Category Archives: Fashion and Style

Finds at the Nursery School Yard Sale

This is a just-for-fun post. I went to the cooperative nursery school’s annual yard sale yesterday. It started at 8am so I was up and out early on a quiet, cool, foggy morning. It was worth it though, since I found a couple good things. I was surprised to find plenty of people already milling around the picnic tables and tarps loaded with goods, especially because rain threatened.

The shoes weren’t promising but rooting around through the clothes yielded two tops, one a deep purple Reebok zip-up top and another a velvety, deep emerald green long-sleeved top. I’m afraid my tablet photo doesn’t do the green top justice; it’s prettier than it looks. I don’t usually buy clothes I can’t try on first unless they are dirt cheap so I kept my clothes purchases minimal as clothes were $2 (my idea of cheap is .50 or $1, just saying).



The best find was a beautiful, wool, chocolate brown Downton Abbey style hat. I have been lucky enough to previously find a blue/gray Downton Abbey type of hat at a thrift store last year. I LOVED the hats on Downton Abbey and would have been attracted to them at any time but in the past hats like this didn’t turn up in my second-hand searches. Maybe the show is to credit with the availability/production of such hats; I don’t follow fashion closely enough to say for sure. I’m just glad I have two! For a buck apiece! Anything that I buy like this I wash; in this case I hand-washed the hat and spun it in a laundry bag in the washing machine. (And? Have you heard? A Downtown Abbey movie is in the works, yay!)

This sweet shell bracelet was just .50. It’s lovely.

The last find was an Old Navy lined carryall bag (I didn’t realize that’s who made it until I looked at home) that was also a total bargain at .50. This bag looks like summer to me: beaches, pools, and picnics. I washed it and will put it away for next summer. It had a big yellow pompom on the strap and I promptly dispensed with that.

Note: Please forgive a day or two’s delay in responding to any comments.


Fun, fall leggings & skirts I found at Ross (plus stretching my fall/winter “wardrobe” )

I consider myself fortunate to have a Ross store nearby, especially since I don’t have a car. I find many bargains there and it rounds out my thrift store/yard sale/Amazon clothes shopping. With fall/winter coming I’ve been shoring up my cool weather clothes. I like leggings and have several solid color pairs but have very few butt-covering tops or “tunics” to match with them so I rarely wear them. Either I can’t find what I want in tunic style tops or they’re too pricey. I know many women wear leggings without long tops, unconcerned with how revealing they are – undie lines, lumps-n-bumps, etcetera – but I’m not one of them! I think I stumbled over a solution: print leggings, dark prints in particular.

Print leggings distract the eye and while still form-fitting, aren’t revealing like solid fabric leggings meaning longer shirts aren’t essential. I figured this out while trying on beautiful print leggings at Ross. The ones I found recently, two for $5.99 (Awesome J brand) and one for $3.99 (Always brand), all feel wonderful to touch and are so pretty.




Not see-through, yay!


After I bought them, I tried on a bunch of my fall/spring tops with the blue leggings and found several combinations that work. All but one of these tops are secondhand finds. I think the key to making it work is having a somewhat looser top to offset the leggings’ snug fit and having the top, even if it’s not butt-covering, not too short.



I’ve got this idea now, since I don’t have many winter tops, to layer my spring/fall tops over solid color, fitted long-sleeve shirts when it gets colder. I had 2 such tops and just bought 4 more, three from Ross and one from Amazon warehouse. The Ross tops were each $5.99; two are maternity. NO, I am not pregnant but maternity clothes are a lot cuter than they used to be and nothing about these two Ambience tops screams maternity (AND $5.99!!).


The top three are recent Ross finds; the far left and middle are maternity

I realize layering in winter isn’t groundbreaking but it is for me. I have long avoided layering; I can’t stand feeling restricted (a theme in my life generally, ahem), being unable to move my arms around freely, and on top of that, feeling frumpy and shapeless. BUT, if the first layer is snug and neither is too thick, my issues with layering are resolved. This is the plan anyway!

