Wednesday, September 28, 2016

7 Easy to Thrift Pieces to Enhance Your Autumn Wardrobe | Advice

Fall edit, update, haul, whatever you want to call it, we all need a refresh when the calendar happily dances into autumn. Each item listed below is a must have for any person of any style variety for the cool, crisp months heralded by bloggers all over the world. These seven articles of clothing are style elevators. They are sophisticated, timeless classics that can be mixed into an existing wardrobe or implemented into a capsule wardrobe for chic, minimalism. They add interest and luxury to any outfit and can be styled in numerous ways to fit different lives. But, the best part is each item can be easily found at thrift stores for exceptionally less than at a typical retailer.

You can thrift pretty much anything. Jeans that mold to your body, moto jackets, and high end dresses are all pieces I have seen others thrift or thrifted myself. But, that takes patience and dedication. All the items listed below are for the casual thrifter. The person who pops in every few months or less and doesn't make scoring spectacular pieces an actual job. If you visit multiple thrift stores in your area, you could probably score every single item in one day. That's how prevalent all of these pieces are in normal thrift stores. Everything you see below was thrifted by me in two shopping trips a week apart.

1. Hats

Knit or felt, fedora, bowler, or beret, thrift stores have all the hats. Adding a hat to your outfit is the marker of a truly thoughtful dresser. They embody style and interest and set you apart from the masses. Most people only wear hats to serve a function like keeping warm in the winter, but hats can marry form and function quite well. The beautiful materials formed into pleasing shapes can guard you from the cold, protect you from the rain, and hide a bad hair day. No brainer!

2. Neutral Sweater

These can be found in black, grey, camel, ivory, navy, etc. You could swim in all the sweater in a Goodwill. Look for details like fine merino wool, eyelet patterns, cable knit, or high necks because these are the finer points that take your outfit from nice to lovely. Wearing a neutral and adding interest through intricate construction or high quality yarn (good yarn has a soft halo that is visibly plush) is instant elegance. That's what sweaters were invented for, obviously. Plus, the neutral colors will allow you pair it with basically everything. Jeans and skirts. Solids and prints. You can even even pop it over a dress for an extra cute and cozy look.

Pro tip: Look in several sections. Sweaters are very stretchy and depending on your fit needs, you can easily go up or down in size. Also, don't forget to check the men's section!

3. Flannel Shirt

This is not a genius, light bulb moment. Flannels are quintessential fall wear and everyone with boots is wearing them. But, there's a reason everyone loves them and it's because they're amazing. Warm, colorful, and graphic - flannels have been a classic for generations. Take your flannel game to the next level by stepping outside of the flannel, boots, and infinity scarf archetype and use it as a layering piece instead. They can be worn tied at the waist on dresses with full skirts, open over tight dresses, or worn under basically everything, letting just the collar peek out.

Now this is a tiny bit of cheating on my part because, unlike everything else featured here, this particular flannel was not thrifted. My mom gave it to my husband for Christmas and since I have regular access to it, I've never felt the need to thrift one of my own. Yet, it is still within the spirit of this tip because, while women's flannels can be sporadic, men's flannels are abundant. Definitely head to the men's section for this one, especially if you are plus-sized, because the options are much better.

4. Embellished Cardigan

Like the pullover sweater, the cardigan is a mainstay of the thrift store landscape. There is a rainbow of options, but since we are enhancing your wardrobe, look for ones with embellishments. Think beading, embroidery, or even fun prints. Basically you are looking for special details that add a hint of distinction. I'm very fond of floral embroidery to add a little "granny chic" to my modern dresses. It's a fun, unique way to transcend the average fashion choices of today, but, there are plenty of options that could satisfy a sleek or modern aesthetic, as well.

Remember knits are stretchy. Don't be afraid to look in several size sections.

5. Blouse with an interesting neckline

This can be a shirt collar, ruffles, trimming, or a pussy bow. All add a bit of something extra to your look and can be worn alone or layered under cardigans, pullovers, or dresses. There is almost nothing that doesn't benefit from a collared shirt and adding just this one extra layer can turn your outfit into a purposeful and intelligent moment.

6. Wool Skirt

Or a similarly weighted skirt. This item is about making the copious amounts of donated business attire work for you. Wool is an expensive looking fabric that doesn't ebb and flow with the trends. It's a wardrobe standard. It's classic, it's cozy, and it often comes in plaid, which is always a bonus.

Pro Tip: Hemming a skirt is an easy sewing skill to acquire even if you don't have a machine. The grey skirt pictured above was a frumpy looking maxi skirt that was loaded with potential. The brand is Ralph Lauren, it's 100% wool, and it has pockets. Hello. All I had to do was zip it through my sewing machine to take it from a dowdy maxi to a cute mini perfect for wearing with thick tights. The green, plaid skirt pictured above was vintage, 100% wool, and made for a much taller person. Zip, zip, zip. Dream skirt! So, shop for any length of skirt and when you get home grab a scissors, needle, and thread and customize!

