Retail therapy

LogoI’ve never indulged in retail therapy. I don’t shop because I’m feeling lonely, stressed, depressed, or bored. I confess that the fact that I live 85 km (53 miles) from the closest mall might have something to do with that! On Tuesday, I travelled that 85 km to spend two hours sitting in a dentist’s chair. On the way, I stopped to have several vials of blood taken for post treatment testing. No one could blame a girl for adding a bit of shopping to a day like that, could they?

Just before I left home that morning, I checked my emails and discovered that Payless ShoeSource had a BOGO (buy one pair, get a second pair half price) sale starting that day. Of course, I had to stop in and check it out!

In my world, there are two kinds of shoe shopping. If I’m looking for shoes (or boots) that I’ll be doing a lot of walking or hiking in, I want quality, support and comfort. I’m willing to pay for that and Payless isn’t the place I usually go looking. If, on the other hand, I’m looking for something fun and I don’t want to spend a lot, it’s definitely my go to. I’ve actually been surprised, however, to discover that most of my Payless purchases have stood up well and have been very comfortable. Hopefully that’s true of Tuesday’s purchase! Here they are, the Fiona Pointed Toe Ghillie Shoes by Brash.

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I knew they were going home with me the minute I tried them on! They’re perfect for wearing with summer’s shorter pants. Here, I’ve styled them with a pair of capris that I bought off a sales rack in the middle of winter and the white sateen crop pants that you’ve seen several times before. You first saw the black lace top here.

Shopping Payless, especially their BOGO sales, is a bit like thrift store shopping in that they don’t always have a particular shoe in the size you wear. I was lucky to find this pair in my size, but I couldn’t find a second pair I wanted, so I bought a package of socks to take advantage of the BOGO savings. I can always use more socks, especially at half price. The shoes themselves were a fantastic buy. Marked down from $49.99 to $16, they actually rang in at $13! Bonus!

I’ll be back to town for more dental work next Tuesday and the Tuesday after. Hopefully retail therapy doesn’t become a bad habit!

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An unusual find

LogoAs many of you know, I love thrift store shopping. It’s the thrill of the hunt and finding something unique or special that keeps me going back. That, and the prices! It’s not looking for something that I need, but finding something I can have even if I don’t need it because every item in the store is so affordable.

When I saw this particular garment, I knew I needed it. Well, actually I just wanted it really badly! I wanted it to fit perfectly. That’s the only problem with thrift store shopping; everything is one of a kind. If it doesn’t fit, there aren’t any other sizes to try on.

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As is often the case with second hand clothing, the size tag had been removed, but it looked like a possibility, so I headed for the dressing room and discovered that I was in luck! $2.50 made it mine!

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I’m not actually sure what to call it! Made of delicate translucent polyester with slits almost to the waist in front and on both sides, it clearly isn’t a dress. Perhaps tunic is the right word.

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Whatever it is, it’s incredibly lightweight and comfortable and the black piping is a nice finishing touch.

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In these photos, I chose to wear it with black and white camis and last year’s white sateen crop pants, but it looks great over black leggings too. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I think it would also look good worn unbuttoned as a long vest which gives it added versatility. Its final advantage is the fact that it packs well taking up almost no space in a suitcase and adding virtually nothing to its weight, something that I almost always consider when buying clothes.

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How much is too much?

LogoIf you know me or you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you already know that I’m not a Trump supporter, but what does that have to do with fashion?

Earlier this week, while traveling with her husband, Melania Trump stepped into the Sicilian sunshine wearing a colourful appliquéd jacket by Italian fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana, that sells for $51,000 USD.

Excuse me?

$51 000! 

And that probably doesn’t even include the matching clutch!

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For those of us north of the border, that’s almost $70 000 CAD!

Contemplate for a moment the fact that electing Donald Trump was considered a triumph for the common man. He fashioned himself as a proud champion of the ordinary American who was fed up with big money running the country. Then consider that his wife’s jacket sells for just $5516 less than the median household income for the United States in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is presently available) which was $56 516. I don’t know of any common man, or woman, with a clothing budget like that one!

I can’t help wondering what the common American would do with that $51 000. Pay off their mortgage? Send their kid to college? Pay for health insurance? $51 000 would buy a lot of groceries!

One of the things to consider when trying to decide if the price of a garment is too high is cost per wear. It makes sense to put more money into an investment piece that will be worn many times season after season than an item that will only be worn a few times. If Mrs. Trump wore her jacket once a week for the next five years, it would still cost almost $200 a wear!

Unbelievable, and in my opinion, inexcusable!

We aren’t what we wear

logoI recently had an interesting conversation with two young women that I tutor. Members of the Old Colony Mennonites who have been relocating to Canada from Mexico in recent years, they wear traditional dresses and kerchiefs. I’ve been teaching them to read, a skill they didn’t have the opportunity to learn as children. One of their many reasons for wanting to learn to read  is so that they can read the Bible, so we’ve been using a children’s Bible story book as one of our texts.

“Do we have different Bibles or do we just understand it differently?” M asked me after one of our recent sessions. “Our Bible says that we should wear dresses and cover our heads,” she continued. She was clearly referring to the fact that I don’t dress that way.

So what does the Bible actually say?

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” Deuteronomy 22:5

We talked about what that might mean and M was quick to point out that though we might both wear blue jeans, her husband would never wear a top like I was wearing. No one would confuse me with a man because of the way I was dressed!

