May 012014
 

How long did your New Years Resolutions last? This year I resolved not to buy items with features I actively dislike, and named among these hoods. I made it to April ūüėČ

But then, in the course of thrifting for the show I am currently costuming, I found a NWT, mid-weight cotton, fitted, long-ish zip hood, in a horizontal stripe (a pattern I am not super fond of). But the colors! Coral/white at the top, coral/yellow, then coral/orange at the bottom. For $4.99. Thinking if I absolutely hate the hood I will just hack it off find a youtube tutorial on taking it off, I am reasonably certain I can get my 20 wears out of it, most likely before fall.

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Here I am, heading out for a quick grocery run:

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Wearing a hoodie under a collared coat feels like me. ūüôā

Jan 302014
 

We are heading into wedding and prom season, so I thought I would re-post this about the cost of special occasion clothing. Another alternative I have encountered recently for extending cost per wear: buy a long dress to wear for the event and then cut it to cocktail for future use.

Here’s a reader question regarding calculating cost per wear:

Hi! I was wondering what your opinion was about cost per wearing when it came to things for special occasions, like prom dresses? I spent $199 on my prom dress this year (as a sophmore going to another school’s prom) but I’m also wearing it twice for 4-H clothing selection, I promised my best friend (who goes to a different school) she could wear it next year for her junior prom, and if our proms are on seperate days I will also be wearing it to my junior prom, since only one of my friends has gotten to see me in it. How do you reccomend I go about figuring my cost per wearing for this dress? Thank you so much! Dani

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First, I want to congratulate Dani for both her willingness to practice restraint and her generosity. I highly recommend sharing when it comes to event dressing. Calculating cost per wear? I guess I’d just take the $199 and divide by the 4 times you are going to wear it, because that’s all that really affects your budget. Having a friend wear it is “frosting on the cake”, so to speak. In addition, I suspect Dani, obviously a sensible and creative thinker, will find additional opportunities to wear this dress and lower the cost per wear accordingly. Later, if she sells the dress on consignment, the amount received for it would be subtracted from the initial cost before dividing by the number of wears. My target cost per wear for these types of special occasion dresses is $10-$20.

Realistically, I might allow myself more now; OTOH, I might not need it. My “MOB” dress from last summer I wore a couple more times that summer and it will be my go-to dress for weddings this summer too. Look Mom, no wardrobe trauma! ūüėČ

Dec 302013
 

I was reminded recently of the impact potential of deleting an under-performing item. If any piece in your wardrobe is less flattering than the alternatives, getting rid of it provides an automatic wardrobe upgrade. It’s like math: averaging.

The obvious limit to this is legal: if biffing your bad stuff leaves you naked, get thee shopping! New Year, New Dress @ dressbarn.com!

I am losing two plaid scarves, really pretty but too large in scale. My remaining alternatives:

  • light orange cashmere solid, ebay – $6.50 including shipping,
  • and closing up my collar all the way ūüėČ
Sep 182013
 

While most use the terms “style” and “fashion” interchangeably, some are careful to draw a distinction. ¬†Among those differentiating between the two concepts are many who wish to be stylish without being a slave to fashion. ¬†Is that you?

OTOH, there are those who just happen to be having a love affair with whatever is ubiquitous at the moment.  IM<HO, intellectual honesty requires admitting Рat least to the self Рthat the thing you love is also the trend.

“I have always loved …”

  • coral or cobalt
  • mid-century modern
  • fermented veggies

works when accompanied by “I am so glad it is popular and affordable now”. ¬†Because affordability is truly the upside to desiring what is widely available.

End rant.  What are you currently crushing on with everyone else?

Did I mention I went to Ikea this weekend? ūüėČ

Sep 112013
 

In honor of my approaching (50th) birthday, my sister invited me to visit her and¬†attend this Friday’s Portland Fashion Week¬†Ready-to-Wear Show.

What to wear? ¬†Above all, nothing boring! ¬†Also, nothing that feels labored. ¬†Or matronly. Or too hot. ¬†Or too cold. ¬†You may call me Silverilocks ūüėČ ¬†Currently atop my list of possibilities is the¬†simple white cotton dress I posted about wearing a couple of months ago. ¬†The LAST thing I want to do is to spread the “always a new outfit” virus; repeating this dress, but with different accessories, is perfect.

How I am taking a white cotton dress into fall:

    close up of dress with 5 different pins at neckline

  • With boots. ¬†Vintage brown suede is what I am thinking.
  • ¬†And a scarf. ¬†Because my sister gave me this really cool, made in Portland, multi-color, flocked texture, brown scarf. ¬†If I can’t stand to wear it in my hair, it will be a bracelet.
  • And a DIY jeweled collar, made of Premier Designs Jewelry pins. My daughter, the jeweler, is also going.

I also think three considerations suggest the white:

  1. White is a color that I feel is personal for me, like many women like black.  I also LOVE brown and white together.
  2. White is now, in terms of fashion rather than season.
  3. Nobody likes to be restricted by fashion legalism anyway.

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I am curious, though, since the magazines have recently declared the little white dress a staple, who’s been wearing one besides me? ¬†How about the little red dress for fall?

Aug 212013
 

That moment when you realize (almost) all your _____ (insert article of clothing staple) are on or past their last legs.

