Fall camping second-hand style

Logo by SamOver the past week, we spent four days camping and then company arrived shortly after we got home. That left very little time for writing a post for today, but since this is Second Hand September and I’m wearing only second-hand clothes this month, I thought I’d share a couple of the outfits that I wore while we were camping.

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At $12, the striped boatneck sweater, purchased at Goodwill in Calgary last spring, is the most expensive thrifted item in my closet, but its light weight makes it a great layering piece on a chilly morning. It was about 10ºC (50ºF) when this photo was taken! I’ve had the fleece vest for many years and the jeans were hand-me-downs from my very generous sister-in-law. Almost new when she gave them to me because she found a pair that she liked better, they quickly became a staple in my fall/winter wardrobe.

When the temperature soared to about 25ºC (77ºF) in the afternoon, out came the summer clothes again!

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The patterned Denver Hayes tank top is a recent thrift store find, but I’ve had the pants for several years. Too long to be called shorts, they’re shorter than most of my capris. They’re actually a flattering length though because they cover my less than attractive knees and end at a narrow part of my leg. Fashion isn’t a high priority when I’m camping, but a girl always likes to look nice, doesn’t she?

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Second Hand September

Logo by SamThe fashion industry’s carbon footprint is enormous and has grown even more apparent with the rapid rise of fast fashion over the past few years. It now accounts for more carbon emissions globally than those emitted by all international flights and maritime shipping combined. In addition, approximately 10 million tons of clothes are sent to landfills every year. Second Hand September, a campaign introduced by Oxfam in 2019, has inspired thousands of people in the UK to begin thinking more sustainably by buying only second-hand clothes during the month of September. 

This year, I’ve decided to try taking Second Hand September one step further. I’m challenging myself to wear only second-hand clothing for the entire month! 

I’m going to follow the same rules as I did for last November’s “six Items or less challenge”. Underwear, socks, and pyjamas will not be included. I always purchase those items new. Outerwear, footwear, and accessories will also be exempt. Though I do have second-hand items in each of those categories and will try to make good use of them throughout the month, I won’t restrict myself only to those. 

Though my closet contains many more than six second-hand items, I suspect that this challenge might actually be the more difficult of the two. In selecting six items to wear for 30 days, I was able to be very intentional about choosing a colour palette that could easily be mixed and matched to create many different looks, pieces that could be dressed up or down, and pieces that worked well for layering. This time, I find myself working with a much more random mix of items. Most of those are quite casual and I have at least two events this month, including a concert tomorrow evening, that might require a bit of polish. I’ll also have church every Sunday. September is a shoulder season here in Canada and the weather throughout the month will likely range from hot and dry to chilly and wet. To make this work, I’ll likely be pulling second-hand pieces from both my summer and winter wardrobes.   

Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Only time will tell. Throughout the month, I’ll be sharing my experience and showing you some of the outfits that I create with my Second Hand September wardrobe, so stay tuned! 

To start things off, here’s what I wore yesterday for the first day of the challenge. I think it has a coastal grandmother feel to it. 

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I’ve had the white frayed hem jeans for three years. They first appeared on the blog here. Thankfully, the archaic “don’t wear white after Labour Day” rule has long been abandoned and while I don’t wear these jeans in the depth of our Canadian winter, I’ll certainly continue wearing them throughout September. The Clarks sandals were a lucky find earlier this summer and the loose and comfortable light grey animal print tee is a new-to-me acquisition. Thanks to regular sales at our local thrift stores, the entire outfit, cost me less than $10!

In closing, I would be remiss not to acknowledge those of you who responded to last week’s post asking for your input about what you’d like to see on the blog. I will be working at incorporating some of your ideas into future posts. 

 

What do you want to read?

Logo by SamA lot of the fashion blogs that I follow are writing about fall already and, of course, fall fashions have been in the stores for awhile, but I’m not quite ready for a change of seasons yet. Our summers are much too short and our winters too long. I always like to hang onto the last days of summer for as long as I can before I think about making that inevitable seasonal switch.

I am, of course, thinking ahead to topics for future blog posts though and today I thought I’d ask for your input. When I introduced Fashion Friday back in the spring of 2016, I wanted it to be more than just a “look at what I’m wearing today” feature. That seems terribly superficial and my closet wouldn’t sustain something like that for very long anyway. I wanted to present content with a little more substance than that. Many fashion blogs have become what might better be referred to as “shopping blogs”, but I have never been interested in encouraging that level of consumerism nor am I into blogging as a source of income. My intention was to be inspiring and to explore various aspects of personal appearance and how what we wear affects our daily lives. As time went by, I also became interested in topics related to ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry and have written a number of posts along those lines.

Those are some of my guiding ideas, but I’m also interested in knowing what you, my readers, would like to read. Do you want to know what’s on trend? Do you prefer instructional “how to” posts… how to put together outfits in new and interesting ways, how to dress different body types, how to dress on a budget? Are you interested in what’s going on in the fashion industry? Are there specific fashion related questions that you’d like me to try to answer. I have no formal fashion training, but I’ll do my best to search out answers. Where else do you look for fashion inspiration? Do you read other fashion blogs? If so, which ones are your favourites? Why? What do you like about them?

Of course, Following Augustine is more than just a fashion blog, so in addition to your thoughts and ideas about what I might write about on Fridays, I’m open to suggestions for the rest of the week as well. Whether you respond directly on the blog or prefer to comment on Facebook, whether you’ve ever left a comment before or not, please let me know your thoughts. A blog is nothing without its readers!

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Made in Canada?

Logo by SamThose of us who live in small towns in particular are used to hearing the “shop local” mantra, but buying affordable domestically made clothing has never been more challenging. As of 2019, the majority of clothing purchased in Canada was imported from China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia, countries where workers’ rights are often limited or non-existent. Many proudly Canadian brands including Roots, Lululemon and Joe Fresh design their clothing in Canada, but the majority is actually produced elsewhere. The situation is similar for those of you who shop in the US.

As one who attempts to shop ethically, I was delighted to purchase three items recently that boast “Made in Canada” labels. Delighted, that is, until I discovered that even those labels can be deceptive. According to Canadian law, designers can legally use that term as long as the last substantial transformation of the garment occurs in Canada and a minimum of 51% of the cost of its creation is incurred in this country. Some items are partially assembled cheaply in Asian factories and then imported to Canada where finishing details and those all-important “Made in Canada” labels are added. Then, of course, there’s also the question of where the fabric and notions were produced, but that’s another rabbit trail that I haven’t managed to go down yet.

In spite of knowing that they may not have been 100% produced in Canada after all, I’m quite delighted with my recent purchases, two tops and a dress. One of the tops was thrifted which is, of course, an ethical way to shop regardless of where the item originated, but the other pieces were new.

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The dress was totally an impulse buy. It caught my eye as soon as I entered the store, but I didn’t really need another new summer dress. After all, I’d just bought this one a few weeks earlier and had only worn it a couple of times. I looked at everything else in the store, but my eye kept going back to the dress, so I finally decided that I had to try it on. I do my best to be a mindful shopper, but once in awhile an impulse buy just has to happen!

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The dress is as comfortable as a favourite t-shirt and as you can see, it’s easy to dress up or down. The lightweight polyester knit is machine washable and will hardly take up any space in a suitcase when we finally decide to fly again.

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The beautiful floral backdrop is our neighbour’s. She’s an amazing gardener and we thoroughly enjoy the results of her labour! Thank you, Connie!

Thinking about personal style

Logo by SamHubby and I spent three days this week attending a conference as representatives of our local church. It was a full schedule of making connections, worshipping together, and attending sessions. There was no down time, no time for writing a blog post! We came home yesterday feeling both uplifted and exhausted! I sat down last night to write this morning’s Fashion Friday post and absolutely nothing came to mind! Nothing except the desire to soak in a hot bath and crawl into bed. All this to explain why today’s post is later than usual and why it might be a little thin in content!

We often tend to use the words fashion and style interchangeably, but there’s a difference between the two. Fashion is the clothes, accessories and shoes that are produced. They are what you see when you enter a store or shop online, but style is what you do with them, the way in which you wear those items.

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Style is how we personalize what the fashion industry produces.

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One way to identify your personal style is to choose 3 to 5 adjectives to guide your fashion choices. Check here for an exercise that will help you do that. Pinterest is another excellent tool to help you identify or clarify your own style. This post will show you how that works.

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Personal style shouldn’t be static. We all change as we go through different stages of life and our style needs to change with us. It’s important to evaluate and update our style from time to time so that our outfits express who we are today, not who we were sometime in the past.

What words would you use to describe your personal style? How has your style changed over the years?

Musing about sandals

Logo by SamWhen I took my sandals out of storage this spring, I realized how worn they were getting. That’s not surprising considering the fact that the newest pair is at least five years old! I only know that because I’ve been keeping track of all my clothing, footwear, and accessories purchases since the beginning of 2018 and there aren’t any sandals on the list!

I have a couple of pairs that are still quite serviceable, but really, it might be time for this girl to be thinking about buying some new ones!

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Fishermans sandals are very much on trend for 2022, but something about a closed toe sandal just doesn’t sit well with me. They’re great for women who are self-conscious about exposing their toes for any reason, but when I wear sandals, I want my golden summertime toes to show.

Then there’s the recent popularity of fishermans sandals with socks. That one is a definite no for me! I haven’t spend all these years teasing hubby about wearing socks with his sandals to succumb to that fad!

