Not Dressed to Impress

By: Jeanne Reynolds

When my husband and I returned from our honeymoon cruise many years ago, our flight landed without a problem in Charleston … but our luggage, alas, did not.

The good news is the airline located it with a day or so. The bad news is it was still in New York City, and apparently had been for some time, going ’round and ’round the luggage belt in one of the busiest airports in the world.

The more good news is no one had stolen it. The more bad news is apparently our stuff was so bad no one wanted it. And these were the “nice” clothes we had packed for a cruise to Bermuda.

Remembering that, I had to laugh (a little, to myself) last weekend when I decided to try the consignment store route for some cocktail dresses I thought just a little too nice for the Every Woman Blog - Not Dressed to Impressthrift store. They’re in excellent condition but I haven’t worn them in years and can use the extra closet space.

With the dresses carefully covered in plastic to protect them from the elements, I entered the consignment shop nearest my home. My first impression was somewhere between a flea market and a garage sale, except less well-organized. I immediately doubted this shop’s clientele would be in the market for sequins and black crepe, but I’d gone this far so I forged on.

Guess what? The proprietress rejected my dresses because they’re too old. Once again, no one wants my stuff.

OK, when I said I haven’t worn them in years, it might be like … 10 years … or more. (I lose track of time these days.) Maybe they’re not the latest style, but they’re beautiful and classic. Surely, I thought, someone would love to snap them up at a great price. Not so much, apparently. Maybe they fall in that no-woman’s land between vintage/retro and just … old.

That little figurative slap in the face caused me to take stock of my closets. It’s easy to see very few of my clothes are new. They fit well (thanks to running, I’ve been the same size for decades) and are comfortable, and I can usually manage an appropriate outfit for any occasion. But no one will ever mistake me for a fashion maven.

And I’m OK with that. One benefit of getting older is you get better at accepting yourself for who you are.

I guess I’m back to the thrift store donation. Kidney Foundation, be on the lookout for a sparkly little number coming your way soon.

I just know someone is going to want it.

Accusation: Trying to be Cute

By: Chaunte McClure

ChaunteI’m looking forward to the dog days of summer ending. Whew! It’s been HOT!

However, I’m not looking forward to a comment I often hear in the winter: “You’re trying to be cute.” (Insert emoji with rolling eyes.)

I’m not much of a hat-wearer, so during the winter, you’ll most likely not see me with my head covered. But it has nothing to do with being cute. I own four hats – a winter hat, a floppy hat, a sun hat, and one that sort of looks like an Ascot cap. Two of the four I’ve never worn although I’ve owned one of them for at least four years. Don’t judge me; I had a vision for it when I bought it. 🙂 I’ll put on one of the others on my day off when I have to run an errand and curling my hair is not an option.

When winter finally arrives in South Carolina, I wear coats, but I don’t like driving in one, especially if I’m also wearing a sweater. I don’t like shopping in coat. It just gets too, uh, uncomfortable. When I get into my car, I usually take my coat off when the car is warm or before I head to my destination. Well, upon arrival, if I’m only going inside a building – let’s say the church on Sunday, or the office – for a few hours, I won’t wear my coat inside. When someone observes that I don’t have on an outer garment as I make my way towards a door, that’s when I hear it. Following a brief lesson on how I should dress for the weather, some variation of trying to be cute follows.

Not that it should matter to anyone, but when it’s cold, I dress in layers. Camisoles, leggings and long-sleeved Tees are my winter must-haves. I’m usually warmer than I look.

At my previous job I parked in a garage and almost never wore my coat just to get on the elevator to head to my office where I kept my portable heater going, sometimes even in the summer. Low and behold, someone, an older woman, noticed me not wearing a coat as I made my way to my office one morning. Guess what she said? (Insert emoji with rolling eyes, again.) I’m sure you’ve guessed it.

I’m not trying to be cute, I just want to be comfortable. Like you, I have personal preferences for decisions I make and actions I take. Why does it have to be about being cute?

Now, often when I’m wearing heels, yes, I’m being cute. Nowadays that’s usually only on Sundays, but comfort trumps cute within an hour or two and I will lower my height by one to two inches and slide into a pair of flats whether they match or not. Ladies, you know what I’m saying. You know you keep a pair of flats in your trunk or on the backseat floorboard. And oh do I suffer when I leave those ballet flats at home.

What do you do that prompts someone to accuse you of trying to be cute?

In case you missed my previous post, be sure to check out Dress to Impress Whom?

