A surprising wardrobe staple.

I’ve always considered jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops my obvious style necessities (the perfect ones, mind you). But the pieces I end up wearing over and over again are often the ones that surprise me the most. I got a half-sleeve grey hooded shirt at a clothing swap last fall with no idea what I would pair it with—the neck scooped too low and it was too cropped to wear it alone. The sleeves were too short for the cold but too long for the heat. But I’ve gotten more mileage of this mid-sleeve hoodie than I have out of almost any other top. It’s added life to stained tank tops (the old “yuck and cover”), and carried me into the late fall months layered on top of long sleeve shirts (I especially love it over patterns like stripes). And because it’s cropped, I can sport the short over long look The Sartorialist has spotted on the streets of Paris. Okay, I don’t look like those amazingly chic Parisian women, but I feel “with it” nonetheless! I never thought a top so in-between could fit into so many looks and seasons. It layers over and under, it slices, it dices. I’m sparing you a picture of my own shirt… if you read my last shopping post, you know I’m no product stylist. This time I’m leaving it to the professionals with a few of my favorite mid-sleeve hoodies from around the web.

SAVE! OK, so no hood, but who cares at this price? On sale at Old Navy, only $15
SPLURGE! Splendid Space Dye Fleece Hoodie, $114

A nod to this year’s popular dolman sleeve (although I feel the term “dolman” is a little too liberally doled out). And I love that this one’s long enough for leggings!

WAITING FOR CLEARANCE, CLARENCE. Joan Vass zip front hoodie, $258

And the kimono sleeve craze. Lurrrve.

PLEASE COME BACK! Currently Unavailable (boo), Free People's Pointelle Kimono Hoodie, on sale for $69.95

What’s your surprise wardrobe staple? 

When life gives you lemons… go shopping.

Okay, that statement may not have much merit on the surface, but my favorite Asheville boutique has been given its own share of lemons. Parlour is closing its doors at the end of the week and everything that used to be way out of my price range is now within reach at 50-75% off. Not to mention I’ve been desparately needing a new pair of jeans:

Yes, that’s a big tear you-know-where [insert “easy access” jokes here].

I hate to take advantage of others’ misfortunes, but being that I’ve had my own share of misfortune lately, I rationalized my way out of it with the  “misery loves company” route and decided to treat myself while the gettin’ was good (and in my size):

I got my jeans, a tee and what I like to refer to as an “elevated hoodie” to boot! It’s difficult to capture the details of a black hoodie with an iPhone camera — its wrap belt and buttoning dress it up a notch or two higher than your average loungewear, but it still has the comfy factor of a fleece sweatshirt. Win, win!

I hate dislike fear birds, but love them illustrated, embroidered and screenprinted on everything from shirts and sweaters to bags and paper. I don’t know why. This shirt was only $10! You can’t even buy a “clever” used tee at a vintage store for less than that these days.

Is there any point in showing an angle other than the butt? I tried on the women’s jeans in my size but with my long torso and generous behind, even plumbers can’t compete with my crack factor. On my frame, even women’s jeans that aren’t “low-rise” still seem to be. So rather than pay extra for the boyfriend-style jeans, I just bought men’s jeans. They cost less and fit me perfectly! Why didn’t I think of this before? An “ah-ha” fashion moment.

When I combine my “treat yourself” loot from today with the “I’m sorry you got fired” dress my parents bought for me the other week (also at Parlour at 30% off…thanks Mom and Dad!) I’m sittin’ pretty. And feeling not at all guilty, I tell you.

Like what you see? The hoodie and dress are by one of my fave fashion-forward brands, Skunkfunk. After this week, Parlour is moving that brand along with a few others to their other store, Honeypot. So if you’re in Asheville and want to do some fun shopping, check them out!

Show some local love! What are your favorite locally owned shops in your town? Share and link!