Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to the Future

Dress: Trinity via Plato's Closet, $18 // Leggings: Courtesy of We Love Colors // Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless // Sunglasses: Plato's Closet, $7

This little mod mini dress had me feeling rather retro futuristic today. You can't really tell from the picture, but the leggings are a very light grey, not white. Though I loved them with the dress, it was almost too warm for them today! This week has been paradise. Every time I go outside, I try to soak up every ounce of sunlight.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Big Sweaters & Burberry

Sweater: Daisy Fuentes via Kohl's, $11 // Belt: Thrifted, $1 // Jacket: Burberry, thrifted, $20 // Jeans: Urban Outfitters, used gift certificate // Shoes: Thrifted, $4

Friday was a beautiful but brisk spring day. I wanted to wear something light and a fresh but also warm, so it was the perfect opportunity to take my new jacket for a spin. I don't care much about designers and labels, but because Burberry is known for its classic, timeless styles and superior quality, I was excited to find this sweet little jacket. Clearly the thrift store knew the significance of the brand, but $20 is still a steal considering.

As for the rest of the outfit, I'm loving big knits, and I finally found an oversize sweater that meets my needs: neutral color, soft material, slim cut, generous length. I didn't realize until looking at these pictures that the jeans and sweater are the same color, but I can dig the monochromatic look.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kansas Couture Presents...

Get Your Fix
Any time is a good time for thrifting! But, I recommend going when you have a shopping "craving." We all know the feeling. Your life won't be complete (or at least you won't look cute tonight) unless you buy something new. At least for me, these cravings often lead to spending too much money, buying things I don't really need, feeling a rush and then feeling guilty. Thrifting is a great solution because you are bound to spend much less money, and buying used items is more eco-friendly. Also, the rush from thrifting is distinctly different and, in my opinion, much better than that from regular retail shopping.

Take Your Time
Quick thrift trips are fine, especially if you're a seasoned thrifter or you're just looking at one type of item like shoes. If you're just breaking into the world of thrifting, however, I recommend allowing yourself plenty of time. You're much more likely to be successful.

Monday through Friday
Consider going on a weekday if you can. There will be fewer shoppers, and the store will be less picked over. Also, if you plan to frequent the same thrift store, find out if they have specials on certain days. You can even ask what day or days they restock.

Explore Your Area
Not all thrift stores are created equal. Visit all the thrift stores in your city or town, and travel to those nearby to get an idea of prices and selection. Generally speaking, thrift stores in small towns are likely to be cheaper and less picked over than those in more urban areas. Don't give up on a store after just one visit, though. Thrift stores are constantly changing, which is one reason they're so great!

Be Patient
One of the reasons thrift stores are considerably cheaper than, say, a vintage boutique or an antique mall is they don't filter through the merchandise to find the best items. You have to do that part! But it can be fun and rewarding, and the savings make it worth the effort. Be prepared to comb through a lot of clothes before you find something good.

Be Thorough
Look through everything. Just scanning a rack like you might do at a regular store probably won't cut it. Take it one section at a time, and look at each item. If the entire store seems too daunting, you can focus on one area per visit. Also, take a quick look in the men's and kids sections. You may just find a cute little blazer on the boys' rack or a men's denim shirt that would look great over leggings.

Be Persistent
It's easy to give up on thrifting when you put in the time and effort and come away empty-handed. I've had just as many failed attempts as smashing successes. You just have to keep trying. Often! I probably thrift at least once a week. The more you thrift, the more you'll find. You'll get better at it with practice.

See the Possibilities
It's important to recognize a garment's potential. For instance, a pair of pleated, high-waist "mom" pants from the '80s hanging on a grungy thrift store rack is not going to look as appealing as a similar pair styled on an H&M mannequin. Besides context, some items will actually need to be altered to unleash their style possibilities. A frumpy long dress or skirt may look totally chic with a more modern hemline. A ridiculous blouse may become quirky and cool once you remove the shoulder pads. Considering how little you're spending, it's okay to get some fixer-uppers. And if you're not a seamstress, consider enlisting the help of a tailor. Even after the cost of alteration, you'll probably be spending less or the same as you would in a store, and you're getting a more unique piece.

