Outfit of the Day – Thrifted Florals

Thrifting for Floral Finds

I always consider thrift shopping a big treasure hunt. You never know what you are going to find, and sometimes you strike gold.

I fell in love with this wild, floral print maxi.

Outfit of the Day - Thrifting For Deals

Annnnd, it was only $1.

Thrifting always expands my style and keeps me on budget. Those are two things that I can definitely get behind.

I think this dress was only $1 because it is very unlike what people normally wear in DC. It isn’t that wild – it has a boho vibe, but is still very wearable. But, you don’t see too many people wearing large, bright prints here. That’s where experimentation and taking risks can make a big difference!

The necklace is actually a belt. I couldn’t resist the feathers, and it called to me after I put on the dress.

Do you thrift in order to stretch your style? Do tell.

Fashion Blogging: Instagram vs Reality

Outfit Photos Are All About Polish & Perfection, But What’s Really Going On?

I’ve recently started posting more outfit photos on Instagram and this site. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for years, but I felt way too shy. Plus, I was having technical problems with space and lighting. A couple of weeks ago I figured out a sorta-answer (my pics aren’t perfect) and decided to go for it. The result has been quite fun, and I see the posts as an outfit diary – an artistic project that centers on apparel.

Fashion Blogging: Instagram versus Reality

My outfit of the day! I’m wearing this as I type.

Then this week happened. It’s been difficult past few days.

I have nerve damage in my left leg. I’ve had it for years (more info about the source of the nerve damage is here), and have been on a daily regimen of medication. The pain is chronic, and the medicine lowers the pain level enough that I can function in my daily life. It’s a new normal, and I don’t see it as a hindrance or problem – it’s just the reality of my life.

A number of days ago I realized that I was running out of my medication. I have zero refills left on pills that make a difference between walking versus being in so much pain that walking is an impossibility. No problem – I’ve been going to the same neurologist for years, and I should be able to get a refill without complications, right?

Wrong.

My doctor is amazing, but getting through administrative red tape to request a refill of medication has turned into an ordeal. I’ve been working to try to get in touch with my doctor for days, and my phone calls / emails are not being answered. I’m watching the number of pills decrease. And, my panic is rising.

This morning I thought about taking an outfit photo and completely dismissed it. I’m not in a great mood, I’m scared, and I’m SO FREAKING FRUSTRATED with the GW hospital system. In short, I’m not my best self.

Then, I did some thinking about fashion blogging. I love fashion bloggers, I love outfit photos, I LOOOVE Instagram and watching women show off what they are wearing. On the surface fashion blogging might be dismissed as being self-involved, but I find it empowering and subversive. It’s freaking fantastic to watch body-positive women take those photos and say, “this is what I look like!” Rock it, girl!

But, fashion bloggers can give an impression that everything is always perfect. Pictures are photoshopped, put through filters, and curated. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. But, I do think that picture after gorgeous picture gives the false appearance of perfection. Fashion bloggers have imitated magazines in many ways by showing a world that is dazzling and continuously pulled together. But, sometimes life just isn’t that way. Sometimes it is difficult and sad and lonely. Sometimes life just throws a sucker punch. I have always wished people would show reality a little more.

Today it hit me – I can show that reality. So, here it is:

Fashion Bloggers: Instagram vs reality

These pics are much closer to my reality right now.

The picture on the left shows the Instagram version of my outfit.

The picture on the right shows the reality of how I’m feeling. I’m in pain. I’m frustrated. And, I am just angry and tired.

And, that’s what is really going on in this fashion blogger’s life right now.

I know my pill situation will be solved. I’m confident in it. Why? There is no other choice. I can’t function without the medication, so it will work out – even if I have to go and camp out at my doctor’s office. Right now, though, I think it is more important to talk about the reality of my life versus the curated, edited version. I want to show an outfit photo, even in the middle of my pain.

When I get the medication I will update this post.

**************

Update: Got the meds. It was a panic right up until the end, but I got them. Thank goodness! I received so many sweet messages in person, through social media, and via email. Thanks for all the kind words and support.

Fashion Quote

Overdressed / Overeducated 

Oscar Wilde Fashion Quote

 

Outfit of the Day – Hawaiian Skirt

Hawaiian Shirt? Try Hawaiian Skirt 

This skirt is thrifted, and I fell in love with the Hawaiian-style print. It is just a floral design, but it did inspire me to do some research on Hawaiian prints. (Thus proving, again, that fashion consultants are big dorks.)

