W2015 16, 17, & 18: Field Parka, Three Ways

Hello, all! Packing up my apartment this weekend took more time and energy than anticipated, so I've fallen rather behind on prepping my posts. To make up for it, I'm including multiple outfits in this one -- all about field coats. Since I've received some questions about brands and costs lately, I'm including that information, but I'll spare you (and myself) from additional commentary.

I hope everyone has a fabulous final week of February! To those on the east coast: My heart goes out to you. To those on the west coast: Has spring actually sprung??

F2015: 16 - Field Coat A
Coat: Old Navy ($42, on sale)
Blouse: Romy ($15?, on sale)
Scarf: unknown ($10, thrifted)
Shoes: unknown ($15, thrifted)
Bracelet: unknown (gift)

W2015 17: Field Coat B
Coat: Old Navy ($42, on sale)
Dress: Sans Souchi, gift
Earrings: Lucky ($25)
Ring: souvenir from Cordes, France ($15?)
Shoes: Josef Siebel ($60, on sale)
Bag: Fossil ($35, thrifted)
Leggings: Old Navy ($12)

W2015 18: Field Coat C

Coat: Old Navy ($42, on sale)
Sweater: Banana Republic ($40, on sale)
Skinny Jeans: J-Brand ($123, on sale)
Ring: Macy's (gift)
Boots: Lucky Brand ($39, on Ebay)
Lipstick: Revlon "Bordeaux" ($8)


W2015 15: Northern Comfort

W2015 15: Northern Comfort

Inspiration Image Source

To say this adorable picture of Mother-Nature's-Son Macca "inspired" my outfit in the first place would be a bit of stretch, but I think the two do compliment each other quite nicely.

President's Day weekend brought a spell of glorious sunshine to Seattle. At times, temperatures were in the high 50s (!!), but you could still feel that chilly winter bite while walking in the shade. I'm sure Northern Europe has very little to do sunshine and February springtime, but I was nevertheless in the mood for fair isle knits, work boots, and cup upon cup of breakfast-time tea.

Inspirsesson has yet to hear some important news: This March I'll be hopping a plane to the United Kingdom, then working in rural Northern Ireland for a few weeks (and that's only the first stop!) Needless to say, this last month has been a whirlwind of travel-planning, furniture-selling, and fretting over how to pack a sensible suitcase. Outfits like this one are going to be choice for the travel days I'm not doing grunge work: layered, warm, chic, walkable, and comfortable (LWCWC?)

At this point, I have yet to decide what to do with Inspirsession during my travels. More than likely I will take a brief hiatus to focus on travel writing. Between now and then, expect an early wrap of my winter capsule wardrobe... and perhaps a peep into my suitcase?

What do you like to wear traveling? Have you ever packed a suitcase for a very long adventure? Most importantly, do you believe hiking boots can be made stylish??


W2015 14: Aquarius Blues, or A Few of My Favorite Things

W2015 14: Aquarius Blues

Inspiration Image Source

The minute I saw this inspiration photo, I knew I wanted to save it for my birthday outfit inspiration. The moon necklace, the cascading hair, the far-off eyes, the blue dress... it immediately reminded me of all things Aquarius!

I've always had a great love for all things vintage and unique (and often both at once.) For my birthday this year, I wanted to bust out all my favorite individualist pieces from my winter capsule. It's just my good fortune that they all happened to coordinate!

First up: this cobalt silk shirtdress. I found this baby at a thrift store in college, and I admit I was hesitant at first. I wasn't fully convinced blue was my color, and I worried the silk might be finicky. When I put it on, though, the fit was so perfect that color and maintenance concerns fell right away. Have you ever experienced this? That Cinderella moment when something just feels made for you? Sometimes it can cloud judgement, but in this case I was glad I trusted my instincts. In all its simplicity, it's still one of the most flattering garments I own.*

Next, these shoes. I love just about any oxford, but an oxford heel adds just the right amount of vintage sass. I found this 30s throwback pair at another thrift store in good old Spokane, Washington some 4 or 5 years ago. Once again, it was love at first sight.

When you're rocking a dress and shoes in a style that's older than your mom, it's wise to inject a healthy dose of trendy/modern to balance things out. That's why I went for these punky plaid tights, rather than a simple solid or nylon stocking. Their color harmony with the shoes kept them from looking clownish, but they still measured up to the oomph of the dress.

