Styling

His & Hers (& Theirs)

Womenswear VS Menswear: what’s the real difference? Men and women both wore lace ruffles in the Victorian era and prior. Boys wore dresses as babies up through the 19th century… but girls weren’t allowed to wear pants until the 1940’s. Then Mademoiselle Chanel comes along, borrowing clothes from her boyfriends, and suddenly menswear is incorporated into women’s high-fashion.

So why do some people still get their panties in a twist when men borrow fashion from women? It’s a modern age, yet most people would give a funny look if a guy was spotted sporting stilettos. To each their own, but I love the idea of gender-less fashion. Similar to how I try to ignore sizes when buying clothes. Does any of it really matter? Fit and style are subjective!

I was talking with a male co-worker recently about how hard it is to find vintage menswear. TBH, y’all generally just wear your clothes/shoes until there’s nothing left. This could, in part, be attributed to society’s stance on men not caring about “frivolous” things while women have historically been expected to sit there and look pretty. Still, if a guy wants to support and buy vintage, why couldn’t he wear something from the “women’s” collection? Of course, this discussion inspired a photo shoot!

MLong--1

1920’s embroidered Asian jacket, 1980’s DVF linen trousers, and a perfectly worn 1950’s PE t-shirt

Heavily influenced by fashion revolutionaries and gender-bending celebrities David Bowie and Ezra Miller, with a healthy dose of inso from the non-binary community, I teamed up with my favorite vintage dealer, Raleigh Vintage, to bring my vision to life.

I think if we had the diverse language for gender 50 years ago as we do now, Bowie would probably have considered himself Non-Binary. Hints to this theory can be found in many of his lyrics, as well as his more obvious stylistic choices. Ezra Miller reminds me a lot of Bowie in his care-free, dramatic sartorial red carpet appearances (did you see him at the Met Gala?!). Prince would also be part of this theoretical posse with his affinity for romantic Victorian style. All three of these dudes gave a middle finger to societal norms and dressed however they wanted, regardless of what others thought.

MLong--10

The concept of “cross-dressing” also brings to mind images from the birth of queer culture in New York City. What was once so taboo people were beaten for being themselves, has now become more acceptable… if you play the part. Society wants people to be definable. The general public likes to label things to aid in their understanding of the unknown. So it’s OK to dress in women’s clothes if you’re a drag queen (something straight culture has now accepted for their own entertainment), but less so if you’re toeing the line between masculinity and femininity. I applaud every non-binary, trans, and GNC  person for having the courage to embrace their true self. My hair stylist has been a big inspiration with their unapologetic way of dressing. Fearless in combining fishnets, dresses, heeled boots, and crop tops with their more “neutral” pieces.

MLong--2

1980’s white blouse and Calvin Klein denim shorts with a 1940’s indigo shibori kimono

If you’re ready to explore the womenswear world, the easiest way to get acquainted is looking for structured/tailored pieces in exciting prints and colors. Next level? Play with volume and texture. I noticed several hetero men at the Met embracing their more flamboyant side: see Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, Anderson .Paak, and Harry Styles. I’ll give their stylists most of the credit, seeing as how they don’t typically dress so bold, but it’s still a step in making stereotypically “feminine” fashion details more socially acceptable in menswear.

Throughout this shoot, I found joy in balancing “masculine” and “feminine” fabric. Take this navy and white ensemble for example: very sporty on the bottom, then a surprise ruffled blouse and an unexpected graphic kimono layer. Let not forget about the jewelry — heavy metals reigned over this shoot, accentuated with rich gem hues.

Another fave was this ode to the 60’s. Most men would be hesitant to wear kelly green short shorts, but remember how short sports uniforms were in the 70’s??? What comes around goes around. Contrasting the playful bottoms and bejeweled accessories, a mid-century military jacket and handsomely aged t-shirt make this ensemble very wearable.

So guys, I encourage you to cross borders, to embrace feel-good fabrics and ignore the norms. Visit Raleigh Vintage‘s boutique on Glenwood South and you will not be disappointed! They’re working on a menswear collection, but you can still shop their womenswear in the meantime 😉

Standard
Lifestyle, Styling

Spark Joy

Unless you live under a rock, by now you’ve watched – or seen enough memes to know – the Marie Kondo special on Netflix. This petite Japanese woman has simultaneously inspired and shamed all of us into getting rid of stuff that doesn’t “spark joy.” So while doing my own household purge, I began to consider the Konmari Method in terms of life and mental health. If we say Thank You and let go of a shirt that doesn’t serve us, why can’t we do the same to friends and activities that leave us feeling like a deflated balloon?

Think of it like this: what events do you participate in that spark joy? That you find energizing and fulfilling? Do more of that! And surround yourself with friends who support and encourage you versus the ones who thrive on drama and negativity. In addition to my yearly resolutions to work out more and drink less alcohol, I’m making a promise to myself to get involved with people and projects that make my heart happy!

