Monday, December 30, 2013

Ozz Oneste dress

  I'm headed home today! Drop-kicking a quick post out of my new OzzOn dress onto the Internet before I go. :D
Dress: Ozz Oneste (Japan, gift from Mom)
Skirt: For Joseph (borrowed from Mom)
Boots: ALDO (thrifted)

  SoCal sun sure takes some getting used to, photographing-wise! You can see details of the Ozz Oneste black dress, though I'm a little blown out. Still, this feels like a highly visible dress, so I'm linking to Patti's Visible Monday!
Here's a look at the skirt I borrowed to wear under the dress, since there are areas where it's cut really high:
  I feel very badass in it, though going out and people-watching while down here has made me realize my personal style is quite unlike anybody else I've seen in California's. I kind of live in a little bubble in San Francisco, where anything goes. :D Still, I got lots of compliments on my coat and boots, even here in conservative wealthy Orange County. I like to think I'm setting a precedent.

  What informs your personal style? Is it lifestyle, personality, geographical location, or other things?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Subtle Copper

  Today's long gloves are from my new Christmas stash and I'm linking to Spygirl's 52 Pick-me-up challenge: Mixed metallics.

  I own two metallic things in my wardrobe. These here be one of 'em:
Sweater: Gap (thrifted)
Jeans: 7 for all Mankind (gift from brother)
Gloves: Ozz Angelo (gift from Mom)
Boots: ALDO (thrifted)
  The birds and accents are copper, instead of gold, as I thought from the photo. It was too warm in SoCal to wear the double-layer wrap (leading me as always to question my wisdom in moving away), but I'm sure to wear it as soon as I'm back home. Here's a photo of the grey and teal version, from the OzzOn Japan website:
  To make sure I qualified for the challenge I wore a mixed metal earring I piked fromfound in my mother's jewelry box to contrast with my cartilage ring.
  We're having a heat wave down here, and it's been as high as 80 degrees some days. I brought SF summer clothes down and they are too much. Haha. It's so nice, even if my mother's deathly afraid of getting a suntan in winter. (Pantene commercial moment: Don't hate me because I'm warm.) I hope you all are staying toasty where you are!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Consumer Update

  Okay, I see now why many bloggers took off until the new year!

  Totally thought I'd have enough thumb-twiddling time in beautiful Southern CA to take outfit photos, what with the gorgeous weather here and all. Nope! Busy hanging out with family and dear friends. I have just been feeling incredibly lucky the last few days on my break.

  ...also in a typically genius Aya moment, I left my camera cable back in San Francisco. So here are some Internet photos of my Christmas presents:
   Sans gloves, this Ozz Oneste dress was sold used on the Japanese auction site Rakuten.
  Ozz Angelo shawl and fingerless long gloves. The ends have snaps on them so you can snap the ends around your arms or in a number of configurations around your neck and shoulders. (links not sponsored)

  I also have a beautiful new apron, handmade for me by my brother's girlfriend. She even remembered that I'm left-handed and put the pocket on the correct side for me! I can't wait to take photographs of it.

  Hope to be back soon, the next several days will likely be graduate school applications and eating with the friends and family I am so fortunate to have. I hope you all are having a fine holiday!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Party: red and black

  I spent more than half of 2013 incredibly stressed out about multiple things. It's time to feel good!
Red top: mariposa (Canada)
Pants: Theory (thrifted)
Boots: ALDO (thrifted)
 Diana Coat: Buddhaful (gift)
Necklace: unknown (cheap junior store)
  The Buddhaful Diana coat was my combination graduation/Christmas/birthday gift from my father. I had to wait a few weeks to stop freaking out about spending money on something, but I do love it.
  I'm off to a holiday party thrown by amazing hosts and friends, and I love the excuse to get dressed up (even if it's a casual party.) I think I'm starting to feel some holiday cheer. :D

  I wish you could come with me, but I shall have to see you on the other side.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dia de el vestido de cráneo

  Happy winter solstice! The days get longer from here on out.

  This Betsey Johnson dress was picked out at the thrift shop by my friend Athena. Sometimes friends pick the best clothes for you.
Dress: Betsey Johnson (thrifted)
Cardigan: Banana Republic (thrifted)
Tights: Spanx Uptown (Nordstrom)
Boots: ALDO (thrifted)
Rhinestone button bracelet: unknown (Purre)

The pattern is skulls!
  I'd never have picked it on my own, but now I really like it. It has a pleated flounce in the back that I enjoy very much. It feels flirty and feminine without being saccharine, slightly goth and tough without looking angry or emo.