7. Oxfords

These are not the exact oxfords I thrifted recently as I'm not sure where the new ones are hiding right now. But, these were thrifted and the fact that I have multiple oxfords to choose from illustrates how easy they are to find. 

Oxfords are all generally the same shape and are characterized by the lace-up closure, but you can find oxfords to suit any style. The ones pictured above are of the brogue variety which means they have multiple pieces and decorative perforations. These are my favorite and are great for a modern vintage aesthetic. But, they also range from simple leather all the way to crazy colors and materials and opting for oxfords with a typical jeans and t-shirt look instantly ups your style quotient.

Now, my lovelies, you are armed with a plan. Go forth and score some deals!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Polka Dots and Fruit Print | Outfit

There are so few purely good things in life. Everything seems to come with conditions and agendas and side effects. But, when you come across one of these moments in life, a good friendship, a kind act, a compliment from a stranger, you need to use it to fill yourself up with it's good and simple energy. Breath it in. Radiate it out. Live it. 

Stop hanging on to the hardships and negativity because when you do, you become it. Being hurt makes you hard. Being hard makes you mean. Don't let that pain take ownership of you and instead take in and foster kindness like it's nutrients.

I experienced one of those really great moments recently. I'm not sure if the other person wants it broadcast to the world, so I will just say that it was exactly the kind of moment that will nurture the good bits of my spirit for a long time. I hope that someday soon I will be able to repay the kindness and fuel her spirit in the same way.

You know what else is always good no matter the season? Polka dots and fruit prints! Although my lemon print dress might not make it into fall and winter, this wonderful print with it's bright, saturated colors and monochromatic polka dots is a classic for all year. I had a blast wearing it to one of the final music festivals our town does weekly in the warmer months. Styled with black accessories and the hallmarks of fall (socks, tights, and boots) and a lip color that is in the same color family as the watermelon, but a darker, richer version for fall, the dress was perfect for the festivities and the gentle chill in the air. I was happy to bid Friday Night Live a farewell in this dress.

Dress: Gift (similar) | Tights: Sock Dreams | Socks: Torrid (similar) | Hat: Boohoo (similar) | Boots: Modcloth (similar) | Lips: Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Unicorn Blood.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Finding a Style Mission Statement | Outfit + Advice

I heard something interesting the other day. Someone told me that her style goal is to, every day, look cute, but also look like she could kill a man. Not only did I immediately fall in love with this person, but I was also struck by the idea of having a style goal in this context. As in when you walk out your door what is the first feeling you want others to have about you based on how you've styled your clothing. I've seen people talk about wanting to wear more hats, be more girly, be more comfortable, etc, but the idea of having a master goal for the overall aesthetic of your style was something I hadn't committed to tangible thought. 

I've discussed the concept of having five words to define your style in this post here, yet that is somewhat different than what I am talking about today. That's more like the bullet points that come after the overall goal, or mission statement of your style.

The moment this concept was brought to my attention I knew immediately what my style goal is. Every day, when I walk into my closet and start puzzling the pieces of my wardrobe into a complete picture what I hope to accomplish is to look like I am going to go read in the coffee shop with a giant mug of black, fragrant coffee in my hand after spending the morning scouring antique shops and thrift stores for oddities. I want to look like books, good coffee, and piles of dusty, discarded treasures. I want to look like warmth, curiosity, and intelligent prose.

No matter the season or my mood, I can find this standard in my style. If I am feeling dark and villainous, sweet and spunky, or wild and free spirited, I can identify the criterion of my style goal in everything I do. It's in the rich colors, the luxurious or delicate fabrics, the humorous t-shirts, and the attention to detail that layers thought and care into each outfit.

So, now I am curious about all of you. If you clear your mind and draw up the first feeling you have about your style, what comes to mind? Is it an action? Is it a place? Is it a feeling? What is at the core of your style and how does that translate into outfits? Are there colors or fabrics or prints that exemplify this gut instinct for you? Identifying this is quite freeing. It helps you understand that you are not trying to create something out of nothing when you are curating a style and everything you need to know is already in you. Trust the core and find your way, loves!

Do you have a style mission statement? Were you inspired to identify yours after reading this or did you already have one that you carried with you in your mind? Please, discuss this with me in comments!

Top: Modcloth | Cami: Maurices (same in plus) | Jeans: Torrid (similar in straight sizes, similar in plus) | Shoes: Torrid (similar) | Hat: Target | Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Aria

Thursday, September 22, 2016

We Are Pirates | BBRBF Book Club + Outfit

Welcome to this month's edition of BBRBF Book Club. Let the fanfare ensue!

