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

Gold Digger

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Although my new year’s resolution is to become more of a fashion minimalist, deep down I ain’t nothing but a gold digger. Oh I’m a thrifting friend indeed.

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When you’re thrifty, every trip to Goodwill is like panning for gold. I struck it rich and found this gold laden, sequin encrusted cardigan during one of my routine first-donate-then-shop trips. It has become my designated statement cardigan when I need a quick way to glam up a pair of jeans with minimal effort. To let the cardigan shine, I wore all black and played up the color of the sequins by adding extra gold toned accessories to the rest of my outfit.

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Feeling bold and empowered by gold, I decided the outfit needed a superhero’s touch in the form of a cape. The black cape adds subtle drama and also allows the sequins to peekaboo through the front. The arm holes help frame sequined detail on the sleeves that would otherwise be hidden from sight with a regular coat.

My outfit isn’t suited for the snow, but this snow bunny wasn’t really planning to hit the bunny slopes anyway. Black diamond you say? Where can this gold digger get her hands on one?

Zara cape (similar) / vintage cardigan (similar) / Silence & Noise blouse (similar) / Forever 21 pillbox hat (similar) / Kimchi Blue suede boots (similar) / vintage belt (similar) / vintage flower brooch (similar) / vintage bow brooch (similar) / vintage cape clip (similar)

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WOW Rosie!

If you don’t know Rosie the Riveter, she was the World War II poster girl that encouraged women everywhere to contribute to the war effort. As men lined up in droves to fight in the war, they left behind vacant factory jobs – a void that women filled. For the first time, women took on jobs traditionally reserved for men and experienced economic independence outside the home. The work they signed up for was no easy task either. It was often dangerous, and in addition to riveting, they also operated heavy tools, bagged gun powder, and made weapons such as rockets and bombs.

It is for these reasons that the famous image of Rosie remains a well known cultural icon. She blazed the way for independent women everywhere, and without even knowing it, also became a style heroine in her own right. Rosie is proof that fashion is not frivolous – instead, fashion is strongly connected to world events. Because women worked in factories during the war, they had to wear the appropriate pant and work shirt uniform. And ever since then, women everywhere have been able to share in the delight of putting on their pants one leg at a time, just like men.

I’ve been on a bit of a denim craze lately, mainly on the hunt for a denim trucker jacket. However, I stumbled upon this utilitarian jacket at Crossroads – it’s just the right type of denim jacket I never knew I was looking for. The pragmatic design seems appropriate for the modern day Rosie. For a more uniform look, I wore it with my new favorite pair of chambray jogger pants. A well worn in tee shirt with patches completes the “we can do it” look. Can’t you tell from the patches that I’m a classy lady? I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves to get my elbows dirty.

Of course, Rosie wouldn’t be without her headscarf. I’m thankful that this vintage headscarf is a fashion statement, and that I don’t actually need it to protect my hair from the flying sparks of a rivet gun. My flexed Rosie pose may not be as fierce as the poster girl, but I’m stronger than I appear.

Dare to look riveting!


vintage scarf (similar scarf) / thrifted Gap jacket (similar jacket) / Zara tee / Urban Outfitters jogger pant (similar jogger pant) / vintage Yoyo shoes (similar shoes and shoes) / airplane necklace (similar necklace)

Fat Fashion Tuesday

Ah, Mardi Gras! Tis the time for eating richly, drinking heavily, dancing crazily, and all around non-stop partying as a way to celebrate before starting the solemn days of Lent. Although I am not religious and haven’t had the opportunity to participate in Mardi Gras New Orleans style, it doesn’t mean I can’t dress to impress for the occasion.

In order to look the part, one must wear the official Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. To get away with all the vices committed on this day, a mask is the absolute needed accessory – the more elaborate, the better. I chose a sequined out mask complete with a burst of feathers that completely hides one side of my face. I feel a bit like Phantom of the Opera – I’m ready to run amok and paint the town red.

