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.

Boots, Pockets & Dressing For Fall

It is officially Autumn and I don’t want to admit it! As the weather is becoming a bit cooler, I am trying to decide how I can hang on to a few of my dresses by giving them a different edge than last year. 80s throwback? Industrial look? Or just a love of skirts with pockets- whatever works, I just love the simple style of a heavy fabric to match my heavy fall boots. Now is the time to break out my sweaters to throw over my dresses and to hand wash my million pairs of tights.

How are you preparing for  Autumn?

burnt orange dress

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 Burnt Orange Taylor Dress Nordstrom ($83- still available online in select sizes)

I love the pattern and the heavy material on this dress! I found it on sale and still have to take it in a bit (my dress is clamped in the back for this shoot), but the pockets are what sold me. I am not a huge clutch person, so whenever I see a dress with pockets, I automatically swoon!

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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.

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Brown Leather Troopa Boots Steve Madden ($100)

I have been looking for the boots since my cousin bought them some time ago. I love how heavy they are and I ended up buying another pair in stone (they didn’t have wine in my size), but they do hurt my left heel after walking in them for awhile. I am going to see if a sticker insole helps. The boots are still available on Steve Madden and on Amazon for an even lower price and various additional colors.

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Rosin Bracelet Darwin, Australia (gift)

My Aunt brought this bracelet as a gift from an artist she works with Australia. The bracelet is made of rosin, so if you have ever been in middle school orchestra, you know the feeling. I wish I had more information on this artist, but my Aunt made it seem like her pieces wouldn’t be in my price range (my Aunt keeps it real, though I did have to explain to her what shade meant after that).

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Laura Mercier Lip Glace’ in Quartz Birchbox ($10 subscription sample/original price $25)

This lipstick came in my Birchbox months ago, but is no longer available in Quartz. I looked everywhere since I broke my only tube after the shoot! There are similar colors available on Birchbox and Laura Mercier. I did cancel my Birchbox subscription after ten months because too many of the samples in the box were unusable for me even after adjusting my settings. I think there is a disconnect when it comes to women of color and Birchbox (I spoke to them in email about this and they stated ‘they are working on it’) and instead of being frustrated with my ‘nude’ nail polish or sulfate hair products, I decided to move on.

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

I am leaving for St. Marteen in a little over a week, so I decided to get my hair braided. I found Mia online and I love my braids! They took a little over six hours, but Mia was completely professional, accommodating (I was able to work while getting my hair braided) and easy to get to. She uses all natural products (she makes her own peppermint spray conditioner spray) and she is natural! I definitely recommend her to anyone and look forward to returning to her in the future.

tall wall

orange dress, brown boots

My friend and fashion inspiration, Devaney, opened her own store on Etsy called, Sew AuCourant , she makes fabulous pillows and home décor items and takes custom orders as well. She is making my linens for my wedding. Check out her site and I have to do a feature on her work and how I am saving money on my wedding at some point on my blog!

Photography by Eric S.

Wear It Or Bare It?

I own a lot of small dresses. If you look in my closet right now, you would be forced to listen to me justify why my three white dresses are not all identical. Surprisingly, I also wear these dresses year round. Though this winter I had to box one up with the summer clothes.

I am use to balancing my dresses a bit here and there either by adding bright tights or blazers or skipping out on heels all together. Even though I own a ton of heels, I usually wear flats or sandals whenever possible. I am almost 5’9″ and I feel like heels make my skirts look shorter. Plus, my feet feel so much better in flats. But sometimes I have a dress that I don’t mind breaking the rules with. I always ask myself, ‘wear it layered or bare it as is?’

I recently was invited to a fantastic shoot with Asya Shirokova of Asya Photography and Elizabeth Terenchin, a well known make-up artist who completed many of the ladies’ fabulous looks at The Geek Awards. Clifford Scott and Company styled all of the ladies hair (and can work a weave and flat iron in his sleep), but my hair had been braided for over two months at this point (Go Briana!).

So what are your rules for baring it and wearing it? Cover everything, but your favorite feature? Flaunt it? Layer away?

Wow Couture Smak Parlour ($68)

To be honest, I can’t remember if this dress was $68 or slightly less, but as usual, I go with the higher price, BUT I did see the black and copper version of this dress on their sale rack not too longer ago, so it is probably even cheaper. What I like about Smak is they are consistent with the popular designers or styles they carry, so a variation of this dress is there somewhere. 

Bronx Taste Ankle Boots Akira ($65)

These are the only boots with a heel I have been wearing lately (other than a pair of black heels). Even though wearing this dress with gold sandals won’t make it any longer, I feel like it creates a different look once you change the footwear. This summer I will be going with gold or my nude and jeweled sandals. For the winter, (when not in the warmth of a studio) purple tights, black boots and a over sweater would be cute IF I DIDN’T BREAK THE ZIPPER ON BOTH OF MY FAVORITE BOOTS!!! 

Briana’s twists held up for two and a half months before I took them down! 

With so much gold going on with this dress, I decided not to wear any jewelry. I thought I at least wore some skull studs, but I guess not!

 Thanks to Asya for such an amazing shoot in her studio and for all of the great pics and huge thank you to Elizabeth for putting it all together and actually thinking I would be a good addition to her professional models. It was my first time wearing fake eyelashes and I have to tell you- AWESOME. Eric and I head back out into the cold this weekend for a new shoot!

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.

