Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

Fluff Bags & Accessories

When we were at Atomic City a few weeks ago, looking at the half off sale, I noticed a laptop bag hanging down from the ceiling. I’ve been in the market for a cute new one, and this one was adorable! Unfortunately, I wasn’t for sure it would fit my laptop, and sale items were non-returnable, so I put it back. But, I did remember the brand name, and looked up Fluff when I got home.

Their stuff is ADORABLE. Not only do they make laptop bags, there’s also luggage tags, makeup bags, cute coin purses, snap mirrors, passport covers, and small or large framed wallets.

Femme Fatale Makeup Bag

Femme Fatale Makeup Bag

Vintage Dolly Luggage Tags

Vintage Dolly Luggage Tags

Vanite Mirror Compact

Vanite Mirror Compact

CUTE OVERLOAD. I’ll take one of everything! The prices aren’t bad at all, especially for independent items that are this nice to look at.

The laptop bag I had spotted in the store was the Glamour Shoes Laptop Bag:

Glamour Shoes Laptop Bag

Glamour Shoes Laptop Bag - $38

You can see its appeal to me, I assume. But now, looking around on the website, there’s also the Glamour Girl Laptop Bag:

Glamour Girl Laptop Bag - $25 on sale

Glamour Girl Laptop Bag - $25 on sale

Which is just as cute and on sale to boot. Hmmm.

When I handled the bag in the store, it seemed like a quality product and well put together. I’ve been looking for cute laptop bags for ages and as it turns out, these will fit my laptop after all (wish I had known that at the time!). When I get around to purchasing it, I’ll post a review and tell you all how it holds up!

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Birds of a Fether

I found this video via Bitching and Junkfood:

A collaboration between Erin Fetherston and director Marissa Crawford, the video was meant to be a “fashion fairytale”. It’s a neat little video, full of eye candy - poofy skirts and sequinned masks. It comes across as very Pied Piper to me - except for the part where the “leader” ducks off down an alley at the end. Perhaps a commentary on the nature of fashion, drawing inspiration from individuals on the street that then gets translated into catwalk, and then slowly trickled back down on to the street where the trend becomes ubiquitious (everyone has joined in on the “march”, so to speak). Except by that point, the trendsetter has most likely moved on!

What did you think of the video?

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In The Nude

Lately I’ve been craving a certain color; I’m not even sure if nude is the right descriptor - not too brown, not too pastel-pink, but a light dusty pink color. I don’t think this would work in my wardrobe in large amounts, so I’ve been thinking of ways to work touches of it in here and there.

Irregular Choice Candy

Irregular Choice Candy

These shoes are just perfect! The slightly pointed toe…the color…and for those who have the super-light complexions, light colored heels like these elongate the legs!

Monsieur Tillier Chiffon Tank at ShopRuche

Monsieur Tillier Chiffon Tank at ShopRuche

I’ve been lusting after this tank for ages; in fact, I think that might be where the color obsession spawned from!

Nude nails not only look super classy (and I imagine it’d be less noticeable when they chipped!), but they elongate the finger too!

I couldn’t find a picture of what I have in mind, but I think a bib or statement necklace with stones in that color would be a nice contrast against an all-black or monochromatic outfit without being garish.

Mother of Pearl Doctors Bag

Mother of Pearl Doctor's Bag

And isn’t this bag just the most gorgeous thing?!

Do you ever get “color cravings”? What do you do about it?

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A Contest For You!

You know, Decline Designs is nearing its 200th post, and I think it’s high time for the first contest!

So what’s this contest all about?

Remember the post a few weeks ago titled “10 More Places + Ways to Find Inspiration“? To enter the contest, you just need to make a Polyvore set using one of the items on that list as inspiration for it. This is really pretty open-ended and creativity will be the main factor judged; however, the sets should have an outfit in them somewhere!

What are the prizes?

There’s going to be a first prize winner and two runner-ups. The first prize winner will receive:

Their choice between the above two pairs of earrings, courtesy of Margo Morrison New York.

