We craft to live!

Category: Fashion Challenges

Fashion Challenge: Vintage Ralph Lauren Sweaters

Fashion Challenge: Vintage Ralph Lauren Sweaters

We love a great sweater, especially when we find it at the thrift store! Finding a quality sweater second hand often means finding a piece from a great brand. If the item is high quality to begin with, chances are it will hold up to, and maybe even be improved by, some gentle wear. Lindee and I found that some of our favorite thrifted sweaters are from the same brand- Ralph Lauren. We have worn R.L. sweaters in past posts and many times in daily life. If you haven’t already, check out Ralph Lauren’s Fall ’18 fashion show here at Vogue.com to see lots of sweatery, layer, texture-y greatness! We enjoyed the show so much that we decided to put together our own mini Ralph Lauren Tribute using favorite thrift store treasures. You may even spot some celebrities…

I was lucky enough to find this sweater at a second-hand boutique. The style is so classic that I don’t think it will ever go out of style! Those preppy stripes inspired me to wear the sweater in our  Fashion Challenge: Wannabe French post. The sweater’s best feature is a super comfy fit- not too blousy, not too tight, not too warm, not too drafty, and 100% cotton!

I styled the sweater with my vintage Levis from our Fashion Challenge: 1990’s Pants, cowboy boots, bandana, and a fav thrifted newsboy hat.

Lindee scored a Ralph Lauren sweater this fall! She couldn’t resist that preppy, patriotic flag! She paired the sweater with vintage high-waisted jeans.

Although the flag motif is classic, the cropped length of the sweater suggests that it’s from the 1990’s. Since cropped sweaters are popular again, Lindee’s find was particularly timely!

This next sweater is another thrift store score! I was super excited to find a wardrobe staple in such great shape! For this picture, I paired the sweater with a vintage wool skirt, but I regularly wear it with jeans and flats!

I looove that cowl neckline- it’s flattering while still not exposing one to too much cold or too much sweater warmth! Classics are classic for a reason.

Lindee first wore this vintage bear sweater for our Sweater-vember: Thrift Store Sweater Challenge! Although she wasn’t too sure at first, I convinced her to try this hand-knit, iconic piece. I love how she turned the preppy vibe a little more woodsy with the addition of a beanie, denim, and lace-up boots. 

Turns out, Lindee wasn’t the only one styling this sweater! WOAH! Kanye West was apparently trying to copy her style!!! Lindee discovered his picture here at Spott while researching this trade mark Ralph Lauren piece!

I may be biased, but I know who I would pick in a “who-wore-it-better” competition! 😉 Of course, new bear sweaters made appearances in the recent Ralph Lauren show! So Cute!

The next time you are thrifting, keep your eyes open for Ralph Lauren gems! They are sure to make appearances in your cold weather wardrobe for years to come. Just make sure the Kanye doesn’t spot that bear sweater before you do… 

Fashion Challenge: A Week of 70’s and 80’s Dresses

Fashion Challenge: A Week of 70’s and 80’s Dresses

I am always on the hunt for vintage dresses during my thrift store adventures! Only recently, however, did I notice a collection of dresses from the 1970’s and 80’s beginning to take over my closet. When I was gifted a box of additional dresses from those decades, I concluded that the only solution was… to give myself a fashion challenge! Could I possibly wear 70’s and 80’s dresses for a week? The following rules applied: Rule #1: No period-specific vintage looks allowed. Bring the dress to the present. Rule #2: Only minor alterations/repairs (such as removal of shoulder pads) can be made on any dress. Rule #3: The outfit must actually be worn in public. Rule #4 Related experiences and conclusions must be documented for educational purposes. Obviously.

Day 1: Striped Polyester Dress

I began the week with this vibrant shirt dress from the 1970’s. I was feeling admittedly self-conscious, so I kept my makeup classic and jewelry modern. A belt was totally necessary to rein in some of that polyester, while a navy cami warded off wardrobe malfunctions. The addition of navy lace-up boots was a little weird, but I rolled with it. I was somewhat surprised to get some compliments on the dress and its colors. I guess we need more blue, navy, black, mauve, and magenta dresses in the world? My only real issue with the dress was the limited breathability of the polyester. It was a LOT of polyester.

Day 2: Black Knit Dress

As soon as I put this dress on, I was struck by how comfortable it was! With the addition of a black cami underneath, the bat wing sleeves and draped front were super flattering and allowed for excellent mobility. I stuck with minimalist shoes, but threw in some cheeky jewelry for necessary irreverence. (Check out my irreverent necklace-making tutorial here.) While wearing the dress, I felt that it didn’t appear blatantly vintage but could pass for a contemporary piece. One downside, however, was that the bat-wing sleeves don’t fit well in my everyday denim jacket. Since I love this dress, I will simply have to buy one of those chic wrap/shawls this season. No problem there.

