Sunday, December 3, 2017

How to layer bell sleeves

Activity: Meeting for worship

Coat: Kensie, thrifted (similar)
Top: LOFT (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact)
Shoes: Mossimo via eBay (similar)
Bag: Burberry, gift (exact)
Earrings: Robin Undira (similar)

I mostly like bell sleeves, though I have a couple of challenges.  First, it's hard to wear them in (my) regular at-home life, since I'm forever getting my sleeves caught in dishwater. Second, it can be a challenge to layer them, so it gets harder to wear bell sleeves as the temperature dips...  

My solutions? For the first issue, I usually wear my bell sleeve tops only for my "out-of-the-house life" anyway, I often change into my comfortable "house clothes" when I get home, whatever top I'm wearing (I'm just messy at... life).  Secondly, I've realized that shorter sleeved jackets and sweaters make good layering options for bell sleeves.  This jacket has cropped enough sleeves that both layers of the ruffled sleeve show, so I often combine them in cooler weather.  An elbow length sleeved cardigan like this one could also work as a top layer with a bell sleeve top, or an open sleeve kimono similar to this.

And you know what I just thought of?  A cape would totally work over a "statement sleeve" top (check out this super versatile one, or this lighter trench coat style one).  The pattern on my cape wouldn't work with this top, so I hadn't thought to pair it together, but depending on your top/cape color combination, it could totally work for you!  I was eyeing this cape in store the other day, but did restrain myself....

Any other layering ideas for bell sleeves? Do share!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Millennial pink corduroy pants, statement earrings and statement sleeves...

Activity: Volunteering in Gavin's classroom

Top: LOFT (exact)
Pants: LOFT, in nostalgia rose color (exact)
Earrings: LOFT (exact)
All LOFT items were at least 50% in store last week and this week, check if the sale is still on!
Shoes: Franco Sarto, thifted (similar)
Bag: Burberry, gift (exact)
Watch: Apple, gift (similar)

I think this may be the first time I bought an entire outfit all at the same time!  I went into LOFT one day, looking for a relaxed black long-sleeved top, something I had recently realized was missing from my closet.  I left the store wearing the top (it looked better with my outfit than what I was currently wearing), and ended up also buying these gorgeous earrings and pants - at least they were all at least 50%.  It is pretty unusual for me to wear one store head-to-toe, so it felt worthy of comment.

LOFT is one of the few retail stores I shop regularly, since most of my clothing is thrifted.  But they are really killing it in their recent offerings!  That, along with some great recent in-store specials made for some shopping easy decisions.  Plus, these modern skinny pants from LOFT work really well for me (I have them in gray denim, too), so it's my go-to store when I'm looking for pants.

This gorgeous bag is also worthy of mention.  I do love my bags, but this is definitely a step up (or two) up from my usual.  While I do love the bag for itself (what's not to love?), it means especially much since it was a gift from my mother-in-law while she herself is going through health issues.  For her to think of me during that time is really meaningful, and I'll remember it every time I use this bag. 

This is totally not sponsored, just my current favorites from one of my favorite stores!  Here's some cute things I saw in store, in case you're interested:




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Great sales for Black Friday - starting today!

I don't usually post much on sales, since I don't get a whole lot of things at retail stores.  But, there are some items I regularly buy retail, including underwear (of course!).  And I always buy the same underwear, these from Soma for everyday completely line free wear, even under workout wear and sometimes these or these (also from Soma) for a slightly prettier look  (but one that does show under formfitting items, so can't be worn every day).  I also like their sleepwear (check out these adorable sleep chemises), and they seem to last a long time, from the couple of items I've bought in the past. And, guess what?  It's all buy one, get one 50% off starting today.  And the panties are on their special sale offer (the only time I buy them), where you buy 3, get 2 free, so they are only $8 each (they are usually $16-18 per pair) - plus you would be able to buy a second set of 5 for 50% those prices.  If you join their free rewards club, you end up earning free $5-10 certificates and free shipping.  It's totally worth it if you end up liking their products.  They also do carry a wide range of bra sizes, which I appreciate, although, in truth, I don't buy bras there anymore, even though it is one of the few places that carries my size. I prefer Bare for bras from other brands than Soma, they seem to last longer and have more consistent sizing (just my humble opinion).  Anyway, I just made my order and thought I'd share it with you!  (Totally not sponsored!) 

