What to Wear NOW! …the white shirt

The classic white shirt.  There are a thousand ways to wear the white shirt:
·        Tucked
·        Untucked
·        Untucked and belted
·         ½ tucked (tucked in front but not the back)
·        Open like a jacket
·        As a layering piece under a sweater or jacket
·        Oversized and tied in the front
A great white shirt is something you will have in your closet for a long time.  It is also something that once it wears out, you realize how much you really wear this classic piece.
The best white blouses I have found were at Goodwill.  Looking for some with a variety of details and cuts will let you have even more options in your closet.  Look for:
  •       No signs of wear, specifically stains (look closely in the arm pit, this is where stains and pilling show up first) 
  • Missing buttons?  No problem, changing out the buttons may make this classic really sassy and hip. 
  • Straight hem – as opposed to a shirt-tail hem.  This will give you more options to wear it untucked 
  • Oversized and longer – wearing your shirt as a tunic? A great idea! 
  • Something more structured and fitted. Perfect as a layering piece.

The 10 Days of Goodwill Challenge

I can’t tell you how many times I am asked if I REALLY shop at Goodwill.  The answer is always “Of Course I do!”.  I love when I am at a meeting and someone compliments me on something I am wearing, and I get to boast that I found it at Goodwill.

To prove my point…that I do shop and wear things from Goodwill…every year I institute a ’10 Days of Goodwill Challenge”.  So…are you ready?  Here we go!

 This is a cute little number I wore to the Fashion Days event at the Goodwill in Goshen.  I paired it with a nude colored crazy sassy stiletto.

Love this dress.  Banana Republic. Perfect for summer.  I put some of my style on the look by adding a brown leather braided belt and turquoise beads. I am LOVING this bright pink color with Turq accessories this season. Then I finished the look with a leather Kate Spade shoulder bag.

 Tunics, leggings and boots…all are a few of my favorite things.  I love this tunic. I think it could also be worn as a dress with flip flops in the summer. I had the boots, leggings and sweater…but those pieces would be DULLSVILLE without this great tunic!

 Wore this to speak at a ladies group at a country club.  I wanted to ‘dress the part’ for the country club (and I resisted wearing plaid golf shorts). Banana Republic white trousers and that beautiful 3/4 sleeve bright blue jacket. I played up the gold buttons on the jacket with gold accessories. 

 And what is Goodwill good for if not to pick up some great handbags?  This LV Inspired cutie I used for a night out on the town.  It is the perfect size to hold my money, ID, cell and of course…a few lipsticks!

Then I decided I needed a new wallet. Ideally I wanted something that was water proof for the lake and the beach this summer.  Well, whadda know!  Found it at Goodwill!

 Skirt and tank from Goodwill!  Love these pieces, I wear this Gap pull-on skirt a TON.  As a matter of fact, I’m wearing it now!

If you went to the Little Black Dress luncheon, then you saw me in this…and yes, it’s my new fav color combo (turquoise and bright pink).  

 This was for a working day at Goodwill.  Cute Ann Taylor flippy skirt and a black tee.  What could be better?

So I am in this “work out” phase.  Well, not as much work out as I need to get off my lazy butt and move around a little.  I don’t want to spend a lot of money on workout wear, but of course I am convinced that if I look the part, I will be in top physical shape. Basic black tank and Nike cropped workout (yoga) pants.

And for the Go Red luncheon for the American Heart Association, I had to wear red.  I emceed the Fashion Show for the event – so dressing the part was critical.  Finding a good red dress is hard!  And…guess where I found this one?  Yep – GOODWILL!

10 Unique Ideas for Projects to Do With Goodwill T-Shirts

Goodwill is one of my favorite places to visit for craft supplies and to find ideas for upcycling donated items. If you have ever been in a Goodwill store, one thing you will notice is that there is an abundance and plethora of donated t-shirts in every size, style, variety, and color.

