Top 3 Habits of Mentally Strong People


Being mentally strong will be a catalyst in your life for success. It doesn’t matter what it looks like on social media, everyone everywhere deals with serious internal battles as they navigate hardships, loss and change. But navigating the challenges of life with Christ at the center will give you what you need to be mentally STRONG. We have put together our Top 3 habits of mentally strong people. One thought at a time, work to reconstruct your thoughts to line up with what God says about you and your life.

1. They take responsibility for their life.

Feeling sorry for yourself and how you have been treated will not change the circumstances. Mentally strong people understand “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. THAT’s you! Work on what you can and keep moving forward. Don’t sit around focusing on the actions of others and things you can’t control. People are people and they will let you down.

2. They adapt to circumstances and take risks.

Mentally strong people understand life happens, things change, people come and go and they are willing to adapt and grow with the changing canvas of our world. Adapting to life doesn’t mean changing your beliefs. Adapting to life means understanding the tools you use to succeed personally and professionally may change quickly. Living life with a willingness to adapt and take risks shows great mental strength as you weigh out the full scope of your decisions (positive and negative) while trusting God in the direction He’s leading you. The Bible says, “God will give wisdom to all without finding fault to those who ask.” James 1:5-8 That’s you! If you ask for Wisdom, God will give it to you! Have you asked God to direct you and are you willing to take a risk and/or change course if he guides you down a different path?

3. They focus on the future.

We can all learn from past experiences. We can appreciate the good and have cry sessions about the bad. Mentally strong people reflect, work through and seek counsel on their decisions and their hardships but then move on. Let it go. Living in the past will not get you to your future. Maybe what you envisioned for your life is not your current reality. Maybe you took a detour from God’s original plan. Do you think God isn’t capable of giving you an even better plan B? He absolutely is!

Position yourself in a way to receive from God. Take responsibility, be willing to change and take risks and focus on your future!

Photo by Beth Carter Photography


Sarah Powers

Powers is the Founder and CEO of Top Buttons, Inc.  Being a wife, mom of 4 children, and nonprofit director keeps her on the go. She is motivated by her faith in Christ and passion for giving to and serving those in need.  

Top Buttons Provides Soma Undergarments and Confidence to Young Women

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On September 11, 2018 we hosted a group of girls just as we have dozens of times before, but one sweet girl in particular stood out. Maybe it was her big brown eyes, or the shy smile that told us she wasn’t quite sure why she was there, but she was open to knowing us and letting us love her and we were grateful. Her name was “C” and we had the sweetest time getting to know her and hearing her story. In the midst of helping her piece together outfits that reflected her individuality, but wouldn’t compromise opportunity, we were thankful for how quickly fashion opened the door to conversation. Sweet “C” talked and talked about the upcoming homecoming of a family member and how she wanted to find just the right dress for the occasion. As she tried on dress after dress, we couldn’t help but notice her bra was being held together by rubberbands. It stirred our hearts and we became burdened knowing that while we had lots of beautiful clothing items to bless her with, we have never made undergarments a part of our sessions. No one should have to wear thrifted underwear (and being a non-profit, we weren't sure how we could provide hundreds of bras, panties, and camisoles to every girl in our program). This sweet girl represented the many girls we serve who do not have proper fitting undergarments, and some have come in with none at all.

A little over a week later, we welcomed another group of girls for a Wearing Confidence Boutique Session and were surprised that “C” was there for a second time! This very rarely happens but because she happened to be enrolled in multiple programs that partner with us, we were getting to see her again! She was excited to be back and we were excited to see her! Building relationships is vital to what we do! As we helped “C” and her group find clothes, we noticed that she was wearing the same bra…with the same rubberbands. The burden to help our girls feel confident from undergarments to outer garments was growing…but how could we do it? We talked as a team and prayed about putting together a campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase bras and other undergarments for the girls we serve.

Around this time we began working with the Joy FM as Top Buttons and our Founder, Sarah Powers, were chosen to be featured as a Joy Story. We were excited that millions of people would have the opportunity to become aware of the needs in our community and hear practical ways they could help. We also knew that should we be asked if there was a specific “call to action”,  it would be to help provide our sweet girls with new bras and underwear. Sure enough, the amazing Bill and Carmen (of the Morning Cruise) came to Top Buttons and after seeing what the Lord enables us to do, asked how they could help. We were all too excited to tell them about our need for brand new undergarments and Carmen immediately connected with our hearts on this mission. She came up with a clever campaign named “Carmen Needs Drawers” and we loved it!!!

Knowing the heart of her listeners, Carmen felt confident that meeting a goal to provide undergarments for every girl in our program could be accomplished….and she was right! By the time “The Morning Cruise with Dave, Bill and Carmen” wrapped up that day, the generous listeners of the JOY FM had done it!!! Girls in our programs would now not only leave feeling confident in the clothing people could see, but also in what people couldn’t see! Carmen got her drawers and our girls were getting them too!

In addition to the Joy FM’s campaign and the generous support of a local foundation, all remaining costs for additional undergarment needs within our Wearing Confidence Program in 2019 have been covered. More than 300 young women will have proper fitting bras, underwear, camisoles and other key clothing pieces by year end! As we continue to enroll more programs (which means serving more girls!) and add to our inventory of what we are able to provide to them, the need for additional space and proper storage has become a necessity. We are truly grateful for all who have supported our mission and who help us love on girls in our community.

Please know that I type all this with complete joy…but also with tears in my eyes. Why? Because at the beginning of February, we held our very first Wearing Confidence Session where we were to provide each girl with a set of undergarments. From meeting our sweet friend “C” and recognizing the extent of this need…to the timing of the JOY FM Joy Story and their listeners and our community being crazy generous, God met the need He had put in the heart of our team. And guess who “just happened” to be back in attendance for this particular Wearing Confidence Program session? The very FIRST session where we are offering complete sets of undergarments... you guessed it...our sweet friend “C”.

We are so grateful for what God has done and we are excited and expectant for what He will continue to do. After spending numerous weeks pricing and researching the best options for bras to purchase for our girls, we have chosen to partner with Soma Intimates. We are able to obtain excellent quality at discounted rates while buying in bulk! This company doesn’t hyper-sexualize through their marketing. Also, we need better sizing options than many companies provide and Soma specializes in larger size bras. Additionally, they have a sizing sports bra called SOMAINNOFIT™. It’s a sizing bra you can put on over your shirt or bra and it immediately sends the sizing info to an app which tells the correct size bra for you! It eliminates the guessing game and helps our girls feel comfortable with the process. Soma cares about the local community! We hope to soon be able to share some exciting news regarding our partnership with Soma which will greatly benefit the girls in our program long term…so stay tuned!

