Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Match Making

Two years after its purchase, I still like my burgundy sleeveless tunic, but I still have trouble finding ways to wear it. We've been having a heat wave, with temperatures hitting 90° almost every day for the past 2 weeks, and I have no interest in wearing tight pants—my usual companion to an extra-long blouse. The other way I usually wear this top is over a short ecru skirt, but I'm tired of that look.

Today, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try it tucked into my blue paisley skirt. The skirt originally came with an ornamental waist tie, but over several wears, I found that I usually layered the skirt under a shirt, and the waist tie just created unnecessary bulging. So I removed the tie, but kept it around because you never know when you might need something like that again. Today, I needed it!

The blue of the skirt and the wine-red of the shirt were similar enough that they complemented each other, but the large blocks of color didn't really create a cohesive whole. So I attached the tie to the collar of my shirt to help create unity between the two disparate elements.

Repeat It Again.

Wearing a solid-color top and a different-solid-color bottom can make your outfit look incomplete. It can help to replace one of the solids with a neutral or a pattern—even if it is a monochromatic pattern. But it helps even more to repeat the color somewhere else in your outfit! This is similar to one of my oldest style tips – break it up, tie it together – but, since it's all about the virtues of repetition, I don't feel bad mentioning it again.

I paired it with navy blue boat shoes (I tried beige ones first, but all the dark colors in the outfit called for dark-colored footwear) and blue earrings to continue my efforts at color matching.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

'Twas the night before a party

The obligatory "before" pic
'Twas the night before a party, and all through the house,
The Unfashionista was quite freaking out!
She was trying to act like she just didn't care...
But it was her birthday, and she had nothing to wear!
She had lots of old dresses, a tank top or two,
But she wanted to wear something special—and new!
Through her closet she rifled, awash with dejection,
And sadly was scanning her Projects collection,
When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But an abandoned refashion from sometime last year!
A star-covered dress that she'd taken apart,
Then stopped because she'd just not known how to start.
By now it was past time for going to bed,
But ideas were forming inside of her head.
That old unloved dress...she'd make use of it yet,
Making something she'd wanted—a crop top matched set!
From her sewing machine, there arose such a clatter,
It was late, she was tired, but none of that mattered!
With just a few zippers, some hems and some seams,
She converted that frock to the dress of her dreams!
Her eyes—how they twinkled! She even felt merry!
She'd succeeded in something she once had thought scary!
She smiled as she put her equipment away,
Relieved that she'd be looking great the next day.
She thought to herself as she turned out the light,
Happy birthday to me, and to me a good night!

Editor's note: In the interest of a readable poem, some facts were omitted. This dress was not made for the Unfashionista's birthday (that was last week), but it was her birthday party. The dress was also not 100% finished when our protagonist went to bed, but she had reached a good stopping point, and only needed to tweak the fit a little bit the next morning.

Another interesting wrinkle in this fabric yarn (if you can't tell, I'm in the mood for fun with words today!) is that when I was finished writing the poem and was ready to upload pictures, all of a sudden my computer started acting so weird I had to shut it down. When I returned, I found that my poem had been lost! I had to rewrite the whole thing from memory, but I think the second version might be even better than the first (I added a verse that I think ties the whole thing together, but we'll never know for sure!)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Boxer Shorts and Baggy Blouse

Over the winter, I bought a lot of 5 pairs of shorts for $10.53 on eBay...not because I really needed any more shorts, but because I was suckered in by the one colorful pair in the bunch—a red satin one with the tags still on! Sadly, when the lot arrived, I found all 5 pairs too big, even the ones that were nominally my size. I sold the one that I thought was beyond hope (not only too big, but too short), and kept the others for re-fitting. 

Resizing pants is no fun, but shorts are fairly forgiving in fit, and fortunately these ones were all a fairly thin material for sewing (no heavy denim, thank goodness!), so I found it easy enough to modify them with a couple of darts at the waistband.

I simply measured how much I wanted to take off at the top, pinched, pinned, and sewed, trying to end my dart at the bottom of the waistband. The red satin shorts were now wearable!

I call them boxer shorts because they remind me of the red satin shorts that boxers wear in movies.

But in my case, I didn't wear them for an athletic event, I paired them with even more satin for a glam Sunday dinner!

It was another appearance of my yellow floral one-shoulder top! Featuring huge splashes of red, it was a natural companion to the red shorts...but I found that the red was all getting hidden within the folds of the shoulder. Fortunately there was a simple fix that required only a little bit of outside-the-box thinking—I turned the shirt backward! With a big baggy sack of a top like this, there's no real difference between front and back (other than where the tag happens to be), so it's an easy trick to pull off. The print on the backside was slightly different, featuring a big red flower front and off-center!

