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

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.

Polka Dot Peplum

You better get some (peplum).

Peplum is no spring chicken, for it has been around the block (and then some) with origins dating back to the 1800s. It became in vogue in the 1940s, and had resurgence again in the 1980s. With each decade, the peplum reinvented itself into different forms, but by definition, it has always stayed the same: a peplum is a short piece of fabric attached to the waist of a jacket, dress, or blouse, and is usually gathered or pleated to create some volume.


Only time will tell whether it falls off the fashion radar again. Nevertheless, I will always love peplum. It is one those style elements that seem to be universally flattering on all body types as long as the right length and volume is chosen. Peplum minimizes the waist and celebrates a woman’s curvy hips, making any outfit fun, flirty, and feminine.

What does one wear with peplum? Since it is nipped in at the natural waist, and flares with such flounce, the peplum is best balanced out with something high waisted and slim and trim for the bottom.

This top lent from my friends at Lalakitty hit all the right notes. The combination of polka dots, peplum, and low revealing back makes me feel demure and alluring at the same time. Lalakitty is offering Chic Vic readers 20% off your entire order – just use code CHICVIC20 and you too could be peplumming.

I paired the top with my sweetheart locket necklace, my favorite pair of high waisted jeans, and a pop of red in my belt and flower corsage. Add a headscarf knotted in the front and a sexy pair of peep-toe pumps and you can call me a bona fide pin up girl.

Watch them boys don’t know how to act cause this top puts the “back” into sexy back. But I ain’t no hollaback girl though.


Lalakitty peplum top / Levis jeans (similar jeans) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar pumps) / vintage clutch (similar clutch) / vintage locket (similar locket) / vintage earrings (similar earrings) / polka dot scarf (similar scarf)

Fur and Leather Weather

Flu season is in full swing and thankfully I have avoided it so far. Unfortunately, I have come down with hustler fever and the only cure for it is fur and leather.

I wasn’t looking for a fur collared leather jacket to add to my wardrobe. Instead, the jacket found me. After successfully selling a few items at Buffalo Exchange, I did my usual song and dance through the racks of clothes to decide if I wanted to take the cash or store credit. That’s when I found this beauty of a jacket. It was in immaculate condition, with no broken seams, perfectly conditioned leather, and intact fur. It didn’t even have any detectable odor that usually comes with most vintage clothes. Most importantly, it fit like a glove and that was what sealed the deal.

This jacket is the ultimate show stopping statement piece and is sure to turn a few heads – fur and leather just beckons drama and attention like that. But why stop there? I pulled out all the stops to make this a surefire 1970s head to toe look, which includes a wide brimmed hat, oversized sunglasses, gold chains, and high waisted pants. Watch everyone stop, drop, and roll when I step onto the scene.

I have always been a believer that our style choices portray to the outside world our inner beauty and personality. However, the same can be said on the contrary: clothes can actually transform the way you feel. The leather jacket instantly made me feel like a confident, sexy, and powerful diva lady. I never fully understood the meaning of swag – in the style sense – until the day I put on this jacket. Do I wear the jacket or do I let it wear me? Let’s just say it’s a symbiotic relationship.

Between the fur, sunglasses, and big hat, I might as well be known as Ms. Incognito: baller and shot caller. There is no better way.

vintage Wilsons jacket (similar jacket) / Ecote blouse (similar blouse) / Uniqlo hat (similar hat) / Levis jeans (similar jeans) / Guess shoes (similar shoes) / vintage necklace (similar necklace) / Daiso sunglasses (similar sunglasses)

My Vest Friend Mickey

Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!

Although I have never watched an episode of The Mickey Mouse Club, I still have a favorite Mouseketeer: Ryan Gosling. From an awkward boy to a fine man, he has certainly grown into his chin. Let’s take a moment to dwell on God’s gift to womankind, the best Mouseketeer there ever was.

I was still in diapers when I went on my first trip to Disneyland. Needless to say, my memories of the happiest place on earth are quite hazy. I’m sure my mom purchased this tee during that very trip there in the 1980s, but now it’s vintage and all mine. Time to pay homage to everyone’s favorite oversized rodent.

Make it denim and blues for this mouse, starting with a vest. I made the $15 inVESTment (on sale!) and have become best friends with this denim vest; one could say I am VESTed (I’ll stop it with the vest puns). The versatility of a denim vest is endless. The look and feel of the outfit can be determined by whatever sleeve you wear underneath, be it faux leather, camouflage, knit, or, as I have chosen, a ribbed solid color cardigan. We all know that behind every great mouse is… a great mouse. The little red bow is my tribute to Mickey’s better half, Minnie. Finish with a pair of skinnies rolled up to show off my red shoes, and I’m ready to stroll down Main Street, USA.

How I would like to be on the happiest place on earth right now. And by that, I mean on Ryan’s hot bod. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Vintage Tee (similar new) / Levi’s Vest (similar) / William Rast jeans (similar) / Dr. Scholl’s shoes (similar) / Urban Outfitters cardigan (similar)