For those who believe clothing should be an expression of ourselves, but not 0ur value (mind over price tag), who aren't afraid to shake up an office casual day or who want to let their hair down on the weekends.



Recap: Plaid Skirt IV - The A-line

The final example in the thrift store plaid skirt series is the A-line.

The A-line skirt is my favorite because it floats away from the body and moves when you walk. I choose a maroon henley shirt for the top of this outfit. You could wear anything from a tank top underneath it to a thicker cotton crew neck shirt depending on the weather. I took the "Prague' scarf and tied it around the waist because the colors in it closely match the colors in the skirt.

Those are all the types of skirts that I have in my closet. I'll probably have to wait a little longer before I can even think about wearing that green ski cap.


Recap: Plaid Skirt III - The Pleated

Apologies for the delay between posts. I think I've successfully recovered from my allergies, but now have moved on to packing up my belongings for a more spacious yet cheaper environment. It's highly possible that things with get off kilter here, but I'll try my best.

Thrift store skirt number three is a pleated skirt. Here's the deal with this type of skirt. It may come off looking like a high school uniform no matter how hard you try. Blue and red are my two favorite colors, so I enjoy wearing them together. I'm thinking choosing age appropriate accessories is your best way to handle the pleated skirt. I attached a knitted wool flower pin for something unique and different. Maybe you could put a belt on the outside of the sweater or add a few beaded necklaces as well. There comes a time in every woman's life when you have to leave Gossip Girl behind for Working Girl.

Off to put more stuff in boxes.


Recap II: 4 Plaid Skirts - The Pencil

I have discovered that a sinus cold mixed with nighttime is pretty much my kryptonite and leaves me very disabled. Fall, non-pollinated, cool air, I'm impatiently waiting your arrival.

So the next plaid thrift store find is a pencil skirt. This one has a split at the front. Sometimes this can be a little awkward depending on where it hits you, but it provides legroom if you're working at a desk all day. With this skirt, you could play up the gray tones with accessories since brown is its main color. And if you want to throw some brown back in, you could where some tall brown boots.


Resting: Back this weekend

Posts will continue on Sunday as I am battling a cold this week.


Recap: 4 Plaid Skirt Types - The Short

This is the start of a four post series on plaid skirts. Usually you can find them at pretty cheap prices at the thrift store.

The short plaid skirt is probably best worn at the beginning of the "change" as I like to call it. When you walk outside and the air seems to smell different and the streets are quite because people are inside their homes watching football games.

Since it's not that chilly outside, you could go with a thinner t-shirt and put on a nice jacket over the top. I like the maroon scarf with it because it brings out the subtle maroon lines in the plaid.

A word of caution for sensitive skin types, these skirts can cause itching. If you can find one with lining that's a bonus. Otherwise, you might have to put on some pantyhose or some light shorts underneath. No one wants red thighs at the end of the day.


Renewal: In September it Begins Again

I have always had a fond affection for this time of the year. As a kid, I actually enjoyed going back to school. At the end of August, the gigantic September issues of fashion magazines begin to hit the newsstands. You might even see the first sweater of the new fall season displayed in the stores. I celebrate my New Year at the beginning of September.

I'd like to start to show you some fall items now. Richer colors like this maroon and dark green paisley dress that I bought for $5. This dress you could throw on a tight fitting light t-shirt underneath and wear with a pair of brown tall boots. I do love paisley, but you've always got to be aware of the right color combination and size. You don't want to look like you're wearing giant amoebas or something. (Ah, Biology 101)


Refresher: Quick Guide to Thrift Store Shopping

Before You Go
1. Know what you want – What’s your style? Classic. Hipster. Bohemian. Keep photos of your favorite looks so you know what to search for and aren’t overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clothes when you enter a store. If you know where to start, it’s easier to get to the finish line.

2. Do Your Research – I start with I do a search for thrift stores in the area and read the recommendations especially when I’m on the road.

On Location
3. Have an open mind – I noticed a vest that looked pretty cool inside out, so I’m going to wear it that way. Who cares? Make your own rules. At least this time I won’t have to worry about my neighbor in the next cubicle over wearing the same thing like the department store dress that we both own.

4. Discretion - This is the hardest part. Whatever you pick up, ask yourself where are you going to wear this item and what do you have to go with it. Take the time to look for flaws. When everything seems so inexpensive, it’s easy to forget about the quality of the items. Before you head to checkout, go through what you plan to buy again and determine do you really want it.