I have been packing. Or at least I have been thinking about packing. In a day or two, I fly with a small group of female friends/family to Hawaii. I am purposely packing light. But suddenly I find myself with the following wardrobe of shorts:

  1. one pair Bermudas that I wish were an inch shorter. Sort of a soft, sagey green that doesn’t go with the rest of the color scheme I am packing, so I am wearing them while I do laundry, shop, and pack. They will be clean for me to wear upon return.
  2. one pair mid-thigh, chino-style which fit fabulously but seem to have a defective “barn door”. Or operator ;). Yeah, the other day I looked down after an afternoon of shopping and selling stuff at Plato’s Closet to see my zipper down! It had to have been that way all afternoon, if it didn’t come down on its own. ūüôĀ
  3. my favorite summer pair of shorts, lipstick pink, which came out of the wash recently with spots that looked like a pair of jeans had bled onto them. ¬†I washed them again and I think they are okay, but …

I needed to buy some shorts.

So, it was back to Value Village for the one day, half off summer, card-holders only sale. And a quick stop at Goodwill on the way home.

(I could have gone to shop clearance at the regular store, at this time of year, but it isn’t as easy for me to get to. Shop Clearance at Kohls.com.)

Shorts added:

  1. Khaki, white, orange, and O.D. green plaid Bermudas
  2. Brown knee-length board shorts
  3.  O.D. green mid-thigh Athleta shorts with oversized grommet trim

In addition to shorts, I plan to take:

  1. Coral roll-up light-weight twill pants
  2. White gauze trumpet-gored skirt

Anything you would add? Besides tops ūüėČ

Aug 192013
 

Typically I hit the downtown Value Village on Monday mornings.  Today I got there about 5 minutes after they opened and the carts were all gone.  So were the color tags.  Oh well.

Because between Value Village and home is the Union Gospel Mission Thrift store. ¬† This store used to be one of the worst in Spokane. ¬†While the “pickins” are still slim, the sales are very good: one color tag is half off, one 99 cents, and one 50 cents. ¬†And the prices are better to start with!

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Today I bought:

  • Wool-blend, black/white tweed, Eddie Bauer skirt, in “the new length”.
  • Pink/red ticking stripe, tissue-weight, woven cotton, ruffle-front sleeveless blouse by Caslon

Both were 50 cents. Each.

  • Also flannel paisley pajama shorts. ¬†For my vacation in Hawaii, with my youngest and her friends. ¬†We are celebrating her college graduation, courtesy of my wonderful MiL. ¬†The shorts were $1.50.

And if thrifting is not your thing:
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May 292013
 

North of Spokane just twenty miles or so, Deer Park is the habitat of wildlife, firearms, and pickup trucks.  So, when the hero took a vacation day and we drove up to buy a little truck, I dressed with care, as usual.  My Deer Dynasty duds:

jeans (not too dressy, but with bling-butt) + thermal henley with sparkly buttons + colorful flannel 

My accessories were respectable, as well.

white gold hoops from Pounders (upscale local jeweler), Columbia reversible leather belt, Oliberte sneakers

Dd said my hair looked good; I had on makeup.  In Deer Park, I was perfectly well-received.

On return, we stopped at the little neighborhood auto licensing office, where we were treated with every courtesy.  The problem showed on our way out of the building; you see, just across the hall is a really nice consignment store.  While perusing their $5 rack in the hall, it occurred to me that I should go in and look for a nice dress for the upcoming wedding.  I should have known better.  (Still figuring out the picture thing; should be right-side-up if you click on it.)

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I have become accustomed to being treated exceptionally well (read: spoken to in a friendly manner) pretty much everywhere I go these days. ¬†Not so @ The Reclothery! ¬†I had to get within 15 inches of one of the workers – and I was wearing one of their dresses! – for them to even acknowledge that I was there! ¬†(Ha ha! ¬†Is that overkill? ¬†Two exclamation points in one sentence? ¬†Clearly, this is an issue about which I have feelings ;).) And even then, I don’t think they looked me in the face.

Don’t read this as an absolute I-would-never-shop-there. ¬†Perhaps I will test them in the near future by returning dressed as my city-self. ¬†Perhaps I am alone in my preference for polite social interaction when shopping. ¬†But that, I guess, is a good question:

When you are out shopping or conducting other business, how do you prefer staff to interact with you? 

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May 162013
 

On Thursday mornings, when I can, I make it a habit to visit the Spokane Valley Salvation Army thrift store.  The vibe is relaxed and the deals are amazing!

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I got all this stuff today for $1.63!  Every Thursday one specific color of tag (or bone, that is the plastic thing that attaches the tag to the garment) is a quarter; their prices start low anyway and they have other sales as well.  Brand names pictured here:

  • Columbia (those are the nice athletic shorts which actually fit me!)
  • Allen B. by Allen Schwartz
  • Sonoma Life and Style
  • Escapade
  • J. Jill
  • New York & Company

I didn’t try any of it on; for a quarter, I can afford to be wrong and then share with a friend, or use it for costuming or for parts. In fact, I let both my daughters go through it before I really tried on any of it.

And, yes, the Division store runs the same sale on Thursdays, but the competition there is a little more intense. ūüėČ