Raining… in Pattern, Texture & Style!

It has been a while!

I love writing on Beauty & Britches and it has been an amazing experience over the last year for me, meeting new people and also having an outlet that’s fun, positive, makes me happy and allows me to express myself. Fortunately and unfortunately, me returning to social work, planning a wedding and a few other things (my new corgi puppy!) have kept me from writing as often as I would love.

I added a subscribe button to the right for when I am able to write, but I hope as the weather breaks (and as Auggie finishes puppy school and can learn not to bite at my arm as I type), I can add more entries regularly. Style is still my love story, but right now it seems my story has added a few more loves!

A few weeks ago, I received a beautiful arm scarf from my cousin and fellow blogger, Jessica Vann. She runs a lifestyle blog in Chicago about everything from vintage, music, dating and does a video a day to talk about or share what is happening with her, which we can all relate to.

Over the winter, she learned to make these amazing arm scarves and I decided to see if I could put together a work look where I could show off my new scarf! This is a mini-entry due to the non-stop rain in the shoot! I couldn’t get good pictures of anything below the waist, but I still love this look! Below is the full look I wore to work, followed by the shoot photos.

orange pants, polka dot shirt, cheetah flats

Tomato Modern Boot Cut Pants Gap ($20)

West Blvd Basic Round Toe Ballet Flats Amazon ($20)

I absolutely adore these cheetah flats I bought on Amazon. They were super affordable and comfy enough for thee price. The pants I have worn before in a past entry and love the pop of color. Unfortunately, they met the fate of the dryer and are now quite faded. 

arm scarf

The Basic Cowl in Burnt Orange JVann ($20)

You can’t tell, but it was POURING during this photo! I wear this scarf all the time, but thought a pop of color on a colorless backdrop would look great along with mixing textures.

orange arm scarf

 Polka Dot Cardigan H & M ($15)

I love H & M cardigans! They are easy when you want to mix your summer and winter items- I usually wear a favorite summer tank under a cardigan for an every day look

compass necklace

Compass Necklace Open House, 107 S 13th, Philadelphia (gift)

I am a huge fan of compasses and I love that my friend, Susan, bought this for me for our Secret Santa exchange (she said since there are only two of us, it is not called ‘Secret Santa’ but I like Secret Santa!). The compass actually works!

I also much tell you my love of Open House. My Uncle came to visit from LA and I went there to create him a Philadelphia themed welcome gift. I would definitely recommend you to go their for a little Philly flare for your home or a gift for any visiting guest! 

polka dot cardigan and textured top

KYS Textured Top Marigot, St. Martin ($50)

I really really really wanted a textured see through top for the summer and found one while in St. Martin. I absolutely adore it and found the different textures and patterns to be so great with this top. Mine was a bit pricey, but you could easily find a cheaper one like  this one on Sammy Dress or on Amazon- even at any department store. They are all over!

My hair is pulled up in the back and I am not feeling it in this photo, but I absolutely love the product combination I am now using. I went back to using Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Shine Shampoo and Conditioner and still use Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish and Pillow Soft Curls. Some products don’t let you mix and match (I am looking at you As I Am), but you can totally mix up these two brands.

polka dot cardigan, burnt orange arm scarf

Umbrella is Smak Parlour

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and snowy President’s Day and I hope to be back soon with a fuller entry of style! Stay warm and sound off in the comments about how you mix textures and patterns or how you stay warm!

Photography by Eric S.

Big Hair and Work Wear!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! It has been awhile, but I have a good reason: I am back to working full-time! Back to the social worker life, which I love. I am still learning my job and still trying to figure out my own work style. I know that takes a back seat to learning my position, but as I said in my About Me, bringing my own style to work makes me feel more confident and shows a bit of my personality.

Do you have a work style and what is it? Do you have a go to piece? Sound off in the comments below!

grey dress

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Polka Dot Cardigan  H & M  ($25)

I absolutely love cardigans and I wear them to work a lot, both at my new job and my old job. It seems every office I am in the temperature is never consistent, plus it is an easy way to transition a dress along with tights. Though I am wearing solid flats and black opaque tights with this outfit, I would easily mix it up with these tights and these shoes. What do you think?

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Grey Dress with Pleather Detail  H & M ($40?*)

West Loop Opaque Tights Walgreens ($8)

*I lost the receipt for this dress, but I bought it recently and it should still be in the store. I won’t pay more than $50 for an H & M dress, so I think it was between $35 and $40.