And the runner up prizes:

A pink denim kilt belt, courtesy of Wholly Cow Clothing.

This oversized baby pink satin bow with contrasting black velvet stripes, courtesy of Bitching and Junkfood.

The contest is open to anyone, worldwide. Just leave a comment with a link to your Polyvore entry, and your pick between the two runner up prizes, in case you’re chosen for one. The contest will end in two weeks, July 24th at midnight CST.

As always, thank you for reading and stay fabulous!


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Interview with Marion of Bitching and Junkfood

Bitching and Junkfood is an up and coming online clothing store that focuses on 80’s and 90’s clothing and accessories, with some gorgeous handmade items (check out this brooch, sadly already sold out!) thrown in for good measure. They were recently featured on Kingdom of Style and it’s obvious why! They’re also the first online shop you can shoplift from:

Yes, you read it right, there will be items you can nab for free. No we’re not telling you how: right time, right page, sticky fingers at the ready. Yes, it’s totally free, no postage, no packaging, sealed with a kiss – times are tough, we’re all broke, life’s too serious, let’s have a laugh.

Glitter Butterfly Shades

As you can see, Bitching and Junkfood is a breath of (much needed!) fresh air. I got the chance recently to chat with Marion, the owner of B&J, and ask her a few questions!

Bitching and Junkfood is such a great, off-the-wall name. How did you come up with it?

It’s a name that’s reflective of a lifestyle. I was sitting at a bus-stop one day with my friend a couple of years back and we were discussing hanging out on a Sunday. She said “Yeah, let’s just sit around bitching and order some junkfood.” (Saturated fat is one of my favorite flavors.) I said “Bitching and Junkfood”, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it! Little light bulb pops up over my head and I thought, one day I’ll have a brand called Bitching and Junkfood and here it is.

In light of the name, what IS your favorite junk food? ;) (I’d have to say almost anything sweet, I love me some ice cream/cake/brownies!)

Cake, biscuits and chocolate are my heroin. If I eat one biscuit I have to eat the whole pack. One day I will be found lying in a gutter covered in crumbs.

What gave you the idea to start a business with this concept? What did you do before B&J?

I have spent the last 5 years working in fashion buying and design for the UK high-street and had always wanted to branch out on my own and do something different so at the start of this year I just decided to go for it. I felt that there was a gap in the market for a UK based on-line vintage store with a high fashion feel. I’ve always loved vintage and have had a knack of tracking down the great eBay items that nobody else manages to find so I thought I could start a store where I could do the hard work and find the goodies leaving the customer footloose and fancy free to go party. I feel like a lot of stores lack humour and being Irish this is something that’s really important so I can be a bit cheeky in how I describe my clothing, use the occasional swear word (the Irish get a free swear pass) and have a shop-lift facility. The internet is great because you can push it a lot more than you could in an actual store.

So many people, when they think of vintage, seem to focus on 1940-1960. What made you want to do 80’s and 90’s instead? Does it jibe with your personal aesthetic more, you think?

Yeah, I’ve always been comfortable with trashy for some strange reason. I grew up in the 80’s so that’s what’s most natural to me. I love shoulders and big hair and angular cheeks - it fits best with my looks. I remember thinking my mother was the most glamorous person in the world when I was five - her style was really Dynasty and Dallas and she used to wear these crazy big earrings and batwing dresses with abstract prints on them, so I guess this influenced me a lot.

And a few about style/your personal look…

Total schizophrenic. Clothing is too much fun to stick to one style. I have always been a tall, gawky, angular kind of girl so have never really been able to do the whole pretty and cute thing. I like layering but with I also need definition with tight and structured elements - corset belts are a godsend. Coco Chanel said “always take off one thing (accessory, non important clothing item) before you leave the house”  - I say always put two things on.

How do you define style or someone who is stylish? Can you describe your personal style in 10 words or less?

Avant Garde, Playful, Boy, Girl, Eclectic, Unkempt, Dark,  Cock-rock.

