We Deserve Summer {Sponsored}

Before I moved to New England, I don’t think I had a distinct summer style because I lived in the South where it was always warm and I didn’t have to switch my wardrobe. However, the more time I spend in New England, the more I appreciate summer clothes. After a long winter, I couldn’t be more relived to slip right back into summer. For me that means slipping back into a classic and simple summer wardrobe filled with stripes and vintage inspired clothing. After four summers in Boston, these two modes are pretty much default for me.

When British-based Joules reached out to me to collaborate*, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to share my summer style. The clothing at Joules is classic and timeless, making it easy to wear every summer. I’m not really one for trends, so when I buy something, I want it to last for years and not just one season.

My Favorite Summer Looks

Navy Blue and White Stripes by Joules| ThoseGraces.com
Indigo Stripe Dress, Navy Stripe Pencil Skirt, Creme Stripe Knitted Sweater

If it’s one thing I’m absolutely addicted to, it’s stripes in summer. I have striped sweaters, skirts and dresses. For me stripes are so easy to wear because they can be dressed up or dressed down. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is stripes on stripes.

1950s Summer Fashion with Joules| ThoseGraces.com
French Navy Bouquet Bikini, Freya Floral Cornfield Dress, Newmeln Cropped Pants

I’ll be honest, I’ve marathoned Mad Men about three times in the past year. I can’t help it, no matter what I do, I always end up looking like Betty Draper or Joan Harris. If you know how to do it right, the 1950s is such a great look for summer.

Joules carries some amazing pieces including shorts, bathing suits and summer dresses. Let me know which one of my summer pieces you liked the best!

*I’ve decided to go back to doing Sponsored Posts. I’ll write about this decision soon. This post is sponsored by Joules, which means I received compensation to write this post. The post was entirely crafted by me and is 100% my opinion. For more information, please visit my site policies.

Extreme Thrifting: How to Survive the Goodwill Outlet Store

Goodwill Boston Outlet Store {thosegracse.com}

A few months ago,  I crossed over from a casual thrifter to an extreme thrifter. I came to this realization while thrift shopping with my mother. I was frantically pulling items left and right, almost regardless of label or size. Yes, my laid back days of thrift shopping were long gone. Enter the Goodwill Outlet Store near Boston in Roxbury, MA.

The Goodwill Outlet Store is a magical place where every item of clothing costs $1.75 regardless of size, brand or style. It has hundreds of pieces of clothing waiting to be purchased. But don’t be deceived, the Goodwill Outlet Store (and others like it) isn’t for the faint of heart. They’re a totally different ballgame than shopping at a typical thrift store. They require rolling up your sleeves and getting a little dusty. However, if you invest the time and effort, you can make some amazing finds. And if you’re like me, the $1.75 price tag will make that diamond in the rough all the prettier.

Tips for Surviving The Goodwill Outlet Store

Though my tips come from how to survive this specific store, I’m sure they can apply to any secondhand outlet store. Keep reading to find out how to score big!

Bring Cash
Self explanatory, but most important to know especially in our debit card ruled lives. They take cash only!

Check it Out Before Committing
The Goodwill Outlet Store is, in a word, overwhelming. It’s basically a warehouse space filled with about 40 to 60 huge rolling bins that contain everything from clothing to housewares. The first time I popped my head in, I was a bit shocked. It is a totally different shopping process. It took me three times to muster up the courage and energy to get digging. Get your shock out of the way, then dive in!

Be Ready to Dig
Usually “digging” entails going through every hanger. At the Goodwill Outlet Store, it means literally digging. Like pulling out a hundred items from a bin before you see the bottom. It requires patience and endurance to make the find.

Don’t Go Hungry or Thirsty
Since this what I’d consider a physically active activity, you’ll want to be hydrated and fed before you arrive. You might get over heated or feel your tummy rumbling, which can distract you.

Don’t Go Pretty
This isn’t your afternoon out with the girls. You’re probably going to get dusty and sweaty so don’t wear your favorite jeans. I also like pulling my hair back so I don’t get overheated and so my hair doesn’t get in the way.

Leave Your Jacket In Your Car and Your Purse at Home
Since you’ll be getting hot, you won’t need your jacket inside. Also make sure to leave your big purse at home so you can have your hands free at all times.

Examine Your Finds
Things get donated to the thrift store for many reasons, one of which is holes and rips in an item. Sure, more of the items at the Goodwill are not damaged, but some are. Make sure to examine your finds carefully for imperfections. If you don’t know how to fix them or don’t plan of fixing them, leave them behind for the next digger.

Happy Shopping!

I hope these tips help you survive the Goodwill Outlet Store and others like it. As I mentioned, it is a lot of work, but you can score big. Don’t believe me? Just today I picked up items from 7 for Mankind, The Loft, Banana Republic and Levi’s. And get this, some items were even brand new with tags! You just can’t beat that.

I Love Outfit Photos (Blogger Confessions Part Two)

Hair in Pony Tail | ThoseGraces.com

A few months ago I shared my hatred for outfit photos. However, as I’ve moved into working for myself full-time, I’ve started to wear more interesting outfits that I wanted to document. Because, you know, I’m kind of obsessed with documentation. Yet, I was still hesitant to take photos of myself because I didn’t want to go outside and I didn’t want to rely on someone else to take them.

