One, Two, Three

Chic Vic turns three today, and all I’ve got to wear is my literal NSFW birthday suit.

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since I started this humble old blog. I remember the days when I would be brimming with ideas, but never had enough hours in the day to post more than once a week. Yet for every burst of inspiration, I’ve also experienced long periods of writer’s block, where there is a stagnation of creativity. As much as I may have infinite style, the outfits I post to the blog aren’t meaningful to me unless they are accompanied by the perfect prose. It’s something I always strive for, but sometimes perfection can be a killjoy.

While I have never before properly identified myself as a “writer” as I do a stylist, maybe it’s time to reinvent the wheel. I like to think that I inspire readers with not only my pictures, but also with my words – be it something that makes you laugh, entertains you, inspires you, or have you rethink what it means to harness your own sense of style.

To fellow bloggers, I ask, how do you maintain your blogging momentum?

To the readers I say, thank you for following me, whether from day one or just now.

With the help of some of my favorite past outfits, here’s cheers to three years!

The Resolution Minimalist

Minimal Closet
Image from Buzzfeed

Happy New Year! The new year means a new wardrobe right?

It’s not uncommon that I receive compliments on my outfits, followed by, “You must have a huge closet!” or my favorite one, “I’ve never seen you wear anything twice!” I’m going to set the record straight. No, I do not have a huge closet in terms of physical space, but yes, I own many articles of clothing. I do wear things more than once, but by the time it takes me to cycle through that item, most people will have forgotten that I wore it a month ago.

Despite my vast wardrobe, I still suffer from the “I have nothing to wear” syndrome due to the paradox of choice and analysis paralysis. Checking myself into closet rehab, I’ve been on a mission the last few weeks to clean out the black hole that is my closet. Through the purging process, I discovered dust bunnies, wrinkly shirts, clothes with tags still attached, and had many a “I forgot I had this shirt/skirt/dress/jacket!” moment.

To donate, sell, consign, or hand-down to my sister? Although I have yet to move mountains of clothes, I’ve been somewhat successful in my attempt to declutter my closet and mind. I am slowly making progress on style resolution #1.

Style resolution #2: fill recently decluttered closet with new minimalistic wardrobe. This will help with style resolution #3: spend no longer than 10 minutes getting dressed every morning.

If you haven’t heard of the minimal closet (thanks to the French), essentially it encompasses building style capsules with very few basic items in neutral colors in order to mix and match with ease. Depending on the season, your list could comprise of a little black dress, slacks, jeans, plain tee shirts, cardigan, blazer, classic coat, black flats, boots, scarf, and a handbag.

Now nearly a week into the new year, only time will tell if I succeed with my resolutions. Will my old vintage collecting habits die hard? Stay tuned for the next 359 days!

Casual: Tweed Blazer • Chevron Necklace • Tote • Ankle BootLong-Sleeve T-shirtLegging Jeans 

Casual

Business: Chevron Infinity Scarf • Pointed Toe Flat • Crepe Button-Front BlousePixie pant • Tweed Blazer • Tote

Business

Dressy: Patterned Tights • Chevron Necklace • Pleated Fit and Flare Dress • Pointed Toe Flat• Tweed Blazer • Tote

Dressy

Chambray for Days

Gonna dress me up in chambray, all over all over. From my head down to my toes.

I’ll be having naysayers of a head to toe chambray ensemble saying touché by the time I’m done with this post. I rarely go monochromatic in my outfits, but I was inspired by my recent purchase of a pair of chambray jogger pants. The natural lightweight hand of the soft fabric coupled with the relaxed pant silhouette means that I will be wearing these pants down to the threads.

I paired the jogger pants with my one and only chambray top and a wide belt to help create the illusion of a jumpsuit. I couldn’t have topped my look off better than with a chambray floppy hat. If my times tables is correct, and I’m normally pretty glam, then chambray x 3 = glambray, correct?

Chambray is the new neutral, which means this outfit is the perfect blank canvas to be punched up with some color. A lemony yellow cardigan helps brighten up the outfit with the all-over felted flowers acting almost as a print. Both the color and flower “pattern” of the cardigan helps compliment the solid monochromatic look. Checkout my chambray lookbook for ideas on how to piece together your head to toe chambray outfit.

Normally, I don’t like to over accessorize, but I couldn’t refrain from wearing this cute cork beaded necklace and earring set from the 1970s. Not only are the shades of Easter pastels enchanting, but the necklace itself is as light as a feather. I also couldn’t stay away from this darling 1960s daisy brooch. It serves a functional purpose to keep the floppy hat from being so floppy over my face.

