Monday, November 30, 2009

Louis XIV

Well, I really went for it with this outfit -- the tie, the crazy bell-sleeved, bustled shirt, the stripey socks -- and what do you know, my coworkers actually noticed! I got several compliments on this one, as well as a few admiring looks (at least, I took them to be admiring). Amazingly, I didn't even plan this outfit in advance; it just came to me in the morning while I was getting ready.

I thought this outfit was an interesting blend of modern menswear and a 17th century court vibe. Those big elaborate sleeves paired with the cropped pants and heels made me feel like one of Louis XIV's subjects. This was a really fun outfit to wear.

Vest: Last Kiss
Shirt: All Saints
Tie: thrifted
Pants: Noa Noa
Socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Tsubo

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog Meet Blog

Well, I told you I didn't take many pictures at the blog meet-up last weekend, and I wasn't lying -- I took all of two. But how cute is this shot of Jess in her adorable vintage scooter dress? Surely quality makes up for lack of quantity in this case.

Jess originally tried this dress with a tulle petticoat underneath, but I thought it looked cuter in its intended minidress shape. The mandarin collar nicely minimizes Jess's large bust, and the skirt has exactly the right length and flare to highlight her hourglass shape. The little cape-like bolero jacket hits at just the right spot on her arms and draws attention to her feminine wrists and delicate hands. The lighting is a bit dim in this photo, so you can't tell that her boots and handbag are both a dark green, while the bolero, belt, and tights are black. What a great way to winterize this summery sleeveless minidress.

The casualty of the evening was unfortunately my head, which I burned with a curling iron as we were getting ready. In the days since then I've been wearing my bangs down to hide the giant, crusty red patch; obviously I'm not very adept at curling my hair, and after my broken toe incident a couple months ago, I don't think it would be entirely unfair to call me accident-prone. Between my burnt forehead and my hacking cough, I was in pretty bad shape that evening. My outfit was nice, though -- I wore an ecru jersey dress layered over a plain black t-shirt and a ruffled gray top, a Lucille underbust harness made by Mark, and my Fly London boots.

For photos of Jess and I, along with many other attendees, see Anna Marie's post at Last Days of Light, this post over at Beauty Revolution Magazine, and this photo set by Mike Adams. And for still more commentary and photos of the event, also check out these posts by The Jaunty Magpie, Urban Fashion Network, and one of the event organizers, the adorable Rebecca of The Clothes Horse.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Thanksgiving...

...and today I am thankful for: MONKS.

Actually I'm thankful for Mark, who reminded me of all the reasons I should be thankful for monks, but then I'm thankful for Mark every day, so we'll give this one to the Benedictines, Trappists, Dominicans, Carthusians, and all the rest.

Now I realize that this is a style blog, and as far as I know the monks have done jack shit for style over the centuries, but what you may not know about me is that I'm also a big cocktail aficionado, a longtime homebrewer, and somewhat of a foodie. And because of this, I'm spending today thinking about these monk-tastic contributions to civilization:

And just for good measure, I'll even imagine that the monks were out on the town, wearing far more stylish ensembles than these when they first hit upon their brilliant culinary and, er, booziary(?) ideas, and that the robes were really just designed for ease of movement when you're rolling those giant kegs around the monastery.

Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I haven't worn this dress in quite awhile, mainly because until recently it hasn't been cold enough. This is only the third time I've worn it since I brought it back from Paris last year, so I'm resolving to come up with more ways to style it this winter. The panels around the back and sides of the skirt are made of boiled wool, and the rest of the dress is a sturdy wool blend fabric, perfect for those bone-chilling foggy days in the Bay Area. The dress also has a removable wrap (shown in this post), which attaches via the buttons that are visible around the shoulders.

For this outfit I paired the dress with my plaid blazer and cowboy boots to give it a more casual look. I wanted to keep the jewelery simple yet eye-catching, so I chose my big quartz pendant. It's tough to see in these photos, but the t-shirt I layered underneath is a sparkly silver; it added a bit of shine to the otherwise matte fabrics. The tights have tiny horizontal stripes of light gray and charcoal.

If you're in the US, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. Enjoy your long weekend -- I know I will!