After You’ve Gone
5. Don’t give up – if you didn’t find anything at one store. Try another. Try the same store another time. I found excellent things at a store I swore I wouldn’t return to because I didn’t see anything the first time.

6. Celebrate your success, cut your loses – Try your items on in the comfort of your own home. Figure out what will go with this shirt or those pants or your favorite shoes. Don’t force it. If it doesn’t work, think about re-donating it or giving it to someone else.


Revealing: Non-Scandalous Peephole Dress

This great little thrift store dress can morph into a summer to fall outfit. It's light enough for the summer but in the fall you could wear it with navy blue tights and a pair of brown to light brown boots. For those slightly chilly days, you can also throw on a dark denim jacket.

The peephole at the top is a cute accent. I think it makes wearing a necklace with this dress a moot point. The colorful rope belt I also purchased at a thrift store. I can't remember how much I paid for these items, but it couldn't be more than $10.

Not too long before end of summer sales and fall clothes make their way onto the racks. With multi-seasonal clothes, you can beat others to the punch.


Reasoning: When to Stay and When to Go

I had a few thrift stores on my list to check out while I was in Vancouver. At first glance when you enter a store, you probably know your chances of finding something right away. Each store that I entered, I didn't have a good feeling because their selection was so thin. So if you get this type of vibe, don't hang around for too long struggling to find something. Especially, if you're on vacation. Your time is valuable. Some times it's worth rummaging around a store for a while and other times it's better to move on and enjoy your day. I did find this top at the Salvation Army for $5, but that was it. However, I did get some priceless vacation photos, which you can see here.


Re-do II: New Kate Spade Bag for Fall

Handbags tend to change with the coming seasons, so I'm not so surprised that they end up in thrift stores. Brown, worn leather is so hard for me to resist. I love the look of natural aging. It says, "I love this, and I don't intend on letting it go without a fight."

This bag that will replace my summer fling with something hopefully more long lasting is Kate Spade and cost $20. See how the leather is cut in a zigzag up top? It's like a cute, but expensive lunch bag.

I'm looking forward to spending more quality time with it in the Fall. Now, I just have to break the news to my other handbag.

But before that, off to the great Northwest.


Reconcile: Too Long Tunic Becomes Short Top

This $4 top was a long tunic, but I decided to cut it and make it short top. At the bottom, I added red and gold ribbon to help cover up the hem. What drew me to this at the thrift store, was the tiny pearl beads sewn in the middle of the flowers. So intricate and delicate. I didn't think the maker's hard work should go to waste.

The necklace I bought at a thrift store for $6. It reminds me of the big bobble ones that J Crew had been selling earlier this year. I had been looking for something similar ever since I first saw them. The ribbon is velvet, which I think adds a nice texture change when paired with the silk top.

All I have to do now is put on some dark skinny jeans, and I'm good to go.


Reminiscent: Things That Remind Me of Other Things

These $4 shorts are just cute. There's really not much else to say. This thrift store pair of rainbow short shorts remind me of 70s. In fact, I know the perfect Victoria's Secret soft tee to go with them.

Speaking of Victoria, which is also the name of the Canadian hometown of one of my favorite basketball players, which is a ferry ride away from Vancouver where I'll be visiting next week. (What a transition.) I have a short list of thrift stores to visit while I'm there, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the Canadians do it. As always, I'll post anything good that I come across and update my trusty trip blog.


Reuse: Plastic Bags for Good(s)

Today, I thought I would show you some storage ideas that are handy if you have to store out of season clothes, find a place for accessories or gather things together for a move. Don't worry. I haven't run out of clothes just yet.

Plastic bags that pillows are contained in are great for packing sweaters in the summer and shorts and tees in the winter. You can also use the ones for sheets as a home for unruly belts that end up of the floor or scarves that roam about your place.

The plastic case above that once contained chocolates now contains my glass beads I bought in Prague. (Note: I love to say, "I bought these in Praa..gue." Makes me feel more worldly.) It keeps them protected and from being lost.

So the next time you buy bedding or something in a plastic container, think of other options instead of tossing the packaging in the garbage.


Refute: Two Wrongs Make a Right

Exhibit A - thrift store shirt. I purchased said item for $3. When I arrived at my residence, I realized that it had two ink stains by the embroidery in the middle of the shirt. Yes, I was negligent, but what is even more thoughtless, is the idea that someone would give this lovely shirt away without even thinking of a solution to fix it. In the fabric trim section, which is now becoming my favorite shopping aisle, I found this rose ribbon and simply tacked it on covering up the imperfection. Was Jane Doe wrong for tossing this shirt aside? The compliments I received at work would conclude, yes.

Exhibit B - thrift store jeans. Earlier in one of my blog posts, I said that I couldn't find jeans at a thrift store. I would like to strike that from my record because I found these Gap jeans for $8. I'm coveting wide leg jeans at the moment, and these jeans are nicely constructed with wide cuffs at the bottom. I love the way they swish when I walk, and they're not overly done like bell bottoms. I was wrong.

A top for $3 and jeans for $8 equal the right combination for me.


Resonating: Dress of Past and Present

My favorite word in the English language is "extraordinary." When used together separately, "extra" and "ordinary", they mean incredibly plain. However, when the two words are combined, it means incredibly unique.

That's why I like this thrift store dress that I purchased for $6. It's got a slightly vintage feel in the way it's cut at the top (the boatneck and the sleeves), but the color is very modern. I don't think the dress would have fit in any past era because the print is too futuristic. The tones pop out at you when you look at it.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Walt Whitman quotes, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."


Remix: Matching is Optional

Sometimes rules are made to be manipulated. In elementary school, I wore a black tennis shoe on one foot with a white sock and a white tennis shoe with a black sock on the other. Funny how I thought I was so cutting edge. However, I am proud that in my youth I thought somewhat out the box.

I love watching What Not to Wear on TLC. At times I find myself amazed at what things people think don't go together. Pink and brown? Yes, you can wear it. Wearing black with brown? It's possible. A print blouse with a non-solid jacket. Tricky, but it can work.

The ruffle striped blouse above I purchased at a thrift store for $3. The ribbon plaid belt I purchased at another for $.99. The colors look like they're in the same family, so why not put them together? The different pattern on the belt actually helps it stand out more. Admit it, you're a little visually intrigued.

Mix and matching is definitely okay. Just try not to look too much like a disheveled elementary school student.


Refinish: Rags to Riches

Mending battered things that are already in your closet is an even better way to help out of the environment and cut down on excess expenditures.

I purchased this top at a thrift store over four years ago. Originally, it was a dress. I can't remember exactly why I cut it, but I'm sure I had my reasons. I would tell myself that wearing it without a hem sewn made it look more natural. However, no seam tends to unequal unraveling thus relegating the shirt to the bottom of a drawer somewhere inside my closet.

I saw some purple pompom trim at the fabric store and thought it would help make the top okay for public viewing. I hemmed the shirt bottom using seam tape (one of the greatest inventions ever) and used the tape again to attach the trim to the bottom. No needle required. Ready, set, iron.

Now I don't have to worry about it falling apart anymore, and I can restore it to its rightful place with the rest of my wardrobe.


Regard: Cotton Candy Striped Skirt

Whomever handmade this skirt, I want to commend them for their ability to look at fabric and piece it together so well. The way the vertical lines at the bottom play off the horizontal lines throughout the body makes this skirt. It’s unique, but it doesn’t scream “look at me.” More like “you think I’m cute, don’t you?” Its hues remind me of cotton candy. And to think it only cost me $4, which probably is the going rate for cotton candy these days. So to you, thank you. I hope you’ve continued to create more things.


Recreate: One Vest, Many Styles

1. Thrift Store Vest - $2.99

a. Outdoors b. Country c. Urban/European

I. sandals II. suede boots III. Converse IV. leather boots

So you're not ready to own an entire wardrobe of thrift store clothes yet. That's fine. Every thing I owned isn't used. I'm tall making pants hard to find and shoes nearly impossible. Someone donating an item and you purchasing said item saves a garment from years in a landfill. That makes a difference.

A basic denim vest provides great versatility allowing you to mold it to your personal style. In the examples, I only changed the bottom half of the outfit. The vest, tank top and scarf remain the same.

Outdoors - You like to spend time with mother nature usually at the beach or in the mountains. You want your clothes to be lightweight and not constricting. You could easily throw on a pair of shorts or short skirt and sandals, and you're out the door ready for your next adventure.

Country - You don't mind time in the great outdoors, but you also don't mind being inside watching a Reese Witherspoon movie (Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Walk the Line). You want your clothes to be something feminine that you don't mind getting dirty. You could wear a ruffle skirt along with boots to show off your southern charm.

Urban - If you're spending time outside, it's usually because you have to get to somewhere inside. You want your clothes to be classic, but a little unique. You would put on a basic black trouser for something simple, but leave your shoes to say what you're really like. My choice Converse.

European - I don't have what I need to show you for an outfit with a European flair. I would take the urban look, change out the black trousers and replace them with black skinny jeans. Then add the leather boots on top. Magnifique.

The great thing about fashion is you could be anyone of these different styles any day you wanted, and it all started with a $3 thrift store vest. Go forth and browse!

And yes, I have seen all those Reese Witherspoon movies. What can I say? I'm a little bit Country and a little bit Rock N Roll.


Remember: A Little Means A Lot

It's not a surprise that I like scarves. They can do so much for you. Hide things that you don't want to be seen. Show things off that you don't want to hide. You can wear them in your hair, around your neck, at your waist, on top of a coat, inside of a coat...well, I think you get the point. There's so many different uses for such a small piece of fabric. The three scarves pictured I found at thrift stores, so make sure you don't skip over looking for accessories. Because a little piece of material can make a difference in changing a Plain Jane black and white outfit into something more fun.


Revise: Red Not to Red Hot

Thrift Store Dress (Before)Thrift Store Dress (After)

Once again, I bought this dress for $10 at a thrift store in Los Angeles. It was drowning in red, and I wanted to change it up sightly. Removing the old red ribbon attached was the first step. It was showing the dress' real age. That was replaced by a fresh, new black ribbon with a small red rose sewn on top. The middle section looked a bit sluggish. There I added black lace to break up the red top portion from the red bottom portion. Speaking of the bottom, I sewed a piece of black cotton material underneath the red see-through lace that way your eyes gravitate from top to bottom when you see the additional color.

Price breakdown for additions:
Black ribbon - already owned
Small Red Rose - $1.29
Lace - $3.99
Dye for Lace - $2.79
Black Cotton Material - $2.66
Total: $10.53

If I used my Joann's coupon more wisely, I could have gotten the pricing down a tad. These are additions that anyone can do. Believe me, I'm no sewing expert. However, projects like these allow me to practice. Maybe practice will make adequate.


Resize: Yes, you can!

When I tell someone that I purchased something at a thrift store, usually they say, “you can find stuff all the time, but they probably don’t have my size.” You shouldn’t psych yourself out before you’ve even tried it. Most of the things I end up buying aren’t my size. That green dress I bought for $7 is a large. So yes, you can find cute things if you go in with a positive attitude. And if it’s not my exact size, I try to find a way to make it work such as wrapping the white and green scarf around the midsection of this dress. I think there’s one basic rule about size – Oversized can be good, undersize is rarely ever good. Don’t try to stuff yourself into something that doesn’t fit. I don’t care if it cost $1.99. Even smaller girls have to remind themselves of that from time to time.


Resource: LA Store Leads to $3.99 Marc Jacobs Top

It's been two days since I've been to the beach, and my sandals still have sand in them. On my vacation, I hit four thrift stores in the area of Los Angeles that I was staying in and came back with three things.

The first two items are from the Goodwill store on 7919 Beverly Rd near Fairfax. This store was so clean and organized. They were installing two new women's dressing rooms when I arrived. I started with the dress section. I found the blue dress and was a bit indecisive about purchasing it. It was $7.99. But I knew that I had black flats that I could wear with it or sandals. I actually ended up putting it on the first day because it got unexpectedly hot in the afternoon, and I need something cooler to wear. I guess that worked out well. The top I thought was colorful and cute - strawberry hearts. Plus, the back had a nice structure to it. I bought it for $3.99. I looked at it the next morning and wondered who made it. Turns out it was Marc Jacobs, and I didn't even know it. He's a fantastic designer and enjoys venturing into a thrift store himself.

I went to Out of the Closet on 360 N Fairfax. I didn't find anything there. The store's selection was a little bit smaller and slightly higher priced. If I get a chance, I would like to try one in another location.

After that I went to Thriftology on 427 N Fairfax. That is where I found that red gauzy Spanish dress for $9.98. This store was more of a thrift/vintage store with most of their items well above the $10 mark. I have some plans for the dress, which I'll work on next weekend. It involves adding a little black to it and some sparkles. When I'm done, it's going to be movin on up like the Jeffersons.

The last store I went to was Council Thrift Shop on 455 N Fairfax. As you can see, these stores are close and in easy walking distance from each other. This is a smaller store. I did see a Michael Kors pant suit for $30 that seemed very well made. Realistically, I didn't think I would wear it that much, and I left it on the rack.

I think I got some nice pieces, and I didn't go overboard. I'm definitely looking forward to what more LA has to offer. You can read about the rest of my trip here.