Tonal Denim and Ornate Paisley

ootd chambray paisley

I’ve found a masterpiece in you, a work of art it’s true. And I treasure you, my OOTD.

Although the paintbrush and I have never been close pals, I guess I could still call myself an artist. A painter may mix paints on his palette to create masterpieces, but I also mix styles, patterns, and accessories to create the perfect OOTD in my chain reaction fashion series that even Bob Ross would be proud of. And in this case, an ornate splash of 1970s paisley over a denim color palette.

Chain Reaction Fashion: March | February | January | December

ootd chambray paisley

vintage paisley blouse (similar) | Old Navy chambray blouse (similar) | Levi’s jeans (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar) | White Mountain booties (similar) | Calvin Klein beanie (similar) | Urban Outfitters necklace (similar)

OOTD chambray denim paisley

I picked up this blouse from an artist’s studio of sorts. It was a small neighborhood cornerstone that always appeared perpetually closed for business, the window displays dusty from neglect. One sunny spring day it was actually open, with boxes of goods placed outside as if for a sidewalk sale. The owner sold knick knacks from the ghost of decades past – old vinyls, collectible toys, faded posters, and my favorite of all – vintage clothes.

“You’re welcome to go into the back, there’s more through that door,” the friendly owner said to me.

vintage paisley blouse (similar) | Old Navy chambray blouse (similar) | Levi’s jeans (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar) | White Mountain booties (similar) | Calvin Klein beanie (similar) | Urban Outfitters necklace (similar)

OOTD chambray paisley

I tepidly wandered towards the rear of the small store, through an open doorway. It led to a surprisingly larger room that was sparsely furnished and in need of a clean up. Probably used as a storage space for the store front, it also resembled an artists studio for building Burning Man sculptures. I thought I saw remnants of what looked like the cross section of a rocketship, complete with three fins and a circled window. It seemed like the kind of space where dreams are realized and art comes to life, and also where I might find a rat or two.

Along with cans of old paint brushes, on a table hidden under a pile of fabric and clothes, I saw the sleeve of this blouse dangling out.

A little bit oversized, with a slight trapeze silhouette, it is big enough to throw over my outfit as an artists smock shirt, complete with side pockets. Perhaps it had a hand in painting masterpieces in its former life, and fate had spared it from being accidentally marred by paint.

With an ornate paisley-esque print in a color palette that is so 1970s, I couldn’t think of anything more complementary to wear underneath it than a tonal denim look, featuring my chambray shirt from last month. The resulting outfit reads off duty artist who turned in her wooden color palette in exchange for a vintage Dooney purse in hand.

I recently passed by the corner where the studio once stood and it appears vacant now. A faded “for lease” sign by the window is patiently waiting for another business to see potential in its space. I suppose the previous owner has launched himself into another artistic venture. Or maybe, to outer space.

Short Dress, Long Jacket

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I’ve got a mind like a diamond – except when it comes to my vintage materialism.

A dramatic coat of this grand length and volume commands attention. I love the way it swings and swishes as I dash outside. I race through the city streets for no reason, sprint across busy intersections and in between taxis as if I’m running terribly late to an important rendezvous. With a coat so long and prude, who cares what I wear underneath, if anything at all? You know what they say about a lady in the streets: she’s a closet freak. I love closets!

H&M beret (similar) / vintage coat (similar) / vintage dress (similar) / Urban Outfitters knee-highs (similar) / G.H. Bass & Co shoes (similar)
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Thanks to daylight savings, I’m waking up to colder and darker mornings that turn into warm afternoons, all the while suffering from sleep depravity due to a lost hour. With the mild winter winding down, and spring on the horizon, teetering between temperature swings in one day can prove challenging when I look into my closet.

I like to play on the juxtaposition of long and short, prude and liberal with this outfit du jour. My vintage wool shift dress is just the answer to this type of nippy weather, along with a pair of knee-highs for a true 1960s vibe. The pleated 1970s coat is just as warm as it is stylish. How warm, you ask? Let’s just say this breezy isn’t worried about a cold breeze.

