I mentioned a few months back that part of what I was looking forward to about my new Light Summer color palette was embracing color again:
This palette made me realize that I had let myself get seduced by the neutral-heavy palette of minimalist Instagram style mavens. Although there’s a lot to be said for playing with texture and silhouette within a very muted, narrow palette, I came to recognize it just didn’t feel like me. (One of my favorite shirts is bright blue snake print, for Pete’s sake!) When I posted a muted peach skirt on Instagram asking for color suggestions to dye it, someone suggested “rust!” with enthusiasm and I just wanted to run the other way.
It’s been a breath of fresh air leaning back into color with this new color palette and embracing PATTERN beyond just a neutral stripe or dot. (Can you tell how happy those floral pants make me?) I’m excited to share more with you as I finish building my spring/summer wardrobe – whenever spring finally arrives!!
If you scroll through my Instagram feed (on the righthand sidebar, or at www.instagram.com/thriftshopchic), you’ll see I’ve run straight into the arms of the Light Summer color wheel and have barely looked back. Although I wisely followed advice posted early into this journey and got myself some neutrals to pair with my newly found multi-hued treasures, those neutrals have been mostly white and denim/chambray. When I’ve tried to jive with the minimalist-inspired style Instagrammers, the pieces just haven’t worked out. (See the first two rejects in this post.) They feel too…muted for me now.
But I realized a few weeks back that my Instagram feed wasn’t reflecting my rediscovered enthusiasm for color. I was still following cool girls with a heavily edited, highly stylized neutral aesthetic – partially because neutrals tend to make great capsule wardrobes, and partly because the ethical brands I want to, at least in theory, support seem to be allergic to color. (What’s the deal, Eileen Fisher & friends? Give us some rainbows already!)
I will always love the sight of a chic, slimmed-down wardrobe (like this one who is starting to introduce some color to her closet or this one, who isn’t and that’s fine). It makes me unaccountably happy to gaze at a thoughtful, selective wardrobe where you can see all the pieces and dream of future outfit combos – I guess because it exudes contentment: “This is more than enough and I’m happy with it.” Wardrobe goals, as the kids say.
And people who love color? Well, on Instagram at least, they tend to be maximalist rather than minimalist. A few folks I’ve followed recently have a great time with color but do so through repeated trips to outlets and/or internet sales. Splurging on retail ain’t really my thing – and honestly, giant thrift hauls aren’t, either. How do people keep track of/wear so many pieces? To each their own level of wardrobe volume, I suppose!
But if I can skip over the shopping aspect of how folks arrive at their cute looks (hint: don’t watch Instastories!), I find myself a lot more inspired, and having a lot more fun, following color-filled accounts. They rarely convince me to go hunt for specific pieces – I just enjoy the aesthetic, and the inspiration to pair together colors or patterns I haven’t yet thought of on my own. Starting off Friday with a picture of someone’s flamingo-print blouse just makes me smile in a way that cognac + cream + black capsule wardrobes do not.
So without further ado, here are a couple of colorful IG accounts I’ve started to follow recently:
Frances Ayme – a J. Crew-loving mom of 3 who calls Bermuda home:
Tarilyn – a 50-something Mainer with a passion for skirts and making life in New England look like vacation in Florida:
Alice – a midlife mom with a flair for pattern:
A bonus: these women reflect a greater diversity than the young, hip white women who dominate the IG neutral/ethical game. And it’s nice to see women who don’t blog or Instagram for a living wearing their real clothes!
Who are your favorite colorful Instagrammers (or bloggers)? Share the wealth!
First, a note about my posting schedule. Work is ramping up (hello Advent, you’re right around the corner!) which means lately I haven’t had as much time as I would like to write and publish posts. For the foreseeable future, you can keep expecting at least one post a week, but my usual Tuesday/Thursday schedule will now become the ideal rather than the norm. Thanks for your flexibility and for continuing to keep this blog a fun and creative place for community and conversation!
And now, this year’s late fall/winter wardrobe, for your viewing pleasure. Since I broke up with capsule wardrobes, this is not a comprehensive list of every single piece I will wear this winter, but rather the pieces I imagine will get the most wear; they form the core of my wardrobe.
