Thrift Finds: April 2018

April was good to me thrift-wise. Let’s do this chronologically.

First up, a trip to Savers in Framingham.

This denim button-down dress by one of the Gap companies (no tag at the neck but the RN number on the side tag goes with Gap co.s) was a great color and perfect sleeve length, but a leetle tight in the chest and short in the hem:

But then I realized I could wear it open, as a duster (one of my favorite lengths) for lightweight warmth and a great silhouette:

Can’t wait to wear it over grey trousers and a white blouse!

This coral dress gave me no shape – pass:

Some bermuda shorts that are perfectly Light Summer, which I bought but probably will rarely wear since Bermuda shorts aren’t my preferred short silhouette… turns out I still sometimes get swept away by a color palette match:


As always, take colors in photographs with a big ol’ grain of salt. For one thing, dressing room lighting is horrible.

Big winners on this trip – Clarks sandals in excellent condition:

They needed a quick damp cloth to get off dinge and dirt when I got home, and now they make perfect Sunday (church/work) warm weather footwear.

 

Next up, Restoration Project in Belmont.

This Marnie West top is vintage – I’d say late 80s/early 90s. The fitted silhouette (thanks to the bodice darts) makes a great contrast with the more voluminous sleeves:

The buttons are down the back.I brought it home but still haven’t decided how to wear it – probably with my linen blue Zara man jeans. Ideas?

 

Later in the month I made it to Sister Thrift where I found some great stuff (with a side of mini-celebrity, if you remember).

This striped dress was too small:

Not my style, and not great colors on me:

Two winners – a Gap striped shift dress and J. Brand jeans in the perfect casual stretch:

BAM.

A very quick stop into Global Thrift in Waltham where I really wish these Yoshi Kondo pants in perfect condition had fit – they had so many great details and they retail for something like $250:

Sigh.

Undeterred, I headed to the new Goodwill in Danvers to inspect their wares.

Fun moto blazer in a great color (I think it was Forever 21?):

But too small to zip without looking like a space-aged functionary:

Great color on this Talbots blazer that was also too wide/short for me:

Awesome vintage windbreaker by American Eagle – sort of wish I had bought it but it was in pretty rough shape in several places:

Love me a neck bow and the metallic accents on this top are totally fun, but my bra showing through isn’t:

These Express jeans had a finish that made them look dressier:

And the little slit on the inside hem gave them a little extra interest (sorry my feet are in focus instead of the pants):

Though I kind of wish they were on the outside, where other people can see them! They came home with me and will be my dressy jeans for Sunday mornings/the office. I love the visual texture of the fabric – makes them pair well with solid tops without being boring.

This Miami chambray top had a nice clean silhouette and fun contrast on the cuffs and collar (I failed to get a shot but will show you all later). It came home with me for the same reason as the pants – great texture in a neutral color to play with other solids. (Really drawing here on the advice I got about bulking up my wardrobe with neutrals so my Light Summer pieces can shine.)

I so wish these sandals had been my size – a great combination of light cognac and Light Summer colors:

This gingham shirt would have been a great Light Summer staple (and I love the floral collar lining) but alas, it wasn’t my size:

This tie-shoulder dress in a great, subtle print by Marled (a brand sold at Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus, dresses retail for $100+) would have been a fun silhouette for some summer barbecue/wedding situations, but it was too big in the bust. Wanh-wannnnh:

A Newport News (vintage?) dress I seriously considered – but ultimately decided the purple was too pink and the silhouette a little too fitted:

Could have been fun as a dress-over-pants look…

Last but not least, I finished up the month at a church rummage sale where the best finds weren’t even clothing.

Would make the cutest cup of tea ever:

I don’t know who thought to paint Michael Jackson on a matryoshka doll, but that person was a genius:

He gets younger as you go further inside:

Jackson Five days – the cutest:

I brought these two sweaters and pair of pants home in a $5 bag (the Duplos I snagged for my kid were more than worth that 5 bucks) but later decided nah.

Too fitted in the middle, too baggy in the sleeves, not sure about the color:

Too tight in the sleeves to wear over any under layers:

Gorgeous vintage Harvé Benard lined wool pants in a purple-y Light Summer neutral that fit if I planned to never eat again:

And also if I wanted to wear all my sweaters tucked in. Love that silhouette; don’t love being cut off in the middle. Sigh.

