No Pants Allowed

I wore a dress to work on Monday and decided that I’d wear only dresses and skirts all week.  It wasn’t exactly a revolutionary idea, but it was a bit of a challenge to shun my favorite go-to outfits, which all include pants of some sort.  Between witnessing the Braves’ final loss of the season on Wednesday night and letting loose at a bachelorette party on Thursday night, I fell behind on posting outfit pics.  Saturday mornings were made for playing catch up, right?

Wednesday: Work

Thrifted blouse (Banana Republic), thrifted skirt (Ann Taylor), necklace from American Eagle, shoes from Marshalls (Nine West)

Wednesday: Play

tank top from Gap, hoodie from Target, skirt from Old Navy, boots from Marshalls, necklace from American Eagle and earrings are Towne & Reese from Heliotrope

Thursday: Work

cardigan from Boogaloos boutique, blouse from Target, skirt from Fab'rik, shoes from Marshalls (Nine West)

I was a very bad blogger and forgot to take a picture of my work outfit on Thursday.  I basically wore the outfit above, except the color of the blouse was grey instead of hot pink.  I bought the grey version of the blouse way back in March when it went on clearance at Target specifically to wear with this skirt when the season changed.  It’s good to think ahead.

Thursday: Play

Dress from Fab'rik

Again, I was a bad blogger and failed to get a full length shot of the dress I wore for the bachelorette party.  I blame it on the alcohol.  This pic will have to serve as proof that I did indeed wear a dress.

Friday

shirt is Banana Republic (bought at the outlet), skirt is Madewell, necklace is from Heliotrope, belt is from Old Navy, shoes are from Target

And that brings us to the conclusion of Dress Fest 2011!    I’m off to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather in a pair of my favorite jeans.  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

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All Wrapped Up

Dress, Necklace and Braclet: FREE from the clothing swap, Shoes: $54.99 from DSW (Me Too)

Rule #1 for wearing a wrap dress: pin your skirt together!  Otherwise, the slightest breeze will give people sitting in traffic an eye full.  A tiny safety pin was my best friend this morning as I strolled from the MARTA station to work.

The best thing about this dress?  It was FREE!  It used to belong to a friend of mine, and she was willing to part ways with it at the clothing swap.  Lucky me!

Oh, and those heels are the newest edition to my wardrobe.  I found them on a quick lunchtime DSW trip yesterday.  While I relish my thrifty finds in the clothing department, I’ve learned that it’s wise to fork over a little money when investing in footwear (and I’m a little leery of second hand shoes, especially from complete strangers).  I’ve gone the Payless route before, and the quality wasn’t there.  Surprise, surprise!  These beauts only set me back $60, so they weren’t too steep.  And they are considerably better made than most of the shoes in my current collection.

Dress Fest 2011 continues tomorrow, y’all!  Until then…

It’s a Thrifting Miracle!

I’ve read about people finding designer duds hanging alongside Faded Glory apparel in thrift stores, but I never shop with the expectation of finding anything grand.  If I spot a skirt or top from J. Crew or Banana Republic that’s in excellent shape, I consider it a fantastic find.  Today I went to Salvation Army for 50% off apparel Wednesdays, and found a true diamond in the rough!

I was browsing a rack of blouses, hunting for 100% silk, when I turned around to a sparsely stocked jacket rack.  A pinstriped blazer instantly caught my eye.  It looked to be just my size and very well made.  After quickly trying it on and finding that it indeed was my size and felt very study, I took at look at the tag and found “Paul Smith (made in Italy).”  I’d never heard of Paul Smith before, because I don’t have the time or money to keep up with designers, but I was curious enough to Google him to find out how much his stuff sells for regularly.  Turns out his current line of women’s blazers range from $650 – $935.  Holy cow!  I snapped this baby up for only 5 bucks!

I can't wait to get it cleaned and wear it!

 It may not look like much on the hanger, but it looks quite nice on a person (i.e. me).  I would model it for y’all, but I’m not picture ready this afternoon.  But I promise to post an outfit that includes this jacket once it’s nice and clean and pressed.

