Advice in Style: How To Dress Like A “Have”

First of all I want to clear something up.  I don’t like the whole idea of the “haves” and the “have nots”…this post is most definitely not meant to reinforce this concept!  But, if you keep reading, hopefully you’ll get my point (and have some fun too!).

I wrote an article a little while ago about how Vogue attacked fashion bloggers and attempted to minimize their value using some choice words that seemed a bit more like something you’d say to a close friend instead of making them public to the world.  If you want to get my whole take on what they said, please read the post!  This whole thing got me thinking about the fashion industry as a whole.  So, I love fashion.  Obviously.  I want to go to fashion week, see the famous runway shows, and own some couture of my own.  I love it.  However (you can see the big “but” right?) there are some things about the fashion industry that aren’t so nice.  Fashion has always been an indicator, and sometimes dictator of classes.  I mean, it used to be actually illegal for people of certain classes and incomes to wear some styles of clothing.  That way, you could look at a person and determine how much money they make!  Can you believe this?  I mean, talk about a horrible and judgmental world to live in where you could be thrown in jail for wearing a dress that didn’t fit your wallet size.  Yuck.  Maybe things have changed and progressed quite a bit since then.  But we are still not immune from this whole “judge a book by it’s cover” thing.  I think we can often still size someone up based on their outfit pretty darn easily.  But now, since it’s legal to wear anything really, we can pull the wool over people’s eyes much easier!

Years ago there was this old hippie guy who worked at my local Trader Joe’s.  He was super opinionated, kind of funny, and liked to kind of talk at you and spout out his political thoughts and whatever was on his mind while he was ringing up your groceries.  I rather enjoyed it.  I would just listen, nod my head, and bag up my own groceries while he told me all the problems with the world and all that jazz.  After a couple months of this, he stopped talking and asked me a question!  He asked me: “so what do you do?”  I answered him (I was a full time worship pastor at the time at my church) and when I gave my answer, he literally did a double take.  He looked so surprised.  “What?” he said, shocked at my answer “oh wow…I thought you were like one of those super rich San Luis girls who…” (his answer trailed off into a lot of things I don’t remember, but were most definitely not things that describe me.  He then proceeded to tell me that because of my clothing, how I looked when I came into the store, he had made these determinations about me.  Yep.  He thought I was a “have”.  I remember what I was wearing that day.  I wear wearing a Juicy Couture dress I had got second hand and a furry pair of slippers from Target that people would literally stop their cars, roll down their windows, and ask me where I had gotten my “boots”.  I think you can tell where this whole thing is going!

It’s not the point I’m making, but hey, let’s attempt to stop sizing each other up by our clothes, ok?  I do it all the time, and I am working on NOT doing that.  I’ve been falsely judged because of what I wear lots of times.  The point I’m really making, is that we never should feel “less than” or shut out of the fashion industry just because we aren’t a mega celebrity with deep pockets and a trust fund.  You can look like a “have” (and BE a “have” just because, hey, you’ve got what matters right??) without spending a lot of dough.  Here are some tips for ya, in case you need them 🙂

