DIY Watch Strap Repair

I have a Michael Kors watch that I bought at my first NAS five years ago. I wore it every day for years. The leather band really took a beating, and since I like my clothes and accessories to look very polished, I stopped wearing it as much. But I still really love the watch. When I inquired about buying a new strap, I found out that MK watches can only be replaced with MK brand straps. It turn out that replacement straps are hard to find (Nordstrom only carries a few), expensive (over $100), and I'd probably have to send my watch away to Michael Kors for them to do the replacement. What a hassle! 

A while ago, Rae and Claire posted about dying leather handbags and shoes themselves and I thought maybe I could spruce up my strap myself. I ordered a white leather dye kit off Amazon. The band had split in a few places, so I started by repairing that with rubber cement. Then I masked off the metal bits (by far the most time consuming part) and followed the direction on the kit. It couldn't have been easier! The dye is very forgiving. I used two coats, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. And it only cost me about $25 in materials and 45 minutes of time. I think this repair will get me through the next few years, until the watch needs replacing completely. 

Anyway, I don't think I would have even thought of dying the strap myself if it weren't for Rae's and Claire's posts. So thanks, ladies! :)

Photo 1: Before dying. You can see where the white dye had rubbed away in several places.

Photo 2: Fixed!


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Travel Capsule for UK Summer Trip?

Hi Everyone!

B and I are headed to England the last two weeks of August! We'll be spending most of the trip visiting his family outside Manchester, and 2-3 days in London on our own for a little sight seeing. I'm really excited, because this will be my first trip to England and my first time visiting a place outside the US. Of course my first thoughts were on what to wear. ;)

I know the weather can differ quite a lot between northern and southern England, and that the weather can vary a lot even during the course of one day. Also, Londoners wear a lot of black (is that true?). I don't own anything black. :( If anyone can give me any more guidance, that would be great. I live in Texas, so "hot" weather to me means anything above 90. 

I used Pinterest to put together a potential travel capsule, but I'd love some feedback from YLFers who are in England or have visited during the summer. 

My goal is to take 3 bottoms, 3 shirts, 3 "toppers" (layering pieces), 1 dress, 3 pairs of comfortable walking shoes, my trenchcoat, umbrella and 1 handbag, plus a few small accessories. That makes 7 outfits that I plan to wear twice each (we'll be able to do laundry while there). The hitch is I do not want to buy anything new just to take to England, especially things that I would never wear here in Texas. The trip is going to be quite expensive, and we just don't have much to spare for clothes. The items below are all things I already own (or close approximations). 

So, does this capsule seem okay? Again, most of the things we'll be doing are really casual--visiting family and touring museums and hanging out at the pub. We won't be attending fancy dinner parties or theaters or really nice meals out (maybe next time). :)

P.S. If any YLF peeps will be around London at the end of August and have time, I would love to meet up for lunch and a little browsing/shopping. :)

Here's my Travel Pinterest board if you're interested in seeing the actual items I have.

Thanks again! :D


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WIW: Black and White

Hi Everyone!

It's been very hot this week (today is 104). I had lunch with some friends on Labor Day, and then we went shopping. It was at a nice, outdoor mall, so I knew we'd be in and out of shops a lot. I got this boxy, cropped, lace jacket in June, and I have worn it a ton. The jacket keeps me cool outside, but warmer when we're inside. It's like a magic jacket! This is another of my "go-to" summer outfits and I wear it the same way every time.

Suggestions for other ways to wear the jacket would be great! So far, I've only worn it over a black tank top. Thank you!


WIW: Catalog Inspiration


Here is an outfit I've worn several times over the summer. I usually like to mix and match and create completely new outfits, but this year I've found a few go-to outfits that I wear the exact same way every time. I copied the look out of the J. Crew catalog when I realized I had some of the same pieces in my wardrobe already.

Thank you! Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. : )


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WIW: A Tailoring Story With a Happy Ending

Hi Everyone!

I know I've been mostly MIA on the forum since the end of July. I attended the writing conference in California and it was great! I felt very stylish and appropriate thanks to all your help in this thread. But when I got home I knew I had to get straight to work on writing, so I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like.

I picked this gingham dress up on super sale from J. Crew right before conference and I really wanted to take it with me. I knew from online reviews that it might need some alteration because the bottom would probably be too big for me (I'm bigger on top than on bottom). I received the dress about a week before I was supposed to leave and sure enough, it was too big on bottom and around the waist. I rushed it to my tailor, who was recommended to me by Ironkurtin. They have been wonderful and always do a great job, but it takes them about 10 days to do an alteration for me because they also do wedding dresses and are very busy. Anyway, I took it in Tuesday and asked if they could have it done by Saturday (I left Sunday). They said yes, to come back Friday after 4PM. Hooray!

