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!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
One of my biggest personal goals is to lead a more sustainable life. Rethinking. Reusing. Repurposing. A place I have really been honing in on is my closet. What do I really need? What can I rework into a new look? What can I use for something entirely different?
Because of this, I wanted to rethink this area of my blog. I don't necessarily want to encourage readers to go out and buy brand new things. Because that's not what I do. If I see something new I like, I normally ask myself, "Can I find it used or can I create it myself?" Many of my fashion posts already feature items that can't be linked because they're not new. They're deep discount or thrift shop finds that I've had for years.
I'm going to start a new series called "Outfit Imitation." The only new items you'll see featured in this series will be included in the outfits I'm copying because they inspire me! I'll visit a variety of different thrift shops to create the looks I'm after and share all of the details with you.
I can only hope that through this series others will begin looking at used clothing or the pieces they already have in a different way, finding that imitating the items we think we "NEED to have fresh of the rack" can provide the same level of satisfaction, if not more.
The first outfit I'm imitating is from my previous post about LOFT:
I love this outfit because it's very much my style. A long skirt belted at the waist with an oversize cardigan is my dream uniform for the upcoming winter months.
In one stop at the Crossroads Goodwill in Waterloo, I was able to find all of the pieces I needed to duplicate this outfit:
Here's more of a close up:
The total cost for the cardigan, belt, skirt and shoes was $15.50. If I were to purchase all of the items pictured in the LOFT photo, I would have been out around $300!
When I'm "over" this look, it will return to circulation in a thrift store for someone else to discover and love. It gives me happy feels when I think about clothing having a long life span with several different owners. It's pretty special when you think about what an important role clothing plays in how we express and feel about ourselves.
Show me what outfits are inspiring YOU. I'd love to see the thrift store gems you find to recreate your favorite looks! Tag me on Instagram (@countrywrennest) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll feature any looks I'm sent on the blog within this new series!
I've seen ads for LOFT all my life, mostly in magazines. Nice stuff, but I never paid close attention. I recently visited Tanger Outlets in Williamsburg, Iowa with my aunt, Rachel, and stopped by the LOFT store. It was great!
I really loved the variety of clothing they had. Most of it would be considered professional wear, but because that's something that is hard to come by anymore, I got really excited. I always have a hard time finding structured professional clothing that doesn't look "old." I'm a young professional and want to express myself with fun colors, prints and cuts!
I also think that a lot of their pieces could go from day to night really easily. They show a lot of their items paired with jeans and it creates a really polished look.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces from their online collection:
They're slightly out of my price range, which probably explains why I haven't bought anything from them before. But, if I'm looking for a special piece, I know where I'll look. Until then, I'll just draw styling inspiration from them so I can wear my thrifted finds in new ways!
Although I like really busy (normally floral) prints and bright colors, there are times when I love pairing classic black and white pieces.
Truly, nothing beats a tailored button-up tucked into pixie pants that fit just right. I wore this outfit to work and felt effortlessly pulled together.
The shirt was given to me, the pants are from Old Navy, and the flats are from JCPenney. All three pieces are items you can find anywhere, at anytime. If you enjoy thrifting, I can guarantee you could pull together a look similar to this at a place like Stuff Store or Goodwill.
Here's a closer look:
If you're like me and gravitate towards the "wild side" of fashion - don't forget that classic pieces of clothing exist for a reason - they are timeless examples of how to look chic at any age, during any period in time!
Weddings, graduations and getaways are in full swing. We're already booked every weekend through July!
Our first big event was the wedding of our sweet friends, Ryan and Sarah. The whole affair was simple and classic. Good weather, good ceremony, good company. I was in tears watching Sarah come down the isle to the song "Here Comes the Sun" in her lovely dress, her dad on her arm, smiling from ear to ear, with the sunlight glowing through her blonde hair. And the vows. The most genuine vows I have ever witnessed. I love love - and these two together are spilling over with it!
I kept it light and easy with my outfit, taking inspiration from Joel's outfit for my accessories.
The shirt I wore is actually a shirt dress! It was a tad bit too short for a wedding, so I opted to layer a longer, more appropriate, skirt over it. The shirt dress is from JCPenney and the skirt is from Old Navy. To tie my outfit with Joel's, I chose a caramel brown (my favorite tone of brown) leather belt and heels. The belt actually came with the shirt dress and the shoes are also from JCPenney. All discount finds at the time I am sure!
I ended up matching quite nicely with my hubby. We enjoyed our evening together so much. I count myself lucky that he is mine everyday! Here's a picture of us in all of our cuteness!
Oh hey, Spring! May flowers and sunshine have me dressing in full color almost everyday. This outfit is just one example of the fun combinations I've been putting together.
The floral shirt and nude flats are Target finds from a few seasons back but they normally always have similar products on hand, like this shirt and these shoes - modern spins on classics that are always in style. The pants are a major score from Old Navy for only $3.00. Always check the sales racks. I was about to spend $30+ dollars on similar pants, but found four pairs of really nice, structured ankle pants for under $12 total!
Here's a close-up of the outfit detail:
How are you dressing for Spring?!
One of my favorite people now has a line at Target...Victoria Beckham a.k.a. Posh Spice! I fell in love with her when she was with the Spice Girls and followed her as she blossomed into a refined fashion designer. Her clothes are ev(clap)ery(clap)thing(clap). They are modern, well-tailored, feminine and classic.
I previewed the line on Target.com and wanted to share a few of my favorites. The prices are definitely right. The most expensive item appears to be only $40. For Victoria Beckham?! I'll take one of each!
Joel labeled the outfit I'm sharing today as my "riding outfit." I see it! Thus the title. But unfortunately, no horses were ridden in this outfit.
We were asked to dress "business casual" for our volunteer duties at the Grout Museum over the weekend, so this is what I came up with. An outfit that is young, comfortable, and as Joel pointed out, very "equestrian."
The houndstooth blazer I have on is my tried and true. It is from H&M and has been one of my go-tos for probably a good eight years now. The reason I like it so much is so much is definitely the print and the cut. The print transitions really well from casual to professional. The cut adds shape to whatever outfit I'm wearing. I also machine washed it as needed and it has held up really well over time. I don't have the money to dry clean everything, so it's been nice to be able to wash it on my own.
I paired the blazer with a navy blue, semi-sheer button up with a collar from Old Navy. The pants are black jeggings from Old Navy. The brown boots are ones you've seen before in previous posts (and are on their last leg...so, so sad) from JCPenney. I'm a big fan of wearing black and brown together. A lot of people don't like it, but I look at it this way - wild cats have brown and black stripes/spots - it is a natural color combination!
Here's a close-up of the blazer print and collared shirt:
And here's me and my dog, Madison. She wanted in on the fun!
I'm not a huge prints person...wait...who am I kidding? I'm a huge prints person. Floral prints are my normal go-to, but I do fancy other prints on occasion.
An "other print" dress that I really like and have had forever is from Target. It honestly looks like a dalmatian or a snow leapord print. But I love it! The cut of the dress is young, the print is fun, and the black/white coloring is classic. I normally pair this dress with a black scarf, tights, and boots.
Wearing clothing with busy prints can be a bit intimidating. But if you really love the print, there's something pretty empowering about wearing it after you have it on. Put your fears aside and get ready to stand out!
A close-up of this print: