scotch Pine

As mentioned above, I really dug how luscious this color looked in corduroy; since there is nary a green in my wardrobe color palette, though, I had resigned myself to admiring it from afar. But when I tried out adding color to my wardrobe via pants, which didn’t require much matching elsewhere, I realized I wanted to do it more. And why shouldn’t I give Evergreen/Scotch Pine (or its thrifted equivalent) a try?

So last time I went thrifting I made a quick run down the pants racks to see if there were any evergreen-ish pants hanging around.  It can be a bit tricky to find Pantone colors of the year/season in the thrift store since retailers are still peddling the new hues in stores.  But even though Pantone likes to make us think they invented the color wheel, the truth is these colors (or ones very similar) have made the fashion rounds before, as evidenced by the kaleidoscope of colors at your local thrift shop.

I had already spotted two great blazers in a serviceable Scotch Pine on a previous trip:

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I think Talbots called this “Hunter Green” last time it made the rounds.

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Blazer with contrast lining by Merona; I own the same one in camel.

This time around I found an overcoat by Forecaster of Boston (Made in USA) – apologies for the blurry photos!

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Wouldn’t a coat in this color make a smashing statement?

And in the pants section, I spotted these M Missoni pants (retail $300+ !!) whose color did not photograph well but was close to this:

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The M Missoni were alas, too small – and also rather lightweight.

But then I found Jessica Simpson cords (retail $59) that were just the right color, weight, and cut – if a little low in rise.  Lowrise waists, you are so tiresome.

Love this slim leg that keeps from veering entirely into skinny territory (and Holy Mirror Smudges, Batman):

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I’m bringing window cleaner and a rag to the Goodwill next trip.

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Here are some eBay photos of the same pants if you wish to view sans mirror smudges.

For $6, they came home with me so I can experiment with this color. I don’t know if I’ll love it or leave it, but this will definitely be a fun, affordable way to find out!  And lesson learned – don’t be afraid to look for current trends at the thrift store!

 

What trends have you had success thrifting while they’re still in retail stores? Flares come to mind as another surefire find these days…