Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Unfashionista Ruminates

I ran across some fashion websites the other day (,,, and they confirmed two things:
  1. My photography is not up to par (what, do all these girls have their own personal photographers?)
  2. My style is not even close to fashionable.
The latter is due, in large part to the following, which was also confirmed by my perusal of the fashion websites: Everything that is currently trendy is ugly as sin! The following is a list of style trends that (despite my fervent hopes) look like they're here to stay.
  1. Baggy tops.

    There was a time in my life when this kind of shirt was all I would wear. Of course, that was before I turned top-heavy and learned that that was not the look for me. Unfortunately, right now it is the look of the masses. Listen, masses. If you're built like a runway model, you can pull off the baggy-shirt look. If you aren't, like 99% of the population, you cannot.
  2. Skinny jeans.
    Much derided in my Fat Day Fashion Review of last year, this type of pants shows no sign of diminishing in popularity. You can still find flared jeans in the stores, but you don't see any of these cutting edge fashion bloggers deigning to wear something so flattering, oh no.
  3. Rather along the same lines as #1, belts worn at the waist.
    I remember those heady days when we wore our pants at the hip and our shirts untucked. It looks like they are gone for the foreseeable future.
  4. Round sunglasses.

    This trend doesn't seem to have yet hit the stores, which are still wallowing in last year's wayfarers, and the previous year's aviators, but they're coming, no doubt about it. As they are yet unavailable but to the privileged few, I have not had the opportunity to try this style on, but I can't imagine it's going to do any favors to my chubby cheeks (as a side note, I tried my aviators on upside-down, and they looked surprisingly good on me! I may have to pursue this further).
These trends have sent me into a fathomless funk. Fashion is my whole reason for blogging! If there's nothing fashionable that suits my taste, what am I going to do!?

The past few days, I've reluctantly tried to sport a few of the above-mentioned trends on my person, with limited success and much depression. Granted, I wasn't able to fully assimilate all the trends, but even my pitiful attempts were downright depressing. I'll show you a few of my efforts in another post.

But in the meantime, here's a comforting thought.This isn't a fashion blog; it's an Unfashion blog! I'm under no obligation to dress trendy! If I don't want to, I don't have to! The same holds true for you.

Remember, ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to be a fashion victim! Style Tip If you want to buck the trends, then buck 'em, by golly! Just be forewarned that you'll have to put a little extra effort into your appearance, to ensure that people know you're not just a lazy slob who got stuck in the last decade.

The upshot to these style websites is they are user-driven. So maybe, just maybe, I can make my minority views heard just enough to turn the tide of fashion back in my direction.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Redeem a Hopeless Skirt

Meet one of my ex-choir skirts.
This is the one whose zipper broke on the day of a choir concert and was promptly relegated to that great closet in the sky—or in the case of most of my retired clothes, the "Project Box." I couldn't bear to let this twice-worn article of clothing go to waste, so I decided to convert it from a long skirt to a short skirt.

Today's post will walk you through the steps of doing it!

I'm sorry the photo is so indistinct. Who knew shooting the details of black fabric could be such a challenge!? In fact, all of my photos came out so terribly, that I will not be including them in the step-by-step, so I'll try to give detailed directions instead.

Since I like my skirts fluffy and twirly, and since the top is where the broken zipper is, we are going to discard the top two tiers and make this into a 3-tiered, above-the-knee skirt, tied with a drawstring.

If you strain your eyes, you might be able to see that this skirt is made of 5 tiers of gradually increasing fullness, and the borders between tiers are bands of crocheted fabric. Underneath is a plain black liner.

1. Take a pair of scissors and cut off the top two tiers, just above the crocheted band. Make sure you cut the liner at about the same level. Discard the top section.

2. Now you should have two wide bands of fabric: the outer layer and the liner inside that. Turn the outer layer inside out and put it back where it was, surrounding the liner. The newly cut edges should be right next to each other, and the outside surfaces should be facing each other. Sew a seam along the cut edges (You should be sewing through the top of the crocheted band on the outer layer), attaching the liner back to the outer layer.

3. Turn the skirt right side out again, so the liner is inside and the outer layer is outside with its outer surface facing out. You should now see a nice clean seam at the top of the skirt. We are going to create a waistband by making a "tunnel" between the liner and outer layer. So make sure the top seam is at the exact top of the skirt, and then sew another seam through both layers, this time at the bottom of the crocheted band.