 

In the digital age, social media has us hanging on every like and share. We get FOMO seeing other people’s party pics and spiral into overthinking when a crush doesn’t text us back (but follows all of your IG stories??). Do these actions make us feel good? Hell no! So thank you, next. This year is about trying the new restaurant alone instead of not at all. It’s about staying in for a little R&R on a Saturday night instead of feeling obligated to go out. Above all else, this year is about putting your mental and physical health before your social (media) status.

OtMgroup2OtMgroup1

A hobby I seem to always go back to is singing. I’ve been singing since I was a kid and have performed numerous times, but at the end of the day I sing for me and no body else. Sure, the applause is nice (credit to my Leo Rising), but nothing beats the feeling of pouring your heart into a song that conveys the emotions you can’t quite explain. Maybe that’s why, as I’ve grown older, my taste has shifted from early 2000’s emo classics to jazz standards of the early 20th century.

 

About five years ago I began singing with a jazz band which transformed into starting a group including my dad and brother, Olive & the Martinis. We recently had a photo shoot to update our website and it’s so cool to see how we’ve all changed. A big difference for me is my body, as I’ve recently embraced my curves instead of trying to fight them. While quite a contrast from my slim collegiate figure, it’s nice to have the sense of self and confidence to know I am more than my physique. I want to treat my body well and keep it healthy, because it allows me to do all those things I enjoy, but I no longer base my value on my ability to conform to society’s very narrow ideals of female beauty. As long as I can sing and dance, garden and create, I’m happy!

Tessa6

So say Thank You to the friends who taught you that you deserve better, because they did not value you. Thank you to the experiences that helped shape the person you are today, because they showed you how you don’t want to live. This year, embrace yourself and remember that no one but you can define your own success. Continue to find ways to bring joy to your life and spark joy in other’s!

 

 

Special thanks to Cortez Raleigh (location) & Megan Long (photography).

Wardrobe styling by your’s truly 😉

Standard
Styling

Can you dig it?

From Gucci to The Deuce, the 1970’s are in the air this season. If you live in The South, then you know it’s finally cold enough to fully embrace cozy layers and vintage furs (thank you #bombcyclone). I teamed up with two of my favorite local shops, Raleigh Vintage & Quercus, to bring you some far out fashions set against the grit of downtown Raleigh.

In the 70’s stripes reigned supreme. Tube socks, crop tops, and even your mom’s couch were covered in stripes! To make this print more wearable in 2018 look for muted colors and high quality fabrics.

This wool skirt from Raleigh Vintage is a wardrobe staple for any professional woman. Paired with a 1940’s lace blouse, what could easily be a drab ensemble now has an element of mystery. Just ditch the cardigan to take this look from boardroom to bar!

I love how the delicate jewelry designed by Lauren Ramirez (owner of Quercus!) brings a feminine touch to traditionally masculine textiles. Her pieces are small enough to stack together or wear individually, depending on your mood. Personally, I like to put on as many as possible! Check out collections from Tory Burch and Chloe for additional workwear inspo.

IMG_5772

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the vibrant colors seen in 70’s subcultures, turn to modern designers Gucci and Kate Spade for technicolor styles. The arts&crafts aesthetic of the hippie movement popularized embroidery accents in fashion. Distressed denim and a boho blouse make a groovy pair, baby.

IMG_5781

This is a look that could easily been seen at your neighborhood’s trendy brunch spot or on that cool girl perusing the local flea market. I’ve styled Raleigh Vintage’s 70’s threads with black boots to keep the focus on top, but you could totally throw on your craziest pair of shoes to make this look your own!

Quercus carries a curated selection of unique designers, each with their own vibe. I’m personally obsessed with Hart Variations and their use of iridescent butterfly wings in geometric shapes. It’s probably not intentional, but I also like the idea of their pieces being “reversible,” choosing between the dark and bright side.

IMG_5477

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “winter” I think fur. Everyone will have their own take on the ethics of fur – I only buy vintage or faux – but it’s a hard trend to avoid during this time of year. You can run with the pack, or you can be unexpected and trade your fox for feathers! Marc Jacobs and Loewe have mastered the use of fur, but look to Prada and Alexander McQueen for fine feathers.

IMG_5483-2

I absolutely adore this feather scarf from RV and if you think these accessories are reserved for formal occasions then think again. Fur and feathers are fabulous textures to elevate any ensemble, be it casual or for an evening event. I’m digging the contrast between the 1970’s wide-leg denim, retro letterman’s sweater, and glam scarf.

I’ve accessorized this very vintage look with simple, yet eye-catching accessories from Cat Bates. Large gold studs are understated and bring out the warmth in the mustard sweater and burnt-orange scarf. Same goes for the indigo-dyed cord bracelet – sometimes a minimalist approach goes a long way!

