Category Archives: Fashion and Style

This post is NOT “My Hair Tricks & Pics” 2018 but…

In 2016 and 2017 I did posts showing lots of photos of hairstyles I created. I skipped that for 2018 but posted Faking Long Hair Without Extensions and included a few shots of my hair in other (relevant) posts. I took photos in November I didn’t yet post with two new styles.
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Earlier this month I did a seasonal style.
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If it’s not apparent from the above pictures, I’ve been growing my hair. I’ve had really long hair before but it’s been many years. For several years I focused on a layered, wavy look that is the hallmark of the Curly Girl style. This is a photo from two years ago with my natural hair, that is, no curlers or curling iron involved, just the results of doing the Curly Girl techniques.
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You might ask, “Gee Colette, if you can have that hair why wouldn’t you want it ALL the time?” Let me answer that friends. I took this particular photo because of how $%&#@ rarely my hair actually DID this. I could do the exact same things and not get the same results. It was hair as crapshoot. Plus I missed all the different styles I used to do with longer one-length hair. Chances are, I will return to the layered, wavy style down the line some day when I feel up to fooling with it but right now I’m having fun with long hair.

A word on long hair in middle age. 1) Many older women don’t want the bother of long hair, 2) Many women can’t grow their hair long when they’re older, 3) Some women grow or keep long hair – who probably shouldn’t – because a) they always had long hair, b) they equate long hair with being feminine or sexy, c) the man in their life prefers long hair, period. I want long hair, assuming I can grow it, only if it looks decent and complements me. I’m not sure how long those conditions will be true; there may be a window here that I’m leaping through before it shuts. So, I’m shooting for two feet long and have about 2″ more to get there.

My hair color is all my own. One of the oddities that came with middle age is that my white or gray hair grows only on the crown. The under layers are quite dark, dark blonde or even light brown.
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Little fixes to a cheap winter coat

I bought a coat at Ross for $13 a year ago. Surprisingly, considering the low price, it even boasts a small wool content. It has a zipper as well as a few snaps and even a removable hood. I have better, warmer coats, but I actually wear this one often; it seems just right for the weather much of the time. I kinda felt however, that the two plastic hooks (I don’t know the name of this specific style) near the top of the front look cheap and don’t do the coat any favors. Here’s the coat as it was.

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The other day I realized I could remove the hooks using a seam ripper. Then I looked in my small collection of buttons and found 3 matching gray buttons about the size of quarters. If you/I had a nicer coat it might be worth buying cuter buttons but this coat doesn’t really warrant any expenditures and I can always swap them out if something better turns up. I sewed the buttons to the front of the coat just for show not to use. i also found two matching, “fancier” metal buttons that I added to the pockets. I think these little changes make the coat look better.
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Casual, festive outfit (Bargain style)

In the fall I wrote about finding great print leggings at Ross. I’ve worn them often since and am so pleased with the purchase. Let me say again that a fabric print is the key to modest (or mostly modest) leggings – something I learned only on finding & wearing the Ross leggings. I saw holiday leggings at Ross about three weeks ago and while normally I don’t even look at any clothes like that – I don’t remember the last time I had a “holiday” garment of any kind – this time I did. I passed by the over-the-top and Santa leggings and bought a more subdued but still fun print. At $5 I thought why not?

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I usually hate layering but have been trying to make it work for me. The first layer needs to be close-fitting and not too thick, which is what I did here with both top and bottom. It was cold (you know, like WINTER) so I wore another pair of leggings under the festive reindeer ones. I found the gray, long-sleeved Mossimo shirt for $3 this fall at a big, discount store (Ross eliminated their Mossimo and Merona lines last year and I guess the leftovers have floated out to discount-ier stores). The gray Merona sweater with its festive bead sparkles on the front was a thrift store purchase for a few dollars. The tall boots were $11 on Amazon last year. The beautiful, soft, red scarf I found for a mere dollar last winter at a church thrift store. I put one of my secondhand pins on the unconstructed (i.e. floppy) hat that was also a one dollar church thrift store bargain find.

Here’s a hat closeup and the earrings and ring, which I made.

My clothing haul from the synagogue rummage sale!

The local synagogue holds an annual two-day rummage sale every November that’s open to all. With a fun, upbeat atmosphere, it’s a big hit around here and I, like lots of locals, look forward to it. They have lots of household items, shoes, and many tables piled with clothes as well as additional clothes on racks. This year I was focused almost exclusively on shoes and clothes.