That’s the big find, but I also nabbed another silk shirt (a solid color and much closer to my actual size this time) and another nice blazer from Banana Republic from the Salvation Army, which came to a total of $11.31.  Can you believe that!?  Half-off Wednesday rocks!

I was pretty sure my thrifting karma tank was completely empty, but I decided to go browse around Goodwill simply because I had time to kill.  I walked out with two sweaters (New York and Co. & J. Crew), which looked like they’d never been worn, and a really cute dress that was originally from Target.  All for $16.94, bringing my total haul to the low, low price of $28.25!

Cute animal print dress from Target. It probably cost $24.99 originally.

So, that was my thrifting adventure for the week!  I have no idea when I’ll have the free time to do this again, but I’d say the shopping monster is satiated for the time being.  I’m looking forward to posting outfit pics more often to show off my thrift finds!

What’s the shiniest diamond you’ve found in the rough?

Thrifty Chic!

This outfit (excluding shoes) is completely thrifted!  I’ve been disappointed with thrift shopping in the past, but my desire to spruce up my wardrobe for next to nothing sparked a renewed interest in the treasure hunt that is thrift store shopping.  I have to be in a very specific mood to browse through jam packed racks of closet rejects, but with a little spare time, a lot of patience, and low expectations, thrifting can be really fun!

It all started last month when I took a random Wednesday off from work.  I had plenty of time on my hands and decided it was the perfect occasion to stop by a couple thrift shops that I’d heard great things about.  It was wonderful to leisurely pick through the merchandise sans the weekend crowd.

After my 30 for 30 Remix in July, I gave myself a $100 clothing budget for the month of August and was interested to see how far I could stretch it.  First I hit up The Lucky Exchange, a second-hand/vintage boutique in Ormewood Park.  I’d been meaning to check this place out for a while, and they just so happened to have a Scoutmob deal (woot!), so a quick peek was a no-brainer.  From there I ventured to Avondale Estates, a neighborhood just east of Decatur, to visit Finders Keepers, a second hand consignment shop.

I thoroughly enjoyed my shopping experience at both shops, which are well curated and organized to resemble regular boutiques, but with drastically lower prices.  That afternoon I purchased an adorable vintage dress from The Lucky Exchange, a J. Crew sweater, Tulle blouse, and a long sleeved tee shirt from the Gap (with tags still intact) from Finder’s Keepers, all for under $40!

I patted myself on the back and was on my way home when I passed a Salvation Army store.  Riding high on the finds I scored at the “nicer” thrift shops, I was willing to do a little digging in more suspect territory.  I’m so glad that I did!  Not only did I learn that all clothing is 50% off at Salvation Army on Wednesdays, but I ended up buying my very first 100% silk shirt for only $2.13!

Silk blouse: $2.13 Skirt: $4.50 Necklace: FREE (clothing swap)

I’ve never owned a silk blouse and that’s a pity, because they are awesome; silk feels absolutely sublime and is very figure flattering!  I’ve been intimidated by the hefty price tag that silk is accompanied by in regular stores, but various fashion bloggers have proven that silk can be affordable – cheap, even!  You just have to be willing to look, and pay a few bucks for dry cleaning.

I went into the Salvation Army store with only one objective: to find silk.  This required touching pretty much every article on the blouse rack and checking a lot of tags.  I was elated to find 100% silk on the tag of this blouse… and instantly deflated when I saw that it was a size 12 and from Casual Corner.  Still, I took it off the rack and continued on.  When the remainder of my search came up empty, I decided to try the blouse on just for kicks.  Initially, it looked like I’d put on a silk tent, but a few rolls of the sleeves and a tuck into my jeans and it didn’t look so bad.  I’d have preferred to find a solid color, but the pattern didn’t hurt my eyes too much.  For $2.13 I was willing to give it a new home in my closet.  Worst case scenario, it would find it’s way into my next donation pile.

I found the black Ann Taylor skirt that I’m wearing here at Goodwill last week.  I also scored a button down blouse from J.Crew and a pair of skinny black cords, a button down shirt, and a long sleeved tee (with tags still on) from The Gap.  All for a whooping $26!