Who or what would you say are your biggest influences, style-wise?

Rick Owens, Vivienne Westwood, Margiela, Roisin Murphy, Kelis, Adam Ant.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! The lovely Marion of Bitching and Junkfood. Be sure to check out the shop, the blog, and follow her on Twitter!


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Defining Your Personal Style: Finding Your Focus

(a little photo from my new sewing room/work area…I set all of my shoes up on display!)

Everyone has favorites. It’s only natural to like one thing the most out of a group! So here’s where you ask yourself: what’s my favorite part of getting dressed in the morning?

Seems like a silly question, I know. But it actually pays off to think about it. Do you like putting on your makeup the post? Or maybe picking out your shoes?

Whatever your favorite part is, whatever you love to do with a little bit of a flourish, let that become your focus. This doesn’t mean neglecting all other aspects of your look! On the contrary, it can look a little odd when someone walks down the street who obviously put a lot of time and effort into their outfit, but their hair is a total mess. The point here is to recognize what you enjoy the most about your look, and then spend the most time, effort, and money on that.

Example: I, obviously, am a shoes person. Accessories come in a close second. To me, shoes and accessories make the outfit - you can spice up even the most boring outfit ever with the right pair of shoes and some funky jewelry. So I devote most of my wardrobe money (and more importantly, my time/energy spent shopping) into finding really good deals on shoes or accessories that I love. Clothing, on the other hand, I tend to be really cheap when it comes to, because I know I can usually make something similar if I really like it.

Possible focus areas include:

(credit)

  • Hair: I was never much of a hair person; I tend to wear the same style almost every day aside from easy-to-put-in accessories. If you’re a hair person you might be someone with long hair who enjoys styling it a different way every day (one reason I have short hair - FAR too lazy for that nonsense!), or someone who spends a while straightening it every morning. Places to invest are styling products, hair cut and color, hair accessories, etc.

(Photo is from Doe Deere Blogazine, photography by Grenouille)

  • Makeup: You might be a makeup person if you love to spend hours testing out new color combinations, finding the perfect one for your skintone and start planning a makeup scheme for every outfit you wear as soon as you put it on. Place to splurge: makeup and brushes/other utensils, obviously.

(credit)

  • Shoes! If you’re a shoes person, you probably know. No explanation needed!

(credit)

  • Accessories: If you love to own beautiful jewelry, build your outfit around certain accessories, or delight in finding just the right accents to make the rest of the outfit pop, then you’re probably an accessories person. Things to focus on: a good mani/pedi, jewellery (which doesn’t have to mean expensive jewelry, scouring thrift stores or vintage shops for one of a kind pieces is always fun), socks, belts, hats, etc.

(credit)

  • Clothing: If none of the other options excite you terribly but you’re constantly lusting after one clothing item or another, then you’re probably a clothing maven! Obviously, feel free to spend the majority of your time and effort scouting out good clothing deals or splurgeworthy items.

Of course, there will be some overlap. Bargain shoppers (like me) will always be trying to find a good deal when it comes to anything, but if I find a shoe or brand I love, I’ll scout all over (or, you know, just look on Amazon…) to find the best deal on it. And of course, there’s a good chance that everyone reading this will love clothing to some degree - this IS a style blog, after all! The goal is to just find your one or two favorite areas. If you try to have impeccable hair AND makeup AND clothing AND shoes…it can get really tough and it’s a lot easier to just say “fuck it” and stay in your PJs than make any effort at all! By all means, take care of yourself, but don’t try to do it all perfectly all the time!

The best way to go about shopping, in my opinion, is to find the best deals on your favorite things (i.e. high quality items, on sale, or lightly used), and then fill in the gaps with DIY’d items, thrift store finds, new but deeply discounted items, etc. This gives you the focus you need, which will help you develop and maintain a unique personal style and take on things.

So - what’s your focus and how do you express that in your style/outfits?

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Decline Designs Shop Grand Re-Opening!

