Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/30/12-1/31/12

I never thought it was possible, but it is: I'm officially overwhelmed. By shopping. How did that happen??

I can't seem to find the perfect dress pant or the perfect knee-high summer boot - not through patience and diligent swap meet hunting, and not even by throwing money at the problem. After two solid months of orders and returns, all I seem to find are pants that bunch at the crotch and boots in the wrong color/shape/style/size. I didn't even try on the last pair, because the color shown online was not at all true to life. Sigh. I have two more on the way but, after that, I'm admitting defeat officially.

I did have one small victory, though. On the recommendation of youlookfab.com's Angie, I tried Banana Republic's Sloan pant. They are slightly tight in the rear, but they create the least crotch problems of all pants I've tried so far. Yay, BR!

One-Dollar Wonders
Painted Leather Bag (bought as skirt and sewn into bag form)
Teal Turtleneck
Teal Club Monaco Skirt
Black Tights
Nickel-Free Necklace

Honorable Mention
Python Belt - $2 via Goodwill
BR Shirt - via Ebay
Gray Sweater - $11 via AT Final Sale w/ extra 60% off
Sam Edelman Boots - $40 via swap meet + day

Cougar Skull Necklace
Beaded Long Necklace - gift
June Leather Vest - gift
Dr. Martens Marcie Boots

Monday, January 30, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/29/12

Double denim for a Sunday out at a Chinese New Year Festival, the old-time soda store, and the Museum of California Art. No pics inside the gallery, so Hubs snapped one down in their parking garage.

One-Dollar Wonders
Exra Fitch Denim Shorts
Black Leather Belt

Honorable Mention
Diesel Denim Jacket - $5

All Saints Tsarina Tee - via archive clearance
Fergie Major Boots - via Overstock
London Fog Bag - gift

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/28/12

Worn to band practice, which involved much pizza and beer. Rock!

One-Dollar Wonders
Deff Leppard Tee
Paint-Spattered Jeans
Neon Green Belt (obscured)

Fishtail Anorak - via Old Navy Clearance
London Fog Bag - gift
Dr. Martens Marcie Boots - via shoebuy.com

Saturday, January 28, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/27/12

I've been treating myself to a little "real" shopping to celebrate my still-new job, and today was the debut of this Ann Taylor Aviator jacket that I got during an extra-60%-off sale - $40, down from $228!

One-Dollar Wonders
Green Ann Taylor Sleeveless Shirt
Woven Leather Belt
Nickel-Free Necklace

American Rag Jeans - gift
London Fog Bag - gift
Dolce Vita Jayce Boots - via Amazon

Thursday, January 26, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies 1/26

Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears poncho?

Actually, Mr. Zappa, it's a Hinge poncho! And almost my entire outfit came from the swap meet.

This top is a new shape for me but, for $1, I thought I'd experiment. I really like how the curved hem raises the leg line without depending on a belt and also draws the eye to the center of the body. I'm lucky I found this super-soft, lightweight knit top when I did, because it was about 80-degrees today. O_O

One-Dollar Wonders
Hinge Cowl-Neck Knit Poncho
James Perse Tank
Patterned Pencil Skirt
Brown Tights
Beaded Necklace

Dr. Martens Marcie Boots

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies 1/22/12-1/25/12

Yikes! Where did the time go? I've got some serious catching up to do!

1/22: No outfit - lounging day.

1/23: 90-Day Review at the new job.

1/24: Work, then dinner with some faaaaaabulous YLF members! To the ladies who I cropped out, its not because I don't love you; it's because I forgot to ask permission to use pics on my blog. <3

1/25: Work, including another reading at a local school.

...and a late-night run to the grocery store!

