Posted in Fashion Fridays

Fashion Friday: Stylin’!

Today I’m continuing with my simple, sweet, and short (at least for me) blog post run.  If I happen to have time and motivation, I will do my usual clothing inventory post (next thing on the list is dresses!  woohoo!), but as of right now, I have neither.

Instead, I give you this picture:

Floral shirt:  local market in the Philippines (bought in 2011).  Cobalt blue shorts:  Mossimo (bought at Target in 2012).
Bracelet:  gift shop in Germany (bought in 2010).

I fell in love with this top after seeing it at a local market during vacation in the Philippines.  The cut and style was unique and so unlike anything else in my wardrobe, and I loved the colors (I’m a sucker for pretty much anything purple).  I hadn’t yet treated myself to anything of signifigance yet, and being that it equated to roughly $10, I had to have it.  Once I got home, though, I got fashion styling block (comparable to writer’s block) and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the heck to wear the shirt with.  When I first tried to style it, I tried to go the fancy and formal route, as I thought the shirt was so flirty and feminine and dressy.  I paired it with my skirts and put it over a few sleeveless dresses, but nothing looked quite right.  Eventually, I gave up, and this gorgeous shirt remained unworn for over a year.  Every time I opened up my closet, it looked back at me, mocking my lack of creativity.

A few months ago, I tried again, thinking maybe I could pair it with jeans.  It still looked wrong:  I felt out of proportion and it didn’t seem to showcase the shirt the way I wanted it to.

Then, a few days ago, something strange happened.  I was feeling part daring and part “I don’t really care if I match today, I have no one to impress”.  I literally took the three articles of clothing closest to me–the top, a pair of bootcut khakis, and a jean jacket–and threw them on together, just for the heck of it.  As I turned to the mirror, I fully intended on me looking silly and immediately wanting to change, but I was very pleasantly surprised!  I loved the outfit and I felt quite accomplished that I finally figured out an outfit to go with the top (unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the amazing outfit).  I proudly sported the outfit when we went house-hunting (I always like looking put-together when meeting with the Realtor so he knows I’m professional and serious about home-buying).  Then yesterday, I wanted to test and see if that lucky styling was just a fluke.  This time, I very deliberately picked out the shorts pictured above, thinking the blue would compliment the colors in the shirt perfectly, and I was right (or, at least, I’d like to think so)!  I would never, ever, ever have considered the combination before, but after finally seeing it, I have no idea why I didn’t think of it sooner.

I think the trick to styling this shirt is that it’s meant to be more casual than formal.  It helps to give a little bit of extra pizzazz to an outfit that you could just wear a plain white t-shirt with.

I feel as if I’ve finally given life to this shirt, and it has now quickly become one of my favorites.  I’m looking forward to where the next styling will take me.  🙂

What do you guys think?  Does the pairing look good to you?  Would you have thought to pair it with khakis and a jean jacket (and does that sound bad or good to you)?

I’m also actually looking for advice on how I possibly could style it formally.  I really would like to wear it on a fancy date dinner night out, but honestly, it seems to repel any pairing with anything remotely dressy.  I even tried pairing it with a jean skirt, and I think it just looked at the “skirt” part of it and stuck out its tongue.  I mean, you know, if shirts actually had tongues…

Ahem.  Anyway, I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!  And I hope that maybe I could get out of my stressed-out funk and get my dress clothing inventory out of the way.

To Your Own Successful Styling,

Posted in Fashion Fridays

Fashion Friday: On Being Top-Heavy (In More Ways Than One!)

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

Hi, my name is Violet, and I have a top problem.

When comparing my actual top inventory to Lucky’s “You’re covered if…” list, I’m totally covered, and then some.  Here I am, thinking I am utterly lacking in some clothing categories.  Not so for the mighty top.  As you’ll see below, I have many “fun tops”, so apparently I shop to go out for fun.  I’ll probably be lacking in work tops, though, for a very specific reason:

I have another top problem.  I’m a little top-heavy.

