Fall Wish List

School starts in just under a week, and I. AM. PUMPED.  I’m serious!  I am very excited to meet my new students, and I am in pretty in love with my new school so far.  I kind of think my new vice principal wants to be best friends for life (in a completely platonic way).

Going back to school wouldn’t be complete without a little perusing of the fall fashions, and there are a few pieces I would love to get my hands on:

1.  Thick black leggings/jeggings

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My post on not understanding leggings as pants is one of my post popular posts (you all need to lay off looking for photos of people’s bums through see-through leggings…), but this is different.  I have a problem with thin leggings as pants.  Thick ones, as long as you can rock them with confidence, are fine with me.  Really.  I want a pair that I am not afraid to show my bum in, so they have to be thick material.  Anyone have any good places to look?

2.  Black riding boots

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I am in shoe love with riding boots.  My brown ones were definitely worn a LOT last year, and I would love to expand my boot collection with a pair of black or gray boots.

3.  Fall dresses

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Pinterest does two things to me:  makes me hungry and makes me wish I could shop without money being an issue.  I see all of these beautiful fall dresses that inspire me, and I want them all!  Just look at how scrumptious these dresses are.  Don’t you want them, too?  No?  Well, you could always buy them for me then.  Just a thought.

4.  Chambray shirt

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This trend totally got me today.  During my district new teacher orientation, one of the special education directors was wearing a gorgeous tailored chambray shirt.  I was sold.  Please find me one, oh fashion gods.  For next to nothing, if you could.

If only we didn’t need to budget so much and save money… Maybe I’ll find some this weekend when B and I hit the thrift stores in the Boston area this weekend!

What are you loving this fall?

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Swap With Friends

Have you caught it yet?  Spring cleaning?  You know it will get you as the weather starts to get a little warmer.  I think we all go through times, maybe not even in the spring, when we just have to get rid of the stuff we don’t use anymore.  We have the urge to purge clutter and get something newer and fresher in.  Maybe it’s from staring at it too long during the winter.  Maybe you have changed weight over the winter and need something new.  Maybe you’re moving.  Maybe you are just incredibly bored.  Maybe your students have made your clothing choices into a game to see how many times you wear the same type of pants in a month… oh… that’s just me?

Getting a whole new wardrobe seems out of the question, though.  I mean, with everything I just had to pay for with taxes, there is no way I could ever afford to buy a bunch of new clothing, even at Goodwill and thrift store prices.  A few pieces here or there would be cool, but a full new wardrobe?  My husband would have my head.  So what is a bored girl to do?  Clothing swap!

For those of you who are new to swaps, they are when you bring a bunch of clothing you wish to be rid of and have others do the same.  You then swap your old clothing for new-to-you pieces that others have brought with them.  It’s pretty simple in concept and pretty awesome in execution.  I went to the SwapMaine event last October (can’t wait for their spring event!), and it ROCKED.  I was hooked on swaps from there.

Then, when I was still on that misguided adventure of only spending $10 a month on clothing, my friend Amy sent me a giant box of clothing she didn’t wear anymore.  Amy lives in Texas, and I guess their thrift shops down there just aren’t as great as here, so she thought her clothing would do more good with me here in Maine.  And when I say it was a giant box, I mean giant.  Look, I fit into it!Within that box was a treasure trove of clothing, some of which I have made good use of and some of which will be going to the SwapMaine event for the spring.

New York and Company Streetwear Gray Linen Skirt:  Paid: $0 / Retail: $29.95, on sale right now for $8.98

Verdict?  Keep for now.  I think I can rock this when it gets warmer at work because of its length.  The waistline is a little on the big side, though, so I might pass it on if I reach my lower weight goal.

Gap Tan Bermuda Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Gap Black Bermuda Shorts: Paid $0 / Retail: $39.95

Verdict?  Both are keepers.  Again, these are pieces that fit and I can wear to work when it gets warmer.  They are also incredibly soft and in great shape.

Gap Tan Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Gap Brown Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Gap Teal Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Verdict?  Keep, keep, keep!  I am always in need of different shorts that fit, and these fit the bill.  The teal is also super on trend for the summer, which will add some lovely color to my wardrobe.

Gap Tan Pants: Paid: $0 / Retail: $49.95

Verdict?  Well, originally, it was keep, but now that I have worn them once, they need to go.  I could button them all the way up and then pull them off without undoing anything.  I don’t think that means they fit.  They are great pants, but they could be great pants on someone else.

H&M Gray Wide-Leg Pants: Paid: $0 / Retail: $34.95

Verdict?  These will be leaving me as well, only because the legs are way too wide for my taste.  I like pants with slimmer profiles, and these don’t fit into that category.  They fit okay, but if I don’t like the style, I am sure someone else will get better use of them.

