Pretty Clothes on the Cheap!

Okay, I try to keep things at least 5% gender neutral around here, but sometimes the girliness just has to show.  This is one of those times.

Not to be overdramatic, but I think I’ve found a website that will revolutionize the way I shop.  No kidding.

I’ve tried consignment stores before with mixed success.  The problem for me was sifting through all of those items to find the right size and style, etc.  I’m honestly just too lazy for that kind of shopping.

Enter  A friend recommended the site to another friend on Facebook, and I decided to give it a glance someday.  On that someday, I knew I was a goner.  You can sort by size and style and item type, or even by brand and color.  Lovely.

Maybe it’s not polite to talk about money, but forget polite for just a minute.  If anything should convince you to check out, it’s money.  I got two nice shirts and a short-sleeved sweater for $35.  They look as good as new to me.  (I did also have a first-time purchase deal and free shipping and returns.  That’s pretty hard to beat.)  No matter how it happened, $35 for three nice items of clothing is nice.  There’s even some name-brand silk in that bundle.

This was about $19:

photo from

photo from

And this was $7:


photo from

And if you’re not into loud, printed, or ruffled shirts, they have lots and lots of other things in other styles.  I just happened to be in want of some loud, printed, ruffled shirts right now. I’m wearing the super loud tunic right now, and it feels like very glamorous scrubs (you know, the pajama-like clothes that nurses get to wear).  Which is exactly how I would want my clothes to feel.  I’m in love.

I also got a slightly less loud short-sleeved wrap sweater that I like a lot for $9:

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It’s cuter in real life.  You’ll just have to trust me on that.

Thanks for my new clothes, ThredUp!  Thanks for my new clothes, Grandma!  Together, you make an unbeatable team.

Vanity of a 29.8-year-old

In general, I like to think of myself as not super vain. (Keeping the bar high, right?) I like pretty clothes, but I also care as much about comfort and machine washableness as I do about pretty. So imagine my surprise when I started considering dying my hair. To cover grey hair. Oh my!

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the use of hair dye on any person for any reason. I’ve always considered getting highlights or going auburn or a myriad of other hair color choices. When it came down to it, I’ve been too lazy and scared and cheap to dye my hair in the past.

Where does the idea of vanity come into the mix?  Well, I love it when people age gracefully.  I love seeing grey hair on other people–young, old, and in between.  I also love my family, and grey hair at a young age is a family tradition.  Because of that, I always thought I would just go with it when grey hair came my way.  My plan was to not care and move on with life.

But then I saw a whole passel of grey hairs right next to each other. I never knew that grey hair multiplies like rabbits. Seriously, how did that happen overnight?  And since when did 29.8 count as “aging”?!  I suppose I’ll feel exactly the same way when I’m 39.8 and 49.8 and 59.8.

I’m considering bold headbands and sparkly clips.

photo from the Garlands of Grace Etsy shop

photo from the Garlands of Grace Etsy shop

I’m considering pretending that grey is blonde. (“Look at all of those natural blonde highlights I suddenly have!”  I have a strong imagination.)  I’m trying to stick with my guns on the hair dye issue.  I know I would get lazy and cheap again in the near future, so I might as well just go with it now.  I’m just really struggling with the whole “be cool with it and move on” thing.  Dang vanity.

Closet Clean-out/Clean-up

I like to look at the small closets in my house as a good thing.  At the very least, they force me to keep the extra stuff to a minimum.  Right?*

The problem is that even though I love to get rid of things, I still have more stuff than closet space.  If things are perfectly organized and arranged, there is exactly the right amount of space, but how often does that happen?  About twice a year.  Do you think anybody would mind if I wear yellow sandals every day?  They’re really easy to spot in the heap of shoes on the closet floor.  Anyway, I need to get rid of more stuff.

