Thursday, October 25, 2012

Color Scheming

Today's post is about colors. Mainly because I didn't want to write 3 separate posts about the three outfits I wore the past 3 days.
Can you guess what Tuesday's theme was? OK, I'll tell you. It was green.

I started with a green polo shirt that's so old I really probably shouldn't wear it to work, and since I already looked scruffy, I decided to look cheesy as well, and I dressed myself in more green from head to toe! I even wore frog earrings.

Wednesday, I was going to wear more green, but I changed my plans at the last moment and put on a black and white polka-dotted dress. Normally when I wear black and white patterns, I go with an all black and white theme, but this time I decided that was too drab and I simply had to put some color in it! The color ended up being my favorite shade of cerulean, accented with some aqua earrings and a cute blue barrette.

Didn't bother to take a picture of it,
though, since I hadn't been planning
to blog about it.

Thursday, I had a request for a pink and white ensemble that included a cardigan. Here's what I came up with.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Is this an office or a runway?

Remember when I observed that my coworkers don't seem to notice anything about what I wear except the height of my shoes? Well, today I'm also giving them credit for noticing their color and abundance. One coworker the other day commented favorably on my astounding variety of footwear (I told him not to encourage me; I now estimate my shoe collection at around 50 pairs).

Yes, I pose on chairs at work all the time...It happens
when you work in such a fashion-conscious place.
And Wednesday my cute little outfit with the conservative cardigan caused quite a stir (among two coworkers at the same time!) because it included white shoes after Labor Day! Not that an Unfashionista would ever concern herself with petty little folkways about color, but I will have you know that Emily Post, manners maven (or, more precisely, her Institute) declares white shoes acceptable any time of year.

However, Wednesday also reminded me that my coworkers don't only notice my shoes; they also notice my team colors.

This orange and aqua skirt, the bane of my existence because it doesn't quite match with anything in my wardrobe, always receives a vote of approval from my one colleague who is a Miami Dolphins fan. When I told him I probably wasn't going to wear it any more because it's so hard to coordinate, he just about died. OK, fine. I'll wear it again. Maybe with one of the many Dolphins T-shirts he's trying to hard to get me to buy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Perfect Geometry

Pink and brown is one of my favorite color combinations. That's why finding this top at the thrift store (for under 5 dollars, though I can't remember the exact price) was such a treat. I love it!

Though I've worn it a few times before with pants, I wore it today over a brown pleated skirt, slightly mismatched brown knee socks, and a pair of pink shoes in a shade a tad cooler than any of the pinks in the top. The contrast between my socks and shoes is kind of bizarre. I could stare at them all day. I just wish there weren't silver dots on the shoes. This outfit won't win any awards for color coordination, but where it really shines is in the shape department.

Take a look at the pattern on the shirt. It appears kind of wild and disordered at first, but then you start to notice the curved pathways and color blocks in oval shapes. Then take a look at the necklace. What's that? Oval shapes!

OK, so maybe I'm getting excited over nothing, but, while I usually succeed at making my jewelry match my clothing in color, this is the first time I've also been able to make it match in form!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Asian Fusion

If you read my other blog, you'll remember when I mentioned searching Google to convert centimeters to inches, to find out if something I wanted to order would fit me. That something was this dress.

It was called a cheongsam, I learned. I'd always been somewhat fond of that particular style of dress, which you usually see in Chinese import shops and movies. I finally ran across one in my price range on eBay, in a particularly enticing design and color scheme, so I bought it. Then I waited 2 long months to wear it, encountering all sorts of challenges along the way.

The first thing I learned upon trying it on was that it was too tight around the shoulders and too loose around the waist. Nothing I could do about the shoulders, but I tailored the waist so it fit better.

Unfortunately, that did nothing to solve the problem of the dress being too short (that darn Asian sizing!). Sure, it looks decent from the front, but the side slits are dangerously high, and forget about bending over! At that moment, I gave up the notion of ever wearing this dress to work.

Until a few weeks later, when I began to consider wearing it not as a dress, but as a tunic. Paired with pants, this audacious dress would become a perfectly acceptable fashion statement! I tried it on with black pants but wasn't all that impressed. I tried it on with boots and leggings and still wasn't impressed.

And then I waited another couple of weeks, and tried the boots and leggings again. They were all right, but the waistband of the leggings was too bulky under the dress. I traded them for opaque black tights. They worked better, but provided less coverage than the leggings.

My solution was to duct tape the side slits. That's right, duct tape. You can't see it, but on the back of each slit is a small strip of duct tape holding the two sides together and providing an extra inch-and-a-half of modesty.

