Charlie Girl

The bowler hat. The frumpy suit. That mustache. I’m talking about none other than The Tramp himself, Charlie Chaplin.

charlie

As a child, Chaplin and his mother people watched together and she would imitate the passers-by as a way to entertain him. From her he learned how to express emotions using his hands and face with utmost precision. Through his observations of people, he developed a keen sense of how to read his audience so that he could react to their reactions. It is no wonder that Chaplin was a master of his craft, and he is certainly regarded as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

I consider myself a fairly funny gal amongst friends and family, and my small desire to be a performer led me to dabble in a few improv classes. However, in a room full of strangers, I found my normally silly self wanting to hide in the corner of the room. Allowing myself to be an inanimate object, make non-sensical sounds, pantomime, and be uninhibited in goofiness was more than I expected and far more difficult than I imagined. Charlie had me fooled – being funny definitely requires technique and practice. Perhaps I shouldn’t quit my day job just yet and stick to what I do best.

This shirt hit my funny bone the moment I picked it off the rack at a vintage shop during my summer trip to Portland. Sometimes I enjoy me a loose fitting boyish shirt, and this retro bowling blouse did just that. Flowers for me? Oh Charlie, you shouldn’t have! This shirt also has an unexpected surprise, but you have to wait for my exit. When I turn my back, there Charlie is, in all his bumbling glory. I prefer myself sans mustache, but I managed to channel Charlie’s look with a mini hat and umbrella cane.

Maybe it was the shirt or the balloons, but things got goofy real fast during this photoshoot. Silence isn’t my strongest suit since I usually talk the talkie, but this was my attempt at putting my improv skills to the test.

Tramp around in heels I often do, yet tramp I certainly am not!


vintage blouse (similar blouse) / Urban Outfitters jeans (similar jeans) / thrifted oxfords (similar oxfords) / mini hat fascinator (similar fascinator)

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta
“Walk like you have three men walking behind you.” – Oscar de la Renta

He could’ve just as easily said “walk with confidence” but that would be banal, wouldn’t it?

Indeed, everything about the late designer Oscar de la Renta is full of style and grace. Born into a family of diplomats and businessmen, he was almost destined to go down the same path. Luckily, his mother encouraged him to pursue his dreams in the arts, which he did, and later found his passion in fashion. From his apprenticeship at Balenciaga to his later work at Lanvin and Elizabeth Arden, de la Renta gained the skills and experience necessary to lay the foundation to become one of the most famed couturiers and ready to wear designers today.

De la Renta leaves behind the legacy of his great fashion empire, one that spans five decades. He once said, “My role as a designer is to make a woman feel her very best.” Indeed, that couldn’t be more true. From dressing famous celebrities to First Ladies, de la Renta’s gowns have always been timeless, classic, and elegant as the women who wore them.

Thank you for blessing the world with your incredible talent.

Illustrious Luster

Miss Mary Mack ain’t got nothin’ on my gold buttons.

This jacket was a recent acquisition from my vintage shopping adventures in Portland over the summer. The babydoll-esque silhouette and statement buttons tells me that this piece could possibly date back to the early 1960s. I immediately fell in love with the shiny gold buttons, and while the chest pocket is too tiny to hold anything, it adds a small amount of charm to the jacket nonetheless. The jacket’s lightweight hand and classic ivory color will make it a perfect companion for many dressy occasions to come. It definitely deserves to be worn with something equally pretty, luminous, and rad – perhaps a little plaid?

I often associate plaid with button up shirts and preppy pleated school girl skirts, but this sheath plaid dress proved me wrong. I rarely fancy a pastel palette, but the lustrous sheen of the silk shantung made this dress rather fancy. Although not quite as fitted as a sheath should be (oh the downsides to shopping vintage!), it’s no problem that a simple belt can’t fix.

