etsy shop · Style

The Perfect Shirt for Summer

It’s was 96 degrees here yesterday. That’s really, really hot, y’all. It’s making me a little nervous because it’s just May, and we have “a whole ‘nother” month of spring to go before summer officially arrives. Lawd help! (Apparently these hot days bring back my Southern vocabulary.)

I’m digging through my closet to find the lightest possible things to wear on these crazy hot days. (Like this and this.)

But you know what always works on these hot days when I want to look a little more polished and a little less like I just came back from the pool?

Vintage short sleeved blouses.

They used to be called “shells” – slip-on, collar-less blouses that were typically worn as a base layer under suit jackets or cardigans. They were super popular in the 80s, and they are making a comeback. And for good reason. They are the perfect shirt for summer. Lightweight, cool, and breathable boxy-cut blouses, they look better than a t-shirt and are even easier to wear.

May I present the Vintage Short Sleeved Blouse, Three Ways:

vintage blouse + shorts

1. With shorts. This is basically a t-shirt and shorts situation, but it looks more polished and feels even better. (Pay no attention to what I’m calling my “mom tan” – that unfortunate tan line that comes from wearing cropped yoga pants on a surprisingly sunny day. NO SHAME, friends – it’s too hot to try to cover that mess up with long pants these days.)

vintage blouse + midi skirt

2. Cuffed sleeves with a skirt. This minimalist look of a flowy midi (or maxi) skirt and boxy shirt is perfect for warm days. (And there’s something about flowy skirts that always makes me feel like I’m on vacation.)

vintage blouse + jeans + heels

3. Dressed up with jeans + heels + a bold necklace. This is my summer going-out uniform.

When I’m thrift shopping, I’m always on the hunt for blouses like this – simple tops that can be mixed and matched a hundred different ways. Silk for a luxurious feel (and so breathable), polyester for ease of wear (no ironing!).

black and white print blouse

I just listed a collection of these summer blouses in my Etsy shop in a variety of colors and sizes – click here to see what I’ve found!

Meanwhile, I’m going to sit in front of a fan and sip some iced tea like a good Southern girl and pray this summer is a mild one.

etsy shop · Style

Spring Trends: Dress-Over-Jeans

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I bought this dress on my honeymoon in 1998. I KNOW! Impossible because I’m so young. (Hahaha!) Funnily enough, it’s almost considered vintage! (20 years is the criteria for vintage clothing.) I fell in love with this dress and have worn it many, many times over the years.

But, as I’ve gotten older, I just don’t wear dresses as short as I used to – and I shouldn’t, truth be told. It’s just not as flattering as a knee-length or midi dress for me.

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Several years ago, I realized I could wear this dress as a top with skinny jeans and cute shoes.

dress over jeans
(sources: 1 / 2 / 3)

I love the dress-over-jeans look. (I linked to more inspiring images in this post.) There are many ways to make this work with a variety of dress lengths, vintage or current. Today, I’ll show you three:

1. Short dress as a tunic with skinny jeans.

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This is not a vintage dress but a “new-to-me” dress I thrifted from Old Navy. It’s fun in a bright color and paired with bright flats.

2. Midi dress and cuffed jeans.

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This vintage dress hits below the knee, so it looks better with heels. It has the same silhouette as a jacket and jeans and can look very elegant. (See it on Etsy here.)

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3. Long button up dress as a vest or jacket.

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This is a good option for a vintage dress – remember those long button-up short sleeved (or sleeveless) dresses we wore in the early 90s? They are making a comeback, too. (See it on Etsy here.)

And even if you’re not a fan of dresses over jeans, I’ve got some other fun vintage spring dresses in my shop – click here to check them out.

etsy shop · Style

Spring Trends: Gingham

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I love gingham. I’ve never met a gingham that I didn’t like. Maybe because it reminds me of picnic blankets or tea towels or pretty linens drying on the line, but gingham always makes me think of Tennessee and being in the country.

red white sleeveless gingham

When I was in middle school, I had a favorite gingham shirt. I guess it was technically more of a buffalo check (a blown out gingham with large squares of white, the base color, and mix of the two) in pink and white. (Very similar to the one above that I found on Etsy.) I often wore it with my Tretorn sneakers, also in a gingham pattern. (Confession: these were also mostly worn with tight-rolled jeans – you non-Southern-folk probably called them “pegged”, but we didn’t.) I loved that shirt, and I would still wear it if I still had it.

(Update: apparently this shirt was VERY memorable, as I wrote almost this exact paragraph a couple years back when I did another gingham post. What I didn’t tell you is that I probably remember this shirt SO much because it happened to the be the shirt I was wearing when I got really sick at school and almost threw up on my principal when my dad came to pick me up and the two of them decided to have a long chit-chat to catch up in the middle school hallway. Ah, memories.)

(Sidenote: Do you remember clothes like this? There are many times Husband and I are having a disagreement on how something happened in the past, and I say something like, “No, I remember because we were at so-and-so’s and I was wearing such-and-such.” To which Husband replies, “Of course you remember what you were WEARING.” As if that proves nothing. My mind is a steel trap, people. Steel trap!)

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Every spring, I start scouring my closet (and the thrift racks) for gingham, like it’s in my blood. And every year, gingham seems to make a come-back. But for me, it never really goes out of style.

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Last week, I opened up a magazine to find this ad (Ann Taylor? Loft? I can’t remember) – with scads and scads of gingham and checks in all different sizes and styles. Pretty!

Another confession: Our home’s entry way has two closets, and one of them is filled with clothes for me to refashion or repair or to sell on Etsy. When I saw the gingham ad, I remembered a cute black and white gingham nightshirt that I thrifted back in the fall. (See? Steel trap!) I knew it would make a great dress – with a little bit of updating and a punch of yellow.

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DSC_0057See this yellow sweater makeover here (when I had short hair!), and see the yellow clutch DIY project here.)

As I dug through the closet, I found a couple of other gingham items. I decided to list these on Etsy, but not before I played dress-up with them for a bit.

First up, a vintage buffalo check jacket:

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DSC_0083It’s relatively light weight, layers well, and also works for that dress-over-jeans look that’s popping up everywhere right now (see here and here for more inspiration).

And I found this 1950s vintage gingham dress:

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A handmade brown gingham pinafore or apron-style dress with open sides (I’m wearing a brown tank top underneath). I love its chunky vintage silver zipper, its full skirt, and its shoulder ruffles.

It was such a great thrifted find – and of course, I remember every detail of that day, because when it comes to clothes, my memory is flawless. Just ask Husband.

(CLICK HERE to check out these and other vintage pieces in my Etsy shop.)