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Beyond the Racks and the Register

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At Top Buttons we have two main programs. The first program is our Boutique Program through which we serve ALL women in our community. We provide a beautiful environment with quality clothing items at low cost for anyone to purchase during public shopping hours. The items we offer would not normally be accessible to many who come shop with us. We strive to provide designer thrift items which are both clean and current for women to choose from for any occasion. It is not uncommon to have families of the girls enrolled in our Wearing Confidence Program come in and shop with us during public shopping hours. We love these opportunities as they enable us to pour into an entire family! We are often asked, “Who is your target market or the main demographic served through the retail side of Top Buttons?” When asked, we take great pride in saying, “As a nonprofit, our goal has never been to be a retail operation. However, we love that we are serving women of all economic backgrounds through our times of public shopping.” It is our hope that as a community, everyone has a way to both give to and receive from Top Buttons. The mission comes full circle as women donate clothes, volunteer, and shop with us. We love providing opportunities for all young women to volunteer. It teaches both job skills and helps many obtain community service hours through our Boutique Program and our Wearing Confidence Program.

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Our Wearing Confidence Program is also facilitated through our boutiques and has two components. We offer education on contextual modesty, how to dress on the job, self- compassion, and most importantly - understanding identity in Christ. Through our Wearing Confidence Program, in addition to the educational sessions, we offer boutique sessions. Large groups of girls from our enrolled organizations come to us for private styling sessions. The sessions include styling services, free wardrobes of proper fitting attire, hair and makeup up touchups, free makeup (if age appropriate), professional photoshoots, and a mini devotional or educational piece. It's important for you to know that our stylists are not necessarily fashionistas, they are young women who want to give their time, love on, build up, and encourage girls in our community. Stylists are matched one on one with a program recipient where they shop our stores and talk about style preferences and clothing needs. Modesty really has so much to do with context even more than a specific set of rules. We look to prepare our girls with appropriate attire for school, the work place, and every day/casual options as well! It’s not about creating little GAP models. That’s why having nice thrift clothing is so helpful. We have an overwhelming amount of style options for our girls to mix, layer, and get out of their box with when it comes to their individual clothing vibe. It’s fun. Being together with other young women talking fashion, life, and faith makes for a great combination to connect and grow together. If you want more information about volunteering with us email

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The Power of Being Seen | The Power of Being Enough

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Everyone wants to be seen and everyone wants to be known. Growing up in a world with countless social media outlets and apps that filter pictures has created a whole other level to feeling worthy and accepted. I’m not saying all social media is bad, or that at 38 I don’t appreciate a good filter! But I am saying that many of the images we see can skew reality and create goals in the lives of young women that are not only unattainable, but unnecessary.

Top Buttons recently hosted our “Building Up Girls” Event. These events are some of my favorite because all of the girls we serve are invited to come together to receive training from phenomenal women who are excellent in their fields of expertise. While the girls receive important life skill information such as budgeting/financial planning and physical wellness, they also hear important life truths that pertain to who they are as individuals.

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Throughout the morning of our most recent event, it was reiterated over and over to every young lady that she was created with and for purpose. Created intentionally by a Creator who sees her, knows her, and loves her.

Many of the girls we serve come from hard places and many would be labeled “at-risk”….meaning there is likely a lack of support and stability that make them easy prey for those who do not have God’s best in mind for them. Over and over again, we have seen how these life dynamics diminish self worth in the lives of young ladies who were wonderfully and fearfully made. It is not hard for young women to fall victim to lies that their life must have been a mistake, doesn’t matter, or has no value. Believing these lies can lead to dangerous behaviors - but as the girls who attended this event heard truths that combated these types of lies, a spirit of liberty could be felt across the room.

The final speaker of the event was Lisa Kirk and she made things personal for the young ladies in attendance. One at a time, she called several up….looked them directly in the eye and spoke into them that they are seen and that they matter - just as they are. She then made each of them own that truth by speaking it for herself.….not whisper it, or mumble it…but speak it confidently to a roomful of other both impressionable and valuable young women. The first young lady who stood up had tears running down her face as our speaker locked eyes with her, SAW HER, and said she was enough. Tears started streaming down many faces in the room as the silence was only broken by the sound of spoken truth as these young ladies acknowledged and verbalized that they mattered, they’re loved, and they’re enough. WOW. It was powerful!

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Following Lisa, Sarah Powers closed by sharing her own testimony of overcoming hardship, feelings of failure from not living up to God’s standards, but yet how He saw and rescued her in the midst of it. The girls were given the opportunity to allow God to do the same for them. Heads were bowed and hands were lifted as the girls were asked if they wanted to surrender their lives and strongholds to a God who loves them, wants good for them, and will never leave them. It was a powerful ending to a beautiful event.

We know the young ladies we serve need life-skill training and we love providing it, but we also know these young ladies need the hope and acceptance of a Savior who DOES want God’s best for them. …and they don’t even need a perfectly filtered Instagram page to receive it.

They are seen as they are. And they are enough.

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What Is Top Buttons | Commonly Asked Questions

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We recognize that we are still a relatively new nonprofit with a unique mission. We love answering questions about our operations. See some commonly asked questions below and if we don’t answer a question you’ve been wondering about, please email us at!

LEGAL and Financial

  • When did Top Buttons get started? 12/12/12 

  •  Are you a 501(c)3? Yes 

  • How are you funded? We obtain funding by community members, grants, corporate sponsorships, fundraising events, and the revenue from our Boutique sales. 

  • Why do you sell? We did not start Top Buttons to sell clothing, but it has been a great blessing to our organization and to women of all economic backgrounds in our community as they can both donate and shop while supporting our nonprofit mission.

  • Why did you add new clothing in with the designer thrift? At times it is difficult to outfit a Wearing Confidence Program Recipient in thrift clothing alone.  When this is the case, young women are able to take new inventory for free to add to their wardrobe pieces.  Additionally, it allows us to offer more options for customers.


  • Are you a faith-based organization? Yes! We are a faith-based charitable and educational nonprofit organization. We believe that real change comes from the inside out through Jesus Christ and this message is incorporated throughout our program services.

  • How do girls qualify to obtain your services? Organizations who serve at risk young women between the ages of 11-25 may enroll with us and receive our Wearing Confidence Program Services free of charge. 

  • What type of services and education do you offer? Through our Wearing Confidence Program we provide faith-based, confidence building education and proper fitting attire to more than 300 young women in need each year. 
Click here to see everything we offer through our Wearing Confidence Program.

  • How do you measure your impact? We measure our impact through evaluations administered to program recipients and also through feedback obtained from the directors of our enrolled organizations. Also we measure impact through the demand for our services, the number of young women who receive our services, the repeat visits we have through mentorship and life skills training opportunities, and the amount of program recipients who obtain jobs after completing our program.

  • What organizations are enrolled with Top Buttons? The Department of Corrections, PACE Center for Girls, Girls Inc., Heartland for Children, The FL Baptist Children’s Home, One More Child, Parker Street Ministries, West Area Adult School, East Area Adult School, Young Lives, Teen Challenge, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lakeland and Mulberry, Echo Ministries, Christ Memorial Youth and many more. 


  • Are you consignment? Where do you get your clothes? We are not a consignment store. We are an educational and charitable nonprofit with a women’s clothing boutique. We offer NEW AND THRIFT clothing. Individuals in our local community donate thrift clothing to us and a donation receipt is given upon request for tax purposes. 

  • How much clothing is given away and how much is sold? Approximately 50% is given away through our program services and 50% is sold. It is important to know that the young women we serve, who obtain free clothing, come back in and bring their families to shop with us. Women from all economic backgrounds come shop with us because we offer new clothing and beautiful designer thrift clothing options for them at inexpensive prices.

