Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stripes and Yellow

When I think of black and white stripes, the next color I think of is always yellow. Is it some kind of stripes-bees-association thing? I don't know.

In any case, my yellow ankle-strap heels were a natural choice for pairing with this black-and-white-striped dress. I've only worn this dress once before, and I think I wore it with these shoes that time, too!

But this time I've upped the game by adding a yellow rose to the collar. I'm always excited when I get an opportunity to wear one of my grandma's ostentatious floral brooches (I have about 6, including the red rose that I've pictured on this blog a few times), so, even though I'm back to my monochromatic games, there's something special about this outfit.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Contrasting colors, no way!


My love for colors is well known (funny story—I encouraged one of my coworkers to buy some bright-colored pants he found while we were at Rugged Wearhouse together on lunch break. When he started wearing them to work, my boss told him, "You're turning into Valerie."). However, wearing many colors in the same outfit is not something I often do. I call myself (since about right now) the Queen of Monochrome. Especially when it comes to accessories—I would (almost) never dream of wearing one in a color that couldn't be found somewhere else in my outfit.

That's why, when it occurs to me to wear jewelry in a different color than my clothes, it's a momentous occasion worthy of a whole blog post.

I was all set to pair a pink necklace with this raspberry blouse (inherited from a friend) when I realized I was tired of matching all my colors so meticulously. I was going to wear it with blue, by golly!

So I grabbed my aqua heart earrings (my favorite among the earrings my boyfriend gave me for my birthday—look how they are coated with tiny blue beads that give them a soft misty sparkle!) and a vintage blue-green necklace, and the zigzag shoes that coincidentally have both blue-green and pink, and considered myself a color coordinator with unprecedented courage!

Also, did you notice my hair is curly?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Green but not mean

What could be cuter than a polka-dot top and a necklace with a bird on it, and a slightly comical amount of green in one outfit? I don't know, but at least a couple people said they liked my choices today.

Now on to the topic of aesthetic balance. I have trouble with necklaces because I feel like they always conflict with my shirt's neckline. But in this case, the bird perches charmingly right on the border of black and green, which I feel anchors it without making it lose its flighty, natural feel.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good work

The outfit started from the top, with my hair. This was but a day after a deep-conditioning treatment, and it was greasy as sin! The only thing I could do with it was paste it down on my head, twist it into a bun, and pretend I was going for the sleek look.

However, lest anyone think my "sleek" hair was a sign of a retiring or conservative nature, I had to amp up the look with wildly gaudy clothing. Enter the brilliant kelly green jeggings.

Jeggings, ugh! terrible word, useful article. Much like the fanny pack, which I hear is desperately trying to make a comeback! The particular jeggings in question had been sitting in my closet for weeks, making me fear that I had made a bad purchase. Purchase was, by the way, at Rainbow, and price was 7 dollars. I'm so glad I got the chance to finally wear them.

Combined with huge emerald earrings, equally ostentatious green makeup, fuchsia-trimmed sneakers, and sunglasses in three shades of neon, I'm pretty sure my outfit didn't give anyone the impression of retiring or conservative.

My boyfriend wanted to snap a picture of me with this sculpture, and I made sure that, unlike last time, he got the whole outfit! He did great. High-fives all around!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Now without sleeves

Do you know how many T-shirts I've tried to convert into tank tops?

Many. And they've all ended up as resounding failures, despite the neverending stream of YouTube tutorials on just that subject.

Let this post document my first successful foray into T-shirt surgery!

Technically the top I chose to alter wasn't a T-shirt, which might explain my unprecedented success.

I never much liked the sleeves on this top. I felt, as with many shirts, that the sleeves put too much emphasis on the horizontal lines of my shoulders and made me look blocky. Once I got up the courage to put this shirt to the knife, I first attempted to just slit the sleeves to get rid of the shoulder-poof.

 But that didn't work, so I took a deep breath and cut them off entirely.

Instant improvement! I felt ladylike and delicate in my flowing, newly sleeveless garment, rather than like a sturdy piece of playground equipment.