Old Navy Black Side-Zip Trousers: Paid: $0 / Retail: $29.94

Verdict?  Super cute, and they will be staying.  They fill a niche that my other black pants don’t fill, so they add a little bit of variety to my black pants menagerie.  Well… as much as black pants possibly can…

Old Navy Red Terry Cloth Skirt: Paid: $0 / Retail: $26.94

Yuva Wide-Leg Trouser Jeans: Paid: $0 / Retail: $35.00

Verdict?  They’re going.  Both of them are waaayyy too big for me, and with my weight goals, I don’t want to keep any clothes in my wardrobe “in case” I get larger.  No thanks.  I was really hoping that they would both fit, but sadly, they didn’t.  Someone else can rock them!

WWF “Green Chic” T-shirt: Paid: $0 / Retail: $31.00

Verdict?  It’s pretty cute, but the fit isn’t totally what I want.  I’m keeping it for now, but it may end up in the swap pile last minute.  We’ll see.

Iz Black Dress with Studded Belt: Paid: $0 / Retail: $48.00

Verdict?  Keeper!  I know how many black dresses I have, but this (yet again) is a different style.  I like it, and the belt is awesome!  Worst case scenario, I keep the belt and get rid of the dress at some point.

So I got some great pieces for spring and summer just by encouraging people to donate clothing.  Sounds pretty awesome, right?  Well, you can do it too!  Get some friends together and swap!  You can start small with accessories or you can just go for it all at once.  Try it out!  It’s totally worth the effort.

If you would like tips for hosting your own swap party, check out this post on Goodwill New England’s blog (nope, I didn’t write this one!).

So, thanks Amy!  I love the clothes, and the ones I’m not keeping will be loved by someone else as soon as SwapMaine hosts their spring event.

Have you ever gone to a swap event?  What do you do when you get tired of your clothing?

Location, Location, Location: Buy The Pound Goodwill Warehouse and Haul

Things you get to buy by the pound:  fruit, veggies, candy, meat… clothing?  Clothing!  This past weekend, B and I took a trip to have a new adventure:  to find out what the deal was at the new Buy The Pound Goodwill warehouse in Gorham, Maine.  I have been reading news bulletins from Goodwill about it for the past month and a half as they geared up to open the facility, and I have been so excited to check out how it works.  Plus, you know it’s going to be an adventure.  When B found out there was a bunch of books up for the snatching, he was in, too.  Cue a Saturday day trip!

We arrived at the center around 2 PM and didn’t drag ourselves myself out of there until around 5 PM.  I had no idea we had been in there for so long!  In those hours, though, I came to the realization that someone who is new to the thrifting game should go in with some tips… some major tips, if they want to find the goods and survive.

Tip #1:  Be patient.  This is such a big one.  The clothes (men’s, women’s, and children’s), the bed linens, random scraps of fabric, everything cloth related is thrown into big bins with no system of organization.  You have to dig, people!  You can’t just stay on the surface and expect to find the great clothes.  Most of the time, the clothing that’s on the top has been picked over by everyone else who has come through, and if it hasn’t been snatched up yet, there may in fact be something wrong with it.  Maybe not, but it makes you wonder why no one else wanted to pick it up.  The shoes also aren’t tied together, which can equal lots of time trying to find the matching shoe.  I decided to give up on that when I couldn’t find a match to the coral pump I had in my hand.  Be patient, dig through the bins, and know that your effort will probably be rewarded!

The bins!  So much clothing!

Tip #2:  If you like it even a little, grab it (politely, of course!).  If you like it, put it in your cart (see tip #3).  Things go so quickly and can get piled under clothing so fast that you can totally lose all of the clothing you thought you liked.  If you like it, put it aside for yourself to try on later.

Tip #3:  Get a cart.  In the typical Goodwill or Salvation Army stores, I try not to get a cart.  It encourages me to pick up more than I want to.  At the Buy the Pound store, however, a cart is a must.  They weigh your purchases in a cart, so you have to have one at the end anyway.  A cart is also great because you can throw anything you like into it and try it all on at the end.  It was also super helpful to get a second cart when trying on your finds because then you can put everything you liked into the new cart, throw what you didn’t into the bins, and keep what you still have to try on separate from everything else.  B was the genius who thought of that one!

Tip #4:  Be polite to the other Buy the Pound shoppers.  Now, this should be a life rule anyway, but the other shoppers can be a real asset when it comes to shopping a store where clothing is all mish-mashed in bins.  I was asked if I wanted to “rotate” or “switch” so many times while checking bins.  If you are working on digging beside someone else, instead of butting into their space when you’re done, you can ask if they want to switch places with you.  You get a new location without being awkward about moving into it.  The other shoppers can also tell you what looks good on you (they did) and you can return the favor (I did).  You help them, they help you.  Everyone wins!

