Girl in the Hood

Although I was born and raised in the inner city that rhymes with smokin’, there’s nothing hood about me even if I tried – save for this hooded leather jacket.


After successfully selling some of my unwanteds at Buffalo Exchange one day, I did my usual post selling song and dance on the sales floor. Not wanting to spend more than what I had earned in trade-in credit, I had to make an important, yet impulsive decision. Would you believe I chose this jacket over an equally amazing vintage 1940s beaded cardigan? Sometimes, even this vintage lady needs to let her hair down and embrace the modern.


The hooded bomber-esque style is more youthful than most things I have in my closet, which is a refreshing change from my usual feminine, dressy, and sometimes “old-lady” style preferences. I like that it adds a hint of laid back casual cool to my wardrobe.

With an equally fall appropriate plaid shirt and mahogany brown wedge sandals to match, I am ready for warm sunny days and brisk evenings – typical of autumn weather in the Bay Area. The leather hood doesn’t give me much street credibility, especially when it feels like I’m channeling the flying nun.

You can take a girl out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of a girl. Or off her.

vintage leather jacket (similar) / vintage plaid blouse (similar) / vintage Natural Comfort wedges (similar) / Gap skinny jeans (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / compass pendant necklace (similar)



Set Sail


My mom has a wealth of experience and is a self taught pattern maker. She scours over vintage sewing books passed onto her from older friends. The books, nearly falling apart, are riddled with her notes written in pencil, pages are doggy eared, and in between some chapters I find her quarter scale sample patterns cut from newspapers – all techniques she uses to master her craft and know it by heart.

I can never decipher her cryptic notes and sometimes her verbal explanations get lost in translation. I wanted to learn the fundamentals and principles of sewing so that I could gain a closer bond with my mom through this shared love of the sewing machine and the craftiness that can be created with it.

So it was several fall semesters ago that I finally discovered and enrolled in my first sewing class at a community college. I had an advantage over some of my classmates who had never touched a sewing machine before (forget personal sewing machines – my mom has the real deal industrial Brother), yet there were still many gaps in my sewing knowledge that I needed to fill.


Daiso hat (similar) / sail shirt (similar) / Silence & Noise sailor pants (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / pendant necklace (similar) / vintage wooden cuff (similar) / vintage purse (similar) / J. Crew cardigan (similar) / J. Crew pumps (similar)

Over the years, I learned that the act of sewing itself is only a small part of the equation – and maybe not even the most important one. Operating a sewing machine in and of itself isn’t difficult per se, but the manipulation of different fabrics can be challenging. Unusual seam lines that require contorting the fabric in an unnatural way under the needle is enough to want to call it quits on a project. Order of construction and pressing the garment prove to be equally important, and drafting a pattern can be time consuming for the novice. But with enough practice and patience, I’ll be able to whip up a couture gown in no time.

This shirt is a reminder of how I set sail on my sewing education many semesters ago, using left over scrap fabric from a previous project I made with my mom. Drafted in the beginners class from a general block, I proudly wear this shirt even though it’s a bit ill fitting. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come (which isn’t that far at all), but even more so, it’s the French seams I put all over the place that deters me from altering it to fit me better.

The sailboats, bright pops of yellow and orange against a backdrop of sky blue always puts a smile to my face whenever I wear it, as if the shirt’s sunny disposition has the power to cast away any cloudy days or shadow of doubt I have over my sewing capabilities. The outfit wouldn’t be complete without extra splashes of yellow, and I found a spot for a little dandelion flower in the little pocket on my sleeve, sewn by yours truly.

Now that I am wiser and more experienced with garment construction, perhaps it’s time to set sail on a better fitting project.



One, Two, Three

Chic Vic turns three today, and all I’ve got to wear is my literal NSFW birthday suit.

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since I started this humble old blog. I remember the days when I would be brimming with ideas, but never had enough hours in the day to post more than once a week. Yet for every burst of inspiration, I’ve also experienced long periods of writer’s block, where there is a stagnation of creativity. As much as I may have infinite style, the outfits I post to the blog aren’t meaningful to me unless they are accompanied by the perfect prose. It’s something I always strive for, but sometimes perfection can be a killjoy.

While I have never before properly identified myself as a “writer” as I do a stylist, maybe it’s time to reinvent the wheel. I like to think that I inspire readers with not only my pictures, but also with my words – be it something that makes you laugh, entertains you, inspires you, or have you rethink what it means to harness your own sense of style.

To fellow bloggers, I ask, how do you maintain your blogging momentum?

To the readers I say, thank you for following me, whether from day one or just now.

With the help of some of my favorite past outfits, here’s cheers to three years!

Picnic Chic

There’s only one thing that can stand between me and grass stains. Think picnic.


Red gingham print conjures up images of the quintessential picnic, complete with a wicker basket, a spread of delectable snacks and refreshments, and of course, a row of ants stealing crumbs of food in a perfect assembly line, just like in cartoons. And because nobody likes grass stains, all of this couldn’t take place without lying atop a cheery red and white gingham printed picnic blanket.


