Tag Archives: fashion

Good Skirt

I daydream about clothes quite a bit, and when I find something that feels fresh to me, I think about outfits centered around that item or concept. I’ve been eyeing this skirt recently and decided that it would be a fresh breath of crisp, fall air within my wardrobe. However, I bought it without first determining how it would fit into my wardrobe. Shoes would be no problem, I knew this length would suit my favorite flats, but wearing anything resembling a classic blouse would definitely make it skew sexy school marm. To each their own but not my style.

Enter New Striped Tee. The proportions of this tee work so well with the skirt, and the shoes are icing on the my little fashion cake. This is my new favorite outfit.

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A Fix

If you must wear neon, it should be in the form of a good jacket. A neon pink blazer with side cutouts, more specifically. Edgy and cool and a perfect fit. In these pics I wore it with shades of gray, but I am planning an outfit where I wear it with more colors. I kind of feel like I’m in a classy science fiction novel when I wear it. Or at a Jil Sander runway show.

If you must know (and I know you do) I got this blazer from Stitchfix.

Stitchfix is an internet fashion retailer that I have grown to really like over the past few months because it’s an incredibly convenient and fun new way of shopping for me. What sets them apart from other fashion e-tailers is that instead of you shopping their online store, they automatically ship you items without you knowing what they are sending. When you sign up as a “subscriber” you fill out a fun questionnaire about your personal style, body type and size, and the amount of money you want to spend. You can also specify how often you want a box shipped to you. Based on the info you give them, they style you from afar and then mail their picks to you. What you like you keep, and what you don’t like you send back in a prepaid package. You are charged a styling fee of $20 with every shipment, but you can also use that 20 toward your purchases. What is also nice is that they listen to your feedback about the items that you didn’t want and respond in the next shipment with even better items.

So far I’ve had three shipments, and I have had so much fun with the whole process. Because I am not the one choosing, it takes me out of my shopping comfort zone and makes me try things I normally would not. The result is every couple of months my wardrobe gets a swift kick in the gluteus and I end up with an infatuation like this sweet blazer.

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Vintage Revamp

This is a blouse that I found at the vintage fashion faire I recently went to. I was drawn to its elegant neckline and color (I love white woven shirts.) When I tried it on, however, I was nonplussed to see that the overall look of it skewed matron. I almost, almost did not buy it, but as soon as I put it back on the rack I felt compelled to grab it again. The neckline was so lovely that I decided to buy it as a fixer-upper.

The first thing I did was replace the plain two-hole plastic button with some pearl ones. The pictures above already has the new pearl buttons attached, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that the first buttons were not cute.

Next, I shortened the sleeves. The current length of the sleeves look matronly and unflattering on me. While wearing the blouse, I marked the length I wanted the sleeves with a small gold safety pin, and then measured a cut line that gives me a 1 inch edge to work with. I finished the hem using a blind stitch for a clean, modern finish.

After I shortened the sleeves I decided to update the hemline. Instead of a straight hem, I wanted something more shirtail in style, shorter at the sideseams curving down to the front and back. This way, I could wear the front tucked in and the back untucked (my most favorite way to wear shirts.) If you have a curved ruler this is easy to do, even if you don’t it’s not hard to draw the curve you want.

When I took out the stitches on the hemline and sleeves, the thread left behind holes in the fabric. So I couldn’t radically change the garment without first cutting off the stitched part (which wouldn’t have worked because I would have nothing leftover to wear.) Another thing I almost forgot about – I had my iron on the highest heat setting from my last project. I went to press a sleeve hem and the poly fabric started to melt! Fortunately, it was part of the sleeve that is by the underarm and thus unnoticeable, and I caught the melting before it ruined the fabric.

Here is the refinished product! As you can see, I didn’t make any drastic changes to the overall garment, but some little tweaks here and there really keep it from screaming vintage. I am wearing this blouse with my Current/Elliott blue plaid cropped skinnies. And since I am apparently too tall to fit into an Instagram at full length, here are my shoes:

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Good Vintage

An opportunity to shop a vintage clothing faire cannot be missed, and it is even more fun with vintage-loving friends. The Alameda Vintage Clothing Faire was on a beautiful sunny day on the small island, in a community hall in the old naval base area. It wasn’t nearly as large as the Alameda Flea Market, but it was the perfect size to be able to look at everything in about two hours. Everyone there was very friendly and familiar in our shared love for vintage.

I enjoy shopping for vintage clothing, the hunt for a hidden treasure is exhilarating. While in design school I worked as a vintage buyer for Buffalo Exchange, and it taught me everything I needed to know about choosing good vintage.  Generally when vintage shopping I personally try to look for classic pieces, that will work with my current wardrobe. Mostly neutral in color, I like to mix these pieces with statement jewelry that I also look for. Rhiannon, my friend with whom I attended, likes to find dresses in rich colors and timeless prints. The fabric of the clothing should be in good condition, no holes, ripped seams, or anything else I cannot repair myself. The fabric quality is what I especially look for. When shopping, I always scan the racks to see if anything catches my eye before I go over and start going through the racks. I run my hands over pieces I like to feel the quality of fabric. A good wool will feel soft whereas a bad polyester will feel like fluffed plastic. I check zippers, buttonholes, and hems to observe the technique used.

One of the pieces I found was a classic navy blazer by Pendleton. It fits me perfectly and has 3/4 length sleeves which are my favorite on a jacket. It is in impeccable condition and cost $40. This is a quality jacket that will last me many years and will polish off many an outfit.

