Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A small closet = BIG opportunity!

A recent move and closet down sizing has prompted Patti to reexamine her wardrobe and making the most of what she has.  
Believe it or don't, I have less closet space in our modern condo than in our historical cottage! Ohs noes, I shall have to edit the wardrobe yet some more. And the old one-in, one-out rule will still apply unless I can find a way to freeze-dry my clothing and then just add hot water to revive it! (Remember freeze-dried coffee? So cool at the time).  (source)
While initially, a smaller closet may seem cause for some serious concern; there is a pretty bright silver lining! How much of what we have in our closets are we really over the moon about?  Can we open the door to our wardrobes and smile at what we see there?  And the biggest question:  How much of what's in there do we actually wear?

The reality is that it's better to have 10 things that you LOVE to wear and feel fabulous in than 50 items that are uninspiring.  

So, on that note, when I came across this dress at a recent yard sale, I was all set to list it in my store.  Not believing it would fit, but curious, I tried it on and WOW!  I just love it....the shape, the black & white scheme, the pattern....all of it makes for a piece that makes me smile grin!


I initially tried it on as a dress and MAN!  was that thing short!  At least for me!  And while my husband does love my legs and loves for me to show them, I just don't think I'd be comfortable risking showing sooooo much more!

Paired here with J Crew leggings and flats, it feels very gamine (something I'm really not!).  


And shown here with my favorite black leather skirt (thrifted) and suede boots that I got in a recent swap with my daughter, I changed it up a bit by pairing it with a thin leather belt (thrifted).


For years now, I've been saying that I could make an entire wardrobe out of black and white and still keep it interesting.  Pieces like this make it easy!

And I just can't help but mention that I don't have $5 in this whole outfit! 

 The skirt was thrifted at a church clothing drive that I helped with and I paid $1 for the dress at a yard sale about a month ago.  The details on it are amazing....truly a boutique piece!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Favorite look of the week

Do you know Jeeda?  She blogs at Swoon and I always enjoy her style!  She seems to marry an over the top piece with aplomb and elegance by grounding it with something seemingly pedestrian.  In my favorite look this week, it's this sweater with the sequined shoulders....which actually comes across quite wearable with these great fitting jeans and neutral heel.  And can one ever go wrong with a classic Gucci bag?

Another thing I really appreciate about Jeeda's style is her judicious use of accessories.  Often, in blogging and for the sake of an eye catching photo, we'll really pile on the accessories....necklaces, eleventy million bracelets (an arm ORGY!), scarves, anklets, bags, layers and more.  But Jeeda wears eye catching pieces that really negate the need for excessive accessorization.  I love that, because to be honest, I get claustrophobic rather easily; even from my own clothes!

And finally, Jeeda seems like just such a nice person!  Do you ever come across someone's blog and after some brief interaction think, "We would have the BEST time together if we ever met in person!".  That's how I imagine Jeeda.  I've never met her and only had the briefest of exchanges with her via our blogs, but I just feel like she's my kind of gal!  A woman who is so striking in her appearance as to almost be intimidating, but so warm in her communication as to be your new best friend!

And if you're doing any Christmas shopping this weekend, please check out Terri's  eBay offerings as well as Bella's treasures!  I'd be tickled to death if you checked mine out as well!

 Happy Weekend and God bless us everyone!!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Same dress.....different day

In yesterday's post, I wore this thrifted dress as a long top over black leggings and boots.  Today, I wanted to show another way that I wore this within the past couple of weeks.  


Worn with a slip (this dress is REALLY sheer!), an ivory scarf from my husband and my Nine West high heel boots....


On my way out, I threw on a dark wash denim jacket that I've had for about 10 years!  It's still fabulous!!

I can also picture wearing this as a dress again with my over the knee black boots and a black tuxedo jacket.  A perfect date outfit!

It's so much fun to come up with different ways to wear a piece that I love!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Sunday morning...

Posting from my iPad, sitting at Starbucks with my sweet baby. I put this together this morning and my husband was so smitten with it, HE said, "I need to take a picture of you when we get outside." Well okay!!

And sticking with my ever dominant thrifting theme, the dress/blouse is thrifted. My pants, which are barely visible are J.Crew. I bought them almost 3 years ago and paid $80 for them which, for me, is an incredible splurge! However, the fit is so perfect and they look exactly the same wash after wash, that it hardly feels like a splurge at all. And I can use them in so many different looks, that I think I could wear them every day for a week and not look the same at all! I may have to try that!

