Advice In Style: Shopping The Men’s Section

In fashion, women’s clothing often seems to take cues from men’s stuff.  Like “boyfriend jeans” or “boyfriend tees” (they really really want us to steal stuff from our boyfriends don’t they??) it seems like the idea of menswear influence never goes out of style.  Like when Diane Keaton wore a white suit to the Oscars so many years ago, it’s just always classy.  So…what does that mean?  Like, does it work to actually buy men’s clothes?  I think everyone has their own answer to that question, but I’m going to answer the way that I tend to shop the men’s section.  The answer is…yes AND no!

I am the kind of shopper that tends to keep an open mind and doesn’t care much for what section clothing has been classified as.  I will shop the pajama section, the costume section, the kid’s section and the men’s section ALL for clothing I will wear out and about.  I also tend to look in ALL sizes, because not only is sizing majorly inconsistent even within brands, but also things often get put in the wrong size category on accident.  Who cares about labels or numbers right?  Well, I guess scientists and mathematicians, but we all know I fall into neither of those categories, so I’m allowed to not care 🙂

So here you go…my tips on Shopping The Men’s Section:

1. Shirts, shirts, and more shirts.  The men’s section of most stores often has the best graphic tees, hands down.  This is true of Urban Outfitters, Target, thrift stores, and basically anyplace that carries tees.  Here’s the rub.  They won’t always FIT great, so you must try them on, and be prepared to modify if necessary.  I have made awesome muscle tees out of men’s tees, because they tend to be nice and long, and often the sleeves are the most problematic area for fitting and flattering a woman’s body.  I have cut off the neckline, stretched out the neckline, and cut holes to add distressing…really it’s up to you what you want to do.  The great thing about them, is they tend to be larger than women’s tees, so you get a great oversized look or can knot them at the waist with extra room to spare!
2. Levi’s & Wranglers. If you’re tall and not super duper skinny like me, Levi’s and Wrangler’s are a great find from the men’s section.  If you’re looking for mom jeans and you’re in the 28-30plus range of waist sizes, this can be your jackpot!
3. Shoes.  Vintage shoes run small, and if you’re thrifting with larger feet, men’s shoes can be a total score.  Vintage cowboy boots, loafers, and oxfords can be a good find in antique and thrift stores from the men’s section.
4. Button Down Shirts.  I have seen people do some pretty amazingly creative stuff with men’s button downs!  You can turn them into strapless tops by tossing the arms behind you and tying them around your waist…you can unbutton the whole thing and criss-cross wrap it on you like a wrap dress…basically you can really repurpose a great men’s button down, as long as you like the fit of the sleeves.  I love a good small vintage men’s button down or flannel, because it gives me the option of knotting it in the front or wearing it open like a jacket!

This button down caught my attention RIGHT away.  The print is so retro and I just knew I loved it enough to figure out what to do with it!  I loved the thought of using this with some bell bottoms and really going with the vibe of the print.  Even though the sleeves on men’s shirts can be a bit big like these sleeves, but in this case, the fabric allows them to drape kind of like a little bell sleeve (I ALWAYS unbutton the wrist buttons on any shirt first thing when I put it on) which makes it okay that they’re large-ish.

Hopefully these ideas will encourage you to at least give the men’s section a tiny peek next time you’re out shopping…you never know what you’re going to find!!

Happy hunting!
Katy

Advice in Style: The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Style

You know what’s funny?  Watching movies set in past times when women wore things like corsets and stuff…and then watching myself complain about having to button my jeans.  Yeah.  Times have changed.  I mean, we have it so easy!  We don’t have to deal with giant petticoats (unless we want to) or constrictive shape wear (unless you count spanx, which are again, optional)…the worst thing we have to do is literally, button our skinny jeans.  Pretty sure we have it darn easy, ladies!

All that to be said, we don’t have to make things more complicated if we don’t want to.  If you’re one of those “I want to feel like I’m wearing pajamas all day, every day” kinda gals, this is your lucky day.  Because corsets are for costumes, buttons are for elevators, spanx are for Kanye’s fashion show.   Yeah, I went there.

Lazy gals, your day has arrived.  We live in the era of stretch fabrics, velcro, and leggings in every imaginable pattern.  You are now the cool girls.  Your workouts can now be reserved for the gym and not for trying to get on a stubborn pair of slightly too small “standing only” jeans.