One-Dollar Wonders
Merona Lime Striped Shirt
Black Ann Taylor Pants
Black Patent Liz Claiborne Belt (50 cents!)
Black Tweed Blazer
Orange Feather Print Skirt
Nickel-Free Silver-Tone Chain
Banana Republic Red Wool Sweater
BCX Tweed Pants
Red Leather Belt

Benetton Blazer - via Goodwill
Dr. Martens Marcie Boots
L'incontro Bag - via Goodwill, dyed
Ann Taylor citron blouse - AT sale
Merona Sweater Tights
Fergie Major boots - Nordies clearance
Striped Jacket - via Buffalo Exchange
 London Fog bag - gift
Dolce Vita Jayce Boots - via Amazon
Superdry Jacket - gift
Spuds Sweatshirt - appropriated from parents many moons ago :)
Hudson Jeans - $25 via swap meet
Robot Necklace - gift

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jacquard iDye Review: Fire Red -and- Dealing with Unexpected Results

I love my blue Old Navy Fishtail Anorak so much that I decided to duplicate it - only the one other color offered totally washed me out. Pfft, like that was going to stop me! Not when flame red dye will set me back all of $5.

I loved my previous results with Jacquard iDye in Chartreuse, so I used this brand again, opting for their Fire Red color, #412.

The instructions say that one packet is good for up to 3 lbs. of fabric, so I weighed my anorak before buying the dye. Only about 1.5 lbs. - single packet it is!

I've already laid out the instructions in the Chartreuse post, so I'll skip right to the oddities of dying this time around:
  • This jacket was twice as big as before, and my dye tub remained the same. The fabric didn't come close to "moving freely" as the instructions suggested.

  • Probably because of the poor range of motion, I noticed that small specks wanted to settle on the fabric. I scrubbed gently at these with a sponge to avoid super saturated blotches. 

  • Check out the "before" image again. I'm pretty sure that's antique brass toned hardware... the after picture is definitely more of a brushed nickel color. I think the heat melted off whatever metal treatment was originally there. 

  • Old Navy clearly used thread made of man-made fibers - hence, my natural-fiber dye did not adhere to any of the stitching. I happen to love the contrast stitching effect that resulted, but you may want to keep this in mind for your projects. 

  • My anorak was also lined in blended fabric - part cotton, part man-made fibers - consequently, only a percentage of the lining fibers changed color. To avoid this, you'd need to use two types of dye. Jacquard also offers iDye Poly that you can mix in for use with polyester and nylon blends.

Here's a bonus pic of my tub looking like a crime scene during the rinse cycle...

... and behold! The finished product. Complete with oh-so-subtle feline attempt to steal the spotlight. :)

Once again, the iDye color chart was very true to life, and the product was easy to use. I'm a fan!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/21/12

Two outfits today!

The first outfit completes the Week of Adjacent Colors with red and red-orange - worn out for Chinese food following a morning hike. The adjacent colors challenge has shown me how few colored bottoms I have - the bulk of my color is all tied up in tops, belts, and bags. My eyes are officially open for colorful skirts and pants (but no cropped pants, please)! This outfit is light on the $1 items, because most of these pieces are ones I'm very picky about: colored tops, coats, jeans, and boots. I still got 'em all for cheap, but sadly not for $1.

One-Dollar Wonders
Orange Cami
Red Leather Belt

Puma Casual Coat - Puma Outlet (on clearance!)
Hudson Signature Bootcut Jeans - $25 at swap meet
Splendid Sweater - via Ebay
Dr. Martens Marcie Boots

The second outfit of the day was worn to my very first band practice! Our practice area was heated only with a space heater, so I wanted to be warm - but still ready to rock. My inner rock star demanded awesome boots, naturally.

In other news: I'm in a band! Yep, I've been playing bass guitar for just about a month now. My husband and I are playing with another couple, and I think we did really well for our first time. The group meshes well, and everyone is picking the songs up quickly - I'm absolutely stoked to have one of my songs on the set list. Living my tweenage dream, y'all!

One-Dollar Wonders
Lucky Brand Shorts
James Perse Tank Top (under shirt)
Cognac Belt (under shirt)

Merona Sweater Tights
Superdry Japan Jacket - gift from Hubs
Batman Tee - appropriated from Hubs
Apepazza Pesaro Boots - Amazon
Yellow Bag - gift from Mom

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/20/12

Really had to reach to fulfill today's blue-and-purple requirement, but it did get me to wear this belt, which I've worn once in about 3 years. It's a double-wrap, meant to be worn at the waist, but my waist is too short for such things. I like it better on the hips, as I've worn it here, so I may do that again!