More and more, I'm committed to not jumping on trends or filling up my closet with a bunch of "stuff". Given the recent tragedy in Bangladesh, this also seems to be a socially conscious approach as well.

The boots belong to my daughter. I traded her a pair of her grandmother's flat heeled vintage black boots for these. Both pair now seem to be in the more appropriate domiciles!

The jacket is Doncaster Tanner and passed down to me from a good friend. This is the first time I'm wearing it and it seems to look great with long blousey tops underneath.

Linking up with Patti on Visible Monday!

And please please take a look at Bella's post on "Shop Second Hand First" and consider making the pledge.  I'm so glad I've taken that pledge at the beginning of 2011 and shocked myself by making only 2 retail clothing purchases that entire year.  This year, I don't think I've made more than 2 or 3 either and you know what, it's actually been really easy!  

Monday, November 19, 2012

If you buy only one pencil skirt this season....go eShakti

I was so flattered when eShakti approached me recently about reviewing one of their items.  I've seen their dresses on many of my blogging friends, so I already knew they have beautiful pieces!  

But I DIDN'T realize what a variety they have!  I came across this skirt and just fell in love!  It has everything that I really want in a skirt....pencil style, high waist and black!  Hello!  Hello! and HELLO!  I ordered it with the option of customizing the fit.  When I got it, it was a little big on me, but next time, I'll just take off a couple of inches from my measurements when I order.  The skirt arrived quickly, even given the extra time needed to make it to my specifications.

So I decided to keep with the Spanish vibe the skirt was giving me and go "Classy Ranchera"!



The waist rises just into my rib cage which gives such a great hour glass silhouette!  And how about that corset style detail!?


Blouse:  Vintage, Thrifted  Skirt:  eShakti  Boots:  Jessica Simpson via TJ Maxx (got them on clearance last year for a song AND they are over the knee!)  Hat:  Thrifted



I have so many other styling ideas for this skirt....
Denim shirt and my short vintage Nine West boots
Cropped sweater and my Nine West brown boots
White tank and strappy sandals in the summer
Silk blouse and black pointy toe heels


I found a similar skirt on their site that I may have to order!  Check it out here!
My sweet husband did a fabulous job taking pictures for me!  It was hard to narrow it down!

I'm linking up with Patti for Visible Monday.  Be sure to check out the other visibly gorgeous ladies!


I just browsed the website and it's AMAZING all the fabulous choices they have!  Their prices are already really reasonable, and with $25 off your first purchase, there's not much to even think about!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Testing blogging from my iPad

Blogger has an app in which I can post from my iPad. Curious to see the quality of the post, I thought I would do a test run.... Not a lot of options and no chance to preview, but we will see how it goes!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

5 Reasons to Thrift (that have nothing to do with money!)

Sweet Bella recently did a post on shopping second hand.  It's brilliant in concept and execution!  And while most of us completely understand the financial benefits of thrifting, have you considered the benefits that have almost nothing to do with money?  

It's good for the environment. 

The effect of constant manufacturing of textiles to keep up with the demand of fast fashion has a definite footprint on our environment.  To read more about it, check out this article by the National Center for 
Biotechnology Information.  

There's a better selection at your local thrift store

Seriously, there is!  Recently, I went to the local mall and left a bit frustrated.  Sure, beautiful things in every window; but for the most part, everything started to look the same.  I could go into Ann Taylor and see 15 - 20 unique items (for the time I spend in the store).  I can spend the same amount of time in my favorite Goodwill and never see a duplicate item!  I love the varied selection!

Access to unusual items

I'm so fortunate to live in such an ethnically diverse community!  On treasure hunts (thrifting), I've come across a wall hanging from Iran, Turkish slippers and a plethora of Indian tunics.  Even if I could find some of these things at a local retail store, chances are they wouldn't all be in the same store; or they'd be lacking in authenticity.

Giving to a good cause

Most thrift stores represent a charity.  Goodwill provides job training.  Salvation Army helps families in need.  Hospice Thrift provides end of life care to the terminally ill.  Cause for Paws helps find homes for unwanted or abused animals.  The list goes on and on.  When we shop at one of our thrifts, we are helping a good cause AND in many cases, also helping to provide jobs.

The vintage!!!

And now we're at what's really near and dear to my heart!  VINTAGE!  What's more beautiful than a piece that comes with a history and was loved by a kindred spirit from another generation?  Here are a couple of beauties I've found recently.....

Vintage turquoise earrings....Be still my heart!  I just adore these silver earrings.  Genuine silver and turquoise, I'll have these babies till I exit to the hereafter!


