Inspiration Calendar – Classic Black and White

Hello!   Ready for a laugh?  I’ve got a great dorky pose (and facial expression) that should bring a smile to your face:

Price Breakdown:

Jacket:  Body by Victoria $4.69 (Goodwill)

White Shirt: $11.99 (Fashion Junction)

Turquoise Cami:  Express $2.29 (Goodwill)

Black capris:  Ann Taylor $3.69 (Goodwill)

Turquoise Necklace:  $8.00 (Plato’s Closet)

Shoes:  Unlisted $12.00 (Plato’s Closet)

Total Cost:  $42.66

OK, I know the Inspiration Calendar called for “Classic Black and White”, and there was no color on the example photo.  So I ad-libbed a bit and wore some turquoise.  I think it worked, don’t you?  I have learned so much….

This was a great outfit for two reasons:

1.  Everything was purchased secondhand, but you’d never know, would you?

2.  Everything fits well!  Capris are nice and fitted and the jacket isn’t boxy.  The capris are even a great length.

Sigh.  I’ve come so far as far as fashion and style.  Good thing I still have alot to learn about posing and smiling, or I’d say my work here is done…

Nah…..because stay tuned for the BIG CLEAN OUT, where, yes, I am going to do some wardrobe editing, and hopefully you’ll be there to help!

Inspiration Calendar – Shirt Dress

Hurrah!  The Inspiration Calendar had a shirt dress outfit – so this gave me the opportunity to wear the new Talbot’s Shirt Dress I bought on my last summer dress shopping binge – remember when I wrote about it in The Dress Diaries, Part Four?

You may remember that I was a little apprehensive about the style, because it is rather boxy and unflattering.  So I immediately posted this dress on the You Look Fab Forum, and received many fabulous suggestions on how to spice it up.

Close up of silver sandals

One repeated recommendation was to wear it with silver shoes, which thrilled me because I recently bought some cute silver Anne Klein sandals – here’s close up of them. The strap is made of buttons sewn together.

These are the kind of shoes I love to find at secondhand stores – they are so cute and unique, but I wouldn’t want to pay anything over $10 for them, because I just can’t see myself wearing them alot.  But I can easily part with $4 to have them around to spice up a plain dress like the Talbot’s shirt dress.

Buying shoes like these for $4 reinforces the brilliance in my love for secondhand shopping.

So here’s how I ended up wearing my Talbot’s shirt dress, and I have to admit, I don’t think the scarf was the best choice.

Price Breakdown:

Dress:  Talbot’s $5.89 (Goodwill)

Shoes:  Anne Klein $4.00 (Bargain Basket)

Purse:  gifted

Scarf:  $12.00 (JYN)

Total Cost:  $21.89
I usually don’t include accessories like scarves in my price breakdown, but I did want to point out more of my brilliance – the scarf cost MORE  than the dress and shoes did COMBINED! And we’re talking Talbots and Anne Klein labels here!

And for those who know me well, you may recognize the dark side of my secondhand shopping, the “yang” to my “yin” of my aforementioned  brilliance……I don’t care if the dress is boxy and completely hides one of my best attributes (small waist).  It’s from Talbot’s and only cost $5.89, dammit!!

I realize that there is a solution here that could really balance out my struggle. A smart, fashion-savvy shopper would take the money saved on this dress and splurge on some really cool accessories to spice it up. Wouldn’t that be a logical thing to do?  I mean, I could probably shop around and take some time and really put some thought into taking this passable dress, and accessorize it into a KILLER outfit.  It has the potential, I’m sure.  Wouldn’t that be a really cool thing for me to do?

Nah…….. too much work.

OK, maybe I didn’t go out and hand-pick any new accessories, but like I said, I did do what I feel is the next best thing:  I asked the You Look Fab forum for suggestions, then I dug through my closet and tried a few of their ideas.  What do you think?

I think the last look is probably the best – I really like the turquoise color of the cropped cardigan.

Also, now that I think of it, I did buy this belt for another outfit – do you think it might work?

Are you as exhausted as I am, having to deal with both the insanity and brilliance of my secondhand shopaholic brain?  It’s alot of work, I tell you!!

More Inspiration Calendar Catch-up

Hello!!  Have I got alot of catching up to do or what?  As I said in a previous post, I have been following the Inspiration Calendar, even when I was writing the Dress Diaries.  So these outfits are actually from late May, early June.  Watch how much tanner I get as the photos progress…..

