Modernly Vintage, Pt. 2

On the second day of the event I worn an ensemble I dubbed my “Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner” outfit. It was a touch Dirty Dancing in the sense that it was your typical 1950’s get-up with a late 80’s twist. Here are my styling tips for this look:

Add menswear
I wanted to channel the traditional 1950’s housewife with one of my favorite circle skirts. This is a tricky look; as it can easily turn into a costume if you try to be matchy-matchy and accessorize with pearls. To avoid this faux pas, I incorporated menswear details to keep the outfit from becoming too Stepford Wives. I have this Express top from the late 80’s/early 90’s that is the softest shade of pink, but it’s offset by a wide collar and buttons up the front. You may not think of this as being menswear inspired, but the clean lines and exaggerated collar work perfectly to tone down the femininity of the skirt. You could also try pairing an oxford shoe with a girly 50’s dress, or a vintage tuxedo shirt with just about anything.

Go for the unexpected
To complete my ensemble, I selected an unexpected shoe. Usually when choosing a shoe, I pick a color from the print in my outfit and find a shoe to match. With this look I picked a color not already represented. The focus with this tactic is to choose a hue that is the same intensity as the rest of the ensemble, so in this case the pale mint coordinates with the pastels in the skirt and blouse. I added a pretty mint cardigan — because I often get cold at work — that brought the color of the shoe up to the top of the ensemble, thus completing the flow. One of my best tips when wearing a simple outfit, such as an LBD (otherwise known as a “Little Black Dress”), is to match your lip color to your shoe. It is a subtle way to add color and follows the rule of rhythm: an element that lets your eye flow from one detail to another all the way down the line of the body.

This is by no means the definitive list of styling tips for vintage wears. I am constantly finding new ways to style pieces, new combinations of colors and prints, and different interpretations of the same inspiration. With that said, what are some of your favorite ways to style vintage clothing and accessories? Leave comments below 🙂


Modernly Vintage, Pt. 1

This past weekend at work we held an event that was 1950’s themed, so naturally I dressed up!

I am a lover of vintage fashions. The construction, fit, and textiles are unlike anything you’ll find in a contemporary boutique. I have several pieces in my collection, ranging from 1940’s to 1990’s, and make a stylistic choice to incorporate vintage apparel into my day-to-day wardrobe. Unless you lead a vintage fashion lifestyle (I know a few people who ONLY dress of a certain decade), it is important to know how to wear vintage pieces without looking like you’re about to attend a costume party. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to style your vintage wares for the modern time.

Change the color intensity
Have you ever noticed how pieces from the 1950’s have a faded color quality? Or how clothes from the 70’s are so vibrant they verge on blinding? An easy way to modernize a vintage look is by switching up the color intensity (how bright or muted a hue is). I practiced this trick on the first day of my work event by choosing a vintage-inspired piece found at my favorite local consignment boutique. I discovered the skirt/top set about a week prior to the event, not buying it specifically for that occasion. When I began planning my outfits for the coming weekend, my new ensemble reminded me of the tropical prints popular during the early 50’s summers; however, this time the print was vibrant rather than faded, which made for a fresh take on the old trend. If I were to style a 70‘s look, I would search for pieces that have similar prints (pop florals and swirling paisleys) but in colors so muted they become whispy earth tones. I completed the outfit with vintage, sunshine yellow pumps and an oversized straw clutch which added to the tiki vibe.


Evolve the makeup
As I was completing my ensemble, I thought about what makeup I wanted to do for this particular look. My first instinct was to do a black winged liner, but I felt that would be too dramatic and heavy for such a bright look. Instead, I created a thick line of white eyeliner that really made my eyes POP. I complemented this bright look with a vibrant salmon lip color. To avoid looking like a circus performer, I kept the rest of my face very simple with just a touch of bronzer for contouring. The idea is to not go for the expected, but rather evaluate your outfit then choose a makeup style that is inspired-by yet modernized.



For the sake of keeping things short, I have divided this topic into two posts. Look out for Part 2 later on this week!


23 Years of Style

Hello digital universe!

For some time now I’ve been meaning to start a blog, but I always got stuck on where to actually start. Of course, it should be fashion related; but should I dive right in to common faux pas or ease into it by giving you an outline of what I plan to teach you over the course of my posts?

Finally I decided to start by introducing myself via my style through the years. You see, I have always been a fashionista even though it took me until high school to realize that’s what I wanted to do as a career. Now you’re probably thinking I had dreams of becoming a fashion designer and you are incorrect. Anyone can design clothes: fashion trends cycle over the years and what is in now was influenced by something from fashion history. Everyone borrows from the late greats (Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel, Schiaparelli, etc.) and collections are intended to go together, but what happens if you take two very different designers and collide their collections? What if you were to take something old and pair it with something new? Those are the thoughts that get my creative juices flowing, because I am a stylist.

I am a stylist and I use articles of clothing and accessories as my paint colors and textures. I aim to create visually appealing ensembles that take your mind to a foreign location or challenge your current perception of what “goes together.”

My two biggest influences are opposing forces: punk rock and ballet. 

When I was little I had a pair of pink Chuck Taylor high-tops that I wore with everything.

Around age 5 I refused to wear pants. It was all pink and yellow dresses.

Between ages 6-10 my favorite game to play with friends was “dress up” or “makeovers.” We would rummage through my dress-up box, full of my mothers old dance costumes, and put on layers of fabric topped off with a fabulous hat. I was introduced to makeup in fourth grade when I started doing competitive dance and my best friend had a makeup birthday party. Every attendee went home with a Caboodles case of eyeshadows and lipsticks and the newfound skills to apply these cosmetics properly. After that, I insisted on going to school wearing silver eyeshadow and spent all of my allowance on lipgloss.

As I got older, I experimented with just about every style. I went from preppy and trendy to emo/punk/goth/scene (which worried my mother). I found my own later on in high school, which led to my peers constantly asking why I was “so dressed up.” I never thought it was weird to wear mascara (which I was the first to do in 6th grade) or heels to school. I dressed for me, for how I felt that day, and for who I wanted to be.

My current style is a reflection of my evolution. I still hold on to little influences from my past and my closet contains everything from 1950’s housewife dresses to slinky LBDs to studded shirts and pastels galore. This is my personal style. It is no one else’s, because it is an accumulated representation of my own relationship with fashion. That is the beautiful thing about style: no one can copy exactly. It is truly personal. This is why when I work with a client my first step is to pinpoint their personal style. Not the random pieces that they purchased on a whim because it was “in” or the outdated, unflattering garments from their younger years that they hold on to for nostalgia. Believe me, I know the sentimental value of clothing, but that does not mean those clothes should be mixed in to you everyday wardrobe.

With that said, now that you know a little more about me, I will share with you my purpose of this blog. I do not aim to be another 20-something so-called fashionista. My goal is to educate my readers: on how to dress for their body type, how to put things together, and how to organize your clothes and accessories within your space. Amongst these posts you will find that I’ll get sidetrack and post about my other loves; food and design. It will be more like a lifestyle blog, but informative. If anyone should have specific questions about any of my posts I encourage you to ask me. Hell, I may even start an “Ask Tessa” column. My point is, I am here to help you by sharing my trial and error, successes and failures, and nerding out on fashion history. How can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you’re coming from?

From my most recent photo shoot (2014).

From my most recent photo shoot (2014).


PS: Not all posts will be this absurdly long.