Astonishingly, as I was departing my dinner and tugging the hem into place for the 50th time of the day, I realized I'm getting bored with this shirt. Although last year, I sang its praises with my whole heart, after 4 years of ownership, I've now worn it in every possible combination—with black pants, with jeans, with shorts, with yellow heels, with blue heels, with pink wedges, with flat black sandals. It no longer holds the strange allure that it did when it was new. It might be finally time to retire it, so consider this blog post a fond farewell!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Valerie can be bought

One of the interesting things about fashion is that manufacturers often give their styles arbitrary female names. I guess it's a good way for companies to keep stock of their inventory; lest they be titling all their shoes with tongue-twisters like "that blue stiletto with the black lace overlay and the velvet lace-up ties"—a recent purchase of mine that also goes by the much simpler "Meka." Another practical benefit for the sellers? It just might encourage shoppers to buy a shoe with their name on it. It worked on me!

I found the outrageously bright-colored floral shoe called Valarie while browsing a sale on ShoeDazzle, placed it in my cart, and then failed to check out because, "Really, is it really worth paying 20 dollars just to have a shoe with your name on it? It's not even spelled right!" But I'm glad I waited because,  a few months later, ShoeDazzle held an even better sale, and I was able to get Valarie and 3 other pairs of shoes, for an average 10.19$ each!

Now, as a general rule, I avoid shoes with wild prints because they aren't very versatile—only looking good with really plain clothing. But, but, this one had my name on it!

The elusive "Valerie" dress
So there you have it. I was compelled to purchase a shoe I wouldn't have otherwise, simply because it happened to share my name. That's marketing for you. On a related note, I once found a dress named Valerie at eShakti. Unlike the dubious floral shoes, this dress was right up my alley – green and nature-y and asymmetrically embellished – but I chose not to buy it because of its price. Then I regretted it forever after. It's no longer sold on eShakti, so I keep an ongoing search for it on eBay, in the hopes that I'll one day find it in my size.

But back to the shoes. What better day to wear a shoe bearing your name than on your name day (I assume that that's the Game of Thrones equivalent to a birthday)? Today is Valerie's day, and the day I wear Valarie on my feet!

I paired the shoes with the only thing in my closet that looked good with them—an all-black two-piece ensemble (unrelated separates that just happened to look like they were made to be together! Until I looked at them in bright sunlight and found they were actually two shades of black.)
But all-black is too somber for a day of celebration, so I popped on a set of yellow rose jewelry! You may remember the brooch from my grandma's collection, but I've never blogged about the be honest, I don't remember if I've ever actually worn them. They were originally clip-ons, and they looked comically huge attached to my lobes, not to mention that clip-on earrings are a special form of torture! I converted them to dangle earrings just in time to accessorize my birthday suit!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jelly / Fish

With a brand-new fish-covered dress in my wardrobe and a brunch cruise down the Potomac River on my social calendar, I knew I had to combine them for a cheesy, aquatic-themed Sunday afternoon.

Subtlety is not my middle name. That's why I chose a very large pair of earrings shaped like fish!
If the flashy dress and outsized thematic earrings weren't enough indication that I was trying to make a spectacle of myself, the shoes should have ended the question. I wore my my pastel pink jelly shoes with glitter inside for only the second time. 

When it comes to pink and glittery, my motto is the more the merrier, so for my inevitable need for sun protection, I employed a matching pair of shades.
That's my handsome brunch date enjoying his bottomless mimosas with me.
I feel like this is the kind of outfit Ms. Frizzle would wear for an undersea adventure. Sadly, my own adventure never took me off the deck of our luxury riverboat, but did you know Ms. Frizzle's first name is also Valerie? Maybe a magical schoolteacher career is still in my future! Until then, I'll just have to settle for the shores of Washington D.C.
I'm on a boat!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Flowers for Drupalcon

Being the web developer that I am, I attend a lot of conferences relating to Drupal—usually about 2 a year. By this time, I've established a sort of conference "uniform" that typically comprises a pair of jeans, some sensible walking shoes, and a T-shirt or sweater depending on the climate. Usually I don't find my conference uniform remarkable enough to blog about (except this once), but occasionally I do make an exception and try to wear something a little more refined (like last year's refashioned floral tank top).

This year, the summer conference (Drupal GovCon) took place during a pretty intense heat wave, and there was no way I was going to be wearing anything with sleeves for weather like that, so every day of the conference, I wore some kind of tank top over my usual jeans, except on the third and final day, when I decided to mix things up a bit and wear a brand-new dress.

Alone, this dress isn't too special (except that I got it as part of a 3-for-10-dollar deal!), but since I just happened to have a perfectly coordinating pair of sunglasses (an even better deal as they were a gift!), well, I had to take a picture.

It doesn't hurt that I also got the opportunity to wear a new pair of shoes (summery, stylish, and still sensible for walking all at the same time!)...

...And that my conference badge was a pretty great match for the dress as well!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


When wearing an enormous red bandanna-print skirt, it can be hard to take your outfit very seriously. You can be reasonably certain that the average passerby is going to make mental jokes about your being an extra from Oklahoma! So you might as well embrace your extremely countrified image, and wear a red bandanna around your neck as well.

Then, since white and red is the name of the game, top it all off with your earrings made from reclaimed Coke cans, and you're practically an all-American poster child!