Setting the Trend on Glenwood South

Last wednesday, I had the pleasure of assisting Revolver Boutique as they participated in a fashion show on Glenwood South.

The show was organized to unveil the newest Mercedes models, the C-Class and GLA.

Cars aside, the event was a blast and some of our boutique friends from Cameron Village joined in on the fun!

The following is my re-cap of the event, a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a fashion show.

At 1:00pm on show day I met Liz, the owner of Revolver, at the shop to review the looks and go over our game plan. Some of the models were already present, so I led them over to Primp Salon & Bar to start getting ready.


First came hair: I considered the look(s) each girl would be wearing and decided on a hair style that would complement the outfit.
Some ladies went edgy while others had a soft, feminine ‘do.

After hair came make-up and the transformation continued. While all of our models are absolutely stunning, it’s unbelievable what a little mascara and lip color can do for a girl.


Once the beauty portion of the day was complete, we waited… and waited some more.
That’s half of a show is waiting. For hair, for makeup, for the show to start.
I treated myself to a mini manicure and a glass of champagne (thank goodness it was a salon/bar!) while other attendees networked, chatted with friends, or read fashion magazines.


Around 4:00pm it was time to start getting dressed. The lovely staff at Raleigh Downtowner let us use their space to get ready. Bonus: their outdoor space made for a great photoshoot backdrop!

Eugene and Gabby rocked it in alt-military inspired looks.

Vanessa and Tariq were a dream duo in soft hues and cream accents.
I’m obsessed with Tariq’s Marc by Marc cardigan.

ShinHae is a glamourous chameleon with her two totally different ensembles.
She goes from cute and retro to fierce in Dolce & Gabbana (peplum top).

This is one of the two looks Emma worked on the runway.
This outfit features a Proenza Schouler dress that I am literally dying over, with a Haute Hippie blazer and DVF heels.

How adorable is Sunny in this LBD?! Be sure to note her artsy Nicholas Kirkwood flats (LOVE).

Despite the dark, I just had to snap a picture of these last few looks. The first features the most luxe reversible fur coat, the second a super cute Ocsar de la Renta sweater with a Proenza Schouler skirt, and the third an adorable Chloe skirt topped off by a MiuMiu shearling jacket. If these outfits don’t make you want to rush to Revolver right now, then you must be crazy!

All in all it was a wonderful night and a huge success!
I am so thrilled to be an honorary member of Revolver even though I’m no longer an employee.
Although fashion shows can be stressful at times, it is totally worth it in the end.
Can’t wait for the next one!

Hey! Have you ever wanted to shop Revolver but felt overwhelmed or don’t know where to start?
Fear not! I’m available to assist you (free of charge).
Comment below to schedule a shopping date or email me at 🙂


Mid Century Autumn

Every season, Vogue publishes page after page telling you what’s “in” and what’s “out”, who wore who and the latest trends. Well news flash, it’s the same cat each time wearing a different hat. Remember that line from The Devil Wears Prada; “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” It’s truer than we’d like to believe. Each fall we are reintroduced to military, minimal, some version of “artistic”, western, inspired by (insert decade here), and layers (lots of layers). So why do we keep buying new things if fashion just repeats itself?

I’m not dissing the fashion world. To anyone who knows me, I’m a slave to fashion and dress (for myself, my own creative pursuit) every day. What I’m getting at is our infatuation with fast fashion, copying those with true talent, and the inevitable waste it produces at the end of the season.

In 2010 I began working at a local consignment boutique called Revolver. I was a shopper years before I became an employee and even now it’s one of the few places I actually shop. Sure, I’ll browse online, but I always go back to Revolver for unique pieces that are still in style. I can honestly say that at the moment I shop at three stores: Gap for basics, Belk for shoes, and Revolver for everything else. Revolver is guilt-free shopping: all items are in perfect condition, priced less than half their retail value, and vary from high end labels to unknown boutique brands.

I recently collaborated with photographer Terrence Jones, hair & makeup artist Keisha Kidd, and model Cassie Sebas to bring you six looks perfect for the upcoming season, composed of items found (and available for purchase!) at Revolver Boutique.

