July 29, 2014

Too Darn Hot







Truth be told, I wore this outfit a couple weeks ago, when the weather here was up in the 90s. We hit a cold spell last week, so I decided to hold off on posting it until the sun came back.

When it's so hot outside that I can hardly fathom putting on clothes, a breezy skirt is an absolute must. I can't help feeling a bit self-conscious when I wear mini skirts (especially worn high on the waist, like I prefer this one), so my secret has always been donning a pair bike shorts underneath. (If, like me, you're not a biker, you can always fashion some out of a pair of old leggings. This is an easy way to ensure that random wind gusts don't "scare the children."

These gladiators were a sale score from a couple years ago. If you've been looking for an inexpensive pair of sandals, now's the time to shop! Sandals and swimwear typically go on sale in July.

Hope everyone's enjoying these dog days of summer! Personally, the cold weather lapse got me dreaming about fall... autumn coats... spices... scarves... mmmmmmm!


Cami: Forever 21
Skirt: Forever 21  
Sandals: Steve Madden
Belt: unknown  
Bandana: my grandmother's  
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban - "Wayfarer 2140" 

July 23, 2014

The Suitcase Wardrobe: Easy Packing for Stylish Women

Next month, a few of my friends are heading across the pond to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. Needless to say I'm feeling envious! In the midst of nostalgia for my journeys abroad, I got to thinking about packing. About how I spent nearly six months abroad living out of a suitcase -- without one major shopping trip in between!

Maybe I'm a closeted* minimalist, or maybe I just rose to the challenge under the comfort I'd eventually have a full wardrobe again. Whatever the case, this clotheshorse landed in the UK with just a suitcase and a backpack, survived through three separate climates in five cities in five months, and never once felt at a loss for what to wear.

The minimal wardrobe is a concept I've been studying a lot lately, and something I'll likely return to in the upcoming months. I'm particularly fascinated by what Caroline at Un-Fancy has to say about discovering personal style through the "less is more" approach. Each season, she builds a "capsule wardrobe" with 37 durable items, then mixes and matches them for a variety of looks. According to Caroline, her passion for clothes and her individuality have not been sacrificed in the minimization process at all -- in fact, her style persona has only become more clear to her.

Imagine how excited I was to find that my packing list from the UK adventure practically mirrored Un-Fancy's concept. Building from a neutral palette, I carefully chose basics that would layer well, wash easy, and withstand lots of wear and tear. I did include one or two more delicate items, like a silk dress, patent leather heels, and a sheer blouse (There is some fun to be had in London, after all...), but my focus overall was on functionality.

To give you a clearer idea of what a suitcase wardrobe looks like, I used my original packing list to create the collages below. The items you see here aren't what I packed exactly, but they're comparable in style and color. Hopefully you'll find it a useful reference when packing for your next very-long adventure!

   *Puns!

Dresses & Hoisery: Dresses are super versatile, and can be layered with tights or leggings for colder seasons.
They also take up less suitcase space than pants & sweaters!

Tops: A variety of shirts will keep your wardrobe fresh (in the visual and olfactory sense!) Be sure to include lots of layers here --
Camisoles, for instance, can be worn on their own during summer or under a winter sweater for extra warmth.

Bottoms & Shoes: It's easy to think you need more in this category, but as long as the bottoms & shoes are neutral, 
they'll allow for endless mixing options. Pack a comfortable walking flat for day wear and a simple heel for nights out on the town.

Outerwear: These items will obviously depend on where you're venturing. In the same trip, I experienced 80 degree weather in Spain
and windy London afternoons in the upper 30s. I got by with wool socks & gloves, thermal shirts & leggings, and layers layers layers!

The Other Stuff: Obviously the underwear is representative here. 
Under no circumstances should you try to go months on one pair of skivvies. ;)


Happy (Stylish) Travels!

