Category Archives: Clothes

Don’t Bike [Nearly] Naked

Bike Seat TitleI learned a valuable lesson on Friday. Apparently, I cannot “do it all,” as they say (I know–shocking, right?). My friend Beth Geohagen of BeFly Bike Tours hosted her first (of many, I hope) First Friday Fashion Show. In my excitement, and suffering under the delusion that I could, in fact, do it all, I agreed to model in the show knowing that I also wanted to highlight the event in a post.

The result? The following photos, shot from backstage at the event. Not the best of the event (find the best on BeFly’s Facebook page, and hey, like them while you’re at it, would you?).

Beth Geohagen, BeFly Bike Tours, and her mom

Beth Geohagen, BeFly Bike Tours, and her marvelous mom

A few of the goodies we got to wear during the show

A few of the goodies we got to wear during the show

Michelle Fischer-Pugh models "Bikes and Botanicals"

Michelle models “Bikes and Botanicals”

Michelle's cheery yoga-themed Electra bike

Michelle’s cheery yoga-themed Electra bike

William Shaffer sports "Lake Hopping" attire

William sports “Lake Hopping” attire

The point? You don’t have to be of the spandex-shorty-short-shorts-sporting variety to get outside and enjoy the fabulosity that is riding a bike.

In fact, you can ride your bike in any of your favorite outfits (including heels, as Beth often proves in BeFly photos)!

As I and my partners in crime William Shaffer, Allison McKee, Michelle Fischer Pugh, and Kevin Branham and Tamara Lee  showed, bikes provide the perfect transportation for exploits involving “lake hopping”, romantic rides, local museums, downtown pubs, or (for my fellow Lakelanders) a ride through Dixieland Historic District, Fort Frasier Trail, or Circle B Bar Reserve.  And thanks to Kimberly’s Recycled Art Projects, we proved that you can do it while being perfectly accessorized (we sported her jewelry made from recycled bike parts for the show and it is to. die. for.)

When "Art is in Heart", you can never go wrong with a linen scarf to keep you warm once you arrive at the museum

When “Art is in Heart”, you can never go wrong with a linen scarf to keep you warm once you arrive at the museum

I’m always excited to be part of collaborations showcasing incorporating creative style into everyday life. After all, most of our “adventures” occur in everyday life, so why not dress for them?

What’s your favorite bicycling outfit?

I ham it up for David Dickey's camera

I ham it up for David Dickey’s camera

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Budget Brights

Looky what I found!

If you are a little reticent to rock brights head-to-toe (or, like me, are quite frankly scared to for fear of being all-too-accurately dubbed a “highlighter” by my friend Erica), here is an inexpensive, low-commitment way to dip your toe in the water.

While on a quick foray into Target recently, this shiny eye candy caught, well, my eye.  Pair it with the pastel cardigan you picked up in the spring, add a pop of color to your white tee and cutoffs this summer, and use it to rock the tonal looks cropping up in the fall.  At $16, you can let it go without tears when we eventually transition into more neutral territory.

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Button, button, where’s the button?

What do you do when a favorite article of clothing loses a button?  Does it sit dismally in the closet corner until you can remember to take it to the tailor (or worse, is it relegated to the thrift store pile)?

Well, I am here to help you return that gorgeous pair of pants to their former glory as the elegant inhabitants of a smooth walnut hanger! Last week, we discussed the benefits of being able to hem your own pants.  Sewing on a button is another one of those things that, once you know how to do it, can easily be done in less time than it takes to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

This tutorial by Collen G. Lea at Fashion Sewing Blog shows how to correctly attach different types of buttons in a cinch.  So tonight, when you’re enthralled in the next Sci-fi movie dedicated to the misadventures of a team of divers held captive by the pre-historic Shark-platypus, break out a needle and thread and stop mourning the loss of that previously banished blouse already.

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Hemmed in

While even the smallest alterations in a garment can make a big difference in how the garment looks on someone, I personally prefer to save my tailoring budget for projects that are a bit complicated (such as taking in a waist, hemming denim, or anything involving a gauzy fabric).

I’ve found that with a little (and I mean a very little) practice, it’s really easy to do a great hem on a pair of pants or a pencil skirt.  Not only do I save money, but I can do it while I’m watching TV or a movie.

The best hem stitch tutorial I’ve found is by sewingwithlaura on Youtube.  It’s easy to follow and creates a quality invisible hem (you can’t see it from the front side of the fabric).  No more waiting to wear those fabulous linen pants you just picked up!

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Sew perfect

Now that you’ve acquired a few articles of clothing that really flatter your body type, it’s time to get them tailored so that they fit perfectly.

My favorite seamstress, Verna, is amazing at making your clothes look A.MAZ.ING, but she’s a bit camera shy, so I interviewed her off-camera to get all the juicy details about tailoring and what it can do for you.

How long have you been sewing, Verna? I made my first dress for myself when I was 11 years old. I am past retirement age now so that would be a good clue as to how long I have been at my sewing machines!! A long time no matter how you calculate.

How did you begin tailoring clothes? I started doing alterations after my daughter was born in ’72 and I was a stay at home Mom. I needed to help with the family income and actually did full dressmaking. I no longer take on that task.

