The Great Dickens Fair

‘Tis the season for great merriment and a ho ho ho, so off to a Victorian London I go!

The annual Dickens Fair is a holiday party that takes place in Victorian London in the 1800s. Although I am a vintage lover, I admit my knowledge only goes as far back as the 1920s. Anything in the century before that I am quite clueless, so even I had to brush up on the era of dress that bears my name.

The Victorian Era refers to Queen Victoria’s reign in the United Kingdom, from the 1830s-1901. Boned corsets, layers of petticoats, décolletage revealing necklines, and bonnets are just a few hallmarks of womens’ Victorian style dress, while the Victorian gentleman often sported a top hat, frock coat, and walking cane. Attending the Dickens Fair was like a fashion history lesson, because not only are the characters and entertainers are decked out to the Victorian nines, but attendees are also encouraged to dress the part. Who can’t refuse being outfitted in period dress? Certainly not I! A hoop skirt I do not have, but I’ve got the tulle time for Yuletide.

Stepping into the arena, I felt transported through time. A stomping river dance performance to my left, sounds of British English in my ears, and the smell of roasted chestnuts – crikey, it was a Victorian sensory overload! The Grand Concourse was festooned with Union Jack flags and strings of lights, while the streets were dusted with freshly fallen fake snow. Pubs, eating establishments, theaters, music halls, and purveyors of Victorian wares lined the streets of old London into a merry holiday fanfare that never ceased to entertain.

I curtseyed to her majesty Queen Victoria as she made her way through the streets, sang along with carolers to my favorite Christmas songs, and oogled at just about everyone’s Victorian outfits, taking note of how I could improve my ensemble for greater vintage precision next year (a bonnet is a must!). And just as accurately as it would happen in old Victorian London, I attended a riveting reading of A Christmas Carol by Sir Charles Dickens himself.

Nevermind the Ghost of Christmas Past, this has to got be the best Christmas Present yet. God save the queen!

Vintage blazer (similar) | Vintage faux fur stole (similar) | Vintage blouse (similar) | fascinator (similar) | Anthropologie skirt (similar) | vintage oxfords (similar) | vintage dooney & bourke (similar)

Bohemian to the Maxi

I may often express my sense of style with boho chic outfits, but do I truly live la vie bohème?

The modern definition of a bohemian is an artistic or spiritual individual who goes against the grain of social conventions and lives a “non-traditional” lifestyle. Although I’ve always secretly considered myself a free spirit, for the most part, my daydreams seldom leave the confines of social norms and I have mostly lived in tandem with the status quo.

As I have alluded in past blog posts, these last two years have been transformative for me. Even in the recent two months, I let go of my part-time job in order to make room for bigger opportunities. The transition from a drab office routine to a new freelance career hasn’t been easy, but while all my friends are near the top of their corporate ladders, I’m doing just fine on the ground, styling my own little creative world. I’m no rootless vagabond – let’s be real, one needs money to fund wanderlust, buy those new shoes, and build a nest egg – but never have I felt so free and content in my life.

Autumn is a season that signifies change and reflection, one that is symbolic of my own metamorphosis. The leaves turn colors as one season begins to fade and make way for the next. This fall has brought me even more opportunities and is a huge improvement over last fall, and I wonder what future fall will have in store for me. But before I get ahead of myself, it is important to focus on the present, and what better way than with a lovely vintage boho dress to the maxi?

vintage maxi dress (similar) | Uniqlo hat (similar) | leather purse (similar) | Madewell clogs (similar)

I finally had the chance to bust this beauty out on a warm-in-the-sun-but-chilly-in-the-shade type of autumn day. I especially love the floor grazing panel depicting an autumn scene done in varying shades of purple, as if dusk is falling on trees as leaves fall from them. Even this dress is on the precipice of transformation. Now that I know what I stand for, my platform of choice must be a pair of wooden clogs; it’s got me knocking on wood every step of the way.

I’m not really sure if I live la vie bohème, but I can certainly say I’m bohemian to the maxi.

Autumn Neutrals

It’s been a long time, since I left you, without a blog post to view.

