Outfit: Dancing Days

wpid-2015-03-21-10.45.02-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.36.29-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.51.12-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.49.32-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.37.54-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.38.20-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.46.58-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.39.07-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.45.58-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.42.13-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.32.12-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.41.17-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-21-10.40.06-1.jpg.jpegFriends, this is my greatest shoot to date.  Maybe this one comes close, but no cigar.

Moxie woke me up a little early (read: howled at me until I got up and fed her…at 6 a.m.), so I had a few hours in the morning before I went out to meet a friend in the city for some pho.  I’d been waiting months to put this dress back on.  That long, sweeping skirt will only work when the ground is nice and dry, so it had been on hiatus in my closet, feeling very sad and left out.  UNTIL TODAY.

Can you see why I love it??  I remember trying it on in the Anthropologie dressing room, wondering if I had the nerve to buy it.  Those stripes and the cut are so dramatic, especially for a smaller frame like mine, but that’s what makes itNot to mention how very drawn I am to its vaguely regency-era feel.  A little bow (a nod to the legendary Rebecca), a sweet clutch, and just a peek of jade under the hem are all this look really needs for polish.  I look damn fierce in that last picture.  Tyra would be proud.

I was at the mill again for this shoot, this time at the Italian-inspired Graue family home.  As I posed on the wraparound porch, a custodian came out to ask what I was doing, and after I explained I was taking pictures for my blog, he made some helpful suggestions for more locations with houses like this one.  I’m excited to try them out!  Part of the fun of this blog is getting to discover new places.

Where’s your favorite place to shoot?

Necklace: gift from my brother and sister-in-law

Dress: old, Anthropologie

Shoes: old, Seychelles

Clutch: ModCloth

On Personal Style

I just read an article in Lucky about writer Laura Morgan’s style evolution.  After a collared-and-Mary-Janed childhood in the ’70s, she quickly determined that her young adult years were going to be styled straight out of a hair metal video.  For her, music and fashion went hand-in-hand, so when her tastes changed from Poison to Belle & Sebastian, so did her duds.  She embraced the Sweet Nation and never looked back.

It made me reflect on the many changes my looks have undergone over the last couple of decades, which have been just as drastic.  Let me take you back to the mid-90s: picture an even smaller version of me (with the same hairstyle!) running around in nothing but legions of leggings, which were called “stretch pants” in my day.  The only time I got out of them was to snap on my overalls or don the many items in my Pocahontas capsule wardrobe.

When the millennium hit us, my eyes were opened to the wonders of Limited Too–everything was pink, metallic, glittery, and wonderful.  My parents couldn’t afford the LT lifestyle, but I made do with the gift certificates I got each year for my birthday and Christmas.  That is, of course, until the goth phase set in.

It all started in the fifth grade, when one of my classmates noticed that I wore a lot of black, on Thursdays in particular.  These “Black Thursdays” were completely unintentional, but once the fact was pointed out to me, I realized I kinda liked that Wednesday Addams look.

The next few years were confused ones.  I embraced all the black, chains, zippers, and corset ties that the goth look demanded, but I was falling madly in love with Jack White.  As a tribute to the White Stripes, I added red and white into my mix.  From seventh grade through freshman year, I only wore red, white, and black.  That’s how people recognized me.  It was singularly my style.

Once my devotion to the White Stripes started to wane, I was in want of something else to wear.  My goth phase had introduced me to steampunk, and so I began to dress with Victorian-inspired clothes.  Not all the time, but it did reach a point where I wore a hoopskirt to class on special occasions.

And then, all of a sudden, I realized how ridiculous I was.  After that, I started dying my hair blonde and wearing jeans.  I wanted to look normal, to look the way pretty girls did.  This feeling led to a long transition period that lasted all through college.  I looked okay, but I wasn’t quite me yet.  I was working on it.

It’s only in the last couple of years that I really feel as though I dress exactly in the way that feels right to me.  I like to think that my style is more or less classic, with touches of vintage here and there.  I love carefully chosen colors and prints, defined waists, and very delicate jewelry.  My closet is bursting with A-line dresses and my drawers are stuffed with dark skinny jeans, not to mention the cardigan collection that rivals Mr. Rogers.  And as I reflect on that, I know now that I wasn’t silly for going so deep into the goth or steampunk phases–I was being unabashedly myself, which was very brave for a middle/high schooler.  Those eras have inspired the person I am today.

What has your style evolution been like?

Outfit: On Top of the World

wpid-2015-03-20-07.07.47-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-20-07.13.24-2.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-20-07.06.23-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-20-07.13.00-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-20-07.12.09-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-20-07.14.09-1.jpg.jpegNormally, I like to plan out times and locations for shooting my outfit photos, but sometimes, you just gotta wing it.  When I put on this particular ensemble, everything seemed to sing together, so I had to make time for a few pictures.  No easy task, because as soon as I was off of work, I had to pick up the dog from daycare, drop off my rental car, wait for my dad to pick me up and drive me to the repair shop, jump through some hoops to get my car back, and drive across town to my house where I could grab a cute bag and my tripod and book it over to the park down the street just as the sun started to set.

Worth it.