The quality is in the details of this blazer. Handfinished buttonholes, perfect welt pockets, and beautiful buttons. Buttons are a big thing for me, as they can add a lot of personality to a garment. I especially love dapper crest buttons.

This was one the first things I saw when I arrived at the Faire, and I was immediately drawn to its shape and classic nautical motif. The fit of vintage clothing is paramount to finding a good value. The sizing is extremely inconsistent, so I always try them on before buying. The fit of this sweater is Katharine Hepburn, sitting just at the hips with a slightly slim cut. It is also 100% cotton, which means I can machine wash it.

At only $15, the subtle anchor and laurel have me completely charmed. Also, I love white tops- white tees, white oxfords, and now white sweaters. I know it is after Labor Day, but I have no qualms about wearing white when it is done like this.

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Un Vogue

Last Night was Fashion’s Night Out all over this wide world, people were shopping and drinking champagne late into the evening, all dressed up in the most dramatic and chic. The paparazzi were out in full force. Local designers were out mingling with their followers, imparting style and taste wherever they fluttered. It was awesome. I actually have no idea how awesome it was, because I’ve never been to a Fashion’s Night Out. While Fashion Week is going, I’m preparing for Market Week, which happens the week after. As Fashion Week is mostly for editors and PR, Market Week is for the buyers. Instead of being dressed in lace hanging out at Night Out, I was shin deep in lace fabric hanging out in front of my two computers. Not so glamorous, but the lace is pretty and using two computers at the same time is kind of cool. Maybe not.

The image of fashion is what attracts many of us to this career, but one learns quickly that it takes a deeper passion to stay on this path. In design school one of the first classes everyone had to take was Basic Construction. I was in a classroom with other new students, one of which was this guy who was all about being both fierce and fabulous, simultaneously. He was so serious about this endeavor that he was wearing his sunglasses inside. Who wears their sunglasses inside? During class? A new fashion student, naturally.

The first day you learn how to use a sewing machine, and it only gets harder from there. There was no margin for error with our sewing teacher, Cindy. She was a lovely, ageless Chinese-American woman who made all of her own clothes. And she was strict, with good reason of course. Sewing is a Perfectionist’s activity. The more precise the construction, the closer you are to achieving a  perfectly made garment. Cindy never made a mistake, and held us to the same standard. The guy with the sunglasses, with all his fabulosity, had trouble keeping up with the lessons. Cindy was often at his sewing table, lecturing him. After a while his sunglasses were nowhere to be found, and he was often heard complaining about having to take stitches out. I had him in some other the classes after the first quarter, and he was becoming increasingly unhappy.

As sincere as his intentions may have been, I don’t think Sunglasses Inside Guy anticipated the grunt work required to be in a designer in this industry. The glamour of the fashion had faded for him, and was being replaced with the reality of the industry and design school. I was like this to a degree when I started design school, I think every new fashion student feels this way. You have to accept that although there will be many fun times working in fashion, there will be many more late nights and hours of hard work. So not VOGUE, but if it’s right for you and you really love it, the days buried in lace swatches will be as rewarding as a Night Out being fierce and fabulous.

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Nail Art

This is my attempt at nail art. My intention was to have the glitter fade from more to less from the cuticle to the tip, but it ended up being a bit more like general glitter everywhere. So here I am with haphazardly glittery nails. They are still pretty.

This color palette of rainbow glitter over nude polish was inspired by Nina Garcia’s dress in the season 10 premiere of Project Runway. During the actual show I only saw her dress from the waist up, and thought it was just a top (which would have been awesome, as I love me a fancy t-shirt).

I participated in a competition based off of Project Runway once. The other contestants and I had 48 hours to create a garment. Based on what is usually the time limit on Project Runway, 48 hours sounds like plenty of time, but you have to subtract the time it takes to be interviewed every couple of hours, plus eating and sleeping. Also, I designed this crazy futuristic jacket that had a solar panel on the back and a see-through rain hood. Cool concept, but ill-suited for a 48-hour span of time. Basically, I bit off more than I could chew, and all I could do was chew as hard as I could. I drank 5 Red Bulls, I got 2 hours of terrible sleep, and did not finish the garment. I ran out of time! In case you are wondering what happens when you run out of time, what you do is put together the garment as fast as possible by whatever means necessary, and then hope that no one looks at the lining.

I was mortified, and for some time after that competition, I did not sew or design anything. The experience traumatized me in a sense. My self-confidence was shaken, and my imagination was stunted for a while. I became concerned about whether I was over designing. When I did try to make something, mistakes would frustrate me, yet I wouldn’t go back and fix them. Instead, I would plow through sewing and end up with an ill-fitting garment. After a few crappy garments, I decided to face the demon and get through the mental block. Regardless of whether I won or lost the competition or even finished the garment, the experience added some character – as difficult moments generally do. Taking risks is inherent in creativity, and I feel good that I took a big risk to go through with my vision. My failure made me reassess my design process and take editing more seriously. As a writer, I believe that writing really happens during the revision. I began applying this tenet to my design process, to much benefit.

In short, anytime a designer creates, they can only better themselves from the lessons their creation has taught them. And that includes haphazardly glittery nail art.

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New on NatalieShop

I just added some new things I’ve made to my Etsy shop! Click on the images for the Etsy listing:
Grey Grid Tie Blouse with hi-low hem, $150.00

Space Age Sweatshirt Blouse, $150.00

Jade/Rose Turban-Style Headband, $25.00

Snow Bunny Turban-Style Headband, $20.00

Jade Cabled Beanie, $30.00

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