Since I knew I was writing this post I thought I’d go ahead and put together a few possible combinations using the blue leggings. I am not afraid of color and  in winter, miss it. Why are winter clothes so dreary?! I threw in potential shoes (but the weather will determine what’s best). If this works, it will give me more winter options – and let me keep my pretty warmer weather clothes, some of them at any rate, in circulation.




I have mixed feelings about skirts. I like them but rarely seem to wear them. My lifestyle doesn’t call for it plus most of the skirts I see in my shopping ventures are kinda dowdy and unflattering.  At Ross I found these lovely bargain skirts, one for $5.99, the other for $6.99. They are somewhat long but form-fitting which makes all the difference. That said, they aren’t so tight I can’t walk around normally ( I made sure to take a little stroll in the dressing room when I tried them on). I can see me wearing these bare-legged in warmer months or with tights when it gets colder.



Lastly, I got mesh laundry bags on Amazon seven years ago and they will be great for washing these new leggings and skirts unless I hand-wash them. They aren’t high-end clothes but if I take care of them I expect to have them for years. When the weather gets cool/cold and I start wearing my new ideas, I’ll post a complete outfit I wear sometime to let you see it and follow up on if it is successful. As someone who whoppingly prefers warm weather clothes, I’m actually a little excited about cute, inexpensive clothes potential this fall and winter!

Wearing Old Navy Sundress on hot day at August Farmers Market (bargain style)

As I posted earlier in the summer, I was determined to wear my cute summer dresses this season, rather than waiting for the “perfect” occasions. I found this awesome cotton sundress on the clearance rack at Old Navy 6 years ago (I know this because Old Navy, like Target and a few other stores, I think, puts a date on a tiny tag inside the clothes). Not only did I love the dress on sight, it was an amazing $5! And it fit! And looked good! The bodice or waist area of this dress, with no spandex in sight, is unforgiving. If I’m ever not the size I was when I bought it, the dress is not gonna fit. Fortunately, it does have a small side zipper which facilitates actually getting into it. The blue and white checked pattern has a kind of retro-sexy vibe; the dress shows a lot of skin but it’s more sweet than vavavoom so it works for day time.




The back has interesting details



I wore blue fabric Grasshoppers flats (purchased secondhand for a couple bucks).



Going blue: I made the earrings and the barrette, and recently found the cuff watch (it opens) on Amazon for $2.

The center piece of the barrette started life as part of an earring (from the nineties). I was able to wire it and the glass beads onto the barrette. You can buy plain, undecorated barrettes from craft stores or Amazon to make your own inexpensively. I wear barrettes and pins in my hair as much or more for decoration as utility.

In 2016 and 2017 I put up posts of all the hair styles I created for myself. I had let my hair grow (still am) and one of my favorite summer things is to get creative with my hair (in winter I’m usually in hats). There isn’t going to be a “Hair Tricks and Pics 2018” post but I did invent one new style that I wore with the Old Navy sundress. In this one I made two braids, one with the top half of my hair and one with the bottom half. I twisted the top braid into a bun and pinned it and made a loop with the lower braid). Here’s a couple shots to give you the idea.




As summer winds down, I am really glad that I took the trouble to wear a few of my great little dresses. Yes, it take more trouble and thought that a tank top-and-shorts combo, but every now and again it’s worth it – dressing up makes things more special (and more fun) and I can definitely see the value in that.

A most excellent dress for summer day at Farmers Market (bargain style)

I have several great summer dresses that haven’t gotten much play in recent years. I was determined to wear them this summer – and not “wait” for the perfect event. I wore this to the local weekly Farmers Market one hot July day. I found this dress, a Ronni Nicole, at Ross two years ago marked down to a shocking $3.49! I’d have been attracted to this print any time but the price and the fact it fit me clinched it. It’s polyester/spandex but better, it has a long zipper in the back (shift style dresses are notoriously hard to get into – and out of – and a zipper is awesome). The dress is short but not too short for comfort.