An entire season has flown by faster than a summer love, and even my 5th year blogiversary has come and gone without me posting about a single summer outfit! But now, I shall fall like daylight savings back to my old blogging ways.

Although I have never been to the East Coast during autumn, I’ve heard that it’s beautiful at this time of year. Imagine leaves on treetops transforming from evergreen to magnificent shades of moss, amber, marigold, and caramel with a gradient of hues in-between.

We’ve got our own version of fall in the Bay Area. The leaves start to curl and rustle in the wind before they fall to the ground in crispy brown, tan, and olive heaps around me. Taking a cue from mother nature, I’m dressed for the season in a palette of neutral hues, gold accents, and pattern play.

daughters of the liberation jacket (similar here & here) | thrifted blouse (similar herehere & here) | DVF skirt (similar here & here) | thrifted pumps (similar here & here) | vintage coach purse (similar here)

It’s the perfect sweater weather, so let’s skirt the rules in a chic sweater skirt. Comfortable, stylish, and warm, the wild print of a big cat plays up the meow factor of my pussy bow blouse. The graphic window pane print juxtaposes with the organic leopard spots, but I keep it all in the neutral playing field. An olive green jacket with rolled up sleeves gives my OOTD just the right amount of utilitarian edginess and laid back casual cool to balance out my prim and proper ensemble.

I’m feeling quite positive about this neutral outfit!

Like Mother, Like Daughter

When you’re a mom, they’re just called “jeans.”

I may be an adult and live by my own rules now, but my mother’s job as my mom will never end. She is wonderful and I love her, but sometimes her unsolicited advice and nagging can drive me crazy. Yet, I have to remind myself that everything she does comes from a place of love and concern for me. These are just hallmark traits that come with the territory of being a mother, and I know I won’t fully understand it until I become a mother myself.

There isn’t a trace of her former stylish self in her closet, perhaps because I’ve slowly taken all her cute vintage threads over the years. I may be my mother’s daughter, but our wardrobes couldn’t be any more dissimilar. She favors practical items: pullovers, tees, button ups, jeans, and other basics make up the bulk of her wardrobe now – I hope her closet isn’t an indication of a future unfashionable me.


When I told her I wanted to feature her on my blog, she happily obliged. To my surprise, I even found her getting ready in the bathroom, running a brush through her short hair and dabbing a little rouge on her lips. She hardly ever wears makeup, but she was ready for her closeup.

vintage Hawaiian shirt (similar here, here, & here) | vintage Levis 501 (similar here & here) | vintage leather flats (similar here & here)

I haven’t yet stolen this top from her, so here we are in nearly twinning OOTDs for the very first time. We both channeled the Hawaiian tour guide look with our tropical button ups and matching light wash mom jeans. My mom was a good sport and even agreed to the awkward hand in back pocket pose even though she scoffed at the idea. Peals of laughter ensued – we have the same big smile and laugh.

I may be the fashionable one, but it is my mom who really wears the mom jeans – er, I mean pants – in this mother-daughter relationship.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Jumpin’ in a Jumpsuit

The onset of spring and Coachella has officially kicked off festival fashion season. And that makes me jump for joy – or more accurately, a jumpsuit.

The jumpsuit is a perfect alternative to a dress as a one piece does it all solution to your “What should I wear?” dilemma. Despite the trendy jumpsuits you see today – whether it’s a bohemian floral print or a slimming sexy solid – their history hails more from a function rather than fashion standpoint. Jumpsuits were conceived in the early 20th century, originally designed for utilitarian purposes – think military pilots, skydivers, Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and even our dear gal Rosie.

 Jumpsuits: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

Much like my beloved maxi dresses, I love how jumpsuits have the magic power of elongating the figure – a big win for my five foot two frame. It’s as comfortable as a set of pajamas, complete with an open back that brings the sexy back. I couldn’t resist donning my signature Chic Vic urban turban to channel the jumpsuit’s bohemian vibes and to disguise my bad hair day. The busy print needs no competition, so I kept my accessories to a minimum. I’m all dressed up with #nochella to go.

The only downside to wearing a jumpsuit is how I’ll have to strip down when nature calls. And that’s the naked truth.

