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

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.

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“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

Eyelet Blouse and Citrus Hues

It’s official: this weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer.

Fashion OOTD Vintage Dress

Once called Decoration Day, Memorial Day has been celebrated since the late 1800s, but only after WWII did it become a regular day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country.

Emerging victorious from the dark cloak of WWII, post-war American life was filled with a renewed sense of hope and vigor. Those who had contributed to the war effort either abroad or on the home front were eager to resume regular life again. Consumerism was at an all time high, along with a booming economy and baby making. Dior’s “new look” became revolutionary, and fashion was ruled by excess and the need to express conformity. Women had specific clothing designated for housework, lounging, errand running, and social gatherings.

Fashion Vintage 1950s Dresses

source: the people history

What’s considered conformity in one decade becomes individualist in another. Who knew that this post-war dress would find its way into the hands of a millennial? While this dress might’ve been the designated uniform for housework back in the 50s and 60s, it has certainly become my unique go-to dress for picnics and Memorial Day barbecues.

Fashion OOTD Vintage Dress

vintage shoes (similar) | vintage dress (similar) | vintage purse (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar) vintage blouse (similar) | Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Fashion OOTD Vintage Dress

The faded citrus hues of tangerine, orange, and lime still pack a cheery tart punch, garnering compliments whenever I wear it. With a retro blooming wildflower variety print that resembles 1960s wallpaper, I layer my eyelet blouse from my chain reaction fashion series over the classic fit and flare silhouette to create a completely “new look” of my own. The eyelet blouse adds a subtle texture contrast to the patterned print of the dress, allowing the juicy citrus colors of the bodice to squeeze through.

Happy Memorial Day!

Chain reaction fashion: May | April | march | February | January | December

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

D is for D’Orsay

Fashion Shoes D'Orsay

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Pumps, peep-toes, platforms, slingbacks, stilettos…with so many shoes to choose from, it’s no wonder I’m still missing a d’Orsay in my life.

A traditional d’Orsay shoe is a pump with a closed toe and covered heel. But here’s the kicker in these classy kicks: the sides of the vamp are cut out to expose the arch of the foot. These days, the d’Orsay style comes in a variety of heel heights and types such as flats, kitten heels, wedges, and peep toes to boot.

Shoes 19th century d'orsay

Edwardian silk d’Orsay slippers, 19th century

There’s something je ne sais quoi about a d’Orsay pump that makes it so chic, perhaps because of its French origins. It is thought that the shoe is named after Count Alfred d’Orsay, a 19th century French artist with an impeccable style. Once upon a time, men wore pumps, and a common problem they encountered was gaping on the sides due to wide feet and ill fitting shoes. D’Orsay came up with the genius idea of cutting out the sides for a better fit, giving birth to the dandy d’Orsay pump we know today.

D’Orsay pumps are considered to be a sexy shoe, but wearer beware, it comes with a price. To prevent the foot from slipping out, the shoes are sometimes designed a little tighter than usual. Combine this with the pointy toe, and your feet will be cursing merde in the name of fashion.

Cherry Blossom Girl

Konnichiwa sakura, when can I see you again?

OOTD Style Haori
It’s sakura season, and I can still remember the magic of being in Tokyo this time last year. The petaled pink pretties powder the treetops as crowds of tourists and locals gather for picnics beneath them. Even the most gentle breeze will send the petals flying, creating a delicate pink snowfall that envelopes admirers in their own little cherry blossom snow globe.

Japan is a place of contrasts, where modern meets traditional at the intersection of future and past. Ancient tranquil temples exist amongst contemporary bustling sky scrapers. Trendy restaurants serve up age old recipes, while high speed rail systems transport you in a flash from a sprawling metropolis to a snail paced village. Geishas in kimonos coexist with innovative street style fashionistas, while minimalist aesthetics ooze from every corner of Japanese design.

Japan left a great impression on me, and I couldn’t say sayanora without a keepsake to remind me of my wonderful time there. An authentic kimono seemed impractical, but how about a haori? A haori is a mid length coat that is worn over a kimono, open and unbelted. Originally, samurais wore haoris over their armor to keep warm, but it eventually became incorporated into every day wear.

OOTD Style Haori

It can be a challenge for a petite frame to wear something so voluminous. With full sleeves, a roomy fit, and hemline long enough to constitute a dress, a haori can be overwhelming. But if there was anything I learned from the street fashion in Tokyo, conventional style rules can go out the window of a bullet train to make room for experimentation.

It’s all about playing with size and proportion, and I decided to turn up the volume with a pair of wide leg trousers that rival the fullness of the haori’s sleeves. While the haori’s long length can make me look even shorter than I already am, the high rise of my trousers help lengthen the legs for days. The result is a simple, harmonious juxtaposition.

