The "I crave new shoes" switch got turned off inside me awhile ago. I used to veer to that section first, buy way too many, would get pairs that were too big or small if I liked them enough, etc. There were several instances where a shoe would be a few sizes to small for me, usually in my sister's size, and I forced her to buy them so I could live vicariously through her. Yeah. I loved shoes that much.
Nowadays, I try to stick to the basics and wear the basics until they literally give out on me. I came to this point with the brown and black pairs of tall boots I bought over five years ago. The brown pair lost their heels. The black pair became so saturated with salt (Iowa life) I couldn't keep them clean anymore.
I heard that Payless was going out of business across the country, including the one in our local mall. I thought this would be a great opportunity to find a deeply discounted pair of one or both of the tall boots I had to dispose of (RIP). If you've ever shopped for tall boots, you know they're not cheap.
I was right! The current promotion they are running in store only right now is 20% of all shoes, 40% all tall boots. Score! I was able to snatch up these pairs:
I wore the black pair to an event my organization had a booth at for 10 hours and they were very comfortable! I even walked on a good amount of ice in them and didn't fall. So I think that speaks volumes about the stability of the boot due to the heel's height and thickness!
While at Payless, I of course checked out what else they had and ended up leaving with two pairs of shoes I had my eye on for a few months. A pair of slip on tennis shoes in a yummy burgundy shade:
And this pair of booties that I'm not going to lie, I dreamt about. I had visions of me in these boots. I had to have them. They will help me fulfill all of my punk rock girl band fantasies (minus me actually being in a punk rock girl band part...). I'll wear these for the first time tonight for a girls' night and I can't wait to pair them with a pair of tight skinnies and a fitted biker jacket.
This is the look I'm going for on girls' night:
Also loving this option for work:
And that's that. Check back in another 5+ years for the post where I share the new shoes I had to purchase because all of these pooped out on me!
I’m going to be candidly honest. Over the past year or so, I have accumulated a little extra insulation. Over 20 pounds worth…Partly due to my own bad habits and partly due to some thyroid issues I’ve been working with doctors on over the past couple of years.
It has been difficult for me to adjust to this new body. I continue to shove my new body into old clothes which is just no good for my already sinking confidence. I keep saying to myself the weight will come off soon enough, like it always does. But it seems to like its new home…
Until I can get my lifestyle worked out and bring a lot more healthy habits into my life, I’ve chosen to look for staple clothing pieces in a larger size so I don’t feel like a loaf of bread overflowing its pan in everything I own!
I was forced into purchasing my first new staple piece, jeans, because 1) the one pair I was down to physically hurt to wear, and 2) I bent down to pick up a box and a hole ripped in the knee. (Insert monkey covering eyes emoji here.) It was truly only a matter of time before something burst open…I’m happy it was at my knee since I was at work.
On the evening of the jeans explosion, Joel went along with me to Plato’s Closet to look for a new pair. It is jeans day at work until after the new year, so I had to find something. Plato’s always comes through for me and this visit was no exception. I tried on four different pairs in larger sizes than I have purchased in the past and found my favorite jeans EVER.
These. Jeans. Old Navy Rock Star Mid-Rise Jeans.
To make things even better – they were only 8 DOLLARS! Are you kidding me with this? They are stretchy but have a traditional jeans structure/feel – a step above jeggings. They go up a little higher on my tummy/lower back, which I am all about right now. I really like the dark wash. And the best part? They don’t hurt me when I button them up!
I wore them to work the day after purchasing and I felt like a million bucks. I didn’t need to twist, turn, and suck in certain parts of myself to feel comfortable with my outfit because what I was wearing FIT ME. I actually wore them with a short turtleneck from Goodwill, something I would not have done with my previous pair of jeans, and felt so confident!
With a bandana (that I found in our garage when we moved in) and a pair of ankle boots (from Old Navy that I have had for years) my outfit was complete. I felt like a completely different person.
We must be gentle with ourselves in times when our body image may not be at its peak. There is a level of acceptance that needs to take place at every stage, which is different for everyone.
Even though I may not feel comfortable with my body right now (a lot of the discomfort also comes from accepting the fact that I’m not honoring my body the way I should), I am grateful to it for keeping me alive. Getting me around. Sheltering my mind and soul (and internal organs!). It deserves to be appreciated at the very least. And if I have to go up a jeans size (or two), that’s OK. I am honoring my body as it is in this season, and clothing it in a way that is now comfortable – both physically and emotionally.