Thrifted scarf (similar) | Daiso sunglasses (similar) | vintage earrings (similar) | American Rag jumpsuit (similar) | vintage Coach purse (similar) | Natural Comfort wedges (similar) | vintage wooden bangle (similar) | vintage enamel bangle (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar)

Thrifted scarf (similar) | Daiso sunglasses (similar) | vintage earrings (similar) | American Rag jumpsuit (similar) | vintage Coach purse (similar) | Natural Comfort wedges (similar) | vintage wooden bangle (similar) | vintage enamel bangle (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar)

Striped Dress for Easter

Pastels are always a spring favorite, and since I’ve already been there done that with feminine florals, ethereal lace, and Sunday-best hats, let me paint a different picture for you this Easter OOTD.

When I was a kid, I avoided going into the basement where my dad kept his tools. It was cold, dark, and dirty. But among my dads’ well-worn hammers, boxes of nails, matted paint brushes, and other dusty gadgets and appliances that are of no interest to a ten-year-old, lay a Kelly-Moore paint fan deck as thick as an old school Yellow Pages phone book. I was enamored by the spectrum colors that were beyond the world of Roy G. Biv that I knew. Oh, the descriptive creative names for each hue, the saturation possibilities, and the dazzling way with which the book fanned out! Nowadays, I still get excited about paint chips, but for more practical reasons – like actually choosing a color to repaint my room.

Though the hues are pretty basic, this bargain of a vintage dress (it was $1!) reminds me of those paint chips I loved so much as a kid.

Seeing Stripes: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

Cotton candy blue, pink, and purple stripes run the show like the traveling carnivals popping up in parking lots during spring break – this dress is everything that is perfect for Easter. A touch of earthy taupe offers a subtle accent color alongside white to prevent me from looking like a unicorn. The rare vertical stripes add a slimming effect to the feminine fit and flare silhouette and are a fresh alternative to spring florals that always dominate as the seasons’ “it” print. A classic shirt dress in every way, the circle skirt flares out like a paint fan deck if I’m not careful.

I couldn’t have painted a better wall with which to complement my outfit. Happy Easter!

San Francisco Getaway // CAAMFest

While the first day of my Napa getaway consisted of wine country relaxing, the second day was all about big city living.

After a well rested night fit for a queen in our respective plush queen beds at Bardessono, my girlfriend and I woke up early, ready to take full advantage of day two of our two-day getaway. The hotel has free bike rentals, and luckily they had just two sunny yellow cruisers that were calling our names. A morning bike ride sounded like a great way to begin the day. With the open road in front of me and vineyards to my left and right, I freely coasted down the road. I never knew I had “ride a bike in wine country” on my bucket list, but I do now, and I’ve got photos to prove it.

Driving back to San Francisco in our Buicks, the group reconvened at The Slanted Door inside the Ferry Building. Just like in Napa, I’ve been to the Ferry Building dozens of times but never once have I ever stepped through the [slanted] door. A fresh, lighter take on traditional dishes, it’s a great place to try Vietnamese cuisine for the first time if you’ve never had it. Although I found myself wishing there was more fish sauce flavor, I can see why this place remains to be a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike.

With the mini road trip now behind us, we wrapped up the getaway in style. After a glam session at Blowology Dry Bar, we were whisked away to the Castro Theater (my first time there!) to view the opening night film, The Tiger Hunter, for CAAMFest. If you didn’t already know, CAAMFest is the largest Asian American and Asian Film festival in the nation, having just celebrated its’ 35th year. The Tiger Hunter hit all the feels – I laughed, I cried, and laughed until I cried, all the while snacking on buttery popcorn. The film was really good, and what made it even better was the Q&A session with some of the cast and crew. You can’t quite make out the actors’ faces from where we were sitting, but I was still starstruck. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see him with my own eyes, but Napoleon Dynamite is all growns-up.

All in all, it was a fun trip and I’m glad I got to experience this mini-getaway. Despite everything being so local, there were a lot of firsts for me on this trip. It just goes to show that you don’t have to travel halfway across the states (or even around the world, although I certainly encourage that), just to explore new places and try new restaurants – and if you’re lucky, you’ll rub elbows with a celebrity.

