Green and Yellow Brights

If it’s what’s underneath that counts, maybe it should be worn on the outside.

fashion ootd dress

The story behind this petticoat comes from a faraway unlikely place. Not too long ago, I traveled to Bolivia and explored the country’s sights and culture from dusty small towns all the way up to the highest capital city in the world. My style eye is most alert when I’m in a foreign land, and I couldn’t help but be inspired by the traditional “cholita” fashion.

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“Cholita” was once a derogatory term for indigenous women in Bolivia. Only recently in the last decade or so has this term become a source of pride and empowerment. Even as society modernizes around them, older cholitas as well as younger generations still maintain this way of traditional dress that harkens back to the Spanish Inquisition. It varies slightly by region, but in general their ensemble consists of a bowler hat, shawl, blouse, full pleated skirt, and multi layered petticoat.

I’ll leave the full traditional dress up to the experts – the cholitas – but I found a way to integrate a part of their fashion into my vintage wardrobe.

fashion ootd dress

While the cholita’s petticoat is cloaked under colorful voluminous skirts, I think it’s too beautiful to remain hidden. I may have worn it as a petticoat in my last chain reaction fashion post, but this time I’m showing it off – or at least one layer of it.

Wearing the petticoat as an outer layer, I complemented its cheery yellow with a punchy lime green dress that’s just as bright. The sheer fabric lets the right amount of green peek through, offering a color contrast to the intricate floral embroidery and scalloped hemline. It clearly is a statement piece all on its own.

fashion ootd dress

chain reaction fashion: July | June | May | April | March | February | January | December

One Shift Dress, Two Ways

Fashion Style Shift Dress

When is a shift dress not just a shift dress? I ponder the all-important question of whether or not I should keep my pants on for some shifty business.

Look 1: H&M dress (similar) | necklace (similar) | pashmina (similar) | vintage Levi’s (similar) | bangles (similar) | vintage clutch (similar) | vintage heels (similar) | Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Look 2: H&M dress (similar) | H&M necklace (similar) | pashmina (similar) | Me Too heels (similar) |Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Fashion Style Shift Dress

I love shift dresses for their easy shapeless silhouette, which seems to be made for a not-so-easy shapeless silhouetted gal such as myself. I wore this dress to a summer wedding a couple of years ago, and it was the best decision ever. While everyone else was restricted by their fitted frocks, I was able to let myself go at the buffet line until I passed out from sheer gluttony.

Recently, I was rifling through my closet searching for something summery to wear when I heard the familiar croak of my feathered friend. I had so much fun at that wedding – won’t you please wear me again?

Fashion Style Shift Dress

With a blueprint of a tropical paradise serving as the backdrop, the orange-beaked toucan and two birds of a feather in flight invite me into their lush oasis. Flowers and fruit come alive in tangy color pops as juicy as fresh squeezed orange juice on a hot summer day. Oh yes, I rediscovered this dress just in time for summer. But I have different plans for you this time around, my dear toucan.

I’m taking the “dress” out of the shift dress and ditching shaven legs for a roomy pair of mom jeans. The hem of my tropical shift meets my vintage Levi’s in a concrete jungle combination. I wrap my head around a head wrap with stacks on stacks on stacks of bangles upon my wrists. Meanwhile, the toucan is tucked snuggly against my waistband, his orange beak just barely peeking out to observe the world around him.

A tropical paradise in a pair of mom jeans. Shifty business indeed.

Fashion Style Shift Dress

I Get it from my Momma

“I’m turning into my mother,” is something I think about more frequently these days. If this thought has never crossed your mind, don’t worry young grasshopper, in due time it will.

I love my mom, but there are a few traits I wish I didn’t inherit from her. My propensity towards hoarding (you never know when you’ll need that!), my general indecision (I think maybe yes, perhaps no?), and worrying about the small stuff (there’s too many to name).

