Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dublin Dress

One of my many favorite holidays for fashion is St. Patrick's Day, when I get to go all out in my favorite color—green!

For this year's festivities, I had to get creative, because the only green tops in my current wardrobe were frumpy sweaters entirely unsuitable for a night out on the town. Fortunately I have this green dress, which I've had for years, but worn only once or twice.

It was a little cold out for a sleeveless short dress, so I put some bootcut jeans under it, making it into a sort of funky tunic. My kelly green pumps did their duty on my feet, while the literal crowning glory of the whole ensemble was my hat.

I found the brilliant green fedora a few months ago at the thrift store for 1.99 (minus a 50% discount!), and I knew as soon as I saw it that it would make its first appearance on St. Patrick's Day. My hair is still green, so that was appropriate, but I'm not sure most people noticed, since it was surrounded by much brighter greens.

When you think about St. Patrick's Day, here are the things you think about: Leprechauns, shamrocks, beer, everything green, and, of course rainbows ending in pots of gold! I couldn't work a rainbow into my green-heavy look, but I could at least incorporate some gold...which I did in a subtle way on my eyelids. I'm really getting into glittery eye makeup.

Last but not least, I put on a green, orange, and white floral necklace which I'd also bought months ago and decided to save for the Irish celebration.

Bonus dog picture

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Do the Duotone

I'm back to my old tricks again; decking myself out in my favorite purple and green color scheme!

Today I'm wearing the green skirt that I just can't seem to let go of no matter how many times I decide I'm bored of it, the green boots that I will never get bored of – never!– the purple shirt that was once a dress, a green cuff bracelet, and a conveniently coordinating set of purple and green butterfly jewelry.

When you commit to a color scheme, you have to really commit!

Someone at Costco today commented that she liked my style, so apparently all that commitment pays off!

Monday, March 13, 2017

DIY Denim Shoes

These white patent pumps were a favorite of mine...I wore them here, and here, and even under my Bridezilla costume...but after 5 years of being my go-to white shoe, they were getting more shabby than chic.

Before parting ways with them forever, I thought I might be able to squeeze a little more life out of them by covering them with fabric. I'd kind of been wanting denim shoes to wear as a not-quite neutral, these seemed the perfect candidates!
I had a few strips of denim from some prior project I no longer remember, and I wanted to use them up, but there wasn't enough of that material to cover both I got the idea of doing a kind of graduated color scheme with three different shades of blue!

So I also grabbed a pair of old jeans I was tossing, and some choice fabric originally cut from my DIY cropped flares, and cut them out into wedge-shaped strips. I placed each strip into position as I cut it out, so I could get the shape just right to fit around the different contours of different parts of the shoe.

At this point, I thought it would be a good idea to rough up the shiny surface of the shoes to make the glue adhere better. So I grabbed some sandpaper I had lying around and had at it!

Then I began gluing down the strips one at a time, starting at the toes and working my way to the heels. I used Aleene's Tacky Glue, which worked great! I have to say that using stretch denim was a good (entirely accidental) choice as well because I could stretch it to fit around the shoe without any lumps or bumps.

I folded strips over the top and glued them to the insides, and used an X-acto knife to trim the edges at the sole and edge of the heel.

I cut one large strip to finish off the heel, wrapping the raw edges to meet on the inside. 

Here's the finished product (and here's how I wore them the first time!). The shoes look a little rough around the edges, but that's by design. I hope that as they age, the fabric will begin to fray and show that classic denim cutoff look.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Denim Day


As with a great many of my outfits, the focal point of this one is the shoes, which I made out of a tired-out pair of old pumps and strips of denim from some tired-out pairs of old jeans. More on that later.

For now, let's talk about the clothes!

I decided a while ago that I needed denim shoes because blue jeans are the world's least boring neutral, and I felt like a pair of jean shoes would be able to be worn in a variety of situations as a more interesting replacement for plain old tan pumps. Of course, the first day that I wore them, I completely ignored their unique versatility, combining them with a bunch of other neutral pieces.

On top, a faux-chambray button-down, which has an interesting story of its own. Last summer, the weather turned unexpectedly cold while my boyfriend and I were on a beach vacation, leaving me shivering in my shorts. We made an emergency trip to a discount retailer (Ross or Marshall's or some such), where I supplemented my warm-weather clothes with 2 pairs of workout leggings and this top. Normally button-down shirts aren't much my style—too stuffy, too stiff, generally tailored all wrong for my shape—but this one was extra long (perfect for covering up the aforementioned leggings), soft and flowy, and, of course, one of the cheapest long-sleeve shirts in the store (still above my price range, but desperate times call for desperate measures!). Although I'm not usually a huge fan of the borrowed-from-the-boys aesthetic, this shirt has proved to be a real workhorse (appropriate, since it looks like a work shirt)!

Today, it seemed just the thing to wear with my new denim shoes. 

I paired it with my light brown skinny jeans for an all-round casual workplace look. Another interesting thing I've noticed: when I first started working at the university, I used every day as an opportunity to dress to the nines in my prettiest skirts and frocks. Five years later, now that the novelty of dressing up for work has worn off, I equally enjoy pushing our casual dress code to the limits. I felt happier about slouching off to the office in this comfy top and jeans than I ever feel about my most lovely workplace dresses.

