Fashion Feelings: Boots or pants?

I love multitasking.  And by “multitasking”, I mean, doing things while watching tv because I clearly love watching tv.  I’m watching it right now as I type this.  So if I begin typing names of characters on The Office, you’ll know that I’m not having a seizure, I’m just “multitasking”.  See?  Totally doing two things at once, making the most of my time.  I wish I had something I could drink through a straw so I could do three things at once…must work on this.

I know that as a woman, I should be a boss at multitasking.  And in some ways, I am.  Like, I can think about everything that I need to accomplish in the next 43 minutes while refilling water cups, picking up dirty laundry, and most likely drinking coffee.  Also, I’m super good at worrying about 57 things at once.  Does that count as multitasking??  Dang it.  Here’s what I’m NOT good at.  Writing while the tv is on.  (doing that now.  obviously, not well.  the tv is winning.)  Counting while people are talking to me.

Oh I’m sorry, did I say counting while people are talking to me?  I meant COUNTING, PERIOD.  Yesterday I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, during the exact moment when I was trying to pay for my thrift store haul.  You can imagine how that went down.  I asked the poor cashier about four times what my total was again, and oh, wait, did you say “SEVENTY THREE CENTS?” one more time…I already forgot what you literally just said…  So yeah, in a lot of ways I kind of fail at multitasking.

One thing I really do well though, is wear all my stuff at once.  I like to refer to this as “multitasking”.  Put on all the things I like at once, wear them proudly, and when people ask “who are you supposed to be?” I say “a girl who likes clothes and doesn’t play favorites with everything in her closet.”

You know what else is fun?  That these boots kind of double as pants.  Now I’d never wear them AS pants, but you catch my drift right?  Yeah.  Why not have my clothing multitask too!?

I’m going to get back to doing all the things while napping with my eyes open now.  Must. Have. Coffee.

Good luck multitasking today.  It’s not recommended without caffeine.  😉

Katy

*boots are One Teaspoon, kimono is Wildfox, shorts are Levis, tank is Target!

Starting a Clothing Line: Chapter One

Chapter One…THE FIRST PIECE

Let’s start at the beginning, which is a very good place to start!  I decided that I’d start blogging about this process, since it’s what I’m firmly entrenched in (that and toddler raising, which I most definitely chronicle as well as you know!) and also since I’m guessing that some of you reading might actually be interested in the whole “backside” of fashion per say.  You can read about the inspiration behind the line here, if you haven’t been following my ramblings this whole time OR you just have a life and don’t read every word I write!

Okay, so the beginning.  Keep in mind, this is my journey, and other people doing this probably have other experiences and may go about things differently.  I am by NO means an expert, and I’m constantly learning as I’m going!  After I got my “vision” you could say, that’s when things got real, know what I mean?  I’d been talking about this for so long, but it wasn’t until I actually began visualizing some pieces and knew exactly what I wanted to start with that I realized that I needed to do this and it was no longer just a vague potential idea floating in the nether regions of my brain.  Now you guys, I cannot draw.  No, no, I don’t want to hear “Oh I’m SURE you can draw, don’t be so hard on yourself!”  No.  Thank you for your kind words that I just completely put in your mouth, but I cannot draw.  When I “draw” my husband laughs at me and asks in a not so nice way (but I forgive him since he’s a very very nice person) “and what is THAT supposed to be?”  (I don’t play pictionary often as you could imagine).  I also don’t sew.  And when I do “sew”, it’s so ugly and makeshift that I would never DREAM of selling said weird item.  ALL THIS to be said, I knew I needed some help to get these visions out of my brain and onto my body.

Thank goodness I started talking to a few people I trusted about this venture, and one of them introduced me to a local pattern maker.  Yes, these magical people exist and they are just about as amazing as that one dude with the long beard who weaves straw into gold in that one fairy tale.  I have since learned that this is an actual profession and you can find them all over!  She listened to my vision, and helped me understand what it is exactly I was undertaking.  In our communications prior to our first meeting, she instructed me to bring in an article or two of clothing that I could show her to demonstrate what it is I wanted her to make.  I brought in a few kimonos (because that’s what I was starting with) and showed her what I liked about them and what I didn’t like.  She answered my questions about fabric, which are numerous.  I thought I was bringing her a lightweight cotton fabric, she informed me that it was actually rayon (yes, I can read a tag, but silly me I thought I knew what it was by feel alone!) and basically helped direct me in how to choose a fabric and all that.  Phew.  She knows A LOT of stuff.

Once I found an acceptable fabric (that was rough, but my next post will undoubtably be about this topic because I talk about fabric like 70 percent of the time it seems like), I brought her the amount she needed and in a couple of weeks, it was done!  I don’t know if I can describe to you what it felt like to see that completed kimono for the first time.  It truly is a strange and wonderful sensation to see and touch something for the first time that you up to this point have only imagined.  It’s incredible.  I tried it on, and we talked about the completed piece, and there were no tweaks needed, otherwise that would have been the next step.  I had my very first piece, and the pattern to go with it.

