One Shift Dress, Two Ways

Fashion Style Shift Dress

When is a shift dress not just a shift dress? I ponder the all-important question of whether or not I should keep my pants on for some shifty business.

Look 1: H&M dress (similar) | necklace (similar) | pashmina (similar) | vintage Levi’s (similar) | bangles (similar) | vintage clutch (similar) | vintage heels (similar) | Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Look 2: H&M dress (similar) | H&M necklace (similar) | pashmina (similar) | Me Too heels (similar) |Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Fashion Style Shift Dress

I love shift dresses for their easy shapeless silhouette, which seems to be made for a not-so-easy shapeless silhouetted gal such as myself. I wore this dress to a summer wedding a couple of years ago, and it was the best decision ever. While everyone else was restricted by their fitted frocks, I was able to let myself go at the buffet line until I passed out from sheer gluttony.

Recently, I was rifling through my closet searching for something summery to wear when I heard the familiar croak of my feathered friend. I had so much fun at that wedding – won’t you please wear me again?

Fashion Style Shift Dress

With a blueprint of a tropical paradise serving as the backdrop, the orange-beaked toucan and two birds of a feather in flight invite me into their lush oasis. Flowers and fruit come alive in tangy color pops as juicy as fresh squeezed orange juice on a hot summer day. Oh yes, I rediscovered this dress just in time for summer. But I have different plans for you this time around, my dear toucan.

I’m taking the “dress” out of the shift dress and ditching shaven legs for a roomy pair of mom jeans. The hem of my tropical shift meets my vintage Levi’s in a concrete jungle combination. I wrap my head around a head wrap with stacks on stacks on stacks of bangles upon my wrists. Meanwhile, the toucan is tucked snuggly against my waistband, his orange beak just barely peeking out to observe the world around him.

A tropical paradise in a pair of mom jeans. Shifty business indeed.

Fashion Style Shift Dress

The Mystery in the Woods

I spy something in the woods.

In grade school, the Nancy Drew series was one of my favorites to read. In each mystery case, Nancy, along with her gal pals Bess and George took sleuthing to a whole new level. Like the bookworm that I once was, my weekends were spent at the library reading the books from cover to cover.

While Nancy Drew has undergone constant transformations from its inception in the 1930s to present day, it is the probably the series written from the 1960s and 1970s that I identify with most. Perhaps at age ten, I was unconsciously attracted to the vintage fashions donned by Nancy and her gal pals who graced the book covers. Not only were they beautifully illustrated, but also Miss Drew’s hair was always perfectly coiffed and her outfits were to die for.

I put on my figurative sleuthing hat in the form of a plaid Sherlock Holmes-ish trench shirtdress. Nothing says detective and drama like a big oversized cape. This lovely one from the 1960s is a bit long for my petite frame – but it is perfect for covering up bare legs when wearing a short dress underneath. The best part about this cape is the matching scarf complete with a little fringe. This is surely is an outfit that Nancy Drew would have problem solving – sometimes my styling skills remain a mystery even to me.

A detective wouldn’t be a detective without some sort of eye-seeing gadget. This vintage brass binocular is perfect for sleuthing, the opera, bird watching, or for my favorite pastime: people watching, especially of the male species. Not to mention it is so heavy that it can double as a weapon, should I be put in harm’s way.

Mystery in the wood? That’s what he said.

H&M beanie (similar) / vintage cape (similar) / thrifted dress (similar) / We Who See shoes (similar) / vintage binocular (similar)

Birds of Paradise

My dear toucan, it’s been a while. You’ve brought some friends I see.

This dress is certainly a tropical paradise indeed. Against a backdrop of an otherwise blueprint like design of a jungle, the colorful parrots and toucan seem like they will take flight right out of the dress. Not to mention the yummy mystery fruits that look ripe for the pickin’.

To accent the orange details on the dress, I wore a bright tangy scarf of the same hue. The lightweight weave is perfect for protecting my arms from the blazing sun. The beauty of a scarf like this is that it can be draped over the body in endless ways, with each drape creating a subtly different look. I accessorized with a double strand of oversized faux crystal beads to add some dimension to the matching green background of the dress.

My scarf hangs low, it wobbles to and fro, I can tie it in a knot, and I can tie it in a bow. I can even throw it over my shoulder.

