Advice in Style: Mashups

Anyone else out there used to watch Glee?  Then you know what a great mashup is.  You take two things that are amazing and you put them together.  Two different things that seem like they may have nothing in common, and you combine them…often learning that there is more common ground between the two things than you think.  Style mashups happen ALL the time, but no one ever calls them that!  So I’m just slapping a Glee-friendly label on them and showing you a few.

1970’s meets western:

Preppy meets vintage rocker:

Asian inspired gown meets bicker chick:

Rockabilly chills with rock and roll:

You catch my drift?  So what makes for a great mashup?  In music it’s things like similar chording, a common theme between the lyrics, and the possibility for a compatible tempo.  But what about in style?  How do you make sure that the two worlds will live happily ever after instead of fighting for the center stage?

Here’s some helpful ideas for you.  None of them are RULES…because there’s LOTS of ways to make a great mashup!
1. Pick one dominant theme.  One way to do this is to pick one or two pieces that you want to be the focus.  Then fill in the blanks in between with simple things.  Like, choose crazy 1980’s sneakers and a preppy tweed blazer…and fill in the gaps with a white shirt and jeans.  That way your mashup has some neutral territory.
2. Separate the mashup with some space.  If you’re freaked by this idea, shoes and something on your top half (like a top or a jacket) is the easiest way to give it a go.  That way, there’s a little bit of territory between the two things you’re mixing.
3. Choose styles that “go with everything”.  Obviously, not everything, well, goes with everything, but let me explain.  Cowboy boots tend to be one of those things that are an easy style mix up piece.  They go with fancy edwardian dresses for some epic style confusion.  They work with a rocker tee and goth leather mini skirt.  They are usually a sure fire, go-to, mashup piece when you’re looking to add something.  Converse are also another great piece.  Plaid/tweed blazers, seventies scarves, and 1950’s brooches usually mix in well with other fashion statements too!
4. Just give it a try.  There are many times when you may think to yourself: “this is going to look terrible together!”  But then you try it on all together…and voila!  Magic happens!

I’m all about style mashups.  Partly because I can never make up my mind about what style I’m into at the moment.  Partly because I love to get creative and see what happens when fashions collide.  Partly because…it’s way fun!!!

I got this (most likely a costume) vintage dress at a thrift store and I decided to wear it open like a robe because it has the most amazing drape to it…and the sleeves!! OMG!  I was trying to figure out what to wear it with, and these over the knee western fringe boots just would NOT get out of my mind.  I really just loved the idea of these two major pieces hanging out together.  It just somehow…seems like they belong together!  I also added one of my favorite fringe pieces from my amazing friend Jessica (Hillbillygypsy Boots) to tie in with the fringe on the boots.

Go forth and mash it up!  Have some fun!  This is where you get to break all the rules :)
Katy

Advice in Style: I Secretly Love The 80s

My husband gets the Wall Street Journal (because he’s smart and we are old fashioned and love newspapers) and sometimes he hands over the style section to me and says: “here, read this.”  One morning, as usual, he handed over the only section of the paper I understand, let alone really can pay attention to longer than just the headline, and I was very instantly intrigued.  I read it, start to finish, and then had a…moment.  OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS.  I LOVE 80’s STYLE.  I need another minute to process.

Let’s back up.  I have always, ALWAYS been drawn to the 60’s and the 70’s.  The bright colors, the shift dresses, the bell bottoms…these have always been my favorites.  I also love the feminine style of the 50’s house dresses, the lingerie (I wear it as outerwear rather than underwear, but you get my drift), and the lovely ornate styles that preceded this era as well.  The 90’s had the awesome plaid flannels and the Doc Martens and Claire Danes in My So Called Life (never was allowed to watch the show, but I sure as heck memorized the photos I saw from it).  The early 2000’s had the Juicy tracksuits which I adore, and even the greatest hits that were really more like “misses…like the hideous stiletto construction boots that had a moment on JLo, give me a little chuckle and make me feel all warm and tingly inside.  But the 80’s?  As far as I’ve been concerned, that era can just go to heck.  I mean…I really honestly didn’t think I had ANY love lost on the whole decade.

Here’s the deal.  Up to this point, when you said “1980’s”, here’s what I saw.  Shoulder pads.  Giant fluffy side ponytails with scrunchies.  Ruffles, leggings shorts with lace on them in lime green with high top sneakers tied with three pairs of laces. I saw asymmetrical jewelry and bad bright blue eyeshadow in a fuzzy glamour shot taken at the mall.  None of these things hold any appeal to me.  At all.  And then, I took another look.

After reading this article, I realized something.  Eras are not defined by one style. Take the 1960’s for example.  The fashion that was taking place on the west coast was decidedly different from what was happening in New York.  Just like now (although I do feel that the style differences are much wider nowadays), not everyone chose to embrace every style.  That being said, I feel that I have falsely accused the 80’s of being one specific style that did happen during that time period.  And now, I have learned that I actually LOVE some of the 80’s styles!

In case you’re like me, here’s a few tips to NOT writing off an era completely like I did!  (Sorry Madonna).
1. Learn about the decade.  Sometimes in order to appreciate what was happening fashion-wise at a time in history, we need to understand what the culture was.  Was the economy good or bad?  They say hemlines coordinate with the economy, so this is something to pay attention to!  Was there a war going on?  What was happening in the lives of women at that time…were they at home primarily or were they making strides in the workplace?  Who were the “stars” (whether it’s celebrities or models or political figures) of that time period?  All these things give you a backdrop to help appreciate the styles that were popular.
2. Watch movies from or about that time period.  Watch what the different classes were wearing.  I learned a lot about the early 60’s while watching Mad Men.  You see that there were different styles happening in different places all at the same time!  You may think you don’t identify with the 60’s at all, but the hippie 60’s of the West Coast is much different than the 60’s of New York and the East Coast.  To be quite honest, watching The Goldbergs has given me a newfound love for the 80’s and it’s sometimes hideous fashions.
3. Look at the era preceding/following it.  This is what I think really got me hooked.  I realized in reading this article, that some of the stuff I have been identifying as 70’s fashion is ACTUALLY straight from the 80’s.  Like horse bit loafers or herringbone pants…these style are reminiscent of the 70’s, but weren’t “in” until the following decade.
4. Realize it’s okay to mix decades.  I often find an 80’s shirt at the thrift store (I always cut the shoulder pads out…that’s a giveaway for an 80’s piece!) and pair it with bell bottoms.  That way, I’m kind of manipulating how a piece looks and not, like, pairing it with L.A Gear sneakers.

Here’s my take on the 80’s.  I love the whole “80’s workwear” vibe the WSJ was talking about, so I took this oversized (shoulder pads removed) blouse and paired it with a tan pair of trousers.  The 80’s was all about excess, so I added a shiny scarf because this adds to the working girl vibe.  And the loafers, of course.

I think I’ve known for a while that I didn’t actually HATE the 80’s.  I just hadn’t admitted it to myself.  And admitting it is the first step :)

Grab your scissors and start removing shoulder pads.  It’s a fashion revolution!
Katy

On Being a Maximalist…And How To Do It!

Some people are what you call “minimalists”.  I am not one of those people.  I think a lot of you out there who love to shop and love clothing are probably not either…it’s kind of a hard thing to be a minimalist when you’re constantly finding gems at the thrift store and shopping all the amazing sales and bargains you can find.  And honestly, I find that this seems to produce a certain level of, shame, you could say amongst women.  I hear it constantly.  “Oh I have too many dresses…I shouldn’t be buying this…” you know what I’m talking about!  You and I have both said that kind of thing, probably more than we even realize!  So I have decided to come up with a new term for what I am (and you may be too!).  I am proudly, a MAXIMALIST.  Let me explain.

I like to MAXIMIZE my closet.  How many hangers can fit in it, how much weight the bars can hold, and defy the laws of gravity on how many shoes I can stack on top of each other.  I like to MAXIMIZE how many items of clothing and jewelry I wear on any given day, at the same time.  I am basically a walking clothing rack, with skirts, kimonos, layers upon layers of necklaces and rings…maximizing the amount of things I can wear.  You see what I’m getting at?  A minimalist may like to wear a simple pair of pearl stud earrings, jeans, a white tee, and flats.  A maximalist, while appreciating the beauty of the simplicity, would add about 16 more things to that outfit before being ready to walk out the door.

To clarify, being a maximalist (while perfectly acceptable) does not excuse hoarding.  I think what bugs me is when I hear myself apologizing for who I am…when I do shop a lot BUT I also get rid of clothes all the time.  I’m not hoarding my clothes.  Stuff comes in, and stuff goes out, like a constant flowing clothing river.  But this is my hobby!  It’s FUN!  Just as an artist probably has a ton of paints, easels, canvases, and brushes (I don’t paint so I don’t know, but I’d guess they don’t just have ONE of each thing), clothing and fashion is my “art”.  When you’re a maximalist and this is your art form, you can’t have only a few things.  Why?  Because you have a lot of weird, specific, and interesting stuff.  An artist may have six shades of what I’d call just “red”, and so I have shades of kimonos, jeans, and jumpsuits.  Plus, when you like to wear interesting stuff, you can’t wear it daily like you could a tee and jeans.  I can’t wear a leopard jumpsuit more than one day a month…because otherwise people might actually think I’m crazy.

So how do you handle closet control, got-rid-of-it-too-soon grief, and STUFF STRESS?  I came up with some tips on how to help those of us who love our clothes like our art, keep that in-and-out closet river flowing!

How To Get Rid Of Stuff (When You’re A Maximalist)

  1. Interview Yourself.  When you look through your stuff, ask yourself a few questions:  “Would you buy this again, today, if you saw it on a rack?”  If the answer is no, you are probably ready to part with it.  “Do you want to actually wear it?” This sounds kind of weird, but honestly I have had stuff in my closet that I absolutely LOVE, but when I ask myself honestly if I want to put it on my body and walk out of the house with it on, the answer is “heck no”.  Maybe you really don’t feel good in it.  It’s uncomfortable.  You hate the way it looks on you.  If you answer no, it’s gotta go!!
  2. Resell Your Stuff.  I have found that sometimes I am having a hard time parting with something, but then when I think of getting some money for it to use to buy something else instead…it becomes super easy.  Reselling at a local store, on Poshmark or Thred Up is pretty darn easy.
  3. Be Generous.  Another thing that’s helped me, particularly with those items of clothing that maybe have a little bit of sentimental value but I’m never ever gonna wear again, is to give it to a good friend.  I’ve mailed stuff to friends, given stuff away, you name it…and it helps because you know that it’s not, like, leaving the family so to speak!
  4. Donate.  Another thing that is immensely helpful with parting with things, is to donate them to a women’s shelter or other organization that helps out women in need.  Then you know just how appreciated those things are going to be.  This helped me with getting rid of a lot of my kids baby clothes…I donated them to a local crisis pregnancy center and it was so awesome to know that these young girls were going to get super cute Gap baby clothes when they may not be able to afford them otherwise.  This kind of thing helps you mentally because you know how much better it is for something to get worn than it is just collecting dust in your closet for sentimental reasons.
  5. Do It In Stages.  Sometimes, if there are things I’m like 50/50 on getting rid of, I will put them in a box in the back of my closet or my garage.  I leave them there for like 6 months to a year even, then revisit them…and at that point you’ll know if you want them or not.  Because during that time, you’ll either have gone out and hunted through that box for that one shirt you absolutely need, OR you’ll have forgotten all about them.  Then, when you re-look through it all, you’ll have fresh eyes.  Maybe something’s come back into style or you have new inspiration on how to wear it.  And the rest, well, you’re ready to part with it now.
  6. Give Yourself Grace.  It’s ALWAYS important in life to find balance.  To remind yourself to be generous and not hold on to every single thing.  To remember that life isn’t about stuff, but about people and relationships.  But you also gotta let yourself be YOU!  Let yourself enjoy finding those deals, creating and being a maximalist!!  Being yourself and enjoying the things you love is not something to feel guilty about.  You can’t feel guilty about having a ton of necklaces (and buying more) when you WEAR a ton of necklaces.  It’s just not gonna work for me to only own four or five necklaces, when I wear a minimum of three usually on any given day.  So be YOU, be happy about it, and remember the world NEEDS maximalists JUST AS MUCH as it needs minimalists!

This dress is like, a TOTAL MAXIMALIST dress.  I mean, just look at it!  I think you could probably see it from space!  And that makes me love it even more!  I got if from Kim who is @soulsofcalifornia on Instagram and has a shop on Etsy who has amazing taste and finds the best vintage stuff!!  It’s a Diane Freis, and those of you know what that is know that her dresses are typically crazy and amazing!

Whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist, you’re awesome because we all balance each other out!  Have a fantastic weekend!
Katy