The next time you visit your local Goodwill store, don’t just visit the t-shirts in your own size for ideas. Look in the Men’s section and in the larger sizes to find t-shirts that will offer you extra and a generous amount of craft material for the same amount of money as your smaller t-shirts. Try to select t-shirts that are not as faded or that have fabric pills on them for optimal material for your projects.

Today I wanted to share with you ten of my favorite projects that I have found to do with old t-shirts from your Goodwill store from some very amazing bloggers. I love that all of these ideas are extremely unique and that most require no sewing skills at all.

1. T-Shirt Scarves– I have seen lots of varieties of t-shirt scarves on many different blogs, but I absolutely love this DIY Dish episode you can watch to discover three different varieties of scarves you can make from an old t-shirt. My favorite is the one, pictured above, with a bright pom-pom trim.

2. T-Shirt Bibs– If you are looking for a fast sewing project that would make a fun baby gift, then these t-shirt bibs are the project for you. For little boys, you could look for their dad’s favorite sports teams and for little girls you could look for a fun t-shirt with sparkly letters or flowers. Don’t forget that these could also be embellished with rick-rack, ribbon trim, or an easy t-shirt rolled rosette flower.

3. T-Shirt Bracelets– There are many varieties of cute bracelets that I have seen using t-shirt materials, but this one has to be one of my favorites. This twisted knot bracelet can be made from just a single t-shirt or it could be made with a mix of prints or a mix of solid colors. I can’t wait to make some of these for myself and my daughter this summer. Nothing could be cozier than a gently worn t-shirt bracelet on your arm!

4. T-Shirt Produce Bag– Nothing could be greener than carrying your groceries in a cloth grocery bag…until you start using recycled materials for your bag. Even if you are a beginning sewer, this simple produce bag can easily be created for a visit to the grocery store of your local farmer’s market. I think these would be fun to make in a variety of pastel colors or to give as a gift to someone special in your life.

5. T-Shirt Pom Poms– Looking for a fun way to dress up your home for the warmer months? I absolutely love these adorable t-shirt pom poms for a fun way to add a pop of color to your mantle, as a fun adornment to a wreath, or hung in a gathering on a door handle or front door. The best part about this project is that no sewing skills are required for this one!

6. Petal Tees– I have seen many, many refashions of old t-shirts, but I think this Petal Tee is simply genius because the petal trim on this t-shirt is made from a variety of t-shirts, adding a cute pop of color for the Spring. Visit Goodwill on their half off days and stock-up on a fun mixture of colors for a fun addition of color to your wardrobe. If you are looking to add a little of the fluorescent color trend to your wardrobe, this would be a great way to do it without having to commit to an entire fluorescent piece!

7. T-Shirt Yarn– My favorite craft in the world is knitting and I love the idea of using Goodwill t-shirts to create fun yarn for my projects. This would be a fun gift to give to a friend that knits or crochets. If you can use a pair of scissors and cut in a relatively straight line, then you can do this craft and use this yarn for a variety of projects!

8. T-Shirt Aprons– I have a true affection for aprons and have a little collection of my own thrifted aprons that I have acquired from Goodwill and other antique shops. I had never thought to use t-shirts to create aprons, but I think this t-shirt apron is the cutest thing I have ever seen. This would be a cute craft to make for yourself or for your helpers in the kitchen. The best part? No ironing required and it can handle the messes that you might make in the kitchen.

9. T-Shirt Necklaces– I love t-shirt necklaces for adding a splash of color to your neckline. This rolled rosette t-shirt necklace is a fun way to add some feminine details to your outfit very inexpensively. I think it would be cute to make the t-shirt bracelet in a coordinating color and one Goodwill t-shirt should more than cover both of these cute projects.

Our tenth project is actually a fun t-shirt project we did here on the Goodwill blog. Be sure to visit my tutorial on creating a cute t-shirt flower pin made from an old t-shirt and spray painted clip-on earrings. This is so cute and would be a fun addition to a Spring top or jacket.

What are your favorite craft projects to do with old t-shirts?

All photos featured in our collage were gathered from the blogs that were featured. Please visit these blogs for tutorials and instructions on completing these projects!

