One Thing Connects To Another

First off, I don’t buy anything unless I like it. And even then, it has to somehow fit what I already have. So if I’m intrigued or distracted by an item, I try to visualize how it might fit with what’s in my closet, how it might be styled. One item connects to another and then to another. Over time, a look or style emerges. My style. 

That is how the outfit came to be that I wore recently to a meeting of Missouri Retired Teachers. I started with five base items: the beret, gloves, leggings, bag and boots.

A quick shot and away I went-I was late and it was cold!

The gloves and beret came along years ago. The black beret has been in my closet so long, I have forgotten the when and where purchasing details–but I knew it was safely there.

When I ran across the fur-edged, leather gloves on eBay about six years ago, I knew they would fit  nicely with things I already owned. 

The story is the same with my B Makowsky bag which has been with me for about four years. I like this bag a lot. However, I probably won’t be getting too many more B’s: the quality just isn’t there with the newer ones, plus the company no longer seems to stand behind their product.

If I think something is a bit on the short side, I add leggings. When I was younger, I wore my share of tights. I remember the days of donning a mini skirt and having a matching turtle neck and tights. Did anyone else sport this look back in the day?

The last basic element would be the Ann Klein faux fur topped booties. Rarely these days do I visit Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Ross (unlike ten or so years ago) but I may occasionally drop in. These booties were found at the Ross store in Joplin, MO. I really was taken by them but they weren’t cheap. And I just had trouble visualizing how useful they would be with what I had. 

After three days, I could not get them out of my mind. If I can’t stop thinking about something, it is best to just give in, go get it and have faith it is going to work out. I had to be back in Joplin later that week, and they were still there! Sometimes, I lose out on an item taking this approach but I just usually don’t go for impulse purchases.

For me, these were five great accessories. Still  they needed an anchor point to work together.

It’s a sunny-cold day. That’s great because it gives me a chance to wear my Marc Jacob sun glasses that I picked up from The RealReal 
last July. Does anyone else find wonderful things there?

The anchor points were to be found at Good Will and Salvation Army. I have never shied away from telling folks that I shop at these two fine establishments–which could lead into my concerns about the fashion industry and the environment. Let me come back to that later. 

Last winter, at Good Will, I ran across an Ann Taylor Loft grey dress with ribbing below where the natural waist was. I think the top was supposed to be a little blousey and hang over the skirt. After trying it on, I understood why it was donated. The dress didn’t flatter a body at all. But I liked the color, general design and I loved the dolman sleeves. It was probably senior discount day, so I didn’t pay over $2.50 for a dress that looked as if it was never worn. 

Well, I guess I need to add, for me, impulse purchases are OK if it is senior day at Goodwill! 

I now have something that looks like a matched sweater and skirt. This look was very popular when I was in high school.

What to do about the way it looked? I first tried to put a belt with it as in this photo below and still wasn’t happy. 

Last week, I had the answer. I just tucked and tacked the ribbed band in place and now it is a faux two-piece look that would flatter any figure. It took just a little time, some thread and a needle.

I just didn’t like the way the dress looked in this shot.

The next to the last item for this look is the Diane Von Furstenburg purple and grey herringbone patterned wool jacket with the faux fur collar and raglan sleeves. When I found this one, at Salvation Army, I knew it would look great with my fur topped boots! The purple adds a color that is rarely seen in my closet and the grey anchors it to all my neutral colors–a nice twist.

Shopping at Salvation Army takes a good eye and a lot of patience. Whereas, Good Will is arranged by color, Salvation Army is arranged by item style and you just have to keep looking. Another  difference, is that Good Will charges the same price for similar styles without consideration of brands. An Armani Exchange silk tunic will be the same price as something from Walmart (and yes, I did find this silk tunic). Salvation Army, on the other hand, knows who the designers are. If it is something by a designer such as Calvin Klein, expect to pay extra (it was and I did).

Taming the scarf a bit with a modern art pin allowed me to experiment with an asymmetrical look.

I wanted a black scarf to go with this look. Last year, I picked up some stretch black velvet at JoAnn’s with the intention of making some kind of head wrap–which never happened. I took the velvet and backed it with some black silk from my stash. To me, this scarf goes well.

Art accessories are important to me. This is especially true when it comes to my jewelry. Featured on the left is my newest necklace Sticks and Stones by Cydney Ross. I’m wearing it in today’s shots, but its not very visible. Cydney is a Kansas City jewelry designer who uses porcelain in her pieces. The pin on the right was purchased at Agora Arts in Decorah, Iowa, years ago. 

My Changing Purchasing Philosophy

During the last four years, I have changed how and from whom I source my garments. My thoughts on buying habits changed when I read Elizabeth L. Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion. I just really liked this book and highly recommend it. (see my review ). (By the way, it now is available for less than ten dollars, which includes shipping, from Amazon’s used book section.)

After reading Overdressed, I have settled into a general pattern of shopping:

  1. thrift shops, consignment shops and eBay-this gives me extra money to spend on #3.
  2. making it myself-this is no longer about saving money like it use to be in the 60s and 70s. It is about having something unique and being creative.
  3. Midwestern designers-my designers more than likely create their own designs. Purchasing their products is one of the best ways I know to support Made In The USA
  4. and finally, smaller local boutiques, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and online stores such as ASOS and Mango, etc. 

There will always be exceptions. There will be days that I will pick up a pair of socks at Walmart or maybe see a cool pair of jeans at Cato. But those times far and few. I honestly try not to buy “fast fashion”.

Looking out for things to augment my style is like cleaning my kitchen because it never ends. I set limits, know what I need, and occasionally make one of those instant decision purchases. 

 I do weed or either pass things along to my daughters if we both think it would be useful to them and, if not, its donation time to the DAV. I realize I have not mentioned sourcing bags and shoes. That needs to be left for another time.

The Polished Accessory

I know this has been a long post but I wanted to share this new gorgeous a-england polish. Look at that scattered holo! This is  one of the most beautiful vampy burgundy’s I have ever seen and it’s In Robe and Crown from Adina’s new collection Tennyson’s Romance. I picked it up during Color4Nails Black Friday Sale.

That’s all I have for today so…

Adieu until the next time and in the meantime…
Happy Styling!

This week, I am linking up with Patti’s Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday HERE Cherie’s  Style Nudge’s Shoe and Tell HERE, Catherine’s Not Dressed As Lamb’s I will Wear What I like HERE, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish Turning Heads Tuesday HERE, Living On Cloud Nine’s Style Perspectives HERE, Shopping My Closet’s Style Me Wednesday HERE, The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore HERE, High Altitude Style’s Link-Up HERE, Fashion Should Be Fun’s Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Nancy’s Fashion Style’s Fancy Friday , Color and Grace’s Fashion Link-Up HERE Rachel’s (Rachel The Hat) The Passion For Fashion Link-up HERE and Style Crone’s Hat Attack HERE.

Photo credit for this week goes to Michael for my portraits and myself for the nail photo.

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