Monday, January 31, 2011

Love's not a competition, but I'm winning

Did anyone else absolutely hate January? It's trying to redeem itself by gracing us with sunny (and totally freezing) weather, a nice contrast to almost constant rain and dreariness. But I for one am glad to see the end of it. 

I managed to have one of those magical epiphanies while getting dressed this morning that allowed me to utilize not one but TWO difficult pieces I love but can never figure out how to wear. The first is this pretty floaty pink button-up that is a bit boxy untucked, too short too tuck into jeans, and simply doesn't go with any of my skirts (or so I thought). The second is a pretty floaty white beaded skirt that is rather too big. I ended up loving the combo once I belted the skirt up to make it high-waisted and paired it with the button-up. Unfortunately, I was so distracted by lighting difficulties and freezing cold, hand-numbing temps that I was unaware my skirt had loosened and was hanging to my knees in most of my pictures, and the waistline had dropped below my belt on one side. Grrrrr.  At least the first picture shows what I was going for! I think I'll try this combo again once warmer weather lets me go without tights, and I can feel my fingers (which is helpful when trying to adjust one's skirt and belt).

American Eagle button-up, mom's old belt, Wet Seat skirt, old tights, Steve Madden flats

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Will there be a tomorrow?

I wasn't going to post today, but the success of my latest tights layering was worth documenting. I started with my bright blue pair, and put my favorite green floral pair on top. My legs look sort of like upholstery.

Gap sweater from Goodwill, vintage dress from Goodwill, blue Target tights, green Charlotte Russe tights

Friday, January 28, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Today I am officially coining the term "Feel Drab? Dress Fab!" since it totally completely describes my mood and outfit today. Also it rhymes, sooooo...bonus! If you read my How I Get Dressed posts yesterday, you know that I tend to work my outfit around one foundational item. I was about this close (imagine I am holding my thumb and forefinger about half an inch apart for illustrative purposes) to skinny jeans, my version of an I Give Up day, when for some reason I put on this black bodycon dress I've had for over a year and have only worn about three times. It's just too tight, too fancy, too short, too...well, too awesome. Why should I punish the poor dress for its virtues? All I had to do was add a grandpa cardigan (it IS winter after all, cold and pouring down rain). 

In accordance with my Feel Drab Dress Fab motto of the day, I also decided to pile on the accessories, since I'm normally pretty minimal. That didn't go as well. As you can see, I am wearing two necklaces. I know, I know. Somebody stop me, I'm outta control!

Trouve cardigan from Value Village, Silence + Noise dress from Buffalo Exchange, old tights, socks from Labels (consignment), New York and Company wedges, Forever 21 and Goodwill necklaces

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How I get dressed, part 2

Have you ever heard of the rule of three? It's traditionally known as a literary device, in which things that come in threes are the most effective at conveying what the author is trying to say. But aside from storytelling, it actually applies in all kinds of situations. In fact, many shoe stores have a rule of three. When the salesperson brings you the size you want in a certain shoe, they are also required to bring two other pairs shoes--one similar to the pair you requested, and a third sort of wild card option. 

Well, this rule can actually do wonders for your remixing options. In today's first post, I showed you the suede skirt I wanted to wear today. In building an outfit around on particular piece, I often use a rule of three type approach to stying it. I sort of went in a more rule of two direction today, to be honest, but the same principles apply. First, I put on my skirt and then thought about my options for what to wear on top. The last two times I wore it, I chose a patterned spaghetti strap blouse and then a graphic t-shirt. In the interest of avoiding outfit retread I decided to try a cotton blouse with sleeves and floral print and a plain white button-up, both very different from the tops previously worn with this skirt. 

I like both tops, and could have worked with either. I went with my instinct and chose the white one. For whatever reason, I just felt more inspired by it. Remember, there is no one right or wrong outfit. It's all about experimenting and creativity and fun.

Next, I needed another layer on top. Normally I would go with a cardigan, so I glanced at my options:

Nothing jumped out at me, and I've already done the cardigan look twice with this skirt, so I considered other options. I'd noticed my denim jacket when pulling the skirt from my closet, and thought I should try it. Turns out it hit an awkward spot right where the skirt flares out, so that was a no. Next, I grabbed my little boy's section Goodwill blazer, and liked the silhouette and structure it added. 

Getting close now! Since it's winter, I for sure need some tights on those practically translucent legs. Plus, I'm looking a little like I'm wearing some sort of school/work uniform here, so I need something off the wall to mix it up. I choose two options...purple with black layered over, or green textured floral. Going back to the rule of three, opaque black is the standby third option in case neither look good. But essentially, I'm confident the green will work since I wear them with everything, and they are super versatile. So black and green are my one and two choices. Both are versatile and go with just about anything, the outcome is unsurprising. The third, wild card option is purple and black layering. And since I most want to wear the purple and black I try them first. I know if they look good I won't try any of the others on, since putting tights on and taking them off is super annoying and I avoid it if at all possible. Thankfully, the combo looks great and I decide to go for it. 

