- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Id0FrFe2.dpuf Hell or High Fashion: November 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Comfy Cozy

Jacket, vintage.  Dress, Marc by Marc Jacobs.  Clutch, F21.  Boots, Joie.
There is a common misconception that fashion = pain.  This feeling is justified in some cases; high heels generally aren't the most comfortable things, and the torture devices known as Spanx have become a necessity due to the popularity of bodycon dressing.  But fashion doesn't have to hurt! 

It's so easy to slip into sweats and a tee-shirt on days off, but I knew I could find an outfit that was comfortable, cozy, AND chic to wear on my day off this week.  Enter the tent dress!

I found this Marc by Marc Jacobs dress at Wasteland a long time ago.  I almost didn't bother trying it on- even though I loved it, this dress is a size XS (which I definitely am not). I convinced myself that it could work anyway, and I was so happy that it did!  

 The dress has two layers: a plain black slipdress topped with a lacey purple overlay.  This doubled-up feature creates a lot of texture, so the piece looks styled even though I just threw it on.  Just as comfy as sweats!

While I find a swingy tent dress to be comfy, I don't necessarily think this style flatters my body.  To balance out the volume of my dress, I chose a boxy vintage jacket.  The bottom of the jacket skims the top of my hips, creating a slimmer shape amidst the billowy layers.  To top it off, the fur collar kept me cozy and warm while I was running errands! 

I love that the jacket added two more textures to the look:  I mixed silk, lace, fur, and a woven fabric.  To throw a few more into the mix, I added over-the-knee leather boots and a faux leather/suede clutch.  Texture is an oft overlooked way of adding intrigue to an outfit.  As an example,  you could be wearing head-to-toe black but if you've mixed monochrome leather, lace, and denim your look is on a whole other level!

Here's an up-close look at my texture details:

Fashion Tips from "Comfy Cozy":

1.  Challenge yourself to find comfortable ways of dressing that still feel fashionable.  When you feel good, you get more done- it's a fact! 

2.  If you're shopping and you find something you love, try it on!  Even if your mind tells you that it's the wrong size or it won't be flattering, you really never know until you try.  You could be pleasantly surprised!

3.  A boxy jacket streamlines your figure.  Wear one over a flouncy dress to temper a volumionous skirt, or even over jeans and a tee to balance out wide hips.   

4. Spice up your look by playing with texture:  a silk cami under a leather jacket, a tweed blazer over a denim buttondown, etc.  The unexpected mix is just plain cool!

Here's to being creatively comfy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Doing It Bright

Dress and Shoes, Zara.  Necklace, F21 (customized).  Belt, Vintage.

In high school I wore bright colors exclusively.  I had an obsession with standing out from the crowd, and in my mind black and white were boring and conventional.  The annual choir concert required me to wear a plain white shirt and black slacks for one night a year, and I always fought hard against the dress code.  I'd add a fuchsia flower or a neon necklace to my drab getup to customize it to my tastes.  My, how things have changed!  These days, I hardly ever step out of my black and white comfort zone, and blogging my outfits has made me realize I've been stuck in a serious color rut!

This blue dress from Zara is so basic that it can be styled a million different ways.  Today I wanted to challenge myself to mix and match lots of bright colors, so I picked out my brightest orange belt and a necklace to match.

I love the fit-and-flare cut of this dress; it's great for accentuating curves or even creating curves!  "Fit and flare" cuts are tight throughout the chest and waist, then flare out over the hips.  For curvy girls, this cut shows off your natural hourglass shape in the most flattering way.  Even if your figure is straight up-and-down, this style will carve out a small waistline and add a gentle curve to the hips.  Va-va-voom!

To accentuate my waistline even more, I added a bright orange belt with a delicate gold bow detail.   I framed my face with a colorful necklace that I customized myself!

This bauble used to be a bland grey color.  One day, out of boredom, I decided to take colorful nail polish to the silver crystals and this is what happened!  I absolutely love the result, and it was so easy to do. 

I finished off the look with nude pumps.  Since there are so many colors in this look, any other kind of shoe would have been distracting.  I even thought my regular red lip would take away from the impact of these brights, so I decided to wear an electric pink lipstick that paired back to the pink in my necklace. 