Now, for jewelry, I had this sea-green seashell bracelet/earring set that I've been waiting for a chance to wear since early spring. The colors were right, but I was worried that the very casual, beachy look of the jewelry would clash with the elegance of the dress. And then I remembered I was wearing rock star boots. I had already taken elegance and thrown it to the wind!

So I went ahead and wore the beachy jewelry, ending up with an unusual European/Asian/Island theme that definitely made me a little self-conscious on the bus. At least, one person commented on how "lovely" my "blouse" was. Still not sure if that case of mistaken identity means success or failure.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The UnPhilosophy of Online Shopping

Up until I started my job in January, I was almost exclusively an in-person shopper. I would hit the stores on weekdays right after they opened at 10 am, peruse the racks leisurely in a nearly empty shop, and return home with new clothes only if they actually looked good on me. But working from 8-4:30 kind of put the kibosh on that habit—if I wanted to shop at stores, I would have to do it when everyone else was doing it, fighting traffic and crowds all the while. Kinda takes the fun right out of shopping. So online shopping became my friend. I was able to get prices almost as good as I would get on the clearance racks, and the selection was even larger! The problem, of course, was that I was no longer able to try before buying, leading to all sorts of disappointments.

In my last post, I briefly recounted the tale of how I ended up with orange shoes and an orange dress,, even though I don't really like orange—thanks mainly to misleading photos on eBay.

Today, I will tell you more about the dress.

When I first put on the dress, it fit all right. That is, there were no parts of it that were too tight or too loose. However, I had trouble getting the bodice of the dress to fully cover my chest vertically.
Here's how it looked on the model.
Here's how it looked on me.
It took some tugging and rearrangement, and an unconventional forward lean on the shoulder seams to get it mostly in place, and after that, more tugging and rearrangement approximately every hour to keep it there.

The lesson learned from this escapade is simple: Stop buying new clothes on eBay from China—they are invariably sized for midgets.

Even without tiny Chinese models throwing off your perception of size, buying online is always a risk. I keep learning this the hard way (but the lesson doesn't stick). Another recent example: I impulsively bought 3 pairs of boots from ShoeDazzle because they were half off, knowing that, since they have a free returns policy, I could pick the one I liked best and send the others back. Every time I've bought shoes from ShoeDazzle in the past, I've bought an 8.5 and found it to be too or almost-too small, so this time I ordered one 8.5 (just in case) and two 9's. The 9's were so big, they were sliding around all over my foot! And the one boot's shaft, which had looked to fit so snugly on the skinny model in the picture, was positively billowing around my calf. It was only after I had discovered all those problems with my purchases that I noticed my entire order had been "final sale." No returns for me! I was lucky enough to get the company to exchange the big ones for a smaller size, but even so, I have blown 70 dollars on three new pairs of boots when I only wanted one.

The lesson learned from this story is, maybe shopping online isn't such a great idea.

I need to seriously consider going back to my old ways of actually shopping outside the home. I wonder if the decreased likelihood of failure is worth the inevitable stress. I wonder if I could convince my employer to give me a morning off periodically for shopping purposes.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Unfashionista L'Orange

My coworkers rarely comment on my style and style experiments, but they do occasionally have something to say about my shoes—mainly something about how high they are. Yes, I have a penchant for tall footwear, and this pair of canvas espadrilles is my tallest yet!

I found them on eBay for a little under 20 dollars. I had ordered a similar pair in pink from a shoe site earlier in the year, but it had been too small, and by the time I sent it back, the larger size was out of stock. Ever since then, I've keenly felt the loss of what almost was, and thus when I saw them again on eBay, I was compelled to buy, even though I recently vowed to stop getting peep-toe shoes (really, what's attractive about twisted digits poking out the end of your shoe, huh?). These came in several colors, but I chose beige because I thought it might be nice to have another pair of summer shoes in a neutral color. The photo on eBay made the shoes appear to be a light eggshell, and the colors on the platform a rainbow of pastels.

Unfortunately, when they arrived, they were darker than pictured, and the platform coloration very heavy on the orange.

Around the same time, another eBay purchase arrived at my door: a dress I'd bought from a Chinese seller. This, too, had come in a variety of colors, and this, too, I had selected in "beiges" because from the picture, it looked like it had a nice mix of colors including some pretty shades of purple and green. Unfortunately, when it arrived, I learned that the purple and green had been an optical illusion, and the actual color of the dress was very heavy on the orange.

Orange is not my favorite color. In fact, I can say with reasonable confidence that orange is my least favorite color. But I guess every Unfashionista must learn to diversify sometime, and I daresay the arrival of two overly orange articles of clothing in one week is a fairly good sign that that time is now.

