Thrift Finds: August 2017

Most of August was spent getting ready to move and then moving. But – I know you’re shocked – I managed to fit some thrifting in there anyway!

Check out the decor and lamp shades I thrifted in August to help stage our house here.

And now for the clothes.

Floral cotton popover blouse by Old Navy
Y’all know me and my love for popover blouses:

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I’ve been looking for something with palm fronds, which has proven surprisingly tricky to find with a navy background instead of black. This one is like…a chic version of a Hawai’ian shirt. It’s also beautifully lightweight for those truly hot days. I’m in.

PS For those keeping score at home, yes I did have another tropical popover in blue, which I loved, but which was a tad too tight on the chest/shoulders. Aaaaand I also had another navy floral blouse – one which was less vacation-y printwise, but with a flowy cut that just looked sloppy on me. So when the Old Navy number came along with its perfect fit, I heard the universe telling me to let go of the other two less-than-greats.

You are the weakest link(s). Goodbye:

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I am pretty sad about losing that awesome tropical print/color scheme. Sigh.

 

Plaid cotton popover blouse by Kenar:
Another cotton popover blouse – are we detecting a pattern here (pun intended)?

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I had been pulled toward a similar white-on-blue windowpane plaid popover before, one that didn’t fit so well:

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Another reason for rejecting that earlier edition was that it was too casual for work and I already had a plaid weekend shirt. But since moving to the Northeast, I’ve found that work attire (at least in my office) is quite a bit more laid back. The good fit on the new find makes it sleek enough for work while the plaid keeps it kickin’ for the weekend:

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Plaid shirt: Kenar – thrifted
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted

Next up, the Paige jeans that were miraculously left waiting for me in the fitting room at the Goodwill. I’m wearing them in the picture above as well as here:

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Vest: Savile Row Co. – thrifted
Shirt from my alma mater, retail
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted
Bag: Marco Avané – thrifted

Paige jeans, for those unfamiliar, are made in the USA and retail for around $200. BIG SCORE. These Skyline Skinnies were like new and fit me perfectly – no belt needed, which is a big plus in my book.  I’ll just have to adjust to having a second pair of jeans in my wardrobe… but with a cold climate and a casual office I imagine they’ll come in handy!

PS Yes I know skinny jeans are not really the hot new thing these days… since I tend to lag behind in trends (see: how long it took me to adopt skinnies in the first place), I’ll probably be wearing cropped mom jeans in about 2-3 years. You’ve been warned.

Mercer & Mason white blazer, new with tags
I’m digging the long, lean lapels on this blazer and the warmth it provides on brisk early mornings/late evenings here in New England:

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At no loss for blazers, I had pretty much decided I didn’t need a white one until I wore my white denim jacket to a wedding and felt under-dressed. This TJ Maxx brand features decent quality fabric and the lining keeps it toasty – linings were often problematic in Atlanta for this reason but are ideal here! The slightly off-white color will go with everything without washing me out (I hope – pasty white winter skin may yet prevail).


Olive faux suede ankle boots by Leila Stone
I know these don’t look terribly olive in these pictures, but they’re definitely on the green side of taupe.

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I’m calling these an impulse buy despite the fact that two or three days passed between when I first spotted them and when I bought them. I loved the subtle touch of color (it’s hard to find ankle boots that aren’t black/grey/brown), the asymmetrical “cuff” for lack of a better term, and the sassy little tassels on the zipper pull (although I wish the hardware was gold, but that’s my inner magpie speaking). They have my favorite toe shape – halfway between pointed and round – and the wood-like heel also appealed. It plays well with my wardrobe, unlike the other common option for heels, which is black. And they’re my size, hurrah!

But….

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…there’s a reason they had been donated to Goodwill. These shoes are faux suede, and judging by the tear in the fabric near the zipper, not high quality faux suede. Other evidence they are not well made, or else that they are very well worn, include wear spots near the toe and the heel on that same side (which luckily is the inside of the shoe, but it will still show).  And the heel is really too high for my personal comfort.

