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

D is for D’Orsay

Fashion Shoes D'Orsay

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Pumps, peep-toes, platforms, slingbacks, stilettos…with so many shoes to choose from, it’s no wonder I’m still missing a d’Orsay in my life.

A traditional d’Orsay shoe is a pump with a closed toe and covered heel. But here’s the kicker in these classy kicks: the sides of the vamp are cut out to expose the arch of the foot. These days, the d’Orsay style comes in a variety of heel heights and types such as flats, kitten heels, wedges, and peep toes to boot.

Shoes 19th century d'orsay

Edwardian silk d’Orsay slippers, 19th century

There’s something je ne sais quoi about a d’Orsay pump that makes it so chic, perhaps because of its French origins. It is thought that the shoe is named after Count Alfred d’Orsay, a 19th century French artist with an impeccable style. Once upon a time, men wore pumps, and a common problem they encountered was gaping on the sides due to wide feet and ill fitting shoes. D’Orsay came up with the genius idea of cutting out the sides for a better fit, giving birth to the dandy d’Orsay pump we know today.

D’Orsay pumps are considered to be a sexy shoe, but wearer beware, it comes with a price. To prevent the foot from slipping out, the shoes are sometimes designed a little tighter than usual. Combine this with the pointy toe, and your feet will be cursing merde in the name of fashion.

C is for Cloche

I wear more than one hat, two to be exact.

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Contrary to what many people believe, the cloche hat was actually invented in 1908, almost two decades before the flapper era of the 1920s. Leave it to the Parisians to create something so chic and timeless, the word cloche means “bell” in French. Years later, as the Roaring Twenties kicked in full steam, it became the iconic hat of the Jazz Age.

How to spot a cloche hat? It’s all in the bell shape. Cloche hats are traditionally made from felt, though ones made from straw or cloth were not uncommon. Decorations were minimal in order to maintain the slim and trim profile of the hat.

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Cloche Hats

The fitted silhouette makes it hard to see because it covers the eyes, and for this reason it even altered the way women carried themselves. They literally had to tilt their chins up in order to see. The snug shape also playfully accented the short hairstyles that were so in vogue at the time, and was the ideal way to wear such a trendy accessory.

It’s been years since I sported a bob, but I might just chop off my long locks and embrace my inner flapper at the drop of a cloche hat.

hat_accessory_cloche hat

B is for Brooch

Buttons, zippers, buckles, hook & eye, and velcro. Before the advent of these modern fasteners, there was the brooch.

brooch fashion jewelry

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Although brooches are merely just decorative jewelry pieces nowadays, they once had a utilitarian purpose. The earliest form was called a fibula brooch. Resembling a safety pin, it was used to hold garments together on the body. From the draped peplos tunics of Roman yore to the heavy cloaks in early medieval dress, brooches were used throughout history and in many cultures. Sometimes, even the design of the brooch served to reveal something about the wearer, like their rank or affiliation in society.

fibula / peplos / cloak

Eventually as innovation ensued, the functional necessity of the brooch was no longer needed. Yet the brooch still remains one of my favorite go to accessories to adorn the shoulder of my cardigan or the lapel of my coat. Vintage brooches can be found at thrift shops, but even department stores like Macy’s have great options for inexpensive costume jewelry.

With buttons fastening the front of my blouse, I can focus taking my brooching to a whole new decorative level.

1. All tied up: A feminine take on a masculine necktie, excessive accessorizing is key.
fashion jewelry brooch

2. Belt it out: A fabric belt or a wide ribbon tied around the waist will also do. The result is a burnished belt worthy of the wrestling ring.

fashion jewelry brooch

3. Beret, oh hey: A classic Chic Vic move, even the rookiest of broochers can pull this off.

fashion jewelry brooch

4. Off the chain: All you need is a chain with links large enough for the pin of the brooch to needle through. Voilà, that brooch has become a pendant necklace.

fashion jewelry brooch

And there you have it, the fascinating history of fasteners! How do you like to wear your brooch?

A is for Ascot

What do silk scarves and horses have in common? Today’s accessory inspiration is borrowed from the boys, as we travel to their neck of the woods to a royal Europe from centuries past.
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Before the ascot tie was called the ascot, it had its origins in the 1800s, where it was donned by royalty and upper class on the daily, and for formal occasions of the middle class in Europe. In this fancy setting, the tie was often made of a heavy linen material, and worn over the collar and pinned.
Sargent John Singer 1880
But fashion is never static, and the ascot became susceptible to change. Adapting to the needs of the growing middle class, I’m sure all it took was one fine gentleman who began to incorporate the ascot into everyday casual wear. Worn tucked inside of an open collar instead of over it, he made it look so cool that other men followed suit.

