Posted in Fashion Fridays

Fashion Friday: All Dressed Up

Okay, okay.  I’m going to be the first to admit how hypocritical this post may seem after yesterday’s post.  But I will remind you that I’m not against the idea of dressing up altogether.  Even though I have just really started to take a fascination with fashion in only the last few years doesn’t mean that I like to present myself poorly.  And I do like dressing up when the occasion calls for it.

That being said, I maintain that my idea of dressing up is different from others’ idea of dressing up.  I’ve never been the type to wear revealing clothes, and I think that is evident through all my dresses.

Also, I may need to reintroduce all of you to my clothing inventory project, which, by taking a quick glance at my blog posts, I haven’t updated since June.  Whoops.  I guess the new year’s as good of a time as any to continue.  Besides, I’ll actually get to use my checkmarks again, and that’s almost always a good thing in my book!

blavatar 2Clothing Inventory to Complete (own all things on list and take pics of them):  Dresses

__2 weekend dresses (for summer)
*Own 0, need 2.  Like, badly.  I really want some fun summer dresses!
blavatar 21 weekend dress (for winter)
Gray sweater dress:  Robbie Bee (gifted).

Who doesn’t love a good sweater dress?  So this may look boring, but this is just one of the ways I styled it, and I love the way it looks and that the dress is so versatile:


blavatar 2 1 evening dress (for summer)

Black dress with purple flowers: connected apparel (thrifted 2010).

blavatar 21 evening dress (for winter)

Black dress with handkerchief hem and taupe flowers:  S.L. fashions (bought at JCPenney 2009)

__1 daytime party dress (for summer)
*Own 0, need 1.

Extras (dresses that I own that are in addition to those on the “you’re covered if…” list):
Okay, fashion readers.  Here’s where I need your help.  Seriously, I didn’t really think I had a lot of dresses.  And I still don’t think I do, compared to others.  In the Lucky manual, it actually lists 4 additional dresses to what I’ve listed here (2 work dresses for summer & 2 work dresses for winter), but I’m not much for wearing a dress to work.  I feel a little uncomfortable in a dress at work; I’m more of a slacks and shirt kinda gal.  I wear skirts to work on occasion, but even that’s pushing my boundaries.  But I do like having dresses in my arsenal.  Problem is, these extra dresses don’t fit into any category listed in my clothing inventory list.  I don’t really know where to wear them; I’ve worn them as being a party hostess, to family dinners, and I think to my birthday party, but they don’t really fit in neatly anywhere because they’re all sort of fall-like–neither winter nor summer.  If you disagree with me, feel free to let me know.  But here they are:


Strappy star-print dress (with POCKETS!!!):  Torrid.
I’m in absolute love with this dress and wear it every day if I could.  I’ve already worn it three different times to three completely different things:  an outing to a movie with friends (casual), our Halloween Housewarming Party (pictured above.  I was the night sky.), and a semi-formal date with the husband.  Once in the summer, once in the fall, and once in the winter.  So I’m not quite sure where to place the dress and whether or not it’s daytime or evening or party or weekend.  It’s quite versatile!

  FF3aFF3 FF4

Leopard-print dress:  MNG by Mango (gifted, but I’m pretty sure it’s from Macy’s, 2012).  Shirt & belt:  Too lazy to look up.  Robot ring:  Charming Charlie (bought 2012).  Turquoise necklace:  ??? (thrifted).
I may or may not have mentioned it before, but it’s my mother that introduces “scandalous/risque” items into my wardrobe.  I’m the prim and proper one, and she’s the one who wants me to sex it up a bit.  The irony is definitely not lost on me.  Anyhow, she had a mischievous little giggle when she handed me this leopard-print number.  I didn’t think I was sassy enough to wear it, but it was a few weeks before my 30th birthday party that I was gifted it, so I thought it would make the perfect “Dirty 30” ensemble.  Because a leopard-print dress is about as dirty as I’m daring to dress.  😉  I know, I know, I’m a coward.  Anyhow, I ran across a website (can’t recall what it is now) that gave tips on how to style leopard print so that it worked more as a neutral than as a wild print.  It suggested pairing it with red, much as you would pair red with anything brown or black and white.  I had fun with this outfit, but haven’t had the courage to wear it out yet.  What do you guys think?  I also want to be able to wear this dress more often, but am still too shy to.  Hopefully I’ll get over it soon.  Again, though, it’s more of a fall item and I can’t figure out which category it fits in.


Black dress:  J.B.S. Ltd. (thrifted 2010).
Ah, the trusty LBD that you can take into any season and any occasion.  Just doesn’t fit neatly anywhere, and that’s okay by me.


Black dress with brown spangles:  R&K Originals (bought 2007??? from JCPenney???).
This dress makes frequent appearances because I think it’s a really neutral dress and I reach for it when I want to throw on something semi-fancy and don’t know what to wear.  It’s been featured at many a Thanksgiving dinner and, most memorably, my own bachelorette party.  I wouldn’t wear it in the summer, but it doesn’t seem like a weekend or party dress, either.  I don’t know.


