Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Floral Overall Dress and My Retro Lifestyle | Outfit

Spending so much of my time cultivating an online life that is filled with similar minded people often allows me to forget how "other" my style actually is. That is until I'm standing in a crowd of parents at my sons' school and no one looks like me, I'm again asked if I'm going to a wedding while running errands, or when typing in "fall outfits" only brings up some combination of boyfriend jeans, button up shirts, and blanket scarves in every image and I have to start adding a long string of adverbs to find the right style inspiration that appeals to me. In those moments it is oddly off-putting to me how naturally subversive to the norm I am.

Maybe it's because I spend so much time "oooohing and aaaahing" over blogs and instagram accounts with the same aesthetics that I see my inclination to eclectic, retro styles and my habitual over dressing as common place. In my mind the world is full of people like me, and it is, just not in my immediate physical world.

But, even when I know my appearance is more instagram worthy than grocery store worthy, I still do it. I still step out in a pin-able outfit inspo with #ootd swirling around me because I like living up to the person in my head more than I dislike the stares and odd comments. I voluntarily set myself apart from the world to become a part of the smaller, prettier world of vintage lovers and retrophiles.

And in more ways than just clothing. It's in the home I chose, the furniture that fills it, the music I listen to, and the movies that collect in my netflix queue. It's in the fact that I spend more time in antique and thrift stores than in malls and that I know more about the evolution of corsets than the Kardashians. It's not exactly a subculture but it's pretty dang close and it's definitely a lifestyle choice. Within this world there are smaller subsets that are more defined; pinups and lolitas or rockabilly and burlesque. There are vintage purists who only dress in actual vintage, there are those who create an almost theatrical characterization of past style movements, and there are people like me who dabble in several eras to create an eclectic, modern interpretation of vintage. Skye from My Kingdom for a Hat does a great job of detailing these exact categories in this post here. It's a varied world that encompasses everything from edgy and alternative to elegant and demure, but it's always a celebration of artistry, the human form in all shapes and sizes, and a proclivity for the history and styles of the 20th century.

This outfit is the perfect reflection of my corner of the retrophile world. Part reproduction and part contemporary, I combine bits of old and new to create a wearable look that would never be in a magazine or be labeled #streetstyle. I've taken a trendy, casual piece like an overall dress, found the most unique one that existed in the entire world, and actually managed to make it fancy.

Would this fit in anywhere other than the facebook groups (heyoooooh, mermicorns) I hang out in, retro style hashtags, or stylized pinterest boards? Noooope. But, blending in has never been something I know how to do so I'll just stick with my strengths for now.

Dress: City Chic (similarsimilar, and similar in straight sizes, similar and similar in plus) | Cardigan: Modcloth | Belt: Amazon (similar in straight size) | Shoes: Macy's (similar) | Lips: MAC lipstick in Sounds Like Noise (similar)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tropical Leaf Print | Outfit

There are many reasons why I like to thrift. It's exceptionally inexpensive, it's thrilling to be on the hunt, and it's possible to find many unique items that appeal to my quirky sense of style. But, the main reason, the thing that makes me happily sort through racks upon racks of discarded clothing, is finding perfect vintage dresses to whirl and twirl away from the store in!

Having a vintage aesthetic can be problematic for building a wardrobe. Either I have to shop for expensive vintage reproductions, wait for trends to swing around to my preferred era, or play scavenger hunt at thrift stores for the items I so dearly hope for. Being plus-sized means that true vintage from the 30's-50's is a very rare find, but as trends do come and go, it's much easier to find vintage inspired rejects from the 80's and 90's that suit my needs. In this case I get the benefits of larger cuts and slightly elasticated fabric, but the print and style make me feel like I should be sipping sidecars at a backyard barbecue in a Palm Spring's tract house.

Am I the only one that creates narratives like that in my head for my clothing? In this dress it's the 1950's and I'm the scandalous divorcee who crashes block parties and gets a thrill from watching the shocked housewives clutch their pearls. I feel imbued with the outgoing and salacious spirit of this fictional woman and I find myself acting accordingly. Does this make my clothing more costume than fashion or am I just pulling out bits and pieces that are already a part of me and indulging in the idea of more dominant traits falling away? Allowing me to become, momentarily, the fully actualized version of myself that could have been.

Dress: Thrifted (similar) | Shoe: DSW (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Pacific

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Modern Renaissance | Outfit

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were having just a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. We both coped in our favorite ways. He binged on fast food and I splurged on a new eye shadow palette.

There I am, in a hulking, sulking disposition, making a routine stop at Ulta for my perfectly responsible, reasonably priced facial cleanser and, of course, I stop to say hello to the Modern Renaissance Palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I dip my fingers in and make the usual creamy lines of pigment across the back of my hand and feel my core bubble up with an astringent want. Without even thinking I reach up and pluck the box from the shelf and walk straight to the cashier. I had held off buying it because it was simply not practical and it's likely I never would have gotten it if it hadn't have been for that awful week and my empty bottle of facial cleanser. But, I have to say, that would have been a huge mistake because I had no clue how everything, how life-giving, how YAAAAAAS KWEEN this palette was going to be. I haven't even touched my other eye shadows since buying it because it's that good.