I’ve really upped the number of tops this year for two reasons: I have about twice as much winter to contend with, plus my M.O. for expanding a section of my wardrobe tends to be “buy several different varieties I think I’ll like and then see what actually gets worn.” Instead of “less is more” (which is where I hope to end up), this is basically the “more becomes less” approach.
Re: colors – is anyone surprised that my sweater palette is basically blue and cream, with pops of caramel, grey, and red? That’s my whole summer wardrobe right there.
And the dresses keep the theme going….
I’ll wear these with cream, blue, and grey tights of varying weights.
The pants, however, have a liiiittle more variation in hue happening…
I’m enjoying pairing more neutral tops with more colorful bottoms – if you can call purple so dark it photographs as black (those first pants) “color”! And yes, apart from the jeans, I’m sticking with the all-corduroy streak again this year. They just feel…cozier. I’m probably deceiving myself that corduroy imparts extra warmth; after all, the fuzziness is on the outside, not on the inside where it would do some good. I don’t care; just let me hold onto my comforting delusion!
Back to the trusty ol’ red/cream/blue color palette for my layering pieces.
Last but not least…
In the meantime, check out my winter wardrobe this time last year; a lot has changed!
As you may remember from my intro post, this was basically a travel wardrobe of tried-and-true favorites masquerading as a 10×10 challenge, which means my goal for it wasn’t necessarily to discover anything new about the items therein. But I made room for the possibility that I’d learn something, and lo and behold, I did!
#1. I love this shirt.
You know those items you wear so easily that you don’t even know how much you love them because it’s so second-nature to just throw them on? They don’t feel special, exactly, but then you do something like this and realize that they work with everything and you wear them all. the. time.
Three things make this one a winner:
- Stripes. These have equal amounts blue/white so the navy doesn’t overwhelm my skin tone. They’re a great width, too; stripes that are all too thin/narrow just look busy to me instead of bold.
- 3/4 length sleeves. Combined with the open neck and light material, the sleeves keep this right in the middle between hot & cool. Perfect for in-between seasons and temperature changes while traveling.
- Silhouette/drape. This shirt has give and flow for a not-too-tight silhouette. The drape adds a certain chicness and insouciance (as well as making room for fried scallops and sweet corn).
Plus the drop shoulders give it some visual interest – those stripes going perpendicular to each other just jazz the whole thing up a little. (I guess that’s 4 things. Whoops.)
#2. Put it on repeat.
Especially on vacation, I am happy to rewear the same item or even outfit. No shame on these back-to-back outfits, where, just like above, I simply swapped shorts:
If it works, it works, and I don’t need to reinvent the wheel for no reason. This is related to my next discovery…
#3. Life is a 10×10 remix (or a capsule wardrobe?).
Because the color palette was broader, when I did my first 10×10 remix this spring I wore each piece multiple times, yet felt like there were still SO many options left at the end of the 10 days. It was exciting and invigorating.
At the end of this summer remix, however, I felt not energized but more… content. I hadn’t worn everything, and probably could have gotten by with even less, yet surprisingly I wasn’t bored with my clothes by the end of the trip. (You know that feeling where you just want to chuck the entire contents of your suitcase, dirty or not, into the laundry hamper because you’re sick of seeing the same clothes? Not this time.) It was like I relaxed into my wardrobe as the days went by.
And when I looked at my closet to get dressed for work the next day, I felt happy and “relaxed into” my clothing there, too. I knew what worked together and what I wanted to wear, and felt no need to go thrifting.
I think after 2 years of blogging (and 10 years of thrifting), I might finally be getting into the groove of this capsule wardrobe concept – not a rigid set of restrictions, but a mix of feeling invigorated by and “relaxed into” the clothes I have and happy with the way they fit together.
I still go thrifting for fun and for inspiration, and to change things up occasionally (example: the grey, blue striped, and olive casual summer dresses in this post were all new styles for me and all really hit the spot in different ways), but I’m not feeling the grabby impulse of yore to THRIFT ALL THE THINGS.