So I went back on Friday and the dress looked MUCH better, but in the back around the zipper, the fabric was kind of warbley and wrinkled, like there was too much fabric. You can see on the front of the dress there are two panels around the hips. There are two similar panels in the back and no darts. One of the assistant seamstresses was helping me and the owner was working on a wedding dress nearby and looked up and said she didn't like the wrinkling. So we talked about maybe taking some of the extra fabric out around the panels in the back to fix it. They repinned it and told me to come back around noon the next day. Next day, I tried it on and it was too tight around the hips and it rode up as I walked. So they let it out while I waited, but then it still wrinkled around the back. So more pinning, more sewing. I came back a couple of times. By then it was Saturday at 4:00PM and the shop closed at 5:00PM. We talked about how to get it to nip in enough in the waist and the owner/seamstress said the only way to really fix it was to put darts in, even though the dress wasn't really designed with them. I was totally fine with that. So the owner ended up staying an hour after the shop closed to fix my dress! And it turned out beautifully. She lined up the gingham and the panels so you can barely tell there are even darts back there. She said there still might be a little too much room around the hips, but she didn't want to risk taking it in more because then it might be too tight and I was leaving the next day. But if it bothered me (which it doesn't at all), then I can bring the dress back and she'll work on it again for free. And then she only charged me half the alteration price, which I thought was really reasonable to start with. I know alterations can be kind of a pain, so it didn't bother me that I had to go back a few times. I'd rather it turn out right and look good than give up after a couple of tries. I'll definitely be taking more to them. If anyone in Austin needs a good tailor, let me know! :)

I was so happy I was able to take my dress to conference and I wore it with the red shoes and white wrap sweater in picture #1 and the necklace in picture #2. The other pictures are how I plan to dress it down and wear it more casually (stolen, I mean inspired by the J. Crew catalog). I'm not sure how I feel about it with the denim jacket, so opinions on that would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading this far! Comments and suggestions for other casual styling options welcome!


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WIW and NAS Report

Hi Everyone!

I had my NAS pre-select appointment on Friday and it was mainly a bust. I ended up buying one bra, which was a duplicate of one I already own and like. I might buy the matching underwear after the sale goes live. It's been so hot here lately...I'm just not motivated to buy sweaters and boots and things that will moulder in my closet for months before I can wear them. And the watch selection at our Nordstrom was different than online. Even the one I had my eye on that I asked the salesperson to pull ended up being different (much more bling on the one at our store than the same model is showing online). Not sure what's going on there, but I decided that I will put off watch buying until after my trip and ask for one for my birthday. I have a large gold bracelet I can wear instead of the watch, and I think it will have the same kind of effect in accessorizing an outfit.

This week I'm running around doing last minute errands before I leave Monday. Tomorrow I'm meeting my friend and conference roommate and we are going through her closet to pick accessories for her outfits, which I think will be really fun. There may be shoe shopping involved. She'd never heard of The Rack! So that would definitely be our first stop. :)

Here's what I wore to my appointment Friday. Thanks for reading and looking. :)


The Fourth

Hi Everyone!

We finally got our old apartment cleaned up and turned the keys in yesterday. We spent most of today settling into our new place, but in the evening we headed over to our friends' house for hot dogs and (small-scale) fireworks. I made a cherry pie and honey-rhubarb crumble, which doesn't look like much but is nice and tart. I love rhubarb! The whole evening was really fun and I ate a ton! :D

It's been hot outside, but not unbearable (high 90s). I wanted to wear something comfortable and easy to wash since I knew we'd be outside in the grass. I'm still not completely unpacked, so I don't have access to a lot of my accessories right now.

Dress: Target
Vest: Madewell
Necklace: Betsy Johnson
Shoes: Nine West

Thanks for looking! All comments and suggestions appreciated. :)


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Daytime Lace

Hi everybody!

I wore this outfit to an afternoon tea my writing group hosted a few weeks ago. I got the bottoms during the Austin YLF outing. They were capris that I cut and folded to make them clamdiggers. Thanks to Debbie and Sarah for convincing me to pick these up!

Thank you! :)

Top: Nanette Lepore (via The Rack)
Clamdiggers: Ann Taylor LOFT
Shoes: Me Too
Bag: Ann Taylor


A Soft Outfit for a Warm Day

Hi Everyone!

I was finally able to take an outfit photo yesterday. It's starting to get warmer here (high 80s-90s). I wore this outfit to go see a movie at the Paramount Theater downtown, which is one of those old-fashioned theaters that used to stage plays but now they also show old films in the summer too. I went to with a friend and her husband and we sipped gin ricky's and watched "The Sting," then went to dinner afterwards. It was really fun!

I picked up this tunic at TJ Maxx a few days ago. It was on the clearance rack and looked pretty dingy and wrinkled, but I figured for $15 it was worth taking home and seeing if I could clean it up. I like the pleats down the front and the drape. It reminds me of a blouse from the 1920s.

Tunic: Free People
Skirt: J. Crew
Bag: Anthropologie
Shoes: Bass

Comments and suggestions are always welcome! Thank you for looking. :)

P.S. I just got a new phone and the camera in it is supposed to be better than my point and click. I took this photo on the HD setting with my phone, so please let me know how the quality is for all of you, would you? I might be able to do some editing to make it better.


Inspired By Nature Day Four

I really admire those of you who post outfits everyday! It's been really challenging for me to take photos every morning. My husband has been a very good sport though. :D

Here is my entry for day four. I was inspired by the colors in the photograph and also the soft misty quality of the river and trees. These are the shorts I bought at the YLF meet-up last week and you've seen the sweater before. You can't see them in the photo, but my earrings are little silver fish (I bought them in high school). :)

Thank you for looking!

Sweater: Cynthia Rowley
Shorts: Madewell
Shoes: Me Too


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