Gift in a Box

For Her

Gifts for Her

Have you ever received an unexpected gift during the holidays that caught you by surprise? On the one hand you’re delighted. A gift for moi? You shouldn’t have!

And then, reality sinks in. No really, you shouldn’t have.

We’ve all heard of the saying, “Tis better to give than to receive.” I can agree with this statement to some extent. There is nothing more gratifying than watching your dearest loved ones open a gift in delight to discover something hand picked especially for them. All the while, chestnuts are roasting on an open fire.

While this adage makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it fails to address the guilt befallen to the recipient. On more than a few occasions, I have been the giftee of many a generous gifter. But, like a dolt, I did not have any presents to give in return. Being the fruitcake that I am, instead of a graceful thank you, I offered what I think to be a guilt ridden expression on my face while I sheepishly accepted the present.

The moral of the story is: avoid that awkward social situation like the plague, and be prepared like Doomsday Preppers by having a few stocking stuffers handy, for both his and hers in mind.

You can thank me later – as long as the gift comes wrapped in a pretty little box.

Gifts for Him

For Him

Body Electric

Even a casual outfit can be charged with electricity.

It may come as a shock to you, but as a child I absolutely loathed the zap of static electricity. The source of this unfortunate encounter was often in the family van, a huge brown Toyota Hiace.

That trusty van held many memories. It was our main mode of transport for family outings, whether it was a trip to the mall, out to dinner, or grocery shopping in Chinatown. I took naps in that van. My siblings and I consumed many a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburgers in that van. There was something about the fuzzy interior of that van that charged up the electrons in my body – I am positive of that. As a result, static shock ensued when one reached for the sliding door handle. That is one memory I do not miss at all. As ugly as that van was, it was stolen twice. When the unknown scoundrels ended their joy rides, they left the van abandoned and intact on the other side of town, newly minted cigarette burns and all.

My mom often boasted of the van’s amazing turn radius, but unfortunately, we got rid of it before I was old enough for drivers ed. It was replaced by a much cooler sedan. Vans get a bad rap thanks to soccer moms, and I’m sure I’ll opt out of one even when I start a family. If I’m gonna have a van, make that a pair on my feet.

Lately I’ve got my Vans on but they look like sneakers. Perhaps it’s my preference for comfort, my casual work environment, or just general style slacking, but I’ve gradually been trading my pumps in for lower heels, flats and – gasp – sneakers! No chiffon blouse here – just an urban tee that I simply cannot be neutral to since it is positively electrifying. Hardy materials of faux leather, denim, and canvas coupled with a dark color palette means I’m ready to head into the city in search for an electric street hole cover. Or better yet, make that a manhole cover. That’s where they keep men, right?

Fashionista, blogger, writer, doodler extraordinaire –  I’m proud of my body of work. Perhaps I should add light weight lifter and yogi to the list. After all, that’s what keeps my body electric.

Urban Outfitters jacket (similar) / City of Oakland Electric tee / Silence & Noise jeans (similar) / Vans Lo Pro Camo / Baggu canvas tote / seatbelt belt (similar)

Feast Your Eyes

I hope you can agree with me that there is much to be thankful for in life. If you have decent friends and family (minus the crazy aunt), then chances are you already have come up in life. But sometimes the going gets tough, and when it does, I often remind myself that things could be worse. And by worse I mean succumbing to gym clothes for Thanksgiving dinner.

Yes, stretchy gym clothes are quite comfortable, I agree. Yet gym clothes have their place in the gym, and there are alternative ways to stay comfy without compromising style. Whether you’re attending a Thanksgiving dinner with family, or enjoying a potluck Friendsgiving, be sure to steal the feast’s spotlight by being a feast for the eyes! Who says you can’t be well dressed while being well fed?

Turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce will be consumed, with food stains sure to follow. Black will be the color of choice. Not only can it withstand the stain of spilled red wine, its slimming effect will be much relief after so much gluttony.

Between a figure forgiving shift dress or a glammed up pair of jogger pants, the choice is up to you. Just remember that gratitude is the best attitude, so wear it on your sleeve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Layers Lockdown

Dear Diary,

I have a confession to make: I’m in love with layers.

I remember my very first diary. It had teddy bears on the cover accompanied with the words “Bear Song.” In it I bared my soul. Pages and pages riddled with my cutesy juvenile penmanship declaring my schoolgirl crushes, bemoaning the trials and tribulations of friendships, worrying about good grades and other #13yearoldproblems. To prevent prying eyes from stumbling upon my innermost thoughts and feelings, my diary was secured by a lock. I wore the key around my neck and close to my heart for safekeeping.

