Monday, September 26, 2016

Caftan Top

The days of tank top weather have drawn to a close. And just as the last time I reluctantly conceded to cold-weather clothing, my look is a study in blue.

This time, though, instead of accentuating the melancholy, I've chosen to make my outfit a celebration, with lots of bright shades and new things!

I just got the shoes over the summer from*, which, thanks to their reasonable prices, even more reasonable shipping price, and liberal return policy, has become my new favorite online clothing shop!

The top was snagged at Rugged Wearhouse early in the summer for just 3 dollars on clearance! I'm not sure what to call this type of top. It's defined by a very boxy shape when laid flat and a drapey, cape-like appearance when worn; a wide, baggy body; and very loose sleeves, or simple arm openings with no sleeve at all. It resembles a poncho, but it's not really a poncho, because ponchos typically have no arm holes at all. You could say it has dolman sleeves (but only if you use the less common definition and not this more common and specific one), but that doesn't distinguish it from other dolman tops with very ugly cuffed sleeves. It's constructed in a similar style to many caftans, but it doesn't really qualify as a caftan, because they are usually dress-length. I guess, lacking any more official word, I'm going to call this top and others like it "caftan tops."

Over the past year, I've pretty much fallen in love with caftan tops, buying, in addition to this blue floral one, two open-work sweaters in the style and even making my own out of a chiffon skirt. In hotter weather, they are a wonderful way to add elegance without adding too much weight. In transitional weather, the long "sleeves" keep your arms warm when you're sitting still, but the open fabric and loose construction let in some air should you get hot. I resisted this style for a long time, because I think the silhouette (which basically turns your upper body and arms into one solid mass) isn't the most flattering on my boxy frame, but I like to believe the graceful draping of the fabric makes up for some of that, and the comfort factor wins out anyway.

When I purchased this top, my friend looked at it and said, "Isn't it too big?" (It's actually a size 3X.) But size is just a number, and big is what I was going for with this shirt. I wanted it to just flow off my back like a waterfall. I think the excess fabric actually adds to the whole baroque effect. In this case, more is more!

*The link is my personal referral link, and if you follow it and make a purchase, I get 20$! You don't get anything! Ha! Except a boatload of cool clothes at affordable prices!

Friday, September 23, 2016


I'm really loving this red bandanna-print skirt—1 item anchoring 3 blog looks in 5 months has to be a new personal record for me! While the first time I wore it, I was still testing the waters (I hadn't resized it appropriately yet, and I wore it with a too-large shirt I've since sold, so everything hung on me like so many sacks), by the second time, I'd refined it to a level of sleek yet rural sophistication. This third time, I decided to replace the white with black, which resulted in a sort of Bad-Girl-of-the-50's look—frequently referred to as Rockabilly.

If you looked up Rockabilly in the dictionary, you'd see a picture of this outfit! OK, actually you wouldn't, because Rockabilly fashion is subjective at best, and there doesn't seem to be a clear-cut definition for what it entails. But if you looked up Rockabilly in Yahoo Images, (because subversives don't use Google), you would see a lot of red and black, a lot of flared skirts, and a lot of wide belts at the waist, all of which this outfit possesses. 

As a bonus, the sandals are GX by Gwen Stefani, whose picture on the cover of Tragic Kingdom served as my mental image for the "retro" girl for years (though looking at it now, I realize that while her hair and makeup are classic pinup, her clothing reflects no past era I've ever seen).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pretend it's still spring

Since we've had a few cool days in the last few weeks, I've been trying (desperately) to wear as many sleeveless outfits as possible before it's impossible.

Yesterday I was pleased to work in a brand-new (to me!) tank top that I got at a new (to me!) consignment shop called Uptown Cheapskate. While most of the stuff in that store was out of my price range, some of it lived right up to the store's name, and I was able to buy this shirt (marked down no less than 3 times) for $1.76!

The baggy khaki pants were just one of many pants I tried; I think I ultimately picked them because I liked the combination of colors best, but Style Tip baggy pants and baggy shirts do not make a good combination, and this shirt is baggy as they come.