Second hand stores and thrift stores are always, always worth a look.  I know many of you already know this, but I cannot even tell you some of the stuff I’ve seen at thrift stores for just a few dollars.  I mean, just because something was expensive or designer, doesn’t mean that whoever is selling it there knows that.  You will often see stuff worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars sitting right next to stuff from Old Navy.
Get out of town.  There’s something about going places you don’t normally go to shop that makes you find great stuff.  Don’t be afraid to drive to neighboring towns or go to the “rich” areas to check their thrift stores.  It’s like trick-or- treating in the neighborhoods who give out king size candy bars instead of just staying close by and getting a zillion “fun size” ones.  Fun size, my ass.
Stay off the beaten path. When you’re in a store like Target, steer clear of the women’s section.  This sounds super not intuitive, which is why it works.  If I were to put together a complete outfit from a store like Target (and trust me, I go there enough to know what I’m talking about) and I wanted it to look expensive, here’s what I would do.  Shoes: slipper section (especially around fall…you never KNOW what furry boot-like treasures await you), Top: boys section (graphic tee), men’s undershirt, or women’s pajama section for a button down pj top, Jacket: men’s or boy’s section for a blazer, Jeans: women’s section, but take a pair of scissors and a razor and modify them, Accessories: little girl’s section.  Do you catch my drift?  Part of why this works is that if you have a Target in your town, every woman wears stuff from the women’s section.  Therefore, if you shop around the women’s section, no one will know that what you have on came from Target.  Plus, I’m gonna say this again.  Those furry slippers got me more compliments than almost anything I think I have ever bought.  And they were like $10.
Be true to yourself.  Don’t buy or wear stuff that you don’t love just because it’s a designer name.  This will never get you anywhere in feeling great about yourself because you won’t feel great in your clothes.  Confidence in one’s outfit goes a long way to conveying that you love what you are wearing and who you are.  So if you don’t love it, don’t wear it no matter what the original price tag is.  Plus, sometimes you’ll find stuff that was expensive originally marked down at second hand stores simply because…it’s ugly.  Designers have “misses” too and often those are the things that people buy, regret, then get rid of.  Make sure that it’s a good find and not just a “used to be expensive” find.

And here it is.  Proof that I don’t iron my outfits when I probably should.  (I hate ironing!)  I love this outfit.  My top is a thrifted silk pajama shirt, jeans are old Levi’s I distressed myself, and my shoes cost $5 at H&M.  You could easily find an outfit like this in a magazine for about 32 times what I actually paid for this.  Looks can be deceiving, you guys 🙂

I don’t care what you have, you are a “have”.  Remember that.  No more keeping up with the Joneses, keeping up with myself is work enough!

Happy Monday
Katy

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

Fashion Feeling: Nothing To Wear

Do you ever just put something on, and feel AMAZING?  And then, naturally, you immediately forget the outfit and the next day whine that you have “nothing to wear”?  This is my daily routine.  I have about seven years worth of amazing outfits hanging in my closet that I add to almost daily…and yet…I can never figure out what to wear.  The struggle is real, people.

Sometimes what I remember and what I forget baffles me.  Why is it that I can remember a hundred negative things over the course of the past few years and yet I can’t remember that one amazing thing that happened yesterday?  Dang it.  I hate that it’s easier to remember the bad stuff.  I’m generally a positive, happy person.  And yet, my brain can cling to the bad stuff the same as any other human out there.

It’s very easy for me to focus on the things that make me unhappy.  The things I want.  The things that I haven’t achieved yet.  So instead, I thought I’d make a list of the things that make me happy.  The things that I love, that bring joy to my life and a smile to my face.  Maybe you can do the same!  Things I love: (these are a few of my favorite things!)
1. Starbucks cold brew (if you see me on Instagram, you know this already!)
2. Putting pumpkin spice in my coffee in the mornings (not all of these are about coffee, I promise)
3. Really nailing my outfit
4. Getting the house clean and sitting down in the evening to watch a tv show with my husband
5. New episodes of my favorite shows (I love my tv, guys)
6. Grocery shopping with coffee and getting everything I need on the list (coffee again, sorry!)
7. Finding a GREAT find at the thrift store or at any store really.  Just finding something that I’ve been looking for or that makes me feel fabulous.
8. My kids singing songs (all originals of course) and reading me their books.  Their interpretations of things are hilarious and FAR better than the originals!
9. Fall.  I LOVE FALL.
10. Listening to Coldplay.  I never, ever get tired of anything they do.

There are a LOT of other things that are even more dear to my heart than these things.  But sometimes, I think in times when you’re struggling, it’s helpful to find those small things that bring you joy in your everyday life.  Those are the mundane things amongst the struggles and the exhaustion of life that really are like the “frosting” on your days!

