Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Wear Chambray

Hey everyone! Hope your week is going well! Only 2.5 days til the weekend! :D I am currently halfway through my first week at a new college, and so far it's going well!

Last week I posted my outfit that included a chambray shirt. I wanted to follow up with a post about wearing chambray, because it is one of the most common trends you will see right now, and also one of the hardest to wear well. Chambray shirts, being denim, are automatically on the masculine side. It takes a little effort and knowledge to make sure they stay sweet and feminine. So here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Drape. This is a sewing term that describes the way cloth falls and flows. For example, a thicker cloth like, say denim, will be stiffer and have a less drape. Chiffon, though, which is sheer and flowy, has a lot of drape. If you wrapped a piece of denim around your body, it would pretty much hold its shape. If you wrapped chiffon around you, however, the fabric would mold to your body.

Keep drape and thickness in mind when you choose your chambray shirt. A thicker chambray will have less drape and hold its own shape. A thinner one will fit more to your body. In my opinion, a thinner chambray is more flattering. It keeps your look from being too boxy and shapeless, and complements your shape while still being modest.

2. Shoulders. Make sure that the denim shirt fits your shoulders well. My first chambray shirt  was a tad too big around the shoulders, and if I wore it as a jacket, the extra fabric around my waist coupled with the roomy shoulders added to all-out unflattery :o). This shoulder rule is also a basic fashion rule: if a shirt or jacket (especially one that zips or buttons) does not fit your shoulders well, the rest of the garment, however beautiful, will just end up looking frumpy. 

3. Color (or wash). When you buy a pair of jeans, the wash or color is important. The same goes for chambray shirts. I personally prefer a darker wash. It is more slimming and flattering, and looks a tad more polished. But it is up to you to decide what would work best with your wardrobe.

All right, now that we have some basic rules in mind, let's look at three different ways to work chambray shirts into your wardrobe! I put together three collages using the same chambray shirt to show how versatile one shirt can be. The shirt, you may recognize, is the same one I wore in my post, which I got at Maurices and absolutely love!

Option #1: With a Dress

chambray and dress

This is my favorite way to wear chambray shirts. I love wearing dresses, but when I want to tone down the dressiness (or cover up some spaghetti straps!), I simply throw on my chambray shirt, and ta-dah! An instantly sweet but casual outfit. 

Option #2: Tucked into a Skirt

chambray and skirt

This is great for a feminine, elegant, and yet relaxed look. A belt adds a special pop and eases the transition. Another, much more casual way to to this is to simply knot the bottom of the shirt in lieu of a belt.

Option #3: With Jeans

chambray and jeans

This seems odd at first, because technically this is a Canadian Tuxedo (that term, by the way, makes me laugh). This combination of jeans and a denim shirt was very popular in the 90s. Let's not relive that, okay? To bring this gracefully into the 2010s, just make sure that the washes of your two denim pieces are different. You can see that the chambray shirt is darker than the skinny jeans. (You could also do it vice versa). In my opinion, you should make sure that the drape (refer to Chambray Tip #1) of each piece is different. The shirt here has more drape than the jeans, so there is some variation that keeps you from being a wall of walking denim (who wants that?). The shirt can be either tucked in or left out (I've seen it both ways, and it's lovely either way), and worn with flats or heels. Statement jewelry, like this necklace, adds a really nice pop. 

This is by far the most adventurous way to wear denim, but if you're up for the challenge, let me know! I'd love to see how you work it into your wardrobe! 

So I hope this helped clear up some qualms you may have had about chambray. These guidelines are only the beginning. If you are new to denim shirts, start here and then experiment! Chambray is so versatile and limitless. It is honestly one of my favorite trends, and I can't imagine what I'd do without my own  little denim shirt. It adds another dimension to my wardrobe!

Any questions or remarks? Let me know in the comments below! :o)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Classes started today! And so did my new job in the school office. It was a fun day!

I wore this really flowy (and red) outfit today because I wanted to be cool and comfy for classes and work. It has been SO hot and humid these past few days! And it worked pretty well; I was comfy enough and as cool as could be hoped :o)

I got this dress from Maurices a few weeks ago, and I love it. It's so feminine. Its only fault is the spaghetti strap sleeves (or lack thereof, heh). I love pairing it with this button down shirt (and sweaters, as weather allows) because the effect is so breezy and relaxed. The dress is too short for comfort but some black leggings create a chic, girly, and modest look. :) Leggings are also super comfortable.

