Madewell styles clothing in such a cool, effortless way. Their catalogs are inspirational – you don’t need to buy expensive garments to pull off the Madewell look. It’s all about mixing trends and being confident.
Winter hasn’t quite hit Charlottesville, but I’m already excited for spring fashion. I know fall is the season for fashion, but I’ve always preferred the bright, floral, bare-legged styles of spring over the drab, monotone glamour of fall. Fall is too serious for my taste.
I’ve been flipping through old Google catalogs for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite looks (including some fall looks that easily transition into spring):
Clockwise from top:
- Anthropologie, March 2012
- Clarks, Fall 2012
- Fossil, Fall 2012
- Madewell, Spring 2012
- J. Crew, February 2012
- Madewell, Spring 2012
It took me almost 5 hours to complete this relatively simple elastic waist skirt, mostly because I’m horrible at sewing; I’m impatient and make a lot of mistakes as a result. But it’s finished! And I think I’ll actually wear it.
When I saw this fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics, I recalled American Apparel’s version. Although this velvet isn’t as thick or supple, it still has a nice texture. (P.S. I have some velvet pieces for sale at Water Lily Thrift if you’d rather buy than make a piece for yourself.)
I didn’t follow a pattern. I purchased a yard of fabric (which I had to cut down by about a quarter or a third yard to keep the elastic waist from getting too thick), cropped it to hit at mid-thigh, and sewed a casing for the elastic. I had major trouble with the elastic waist because the knit elastic I purchased kept folding over inside the casing; I recommend buying woven elastic, as it’s a bit sturdier. I used a safety pin fastened to the end of the elastic to push it through the casing.
I left the hem unfinished, as the fabric curls under naturally, but I may finish it off when I get the energy to work on it again.
The total cost for this project was about $10.00. Not super cheap but less than American Apparel’s $38.00 price tag.
After car repairs ruined my last full day off, I needed to pick myself up and get motivated this week. Surprisingly, it worked. I listed several items on etsy, went to the bank, paid my city taxes, revised an article (more on that soon), completed a poem, did three loads of laundry, finished The Autobiography of Malcolm X (all 466 pages!), and kept the house (very relatively) clean. Additionally, I read some good articles online:
- A New Theory of PTSD and Veterans by Tony Dokoupil
- This is Christ’s body, broken for you by Rachel Held Evans
- Why I Never Play Hard to Get by Rachael Kay
and discovered a few blogs:
Thanks for reading. What did you accomplish/take pride in this week?
I do not like pants. I’d much prefer to wear a skirt or dress every day. There are a few reasons why I turned my back on pants: 1. my hips (ahem, and behind) grew disproportionate to my waist during my growing-up years (but really, who’s to say what’s disproportionate?); 2. the search for proper fitting jeans is endless, mind-numbing, and degrading; 3. skinny jeans with too little stretch are rather constricting; 4. I lived in Florida, so I didn’t really need to wear pants.
But now I live in a clime where fall and winter are real events, not just markers of time. The weather has been mild for the most part, but I’m beginning to regret walking from my car to work in a dress and knee high socks. My thighs are numb by the time I arrive. I need to suck it up and wear some pants (that sounds like a sexist metaphor, but if it weren’t sexist, I’d say that I just created a pretty great double meaning in that sentence).
I forced myself to brainstorm outfits that aren’t atrocious to get myself excited about jeans-wearing.
- Sheer shirt layered over tee + pattern mixing
- Striped shirt + cardigan and moccasins
- Casual graphic tee + cozy accessories
- Tunic and flats + oversized sweater
Do you like jeans? How do you dress for cold weather?
Dorothy Perkins is a UK based brand and women’s retailer. I suspect, unfortunately, that they’re a bit like the Forever 21 of England, but maybe their products are of higher quality. Their clothing appeals to my aesthetic to a greater degree than most American, mid-range designs do. That mixed print dress in the center would look great at a holiday party.
Sorry to bring you another set and no meaningful content, but I woke up with a cold and spent most of the day sleeping or clicking mindlessly through internet content. Since Frankenstorm is headed our way within hours, the sun hasn’t shone all day; it turned out to be the perfect day to relax and recover.
We attended a “Vintage Cocktail” themed Halloween party last night and I dressed up as a flapper. I prided myself in the historical accuracy of the overall look; unfortunately, I only have a headshot of my get-up. I wore vintage costume jewelry, a thrifted drop-waist dress, and richly hued makeup to complete the look. Daniel, on the other hand, was a Roadside Prophet; he wore a board with boldly etched, condemning verses on it around his neck. I was a symbol of debauchery and he was the radical, moral response to it.
I ordered three StyleMint tees on sale through an eBay flash sale and am quite excited about the outfit possibilities (if they ever arrive; I’m prepared to leave some unsatisfactory feedback about shipping times).
To control my shopaholic tendencies, I try to pair new items with items very similar to what I have in my closet, to brainstorm in a practical and frugal way.
Outfit 1: Thrifted and altered polka dot cardigan; StyleMint tee; handmade knit skirt; knee high socks, Minnetonka moccasins purchased on eBay for $10; ModCloth watch (I don’t actually own that one…yet – Christmas present?)
