Monday, September 30, 2013

The Duck Stops Here

  You know I've owned this cardigan for months and only realized there was a duck on it this week? Alternate titles for this blog post include Duck & Cover, What the Actual Duck, and Augh This Ducking Cardigan.
  I just thought it was a cool asymmetrical pattern! I was not incorrect, but my pattern recognition skills clearly need work.
Migrating Mallard cardigan: Rosie Neira (thrifted)
Belt: eBay (available here)
Jeans: ZARA basic (thrifted)
Sleigh Boots: Report (thrifted)
Excellent Photoshopping over ugly flowerpot: ME

  Gets better: I grew up on a lake. I've been feeding mallards like this my whole life.

  While the Internet has been going on about pumpkin spice boots cooler weather fall blah blah, I have been enjoying San Francisco summer, and desperately gripping the warm, sunny weather with my little blacksmith hands. All the talk got me thinking, though: I have been doing this "outfits" thing for less than a year, now. I have no idea what is going to be Aya style (stAyale?) for fall. What do I even own?

  So I tried this outfit, which I think was kind of based on this idea from Once Upon a Zipper, a website for a consignment store in Nashville, Tennessee. I like the looks the employees put together!
...Then I overheated after an hour and changed. :D This cardigan is warm!

  This cardigan is also the closest to "animal print" I've got. If animal prints are your thing, you should check out How I Wear My: Animal Print at Everything Just So and The Rich Life (on a budget) tomorrow.

  's right, not a zebra, giraffe, or orangutan in my closet, just the occasional dragon and this duck. I have a bustier with what might be blue leopard. Maybe. Evidently I do not do animal prints. Or neon. Or patterns. Or pumps. Or flats. Or capris. Or bright colors. Or open-toed boots. Or wedges with that weird straw/dock rope material looped around the sides. Or anything yellow. I am, however, trying out cardigans and sweaters after a mere 27-year hiatus. I'm sure my adventurous personal style is an inspiration to all.

  How long does a shirt have to be before it's considered a 'tunic'? Thought this one might, but now I think it stops too short and just points directly at my crotch. Too much skinny-jean-squeezed-thigh showing. Clearly this will take some work. But in the meantime, I'm going to be in sundresses and my one pair of embarrassingly holey denim shorts for as long as I can.

  What do you not do in your own wardrobe? Anything you've tried after a long time that you never thought you would?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Get Thee to a Haberdashery

  I have a new hat. It has a bow. :D
  The thing about being a student is you don't have money, but you *do* have the occasional Thursday morning free to tootle downtown for the quarterly Goorin Bros. sample sale. All hats were $20 or less.
  This was one of the few fancier lady hats at the sale. I politely sidled at a dead sprint up to the table, plonked it on my head, and nearly forgot to remove it when I went to take a shower.
  Seemed like a good match for my Diesel coat, now with 100% more airship captain medal! Man I have got to get those sleeves altered.

Hat: Goorin Bros. (sample sale, available in plum)
Western-style coat: Diesel (thrifted)
Cara 'Royal Highness' Military Pin: Nordstrom (here)
Dress: OzzOn Japan (Japan)
Corduroys: WOW jeans (thrifted)
Boots: Two Lips (thrifted)

  The sample sale was excellent timing for the upcoming Hat Attack, thrown at the beginning of each month by the vivacious Judith of Style Crone.

  I am also celebrating finally hemming these corduroys. They're made in Japan! I thrifted them when I lost all that weight stressing out this summer, and as I'm gaining it back they're slowly becoming more and more bootylicious but somehow staying just as comfortable 
  I love the pockets with the brass buttons! Given the trends lately, I think the world could use a whole lot less buttock rather than more, so I styled them under this OzzOn dress:
  The coat and hat do not go at all with the dress, but I fell in love with the lines of these items together.