One-Dollar Wonders
Leather Blazer (50 cents!)
DKNY Cashmere Turtleneck

American Rag Jeans - gift
Blue Belt - $4 via Out of the Closet (thrift)
Doc Martens Marcie Boots

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/19/12

Thursday in the Week of Adjacent Colors, the theme is blue-green and blue. I thought this one would be a breeze, because I love the colors together, but I struggled a little bit because I don't usually wear them together. I almost defaulted to just carrying my blue handbag, but I think I made one of my two blue belts work.

One-Dollar Wonders
Teal Turtleneck
Moschino Pencil Skirt
Mossimo Patterned Footless Tights
Blue Leather Belt

Banana Republic Cardigan - $2.50 via Goodwill sale in NYC
Hematite Necklace - $2 via swap meet
Dr. Martens Marcie Wedges - via Shoebuy.com
London Fog Bag - gift

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/18/12

The Week of Adjacent Colors continues! Today's combo is yellow green with blue green - a bit harder for me, since I own both colors as unlayerable tops and neither color as bottoms. My solution was to belt my lime Zara sweater with my teal studded belt (which used to be a hip belt but is now fully convertable thanks to my beloved leather punch). I'd first planned to wear brown tights under this, but 1) this skirt is unlined and 2) I think the midi length just looks better with bare legs. I love this color combination, and I hope to someday aquire skirts or pants in these colors in order to amplify the effect.

It's too early in the morning for me to be this happy - thankfully, I have cats to laugh at. :)

One-Dollar Wonders
Lime Zara Sweater
Michael Stars A-Shirt (layered under sweater)
Donna Karan Signature Cashmere Skirt
Teal Leather Belt

Fergie Major Boots
London Fog Bag
Pewter Wolf Cougar Skull Necklace

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/17/12

No outfit from yesterday, because all I did was go on a hike and lounge at home! Good for the bod, not so good for the fashion.

Today, I'm piggybacking on a fellow YLF forum member Aida's idea to do a week of adjacent-colored outfits. I missed the red-red orange day, but I'm psyched about today's gold-olive pairing. I don't own any pure gold items, so I went with citron instead. I'm in complete denial that this beloved top is finally pilling and trying to get away with letting just a little peek out from under my blazer - prolonging the inevitable saves money, yes?

One-Dollar Wonders
Ebby Citron Top
Black Tweed Jacket
Donna Rae Olive Paisley Skirt
Liz Claiborne Belt (50 cents)

Merona Sweater Tights - gift
Fergie Major Boots
London Fog Bag - gift
Snake Necklace - gift

Monday, January 16, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/15/12

It was a full day o' long-weekend fun in my neck of the woods. Hubs and I started off with a quick morning hike, then I changed clothes on the fly to hit up a swap meet, a dog show, and this fabulously gorgeous Japanese garden, which is built on a water reclamation facility. We've lived in LA for a good long while now, but this is the first time either of us have been to Suiho En in Van Nuys. It's immaculate, breathtaking, and only $3 to get in!

One-Dollar Wonders
Red Sweater Dress

Beige Jacket - $6 via thrift store in Ontario
Cat Hat - gift from Hubs (had to represent my favorite animal at the dog show!)
London Fog Bag - gift from years ago
Gap legging jeans - via Ebay
Apepazza Boots - via Amazon

And here are a couple of bonus garden photos, taken on Hubby's phone camera - happy weekend!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/14/12

Today, I riffed off of last Saturday's outfit, which was so well-received by both Hubs and me that I couldn't wait to repeat the success.

Last week's outfit:

One-Dollar Wonders
Bleached-White Denim Jacket
Lucky Brand Shorts

Merona Premium Sweater Tights - gift
Fergie Major Boots - gift card
London Fog Handbag - gift from several Christmases ago
Star Wars LS Tee - gift from Hubs

Today's outfit used the same formula, right down to the Star Wars tee: jacket, long top, short shorts, tights, and boots.

