Movie Review

Boyhood – Illustrated Movie Review 

This week I saw the movie Boyhood. Here’s my mini illustrated review:

Boyhood Illustrated Movie Review


It’s actually a very good flick, but you have to have some patience and a lot of time (165 minutes, to be exact) to let the story meander. Director Richard Linklater goes for the slow burn and has an amazing amount of dedication to allow a story to unfold. His Before Sunrise series is an unparalleled example of how he checks in with characters by waiting years between films.

Ultimately, it’s totally worth watching. But, if you are a type-A fidgety person like me you may want to rent it. (While I was in the theater I had to make my own intermission and go outside because I was so antsy!) Renting gives you the ability to get up and move around, while a theater experience will draw some serious side-eye if you get restless.



Summer of Fashion Documentaries!

Fashion Documentary – Masters of Style: Alexander McQueen

Welcome back to the Summer of Fashion Documentaries! This week we are watching Masters of Style: Alexander McQueen. (You can watch this documentary streaming here on hulu.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 5.41.02 PM

Here’s the setup: Alexander McQueen = genius designer. This documentary is a collage of commentary from fashion mavens, footage of old runway shows, and an interview with a dressed-down McQueen in a park.

As best as I can tell the documentary was released around 2001. (I couldn’t find a release date when researching the film, but at the end of the documentary it states that McQueen left Givenchy right after they finished production. That happened in 2001.)

McQueen took his own life in 2010, and going back to this point of his career while knowing the devastating ending is a hard juxtaposition.

“Fashion can start to take an active political role rather than an implied political role. Rather than be a reflection of power it can be a vehicle of change. I think Lee (McQueen) helped open that up.” – Nick Knight

Watch this Documentary 

If you are interested in McQueen’s influence on fashion. This film pops in on him mid-career. (When I say mid-career, he was 32 at the time of filming. But, to put things in perspective, he had already been working in the fashion world for 16 years at that point.) It’s a bizarre – and fascinating – time to hear him talk about his career. He had reached a level of fame that clearly identified him as a design superstar, but there wasn’t enough perspective yet to understand his gravitas within his own industry.

Also, to hear McQueen talk about his struggles for acceptance in a world that wasn’t quite ready for his work is chilling. The collections that caused so much controversy can now clearly be seen, over 13 years later, as brilliant.

Skip this Documentary

If you don’t want to come in mid-stream on a designer’s life. This documentary can be a doozy for fans of McQueen’s work. It’s hard to see footage of the man himself and hear him talk about his professional struggles while understanding the epilogue of the story. It’s also difficult to come to grips with the idea that the world lost a talent so early on his career. McQueen’s imagination was staggering. (Did you know in 2001 he was coming out with 12 collections a year?! Half for his own House and half as a designer for Givenchy.)

Can You Watch This While Doing Other Stuff?

You could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a joy to see so many iconic pieces of his collection back to back.

Alexander McQueen quote

The Nuances

McQueen’s interview obviously happened in one sitting over a short period of time. He talked with a  reporter while walking, smoking, and sitting in a park. There are some odd moments when the reporter tries to explain McQueen’s work to him, but McQueen won’t take the bait. It’s not confrontational, it’s just McQueen being honest in the moment and answering the questions in an authentic way. This particular exchange was quite telling:

Journalist: “You’re looking for beauty….”

McQueen: “Maybe I’m just looking for acceptance. From myself. Sometimes I’m not very proud of what I do myself.”

There is a level of vulnerability and down-to-earth practicality that makes McQueen relatable even through his own genius. But, mostly, what the viewer is left with is a sense that McQueen was truly an artist.

“I’m not some fashion type. I don’t really fit in with that clique or fashion people.” – Alexander McQueen

Running Time: 48 minutes (released 2001)

You can watch our next documentary, Mademoiselle C, streaming on Netflix.

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DIY Anthropologie-Inspired Denim Vest

DIY Lace & Denim Vest!

Earlier this summer I went to Anthropologie and noticed a denim vest with lace on the back. I thought it was sooooo cute, but didn’t want to pay $118 for it. Especially when I was eager to make the vest myself! I was curious to see if I could produce a version of the idea that was tweaked to my personal style.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest

Anthro’s Vest on the Left, My Version on the Right

This project was so. much. fun. Here’s how it was done!

