Fashion Feelings: Mad For Plaid

Plaid is one of those prints that will never, ever be “out”.  It would be like saying: “black is out…” because no one would ever say that.  It’s a neutral, a basic, and a classic all rolled into one.  And I think it’s universally flattering, and obviously offers a variety of different color options.  It’s great for fall and winter, and can be played with in the warmer seasons as well.  And who out there hates a great flannel I ask you?  Okay, probably someone does, but those people are rare.  Kind of like those random people who “don’t like chocolate.”  What is THAT all about?!

When I think of plaid, my mind immediately goes here

Or here

Because no matter how long plaid has been around, it’s hard to separate it from the 90’s.  That’s when plaid wasn’t just “in”, it was IN.  Flannels became a form of outerwear instead of just a shirt you wore.  School girl uniforms became sexy thanks to Britney and Cher (from Clueless, I’m clearly not discussing Cher in real life).  It seems like plaid was everywhere in the 90’s.  I think maybe because I was becoming more aware of fashion during this time period, I have a very strong association with these moments in plaid…because they are what really introduced me to plaid as a fashion choice rather than something you just wore.

Now, during the 90’s, I most certainly did NOT dress cool.  I didn’t actually watch Clueless until after the 90’s were over and I never got to watch more than half an episode of My So Called Life.  My style choices during that time were dictated by an incredibly strict dress code on top of an incredibly strict couple of parents.  So, when it came to being in style, none of what you see above was what I was wearing.  I didn’t really experiment with wearing flannels until I was well out of college.  And one day, I put on a flannel over a striped dress and it was magic.  This was the first time I had EVER mixed patterns, and you know what?  I LOVED IT.  I remember trying the dress on with the flannel…feeling almost like I was doing it on a dare.  I was like “what if…I put THIS with THIS?  That would be SO CRAZY!”  I laugh about it now considering the weird things I put together, but at the time, it was a bold move.  And it WORKED!

I found this flannel plaid dress in the nightgown section of the thrift store (what on earth was it doing THERE?) and I love it because it’s just so holiday feeling.  It’s got such a full skirt and it’s so classy.  Plaid is one of those patterns, like leopard print, that I love in all pieces.  I love plaid tops and plaid bottoms, plaid dresses and plaid coats.  It works any way you slice it.

I have a sudden urge to dress like a Catholic schoolgirl.  Wonder where that came from…(thanks Britney).

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

Trending: Glitter

Ahhhhh the sparkly stuff.  I know that it has been considered “juvenile”, “out of style”, and even “dangerous for those who wear contact lenses” (me), and yet…I still love the stuff.  It sticks to everything.  Gets everywhere.  But somehow it’s worth the mess, finding it in strange and hidden places for days after wearing it.  Guess what all you raccoons?  (people who love sparkly objects) GLITTER IS BAAAAACK!  Thank goodness.  Because I was gonna go ahead and just bring it back all on my own if it didn’t officially make it down the runways.

But it DID!

Pat McGrath brought back some luscious 90’s inspired glittery lips at the DKNY show during New York Fashion Week…and it just went on from there.  If you’re feeling rather, er, glitter shy, here’s a fabulous article filled with ideas on how to use the sparkly stuff.  Some of these ideas are more wearable in real life and some of them are just plain fun!  I don’t know about you, but these sure make me want to bust out my glitter stash again!

And then when you’re feeling nostalgic, remember the 90’s golden age of glitter

Oh yes.  I remember plastering my eyelids with straight up bling.  Caking my clear lip gloss with silver craft glitter.  I was a glitter aholic!  (hmm…maybe I still am…)  And is there anyone alive who really actually hates sparkly nail polish?  I rest my case.d

It’s all well and good that glitter is “back”…but it really begs the question: did it ever really leave?

I don’t think so.  Everyone, somewhere, even if it’s deep deep down inside, wants to look like a disco ball at some point in their lives.
Katy

 

 

Switch It Up: Slip Dresses

Dontcha just love it when something you’ve been collecting and loving for so many years is finally in style?  You know, when everyone suddenly thinks you’re copying the latest trends…and you’re screaming NO I WAS DOING THIS LIKE THREE YEARS AGO!  And no one really cares?  Man I need more coffee today…I feel as though the cranky part of me is eating the peaceful calm side of me.  Like I have a peaceful calm side.  (*hysterical laughter from my husband)  I’ve talked about my love for slip dresses before, but let me just reminisce for a moment about the GIANT BOX OF VINTAGE SLIPS that I got rid of when I finally gave up hope that I’d ever wear them again.  I know, sometimes I am so far away from being smart it scares me.  But now, I’m collecting them once again, making up for my momentary lapse in judgement.  We can call like three years “momentary” right? Okay, thanks.

Let’s talk slips.  Everyone’s doing it.  And if everyone jumped off a cliff we probably would too, right?  (occasionally the “mom” in me rears its ugly head, sorry kids)  It’s cool and it’s fun and thanks to Courtney Love in the 90’s, it’s retro chic.  The great news about slipping into a slip dress, is that they are plentiful, can be relatively inexpensive, and are quite varied in specific style amongst themselves.  Theres the lacy ones with lots of darts that are more fitted.  There are the simple satin ones that are more likely from the 80’s or 90’s that are less fancy.  And hey, you can even find new reproductions if vintage or thrifting isn’t your thing!

Business Pajama Casual
I love the combination of a slip dress and a striped, gingham, or plaid button down.  It’s the secret 90’s fashion lover in me I guess.

This look is super simple, kind of looks like you’re wearing your boyfriend’s shirt…it has that sexy “I just rolled out of bed” look to it.  It’s an easy one to reproduce!  Vintage slip plus over sized button down, and good to go!  I added the fringe Converse because it kind of adds to the tomboyish look with a fun flair.

Retro Fabulous
I love a ringer tee.  When you layer a slip over a tee, it almost has a vest-like effect.  It’s interesting and different.  Adding the destroyed boyfriend jeans definitely gives this a bit of a 70’s meets 90’s vibe.

Easy to create…any tee, doesn’t even have to be a ringer…it can be a v-neck or a plain tee too, and some baggy jeans and you’re good to go.

Tuck It In
The magic of a slip dress, or any simple sheath dress, is that you can double it as a top when you tuck it into a maxi skirt!

Belt it or not, use a midi or a maxi, there are plenty of options to this look!  Remember too, if you tuck a slip dress into a skirt that’s rather, er, see through, you can use the bottom of the dress as an ACTUAL slip!

If you aren’t comfortable with thrifting one or you aren’t into the vintage ones, check out these for a cotton minimalist approach (v-neck version here) and for a more vintage inspired look check out these.

Go forth, and slip into something more slip dress like!
Katy