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.

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. 
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.

Statement T-Shirts and Interview with Heart of XXiV

I am torn on statement t-shirts. They either have too many words on them, won’t be in style (or make sense) the following year, or I fear that someone will start a random conversation with me about whatever is on my shirt.

On the other hand, I have a few t-shirts I just adore: my 517 t-shirt with my hometown’s zip code, my ‘LOVE’ t-shirt with my new city’s symbol on it and my ‘Love Over War’ camouflage t-shirt, which needs a little explaining.

Prior to going to school for way too long to study social work, I was in the Air Force. Once I was in graduate school and focusing my studies and field placements on veteran- well, veteran everything- I was giving a presentation to my classmates about some surveys, outreach and lit review stuff I did for a project. Then came the anonymous classroom feedback:

It was more about the classroom’s feeling on veterans than on how much I sucked at presentations. The one that will always stand out to me was, ‘I would have liked to hear from a veteran who is against war’.

Hello! I was standing right there! There are many collaborations and writings and interviews with veterans, but many can be one dimensional.  They say, I worked with getting the realities of war out, but they don’t get the realities of veterans out.

Anyway, getting back to the shirt, it kind of was my statement tee. My ‘I am standing right here’. The shirt was made by a website I like and it is not only because one of my cousin’s is the founder (I still pay full price), but in Michigan, to be able to be an entrepreneur is hard.

Garrion Lang and Jovon Young first stated their fashion line as as painted t-shirts and hoodies in the place where fashion comes to evolve, thrive and die: high school. They were athletics, but popular in their own way, they thought of ‘making it’ through creating their own brand called ‘Black Catz’.

Deciding a paw print and name had to be more distinguishing; A combination of Garrion’s design and Jovon’s logo began ‘Heart of XXiV™’ (or Heart of 24 representing gold). The brand took off in places where many big ideas take off: the high school hallway. Soon people wanted to know where they could get the shirts from and Lang and Young had to make a decision: What if we could show our city that you CAN do what you want?”

From here, Heart of XXiV™ went on to create more styles of clothing, a website, and is now in collaboration with their local minor league team. They are most excited about this helping the community through the money they receive, but Lang can’t give out too many details just yet. I was able to get him to answer a few questions about his brand, his personal clothing choices and what is behind the Love Over War shirt.


Camo Tee

More photos below

1. What is your mission?

With that mindset and the help of Aarika Walton we formed our mission statement:

It is a lifestyle that started with dreams and individuality. Engaging in the way people redefine their style through an array of quality products and creativity by encouraging people to stand out rather than fit in. Provide the consumer with a sense of self-worth, confidence, love, and most important to be one’s self!

2. Where did your slogan come from (When Your Heart Is Gold, You’re Forever Rich)?

WYHIGYFR came from the logo it’s self. We had to find out ways to mix the positivity we create and our name together. When you break it down it’s saying no matter what you do as long as your heart is in it, the success of it will come. I personally believe when you put your everything into something, there is no way you can fail because you’ll keep going until you find a way for whatever it is to work.

Heart XXIV sweater

Photo provided by Garrion Lang

3. What is behind the Love Over War shirts? Were you making a statement with the camo background?

I was inspired by a “mind over matter shirt” that Wale (the rapper)  had on. I thought it was a great concept to play with. So I used different words “love” and “war”. The meaning is self-explanatory, Love over War, peace rather than fight. Just pushing the positive energy objective through clothes. As far the camouflage background for the words, I just thought it best fits the shirts with play on “War.”

4. What sort of fashion advice would you give out to men and women?

Fashion advice I would give, is to wear what you want, what makes you feel good, in season or out of season because the way you dress is just an extension of yourself. If you have 1000 different styles, then great. If you have 1, then cool. It’s not what you wear it’s how you wear it. Another thing, I’m a firm believer that it’s the simple things that make an outfit.. Which is why I stick to my saying “simplicity kills”.

5. What makes you decide to do limited editions?

The whole reasoning behind limited releases is funding. Jovon and I work and we pay for everything. It’s been a blessing though because since we have funded out own projects it lets people know the level of seriousness we have about Heart Of XXiV. We are open to investors, although that’s something different for us. But hey you don’t live until you leave, your comfort zone.

6. Pick one piece of clothing for each: what do you invest in, thrift for, and buy on sale?

For me, I invest in the common t-shirts because it’s multi-seasonal and it can be worn under or above your outfit. I don’t do too much thrifting but when I do is usually for old Ralph Lauren pieces (usually the sweaters), I love the longevity of the brand. To me it’s like grabbing a piece of history. I love buying the heavy knitted items (Cardigans, Jackets, sweaters etc) on sale because those are super expensive regular priced!

7. Is there anything else you want me to make sure I include?

I’d like to give a shout out to my partner Jovon Young. Thanks to Brad Young for being a bridge in most of our projects. To EVERYONE who has supported us with a purchase, word of mouth, or a simple “like” in social media and also, to the people of Britches & Beauty for taking the time to interview me.

Love Over War T-shirt

‘Love Over War’ Shirt  Heart of XXiV ($30)

paper bead necklace

Paper Bead Necklace Darwin, Australia (gift)

My Aunt Michale works in Child & Family Services in Australia, but also volunteers with refugee families.  One family came to Darwin from a Refugee Camp in Kenya, but are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The father would make these necklaces for a bag of rice while in the camp and continued making them once in Darwin. They take a long time to make and she received one as a gift.