Dress, Button down shirt, Earrings, Leggings, and Purse: Maurices
Tan flats: Payless
Celtic Necklace: Mission Passport

And by the way, this is Amanda, my friend, roommate, and photographer! We had a lot of fun taking pictures on campus in the golden light of the evening. It was a perfect night! :o) 

Have a great week everyone!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Style Inspiration Saturday - My Ruche Wishlist

Hello everyone! Happy weekend!

One of my favorite sites to browse (and buy from when pocketbook permits) is Ruche. Looking through their selection of darling dresses, tops, and accessories (and more!) is like perusing through a very classy antique shop. This site has influenced my style very much, even just by looking through it. It has helped me to spend less time wondering "does this look cool? Will people like it?" when I'm choosing clothes or outfits, and instead ask myself "Is this pretty? Is it me? Do I like it?"

One hot, sunny summer day when I was young, my sister, grandmother and I sat on my grandparents' bed and looked through Grandma's vast collection of jewelry. Some of it, like her gold amethyst and diamond ring, was very old, given to her when she was a young woman. Some, like the Russian brooch, fashioned into a tiny grape vine, came from Grandpa's years as a traveling salesman, when he'd bring home gifts from all over the world. And some of the jewelry was homemade with yarn and huge wooden beads, gifts from her grandchildren.

When she let us explore and hold and model her jewelry, it was the most wonderful feeling. Family history was in my hands, around my neck, dangling on my ears. Rings that had seen the days of World War II were on my fingers. Brooches that had traveled across mountains, deserts, and oceans were pinned to my shirt. Necklaces symbolizing fifty years of marriage, five kids, and thirteen grandchildren hung from my neck. I will remember that hot afternoon in my grandparents' house for the rest of my life. I will remember that feeling for the rest of my life.

It sounds really trivial, shallow, and silly, but a small part of that wonderful feeling stays with me when I look through Ruche. The clothing and accessories look like something you'd find in your grandmother's collection, and I don't mean that in the frumpy way. I mean that each piece has a feel of history. The elegant colors, feminine laces, and soft prints come from another time, but are updated, freshened, and repurposed to be at home in ours. It's like you've stumbled onto an interesting old suitcase in a forgotten attic, and holy cow! someone left their beautiful clothes in it!

(Trench Coat from Ruche)

So after that long-winded introduction, here are the items in my Ruche wishlist. This is just a small sample of my style inspiration. So definitely head to the website (after you finish my post ;) and check everything out!

This dress is the perfect blend of casual and charming. I envision it with sandals and a skinny brown belt for now, and with a mustard cardigan and boots later! I love that the colors could work well for summer or winter, spring or fall. The possibilities are endless.

I've been on the hunt for the perfect navy skirt. So far, this fits the bill. It'd look great just with a plain tee and flats for casual wear, or with wedges and a flowy blouse tucked in for something a little more fancy :)

Empress Embroidered Blouse in Beige:

Can I just say WOW!? This top is simply gorgeous. And completely versatile! I'd throw it over the navy skirt for a breezy, effortless ensemble, or over a dress for a similar effect. It would also look smashing with skinny jeans and flats!

I love how these earrings are subtle enough to wear with jeans, and yet elegant enough to complement a little black dress and heels! Also, the muted green color works well with pretty much anything, especially the earthy colors of fall and the pastels of spring and summer.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my wishlist! Go on to Ruche and check the rest of their site out!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Top 5 Useful Posts You May Have Missed

1. Maria's Morning and Bedtime Skin Routine

Sneak Peek:
"A huge part of having (and keeping) clear skin is consistently washing and moisturizing my face on a daily basis. It takes a effort to do it everyday, (especially because my bedtime routine has three different facial washes) but the payoff is huge."
Read all about my skincare routine...  

2. Rose's Back to School: Backpack Shopping Guide

Sneak Peek:
"One of my favorite things when I was little about going back to school was the school supply shopping. All the crayons, markers, and pencils; it's like Christmas in August. And of course you need a backpack! Over the past couple of years, I've seen some really adorable backpacks around."
Read tips on picking the perfect backpack...

3. Six Places to Buy Stylish Clothing Online

Sneak Peek:
"Junieblake has styles that are very unique and trendy and absolutely beautiful and modest!"
Find where to buy super cute modest clothes...

4. What Everybody Ought to Know About Pattern Mixing (5 Secrets That Make All the Difference)

Sneak Peek:
"Ever try to wade into the pool of pattern mixing and feel overwhelmed? Or feel like you might look crazy for wearing two non-matching things? I am here to take away that fear and break down the rules of pattern mixing into five simple (yet essential) tips."

Discover the 5 secrets of pattern mixing (guest post)...