It was popularly worn at the horse races at the Ascot Racecourse in England – just imagine spectators and steeds alike, wearing matching silk ascots! Okay, I’ll stop horsing around; this is how the ascot tie came to be called the ascot.

Generally ascot ties look like the bow tie’s much bigger cousin, with a narrow neckband and wide ends. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with an ascot tie, head to your local thrift shop. While you may not be able to find an actual ascot tie, silk and synthetic scarves are bountiful at Goodwill for as little as a dollar a piece. I prefer the versatility of a long rectangular scarf for a turban or bow atop my head, but now it’s time to borrow from the boys an ascot tie.

Here’s how you can achieve the ascot look in a few easy steps:

  1. Drape scarf around your neck, with 1/3 of the scarf on your left (short side SS), and the other 2/3 on your right (long side LS)
  2. Take the LS and cross it over the SS
  3. Bring the LS under the SS, returning it to the right side.
  4. Now bring the LS over the SS, so it is on the left side again.
  5. Bring LS towards your neck, and up under the loop you made.
  6. Adjust by holding onto the SS and sliding the “knot” of the ascot.
  7. Stuff it into your shirt.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the races to take a gamble on a stallion.

L-O-V-E Day

“The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” – Noah Calhoun, The Notebook

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Sappy romance movies really aren’t my thing and is probably my least favorite movie genre right next to romantic comedies. When I first watched The Notebook, I rolled my eyes at how the cheesy and predictable love story unfolded. Yet over time, I have grown fond of it mostly because, well, it stars Ryan Gosling as the hopeless romantic Noah Calhoun – what’s not to love? Oh how I’d like to take a ride on Noah’s ark.

Rachel McAdams plays Allie Hamilton, who is Noah’s love interest. It was painful to watch her torture herself and Noah as their summer love crashed and burned, but watching her outfit change in each scene was certainly a delight. Although women’s fashion in the 1940s is often characterized as utilitarian and austere, reflecting the nation’s somber mood during the war, there was also a softer and glamorous side, as epitomized by Allie’s perfect curls, red lipstick, and feminine dresses. Hats, floral and geographic prints, emphasis on sleeve details, shirt dresses, and shoulder pads became very popular during this time.

vintage jacket (similar) / vintage dress (similar) / vintage pumps (similar) / fishnets (similar) / Forever 21 pillbox (similar)

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You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss.

I may not have a heart when it comes to romance movies, but I can empathize with the pain and uncertainty of wartime love. Imagine kissing your love for the last time, never knowing when or if they will return. You cling onto a photograph of him, waiting everyday at the mercy of a telegram or handwritten letter to know that he is still alive and well. The men and women in these photographs didn’t really know when they would see each other again because another day was not guaranteed. So on this Valentine’s Day – and any other day for that matter – enjoy the present with the apple of your eye and be thankful that you have someone who wants to be attached to you at the hip, and who is happy to call you their better half. If you are single, then bask in the love of your family and friends and believe that your soulmate is out there somewhere – or at least right at your fingertips on Tinder.

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I experienced wartime love when I laid my eyes on this gorgeous pair of 1940s peep-toe pumps. In pristine condition, I can only imagine they sat in a shoebox in some stylish lady’s closet and forgotten, as she probably had more pressing matters to be concerned with. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a lady in red, because you know how the saying goes: red dress at night, sailor’s delight. This thrifted 80s silk beauty almost fits the bill for a 40s style dress. None of the hats in my collection could ever rival the amazing head pieces in that era, but I tried my best by adding a veil to my favorite pillbox hat. I felt a bit like a widow, but the 1940s were somber times after all. Fishnet stockings were hardly a thing in that decade, but I felt this outfit deserved some pizzaz and sheer nylons just weren’t going to do it. I could be waiting a while for my sailor, so better stay warm and glam in my fur collar jacket.

Although I never want to be in the situation of such uncertainty, one thing I am certain of: when my sailor sees me this Valentine’s Day in my 1940s inspired getup, he’ll want to dip me and kiss me like it’s V-J Day in Times Square.

Happy Valentine’s Day loves!

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Baroque Brocade for the Holidays

ModCloth blouse (similar) / vintage belt (similar) / vintage skirt (similar) / Anthropologie tights (similar) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar) / vintage fur stole (similar) / vintage clutch (similar) / vintage cuff (similar) / vintage earrings (similar)

If I could deck the halls of my home this holiday season, I would do it not with boughs of holly, but instead go broke for Baroque. On second thought, perhaps I’ll just get decked out in a budget friendly Baroque inspired outfit.

Baroque style emerged in Europe during the 1600s. This style permeated into all art forms such as fine art, architecture, music, literature, and of course, even fashion. Baroque was all about creating excitement and drama through display of opulence and grandeur; it was a time of indulgence. I won’t get into the religious and historical details of the Baroque period, for they are just as intricate as the style itself. While Baroque manifests itself differently in each art form, in fashion it is characterized by textured fabrics, ornate embellishments, curlicues, and abundant details with ribbons, pearls, and delicate gold embroidery.