There was a time, not too long ago, when regardless of what they wore during the week, everyone dressed up to go to church on Sunday morning. Heaven forbid that a woman should wear pants or a man show up without shirt and tie! Thankfully, for many of us, that has changed.

Several years ago, before it became commonplace, I made the very intentional decision to begin wearing blue jeans to church. I don’t wear them every Sunday, but I do make a habit of wearing them quite often.

Why?

There were several young families in our church at the time who were struggling to get their teens to come to church on Sunday mornings. One of the issues of contention was what they wore. The kids rebelled at the idea of having to dress up. It always boggled my mind that anyone would consider one fabric (blue denim) less holy than another and rebel that I am, I felt that if I, sometimes considered a leader in the church, wore jeans, the younger parents might feel more comfortable allowing their kids to do the same.

Who knows? Maybe someday my young Mennonite friends might feel comfortable dressing more casually too. In the meantime, they wear their dresses and I wear my jeans and we have a wonderful time together! After all,

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Fast fashion is not frugal!

logoI almost never buy “fast fashion”, or disposable clothing as I like to call it. Fast fashion refers to a phenomenon in the fashion industry that sees retailers introducing new products as often as multiple times a week. Garments are manufactured quickly and inexpensively allowing consumers to fill their wardrobes with trendy styles without spending a great deal to do so. These clothes are usually characterized by shoddy workmanship and low quality fabrics.

I seldom enter retailers like Forever 21, H&M and Zara that specialize in fast fashion, but I made a rare exception about three months ago. Walking through the mall, I spotted the cardigan that you’ve seen before here on a rack at the entrance to one of these stores.

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On a dreary February day, it was the blush pink colour that caught my eye and made me think of spring. At $15, it was definitely an impulse buy and one that I knew wouldn’t last long, but after just a handful of wearings, look at the way the fabric is pilling!

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Fast fashion has also come under criticism for contributing to poor working conditions in developing countries where these garments are churned out, not to mention the garment factory disasters that have claimed the lives of many workers. It also has a very negative impact on the environment. Producing the staggering number of fast fashion garments that are sold worldwide requires tremendous amounts of energy and releases enormous quantities of harmful bi-products into the environment. In addition there’s the problem of disposing of the used garments which, like my cardigan, don’t last long and aren’t worth passing on to the second hand market. Instead, they end up in the landfill where the mostly synthetic fibres take hundreds of years to break down.

I’m proud to refer to myself as a frugal fashionista, but frugal is not buying cheap, poorly made garments; frugal is buying quality items at bargain prices. Buying fast fashion is definitely not frugal!

How to choose and fit a bicycle helmet

logoStudies show that wearing a bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of head and brain injuries as well as facial trauma in riders of all ages.

That might seem like an odd introduction to a fashion post, but a bike helmet is something that I wear quite a lot at this time of year and something that I feel strongly about. I first started wearing one when my children were young because the best way to convince them to wear theirs was by example. In our province, helmets are only mandatory for riders under the age of 18, but now I wouldn’t consider riding without one.

The first time I went riding this spring, I noticed that the shell on my old helmet had become quite discoloured. Closer inspection showed that it was also cracked in several places. It was obviously time for a new one which didn’t break my heart because I’d always thought it was rather ugly!

I started by asking my daughter-in-law for advice. After all, Robin thinks nothing of riding her bike 50 or 60 km a couple of times a week and has ridden in several Gran Fondos. She suggested that it ought to be comfortable and lightweight and that it should be snug without feeling tight. I also wanted it to look nice. Riding is excellent exercise and if I like how I look, I’m liable to do it more often!

I chose a Bell True Fit helmet which is designed to fit properly every time with just one simple adjustment. In addition to looking better than my old one, it’s also a much better fit.

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How to properly fit a bicycle helmet:

  • Ensure that the rim of the helmet is 1 to 2 finger widths above the eyebrows. It needs to be worn low in front to protect the forehead.
  • The side straps should form a “V” beneath the earlobe.
  • The chin strap should always be buckled and pulled tight. It should rest under the chin against the throat. When you open your mouth, the strap should feel snug and the helmet should hug your head.
  • Standing in front of a mirror, grasp the helmet with both hands and twist back and forth. If it fits properly, the skin on the forehead should move with it. Now try rolling it backward and forward. If it slides forward and blocks your vision or backward far enough to expose your forehead, it is too loose.

And now, before we leave the topic of bicycling, I’d love it if you would check out the latest post on Robin’s blog, Sky to Sea, where she writes about a very special cycling challenge that she is going to participate in during the month of June. She plans to ride 500 km to raise funds to fight childhood cancer, the disease that took our daughter at the age of 5 and robbed Robin of a sister-in-law that she never had the chance to know. Perhaps you’d even consider sponsoring her.

Butterflies on your boots

logoSince I mentioned my new rubber boots in a recent post, an ad for patterned combat boots from Goby has been showing up on my Facebook newsfeed quite frequently. Available from Amazon, they come in several different designs, but these ones are my favourites.

 

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Ivory & Blue Watercolor Butterflies

I have a very narrow foot, so I don’t order shoes or boots online, but if I saw these in a store I would definitely try them on. I have no need for combat boots, but they appeal to my sense of whimsy! I can’t attest to their quality, but the online reviews are favourable.

Perhaps combat boots aren’t your style either, but what about rocking a monochromatic outfit or a little black dress by adding a patterned pair of heels? These ones are also from Goby, but there are many other options available.

What about you? Do you wear patterned shoes? Would you wear butterflies on your boots?

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