Styling

The Library Look

For those of you in the Triangle area, I’m sure you’re familiar with NC State’s D.H. Hill library. Erected in the mid-1950’s, D.H Hill was the epicenter of Main Campus and the main library until the completion of Hunt almost 60 years later.

Sometime during the 1960’s, in the midst of the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights Movement, campus decorators presumably decided to cheer up the drab library with mod furniture. Thus, the Ball Chair, designed by Eero Aarnio, became part of the studious scenery.

My favorite local vintage curators, Raleigh Vintage, managed to score one of these during an auction of D. H. Hill paraphernalia a few months back, so naturally we decided to do a photo-shoot! When Andi approached me with the idea, I immediately began thinking about what that chair had been through – like a “if walls could talk” with furniture. I was inspired not only by fashion of the decade (late 60’s/early 70’s), but also how that period mirrors today’s political and cultural climate.

Think about it; during the 1960’s we had a sketch president (Nixon), were in the middle of a war no one wanted to be in (Vietnam), were fighting for equality between races and sexes, and breaking gender roles of the 40’s and 50’s. Sounds familiar, right? So it was quite appropriate to feature a fierce female as the star of the show, being an intellectual and a fashionista, reflecting the similarities of today and yesteryear.

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(Too cute size 7.5 floral flats available online!)

This Ball Chair has seen numerous students, male and female/black and white, sit in its seat to study. This was the era when women began to recognize their value outside of the household. A time when the African-American community began to establish themselves as a group of educated people with more to give than working manual labor jobs.

Here we have Mara with Simone de Beauvoir’s A Very Easy Death. De Beauvoir was a well known intellectual and feminist writer of the early 19th century. I have to assume that some young ladies attending NC State and studying at D.H. Hill were doing so to make their own lives, their own living, and to become their own person (not an extension of their husband).

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This was probably one of my favorite ensembles from the shoot: playful turquoise shorts, a super 70’s ruffle-front blouse and colorful crochet vest. Be on the lookout ladies; sweater vests are back! Gucci and Prada’s Spring collections are a nod to 1970’s workwear, along with J. Crew and their affinity for frills.

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Color is a personal statement, especially in the 1970’s. Current mainstream fashion is too consumed by neutrals and trying to look “understated,” while the 70’s were a time of technicolor: crazy prints and a full spectrum of hues. It’s not just the political atmosphere that feels familiar, but the stylistic choices made by leading designers is a nod to colors and silhouettes popular during the late 60’s/early 70’s (btw, fashion trends do not simply span a decade, but rather cross over between the early parts of one and the later of another). Balenciaga, Miu Miu, and Missoni are just a few of the big names bringing back the vibrant mod aesthetic. (Psst, this Lanvin shirtdress is still available!)

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Too often, today and in the past, females have been the object of the male gaze (see Cindy Sherman). I decided to switch up the roles for this shoot and have the girl go for the guy: because, why not? Why should women play the damsel in destress when we can take care of ourselves? Having a man on your arm is not a need, it’s a luxury. An easily missed detail in this shot is Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance. A highly recommended read that discusses the nuanced differences between dating in the 21st century and how our grandparents got together. A most fascinating chapter talks about how 50+ years ago, people married to get out of their parent’s house, whereas now we have the freedom to become our own person and therefore seek a partner to grow with (not just a body to keep us warm at night).

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I went a little off script with this look. The sweater is from the 50’s and the skirt is totally 80’s, but opposites attract! Mixing decades is one of my favorite things because, just like politics, fashion is cyclical.

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I cannot take full credit for this outfit: Andi is a genius, creating contrast between the vibrant red of the chair and a gray-scale mod ensemble. The coolest thing about this look is that the boots double as pants! Yes, you heard me right. These boots/leggings are the cure to your lazy Mondays. They were also knocked off by Balenciaga for their Spring 2017 collection.

If you want to continue your 1960’s binge, I suggest you watch Good Girls Revolt (Amazon Prime exclusive): a feminist response to Mad Men. It’s a sartorial dream that will inspire your wardrobe and motivate you to stand up for what you believe in. Take no shit: challenge the rules and demand respect wherever you go.

 

Huge thanks to photographer Rodney Boles, models Mara and Ryan, hair by Keisha, makeup by Amity, and wardrobe provided by Raleigh Vintage. Concept and styling by yours truly.

