Thursday, November 29, 2012

Color Me Jewel Toned

I got to wear my favorite color combination again today. As you well know, I've been wanting a pair of purple shoes for some time, and, while shopping  this weekend, I noticed they had finally dipped down into my price range at 19.99$. I found them at Burlington Coat Factory near my home, but didn't have time to buy them right then (the real reason I didn't buy them was I was wearing jeans tucked into boots, and it had taken so long to get them arranged without lumps and bumps that I didn't want to take them off to try the shoes on!). I'm glad I waited, because on Sunday, I was out again at a mall farther away when I found them at a different Burlington for only 10 dollars! Score! They were so cheap I was able to buy another thing on my want list as well: silver glittery heels, which I got for 17 dollars (If I'd been thinking ahead, I could have gotten them for 10 dollars last spring, but I didn't know then that I would ever want glittery shoes).

The color on these shoes is especially rich because of their velvety texture (which, I've learned from experience with other shoes, is very fragile and scrapes off whenever anything hard touches it—a good reason to wait until shoes like these are 10 dollars or less before buying). An especially rich purple is especially hard to match, and as you probably also know, I'd been concerned that if I bought purple shoes, I wouldn't have anything to wear them with. That's mostly true—except for this dress that I'm proud the heck of.

The colors are so bright and beautiful on their black background, they go perfectly with my new purple shoes.

The dress also permitted me to finally sport the glittery green necklace that I've been trying to wear ever since spring. Unfortunately, I'm not as proud the heck of this necklace as I am of the dress I wore it over. But we can't win 'em all, can we?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Matchy-Matchy

What goes best with a green-on-green skirt?

More green!

I got the skirt at Famous Labels, a store which sells clothes super cheap and then goes out of business and sells them even cheaper—hence, this brand-new skirt cost me three dollars.

I tried it on, and it fit a little tight, but I bought it anyway. It was only when I got home that I realized it was a girls' 7-14. Which just goes to show, you shouldn't write off shopping in the kids' department, because now that kids are all obese, you just might find something that fits you—and you probably won't pay as much for it.

I wore the skirt for the first time today along with this simple green shirt. Because the Unfashionista knows no "too much," I then topped off my look with chartreuse fingernails and my green heart earrings that I've sung the praises of before. The only thing in the outfit that wasn't green was the shoes, and that's probably only because I don't have any green shoes for winter.

The challenge with this outfit lay in not hiding the cute little bow/tassels at the top of the skirt. I looked stupid with my shirt tucked in, and the tassels were completely obscured with the shirt untucked. The solution? I bunched up the part of the shirt that covered the tassels and secured the gathers with a safety pin. It looks almost like it's supposed to be that way!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


From time to time (as in two posts ago), I try to follow the herd and do things like combine patterns. But I just can't deny my true nature. Coordinated colors are much more my style.

Take this outfit, with 3 different shades of pink and nothing else (except neutral black and silver)!

I took my never-worn coral cropped sweater, paired it with a fuschia tank top underneath, and tied it all together with the pink shoes on my feet.

With all this matching going on, it's only fitting that I wear it all with matchstick pants—which, I finally learned, is the official term for these black dress pants that I have learned to love as the trendiest pair of bottoms in my wardrobe. They are also known as cigarette pants, and they are distinguished from skinny jeans by (1) not being jeans and (2) having a straight leg opening rather than a tapered one. The only thing I don't love about them is they run a little short, making my ankles mighty chilly in November weather!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Merry Thanksgiving in advance

Remember that magenta-and-green skirt that I didn't wear last Christmas?

Well, almost a year later, I finally brought it out of the back of my closet—this time for a Thanksgiving party at my office.

In all the years that I've owned this garment (6 and a half), I've never been able to wear it with a shirt that quite matched. I've worn it with black (there are some black swirls in the pattern, but a black top just sucks all the bright and beautiful out of this bottom), and I've worn it with green (the green T-shirt I contemplated wearing it with for the Christmas party, but that T-shirt is a little too light to go with the emerald shade of the green in the skirt), but only this year have I actually acquired a shirt that really looks right with it--a maroon tank top that matches the main pink color of the skirt almost exactly!

And I am so pumped, because I adore this skirt (which may explain why I've kept it for 6 and a half years even though I've found so little accompanying clothing or occasion to wear it for)! Unlike many other peasant skirts that skimp on the material (my white one, for instance, which is basically an A-line skirt divided into sections), this skirt is ample, flowy, and flouncy. When I got it (6 and a half years ago, in case you've forgotten), it was covered with glitter, but in the intervening time, most of the glitter has fallen off, leaving little dark speckles. I don't know if I can wash them out. I've also noticed some runs in the fabric and some dirty-looking wrinkle lines. This skirt needs some TLC. I don't know if I have the ability to provide the C, but I can definitely give it the L.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mixing Patterns

If you spend any time on fashion and clothing websites, you'll see a lot of outfits comprising a wild mishmash of colors, patterns, and textures. You'll also see graphic tees tucked into skirts (with half the graphic covered up, which I will never comprehend). I take a more conservative (some might say obsessive-compulsive) approach to coordinating my dress, preferring to pair colors with similar colors, prints with solids, and distinctive textures with textureless materials.

Today's outfit is my attempt to break that habit.