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What about you? Are you a fan of this look? I always say that, first and foremost, we ought to wear what makes us happy.

I’m not a girly girl, but if I do go shopping for sandals, I’ll be looking for something a little more feminine looking than the closed toe fishermans sandal; something more like this pair from Naturalizer. I like a sandal that’s casual, but a little bit dressy looking, and something that I can comfortably walk a long way in.

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Sadly, the Naturalizer stores in Edmonton closed last year and I’d have to order these online. Not only do I much prefer shopping in person, but I have very narrow, difficult to fit feet. Ordering shoes online just doesn’t work for me. So, for now, until I have an opportunity to shop and try on, I’ll just continue wearing my old sandals and musing about new ones.

And then…

As usual, this post was written earlier in the week so that it would be ready to post first thing this morning. Yesterday, after getting my monthly injection, I stopped at one of our local thrift stores to drop off a bag of books that I’d finished reading. Of course, I had to take a look around and guess what I found? Sandals! Almost brand new Clarks in my size for $2.00! Similar sandals online sell for $110 and up. I’ll still be keeping my eye out for a dressier pair similar to the ones above, but in the meantime, I’m delighted with my find. They’re comfortable and supportive and the soft sage colour goes well with my summer wardrobe.

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On a totally different topic, I recently had the privilege of writing a guest post for the parenting blog, Leaf and Steel. I hope you’ll pop over and check it out here

Going green

Logo by SamNo, this isn’t a post about being environmentally friendly, though that’s a very important topic. Far more important than fashion actually!

The colour green is one of the biggest fashion trends this year. Universally associated with nature, green represents growth and renewal making it a perfect colour for springtime. It’s said to evoke feelings of peace, calm, refreshment, and optimism.

As I perused my spring/summer wardrobe I realized that, with the exception of dark olive which is actually a neutral, there was no green. None whatsoever! Digging into storage, however, I pulled out this topper from several years ago and wore it to church on Sunday.

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It’s one of those pieces that I couldn’t bear to part with when I quit wearing it. I don’t remember when I purchased it, but it’s from Jockey Person to Person which hasn’t been sold in Canada since March 2015! I thought that perhaps waterfall cardigans had had their day, but while perhaps not as trendy as they were a few years ago, they are showing up in lots of stores again this season. Maybe this is the year to get a little more wear out of this one before I decide whether or not to keep it any longer.

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I wore the cardigan over the same chinos that appeared in last week’s post and a new Supima® cotton t-shirt from Uniqlo. Supima® cotton is a high quality cotton that has a much softer texture and feel than regular cotton. I have both Supima® and regular cotton t-shirts from Uniqlo and there’s no comparison. This particular one comes in 8 different colours and I bought two of them.

I accessorized the look with a thrifted necklace and a pair of simple silver earrings, both items that I’ve worn over and over again. I didn’t wear the hat to church, but since it generated several positive comments on Facebook when I wore it for last week’s post and several of you also checked out the link, I decided to put it on again for these photos. It’s also available in several other colours.

I must admit that I was also inspired to wear my green topper again by this post that appeared on Pamela Lutrell’s blog, Over 50 Feeling 40, awhile back. Thanks, Pam!

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Are you wearing green this spring?

Disclaimer:  This isn’t a sponsored post and I won’t be compensated in any way if you order the items that are linked here, but if you do, I hope you enjoy them!

What is “coastal grandmother” style?

LogoImagine yourself enjoying a leisurely stroll on a long sandy beach, sipping wine on your patio while reading a summertime novel, snipping herbs or flowers from your garden, or heading to the local bakery or farmers market for something fresh. That’s the “coastal grandmother” vibe.

So what is coastal grandmother, you ask? The term, coined by 26-year-old Californian TikTok user, Lex Nicoleta, in a video that went viral in March, has taken the TikTok and Instagram world by storm and become the hottest fashion trend of the season. In a nutshell, the coastal grandmother look draws inspiration from the aesthetic seen in Nancy Meyers’ movies, specifically Diane Keaton in the 2003 romcom Something’s Gotta Give.

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The coastal grandmother look is all about casual, breezy, seaside-inspired elegance. Think loose silhouettes and linen blends, lightweight cable-knit sweaters, striped boatneck tops, straw hats and rattan bags. Billowy dresses or button-down shirts with the cuffs rolled up. Whites and beiges. Sandals, sneakers, and sunglasses. Gold jewelry and pearls.

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The best thing about the coastal grandmother trend is that you don’t have to be a grandmother or live near the ocean to pull off this look, though the ocean part would be really nice! I must say, however, that I absolutely love the fact that “grandmother” is being associated with “stylish” and “trendy” for a change! We don’t all become fashion frumps as we age.

As soon as I started reading about this trend, I knew that I could easily pull several coastal grandmother outfits from my closet.

