Sunday, March 30, 2014

So All About That: Almost April

Get the look:
Delicate headband: This is one of my oldest fashion fall-backs; take the chain of a necklace and wear it as a headband. Luckily styles have progressed since I was 14, and this look is being manufactured to be worn for this actual purpose--no more awkwardly tying a too-long chain to make it fit my head.

Intricate necklines: I've seen a lot of fuss about intricate backs, but personally I like the details where I can see them. For those of us who don't like fussing with the rope-ness of thicker straps, I'd recommend buying a top made in a thinner or softer fabric.

Floral kimono: I know, I know: florals? For spring? How original. If you side with Meryl Streep on the subject of florals for the spring season, that's fine--I personally own a lace embroidered one, and I'm still obsessed with it. I love this piece because you can wear it with any spring-y outfit: short sleeves, long sleeves, shorts, skirts, dresses, pants, leggings, you name it! I'm going to have to stop myself from exclusively buying kimonos this season.

Art deco inspired dress and earrings: It's been a year since the release of The Great Gatsby and the consequent poster, but I still can't stop admiring the truly spectacular linear symmetry of the art deco movement. I love that it's geometric but still smooth, and can be applied to a variety of items of fashion.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

OOTD: Oregon Coast

Skirt: Similar from Windsor
Shirt: Similar from Inaprinting on Etsy
Cardigan: Similar from Hottie's World
Scarf: Similar from Modern Vintage

It was actually sunny at the Oregon coast today! That didn't mean it was warm, though; hence all the layers. I made it a priority to only pack extremely comfortable clothing for spring break, though I borrowed this scarf from my mom and this cardigan from my sister. What's family for if not sharing cute clothes?

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Blog, My Rules: Packing

In honor of spring break this week, I present to you, my readers...

I personally believe I've mastered the art of packing. I very rarely forget anything, and can pack lightly if I need to without leaving anything at home. Learn how to pack appropriately and efficiently in this post what I had to learn the hard way.
  1. Pick out your suitcase before packing anything. Are you going on a plane, train, bus, or in a car? Depending on your mode of transportation, your suitcase will have to be a certain size (thank you, airport security), weight (again: thank you airports) and/or shape (packing a car is hard!). To avoid frustration with fitting everything into a restrictive suitcase, be aware of how much you can fit into your luggage before deciding you want to travel with half your closet.
  2. Count the days you're going to need to dress for. It's easy to throw a bunch of your favorite items of clothing into a bag and call it good, but that leads to having an excess of clothes or not having enough to wear throughout your trip. Pack enough outfits to last you the time you'll be away (4 tops, 4 bottoms, 1 dress, for example), and maybe a couple extra necessary items. Tank tops, an extra cardigan, and a pair of black tights are some things I usually throw into my suitcase "just in case".
  3. Use a packing method. Packing for the time you'll be there can be done one of two ways: by packing outfits or by individual items. If you're packing outfits, make sure you have enough to make the outfit work--leggings if it gets cold out, a tank top to wear if the top is sheer--but not too many options to account for change in taste or surprising weather. Packing by outfits doesn't leave much room for adjustment. If you're someone who dresses according to mood, I'd recommend packing individual items.                                       When packing individual items, stick to a color scheme and general drape style: that way, you can wear any one piece of clothing with any other.
  4. Pack a day bag. Even if you don't use a small purse or backpack to transport your clothing, pack one just in case. You're not going to want to lug around your giant tote bag if you go sight seeing or exploring one day.
  5. Pay attention to the weather forecast. You don't want to get stuck in a thunderstorm without a rain jacket or caught in a heat wave with only jeans to wear. In this day and age, it's easy enough to get at least a general idea of the weather in the week (or weeks) to come-- take advantage of that!
  6. Don't bring things you won't use "just in case". For instance, I don't typically wear makeup in everyday situations, but I've often found myself hauling an entire makeup bag full of makeup on vacation with me. I never end up using any of it, so I've recently stopped bringing makeup "just in case" I feel like wearing it when I'm vacationing. Remember: it's a trip, not a new life.
  7. Don't worry about forgetting things. I have a mental checklist of four things: my computer, my phone, my keys, and my wallet. As long as I have those four things, I can make do with whatever else I remembered to bring; and that way I don't spend the entire trip worrying about whether or not I brought enough pairs of socks.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

