Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daily outfits: June 25-29

This was a bit of a weird week, so bear with me. But I think I found a better spot to take photos, as you'll see from the Friday shot.

Monday, June 25: Flustered in orange and grey

What a morning. Baby Girl was recovering from a fever, so I went into work late. Hypothetically, this should have meant that I had tons of time to get ready, but somehow it didn't work out that way. I guarantee that this outfit looked cuter when my sweater wasn't hiked up to my bellybutton. Also, there were shoes. Sigh.

Orange fitted cardigan: The Limited (thrifted)
Grey flared trousers: JC Penney

Tuesday, June 26: Gone thriftin'

Tuesday was my birthday, so I took the day off to check out a new thrift store. Instead of my outfit, here's a peek at some of my finds (virtually all blouses). 

Wednesday, June 27: Chasse, step-ball-change

I have this thing where I need to wear new clothes, like, the moment I get them. So naturally on Wednesday I wore one of my birthday presents from my husband: this ruffled emerald green top. I had to add the cardigan because I have a thing about going sleeveless at the office (mostly because of my tattoo). I liked this outfit in the mirror, but in this photo I feel like I look like a jazz dance instructor. Replace the slacks with leggings, and I'm ready to go. 
Emerald top with ruffles: TJ Maxx (gift)
White boot-cut trousers: The Limited (thrifted)
Black square-heel pumps with ankle strap: Nine West (thrifted)

Thursday, June 28: Girlish stripes

Another day, another birthday present. This dress is so cute and comfy, I could just live in it. I tried to make it office-appropriate with my accessories, but it's still pretty short, isn't it?
I love the back detail, too. 
Hot pink-and-white striped knit dress: TJ Maxx (gift)
Navy cardigan: No-name hand-me-down vintage from my aunt
Navy belt: Thrifted
Navy lace-up vintage flats: Church sale

Friday, June 29: Preppy in pink

Another day, another gift: this time, a sweet pink gingham blouse. I really feel like "me" in this outfit. I love a blouse and tailored shorts for casual Friday - I feel polished enough to meet with customers, but it still seems like a nice indulgence to wear a different type of outfit to work. 
Pink and white gingham blouse: Ralph Lauren (gift)
Brown belt with antiqued brass buckle: Thrifted
Chocolate brown tailored cargo shorts: Motherhood Maternity (don't tell!) (thrifted)
Vintage tan huaraches: Soft Spots (thrifted)
Pearl earrings: gift

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday giveaway: Blue bangles

My Friday giveaway features items that are not for sale in my Etsy shop, but that I would still like to find new loving homes for. This week, I'm giving away a pair of blue bangles - one bright sky blue, the other navy. These bracelets look great together or on their own. 

To enter, just leave a comment below.. This and all other Friday giveaways remain open until further notice! 

Previous giveaways: 
Chevron tank top
Frosted glass choker
Navy blue granny shoes

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What's your neutral?

After my post about colors, I got to thinking about neutrals. Lest you think my closet is a clown-like rainbow of wild colors, I can assure you that I love me some neutrals, too. But I've noticed my neutral shade of choice has evolved over the years.

In high school, I was all about navy. My go-to hoodie was navy, and my favorite sneakers - classic Adidas - were navy and white.

high school

In college, it was basic black. Not really in a "I wear black on the outside because my soul is black on the inside" kind of way; just a "hey, this goes with everything" kind of way. I got my first little black dress in college, and discovered just how useful a black cardigan could be.


After I graduated and started working full-time, I had to actually start buying clothes that were appropriate for work in an office setting. From my trusty camel zip-up cardigan to my revolving door of khakis, I wound up with a wardrobe heavy on the brown. I also bought my first real pair of high heels (I don't count the ones I wore to prom).

young professional

Now that I am a boring old fart sophisticated career woman, I find myself gravitating more toward grey. It seems so soft and elegant, and appropriate in any season. I really, really love my Franco Sarto boots in the most wonderfully indistinct shade of gray/brown/putty/neutral. I can wear them with positively anything.

workin mom

What's your favorite neutral?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Daily outfits: June 18-22

June 18

In keeping with Monday's post, I tried to put together an outfit that looked polished while being as comfortable as the pajamas I so did not want to change out of.
The pattern on this skirt makes me look slightly swollen about the hips. Nevertheless, I still love this dress, which to me perfectly represents why clothing swaps are the greatest. I would never pick out a sleeveless leopard print dress at a store - but when it's free? Why the hell not
While they got kind of cut off in this picture, I am deeply in love with these shoes. A friend tipped me off to the fact that nude heels are the most useful thing in the universe, and lo and behold she was right. 

June 19

This outfit was supposed to be more colorful. I was going to wear a little kelly-green cropped jacket over the grey top, but when I located said jacket in the trunk of my car, it was a crumpled mess. All's well that ends well anyway, because it was a billion degrees on Tuesday and there's no way I could have stood to wear a jacket anyhow. 

June 20

I am deeply in love with this 70s dress. The weird muted print, the odd color scheme, the petal sleeves - all of it. However, my posture leaves something to be desired here ...