This outfit combines two things I love.  A fabulous outfit (I feel the greatest in something funky and unexpected) and a super great find.  I visited a local thrift store I frequent as often as possible and I picked up this vintage boyscout tee for $4.99!  It was definitely one of those fabulous finds for me!  I decided that layering and mixing this tee with a slightly quirky outfit was the best way to make sure no one thinks I’m actually trying to look like a scout, so ruffles and plaid it is!  I love the combination of the plaid pencil skirt and the floral ruffles, all tied together with this pair of basic riding boots.  Everyone needs at least one pair of regular, good old, riding boots in their closet.  Because you never know when the rest of your outfit will be SO CRAZY you’ll just need a normal pair of shoes right?  (I can hear you laughing at me!)

No matter what’s going on, hope you can find those little things that make you happy amidst everyday life.  And that you have a fabulous outfit on at the very least 🙂
Katy

 

 

Real World Style: Hanna Marin

I’m an unashamed Pretty Little Liars fan.  I have been completely sucked in and engrossed in the happenings of Rosewood since the beginning of the show, and I have loved every minute of the mystery, the surprises, and the FASHION.  You know when a show is about girls (Sex and the City, Gossip Girl) that the clothes are gonna be off the hook.  And this one does not disappoint.  If you don’t watch it, you really don’t need to know what it’s about to appreciate the good style of the four girls.  Each girl has her own signature look and I love watching and re-watching episodes when I need a little bit of new inspiration.  One of the great things about this show is that it’s in this fictional place where it’s basically perpetually fall.  What does this mean?  This means they always get to wear the PERFECT clothing.  Lots of layers, tights, boots…all the things we typically want to wear year round, but especially if you’re like me and in a warmer area, are limited to layering only during a few precious months out of the year.

Now I’m all about originality.  But don’t you ever look at an outfit and think to yourself: “I just want to wear that outfit.”  I think we all do.  There are times when the simplicity of seeing something on someone, and then replicating it is a nice little interjection into your daily style.  I think it also allows you to try out a different style and refresh your wardrobe a bit…”copying” can be a nice way to get new ideas and new pieces!  This happened to me the other evening while watching the show.  I saw her outfit, and thought…I’m gonna do that.  So I did.  Here’s what happened.

The outfit: rose gold/copper satin bomber, leopard button down, and skinny jeans.  So easy right?  I love the simplicity of it, the layers, and the combination of the leopard and the metallic.  Totally wearable and chic.  Her jacket is actually from Topshop so it’s under $100, but I knew I could do better than that.  I found this one for closer to $40 and it’s so great!  I thrifted a button down leopard top, those are typically a great easy thrift store find.  You could even switch up this look with a gingham, striped, or plaid button down to make it your own!  I needed some high waisted skinny jeans, so I found some at Urban Outfitters on sale for about $40.  Hers are from Frame Denim and those will set you back a bit more than these.  (*photo and information from the fantastic wornontv.net on which you can find out where all your favorite characters shop!)

And there you have it.  I can now look like my favorite “Liar” for a frAction of the cost!  (sorry, that was a little bit of PLL humor for you all 😉

hAppy WednesdAy 🙂
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

On Style Ruts and Having Fun

Even people who love to wear clothes and to shop get into style ruts.  Like me.  I love to style and to put together outfits…but these past two weeks I’ve been kind of, off my game you could say.  Not like in a slump where I can’t figure out what to wear, but more like I’m just kind of uninspired I guess.  It’s funny how something you love so much and generally have fun doing can even feel like a chore at times.  Blog posts have been not really happening as much the past couple of weeks, partly because life has been busy and partly because figuring out what to write about and what I want to creatively put together has been more of a struggle than usual.

I know that I put a lot of pressure on myself to preform in a lot of ways.  This is partly what causes the ruts for me quite honestly.  I put pressure on myself to come up with great ideas and to constantly outdo myself and then suddenly things that are typically fun for me become frustrating and exhausting.  So today, I decided that adopting the Nike slogan was the best idea.  Just do it.  And then I had my inspiration.  Today, let’s talk about getting out of a style rut.  This post is as much for me as it is for you…maybe more!

So here we go!  This may be different for you than it is for me, but if you’re suddenly a closet case, suffering from outfit anxiety and blue jean boredom…here’s some tips to help you get OUT of that rut, and INTO something new!

HAVE FUN.  This might sound silly, but sometimes to counteract boredom with a bit of fun, you gotta be a little silly, a little goofy, maybe even a little juvenile.  Like for example, putting some pompom sandals with your jeans and a tee.  Wearing a shirt that has a woodland creature on it.  Adding a little piece of “costume” to your outfit…it can be small and subtle like a clever slogan on a piece of jewelry or bolder like a flower crown.  All I’m saying is, wear something that makes you smile and reminds you of playing dress up as a little girl.  No one even needs to know that’s what you’re doing, but you’ll feel the difference!

GET BACK TO BASICS.  This has two meanings, really.  First off, revisit the BASICS in your closet.  For example, I realized that my denim collection needed a refresh.  I have a lot of jeans, but many of them are old and kind of out of date and not the style I’m craving lately.  I have some great flares and bells, but I’ve been in a rut with those things…I needed some good skinny jeans and some great boyfriend jeans to add in.  So check out your basics…you may even have all that you really need, but maybe you need to clean some of the old basics out and replace them with some new graphic or plain tees with a revamped fit and style.  The second meaning of this statement is, to remember what you love, style-wise.  Get back to the basics of WHO you ARE, the STYLES you LOVE, and the LOOKS you ADMIRE.  If you’re a classic jean and tee girl, then re wear a few of your favorite things or an outfit you felt great in last time you wore it.  (yes, outfit repeating is not only allowed, it is encouraged!) Remember what eras you love and play with mimicking them.  I’m a 70’s lover, so for me, that means throwing on my high waisted orange bell bottoms and a retro t shirt.  I feel like “me” in that look and it never bores me.  It always feels fresh to me.

GO SHOPPING.  Okay, I get it.  This may not be in your budget, I understand!!  But how about thrift store shopping?  I use thrifting all the time to get out of a rut and sometimes buying a $5 vintage denim skirt or scoring a $4 Free People top is all I need to do it.  You could also call up a few friends and do a closet swap!  That way no one pays a dime, and everyone leaves with new stuff.  And don’t forget about places like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading Co. that will pay you cash or give you store credit for your gently used stuff.  You really don’t need to go on a huge shopping spree to get out of a rut!

GET INSPIRED.  Magazine photo spreads are my favorite for this.  Because just the act of seeing what other people are doing creatively will often spark your creativity.  You’ll see new layering ideas, new pattern mixing thoughts, and ideas of pieces you may want to add in to your wardrobe.  Fashion is basically all of us copying each other but with our own flair added to it!  I love it love it LOVE IT when I hear that someone was inspired by me.  When someone asks if she can “copy me” (usually that means she’s doing her own thing but it was inspired by me, so it’s not really even copying to me!) it MAKES MY DAY.  It is the HIGHEST compliment to me to hear that something I wore inspired someone else.  So take a look at the Free People catalog, Instagram, Vogue, Who What Wear…whatever inspires you most, and COPY AWAY!

Okay, so this is me breaking out of my style rut!  I thrifted this two piece (top and skirt) vintage MADNESS from the Goodwill.  It’s CRAZY isn’t it?  And I LOVE IT!  I will most likely wear this together and separately mixed with other pieces, and I think it’s just fabulously and horrifyingly bizarre.  I decided that after being in a rut, I needed to have some fun and wear some vintage (abiding by my rules that I talked about above!) and just be a little crazy.  I don’t have to be creative in this outfit because it does all the work for me honestly.  But it’s a start for me getting back to having some fun with styling again!

HAVE FUN this week with your outfits!  I mean, why not right?  Outfits are totally a creative expression of who we are!

Happy Tuesday
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

On Basics…and Being Anything But.

Most of you guys know me by now.  And if this is the first post you’ve read, hi!  My name is Katy, and I wear weird stuff.  I love putting clothes together that “don’t belong” and pairing stuff that could be “totally wrong” together.  So when I wear basics, I get bored if I don’t spice them up a bit.  Despite all this, I do love a good basic!  Welcome to my new series: Basics…Anything BUT!!!  I’m taking that “don’t be basic” thing to the next level, so come along with me if you feel like adding some spice to your life!

