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)

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Leopard Faux Fur & Preppy Stripes

Before you pack that faux fur coat back in storage where it will hibernate until next NYE, think again. Just because a leopard can’t change its spots doesn’t mean you can’t either.

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I always associate a faux fur coat – and a leopard printed one at that – with a night out on the town or some other fancy occasion. Leopard print by itself already oozes a type of allure as enticing as the giant cat itself. But unless you’re Kate Moss, us regular gals just don’t need to look that good getting out of our limo. Or boarding our private jet. You get the picture.

Bagatelle coat (similar) | Banana Republic top (similar) | Collection 59 blazer (similar) | Urban Outfitters boots (similar) | vintage beaded necklace (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar)

To downplay the luxe quality of this coat and to make it daytime casual friendly, I decided to pair it with a minimalist look: preppy stripes, blazer, blue jeans, and black boots. The neutral color palette makes the seemingly opposite nature of the two prints work together in a balanced harmony. The resulting outfit is a classic look with a wild twist, perfect for a casual Friday at the office or an informal lunch date. Even Kate Moss would approve.

Now If you’ll excuse my leopard coat and I, we’ve got a private jet to catch!
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Bagatelle coat (similar) | Banana Republic top (similar) | Collection 59 blazer (similar) | Urban Outfitters boots (similar) | vintage beaded necklace (similar) | vintage Dooney & Bourke (similar)

leopard stripes

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

Dirty Flirty Birthday

When I was 17, I did what people told me. Did what my father said, and let my mother mold me. But now I’m in control ’cause I’m all growns up.


Today marks a milestone birthday. As I reflect on turning the dreaded “dirty,” I must give thanks to two of the most important people in my life: my mom and dad. They are the reason that the world is graced by my wonderful presence. It was their unspoken love, support, discipline, and sacrifice that has helped shaped me into the woman I am today.

It only felt natural to dedicate this birthday post to them by literally clothing myself in their clothes. These unwanted items were collected from their closets over the years. I bet they never foresaw their daughter to have such a keen interest in “old” clothes – the concept of vintage still falls on their deaf ears. I can only imagine how my mom used to wear this blouse and purse while toting my siblings and me around. Or my dad who only wears ties when attending a wedding and always dons a sweater vest under his shirts because he gets cold easily.

The similarly striped tie and blouse look as though they were made for each other. The direction of stripes going every which way makes the combination even more charming and keeps it from looking too intentional. My dad never saw the need to teach me how to tie a full Windsor knot, but I learned anyhow thanks to YouTube. I added gold toned and pearl accents for a touch of femininity to the balance out the “old man” sweater.

I can count on my mom to embrace me with a hug and my dad to bestow some words of wisdom on this day. No matter how many birthdays come and go, I will always be their little girl in their eyes who still has a lifetime of learning to do.

What can I say? I get it from my mama (and papa).


dad’s vintage sweater cardigan (similar men’s cardigan & women’s cardigan) / dad’s vintage tie (similar tie) / mom’s vintage blouse (similar blouse & blouse) / mom’s vintage Mervyn’s purse (similar purse) / Cooperative trouser skinnies (similar pants) / Pour La Victoire pumps (similar pumps) / vintage belt (similar belt) / vintage sweater clip (similar) / vintage earrings (similar earrings) / Express brooch (similar brooch)

Textural Context

Look first, and then touch.

It’s finally been cold enough for me to wear my beloved woolens that have been in hibernation all season. Time to work my pattern play magic – winter edition.

All of the elements in this outfit are great stand-alone pieces that beg for individual attention. You would think they clash together, but instead they actually cozy up quite well. This is thanks to the color palette of blues, grays, browns, and creams – all of which are neutrals and will always be in each other’s good company. The plaid print of this 1980s pleated skirt and the blazer’s checkerboard weave are both classic patterns that work together in sophisticated harmony.

To lighten up this winter woolen look, I opted for a lovely chiffon blouse. It adds an effortless airy touch to the outfit, and the Swiss dot pattern takes the sheer factor from humdrum to noteworthy. As much as I love pattern and texture, sometimes there is a need for solids. My solid opaque tights and cream beret add some balance to the otherwise texture rich outfit. Baby it’s cold outside, so why not layer on the hosiery? I chose to wear a lacy pair of ankle socks over my tights cause I’ve got fancy feet.

The resulting look is one that is visually stimulating and makes the eyes travel from head to toe. Whether it is the pleated wool, the woven checkerboard, or the textured chiffon, I bet this is one outfit you can’t keep your hands off of. What can I say? I’m easy on the eyes and oh so tactile, not to mention lovable too.


Urban Outfitters beret (similar) / Orofino blazer (similar) / Daniel Rainn blouse (similar) / vintage skirt (similar here & here) / lace ankle socks (similar) / Guess platform pumps (similar)

The (flower) Power Suit Part 2: Pattern Play

I’m a sucker for prints and patterns.  Without it, my fashion life would be reduced to a sad and lonely existence of drab solid colors. I always try to incorporate some kind of pattern into my outfit, even if its just a small scarf tied around my neck. And what could be better than one pattern, you ask? Two (or more) of course!

Mixing patterns can be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. Worst case scenario: you might end up looking like you got dressed in the dark. However, when done right, the outcome can be quite harmonious, as both prints can complement and enhance each other. A simple key to achieving this is to combine one neutral secondary pattern with one main focus pattern for a fun pattern play date!

Although my flower power suit skirt is quite busy in both the floral pattern and color, it did not deter me from wearing it with a polka dot blouse (I told you I would feature more polka). The reason why this works is because the blouse is neutral in color (black and white), as well as neutral in pattern (stripes are another good example). I love the attached necktie on the blouse, and the fact that it mirrors the secondary white dot pattern in the skirt is no coincidence – yes, I’m that good. Drawing from the colors of the flowers, I made sure to keep the rest of the outfit just as fun and playful with a pair of yellow peep-toe Mary-Janes and a cropped green sweater cardigan. The look wouldn’t be complete without an over-sized silk flower pin.

From Dynasty to Mad Men, I just turned one half of this 1980s power suit into a charming retro-modern 1950s look that I can actually wear to work. Talk about time travel. Thanks for the ride, Doc. Stay tuned as I voyage back to the future!

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.