Fortunately I had a solution for that: I cinched it at the waist with a belt. Said belt has actually been sitting unworn for close to two years. I bought it at the thrift store thinking it would be a great addition to my collection, but whenever the occasion arose to wear a pink belt, I found this one to be the wrong shade. Finally, with this new blouse, I was able to wear it, but then I ran into the problem of it being far too long! Fortunately I have a solution for that.

Style Tip  If your belt is too long, knot it around the buckle.

For accessories, I decided to bring more color into the mix with my giant purple earrings, and then I chose yet another shade of pink for the shoes. The pants dictated that I wear a 2-3 inch heel, so I was quite limited in options, but in retrospect, I wish I hadn't chosen the pink jellies, which conflicted with the pink of the belt. I wish it had occurred to me to try my seafoam green kitten heels.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Rainbow and the Top of Gold

Two of The Unfashionista's mottos are: One can never have too many shoes, and one can never have too many rainbows. I've actually been on a continual search for rainbow-colored sandals for years (these ones probably count, but one can never have too many!), and finally, to my delight, I found these rainbow-heeled wedge sandals on eBay for just 6 dollars!

Yes, they are probably at least 15 years old (I still don't recollect when square-toed shoes were last in style, though I'm pretty sure the ones I wore to my high school graduation fit the bill — but in any case these ones are as square as the 1950's!)...yes, the printed canvas has faded to a muted shadow of a rainbow...but still, they are rainbow shoes and I'm delighted!

They arrived on my doorstep in the early part of July, and it took me a while to figure out how to wear them. When I discovered that they paired perfectly with my golden-yellow summer sweater, I knew that no other introductory outfit would do. The only problem was that, because the arm openings on that top are very low-cut, I have to wear it with some kind of shirt underneath. In the past, I've always paired it with a black tank top, but since it was the hottest part of summer by then, I was absolutely having no part of a double-layered top half. I briefly thought about wearing one of my black bralettes underneath (since I first noticed the existence of said undergarment / overgarment-if-you're-brave, I have bought 3 of them).

If you can't hide it, flaunt it!

For those summer days when your skimpy shirt doesn't adequately hide your bra, don't wear a bra at all! No, I'm not saying go braless, although that is an option under certain shirts. I'm saying, wear a cute bralette or bandeau that's made to be seen! That way when your straps are showing, or your side boob, or your underboob, or whatever taboo part of you your shirt would otherwise reveal, it looks pretty and intentional instead of trashy.

Unfortunately, this sweater is somewhat transparent, and a black bra underneath didn't produce the effect I wanted, so I got on eBay and found this beige lacy bandeau that wouldn't show through the fabric, but would make for a nice side view if it came to that, and all for only $1.59! But cheapness has its own costs, and in this case, it was having to wait for shipping from China. So a couple weeks went by.

Then, when the bandeau finally arrived, I put off wearing the outfit again, because by that time, the daily highs were in the 90's, and even a summer sweater is too much sweater in weather like that! So I waited patiently for a day in the low 80's—not just any day in the low 80's, though—it had to be a weekend day, since I planned to wear the outfit with shorts (though I later decided capri pants looked better) and furthermore didn't feel like putting my lacy armpits on display at the office. 

Finally on September 11, the day arrived! From conceptualization to realization, this outfit took almost exactly 2 months...and after all that buildup, I really don't have anything more to say about it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Gem de la Creme

As you might recall, a layered tulle skirt has been on my wishlist for quite some time now. I've been waiting and waiting for one to appear in my price range, and finally found one...on eBay...from China...which is always a recipe for failure. But it was only $1.98 with free shipping, so I decided I could afford to be disappointed. I kept my expectations low, and when the skirt arrived, slightly see-through and with a coarser mesh than I had wanted, I was OK with it. I had known from the pictures I wasn't going to receive a thick "bouffant" skirt as the listing title advertised, but I did and do have in my fashion stash an enormous petticoat that I think I can cannibalize to fluff up the skirt some more...when I get the time.

Yesterday, I decided to just wear the skirt as-is, limp and nearly transparent though it may be. Since I also had a new cream-colored sleeveless top, I decided I'd pair the two unworn pieces and whip up a fun monochromatic outfit. Lately, it seems all-beige is all the rage, so I thought an all-cream ensemble would be a nicely trendy (though slightly more pastel) trick to try. It's also the perfect neutral backdrop for green hair, which I have discovered clashes strongly with a lot of colors (anything red is out of the question!).