Tip #5:  Bring a cross-body purse and don’t wear your coat in.  These two pieces will keep your hands free, which is important since you’ll be digging through bins with both hands.  You want to make the search as easy on yourself as possible.  When you go to try on clothing, not having a coat will be helpful so you don’t have to lug around other clothing.  Plus, you may get a little warm when you’re digging if you have a jacket on.

Tip #6:  Bring a friend.  The one real downside to the Buy the Pound warehouse is that there aren’t currently any mirrors or dressing rooms for people to try on clothing.  The sales person did tell me that they were going to hang some mirrors, which is super helpful, but it’s also great to bring a friend.  While the clothing is super cheap, you want to know that you’re bringing home clothing that looks good on you.  B was such a help on this, and he is getting really good at communicating what he likes and what he doesn’t like.  Make sure your friend is honest!

Need a friend?  This guy would like to be yours!

Tip #7:  Make sure you give yourself a couple of hours.  I honestly lost all track of time when we were there.  You get so into the digging that you never think to look at a clock.  Leave yourself more time than you would typically give yourself at a standard thrift store.  It’s not organized, so make sure you leave some room in your schedule.

Tip #8:  Bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes for after.  Yes, this sounds a little gross, but think about it.  These clothes may or may not be washed before they make it to the warehouse.  (Don’t freak out, you can wash it when you get home!)  Since you’ll be digging through huge bins, your hands may get a little dirty.  Have some way of washing them back in your car, and you are good to go!

With those tips, you could find some excellent pieces!  I definitely saw a bunch of true vintage pieces, and I even picked up a couple.  This is what I found and snatched up:

Free People Blue Button-Up Mini Skirt:  Retail: $78.00Vintage Lora Lenox Black Structured Medi Dress:  Retail: ~$50Just look at the adorable ruffle detail on the hip!True Meaning Tan Tweed Jacket: Retail: ~$90(No Brand or Tag!) 1980s Purple Dolman Dress: Retail: ~$40New York and Company Black and White Stripped Hoodie Pullover: Retail: $34.95Kilburne and Finch Brown Geometric Tie: Retail: ~$15.00Cream Crocheted Sweater: Retail: ~$20Judy Bond Jewel Tone Green Blouse: Retail: ~$25Savannah Petites Navy Blue Blazer: Retail: ~$30 (Forgot to take a picture!  Oops!)

Nan Hadden Studio Plum Cropped Cardigan: Retail: ~$30Alfred Dunner Petite Sweater: $37.00Like the cream colored sweater, this sweater also has a great knit pattern to it.Banana Republic Black Tie Sweater: Retail: ~$50Mossimo Pink Sweater: Retail: $17.99Gap Orange V-Neck Sweater: Retail: $26.95L.E.I. Silver Pants: Retail: $21.88Colorifics Purple Clutch: Retail: $33.95 (before having it dyed!)Nine West Yellow Leather Purse: Retail: $79.00 (See above)

Gray and White Tote: Retail: ~$15.00 (See above)

Assorted belts: Retail: ~$15.00 each – Retail: $60 TOTALBooks! Frankenstein: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.99, The Canterbury Tales: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $8.95, The Body of Christopher Creed: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.95, Antigone: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.99, and The Norton Introduction to Literature Anthology: Paid: $0.50 / Retail: $70.99 – Retail: $100.87 TOTALSo what did we pay for all of this?  Drum roll, please!

TOTAL:  $15.45!  That’s it!  Just $15.45!  The clothing, belts, and purses weighed 10.5 pounds, so we got it for $1.29/pound.  While this location doesn’t take the Goodwill discount card, you can’t beat this type of deal.  Let’s compare, shall we?

Goodwill Total:  $15.45                                         Retail Total:  $855.59

SAVINGS:  $840.14

I think this new Goodwill location is a winner!  Have you visited a new Goodwill location lately?

Sightful Sunday: Blazing the Trail

I don’t know about you, but I love the whole put together look a blazer can create.  You can throw one on over a plain t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and BAM!  You look complete, relatively sophisticated, and ready to go.  Maybe it’s my east coast prepster?

Any which way, here are some of the great blazer looks I have been digging lately:

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Don’t they look so easy? And I’ll tell you what… the best place to find inexpensive blazers?  Goodwill!  Love them!

Have a great week!  I’m sure mine will be filled with some fashion experimenting because I’m on vacation!  Hooray for vacay!