Then and Now: Sheer Beaded Blouse

The old me, revisited.

Is there a moment when you realize you’ve grown into a different person? Maybe it begins with something as small as a change in food preferences. Then you notice that you’ve picked up new habits and routines, or maybe you find yourself hanging with a different crowd. A shift in interests replaces old ones. Many things in life can spur change – some abrupt and traumatic (a bad breakup, the passing of a loved one), others dramatic (having a baby! relocating to another country!), but sometimes, the change is banal and happens gradually through the years that’s as natural as the changing seasons.

Urban Outfitters Beret (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | Gap jeans (similar) | Sam Edelman shoes (similar) | LBD trench coat (similar) | vintage scarf (similar) | Dooney & Bourke bag (similar)

Call it growing up, or call it getting old, sometimes I feel like I’m going through a coming of age phase, if one exists for someone in their thirties. Climbing up that career ladder, green thumbing it in my new house, and settling into married life, coupled with more-homebody-less-homies means this is the most adulting I’ve ever done – and I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just when I think I’ve got my personal style down forever, life happens. The change in my perspective trickles down to affect all facets in my life, OOTD included.

Whether it’s a fit and flare floral frock, a shifty business shift, or a brimmed hat bohemian lifestyle, I love taking my readers on a journey to different decades of dress along with a fashion history lesson. After blogging for six years, instead of visiting decades past, how about going back to the first year of Chic Vic?

Then: I first blogged about this 1950s blouse five years ago on my birthday, in the first year of Chic Vic. The tuxedo blazer I still have (a classic!), but the statement red pants have gone to the donation bin, and heels I no longer wear anymore. This is definitely an OOTD that I’ve outgrown.

Now: I chose to style this blouse with how I’ve been dressing lately – neutral colors, menswear-inspired flats, and a timeless trench topped off with my favorite Frenchie beret. Oh, and you’ll be seeing a lot more mom jeans on the blog, because, well, they’re awesome.

Sometimes I look back and have donator’s remorse, regretting selling or giving away some of the things I used to love so much. But I guess shedding my layers just means I gain more closet space to make room for a new and improved me. My sense of style will never be what it was when I first started blogging, but one thing remains constant: vintage undertones will always put the chic in Chic Vic.

A Rosy Disposition

A rose is a rose is a rose.

If anyone is still following my blog, you may have noticed some slothfulness on Chic Vic, as I’ve only managed to churn out one dinky post this year. And now it’s already September which means 2018 is practically over and I’ll be counting down to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in no time. Where, what, and why, you may ask, has Chic Vic gone? Well, I’ve been werking it.

Much has transpired since my last life update. I have finally established a stable freelance wardrobe styling career (technically an assistant, but that’s a minor detail). Luckily, clients have found me pleasant to work with (yay!) and for the most part, my calendar has been booked solid every month. As strange new faces become familiar friends in the game of rotating freelancers, I’ve been learning a lot from all the wonderful people I’ve met so far. Everybody has some passion project they’re working on, and the creativity and ambition are contagious.

Instead of styling myself for blog photos, now I style other people in order to build my portfolio. I’m constantly brainstorming for the next photoshoot even before the current one wraps up. To all the budding creatives out there, you know that TFP hustle I’m talking about. My creative juices have been flowing towards this endeavor, and at the end of the day, there’s little reserve left for my humble blog. Oh yes, the blogging struggle is real.

In other adulting news, I’m a homeowner now (can someone say 30 year fixed mortgage?) aaaaand I have gained an Instagram husband till death do us part. I apologize for keeping ya’ll in the dark about my IRL personal stuff, but since I need an alibi for my absence from the blogosphere, I’m coming clean about what I’ve been up to – so let there be light! Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can finally stop and smell the roses, 1950s style. Let’s get back into fashion, shall we?

From my photo archives, I present to you a flashback to the fifties with a fit and flare floral gem that I’ve only managed to wear just once. I love how the low sexy back juxtaposes the demure high neckline. With my hair covered up in a similar rose printed headscarf like a sister from another mister, I feel as though I’m I channeling Rosie the Riveter all the while giving off some serious 1950s housewifey vibes. The only thing that would knock the socks off this look is a pair of Bobby socks to go with my fancy floral saddle shoes.

Between the barely breathable cinched waist and the scratchy crinoline action underneath, the only type of housework I’ll be doing in this dress is lying the f*ck down, Ali Wong style.

Ultraviolet Vibes

I’ve been feeling pretty invisible on the blogosphere lately, and I blame it on the new year. I guess that’s one thing I have in common with the Pantone color of the year, ultraviolet.

Let’s make things clear, she’s not your basic purple. Ultraviolet is way beyond the “V” in Roy G. Biv. Our girl UV is off the visible spectrum, a radiation with a wavelength shorter than visible light. Shorter wavelengths, means, in short, that she’s invisible. So if you’ve ever wanted to be visible and invisible at the same time, now’s your chance.

My UV rays simply radiate in this bold jewel-toned hue that penetrates the winter’s cool cloudy days. This vintage St. John sweater offers just the right amount of texture that pops against a neutral color backdrop of camel, navy, and a splash of leopard print. For a regal pairing, I accessorized with collars galore – a gold-toned collar necklace and the softest of fur collars to adorn my neck. Here I am, clearly visible in invisible light.

This ultraviolet is ultra chic, no SPF needed.

vintage St. John sweater (similar here & here) | vintage trousers (similar) | Urban Outfitters pumps (similar) | vintage coat (similar) | vintage necklace (similar)

 

A Black and Gold Affair

Forget the naughty, nice, or wish, how about the best-dressed list?

I pine for the aroma of fresh pine, duet with Bing Crosby on the radio, and revel in the conviviality that keeps me warm from the frosty chill at this time of year. Whether it’s a cozy get-together by a fireplace or a sophisticated cocktail soiree, please ditch the ugly Christmas sweater because there’s a new gold standard for holiday attire.

J. Crew blazer (similar) | vintage dress (similar) | Nine West pumps (similar) | Mod Cloth blouse (similar) | Zara jeans (similar) | vintage purse (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | vintage earrings (similar)

If black is slimming, then the golden rule makes for a winning combination of black and gold for a timeless classic that never loses value. A little bit of satin sheen, tailored elements, sexy back, and peekaboo lace details go a long way. The delicate gold lace and gilded accessories contrasted by the crisp raven black make for two exceptionally regal OOTDs – one for Santa, and one for ringing in the new year.

Meet me under the mistletoe for a little bit of ho, ho, ho!

 

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!