Set Sail

IMG_8620

My mom has a wealth of experience and is a self taught pattern maker. She scours over vintage sewing books passed onto her from older friends. The books, nearly falling apart, are riddled with her notes written in pencil, pages are doggy eared, and in between some chapters I find her quarter scale sample patterns cut from newspapers – all techniques she uses to master her craft and know it by heart.

I can never decipher her cryptic notes and sometimes her verbal explanations get lost in translation. I wanted to learn the fundamentals and principles of sewing so that I could gain a closer bond with my mom through this shared love of the sewing machine and the craftiness that can be created with it.

So it was several fall semesters ago that I finally discovered and enrolled in my first sewing class at a community college. I had an advantage over some of my classmates who had never touched a sewing machine before (forget personal sewing machines – my mom has the real deal industrial Brother), yet there were still many gaps in my sewing knowledge that I needed to fill.

IMG_8617

Daiso hat (similar) / sail shirt (similar) / Silence & Noise sailor pants (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / pendant necklace (similar) / vintage wooden cuff (similar) / vintage purse (similar) / J. Crew cardigan (similar) / J. Crew pumps (similar)

Over the years, I learned that the act of sewing itself is only a small part of the equation – and maybe not even the most important one. Operating a sewing machine in and of itself isn’t difficult per se, but the manipulation of different fabrics can be challenging. Unusual seam lines that require contorting the fabric in an unnatural way under the needle is enough to want to call it quits on a project. Order of construction and pressing the garment prove to be equally important, and drafting a pattern can be time consuming for the novice. But with enough practice and patience, I’ll be able to whip up a couture gown in no time.

This shirt is a reminder of how I set sail on my sewing education many semesters ago, using left over scrap fabric from a previous project I made with my mom. Drafted in the beginners class from a general block, I proudly wear this shirt even though it’s a bit ill fitting. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come (which isn’t that far at all), but even more so, it’s the French seams I put all over the place that deters me from altering it to fit me better.

The sailboats, bright pops of yellow and orange against a backdrop of sky blue always puts a smile to my face whenever I wear it, as if the shirt’s sunny disposition has the power to cast away any cloudy days or shadow of doubt I have over my sewing capabilities. The outfit wouldn’t be complete without extra splashes of yellow, and I found a spot for a little dandelion flower in the little pocket on my sleeve, sewn by yours truly.

Now that I am wiser and more experienced with garment construction, perhaps it’s time to set sail on a better fitting project.

IMG_8597

 

Pop Your Easter Collar

IMG_2926copy

IMG_2933 copy

Hardboiled, scrambled, or sunny side up? I personally like ’em easy – and for eggs, make that over easy.

Although I don’t participate in any egg hunts or other Easter festivities, I still like to dress the part in a floral spring dress. By the transformative power of my sewing machine, I turned this drab, superfluous fabric of a 1980s dress complete with shoulder pads, puffy sleeves, and prude ankle length into a flirty feminine sleeveless sundress. The oversized collar is so wide, it takes popping your collar to new heights.

I hate to dangle a carrot before you, but that’s all this bunny rabbit’s got for you today. Hoppy Easter!

Express cardigan (similar) / vintage dress (similar here & here) / Crown Vintage sandals (similar)

IMG_2946 copy

IMG_2943

Gold Digger

IMG_2885

Although my new year’s resolution is to become more of a fashion minimalist, deep down I ain’t nothing but a gold digger. Oh I’m a thrifting friend indeed.

IMG_2903

When you’re thrifty, every trip to Goodwill is like panning for gold. I struck it rich and found this gold laden, sequin encrusted cardigan during one of my routine first-donate-then-shop trips. It has become my designated statement cardigan when I need a quick way to glam up a pair of jeans with minimal effort. To let the cardigan shine, I wore all black and played up the color of the sequins by adding extra gold toned accessories to the rest of my outfit.