She sent me to a local woman who has a small sewing studio with a number of women who produce pieces for various size orders.  I chose to go this route because I so much want to support my community as well as the fact that I got to go see the first completed kimono that she sewed and make a “quality inspection” of sorts.  They came out beautifully.  Twenty four completed kimonos that are all mine.  I had embroidered labels made as well as care tags, and since it was a simple piece, I didn’t have to worry about any other details like hardware or elastic.

Here is the second kimono (made with the same pattern as the first).  This is actually the one I had envisioned all along because I wanted to print a design on the back…but because the printing brought up a whole new set of issues (more on that when we discuss tees), I went with a simpler concept for the first run.  The jeans and necklace were custom made (I envisioned a whole outfit around this kimono of course!) by my good friend @township31 who makes the most insane stuff by hand.

More to come soon on this journey!!  Happy Monday!
Katy

 

Advice In Style: How To Dress For Indian Summer

Welcome to September!  That means only one thing…fall, right?  WRONG!  Hahahaha you thought summer was OVER?  JUST KIDDING!  Well, at least for some of us in certain parts of the US, we were just about to get our sweaters out…and then BAM.  Ninety degree weather is baaaaaack.  Now, I’m kind of a weather rebel.  I mean, in some ways, I kind of have to be in order to get to wear some of my stuff more than like, once a year in California.  However, I also get hot very quickly, so I also experience that same desire to change my style when September hits, but since the weather doesn’t want to change along with me, I gotta improvise.  I’ve got some simple (hopefully!) ideas to help those of us sitting here in shorts and a strapless top, sweating, to keep our style from suffering for it!

Unexpected Denim + Fur Accents


I know.  You’re like FUR??  Are you MAD?  Well, that’s a question for another time.  But back to the outfit.  It may be too hot for jeans and you may be too bored for denim shorts.  How about a little denim pinafore or some shortalls?  I also LOVE fur (as many of you know!) and while it’s not the most wearable for indian summer, a little accent never hurt, right?  Add some boots and a short sleeve tee, and you’ll have a little bit of a transitional style going on without sweating too much!

Light Layers

Layers are HARD when it’s warm.  So the breathability factor is super important during this transition season.  A breathable kimono (this one’s my own and coming soon!) and a graphic tee (again, coming soon!) are good fall-ish pieces to try out when it’s still sweltering outside.

Fall Trends…In Summer Lengths

Velvet is one of those awesome fall trends that I am of course, itching (I mean sweating really!) to wear!  If you can find some of the fall fabrics, but in shorter lengths like this skirt, it really helps to make the piece wearable sooner, before the temperatures start to drop.  So try a velvet flared mini skirt with a lightweight blousy button down.  You’ll feel fall without the major deodorant fail.

Hope you guys are staying cool.  Phew.  Where’s my cold brew…
Katy

Switch It Up: Track Pants

One of the biggest trends it seems that is everywhere I look is athleisure.  I mean, everywhere I go, it seems like there’s a woman who looks like she just came from yoga.  Did she come from yoga class?  Probably not.  That, it seems, is besides the point!  Obviously, yoga pants, leggings, and tennis shoes are the usual staples of this trend, but I thought I’d like to play around with something a little more 90’s reminiscent…track pants!  I actually really like track pants because they’re sort of the fancier older sister of the sweat pant.  They’re comfortable, but can be a little chicer, sleeker, and more flattering.  This trend is kinda 90’s inspired (especially if you think about adding chunky Adidas tennis shoes and a black choker) but it can go in a lot of different directions if you have un with it!

Here’s some couture track pant inspiration to start with:
Of course, I want these GORGEOUS Chloe track pants, however, spending $1,200 on a pair of track pants is not really something I’m about to do right now! So I went down to the Goodwill and grabbed a pair of Adidas pants for under $5!  I looked for the kind with the ankle zipper, because that gives the bottom of the pant leg a little bit of a flare which is super flattering.

Here’s my trick for athleisure.  I choose one piece that’s TRUE athletic wear.  Only one.  So, yoga pants, leggings, track pants, tennis shoes…I choose ONE of those.  Then I balance the look out with other pieces, typically I choose things that are lacy, satiny, or basically anything that you would never wear to the gym, ever.  That way, the look is intentional and no one wonders where your yoga mat is.  I took a cue from these looks and tested out a few of them with my own pieces:

A Kimono…to Keep You “On Track” (pun intended) 

I love this whole kimono/track pants look…it’s really is the true definition of ATH-LEISURE right?  I got these espadrille slides from H&M and my favorite thing about them is that they’re sparkly!  It kind of ups the class factor of the casual trend!

Off The Shoulder, Still On Track (my puns get better and better!)

Here’s a combo of two trends that are everywhere right now…off the shoulder ruffle tops and athletic wear!  It’s kind of a fun and interesting style mash up!

LACE Up and Hit The Track (I am on FIRE today!)

The easiest way to just throw on an outfit and go, is to add a lacy cami top to a pair of track pants.  It is a little bit sexy, and not at all like you just hit the gym.  It’s a good balance of sporty and girly.