I am SO excited to announce that today is the grand re-opening of the shop! I have listed all sorts of yummy vintage dresses, all very reasonably priced (there isn’t anything in the shop right now over $50 and I’m going to try and keep it that way!). I have more things on the way and will be updating on a very regular basis, so be sure to watch for future posts about it. BUT! The point of this post is something much more exciting than that!

In celebration of the store’s re-opening, I’m doing a week-long sale! Twenty percent off everything in the store, until next Wednesday. So why don’t you go take a look?

70s Pink/White Lace Dress M

70's Pink/White Lace Dress M

70s Lemon Yellow Draped Dress M

70's Lemon Yellow Draped Dress M

70s Blue/Pink V-Neck Dress M

70's Blue/Pink V-Neck Dress M

Be sure to keep checking back as well, since I’ll be updating regularly!

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More (On Sale!) Shoes

I thought I would share the news, for those of you that aren’t following Savvy Circle on Twitter and/or may have missed the announcement yesterday that the promo code SALE can be used until the end of this month on already on sale items at Shoes.Com for an additional 20% off! Pretty neat, no? Here’s what caught my eye:

Dr. Scholls Kitten - originally $71, $39.76 after code

Dr. Scholl's Kitten - originally $71, $39.76 after code

I LOVE these. I’m worried they might look a little cheap in person (faux-patent is always tricky) - but…free returns, right? Dr. Scholl’s has some surprisingly cute stuff; I would have thought most of their designs would be ugly and clunky, for some reason. There are definitely some misses (the Dance looks like the unholy spawn of Crocs and 70’s clogs, amirite?) but there are other cute shoes too; I really like the Diefy. Plus - you know it has to be comfy, look at the maker!

Seychelles Bad Mama Jama - originally $91.99, $59.19 after code

Seychelles Bad Mama Jama - originally $91.99, $59.19 after code

This one is for Elle and her recent “whedgle” obsession!

Naughty Monkey Space Invaders - originally $96.99, $69.59 after code

Naughty Monkey Space Invaders - originally $96.99, $69.59 after code

I keep hearing raves about how comfortable Naughty Monkey is, I’ve been dying to pick up a pair! Also on sale in black.

Naughty Monkey Walk the Talk - originally $91.99, $59.19 after code

Naughty Monkey Walk the Talk - originally $91.99, $59.19 after code

Great pop of color for summer, and I love the hardware accents!

VIA SPIGA Petra - originally $217, $87.68 after code

VIA SPIGA Petra - originally $217, $87.68 after code

One word: Fierce. And check out the savings - about $130 off!

Also, remember the $3 graphic tee sale Old Navy had several weeks ago? Apparently this weekend is a similar sale, only with $2 tank tops. I’ll be searching out my local Old Navy! Who says updating your wardrobe for summer should be expensive, hmm?!

Update: I also just got an email from DSW with the code “SUMMERLUV” for $10 off a $49+ purchase; valid until the 22nd!

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Defining Your Personal Style, Part Three: Using Your Inspiration

So! Now that we’ve discussed how to get a rough concept and figuring out what your wardrobe essentials are, we’re going to discuss what is the logical next step (to me, anyways!): using your inspiration. You should have had some time now to build up an inspiration folder or think about movies that inspire you. The block that I run into after this step is that sometimes it’s hard to translate a movie or photographic experience into an outfit. Case in point: Moulin Rouge. SUPER inspiring to me, visually, but not easy to translate into everyday wear. Most of us can’t walk around in corsets, garters + thigh highs all of the time, much as we’d like to! (or, well, I would like to anyways…) Training the eye to pick out details, bits and pieces, and put it together into an outfit that expresses that inspiration without merely copying it detail for detail - THAT is a valuable skill to have, yessiree. I’m going to try to show you how to do that with this post.

It seems pertinent here, so, a side note about looking “costumey” - I see warnings against this all the time. I say, costumey schmostumey! If it’s what you want to wear, WEAR IT, regardless of how over-the-top it is. That doesn’t mean copy a costume from a movie, because that usually doesn’t allow for any personal expression and that’s the reason we’re doing all this thinking and such in the first place, right? Right. On with the show!