This dress is a little more fitted than I like. I bought it without trying it on to wear to my interview, so I didn’t have time to exchange it for a more flattering fit. I do love it, but I definitely wouldn’t wear it without a sweater to assist with the back slit riding up a bit.

In colder weather, I wear two pairs of tights for added warmth. Though two pairs can start to get uncomfortable after awhile, I love these tights! They are super cheap and last a long time. I found them when I couldn’t get lint off of my tights before an interview and had to run into a drugstore to see what they had. Surprisingly, they have an amazing selection!

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Big hair, don’t care! I wear my hair natural to work and have been switching it up with a few simple styles. I pulled it back once and everyone missed it in its usual fantastic fro-ness. I actually went back to using Shea Moisture for my shampoo and conditioner due to cost and how much product I use, but I found a perfect mix with Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish and Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls. The Pillow Soft Curls is a bit much in cost, but I use a little more than a size of a quarter on my hair (and my hair is thicker than it looks).

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 Lion Necklace Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th St, Philadelphia ($25)

Express Gel Manicure Yuya Nail Spa, 624 Market St, Philadelphia ($25)

I absolutely love my necklace from Wilbur’s Vintage! I don’t know what else to say about it since it speaks for itself. It gives me a little vintage style to take to work (other than my engagement ring)!

I love my new nail salon by my work. I didn’t realize how much cheaper it is to get gel done in Old City than by my house. The punch card is a dangerous thing, because I love a good deal! I have been twice so far!

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glasses

These glasses were issued to me from the Philadelphia VA Medical Center (love ya’ll!), but this style ALWAYS breaks pretty quickly. The arm gets all wonky, so I am now wearing my back up pair. They have some cute women’s frame options and it is easy to find out if you qualify for low-cost or free glasses and eye care; start here! My Warby Parker glasses lost under a pile of clothes in my bedroom. I will send an SOS.

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 Breckelle’s Flats  Eternity Shoes 1522 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($14)

These shoes look way more blue in this photo than in person! These flats are run of the mill, cheap, but get the job done. I go through flats so much that I really stopped looking for shoes with supports, but I probably should start. I see you, bunion!

polka dot cardigan, grey dress

Photography by Eric S.

Autumn Fun With Layers,Texture…and Bunnies!

Hello! It has been awhile! I went on vacation, a trip that was fabulous and warm, and returned to cold weather!

 I don’t know about you, but I hate breaking out my coat. Last autumn, I was all about dresses and tights. This year, I am all about switching it up with layers and textures. So I was really happy when my new sweater came in the mail, along with a cute new accessory.
rabbit sweater, red jeans
rabbit sweater
rabbit sweaterCotton Rabbit Sweater in Beige Sammy Dress ($9)
Now, on to that sweater! My new sweater from Sammy Dress FINALLY arrived. I ordered the sweater on August 19th and was emailed September 5th letting me know that they were out of stock. I could wait or receive a refund- I am glad I waited! Currently, the beige I am wearing is out of stock, but pink is available for $10. I absolutely love it except for one thing… the sleeves are too short. They hit a little below my elbow. My cousin Theresa, who lives in Japan, bought this exact sweater in a store there and she also reported the same issue. At over 5’8” (I think Theresa is also my height) I have a feeling all imported Sammy Dress clothes are going to be short in the sleeves. I was going to give the sweater away, but I think I am just going pull up the sleeves. 
gold septum ring, rabbit sweater
Brass Septum Ring Purity Jewel on Etsy ($17)
I went on Etsy looking for a new septum ring for fun and adore this one! It was easy to put in, but feels a bit lighter and thinner than my previous retainer (I wear a 16g). The length of the ring makes it hard to wear daily (as well as the style). The shipping was cheap, only $3, but did take ten days to arrive. 
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Legging Jeans Gap ($30 at 50% off)
I bought these soft legging things (they are like a jean/corduroy mix, but softer and less awful) last year and the color and material has held up well. 
rabbit sweater, red jeans out of print necklace
‘Scout and Boo’ Necklace  Out of Print Clothing ($30)
Out of Print Clothing has teamed up with Books For Africa to donate a book for each purchase. What I love are the hard to find book t-shirts on the site. I ordered myself a ‘Song of Solomon’ and ‘Native Son’ tee while I ordered Eric the ‘Invisible Man’ tee. which he has yet to wear!
Not RayBan Aviators Pelican Key, St.Maarten ($15)
I love my sunglasses. These I picked up in St. Maarten! I bought these at the Flamingo Bay Resort gift shop and love them. I definitely love my aviators style.
brown leather boots
Vince Camuto “V” Front Tights Macy’s ($18)
I love my textured tights. I love buying my tights from Macy’s since they seem to last the longest and Hue brand tights are always buy two and get some sort of discount. These aren’t Hue, but they are a great length and the pattern is holding up fairly well. These aren’t available online from Macy’s, but are available from Vince Camuto for the same price. 
brown leather boots
Brown Leather Troopa Boots Steve Madden ($100)
I went on and on about these books on my previous fall post
What is your go to fall style this year? Sound off in the comments below!
nena and eric
Photography by Eric S.