 

Make sure you check out Raleigh Vintage’s pop-up shop at 19 W Hargett St before they close this weekend! Of course, they’re always available online or at their showroom by appointment. While you’re in the area, Quercus is just around the corner on 201 S Salisbury St. Much love to these fantastic ladies for letting me play dress-up and to Deb for taking stunning photos!

Standard
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.

BookYellow
(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).

ChairSynced-6

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.

Chair-460s-6

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!)

60s

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).

Pink

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.

GlassesGlasses-2

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.

 

 

Standard
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.

Jumpsuit1Jumpsuit2

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!

Green3Green4

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 🙂

Red2Red4

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.

White1

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.

White2

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 :]

 

 

Standard
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 🙂

Standard
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)

Mara Color in Studio
Emilio Pucci called; he LOVES this skirt!

0568 Mara in Color 2016.jpg

0482 Mara in Color 2016.jpg0504 Mara in Color 2016.jpg
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.

0206 Mara in Color 2016.jpg
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.

0310 Mara in Color 2016.jpg0391 Mara in Color 2016.jpg
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.

0090 Mara in Color 2016.jpg
Can we take a moment to appreciate this cobalt blue winged liner? Thanks.

0017 Mara in Color 2016.jpg
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.

0147 Mara in Color 2016.jpg
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

 

Standard
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.

Silver1Silver2

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.

Lace1

Lace2

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.

Lace3

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

BW1

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

BW2

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.

Suede3

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.

Suede1Suede2

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.

Standard
Lifestyle, Styling

Lavender & Smoke

back

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).

tilt

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.

face

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.”

bones

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.

stretch

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

Standard
Styling, Wardrobing

New Tailor in Town

Ok style seekers, here’s the scoop on the next cool shop to hit downtown Raleigh. The crazy part is they don’t even sell clothes — they tailor them! Allow me to introduce Glenwood Tailors, conveniently located on Glenwood South (near St. Marys Square Apartments), the next best thing for your wardrobe since high-end consignment. I’m super excited to 1) not have to drive 15min to North Raleigh and 2) to have a tailor that gets it: style, fit, trends, and all the possibilities that tailoring allows for.

My love affair with tailoring began at an early age. I come from a long line of crafty ladies, so it’s no surprise that when things aren’t quite right I get creative.

As a tween, I had an unusual body type: strong legs of a dancer + a D cup at age 13 meant I couldn’t wear the cute things my friends were wearing. I remember shopping for a button-up shirt (the nemesis of any busty gal) and having to purchase a large in order to avoid the dreaded gaping hole between my boobs. Of course, this meant that my torso became a shapeless wash of floral print. My mom’s solution? Add darts! Darts quickly became my best friends as they were the magic trick to taking ill-fitting garments and making them hug my womanly curves.

I took sewing classes in high school, honing the skills necessary to alter patterns and create my own garments. This came in handy when looking for a job during college and stumbling across a Craig’s List ad for a tailors assistant. I came to the interview prepared with samples of my work and got the job! It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but the experience and knowledge gained have stuck with me to this day.

TealPrintVtg PinkFloralVtg

My tailor mentor was a miracle worker. I came to her with vintage dresses that were four sizes too big (I’m a sucker for prints) and with a nip here and a dart there it became a one-of-a-kind, perfectly fitting garment. Once I realized the potential with tailoring there was no stopping me. Shortly after starting at the tailor shop, I began working at Revolver Consignment Boutique. There I would find amazing designer garments and unique vintage pieces, keeping the idea of tailoring in the back of my mind. Hem too long? No problem. Dress too big? Easy fix. Hate the sleeves? Take them off! When something is such a great deal, why not invest a little to customize?

GoldBeforeGoldAfter
(I wore this dress once for New Years and wanted to repurpose it to be more versatile. The end result was a cute fit&flare mini dress + an a-line skirt!)

Not everything is worth tailoring. That cheap dress from H&M that’ll fall apart in a year? Nah. But I have collected the most delightful treasures that wouldn’t have been an option for me had I limited myself to the garment “as is.” More than designer and vintage apparel, I love taking clothes from my mom’s youth and transforming it for my wardrobe. I get more joy from wearing the dress my mom met my dad in than my prized Marc Jacobs shoes. The dress in question began as a frumpy 80’s day dress with a drop waist and tea-length hem (not the most flattering on my petite frame). I took up the sleeves to bring up the waist, took in the sides, and chopped off about five inches of the skirt.

BlueBeforeBlueDressAfter

With this love and appreciation for tailoring as an art-form, my excitement for the grand opening of Glenwood Tailors of Downtown Raleigh comes as no surprise. Glenwood Tailors aims to change the experience of having garments tailored. From the cool vintage decor to their eye for style, Glenwood Tailors is going to revolutionize how society looks at tailoring. Our generation being so rooted in the idea of personalization; I can’t believe more people don’t take advantage of tailoring to create unique, stylish pieces to add to their wardrobe! Join me on Saturday, October 3rd from 12-6pm at 743 W. Johnson St. to see what Glenwood Tailors can do for your personal style.

Standard