Yet for all the undesirable traits, she’s also passed off some of the better ones. Her strong attention to detail, her patience and kindheartedness, her artistic and creative endeavors. I learned to sew under her guidance and she gave me my first crochet needle which I still have. She taught me how to ride a bike when I was 26 (nope, I’m not too embarrassed to admit that). When I couldn’t convince any of my friends to attend a free swing dance class with me, my mom happily volunteered, and we danced under the stars in an unforgettable mother-daughter date. She has always been my biggest fan, urging me to embrace my creativity and travel far while I’m still young.

All too often I’ve seen her petite frame hunched over at the dining table, her small face behind wire rimmed glasses twisted into a look of concentration as she fiddles around on her tablet. She’s still getting used to technology. I look closely and see that fine lines have slowly etched themselves on her face. Her short hairdo, which had been jet black for the longest time while my dad’s turned white, has been increasingly salt and peppered more than I remember.

It’s safe to say that in her mid 60’s, my mom’s only style needs are comfort and low maintenance clothes that can withstand a little dirt from the garden or oil stain in the kitchen. Velcro Mary-Jane sneakers, faded mom jeans with the elastic waist band (she added that herself, thank you very much), baggy rumpled shirt, and a home sewn denim tote bag – this is her typical OOTD, all day, everyday. One wouldn’t know it by looking at her now, but my mom was once a very fashionable lady.

I get it from my momma: peachy in shades of grey | motherlover | i’m a hustler baby | dirty flirty birthday | I want you back | a turtleneck for the spring

Over the years I’ve pilfered a thing or two from her former stylish years, providing a glance into her past as each article of clothing holds sentimental value, igniting a memory from her past. She’d say things like, “That was my favorite summer dress,” or “I wore those shoes when I first stepped foot in Hong Kong.” There are probably a dozen other stories that lay hidden in the fibers of her old vintage threads, and every time I wear them, I feel a bit closer to my mom.

I know it always brings a smile to her face when she sees me sporting her old blouse or dress, giving new life to old pieces she once wore and loved. It’s as if she sees a piece of herself in me. For better or for worse, there’s no doubt I’m really becoming my mom.

Mom, if you’re reading this on your tablet, I love you! Happy Mother’s Day!

A Turtleneck for the Spring

OOTD Style Fashion Turtleneck

As far as turtlenecks go, I’ve never been a huge fan. When I was young, my mom forced me to wear turtlenecks in hideous shades of pink and fuchsia. Maybe she believed they would prevent me from catching a cold. Or perhaps she was setting precedent for a modest way of dress that I came to embrace without question.

Urban Outfitters beret (similar) | vintage turtleneck (similar) | vintage Levis 501 (similar) | vintage Cameos pumps (similar) | vintage necklace (similar) | vintage bangle (similar) | vintage watch (similar) | vintage Coach crossbody (similar) | Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

In my early 20s, I ventured down the turtleneck road again, and incorporated the high neckline into my working girl’s office wardrobe. I am willing to suffer a little discomfort in the name of fashion, but the turtleneck was in a class of its own. I gave it up after one season, as if its constricting nature was stifling my style.

But nowadays, turtlenecks aren’t as restrictive as they used to be, with looser necklines available in a variety of materials. Whether it’s cozy wool for the winter, lightweight drapey cotton knits for the spring, or even sleeveless ones in the summer, there’s a turtleneck for every season.

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OOTD Style Fashion Turtleneck

Like romantic relationships, you shouldn’t feel smothered by your turtleneck. I stole this vintage top from my momma’s closet, and while I can’t decide if it’s a turtleneck, funnel neck, mock, or maybe all of the above, alls I know is that my neck can breathe again like Toni Braxton. The loose fit and thinner material make it appropriate for this transitional weather, as we’re experiencing temperature swings left and right like hot flashes.

In keeping with the mom theme, I tucked my mom’s turtleneck into a classic pair of mom jeans, none other than the original Levi’s 501 button fly. A slim pair of pointy pumps helps streamline the otherwise dowdy mom look, while golden embellishments and a beret add a little flair to this turtleneck affair.

OOTD Style Fashion Turtleneck

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.

I Want You Back

This Valentine’s Day, I want you back. Oh, and I brought sexy back too.