Jacket: Promod
Pendant: Manu Lizzaralde
Dress: 2026
Tights: Noa Noa
Boots: vintage Morgan

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pez Dispenser

I hate Lucky Magazine, I really do. And sadly, I subscribe to it -- not through any fault of my own, but simply because I was offered a free subscription from Amazon and it was either that or Details. Actually I think I should've chosen Details, come to think of it. Anyhow, here is what I hate about Lucky:

  • Irritatingly banal comments: If you're going to tell me that a skin cream has the most 'awesome scent EVER!,' then make sure you didn't tell me pretty much the same thing about a different skin cream last month, okay guys? And while we're at it, could we have some descriptive words that are a little more informative than 'awesome?'

  • Shopping tips that are not for the average-sized wallet: As I recall, Lucky started out as a shopping mag geared towards the everyday gal, loaded with things you could buy at drug stores, Target, or Old Navy. These days I find that the affordable items are the rarities.

  • Unimaginative style advice: This is by far my biggest complaint with Lucky. Every month I scour the pages, and every month I end up with 20 wasted minutes of my life that I'll never get back, and a bunch of needlessly-killed trees in the trash bin. Rarely do I find anything truly cutting edge, and many of the 'trends' that are featured are nothing more than a bird motif that's made its way onto a couple of pieces of jewelery and a scarf.

So why am I going on about Lucky? Because this month, wonder of wonders, I actually found something that inspired me in its pages. Actually it was just a Gap ad, which really could've been in any magazine, but I'm giving Lucky a little credit for it because this month is my last issue and I'd rather not think of the whole episode as a pointless time suck. Adding to the amazement of finding anything worthwhile in Lucky, I found it, of all places, in this horrid image:

The most awesomely hideous outfit EVER!

What are they, exactly -- lumberjacks? Beaver trappers? Because I can't think of any other reason to wear that getup, unless maybe you lost a dare. As if the high heeled hiking boots weren't bad enough, they're wearing those giant furry hats that give you a disproportionally-large head like a Pez dispenser. Gross. The boots over the socks over the jeans, however, intrigued me, because I've been looking for a way to tuck my jeans into my cropped boots without getting a lot of weird bagging or having the jeans keep popping out. And so, from the image of the Misses Grizzly Adams above, this outfit was born:

I don't even need to have a dead animal carcass stuffed in my hat to make a good outfit.

So let's see, what did I learn from this experience?
1) Jeans can be tucked into cropped boots with the help of a long pair of sturdy socks.
2) I could've found this out from a Gap billboard, so Lucky Magazine still sucks.

Shirt: Promod
Vest: A. Byer
Jeans: Joe's
Boots: Doc Martens

Monday, November 23, 2009

Double Drape

I'm back from Seattle, where Jess and I had a wonderful time at the Blog Meet Blog party, organized by Rebecca The Clothes Horse and Kam from Needle + Thread. I only wish I hadn't been in the very worst phase of a bad cold (which I am still fighting), because I feel I would've been a bit more social and talked to more people if I hadn't been feeling so crummy. Sick as I was, I also neglected to take more than a couple of photos; I'll post my scant photographic record later this week, but in the meantime you may see a couple people you recognize over on this post. It was really nice to get out and meet some fellow bloggers, and the party location, at modern design store BoConcept, was just amazing. More about the meet-up later, but right now I need chicken soup and a cup of hot tea, stat.

Here's an outfit from last week, in which I went for a double-drape look by layering a smaller cowl top underneath the larger cowl of this orange dress. The top underneath helped to fill in the wide neck opening of the dress and bring in an additional shade of purple.

Top: thrifted
Dress: Skunkfunk
Belt: Lazaro
Skirt: Fiorini Wichmacki
Boots: Fly London

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gone to Seattle

Have a great weekend everyone; I'll be back next week with a report about the blogger meet-up!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carefully Mismatched

Here's an outfit that could easily have gone horribly matchy-matchy if I wasn't careful. It all began with the combination of the capelet-jacket and the skirt. It was a great starting point for an outfit because it neatly divides my upper and lower halves into two equal parts, which gives me great proportions. Adding the skinny belt was a no-brainer because the teal matched the skirt so perfectly, but then I was faced with the difficult task of deciding where to go from there.