Question: What do I do with this holiday weight?

I thought about making a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight – but really…would I? Is weight a matter of something to be “lost” or something to simply deal with once and for all? It seems that losing something implies you will find it again. I am deciding to deal with the weight thing – whatever medical, psychological, caloric, emotional thing it is…it will be dealt with once and for all!

But how to start?

I assume I should start by making myself feel better. Ever notice when you feel like you look OK, you seem to be more motivated? Looking your best at whatever weight will do more for your psyche than any diet I have ever tried. A visit to Goodwill for some new items to add to your wardrobe can do wonders without breaking the budget.

Step 1: make sure we feel like we look our best…every single day!

This means employing a few “hide weight” tricks. Here are the tips I plan on living by:

PATTERN – When you are trying to disguise a little extra weight, pattern can help you or really hurt you. Pay attention to where pattern and detail lies on your outfit. For example, if you don’t want people to notice your midsection and hips, then don’t put any detail (pattern, belts, color contrast) in that section.

However, some pattern can act as camouflage. For example, an all over pattern on a wrap dress. This option is a very slimming and is forgiving of bumps and bulges. If the pattern thing seems too complicated, and if you are worried about making a mistake – for the time being, skip it and go with outfits that are monochromatic.

COLOR – I would be lying if I said monochromatic (all black) wasn’t a good option…especially since I live in this community, and see so many of you out and about – you’d bust me (since I wear all black a lot – it is a problem, and it another New Year’s Resolution). In our quest to keep attention away from trouble areas, lets strategically wear pops of color; for example a colorful scarf or a bright red shoe. This will bring the attention to your face, or bring it down to your feet. That tactic is one of my favorites, as long as you don’t notice lumps and bumps in the middle, I am OK with face and foot attention!

STYLE – When we put on a few pounds, we seem to hibernate and pull out the muumuu from the back of our closets. This is a mistake. It is important when you’ve added a few lbs that you wear the right style for your shape; things that fit as opposed to oversized and baggy (non structured) pieces. Concentrate on defining your waist, be sure the cut of clothing you wear is flattering to your shape rather than hiding it. Choose clothing that creates an hourglass silhouette…rather than a bowling ball silhouette.

FABRIC – When you feel a little thick in the middle, be conscious about what kinds of fabrics you wear. Avoid overly heavy fabrics, and likewise, avoid very thin fabrics. Heavy fabrics (like tweed) can add extra weight to your look. Thin fabrics have a tendency to cling…in all the wrong places. Thin fabrics are OK, if you are using them as first layer pieces…but definitely not as the statement to your outfit.

Remember – extra fabric will translate (visually) to more weight. It seems to me, this is the opposite of what our goal is (to look thinner!).

The simple fact is looking your best lies in your attitude and the presence you have in your clothing. Embracing WHO you are under the jackets and jeans will make those jackets and jeans look amazing on you…the you today, and the you of tomorrow!

…and when you become the ‘you of tomorrow’, go through your closet and donate all of the clothing you don’t need to Goodwill!

Photo Credits:

What to do with ties

A few months back, I became obsessed with ties. I saw a skirt that someone had made out of old ties, and decided that I needed to have one. Thing is…I have no skill with a sewing machine, so the notion of having all these great “tie” things has been dashed (insert big sigh…).

But I am sure many of you have been blessed with the crafty-gene, so here are some great ideas:

OK, really? How adorable is this? Adding this tie detail to the collar of a tee? INGENIOUS!

Love the notion of re-purposing not only ties, but this vintage chair. So cute!

Yes, this dress is made out of ties! Can you imagine? LOVE IT!

This is so creative! What a great holiday gift for that guy who has everything!

This skirt is so cute, and the thing I like the most is the face that the ties don’t look like ties!

Thanks Pinetrest for the images and ideas!

beating the heat…fashionably speaking

It has been so HOT outside this summer that the outside temperatures are leading to some questionable fashion choices.

