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

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

Fit and Flare Floral Frock

fashion style floral dress

Though spring florals aren’t exactly a new trend, each season they get a refreshing makeover. Whether it’s big bold watercolor florals or tiny micro print flowers, no springtime fashion would be complete without mentioning these petaled pretties. And if there was anyone who admired the natural elegance and beauty of nature’s blooms, it was Dior.

Along with flowers as his muse, Dior pioneered the “New Look” in the 1950s, which is the fit and flare silhouette we know today. A far cry from the austere minimalist look of the wartime years just the decade before, the “New Look” embraced fabric fullness and a woman’s feminine shape. With a fitted bodice and a flared out skirt, it creates a flattering outline with a retro vibe.

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fashion style spring trends floral dresses

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fashion style floral dress

I bought this gently used, fit and flare handmade house dress at one of my vintage haunts in San Francisco. I imagine that it was once worn by an elegant lady of the house. She was probably a gracious host too, coordinating the perfect dinner party for her guests.

Although time has not been kind to this handmade beauty, I bet it was in living color at a time when Americans were still watching episodes of I Love Lucy in black and white. With a touch of sheen that has lost its luster over the years and a bejeweled belt with a few missing rhinestones, I simply adore the faded violet roses blooming on geometric square tiles. They tumble about in every direction like roses thrown on stage, as if I just gave the best performance of my life.

If April showers bring May flowers, then this dress must be it.

fashion style floral dress

Silver Linings Lookbook

All the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!

Oh, the dreaded bouquet toss. There’s something embarrassing about parading up to the dance floor like a herd of cattle. You’re up there with all types of single ladies: the flower girls, the teenagers, the eager to be wed ladies, and maybe an old maid or two. I never actually go out of my way to try to catch the bouquet, instead opting for a blasé approach to guarantee that no bouquet will land in my closed fists. However, there was one traumatic occasion when this strategy failed. With my eyes wide in shock and mouth agape, I was so caught off guard that the beautiful bouquet dropped from my clutches and onto the floor. I stood there frozen in disbelief while a small scuffled ensued around me. A seven year old victor finally emerged from the crowd of single ladies and she proudly held up the flowers above her head while smiling from ear to ear.

I’ve already attended a few weddings so far and with a couple more still to go before summer is over, what should I wear? I’ve got 27 dresses in my closet, but it’s hard to choose one. A floral frock or a powder blue 70s’ gown? My head was spinning with so many choices. Luckily, every cloud has a silver lining, and this was a golden opportunity to cool it down with head to toe silver for a recent summertime wedding.

With diamonds and crystal beads on my wrist and roses at my feet, this silver sheath dress, once long forgotten in my closet, was brought back to life. I got excessive with all my rhinestone brooches that rarely see the light of day. The result: a blinged out right shoulder that was so heavy it caused my dress to droop. I love me a good cardigan with all my vintage frocks, and this one with a lace inset and tiny diamonds embedded throughout is perfect for my 1950s inspired silver look.


silver dress (similar dress) / vintage cardigan (similar cardigan) / Nina rose heels (similar heels) / various rhinestone brooches (similar brooch & brooch) / crystal bead bracelet (similar bracelet)

Who says silver comes second? Once wedding season is over, I think I’m going to incorporate silver into my everyday wear. Whether its a whole lotta silver, or just a sliver of silver, checkout my gold medal first place worthy looks here.

Silver Look 1

Look1

Silver Look 2

Look2

Silver Look 3

Look3

Polka Dot Peplum

You better get some (peplum).

Peplum is no spring chicken, for it has been around the block (and then some) with origins dating back to the 1800s. It became in vogue in the 1940s, and had resurgence again in the 1980s. With each decade, the peplum reinvented itself into different forms, but by definition, it has always stayed the same: a peplum is a short piece of fabric attached to the waist of a jacket, dress, or blouse, and is usually gathered or pleated to create some volume.


Only time will tell whether it falls off the fashion radar again. Nevertheless, I will always love peplum. It is one those style elements that seem to be universally flattering on all body types as long as the right length and volume is chosen. Peplum minimizes the waist and celebrates a woman’s curvy hips, making any outfit fun, flirty, and feminine.

What does one wear with peplum? Since it is nipped in at the natural waist, and flares with such flounce, the peplum is best balanced out with something high waisted and slim and trim for the bottom.

This top lent from my friends at Lalakitty hit all the right notes. The combination of polka dots, peplum, and low revealing back makes me feel demure and alluring at the same time. Lalakitty is offering Chic Vic readers 20% off your entire order – just use code CHICVIC20 and you too could be peplumming.

I paired the top with my sweetheart locket necklace, my favorite pair of high waisted jeans, and a pop of red in my belt and flower corsage. Add a headscarf knotted in the front and a sexy pair of peep-toe pumps and you can call me a bona fide pin up girl.

Watch them boys don’t know how to act cause this top puts the “back” into sexy back. But I ain’t no hollaback girl though.


Lalakitty peplum top / Levis jeans (similar jeans) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar pumps) / vintage clutch (similar clutch) / vintage locket (similar locket) / vintage earrings (similar earrings) / polka dot scarf (similar scarf)

A New Look (give thanks)

Gobble gobble till you wobble.

Tis the season of thanks. I decided to pay tribute to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend by putting the black into Black Friday. And what better way to do so than with Dior’s New Look?