Day 3: Cotton Gold, Green, and Black Dress.

This was probably one of the easiest dresses to wear, as there was no cami required. I was thrilled to find that my antiqued gold jewelry and olive boots were my definition of a perfect match. Although I could have added a belt to my accessories, simplicity seemed to be the more modern choice. My one issue with the dress was the smallness of the cuffs, even when unbuttoned. Thankfully, the day was not warm enough to require rolled sleeves.

Day 4: Green Draped-front Dress

Warm weather returned to the forecast, making me grateful for short sleeves, although a white cami was necessary. The synthetic fabric was slightly scratchy, but I liked the drape of bodice and skirt. I was excited to find an excuse to wear a great 1950’s statement necklace! (I concluded that this was NOT a violation of rule #1, as the necklace and dress were from different decades.) I wore the ensemble to work, despite the fact that it was casual friday. My colleagues were noticeably puzzled, but I had a fashion challenge to uphold! Conclusion:  great outfit, best for a non-Friday day.

Day 5: 1970’s Sundress 

I saved this great, Gunny Sax-esque dress for the weekend. Although it required some mending, the dress was surprisingly comfortable with cotton fabric and smocked bodice. The weather was downright hot, so I accessorized with a large hat and somewhat ugly sandals. As I went for an afternoon walk, I felt that I was in keeping with the hippy vibe.

Day 6: Pink, Purple, and Black Floral Dress

I originally bought this vibrant dress for a vintage photoshoot, but the rules for the week’s challenge excluded such outfits. There was nothing left to do but to embrace the brightness and boldness of the dress… And add layers, lots of layers! Our Sunday drive to the coast made a coat, beret, big sunglasses, and surprisingly matching scarf allowable. To add to the experience, I adopted the clashing-shoes-worn-with-dresses trend and wore lace-up boots. I concluded that I looked like a spy villian in an 1980’s movie. My disguise was apparently effective, as some acquaintances passed right by me without recognition!  Perhaps there is something to be said for the spy business. Otherwise, the outfit was very comfortable- I needed the layers for warmth but enjoyed the swishiness of the dress. Perhaps I could be a spy on holiday.

Day 7: Red Knit Dress

I was REALLY looking forward to wearing this dress, which was surprisingly classic and comfortable. The undergarments, or more specifically the dress’s need for specific undergarments, let me down! The knit fabric turned out to be quite thin and sheer. I tried every basic-colored slip I had and even made Amazon purchases to no avail. My last-ditch option will be a red, full-length slip from Amazon that might possibly be the right color. Stayed tuned for the future conclusion of this post. Darn the 1980’s…


Fashion Challenge: Bahama Mama

Fashion Challenge: Bahama Mama

There’s something about summer that makes wearing crazy prints and bright colors totally acceptable. Maybe it’s the heat affecting our fashion sense. Maybe it’s our inner kid going crazy for summer fun. Maybe we wish we were in Hawaii. Whatever the reason, I’m fully on board and am taking every opportunity to embrace my wanna-be-traveler-hippy-artist-Bahama-Mama side! Thrift stores have been my source for breezy, albeit kitschy, tropical wear. Vintage pieces are my new favorites and have accompanied me on many summer adventures. Gotta work this style while I’m still on island time…

 

 

These pictures were taken at the beautiful Lone Pine Garden in Sebastopol, California (check out their site here). They specialize in cacti, succulents, and Bonsai! I went crazy photographing the textures and colors around me!

 

Not to be outshone, my vintage mumu had both punchy colors and cool, comfy fabric. My accessories included a modern hat and belt, with vintage earrings. Everything except my shoes were thrifted!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop was at the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California (link here) to spend time with friends. This is one of our favorite places to walk, especially in the cooler evenings! The bridge is stunning, but don’t miss the beautiful botanical garden and walking paths!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My outfit, excluding shoes and bag, were thrift store finds. Those crazy pants and some of my forever faves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop was not at all tropical but was very delicious! I’ve been going with my family to the Marin French Cheese factory (found here) since I was a little kid! Just as I did then, I love the beautiful grounds and picnic areas as much as I love the cheese!

 

This vintage dress (from Hawaii!) is one of my favorites, since it is cute and super breezy! My belt, necklace, and hat were also thrift store finds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t want to leave! Just look at that view!

 

 

One of the best and most obvious choices for a summery experience is the pool!

 

 

My perfectly pool-colored dress was a gift from the fabulous Mrs. Smauley, while the crazy cool bracelets were my grandmothers!

 

 

Ready for  a swim, Anyone?