Anthropologie Inspired Lace Denim Vest DIY

First, I needed the basics – a good base for the vest and some lace!

I went to the thrift store and found a denim jacket and a lace dress.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Jacket

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Lace Dress

The jacket was $4 and the dress was $2. Even better – I think the jacket was brand new because it still had extra buttons attached!

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Buttons

As a side note – the dress looks pretty in this picture, but it was stained and falling apart. It was the perfect piece to recycle into something new. Also, I made sure to wash both pieces before getting started.

Next, I took the sleeves off of the jacket to turn it into a vest. Have you ever cut into jean? It is so satisfying!

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Close Up

I made sure to cut it right before the stitching for the arm. That way the whole thing wouldn’t unravel! I am completely fine with it looking a bit frayed before the hem – I actually prefer this look because it gives it a bit of character.

Next thing was to get the lace prepped!

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Cut Lining

I cut the lace away from the lining so I would have a large piece to work with.

Then, I cut a square out of the back of the denim vest.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Square Cut Out

I decided to have the piece of lace entirely on the outside of the jacket (rather than just sew it on the inside and have it peek through the square). One reason I was drawn to the Anthropologie vest was because of the texture outside of the denim.

Here’s where I made a mistake, though. I did a simple stitch on the inside of the jacket to tack the lace in place. BUT, I did stitching that was even all along the inside. So, it looked like this:

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Incorrect Stitching

When I turned it around, though, the stitching went through the roses and didn’t look so great.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Incorrect Stitching Front

So, I pulled all the stitching out and tried again. I learned that when the stitching went through the netting versus the actual roses the final product looked a lot cleaner.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Stitching From Inside

I flipped the vest to the outside and cut the lace so I would keep some of the roses.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest  - Stitching from the Outside

Finally, I cleaned around the edges a bit. Then, I placed 1 small stitch in the 2 bottom / side / top roses. This was to keep all of the lace in place.

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Finishing

Here is the final product!

From the front -

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Pic Front

And, from the back:

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Back

Anthropologie Inspired DIY Lace Denim Vest - Back 2

I loved, loved, loved this project. It took me a couple of hours (mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing and was making it up as I went along). But, now that I have a process, I could probably knock it out in about 45 minutes.

If you have any sewing skills whatsoever I bet you could figure out a more sophisticated way of making this vest! My sewing skills are enough to string things together, but that’s about it! If you know of a way to improve upon this idea, please feel free to comment below!

 This project would be great for a tween / teen, too. If you have one in your life and would like to do something artsy-craftsy this would be a fun activity to work on together.

This vest was originally $118 (as of today, it’s on sale for $60), but I made it for $6. Totally worth it!

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What a Fashion Photoshoot REALLY Looks Like

Behind the Scenes at the Beltway Vintage Fall Lookbook

This week I styled the Beltway Vintage Fall 2014 lookbook. I always love working with Beltway Vintage because the model / photographer / artistic director / stylist team is so solid. Everyone is easy-going, fun, and works toward a singular vision.

I wanted to show you a bit behind the scenes of a fashion shoot.

Beltway Vintage Fall Lookbook 2014

In this pic I’m putting shoes on our model, Nicole. I specifically wanted to show you the back of the dress. See all of those clips? I pulled the dress so it would fit the model correctly. This happens at all apparel photoshoots. Models are pinned, clipped, and sometimes sewn into clothes.

Clothing in real life is supposed to move and work with your body. Clothing on a model is supposed to fit precisely and showcase the design. The clothes sometimes fit the people who are modeling, sometimes not. So, I come in as the stylist and help with fit and keep an eye out on the line of the clothing. I make sure that the models look great and the clothes stay pristine.

It’s not glamorous. It’s a lot of hauling things around, steaming clothes, and jumping in during the photography process to make sure the clothing and the models look killer.

Again, it’s not glamorous. But, it is a lot of fun!

Here’s a quick video of the shoot:

And, a few photos:

 Beltway Vintage Fall 2014

Beltway Vintage Fall 2014

Beltway Vintage Fall 2014

The big thing I want you to know -

don’t compare yourself to models in magazines. Yup, they might look fantastic. But, they have a team working behind the scenes to make SURE they look fantastic. Chances are that they don’t fit into the clothes, either. The zippers might not be zipped or they might be sewn into an outfit. Or, there might be a stylist that jumps into the frame before the picture to rearrange things to make sure the clothes are falling correctly. The clothes might be woooonderful (like in this case!). But, all people fit into clothes differently. Even at a photoshoot. Even with models.