The overall theme for the shoot was classic, simple shapes with a focus on texture. We did a few looks in a neutral color palette and a few in vibrant hues. Either way, the statement is eye-catching without being extra. All ensembles were shot around the Milton Small building near NC State campus. I am in love with the use of materials in this Mid Century Modern structure, as well as the use of space to incorporate nature into a cosmopolitan environment.

(Vintage Perry Ellis coat, vintage boots & vintage necklaces)
According to Elle magazine, the “robe coat” is huge for Fall/Winter 2014. Personally, I prefer this vintage Perry Ellis coat as it provides enough structure to keep the garment from looking like an actual bath robe.

N2(T Alexander Wang shirt, Magellan’s cape, Vince Camuto heels, metal bracelet)
Capes are also making a comeback this season and I couldn’t be more excited. I am a collector of capes and feel that they suit any occasion. With winter approaching, inclement weather is inevitable. This utilitarian cape is perfect for staying chic (and warm) come rain or snow.

N3(James Perse dress, Vince shirt, Joseph jacket, Harrods cape, BCBG Maxazria belt, Nine West boots)
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely freeze once the temperature drops below 60. The best way to combat the cold? Layer on layers on layers (Harpers Bazaar calls this look “The Wanderer). To pull this off, pair items of varying textures and colors, then cinch everything to keep your figure. This doubles as a wonderful opportunity to play with different trends in one ensemble (like a cape + plaid print).

C1(Theory sweater, Lauren Moffatt cardigan, vintage Goldrings Couture coat, Free People jeans, Korks heels)
Glamour Magazine noted the glow of orange on the runway for F/W 14, an unlikely color that could use more respect. The orange lip has become widely accepted, so why not let the color trickle down the rest of the body? In this ensemble, I played off of a split-complementary color scheme to create an artistic flair. Since the shapes of each garment are clean and simple, you can afford to mix crazy colors with cool textures, without becoming overwhelmed.

(J. Jill dress, Carlisle cardigan, pashmina scarf, Haute Hippie belt, and Rebel boots)
I was inspired by the design of the decade (of the building) when composing ensembles for this photoshoot, thus my use of off-kilter color combinations reminiscent of Mid-century artwork. Sometimes the unexpected makes for the most striking visual; like the mix of sky blue, pea green, and brick red. As with the previous ensemble, the trick is to work with classic silhouettes. It is also best to keep hair & makeup simple, not overdone.

C3(Allude sweater, Michael by MK jacket, Hudson corduroys, Daniblack heels, vintage ring)
This is a minimal take on military. The muted hues of olive green and raisin let the red do all the talking. The ensemble is both cool and sexy, perfect for any event (day or night). A leather jacket lends a tough girl vibe to any outfit, but by choosing a colored leather, the piece becomes more versatile and softer around the edges (compared with a black version). I’m obsessed with these shoes, though. From the front they are your basic brown pumps, but catch and angle and be prepared to shock passer-bys!

So next time you go shopping for wardrobe updates, don’t consider the date. Check out Revolver Boutique on Glenwood South for amazing pieces that are unique as they are affordable.

Big thanks to Revolver Boutique, Terrence of J1S Photography, Keisha Kidd, and the ever fabulous Cassie Sebas!


Vacation, All I Ever Wanted.

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I was in Mallorca (and sorry for the brief hiatus). It’s funny how vacations always last long enough for you to forget about the real world, before being thrown into it again.

But enough lamenting about days gone by. Let me tell you all about my trip!

I’ll start at the beginning, the very beginning, which is packing for said trip. Packing is never easy. How are you to anticipate what situations you’ll find yourself in and what ensembles will be appropriate?

Despite the unknown, I have discovered the best way to pack for a trip is to treat it as creating a capsule collection. Be inspired by the location, the culture, and the time of year. Choose a color scheme that doesn’t blend in to the landscape of your destination, yet does not detract from its beauty.