Taking A Chance On Facebook Ads: My Experience With Sammy Dress

I have been doing a lot of online shopping to prepare for my trip to St. Maarten (we are leaving on Friday!), but while online shopping and using Facebook at the same time, I ended up getting tons of focused advertisements I generally ignored. However, after visiting and liking ModCloth via Facebook, I decided to get sucked in and click on a few of the other advertisements.

The one I decided to actually shop from is Sammydress.com.  I am sure you all have seen the ads, ‘Cheap online dresses- $6!’ I wondered what the catch was and immediately it became clear- you are ordering direct from China. Sizing, quality and shipping time were all immediate concerns, but I decided to try it and see what happens.

black and white sheath dress

Abstract Letter Sheath Dress Sammy Dress ($13)

I started by ordering two dresses and a sweater. Sammy Dress gives you an option to upload pictures of you in the item, so I tried to purchase items where people uploaded their photo. I also made sure to read the ratings and look for the raters sized the closest to me, if there are too many, then I looked for 3 star ratings, since I felt like those gave the most objective view. They took the time to explain why it wasn’t five stars, but still higher than one.

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I found shipping to be pricey, sometimes even higher than the item being purchased, but it still makes the item a deal. So, if shipping is $9 on a $6 dress, then I won’t get too bent out of shape. Also, the shipping takes about three weeks. I received my first two dresses in three weeks, but my sweater was still on back order, so they gave me an option to wait for the sweater or receive a refund. I decided to wait for the sweater and am still waiting. Each of the items state the length of time to ship, but that is simply to ship the order, not for the item’s arrival. I don’t mind waiting for packages, but if you are in a hurry, then any international shipping is going to stress you out. The only time I had fast international shipping is ordering bathing suits on Amazon.

sheath dress

I love my dress! It is lined, light, but I will easily be able to wear it in the fall, early summer and spring. My wool dress I haven’t tried on yet. It came so wrinkled that I’m going to need to press it beforehand. It is definitely 100% wool. My iron is going to hate me.

earrings

Earrings Hello World (gift)

I absolutely love these earrings. They are bronze and match a lot of my handmade jewelry. 

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Box Braids J.P. Hair Perfection ($90 not including hair)

necklace

 Paper Bead Necklace Darwin, Australia ($20)

My Aunt Michale brought necklaces with her from the same artist who gifted me one in a previous entry. I adore my necklace, and you can find a similar one on Etsy, but it was decided that my Aunt’s friend would make more selling his jewelry in Australia than in the States. The necklace is made out of paper and is a long process. I am very fortunate I was able to buy two necklaces and a pair of earrings from him during her Stateside visit.

black and white dress

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 Beijo Brazil Necklace Tselaine ($44)

This necklace made by a local Philadelphia artist, caught my eye immediately. I love the design and the detail even in the chain. She has many more one of a kind pieces at Tselaine.

 

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shoes

 Steve Madden Black Schoolgrl Flats Amazon ($44)

These are actually the third pair of these flats I have ordered over the years. I love them so much and love the style. I wear them all the time! 

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I am going to order from Sammy Dress again, but only items I don’t depend on. I wouldn’t use them to order primary winter coat, for a wedding or an event dress, I also wouldn’t purchase anything over $20 since I don’t have the patience to deal with returns. Do you shop online? Sound off in the comments below!

fence

Photography by Eric S.