The brass buttons on my blouse inspired me to round out the look with brass-based jewelry: a new dried-flower necklace, and some dangle earrings in a coordinating shade of pink.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Deer Me

The bottom half of today's outfit is a midi skirt that I purchased on It features cute fawns frolicking amongst sequin-studded shrubs and flowers, and an orange-and-brown color scheme that's quite the challenge to coordinate! Don't worry; I still found an excellent top to wear with it—the brown Renaissance-inspired one that I turned from a bizarre bib into an ever-flattering wardrobe staple. Combining that top with the print on the skirt (deer = a common motif in Medieval artwork), I had all sorts of old-fashioned themes going on. I describe today's look as Middle Ages meets Millennial.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Desperately in need of butterflies

The day I returned from a vacation in warm and sunny New Zealand, Maryland obligingly provided me with a warm and sunny day to welcome me back. The daffodils had bloomed, spring was in the air, and I was feeling pretty good about returning to real life in the Northern hemisphere.

But apparently Maryland decided that I was through being mollycoddled, because by a day later, the temperature had dropped 30 degrees, and I woke up this morning to snow on the ground! Talk about a disappointment! I needed cheering up in the worst way!

Fortunately, I had a pair of pants ready for the challenge. I got them a few weeks before my trip in a bulk order from In this order, I went kind of crazy with the wide-leg pants, buying three pairs in different colors and styles. The one I was most excited about was this black one with yellow and blue butterflies flowing most of the way up the legs.

I had an initial shock when I realized that they were so flimsy you could see right through them, but ultimately I decided that was an asset, as I could wear them with leggings underneath for winter, and shorts underneath for summer, and thus be comfortable in my cheery butterfly pants all year round.

So today I put on a pair of leggings, topped them off with some butterfly pants, then covered up my top half with a yellow camisole and a blue (slightly different hue than the butterflies, but I think it works) cardigan. Of course, one can't wear butterfly pants without wearing butterfly earrings, and I just happened to have the perfect pair of yellow ones!

Between the springtime pastels, the frothy flowery trim on my sweater, and the abundance of butterflies, my outfit says springtime, even if Maryland's weather disagrees.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dressing up and down for Valentine's Day

Since Valentine's Day this year was one-half regular day at work, and one-half fun dinner date at fancy restaurant, I planned two outfits.

At work, I wore a classic romantic red velvet dress, paired with sequin rose-gold pumps, because no office is too stuffy to get festive on Valentine's Day (actually, I was the only one dressed for the holiday at all—apparently thematic dressing is not where it's at, but that doesn't stop me)! 

For the evening, in a complete reversal of the norms for what was to be a pretty fancy dinner—I changed out of my pretty dress and delicate jewelry, and into a decidedly casual outfit of oversized sweater, leggings (leggings! For a dinner date!) and some really tacky earrings. I was willing to sacrifice all my class and dignity just to be able to show off two of the cutest heart-themed clothing items I've ever seen.

The adorable fuzzy sweater, I found at the thrift store just a week or so after Valentine's Day last year. I patiently packed it away and saved it all year just so I could wear it for the first time on my next Valentine's Day.

But the shoes! I did it all for the shoes! A month before February 14th, I started planning my outfit (once New Year's is over, what's a holiday-loving fashionista to do?) and realized that it would be super-cool to find a heart-themed pair of shoes to go with my heart-themed sweater. Just a few days later, I, fairly miraculously, ran across just that on eBay—a cute pair of tan ankle-strap wedge sandals, with pink hearts cut out of the heels! It was exactly the kind of novelty shoe I'd been dreaming of! Though I'd been entertaining the notion of actually splurging on a good pair of Valentine's shoes, these ones even cost 19.98$, two cents under my usual price limit!
Now, the challenge of wearing sandals in February is already quite substantial, but adding to that, pairing them with a grey and white sweater when they are tan and hot pink is quite another challenge indeed. I really liked the idea of wearing the getup with pink tights and shorts, but sadly, all three pairs of my pink tights (yes, I have three) clashed just a little too much with the pink in the heels.

Eventually, I admitted to myself that grey leggings, though beneath my usual night-out standards, would go well with the top, and their neutrality would help the hearts in the shoes to truly shine out, since they're small enough that you might miss them. But leggings! For a dinner date! I wrestled with this for two days running. Should I concede to convention and wear something refined but unexciting? Or should I grab my hot-pink sandals and run with my vision (for the second straight year!) of an 80's Valentine?

Well, you can see which way I went with that dilemma. Though I might have looked a little strange strolling in on the arm of my suited-up boyfriend, at least I can say my artistic integrity remains intact. Being an Unfashionista means never having to compromise!
Not content with only heart shoes and a heart sweater for my V-Day outfit, I found a few other accessories to spice it up. My mom bought me these gloves 4 years ago or more, and finally I took the tags off of them today and wore them for the first time! I have loved them for four years, but never found an outfit that worked with neon pink fingerless gloves with a bird singing a heart until today. The color, so hard to match with anything else I've ever owned, went perfectly with the hot pink in the shoes!

Trying to do my hair in a dramatically high 80's-style side part. That lasted all of a minute.
The bag I've been carrying around all month was the perfect accent piece to finish off my look. Though its colors don't quite fit the scheme, I'll forgive it because of the giant heart that decorates its side.