How many is too many?

LogoI’m a little later than usual posting my weekly fashion piece today as I spent yesterday afternoon driving an hour each way to see my dentist instead of working on it. Thankfully, the tenderness and lump on my gum didn’t turn out to be an abscess as I feared it might and I won’t require extensive dental work! I’m also thankful that I don’t have to drive anywhere today. After listening to the wind howl all night we woke up to another dump of fresh snow. If you’re wondering why I’ve been complaining so much about this never ending winter, here’s a visual…

IMG_3981

March 20, 2017

IMG_5615

This morning… March 23, 2018

We’ve been golfing as early as April 8th, but this year I think we’ll still be snowshoeing! Hoping that spring will eventually come, I dug into the back of our entryway closet this week and took a look at my collection of warm weather jackets. I knew there were quite a few back there, but even I was surprised to find 23 of them! 23! Who needs 23 spring and summer jackets? Some are dressy, some are casual, and some are worn only for camping, but still, 23? At the very most, I can wear them for about 6 months of the year and I would hope that at least half that time I won’t need a jacket at all, so 23? That’s ridiculous! Obviously, this is the year to pare down that collection.

So, let’s take a closer look. What was in that closet?

  • 3 blue jean jackets
  • 1 grey denim with ruffles
  • 3 other cotton twill jackets (1 dark brown, 1 white, 1 patterned)
  • 4 leather jackets (1 black, 1 dark brown, 1 red, 1 white)
  • 1 faux leather 
  • 2 windbreakers
  • 1 fleece lined windbreaker
  • 2 quilted jackets (1 pale yellow, 1 olive green)
  • 1 anorak (so old that it’s back in style again!)
  • 3 hoodies (1 pink, 1 blue, 1 black)
  • 1 navy polar fleece
  • 1 trench coat

Just so you know that I’m not as big a spender as this makes me sound, all but 4 of these were either thrifted or gifted.

My question for today is how, when faced with a collection like this, will I decide what to keep and what to get rid of? Let’s begin by looking at trends. What do I have that fits with this season’s top looks? Three trends that I didn’t mention in last week’s post are anoraks, trench coats, and ruffles. Though I’ve had my light beige anorak for many years and I’ve worn it a lot, it’s still in very good condition and I still like it, so it will definitely stay. Though there are many versions of the classic trench coat available this season, they tend to be knee length or longer and quite roomy. Mine is shorter, almost a long jacket, and close fitting. It’s a bit snug on me and its one of those things that I actually think looks better on the hanger than it does on me. Trend or not, it will probably go. I had been thinking about getting rid of the grey denim jacket, but when I realized how trendy ruffles are this season, I decided to hang onto it for at least one more year.

Another important consideration is fit. When I featured my blue jean jackets a couple of weeks ago, I realized that one of them doesn’t fit as well as the other two. Since no woman really needs 3 blue jean jackets, that one will go.

Perhaps the best question to ask myself is which of these jackets do I love? Which ones will I actually wear often enough to make it worth keeping them? Brown used to be a staple in my wardrobe, but over the past few years, my love affair with brown has waned. Now I gravitate toward other neutrals instead. That means that the 2 dark brown jackets can probably go. One of the windbreakers hasn’t been worn for ages, so it should go too.

So far, that eliminates 5 jackets from the list, but 18 remain. In my mind, 18 is still way too many! What do you think? How many is too many and how do you suggest I choose a few more to get rid of?

 

Advertisements

The always stylish denim jacket

LogoIn the world of fashion there are trends like the bell sleeves that I wrote about last week, that are often short-lived, and then there are timeless fashions that never go out of style. I’ve been thinking a lot about one of those lately. Perhaps it’s the fact that winter seems to be going on forever this year, but I’m getting very tired of my winter wardrobe and I’ve been dreaming of the day when I can begin wearing my denim jackets again.

The jean jacket is a classic fashion staple that’s comfortable, casual, and easy to wear. Created in the United States in about 1880 by Levi Strauss, it was originally designed as a durable, heavy-duty jacket to be worn by cowboys, miners, and railroad workers. Over time, however, it has become a wardrobe staple for men and women alike.

I don’t suppose any woman really needs three blue jean jackets, but all of mine are thrifted (I spent a total of less than $10 on them) and each one is different. For the purpose of these photos, I’m wearing each of them with my grey striped Breton tee and dark wash jeans. Yes, you can wear denim-on-denim! Just make sure the washes are different.

My favourite is a traditional jean jacket from Gap.

The second one, from Jones New York, is made of very lightweight denim. It has snaps instead of buttons and the pockets give it a slightly dressier look. It also has a bit of elastic at the sides for a closer fit.

The third, from Fylo, is a fitted blazer style. Its brass buttons set it apart from the others, but the faded denim keeps it looking casual.

