Like Mother, Like Daughter

When you’re a mom, they’re just called “jeans.”

I may be an adult and live by my own rules now, but my mother’s job as my mom will never end. She is wonderful and I love her, but sometimes her unsolicited advice and nagging can drive me crazy. Yet, I have to remind myself that everything she does comes from a place of love and concern for me. These are just hallmark traits that come with the territory of being a mother, and I know I won’t fully understand it until I become a mother myself.

There isn’t a trace of her former stylish self in her closet, perhaps because I’ve slowly taken all her cute vintage threads over the years. I may be my mother’s daughter, but our wardrobes couldn’t be any more dissimilar. She favors practical items: pullovers, tees, button ups, jeans, and other basics make up the bulk of her wardrobe now – I hope her closet isn’t an indication of a future unfashionable me.


When I told her I wanted to feature her on my blog, she happily obliged. To my surprise, I even found her getting ready in the bathroom, running a brush through her short hair and dabbing a little rouge on her lips. She hardly ever wears makeup, but she was ready for her closeup.

vintage Hawaiian shirt (similar here, here, & here) | vintage Levis 501 (similar here & here) | vintage leather flats (similar here & here)

I haven’t yet stolen this top from her, so here we are in nearly twinning OOTDs for the very first time. We both channeled the Hawaiian tour guide look with our tropical button ups and matching light wash mom jeans. My mom was a good sport and even agreed to the awkward hand in back pocket pose even though she scoffed at the idea. Peals of laughter ensued – we have the same big smile and laugh.

I may be the fashionable one, but it is my mom who really wears the mom jeans – er, I mean pants – in this mother-daughter relationship.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Striped Dress for Easter

Pastels are always a spring favorite, and since I’ve already been there done that with feminine florals, ethereal lace, and Sunday-best hats, let me paint a different picture for you this Easter OOTD.

When I was a kid, I avoided going into the basement where my dad kept his tools. It was cold, dark, and dirty. But among my dads’ well-worn hammers, boxes of nails, matted paint brushes, and other dusty gadgets and appliances that are of no interest to a ten-year-old, lay a Kelly-Moore paint fan deck as thick as an old school Yellow Pages phone book. I was enamored by the spectrum colors that were beyond the world of Roy G. Biv that I knew. Oh, the descriptive creative names for each hue, the saturation possibilities, and the dazzling way with which the book fanned out! Nowadays, I still get excited about paint chips, but for more practical reasons – like actually choosing a color to repaint my room.

Though the hues are pretty basic, this bargain of a vintage dress (it was $1!) reminds me of those paint chips I loved so much as a kid.

Seeing Stripes: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

Cotton candy blue, pink, and purple stripes run the show like the traveling carnivals popping up in parking lots during spring break – this dress is everything that is perfect for Easter. A touch of earthy taupe offers a subtle accent color alongside white to prevent me from looking like a unicorn. The rare vertical stripes add a slimming effect to the feminine fit and flare silhouette and are a fresh alternative to spring florals that always dominate as the seasons’ “it” print. A classic shirt dress in every way, the circle skirt flares out like a paint fan deck if I’m not careful.

I couldn’t have painted a better wall with which to complement my outfit. Happy Easter!

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

My Pretty Petticoat

When I want to add a bit of body to my bottom half, I put on my pretty petticoat.

fashion ootd dress

Petticoats have a long standing history in women’s fashion. In vogue from the 1500s to the 1800s, this popular undergarment was worn under dresses. It added fullness to the wearer’s hips and rear, creating exaggerated bootylicious curves that was all the rage at the time.

As with all trends, the voluminous petticoat fell out of fashion to make way for slimmer silhouettes. In the 1950s, Christian Dior’s “New Look” made room for this historical undergarment to resurface back to popularity under full skirts and fit and flare dresses. Nowadays, petticoats are less common, but I still found a way to incorporate it into my chain reaction fashion.

vintage dress (similar) | Forever 21 belt (similar) | Bolivian petticoat (similar) | J. Crew heels (similar) | green necklace (similar) | vintage purse (similar)

fashion ootd dress

The petticoat adds some dramatic flounce to my citrus-hued 50s frock. With my lemony peep-toe Mary Jane pumps matching perfectly with my pretty petticoat, I found it hard to leave my skirt down.