  Today was a fine day. :D And yes, this hat sample sale thing is quarterly (this was my first, so I just found out about them.) The vast majority are bucket hats, Gatsby/flat caps, and baseball style caps, but if you're dying to get a Goorin Bros. hat on the cheap, ping me and I can poke around for you at the Christmastime one. :D

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Taylored Fit

... 5 pairs of pants and every single skirt I own later, this is the best I got:
Asian-inspired vest: Ann Taylor (thrifted)
Beaded strapless top: Ann Taylor (thrifted, size 6P on eBay)
Embroidered trousers: Karen Millen (eBay)
Fan necklace: Joan Rivers (thrifted)

  Also, sorry about this weird spotlight business in these pictures. Some bizarre "sunlight" thing going on in the Bay Area. Happens every September. Whee!
  Swearing may not be seemly, but my internal name for this outfit is 'Augh this fucking shirt.'* It's a dark purple strapless Ann Taylor top with boning and beadwork. I thrifted it because I want to cut it down the front and make a cost-effective corset for Ye Olde outfit fun (and because it's too tight on top and loose at the bottom), but first I wanted to try styling it down for everyday wear.

* To be fair, many of my outfits are called this.
  It goes with nothing. Since it is structured and fitted, as well as formal-looking, I tried to pair it with loose/baggy things in opposing colors.

  I want to try it with a pair of loose legged trousers that cinch in above the ankle, but I donated my only pair of those years ago, after not finding anything to go on top of them. Today is not helping me squash my hoarder tendencies at all.

  Otherwise I kind of like how this Asian-ish outfit turned out. I found a golden fan necklace (Joan Rivers, thrifted) and I finally got to use these Karen Millen trousers after several years. I love the koi embroidery on them, but trying to alter them was a hair-pulling job and it took a long time for me to look at them without wincing. I'm glad I kept them (seriously, who else could they fit at this point?)  That silk vest is Asian-looking too, though I folded the heck out of it to keep the top from getting covered.. It's another one of the pieces on my long list of alterations I need to do.

  I'm working on a grey velour blazer now that will go with this top and make me look like a fancy toff. Unfortunately I don't have a skirt to go with it. Argh! I feel like I keep collecting pieces of a very elaborate large puzzle, and now it's slowly becoming clear which pieces I'm missing and what the picture is, but it sure has taken a lot of time and not a few clothes that didn't work out. -_-

  How did you all find your personal styles? Did you build them piece by piece, or did you find a brand that spoke to you? I read about minimalist wardrobes with fascination, because I cannot imagine doing such a thing. (:

  Please note that comments now let you get a ping if you want to know when you get a response! It's sometimes difficult for me to keep track of where I've left comments in the blogs I follow, so if you'd like to know if I reply to something you said, please tick the box! I like replying to comments. :D

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Blue, Boots, and Burgundy

  Whew, my busy week is over. Time for new experimental outfit. :D
Cropped blazer: Isaac Mizrahi for Target (thrifted, eBay size 4)
Dress: Old Navy (thrifted)
Belt: American Rag (eBay, available here)
Tights: MUJI (MUJI SF)
Boots: unknown (clothing swap)
Necklace: Forever 21 (thrifted)
  I finally altered my Isaac Mizrahi for Target cropped blazer. I last wore it here, when I was feeling like a video game heroine. I removed the shoulder pads and folded the collar down, as I feel these alterations make me look much less like a fullback with a bull neck. I already have broad shoulders and only 6 cervical vertebrae, so I really don't need the help.
  I took a photo after removing only one shoulder pad. I wonder which one?
  Here is my Hunchback of Notre Dame impression.
   I seriously have no idea how to describe this ensemble. The only thing I have come up with is if I let my eyes go unfocused, I kind of look like I'm dressed to fight in the Crusades. I think I like it.

Monday, September 16, 2013


  You heard it here first, folks: Gracey the Giant is a bad influence. She may seem witty and sweet and friendly and lovely-well, I'm sure she is all of those things actually, but she's still a bad influence! I don't know if she's mad at me because I took more than my fair share of short or what, but this post is on her. I'll get her back, though. You'll see.

  So the other day I was reading this post over at Fashion for Giants, and I clicked the link to check out Gracey's sweet earrings on the Nordstrom website. It was there that I saw THIS:
Cara 'Royal Highness' Military Pin (linking because I love you, but no revenue)
  My friend called it "very imperialist, like someone snatched it off of Queen Victoria's corpse." :D I instantly thought of it pinned on a structured jacket or coat, but his comment made me think it could go on a sash, as well. I hope it doesn't look like or cause offense as imitating military, because what I want to do with it is be an airship captain.

