OOtD: American Punk Princess

American Punk Collage

It’s finally Spring Break! I am so excited for all the possibilities! I mean yes, of course I have a little bit of homework and internship applications, but I’ve been watching movies, bonding with one of my roommates, (although we just got a new one and we are unenthusiastic about her addition… Will keep you all posted…) and wandering the streets of Florence like a native. Sundays seem to be more crowded than you would expect, as the Ponte Vecchio all the way down to Piazza Della Repubblica is crammed with tourists and natives out for shopping or a bite to eat. I actually left the grocery store without buying anything because the line was looping halfway back through the Conad. No thanks.

I’m really excited because I’ll be going to London for part of next week, so I can give you a little taste of fabulous Brit fashion (especially because the friend that I’m staying with is also studying fashion. Trés apropos! I’ve dreamt of owning a Burberry trenchcoat ever since I fell in love with fashion, and the Brits certainly know how to blend preppy and edgy into their street style. Which is exactly why I decided to mention my next sojourn along with the lovely outfit above. The Brits became paragons of fashion and culture during the Swinging Sixties, with models such as Twiggy, Peggy Moffitt, and Jean Shrimpton helping renew London as a world fashion capital. They’d previously held attention during the Victorian and Elizabethan eras, when queens were trendsetters with attitude. With contemporary designers such as Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, and Manolo Blahnik shining in the fashion scene, there’s no doubt that London is a perfect place to find some unique fashion inspiration.

I decided to go shopping today and get some sun and fresh air, and it’s finally reaching spring temperatures here in Firenze, so this outfit was perfect to wander the streets without a jacket. It took me ages to find a chambray shirt, but this one from H&M is light enough to pair with anything and still retain the all-American love of denim. I love plaid/checkered anything because it’s a perfect option when I’m embracing my playful tomboy side. The skirt is great because it has a good number of neutral colors I can pick and choose to mix with, and we already know how much I love the color red. The tights will be sticking around until the temperature jumps up, but they are also helpful to take focus away from the legs.

I’m giving a whole paragraph to the shoes because I’m really adoring them these days. I got them at DSW as my “black flats to go with everything” for this semester. The gladiator straps add intrigue and an irreverent punk touch to any outfit, whether it’s really visible with a skirt or dress, or a little more played down under a pair of dark skinny jeans. The shoes are really flexible and great for walking in, which is important in a city like Florence. The zip at the back is a cool touch, because I’d rather not have to buckle everything in the front every day when I’m running off to class in 10 minutes. The brand is London Rebel (see, there’s a method to my madness!) and they hold up well.

It’s so interesting to think of how fashion is connected to historical events and the lifestyles that people lead in different time periods. The way a woman’s silhouette changes, or the types of fabrics that are used over and over again really illustrates the interchange of culture and fashion every day. Fashion isn’t just clothing; fashion is a form of personal expression, an extension of attitude and a way to project another layer of oneself in an interesting way. Whether you’re a classic sailor top, capris and ballet flats type of girl, or whether you’re a guy who loves wearing a suit everyday, fashion speaks where words cannot, and no matter where you are from or how much money you make, you can make a statement with your wardrobe if you only learn how to make it work for you. Stay brilliant, everyone! Baci!! xx

OotD: Mixing Prints and Textures (Last Week*)

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So my excuse for not having posted until recently is that I’ve been balancing school and going out and attempting to get the full experience of the beautiful city of Florence. It’s really something, although I must say it is a little stressful that shopping here, whether it’s for groceries every week or a new poncho when the market booth owner is extremely persistent, is a bank-breaker. Factor in rent and my desire to go visit other cities and countries, and… well, I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it. Let’s get back to fashion, shall we? I’ve recently seen a few… shall we say, daring outfits on the street that I just have to share with you because they’re completely questionable.

When I was going out one night to the clubs with some of my girl friends, as I was walking to their place I felt rather self-conscious, in a bodycon skirt from H&M, a black lace-lined tanktop, and a black sweater. Fortunately for me, I came across a girl wearing tights as pants, so I felt much better. That wasn’t the most unsettling fashion blemish Florence had to offer. The next day, on the way to the Ferragamo museum for my History of 20th Century Fashion class, we happened to walk past the most fashion-confused old woman I’ve ever seen. She was sporting a very tight yellow dress, topped by a dark fur vest… but the worst part? Her legs were encased in white fishnet tights. With flames around the ankles. Seriously?! I apologize, but honestly most elder Italian women know how to dress their age and still look classy, so this was a very jarring vision.