OOTD: Spring Break

Photos by Lauren Goldstein
Boots: Hunter Boots
Leggings: Similar from Aerie
Shirt: Aerie
Sweater: Similar from US Trendy

I took the bus to Portland to meet my family for spring break this week! We're staying at the Oregon Coast where I grew up. I'm so excited--we've got a big house and my whole family and some friends and so many movies! This outfit was comfortable from the 3 hour bus ride to unpacking the car; which was the most important thing about today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So All About That: Mid March

Get the look:

Layered asymmetric top: also long-sleeve high-low peplum; I have not of yet figured out what this piece is called, but I know the style. It's fun because you can either buy a shirt like this one from boohoo or recreate it with a high-low shirt and a fitted sweater.

Jumpsuit: I like the idea of a long-sleeved jumpsuit, but one without sleeves is more practical to wear throughout this spring. I love the print and silhouette of this Forever 21 jumpsuit--the trick with a one-piece item is to do either neutral colors or no print.

Cape: As it gets warmer out, the double breasted style becomes less and less useful; this is where the sweater cape (like this one from ROMWE) comes in. It's warm without being too warm, and maintains the uniqueness of its jacket counterpart.

: I'm sure many of you have seen the newly trendy envelope-style skort, but I personally prefer the skater skirt-over-shorts style, like this piece from Love Culture. As a kid, I was always really into this concept, and refused to wear skirts unless they were connected to shorts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

OOTD: Art Store

Shirt: H&M, similar from Style Nanda
Sweater: Old Navy
Necklace: Similar from ShopLately (though could easily be recreated with green seed beads)
Earrings: Similar from SpringSky on Etsy
Lipsticks: Forever 21 mix and match lipstick set

In the midst of finals week, I took a trip to the art store to shop for my dad's birthday present. Blick is one of my favorite places in the world, and I'm so lucky to live right down the street from it! This week is all about comfort--I'm spending most of my time writing essays, studying, and taking tests, so I have to be able to go the whole day without worrying about my shoulders hurting or my skirt being too short. However, that doesn't mean I have to sacrifice style. Instead of concentrating on the statement any single item of clothing makes in my outfit, I focus more on the colors and silhouette. In this case, I chose three of the colors from my Mid-March Madness list (coming tomorrow) and a fit-to-flow silhouette created by pairing a high-low shirt with a simple sweater. The lipstick was a quick, easy, comfortable way to make sure I didn't look like I'd just rolled out of bed.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why I let advertisements and the media influence where I shop

My entire life, I've been told to not judge myself based on what I see in the magazines. Through a vicious combination of Photoshop, white-washing, and the eating disorder dilemma in the fashion industry, most women in the public eye look nothing like the women I know in real life. So, then why do magazines show me such unrealistic examples of women? 
Recently, however, a shift has started in the media. Instead of relying on Photoshop and the small-bodied women to portray a message, companies are beginning to catch on to what the consumers want to see: real women. Whether that means a ban on Photoshop, a variety of sizes and shapes and colors in the model, or a general all-accepting message, body positivity is no longer something only found in our dreams.
While it's still fairly rare, body positivity is starting to show up in everything from clothing advertisements to magazines to celebrity interviews. For every twenty negative advertisements there will maybe be one positive one. Certainly not the odds we're looking for, but much better than in the past.

The crazy contrast of both body positivity and negativity in advertisements

I've heard from many skeptics that this trend is simply an attempt by clothing companies to appeal to those of us who are sick of the effect that the media has on women of all ages. However, I don't see why that's such a bad thing. If supporting these companies in turn supports a better portrayal of women in the media, I'm willing to do so. I'm willing to shop at these stores that have banned the use of photoshop in their advertisements, or who use different sized models or mannequins if it leads to the adaptation of these same marketing tactics by other stores.