Fashion Tips from "Doing It Bright":

1. Don't be afraid to mix colors.  Just make sure that the colors you are playing with are in the same family: all pastels, all neons, etc.  Pick 2 or 3 hues to focus on and you can't go wrong! 

2.  A "fit and flare" dress is flattering on every body type.  Look for a dress with a waistline that falls in line with the smallest part of your torso.  My natural waist is about 2 inches below where my belt hits, but wearing a belt at your smallest point (rather than your real waistline) creates a whole new, tinier figure!

3.  Get creative!  Buy cheapo clothes and jewelry at thrift stores and see what you can do to make them your own.  If it doesn't work out, oh well- you only spent a couple bucks on it in the first place.

After my last post, someone wrote to me with a question about how to wear a pair of wide-leg pants.  I'll be posting on this soon!  I love getting questions like that- one of the reasons I blog is to inspire people to find their own sense of style- so keep 'em coming!  What should I write about next?  Feel free to comment on the blog with your style questions, or find me on Facebook or Twitter (see sidebar to your right) and ask!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Punk Rock Princess

Vest, H&M.  Top, Urban Outfitters.  Skirt, Tracy Reese.  Shoes, H&M.

Today's outfit is piggy-backing off of last week's Bohemian Rhapsody post, and messing with the  girly + tough formula that I'm constantly testing, tweaking, and perfecting.   My good friend Natalie and I have been talking about how to incorporate tutus into our everyday life, and luckily I had a tutu in my closet to play around with!  I think the trick to wearing a tutu out and about is finding ways to make it casual, a la Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex and the City opening credits.  She pairs hers with a men's Hanes tank top- how genius!

I found my own fashion inspiration for this look when I stumbled upon this picture on Pinterest:

I LOVED how this fashionista paired her tutu with a casual top and a tough leather jacket, and my mind immediately started racing with ideas of how to create a look like this with my own Tracy Reese skirt. 

When you come across an outfit, picture, or print that inspires you, decide what you love about the look.  Is it the colors, the proportions, the actual piece of clothing, or the overall feel of the outfit?  I made a mental checklist of what I liked about this picture: 

1.  The tulle + leather combo
2.  The "statement" piece of jewelry to top off an otherwise simple outfit
3.  The casual vibe

While this Pinterest look was a little preppy, I wanted to go punky so instead of stripes, I added a rock tee.  The leather jacket was a little too heavy for the LA sunshine, I so threw on my trusty leather vest.  In lieu of a statement necklace, I added a stack of bangles and my favorite Alexis Bittar ring.  These AMAZING metallic cap-toe pumps were the perfect finishing touch- the shape is so elegant and ladylike but the metal/black combo is so edgy.  And they were only $30- a must have!!  Blue fingernails and a red lip served as pops of color for my usual black-on-white color scheme. 

Bracelets from top-bottom:  Bedstu, Amrita Singh, F21.  Ring, Alexis Bittar.

Today's tips are going to focus on how to make your own fashion statment based on someone else's look.

Fashion Tips from "Punk Rock Princess":

1.  It's OK to "copy" someone else's sartorial ideas, just make sure you find ways to make them your own.  Personalizing makes all the difference!

2.  Decide what you like about a look and think of creative ways to use your own wardrobe to the same effect.   For example: if you liked the proportions of the poufy skirt with a tucked-in top, focus on finding those shapes in your closet.  A high-waisted pair of jeans with a cropped top would actually create that same hourglass shape!

3.  Make a habit of skimming throgh fashion magazines, clicking through Pinterest, or making mental notes on street style you come across.  You never know where your next outfit inspiration will come from (maybe even from Hell or High Fashion?!)!

Here are links to some of my favorite places to hunt for high fashion ideas:

Friday, November 9, 2012

American Girl

I'm a girl who loves to play dress up. I will take any chance that I get to put a little more pizzazz into my outfits, and prime time for this kind of dressing- the winter holidays- is finally here! I'm already dreaming up my seasonally appropriate Thanksgiving outfits and even contemplating how I'll inject the Christmas spirit into my look come December. However, dressing up for the holidays comes with a big challenge: walking the fine line between "holiday cheer" and "walking greeting card". I took this idea for a test run on Election Day!