I wore them together with simple navy earrings and a pair of ankle bracelets.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to renounce the fashion gods

Well, I tried. I gave it a fair shake, that sack-like, shapeless, sleeveless, muscle-tee kind of look. I don't know if there's a word for it, but here are some pictures of what I'm talking about.

I judged the style harshly from the moment I saw it, but I didn't write it off until I'd tried it myself, and found it made me look like an emo carrot with a serious fashion disability.

Then I wrote it off. Big baggy tops with unstructured shoulders will never look good on me. So I'm taking that trend and shoving it. Hear me, gods of fashion! You may impose stupid styles on the rest of the world, but I will never bow down to you! I'm taking the big ol' pillowcase you've tried to pass off as a shirt, and I'm making it look good on me!* Here's how.

1. A few months after my first dubious experience with the black peacock feather shirt, I was willing to give it another shot. But trying it on the mirror, I soon realized it was just as unflattering as it had ever been. It needed some shape. I bunched up all the fabric in the back so it was more form-fitting, and wow! Instant improvement! I held it all in place with a binder clip and took it off for step 2.

2. My plans were to basically keep it just like that, all bunched up, and just secure the fabric in place with something a little better-looking than a binder clip. But I realized having a bunch of bunched fabric in the back of your shirt looks pretty amateur. So to make it look like it was designed that way, I decided to decorate it! Fortunately, I had some black ribbon I'd salvaged from a pair of lace-up sandals that bit the dust this spring. I tied a bit of one into a bow, which I would later use to cover up the mess of my alterations.

3. Next, I poked a safety pin through the shirt from the underside, right next to the binder clip. I was going to use the safety pin to keep all the folds in place.

4. I poked the safety pin through the back of the bow.

5. I ran the safety pin over all the gathers of fabric, and pushed it back down through the shirt at the other side, again, right next to the binder clip.

6. I closed the safety pin on the underside, prayed (but not to the fashion gods--I've renounced them!) that it would all hold together, and released the binder clip. It held together! Cha-ching! Five minute fix!

Here's how the shirt looks now in the back. (But slightly less lopsided after a few careful adjustments)

I wore this newly improved top pulled down low over my black tiered skirt (also heavily altered). The color match was excellent, giving the appearance of a drop-waisted dress, which is conveniently in style.

There may have been almost no teal in the top, but there was some, so I took the opportunity to wear my new teal shoes (Amazon warehouse deals, 9 dollars!). I even painted my nails and wore makeup to match! Then I rounded out the look with some black beaded stretch bracelets.

Heck yeah! That's how you turn a hideous top into an ensemble to be proud of!

*To be fair to the poor fashion gods, this top was originally a size large, when I usually wear a medium or even a small. So it was at a disadvantage to begin with.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spring into fall

This skirt that I bought in the spring remains one of my favorite articles of clothing because it's so fun and flouncy! The only problem is I've only been able to find one shirt that looks good with it.

Then last week, while trying to come up with the perfect bottom to wear with the crazy multicolored top you see, I noticed that my unmatchable skirt was actually a pretty good match!

Though I would describe the top as predominantly brown, it has a lot of green in it, and so does the skirt! The neutral beige flowers on the skirt complement the brown in the top. The relative lengths of the pieces make for a well balanced ensemble.

One weird thing about this shirt is it comes with a built-in necklace. So if you don't want to wear blue jewelry, well, too bad! I wore blue jewelry.

As a side note, I might mention that the weather has been kind to me this year. It's already October, and my summer wardrobe is still running the show—and running into some minor hiccups. Like today, when the forecast said it would be 76 degrees, then it barely got above 66. My poor underdressed tootsies! I had to take off my shoes and sit on my feet most of the day to keep them warm.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Those Who Wait

Ever since I mentioned that it would be cool to wear my brown housecoat over a blue sheath dress, well, I knew I needed a blue sheath dress. I finally found one on eBay for $5.27 (including shipping)! It was a size too large, but at that price and in the perfect shade of robin's egg blue, who's gonna be picky?

There are few things I like about the coming of winter, but knee-high boots are definitely one, and I figured this dress would look smashing with my knee-high brown boots. I've been planning this outfit for weeks (first I had to wash the smoke smell out of the dress - yuck! - and then I had to take in the sides, and then I had to wait for the weather to be just right) and, when it was finally time, I was really excited to wear the boots for the first time this fall.

Unfortunately, when I tried them on with the dress, the effect wasn't quite as awesome as I'd envisioned. The boots were a shade too dark to really complement the brown on the dress, but I'll deal with it.

I wore dangly star earrings in shades of teal, not because they matched the floral pattern of the housecoat in any way, but just because I felt like it. You can do that kind of thing when you're an Unfashionista.