Monday, February 28, 2011

First fashion of spring!

The temperature today is expected to reach 70 degrees here in sunny College Park. Spring is on its way! And that means it's time to think about a new warm-weather wardrobe!

Actually, there's nothing new about the ensemble I'm wearing today—in fact, it's one of my favorite looks, that I've been rocking in some variation or other for the past three years.

It starts with a sea green strappy tunic. Tunics are tricky. If you wear them with the wrong pants, you end up looking like you're wearing a collection of designer pillowcases. Tight jeans work, but since my only tight jeans are pale blue, and since pastel on pastel is a look best attempted only by the thinnest of supermodels, I usually opt instead for my flared black dress pants.

Some people say that allowing your bra straps to show is a bad move. I do it anyway, seeing it as a means to achieve chromatic consistency throughout the entire outfit. Black on top mirrors the black on the bottom, endowing some unity to a look that would otherwise be divided by warring blocks of color.

Top (or bottom?) the look off with a pair of simple black flats from Payless Shoes (marked down to five dollars!) and you're done!

On days like today, when most of it will be on the chilly side, I cover up a bit with a white shrug (Kohl's—$12 on sale). This completely undermines my bra-strap artistry, dividing the outfit into discrete blocks of unrelated colors, but such is the price that one must pay to not freeze to death. Note: This works better if you don't have the shoulders of a linebacker, as some of us lucky fashionistas do. If you have a black shrug (as I do) you might find that a better choice, but if it's a slightly different shade of black than the pants (as mine is), you'd be better off going for the blatant and deliberate mismatch rather than the one that seems like an unfortunate accident.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Black House White Market
Or, the cheap Unfashionista knockoff

You've probably seen that trendy boutique in your local mall--the one where every classy-looking item for sale is white or black or both. My sage advice to you: don't shop there. Black and white are everywhere. You can get that sophisticated look without paying a fortune.

For example, a few months ago (yes, my blog posts are still irreparably behind the times), I got a hankering to wear this white skirt that I'd picked up in a New York thrift store.

A little aside about thrift stores... I was pleased to see that the prices at the Salvation Army store in New York City were comparable to the prices in my favorite Maryland haunts. On the other hand, it's hard to get a really good bargain in a Maryland (or, apparently, NYC) thrift store. A lot of items that you only find used and somewhat abused at a Maryland thrift store, you can find brand-new on an end-of-season clearance rack for pretty much the same price. And for small household items, you can get them cheaper straight off the shelf at Target or Walmart. I suspect this is because real estate is so costly in the DC suburbs that the stores have to keep their prices high to make a profit. But if you're looking for a real bargain, try shopping at a thrift store in Ohio. You haven't seen cheap until you've seen Church Women United Thrift Shop in Holland, OH. Now back to your regularly scheduled fashion.

Bet you can't float in
midair like I can!
I tried on every winter shirt I had, but none of them really worked with the skirt (the problem with a big fluffy skirt is that you need a pretty trim and tight top to go with it, lest you look like a bag lady) until I landed on plain black camisole with white lace at the top and black button-down blouse.

I didn't think anything of this simple ensemble until my roommate commented how nice I looked. So it makes it into the blog.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prom memories

It's that time of year when enterprising young high school students begin to think about the crowning glory of their year—prom.

Being the nerdy antisocialite that I was back in high school, I feigned a complete lack of interest in prom, since I knew I would never go. But being the closet fashionista that I also was, I was secretly gaga over prom dresses and hairdos, just like all the other girls.

Imagine my surprise and delight when one of my friends from another school hooked me up with one of her friends from the same, so we could go to prom together! Imagine the flights of artistic fancy that I took when dreaming up my own dress.

Here it is, on the back of a test on an unknown subject (I missed one question). As you can see, purple and I have always had a bit of a love affair.

I never made my own prom dress. In fact, I borrowed a dress from a friend of that same friend. It was too big for me (although it was purple), and I had hair like Frankenstein's bride, I stayed out too late and got yelled at by my mom when I got home, and all in all, it's an experience I'd like to forget.

However, it deserves remembering, as it's the first documented case of my descent into the world of "being interested in clothes."