Jeans, Kill City.  Tank, Principessa.  Shoes, H&M.  Jewelry, Alexis Bittar.

I was so excited to get out and vote on Tuesday!  I mailed in an absentee ballot for the last presidential election, so this was my first time going to a polling place, waiting in line, and marking my ballot in-person.  I wanted the whole world to share in my patriotic excitement, so I put together an all-American outfit to carry me through the day.

The trick to spreading holiday cheer while still looking fashion-forward is picking one "holiday" aspect (color, print, etc) and sticking to it.  For my election day outfit, I shied away from the typical red-white-and-blue theme and focused on a black and grey palate.  Since my outfit had little-to-no color in it, I could mix these AMAZING American Flag printed jeans with a printed tank, no problem!

I think these Kill City jeans are one of the coolest things I own.  You may have seen them already- Wiz Khalifa and Billie Joe Armstrong both have them as well! (Confession: I am wearing men's jeans.)  They bring a grunge vibe to American pride- such a cool combo.

The eagle printed "Freedom" tank was an impulse buy a few weeks ago.  It reminds me of my dad, the most All-American, patriotic guy I know, and his crazy eagle tattoo.  Shout out to Papa Hector!  The slouchy, cozy fit really makes the tank a fashion-forward piece- had this print been on a plain old tee-shirt, I don't think I would've bought it.  Exaggerated armholes and a loose knitted fabric bring a level of design to the look that you just don't get from a standard tee.

The jeans-and-tank combo was a little inappropriate for my workplace, so I made sure to bring a blazer with me.

Blazer, vintage.

A neutral colored blazer tied in nicely with the muted colors of the tank and added a level of professionalism.  I love this particular blazer because it's a "shrunken fit"- meaning it fits a little bit tighter than your traditional suit jacket.  A shrunken blazer is cool instead of stuffy, and adds sophistication to pretty much anything. 

I finished the look off with gunmetal fringe earrings and stack of Alexis Bittar bangles, and of course my signature swipe of red lipstck.  But the best accessory of the day was my "I Voted" sticker!

Fashion Tips from "American Girl":

1.  When dressing for the holidays, don't go overboard.  One color or print will do the trick!  For example, wearing either red OR green (instead of a combo of both) on Christmas will keep you looking chic.

2.  Look for a neutral blazer with a shrunken fit to throw on top of little tanks and dresses.  Voila!  Office-appropriate apparel that's still fashion-forward.

4.  A slouchy tank is a great alternative to a tee-shirt.  If you're a girl (or guy) who sticks mostly to a jeans-and-tee wardrobe, mix it up a bit with a stylized tank every once in a while.  It's just as easy to wear and 10x cooler!

3.  Shop outside the box.  One of my favorite pieces of clothing in the world came from the men's section!  Don't be afraid to take a gander into menswear stores, or even the kid section.  A little girl's XXL jacket could turn out to be your favorite shrunken blazer!!

Stay tuned for my next post, where I take on a tutu!  Also, follow me on Instagram (@jdefino) for more outfit snippets throughout the week.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Pants, jacket, and bag; F21.  Tank, H&M.  Shoes, Prada.

If you are a regular Hell or High Fashion reader, you may remember that I did a post about these striped pants not too long ago (click here to refresh your memory).  If you're a very devoted reader, you might remember my blog post from over a year ago featuring my 8th grade cheerleading varsity jacket (click here for that very old, very embarrassing post).  I'd say my style has evolved quite a bit since then!   Today, I wanted to feature my updated take on striped pants and varsity jackets.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: I love printed pants!  They have all the ease of a great pair of jeans, but add something special to even the most basic outfit.  I've been struggling with coming up with new ways to wear this particular pair, since I don't own a lot of navy or green clothing to match these jeans and I'm (dare I say it!)  getting a little sick of black.  Enter the most versatile color of the season: maroon! (Fashion tip: referring to maroon as 'oxblood' earns you major high-fashion points.)

I wore this same maroon tank in my last post- I just can't get enough of it!  This color manages to be neutral without being boring, and it somehow seems to match absolutely everything while still adding contrast to any look.  Love it! 