The next day, my friend and I were very brightly dressed, and we thought that we might stand out a lot compared to the more minimalist and neutral-color stylings of typical Florentines. We were wrong; we happened upon a woman wearing a striped sweater and black-and-white camouflage pants. I couldn’t even. She beat us. I was done with fashion searching for the rest of the week. Fortunately the visit to the Ferragamo museum and walking along “designer street” on Via Tornabuoni restored my faith in Florence, and I can go on blogging happily.

I had the fortune of purchasing the jacket above at the Santo Spirito market near my street for only 10 euro. It’s been really lovely as an in between for my military jacket and my wool winter coat, and it’s also fairly durable in the rain. The houndstooth skirt was a gift from one of my best friends for my last birthday, and I love how versatile it is; you can really wear it with any color and add on accessories to change it from preppy to rocker or any style in between. The shirt is from Forever 21, and I love how soft the material is and how flattering the color is against my skin tone. Tights were a must because the rain and the weather hadn’t improved until recently. The scarf adds a little sparkle to the outfit, while matching colors with the skirt to avoid outfit discord.

I’ll be making a purchases post tomorrow after my outfit for today is posted. Last Sunday, I had the fortune of going to Venice for its Carnevale, and it was everything I dreamed it would be. The city was very crowded, but between all the beautiful costumes and masks and the gorgeous landscape in and out of the canals, I couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque island city. I’ve wanted to visit Venice since I was much younger, having fallen in love with movies like The Thief Lord and Summertime. The city really has a lot of history and culture and spirit, and I definitely want to make a return trip whenever I get the chance (before it sinks! yikes!) Our next Italian trip is to Pompeii and Sorrento, and I’m very excited for even more Italy. For now, I content myself with exploring Florence. Very happy that midterms week is finally over. Stay open-minded, everyone! Baci! xx

Staying Stylish While Staying Snug

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(This is probably the only “selfie” I will ever post on here… Hopefully… Ignore the mess haha)

I am fairly slow at updating this blog, in case you haven’t realized, but I have been keeping my eyes peeled for various fashion plates and fashion disasters here in Florence. The most common eyesore I’ve noticed happens to be something very close to home, most likely because the main perpetrators are study abroad girls: leggings being worn as pants. While I am completely fine with a girl wearing leggings under a long tunic or shirt or a dress, I absolutely cannot stand when girls wear these out to class or on the street with North Faces or hoodies. It’s fine for the gym or when you’re lounging around at home, but how hard is it to put on a pair of jeans or something similar when you go outside? In fact, if it is so difficult, then why don’t you just put on a dress or a skirt? Sorry, rant over.

Anyway, from what I’ve seen most of the girls at my school dress fairly well for class, but they cannot be surpassed by the Italian girls, who are the epitome of style, teachers included. I’m not saying every girl should spend hours doing her hair and makeup and picking an outfit everyday, since that’s just not plausible and would take away the intrigue of ready-to-wear clothes. That doesn’t make it any less admirable that they put in the effort, however. It’s also interesting because the women here, most of them anyway, know how to age gracefully, in person and in fashion. Their wardrobe is age-appropriate and chic, which every woman should aspire to. The men are also very classy, whether they’re seen on the street or in the club. From my very limited pool of male friends, I can tout that the Italian men can even be more daring in their fashion than women. Brianna approved! 😉

I haven’t really been impressed with the selection in the regular stores here that you could find back in the states, such as H&M and Zara. Going for more Italian stores, or even checking out the markets, is a much better option (and probably a much cheaper one, too.) I saw this lovely tan peacoat-esque jacket in a side shop that I am dying to go back and purchase, and this was in a store not far from the 99 cento (which, by the way, is a wonderous place.) However, I am still totally willing to purchase certain basic essentials at the big brand stores when its necessary (H&M teal hoodie, I love you.) It’s really about layering pieces and mixing and matching your mass market clothes with your more original, one-of-a-kind pieces. Clothes are the perfect medium for self-expression; use them well!