  • What type of clothing donations are you looking for? We accept clothing and accessories from pre-teen to adult, maternity and plus-size for women only.

  • How can I donate clothes? You can bring in clothing and accessories any time we are open for public shopping at either one of our boutique locations.  They do not have to be on hangers nor do they have to be specific brands.  We only ask that the items be clean with no holes or stains. Click here to see our boutique locations and hours of operation.

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Offering New Clothing And Designer Thrift

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Over the years there have been so many organic changes and developments in Top Buttons...sometimes it is an exciting change and other times, scary. But over and over again I am amazed by how things fall into place as we pursue God's plan for Top Buttons. Is it funny to talk about God’s leading in fashion? First of all, if you know Top Buttons, you know we exist to build up young women in light of God’s perfect design for them. It’s much more than just fashion.

But Like FCA uses sports to connect, equip, and inspire, Top Buttons uses fashion to do the same. A few of us on the Top Buttons team went to the Apparel Market in Atlanta last week and are excited to share with you that we are now going to offer new items, along with designer thrift clothing in our boutiques. The new items will be for our Wearing Confidence Program girls and to customers who shop to support our cause. 

Buying wholesale, we can get greatly needed clothing items for our girls that are difficult to supply through donated items alone, and we’re able to get them at a cheaper price point. On several occasions while servicing groups of girls, we have found that pants in particular can be the most difficult to outfit the girls with. As we women know, it helps to have a selection of different styles, in different sizes, when shopping for just the right pair of pants we can walk out of the store feeling confident in! We want to make sure the girls we serve have that same experience. It has also been a goal of ours for some time to be able to provide leggings for the girls we serve as some dresses might fit them just right, but be a bit on the shorter side - a problem that can be easily fixed with leggings! Though leggings are not for work, the girls we serve need every day and casual attire too. During our time in Atlanta, we found the perfect leggings for any and all of our girls available for purchase at a wholesale cost. Problem solved! Our girls are in need of proper fitting undergarments too and we will definitely not give them used undergarments! It will be great to work towards having new items of need on-hand and ready to provide. 

We know many of our customers are shopping with us because they love our cause and want to support our nonprofit organization. We want to expand what we offer our customers and give them more opportunities to support and obtain something they couldn’t find anywhere else in Lakeland... 

While at market we connected with high-end and mid-range quality clothing and accessory brands. As we shared the Top Buttons mission with them, both brand owners and reps were excited and anxious to help us with our efforts. We can’t wait to share about the brands we will be carrying in our Boutiques! You won’t need to drive to another city to obtain special occasion dresses, every day, or professional attire. You truly will be able to “shop and give” with every purchase at our boutiques. Thank you for supporting our mission to build self-worth in young women through mentorship, education and fashion.

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Sarah Powers

Powers is the Founder and CEO of Top Buttons, Inc.  Being a wife, mom of 4 children, and nonprofit director keeps her on the go. She is motivated by her faith in Christ and passion for giving to and serving those in need.  

Beauty for Ashes Nepal

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The integrity, intelligence, compassion and determination with which Glenda lives her life inspires everyone who has the opportunity to meet her.  Who she is and what she is passionate about has been poured into every aspect of Beauty for Ashes.  To hear the stories, see the beautiful creations sold, and watch the development of this very special business in Nepal, leaves no doubt that God's hand is on Glenda and her business. And not just on Glenda and Beauty for Ashes, but the very deserving young women who benefit from being a part of her mission. 

Missions has always been a part of my soul. I have traveled to many countries for missions and even lived and worked in a church in Copenhagen, Denmark. Currently my sister, brother-in-law and their two children are missionaries in the Dominican Republic. My sister-in-law and her family have been missionaries to Peru and Spain for many years. To share the gospel of Jesus Christ, to disciple, and to provide resources to help people truly live a life with fullness of joy, despite their past or current circumstances, is absolutely everything.  It is such an honor to be able to partner with those on the front lines in other countries.  Serving God and fulfilling the calling He has placed on our lives is often far from easy, but everyone has a special role to fulfill.  We will continue purchasing fair trade items and supporting anti-human trafficking organizations, which is a part of how we hope to help build up young women around the world.  Top Buttons has a great selection of the exceptionally beautiful hand crafted jewelry pieces from Beauty for Ashes in both of our Boutiques.  This is a collaboration that we look to expand as it is our desire to support this organization and the many women it benefits. 

The words below were written by a staff member from Beauty for Ashes.  

When I first met Binti (name changed to protect identity) she was fearful and anxious. With eyes nearly always averted, she rarely smiled. One morning she was so overcome by fear, she nearly passed out. Lightheaded and shaking from anxiety, it became clear she believed the lie so many women around the world believe; that she had no value.

Life in Nepal for women is difficult. They are responsible for taking care of not only their own family but also their extended family and in-laws.  Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes by hand, and looking after children makes up most of their day. They rise early in the morning before everyone else to make tea and finish their day by being the last to eat dinner and then washing all the dishes. Often seen as second-class citizens with little rights, they struggle to make a living when they don’t have a husband or family. Those who have fallen prey to trafficking or exploitation are especially vulnerable to further abuse and poverty with little to no means to support themselves or their children. 

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Beauty for Ashes Nepal (BFANepal) is a gift items and accessories manufacturing company.  We are privileged to walk alongside women breaking free from fear and shame through the transforming power of Jesus Christ. We employ women who are marginalized by society and those escaping exploitative situations. Many of our women have been told by society that they are not and will never be enough.

Within a few months of working with us, Binti became bright, more courageous, and full of joy. She carried herself differently and had the confidence to believe in herself. Through Christ’s love, Binti discovered the truth that she is valuable and loved abundantly.

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We at BFANepal are incredibly honored to partner with Top Buttons as they empower young women to believe they are beautiful, encourage them to know their value, and present it to the world without compromise. As Top Buttons helps young women in the U.S. find confidence in who they are created to be, they are also helping women in Nepal learn who they are in Christ by purchasing products made by us.  As Top Buttons is teaching on topics involving self-esteem and purpose, BFANepal is also teaching Nepali women to be bold in their identity in Christ instead of being caught up in the shame so many women experience. We may be on opposite sides of the globe, but we are united in our missions to bring change to the way women see themselves, present themselves, and love themselves. - Erika Beelen

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2018 is YOUR year. You may be sitting there thinking, "How is this year possibly going to turn out positive for me?" This past year may have not turned out exactly how you would of planned or how you envisioned it would go. I just hope that you haven't lost some of your beauty along the way. 

Getting very vulnerable here.

I know how easy it can be to feel totally insignificant. When bullying took over my high school days, depression soon followed. It was such a weird feeling knowing that I had such an amazing support system around me but I didn't fully believe anyone could help me get out of the mess I was in. Everyday I would wake up and tell myself, "Today is going to be a better day" and everyday I came home crying. I felt so alone in those moments. I fought for better days but they never came until I made a decision to not let the people in my life stop me from becoming successful. I also came to understand that I wasn't really alone. Jesus heard my every cry and He helped pull me out of the black hole of depression. When I say that this year is going to be better for you, I believe it with my whole heart. 

This year, it's all about feeling renewed. Whatever's damaged you, doesn't have to anymore. Whoever's hurt you, doesn't have to anymore. Even if you've done some things you haven't been proud of, that's okay too. All is forgiven and renewed. On that note, you have start exchanging your negative self-talk for some more uplifting language.

When I was in high school, I had to put sticky notes with sweet words to myself on them until I actually began believing it. Start writing down how loved, brave and intelligent you are. When you wake up and look in the mirror every morning, there should also be a sticky note that reads, "You are more." This my friends, will begin allowing you feel that you actually DESERVE to have a good year. 

Today, go to the first page of your journal and write all of the positive qualities about yourself that you can think of. On the second page, write down your dreams. Set goals and give them a date. As you accomplish each one of these goals, flip back to your first page where you have listed all of your positive attributes and see how many you have come to believe about yourself. Slowly but surely, you will start seeing yourself the way Jesus sees you- worthy, flawless and so loved. Surround yourself with people who see these qualities in you. Being in a community of people who believe in you, will remind you to keep fighting and encourage you to be the best version of yourself.

By the end of 2018, you are going to feel more accomplished than ever. 

If I did it, you can do it.

XOXO, Lindsey Hilligoss


Celebrating 5 Years of Top Buttons

In the last 5 years we have served more than 1,000 very deserving young women in need through our partnerships with more than 20 organizations.  We have provided 30 +  educational events in packed auditoriums, churches, and small classrooms on self-compassion, job preparedness, effective communication, social media safety, goal setting, and positive body image. We have a thriving downtown Lakeland Upscale Thrift Boutique.  We have had hundreds of volunteers which continues to be one of the most important elements of fulfilling our missional objectives.  And now we have a second Top Buttons Boutique servicing the community of Bartow. 

                                First Top Buttons photoshoot with Beth Carter for our website. 

                                First Top Buttons photoshoot with Beth Carter for our website. 


I can't begin to tell you how much I adore working with young people.  Maybe it's because they make me feel young, maybe it's because of my own traumatic teenage years or maybe it's because it truly is my calling. With all of that said,  I thought by now I would grow out of it but that's just not the case. The summer of 2012, I spent an especially large amount of time with the Lord praying and seeking Him for guidance.  I also discussed (talked endlessly) with my other half (Brent Powers) about how I could do what I feel so passionate about without taking away from my family.  God has been and will continue to be my everything, my husband has been by my side through it all offering great wisdom, and my three daughters + one son have reminded me to stay focused on what Top Buttons stands for.


Out of a heart that longed to encourage young women to know their worth, to respect their bodies,  their minds, their talents, and to seek their God-given purpose, I began to outline what the mission of this organization would be.  Modesty is so much more than just wearing layers of clothes.  Working with young women to build them up, encourage them in their gifts, and to know how to present themselves to the world without compromise has been the essence of our operations from day one.  


Going back to 2009,  I first met Anastasia Jones while attending a conference.  I was pregnant with baby #3, sitting on the front row during a session and having a hot flash. She stood much taller than me, most do ;), and greeted me as I walked out the back conference room door feeling as if I was going to pass out. I'm sure seeing my pale and sweaty face, plus 9 month pregnant belly, likely concerned her. She offered me a hair tie and showed me where the bathroom was.  That was it. We didn't speak again until 2012.

FALL 2012

When the concept of Top Buttons started developing, the next step was to hopefully connect with people who would share the vision.  I filled out a form on the Southeastern University website so that students looking for internships might learn of Top Buttons and be interested in helping get it moving. As I searched the database of potential matches, I saw her name. It struck me as odd that I immediately recalled our meeting and her full name.  Miss Anastasia Jones.  I read her resume and called her. I thought for sure she wouldn't remember me. After a couple minutes on the phone, we planned to meet up and talk about what her role would be.  I was shocked that she remembered our funny first meeting and that she wanted to be a part of Top Buttons.  She said "I don't know that I am fashionable, but I love the concept and would love to be a part."  (...and Anastasia is absolutely stunning from the inside out!) At our meet up, she brought a couple more very special and talented young women and so began the journey of becoming a unique nonprofit with our growing Top Buttons Team. 

Knowing that young women are online, we began working on our online website and fashion blog.  At the time, there didn't seem to be an online fashion/positive body image magazine filtered with modesty in mind.  We had some amazing high schoolers who joined the team and they helped name our organization.

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As we launched our online platform, we quickly recognized the needs young girls have right here in our local community. We can show them and try to inspire young people to raise the standard in their lives, but many simply don't have the resources to make changes even if they want to.  As we sought to educate and equip, we became an official 501c3 tax exempt org on 12/12/12. 

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The online platform grew with interesting and consistent modest fashion content. Articles were posted regularly and the local equipping began.


We had our first shopping spree with a young woman from the Dream Center.  At that time Top Buttons didn't have clothing donations so Anastasia took her shopping at Marshalls.  It was a precious experience for her and us. After that we began collecting clothing.  Not junk clothing, but nice clothing for our girls to choose from.  


My vehicle is always a thrift store on wheels, but in the spring of 2013, it was over the top.  People began to understand the need we were meeting and wanted to help us get the girls what they needed.  Taking large amounts of thrift store clothing to organizations serving at risk girls was not easy.  But we didn't have a space of our own yet and we needed to build relationships with the organizations we had a heart to serve.  The educational component began to develop as we were asked to come and educate on positive body image, modesty, and how to dress professionally at local orgs, churches, and schools.  

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We had our first ever Thrift Clothing Sale at a residence in downtown Lakeland called a SWAP AND SHOP.

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We wrote content, created a consistent online publication, produced videos, did shopping sprees for those in need, and had many dreaming sessions on what Top Buttons would become.  

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In the fall of 2013, we were given a special opportunity to spend two days with Mercy Ministries in Nashville providing confidence building educational sessions and fashion presentations. 


Top Buttons continued to collect clothing from the community and take it to organizations while doing our educational sessions on site.  

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The culture that we live in is full of cameras, photography, and an image focused mentality.  We loved being able to connect and inspire young women to have fun with photoshoots but do it for a cause bigger than themselves. We pull in girls of all economic backgrounds to be a part of and to gain from our online fashion resources.


We planned our first large scale clothing boutique session with 40 young women from the enrolled organizations we partner with.  Volunteer hair, clothing and makeup stylists joined us to serve for our first full day wardrobe and beauty makeover event at the Lake Mirror Bell Tower. 

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We are funded through corporate sponsorships, financial donations, grants and also through our Upscale Thrift Boutiques. We had our first official fundraiser three years after starting in 2015 at the Sorosis Building.  A room full of women who were interested in our mission began supporting our cause.  Following the event we obtained our first brick and mortar location.  Now the girls could come to us for our styling and wardrobe makeover program services.

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The charitable and educational services we offer were given a name, "The Wearing Confidence Program." Every month we are able to serve more than 30 at risk young women through this program. 

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Our Top Buttons Board of Directors have been championing the cause since the beginning.  They have been so generous, creative and inspirational while planning events and providing counsel for our development as a new nonprofit in a community full of amazing nonprofits. 