It’s a good place to be.
Last but not least…
#4. Never trust Vermont weather.
Whatever the forecast, even in JULY, just assume it will be colder/rainier than they say and pack accordingly. As I mentioned before, I did just fine with a windbreaker over a 3/4 sleeve shirt, but if I had it to do over I’d have swapped this:
I kept thinking a sweatshirt would be bulky and take up way too much precious packing space in my tote; I had somehow forgotten about the fleecy, thin wonder that is my Mossimo sweatshirt. Oh well, there’s always next time!
Did you do the 10×10 remix? What did you learn? How are you feeling about the current state of your wardrobe? Scroll down to comment!
Since I broke up with (strict) capsule wardrobes last summer, this post does not contain every. single. piece. of clothing I will wear for the next few months; but it’s pretty close! My goal with a seasonal wardrobe like this is to have a curated closet full of things I love to wear that play well with one another; you’ll see that idea reflected in the color palette, style, and limited number of clothes shown below.
So here’s what I’m working with for work outfits this spring – a glorious season of never-ending flowers and pollen dust when the Atlanta temps can go from 50s up into the 80s on any given day. I’m really proud that I got good photos of (almost) everything this time around, so you’re getting full-sized pics. Enjoy! :)
PS For anyone new to the blog – everything below is thrifted except my sandals (marked “retail”).
I’m going to list all my long-sleeved lightweight tops here and all my short-sleeved/sleeveless tops in my summer wardrobe, knowing that I’ll likely move back and forth between the two as the weather changes.
Red/pink/white floral – no label; muted red linen/cotton button down – Banana Republic; coral/blue/white popover – Dolan; peach leopard print – Forever 21; white popover – Old Navy; grey polka dot – Loft; emroibered cotton popover – Lucky Brand; white with blue floral tunic – Chico’s; tropical popover – Loft; blue/turquoise/yellow floral – Land’s End; cerulean snakeprint popover – no label; leopard print – Banana Republic heritage (straight out of wash and thus wrinkly!)
navy blue blazer – Charlotte Russe; pink/blue marled blazer – Cartonnier; grey marled blazer – Merona; white denim jacket- J. Crew; navy dress coat – Arthur S. Levine; white/gold chrysanthemum cardigan – Isaac Mizrahi Live!; blue pattern wool cardigan – Talbots
I hope to add some dressier navy pants like the Vince Camutos above, but I’ll have to wait ’til after Easter when my thrift fast is done.
I have really been in skirt-wearing mode lately so just squint and pretend these have all been freshly laundered…
I had a camel skirt too but guess what? I hate camel. (Somebody remind me of this next time I try to get a camel skirt!) Also it was too big.
Caramel shirt dress – New York & Co.; blue long-sleeve – Land’s End; turquoise/pattern colorblock dress – vintage; orange creamsicle sheath – Ann Klein; white sheath – H&M; blue sheath – Ann Taylor
That vintage dress feels a little more special occasion to me than every day; but I plan to wear it to work occasionally so I included it.
That’s it! I’ll likely have a few tweaks/edits/additions along the way which I will share when I’m getting ready to transition into full-on summer wardrobe in a month or two (spring is short here!).
What do you think of my spring wardrobe? What’s yours looking like this year? Scroll down to comment!
Wow, this week had my number – the flu hit my kid and my spouse just as work cranked up. Then my kid got strep yesterday. Bah! Apologies for radio silence/skipping my regular Tuesday/Thursday posts – fingers crossed that today marks a return to sanity and routine!
This post by Caroline at Un-Fancy is a few weeks old but I’m still making my way through the comments, which showcase a wide variety of approaches to capsule (or capsule-ish) wardrobes. I read collections of different perspectives like this like I eat popcorn – I can’t get enough! They’re great for inspiration both in the particulars (hey, I could try out that idea) and in general – as I read I felt myself getting excited to do a spring wardrobe cleanout, so stay tuned for that.
Have a great weekend, Thrifters! And here’s to a healthy household Chez Thriftshop Chic.
