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.

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

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 /11 / 12

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?

Preppy Stripes & Casaual Chambray

Chain reaction fashion /CHān rēˈakSH(ə)n ˈfaSHən/ noun: a series of outfits, each created by an item from the previous one.

“I’ve never seen you wear anything more than once!” is a phrase I’ve become quite familiar with. If you’re doing a double take on some of the outfits in my recent posts, I can assure you that you are in fact seeing double. In a new series I shall call, “chain reaction fashion,” each month I will feature an item from the previous month, styled differently into a new outfit. Finally, I am going to prove that I DO wear things twice, just like how I put my pants on one leg at a time.

Old Navy chambray (similar) | Banana Republic striped tee (similar) | Zara jeans (similar) | vintage flower brooch (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | vintage handkerchiefs (similar here & here) | vintage purse (similar) | vintage Ferragamo slingbacks (similar)

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This outfit challenge proves that dressing up a simple striped top isn’t so black and white. While the high contrast graphic print makes for a striking fashion statement, there’s room to add a soft touch of casual chambray in there too.

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Jazzing up the basic stripes required a few small accessories: a skinny belt and a brooch. I rolled up the sleeves of my chambray top, and got right to work on fashioning a neck scarf, which is just two small handkerchiefs tied at the ends. Not only does this create a longer scarf to drape in the front, but it also incorporates two times the pattern play. My tiny red purse adds a pop of color to the outfit and brings out the specks of red in my neck scarf as well.

And the finisher to this outfit? None other than a classy pair of toe cap slingbacks. The only thing that could beat these vintage toe caps is a night cap.

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Old Navy chambray (similar) | Banana Republic striped tee (similar) | Zara jeans (similar) | vintage flower brooch (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | vintage handkerchiefs (similar here & here) | vintage purse (similar) | vintage Ferragamo slingbacks (similar)

stripes

A Sixties Summer

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I’ve had many summers I loved, but none more than the one I’m presently in.

This is my summer of love around the world. For the past few months I have been roaming away from home. Whether it is climbing a mountain, exploring a village, or eating local specialties in another country, I am fulfilling my heart’s desire of wanderlusting.

Although my surroundings are always changing, one thing remains constant: while summer has barely began, I’ve been feeling the heat for some time now. I don’t particularly like sweltering and turning brown in the sun, but I do look forward to saying aloha to my collection of summer dresses when I return home.

pashmina turned headwrap (similar) / vintage maxi (similar) / mixed bangles (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / Ecote heels (similar)

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From the archives is one of my faves. This 1960s maxi begs for a fun time at a tiki bar where I can cool down over a flaming scorpion bowl. The stinger in this outfit? A head wrap in the same punchy bright fuchsia that matches the bold watercolor haze of the dress. I had a little too much fun over accessorizing the outfit, stacking on more bangles than I would normally wear. But when one channels the 1960s, one must go with a bang, or several.

This dress is definitely made for a summer of love.

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Miss Dior

IMG_0156The nifty fifties remain to be my favorite vintage era, with the granddaddy of them all, Christian Dior, spearheading the decade. Rising to fame with his post WWII designs, such as the revolutionary “New Look,” Dior is one of the greatest fashion designers of all time.

Laced with florals and embracement of the female form, Dior’s designs exude a ladylike timeless elegance. His design aesthetic is everything I want to embody, as evidenced by my attempts to channel his essence here and here. If I can’t visit the Dior flagship store at 30, Avenue Montaigne, then a visit to the Miss Dior exhibit is the next best thing.

IMG_0126 IMG_0200I was lucky enough to check out this amazing exhibit in Beijing for free after waiting two hours in line in the heat. But once inside the air conditioned and crowd controlled exhibition hall, the legendary greatness of Dior unfolded before my eyes.
IMG_0193 IMG_0188Some of Dior’s famous dresses were on display, as well as a few of his treasured belongings and artful sketches. It was a treat to see the beautifully inked designs right next to the dresses, as if by looking at them one could gain insight into his creative genius from inception on pen and paper to final product. The second half of the exhibit featured over a dozen installations by artists paying homage to his work. Through inspiration of Dior’s legacy, these artists encapsulated the essence of what it means to be a Miss Dior. By their own interpretation, each artist took elements of his design philosophy and created their own art though it.

It was interesting to see what Dior elements these artists chose to use. Some were direct representations, while others were more abstract and required use of the imagination. Nonetheless, each interpretation gave me greater insight on the spirit and essence of Christian Dior, whose legacy continues to live on.
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Schoolgirl Rock!

I am a far cry from a school girl’s age, and it’s not even Halloween yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dress like one – as long as it is in Olympia Le-Tan‘s good taste.