First off - working from a photo. I think this is a little easier than a film, since you don’t have quite as much to draw from, so it’s not so incredibly overwhelming at first. Audi of Fashion for Nerds recently ran a contest based around creating an outfit from a photo; the results are definitely worth looking at to get an idea of how to do it!

Second - working from a film. I think this is a lot more challenging, because you have at least an hour’s worth of costuming, sets, makeup, and atmosphere to draw from; and the atmosphere is a HUGE part of it - which can be really hard to put in to outfit form.

In summary, you’re looking for a few things in particular:

  • Colors. One of the easiest things to notice is the palette of the film and this is a great place to start that won’t make your brain hurt. Notice what the main colors are, and the accents.
  • Actual costuming. The most obvious place to start by far - the problem is that you can end up looking like an extra on a film, instead of incorporating your personal style in to it. Still worth looking at, just be careful.
  • Textures - pretty self explanatory. Look for any standout textures - metallics, shine, matte, gloss, etc.
  • Atmosphere. Easily the hardest thing to get across with an outfit! A lot of this is because of the colors used in the film, so again, pay very close attention to that.
  • Any little details that catch your eye. It’s hard to say anything more detailed than that - you just know when you see it, some little tiny glimpse of an object in the background or a pair of shoes only on screen for 30 seconds (I spent a good six months being obsessed with the boots that River wears in Serenity, which are only on screen for maybe 45 seconds throughout the entire movie. Never did find a similar pair!).

On to the examples!

I picked two movies that I love which have amazing visuals - Coraline and Pan’s Labyrinth. I rewatched Pan’s Labyrinth to make sure I’d have a really good feel for it, but unfortunately can’t re-watch Coraline yet, since it doesn’t come out until JULY! Sigh. So I worked from memory (which should be pretty good, since I saw it three times in theatres!) and looking at stills/trailers online. Here’s what I came up with:

Pan’s Labyrinth

I’m going to start with the more challenging of the two. Pan’s Labyrinth was really hard for me to nail down, probably because the movie is a fairy tale but very dark; and most of the character’s wardrobes aren’t something that really sticks with you. The really breathtaking visuals are in the backgrounds and the more fantastical creatures, not so easy to convey in clothing. If you haven’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth, here’s the trailer:

Stills are kind of thin on the ground, but you can see a few and the promotional art at IMDB. And here’s what I came up with:

Alright. Let’s start with the accessories - I have no hard reasoning behind the pearl-esque wire-wrapped necklace, it just seems like it would fit with the visuals of the movie and I like it. The fairy necklace is pretty obvious, and the book is inspired by the book the faun gives her. Throughout the movie Ophelia is seen wearing a hair-bow more than once. The boots are a visual reference to the faun’s hoofed feet (and now I desperately want a lookalike pair, since there’s no way I can afford the original!). The coat is also in a similar style to Opelia’s, worn throughout the movie. Purple is the color of royalty, and the skirt is pinafore-esque without being overly so (and the color is close to the beaded necklace, anchoring it). I think this is pretty good; not a total success but close!
Coraline

