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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Again and Again and Again

Top, Lush.  Shorts, F21.  Tights, socks, and shoes, Target.

The last few weeks of 2012 have been absolutely crazy!  I left my old job, started a new job, began dreaming up a personal shopping business, celebrated the holidays and my man's birthday, and welcomed new friends (and their pets) into my life and home!  With all of this running around I hardly had time to be creative with my wardrobe, and I ended up consistently reaching for one particular sweater every morning. 
My sheer striped oversized black pullover from Lush has been working overtime (just like me!) during this hectic period in my life.  It's easy and cozy but still feels pulled together, so I challenged myself to come up with new ways to wear it everyday.
I decided to give the sweater a Catholic school girl-gone-bad feel with plaid shorts, fishnet tights, high socks, and Mary Janes this weekend.    When I tried to wear this exact same look again a few days later, I found a busted zipper on these Forever 21 shorts!  I'm glad I took photos to commemorate the look when I had the chance...RIP plaid shorts.

 Fashion is a balancing act: even when I'm going for a particular look, I never want to look costumey.  The dangerously short shorts don't seem so short when topped with a baggy sweater, and the thigh highs seem to tame the overt sexiness of fishnet stockings.   The smallest detail (such as this layered legwear) can bring an out-there oufit back down to earth!

Pants, Zara.  Shoes, hat, and necklace, H&M.  Cuff, Alexis Bittar.
Faux leather pants and a beanie worked together to lend a casual-cool feel to a work-appropriate look.  While black on black (almost) always looks chic, it can very easily slip into the "boring" category.  My silver capped-toe stilettos, a giant silver cuff from Alexis Bittar, and a sparkly statment necklace added some edge and intrigue to an otherwise basic outfit.

Skirt, Shoes, and Necklace, F21.
One of the things that I love about this sweater is that you can really dress it up or down.  I fancied it up a bit with a 20s style skirt (that you can see me wearing here) and some face-framing baubles.  Suede black booties were an unexpected alternative to my typical pumps.
There are so many ways I wore this piece that I didn't end up documenting:  with ripped jeans and flats for a Segway tour, with sequined harem pants for a day at work, with leggings and over the knee leather boots for a photo shoot.  And I'm still dreaming up new ways to wear it: layered over a collared shirt, or draped on top of a boho maxi skirt.  I can tell this sweater obsession will last well into 2013!
Fashion Tips from "Again and Again and Again":
1.  If you have a favorite piece of clothing, don't be afraid to wear it all the time!  If you really test your creativity, you can come up with countless ways to wear the same piece without feeling like you're in a style rut.
2.  Balance is key, in both proportion and feel.  If you're wearing a baggy sweater, make sure your shape is still defined with a short skirt, fitted pants, or even a belt at your waist.  If you're drawing inspiration from a character, balance out their style with your own twists to avoid looking costumey.
3.  While basic black is classic, it isn't always exciting.  Find ways to work a little extra pop of style into a monochrome look with fun shoes, big accessories, or even a new hair or makeup trend.  A bright pink lip could take the look from boring to BOOM!


I've already got some resolutions planned for 2013 that I can't wait to put into practice!  Any style resolutions you think I should try?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Well Read

Shirt, F21.  Sweater, Ralph Lauren.  Pants, 3.1 Phillip Lim.  Bag, ASOS.  Necklace, vintage.

A few weeks ago I got a request from a reader for a post on how to wear wide leg pants, which may have actually been the highlight of my life as a blogger!  One of my goals as a stylist is to help people feel more comfortable making their own fashion statements, so if you have any questions at all about how to wear a piece of clothing or try out a new trend, please ask!  I'd love to make Hell or High Fashion as interactive as possible.