Plum Lip | ThoseGraces.com

Last night I hit Pinterest to search for outfits of the day photos. Taking outfit photos inside is much different than shooting them outside because there’s less options for backdrops and less to interact with. I wasn’t comfortable with head to toe shots–they’re hard to do myself and I never know how to hold my body. All I can hear is Tyra Banks in my head, and to be honest, I don’t really like Tyra Banks.

Calvin Klein Wrap Coat | ThoseGraces.com

Through my Pinterest search, I noticed the photos that drew me in were detailed shots that showed elements of the outfit. Happy with my discovery, I realized I was finally coming around to the idea of doing outfit photos by myself in my home. Since struggled with feeling comfortable doing outfit photos for the past three years, you can imagine my relief.

Sequined Skirt | ThoseGraces.com

I could have easily thrown up my hands and said, “This is not for me!” I would have if not for my husband, who pushed me to find a way to make outfit photos work for me. It took me some time, thinking and playing with camera angles, but I’m so relieved I finally figured it out.

Purple Lip | ThoseGraces.com

I was inspired by Holly’s outfit at the Boston Bloggers Holiday Meet Up. Holly paired an over-sized sweater with a gold sequined skirt, and I loved it! I put on my purple sequined dress and threw on a white cable knit sweater over it. I wore this outfit to Blog and Tweet Boston’s Tasting Event at Cocoanuts. I’ll be sharing photos from this event here on Saturday!

A side note, I’m working on establishing a better posting routine for here and Beauty Shy. My goal for both blogs is to eventually be posting at least 5 times a day. Right now I’m juggling a few side gigs and trying to find a way to keep track of everything I need to be doing for blogging. Thank you all for your patience!


Sweater: Izod – Thrifted (similar) | Dress: Express (similar) | Coat: Calvin Klein (similar) | Earrings: Gift from my sister (similar) | Necklace: Dress Barn – Gifted (similar)

My Best Thrift Finds: Retro and Vintage Dresses

Through my thrifting adventures at my local Goodwill, I’ve learned that the best vintage items in often won’t have a designer label. Many look odd on the hanger so they’re the overlooked in favor of popular brand names. I’m always on the hunt for the most unique items that can’t be found anywhere. Today I want to share three of my recent finds!

Vintage Yellow Shift Dress

Thrifted Vintage Dress | ThoseGraces.com

When I first spotted this shift dress on the racks in the Davis Square Goodwill, my fingers started tingling. This dress has no label and was obviously handmade for the original owner. Its fabric is quilted yet it’s light and perfect for spring since it’s not lined. My favorite part of this dress is the detailing that runs in the middle of the dress and around the waist.

Vintage-Inspired Garden Party Dress

Vintage Inspired Garden Dress | ThoseGraces.com

My mom made me try this on when we went thrifting together. It’s your typical vintage-inspired, Betty Draper-esque garden party dress. I was surprised I liked this dress so much because I don’t have anything like this in my closet and rarely wear green or yellow. This dress is from the 1990s and was made by B. Smart, which was a popular department store brand. Funny enough, I remember wearing B. Smart in middle school!

Retro Terry Cloth Maxi Dress

Retro Maxi Dress | ThoseGraces.com

This is the crown jewel of my recent finds: A terry cloth maxi dress from the 1970s with tags still on. I don’t know how thrifting gets any better than this. Initially I thought the dress looked so weird on the hanger that I had to try it on as a joke. Once I got in the fitting room, however, I fell in love. Modern maxi dresses are often too long for me, but this one is the perfect length in heels. From far away, it’s not noticeable that the dress is made from terry cloth.

My only regret about all of these dresses is that I’ll have to wait until spring to wear them!

My Long Skirt Phobia and Other Stupid Rules I Learned in Middle School

My Long Skirt Phobia | ThoseGraces.com

Whenever I go shopping, I recall seemingly pointless rules that got ingrained into as a child. Somewhere around middle school, I latched onto what people said I should or shouldn’t wear, and while I’ve broken most fashion rules, there are some rules that still have a hold on me. One of my pointless rules is avoiding long skirts and dresses because I’m “short.”

I realize the ridiculousness of avoiding a certain length of clothing because of something someone said to me when I was 13-years-old. However, for whatever reason, I have been unable to shake this rule so much so that this summer was the first time I bought a floor length maxi dress. I grabbed it off the rack at a thrift store in Aspen, Colorado and bought it without even trying it on. And guess what? I loved it. It didn’t make me look shorter than my five feet, four inches. If anything, the long dress made me look taller.

Despite getting over my fear of maxi dresses, I’ve been unable to purchase a long skirt. I try them on, even take them to the cash register but end up chickening out at the last moment every time. It shouldn’t be a hard thing, buying a skirt, but there’s something I can’t get past in my mind about how I shouldn’t be wearing them.

I’m sure whoever taught me this rule didn’t intend for it to stick me for over a decade. I’m sure they were sharing what they thought was a fashion rule without ever the caveat, “But you can wear long skirts because this is just what I think.” If anything, my long skirt phobia made me realize that most fashion rules are entirely bogus. This is something I inherently know but have to be reminded of every now and again.

Do you have any fashion rules left over from your childhood? What are they? Also, how can I overcome my long skirt phobia?