I found this great hat on Amazon last March for $4. They key to finding Amazon bargains is taking advantage of the price range option. Supposing I want a hat, I might start with looking at all hats $5 and under. If I don’t see much or nothing I like, I might then bump my range to $6 and under. (A side benefit is that you’re less likely to get/feel overwhelmed by options.)


The rule of thumb when wearing a loud print like this is not to lay on a lot of accessories; basically to let the print, in this case dress, “do the talking.” I wore a few complementary pieces. I found the watch on Amazon last year for $6, the cuff bracelet, a ringer for the green in the dress, was a rummage sale find, and I made the earrings.


Most of my shoes are flats and since I was going to be walking around flats made sense. These sandals, which I found at a thrift store for a couple bucks, are Active Air, a brand I never heard of; I googled the name now and found only Clarks Active Air sandals. Hot diggity! Clarks, which aren’t cheap, have a good rep. No wonder I like them so much.


Since the day I wore this look, I found Crocs sandals on Amazon for $13 which, honestly, is about the most I’ve ever paid for shoes! I’ve never had any Crocs but I like these a lot. They also make me about an inch taller while still having all the virtues of flats. They’d also work well with the dress.



This outfit was easy to pull together and I loved the whole look.

“…and then we ran over it with a car and left it in the trash for a couple days.”

I was shopping in Ross ( “Dress for Less”) the other day when I saw this tag. I had to take a picture.IMG_20180719_105336


Full disclosure, I bought it! It wasn’t as bad as described, it was very soft, super cute, and marked down to $4. And really strange (to me)? Children’s X-Large.


Sadly, I did not come home with that wonderful tag; it must have come off when the cashier removed the anti-theft device. So excellent I took the picture in the store when my only intention had been to mock it!

Faking long hair without extensions

In the last two years I posted an annual blog on the hairstyles I’d created that year, 2016 and 2017. I just came up with a new style too fun not to share now. My hair is fairly long although I cut a few layers into it over winter. To do this you’d need enough hair to pull into a ponytail high on the back of your head. My photos, taken in the mirror, aren’t great quality, but you’ll get the idea.


Wow! What long hair!

So, here’s the “trick” to this illusion. When hair looks like it’s all pulled up in a high ponytail, it suggests there’s enough of it that even when pulled up, it is still very long. But this is a deception because what I did was separate my hair in 3 sections as if to make a simple braid. Instead of braiding I took the two outside pieces and pulled only them into a high ponytail, leaving the middle section untouched. You could put a band around the middle section or let it hang freely.

NOTE: Folks, I have ponied up – although it kills my frugal “geez will you look at these prices?!!” self – for a month of decent internet. This means I’ll be around WordPress more, both posting and reading other blogs. I miss both more than you might know!

How this adult wears saddle shoes without looking like it’s a costume

This is a clothing post I’ve wanted to put up for awhile. Last year I bought a pair of saddle shoes from Amazon for less than $10. I saw them and was like oh yeah those are for me. They’re not particularly well-made so I’m not sure how long they’ll last but since I won’t likely be wearing them A LOT that will help their longevity. I bought them however, without thinking too much about how I might wear them.

The key, I quickly realized, is to make sure the rest of the outfit doesn’t scream “five year old wannabe”.  I am not trying to dress like a toddler nor would that particular look suit my personality or body type!

The shoes are paired with a charcoal, second hand Merona sweater (Target brand), and white New York & Co jeans bought new from Ross last year ($13 marked down).


The soft 3/4 sleeve sweater has lovely detail on top



The day I wore this I got a couple compliments on the shoes , including from a stranger who literally stopped her car in the middle of the road on seeing me walking. I promptly struck a pose for her benefit. I think I had an extra kick in my step shod in these!

Amazon has gotten it into their head that since I bought saddle shoes I must also want costume clothes since for awhile after my purchase they kept showing me poodle skirts and other 50′ style fare like you’d wear to a Halloween or retro party. Um, no. Just the shoes thanks.