I knew that adding another teal item was out, because the color is eye-catching enough and needs no further repetition. But adding several matched pieces in another color would've looked very much like a uniform, so when I finally decided upon purple as my second color, I made sure to choose 3 different shades for the t-shirt, socks, and boots. The t-shirt is a deep eggplant, the socks a rich magenta, and the boots a dusty burgundy. In this way everything goes together without looking too studiously matched. I'd describe this as adding 'depth' to an outfit, because the mismatched shades of purple stand out or fade into the background depending on where they're placed. You almost don't notice the sleeves of the t-shirt because the shade is so dark, while color of the socks pops against both the contrasting skirt and more subdued shade of the boots.

This skirt is really versatile, and is easily a year-round piece. Paired with lime green or red, it can look vibrant and lively in warm weather; paired with neutrals or deep jewel tones such as purple or dark green, it transitions right into the colder months.

Caplet: Forever 21
T-shirt: H&M
Belt: Lazaro
Skirt: Anthropologie
Socks: Sock Dreams
Boots: Fly London

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exceedingly Dull

Well, I was about to go on about how I've worn this skirt and this dress countless times but never thought to pair them until now, but upon perusing my past posts I discovered that I've only worn the skirt 5 other times this year, and the dress only 6 times since I bought it in February. And that really isn't very much, is it? So it's hardly surprising that I've never paired them until now. And with that I conclude my exceedingly dull story.

What I WILL go on about, though, is just how comfortable this outfit was. This skirt has a super stretchy, lightweight elastic waistband, while the dress has no constriction whatsoever around the midsection. Despite this, the outfit as a whole has very flattering shaping, and doesn't make me look like I'm wearing maternity clothes. It all hinges on the cut of the dress, which, though empire-waisted, doesn't puff out too much below the waistband. It's one of the most flattering empire dresses I've ever come across.

The dress has ample room in the bust and could easily accommodate much larger 'girls' than mine, while the pretty cowl neckline would soften and minimize said bust quite nicely. I imagine it would work really well on ladies with apple figures, too. The best part? I just discovered today that Modcloth has 2 other versions of this dress, a purple one and a houndstooth, both under 50 bucks!

T-shirt: H&M
Dress: Red Dress Shoppe
Skirt: ?
Shoes: John Fluevog

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gothic Argyle

Ooh, before I forget, who's going to the Northwest Blog Meetup this Friday?? Jess and I will be there, so be sure to grab us and say hi!

This tunic is another fairly recent acquisition from All Saints, which is only just now making its first appearance on the blog even though I've already worn it several times as a more casual weekend look. I'm absolutely in love with this piece; at first glance it looks very somber and goth, but upon closer inspection you can see that the pattern is actually our old friend, the classic nerdy argyle. The soft fabric and thick construction make it the perfect, snuggly warm layering piece for winter.

This garment is actually billed as a dress, but I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about wearing it that way. For one thing it's not very long, and could easily take a dangerous detour into chocha land. For another, it has the clingy knit dress syndrome when it's pulled all the way flat, though admittedly it isn't nearly as unflattering as a thin jersey dress would be. Regardless, I intend to wear it as a tunic, and with this outfit I hit on the idea of layering it over this vintage slip-upcycled-to-skirt. This added the right amount of length while still allowing the tunic to be the star of the show. Better still, since the skirt is a slip, no extra layer was needed to keep my clothing from sticking to my leggings.

Because the whole outfit was pretty dark, I added some eye-catching silver accessories to brighten it up: the studded double-wrap skinny belt, and my beautiful quartz pendant from Argentina.

Tunic: All Saints
Pendant: Manu Lizzaralde
Belt: vintage
Skirt/slip: Glam Grab by Gunlis
Boots: All Black

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jack Aubrey

This outfit began as a Girls' Night Out ensemble, and I liked it so much that I parlayed it into work wear. I thought it was an interesting mix of neutrals and also a great way to wear these cute shorts.

This outfit is a great example of how to mix brown and black together in an outfit. The real trick for this or any other difficult color pairing is to repeat, repeat, repeat. Don't just throw on brown shoes with an otherwise black outfit and hope it's going to work; the best way to really pull it off is to throw in several pieces in each color and try to break them up by alternating black over brown or vice versa. Although it's not a great idea to mix different shades of black, using several different shades of brown is another great way to mix up an outfit comprised entirely of neutrals. I know the colors are difficult to discern in these photos, so I'll walk you through what I did here.

