Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Don't Mind If I Do | Outfit

I'm not entirely sure when the idea started that you shouldn't wear horizontal stripes unless you are Audrey Hepburn's body double but, it was first brought to my attention by Stacy and Clinton. You know who I'm talking about. That show on TLC that took unsuspecting fashion victims and taught them how to style themselves. I fully admit that I loved that show and avoided horizontal stripes for years per the gospel of Stacy and Clinton. But, as we've ushered in an age of "do whatever the eff you want no matter what kind of a body you have," I've learned that stripes are just another rule to be broken. Not wearing horizontal stripes is for fashion beginners and once you start to get an eye for proportions, it becomes evident that stripes are just like everything else clothing wise. They are not all created equal and some will flatter and some will not. Don't blame all the stripes for the crimes of some, yo! And for really advanced dressing, chuck flattering out the window. Put things on your body that make you happy because you have no obligation to fit into anyone's definition of appealing.

If stripes make you happy, rock it out.

And let me tell you, this top makes me happy. Especially paired with these dusty pink/purple skinny jeans that I have been searching for for years. I've always envisioned this hue, that exists in a realm somewhere between color and neutral, would be perfect to pair with tees. It walks the line between causal and visual interest that takes the "jeans and a t-shirt" look up a notch.

Top: Forever 21 +  similar | Pants: Torrid | Necklace: Target similar | Shoes: Modcloth similar | Lips: ColourPop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Tulle

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Presto, Chango! Holiday Looks! | Advice

I had originally wanted to make a post of all my favorite budget friendly festive looks that I was eyeing up but, then it occurred to me that during the holiday season it may not be in everyone's budget to purchase an entirely new outfit for one day. The truest form of a budget friendly holiday look would be to pull everything from one's own closet. So, if you are looking to limit the amount of spending you do on yourself or if you're a hardcore Christmas nerd like me and listen to Christmas music all month long and dress thematically every day in December, here are my tips for putting together holiday looks from your own closet.

When selecting pieces think about what evokes the holiday spirit. Green and red and plaid are obvious choices. They are classic and cozy and perfect for Christmas merriment. But, also consider fabric choice. Luxurious fabrics like velvet, satin, and lace have a special quality about them that reflects the "only once a year" element to the holidays. I also found myself drawn to simple, graphic prints like stripes and polka dots. They have a vintage charm that matches the nostalgic bygone feelings of Christmas. And never forget your sparkle and shine!

Sidenote: Does anyone else remember that Disney Channel movie where Tyra Banks plays a barbie doll turned human? I cannot think about sparkles without saying, "I've got you now, Miss Sparkle and Shine!"

I imagine this look as a casual Christmas morning look for the classic over-dresser. It's cozy with a little uniqueness and perfect for sitting around a tree sipping eggnog and opening presents.

For a fancier party, maybe Christmas Eve, pairing a nice lace dress with sparkly accessories and a red or green cardigan (blazer would work too) makes the perfect outfit. You could also make this dress work for other holidays by switching up the color of the top. Anything with sheen would be an excellent choice.

Christmas is not the only holiday that we celebrate in December, as there are many important days this season. While you can wear this for a Christmas celebration, ditching the red and green gives you a look that is perfect for any festivities this month. This jaqaurd fabric skirt with metallic thread is great for the winter and for any holidays that you may be partaking in. I wore this particular outfit on my birthday which, for us, is one of the many special events in December. But, I could also see this as a New Year's Eve outfit because the tight miniskirt is definitely good for a night out.

Yes, this was my SIA outfit but, I felt it deserved a spot in this post because it is my favorite "shop your closet" holiday look. I would definitely wear this black top and skirt any day of the year as a chic, vintage-inspired outfit but when I added the bow belt and layered the embellished tank under the black shirt it transformed into an outfit that screamed "HOLIDAY!" without any obvious motifs or colors. There is a fancy element in the full skirt and sparkles but, it's also modest making it work for several kinds of events and holidays. This kind of outfit really shows what shopping your closet is about. It's using your resources creatively and making your clothes transcend seasons and occasions. When you do this, you can expand your wardrobe exponentially without spending a dime.

