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

A Shirt Around the Waist

fashion trend OOTD shirt around waist

 My cheeks were rosy, and I was out of breath from running around to avoid being tagged. It was 1995, and I was playing freeze tag with my friends at lunchtime recess. With my back drenched in sweat, I removed my favorite periwinkle blue and grey flannel shirt during time out. I didn’t want to risk forgetting it on the bench, so around it went on my waist, double knotted at the front. And there it securely stayed, flapping against my legs as I ran until I was saved by the bell.

I was never a grunge kid, but when flannel shirts made a comeback recently during my adulthood, it was like a flashback to my grade school days. Trendsetting fashionistas and celebrities have been photographed sporting casual outfits composed of ripped jeans, graphic tee shirts, and combat boots. Of course, the popular flannel shirt found itself tied around the waists of nostalgilstas everywhere.

fashion trend shirt around the waist

sunglasses (similar) | vintage eyelet blouse (similar) | casual corner skirt (similar) | vintage paisley blouse (similar) | vintage Caressa Prestige heels (similar) | vintage watch cuff (similar) | vintage snakeskin clutch (similar)

fashion trend OOTD shirt around waist

Yeah, I’m a bit late reporting on this trend, but I never guessed the 90s would cement itself in the 2000s for so long. My periwinkle blue flannel graduated to the vintage paisley blouse you’ve seen from my chain reaction fashion series. With polished heels and tailored elements, I can embrace the shirt around the waist trend without looking like a grungy school kid.

chain reaction fashion: March | February | January | December

I eyed this pretty eyelet blouse in my closet whose feminine texture complements the pattern of the paisley button up that’s draped haphazardly around my waist. Strung through the belt loops of my skirt, the hanging corners of the shirt cascades lackadaisically, creating an A-line handkerchief hem silhouette that becomes a perfect contrast to the prim skirt.

With my shirt tied around my waist, I’m confident and ready to run into the open playground, for the world is my oyster.

Tag, you’re it.

fashion trend OOTD shirt around waist

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.

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

I Want You Back

This Valentine’s Day, I want you back. Oh, and I brought sexy back too.

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My first infatuation with a boy crush was brief. He was in a band, and I fell in love with him upon watching his debut video on MTV. I’ll never forget his frosted permed hair and the way he moved was so in synch. Like all teenage love, I was only hooked for the first album, then broke up after the summer. That is, until he brought sexy back.

Whether you have been on the receiving end of a break up, or were the one doing the heartbreaking, I’m sure we can all agree that relationships are complicated. Break ups can mean good riddance to a coupling that was doomed from the start. But sometimes all you need is a little bit of time away to make you say I want you back, even if it might be as fleeting as a fashion trend. Like star crossed lovers, some trends you part with are gone forever, while others return years later, manifested in a different form. That’s what the backwards trend is all about.

This trend emerged from street style fashionistas last autumn, raising a few eyebrows while being hailed as the latest fashion must try. Is this fashion forward thinking backward?

Luckily, this is a no-strings-attached one-night-stand type of trend that’s easy to try because it doesn’t require investing in a new must have item. Ladies, just look in your closet. I’m sure you have a button down lurking in there behind all your shoes and emotional baggage.

And just like how I’ve heard single girlfriends describe the guys from the dating scene, I’m not sure how I feel about this fashion trend. It’s a little uncomfortable and impractical but the unconventionality of it makes it so exciting and unlike any outfit I’ve ever worn before. It doesn’t quite fit well, but I’m having fun with it, so why not see where it goes?

mini hat (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | Express silk shorts (similar) | fishnets (similar) | Enzo Angiolni pumps (similar)  vintage clutch (similar) | Victoria’s Secret balconette (similar)

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Save for the rouge painted upon my puckered lips, I ditched the cliché red and pink color palette and opted for my favorite vintage sheer blouse in an outfit of classic black that proves to be just as cunning. When one dons a backwards blouse, one has to accessorize accordingly – wearing a necklace backwards or adding a vintage sweater clip as I did draws attention to the sultry open back. The sheer fabric hints at a lacy brassier underneath for eyes to see, while the palpable silk shorts and fishnets create a sensual stimulation to roaming fingertips. If that doesn’t tickle his fancy, well, I’ve got a feather on my mini hat that’ll do the job.

Whether it’s to get your ex back, to entice the person you’ve been admiring, or simply to spice up a longstanding relationship, it’s time to leave the cleave and bring sexy back.

Happy Valentine’s Day loves!

mini hat (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | vintage belt (similar) | Express silk shorts (similar) | fishnets (similar) | Enzo Angiolni pumps (similar)  vintage clutch (similar) | Victoria’s Secret balconette (similar)

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backwards outfit

A is for Ascot

What do silk scarves and horses have in common? Today’s accessory inspiration is borrowed from the boys, as we travel to their neck of the woods to a royal Europe from centuries past.
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Before the ascot tie was called the ascot, it had its origins in the 1800s, where it was donned by royalty and upper class on the daily, and for formal occasions of the middle class in Europe. In this fancy setting, the tie was often made of a heavy linen material, and worn over the collar and pinned.
Sargent John Singer 1880
But fashion is never static, and the ascot became susceptible to change. Adapting to the needs of the growing middle class, I’m sure all it took was one fine gentleman who began to incorporate the ascot into everyday casual wear. Worn tucked inside of an open collar instead of over it, he made it look so cool that other men followed suit.

It was popularly worn at the horse races at the Ascot Racecourse in England – just imagine spectators and steeds alike, wearing matching silk ascots! Okay, I’ll stop horsing around; this is how the ascot tie came to be called the ascot.

Generally ascot ties look like the bow tie’s much bigger cousin, with a narrow neckband and wide ends. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with an ascot tie, head to your local thrift shop. While you may not be able to find an actual ascot tie, silk and synthetic scarves are bountiful at Goodwill for as little as a dollar a piece. I prefer the versatility of a long rectangular scarf for a turban or bow atop my head, but now it’s time to borrow from the boys an ascot tie.

Here’s how you can achieve the ascot look in a few easy steps:

  1. Drape scarf around your neck, with 1/3 of the scarf on your left (short side SS), and the other 2/3 on your right (long side LS)
  2. Take the LS and cross it over the SS
  3. Bring the LS under the SS, returning it to the right side.
  4. Now bring the LS over the SS, so it is on the left side again.
  5. Bring LS towards your neck, and up under the loop you made.
  6. Adjust by holding onto the SS and sliding the “knot” of the ascot.
  7. Stuff it into your shirt.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the races to take a gamble on a stallion.

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

Brrr for Fur

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Everyone is all about sequins and glitter every New Year’s Eve. To these gals I ask, isn’t it a bit nippy for that skimpy number?

In search of an alternative way to be stylish while not sacrificing frozen nips, I looked no further than to our furry friends. Brrr for fur!
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It’s hard to wear this faux fur leopard coat without feeling just slightly posh, even it is synthetic. There’s something about a fur coat that makes it too fancy for the everyday. But NYE is the perfect time for this type of fancy. Heck, if you don’t wear anything else, at least wear a fur coat. And if you don’t own one, check out my picks for under $100:

1 / 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7 / 8/ 9

fur

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To get it ready for a night out on the town, I fancied it up with a statement feather brooch I salvaged from my Mardi Gras mask in a post from a while back. If it’s large enough to merit having its own float at the Carnival parade, then it’s perfect for NYE – even if I might have to ruffle a few feathers.

I won’t be taking this fur coat-dress off tonight, because baby, it’s cold outside, and I have nothing on underneath.

See you in 2016!

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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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!