Wanna give it a whirl?  Here are some pieces for you to test out: these pants are SO couture, and um, I think I need them.  Here are some super chic slides, and as for a cami, this one is amazing.  This off shoulder top would be amazing with some track pants and this kimono is on sale right now!

How do you wear your athleisure?  I want to see!
Katy

 

Advice In Style: Costume Couture

Drop everything you are doing right now, stop reading this, and run, RUN to your local thrift store.  Okay, okay, maybe finish reading this so you know why you’re running.  I went to my local Goodwill the other day, and do you know what I saw?  THE COSTUMES ARE OUT!  (I know, I need to switch to decaf, I hear you loud and clear).  You guys, I cannot emphasize enough how much this is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO THRIFT.  (*Pouring decaf now).  Now, you may be saying: “Katy, I don’t wear weird stuff like you, I don’t want to shop in the costume section!”  But that’s why you need to read this post.  From the weird to the conservative, there is something for you in that costume section.  Lemme break it down for you!

Sure.  This looks like madness.  All together, you’re thinking: “Well THIS sure doesn’t look like couture to me!”  That’s where you’re wrong.  I would bet money that a runway stylist could shop the costume section at the Goodwill, send a model down the runway in it, and you probably wouldn’t even know which model was wearing the “costume couture”.  Why?  Because styling is everything.  Sure, that jacket doesn’t look expensive siting on the rack next to the Spiderman costume!  Nothing would!  But here’s how you can shop top trends and regular style staples in the COSTUME SECTION!

Jackets

This jacket is a real vintage jacket.  It’s only in the costume section because someone deemed it “costume worthy”.  That’s something to remember if you are feeling insecure about this whole ordeal!

Check out this black beauty of a duster I found!  I just saw this style on the Today Show this morning you guys.  Top trends in the costume section.  Under $20.

Retro Denim
This is a GREAT time to find some classic 1970’s bell bottoms, some 80’s overalls, or pretty much any era of great denim.

How about this patchwork denim vest, totally on trend for Fall?

Metallics
Metallics are so hot right now.  Thanks to the costume section, you won’t have to pay much to give this look a shot!

GOLD BABY!

Skirts
There are skirts a-plenty during this time a year!  I’ve seen vintage petticoats (which make amazing prairie skirts, think Spell Style), square dancing skirts, and even just simple solid colored vintage midis…on trend for Fall.

This black skirt is full and perfectly flattering for the upcoming season!

Fringe
You know I love me some fringe.  I saw a fringe vest today and really, the crowning jewel of my costume couture hunting happened right here:

This is a vintage, handmade, leather fringe tunic.  I know.  I know.  I got no words you guys.

Pajama Couture
Pajamas are so hot right now…you can wear the top with jeans or the bottoms with a graphic tee…or just rock ’em together, devil may care!

Maxi Dresses
Sometimes vintage nightgowns make the best maxi dresses.  They often are what the new bohemian maxi styles are modeled after!

I fully plan on wearing this bohemian maxi with cowboy boots and lots of turquoise.

Kimonos
Yeah, I said it.  This is THE TIME to find traditional gorgeous asian couture!

Just look at those pretties…perfect with jeans!

Military Jackets
These are out in spades right now, and they are always so chic!

And So…
I decided to make my very own thrift store dressing room costume couture chic outfit (over my athletic leggings obviously)!

Sure, the dressing room isn’t quite couture, but hey, the prices and the finds make it worth it!

GO FORTH AND COSTUME SHOP!
Katy

 

 

On Movie Watching Habits and…Kimonos

My poor husband.  I am quite literally, one of the worst people in the world to watch a movie with.  Why, you may ask?  I’m going to tell you.  Now, I’m not defending my movie watching dysfunction, or trying to help you understand me or anything like that.  Because I know that my movie issues are not really “logical” so to speak, and until they come out with a drug for “very choosy about movies”, then this is me, watching (or really not watching) movies.  Get ready.  You may not like me very much by the end of this post, because I will inevitably have offended you by telling you I hated one of your favorite movies or turned off a movie that you watch repeatedly.  And for this, all I can say is, I’m sorry, and I wish I could change it too.

If you were a movie, unless you are one of the Pitch Perfect movies or Jurassic Park/World series…I just may not like you that much.  I can’t explain this strange phenomenon, again, it just…IS.  Let me tell you how this goes for me.  I start a movie.  I’m hopeful, cautiously optimistic, and determined to like (tolerate at best) this freaking movie.  Halfway through, I’m like okay, this isn’t my favorite, I’m not in absolute LOVE, but I’m committed and I’m doing it.  Then, right about at 3/4 of the way through this storyline, something happens.  Usually, whatever’s going on is about to reach it’s peak, and I begin to lose my patience.  At this point, I have the realization that if the main character had just NOT lied or cheated on his wife/gotten a legitimate job instead of stealing/stayed on planet earth…NONE OF THIS WOULD BE HAPPENING.  I begin to question the worthwhile-ness of this character surviving the zombie apocalypse/strange disease epidemic/people with a lot of guns.  And then it hits me.  Because of his/her stupidity, I have WASTED THE PAST HOUR OF MY LIFE stressing about him/her.  I then start imagining a giant bomb obliterating everyone in the movie, a British voiceover saying “And NOW for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT”, and a herd of puppies running onto the set, playing with chew toys and being generally more deserving of my time and attention.  True story.

