Sunday, June 30, 2013

With a ribbon around it

  For my weekend, I've embraced wearing everything I cannot wear during the week because of lab safety. Bare shoulders, bare legs, open shoes, you name it. I think I look really tan in these photos compared to myself a week ago. Go go East Bay weather!
  Today I wore my brown strapless dress by Ruth for the first time! When I bought it a few years ago, I was somewhat concerned it had been a bridesmaid dress and would always look like a bridesmaid dress, but it fit great and it was $3.74, so into the basket it went. Plus I love the pink ribbon. I feel like a box of chocolates.

  It's beautifully warm and sunny this weekend, so if this isn't the occasion for a possible bridesmaid dress, I don't know what is.
   I tried to casual it up a bit (and help keep the dress up) by adding a cropped shrug. I do really like what the shrug does to the proportions of this outfit, as it gives me a long unbroken line under the bust, but the cut/material might not be quite right. I'm not sure what I'm searching for to match the dress, though. Maybe something with a rounder neckline in seafoam/faded green or deep blue with a slight ruffle on cap sleeves?

  I added a blue topaz necklace from etsy (because an outfit could always use a shot of blue), thrifted earrings, and my comfortable Rieker antistress shoes. I'm so glad I thrifted these shoes on a whim. They're quickly becoming my favorite comfortable feminine walking shoe.
  Sorry I was so burnt yesterday that I forgot to put the brand tags at the bottom of my post. I've fixed it now! Summer is finally here! What are you doing with the longer (or shorter, hemispherically opposed friends) days?

Dress: Ruth (thrifted, Ruth dresses on eBay)
Shrug: Have (thrifted)
Shoes: Rieker antistress (thrifted, Zappos link)
Jewelry: blue topaz necklace (defunct etsy shop), flower earring studs (thrifted)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pink Pants

  I own pink pants. I am also exhausted. You can call me Inspector Clotheseau.

  I've almost donated these Guess pants half a dozen times because they wrinkle if you so much as look at them funny and they are very lightweight. But now I'm taking summer classes in the East Bay where the temperature is in the 80s(!!!) so out they came, and I'm so glad they did.

  The pink pants never fail to make me feel cheerful and special. I had to do some finagling when I altered them years ago, including turning the buckles (if you want to roll them up) on the sides upside-down because I'd cut off so much off the bottoms.

  I love these little pockets. Except they take as long to iron apiece as the rest of the pants. I wore the double blue racerback combo back in May. I've started eyeing other sets of pink trousers on eBay as possible replacements.

  I'll probably just be blogging on the weekends for the next several weeks. I'll get used to my schedule I'm sure, but it's still 12.5 hours long not counting commute time. It will be fun trying to figure out warm weather wear during this summer at Berkeley. I'm several years out of practice!

  Maybe I'll get some rotation in on my impressive shirt collection.

Printed tank: Express (old)
Pink pants: Guess (eBay)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Belting it out

Let's talk belts.

  I love wide belts, probably because they suit my build. Skinny belts at the waist make me look like I have been bisected into two powerful chunky pieces, and I can't wear belts at my hips because I wear long fitted shirts so I don't show a big section of my lower back/upper butt when I sit and squat.

  I'm always interested in hearing about how other people wear belts and how they suit different body types and figures. And if you have any advice on how one wears hip belts that doesn't involve a strange series of lumps under one's long shirt, please let me know.

  I cruise eBay to calm down before bedtime, as it's lightly engaging and doesn't take much concentration or brain power. I've been fixated on Crystaline's Steampunk Lolita ensembles this past month and I'm in the market for a belt like the one she sports in a lot of her outfits:

  I thought I'd share some brown wide belts that caught my interest. Let me know if you'd be interested in any other styles or items, and maybe I can poke around the internet for you when I can't sleep! Links here don't profit me, but they may benefit YOU. ;D

  This studded brown belt with double buckle looked simple enough to wear on the street but had a cool fantasy vibe to me. It has an elastic section in the back and claims to fit ~30-33 inches. $12 with shipping.

  This is a German trachten belt. It is also adorable. Dangly hearts on little sock-shaped pieces of wool! Says  it will fit waists ~36-41 inches. $30 with shipping.

  An obi-style fake leather belt with a panel in front and long elastic band behind it. I guess this would be for wearing under jackets or if I was going to spend an evening leaning against a wall. On the plus, the stretchiness says it will accommodate up to 43 inches. Also comes in brown, black, and red. $16 with shipping.

  I like the asymmetric holster-feel of this one. I think it looks modern and conjures a bit of gunslinger feel at the same time. ~27-34 inches. $8 with shipping.

  Closest in appearance to Crystaline's belt, this cincher comes in several colors and finishes. Claims to fit ~30-40 inch waists. $17.45 with shipping, but seller has individual colors on auction that you can bid on for cheaper.

  One thing I've noticed is that many of the new-fangled belts are mass-produced pieces from China, meaning the size range can be quite small in comparison to American sizes. For myself, growing up the nice clothes here were always too big/tall/long and when I discovered Asian clothing, it was like a world of things that fit me opened up. However, this means that my friends are often excluded because of the limited sizing. Do you have better luck with particular brands? Do you have experience finding clothing from a particular country that fits you better? What do you look at when you shop online?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rainy Day Blues

  I'm back to my old palette. :D While trying out new colors I've never worn before has been a lot of fun, going back to my familiar colors feels confident and happy. PLUS I got to try this denim on top and bottom I've heard of on other style blogs. It's a win-win-win situation! I love style blogging. :D
  It's raining today in SF. I busted out my newly-hemmed ZARA basic dept skinny jeans. It might show in the photos that I screwed up when hemming these. I cut one leg on the new hem line, not the 2nd line I'd conveniently drawn below it for guidance. ): I have hemmed dozens of my trousers and it's the first time I've done that, haha. Oh well, they're dark and will usually be in boots.
  The dress is strapless, which doesn't suit rain so well, so I tied off the alternative apparel overshirt last seen here with a silver leaf ring. The dress has cool zipper halves sewn in a spiraling pattern down the front, and fortunately for any jackets and chairs involved, not the back. It also has built-in padding in the front! I was instantly won over.

  Leggings and skinny jeans under short garments was a revelation for me. I tried to go for a look that is form-fitting and sexy but not overstuffed sausage.
The story of every pair of pants in my life
  Summer school starts for me Monday, so I don't know how much style blogging I'll be able to do, as class is from 9:30am until 10:00pm four days a week. If you look on Twitter and my last post is "AAAAAUUUGGH" then you will know Chemistry has eaten me alive. I would like my epitaph to read 'She tried to get into grad school. [swear] this economy.'

Dress: Do & Be (thrifted) dark grey version size S on eBay
Skinny jeans: ZARA basic (thrifted)
Overshirt: alternative apparel VintageSoft (thrifted)
Boots: Naya Lark (eBay) some on eBay
Ring: Silver of the Valley (etsy, shop defunct)
Necklace: Metropolitan Museum of Art store (gift)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A little added Haight

  Today was gorgeous. I went shopping with friends in the famous Haight district north of Golden Gate park. It's a great place if you want to go clothes shopping for something unique and if you have some money. I'm not there often, but it's because of the latter reason, not the former. (;

  Outfit constraints were 1) classical style since the trip was for Steampunk/Edwardian fashion, and 2) friendly for trying on clothes and walking. And again, today was beautiful, so I wanted to leave my calves bare to feel the warm air.

  I went with a tight Express camisole that would be easy to slip things over, and a pinstripe skirt that would be easy to doff and don (or even try things under.) I added a cropped vest over the camisole for coverage and to give a bit of period feel.
  Pinstripes and plaid! This is the Aya version of pattern mixing. I feel more like a giant already. The outfit was pretty high contrast, so you have one shot in sunlight, and one without. There was a nap in-between. Please disregard my gardening supplies.  I like the way the skirt flares out very much. There's a little ruching at the top, which I enjoy because it is subtly feminine and gives some emphasis if you are narrow-hipped.

  Trivia: this camisole drives my mom bonkers. It's light pink with lace along the bust and the bottom hem. When a bit of lace peeks out, as it does with the vest above, I think it's pretty and she thinks it looks like my underwear is showing. I didn't understand why this bothered her until that trend came out where gals wear shirts that deliberately show their entire bras and it drove me flipping bananas. Touché, irony. Touché.

  I didn't want jewelry getting tangled or lost trying on clothes, so I went with a small locket and earrings that fit the classical look. My thrifted Rieker anti-stress shoes and a Bica Cheia blazer --it is San Francisco, after all. Mind the gusts!-- finished the outfit. The Rieker shoes have a subtle one inch heel and were super comfortable all afternoon.

  First we went to Distractions on Haight. (Warning, site plays music.)  My goodness. I'd never been before, and it was a goodie wonderland. Unfortunately their online selection is limited, so you'll have to take my word. They carry industrial modern and old style clothing and costume pieces from both large-scale and small local designers. I fell in love with Buddhaful's Diana coat:

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm saving for it already.
  Then we hit up the Bettie Page store, another first for me. The theme is 40s and 50s style, popularized these days by Mad Men, I think. (edit: well scupper. Mad Men is 1960s. shows me to talk of something I've never seen/read of. I think Bettie Page style is from an earlier decade, though. help?) They carry sizes XS up to 4X! Great vibe from all of the young ladies working there, too. It made me think of graverobbergirl's rockabilly crafting blog. Actually, the district made me wish I could go shopping there with all of you I've met through style blogging. :D

  I hope everyone else is having a lovely weekend! What are you up to?
Blazer: Bica Cheia (Crossroads)
Lace-edged cami: Express (old)
Pinstripe skirt: necessary objects (thrifted)
Cropped vest: Toy Box Clothing (thrifted)
Shoes: Rieker anti-stress (thrifted, available at Zappos)
Jewelry: locket (very old), earrings (Brasil)

Saturday, June 22, 2013


 Tried another Ye Olde style outfit today. I'm feeling a punk mood coming on, though, so tomorrow I'll probably switch it up. Nm, just got invited Steampunk shopping in the Haight tomorrow.

