Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dance yourself clean

cardigan: Target | bathing suit (worn as top): vintage, Etsy | skirt: vintage, thrifted | tights: Goodwill | boots: ModCloth

Are you completely sick of seeing these boots yet? I certainly hope not...they're terribly comfortable. I believe it's better to wear something to death than to let it languish in your closet until it goes to Goodwill, barely worn. (That's why so many of my shoes are quite literally worn through to the ground!) These particular boots also have the power to instantly bump any outfit from "meh" to stylish. At least that's how I feel, anyway.

Not that I felt "meh" in this outfit - quite the opposite, actually. I wore this to the Vintage Soiree on Saturday, but I must have changed my outfit at least five times before leaving the house and I ended up being late. Serves me right for not planning my wardrobe ahead of time, I guess...

But regardless of how long it took me to finally settle on this outfit, I felt amazing in it. I fell in love with this swimsuit on Etsy over the summer and finally bought it, only to discover that the elastic ruching in the back was pretty much shot. Chris's mom had to spend seven (!) painstaking hours hand-stitching new elastic. She's a wonderful lady! I think it may need a couple small touchups to be ready for swimming, but I love that I can wear it as a top in the meantime. Versatility at its finest. 

And as for this skirt...the only difficulty with wearing it is that I'm always tempted to spin...

...and spin...

...and spin.

I think I need to populate my closet with clones of this skirt in different colors...

p.s. - Yes, I know the song title is spelling "Dance Yrself Clean." I just couldn't bring myself to write it out that way...

photos by Chris

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black and white and red all over

cardigan: Forever 21 | dress & belt: vintage | tights: Goodwill | oxfords: some shop in Bucharest

I've been feeling a little bit stale lately when it comes to my wardrobe, so lately I've been challenging myself when I open my closet: today, I'm going to wear an outfit I've never worn before. So far, I've only done it a couple of times, but I've been really happy with the results! Sometimes I find that I think way too much about any given outfit. It sounds counterintuitive, but it can be liberating to go on autopilot and just grab the first couple of things I see.

It's amazing to me how much history can be contained within one outfit. The cardigan, though I love it, is just from Forever 21 - not much history there. But I picked up this vintage belt at an estate sale, and this dress actually belonged to my grandmother. It's growing worn in several places, and though you probably can't tell from this picture, it is in need of some mending and TLC. But I'll keep it forever.

The shoes, too, have a very special place in my heart. I got them almost exactly one year ago when I was on a spring break mission trip to Romania. I almost didn't buy them. It was the last day of our trip, and after sightseeing in Bucharest, we stopped in a huge mall. Even though these shoes were something I'd been wanting for a long time, I passed them by because I really wanted to buy something authentically Romanian. But it turned out that mall just wasn't the right place for things like that. As it turned out, I had just about exactly enough money for them, so I paid for them and immediately put them on to finish sightseeing. (They're surprisingly comfortable!) That same trip is happening again this year, but since I am no longer a student and instead work full time, I won't be going. It breaks my heart a little.

Do you know the history behind anything in your closet?

photos by Chris

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'll try anything once

jacket: swapped | jeans & shoes: JC Penney

I thought I'd try something a little different on the blog today! Chris is always taking my outfit photos for the blog, so I thought I'd return the favor (or, have him humor me, more like it)! He's actually a really good sport about it, and he's a pretty snappy dresser if I do say so myself - so I think this might just become a semi-regular feature! He's much better than I am at putting colors together, which I suppose comes naturally from being an accomplished artist. I don't think I ever would have put these pieces together, but I actually love the resulting color palette.

We've had a bit of snow since my last post, but you'd never know it from the weather yesterday, which is when these were taken. It was warm enough that I could comfortably be without my coat for a while. So what did we do? Went to Chris's old elementary school and goofed around on the playground, of course!

Well, okay, we did some more grown-up things too. Together with our friend Jake, we went to Siciliano's, whose name always sounds like a restaurant to me - but it's actually a beer-and-wine-making supply store. They have lots of craft beers and wines, loose leaf teas, raw honey, short, it's a magical place. It smells wonderful inside, as you can imagine. Among other things, I bought a delicious chocolate stout and some creme brulee coffee, which I intend to try tomorrow...