I often read the bad reviews of movies before risking seeing them in the theatre (and believe me, that is quite a risk for me).  I read the bad ones, because usually I can tell by the critiques whether or not I will like the movie.  I mean, the good ones can be telling too.  “Sweeping landscapes” means: “I could just look out the window and save my time and money”.  “Heartwarming story” means: “someone will probably get a weird disease and/or die in this movie.”  “Amazing special effects” means: “the writers all quit so the story is complete crap…but hey a lot of things blow up, so it’s all okay.” And the ALWAYS inevitable “historically accurate” will mean: “everyone dies at the end, don’t waste your time.”  Often the things that people DON’T like about movies are the exact things that will make me LOVE them.  “Formulaic and cute” are often touted as critiques of a movie.  Because, if everyone’s happy at the end of the movie, it seems like a lot of people will inevitably hate it.  I’ve learned that movie critics are often much happier getting jerked around and having the rug pulled out from under them than they are watching people live happily ever after.

I think I’ve been scarred by so many movies, I’ve begun to be an instant skeptic.  I mean Titanic?  Apollo 13?  What the heck people.  Thanks for reminding me that I paid ZERO attention in history class.  Oh and how about the beauty that was The Sixth Sense?  HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME?  THANK YOU FOR WASTING MY TIME.  (I guess I should have said: “spoiler alert”, but I mean if you haven’t seen that movie or know this by now, I don’t know what to tell you).  I have been emotionally traumatized before, so now I’ve become quite choosy about what I will pay attention to.  Here is a full (but not conclusive) list of topics I refuse to watch movies on.  (You should sit down, it’s not short).

  1. War (any war at all.  Imaginary or real).
  2. Zombies/zombie apocalypse (missing chunks of flesh is not my jam.  I made an exception for Warm Bodies, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Zombieland.)
  3. Post apocalyptic movies (I like happy things, have you noticed?)
  4. Anything too raunchy  (Again, exceptions include Wedding Crashers, Bad Moms, Bridesmaids…beyond these though if it’s too much raunch, I’m out).
  5. Musicals (this only means I don’t like movies where they sing ALL the time.  Also, please don’t tell me something is a “musical” then have it actually be “a movie about war”…I was a child when I watched The Sound of Music and this nice movie where a lady with a sort of bizarre haircut made clothing out of curtains and sang a lot took a dark turn into something where they probably all died at the end.  It’s not nice to do that to people.)
  6. Anything too emotional (Sorry Nicholas Sparks.  If I wanted to cry, all I’d have to do is watch one of those “share a Kleenex” commercials.  Dang lady hormones.)
  7. Anything too violent  (I refuse to watch people hurting each other, even if it is “historically accurate.”)
  8. Most things sports related (There are some exceptions to this one.  If the story is good enough, and not too emotional, per number six on my list, then I may care enough to watch it.  Since I care nothing about sports, it has to be a good story outside of people throwing balls around.)
  9. Things that are too “artsy”  (I love creativity, but if it’s like art for art’s sake, I’m out.)
  10. Superhero movies (I don’t make the rules you guys.  I have learned that these movies usually include a lot of things blowing up and creatures I don’t recognize or know what they are.  I love movies about people with superPOWERS, just not super heroes.  Don’t even get me started on the anti-super hero movies, we will be here all day.)
  11. Things that are about people making stupid choices  (If you’re gonna do it, don’t make me live through the stress of it okay?  I make enough of my own and have to live through them!)

So where does that leave us?   You called it.  Pitch Perfect and Jurassic World.  Somehow watching people sing in perfect harmony and getting chased by fictitious dinosaurs just makes me happy.  Since this post is just so down on movies, let me give you some titles I do love, lest you think I am the worst human on the planet who hates movies and frowns all the time.  Legally Blonde, The Royal Tenenbaums, Clueless, Ghostbusters (all of them), Mean Girls, Easy A (I love movies about high school can you tell?), Beetlejuice, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Back To The Future (all of them), Indiana Jones (all of them except number two because ewwwww), The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Pirates of the Caribbean (all except the last one)…to name a few.  Despite what this post may suggest, I actually do love a lot of movies.  But if I don’t love it?  My poor husband has to live with it.

Good news.  You know what I’m NOT choosy about?  Kimonos or kimono like items.  I nabbed this jacket at the store I work at, and a girl who doesn’t work there that often said: “you like Asian fashion don’t you?”  I was like…”I guess…”  and then realized I was literally wearing a shirt that looks like this jacket…and, um, KIMONOS, DUH.

I mean my gosh, how could you not fall in love with the satiny, gorgeously rich colors, and patterns that make up Asian fashion?  Yeah.  I may not be able to sit through a whole movie, but I could sit through one of those dry cleaning automated racks full of kimonos.  I put this with my Madewell mom jeans (I have them in two colors, they are fabulous) and some thrifted loafers I just scored recently.  My necklace was handmade by DesertMermaid on Etsy.