 

 

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Styling

On Point

A few years back I feel in love with a vintage needlepoint handbag from Revolver. Although it was gifted to me that Christmas, it wasn’t until recently that I found a new appreciation for its aesthetic. When I was younger, I felt it could only be worn with more “housewife” ensembles; uber feminine with a touch of kitsch. Now I rock it with distressed jeans and a random white sweatshirt from an Icelandic university. Without fail, I receive compliments on its unique design everywhere I go.

Recently I was visiting with Andi from Raleigh Vintage at their studio and noticed their fantastic collection of needlepoint bags. “I have to do a styling tutorial with these!” Everyone asks where I purchased mine, but they’re all one-of-a-kind. Of course contemporary designers (like Gucci, Tory Burch, and Stella McCartney) have brought embroidery back into the spotlight, but there’s something special about the authenticity (and lower price point) of an original needlepoint handbag.

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So I went into Raleigh Vintage and created three rad ensembles based on their fab handbags. The first was such a thrill: a 1940’s jumpsuit likely used for camping (it unbuttons on the butt!) paired with Prada heels. I love the monochromatic palette of this look, as it allows the colors of the floral print to pop. This is one of those outfits where you can throw it on, put in little effort, and look amazing!

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The next outfit was inspired by my love for mixing prints: I found this great, dark background floral design that picked up the subtle green in a 1940’s check blouse. Paired with an Edwardian skirt, this outfit definitely has some edge.

Tip for curvy girls: this top is a larger size! Not all vintage is an XS! Raleigh Vintage often has pieces made for fuller figures 🙂

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I must admit, this look was not inspired by the bag so much as this amazing 1960’s “carpet” vest! I was channeling my inner Woodstock hippie here, with a touch of menswear influence. This ensemble is not for the shy: not only because of the missing shirt, but it takes a strong sense of personal style to mix different floral prints (plus stripes!). Courage is rewarded, as this look was one of my favorites from that afternoon.

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The last look I put together was actually out of my own wardrobe. I walked in wearing “vintage fit” jeans from GAP, a front-tie white blouse from Anthropologie, and lemon yellow sandals from Steve Madden. I immediately picked up this beautiful bag and loved how it matched perfectly! Neutrals are a great way to start experimenting with a statement piece. Note how my shoes bring out the accent color in the print, tying the look together from head to toe.

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You don’t always have to wear vintage with vintage. Even if you do, try mixing decades! Fashion is cyclical, therefore what was trendy in the ’60’s can certainly be worn with something popular now. The key is to knowing your personal style and prioritizing that over any fad or fashion. I always say, style is in the act of intent: so find a beautiful needlepoint handbag and be inspired!

 

Special thanks to Andi of Raleigh Vintage for taking my picture :]

 

 

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Styling, Wardrobing

Is It Spring Yet?!

Sometimes I wish I lived in California, or Florida, where it’s 70 and sunny like 24/7. Growing up in Raleigh I’ve become use to, and sometimes fond of, our unpredictable weather patterns. We have a saying; “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” and it’s pretty true: two weeks ago I got sunburned and the next it snowed. But as charming as it can be, our bipolar weather really confuses my wardrobe! As soon as I change over to Spring we have a week of cool 40’s. Over the years I’ve come to transition slowly, mixing bits of winter with the inevitable spring season. Oh, and always bring a jacket wherever you go.

Last September I shot with one of my favorite photographers, Terrence Jones. It was a similar situation – technically Fall but with temperatures hovering around 75 degrees. For my styling inspiration, I decided to mix “winter” fabrics and colors with “spring” prints and silhouettes.

One of my favorite combinations is contrasting a cheery floral print with dark colors. This sheer vintage dress (not for the shy) has a petite scattered floral print to keep the look from becoming too bright. Black & white accessories give the feminine frock some edge.

“Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” Sure, florals for spring isn’t new, but the color palette can be unexpected. Also, leather! I love this look – a little bit schoolgirl, a little bit wallpaper in an opulent home. Together these textures and colors can transition from hot to cold, work to drinks, and everything in-between.

For those less print friendly, try rocking a pastel knit. Personally, I’m obsessed with this vintage 1930’s dickie from Raleigh Vintage. It’s a great layering piece that can be styled jazzy or classy. Throw a leather jacket over your shoulders and hit the bar (like C. Grace) without feeling out of place.