Cheap & Trendy
So you want to get on board with the latest trend, but you don't feel it's worth an investment. Try thrifting it! You would be surprised what you can find.

Take Risks
Because thrifting gives you more freedom financially, you don't have to be as safe with your purchases. You may only wear that multi-colored sequin blouse one time, but you paid $5 for it. You can always donate it again. That being said, don't buy things just because they're cheap. Money is money, and even small amounts add up quickly.

Be Discerning
Though they're usually cheap, thrift store items are not exempt from being overpriced. Evaluate what an item is worth to you, so you don't overpay. Also, examine items carefully for stains or other defects before you purchase them.
A Little Dirt Never Hurt
I've gotten a few questions from people concerned about the cleanliness of thrifting. Personally, I'm not at all grossed out about the idea of wearing clothes that belonged to someone else. The only advice I have on this matter is wash before you wear.

Hopefully I didn't just state the obvious. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. Fellow thrifters, please share your own tips!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Mean Business

Shirt: Vintage, thrifted, $6 // Skirt: Urban Outfitters, $20 // Shoes: Target, $29 // Bag: Vintage, thrifted, $4

I felt rather prim and proper yesterday in a stately ruffled blouse and simple black accompaniments. 

Also, after a successful trip to the thrift store today, I'm all revved up to write my tips post. Look out for it tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip

Dress: Vintage via Goodwill, $4 // Belt: Goodwill, $2 // Shoes: N.Y.L.A, courtesy of Lucky Magazine

This breezy vintage dress is another item from last week's Goodwill haul. I love that it will work for various occasions. The sturdy fabric and structured fit make it office-appropriate, while the carefree stripes and color palette are ideal for a spring picnic or summer barbecue.

Since a few of you have asked, I will be doing a post with thrifting tips soon!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pure & Simple

Shirt: Goodwill, $3 // Blazer: Vintage via Goodwill, $5 // Jeans: Tilt, $18 // Shoes: Vintage, thrifted, $1

I put on this outfit as you see it and was satisfied. Then, I found myself feeling obligated to add an accessory though I didn't want to. That got me to thinking about the concept of simplicity. Is it lazy to dress simply? Can only certain people look chic in a minimal outfit? Does a good simple outfit have to include an unusual, eye-catching piece of clothing, or can you dress in basics from head to toe and still be stylish? I think my natural style tends to be pretty darn simple, but I kind of fight it.  Don't get me wrong; I love jewelry (and hats and scarves and so on) as much as the next girl, but sometimes I add accents in an attempt to look more stylish. When really... I just want to keep it simple. Thoughts?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Silver Lining

Jacket: Vintage via Goodwill, $5 // Scarf: Courtesy of LOFT // Jeans: Guess via TJMaxx, S28 // Hat: Target, $5 // Boots: Goodwill, $4

The bright side to the wintry turn of events this weekend? I got to try out a couple of cold-weather items I thrifted at Goodwill on Friday: this little vintage jacket and these practical yet (sort of) stylish boots. 

The jacket has a couple of stains, and it's made for a child, but it was too sweet to pass up. Besides, lifting one's arms is overrated. The boots are 100% waterproof and fully-lined but are "disguised" to look like textured brown leather boots. They're less ugly than the average snow boot and are probably (sadly) the most practical shoes I've owned as an adult. I'm sure I had proper footwear as a kid, but I remember distinctly schlepping around in the snow in high school wearing Converse Chuck Taylors. And, more recently, ruining all my leather boots by getting them wet.

The snow was actually pretty fun. It gave me the perfect reason to enjoy some of my favorite hot beverages and TV shows.

Besides, who could frown when there's polka dot slush on the ground?

Friday, March 19, 2010

How About This Weather?

The weather is a notoriously mundane topic that people tend to bring up when they have nothing else to say. But it's actually quite pertinent to fashion bloggers because it has such an effect on what we wear. So I'm going to proceed to talk about the weather...
Turtleneck: Gap, $10 // Shorts: Insight, courtesy of 80s Purple // Hat: H&M, $15 // Belt: From a Forever 21 dress // Flats: Seychelles, $22

These pictures were taken at around 2:00 in the afternoon on Friday. The weather? 60 degrees and sunny.