Napa Getaway

Though Napa Valley is just a little over an hour’s drive from where I live, I’ve only been there a handful of occasions. My visits are usually spent in a crowded wine cellar, elbow to elbow with other wine lovers and tourists from near and far for an unforgettable glass-swirling educational wine tasting experience. How’s the body, length, and finish? And what about those legs? Yes, I’m still talking wine here.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience Napa in a more relaxed way. Buick invited a group of us on a getaway to wine country. I grabbed a girlfriend and packed my bags for the mini road trip! The day was gorgeously sunny for a leisurely drive in our Buick LaCrosse, and we took full advantage of the moonroof to relish in a piece of the cloudless blue sky.

Kenzo Estate Winery is nearly as big as the city of San Francisco, and with their higher than your average vineyard elevation, they even boast a cool mild microclimate that is reminiscent of Fog City as well. The drive into the estate feels exclusive – after entering the gate, we drove down a one mile stretch of winding road surrounded by a tranquil fortress of trees as we approached the property. We were greeted with a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc, the only white wine that they produce. It was light and refreshing, especially after a long drive, but I’m more inclined towards whites more than reds anyway. The beautifully lit wine cellars had a distinct sweet smelling aroma as we entered, providing a relaxed ambiance despite the cool temperature drop. Best fun factoid on the wine tour? The tunnels were designed and constructed by the same folks who did the tunnels for our public transit system (BART) – only there are no delays here unless it means I need to wait a minute too long for a refill of vino.

Next stop on our drive was nearby Yountville, a quaint little town known for their exclusive dining experiences. Boasting the most Michelin-rated restaurants per capita (book at least two months out for The French Laundry), this is certainly a place that’ll cost more than a pretty penny. Window shop at cute boutiques with wine themed everything you don’t need, then take a stroll outside to enjoy Yountville’s many outdoor sculptures as a part of their art walk – perfect for the little ones to climb on while you get your drink on (not in public, of course).

I eventually worked up a sweet tooth for some, je ne sais quoi. Well, when you’re in Yountville, one of four locations where the famed Bouchon Bakery has their store front, the decision is easy. It was my first time having the macarons there, and what can I say, c’est délicieux!

With gourmet options abound, deciding what to order can be more of a chore than a pleasant experience. If indecision’s your middle name, then the chefs at Two Birds, One Stone’s got your back. Their omakase style menu means the chef will choose the best selection of plates for the night – so just sit back and enjoy the dishes as the come, each one a surprise! Self-described as “California-inspired yakitori,” the dishes are a perfect blend of east meets west. Many of the flavors I’m used to in Asian cuisine were infused with freshly plucked ingredients that so typify the Californian food movement. My favorite was the black kale salad with chicken and the radishes with goat milk butter. It was definitely a case of my eyes > stomach, for I was too full from the delectable appetizers by the time the wagyu short ribs were served. Just a spoonful of dessert sealed the deal – their coconut milk panna cotta with passion fruit curd is lightly sweet with a hint of tartness; I especially loved how the creamy texture juxtaposed with the crisp rice pearls dusted with a hint of matcha. There’s always room for dessert in my book!

We retreated back to Bardessono Hotel and Spa where we checked in earlier. With separate quads and suites spaced out in a minimalist zen-like layout, I found myself in a calm and reflective oasis. It’s the perfect place to unplug by the fire pit with a glass of wine, or to take a dip – or at least get your toes wet – in their rooftop pool. But if you’re like me and forget to bring a bathing suit, well the suites have ample room to relax in with all the amenities a girl could wish for and more. After a long day of driving, wining, and dining, it didn’t take long for me to catch some z’s.

Stay tuned for day two of my mini road trip!

Fashion Week Blues

J’adore Dior, but Maria Grazia Chiuri’s got me feeling the blues.

I’m finally all caught up with runway shows just as fashion week wraps up in Paris. Christian Dior’s was one that I particularly liked for its single unifying theme: the color navy. Chiuri, the artistic director at the fashion house, dubbed navy as the only color that can challenge black, and it makes so much sense. It’s the perfect color that can go both with cold hues like slate gray and jet black, yet just as easily complement warm neutrals like butterscotch brown and cafe au lait beige.