I found this hand made dress yesterday and just had to rescue it!  I believe it's all silk and the fabric is totally breathtaking!  I haven't decided whether I'll keep it or put it in my store.  If I do keep it, I can see shortening it to the knee (NOT above) and possibly shortening the sleeves.  I really don't do maxi dresses; but I just couldn't leave this baby behind.

So maybe you're rolling in the dough and money is no object when it comes to shopping.  I'd still challenge you to give thrifting a try.  Check out one of the nicer thrifts in your area.... Goodwill is usually a good place to start.

And should you be so inclined, take the pledge to "Shop Second Hand First".....not only.....but maybe first every now and then.


Friday, November 9, 2012

I spent $20 on a shirt at Goodwill!!!!!

My sweet baby took these pictures of me with his iphone.  He's good at doing the candid thing AND making me laugh!

I thrifted this suede (genuine) shirt at a local Goodwill.  I was there with a couple of friends, and each of us tried it on (though it was I who found it) and it looked great on EACH of us, despite the fact of being three very different body shapes.  When I got up to the counter and was told it was $20, I had to do some quick soul searching.  I'm certainly not used to climbing into double digits for an item at the thrifts.  But c'mon!  It's FABULOUS!!!!  

So I laid down the $20 and took her home!  And I don't regret it a bit!


Another one of my loves....a southwest vibe!  I found this bag at an out of town thrift and noticed the quality of the weave AND that the inside was lined in leather and the strap is genuine leather as well.  Plopped down $3 and took it home and washed it.....and now it's a favorite!  Looks great across the body too!


My husband making me laugh.....I know it may not be the most with my mouth wide open.....but hey, it's real!  And if we ever got to meet, I'd have you laughing like this too!!


Finally, in the stair well of our building.  Another one of my favorites, a pair of wide leg jeans.  Can I tell you?  Get yourself a pair of wide leg jeans, flares or whatever you want to call them.  They're flattering and really step up the denim game!  I finished it off with a pair of Coach clogs that belonged to my mom.  That woman had INCREDIBLE style!!

Have a great weekend all!  Hugs all around!!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NUETP: Thrifting the one that got away!

NUETP:  Never Under Estimate The Power

Sometimes the planets align and you can actually thrift that expensive goodie that your pocketbook balks at!

Case in Point:

So check out this fabulous boot from Nine West that truly causes me to salivate more than a little!

And with a price tag of $250, it also makes me weep a bit too!  I just can't....especially on the heels (ha ha, no pun intended) of a $150 boot purchase for my birthday!  Oddly, as I'm sitting here typing, the wheels in my head are STILL turning as to how I can make these happen....Oh man oh man oh man.....


Quite a great consolation prize is this pair of VINTAGE 9West booties.


I thrifted these bad boys literally DAYS after I saw the current ones.  While not EXACTLY the same, obviously, they come a really close and contented second.  They have many of the same elements that make the ones above so special:

  • 100% leather
  • Cordoban tone
  • Heel
  • Rounded toe
  • Same height
  • Same shape at the top
  • Same western feel

And guess what?!  MY SIZE!  For $3.50, I just about RAN out of the Goodwill with them!   Slight Problem:  When I got home and started to wear them, and they hurt like you wouldn't believe.  Apparently, years of neglect and un-use left the leather really tight.  I tried to bear through it a couple of times and thought my feet would cry genuine tears after 30 minutes.  

I tried stretching them with the water in the ziplock bag method, and while it helped a bit, not nearly enough.  I was concerned that I'd have to put them in my store, but I still had one more Hail Mary play - professional stretching.  For $10, a local shoe repair store was able to stretch them for me.  WOW!  What a difference!!!  While they're still a tad stiff, they are immensely wearable!  So for $13.50 instead of $250; I now own a very similar pair and they're still my beloved Nine West!

While I'd still love to own the current pair, if they never end up on my could I even complain?  This pair that I thrifted is a most delightful, Candy bar from God!!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The skirt. The seamstress. And details innumerable!

Seamstresses amaze me!  It's like watching someone play the's mind boggling how those hands know just where to go and what to do to create amazing art.  I recently found this hand made vintage skirt and the details are such that are almost unheard of in modern times.  

The hand sewn and placed rick rack....along with a curved pocket...

Notice that the wales of the corduroy are perfectly aligned.  A detail too tedious to be attempted nowadays.

The way the seamstress waved the rick rack....what a charming detail!!