Like I said, I have to be in the right mood to thrift shop, but my recent success has me looking forward to my next thrifting excursion!  My little stay-cation next week will afford me a lot of time to go on the hunt if I fancy.

Are you a fan of thrifting or does the ick factor outweigh the bargain possibilities?  Have you found any treasure lately?

A Clothing Swap Success Story

I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly sure how the clothing/accessories swap I hosted this past Monday night would turn out.  I had visions of everyone leaving empty handed, feeling as if they’d wasted an evening, and having to lamely remind everyone to look on the bright side – “hey, at least your closet is cleaned out!”  When I looked at my contributions, which consisted of things that I had zero desire to wear anymore, I couldn’t help but wonder who in the world would want to take any of it home?  Or would I find anything from another person’s reject pile to get excited about?  My worries were quickly put to rest.  Just take a look at what 13 stylish ladies brought to the table (and sofa, and arm chair, and floor…) Monday night:

Believe it or not, more things were brought into the mix after I snapped these pictures, but I was too busy “shopping” to capture them.  Needless to say, I scored tons of things I am ecstatic to add to my wardrobe: a purse, a pair of slacks, 3 dresses, 2 quarter sleeved length jackets, 2 scarves, several tops, several bangles, and 2 necklaces!  All for $FREE.99! (!!!)  A clothing swap is a frugalista’s dream, I tell you!

As the girls arrived and laid out their items I noticed several people eyeing a lot of the same things, and I started to kick myself for not coming up with any elaborate rules for swap decorum.  I’d read on another blog about a system that involved price level tokens to exchange for like-priced items, but that had confusion written all over it.  The idea of a “walk off” was suggested – the group would get to vote on who the item looked best on if 2+ ladies were vying for the same thing – but I figured we’d just put everything in a pile and have a free for all.  It worked out swimmingly, as there were plenty of fantastic finds to go around.  We didn’t have even a single “walk off”!  (though that would have been kind of fun…)

If you aren’t completely sold on the wonders of the clothing swap concept, check out my top 5 reasons why you should consider hosting or attending one.

#1: It’s an opportunity to gather your different groups of girlfriends.   I teamed up with a friend to host our little event. We both invited people from our respective groups of friends, and then a few of them brought along a friend – the more the merrier!  I really enjoyed meeting new people, including Cath and Lar of Asian Cajuns!  We finally met in person at the swap after messaging back and forth through our blogs.  You need to check out their blog if you haven’t already!

#2: It’s an inexpensive girl’s night.  I brought a bottle of wine that I had hanging around the house and about $15 bucks worth of snacks from Trader Joes. Everyone brought a little somethin’ somethin’ and it turned out to be a nice spread.  Oh, and of course there’s all the FREE swag…

#3: You can explore a trend without buyers remorse.  Case in point, two girls tried on rompers and left with them in their possession.  They may not have taken them to the cash register had they been in a store, but if it fits, multiple girls tell you it looks cute on you and you don’t have to pay anything, why not take it home?  If you find that you never actually wear it, there is no guilt in taking it to Goodwill once and for all.

#4: It’s motivation to get your closet organized.  I was prepared to focus on this aspect if the swapping had turned out to be a dud, but luckily it was just another perk.  One of the ladies volunteered ahead of time to take everything left over to donate to a charity she is involved in, so nothing went back home to sit in the deep recesses of the closet for another year.

#5: It’s nice to see your clothes go to a new home.  Just because you don’t want something in your closet anymore doesn’t mean you want it to end up in a landfill.  This swap proved to me that one woman’s donation bag is truly another woman’s treasure trove.  I was genuinely happy that this dress I bought 2 years ago (and never wore) found a more appreciative home!

She even found matching shoes at the swap - total outfit score!

I’m excited to play around with my new-to-me-items and see how they fit in with my wardrobe.  Stay tuned for outfit posts!

Clothing Swap Sneak Peek!

