Friday, September 23, 2016

Finding a Style Mission Statement | Outfit + Advice

I heard something interesting the other day. Someone told me that her style goal is to, every day, look cute, but also look like she could kill a man. Not only did I immediately fall in love with this person, but I was also struck by the idea of having a style goal in this context. As in when you walk out your door what is the first feeling you want others to have about you based on how you've styled your clothing. I've seen people talk about wanting to wear more hats, be more girly, be more comfortable, etc, but the idea of having a master goal for the overall aesthetic of your style was something I hadn't committed to tangible thought. 

I've discussed the concept of having five words to define your style in this post here, yet that is somewhat different than what I am talking about today. That's more like the bullet points that come after the overall goal, or mission statement of your style.

The moment this concept was brought to my attention I knew immediately what my style goal is. Every day, when I walk into my closet and start puzzling the pieces of my wardrobe into a complete picture what I hope to accomplish is to look like I am going to go read in the coffee shop with a giant mug of black, fragrant coffee in my hand after spending the morning scouring antique shops and thrift stores for oddities. I want to look like books, good coffee, and piles of dusty, discarded treasures. I want to look like warmth, curiosity, and intelligent prose.

No matter the season or my mood, I can find this standard in my style. If I am feeling dark and villainous, sweet and spunky, or wild and free spirited, I can identify the criterion of my style goal in everything I do. It's in the rich colors, the luxurious or delicate fabrics, the humorous t-shirts, and the attention to detail that layers thought and care into each outfit.

So, now I am curious about all of you. If you clear your mind and draw up the first feeling you have about your style, what comes to mind? Is it an action? Is it a place? Is it a feeling? What is at the core of your style and how does that translate into outfits? Are there colors or fabrics or prints that exemplify this gut instinct for you? Identifying this is quite freeing. It helps you understand that you are not trying to create something out of nothing when you are curating a style and everything you need to know is already in you. Trust the core and find your way, loves!

Do you have a style mission statement? Were you inspired to identify yours after reading this or did you already have one that you carried with you in your mind? Please, discuss this with me in comments!

Top: Modcloth | Cami: Maurices (same in plus) | Jeans: Torrid (similar in straight sizes, similar in plus) | Shoes: Torrid (similar) | Hat: Target | Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Aria

Thursday, September 22, 2016

We Are Pirates | BBRBF Book Club + Outfit

Welcome to this month's edition of BBRBF Book Club. Let the fanfare ensue!

This month we are reading "We Are Pirates" by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and boy, do I have a feeling we're about to dive into some murky waters.


A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.

Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.

Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.

Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.

We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.

Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.

The book begins with a flash forward to the end of our story and after the little trickery that is played with the reader in this first chapter, I had high hopes for the rest of the book. It was clear the author could write. His prose is dark and comical and reads almost like contemporary poetry - dealing out heavy meaning in the mundane. But, as the story unravels, and wow does it take forever to get there, there becomes a disconnect between the lyrical writing and the character development, plot, and heck, even the setting.
Gwen is a 14 year old girl being forced to visit Errol, an aging man with Alzheimer's and penchant for pirates, as a punishment for shoplifting. Gwen begins the story as an annoying and angst-y teen with a real grudge against her parents.
Phil Needle is her father. He's main mission through the book is to have his radio show picked up and produced. Phil Needle is also selfish, misogynistic, and annoying. Every bit of his story is just sour, serves no greater purpose to the (muddy) main themes, and could be entirely stricken from the book. At a point, it seems, that his entire purpose is to make the reader feel uncomfortable. Which he does. A lot. His hang up with his old receptionist who left because he wasn't "satisfying her needs" is just unpleasant. And not in a Walter White or Amy from Gone Girl kind of unpleasant that makes you feel hungry and guilty all at once. This is a kind of unpleasant that's similar to catching your grandparents doing it. Yeah. It's just something you do not need to know about. Ever.

After about 50% of the book is over, and you come to accept the book isn't actually about pirates, but a father-daughter tale of learning to understand each other, Gwen actually decides to become an actual pirate. In the San Francisco Bay. Yup. She employs her equally angst-y best friend, Errol, and two other tag-a-longs, who unbelievably jump on board to a life of crime with two young girls and a sick, old man with very little resistance.