To show off the dress or the jacket? That is the question. But buttons this big are virtually fumble proof. I guess I should loosen up my buttons and show off my guns. And no, I ain’t frontin.


vintage jacket (similar) / vintage Erez Levy dress (similar) / Nina pumps / vintage purse (similar) / vintage crystal bead cluster earrings (similar) / vintage crystal bead necklace (similar)

Schoolgirl Rock!

I am a far cry from a school girl’s age, and it’s not even Halloween yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dress like one – as long as it is in Olympia Le-Tan‘s good taste.

Le-Tan is known for her whimsically embroidered clutches, inspired by famous book covers such as Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, and the like. These books you will want to read cover to cover. Her needle point is definitely on point, and her quirky style translates well into her Spring 2015 RTW collection.

Knee high socks, embroidered composition book clutches, and a literal pencil skirt all teeter on the edge of cheeky, and could possibly get me sent to the principal’s office.

These looks are so fetch – dare I wear any of this to the office? I might elicit more of a response from my colleagues than the sound of nails on a chalkboard, but I’ll wear anything to catch the eye of my school girl crush.

Aloha Summer, Aloha Autumn

Autumn has officially begun, but the weather lately has me thinking otherwise. It’s been warm and muggy, and the humidity in the air isn’t doing my hair any justice. Am I in the Bay Area or am I in Hawaii? Actually, let me rescind that statement – even Hawaii doesn’t experience humidity like this.

The first time I went to Hawaii, I participated in all the touristy activities you can think of. When one is in the Aloha State, one attends a luau, eats spam musubi, and dons a sarong. Ah yes, my first authentic Hawaiian sarong! It was a pale tie dyed yellow one with painted flowers that I absolutely loved. However, as soon as I returned home, the poor sarong never saw the light of day again. To it I say “mahalo” for keeping me covered up and preventing sand from getting into my beach bum.

It has been years since I set foot in Hawaii, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get into the aloha state of mind. While there is no appropriate situation to wear a sarong around here, I’ve somehow amassed a collection of vintage Hawaiian dresses to take its place. From maxi dresses to mini dresses, and even a blouse, the only thing missing from my collection is a muumuu.

This 1960s beauty was likely a maxi dress, until some previous owner transformed it into a mini shift dress. The blue and green hues remind me of the clear blue water on the Hawaiian shores. I love the unexpected splashes of red on the dress, and accented them with my red peep-toe pumps. Remember fellas, a flower behind her left ear means she is taken, but behind the right ear means she is single. How about a huge tissue paper flower fascinator as big as her head? It means she’s a fashionista, so be dressed to impress.

If this dress doesn’t get me lei’d, I don’t know what will. Why, a plane ticket to Hawaii of course.

vintage Hawaiian dress (similar dress) / Seychelles peeptoe pumps (similar shoes) / vintage earrings (similar earrings) / DIY tissue paper flower

Watercolor Wallflower

Forget nap time, hopscotch, or storytelling – my most favorite activity in kindergarten by far was spent at the art easel. I channeled my inner Bob Ross and must have painted at least one happy little cloud in one of the dozen masterpieces I created that year. Oh, the joy of painting.

I often painted abstractly with geometric shapes and had a preference for symmetry, so one of my paintings ended up resembling a pizza with the most unusual toppings. The one thing all my paintings had in common was the fact that they were very drippy. At age five, I didn’t understand how to control the value contrasts of my paint with the amount of water on my brush that caused my sad pizzas, and therefore, I was sad. While I was aiming for Georgia O’Keeffe, my abstract pizza painting was something more like the beginnings of a Salvador Dali painting, saddened by the effect of the unintentional drippy paint. At least that’s what the persistence of memory tells me.

Since then, I’ve brushed off the actual brushes preferring instead to wear works of art. To this watercolor floral dress I say: I’ve found a masterpiece in you, a work of art it’s true.

I bought this dress on the clearance rack at Ross a long time ago, and while the conservative silhouette is ideal for the office, I actually wore it to a wedding recently. I have a reputation for busting a move or two on the dance floor, but the sheath silhouette restricted my movement a bit, and I found myself standing on the sidelines.