I recently wore this outfit to a friend’s picnic in the park. The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and I got to mingle and meet new people. The best part was when I found out the bocce ball set she had brought matched my necklace precisely. I had a ball doing a photoshoot with them, so much that it caused a scene. I guess I’m just a ball hog.


H&M hat / Old Navy blouse (similar blouse) / Urban Outfitters pants (similar pants) / Natural Comfort shoes (similar shoes & shoes) / Fossil bag (similar bag) / vintage daisy brooch / vintage cork bead necklace & earrings

As Time Goes By

To quote some of my favorite men: It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

As we are on the cusp of a new year, one cannot help but reminisce on the memories made in 2013. It will be hard to top the outfits of this past year, and though I love them all, here are my top ten faves. I look forward to stretching my creative styling for the New Year; what would you like to see more of from Chic Vic?

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, and goodbye to 2013 cause tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 2014!

January: You Can Toucan
March: Green with Envy
April: The (flower) Power Suit Part 2: Pattern Play
May: Dressed to a Tee
August: Chevron for Velma
August: Birds of Paradise
November: A New Look (give thanks)
November: Day of the Dead
December: The Great Cape Her
December: Style 101: Preppy Plaid n’ Pleats

Connect the Dots

When I was a kid, connect the dots was my favorite amongst all the games and puzzles in my Highlights magazines. There was something magical about transforming what looked to be a bunch of haphazard dots into a recognizable image with just the trace of my pencil. Although I have outgrown those puzzles, I still have an affinity for dots.

The dot design has been around since medieval times. It gained popularity in the mid 1800s when polka music was trendy. During this music and dance craze, everything and everyone and their mom was decked out in dots, and the name “polka dots” was coined. Anything with polka dots instantly conjures up a retro vibe, and reminds me of the 1950s, when it gained widespread popularity again.

I don’t think my outfit lives up to the polka, but rather should be more aptly called wallflower dots. It lacks the boldness of the polka dot and isn’t quite equally sized and spaced, but has a charm and daintiness about them none-the-less. Because of the relatively neutral nature of my patterns, I was able to mix and match them, and layered in different fabric textures as well. The dot theme is constant, but you will have to look closely to see. I threw in a cheetah print scarf to add an organic element to the otherwise structured graphic dots. The studded booties also make for an interesting 3-D take on the dot and are an edgy contrast to the overall feminine look, topped off with a retro cloche.

I promise to feature more polka dots in future posts, but don’t connect my dots please.

You Can Toucan

Happy New Year! Nothing like ringing in the frosty weather by bringing in pops of color and showing a little leg in my first outfit post of 2013.

I would sum up my holiday vacation to Belize in one word: ADVENTUROUS.  The sights I saw were simply unbelizable. The weather was gorgeous, the people were friendly, the seafood was plentiful, and the mosquitos weren’t really biting. What more could I ask for? Oh yes, much, much more: snorkeled with tropical fish, turtles, manta rays, and nurse sharks in the second longest barrier reef in the world; hiked through a muddy dense jungle in the pouring rain; found out what it was like to literally be stuck between a rock and a hard place as I shimmied my way through tight spaces and waded through waist deep water in dark caves; witnessed the spectacle of glistening stalagmites and stalactites; and climbed the steep ancient stairs of the Mayan ruins. There were many Kodak moments that weren’t captured on camera, so I’ll just have to rely on the snapshots in my memory.

As for local fashion trends, there really wasn’t anything too exemplary. Even I looked a bit haggard during the trip and donned the stereotypical tourist look: hat, tank top, khaki cargo capris, and hiking shoes. Chic Vic I was not.

There was just one colorful trendsetter in Belize that was out of sight due to its fleeting nature: the toucan. The toucan is the national bird of Belize. Unless you’re an avid birdwatcher or an early bird, the sighing of this colorful beauty is rare and few to the average Joe.

The toucan is a great of example of color blocking at nature’s finest, second only to the panda bear. Color blocking is exactly what it sounds like: wearing “blocks” of color – solids only, no prints. Sorry leopard, zebra, and cheetah, you’re out of luck. I was inspired to use the colors from my souvenir toucan salt and pepper shakers to mimic a little color blocking myself. Pencil skirt, flared skirt, or skinny pants? I couldn’t decide on what black bottom to wear, when at the last moment, while digging through my dense closet, I had forgotten I owned this pair of silk shorts purchased from Express many seasons ago. And just like that, a faux romper look was created. I tied it all together with a silk scarf at my waist for a makeshift cummerbund. The blouse, silk scarf, shoes, and earrings are thrifted. Approximate cost of head to toe look including the toucans: under $50.

