Ordinary Amy - Tomboy Memories

I am using the word ordinary as a term to mean usual, not plain. I don't want any of you thinking I only think of myself as ordinary...okay, so once in a while I do struggle with the old self image, but that is not what I am intending to address with this new monthly column on the blog. 

Ordinary Amy is going to be a monthly column emphasizing outfits that are my go to's. These will be pieces that I frequently reach for, because I find them, comfortable, easy to wear and pair other pieces with, yet still stylish. 

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A v-neck sweater, red in honor of Valentine's Day, a pair of skinny jeans and a pair of combat boots. Casual, comfy, warm and a masculine edge. 

I grew up in a home with two older brothers. Being the only girl and the baby, it was my goal to try to keep up with the boys, as annoying as that was to them. Ha ha. From playing in the creek behind the house, to making trails in the field down the road for their dirt bikes, I tried to follow them everywhere. As far as I was concerned I was a boy, just like them. I had a short hair cut and wore pants as often as I could. I can still remember my mother and I fighting about the fact that she thought I should wear dresses to school. She gave that fight up before too long. When we went swimming in our pool, I would wear a pair of shorts and that was it...no top. I was a boy. why should I have to wear a top? (This was before I began to blossom and hit puberty, so flat chested, was flat chested.)

I can still remember when I got my first period. I explained to my mother what was happening and when she told me what it was, I ran from the house angry and crying. I didn't want to be a girl. Gradually, hormones did their job. I started to change in shape and I also began to notice boys! I became extremely private and modest, even around my brothers, and I became interested in clothing, hair styles and eventually make up. 

However, I still prefer pants over dresses and I like looks that have an edgy, military or masculine vibe. 

Ordinary Amy - red sweater, skinny jeans, combat boots

This type of look is something I turn to again and again. I love boots. I also like skinny jeans. I used to never wear them, so when I finally tried them, I fell in love. The thing I like about skinnies is that I can wear them all year round. In fall and winter I tuck them into boots and in spring and summer, I roll them up and pair them with ankle boots, sneakers, flats or flip flops. 

A chunky, cable knit sweater is stylish, but forgiving enough that I don't have to worry about my bulges. This particular sweater is Chaps brand from the Kohl's clearance rack. I am wearing a short sleeve lace tee underneath which provided an extra layer of warmth and a touch of ivory around the neck line. 

Ordinary Amy - red sweater, skinny jeans, combat boots, bomber jacket

When I started putting this outfit together, I chose the sweater and jeans first, but then I thought of adding this fun bomber jacket which I introduced on the blog earlier in my travel post from last March. This little number is actually quite warm. It was a JC Penney clearance rack find and is Arizona brand. I think I paid about $5.00 for it. 

With the bomber jacket I knew I had to wear my thrifted combat boots, giving the whole look a WWII feel. With that in mind, it made me think of my dad. 

My dad, who grew up in a pacifist Mennonite family, was a hard working farm boy with a fascination with airplanes. When he was old enough he left home and went to work for the Curtiss-Wright airplane factory in Buffalo, NY. making wings for the P-47 for WWII. My dad, however was not content to make wings, he wanted to enlist. When he went to sign up, they asked if he was employed. When he told them where he worked they rejected him, saying his work was more important to the war effort than being in the service. Being the man he was, he waited a little longer, quit his job and went back to enlist. They let him right in. His enlistment came late in the war and he ended up serving in Air Sea Rescue on a B-17

Ordinary Amy - airplane necklace

I found this little pendant necklace somewhere along the way, possibly at Charming Charlie. What originally drew me to it was the bling, but it suddenly occurred to me that it would be a good piece to remind me of my dad. My dad passed away eleven years ago, but obviously I still think of him often. 

Ordinary Amy - bomber jacket outfit

There you have it...ordinary me, on an ordinary day. I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you have an extraordinary weekend! 

(With the awful tragedy that occurred yesterday morning in Parkland, Florida I thought to add a note to this post. I pray for the families, friends and school staff left behind after the mass shooting. My heart is heavy as you deal with the aftermath and I pray that time will bring healing for the loss you are feeling.)

Friday linking up with Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge, Jo-Lynne of Jo-Lynne Shane and Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots

Fun Fall Look - Shearling

For this Fun Fall Look today, I am wearing a pair of boots I recently thrifted, that combine the earthy tone of brown suede with the fun texture of creamy shearling. Shearling is basically the wool from a sheep after it is shorn. Most of the shearling you see in the stores this season is fake, but it is a fun texture that is widely popular right now and appears on coats, vests, hats, scarves and yes, boots. Most often the fuzzy texture is left a creamy white color and can be made of various man made fibers.

