Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tie Dye Time!

If the Unfashionista were to have a personal motto (other than "Fun with Colors"), it would have to be "Never Say Never."

Though I claimed last year that one dip in the tie dye bath would be enough for me, I was wrong. Tie dye continued to flourish in the world of fashion and even home furnishings, and it was said to have experienced a huge wave of popularity during the spring and summer. I didn't observe this personally because I pretty much took a break from fashion in favor of social distancing, but that's what they say. I did feel personally that it was one of the most trendy things I own, so my single tie-dye shirt became pretty much my go-to tee over the past year, whenever I wanted to seem a little bit more with the times. (Self-congratulation alert: I even got a compliment on its bright and happy colors during a hike despite our noticeably less friendly times!)

But this post isn't about my tie-dye tee, it's about my tie-dye blouse!

Once I had gotten over my initial aversion to the idea of tie dye, I continued to see examples of "tasteful tie dye" in my news feeds and shopping haunts, and decided I wouldn't mind having more of a good thing. Late this summer, I bought two tie-dye tops at Swap.com for a total of 5 dollars, one of them being this one!

This one took a little work to get into a wearable condition. It was very short and very wide and very unflattering on my frame. 

I reduced the size of the sleeve openings and took in the sides, then added waist ties to give it a more body-conforming shape.

It's still shorter than I prefer a loose shirt to be—I thought about extending the length with the offcuts from the sides and sleeves, but decided that wouldn't work. So it's finished!

I had the opportunity to wear it out into the big wide world today because I had a dentist appointment. If you ever want to feel better about having two teeth drilled, just wear a new fashionable top for the procedure!

"Fashionable" is relative, of course—the same sources who informed me of the tie-dye wave this summer also tell me it's on the wane. But if the Unfashionista were to have a third personal motto, it would have to be "Better late than never!"

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sweatpants: a DIY

Once it became clear, in late summer, that I was going to be confined mostly to home for the foreseeable future, I invested heavily in comfy pants. Tunics and leggings had their moment last spring, but I wanted, once in a while, to be able to wear a shirt of a normal length while lounging around the house. So a shopping spree ensued. I ended up with 5 secondhand pairs of sweat/lounge pants, which, being secondhand, were mostly of a somewhat dated straight-leg cut. Something had to be done.

It seems like it was only yesterday that I converted my first pair of straight-leg sweatpants into what was, at that time, a trendy pair of joggers.

These days, it only takes a quick perusal of Tik Tok or Instagram to show that joggers are no longer trendy. If you're going to be wearing sweats, they had better be the baggy kind with elastic cuffs—the very kind I loathed as a youngster and hoped never to wear again.

Alas, even an Unfashionista cannot resist the siren song of cultural relevance, so I had to bite the bullet and commit to the trendiest ugly silhouette of 2020.

And thus, I began the conversion of my too-short straight-leg pink pair of sweats into the bottom-cuff kind.

I checked to see whether I'd like the alteration by safety-pinning one leg in an approximation of the altered effect. It was a go!


Then I opened up a hole in the side seam at the bottom hem, threaded in a strip of elastic about the circumference of the bottom of my calf, and sewed it all back up! 


Instant modernity!

A second perusal of Instagram or Tik Tok quickly reveals that the preferred pairings with this type of sweatpants are either a matching sweatshirt or an ultra-cropped top of almost any sort. I made a valiant effort to follow the trend, wearing my new sweats for the first time with a cute crop top that I've had for almost 2 years and never worn.

The reason for the delay, of course, is that whenever it's cold enough to wear long sleeves, it's too cold to be showing one's midriff! I'll sacrifice my taste in the name of fashion, but never my body heat! I'd originally thought I might be able to wear the top to some event where crowds of humans would render the air warm enough that I'd be able to get away with uncovering my most thermally critical body part. But as crowds are out of the question for at least the remainder of this winter, I finally decided to give up on the impractical top.