The beautiful button!  What's so cool is that, so often, we would figure, "Meh, whatever, it's in the back.  Who's going to see it?!"  But not this clever woman!  She chose an eye catching large button to make even the back of the skirt exceptional!

And take a look at the contrasting olive green zipper....another well thought out detail that is often overlooked.

And one of my favorite add ons....

A Christmas themed lining in the pockets.  What's really fabulous about this detail is that from the outside edges of the pocket, you can see some sort of design.  It keeps the pockets from completely blending in with the skirt.  But it's not until you look on the inside that you actually see where that design is coming from.

There is a blogging segment that features and even specializes in sewing.  Again, it's a skill that I just don't possess.   But to get inspired or awed, check out these amazing seamstresses!

Erica B.'s - D.I.Y. Style! - I swear, it seems like Erica makes MOST of what she wears and it looks like something one would find at a department store.  On top of her sewing skills, she has an amazing classic and elegant style!  Looking at her pictures, I just sense something almost regal about her!

Mimi G Style - Mimi has sewn for Folake of Style Pantry.  Not only does she sew beautifully, but it seems she has absolutely no problem grabbing some fabric and then just creating something amazing!  No pattern required.  I love her funky style AND the fact that she can wear such short hair and look GORGEOUS in small feat!

Kristina J. - Kristina is a whiz at altering clothes.  She seems to have a sense of just the right detail needed to take a garment from "Oh that's kinda pretty" to "OH MY GOSH!  THAT'S GORGEOUS!  I WANT IT NOW!!!!"  She adds the girliest of touches to everything she wears.  She also designs and sews her own clothing lines!  Hellooo!!!!  Amazing!

I. AM. IN. AWE. of what these remarkable women can create with their nimble fingers!  To you seamstresses out there, I raise a (very large, extra salt) margarita to you!!

*If you are interested in the skirt above, it's a Sz L, and it's available in my store , click here.   


Monday, October 29, 2012

Suede in full! Or Don't be Suede by imitators!

And my love affair with all things suede and leather continues!  I thrifted this vintage suede skirt at a little shop that I found not long after moving here last year.  The color is so vibrant (shown better in the second picture).  And it really can be worn all year long!

Top : Hand me down from my aunt.  It has a white leather panel on the front.  Previously worn here.  

Skirt:  Thrifted & Vintage

Boots:  New!!  My birthday gift from my sweet husband!    These* boots, from Nine West, were a really big splurge!  My husband told me to go get them, and was prepared to pay $200 for them.    When we got to the mall, they had a sale!!!! and we got them for just under $150 including tax.  For us, that's a HUGE splurge.  HOWEVER, we justify this cost by the fact that about 98% of my wardrobe is thrifted at usually no more than $4 a piece.  So to invest in a FABULOUS pair of shoes or boots that will last and look great for YEARS, just makes sense to me!  What you can't see from the picture is that these have about a 5" heel on them.  So 70s chic!!
BTW, take a look at these.  Oh be still my heart, I would love to own these!  But $250?  Yeahhhhh, I just can't.  But I WILL be watching them for a sale!

Purse:  Thrited.  No brand label, but the strap is genuine leather and it's actually lined with the softest black leather you can imagine!  I washed it via my leather washing method (which I learned from a customer of my store)  and BAM!   FABULOUS!!

See?  It wears great in the summer as well!  Here's the original post.

I'm hooking up (FINALLY) with Patti and Visible Monday!  To be sure, I felt very visible today!

*No affiliate link or commission here, I just happen to love me some Nine West!  They always have gorgeous shoes and boots at a price point where buying groceries is still viable!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When Clothes Were Special

On a recent treasure hunt, I came across this sweater vest you see below.

While I was taking pictures, I looked more closely at the only tag in the sweater.  I noticed that a woman's name tag was hand sewn onto the brand tag.  I clipped the threads below and confirmed that the vest is, indeed, 100% cashmere as I had suspected.  However, it was something else that struck me.

There was a time when clothes were special.

 I'm guessing this sweater is from the 1950's.  This Donna Hotel didn't have as many shopping options as  I do today.  No malls.  No Walmart or Target.  No Forever21 or H&M.  No internet shopping.  No 20+ monthly fashion magazines to vie for her attention and wallet.

I don't know if Ms. Hotel was a woman of means or not, but one thing is clear:  her clothes, at the very least this sweater, were important to her.  So much so that she had personalized name plates embroidered and hand stitched them into her garments, and in this case, with matching thread!  I have to believe that her intention, when she purchased this vest, was to have it for a very long time.  It's in such lovely condition, I can tell it's been cherished!