Have you ever tried pairing your favorite pieces all at once? Try it and see what you learn about yourself!

*It should be pointed out that the actual dress is a sleek a-line cut, not the baggy mess that is its representation photo above.


W2015 13: Rorelai

W2015 13: Rorelai

Inspiration Image Source

Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Like the rest of the Netflix community, my productivity has fallen prey to two coffee-guzzling brunette beauties living their lives out across my screen. I've even started finding flannel and baseball hats oddly attractive. That's right -- I've started watching Gilmore Girls.

And after nearly a season's worth of episodes, I still can't tell you who I dig more, Rory or Lorelai. So I decided to take inspiration from an amalgamation of their separate personalities: Rorelai. In other words, I took all my favorite aspects of Rory's style and combined them with my favorites of Lorelai's. Like, if I had the opportunity to raid both the Gilmore Girls' respective closets, this would be the resulting outfit.

From the Rory side of things, we have a clean-cut a-line skirt, plaid scarf, and a classic collared blouse. Lorelai's edgy contributions include the Chelsea bootie heels, chunky silver jewelry, and a leather jacket. I'm just loving how it all combined!

How would you wear Rorelai?


W2015 12: Februbaby

W2015 12: Februbaby

Inspiration Image Source

Is it me, or is there something vaguely Harry Potter-esque about this outfit? It's striking a real Prisoner of Askaban chord in me, and I can only think it has to do with that clock-like zodiac dial I've chosen as an inspiration image. Hmm.

With February now in full swing, my zany Aquarian spirit is turning cartwheels, waiting for the time to celebrate her special day. What does me being an Aquarius have to do with this outfit? Well, for one thing, it explains how exercise leggings ended up alongside a leather crossbody purse: We water-bearers are all about such unexpected pairings. This comes from an inherent compulsion to invent and, above all, to be original. Unique charm necklaces, like this one from Lucky, perfectly capture that sense of individualism. I find myself playing with the charms when I'm contemplating how to better organize my butterfly mind, when I'm futzing about with technology, or when I'm having a mid-afternoon daydream -- which is most mid-afternoons, if I'm being honest here.

People ask why astrology interests me, if I acknowledge it has little to do with actual science. I can only say I've always been more fascinated by mysteries and dreams than realities.

And who wouldn't want to feel connected to the stars?


W2015 11: Boy Meets Girl

W2015 11: Boy Meets Girl

Inspiration Image Source

As we discussed last Thursday, discovering your signature look takes lots of experimentation and trial-and-error practice. I've entertained a variety of girly-girl personalities, but in the end I always wind up back in jackets, jeans, and boots. There's just no denying I'm a tomboy at heart.

And so long as we're being tomboys, let's be teddy boys while we're at it. Quick History Lesson: The teddy boys were a subculture of 1950s Britain defined by their unique sense of style (which borrowed a great deal from Edwardian fashion) and rebellious attitudes. They might be likened to America's "greasers," of this same time. 

My interest in this particular look stems partially from my Beatles obsession; John Lennon was a well-known exhibitor of the teddy boy style in his youth. It also appeals to my sense of practicality. Most teddy boys (and girls) came from working class families, and were destined for factory or dock life by their mid-teens. Their clothes reflect this lifestyle, but they add the Edwardian whimsey for the sake of subversiveness.

I love that.

A little trick I love when you're going full tomboy: spritz a floral or vanilla perfume on your wrists and hair. It's surprising and (IMHO) dreadfully sexy.


W2015 10: How to Discover Your Inner Audrey

W2015 9: Classique

Inspiration Image Source

I'm consistently amazed just how little it takes to create something classic. There's really something to be said for the "less is more" approach, and I think Audrey Hepburn stands as a brilliant example of it. Extraordinarily self-aware, yet ever humble, she embraced and honored her beauty with simple, elegant acoutrements.

So how do you own your style, instead of letting style own you? I think there are three main principles behind a signature style like Audrey's:

1) Proportion, proportion, proportion. Proportion is something I've only come to name recently, but in some way or another I was always conscious of it. It's the hurdle we face when we try on that trendy over-sized sweater in the dressing room -- the one that hits at the widest part of our thighs and makes us think, "Why does this seem to work for everyone but me?"
   As a unique woman (or man), you have your own unique body proportions. The necklines, silhouettes, heel heights, and jean cuts that work for your best friend may not work for you too. Contrary to what magazines would have you believe, there is no perfect pigeonhole (or fruit shape) into which your body will fit. My friend and I are both hourglass-shaped, but where her curves were love a shift dress, I lack the lovely lady lumps to make them look anything but dumpy. And dumpy just ain't my style.
   The only way to master proportion is through trial and error. Take your time in the dressing room. Observe what makes you feel uncomfortable and ask why. Ignore trends, and go with your gut.