From this point everything crumbles from vaguely uncomfortable and dull to utterly unbelievable and ridiculous. There is nothing evidenced in this book that could back up the actions taken by Gwen and her band of rascals and that pretty much blows the whole book. Well, that and Phil Needle and everything about him.

I was hoping a powerful ending could sweep in and save all this wonderful prose from the grips of a truly bad book, but, besides a few haunting and scenes with Phil Needle and Gwen accepting the depths of their consequences, it's pretty much the author taking the last few pages to cram the idea that people are emotional pirates pillaging happiness from each other in the readers face and our heroes learn nothing.

The author is just trying way too hard with this plot, not hard enough with his characters, and now we've got this weird, well-written, terrible book in our world to confuse readers for years to come. Hooray.

There's nothing masterfully inspired about this outfit except look how pretty! Frankly, I merely chose this dress for how perfect it looked next to the book cover. I just recently bought this dress off a BST and the seller described it as classy and autumnal as sh*t. Ad agencies need to take notes from this girl! I have never wanted to look more like wallpaper in my life and I promise you that this dress will be styled to death (which is not unlike being hacked a part by a meat cleaver) on this blog, but I wanted to debut it in its purest, autumnal AF form because it is perfection.

I did wear my pirate ship brooch though so some part of this outfit is swashbuckling! 

Be sure to check out all the other babes and their reviews of this dark comedy. Tallyho and what not!

Dress: BST Group (similar) | Shoes: Trifted (similar) | Brooch: Antique (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Chilly Chili (similar)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Suitable for September | Outfit

Last september, I bought this scalloped LC for Lauren Conrad top because I thought it would be the perfect summer to fall transition outfit with my striped skirt and then I never wore it. I don't know why. It just didn't happen. When September rolled around again I was determined to do this combo justice and document it properly, but this will be my final summery outfit this year. I'm done! No more! I am not leaving my house without a cardigan for another six months. Do you hear me Mother Nature?!

The reason I was drawn to this top for those weeks when summer is stubbornly clinging to September is the myriad of wonderful colors. The bright pink is so cheerful and hints at summer while the muted grey and green snuggle up against the rich navy. I enjoy this top all year round and it's such a nice pattern to pair with a cardigan, but I love not having to hide the scalloped neck and sleeves. I would absolutely wear this outfit in summer so to inch it closer to fall, I added the tights and faux suede heels. Patterned tights and shoes with a rich texture are just enough warmth to fight the morning chill and add some cozy vibes to any summer outfit. 

Tell me in the comments. Are you a "dive right into fall" type of person or do you enjoy slowly bringing your wardrobe into the new season?

Shirt: Kohls (similar, similar in plus) | Skirt: Modcloth (similar) | Tights: Walmart (similar in straight sizes, similar in plus) | Brooch:Vintage (similar) | Shoes: Trifted (similar) | Lips: Nyx's Lip Suede in Soft Spoken

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mixing Casual with Vintage | Outfit

There are approximately 548 ways to style a basic grey tee. Go ahead. Google it. Pinterest it. I'll wait.

They're everywhere on the internet style hubs, am I right? I've come to associate them with the cool, casual, effortless air of street style. The kind of style that makes bed head, over-sized everything, and plain basics look impossibly modern and chic. The kind of style that does not want you to sit with it at lunch.

While I can admire that type of style - from afar - it's more like being at a museum with giant signs saying, "DO NOT TOUCH THE EXHIBITS" as it is so dramatically different than my own style or even the average style of the region I live in.

When I thrifted this pleated skirt a couple of weeks ago wasn't sure how to style it in the interim of me deciding it's fall and September catching up to my decision, I took to the internet for inspirantion and Pinterest was very clear in it's commandment. Wear it with a grey tee. Which makes a lot of sense because pleated skirts are quite trendy right now and there's nothing that street style does better than trendy. I was definitely attracted to the juxtaposition of the laid-back style mixed with the hyper feminine skirt and I knew I was going to give it a shot in spite of it's street style origins.

