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!

Jumpin’ in a Jumpsuit

The onset of spring and Coachella has officially kicked off festival fashion season. And that makes me jump for joy – or more accurately, a jumpsuit.

The jumpsuit is a perfect alternative to a dress as a one piece does it all solution to your “What should I wear?” dilemma. Despite the trendy jumpsuits you see today – whether it’s a bohemian floral print or a slimming sexy solid – their history hails more from a function rather than fashion standpoint. Jumpsuits were conceived in the early 20th century, originally designed for utilitarian purposes – think military pilots, skydivers, Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and even our dear gal Rosie.

 Jumpsuits: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

Much like my beloved maxi dresses, I love how jumpsuits have the magic power of elongating the figure – a big win for my five foot two frame. It’s as comfortable as a set of pajamas, complete with an open back that brings the sexy back. I couldn’t resist donning my signature Chic Vic urban turban to channel the jumpsuit’s bohemian vibes and to disguise my bad hair day. The busy print needs no competition, so I kept my accessories to a minimum. I’m all dressed up with #nochella to go.

The only downside to wearing a jumpsuit is how I’ll have to strip down when nature calls. And that’s the naked truth.

Thrifted scarf (similar) | Daiso sunglasses (similar) | vintage earrings (similar) | American Rag jumpsuit (similar) | vintage Coach purse (similar) | Natural Comfort wedges (similar) | vintage wooden bangle (similar) | vintage enamel bangle (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar)

Thrifted scarf (similar) | Daiso sunglasses (similar) | vintage earrings (similar) | American Rag jumpsuit (similar) | vintage Coach purse (similar) | Natural Comfort wedges (similar) | vintage wooden bangle (similar) | vintage enamel bangle (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar)

Striped Dress for Easter

Pastels are always a spring favorite, and since I’ve already been there done that with feminine florals, ethereal lace, and Sunday-best hats, let me paint a different picture for you this Easter OOTD.

When I was a kid, I avoided going into the basement where my dad kept his tools. It was cold, dark, and dirty. But among my dads’ well-worn hammers, boxes of nails, matted paint brushes, and other dusty gadgets and appliances that are of no interest to a ten-year-old, lay a Kelly-Moore paint fan deck as thick as an old school Yellow Pages phone book. I was enamored by the spectrum colors that were beyond the world of Roy G. Biv that I knew. Oh, the descriptive creative names for each hue, the saturation possibilities, and the dazzling way with which the book fanned out! Nowadays, I still get excited about paint chips, but for more practical reasons – like actually choosing a color to repaint my room.

Though the hues are pretty basic, this bargain of a vintage dress (it was $1!) reminds me of those paint chips I loved so much as a kid.

Seeing Stripes: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

Cotton candy blue, pink, and purple stripes run the show like the traveling carnivals popping up in parking lots during spring break – this dress is everything that is perfect for Easter. A touch of earthy taupe offers a subtle accent color alongside white to prevent me from looking like a unicorn. The rare vertical stripes add a slimming effect to the feminine fit and flare silhouette and are a fresh alternative to spring florals that always dominate as the seasons’ “it” print. A classic shirt dress in every way, the circle skirt flares out like a paint fan deck if I’m not careful.

I couldn’t have painted a better wall with which to complement my outfit. Happy Easter!

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

Unbuttoned

What buttons up, must button down.

OOTD Fashion Style

A concatenation of events in my personal life (all good things!) has caused me to derail off the blogging track. It was still blue skies and hot as balls since my last post, but now I wake up to brisk mornings and brown leaves on trees. Seasons have changed and I even passed my four year Chic Vic blogiversary without realizing it. But now I’m back up in the game like Mark Morrison, and onto the chain reaction fashion series I go.

I always aspire to achieve that minimalist closet of must-have basics and versatile neutrals that mix and match like the Parisian chic items from Amour Vert. But honestly, it feels a bit bland to be minimalist all the time. I still cannot completely let go of the fantastic prints, bold pops of color, and one of a kind vintage threads I’ve amassed over the years. At my style core, that is what Chic Vic is all about – a flavorful melange of style that is uniquely me.