Summer of Fashion Documentaries!

Fashion Documentary – Mansome 

Welcome back to the Summer of Fashion Documentaries! This week we are looking at Mansome. (You can find this documentary streaming on Netflix.)

Mansome Movie Poster

Okay, so this isn’t technically a fashion documentary. However, I was very interested in a film that addressed the beauty industry from a male point of view.

Watch this Documentary 

If you are interested in learning about the history of men’s beards. Mansome asks some very interesting questions including, “what does masculinity look like?” “what does being a man today mean?” and, “can you tell a person’s character from they way they look?” yet, doesn’t delve into the answers. Or even too far into the questions. It does spend about 80% of the film talking about beards, though, and includes a lengthy interview with competitive beardsman, Jack Passion. (Yeah, there are people who grow beards competitively.)

Also included are interviews with some A-game gents including Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, Adam Carolla, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Zach Galifianakis. Yet, director / writer Morgan Spurlock doesn’t really do anything with these top names. I had a similar feeling regarding the Halston documentary – you have all of these solid people who agreed to be a part of the film – USE THEM. Yet, interviews are campy and don’t delve too far into real commentary.

Skip this Documentary 

If you have anything else to do.

Can You Watch This While Doing Other Stuff? 


There are a handful of fun / interesting moments – Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis are hilarious every time they are on camera. Jack Passion punches someone who dares to grab his beard (which is at the heart of his identity). And, questions posed regarding masculinity are extremely intriguing. This film just falls short of becoming anything more than vignettes about body hair.

Running Time: 82 minutes (released 2012)

You can find our next documentary,Masters of Style Alexander McQueen on hulu.

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DIY Dress Revamp

Transforming an Old Dress Into Something New

I’ve always loved clothing revamps.

So, when I noticed that this dress was on its last legs I thought it would be the perfect piece to transform!

DIY Dress Revamp

This maxi dress has always reminded me of Neapolitan ice cream!

DIY Dress Revamp

Before picture!

As an added bonus it’s layered. It flows, but has a tighter body piece underneath which makes sure everything stays covered.

The major issue with the dress was pilling, especially toward the bottom.

DIY Dress Revamp

The first thing that I did was cut the body piece off of the dress.

DIY Dress Revamp


DIY Dress Revamp

This is actually my favorite thing to come out of the dress. It’s like having a slip, but a slip that fits very well and is extremely soft!

DIY Dress Revamp

This is NOT the normal way I will wear this slip!

It goes perfectly under this breezy pink dress as an added layer.

DIY Dress Revamp

This IS how I would wear the slip!

The slip also can act as a long tank.

DIY Dress Revamp

Again, it’s soooo comfy cozy. This might be my new favorite tank. (Or slip.)

I also wanted to do something with the rest of the dress. So, I cut it up into different pieces. The first piece was long enough to become a nightshirt.

DIY Dress Revamp

The bottom of the dress had a LOT of extra fabric.

DIY Dress Revamp

I decided to turn the extra fabric into necklaces. This post by Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth served as an inspiration. Her post was about creating a scarf; I was more interested in long and layered necklaces.

I cut the fabric into long strips…

DIY Dress Revamp

…then gathered two of the strips that were similar in color (navy & mint). I wrapped them around my neck twice. Notice the gold / bronze thing on both sides of the necklace? It’s actually electrical wire. I purchased a couple of inches of it at the hardware store for $.79. No special tools needed! I just cut the electrical wire with a regular pair of scissors. The wire held its shape as it was wrapped around the cloth.

DIY Dress Revamp

While I was at the hardware store I also picked up 3 washers for a total of $.48.  I wanted the second necklace to be a bit funky and thought it would be cool to wrap the fabric around the washers.

DIY Dress Revamp Washer

Here’s the wrapping part:

DIY Dress Revamp

DIY Dress Revamp

Just like the electric wire necklace, I took two strips of the same color and put them together (this time it was pink and mint), and layered them with my covered washers.

DIY Dress Revamp

The final product looks really funky and cool.

