Back to College Shopping

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I got to play fashion stylist for the weekend and I loved it! Savers reached out to me to write a blog post using items purchased at Savers. The concept I pitched was of a young woman returning to college for her senior year. My friend, Maya, agreed to be my model. Savers gave us a wardrobe budget of $150.

We planned the outfits in advance.

  • jeans and a t-shirt for attending classes
  • an outfit for her work-study job at the library
  • everyday pieces for late night study sessions
  • a chic ensemble for art openings or an evening out
  • a pant suit for presentations and interviews

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I found these vintage Lee jeans in the men’s section. I cropped them and washed them to accentuate the fringe. The slides were actually slingbacks but I cut off the straps and turned them into mules. Remember to check the men’s section for plain white t-shirts. These thick cotton boy-cut t-shirts are a nice alternative to the tissue tees that have been popular for too long. The red bag is actually new but the shot needed a pop of color so I included it. It’s a Jelly Retro Basket from Lisa Says Gah. I’m obsessed with it.

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Cinch the waist of your jeans with a thick black belt for that 90s look.

The perfect pair of vintage jeans is not easy to find.  Be patient. The inventory at Savers turns over quickly. If you don’t find a pair on the first visit, go back again in a month. Trust me.


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For a more studious look, pair a silk secretary blouse with a classic wool skirt. We added a vintage watch for a bit of analog bling and a quality trench coat for chilly Fall days. Personally, I am keeping my eyes peeled for a classic belted trench coat so I can pull off this look by Reese Blutstein. Follow Reese on Instagram for great style inspiration.

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Turtlenecks and high-waisted pleated pants are a comfortable choice for late night study sessions. Layering is key for transitional seasons and drafty old buildings. SAVERS-TURTLENECK2

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This thin turtleneck sweater dress can be dressed up with simple accessories making it a smart choice for an art opening or an evening out. SAVERS DRESS1.jpgFunny story — we couldn’t find a handbag that spoke to us so we opted for this basket from the home goods section instead. It’s a fun alternative to a traditional bag.  The cowhide slides help make the outfit feel unique and memorable. Judging by Maya’s reaction, I think these slides were her favorite find of the day.

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Sculpture:  Arcangle, 1984, granite and Carrara marble by Gary Haven Smith  located at the University of New Hampshire Dimond Library

We opted for minimalist jewelry. The jewelry selection at Savers is insane. You can achieve just about any jewelry trend with the options they have. I know that sounds very sales-y but it’s true.
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We scored a quality Ann Taylor pin stripe suit that fit Maya like a glove. For this shoot, we paired it with a vintage camisole but for an actual interview or presentation I would recommend a classic button down or silk shell top. Death by Elocution has great inspiration for updated classics like that. SAVERS-SUIT-2-cropped

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SAVERS-SUIT-SHOESAgain we opted for slides over pumps. Block heels are easier to walk in and they offer a nice juxtaposition to a traditional suit.

How’d we do? Let us know in the comments.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Maya lives 3 hours away from me. It was a challenge to find the time to shop and shoot together. She arrived on Saturday night at 7 pm. Savers closes at 10 pm. We rushed over and treated the experience like a reality tv show. We split up and loaded up our carts with options. She tried everything on and quickly determined the best pieces. We dove back into the racks to find more pieces. When we went to cash out we discovered that everything we had still only added up to $130. We had to go back in and spend another $20!
The next morning we planned the outfits. There were a few pieces that on second inspection didn’t work well for our shoot. I blame it on us having to rush. I decided to swap out the items that didn’t work with items from my personal wardrobe that I actually did buy at Savers, just not on this trip. We swapped out ankle boots for the slides. We swapped out a big blazer for my vintage Lee jeans, and we swapped out elastic waist pants for the wool skirt.

That was fun! I want to do it all again. I hope the takeaway is that you can get quality pieces secondhand. It’s better on your wallet and on the environment. Next time you feel like your wardrobe needs a refresh —  think secondhand first! xo jam

Shredding + Rebonding Textiles

This is what I’m curious about lately — shredding and rebonding textiles. It started when I was cleaning my living room rug. I noticed the pad under the rug was made up of bits and pieces of salvaged foam. I’ve always liked the look of this material. It’s classic — like a quilted moving blanket or a cast iron pan. carpet padding

One of the problems we face with the fashion industry is the amount of waste. What if we mined that waste and used it as a resource. We could grind up fashion that is no longer wanted and turn it into a new classic textile. Something that is so unique and performs so well that it could not be ignored.

Let’s back up and see how carpet padding is actually made? This type of padding is called rebonded polyurethane. This video shows how scraps of foam are ground into smaller bits. The bits are then bound together with chemicals and steam into something like a giant loaf of bread which can then be cut into usable slices.

Could we do something similar in a more organic way but with textile scraps instead of foam? Textile shredders already exist. What if each of our town dumps had a textile shredder that could grind up textile waste and resell it?

The shredded textile on its own could be useful as filling but let’s take it one step further. Could these textile scraps be rebound into a new iconic fabric? It seems like a solvable problem. In the end, we could end up with a gorgeous terrazzo-like fabric.
blue terrazzoInstead of seeing bits of marble or glass we could see bits of jeans or flannel. The material could become a new classic like a herringbone or gingham.
colorful terrazoTo achieve this terrazzo look we’d need to make the fabric the way felt is made. If you think it sounds complicated just think about how silk is made.

What do you think? It’s crazy, right? I think it’s time. It’s time for a Fashion Revolution.