The I Don’t Want To Button My Pants Lazy Girl’s Guide To Style:

Ditch the jeans like it’s Turkey Day.  I love denim, but you can be stylish without a pair of jeans.  The sheer amount of palazzo pants, maxi skirts, leggings, and stretchy bell bottoms out there right now is staggering.  I have so many pairs of jeans, and I often go weeks without touching them just because I have so many other options.
Keep the jeans, lose the pesky button.  I am having an endless love affair with high waisted stretch jeans.  So much so, that I’m considering doing my own for my upcoming clothing line.  I have a pair of these, and you guys, they’re worth every penny.
Wear pajamas.  All day.  You all know how I feel about pajama dressing, it’s chic, different, and COMFORTABLE.  No one (unless they’re super weird) makes uncomfortable pajamas.  You can easily buy pajama tops and bottoms even at places like Target or Old Navy and wear them as shirts and or bottoms.  It looks very classy when paired with the right top or bottom, depending on what look you are going for.
Layer like a pro.  I love that the style these days is more “messy” than “fussy”.  It’s like, instead of polo shirts with the collar flipped up (please tell me what that’s about you guys) there’s tees with jackets and flowy pants.  Messy is the “look”, meaning that it’s all about doing things imperfectly and not nitpicking at your outfit.  (key word, lazy)
No more laces.  Don’t tell your mom, but all that time she spent teaching you to tie your own shoes was, well, a waste.  Because pull on, slip on, slide on shoes are your new BFF.  I cannot tell you how many times I chose a pair of pull-on boots over a pair that I have to zip up (heaven forbid I put that much effort into getting dressed) simply because it was easy.  Mules, slides, and cowboy boots are like “look ma! No hands!” kinda shoes.
Buy yourself a good dry shampoo.  If you don’t already have dry shampoo, goodness gracious get your butt into your car and get some.  Or at the very least, be lazy and order some.  No, NOW.  I didn’t mean later, I meant now!  Because dry shampoo is the lazy girl’s best hair friend, and saves time, and probably lives as well for all I know.  If you have dark hair, this one is the bomb and smells amazing too.  If you have blonde hair, opt for a lighter option.  Both of these are safe, natural products that you will most definitely get your money’s worth.  An added perk of using the natural ones is that they don’t build up like the chemical ones do.  These you can use a few days in a row without getting that nasty yucky hair feeling after only one day of use.

Here’s my lazy girl look.  I have a robe I got from Urban Outfitters, my pull on flares from Show Me Your Mumu (no cussing, struggling, or sucking in the gut required), and a thrifted slip dress.  My hair is fully equipped with dry shampoo and a little salt spray and my lipstick is a crayon (one swipe and done).  I have on some slide on mules so I can literally just step into them and go.

Go be lazy you guys.  It’s ok, I won’t tell 🙂
Katy

On Movie Watching Habits and…Kimonos

My poor husband.  I am quite literally, one of the worst people in the world to watch a movie with.  Why, you may ask?  I’m going to tell you.  Now, I’m not defending my movie watching dysfunction, or trying to help you understand me or anything like that.  Because I know that my movie issues are not really “logical” so to speak, and until they come out with a drug for “very choosy about movies”, then this is me, watching (or really not watching) movies.  Get ready.  You may not like me very much by the end of this post, because I will inevitably have offended you by telling you I hated one of your favorite movies or turned off a movie that you watch repeatedly.  And for this, all I can say is, I’m sorry, and I wish I could change it too.

If you were a movie, unless you are one of the Pitch Perfect movies or Jurassic Park/World series…I just may not like you that much.  I can’t explain this strange phenomenon, again, it just…IS.  Let me tell you how this goes for me.  I start a movie.  I’m hopeful, cautiously optimistic, and determined to like (tolerate at best) this freaking movie.  Halfway through, I’m like okay, this isn’t my favorite, I’m not in absolute LOVE, but I’m committed and I’m doing it.  Then, right about at 3/4 of the way through this storyline, something happens.  Usually, whatever’s going on is about to reach it’s peak, and I begin to lose my patience.  At this point, I have the realization that if the main character had just NOT lied or cheated on his wife/gotten a legitimate job instead of stealing/stayed on planet earth…NONE OF THIS WOULD BE HAPPENING.  I begin to question the worthwhile-ness of this character surviving the zombie apocalypse/strange disease epidemic/people with a lot of guns.  And then it hits me.  Because of his/her stupidity, I have WASTED THE PAST HOUR OF MY LIFE stressing about him/her.  I then start imagining a giant bomb obliterating everyone in the movie, a British voiceover saying “And NOW for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT”, and a herd of puppies running onto the set, playing with chew toys and being generally more deserving of my time and attention.  True story.