From then on, it was a simple case of shoring up the ragged edges. I just folded them under and affixed them with Res-Q tape, but when I bring this garment out next spring, I'll probably sew them good and proper.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Welcome / Back

I took advantage of one of the first chilly days of fall to break out my new boots from JustFab! And combined them with the pink dress I haven't had cause to wear since last Valentine's Day. The sweater was from an eBay lot, and this is the first time I've worn it in public.

Whoa, what have I done with my hair? Well, it's been feeling kind of blah since all those bleachings I gave it to get rid of the blue. So this weekend, I deep-conditioned with honey and olive oil. I still haven't gotten all the oil out, so I just keep on putting it in these crazy sloppy updos. The oil actually helps it hold a style rather than falling out as soon as it's dry, which is the usual way of things.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spring / Roll

 With temperatures forecast in the 90's (last week, it was probably the last warm week this year—sigh), I knew I would be dressing light.

This blue, purple, and green sleeveless top hadn't been worn in a while, so I thought I'd wear it with green pants and bring a little springtime vibe to this early September day.

The green capris are fairly new to my collection, mine courtesy of an eBay lot.

Now, wide-leg capri pants are totally out these days, but I love them for their color, and it would be a shame to not wear new clothes just because they're a little out of style.

What is in style is the weird baggy-then-cinched harem pant. Some harem pants are as ugly as sin, but here are a few less-extreme styles that I'd be willing to wear.

I tried to emulate that look with my granny capris, using an age-old trick passed down to me by an ex-boyfriend who grew up in the 80's—hem rolling!

I've tried rolling up my wide-leg pants plenty of time – to avoid dragging them in the mud, to avoid snagging them on a bike chain, etc. – but they've always ended up straightening themselves right out in record time. Turns out the trick to getting your pant legs rolled and keeping them that way is to fold them first!

How to roll your pant legs.

Pinch all the excess fabric in one hand so that the pants fabric is fairly tight around your leg.
Obviously, in this example, the pants are on the ground and not on someone's leg. I hope you can use your imagination.

Keep on pinching.
Holding the pinched spot still, fold the excess material to one side and lay it flat against the pant leg. You will have three layers of fabric folded on top of each other.

Fold up the hem once, about an inch is a good width.

Fold up one more time to lock the folds into position.

Ta da!

Finishing touches:

The night before I wore this, I had a few extra minutes, so I did my toenails to match my shoes. I would only have 3 toes showing, but what the heck, why not? Unfortunately, they apparently weren't completely dry before I went to bed, resulting in the sad smudging you see on my right big toe. But, points for effort? Please?

Monday, September 16, 2013


I don't spend a lot of my dough on any given article of clothing, but when it comes to spending other people's dough, I never hesitate! My friend owed me money, and I asked him to pay some of it out in the form of this over-the-top cat tunic I found on eBay. (Here's a similar listing if you'd like one of your own!)

In the 6 hours that I wore it in public, it garnered me no less than 4 "I love your shirt!"s, including one from a T-shirt-shop representative! I can think of no greater honor.

Because of the wild galaxy background (finally added that 2013 trend to my wardrobe!), I felt like this shirt needed to be paired with some serious bling, so I broke out the cutoff shorts with the sequined pockets, the flip-flops with the bejewelled straps, and the sunglasses studded with rhinestones.

The glasses, by the way, are my token throwback. When was the last time you saw sunglasses with oblong lenses and no frames? For me, it was last year, when I accidentally destroyed the purple sunglasses I'd been carrying around with me since graduation (high school!)—thus opening the way for a spree of sunglass-buying that has seen my collection bloom from a mere 4 (2 of them being broken) pairs to 9—but that's another story. I saw these babies in Rugged Wearhouse and I knew had to take the risk. I figured the engraved details around the frames, and the tiny rhinestones embedded in the lenses, totally redeemed the glasses for being a decade out of style.