The key, I’ve found, to doing well at this type of sale is to go rested, fed, hydrated, and with an open mind. You have to be willing to methodically root through the various piles to find what might suit you; for example all the jeans – and there were many – are piled together without regard to size. It’s a bit of work and not everybody enjoys it, but I do, especially when it pays off. (I see a lot of women half-heartedly look at a few things on the tops of the piles and give up. Not me. I mean business.)

The first day has set, albeit low, prices and the second day is half-off household stuff & shoes and a single price ($8 this year) to fill a bag of clothes. The bag is a grocery store sized paper bag (I was a tad disgruntled the years they offered only a small grocery store plastic bag so I was happy to see the return of the brown paper bag on day two of the sale.) I was very pleased with my first day finds: a pair of Levis 712 slim jeans, a print 3/4 sleeve top, and a(nother) Downton Abbey type of winter hat (I’ve acquired two others secondhand prior to this). The jeans and top were each $4 and the hat $3. I didn’t buy them to be a “set” per se (and found them in three different locations) but looking at the photo, they DO look like a nice outfit together!

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I wasn’t sure that I’d go back the second day but spontaneously decided to return for “bag day.” Having already found three nice items, I didn’t feel pressed to find more and took the attitude that if I wasn’t having fun, I’d leave. As it turned out, I enjoyed myself, stayed two hours and found a bunch of good stuff. They have a small restroom where you can try on clothes; I always take advantage of this and I was really happy to find a working heater installed this year! (Gets chilly in there.) I paid $8 total for all that follows.

These two t-shirts were great; flattering fit and colors. The brand is Caston which I’ve never heard before.
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I saw this shirt on the first day and LOVED the print (I’d like some tie-dye in my life) but I didn’t want to spend $4 on it. I was surprised it was still there the second day.IMG_20181115_093554_kindlephoto-4636398.jpg

I found a pretty Chicos t-shirt but was a bit loose on me. Figuring that I’d be paying under a dollar for it – and it was closer to .50 when all was said and done – I went ahead and got it. The irony here is that the shirt was a size 0. Before you decide I must be impossibly small, let me note that whenever I’ve seen Chicos clothes in second-hand stores, etcetera, they look HUGE to me; clearly the brand uses “vanity sizing.” So anyway, once I had it home, I decided to hand-stitch a seam straight down the back, taking in about 2″ total. Then the shirt fit me nicely.

I think of shirts like these as “play clothes”, nothing fancy but useful and cute. I never heard of the Simply Southern brand and I’m not Southern but have to admit it’s a pretty catchy name. They must have thought so too because the brand name is written on the sleeve and printed in BIG lettering on the back (see the photo). I also included a closeup of the illustration on the bottom of the Faded Glory shirt because it’s a bit odd: children in row boats. These children reappear on the sleeves and the tiny pockets as well. I can’t decide if they’re wearing life jackets. Where are their parents? Are they fishing? They have no rods. I’m worried about them.

These two sweaters are Croft & Barrow (blue) and Ann Taylor (green). Typically, sweaters in my uh, price range, are cheaply made and scratchy, so I don’t buy sweaters. These are soft and very nice. The blue is big – about a size or more big – but I decided that’s okay; it’ll work with leggings and a hat to balance it out.
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I like what I’ve seen of New York & Company clothes, which these next two sweaters are. Both are soft and feminine. The red is a true red – like fire engine – but I couldn’t quite capture the exact shade with my tablet. The black one has a little built-in tie at the neck so I included a close-up.
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I’d seen this swan shirt on day one of the sale and passed it by. I don’t have any clothes with animals on them and wouldn’t normally consider it. But oh my! This was sort of a cross between a sweat shirt and a sweater and felt great. It looked good too so what the hell? The swan is stitched into the fabric not an applique. (My only association with swans is a story by the Southern writer Bailey White that revealed how mean swans can be. Her story is vivid and I never forgot it.)IMG_20181115_095728_kindlephoto-3583144

Here we have my first pair of hot pink jeans! Normally I wouldn’t get something like this because not a whole lot goes with hot pink jeans, but at this price – under a buck – I went for it. The blue blob is a hat so I included me modeling it so you could see that.

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This last top was so beautiful and dressy. It has an inner camisole. Since it didn’t look like much laid out on the table, I modeled it too.

Hope you enjoyed the bargain fashion tour. I enjoyed writing it!

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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).

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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.
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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.
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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.

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Not see-through, yay!

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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.

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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!!).

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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.

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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.

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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!