July 22, 2014

Zodiac Dresser: Cancer

Welcome to this month's installment of the Zodiac Dresser in which I find sartorial inspiration from western astrology. Today's outfit offers a very abstract and subtle perspective on the sign Cancer.
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1970s JC Penny halter top: thrifted, and soon getting its own post * skirt: Louie 
With so much red, this top might seem more appropriate for an Aries despite the seafoam and silver accents, colors associated with Cancer (see detail). However, sensual, maternal Cancer's glyph makes obvious which part of the body this sign governs:
Yep! The boobs!!! This sign is the mamma of the zodiac! 
Hence my choice of this sweetheart neckline halter top which emphasizes even small busted ladies such as myself. Cancer is a water sign I liken to the beach. Ruled by the moon, Caner is pulled by the tides of sentiment, intuition, sensuality and creativity. Cancer is represented by a crab, a beach dwelling creature. 
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see the seafoam and silvery white petals?

Snappy yet tender,
Caner: maternal beach crab
guided by moonlight

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shoes: Robert Clergerie
Given the strong nautical ties I personally associate with this sign, I felt Olive Oil would serve as an appropriate muse...
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Cancer is a sign with which I'm very familiar; my rising sign is in Cancer, meaning I project Cancerian vibes outwardly. 

I know at least one of you reading today was born under this sign! What about the rest of you?
--m

June 20, 2014

Gemini

Today's post celebrates Gemini as part of my Zodiac Dresser series. On a personal note, I'm often attracted and inspired by persons born under this exciting sign. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, hence why it has a flighty and sometimes flaky reputation. Represented by twins, Gemini is also often considered two-faced, although I would argue that dualistic is a more fitting description. 
gemini 1
unicorn dress: Rumors * vintage boots: Nobody's Baby, Eugene, OR
An energetic, highly changeable and spontaneous air sign, I liken Gemini to a whirlwind. Although unicorns are not traditionally associated with Gemini, this dress had the fun vibes I need to express my inner astrological party girl! 
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sunglasses and vintage belt: Deluxe, Eugene, OR
I chose yellow as a focal point because as the color of novelty, it is associated with Gemini. In addition to the yellow leather, the silver squares of this belt represent mercury.

Gemini: whirlwind
of mercurial spirit,
fun, flight and fancy. 
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A famous Gemini whose personal style befits her sign is Angelina Jolie during her Billy Bob phase. 

--m

June 10, 2014

Style 101: Refining Your Style

Refining your sense of style essentially boils down to continually evolving and becoming more discerning. (All images by Victorian artist Charles Dana Gibson.)

*As your life evolves, so should your wardrobe. 
Life is full of change so dress accordingly! Many lifestyle changes such as getting a new job, having kids and moving to a new climate may require a change in your wardrobe. But also, you yourself are likely to change with time and your style should evolve with you.

*Never stop being curious
Curiosity begets inspiration and passion which help you evolve and stay fresh.

*As you experiment, learn what works and what doesn’t. 
If you’re open to exploring, you’re likely to make some mistakes but that’s ok as long as you learn from them. (ex. I can't pull off orange lipstick.) If you find a flattering “magic formula”, keep doing it.
*Become ever more discerning
When I first started thrifting in my teens, I’d buy bags of vintage clothes, most of which, in retrospect, were not that amazing. As I’ve learned more, I’ve become choosier.

*Become ever more knowledgeable
The more you know about vintage, fabrics, designers etc., the more you can put into your ensembles.

*But don’t stop experimenting! 
In some ways, we are more limited in our dress as adults than teens. As you become pickier, there will be less things you try. However, there is still a lot of latitude to experiment and continue growing.

In what ways have you refined your style as you've gotten older?
--m

June 03, 2014

Style 101: Glamour Puss

The word glamour actually originates as a type of magic and enchantment in the works of Sir Walter Scot. Glamour is now defined as “beauty or charm that is sexually attractive.” Think of being pretty as a set of skills, not an intrinsic state.
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (via)
*Watch classic movies.
Much of what we still find glamorous today was defined in the 1940s and 50s with actresses like Lena Horne and Sophia Loren. Observe how the leading lady is dressed and groomed.

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*Take cues from pin ups.
Y’all know I love me some Bettie Page but many contemporary pin ups employ serious modern glamour, too.

*Devil’s in the Details!
Pay attention to small things like grooming your nails and eyebrows. These small elements of your look can add up to the picture of a diva.