Dress to Impress Whom?

By: Chaunte McClure

IMG_2464Do you have friends or associates who are fashion-focused and expect you and others to be also?

I’ll admit, I take a liking to dressing neat and looking cute, but sometimes I miss the mark. I tend to dress according to my mood; therefore, I usually don’t choose what to wear to work the night before. If I’m groggy, sick or for some reason in a bad mood, I really don’t care about looking my best. Some days I just don’t feel like it!

I’ve had coworkers and friends who put too much focus on what they, and others wear. Not everyone wants to wear trendy, high fashion clothes and shoes or carry high-end bags. I’m perfectly okay with wearing clothes from Target versus Belk, Dillard’s, or any couture retailer. My purses don’t have to don Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade or Louis Vuitton logos. The $19.99 Wilson’s Leather handbag I bought this spring, which isn’t leather at all, holds my wallet, sunglasses, tablet and cell phone the same way the name brand bags will. And they’ll apply the same pressure to my shoulder and neck. (Ouch!)

The pressure to dress to impress others is stressful and can be hurtful. There are women who would rather save for family vacations or girlfriend getaways than their clothing wardrobe. Others just can’t afford more clothes and shoes.

Early on during my college days, I remember being humiliated because I didn’t have “the best clothes.” I barely had enough to even make it through the week. Boy was I grateful for those free T-shirts when I signed up for credit cards. However, I am still ungrateful for that plastic money.

As a working adult, when I was able to buy my own clothes, I still dealt with women who turned their nose up at me because of how I dressed. I typically dressed professionally even before I began my career. What I wore to work, I wore to church. I didn’t buy many clothes to wear outside of those two places, but that didn’t matter much because I didn’t go many places outside of the two.

We put too much focus on fashion instead of concentrating on finances, family, community, goals, and education – things (I think) that really matter.

I’m not opposed to fashionistas; I’m opposed to those who set a fashion standard for others. I dress to impress me – not my coworkers, friends or spectators and I do it with tact.

Are you fashion focused? Do you expect others to be also?

I’m a Jewelryholic

By: Chaunte McClure

My name is Chaunte and I’m a jewelryholic. But I don’t want help with my addiction. I know, what a shame to know I have a problem, but no interest in resolving it. How hypocritical of me! I just want to admit that I love jewelry. I mean, I really love jewelry. You see, he doesn’t have to go to Jared. For me, every kiss doesn’t begin with Kay. Buy me a five- or six-dollar necklace from Target and you’re spot on. Fashion jewelry is all I need.

There’s something about silver, gold, rhinestones and pearls that make my heart sing. Jewelry, especially a necklace, brings life to a simple T-shirt and jeans ensemble, a button up, or a low neckline top. Necklaces are my favorite and what I own the most of. I have a few bracelets, but because my wrist is so small, it’s usually difficult to find bracelets that fit well. But that’s not a concern when it comes to necklaces.

daisyNo matter what store I visit, I always gravitate to the jewelry section. Yesterday I made a quick run to Target to help someone shop for items for a baby shower, to later find myself rummaging through the jewelry clearance items. (That’s where you can find the $5 and $6 jewelry.)

I occasionally splurge and buy a beautifully crafted handmade treasure like the one I recently found online at The Vintage Bar. It’s a choker made of copper with a mix of colorful beads intricately designed for a fashionista or a jewelryholic like me. It’s truly a work of art. I don’t even know what to wear with it, but the day will come when Daisy De Santiago (Yeah, that’s her name.) will accent something in my closet.

Sometimes I have the outfit first, then I’ll look for jewelry to coordinate with it. Most times the jewelry calls my name and ends up coming home with me. That’s why my armoire is overflowing. I’m Chaunte and I’m a jewelryholic.

I know I’m not alone. Admit that you have a problem. If you do, please share tips on how to neatly store your jewelry.

5 Minute Fall Necklace

By: Leah Prescott

I have been dying to share this easy DIY project that combines two of my favorite pastimes: thrifting and crafting! Tassel necklaces are very trendy right now and these are the perfect way to add a little splash of color to your outfit as we head into fall. All you will need are vintage beaded necklaces, embroidery thread, and lobster clasps.

DIY tassel necklace
You can buy inexpensive bead necklaces at Michael’s craft store, but we picked a few up from Palmetto Thrift and also used a few vintage necklaces that belonged to my grandmother. The best part about this project is that the tassels will be interchangeable, so you can change them anytime to get a different look. Both retro and handcrafted, these necklaces end up different from any you will find in a store.