 

There ya have it! What do you think of my finds – and what did you find this past month?

Thrift Finds: March 2018

Long time no see, Thrifters! You know it’s been awhile when my last post was also thrift finds… from a month ago.

I’ve been happily busy with work (Lent, Holy Week) and thus away from the blog. To jump back in, I thought about doing the Spring 10×10 (click here to read about what a 10×10 is) but it was scheduled to start on Good Friday (hello people, busiest time of year for a pastor!) and also it snowed yesterday. So nope.

But I did have some good March thrift finds and I would love to share them with you all. I’ll classify them by thrift excursion so I can keep track of what’s what. Here we go!

First up: Global Thrift in Waltham.
I did a quick run through just before closing and didn’t find anything I wanted to try, but did find a gorgeous J. Crew linen dress in a Light Summer coral not remotely my size:

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Wanh wannnnhhhhh.

Here’s another Light Summer number in the weird college-student-party-dress length that always cuts off people’s legs while simultaneously threatening to show their assets:

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Why do people wear such short hems?! #rantover

 

Next up, the Goodwill in Seabrook, NH on the way to visit my inlaws. I have one complaint against New Hampshire Goodwills: they sell a bunch of new stuff alongside the secondhand things, and while this is handy when I want to buy underwear or socks and still support a non-profit, it just kind of spoils the feel for me. Plus the way they display it sometimes makes it hard to distinguish between new and not; the new stuff is usually cheaply made; and I didn’t find good undies this time.  #rantnumber2over

Nope on this cable-knit sweater – the overly bright white and the cheap quality overrode my love of cowl necks:

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Too small:

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This pleated dress with attached camisole-like liner actually looks better in retrospect than it did in the dressing room – it was a bit baggy on:

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Great colors on the stripes; wonky neck:

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Despite the picture which makes it look sort of milk-chocolatey, this NY & Co. blazer was the exact right brown for Light Summer. Too bad it was so baggy in the chest/armpit area!
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These two t-shirts came home with me as they were simple but with details that added a twist. Ralph Lauren Jeans is on the left; on the right is No Boundaries (a Walmart brand that almost never passes the quality test, but this one did).

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Despite the awful lighting, both are good Light Summer colors. You can see the yellow shirt (which is a tad big and looks better under a blazer) featured in my Easter outfit:

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Those pants, btw, are also a new-to-me find off of eBay – they arrived on Good Friday so it seemed clear the universe wanted me to wear them on Easter. More about them in a post to come.

Last but not least from Goodwill, this cheeky little shirt by Express which is also super comfortable. Pretty sure I can’t wear this to work so it will be my leisure shirt (or I can wear it under a blazer to look like I’m in on the shirts-with-words trend while obscuring the actual words).

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A quick Saturday-before-Palm Sunday visit to the Garment District to rent a donkey costume:

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I hadn’t been here in about 15 years… last time I was a college student on a budget, digging through the pay-by-the-pound section:

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I’ve since graduate to the racks, where I found some great patterns…

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…and consignment store prices. I tried on three Light Summer finds.

I’m on the hunt for a chambray dress, but this one was too baggy, and for the prices I wanted something just right:

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A yellow cashmere(!) Lord & Taylor sweater that was great except for being too short – when I raised my arms, out came the midriff: IMG_20180323_121255582

And a pink top in which I absolutely swam:

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Last but not least, a quick stop into Restoration Project in Belmont. This is a small store supporting a non-profit that trains adolescents & adults with brain disorders and injuries in the furniture restoration trade; as you might imagine, they have a great selection of furniture. So it’s already a great cause; and somehow, unlike many other small stores linked to deserving local charities that end up with a hodge podge of meh selections, this store is packed full of modern, fresh, quality finds. I buy something every single time I stop in, and often come home with a new closet favorite.

This time:

Nope – great rise on these Kancan jeans but sausage calves down below:

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Practically no-rise on these otherwise great white jeans (insert rant number 3 about lowrise pants – and get off my lawn!):

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Such a fun, mermaid-y look in great Light Summer colors…

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…that was too big. Plus the yoke was a dingy, cheap-looking white:

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The colors on this silk Ann Taylor button down were glorious, but it was a size too big (fixed by a tie in the front) and had a few snags. What do you think – should I have bought it and styled it thus?