 

 

Fashion Challenge: Peasant Skirt

Fashion Challenge: Peasant Skirt

I love a great skirt, especially if it’s comfortable, versatile, and easy to find at the thrift store! Peasant skirts check all of those boxes! To prove it, I put my thrift-store-score skirt to the test to see how many looks I could create. Here is my skirt and outfits so far!

Exhibit A: Peasant Skirt

 

Outfit #1 Nerdy: My “Otter Half” tee, flip flops, sun hat, and backpack kept me super comfortable on a warm day, while also satisfying my nerdy side.

 

#2 Preppy: Stripes, a scarf, and a jean jacket are my wardrobe go-to’s. I changed things up a bit by pairing them with the flowy skirt.

 

#3 Western: This look was a great excuse to wear my suede jacket, western belt, and boots, all favorite thrift store finds!

 

#4 Layered: I grouped varying shades of denim blues together for this look. The outfit was great for a cooler day and will be a fun idea to carry into fall.

 

#5 Boho: My favorite way to wear a peasant skirt is also the easiest! Add a tank top, layered jewelry, and sandals (all thrifted!) and you are ready for that beautiful, summery day!

 

Hope you enjoy putting on your perfect peasant pizazz! 🙂 Check your local thrift stores to find your new favorite skirt!

 

Fashion Challenge: “Jresses”

Fashion Challenge: “Jresses”

I am admittedly a vintage denim addict. It’s not just the name brands or current hipness that attracts me. I love the softened feel and super utilitarian vibe of these pieces, as well as their availability at thrift stores! This addiction sometimes leads me to purchase pieces that I love, but later find challenging to wear. One example is the vintage jean dress, or “Jress” as my hubby calls it. I love how a jress is casual because it’s denim, but not totally casual since it’s a dress. Jresses are, however, more than a little funky… Here’s what I’ve learned about wearing these thrift-store-scores!

Break up the denim-ness when possible. I love the easy midi length of this jumper/dress, but that IS a lot of denim! I brought in the striped shirt and patterned scarf to mix things up a bit. I wore my outfit on a Goodwill shopping trip and, while I didn’t find more vintage denim, I did eye those animal print purses!

Speaking of demin, this midi dress has lots of it! However, the striped pattern and big, industrial buttons, break things up a bit. A belt really helps too, because it defines the waist and interrupts the column of denim. Shopping note: search thrift stores for cute and comfy belts! Never know when they’ll come in handy.

I love how this jress has kind of an industrial Rosie-the-Riveter-meets-1990’s vibe! I put the belt and scarf tricks to work and added another favorite accessory- boots! If in doubt, try putting a vintage dress with modern boots and see what happens. The boots should help pull the dress into the present!

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to dealing with addiction. However, I already have garments lined up for another vintage denim posts! *Sigh* Stay tuned…

Fashion Challenge: Vintage Blouses

Fashion Challenge: Vintage Blouses

We love vintage blouses, especially when we find them at thrift stores in great condition! Although bright and sometimes flamboyant, these blouses are just begging to be paired with neutral wardrobe staples. This is a great way to create vintage-inspired looks for today!

We had a lot of fun styling our vintage blouses against some “vintage” backdrops!  For our first outfits, we went pattern crazy, adding hats and scarves to our vibrant looks. Tea, Anyone?

 

 

 

 

Our flowered blouses just had to be photographed outside! Flower power!

 

 

 

 

And now back inside for a bit of music! Although the white vintage blouses were our original outfit inspiration, we loved the addition of colored jackets! Iya the cat liked being a fashion model.

 

 

 

 

We had to let these wild blouses loose in the open! Dots and spots = so much vintage pizzazz!

 

 

 

 Vintage blouses, we salute you!

Fashion Challenge: Wannabe French

Fashion Challenge: Wannabe French

Ooh la la! I have been loving all the stripes popping up in magazines, stores, and my own closet as spring approaches! Using thrift store finds, I put together a few outfits in deference to the French! I may not be able to travel across the pond at the moment, but I am still a wannabe!

My first outfit consists of closet basics scored at Goodwill! The fitted striped top balanced well with my kinda-baggy vintage Levi’s. The scarf and bracelet were gifted to me, but you can check out Lindee’s bracelet tutorial here to make your own!

These amazing vintage earrings were a lucky find at Goodwill! I love their length and sculptural quality. So much outfit-making potential!

 

 

I found this striped skirt at Goodwill on the same day that I found the earrings! When a beret magically appeared alongside them, I kind of freaked out a little! Although the skirt isn’t old, it has a great 1950’s vibe complete with pockets! I will wear it lots during the summer, but added a jean jacket and scarf for the chilly weather.

 

 

I enlisted cute hubby as photographer and fellow baguette shopper! We later went in search of cheese…

 

 

My favorite thrifted Ralph Lauren sweater made this next outfit cosey. I teamed it up with the vintage Levi’s that I had come to love during our “1990’s Pants” photo shoot. (Find that post here!) I couldn’t pass up adding a newsboy, bandana, and boots!