I often read the bad reviews of movies before risking seeing them in the theatre (and believe me, that is quite a risk for me).  I read the bad ones, because usually I can tell by the critiques whether or not I will like the movie.  I mean, the good ones can be telling too.  “Sweeping landscapes” means: “I could just look out the window and save my time and money”.  “Heartwarming story” means: “someone will probably get a weird disease and/or die in this movie.”  “Amazing special effects” means: “the writers all quit so the story is complete crap…but hey a lot of things blow up, so it’s all okay.” And the ALWAYS inevitable “historically accurate” will mean: “everyone dies at the end, don’t waste your time.”  Often the things that people DON’T like about movies are the exact things that will make me LOVE them.  “Formulaic and cute” are often touted as critiques of a movie.  Because, if everyone’s happy at the end of the movie, it seems like a lot of people will inevitably hate it.  I’ve learned that movie critics are often much happier getting jerked around and having the rug pulled out from under them than they are watching people live happily ever after.

I think I’ve been scarred by so many movies, I’ve begun to be an instant skeptic.  I mean Titanic?  Apollo 13?  What the heck people.  Thanks for reminding me that I paid ZERO attention in history class.  Oh and how about the beauty that was The Sixth Sense?  HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME?  THANK YOU FOR WASTING MY TIME.  (I guess I should have said: “spoiler alert”, but I mean if you haven’t seen that movie or know this by now, I don’t know what to tell you).  I have been emotionally traumatized before, so now I’ve become quite choosy about what I will pay attention to.  Here is a full (but not conclusive) list of topics I refuse to watch movies on.  (You should sit down, it’s not short).

  1. War (any war at all.  Imaginary or real).
  2. Zombies/zombie apocalypse (missing chunks of flesh is not my jam.  I made an exception for Warm Bodies, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Zombieland.)
  3. Post apocalyptic movies (I like happy things, have you noticed?)
  4. Anything too raunchy  (Again, exceptions include Wedding Crashers, Bad Moms, Bridesmaids…beyond these though if it’s too much raunch, I’m out).
  5. Musicals (this only means I don’t like movies where they sing ALL the time.  Also, please don’t tell me something is a “musical” then have it actually be “a movie about war”…I was a child when I watched The Sound of Music and this nice movie where a lady with a sort of bizarre haircut made clothing out of curtains and sang a lot took a dark turn into something where they probably all died at the end.  It’s not nice to do that to people.)
  6. Anything too emotional (Sorry Nicholas Sparks.  If I wanted to cry, all I’d have to do is watch one of those “share a Kleenex” commercials.  Dang lady hormones.)
  7. Anything too violent  (I refuse to watch people hurting each other, even if it is “historically accurate.”)
  8. Most things sports related (There are some exceptions to this one.  If the story is good enough, and not too emotional, per number six on my list, then I may care enough to watch it.  Since I care nothing about sports, it has to be a good story outside of people throwing balls around.)
  9. Things that are too “artsy”  (I love creativity, but if it’s like art for art’s sake, I’m out.)
  10. Superhero movies (I don’t make the rules you guys.  I have learned that these movies usually include a lot of things blowing up and creatures I don’t recognize or know what they are.  I love movies about people with superPOWERS, just not super heroes.  Don’t even get me started on the anti-super hero movies, we will be here all day.)
  11. Things that are about people making stupid choices  (If you’re gonna do it, don’t make me live through the stress of it okay?  I make enough of my own and have to live through them!)

So where does that leave us?   You called it.  Pitch Perfect and Jurassic World.  Somehow watching people sing in perfect harmony and getting chased by fictitious dinosaurs just makes me happy.  Since this post is just so down on movies, let me give you some titles I do love, lest you think I am the worst human on the planet who hates movies and frowns all the time.  Legally Blonde, The Royal Tenenbaums, Clueless, Ghostbusters (all of them), Mean Girls, Easy A (I love movies about high school can you tell?), Beetlejuice, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Back To The Future (all of them), Indiana Jones (all of them except number two because ewwwww), The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Pirates of the Caribbean (all except the last one)…to name a few.  Despite what this post may suggest, I actually do love a lot of movies.  But if I don’t love it?  My poor husband has to live with it.