July 17, 2014

Taking Advantage of Your TV Addiction (Part Two)

So you've stuck with me for another episode! Have I hit your favorite show yet? Have you identified with any of these productivity-harnessing strategies? Maybe you have a strategy of your own you could proscribe me as I slip further into the abyss that is Twin Peaks. Leave your own tricks & series recommendations in the comments below! And if you haven't already, check out Part One.


#6: THE HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

In its hey-day (and by hey-day I mean before their entire audience turned against them), the HIMYM premise was pretty compelling. At the end of the day, though, it's your basic sitcom -- i.e. nothing you can't totally multitask through three episodes of without missing major plot points. Thus, HIMYM time quickly became knitting practice time for me. What's your home-time hobby? Palmistry? Homebrew? Wedding Planning? Chances are you can do it with "Lets Go to the Mall" or Barney's 8 millionth bro code joke trilling through the background.

 

#7: THE CARRIE DIARIES

"Before there was sex... Before there was the city" -- Hold on, wait a second, Carrie Diaries, I have to pause you, cause I'm pretty sure I can create that fabulous 80s outfit from stuff currently hanging in my closet. Oh hey, look! My Madonna gloves!
Needless to say The Carrie Diaries typically coincides with closet cleaning & outfit planning time. Also needless to say -- I'm rarely able to watch an episode of this show in under two hours from all the pausing for inspirsession screenshots.


  

#8: THE HOUSE OF CARDS

I'm as hooked on House of Cards as anyone out there, but therewere moments in this show that were so slow and "talky" that I could answer three emails before any plot points took a major turn. The trick to this is having two screens so you're not tabbing over Netflix. Either watch on your laptop and answer emails on your phone or watch on the TV and answer emails on your laptop. Who's living in the 21st century now, you high tech wizard? Frank Underwood would respect your ingenuity.


#9: THE SHERLOCK

This one's a bit of a cheat. Sherlock already requires full brain power (about two brain's worth, as a matter of fact) just to keep up with its maverick main character. But if you haven't actively done so already, challenge yourself to solve the mystery before its revealed in the show. It's a great way to sharpen your senses, not to mention stay engaged through the feature-length journey that is this show. Stretch your brain and your body by incorporating some yoga poses into your viewing posture. An hour of stretching can work wonders on your muscles at the end of the day.

And lastly, the greatest trick of all:


#10: THE PARENTHOOD

Get someone else addicted. Go forth and strengthen your relationships by creating common ground with a coworker or telemarketer. ("Would you like to donate to -- " "Hold on, hold on, Habitat for Humanity; What's your stance on this Julia/Joel thing?") Or better yet, infect someone you actually like! Ideally your S.O., so you have someone to squeeze through the scary and snot on through the sad. Your parents are the next best thing. Because they are not wise to the wonders of free TV, you can rely on them to see you through full seasons of Parenthood before they're released on Netflix. Like anyone three seasons in, they won't want to wait to find out what happens to Christina Braverman. So, like the upstanding citizens they are, they will purchase the entire fifth season on Amazon. And you did that, you reprehensible progeny. You jump-started that addiction.
Golf clap for you.

July 15, 2014

Taking Advantage of Your TV Addiction (Part One)

Since graduating college, I've discovered the wonders (and horrors) of having access to Netflix. In other words, I have become obsessed with precisely one billion TV shows. When homework and essays dominated my life, I had no time to get "addicted" to TV. These after-school responsibilities worked to keep me away from my computer. But these days... well, what can I say? Like most of the world, I've become a slave to online television.

That said, I've developed a few ways to turn this habitual inertia into constructive multitasking. And by golly, you can do it too! Below is a list of strategies, fondly named after those shows which have distracted me most, to ensure your TV obsessions are maintained wisely.

Let's begin, shall we?



#1: THE DOWNTOWN ABBEY

An excuse for teatime, obviously. Herbals after supper or before bed. English Breakfast on weekend mornings when you oversleep but find it's still too early for lunch (elevensies!) Cream Tea with a friend when you're playing hooky because Mary and Matthew are about to get together, dammit, and you have to see it NOW. Downton episodes average about an hour, which is the perfect amount of time to heat some water (three times over, because the Mr. Bates plot keeps distracting you) and down about fifty scones. Downton teatime soon became an expected meditation for me, and it eased many a stressful workday right out the door.