In order to do that, I have to make deep cuts.  Do you know what I mean?  I’ve already culled through my stuff a couple of times since I added any significant number of items to the stash (read: there’s been more getting rid of things than buying going on).  So what’s left to give away?  The stuff you can never quite bring yourself to get rid of–the shirt that you love, but that doesn’t fit or the pants that don’t go with anything.  The favorite shoes with the ever-increasing hole in the sole.  The shirts that have multiple holes in them from way too much wear.

Who wants to get rid of a favorite t-shirt?  Not me, that’s for sure.  I know I still need to do it though.  And while I’m at it, I think I’ll try to gather the clothes that are missing buttons and do something about that.

photo by Zimmergimmer

I have this habit of wearing things in a way that accommodates their missing buttons.  The sweater that I’m wearing now, for example, has two missing buttons.  They’re both at the bottom of the sweater, so I just don’t button it up all the way anymore, and I pretend it’s a conscious fashion choice.  Some shirts are missing buttons near the top, in which case a good undershirt does the trick.  I have a few skirts that lost buttons at the waist, so they require belts.  Yeah, it’s getting kind of ridiculous how many items of clothing I deal with in that way.  Time for some button-sewing-on, folks.

Why the interest in cleaning out closets today?  A) Free time, and B) New roommate for the summer starting on Sunday night.  (Excited about that.)  I like to at least start out any roommate situation with my junk in order and out of the way.  It doesn’t always stay that way, but it’s a helpful beginning.

*Just to clarify, I have three closets in my house, and I choose to only use one of them for my clothes.  I used to spread out among all of the closets, but that seems unnecessary, and I couldn’t ever find anything.  It’s nice to have open closets that aren’t full of junk you never use.

Pajamas in Disguise

I have plenty of nice, legitimate work clothes.  Since my library requires business attire (leaning towards business casual), that works out well.

I do have a bad habit though.  I tend to think that the more my clothes feel like pajamas, the better.  I want to look professional while feeling like I could curl up in bed at any moment.

Most days, that works out fine.  I find a good balance between those goals, and nobody is the wiser.  But yesterday I wore one of my pieces of clothing that’s less appropriate for work.  Before you conjure up all sorts of images of “inappropriate” work wear, keep in mind that my gauge of appropriateness at the moment has to do with comfort vs. formality.

What was the offending item of clothing?  A red wool wrap that bears a striking resemblance to a fancy blanket.  I wore it with a dress and cute shoes, which maybe counts for something.  But it was pointed out by a few people that I basically had on a dressed up Snuggie.

Today, as a result of the comfortable awesomeness of yesterday, I almost automatically put on my favorite sloppy flannel shirt in my morning stupor.  Oops.


photo by Colin H


At least I haven’t tried to bust out any Pajama Jeans on casual Friday.   Does it bother you that Pajama Jeans exist?  I’m pretty sure I don’t want people to be confused about whether I’m going to bed or out for dinner with friends.


photo from


Not-So-Mellow Yellow

I’m just going to go with vanity and fluff two days in a row.  Why not?  Yesterday hair straightening, today yellow shoes.  Tomorrow I’ll take over the world.

Why yellow shoes?  Because my BFF is getting married, and us bridesmaidy types are wearing yellow shoes, that’s why.  I think it’s a brilliant idea.  There aren’t many perkier colors in the world than yellow, and there’s nothing like perky feet to usher you up the aisle to your man (or her to her man, anyway).  Also, I’m entirely biased because I was a card-carrying member of the yellow team at a summer camp for two years.  Cheering about yellow every day for five or so months of your life really skews your thoughts about colors.  Propaganda is powerful stuff.

So my dilemma, as is often true for people of the female persuasion, is beauty vs. comfort.  There’s this pair of yellow heels that is a leading contender.  The only thing is that they have a 4″ heel.  Wow.  That would make me 5’9″, which is fun.  It would also make me want to down an entire bottle of Tylenol after several hours of pictures and walking and smiling and dancing.  To give you the ability to properly judge, here are the potentially painful shoes:

Then there are the cute yellow flats at the top of the post.  They’re really much more my style, and I would probably find occasion to wear them every other day.  But are you allowed to march down the aisle in a fancy dress and shoes that could be second cousins to slippers?  Hmm.  Not sure about protocol.  Fortunately, the bride in question is one of the least demanding brides on the face of the earth.  She would forgive me if I showed up in these:
I don’t intend to wear cleats to her wedding, but she would probably laugh and move on with the day.  She’s a good egg.