Note: none of the pictures loaded in the previously published version of this post, and a few still aren’t coming up. But now you can get a much better idea what I was talking about re: clothes! Apologies for the hiccup.
In the “What would you like to see me cover in a post?” section of my recent reader survey, someone wrote:
“Do you thrift your kid’s wardrobe? My wardrobe is almost entirely thrifted (except underwear and shoes- hard to fit). I’ve got an 18 month old and an almost 4 year old, who, aside from socks and underwear, dress entirely in hand me downs and stuff from Once Upon a Child [kids’ consignment store]. But we’ve now moved 40 minutes from the nearest Once Upon a Child, and I notice that I can’t just roll up to the Goodwill and quickly find a whole season’s worth of clothes, because the selection is strange and there’s zero organization. I would love to hear how you go about clothing your child.”
This question resonated with several of you who commented that you’d like to read about some strategies for thrifting children’s clothing and/or see an update on my kid’s current wardrobe. (You can find the last time I covered it – last winter – here.)
First up: strategies for finding clothing your kid/s in secondhand clothes
General strategies (all applicable to grown up thrifting as well!):
- Try to stick with one color palette so most/all of your stuff is mix and match. This palette may be pre-chosen or may develop out of the things you piece together in store. If you accidentally end up with an “outlier” that doesn’t play well with everything else, remember: jeans/jeggings go with everything. But:
- Don’t be afraid to get creative! YOU get to determine what “goes” together, so don’t restrict yourself to rules about certain colors or prints not going together – if you or your kid love it together, it’s fair game.
We aimed for legging-like solid-color pants this time around (see below) to keep legs warm and not clash too hard with her printed tops. We ended up with some heart print pants and some striped pants, though – which turned out to be fun to mix in with patterned tops. In a pinch I also ended up with slightly baggier pants that look a little funny paired with some of the bigger tops. But the essential I care about – that they not ride up so she doesn’t get cold – was covered by the elasticated ankle. Done!
- Also try to stick with a silhouette or two so that none of your finds become standalones that can only be worn with one other item. Button down shirts probably will look funny with sweatpants so stock up on jeans/chinos…skirts/dresses in cooler weather mean lots of tights…active kids who love skirts might go with leggings or leggings shorts underneath…you get the picture.
When my kid was tiny I stuck with onesies (with pants pulled up over them as necessary) since standalone shirts were prone to riding up on her wriggly body, then switched to shirt and pants/shorts when she was walking to make diapering easier.
- Know your kid’s measurements (at least by eyeball). Brands all have different sizing standards, so only your familiarity with your kid’s frame can tell you whether an item is likely to be too small/short/long/wide. This is especially handy for when your kid isn’t with you to try things on/there is no place to try things on/online shopping.
- Create a small (2-3 item) “fancy” capsule for special events – worship services, school performances, weddings/funerals, etc. This keeps special stuff clean(er) and gives you flexibility to do another silhouette (e.g. my kid rarely wears dresses in ordinary life but has 2-3 she likes to wear on special occasions).
- Decide your strategy for thrifting ahead.
Because I live in an area with multiple stellar Goodwills and have limited storage space (and even limited-er willpower), I try NOT to buy items that will fit my kid “someday.” I stumbled upon this strategy when I realized that I could not predict the rate at which my infant/toddler would grow and thus would only be guesstimating what size she needed for what length/weight of clothes.
Your mileage may vary – your kids grow more predictably, you have more storage space, you have fewer opportunities to thrift and thus stock up when you find good stuff, you have multiple kids coming along so even if it doesn’t fit kid A in winter it might fit kid B in winter…etc.
- If you have older kids, particularly ones who care about their clothing, have them help you identify which colors/silhouettes they like before you shop – or better yet, take them with you!
Tips specific to various secondhand contexts:
- Consignment stores: Our reader question mentioned Once Upon a Child
- Thrift stores
- Hand me downs
- Gifts – both retail and secondhand
And now, my kid’s current wardrobe.