Adding Some Glitter With Gold

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day! I came back from Michigan and walked right into this heat! Even though it is hot, I still love everything about Philly. Especially now that I have more time to wear my summer dresses.

This week, I decided to accessorize with gold! I love how great jewelry can jazz up a colorless dress. I love white dresses, and gold seemed like the perfect addition to this one. How do you use bold accessories? Sound off in the comments below!

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 White Structured Cut Out Dress  Smak Parlour ($85)

I love the detail at the bottom of the sweetheart dress. It gives it that little extra push of coverage, with it not really being there. The top has boning and I am wearing a strapless bra with it.

white dress, gold necklace

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  Gold Bib Necklace   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($40)

I adore this necklace! I feel like it gives a good optical illusion like I am actually filling this dress with cleavage. It fits perfectly between the detail and is surprisingly light. I decided not to wear earrings due to how bold the necklace is. My nails are gold glitter gel shellac, so they fit right into the shoot!

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I ended up doing two buns in my hair after I had a twist out go completely haywire the night before. I think next time I will use black clips and make the back into a French roll instead of a bun. I switch over to using Carol Daughter’s Hair Milk Styling Butter ($12) since I ran out of my Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream ($18) and I needed something to take in my carry-on that didn’t cost a lot in case it was confiscated (it wasn’t). I really like it!

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bracelet

Gold Tiger Eye Bracelet   Wilbur’s Vintage  716 S. 4th st, Philadelphia ($35)

I can never find a bracelet that fits me, but I actually found two this week! This vintage bracelet is light and I love the Tiger Eye detail. I can’t wait to find earrings so I can dress this down.

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SAYNT Open Toe Sandals  Nine West, Liberty Place, Philadelphia ($30)

I love these shoes, but they are definitely a half size too big (I bought a pair in black that are the right size)! I bought them on clearance for the Geek Awards and the wonderful team at Nine West added a few holes in the strap to make sure they were snug. With my evening gown, you couldn’t see how big they are, so I may save these shoes for when I am wearing something long again. Just found out if you buy online, the second pair is half off!

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dress

It was awesome checking out A & G Labs and learning more about MVSE, a new app to improve the dressing room experience. Read all about it on Geekadelphia!

 Photography by Eric S.

Mixing It Up With Online Shopping

Hello from Michigan! Can you believe August is almost over? I need more summer!

I had an amazing time at the Philadelphia Geek Awards and can’t wait to see all of the photos from that amazing night! Philly Mag has a great round up of the night’s awesome and creative looks! My hair is still straight from that night and I don’t know what to do with it. I only use heat on my hair a few times a year and in order for my curl pattern to remain intact and to avoid heat damage, I don’t reapply heat. I have been wrapping and sponge rolling like no other. Can’t wait for braid season.

Thank you all for supporting Down to Utopia! It is still getting it legs, but thank you so much for your support and great messages. I really appreciate it! Please take a moment to check out my new mental health & wellness site if you haven’t yet.

On to this week! I don’t online shop often. It scares me and is time consuming when it comes to figuring out if sleeves will be long enough and what will fit. I do like the True Fit tool on Nordstrom’s site, which shows you how close the fit will be based on your style and size, but if you know me, I am cheap- so I decided to see how shopping on Amazon would work.

I wanted a white blazer for the summer and decided to see if I could find at a price I could live with. I destroy white on a regular basis, so I would only buy a jacket I can spill a ton of stuff on and not cry for days. I think it turned out well! Where do you online shop and what are your tips? Sound off in the comments below!

white blazer and checkered sheath dress

White J. TOMSON Boyfriend Blazer Amazon ($20)

I like this blazer! It is very light weight, but kind of hard to iron- I probably have to take it to the cleaners to get pressed. It came with the sleeves rolled up and I will probably keep them that way. I would prefer a bit longer sleeve, but I like the sleeves longer than they should be. Definitely worth the $20 (free shipping with Amazon Prime). 

checkered sheath dress

 Blue and White Forever 21 Dress Once Worn Consignment, 906 N. 2nd st. Philadelphia ($10)

This was my first time in Once Worn and I found this dress with the tags still on it. The clothes in the store are a little young for me (I know, I sound like a Grandma), but I did find some cute items for a cheap price, so I will check them out again when I am in Northern Liberties. I love a good sheath dress since they are so easy to dress up or dress down. The sandals are the same ones from my Vintage Style post.