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This Eva Mendes skirt is pretty awesome in terms of feel – very lush – and architectural detailing. I love the built-in belt for definition:

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But it was at least a size (maybe 2?) too small.

Here are some shorts that hit me in all the wrong places and are way too baggy in the legs:

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Here’s on I brought home – great drape, length, and detail with that center pleat…

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…but although it has Light Summer colors in it, the grey in the pattern makes it feels so…muted…compared to my recently re-chromatized look:

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Meh. We’ll see how I feel about it, maybe over my purple pants.

Speaking of purple, Restoration Project was in rare form with the Light Summer purples. Check out this strapless gown I wish I had somewhere to wear:

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And this purple men’s v-neck sweater in Italian merino wool by Express that became my Good Friday outfit:

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And this sleeveless crop-ish silk top by Bloomingdale’s, two sizes too large:

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I feel like all the cool Instagram kids are wearing crop tops likes this with highwaisted jeans. I think maybe I could pull it off, especially as a fun (and inexpensive) experiment, except for the fact that it’s so wide:

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What would you do with this top if you were me? Try to tighten it up with some hand sewing, while still leaving enough flex room to get it over my head? Wear it as-is and pretend it’s on purpose?

You can see more of the sleeveless top’s extra fabric in this pic of a vintage maxi skirt I nabbed. The skirt is super comfy with its flat front and elastic waistband and I liked the kicky little pleats in front:

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I plan to wear it with my Saltwater sandals and a tank this summer, but in a better color. I want to dye it a color other than this 1980s peach, which is not Light Summer (or particularly appealing). Thoughts on a color to choose?

And last but not least, a vintage Maggy London dress I considered wearing for Easter for about a minute – and rejected, mostly because I couldn’t figure out whether the shoulders would look good once I removed the shoulder pads:

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Happy Easter/chag Pesach sameach to those who celebrate!

 

Updated Post: Updating My Basic Jewelry

And now, with pictures! Sorry for the technical snafu yesterday and thanks to those who pointed it out.

I am a wear-the-same-basic-jewelry-every-day kinda gal. Sometimes I throw in a statement necklace or swap in a more casual bracelet, but most days you’ll catch me wearing a metallic cuff bracelet, my wedding/engagement rings, and gold stud earrings.  Today I’ll tell you about updating my bracelet after it sustained damage, and adding a ring (whoa!).

Up until recently, this vintage cuff was my bracelet:

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It was my grandma’s and I loved wearing it. It reminded me of her and had a style you just don’t see anymore. Paired with relatively simple outfits, it really popped.

But costume jewelry from the 60s isn’t made of Teflon. After several years of wearing it almost every day, it cracked.

I still wore it for awhile, since the crack wasn’t super noticeable. But it kept catching on things, and I realized that if I ever wanted to get it fixed I should probably stop wearing it to prevent further damage. So onto my dresser top it went, where I could still see it every day and smile at the memory of my grandma:IMG_1852

In the meantime, I had a serious case of NAB. (Go Fug Yourself readers will recognize this acronym as “Needs a Bracelet.”) I knew I wanted a cuff; they don’t flop around like bangles or cut off you circulation like elastic bracelets and they’re not infernally hard to put on like regular ol’ clasp bracelets are. Unsurprisingly, the last bracelet I had worn to death was a cuff as well; they just feel elegant and “me.”

So I started searching the jewelry counter at the Goodwill. I found a few bangles in good color schemes (off white and gold) and a silver cuff I really liked, but no gold cuffs. After several weeks of keeping my eyes peeled, I stopped into the Thriftique and lo and behold, this baby was waiting for me:

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At first I was worried it would feel a little too bold – it was a much yellower gold than my previous bracelet, more in your face. But it was much narrower than my last cuff, and I loved the beaten texture. I reminded myself that Grandma’s cuff took some time to move from giving me an “I AM WEARING COSTUME JEWELRY” feeling to being my signature statement piece, and then I gave it some time.

Now it feels like a natural part of my wardrobe and fits with seemingly everything (and doesn’t get caught on sleeves like my last one did).WP_20170614_09_34_20_Pro (1)

The stamp on it says Monet, which is a J.C. Penney brand; quality-wise it’s not going to be around forever, but when it “dies” (as my spouse likes to say) I can thrift a new one that will have its own character, or go back to wearing my grandma’s repaired cuff.

 

I have a whole collection of rings, mostly my mom’s vintage stuff and a few sentimental pieces from junior high/high school when I was an avid ring wearer. But I rarely pull them out, mostly because my bracelet is hogging the attention in the hand/wrist department and I don’t want to compete. I was looking through them for some reason a few weeks ago, though, and was struck by how the color and bold style of this one matched my recently acquired cuff replacement:

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It was my mom’s original wedding ring (she has since moved on to something with diamonds). It’s a Möbius strip, which I think makes for great symbolism. I absolutely LOVE how simple and yet unexpected the design is; in my head this is a top-tier style-blogger level of finger jewelry, though quite a bit chunkier than what’s popular in that set.

When she got married her fingers must have been TINY; it doesn’t fit on my ring finger, so I wear it on my pinky which I think gives it more panache anyway:

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It’s a tiny bit loose; I have to be careful when I get my hands wet. I’ll probably take it to a jeweler to size it down.  Any recommendations?

 

So there you go; secondhand jewelry all the way. I hope you enjoyed the update and would love to know what treasures you sport every day!

 

Vintage Bracelet Makeover

Last Saturday I finally got to visit Chalice Thrift at the First Christian Church in Decatur. (Church nerd note: they’re Disciples of Christ, which is the cousin to my denomination, and they do really rad justice and service work with the proceeds from the thrift store.)

They’ve been closed the last 3 times I’ve been by, so I was thrilled to have a look inside.  Plus they had Danish butter cookies and lemonade for all, and Danish butter cookies are the way to my heart (especially the kind with crystallized sugar on top).

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Victory is mine.

They also grow blackberries which made my child happy (well, that and the cookies. And their lovely clean bathroom they let her use):

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Inside the shop was set up like a boutique, with different rooms for women’s, men’s, kids, housewares, books (a veritable library!), etc.:

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I wanted to get back to park time* with my family, so I made a pretty quick sweep. (*Atlantans with small people should check out the Decatur Toy Park. Sponsored by this same church, it’s basically a fenced-in park filled with larger-sized toys, particularly wheeled ones, donated for all to use. There are also swings, small slides, and a mini free library, and it’s across the street from the thrift store. It’s also just down the block from Dancing Goats if your toddler woke you up earlier than nature intended and you need some coffee. Win-win.)

During my sweep, this vintage earring/bracelet combo immediately caught my eye:

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I’ve long been a fan of vintage costume jewelry for the sheer chutzpah it brings to an outfit. My grandma had a lot of great pieces I’ve enjoyed wearing over the years, although I’ve scaled back from wearing complete earring/necklace matching sets in the same outfit.

So I wasn’t sure what I would do with this set, particularly since I prefer cuff bracelets to linked ones. But I couldn’t resist the palm frond motif or the golden color, halfway between taupe and caramel, that would go with so much of my wardrobe. It felt like a fresh, subtle take on the palm frond trend that’s been going strong the last year or two:

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Mmm, that vintage patina…

I bought it without a plan and wondered if I’d basically just donated $4 to Chalice Thrift (not a bad thing, but I like to spend thrift money on things I’ll actually, you know, wear.)

Later that day it occurred to me that I could make this bracelet into a necklace by removing the clasp on one side and attaching chain to both ends.  A quick perusal of my miscellaneous jewelry-making bits confirmed that I didn’t have enough chain (or the right color) for what I had in mind.

So it was time for a trip to the Goodwill to hunt for parts. (We also took the opportunity to teach our daughter how to wisely spend her birthday money; $8 goes a long way in the kids’ section of a thrift store. I’m proud to say that after playing with a bunch of cheap toys she bought one book and kept the rest of her moolah for another day/charity donation.)

In the jewelry section I found this number:

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(My friend pointed out that I could’ve gone to Michael’s and maybe spent less buying new chain, but I’d rather buy secondhand and experience the thrill of the hunt. Plus this was only $4 and I’m getting a lot of other beads/jewelry bits out of it, including some to make earrings for this same friend. Win-win again!)