In non-yellow-shoe news, I discovered why I haven’t been able to get to bed before 1 A.M. this week.  I mentioned to a co-worker (who happened to be a nurse for most of her career) that I’ve been on prednisone for jaw stuff this week, and the doctor didn’t really tell me what in the world prednisone is supposed to do for me.  I’m not a fan of taking medicine just for the heck of it.  Should have asked him in the appointment, right?  Anyway, my wise nurse co-worker informed me of prednisone’s potential side-effects, such as hyperactivity and the inability to get to sleep easily.  The truth is that I have a bad habit of staying up too late and medicine is just a good excuse for the week.  It’s nice to throw in a new excuse every once in a while.  I’m not an irresponsible night owl this week, I’m on medicine.

Comfort for a Fee

We have casual Friday options at my place of work.  The catch is that you’re only allowed to participate if you pay $3 for the right to dress down.  In the past, I’ve laughed at this option and done other things with my money.  It seemed totally illogical to spend good money on the right to wear pants that I can wear after work for free.

Then this morning happened.

I got out of bed at 7:20, into the shower at 7:54, and needed to be out of the house at 8:00.  With 2 minutes for hair, makeup, and clothing choice, there isn’t much room for deliberation.  With virtually no ironed clothes and a stack of dry cleaning waiting to go to the dry cleaner’s, the options were looking slim.

Then the closet gods spoke, a light shone down on my favorite pair of jeans, and a chorus of angels sang in my head.  It was just like Touched by an Angel, except for the whole dove thing.  I’m glad there wasn’t a dove in my closet.  In that moment, the prospect of spending $3 to wear jeans to work didn’t seem ridiculous at all.  Happiness for the approximate price of a happy meal is difficult to come by past age six, and even if I don’t intend to make a habit of paying to wear jeans to work, it sure is nice today.  I feel comfortable, relaxed, and 5% sneaky (not sure why the sneaky is in there, it just is).

Meeting the Neighbors

Morning dog walks are usually the time that I use to wake up.  I stumble out of bed, throw on something semi-decent, and let Peanut drag me out the door for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood. I eventually find myself awake and ready to face the day.  It’s a happy routine.

The “something semi-decent” part is what gets me into trouble though.  This morning was par for the course.  I was wearing a polka dot tank top, an especially bad ponytail, my best sleepy face, and the ultimate pair of shorts.  They’re actually my brother’s soccer shorts from when he was in seventh or eighth grade.  I was in fourth or fifth grade then.  They’re one good-looking pair of shorts.

So naturally, I met a new neighbor this morning.  He was walking his small dog, ready for work with his badge on and everything.  I was on the home stretch of the walk and thinking mostly about the cereal that would be in front of me in moments.

I was planning to ignore him.  Not very neighborly, I know, but I don’t know him, and my teeth weren’t even brushed.

Fluffy Poo came up to Peanut, and there wasn’t anything to do but say hi.  To which he responded, “I hear that you’re Hannah.”


From whom did you gather this information?  I don’t know you.  I don’t know your wife or twelve children.  This is the first time that Fluffy Poo and Peanut have met, so they didn’t share juicy details about their owners.  Even then, does Peanut know my name?

I smiled and said a few friendly things to Jim, then made a beeline for my cereal bowl.  And the take-away message from the morning is that my neighbors probably describe me to new neighbors as “the one who sleepwalks in pajamas all the time.”  It would be accurate and would also put me dangerously close to the cat lady category.

Time to take 2 extra minutes in the morning, I think.