I’m not about to flash strangers just to collect some plastic beads I’ll never wear again, so I’ve decided to furnish my own. I love this 1960s multi-strand necklace in varying shades of green, from Kelly to emerald and everything in between. I even threw in a multi-strand pearl and chain necklace to mix it up and incorporate some gold into my outfit. And who says the beads have to be in necklace form? You may recognize this beaded number from my Gatsby days. This time I decided to wear it backwards and unzipped as a vest cardigan. The dangling beads and sequins on the vest cause quite the stir when it rustles as I shimmy.

Now it’s time to shake what your mama gave ya and earn those covetable beads!


vintage sequin top (similar top & top) /Jones New York blouse (similar blouse) / Zara jeans (similar jeans) / vintage green necklace (similar necklace) / Urban Outfitters pearl necklace (similar necklace) / Enzo Angiolini pumps (similar pumps)

Viva la Chic Vic

I recently headed south of the border in favor of a Feliz Navidad with warmer temperatures. Hablas inglés?

My first stop: Mexico City. Speaking not a lick of Spanish besides “hola” and “gracias” can only get you so far. Despite what people assured me, “I’m sure they speak English there” – I can tell you they did not!

I filled my tummy with corn tortillas, carnitas, bistek, queso, and I couldn’t get enough of tamarindo anything (whether it was a beverage, candy, or even in popsicle form). I had all the time in the world to explore the far corners of the city but what I underestimated was my stamina to do so each day. I walked for miles and miles through streets, passing though the different colorful neighborhoods that make Mexico City so interesting. Whether it was getting sandwiched on the subway with the locals, exploring the tons of museums the city had to offer (they boast the most in the world!) or climbing up the ancient steps of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán on Christmas Day, Mexico City is a place I won’t soon forget. Just as I was getting accustomed to my surroundings, it was time to vamos onto my final destination: Puerto Vallarta.

Quite the contrary to exploring the concrete jungle of metropolitan Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta was a beachy paradise teeming with tourists mainly from the US, Canada, and Mexico. People spoke English, things were pricier, and the availability of “real” Mexican food became scarce. Since I’m not much of a beach bum, I got off my bum and got active. By land, sea, and air, I experienced being a tourist by ambling about the cobblestoned city streets, snorkeling in the ocean with raindrops falling on my head, and soaring above the canopy of trees like an eagle on the longest and fastest zip line in Mexico. I cannot say which activity was my most favorite; they were all exhilarating experiences I would do again in a heartbeat.

Never one to stop shopping for all things fashionable, I picked up a few wearable souvenirs along the way. I cannot wait to share them with you; stay tuned for them in future posts.

As for what I wore in Mexico? De colores, de colores!


Jones NY cardigan (similar) / Zara tee (similar) / Urban Outfitters shorts (similar) / Franco Sarto sandals (similar) / Anne Klein purse (similar) / fedora (similar) / beaded necklaces (similar)

Surprise, Surprise, Faux and Hide

Things aren’t always what they seem.

From across the sales floor, this dress appeared to have a delicate lace overlay in a beautiful contrast of hunter green and pale blush pink. Yet once we met up close, I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t lace at all, but rather a lace print. This faux lace meant that it would be easy to care for because it was machine washable. No expensive dry-cleaning bills and purchased on sale, this dress was a score.

While the fit and flare silhouette of this dress is reminiscent of 1950s fashion, the length is not. The flared skirt combined with the stiff fabric make for an inappropriate flashing opportunity. I won’t be going bottoms up in this dress, unless I have a drink in my hand.

Like the faux lace, this bracelet was also deceiving. I picked it up at a vintage show, thinking it was just a pretty blingy bangle to add to my collection. Oh, but it was so much more than that: when hinged open, the rose uncovers a watch. Since it was made in the good old days, I was able to wind it up and use the watch immediately. And it just so happens to match a brooch I already had – were they part of the same set and somehow separated long ago? It was serendipity that brought them together in perfect harmony with my dress.

Whether it’s faux lace or a hidden watch, keep the surprises coming. Except for a surprise stain, which I am guilty of overlooking for the love of vintage. Don’t judge me!


