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.

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!

IMGP4248

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.)

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

They Are Both Blue, So They Match!

Being from Michigan, Sweetest Day quickly became one of my favorite holidays. It isn’t every Michiganders favorite time of year, but it reminded me of my Mom receiving flowers and going out for dinner. Now that I am on the East Coast, my fiance was sweet enough to celebrate Sweetest Day with me.

This year he bought me a necklace and a purse, and he set up a picnic of fast food in Rittenhouse Square. What? I like what I like.

As I thanked him, he said, “see, both are blue, so they match!”

…I am a fan of not matching, but I had to wrap my head around that one. I loved both items and wanted to wear them together, but how could I do it?

Striped Grey Shirt and Blue Jeans H & M ($12 & &15)

Necklace Hello World (gift)

Turquoise Clutch with Removal Straps Hello World (gift)

Multicolored Striped Flats Moda on 1523 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($12)

Blue Crop Sleeve Blazer H&M ($35)

Earrings Hello World (gift)

 Photography by Eric S.

 

My Beef With Matching

Matching makes me feel like this:

Image Via

Maybe it isn’t that dramatic. I do love matching certain elements of my wardrobe (like my jewelry color to my shoes) but maybe it was growing up with my Grandma’s insistence on matching every aspect of her wardrobe… including her eye shadow to her blouse.

Maybe I don’t like matching due to sheer laziness mixed with budget. I have numerous shoes, but not enough purses to keep up and after living in a life of all grey, mixing textures and patterns is a bit more fun.

Burnt Orange Sweater Gap (On Sale for $30)
Multicolored Striped Flats Moda on 1523 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia ($12)

Blue and White Slim Fit Pants H & M ($15)

Yellow Fair Trade Earrings Outdoor Vendor,1801 Walnut St, Philadelphia ($15)

Photography by Eric S.