Apr 132015

I’ve got that thrifty feeling. Literally. In the last week or so, I have added a little online thrift store (That Thrifty Feeling) to my life. Find it now in Facebook groups:, and Facebook page, and later at That Thrifty Feeling .com.

So, what does this mean for my other endeavors? I will still see clients for personal style coaching, but – truthfully – I haven’t been as busy with that as I would like.  And, while I had been considering  increasing my posting schedule here, I don’t think that’s going to happen. 

So, The Space Between My Peers will continue more or less as it has been: shortish posts containing useful and technical information aimed at people who have to get dressed every day 😉

This week, this will probably be the only post to show up here. In order to perform the technical work of adding and SSL and a cart to  my domain, this site will have to be down for three days. Hope to see you on Facebook!

Oct 212014

This tip brought to you from the locker room – as in, I am literally walking around talking into my phone in the otherwise empty locker room, where I first heard this tip:

if you want your self – manicure to last, use two coats of OPI topcoat

Since the key to the effectiveness of the above tip is letting it dry, I use the following closely-related system:

The next day:

  • I add a coat of quick-dry clear polish
  • followed by another coat of Seche Vite

If I successfully get this second coat on, the manicure will last me a week. And it is incredibly cheap! When it does go, it typically comes off in big chunks – like a whole nail at a time – which can be unsettling when you find it laying around 😉

Sep 302014

As I scramble to assemble an artistic wardrobe that fits my greater understanding of my personal idiom – on a “bottom of the fashion food chain” budget – I am considering trying the popular 10 item wardrobe.

When I lived on the wet side of Washington, spring/summer and fall/winter were all I needed. Short-sleeved T-shirts and shorts sleeve jeans, longsleeved T-shirts and longsleeved jeans. I owned one sweater! Here in Eastern Washington, you can chart our seasons by the calendar. Four seasons equals four wardrobes.

Summer is typically as little as you can get away with, with a sweater in your purse. Winter can be very cold and snowy; I own lots of sweaters now! Spring, well, “April showers bring May flowers”; in other words, I need full shoes. And fall is short.

To keep from having to spend the money for an entire wardrobe for the short fall season, my strategy has typically been to combine a summer top with a winter layer. In theory, at least, employing the spring base (shoes and pants or skirt) seems to make the most sense.

fall outfit = spring base + winter layer + summer top

Balancing ones length proportions is trickier than most of the fashion media would lead us to believe. An inch can make a difference; therefore, it makes sense to have the shoes and pants together be the basis for the outfit, and adapt the length of the top to suit. In other words, I don’t think an outfit would be equally artistic worn with either heels or flats, something else would have to change. Another argument for planning outfits in bulk.

Sep 182014

Spending money on their hair is a challenge for alot of women. Just this evening, I was having that conversation with a client. Some styles can go longer between cuts; for the past few years I have been going for a cut every 5 or 6 weeks. (If I were trying to keep my gray covered, I have no doubt I would need the roots touched up more than monthly!)

In discussing and contemplating my hair in two recent posts (from summer 2007), I came to a conclusion:

I have been going too long between haircuts

Because my hairstylist is extremely skillful and my hairstyle imprecise, I can go longer. I often receive compliments on my haircut LONG after my last visit to the salon. Thus it always seems premature to schedule the next appointment before I leave.

The typical scenario: after about 10 weeks, I have a week when my hair looks so-so. Followed by a week when it looks fabulous. Followed by a week when there is no longer any doubt it is overgrown. Toward the end of that week, I make the call.

While I can usually get in fairly quickly, the problem is compounded by the fact that my hair has lost its shape enough that it now takes me another week of styling to get it retrained. Count them: that’s a minimum of 3 weeks of bad hair out of every 13 weeks! About one quarter of my life.

The simple remedy for this problem? Note to self, in the 9th week: make appointment for haircut. The cost? One haircut per year. Less than $25 $50.

I’m putting a sticky note on my calendar right now. There’s really no excuse not to, is there?

And now it is even easier. I love online booking!

Sep 042014

TBT follow-up to yesterday’s post about auditing my wardrobe investment.

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Sometimes I worry that you all think I am so frugal I am not fun. Or that you think that I think everyone should be as frugal as I am. Or that someday I’ll no longer have to be so frugal, and then maybe I’ll forget what it was like. I certainly hope not!

So I thought I’d give you a peek into what would change and what wouldn’t change with my shopping habits, if I had a larger budget. As it is now, I don’t spend all the money available to me in the clothing category. The reason? I’m trying to save enough to go furniture shopping. Usually I end up spending my extra on a gift for someone. (That’s fun too.)

What would change is that I would feel free to go into any respectable store and buy anything I needed that was reasonably priced. I would still do the same deliberate, sequential wardrobe planning that I do now. But the acquisition of each necessary garment would be quicker. Every few months I would hit the upscale mall, pay for parking, and buy what I needed.

Maybe I’d even go with a friend. Any takers?

Follow up comment (9/4/2014): I cannot over-emphasize the importance of planning, though. This is not high school! (I am yelling at myself, here, in the nicest possible way.) While leaving oneself open to possibility is certainly important, I have to own up to the reality that I am a long way from being able to make a snap buying decision without knowing exactly what I need. And, I discovered today, I feel guilty insincere when I try on clothes in the nice stores where they actually help you and then run out of time or decisiveness and don’t buy anything. The end.

Sep 032014

What did you do for Labor Day? Probably not what I did! After doing a closet audit on Saturday, and having some family time on Sunday, I went through my own closet yesterday, in a way I had never done before.

