Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Anthropologie and Me

I’ll admit it. I love Anthropologie. Yes, it is a crazy expensive place to shop, but if you only need a few pieces to fill in your already pretty full wardrobe, you can count on Anthropologie clothing to be exceptional quality that will last a good long time eliminating the need to replace your clothes year after year. The little details, like clasps inside the dresses to keep your bra straps for showing, make each piece a work of art.

Really, I can’t justify buying clothes at Anthro most of the time, even when it is on sale. Before this Christmas, I could literally count the number of Anthroplogie pieces that I owned on one hand (not counting headbands and barrettes of course!). But thanks to some awesome Christmas presents and some Christmas cash from my grandparents, my collection is growing piece by piece. On Monday I wore a mustard sweater with over sized pockets, ($38 dollars on sale) navy wrap top (a hand me down from a friend) and burgundy cords (around $35 dollars on sale form $115) all from Anthropologie. I pared this outfit with some navy heals form a Nordstrom’s Rack sale years ago, and a beaded necklace also from Nordstrom’s Rack. Yes, I am a fancy, fancy lady.

Although I can’t shop there all of the time, I often enjoy going into the well-lit, lovely store simply for inspiration. For someone who sews, looking at lovely, well designed clothes up close can really get the juices flowing. I love when I create a piece and think, “this looks like it came from Anthropologie.” I never copy anything directly, but a lot of the dresses are made in simple shapes I already have patterns to match.

Lately, I have been sewing a lot of lovely pieces that fall into this category. I have been focusing on using beautiful materials and working hard to create well-made pieces that will last for a good long time. Part of that effort includes taking good care of your clothes, meaning not washing them too often, hanging them or folding them to store depending on the material, hanging clothes to dry rather than putting them through the dryer, and carefully following the care instructions. If you are someone who invests in beautiful pieces, it is worth taking the time to care for them properly. There is no point in buying clothes at any price range, or spending money and time to make items, if you are not going to take care of them.

Lastly, look how long my hair is going into the new year!!!  This is crazy long for me.  I can't wait to try out a million hairstyles this year that I haven't been able to do since my early 20's.

Happy new year everyone!  I hope it is a beautiful one.  :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fall Color Blocking

 As I have mentioned before, fall fashion is my favorite!  Truth be told, I’ve never been the best at layering, but cardigans are an easy fix for the layering-challenged. 

This is a pretty typical fall look for me.  My fall dress code =dress, cardi, leggings and boots.  Voila, totally cute.  I might add a scarf or a belt if I am being really creative.
My typical fall hair, when my hair is mid length, is pigtails, simply because I can style my hair while it is still wet.  I used to think that mid length hair was so boring, but lately I have been able to be totally creative with it!  It is practically a new style every day!

So, here I am color-blocking like a boss.  This dress is pretty awesome, and you can find it here on Modcloth.  I've had this dress for a couple years now, and I would love to have it in another color someday.  The cardi was a hand me down, and the boots I have had for years.

I hope everyone is well  and that you are having fun getting ready for the holidays.  I know I am!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pencil skirt remix!

 Remember this skirt I made around my birthday?  In case you don't, you can see the post here.  Well, it's taken me a while to wear it again, but today just felt right.  This time I wore it with a Limited top and Urban Outfitters shoes.  While we are looking back, look how much my hair has grown since the last time I wore it!  Yay!  It's about time I gave it a little trim and cleaned up the ends, but I hate to cut off any of the length.

Anyway, I'll have plenty of new stuff to show you soon.  I've been sewing a lot, but not finding the time to post.  Soon, I swear!  Welcome to a new week!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Outfit Post: Fan-tastic!

Top, Modcloth.  Pants, GAP.  Tank, Target.  Boots, ?
Just a quick outfit post for today.  I don't know why, but picking out a simple outfit like this can sometimes take me a lot longer than picking out a more elaborate one.  It certainly did this morning!  The highlight of the outfit was this soft fan covered cotton top from Modcloth.  The GAP jeans are an old favorite, and the biker boots just felt right with the super strait hair.

While we are on the topic of my hair, look how long it is!  I cut it all off to get the blond out just about one year ago, and immediately started growing it out.  And look! It's finally almost to my shoulders.  When I first cut it, my bangs were only about an inch long in some places, and now they almost blend in with the rest of my hair.  I get the itch to cut them all of the time, but I am staying strong!