Shearling outfit

Because I wanted to show off the boots, I kept the rest of my outfit rather casual and simple. 

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This berry colored tunic I bought a few years ago at Christopher and Banks. Here is a cute cowl neck version at Nordstrom

The  Apt. 9 vest I found on the clearance rack at Kohls. This is a light weight faux suede. I like the waterfall open front and this brown will go with many other colors. Do you like it paired with the berry? I think it works to keep the outfit more earthy. Here is a back view of the vest and the boots.

Shearling boots outfit

I chose these dark wash Rock and Republic skinny jeans for a look that slimming and in keeping with the darker colors of fall. I got these on clearance at Kohl's. I lost about 7 pounds over the summer, so they fit a little better now than when I first got them. It's amazing how just a few pounds can make a difference. 

I decided to mix jewelry just to keep the look more interesting. To go with the suede look of the vest and boots I chose the lariat choker. To go with the berry tunic I also added this fun fringe gold and bead pendant necklace.

Shearling boot outfit

I also added a number of bracelets that I recently brought home. They are just simple stretchy beaded ones, but even these can make an outfit look more fun and interesting. I love these layers of burgundy, berry and gold.

Shearling boot outfit

These Unisa brand boots were a great find. I love that they have a higher wedge heel and the gold zipper and buckle detailing on the outer leg gives them a cool vibe that can be dressed up or down. They seem pretty comfortable, so I expect these will get some wear this winter. Just remember if you are going to wear suede boots they should be treated for waterproofing and I would avoid wearing them when the salt trucks are out. Salt does nasty things to suede and leather. To keep your boots looking great wear your snow boots, rain boots or a boot that can be easily cleaned when the weather gets really messy. 

Shearling boot outfit
shearling boot outfit

Do you have any shearling pieces in your closet? How do you wear your shearling? I hope you enjoyed this post. Below are a few affiliate shopping links that can give you other ideas for how to wear shearling. All opinions are my own.

I hope you have a great weekend. 

Fun Fall Look - Blanket Scarf

Until this last spring I had never owned a blanket scarf. Last fall and winter when I saw all sorts of my favorite bloggers showing off their warm, fuzzy scarves I kept thinking I need to get one of these. It wasn't until my hubby and I visited The British Tea Garden in Tecumseh, Michigan that I found the exact one I wanted. Our fun lunch date included delicious food and our choice of tea. They also had a cute little gift shop which I had to peruse while we were waiting to be seated. This is the blanket scarf I bought on clearance. 

Blanket scarf

What makes a blanket scarf different from other scarves. There are two main characteristics. The first is that the scarf is a large square. I believe this one is five feet by five feet. The second is that the material is heavier, but soft enough to wrap around our necks or shoulders. 

For this post I styled my blanket scarf for a casual look that could be worn on a date with my hubby or shopping with a friend. 

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I've been seeing cropped pants everywhere, especially distressed denim with frayed hems. I guess I'm right on trend in that department. These Vera Wang pants are thrifted. I wasn't too keen on the whole distressed pants trend, but I have come over to the dark side. Ha, ha. Personally, this is as much distressing as I need. No holes revealing pasty flesh for this girl. Although small holes and a cute pair of tights would be okay. That's just me!

I thought it would be fun to pair the jeans with a dressier jacket/blazer that is also thrifted. I had been wondering how exactly to style this jacket, but when I saw the scarf next to it, I knew it would be the perfect pairing.

Blanket scarf outfit

This jacket is not meant to be worn as outerwear as it is very light and unlined. It may have been part of a pant suit or went with a skirt. I like wearing jackets like this. They provide an added layer of warmth, especially when I work. Our office is chilly all year round. 

Under the jacket I wore one of my winter sweaters tunics. It has more of an open weave, so isn't too heavy. If I wore it alone, I would have added a cami or tank underneath. 

Blanket scarf outfit

The following pictures show another way to style this scarf. 

Blanket scarf outfit
Blanket scarf outfit
Blanket scarf outfit

For shoes I chose my black heeled ankle boots. 

Blanket scarf outfit

I didn't go wild with my accessories as I wanted the scarf to be the focal point. A fun ring with fall colors and a gold bracelet were my only jewelry. 

Blanket scarf outfit

I thought adding this red/berry colored bag would be a great pop of color against this otherwise subdued outfit. Another thrift store find, I love the color of this purse. It has the roominess of a tote, but also has organizational compartments for all the extras. Thrift stores are great places to find purses, even pricer name brands like Coach. Just be sure you know your brand before you buy. 

Blanket scarf outfit
Blanket scarf outfit

So that is a look at my blanket scarf outfit. I can't wait until it gets a little chillier so I can wear this cozy piece more often. Do you have a blanket scarf? How do you like to wear yours?