  Lime & Turquoise Beaded Necklace Greene Street Consignment 3734 Spruce St. Philadelphia ($12)

If you know me then you know I love turquoise! Well, I just love saying I do; this necklace is actually looks like a different shade of blue, but I love it. I really adore Greene Street and have a good amount of clothes from their South Street and University City locations. I like the University City location because it has a lot of  clothes from the local college students, but more of a grad student feel. The South Street location has an eclectic vibe to it. I have been to the Manayunk location a few times and love their dresses. They have a lot of high end pieces at a low price. If you aren’t in the area, you can shop online!

beaded necklace and bracelet

  Burnt Orange Bracelet  Once Worn Consignment, 906 N. 2nd st. Philadelphia ($5)

I love this bracelet! I rarely wear bracelets, but I couldn’t pass it up!  The necklace doesn’t match perfectly, but I think that is what makes the pairing work. It looks fun and adds much needed color. 

beaded necklace and bracelet

I love this photo! I am not punching myself in the face! I was trying to show the necklace and bracelet together, but it turned into something a bit more cheeky (pun intended).

Photography by Eric S.

Finding Your Own Vintage Style

I hope everyone is keeping cool! It is so hot out here in Philadelphia!

Just this past weekend, I sent my little brother back to Michigan after his two week vacation here… but not before he could do one more men’s look for me, which will be featured at the end.

This is going to be my last entry with me modeling for a few weeks, because I’ll be going behind the camera for a few entries. My good friend Dorothee will be taking my place as a model for a while. I loved her in past entries, and I look forward to shooting with her soon!

I’m currently in full swing working on my new site, Down To Utopia, which launches August 8th. It is a site dedicated to mental health and wellness, and though it is for all women, it will be heavily written from the perspectives and viewpoints from Women of Color. Writing about a serious topic, but de-stigmatizing and rewriting it so it is not all one voice while making it feel welcome… well, that’s a challenge! But I hope you like it.

One more shameless plug, before I get to today’s entry: I was in a great article where I talked about the behind the scenes of Beauty & Britches! I am so fortunate that Mikey is now the EIC of Geekadelphia, so our Sundays have changed a lot since the article. We are actually going paddle boating this Sunday!

Any who, with summer time, for me, comes summer dresses, but this time I wanted to go for an easy look that is colorful, vintage and easy to pull off. My vintage style is still being developed, but I have come to like color, clothes that breathe (no corsets or anything too rigid or stiff), patterns and if possible- easy care. Dry cleaning gets expensive, so I only go to places that offer anything that has the words ‘Get One Free’. I love seeing other people’s vintage style, especially if they are dedicated to only one era, style and work every aspect of their outfit into it.

When shopping vintage, my biggest pieces of advice are:

1. Try everything on! Don’t go by the sizes, because sizing has changed drastically over the years. Also, if you love a dress or top and it is made well, letting it in or out may be easily done and worth the investment.

2. Don’t go by the brand, go by the fit! I love vintage Sears dresses, only because how they fit and how well made they are, but I will never buy something vintage solely on the brand name. There is nothing wrong with doing that, but you will feel so much more confident and love the garment if you look great in it over it being vintage Dior… who am I kidding, you can love vintage Dior all you want!

3. Don’t force yourself to love it! You find a dress and it looks ‘eh’ on or you find some pants, but they are just a tad too short, just keep moving. I use to be guilty of this and trying to fix something I wasn’t totally in love with. Imagine my horror of what came out after trying to alter a pleated skirt. There are tons of beautiful finds out there and hunting is the fun part!

What advice would you give for vintage shopping? Sound off below!

colorful vintage dress

Honeycomb Zip-Up Dress 708 Antique, 708 5th St. Philadelphia ($45)

I bought this dress at a little shop two doors down from Philly AIDS Thrift. The shop had no official name and asked me not to review it on Yelp (but they are on Four Square) since they liked their low profile. They are a Mother-Son owning duo and even when I tried to look up the shop on Google Maps, all I could see is an insurance store, so either the shop is no longer there or the Google Car hasn’t updated that block. They mainly sell dishes and great kitchen items, but if you go into the back they have a secret and AMAZING section of well, everything! I only left with one dress-surprisingly.