Who says I can’t have my cake and eat it too?
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Preppy Pep

 

IMG_7068Who can turn the world on with her smile?

My blog has been my pride and joy the last two plus years, but lately I have had a hard time squeezing it into my schedule. With extra work piling up at my full time job, a recent part time gig, and personal plans I’m working on, you can imagine this working girl is quite beat when she punches out to knock out midnight, only to punch in again the next day at 6am. When the #firstworldproblems gets tough, I ask myself, WWMTMD?

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a popular sitcom in the 1970s, starring Mary Richards as Mary Tyler Moore. It’s about a young woman in her 30’s who relocates to a big city, finds new friends, becomes an independent working woman, deals with issues surrounding that decade, and everything that comes along with that.

While I’ve only seen the opening credits and heard the catchy theme song, falling short of watching an actual episode, I can still relate to Ms. MTM on a few things. We’re both independent working women. We’re the same age. She works in journalism. I studied communications and am a blogger. She twirls around in a busy intersection and tosses her hat up in the air. I’ve had the desire to do the same for the longest time.

BDG wool beret (similar) / vintage shift dress (similar here, here & here) / vintage blouse (similar) / vintage scarf (similar) / Hue tights (similar) / G.H. Bass & Co. shoes (similar) / Coach purse (similar)

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While the 1970s isn’t one of my favorite fashion decades (but I have channelled that decade before), I feel like this is an outfit that the 1960s MTM would wear – she was a big fan of abstract prints, florals, and colors on the show. This wool shift dress is another beauty I inherited from my aunt when she cleaned out her closet. Custom made for her in Hong Kong back in the day, it now fits me like a glove. Although winter’s been mild in the Bay Area, the temperatures still drop it like it’s hot enough for me to wear a wool dress. For that preppy look, and to stay warmer, I layered a chiffon blouse underneath. Tights are a must – in pop of color of course. Add in some gold hued saddle shoes (yes they were popular in the 1960s!), and this working lady is running late for work again.

With a preppy pep in my step, I’m gonna make it after all.

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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

Chambray for Days

Gonna dress me up in chambray, all over all over. From my head down to my toes.

I’ll be having naysayers of a head to toe chambray ensemble saying touché by the time I’m done with this post. I rarely go monochromatic in my outfits, but I was inspired by my recent purchase of a pair of chambray jogger pants. The natural lightweight hand of the soft fabric coupled with the relaxed pant silhouette means that I will be wearing these pants down to the threads.

I paired the jogger pants with my one and only chambray top and a wide belt to help create the illusion of a jumpsuit. I couldn’t have topped my look off better than with a chambray floppy hat. If my times tables is correct, and I’m normally pretty glam, then chambray x 3 = glambray, correct?

Chambray is the new neutral, which means this outfit is the perfect blank canvas to be punched up with some color. A lemony yellow cardigan helps brighten up the outfit with the all-over felted flowers acting almost as a print. Both the color and flower “pattern” of the cardigan helps compliment the solid monochromatic look. Checkout my chambray lookbook for ideas on how to piece together your head to toe chambray outfit.

Normally, I don’t like to over accessorize, but I couldn’t refrain from wearing this cute cork beaded necklace and earring set from the 1970s. Not only are the shades of Easter pastels enchanting, but the necklace itself is as light as a feather. I also couldn’t stay away from this darling 1960s daisy brooch. It serves a functional purpose to keep the floppy hat from being so floppy over my face.

I recently wore this outfit to a friend’s picnic in the park. The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and I got to mingle and meet new people. The best part was when I found out the bocce ball set she had brought matched my necklace precisely. I had a ball doing a photoshoot with them, so much that it caused a scene. I guess I’m just a ball hog.