In fact, the very thought of trying that coffee is making me want to go to bed right now so I can wake up soon and give it a try. I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Did you act like a grown-up, embrace your inner child - or a little of both, as we did?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Safe ship, harbored

dress (worn as top): Urban Outfitters | cardigan, boots: ModCloth | belt: thrifted | skirt: vintage

Is this really February? I need to pinch myself...with the gorgeous weather we've been having, coupled with how busy life is these days, I feel certain that this must actually be October in a not-so-clever disguise. But October might just be my favorite month, so you'll hear no complaints from me. 

I've really been living up to the "joyful" name these days...despite the fact that I've been sick, so many good things are happening. I got my new personal laptop, a raise and a new computer at work. Last week was Chris's birthday and we celebrated with friends at a fantastic local brewery (rated one of the best in the country!) Tomorrow Chris and I are doing a photoshoot with one of his friends. Next weekend I'll be selling vintage at a super-fun vintage soiree with Lily of Love Charles Vintage. And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Whew!

The title of this post comes from the album of the same name by local Grand Rapids band The Crane Wives. (Incidentally, I went to school with a couple of them! They're fantastic bunch.) They just won a bunch of awards at our local music awards show, and I'm just thrilled for them. We're really blessed in Grand Rapids with a fantastic visual arts scene, but what with bands like the Crane Wives and The Soil and the Sun, our music scene is really growing these days! Oh, how I love my city...

Anyway, my point is, you should check out these bands, because they're both insanely talented.

Being a rather diminutive sort of person (I recently discovered that I'm 5'2", despite my years of believing I was 5'3") I've always been a bit wary of longer-length skirts. I was afraid they'd swallow me up and make me look even shorter. But I absolutely love this one! It's such a fun print and it moves in such a pretty way. Is there anything style-wise that you've been afraid to try - only to discover later that you love it?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A lack of color

dress: vintage | cardigan: H&M | belt: Forever 21 | boots, ring: ModCloth

When you find the perfect vintage dress, and it fits you perfectly, and you're having a perfectly snow-free winter and it's a perfect sunny February day, you are obliged to go on a photo adventure. Take it from me. Seriously, I wasn't even all that cold when we took these photos! I don't know who ran off with our Michigan winter, but they don't seem to have any plans to give it back. And that's just fine with me.

This is the dress I mentioned a couple posts back - the one I got at the little vintage shop right down the street from my old house. I've only been there twice, but both times, I have found a dress that fits me like it was made for me. There's something magical about that place. When I tried this dress on, the owners told me that they had been waiting for so long for their "Cinderella" to come along and snatch it up. I wonder how many Cinderella moments I can have at that shop before my luck runs out!

Do you have a special vintage shop you return to? Have you had that elusive Cinderella moment?

I absolutely can't wait to style this dress up as many ways as I can! It's actually kind of formal, but I thought I'd dress it down for its first outing. I'm a little bit in love, which is a bit surprising because I'm not always the biggest fan of neutrals; the lack of color intimidates me to no end. But I'm starting to realize that they can be kind of like a blank palette. I can satisfy my instinct to go crazy with color in other ways...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A shorts story

cardigan: Charlotte Russe | tank top: Target | shorts/matryoshka ring: ModCloth | oxfords: some shop in Bucharest

Yikes, sorry for my little disappearance there! Shortly after I wrote my last post, my computer cord died for good. I ended up getting a new laptop this week - which I love - but I'm still working on getting things transferred over to this computer. As a result, I don't have access to Photoshop or any of the photos I planned to post, or my lengthy to-do list in which I had several things planned out for this blog. I have also developed a slight cold, so I've been super lame, going to bed before 10 on most nights. When exactly did I become an old lady?!

Anyway, all I have to post is this outfit from when Chris and I did some babysitting for some friends last week. The lighting wasn't great and we only had about 5 minutes to take these photos before we had to head to the babysitting, but we had a total blast. I mean, how often is it that you get to play princesses and read Harry Potter in funny voices? The one 3-year-old girl really looks up to me because I wear dresses all the time (she wore a frilly velvet dress to bed, to give you an idea) so I think this outfit may have been a shock to her system...

Yes, I am wearing PANTS. Well, shorts, anyway. Since this blog is still fairly young, you have no idea how rare of an occasion it is that I wear pants of any kind. I've been trying to diversify my wardrobe a wee bit, so I snagged these when ModCloth had its massive sale. I love these shorts - isn't the print darling? - but I can think of exactly one way to style them. I'm new to this whole pants-wearing thing. Help a girl out! How would you style these shorts?