The palette was named for and inspired by the Renaissance and looking at art from that period, the palette is just steeped in the rich, warm orange tones that were used by artists like Caravaggio. Even each individual eye shadow color is aptly named after minerals and pigments used in the paints, artists themselves, or even painting techniques and that makes the geek in me so very, very happy.

I've been so absorbed in this orangey, marsala world that I wanted to create an outfit inspired by my take on "Modern Renaissance." Rich, warm colors, decadent draping fabric, and an intricate tapestry inspired pattern swirl me right into Italy in the 14th century. I am more than pleased with the effect this creates and I'm over the moon to offer this as my homage to the carefully formulated and very intentionally designed Modern Renaissance palette.

Another great aspect of this collection of colors is it's ability to step into multiple seasons. As school is starting again and temperatures are gently dropping, this is a great outfit to transition from Summer to Fall. It's light enough to keep me cool, but the creamy, muted tones popped with the sunny, saturated colors in the skirt are ever so slightly tugging me towards turning leaves and crisp days. And as I have said many, many times, the key to making splurges, like a high-end eye shadow palettes, work in a tight budget lifestyle is versatility.

Have you tried the Modern Renaissance palette? Let me know in the comments if you have a perfect palette in your life! 

Top: Forever 21 + (similar in straight sizes, similar in plus) | Skirt: Modcloth (similar in straight sizes, similar in plus) | Shoes: Payless | Necklace: Charming Charlie (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bumble

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fangirl | BBRBF Bookclub + Outfit

This Month's BBRBF Bookclub choice was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell selected by Lyndsey. I want to preface this review by saying that this book didn't start on a fair playing field with me. Young Adult fiction is not my thing and the concept of this particular book never interested me. So, bear with me here.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Despite the fact that I loved Landline by the same author, I could not get myself to enjoy this book. There was nothing egregious about it. I could feel snippets of Rainbow Rowell's humorously true-to-life style scattered throughout the book, but it fell flat with me. The story was too simple and I never felt challenged or excited about anything that happened to the characters. I will not say it was a bad book because I bet I would have really enjoyed it at 14. But, I'm not 14 anymore and I want to read books written for adults.

I will also admit that I am not into fan fiction and a bulk of this book exists in that curious world of fandom. There were fake excerpts at the beginning of every chapter and parts of the book where Cath read her fanfiction aloud and every single time it made me grit my teeth. I have zero investment in these fake books. I don't need to break from the story to read about a half imagined Harry Potter knock-off.

What I did enjoy about the book were a few lines that were the pure Rainbow Rowell observations that I fell in love with while reading Landline. My favorite was how she noted that the difference between nerds and other people is that nerds will always love a fictitious world more than the real one. My husband is definitely a nerd and while I enjoy much of the same media, I am decidedly not a nerd and reading that was a real moment of realization for me. I also connected with how she said love doesn't happen in the heart, it happens in the stomach because, yes, that's exactly how it feels!

And the one solid compliment I will give to the book is the mother's character. I was expecting to have that story line wrapped up in a nice little box, but it wasn't and that was so real. Often times books will give in to the fantasy of having an estranged parent return and all wrongs will be righted by their undying love. But, that's just not life. Most of the time parents who abandon their children do it because they are deeply flawed and a few years isn't going to change who they are as people. Allowing Cath and Wren to experience that difficult truth was a big gold star from me.

If you haven't noticed already, my outfit was inspired by Cath's outfit on the cover of the book. It was exactly the kind of outfit I would wear to read at the coffee shop so it was pretty much perfect. I added the killer heels and grey lipstick as a nod to the toughy, edgy Reagan, who, in my opinion, was the best character in the book. 

Make sure to check out the other BBRBF Bookclub babes for their reviews of Fangirl, including two brand new book-loving fashionistas and a brand new blog name for Kristina!

Next month we will be reading We are Pirates by Daniel Handler if you want to read along!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Round-up | Picnic Pretties Mood Board

Picnic Pretties round-up time! Here it is. My entire summer in one post. Basically, this is the cliff notes version of each retro picnic inspired look. I never quite know how it's going to look once it's completed, but this series was dominated by punchy colors, fruit prints, gingham, and a nostalgia for the past that took me by surprise. Obviously, I'm inclined to love vintage, yet I wasn't expecting how personal it would become for me. I stopped seeing the lovely vintage inspired pins that brought me to this place and started seeing my family in everything I did. I felt like I was living in my grandmother's footprints from when her children were young. Everything reminded me of photos and stories and for that this series will always be very special to me.

You can visit the Pinterest Board that started it all here.

Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite and if you had any special experiences this summer! I'll see you on Thursday for my book review of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.