Green Vintage Sunglasses Heaven Gallery, Chicago ($10)

If you live in Chicago and love fashion and art, than you should definitely check out Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park. I haven’t gone in a few years, but they use to have vintage clothes for sale in their space every Sunday. I have also been to some amazing fashion shows from new artists and checked out so much awesome art! It is a non-profit and provides a space for new artists show their work. Also, it brought on some awesome nights in Chicago! I might have to dig up my ‘going to runway show for free wine’ look one day, ha.

Earrings Hello World (gift)

I still don’t know the price of these earrings, but I LOVE them and these cute leaf earrings are $14!

My hair becomes extremely dry in the summer and it grows out of shape. I need a protective style or I need braids, but for sure I need a hair cut! I found out about an awesome salon and stylist on Lauren Mechelle’s blog where she shows videos, has tutorials, giveaways and all sorts of awesomeness!

Turquoise Sandals Moda on 1523 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($16)

I usually hate any sandal that shows my foot or has a bar like this, but I love the color of this sandal and I wore these under an evening gown last year. They add a fun pop of color and the price isn’t bad either. I buy a lot of cheap sandals and flats with little support and walk forever in them, but this may not be good for other people who need that arch support.

I am wearing my regular blue shadow and added a blue eye shadow using a thin brush half way around my eyes. That is about as technical and creative as I get with my make-up.

Cream Woven Clutch Nova Ice, 441 South Street, Philadelphia ($16)

I usually hate walking down south street, just because I am not a large crowd person and you have to spend too much time in some of the stores to find something, but I loved that I found this purse and love how easy it is to add some pattern and texture to my outfit. As usual, I love the price!

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Here is Ali again, modeling a summer look he put together from stores here in Philadelphia. I love his risk taking with mixing up patterns! What do you think?

Ali

Hawaiian Shirt  Wilbur Vintage ($25)

Blue Wave Shorts H&M ($25)

Navy Ditmars Steve Madden ($100)

Photography by Eric S. (last photo by Nena B.)

Interviewing in Style? You Tell Me!

I was on my way home and ran into Evan and Alex of Reading The Streets. I thought Alex was stopping to say ‘Hi’, but they were actually stopping me for a few photos for Shoppist’s Street Style section in Philadelphia Magazine. I really didn’t think I would make the cut, but I did! See, me in Shoppist here and be sure to check out more amazing fashion at Reading The Streets!

I usually don’t venture into talking about interview clothes because, to be honest, I was that person who wore amazing, killer, and totally inappropriate heels to my first training outside of grad school. So I really have no business being the voice of reason.

Fortunately, I learned a little bit over the years. However, for all of the young ladies headed to college this fall, Project ALOE (Assisting Ladies Offering Essentials), has you covered where I don’t. Project Aloe not only gives college bound women care packages of beauty and lifestyle essentials (to quote my undergrad brother, ‘deodorant ain’t cheap’ to quote me, ‘natural hair products aren’t cheap’), but also networking opportunities, mentorships and connections to peers who are currently attending their chosen university.

You can find out more or sponsor a student here.

As for me, I was called in last minute for an interview for a social work position in a federal facility. It was at an organization I worked for before, and interviewed with previously. Why aren’t I wearing a suit? I’ll tell you.

Based on my information on the organization and my previous experience with them, I knew it would be okay. That and they had complimented my style previously, which is certainly a plus. There is a debate in social work over suit or no suit. I have read message boards on it and I would maybe have gone with a suit if it were an outside non-profit, agency, or a place I wasn’t already familiar with. But what about your industry? What do you wear to an interview? Suit? Cardigan? Do you disagree with my choice? Feel free to sound off in the comments!

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

Black Polka Dot Cardigan H & M ($14)

My friend, Devaney, gave me a piece of interview clothing advice I still use today. “Wear a jacket, but if somehow you can’t, cover your shoulders.” Or something that meant wear a cardigan or something similar. She probably didn’t know she would create a cardigan addict. I should probably ask her the direct quote. I thought this cardigan was dark blue (I would have preferred it in blue), but I don’t have anything colored or patterned like this

pink dress

pink dress

Pink Dress H & M ($35)

I love this dress because of the length and color. It can easily transition with sandals and fun jewelry.