This shrunken varsity jacket is going to be my go-to topper when the LA weather turns chilly.  It doesn't sacrifice fashion for the sake of warmth, which is the mark of a good coat in my book.  My Prada pumps from a few season ago matched perfectly and added a girlish charm to what could've been a pretty androgynous look. 

Lately, I've been all about the accessories so I slipped on my high school class ring to compliment the varsity jacket.  The ribbing on my vintage watch mimicked the stripes on my pants, too- it's the littlest details that make the look!

I want Hell or High Fashion to be a blog that inspires people to cultivate their individual style, so I'm going to start doing a recap at the end of each post of the fashion lessons I'm putting into practice.  I'm excited to try out this new section!  Let me know what you think.

Fashion Tips from "Marooned":

1.  Mix up the way you wear your favorite pieces- an unexpected combo might make for the best outfit!

2.  Maroon (or 'oxblood') acts as a "new neutral".  The color is so deep and rich that it can mix and match with almost anything.  Wear it as an alternative to black!

3.  Accessories make all the difference.  Thinking about little ways to inject your personal style into a basic jeans-and-tee look will take your look to the next fashion level!

I hope this post inspires you to make some unexpected fashion choices!

Also,  it's election day!!  I hope you all got out there and voted.  In the patriotic spirit of the day, here's a snapshot of my red, white, and blue Halloween costume from last week:

Happy Election Day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bohemian Rhapsody

Vest and tank, H&M.  Skirt, F21.  Boots, Zara.

It's no secret that I have been into a more edgy look lately.  My closet is bursting with black, leather, skinny jeans, skull prints, and distressed tees that are not only fashionable but functional.  As I mentioned in my last post, this type of clothing is preferred when I'm working as a stylist for a few reasons:  jeans and boots allow me to get around comfortably, and black helps me blend into the background.  However, this new style has created a problem for me that I've never had to deal with before:  looking like everyone else.

A few weeks back I helped style a project that called for 5 different wardrobe assistants.  When I arrived to set and met the girls I'd be working with for the day, I was caught off guard by what I saw.  All four other ladies were decked out in their own version of the standard rock-girl uniform: black skinnies, combat boots, a ripped up vintage tank, and LOTS of skeleton prints.  A lot of things went through my mind, a few of them being, "Wow, I love your outfit!", "You all look the same!" and, "Do I just look like a copy of someone else?"  

I love fashion because it allows me to express who I am and how I'm feeling, and it really upset me that what I thought was MY cool, new, edgy look was actually an overdone trend.  Not wanting to give up on my leather jackets and skinny jeans, I had to figure out a new way to rock my rocker duds that allowed me to feel unique & stylish.  The answer I came up with?  ADD SPARKLES!

This 1920s-inspired skirt from Forever 21 has been one of my go-to pieces lately.  The sparkles and sequins jazz up any plain old t-shirt, and the bohemian feel compliments almost all of my rock & roll gear.  As soon as I tried it on, I knew it would be the perfect foil for my black leather H&M vest.  Something about tough leathers against girly sparkles just makes me smile!  And since the skirt is such a statement piece, I wore a neutral maroon tank on top to tone down the shine. 

To me, "bohemian rock" is synonymous with "piles of jewelry," so I added on a few necklaces, bracelets, and rings. 

Bracelets, Amrita Singh and F21.  Rings, H&M.

Necklaces; Marc Jacobs, Vintage, and Kill City.
I chose long pendant necklaces to jumble together in a mix of gold and gunmetal tones.  I love mixing metals- if you do it purposefully, you can't go wrong.  The wishbone necklace was a present to myself from Marc by Marc Jacobs in Boston, and the clock pendant is a series of flea market finds that I strung together. I love my lightning bolt necklace- a gift from a music video that I worked on- because it's the perfect subltle statment piece.
And voila!  There you have it: an outfit that lets me explore my tough side without blending into the crowd!
P.S. For those who follow me on Instagram, I teased a photo of my next blog post yesterday- check it out and get excited!  I can't wait to share my next fashion adventure with you all.  For those who don't follow me on Instagram, what are you waiting for??  @jdefino
Here's the preview of my next post: