Bohemian to the Maxi

I may often express my sense of style with boho chic outfits, but do I truly live la vie bohème?

The modern definition of a bohemian is an artistic or spiritual individual who goes against the grain of social conventions and lives a “non-traditional” lifestyle. Although I’ve always secretly considered myself a free spirit, for the most part, my daydreams seldom leave the confines of social norms and I have mostly lived in tandem with the status quo.

As I have alluded in past blog posts, these last two years have been transformative for me. Even in the recent two months, I let go of my part-time job in order to make room for bigger opportunities. The transition from a drab office routine to a new freelance career hasn’t been easy, but while all my friends are near the top of their corporate ladders, I’m doing just fine on the ground, styling my own little creative world. I’m no rootless vagabond – let’s be real, one needs money to fund wanderlust, buy those new shoes, and build a nest egg – but never have I felt so free and content in my life.

Autumn is a season that signifies change and reflection, one that is symbolic of my own metamorphosis. The leaves turn colors as one season begins to fade and make way for the next. This fall has brought me even more opportunities and is a huge improvement over last fall, and I wonder what future fall will have in store for me. But before I get ahead of myself, it is important to focus on the present, and what better way than with a lovely vintage boho dress to the maxi?

vintage maxi dress (similar) | Uniqlo hat (similar) | leather purse (similar) | Madewell clogs (similar)

I finally had the chance to bust this beauty out on a warm-in-the-sun-but-chilly-in-the-shade type of autumn day. I especially love the floor grazing panel depicting an autumn scene done in varying shades of purple, as if dusk is falling on trees as leaves fall from them. Even this dress is on the precipice of transformation. Now that I know what I stand for, my platform of choice must be a pair of wooden clogs; it’s got me knocking on wood every step of the way.

I’m not really sure if I live la vie bohème, but I can certainly say I’m bohemian to the maxi.

Autumn Neutrals

It’s been a long time, since I left you, without a blog post to view.

An entire season has flown by faster than a summer love, and even my 5th year blogiversary has come and gone without me posting about a single summer outfit! But now, I shall fall like daylight savings back to my old blogging ways.

Although I have never been to the East Coast during autumn, I’ve heard that it’s beautiful at this time of year. Imagine leaves on treetops transforming from evergreen to magnificent shades of moss, amber, marigold, and caramel with a gradient of hues in-between.

We’ve got our own version of fall in the Bay Area. The leaves start to curl and rustle in the wind before they fall to the ground in crispy brown, tan, and olive heaps around me. Taking a cue from mother nature, I’m dressed for the season in a palette of neutral hues, gold accents, and pattern play.

daughters of the liberation jacket (similar here & here) | thrifted blouse (similar herehere & here) | DVF skirt (similar here & here) | thrifted pumps (similar here & here) | vintage coach purse (similar here)

It’s the perfect sweater weather, so let’s skirt the rules in a chic sweater skirt. Comfortable, stylish, and warm, the wild print of a big cat plays up the meow factor of my pussy bow blouse. The graphic window pane print juxtaposes with the organic leopard spots, but I keep it all in the neutral playing field. An olive green jacket with rolled up sleeves gives my OOTD just the right amount of utilitarian edginess and laid back casual cool to balance out my prim and proper ensemble.

I’m feeling quite positive about this neutral outfit!

Like Mother, Like Daughter

When you’re a mom, they’re just called “jeans.”

I may be an adult and live by my own rules now, but my mother’s job as my mom will never end. She is wonderful and I love her, but sometimes her unsolicited advice and nagging can drive me crazy. Yet, I have to remind myself that everything she does comes from a place of love and concern for me. These are just hallmark traits that come with the territory of being a mother, and I know I won’t fully understand it until I become a mother myself.

There isn’t a trace of her former stylish self in her closet, perhaps because I’ve slowly taken all her cute vintage threads over the years. I may be my mother’s daughter, but our wardrobes couldn’t be any more dissimilar. She favors practical items: pullovers, tees, button ups, jeans, and other basics make up the bulk of her wardrobe now – I hope her closet isn’t an indication of a future unfashionable me.


When I told her I wanted to feature her on my blog, she happily obliged. To my surprise, I even found her getting ready in the bathroom, running a brush through her short hair and dabbing a little rouge on her lips. She hardly ever wears makeup, but she was ready for her closeup.

vintage Hawaiian shirt (similar here, here, & here) | vintage Levis 501 (similar here & here) | vintage leather flats (similar here & here)

I haven’t yet stolen this top from her, so here we are in nearly twinning OOTDs for the very first time. We both channeled the Hawaiian tour guide look with our tropical button ups and matching light wash mom jeans. My mom was a good sport and even agreed to the awkward hand in back pocket pose even though she scoffed at the idea. Peals of laughter ensued – we have the same big smile and laugh.

I may be the fashionable one, but it is my mom who really wears the mom jeans – er, I mean pants – in this mother-daughter relationship.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

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

A Shirt Around the Waist

fashion trend OOTD shirt around waist

 My cheeks were rosy, and I was out of breath from running around to avoid being tagged. It was 1995, and I was playing freeze tag with my friends at lunchtime recess. With my back drenched in sweat, I removed my favorite periwinkle blue and grey flannel shirt during time out. I didn’t want to risk forgetting it on the bench, so around it went on my waist, double knotted at the front. And there it securely stayed, flapping against my legs as I ran until I was saved by the bell.