Zara dress (similar) / Nina shoes / vintage brooch (similar) / vintage watch (similar)

En Garde This Beach

Like the birds, I migrated south for the weekend down to sunny Los Angeles to visit a good friend I hadn’t seen in over three years.

We did all the usual L.A. activities: eat, drink, shop, reminisce, and be merry. We even got crafty! I had more celebrity sightings than I can count on my two hands, albeit I either didn’t know who they were or didn’t recognize them until they were pointed out to me. Although slightly star-struck, I was pleasantly surprised to find that celebrities are very plain looking in real life. Average Joes and Janes everywhere – rejoice!

A visit to L.A. wouldn’t be complete without a day at the beach. My favorite thing about beaches besides the soft sand and the sound of waves crashing on the shore, are the lifeguard towers. Luckily, we found one in a beautiful sun bleached Tiffany blue that needed some saving – we breathed new life into it in the form of a photoshoot.

Yet another opportunity to get in some last minute tanning, I wore my high waisted shorts and a sheer graphic tee with my sassy girl on it. I love the retro cut of these shorts – they have just the right amount of shortness to be sexy without being tasteless. The dark denim also makes them versatile to wear in the evening with a pair of heels. The beach was deceptively cool, but luckily I brought my camouflage utility jacket. Not only did it keep me warm, but it also provided a nice masculine contrast to the feminine shorts.

The lifeguard may be off duty, but Staff Sergeant Lau is not. Life’s a beach – I command you to play in the sand. No seriously, only in the sand because I can’t swim and will be unable to save you in the water in case of emergency.

Life is too short, so wear a pair of shorts. And that’s an order. En garde!


Urban Outfitters army jacket (similar) / Zara tee (similar) / Urban Outfitters shorts (similar) / Jeffrey Campbell shoes (similar)

My Sassy Girl on the Lawn

It’s been a while since I’ve sprawled out on the lawn and listened to awesome live music.

Call it cheap seats if you will – I prefer the term budget conscious seats. Having to sit/lay/squat/stand on the lawn for several hours can bring a host of problems, mainly, “What should I wear to stay comfortable yet still look cute?” I had to rule out the mini skirt, stilettos, and anything bodycon.

I decided to go with my worn in soft skinny jeans, a loose fit tee, flat sandals, and a light scarf to cover my bare arms. I love how the girl on my tee-shirt has such a sassy smirk on her face. I accented the colorful floral in the shirt with my floral bangles, ring, and floral details on my scarf. My sassy girl sure loves flowers.

As I lay down on my blanket, the smell of weed drifted through the air. I stared up into the sky and waited for the stars to appear while beautiful music bathed my subconscious.


Zara tee (similar) / Silence & Noise jeans (similar) / Franco Sarto sandals (similar) / old scarf (similar) / old cloisonne bangles (similar) / Forever21 ring (similar)

Who Wears Short Shorts

I like short shorts, but unfortunately, all I own are own some denim Bermuda shorts and some safari-esque khaki shorts.

I am desperate need of a chic pair or two to add to my wardrobe. Currently coveting: retro high waisted, casual distressed denim, and sailor style.

And that’s the long and the short of it.

Who Wears Short Shorts

G.I. Jo Camo

Atten-shun!

The last time I wore something with camouflage print, it was in the form of a baby tee. At age 13, I recall pairing it with my favorite flared khaki pants and my tan utilitarian button up. But since then, I have not felt the need to incorporate camo back into my life. That is, until now. I’ve performed a complete about-face.

Not just any camo will put me at ease! Specifically, I’m looking for a lightweight jacket or parka that hits at the hips, with a belt or drawstring that cinches at the waist. Is that too much to ask for? Wear it with a graphic tee or a casual blouse. I would contrast it with something ultra feminine, like a skinny jean, pencil skirt, or even show a lot of leg with a pair of shorts. Finish with a girly espadrille wedge heel to make the outfit spring appropriate. It’s the perfect utilitarian chic look that will command attention even from across enemy lines.

Time to hit up the local army surplus store or a Forever21. Consider this my fashion tribute to Memorial Day.

Jo Camo