You should know that my mom has saved a BUNCH of my/my sister’s baby clothes. You should also know that she has one grandchild (my kid), and that one of the ways she loves on her granddaughter is buying her clothes. This means we start off most seasons with some hand-me-downs and 3-4 new outfits and new pjs (see below for pics).
This means I end up with a sort of mini-capsule at the beginning of the season in a matching(ish) color palette that doesn’t make me want to keel over from pink overload (thanks Mom), to which I then thrifted mostly complementary clothes to get us to a serviceable wardrobe size. (My mom came thrifting with me over Thanksgiving to get in on the fun! Pics below.)
Here’s what my mom dug out of storage for us for winter –
My grandmother made these and I love dressing my child in them. Grandmother died before her great grandchild was born but it feels like she is hugging my little girl (and thus me) every time I pull her arms through the sleeves and zip or button her up. /tears/ Plus who else has a rad zip sweater that goes on backwards so your kid’s face is always framed by that sweet little hood that never falls down?
Here’s what my mom gave us (new) for winter:
polka dot top
The light purple leggings (in the pic with the red sweater) and jeggings ended up going home with a friend by accident when I threw them into a load of her clothes she was washing at our house (bah, broken washing machines). We’ll get them back this weekend!
It’s been about a month since those pants stowed away in our friend’s laundry. At the beginning we got along alright without ’em because it was still warm (thank you Atlanta summers extending into November). But in anticipation of cooler weather, this kerfluffle quickly got me out and thrifting for some new (to us) pants – plus a few extra shirts, because a pink short-sleeved T Rex on the Golden Gate bridge shirt can only be worn under a red cardigan so many times.
Here’s what I thrifted, round 1:
Jeggings (SO many jeggings to choose from) – basically the same as above leggings.
Floral baseball top – *I* would wear this in a big person size. Great mix of chic + sporty:
Heart stripe top:
Yes this is all pink, but the election had just happened and I felt like sending a message to the world about LOVE. Also, it’s a 5T (my kid wears a 2T) but looked smallish. It fits in the body and I cuff the sleeves – remember, it pays to know your kid’s frame!
I KNOW. This thing looks brand spankin’ new and was $6. Perfect for colder days here and for our annual wintry trek to the wilds of New England. I picked up purple mittens at the grocery store and we have hand-me-down hats; I will ask my mother-in-law to keep an eye out for a secondhand snowsuit and we’ll be all set. Take THAT, Winter!
If you’re counting, we’re now at 3 pairs of pants (soon to be back up to 5) and 5 long sleeved tops. This is juuuuuuust enough to get us through a week of daycare plus 1 weekend day of “I don’t care that my kid is wearing a shirt that already has paint on it.” In other words, since I am lazy and try to only do laundry on the weekends, this is not quite enough.
Enter my mother, come to town for Thanksgiving, and game for a trip to Goodwill!
What we thrifted, Round 2:
Sorry the pic isn’t better – it says something about Glitter EVERYWHERE. Too twee? I was on the fence about the message but I love the sports jersey look and the color scheme. It crosses traditionally “boy” colors/design with a traditionally “girl” love of glitter in a way that means any gender could wear it. Because really, what little kid doesn’t love something designed to be strewn everywhere with glorious abandon so that your parent can’t ever get it out of your hair/off the floor/combed out of the cat?
Then I broke my own rule and let my mom thrift two shortsleeve shirts that will (theoretically) work for my kid next summer: a lion-with-sunglasses top (fun and cute), and a tow truck top (she loves tow trucks and looks great in blue). My mom is a bad influence.
This month my mom sent us this for Christmas, which we have used as our church/holiday party outfit ad nauseum:
So that completes my kid’s current capsule.
The orange shirt is an outlier, colorwise, but goes just fine with jeggings and can work with the stripe pants and the heart pants (first time out she wore it with the hearts). The purple pants are also a bit of a color outlier but still go (to my eyes) with the polka dot top, the teal top, the heart top, and in a pinch, the blue/pink stripe top.
TIP: save (or buy) a pair of pants or two that you’ve thought about donating – too worn/too baggy/too short – and take ’em to daycare/preschool/babysitter in case of potty training accidents.