4. Now we are going to create the drawstring. At first, I tried to make the drawstring out of some of the discarded pieces of the skirt, but it didn't end up long enough. A ribbon is probably better anyway because it's more slippery and won't make your waistband bunch up in spots. Cut one a few inches longer than the actual waist circumference of the skirt. I chose a kind of murky grey one that I'd had sitting around for a while. It used to be a pale green, but I had attempted to color it black.  Style Tip  If you're thinking about using calligraphy ink to dye any of your clothing items, please stop. It never works out.

5. For this step, you will need a ribbon threader or "bodkin," which I actually have a picture of! You probably won't be able to find one for 10 cents any more, but I'm sure you can find something. Put one end of the ribbon through the eye of the threader, and then poke the threader through the crocheted band, into the tunnel we created in the last step. Push the ribbon all the way through the tunnel, and when the threader's tip has almost reached the opening where the tail of the ribbon is sticking out, push it back out through the crocheted band. There should be less than an inch of space between the two ribbon openings.

6. Adjust the gathers around the ribbon so they are evenly dispersed around the waistband.

You're finished! Not difficult at all!

I wore this skirt to work with a grey top and black shoes. The silver of the ribbon clashed with the grey of the top, so I tucked the ribbon into the waistband.

Wearing all blacks and greys gives me the grand opportunity to wear my black cat jewelry, which I did with abandon. On the whole, I like the effect. In fact, now that I have an above-the knee black skirt, I think I'm going to get rid of that other black layered skirt (see Wednesday in this post), since I never really liked the way it looked on me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday's Unfashion:
The End and the Beginning

Yesterday was the last day of final exams at the university, which means the semester is over and so is Unfashion A Day. I thought it fitting to end the series in this red dress, because it was almost the dress that started this blog.

About two years ago, I saw this dress on the rack at Target, and became infatuated with it. This marked a fashion turning point for me—always before, I'd been content to buy whatever clothes I could find that were cheap and not ugly—this was the first time I'd actually coveted a piece of fashion. But still, I bided my time, waiting until I found it on the sale rack at the end of the season.

The boots, I found on Labor Day at a thrift store. They must have been in vogue a few years before, because now this style is clogging up the thrift store shelves as everyone purges their wardrobe of them. But at the time I bought them, they were still a rarity, and since I happened to get them for 5 dollars, they rapidly became my most prized possession.

Later in September, when the idea of a fashion blog was just a gleam in my eye, I wore the dress and boots to a wedding. I clipped up my hair with yellow roses and forgot to wear a matching pin on the dress. The skirt was shorter than I'd ever worn before, and red?! Red? Are you even allowed to wear red at a wedding? I felt so daring, even dangerous, that I thought my outfit would be the perfect one to start out my blog. Well, my mom took pictures (she didn't seem to have any issues with me wearing a red dress to a wedding) but never sent them to me, and I didn't want to ask, since I didn't want to make a big deal over a blog that might never succeed, so I started my blog without the red dress.

Now, ages and ages later, when outfits like that one are a daily affair, and the blog has succeeded (if only with a tiny audience) I bring the red dress back into the spotlight. This time (following my style tip of always accessorizing a solid-color dress), I jazzed it up with a beaded rope belt. The end.

Wait, is that it? you say. Well, yes. I even forgot to wear earrings. Unfashion a Day is over, and I'm going to take a nice long break!

Or so I say. I have been taking a photo of myself every workday since I started my job. By now, 5 and a half months later, it's such a habit that I don't know what I will do with myself in the mornings! I'm sure there will be some new Unfashion in your life very soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Unfashion A Day, Week 19

Pastel's Last Gasp

I got this shirt a number of years ago as a gift. It was enormous. I added some darts in the back to give it a more tailored fit, but when I tried it on Monday morning, it was even more enormous than I remembered. It just keeps getting bigger! To kind of disguise its overwhelming size, I cinched it at the waist with a black belt and tied together the disparate levels of brightness with black pants. You'll notice that the embroidered florals running up each side are too far to the side (bigness issue) and their bottom edges get awkwardly covered by the belt (accessorizing issue). I spent the whole day wishing I could go home so I could get out of this dowdy outfit. I think it's high time for me to retire this blouse.

