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!

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

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

Girl in the Hood

Although I was born and raised in the inner city that rhymes with smokin’, there’s nothing hood about me even if I tried – save for this hooded leather jacket.

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After successfully selling some of my unwanteds at Buffalo Exchange one day, I did my usual post selling song and dance on the sales floor. Not wanting to spend more than what I had earned in trade-in credit, I had to make an important, yet impulsive decision. Would you believe I chose this jacket over an equally amazing vintage 1940s beaded cardigan? Sometimes, even this vintage lady needs to let her hair down and embrace the modern.

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The hooded bomber-esque style is more youthful than most things I have in my closet, which is a refreshing change from my usual feminine, dressy, and sometimes “old-lady” style preferences. I like that it adds a hint of laid back casual cool to my wardrobe.

With an equally fall appropriate plaid shirt and mahogany brown wedge sandals to match, I am ready for warm sunny days and brisk evenings – typical of autumn weather in the Bay Area. The leather hood doesn’t give me much street credibility, especially when it feels like I’m channeling the flying nun.

You can take a girl out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of a girl. Or off her.

vintage leather jacket (similar) / vintage plaid blouse (similar) / vintage Natural Comfort wedges (similar) / Gap skinny jeans (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) / compass pendant necklace (similar)

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Baroque Brocade for the Holidays

ModCloth blouse (similar) / vintage belt (similar) / vintage skirt (similar) / Anthropologie tights (similar) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar) / vintage fur stole (similar) / vintage clutch (similar) / vintage cuff (similar) / vintage earrings (similar)

If I could deck the halls of my home this holiday season, I would do it not with boughs of holly, but instead go broke for Baroque. On second thought, perhaps I’ll just get decked out in a budget friendly Baroque inspired outfit.

Baroque style emerged in Europe during the 1600s. This style permeated into all art forms such as fine art, architecture, music, literature, and of course, even fashion. Baroque was all about creating excitement and drama through display of opulence and grandeur; it was a time of indulgence. I won’t get into the religious and historical details of the Baroque period, for they are just as intricate as the style itself. While Baroque manifests itself differently in each art form, in fashion it is characterized by textured fabrics, ornate embellishments, curlicues, and abundant details with ribbons, pearls, and delicate gold embroidery.

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It’s no joke that I have no great wealth to show off, so I decided to poke fun at Baroque’s opulence. If anything, I display an eminence of vintage and thrifty finds. I captured the essence of the Baroque style with embroidery and brocade in the shiniest of golden threads. Saving the wide long skirt and plunging décolletage revealing neckline for another day, I opted for a modern silhouette in a sleeveless blouse and slim pencil skirt.

Don’t let the shiny threads fool you – this is just pattern play: holiday edition. When mixing patterns, just follow a few rules. Pay attention to the scale of the pattern (mix big and small), fabric texture (shiny with matte), fabric weight (e.g. silk vs. velvet) and color scheme (same color family or neutral). In this outfit, I decided to go with multiple elements to create a lavish outfit brimming with drama for your momma. Despite all my Baroque details clamoring for attention, it might be the vintage fur stole that stole the show.

We finally started getting rain in our drought induced state of California, but I won’t let it rain on my Baroque brocade parade. Unless the precipitation is of the paper kind.

Happy Holidays!


ModCloth blouse (similar) / vintage belt (similar) / vintage skirt (similar) / Anthropologie tights (similar) / Vince Camuto pumps (similar) / vintage fur stole (similar) / vintage clutch (similar) / vintage cuff (similar) / vintage earrings (similar)

Baroque Brocade

Body Electric

Even a casual outfit can be charged with electricity.

It may come as a shock to you, but as a child I absolutely loathed the zap of static electricity. The source of this unfortunate encounter was often in the family van, a huge brown Toyota Hiace.

That trusty van held many memories. It was our main mode of transport for family outings, whether it was a trip to the mall, out to dinner, or grocery shopping in Chinatown. I took naps in that van. My siblings and I consumed many a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburgers in that van. There was something about the fuzzy interior of that van that charged up the electrons in my body – I am positive of that. As a result, static shock ensued when one reached for the sliding door handle. That is one memory I do not miss at all. As ugly as that van was, it was stolen twice. When the unknown scoundrels ended their joy rides, they left the van abandoned and intact on the other side of town, newly minted cigarette burns and all.