Dress with blousy top and black skirt:  connected (gifted 2012).
If I wore work dresses, I think this would be my ultimate work dress.  The only problem is I think the top is too provocatively cut.  I do like the way it looks at me, but can’t for the life of me think of a place to wear it.

FF13 FF14

Black/gray/green plaid dress (pattern shown in second picture):  ??? (gifted 2011).
Again, if I wore work dresses, this would be top contender.  But I can’t think of where to wear it right now.  I feel (shocker!) that this is actually much too conservative to be worn anywhere else.


Brown ruched front dress:  elementz (bought at Ross??? in 2007???).
Again, like the brown spangled dress, this is a catch-all dress.  The second picture is of me at my 28th birthday party, but I’ve also worn this to a lot of Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners.  I don’t quite know what to do with it otherwise.

Dress I ended up donating:
Brown and white polka dot dress:  American Living (bought at JCPenney 2009).
I was in denial about this dress.  It was a really really cute dress with a retro vibe to it, and for a few years I fooled myself into thinking it looked good on me.  But during my major wardrobe rehaul of 2011, I realized the bust line didn’t hit me in the right place, and the sleeves fit awkwardly on me.  It served me good while it did, but alas, I had to let it go.

What I’ve learned:
*I have entirely way too much black and brown in my dress collection and not nearly enough color!  Shocking for me, as the rest of my wardrobe is filled with bright colors that make me happy.  That needs to change.  Also, I’m due for a good sundress sometime.  The other thing is that I believe little black dresses are overrated.  I would actually love to see a shift to a little (navy) blue dress.  It’s such a flattering color on everyone, and the blue lends itself to be mixed and matched with a variety of great pop colors such as yellow, pink, turquoise, burgundy, or gray.  Those colors with black, while they match, just don’t seem as fun.

Dresses I haven’t worn yet:
Leopard print dress (not in public, anyway);  blousy-topped, black-skirted dress; and black/gray/green “work” dress.  I really want to work up the nerve to wear the leopard print one, and I think I do want to try to wear the black/gray/green work one, but the blousy-topped one, I think I may have to donate.  I just can’t see myself wearing it anywhere, much as I love the way it looks on me.

Final dresses shopping list:
__2 weekend dresses (for summer)
__1 daytime party dress (for summer)

These are the kind I’d want to buy that would fit the bill for the above (I didn’t end up buying the first one because it rode up way too much in the back, and didn’t do the second one because both of the people I tried it on in front of agreed that it didn’t look good on my body type):

Blue floral-printed dress with yellow belt:  Jason Wu for Target.  (On a side, vain note:  my hair looks AWESOME in this picture.  I wish it would look like that more often!)

Multicolored feather print dress with orange belt:  American Living???, JCPenney 2012.

If you’re still reading by now, I’d like to send you a big thank you and hug for letting me indulge in this clothing inventory.  I owe you a big, shiny gold star (and if I know you personally, possibly a coffee or beer or glass of wine)  🙂  .  It feels really good to finally be doing this again, because this is huge on my to-do list and it’ll be a great accomplishment for me when I finally get it all done.  I’ve been wanting to organize and catalog my wardrobe for years.

And finally, if you wish, here are the usual questions to answer:

1)  What is your favorite dress out of the above?  Your least favorite?  (As in, do you have any “what was she thinking?!?” impressions of any of the above?)

2) Aside from what is noted above that I need to add to a shopping list, is there anything glaringly missing from my collection?  Is there anything you would suggest to round out/compliment what I already have?

3) After seeing the pictures, do you think I’ve miscategorized anything?

4)  Do you have dresses that are strictly for the fall or spring?  And if so, how do they differ from winter or summer dresses?  Or do you think every dress you own should be able to span all four seasons?

5) Do you think any of these dresses are out of place in my wardrobe (i.e., does one or more dress(es)) not fit the fashion profile/personality of the others)?

Hoping You’re Making Good Progress on Getting a Big Item Crossed Off Your To-Do List Too!  🙂

Posted in Fashion Fridays

Fashion Friday: Finding My Style

I interrupt my regular clothing inventory to bring you a very exciting discovery!  🙂

My husband has always told me that I have a very specific style.  Violet-casual, he calls it, and I pride myself on the fact that he notes that he doesn’t know anyone else with my particular style.  A few years back, back before I knew anything about the notion of fashion blogging, a coworker and I chatted about trying to define our sense of style now that we were in our late-20s (well, back then…now I’ve entered Dirty 30 territory, so it may be time to redefine my style again…but I digress).  We discussed that we weren’t fashionable at all when we were in school: she was known as “cardigan & twin-set” girl, I was consistently made fun of for not really embracing the concept of jeans until I was in college (before then, I was leggings & corduroys all the way!  Oh, how the tides have turned!  Gotta love how fashion recycles itself).