Chic Vic is never typically a wallflower, but if I’m gonna be one, then I better look my damn best. Shoooot, I make this brick wall look good.


J.Crew cardigan / Nine West dress (similar dress, dress, & dress) / Anthropologie heels (similar heels & heels) / vintage purse (similar purse)

 

 

Terrific Twos

I have noticed it has become increasingly more challenging as of late to maintain my blog on a regular basis. Whether it is the occasional writer’s block or an outfit obstacle, I think I know the reason why. Chic Vic turns two years old today.

I’ve heard of the “terrible twos” with regards to the little humans we call children, but can this phase apply to something non-human, like a craft, skill, or hobby? Maybe, just maybe.

Blogging is a great pastime of mine, but it’s not all that easy. Although nobody is pounding on my front door (or rather, in the comments section of my blog or Chic Vic Facebook page) demanding a post, I still expect myself to deliver something at least once per week for my readers. The writer’s block can make this a challenge, and being my own worst critic often exacerbates the problem. Is my writing witty and engaging? Is the outfit blog worthy enough in the first place?

Despite all that, I still love doing what I do. Blogging is an outlet for me to voice my thoughts not only in creative writing but also in style experimentation. I’m still learning how to pose like America’s Next Top Model, and I don’t know how to maximize all the functions on the camera just yet. I challenge myself to think of new topics to write about instead of just plainly describing what I’m wearing. I love winning over new readers from all over the world. When I hear friends of friends comment on how much they like my blog, I know I’m doing something right. Maybe this phase should aptly be called the terrific twos instead. It’s not so terrible after all!

I have a humble amount of followers – what would I do without you? Thank you for every like and every comment that you leave. If you’re a passive follower, I thank you too. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but hopefully it involves reaching blogger celebrity status.

Leather Bermuda

Leather Bermuda, come on pretty mama.

Wearing white after Labor Day has been known to be a fashion faux pas, as it is the unofficial end of summer (it’s really September 23rd), but did you know there is a secondary reason? In the 1800s, socialites used forms of dress to differentiate themselves from the lesser elite, and this no white nonsense was just one of the many made up fashion standards adopted and rejected throughout history. Luckily, the no white after Labor Day rule has fallen out of fashion and we can wear whatever whenever our heart desires. And right now my heart desires a pair of white Bermuda shorts.

Bermuda shorts were first worn by the British Army as a way to deal with tropical temperatures. However, the term “Bermuda” shorts wasn’t coined until WW2, when there was a clothing shortage in Bermuda. The solution? They modeled their shorts after those of the British Army. Such shorts are also known as dress shorts since they are basically a pair of trousers in short form. Although I live in a mild climate, there are still 19 days of summer, so I don’t see any reason not to embrace the Bermuda short.

In honor of a post Labor Day white outfit, I went monochromatic white. Despite the wide leg, pleated front, the less than flattering behind, and just general man-repelling properties of these leather Bermuda shorts, I couldn’t resist purchasing them when they cost me only a dollar. Is there a Bermuda triangle back there or did my ass just magically disappear when I slipped this on? I offset the the shorts’ manly silhouette with a feminine silk blouse and a white clutch with gold accents that is so clutch. The result is a mock romper in head to toe white that would make those socialites turn in their graves.

Who wants to go to Kokomo?


Gap blouse (similar blouse) / thrifted leather bermuda shorts (similar bermuda shorts) / Guess pumps (similar pumps) / thrifted clutch bag (similar clutch bag)

Perfect Polka Dot Prose

Oh humble polka dot, why do I love thee?
Besides your obvious beauty,
Of evenly spaced dots.
Whether in big or small spots,
Your pattern can never go wrong.
I would wear you all day long,
If only I could.
Maybe I should.

