Sunday, 20 July 2014

Dual Action

Thank you so much for the kind comments on my last post - we sure do miss our Old Glo. Today, no seriousness - just another couple of comfortable work outfits of the printed dress + sweater + scarf type and a chat about weather and shopping. 

I'm enjoying Ontario's cooler-than-usual July, but my year-round indoor weather conditions at work are typically coldest-dampest-April with periodic gale-force winds. That atmosphere allows for more temperate conditions in the glass-walled areas of the building, and fortunately I'd rather be a bit chilled than gross and overheated. 

green scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
silver necklace: a gift from my mother, detail here
dark blue cardigan: Old Navy
geometric-print dress: Leota, ebay

navy shoes: Karl Lagerfeld + Melissa, Bloomingdales

A single Ugly Office Sweater isn't enough for the temperature variability, so I keep two wool wraps (one large, one small) at my desk and over the course of most days will use all of the layering options in any outfit.

I have no complaints about these shoes, though - wish I could have every colour! One of the best things about blogging again is a chance to link up with Sheila's Shoe Shine at Ephemera.

In context of few local options for quality second-hand / thrift / consignment shopping (inside an hour's drive, standard fare has been $5 for thoroughly-pilled mall-brand T-shirts and lots of worn WalM*rt clothing at original price), I occasionally drink the new-clothes Kool-Aid and see what people mean about the ubiquity of things made you-know-where. Fortunately Melissa is a socially and environmentally conscious shoemaker, and Leota dresses are made in New York - the above was $9.99 via ebay.

blue paisley scarf: a gift from my mother
navy cardigan: MAK, ModCloth
chocolate milk coloured dress: Effie's Heart, ModCloth

My admiration to bloggers with serious second-hand style ethics like Sheila, Curtise, Megan Mae and Bella, and those with holy smokes incredible refashioning skills besides, like Jean, Helga, Vix, and Pao. Unlike at least a noticeable proportion of stuff I wear, the two cardigans in this post are standard in-stock-online items, so here are my reviews - 

Old Navy: soft lightweight cotton, more navy / less electric than it photographed; fit is even larger than the generous size chart measurements. Time will tell how well it wears. What's your bet on whether putting it in the dryer will shrink it in only undesirable ways? 

ModCloth: a heavier knit, dark navy colour, I like the shape and fit; pill-happy synthetic mix needs frequent washing but does not stand up to frequent washing. :(

To end on a positive note, though I still miss the beloved Netty Vintage storefront, three brand-new shops - two consignment and a charity thrift store - have opened in the nearest city, where I have lately satisfied my abiding affection for gauchos and Giant Pants (as previously expressed here, here, and here). 


  1. Aw, thank you for linking up to Shoe Shine, Amber! Great to see you posting semi-regularly again too!

    I find it so frustrating that basics like cardigans cannot be found in better quality. I would wash the Old Navy one and hope for the best but expect the worst. I ADORE the shoes - I have a pair of Melissa + Vivienne Westwoods and I love them. Nice to know that Melissa is an ethical maker of shoes, although I did find mine secondhand.

  2. It's difficult to find anything priced less than $15 at most thrift shops near me, so $5 sounds like a bargain. I don't hold out much hope for your cardigans and think you should just go for broke - wear the heck out of them, make arm-warmers from the surviving bits, and go thrifting again.
    In both of these outfits your scarves are perfect accents. Great idea to keep shawls around the office for added warmth. Artificial environments with non-opening windows are so weird. We're not even allowed to hang laundry outside where I live. !! How's that for eco-friendly?

  3. I had to go look at the brand on those shoes - heavenly! So gorgeous.

  4. I am looking forward to seeing the gauchos and Giant Pants you've found, Amber! But in the meanwhile, I'm very content to look at these delightful dresses, scarves, awesome shoes, and discuss cardigan quality. I am in love with the print and colours of the first dress, so gorgeous.
    Thanks for the mention - I do feel completely committed to secondhand shopping, and rarely do otherwise, but I appreciate I am fortunate to live in a city with any number of charity shops whose prices remain reasonable. It's so much harder to create a secondhand wardrobe without that resource. xxx

  5. Whoohoo!! I'm sitting here dripping sweat in my broken-airconditionered kitchen loving this post!! Yes, it's better to be cooler than "gross and overheated"!! Like Curtise, I'm well aware that I have the luxury of amazing thrift stores near by, never mind the consignment stores etc. I've tried thrifting when I travel and it's very hit or miss depending on where I am.

