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.

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.

Flea Markets & Splurge Items

Hello from Michigan! I return to my hometown of Lansing almost every year, but this year is special. I picked up my wedding dress, I’m looking at venues for my wedding next June, and I’m celebrating my birthday in Chicago over the weekend with my cousin, Jessica (who is a lifestyle blogger)! Most importantly, I was able to spend Mother’s Day with my Mother and Grandmothers.

Before heading back, Eric and I were able to check out all of the various festivals going on and I found some great items to create one of my favorite vintage looks. I went with a mixture of flea market finds and small boutiques along with affordable purchases and splurge items. It took awhile to find each item for this look, but was definitely worth it.

So, my questions this week are… what is your favorite look and where do you shop to find a piece to complete your look? Do you have a favorite splurge item?

vintage dress, necklace

dress 3

1960s Vintage Refurbished Sheath Dress Things I Like 1038 Pine Street, Philadelphia ($90)

I love this dress! Nazareth, the owner, use to work for Urban Outfitters refurbishing their t-shirts. She has awesome refurbished shirts I will feature in the future and I’ll definitely talk to her about her process. She found this dress and decided to alter the silhouette a bit to give it shape. It is a beautiful textile and isn’t as heavy as it looks (though will easily transition into the fall). This dress is made to last, so I don’t know if it counts as a true splurge item.

necklace

Threading  Anju Threads 1126 Walnut Street, Philadelphia ($13 eyebrows $7 lip*)

I was invited to come to Anju Threads to try out their threading services. I jumped at the chance because I used to get my eyebrows and lip threaded at the salon I went to in Chicago. Threading, though it takes a bit more time, lasts longer and can create a more defined arch and pull those small lip hairs wax seems to miss (I have no shame in my lip waxing). Kabbone did my eyebrows since she specializes in what I like: fuller brows! She was amazing to talk to and puts you at ease. I can’t wait to return. Helpful hint: your skin is more sensitive before and during your cycle, so book your first appointment after if you can!

cardign2

Broke Down Sandals Steve Madden ($40ish?)

I had a close up photos of these sandals, but I am going to spare you looking at the reason why I stay in sandals. I use to buy my sandals at the Wicker Park Steve Madden store, but DSW has a low price and amazing selection. I like sandals to cover my whole foot and the sides over, but a full back. I have owned these sandals since 2010 and wish I could find another pair. They have been through a lot! 

vintage cardigan sheath dress

60s Cardigan  Edna’s, Philadelphia ($20)

I found this sweater at the Philadelphia Flea Market, which is every weekend in different locations around the city. Edna’s is a vintage stand with tons of great clothes for men and women including accessories. You can find out where she will be by asking to be on her mailing list at donnaschaeffer@gmail.com. It is just a blank email listing the location. She had tons of great items and as I walked up she said three little words I love, “I have Sears!” It was a treat taking this sweater home and my Grandma saying she remembers it and had one the same color back in the day. I also learned you can’t wash wool (a different sweater taught me that).

necklace

Grandma’s Buttons Desert Grandeur Necklace  Tselaine 1927 Walnut Street, Philadelphia ($64)

I may be a few dollars off, but you can actually still buy this exact necklace on their website. I love the look of this necklace, but didn’t know it was made of buttons found by the owner (the buttons she started the company with were her grandmother’s). Now, as a family business, she looks all over the world for new buttons to create new pieces. I love Tselaine and have the most beautiful necklaces from there including a lot of local one of a kind pieces. I can go in there and shop and talk for way too long!

My hair is just a messy twist out. I sit and twist it in sections without parting and tie it up at night and then untwist in the morning. I don’t use any special twisting creams, just whatever was in my hair that day for my wash and go. I might spray it with a bit of water, but I try to keep my hair as low maintenance as possible.

cardigan

*services were provided gratis with no obligation to promote or write of the experience; the views expressed are completely my own.

Photography by Eric S.

Things I Like

Goin’ to the chapel and I’m…

Don’t worry, I am not going to sing! I recently received my amazing engagement photos back from Jackie at Clever Girl Photography (and you can like her Facebook here). I am thrilled with how they turned out and can’t wait for her to catch us jumping the broom, but but but! I am not here to talk your ear off about my wedding.

The dress I am wearing in the photos is one that I receive the most questions on. The thing is, I bought the dress from a small boutique that you may or may not have heard of. It has no yelp page, no website and a small Facebook page, but it is… everything.