H&M hat / Old Navy blouse (similar blouse) / Urban Outfitters pants (similar pants) / Natural Comfort shoes (similar shoes & shoes) / Fossil bag (similar bag) / vintage daisy brooch / vintage cork bead necklace & earrings

Fur and Leather Weather

Flu season is in full swing and thankfully I have avoided it so far. Unfortunately, I have come down with hustler fever and the only cure for it is fur and leather.

I wasn’t looking for a fur collared leather jacket to add to my wardrobe. Instead, the jacket found me. After successfully selling a few items at Buffalo Exchange, I did my usual song and dance through the racks of clothes to decide if I wanted to take the cash or store credit. That’s when I found this beauty of a jacket. It was in immaculate condition, with no broken seams, perfectly conditioned leather, and intact fur. It didn’t even have any detectable odor that usually comes with most vintage clothes. Most importantly, it fit like a glove and that was what sealed the deal.

This jacket is the ultimate show stopping statement piece and is sure to turn a few heads – fur and leather just beckons drama and attention like that. But why stop there? I pulled out all the stops to make this a surefire 1970s head to toe look, which includes a wide brimmed hat, oversized sunglasses, gold chains, and high waisted pants. Watch everyone stop, drop, and roll when I step onto the scene.

I have always been a believer that our style choices portray to the outside world our inner beauty and personality. However, the same can be said on the contrary: clothes can actually transform the way you feel. The leather jacket instantly made me feel like a confident, sexy, and powerful diva lady. I never fully understood the meaning of swag – in the style sense – until the day I put on this jacket. Do I wear the jacket or do I let it wear me? Let’s just say it’s a symbiotic relationship.

Between the fur, sunglasses, and big hat, I might as well be known as Ms. Incognito: baller and shot caller. There is no better way.

vintage Wilsons jacket (similar jacket) / Ecote blouse (similar blouse) / Uniqlo hat (similar hat) / Levis jeans (similar jeans) / Guess shoes (similar shoes) / vintage necklace (similar necklace) / Daiso sunglasses (similar sunglasses)

The Mystery in the Woods

I spy something in the woods.

In grade school, the Nancy Drew series was one of my favorites to read. In each mystery case, Nancy, along with her gal pals Bess and George took sleuthing to a whole new level. Like the bookworm that I once was, my weekends were spent at the library reading the books from cover to cover.


While Nancy Drew has undergone constant transformations from its inception in the 1930s to present day, it is the probably the series written from the 1960s and 1970s that I identify with most. Perhaps at age ten, I was unconsciously attracted to the vintage fashions donned by Nancy and her gal pals who graced the book covers. Not only were they beautifully illustrated, but also Miss Drew’s hair was always perfectly coiffed and her outfits were to die for.

I put on my figurative sleuthing hat in the form of a plaid Sherlock Holmes-ish trench shirtdress. Nothing says detective and drama like a big oversized cape. This lovely one from the 1960s is a bit long for my petite frame – but it is perfect for covering up bare legs when wearing a short dress underneath. The best part about this cape is the matching scarf complete with a little fringe. This is surely is an outfit that Nancy Drew would have problem solving – sometimes my styling skills remain a mystery even to me.

A detective wouldn’t be a detective without some sort of eye-seeing gadget. This vintage brass binocular is perfect for sleuthing, the opera, bird watching, or for my favorite pastime: people watching, especially of the male species. Not to mention it is so heavy that it can double as a weapon, should I be put in harm’s way.

Mystery in the wood? That’s what he said.


H&M beanie (similar) / vintage cape (similar) / thrifted dress (similar) / We Who See shoes (similar) / vintage binocular (similar)

I’m a Hustler Baby

“Can you guess what my upcoming post is about?” I asked my sister, as I arranged my outfit on her bed.

She stared at me quizzically, and then cautiously replied, “A…pimp?”

Now I can see how she was mistaken – the fur, long coat, and gold chains are a bit misleading. But I regret to disappoint all you pimp enthusiasts out there; actually, the look I am going for is 1970s chic. Inspired by the fashions in American Hustle, I decided to take the plunge into achieving a head to toe look from that decade – minus the revealing Sydney Prosser plunge.