You know what I mean…bathing suit tops worn as regular clothing, short shorts in the work-place. It is hard to determine what to wear when it is so stinkin’ hot! I mean, I get it…I don’t want to sweat through my clothes, and I want to do what I can to be somewhat comfortable.

I have been giving this a lot of thought, and have come up with some simple tips on beating the heat…fashionably speaking.

1. Dress in layers. It seems that would not be the answer to beating the heat, but the secret is to keep the layer closest to your skin a natural fiber (like cotton or linen). The layers will allow you to take off a jacket or sweater when you are outside, but still have your shoulders covered inside…covering your shoulders is the most appropriate for the office. And, you can pick up simple cardigans at Goodwill for about $5.00

2. Dress in a dress! Or a skirt. Dresses and skirts are infinitely cooler than pants or shorts. If skirts aren’t your thing, and you are worried about investing in something like that just to keep cool…skirts and dresses run about $5.00

3. Loosen up! Simply stated, stay away from tight or clingy things. The more floaty the fabric and style is, the cooler you will be!

4. The color story. Keep the color of your clothing light. White is best. Remember that darker colors absorb light (heat) and lighter colors reflect light (heat). Every little trick helps, right?

5. Skip the beach. At least, the beach clothes, for work. The general rule of thumb (regardless of the outside temperature) is if you would wear it to a picnic, to sleep in or to the beach…do not wear it to work. This goes for flip flops too.

I’d love to answer it, AND to send you a coupon for 30% off the next time you visit one of our local Goodwill stores! Simply post your question in the comment section of this blog post, and we will randomly choose a few of your questions as winners! Be sure to include your email address so that I can get in touch with you to get the coupon into your hands!


What To Do with Old Jeans

I hope my previous post inspired you to NEVER EVER wear Mom-jeans again!  
Remember, I said don’t WEAR them...not don’t purchase them from Goodwill and turn something frumpy into something fabulous!  
Meet Liz.  You might recognize her from her debut on the runway as one of our models from the Little Black Dress Fashion show in April (2010 and 2011).  She loves finding old denim at Goodwill.  The older the better…the more material (in other words, the horrible high waisted kind she LOVES!).  Look at all these great things she has made out of old jeans she has found at our local Goodwill stores!  Now THAT is some serious crafting talent! AMAZING! Check out her creations up close:





Here are some other ideas:

  • Kim said, “I’m searching for great old jeans to make a quilt someday”
  • Leah said, “I love finding old jeans that are about 2-3 sizes too big.  I make them into skirts.  Take the waist, stitch together the legs, cut short and leave the hem frayed…super cute!” 
  • Kris said, “I am locker hooking wit them”
  • Joan said, “My mother quilts with them.”
 There are some great blogs out there with other fund ideas.  Check these out!

What creative ideas do you have in the effort to re-purpose things from Goodwill?  We’d love to hear about them!

p.s. Thanks Liz for allowing us to use some of your photos!



Do you know what mom-jeans are?

If your jeans snap (or button) above your belly button – LET SOMEONE ELSE LOVE THEM, DONATE TO GOODWILL. If the back pockets of your jeans are so big that they completely cover your back-side, please, DONATE THEM TO GOODWILL!

We’re all friends here, right? I don’t want to see your backside in next month’s edition of Glamour magazine in the “Fashion Don’t” section!

Trinny and Susannah, fashion gurus from the UK “What Not To Wear” TV show, appeared on the Oprah Show (in 2006). They perfectly describe what mom-jeans are:

Mom jeans always are tapered or high-waisted. Plain and simple – they make your legs look shorter, your stomach bigger and your rear longer! Who wants a long rear? And if you’re pear-shaped like Trinny, tapered jeans exaggerate the width of your hips. If you have a flabby belly, don’t wear super-low hipster jeans. Unless you want to look heavier than you are, never wear light colored jeans.

The ONLY time to wear peg-legged (tapered) jeans is if you are very thin and have great ankles…and want to show them off. This can (and I emphasize the word CAN) be a fashion forward look…but isn’t flattering for 99.9% of the women who try to wear them.