I was never a grunge kid, but when flannel shirts made a comeback recently during my adulthood, it was like a flashback to my grade school days. Trendsetting fashionistas and celebrities have been photographed sporting casual outfits composed of ripped jeans, graphic tee shirts, and combat boots. Of course, the popular flannel shirt found itself tied around the waists of nostalgilstas everywhere.

fashion trend shirt around the waist

sunglasses (similar) | vintage eyelet blouse (similar) | casual corner skirt (similar) | vintage paisley blouse (similar) | vintage Caressa Prestige heels (similar) | vintage watch cuff (similar) | vintage snakeskin clutch (similar)

fashion trend OOTD shirt around waist

Yeah, I’m a bit late reporting on this trend, but I never guessed the 90s would cement itself in the 2000s for so long. My periwinkle blue flannel graduated to the vintage paisley blouse you’ve seen from my chain reaction fashion series. With polished heels and tailored elements, I can embrace the shirt around the waist trend without looking like a grungy school kid.

chain reaction fashion: March | February | January | December

I eyed this pretty eyelet blouse in my closet whose feminine texture complements the pattern of the paisley button up that’s draped haphazardly around my waist. Strung through the belt loops of my skirt, the hanging corners of the shirt cascades lackadaisically, creating an A-line handkerchief hem silhouette that becomes a perfect contrast to the prim skirt.

With my shirt tied around my waist, I’m confident and ready to run into the open playground, for the world is my oyster.

Tag, you’re it.

fashion trend OOTD shirt around waist

Cherry Blossom Girl

Konnichiwa sakura, when can I see you again?

OOTD Style Haori
It’s sakura season, and I can still remember the magic of being in Tokyo this time last year. The petaled pink pretties powder the treetops as crowds of tourists and locals gather for picnics beneath them. Even the most gentle breeze will send the petals flying, creating a delicate pink snowfall that envelopes admirers in their own little cherry blossom snow globe.

Japan is a place of contrasts, where modern meets traditional at the intersection of future and past. Ancient tranquil temples exist amongst contemporary bustling sky scrapers. Trendy restaurants serve up age old recipes, while high speed rail systems transport you in a flash from a sprawling metropolis to a snail paced village. Geishas in kimonos coexist with innovative street style fashionistas, while minimalist aesthetics ooze from every corner of Japanese design.

Japan left a great impression on me, and I couldn’t say sayanora without a keepsake to remind me of my wonderful time there. An authentic kimono seemed impractical, but how about a haori? A haori is a mid length coat that is worn over a kimono, open and unbelted. Originally, samurais wore haoris over their armor to keep warm, but it eventually became incorporated into every day wear.

OOTD Style Haori

It can be a challenge for a petite frame to wear something so voluminous. With full sleeves, a roomy fit, and hemline long enough to constitute a dress, a haori can be overwhelming. But if there was anything I learned from the street fashion in Tokyo, conventional style rules can go out the window of a bullet train to make room for experimentation.

It’s all about playing with size and proportion, and I decided to turn up the volume with a pair of wide leg trousers that rival the fullness of the haori’s sleeves. While the haori’s long length can make me look even shorter than I already am, the high rise of my trousers help lengthen the legs for days. The result is a simple, harmonious juxtaposition.

Haori (similar) | Urban Outfitters camisole (similar) | vintage trousers (similar) | vintage envelope clutch (similar) | vintage fan earrings (similar) | vintage leaf cuff (similar) | vintage heels (similar)

OOTD Style Haori

Incorporating Japan’s minimalistic aesthetic, I kept the accessories to a minimum, save for a few gilded accents. The haori’s delicate fan print and graceful flutter of the sleeves in the wind is a showpiece all on its own. Along with the clean lines of my pressed trousers, the unadorned look embodies the simple beauty that is a hallmark of Japanese design.

Although there isn’t a cherry blossom garden nearby, a eucalyptus grove I did find. At least they’re both trees, right? While the latter doesn’t provide any budding pink blossoms for me to admire, at least I can still marvel at their majestic heights and shedding bark all day long.

I am the last samurai of style.

Springtime Hawaiian Florals

Spring has sprung, and I’m sprung over spring.

OOTD

D&Y hat (similar) | vintage Hawaiian blouse (similar) | vintage shorts (similar) | Bottega Veneta bag (similar) | Crown Vintage sandals (similar) | vintage wooden cuff (similar)

OOTD

It doesn’t quite feel like spring yet in the Bay Area, because our version of it means a healthy dose of cloudy grey skies with a chance of rain. Never mind it, I’ll just bask in the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind – that is, back to memories of my recent Hawaii trip.

I last wore this shirt when I had a serious case of the wanderlust. Luckily, this time around I actually got to play tourist while looking like a tourist. I lived out my fantasy of being mistaken for a Hawaiian waitress while brunching on a plate of guava chiffon pancakes. Yes, I was practically wearing their uniform, but what fools they are, those tourists! How could they not see that no self respecting local would be caught in a big floppy hat??

That’s all folks, quicker than you can say spring fling.

FOOD

palm trees

hawaii

D&Y hat (similar) | vintage Hawaiian blouse (similar) | vintage shorts (similar) | Bottega Veneta bag (similar) | Crown Vintage sandals (similar) | vintage wooden cuff (similar)

hawaiian florals ootd

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.