The top is a deep olive green; I used this in order to bring in some variety, but really any neutral would've worked just as well -- ecru, perhaps, or gray. The scarf is actually a deep chocolate brown, which is much more apparent when you see it in person, particularly when it's next to a true inky black such as this jacket. The shorts are a medium brown herringbone pattern, the tights are black, and the boots are brown. Alternating the black and brown makes the pairing look much more intentional.

I told you I've been getting a lot of use out of this customized military jacket, and here it is once again. I love how the brass buttons instantly make any outfit look more structured and formal. Plus it really feeds into my fantasy of being a heroic 19th century ship's captain like Jack Aubrey, though I suspect that if I'd lived back then I'd have been a lot more like nerdy naturalist and hopeless landlubber Stephen Maturin. What, you've not read all 21 of the Master and Commander books? Well, if you've got a love of the high seas and a hundred or so hours to spare, I'd highly recommend them. I've just finished the last one and am tempted to start the series all over again, so much do I love the characters. I also think I need to get myself a pair of epaulets, pronto.

Which characters, fictional or real, inspire your style?

Jacket: F21
Top: Victoria M. Ortiz
Scarf: Duke et Duchesse
Shorts: Mango
Boots: Bata

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Repurposed Skates

Remember how I mentioned that I've been obsessed with getting a pair of white figure skates and taking the blades off to wear them as boots? Well, I sort of gave up on that idea because I figured the boots would be terribly uncomfortable, but in the meantime I found something even better: a pair of proper boots that look pretty much like skates. I found these randomly via the Dr. Martens website, but since I knew that Docs' sizing can be unpredictable I waited until I was in Seattle, where there's a whole Docs store, so that I could try them on first. Though they're still a little stiff around the ankles, I'm convinced that these will be way more comfortable than a pair of repurposed skates.

I went bare-legged with this outfit, knowing it would probably be the last time I'd be able to do so until mid next year. This was during several days of calm, warm weather that we had about a week and a half ago, which has since been replaced with the normal foggy drizzle so common this time of year.

Jacket: Forever 21
Dress: Noa Noa
Boots: Dr. Martens

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've got a couple of posts lined up for the next 2 days, but I'm actually at an offsite work conference right now, so I apologize in advance for not responding to comments or commenting on the blogs I read. I'll be back soon!

I actually wore this outfit before Halloween, and just overlooked it in my photo album until now. You can tell it's a bit older because more recently I've been styling my hair differently; I've been wearing it with the bangs and front pieces slicked down, ever since I tried it with my Twiggy costume and really liked the look. Anyway, here's this one; it's quite a simple outfit for me, just a top and a skirt with a few accessories. I chose the black studded boots in order to bring a little bit of a rocker edge to this otherwise fairly conservative look.

Top, skirt: Noa Noa
Boots: All Black

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Corsets for Nerds

Well, I told you I was going to do it: I wore a corset to work. And nobody even noticed. Actually I did wear it with the jacket on all day, which at least partially explains the lack of comment or inquiry, but I still maintain that nothing I wear fazes my coworkers anymore.

I was a bit concerned with how comfortable it would be to wear a corset for a full day at work, but I was pleasantly surprised. By the end of the day I was definitely ready to take it off, but on the whole it really wasn't any less comfortable than any other form-fitting outfit I've worn. I've included some photos of what the outfit looked like without the jacket; I actually liked it a lot better that way, but felt it was a little much to show the entire corset at work. However, I would certainly wear it this way to a non-work event. The mixture of black and brown makes this corset very versatile, and because it's not a shiny silk fabric, I can easily dress it down. From a purely utilitarian perspective, the brass D-rings were a perfect attachment point for my security access badge. Perhaps the company who made it should be called Corsets for Nerds.

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are thinking, "I could never wear a corset at all, let alone at work all day." But I feel like I need to sing their praises a little, because just look at what this one did for my figure! A tiny waist, a flat stomach, and an accentuated bust and hips, all accomplished with one little garment! And honestly, you really do get used to it once you've had it on for awhile. I've also heard tell that the more you wear a corset the more natural it feels, which is a theory I will certainly test myself, now that I've gotten over the hurdle of wearing one out for a day. There are plenty of online resources for how to shop for and wear a corset, but I feel like I should share my own advice as well.

Audi's Tips for Successful Corset-Wearing:

Invest in a good corset. Those cheap-o ones that don't have metal stays and busks really aren't worth it. They double over when you bend at the waist and don't accomplish anything other than making you uncomfortable. A good corset requires a lot of time and materials to produce, and is worth the money. Expect to pay at least $200 for even the most basic model.