Oh, and be sure to check for the deal where you get a free pair of $25 slippers with any sleepwear purchase!  If you don't need slippers, surely you know someone who would love them!  If the deal doesn't obviously show up for your in your cart, just search for all slippers and add the pair that says "FREE SLIPPERS WITH ANY SLEEPWEAR PURCHASE" to your cart in the color of your choice.

I'll add some more sales as I find them.  I have only paid attention to sales on sites of things I actually need, so I'll have to snoop around to find more... :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Creating stylish outfits using thrifted items

Activity: Volunteering in Gavin's classroom

Sweater: Madewell, thrifted (similar - on sale!)
Top: Uniqlo (exact)
Jeans: LOFT (similar splurge - on sale, similar save)
Shoes: Franco Sarto, thrifted (similar)
Bag: Marc Jacobs, thrifted (similar - almost half off!)
Earrings: Ann Taylor (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (similar)

Almost any thrifter can relate to the challenge of using thrifted items to style an on-trend look.  It's easy to create classic, quirky, and fun looks using thrifted items, but it isn't always as easy to make an of-the-moment outfit.  How to do it?  

The simplest way is to mix thrifted items with new purchases. For example, while there are always exceptions, lately I mostly find resale jeans with a really low-rise.  Not flattering on me, and not really my style anymore.  So, while I haven't given up completely on thrifting a great pair of jeans, I don't spend much time on that particular project.  The jeans in this look are from LOFT, my usual go-to spot for new pants. The gray color made them feel especially right for this fall, and they update many of my previously thrifted items. 

It's also hard to find thrifted basic knit tee shirts in great condition.  So, I find it's best to find new go-to tees that fit you well and stock up as needed.  My current favorite for long-sleeve basic tee shirts is this one from Uniqlo, worn in the outfit above.  I've already purchased it in several colors, though I wear the navy, black and cream ones the most.  Basic knit tees are a basic building block for so many outfits (see this post for my ode to the basic layering tee), so don't depend on being able to stumble onto them in your size and needed colors when thrifting.  

You may have more success thrifting layering pieces.  Sometimes you can even find items from a recent season, in a silhouette that is still quite on-trend.  The sweater in this outfit, for example, is from Madewell, and felt very current to me (although actually long sweaters are especially popular, the open cardigan look and the neutral color struck me as somewhat trendy).   I've found other layering pieces that were very recent, and those types of items tend to be in better condition when thrifted, as opposed to tee shirts.

Another tip is to at least be aware of what trends are current and those which are predicted.  I don't think anyone should buy something they don't like, new or thrifted, for any reason, but if you're attracted to a thrifted item, you've read that it's a current trend, perhaps you've even considered trying that trend, and it's $5, why not give it a try? Worst case scenario, you re-donate it if the trend doesn't end up working for you.  For example, I had read that red was a hot color for fall, long and double-breasted jackets were coming in and that military details were also on-trend (I usually mostly just check Who What Wear's website, plus InStyle magazine).  I love red (both red heels and red flats have been on my shopping wish list forever!), and thought a long jacket would be an interesting look to try for fall.  So when I found a vintage circa 1990s long, double-breasted red blazer with a hint of military styling in the trim details on the sleeve for $6, I decided it was worth a try.  I'm still not sure if the shoulder pads are just a little too much, or if the look is just trying a little too hard for me, but I figure at $6, no harm, no foul.  In another example, a couple of months ago, I had read that purple was popular, and I had seen it starting to show up at conventional retailers.  Again, I like purple, and armed with that information, I took a little more interest than I might have in purple items at the thrift store.  Soon after that, I found 2 beautiful skirts in purple tones (one in this post, another really fabulous Ralph Lauren maxi skirt that I hope to photograph sometime blowing in the wind on a cliff overlooking the ocean).  These stand-out items are all to be worn with neutral items purchased new, hopefully creating unique items with a nod to the trends.

