Capetown :Fashion Challenge

Photography by Stephanie Olani Reyes

When shopping at thrift stores, most likely nothing will fit you perfectly, just like this skirt my friend Tiff picked out. It would barely stay above my hips, making for a highly inappropriate photo, hence this “subway style” shoot below. I stopped by Salvation Army on  “Family Day” again so I got my pieces for half off. This skirt was $1.99 (originally $3.99). It has some great buttons that I wanted to try to include in the look, but it ended up being too preppy for me with what I ended up making, so I’ll save them for a later project. Lucky for me, a set in stain came included with the skirt! I have no idea what it was and I have no intent to find out.  But I made a trip to the Dollar Tree to pick up some “Awesome”. It is basically the cleaning solution of the Gods and can get almost any stain out.





Since the skirt was huge, I knew I didn’t want to keep the skirt as is. I literally just put the skirt on me like a cape and it was like the heavens had spoken. I cut the waistband off and took the pockets out.  My friend had to help me with some sewing techniques, as you may remember, I am not an expert sewer. Luckily, my friend Alison is and expert sewer, being the amazing costume design major that she is.  But I gathered the top after cutting off the waistband and just cut and hemmed slits for my arms at the length I wanted them. When I was looking up cape inspirations, I found some really cool elaborate ones ( see Rag & Bone cape on my pinterest) and simple, but elegant ones (check out le fashion). I really wanted to add fringe, but I didn’t find a fringe that I felt really worked with the cape, so I opted to keep it simple and chic. I also apologize for my hair, it was a long day, so all my lovely baby hairs came out to play.







Top: JCPenney, I heart ronson line

Pants: BCBG via Marhsall’s

Shoes: Urban Outfitters, similar

Belt: Hand-me-down from my Aunt again

Purse: Prada (My friends mom gave it away to me because she received it as a gift and didn’t want it! Someone’s trash is another’s very expensive, luxurious treasure!


Happy thrifting! xo


The Clinical Application of Blood: Fashion Challenge

Photography by Stephanie Olani Reyes

The Grandpa Sweater…the ugly, the classic. Mostly everyone has had one in their lifetime. It’s that comfy sweater that is really just not the cutest in the world, but too comfy to let go of. Well someone was nice enough to let go of theirs for me. This one was picked up at Salvation Army for around $3.99. Many of my friends I showed it to actually liked the print on it as well, surprisingly enough. I also picked up in the same trip a pair of classic leather biker pants. They reeked of the smoke of about 50 packs of cigarettes combined and had a scent that reached distances of 72 feet. Unfortunately, I didn’t think I was going to be using them in this project so I didn’t get a photo of the pants before I Edward Scissorhanded them. But you can check out the sweater below. Take note of the avant garde hole on my chest in the close up.



Initially, my plan was to create a leather panel in the front with the fabric from the leather pants. I made the panel, didn’t like it and started over. I simplified it by just using a leather pocket to cover the hole and took the sweater in on the sides after cutting off the sleeves. It was a much simpler design and I think it worked nicely with the busy print. Dressing sweaters up has been a huge trend on recent runways, with sweaters even staying put for this spring’s trends. The cozy sweater isn’t just for your winter wardrobe anymore.

So what was projected to be another 8-inch snowstorm turned out to be just a sprinkling (thank goodness), but nevertheless, I did not feel like freezing my bones off again. So I thought it would be best to nurture my mind with a little reading (A.K.A. “me pretending to read in a library” photo shoot, while I get to stay warm). Apparently we didn’t realize until after we grabbed the “prop” books, that we were in what looked like the clinical research section, lots of info on blood, research on cocaine and various things of that nature. Hence the title for today’s post, which can be found in the shot of my heels below. Only the best for our shoots.











Top: Upcycled Sweater

Bralette: Aerie

Skirt: The Limited

Shoes: Jessica Simpson, similar here

Purse: Hand-me-down from my Aunt who sorts through her closet about every other day

RingsForever 21 and Goodwill


Happy Thrifting! xo

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my post featured on Rent the Runway! And keep telling your friends, family, and pet gerbil about Resourceful Refinement! Share the link!


Elbow Fat Is the Latest Trend: Fashion Challenge

Photography by Stephanie Olani Reyes

Remember last week’s Fashion Challenge with that hideous dress for $4.50? (Look here for a refresher) Here, I bring you part two! So again, here is the initial dress…



While the print of the dress grew on me, I decided to make it into a top, a v-neck more specifically. I layered it with a lace bralette so I didn’t feel too exposed with the deep cut. I forgot to get some shots of the back, but I also put a deep v-cut in the back and kept the original buttons on the skirt.

Now if there is one part of my body I am insecure about, well it would be everything, just  like any other girl or woman.  But most of my insecurities stem from my arms. I have always felt they were “fat” and frequently refer to them as “bingo arms”. I have trouble finding tops that fit my small frame but large arms, which only adds to my troubles. And this photo shoot, I don’t know what I did but it really accentuated my arm… situation. To clarify, no I have never broken or sprained my arms. That is just their natural beauty. I decided to put these unflattering photos up anyway because I don’t really care anymore. Okay, I lied, I totally care. I just prefer to get it all out in the open. Fashion bloggers give women a bad rep. I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way, but it seems that most popular fashion bloggers are super skinny, pretty and model on the side. It gives us an idealistic image that society says we are supposed to look like, but most women do not. I will be the first to say that I do not fall into that idealistic image. So come one and come all to see my weird looking elbow fat.  Love it or leave it.

And a big thank you to my friend Angela who helped inspire me with her blog post on body image (link here).








Top: Upcycled from Goodwill

Pants: American Eagle Outfitters, similar here

Lace Bralette: Aerie

Shoes: Target

Necklace: Urban Outfitters

Ring: Goodwill

Happy thrifting!