I bet you are way better at movie watching than me.  I bet you sat through the whole Titanic movie and WEREN’T surprised when they all died.  I’ll bet you love superhero movies and have a blast watching summer blockbusters and are not a “hater” as my husband refers to me.  Ah well.  I’ll always have my automated rack of kimonos to dream about…

Happy Monday
Katy

 

On Inside Scoops

Okay, okay, I’m just way too excited about this to NOT write about it.  I mentioned before that I am starting a small clothing line…and the test t-shirt I ordered AND the kimono prototype fabric arrived today! How can I NOT talk about this!  I thought, since you all are my favorite humans, the ones who take your precious time to read my (often endless) ramblings about clothing and feelings and things…that I’d give you the special scoop first.  You sure deserve it!

I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing for quite a while now.  After my life kind of went crazy for a few years, it took me a bit to get my feet back on stable ground again.  I considered vintage selling for a while, but honestly I love to BUY vintage more than I love to SELL vintage.  It just doesn’t excite me to hunt for vintage for anything other than to wear it!  My husband has repeatedly told me that he thought I would be happiest actually creating things…but this really intimidated me for the most part.  I don’t know how.  I don’t sew, I don’t understand patterns or fabrics very well, so this is not something that I felt like I could just jump in to.  Each time he brought it up, I would veto it based on a poor excuse.  Until a few months ago.

I was driving in my car and I had a revelation.  The car is quite honestly the place I have most of my inspiration!  I suddenly had this “vision” I will call it for a clothing line.  It was specific.  I saw in my mind’s eye these things: kimonos that are structurally asian inspired but with modern breathable fabrics, graphic tees that are primarily California 1970’s looking graphics, hand dyed vintage slips, and maxi skirts that are flattering, fit well, but are still comfortable with an elastic waistband.  Everything will cohesively go together, so you could mix and match if you wanted and create endless outfits with them.  They will all be made in America or be fair trade.  T-shirts that look like you could have found them in your grandparent’s attic…but are comfortable and stretchy.  Vintage look, with a modern feel.  The look to this line is going to be retro (of course) with a hint of bohemian.  Think 1970’s California and I think you’ll get it.  Man.  I’m excited.

Then came the name issue.  My husband and I tossed around a few names, checked their availability online and on instagram…nothing really stuck out UNTIL…he almost yelled out I’VE GOT IT!!!  Velvet California.  And yeah, I’m pretty sure no one could top that.  So there you have it!  Velvet California is slowly becoming a reality!  Gosh.  The level of support and excitement that I’ve had from most of YOU has been overwhelming.  I mean, there’s just no way that I could ever express what it means to me to have you cheering me on.  It’s kind of unreal.

I see this as something that I want to encourage women.  I want it to encourage them to be themselves.  To give some options for everyday wear that are fun, individual, and still very wearable.  Most of my days are spent going to the grocery store.  To parks.  To Target.  And yeah, I don’t wear my uncomfortable clothing or my high maintenance clothes when I’m running errands.  But I still want to dress in fun stuff, to look put together, and to feel like ME.  So that’s what I want this to be.  Alternatives to the necessary, but often boring, leggings.  Workout wear.  Sweats.  The things that, let’s face it, we ALL wear at times and hey!  That’s okay!  We are human!  We are allowed to go out with bad hair, bad breath, no makeup, and gross sweats from time to time right??  But if I do that more than like, once a year, I start to feel much less like myself.  I feel much better when I can dress like me and STILL chase my kids around or load up the car with groceries.  Yep, this is me trying to do the impossible…make real life and fashion WORK together cohesively and beautifully!  Seriously though, if it’s not at least a little impossible, I’m probably not interested in trying anyway!

Yeah I really wish I had some pieces done for this post.  But that’ll be so soon anyway, I thought I’d just go with my vintage dragon kimono because it’s fierce :).

Thank you for being you, for always spending time with me, and for listening and responding.  I always appreciate it.  Always.
Katy

On Shopping and Homework

Since it’s a holiday three-day weekend, I thought a fitting subject would be “how to do your homework before buying an item.”

Wait just one tiny minute.  You mean that there’s HOMEWORK involved for shopping?  Here’s the easy answer.  If you want to save money, HECK YES there’s homework to be done!  Yesterday, I was doing a little online shopping, and I realized that I have a total process in which I make shopping decisions.  I didn’t even realize I was doing this until then.  I thought since today’s a holiday, why not have a little homework to do right?  I mean, it’s a day when lots of stuff is on SALE so shopping is definitely happening, so let’s talk about how to do your “due diligence” before you commit to buy!

Now for sure, there are a couple of things to consider when you’re shopping.  One of them is this: is the item you’re looking for very specific…like maybe you found it online or you saw it in a store and you know exactly what brand it is…if this is the case, there’s still homework to be done, but it might change the end result.  There have been times that I’ve done all my homework, and not saved a dime because it turns out I really just had found the best deal to begin with!  But more often than not, if I don’t do my homework before buying, I end up overpaying.  Plain and simple.  You want to get an A+ on your shopping skills?  Yeah me too!

Here’s my usual disclaimer…this is just MY process, you may have your own AND you may have some hot tips I don’t know about, so PLEASE share with me if you do!  I’m always looking for extra credit! 🙂

HOW TO DO YOUR SHOPPING HOMEWORK:

  1. Google the item you want.  This may seem simple, but how many times have I happened upon something I want, and not taken the two seconds it takes to just google it before buying it from the first place I found it??  OR maybe you are looking for a Free People dress and you just go straight to the Free People site without checking other retailers.  Here’s something I’ve found.  Often, places you don’t even suspect may carry a brand or an item that you want.  Once I desperately wanted a Novella Royale jumpsuit and I googled it, only to find it had gone on sale half price on freepeople.com.  Boy I was glad I googled it!  When you find what you’re looking for, google the exact name of the item, and who knows? You may even get lucky and find it listed on hautelook.com or gilt.com!  Wouldn’t that be amazing?  It kind of surprises me how simple this is, and yet how few people actually do it.  I have purchased things for a fraction of the normal price that it’s listed for AT THE SAME TIME as it’s listed for more…simply because I googled it.  This is also SUPER helpful if the thing you want is sold out in your size.  Sites like swell.com, revolve.com, shopbop.com, zappos.com, lordandtaylor.com, asos.com, as well as all the standards like Nordstrom and Macy’s, ALL carry a variety of brands and sometimes they will have a sale specific to their store that applies to that item!  Did you know that Minnetonka is also carried by American Eagle Outfitters and Urban Outfitters?  Yep.  Google will be your best friend!
  2. Do a search for the item…in different ways.  Sometimes things go by different names.  There’s really nothing new under the sun, we just often call things by different terms than they did in say, the 1960s.  I’ve often run into people who were teenagers during the original time a clothing item was popular and they always say: “in MY day, we called those dungarees” or something like that.  So, say you’re looking for a kimono.  Search for “kimono” of course, but don’t forget to use the term “robe” because often they are synonyms for each other.  This is VERY useful if you are looking at vintage items because people from different generations will call things by different names, so depending on the person selling it, you may need to use different key words.
  3. Check other sites for knock offs or similar items.  I have a few places that are my “go-tos” for this.  I’ve learned that as much as I love Free People, not all of their stuff is unique.  Not only do people knock them off very quickly, but some of their stock is not really unique to their store.  So, I check a few places first.  I check second hand retailers like thredup.com and poshmark.com…this is a great way to find what you are looking for, for less…and sometimes it’s even new with the tags!  I always check zara.com too, because yes, they can be just as expensive, but they often have similar items or sometimes things I like more for less money.  vicicollection.com has had items IDENTICAL to Free People for under $20!  I do a quick scan of their site to check.
  4. Search for a coupon code.  This actually works a lot of the time.  When I find something I’m looking for, I do a quick search for the name of the retailer and “coupon code” and I’ve gotten codes that save me money.  If it’s a smaller retailer or seller, check their instagram or Facebook feed for sales.  Get on their email list to save off your first order AND to get deals.  Once I was ordering something from England and was just about to click the magic “place order” button…when I thought I’d better check my email first.  I did, and since I had subscribed to her emails, I saw that she had sent out a code for free international shipping.  Yep, I just saved myself like $30 just by checking my email first.
  5. Look for the item that inspired the piece you want.  This is kind of interesting to do.  Sometimes I will be obsessed with something…and then I actually find a vintage piece that is virtually identical to what I want.  Um, I’d rather have the original thanks!  Sometimes it’s expensive yes.  But SOMETIMES it’s a fraction of the price.  Here’s a great example.  I bought this dress from Spell Byron Bay that is gorgeous.  I literally had not seen many things like it, so I went for it, shelled out the big bucks, and of course it’s beautiful.  Then I went down to Venice Beach and walked into a vintage store and they had four dresses on the wall that were virtually identical to my dress.  The owner of the store informed me that the Spell girls had just been in their shop to get inspiration!  The dresses were the same price as the Spell one I purchased.  Do you get my drift?  This is the reason I chose this kimono for today’s post.  I have been in LOVE with a Spell kimono that is quite similar to this one, but haven’t been ready to shell out the money for it.  I was on poshmark.com a week ago, and I could not click BUY fast enough when I saw this.  It is almost the same thing, at 1/4 of the price.  And it’s vintage, so it’s the original!  Yep.  Homework pays off you guys.

Okay so this kimono.  I’m freaking in LOVE.  And again, having a little patience and persistence really saved me some money in the long run!  These necklaces are BOTH handmade by amazing women, please support them if you need some new jewelry in your life that really wows people!  The choker is from Desert Mermaid on Etsy (it comes in white too and it is really the most comfortable choker I have ever worn) and the leather fringe one is a BRAND NEW creation by my DEAR friend Jessica of Hillbillygypsy Boots.  She’s selling them on Poshmark too!  The boots are Sam Edelman (they’re like almost completely sold out, so if you want them, I’d shop NOW for them), and even though I own so many fringe boots, boy am I glad I bought these babies.

Argh.  It is most definitely a Monday.  Will someone please tell my kids it’s a holiday?!?
Katy

On Basics…Maxi Skirt Wearing

It’s week three of “Basics…Anything But”!  Now I totally realize that MY definition of “basics” may not be the same as everyone else’s.  For example, I would qualify a slip dress and a kimono as “basics”.  However, I’m trying my darndest to keep THESE basics ACTUAL basics that may be in the average person’s closet.  After I’m done with those, I’ll probably move on to things like the slip dress and kimono and all that just to keep emphasizing how much every woman should have them in her closet!  But for now, I’m trying to stick to BASIC basics!

Today, let’s talk MAXI SKIRTS!  I decided to take a solid maxi skirt and show you some fun and unpredictable ways to mix in this basic with some other pieces you may have in your closet…or you may be looking to buy!  As always, you can use a lot of different fabrics, patterns, and styles of skirt to change up this look!  The sky is the limit!  But let me tell you about what I used, and why!

THE SKIRT:  I purchased this skirt from Free People new a few years ago.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and at the time, there weren’t a lot of maxi skirts to be found, so I looked at it as an investment piece that I could wear a lot of different ways, and boy have I used the heck out of this skirt!  Now truthfully, these kinds of skirts are a lot more plentiful, so getting one at a thrift store or at Target is highly likely, and at a fraction of the price.
FIT: The skirt I used has an elastic waistband, which is KEY for these looks.  Why?  Because the elastic allows you to wear the skirt at a variety of places and not just on your waist.  I have done some of these looks with a non elastic waistband maxi, and it can work, it’s just not as comfortable or easy.  I used a slightly gathered skirt, but a more gathered skirt will add a little extra bohemian glamour, while a non gathered one will be a more fitted look.  Either way works just fine!
FABRIC: This skirt is a stretch jersey…again, you can use a non stretch cotton, but the stretchy flowy fabrics will lay a bit better, be less bulky on, and simply be more comfortable!

Let’s get down to it!  A maxi skirt can go SO many different directions!  This look is great with a solid, striped, floral, or aztec print as well.  You decide 🙂

LOTSA LAYERS
To be honest, I bought these two skirts together…to wear exactly like this!  I saw them in a Free People magazine and went out and bought them (they are the same in two different colors) because I needed a dress for a wedding and I couldn’t find one I liked!  However, I have done this EXACT same thing with multiple different variations of skirts, so you do not need to have two of the same to do this!

Okay, so you get the idea?  One skirt pulled up above your boobs like a strapless dress, the skirt underneath at your waist, belted, and…boom.  Flowy strapless bohemian goodness.  I’m a BIG fan of belts that tie on, but a regular belt would work just fine too!  I love gladiator sandals with this look because it’s cool for summer and adds to the boho flair!  The Free People skirts I have are sold out, but HERE is a really cool more fitted and rusched sides one (it has an extra sale code right now too!) If you want to splurge and get a great piece, try HERE.
THRIFTY TIP:  Shop your local thrift shops for maxi skirts!  They are much more common than they used to be.  Also, places like Target, Old Navy, and Forever 21 often have them for around $20.  Don’t forget to check ThredUp too!
SWAP IT OUT:  Change out the gladiator sandals for cowboy boots or just regular boots.  It changes the look of the outfit!  Also, a cool pair of palazzo pants underneath instead of a second skirt is super fun!  I’ve done this before and it looks really cool!
CRAFTY DIY:  Don’t have a tie on belt?  Get some thick ribbon or a strip of cool fabric (denim would be super cool!) and tie a bow at your waist!  It adds a whole new look to the outfit!  Wear it this way with some heels and you got yourself a brand new vibe to the same outfit!

COACHELLA?  KIMONO-CHELLA
This look basically turns your maxi skirt into a dress…with a little extra flair!

Okay, so again, you pull up your skirt as a strapless dress, then use the kimono belt to create a “waist” for your new dress!  I used some boho inspired accessories because it really seemed to go with the look of the kimono/skirt combo.  For kimonos, a splurge is HERE or HERE and to save some $$, try vintage robes on Etsy or look HERE.
THRIFTY TIP:  My necklace is from Child of Wild, so if you want to splurge on a statement piece, check them out.  However, this look is available for SO MUCH LESS now!!  Check THIS page out!
SWAP IT OUT:  Use a more fitted stretchy skirt.  Almost like a pencil fit maxi.  You’ll get a really sexy sleek strapless dress effect!
CRAFTY DIY:  If you don’t have a kimono, use a large square scarf, OR a large square piece of fabric, fold it in half, and put it over your shoulders with the point in the back.  Tuck in the front pieces into a belt, and you’ll create a poncho like effect and still get the same type of look!

THE WILD WEST
The beauty of an elastic waist skirt is that it can sit anywhere on your body.  It can be low waisted or high waisted…and that gives you versatility for what kind of top you can wear!

For this look, I pulled up my skirt to make it high waisted, allowing me to knot my denim top and go full western gal!
THRIFTY TIP: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  Chambray tops tend to be fairly easy to find at thrift stores.  Also, I got mine from Target and it is awesome!
SWAP IT OUT: Use a patterned top!  A plaid flannel would be adorable!
CRAFTY DIY:  Don’t have a bolo?  I got mine from the FABULOUS Hillbilly Gypsy Boots (email her and ask for a custom order!)  Here’s a SUPER fun DIY post on how to make your own out of things like bottle caps and stuff for all you UBER crafty peeps out there!

TOUGH AND TUMBLE
What’s not predictable with a flowy, girly maxi?  A tough graphic tee!  For this look I added some more masculine elements to balance out the skirt and make it interesting!

I thought that a Harley tee, desert booties, a belt, and a squash blossom would be a fun addition to the skirt.
THRIFTY TIP: I got these J Crew booties at a second hand store, but I highly recommend the Tom’s ones since the J Crew ones are sold out!  HERE is a FABULOUS alternative however, and at half the cost!
SWAP IT OUT: Swap the booties for cowboy boots, and use a floral or a sweet girly print tee.  Still adorable, but just changes the look a bit!
CRAFTY DIY: I got this shirt in the men’s section at Goodwill for $4.  I took my scissors to it and made it more awesome!  Find some great old tees and cut the sleeves down (makes the shirt look less like a men’s shirt!) and cut a few holes in it.  You’ll have a great vintage looking tee for a fraction of the cost!  Also, places like Forever 21 are doing GREAT replicas of band tees for CHEAP!

Give it a go!  I hope these posts are super helpful for you and inspire you to be a tad more daring with what you already have!  Once I discovered that I could wear some of my skirts like dresses, it opened up a whole new realm of possibility for my closet!

HAPPY MIDWEEK!
Katy

On “Flaws” and Not Paying Attention To Them

I could be wrong, but I feel like no one really actually “loves” their flaws.  Tolerates, learns to minimize, and even appreciates maybe, but “loves”?  That’s a mighty strong word when it comes to being a woman and looking at things you consider “flaws”.  Now I get it…the word “flaw” can mean things like “an asymmetrical face” or “lots of freckles”.  That’s a little bit like cheating in my opinion because those things aren’t necessarily “flaws”, they’re more like “unique features”.  However, I do understand how those things could be seen as flaws to the owner of them!!  It’s just girl life though…we see a lot of “flaws” that aren’t really flaws, they’re really just things that make us uniquely us.

Obviously everyone’s body type is different.  It always amazes me how something can look so great on one person, and then the next girl who tries it on looks five months pregnant.  Yeah, sometimes it just sucks to be a girl huh??  Of course it’s best to try and dress to flatter your body, but there are exceptions to this rule.  Something that I’ve learned from time working at a clothing store, is that when a girl walks out of a fitting room and asks: “what do you think?” the best thing to do is to read her cues.  I mean, there have been times when someone walks out dressed in something that doesn’t fit exactly right and it’s not necessarily the optimal piece of clothing for her body…but she’s lit up like a christmas tree when she says: “what do you think?”  You can just see the excitement on her face and that she is absolutely thrilled with this thing she is wearing.  In those cases, I say: “I think it looks incredible.”  Is this a lie?  No.  Because she’s totally owning that piece of clothing.  She’s happy, glowing, and excited to wear it.  Therefore, she looks beautiful in it.  There are times when women walk out and ask this same question…and I can tell they are unsure.  That’s when I will feel the freedom to offer suggestions…”do you feel like it fits you right?  Is it pulling on your arms?” those kinds of things because in these cases I can tell there are currently doubts in her mind and she’s asking for me to look with a more critical eye.

The worst though is when you see two girls shopping together and one is shooting down every single item that makes her friend light up.  I absolutely hate to see this happen because you can see how it affects the body image of the girl who’s getting the constant criticism.  Suddenly her “flaws” become larger and larger in her eyes.  That top gives her fat arm.  That dress gives her a back roll.  Those pants are ugly.  She is now fully aware of her “flaws” instead of just enjoying her hunt…instead of being creative and seeing things on her the way SHE wants to see them.  Who cares if it gives her “fat arm”?  Does SHE like it on herself?  Ladies, we may not “love” our “flaws”, but if we stop looking at them so much they will get smaller!!!

This outfit is not the optimal for my body.  This vintage kimono robe totally gives me “fat arm” (you can tell I have been educated in the previous type of exchange!) and this dress kind of doesn’t flatter my tummy in the best way.  But I don’t care.  When I put it on, all I see are the beautiful colors and how it makes me feel.  So take that “flaws”.  I’m not looking at you!

The kimono is totally a robe thrifted from Goodwill (HERE’S another lace edged one).  The dress is MinkPink, but I thrifted it at Crossroads Trading Co. in Santa Barbara (similar HERE).  The boots are my Frye cowboy boots I’ve had for years (similar HERE) and the necklace I got on sale at Free People but it’s by this amazing company Sun and Glory.   It’s not available anymore, but GOOD NEWS!  THIS ONE is a straight copy and under $25. 🙂

I hope you’re not looking at your “flaws”.  Because I’m pretty sure you don’t have any 🙂
Katy