  I took an H&M plum velour skirt (stretchy with pockets!) and paired it with a lace button down shirt. The shirt is not opaque, so I layered it over one of my ubiquitous lace back racerback tank tops. I thought bare calves might look odd with the skirt, so I wore white side lace leggings under it, and my Naya Lightning boots.

  I really like side lace leggings. It seems like a great way to add a touch of sexiness if you're showing a few inches of leg. Too bad I have only found them sold in the cheapest of junior retail establishments, so garment construction is not stellar.

  This shirt is kind of odd- it came from another cheap junior store and the lacing in the back doesn't make sense. The narrowest part of the "corset" lacing is right under the shoulders. If you've ever tried tightening something around that area, you might notice you have these things called ribs in the way. The lacing ends where my waist begins, so there's no way to take it in around the waist at all. I like it enough to keep it, and one nebulous day when I have money and time I would like to draft a pattern and make a garment like this, only that fits.

  Now, I hear what you're saying. "Aya, this outfit works fine for people who go out and do productive things like work, but what about the everyday student anxiously frittering away the last days of vacation before a summerlong blitz of Chemistry? How could she kick this up into a costume?"  For that I say: ACCESSORIES

  Fascinators got a lot of hate in fashion articles, which is hilarious because it was one of the few times I really liked a trend. I love fascinators. I love hats, and a little fancy hat attached to a headband so for once I don't have to worry about fitting it over my big skull? Delightful!

  With my fancy hat and kid gloves I felt like I could take afternoon tea out on my balcony. I also wore sterling silver & garnet flower earrings, my trusty Express jeweled locket, and a glass bead bracelet.

  Do you find items that fit your fashion tastes or needs in unusual places? Do you find yourself dressing with a theme in mind, or do you assemble outfits in another way?

No profit on links, just love:
Shirt: Amor (similar with sleeves or sleeveless)
Skirt: H&M (thrifted)
Leggings: zenana outfitters (similar)
Boots: Naya Lightning (old)
Fascinator: Cara New York (old)
Jewelry: Express locket, glass bracelet from Paris, old earrings

Friday, June 21, 2013

Earth-toned Menswear-inspired Hyphenated-ensemble

  I'm back!  A grand total of 8 flight delays and cancellations later, my latest trip to Southern California is done. (:  It's only 450 miles (725 km) but I guess that San Francisco fog can stymie anyone.  Next time I'm just driving.

  It's great to be back home and back to experimenting with my wardrobe. Today I wanted to pick up where I left off: experimenting with Victorian-inspired ensembles. I feel like I should be tinkering with something complicated made of brass.

  I took the vest I was trying out before I left and tried a menswear-inspired look. The blouse is Zara and it jumped out at me as the Steampunk-ish shirt I'd been seeking. It buttons up to the collar, and has slightly full sleeves with a cuff. The material also has stretch, is wrinkle-resistant, and is comfortingly thick. (I am not a fan of the see-through pilly material in so many shirts these days.)

  Unfortunately when I tried it on by itself I think I look like a house cleaner, hence the vest and accessorizing. Maybe I should try a thin tie as sported by Crystaline in her Lolita Steampunk attire here? (If you like Victorian/Steampunk styles and have not been to this gal's page, please do go.)

  This is the first time I have ever worn an outfit entirely made of earth tones. Ever. The shirt even has stripes, and I don't wear patterns! The combination of the shirt and vest entertained me because the shirt's stripes are yellow and the vest is orange, the two last colors I was trying to wear before I kicked it. Success!

  The bow in the back is very cute, but it makes it difficult to layer over the shirt. This is the only vest I have with a high enough back that the ties do not get in the way. Fortunately it was pleasant today, because I have no idea how a jacket would work. I may remove them entirely or crop them and add a flat buckle or buttons instead.

  I didn't go thrifting while I was gone because my friends and family down there are not into it, but I did pick up some socks. I figured since I am trying to be a Fashionable Person now, I should invest in something other than athletic socks from CostCo. Argyle seemed to fit the theme. (:

  Some of you may not be familiar with Daiso, a chain of Japanese dollar (actually, ~$1.50) stores. They sell a variety of housewares, accessories, decorations, and so on. They're everywhere in Japan and Taiwan, common in the San Francisco Bay Area, but not elsewhere in North America, and I think the only European stores are in Romania.

  Do you have colors you never thought you would wear? What are some local shops you wish you could share with your fellow bloggers?

Blouse: Zara Basic (thrifted)
Vest: Last Kiss (Styles for Less)
Necklace: unknown (old)
Trousers: Gap stretch flare (clothing swap)
Boots: Two Lips (thrifted)
Socks: Daiso (company site)