An essential wardrobe addition that you can use easily to make a statement is a coat or jacket. Here in Italy, there are a few trends that I’ve noticed that are both very specific but also easy to apply anywhere in the world. I’ve seen all of these on at least 10 people all over Florence, and probably more for some of them. (sorry if some of these are a reiteration from a previous post!)

1. The quilted puffer jacket (aka the bane of my existence)

These are not aesthetically pleasing to me in any way whatsoever, but I understand the functionality and practicality of these. They come in a wide variety of colors, for both men and women, but so far the most prevalent are black, red and brown (the dark, neutral colors, like I mentioned previously, very popular.) These can be long down to the knee or at waist length, but they are always very puffy. For some reason, there are actually people who can pull these off, to my horror and delight. Perfect example, my gorgeous roommate Alla with her classic black puffer (although she could honestly pull off anything, including sweats, so maybe that’s an outlier example…)

2. The fur coat/vest

I am still in search of the perfect fur vest to layer over my jacket, as I’ve seen a few of the girls do here. In neutral colors, they add a little luxury and intrigue to any outfit, as well as texture and most importantly, warmth. I once saw a very impressive long teal vest in the window of Miss Sixty, it was totally bold. As for fur coats, they are most commonly found on the very chic old women who wander about Florence, but they look good on basically every woman I’ve seen so far. (While I’m not a supporter of actual fur items, faux fur alternatives are really cute and Macklemore would totally approve if you looked into them.

3. The military jacket (with or w/o leather shoulders)

One of my personal favorites, these usually-green beauties are perfect in lighter weather for market browsing or bar hopping. There is a specific kind with leather shoulders/arms from Zara that I’ve seen all over Florence. The jacket can add an edge to a floral dress, or it can be a good neutral to tone down a bright outfit underneath. These also come in long or short, and you can even customise your own (I added a flower patch over the hole on the back of the one I bought from Buffalo Exchange!) They also tend to have a fair amount of pockets, which is always a win in my book.

4. The leather jacket 

I’m pretty sure everyone already has one of these in their wardrobe, and if not, they should probably get one (there is faux leather out there too, for all us animal lovers!)       I very much miss my wine-colored cropped H&M jacket back in the States, but I made a lovely purchase (to be examined in my next post) at the local market for super cheap. One of the important points to make about these is that Italy is famous for its work with leather, in shoes, bags, and yes, jackets. They go with basically everything, being a classic, and layer just like the military jacket, but with many more color options. Cropped, waist-length, or long like a trench, leather jackets will never go out of style.

5. The trench coat

Another classic that everyone should own, the trench coat is another great lighter option, with the added bonus of usually making a fine rain coat (which will always remind me of the final scene in Breakfast At Tiffany’s! <3) Back at home, I have a very bright royal blue trench that I love to toss on to cheer me up or brighten up my outfit. I am still on the hunt for the *coveted* and original tan Burberry trench, but I’m biding my time for the perfect style. These have all different details besides color that make each trench interesting: belts, buttoning styles, shoulder tabs, material, etc. If you don’t already have a trench, there is a perfect one out there waiting for you! (Note: if you’re worried they’re too long because you’re tiny like me, you can always get a trench-style coat that stops at the waist. Still cute and versatile!)

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Expect another post in a day or so, finally. I witnessed some pretty horrifying fashion messes recently, and those will definitely come up, as well as some fashion highlights. I’m always really nervous about trying to snap photos of really stylish outfits even though I could just tell people I have a blog, so you may not get many photographic evidence. I promise I’ll be as detailed as possible and, as always, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see or read about, feel free to drop me a comment or a message. I’ve been really happy experiencing all the fashion here in Florence, and I want to share it with all of you lovely people! 🙂 Stay snuggly, everyone! Baci! xx

OOtD: The Return of the Sass (in Florence!)