Top:  east5th women (bought at consignment shop).  Jeans: Avenue (bought 2012).
Necklace:  Criss Creations (bought at hometown founder’s celebration 2012).

Okay, fine.  I mean, I’m a little (a lot) top-heavy:

42D-worth of top-heavy to be exact.  Which, congratulations, Dear Readers!  Not a lot of people know my bra size because I’m much too embarassed to tell.  Now, I know some would be happy to have my “problem,” but for me, it’s quite annoying.  That’s because no matter how thin or chubby I’ve been in my life, my chest has been disproportionately larger than the rest of my body.  It’s made shopping for a dress or button-up shirt (which is what I commonly wear as a “work shirt”) more frustrating and difficult than jeans-shopping (and y’all know how stressful that is!).  Either it fits perfectly across my chest and fits the rest of my body like an oversized, shapeless potato sack, or it fits my body fine except my “girls” are popping out like they need to be on tour at a burlesque show.  Which, I have nothing wrong with burlesque, but I myself don’t have the chutzpah to do something like that.  (Side note:  Who else loves the word chutzpah as much as I do?  What’s that?  I’m just a crazy word geek?  Well, fine.  😛 )

I’m also in that crazy in-between where I’m too fat to be skinny and too skinny to be fat.  It gets me nasty looks in both regular-sized stores (what I think they’re thinking:  “Oh honey, no.  Do you really want to look like a sausage squeezed into a casing?”) and plus-sized stores (what I think they’re thinking:  “Girl, you have no business being here.  Get out and stop rubbing it in our faces that you’re better than us.”).  You’d think all of these stressors would stop me from shopping, but really, when I avoid eye contact and make it a point to not buy anything unless it fits me exactly right and I love it, then shopping’s not so bad.  🙂

I also feel much better when I go shopping by myself.  My mother is cute and petite and fits into anything she pleases and she likes to rub that in my face.  I don’t blame her; if I had a cute little frame like she did, I may or may not do the same.  When something doesn’t quite fit me but I think it would look cute on her, her immediate answer is, “Oh, no.  I’d be swimming in that.”  Which, yes, is honest, but still…ouch.  It gets even worse when I go shopping with any friend that’s below a size 12 (which constitutes 99%, if not 100%, of my friends).  I politely go into the H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Hollister, watching them try on cute things and sincerely oohing and aaahing over them and knowing full well that I would never be able to fit into even their XL sizes (super-awesome exception goes to the adorable gray & black color blocked H&M skirt that I scored at the thrift store!).  It gets awkward when they, bless their hearts, try to make me feel better and ask me what size I wear so that I can try on the said cute piece of clothing with them.  Usually I pretend I didn’t hear them and head to the jewelry and/or accessories department because those fit everyone.  So, yeah, venturing out to the store by myself is much less likely to make me want to hide my head in the sand.

But I’d like to think that I’m fashionable even though I’m plus-sized.  I think I’m pretty darn cute, and the main reason I’m working on my body is for health reasons.  But when I look into the mirror, I smile and embrace my curves.  That’s why the top two pictures are featuring plus-sized clothing.  I love those two pieces and by no means do they read dowdy to me.

So those are my personal thoughts for today.  Now, onward with checking things off my list!  😀

__??? (Checked off depends on workplace) 5 work tops

White button-down shirt:  Preview (thrifted).
The only button-down shirt that I own, and it fits me PERFECTLY!  Need to figure out where to buy more.

Now, in a super-professional setting, this shirt would be the only acceptable work shirt.  So the list would stop there.  The following are shirts that would qualify as work shirts to me in a not-so-super-professional setting:

Lavender “twofer” shirt: augustsilk (gifted).

Gray ruffled shirt:  caslon (thrifted).

Black and white floral shirt: east5th (bought at JCPenney in 2009).

Black ruched shirt: Worthington (bought at JCPenney in 2009).

*Own all 5 in a more casual work environment; own 1 need 4 in a more professional work environment.

3 fun tops (for going out at night)

Red sequined top: Covington (gifted).

Black sequined tank:  east5th (gifted).

(My third shirt is the feathered one I’m wearing above.)
4 weekend tops (t-shirt alternatives)–short-sleeved

Gray cowlneck shirt:  Lane Bryant (bought 2009).

Red textured shirt with keyhole cutout in back:  liz&co (bought at JCPenney in 2008).

Off-white textured shirt with keyhole cutout in back (yep, I’m the one who buys something in more than one color if it fits just right and I have the money to do so):  liz&co (bought at JCPenney in 2008).

Teal button-sleeve top:  Xhiliration (bought at Target in
4 weekend tops (t-shirt alternatives)–long-sleeved

Lavender feather-printed shirt:  a.n.a. (bought at JCPenney in 2011).

Gray bow shirt with printed black keys: east5th (bought at JCPenney in 2011).

Blue shirt with grommets:  Lane Bryant (bought in 2009).

Light teal shirt with buttons:  Lane Bryant (bought in 2009).

Extras (tops I own that are in addition to those on the “you’re covered if…” list):
Oh, and here is my revealed my not-so-secret shame.  I didn’t realize how many I actually had until I had to wrangle them all for this post.  Holy moly!I have many extras, but they were oh so pretty!  Here goes nothing lots of things (and my humility):

Rose-printed top:  redherring (bought at consignment shop).

Red button-up polka-dot tank:  Merona (thrifted).

Navy blue polka-dot open-shouldered top:  a.n.a. (bought at JCPenney in 2012).

Dark teal & black-striped “twofer” top with rosettes:  Alyx (bought at JCPenney in 2011).

Silver, gray, and white floral tank with white lace edging:  CJ Banks (bought in 2012).

Sheer gray tie-dyed cowlneck shirt:  DKNY Jeans (thrifted).

Dark blue/light blue gingham tank:  ???–There was no brand tag attached, only a size/care tag (thrifted).

White pleated & bowed tank with dark purple, plum, fuchsia, and pale yellow floral print:  local market in the Philippines (bought in 2011).

Royal purple tank:  east5th (gifted).

Red and black geometric printed cowlneck: Mixit (thrifted).

Gray off-the-shoulder shirt with black/white floral ruffle:  handmade by me! :)–gray tee bought at JoAnn Fabrics  (Instructions to come later.)

Black boatneck shirt with pink/white geometrical design:  Worthington (bought at JCPenney in 2008).

Lavender tank with paisley print:  GAP  (bought soooooo long ago!!!).

Plum/black/white plaid shirt with attached gray vest:  Lane Bryant (thrifted).

Brown tank with gold sequins:  Old Navy (gifted).

Black/yellow/gray wave-print shirt:  Worthington (bought in 2012).

Tops I’m Thinking About Donating:  (not quite sure yet)

Turquoise shirt with plum/navy floral print:  Croft & Barrow (thrifted).
Reasons for donating:  I bought this because I desperately wanted a turquoise shirt with print on it.  I wore it tons of times the year I bought it (two years ago), but haven’t really reached for it as of late.  I still love the color, but compared to my other shirts, this one just seems to go on a ten-years-older version of me.

Red cowlneck shirt with lace inset:  Worthington (gifted?? or bought a loooong time ago).
Reasons for donating:  I swear, this shirt is magical.  I’ve had it FOREVER and logically, it shouldn’t fit (it’s a size medium, which, after reading my first couple of paragraphs, would make it an impossibility to fit on my body).  Then I reach to donate it, put it on to prove my point that it doesn’t fit, and when it does, it looks so good on that I can’t bear to part with it.  But I really only wear it around the holidays (namely Christmas and Valentine’s Day where pretty, dressy, red tops are abundantly worn).