June 21

Trying to beat the heat, and mostly failing - although  this Brooks Brothers skirt, which I bought on a whim right before I graduated college, has turned out to be one of my wisest adult clothing purchases. This top, I bought thinking it was vintage, but it's not, so now I have to wear it rather than selling it. Quel tragedy.

June 22

By Friday, I had kind of given up, so you get a bonus baby shot to make up for my pathetic outfit. (Sometimes I really abuse the privilege that is casual Friday.) I tried to salvage the look with interesting earrings, but, yeah, it didn't really work.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday giveaway - navy blue granny shoes

I bought these shoes thinking they were deadstock vintage, but upon closer inspection realized they are probably just about brand-new. So, if you want that vintage look without the vintage wear-and-tear, these are the shoes for you!

These navy blue granny shoes would fit an 8.5 comfortably. No discernible wear, basically as new. Cute with an A-line skirt or flared jeans!

Comment below to enter. As with all my Friday giveaways, this one will remain open until further notice.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Color lover

While my day-to-day wardrobe doesn't always belie it, I have a serious jones for eye-catching colors, prints and textures - the more outrageous, the better. You can bet money that if it sparkles or shines, I will be drawn to it like a magpie - only my nest is lined with sequins and gold lame rather than tin foil.

Don't get me wrong - I fully appreciate the simple beauty of a white blouse, a camel coat or a little black dress. But I also can't resist a top covered in midnight blue sequins, a bright orange trench coat or a sky-blue dress with little puffy clouds.

I love unexpected color combinations, like the teal, pink and khaki of this vintage shirtdress:

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

Or the navy, red, celery and tan of this sundress:

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

If you like playing with color, check out Colour Lovers - it's really fun to build your own palettes, or play with the color combos and patterns that other people have dreamed up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A case of the Mondays

I dragged myself out of bed around 5:30 this morning, having worked a late shift the day before, with about 4 hours of sleep under my belt. Although it's tempting when I'm exhausted to do the bare minimum to make myself presentable, I have found a few beauty tricks can make a huge difference in how I look and feel. Here's what I do:

If I'm tired, not feeling well or just cranky, I always make an extra effort to look good. For one thing, it distracts people from whatever negative things may be going on with me. Plus it gives me a little boost to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

For work, I like a flattering jersey dress with a structured cardigan or a blazer. It's comfortable and easy to put together, but it still looks super polished, especially with pointy-toe flats or kitten heels.

Hair and Body
I will totally skip the shower if it means I can sleep for another 10 minutes. Talcum powder is a great pick-me-up for greasy or dull hair; just shake some on, comb it through and fluff out the excess. And hand sanitizer is amazing at removing underarm odor!

A warm water rinse, followed by cold, always leaves my face feeling fresh. Add a gentle toner (I use witch hazel) and you're good as new.

I'm not a big makeup wearer, but if I'm looking really bleary, I love a little blush, and my secret weapon - white eyeliner. You can scoff if you want, but I swear by it - it brightens up my eyes so well. With my complexion, I've found that a strong lip color usually just emphasizes the dark circles under my eyes if I'm tired, so I usually skip the lipstick.

What are your beauty secrets for those days when you wish you could just stay in bed?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daily outfit - kind of

So I had decided I was going to try to start daily outfit posts. Then I broke down in helpless laughter after I remembered that I have a baby and a full-time job and my mornings are an ocean of chaos. So I think instead what I'm going to try to do is collect photos of my outfits during the week and post them on the weekend.

This week will be truncated, because I didn't come up with this idea until Wednesday, and I sort of forgot to actually take any photos until Thursday.


My feelings about this outfit are mixed. It looked good in my mirror, but I can see in this picture I kind of had a droopy-drawers thing going on with these pants -- they were sagging down all day, which really ruined the look.

I was happy with the last-minute addition of the cardigan - I love blue and red together, and I felt like it made it look a bit more professional (this is a touch more casual than I usually dress for work).

I spent 10 minutes trying to find a necklace I could wear with this blouse, but gave up. Sometimes the best accessory is no accessory at all. I am loving this blouse and really feeling torn about putting it up for sale in my shop ...

Sweater: Thrifted
Blouse: Vintage (coming soon to the shop - I will update with a link when it's up)
Belt: Clothing swap
Khakis: Kmart
Loafers: J. Crew
Earrings: Gift from my husband


I feel like I am channelling Zo in this photo. Sorry for the blurriness - I am still working on my auto-timer settings. Consider this a trial run.

With it being "casual Friday" at work, I felt I could get away with this. I have worn various versions of this ensemble before, but I really like the slim-fitting capris and slip-on shoes with this top for a retro feel. It is comfy and easy-going, but I still felt cute and chic. In retrospect, some accessories would have helped dress it up a bit for the office, but the baby was screaming all morning while I was getting ready, so I didn't really have time to contemplate my options.

Top: Vintage
Capris: Thrifted
Shoes: eBay

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday giveaway - frosted glass choker

One of the things I have loved most about selling vintage on Etsy is that it has enabled me to be honest with myself about my wardrobe. Those items of clothing that I just love in theory, but can never make them work in practice, can now go on to someone else's closet rather than languishing in mine.