Good news.  You know what I’m NOT choosy about?  Kimonos or kimono like items.  I nabbed this jacket at the store I work at, and a girl who doesn’t work there that often said: “you like Asian fashion don’t you?”  I was like…”I guess…”  and then realized I was literally wearing a shirt that looks like this jacket…and, um, KIMONOS, DUH.

I mean my gosh, how could you not fall in love with the satiny, gorgeously rich colors, and patterns that make up Asian fashion?  Yeah.  I may not be able to sit through a whole movie, but I could sit through one of those dry cleaning automated racks full of kimonos.  I put this with my Madewell mom jeans (I have them in two colors, they are fabulous) and some thrifted loafers I just scored recently.  My necklace was handmade by DesertMermaid on Etsy.

I bet you are way better at movie watching than me.  I bet you sat through the whole Titanic movie and WEREN’T surprised when they all died.  I’ll bet you love superhero movies and have a blast watching summer blockbusters and are not a “hater” as my husband refers to me.  Ah well.  I’ll always have my automated rack of kimonos to dream about…

Happy Monday
Katy

 

On How To Successfully Thrift!

Here’s the thing about thrift store shopping.  One of the BIGGEST components to making an item of clothing appealing, is presentation.  I mean, I was talking to a woman who owns a local store and she told me how she and her co worker used to take things off the sale rack that had been sitting in the store for months, put them in the window on the mannequins, and they’d sell…instantly.  I have discovered this dynamic working at a second hand store.  Often something can sit in the store for so long, but the minute it goes on Instagram, it’s got a waiting list for it.  Thrift stores have absolutely ZERO presentation.  There are often many amazing treasures hiding in the midst of, well, truly ugly things.  Sometimes the “treasures” are even just things that look EXACTLY like that shirt you are thinking about spending $40 at Gap for…but it’s hard to spot because you’re so distracted by that really weird looking cat sweater sitting right next to it.  I’ve been cleaning up at thrift stores lately, but I used to loathe thrift store shopping for clothes.  I found it gross, frustrating, and very unproductive.  Since I’ve had a bit of a turn around in my thrift store “luck” you could say, I thought I’d make a little guide to help you think through your next trip to the Goodwill…or maybe just encourage you to go in the first place!

  1. Vintage slips.  I CANNOT stress this enough you guys…these things are SO versatile even if you DON’T wear funky clothes like I do!  First of all, look at any runway photos (think like Ralph Lauren, Gucci…) and you will spot this style.  They look very high fashion for a fraction of the price.  They are layerable…over things, under things, they make amazing pieces that look a lot like a Free People Intimates piece.  You can even put them under a dress (for more coverage obviously) and let the lace stick out the bottom to extend a dress or a skirt.  Always check the “lingerie” section for these babies.
  2. Button down shirts.  I was about to buy a few of these, had them in my cart online, and then I realized it…I could get this same thing for less than a quarter of the price at Goodwill.  Stripes and gingham are big for spring, and these are plentiful at most thrift stores.  Sure you may have to check a couple of times to get the right size, but I found BOTH of those items today for $4.50 a piece.  So before you go buying these at J Crew (I get it, their stuff IS amazing so it is worth investing if you know you love their fits!), check your local thrifts shops!
  3. White tees.  I know, you think I’m positively LOCO for suggesting this.  Because, like, how can a white tee survive any length of time to make it into a thrift store? Let me tell you how.  Go to the MEN’S section, and look at them.  You’ll find men’s UNDERSHIRTS that have that oversized, kind of vintage-y feel that you pay like five times the amount to find at Zara.  It’s most definitely worth a look.
  4. Dresses.  I find that honestly, the dress section is usually the BEST section in the store.  It’s the place you are most likely, it seems, to find GOOD vintage and interesting pieces, and things that you’d pay a lot more for if you were to find them online in a vintage shop.  I get it, this is where presentation REALLY comes into play.  Often times it’s really hard to spot a great item amongst the bad ones, so you have to pull things out and ask yourself a few key questions.  Does it look like something you would see in a magazine/on the runway/in one of your favorite stores?  Is it layerable?  If you saw this in a cute shop, would you buy it?  Honestly, bad presentation can also make things that aren’t that cute appear cuter than they actually are as well…because if something is the best item in the store, of COURSE it looks good!  I try to picture things I see in the thrift store on bloggers I love or in a magazine spread, and if that image works, I go with the item.  If not, I pass on it.
  5. Blazers.  Thrift stores are usually LOADED with blazers of all kinds and this is a total JACKPOT for this style.  I seriously suggest checking a few second hand stores before spending on this style because I’ve gotten the best blazers from there.  One was from Anthropologie and the other vintage…so you see what I mean?  It’s worth a scan on the racks!

