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

A Tower of Giraffes

No two giraffes have the same spotted pattern, just like how no two vintage items are alike. And it goes without saying, no other fashion blogger is quite like Chic Vic.

OOTD fashion style

I have dreams about going on an African safari someday, to see lions in their natural habitat, to watch a heard of wildebeest by the watering hole, and to hear the thunderous trumpet of elephants big and small. The glowing sun sets on an outstretched endless horizon, outlining the majestic silhouette of baobab trees before it melts into the earth to give way to a starry, starry night.

But since that trip remains but a distant dream for now, this giraffe blouse will have to quell my wanderlust.

Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) | vintage head wrap (similar) | vintage coat (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | Express jeans (similar) | Urban Outfitters shoes (similar) | tortoise shell bangle (similar)

OOTD fashion style

A tower of giraffes roam freely along the hem of this vintage blouse, their lithe spotless bodies in solid hues seemingly in motion as if we were observing them from a far distance. The orange, brown and cream colors match equally well with my tortoise shell accents and my printed headscarf in the same color scheme. I juxtapose the soft luster of the blouse and headscarf with a heavily textured cream coat from the 1960s. Though unfit for an African safari, this outfit is perfect for a mild autumn day.

OOTD fashion style

Unbuttoned

What buttons up, must button down.

OOTD Fashion Style

A concatenation of events in my personal life (all good things!) has caused me to derail off the blogging track. It was still blue skies and hot as balls since my last post, but now I wake up to brisk mornings and brown leaves on trees. Seasons have changed and I even passed my four year Chic Vic blogiversary without realizing it. But now I’m back up in the game like Mark Morrison, and onto the chain reaction fashion series I go.

I always aspire to achieve that minimalist closet of must-have basics and versatile neutrals that mix and match like the Parisian chic items from Amour Vert. But honestly, it feels a bit bland to be minimalist all the time. I still cannot completely let go of the fantastic prints, bold pops of color, and one of a kind vintage threads I’ve amassed over the years. At my style core, that is what Chic Vic is all about – a flavorful melange of style that is uniquely me.

OOTD Fashion Style

Saks Fifth Avenue dress (similar) | Forever 21 top (similar) | Jones New York skirt (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | vintage heels (similar) | vintage purse (similar) | vintage necklace (similar) | vintage watch (similar)

OOTD Fashion Style

I am neither a wallflower nor am I a limelight seeker by any means, but I do like to sit back and let my clothes do the talking for me. This dress is as rambunctious as a neon highlighter, and definitely gets me noticed even when I’m not soliciting attention – especially when I wear it unbuttoned.

The basic, versatile, and ever trustworthy neutral navy, like a steadfast friend, offers the perfect stage for the neon green to shine with all her retro glory. Worn unbuttoned like a jacket of sorts, it adds the right amount of 1960s spunkiness to the conservative pencil skirt silhouette, while accenting the neon green color pops of my blouse. I’m head to toe thrifted, and that’s soo Chic Vic.

So before you stow away your summer shirt dress in hibernation, think again. Or rather, think it unbuttoned.
OOTD Fashion Style

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

Amour Vert

There’s something about the Parisian chic style that has a certain je ne sais quoi. And in a world where trends move quickly and fast fashion rules, there’s Amour Vert.

Fashion Amour Vert

Amour Vert is the brainchild of husband and wife team Christoph Frehsee and Linda Balti. This eco-conscious brand has a simple concept: you buy a tee and they plant a tree. With a focus on sustainability, they strive to reduce waste while still producing high-quality items.

A color palette of neutrals, solids, and stripes done in a blend of feminine blouses, flowy dresses, and of course, their signature oh-so-soft drapey knits in Tencel, Modal, and cotton, epitomize the Amour Vert aesthetic. While there are a few seasonal styles and colors, for the most part, basics are the core of their collection. Just like the Parisian chic style, they designed these classic seasonless pieces for people to keep for a long time.