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My first infatuation with a boy crush was brief. He was in a band, and I fell in love with him upon watching his debut video on MTV. I’ll never forget his frosted permed hair and the way he moved was so in synch. Like all teenage love, I was only hooked for the first album, then broke up after the summer. That is, until he brought sexy back.

Whether you have been on the receiving end of a break up, or were the one doing the heartbreaking, I’m sure we can all agree that relationships are complicated. Break ups can mean good riddance to a coupling that was doomed from the start. But sometimes all you need is a little bit of time away to make you say I want you back, even if it might be as fleeting as a fashion trend. Like star crossed lovers, some trends you part with are gone forever, while others return years later, manifested in a different form. That’s what the backwards trend is all about.

This trend emerged from street style fashionistas last autumn, raising a few eyebrows while being hailed as the latest fashion must try. Is this fashion forward thinking backward?

Luckily, this is a no-strings-attached one-night-stand type of trend that’s easy to try because it doesn’t require investing in a new must have item. Ladies, just look in your closet. I’m sure you have a button down lurking in there behind all your shoes and emotional baggage.

And just like how I’ve heard single girlfriends describe the guys from the dating scene, I’m not sure how I feel about this fashion trend. It’s a little uncomfortable and impractical but the unconventionality of it makes it so exciting and unlike any outfit I’ve ever worn before. It doesn’t quite fit well, but I’m having fun with it, so why not see where it goes?

mini hat (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | Express silk shorts (similar) | fishnets (similar) | Enzo Angiolni pumps (similar)  vintage clutch (similar) | Victoria’s Secret balconette (similar)

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Save for the rouge painted upon my puckered lips, I ditched the cliché red and pink color palette and opted for my favorite vintage sheer blouse in an outfit of classic black that proves to be just as cunning. When one dons a backwards blouse, one has to accessorize accordingly – wearing a necklace backwards or adding a vintage sweater clip as I did draws attention to the sultry open back. The sheer fabric hints at a lacy brassier underneath for eyes to see, while the palpable silk shorts and fishnets create a sensual stimulation to roaming fingertips. If that doesn’t tickle his fancy, well, I’ve got a feather on my mini hat that’ll do the job.

Whether it’s to get your ex back, to entice the person you’ve been admiring, or simply to spice up a longstanding relationship, it’s time to leave the cleave and bring sexy back.

Happy Valentine’s Day loves!

mini hat (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | Express silk shorts (similar) | fishnets (similar) | Enzo Angiolni pumps (similar)  vintage clutch (similar) | Victoria’s Secret balconette (similar)

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backwards outfit

Out with the Old, in with the New

Happy New Year! Time for out with the old, in with the new – unless you’re talking about vintage.

I enjoyed the last two weeks of 2015, delighting in the crisp wet winter weather, spending quality time with family, and reuniting with friends all in the name of gluttony over a table of scrumptious food. Even the scroogiest of people are somehow friendlier come holiday time. I can’t help but turn my frown upside-down when I stroll down the streets of houses and store fronts decorated in pine garlands and strings of lights as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire replays in my head to no end.


Alas, the holiday festivities have come and gone, the ball has dropped, and January has reared its head into our lives. A new year beckons fresh beginnings, a chance to make new resolutions, or perhaps work on ones you failed to complete last year. It’s all about self improvement and doing something different, right?

I sometimes get into a slump during this time. There’s a lot of pressure to make new year’s resolutions I will stick by. I’ve been through this before; I gain momentum in the beginning of the year, only to slow down by first quarter, leading to disappointment and feelings of failure.

What I’ve realized is that writing down your goals is key to ensuring you will follow through with them. Once those goals are documented and declared to the world, you will be accountable for them. Goal setting and achieving should be year round. It doesn’t matter if it’s January or December, every day is a chance to get your ass moving if you were lazy yesterday. So hear ye hear ye, here are a few of my ongoing resolutions for this year:

