I read and see so many people trying to imitate a few of Audrey Hepburn’s looks. All of the ones I can remember do not have the Winter coloring necessary for wearing black; read color experts, not everyone can wear black. Most do not have her body shape. Style icons look good oftentimes because at the very least, their clothes are tailored to them, but also because they have a signature style or wear their proper colors or styles.
I think it is a good idea to look for inspiration, but do not limit yourself to style icons, look in movies, blogs, history books. Look for inspiration (for your body type, coloring, and style type) not imitation (this is what bothers me about those who wear vintage without modernizing it; they look in costume). Style icons are famous for their unique looks.
I know I have mentioned this blog ad nauseam, but it really does have it all. Fit, body shape (more than the unrealistic four or so one usually sees listed) coloring, signature style, sheen versus texture, texture versus softness (for touch sensitive people), color contrast, value contrast, body proportions, capsule wardrobes, face shapes for hair styles and jewelry types, etc.
This is an important topic for me since I am trying to work my way into a more professional office environment and to pursue a graduate degree in business. Technically I am supposed to wear business casual, but that category has a great variety of definitions.
I researched business and business casual dress in preparation. In my mind I wanted a bit softer colors, no suit coat, and more variety in blouse colors and styles but otherwise like business formal/professional. When I saw in actuality what others wore and what fit me and looked again online I relaxed this a bit out of wardrobe necessity. Neutral non-pencil skirts, a teal dress, a grey dress, sweaters.
Oh, yes. Pants are not business formal/regular business or whatever you want to call it. . . . neither are dresses. Dark skirt-suits with white/light blouses and skirt hitting the knee, pantyhose, leather moderate heeled pumps with closed toes, and simple, classic jewelry is the outfit expected/required.
And what I need to work toward . . . you know, dress like the job you want not the job you have.
I want to wear pencil skirts and suits (I have gorgeous silk blend cocoa skirt-suit I bought consigned, but looks new which I want to have altered to fit) in softer colors (brown is not business formal nor is lighter grey) with silk blouses, silk knit tops perhaps. Keep dreaming, you will have to get the job you want first to pay for all that :/
And oh, the pantyhose drama. You have to have it match your skin or it is extremely unprofessional and tacky. Also, you have to have a ton on hand because of runs. I have to order online to get pantyhose to both match my skin and not run easily. I tried wearing Berkshire 4415 which come in a variety of colors. They seem sturdier; obviously they will run if snagged, but they do not feel as fragile as some which seem to run if touched . . . or looked at! The downsize is that they are not super-stretchy; they are crisp and the feet are shaped and can pool a bit although I think they improved with washing. I gave up after I ruined all my pairs of this brand and switched to tights for the winter, but I will have to try again for spring. I think I will just have to be satisfied with only a couple wears.
No make-up is almost as unprofessional as too much or tacky make-up. I usually wear foundation, powder, and mascara, sometimes light eyeliner. I have more difficulty with my hair. When I straighten it, the style can last several days, but the days that I do not use heat (trying to be gentle on my hair here; I already have a frizz problem, especially since I have to pull back my bangs since I am growing them out, again) I am hit or miss; I need to pick a few styles and stick with them. I feel like hair makes or breaks one’s look.
I also am trying to minimize my preparation time without harming my look. I am just a pokey person in the morning, so I feel if I streamline my process a bit more, I could cut off some time.
Winter Accessories: Hats
I am not a hat person, but I have gradually started to collect hats. Here is my newest (and favorite) which I bought from this blogger.I would like a wider brimmed wool hat, an indescribable hat something between a sailor and a pillbox, a wool beret, and maybe some velvet hats. Perhaps I could learn to make them, we shall see.
Beauty and the Beast Inspired Outfit
I ordered two new Eshakti dresses. When I received the first one, my reaction was, “It is like a Cinderella dress!” My sister replied, “Or like Belle if you add white.” So I decided that I would put a white blouse underneath. I fixed my hair a bit like hers; I was too impatient and too uncertain of the style’s flattering me to do more like hers. I did not have a blue ribbon for my hair, and my shoes were not black/brown, but I was certainly close enough. One of my coworkers said I looked like Belle; yes, that was intentional.This dress has so many possibilities. I have short sleeved white top I could also wear under it. I have cardigans and shrugs I could wear over it. I could try other colors of blouses. I could wear scarves, belts, etc. with it.