The fall collection proves that navy – and lots of it – is the answer to everything. It’s polished, timeless, crosses gender lines, and is an all around versatile neutral. Ranging from feminine looks straight out of a fairytale, to the fairly utilitarian and everything in between, there’s not a navy look that didn’t tickle my fancy. I’m currently coveting sultry sheers, textured knits, and structured overcoats in nothing but navy.

Seems like I’ll be trading in my new look for a new look all clad in navy.

Birthday Basics

Hi readers, remember me? California is officially out of a drought, and so is Chic Vic.

OOTD FASHION STYLE

In the past year, my style has started morphing into something different. Something more casual, more monochromatic, more…dare I say it – BASIC. I haven’t felt this basic since my fashion fast. Jeans, tees, and sneakers that used to never see the light of day, have become my go-to staples when I have no idea what I should wear. Two years ago, Chic Vic would’ve scoffed at such a uniform.

Yet here I am, dressing more comfortably and casually, blending into the crowd rather than standing out.

If we use clothes as a vehicle for self-expression, then something has changed about me.

Daiso beanie (similar) | Levis trucker vest (similar) | Top Shop sweatshirt (similar) | Madewell henley blouse (similar) | Kut from the Kloth jeans (similar) | Doc Marten boots | vintage backpack (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | bauble bar necklace

OOTD FASHION STYLE

I’ve gone through a lot of transitions these last two years. After traveling for most of 2015 around the world with my beau, I came back refreshed with a new game plan for 2016. I reinvented myself (I’m a stylist! A writer! A hustler!), and reached out to old acquaintances while bravely cold contacted strangers. After months of living off my savings, I finally started to see some cash trickle at the end of last year.

Between my odds and ends freelance gigs and working from home, my pretty vintage clothes started to gather dust in my closet. Whenever I had the opportunity to meet up with friends, I just threw on my most basic items. What happened to Chic Vic? I was beginning to wonder if I was having a style identity crisis and if I would ever return to my former vintage self.

The personal style equation is equal parts self-expression and lifestyle necessity. I realize now that I had maintained the same lifestyle for a very long time, and that it helped cultivate my style identity and dictated how I dressed. During those eight years working in the same industry, I had my office attire with vintage flair down to a tee. And nowadays, my tee shirt and jean uniform is on repeat.

Daiso beanie (similar) | Levis trucker vest (similar) | Top Shop sweatshirt (similar) | Madewell henley blouse (similar) | Kut from the Kloth jeans (similar) | Doc Marten boots | vintage backpack (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | bauble bar necklace

OOTD FASHION STYLE

Fear not readers – I don’t think that my style has changed permanently, for Chic Vic still lives within me (and in my closet!). But perhaps I should just consider this as another facet of style I’ve developed and incorporated into my OOTD repertoire.

I couldn’t think of a better way to end my blogging drought than with this post, just in time for my birthday. To celebrate turning the perfect palindrome age of 33, I chose a streetwear inspired layered outfit that harkens back to the 90s. Although I’ve experimented with a shirt around my waist, I’ve never been a fan of the grunge look. Yet here I am surprising even myself with this new style endeavor.

OOTD FASHION STYLE

Quintessential items to have: a slouchy beanie, something logo, denim, and combat boots. Ladies, you’ll need a mini backpack to hold all your essentials. Notwithstanding something plaid, I opted instead for a camouflage printed henley blouse layered under a fuzzy pullover that harkens back to my roots. That’s right, straight outta Oakland, born and raised. A vintage brooch adds a feminine touch that puts the chic in Chic Vic.

I’m both eager and anxious to see what this year brings me. I may be 33 now, but I sure smell like teen spirit.

Daiso beanie (similar) | Levis trucker vest (similar) | Top Shop sweatshirt (similar) | Madewell henley blouse (similar) | Kut from the Kloth jeans (similar) | Doc Marten boots | vintage backpack (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | bauble bar necklace

ootd-fashion-style