Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Third-of-July Tradition


Let us not go into how I became the proud owner of a brand-new-with-tags pair of men's medium gym shorts, but let us instead discuss why the heck I'm wearing them!

I could have just sold them, but I tried them on on a whim, and they ended up bearing a more-than-passing resemblance to a skirt (this is, incidentally, pretty much the exact length and cut I originally associated with the word "culottes"). So I decided to keep them and see what kind of subversively feminine uses I could put these men's shorts to.

For example, maybe I'd take another stab at wearing shorts at the office! The first and last time I approached this final frontier of workplace fashion was a few years ago when I was stuck at the office on the day before Independence Day, so I felt it was appropriate to save my second attempt for the same date.

As before, my July third ensemble is nothing to write home about—just grey shorts, a black sleeveless top, and some black sandals—but that's kind of the point. When taking a fashion risk (shorts at work—so bold!), you might not want to call too much attention to it. At least I wore red earrings for a tiny touch of patriotism.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A cold day in June

 
Normally, by this time in June, I would have been wearing summer outfits for several weeks, but the air conditioning temperature at work, combined with some unseasonably cold weather, has had me wearing nothing but pants and cardigans. I blame that for why I haven't posted an OOTD in two whole weeks (am I going to have to start calling them OOTTW's?).

Friday was no exception to the unrelenting cold (by cold, I mean lows in the high 50's and highs in the low-mid 70's—in other words, perfectly acceptable to most people, but not optimal weather for my preferred wardrobe of sleeveless tops and sandals), but it turns out that the chilly weather actually worked in my favor for once, because it enabled me to wear these thigh-high boots embroidered with stars.
 
 
These tricky shoes have proven almost unwearable since I got them late last summer, since peep toes are usually incompatible with the kind of weather that suits thigh-high boots. But I figured for an night that would start out in the low 70's and drop into the upper 50's, I could probably get away with covered legs and bare toes.

Over the boots, I wore an old standby: my halter-neck LBD that I've been occasionally throwing on for nights out since 2014.

Since a celestial theme was practically mandatory with boots like those, I also wore a pair of star dangle earrings and some star barrettes in my (unusually voluminous thanks to an overnight updo) hair. 
 
 

This is one of my my more painful outfits in recent memory—half of my toes now have a blister on top from where the opening of the shoe rubbed them. I got enough compliments on the boots to make them worth the suffering, but I still stand by my opinion that peep toes are not for me! I'll be selling these shoes at the first opportunity!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

For the love of used clothes


I'm a huge advocate for secondhand fashion. The last time I checked, 70% of my clothing collection was acquired used, and since I discovered online thrift stores (Swap.com and, just recently, ThredUP – links are referral links!), it's gone up to 78!

Today's outfit is a celebration of all things pre-loved, and what better way to represent that than with a dress covered in hearts? I got the dress at Swap.com, and found that not only was it pre-loved; it was also pre-refashioned! It apparently used to have sleeves, and I can tell that they were removed by the fraying fabric around the armholes. I'll have to do something about that, but at least I know there's one DIYer out there who's just as lazy as I am!

While the used dress and used sweater (hand-me-down from a friend) are a pretty good celebration in themselves, the real party in this outfit is the shoes.


Let's take a stroll down memory lane in them!

When I was in high school, shoes like this were at the height of fashion. I can still see me now, attending a function in our gym/auditorium with all the other girls in my class, rocking a long floral straight skirt and a cardigan-cami set (other iconic styles of the late 90's) and a pair of sandals much like these—skinny, asymmetrical straps, square toe, and, well, mine definitely had a much more aesthetically pleasing block heel, but I guess this flared look was fashionable too!

For a long time after the 90's ended, I was forced to eschew square toes because they were very clearly outdated. But what goes around comes around, and the square-toe shoe is back! After having had about 20 years to get over them, I am fully on board with their return and have gone all-in on finding vintage  sandals from the 90's to round out my collection. I've gotten three so far (and I should probably stop now!), but these off-white ones are probably my best find at only $3.49. So yeah, you can pay a couple hundred dollars for a cool, up-to-the-minute pair of vintage-looking sandals from your designer of choice, or you can head to your local thrift store right now and probably snag something decent for a couple bucks!

If that's not a reason to buy used clothes, I don't know what is!

ThredUP gave me this nifty "used" pin when I made my first order,
so naturally I had to take a photo with it for this ode to secondhand goods!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Fun with colors

"Fun with colors" is practically my personal motto, rather than a single outfit theme, but it's taking on special meaning as my latest hair color heads into its third week of existence. I probably shouldn't speak of my plans, since plans change, but this is the last unnatural color I intend on doing for a while, and my feelings about it are bittersweet.

On the one hand, I've made it through every color of the rainbow by now, and it's time to move on to something different. But on the other hand, I've been getting a lot of compliments on this color scheme in particular, and it will be hard to let go of that popular feeling I get when I'm the most noticeable person in almost any room.

Today was no exception, as someone stopped me in the hallway at work to comment on how she loved my outfit and how it matched my hair. It did, indeed. Not intentionally of course, but since it happened, I figured I'd better blog it—you know, before this hair color is gone forever and such a coincidence can never happen again.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Athleisure at the office


For last week's Friday Funday, I decided to take a turn toward the sporty side of things with a pair of jogger pants. But not just any jogger pants, naturally—these are unquestionably Unfashionista jogger pants. Why so unquestionably? Let me count the ways!
  1. They feature a houndstooth design (albeit a very blurry, avant garde houndstooth!)—my personal favorite pattern!
  2. They have all three of my favorite cool colors: purple, blue, and green.
  3. The pattern and colors together make quite a statement—my favorite thing to make!
  4. The cut and style is so 5 years ago (I actually thought these pants were funky enough to have never been trendy, but then I ran across a picture in which Taylor Swift literally outshone my pitiful pants with a much blingier matched set...back in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, the Unfashionista is late to the multicolor houndstooth joggers party, but she's just glad she made it at all! I'm really pleased to have found these pants (for $3.20 at Swap.com - hit my referral link if you want to shop!), for lots of reasons, one of them being that I've been wanting pants with a tuxedo stripe forever, and although I had planned to make my own, these ones saved me a lot of time and effort!

They also have turned out to be a great pant for work—loose and comfortable, but still with a certain sense of chicness and sophistication brought on by the tuxedo stripe and silky fabric.

They go equally well with sneakers and heels, so I wore them with heels for a slightly more professional vibe, and paired them with some subtly studded rhinestone earrings and top. While I've worn some sporty stuff to work before, I'm pretty sure this pair of pants is my favorite piece of office-athleisure yet!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Coordinating my hair to my clothes


For the next phase in my hair color evolution, I wanted the aqua from my previous color to blend into a pure blue. But when I'm dyeing my hair, I never know quite what I'll get. As it happened, by the time I re-dyed it, the blue-green had faded to a straight-up green; meanwhile the fresh blue dye turned out more purple. Green-to-purple wasn't at all my intent, but it ended up looking totally rad (it is, after all, one of my favorite color combinations!), and is probably my most popular dye job yet (as measured by the number of unsolicited compliments it's received).

One nice thing about this quasi-purple hair color is that it still looks blue in the right lighting and next to the right clothes. The color is open to interpretation. So for today's outfit, it is unequivocally blue!

After all, it has to match my clothes, which are blue to the extreme—the blue jeans that I gussied up with a blue embroidery patch last year, and a long blue flowing split-sleeve top that I've had for quite a while but never blogged.

The outfit is my usual monochrome modus operandi, but the hair makes it special.

It sure was a windy day!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Perennial Shoes

 
After 7 years of existence, my first pair of white high heels had seen better days. If I didn't love them as much as I do, I'd have tossed them long ago, but instead, I find ways to keep them coming back to life, year after year!

Their first rebirth was when I coated them with strips of old jeans and made them into denim shoes. I was happy with them then, but they never really frayed as I'd hoped they would, and I began to feel that the tricolor look with the narrow pale strip at the toe just didn't work.
 

By that point, they'd had a good two lives, and I wouldn't have been unjustified in throwing them away...but I just loved their shape. That extra-chunky heel wasn't something I wanted to give up on so easily. So in early 2018, I soaked them in water and peeled off the fabric (thank goodness I used water-soluble glue the first time!), then let them sit for a while, while I decided what to do with them next.
 
 
Months later, it came to me! I had just retired a tank top (incidentally, also a previous refashion). No matter what I did to that tank top, I never felt it flattered me. But I adored the floral pattern, so I saved it for repurposing. The purpose ended up being to give a third life to my beloved white shoes! My plan was to wrap the shoe in fabric, much as I did with the denim, but this time use a single solid sheet of fabric rather than a bunch of tiny strips.

A convenient feature of the tank top was that had a lot of overlocked edges rather than finished hems. I could align the overlocked portions with the bottom edge of the shoe, providing a built-in finished look, and saving me from trying to come up with a way to keep the fabric from fraying.

I cut the tank top into two strips per shoe: one that would wrap around the heel, and one that would wrap around the upper.

To attach the fabric to the shoe, this time I used Outdoor Mod Podge. My original plan was to plaster the fabric to the shoe with glue (sort of like papier-mâché), and I thought the outdoor glue would be nice because it would give it a waterproof coating.

I stretched the fabric over the shoes (very laboriously—I only glued down 2 inches or so at a time before stopping to let the glue dry for a few hours). After the fabric was firmly attached to the sides of the shoes, I went back and folded it over at the top, gluing it down on the inside, and cutting off the excess.

For the most part, the fabric stretched enough on the bias to conform to the shape of the shoe. Around the toe, I had to gather the fabric in tiny segments and hold it in position with a binder clip while the glue dried, which took a lot of time (I would say each toe took 5 to 6 glue-and-dry sessions), but ended up looking super cute, if I do say so myself!

 
At the back edge, I folded the very end of the strip over on itself and glued it down. The fabric covering the upper overlapped the fabric covering the heel, which looked neat and tidy thanks to the overlocked edge.
 
In the end, I didn't use the papier-mâché method (that is, put a sealing coat of glue over the fabric) because I was so happy with the shoes and their soft texture and ruffly toes that I didn't want to mess them up with more glue! I'll just have to be careful not to wear them in the rain.

I am really happy with the outcome of this project. The only problem I've had with the shoes so far is that the added fabric on the inside makes them a tight fit, and the glue is kind of sticky, so squeezing into them is quite a challenge now. I've learned to sprinkle my feet with powder before putting them on, to make it easier to slide my toes inside.


For their very special first public appearance, I planned an outfit days in advance. I went with my grey cropped flares and a new-to-me short-sleeved pink sweater. While looking for a necklace or something to break of the vast expanse of shirt, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a little scarf or neckerchief from some of the scrap fabric left over from making the shoes. Well, I didn't have quite enough fabric to accomplish that, but I did have enough to make a headband!

This is my first homemade fabric headband, and I just designed it on the fly. It's a rectangle of fabric, folded in half, sewed along the edges, and turned inside-out.

I gathered it to a point at each end, and attached a scrap of elastic.


I'm pretty happy with my headband, too, but if I were going to do it again, I think I'd taper the ends slightly so it fits better on my tiny head!