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

Crosby Frames in Greystone  Warby Parker ($95 with prescription lenses included)

These glasses aren’t for fashion, I actually need them, but I don’t need to walk around all day in them. I brought them to go over paperwork if needed and driving. I love my glasses and actually wrote about Warby Parker once here.  I will have to show you my VA issued glasses in a different entry.

scout and boo necklace

My nails were a shade of coral for the interview, but I switched them yesterday to this color. I love the sparkly candy accents to pieces. I did hide my septum piercing, of course.

scout and boo necklace

‘Scout and Boo’ Necklace  Out of Print Clothing ($30)

I kept the jewelry simple instead of my usual layering by wearing this simple necklace. Out of Print Clothing has teamed up with Books For Africa to donate a book for each purchase. What I love are the hard to find book t-shirts on the site. I ordered myself a ‘Song of Solomon’ tee and Eric the ‘Invisible Man’. They even have my Dad’s favorite author, so I know what he is getting for Father’s Day!

micheal kors pumps

MICHEAL Michael Kors Pressley Pumps Akira ($100, but cheaper here)

I am pretty sure I probably read in some magazine that you had to own one pair of patent leather pumps with a low heel to interview in, and then I justified purchasing these pumps for that purpose. I like them a lot now, but they honestly rarely see the light of day.

I always wear opaque tights due to my tattoo. I bought these on the way to the interview at a CVS for $7 since mine picked up some lint I didn’t notice until I got into the car.

black purse

Black Purse Smak Parlour ($68)

I carry a few clutches, but I usually stick to an every day bag that can fit my laptop. That is why I don’t feature a lot of bags. This is my every day bag which holds my chrome book, chargers, lotion, three notebooks, sunglasses, umbrella, a book and a small clutch. I am currently working on my own project (which is why I wasn’t expecting to interview) focused on mental health and wellness for women of color. It will be launching in July and I am working on the site currently. I will keep you posted.

pink dress, polka dot cardigan, warby parker glasses

I wore my hair in the remnants of a two strand twist with a moisturized seal, so it looked like a mixture of this week and last week’s blog’s hair, but I definitely don’t change my hair. I know some people do and are not a fan of this and I use to wear a headband or a pinned up style, but I wear my hair like this every day.

Photography by Eric S.

What Gives You Style Inspiration?

So much happened in these last two weeks! I had the mole under my chin removed and got my septum pierced. I went to a corset fitting, tried out a new beauty routine with Anju Threads, joined Indy Hall to start work on a new project, and now I’m in Baltimore on a surprise vacation with Eric.

Fortunately, during all of this, I still have the second part of the photo shoot from Edny Photography in one of my favorite outfits! I really appreciate Nathaniel and his assistant and great photographer in their own right, Mel, for taking the time to take my photos and teach me a few tips about lighting and getting better photos. They did a breathtaking job and I really hope to work with them again. It was a huge fun favor (there needs to be a word to mesh those together) and I will forever be appreciative!

Now enough gushing! On to what we did!

I usually mix my era of clothing and just go with whatever looks good. I favor the 60′s and 70′s, but after watching American Hustle, I just had to run over to Wilbur’s and see if Daniel had anything a bit Jennifer Lawrence. Of course he did! I loved my end result, but Nathaniel pointed out that it looked more WWII inspired. I never thought of that!

What do you think and do you ever look at movies for inspiration?

Red Yoki Pumps Ragstock ($8)

I bought these at Ragstock so long ago while going through their basement, that I wouldn’t  be surprised if I convinced myself I bought these in Ragstock instead of some other vintage & new shop, but Yoki heels are so easy to find and cheap, that I am not going to sweat it too much. You can find them on Amazon, Sears, Kmart- they are all over. I just started wearing mine recently since I have more dresses to match them with and have a nice vintage look, unlike my patent leather red stilettos that have a ‘I bought these in my early 20s when was able to wear heels non-stop and didn’t know what a bunion was’ look. Yes, I said bunion.

Cream Vintage Dress  Wilbur Vintage ($20)

Daniel said ‘all the dresses 20 percent off except for that one. The dress was $20! I repeat,$20! I can’t remember if it was labeled 70′s or 60′s, but I want to lean more toward 70′s based on style and material, but I will find out. Every time I go in there, I am either told by another customer that if I put the dress down that they will take it or I am trying to talk someone into giving me their dress (I tried very hard one time to no avail). Wilbur’s I love since I don’t have to dig, but definitely try everything on no matter what the size looks like or says.