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This has been a long time coming, everyone, but I am finally back and plan to be in full force for 2014! I am happy to announce that I’m spending the semester in Florence, which means plenty of opportunities to peep some great fashion. It’s been 2 days since I arrived and I’ve already seen so many great shops and interesting styles among the people. From a surprise find of Ladureé (yum!!) and Tiffany’s to a street with two Zaras, there’s plenty of ways I can waste spend my money.

There are a lot of common pieces that I’ve seen so far, although whether they are good or bad is debatable. Very happy I brought two pairs of boots because they are very common out on the street, and they are both comfortable and fashionable, which important because Florence is very much a walking city. Sales on shoes are everywhere right now (just sales in general!), and I’m debating whether I will get another pair of shoes. I just bought these for the trip, they’re pretty nice, but I’ll have to be careful because they already started cutting up my feet.

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Coats here are hit or miss for me, honestly. Fur is very popular, faux or otherwise, especially long coats on older women and short coats or vests on younger. Military green coats are popular as well, with hoods or without, long or short, you name it. They’re pretty great; they add edge to any outfit. The one type of coat I don’t like? Puffy coats. I don’t care if the shape is flattering, you really just end up looking like the Michelin man. Seriously, I see them everywhere and cringe every time. It must take some type of already-magnetic personality to brave wearing one of those; that is one time I will not sacrifice fashion for warmth. However, long structured wool and trench coats are also common, and I’m dreaming of the day when I go purchase the perfect tan trench at Burberry.

As I imagined, dark and neutral colors are the dominant species here in Florence, although there is much more color than Montreal. Clothing is usually not very printed, but focuses on the cut and structure of the pieces, as well as layering on different accessories to finish the look. Most people have an immediate aura about them of luxury, even if their clothing is more on the minimalistic side. I’m excited to experience more and take notes as the next 5 months go by. I’m sure the people in school will be intriguing.

So basically the outfit was part-laziness and part joy that it was actually really nice outside today. I love love love high-low skirts, and not because they’re on trend right now, but because they give you the perfect amount of warmth and flow that a regular skirt doesn’t. It’s kind of like having a cape, but for your lower half. haha Not to mention that the neutrals fit right into the setting. Layering here is important for staying warm, so to add a pop over my black lacy tank, I grabbed my favorite coral sweater. Daytime required my military green jacket for a little coverage when not in the sun, while night brought out my wool coat to keep away the chill. A little jewelry goes a long way, too.

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We went grocery shopping today, which was really nice, so now I can cook food and do my laundry and all that good stuff. I’m finally setting in, and since we did a lot of walking, I feel pretty good and ready to take the city by storm. I’ve made friends with the girls next door, and am still waiting for my other two roommates to move in. The apartment is very nice, although it’s a bit chilly (flashbacks of my room back at AXO…) Florence is really beautiful, and even just the architecture and the people really add to the scenery. We saw a man when we were walking back who was dressed up in a costume, like a clown who’d been hit by a big gust of wind, so that was amusing. There are so many dogs and children everywhere too, including a baby who was playing with an iPhone in her stroller. I love when they speak Italian so well; I definitely want my future kids to speak a foreign language (or two!) I’m excited for orientation tomorrow, getting to pick all my classes and all that. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long so Lizzie and I can go explore and shop some more. Crepi il lupo! xx

Everyone Hail to the Pumpkin King: A Halloween Post

As a fashion lover, Halloween is an obvious choice for my favorite holiday of the year (sorry, Christmas, you’re a close second!) I get to spend ages mulling over what costume I should buy/make, and end up pulling together something amusing. This year, I was not looking to buy up another expensive costume, and I wasn’t drawn to anything very specific (saloon girl last year, whaaat), so I decided DIY was in order. It always makes me a little nervous to wear a costume on the day of Halloween because it typically falls on a weekday, and being the only one in costume in class is rather daunting.

So, this year, I decided on an ambiguous costume for daytime which actually utilizes the leather skirt I mentioned in a previous post. What am I?

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Parisienne by day, MIME by night! Wheee~! Yes, not very out-of-the-box thinking, I know. Believe me, my weekend Halloween costume was much better. I think that it’s always most impressive when you can come up with costumes from your own wardrobe; typically these costumes are more clever and garner more compliments than the store-bought variety. And so, here is costume #2…

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That’s right, darlings, I was a Taco Bell Hot sauce packet. 🙂 This dress (in one of my favorite colors, no less,) was begging to be worn again, and it struck me as the perfect idea to make such a sassy costume. I think my favorite part was the “Think Outside the Bun” on the back. Little details always seem to make a costume.