Don't half-ass it; lace that sucker up as tight as it goes. Corsets are designed to hold the body in place via their metal stays, so the bigger the gap you leave in the laces, the more you'll spread those back stays apart and prevent the corset from doing its job. This can actually lead to pain, so make sure you've laced the corset properly.

Your corset gently requests that you maintain good posture and keep your midsection tight; don't make it have to get nasty. In other words, don't fight against the corset, but rather adjust yourself into the position it's trying to get you to adopt. A straight back and sucked in stomach will be the most comfortable position, so try to maintain that. You can actually relax into the corset and let it guide the way you sit and stand, but make sure you don't relax so much that you counteract what it's designed to do.

Breathe "upwards." That's the only way I can describe it. With a corset on you have no stretch around your chest; this is particularly true of the over-bust styles. So rather than swelling your chest and abdomen when you breathe in and out, you need to lift your ribcage and bust. Try doing this without a corset on, and you'll find that right away your posture improves and your stomach stays nice and tight. Think about having a corset on as a constant reminder, and you can imagine the benefit that comes from wearing one. Good posture looks great anyway, but good posture combined with a tiny waist and flat stomach looks even better.

So what about all of you? Do you own a corset? Would you ever consider wearing one?

Jacket: Victoria M. Ortiz
Necklace: Rapsodia
Top: Noa Noa
Corset: Xcentricities
Skirt: All Saints
Shoes: John Fluevog

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Wear: Daytime College Reunion

Over the weekend Mark and I attended his college theater reunion, and this is what we wore. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the two of us together, but this is the next best thing. I like how we sort of match but not quite.

I just loved this outfit on Mark. The combination of the vintage blazer, the tuxedo-stripe jeans by Heathen, and the funky John Fluevog shoes looked so modern and imaginitive. He thrifted this blazer for a few bucks, and I think it looks great on him.

I'm wearing another new dress from All Saints, which is making its first appearance on the blog today. The print on this dress is stunning; a delicate and very detailed collage of snakes, skulls, and various flora in shaded blue, gray, and black. It's called the Seven Curses dress and it sort of reminds me of a cross between old tattoos and black magic voodoo imagery. The fabric of the dress is fairly sheer, so I wore it over a short tulle skirt, which I actually had to pull down quite low over my hips in order to make it peek out at the hem. The leggings gave the elastic band of the skirt something to stick to and stay in place.

I topped off the outfit with my newly-customized military jacket, which has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe. This time of year it's great for taking the chill off without being cumbersome to carry around while I'm inside. Expect to see more of this jacket soon; I also included it in a work outfit last week that still has yet to be posted.

My outfit:
T-shirt: H&M
Dress: All Saints
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Skirt: Forever 21
Leggings: Kersh
Boots: Dr. Martens
Jacket: Forever 21

Friday, November 6, 2009

Madcap Stripes

I saw this skirt on Gilt Groupe and immediately fell in love with it. The buckles, the zippers, and the quirky color combo are just perfect for my style, and it's unlike anything else in my wardrobe. And then it's called the Madcap Stripes skirt, which made me want it even more. Look how the stripes match my hair! Truly it was meant to be. The skirt is solidly constructed, the fit is perfect, and the zippers are functional, which means I could potentially wear something else underneath (pettipants maybe, with a ruffled hem?) and partially unzip the front panel to reveal the lower layer.

Because the raspberry stripes in the skirt are fairly bright, I decided to bring more olive and black into the rest of the outfit, and keep my jewelery to a minimum. The tights are actually 2 pairs layered together: a pair of solid olive green cotton leggings with a pair of black lace tights on top. It was just too chilly that day for the black ones alone, and I thought the green background helped to tone down the busy lace pattern a little.

This top by itself is actually very unflattering, as it flares out under the bust and looks like a big tent on me. But the little puff sleeves and the ruched bodice appealed to me, so I bought it knowing that it would always be a bottom layer, and it was cheap enough that I didn't care.

Necklace and ring: Manu Lizzaralde
Top: H&M
Waistcoat: Heathen
Skirt: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Olive tights: Foot Traffic
Black tights: Biella
Boots: All Black

P.S. Still not a member of Gilt? Use this invitation to join.