On the top, I'm wearing a jade-colored shirt in floral lace, and below that a satin black and white skirt with stars. These do not go together. But I tried anyway, just to see if I could get away with it. Unfortunately, the shirt makes me look fat, so you might say I didn't quite get away with it (this is the last time I'll wear this top!). The irony is that ruched tops are supposed to disguise your fat—I guess they don't work that way when they're too big to start with. I learned something today.  Style Tip Ruched tops can hide bulges, but make sure they fit tightly, because they also add bulk!
Because one strange pairing is about as much as I can handle, I chose to wear unobtrusive black boots.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home-made Dickey

The dickey is not a very popular item in the fashion world right now (and with a name like dickey, that's not a surprise), so I'll forgive you if you're not familiar with the term. Basically, a dickey is a sort of sleeveless half-shirt that you wear under another shirt to give the appearance of layers without the bulk. Here's a picture.

Last year, I got a blouse on eBay that was too big for me and too stained to sell, so I decided to cut it up and make my own dickey out of it. (I cut the rest of it into strips and used them as rag curlers for my hair.) After surgery, it looked like this.

When the time finally came to wear it, this proved to be much too small. Its edges kept popping out from underneath the outer layer, so... Res-Q-Tape to the rescue! I fastened it to the collar of the shirt in a couple of places and brought the rest of the tape to work with me, just in case (I didn't need it).

In the end, here's how it looked.

And here's how I wore it.

At the end of the day, I tore off my dickey and threw it in the trash. I'll try it again sometime, the next time I have an old blouse I don't know what to do with, but this one was just too small to be practical. The most ironic part of this whole escapade is, while I created it to reduce bulk, the sweater I chose to wear it under was so translucent that I had to wear a tank top under it anyway!

[Though this post is labeled How-To, it would probably best be described as How-Not-To]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And now you're wearing taupe.

Taupe is probably the ugliest color ever invented. Not quite grey, not quite brown, it is the unwanted child of two of the most dreary hues in existence. The only thing uglier than taupe is taupe in a high-gloss patent leather. And I'm wearing it.

I was perusing the shelves at Rugged Wearhouse when I saw these lace-up booties in black. I absolutely loved them, but I told myself sternly, "Valerie, you have enough black boots." (4 pairs, in varying heights and closure types). So I settled for taupe instead. Now, I already had a similar pair of grey booties, but, but, these were only 10 dollars!

What do you wear with taupe booties?

Well, I chose a long pleated black skirt that was still short enough to show the shoes underneath (in case you had forgotten, the black skirt is the choir skirt that you've been waiting a year and a half to see in action) and a ribbon-knit striped sweater that had just a hint of taupe in a few of its stripes. I bought the sweater at the thrift store, and I've worn it for years, always looking totally out of style, but now I am finally able to wear it in a trendy way—tucked into my skirt!

I must admit, I'm kind of getting into the whole tucked-in shirt thing. Originally I mourned the end of a clean-lined era, and I still maintain that it's not a very figure-flattering look, but it does enable me to wear long skirts again—which I've been having trouble doing since all the shirts dropped to tunic-length!

Fabulous taupe shoes notwithstanding, the outfit still needed something, and that something was a long necklace. I would have preferred black, but that color is absent from my necklace collection, so I went with green because the taupe stripes in the sweater kind of look a little greenish in contrast with all the coral.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yet you did it anyway

I like to avoid the combination of red and brown because it reminds me of blood and dried blood respectively, forming a mix that's even more morbid than the traditional goth red and black.

But I was running out of ideas.

I like the length of this jacket. I tried this outfit with a shorter black jacket and it looked terrible. But the long lines on the brown one are just what the doctor ordered — to stop the hemorrhage? — no, to complement the length of the dress and make me look tall!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yippee Ki Yo Ki Yay

Yes, it's a little contrived. I look like a cowgirl, and I look like I'm trying too hard to look like a cowgirl. I had one co-worker refer to me as "pardner" today, in only a slightly mocking manner.

But I got these two pairs of cowgirl boots—what else am I supposed to do with them!? (On the plus side, the other pair of boots that I didn't want was out of stock by the time my exchange arrived at the warehouse, so I got a 27$ store spend on future boots!)

Aside from the boots, everything else in this outfit was a test of my tolerance. I've always avoided pencil skirts because they aren't particularly flattering, and they severely limit my mobility. But my last eBay lot contained three, so I vowed to give them a shot. I never liked button-down blouses, because the fabric is too thin to keep me warm, and the fit is either baggy, making me look dowdy and top-heavy, or tight and restricting, making me unable to move my arms. This blouse is of the baggy variety, though designed to be fitted, meaning it doesn't look right no matter how I wear it. I tucked it into my skirt, but since the skirt sits a little below my natural waist, my waist was effectively disguised, for an all-over shapeless appearance.

As far as making me look good, then, this outfit was a resounding failure, but as far as enabling me to try on a different look, it wasn't bad! I'm really digging the boots (Gallop, in cognac, new from ShoeDazzle) and their rich shade of brown that just happens to match the brown in my braided leather belt. It's really the belt that literally ties the outfit together!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Yipes Stripes!

Yesterday, I stared at my closet for hours trying to decide what to wear. I laid out scores of potential outfits, gave up and came back later...twice! Fall is a hard time for me to find clothing inspiration. It feels too early to break out the warm sweaters, yet it's too cold for short sleeves and light blouses. I had decided against jeans, since I'd done casual (a Halloween T-shirt) on Wednesday, but I was also determined not to be too dressy, since it was Friday. Add to that the fact that most of my fall clothes are brown or green, and I was boycotting those colors since I wore them yesterday, and you have one dismal fashion outlook.

On my third trip back to the closet, I pulled out my black and white striped top, and realized it would go splendidly with my fuschia skirt. Then I remembered that I have black and white striped socks as well...and the deal was sealed!

Originally, I was going to wear this outfit with black high heels, but that made me look far too leggy, and I wanted to tone down the exotic dancer vibe. So I wore my humble black flats and hit the road. One more sartorial conundrum solved.