I hope everyone had a good Monday!  I'll have some new sewing projects to share soon.  :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Outfit Post

I've been thinking that every Monday should be an outfit post day.  Why?  Because that is the day I ride into work with my husband, and therefore have a captive photographer! 
Today I wore this lovely blue and white (china pattern colors) dress that I have had for at least seven years.  I  got it in Old Town here in Albuquerque at a little boutique on the plaza.  Today I paired it with Soft brand boots (hand-me-down from a friend), grey Anthropologie fleece lined leggings, a necklace from Forever 21, earrings from my hubby, and a bracelet that was given to me by a friend.   I certainly get a lot of lovely gifts in my life!
This outfit reminds me that it is so important to take good care of your clothes.  I had a friend who once said, “'dry clean only' means: 'this item is never getting washed',” which was funny and so true!  I do make sure to re-were my dry clean only clothes (like this dress) at least twice before taking them in, which incidentally, also helps to extend the life of a garment.
Hint: If you have worn an item once and don’t want to forget, hang it up so that the hanger is facing the opposite way of your other hangers so that you will know to wash it the next time you wear it. 
Over washing your clothes, even hand washing and dry-cleaning too often, is very hard on them.  Unless you get sweaty or dirty during the day, you should always try to get an extra day out of an item.  With jeans you can go longer, although if they get stretched out by the end of the day, you might need to wash them right away to get the close fit back. 
Also, I really like my makeup this way.  A strong lip with no eye makeup looks so lovely and easygoing to me.  I know I look a bit prettier with a full face of makeup, but I always feel cooler when I use makeup sparingly.  Also, I got ready for work in like 20 minutes including shower, so I got to sleep in later.  I love being able to set up my life so that I can appear low maintenance to myself in the morning. 
As always, I’m here to teach you how to be lazier and dirtier.  You are welcome. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fashion Inspiration: Maison Ikkoku

Personal style is not something you are born with. It is something that grows and changes.  It develops over time.  Sometimes inspiration comes from some interesting places.

My personal style today is more heavily influenced by the past than by modern trends, specifically the 1930 through 1950’s; but American vintage isn't the only source of inspiration for me.

From Korean television shows to Barbie dolls, what inspires me most is pretty eclectic. But I think one thing has influenced my style over time more than almost anything else, and it comes from a very unlikely source.  Comic books.  But of course!

Comic books and graphic novels have influenced me in important ways throughout my life.  I even count comic books as the major source of my own personal morality code. Comic books can be about so much more than punching and fighting.  They are often about tolerance (X-Men), justice (Batman) or always doing what is right (Superman).  They can teach that being different often means being extraordinary and that if you are strong, it is your responsibility to look out for the weak.  I would say that comic books are almost a religion for me.

But I was writing about personal style right?  And as much as I love super heroes, spandex is not for me. That's where a not-so-well-known manga series comes in.

Maison Ikkoku is a wonderful romance comic series written and penned by Rumiko Takahashi.  I was already a fan of Takahashi’s work for many years when I found this wonderful series about a broken down apartment building full of crazy characters.  The series takes place in 1980’s Tokyo and centers around a young man who is in love with his apartment manager Kyoko.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for story development purposes) Kyoko has a tragic past she needs to get over before she can let someone new into her heart. It is a wonderful love story, where the main characters learn and grow throughout the series, and it is one of my favorite things on the planet.

But, beyond the wonderful stories, these books are full of the most adorable clothes in the world! Kyoko’s whole wardrobe is a darling mix of sexy, cute, and super 80’s (but somehow in the best way possible) fashions. In essence, she has my dream wardrobe.

Silly as it sounds, Kyoko's style has not only influenced my personal style, but also my sewing. I love her big collars, wonderful prints, and blousy shapes, and now that I can sew, I can make versions of them for myself!  Yay!

It may sound silly to say a 1980’s comic series inspires my style, but truth is truth. It really did, and still does.
What, or who, has influenced your personal style?  Can't you totally see my style in these adorable illustrations?  :)

Full skirt,with a peter pan collar on a shirt with a strong print.  

Silky looking puff sleeved boat neck black dress.  

Beautiful cocoon coat.
Lovely cheongsam dress dress.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Non-Boring Neutrals

Whenever I hear someone say, “oh, that color doesn't look good on me,” my mind is boggled. I love yellow, mustard, pea green and pretty much all of the colors that my friends think make them look sickly. I confess, I felt so above it all, thinking to myself, “they must just be afraid of color” my nose metaphorically in the air. I thought I was immune to the clothes color prejudice. I would wear any color without even considering how it worked for my skin tone. But of course, whenever I feel high and mighty, reality rears its ugly head eventually. I finally realized that I too have colors I look like a re-animated dead body in. For me though, those colors happen to be what the rest of the world considers neutrals.

Yes, I love tan, brown and gray, and I wish they worked for me, but alas, they are not my friends. I love how other people can use neutrals as a base for their wardrobe, but when I wear them I end up looking like I am very worn out, or like I really should invest in a lot more make up.

The good news is that I can get away with some neutrals, as long as they are pretty dark. Navy and black are fine, even dark gray or brown. Oddly, white doesn't look great on me, but as long as I pair it with darker colors I can make it work, and sometimes I still wear tan despite the fact that it doesn't look very good on me, just because I like it. I live on the edge people!

On Monday, I played with neutrals for the office. The little splash of red really helps somehow! I like playing with color combinations that were forbidden when I was a teen growing up in the late 90's, like navy and black or brown and black. The rules are dead people! Live it up!
Shirt, hand-me-down (I cut the sleeves off). Skirt, Gap.  Leggings, Target.  The pin on shirt is a barrette from Forever 21.  Boots, ?.

Honestly though, my “neutrals” are teal, any green, and mustard. Hardly a day goes by when I am not wearing one of these colors. They work with pretty much everything I own.

Last week I wore this teal Anthropologie headband I thought about for months before buying before I realized that I needed to make the investment (and believe me, an Anthropologie headband IS an investment). It was a ridiculous purchase, but I know it is one that will get a ton of use. Teal goes with everything! Doesn't it? It does.
Headband, Anthropologie.  Shirt, Modcloth.  Earrings, gifted.  

Coat, gifted.  Scarf, Urban Outfitters.  

So, what are your un-boring “neutrals”? Do you have a signature color that you feel goes with everything?   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Summer So Long Oolong

Summer, I miss you already!  I love fall clothes, but I am going to miss the warm weather and the simple ease of summer dresses.
Take this lovely Oolong for example.  I made this dress for my trip to California last month, and I am just now making the time to blog about it.  I have actually already made a second, shorter version of this dress that will be a little more wearable into the fall since it is darker and works with leggings.  A post for another day!
This pattern was marked as “intermediate” based on the fact that it is cut on the bias to add ease. No zippers or closures required!  Cutting fabric on the bias can be a little tricky to master when you are first starting out, but really, this pattern was one of the easiest and most rewarding patterns I have ever tried.  In fact, this was one of the quickest dresses to make from start to finish, and it is still so completely lovely!  My favorite type of patterns are the ones you can cut out, sew and be done with in one day, and this simple summer frock fit the criteria, without ending up looking like a sack.  Success! 
I am forcing myself to try some other patterns for a while before going back in for a third Oolong, but it is difficult!  This dress was just so fun to make and wear.  I definitely recommend this pattern to anyone. Anyone I say!

Barrette, Anthropologie.  Purse, gift.  Dress by me!

My handsome hubby.  :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Live to Dye Another Day

So, I'm getting bored.  Yes, I am totally committed to growing my hair out, but not making any changes is making me feel pretty restless.  To understand my addiction to changing my hair, please understand that all of these photos were taken in the last five years, and this doesn't even cover half of the hair changes I have made in that time.  These are somewhat in order, but to be honest, when you change your hair this much, it is hard to remember exactly when you cut it, dyed it or changed up your bangs:

Personally I think everyone looks best with bangs (you just have to know which kind of bangs are right for you), but I have decided not to cut mine and keep growing them out (soooo hard!!!!), mostly because I have spent most of my life with bangs and not having them would be one of the biggest changes of all for me.  But not dying my hair has been a little more of a challenge.  A part of me wants to see how long I can go without adding color, but it is so so hard not to rely on a box of dye to fix a bad day.  I miss my monthly (practically) makeover!  

For now, I am staying strong, and keeping the chemicals off of my hair, but it really is a challenge not to do SOMETHING.  I'm hopping by the beginning of the year my hair will be long enough to try some new styles, and that will help curb my makeover addiction.  But seriously folks, this is like torture!  Any other haircut/ color addicts in the house?  How do you ward off temptation?  
 Me with my natural color; hair growing longer; staying strong.