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

Set Sail


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.


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.



Birthday Shorts


J.Crew blazer (similar) / vintage blouse (similar) / Express silk shorts (similar) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar) / fishnets tights (similar) / feather fascinator (similar)

It ain’t a birthday without the birthday suit.

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say, but if Mr. Happy wears short suits, maybe I can unlock a bit of happiness by following suit. That’s right, the short suit is having it’s moment right now. Although this trend surfaced last year in retailers like J. Crew and Topman, only recently has it gained attention when the ever popular Pharrell Williams sported a reflective suit to the Grammy’s earlier this month. Think of the short suit as the mullet hairstyle of suits: business from the waist up, and party from the waist down. Oh what a double entendre indeed.

While I could never compete with Pharrell’s reflective 3M suit, I can boast a pair of sexy fishnets with mine.

IMG_8086 copy

I’ve had this tuxedo blazer and this silk short in my closet forever, but never thought of wearing the two together. And we all know when 2 become 1, everyone’s happy. To add some textural contrast to the suit’s silky sheen, I chose to wear a vintage beaded blouse underneath and floral fishnet tights. The look wouldn’t be complete without a fascinating feather fascinator.

IMG_8200 copy


Although I’ve been an adult for quite some time now, I still have to come to terms with each birthday that my big girl panties are on for good – and they ain’t coming off. Sorry fellas! That is, until I’m a senior citizen and then it’ll be Depends.

I’m stronger and healthier than my 21 year old self, and that’s something that I’m proud of. And while aging another year means becoming wiser, I still have my reservations. With age comes resistance to change, and I don’t want to get stuck in my habits and routine ways of thinking if I have room for improvement. So on this day, I reflect on what I’ve learned this past year, and how I hope to grow going forward. No matter how big or small, I will do something new to either challenge myself emotionally, mentally, or physically.

Now if you’ll excuse me it’s my birthday, and I’ll wear a short suit if I want to.IMG_8151

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)



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)

Pop Goes the Arteest

Pop quiz: What does Chic Vic enjoy in addition to poppin’ tags? Pop art!

As much as I’d like to believe that I’m artsy fartsy, I can’t say I’m in the know of what’s hip and happening in the art scene. However, as the occasional museum goer, I do appreciate aesthetically pleasing things. It’s hard for me to name my favorite art genre, but pop art is one category that easily pops into my mind.

Pop art was a movement that started in the 50s and 60s that challenged the norm.
The conventional art form at the time was fine art, which was generally very elite. Pop art was a countermovement to this, with the attitude that art should be accessible by everyone. Pop art employs the use of everyday commonplace objects and elements found in consumer culture and poses them as art in satirical ways – thereby making art more easily attainable for the average person. Famous pop artists include Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, and many others.

I recently attended a pop up shopping event, and among the sea of vendors, one particular shirt popped out at me. Indeed it was the vivid pop of color that caught my eye – it was a Roy Lichtenstein wannabe and I wanted it to be all mine. Lichtenstein is well known for his satirical humor based comic book inspired artwork, recognizable by his signature use of Ben-Day dots.

Drawing inspiration from this copycat Lichtenstein-esque tee shirt, I applied his comic book technique to my outfit and Ben-Day-ed myself. The polka dot scarf, the black and white multi-strand beaded necklace, and the perforated clutch bag all spotlight the Ben-Day dots and dotted embellishments all over the tee. Now

I love this look more than anything…

J.Crew cardigan (similar cardigan) / pop art tee (similar tee shirt) / Urban Outfitters pants (similar sailor pants) / vintage Nina pumps (similar pumps) / Gianni Bini clutch (similar clutch) / thrifted necklace (similar necklace) / thrifted scarf (similar scarf)

I’m on a Boat

Although I was born and raised on the BWest Coast (the Best + West Coast!), I am a terrible swimmer, and much prefer to be sittin’ on the dock of the Bay. However, I shouldn’t let my fear of the ocean deter me from dressing for a maritime occasion.

I fell in love with this fabric when I first laid eyes on it; I waited for the perfect sewing project to turn it into something magnificent. Luckily my mom had the perfect dress pattern. Under her watchful eye, with her nagging guidance, and my patience tested, I transformed the fabric into a summery dress that’s ready to set sail. The seafaring look would not be complete without my nautical rope belt and my yellow peep toe Mary-Janes help accent the pops of yellow in the dress.

I’ll look fresh on the boat for the America’s Cup opening ceremony. Dare I say my cup runneth over with style?

home-sewn dress (similar) / U.O. belt (similar here & here) / J.Crew Mary-Janes (similar here & here) / vintage straw clutch (similar)

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the windowpane

Alex Trebek says: This gridlike pattern is one of spring 2013’s hottest trends. (hint below)

Windowpane by chicvic featuring tibi

Answer: What is the windowpane print.

I purchased this windowpane printed poly blouse last winter at my local Out of the Closet thrift shop. I was not particularly crazy about it, but I do have a penchant for semi-sheer blouses, and a weakness for twofer deals (the tie came attached!). I channeled my inner Eliza Doolittle with a 1940’s twist. I decided to go modest with a wool midi-skirt, with the blouse tucked and belted in. I recently acquired this wide brimmed wool hat from Uniqlo (finally, a hat to add to my collection!), and it complements the outfit’s color palette and silhouette quite nicely. Added to the mix is a pair of old maroon pumps from my momma that match perfectly with my hat. Eliza’s look wouldn’t be complete without a bouquet of flowers! I feel like singing in the rain now.

If I were a poor flower girl, I’d still know how to look dapper on a dime. Oh Professor Higgins, I’m a real fair lady now, aren’t I?

Birthday Suit

Remember when you were a little kid, three months of summer vacation felt so endless? How I long for that feeling of eternity again, but never more! I guess I should just come to terms that as I get older, time will just fly by faster than ever, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. The only thing I can do is to ensure that I look damn good, all the damn time. Take that, time! Ha!

It’s my birthday, folks. I can’t say I am eager to turn a year older, but I am excited to get all dolled up to celebrate with a fancy meal, a cocktail or two, and good company. The question remains, what outfit would be best suited for my celebration, a birthday dress or a birthday suit? The answer: neither! I should wear a birthday tuxedo.

This satiny J. Crew tuxedo jacket has been collecting dust in my closet ever since I bought it years ago, and has never been worn. How perfectly it would go with my crepe tuxedo pants that I recently purchased from Urban Outfitters! My outfit wouldn’t be complete without a vintage touch: a 1950s blouse. The sheer fabric is both alluring and delicately demure. The beading, mini Peter Pan collar, and dainty ribbon bow tie are all details that add to the charm of this blouse. A belt is the extra touch to help any ensemble to look clean and polished, especially on this outfit, which requires tucking layers at the waist. The floral buckle adds a splash of color to the black, white, and red palette.

I was having my photoshoot right before a family dinner. What perfect timing for an impromptu photo session with my dearest and only grandparent remaining? At age 87, my grandma is still in excellent health, and can go on three-hour strolls without getting tired. I guess that is the key to her youth. I am told that I look just like her when she was in her prime. Not only do we look alike, but she also has a great sense of style. She loves to shop at Ross and Salvation Army (my favorite places too!). This outfit she put together herself; I just had to help her adjust and button. I hope to be as healthy and vibrant as she is when I’m in my eighties.

Juvenile was right: I get it from my (grand) mama.

O, Be a Lady First!

Our country has had many great presidents, and behind each of them, there has always been a wonderful First Lady. And where there is a First Lady, there is a fabulous wardrobe. And behind that wardrobe is likely a large walk in closet. No, make that an entire wing of the White House.

When most people think about fashionable First Ladies, Jackie O comes to mind. Who can forget her pillbox hats, gowns, and over-sized sunglasses? Currently Michelle O is reminiscent of the late Ms. O, as her stylish outfits have the power to make unknown designers (Jason Wu) become overnight sensations, as well as keep longtime fashion brands (J. Crew) still relevant to the consumer. Oh, Ms. O and Ms. O, you two are kindred style spirits indeed.

I rock the presidential vote because my voice matters. But ask me to go into a political debate with you on foreign policy and I will politely decline. What I will debate on is whether I should wear a red dress + white cardigan, or red pants + blue top, or blue skirt + red top for my salute to the presidents?

I purchased this Michelle worthy J. Crew sweater jacket secondhand at Crossroads some time ago. The first time I wore it, someone commented, “You look very..…president’s wife-y.” I haven’t worn it much since then. However, with Presidents’ Day beckoning, it is my patriotic duty to honor our country’s past commander in chiefs with a little red, white, and blue. I paired it with a red sheath dress and pulled a cream vintage Anne Klein skirt over it. I love the skirt’s interesting gathering and draping – it has pockets also! Nothing declares “First Lady” better than a strand of pearls. I only wish I owned a pillbox hat to complete the look.