DIY Dress Revamp

That’s it! Out of 1 dress came:

-A slip

-A tank top

-A nightshirt

-2 Necklaces

Such fun! Do you own anything that can be created into something else? Do tell!

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Summer of Fashion Documentaries!

Fashion Documentary – Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston 

Welcome back to the Summer of Fashion Documentaries! This week we are looking at Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston. (You can find this documentary streaming on Netflix.)

Ultrasuede In Search of Halston Movie Poster

Ultrasuede Movie Poster

Roy Halston Frowick was THE fashion designer that defined the 1970′s in America. His approach to fashion was based on minimalism with a strict eye toward line, yet his dresses absolutely dazzled. He was embraced by Europe and was one of the first designers to embark upon multi-tiered licensing deals. He started out as a milliner, and is perhaps best known for Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat.

Watch This Documentary 

If you want to watch a train wreck. Writer / producer / director  / legend-in-his-own-mind Whitney Smith somehow makes himself the center of a film supposedly dedicated to the life and work of Halston.

Wait. Have you not heard of Whitney Smith? Yeah, me either. I did some research and found out that he is now a cast member and executive producer on the Bravo TV show Southern Charm.

Smith did spend a lot of time changing outfits and riding around in his muscle car. What he did not do was a ton of research. Here’s a play by play of a conversation he had with Andre Leon Talley (former editor-at-large for Vogue magazine) when Talley was talking about Halston:

Smith: “Sorry to interrupt, but Diana Vreeland. Who was she, exactly?”

Talley: “I’m going to talk about Halston, and not the fashion of Diana Vreeland. I don’t want to do fashion history. It’s been talked about. Don’t interrupt.”

OOOOOOhhhh, dang.

(The blog post I did on Diana Vreeland’s documentary can be found here if you want to learn more about her. The quick version – she was a hugely influential person in the fashion world and worked for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and turned the Costume Institute into the triumph it is today.)

Skip this Documentary 

If you can’t handle an ego-driven, masturbatory piece of filmmaking.

The Nuances

If Smith could get out of his own way he would actually have a decent documentary on his hands. He lands interviews with some impressive people (Anjelica Huston, Billy Joel, Naeem Khan, Liza Minnelli, Ralph Rucci, Diane von Furstenberg, etc.). But, the majority of his interviews turn out to be painfully awkward due to lack of basic fashion knowledge and social skills.

Side note: The fact that I’ve talked so much about the filmmaker versus Halston drives me nuts.

One thing that I will give Smith – the archival footage within the documentary is fantastic. There are old interviews with Halston, pictures of the 1970′s that give context to Halston’s New York City, and gorgeous clips from runway shows.

Can You Watch This While Doing Other Stuff?

This is a really hard film to get through, period. I had to chop it up into viewing sessions out of pure exasperation. But, if you get a kick out of the documentary-turned-hilarious-disaster genre, go for it. It’s like an early episode of The Office. Except with designer interviews. And, it’s nonfiction.

Running Time: 85 minutes (released 2010)

You can find our next documentary, Mansome, streaming on Netflix.

Thrifted Find!

Thrift Store Love 

I had to share my latest thrift store find!

Thrifted Tulle Dress

I’m a sucker for anything tulle, so I was VERY excited to find this dress at my local thrift store. Tulle can be a difficult material when it comes to consigning / thrifting because it can be torn so easily. Finding tulle in good shape is a victory within itself! (If you are considering buying a piece that has tulle make sure to look for holes, tears, or gaps. The fullness of the material can hide problem areas.)

I also like that this is a short skirt with a tulle overlay. That means that the dress has a lot of movement and isn’t confining.

It did come with a small imperfection. A thread is caught between the backing and the top sequins:

Thrifted Tulle Dress Top

It’s so small that it can be difficult to spot. I might try to fix it. Or, I might just be lazy and leave it alone!

The best part? This dress cost me $4. Have I told you HOW much I love thrifting?

So, the question that I know will come up, “Where are you going to wear it?”  The answer – I don’t know. But, I do know that I will be ready when the occasion happens!

Have you had any recent thrifted finds lately? Do tell!

DIY Outline Nails

Nail Art for People Who Aren’t Talented Enough to Do Nail Art 

I’m not exactly a beauty person.