To create the tassels, you will use the entire bundle of embroidery thread. Take it out of its wrapper and tie an extra piece of thread firmly around the middle of the bundle, being sure to leave some extra length. (This will be the top of the tassel). Thread a bead on to those threads and tie them firmly to a lobster clasp. (Now you can hang it anywhere).

DIY tassel necklace

Next, holding your tassel-in-progress by the top, fold down the bundle so that all threads are hanging together neatly. Tie another piece of embroidery thread about an inch down from the top to create the tassel. It looks best if you wrap it a few times and tie firmly. You can try to hide the ends of your knot in with the rest of the hanging ones, but good luck with that. Remember, boho style is perfect in its imperfection. At least that’s what I told myself.

Finally, trim all the threads hanging down so that they are all loose and tassel-ish! Hang from your necklace and you are all done! Isn’t that adorable?

As you can see, we went a little tassel crazy at my house. But once my twins got started making them, they just couldn’t stop. I hope you enjoy this project as much as we did. Happy Tasselling!

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

By: Leah Prescott

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Even though I have always liked my hair long, sometimes it’s just time for a change. There’s nothing like a nice short cut when late summer days are still hot and humid! Sometimes I am nervous about a change like this, but donating the length of my hair always motivates me to try a new style. This was my third time donating hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and I always feel great about the experience so I wanted to share it here.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Pantene Beautiful Lengths uses donations to create wigs for cancer patients. Cancer takes so much from its victims, and I just love knowing my hair will help someone going through a difficult time! Beautiful Lengths requirements are simple: Hair must be a minimum of eight inches in length, have no dyes or chemical treatments and contain less than 5% grey. Check out the details here:

It takes eight to fifteen donations to make just one wig, so donating hair is very important! Why not consider donating your next chop to a great cause? If you aren’t able to donate hair, Pantene also accepts monetary contributions to finance their cause.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

What do you think of my new cut? I’m working up the nerve to go even shorter next time!

Summer Hair “Hacks”

By: Leah Prescott

With all the humidity in the air, it’s time us girls pulled out some of our best hair tricks. I have mentioned before that my 8-year-old girls have extremely curly hair. In fact, their hair is so curly that it’s not unusual to find random objects tangled up in there. No lie….once I found a Christmas Ornament hook in some of these curls. After years of practice I have found some tips that really work for curly hair. And whether your hair is curly or straight, these are great ideas for easy summer hair styles.

curly hair tips

Before I get into those let me show you a before and after with Twin A and Twin B. This is before conditioning and brushing with the Tangle Teezer, and then the nice soft conditioned after! It’s an amazing tool to have in your mommy kit. Now a few more ideas!

sock bun

Sock bun: this is something I wish I had learned much sooner. This is an easy, comfortable method of making the perfect big bun. You need a sock, a couple of hair ties, and hair pins. Cut the toe off the sock and roll it into a donut shape. Next, put your hair into a ponytail with a rubber band. Then, place your donut around the tip of the ponytail and slowly roll the hair around the sock all the way up to your head. (If you ever make socks into balls when matching them, it’s really the same motion. Honestly, it’s much easier than it sounds!) Last secure with a few pins and hair spray if needed. Done!

summer hair tips

Two strand twist. This is a quick, easy way to deal with bangs that are growing out or to just go bang free for a day. First, part your bangs to one side and comb them well. Then, start twisting two strands of hair together, moving across your forehead. Add a small piece of hair to your front strand before each twist to anchor the “braid.” This is basically like a French braid, but with only two pieces. Simply pin the twist to secure it. Again, this is much easier than it sounds!

heat free curls

Headband curls. This is my new favorite way of getting quick, heat-free curls overnight. All you need is a soft headband and curl spray (I use Not Your Mother’s Beach Bum Sea Salt Spray). Comb your hair out and lightly spritz your hair with the curl spray. Then place the headband OVER your forehead and hair like a crown. Starting on one side, grab a piece of hair and twist it. Then you will wrap the twist over the headband. Then you will add a bit more hair to that piece, twist again, and wrap over again. You will continue twisting and wrapping until you get to the back of your head. Then you will repeat for the other side. I usually just take those last two strands in the back and just twist them up any which way. Then go to bed. When you wake up your hair is in natural, beachy curls! It really works!

I hope you enjoy trying some of these!