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

Jumping Into Jumpsuits

Eric was on vacation last week, so I thought this would be a great time to break out one of my vintage finds and get some assistance from my good friend and guest model, Dorothee, and a talented guest photographer, Chris Urie. He can be found at chrisurie.com.

With the thought of vacation comes the thought of summer and flea markets! The Center City flea market always had a booth of the best vintage clothes. Though, being outside, you have to make some guesses regarding your items based on three important pieces of criteria: wearability, fit, and alteration worth. I always decide if I can fit it, if I like it (and what/how I will wear it), and if alterations are worth the time / cost.

I love jumpsuits. They are easy to style in multiple ways while giving you a feel of funk and timelessness, all at the same time.

Red Outfit 5

Red Sears Jumpsuit Center City Flea Market ($26)

I found this jumpsuit at the huge flea market at 6th & Pine-ish area. There are tons of booths, but all summer there was this one booth selling tons of clothing ranging from the 1950s-80s with numerous brands. I bought this jumpsuit thinking it would be an easy fix to drop the crotch to add length, but my tailor said clothes were made a little more reinforced then. Fortunately, Dorothee looks great in it and she had her own style to make it come to life

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Up-cycled Pencil Case Barnes & Noble ($18)

I love Dorothee’s pencil case; it never crossed my mind that it wasn’t a clutch. I decided to look on Barnes & Noble to see if there is anything similar and this pencil case, though not the same style, is another way to get creative. 

Red Outfit 4

Blue I.N.C. Pumps Macy’s ($40)

Red Outfit 2

Vintage Herringbone Necklace Dorothee’s Grandma’s Jewelry Box

Red Outfit

Photography by Chris Urie

 

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.

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Cowl Neck Sweater H & M ($25)

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Galactic Leggings Smak Parlour ($28)

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 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.

Shopping In Your Closet: Part 2, Mixing Rarely Wears with Necessities

In Part One of this post, also known as ‘I am moving, all of my clothes are boxed up except for a select few, what do I do?!’ I wore pieces I haven’t seen in ages. This is a continuation of that, but with items I also ‘over-wear’. I don’t know if over-wearing is a thing; you love what you love, and I have to constantly wash three pairs of jeans or else I would have to chisel them off of me. I wanted to find a way to make my necessities step to the side, while figuring out how to make my rarely worn items shine.

Fortunately, for me, the unpacking is done, but shopping in my closet has made me bring so much more out of the wood work. Who knew I owned black jeans?!

hoodie smile

Wide Leg Trouser and Grey and White Camisole  Gap (Clearance $30 & $12)

I do not buy anything at the Gap for full price. I use to wear these slacks to work at least twice a week and the camisole I wear under a lot of cardigans (though not lately). I will try to slow down the Gap love, but with the 40% off weekends, how can I stop?!

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AKIRA Knitted Hooded Kimono Wrap AKIRA Chicago ($35)

Like with my other hooded wrap, I haven’t worn this hooded wrap in almost two year, if not longer. I also have a habit with buying items in multiple colors.  

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8-Bit Bowtie Necklace Smak Parlour ($18)

I wore this necklace with the matching earrings to The Geek Awards and got so many compliments that I even bought one for my cousin (she wears hers with a little black dress). It is definitely a statement necklace and I was trying to figure out how to make it casual. Turns out I should have worn it more often. Next time, I will try it with jeans and a white top. (Unlike some of the items I have posted, these are still in stock).

hoodie shoes

Funky Dumond Pumps AKIRA Chicago ($165)

I use to wear these pumps all of the time and I purchased them back when I use to recklessly shop. I try to stay away from heels most of the time (and shoes not worth the Cost Per Wear ratio), but I use to love these so much. After a few hours in them, I realized my feet do not miss heels. 

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hoodie serious

 Photography by Eric S.

 

 

Shopping In Your Closet: Part 1, Clothes You Rarely Wear

Moving is always difficult for me. I always cram my clothes into unorganized suitcases, bags, and various boxes. I end up losing track of shoes along with clothes that I usually wear. What always ends up being left are the clothes on my hangers.

The problem is, the only items I hang up are clothes I usually don’t wear and I happened to hang up during a stint of cleaning a year prior. Think evening gowns and unique accessories that don’t go with much else (or that I bought for a few specific outfits). Not the most practical way to organize, but hey, I had to make due.

Though a bit frustrating, shopping in your own closet can actually be a lot of fun (with a few ‘what was I thinking?!’ moments) and you may look at your wardrobe in a whole new light.

fence outfit

AKIRA Knitted Hooded Kimono Wrap AKIRA Chicago ($35)

I haven’t worn this hooded wrap in almost two year (I can’t even begin to tell you where the white tank underneath came from; I’ll go with ‘dark alley’)

fence earrings

Beaded Tribal Teardrop Earrings Loopty Hoops ($24)

Handcrafted through the Zulu Beadwork Project, I bought these gorgeous earrings as gifts for family and friends. After I placed mine through the washer I didn’t think I could wear them again, but they seem to be fine

fence scarf

My Favorite Scarf Ambiance  (under $25 per to Dev)

This was a gift from my friend, Devaney, from when she visited San Francisco. I wear this scarf so much that I have it dry cleaned. This is one accessory I keep hanging up and unpacked

fence shoes

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

To be honest, I have worn these flats into the ground

fence smirk

Tomato Modern Boot Cut Pants Gap ($20)

I am almost positive I paid less than $20 for these pants, but I would rather over than underestimate. I have only worn them a few times since I bought them, but I might just add them back into circulation

fence scary and earrings

Photography by Eric S.