So why did I buy them? Mostly as a stop gap. As soon as I saw these, I started dreaming up all the delicious fall outfits they would complete, and I went looking online for something higher quality (and, most likely, retail). After spending an hour or two perusing different options, I realized that this was madness; I already had ankle boots I love, I was about to move and didn’t need to spend $100+ on new boots, and life would go on without my having a pair of olive shoes to make all my wardrobe dreams come true.  So to stop myself from pulling the trigger on something expensive and unnecessary, I spent $6 on these and told myself I could sew up the rip, my micro commute could survive the higher heel, and they’ll be fun while they last.

So now let’s see if I get any use out of them or just enjoy how they look on my shelf!

 

Last but not least, I thrifted a file organizer for my new office and a slew of hideous yet functional Laura Ashley thank-you notes which I have liberally sprinkled amongst my wonderfully generous and thoughtful congregation. And a couple of decorative pillows I have yet to convince the spouse are aesthetically pleasing. (To be fair, he was the one who started the throw pillow conversation…)

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Right??? I like them too. $17 on Etsy; jacked up to $40 retail; $4 at the thrift store. BAM.

I also thrifted a goodly fall wardrobe for the child, which I will post separately.

 

So, your turn. What did you thrift this past month? Have you ever bought something ridiculous and/or crappy to stop yourself from spending a lot more money on a higher quality version? Or do you have way more self-discipline than I?

 

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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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: Rainy Day Wherein I Fail at Button Downs Under Sweaters

This is what I wore to church yesterday.  Can you tell it was a rainy day?  (Hence the indoor photos and strong overhead light.)

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Plaid button down by Japna – thrifted
Blue sweater by Loft – thrifted
Blazer by Cartonnier – thrifted
Cream corduroys by Lauren by Ralph Lauren – thrifted new with tags, then tailored from a wide leg to a slim leg
Rain boots – thrifted, no label

I was, in theory, happy with this outfit.  I started it out (in my head) with these rain boots, knowing I would be corralling a small person in mucky, wet weather:

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This is the closest I own to riding boots.  Ha.

I wanted to pick up the pink, the light blue, and the dark navy, and this button down and sweater did the trick:

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My pink/blue marled Cartonnier blazer was the obvious topper.  (And I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to wear it this season – because these ain’t exactly wintry hues.)  Close up on the colors/patterns:

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The cream corduroys provided some nice neutral real estate between all the color and pattern on top and in the boots.  Navy pants would have worked, too.

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So here’s the problem: in theory, I love the idea of a button down underneath a sweater.  It seems so chic – little pops of pattern at the cuffs, neckline, and hem to contrast with a solid (or even not-so-solid) swath of sweater.  And the warmth!

But in reality, this pairing drives me nuts.  The button down never lays properly under the sweater (see all pics above except the first one, which I made my spouse retake for the sake of my vanity).  It looks lumpy and pointy and things pop out in unfortunate places. And even though this plaid shirt is decently long, I’m forever tugging at the hem to make sure it’s peeking sufficiently chic-ly below the sweater.

In short, this combination looks chic on Talbots models and in my head, but NOT on me.  Even this combo had to be pulled and adjusted all day, and flattened for this photo (and some button or other pointy part still looks mysteriously like an errant nipple):

 

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

Enlighten me, readers!  There have to be some of you out there who wear this look with aplomb and nary a stray scrunch.  What’s your secret?  Is my sweater too thin (it’s a thin cotton knit)?  Do I need to wash and dry it to shrink it up a bit or iron it before each wearing to get that smooth look?  Is my button down shirt not long enough or form-fitting enough?  Do you secretly safety pin or tape the whole thing in place??

 

Scroll down to comment – and don’t be afraid to wear rain boots as legit footwear, especially since there are so many fun patterns and chic styles to be found in the thrift store:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

 

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!

 

Travel Wardrobe: Chicago Sightseeing & Lake Michigan Dunes

Ahhh, two of my favorite places: downtown Chicago and the Michigan dunes.

Last week we took time out to visit family and celebrate our anniversary, and although we had access to laundry (thanks Mom & Dad!), I wanted to pack light and bring versatile pieces that could do double duty for sightseeing in the city and the beach.  I also wanted things that could layer since the weather was about to take a dip into cooler temps – real fall!  (Although sadly the trees were all still green because that part of the Midwest has had such a warm late summer/early autumn.) Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Chicago Sightseeing & Lake Michigan Dunes”

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.)

Enjoy!

 

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:

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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:

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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

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Old Navy – thrifted

 

 

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

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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”

Print Mixing 101

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On Tuesday (LINK) I talked about where to put your prints, arguing that the simplest way to a streamlined closet was to pick just one place for your patterns.

Where’s the fun in that, you say??

Well, if you’re a print lover (or you want to be), this post is for you.

Tips for Mixing Prints (from dipping a toe in to daring)

  • Mix subtle and bold. As mentioned Tuesday, a pinstripe, tiny polkadot, glen paid, very faded/light print, or even a seersucker stripe will read neutral when paired with a larger, bolder print.

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

  • Use texture as a print.  Like the subtle prints mentioned above, lace, tweed, cable knit, etc. all walk the line between full-blown pattern and solid and will help ease you into the world of print mixing.

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

  • Break it up. Use a wide, solid belt or a color-block top with solid on the bottom and pattern up top to create visual interest without visual overload. My favorite way to do this is with fun shoes on the bottom, a solid pant, and a printed top:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

  • Stay in the same color family. If the main background colors of your prints are pretty close, it’ll read as a variation on a theme instead of competing narratives. Likewise, think about whether your prints are generally the same warmth/coolness* or saturation – layering neons over rich autumnal colors is just gonna make everyone queasy.
    (Check out these two Into Mind posts for an intro to color theory – e.g. what the heck is saturation? – and examples of harmonious color palettes for your wardrobe.)

Ps #printmixing ftw

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

  • Mix two different genres. Floral + stripe.  Stripe + animal. Polkadot + tweed.  Monochrome check + bold cartoon colors.

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


Speaking of monochrome…

  • Black & white + color. There’s enough of a contrast between black-and-white and colors that our eyes tend to read them as background + foreground (or vice versa).  For your colors, stick to bold and bright, more saturated hues if you don’t want to muddy things up (i.e. navy is probably not a great idea here, nor are super-soft pastels, unless you tone down the black in your monochrome to a correspondingly soft grey).
    I have very little black in my wardrobe so I have no outfit examples to show you, but the graphic at the top of the post is a good illustration of how well this works.

 

 

What are your tips for mixing prints?  Do you love to live on the leopard/zebra/tiger stripe wild side, or are you print-mixing shy?

 

*Apologies to artists everywhere.  Saying more blue/yellow/red instead of warmer/cooler is pretty confusing for us non-artists.

 

Friday Thrift Camaraderie

I met a gentleman at the thrift store recently who caught my attention when I accidentally thought he was asking me a question.  (I just assume strangers will speak to each other at thrift stores—it’s one of the nice things about the communal space thrifting creates).

Turns out he was just talking out loud to himself, but he took the opportunity to share his conversation with me.

“Is this too loud?”  (holds up a white shirt with orange/pink/green plaid striped over it, similar to below but with a lot more white/no blue:)

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 (edited for excessive male model brooding)

He continues: “I mean, I wear bright colors—this (points to a faded mauve madras shirt) is pretty tame for me.”

“I think it’s great,” I respond, “It’ll bring a pop of color without blinding anyone.”

“You think?  Good.  I hate being boring at work.”

 

This is thrifting camaraderie at its best: encouraging someone to live into their own style even when it’s a bit outside the norm.

Plus, who doesn’t love seeing masculine types wearing something besides a plain ol’ blue dress shirt?  (This is why the spouse has a purple/red/teal plaid shirt in his closet…)

 

What’s your latest/favorite thrifting camaraderie experience?  Do you talk to strangers (or solicit their advice) in thrift stores?  Or does it totally rub you the wrong way?

 

Happy Weekend, Thrifters!