This lovely shirt dress – I got it at Ross,
Have I gotten my point across?
With the dress’s belt tied around my hat,
Yeah I can style like that.
Add a dash of vintage elements,
To exude an air of elegance.
Red belt, red shoes,
I think I should be someone’s muse.

Hey polka dot, can I make you Chic Vic’s official print?
And no this isn’t a one time stint.
For you see, this is an infatuation long in the making,
And it’s not something I’m just now claiming.
From Polka Dot Peplum, Poolside Polka Dot, to Connect the Dots,
Circle circle dot dot, now I’ve got the polka dot.


Mlle Gabrielle dress (similar dress) / D&B Hat (similar hat) / Selby shoes (similar shoes) / thrifted belt (similar belt)

Portlandia

Fred and Carrie, where you at?

Portland is known for many things: beers, bikes, hiking, hipsters, no sales tax, food trucks, and strip clubs. Luckily for me, there wasn’t a drop of rain in the forecast on my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. With unseasonably warm temperatures, I couldn’t think of a better summer getaway as I ate, drank, and shopped my way around PDX.

Shop till you drop.
Ranked as one of the most hipster friendly cities in U.S., it is no wonder that Portland has the highest vintage shops per capita – how else would hipsters find such cool hipster threads? I spent a delightful afternoon shopping at the many vintage boutiques in the Hawthorne district. Boutique Goodwills with vintage Coach bags? You bet. I put a slight dent in my pocketbook, but it was well worth every pretty penny to buy a vintage pocketbook.

Nom nom nom.
Food trucks exist in every big city, but Portland wins in quantity, boasting several hundred in the city. Although I didn’t eat anything particularly memorable, their food truck scene is still impressive due to its omnipresence. No matter what neighborhood I drove through, I encountered a cluster of food trucks every couple of blocks. For the Portlanders, this is just a regular part of their everyday life. They don’t need a street festival or designated day of the week (as they do in the Bay Area) to round up the trucks. Brick and mortar places are worth mentioning too. Every restaurant, cafe, or bakery I passed offered a drool worthy menu. Bacon doughnuts, savory waffles, bloody Marys, or bone marrow ice cream? Take your pick. Or try them all, as I did.

Everything is coming up roses.
I got the chance to escape the heat of the concrete jungle just minutes outside the city at Washington Park. The cool canopy of trees shrouded me from the summer sun. Although it was no replacement for a real hike in the woods, it was just enough greenery for this city girl. There’s a reason Portland is called the City of Roses, for it is home to one of the largest rose gardens in the United States. Many cities boast a rose garden of some sort – but this one is quite spectacular. With beautiful hues of red, pink, orange, yellow, lilac, and in fragrances unimaginable, this is simply the most beautiful rose garden I have ever seen.

Hippity Hops.
A trip to Portland wouldn’t be complete without visiting a couple of breweries and downing a pint or two. Again, Portland sets another record, this time for having the most breweries than any city in the U.S. (or is it the world?). While I’m more of a cocktail girl, I hopped on the hops bandwagon because when in Portland, one has to drink beer. Whether it was stopping traffic while pedaling on an 8 person brewcycle from brewery to brewery, to snacking on a pretzel necklace at an all day international beer festival, I have never downed so many beers in my life, and I probably never will again.

Dolla dolla bill y’all.
Don’t quote me, but I read that Portland also holds the record for the most strip clubs per capita. I was a strip club virgin prior to this trip, and without a benchmark, I can’t say my experience was anything special. I will say I was very intrigued with the female form. How the heck do they walk around in those heels? Even as the naked ladies lured me to join my friends in the front row, I assured them I could see everything just fine from where I was seated. Needless to say, no photos were allowed inside.

These are just a few highlights from my trip, but there is still so much more to explore. Who knew Portland held such a track record for having the most of anything? I wasn’t able to get a grasp of Portland street style since I was too preoccupied with all of the above to even notice. I guess I’ll have to save it for my next visit.

If this fashion thing doesn’t work out, then travel writer for hire!