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!

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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.

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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.

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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 😉

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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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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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.

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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?

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(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.

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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.

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Wardrobing

Don’t Call This a Comeback

I’m baaaack!
After a brief hiatus, Style Asset has returned at full speed.

The past few months have been big.
I was promoted at my day job and began a new project for Style Asset. Some of you may know that my ultimate goal with Style Asset is to open a brick-and-mortar boutique and styling firm. Well this is a step in that direction!

Introducing: Style Asset Collections; a new way of presenting second-hand apparel.

The idea came to me while trying to figure out what to do with the clothes I had recently purged from my closet. I am a collector of fashion with a wide range of influencers, but I tend to buy things for their beauty instead of compatibility with my wardrobe. Why was I doing this?! I’m always telling my clients not to keep things they no longer wear or fit into, so why wasn’t I more strict on myself? If you’re looking to clear some items from your closet, ask yourself these questions:

When was the last time I wore this?
Does it go with more than three other pieces?
Do I really love it?

If your answers sounded something like, “forever ago, not really, & meh” then toss it. Not literally, like into the trash, because clothing is taking over our landfills, but do something else with it. Donating is super easy, but if you have quality pieces try taking them to your local consignment boutique. I had consigned clothes for years, but for some reason this time around I thought, “why not do it myself?”

I set out to sell my own clothes wanting to do something different, so instead of listing several, seemingly non-coordinating pieces onto a website, why not take a tip from the designers and present collections? I started to sort though all of my gently worn apparel and found about twenty articles that inspired me in their colors&shapes and voila! I had my first capsule collection.

Collection

Laurel Canyon is the name of the first group of goods available on Style Asset Collections. Check out my next blog post to see inspiration for the collection, featured designers, and a sneak peek at the beautiful pieces available JUNE 13TH! And of course, I have to thank my BFF Keisha Louise for helping me realize these crazy ideas that I get 🙂

Laurel Canyon Preview

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Styling

Leather Whether the Weather’s Better

It’s finally Spring!!
(well, almost)

By the time March rolls around I am so tired of my Winter wardrobe that I am extra excited for the climate change.
But there are always a few pieces that I want to wear a little bit longer.
Sometimes it’s a favorite top or a new piece that didn’t get enough play.
Spring is the best time for mixing things up.

My favorite Winter pieces tend to incorporate a bit of leather (or pleather).
Even though this is a cold-weather textile, it works wonders with the colors & prints of Spring fashion.

Here’s an example:

I received this Zara skirt for Christmas & absolutely love it.
I wore it to work the first day of 2015, styled with dark florals & vintage fur.

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The combination of rich fabrics (leather, suede & fur), deep jewel tones,
and the juxtaposition of vintage fur with a gold Cassio watch made for a luxe look ready to brave the bitter cold.

So how do you lighten up a plum-colored leather skirt?
Pair it with soft pastels!

I love the combination of plum, grey & blush.
It’s feminine, sophisticated
& color blocking adds a modern touch.

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There are still subtle Spring details in this ensemble,
like the floral laser-cut detail on the booties & the abstract floral print on the belt.
The key is to balance elements from each season for a smooth transition.

My next #OOTD is all about my latest leather obsession.

While shopping at Revolver, I scored this awesome powder blue (p)leather A-line skirt.
The color instantly makes it appropriate for the warmer weather,
but the material can totally be styled for winter.
It is the perfect year-round piece.

I styled it for this 80 degree day with a June Cleaver attitude.

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Big, bubbly flower earrings look right at home with a 1960’s handbag and gingham blouse.
This Mid-century inspired ensemble is fun & flirty,
yet cool enough to not feel like a costume.

With any outfit, it is important to use a mix of inspirations to create a look that is uniquely you.
When you’re dressing for a transitional season, be sure to take cues from each season to make it work.
Pair leather with pastels, black with florals, suede with chiffon.
Textures, colors & prints are your best friends.

You can see how I styled these leather leggings,
first by incorporating delicate lace and then by contrasting with a vibrant floral print.

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Hope this inspires you!
What is your favorite transitional piece?

Have questions about styling?
Need wardrobe guidance?
Comment below & I’ll answer!

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