Since I never really went with the crowd, barring a few experiments with trends that I thought would look good on me (for example, right now I’m totally digging hunter green, cobalt blue, and houndstooth print), I always bemoaned  my clothes-shopping experiences, never finding anything that was quite “me”.  Everything I saw was either too young or too old for me, too bright or too boring.  So (fortunately for my wallet, unfortunate for the clothing-experimenter in me) there was a period where I had to make do with what I had.  You can only mix and match so much, though, before you crave something different.

Imagine my excitement and surprise, then, when I got in one of those “or current resident” magazines in the mail after we moved.  I didn’t really think anything of it and nonchalantly browsed through it.  I was actually pretty stoked that the previous resident was plus-sized like me, judging from the fact that the magazine was specifically labeled “sizes 10-28” on the cover (honestly, 10 is NOT plus-sized to me, but we’ll get into those semantics some other time).  Oh, but THEN!  Then I saw some brilliant outfits that reflected my own personal style, and it made me positively giddy!  Here are photos of the ones I loved the most:

(From SimplyBe, a plus-sized British & European Fashion magazine.  Check them out at if you love the clothes as much as I do!)

Cozy, cute, and comfy at its finest!  Though I haven’t really latched onto the owl trend like many fashionistas have (I don’t have anything against them, they’re just not something I’m obsessed with.  I’m more partial to unicorns), I do love the owl shirt pictured here, especially when paired with the burgundy leggings, boots, and coat).  Love, love, LOVE the reindeer sweater that has echoes of Fair Isle and also the combinations of navy blue and burgundy all throughout this page.

Looks so effortlessly put-together and fashionable, yet approachable.  Would probably fall on my face with those heels, though.

Love the polka dots & lace.  Though I’m not usually a big fan of bows of any kind, I think I dig the red bow tunic.  It’s quirky yet classy at the same time.

A great sophisticated dressy look.

I love the top two for casual work looks, but I especially love (read: I really really really want them!) the bottom two.  First, who couldn’t love those heart-shaped elbow patches on that gray cardigan?  Second, I’ve always loved blue and black together, and that silver heart necklace really makes it (for those who can’t tell, I love hearts in fashion.  LOVE).

Rockin’ the blue power suit like a BOSS.  Though I’d probably do different shoes.  Sensible pumps, maybe.  And I love how the colorblocking on the dress slims & gives shape.

This is perhaps my very favorite look that I found.  That dress is a gorgeous color that I would wear in a heartbeat, and I love the combination of the cobalt blue accessories, especially the feather earrings.  It’s flirty and quirky and edgy all at the same time, yet this look still stays feminine and subdued.

Never mind that it’s labeled “Winter Wonderland”, which, if you know me, anything winter-themed is a plus in and of itself.  What I love about this outfit and makes it so that I would wear it in a heartbeat is the flawless combination of hard and soft details, mixing the black spiky motorcycle jacket with the pleated blush-colored dress.  I’m a big fan of toughening up soft looks so it doesn’t look overly girly.

Confession?  I’m actually not a huge fan of LBDs (Little Black Dresses for those who don’t know).  I do have one, but it has to be PERFECT, and I much prefer color to black.  That being said, this would make a really cute LBD for cocktail and holiday parties.

Even though I’m not a fan of bows or pink, the one girly thing I do indulge in is sparkle.  That charcoal grey tunic is just perfect.  And the headband in that second picture totally completes the outfit.

It’s not so much the dress I want, though it’s cute.  It’s those star tights.  Want.  Now.

I love the combination of dark red and light grey for fall, and the cable knit just looks so comfy!  I love this look and plan to make it my go-to for fall.  First, though, I actually need some dark red tights.

Another cute and comfy outfit that I want to make a fall staple.

Okay, so if you don’t love this coat as much as I do, then I know for sure that we have completely differing fashion styles.  And that’s okay, but really.  This jacket is the most freaking adorable jacket I’ve ever seen.  It combines so many of my favorite things:  shearling, comfiness, warmth, bright colors, buttons, hearts, and music.  I mean, all it needs is a unicorn.  Love.

I love a good blazer.  I feel it instantly makes an outfit more sophisticated, which is important for me when I’m a 30-year-old who still looks like a teenager.  I feel as if this blazer is a classic that I’d have for years to come.

Every single one of these items of clothing caters to my inner country girl.  I love it all, but not quite sure if I’d be brave enough to wear anything except the grey Fair Isle sweater.  It does, however, totally fit the style I’m thinking of for the main character in the novel I’m writing for National Novel Writing month.  She’s a Georgia transplant who decided to move to the Portland, Oregon area to escape the small-town southern life.  Don’t these clothes totally fit that?  Or is that just me?

Love everything on this page, but especially…

This dress, with the perfect colors for fall, and

These super-comfy yet sophisticated-looking sweaters.  I think that color blue would look beautiful on me.

And there you have it, the many fashion stylings of Violet, from casual to work to dressy and everything in between.

What do you guys think?  Do you love it as much as me?  Are you surprised by any of these looks and the fact that I love them?  What are some of your favorite clothing websites/magazines that people may not know much about?  (By the way, SimplyBe?  You can send the commission check to me anytime you wish.  You’re welcome.)

To Finding Your Own Defining Style,