IMG_2892

Feeling bold and empowered by gold, I decided the outfit needed a superhero’s touch in the form of a cape. The black cape adds subtle drama and also allows the sequins to peekaboo through the front. The arm holes help frame sequined detail on the sleeves that would otherwise be hidden from sight with a regular coat.

My outfit isn’t suited for the snow, but this snow bunny wasn’t really planning to hit the bunny slopes anyway. Black diamond you say? Where can this gold digger get her hands on one?

Zara cape (similar) / vintage cardigan (similar) / Silence & Noise blouse (similar) / Forever 21 pillbox hat (similar) / Kimchi Blue suede boots (similar) / vintage belt (similar) / vintage flower brooch (similar) / vintage bow brooch (similar) / vintage cape clip (similar)

IMG_2907

cape

Layers Lockdown

Dear Diary,

I have a confession to make: I’m in love with layers.

I remember my very first diary. It had teddy bears on the cover accompanied with the words “Bear Song.” In it I bared my soul. Pages and pages riddled with my cutesy juvenile penmanship declaring my schoolgirl crushes, bemoaning the trials and tribulations of friendships, worrying about good grades and other #13yearoldproblems. To prevent prying eyes from stumbling upon my innermost thoughts and feelings, my diary was secured by a lock. I wore the key around my neck and close to my heart for safekeeping.

It is silly to believe that flimsy little lock could really keep my secrets secure. If anyone wanted to break into my diary, a hairpin or strong yank on the lock would do it. While I no longer have use for a diary, I have discovered an alternate use for that lock. I found these diary locks for dirt-cheap by the handful, and re-purposed them into something wearable. 1 chain + 1 skeleton key + multiple locks = 1 fabulous innuendo laden necklace. A statement piece for sure, it makes a great addition to my layered autumn outfit.

Multiple layers begs the question, how to mix and match? The answer is to stay awash with neutrals of navy, grey, tan, and taupe – a color palette that is perfect for the season.

My dad’s wool cardigan vest coupled with my cotton knit cardigan provided just the right amount of warmth I needed with minimal bulk. I recently wore this outfit to brunch on a cool overcast morning. By the afternoon, the sun had broken through the clouds, and my body temperature was 98 degrees and rising. Luckily, all I had to do was peel back my layers like an onion to keep my cool.

It is safe to say I’ve got this layered look on lockdown. But with so many locks and just one ill-fitting skeleton key, what should I do?

Wait, I have an idea. Call a locksmith!


vintage sweater vest (similar) / BDG cardigan (similar) / BDG moto jeans (similar) / Alternative tee (similar) / Hinge oxfords / vintage necklace (similar)

Autumn Layers

Watercolor Wallflower

Forget nap time, hopscotch, or storytelling – my most favorite activity in kindergarten by far was spent at the art easel. I channeled my inner Bob Ross and must have painted at least one happy little cloud in one of the dozen masterpieces I created that year. Oh, the joy of painting.

I often painted abstractly with geometric shapes and had a preference for symmetry, so one of my paintings ended up resembling a pizza with the most unusual toppings. The one thing all my paintings had in common was the fact that they were very drippy. At age five, I didn’t understand how to control the value contrasts of my paint with the amount of water on my brush that caused my sad pizzas, and therefore, I was sad. While I was aiming for Georgia O’Keeffe, my abstract pizza painting was something more like the beginnings of a Salvador Dali painting, saddened by the effect of the unintentional drippy paint. At least that’s what the persistence of memory tells me.

Since then, I’ve brushed off the actual brushes preferring instead to wear works of art. To this watercolor floral dress I say: I’ve found a masterpiece in you, a work of art it’s true.

I bought this dress on the clearance rack at Ross a long time ago, and while the conservative silhouette is ideal for the office, I actually wore it to a wedding recently. I have a reputation for busting a move or two on the dance floor, but the sheath silhouette restricted my movement a bit, and I found myself standing on the sidelines.

Chic Vic is never typically a wallflower, but if I’m gonna be one, then I better look my damn best. Shoooot, I make this brick wall look good.