I have been purging and organizing my room (we have the purging bug in our whole family; I do not if we have each ever got rid of so much each and certainly not so much combined), and I do have a few semi-nice pieces of art (I am super lazy with art; I can draw quite well when I try). I kept out this piece because I particularly liked it, and when I put together this outfit, I thought the drawing would go quite well with the outfit in a post.
Yeah, I got tired of fiddling with my camera, so you are stuck with an iPhone photo for the rose. Off to continue watching Beauty and the Beast on YouTube and order Beauty by Robin McKinley from the library!
Another Fashion Post: Epic Boot Buy
I am Summer in colors, and apparently also in style. I struggle with my winter style. I know what I want, but it is much more expensive and/or time consuming (since I need to sew and knit some items).
I have been a little bit better than last year um maybe? sometimes? but my style really still needs work. I look too librarian/schoolmarmish sometimes and too school girlish other times. The first style is fine for some people . . . above age 30 . . . and the latter for some below age 20. I am not satisfied for either look for me. I like elegant.
Anyway. I am really, really, REALLY picky about boots. I remember reading What I Wore about the concept of cost per wear. And I wanted real leather boots. I really want grey boots, but I can use brown too. I am picky about style too. I want round toe and do not like the noticeable rubber soles. I want heels both because my legs are short and need lengthening and because heels make the shoes (and outfit) more elegant. But I do not like short shafts which seem to be the fashionable length for boots with heels. Anyway.
I was searching ebay for boots. And found these. Perfectly my style. What a deal even with the shipping. I ordered them as fast as I could. I did not say anything to anyone fearing skepticism because of ebay. But I just got them today, and they are what the listing promised.
They have some wear, particularly on the heels. But I am not exactly gentle on shoes (I have some waiting for new heel taps), so if I had bought brand new shoes, they likely would not have looked that way long. They are snug in foot and calf width, but I need to lose weight, so for the calves that is fine. For the feet I can suffer if need be. These boots are quite beautiful.
A Fashion Post
We have had some yearly shopping trips for the ladies of Mom’s big Southern family and after the last one my mom’s aunt (who is actually around Mom’s age) told us about an AWESOME style site: http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/
I love the original Color Me Beautiful and the original make-up book. That first book and TLC’s What Not to Wear first helped me understand style (note, I said understand; sometimes I almost have it, occasionally I will have everything together, and frequently something is wrong, and sometimes I am still in awkward style-less home-schooler land :P). Other sources such as Pinterest, fashion blogs and Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad helped me as well.
I still love all of these sources of course, but Inside Out Style Blog compiles and expands on everything. More body shapes are given (much more realistic than grouping everyone into four or five categories), and I think the stylist herself considers herself a mix of two. I also really appreciate the extra help for certain body areas, for example what to do for disproportionately long or short legs.
She has hairstyles for face shapes. Which I recently used to help me decide to get fairly heavy bangs, and chop off another eight-ish inches from my hair (I chopped eight off from my almost waist-length hair in May). Earrings style for face shapes. Accessory guides (I have a long waist, so to break it up I should wear wide belts in a contrasting or noticeable color).
She also has color guides, but besides finding your color she assists in putting them together. I LOVED this. Contrasting or monochromatic or triadic (I do not know exactly what the term used is). Making sure the colors match in intensity (something I did not think about, “Oh, now I know why certain outfits do not work).
I received one Thred Up order (during a major sale) and then promptly ordered another batch of clothes. I also picked up some $1 things at Clothes Mentor a couple weeks ago, most of which need to be altered or used as fabric. I also ordered three of these sweaters from Chadwicks (the square neck is a good style for my sloping shoulders); I now have five and if they continue to put out new colors I will buy more as I find more colors that suit me. My fall/winter style is already much better than last year, but the shoe and scarf category is still majorly lacking, and I need a grey coat. I think I may make some scarves from some of my thrifted items.
To top off this fashion post; I just got my second job, a job at one of our local Clothes Mentor stores!
Button Down Challenge Day 3I was reading the post of one of the other ladies participating in the challenge, and she mentioned calling the tops button-ups. I thought, “Oh, I have been titling all my posts that; is the challenge really button-down?Yikes!” Then I looked at my posts; I had typed button-downs for both even though I usually call them button-ups too, I think.I usually wear my tops tucked in (even sweaters often), but I thought leaving the blouse out and belting it would work better both because it is new to me and because the bunching if I tucked it in would bother me today. Oh, and I made the skirt a couple years ago. It is about 3 times my waist and knife-pleated and then attached to a very poorly made waistband (I wear belts over it at least sometimes). I like all the colors I can pick up from the pattern, and the skirt also goes with other colors not in the pattern.