  1. Free your mind: I’ve been practicing meditation on and off again for the past three years…well, to be honest, it’s mostly been off, and I’m going to change that. It will be a priority as soon as I wake up in the morning and the last thing I do before I fall asleep. In the past I’ve used Headspace’s guided meditation sessions to get started on how to clear the mind. Now I’m attempting to meditate on my own with nothing but the harmonious sound of my singing bowl.
  2. Closet freak: After living out of my backpack for several months, I returned to all my pretties in my closet and suddenly felt burdened by the amount of stuff I have. Who needs 50 pairs of blue denim skinny jeans? Needless to say, I’ve been quite a closet freak these days, organizing and thoroughly purging: coats, dresses, skirts, accessories – even as far as my overstuffed sock and underwear drawer. Keep for future outfits, donate to Goodwill, or sell in my Poshmark closet (sign up with code HLVSP to get $10!)? I’m embarrassed I kept some items as long as I did, but hey, we all have some out-of-style skeletons in our closet, don’t we? Anyway, fashion trends always come back, and I never hid the fact I was a hoarder – I rest my case. Although I barely made a dent when all was said and done, at least my dresser drawers close properly now.
  3. Mother tongue: Did you know that a family’s native language is usually lost by the third generation? My bilingualism is slowly slipping away, and I can feel it every time I visit my parents. This language maintenance goal is always on the back of my mind everyday of my life, and I want my future kids and grandkids to be able to speak the language of their forefathers. I’ve been relying on Pleco’s free offline dictionary for the longest time, but I’m eager to try out some different apps like FluentU and Chinese Skill.
  4. Get physical: I’ve been pretty good about staying fit and hitting the gym at least three or four times a week in the past. But now that I am gym-less, it’s time to lay my yoga mat down and work out awkwardly behind the dining table while my housemates eat dinner. Thank you Blogilates, for keeping me in shape!
  5. Chic Vic: I’ve been using WordPress.com ever since Chic Vic’s inception, but have considered migrating it to self hosing for a very long time now. I haven’t done it because I’m terrified and am unsure if it’s even necessary at all. Are there any bloggers out there who started with WordPress.com and are now using WordPress.org? Please share your tips or story!

Now that I’ve declared these goals to the blogosphere, there’s no turning back! Dear readers, what are your new year’s resolutions, and what tips do you have on goal setting and achievement?

As for the rest of 2016, Chic Vic will now return you to your regularly scheduled stylish programming.

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Brrr for Fur

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Everyone is all about sequins and glitter every New Year’s Eve. To these gals I ask, isn’t it a bit nippy for that skimpy number?

In search of an alternative way to be stylish while not sacrificing frozen nips, I looked no further than to our furry friends. Brrr for fur!
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It’s hard to wear this faux fur leopard coat without feeling just slightly posh, even it is synthetic. There’s something about a fur coat that makes it too fancy for the everyday. But NYE is the perfect time for this type of fancy. Heck, if you don’t wear anything else, at least wear a fur coat. And if you don’t own one, check out my picks for under $100:

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fur

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To get it ready for a night out on the town, I fancied it up with a statement feather brooch I salvaged from my Mardi Gras mask in a post from a while back. If it’s large enough to merit having its own float at the Carnival parade, then it’s perfect for NYE – even if I might have to ruffle a few feathers.

I won’t be taking this fur coat-dress off tonight, because baby, it’s cold outside, and I have nothing on underneath.

See you in 2016!

White Christmas

IMG_9611I’m dreaming of a chic Christmas.

Chic Vic is officially back, just in time to usher in a change in seasons. Winter has arrived, bringing with it cold days and even chillier nights. The drop in temperature alone gives me goosebumps and all the more reason to be a homebody. But for all you social butterflies out there, it’s also time for family get togethers, friendship gifts exchanges, and all around excuses to have holiday parties with a mug of hot spiced cider to warm the soul and keep your fingers toasty.

No matter what the occasion, there’s only one color palette that will do you right. From lush creams to winter whites as pure as the driven snow, here are a couple of cozy items under $100 to pick up for yourself or a loved one as you finish last minute gift shopping. You’ll look like an angel on Santa’s nice list in no time.

And may all your Christmases be white.

1. STOLE / 2. EARMUFFS / 3. CABLE TIGHTS / 4. SWEATER / 5. DRESS / 6. GLOVES / 7. SCARF / 8. BEANIE / 9. COAT

White Christmas

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.

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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.

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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)

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