(If you’re new to this blog, learn about the Inspiration Calendar here)

So let’s get started….

Price Breakdown:

Cardi :  Ann Trinity $11.99 (Fashion Junction)

Yellow bow shirt:  Chaus $12.99 (Fashion Junction)

Capris:  Ann Taylor $3.89 (Goodwill)

Sandals:  Franco Sarto $15 (Bargain Basket)

Total Cost:  $43.87

Thank you again, Inspiration Calendar!  I had bought that yellow bow shirt several years ago, and never really had the guts to wear it.  Do people even wear bows anymore?  I wasn’t sure, so this “Bow and Cardi Combo” gave me permission to give it a try.  And that cardi is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Remember when I wore it over the sheath dress? Remember when the only cardis I wore were long, square and boxy?  I couldn’t figure out how to wear this one because it was short and tailored…..

OK, here’s my next Inspiration Calendar outfit:

Price Breakdown:

Dress:  Dana Buchman $24.99 (Kohl’s)

Cropped cardigan:  Forever $3.89 (Goodwill)

Shoes:  Franco Sarto $15 (Bargain Basket)

Total Cost:  $43.88

OK, here’s the deal with this one….it was a Monday, and I just felt like dressing up a little bit more than just khakis.  So I used the purse as my khaki color.  I think my dress is the same pattern as the purse in the example photo, don’t you?  It was just a nice little Monday dress outfit.  I bought the dress new at Kohls, but I’m not in love with it……at least not as much as I love my $10 Nicole Miller number (note the tan!):

Price Breakdown:

Cardigan: Banana Republic $3.89 (Goodwill)

Dress:  Nicole Miller $10 (Restyle consignment store)

Belt:  Banana Republic $1.59 (Goodwill)

Sandals:  Franco Sarto ($15.00)

Total Cost:  $30.48

OK, maybe these aren’t true “polka dots” but I think they’re close enough.

Aren’t you proud of me for actually trying to wear some of the dresses I bought in the Dress Diaries?  Remember, excessive shopping isn’t my only problem. I also suffer from “under-wearing”, which doesn’t mean running around in my panties.  It means I actually love the adrenaline of the purchase, but when it comes to actually wearing the darn things, I just don’t get excited.  Once again, thank you Inspiration Calendar for “inspiring” me to grab for my Nicole Miller purple and polka dots.

That’s all for now, but stayed tuned for more fun, fab and frugal frocks!

Inspiration Calendar – Catch up


Don’t worry – even though I wandered off to write The Dress Diaries, I still followed the Inspiration Calendar for the most part, and yes, I took pictures along the way.  So I’m going to have to catch you up, because I’m a few weeks behind.

(Note:  Check out the right column on my blog under “Pages”.  I’ve added The Dress Diaries slideshow to it, and I’m working on creating an Inspiration Calendar page, with slideshows of all the outfits – I think it will be a nice little resource if I ever want to go back and revisit an outfit!)

If you’re new to this blog, the Inspiration Calendar is a daily guide to help you decide what to wear every morning – each day offers an outfit suggestion that combines colors, patterns, clothing articles, accessories,  etc.  Click here to check it out. It’s like Fashion for Dummies, and a great way to “shop your closet” because it offers suggestions of items you most likely already have in your closet, but didn’t think of wearing together.

Posing like the model is optional.

This outfit combo, for example, asks you to pick two of three styles:  Polka dots, denim and floral.   Of course I had to wear my new shortened black and white polka dot dress (thank you all for the FABULOUS FEEDBACK from My Trip to the Tailor post!!)

Price Breakdown:

Dress: My Michelle $5.89 (Goodwill – do I have to add in the cost of alterations?  Nah – I’m not that  detailed)

White Jean Jacket:  Gap $4.99 (Goodwill – awesome find!)

Shoes:  Franco Sarto $14.99 (DSW)

Total Cost: $25.87

Are you seeing spots? Was the scarf polka dot overkill, or does it work?

Also, I’m wondering if I should have worn my Steve Madden read wedge shoes, to add some color, however I think the light-colored bag might be enough.  What do you think?

Personally, I think I like my outfit better than the one in the picture – more contrast and depth.   (Look at me, acting all fashionista.  Somebody stop me before my ego gets out of whack, OK?)