After the hurried photo shoot (the brrr explains the blur!), I relegated it to the to-sell pile and traded it in for a less fashionable but more comfortable long-sleeved tee that completely covered me in blessed warmth.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Flashback Friday


Every day is casual day when you're working from home, but I'm still trying to give my workday outfits a more professional spin...from the shoulders up! That means collared shirts and nice sweaters when the weather's cold. But I still reserve my more fun outfits for Fridays, and that means this jacket! I don't think I'd wear this jacket to a normal physical office any day—mainly because it's got a casual vibe and it's so festive that I'd want to reserve it for a more special occasion. In fact, I'm almost sure I did wear it for at least three special occasions, but I never got a photo. In fact, I think of it as my bad luck karaoke shirt because two of the occasions involved karaoke that never happened. So by this time, it has diminished in novelty enough that wearing it for work seemed more reasonable...especially when "work" means "home," and the only thing people would see of it was the top 3 inches or so.

I was all set to wear it with a pair of pink sweatpants when I realized the pants would be much improved with a little alteration (stay tuned for a future post on this change and on all things sweatpants-related!). I found a decent pair of backup pants in my closet, and planned to sew the sweatpants during a webinar in the morning, so I'd have the outfit ready to wear through most of the afternoon.

Then I looked at myself in the mirror. In my vintage cargo pants and midriff-baring jacket, I was the spitting image of a turn-of-the-millennium fashionista! It just so happens that 90's bang tendrils have made a resurgence, and it just so happens that my growing-out fringe is the perfect length to pull them off! So I decided to go full-on retro.

A throwback look is probably not as cool if you're old enough to have actually rocked those styles the first time around...and bang tendrils not as cool when you have such wispy hair as mine, but I still had fun with it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A ponytail and a postponey tale

Sometime last spring, I hatched the idea for this outfit—a (newly re-hemmed!) colorful maxi skirt, a rust-orange top, and finally and most importantly, the sash made from the bottom of the skirt, to be tied around my ponytail!

This outfit was so cute that I couldn't bear to wear it to work from home; I had to save it for when it could be seen in person! Thus, it stayed in reserve all spring, got consigned to storage all summer, and finally resurfaced for consideration during a cold snap in September. Its colors make it a much better fall outfit anyway, but there's one problem: I'm still working from home and no one was going to see it in person!

However, I'd already delayed this outfit some 7 months, and as with all clothes I grow impatient of waiting for the right occasion to wear, I finally decided to just go for it! An outfit well done is its own reward, right?

Although it didn't factor into my decision to wear this ensemble yesterday, some contractors were visiting the house to make some adjustments to my solar array, so at least they got to admire my artwork! And a virtual meeting popped up at the last minute, so my beribboned ponytail was on hi-def display for a grand audience of four! Rarely can I say that I am grateful for a last-minute meeting, but I can say that about this one...maybe. Maybe not.

Anyway, for an outfit that I initially thought would go completely unseen, it actually got a sizeable amount of exposure. Whether or not anyone noticed it is another question entirely. But that's why I'm posting it in my blog! Visit counts, here I come!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Rompers and Roses


Social distancing has certainly put a damper on dressing up. A birthday grocery run is about the biggest occasion I've had to show my face in public since the pandemic began.

That is, until last Friday, when I took the opportunity to meet a friend for an afternoon of wining and dining in the great outdoor venues of downtown Silver Spring. And that meant I had to have an outfit that would compensate – in one blowout of a day – for all the months I've been putzing around in a frumpy parade of house clothes.

Now I am admittedly a pretty aspirational shopper, tending to buy clothes first and look for an occasion to wear them later, but I've shown remarkable restraint during the pandemic and haven't purchased a single impractical item...which meant that when my day to shine finally arrived, I had nothing new to wear!

Nothing new except shoes, which I always have in steady supply. I stockpiled a fair amount of dressy sandals last fall, never imagining that my feet wouldn't see anything fancier all summer than a pair of Tevas. Although I had a much more colorful selection to choose from, I had to go with the fairly uninteresting pair of white low-heeled sandals.

Simple shoes were a necessity because my choice of clothing was gaudy as can be—a romper covered in multicolor roses! I'd tricked this particular garment out with removable straps two years ago, wore it once, and then let it rest for a season. It was now ripe for one last hurrah before being sold.

Of course, in this day and age, it's no hurrah until there's a coordinating face mask to go with it, so I very quickly customized a plain cream mask with a glued-on embroidery flower—actually the same flower that once graced my now-retired velvet slip dress.