Le-Tan is known for her whimsically embroidered clutches, inspired by famous book covers such as Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, and the like. These books you will want to read cover to cover. Her needle point is definitely on point, and her quirky style translates well into her Spring 2015 RTW collection.

Knee high socks, embroidered composition book clutches, and a literal pencil skirt all teeter on the edge of cheeky, and could possibly get me sent to the principal’s office.

These looks are so fetch – dare I wear any of this to the office? I might elicit more of a response from my colleagues than the sound of nails on a chalkboard, but I’ll wear anything to catch the eye of my school girl crush.

Aloha Summer, Aloha Autumn

Autumn has officially begun, but the weather lately has me thinking otherwise. It’s been warm and muggy, and the humidity in the air isn’t doing my hair any justice. Am I in the Bay Area or am I in Hawaii? Actually, let me rescind that statement – even Hawaii doesn’t experience humidity like this.

The first time I went to Hawaii, I participated in all the touristy activities you can think of. When one is in the Aloha State, one attends a luau, eats spam musubi, and dons a sarong. Ah yes, my first authentic Hawaiian sarong! It was a pale tie dyed yellow one with painted flowers that I absolutely loved. However, as soon as I returned home, the poor sarong never saw the light of day again. To it I say “mahalo” for keeping me covered up and preventing sand from getting into my beach bum.

It has been years since I set foot in Hawaii, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get into the aloha state of mind. While there is no appropriate situation to wear a sarong around here, I’ve somehow amassed a collection of vintage Hawaiian dresses to take its place. From maxi dresses to mini dresses, and even a blouse, the only thing missing from my collection is a muumuu.

This 1960s beauty was likely a maxi dress, until some previous owner transformed it into a mini shift dress. The blue and green hues remind me of the clear blue water on the Hawaiian shores. I love the unexpected splashes of red on the dress, and accented them with my red peep-toe pumps. Remember fellas, a flower behind her left ear means she is taken, but behind the right ear means she is single. How about a huge tissue paper flower fascinator as big as her head? It means she’s a fashionista, so be dressed to impress.

If this dress doesn’t get me lei’d, I don’t know what will. Why, a plane ticket to Hawaii of course.

vintage Hawaiian dress (similar dress) / Seychelles peeptoe pumps (similar shoes) / vintage earrings (similar earrings) / DIY tissue paper flower

Terrific Twos

I have noticed it has become increasingly more challenging as of late to maintain my blog on a regular basis. Whether it is the occasional writer’s block or an outfit obstacle, I think I know the reason why. Chic Vic turns two years old today.

I’ve heard of the “terrible twos” with regards to the little humans we call children, but can this phase apply to something non-human, like a craft, skill, or hobby? Maybe, just maybe.

Blogging is a great pastime of mine, but it’s not all that easy. Although nobody is pounding on my front door (or rather, in the comments section of my blog or Chic Vic Facebook page) demanding a post, I still expect myself to deliver something at least once per week for my readers. The writer’s block can make this a challenge, and being my own worst critic often exacerbates the problem. Is my writing witty and engaging? Is the outfit blog worthy enough in the first place?

Despite all that, I still love doing what I do. Blogging is an outlet for me to voice my thoughts not only in creative writing but also in style experimentation. I’m still learning how to pose like America’s Next Top Model, and I don’t know how to maximize all the functions on the camera just yet. I challenge myself to think of new topics to write about instead of just plainly describing what I’m wearing. I love winning over new readers from all over the world. When I hear friends of friends comment on how much they like my blog, I know I’m doing something right. Maybe this phase should aptly be called the terrific twos instead. It’s not so terrible after all!

I have a humble amount of followers – what would I do without you? Thank you for every like and every comment that you leave. If you’re a passive follower, I thank you too. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but hopefully it involves reaching blogger celebrity status.

Perfect Polka Dot Prose

Oh humble polka dot, why do I love thee?
Besides your obvious beauty,
Of evenly spaced dots.
Whether in big or small spots,
Your pattern can never go wrong.
I would wear you all day long,
If only I could.
Maybe I should.

This lovely shirt dress – I got it at Ross,
Have I gotten my point across?
With the dress’s belt tied around my hat,
Yeah I can style like that.
Add a dash of vintage elements,
To exude an air of elegance.
Red belt, red shoes,
I think I should be someone’s muse.

Hey polka dot, can I make you Chic Vic’s official print?
And no this isn’t a one time stint.
For you see, this is an infatuation long in the making,
And it’s not something I’m just now claiming.
From Polka Dot Peplum, Poolside Polka Dot, to Connect the Dots,
Circle circle dot dot, now I’ve got the polka dot.


Mlle Gabrielle dress (similar dress) / D&B Hat (similar hat) / Selby shoes (similar shoes) / thrifted belt (similar belt)