Friday, March 30, 2012

Unfashion A Day, Week 12

I have a scientific method for determining when to activate seasonal wardrobes. Once the daily highs have been above 60 for a whole week running, I'll get out my summer clothes and put my sweaters, flannels, and boots into storage. I estimate that I have two weeks left (including this one) before this happens, so suddenly it has become rather urgent that I sport certain less-worn articles of clothing, since now might be my last chance!

You Can't Wear Brown With Black!

That's what my boyfriend says, and this outfit was an effort to prove him wrong. It was also an effort to wear this brown(ish) sweater dress that I've only worn once since the start of Unfashion a Day. It has brown and black flecks, so I figured it would be the perfect way to tie them both into one outfit. I wore brown leggings and black shoes with brown heels (see, of course they go together, or a shoe designer never would have paired them!). I added on black leg warmers, although I think the outfit might have been better without them.

My Rock Moves

My Rock Star Boots have not gotten nearly enough play this winter, so I decided to rock them on Monday with whatever else I could find that would match. That ended up being my homemade skirt and a black blouse. As you can see, even my bangs tried to get in on the act, taking over my head in a laughable failure at "big hair." Last hair cut, too much of my hair was incorporated into my bangs, and I'm still trying to grow them back out, in the meantime facing embarrassing situations like this on an all-too-frequent basis.

Green Office

Originally, this outfit was intended to give my grey boots another chance at the spotlight, but it evolved. Once I had picked out the grey pants because they're about the only thing I can wear with the grey boots, I sort of impulsively chose my green cropped sweater to wear on top. I wore a bright blue tank top underneath for fun with color. But once I'd picked out all that, I couldn't resist adding my new green shoes to the mix. After all, how often do you really get the opportunity to wear lime green shoes and have them actually match your outfit? And besides, the temperature was forecast to be in the low seventies, and it sounded like perfect weather to bring out the peep toe shoes! Wednesday was the day we had our "green office audit," and my coworker who had coordinated it said she was glad I wore green.

Blue Shoes Enough

One more reason I'm glad I didn't get rid of my rainbow skirt--it goes magnificently with my tri-color shoes! This is indubitably my favorite outfit of the week, and it's much more color-balanced than the last time I wore this skirt. Also note that I wore "body glimmers" ivory pantyhose—which developed a run as soon as I put them on. I seriously think I'm done with pantyhose. Even if I  have to freeze my legs in winter, it's better than wasting my money on an article of clothing that you can't even wear once before it's ruined!

There, I Wore It

This brown sweater has been sitting lonely in my closet all winter, and I've just never found a reason - or the desire - to wear it. But since it's the second-to-last week for winter clothes, I figured I had to at least give it a shot. I wore it with this beige skirt, which I've also only worn once this year. The skirt is printed with grey seagulls, and I always think that gives me leave to wear grey with the skirt--even though grey and brown are an icky combination. All in all, I think my outfit was dull, mismatched, and a terrible way to end the week!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Unfashionista Strikes Again

Well, I warned you that I wouldn't have a post this week, since I'd be out of town for a conference, never takes a vacation, and an Unfashionista never misses an opportunity to expand her wardrobe!

On Wednesday, I had an hour and a half between the last meeting and dinner, and in that time, I managed to buy two souvenirs for my boyfriend, one for my mom, two tops to soon grace this blog, a cookie for my other blog, and some carrots to eat in case dinner proved vegetarian- or Valerie-unfriendly.

When I plopped my goods onto the table, a colleague asked me, "You went shopping?" with the air of someone who barely had time to return to her room and take a quick nap before dinner, let alone scour the streets for bargains. Obviously, my colleagues haven't learned that you have to make purchases while the sun shines (especially true, apparently, in early-curfew Denver).

Oh well, while they were napping/freshening up/dreaming of alcohol-soaked nights on the town, I was finding the bargain of my life at Fusion Federation! I'd never heard of the place before, but it looked like a goth paradise, and it drew me like a moth to a flame with its collection of fishnet stockings, corsets, cocktail dresses, and all sorts of risqué clothing that I can only dream of wearing but must shun because of my diurnal ways and nice-girl reputation. Fortunately, in the back, I found sale racks with some slightly more conservative styles.

The sale rack with the 12$ styles caught my eye. I normally wouldn't pay 12 dollars for a top, but I was willing to make allowances because, right now, I have special needs—namely, summer is coming hard and fast, and I lack summer clothes suitable for an office. On the one hand, I have a mountain of tank tops that I've never even worn (thanks to compulsive lot-shopping on eBay last fall), but on the other hand, who knows how heavy the air conditioning is going to be, and what my coworkers think of bare shoulders? I found two boleros that looked like just the ticket for turning revealing tops into professional attire—and looking closer, I learned that the 12$ sale was also buy one, get one free! That was a deal I couldn't refuse!

When I took my two items to the checkout, I met an even greater surprise when I heard the cashier say, "That'll be $7.49." Turns out one of the tops had been on the 7$ rack (even though they were identical in everything but color), so she was going to give me them both for that 7$-buy-one-get-one-free price. So here I was expecting to spend 12$ for one top, and instead, I got two for $3.50 each! (plus tax.)

Here I am, showing off my acquisitions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Unfashion a Day, Week 11

Pink shoes on deck!

Since I spent all winter wearing boring shoes, my goal is to work the new colorful ones into as many outfits as I can before I put away my winter wardrobe. The pink ones made their debut on Monday, paired with the skirt I wore on the first day of work, and a fuchsia tank top I bought special for the occasion. Since the weather and the workplace don't really warrant strappy tank tops, I covered up with a black blouse that didn't go with anything. (But black goes with everything, right?

Blue shoes encore!

The tri-color shoes that I broke out last week are back! This time I'm taking advantage of their red portion - the platform - and wearing them with the shirt dress I wore in week 4. I decided the dress looked much better tied at the waist, so that's how I wore it. It doesn't hurt that loose clothing cinched at the waist is in right now (even though it's not my personal favorite look).

I also wore this huge cuff bracelet that came in an eBay mixed lot. I never would have bought it for myself, but it did serve to add interest to my monochromatic upper half, so I guess I'm glad I have it now.

Think spring!

I think there's something on my leg, explaining my silly pose. But it's still less silly than the expression on my face in the other shots I took, so it stands. The weather has turned unseasonably warm, and I've had to scrounge around for summery clothes that aren't buried in a tub at the back of my closet. The skirt is one of my most recent acquisitions, which is why it was easily accessible. It is dangerously short. I had to wear it with shorts underneath, which caused it to keep bunching up because of the friction. In spite of all these problems, I still love it! It's so bright green and springy, and the flowers at the bottom match perfectly with my tan blouse (See a better picture of it on Friday of Week 8). Plain brown shoes completed the look.

How to wear a cute short sleeved blouse-like jacket-like thing

The moment has finally arrived when I can wear the indescribable frock (for some reason that's the word that keeps coming to mind) that I altered way back in January. Despite all my tinkering, the fit was still a little frumpy, so I had to wear it mostly unbuttoned, but with that done, I think it looked great! Since the only color in the blouse (another decent word for it) was blue, I wore it with blue jeans and an ultramarine pendant. The shoes are brown backless clogs.

Pink shoes on again!

The forecast for today said 80 degrees, and the only thing I had left suitable for that kind of weather was this pink short-sleeved sweater dress I wore on Valentine's Day. Having learned my lesson about short sweater dresses, I knew I had to wear something underneath it—tights or leggings were my only options. I was kind of bummed that I'd have to wear those wintry kind of clothes in that summery kind of heat, so I compromised, bunching up my regular black leggings to a capri length. They probably would have looked better at Bermuda length, but I can only do so much. I would ordinarily not wear the same pair of ostentatious shoes in one week, but seeing as the pink ones I'd worn Monday were the only shoes that would help balance out the vibrant color of the dress, I wore them anyway! I love the bold colors, but the dress definitely does not flatter my shoulders, and I'll probably sell it in the fall.
...Oh, and just so you know, the weather never got above 61 degrees today.

A heads-up from the Unfashionista

Next week, which would be Week 12—the defining week in which I continue to avoid duplicate outfits longer than I ever have before—but I am going to be out of town all week at a conference. I won't be lugging my giant camera with me, and I fully intend to dress for comfort rather than style, so we'll just bump Week 12 to the following week. Like March 19-23rd never happened!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spend like an Unfashionista

Remember that post when I talked about how much I'd been buying since I started this challenge? I am truly on a spending spree, and today, I'd like to quantify it.

In the photo below, you can see (almost) everything that I purchased from January through early March,  including outerwear and jewelry, but not including undergarments, since I consider those a necessity rather than a fashion item.

Not pictured are a pair of black leg warmers (that cost more than I expected, but once I got to the checkout, it was the point of no return), a trench coat, a pair of winter boots (the second-most expensive item on the list. I paid 27 for them because I'd been wanting fur-lined white boots SO bad ever since I was outbid on a pair on eBay, and they just weren't for sale!), a pair of tan pants, a bracelet, and a pair of green shoes which arrived just after I took the photo, and one other bracelet that I lost as soon as it arrived (It was wrapped in paper, and I have a sneaking suspicion I accidentally recycled it during a cleaning spree. I'm not too upset, because it was my least favorite of the 4 jewelry pieces in that shipment, and it only cost 2 dollars anyway).

