Layered Looks, Part 2

A little more layering inspiration for those of you freezing your tootsies off up here in the northern hemi!

Cream cashmere v-neck via Land’s End, a gift
Teal long-sleeved tee via Target
Black wrap belt via ARC’s Value Village
Awesome velvet applique skirt a gift
Black opaque thigh-high tights by Hue
Dansko Risa boots via Zappos

My fantastic co-worker Diane gave me this skirt because she’d seen me wearing similar pieces. She wore it in the 1970s, and laments the fact that she can no longer fit into it. It’s quite snug on me, but I HAD to make it work. I mean, just look at those fantastic appliques!

Black angora cardi via BR Outlet many years ago
Hot pink sheath via Talbots, a gift
Black opaque thigh-high tights by Hue
Dansko Risa boots via Zappos
Pearls made by me

Grandma Dixie sent me this dress in two colors, per my request. One is for Christmas, one for my birthday. As you might know, Christmas isn’t until December 25, and as you might not know, my birthday isn’t until January 17. I am a BAD KITTY for opening my presents early. Oh yes I am.

I realize this doesn’t look like a creative layering job, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes. I have on a black tee under the dress, which is tucked into my Spanx, and then my thigh-highs are layered over that. OK, that’s still not real layering, but I just loved this outfit so much I had to share!

Black cropped sweater via Ann Taylor
Teal long-sleeved tee via Target
Belt via ARC’s Value Village
Black Laundry by Shelli Segal tube skirt via a thrift store in SF 8 years ago
Frye Engineer 8Rs via villageshoes.com

Husband Mike HATES this cropped sweater, and categorizes it as “made-up clothes.” But I really dig it, and throw it on when I want to feel funky and arty. And that skirt – oh, people. It’s a very narrow tube of fabric that severely restricts my ability to walk AND makes a ton of noise when I do. But I just adore it. It’s been mended and altered countless times, and thanks to some mangling from my Frye’s boot buckles, now needs some big-time hem-love. Poor skirt.

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Ban Week 10: $20 Spent on …

I was superexcited to unleash my $20 on the Twin Cities thrift stores during week 10, and decided to stop at Sophie Joe’s first. I wanted to check in on a few items I’d left behind in visits past, and also pore over any new offerings. I was also hoping to replace my much-missed camel colored coat and close the books on that one. I spent a good hour casing the joint, and found neither camel coat nor exciting new items. But I did take home this lovely:

Silvertone bib/waterfall necklace
$4 at Sophie Joe’s Emporium
Fulfills: Um. Just jewelry-greed, really.

I’d seen a similar necklace on a lovely young wedding photographer a few weeks back, and found it deeply sexy. This isn’t the most versatile piece in my collection, but I really do adore it.

I stopped at Savers as well for some camel-coat-hunting, but struck out. Turn Style was next up, and I decided to pore over the shirts and sweaters first before hitting the coats. I’d found several fun pieces that would suck up my remaining $16 before heading to outerwear. And, lo and behold, the most perfect camel-colored coat EVER, in my size, in perfect condition, and totally dust-free!

Banana Republic silk-lined camel-colored wool coat
$59 at Turn Style
Fulfills: Belted, camel-colored coat

Did you catch that? Yep, this coat was $59. And I bought it.

I BROKE THE BAN, friends.

Now believe me when I say that I did not make this decision lightly. Husband Mike was with me at the time, and I showed him the coat, and he agreed that it was perfect. I remember quite clearly standing outside the dressing room, gripping the coat in my right hand, verging on tears, and looking at him imploringly.

“What are your options?” he asked. “Do you want me to return your birthday present and buy you this instead?”

“You can’t!” I moaned. “We threw away the packaging and receipt.”

“OK, well … what can you do? Let’s figure this out.”

I hemmed a while. Then I did some hawing. The two of us floated a few ideas – including just leaving the damn thing behind. But I couldn’t do it. I had spent three frantic weeks scouring every thrift store I could find in hopes of locating a $10-or-less, suitable replacement for my toxic coat. This one was gorgeous, had all the features I wanted, was a trustworthy brand, and looked fantastic on me. I could not leave it.

In the end – very reluctantly – we decided that I would put that week’s remaining $16 toward it, and not shop at all for the following 4 weeks to make up the difference. Now, this is the slipperiest of slopes, and I know it. In the past, I have made similar spending bargains with myself that have almost ALWAYS ended badly. But in this case, two factors caused me to decide that this was a sound decision:

1. I was flippin’ TIRED. I had run myself ragged in my quest for this damned coat, and I wanted a rest. When HM said, “Well, if you buy it now, you can stop shopping for a month,” I was instantly relieved. I hadn’t realized how weirdly driven to find and procure this single item I had become until he said that. I was ready for a break.

2. I knew that the ban was helping me get back on track financially and that it was helping me become more aware of my behaviors surrounding shopping. But having gone through this coat quest experience, I realized that my emotions and behaviors weren’t really changing. I was ready to undertake a new challenge within my existing challenge and just NOT SHOP for a while.

So there it is. Don’t judge me, my friends, because there’s been plenty of self-flagellation already and I just want to move on. I know full well that I didn’t actually need this coat. It’s getting to that point in the winter when anything but my down parka is unthinkable, and, as Trinknitty pointed out, my quality of life is in no way affected by a lack of camel-colored coat. But it’s done. And I love the coat. And I am shifting gears within the confines of the ban.

I’ve given myself an assignment for this shopping-free month: I am going to wear at least one underutilized item from my existing wardrobe each week. I’ll post those photos every Saturday as my ban updates, along with any deeeeeep thoughts that might occur to me along the way. And I imagine I’ll learn a lot and be more creative in my outfit construction and then return to the regular ban rules a little wiser.

That’s my hope, anyway.

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