Using jewelry pliers I took out the chain sections, including the short braided section (on the left middle in the photo above), and left the lobster claw clasp where it was.  I attached the braided chain to one side of the single chain, then took two of the necklace’s jump rings (small metal circles used to connect chain to beads/hang pendants) and used them to attach the chain pieces to the bars at either end of the former bracelet. You can see the jump rings and the braided chain section up close here:

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I like how the braided part adds a little asymmetrical interest.

This shot gives a better sense of where the necklace falls – I can adjust the length from almost choker down to this “bib” size simply by attaching the lobster claw to any of the chain links:

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Here’s another few shots of my new necklace in action from Instagram – when I make “new” jewelry I’m excited about, I tend to wear the heck out of it:

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

What do y’all think of my $8 vintage bracelet makeover?  Have you Atlantans ever visited Chalice Thrift?  Scroll down to comment!

The Beauty of a Blank Slate

Over Thanksgiving I talked my spouse into a short stop at the Last Chance Thrift Store in Chamblee on our way home from cat sitting for a friend.  I promised a very short stop, which meant I had to be on my game.  I started with the “designer” racks and found some decent things, but nothing I wanted to try on.

Then I ran over to the kids’ section to grab my kid a coat (pics coming soon).  My final stop was the dress section – usually I skip this when I have a time limit because taking home anything involves a trip to the dressing room.  But something pulled me over, and lo and behold, there was a haul of vintage dresses!  Don’t ignore your spidey thrift sense when it strikes.

Someone must have cleaned out Grandma’s closet:

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A few of them were made in Hawai’i and there were some fabulous patterns.  (I would have gone for the first one – the spring green one with white trim – but it had pretty serious stains.  Wanh wannnnh.)

The one I tried on and bought, though, was solidly devoid of pattern:

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Well, there were pockets:

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Look, y’all know I love me some pattern and print.  But in addition to the summery-ness of all the above dresses, their prints and colors limit the number of ways they can be styled.  This dress, on the other hand – although it’s pretty boringly beige (thanks Spouse for pointing this out) – can be paired with a fantastic range of accessories.

My first choice?  This leopard-print ruana (basically a blanket with a big split down the middle so you can wrap it) passed on to me by my mom, which kept my arms nice and warm despite the dress’ short sleeves:

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I added a DIY necklace to give it a focal point and some funk:

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And capped it off with my snakeprint ankle boots.  (To be honest I think this would look best with riding boots, but since I have yet to thrift those, ankle boots it was.)

Other possibilities?  My snakeskin print blazer instead of the ruana; leggings on the bottom with my bronze snakeskin flats or champagne flats – like this:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

My navy blazer and navy leggings  would also work great.

I can also put a shirt underneath the dress for chillier days – one of my many turtlenecks, or my leopard print blouse for some fun contrast.

Another great topper – this graphic cardigan:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

 

And if I can thrift some nice cognac or dark brown riding boots, I’ll have even more options.

Separates are, by definition, easier to mix and match than one broad swath of fabric (a dress) that is highly patterned.  This is why, as much as I love interesting details – and as much as I would love to be the person styling wild patterns and funky cuts – my most frequently worn dresses are ones that are a single, solid, neutral-ish color.  See, for example, the off-white and blue dresses in the IG pics above.

The color of this dress is about as neutral as is possible to be – and although the neck, the longer sleeves, the pockets, and the below-the-knee length actually give it an interesting almost mod 60s vibe (who knows; maybe it was made then), on its own you could argue it’s kind of basic. But that’s exactly why I’m excited to use it as a blank slate for styling it multiple ways throughout winter, and even into spring.  (I think it’s a wool blend so it probably won’t make it into summer.)

What’s your take on blank, boring-ish slates that make it easier to accessorize vs. stuff with more personality that can be harder to style?  Scroll down to comment!

 

 

Signature Accessories

Do you have a signature accessory?

I’m talking about the piece you always wear – or the specific style of accessory from which you never deviate.

They add that recognizable detail to your look, save you time and money – no dithering about what to wear or whether you should buy new stuff! – and, hopefully, they put a smile on your face.

Mine are, in no particular order… Continue reading “Signature Accessories”