Did you know Hawaiian shirts;

  • Are really called Aloha shirts
  • Are the #1 textile export of Hawaii
  • When they are manufactured for locals they are considered formal wear and are the equivalent of wearing a shirt, jacket, and tie

BAM! Knowledge.

Outfit of the Day - Hawaiian Shirt InspiredI like wearing printed skirts because it translates to an outfit in a streamlined way. Different colors can go on top, and wearing bright prints feels like being on vacation.

Isn’t it great when clothes make us feel like we are on vacation?

Outfit of the Day – Vintage Ungaro

Wearing Vintage 

I love wearing vintage apparel. This polka dot Ungaro sweater was such a find.

Outfit of the Day - Vintage UngaroThe inside of it is just as gorgeous as the outside. Vintage garments show care throughout the manufacturing process – it’s no wonder that so many of them are still wearable decades later.

Do you have a favorite piece of vintage clothing? Do tell.

How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne

The Post Where I Don’t Try to Sell You Anything – I Just Tell You About My Skin

I’ve had problems with acne since I was 10. It has been a constant battle and a major source of problems with self-confidence.

Specifically, I’ve had problems with cystic acne. If you don’t know about it you are one of the lucky ones! The best way to explain cystic acne is that it is a zit that grows under the skin. It forms under the surface and doesn’t come to a head. Therefore, you can’t pop it (that’s not advised anyway) and medication doesn’t get rid of it. (Trust me, I’ve tried everything.) It’s also very, very painful. When I was younger these types of bumps were embarrassing and irritating, but not especially uncomfortable. Over the years, though, the cysts have become more and more intense.

And, nothing made a difference. There wasn’t a rhyme or reason why these suckers would pop up. I would clean my skin constantly and it would STILL surface. I went to dermatologists and nothing made a difference.

In college I went on Accutane. If you’ve ever had acne, or went through your teen years after 1982, you are aware of the drug. It’s no walk in the park. It was difficult on my body, but it resulted in gorgeous, gorgeous skin.

For five years.

And then everything went back to how it was before Accutane.

I was not a happy camper.

Life went on this way for another decade. I would wake up in the morning to a whole new set of problems in the form of bumps. There was no explaining it and no combination of products that made a difference. The cysts always, always came back. And they hurt.

Last January I read an article on xoJane called, “I Gave Up Dairy and All I Got Was the Best Skin of My Life.” The author, Annie Tomlin, stumbled upon a possible connection between her acne and a specialty cheese she was consuming. She stopped eating dairy and her acne slowly started to heal.

The article convinced me to put a pause on eating dairy, I figured I would try it out for two weeks. If it didn’t work I would celebrate by eating a bunch of brie.

By the end of the second week my skin looked like this:

How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne

My skin looked so much better!

It. Was. Incredible.

I wish I had a “before” photo so you could do a bit of comparison, but I managed to get rid of most pictures that showcased my acne. I’m sure they exist, but I honestly can’t find one on hand.

The culprit the ENTIRE time was dairy products. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???! This answer was both bewildering and a total relief. Turns out my cystic acne wasn’t completely random. The more dairy I consumed, the more cystic acne appeared on my face. I just never put two and two together.

Now, there is a caveat to all of this. Getting rid of cystic acne doesn’t mean I’m completely without blemishes. I still get acne, but it’s not of the cystic variety. It’s more run-of-the-mill pimples, and it’s much, much easier to control, treat, and live with.

The Cheesy Problem

I’ve also discovered what different types of dairy do to my body. I can consume about 1 tablespoon of milk / creamer each day without huge consequences. Which means I can take a little cream in my coffee. (Although, my face does look healthier if I go completely without.)

Cheese is my #1 problem food, which was a huge bummer to discover. Who wants to go without cheese? Cheese makes everything better! I’ve learned that cystic acne will show up immediately after I eat any cheese.

About two months after I made this cheese / acne connection I decided to test it. I mean, what if it was all in my head? What if I made it all up? What if it was a coincidence? One night I decided to have a piece of pizza (which, of course, had cheese on it). Here’s what happened:

How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne

Not only did it give me acne, it showed up ALL over the top part of my chest. That had never, ever happened before. I’ve eaten cheese a few times since, and the results are the same. I get cystic acne on my face and this rash of painful pimples on the top part of my chest.

Isn’t that crazy?

I also quickly learned that cheese. is. on. everything. Everything. My apologies to the vegans out there because you have known this information for ages. (I’m sure you are reading this saying, “DUH, GIRL.”) Did you know that so many dishes come with cheese that sometimes they don’t mention it in restaurants? The menu will contain divine explanations of the food – and kinda forget that it also has parmesan on top. Or in it. Or both. Happens all of the time.

Other random things I’ve discovered:

  • I can ask for a dish to come without cheese, but there really is no controlling butter when you go out to eat. I just make the best choice I can and let the rest go.
  • Even powdered cheese makes a difference. Most snack foods contain cheese products. It’s powdered (think Cheetos, baked crackers, etc.) which makes people think it really isn’t cheese. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I know it contains enough of the stuff to make a difference with my skin.
  • If you have any interest in the connection between what we consume and our bodies I would encourage you to watch the documentary Fed Up. It is currently on Netflix and you can check out the movie’s website here. The film centers on sugar consumption, but it has some VERY interesting facts about the dairy industry, too. To sum up – there was a huge uptick in people drinking skim milk, so lots of curds were left over. Curds make cheese. So, the dairy industry started introducing cheese into products so we would consume the leftover curds. We suddenly became a country that consumes enormous amounts of cheese. I don’t know how much I buy into all of that – I’m taking it with a grain of salt. But, after you stop eating dairy you suddenly realize how hard it is to get away from it.

Conclusions

When it comes to consuming dairy I take it day by day. It’s not going to kill me if I eat it, it’s just going to show up on my body in the form of acne. Sometimes it is freaking worth it. Have you ever seen a dessert so delectable you wish you could live in it for a little while? Yup, me too.

The good thing about understanding the source is that I can make conscious decisions about what to consume. I feel much more in control. Washing my face and just living daily life is less painful. Thank goodness.

However, I don’t know if I’m technically dealing with a food allergy. Dermatologists state that cystic acne is caused by hormones or a hormone imbalance. And, guess what? Hormones in milk and other dairy products are being debated now more than ever before.

Thus, I’m not sure if this is a “my body is weird” problem or a “crazy ish is in our food,” problem. I honestly don’t know. All I know is that not eating dairy has made a huge difference with my skin.

I don’t have an agenda.  I’m not against the dairy industry or think it is out to trick us. This is just my personal experience. It LITERALLY took me decades to figure out the connection between food and my skin, and I want to share that knowledge. The discovery has had made a huge difference with regard to my daily happiness. The energy that was spent on dreading putting on makeup or looking into the mirror can go elsewhere. It’s a relief, and it feels good to focus on other things.

This is where I am in my skincare journey. If more discoveries are made I will certainly provide an update. But, this is where things are right now.

How about you? Have you ever had cystic acne? Did something else help you get rid of it? Have you ever stopped eating a particular food due to health reasons? Do tell!

 

 

Outfit of the Day – Mix & Match Graphic with Stripes

Unexpected Outfit Combinations 

I love this angel wing top. It’s made out of a cotton that is surprisingly delicate and soft.

I paired it with a striped skirt because it makes me happy. That’s it. There’s no particular fashion rule that I applied.

There is some outfit cohesiveness because the print of the wing is brown and the stripe in the skirt is a mocha color. Beyond that I paired it for the simple reason that I thought it was fun.

Outfit of the Day - Mixing Stripes and a Graphic T-ShirtFashion does have guidelines. But, the fun thing about style is that you make it your own.

Outfit of the Day - Angel Wing T-Shirt

Do you wear outfits that make you happy? Do you go by how your artistic eye is leading you in the morning? Do tell!

Outfit of the Day – Don’t Buy Multiples *And When To Break That Rule

The Grey Dress Story

I don’t believe in purchasing multiples. Meaning, I don’t think people should purchase an item of apparel in four different colors. Instead, I encourage clients to pick out the color or pattern he / she likes best and to buy only one. Why? If you purchase multiples on a regular basis it’s a quick way to build a wardrobe that will leave you saying, “I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.” It will have you standing at the edge of your closet confused, bored, an anxious when you have to get out the door.

Pick the one that you love and stick to that.

Buuuuut, sometimes it helps to break the rules.

Enter this grey dress.