She asked him if I could have it and now it is my favorite necklace. She wanted to try and get his work into local boutiques in the States, but when I looked on Etsy, it seems the necklaces are quite popular at an affordable price. I am going to buy directly from him (excuse me for not knowing his name, it is rude of me to say ‘him’) and I will do a free-trade round-up and give away with more info.

love over war t-shirt

Green Rain Boots  Pay/Half ($10)

Stella Skinny Leg Jean Express ($80 & buy one/get one $30)

Do not walk into Express paying full price for anything. Just don’t do it. I don’t think I ever paid $80 for a pair of jeans. I love Express jeans and colored slacks, but I love their deals more.

The rain boots from Pay/Half are ones that were made in a boot factory for kids who lose or eat their boots. I am both. They are super cheap and functional.

paperbead necklace

Hair update! I took down my twists and have a bit of heat damage still there from Halloween’s flash dance fiasco. My hair is wet in this photo and it is a little over 30 degrees out, so no hiding what needs to be chopped off.

I received two more BirchBoxes since the last time I posted and I still am receiving hair products with either alcohol or sulfate in it, so I have to change my preferences. I would not recommend the ‘hair products’ option if you only use natural hair products or if your are all natural, but I do enjoy other items in the box. So far, still work $10 a month.

camo shirt

Be sure to add Heart of XXiV to your Twitter and Instagram @HeartofXXiV!

I wrote my first post for Geekadelphia about the social impact and the style factors of Warby Parker. Check it out!

Photography by Eric S.

Sweater Weather

Why, yes, I am a fan of The Neighbourhood, but this post actually is about sweaters.

First I want to share a few exciting and not so exciting holiday moments. Hopefully all of you enjoyed the holidays, whether you’re still celebrating or wrapping things up. My favorite part of this time of year, is how it brings families together.

I went to Michigan thinking I would get a a few entries done and would be able to shoot with Heart of XXiV, but then Michigan turned into this:

photo (14)

We had the largest ice storm in the Board of Water & Light’s 100 years of recorded history. A large portion of the city was out of power. I am so glad my Grandmas had power, but other family- from my Dad to my Uncle, didn’t. The upside (if there is one), is that it was the largest Christmas at my Grandma’s house I have ever been to. It brought a lot of people together.

The other thing which brought people together was:

photo (15)

I found my wedding dress! In my quest for deals, I thought I would have more options for my budget in Michigan. With my cousin Jessica in tow, we went to Fantastic Finds with me being a bit skeptical. Seven dresses later, the initial dress I fell in love with the first one. I returned with my Grandma, Aunt, Mom and Jessica the next day and thought I would go with a more traditional dress only to change my mind and go with the first one. Not wearing white is something my Grandma wasn’t certain of, but she is completely on board.

So, to stop rambling because I probably lost you at ‘The Neighbourhood’. On to sweater weather!

I love sweaters, but I hate thick layering. I can’t remember who said it, but I have heard it many times: fashion over comfort. I like to wear my own style, but try not to freeze. There are certain parts of my body which take cold better than others. I am sure everyone is different, but mine include my shoulders and back. This is why I am so excited about the various sweaters at Smak Parlour which still bundle, but give the element of surprise.

webbed back sweater

Webbed-Back Sweater Smak Parlour ($58)

webbed back sweater

Bandeau Top (Red)  Smak Parlour ($15)

Awful Back Tattoo Sedalia, Missouri ($75)

webbed gray sweater

Grace Pendant Art Fair, Chicago ($12)

Red Earrings Temple University Student Center ($7)

The Student Center has various stands where usually student organizations are rallying up members or selling baked goods. Almost every other Friday, there is a wonderful stand where various hand made and bought jewelry, oils and incense and other items are sold for a very, very low price. I use to stock up as much as possible. Another place I love to buy jewelry is outside of 15th street station in Philly. Bracelets are as low as $5. Oils are also sold, so if you are looking for an oil to add to your spray bottle without going to the health food store , than this can be a great alternative.

red legging jeans

Legging Jeans  Gap ($30 at 50% off)

DKNY Active “Hi-Speed” Leather Moto Boots Macy’s (over $100)

I went on a tangent about these boots in my Winter Dresses post, but did finally find these boots on HSN.com for $50. They have the boots retailed at $198, but I know I did not pay that much. They are sold out on HSN and you can find similar boots for much cheaper online. The other entry gives a few examples. 

close up

Havana Twists using Marley Hair by Briana

Photography by Eric S.

In other fun news, I was quoted on the amazing Melissa Alam’s blog! She asked me and three other bloggers what our winter must-haves in our purses were. I am interested in what your winter must-haves are too, but definitely check out my answer here. If you run into me than I might tell you why I can’t figure out where my winter must-have came from.

The Perpetual Page Turner likes my little blog! How exciting! I made her list of best of 2013 non-book list! I usually just Google Toni Morrison or something similar, but I found this awesome music to book entry which turned into a half hour of me pointing to books and asking Eric which ones he read or finding ones he gave me. He finally said, “Jamie reads a lot of books”.

Check her out if you want to read a lot of good books too.

Bundling Up For Autumn

Growing up in Michigan, I remember trying to go without a coat as long as possible. From tights under shorts to simply running out screaming with no coat… and promptly being dragged back to put on a coat and learning not to run out of the house screaming.

Living in Philadelphia, I love that the temperature is just a bit warmer this time of year to rock one of my favorite items: leggings!

Patterned leggings are the easiest way to make a plain sweater or t-shirt pop.

Tree 7

Cowl Neck Sweater H & M ($25)

Tree 6

Galactic Leggings Smak Parlour ($28)

Tree 4

 Breckelle’s Flats  Moda on 1523 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($16)

Flats can also be found online

Gold Clutch Nova Ice on 1508 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($20)

Tree 2

Orange Necklace Old Navy ($5)

Tree 3

Photography by Eric S.