How do you create outfits with your thrifted items?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thrifted all day long...

Activity: Meeting for worship

Blazer: Larry Levine, thrifted (nothing is super close, but sort of similar, similar, similar)
Top: Banana Republic, thrifted (similar)
Skirt: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: BCBG via ebay (similar)
Bag: Ann Taylor, thrifted (similar)
Earrings: thrifted (similar)

I knew days would eventually come when I was wearing an outfit comprised of completely thrifted (or secondhand via eBay) items. This was one of those days!

I was wearing this top the day I thrifted this blazer, and I turned out to love the combination of casual denim and dressy wool.  When I got the blazer home, however, I couldn't find any other top I liked with it, which surprised me.  I don't usually buy items I think only go with one look, I prefer more versatility, but I've been stumped on finding another top I like.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!  :)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mixing fall trends - husband shirt, glen plaid blazer, loafers


Activity: Wine order pickup with hubby (aka "day date")

Blazer: Trina Turk via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Top: Mossimo (similar)
Jeans: LOFT (similar)
Shoes: Franco Sarto, thrifted (similar)
Earrings: Ann Taylor (similar)
Bag: Marc Jacobs, thrifted (similar)

Several things came together in this outfit. First, I had heard of the "husband shirt", basically an oversized button front shirt from this outfit on Megan Markle, and happened to find a similar version on clearance at Target.  I had also read that plaid was hot for fall, and I've had a beautiful glen plaid blazer for several years, that I had planned to make use of this fall.  It's part of my classic closet, items that fit well and will never go out of style, which I never plan to permanently rotate out - unless they no longer fit or wear out.  These items aren't always in high rotation in my closet, but I tend to have spurts where I reach for them often, and other periods where they only get occasional wear.  But I've essentially pledged to myself to not allow myself to donate those items, even if I'm purging my closet during an occasional wear period for that piece of clothing.  These are the types of items that I later regret donating or selling, so I have to essentially promise myself not to over purge my closet, as I have been prone to do in the past.  (That being said, I limit the number of items I add to that no-purge list.  But, if it's high quality, fits well, and has classic style, it's most likely on that list.)  And even though this season's hottest plaid blazer is an oversized and double-breasted version (sometimes long, like this one), I still feel like my version is on trend.  Plus, since I know it fits well, I feel great when I wear it.

I have also been wearing the heck out of these loafers.  While I still love my black slip-on sneakers, these black loafers (almost a smoking slipper) add such a fall spin to my outfits.  And they are so comfortable!  And my gray skinny jeans are my current favorite casual pant. So adding some trendier elements to items I already love to wear came together to create this look, and made for an outfit I loved!  

What's your current favorite outfit combination?

Here are some options for you, if you want to try this particular combination:


Husband shirt:

Skinny jeans:


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ruffles for days....

Activity: Meeting for worship

Top: Ann Taylor (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew via ebay (exact in current colors - on sale!)
Shoes: Pour la Victoire via DSW (similar)
Earrings: via ebay (similar)
Watch: Apple, gift (exact in current band color)
Bracelets: street vendors (similar, similar)
Bag: Ann Taylor, thrifted (similar)
Lip: badly applied Colour Pop in Creeper, attempted to be wiped off and topped off with pale gloss (exact, exact gloss in berry brown)

Let me start by saying that this outfit did not photograph the way it looked in real life - or at least, how it made me feel in real life.  Not to mention the giant forehead crater completely visible these days...  Such is life.  

I'm sure for many of you, the weather has already changed for the cooler, but we were having a seasonably warm day last week (early fall being our warmest weather here in the Bay Area), so a sleeveless top was perfect.  And, while I didn't wear this to a formal occasion (I would have made sparklier accessory choices...), this would be an example of a possible "party top" to find on sale (as I did, for $15 at Ann Taylor), and stash for a potential special occasion (discussed more in my last post).  It's a little more versatile than one dress, more forgiving to weight loss and gain, and a lot less expensive...

What's your take on "party tops"?

Here are some options:
In ruffles:

Other options: