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Big fish, little fish

plaid tunic and leggings

I wore this outfit to have brunch with an awesome friend who has been going through some real crap lately. We noshed on pancakes and french toast while catching up on each other’s lives in a trendy restaurant, and I felt comfortable and cute.

This outfit might look simple and casual, nothing groundbreaking, but it shows how I have branched out when it comes to fashion recently. Starting from the bottom up, I used to dislike tall boots. I started to change my mind when the variety of styles increased, along with the availability of styles that actually fit my wide calves. I got these almost equestrian looking boots for a steal, and I love them. Another item I used to dislike? Leggings. I thought they looked cute on others but wouldn’t work on my short, curvy frame. Much like the boots, I have done a complete 180, and I wear leggings quite a bit now. Mostly I wear them with dresses, but I am starting to find the occasional long cardigan or tunic that works with leggings, too. It’s nice to step away from the advice of those style experts who say that tapered pants are unflattering to curvy ladies, and I have to say that I actually like the way I look in this silhouette.

Tunics. Another item I never thought I would wear. With straighter pants such a long shirt might make me look stumpy, but somehow that doesn’t happen with the slim leggings. This particular tunic is a button down, a style of top that has long been the bane of my existence. The classic oxford shirt looks so crisp, classic, and professional on other women, but they nearly always look boxy, boyish, or bunchy on me, plus I hate ironing. But this one is in a sturdy flannel that is soft and cozy and doesn’t wrinkle, and that formfitting nipped in waist fits and flatters. If I could have this shirt in several colors and patterns, I would live in it all fall and winter long. One of the downsides to thrifting is that you very rarely get to buy an item you love in multiples.  I can’t even find anything about the brand online (the tag says “Freeshirt” and “U gotta be kiddin me” below), so it seems like this top is not going to have any competition in my wardrobe.

Let’s see, what other surprising outfit elements are there? Well, if you look closely you might be able to tell that while my leggings are black, that tunic is turquoise and navy. I hear that all neutrals can be worn together, and I am getting more comfortable with mixing a lighter neutral with a darker one (like the black of the pants with the lighter taupe of the boots), but I still can’t really get behind black and navy together. I’ve seen others pair them in a way that looks fashionable and intentional, but I worry it makes it look like I got dressed in the dark, you know? Luckily, I think that the darker blue in the top just reads as black when paired with the black pants. Of course, I just revealed the truth to the internet.

Last, but not least, I’ve actually got a little bit of pattern mixing going on in this outfit. The scarf that I am wearing as a headband has a lovely swirly pattern of different shades of blue. Even in person it’s kind of subtle, but baby steps still count, right? Pattern mixing is another trend that can look haphazard, in my opinion, so I am starting small.

big fish, little fish

In case you have read this far and are still wondering abut this post’s title, the rather grainy photo above should help. It’s hard to see, but the shorter, smaller necklace is a fish, too. I’ve been accumulating pendant style necklaces to layer like this, and it amused me to pair these two, since it kind of looks like the big fish is going to eat the little one.

Outfit details:
silk scarf: gift from a friend
necklaces: little fish, Forever 21 (I think?); big fish, Van Heusen
plaid tunic: Freeshirt, thrifted
ponte leggings: Van Heusen
leather boots: Ros Hommerson via 6pm.com

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While just reading style blogs, I never realized how much work goes into them. Doing my own outfit posts has shown me that it isn’t easy to do it well. You need a decent camera and/or a conspirator to take photos. You need to get comfortable in front of the camera and practice poses. You have to keep track of where your clothes come from. Not to mention come up with titles and a few pithy paragraphs to go with the photos. I respect style bloggers way more since dipping my toe into this stuff, and am pretty sure that I will never really be one. But I still hope to occasionally post my outfits and thrifting finds here, and I hope you folks enjoy them. If not, maybe someday my kids or grandkids will come across these posts and enjoy or laugh at my ensembles.

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This is my St. Patrick’s Day outfit. I know not everyone feels the need to wear green on March 17th, and that’s cool. But working with kids and a bunch of proudly Irish folk, I end up in green to some degree or another every year, to fit in and avoid getting pinched. Plus, I love green and have a lot of it in my wardrobe.

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Almost every bit of this outfit is thrifted. I’ve only worn the green, cabled sweater a couple times, and it may end up being a dud. I really love the color, and I am a fan of cable knits, so those are pluses. I’ve incorporated a number of long cardigans into my wardrobe with success in recent years (which I partly attribute to inspiration from Sally at Already Pretty who rocks those long over lean looks regularly), but I think this one might just be too long or too bulky to be quite flattering. But it’s also warm and comfy, so I may keep it around because sometimes comfort trumps a becoming silhouette.

Other than a bit of green, comfort was my main goal in this outfit, since I have a lazy Saturday planned. Reading (I am diving back into The Hunger Games before the movie comes out), blogging, maybe updating my online dating profile, and generally lounging about. I plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tonight by staying in the house (Boston, being a hub of both college students and folks of Irish descent, tends to get pretty crazy on St. Patty’s Day), drinking some hard cider (or Bailey’s, mmm), and watching a movie. Perhaps I will even make some soda bread. I am such a homebody. 🙂

Outfit details:
Striped top: Gap, thrifted
Long, cable knit sweater: New York & Co., thrifted
Slim ponte pants: New York & Co., thrifted
Skinny wrap belt: Gap Outlet
Converse sneakers: Target (kids size, which saved me about 10 bucks)
Earrings: mall store (don’t remember which)
Necklace: Lavishy (It’s reversible! The other side has a khaki colored background and simple tree branch design)

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Folks in the blogosphere seem to have been almost universally disappointed in this episode. Design outfits for stilt-walkers, huh? That, in and of itself, didn’t seem like a bad idea. Adding stilts obviously changes a woman’s proportions, and proportion is a huge part of successful clothing design. And when you are thinking of stilts, you generally think circus or carnival, so there seemed to be potential for some fun, creativity, and drama. Problem was the challenge was awfully vague and the judging (also lambasted online) was bizarre. Tim, at one point, urged the designers to think couture, but that didn’t seem to happen. Ah well, I guess 9 seasons into a show like this it’s too much to expect that every challenge will be fabulous.

Anthony Ryan and Laura Hmm. This outfit, and the fact that it won the challenge, illustrates the problems with this episode. If you chopped off the extra length, you could put this on a model and there is absolutely nothing to indicate there was anything unusual about the challenge. It’s a pretty outfit, and it is well made, but the style elements aren’t even original. I liked the subtly different shades of red, and I am a sucker for flirty, feminine elements like the feathery shoulder treatment. Laura and Anthony Ryan worked well together and made a pretty garment, but it certainly wasn’t anything special, so I cannot understand why it won.

Anya and Olivier I kind of expected them to be the dream team, and they clearly had some interesting ideas, but the final product was a mess. I liked the fabric choices – the print was interesting without being overly dramatic. Olivier’s top showed some creativity but ended up looking like it was slapped together from scraps. And their design shows what I mean about proportions: that small, fussy top just gets lost compared to the huge expanse of skirt. And their model’s hair! The hair stylists were clearly feeling the hair spray fumes that week!

Becky and Kimberly This! This is what I was hoping for with this challenge! Why didn’t it win?? I am going to harp on proportions again. The puffy sleeve, big collar, wide sleeve cuff, flared pants, pant trim, and the extra length on the sleeveless side of the jacket all helped balance the proportions of this look. It wasn’t overly flashy, so it didn’t scream circus, but it was dramatic and eye-catching. And it highlighted their model’s tattoo, which was genius.

Bert and Viktor Good grief, I think I made better outfits for my Barbies when I was 7 than this monstrosity. Maybe they were envisioning their stilt walker as part of the cast of an avant garde, high-rise production of Gone with the Wind and their design was for the scene where Scarlet makes a dress out of curtains. It was painful to look at their design, but not quite as painful as watching their interactions. Bert is looking more and more like a jerk with each episode.

Bryce and Fallene This was one outfit about which I agree with the judges. It was a hot mess. Fallene was clearly in over her head with that bodice, but I don’t think Bryce should be let off the hook. If one member of the team is relatively untrained, why is that designer working on a technically demanding bustier, while the more experienced sewer is working on an overgrown tutu? Even if their original vision had been perfectly executed, I think it still would’ve been a mess. A small, fitted top with a huge tulle skirt over loose stilt pants? It sounds awful. And I think it was the right decision to send Fallene home. Not only was she struggling with the execution, but she let that totally get to her.

Cecilia and Danielle The judges adored this, and I don’t get it. Like Laura and Anthony Ryan’s design, you could have hemmed the pants and sent it down the runway on a regular model. There was a little added volume in the sleeves and pants, but nothing really dramatic. The bedazzled collar looked like something out of Dynasty, and we got more hideous hair on their poor stilt-walker. The outfit was at least well made – I love the back of the blouse – but that’s faint praise.

Joshua and Julie I actually kind of liked their design. Bear with me here. They played with the proportions, using that vertical pattern on the pants and making the look high-waisted. They used a bold fabric that wouldn’t work in a normally scaled design. They were creative. And that’s where they ran into trouble. There was just way too much going on up top, and it didn’t make sense. I don’t think their design should have been in the bottom three, though.

Obviously I am a bit behind with Project Runway posts. Hopefully I can have post up on this week’s episode tomorrow or Tuesday. And if we’re really lucky, the next episode will be inspiring enough that I can’t wait to post about it.

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I really like how this outfit turned out. It’s all about the details, since the basis of the outfit is just khakis and a knit top. But once I put on my awesome batik belt (bought years ago when I was living in Dallas), orange medallion earrings, and orange and brown patterned bangle, I felt like I looked really pulled together. And I got to pull out my green loafers, which I haven’t worn in a while. Also, welcome to my incredibly bright green kitchen. No, I didn’t pick the color, but it has grown on me.

Details: Top: Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted. Pants: Bass. Belt: World Market. Bangle: thrifted. Earrings: Burlington Coat Factory. Shoes: Land’s End for Sears, clearance.

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It’s been a lovely spring weekend here in Boston.  So lovely, in fact, that my main goal for today was a long walk.  So my outfit had to be practical, but I think it’s pretty cute, too.

(Sorry for the blurry photo.  I am still trying to figure out how to get a decent outfit photo by myself in my apartment.  It may not be possible.  You have no idea how many photos I took, and this is the best of the bunch.)

This isn’t the greenest outfit in the reuse sense, as all the clothing items were purchased new, but everything except the jeans, which I have had so long I don’t recall where I bought them, came from an outlet, sale, or discount store, so it is definitely a thrifty look.  Speaking of the jeans, they are Lee, midrise bootcut, and they are the most comfortable jeans I have ever worn.  Jeans never used to be comfort wear for me, but these changed my mind.  Turns out jeans are actually comfortable, if they fit my curves properly.

This outfit highlights a couple other fashion items I have changed my mind about: scarves and long sweaters.  For most of my life, I only wore scarves with outerwear to keep warm.  They were practical items, not fashion.  Which is funny, because I love accessories.  I was convinced I had a short neck, though, and thought scarves were unflattering on me.  Since cutting my hair short, I have done a total 180, and have a small collection of scarves that I use often.  I need to work on how I wear them, though, since I only seem able to tie them in one way, and it is getting a little old.

As for the long sweaters, this purple one converted me.  I am barely five feet tall, and I am curvy, so I had assumed a long cardigan would make me look stumpy and dumpy.  But the color and softness of this cardigan, not to mention the $15 price tag, lured me in.  When I tried it on, I decided it actually works.  Go figure.  Goes to show that every so often you should re-evaluate what you think works and doesn’t on your figure.

I didn’t tell you about my jewelry, though.  After getting totally dressed this morning – in fact, after I had already left the house – I remembered that I had bought a super cute ring yesterday and realized it would be perfect with this outfit.  It was still in my bag from the day before, so I was able to add it to my look.

Yesterday some friends and I wandered around an open studios event in Somerville.   One home/studio we visited belonged to the artists behind EsotErica, Citizen Chain Jewelry, and the adorable Smiley Baby Hats. There were lots of nifty things, but I was especially drawn to the rings made from vintage clip earrings and buttons. They were very reasonably priced, so I treated myself to this lavender one.

My long walk took me to the arboretum, where there were tons of pretty trees and flowers to enjoy, so expect a post on that soon.  And if you haven’t voted in the poll in my last post, please do!

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You guys, I feel like a fool.  There’s a vintage shop, Dame, only half a mile from my apartment, and I didn’t even know about it! It’s been there two years. Argh! Ah well, since there’s no time like the present, I visited Dame this weekend and even made a purchase. Dame isn’t big, but it is charming and has a great selection of lovely vintage clothing with very reasonable prices. I tried on a couple dresses, and ended up going home with this adorable, peach, summery dress that was tagged as being from the 60’s. The fitted bodice and high neckline seem right for the 60’s, but the full skirt and detailing (a combo of lace and painted studding in a swirl pattern) made me wonder. At any rate, it fits perfectly and is fun and flirty, so I couldn’t resist it. It only set me back $45! It’s going to be hard to resist wearing it right away, even though it is still cold here in Boston.  I fear the color may wash me out a bit, but I am sure I will still get a fair bit of wear out of it.

Here are three ways I can wear my new dress.

Sweet and summery:  Fabric flower headband bought on sale at Anthropologie.  Faux pearl studs.  Cream and silver bracelet from an indie gift shop in my neighborhood.  Ann Taylor Loft strappy heels, bought over 5 years ago on clearance.

This would be a fun outfit for a daytime wedding or a dressy bridal or baby shower.  I could also wear it Easter Sunday, if it warms up enough.

Businesslike with brown: Orange and peach medallion earrings found on clearance at Burlington Coat Factory.  Brown, lace-knit sweater from a thrift store.  Belt that came with the dress.  Indian gold and orange bangles, gift from a former volunteer I supervised at work.  Brown tights from Target, I think.  Naturalizer shoes, an outlet purchase.

This is a little dressy, but I could probably pull off wearing it to work.  With the tights and sweater, I can wear it in spring and fall, so I will get more mileage out of the dress.

Prairie girl: Gold-tone hoop earrings.  Gap brown leather belt.  Shell inlay cuff bracelet that I think came from my mom’s jewelry box ages ago.  Ann Taylor Loft, cream, tiered skirt, worn as a petticoat, bought on clearance.  Diba, tall, suede-look brown boots, another outlet find, I believe.  This would be nice with a cream sweater or a denim jacket, too.

This is the most out of the box look for me, but it’s fun.  I’d maybe wear this for a nice brunch with friends or an al fresco summer dinner date.  I’d love to add a couple chunky wooden bracelets.

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