But you must be wondering, what are some classy costumes that YOU can make from YOUR own wardrobe that are fashion-forward and in homage to culture? Wellll….

FRANK CRONENWETHThe princess herself, and my personal style icon, the lovely miss Audrey Hepburn a la Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Holly costume is so simple, and you can mix it up with your own personal touches.

What you need:

  • a fabulous LBD (that’s little black dress)
  • black pumps
  • a collar or string of pearls
  • large rhinestone earrings
  • a (vintage) cigarette holder
  • to top it off, you can either do the sparkly tiara or a large black hat
  • for the daytime, black cat eye sunglasses are a MUST 8)

If you have more of an hourglass figure and a bold personality, you’d make a beautiful Marilyn Monroe. We’ll have you singing to the President in no time! 😉

What you need:

  • a short, curly platinum blonde wig
  • a white dress (either bodycon or long with a tulle skirt)
  • red lipstick
  • red nail polish
  • a drawn-on beauty mark

If you want a more edgy, less well-known muse, why not try out the energetic Warholstar, miss Edie Sedgwick. In fact, she was one of my choices for costumes. Find yourself an Andy and party, baby.

What you need:

  • a black and white striped shirt
  • opaque black tights or leggings
  • black or silver ballet flats
  • large chandelier earrings
  • a short blonde bob wig
  • lots and lots of black eyeliner/eyeshadow – you should look akin to a raccoon
  • any other mod jewelry
  • bonus points for a fur coat and a cigarette

For the glamourous girls who love their history, why not embrace maturity and steal the look from the most important woman to come out of France in the 20th century, Coco Chanel.

What you need:

  • a long-sleeved black dress OR a long-sleeve black blouse and black pencil skirt
  • some kind of black scarf or cloth belt, to tie like an ascot on front of top
  • multi-strand pearl necklace
  • large, round black and rhinestone earrings
  • black and white flats
  • curly, short dark brown or black wig
  • a fabulously-tilted black hat (fedora or otherwise)

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There are so many options for Halloween costumes, whether you want to bring out your wild personality, or whether you just want to be someone else for the day. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child? What costume trend is your favorite? (Mine is the flapper, I’ve been it for two years in a row!) Stay youthful, everyone, and Happy Halloween!

Montreal a la Mode

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The weekend before last was quite an experience for me, and I was lucky enough to get a taste of fashion outside of my realm of “expertise.” I decided to spend my fall break in Montreal with some of my sisters through a school trip. What I found was very interesting, and quite different from the melting pot of the United States. Standing out in color seems to be much more in an American line of thinking. Montreal is a very industrial and business-oriented city, with a thriving nightlife.

We spent the first day mostly shopping after arriving in Montreal at about 10 am. Wandering les Rue, I was taken aback at the priciness of the clothing. However, I reconcile my opinion with the fact that most of the clothes we looked at seemed to be of high-quality and were well-made. Becky and Tammy made it of utmost importance to make a stop at Zara, which I found to be more out of my fashion element, although I was impressed at the store in general. It was interesting to me that Tammy was actually overwhelmed by the store, and much preferred the selection online to the bustle of the Canadians and tourists. Zara clothing seems to be very structured to me, a perfect blend of classic essence with the edginess of minimalism. Stir in dashes of trendiness and avant garde and you get very mature pieces that transition well in any situation or location.

A very popular store we noticed all over the city was Bedo, which perfectly encapsulated Montreal fashion in its window displays: monochromatic, typically dark-colored, minimalistic clothing. Personally, I think Bedo is much more edgy than Zara, which has a high-fashion business air about it. Leather is very prevalent, as are classic preppy prints with a darker spin. Jackets are very important, whether they are clean cut moto jackets or matte blazers.

