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

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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

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!

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

OOtD: The Violet Femme

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We were back at the art museum today for costume design, and it was lovely weather outside again. There were so many children there, and I give props to the girl leading the line with pigtails and giant flower-like bows, strutting her stuff. There’s something about being able to walk to museums and all manner of charming public institutions that reconciles some of the less appealing traits of Cleveland for me.

I’m usually very wary about mixing prints, especially when they are rather differing in color. However, I am not one to wearing anything plain except perhaps pants or jackets. So today, wanting to stay cool, but also not wanting to wear a dress for the third day in a row, I decided to toss on a pair of my more ripped-up tights and match that with boots from Steve Madden for a kind of rocker look.

Factor in a strangely unconventional floral print skirt from Urban Outfitters, then layer on top with a purple tank and a pinstriped vest from Wet Seal and you get the package deal. Layering pieces are a great way to have more outfit options, especially in fall when it gets tiring to wear the same 7 jeans and you have a limited amount of long-sleeved shirts. I actually drew inspiration from my roommate and little, Sasha, who is an aspiring musician with a lot of flair and a killer collection of heels.

There are times when print-mixing is okay, such as here, where one is more subtle than the other, and solid colors are in between for some break up. If your outfit is leaning more toward a playful or irreverent attitude, mixing prints can be exactly what you need to extend your wild personality. If you have to ask whether two go together, however, you probably should skip and go for something like a solid ruffled blouse or printed accessories. It’s similar to when you wear makeup and you either go for a bold lip or shimmering pigmented eyeshadow. Keeping the focus on one part of your clothing is a way to save peoples’ eyes—and your style.

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Shameless plug of the day, Sasha is actually really talented (I’m not biased or anything…) and she has recently entered a contest through Guitar Center with her first music video. I’ve included the link, just click on my photo and watch, and if you reaaaaally like it, share it with your friends via Facebook or go ahead and like her page. In the worlds of art, music, and fashion, I always believe that support and collaboration are the best ways to stay inspired and keep the pool brimming with great things. Stay talented, everyone.

OOtD: Graceful Green (so this is a day late…)

OOtD: Graceful Green (so this is a day late...)

In case I haven’t already made it obvious, I love dresses. Dresses are so easy to put on and almost always make you look more presentable in any situation. I had the pleasure of having costume design class at the Cleveland Museum of Art yesterday, as we were working on renderings of paintings to work on proportions and how clothing falls on bodies. This photo was taken by a very sharply-dressed Asian woman who was visiting with her young son and elderly mother for the first time. Too cute.

The thing I like most about this dress is that it is very movable, and much like the skirt from the previous post, has a billowy and pleated upper layer, and a stable, black underskirt. For a figure like mine, emphasis on the waist is key. The loose bodice area and sweetheart neckline creates the illusion of a fuller bust (which doesn’t bother me one bit!) It’s so important to take your body type into account when buying dresses. For instance, most strapless dresses do nothing for me because I have a smaller bust area, whereas the same dress on my roommate Sasha would be gorgeous and show off her ample assets. The right shape in a dress can make you look sexy and more mature, or sweet and playful. It all depends.

I love pops of color mixed with black in all of my outfits, so the green here becomes a sultry emerald. The dress looks even prettier with the lace straps, and the sheer lace back which shows just enough skin to spark the imagination. Lace has become a wonderful trend within the past few years, and I love it because lace is so inclusive of an edgy but feminine style. I think that understanding how fabric can be utilized and how it falls on the body is really important for projecting a certain image of yourself, if you so desire.

I’ll be dedicating a whole post to this, but I don’t go anywhere now without my Tommy Hilfiger purse. The coral color looks good with pretty much anything, and with a versatile strap, it transitions for anywhere necessary. I appreciate how the logos on the bag are not too gaudy or distracting, but add a pleasant print and texture over the exterior. The purse was fairly inexpensive too, completely a lucky find. I love love love this purse so much.

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I’m so excited that the blog is taking off. I really want to branch out and include useful content, and display other styles besides mine. I am always inspired by someone who has a very cohesive and defined personal style. I should be talking to her later, but my sorority sister Emily has one of the classiest, preppy wardrobes I’ve seen in a long time. I swear she should be a Kate Spade model; she knows how to take regular clothes and make every outfit fabulous. Whether it’s tossing on a strand of pearls, or pairing her pastel outfit with a bold ultramarine blue bag, Emily is effortlessly chic and inspires me to look at fashion from a different angle.

Do you have any friends or family whose style differs from yours but still manages to awe you? Drop me a comment, I love to hear about other peoples’ inspirations. Stay hip, everyone.