Still not convinced? You should know this…tapered denim only accentuates the width of the hips. In other words, it makes you look heavier than you are, and makes your backside look wider than it is. Plus, the tapered effect often leaves women looking like ice cream cones. Hold your jeans up and look at the shape – this is the shape they’re going to give your body! If I have said this one time over the past 15 years…I tell you, I’ve said it a MILLION times! Clothes DO NOT change shape…the illusion of YOUR SHAPE changes based on what shape clothing you wear.

Now…let’s talk about the rise. The rise of a jean is the length of the zipper, or the distance from the cross-point where the lege come together to the top of the waistband. A common mistake I see with the Mom-jean lovers out there is wearing a rise that is just TOO high!

If the waist band of your jeans is above your belly button…you are wearing Mom-jeans! Wearing a jean with a waist this high will make your backside look like a pancake. It will also shrink the length of your torso, and make you appear shorter and stockier. Now…I can bet most of you want to look taller and leaner – right?

While moms may not want to wear their daughters’ trendy, low-rise jeans, there are plenty of brands out there that cater to mature women with good fashion sense…in a very VERY flattering way.

So – what to do with all those Mom-jeans you find at Goodwill? Stay tuned…I have some ideas for you!

Photo Credits: Honestly, I can’t remember where I found these pics! I am sure they came from Trinny and Susannah or Oprah…so let’s give them credit!

Spring Trends

I love Spring and Summer.  Honestly – I just took out all of the winter clothes out of my closet to make room for the Spring Summer things, and I have a TON more Spring Summer than I do Winter!  Guess it is time to weed through it all, make a donation to Goodwill and look for some new trends to add to my wardrobe!

Let me walk you through some of the big trends for the season:

Honeysuckle is THE color of the season.  It is a bright pink…but not shocking neon pink. I love this color.  Start looking for it!  You are going to see it EVERYWHERE!  Little dashes of this pink mixed in with your neutral palate will add that little something extra that will take your outfit from drab to fab!

The neutrals this season range from a mocha chocolate to grey.  Grey is still a very important color in fashion this season…if you are looking to add one thing, consider a grey jean!

Many colors of the season are more subdued with bright pops of color that will really make a bold statement in this season’s outfits.  Wearing all neutral (all white and khaki, for example) is a trend that you will want to jump on board with once the temps stay above 70!

Citrus hues are still around with a bright splash of orange (tangerine) – mix this color with the season’s hot color (Honeysuckle) with a white jean – hot!

Ocean hues of blue and green are something everyone can wear.  The blues range from turquoise to a royal / purple blue.

Mixing alike tones of the same color is also very popular this season.  This is a new take on a monochromatic wardrobe.  So many of us love LOVE to wear all black – for those black-only gals, i would like to challenge you  to try wearing an outfit of all blue…different shades of the same tone of blue.  You will love it!

This trend has a distinct masculine feel to it.  The strong lines and very structured nature of the “military” look should be balanced with something feminine.  Likewise, don’t pair your favorite military jacket with a pair of camp crop pants.  That is simply too much military!  People might stop you on the street and ask if you have enlisted rather than to stop you and compliment you on your outfit!  

We are seeing this influence everywhere from color to embellishment and style.  The khaki-green color we are seeing is attributed to the military trend.  To add a little of this trend into your wardrobe, look for chunky metals in your jewelry, or for button detail on shirts / jacket, especially epaulettes.  

LADY LIKE:This trend has the opposite feeling from the Military one.  This trend is all about being a girl: heavy lace, eyelet, bows and floral patterns.  Skirts have made a resurgence into popularity with many designers introducing great a-line styles that everyone can wear.

I found a TON of on-trend pieces recently when I went shopping through some of our area Goodwill stores.  Honestly, I felt a little guilty that I got so many on-trend great pieces at such an AMAZING price!

Stripes and anything with a Nautical feel are big this season, and I believe this nautical feel comes from the inspiration of the Military feel.  Anyone can wear stripes…if you feel it is too much, then tone it down by wearing a striped tee under a cardigan.