  This got in my head a few months ago when I was tootling around with my cropped BIZZ jacket and wound up with a combination that made me inexplicably feel like one (didn't post it, but should in future). It's been a dream ever since.
Heart: vintage screwback earring (thrifted)
Lace ruffle tee: TRF t-shirt collection (thrifted)
Western-style coat: Diesel (thrifted)
Pink lace undertank: Express best-loved bra cami
Vest: Free People (eBay)
Skirt: unknown, Japanese (piked from Mom)
Boots: Naya Lightning (gift)
  This is another go at layering a soft tee with a v-neck and ruffles over a lace-trimmed camisole for some detail and less cleavage. A vest seems to make things older-fashioned looking, structured, and a little fancy all at once.

  Getting that medal on was a stone bitch, by the way. A captain needs to have her uniform in order. A captain also should have sleeves that go to her wrists instead of her knuckles, but baby steps. After several iterations of pinning it crookedly, pinning it at the wrong height, pinning it in the wrong lateral configuration, taking off the coat to try to pin it straight, trying on the coat and taking it back off again because it was wrong, I shouted in frustration, "This is why people used to have servants dress them!"
It was perfect. If you buy one, send me a picture.
  The captain would also like a hat, but this one is 140 beans. It is gorgeously shaped and the right brim shape for the period I had in mind, though. It's also not an unreasonable price, but it is about 120 more beans than I have in my pocketbook. I hung out with it on at Goorin Bros., drank free beer, and have photoshopped it onto my head for my own entertainment instead. :D

  Normally I avoid places like Nordstrom because in my mind those are places that grown ups who have money go to buy things, and I live in fear that I will be called out as an impostor or set upon by frightening salespeople and feel obligated to buy something out of social contract.

  Gracey said I should totally get the pin though, so I went. And everybody was so nice. I was left alone, and whenever I had a question, attentive lovely folks who didn't talk loudly would help out. And over at the MAC counter it looked like the most expressive and energetic young people ever were having a happy make-up party. This place has customer service down to a science. And I ended up coveting this, too:
Faux leather trim scarf (also linking for love, and because it is 1/2 off)
  Looks kind of punk and has pointy ends to look extra interesting. I don't know what would go under it yet, but just trying it on made me feel fashionable.

  My friend Diana has already called the position of First Mate in my crew. You, lovely readers, are of course more than welcome aboard, and I am saving a spot for Ken Watanabe in case he would like to come. Who would you want in your crew if you were a fantasy captain?


  Sunday I went to a clothing swap hosted by a friend-of-a-friend. I met so many wonderful women there. I hadn't expected that in addition to finding new cool things to wear, it would be so fun to see my clothes on other people and that I'd get so much happiness from seeing them go to another home. When I've sold clothes before, I feel sad, because I have all sorts of sentimentality tied up in things and the memories I made while wearing them. The personal connection of having someone's smiling face exclaim that she loves your former things took that all away.

  And I managed to achieve the major goal of a clothing swap: I came back with far less than I'd gone there with. Score! The extra clothes went to a YWCA drive for women who had rescued themselves from domestic abuse situations. They are definitely a target for my next rage donation.

  The haul:
2 dresses, 1 workout tank, 3 shirts, 2 skirts, 1 trousers, and accessories
  The bottom dress belonged to a gal who must've been half a foot taller than I, with truly bodacious curves. I do not know how this dress violates the laws of physics and fits us both, but you don't turn down technology like that. It could end up powering my airship.
  These are a gorgeous black and metallic red, depending on how the light hits them. Stretch fabric, very comfortable. Maybe an everyday goth look, with black boots?
  Western brown steampunk-ish skirt and plum blossoms. See that, Gracey? MINT. I got you!
  Brown steampunk style socks for my outfits! Gold bracelet that looks like armor for a fantasy war! Sandals from the young lady who got my former pink pants! :D

  Of course the winner of the afternoon had to be:
  Holy shlamoley, knee boots! I don't know who was being pursued so hotly by the mob that she had to leave these behind, but thank you. I have wanted knee high boots since I was at most twelve, probably earlier. I have stared at them online often and contemplated what it would be like, but now I know and I will never forget.

  If you were tired of me wearing my Naya Lightning boots with everything before, you might want to brace yourself for boots showing up in every one of my posts now, forever. :D

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Class Structure

  Trying out the adjustments on the harness from Megan Mae. If I let the back strap all the way out, I can get it to my lower ribs for a different suspender-like look. :D
Harness: AudraJean (etsy, from Megan Mae)
Blouse: contempo (thrifted)
Jeans: UNIQLO (Japan)
Boots: Fitzwell (
Necklace: Foxy Originals Sage Bracelet (

  This is one of my hybrid school outfits, hopefully combining freedom of movement for labs with some visual interest and structured style.

  ... did you know that black shows *everything*? There are tiny lint hairs everywhere! Augh!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tea Time

Today is the day I participate in Spy Girl's Coffee Klatch and Tea Party challenge! I've been looking forward to this since she posted it.

Big super secret* sharing time: I love tea.
This is one of my very favorite tea cups.

  Trivia for you: Americans often say "high tea" when referring to afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is the deal with the little sandwiches and delightful snacks and cookies. High tea is actually a working class meal in the evening. This has been driving me crazy for years, and now it can drive you crazy, too.

  Anne's challenge was twofold: first, I had to figure out how to dress to match the cup, and then I had to clean all of my school crap off the dining table so I could take a picture. Pieces of a decalin model can be seen lurking in the background.
Blouse: unknown (thrifted)
Skirt: Odille (eBay)
Scarf: vintage Oscar de la Renta (inherited)
Earrings, watch: CostPlus World Market

  Make that threefold: what on earth goes with this darn green-and-purple skirt? Maybe a soft pink button-down? It's one of those lovely Anthropologie brands I picked up used several years ago and it goes with nothing I can find. It probably had some special top designed to match it in the store. That's how they get you!
  I love the embroidery on this blouse. Now if I could just figure out how to get it so it doesn't make a balloon in the back large enough to smuggle a small child in.

  This is a scarf I inherited from my grandmother. It says Oscar de la Renta and it's made in Japan. It still had the original price tag on it. I clipped it off but kept it. The best part about the scarf is when I tie it around my neck, it still smells faintly of Grandma's house.

  I hear my great grandmother was very fashionable. My aunts both dress like farmers, and my father dresses in such a way that he has been mistaken by his workplace security for homeless more than once, so upon going through the house several years ago, when my aunts found feminine fancy things, they asked me if I wanted them.

  I found this photo of my father's side of the family in a digital archive. It was taken in 1930. That's my grandmother, standing between her two brothers. She's only twenty years old here!  Sometimes when I am doing photo editing for this blog, I see a resemblance. I see the resemblance to my aunt, her eldest daughter, too. Miss you, Grandma.

* Where by "super secret" I mean "obvious statement"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shrug off the fog

Let me explain: It was sunny when I got dressed this morning.
I don't always go "full costume" when I go to school, but I still try to dress nicely. Priming is still a thing, right?
Confession: I photoshopped a stray lock of hair off my forehead. Because I could.
Around 1 or so this afternoon, Daly City came to its senses and remembered what it was. Sad Aya.
Brown shrug: Bcih (thrifted, size L on eBay)
Purple tank: Express best-loved bra cami (old, new ones at
Skirt: Odille (eBay)
Sandals: Eastland Lagoon (product link)
Necklace: thrifted, Watch: CostPlus (product link)
I instantly loved the way this necklace had ribbons and string tied together, but I was dubious about the large stone-printed plastic beads and the fake bronze coins. They're growing on me, though. I'm trying to step out of my comfort zone of tiny pendants and add things that are visible from more than a few feet away.

Also: accessories are expensive! I can thrift clothes in a snap, but when it comes to watches, jewelry, hats, or gloves, you pretty much have to buy new or go consignment/vintage shop. Most of my jewelry is over a decade old and I'm trying to find cost-effective ways of picking up a few pieces to go with my current personal style. Any suggestions?