#2: THE WONDER YEARS

Maybe it's the BBQ cookout in the credits, but something about The Wonder Years always got me craving a bite. Rather than allowing myself to trail endlessly between kitchen and bedroom with family-size pretzel bags and peppermint jo-jos, I'd set up my laptop in the kitchen and prepare dinner to the winsome voiceovers of Kevin Arnold. The Wonder Years has so much narration, it almost functions as a radio show, so it's perfect for this kind of multitasking.


#3: THE MAD MAN

I know a lot of people who can't get behind Mad Men. They all have their reasons; it's slow, it's offensive, it doesn't have any likeable characters... I can only shake my head at this, because for me Mad Men is a constant education in HOW TO ACT LIKE A BOSS. And I don't just use "act" in the theatrical sense -- I mean I have learned how to ask for a raise, identify harassment, own my ideas, (own my mistakes), sell a product off pure emotion, and wear a mother-loving Peter Pan collar from this show. There is no way to describe how the line "You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl" impacted me my first year in the work force. Mad Men may be furiously entertaining, but when that theme song starts, school is in session for me.


#4: THE PRETTY LITTLE LIAR

I'm starting to realize that Pretty Little Liars is the teenage, more fashion-conscious little sister of Twin Peaks. Same element of small-town mystery surrounding the disappearance of a dimple-chinned, seemingly-wholesome beauty queen who may or may not still be alive. There is one major difference, though: PLL is for nail-painting; Twin Peaks is for nail-biting.

http://buffblogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/walter-w.png

#5: THE BREAKING BAD

It was extremely fortunate that I discovered this marvelous bit of Netflix genius while I was following a consistent gym routine. First off, I can't imagine what kind of effect my I'm-so-nervous-for-Jesse-Pinkman anxiety eating would've had on my body otherwise. More importantly, it presented an excellent reward system to ensure that I went to the gym directly after work. If I promised myself an episode (or two or three) of Breaking Bad after a full workout, I exercised with all the initiative of a bible salesman at Christmastime. YEAH, SCIENCE!!

Stay tuned for Part Two, coming Thursday!

July 10, 2014

Summer Playlist 2014


Summertime and summertunes... There's nothing like driving through town in your most excellent pair of shades with the likes of Genesis' "Invisible Touch" or Lily Allen's "LND" booming through your windows. Or jogging those last 50 feet uphill in the beating sun with only Waylon Jennings' steady, twanging beat to will you forward. Or relaxing with all limbs splayed out in front of a box fan, reflecting on how "Vienna" is really a perfect soundtrack for your mixed-up, ever-changing 20-something life. Maybe perfecting your Nowhere Boys (read: Lennon/McCartney) harmonies while darting indecisively around the stream of a cold shower.

These are the sounds of my summer. Soaring, feel-good, occasionally sweet tunes to burst into the sunshine with. What are yours?

Listen to my playlist on 8tracks.

July 8, 2014

Daydream Believer












Something about summer always sends me into 1970s reveries. In middle school, I always liked watching Now and Then around this time of year. I would dream of having my own gang of free-spirited girlfriends to take Cosmo quizzes, discuss puberty, and ride cute bikes around with. (Lo and behold, I got my wish the summer before high school, and those girls are still some of my dearest friends to date.)

Needless to say, I didn't actually experience the 70s, but if I did, this would have been my summer uniform. I absolutely love the look of structured shorts and wedges, but I prefer pairing them with a more modest top to steer clear of "trashy" territory -- unless of course I'm at the beach! This charming floral blouse, handed down from my mom, initially seemed like a wardrobe challenge, but it ended up being the perfect remedy for these classic shorts. 