Over the three months of Unfashion A Day, the grand total of my fashion spending is 263 dollars. Not too much, considering some people can spend that much on a handful of designer shirts, and I got a whopping 36 items! It averages out to $7.30 an item, and would be even less if it weren't for the shoes, which were consistently (with a few exceptions) 10 dollars and up. One pair (not pictured) cost 40 dollars, but since I paid for half of it with a store credit, it didn't feel like that much.

On the whole, I'm pretty proud of my thrift. I guess that gives me license to buy more stuff!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Unfashion a Day, Week 10


A title would do too much justice to this poorly composed outfit, and I'd rather just forget it. I really wanted to wear that brown pleated skirt, and the only top I could find that I hadn't already worn with it was this pink one. This pink one, is sadly too loose (despite being the only size small in my closet) and it looked like a pajama top I'd forgotten to change out of when getting dressed for the day. I'll do better next time.


I did do better, and I wasn't even expecting to! This is pretty much a repeat of the outfit I wore on Christmas day, and I had no idea it was this cute! The little tie that came with the gold sweater adds such a nice touch to what was otherwise a choice brought about by lack of any other choices. The length of the pants necessitated the wearing of my new low-heeled black loafers, and that in turn necessitated an attempt at stretching them out. I've never worn shoes that narrow before! They were so tight my toes kept getting tingly! I'll let you know how the stretching process went once I get up the courage to wear them again.

Princess in black

If you recall the last time I wore this green and black dress, I messed it up by pairing it with combat boots. Today, I did it the right way, with the tried and true knee socks and Mary Janes. I even curled my hair for an extra-sweet appearance.

Some kind of retro

I've always maintained that belts don't look very good on me, but after acquiring two sweater dresses that came with huge wide belts attached, wearing them, and not dying of shame, I've been force to reconsider this stance. So Thursday, when I was contemplating my waning wardrobe in preparation for the next day, it suddenly occurred to me that I might be able to breathe new life into some of my excessively baggy blouses by wearing them with a belt. I swear this look was trendy in some decade past (80's or early 90's) although I can't find any photographic evidence, and I've seen similar looks in today's fashion. So I wore a floral blouse (actually the least baggy of three that I was considering, which somewhat diminished the purpose and effect), a light green tank top under it, and black yoga pants, and wrapped it all up with a chunky elasticized belt. Later on, I rolled up the sleeves, which I think improved the look.

This is (in my opinion) the most daring look I've tried to pull off yet. I managed to get all the way to work and even keep the belt on for a whole hour, then it started to feel like it was crushing my ribs (which were sore from an overenthusiastic workout the day before), so I took it off and wore the blouse and tank top late 90's style.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Unfashionista waxes philosophical:
On endings, personality, and of course, shoes!

Week 9 has come and gone. Originally, I believed that 9 weeks was the length of my student teaching assignment, which means my Unfashion a Day challenge has surpassed its predecessor. But then I checked the Ashland University course catalog and learned that student teaching is actually "a minimum" of 12 weeks. Three to go before I reach that milestone.

I can, still, honestly celebrate another milestone—the wearing of the last of my sweater dresses. Scroll down to see how it looked. From now on, any sweater dress that you see here will be a repeat appearance--unless I yield to temptation and buy another one when I see a good price. There's something nearly irresistible about the opportunity to acquire a whole new outfit for 12 dollars or less.

Which brings me to my second point—on personality and the nature of me. My boyfriend, wise philosopher that he is, says that the best way to learn about what a person values is to give them a lot of money and see how they spend it. As my income has basically doubled in the past few months, I am a living demonstration of this theory. Since I came into money, a week hasn't gone by that I haven't bought some new article of clothing or accessory (last week it was two new tank tops, a sundress, and a pair of white boots!). I'm still buying at the lowest imaginable price points, but I'm buying a lot more.

So according to my boyfriend's system, what I value above all else is fashion. And I told him, I'm not sure I like that about myself. After all, fashion does not contribute much to society. But he assured me that I'm not just a crazy on a spending spree—fashion was always a part of me—that my frequent sewing projects indicate I am less a weapon of massive consumption and more of an artist. Bless his heart! And to my credit, my newfound wealth hasn't gone entirely to fripperies. I have also pledged (and begun) to devote more of my income to charitable giving.