One of the things I’ve learned is that if you are going for a LOOK more than for BRANDS, you’ll do better thrift store shopping in general.  Now some of you may live in areas like San Francisco or Malibu where there are a wealth of higher end thrift shops…and that’s a totally different situation.  I just know for me, being in an area where the thrift stores are really nice but aren’t “fed” by a lot of high end stores, it’s better to look for things that are vintage or that just have the look I’m going for, than to look for say, Free People items.  Once I started looking for “a blue pinstriped button down” (as an example) instead of “designer brands”, I ended up finding SO much better stuff.  Let me boil this down for you.  If you go OFTEN and with a CREATIVE and OPEN mind, you’ll make out like a bandit most times.  There will still be days when you walk away with nothing.  But those days will get fewer and fewer!

I scored this vintage slip and this pinstripe top from Goodwill.  And when I put them on, I completely felt like I could walk a Ralph Lauren runway.  I am in LOVE with this outfit.  It feels like menswear meets bohemian sophisticated glamour.  The boots are from my amazing bootmaking friend Hillbilly Gypsy Boots and they’re the best ever.  The vintage squash blossom is from Classic Rock Couture on Etsy.  I put it over skinny jeans to make it a little more casual and since it’s not quite warm enough to go without.  But when it does warm up, I’ll be rocking this over some tall boots too!

Okay you guys!  Brave those thrift stores!  You can DO IT!
Katy

Denim, Culottes, and Dress Codes

What is it about denim that makes it get such a bad rap?  It seems like in this world where everyone’s got a dress code, denim is the one thing that ALWAYS lands on the top of the list.  I grew up with dress codes.  I went from my childhood of homeschooling with a mom who had completely different opinions about what I should wear than I did, to a private high school with an uber strict code.  It was like going from one constant clothing argument to another.

My mom felt like I should wear pastels.  There were no two piece swimsuits.  No dark colors.  And jeans?  Well let’s just say I didn’t wear the cool jeans.  My high school, being all about modesty of course had super easy rules to follow, like no skirts shorter than four inches above the (bended) knee.  So every week, all the tall girls (like me) were dragged into the office under suspicion of dressing immodestly, told to kneel down, and had a ruler placed on the floor to see how short our skirts were.  Basically that meant that your skirt could be no shorter than knee length.  Being the mid to late 90s, it was virtually impossible to find skirts like this.  It was all mini skirts. Maxi skirts?  What the heck are those?  Did you ever see Alicia Silverstone wearing one of those in Clueless?  I mean I honestly don’t even know what my high school dress code would have said about culottes or cropped pants or leggings because those were nowhere to be found.  When culottes came back into style I rejoiced, but then silently wept for my high school self who could have had so much better style if only this had happened while Britney was accidentally playing with our hearts again.

Back to denim.  The dress code SPECIFICALLY stated NO SHREDDED OR FRAYED jeans.  They were NOT to be tolerated.  This was obviously a sign of rebellion and anarchist tendencies and all violators were to be given detention.  I tried very hard to abide by this rule, but let’s be honest, sometimes jeans fray and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I remember being followed across the parking lot by a hyper vigilant office lady/dress code enforcer who informed me that there was a string hanging off my jeans and was I going to cut it off?  I told her it wasn’t likely and kept walking.  This was my only act of rebellion in high school.  And it felt GREAT.

Now I celebrate my freedom by wearing cutoffs, culottes, distressed jeans, unhemmed frayed jeans, and, well, mini skirts because I can.  Denim is just misunderstood if you ask me.

 

I chose this outfit for my Week of Denim because it’s just vintage denim at it’s finest.  Wearing denim with denim can be tricky because you don’t want to be TOO matchy matchy, but it totally works as long as the hues of the top and the bottom compliment each other.  I don’t wear heels often at all, and culottes are made for heels.  These booties have just enough of a heel that they actually work and still allow me to walk comfortably.  I love the embroidery and button detail on this top from Ruby Rose.  And of course, I just add turquoise with everything because it’s my favorite and it really looks great with everything.

Ah if only I had a time machine to go back to high school.  I’d be the coolest, most forward thinking dresser around.

Back to the weekly grind today…wear your denim proudly!

Katy