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!
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!
“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!
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!
What a November so far! Can't beat this beautiful Iowa weather. It feels so strange to not be bundled up a little more each day as winter approaches.
In this abnormal warm streak, dressing for the day has been a bit of a challenge. It's cold when I step out the door at home in the morning, but warm when I leave the building after work. I've partially transitioned into my winter wardrobe with boots and tights, but have kept it light otherwise.
I have several different variations of the collared button-up top I am wearing below. They are from the I Heart Ronson line at JCPenney. These shirts are great because they are long, perfect over leggings, and light, so they can be tucked into a skirt or layered without adding bulk. They offer a lot of look possibilities. They are also a tad bit sheer, which I like because there's good air flow and it adds a bit of sexiness to an outfit whether you are wearing this top casually or professionally, especially when you have it buttoned all the way up.
I paired this particular version of the I Heart Ronson top with a vintage olive green skirt (with pockets!) that I found at Goodwill. My boots are from JCPenney.
This outfit was comfortable and held up well during a day full of meetings and video shoots!
I felt a lot of pressure dressing myself for the 80/35 music festival in Des Moines last weekend. The stakes are always high. Festival fashion is fun to observe, but I never feel like I fit in (i.e. I never feel as cute as I perceive others to be!). I saw A LOT of great outfits at 80/35. Cute dresses, outfit combinations, and lack of outfits (some festival goers opted for airbrushed clothing vs. the real deal). But it all looked fabulous.
I knew it was going to be hot, so I wanted to dress light. I stopped by Goodwill and was able to pull together the outfit pictured below for less than $20! I'm really into "side knotting" my shirts, because I think it is flattering on me, so I tried that out here. The outfit lasted me through some very sweaty moments and I felt "festival cool" in it. After I got home I thought of about 10 other variations on the same outfit that I could have worn instead...but there's always next year!
If you can't already tell from my title - I LOVE blanket scarves. They are warm, cozy, and so versatile. Today, I paired my infinity blanket scarf with a comfy grey v-neck t-shirt, camel wool blazer, my favorite pair of jeans, and dark camel ankle boots. This outfit was just right for the unseasonably warm weather we've been experiencing in Iowa. It still feels like Fall, which is fine by me because it allows me to wear my stylish blazers, scarves, and boots just a little bit longer! In no time, I'll be putting on anything and everything to keep me dry and warm.