Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stylish Surprise #4: The Work Appropriate Shift

Here we have my last Stylish Surprise from this round of Stylish Surprises!  It is by far the most flattering of the bunch with an amazing fit.  It is yet another shift, but the darts in the front of the dress help to define my waist and make the shape of my body stand out in a lovely way.  It also has a hidden side zipper so that the dress can have an even more contoured shape without being fussy in any way.  The engineering behind this simple shift is basically perfect.  It doesn't pucker around my breasts or strain to contain my hips.  It doesn’t become too short when I sit down.  It doesn't hug my tummy or call for restrictive undies to help the dress keep its shape.  It has a soft lining that keeps the intricate lace detailing from becoming itchy against my skin.  It is simply lovely, yet also conservative enough to wear to work.  

Even though this dress isn't 100% me and I might not have picked it out on my own, my guess is that I will wear this dress like crazy.  It is just too comfy not to grab a few times a month.   That is the fun part of the Stylish Surprise.  It challenges me to try new things and not just stick with my usual color scheme and silhouette.  Admittedly, I have gotten items in the past that were so far out of my comfort zone or just plain did not fit that I didn't end up wearing or keeping.  That’s okay.  To me, it was worth the rush of opening that box of surprises and figuring out whether or not I could pull them off.  I like to challenge myself with styling, and I like to figure out how to make something that isn't in my comfort zone look totally purposeful.  I have always enjoyed making clothes my own and trying new things.  The Stylish Surprise is perfect for that.  I really cannot wait for the next round!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stylish Surprise #3- Slouchy Sweater

As usual I've been sewing and sewing, but somehow not remembering to get photos of the finished products.  Hopefully I will get a few shots this weekend to share with you next week.  It's really sad, but I make an average of six items a month, and am on top of my game if I post one.  Sigh.  I promise to get better at this. 
In the meantime, here we have Stylish Surprise #3- the slouchy sweater.  I have already worn this sweater several different ways, and in fact, I am wearing it right now.  I absolutely love it.  It is like a wearable blanket.  I have a feeling I will be over-wearing it in the future, but that is a risk I am willing to take. 
This is how I styled it last week.  I wore it with a knit hat (forever 21), a green blouse that I got for $5 years ago from The Limited, Anthropologie cords, and nude heals.  It is warming up here, but I still need a little cardi when I leave the house.  This sweater does the trick quite nicely! 

I wear this hat a bit too often.  I need to find a few more just like it but in different colors.  Really, I'm sure a quick trip to Forever 21 would prove fruitful. 

Only one Stylish Surprise left to share!  I haven't been as motivated to dress up lately, and that is a shame.  I haven't been feeling great, which tends to lead to me not feeling up to bothering.  The silly part is, dressing up would probably cheer me up!  Another thing I vow to get better at.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stylish Surprise #2- Red Lace Shift

Here is my second Stylish Surprise from this round.  This dress is absolutely beautiful, and I am so glad it found it's way to me.  I can imagine that this dress wouldn't be everyone style, so I am extra glad that I got it as it would have been wasted on a less adventurous girl.

In person, this color is a little orange/ red.  It's pretty crazy how much red I own actually.  After green and mint, I'd say it is my go-to color.  This dress is just a tiny bit short when I sit down, but my body does tend to make that happen.  Girls with booties and hips, you know what I am talking about.  It also came with this little cream velvet ribbon as a belt.  I wore it with born saddles (to show off my birthday pedicure) and a necklace my sister made back in college.  Super cute right?

I wore this to work, which may have been sort of a mistake since it is a little short.  You live, you learn.  From now on, it will become strictly a date dress since my husband went crazy for it.  I think it may be his new favorite dress on me!  Again, my Stylish Surprise fairy is encouraging me to show off my curves a bit more.  This is also Jer's favorite way for me to wear my hair.  If only we had had money for a date night after work!  Oh well, such is life. 

I have two more stylish surprises to share before this saga is through.  I am so addicted, I can't wait until they have the sale again!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Stylish Surprise #1- Mint and Navy Shift

You may know of my deep and undying love for Modcloth. What could be better than a whole site devoted to modern interpretations of retro clothes? The fact that they have great customers service, offer a wide range of sizes, and allow and encourage customer feedback making the buying process that much more lovely only intensify my love. 

A few times a year, Modcloth gets extra crazy awesome and has a really amazing sale.  During these sales, I have purchased dresses for as low as 13 dollars.  But the most wonderful thing that ever happens on Modcloth is their "Stylish Surprise".  What is a Stylish Surprise?  You may ask.  Put simply, it is a grab bag for grown-ups.  You send Modcloth $15, and they send you a piece of clothing of their choosing, no returns or refunds.  This year, the grab bag was actually lowered to $10, although I can't imagine why they lowered the price.  The Stylish Surprises are gone within two days, every single time. 

I have participated in this sale four times.  The first time I got a pink shirt that was too small and a blue dress that was too big.  Such is the nature of a grab bag.  The second time, I got a beautiful polka dot dress that was just slightly too big, some green shoes that weren't quite me, and a statement necklace (for only $5) that I wear all of the time.  The third time I got one white dress that was not quite my style, a pair of flip-flops, some crazy gold heals (which I will wear someday when I figure out how), and another white dress/ top that is now a wardrobe staple. 

This time however takes the cake.  I decided to get five items, and they actually arrived on my birthday! I got four dresses and one really great sweater.  One of the dresses isn't quite me but is very beautiful and will go to a good home.  The other three dresses are items I wouldn't have necessarily picked out for myself, but actually fit really nicely and look great on me.

Without further adieu, here we have Stylish Surprise #1.  It is a mint and navy shift, with tiny heart cut outs in the fabric.  I never would have picked this out on my own, but it is crazy how perfectly this dress actually fits my style.  I wore it on a birthday date night with my husband, and he loved it!

On my own, I do not choose great date dresses.  I tend to go for full skirts, long pencil skirts, or dresses that are slightly larger on me when I buy or make clothes.  But Jer prefers me in dresses that show off my shape an hug my curves.  All of the dresses that I got through this Stylish Surprise challenge my usual uniform without being out of my comfort zone.  Lucky or what? 

Sounds pretty great right?  Here is the catch about the Stylish Surprise.  Don't bother if you don't have a pretty wide comfort zone.  Although people go crazy for this sale, I see a lot of people posting about their disappointment that they didn't get something they liked on Modcloth's Facebook page.  Truthfully, the belly aching makes me a little squeamish.  What did you expect from a grab bag?  It's a gamble.  If you don't like what you got, you can try to trade it (there is a Stylish Surprise swap after each sale) sell it, or give it away.  But don't whine about it.  Especially when you only paid 10 bucks an item this time!  Personally this sale is tailor made for me since I am pretty adventurous style wise. But if you are pretty rigid in what you like, I would say skip it.  Please.  The more for me! 

Okay, rant over.  I also wanted to show of my new birthday earrings that my friend Stevie gave me, and my new birthday headband I got from my friend Jessica.  I'm getting a little better at accessorizing, right?  I'm trying.  :)

I'll have more Stylish Surprise reveals to come in the next few days.  How do you challenge yourself style wise?  Have you ever been proven wrong about a shape that you didn't think worked for you? 

Flowers for Spring- Birthday Tea!

Wow, what a great birthday weekend I had!  First I celebrated with my lovely sister and step-mom at the St. James Tea Room, then we got pedicures.   After that, I had a movie night with friends that was super fun and reminding me yet again what awesome people I have in my life.  It couldn't have been a better day. 
Here are some photos from my tea date with my family.  My sis was wearing an Emily and Fin Dress from Modcloth. 

Aren't my step-mom and sister cute?  My Step-mom looks so great in this cobalt blue! 

Here I am making a pretty goofy face, which is my natural state. 
I wore a made-by-me tea dress, my green Antropologie cardigan that I got from my step-mom for Christmas, and jewelry that my sister had given me for Christmas.  Do they know me, or what?  :)
And here are the details of my dress if you are interested: I will be making one custom dress of this style for my upcoming Etsy site, but I am keeping this one.  It's pretty simple, but the bright orange chiffon flowers add a little touch of whimsy that I love.  Perfect for spring tea parties, right? 

I hope everyone is well today.  I am feeling great after having such a lovely and relaxing weekend.  The second part of my birthday adventures was a lovely date with my hubby on Sunday.  More on that this afternoon.  Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Etsy Preview- The Modern Retro Cocktail Dress

Welcome to a very special edition of Not Your Average Average where I discuss this lovely little number that will soon be available in custom sizes on Etsy.  Isn't it great?  A friend of mine called it "Mad Men meets Jane Jetson", and I am totally cool with that!  I love this little dress I made so much, and it is my own design! I AM AWESOME.

I styled this dress with this great Modcloth belt, faux snakeskin heals and a hunter green cardigan (not pictured).  If I had had someplace glamorous to go, that would have been even better, but truthfully, I was just on my way to work.  

Here are some photos without the belt so you can see the dress on it's own. 

Also, new glasses!  Yay!

So there you have it!  More handmade dresses to come soon.  :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Outfit Post- 1940's Modern

Soooo...while I had cherry red hair for all of five minutes this month (more on that to come), I wore this great rayon dress from Modcloth.

While cotton is my favorite fabric to wear and sew with thanks to its strength, breathable, ability to create a structured shape on the body, and over-all look, rayon has it's strong points too!

For example, rayon holds it's shape very well with minimal stretching, has a lovely soft drape, and the fabric colors do not fade badly over time.  It also mimics silk nicely, but is far easier to clean. 

This rayon dress in particular is quite lovely with it's strong shoulders and nipped-in waist.  The cross-over top is the most flattering shape for me, and I have been sewing a lot of dresses lately that have a similar look.  I also really like the short, kimono style sleeves.  And of course, hello pockets!  This dress looks perfectly modern, but there is definitely a 1940's vibe there as well.  You know I love that.  :)

Even though I try to make most of my clothes these days, or buy vintage when I find something too good to pass up, there is still an appeal to wearing ready made pieces like this.  There is also an appeal to owning pieces that inspire me and help me further developed my personal style without getting stagnant. 

Hair clip, Anthropologie. 
Tomorrow is my birthday, and I will be unveiling my newest me-made creation.  Get ready because I am very excited about this one.  Happy Friday everyone!