Not all denim jackets are blue, of course. Here’s one that comes in a wide variety of colours and it’s on sale right now. I love the Monticello Peach! This cute one in a floral print is also on sale.

My black denim jacket (also thrifted) from Bianca Nygard has appeared on the blog a couple of times in the past. With its silver sparkle and big blingy buttons it is super easy to dress up, but it can still be worn casually as shown here.

What’s not to love about a denim jacket? It’s stylish and amazingly versatile. You can wear it with almost anything, so don’t save yours only for casual wear. Here, the second jacket shown above adds an effortless, casual vibe to a much dressier outfit. I’m wearing it with the Treasure Dress from cabi’s Fall 2017 collection. I seldom wear heels, but I thought these ones, passed down to me by my very generous sister-in-law, added to the dressy summer look that I was going for here.

IMG_5538

Now, if spring would only get here!

Trying a trend

LogoThough I like to be aware of what the latest fashion trends are, I’m not one who jumps onto every new boat that passes by. For the most part, I want my wardrobe to be made up of timeless pieces that I can wear for many seasons. When I do decide to try something trendy, I’m often a bit late to the party.

Bell sleeves have been on trend for about a year now and I’ve been studiously avoiding them for a couple of reasons. First of all, I wore them back in the early 1970s. I distinctly remember sewing myself a bubble gum pink mini dress with voluminous bell sleeves. Somehow I couldn’t quite picture my 65-year-old self in a style that I wore when I was 20!

My second reason for avoiding them was practicality. I have nothing against the look, but unless the sleeves are short or three-quarter length, those bells get in the way. I simply don’t want my sleeves dragging in my dinner!

Bell sleeves aren’t going anywhere in a hurry though. They’re definitely sticking around for spring and summer 2018, so when I found this top on a Northern Reflections sales rack for 75% off its regular price, I couldn’t resist.

I love the colour, the fit is perfect, and at less than $20, what did I have to lose? The bells are smaller than many and if I get tired of them or the trend passes quickly, I can simply cut them off. I think this top would look equally good with three-quarter length sleeves.

A pop of colour

LogoMy wardrobe is quite monochromatic… a lot of black, white, and grey; much like our Alberta winters. One of my goals this year has been to add some colour, so when I saw these bright red jeans at our local thrift store, I had to try them on. After all, red is one of this season’s hottest trends. They fit perfectly and are oh so comfortable!

IMG_5332

These are Aiko Skinnies from the Silver Jean Co. They don’t appear to be available in red any longer, but they can be purchased in the more traditional medium and dark washes and there are also similar styles available in black, white, or grey.

Though not brand new, they show no sign of fading and the only bit of wear was a tiny section of one of the inseams that needed to be restitched. It only took a few minutes to mend and is completely unnoticeable.

These jeans definitely add a pop of colour to a drab winter day!

 

What do you think? Would you wear bright red jeans?

How to mix patterns like a pro

Logo

IMG_5247

When I used this photo in a previous post, one of my friends commented on the nice mix of patterns, so today, let’s take a look at why it worked. I most often wear a pattern with a solid colour, but in this case I employed a few methods that enabled me to mix patterns and yet maintain a cohesive look.

First, the three patterns that I’m wearing here are all made up of the same colours… black, white, and grey. Keeping the fabrics within one colour family is a simple way to keep from looking like you got dressed in the dark!

I’ve also varied the size of the prints, choosing the large plaid of my sweater to dominate and two smaller patterns to compliment it.

Some patterns mix much more easily than others. In the world of mixing and matching, stripes and leopard prints are considered neutrals because they will go with almost anything. Black and white stripes are especially easy to work with. Grid patterns and polka dots also mix well with almost any other pattern.

IMG_5358

I don’t ever remember wearing polka dots before, but I picked up this eternity scarf at our local thrift store recently (where I also bought the sweater shown above) and I love it! Here I’m wearing it with the same black and white striped t-shirt that I wore in the first photo.

Some fashionistas like to mix bolder and more colourful patterns, but I prefer a more classic look, so this might be about as far as I’ll ever go when it comes to mixing patterns. What about you? Do you like to mix patterns? What tricks do you use when putting them together?

And a special note to Jan… thanks for inspiring this post! I always love to hear from my readers.

 

Shopping in style

LogoLately I’ve spent a few evenings helping sort donated items at our local thrift store. Last time, feeling a bit chilly, I took a sweater off one of the racks to wear while I worked. By the end of the evening I knew it had to come home with me!

This 100% acrylic hooded Vero Moda cardigan is lightweight yet cozy and warm; perfect for a day of Christmas shopping in chilly Alberta. Even at -8°C (17°F), I found that I could leave my winter coat in the car and dash from the vehicle to the store or mall, saving me the effort of hauling a bulky coat around with me. Like most of my thrift store purchases, the sweater is practically brand new.