My next Inspiration Calendar Outfit Catch-up is Do-Over of  an outfit I wore way back on May 20 – remember the day the weather didn’t cooperate, so  I couldn’t wear “Top a skirt with a White Cardi”? Instead I wore the Houndstooth Cropped Cardigan nightmare outfit? Well, once the weather turned warmer, I revisited the outfit combo and came up with this:

Price Breakdown:

Sweater set:  Alfred Dunner $3.89 (Goodwill)

Skirt:  Trixxi $3.39 (Goodwill)

Shoes:  Steve Madden $14.99 (DSW)

Total Cost:  $22.27

A couple of things about this outfit:  First, this is actually my quintessential summer work outfit.  Skirt and sweater set.  Nice and simple, understated.  But the new balls-to-the-walls me thinks maybe I should have tried (gasp!) tucking the bottom layer shell in, like in the example photo!  That’s uncharted territory for me, but I might be up for it…….next time.

Second, these shoes, which I bought 3 or 4 years ago, are really earning their keep.  I learned from You Look Fab that neutral-colored shoes make your legs look longer, so I’m really liking that.

Well, that’s all for now – but lots more to come!

P.S.  Remember that Moda International dress from the Dress Diaries, that I bought for $8?  My friend Merrie found it on the the Victoria’s Secret website for $65.  Click here to see it.  I LOVE it when that happens!  I hate it, though, that the model fills it out on top so much better than me, but oh well…..

Inspiration Calendar – Scarf……(and necklace)

OK, so the Inspiration Calendar combo was supposed to be “Scarf AND Necklace” but typical me and my lack of attention to detail, I  just read the “Scarf” part, and here’s what I ended up with:

Price Breakdown:

Jacket:  Petite Sophisticates $19.99 (Fashion Junction consignment shop)

T-shirt:  Bill Blass $3.39 (Goodwill)

Jeans:  7 For All Mankind $30 (Plato’s Closet)

Boots:  Nine West $18 (Plato’s Closet)

Total Cost:  $71.38

Funny thing about the jacket….remember when I was excited about buying two short, fitted black jackets?

Well, it seems I already had this nice Petite Sophisticates one.  Huh.  Imagine that……

And don’t worry, the purse is just a prop to keep in the spirit of imitating the example photo. I didn’t carry around a pink purse while wearing bright orange.  I know I haven’t posted anything for awhile, but I haven’t started to regress that far yet.

Speaking of not posting anything for awhile, it’s not that I’m out of things to write about, in fact, it’s actually the opposite.  I have so much I want to write about that when I sit down, I don’t know where to start.  Has that ever happened to you?  I call it analysis paralysis.

So let me make a list of things I want to tell you about:

1.  Shoe, glorious shoes!  I have found some awesome shoes in the past couple of months.  I have also found some not so great shoes that I’ve already had to return (i.e. take to the consignment shop to hopefully sell).

2.  Fashion Junction resale shop review.  I’ve actually video-taped myself at the store, reviewing all the great things you can find there, and it is just sitting on my computer, waiting to be edited.

3.  Recent purchases – aside from shoes, I’ve bought several jackets, dresses, shorts, and a winter black and white checkered suit that was a fabulous find! I can’t wait to show you everything!

4.  I went to the tailor!!!  Just wait until you see two of the dresses you begged me to shorten!

5.  I’m on a self-imposed shopping ban until July 1.

6.  The purging of my black jackets…..I really need to take a look at my collection, try them on and purge the ones that are dated and/or ill-fitting.  I’ll need your help.

There.  Now I have a list of things to write about.  It’s posted, it’s public, and I am accountable.  And I did something that I hate when other bloggers do it – I told you what I’m going to write about and why.  That always annoys me. Sorry if I annoyed you…

And I’ll still follow the Inspiration Calendar….

So what do you want to read about first?

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have three recent outfits that I’ve worn, but I just haven’t wanted to post them because they aren’t that spectacular.  But I need to post the good with the bad, and I’ll throw in a little ugly while I’m at it.

The Good:

Here’s an outfit I wore this weekend – came up with it all on my own,without the Inspiration Calendar!

Price Breakdown:

Black hooded, belted, net cardigan:  $3.89 Lily

Lace-trimmed Cami:  Banana Republic  $2.29

Jeans:  Sevens $19.99

Shoes:  Prediction $3.69

Total Cost: $29.86

Just a great little weekend outfit.

The jeans were a disappointment when I bought them, however. I had purchased them on ebay, when I was shopping for Seven For All Mankind jeans.  In my haste and lack of attention to detail, I snatched up these “Sevens Jeans” feeling real smug at getting a great brand for such a great price.