Outfit 2: StyleMint tee; (of)matter necklace purchased with credit; high waist jeans; Target cardigan (my favorite from last season); Vera Bradley Saddle Up bag in Ellie Blue purchased for $30 on eBay (regular price, $68)
What I enjoy about having this blog, one with an open title, is that there are no rules. I can write on local events, daily experience, and style without worrying about whether or not I’m staying within my own guidelines. There are no guidelines! I think that personal style is a superficial topic. But I also think it’s fun to assess my wardrobe. Getting dressed is like drawing on a chalkboard: an outfit is temporary but it can still be thoughtful and inspiring.
On a slightly different note, I’m fairly certain that I need to go all secondhand/fair trade with my purchases. To use an evangelical term, I have felt convicted – for at least the past 9 months – that supporting companies that source and produce their goods in countries without fair labor standards is unethical, is sinful. If you followed me at my old blog, you’ll recall that I instated a “Secondhand Year” challenge, in which I determined to buy only secondhand and fair trade items for the entire year. I failed due to my own greed and lack of motivation. But I want to pick it back up. Even though keeping up with trends is the worst reason to shop ethically, I realized that it’s not as difficult as one might think to be fashionable and moral at the same time; it just takes a bit more effort. A combination of thrifting, buying secondhand on sites like eBay and etsy, and purchasing from fair trade companies provides a variety of products and price ranges. Companies like ModCloth also allow you to search by “Made in USA.”
I will stop rambling now and allow you to get on with your day.
I really like the month of September, because of the season change and hopeful, back-to-school-and-the-holidays-are-coming feeling, but probably mostly because of my birthday (I hope you enjoyed that sentence). My birthday is September 26 (hint, hint). I’ll be 24 this year: my last year of frolicsome youth before I become a quarter-of-a-century old and start graying (hopefully my hair will hold off a bit longer than that). This is also birthday month for my family (and also everyone else in my homeland, since most U.S. babies are born in mid-September).
Things I intend to enjoy this month:
- Hot espresso drinks
- A Birthday outfit
- Understated jewelry
- A Birthday cupcake or two
- Taking pictures of events and changing landscapes
- Mums in full bloom
- Snuggling in my hand knit blanket (thanks, Daniel’s mom!)
- Printed bags
Daniel and I are heading over to a Local Artisans Festival in the next couple of hours. Masters of guitar making, banjo playing, and cobbling (to name a few) will be present along with their newly graduated apprentices. I love living in a place that publicly values local craft and culture.
I first cut my hair dramatically short in August 2011 (actually, I had a bowl haircut when I was 7, but that was a long time ago). I needed a change. Coming off a stressful month that ended in a somewhat risky job change, I needed to feel empowered and in control of my life. The pixie cut achieved that, and I’ve enjoyed coming to appreciate my face and neck in all of its exposed glory. I also like that shorter hair provides instant polish to any look.
That being said, I yearn to change my hair often. It’s one of the few alterations you can make to your body that corrects itself over time. I’m not a risk taker by any means, but I do like to take a few risks with my hair (example: dyeing it yellow-blonde this summer).
I’ve (tentatively) decided to grow my hair out, and by “out,” I mean to chin length or mid-neck length. My fine, thin hair looks best kept short. The growing process itself will make for some painfully awkward transitional hair moments, but that’s the price I have to pay for a different style, so I’m finally working up the courage to get through it.
I’m leaning toward a bob-style haircut that naturally curls under. My hair responds well to the length and style. I also want to dye my hair a natural shade of red. I’m leaning toward the top or bottom left shade and the top right cut. What do you think? What hair risks would you like to take?
It’s tempting to go back-to-school shopping even though this is my second season out of school. I have purchased a handful of wardrobe builders lately, in part to add some interest to my wardrobe, and in part to prepare for the coming fall weather.
- Polka dot and floral tees, Urban Outfitters: great layering basics in fun yet understated prints.
- Taupe and black cardigan, Marshalls: I love over-sized cardigans (the one I purchased is drapey) and stripes.
- Zig-zag necklace, (of)matter on etsy: I purchased a store credit at a discount a couple of months ago and finally chose this necklace. I am a big fan of simple, brass jewelry.
- Gray boots, Target: these were on clearance. I had actually purchased the black version of these last season, but I bought a size too big and never found a replacement. These gray ones are casual and remind me a bit of Blowfish boots.
- BDG high-rise cigarette jeans, Urban Outfitters: I’ve been taking advantage of the proximity of Urban Outfitters to my workplace. These jeans are still on sale and they fit my pear-shape figure better than pretty much all other jeans.
- Cognac buckle boots, Target: I already had to replace the Madden Girl “Guesser” boots I wanted with a similar pair because the former are incredibly difficult to get over my heel. These were $10 less and allowed me to get the other boots without spending more money on boots.
- Worishofer sandals, Modcloth: these aren’t exactly a fall shoe, but they were on mega clearance on Modcloth and I could use some comfy, retro-inspired sandals.
It’s safe to say that my “back-to-school” shopping is complete. I’m sure once winter settles in, I’ll need to buy some layering pieces, but for now, I’m quite satisfied. I made a paper bag waist skirt out of stretch denim fabric yesterday, so I can add that to the list.