What I’ve learned:

*I really, really think I’m good on shirts, considering that I have as many “extras” (16) as I do “you’re covered if”s.  Except for button-up work shirts.  And really, that’s only if I happen to get a professional job.  Other than that, I don’t really wear button-down shirts, so I don’t have to worry about it.
*I swear up and down, cross my heart, that I didn’t mean for my tops wardrobe to become an advertisement for JCPenney, but holy man!  Do I own a lot of shirts from there!  (15 of these shirts are JCPenney brands, with 11 that I bought and 4 thrifted/gifted.  That’s almost half of all the shirts!)  I guess I’m just drawn to that store because they have cute but affordable clothes.  Not to mention their clothes tend to fit me.  That’s more than I can say for other department stores such as Macy’s.  I’m also a huge fan of Target.  I also have to give extremely honorable mention to CJ Banks (the plus-sized companion to Christopher & Banks).  I absolutely love their clothing but can’t afford it very often.  To those who make more money, I highly recommend either one of them (if you have a similar style to me, that is)!
*If I find something I love, it’s really hard for me to ever get rid of it for fear of never finding anything else like it (I’d be remiss if my liz&co textured shirts stopped fitting or got ruined!  And I can’t find anything yet to replace my GAP paisley tank.)
*I think I’ve finally outgrown (age-wise and weight-wise) graphic tees.  In a way that makes me sad to say goodbye to something I’ve loved for so long, but I really think it’s made way for more age-appropriate clothing.  Though if I find an awesome shirt with a unicorn on it that happens to fit, all that would without a doubt get thrown out the window with glittery gusto.

Tops I haven’t worn yet:

Preview white button-down, rose-printed redherring top, red polka-dot tank, blue gingham tank, royal purple tank, handmade shirt.
**I know, I know.  That’s a lot.  But considering that’s only 6 out of 32, that’s not a horrible ratio.  The white button-down I fully intend
to wear, but I’m such a klutz and all my clothes tend to be a food magnet that I’m a bit terrified to wear that perfect shirt for fear of
staining the only button-down shirt that’s fit me so well and I worked so hard to find.  Guess I just need to suck it up.  Maybe
tomorrow?  The rose-printed top is a super-recent purchase and I absolutely love it and desperately want to wear it but I’m just
waiting for warmer weather to roll around so I can wear it without freezing.  It’s going to be a part of my first print-mixing
outfit and I’m excited about it.  The red polka-dot tank?  I fear the top-heavy curse may
have somehow hit it overnight (or while it was in the dryer).  I tried to put it on the other day and it didn’t QUITE button over my chest.
I swear on my life that it fit me perfectly when I tried it on at the store, though.  So I’m going to try again soon and pray for a miracle and see
what happens.  Because I adore that shirt.  Gingham tank is also a recent purchase and also waiting for warm weather to show it off.  Purple tank
I just haven’t found a dressy-enough occasion to wear it yet.  It’ll come.  I hope.  Maybe a summer date night sometime.  And the handmade shirt
I’m also waiting for warm weather.  So I guess I’m just waiting for nicer weather, and then I can incorporate these pieces nicely into my wardrobe!

Final Tops Shopping List:
I do not need anymore new tops.  This is just ridiculous.  I repeat:  NO MORE NEW TOPS!!!  (Unless I get a professional job, and ONLY work shirts allowed!)

And finally, my usual questions to my readers/fashionistas out there:

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

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

3)  Do you think any of these tops are out of place in my wardrobe (i.e., does one or more skirt(s) not fit the fashion profile/personality of the others)?

4)  What are your opinions on my “possible donate” list?  Should both of them go?  Are there any of my tops that should probably be donated instead?

5)  Any styling tips?

6)  What are your favorite stores?  Any that are plus-sized friendly?

7)  How do you deal with your own body insecurities?  (Okay, you don’t have to answer that one, but it’s always good to know I’m not the only one who gets frustrated with clothes shopping sometimes.)

To Being Proud of Your Own Unique & Beautiful Body,