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Planning Boutique and Educational sessions were in full swing in 2016 as we had a fun and solid team working to complete missional objectives with excellence.  

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We took over the Harrison School of the Arts Auditorium for an All Day Building Up Girls Educational Event in the fall of 2016. We packed out the room with more than 120 attendees from local enrolled programs who work with at risk girls.  

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Women seemed to love to be a part of what we were doing through donating clothing and shopping on the days we were open to the public.  Plus young women we serve wanted to come back and bring their families to shop high-end clothing at a discount. 


It was a huge risk, but we took it.  After pursuing the downtown lakeland space for almost a year, we were able to take the steps needed to move forward on leasing the space.  Now that we have been in this downtown space almost a full year, it seems like it was meant for us.  We are open 5 days a week for public shopping which is under our 501c3 umbrella helping to fund our full-time charitable efforts.  


Fun Fact: Did you know our downtown Lakeland space was actually the first movie theatre in Lakeland playing silent movies in the 1930s and 40s? The space is eclectic and very cool. We absolutely love it and its historical significance to our city. 

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We are now able to provide such a precious experience for our girls. They receive styling services, hair tips and touch ups in the Strand Salon next door, free makeup, and new wardrobes of proper fitting attire.  Additionally we can teach our educational sessions in a venue just on the other side of us in the Sommer Building. The businesses on our block have been extremely supportive in ways we couldn't have imagined! 

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I think for many, the idea of starting a nonprofit seems like a nice year-end goal and another thing to add to a "to do" list.  Take something you are passionate about and go for it.  However interesting and exciting it may sound, the amount of work involved with staying compliant, having excellence with the administration, and raising funds is all extremely time consuming.  It is especially difficult when you do not have a large organization providing support to get off the ground. Now we have had many come alongside and support us, but fundraising is not fun nor is it easy.  The main ingredient for staying afloat is hard work and persistence.  

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Anyone who runs a small business knows that as you grow it is the behind the scenes administration that has to be in order for the growth to be sustained and to thrive.  Passion and creativity can only get you so far if the admin is a mess. Over the years of raising awareness, tweaking the services, and obtaining the right resources so we may give the right resources, we have had so many talented and amazing people who have added great value to Top Buttons. Several have been with Top Buttons since it was a concept and many still donate clothing and money even if they are not able to be directly involved anymore.  Currently we have more than 40 volunteers, several volunteer team members, and four paid staff who continue to work more than they are supposed to. At our last team meeting, we all grabbed our Mitchell's Coffee, opened up our calendars and laptops, and began discussing the overlapping of events happening in Bartow and Lakeland.  We have such an overqualified, practical, yet positive team.  What you see happening is a product of MANY people volunteering their time to build up young women in our community.  


In November we opened up our second Upscale Thrift Boutique in the beautiful downtown Bartow Stuart Building. In Bartow the Jean O'Dell Learning Center, Youth Villas, and Heartland for Children are just a few of the organizations enrolled with us who are already using this location for Wearing Confidence Program services.

Our missional objectives have always been the same, but how we execute that mission has grown and developed over the years.

I know what it's like to really let people down.  And I know what it's like to ultimately let myself down. And when we don't value ourselves, whether it's for a moment or a decade, that can be  catastrophic as we make poor choices which can have life-long effects.  We have to first believe that we were IN FACT created with a purpose by God, whether we are treated that way by those around us or not.  I don't say this to end on a negative note.  I say it because I know what it means to desperately need the healing grace of a Heavenly Father who is the only one who has the power to save and create real change.  I also know what if feels like to need support and people who will advocate for you. Through Christ, collaborating together, challenging with truth, and loving fiercely, we can help young people turn their lives around.  Top Buttons may be new, but we have made it to the 5 year mark and look to continue many years more with your continued encouragement and support. 

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Sarah Powers

Powers is the Founder and CEO of Top Buttons, Inc.  Being a wife, mom of 4 children, and nonprofit director keeps her on the go. She is motivated by her faith in Christ and passion for giving to and serving those in need.  

Growing Our Team and Reaching a New Community


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After months of research, prep, and God orchestrated events, we have chosen to start another Top Buttons Boutique in downtown Bartow!!! Bartow is a quaint, old and beautiful city outside of Lakeland and is also the government hub of our county. Our new Top Buttons space is occupying the Stuart Building, right off Main and Central. In 1915, our building was known as the Stewart Hotel and it quickly became an upscale favorite among both tourists and locals.

Our space is perfect and we are so excited for the opportunity to expand our program services and also be a part of this very special community! Our grand opening is on November 9th, along with Rafa Natural, Arts on Central, and Bartow Mercantile.

Not only are we thrilled to announce the expanding of our services, but we have also expanded our team - meet Jaime!  She will be owning our Top Buttons Bartow Boutique under the direction of our TB Thrift Boutique Program Directer, Niki Hoyle. Out of all the pieces that came together for this new venture, having Jaime join the team has been the unexpected yet most necessary component for us to move forward.  You will love her as much as we do! Find out why here:

 It all started with a hashtag.

I found myself at 31, fresh off a decade working in IT and looking to change my career. Spoiler alert: it turns out lots of adults still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.

A family friend of mine was opening a new business just up the road in downtown Bartow, so I would visit near daily to help build her website and spend some time chatting about the new activity downtown.

She’d playfully end conversations with “#centeroftheuniverse!” - a loving poke at our traditionally sleepy little town. As the weeks continued and more businesses started to pop up, #centeroftheuniverse started to feel like less of a playful jab and more of a reality. So when the opportunity to join Top Buttons in Bartow presented itself, I knew I had to take it. Now I find myself immersed in an entirely new world, one that’s challenging, creative, and more fulfilling than anything I’ve ever been a part of. The Top Buttons team has been doing amazing work in the Lakeland community for almost 5 years now, and it’s such an honor to be a part of this team as we begin our journey to serve the young women of Bartow. I invite you to visit our space in the historic Stuart Building, meet our team, and come see why our little town really is the #centeroftheuniverse.


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Sarah Powers

Powers is the Founder and CEO of Top Buttons, Inc.  Being a wife, mom of 4 children, and nonprofit director keeps her on the go. She is motivated by her faith in Christ and passion for giving to and serving those in need.  

Fashion As The Introduction

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From the outside in, the Wearing Confidence Program might look like an outreach where girls go away simply dressed better than they did when they first came in. Most people don’t get to see the depth of the difference that occurs during the valuable two hours of each boutique or educational session.

During our boutique sessions, we serve on average 10-15 girls at a time from our enrolled organizations. Oftentimes when the girls come in, their faces are expressionless. They will sometimes stare down at the floor or out of our front window as we explain to them who we are and the heart of Top Buttons to be a steady resource for them in the community. The girls might not look like they’re listening, but we know they are - so we press on with the session with faces and voices full of love and affirmation. 

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Each girl who attends one of our boutique sessions is paired with a stylist. While the title of “stylist” might sound basic - it’s not. The “stylist” has the responsibility of not only helping their young lady shop, but also to build a rapport. While the clothes might be the topic they can first find common ground on - each stylists’ real mission is to speak words of encouragement, confidence, and love. You can actually feel the difference in atmosphere through the evening as these new relationships are being formed. Things get louder and you can hear more chatter and giggling throughout the boutique. Watching these walls come down is my favorite part of each session. 