The top of the shirt is translucent (almost mirroring the bottom of the skirt—three cheers for continuity!) and studded with clear crystals, so naturally my accent motif became "sparkle." I put on a pair of rhinestone dangle earrings and my multicolor-but-mostly-pastel-pink glitter slide sandals. And as an afterthought, I slipped a rhinestone ring on my finger.
Overall, I'm content with the look, but I don't think I'll wear this skirt again until I can at least find a better liner for it. I'd prefer a full-length, fully opaque liner, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Vegetable Valerie

It's been almost 2 and a half years, but I finally got around to dyeing my hair a new unnatural color again!

I did it on Friday, and, while I had an plan for incrementally changing the color to something less dramatic in time for work on Monday, I loved the green so much I had to let it be. The color may be already fading, but I felt like a green goddess for the first few days of my new look... and you know what you put green goddess on? Salads! So what better place to snap my style than in the produce section of my local supermarket?

Actually, I'm stretching my associations a little here, and the weird fluorescent backlighting doesn't do the colors here's another picture taken in more natural light.

Normally when sporting dramatic hair colors, I don't try very hard to coordinate my hair to my outfit (or I'd basically be limited to the same 3 or four colors for the entire tenure of my dye job!) but for my first day of work with the hair, I made an effort, wearing a neutral dark brown dress and perfectly matching green shoes. The shoes feature pink and black beads, so I felt like I had to work some pink in somewhere else, in the form of my necklace.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Converting clip-on earrings to dangle earrings

The last time I shared a DIY for modifying clip-on earrings for pierced ears, I used a pair of rose-shaped earrings. Thus it is only appropriate that for my second post on the subject, I am also using rose earrings!
The matched set I inherited from my grandmother was probably made in the 1950's (the golden age of clip-on earrings). The resin flowers were in excellent condition, but the brass findings were tarnished and sorry-looking. I've had them for going on 20 years, and I might have worn them once in all that time. I'm sometimes hesitant to defile an antique, but I figure earrings are made to be worn, and if they weren't getting worn as clip-ons, I could do them better honor by converting them to a style I would actually use.

A pair of needle-nosed pliers handily removed the backings from the plastic with just a little twist and no damage to the flowers!

I decided that I would dangle the flowers from chains, much like my homemade wire-wrapped geode earrings, but how to attach them to the chains?

It seemed like they would balance best if I just attached the chain to the back of one of the rear petals, but unless I wanted to punch a hole in the flower (I didn't) I would have to use glue to make a new attachment point.

It was time for me to try, for the first time, my 5-Second-Fix adhesive!

From the posts of a couple of retired stud earrings, I formed arches with the aid of my round-nose pliers, then I cut off the excess.

Then, I dabbed a tiny amount of 5SF onto the back of the flower, dropped the arch into position, and cured it using the UV light.

Unfortunately, my shaky hands were not up to the task of holding the arch in place, even for 5 seconds, while the resin cured, so it kind of collapsed against the petal instead of standing up as I would have liked.

Fortunately, the coating of 5SF was light enough that I could tilt the wire back where I needed it, and then it stayed there long enough for me to apply one more coat of the adhesive to lock it into place. This was my first experiment with 5-Second-Fix, and, while I wouldn't try to make these earring hooks pull a truck, I feel reasonably certain that they'll hold up to everyday use.

I followed the same steps on the other flower, and then I was ready to make them dangle.

Originally, I used bits of chain (salvaged from previous necklace-shortening projects), but after wearing them a day, I found that the flowers spun around too much and were facing backwards as often as they were facing forwards, so I decided to replace the chain with something a bit more structured.

Enter the oval earring pendant hoops! These came in a beading kit I got ages ago (seriously, I think I was like 10), and it took me until now (age 33, thanks) to realize what they are good for: hanging a dangling bauble from your ear and ensuring it will consistently face the same direction!
With my yellow roses duly suspended from their new supportive hooks, I can wear them with confidence, secure in the knowledge that their backs will never be facing forward! 

I also think they are a great complement to my new green hair!