Monday, September 26, 2016

Eight Core Fall Accessories

The Flying Clubhouse: Eight Core Fall Accessories

As a companion to my last post, I wanted to share my top accessories for this season. Creating this list while decluttering my wardrobe really helped me decide what I actually needed and what I didn't. Not that I got rid of everything that wasn't completely necessary - my necklaces and knee socks didn't make this list, but I've definitely thinned out the collection.

Maybe it's unfair to list my most useful accessories separately from the rest of my core wardrobe pieces, because they are just as important. In my mind, however, they fit into separate categories. The great thing about quality accessories is that they're some of the easiest things to get second-hand - at least in my own experience. All of the pieces listed below were thrifted but the wide-brim hats and black tights. 

As always, I'd love to hear what you would put on your own personal list!

The Flying Clubhouse: Eight Core Fall Accessories


1. Backpack Bag
I thought about adding a cross-body bag to my list, but really, a brown backpack bag is all I need. It can hold my camera as well as other necessities - wallet, lip balm, tissue, etc. I love having free hands.

2. Scarf
My outerwear is in neutral colors, so I can wear a scarf in any color. I have a deep purple one - which is my current favorite color - and a black and white hounds-tooth one. But perhaps my most useful scarf is a large, black Pashmina-style scarf. It's great with casual outfits, but can even be used as a wrap with dressier outfit. 

3. Wide-Brim Hat
I keep a sun-proof straw one for the warm months, but in the fall and winter I like a black wide-brim wool hat for both style and protection from the sun.

4. Beanie
A beanie is a good choice for the coldest fall days when I don't want to expose my ears to the cold. I keep one in red and gray, but I prefer the red one because it's so thick and soft.

5. Opaque Black tights
Absolutely invaluable to me are black tights. I've worn many colors of tights over the years, but really thick black tights are my favorite for every day. Sheer black tights are nice too, but I usually save those for dressier outfits.

6. Black Ballet Flats
I haven't had a pair for years and years, and I just recently purchased a pair used, although they're almost like new. What prompted me to buy them was my brown leather loafers falling apart. I needed a replacement flat shoe. I absolutely love these black ballet flats. They look sharp with everything, and it's easy to see why they are a cliche fashion item.

7. Black Ankle Boots
I have the perfect pair of black ankle boots with a slight heel. I almost passed them by in the thrift store because they were covered in dirt, but I tried them on and they were very comfortable and seemed high quality. Underneath all that dirt they were almost like new.

8. Tough Boots
My tough boots are not very cute, but they're good to have for serious walking, hiking, or taking on rain and mud.

The Flying Clubhouse: Eight Core Fall Accessories

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ten Core Pieces of My Wardrobe

Flying Clubhouse: The Ten Core Pieces of My Wardrobe

Happy fall! It's the most wonderful time of the year, in my opinion.

Recently, I really got my wardrobe sorted out. It had sort of lost its way in the past few years. It was far too large and unfocused. I wanted to make my wardrobe more practical and reflect my personal style in day-to-day life - not just on special occasions. I found that once I narrowed down my clothes, it was easy to identify the ten key pieces that make up the foundation of my wardrobe. Everything functions around these ten types of clothing. I currently have at least one of each type, and if I double the tops, I have a nice capsule going on. This list is aimed at fall weather, but these are the same pieces I have in my wardrobe all year long - except in summer, when all long sleeves are banished.

I wanted to share this list with you because I thought it might be helpful. You might even want to make a list of your own, since my core pieces are sure to be different. It's all about individual taste and lifestyle.

Flying Clubhouse: The Ten Core Pieces of My Wardrobe


Cotton Turtleneck
I have three of these - black, white, and deep purple. One of these is a blend of cotton and spandex, which is nice too. I wear them as tops, or layered under a jacket, cardigan, or sleeveless dress. 

Light Sweater
I've never found a heavy or chunky-knit sweater that I liked or thought looked good on me, and I don't feel that I need one. However, a high-quality light-knit solid sweater is a valuable piece in my wardrobe. I have a black crew-neck one and several turtleneck sweaters in different colors. They were all thrifted, and probably cost more than I could afford when new. But it's never been too difficult to find a nice second-hand sweater, as long as I paid attention to the fiber type and made sure there were no holes or stains.

A Soft Print Blouse
This is not a blouse with a soft print, but a soft blouse with a print. Oddly specific, perhaps, but it's one of the most worn pieces in my wardrobe. In the past, I've had crisp button-downs, chiffon blouses, and I just didn't wear them - or liked wearing them. My current favorite one is in a print that is colorful, but goes with every single one of my bottoms except my red tennis skirt. It's very soft and breathable.

Sleeveless Jumper Dress
This is the crowning piece of my wardrobe. To some, a jumper dress might mean a sweater dress, but what I mean is a sleeveless dress that can be worn on its own or with a top underneath. My best jumper dress is a black denim one by Boden. It can be worn on its own, or with any of the aforementioned tops underneath. Not all sleeveless dresses can be layered well, and not all pinafore dresses can be worn without layers, so it's always good to find a versatile piece like this. 

A-Line Dress
It's like the classic little black dress, but the shape is more important to me than color or pattern. I have a few long-sleeved a-line dresses in crepe. One is a sold navy and one is a dark floral print. I've worn it to rehearsal, and I plan on wearing it to an upcoming October wedding. I would also wear it to a party or to the movies or a lunch - maybe with a denim jacket over it. To me, this print one seems just as versatile as a little black dress. It's the mini silhouette and a-line shape that makes it work for me.