While the evening starts out quiet (and maybe even a little suspicious), it evolves into one of the best Girls’ Night Out’s these girls have ever had - because it’s a night out with purpose. Each young woman we serve is introduced to the truth of Ephesians 2:10, that she was created by God’s own handiwork, for and with a purpose. Her being here, at this time, is no accident. Throughout each event, girls are assured of this truth and also of Top Buttons’ passion to be a resource for her to find and achieve that purpose. It might be clothes that get these girls in the door, but it’s the counter-cultural truth that they are more than an object that makes the difference. 

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While the boutique sessions are a platform for this truth and often a good introduction to the Top Buttons mission, our educational sessions are where we see the girls come to realize that they do have the ability to change their stories. It is through these sessions where they learn how to set attainable goals and are equipped with the confidence, knowledge and skill sets to complete their educations and find their position in the workplace. It is a joy to watch these girls come to the realization that they are capable of reaching their goals and do so confidently! Learned skills, combined with professional portfolios and professional fitting business attire, make these girls feel worthy of walking into any classroom, workplace, or interview. 

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A term I’ve recently been introduced to is “enclothed cognition”. It’s the psychology that clothes can influence and change not only the way people perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. I know when I run to the grocery store put together, I feel a whole lot better running into someone I know than when I’m not! When these girls feel put together through the guidance they receive in our boutique and educational sessions, they are equipped with every tool they need to put their most prepared and confident foot forward.


The greatest compliment we’ve ever received was at the end of a session when a young lady said, “I wish we could stay longer, it just feels good here.” We understood exactly what she meant. What a gift these girls give Top Buttons by letting us serve them.  Then our hearts become even fuller when the girls come back with family or friends during public shopping hours, allowing us more introductions into their lives and community.


Spring (Fashion) Forward

The season we have all been waiting for is almost here... SPRING! If you are like me, you love the idea of flowers blooming this time of year. Although, flowers are not the only thing planning on blooming this Spring. This season I hope confidence will start blooming inside you like never before. Confidence is knowing who you are and whose you are. I encourage each of you to look in the mirror each morning and begin speaking to yourself in a kind way from the moment you wake up in the morning. This world already puts an immense amount of pressure on who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to look like and who we are supposed to become. The least we can do is to be nice to ourselves.

In this post not only do I want to let you know about the upcoming Spring trends, but I also hope that at the end of this post you will feel like it is okay to embrace your individuality. You do not have to have a certain "style" to decide what to wear in the morning. Each day, I get dressed based on what I like and what I want to wear that day. While getting ready, I tell myself 3 things each morning:



You are uniquely made and uniquely LOVED! God loves us all differently but equally at the same time. I have learned to embrace this. I used to be so worried of what other people thought of me and I wanted to be liked by everyone. While being liked by others is a good thing, it is not good to sacrifice your unique personality for the sake of others. Embrace your uniqueness.

I love being able to express my uniqueness through my style. I love fashion because it is the perfect way to express yourself. Jean on jean used to be deemed "unacceptable" but it is a perfect outfit for a hot Spring day. The best thing about this outfit is that you can dress it up or down. Pictured above, I am wearing bold earrings and heels but you could wear this look anywhere. Cropped jeans are also trending this season so get ahold of some while you can!

Jean button up

Cropped jeans




You are so beautiful in God's eyes. I think what makes us beautiful is our stories and figuring out who we are. The best thing about figuring out who I was, was finding my passion. Our passions make us individual. God has each called us to a different path for a reason. I love the term "bloom where you are planted." Of course, this phrase coensides very well with this Spring blog but most of all, it calls each one of us to give our full effort to every situation we are in. Once you know what kind of flower you are, it becomes a lot easier to spread your seeds everywhere you are planted. 

Speaking of flowers, this skirt makes me feel like I fit right in with the roses behind me. I've had this skirt for a couple of years and honestly wish I pulled it out of my closet a little more. I also love this clutch. A clutch is a perfect way to tie your outfit together. The beaded clutch pictured above is one of my favorites. The pop of turquoise brightened up my outfit. I sure hope off the shoulder shirts aren't going anywhere this season!

Off the shoulder top

Long skirt

Beaded Clutch


I have always been that girl who loves putting on heels and a dress to feel powerful. Although, no matter how we are dressed or what we look like, there is so much we can accomplish. I think we underestimate how big of a difference we can make during our lifetime. We are strong and courageous. There are going to be people to tell you otherwise but we have to feed ourselves positive thoughts, especially when the rest of the world is trying to tear us down. 

Fishnet tights are trending but most of them are styled in a revealing way. I wanted to pair these fishnets with a cute black skirt that was not only modest, but essential for a warm day. I love nothing more than tying a knot in my oversized shirts to give my outfit a different look. You can even re-wear your Winter sweaters by tying a knot in the front with a pair of high waisted shorts! When it comes to your outfit, you have the power to create what you love. The options are limitless!

Striped shirt

Black vest

Black skirt

Fishnet tight


"Wake up every morning and tell yourself how unique, beautiful and strong you are."

XOXO, Lindsey

Did Someone Say Boho?

We all know that Florida’s Winter season doesn't begin until January, which means you still have plenty of time to show off your favorite fall pieces!

Recently, the “bohemian” look has become a must. In my case, when getting ready in the morning I can never decide between florals or all black. There’s really no in between. I love a good sleek outfit although, most of the time I feel like I can relate more with the free spirit bohemian look. I would shop at Free People every day if I could afford it.

Luckily, a couple of weeks I headed over to the American Eagle’s clearance store in Orlando. The whole entire store was 40% off and I had a 20% coupon on top of that so you can imagine I got some pretty good deals!

Here are some reasons why you may find yourself pulling out these boho pieces in your wardrobe this season:

1. Fun/Flowy tops go well with your Bootcut jeans that are back in style

Some people are still apprehensive about pulling their old jeans out of the back of their closet. At Top Buttons we say, what a perfect time to do so! There’s no better way to start incorporating your old bootcut jeans than to pair it with a fun top and some booties. After all, (boot)cut jeans are kind of made for boots. .

Top: American Eagle

Jeans: Top Buttons (Lucky Brand)

Vest: Hattie’s Branches

Booties: Forever 21

2. It’s an acceptable time to wear mustard colored tops

At first, I didn’t know how I felt about mustard colored tops but I think when paired together with the right bottoms, anyone could pull it off. During our Wearing Confidence Programs at Top Buttons boutique, our mission is to enhance a girl's personal style while helping them feel comfortable to step out of their comfort zones. As creatures of habit, we tend to stick to the same couple of items in our closet. I never thought I would be able to wear such a harsh color because I have very fair skin but that’s nothing a little bronzer can’t fix!

Top: American Eagle

Jeans: Lucky Brand

Booties: Forever 21

Choker: American Eagle

If you feel comfortable in your own clothes and confident in your own skin it will be easier for you to feel content with the purpose God has for you.