While their designs have that European flair, their materials and production take place locally in San Francisco and Oakland. With brick and mortar locations popping up throughout the Bay Area, Frehsee and Balti are taking the fashion world by eco-conscious storm.

Daiso hat (similar) | Amour Vert tee | Urban Outfitters shorts (similar) | White Mountain espadrilles (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | compass necklace (similar)

ootd fashion style

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer as well as any white wearing business, so I decided to take my Amour Vert tee out for a nautical spin, from front to back.

A deep V + super soft material = a versatile striped basic worn two ways. Whether it’s a figure-elongating, décolletage revealing effect I’m after or an unexpected exposed sexy back, we can all agree that eco-conscious fashion is always chic no matter how you wear it. C’est bon!

ootd fashion style

ootd fashion style

Daiso hat (similar) | Amour Vert tee | Urban Outfitters shorts (similar) | White Mountain espadrilles (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | compass necklace (similar)

ootd fashion style

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.

Image 1 | Image 2 | Image 3

“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

My Pretty Petticoat

When I want to add a bit of body to my bottom half, I put on my pretty petticoat.

fashion ootd dress

Petticoats have a long standing history in women’s fashion. In vogue from the 1500s to the 1800s, this popular undergarment was worn under dresses. It added fullness to the wearer’s hips and rear, creating exaggerated bootylicious curves that was all the rage at the time.

As with all trends, the voluminous petticoat fell out of fashion to make way for slimmer silhouettes. In the 1950s, Christian Dior’s “New Look” made room for this historical undergarment to resurface back to popularity under full skirts and fit and flare dresses. Nowadays, petticoats are less common, but I still found a way to incorporate it into my chain reaction fashion.

vintage dress (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar) | Bolivian petticoat (similar) | J. Crew heels (similar) | green necklace (similar) | vintage purse (similar)

fashion ootd dress

The petticoat adds some dramatic flounce to my citrus-hued 50s frock. With my lemony peep-toe Mary Jane pumps matching perfectly with my pretty petticoat, I found it hard to leave my skirt down.

I’m putting the flair back into fit and flare.

fashion ootd dress

Chain reaction fashion: 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

Eyelet Blouse and Citrus Hues

It’s official: this weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer.

Fashion OOTD Vintage Dress

Once called Decoration Day, Memorial Day has been celebrated since the late 1800s, but only after WWII did it become a regular day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country.

Emerging victorious from the dark cloak of WWII, post-war American life was filled with a renewed sense of hope and vigor. Those who had contributed to the war effort either abroad or on the home front were eager to resume regular life again. Consumerism was at an all time high, along with a booming economy and baby making. Dior’s “new look” became revolutionary, and fashion was ruled by excess and the need to express conformity. Women had specific clothing designated for housework, lounging, errand running, and social gatherings.

Fashion Vintage 1950s Dresses

source: the people history

What’s considered conformity in one decade becomes individualist in another. Who knew that this post-war dress would find its way into the hands of a millennial? While this dress might’ve been the designated uniform for housework back in the 50s and 60s, it has certainly become my unique go-to dress for picnics and Memorial Day barbecues.

Fashion OOTD Vintage Dress

vintage shoes (similar) | vintage dress (similar) | vintage purse (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar) vintage blouse (similar) | Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Fashion OOTD Vintage Dress

The faded citrus hues of tangerine, orange, and lime still pack a cheery tart punch, garnering compliments whenever I wear it. With a retro blooming wildflower variety print that resembles 1960s wallpaper, I layer my eyelet blouse from my chain reaction fashion series over the classic fit and flare silhouette to create a completely “new look” of my own. The eyelet blouse adds a subtle texture contrast to the patterned print of the dress, allowing the juicy citrus colors of the bodice to squeeze through.

Happy Memorial Day!

Chain reaction fashion: May | April | march | February | January | December