What I Wore: Liturgically Appropriate Advent Wear

Warning: this post contains liturgical nerdiness in the extreme.

This past Sunday was the third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete (Latin for “rejoice”) Sunday. In many Catholic and Protestant traditions, the candles on the Advent wreath – one lit for each Sunday leading up to Christmas – are all purple except for the one representing joy this Sunday, which is rose.

(Many other Protestant and a minority of Catholic churches [since it’s illegal under Catholic law] use a color called Sarum blue, derived from the liturgical palette of Salisbury cathedral, for all of Advent.  The idea is that since purple is the color used for Lent, a penitentiary season, something different and more joyful should be used for Advent.  But old schoolers reply that this is 1) liturgical wishful thinking and/or 2) that Advent IS penitential in some ways as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child into a beautiful but messed up world.  As I promised – definitely more than you cared to know.)

Anyway, Episcopalian and Catholic clergy get to rock some pretty rad vestments on this day:

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My dear friend Sarah (2nd from right) at her former parish rocking the rose vestments.  (Butterfly headpiece optional.)  Source.

 

Sadly the only thing I own in this hue is strictly for warm weather.  But I did try to communicate some joy with the blush pink in this sweater:

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Sweater: Forever 21, thrifted
Corduroy pants: Banana Republic, thrifted

Snakeskin print ankle boots: Lucky Brand, gifted to me by my sister
Necklace: DIYed from Goodwill finds
Cuff: heirloom from my grandma

 

Close up on the very, very faint blush pink in the sweater:

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Pretty lousy attempt at a joy-filled color, no?  So I stuck these fun socks down below, which are both closer in hue to “rose” and make me smile every time I wear them, particularly so in cold weather:

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Socks: Target

Now that you are equipped with obscure trivia for sherry hour at the rectory, scroll down and tell me about the last time you dressed in a particular color for an event.

This post brought to you by the Vicar of Dibley, whom I sure has rose vestments somewhere…

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…and who would invite you over for scotch, not sherry.

 

What I Wore and How I Styled It: Snow Leopard + Wine and Navy

This weekend the morning temperature dipped down below 50 for the first time, so I went looking for a cozy ensemble for church/work.  I often wear something to church on Sunday AM and then redo it for work on Monday since I don’t wear my church clothes hard and the only person who will see me sporting the exact same outfit is my spouse. I figure if an ensemble worked once, I should milk it for all it’s worth, no?  (Fun fact: the first picture is from this morning and the rest are from yesterday.)

Pants: My wine-colored cords were freshly back from the tailors, where they had gone for a little nipping in around the waist, and I was itching to wear them.

Top: It was cold enough for a proper sweater on top so I opened my sweater drawer to see what looked inviting.  Light blue sweater – too lightweight.  Pink/grey/white sweater – wrong color palette; the wine would drown out the blush pink and soft grey.  But the off-white with snow leopard sleeves?  Yes ma’am.

Shoes: I grabbed my dark grey/white snakeskin ankle boots to echo the off-white/grey palette of my sweater and add some interest, and we were in business:

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Sweater: French Connetion, thrifted
Pants: Style & Co., thrifted and tailored
Boots: Lucky Brand, gift from my sister
Necklace: DIY from Goodwill parts
Blazer (blazer): Haberdashery Collection by Personal, thrifted

Jewelry: I wore cream-colored earrings to complement the sweater and boots.  Did it need a necklace?  Not necessarily, but it would dress up the soft textures a bit.  The pendant with a stylized flower fit better with stylized flower earrings than my large “stone” pendant, so that’s what I chose:

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Note: This is about 20 minutes after pulling it out of the drawer where it had sat, more or less Kondo-folded, since last year.  Not bad wrinkle-wise, eh?

Socks: Since these cords went in for a trim up, they sit where they should on my waist…

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Ahh, fit so much improved!

…which means the short legs are now really short and expose some ankle above the top of my boots.  So I put on my thickest wool socks to give a cozy, chunky little layer there and keep my ankles warm:

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Blazer: Last but not least, I had no idea if I’d be chasing my kid outside for half the service, so I went looking for a topper.  With so much pattern going all already (including the texture of the sweater), my all-navy blazer was a nice neutral option.  Plus the saturation/temperature of the color played really well with the color of the corduroys:

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Initially I cuffed the sleeves because it gives blazers a fresh, modern look – but my sweater arms were long enough to peek out from underneath the blazer sleeves uncuffed and I liked that contrast, so I unrolled ’em.

Ta-da!

What’d y’all wear this weekend?  Do you ever redo an outfit from one day to the next when you know you’ll be in a different context with a different audience?