If you have any of your own tips for shopping your closet or any holiday looks that you created with things you already owned I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Stressed Out | Style Imitating Art

This is probably the most apropos December themed choice for SIA that could ever be. The illustration by Layla Holzer is entitled "Stressed Out" and looking at that lady I know exactly who she is. She is balancing lists and budgets, decorating and baking, shopping and wrapping presents in secret and all while trying to maintain the festive spirit herself. Until her head explodes. I am that lady.

I will admit that I never fully appreciated how hard the holiday season is on adults until I became a mother. It's nuts. Yet, when it all comes together and you get to enjoy the culmination of your work it makes it all worth it. I will take those moments of extreme stress for the moments when I feel like a Who in Whoville singing and dancing in euphoric jubilation. After all, isn't feeling like you're in a Dr. Suess book really what the holidays are all about? I'm pretty that's it.

I'm calling this one, "Where's the tape?!"

So, I pretty blatantly just copied the outfit from the picture and took some of the elements and adjusted them to what was in my closet. I brought the flower pattern from the skirt and represented it in the tights and, since I didn't have any green and red beaded tops, I used those colors in my shoes and sparkley headband. My only creative moment was the big bow belt that spoke to the gift giving nature of the holiday. Go me.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tree Trimming | Outfit

What do you do when you have the world's saddest artificial tree that is too short for your house and too sparse to even look healthy? You buy a new one. Just buy a new one. Seriously, don't be us. Or you can always choose the route of laziness and cringe at it year after year while shoving as many ornaments on it as possible to hide all the gaping holes. What can we say? We are plainly subject to the laws of enertia. An object at rest just wants to stay at rest and we can't be blamed for that. It's physics.

Plus, the second law of nature involving Christmas trees is the younger your children, the uglier your tree will be. So, again, this is not our fault. We are simply letting our tiny disasters make memories. We lug out the tote of ornaments, put on some Christmas music, pour some egg nog, and let our kids go nuts. They will remember our day as something special and I will only grimace at the tree about 100 times in December. That seems worth it to me.

And if my tree can't be a festive wonder to delight the eyes, why not my clothes? This dress. Oh, my God this dress. I found it while scrolling through some blogs and it was love at first sight. At its original price point it was a bit of a fantasy but, on Black Friday Apricity held an instagram sale and offered a handful of their dresses for a deep discount. And to the joy of my little heart, this dress was included. The sizing was a bit of a gamble but, I read on other blogs that the material had some stretch and so I took the plunge. 

When it arrived at my door, I anxiously ripped open the package and was immediately impressed with the quality. I ran up to my room to try it on and thankfully, it fit quite well as the stretchy fabric added some wiggle room.  The dress was made for christmas time and I feel like a Christmas decoration while wearing it but, that isn't the end of its potential. The plaid print is just subtle enough that it can be paired with several different colors to draw out different seasons. When worn with red or green it immediately smacks of evergreens and hot cocoa. But, the dress on its own reminds me of picnic blankets and summer afternoons. The versatility is amazing.

Dress: Apricity Similar (XS-4X) | Cardigan: Target similarsimilar (plus size) | Tights: We Love Colors | Booties: Payless Shoe Source similar | Belt: Torrid similarsimilar (plus size)

Monday, December 7, 2015


Style is often one part brain power and two parts gut instinct. There are rules to learn about colors, patterns, and proportions but, none of that would go anywhere without that feeling in your stomach that says, "yes, this is good" because style isn't a formula. It's an expression of self meant to evoke feelings and feelings don't really work like one plus one equals playful and fun. Having too much formula packed into your brain or sticking too rigidly to a set of rules can dampen the creative flow of your gut. Leaving you feeling frustrated, unsure, and full of roadblocks. So, how can we know when our brain and gut have stopped being symbiotic and started fighting like brother and sister in the backseat of a hot car on a long road trip?

