Tuesday, November 18, 2014

top ten Tuesday: clothes from Modcloth.

You may laugh when I tell you this, but I have a hard time finding clothes.

Allow me to explain.

I am pretty picky about what I wear – I spent years not giving a shit, and now I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum.

For me, shopping for clothing is an art form. I’m looking for something that’s just so: and most of the things I find in stores are not just so. A stop at my local Target will yield some basics (tank tops, cardigans, what have you), but basics do not make an interesting outfit.

That’s why most of my clothing shopping is done at thrift/consignment stores and online. Thrift and consignment stores hold all sorts of hidden treasures – but if you have something against wearing someone else’s cast-off clothing (which I clearly don’t), then this option is not for you. Online shopping can be risky – no trying on before you buy – but the options are endless. And that’s where Modcloth comes in.

Modcloth is far and above my favorite place to shop. It’s an online-only store, but their clothing is exactly what I’m looking for: vintagey shoes, whimsical prints, 50s housewife-chic skirts… they’re calling my name.

Upon initial investigation, Modcloth’s prices will seem a bit high. That’s because they ARE a bit high. Never fear, my friend. I am not one to pay full price for clothing, so all it takes is a little patience. Modcloth has flash sales every now and again, and occasionally, they’ll mark clothing down 30%... then 50%... and rarely, 70%. (Word of warning: when they mark it 70% off, it’s usually final sale. Proceed with caution.) That’s when things start to get affordable. Modcloth does a lot of 50% off sales around Christmas, and once in a while, they’ll offer a $10 off coupon. So don’t let the prices scare you: they can change in a hurry.

The first item I ever bought from Modcloth was this:

It was super-clearanced, so I took a chance and ordered it. It ended up being just what I was hoping for: a nice flowery print, a rich blue, and a cut that was a little out-of-the-ordinary.

Modcloth and I have been friends ever since.

Which brings me to the list: my top ten pieces from Modcloth. Almost all of these items were purchased on some kind of ridiculous markdown: at least 50% off, or 30% plus some sort of coupon. So here you are: welcome to my little Modcloth fashion show!

wedding dress
When I started planning my wedding, one of the first things I considered – like most brides – was my wedding dress. Between trips to David’s Bridal and Jean’s Bridal in Wilmont, SD, I tried on a great many dresses. However, the dress I ultimately ended up with belonged to my grandma Lorraine. She’d saved up her clothing rations to have it made in 1944, when she married my grandpa Harvey. In 1981, my mom wore this same dress to marry my dad. It needed a bit of work (the shoulder pads had to go), but it was a classic dress with a great story. As the dress was nearly 70 years old, as you can imagine, it was a bit on the fragile side. I wasn’t going to risk wearing it on the dance floor: just imagine the potential for disaster! So I needed a second dress for dancing. There were a few things I knew I’d look for: I wanted a dress that was knee-length to show off my custom wedding Converses, I wanted to stick with the vintage look, and I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Modcloth to the rescue. I saw this dress on their website and knew it was the one for me. Twirly skirt (with pockets!), 50s-ish – done. But it wasn’t quite that easy. The dress was SOLD OUT in my size. I put myself on a waiting list, checking my email every day with the hope that I’d get that notification telling me that my size was back in. I waited. And waited. And WAITED. Until one day – the email was there! I ordered the dress immediately – and a few months later, I danced the night away in that same dress. And boy, did it twirl.

red heeled sandals
I really became a fan of Modcloth while looking for wedding stuff. I was going to wear red heels with my wedding dress, and nothing else would do. I searched for the perfect pair, and I thought this pair was it. I bought them and tried them on with my wedding dress, but they weren’t quite right. (Fun fact: the shoes I ended up wearing came from the super-clearance section of JCPenney.) While they were not right for my wedding dress, they WERE right for practically everything else in my closet. So they stayed, and they’ve become a summer work wardrobe staple.

typewriter shirt
When I buy clothes, I try not to buy too many things that I can’t wear to work. While I can’ t wear this shirt during the week – as it’s too casual for business casual – I can wear it if I work a Saturday or a Sunday. You can’t go wrong with a literary t-shirt. Modcloth has the best graphic t-shirts: besides the typewriter, another Modcloth graphic t-shirt favorite of mine is my narwhal shirt. Yes, I have a narwhal shirt. 

red damask maxi dress
I know I’ve told you in my cheap outfit blogs that I was a little slow on the uptake when it came to the maxi dress trend. But now that I’ve fully embraced it, you can’t find better maxi dresses than Modcloth. This is the first of two maxi dresses you’ll find on this list, and both of them are by a brand called Gilli. Their dresses are so soft and wonderful that you’ll wonder why you bother wearing anything else. This particular dress is one of my all-time favorites. It got TERRIBLE reviews on Modcloth, so I was a little wary – but at the time, they had free returns, so what the hell. It arrived. I loved it. End of story.

black and white damask shirt
One of my greatest clothing struggles is (and has been for a while) finding long-sleeved shirts for work. I’m not talking about solid basic long-sleeved shirts or cardigans or sweaters, but long-sleeved shirts: something that’s lighter than a sweater, but has some kind of design or interest point so that it can be worn as a stand-alone. The reason I am on the lookout for these shirts is because my office – like many others – is never the perfect temperature. It’s too hot in one place, but too cold in another. And I get so sick of layering with cardigans. Lighter-weight long-sleeved shirts are perfect, but a good one is hard to find. This is an example of a good one.

bright flowery skirt
Like long-sleeved work shirts, interesting skirts had evaded me until I found Modcloth. Skirts in stores were either too bland or too short, and the classic a-line was nowhere to be found. Modcloth is full to the brim with a-line skirts that are not only longer lengths, but often have neat designs and pockets (!!!). This one even happened to be on sale.

bike dress
Much like my wedding reception dress, acquiring this bike dress required a great deal of patience. It had been sold out for months, and I’d been on the waiting list for AGES. I’m a sucker for anything with bike print, and this dress was made out of that fantastic slippery material that manages not only to hide flaws, but never wrinkles and is super comfortable. Thrown in a cute bike pattern, and I had to have it. When the dress never seemed to be coming back to Modcloth, I expanded my search to the rest of the internet. The only other website I could find that was selling this dress was in Lithuania. But lo and behold, the bike dress did finally come back in stock, and I snagged my own. Good things come to those who wait! And wait.

chevron maxi dress
This is another maxi dress by Gilli, and like so many of my favorite Modcloth pieces, I had been on a waiting list for this dress to come back. I don’t own a lot of brown, but I love the browns and pinks in this skirt. And I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: maxi dresses are the most comfortable things EVER. This one gets bonus points because of all the fun colors.

bird skirt
I’ve worn this skirt to work a few times, and I get more compliments on this skirt than anything else I wear. Once again, it’s got a great pattern and pockets (and was on sale!), so it’s everything I wanted in a skirt. Since the skirt has so many colors, it’s remarkable easy to find a shirt to match it. That, my friends, is very important in my skirt world.

coral flats
I don’t know about you, but I am so happy that coral is trendy. I have always loved this color, but until recently, you couldn’t find much in this particular shade. Now it’s everywhere, and I’m so glad. I got these shoes to add to my work shoe infantry. While I do love wearing heels, there are days when I spend a whole lot of time on my feet – and that’s where the flats come in.


There we have it: my top ten pieces of Modcloth clothing. So if you’ve ever wondered where I get my vintagey clothes (and I’m sure that’s a question that’s kept you up at night), the answer is most likely Modcloth. Or, you know, Goodwill.

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