Then and Now: Sheer Beaded Blouse

The old me, revisited.

Is there a moment when you realize you’ve grown into a different person? Maybe it begins with something as small as a change in food preferences. Then you notice that you’ve picked up new habits and routines, or maybe you find yourself hanging with a different crowd. A shift in interests replaces old ones. Many things in life can spur change – some abrupt and traumatic (a bad breakup, the passing of a loved one), others dramatic (having a baby! relocating to another country!), but sometimes, the change is banal and happens gradually through the years that’s as natural as the changing seasons.

Urban Outfitters Beret (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | Gap jeans (similar) | Sam Edelman shoes (similar) | LBD trench coat (similar) | vintage scarf (similar) | Dooney & Bourke bag (similar)

Call it growing up, or call it getting old, sometimes I feel like I’m going through a coming of age phase, if one exists for someone in their thirties. Climbing up that career ladder, green thumbing it in my new house, and settling into married life, coupled with more-homebody-less-homies means this is the most adulting I’ve ever done – and I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just when I think I’ve got my personal style down forever, life happens. The change in my perspective trickles down to affect all facets in my life, OOTD included.

Whether it’s a fit and flare floral frock, a shifty business shift, or a brimmed hat bohemian lifestyle, I love taking my readers on a journey to different decades of dress along with a fashion history lesson. After blogging for six years, instead of visiting decades past, how about going back to the first year of Chic Vic?

Then: I first blogged about this 1950s blouse five years ago on my birthday, in the first year of Chic Vic. The tuxedo blazer I still have (a classic!), but the statement red pants have gone to the donation bin, and heels I no longer wear anymore. This is definitely an OOTD that I’ve outgrown.

Now: I chose to style this blouse with how I’ve been dressing lately – neutral colors, menswear-inspired flats, and a timeless trench topped off with my favorite Frenchie beret. Oh, and you’ll be seeing a lot more mom jeans on the blog, because, well, they’re awesome.

Sometimes I look back and have donator’s remorse, regretting selling or giving away some of the things I used to love so much. But I guess shedding my layers just means I gain more closet space to make room for a new and improved me. My sense of style will never be what it was when I first started blogging, but one thing remains constant: vintage undertones will always put the chic in Chic Vic.

A Rosy Disposition

A rose is a rose is a rose.

If anyone is still following my blog, you may have noticed some slothfulness on Chic Vic, as I’ve only managed to churn out one dinky post this year. And now it’s already September which means 2018 is practically over and I’ll be counting down to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in no time. Where, what, and why, you may ask, has Chic Vic gone? Well, I’ve been werking it.

Much has transpired since my last life update. I have finally established a stable freelance wardrobe styling career (technically an assistant, but that’s a minor detail). Luckily, clients have found me pleasant to work with (yay!) and for the most part, my calendar has been booked solid every month. As strange new faces become familiar friends in the game of rotating freelancers, I’ve been learning a lot from all the wonderful people I’ve met so far. Everybody has some passion project they’re working on, and the creativity and ambition are contagious.

Instead of styling myself for blog photos, now I style other people in order to build my portfolio. I’m constantly brainstorming for the next photoshoot even before the current one wraps up. To all the budding creatives out there, you know that TFP hustle I’m talking about. My creative juices have been flowing towards this endeavor, and at the end of the day, there’s little reserve left for my humble blog. Oh yes, the blogging struggle is real.

In other adulting news, I’m a homeowner now (can someone say 30 year fixed mortgage?) aaaaand I have gained an Instagram husband till death do us part. I apologize for keeping ya’ll in the dark about my IRL personal stuff, but since I need an alibi for my absence from the blogosphere, I’m coming clean about what I’ve been up to – so let there be light! Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can finally stop and smell the roses, 1950s style. Let’s get back into fashion, shall we?

From my photo archives, I present to you a flashback to the fifties with a fit and flare floral gem that I’ve only managed to wear just once. I love how the low sexy back juxtaposes the demure high neckline. With my hair covered up in a similar rose printed headscarf like a sister from another mister, I feel as though I’m I channeling Rosie the Riveter all the while giving off some serious 1950s housewifey vibes. The only thing that would knock the socks off this look is a pair of Bobby socks to go with my fancy floral saddle shoes.

Between the barely breathable cinched waist and the scratchy crinoline action underneath, the only type of housework I’ll be doing in this dress is lying the f*ck down, Ali Wong style.

Ultraviolet Vibes

I’ve been feeling pretty invisible on the blogosphere lately, and I blame it on the new year. I guess that’s one thing I have in common with the Pantone color of the year, ultraviolet.