A Smock or Tunic Dress
My lounge-around-the-house uniform is a soft long-sleeved tunic dress, usually with tights or leggings. It looks nice enough to wear out, too. I might add a wide-brim hat, boots, and a denim jacket. I have a plaid one that has worked very hard all fall and winter in the past two years. 

A-Line Mini Skirt
This is my favorite kind of skirt, and the only type I own, except for a pleated tennis skirt. Until this year, I never really loved the skirts I've owned. For some reason I still associated skirts with the black ones I had to wear for orchestra class as a child. Shopping for these with my family was a nightmare, and I always ended up with a horrible straight polyester number with an obvious elastic waist band. But after finding some mini skirts with a retro a-line shape, I was smitten. I am a new skirt convert.

Comfortable Jeans
I always thrift these. I can't remember that last time I bought a pair of jeans new. I have a flared pair and a skinny pair, and I don't know which is more versatile. I like them both and would pack either one to travel. For me, it's mostly about a dark wash and comfortable fit.

Denim Jacket
My thrifted denim jacket is something I keep on hand even in the summer months. It has an over-sized, boyfriend fit - which I like best since it comfortably fits over everything.

Cotton T-Shirt
I don't consider myself a t-shirt person, but a short-sleeve cotton t-shirt is needed on warm fall days. As a vintage-lover, I don't mind all kinds of unnatural man-made materials, but I think my t-shirts need to be all cotton. I had a cute ringer t this summer that would have been perfect to take into fall, but the poly-cotton blend started smelling strange after only a few hours of wear. I held on to it longer than I should have, giving it chance after chance, but eventually it just became embarrassing and I recently sent it packing. Anyway, a navy 100% cotton v-neck completes the core of my wardrobe this fall.

Flying Clubhouse: The Ten Core Pieces of My Wardrobe

And that's the list. I decided to save shoes and accessories for another time. Thanks for reading and please tell me about your core pieces in the comments. I'm always interested in what other people love to wear and find useful.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Autumn at Oz Festival 2016

Last weekend my sister and I went to the Autumn at Oz Festival at Beech Mountain, NC. It takes place annually at the defunct (but well-cared-for) Land of Oz theme park. Last year was cancelled because extreme weather conditions, but we were there the year before. The theme park is utterly charming. The festival was packed with guests. I've never seen so many tiny children dressed as Dorothy assembled in one place. My sister and I didn't wear costumes this year, but we added some poppies to our outfits.

The little stone hut with the orange door is the Cowardly Lion's house. I never imagined the Cowardly Lion's house, either while reading the book or watching the film, but this seems about right. I thought it was pretty cute how the designers of the theme park gave the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion each a little house. Dorothy, on the other hand, has a big farm house. The top part is a regular cottage that is rented to guests. The bottom part and basement level has crooked floors and disheveled furniture, representing Dorothy's house after the tornado. The yellow brick road starts at Dorothy's back porch, where a set of witch's feet can be seen peeking from underneath the house.

We had a great time at Oz, and we enjoyed the beautiful drive there as well as eating at a local pizza restaurant afterwards. We got photos with many of the characters (the Scarecrow was hilarious, and a little upset we were wearing poppies). Somehow a North Carolina mountain forest is the perfect setting for the Land of Oz.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Early September

It's late-late summer and the hydrangeas are fading and turning into lace. The other day we had a brief moment to take a walk and spot the butterflies before they disappear.

I was given an African Violet plant a few weeks ago, and it just started blossoming. I've been so busy, I haven't taken the time to learn how to care for it, but so far both house and garden plants seem to like it best when I mostly leave them alone. 

The nights have been getting a little cooler, and we enjoy lighting candles in the evening when we get home late after play rehearsal. We recently moved most of our books from our little study/work room to shelves in our living room . In the evening, with the candles lit, it makes our living space a lot more cozy.

Anyway, things are still super busy around here, but I'm very happy with my wardrobe since decluttering. I plan to share more about that soon.

Hope your September is going well!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Last Day of August

After a week of living with a decluttered closet, I'm extremely pleased with the results. I've since tackled the bathroom, my sock and pajama drawer, our one linen/miscellaneous closet, my makeup collection, our books, and now I'm after the kitchen cupboards. We've lived here for almost four years now, and it's been easy to eliminate things we haven't really used in that time. I don't like cleaning, so I see this major declutter as an investment for less tidying in the future.

Another area I've started working on, but have much accomplish yet, is my my small army of accessories - namely bags. This cross-body is one I won't be getting rid of. It's from my last thrifting excursion, about a month ago, and it's the one I've been using most recently. I really love a sturdy cross-body bag with a simple design. I may take note of which bags in my collection I've actually used in a few months and send the rest packing. 

This American Apparel dress is my favorite right now. It's the perfect a-line mini dress. It's cut snugly in the shoulders, which I like because it gives it such a nice shape (I'm wearing a medium). The print is so lovely and sort of represents the colors in my wardrobe - navy, teal, burgundy, purple. The weather is still so hot but I feel that I can finally wear long sleeves now - at least in air-conditioned spaces.

bag: thrifted

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