It’s an unusual outfit for me–I normally dislike this top, but something about it being tucked into this particular skirt makes it work.  It makes me feel chic, especially with my favorite choker just peeking out under the collar.  And that’s not to make the other little details any less significant; the embroidery on that skirt is to die for, and those booties have the most engaging, rich shade of wine, don’t you think?

In fact, the whole thing felt good enough to wear to an artist talk at the local art museum, which I attended during my lunch hour.  The exhibition currently on display features the work of Nigerian American artist Nnenna Okore, who creates these beautiful, massive sculptures out of found materials–the ones we saw were made of meticulously twisted newspapers or frayed, wired, and painted burlap sacks.  They represent interconnectedness, the networks of life.  Here’s an example of one of her burlap pieces:

nnenna okoreI think maybe I’ll do a “Pretty Please” post on these guys…

Headband: old, Forever 21

Jacket: old, ModCloth

Necklace: old, ModCloth

Shirt: old, Gap

Skirt: thrifted

Tights: old, Urban Outfitters

Booties: old, Seychelles

Bag: old, Melie Bianco

Outfit: Missing (You Like) Candy

wpid-2015-03-14-01.06.20-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-01.04.53-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.29.25-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-01.09.21-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.29.04-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.23.22-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.28.44-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.25.03-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.28.16-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-14-02.27.17-1.jpg.jpegLet me tell you about what I do each year for St. Patrick’s Day:

On the weekend before the holiday, I go with my parents on a trip to the cozy village of Long Grove.  All of the old Victorian homes on a few streets have been converted into little shops bursting with knickknacks.  Do I ever buy anything?  Nope.  But I love the atmosphere and the architecture, which is why I come back every year.  Well, that and all the candy stores they’ve got up there.

But why St. Patrick’s Day?  You can’t have a town that’s known for its trinkets and collectibles without at least one Irish imports boutique.  Needless to say, Long Grove has TWO.  Around this time of year, there are always Irish dancers high-kicking in the courtyards, and there’s usually a nice haul of British chocolate.  In case you haven’t picked up on this already, I love candy and chocolate, so this is significant.

Anyway, on to the outfit:

I wanted to pull off a tasteful St. Paddy’s day outfit, and I think I did a nice job.  Nothing too crazy–no green freckles or wigs or tube socks. Do you recognize that studded collar yet?  I want to wear that with everything.  It’s especially effective here in toughening up that Mr. Rogers cardigan I’ve got on.

I’m mad for Melie Bianco bags right now–I have another one in mint that I’ve already featured.  That sweet little lock and key is a perfect touch for something so structured and polished.

Jacket: ModCloth

Sleeveless top: old, Urban Outfitters

Cardigan: thrifted

Jeans: Kensie

Shoes: Urban Outfitters

Bag: ModCloth

Outfit: Sugar on my Tongue

wpid-2015-03-13-06.12.12-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-13-06.15.50-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-13-06.04.24-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-13-06.10.32-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-13-06.06.54-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-13-06.08.26-1.jpg.jpegEver cop a cheap little dress from Forever 21 and find that it lasts you 3+ years?  That’s the case here.  I’m in love with this darling number, as much–if not more!–as when I first purchased it many moons ago.  What a color!  What a pattern!  I don’t care if it looks like an Arizona iced tea can, dammit, I am head over heels.

And speaking of being over heels, I can’t stop wearing these flats.  It seems as though every skirt, dress, and top in my closet is best friends with these guys.

Clutch: ModCloth

Headband: old, Forever 21

Cardigan: thrifted

Dress: old, Forever 21

Shoes: ModCloth

Outfit: Walking Around the World

wpid-2015-03-09-05.46.51-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-09-05.41.50-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-09-05.47.47-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-09-05.46.16-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-09-05.45.44-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-03-09-05.49.08-1.jpg.jpegIt’s not really warm enough to bare my shoulders just yet, but I couldn’t resist slipping into this dress for a quick couple of pictures.  The sun felt amazing on my face, and a day like this calls for some bright and happy colors. This particular dress is significant to me because of what it reveals.  Since I was a teenager, I’ve had really bad acne, and it’s been a slow process trying to get rid of it.  At 25, it’s finally starting to go away, in some measure due to great moisturizer, but mostly thanks to my birth control pills.  My back is scarred to the point where it will never be smooth, but at least I now feel all right enough to put up my hair and wear a dress like this.  In keeping with this year’s theme, I’m all about taking control and owning up to who I am and what I look like, and this dress is a great example of that.

Headband: old, Forever 21

Necklace: old, ModCloth

Dress: Stitch Fix

Shoes: old, ModCloth

Clutch: ModCloth

Pretty Please: Loquet London

loquet londonRight now, I am devastatingly obsessed with these gorgeous lockets by Loquet London.  Each one is customizable–these gold-and-crystal beauties can be filled with any charm your heart desires.  loquet london 2

loquet london 3

They’re so simple, but they’re exquisitely elegant.  If I had one of these, I am certain I’d wear it all the time.  The only question is: what would I get?  (Okay, money is also part of the question, but let’s pretend I can drop $2000.)

Part of me would love a Zelda-inspired pendant, with emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.  On the other hand, I do fall for anything dog-related, so maybe a paw print?  Not that I don’t already have one tattooed to my thigh or anything…

In any case, I’m certain that if I had one, I’d definitely be jonesing for another, and another, and another.