Gingham was having a moment in the spring, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t continue into the summer. I looked past all the 80’s elements of this dress with a few snips, stitches, and simple modifications. With a thinner, more elegantly striped gingham pattern, who knew such sweetness could belie in a frilly, puffy sleeved, and shoulder padded number? I pinned open the otherwise buttoned up prude collar with a pretty little 60’s enamel daisy brooch. No wicker basket here, but a jute bucket bag will do just fine.

In the process of putting together this outfit, I remembered the flowers, but forgot my sandwich. I guess you can say I’m one sandwich short of a picnic.

shoes / hat / bucket bag / skirt / belt / blouse

Red Gingham copy IMG_8639

A Sixties Summer


I’ve had many summers I loved, but none more than the one I’m presently in.

This is my summer of love around the world. For the past few months I have been roaming away from home. Whether it is climbing a mountain, exploring a village, or eating local specialties in another country, I am fulfilling my heart’s desire of wanderlusting.

Although my surroundings are always changing, one thing remains constant: while summer has barely began, I’ve been feeling the heat for some time now. I don’t particularly like sweltering and turning brown in the sun, but I do look forward to saying aloha to my collection of summer dresses when I return home.

pashmina turned headwrap (similar) / vintage maxi (similar) / mixed bangles (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / Ecote heels (similar)


From the archives is one of my faves. This 1960s maxi begs for a fun time at a tiki bar where I can cool down over a flaming scorpion bowl. The stinger in this outfit? A head wrap in the same punchy bright fuchsia that matches the bold watercolor haze of the dress. I had a little too much fun over accessorizing the outfit, stacking on more bangles than I would normally wear. But when one channels the 1960s, one must go with a bang, or several.

This dress is definitely made for a summer of love.

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Miss Dior

IMG_0156The nifty fifties remain to be my favorite vintage era, with the granddaddy of them all, Christian Dior, spearheading the decade. Rising to fame with his post WWII designs, such as the revolutionary “New Look,” Dior is one of the greatest fashion designers of all time.

Laced with florals and embracement of the female form, Dior’s designs exude a ladylike timeless elegance. His design aesthetic is everything I want to embody, as evidenced by my attempts to channel his essence here and here. If I can’t visit the Dior flagship store at 30, Avenue Montaigne, then a visit to the Miss Dior exhibit is the next best thing.

IMG_0126 IMG_0200I was lucky enough to check out this amazing exhibit in Beijing for free after waiting two hours in line in the heat. But once inside the air conditioned and crowd controlled exhibition hall, the legendary greatness of Dior unfolded before my eyes.
IMG_0193 IMG_0188Some of Dior’s famous dresses were on display, as well as a few of his treasured belongings and artful sketches. It was a treat to see the beautifully inked designs right next to the dresses, as if by looking at them one could gain insight into his creative genius from inception on pen and paper to final product. The second half of the exhibit featured over a dozen installations by artists paying homage to his work. Through inspiration of Dior’s legacy, these artists encapsulated the essence of what it means to be a Miss Dior. By their own interpretation, each artist took elements of his design philosophy and created their own art though it.

It was interesting to see what Dior elements these artists chose to use. Some were direct representations, while others were more abstract and required use of the imagination. Nonetheless, each interpretation gave me greater insight on the spirit and essence of Christian Dior, whose legacy continues to live on.
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Burlap Gingham Girl

MK3B5749 To care for Mother Earth, one must learn from thy mother.

My mom is the most resourceful person I know, maybe to the point of being extreme. She will find use for things I didn’t know could be repurposed, and growing up, I did the same. As a kid, I collected pretty juice bottles to store my knick knacks instead of buying fancy ones at the craft store. I remember using my mom’s leftover fabric scraps and hand sewed tiny quilts that were too small to be used for anything. In 5th grade, I made Valentines cards for everyone in my class using the blank sides of old flyers collected from school – everyone loved them. Part crafty and part growing up with limited resources, I guess it just helped fuel my imagination.

And so, when I received a quaint bouquet a while back, I not only saw artistry in the blooming arrangement, but also in the way the flowers were wrapped together. There is a beauty in burlap, and this wasn’t just my imagination.

repurposed burlap headband (similar) / thrifted blouse (similar) / thrifted skirt (similar) / thrifted purse (similar) / Urban Outfitters heels (similar) / vintage cuff (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Together, with my gingham blouse and white midi skirt, I’ve created the perfect springtime outfit. Although I’ve had this shirt for years, gingham is having a moment right now. Characterized by a two toned pattern in even stripes (white + another color), it is reminiscent of picnic blankets. The only difference is, you should be eating in it instead of on it. The burlap is just the rustic touch this girly preppy outfit needed. If I had more time, I would’ve fashioned it into a rosette or big bow, but repurposing it into a quick headband will do. Sans the fab shoes, and some accessories, my head to ankle outfit is thrifted and cost just under $20, flowers included.