Here are some other glasses that are not in style.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Into the Melee

So, in an effort to not let my fabulous fashion blog fade into oblivion, I've decided to (1) make a long-term project of improving the blog's design and seriously pursuing self-hosting, (2) build my audience by posting my less terrible photos on more prominent websites, and (3) Start tagging my posts to make them more searchable.

I'm not sure yet how or if I'll really accomplish #3 (there are a lot of old posts I'd have to tag up), but here is the first outfit that will be subject to #2.

It contains nothing new—I've had all the elements for at least a year (save the dress, which is new this summer but already been worn once); I just wanted to share it because I love the combination of a trendy, vibrant dress with an old-school, crisp black and white vest.

I'm also proud of the addition of my green and yellow Cangle, because Cangles are recycled and just awesome!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Star Wars

In the battle between iconic stars and all-over bling, which will win? Or can they just get along together? Such are the deep questions inspired by this outfit, featuring a few new fashion forays and a smattering of wordplay for good measure.

I've always been averse to spending a lot of money on flat shoes, because I could spend the same amount of money and get a much more exciting pair of high heels! All you have to do is look at a few of my posts to know that I am an aficionado of heels. Any outfit worth wearing (or at least blogging about) has to have at least a couple inches of elevation, in my opinion. But my opinion is slowly changing.

There are times when you want to look fab, yet still be able to walk a couple of miles without crippling pain. At those times, snazzy flats are the answer, and up until a few weeks ago, snazzy flats were something my wardrobe had none of. But not any more! Here's the story.

I've been watching the evolution of shoes and noticing a trend. While for the past few years, ballet styles have pretty much had a chokehold on the flats market. But about last year, I noticed the return of the loafer, the boat shoe, and the smoking shoe. Although I was initially hesitant, my sensible side and sheer boredom with the ballet flat won over, and I purchased two pairs of boat shoes in bright colors.

Today's is the undeniably snazzy blue sequined pair from Apple Bottoms. Some will call them not snazzy but garish, but I say if I have to wear flats, they better stand out loud and proud.

To keep on with the sparkly theme, I'm also wearing my star-printed skirt, and over that, a kimono-inspired top. Cat earrings, because why not?

So, if you are still thinking about my first paragraph, you're wondering, where's the wordplay? Well... What's the title of this post? Now... what is traditionally used to tie a kimono? I'll give you a hint. It's an obi. And... do you see the connection yet?

Monday, September 9, 2013

She's a Pirate

Today's post is a little different, as it involves using my Unfashion prowess to create a costume rather than street clothes. And not to toot my own horn or anything, but I feel like this takes even more prowess, because it requires me to combine a bunch of modern items to create an anachronistic whole.

Today's challenge: the 16th-century pirate, for Pirate Weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival! First, a disclaimer: I'm not going for a historically accurate depiction of a female pirate, because, for one, I don't think there ever were many! I'm just going to do my best thrift-store rendition of the typical piratess getups you can find in costume shops.

I asked my boyfriend to take a picture of me for my fashion blog. He, as any proper man would do, had no clue how to take a fashion photo and cut off my legs! Boys! I let him have it once I looked at the photos later that evening. Believe me, he knows how to take a picture for a fashion blog now!

The hat:

The hat was easy-peasy, as it was a dead ringer for the cheap felt new pirate hats the thrift store was selling in its annual Halloween pop-up shop for 5 dollars each. In fact, it was the same hat, never worn, but donated to the thrift shop and therefore heavily discounted. I got it for $1.12. I didn't like the skull and crossbones that had been pasted on the front, as it was poorly executed and made the hat look fake, so I removed it. I dipped the brim in boiling water to soften the glue, and the felt applique peeled right off with only a faint bit of residue. I might try using a blow dryer for the heat next time, as the water deformed the felt hat a little bit.

The skirt:

The skirt is one of my trusty wardrobe staples. I wear it all the time, although I think I've only pictured it once in this blog. It was a natural choice for a pirate skirt, since almost every costume pirate skirt has an uneven hem. I was a little bummed by the polka-dots in the under-layer, but I tried to ignore them since I really like the under-layer for its gauzy appearance, which adds an extra element of raggedness to the skirt. The top has textured polka dots, so I like to imagine a sort of subtle parallelism is ensuing and not just poor coordination.