Fashion – fashion I know.

But, beauty is its own animal. I like playing around, but I’m totally in awe of makeup artists. They can do everything from bringing out someone’s natural beauty to completely transforming a face.

They are magicians with brushes.

But, I do like to play around even if it isn’t my forte. The other day I tried outline nails!

DIY Outline Nails

Confession: I don’t remember if I made this up or if I saw it somewhere and it’s been hanging out in the back of my head. (If I need to give anyone credit, please feel free to leave a message and I will be happy to do so!!)

Outline nails turned out to be such a fun approach to my nail routine. This project is great for people who want to do something special but don’t have mad skills when it comes to painting detailed nail art.

Let’s get to the process.

1. Gather nail polish materials.

DIY Outline Nail Polish Art Products

I  got out the usual suspects (nail file, cotton balls, polish remover), Essie polish in Miss Fancy Pants, and Sally Hansen’s Nail Art Pen in black / noir.

2. Paint nails as usual.

DIY Outline Nails

I seriously love this color.

3. Outline Those Nails! 

DIY Outline Nails

The good thing about outlining versus other nail art design is that you get to follow the natural shape of your nail.

Here’s the big thing I learned: don’t worry if it’s not perfect. The end result as a whole is bigger than each individual nail. That is why this is a great project for people who want to do nail art but don’t really have the desire to create designs that are intricate. This is about as detailed as I get with this art form!

Side Notes: 

Definitely do a top coat. If not, the black nail art pen will rub off.

Do this while watching a long movie! You have to wait between steps to allow your nails to dry, otherwise things get messed up. Next time I do a binge round of Netflix I’m going to do this again. (I’m way behind on Orange is the New Black. Perhaps while watching that?)

If you are using a black pen it pops if the base polish is a light color. My guess is the opposite is true – a dark polish would work with a bright nail art pen. (A navy base coat and with a white outline? That’s my first thought!)

Has anyone tried outlining before? Do tell!

Summer of Fashion Documentaries!

Fashion Documentary – Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s 

Welcome back to the Summer of Fashion Documentaries! This week we are looking at Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s. (You can find this documentary streaming on Netflix.)

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's Movie Poster

Movie Poster!

The documentary is a history of the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. The store opened in 1928 and has been an institution on 5th avenue in New York City ever since. The film covers different aspects of the store including styling, the connection between designers and fame, visual merchandising, and the architecture of the building.

Watch this Documentary 

If you are a visual merchandiser, stylist, personal shopper, or are in retail. It will be interesting and exciting to you (especially when it comes to those famous windows!).

Skip this Documentary

If you are NOT a visual merchandiser, stylist, personal shopper, or are in retail. It will frustrate and bore you. You will think it is a long-form commercial for Bergdorf Goodman’s.

Joan Rivers Fashion Quote

The Nuances 

I knew that Bergdorf Goodman housed the world’s most luxurious brands, but I didn’t know of its deep connection with designer development. (For example, Halston made hats in one of the workrooms while he had a boutique on the main floor.) Even today Bergdorf’s has a reputation of launching and mentoring its favorite designers and can act as a connection between an artist and the general public.

One of the standouts of the movie is Fashion Director Linda Fargo. She decides what the store carries, and thus could be a very intimidating presence for potential designers. Instead, Fargo comes across as approachable, warm, and extremely smart.

Can You Watch This While Doing Other Stuff? 

Potentially. If you are someone who wants to get straight-from-the-horse’s mouth talk from famous designers stay glued to your television screen. Interviews are impressive, but they are also very short. So, hang out if you want to concentrate on what everyone is saying (and wearing!).

If you want to get a general idea of how BG’s launched famous designers go ahead and turn it on while you are doing chores around the house.

Small Side Notes

Keep an eye out for Bill Cunningham! We watched his documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, two weeks ago, and he makes 2 quick appearances in this film. If you blink you might miss him!

Also, did you know that the guy who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a window dresser? L. Frank Baum launched a trade journal called The Show Window: A Journal of Practical Window Trimming for the Merchant and the Professional in 1897. The documentary quotes him as follows:

Arouse in the observer the cupidity and longing to possess the goods…to marvel at the beauty of the display.

Running Time: 93 minutes (released 2013)

You can find our next film, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, streaming on Netflix.