I shopped inside my closet to put together something that I think my girl Sydney would wear. No plunging necklines here – I opted for a more prim and proper look in a sheer button up blouse with a pair of high waisted wide leg trousers in the same hue. This coat has been in my closet for years and only now have I rediscovered its swanky charm – the faux fur collar keeps my neck warm and also adds a dash of drama to my outfit. And finally, let’s not forget the gold medallion and my two chains to complete this ultimate 1970s look. I’m different, yeah I’m different.

Now if only I had a camel colored wide brimmed felt hat and a pair of oversized round sunnies, then I would pass as a cunning con woman. I guess that’s where I could learn a style lesson or two from a pimp. But what can I say; I’m just a hustler baby.


Gap jacket (similar) / vintage blouse (similar) / vintage trousers (similar) / vintage Trifari chain (similar) / Forever21 medallion (similar) / H&M bracelet (similar) / Cole Haan bag (similar)

Do the American Hustle

Fur. Sequins. Disco. If 2013 was the year of the 1920s, then 2014 is the year of the 1970s.

I recently hit the theaters and caught up with the con men of American Hustle. I had a vague idea of what this movie was about, but I wasn’t prepared to be dazzled by the skills of costume designer Michael Wilkinson. Never before have con men looked so sexy and I have definitely fallen for their swindling ways simply due to their well-dressed appearance.

The movie has changed my views on 1970s fashion, as I became entranced by the clothing and hairstyles of the female lead characters, Sydney (Amy Adams) and Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). Both ladies are foxy in their own right, and Wilkinson’s genius styling of vintage and contemporary pieces is simply a feast for the eyes. It allows the audience to visually understand the how the characters are polar opposites. While they do not represent the entire spectrum of 1970s fashion, they certainly depict the essence of swanky disco trends in NYC during that decade.

In one corner, there is Sydney, with her long wavy hair, wrap dresses, and plunging necklines; she portrays a sexy, confident, and powerful con woman. In the other corner, there is Rosalyn, with loose curls piled high on top of her head and body-hugging jersey dresses – she represents the bored suburban housewife.

I was less sold on the men in the movie – who likes a balding Christian Bale with a protruding belly anyway? I also prefer Bradley Cooper sans curls. I’m not a fan of the unbuttoned dress shirts and exposed chest hair on a man – to each their own, I suppose. Despite my general dislike of pointy dress shirt collars and wide lapels, I do however appreciate the silk ascot ties donned by both Bale and Cooper.

Pros and cons of American Hustle? There are many pros in this movie: the fashion, the acting, the plot, and the con men of course. At one point I was confused about who was conning whom. As for the cons…well, there are none, except for the con men.

Rosalyn vs. Sydney

A Little Birdie Told Me…

…That whomever said it is wrong to wear white after Labor Day is a Dodo bird.

Labor Day is supposed to mark the end of summer, but my golden tan and the hot asphalt outside beg to differ.

Even in this 90-degree weather, I’m maintaining a cool 60s. I was smitten for this sweet 1960s eyelet blouse when I laid eyes on it; anything eyelet exudes an air of innocence and a demure-like quality. What I love about wearing white is that you can treat it as a blank canvas. Just add some colorful accessories and voila, you’ve got yourself a masterpiece.

I chose a vibrantly colored scarf with three birdies on it and perched my new feathered friends atop my head. I accented the yellow in the scarf with matching wooden canary earrings. My wrists wouldn’t be complete without a cloisonné bangle and a vintage two-toned wooden cuff. Is it possible to take this outfit up a notch? I went from the 60s to the 70s with my newly acquired pair of Swedish Hasbeen wooden clogs, which originated in 1970s. Who doesn’t like wood?

I guess the age-old fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day and the Dodo bird have something in common after all.


60s vintage eyelet blouse (similar) / Urban Outfitters jeans (similar) / vintage bird scarf (similar) / wooden canary earrings (similar here & here) / 70s vintage wooden cuff (similar) / Swedish Hasbeens