Let’s make things clear, she’s not your basic purple. Ultraviolet is way beyond the “V” in Roy G. Biv. Our girl UV is off the visible spectrum, a radiation with a wavelength shorter than visible light. Shorter wavelengths, means, in short, that she’s invisible. So if you’ve ever wanted to be visible and invisible at the same time, now’s your chance.

My UV rays simply radiate in this bold jewel-toned hue that penetrates the winter’s cool cloudy days. This vintage St. John sweater offers just the right amount of texture that pops against a neutral color backdrop of camel, navy, and a splash of leopard print. For a regal pairing, I accessorized with collars galore – a gold-toned collar necklace and the softest of fur collars to adorn my neck. Here I am, clearly visible in invisible light.

This ultraviolet is ultra chic, no SPF needed.

vintage St. John sweater (similar here & here) | vintage trousers (similar) | Urban Outfitters pumps (similar) | vintage coat (similar) | vintage necklace (similar)

 

A Black and Gold Affair

Forget the naughty, nice, or wish, how about the best-dressed list?

I pine for the aroma of fresh pine, duet with Bing Crosby on the radio, and revel in the conviviality that keeps me warm from the frosty chill at this time of year. Whether it’s a cozy get-together by a fireplace or a sophisticated cocktail soiree, please ditch the ugly Christmas sweater because there’s a new gold standard for holiday attire.

J. Crew blazer (similar) | vintage dress (similar) | Nine West pumps (similar) | Mod Cloth blouse (similar) | Zara jeans (similar) | vintage purse (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | vintage earrings (similar)

If black is slimming, then the golden rule makes for a winning combination of black and gold for a timeless classic that never loses value. A little bit of satin sheen, tailored elements, sexy back, and peekaboo lace details go a long way. The delicate gold lace and gilded accessories contrasted by the crisp raven black make for two exceptionally regal OOTDs – one for Santa, and one for ringing in the new year.

Meet me under the mistletoe for a little bit of ho, ho, ho!

 

The Great Dickens Fair

‘Tis the season for great merriment and a ho ho ho, so off to a Victorian London I go!

The annual Dickens Fair is a holiday party that takes place in Victorian London in the 1800s. Although I am a vintage lover, I admit my knowledge only goes as far back as the 1920s. Anything in the century before that I am quite clueless, so even I had to brush up on the era of dress that bears my name.

The Victorian Era refers to Queen Victoria’s reign in the United Kingdom, from the 1830s-1901. Boned corsets, layers of petticoats, décolletage revealing necklines, and bonnets are just a few hallmarks of womens’ Victorian style dress, while the Victorian gentleman often sported a top hat, frock coat, and walking cane. Attending the Dickens Fair was like a fashion history lesson, because not only are the characters and entertainers are decked out to the Victorian nines, but attendees are also encouraged to dress the part. Who can’t refuse being outfitted in period dress? Certainly not I! A hoop skirt I do not have, but I’ve got the tulle time for Yuletide.

Stepping into the arena, I felt transported through time. A stomping river dance performance to my left, sounds of British English in my ears, and the smell of roasted chestnuts – crikey, it was a Victorian sensory overload! The Grand Concourse was festooned with Union Jack flags and strings of lights, while the streets were dusted with freshly fallen fake snow. Pubs, eating establishments, theaters, music halls, and purveyors of Victorian wares lined the streets of old London into a merry holiday fanfare that never ceased to entertain.

I curtseyed to her majesty Queen Victoria as she made her way through the streets, sang along with carolers to my favorite Christmas songs, and oogled at just about everyone’s Victorian outfits, taking note of how I could improve my ensemble for greater vintage precision next year (a bonnet is a must!). And just as accurately as it would happen in old Victorian London, I attended a riveting reading of A Christmas Carol by Sir Charles Dickens himself.

Nevermind the Ghost of Christmas Past, this has to got be the best Christmas Present yet. God save the queen!

Vintage blazer (similar) | Vintage faux fur stole (similar) | Vintage blouse (similar) | fascinator (similar) | Anthropologie skirt (similar) | vintage oxfords (similar) | vintage dooney & bourke (similar)

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.

Birthday Basics

Hi readers, remember me? California is officially out of a drought, and so is Chic Vic.

OOTD FASHION STYLE

In the past year, my style has started morphing into something different. Something more casual, more monochromatic, more…dare I say it – BASIC. I haven’t felt this basic since my fashion fast. Jeans, tees, and sneakers that used to never see the light of day, have become my go-to staples when I have no idea what I should wear. Two years ago, Chic Vic would’ve scoffed at such a uniform.