Into the Ocean

Mermedallion. Do you like how
I shot it next to a treasure chest?
Wasn't that a clever touch?
To make up for Monday's debacle, I had to look extra-spiffy on Tuesday. So I broke out this teal dress, which I think is one of my most flattering articles of clothing. Though the sleeves are a little too puffy for my taste, the rest of the dress fits like a dream! (And as an added bonus, it's pretty much my only dress that's a size small, making me feel oh-so dainty whenever I wear it!) Style Tip When wearing a solid-color dress, make sure to sport an accessory or two to break up the monotony! For this dress, the accessory was a mermaid medallion (painted on a piece of seashell) hanging from a sea-green string—one of the many pieces of jewelry I got in my last eBay lot. My lime green shoes were just different enough from the other colors to seem interesting, and just similar enough to not stand out. On the whole, I think this outfit is another example of analogous color schemes at their finest!

Navy Green

In an example of analogous color schemes at their somewhat less fine, Wednesday I wore a blue-grey top with green pants. The blue-grey top puzzled me—with its stripes of navy blue and light blue (so washed out as to appear almost grey), it was too dark to wear with black or khaki. It probably would have looked good with blue jeans, but jeans are only to be worn to work as a last resort! So I decided to try it with green pants. This gave me another opportunity to wear those grey ankle boots (side note: some day, I will find a way to wear those boots so they aren't completely covered by pants!) The outfit looked...OK...but don't think I'll be winning any style awards for it.

Black Attack

When you buy clothes in a lot on eBay, you're usually buying the bottom of someone's closet, which means you usually have the seller's fashion sense (and 5-year-old styles) imposed on you. For example, the last large lot I bought was almost exclusively in shades of blue and blue-green, with a few neutrals like off-white and black. Stripes were a huge theme. Wednesday's shirt was one from that collection; this black-and-white shirt is another. Again, the length was too long to wear with any of my skirts, so I wore it with pants (isn't it ironic that my summer tops oblige me to wear pants more often than I ever wore in the winter!). Black pants. Black shoes. My only option for color was going to be in my jewelry, but instead, I chose a white bracelet and silver earrings. It's worth noting that after shooting my photos, I decided the earrings were too ornate and traded them for these simpler, but still silvery, glass earrings.

You may be wondering where Friday's entry is, and the answer is: I'm withholding it. This is the last week of Unfashion A Day, and I want it to go out with a bang! That means I'm going to drum up the suspense and make you wait to see my final outfit. And wait, and wait, and wait.

Oh, and Geoff? All those ridiculous smiles are for you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unfashion a Day, Week 18

Looking Springy

The weather continues to throw me challenges, as I try to decide what's the best outfit for temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's. Long sleeves are too much, short sleeves are not enough. I've been making ample use of my 3/4 sleeve shirts, such as this beige one which I've only worn once since starting this project. I've had this floral skirt for almost 7 years, making it one of the longest-lived articles in my clothing collection, but it still serves me well. Upon seeing it, one of my coworkers commented, "You look very springy today," which I will take as a compliment. Note, however, that she did not say, "You look very stylish," only increasing my suspicion that this skirt is beginning to look a bit dated. I bought these shoes for just 5 dollars, even though I thought they were a little ugly, because I needed a pair of brown flats. But because they are a more beigey brown, I've had trouble matching them to anything. They did, however, go exceedingly well with Monday's outfit.
Summer Sweater

I can't resist a bargain, even when it's on something that's going to be difficult to wear. Such is the case with this long striped sweater, which was marked down to 6 dollars. Too short to wear as a dress, but too long to wear with a skirt, this sweater limits itself solely to long pants—and preferably tight long pants at that. The colors - tan and dark olive green - are incredibly difficult to match, as they can't be worn with any bright colors or even "pure" neutrals such as black or white. I thought I was going to be stuck wearing this with jeans only, but then I remembered this pair of muted brown pants. I had been planning to get rid of these pants, since they are a little too big, but now that they are the only thing I can wear with this top, I just might have to keep them. Curses! My second dilemma occured because the top is a heavy knit with short sleeves. Again, too warm for hot weather, too skimpy for cold weather. It happens to be a decent choice for these late days of spring, but I can't see myself ever getting much use out of it after that.
Tennis Club Meets Yacht Club

Wednesday's outfit was another challenge. I wanted to wear this polo top, simply because I haven't yet, and a skirt simply because I wore pants the day before. The top went swimmingly with my khaki skirt, but when it came to footwear, I was stumped. I didn't want to go too dressy, since the top was so casual, but the earth tones of the clothes necessitated similar shades for the shoes, and all my casual shoes were the wrong colors, and I'm still not sure if I can get away with wearing flip-flops at work. After much deliberation, I finally settled on my zigzag striped heels, which were the perfect colors (they even have a maroon stripe that almost exactly matches the shirt), but definitely too fancy.
Ice Princess

I started this outfit with a pair of blue/teal knee socks, which I've only worn once this year and wanted to wear more. To go with them, I picked the blue bolero that I got in Denver. Sadly, when I tried them together, I realized the shades of blue clashed, and I couldn't pull it off. Fortunately, I have the fabulous blue shoes I gushed about so much last week, which matched perfectly. Since there was so much blue on top and on bottom, I went all white for the rest of the outfit, choosing a white skirt and white tank top. That was almost white overkill, but since I balanced it out with all the blues, it worked pretty well. I also have an abundance of blue/teal jewelry that I got in an eBay lot. This time, I wore a cheap teal necklace with matching earrings. The mix of blue and white reminds me a bit of winter, but it's such a fun combination that it reminds me of spring!
Operation: Code Pink

In this, the second-to-last week of Unfashion A Day, I guess I am beginning to take requests for my outfits. Faithful reader Geoff wanted a predominant color of "dark pink." I hope by "dark pink," he meant "brilliant magenta," since that's the only shade of pink I have in my collection other than "pastel." And since my pink dress is out for the count, I was basically left with two choices: a pink tank top or this pink tee. Since I wore a tank and bolero the day before, the Tees had it. The first and most recent time I wore this top, I sported black pants, so I decided to steer clear of black. I chose grey pants, mainly because they gave me a good excuse to wear my recently neglected grey ankle boots. To keep the pink predominant, I also chose my most blaringly pink rose earrings.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Unfashion a Day, Week 17

Electric Blue Galoo

You can barely see 'em in the photo, but the inspiration for this entire outfit was the shoes on my feet. An ornately stripey mix of blues and browns, with a healthy helping of glitter just for kicks, these kicks are definitely lots of fun. They bear the honorable distinction of being the first pair of flats I've owned that I've ever felt I could call "fabulous." The blue in them is so vibrant, I had trouble matching them to anything, but fortunately they are a dead-ringer for this blue tank top. Brown was the only logical choice for my skirt, and it just so happened, with its flutters and frills, to be the perfect counterpoint to my snug-fitting tank. The brown bolero I picked up in Denver kept my arms covered, and I topped it all off with some turquoise dangly earrings.

Poison Ivy

Warm weather has at last hit us, inspiring me to wear short sleeves ... without a jacket! Tuesday's selection was almost an arbitrary choice; however, I must say I'm still a fan of pairing this green skirt with black because of the slightly evil vibe it projects. Or maybe that's just me. Since the last time I wore this color combination, I wore my Interview Shoes, I decided to step down into flats for this attempt.

Miss Business

Abandoning my love for color in favor of making a smashing impression at a seminar, I donned my black sheath dress and Interview Shoes. I've worn this dress only once before—on a sweltering summer day—and thence I learned that even though this dress is sleeveless, it is much too thick to wear in hot weather. So why I chose to wear it on a day when the highs were predicted near 90, I have no idea. Fortunately for me, the location of the seminar was air conditioned to polar temperatures, and it never even got hot outside! I was grateful I had thought to bring a white shrug with me. To break up the black monotony, I wore an ostentatious pair of turquoise earrings.

Miss Ready for Anything

Thursday was a special challenge, as it was the Spring Convocation and Awards Ceremony where I work. I was not receiving an award; however, I was expected to be present for the entire event. In addition, I was expected to help set up and take down! What to wear when you must look formal enough to be respectful, but casual enough to be able to handle any number of manual tasks? I decided on pants rather than a skirt, a collared knit top rather than a blouse or casual top, and low-heeled shoes. Ironically, since I stretched these shoes because they were too tight, they are now too long, and they were falling off everywhere I walked the entire day! However, I think I made a good choice with the rest of the outfit. The red top was even one of the University's colors!

Little Miss

As I'd been sporting sober outfits and long skirts all week, I wanted to wear something fun on Friday! I chose my orange and blue skirt (which is so fun, I think I'm going to run out of ways to wear it very soon). This white top is new to me, and I'm really liking the bow at the neckline, which makes it cute and girly, just like the skirt! I wore  my white-going-on-yellow deck shoes again, cause they're the only ones that could have matched, and vowed that I will acquire some new white shoes or sandals before the summer is out.