Unfortunately, shortly after this photo-shoot ended, both birds suffered trauma resulting from impact on concrete due to my clumsiness. Pepper survived with only minor cuts and bruises, while Salt had to undergo major reconstructive beak surgery by Dr. Superglue. Both birds are now resting and will never serve their purpose of being salt and pepper vessels.

Hey Mon, can’t wait to shake my tail feather once it gets warmer here.

Red + Green Holidaze

There’s an elephant in the room and it isn’t white. Because white shouldn’t be worn after Labor Day, duh.

If you’re wondering what to wear to that white elephant party, look no further than your Christmas tree. The red, green, and sparkle that are associated with the holiday’s décor can be applied to your outfits as well. This is the only time of year that you can pull off these color combinations while being appropriately called the Grinch, Santa, or a Ho (ho ho). I’ve been nice and naughty; may I have hot coal with that?

Red and green can be effectively worn together with careful accessorizing. I cheated with this awesome 80s dress that has pops of bright red roses with olive green foliage, purchased at Salvation Army during one of their regular weekend sales (50% off all clothes!). All it needed was some TLC: I removed the shoulder pads, reinforced the buttons, washed, and pressed it. I didn’t think my outfit screamed Christmas until someone at work exclaimed, “What a great holiday dress!”

This dress is an example of 1980’s “power dressing.” As more women started to enter the work force in that decade, the emergence of shoulder pads became in vogue in order for women to feel equal to their male counterparts. The rise in shoulder pad popularity correlates with women’s increasing role in the work place, as evidenced in the 1940s war era as well. In fact, some fads synonymous with 1980s fashion can be traced back to the 1940s.

To soften the power-dress look and stay warm in the frosty weather, I added a vintage knit sweater cape with gold detail buttons that I found at Mercy Vintage. As there are no visible tags, I can only imagine it was lovingly knit by some adorable granny in her rocking chair with a pet cat named Sylvester at her feet. I completed the look with herringbone fishnets and a pair of high platform peep-toe pumps with rhinestone details to keep the outfit from looking dated. All I am missing is a poinsettia or mistletoe brooch on my cape.

Santa, I hope I don’t get stuck with a shake weight this year.

The Grinch

1 LBD, 5 Days

A $90 Chanel Suit? Unfortunately it was not found by yours truly, but instead by everyone’s favorite blue-haired lady.

In The Simpsons episode, “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield,” Marge discovers the ultimate Maxxinista find while shopping at a fashion outlet: a Chanel suit for $90. She wears the suit around town while doing errands, and runs into an old acquaintance. Due to the status symbol of the suit, the acquaintance invites her to join a country club. In order to stay stylish and fit in, she alters the suit into different outfits for each event she attends with the elite crowd. In her madness to fit in, she accidentally ruins the suit during her final alteration.

This episode inspired me to conduct an experiment; I also wanted to take my Nautical by Nature a step further. No sewing machine was involved, only some clever accessorizing, belting, pinning, and tucking. One little black dress, worn on five consecutive days at work. That’s right, you heard me. Would I fool anyone? By Wednesday I had gotten some oatmeal on the front of my dress, but there was no turning back. I wasn’t about to block out an entire week’s worth of outfits just to try this again.

At the end of the week, no one had said anything to me. This could either mean that my co-workers:

1. Did not notice because they don’t pay attention (very likely)

2. Did not notice because I totally fooled them (I wouldn’t fool a true fashionista!)

3. Noticed, but did not say anything in order to be polite (in case I was suffering from financial hardships)

There was no way to get a definitive answer without asking people, so that’s just what I did. “Did you notice anything about my outfits this week?” Some of their responses:

“What should I have noticed?”

“No, was I supposed to? I always think you dress super cute and trendy.”

“Not off the top of my head.”

Meanwhile, there was only one person who knew I was planning to do this wear-it-everyday idea, yet she did not catch wind of the week I actually wore it. And the cherry on top of the cake: someone actually complimented my Friday look and gushed, “I love your skirt!”

I hereby declare Operation LBD a success! Next up: Operation Launder LBD