The weather as of Friday night? 28 degrees and blizzarding.

A snowy weekend is a perfect excuse for excessive couch-dwelling and movie-watching, but I fear these may not survive...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meet My Polka Dot Pants

Tube top: XT, $10 // Pants: Vintage, thrifted, $8 // Necklace: Forever 21, $9 // Shoes: Lucky Brand, courtesy of Lucky Magazine

I took a chance on these babies. It was only an $8 chance, but still. The morning after my aforementioned girls' night in KC, my friends and I had a very limited amount of time to spend at a warehouse-style thrift store (Re-Runs). Generally, I only truly succeed at thrifting when I have an unlimited amount of time to spend looking. Near the end of our short little window, I grabbed these pants. My first reaction was that they were fairly comical but also kind of awesome. Then, I proceeded to buy them without trying them on (only because they were less than $10). After getting them home and giving them a go, I was totally pleased with the result. They fit nicely, and they have an elastic waist, so they feel like wearing sweatpants. So comfortable! These pants wouldn't fly with just anything, but paired with a simple tube top and glam chain statement necklace, they totally fit the bill for a fun, frivolous night of dancing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Me Lucky Charms

Dress: Vintage via local antique mall, $30 // Scarf (as belt): Thrifted, $1 // Bracelet: Courtesy of LOFT // Boots: Vintage Anne Klein, $15

I'm not even that into St. Patrick's Day, but I love when occasions have a dress code. With very few green items in my closet, getting dressed this morning was quick and easy! Hope everyone has a happy holiday!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boots of Spanish Leather

Dress: Thrifted, $6 // Blazer: Vintage Levi's, thrifted, $1.50 // Necklace: Wild Man Vintage, $13 // Boots: Vintage Anne Klein via Wild Man Vintage, $15

My shoe collection is pretty extensive, but one area that always feels lacking is basic tall boots. I recently found these brown leather beauties for half price and have been wanting to wear them with everything since! We'll see how long the infatuation lasts...

And, no, they're not Spanish. I just like that song.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Versatility Justification

Dress: Kieu's, $40 // Jacket: Target kids' section, $25 // Necklace: Forever 21, $9 // Shoes: alice + olivia for Payless

As someone who loves to go shopping but is also frugal to a fault, I have become a master at justifying purchases. One of the easiest excuses to buy something new is a special event or occasion (wedding to attend, job interview, holiday), but when that fails, I usually play the versatility card. Such was the case with this polka dot frock. As soon as I saw its retro silhouette and classic black & white print, I knew it would be mine. Then came the guilt-minimizing spiel about how I could wear it with a cardi for work, dress it up for evening, dress it down for weekend... blah blah blah. Well, in an attempt to follow through with my promise to myself, I'm going to make a conscious effort to style this dress in many different ways.

Here's the first: I gave it some edge for a girls' night out in Kansas City with three of my best friends. If I look a little rough, it's because this shot was taken at the very end of the night. More variations on this dress to come!

And, out of curiosity, do you guys play these ridiculous mind games like me, or do you just buy what you want and get on with your life?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pet Peeve

Jacket: Collection via TJMaxx, $30 (purchased with gift card) // Sweater: Gap, $28 // Belt: Forever 21, $3.50 // Shoes: Lucky Brand, courtesy of Lucky Magazine // Scarf: Courtesy of LOFT

One of my biggest clothing pet peeves is pilling! This morning, I was sad to find my big Gap sweater riddled with those pesky little fuzzies. The cool, gloomy day gave me such a strong desire to wear something cozy, that I overlooked it this time. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Delightfully Disheveled

Blouse: Vintage, thrifted, $6 // Sweater: Forever 21, $22 // Trousers: Old Navy, $9 // Belt: Thrifted, $1 // Shoes: Target, $9 // Ring: Courtesy of Accessorize

I may look like I just rolled out of bed, but I'm actually about to hop into it. Picture-taking happened very late today. I promise I looked a bit more polished at the office. You'll just have to use your imagination.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shelter from the Storm

Blazer: Vintage, thrifted, $1.50 // Romper: Better B. via local shop, $25 // Necklace: Forever 21, $9 // Shoes: Lucky Brand, courtesy of Lucky Magazine // Umbrella: Gift

This romper hasn't gotten a whole lot of wear since I bought it last summer, but for some reason it just jumped out at me yesterday. I really like the idea of layering with a romper, and the combination ended being just right for the mild but cloudy day. It's been rainy the past couple of days. Though the ever-worsening mud is a nuisance (that has sullied about half of my shoe collection), I love rainy days. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kansas Couture in Style Sample Magazine

 Check out the latest issue of Style Sample magazine! I'm featured in the Blogs to Watch section.