This is not my list of companies I refuse to shop from (though I'm more than willing to offer that up so long as it promotes more socially aware and feminist brands), as I'd rather not focus on the negative in this issue. Instead, here are a couple clothing stores with great advertising that I'd like to see rewarded for their good message:

Aerie by American Eagle:
Sweats ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Sweater ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Shirt

Debenhams US:
Skirt ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Swimsuit ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Jumpsuit

Shirt ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Training shoes ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Bra

Dress ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Shorts ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Boots

We undoubtedly have a long way to go until the women portrayed in the media reflect the women in today's society, but until then, I'm going to try my hardest to support anything which takes us even just a step closer.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lost in Lace

Dress: Zara Trafaluc Collection, similar from Pink Ice
Sweater: Similar from H&M
Bandeau: Similar from Miss KL
Necklace: Similar from Gunter Jewelry on Etsy
Earrings: Similar from aversionx on Etsy

This is one of my favorite dresses I've ever owned. Considering how many dresses I've owned in my life, that's a pretty big statement. I love that it's sheer both on the top and the bottom; I love its lace details; I love the texture on the top and along the sides; I love the way it hangs on me. I'm thinking next time I won't wear it with a bandeau that goes straight across my chest, but it did the trick and kept me covered, so I can't complain.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Slight Breeze

Boots: Route 66, similar from City Classified
Skirt: Similar from Pink Ice
Shirt: Patterson J Kincaid, similar from 2020 Ave
Cardigan: Express

Another warm day here in Seattle! I even shaved my legs for the first time in forever in celebration. This blush-pink is one of my favorite colors, though I have a bit of a hard time wearing it during the winter. As soon as warm weather hits, however, I have no problem pulling all my light pink items out to the front of my closet to wear ASAP. I wanted to put emphasis on the color of this skirt (that's the reason I bought it, after all), so I paired it with shades of black and white. At the same time, I chose a bold pattern to make sure I didn't look too color block-y. I'm hoping tomorrow is warm as well so I can wear my pink dress!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Finally Finals

Boots: Similar from Buckle
Dress: Atmosphere, similar from Forever 21
Jacket: Divided, similar from Charlotte Russe
Necklace: Similar from LOVEnLAVISH on Esty

Sorry for posting so late--it's the week before finals week and I've officially started my daily routine of spending most of my day in the library. I hope this dress is recognizable as one of the items I posted in my shopping post from yesterday! It's completely and purposefully sheer, which is actually something I'm really into right now. I just throw on my favorite black tank top underneath and call it good. I chose my colors with great purpose today--I was going for a combination of sweet and tough. The army-green jacket accomplishes the tough, while the light floral embroidered dress is the embodiment of sweet. These are my favorite colors to wear together, which is good considering I own quite a bit of brown, green, pale pink/white and black.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My blog, my rules: Shopping

I went shopping for the second time in a week today. To be fair, I've earned it--I found out a couple days ago that I'm more than $200 under my projected quarterly budget. While I pride myself on my good spending habits, this is particularly impressive. To celebrate, I've decided to share how I make my $40 a month shopping budget work so well.
As I've mentioned before, I find most of my clothing at consignment shops (Crossroads has locations all over the U.S. and RESCUE is my favorite local store) or thrift stores (Goodwill and Value Village are some personal favorites), which is how I'm able to afford so much on such a tight budget. Today, in lieu of providing you with links to often more expensive items, I've decided to share some of my personal rules for shopping.

  1. Set a budget. I grew up in a budget-centric house, and have adopted the lifestyle myself. While I would encourage a quarterly budget for all expenses, I advise all fashion try-hards to at least put a price limit on how much they're allowed to spend in a month, a quarter, a year; whatever works best for you. I'd recommend taking a month to see how much you spend on clothing, and fashioning your budget from that. I exclude gift cards and money earned from consigning from my shopping budget, which gives a little more wiggle room.
  2. Don't try on things you can't afford. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Say Yes to the Dress knows that letting yourself fall in love with something you can't afford only leads to tears, heartbreak, and/or some major debt. An easy way to avoid one (or all three) of these outcomes is by not even considering something you can't take to the register. Stay out of higher-end stores--unless you're only shopping for inspiration--and check the price tag before adding anything to your armful of treasures. This may be a bit rough, but you'll thank me when you see your bank statement at the end of the month.
  3. Don't buy things just because they're on sale. When it comes to clothing, I thoroughly believe that more is more--but only to an extent. I give you this piece of advice because I've found myself buying four or five things that I kind of like instead of getting the one item I adore. I'll end up wearing the sale item a couple of times, but eventually I end up feeling guilty for having yet another sweater hanging in my closet that I don't wear. On the other hand, when I make sure to evaluate whether or not I like the item simply for its price, I end up happy with my decisions for months to come. I know a $5 price tag seems tempting, but ask yourself this: would you even try it on if it was $20? If not, put it back and wait until you find something completely to die for (see #5). However...
  4. Don't be afraid to make a cheap impulse buy. I know this seems to contradict my last rule, but I promise, there are situations for each. Some of my favorite items of clothing have come from a blind grab in a $1 sale or something I got simply to take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-free deal. If the deal is impossible to walk away from or if you need a quick fix of cheap retail therapy, I'd say the purchase is worth it. 
  5. Only buy things you want. Okay, this seems like the most obvious rule of shopping that it's stupid of me to point it out-- but trust me, it's necessary. As I mentioned in #3, it's important to decide whether or not you want something for the price or for the item, but that's just one thing to consider. I know a lot of people who end up buying something because they feel like they have to to have a successful shopping trip, or who get pressured into making a purchase by their companion or an overly enthusiastic salesman. The bottom line: stick to your gut. If you want to buy it, buy it. If you don't want to buy it, don't buy it. It's better to feel embarrassed in the moment than guilty every time you see the unworn purchase in your closet.
  6. Head straight to the sale section. Even consignment stores have them; they're usually in the back, and can offer up to 75% off an already awesome deal. Try to go there before looking around elsewhere so you can find stuff for cheaper that you might have found on a regular rack.
  7. Map out your shopping trip. It doesn't need to be anything close to an itinerary--unless that's the only way you can go shopping without getting sidetracked--but at least look at the stores in the area of where you're going. Wandering into stores that look cute can lead to an expensive (and exhausting!) day of shopping. By knowing which stores sell reasonably priced items, you're more likely to find something you like without busting your bank account.
  8. Sketch it out. If you're looking for something specific, try drawing the image in your head, or look for an example online before going shopping. Knowing what you want to buy--especially if it's something big, like a prom dress--can save you the stress and cost of later figuring out it's not actually what you wanted.
  9. Make a grocery list. I've often heard that you're not supposed to shop for groceries on an empty stomach. This same rule applies to shopping for clothes. The solution is also the same: make a list. Going into a store without any idea of what you're there to buy (whether you're "hungry" or "full") can lead to unnecessary purchases. I know whenever I don't at least have an idea of what I want to get out of a shopping trip I always end up with three more flimsy tank tops to add to my already bloated collection. I don't need those tank tops, nor do I need to spend the money to buy them.
  10. CONSIGN. I can't believe I almost forgot this! This is one of the biggest reasons I am able to shop as much as I do and only spend $40 a month: I consign my clothes at local consignment stores. They give me 50% of how much they sell my old clothes for, which I then use to buy new clothes. It can be hard to get certain places to accept your old items--especially if they're out of season--but I've found I can bring the same item back and they usually tend to accept it after a certain period of time. I like to think of it as trading in something I'm done with for something I'm excited about. It's a great system.
I know these are a lot of rules, but they're just suggestions that have worked for me. Do you do anything that makes you a good shopper? Let me know!