Phew! Now that my conscience is eased, let's get back on the fashion track and talk about shoes!

Since I learned that stiletto heels don't equate to certain death, my shoe options (and my interest in shoes) have expanded. As I mentioned previously, I'm now a member of several sites devoted to shoes. Just Fabulous is one of them (Hey, if you want to join the club, let me know! I think I can get some kind of credit if I refer you!). All the shoes are 40$ each, and every member is automatically charged for a pair every month (unless they take action to "skip" the month). Even though I'm rich now, forty dollars is still more than I want to spend, so I skip every month and wait until they have a great sale, such as the two-for-one sale where I bought these beauties.

I can barely express how good it feels to finally have some color in my shoe collection! I might, in fact, have started down a slippery slope. Now that I have neutral shoes for every purpose, I'll probably want another pair of shoes in every color. Look out, shoe rack, you're gonna need to start working out to handle this load!

The tri-color shoes on the left, I bought specifically because I knew I could wear them with this blue sweater dress. Honestly, I have no idea what else I have that they will ever match (especially that mustard-yellow color), and they'll probably be out of style by next winter, but at least I was able to make one "just fabulous" outfit out of them. As a bonus, they fit perfectly, which is rare for shoes bought online.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Unfashion a Day, Week 9

Dressed to Impress

Monday, I had to participate in a videotaped teleconference, so I wore my most professional white blouse. I don't own a similarly professional skirt, so I just wore the black tiered one and the professional shoes. They were hidden by a table the entire time anyway.

Because I was wearing white, I also sported a bracelet (cuff, wristband?) I had made from an old worn out glove. While I am fond of cutting the fingers off my gloves and wearing them at my keyboard when my hands are cold, there are only so many pairs of fingerless gloves a girl can own. So with these old gloves, I got creative, cutting off the entire hand, hemming the wristband, and attaching a pair of clip on earrings I'd inherited from my grandmother. Here's a closeup of the result! (with the other, unchopped, glove in the background. Hmm... what to do with that one?)

Shades of maroon

Looking at this photo, I am again astonished at how short my sweater dress is. I swear it looked more modest in the mirror! Normally I wear these dresses with leggings and/or tall boots, but I really wanted to have another shot at the pinkish-beige heels I bought myself for Christmas—the first time I wore them, they were basically hidden by my pants. Now that I've got those shoes out of my system, I swear I'll counteract my short dresses with more coverage on the bottom! (I say that now....) I have one more unworn sweater dress in my Unfashion a Day arsenal.

Valerie, why are you still wearing those hideous shoes?

I am beginning to see why these shoes (the clown shoes, a.k.a bowling shoes) were so heavily discounted when I bought them. At best, they're out of style. At worst, they do not flatter. I'm going to pack them away while they're still in good shape, to bring out later when the 90's are long enough ago that kids will pay good money to buy that retro look. The rest of the outfit is just classic, "I'm tired of dressing up; I think I'll just wear something reasonably comfortable."


This is my favorite outfit of the week. I looooove that striped top. It was very cheap at the thrift store because clearly someone had loooooooved it a good bit before I got to it. The fabric was pilled, and it was starting to develop holes in places. Well, I cleaned up the pills, and the holes were small enough to ignore. And now I wear this shirt with looooooove until the day it finally bites the dust.

I also loooooove the skirt because it is just the right length with just the right amount of flare...not too dressy, not too is just perfect. I bought it from Indigenous Designs, because they have a good mission and I had a coupon.

And lastly, the boots. At first I wasn't sure about them. The whole folded-over-top thing didn't really strike me as all that classy, but you might remember they were on sale for 10 dollars, and I was sorely lacking in mid-heeled black footwear. So I bought them and fell in loooooove. They are comfy, and, like leg warmers, their bulk helps compensate for my overly broad shoulders.

Da Ba Dee Da Ba Di

My new colorful shoes arrived in the mail 2 days ago, and I thought that I could wear the pink pair with this blue top and my grey pants and this set of blue jewelry. I thought, even though the shoes are a completely different color from the top, the jewelry would pull it all together, because it has tiny pink roses in the center of every blue link. I was wrong. Firstly, the pants were too loose, and what with the loose top, I looked like the exact opposite of a loose woman. Secondly, there was not enough pink in the jewelry to make the pink shoes look right. So, I was obliged to wear a pair of sensible flats and tighter black pants. Having to make this compromise made me slightly blue, but I pressed on and realized that I learned a valuable lesson today:

Style Tip Colorful shoes look best when that color is prominent elsewhere in the outfit. It is a bad idea to wear pants one color, shirt another color, and shoes another color still.