Haori (similar) | Urban Outfitters camisole (similar) | vintage trousers (similar) | vintage envelope clutch (similar) | vintage fan earrings (similar) | vintage leaf cuff (similar) | vintage heels (similar)

OOTD Style Haori

Incorporating Japan’s minimalistic aesthetic, I kept the accessories to a minimum, save for a few gilded accents. The haori’s delicate fan print and graceful flutter of the sleeves in the wind is a showpiece all on its own. Along with the clean lines of my pressed trousers, the unadorned look embodies the simple beauty that is a hallmark of Japanese design.

Although there isn’t a cherry blossom garden nearby, a eucalyptus grove I did find. At least they’re both trees, right? While the latter doesn’t provide any budding pink blossoms for me to admire, at least I can still marvel at their majestic heights and shedding bark all day long.

I am the last samurai of style.

A Turtleneck for the Spring

OOTD Style Fashion Turtleneck

As far as turtlenecks go, I’ve never been a huge fan. When I was young, my mom forced me to wear turtlenecks in hideous shades of pink and fuchsia. Maybe she believed they would prevent me from catching a cold. Or perhaps she was setting precedent for a modest way of dress that I came to embrace without question.

Urban Outfitters beret (similar) | vintage turtleneck (similar) | vintage Levis 501 (similar) | vintage Cameos pumps (similar) | vintage necklace (similar) | vintage bangle (similar) | vintage watch (similar) | vintage Coach crossbody (similar) | Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

In my early 20s, I ventured down the turtleneck road again, and incorporated the high neckline into my working girl’s office wardrobe. I am willing to suffer a little discomfort in the name of fashion, but the turtleneck was in a class of its own. I gave it up after one season, as if its constricting nature was stifling my style.

But nowadays, turtlenecks aren’t as restrictive as they used to be, with looser necklines available in a variety of materials. Whether it’s cozy wool for the winter, lightweight drapey cotton knits for the spring, or even sleeveless ones in the summer, there’s a turtleneck for every season.

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OOTD Style Fashion Turtleneck

Like romantic relationships, you shouldn’t feel smothered by your turtleneck. I stole this vintage top from my momma’s closet, and while I can’t decide if it’s a turtleneck, funnel neck, mock, or maybe all of the above, alls I know is that my neck can breathe again like Toni Braxton. The loose fit and thinner material make it appropriate for this transitional weather, as we’re experiencing temperature swings left and right like hot flashes.

In keeping with the mom theme, I tucked my mom’s turtleneck into a classic pair of mom jeans, none other than the original Levi’s 501 button fly. A slim pair of pointy pumps helps streamline the otherwise dowdy mom look, while golden embellishments and a beret add a little flair to this turtleneck affair.

OOTD Style Fashion Turtleneck

C is for Cloche

I wear more than one hat, two to be exact.

hat_accessory_cloche hat

Contrary to what many people believe, the cloche hat was actually invented in 1908, almost two decades before the flapper era of the 1920s. Leave it to the Parisians to create something so chic and timeless, the word cloche means “bell” in French. Years later, as the Roaring Twenties kicked in full steam, it became the iconic hat of the Jazz Age.

How to spot a cloche hat? It’s all in the bell shape. Cloche hats are traditionally made from felt, though ones made from straw or cloth were not uncommon. Decorations were minimal in order to maintain the slim and trim profile of the hat.

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Cloche Hats

The fitted silhouette makes it hard to see because it covers the eyes, and for this reason it even altered the way women carried themselves. They literally had to tilt their chins up in order to see. The snug shape also playfully accented the short hairstyles that were so in vogue at the time, and was the ideal way to wear such a trendy accessory.

It’s been years since I sported a bob, but I might just chop off my long locks and embrace my inner flapper at the drop of a cloche hat.

hat_accessory_cloche hat

Springtime Hawaiian Florals

Spring has sprung, and I’m sprung over spring.

OOTD

D&Y hat (similar) | vintage Hawaiian blouse (similar) | vintage shorts (similar) | Bottega Veneta bag (similar) | Crown Vintage sandals (similar) | vintage wooden cuff (similar)

OOTD

It doesn’t quite feel like spring yet in the Bay Area, because our version of it means a healthy dose of cloudy grey skies with a chance of rain. Never mind it, I’ll just bask in the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind – that is, back to memories of my recent Hawaii trip.

I last wore this shirt when I had a serious case of the wanderlust. Luckily, this time around I actually got to play tourist while looking like a tourist. I lived out my fantasy of being mistaken for a Hawaiian waitress while brunching on a plate of guava chiffon pancakes. Yes, I was practically wearing their uniform, but what fools they are, those tourists! How could they not see that no self respecting local would be caught in a big floppy hat??

That’s all folks, quicker than you can say spring fling.

FOOD

palm trees

hawaii

D&Y hat (similar) | vintage Hawaiian blouse (similar) | vintage shorts (similar) | Bottega Veneta bag (similar) | Crown Vintage sandals (similar) | vintage wooden cuff (similar)

hawaiian florals ootd

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.