Please allow me this digression

Actually, the topic of this post does not stray far from my goal to live a life of all things green and sustainable, as you’ll soon see. But here’s the disclaimer: it doesn’t have to do with food and it doesn’t have anything to do with gardening.  It has to do with fashion.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am not all that fashionably inclined. Sure I have my own quirky personal sense of style, but when it comes to new trends, accessories I’m not used to, and generally thinking outside of the box when it comes to my wardrobe, I’m just not that savvy. But it’s back to school time and it’s the time of the year when I’m forced to face my closet, give things away, and revamp my collection of professional clothes… on a budget.

Now my sister, Rachel, on the other hand, is the opposite of me when it comes to style. She’s just got it figured out and always looks beautiful and put together. And what’s more, she’s the queen of bargains. She’s the kind of person that can go into Ross, TJ Max, or other discount store and find amazing things. I take one look at all the overcrowded racks and feel overwhelmed… until yesterday, when I employed her inspiring, thrift store shopping strategy.

First, I found some guidance. Rachel told me that before she went on her last amazingly successful shopping trip, she flipped through a new Lucky and InStyle magazine for inspiration. I chose a fall Boden catalog one of those catalogs that I still opt to receive in the mail, but never order from because it’s so expensive. I just really love the casual-but-hip style of their clothes. So, I marked the pages of the outfits I loved, made a list of things that I would like to find that would compliment what I already had, and set off to the secondhand stores to find them.

If you’re in the Seattle area, check out the Value Village on Holman Road. It’s newly remodeled and reorganized, so it makes shopping a breeze. Also, the Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Company on the Ave are fantastic! I can’t believe some of the clothes I scored! Everything I purchased today was around $9 or less. In fact, the most expensive item I bought was a putty-colored, trench coat (notice the super cute lining) for $14!

OK, so how does this all relate to being green and living sustainably? First of all, I got organized, which is a good way to avoid coming home with a bunch of things you don’t actually need. Furthermore, to state the obvious, everything I bought was used and was sourced locally, instead of paying shipping and handling to get it shipped to me from across the country. Rather than going out and consuming brand new merchandise, I’m reinventing the clothes I already have and am recycling clothes that have already been used. After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Of course, this is not the first time I’ve gone used-clothes shopping, but never before have I done so with such intention. I can’t ignore the fact that as a working professional, I need to look, well, professional and when you practically wear the same thing all year, you eventually need to buy some new clothes. But I’m starting to rethink how that can be done. Here are some of the things that inspired me and what I ended up with:

Different colored stripes together (image from

I purchased the scarf and put it with things I already owned. Maybe that tired, old jacket isn’t so bad after all.

Adorable, dressy trench coat (image from

Inspirational coat in catalog, $248. Finding one at a thrift store for only $14, priceless!

Cute skirt with tights (image from

Ok, so I still need to buy darker tights, but you get the idea here. Lovely pencil skirt, only $9! And the new handbag? I scored that Nine West bag at the Goodwill for just $7!

Fun prints and cardigans (image from

Same skirt from the picture above ($9) and “new” Ann Taylor cardigan for $9. Love it!

*Thank you, Jake, for humoring me once again by taking all these silly photos. The post just wouldn’t be the same without them. You’re the best!

7 thoughts on “Please allow me this digression

  1. radhi

    you are seriously the cutest thing EVER!!! you’ll be the hottest teach on the block with all those finds. and is that a new kitchen rug? looks so farmhouse chic!

  2. bette Sprouse

    Planting by the voodoo calendar and shopping at Goodwill! You’re becoming more of a Sprouse by the minute. You go, girl!

  3. Rachel Mae

    You did me proud! I was excited to see you took my advise in looking for items that could be used for multiple outfits too. Everything you picked up can be used to create at least a dozen different outfits. Well Done! The greatest part of a shopping trip like that is the thing you didn’t pick up… the guilt of overspending. It’s so much more fun and rewarding! AVTN

  4. Bonnie Story

    Digression allowed! Great pics and YES I agree that the green life ethic definitely applies to how we express ourselves with fashion. Definitely. I really enjoy trolling in vintage and second-hand places. And the dustier the better! Good shopping there and good examples of how just adding in some new accessories or switching things up a bit can breathe new life into old stuff.

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