H&M dress / H&M necklace (similar) / Me Too shoes (similar) / orange scarf (similar)

Jungle Fever

I’ve got jungle fever – and I don’t mean in the Spike Lee sense.

Although I have never been in a jungle, I have trekked through lush rain forests on several occasions. I would imagine the jungle experience to be similar, complete with the sights of gigantic oversized ferns, hot and humid temperatures, and the sounds of frogs, birds, monkeys, and other critters that inhabit such an environment.

Since I have no plans to venture into a jungle anytime soon, I will gladly settle for this amazing blouse I recently purchased on sale from H&M. As a part of their Conscious Collection, this blouse epitomizes my style in every way; it is soft, flowy, feminine, and most importantly, it has a beautiful printed design. The illustrated jungle scene is depicted as a half fantasy, half realistic utopia.

I paired the blouse with a thrifted cream pencil skirt. Since the skirt is so light in color and form-fitting, I could not tuck in my blouse as I would normally do with a pencil skirt. To remedy this problem, I simply wore the blouse untucked, and added a skinny belt to keep the outfit looking neat and polished.

I’m thirsty from all this blogging. Time for some jungle juice.

H&M blouse (similar) / thrifted skirt (similar) / Me Too heels (similar) / vintage earrings (similar) / vintage Avon necklace (similar) / vintage belt (similar)

Into the Wild Summer Solstice

Soak in the sunshine because this is the longest day of the year. It’s the official start of summa summa summa time, time to sit back and unwind.

I was wild about this dress when I spied it on the racks of the thrift store safari that is Salvation Army. I swiftly pounced on it like my prey before another shopper could have the chance. Not only was this dress animal printed, but also the print was a mix of three different animals: leopard, cheetah, and tiger. To top it off, it had the animals lounging on the hem of the dress. With tiger and leopard accessories to match, I created the perfect wild look that could scare the summer solstice daylights out of someone.

Unfortunately it was feeling more like winter during my photoshoot. It was bitingly cold, and so I tried to think like an animal in the wild. What would the leopard do? The cheetah? How about the tiger? And just like that, I struck a pose in the cold wind like a beast. Am I worthy of being America’s Next Top Model? Maybe. Oh, except that I haven’t quite mastered the art of smizing. Sorry Tyra, I have failed you.

thrifted dress (similar) / cardigan (old, similar) / thrifted necklace (similar) / bangles (old, similar here + here)

Into the Wild

What’chu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?

Itemize deductions? Report investments? Self-employed? Tax season can be quite taxing. Luckily I have my own CPA to take care of the nitty gritty for me. This year I actually got a refund from the IRS. Which means its time for some IRS -Impulsive Refund Shopping.

I’ve been on the hunt for a vintage Coach handbag for some time now, in particular, the Willis style handbag. My weapon of choice: Ebay, the world’s largest thrift store. To be an Ebay bidder, one must have incredible patience, be willing to ask questions, cross-examine photos, and be able stay calm in the event you are outbid. But how much am I willing fork over? With my refund directly deposited in my bank account, I sought out many sellers, lost some bids, but finally my patience paid off. When my baby Willis arrived in the mail I actually jumped for joy and immediately transferred all the contents from my old purse into my new old purse. It’s the perfect size, and the handle + long cross-body strap is so functional.

Still afraid of shopping on Ebay? Don’t worry; Coach has got your back. Called the Legacy Collection, Coach has brought back these old styles – but you will have to pay a pretty penny of course. My favorite style is the Willis because of that little handle at top and its “just right” size, but I love all their other designs as well.

olive green jacket (similar here) / oversized cardigan (similar here and here) / graphic tee (similar here and here)

I recently went on a shopping trip with some gal pals in San Francisco’s Mission district. In usual San Francisco fashion, the weather was slightly overcast and windy with a chance of rain. The key to dressing for this is to think like an onion: dress in layers. Start with a casual tee, then a chunky middle layer (I chose an oversized cardigan), and finish with an outer shell. Since it wasn’t too cold, but I needed to be concerned about the possibility of rain, this olive windbreaker was just the right fit. Still riding on the high of my urban turban, I pulled a leopard version of it to disguise my unruly hair. Finish with the perfect Willis handbag.

That’s a good one coach! Now go do your taxes, you procrastinator you.

Rainy Day