I’m gonna try to show you how you can take simple things (things you may have in your drawers) and make them more interesting using only a few extra pieces.  Some of them you may have in your closet, and some of them will be worth buying to add interest to many potential outfits hiding out in there, just waiting to be inspired!  But I’ll do my best to give you some DIY ideas, thrifting tips, and links to fun stuff you may want to snag at a bargain (or as much of a bargain as I can find!).  As ALWAYS…these ideas are meant to INSPIRE you.  Change things up as you get ideas…find your OWN unique spice to add in, because I know you got it in you!

Today it’s all about that blue gingham shirt.  You know, that one shirt that you always see in the J Crew catalog.  The one that the girl who always dresses really well sports with a pencil skirt or the perfect boyfriend jeans.  This is a key item for your closet, no matter WHAT your style, because it’s an easy go-to item.  It always looks tailored and precise.  Whether you buy it from J Crew, Gap, or a thrift store (this is a PERFECT item to thrift, the second hand shops tend to be loaded with them), it always looks nice.  The obvious things to wear this shirt with would be the things I already mentioned, but of course, my style bent always leans towards the unexpected, so that’s exactly where we are going to go today!

VINTAGE FUNK
This is for when you want to be either rocker chic, or just tomboy for the day.  Fun, easy, and great layering for spring time weather!

This look is ALL about the thrift store you guys.  Layering a tee over a gingham shirt has ENDLESS options!
THRIFTY TIP:  Shop thrift stores for vintage tees (focus on the men’s section and just look in the appropriate correlating size that will fit you) and loafers.  Boyfriend jeans are also a great thrift store find, you just have to be persistent.  If you want to go with the new option, I would suggest Gap (watch for sales) or Levi’s (vintage are best though!).
SWAP IT OUT:  Switch this look up by adding tennis shoes and and make it more sporty.  A Harley tee or a black destroyed tee and a pair of heels will turn this into a rocker chic outfit in no time!
CRAFTY DIY:  To get the rocker chic look easy-peasy, thrift a black tee and go crazy on that thing.  Stretch it out, cut a few holes with some scissors, and cut and fray the sleeves and the bottom hem.

DENIM CLASSIC
This look feels inspired by the J Crew catalog, but with an element of personality that keeps it from being straight off the pages.

Layering a chambray top over the gingham (pull the gingham collar and sleeves out to add texture) creates some layers that add interest.  Add a statement necklace and some black booties.
THRIFTY TIP:  Chambray tops, denim button downs, and denim jackets are all great thrift store items.  Also, Target usually has a decent selection of them (this one is Merona from Target) for under or around $20.  SQUASH BLOSSOM WOES?  THIS ONE will only set you back $18, and no one will be the wiser.  You won’t regret it!
SWAP IT OUT:  Another really fun layering idea is to layer a patterned button down over the gingham instead of the chambray.  A floral would be gorgeous!
CRAFTY DIY:  Don’t have a squash blossom or a great statement necklace?  Craft stores are typically loaded with beads and cool pendants.  Often if you just visit the bead section you will get inspired by just looking at what they have and that clear stuff that looks like fishing line is super easy to string beads on!

NONSENSICAL LACE
Layering a lace dress over a gingham shirt and bell bottoms?  I must be mad…


This look is like preppy meets festival wear.  Because, who says you have to decide to be one or the other?  If you can, be both! 🙂  The key to this look is to pull the collar and the sleeves out so that the shirt is still the under layer and it’s obvious.
THRIFTY TIP:  Lace is very IN right now, so you’re in luck!  The best way to pull this look off, is to head down to a thrift shop and shop the lingerie section for vintage slips or robes.  Lots of FUN!  Also, Forever 21 has SO MANY that would layer BEAUTIFULLY for this look…just check THESE out.
SWAP IT OUT:  Don’t have lace or lace just not your thing?  Try crochet.  A crochet tank top or dress would be a great swap for this look!
CRAFTY DIY:  Leather necklaces like this one are everywhere and they often cost more than a pretty penny, know what I’m saying?  Head to your local craft store and buy an assortment of leather laces, ribbon, and lace.  Make a “loop”, which will be the necklace part out of a leather lace, then tie a bunch of ribbon, lace, and even chain on…and you’ll basically recreate this look at a fraction of the price.  Don’t wanna craft? (I feel ya) THIS ONE is virtually the same for only $15!