What are the easiest tailoring “fixes”? The easiest are just minor fixes like to lengthen or shorten pants, skirts and day dresses.

Most difficult? The most difficult would be garments that have many pieces in the design and any piece with a lot of detail or trim, such as beading.

What are the least expensive tailoring services? Least expensive are the minor changes such as hemming and seam repairs.

Most expensive? Working on anything with lots of detail and fabrics that don’t lend well to reworking can be expensive, if it can be done at all. Fine fabrics and silks are not forgiving.

If I see an article of clothing in the store, but it doesn’t fit quite right, how can I know whether or not a tailor can fix it? If you need something made a little smaller it can be done within reason. You must take into account the seams, pockets etc and know how it will place them after the work is done. To make something bigger can be limited. There is only so much seam allowance to work with and it may not be worth the effort.

What are some fit problems that can’t really be fixed by a tailor? That would depend on t he garment and the person it is for. Bear in mind that you only have the fabric in the garment to work with. You can take away but you can’t add fabric. Your tailor must be reasonably sure that he can alter the garment to your specifications.

What is your favorite sewing project that you’ve ever done? I love making a bride happy with the fit of her gown. I recently did the bride and bridesmaid gowns for my granddaughters wedding. They were all beautiful. My other favorite project is my quilting that I do for myself and my family. I learn something every time I go to work on a quilt and it is an art form all its own.

Any other suggestions? Try to get references or recommendations for a tailor or seamstress. If that doesn’t work try to see how long they have been doing it. Sometimes simple work can be done by the alterations person at your local dry cleaners. Anything that is very involved should be done by a reputable tailor.

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To A Tee

We Americans have come to expect three things from newly-acquired T-shirts:

1. They can’t have those annoying tags that scratch your neck.
2. They have to look like we’ve been wearing them into that undeniably cool, lived-in state for years.
3. They have to FEEL like we’ve been wearing them into that undeniably cool, lived-in state for years (in fabric-speak, that’s called having a nice hand).

L to R: Christina, Will (Founder of Trinitee Apparel), and his gorg wife, Andrea
All wearing Trinitee Apparel
Photo by Mike Nykile

And so imagine my (very pleasant) surprise when my friend announced the launch of his recent creative venture, Trinitee Apparel.

Will is known for excellence in all his endeavors, and his most recent one does not disappoint.  If your guy lives in tees like mine does, he’ll be happy to know that not only do Trinitee’s tees meet the aforementioned requirements for pure T-shirt bliss, they also come at a very reasonable price, so you can stock up his entire closet for the summer in one fell swoop.

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Wear your clothes

“The fashionable woman wears clothes.

The clothes don’t wear her.”

Mary Quant

Bargain elements of this outfit:
Dress: Calvin Klein via Ross
Bag: B. Makowsky via T.J. Maxx

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Live zesty!

“Zest is the secret of all beauty.”

There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.”

Christian Dior

This outfit is almost entirely composed of bargain, thrift, consignment, and vintage purchases.

Shirt: What’s New Consignment, $1 
Shoes: Nine West via Marshall’s
Bag: B. Makowsky via T.J. Maxx
Necklace: Rae’s Retro (local vintage store)

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Shopping bargain, thrift, consignment, & vintage

B. Makowsky bag from T.J. Maxx

I’ll be the first to admit it—I have a love/hate relationship with bargain, vintage, and thrift/consignment stores.  With a few exceptions, I have not found them to be the most reliable places to pick up basic building blocks for my wardrobe.

That being said, I do shop bargain stores (such as T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) regularly for a few particular items, and often find special little “extras” at thrift and consignment stores.  So if you’re feeling really adventurous, here are a few things that I’ve found helpful when shopping these types of stores.

  • Have the right frame of mind.  I can’t shop these stores when I need to find something (although I highly recommend doing any clothes shopping before you need something.  It is a proven law that when you need jeans, all you will find is a dress, and vice versa).  Go with the realization that you may not find anything, but you may uncover a gem.
  • Don’t attempt to cover the entire store.  Unless you have an entire day to spend in the store and a constitution of steel, it’s too overwhelming.
  • Decide in advance what you’re looking for.  I generally shop bargain stores for bags (I have been getting fabulous, high-quality bags at a fraction of their original price for years at T.J. Maxx) and shoes.  Also, I have a favorite brand of T-shirt that I regularly shop Marshalls for (I can find them quickly because the brand name is listed above the rack). So when I go to those stores, I proceed straight to those racks and don’t bother with the rest of the store.
  • Some vintage and thrift stores have higher quality/designer items separated out into a special section.  I tend to go straight to those sections, as I find they yield the best results.
  • In a vintage or consignment store, if I find a piece I really like but I’m not willing to pay the price they’re asking, I’ll keep an eye on it for the next few weeks.  If it’s still in the store a month later, I may (politely) note to the salesperson that it has been in the store for a while, and would they be willing to take X dollars for it?  This works especially well in consignment stores (because many times, the store doesn’t make money until the item is sold).

This week, to inspire you to venture into bargain, vintage, and thrift/consignment stores, I’ll share photos of some of my favorite finds.  I’d love to know what your favorite items to purchase at these types of stores are.  Do you have any strategies for canvassing the store?

Happy shopping!

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