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Here, I’m wearing a denim shirt, purchased last spring at Uniqlo, over cabi’s Classic Blouse from several seasons ago. The pants are chinos from Mark’s, bought two years ago. The white leather sneakers are also from Mark’s. Most of these pieces have appeared on the blog before.

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In the second photo, my white jeans and striped top are both thrifted pieces. I bought the crushable hat, still available here, at Golf Town three summers ago. It’s very coastal grandmother, don’t you think? The sweater is my trusty Shirttail Cardigan, one of my very first purchases from cabi back in 2016 and still a favourite.

Don’t be surprised if you see a few more coastal grandmother outfits on the blog this summer. I’ve always been a coastal girl at heart and I absolutely love this classic, yet casual aesthetic. Now if only I had a beach to walk on!

Mending and alterations… making old new again

Logo by SamLong before I took the required Home Economics class in grade 8, my mother had already taught me the basics of sewing. Before I made the requisite Home Ec apron, I’d already sewn a skirt with a fitted waistband and a zipper. I’ve had my own sewing machine since I was 18 and there was a time when I made many of my own clothes. I even sewed my own wedding dress! It’s been years since I did that much sewing, but the skills that my mother taught me still come in handy from time to time.

Spring or fall, when I do my seasonal closet switch, is the perfect time to do any small repairs that have been overlooked or neglected during the previous season. Mending clothing is an ancient practice that needs to be revived if we want to work toward more sustainable wardrobes and lessen our impact on the environment. In a culture of disposability upheld by the fast fashion industry, mending is a slow fashion practice that focuses on care and re-wear. It rejects the idea that new is always better. While some mending jobs are quite simple, others are more complicated. Replacing a zipper, for example, might be something that you can do yourself, but if not, a tailor can do it for you and add life to a garment that you already own.

Alterations, whether you’re able to do them yourself or pay someone to do them for you, can often make an ill-fitting garment look like it was made for you. Tailoring is excellent for those times when you find great clothes on sale that just need a little tweaking. It can also help you build a sustainable wardrobe by purchasing quality second-hand items and having them altered to fit. It’s often hard to find the perfect size in a thrift store, but tailoring opens up many possibilities. A good rule of thumb when choosing a size is to go with what fits the widest part of your body. From there, a tailor can make all the necessary adjustments to make the piece look perfect on you. Just make sure that you take the price of tailoring into account whenever you purchase something that will need to be altered.

Alterations can be as simple as taking up a hem or adding a hidden snap to the front of a blouse that gapes or they can be as complicated as taking in a waistband or adding vents to a jacket. This week, I did a simple alteration that gave new life to an older top that I haven’t worn for quite awhile. Four years ago when I bought it, I knew that bell sleeves were a trend that wouldn’t last, but it was on sale for less than $20 and I thought even then that someday I’d probably alter the sleeves.

Before…

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After…

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A simple change from bell to three-quarter sleeves gave the top a much more current look and now I’ll start wearing it again!

Stuck between the seasons

Logo by SamWhen we arrived home from our recent trip to the coast, I thought that I would be doing my seasonal closet switch right away. I expected spring to have arrived while we were gone. I looked forward to putting away my winter wardrobe and bringing out my spring/summer clothes. I anticipated trying things on and making a shopping list as I know that there are some gaps that need to be filled and pieces that need to be replaced. None of that has happened! Instead, we seem to be stuck between the seasons! One minute it looks and feels like spring; but the next thing we know, the wind is howling and it’s snowing again! I know I’m not the only one who’s had enough of this!

I think the transition is going to have to be a gradual one this year. So far, I’ve put my winter coat, my boots, and my heaviest sweaters into storage and I brought out two pairs of chinos that are warmer than shorts or capris, but cooler than jeans. Today, I think I’ll go through the rest of my winter wardrobe and weed out those things that need to go. This requires discipline as I tend to hang onto things longer than I should!

The first thing I’ll do is check the hangers. Every time I put a new season’s clothes into the closet, I turn all the hangers around. Then, when I wear an item, I turn it’s hanger back the right way. At the end of the season, if an item is still hanging backwards, it’s a clear signal that I need to consider whether or not to keep it.

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Unlike those who advise getting rid of anything that hasn’t been worn during the current season or in the past year, I sometimes keep items that are excellent quality or that I love even if I haven’t worn them for quite awhile. Eventually, I enjoy resurrecting some of those pieces and wearing them again. There are some, however, that simply need to go. If they no longer fit well or I don’t actually enjoy wearing them, they’re destined for the second-hand store or an online buy and sell group.

It was snowing when I started writing this, but sunny and bright when I finished! The weather forecast is promising even better things for the next week or so. Maybe we’re finally becoming unstuck and I’ll be able to do the remainder of my seasonal wardrobe switch before next Friday. Maybe. I sure hope so!