Found a promo pic of my Star Wars shirt, since I didn't flash the graphic in my pics this week. :)

One-Dollar Wonders
Plaid Shorts

Diesel Jacket - $5 via swap meet (the one I bought last week, with the armpit gussets!)
Star Wars Tee - $2.50 via San Diego swap meet
B. Makowsky bag - via Ebay
Merona Premium Sweater Tights - gift
Fergie Major Boots - gift card

Hubs could not get over these tights - they are ribbed, which Hubs says is slimming (!), and they feel like they will last a long time. The material is nice and thick, with a good heft and stretch that recovers. After we saw our movie today, he drove me straight to Target to pick out more colors of these tights before they get rid of them to move in the Spring merch. I don't see the exact ones online, but they do have a similar pair in gray still available.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I was running around today, doing a marginally irritating exchange at Gap. By the time I came home, I was so hungry and petulant that I forgot to take my outfit photo!

Imagine this shirt and jacket... 

...with these pants and shoes... 

 ... and Monday's red handbag. 

One-Dollar Wonders
Gingham Old Navy Shirt

American Rag Trouser Jeans - gift
AllSaints Leather Jacket - via Ebay
Dolce Vita Jayce boots - via Amazon
Abro bag - $15 plus $18 for dye

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/12/12

I wanted something simple and comfortable today, but I still wanted a little bit of a dark edge. Alaskagirl, one of my good friends and style inspirations on the Youlookfab forum, coined the term Urban Warrior Princess (UWP) as a style descriptor - this has been strongly informing my casual fashion choices for the past year or so, but I've recently been trying to inject a little UWP into my work style as well. Ergo, even though this is a lazy outfit in a lot of ways, I still had to roughen it up a bit with moody grays, chunky-heeled and riveted boots, and my beloved cougar skull necklace (a set I bought for my dad and me as a Christmas gift).

One-Dollar Wonders
Banana Republic Sweater
H&M Skirt

Gianni Bini Boots - $70 via Ebay
Merona Ribbed Sweater Tights - gift
Cougar Skull Necklace - $30 via Etsy
Cettu Handbag - $10 at swap meet

Best Buy of 2011 - or - How High Heels Saved My Feet

I tend to do a lot of walking on the weekends. Any given Saturday is guaranteed 2-4 hours of swap meet shopping and, on top of that, you never know when Hubs and I are going to take a walking tour of Koreatown, pop into a mall to browse before a $2 movie, or walk a mile or two to avoid random parking fees. With all this foot traffic in my life, I always figured that the pain, fatigue, and cramping in my arches and ankles was a given - after all, I always wore sensible, flat-to-low-heeled boots and sneakers. It doesn't get more comfortable than that, right?

One day in mid-2011, I browsed some online boot sales (as I am wont to do) and fell in love with the design of Dr. Martens' Marcie boot. The feminine twist on the classic combat boot made my heart patter, and reviews claimed that the boots ran narrow - great news for a gal who always found Docs much too wide! But the heel... 3.5 inches? My feet already hurt in flats.

I told myself I shouldn't get them. Be practical.

But I want them!

Take care of your feet.

But I love them!

Think of the pain.

Love hurts!

You already know I bought them. I wore them to the swap meet and on walks on the beach trails. And you know what? My arches ceased to cramp and spasm. My shins did not ache. My super tall, platform wedges were the most comfortable shoes I'd ever owned.

I bought another pair. Then I bought more boots in similar heel heights. I tromped all around town in all of these heels, making all my sensibly-shod friends gasp and wince and omigoshhowcanyouwearthosethings. I felt wonderful. I don't think I'll ever buy a heel under 3" high again.

I'm not posting this story to say, "Haha, heels don't hurt my feet! Naner naner!" I think there could be some science behind this. Maybe other people who are hurt by flat shoes can replicate this success.

It's more than just arch support, though that helps. I put on an old pair of flat boots the other day and marveled at how much work my feet had to do with each stride. My feet are pretty big for my stature - 8.5-9 on a 5'4" frame - and I felt like I was walking around in big, floppy clown shoes - or snow shoes - or flippers. Compared to walking in my heels, my arches had to invert way more to propel me forward, and my ankles had to contract way more to bring my foot around for the next step. Instead of normal, elegant footsteps, I had to lift each foot up in the air and clomp like a Clydesdale in order to keep from scraping my long toes along the pavement. Walking in flats, for me - with my long, feet, long toes, and short legs - was work. I actually tripped twice.