OOTD: Circus

Shoes: Easy Pickins
Tights: Target
Skirt: Similar from Indie XO
Shirt: Similar from Forever 21
Sweater: Similar from Lucky 21
Necklace: Similar from Forever 21
Earrings: Similar from Claire's

I don't typically take advantage of what's going on in my city for fear of being too overwhelmed, but today I took a chance and went to see Odysseo! I've never been inside a big top before, and I'd certainly never seen the stunts performed at this show. To match my daring day, I wore something a little more daring: I wore more than one pop of color. I know I've talked a lot about my issues with wearing color, and I'm still working on getting over my fear of bright clothing. Today was definitely a step in the right direction, though; I felt very confident and cute. Here's to the spring bringing more color into my life.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fabulous in [Faux] Fur

Shoes: Easy Pickins
Tights: Similar from Forever 21
Dress: H&M
Coat: Similar from OASAP
Necklace: H&M
Earrings: Forever 21

Okay, friends: first of all, wearing this coat was by far the most daring thing I've ever done as far as clothing goes. I was really worried I wouldn't be able to match it to anything and end up looking idiotic, but all the black I have in my closet really came in handy here. The jewelry might have been a bit over the top, but when I took my coat off when I got hot I felt like my simple dress was too boring. Second of all, I got asked more than once if this was real. Is real fur still a thing for anyone other than rich divorcees or the stupidly famous? Better question: was real fur ever a thing for the income-less undergrad? I don't know why this is getting to me; but I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Never Not Neutral

Boots: Hunter Boots
Leggings: Similar from Forever 21
Shirt: Similar from Converse One Star
Jacket: Thrifted, similar from H&M
Short necklace: Similar from Forever 21
Long necklace: Similar from Ingredients for Lovely
Earrings: Similar from Forever 21

I got these boots for $50 at Last Chance-- a third of the price of regular priced Hunters! It's hard for me to match them--they're so long--so I usually wear them with leggings and a longer shirt. This shirt is thin, making it just as hard to wear with a variety of different outfits. Having so many neutral colors in my closet certainly makes it easy to throw something together.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Holes and Bleach

Boots: Similar from City Classified
Pants: Similar from Forever 21
Shirt: Similar from Ruche
Sweatshirt: Similar from Urban Outfitters
Necklace: Similar from LDnest on Etsy
Earrings: Similar from aversionx on Etsy

This is the second top from this weekend's shopping trip! Apparently I'm really into the peplum thing and nobody knew. I felt kind of foolish paying for something that already had holes in it, but it was only $4 and look how CUTE it is! I avoided yesterday's mistake of trying to add in color to an outfit that looked better without it, and stuck to black and gray. The sweatshirt is one of my favorite pieces in my closet--when I was 13, my mom had a friend who worked for Adidas and gave me one of Stella McCartney's first items from her adidas line. It took me a while to start wearing it as anything other than a paint shirt, but now I wear it a couple times a month to add some neutral shades to an outfit.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Guest Dressed

Leggings: MYO Fashion
Shirt: American Eagle, similar from Forever 21
Cardigan: Express
Phone case: BoxWave
Earrings: Similar from Forever 21

Remember how I said it was sunny here? Well, that lasted all of 1 day, then the rain picked up again. I let my darling dear friend Geneva pick out a rain-appropriate outfit in honor of her visiting me, and she gave me a pretty classic Washington Urban Chic kind of look. I had to wear my biggest rain jacket to protect my clothes from soaking through, but I was comfortable and warm all day, which is really the only thing you need from fashion.

Flashback: Knee Socks

Boots: Similar from New Look
Socks: Similar from Forever 21
Dress: Similar from H&M

I had an "ugly" day, so to make myself feel better I'm bringing back one of my favorite outfits from this fall. I love these socks, especially paired with these boots and especially with the lighting in these pictures. I know the "black and white" thing is pretty over-done, but it's just for that reason that I think it looks so good.