When I remember to do it, I'll post photos of me actually wearing thrifted items I find! Here's me before heading off to work in the blazer and pants from my recent Goodwill haul:
I usually buy blazers a size too small. I never need them to button because with my bust size, they look silly worn that way. The "correct" size for me also tends to have sleeves that are too long, so I look like I'm a kid wearing my mother's clothing! I wear blazers to add shape to an outfit. I adore a shrunken blazer with an oversized dress or shirt, sometimes with a thin belt around the smallest part of my waist, just below the bust. This adds an extra level of interest and even more definition to my body shape. My body is of the "potato" shape family, so I have to use smoke and mirrors to create a waist!
I also appreciate a good ankle pant. This is my pant style of choice. I like the retro feel of them (Audrey Hepburn-esque) and they look great with flats or heels. I also feel like this type of pant, which normally flares out slightly at the bottom, helps balance out my body.
These recently thrifted items are neutral, so go great with a wide range of clothing I already have in my closet, like this sweater and pair of snakeskin flats. I'm always freezing at work, so wearing a sweater with the vintage wool blazer kept me a comfortable level of toasty all day. I sit for a bulk of my job. The pants do stretch a bit, but not to the point of getting saggy.
Overall, I'm very pleased with these items. I feel that for being secondhand, they look just as professional as items that are brand new off the rack! Always remember to give thrift shops a chance before shopping new. I think you'd be surprised by what you can find if you take time to look!
Also, here's a look at my flats (very old from Target) and a close-up on the yummy textures of the clothing garments. Cozy neutrals forever!
After admiring Style Encore on Instagram for a few months, I knew I had to make time for a visit. I got off work early on a recent Friday afternoon so took that as my chance!
From the photos on their social media page, my hopes were set pretty high. They exceeded my expectations! After I was finished, I walked towards the car (where Joel was waiting for me) with a huge smile on my face. When he asked me how it was, I said, "I don't remember, I blacked out!" That's how good it was.
What drew me in on this particular day, aside from having the extra time, was the sale they had going on. To give you an idea of how good it was, here are a few of the deals they had going on their clearance clothing: Blazers - $5, Long Sleeve Tops - $3, Jewelry - $1. That's cheaper than Goodwill in a lot of cases!
Since I am a blazer addict, I picked up two. The first one pictured is from Express. The second is from Chicos.
I found a couple of great tops that will be good for both work and casual wear. Check out the label that was on the black top. Loved it!
I'm not a huge jewelry person, but at $1 each, I felt good about taking a chance on some trendy pieces. The necklace is great, I wore it immediately the next day. I think the earrings are adorable. Little flashy, but the neutral tone made them doable for me.
I got all of this for under $20. Understand why I blacked out now? I thought so!
I'll definitely be back, there is no question about that. Even though I scored from the sale, their regular prices are still really good, especially since they seem to be super selective about their items and most are name brand or designer.
I love the changing of seasons for many reasons, but updating my wardrobe is the best part!
Below I shared a few Fall inspired outfits I’m excited to pull together this year! I’m hoping to thrift a few new pieces, get myself a brimmed hat, and rock a pair of tall boots. I’m into the cozy/sexy vibe of many of these outfits. Balancing oversized pieces with tighter ones, maybe showing a flash of skin here or there.
I’m equally obsessed with all of these looks. Which one will you try out? Tell me in the comments!
Take a breath before buying new!
It was a good weekend for thrifting at Goodwill in La Crosse, Wisconsin!
I wanted to share a few pieces of clothing I found as well as a couple of home décor items I couldn’t pass up.
Sheer Top - $2.50 (50% off clearance item – extra score)
I instantly fell in love with this top. The color is great and the fit is perfect. I will pair this with a black tank top and skinny jeans.
Vintage Wool Blazer - $11.99
The reason this was a little pricier is because it came with a wool skirt that unfortunately didn’t fit me…darn women from the past having smaller waists than we do now…and darn me for allowing a little too much cushion to form around my mid-section! Anyway – the blazer fit me so well it was worth taking the skirt that didn’t. (I'll probably use the skirt for an upcoming DIY project!) This blazer will be great for throwing over just about anything to add some shape, but my original plan is to wear it with the dress pants shown below.
Dress Pants - $5.99
These pants are a Target brand. Really well made, good fit, and are pixie cut – my favorite! They have good stretch to them as well, so I feel like I’ll be able to hold onto these for a long time. They are casual enough to wear with a t-shirt and can be dressed up with the blazer pictured above (after the wrinkles are ironed out of course).