I know I'm being nostalgic for a time before I was even born.  But seeing this really spoke to me.  How much of my wardrobe is special?  Am I filling my closet with "stuff"?  Is clothes shopping a hobby or a treasure hunt?  Do I mindlessly purchase clothes that really have no value other than being on trend for the season?  And the big question:  how much of what's in my closet will be there 10 years from now (wow, even 5 years from now) and what condition will it be in?

Often I feel like my soul is from another era. But if it wasn't meant to be for me to live in the 20's or 30's, then maybe it's okay if I take a bit of sentiment and sensibility from that time.

To take a little extra time and effort to select and care for these bits and pieces of fluff that I adorn myself with.  

To make my clothes and how I use them........special.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

EB: What I'm Loving In My Store Now

This sweater just makes my heart happy!  It's vintage and in oxblood, the fab color of the season right now!   The embroidery is just magnificent and what can I say?  It was love at first sight!   By the way, check out Bella in her oxbloody fabulousness!

Well Helllllloooooo Lovah!  I just ADORE these booties!!!  And truth be told, they'd be in my closet to stay if they weren't just a tad too big.  I imagine them paired with tights and worn with EVERYTHING!!  You know who does the bootie thang better than anyone I know?  Patti!!!  Check out her bootie-liciousness here, here, and here!

Oh the sweetness!  When I came across this blouse, I just knew I had to get it.  The pastel like colors, the double breasted look, the virginal all just WORKS!  I imagine styling it with a pair of wide leg jeans.  Or maybe a pair of dark gray cigarette pants and some pointy toe heels.  I also envision skinny jeans and boots and a leather jacket to toughen it up a a good girl gone bad!  You know who I think of when I see this?  Shey!  Shey has a way of doing  sweet and still keeping it grown up looking....even.....dare I say SEXY?    That's what I see in this blouse:  girl and woman combined!

I'll share more of my other favorites soon, but in the meantime, feel free to check out my store.  I'm running a sale right now, and I also offer a best offer option on all my listings!  

By the way, please be sure to check out Terri's listings !  This BCBG cardigan dress/duster is heavenly!  I can see it with a great slip underneath and belted or even worn open over jeans and boots and a tee!  Or what about these Betancourt flats?!  LOVE them with a pair of cigarette pants or a pencil skirt and sweater!  Completely classic!

You can also check out Ms Bella!  She's letting go some of her fabulous finds, and how great are these platform sandals?  I think these would be so cool with sweater tights and a midi skirt!  

Big love and hugs to you all!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bow to the Brow

Are you remembering your brows?

Personally, I remember mine every time I look in the mirror!  But I'm really really slack about staying on top of keeping them groomed.  I've tried to tweeze them myself....starting in high school when I was working on a unibrow!  Me and this girl could've been twins!  

But I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and stay on top of one of the most prominent facial features that we have.  When groomed correctly, they provide a lovely frame for the art that are our eyes.  When left to themselves, they are facial demons who take pleasure in making us look bad!  

I don't think there is a standard brow shape.  I mean, brows are part of our faces and those all look different, right?  So why should all brows look the same?  


Think of the personality that emanates from our brows.  I prefer a thicker brow, though I don't know that I'd do the Joan Crawford look.


Can't you just picture her with a coat hanger in hand screaming like a mad woman?!?!  There's nothing soft about this look!

On the other hand, too thin (and they may never grow back) can give one a really weird look.
Hello, Ms Harlow

Beautiful woman, but those brows give her a comic look!

Back to my brows....

I've never liked my brows.  They're very thick and wiry and even tend to curl on the ends!  And hello, now I'm getting a few gray brows!  They also don't have much shape.  Even when I was tweezing them, I never could seem to give them the light arch that I've admired in others.  But to keep them in check, I used to have them waxed by a friend who did that professionally.  However, since moving to a much larger city, I have discovered threading.  Pause here and just let me say, "BRILLIANT!!".   Take a look:

This is such a precision process, much more so than waxing which just rips the brows right out 
en masse!    There's also much more opportunity for skin irritation (IMO) with the waxing.  The threading method is so much cleaner than waxing and also a little more affordable.    I've never loved my brows so much as I have after having them groomed via threading.  

My face feels clean!  Unless you've ever had unruly eyebrows, this probably sounds foreign to you.  But for a "3 tweezes away from a unibrow" like me, this has been a godsend!

Look it up in your area and give it a try.  And DEFINITELY let me know what you think!