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It’s no joke that I have no great wealth to show off, so I decided to poke fun at Baroque’s opulence. If anything, I display an eminence of vintage and thrifty finds. I captured the essence of the Baroque style with embroidery and brocade in the shiniest of golden threads. Saving the wide long skirt and plunging décolletage revealing neckline for another day, I opted for a modern silhouette in a sleeveless blouse and slim pencil skirt.

Don’t let the shiny threads fool you – this is just pattern play: holiday edition. When mixing patterns, just follow a few rules. Pay attention to the scale of the pattern (mix big and small), fabric texture (shiny with matte), fabric weight (e.g. silk vs. velvet) and color scheme (same color family or neutral). In this outfit, I decided to go with multiple elements to create a lavish outfit brimming with drama for your momma. Despite all my Baroque details clamoring for attention, it might be the vintage fur stole that stole the show.

We finally started getting rain in our drought induced state of California, but I won’t let it rain on my Baroque brocade parade. Unless the precipitation is of the paper kind.

Happy Holidays!


ModCloth blouse (similar) / vintage belt (similar) / vintage skirt (similar) / Anthropologie tights (similar) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar) / vintage fur stole (similar) / vintage clutch (similar) / vintage cuff (similar) / vintage earrings (similar)

Baroque Brocade

Leather Bermuda

Leather Bermuda, come on pretty mama.

Wearing white after Labor Day has been known to be a fashion faux pas, as it is the unofficial end of summer (it’s really September 23rd), but did you know there is a secondary reason? In the 1800s, socialites used forms of dress to differentiate themselves from the lesser elite, and this no white nonsense was just one of the many made up fashion standards adopted and rejected throughout history. Luckily, the no white after Labor Day rule has fallen out of fashion and we can wear whatever whenever our heart desires. And right now my heart desires a pair of white Bermuda shorts.

Bermuda shorts were first worn by the British Army as a way to deal with tropical temperatures. However, the term “Bermuda” shorts wasn’t coined until WW2, when there was a clothing shortage in Bermuda. The solution? They modeled their shorts after those of the British Army. Such shorts are also known as dress shorts since they are basically a pair of trousers in short form. Although I live in a mild climate, there are still 19 days of summer, so I don’t see any reason not to embrace the Bermuda short.

In honor of a post Labor Day white outfit, I went monochromatic white. Despite the wide leg, pleated front, the less than flattering behind, and just general man-repelling properties of these leather Bermuda shorts, I couldn’t resist purchasing them when they cost me only a dollar. Is there a Bermuda triangle back there or did my ass just magically disappear when I slipped this on? I offset the the shorts’ manly silhouette with a feminine silk blouse and a white clutch with gold accents that is so clutch. The result is a mock romper in head to toe white that would make those socialites turn in their graves.

Who wants to go to Kokomo?


Gap blouse (similar blouse) / thrifted leather bermuda shorts (similar bermuda shorts) / Guess pumps (similar pumps) / thrifted clutch bag (similar clutch bag)

Puttin’ in Pleats

I’m a good sport about putting balls into holes. Any stroke will do it, right?

From the conservative dress of the 1800s, to the short hemlines of the 1960s, women’s fashion in sports reflected societal norms of dress of the time. As more women participated in sports, there grew a demand for practicality and functionality for they needed the same ease of movement as men. Restrictive forms of clothing gave way to the sportier and shorter silhouettes seen today.

I recently had the opportunity to try my hand at golf for the very first time. Interestingly, golf began as a social club for young men and women to meet each other. Thus, it was important for women to be dressed to impress should they encounter a suitor. For them, golfing was more about the fashion than the sport itself – they were dressed to a (golf) tee.

Nowadays, golfing is purely focused on the sport, but that did not deter me from looking my best on the fairway. Excited to get my Tiger Woods on (in the pro-golf sense), I seized this opportunity as an excuse to wear my tennis dress.

Daiso hat (similar hat) / vintage tennis dress (similar dress) / thrifted shoes (similar shoes)

Yes, I said tennis dress. But the sport is golf, no? While the sports are different, they do share some commonalities in their fashion evolution whether it be long sleeved blouses, rising hemlines, or sweater cardigans. I feel this dress could probably work in the game of golf. The little drop waist pleats must’ve been made for this game as one has to stick their butt out quite a bit just to putt the ball. Pass me the wood please!

Unfortunately, I didn’t meet any potential suitors on the fairway and failed to make a hole in one. Where’s a caddy when you need one? I guess I need to step up my game or just stick to driving the golf cart. Fore!