This was much easier for me - I’m not sure why. Maybe because Coraline is more stylised, being an animated film? Anyways. Here’s the trailer for Coraline:
The website is here (in case you missed it in my slightly obsessed ramblings a few months ago!), and you can see several stills here. Go ahead. Play around on the website a while. I’ll wait.
Okay. Now here’s the outfit I got:
The overall palette is pretty close to the Other World in Coraline - lots of jewel tones, with occasional pops of really bright colors (yellow, in this case), and lots of different textures to look at and be mesmerized by. Buttons play a big part in Coraline (all of the people in the Other World have buttons for eyes), and it’s always night there (the star earrings). The bracelet reminded me of the garden in the Other World. Coraline, of course, has blue hair! (okay - the wig might be going a bit too far if replicating this outfit in real life, but I couldn’t resist!) She also wears a yellow raincoat throughout most of the movie, and at one point has blue ankle boots on (I’ve also read suggestions before of matching hair to shoe color, so this is a doubly functioning item!). The Other Mother wears a lot of retro-inspired clothing, including a polka-dot skirt and top set at once point. I really love this set, although it might just be because I would wear it 100% as-is and love every minute of it. The yellow jacket and skirt are now on my wishlist, in fact.
If you HAVEN’T started a list of things that inspire you, I asked some of the people on my Twitter list what movies they found most inspiring and here are the results! (note: if there was more than one tweet, it is condensed into one, for reading ease)
_apricottea@declinedesigns check out my latest post, love. might answer that question. :] http://bit.ly/cRBIz most of my favs. are in the post but The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is also good. Cloverfield has amazing cinematography
bonsoirbella@declinedesigns The Fall, The Cell, Moulin Rouge, Velvet Goldmine, Ma Vie En Rose, Legend, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Golden Compass, Sweeney Todd, Dune (Lynch version), The Fifth Element, Captain Whatever and the Sky blah blah. Zombie films! (seriously), old classics
ashemischief@DeclineDesigns @BonsoirBella Definitely Moulin Rouge, Labyrinth. I’d add Mirrormask, anything by Ingmar Bergamn (my dead lover), Amelie. You’ve totally opened a can of worms. Marie Antoinette, The Royal Tenebaums, The Prestige, Pan’s Labyrinth, Secretary… the New World, Vanity Fair, Picnic at Hanging Rock, 300, Across the Universe, the Spirit, 28 Days Later, CQ. Oh! The City of Lost Children. ANYTHING by Guillermo del Toro. He’s like my living film lover. the Orphanage, Hell Boy I & II are GORGEOUS.
PeachMcGee@declinedesigns Favourite modern film for costuming and general lifestyle envy is Gosford Park. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is gorgeous.
Lucalexa@declinedesigns My list: Contempt, Let the right one in, Mon oncle, Pan’s Labyrinth, Delicatessen
wicked_halo@declinedesigns you have to watch the fall, it’s like your eyes bulge out of their eyeballs of all the visual yummyness!

So! There is QUITE the list to start with (and believe you me, there were several movies mentioned that I haven’t seen, and they are now on my list!). It also goes without mentioning, but all of those gals? Fabulous + you should check ‘em out! :)

What do you think, dear readers? Anything I missed? If you have any film or photo inspired outfits, be sure to share them, because I would LOVE to see!!

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Defining Your Personal Style, Part Two: The Essentials

So, every book on fashion ever written has a chapter or section on essentials. I, personally, find these really useless. Example? The “essential” crisp white button up shirt is a total throwaway to me. They make me think of servers, finding button up shirts that fit at bust and waist is a nigh-impossibility for me, and hellooooooo stains! Admittedly, I am a wee bit klutzy when it comes to food and that might be a large part of my bias towards this supposed wardrobe essential (+ most anything white). But, psst, if you’re curious about creative ways to work it in to your style, check out Sal’s post on the subject.

Really, everyone’s essentials are going to be different - the most you can say is that people with similar styles might have similar essentials. But depending on a person’s favorite/most flattering colors, figure, or nuances in their taste, even that might not be the same. Why am I doing an “essentials” post then? Well, if there’s someone with a similar style to mine - which I’m going to very roughly define as a love of bright colors mixed with retro influence and a healthy dose of whimsy + a love for dark fairy tales and 70’s punks (I said very roughly, didn’t I?!) - my list might be a good starting point. But mostly, I’m hoping that by showing you my thought process in choosing them, it will make you realize your own. What are your basics? See anything that’s on my list? Why are they so essential and versatile in outfits? What do you love about them, and, if anything, what do you dislike?