(Technically, I’m not sure that what I did yesterday isn’t more of an “audit” than the client closet analysis I did Saturday. What is a better term for the meeting with the client in which the stylist helps her go through her clothes, learn what is flattering, and create outfits ? I am beyond excited that I get to decide these things for myself! I think I am going to go with “closet consultation”. Or perhaps “review”. My mom suggested “therapy”!)

So, I’m going to assume that anyone who actually reads this blog can figure out the fine details of how to do this project on their own. What to do:

estimate how much you have spent on your total wardrobe, by item type

My conclusions:

  1. I have what is to be expected on the budget I have allowed myself.
  2. It is not enough.
  3. I have alot of boots. I can divert money to things like pants and tops by limiting my colors.

Even in my bare-bones budget, and with all my years of wardrobe research and development, I had, I can’t really say “wasted”, but certainly misspent enough money to pay the fee I plan on charging for this kind of service.

Aug 122014

For quite some time, this question has been in my mind:

are you a builder or an editor?

(Not that I really know what that means. Usually it pops into my mind in conjunction with the idea that I’m getting rid of some article of clothing but I don’t really have anything to replace it in my wardrobe.)

So, the way I see it, each proclivity – building or editing, shopping or biffing – has its problems. And either could wind up with nothing to wear. Most wardrobe advice seems to come from the angle that we all have a closet stuffed full of clothes and nothing to wear, but that is not the case for me or for most of the people I have talked to about it. I had somebody tell me recently that if we were to do a closet audit she would have to go shopping first or there would be nothing to audit!

So, how much is a reasonable amount to spend on clothes? In Dave Ramsey’s budget worksheet, 2 to 7% is the suggested amount. Even with our moderate income, I have been spending less than that. Actually, I have not spent enough For some people (builders), the budget should be taken as a limit; for others (editors), it needs to be a minimum. You can live on less for a season, but perhaps it shouldn’t become a lifestyle. If “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2), why do I want to settle for scorched earth?

My suggestion: if possible, budget 2% per person, up to 7% for a family. Beyond that, creativity and economy can be employed to stretch the budget around the number of kids you have. Chances are, if you are consistently spending too little, your wardrobe isn’t really working for you.

Jul 032014

Throwback Thursday: in which we discussed alterations a few years ago. The good news: I have learned a bit, enough to do some simple alterations myself. The bad: I still have stuff hanging around waiting for me to do something with it.

True confession:  my studio is full of random garments I can’t bear to part with.  While the situation is not as bad as it has been in times past, nevertheless, I am sitting on a number of items which I love in every way but ____ .

One of those items has been my charcoal gray wool trouser suit, previously featured in a fashion lab.  I think I paid twenty bucks for it at the thrift store and have worn the trousers quite a bit, but the jacket never felt quite right.  The shoulders fit fabulously, but the back was baggy.  Viewing it somewhat as an experiment – if it worked, perhaps next round I’d take in the vintage tweed skirt suit or the red formal – I took the plunge and took it to an alterations shop.

Long story short:  it cost me $55!  And yesterday I bent over and split the lining in the trousers!  😳

Conclusion:  I need to learn to do my own alterations.  Alternatively, since I have an easy enough time fitting off the rack clothes, I could just biff the stuff that’s not perfect and shop harder, perhaps making my own dresses from scratch.

July 4th Sale! Extra 20% off with code FOURTH. Valid 6/29-7/6

A question or two for you:

  1. What part do alterations play in your wardrobe?
  2. How do you budget for them?
Jun 302014

So the frames I got from eBay don’t actually work for my lenses, and here’s why:

They are beveled for glass lenses. Mine are plastic.

Who knew? They are the exact frame style (RayBan Predator), the exact model number (RB 4010 PS16 642), the right color, etc. etc. I did not know to ask whether the lenses were glass or plastic. Oh well!

Perhaps it is time for something new! From eBay?

Jun 162014

This post is full of affiliate links!

I have had the same pair of prescription sunglasses since before digital photography. Ok, not really, but I have had them for a really long time – so long that I cannot find the receipt – probably over ten years. They are (were) the most comfortable glasses I have ever worn and I got them during a brief moment in our family’s financial history when we had vision coverage. Typically, my eyewear strategy has been to carefully choose a look that is practical and fashion-forward, without being trendy, and wear them for as long as possible (usually four or five years).


So, the frames were starting to show wear (have chips) and I knew eventually I would need new, but I wasn’t in any hurry. Until one day, in a momentary lapse of care, I hooked them on the front of my shirt and leaned across a high counter. And felt them break 🙁

(Last year when I got my drivers license renewed I was able to pass the eye exam, so I don’t strictly have to wear prescription glasses.)

First things first: I went straight to Kohl’s (ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Extra 20% off All clearance apparel for women, men and kids with code CLEARANCE20. 6/17-6/18) and bought a pair of fashion sunnies. But then I wondered whether, since I had a very classic pair of RayBans, I could just find a replacement frame. Unfortunately the model had been discontinued.

Then I thought: eBay! And it worked. I saved a search and after a week or two, for the same price as a pair of department store sunglasses (about $20), I got a pair of sunglasses in the mail that look identical to the ones I broke. Unless I put them on, in which case I can’t see anything 😉

Update: sadly, the eBay frames were beveled for glass lenses and I had plastics. Or maybe it was the other way around. At any rate, the technician tried and was unable to rebuild my glasses. Now (7/10/2017) I have been wearing the cheap sunglasses from Kohls for three years, but that season is coming to an end! Today I ordered my new prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker. Shop Warby Parker’s Summer Collection Here!