*Quick Ways to be Glamorous:
  • Bombshell makeup: you can never go wrong with winged black liquid eye-liner and matte red lips.
  • Use glitter and shimmer. Reflective surfaces are used in film and theater for a reason.
  • There’s a serious movie star quality to big sunglasses.

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*Emphasize your sexuality.
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Grace Jones, Andre Pejvic, Sophia Vergara and David Beckham are all glamorous sex icons with very different expressions of sexuality and gender.
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*Wear sexy under garments. 
Marlena Dietrich used to bill the wardrobe department of her studio for lingerie because she believed it improved her presence and her walk. You do this for yourself, not because someone else may or may not see you in said underwear.


*Glamour is more about attitude than looks
The makeup and clothes are just vehicles for a state of mind. Work on how you feel about yourself to truly exude sexiness.
What does glamour mean to you? How do you make yourself feel and look glamourous?
--m

May 27, 2014

Style 101: Taking Lessons from the Arts

Style isn’t limited to your wardrobe. The word style originates from the Latin stylus, a writing tool; the concept of style emerged with literature before it was applied to other forms of expression. What can literature, the fine arts and architecture teach us about our own personal style?

*Immerse yourself and find your predilections. 
Inspiration will follow.

*Color is a vital component of painting and the visual arts in general. 
Pay careful attention to how the artists you like most use and combine color and to what effect.
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a Botticelli print dress
*Use art historical motifs in your wardrobe to set the mood.

First Communion demonstrates Picasso's classical training in Western Realism. 
*Notice how literary and art historical styles rely on rules, but how remarkable artists both understand and break convention.
Picasso's abstract and cubist work is what made him a true pioneer. 

*It may seem strange to be inspired by a non-visual medium, but think of how many awesome musicians also have fabulous style?

Vicky Talluso, from the book Cruddy, is a major style influence on me.
*Literature is a great place to find characters that inspire you.

*Many literary and artistic styles employ a philosophy which you can translate into your personal style. 
ex: Wabi Sabi would inspire minimal outfits with slight quirks. Post modern style (like my own) combines various references and disciplines together.


How do the arts inspire your style?

--m

May 20, 2014

Style 101: Maximizing Your Wardrobe with Accessories

The devil’s in the details. Accessories are like herbs and spices that can transform staples.  

one lbd, 3 ways
This Polyvore collage illustrates how accessories can completely change one basic piece. 
*Use Polyvore to see how different kinds of accessories can change the same outfit. 
Polyvore.com is a website which allows you to choose clothes and accessories from websites and add them to a collage.

*The key to travelling light is to accessorize wisely. 
5 basic garments and a few smart accessories (scarves, belts, hose and jewelry) can result in months’ worth of diverse looks.

*Tim Gunn said it best when he described the lbd as the perfect neutral platform for your accessories.

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A variety of nifty accessories 
*If you are on a budget, focus spending your money on well-fitting basics that work year after year but keep breathing new life into them through new accessories.

How do you use accessories to keep your wardrobe fresh?
--m

May 18, 2014

the Zodiac Dresser: Taurus for the Third Time

Today's post celebrates Taurus as part of my Zodiac Dresser series, in which I explore the horoscope through outfits. This sign's combination of femininity, conservatism and materialism always makes me think of 1950s June Cleaver/ Betty Draper stereotypes. Many astrologers consider those born under Taurus to be the most attractive in the zodiac. Possible proof: born April 22, 1923, Bettie Page was a Taurus! 
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1950s dress: shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (sorry, I forget which) * vintage purse: thrifted in Eugene
Strong and sexy,
Taurus stands firm in beliefs,
as lover and friend.

Excuse the photoshop effects of the photo above! I couldn't help myself. Here's a more to true to life detail view: 
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Indian patchwork belt: Porta Portese, Rome * agate necklace: Village Merchants, Portland
Although mauve and pale blue are the colors actually associated with Taurus, I don't wear those colors often as I don't find them that flattering. Instead, my color palette was inspired by violets and poppies, Taurus's token flowers. As wildflowers, violets and poppies grow in  fields which I see as the best embodiment of Taurus's element, earth. Like a field, Taurus is predictable and grounded, yet fertile/creative. Taurus's role in the zodiac is to cultivate resources which can be said of the role fields play in real life, too.
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shoes: Robert Clergerie 
Taurus seems to have a strange duality in that it is represented by a bull and yet ruled by the planet Venus, named for the goddess of love and beauty. The field metaphor is what helps me personally make the connection. 

Are any of you born under the sign of Taurus? Are you especially attractive, dependable or materialistic?
--m

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