OOTD Fashion Style

Saks Fifth Avenue dress (similar) | Forever 21 top (similar) | Jones New York skirt (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | vintage heels (similar) | vintage purse (similar) | vintage necklace (similar) | vintage watch (similar)

OOTD Fashion Style

I am neither a wallflower nor am I a limelight seeker by any means, but I do like to sit back and let my clothes do the talking for me. This dress is as rambunctious as a neon highlighter, and definitely gets me noticed even when I’m not soliciting attention – especially when I wear it unbuttoned.

The basic, versatile, and ever trustworthy neutral navy, like a steadfast friend, offers the perfect stage for the neon green to shine with all her retro glory. Worn unbuttoned like a jacket of sorts, it adds the right amount of 1960s spunkiness to the conservative pencil skirt silhouette, while accenting the neon green color pops of my blouse. I’m head to toe thrifted, and that’s soo Chic Vic.

So before you stow away your summer shirt dress in hibernation, think again. Or rather, think it unbuttoned.
OOTD Fashion Style

Chain reaction fashion: December | January | February | March | April | May | June | July

Amour Vert

There’s something about the Parisian chic style that has a certain je ne sais quoi. And in a world where trends move quickly and fast fashion rules, there’s Amour Vert.

Fashion Amour Vert

Amour Vert is the brainchild of husband and wife team Christoph Frehsee and Linda Balti. This eco-conscious brand has a simple concept: you buy a tee and they plant a tree. With a focus on sustainability, they strive to reduce waste while still producing high-quality items.

A color palette of neutrals, solids, and stripes done in a blend of feminine blouses, flowy dresses, and of course, their signature oh-so-soft drapey knits in Tencel, Modal, and cotton, epitomize the Amour Vert aesthetic. While there are a few seasonal styles and colors, for the most part, basics are the core of their collection. Just like the Parisian chic style, they designed these classic seasonless pieces for people to keep for a long time.

While their designs have that European flair, their materials and production take place locally in San Francisco and Oakland. With brick and mortar locations popping up throughout the Bay Area, Frehsee and Balti are taking the fashion world by eco-conscious storm.

Daiso hat (similar) | Amour Vert tee | Urban Outfitters shorts (similar) | White Mountain espadrilles (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | compass necklace (similar)

ootd fashion style

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer as well as any white wearing business, so I decided to take my Amour Vert tee out for a nautical spin, from front to back.

A deep V + super soft material = a versatile striped basic worn two ways. Whether it’s a figure-elongating, décolletage revealing effect I’m after or an unexpected exposed sexy back, we can all agree that eco-conscious fashion is always chic no matter how you wear it. C’est bon!

ootd fashion style

ootd fashion style

Daiso hat (similar) | Amour Vert tee | Urban Outfitters shorts (similar) | White Mountain espadrilles (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | compass necklace (similar)

ootd fashion style

Green and Yellow Brights

If it’s what’s underneath that counts, maybe it should be worn on the outside.

fashion ootd dress

The story behind this petticoat comes from a faraway unlikely place. Not too long ago, I traveled to Bolivia and explored the country’s sights and culture from dusty small towns all the way up to the highest capital city in the world. My style eye is most alert when I’m in a foreign land, and I couldn’t help but be inspired by the traditional “cholita” fashion.

Image 1 | Image 2 | Image 3

“Cholita” was once a derogatory term for indigenous women in Bolivia. Only recently in the last decade or so has this term become a source of pride and empowerment. Even as society modernizes around them, older cholitas as well as younger generations still maintain this way of traditional dress that harkens back to the Spanish Inquisition. It varies slightly by region, but in general their ensemble consists of a bowler hat, shawl, blouse, full pleated skirt, and multi layered petticoat.

I’ll leave the full traditional dress up to the experts – the cholitas – but I found a way to integrate a part of their fashion into my vintage wardrobe.

fashion ootd dress

While the cholita’s petticoat is cloaked under colorful voluminous skirts, I think it’s too beautiful to remain hidden. I may have worn it as a petticoat in my last chain reaction fashion post, but this time I’m showing it off – or at least one layer of it.

Wearing the petticoat as an outer layer, I complemented its cheery yellow with a punchy lime green dress that’s just as bright. The sheer fabric lets the right amount of green peek through, offering a color contrast to the intricate floral embroidery and scalloped hemline. It clearly is a statement piece all on its own.

fashion ootd dress

chain reaction fashion: July | June | May | April | March | February | January | December

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