Cut to me standing in my closet putting clothes away. Out of the pile I pull this gorgeous pleated skirt and this old, faithful flannel and my gut says, "hey! wear those things together! The colors look so pretty!" 
Then my brain steps in and says, "Woah there! Don't get too crazy. Isn't that a little too mixed up? Sure, the colors are great but, isn't that skirt a little too fancy for a flannel? Oh, I know! How about a sweater to tie them together? Fashion Rule Number 265 says you can use the colors in the flannel to put pieces together. I see purple and teal in the flannel as well as the pink. What can we work with here?"
"Oh! Deer sweater?" replies the gut. The brain calculates that all three pieces share a common thread based on the colors in the flannel and the brain is happy. The outfit is born and I am really excited about it.

But, when I put it on a few days later, something in me was hesitant that this sweater and skirt shouldn't be together. Who was putting on the breaks? My gut because it really was wrong? My brain because I've never entered "dark deal and peachy pink" into the database of accepted color combos? There I was standing in front of my mirror feeling like a stalled out car and that just isn't why I bother getting dressed every day.

So, what's the solution when this happens to you? What's the balm to ease the irritation and get your gut and brain back to working order? The answer is to unclench and stop trying so hard. They're just clothes and this is just one day. If it's not perfect, so what? Wear it for a while and if you continue to feel that tick of irritation every time you catch a glimpse of yourself, then it's probably a true instinct. But, if it's just a creative roadblock built up by "rules" then your brain will assimilate the new information and your eyes will start to like what they see. Creative balance will be restored.

Turns out, I love this outfit. After I got over the idea that these colors shouldn't be together, I started to feel like I could be in a Modcloth promo and that's pretty much my style goal. The moral of the story is that sometimes when you feel that little clench of hesitation in you, don't stop. That fear could be a sign that you're about to do something really great and be it as small as an outfit or as big as a major life change, it will feel good.

 Sweater: Modcloth similar (XS-4X)similar | Flannel: Target similar similar (plus) | Skirt: Torrid (on sale!) | Belt: Target similar similar (plus) | Tights: We Love Colors | Shoes: Thrifted similar | Sunglasses: Vintage similar | Lips: ColourPop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bumble

Monday, November 30, 2015

Style Imitating Art: Freedom from Want

Norman Rockwell's Freedom from Want was chosen as this week's SIA inspiration as a reflection of the true gifts of the holiday season. It's not cheap electronics sold to us on Thanksgiving day by employees who are forced to work holidays to pay for their own family's presents. It's the joy of being together. It's the love and the care we have for each other. That's worth more than all the Black Friday deals in the world. Sure it can be easy to get caught up in the sales and the binge buying but, the more we fuel that version of the holidays the less the season exactly means. 

I couldn't be with my family on Thanksgiving as several of them work in retail. Their store opened at 2 o' clock on Thanksgiving day because people had to have five dollars off a toy twelve hours earlier than they got it last year. If we really thought about, is that worth it?

I'm not saying that we can't indulge in holiday shopping or aim for that sale that means we can give someone a present we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise. These are not inherently bad things but, they can be when we make them a bigger priority in our lives than time spent together or time spent helping others who don't have the blessing we have. If we all thought about what the holidays meant to us personally and acted accordingly, if we all stopped seeing our "wants" as our "needs" and instead thought about what really fuels our souls, we would see a season that more reflects the simple happiness portrayed in this painting. We would be people that could, if only momentarily, experience freedom from want.

I have always admired Norman Rockwell paintings and in this particular one I love how the soft, cool colors of the environment highlight the warmth and the genuine feeling of togetherness. For my interpretation I based the foundation on the whites and blues in the painting and then added the warmth with the scarf. I kept it simple, soft, and cozy to evocate the feeling of a good meal with family.


Sweater: Kohl's | Skirt: Modcloth: similarsimilar | Scarf: Zulily similar | Tights: We Love Colors | Shoes: Thrifted similar | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Beeper