Now on to shoes! This is the easiest and hardest part, since shoes are so easy to take on and off, so I sometimes go crazy and try on tons.

Today I did a very strict rule of three shoe session. Option one is very basic and is the pair I most want to wear with this outfit in theory. I try them on to make sure they actually do look good. They do! 

Option two is another basic pair that go with just about anything, and in theory will look good with this outfit. In reality, they make me look kind of frumpy, especially from the side. No go.

Option three is totally different from the last two, and I have no idea if they will look good. They don't. Something about the bright purple with the leopard print doesn't sit right with me.

So it's back to option one. And that's it! I'm done for the day. I ended up throwing on some earrings and a pin as well, which you can see in my outfit post today. Overall, this took just a few minutes. I rarely spend more than ten or fifteen minutes total on my outfit, even though I'm starting from scratch. Maybe you like to throw something on and go, and that sounds like too much of a time investment for you. If so, the rule of three can still work for you when pre-planning and trying on outfits. It may encourage you to pick an item that doesn't seem obvious and end up with a totally new, creative outfit you've never considered before. Personally, I don't mind the time investment, since the rest of my morning routine is very basic. I've never understood people who can spend forever doing their hair. My max is five minutes--blowdry or put up in braids is as fancy as I get. If you spend lots of time on your hair, I can understand why you wouldn't want to put the time into dressing from scratch in the morning. My makeup routine in super fast and minimal as well, so I feel okay with spending a little extra time staring into my closet or going back and forth to the mirror with one pair of shoe after another. 

So there it is everyone. My alternative dressing plan. Don't feel like the three rule is strict...if I really love the first thing I try on, I often keep it and spend more time on other parts of my outfit. And you can surely try more than three options in any case. I think the most important thing to remember is to go with your instincts and push yourself. If you have one plain-colored cardigan you wear all the time and looks great with all your skirts and dresses, don't reach for it first. Try a couple you're unsure about, and if they don't work out, you know you have a backup. Save the reliable standbys for days when nothing else works. I guarantee that, with time, you will start to see a multitude of new possibilities in the clothes you already have, and recognize gaps in your wardrobe that need to be filled. You will shop better because you'll know what works, but you'll also be less afraid to try something new. What's the worst that could happen? The fitting room mirror will mock you? It won't look good? No problem! On to the next. Fashion and style should be fun and crazy and whimsical and courageous.

What's something you've bought or worn that you never thought would work until you tried it on? I want to know! Leave me a comment, or let me know some of your favorite tips for getting dressed!

The Final Product

If you read my post from earlier today, you know that I started my outfit with the purple suede skirt I'm wearing, and the rest was chosen though a process which I will describe in my next post. But you don't have to wait to see the final product, cause this is it! I feel pretty good about how it turned out. It's not earth-shattering, but I tried something new with the mixing of purples and took another shot at doubling up my tights. I thought the black textured tights toned down the brightness of the neon purple ones really well. For anyone out there who has trouble styling colored tights, this might be a good way to ease in. You get a peek of the color without feeling to muppet-y, and you'll make even a boring outfit way spiffier! Overall the items I wore today were super basic, and I would have gone a totally different way to avoid looking too plain (boring), but the tights felt like just the right amount of crazy. One of my goals in wearing this skirt again was to try something really different from how I've styled it before, and I think I accomplished that. Do you agree? Check out the other versions here and here.

Goodwill blazer, Target clearance button-up, Wilson's suede skirt from Labels consignment, purple Betsey Johnson tights, black JC Penny tights, Kenneth Cole Reaction boots

How I get dressed, part 1

I was reading Kendi's post today, part 5 of her "Create a Working Closet" series. All the posts she's done for this series are so well-written, practical, and for a lot of people, really helpful. She discusses how to eliminate unnecessary items from your wardrobe, how to shop intentionally, and gives tips for picking outfits in advance. The series has been very successful, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who will put her advice into action.

I will not be one of those people.

For me, fashion has ALWAYS be spontaneous and organic. I am a procrastinator. I don't do lists. I hate planning stuff.  And this doesn't only apply to what I wear, it's all aspects of my life. In school, I did everything last minute, especially papers or writing assignments. I would stay up the night before, clacking away at the keyboard until I was done. And it was glorious. I sacrificed perfect grammar, since I didn't have the time or perspective to properly edit, but the quality and creativity level were always far superior when working under pressure. The best ideas and decisions in my life always come organically, and in the moment. Screw schedules. To heck with checklists. It's just not me.

I have no problem with people who need organization and order, in fact, I rather envy them. And while I do thrive in spontaneity, I keep my living space tidy and clothes/projects neat. But I feel like someone needs to say that it's okay to do fashion and style in the moment. I'm 27 years old, and I know myself well enough to know I will never function by planning my outfits in advance. In fact, it seems crazy to me. How will I possibly know what I want to wear tomorrow, much less a week from now? Just as there are many different ways to wear one item of clothing, there are many approaches to getting dressed. So I thought I would share my process with you as an alternative to the sketch/plan/list in advance approach. Spontaneous dressing doesn't have to be stressful or time-consuming, as long as you take a very intentional approach to your closet.