In that spirit, my Friday giveaway features items that I can't sell on Etsy, but that I would still like to find new loving homes for. This week, I'm giving away a blue beaded necklace. The frosted glass beads are a nice, bright, clear blue, and the necklace has a large hook-and-eye clasp that's easy to do yourself. The necklace is strung on wire for a sturdy construction. 

To enter, just leave a comment below. A winner will be selected at random - check back here to find out if you won.

Update: I'm going to leave this giveaway open until at least June 22, so don't be shy - go ahead and enter!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lifestyle limitations

My wardrobe is looking pretty small these days. In fact, I keep coming across garments that I had in my 'active' wardrobe and adding them to one of the giant plastic bags I have hidden in my clothes room, because I realize I can't actually wear them.

This all started when I got pregnant, naturally enough. As my belly (and other parts, ahem) outgrew my clothes, I started squirreling them away in the desperate hope that I would one day be able to fit into them again. After the baby was born, I spent several weeks living in nursing tops and yoga pants before I had the strength to tackle my mountain of abandoned clothes.

I have been gratified to see that I can, in fact, fit into much of my pre-baby wardrobe, especially now that I'm nearing the 6-month mark. And being reunited with my high heels, which were just too much to bear during the third trimester, was great.

But I've been disappointed to realize how little of my wardrobe is nursing-friendly. Many a dress has been relegated to the big plastic bag because of this problem. It's a little bit depressing to realize that these clothes, which I missed wearing so much during my pregnancy, are still not viable.

What lifestyle factors limit your wardrobe? What do you wish you could wear more often that just isn't practical for you?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer must-haves

I made a pinboard of the things I'm finding I can't live without this summer (with a few wish-list items thrown in).
Lightweight jacket

I got this jacket in gray earlier this year. It was on sale, so I picked it up on a whim, not really knowing if I would get much use out of it. I've ended up wearing it almost every day. It dresses up or down equally well - I had thought of it as more of a casual jacket, but was surprised to see how chic it looked over a dress.

Cherry lip stain
Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I am not really a makeup person, mostly because I'm lazy. I love a tinted lip gloss because I can smear some on without worrying too much about getting it perfect, and it still gives me that hint of color to brighten up my face. Plus, it easily doubles as blush. The Cherry shade is great for me because it comes across as somewhere right in between pink and red, so I feel like I can wear it with any outfit.

Canvas slip-ons

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

My husband calls these my "mom shoes," although I corrected him and said  they're really grandma shoes. I think I have the exact same pair (in black) that my grandma used to wear every summer. Now I know why  - they're comfy and cool, and to my eye, they look just a little bit more polished/feminine than sneakers.

You can view the whole board here. What are your summer must-haves?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Holy grails

For as long as I've been thrift-shopping, I've always gone out with an item in mind that I'm looking for - the kind of thing you'd have to be pretty lucky to find. For a long time, I was after the perfect black Western shirt. Then it was beaded cardigans. But for the last several years, I've been on the hunt for the perfect white leather jacket.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

Now, I know I could just buy this jacket on Etsy and my search would be over. ($40 is not a bad price!) But there's something to be said for the thrill of the hunt. For now, I'll keep looking.

What are your thrift-store holy grails?

Monday, June 4, 2012

In defense of polyester

Polyester gets a bad rap.

When I was growing up in the 80s, "polyester" was like a swear word. We associated it with the fashion excesses of the 1970s, all loud colors, garish prints and extreme silhouettes.

Then a couple of things happened. By the 90s, the 70s were cool again, at least among certain alternative/hipster circles. When I was in high school, I got a hand-me-down* polyester polo shirt from my older sister that caused me to rethink my hatred of the fabric.

The shirt was bright yellow, with a criss-cross design in green, pink and purple. It fit me well, and I soon realized it was super comfy. Unlike cotton knits, the fabric hung away from my body and didn't cling. It never got wrinkly, and even after wearing it every week for a year (not to mention the years of wear it had gone through before me), the colors were as bright and clear as ever.

Now, of course, polyester is commonplace, and the fabric has come a long way from the scratchy double knits of the 1970s. But some vintage pieces - like this one - still stand the test of time.

*Actually, I just borrowed it and never returned it. Its return was brokered eventually, as part of a complex prisoners' exchange of sorts in which we both fessed up to clothes we had taken from each other over the years.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday giveaway: Chevron tank top

In my travels through Used Clothingland, I often come across great finds that don't make it into my shop for various reasons. As a thank-you to my readers, I offer these treasures to you!

This week's item is a cute yellow and white chevron-printed tank top with braided straps from Old Navy (size medium). I bought this tank top a few years ago - it was so bright and sunny and cheerful, I just couldn't resist. But I try to follow the cardinal rule of getting rid of garments that have not been worn in over a year, so this one's getting the ax. Note: This is, NOT a vintage garment - just regular old garden-variety secondhand merch.

Leave a comment below to enter this week's giveaway. A winner will be selected randomly at 8 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, June 4. I'll post the winner here, so be sure to check back!

Update: Well, no one entered. I'll have to offer something more enticing next time. It's off to the Salvation Army with my old tank top!