5. How to Wear a Hoodie with a Skirt or Dress the Right Way - 5 Helpful Tips

Sneak Peek:
"I used to think that wearing a hoodie with a skirt or dress always looked bad. I thought you could only wear it with a pair of jeans or shorts. But I recently discovered some tips so that I could still wear classy dresses and skirts and be able to wear comfortable hoodies."
Read how to wear a hoodie with a skirt...
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

My 1950s Dress

Right now I am at school and really busy with the myriad activities of Welcome Week. So I thought I'd post about an older outfit. Throwback Thursday, if you will.

These are pictures I took a while back when I first finished making this 1950s dress. I got the pattern from Sense and Sensibility Patterns. All the patterns from that site are based off of real vintage clothing, so it is genuine and true to period while being doable enough for the modern sewer to replicate. The pattern for this dress is simple and so easily customizable (is that a word?). It's perfect for a beginning sewer who loves vintage fashion, or an experienced sewer who loves easy vintage fashion. Just anyone who loves vintage fashion.

I modernized it a bit with a belt and shoes. I kept the accessories minimal because the dress, with its full skirt and 50s silhouette, is quite a statement in itself (and because I'm not very brave. I'll have to play around with it :o).

It was tons of fun to wear such a classic dress.

This is the way I wore it Easter Sunday, with a cardigan, muslin sash and nude heels (and red lipstick, of course!). This is a very 1950s way to wear it. I felt quite glamorous :o). I also ended up playing a friendly one-on-one game of basketball in the dress after Easter dinner (no heels involved, of course). I must say, if you're going to play basketball, do it with style!

And here is a closeup of the print. It was a simply darling cotton calico, cornflower blue with white polka dots and hints of mint. I'm a sucker for mint!

Dress: Homemade using the Sense and Sensibility Ladies' 1958 Dress Pattern
Brown Belt: Maurices
Brown Flats: Payless
Mint Cardigan: Maurices
Nude Sash: Handmade
Nude Heels: Hand-me-downs from a friend (but originally from Wal-Mart, I believe)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Wear a Hoodie with a Skirt or Dress the Right Way - 5 Helpful Tips

I used to think that wearing a hoodie with a skirt or dress always looked bad. I thought you could only wear it with a pair of jeans or shorts. But I recently discovered some tips so that I could still wear classy dresses and skirts and be able to wear comfortable hoodies.

Tip 1: This is probably the most important thing to remember. Make sure the hoodie is a zip up hoodie; not a pullover hoodie. When you wear the hoodie with the skirt, leave it unzipped. This will make it look nicer; more like a cardigan. If you zip it up or wear a pullover hoodie, it just looks bad.
These are some examples of hoodies that would look great! Gap and Target
Tip 2: Get lightweight hoodies. These look so much better than bulky, furry hoodies. I know, the heavy, furry hoodies are the most comfortable, but just save those for when you wear jeans. The fullness of the skirt or dress with a bulky hoodie will make the entire outfit look frumpy.
Super cute, simple light weight hoodies. Kohls

Tip 3: Make sure it fits. This one is kind of a no brainer, but it's super super important. Really take your time trying it on; look in the mirrors, make sure you like how it looks. Maybe don't buy online because it will be harder to get the right size. If hoodie is too large, it will completely ruin the outfit.

Tip 4: Keep the hoodies simple. Solid colors or very subtle prints. Don't do obnoxious prints and above everything, don't do college, sports or basically any hoodies with wording. These types of hoodies look bad because they are way too casual to wear with dresses and skirt.
None of these are good. They are big, bulky hoodies that have wording all over them.
Tip 5: Keep your outfit casual. This one is kind of obvious too. Don't try to wear a silk dress with a hoodie, because it's just not going to work. Wear casual dresses and skirts; knit, cotton, etc.
Hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! Let me know if you have any other tips or suggestions.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lace and Chambray

I've been packing away my clothes for school. I leave in two days!!! So I've been wearing my really summery stuff as a sort of last hurrah before I leave it behind in favor of more cozy attire.

Chambray shirts (a fancy word for jean jacket) have been all the rage lately. This was the first year I really tried them, and so far I'm a fan. They dress down some of my very girly pieces, so I can wear them casually without looking overdressed. In a few weeks I'm hoping to post some tips on how to wear incorporate chambray into your wardrobe while still looking sweet and feminine. Stay posted!

Also, can I just say how much I LOVE the fact that topknots are a thing? Not only is this a godsend for my often unruly hair (just tuck it out of the way and you still look polished!), but I get a special satisfaction from knowing that the same style was worn by women over a hundred years ago.

(Gibson Girls)

Lace Tank, Chambray Top, Crinkle Cami, and Maxi Skirt: Maurices
Jewelry: Maurices
Shoes: Payless

Have a lovely week!

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