My heels, it seems, solve all those problems. Setting the foot at an incline decreases the amount of shoe that actually makes contact with the ground and reduces the needed amount of ankle action. Granted, I can't see the future; they may come a day when I'm punished for my altered posture with horrible back or hip problems. For now, though, I'm enjoying my new, blissfully pain-free gait.

If you're someone with large or otherwise cumbersome feet, and you sometimes have trouble with pain or... er... y'know, with walking correctly, then a higher heel might be worth a try.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1-11-12

Today I spent part of my day reading a book about the rainforest to second-graders (part of a community support campaign through work), so I took outfit inspiration from the rainforest: green for the foliage, purple for the exotic flowers, and a drapey gray cardigan for the vines, clouds, and rain. Kind of silly, but it made for a cute outfit!

One-Dollar Wonders
Banana Republic Jersey Blouse
Club Monaco Skirt
99-Cents Only Tights

Merona Cardigan - Target clearance
Fergie Major boots - Nordstrom clearance
"Raebot" Necklace - gift from my fantabulous, robot-loving hubby!
Cettu Handbag - $10 at swap meet

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One-Dollar Dailies: 1/10/12

Today's outfit is all about alternative necklines. Bought this jacket and loved it, because it features a killer asymmetrical neckline - but I struggled with how to wear it. It looked odd and off-center over a traditional button-front, and V-necks were out, too. To my eye, the soft drape of a cowl neck is a great counterpart to the hard, angular lines of the jacket.

One-Dollar Wonders
Outback Red Cowl
BCX Wide Leg Tweed Pants

Asymmetrical Zip Wool Jacket - $16 via Buffalo Exchange
Burgundy Dolce Vita Jayce Boots
Purple Cettu Handbag - $10 via swap meet

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Series: One-Dollar Dailies

I haven't done this in the past, but I'm going to try my hand at daily outfit posts!

At first, I thought, "Hey, my outfits aren't exactly groundbreaking. My goal isn't to expound on how fashion-forward I am, but to spread the good word on thrifty shopping. No one needs to see that many outfits from me." But now I wonder if that's the wrong way to look at it. Anyone can dress on the cheap, and anyone can get lucky and find a few gems secondhand - but I want to prove that chic, cheap wearable wares can be had consistently. You don't have to have a super-eclectic, retro, or hipster style to take advantage of secondhand goods - regular folk can save money, too.

Enter: One-Dollar Dailies. Essentially, these will be your average daily outfit posts, except that the focus will be to highlight the functionality of $1 purchases over time. I will also list off the retail items in my outfits but, at least in the dailies, I won't link to every item I ever buy online - it makes me feel just a wee bit dirty to give retailers free advertising, and that was never the original focus of my blog. If you ever do want to know where I got a non-$1 item, though, please feel free to ask!

Without further delay, here's the first One-Dollar Daily! I wore this to the office for an internal meeting. Nothing too big, so I'm not in strict Corporate Wear, but a little more conservative than normal.

One-Dollar Wonders
Navy Tights - 99-Cents Only Store
Christian Dior Belt - swap meet
Calvin Klein Dress - free at swap party

H&M Cable Knit Sweater - gift
Carlos Santana Pump
Bolero Style Necklace - gift
Red Abro Handbag - about $40 ($15 + two bottles of dye)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New $1 Loot

It's been hard to swap with all the holiday bustle, but I still managed to make out like a bandit in late December and early January. $1 Wonders below!
Club Monaco Midi, Teal Turtleneck

Donna Rae Paisley Skirt

Banana Republic Red Sweater - compare at $60

Hinge Knit Poncho - compare at $58
Theory Dash Batik Jacket - compare at $355

Ann Taylor Loft Engineer Dress - compare at $60-$90

Diesel Denim Jacket - compare at $210 (okay, this cost me $5 instead of $1, but still a fun deal)

James Perse Daily Tank - compare at $45

Donna Karan Signature 100% Cashmere Midi - compare at $795

Cropped Denim Jacket

Honorable mentions - These were $8.00 and bought for me as Christmas gifts by The Husband, but they were a great deal. The others we saw were made of cheap fleece material and cost the same price. The last time I tried on a knit hat like this, it was $40