Here are a few shopping links for blanket scarves. If you purchase an item through my site I get a little bit of a kick back. While my blog is just a hobby right now, it would be awesome if it made a little bit of money too. Ha, ha. 

This post contains affiliate links. All opinion are my own. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend! 

Thoughts on Thrifting - Part 2 - How To

Last week, in the first part of my two part series on thrifting, I talked about essential things to look for in a good thrift store environment. Things like location, organization, lighting and cleanliness are all factors that can make thrift shopping more pleasant and easier to maneuver. 

This week I want to focus on the science of thrift shopping. It has taken me a number of years to really pare back on over buying when I go into a thrift store. With the relatively low prices and the abundance of product, it is very easy to walk out with a whole bag full of fun clothes. Blogging has certainly helped me to discover my own style, as well as learn what the better brands are and how to put an outfit together. The following are just a few of the things I have learned over the years as a thrifter.

1. Know the store you are shopping in. It is always good to check out a few stores before you decide which ones you actually want to spend more time at. Know how things are laid out, how the clothing is arranged, where the bathroom is (if they have one) and where the dressing rooms are. 

2. Know your purpose for thrifting. What are you looking for? Clothing? Home goods? House wares? Kids toys and games? Tools? Know what you want to look for and what stores will most likely carry the items you want. Maybe make it a thrift store day and go to several stores. Knowing what your needs are before you start out, will make your trip more efficient and help you to not over buy or over spend.

3. Make a list. You might think this is the same as number 2, but I think making a list is a great way to keep you focused on what it is you are going to the store for. How many times have you gone to the grocery store for one item and end up grabbing several things and forget the one thing you went in for? Guilty! For thrifting, I have a running list. This means that I have a little note pad where I write things down as I think of them. Right now I have a list that includes a couple of olive colored pieces. I have grown to love that color and know I want a sweater of some sort for the colder months. Rather than going into the store with no idea what to look for, the list keeps me on task. Not that I don't get easily distracted by other things, but I have a better chance of leaving the store with less stuff. Ha, ha. 

4. Don't impulse buy. Are you the woman of steel? Are you never tempted by those end caps at the store that have items you don't need? How about those clearance racks? I really cannot go into a store without looking over the clearance. However, I am better now than I used to be. I used to buy a top because I thought it was cute, or pretty. Now I may try on dozens of cute and pretty things, but only buy those that look and fit perfectly and that I know will accent my style. Compulsive buying will only lead to a closet full of clothes that you don't know how to wear.

5. Don't be afraid to try on lots of things. My advice is don't go thrifting when you are in a hurry. Be prepared to spend time looking through the racks for your list items and trying things on. I usually get a cart full before I go to the dressing room. When I have a lot of time I might go through and pick tops I want to try on, then go to the dressing room. Then I will look through skirts and pants, then try them on. Once you try stuff on sort them into piles. The absolute no's go back on the rack. The maybe's I hang on the outside of my cart and the for sure's I take off the hanger, fold and put in the cart. The clothes in the maybe pile, I look through very carefully and try to imagine how I would use each piece. I also check for stains and tears. Anything that is not in perfect condition goes back on the rack.

Another piece of advice under this category is to try things on that look a little different or strange on the hanger. Once in a while I pick up a piece and think, "That is so not me," but maybe I love the color or the pattern, so I throw it in the cart to try on. Amazingly, I have found some fun stuff that I would have simply passed over, if I hadn't tried it on. This helps me as a fashion blogger, because it pushes me outside my box. 

6. Don't be disappointed if you don't find what you are looking for. Thrift stores are constantly getting in new items. It is good to go back every so often, list in hand and keep searching for that treasure you are looking for. 

These are a few of my favorite finds:

Navy Ralph Lauren blazer:

navy ralph lauren blazer

Loft striped tee and navy Vera Wang bag:

loft striped tee

J.Jill velvet lined jacket:

j.jill velvet jacket

Distressed cropped jeans:

denim distressed crop pants

And don't forget shoes:

navy loafer heels
ankle boots
combat boots

In addition to regular thrift stores in your neighborhood there are some awesome online thrift store options as well. Two of the bigger ones are Thread Up and Poshmark. if you are more of an on line shopper, be sure to check out these sites!

I hope you enjoyed these posts on thrifting. Thrift shopping is a great way to save money, find unique pieces to fit your own personal style and have fun. 

Next month I'll be back to my regular schedule for my monthly columns. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Feel free to share this with others you think might like to learn about fashion for women over 50. I appreciate all of your support. 

Have a great weekend. 

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull. Make up Rachel Christensen

Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style.