If you feel comfortable in your own clothes and confident in your own skin it will be easier for you to feel content with the purpose God has for you.

3. Fur vests go with practically everything

There is no other article of clothing that could possibly look so cute and comfortable at the same time. I am a firm believer that everyone should have at least one fur vest in their closet. No matter what look you’re trying to achieve, fur vests are a great addition to any outfit! Enhancing your personal style is what Top Buttons is all about. Feeling comfortable in your clothes and skin is a necessity. 

Dress: American Eagle

Faux Vest: GAP

Shoes: JCPenney

Cuff Bracelet: Lucky Brand

If you feel comfortable in your own clothes and confident in your own skin it will be easier for you to feel content with the purpose God has for you.

XOXO, Lindsey

What Is Your Street Style?

Take a look around you: The latest trends are being pulled directly from the runways seen during the 2016 Mercedes-Benz fashion week.

These trends filter down into stores, where eventually we piece together looks that fit our personal style. Everyone has his or her own self-expression, and opinion on what’s unique, so for our photo shoot, these girls were asked to wear their favorite street style and pick pieces that really speak to them.

When it comes to street style, anything goes. Layer it up, add accessories, or throw in some kicks! We love how adding something as simple as a ball cap can change the whole feel of this look. Throwing on a pair of sunnies can add some much needed edge.

Street style can also allow you to feel free and fearless with your personal style. Sometimes we can get utterly consumed with worry over the opinion of others and what people will think of our hair, outfit, etc.

Identifying your own personal street style can free you from conventional style, and allow you to embrace something better than before!

We would love to hear more about what your street style is. Please let us know in the comments below!

To find items similar to the ones shown above check out JusticeZara, and Aeropostale.

*Beth Carter Photography

Hot Spring and Summer Trends 2016


Summer is here, HOORAY! Summer is my favorite season for many reasons one of them being fashion, which is so light, beautiful, bright and breezy. For today's post, I would like to share a few summer trends that I am in love with already.

Living a Confidence-Filled Life


Confidence; something us girls hope to wake up with, but just do not know where to find it.

We want to put on any outfit and feel good about ourselves. If we were honest, we would say that a good majority of the time we do not feel confident in who we are. I know in my case, when I was in middle school and high school, I felt no confidence whatsoever. I felt like I always looked bad in what I wore, that I did not fit in, and a lot of times, I felt like I was not good enough for anything or anyone. I am sure many of you feel or have felt the same way! Although I do believe that what you put on the outside will affect the way other people see you, I do not believe that is the most important thing.

The way you see yourself will be the way other people see you, and that comes from how you feel on the inside.


What is really interesting to me, and took a long time to figure out, is that weight does not matter.

What? I know when I found this out I was amazed too! I always wondered why I never felt good in my body, people would be like, “get over yourself, you're skinny”, but that never helped at all. There was still something wrong, and I continued to feel uncomfortable in my own body. I started to think and ask some people who seemed to be confident and healthy looking, and I was shocked with what I was told, it’s not about my weight, but it’s all about how I treat my body, and guess what, they were right. I started to regularly exercise, drink more water, eat whole foods, and cut out excessive sugar, and I started to see a change in my life. I started to feel more confident in my abilities and in my body.

Going back to the statement I made before, “The way you see yourself will be the way other people see you," is extremely important to still think about and apply on top of taking care of your body. Have you ever heard of the statement “you are what you eat?” Well this is kind of like that,  but more “you are what you speak.” Once I started telling myself I was pretty, smart, and successful, I started to become those things and people started to see the change in me!

So let’s ditch the statements that put us down and hold on to the truths we know to be true about ourselves!


TIP: Some days you are still going to wake up and feel not your best, but what I do every morning is declare to myself, “I will have a great day, and today is a day full of confidence!”

Want to know more about how to live a confident filled life? Stay tuned for more of our healthy living articles!  Next one, importance of drinking water and tips for drinking all the water you need in a day!

How to Stay Cool in Summer with Black Leggings

We just wrapped our latest photo shoot and it couldn't have come at a better time! We are so thrilled to feature some of our top choices for summer looks which you will see more of in future posts! To kick things off we are going to highlight one of our favorite trends, black leggings! Sounds crazy anything in summer just seems forbidden. But if you really think about it anywhere you go or anything you do black leggings always work! We want to answer a few questions and offer a few styling suggestions. The difference between jeggings and leggings

Leggings are lighter weight than jeggings.  For the summer heat this will work better! Reminder, with jeggings and the thicker fabric, the top doesn't have to cover the bottom.  With leggings and thinner material, get a top which covers your bottom.

Wear them with a long bright colored top
Nothing screams SUMMER louder than bright colors! That is why we suggest that when wearing your black leggings pair them with a bold colorful top!

Summer is for work outs. Wear them with your sneakers even if you are not running. 
Leggings transition nicely from a great workout at the gym to grabbing a quick bite or a smoothie with some of your friends!

Summer is for comfort. They are comfortable.
We personally love to where them anywhere at any time! Whether you're hanging out around the house or popping over to a friend's house, leggings should be your go to option!

Buy them because you can find them for CHEAP!
This is another reason we love leggings, they are cheap! Walmart sells them ... for $3.

Checkout 2 of our favorite looks below!

If you are looking for an effortless summer style, we recommend you pair your leggings with an oversized jersey tee.

Looking for something with more of an edge? We suggest you pair your jeggings with a cut off tee layered over a cami. Throw on a stylish fedora to finish off your look!

We hope you are just as excited about black leggings as we are! Finding an item to add to your summer wardrobe that can literally be worn over and over is such a dream come true! So, whether you are packing for a vacation or going to a movie make sure black leggings are at the top of your list for things to wear!

To find cute affordable black leggings click here!

{Photos by: Beth Carter Photography}

Why It Matters: School Dress Code and Tween Professional Attire


Catherine (right) is wearing her Mom's solid black Tahari blazer.

From a Mom to a Mom... 

Self-expression at the Expense of the Group
Fighting with kids about what they wear is not a battle many parents want to fight.  I admit, it is a difficult battle, especially with the driving force of our culture being profit.  But teaching our kids how to dress, along with every other type of education, is very important.  A school dress code can be frustrating, most often not because of the rule itself, but because of the inconsistencies with the way it is enforced. However, parents should aim at buying their kids' clothing according to their school's dress code.  It is a battle worth fighting.   The deeper issue here is not the school dress code, it's allowing our kids to focus on the needs of self rather than the needs of the group.  I get it.  Reaching a common goal with a group is not easy, and it doesn't take much to distract people from the goal and take huge steps backwards, whether at school, work, or whatever.  Our culture places an emphasis on building one's own brand.  Serving the needs of self seems to be far more important than serving the needs of the group. Self-expression and developing as an individual is vital, but not when it consistently becomes more important than the love and service of others.