Ok. Now that you’re thinking about that, here’s my list:

  • Black patent Mary Jane heels - I bought the Sofft shoes back in, I think, November. I have worn them COUNTLESS times since. They can make a look more polished, they work fantastically with retro-inspired outfits, and they can ground a really “out there” look. Some people find patent tacky, but I love it.
  • High waisted pencil skirt. I love high waisted skirts, I really do. I very rarely wear it with the tops tucked in (although that does make legs look a mile long, especially when paired with a heel/wedge that doesn’t have any straps - creates an unbroken line), but girls - a high waisted skirt will suck you in like you would not believe, without being uncomfortable!, and just having the fabric between your top and your tummy tends to make the top lie smoother.
  • Peep-toe slingbacks in a neutral color - Mine are black. I’m putting these on the list even though I haven’t had them long (I’m speaking of my Pekoe Fluevog slingbacks), because I’ve had them two weeks and worn them probably 5-10 times already! They’ve gotten rid of my old aversion to open-toed shoes singlehandedly. They’re cute, fun, and flirty - this pair has a little extra going on with the knotted leather, but a p lain pair would be just as versatile, I’m sure. Slingbacks are so great for me because I seem to have a problem with heels slipping - a strap across the foot or a slingback seems to really help with this problem.
  • A-line skirt, or, conversely, a circle skirt. I know these are NOT the same thing, but I consider them essentials for similar reasons - they look cute with almost anything (given that the colors don’t clash terribly, of course) and add a little retro flair. My only real beef with circle skirts is that, usually, you have to tuck the shirt or top you’re wearing in, or it’s not very flattering. This problem might not exist without wearing a petticoat underneath it, I’m not 100% sure. That’s not usually a problem with a-line skirts, though.
  • Black boots. If you’ve been paying attention, you know I love me some boots. I wear them year round and scoff at those who say boots are winter wear only! A good pair of black boots can go just about anywhere and with anything. I own several variations on this (Dansko ankle boots, Nine West lace-ups with buckle accents, slouchy Bronx boots, and the Fluevog engineer boots), and if I don’t already have a pair of shoes planned for an outfit I usually turn to one of those pairs.
  • Big costume jewelry rings. I love them, ’nuff said. They are sparkly and awesome and borderline tacky, everything I love in a piece of jewelry!
  • Feathery and/or otherwise over the top hair accessories. They make me feel glamorous and amazing, and really, that’s enough of a reason to be an essential, don’t you think?

Another exercise is to look at one of the dreaded “every closet MUST HAVE THIS!” lists. To start getting an idea of basic wardrobe building blocks, take each individual item on the list and think about why they suggested it (aside from that a lot of essential lists are simply rehashes of every other one every written *cough*), and then think of something that has your own little twist that fulfills the same function. Example: the white t-shirt. I’ve seen some lists that say you should have three of this item in your wardrobe. No matter what. But me - aside from the aforementioned food hazards, I very rarely wear white and not by my face if I can at all help it, because it washes me out. Since I am, you know, very nearly that color myself! So what takes the place of a white t-shirt (i.e. a piece that is a blank canvas and can be accessorized or layered at will - why most lists seem to love the white shirt) in my case, would be a black puff-sleeve shirt - black because it goes with everything I own, puff sleeves add that little bit of whimsy I love. This method is how I realized that I need a shirt as described in my wardrobe, and so I’m planning on purchasing one soon!

Now, I’m going to ask you again - what items do you find yourself turning to again and again? Wearing over and over? It really helps to make a list of these, or at least really think about it. If the current versions of these items are getting worn out and/or are uncomfortable (doubly so if they’re uncomfortable and you keep wearing them - you trooper you!), you might look in to investing in another version of them. To me, the smartest way to build a wardrobe is to get the highest quality you can (which does not mean spending oodles!) on the things you’ll wear constantly, and get more budget-friendly versions of the rest. Then again, my high waisted pencil skirt is a Converse one from Target that’s lasted great so far, so whatever works for you is, again, the rule of thumb!

Whew. Now that THAT process is over, what are your newly discovered style essentials? Have you realized that there’s something you’re missing? And let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see covered!

Coming up next: how to put together an outfit based on a photo or film.

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