Fall Table Cover - $3.99
I am living for the color pallet of this table cover! What a great décor piece to transition our home from summer to fall. It looks really nice in our dining room alongside some light blue and teal accent pieces I have collected.
Afghan - $1.99 (clearance item – extra score)
What is better than an oversized afghan as it starts to get chilly outside? Not much. I plan to use this afghan for Fall outdoor parties we host, but it has already made its way into our living room…so I think it is already a family favorite!
Joel and I spent a full day going to stores that offered both old and new items while in La Crosse. We hesitated on buying new items because we know we can normally find something less expensive from a thrift shop.
When shopping, especially when it’s aimlessly, try to practice patience. It’s better for the environment and your pocketbook to buy secondhand items. In many cases, what you find at a thrift shop can be close to if not brand new. I now normally go to retail stores that offer new items to look for inspiration. What’s in now that I could put my own twist on with thrifted finds? It brings more creativity into your wardrobe and has made me more excited about putting outfits together.
Sometimes I can’t resist a new piece because brand spanking new is nice once in a while. But, I feel guilty immediately afterwards because I know if I had just taken some time to think the outfit through, I could have done better at a secondhand shop. That’s just life. Resisting temptation isn’t any fun, right?!
I also like to think this way when faced with buying new items: There was a new shirt at one of the stores we visited that was $25.00. For about that same amount – I got five items at Goodwill. Spreading the joy around not only within my wardrobe but our home as well.
What are some of your favorite recent thrift store finds? Where do you like to go? I need some new Iowa shops to visit!
Although it's still August, that hasn't stopped me from thinking ahead to Fall. Because you know, I'm THAT girl!
How can I help it when I ran across this combo at WalMart?
I'm a huge fan of mustard, so the pants were a must. For some reason, peplum tops have never spoken to me, but a peplum top with a flower print, I can get into that!
Both pieces are really comfortable. The shirt is loose and flowy. I've gained a bit of weight over the past few months so I appreciate how forgiving it is. It is also a little bit longer, which I like, especially with a tighter pant. I am going back and buying the pants in EVERY color available. They are stretchy and forgiving and hit at the ankle - my favorite pant length. The fabric is really nice so these pants can easily transition between casual to business wear.
Unfortunately, neither of the items I found are available online!! So here's what I can tell you:
Here's a little bit more of a close-up with my fashion assistant:
If you were to buy similar items (including the booties I'm wearing, which I got at Old Navy and have had for years - always shop your closet first!) at a place like Maurices, instead of $22, you'd look at spending over $117!
Each of these items look super close to what I found for WAY cheaper at WalMart! Yet another reminder to thrift or look in stores that normally offer good products for low prices. I've watched WalMart's fashion evolve and I feel that right now is a really good time to keep your eye on them for fashionable, reasonably priced items if you're looking for something new vs. used.
Happy deal finding my fellow fashionistas!
For background about my Outfit Imitation series, click here!
This is going to seem like a really silly post to have on a page all about fashion, but I hope it inspires you to rethink your wardrobe.
I’ve been having a really tough time sitting with the fact that although Joel and I have done an awesome job getting rid of our stuff – we still have so much left. Especially when it comes to clothing. As thrifters and people who truly appreciate the things we purchase or inherit, especially things with history or special meaning behind them, it’s been easy for us to accumulate closets full of clothes. Particularly me. I had one full closet stuffed to the brim plus a few claimed shelves and hangers in Joel’s closet…and then there’s the clothing rack in the basement…and the shoes in the hallway closet…
I sat with the thought of totally gutting my closet for a few months. I read stories and watched videos of others liberating themselves by getting back to the basics in their wardrobes. Every single person said it was one of the best things they’ve ever done, although hard, totally worth it. With each story, I got one step closer to having the strength to dig into my own stash of too much clothing.
I chose a day that I would purge. One whole day when I had nothing else going on. I would clean out every clothing closet and take everything to a donation center immediately after. No hesitation. Bags in car. Car to center. Bags out of car. Easy.