CLASSIC ALL AMERICAN.  WITH A TWIST.
Red, white, and blue.  Oh yeah, and pink.  Why not?  Let’s keep it interesting!

A gingham shirt with a red skirt (no matter what length!) is always a classic, all American look.  But add THIS statement necklace (it’s under $30 and comes in two colors!) and you’ve completely changed it from a simple classic, to super interesting!
THRIFTY TIP:  Don’t want to spend even $30 for a necklace?  No worries.  Tons of options HERE to spend around $15 and you get to pick the look you want!
SWAP IT OUT:  Switch out the maxi skirt for a pencil skirt or a mini, and add some cool boots.  Cowboy will give you a western flair, and tall boots and a mini together give a go go girl vibe.
CRAFTY DIY:  If you want to get all creative and stuff (like SO MANY of you are!) get some fun tassels at your craft store (sometimes they’re in the drapery section, sometimes in the “riffraff” area, and attach them either onto a leather lace “necklace” you’ve tied together OR you can attach them onto a chain and make a super cool on-trend tassel necklace!  Heck, you can even make matching earrings too while you’re at it!

Go nuts with this look guys!  And if you do, please tag me when you post because I LOVE to see new and fresh ideas!  You INSPIRE ME!

Katy

On Vintage Slips and Definitely Never Feeling Popular

When I was a kid, since I was home schooled, church was my only school-like experience.  I remember most of my Sunday school teachers because they were the only teachers I ever had until high school.  Some of them were great and others were less than amazing.  I had this one teacher when I was probably around eight years old who was the worst of them all.  He was just bad, plain and simple.  He had no kids and clearly knew nothing about them besides how to screw them up.  He had decided that one of the girls in my class was the most beautiful, talented, and constantly praise worthy person in my small universe.  To be completely honest, she was recognized as this by everyone at church.  She was, to put it simply, the “popular girl” in high school…but instead of it being high school, it was kids in elementary school.  She was beautiful.  She sang beautifully.  She was the IT girl of Sunday school.  Our teacher would point this out basically every Sunday.  He would say things like: “everyone wishes they could be like her” and “she’s the most beautiful star of the class”.  I, on the other hand, was none of these things.  I always wanted to be the lead part in the little plays we would put on, but she always got those parts because I had no confidence to even try…and I knew she was a shoe in anyway.  I was awkward, home schooled, wore bad glasses, and had zero idea of who I was so I was very quiet and shy and lonely.  I remember going home and crying, wishing I could just be her.  I remember wondering why I was me, and why I wasn’t a “star” like her.  I probably wasn’t the only person who felt like this, given his intense obsession with publicly praising the golden girl of the Sunday school class.

Today, I was downtown and I saw a mom who looked like she had it all together.  She was dressed perfectly and her baby had a super cute outfit on and they seemed so happy and relaxed.  And there I stood.  Feeling fat and disheveled, sweating through my clothing, and once again reminded that I am not “the popular girl”.  Now that may not be really “true” per say, because lots of people like me (although I could definitely write you a list of people who do not like me! Ha!), but on the inside, I probably will never ever feel like “the popular girl”.  You know what?  That’s probably a good thing.  I had the (un)fortune of dealing with that same girl later on in life and sure, she was still beautiful, talented, and most definitely popular.  But I saw her derail her own life for a while because she was so convinced of her own status.  And watching this was kind of tragic…mostly because she was not free to be her own person.  Since she had been praised and labelled and pinned as “the popular girl” and over and over again told WHO she was and HOW SPECIAL she was, she couldn’t be anything other than who they told her she was. And in reality, no one should be praised like that constantly as a child.  Because we ARE all special and stars and all that jazz.  But we should have some kind of goals to strive for and some room to grow and find out who we are.  No matter WHO that is and WHAT that looks like.  There are times when I remember how much it hurt to be compared constantly to someone else and to always fall short.  But then I realize that it gave me the opportunity to really be myself and to really learn who that is.  Which, I’m still doing quite clearly. 🙂

I have ALWAYS loved vintage slips.  I had a bazillion for a while, then in a moment of weakness, got rid of some of them.  And now, I’m in love with them all over again.  They were kind of a “style signature” for me before I got pregnant and before I kind of lost who I was for a while.  I think that they will be again because I still love them and feel like I have a whole new way to wear them than I used to!

I got this kind of crazy, bordering on 1980’s floral top from a thrift store and I love how the sleeves are under this vintage slip!  I feel like it tones down the craziness of it!  The red cowboy boots are vintage from a shop on Etsy and the squash blossom is from Classic Rock Couture.

Popular or not popular, we all just gotta be ourselves right?

Happy middle of the week 🙂
Katy

On Perfect Imperfection and A Crazy Outfit Combo

I love to write.  I think that’s pretty obvious by now.  I’ve always loved to write. When I was really little I remember typing a story on my mom’s computer and finding it years later…only to discover that it was three sentences long!  Then I wrote a children’s story while I was in elementary school.  And attempted a novel in junior high.  I’ve realized since that I love to write…period…but I’d much rather write about real life than made up stories.  Unless one day I come up with a REALLY great idea…I’ll let you know if I do!

When I was in high school, my first English teacher since being homeschooled, was a sweet lady.  But she was not an amazing teacher.  I actually was asked (by her) to teach the class for one day in the ninth grade!  She was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t really challenged at all by her in the subject.  Then finally, by my senior year, we got teacher who was serious business.  We read things like The Great Gatsby and talked about symbolism and stuff like that.  And I wrote serious papers about real writing.

As much of a writer as I am, I’m really not incredibly strong in punctuation or even in spelling at times.  I try, but I’m comma happy and exclamation point happy.  I’m just happy okay?!?  Anyway, there was this one girl in my class who did everything perfectly.  You know those people who like literally do EVERYTHING perfectly?  Yep.  That was her.  She always got 100 percent or 99 percent (on an off day obviously!) on her papers, while I always got in the 90 to 95 percent range.  Why?  Because my punctuation was always off no matter how hard I tried.  One day, I read one of this girl’s papers out of curiosity.  I was super surprised when I read it.  It was perfect.  Clearly.  However, it was the most clinical and unfeeling essay on literature ever.  I’m not trying to criticize her, because honestly she was very gifted in a lot of things (like math and science) that I am very much not.  I just found it interesting that her paper, which was technically perfect, got a perfect score, whereas my paper, which was much more creative and heartfelt, received a lower grade.  At the time I was kind of frustrated.  I mean, I understood that my errors weren’t to be overlooked in a grading situation.  But my paper was just so much BETTER.  I’m not trying to brag or be mean about it, it’s just that I knew that my paper had heart and feeling and a lot of thought put into it.

It was a good lesson for me.  Because life is just not perfect.  It is just not worth it to me to lose all creativity just to get a perfect score.  I’m not interested in things that are clinical or technically perfect.  I’m interested in things that are meaningful and overflowing with passion and LIFE.  Those things tend to come with flaws.  I had to decide that I was most likely never going to be perfect at punctuation because I’m much too conversational in the way that I write, so I had to let go of my competitive side and just be who I am.  I’m never going to be a “technically perfect” type of person.  And that’s just okay with me.  It does happen to be much easier now that no one’s grading me on stuff though! 🙂

This outfit is just kind of out of control crazy.  And I love it!  It’s a chaotic mix of things that are not technically perfect.  But somehow, they all “feel” each other and they just work!  It’s pretty much all vintage from head to toe…and I love the combo of the floral/plaid/fur!

I hope your week is off to an absolutely perfectly imperfect start!
Katy