I picked up these white wide leg 3.1 Phillip Lim trousers at Crossroads (a second-hand shop) a few weeks ago and have been dying to wear them ever since.  Skin tight pants have been popular for so long that wearing such a loose, relaxed pair felt really refreshing!  One thing to remember with a long pair of pants: heel height is everything!  You want the bottoms of the pants to just about touch the ground, so heels are usually a must.  Tailor your pants to a length that works for your favorite high-heels.
My white pants seemed to be giving off a sailor vibe, so I went with nautical stripes up top.  The layerd sweater/collared shirt combo was very menswear, so a sparkly tie necklace finished off the look perfectly! I think a feminine touch is important when attempting to pull off a daring pant, and a dainty, sparkly take on a traditional male accessory seems to say, "I may be wearing pants, but I'm still a lady!"

The most exciting part of my outfit though was for sure my new BOOK CLUTCH!   I've seen these amazing purses disguised as books everywhere lately; Kate Spade has a collection of classics and Charlotte Olympia has made some too.  Those retail for $300 and over- totally out of my price range.  So when this little beauty popped up on ASOS.com for $35, I couldn't say no! 
I am thrilled with my purchase; I took this book-bag to a bar yesterday and got complimented by the bouncer, the waitors, and friends alike.  One girl even thought I was carrying around my Bible!  Love it.


Another way to wear wide-leg pants in to pair them with a crop top!  It's recently become acceptable again to show a little midriff in public, so I say go for it.  A look like this is bursting with confidence, and that's really all you need to pull off and out-there outfit.  If you wear your wide trousers and belly shirt with pride, no one will have a negative thing to say!

Here are a few other way to wear a pair of pants like this:
- Tuck in a fitted button down and finish off the look with a wide leather belt
- A shell blouse (a shirt with a boxy cut) would lay flush with the width of the pants for a cool 60s vibe
- A tight shirt with a shrunken blazer on top is the perfect business-appropriate pairing

Fashion Tips from "Well Read":
1.  Don't be afraid to wear something weird!  If you fall in love with a piece of clothing that isn't a regular part of your wardrobe, research different ways to wear it- or just ask me!  Never let fear stop you from indulging in fashion.
2.  If you're attempting to wear long, wide trousers, make sure the length of the pant is perfect.  If they are too long you'll look like a little kid playing dress up, and if they are too short you'll look stumpy.  Fit is everything!
3. Usually all you need to authentically pull off a look that you're not used to is a smile!  Confidence is ultimately the most important accessory- so if you feel cool in your outfit, everyone else will think you're cool, too!
What else do you guys want to ask?  Let me know and I'll do a personalized post for every question I get!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Little Red Corvette

Dress, Cooperative Urban Outfitters.  Sweater and shoes, Target.  Bag, Ferragamo.
Today's post is a love story.  A story about a love that never gave up- even when times were tough, even when sizes were wrong, even when websites said "Out of Stock".  A story of a girl and her clothes.
Seriously, I am in love with this dress!
Our saga starts a few weeks back, in New Jersey.  While visiting with my family for Thanksgiving, we all decided to head to our local shopping district and I couldn't pass up a trip to Urban Outfitters during sale time.  This shirt dress stared at me from the sale rack, its floppy bow tie and cartoon car print calling to me.  And it was on sale for only $30!!  I had to try it.
Unfortunately it didn't fit- it was way too small.  A quick search of the store confirmed what I already feared: my size was sold out.  I asked the sales people there to track down the dress in the right size at another location, but alas- the dress had no tag!!  There was no way find it in other stores' inventory, and I resigned myself to living a life void of cartoon cuteness.

Here's the stock photo of the dress from Urban Outfitters- you can see the car print a little better and really appreciate how necessary it was for me to own this!
I scoured the Urban Outfitters website and tried every possible Google search term to find this piece online.  It was nowhere!  Instead of accepting that this dress was gone for good, I re-searched the internet every day for a week.  Finally, just as I was about to give up, it reappeared on urbanoutfitters.com!- but only in a size XS. 
Luckily, UO has a convient "Find In A Store Near You" button.  Turns out there was ONE left in my size a few towns away!!!  I called the store, put it on hold, and went to pick it up after work.  To my delight, once I picked it up I found out that it had been further discounted to $9!!!  It was the best find of my entire fashion life.

Why do I love this dress so much?  I really can't put my finger on it.  Sure, it has it's flaws- it's not a very figure-flattering shape and it's all white (a sure sign that I will spill my coffee all over it).  But the amazing things about this dress- the vintage cars, the bright colors, the subtle piping along the buttons, and the adorable bow tie- definitely outweigh the bad things. 
I paired it with an oversize red sweater from Target to keep me cozy and my navy patent Ferragmo bag added some structure to the look.  The school girl look of high-heeled Mary-Janes paired perfectly with the bow tie!  I felt like a cool librarian all day.
Fashion Tips from "Little Red Corvette":
1.  If you love a piece of clothing, don't give up!   There's a reason it's stuck in your head, so find out what that reason is and hunt it down- I guarantee you won't regret it!
2.  Give a loosey-goosey outfit some shape with a structured bag and chunky shoes. If at least one part of your outfit has clean lines, you can avoid looking sloppy in oversized pieces.
3.  Playing dress up isn't just for kids. Feeling a librarian or school-girl vibe?  Throw on a men's tie, some knee socks, or plaid for a subtle way to make a statement and make fashion fun!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Laced Up

Top, F21.  Dress, Jill Stuart.  Tights and shoes, Urban Outfitters.

This Thanksgiving, I took a little vacation from Los Angeles and a little vacation from blogging!  I spent a week in upstate New York relaxing, eating, playing Charades, and exploring Syracuse.  Traveling from LA to Syracuse required a lot of outfit planning and I had a rough time whittling my wardrobe down to a week's worth of essentails.  But I had an idea of what kind of activities I'd be doing, what kind of weather I'd be experiencing, and how much I'd be eating (I had to bring lots of stretchy pants!), so I packed my suitcase accordingly.
Here's how I made my final selections:  I tried on some cold-weather looks, took pictures of my favorites, and set out to pack based on those photos.  Seeing the outfit laid out head-to-toe in front of me (shoes, jewelry, bags, etc included!) ensured that I didn't forget anything back home. 
Of course once I got to Syracuse and didn't have my extensive closet at my disposal every morning, I panicked.  (Side note: I was meeting 20 members of my boyfriend's extended family, so that's why I was extra focused on dressing to impress!)  That panic led me to mix-and-match my preplanned outfits in new and creative ways, and I came up with this little number!
After eating a week's worth of Thanksgiving treats in just a few days, I was worried that some of the looks I brought with me might not be full-stomach-friendly.  This Jill Stuart dress was the perfect dress to over-eat in:  it fits tight around my waist but balloons out over my tummy and hips. I had already worn it early on in the trip, though, and didn't want to repeat outfits!  To switch it up, I stole this lace top from another outfit and layered it underneath.  I was so glad to have packed such versatile pieces, and I'm going to make sure I pack clothes that can work double-duty on my next trips!
Here were my orginal looks:
Dress, Jill Stuart.  Jacket, F21.

Top and Jeans, F21.  Boots, H&M.  Belt, Zara.
Fashion Tips from "Laced Up":
1.  If you're packing for a long trip and are worried about how to choose outfits, start planning early!  Taking photos of your outfits beforehand and packing from a visual really takes some of the pressure off.
2.  Think of new ways to wear old pieces.  Maybe you've bought a top to go with a specific pair of pants, but explore how else it can be worn.  It could look amazing layered over a minidress!
3.  Having an "I have nothing to wear" day?  Turn that panic into productivity!  Open yourself up to new creative possibilites and I'm sure you'll find that you do, in fact, have something to wear.
But the biggest lesson I learned this Thanksgiving week is that who you are is more important than what you wear.  I had the most amazing time with my man and his family, and they loved me even when I had to change into my shlubby sweatpants after stuffing myself with stuffing! 
 It sure was nice to hear them ooh and ahh over my outfits every morning, though- and that makes the time I spend getting dressed up so worth it!