This month we are reading "We Are Pirates" by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and boy, do I have a feeling we're about to dive into some murky waters.


A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.

Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.

Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.

Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.

We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.

Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.

The book begins with a flash forward to the end of our story and after the little trickery that is played with the reader in this first chapter, I had high hopes for the rest of the book. It was clear the author could write. His prose is dark and comical and reads almost like contemporary poetry - dealing out heavy meaning in the mundane. But, as the story unravels, and wow does it take forever to get there, there becomes a disconnect between the lyrical writing and the character development, plot, and heck, even the setting.
Gwen is a 14 year old girl being forced to visit Errol, an aging man with Alzheimer's and penchant for pirates, as a punishment for shoplifting. Gwen begins the story as an annoying and angst-y teen with a real grudge against her parents.
Phil Needle is her father. He's main mission through the book is to have his radio show picked up and produced. Phil Needle is also selfish, misogynistic, and annoying. Every bit of his story is just sour, serves no greater purpose to the (muddy) main themes, and could be entirely stricken from the book. At a point, it seems, that his entire purpose is to make the reader feel uncomfortable. Which he does. A lot. His hang up with his old receptionist who left because he wasn't "satisfying her needs" is just unpleasant. And not in a Walter White or Amy from Gone Girl kind of unpleasant that makes you feel hungry and guilty all at once. This is a kind of unpleasant that's similar to catching your grandparents doing it. Yeah. It's just something you do not need to know about. Ever.

After about 50% of the book is over, and you come to accept the book isn't actually about pirates, but a father-daughter tale of learning to understand each other, Gwen actually decides to become an actual pirate. In the San Francisco Bay. Yup. She employs her equally angst-y best friend, Errol, and two other tag-a-longs, who unbelievably jump on board to a life of crime with two young girls and a sick, old man with very little resistance.

From this point everything crumbles from vaguely uncomfortable and dull to utterly unbelievable and ridiculous. There is nothing evidenced in this book that could back up the actions taken by Gwen and her band of rascals and that pretty much blows the whole book. Well, that and Phil Needle and everything about him.

I was hoping a powerful ending could sweep in and save all this wonderful prose from the grips of a truly bad book, but, besides a few haunting and scenes with Phil Needle and Gwen accepting the depths of their consequences, it's pretty much the author taking the last few pages to cram the idea that people are emotional pirates pillaging happiness from each other in the readers face and our heroes learn nothing.

The author is just trying way too hard with this plot, not hard enough with his characters, and now we've got this weird, well-written, terrible book in our world to confuse readers for years to come. Hooray.

There's nothing masterfully inspired about this outfit except look how pretty! Frankly, I merely chose this dress for how perfect it looked next to the book cover. I just recently bought this dress off a BST and the seller described it as classy and autumnal as sh*t. Ad agencies need to take notes from this girl! I have never wanted to look more like wallpaper in my life and I promise you that this dress will be styled to death (which is not unlike being hacked a part by a meat cleaver) on this blog, but I wanted to debut it in its purest, autumnal AF form because it is perfection.

I did wear my pirate ship brooch though so some part of this outfit is swashbuckling! 

Be sure to check out all the other babes and their reviews of this dark comedy. Tallyho and what not!

Dress: BST Group (similar) | Shoes: Trifted (similar) | Brooch: Antique (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Chilly Chili (similar)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Suitable for September | Outfit

Last september, I bought this scalloped LC for Lauren Conrad top because I thought it would be the perfect summer to fall transition outfit with my striped skirt and then I never wore it. I don't know why. It just didn't happen. When September rolled around again I was determined to do this combo justice and document it properly, but this will be my final summery outfit this year. I'm done! No more! I am not leaving my house without a cardigan for another six months. Do you hear me Mother Nature?!

The reason I was drawn to this top for those weeks when summer is stubbornly clinging to September is the myriad of wonderful colors. The bright pink is so cheerful and hints at summer while the muted grey and green snuggle up against the rich navy. I enjoy this top all year round and it's such a nice pattern to pair with a cardigan, but I love not having to hide the scalloped neck and sleeves. I would absolutely wear this outfit in summer so to inch it closer to fall, I added the tights and faux suede heels. Patterned tights and shoes with a rich texture are just enough warmth to fight the morning chill and add some cozy vibes to any summer outfit. 

Tell me in the comments. Are you a "dive right into fall" type of person or do you enjoy slowly bringing your wardrobe into the new season?

Shirt: Kohls (similar, similar in plus) | Skirt: Modcloth (similar) | Tights: Walmart (similar in straight sizes, similar in plus) | Brooch:Vintage (similar) | Shoes: Trifted (similar) | Lips: Nyx's Lip Suede in Soft Spoken