Little did I know that “Seven Jeans” did not always mean “Seven for All Mankind” jeans.  And it really is my fault.  All I had to do was slow down, and look at the photo just a little closer, because the SFAM logo is so identifiable, and these jeans obviously did not have that logo.

But they are comfortable.  I felt good wearing this outfit.

The Bad

Price Breakdown:

Yellow shirt:  $10 at an arts and crafts festival two years ago in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Capris:  $3.89 Jones New York (Goodwill)

Shoes:  $3.69 New York and Company (Goodwill)

Sweater:  White House  Black Market $3.89 (Goodwill)

Total Cost:  $21.47

I liked wearing this outfit a lot better than I like looking at me wearing it, that’s for sure.  I’m showing the photo with the sweater on (which is how I wore it all day – I just can’t be in air conditioning without a sweater on!), and then my other pose was necessary so you could get a better look at the shirt.

When I bought the shirt two years ago – it was really cute on a hanger, but I was horrified when I tried it on and realized how clingy and snug it fit all over my body.  I never thought I’d wear it – just wasn’t my style two years ago.

It’s kind of a conundrum, because there is that built-in belt with the round silver thing, which is really cute, but it’s so tight around the waist, I’m not sure if I like seeing the top of my capris through the fabric of the shirt, but to cover it up with a cardigan would take away from this detail.  Is there a solution?  I do have a short, cropped cardi which might work…..any thoughts?

In the end, this outfit was very comfortable to wear, but I don’t think I’d wear it again.  What are your thoughts?   Aside from a needing little self-tanner for the arms, of course!

The Ugly

Price Breakdown:

Tied Cardi – Lily $9.99 (Fashion Junction consignment shop)

Cami – J. Crew $2.29 (Goodwill)

Skirt – Petite Sophisticates $3.39 (Goodwill)

Shoes – Bandolino $3.69 (Goodwill)

Total Cost:  $19.36

Just not working for me…..I think I need a different tied cardi – maybe the one I wore in this post would work better.

So there you have it, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

I’m going to write a post about recent shoe purchases, which includes each pair in these three outfits.  They can be categorized as the Good, the Great, and the Horrible.  Can you see which one is which?

Inspiration Calendar – Belt an Oxford over a dress

OK, I cheated here.  I didn’t have an Oxford that I felt would work over a dress, so I reached for this little Talbot’s belted jacket that I’ve been wanting to wear for months.

Price Breakdown:

Jacket:  Talbots: $4.69 (Goodwill)

Navy Sheath Dress:  Ann Taylor $5.89 (Goodwill)

Shoes:  Mootsies Tootsies $3.59 (Goodwill)

Total Cost: $14.17

I’m sorry, but I just have to toot my horn here, because I am gushing with Thrift Pride.  How cool is it that for less than 15 bucks, I can put together this timeless, classic outfit?  Somebody at Goodwill needs to use this photo for a new Marketing campaign: “How to dress like a million bucks for less than $15!”

I should do for Goodwill what Jared has done for Subway, don’t you think?

OK, OK, I’ll regain some humility, but I’m actually quite proud here, because I also have the good length factor going here on both the jacket sleeves and the dress, and that rarely happens with me.  Even the height of the heels seem to show off a bit of sassiness, don’t you think?

I guess the only thing this outfit is missing is a splash of color – maybe a nice yellow purse matched with a yellow scarf instead of the jewel-toned beads.  I thought about that the day I wore this outfit, but then decided against looking for the ultimate accessory for this outfit.

I just don’t want to go down that road of accessorizing for perfection.  I like the simple understatedness of this outfit.  Trying to dot the I’s and cross the T’s with perfect accessories just seems too…..too perfect to me.

However,  being the “fickle” or capricious nut that I am, my actions are once again contrary to what I write.  Yes, I decided that I didn’t want to get caught up in accessorizing.

But look what I bought that very same day:

They were $9.99 each, which is a lot for me to spend on anything, let alone purses.

The one on the left is Coach, and I’m confident it’s authentic, and the one on the right is Chanel, and I’m pretty sure it’s not.  But it is adorable, isn’t it?  And I’m not a purse person at all.

In fact,  I’ve just about doubled my purse inventory with these two purses.

What do you think?  Will these be nice additions?  Would they have worked with the outfit above??