With my 30 for 30 Remix complete and a move on the horizon (more on that later), now is the perfect time to give the ol’ closet a good cleaning.  A lot of the clothes and accessories that I simply never wear anymore are in good condition and deserve a more appreciative home.  But instead of immediately hauling my two overflowing bags of threads to Goodwill, a friend and I are hosting a clothing & accessories swap next week!  I’m just about finished gathering my contributions, and here’s a sneak peek of the goods:

There's a couple dresses, skirts, pants, tons of tops and a few accessories (not pictured)

Have you ever heard of or been to a clothing swap?  They’re apparently all the rage these days with the economy being in a slump and all.  It’s basically a “girl’s night in” on crack; there will be wine, food, chit chat and completely guilt free “shopping”!  The idea is for everyone to walk away with some “new” items to add to their wardrobe without having to spend a penny.  Everything left over will be donated, which means more space in the closet.  Bi-winning!

What they say about one woman’s trash donation bag being another woman’s treasure is true.   I can’t wait to see what all of the stylish ladies attending are willing to trade!

If you’re local and want to join in on the fun, leave your email address in the comments section and I’ll send you the information!

30 for 30 Remix: Outfit #21

I literally forgot that I owned this shirt.  I’m pretty sure I bought it at Ross for less than $10 about five years ago, and I’m fairly certain that this is the second time it has been worn.  It may not be super clear in the picture, but it has small pleats across the chest, which is why I picked it up in the first place.  It usually takes some sort of feminine detail to get me to buy a button down shirt.

shirt from Ross, skirt from Fab'rik, shoes from Marshalls

I’m really surprised that this shirt didn’t ended up in the donation bag a long time ago, as I never ever wore it.  It must have been hiding in the deep recesses of my closet just waiting for the perfect time to make itself useful.  Turns out that time is now, during my 30 for 30 Remix!  Rediscovering clothes is just as fun as shopping!  Well, sorta… 🙂

Scoutmobbing Across the Street

I realized on my way home tonight that I have absolutely nothing edible in my apartment.  I could have (and probably should have) stopped at Publix to restock the ol’ pantry, but I decided to “scoutmob it” instead.  You know about Scoutmob, right?  I sure hope so, because you’re totally missing out, and I’ll think significantly less of you as a person, if you don’t.  Okay, that last part isn’t true.  In fact, I’m happy to fill you in:

Scoutmob is a daily coupon service that provides Atlantans (and currently New Yorkers and San Franciscans) with the incentive to try local restaurants, salons, boutiques, and services with a 50% off discount.  There are apps for the iPhone and Android phones that allow users to simply flash their screen at a merchant, press a few buttons, and then — voila! — the discount is yours!  If you have a Blackberry or dumb phone (as I like to call non-smart phones), then all you have to do is join their email list and send deal codes to your phone via text message.

Now that we’re all up to speed about what Scoutmob is, lets get back to my experience this evening.  Wandering the aisles of a grocery store, deciding what to buy in my hungry state, and then waiting in an inevitably long check out line seemed daunting, so I decided to take refuge at the bar at Across the Street, a cute little Mexican inspired restaurant in Old Fourth Ward.  I’d been meaning to try Across the Street for quite some time, and luckily remembered that their Scoutmob deal is set to expire within the next month.

Approaching the entrance, I was greeted by a chalk clad sandwich board advertising Mardi Gras inspired specials every Tuesday between now until Fat Tuesday, which falls on March 8th this year.  Sign me up!  I saddled up to the colorful and inviting bar for my solo dining experience, and was informed by the friendly ‘tender that today’s specials were red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, and soft shell crab tacos, which he insisted were “to die for.”  Since I’d never been there before, I was sort of intent on trying something off of the regular menu, but he persuaded me into trying the crab tacos.  I was not disappointed!  Fried soft shell crab meat topped with spinach, goat cheese and a creole sauce – yum!  I wouldn’t exactly dub them “to die for,” but they certainly satisfied and encourage me to return in order to try the menu regulars.  See how that works?  I tried the restaurant primarily because of the 50% discount, was impressed, and will likely return to the restaurant despite a full price-tag.  It’s a win-win for me and the restaurant!

I encourage y’all to try Across the Street sometime, and definitely look into Scoutmob if you haven’t already.  Have you discovered a new favorite restaurant (or salon or boutique) due to a Scoutmob deal?  If so, please share in a comment!