Check out the newest Goodwill store in St. John, IN.  I’ll be there in June with a Kids Fashion Show!  Want to know more?  Stay tuned!

from http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com

Great Items to Stock Up on For Your Next Family Vacation

stinkin' pink

Photo Credit: Simple Tess

Summer brings those fun annual family vacations which can also bring along with it lots of cost and stress to a family. With all of my traveling for my business, we haven’t had the opportunity to take a family vacation yet, but are looking forward to doing a little jet-setting of our own this summer.

Certainly, thrift store shopping might not come to mind when buying items for your next vacation, but if there is anything I have learned when it comes to saving money, Goodwill is my first stop when I need to do a little shopping for a trip.

Here are just a few things to check your store for when off on your next vacation.

Upgrade Your Luggage Pieces- Does your suitcase and carry-on bag need updating? Goodwill is a fantastic place to check for these items and you will be surprised at the variety of great choices you will have. Bring a tape measure along with you and measure the suitcase to see if the suitcases you are looking at can meet TSA standards. If you are planning to carry-on your luggage with you, the largest allowed size for carry-on bags is 22×14×19 inches. With careful planning and strategic packing though you can maximize your thrift store suitcase and shave approximately $50 off on your next round trip flight by carrying on your luggage versus checking it in.

If you are traveling as a family, divide the luggage up between each family member and consider hunting for one small roller bag for each child that they will be able to maneuver themselves. The bonus is that they can use that bag for years to come, making it easy to recoup your travel investment within just one trip!

Macro Game Piece Monday

Photo Credit: Marcus Lam

Fight Hotel Boredom- If you are planning a road trip, there is nothing worse than being stuck in a hotel room with nothing to do. Consider adding a few new-to-you board games to your collection just for your trip. I try to get our board games at Goodwill because it is a great way for me to try them out without making a huge investment. Look for classic games like Scrabble, Upwords, checkers, Yahtzee, Connect 4, Clue, Monopoly, Life, and Rummikub for family entertainment on the go!

You can also look for books for the kids to read, DVD’s for the car ride there, and even a few new tunes to listen to along the way. No road trip was complete in my family without a little Ray Charles and, “Hit the Road, Jack.” Perhaps, you can find an album that your kids too can moan and groan about just as me & my siblings did when my dad would pop in that old cassette tape. Ah, vacation memories!

The entertainment possibilities are endless and the thrift store prices will allow you to splurge on a little bit of great fun for your trip.

souvenir shop

Photo Credit: Whitney Arlene

Save on Souvenirs- If there is one thing that can break the vacation budget, it is definitely buying souvenirs at the souvenir shops. Consider putting away a few fun toys that you can give to your children in lieu of the pricey souvenirs. Planning a trip to Disney? Look for a few Disney souvenirs at Goodwill rather than splurging at Disney! Focus your souvenirs on free items like shells from the beach, or taking funny photos in the souvenir shops, grabbing a little sand from your favorite beaches, or substituting with a few well-chosen thrift store pieces that will help to keep the budget on happy and keep the kids content.

Create a Fun Vacation Wardrobe- The need to splurge on a new wardrobe always happens when I have somewhere new to go especially if the climate will be different than the Midwestern weather I am accustomed to. Check the store for a few wardrobe updates that won’t cost you a lot. Accessories like sun hats, scarves, a skinny belt, sunglasses, jewelry, or sandals can all be found at Goodwill for your entire family. I love to spice up the pieces I already have with these easy accessories that won’t take a lot of space in my luggage.

Don’t forget to also look for layering pieces like cardigans or shawls that you can use to keep yourself warm in the evenings or on your flight. A good basic layering piece is worthy of every inch of space in your carry-on bag and can make your flight and the cooler evenings much more comfortable.

What are some ways that you use Goodwill to save on your vacations? We would love to hear your ideas!

Amy Allen Clark is the Founder of MomAdvice.com, a web community where she shares advice on parenting, money-saving ideas, recipes, and solutions for work-at-home moms. Visit her site for more ideas on ways to live on a frugal budget!