Jumping the Gun

Blazer: Vintage, thrifted, $1.50 // Shirt: Vintage, thrifted, $6 // Cords: Gap, $11 // Hat: Payless // Sandals: Ciao Bella via TJMaxx, $30

I just couldn't resist donning this summery straw fedora and sandals (again) to complete this yacht-worthy look. The fifties just feel so warm after a long cold winter.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


When I saw this necklace, I wanted to eat it like candy. Instead, I purchased it and wore it with this outfit... and at least three others that I didn't share.
Tee: Urban Outfitters, $10 // Sweater: Forever 21, $22 // Jeans: Almost Famous via TJMaxx, $18 // Belt: Thrifted, $1 // Necklace: JCPenney, $20 // Sandals: Ciao Bella via TJMaxx, $30

It was sunny and in the fifties yesterday, and it felt like paradise. Though cloudier, it's just as warm today. So, on that note, I'm going to head outside!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Styling the Stylist

Dress (including belt): Forever 21, $23 // Tights: My sister's // Shoes: alice + olivia for Payless // Rings: Courtesy of Accessorize

Here's what I wore to the show. I considered dressing to match my models more closely but thought it was better this way. Wouldn't want people to think I'm a one-trick pony!

More from the Fashion Show

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring Fashion Show

Photo by Travis Cline
Photo by Mike Yoder
 Photo by Mike Yoder
 Photo by Mike Yoder
 Photo by Mike Yoder
 Photo by Mike Yoder

Monday's fashion show was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who made the show possible (especially organizer extraordinaire Nick Ray) and those who came out to support it!

Styled by me.
Clothes: Borrowed from the Social Service League
Models: Caitlin, Thomas, Emma, Pearl, Dan, Copper
Hair and make-up: Static Salon
Jewelry: Provided by Goldmakers
Shoes: Provided by the models
Venue: Teller's

Coming tomorrow: Behind-the-scenes photos and what I wore to the show.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Go-To Get-Up

Tee: Urban Outfitters, $10 // Blazer: Vintage, thrifted, $1.50 // Jeans: Guess via TJMaxx, $28 // Shoes: Abaete for Payless // Scarf: Courtesy of LOFT via the Lucky Alpha Shopper program

When I woke up this morning, my already nasty cold had worsened, so I decided to go to work late. By the time I rolled out of bed, I wanted to get ready as quickly as possible. Without really thinking, I threw on this outfit. When in doubt (or a hurry), my default combination is a t-shirt, blazer, skinnies and a scarf. I suppose it's pretty predictable, but I tried to keep things interesting with the stripes and floral combo. Isn't the scarf pretty? I have a feeling I'll be wearing it a lot this spring. The pumps were my attempt at making the look more office-appropriate since I'm not really supposed to wear jeans. 

Coverage of the fashion show to come tomorrow!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fashion Show Tonight!

As I mentioned the other day, I'm styling a run for a local fashion show. Considering how last-minute my participation was, everything is coming together wonderfully! Borrowing clothes from the Social Service League, a local thrift store, I created a collection of casual spring looks. With a light color palette and generous doses of denim and floral, it has a breezy, carefree vibe.

Local folks, you should come! It's tonight at Teller's at 8:00. It's a benefit for Haiti.

Everyone else, stay tuned for pictures and hopefully video!

My, How You've Grown

Sweater: Free People via a friend's giveaway bag // Jeans: Urban Outfitter, $10 // Boots: Vintage, $16 // Necklace: Gift // Ring: Forever 21, $2.50

It occurred to me yesterday that I hadn't shared a picture of Igby in a long time. He's no longer the size of a kitten, but he's still a puppy through and through. Rambunctious and rascally most of the time, sweet and cuddly the rest.