This is the first thing I see when I start getting dressed:

First of all, it's important not to get overwhelmed by possibilities. I always start with one thing I want to wear that day. It's usually a skirt, dress, or pants, since I find that's the easiest starting place for me. Today, I wanted to wear my purple suede skirt I got secondhand last month. Sometimes I might decide the night before the starting garment, but it's never set in stone, and I just go with my instincts in the morning when I open my closet. In this case, I pulled out my skirt and got started 

As for the rest, I don't want this post to be too long, so I'm going to break it into 2 parts. Come back later for  the rest of my process...which is pretty much the whole process since at this point I've only picked out one item! And remember, my way might not work for you either, but the biggest tip I can give you is to have some sort of blueprint for how you get dressed. It may be as simple as starting to pay attention to what you're doing in the morning and repeating the techniques that work while eliminating those that cause frustration. And don't feel pressure to fit into anyone else's idea of the "right" way to get dressed. Change and growth can be good, and maybe trying out some new techniques will improve your style and morning routine. But clothes are so utterly personal, and ultimately you are the one looking into that closet, choosing each item, and walking out the door. Don't be afraid to try, experiment, and fail. But just make sure you pay attention to what causes each failure as much as what causes success. Even this small step will put you well on your way to figuring out what's best for you. 

I hope this was helpful to some of you! Part two will be posted later today!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't be a fool like the rest of us

I have had this weird headache all day. Not major, just annoying. I actually got it yesterday. On top of that, I was feeling kinda generally bummed out, and Joe was feeling stressed out yesterday as well. So I made potato soup and did a whole lot of nothin' on my laptop while Joe spent about an hour tidying and organizing my apartment. Yeah...I'm a lucky girl. 

So, I first saw the double-tights technique a few weeks ago on weardrobe, and I've been wanting to try it ever since. Today was a good opportunity, so I layered my lacy blue pair on top of plain gray, and got this:

I love it! My legs were pretty warm, and it added depth an interest to my outfit. I'm kind wanting to try these same blue ones with the neon magenta Betsey Johnson pair I inherited from my old roommate. Or my black patterned ones. WHAT, two patterns, you can't do that!!!! Well, look out cause I just might.

I forgot my tripod today, so when I was snapping pictures I had to be a little creative to get a decent head-to-toe shot. I ended up setting my camera in its side (it's too thin to stand on its own) and setting a rock on the wrist strap to balance it. Precarious, but it did the trick.

Before I go, I just want to say thanks to Melrose for giving me this award:

I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself, so here it goes. 1. I am a major procrastinator. 2. Meh....I think I'll finish this tomorrow. 


Express cardigan, American Eagle t-shirt, Urban Outfitters skirt, delia*s blue tights, old gray tights, Blowfish shoes from Ross,, Macy's necklace I didn't get a very good shot of cause my hair is fluffy today

Because he said I could...

This is Joe.

Bonus: new collages in my etsy store. More to come soon! Go there by clicking here.

Smile like you mean it

American Eagle handed-down cardigan, dress from California, old tight, Payless Shoe Source heels, vintage earrings

When I started this blog, it was for me. I just wanted to keep track of my outfits, and maybe try to be a little more creative with my clothes. Slowly, over time, it evolved and I started seeking out other blogs, improving my posts, taking better pictures. I started to imagine that a creatively-based life was possible. That one day I could perhaps make a living off my passions. It all started with one dimly-lit photo on a mostly-blank web page. 

If you just take one step towards your dreams, and keep on walking, it's amazing how everything changes. You will find inspiration. You will find courage.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I want to go to there

The slightly tilted composition in these photos represents my feelings of insecurity and imbalance in an uncertain world. The path is my future, and the fact that I'm standing off the path means I am unwilling to begin the well-traveled journey to adulthood and responsibility.

That, or my camera was on an uneven surface.

When I wore this dress on Thursday, I knew I had to break it out again for the show I was going to play on Saturday night. I had been pretty uninspired and unsure about what to wear, but the polka-dots and full skirt were the perfect mix of girly, unfussy and classic, and there was nothing trendy or trying-too-hard about it. Joe and I opened for our friends' band with a quick acoustic set. It was the first time I'd ever played any of my original songs in front of an audience. It went pretty well, but afterwards I almost felt like it didn't happen. Time flies when you're on stage! I love singing and performing, so though it's nice to be done for now, I hope someday to have a band or at least a chance to do some songs again.

The rest of my weekend was pretty boring. Today it's pouring rain so I just went with jeans, but I'll try to muster the energy to take a quick pic. And the polka-dot dress will be retired for awhile now. Don't forget, you can buy it from my etsy store here! I promised it will be freshly laundered.

Goodwill cardigan, Pacsun cami, vintage dress, mom's old belt, JC Penny tights, Kohl's wedges