 

 

What I Wore: Adding Color to a Neutral-Heavy Wardrobe

adding-colorMy summer wardrobe has lots of corals, tomato reds, teals, and a dash of cerulean that liven up some neutral pants and dresses.  My winter wardrobe, though?  It’s a pretty stark assemblage of creams, greys, and navies with a tiny touch of blush pink and gold.  I have an open closet and staring at all those neutral cold weather clothes lined up every time I passed was starting to make me feel a little too Ice Queen.

My first thought was to get some red shoes to warm things up.  Because red shoes are SASSY.  They are bold and fun and insouciant and they completely change the tenor of a wardrobe.  And red – either a solid bright red or a darker oxblood variant – would be the perfect winter version of the corals and tomatoes so prominent in my summer closet.

Well, shoes are a bit harder to thrift than other things, partly because our feet come in so many different sizes and partly because I personally have AAA narrow feet and need an arch.  So it’s a rare affair to find thrifted shoes that fit and are comfy, and ankle boots (the style I had in mind) are even harder to come by – as a still-current trend they haven’t really made it to the thrift sales floor en masse yet. (These Sam Edelman suede beauties aside.  I’m still sad they were too big for me.)

I thought for awhile about buying a new pair retail, which is how I have gotten a few pairs of my shoes – either as gifts or bought with my own hard cash – because I care that much about having comfortable, well-shod feet.

But then I started thinking there had to be a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to bring some color into my wardrobe.  I realized I already owned nail polish in oxblood that I LOVE and could easily sport on days when I’m feeling too neutral.  I also already had a scarf in the neighborhood of cranberry and with some gold and coral accents that would make it interesting and translatable to other parts of my wardrobe.  So far I hadn’t spent a cent and my closet already had more life!

I was still hoping for an actual piece of clothing, though, so I thought about thrifting for a turtleneck or thin sweater in burgundy/cranberry/oxblood.  But I was a little wary of wearing the color near my face since it’s pretty robust for my skin tone.

Then I nabbed the Talbots catalogue that comes to my boss at work and spent my lunch flipping through it for inspiration.  (I feel like Talbots is about half twee and half dead ringer for my style…so this little habit is a half-guilty pleasure.)  The color and texture of this “rum raisin” skirt fell in the dead ringer category and I made a mental note that that hue would work as a great “red” for fall/winter.

Lo and behold, the very next Saturday I had a chance to go to my local Goodwill and flip through the pants racks for something similar.  I found American Eagle Outfitters jeggings (great fit, too casual for work), Talbots cords in a spectacular flame red-orange (my size but didn’t fit and too intense), and some Style & Co. cords in a slightly redder, less purple cast of “rum raisin.”  They were a size larger than my normal and marked “P,” but something told me to try them on anyway.

They fit!  Well, they fit in the waist and had a nice high rise, although a belt may be necessary; but they are too short in the leg for my normal taste.  HOWEVER they are the perfect length for wearing with ankle boots without having to cuff/tuck/overlap:

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I also picked up this Joan Vass top which is a perfect fit for my wardrobe for reasons I’ll write about next week.  This outfit would have read a lot more neutral/monochrome with grey pants or cream pants, but instead the red changes things up completely.  It’s able to bring a little fall to those green green trees you see in the background…10 days into October.  Not complaining though!

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Giving the photographer that “quit making me do weird facial expressions” look.

The split hem draws attention to the two colors playing off each other:

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Which I gotta do whenever I can since even my necklaces are neutral:

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Top: Joan Vass Studio, thrifted
Pants: Style & Co., thrifted
Ankle boots: Lucky Brand, Christmas gift
Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts

 

That’s the saga of adding some color to my neutral-heavy winter wardrobe – and for now, I think it’s enough.  I can’t wait to pair these pants with almost infinite top/cardigan combinations since they will all work together.  I’m looking forward to painting the nails when it gets well and truly cold – that color’s a little dramatic for fall.  And I’m excited to try that scarf out with my white sheath dress – or what else?  Scroll down with suggestions!

If you’d like some more ideas about adding color to your neutral closet, check out this series (link goes to the oldest in the series) and this series (link goes to the newest post in series) over at The Vivienne Files.  I hope my post convinces you that you don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff (thrifted or not) to enliven your wardrobe; Janice’s visual magic might help you envision how one or two pieces could make what you already have really pop.

 

If you have a neutral-heavy wardrobe, do you ever feel the desire for some COLOR?  If so, how do you mix it in?