Pastels not your thing? Just show some skin. Not in a slutty way, but in a “I’ve already got my beach bod so bring it!” confidence way. Plus, a fabulous scarf can help cover up should you feel the need (or just get a chill). Also, I’m a firm believer that a fabulous hat can elevate any look, no mater how technically simple it may be. This is one of those situations where less is more. Choose your pieces wisely.

How are you dealing with the sporadic weather? Need help dressing for the seasons? Let me know! I’m here to answer any and all of your fashion questions.

 

Look 1: Vintage everything – except shoes from Art of Style
Look 2: Vintage hat, Ray Ban shades, Topshop top, J. Crew skirt, Marc Jacobs heels
Look 3: Vintage hat, thrifted bralette, Raleigh Vintage knit, Art of Style trousers, Nasty Gal platform heels
Look 4: Vintage hat, Alexander McQueen scarf, thrifted bralette, Art of Style skirt

Big thanks to Melissa G. S. for creating my face and assisting me with my curls 🙂

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Lifestyle

Good People

Surround yourself with good people

People who make you use big words
Who get you talking about something other than boys

People who make you want to be great
Not because they’re better,
but because they encourage you to be better

Surround yourself with good people
Friends who can pick up a conversation from six months ago
… or six years ago

Friends who love you for you

Surround yourself with good people
and you will be good people

 

Coming from The South, it is not uncommon to hear of a single person being referred to as “good people.” This colloquialism ultimately serves to specify a particular person as being respectable, down to hearth, and just generally good. Throughout my life I’ve come to use the phrase to refer not only to my best friends, but to people who I can count on. “Good people” doesn’t have to be the most law-abiding citizen. “Good people” may curse and drink too much, like to gossip and have their lazy days, but when push comes to shove they stand up for their friends and don’t take shit from anybody.

For 2017 I hope to meet more good people and keep them in my sphere of influence. Good people are crucial for personal development. You are who you surround yourself with.

Thank you to the good people I have in my life. You remind me every day that I’m not crazy, that not everyone is stupid, and our world is not doomed 🙂

 

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Styling

Technicolor Girl

She’s a technicolor girl living in a full, fast-paced, sometimes overwhelming, technicolor world. We pride ourselves on being busy, but often forget to stop and smell the flowers.

This Spring I’m holding myself to a resolution to stay motivated and not let my 9-5 (or rather 9-7, sometimes 8) drain me of my creative energies. You’ve seen it; my consistent posts giving way to infrequent posts, then an unannounced hiatus, only to return with a promise to be present that eventually gives in to the same disappearance. Well no more! I’m here and ready to share all of my stylish wisdom and fashionable photo shoots.

Step 1 is teaming up with other motivated and creative minds to propel you forward. I recently had the honor of working with the super talented photographer, Terrence Jones. We brought in my BFF, Keisha, to get HMU on fleek and the most genuine model I’ve ever met, Mara of 3BBM.

Step 2 is not taking the easy way out. Today’s fashionistas think that wearing all black makes them cool and hip, when really it is just a cop-out. I mean, you do you Boo, but do you really think a wardrobe of black keeps you creative? No. Black is easy. That’s why I’ve been all about some color play. This shoot has a hint of neutrals, but is primarily an exploration in color schemes. Inspired by the youth culture of the 70’s, I hope you enjoy this garden of hues! (Thank you Revolver Boutique for the fab clothes & accessories)

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Emilio Pucci called; he LOVES this skirt!

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Bohemian Safari doesn’t have to be all khaki. I’m obsessed with the contrast of this brushed silk coral dress with high-shine interior.

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Everyone needs an orange hat in their accessory arsenal, right?! Shout out to Good Girls Studio for awesome one-of-a-kind pieces like this necklace.

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Mixing prints is a great way to explore color. The trick is keeping the palettes the same and changing up the print scale. This ensemble is glamourous athletic – perfect for running errands while looking like a model off duty.

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Can we take a moment to appreciate this cobalt blue winged liner? Thanks.

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Fashion is fun: don’t take yourself too seriously. We love color, but black never hurt (everything in moderation). Use it to add a graphic punch to an artsy look.

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An ensemble of color doesn’t require complicated layering or color mixing. A complementary color scheme makes an impact, even with a minimalist aesthetic.

0164 Mara in Color 2016.jpgDon’t be sad that I’m shunning an all-black uniform. Get excited for the endless possibilities of color! Explore your schemes (analogous, complementary, split complementary, triadic, tetradic) and test out your print mixing skills (florals and stripes is an easy introduction). Have fun this spring and don’t forget to smell the flowers.