 Vintage Scarf  Wilbur Vintage ($10)

I collect vintage scarves. They are perfect when my braids are growing out and I wore them non-stop two summers ago, but I thought about how would it look with a bang? Daniel has a great collection and I love the scarf I found- I just need more practice tying it, but I still look the look!

 Hair James Brown Studio ($100)

Cheetah Necklace  Smak Parlour ($34)

This necklace is actually not heavy, which I like and I have been really digging the thick curb chain look.

Here are a few 40s inspired and vintage dresses that made me see what Nathaniel was seeing. I only have one 40s dress because it starts getting pricier and harder to find once you start going that far back, but the quality of clothes are killer.

See you next time with my curls back in action, some eyebrow talk and with spring back, warmer photos and flea market finds!

 Photography by Endy Photography

The Joys Of Shopping the Sale Rack

I love sale racks, sale items and any great deal I can find. Unfortunately, while this can be a great way to find unique items to add to your wardrobe, for me it was also a not so great way of spending money on things I would never wear and realize why they were placed on sale or clearance in the first place.

When shopping in the clearance section, I had to give myself one rule:

Would I buy this if it weren’t on sale?

This question alone eliminated 80% of the clothes I ‘oooed and ahhhed’ over. I was more transfixed on the prices than the actual item. Now, I look at the item and think about how I would fit it into my current wardrobe or easily style it before looking at the price. It you have to think for awhile on how to style the item in a way you would actually wear it, than just move on.

Michael Kors Jacket

Michael Kors Jacket  Burlington Coat Factory ($100)

Burlington Coat Factory is it’s own sale rack, so it is easy to say no if you don’t like something, but whenever I want a Michael Kors (or rather MICHAEL by Michael Kors) coat than this is where I come. I feel like this is the place he brings a dump truck with employees dressed in all black to bring coats which I love.

Rehab Leggings from Aoki

Rehab Clothing Leggings Aoki Boutique ($32)

Aoki Boutique is usually a bit too pricey for me. I first checked them out for ‘Philly’s Fashion Night Out’ and loved a lot of items, but still was unsure. I returned a few weeks ago and decided to check out their sale rack. Eureka! I struck gold! These leggings are, you got it- my everything! The beading is secure enough where it won’t fall off and the side fishnet is hot. 

Black Leggings

Funky Leggings

Different views and a close up on the fishnet and beading

Statement Necklace

Beijo Brazil Necklace Tselaine ($44)

This necklace made by a local Philadelphia artist, caught my eye immediately. I love the design and the detail even in the chain. She has many more one of a kind pieces at Tselaine.

Statement Necklace Skull Earrings

Skull Earrings Smak Parlour

I found these cute skull earrings at Smak awhile ago, but you can find them for a bit more online. Nordstrom even has them for $40.

*Note: I did not pay $40 for these earrings.

Fingerless gloves Smak Parlour

Fingerless Elbow Gloves Smak Parlour ($14)

Color Club Cocktail Hour Collection in On The Rocks Birch Box ($8 full price)

I joined the population of Birch Box subscription buyers and receive samples once of a month of items including nail polish, hair products, lipstick, lotion (which my ashy hand obviously didn’t take advantage of) facial products and so much more. So far, I like it. I stopped getting manicures and I think nail polish cost a lot for how little I paint my nails along with the lotion samples, so the box, for me, pays for itself. If you have natural hair and do not use sulfate,isopropyl alcohol or other chemicals, than I am still apprehensive on the hair products preference choice. The first box I could not use the hair product, but the second they did include ‘Hair Rules Curly Whip’ which was awesome. I will keep you posted on the hair item next month. 

White Jersey Top

 Natural White Jersey Top H&M ($10)

H & M clearance racks use to be my downfall. Shorts in the winter? Sure! I will just save them or wear tights or….No I won’t! I haven’t worn shorts since the 6th grade. Unless the item is a basic or it was something I was eyeing in the past, but couldn’t justify spending the money on, I just can’t walk over there. The pants in my Beef With Matching post are currently on clearance. 

Wedge Black Booties

Blowfish MALIBU wedge booties Akira ($65)

Michael Kors Jacket

Michael Kors Jacket Black Studded leggings

Photography by Eric S.