I thought about following a closet “challenge.” Creating a capsule wardrobe, whittling my clothes down to a certain number, etc. – but I chose to do my own thing. If I hadn’t worn it, of course, good bye. If I had similar items, I chose one or got rid of them all. Trendy was out. Loud prints were out. Holes or stains, gone. Too small, never going to fit into it again, in the bag. Too big, I didn’t like wearing it but did anyway, buh-bye. My rampage also included shoes and accessories. Some pieces were easy to let go of. Others, not so much. If I had something for a long time, those were normally the items I hesitated on, but ultimately threw into the pile.
In total, I cut my wardrobe down by 60%. Let that sink in. I sure had to. I surprisingly didn’t cry. I felt relieved. I felt proud. I felt like I was practicing what I preach. Less stuff = more joy.
I kept classic basics. Timeless pieces that 1) will not go out of style and 2) could be mixed and matched. My process was as simple as that.
I feel happy for the clothing items I kept and for the pieces I gave away because now they’ll all live the life they were meant to live: to be seen.
I’m down to ONE spacious looking closet. There is room on shelves, there are gaps between hangers, and it’s a completely new, inspiring space for me now. Before, somehow I felt like I had nothing to wear. Now, the possibilities seem endless. I have so much fun mixing and matching some of my very favorite pieces that were hidden by mounds of other items competing for attention.
This sounds completely backwards, but if you really love fashion, I challenge you to give this a try. I’ll even hold your hand and hold the bags open if you need some support. You’ll take yourself back to the basics, to the pieces that truly make you love fashion, while putting your inner stylist to the test.
Taking bag after bag into the donation center relieved an invisible pressure from my chest. Looking into my simplified closet fills me with both appreciation for what I have and inspiration for what I can do with it. Less stuff = more joy. Repeat.
Here are a couple "after" photos!
For years I heard the name Zac Posen. “Who are you wearing? Zac Posen. Zac Posen. Zac Posen.” I didn’t really start following him until he became a judge on one of my favorite fashion reality shows, Project Runway. In my eyes, that show brought him into the mainstream, gained a ton of new visibility for his brand, and relaunched his House in a way that made him a true, respected “name in fashion.”
I’ve loved watching his style evolve from fitted, mermaid dresses to voluminous, classic gowns – and everything in between. The drama in his vision is outstanding. The draping. The volume. The color. Always classic. Always tasteful. Each gown worthy of a museum exhibit. Full of moments only he can achieve.
Over the years he has certainly found a look all his own. When you see his gowns – you know they’re his. No matter the era of his design, you can always tell that he understands womens’ bodies, aiming to compliment every inch and curve.
He has weathered some very difficult situations throughout his career, which was imminent given his early start in the business. Luckily, he came out on the other side better for it. You can learn more about his history by watching a new documentary about him called “House of Z.” I enjoyed every minute of it!
Here are just a couple of his most recent gowns I rank as some of my favorites. I’ve seen him take an interest in gardening/flowers over the past couple of years and I can see such a floral influence in his most recent designs. Not necessarily always in fabric print, but in shape and volume. A flower reinterpreted – reimagined – wilt-proof. I can’t tell you how much that concept excites me!
I believe the best is yet to come from this one! Also, in case you wondered - we are on our way to becoming BFFs!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
In my new work role, the setting is much more casual than I am used to. More jeans days, which I was not quite prepared for with just one pair of jeans in my closet!
I'm not really a blue jeans person. Black jeans, leggings, skirts, shorts - that's more my style. In looking around for some denim inspiration, I ran across this outfit from Madewell:
Here's a cost rundown on what's pictured:
I never thought I would be into the denim on denim look. Others around me have pulled it off, I just thought I may look a little hokey. But there was something about this outfit that appealed to me, so I gave it a try.
I visited Plato's Closet in Waterloo with high hopes that I'd find everything I needed - and I did! I hadn't visited this location before. It is a little off the beaten path so I never think to go there, but am glad I stopped by.
Here are the brand and cost details on what I found:
I must say, I am completely sold on the denim on denim situation. I think as long as your denims are different shades, you're good to go. Makes it much less "Canadian Tuxedo"-ish!
I especially liked the cut of the jeans. I'm short and these hit me right at the ankle instead of pooling at my ankles like most jeans. The style was "Ankle Legging, Stella, Low Rise" for my fellow short girls out there!
The added cardigan makes this outfit super cozy, and the shoes will look great with pants, skirts, or shorts.
I wore this outfit the day after I got it, and then the next day (I made sure I was seeing different sets of people! Don't lie - you've done this, too!), and you better believe I'll be wearing it for my next jeans day at work.
For background about my Outfit Imitation series, click here!