IMG_5247

In the photo, you’ll also notice that I’m wearing a cross body bag. After writing a recent post about different kinds of purses, I decided to give one a try and I can only wonder why it took me so long! I found it much easier on my neck and shoulder, and I loved having my hands completely free. I’m definitely a cross body convert for long days of shopping!

18 Tips for Successful Thrift Store Shopping

LogoPeople often wonder how I find so many amazing items in the two small thrift stores in our local area. Racks packed with clothing of every size and description can be overwhelming for even a seasoned second-hand shopper, but a few tricks can make the search much easier and a lot more fun.

1.   Let go of your prejudices.

Perhaps your idea of a thrift store is a dingy, cluttered mess of old and worn out clothing. While there may be a few of those out there, thrift stores are often clean, bright, and well organized. Also, second-hand shopping isn’t only for the poor amongst us. In troubled economic times, it’s definitely a good way to stretch your wardrobe dollar, but thrift store shopping is for everyone. If you must, think of it as doing a good deed. You can help whichever charity the shop supports while at the same time keeping perfectly good merchandise out of our already overcrowded landfills. It’s definitely a win-win situation!

2.  Allow yourself plenty of time to browse.

Be patient. Sometimes you have to sift through a lot of things to find one treasure, but it’s definitely worth it!

3.  Dress comfortably.

In my opinion, any second-hand clothing store worth its salt will have a dressing room, but some do not, so be prepared. If you have to try things on in the aisles, you want to be able to do it easily and modestly. Even if there is a dressing room, wearing leggings, a cami, and slip on shoes will make trying things on a breeze.

4.   Try everything on.

Just because it looks nice on the hanger and the tag says it’s your size doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. Don’t buy just because the price is right. Make sure it’s something you’re actually going to enjoy wearing.

5.   Don’t limit your search to the size you usually wear.

Sizes have changed over time. What used to be a size 12 might now be an 8, so when you’re looking at older or vintage garments, expand your search to take in sizes on both sides of what you normally wear. Also keep in mind that sizes vary widely between manufacturers as well as areas of origin. North American sizing is different from European.

6.   Consider making a list.

If you’re looking for specific items, having a list can definitely narrow the search and make it less overwhelming, but…

7.   Be open-minded.

Look beyond what’s on your list. Be creative. Think outside the box. Thrift store shopping is a great way to step out of your fashion comfort zone without spending a lot of money. It’s a perfect opportunity to try colours and styles that you haven’t worn before.

8.   Examine the item carefully.

Second-hand stores seldom take returns. Before you head for the till, check cuffs and collars for wear. Look for holes, stains, missing buttons, loose seams, and zippers that don’t work.

9.   Consider tailoring.

A vintage, designer, or high quality item that doesn’t fit quite right can often be altered to fit you perfectly. Investing a little extra might be well worth it if you end up with a quality garment that you love to wear.

10.   Look for quality brands.

Lots of well-made, expensive clothing can be found hiding in thrift stores. You may have to search for it, but I consider that part of the fun!

11.   Try new brands.

Thrift store shopping is also an opportunity to try brands that you may not have worn before.

12.   Know the current trends.

You can often recreate new looks with older items. For example, velvet is on-trend this season, but it’s been popular before. Look what I found for my daughter this week…

IMG_5139

Black velvet heels! Ooh la la! For myself, I’d love to find a velvet blazer.

13.   Go often.

Inventory is constantly changing.

14.   Learn when new inventory hits the racks.

Larger stores like Value Village and Goodwill tend to restock their shelves all day, every day, but smaller stores may not. For example, our local Good As New shop is closed on Mondays and Thursdays. Clothing is sorted and racks refilled on those two days, so obviously Tuesdays and Fridays are the best days to shop.

15.  Watch for sales and specials.

Whenever the Good As New is overstocked, they hold a “Brown Bag Sale”. With the exception of a few items such as jewelry, you can buy everything that you can stuff into a large brown paper bag for $5! Some thrift stores have regular half price days.

16.   Find out whether or not haggling is acceptable.

The second-hand stores that I regularly shop at have set prices and I’m glad they do because haggling is not something that I’m good at or care to do, but when in Rome as the saying goes. If haggling is part of the thrift store culture where you are, learn to bargain with confidence.

17.   Don’t be afraid to leave empty-handed.

Thrifting is like a treasure hunt; sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re not, but don’t give up. Just try again another day!

18.   Thrift while on vacation.

If you have time, seek out second-hand stores in places that you visit and go home with mementos from your trip for next to nothing.

If you don’t shop second-hand, what’s stopping you? Why not follow these tips and give it a try. I think you’ll be glad you did!