PS: Follow Style Asset on Instagram for more pictures and a look #BTS

 

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Styling

The Modernist With a Heart of Chrome

The Modernist aesthetic often gets a bad rap.
Associated with cold, steral rooms,
the Modernist adaptation of monochromatic color schemes leaves viewers feeling uninvited.

But this isn’t Modernism as a whole.
Many interpretations of the movement have lead to the most colorful artists,
like Pollock, Picasso, and Gaudi.
Still, the black&white variation can be warm, inviting, and interesting.

One of my favorite local boutiques, The Art of Style,
specializes in neutrals.
Rarely do you see a color of the rainbow on their racks.
The difference is, TAOS’ aesthetic brings in different textures to break up the clean lines.

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For starters, try mixing different neutrals.
Layering is key for a (no pun intended) warmer look.
Keep it sleek with drapey knits.
Minimal jewelry doesn’t overpower the metallic dress,
while still allowing the look to transition from day to night.

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Speaking of layers,
sheer, translucent fabrics are your friend!
Look how this uber prissy white lace dress is given some edge,
just by throwing on a black sheer tunic.

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Handmade jewelry plays on the femininity of the dress
while giving a nod to the artisan aesthetic which brought about the Modernism movement.

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For a more menswear-inspried ensemble
look no further than your classic black & white color combo.

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Add a touch of minimalism by ditching the shirt!
Relaxed slacks balance out the sex appeal.
Plus, if you keep your jacket zipped during work,
no one has to know what’s not underneath.

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The Modernist aesthetic in architectural design
focuses on material and line.
Frank Lloyd Wright built houses based off the landscape
and made use of natural materials.

Get back to your roots with Modernism
by incorporating natural elements into your look.

The suede texture of the dress,
the chunky knit scarf, the hematite earrings,
and the marbleized acetate cuff all nod towards earthy elements.

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See!
Modernism can be warm and inviting,
rather than cold and harsh.
Just remember to play with textures, layering,
and earthy accessories.

These looks transition easily from day to night,
as well as into Fall, with its mix of warm and cool days.
For more Modernist inspiration, for men and women,
check out The Art of Style,
located at 2032 Cameron St in Cameron Village
(Raleigh, North Carolina).

Very special thank you to
photographer Terrence Jones of J1S Photography
and the ever fabulous model Mara W.

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Lifestyle, Styling

Lavender & Smoke

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Since body positivity has become such a major social movement, I feel the need to express my sentiments on the subject. I love my body, as one should, but it has taken me years to come to this conclusion. And even though I love my body as a whole, there are still parts of me that I feel like I could improve on. Some things I can change (like my yoga moves), but some things I can’t (like my height).

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It was only within the past few years that I have learned to appreciate every part. Even the parts of me that I don’t love, I find a way to disguise and I accentuate the parts that I do love. Isn’t that what fashion is all about (aside from personal expression), anyway? I’ve never had a problem with my back, shoulders, or décolletage, and that’s always been my focus. Being teased for having a large chest at a young age had an impact on how I dressed, beginning in middle school. Apparel is the original Photoshop.

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With Lavender & Smoke, it was very bizarre because for once my skin didn’t need much retouching. I have struggled with acne for years and finally I’m a place where I feel comfortable going out in public without any makeup on and sometimes I forget I’m not wearing any at all. When I realize this, I’m not worried or scared that someone is judging me for my acne or acne scars. In this shoot, we had fun with makeup without the fear of close-ups. I still focused on the parts of me that I’ve always felt comfortable with, but the overall effect was that of increased confidence. I feel like body acceptance is not so much saying “Yes, I am 100% beautiful!” but more so saying “You know what, I might not 100% love every part about me, but I accept it and I’m going to try my best to love everything I am.”

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It doesn’t happen over night. It doesn’t happen in a year. It takes time and effort. You have to learn who you are to reach this result, Body Acceptance. I’ve found that I never use a scale anymore. I’ve found that I’ve stopped measuring my waist-line. You have to realize that “perfection” doesn’t exist in beauty. That’s really what this Body Positive movement is all about. It’s not “Everybody is perfect.” It’s that, yes we might have our flaws, but we’re okay with them.

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Special thanks to Debadeep Sen for capturing my good side (photography) & Keisha Lousie for making me look fabulous (hair&makeup).

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