MK3B5762I’d like to think of my thrifty habits as my contribution for not just Earth Day, but for every day of the year. So whether you’re picking up waste at the local park, or reusing waste in new ways, I am sure that Mother Earth, like most mothers, will love you no matter what.


Tokyo Street Style


Konnichi wa!

As soon as I stepped foot on the streets of Tokyo, I was met with an overwhelming amount of stimuli. Whether it was the bright neon signs at Shibuya crossing, the sounds of the Japanese language, the sheer amount of people everywhere all the time, or the endless alleyways full of culinary delights – Tokyo did not disappoint me. And of course, how can I not mention the fashion?

I was already less than half the chic woman I used to be, dressed in my drab “I’m a tourist” uniform, but walking amongst crowds of impeccably dressed Tokyoites made me drool with jealousy. I studiously examined each person’s outfit and constantly made mental notes everywhere I went. Some reoccurring style elements I noticed:

  • tulle skirts with combat boots and slouchy beanies
  • feminine and glam mixed with oversized boyish elements
  • show-off ankle socks worn with everything
  • perfect hair, makeup, heels no matter the weather conditions
  • skirts and dresses even when it’s cold
  • elements of a minimalist aesthetic
  • mix of volume, scale, and proportion
  • oversized jackets and pants
  • combination of street and sweet
  • hats, headbands, and other hair accessories

In my second attempt at street style photography, I learned that the language barrier is both a blessing and a curse. Armed with a friendly smile, there were only three words that would be useful for this occasion: sumimasen (excuse me), kawaii (cute), and arigato (thank you). Some willingly obliged, flattered that a foreigner wanted to take a photo of their cute outfit. Others were creeped out that a foreigner wanted to take a photo of their cute outfit.

So there I was, standing at the entrance of the Harajuku District, camera in hand, ready to snap photos. Fifteen minutes had passed and the sun would set soon, yet I had not one single street snap. Trying to take candid shots only resulted in blurry photos. I would need to go balls to the wall if I wanted some great pictures.

Even though I would never see these people again, it was still hard to muster up the courage to approach random strangers and ask if I could photograph them. And by ask I mean a series of charades that consisted of me pointing to their outfits, giving a thumbs up, and pointing to my camera, accompanied by the word “kawaii.”

If you ever want to attempt some street stye photography in Tokyo, here are some things I learned:

  • Women who are by themselves will most likely agree to be photographed.
  • The young ones will be too shy to have their photos taken.
  • Big groups of girls will chatter amongst each other and maybe laugh at you, then walk away giggling, leaving you high and dry.

These pictures can’t even begin to encapsulate the gamut of women’s fashion in Tokyo – there were so many cool outfits I wasn’t able to capture! Inspired by the aesthetic here, I can’t wait to return home to apply some of these learnings to my own style.

I’m a big fan of the fellas, whose fashions rival that of the women’s. Unfortunately, I was too shy to approach any of them and I ran out of time. I might just have to return to Tokyo again for street style part ni: men’s edition. Until then, sayonara!


IMG_8511 copy Rarely do I ever suffer feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out), yet when I found out a couple of my good friends were planning to lose their Coachella virginity this month, I admit I felt just a tinge of jealousy. I still remember vividly my experience from last year: the flower crowns, flowy dresses, fringe, and colorful prints. Yes my friends, I have festival fashion FOMO and the only cure for it is more boho.

thrifted scarf (similar) / vintage dress  (similar) / thrifted bangles (similar here & here)
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Luckily I found my fix right under my nose, hanging in my closet. This handmade vintage dress makes me feel groovy but elegant, youthful yet mature. With a stylized paisley floral print bursting in a melange of vivid colors, it only seemed right to accessorize accordingly, else do the dress injustice. An urban turban and an arm chockfull of bangles fit the boho bill quite nicely.
IMG_8524 Sometimes I wonder about who made and wore this dress, and to where did she wear this psychedelic beauty? Perhaps to a music festival in the 60s or 70s? Whoever she was, she is my body twin and style soulmate.

Wearing this dress takes me back into time and that’s better than any overpriced Coachella weekend. Peace out FOMO!



Pop Your Easter Collar


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Hardboiled, scrambled, or sunny side up? I personally like ’em easy – and for eggs, make that over easy.

Although I don’t participate in any egg hunts or other Easter festivities, I still like to dress the part in a floral spring dress. By the transformative power of my sewing machine, I turned this drab, superfluous fabric of a 1980s dress complete with shoulder pads, puffy sleeves, and prude ankle length into a flirty feminine sleeveless sundress. The oversized collar is so wide, it takes popping your collar to new heights.

I hate to dangle a carrot before you, but that’s all this bunny rabbit’s got for you today. Hoppy Easter!

Express cardigan (similar) / vintage dress (similar here & here) / Crown Vintage sandals (similar)

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