I decided that this is my Beauty and the Beast necklace! I got it at a antique/thrift modge podge sort of store for $1 (!!!)No more alterations for this outfit, but I finished altering two of my hand-me-down skirts for my sister, sewed on a new skirt for myself, and worked a bit on another alteration for myself.I finished Under the Lilacs. I forgot to mention a couple other random thoughts on Wednesday. The Dickens allusion that I recognized on like page 4 made me quite happy. Yay! “I get that reference!” I thought the name “Thorny” semi-interesting . . . and then after I few pages I read his full time of “Thornton.” Yes, I love it! Oh, and then later on in the story Miss Celia reads from Maria Edgeworth to the children. I love literary references in literature!
Button Down Challenge Day 2This is my favorite one of my three outfits (I had to plan them out to make sure I could do the challenge nicely or perhaps even at all). The dress (yes, I did another top-over-dress styling :P) I bought from a discount designer store for somewhere around $15 (I think), but the original price was probably $100-$200. The store carries discounted designer goods (including Prada, I call it the snobby store), and I bought this for 90% off, so yeah. I think the brand is Baraschi which I have never heard of before.So brand shoes from Kohls. I also have these in shimmery blue and silver (but the silver are a bit too small), and I want the green ones too (and I wish they had them in purple too); they are kind of like Easter egg shoes, or just plain Easter shoes, but I prefer the former description. Kohl’s had them on sale plus I had 30% off, so they cost about $12.60.On the same Kohl’s trip during which I bought the shoes, I bought mini Eiffel tower earrings ($5.60 with all the discounts), aren’t they darling?!Okay, the dress is my second alteration which I mentioned. I let down the hem and added a couple inches of silk to lengthen it a bit.BeforeAgain, I am not very good with taking photos of the whole process . . .Done. Nice hem crease 😛Um, the dress isn’t too tight or too short standing up, but it is both when I bend over and sit down. I guess I will have to bring an extra cardigan to church or wherever I am going to drape over my legs when sitting (I have done that a couple times before) . . . and never bend. I have nowhere to go today, so it is fine now.Do you like that detail in the corner there? I need to have a week long series entitled “The Hunger Games Hypocrite.”
I didn’t end up wearing this outfit for more than 3-4 hours, it is definitely a Sunday outfit since it is so uncomfortable, and the shoes probably didn’t lasts a few minutes as I was running so late I didn’t go to school since I only had one class and 2/3 of my time is driving and walking.
Button Down Challenge Day 1I wore my button down (the brand is The Limited, and I either bought it from Goodwill or thrifted it) over a dress bought from Dress Barn. I don’t find the oxford style of collar flattering, so I altered the blouse.I am not very good about taking a photo before I start taking apart stuff, so I just have one before I cut out the neckline but without the collar.I used that cake stand to cut out the neckline.
No, it is not very neatly done on the inside, but perhaps with practice I will get to the point when I sew the inside nicely too. I do need to put a clear snap on the top, and fix the sleeves. I took out the pleats at the shoulder seams and did gathers in the hope that the sleeves wouldn’t be as full, but they look worse. I am not going to touch this until after the challenge though, so I will not get frustrated in the attempt and be unable to complete the challenge.
Please forgive the pathetic quality photos; photography is another skill I have yet to learn.
Random, Button Down Top Challenge
I am reading Under the Lilacs. What homespun, home grown strawberry sweetness. I loved the part about the imperturbable one; it reminded me of Demi in his marplot (what a delightful word) stage. I decided I want a “Demi” (maybe I could make it short for Daniel?), yes I know my son would want to kill me for it later. I also want a “Tommy” since they seem so scrumptiously mischievous.
I want to participate in the Button Down Top Challenge. Button downs that are silk and preferably ruffly I wear on Sunday’s, but I don’t like regular ones much. I have bought some from thrift stores to alter, so if I finish two alteration projects today I can participate 😛
Hours later: I finished the top enough to wear, and I can do the other alteration project tomorrow or Friday. Now I have to be able to take photos.