J.Crew cardigan / Nine West dress (similar dress, dress, & dress) / Anthropologie heels (similar heels & heels) / vintage purse (similar purse)

 

 

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

The Green Dress

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? I do not have a green thumb, but a green dress I do.

This dress was a lucky green find at Salvation Army and it has quickly become a favorite of mine to wear in the spring and summer. The solid color and simplicity of its design serves as the perfect blank canvas for me to create a styling masterpiece. Whether I choose a statement necklace, a scarf tied around the neck, or a big fancy belt, there are an infinite amount of ways to accessorize it into different looks.

The rich green color is as lush as the rolling green hills on which I had these photos taken. Indeed, this dress is fertile for a mighty garden to sprout, so I accessorized accordingly with pink floral accents. This upcycled one of a kind leather belt I often neglect, but for this dress it was a match made in heaven. And of course, the bodice of the dress wouldn’t be complete without a giant flower pin. Although there’s not a single silver bell or cockle shell on me, I still think Mary would be quite pleased.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Unless of course, you don’t own a green dress.

J.Crew cardigan (similar cardigan) / thrifted dress (similar dress) / thrifted belt (similar belt) / Natural comfort wedge shoes (similar wedge shoes)

Press Play

Please be kind, rewind.

Hey all you youngins, before there was iheartradio or Pandora, there was the actual radio. My early teen years were spent by the radio dial, switching between the all the popular stations. When the DJ played my favorite song, it was time to press play+record. Behold the art of the mix tape.

Nowadays cassette tapes are obsolete, but they continue to live on in my heart and in my closet. I scored this very cool tee shirt a while back from a local artist that features a screen print of her tape collection. I admit I don’t know all the names of the artists and album names scribbled on some of the cassettes, so I guess I’m a bit of a youngin myself.

The tee shirt deserved some edgy elements, so I found an excuse to wear my seatbelt belt; it is quite the conversation starter for obvious reasons. I juxtaposed the casual tee shirt with a dainty lace inset vintage cardigan and a pair of cutout heels to match.

Life is like a cassette player: if you fast forward you’ll miss the scenery, but don’t rewind and dwell on the past. Remember to pause, stop, and just press play. You better check yo self before you eject yo self.


vintage cardigan (similar cardigan) / cassette tee (similar tee) / Jeffrey Campbell heels (similar heels) / seatbelt belt / vintage Dooney & Bourke purse (similar purse)

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

The Cool Chic

You’re hot then you’re cold.

I’m talking about the finicky weather lately. A heatwave one week, and a chance of rain the next week. Or, it can happen all in the same day: mild in the daytime, but winds pick up soon after sunset. Lightweight layering pieces are key to surviving these fast-changing temperatures.

For this weather driven style challenge, I reached for my leather jacket. I finally got my hands on one for a price that I can live with – $15 at Goodwill! A simple leather jacket is classic and timeless – you won’t have to worry about it going out of style. It’s the perfect mid-weight item for that in between weather, when it’s neither frosty nor too hot.

It’s black and it’s white. Still high off my previous outfit post, black and white seemed most appropriate for this leather jacket. Not one to be very edgy, I softened up the ensemble with feminine details: a polka dot bow, a strand of pearls, a sheer blouse, and a vintage beaded cardigan.

Between the jacket, the killer heels, and the graffiti in the background, I couldn’t help but feel too cool for school (while staying warm) in this outfit. I tried my best to give a mean mug, but to no avail. Instead of looking bad ass, I just look cool chic.

This cool chic chick needs a cigarette, a tatted up boy toy, and a motorcycle. Who da baddest chic?


thrifted Banana Republic jacket (similar pleather jacket) / vintage cardigan (similar cardigan) / Old Navy blouse (similar blouse and blouse) / Levi’s jeans (similar jeans) / Dollhouse booties (similar booties) / vintage Coach Willis handbag / thrifted headscarf (similar scarf)