The boutique is called ‘Things I Like’ because the owner buys new and vintage clothing that she likes. She only goes off what she likes, so you get an interesting, but beautiful mix. Her Facebook page shows items in the shop and walking by her window I always see something I want. The owner, Nazareth, is extremely helpful and kind (I talked natural hair for so long with her while trying on dresses) and not at all pushy. She also holds great gatherings to check out the store including Valentine’s Day and Halloween candy.

So check out the boutique on 1038 Pine Street, Philadelphia and like on Facebook, but don’t buy the colorful sequin dress-I need it in my life!

Striped Dress Image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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 Hot Tomato Dress Things I Like 1038 Pine Street, Philadelphia ($72)

Eric Smith Elizabeth, NJ (priceless)

Striped Fall Dress Image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Red Patent Leather Flats  Eternity Fashion on 1522 Chestnut St, Philadelphia ($12)

Tree Earring Photo via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Tree Earrings Bangkok, Thailand (gift)

These earrings were a wonderful gift from my friend, Megan. I wear them so much and they are extremely light; I love them 

Striped dress image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Hair  Tammy at Big Wigs Studios ($40)

My hair is in finger curls and the price will probably vary depending on your natural hair. Finger curls (on natural hair ) are a method of taking pieces of the hair and defining curls either with the end of the comb or with your finger while wet and then drying. My curls were seperated after they dried. The method, at least for me, takes a very long time, but is a good protective style

image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Engagement Ring Etsy (I don’t care)

image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Thanks again to Jackie from Clever Girl Photography for not only capturing such beautiful photos, but making the experience fun. She does multiple kinds of photos, so definitely check her out!

Photography by Clever Girl Photography

Everything In (Fashion) Moderation

The last few weeks have been busy with the holidays and Eric’s book coming out, but fortunately for me, Chris Urie (of Chrisurie.com) and Dorothee stepped in again to lend me a hand. And what a great job they did!

I have a love/hate relationship with fashion trends. On the one hand, they expose you to styles you never thought you would wear or eras you never thought would come back. On the other hand, if you go too trendy, you end up with a wardrobe that belongs in an era that should have never come back or an item you don’t know what to do with.

I mean, neon green harem pants seemed like a good idea at the time.

Two things I learned about trends is, everything in moderation!

Black Outfit 6

 Green Skirt H&M ($15 on sale)

Dorothee was kind enough to let us come invade her space before she was on the go. This style can be changed for when we go back into the colder weather by adding opaque tights (which was a big debate we were having). Here  is a fun fitted skirt similar to Dorothee’s for $30, currently at H&M. 

Black Outfit 5

Bailey 44 Peplum Lace Top  Saks Fifth Avenue (gift)

This is definitely the splurge item of the post. I found a similar top at Saks for $194 and the prices don’t decrease much from there. I received this as a gift for my birthday from one of my co-workers when I was at my old job (hopefully she knows where to find these tops at a cheaper price-I wouldn’t spend this much on me); I love her to death and got her hooked on fun jewelry. What do you think of peplum tops?

Black Outfit 3

Peplum Top Detailing

Black Outfit 2

Gold Bracelets  Forever 21 ($5)

Due to the detailing in the top, we decided to keep the jewelry simple 

Black Outfit 4

Leopard Print Pumps Nine West ($20)

Dorothee has a joke that her favorite color is leopard, but instead of having every piece of clothing in it (though I think if we dared her, she would take us up on it), she tastefully adds one or two items to add a bit of punch or flare to what she owns. I personally love it!

Black Outfit

Gold Hoop Earrings  Lou Lou’s Boutique ($8)

I want to thank Dorothee again for modeling for me; any items not listed as mine are owned and provided for by Dorothee. I also want to thank Chris Urie for providing beautiful photos for these last two entries.

Photography by Chris Urie

Fun With Vintage

Back when I went natural, I started to move my style more towards clothing that complimented my hair.

I don’t know if this is fashionably ‘right’ or ‘trendy’, but when you have a big ‘fro like I do, it makes sense to add a seventies vibe to it. Once I started looking for seventies era clothing, I fell in love with everything between the forties through the eighties.
When you’re going for any kind of ‘vintage feel’, you don’t have to be exact. Not all of the pieces have to be from the same decade. Just let your outfit tell a great story.

Andrea Gayle 60s Dress Wilbur Vintage ($40)

I found the exact dress online here as well as other Andrea Gayle items

Purple Tights My Grandma (gift)

Bronx Taste Ankle Boots Akira ($65)

Cowrie Earrings Wilbur Vintage ($5)

 Photography by Eric S.