Yet here I am, dressing more comfortably and casually, blending into the crowd rather than standing out.

If we use clothes as a vehicle for self-expression, then something has changed about me.

Daiso beanie (similar) | Levis trucker vest (similar) | Top Shop sweatshirt (similar) | Madewell henley blouse (similar) | Kut from the Kloth jeans (similar) | Doc Marten boots | vintage backpack (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | bauble bar necklace

OOTD FASHION STYLE

I’ve gone through a lot of transitions these last two years. After traveling for most of 2015 around the world with my beau, I came back refreshed with a new game plan for 2016. I reinvented myself (I’m a stylist! A writer! A hustler!), and reached out to old acquaintances while bravely cold contacted strangers. After months of living off my savings, I finally started to see some cash trickle at the end of last year.

Between my odds and ends freelance gigs and working from home, my pretty vintage clothes started to gather dust in my closet. Whenever I had the opportunity to meet up with friends, I just threw on my most basic items. What happened to Chic Vic? I was beginning to wonder if I was having a style identity crisis and if I would ever return to my former vintage self.

The personal style equation is equal parts self-expression and lifestyle necessity. I realize now that I had maintained the same lifestyle for a very long time, and that it helped cultivate my style identity and dictated how I dressed. During those eight years working in the same industry, I had my office attire with vintage flair down to a tee. And nowadays, my tee shirt and jean uniform is on repeat.

Daiso beanie (similar) | Levis trucker vest (similar) | Top Shop sweatshirt (similar) | Madewell henley blouse (similar) | Kut from the Kloth jeans (similar) | Doc Marten boots | vintage backpack (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | bauble bar necklace

OOTD FASHION STYLE

Fear not readers – I don’t think that my style has changed permanently, for Chic Vic still lives within me (and in my closet!). But perhaps I should just consider this as another facet of style I’ve developed and incorporated into my OOTD repertoire.

I couldn’t think of a better way to end my blogging drought than with this post, just in time for my birthday. To celebrate turning the perfect palindrome age of 33, I chose a streetwear inspired layered outfit that harkens back to the 90s. Although I’ve experimented with a shirt around my waist, I’ve never been a fan of the grunge look. Yet here I am surprising even myself with this new style endeavor.

OOTD FASHION STYLE

Quintessential items to have: a slouchy beanie, something logo, denim, and combat boots. Ladies, you’ll need a mini backpack to hold all your essentials. Notwithstanding something plaid, I opted instead for a camouflage printed henley blouse layered under a fuzzy pullover that harkens back to my roots. That’s right, straight outta Oakland, born and raised. A vintage brooch adds a feminine touch that puts the chic in Chic Vic.

I’m both eager and anxious to see what this year brings me. I may be 33 now, but I sure smell like teen spirit.

Daiso beanie (similar) | Levis trucker vest (similar) | Top Shop sweatshirt (similar) | Madewell henley blouse (similar) | Kut from the Kloth jeans (similar) | Doc Marten boots | vintage backpack (similar) | vintage brooch (similar) | bauble bar necklace

ootd-fashion-style

A Tower of Giraffes

No two giraffes have the same spotted pattern, just like how no two vintage items are alike. And it goes without saying, no other fashion blogger is quite like Chic Vic.

OOTD fashion style

I have dreams about going on an African safari someday, to see lions in their natural habitat, to watch a heard of wildebeest by the watering hole, and to hear the thunderous trumpet of elephants big and small. The glowing sun sets on an outstretched endless horizon, outlining the majestic silhouette of baobab trees before it melts into the earth to give way to a starry, starry night.

But since that trip remains but a distant dream for now, this giraffe blouse will have to quell my wanderlust.

Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar) | vintage head wrap (similar) | vintage coat (similar) | vintage blouse (similar) | Express jeans (similar) | Urban Outfitters shoes (similar) | tortoise shell bangle (similar)

OOTD fashion style

A tower of giraffes roam freely along the hem of this vintage blouse, their lithe spotless bodies in solid hues seemingly in motion as if we were observing them from a far distance. The orange, brown and cream colors match equally well with my tortoise shell accents and my printed headscarf in the same color scheme. I juxtapose the soft luster of the blouse and headscarf with a heavily textured cream coat from the 1960s. Though unfit for an African safari, this outfit is perfect for a mild autumn day.

OOTD fashion style

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.

Image 1 | Image 2 | Image 3

“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