When I put the outfit together I felt instantly cool. I could have fit right into a google search for "fashion blogger." But as this is a style blog, why stop there? I wanted to prove that this easy, casual style could reflect my personal eclectic, retro style while still maintaining the easy, chic vibe that's so popular right now.

The best way for me to achieve this was to mix in some signature markers of my own style. A bold lipstick because I'm very comfortable with dark, edgy lips and they jive well with the look as is. A headscarf for that retro, thrifted touch. I'm absolutely sure there is no outfit that doesn't benefit from a headscarf. They're niche enough to set you apart, but almost everyone seems to enjoy the funky, stylish quality it has. I get many compliments while sporting a headscarf no matter what the rest of the outfit is. And finally, a vintage novelty brooch for oddity. But, I opted for my pirate ship brooch to add whimsy without the cuteness and I rather enjoyed the masculine edge it had.

Overall, I was very happy with the outcome and even wore it twice in one week. I officially deem the grey tee an acceptable basic for any style. Let the rejoicing commence!

Skirt: Thrifted (similar and similar vintage finds, similar is straight sizes, similar in plus ) | Shirt: Target (similar in plus) | Brooch: Vintage (similar) | Shoes: Target (similar) | Lips: Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Unicorn Blood (similar)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Succulent Print Skirt | Outfit

You want to know what one of my biggest insecurities is? One of the biggest things that holds me back from taking advantage of opportunities and making connections with people? The thing that makes everything in my head go "pop, fizz" when having a totally average conversation with someone? It's the fear that I have nothing of value to add. It's the fear that who I am as a person is so sub par that I do not benefit the people around me. Even when I do something right and I am applauded for it, I am filled with a terror that I will have to find exactly the right combination of steps to repeat whatever good thing I did over and over again because now I've created an expectation!

I avoid situations that might lead to me being required to contribute and when I can't avoid them, I work so hard and put so much effort into contributing something decent that two things happen. I completely burn myself out and I go so over the top that I often get accused of being an overachiever. After I graduated college, I actually had a teacher tell me that they were dramatically reducing the expectations of our final portfolio presentations because of students like me who took it to extremes. I felt so utterly deflated. I had worked so hard to show my value and I had somehow broke the whole system? What?

I've grown to understand that it's an unreasonable fear because it's impossible to be valuable to every person and situation I encounter. Sometimes I will fail and sometimes I will succeed. I know this. But, it's a matter of feeling this, as well.

Last fall I made the decision to be more open to people and opportunities that come my way and I think I've done a good job. I started this blog back up, I said yes to so many things that I would have hid from before. But, it's also made me keenly aware of why I hid from so much. Not being good enough sucks! I feel rejection to my core and I take on every situation like I'm taking on a charging bull. With the hard expectation of critical failure.

So, at the precipice of another autumn, I'm pledging something else to myself. I will see my own value. I will value my time. I will value my talent. I will value my intelligence. I will value the entirety of my parts and what that allows me to offer to other people and at the same time I will accept that it is ok if someone else doesn't value me the way I do. 

You can fail a test. You can fail at a game. But, you cannot fail at being a person.

That means I am not going to point out all the ways that these photos make me feel like a failure. I'm going to try to see all the things in these photos that are the exact opposite of failure. Yes, it was raining and I was rushed. Yes, I was struggling with a remote and getting the camera to focus on me. But, why would I let those things eat me up when I went out and did any of this in the first place? I was brave enough to dance around in front of a camera while people watched. I was skilled enough to make my own skirt. I took the time and effort to style this outfit and package up my creativity into this blog post and I am happy to put all those good, valuable things out into the world.

And I want you to know all the same things about yourself! You are wonderful and valuable and there is good in everything you feel like you failed at just because you did it and you did it like no one else could.

Skirt: Handmade (similar fabric, tutorial on making a gathered skirt) | Shirt: City Chic (similar in straight sizes) | Shoes: Modcloth (similar) | Necklace: Charming Charlie (similar) | Scarf: Kohls (similar) Lips: Colourpop's Liquid Lipstick in Scrooge (similar)