2) The art of confidence. Nothing will make your style soar like good posture, eye contact, a genuine smile, and a positive personality. I was recently introduced to a woman whose work and beauty I'd always admired. In a single conversation, she managed to insult a mutual acquaintance, disparage someone else's romantic felicity, and complain about the shape of her own face. I quickly lost sight of why I esteemed her in the first place.

3) Practice your signature (look). Remember when you were eleven and destined for fabulousity and you actually practiced signing your name? (Please don't tell me I'm the only one who did this...) Fashion requires the same practice. In his book Acting on Film, Michael Caine describes the process by which he became, well, Michael Caine:

         I was a Cockney boy and obviously didn't fit anybody's idea of what an actor was supposed to be, so I decided to put together elements that added up to a memorable package. I got myself seen around the "in" spots, wearing glasses and smoking a cigar. I became known as "that guy who wears glasses and smokes a cigar." ... It was the truth, but I had consciously assembled that truth so nobody could miss it. 

    The moral of the story? Decide who it is you want to be -- what style you want to project -- and put it into practice. Sooner or later, myth will become reality.


W2015 9: It's Party Time!

W2015 7: It's Party Time

Inspiration Image Source

At first glance this may look like a New Year's Eve look. In reality, I wore it to the 1st Birthday celebration of my fellow alum's remarkable new theater company, The Horse in Motion. The party was excellent, with a photo booth, a live theater performance, music from my buddy Nice Nate, delicious drinks, and a cake, of course. There was also a party hat decorating station which quite possibly made my entire month.

Oh, hai.
As fancy as the outfit looks in tandem with this beautiful cake, it felt a lot more casual in person. That's perfect for Seattle, where in even the most glamorous situations (the ballet, the symphony, etc.) you can be sure to find at least one attendee in clogs and/or a Patagonia fleece.

When it comes to parties, there's nothing like a printed dress to add an air of whimsey & fanfare. I've also found that prints & patterns almost always inspire more compliments -- because people notice them more!

Here are my tips for finding your perfect print:

1) Smaller lady, smaller print. Prints should always be in proportion to your body type. I'm petite, so I err on the side of small, tight prints. Larger ladies won't be overwhelmed by bigger, bolder prints. Remember: A dress should always look even better on the lady than on the hanger, not the other way around!
2) Consider your skin tone. Do you have high contrast features, such as porcelain skin with black hair, or are your features similar in tone throughout? Wherever you fall on the spectrum, make sure your prints reflect it. Low-contrasts might favor a similar-toned floral print, while high-contrasts will stand out in a bold black-and-white graphic.
3) When in doubt, belt it. If you're concerned about the frump factor, find your waist! Unless the dress has detail around the waist or hips (i.e. a peplum), this is almost always an option.

Party on, Garth!

Photos by H. Ruwe


W2015 8: Game Day

W2015 8: Game Day

Let me preface this post by saying I know nothing about football. Zero. Zilch. In fact, I don't really know anything about any sport. My level of interest in whether a given team wins or loses is based entirely on the company I find myself in, and how irritating they will be if the game doesn't end in their favor.

Selfish, I know.

But when life hands you color palettes, I say run with them! Though I've never been into sports, I've always been into spirit days. In school, I saw them as creative challenge -- an excuse to wear even quirkier outfits than usual.

I'm sure you don't need a tutorial on how to search your closet for team colors, so I'll just leave you with this note of advice: If you're aiming for classy over tacky, stick to a tonal palette that works for you.* For example, if your team color is bright orange and you know it looks terrible on you, opt for tangerine or pumpkin instead. As long as the right color is represented (and as long as the shade you choose isn't similar to the opposition's) you'll pass.

You'll pass with class.

*Disclaimer: Yes, I know sports colors are flashy for a reason and, at the end of the day, their purpose isn't to make their fans "look good." I've chosen to overlook this fact for my personal creative sanity.