Dress You Up #9: L.

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I missed doing a Dress You Up last week! My list of victims is still several folks deep, but be sure to send me an email if you'd like to be dressed

This week's focus is the lovely L.
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L. says:

I would love to be featured on your blog and have you fix me. I say fix me, because really, that's what it'd be. :) I'm a SAHM to three kids, 8, 4.5 and 1.5 and so my wardrobe totally screams, "SAHM, boring, lazy, frumpy". I'm also turning 30 in 5 weeks.
So, my style right now is mainly jeans/cords and tshirts/longsleeve ts. I have an entire drawer full of skirts, but I don't wear them in the winter because we're in Maine and it's just too damn cold. I also don't have any cute shoes/sandals to wear them with in the summer.
Ultimately, I'd really like to look put together, but not like I tried too hard and I don't want to be overdressed. I have to be able to chase after the toddler and preschooler and look ladylike while bellowing to the 8 year old across the playground.
Not sure if it matters, but there are a TON of thrift shops near me, at least 6 in a 10 mile radius and they have decent stuff. My problem though, as much as I love finding a bargain, I'm realizing that I'll buy stuff that doesn't fit great or isn't totally my style because it's only $4/5 at the thrift store. I need to get out of this habit. Help! Bargain clothes can be good, but they can also look cheap, ill-fitting and worn and I feel I'm falling into this trap.

L. has done a great job here in identifying her needs: easy, put-together clothes that she can wear while chasing her kids, sandals or other cute, comfortable summer shoes, and a list of things to look for at the thrift store. L. is a size 8-10, which should open up a lot of thrift options for her, but she's right--there is danger in buying clothes that are worn or don't fit just because they are cheap, and that doesn't help anybody feel better about how they look.

Finally, L.? Have no fear of 30. I'll be 32 this summer and it's a great place to be. Really.

Now, on to the clothes!

To my mind, the single most important thing L. needs are jeans that fit and flatter. As we all know, this is a difficult proposition, and the only way to find those perfect jeans is to try on a million pairs. My suggestion to L, even though it's a time suck, is to go to a large thrift store, without her kids, and pull every pair of jeans in her size from the rack (except for those stonewashed ones or worn out ones), then try every single one of them on. The idea here is research, not necessarily buying. If she finds a pair or two that fit her perfectly, she can absolutely buy them, but if she doesn't, trying on lots of different brands and styles should give her a place to start with what she likes.

Were I to guess, I'd say L. is going to favor a slightly wider leg (rather than skinny jeans). I'm going to style her in a dark-wash boot cut and a dark-wash trouser jeans, as those are my favorites and the ones I think are most universally flattering and put together looking.

Old navy cardigan
$25 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy cowl neck top
$18 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy two tone jeans
$35 - oldnavy.gap.com

Kenneth Cole Reaction flat shoes
$39 - piperlime.gap.com

Billabong strap bag
$35 - pacsun.com

Fish hook jewelry
$5.99 - tillys.com

This first look is very easy--it's basically the jeans and t-shirt L. is wearing now. However, intentional use of color, a pair of earrings, and a fun bag make it look put together. I think a cowl neckline is a great idea for L., too, as a way of balancing her figure. I really like the color palette here for her, and the flat, fun sandals would be super versatile.

What L should look for at the thrift store: fun print bags, colored cardigans

H M cotton tee
9.99 GBP - hm.com

Sailor pants
$37 - alloy.com

ASOS ballet flat shoes
$36 - asos.com

Blue tote
$17 - target.com

Fish hook earring
$24 - urbanoutfitters.com

Forever21 beaded jewelry
$4.80 - forever21.com

I am of the absolute belief that there is NOTHING wrong with jeans and a t-shirt. It's a classic for a reason. I like this take on it particular, as it's just as comfortable as throwing on whatever is on your floor, but as a pronounced femme/boho style. The trouser jeans keep things a bit more formal, and I love the way the pattern on the t-shirt and the one on the bag compliment one another.

What L should look for at the thrift store: fun jewelry that appeals to her, well-fitting, new condition t-shirts with patterns

Old Navy short sleeve tee
$13 - oldnavy.gap.com

Print skirt
$33 - shopruche.com

Espadrille shoes
$50 - sears.ca

J Crew striped tote
$50 - jcrew.com

Flat necklace
$20 - nordstrom.com

Belt
$30 - zara.com

I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that L. has at least one maxi skirt in than drawer of skirts she mentioned. I think she should dig it out for this summer! I'm still on the fence about maxi skirts as work appropriate wear, but I love them for casual, comfortable summer outfits. The trick, I think, with a wildly print maxi (the best kind!) is to keep everything else really simple. A black tee or tank, some neutral sandals, maybe a skinny belt and a few chains around the neck. Let the skirt speak for itself, and you'll look cool, comfortable, and totally put together.

What L. should look for at the thrift store: a fun maxi skirt (if she doesn't already have one), a narrow leather belt

Roxy pink sweatshirt
$45 - hansensurf.com

Old Navy scoop neck tank
$13 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy knee length denim skirt
$30 - oldnavy.gap.com

Bensimon blue sneaker
$43 - moxsie.com

LORD TAYLOR green drop earring
$35 - lordandtaylor.com

Solid Shoulder Bag
$20 - aeropostale.com

Some people may believe the children are our future. I believe our future is the denim skirt. A denim skirt is my absolute #1 favorite casual wardrobe staple. I love them beyond reason. A denim-skirt based look like this would be perfect for L. Pairing the skirt with a print hoodie and sneakers, then keeping the rest of the look very plain, makes her look intentional in her pattern mixing and young, fun, and fashionable. Also? I love these Liberty fabric sneakers beyond reason and I really want someone with little enough feet to wear them to buy them, please. One note here, though: the hoodie has to actually fit. Oversize hoodies need not apply.

What L. should look for at the thrift store: a perfect denim skirt

When the fashion powers that be decided we should all be wearing jersey maxi dresses, it's as if they finally got a clue about what womens' actual lives are like. Much like I believe in the denim skirt, I believe in the maxi dress. For a busy mom like L., I think it's a perfect multi-tasker. Sure, she can wear it to chase her kids around all summer, like the first look below, but add some bling, like the second look, and it will also do date night quite nicely.

Old Navy smocked maxi dress
$30 - oldnavy.gap.com

J Crew scoop neck tank top
$9.99 - jcrew.com

Sandal
$35 - delias.com

Roxy handbag
$46 - roxy.com

Chain jewelry
16 GBP - talullahtu.co.uk

Old Navy smocked maxi dress
$30 - oldnavy.gap.com

Victoria s Secret scoop neck tank top
$20 - victoriassecret.com

Bandolino slip on shoes
$48 - macys.com

Floral print handbag
$20 - crateandbarrel.com

Gold jewelry
$15 - target.com

And remixes? Sure!


My overall advice for L. is as follows:

1. Keep thrift shopping, but get PICKY about quality and fit.
2. Don't be afraid of color--and don't think that all colors in an outfit have to match.
3. Embrace accessories. Typically, when people think they don't look put together, a couple of great accessories do the job.

4 Comments

You do a fabulous job of colors and accessorizing. I can't wait for you to (eventually) do me. :)

WOW! You nailed this one! I can see her wearing all of that!

So perfect! I love love love the hoodie. I think you should buy that, L, and let me borrow it. ;)

I absolutely adore everything you put together! You have such a keen eye for colour mixing & accessories. I love this series, can't wait for the next one!

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