It was very easy to find classic staples to build up your wardrobe in Montreal; Tammy purchased a fetching tailored military jacket, and Katie bought adorable leather ankle boots. Becky, who was recently offered a position at Deloitte, was looking to expand her work wardrobe with some fierce pieces. Myself, on the other hand, I like to mix up my wardrobe; defining my personal style is a process. It always interests me to see how people analyze clothing while shopping, including how they think pieces will assist in creating a more fluid personal style.

The big thing I was looking for was a black dress, very sleek and with cutouts or sheer pieces, something that doesn’t need a print to make a statement. I hopped from store to store, analyzing the perfect ratio of regular fabric to cutouts or sheer paneling, as well as whether I wanted another skater-skirted dress, or one more of the bodycon/form-fitting style. I tried on two dresses, and here are the differences between the two.

2013-10-19 black dress 1This dress at a store called Dynamite! was almost a must purchase. I love that the sheer panel in the middle is tasteful and gives the dress a little ‘oomph’. Knowing my general body shape, it is always a good idea for the skirt to taper as it goes down, giving me an actual shape (yay!) The only thing was the necessity to wear the dress with strapless lingerie, but other than that, the dress was pretty great. I don’t exactly think it is easy to transition between day and night, however, so I passed it up.

2013-10-20 black dress 2 frontFor me, this dress I found in Sirens was much more interesting/daring fashion-wise, but I think it was just much too scandalous for me. I love the high-low skirt, which perfectly fits the current trend in an edgy way, and that the top is leather. However, the cutout in the middle is unflattering for pretty much everyone who doesn’t have a washboard stomach. Also, the back of the dress was a T-strap that I couldn’t even zip up myself. Very edgy, but it was a pass.

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Overall, however, Montreal fashion is very wearable to me, and I think that I will definitely be taking some tips when I transition my wardrobe for my semester in Italy. Having multiple pieces that can be used again and again is definitely important, especially when traveling. I really liked the nightlife in Montreal, and people were very accommodating and had interesting stories to tell. They weren’t as different as I thought they would be, and it was exciting to visit another country and use a little bit of foreign language (Je voudrais une caffe, s’il vous plait!) What is the most interesting fashion you’ve noticed while traveling? Stay cultured, everyone!

 

 

OOtD: Stoop Style (Late Again)

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I’ve been so busy working on my application to study in Florence next semester that I’ve been neglecting my blog… oops! This outfit is actually from a few days ago, but there are a few important style principles in the outfit that I just had to share.

Let’s start from the toes up; I have fallen in love with these flats. I got them this summer at Buffalo Exchange in NYC, and at first I was skeptical because it seemed like they were going to be typical heel-cutting flats. After wearing them out a bunch of times, however, they’ve quickly become my favorite pair. The little owl faces on the front bring a little playfulness to any outfit, and they’ve gotten me nothing but compliments. They’re also similar in style to smoking slippers, which are very trendy at the moment.

Classics in any wardrobe, business pants and military jackets may give different accents to an outfit, but both are used to pull an outfit together. Business pants are an easy way to make a t-shirt less casual, and they can be so much more comfortable than jeans (this pair actually belonged to my mother, which is one of the best things about being around the same size). On the other hand, the military jacket was another Buffalo Exchange purchase, and it was a great thrift find. The only problem with the jacket was a little square missing on the back, but I bought a cute flower patch and ironed it over.

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Now on to the principles! I bought the purple top above for last year’s sorority recruitment and it is a lovely shade. The problem? The ruffly cap sleeve makes my already prominent shoulders look a little like an ’80s flashback. The solution? A long necklace—it takes the focus off your shoulder and draws the eyes toward your torso. This cute little chair is one of my mom’s, and it has just enough sparkle to liven things up. Otherwise, to soften your shoulders, wear a jacket that has more sloping shoulders, so that the fabric hangs rather than clings to the shape. The military jacket is doing me wonders.

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It’s been a very hectic past few weeks, but I am definitely excited for all the upcoming opportunities, and the good things that have generally been happening lately. I actually got to go see two of my friends get tattoos, so that was quite an experience. What tips do you have for taking the focus off of your less favorite body parts and working your style to make them look good? A good pair of heels helps with anything, really (and maybe a spoonful of ice cream, but that’s another thing entirely!) Stay busy, everyone! xx