Outfit of the Day - Grey DressI love this dress. It’s cool, feels like pajamas, looks pulled together, and it takes 10 seconds to put on. I also have it in lavender. It is the only piece of duplicate clothing that I own.*

I first purchased the lavender version on sale at Anthropologie. After trying it on I realized why it was on sale – it had zero hanger appeal. When it is on a hanger it looks complicated and confusing. In reality it only takes a few seconds to figure out what goes where and to put on properly.

A couple of years later I ran into this version – in grey – at a sale at Buffalo Exchange. It was being sold for $1. And, again, I knew why – it doesn’t look great on a hanger. This time I didn’t try it on. Instead I went straight to the counter and bought it for a buck.

Outfit of the Day - Grey Dress Close Up

Dress Close Up!

Two versions of the same dress works in this case because it solves multiple problems. I can wear it when I’m hot / feel lazy / don’t know what to put on / need to look dressed up / want to feel pretty. It hits multiple categories and can go to a variety of events.

If you are tempted to purchase multiples ask yourself a) if the item is a problem solver and b) if you can wear it to a variety of occasions. If so, it might be worth the splurge. Also, if you have a hard time finding a specific item because of sizing (pants, shoes, a button down top) and find a piece that fits perfectly you might want to buy multiples.

How about you? Are you a “buy it in every color” kind of person? Do tell!

(*With the exception of camisoles.)

Outfit of the Day – Tank Top + Skirt Combo

Or, How Lauryn Hill Taught Me to Mix Fancy With Casual 

One place where people get stuck with putting outfits together is that they think apparel items have to match specific occasions. Meaning, a dress will always be equated with a fancy occasion (or a business event). Or, a skirt means you have to be going somewhere special. (My automatic answer = your life is special enough of an occasion.)

Enter Lauryn Hill. The album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill exploded onto the scene in 1998. In 1999 she went to the Grammys and basically accepted every award possible. It was an awesome moment in music, and it also expanded my horizons sartorially. Why? Lauryn Hill came to the Grammys in a long skirt and a t-shirt. It stands out in red carpet history because it was so unexpected. She looked gorgeous, but not only that – she looked like herself. She was comfortable and radiant, and gosh darn it the look still holds up today.

I can’t tell you how many times I have suggested a t-shirt or tank top with a skirt and people have said, “You can do that?” The lesson: if Lauryn Hill can accept a Grammy in a t-shirt and skirt you can certainly wear that combo to a coffee meeting. Or a date. Or, to run around on a hot, summer day.

Outfit Combination: Tank Top Plus a SkirtIt’s the first time this season I’m putting this outfit combo together, and I can say that an ultra casual top plus a pattern skirt is still one of my faves.

Outfit Combination: Tank Top and SkirtA quick note about color: in these photos the skirt is coming off as green, but in person it is more of a deep turquoise. The pops of brick red make for an interesting color story (and, I will talk about color story on another day because it is one of my favorite topics). But, it’s a color combo that is deeper in hue than what I usually employ. I’m not 100% sold on it, but I do find it fun and curious. The larger point – never stop experimenting.

How about you? Do you create t-shirt + skirt ensembles? When was the last time you listened to Miseducation? Cause that album still holds up. It’s pretty incredible.

Outfit of the Day – Polka Dots & Lace

Mixing & Matching Different Fabrics

I might be on a bit of a polka dot kick. Today I opened my closet and this peachy polka dot skirt was the thing that made my heart sing. (And, yes, a wardrobe can make your heart sing! It’s not 100% necessary for living life, but it does make life easier and more fun!)

Fashion Mixing and Matching FabricsI wanted to build an outfit that was a) cool because it is starting to get WARM in DC and b) a bit unexpected. I love to mix and match different types of fabrics. This creamy top complements the skirt’s hue, but it has a different fabric texture that adds visual interest.

When I work with clients I often find that they want things to match perfectly. The colors have to be the same, or the pattern, or the accessories have to perfectly go with the ensemble. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! BUT, it can also limit the way you think of your wardrobe. Most people have many, many outfit combinations just sitting in their closets waiting to be discovered.

So, how do you make those discoveries? You experiment. You play around. You realize it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get things 100% correct. It’s just one outfit on one day! If it doesn’t work try something else tomorrow. If you are a little timid about mixing and matching try a new combination on a weekend. The risk is much lower, and you may find that your idea totally works. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. Change into some PJ’s when you get home and know that you tried something new. Easy peasy.

Do  you try out new combinations of clothes in your closet? Do tell.