How do you all thrift for the little people in your life? Scroll down to comment!
PS My sister sent this yesterday for Christmas, so now we have another shirt. Thanks Seester!
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”
We’re still in hot temps here but I know many of you have already started the slide into fall weather so I’m going to post some of what I *think* will work as my core/fringe items to get those autumnal juices flowing. This is not an exhaustive or restrictive list but covers most of what I plan on wearing.
As you may remember, I’ve been restyling my cold weather wardrobe as I try to figure out some styles I love that keep me warm. I’ve been doing it during the summer to give me time to think about additions and go slowly without the pressure of chilly temps right around the corner – but this also means I haven’t been able to wear any of the clothes together yet! So consider this most definitely a first draft.
(Also, the cords below are currently at the tailor to be transformed into actual slim pants instead of boot cuts, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.)
Mixing my core/fringe model with a dual-silhouette idea borrowed from Un-Fancy, I’ll do two core silhouettes – my go-to silhouettes that most of the clothes in my cold weather closet can participate in – and a fringe silhouette – the one I use occasionally to mix things up a little and that’s made up of some pieces that don’t mix and match as well with the core silhouettes.
Here’s my first core silhouette, continued from summer into fall:
Torso-skimming top over slim pants. This silhouette will cover a variety of temperatures with some lightweight tops, some toppers (cardignas, blazers, ruanas, etc.) over lightweight tops, and finally proper sweaters (with shell underneath for really chilly days). Please ignore the tag on the top – recently thrifted and not yet worn! – and imagine the pants a little slimmer in general. All my slim trousers were at the tailor.
Second core silhouette: sheath/sweater dress over leggings and long sleeves (as needed)
Merona – Land’s End – Merona – Jacqueline Ferrar – George – all thrifted
Here’s my fringe silhouette, moving from the starting list last winter to more of a relief pitcher this year:
Fitted top over flares
I like the chic, long lines of this silhouette, but I got a little tired of it last year, so it’ll make some appearances this year but not take top billing. Now I’m mixing metaphors…
And here are the items that will fit into each silhouette:
Skim over slim – lightweight tops
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
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
Old Navy – Loft – Haberdashery by Personal – Merona – Cartonnier – all thrifted
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
Banana Republic (featured in silhouette photo above – Express – both thrifted
Fit over flare – bottoms
Old Navy – thrifted
Just one coat, because it makes me just that happy:
J. Crew – thrifted
This feels like a lot, but not counting leggings, shells, or outwear, it’s 35 pieces – right about at the sweet spot for typical mix-and-match capsule wardrobes (although I do have a few more things on my thrift list that might either grow this list or elbow some of these items out of the way!). I’ll keep you updated on what works, what doesn’t, what gets worn and what sits at the back of the closet or drawer.
What’s in your capsule or edited wardrobe this fall/winter? Scroll down to comment!
Today is a grab bag of personal style advice, thrifting passion, capsule wardrobe strategy, and a simple but stunning dress makeover. Enjoy! Continue reading “Friday ReBlog: Upping Your Style Game and Why I’ll Never Stop Thrifting”
Anuschka at Into Mind wrote a great post on thinking about your closet not just a collection of cute outfits but as a cohesive wardrobe, and using those lovely, stylized images of capsule wardrobes we talked about the other week to help evaluate your own closet.
She’s also got an example of said visual inspiration for summer. It’s a great demonstration of how to do a unified closet with more color and polish than the neutrals/casual basics vibe we so often see in capsules, so if you love color or need a more work-appropriate look, check it out. Bonus: the broad terms she uses (chic work top, fun work top, accent pants) help you think of your closet in terms of categories that work together instead of making you lust after specific pieces some blogger loved.
Last but not least, 5 Ways to Build a More Ethical Closet tackles ethical dressing from a broader perspective than the oft-touted “save up to buy Everlane even if you don’t love grey t-shirts.” Anuschka outlines 5 different approaches to curating a more ethical closet that remind us not to “let perfect be the enemy of good.” Approach #4 is “shop secondhand or vintage” – yay!
Happy Weekend, Thrifters!