  I am wearing two dresses actually: a plain Express sheath is underneath for warmth. I tried adding color on both ends of the dress. First, a blue wool Banana Republic cardigan. I don't normally like the look of cardigans on myself either, but this one appealed to me somehow. (Except the sleeves feel like blood pressure cuffs on my gunsbiceps.) Then I added these sexy orchid? fuchsia? tights by Spanx.

  How long do tights last, by the way? This is the first time I've worn them since I was a little girl and I'm concerned about getting runs in them. They were on super sale, but even so, if I can only wear tights a handful of times, it is not an expense I can keep up. I really, really like them, though. (:

  I hope you all have a very fine weekend and a lovely holidays. I'm headed south to visit my family in a few days! I'm looking forward to it. It hasn't sunk in yet that I'm done with my bachelor's degree, but at some point it will. Now I can stop stressing about exams and graduate school applications and focus on stressing out about just graduate school applications. ;)

  Thank you all for sharing stories with me while I was studying and for responding to my last post! I have to go over the comments now and respond. I'm looking forward to it. :D

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On smiling and privilege

  Good morning, everyone! Today I thought I'd discuss an often unaddressed accessory in personal style: the smile!
  A blogger I follow* recently wrote a piece called The Fingerprints of Poverty that I found meaningful.
It was that piece, and some friends of mine who grew up in poverty and shared their experiences with me that made me realize that I am solidly middle class, and one of the things that marks me as American middle class is my teeth.

*Incidentally, fans of Steampunk, you should check her out. She's an author of Steampunk books and posts on old-fashioned style.

  I grew up raised by my father in a single income home. There were a lot of struggles for money growing up, but we were above the poverty line, there was food to eat every day, and I always had a roof over my head.

  Then there was the issue of our teeth.

  My teeth hate life. I brush. I floss. I rinse with fluoride. They came in covered in grooves and deep natural pits, and they cheerfully do their best to rot out of my head.
  Japanese people in general have a combination of small jaws and huge teeth.  The reason is grinding large grains and other hard foods in our collective history caused bone growth and would have made jaws larger to fit those teeth, but eating refined foods, a very recent luxury, has stopped that, while leaving our teeth the same size.

  An example of the long faces that run in my family:
  By the time my twelve-year molars showed up (at sixteen. sigh.) at the same time as my wisdom teeth, there was no room left in my mouth, so they came in at the curve of my jaw, pointing down onto my other teeth. The wisdom teeth were impacted and couldn't come in at all, so all of my teeth started shifting out of alignment with the pressure. My brother has one tooth that came in at 90 degrees to the rest, and a baby tooth that couldn't fall out for years because it was jammed in so tightly with its neighbors.

  My father paid for extensive orthodontic and dental work for one of us, and it was me. At the time, I could not for the life of me imagine why, except that my teeth were the worst in the family. Why did I have to get braces? Why didn't we just take the teeth that didn't fit out? Why couldn't my teeth just stay crooked? I could chew fine.

  Furthermore, we couldn't actually afford it. My father made that exceedingly clear, because he always talked to me about his financial woes.  I didn't figure out until about a year ago that it's because I'm the female child.

  I don't think my father even consciously thought of it that way; growing up, there was never a point made of my sex or different treatment that I noticed. But there are little things my father offered that imply he realized, however unconsciously, long before I did, that being pretty counts for more when you're female. I was the one who got braces. He even offered to pay for microdermabrasion for my acne scars when I grew up. (Again, can't. afford. it! Crazy.)

  I think we're still very influenced by the idea that women, especially in families that aren't wealthy, marry up. You may have read in evolutionary psychology books like The Red Queen**, that sons are traditionally more valuable to rich families because they can produce more offspring than a daughter, while daughters in poor families have better chances than sons if they're attractive because being able to provide resources doesn't matter as much when you're a woman.

** No links in this post are sponsored, this is just one of my favorite books

  And of course as an adult, I realize one of the American middle class hallmarks is even, straight teeth. It's something so common around me that I never questioned it until I traveled abroad and realized other countries don't bother with it nearly so much. Japan even puts a value on the snaggletooth that you don't see here.

  So here I am, middle class, boosted up by my father in the hopes that I will do better, except the concept of "do better" is exceedingly vague. I don't know what I'm expected to do, except be good at college. Communication in my family is something of a weak point.

  Lately I've been contemplating privilege more, and of course, teeth. I think about how much money went into making me more attractive before I was old enough to realize what attractive was. I still wear my Hawley retainer at night, and I'm fascinated by those new Invisalign deals they have now. Ah, the memories of all the scar tissue in my mouth from braces! People now might not have to deal with that, which delights me.

Did any of you wear braces or headgear? What are other things you can think of that are markers of class?.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pinstripe Jumper

  I'm indoors studying for finals this week, so my outfits will continue to be casual for the next few posts.
Pinstripe dress: Gap (thrifted)
Purple shirt: Express (thrifted)
Belt: Kimchi Blue (thrifted)
Boots: ALDO (thrifted)
Necklace: Japan
  This thrifted pinstripe dress is really boxy on me. I need to take in all of the darts, but I also hate sewing, so I added a belt, layered up, and tried making the dress a jumper, instead. I'm loathe to give up the handy pockets!

  Now that I think of it, I should have layered the jumper over my jodhpurs to make this outfit more fun to say. And somehow added juniper. I need all the amusement I can get.
  ... help! I'm so bored, guys! The papers I'm reading for this class are so stuffed with technical jargon that I want to cry.

  Someone named a table "Comparison between Femora and Predicted Loading Angle from Static Free-body Analyses of Single Leg Stance and the Magnitude-weighted Average Load Direction from Density-based Load Estimation." I wanna predict loading angle of my bootheels after I finish my last final and blow this popsicle stand.

  If you have an interesting story or tidbit, please share. I will be forever grateful. :D

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cop Copine Mechanism

  Quick casual weekend outfit post while I'm taking a break from studying papers so boring they literally put me to sleep. Twice.
Top: Cop Copine (thrifted)
Vest: Last Kiss (cheap junior store, old)
Jeans: Levi's junior bootcut (thrifted)
Fedora: Stacy Adams (online, old)

  I styled my Cop Copine shirt again. Tried it with my Last Kiss faux leather vest for a more modern casual look.
Another closeup of the sleeve, since I can't get over how much I like 'em.

  In the top photo, I'm holding a piece of biltong in my hands. I was trying to bribe the large dog on the next balcony that was growling and barking at me. The owner shouted at him to stop, but I knew he just wanted to protect his pack. He wasn't interested in the meat, though! Have you had unexpected problems crop up while taking pictures of yourself?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cop Copine Out

  The weather's been gorgeous! Can't miss your 1/2 hour shooting window though, or you'll end up sort of red, like I am here.
Shirt: Cop Copine (thrifted)
Vest: Forever (thrifted)
Skirt: Ann Taylor (gift from Megan Mae)
Gloves: River Island
Pointelle tights: Hue (eBay)
Earrings: unknown, very old
Lightning boots: Naya (gift from Dad)

  Hope this isn't too similar to the last time I styled this skirt here. It lends itself perfectly to dark neutrals, okay? :D Since I am wearing my Naya boots that I wear in every other post, I am linking up to Citizen Rosebud's Shoe Glitterati.

  I really like this unique shirt by Cop Copine. It's got a knit body with a cowl neck, then button down fabric sleeves with slightly puffed shoulders, followed by cuffs and more knit fabric down at the wrists:
 There are even little cufflinks of buttons knotted together! ... well, one fake cufflinks. They were missing on the other side, so I made another pair out of the smallest round pearl buttons from my button box.
  I randomly found a missing vintage earring today, which is great! I found it while searching for my missing lipstick, which did not turn up. |= Soon I will have to issue a missing makeup report, because my pink eye shimmer is also missing, and it's simmering on the back burner of my mind, slowly driving me insane.

  This is perplexing me because I'm a reasonably clean person and I live in a tiny apartment. Too many things! Has anything you own gone missing lately? Does it ever turn up in the most obvious place, leaving you feeling asinine and/or infuriated? Does it also drive you to distraction when you can't find something?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pirate Life

  This is my second attempt at styling this foofy shirt. Today, I am a pirate:
I think my winter gloves really finish the look.
 Foofy shirt: Parsaman New York (thrifted)
Waistcoat: styles (thrifted)
Wool pants: Banana Republic (thrifted)
Boots: ALDO (thrifted)
Wool coat: S by Serle (thrifted)
Gloves: Target (available here)
  Well, maybe more like a navy captain, with this coat. Airship captain is more my thing, but I'll give this a try. :D If I had a coat with a a sweeping tail and swirly folds (technical term) going from front to back, it would look more piratey. This coat was a song at the thrift shop and is fully lined though, so you are hearing no complaints from me.

  I am going to link up to Patti's Visible Monday with this one. A suit like this feels pretty visible.
  I figured out I can go back to my everyday steampunk style if I put leggings and long sleeved undershirts under everything and if the weather cooperates. Hooray! I wore it to class, but no one shouted "Yarr!" at me. Oh well.

  Secret for when one's vest and trousers don't overlap: I folded and scotch-taped the bottom of the shirt up, since it was too short to tuck in.