 

 

What I Wore & My Secret Weapon for Keeping My Wardrobe Focused

A quick What I Wore from our long weekend here in the states:

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I don’t typically wear necklaces over button-downs, but it seemed to work here – something about the delicate nature of the necklace and the way the leopard pattern broke up the strong lines of the shirt:

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Speaking of leopard, turns out I do own a leopard-print top…but in such a subtle, almost gentle color combo that it still does not solve my leopard conundrum.  (More on this later in the month.)

Top: Forever 21, thrifted
Pants: Banana Republic, thrifted
Sandals: Clarks, gift from family
Necklace, earrings: DIYed from thrifted parts

 

And now, as advertised, my secret weapon for keeping my wardrobe in hand.
Continue reading “What I Wore & My Secret Weapon for Keeping My Wardrobe Focused”

A DIY / Thrifted Statement Pendant Necklace

Pendants are one of my favorite kinds of necklaces because that dangling pop of jewelry is dramatic and fun; the length also handily draws your eyes down the entirety of the outfit and won’t crowd your face/neckline.

Luckily for us, pendants are also the easiest kind of necklace to DIY, because you can pop a few beads and baubles together, slip it on a chain you already own, and BAM!  You’re ready to go.  That same chain can be used to showcase different pendants depending on your outfit and your mood.

You can thrift the chain, of course, but you can also thrift the components of the pendant. I did one here that I’ve been wearing a lot this spring, and today I’m going to show you another one I recently created for the winter wardrobe I’ve been revamping this summer – but surprise, it works great for summer, too!

Click through to see what I made and general guidelines for making your own thrifted/DIY pendant. Continue reading “A DIY / Thrifted Statement Pendant Necklace”

What I Wore: First Day of Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring.  Oddly enough, it was the epitome of a blustery March day up North rather than the milder version usually experienced here in the South. (It’s been in the high 70s/low 80s the last few weeks.)  I layered up for church using a duster over a blouse on top of my favorite pants—so worn in and comfy and yet so bright.  A necklace with some fun pattern + sunglasses in the exact same accent red as the pants topped it all off.

Bonus tip: I wore this outfit Thursday (see Instagram) minus the duster and it reads as a completely different ensemble with the long, solid layer added on.

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Blouse: Merona, thrifted + tailored
Duster: J. by Jones New York, thrifted
Pants: Bandolino, thrifted
Necklace: bought from a street merchant in Washington, D.C.
Sunglasses: thrifted
Shoes: Trotters handed down from my mother-in-law, painted

How do you warm up your favorite outfits when it’s cooler than expected?  Any trusty piece you can throw on to completely change the look of your clothes?

Happy Spring, Thrifters!

 

 

Jewelry with a Purpose

A few weeks ago I wrote about retail companies with a conscience—places where your dollars go to a good cause as well as towards a beautiful bauble.  I mentioned Starfish Project and that I planned on supporting them in the near future.

Well, the future has arrived:

IMG_3201 IMG_3199Please excuse the banana my child wiped on my lower lapel two seconds before this picture was taken.

 

Isn’t it lovely?  It’s their Avery necklace and although it comes in a variety of colors, mine showed up a lovely purple.   I’d been wanting a long necklace to go with my winter capsule that was a little more lively than the thin-skim-milk bluish-white and blue of this necklace. (Seriously, I love the dangles I added on, but the large pendant disc colors are kind of sad in person.)

I perused Starfish Project’s selections, made by women who are rebuilding their lives after being caught up in human/sex trafficking, and this big ol’ hunk of crystalline rock caught my eye.  Equal parts chic and funky, right up my alley.

My friend and consultant in all things natural healing reminded me that amethyst is the stone of self-love, so some kind of meta double points there since that’s what Starfish Project is all about.

 

What do you think of my selection?  Does anything on their site catch your eye?  If you mostly stay away from retail, are you more likely to buy something from a company with a social mission?

Scroll down to comment!

 

 

PS I have yet to take on any kind of partnership, sponsorship, ads, or other $$ deals through this blog, so this necklace was not a gift from the company.  Disclaimer-y language and all that.

How She Wore It: Traveling in Style

My friend Caitlin was so enamored of the dress I passed on to her that she wore it on an epic multi-state road trip–and styled it to the nines!  Check out how she took an utterly comfortable dress and turned it into a chic and elegant textbook of how to Dress to Impress, Travel Edition:

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Glittery/metallic shoes, a jacket with structure, and a statement necklace take her outfit to the next level.  Caitlin, you nailed it!

What are your tricks for dressing up a casual outfit to stay comfy whilst getting down to business?  Scroll down to comment!