It is silly to believe that flimsy little lock could really keep my secrets secure. If anyone wanted to break into my diary, a hairpin or strong yank on the lock would do it. While I no longer have use for a diary, I have discovered an alternate use for that lock. I found these diary locks for dirt-cheap by the handful, and re-purposed them into something wearable. 1 chain + 1 skeleton key + multiple locks = 1 fabulous innuendo laden necklace. A statement piece for sure, it makes a great addition to my layered autumn outfit.

Multiple layers begs the question, how to mix and match? The answer is to stay awash with neutrals of navy, grey, tan, and taupe – a color palette that is perfect for the season.

My dad’s wool cardigan vest coupled with my cotton knit cardigan provided just the right amount of warmth I needed with minimal bulk. I recently wore this outfit to brunch on a cool overcast morning. By the afternoon, the sun had broken through the clouds, and my body temperature was 98 degrees and rising. Luckily, all I had to do was peel back my layers like an onion to keep my cool.

It is safe to say I’ve got this layered look on lockdown. But with so many locks and just one ill-fitting skeleton key, what should I do?

Wait, I have an idea. Call a locksmith!


vintage sweater vest (similar) / BDG cardigan (similar) / BDG moto jeans (similar) / Alternative tee (similar) / Hinge oxfords / vintage necklace (similar)

Autumn Layers

Sweater Weather

Darkness now encroaches earlier each day in the northern hemisphere thanks to daylight savings, and the weather is changing whether I like it or not. Yet I still refuse to succumb to this sweater weather. How will I transition my dress wearing ways with winter on the horizon? All hail the sweater dress as the heroine for this style conundrum!

Sweater dresses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you prefer a chunky longer version of a sweater top, a fit and flare silhouette, cable knit, or fine gauge, there’s a sweater dress for every body shape.

Try wearing a sweater dress with bare legs and a pair of heels for now – if you dare. It won’t be long until boots and tights are needed to stay cozy on a dreary winter day. It’s a cinch with a belt if you’d like.

What other dress can boast to keep you looking stylish, while staying warm and comfortable? You’ll want to wear these cozy beauties until they’re threadbare.

Sweater Dresses

 

1. Alfani cable knit cowl neck 2. Merona drop waist 3. Belted cowl neck  4. Calvin Klein ribbed & belted
5. Calvin Klein ribbed fit & flare 6. Jessica Simpson cable knit 7. LAmade colorblock 8. MINKPINK Chalet Girl
9. Eliza J fit & flare 10. Topshop 11. Treasure & Bond 12. Betsey Johnson plaid fit & flare

Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

It is often said that the zodiac sign Pisces teeter between the worlds of reality and fantasy, so I’m pretty sure Queen was singing about us – or maybe not. As a Pisces, I know first hand of what it’s like to have my head in the clouds. I often daydream about being a starving artist living the vagabond life or being a performer on stage. I’ve been told I’m eccentric, and I know my thinking can be a little offbeat. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Pisces, or perhaps it’s because I’m the middle child – in any case, I march to my own beat, and that beat is my bohemian rhapsody.

A rhapsody like that deserves that 70s dress, and I found such a dress for only five dollars at a garage sale. The wild floral paisley print and the relaxed figure forgiving silhouette all epitomize 1970s bohemian style. I imagine it might have lived la vie bohème in a past life before it met me. I accessorized accordingly with a wide brimmed wool hat, some bangles, and my vintage 1970s wedge sandals. If there’s something a bohemian styled outfit needs, it’s a noisy coin charm bracelet. The jingling on my wrist caused more commotion than the coins on a belly dancer’s hips. And my hips don’t lie…or do they?

Although everyone has just one of them days, the day I wore this dress was certainly no rhapsody in blue. I was flagged by a street style photographer – finally some recognition for an outfit well done!

I parked my butt right next to the “no parking” sign and started posing. The only other thing just as free flowin’ as me was the wind I had to battle during this photoshoot. But instead of fighting it, I used it to my advantage because that’s what Pisces do best: we go with the flow.

Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me.


Uniqlo hat (similar hat) / vintage dress (similar dress here, here, and here) / vintage Natural Comfort shoes (similar shoes) / vintage charm bracelet (similar bracelet)

bohemian

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.