After my afternoon of romping, I removed the flower from the mask. Maybe in another 2 months, a new social occasion will present itself, and both the mask and the appliqué will be ready for decoration!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Gloom and Zoom

Shortly after my shipment of sleeveless printed tops arrived, I realized my folly: on video calls, not only is your lower half invisible, but most of your upper half is, too! When I'm in a call, the only thing people could see of my outfit is, maybe, the top inch of my shoulders. Sometimes even only my face! So a lot of the shirts that I thought would be interesting on camera actually were just...not.

So I was feeling pretty low about my prospects for ever getting a compliment on my fashion sense again. Was there any point in getting dressed at all? Was there even any point in living? Call me vain, but the only thing that keeps me from retreating entirely from the world and adopting 17 cats is the occasional favorable unsolicited opinion on my outfit, and with out that boost, my strength to go on is severely depleted.

Fortunately, one of the shirts I ordered – just one – was able to lift me out of my funk, having all of its most interesting details at its highest point. Just check out the lacy yellow yoke (in my current favorite clothing color!), and...are those...stars on the collar? Yes, they are! The fun details continue just out of webcam range with more metallic accents and a pleasingly hued series of vertical stripes. It is a loose stretchy knit in a tailored fit, perfect for work-from-home comfort! Of all the shirts in my shipment, this is the one I was most excited about receiving, and it definitely stood up to expectations.

Even if just a smidgen of this shirt shows up on camera, it should give viewers an eyeful! Surely in this shirt, I would receive at least one unsolicited compliment!

I wore it to my weekly staff meeting last Friday and...nothing happened. Alas. At least I enjoyed wearing the shirt. At least I can blog about it. Who needs external validation, anyway?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A belated birthday blog

If there's ever a day of the year for dressing to impress, it's on your birthday. But this year, with gatherings verboten, and my birthday falling on the most ordinary of work-from-home Wednesdays (without even a Zoom call!), getting gussied up sounded like exactly the sort of thing only an Unfashionista would do.

On the momentous anniversary of my birth, I wore not one, but three special outfits: a cheeky first for errands, an artsy second for work, and a sophisticated third for stay-at-home date night with the boyfriend. And then what did I do? I forgot to take a picture of the last (and best, of course!) outfit! I was so upset with myself that I nixed the whole idea of blogging my outfits for that day, and resigned myself to letting my 37th birthday suits disappear into the sands of time. But the thing about time? It heals all wounds, and now that I've had 2 weeks to get over it, I am able to admit that two out of three ain't bad!

So here they are—the first and second fashionable ensembles of the most boring birthday ever!

First thing in the morning of the 5th, I scuttled into my clothes and hightailed it to the supermarket. These days, I try to do my shopping before work, when the store is less crowded. That day, with a tropical storm just behind us, it was fairly chilly out at 7 AM, so that meant pants and a shirt with sleeves. The shirt I chose was an over-the-top graphic print with rainbows and unicorns. This kind of shirt was already passé when I bought it at the thrift store sometime last year, but it cost next to nothing, so I decided to get it anyway. It was the perfect tee for a birthday grocery run—festive but not fancy. I wore it with rainbow platform sandals and pink pants, to take it from just a silly shirt, to a whole look.

Once the shopping was done, it was time to get down to business—from the home office. I've been wearing shorts at work so much this summer that they've ceased to be a novelty, so to add the interest factor worthy of a birthday, I wore shorts with sequins! A sleeveless sweater with a blinged-out neckline rounded out the look. I haven't been wearing shoes at home since June started, but as it was still kind of cool in the house and I wanted to go the extra mile for my birthday, I also wore my furry black sandals. The mullet-outfit (business on top, party on the bottom) would have been work-appropriate in case of a last-minute video call, but none occurred, so the only person to notice my sparkling style was my roommate. At least she liked it.

After work, the aforementioned forgotten fancy outfit made its appearance. It consisted of a slinky tropical dress and matching green heeled sandals. I really pulled out all the stops, having to dig the shoes out of storage since I haven't been wearing heels during the pandemic, but if there aren't photographs, did it really even happen? I guess only my boyfriend and I will ever know for sure!