Usually I avoid tucking in shirts below my natural waist, as that tends to divide my already-short body in two even shorter halves. The print of this blouse is quite busy, but its collar draws the eye across the shoulders and away from the belly, and the v-neck and button snaps work to create a lengthening vertical. Rather than segmenting my body with a contrasting belt, I chose a subtle chain* that was slightly longer than my waist circumference, so the beading could continue that vertical past my hips. The platform heels do the rest!

*You may recall this "belt" from an previous post on my blog. Thanks to Jessica Quirk at What I Wore for this conversion tip!


Blouse: Style & Co. for Macy's
Shorts: Loft
Wedges: Born similar
 
Necklace (worn as belt): American Eagle 
Bird Skull Ring: H&M
Red Stone Ring: gifted
Arrow Ring: Macy's

July 4, 2014

July Inspirsession: Lady Power

Whether it's the renewed sense of self-confidence provided by my haircut or this past month's surge of female empowerment (#YesAllWomen), July has really got me feeling the "power woman" vibe.

I like my power women like I like my coffee -- decidedly strong, but in a warm, non-bitter way. To me, there is nothing more glamorous and sexy than a woman who does and wears as she pleases but maintains an air of mystery about it.*

F*#% you, D&G.

Advertising campaigns have destroyed this idea through overuse of the male gaze. As female models are presented in postures, clothing (or lack thereof), makeup, and hairstyles which suggests sexual submission, their secret is likewise forcibly surrendered. Worse, the secret is rewritten to give the impression that it exclusively concerns men (and pleasing them.)

The women in the inspiration photos below are not necessarily "natural" or modestly clad, but they each radiate a sense of personality beyond the hair/makeup/clothing they're modeling. They own their confidence. Most important, they're permitted their mystery.

*I'm still working on this myself.

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f109/retrospecitive-vogue-uk-under-elizabeth-tilberis-1987-1992-a-84270.html

source unknown

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f50/molly-ringwald-103055-2.html

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f71/bert-stern-photographer-71560-3.html

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f109/retrospecitive-vogue-uk-under-elizabeth-tilberis-1987-1992-a-84270.html

http://www.nafnaf.com/fr/collection/collection-femme.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f49xeXdFSgc

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f109/best-lofficiel-paris-1920-1999-a-84330-3.html

http://mancomb-seepwood.deviantart.com/art/Claire-166217576

source unknown

In other news, Happy 4th of July! I will celebrating my personal independence by taking photos and eating pie.



http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20111030034532/twinpeaks/images/c/c1/008-Coffee-and-Pie.jpg

July 2, 2014

Surfin' Safari










There's really only one option when it's 88 degrees in the city of eternal rain: pack up and find the water. Obviously Seattle isn't known for its white sandy beaches, but if you know where to look, you can find a variety of little water havens -- some more secret than others. I didn't discover the wonders of Madison Park until this time last year, and all I can say is, I wish it had been sooner! The lake waters are so much warmer than those at Golden Gardens or Alki, and the Rainier view is incredible. There's even a floating dock with a diving board that lends to some pretty fun people-watching.

This outfit didn't require much thinking -- most of it was just necessary to beat the heat! It has something of a safari element to it, with the cargo style shorts and leather wedges, and I like that those elements tone down the sportiness of the upper half. I've never considered myself very "sporty" in style, and I still haven't quite adjusted to the tomboyish edge of these short ponytails!

On my journey toward sun and sand (er... pebbles), I was joined by my brother T and his lady N. The latter is an amazing dancer who's soon to take over this city with her incredible leg strength. (Seriously, just watching these two walk around together is like a study in advanced musculature.) Shortly before departing, we also ran into my favorite furry neighborhood friend, Griffin.

People say this is what makes living in the Pacific Northwest worth it; When the sun comes out, the city comes alive with it. And after an evening like this one, it's hard to argue otherwise.


Top: L8ter
Shorts : Forever 21
Bikini: La Blanca
Wedges: Born similar
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban - "Wayfarer 2140"