Capsule collection

For my trip to Mallorca, Spain, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, I selected wispy pastels and muted earth tones to play off the crystal clear water and the rustic mountain ranges. I felt comfortable and stylish without looking like a tourist (I hate looking like a tourist). By sticking to a specific color palette, you can be sure to maximize your selection of clothes since everything goes together. Select mostly solid color pieces, with a few prints mixed in for variety.

Other tips for packing are to:

  • focus on clean, modern silhouettes that can be easily paired and layered
  • bring one of each shoe type (heel, sandal, flat, sneaker)
  • consider your undergarments (if wearing white be sure to bring a nude set)

Probably my biggest rule is this: if Item A serves the same purpose as Item B, pick one. Better yet; if Item A serves two purposes then it wins.

An example comes from my shoe choices. I brought a light wood wedge with silver straps, as well as a muted gold strappy espadrille. My decision to bring a silver shoe and a gold shoe was due to bringing both silver and gold jewelry; however, while my gold espadrille is definitely a daytime shoe, my silver wedge could double for day and night, therefore I had no need to bring a “going out” shoe since I already had an appropriate option for such an event.

Shoe Collection

Similarly, I decided against certain articles because they were “one hit wonders,” meaning they could only be worn with one other item. Winning pieces were those that could be worn with at least two other things in my suitcase.

Another important thing to consider is not only what goes in your suitcase, but what you wear on the flight. There are a few very important factors to consider when choosing a travel outfit: comfort, layers, and shoes. Flights are long and cold, so it’s best to wear something you can curl up and sleep in, as well as adjust for temperature control. I chose to wear a lightweight, long-sleeve jersey knit dress with leggings, accessorized with a lightweight scarf. As for shoes, you want something that you can run around (from flight to flight) in and slip off easily for security checks. I wore my super comfy canvas flats by Kim Rogers (which ended up doubling as my beach shoes).

Flight Outfit

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture all of my outfits during my trip, but here are some highlights.

Outfit 1Outfit 2Outfit 3


Even though I only have a few looks represented, you can see how I could wear the last top with the first pair of shorts, or the first shirt with the last pants, or the middle top with the last pants. Keep things simple, play with color, and keep accessories classic in order to pack light but look fabulous.


Watch out for more posts about my Mallorca vacation!


Two Tones to Monochromatic

Monochromatic: containing or using only one color.

One of my biggest fashion pet peeves is when someone assumes that “monochromatic” refers only to a black & white color scheme. Actually, monochromatic is much more complex. The term describes the use of a single hue and it’s variations: any tint (adding white) and any shade (adding black). This play within a single color allows for dimension and visual stimulation, without the “busy” look that would be produced by a similar composition using multiple colors.

There are two strategies when styling a monochromatic ensemble. The last thing you want is to appear boring or look like a blueberry (in the case of an all blue, same shade outfit). The first is hue variation, which I described above. The second is texture, a two part element composed of a visual component and a tactile component. 

Hue, Shade & Tint
So if a tint is the addition of white and a shade is the addition of black, then a hue is the purest form of a color (think the color wheel from grade school). Of course, in fashion we take some creative liberties and therefore an ensemble may not be exactly the same hue. It’s more of an interpretation. The variations in color add visual interest, can emphasize certain aspects of the body, and create a sort of pattern or rhythm. It should be noted that within a monochromatic scheme you can add a neutral or two. It is nice to focus on one hue, but a touch of black or brown can break up the monotony without undermining the effect.



Texture: Visual & Tactile
Texture can be divided into two categories. Visual is like how shiny or matte something is. Think about how you deduce texture from a picture or film. Tactile texture would be how rough or smooth something is, you can actually feel the texture of the fabric. Now, our minds may blend these two together; we see something shiny and assume it feels smooth. That is part of the beauty of fashion, that it can be sensed without being seen.

These different textures add visual interest just as color variation does. Our eyes need something to focus on, then something to guide our attention throughout the ensemble. If an outfit is all the exact same color it is boring (or you end up looking like a fruit). If there is no mix of textures then the outfit is boring, as well. When an ensemble lacks accent colors it requires other methods to create interest. Apply these two techniques when styling your monochromatic look and you will be anything other than drab.


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.