The boots:

These boots were one of my favorite purchases of last winter/spring, and I got a lot of use out of them in the month or three that it was still cold enough to wear knee-high boots. They're not particularly pirate-like with their modern lug soles, but since I didn't have to spend any money on boots for the costume (and they were only 10 dollars when I bought them originally), I'm not too concerned. The nice thing about these boots is they're pretty wide on top, permitting them to be folded over for a more period-appropriate look.

The top:

The bodice is what really makes this outfit. I had to pay a little more than I usually prefer to for tops, but what I got for my money was perfect pirate and two reusable articles of clothes. I had scoured the shelves at both sides of my local double thrift shop and was just about ready to give up when I ran across the perfect corset-laced tank top! It was everything I'd been looking for, and even in the traditional pirate red! The problem was it was so small, I practically had to pull a Houdini to get out of it once I'd tried it on (it was only later that I found the side zipper—doh!). For this top, I paid $3.

Well, a good-looking corset is essential to a pirate costume, but it's still no-go without a good old peasant top underneath. Fortunately, black blouses are ubiquitous at the thrift store, and I found one with short puffed sleeves that I figured would be ideal for keeping me cool on a late summer day. The best thing about this blouse was its sheer texture, meaning I would be able to cram it underneath the already-very-tight tank top without busting a seam. This top cost me $4.50, which is a lot for my budget, but for that amount, I got a blouse I think I'll be able to wear again, plus a detachable camisole that came with it.

The accessories:

I wore a worn-and-faded gold-plate necklace I found on the ground the last time I went to the Renaissance Festival. I probably should have taken it to lost and found, but it looked shabby enough to not be worth the trouble. And besides, that was a very pirate thing to do. I wore gold-and-red earrings, and put red bows on everything I could get my hands on! This was a prime example of non-destructive embellishment—the one on the hat was held there with a straight pin, and those on the boots (which served to cover up the size information that was printed on the inside) were attached with Res-Q tape, which came off like a charm when I needed it to.

In total, I spent $8.60 plus tax on this costume, and I didn't even have to do any sewing! Compared to the ready-to wear costume sets that were on sale at the thrift store for 30 dollars, I'd say I made a great haul! I'd put in some sort of pirate reference here, but it's just not coming to me.

Oh, and later on, I posed for a photo with the king, who gave my boyfriend a few pointers about how to treat a lady (by not calling her a wench, for starters). He didn't even get into how to properly photograph a lady for a fashion blog, but it looks like the cameraman for this photo is on the right track! At least he got most of my boots.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

All good things must come to a new beginning

It's been a while since I wrote an Unfashion post.

I was really planning on letting this blog die, or at least reserving it only for interesting DIY demos, since taking the time to get quality photos of myself in my various outfits was time-consuming and unrewarding, considering my nonexistent readership, and the resulting photos were of poor quality and hardly up to the standards of the hundreds of competing fashion blogs out there.

But it's New York Fashion Week, and in its honor, I thought I'd give it another try, just for old times' sake.

Speaking of old times, check out those boots! I think this style of boot hit its peak sometime around 10 years ago, which means it's high time to bring it back—chunky square toes and all!

I actually wore these boots for this blog a few times in its early days, before I decided they were way too outmoded, even for an Unfashionista. But I saved them because they're so comfortable, and after a year and a half gathering dust in a distant corner of my shoe rack (and I mean it—I scraped off a good millimeter of the stuff when I put them on), they're ready for another appearance. I have been seeing some majorly chunky shoes in my regular fashion haunts lately, so that gives me courage.

As for the dress, it is one of those items that can be worn for about one week out of the year—late enough in the summer that the leaves have started falling, but early enough in the fall that you can still wear a sleeveless dress without freezing.

I went all out and did my nails to match, and topped it off with a pair of tan leafy earrings.