 

 

I am well on my way to getting packed for my imaged French vacation! (Or at least more baguette shopping!)  😉 Vive la France!

Fashion Challenge: 1990’s Pants

Fashion Challenge: 1990’s Pants

Happy New Year! Lindee and I celebrated by going “back in time” for a vintage fashion challenge! This time, we traveled to the 1990’s to try on pants! (Yes, I know. Those of us who experienced the 90’s first hand are internally groaning.) However, we can blame Lindee and the fates for this one. Earlier in the fall, she had mentioned that she was searching for high-waisted 90’s-style pants. I almost immediately found a pair at my local thrift store.

 

Previous to this, Lindee had been gifted a pair of leather pants from a fabulous family friend. (These, of course, HAD to be featured in the blog.) A month or so after that, I discovered some awesome, wide-legged gaucho jeans at a rummage sale. (The jeans didn’t fit me, but that’s why I have a little sister.) To round things off, I hunted obsessively until I found some Levi’s “flare” jeans, obviously from our featured decade. The “90’s Pants Challenge” was ON!

When the time came for our “photo shoot,” I was of the opinion that we should minimize the “90’s-ness” and try to create looks that harkened back to the 1940’s-60’s. Lindee said no, we just had to embrace the 90’s. After discovering some shocking similarities in our wardrobes, we found a middle ground.

 

 

Stripes ahoy! Although both pants fit awkwardly in the waists, due to either a lack of belt loops or non-functioning belts, we agreed the pants were super comfy. (An addition of elastic in the waistbands did the trick.) Next up- 90’s men’s wear!

 

This gave us a great excuse to wear our vintage vests! I also really liked my pants, since they had a high waist, wide legs, and a little stretch to the fabric. Lindee’s leather pants fit shockingly well, although she couldn’t see them becoming an everyday look for her. 😉 We are already planning more “fashion challenges” for this new year! Stay tuned, and keep crafting!

Sweater-vember: Thrift Store Sweater Challenge

Sweater-vember: Thrift Store Sweater Challenge

One of our favorite aspects of cold weather is getting to wear warm and cozy sweaters! This year, Brittany scoured Goodwill and rummage sales for unique sweaters for our sweater challenge! The result was a fun fall photo-shoot with creative and wearable sweater combinations.

Challenge accepted!

The sweater vest!

My favorite thing about this sweater vest was the fact that it buttoned up. The buttons made it more unique and wearable than sweater vests that are pullovers. The wool fabric was warm but not too thick. When thick knit sweater vests bunch, the result can be ugly and uncomfortable.  This sweater vest passed the cute bunchy test.

The Button-up Vintage Sweater!

The triangle buttons and geometric pattern on this vintage sweater made it the perfect statement piece for a holiday outfit. Straight out of the 1980’s, it’s a party waiting to happen! Thanks to Auntie Mug for the *perfect* earrings to go with it!

The Teddy Bear Sweater from the 90s!

When I first saw this sweater, I wasn’t sold. I haven’t worn anything with a teddy on it since I was 7, but I was pleasantly surprised. The sweater fit like a dream and with the right accessories, I was able to add some edge to this patriotic bear from Ralph Lauren. (I love wearing this with light blue lipstick for a grunge look.)

The Holiday Red Sweater!

 You can’t go wrong with a ruby sweater. The buttons really caught Brittany’s eye and gave this classic more personality. (Vintage REI!) The great thing about a solid colored sweater is that it can go with a variety of patterns. Brittany tucked this sweater into the skirt for a relaxed but dressy look.

Classic Christmas Sweater!

Time for some fashion tips from Grandpa. I paired this sweater with a tweed cap and plaid scarf to play up the classic look. My yoga pants and boots made for a comfy, easy pairing.

No Place Like Home Sweater!

Brittany decided to go preppy with this cute wool sweater. The boxy fit of the sweater played nicely with skinny jeans and knee high boots. She added a cloche hat to play up the English countryside vibe.

Mission Completed! Let the cold weather come!

We hope you enjoyed our post and have been inspired to find your own unique winter sweaters! Happy Thrifting!

Fashion Challenge: Tie Dye Week

Fashion Challenge: Tie Dye Week

 After tie-dying up a storm this summer, we were left with many rainbow-ized garments! Could we style them in ways that were a little less hippy and a little more fall? Time for a fashion challenge!

Britt mixed her rainbow brights with fall neutrals during the work week and hot/sunny weekend.

Lindee added some tie dye into her daily life in the form of pastel neutrals, edgy pants, and a boxy green sweater. Tie dye is a great transitional piece to take your wardrobe from summer into fall.