  Do you have wardrobe quick-fixes? What are you layering up with this winter? Are you also a pirate?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Style or Die! challenge: miken moto cardigan

  First off, I have a guest post up over at Bethie the Boo's blog! She is celebrating the birth of her son and taking a well-deserved break, so I did a post on the virtues of maternity clothing even when you're not pregnant! (modeled by yours truly. :D)

  Ok, for this last challenge item folks, I am seriously up in the air.
Moto cardigan: miken (TJ Maxx, old)
Leather jacket: Karen Millen (old)
Jeans: 7 for all Mankind dojo cut (gift)
   I got this thing to layer under my Karen Millen jacket for added warmth during summer weather, back when I attended the windiest, foggiest campus on Earth.

  Thing with moto/biker cut things are, they usually can't be worn open, because they have that double flap and asymmetrical zip, so they hang funny. So I'd have to wear this as a shirt. And as a shirt, it is not very flattering to my waistline:
   The ruffles hide the waist indent, so the outside sees my large quads without context. Hah! Doesn't look too bad, it's a good plain item for everyday, but it doesn't look flattering, either. So I ask you folks to weigh in, if you have an opinion! Keep, or donate?

  Either way it falls, this has been a very useful challenge, though I am looking forward to putting together my wacky outfits with more freedom again. I'll have a post up in the next week or two with stuff I'm weeding from my closet. If you covet any item I'm getting rid of, let me know and I can try to divvy 'em up and send them out. Here's my idea:

  If you like the item I send you, you can donate a small sum to a charity or a person in need! This is totally voluntary, and if you are not in a financial place to do so, of course it's understandable not to. It's been a rough year for many of us! I'm doing this clothes thing because I'd like to send out a little cheer. :D

  All items that don't get claimed I'll donate to WEAVE in Sacramento when I next visit my family, which is a thrift shop for Women Escaping A Violent Environment. Services include help for LGBTQ persons, teens, military, mothers, and more.
  December sure came quickly! I've felt increasingly lucky and happy all fall and into winter. I gained all the weight I lost to stress back, my kidney is okay, and I have enough money to last out the few weeks of this semester until I graduate. I am finally, after 3.5 years, not stressing the hell out about money all of the time and it is such a relief. It eats so much of your energy, that sort of stress.

  In the new year I am moving back to my hometown to save money while I wait to hear from graduate schools, and maybe picking up a new part time job (or two. or three.) I haven't given much to charity since I've been running myself into the ground with school, so maybe I can look into that as well. :D

  I hope that you all are safe and warm this winter. Thank you all for reading; this blog has definitely been one of the highlights of my 2013!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Picnic

  On Sunday my friend threw a picnic in Golden Gate Park. It was 35 F.

  I realize that's balmy compared to where some of you are, but you probably weren't voluntarily hanging out on the ground for two hours, were you? Oh well. My role is not to ask, it is to make a batch of Hawai'ian fried chicken and go support him.

  Oh, and to dress warmly.
Violet undershirt hoodie: Blu Chic (thrifted)
Knit tunic: Threads (gift from Megan Mae)
Skirt: Hillard & Hanson (thrifted)
Sweater dress: Rhys Dwfen (thrifted)
Coat: S by Serle (thrifted)
Scarf: unknown (thrifted)

... very warmly.
Very similar to the look I shot my friend when I got there.
  I actually added a knit hat and some fingerless gloves before heading out the door, too.

  The asymmetrical sweater tunic deal is from Megan Mae! It's another one of those items I never would have picked out for myself and that I like better and better the longer I have it. It's a fantastic overlayer for my long sleeved shirts for winter. I put another asymmetric knit over it, the soft wool sweater dress by Rhys Dwfen:
  I don't know how interesting my outfits are right now. We're going into the coldest weather of the year in my area, and I am a delicate California strawberry. My outfits are me wearing as many things from my winter wardrobe as possible, all piled on top of one another. I'm trying to keep a little color in there, but mostly I'm trying not to look cranky all of the time (which is how I look when I am cold. :D)

  Does your style change with the weather?

  Speaking of interest, I thrifted this lavender Jones New York dress the other day. Love the color, am baffled by the shapeless tube-form! I already removed the unfortunate shoulder pads, else the dress wouldn't touch a single part of my body. Check this out:
It's a cassock!
  I think I have two main options here, but I wanted to see your preference or if you had any additional suggestions.
  The first is I could take the dress way in. I would likely do pretty dramatic princess seams in the front and back, then let the skirt back out to an A-line.
  The second: since this dress is a garment-and-a-half, with an opaque panel/half a dress under the front panels, I could remove the dress panel, open the false jacket in the front, and make this a decorative coat.

  Ideas, votes, and pointing and laughing are all welcomed. :D

  ... I confess half the reason I bought the dress was it smelled really clean and faintly of naphthalene, and it reminded me of my grandmother's house. The rest of the reason was it was $5 and I love the color. :D Do you ever buy things on emotional whims?