Month: February 2014

Suit Up: Fashion Challenge

Photography by Stephanie Olani Reyes

Confession, I may have cheated. And by “may have” I mean I totally did. I thought I would be able to go a few more weeks without giving in like a closet shopaholic. I am going to  come clean. I picked out my item to upcycle this week. Please don’t hate me. I was dying when I saw this great tweed suit jacket. Since it didn’t come in a jacket/pant set it was only $4.50! P.S. Goodwill had some great name brand suits at my location, check out your local one if you know someone who is in need of a new one for cheap at only $6.50 each! Initially I had no idea what I wanted to do with the jacket, I just loved the fabric. The lining and structure of the jacket also limited my options on what I could do with it.



After pondering over it for a few days, it came to me…a skirt.  It was easy, I didn’t have to alter the garment too much and not to mention it would be absolutely amazing.  Keep in mind, I have very little sewing experience.  I took one class teaching me the basics and I sew letters for my sorority but that is as far as my knowledge goes.  So I had to look outward for help.  One of my friends who is a costume design major helped me map out a plan. I would wrap the jacket around myself (using the bottoms of the jacket for the skirt), determine where I wanted the hemline at the waist to be and use pins as my marker to then go in and sew a straight line. It would keep the lining in place so I don’t have to worry about it later. After sewing the straight line, I trimmed off the rest of the jacket.  I cut about 1 inch from where I sewed to help support the waistband. I cut another strip of fabric from the jacket remnants right above where I had cut off the soon-to-be skirt, that way I knew it would be long enough to use on the waistband.  With the skirt tweed side up and my 2 inch strip tweed side down, sew your waistband to your skirt right along the first line of stitches you made.  Then I grabbed my iron.  After sewing the waist, I flipped the piece over so I could see the two pieces of tweed together and ironed them flat.  Wrap the unsewn end of the waistband around to the inside of the skirt and sew, again on that same line of stitches you initially made. I took the pockets and buttons off, just for my own preference.

The hard part was determining where I wanted the skirt to hit.  I decided I wanted a crooked overlay of the skirt so it was difficult to get it just right.  It ended up being a series of trial and error.  I used two snaps on the waistband and a hook and eye to hold the overlay flap in place.






Top: American Eagle Outfitters, similar here

Sweatshirt: Urban Outfitters, Courtesy of my wonderful mentors at American Eagle

Skirt: Upcycled from Goodwill

Shoes: JCPenney, similar here

Socks: Target

Necklace: White House Black Market, similar here


Can Comfy Be Chic?

Photography by Stephanie Olani Reyes

Your answer? Yes. I decided to switch it up this week and do a simpler outfit for you guys. I found this great plain white thermal at Goodwill that I got for $3.50 with my rewards card. Hooray for no pre-exsisting pit stains !  It was simple enough to dress down, but I felt like dressing it up a bit. I’m all about comfort, so that is always something I take into account when I’m getting ready for the day. This outfit was one of my favorites because it was so relaxed and loose fitting. On days when Steph and I have our shoots, I have class from 9:30- 2:20 and then we do our shoot right after class. So I do actually wear these outfits out and about. Although I must admit I brought some flats along for class so I didn’t end up having an unfortunate looking fall on some ice. That would be awkward.

Also, I want to thank everyone that has been sharing and liking Resourceful Refinement! I’ve gotten some amazing feedback from you all! Thank you so much for the support and keep spreading the word! (P.S. You can sign up to follow via email at the bottom of the page!)

I am also doing a survey for this same Senior Seminar class I am doing this blog for.  It only takes a few minutes to complete and it would be a huge help!







Top: Goodwill

Pants: Marshall’s, similar here

Shoes: Jessica Simpson, similar here

Jacket: Calvin Klein (present from the boyfriend, I really am a broke college student I promise)

Ring: Local Vintage Boutique

Necklace: I can’t remember which one, but I got it from one of those Alpaca stores at the mall. Yes, this is real life. (Thanks Aunt Nancy!)

All Maxed Out : Fashion Challenge

Photography by Stephanie Olani Reyes

So one of my roommates picked out this skirt for me to upcycle. Of course, she thought it was hideous and I thought it was amazing, especially for $3.50. Just a tad too large as it was a 3XL. But this velvet…amazing.


DSC_0045 edit


I knew this was something I would wear again if I kept this a maxi skirt and just took it in.  Unfortunately, the elastic was sewed to the skirt which added a degree of difficulty. I simply measured where I would be taking the skirt in, resewed the elastic together making the waistband smaller, and cut off the excess. I decided to add a leg slit to spice it up a bit (props to my roommate again for cutting the slit for me). With the extra  fabric, I had enough to make it into a cropped tube top.   The tube top was simple to make, I just hemmed the ends of the scrap fabric, and made a 1 inch pocket for the elastic to go in on the top and bottom of the tube top.  To finish it you just sew the ends of the fabric together. Now be warned, this is not my best quality work. I’ll probably go back in and clean the pieces up a bit to make them more wearable, as I was a little rushed to finish this project up. You also have a chance to check out my six pack in these photos as well. You’re welcome.











Maxi Skirt Outfit:

Top: Forever 21

Skirt: Goodwill, upcycled

Boots: Target, similar here

Necklace: Urban Outfitters, similar here and here

Rings: Goodwill and Madewell

Bracelet: found at a vintage store, similar here and here

Crop Tube Top Outfit:

Top: Goodwill, upcycled

Pants: Urban Outfitters BDG, similar here and on sale!

Sweater: American Eagle Outfitters

Boots: Target, similar here

Necklace: Urban Outfitters, similar here and here

Rings: Goodwill and Madewell

Bracelet: found at a vintage store, similar here and here

Fifty Shades of Blue

Photographed by Stephanie Olani Reyes

So for anyone new to my blog (aka everyone) my challenge is to prove that fashion can be affordable.  Each week I will style  outfits around something found at a thrift store.  My Wednesday posts  will consist of something I picked out myself in my bargain hunt.  Fridays are the big challenge.  I will have a friend pick something out, again from a thrift store, that I can alter in any way I want, and then again style it for an outfit. So now that you all are up to speed on Resourceful Refinement, let’s get down to business!







Clearly I stole some inspiration from the great MJ for this one.  I  walked into Goodwill and it was like the heavens had opened up, angels singing and all, with a great light shining behind this beauty of a jacket.  How much you ask? $6. Yes, SIX DOLLARS.  So less than a meal at chick-fil-a. I even signed up for a Goodwill rewards card (yes, they exist!) and got $5 off my $25 dollar purchase when I was there.  Needless to say, my trip was a success. I can’t wait to pair this jacket with some simple tees too!  Also, had to show everyone these shoes cause I just about cried when I saw them and they weren’t in my size. Take a gander at the vintage Lord & Taylor heels for a steep $6.97.


Top: Vintage, stolen from my wonderful Aunt

Jacket: Goodwill

Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters, similar here

Boots: Target, similar here and they are on sale!

Bag: Michael Kors

Necklace: American Eagle Outfitters, similar here

Rings: Goodwill & Madewell