The world emerged from the World War II with a renewed sense of hope and a fresh outlook on life – a perspective that fashion reflected also. When Dior introduced the “New Look,” he did away with the minimalistic utilitarian look of the war years and ushered in an era of excess and femininity in the form of long skirts, voluminous use of fabric, nipped in waists, and emphasized hips.

Dior's "New Look"

To channel this New Look, I chose an all black ensemble complete with pleats and a very sheer organza top. The prudy length of the skirt off sets the risky business of the blouse. The blouse’s faux leather collar and button placket gives this look a subtle edge that even Dior would be proud of. This is certainly a new look for me of sorts, but you won’t catch me wearing this whilst shopping on Black Friday. Clawing my way through crowds to get that deal wouldn’t be very ladylike, now would it?

I always remind myself to have an attitude of gratitude everyday. I have a lot to be thankful for: loving family and friends, good health, a roof over my head, food on the table, and of course, a blog following. As always, thank you dear readers, for continuing to follow my humble blog.

May we be ever so lucky to fall victim to tryptophan – Happy Thanksgiving!

Urban Outfitters blouse (similar) / vintage skirt (similar) / Landau earrings (similar) / Sam & Libby shoes (similar)

Surprise, Surprise, Faux and Hide

Things aren’t always what they seem.

From across the sales floor, this dress appeared to have a delicate lace overlay in a beautiful contrast of hunter green and pale blush pink. Yet once we met up close, I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t lace at all, but rather a lace print. This faux lace meant that it would be easy to care for because it was machine washable. No expensive dry-cleaning bills and purchased on sale, this dress was a score.

While the fit and flare silhouette of this dress is reminiscent of 1950s fashion, the length is not. The flared skirt combined with the stiff fabric make for an inappropriate flashing opportunity. I won’t be going bottoms up in this dress, unless I have a drink in my hand.

Like the faux lace, this bracelet was also deceiving. I picked it up at a vintage show, thinking it was just a pretty blingy bangle to add to my collection. Oh, but it was so much more than that: when hinged open, the rose uncovers a watch. Since it was made in the good old days, I was able to wind it up and use the watch immediately. And it just so happens to match a brooch I already had – were they part of the same set and somehow separated long ago? It was serendipity that brought them together in perfect harmony with my dress.

Whether it’s faux lace or a hidden watch, keep the surprises coming. Except for a surprise stain, which I am guilty of overlooking for the love of vintage. Don’t judge me!


Zara dress (similar) / Nina shoes / vintage brooch (similar) / vintage watch (similar)

Motherlover

Yo momma’s so big they call her Mother Earth. Oh snap!

Bad joke aside, Earth Day is near, and that means it’s time to put on some gloves and do the earth some good, whether it is picking up litter, cleaning the creek, or repainting a local community center.

Even if you aren’t able to dedicate that day to any of those activities, that’s okay. Because you really should be showing Mother Earth you care with your daily contributions: make sure the recycling has recyclables only, use reusable bags, throw food scraps and other biodegradable items into the compost bin, and don’t litter! Remember this mantra: recycle, reduce, reuse, rot. Repeat!

My 1950s outfit was inspired by Earth Day, albeit I will likely be wearing something less than blog-worthy in any actual dirty activities. Once again, I sourced a vintage top from mommy dearest. Just short of a tunic, I love the casual relaxed fit and the multi colored windowpane print makes this anything but a boring shirt. The ties at the sleeves are a fun and practical detail – I’m ready to roll up them up and get my elbows a little dirty. I paired it with my relaxed fit jeans and some easy mini-wedge canvas slip-ons. A headwrap is a must for this look. I found an excuse to use my repurposed Starbucks coffee bag purse that I got for free at a yard sale some years ago – just one example of something getting a second chance at life and saved from a landfill. Mother Earth is smiling.

So be an Earth Day ho, grab a hoe, and get knee deep in the weeds.

shirt (similar here, here, + here)/headwrap (similar here + here)/shoes (similar herehere, +  here)

The (flower) Power Suit Part 2: Pattern Play

I’m a sucker for prints and patterns.  Without it, my fashion life would be reduced to a sad and lonely existence of drab solid colors. I always try to incorporate some kind of pattern into my outfit, even if its just a small scarf tied around my neck. And what could be better than one pattern, you ask? Two (or more) of course!

Mixing patterns can be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. Worst case scenario: you might end up looking like you got dressed in the dark. However, when done right, the outcome can be quite harmonious, as both prints can complement and enhance each other. A simple key to achieving this is to combine one neutral secondary pattern with one main focus pattern for a fun pattern play date!

Although my flower power suit skirt is quite busy in both the floral pattern and color, it did not deter me from wearing it with a polka dot blouse (I told you I would feature more polka). The reason why this works is because the blouse is neutral in color (black and white), as well as neutral in pattern (stripes are another good example). I love the attached necktie on the blouse, and the fact that it mirrors the secondary white dot pattern in the skirt is no coincidence – yes, I’m that good. Drawing from the colors of the flowers, I made sure to keep the rest of the outfit just as fun and playful with a pair of yellow peep-toe Mary-Janes and a cropped green sweater cardigan. The look wouldn’t be complete without an over-sized silk flower pin.

From Dynasty to Mad Men, I just turned one half of this 1980s power suit into a charming retro-modern 1950s look that I can actually wear to work. Talk about time travel. Thanks for the ride, Doc. Stay tuned as I voyage back to the future!