There will be a time and place where kids can have more freedom of self-expression than others.  Helping them understand this concept is very important in life.  While teaching young people the importance of dressing professionally for a job interview, we often address the frustration young people have with denying self-expression with their clothing.  Depending on the culture of the company you are interviewing with, often the employer is most interested in your willingness to work on a team, skills and experience.  Before a word is even spoken, an employer can get a good idea about who you are simply by how you dress.  If we won't teach our children to respect the dress code at school and care about the impact their clothing choices have on the people around them when they are young, they will likely not care about their presentation for a future job interview.  There are ways to stay true to self, all the while respecting the boundaries set in place for a common goal to be reached.  I tell my children all the time, when you are in charge, you can make the decisions.  Until then, respect the boundaries put in place for you and understand it is for the good of our family as a whole.  The needs of the group matter too.


Professional attire has evolved and especially for women, it doesn't have to be boring to be acceptable.

Thongs are Easier to Find
Ironically it's not like dressing our children in adult-like styles is uncommon.  Bikinis are available for toddlers.  Thongs with "Call Me" are available for our middle schoolers.  From our tweens' favorite role models, the music they listen to, and the clothing we buy them, we are training up our children earlier than ever to focus on their bodies rather than who they are and what they have to offer as a whole person. Why is it we seem to quickly buy the most adult styles for our daughters, but putting them into professional attire when it's appropriate is so arduous?

I went to Nordstrom, my favorite store most of the time, to look for a blazer for my daughter.  (She often comes with me to volunteer at the Top Buttons Boutique and you better believe I have her dress in appropriate yet stylish attire.) Nordstrom had no blazers or structured clothing in her size. One of the reasons I love Nordstrom, is that you can always count on them to have the best customer service and the most current seasonal items available for every family member.  I know going into summer, there are not many moms looking for blazers for their pre-teens.  But I still had hope that they would have something along those lines, since I normally do not leave the store disappointed.  I even talked to the the kids' department manager about my concerns, who confirmed what I was thinking.  They had nothing of the sort for pre-teens.  Thankfully, H&M and Gap Kids had some options, and I snagged up a couple of pieces to pull off just the right edgy yet structured professional look for my daughter.

It really is easier to find a thong for our pre-teen than it is a blazer.  This is a problem. Our daughters are smart, strong, bold, and talented.  They are more than just a body.  Buying clothing from a young age which places an emphasis on their developing sexuality rather than who they are on the inside reinforces that standing out is connected with their body alone. "If your clothing is overly revealing, you may have difficulty getting attention for your ideas," states Leah Bourne, a contributor for Forbes Magazine.  While they are harder to find, a blazer speaks a much more powerful message about who our daughters are from within and what they have to give.

Brooklyn's Blazer (Left) is from H&M Kids

Clothing has Power
Yes, beauty comes from the inside out.  Let's keep working on that.  But we need to make sure we understand that what we wear affects the way we feel about ourselves internally.  The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology conducted a study called "embodied cognition" which revealed that we not only think with our minds, but also with our bodies. Further studies show that clothing directly affects the brain of the wearer depending on two factors: symbolic meaning and the physical experience of wearing the clothing. This is referred to as enclothed cognition.

So yes, What clothing is bought and worn by your daughter will affect the way she views herself.  This video explains the concept well.

Dressing in pajamas at school, will likely result in a more relaxed and less attentive student.  That actually makes sense.  Putting on all the newest, stylish running gear plus a pair of new Nike shoes, may inspire one to run faster and longer.  That makes sense too.  What about boho and relaxed clothing in the work place? ... What about seductive and revealing clothing on our daughters? Will it encourage our daughters to behave more provocatively? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Most parents do want to give their children the resources needed to make healthy choices. Since clothing does impact decision making, we should place a high priority on filling our kid's closets with proper fitting attire.


Pull it off with what you have in your closet already, plus one key structured item like a light weight sweater or structured jacket.

Contextually appropriate attire, or (contextual modesty) is simply "Clothing which fits the setting its being worn in"

Tips on how to get our kids wearing contextually modest clothing:

  • Ask them questions to get them thinking:  What message do you want to send with this outfit?  Where are you wearing it to?
  • For a potential job interview, study the culture of the company to find out the appropriate attire to wear
  • Give them options
  • Encourage them to do it from a young age and it will come more naturally when they are older
  • There will be places they can have more style freedom.  Give them opportunities to have more freedom in other settings.
  • Help them to recognize the importance of group goals over their own
  • Buy them clothes that fit them properly
  • Support role models who dress creatively but tastefully.  Steer clear of those who reinforce self-absorption, provocative behavior, and disrespect.
  • Shop together and find what you both like

Other ideas for accomplishing the professional pre-teen look:

  • Put on your favorite romper accompanied by one of mom's blazers and roll up the sleeves
  • Throw on a nice spring dress with appropriate coverage and a low heel. It looks tasteful and will work great for most business casual settings
  • Loose fitting trousers or harem pants can even fit the part if paired with a structured top
  • Depending on the event, even black denim pants with a simple neutral top and bold color blazer will send the right "I'm here to work" message

Final Thought
I remember a conversation I had once with a dad about the clothing his daughter was wearing.  The story went something like this: Mom and Dad were divorced.  Mom always bought the daughter whatever clothing the daughter wanted.  She was a tall and beautiful young woman, with the shortest shorts and often very provocative attire.  Dad took out his frustration on his daughter, often griping and complaining about what she wore.  I offered a potential solution for Dad to take his daughter shopping with the only condition being that Dad will only buy it if he likes it.  Knowing that Dad sees the problem and is offering a solution rather than just complaining is a step in the right direction.  You may be fighting a battle you feel like you are losing.  But as a parent of a beautiful, tall pre-teen daughter myself, I can say that teaching them the importance of sending the right messages with their clothing is important enough to sometimes fight about.

If we don't educate and equip our daughters on how to present their best self on the job, at school and in life, the fashion and media industry will.  And we may not like the outcome.  I would recommend we start by finding them a blazer.


Cheney's Yellow Blazer is from Khols


Makeup was done by the one and only, Yolanda Delacerda.  We love you!

A huge thank you to Beth Carter for jumping in as photographer.  She photographed our very first Top Buttons photoshoot back in 2012 and has been such an encouragement ever since.  Her work is exceptional and she captured the essence of what I was looking for with this article, perfectly.


Our Favorite Look For Graduation


Just like that your time in school has come to an end and graduation is right around the corner. You know what that means... it's time to search for the perfect dress! You have spent the last 4 years in class, a library, or staring at a computer screen preparing for this day. Let the stress subside, and replace it with excitement! Whether you are wrapping up high school or finishing up school altogether with your college graduation don't let what you are wearing be another thing on your to do list. Sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the perfect outfit to wear for your graduation day. A classic white dress is the perfect option for this occasion. No matter what your school colors are white always fits perfectly in the background to allow your cap and gown to be the real showstopper! We love the boho style of this dress in particular. Not only is it perfect for a commencement ceremony but you can dress it down with flats and wear it all summer long!


A tan ankle strap heel is a great shoe selection to compliment this classic white dress.


To finish your look we suggest you go with a great set of elegant pearl drop earrings.


To purchase these items click on the links below:

Dress - Heels - Earrings

Congratulations and best of luck on all your shopping adventures!

{photos via pinterest}

3 Ways to Style Boyfriend Jeans For Spring


Boyfriend jeans are the perfect way to transition from winter to spring, and from spring to summer. Check out the video below, where we share some creative looks that use this versatile garment!