My mom often boasted of the van’s amazing turn radius, but unfortunately, we got rid of it before I was old enough for drivers ed. It was replaced by a much cooler sedan. Vans get a bad rap thanks to soccer moms, and I’m sure I’ll opt out of one even when I start a family. If I’m gonna have a van, make that a pair on my feet.

Lately I’ve got my Vans on but they look like sneakers. Perhaps it’s my preference for comfort, my casual work environment, or just general style slacking, but I’ve gradually been trading my pumps in for lower heels, flats and – gasp – sneakers! No chiffon blouse here – just an urban tee that I simply cannot be neutral to since it is positively electrifying. Hardy materials of faux leather, denim, and canvas coupled with a dark color palette means I’m ready to head into the city in search for an electric street hole cover. Or better yet, make that a manhole cover. That’s where they keep men, right?

Fashionista, blogger, writer, doodler extraordinaire –  I’m proud of my body of work. Perhaps I should add light weight lifter and yogi to the list. After all, that’s what keeps my body electric.

Urban Outfitters jacket (similar) / City of Oakland Electric tee / Silence & Noise jeans (similar) / Vans Lo Pro Camo / Baggu canvas tote / seatbelt belt (similar)

Layers Lockdown

Dear Diary,

I have a confession to make: I’m in love with layers.

I remember my very first diary. It had teddy bears on the cover accompanied with the words “Bear Song.” In it I bared my soul. Pages and pages riddled with my cutesy juvenile penmanship declaring my schoolgirl crushes, bemoaning the trials and tribulations of friendships, worrying about good grades and other #13yearoldproblems. To prevent prying eyes from stumbling upon my innermost thoughts and feelings, my diary was secured by a lock. I wore the key around my neck and close to my heart for safekeeping.

It is silly to believe that flimsy little lock could really keep my secrets secure. If anyone wanted to break into my diary, a hairpin or strong yank on the lock would do it. While I no longer have use for a diary, I have discovered an alternate use for that lock. I found these diary locks for dirt-cheap by the handful, and re-purposed them into something wearable. 1 chain + 1 skeleton key + multiple locks = 1 fabulous innuendo laden necklace. A statement piece for sure, it makes a great addition to my layered autumn outfit.

Multiple layers begs the question, how to mix and match? The answer is to stay awash with neutrals of navy, grey, tan, and taupe – a color palette that is perfect for the season.

My dad’s wool cardigan vest coupled with my cotton knit cardigan provided just the right amount of warmth I needed with minimal bulk. I recently wore this outfit to brunch on a cool overcast morning. By the afternoon, the sun had broken through the clouds, and my body temperature was 98 degrees and rising. Luckily, all I had to do was peel back my layers like an onion to keep my cool.

It is safe to say I’ve got this layered look on lockdown. But with so many locks and just one ill-fitting skeleton key, what should I do?

Wait, I have an idea. Call a locksmith!


vintage sweater vest (similar) / BDG cardigan (similar) / BDG moto jeans (similar) / Alternative tee (similar) / Hinge oxfords / vintage necklace (similar)

Autumn Layers

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)

White Hot Heat

What’s long and hot?

Why, summer solstice of course! The first day of summer officially kicks off this weekend in the Northern Hemisphere. While it may not be the hottest day (although some places have experienced heat waves already), June 21st is the longest day of the year. With up to 16 hours of daylight, what will you be wearing? Better do it right and wear white.

There are many pitfalls to wearing white, namely red wine. Even if you aren’t particularly clumsy, you’re likely to be around someone who is. White can get stained easily, tends to become less white with age, and may also make you look larger than life. But even with all these caveats, isn’t it worth it for the color that keeps you the coolest under the hot summer sun?

It’s time for a new season, so why not get off to a fresh start with a clean white slate? Check out my white hot summer lookbook for key investment pieces that can transition easily from the daytime highs to warm summer night lows with just a few simple accessory edits. Like what you see? Get styled by me for free – details at Keaton Row.

The Little White Dress

 The White Hot Pant

The Little White Peplum