I’m putting the flair back into fit and flare.

fashion ootd dress

Chain reaction fashion: 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

Fit and Flare Floral Frock

fashion style floral dress

Though spring florals aren’t exactly a new trend, each season they get a refreshing makeover. Whether it’s big bold watercolor florals or tiny micro print flowers, no springtime fashion would be complete without mentioning these petaled pretties. And if there was anyone who admired the natural elegance and beauty of nature’s blooms, it was Dior.

Along with flowers as his muse, Dior pioneered the “New Look” in the 1950s, which is the fit and flare silhouette we know today. A far cry from the austere minimalist look of the wartime years just the decade before, the “New Look” embraced fabric fullness and a woman’s feminine shape. With a fitted bodice and a flared out skirt, it creates a flattering outline with a retro vibe.

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fashion style spring trends floral dresses

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

fashion style floral dress

I bought this gently used, fit and flare handmade house dress at one of my vintage haunts in San Francisco. I imagine that it was once worn by an elegant lady of the house. She was probably a gracious host too, coordinating the perfect dinner party for her guests.

Although time has not been kind to this handmade beauty, I bet it was in living color at a time when Americans were still watching episodes of I Love Lucy in black and white. With a touch of sheen that has lost its luster over the years and a bejeweled belt with a few missing rhinestones, I simply adore the faded violet roses blooming on geometric square tiles. They tumble about in every direction like roses thrown on stage, as if I just gave the best performance of my life.

If April showers bring May flowers, then this dress must be it.

fashion style floral dress

I Get it from my Momma

“I’m turning into my mother,” is something I think about more frequently these days. If this thought has never crossed your mind, don’t worry young grasshopper, in due time it will.

I love my mom, but there are a few traits I wish I didn’t inherit from her. My propensity towards hoarding (you never know when you’ll need that!), my general indecision (I think maybe yes, perhaps no?), and worrying about the small stuff (there’s too many to name).

Yet for all the undesirable traits, she’s also passed off some of the better ones. Her strong attention to detail, her patience and kindheartedness, her artistic and creative endeavors. I learned to sew under her guidance and she gave me my first crochet needle which I still have. She taught me how to ride a bike when I was 26 (nope, I’m not too embarrassed to admit that). When I couldn’t convince any of my friends to attend a free swing dance class with me, my mom happily volunteered, and we danced under the stars in an unforgettable mother-daughter date. She has always been my biggest fan, urging me to embrace my creativity and travel far while I’m still young.

All too often I’ve seen her petite frame hunched over at the dining table, her small face behind wire rimmed glasses twisted into a look of concentration as she fiddles around on her tablet. She’s still getting used to technology. I look closely and see that fine lines have slowly etched themselves on her face. Her short hairdo, which had been jet black for the longest time while my dad’s turned white, has been increasingly salt and peppered more than I remember.

It’s safe to say that in her mid 60’s, my mom’s only style needs are comfort and low maintenance clothes that can withstand a little dirt from the garden or oil stain in the kitchen. Velcro Mary-Jane sneakers, faded mom jeans with the elastic waist band (she added that herself, thank you very much), baggy rumpled shirt, and a home sewn denim tote bag – this is her typical OOTD, all day, everyday. One wouldn’t know it by looking at her now, but my mom was once a very fashionable lady.

I get it from my momma: peachy in shades of grey | motherlover | i’m a hustler baby | dirty flirty birthday | I want you back | a turtleneck for the spring

Over the years I’ve pilfered a thing or two from her former stylish years, providing a glance into her past as each article of clothing holds sentimental value, igniting a memory from her past. She’d say things like, “That was my favorite summer dress,” or “I wore those shoes when I first stepped foot in Hong Kong.” There are probably a dozen other stories that lay hidden in the fibers of her old vintage threads, and every time I wear them, I feel a bit closer to my mom.

I know it always brings a smile to her face when she sees me sporting her old blouse or dress, giving new life to old pieces she once wore and loved. It’s as if she sees a piece of herself in me. For better or for worse, there’s no doubt I’m really becoming my mom.

Mom, if you’re reading this on your tablet, I love you! Happy Mother’s Day!