    I'm thrilled by your pointy-toe shoes and the lovely dresses that you wear so well. Plus, the promise of giant pants?!! Be still my heart. Your hair is looking wonderful (!) and I'm so happy to see you, dear one. XXOO

  6. Gauchos are so under-appreciated. I had two different pairs in my younger days, and I loved them both!

    Your shoes are gorgeous, and all the prints in this post are divine. Such beautiful, restful color combinations. As for store-bought cardis, I have one from Target I bought 8 years ago that has held up very well - and I've worn and washed it a lot. I use the gentle cycle on the machine, and then just fluff it in the dryer and lay it flat on a rack.

  7. As usual, you have the best shoes, and such uber-pretty dresses. I look for little cardigans at thrift stores all the time, but the ones there are always pill-covered and/or stretched out. Our office is kept pretty frigid too, so I have a little knit poncho I keep at my desk to thrown on.

    As a fellow big-pants fan, I'm looking forward to seeing what you found.

  8. Amber! Thank you for visiting my blog. So nice to hear from you again. I hope you are well.

    BTW, these shoes are adorable.

  9. Oh man. I'm loving that first dress <3 It's the hopelessly nerdy gamer in me. It just reminds me of retro Nintendo puzzle games. :D Those Mak cardigan are sooooo soft and comfy. I have two of them and love them! I knew I recognized that ModCloth dress, too. The neutral colors and patterns really speak to me. I feel like it can be worn in so many different ways. I love how you styled it here!

    - Anna

  10. Hi Amber,

    Perfect dresses and perfect cardis - I too always looking for cardis and jackets lots in the thrift shops around here - I have 2 huge second hand shops not far, 15 mins walk - I found lately a 100% cashmere cardi, very happy!
    I will check the Leota dresses on E-Bay, i'm a big fan of E-Bay and i confess i buy the you know where it's made, they are cheaper, no custom, no tax and i like the styles - Does it make me a bad person? I compensate with lots of second hand buys and i try to encourage local designers when possible -

    See you soon



  11. I love your skirts and cardis! And those scarves! Skirts, cardis and scarves are all well represented in my own wardrobe, though like you I have a mix of thrift shop and retail items. I live in a small town, but I envy the thrift shops people in the cities have access to! If I dressed only in thrift shop items I wouldn't be true to my own aesthetic preferences, and that does matter to me. I also envy the people with the ability and the interest in making their own clothes or altering things. I have basic ability, interest in the finished result but not the process so really I'd just like a magic wand.

    Your shoes are adorable! I have just as much trouble walking in super pointy toes as I do in heels. I trip on any toe overhang. It's not good for my sense of dignity.

  12. What a lovely study in cool blues and greens, which you look wonderful in. That blue paisley scarf is beautiful and I love the shoes!!

  13. How lovely to see your comment on my post. Hello dear sweet Amber! You look gorgeous in that color, and I hope all is well with you!

  14. I'm always happy to visit your world, Amber. Filled with drop/dead shoes, kindness and generosity and beautiful writing. Not to mention your style.

    Scarves are functional and always add flair! I love them almost as much as I love hats!

  15. Those gorgeous skirts make my heart race a little faster! Your taste and style is impeccable so, like Curtise, I can't wait to feast my eyes upon the gauchos and the giant pants. Your kind words have inspired me to get cracking on a very unflattering and too-big jumpsuit I picked up at the car boot last week.
    We're lucky to have a good variety of charity shops and car boot sales so close at hand. I can't imagine how I'd cope if we didn't. xxxx

  16. i so love your workshop just as much as i love your great outfits. the great and blue skirt is stunning.


Thank you for your comments!
- Amber