This post is the first one in a new series I am trying out for my editorial calendar. It is much lighter than my usual soul-searching monologues and simply focuses on fashions trend I feel like examining a bit closer.
I hope for these posts to be as fun for you guys as the other posts on my blog, if not more! Without further ado, let’s jump in!
Today, the topic I feel like yapping about is texture in an outfit; more specifically, how mixing different textures in a single look can lead to something dope.
Putting together an outfit can be as simple or as complicated as you make it, really. While I personally tend to err on the simpler side for everyday wear, I do enjoy the occasional sass of a well-crafted look with interesting elements. A shortcut to that sartorial promised land is juxtaposing interesting and unexpected textures to create something visually appealing.
There are tons of reasons why mixing things up is clever, but I will zero in on a few below.
Anything becomes more interesting with a cool texture, and clothes are no exception. Mixing things up makes looks more eye-catching and richer; it immediately looks like the wearer put lots of work into it (which is usually the goal, for me at least). As an example, pairing leather pants with a fur coat makes a statement. It departs from boring hum-drum fashion and immediately becomes noteworthy, fun, appealing and “haute”. The all-black look above is much cooler because of the neighboring strips of leather and lace.
There is more opportunity to use transitional pieces.
Spring is upon us, and brighter colors are about to make their 2018 debut after hibernating for a few months. That said, the (chilly AF) temperatures still call for warmer pieces, even though we are all ready to be rocking lilac and shit. This is a great time to pair heavier winter fabrics (like suede or wool) with lighter and brighter summery fabrics like light cotton or silk. A fun printed dress can be paired with a great jacket and warm boots to create the perfect mixture of stylish and sensible (cause frostbite ain’t your friend). I paired a fun coat with a mini above, but honestly—that coat was protecting no one from the cold, let’s be real.
Mixing textures allows one’s style to shine through an otherwise standard look
Do you have a signature style? (if not, these steps can help you find yours btw.) Do you have items that just scream “you”, like layered scarves or fun colored tights? If so, adding something unexpected but still YOU to an outfit will add a fun new texture while putting your stamp on an outfit (in my case, I added a lace bralet to the look above to make it sassier and truer to my sophisti-ratchet style😁).
Mixing Textures is key for a killer for a monochromatic look
I am not saying that monochromatic looks have to be mixed in texture, but I am definitely saying that it makes them more interesting. Ashleigh from The Daileigh wrote a book on monochromatic dressing, and texture plays a big role in nailing a good monochromatic look! See, I know what I am talking about! The red look above is one of my favorite of all time, and the mix of knit and satin make it so fun! See one of her monochromatic looks below:
It’s a beautiful day today in the Bay (I am full of shit- I am currently in Asia so there could very well be a blizzard in San Francisco and I would be none the wiser); how are you guys doing? Stellar, I hope!
So the holidays are around the corner! Y’all about to be hitting parties and shit, drinking champagne (or vodka, whiskey, beer or sparkly apple juice- I equally support all beverage choices) and looking super cute. It’s time for all the LBDs to come out of hiding, the ugly sweaters, and even the gowns. It is truly the most glamorous time of the year, unless for those of you who get to go to balls and galas often (let it be known that I am very jealous of you.)
That said, guess who (or really, what) will also be everywhere this holiday season? Sequins. Listen— these guys have somehow branded themselves as THE accessory to rock at every glam party, and guess what: I’m not mad at them. Therefore, even though sequins are the Starbucks of holiday wear (they are every-fucking-where), they are also… well, the Starbucks of holiday wear (reasonably expected to provide decent coffee glam through your holiday party circuit.) They deserve some respek!
Last tangent, I swear; I’ll get into the outfits in a minute, but who here remembers the first time they saw sequins? My earliest memories of seeing sparkly dresses are linked to music stars; when I was 4-5, I remember seeing a sequin dress on the Ivorian singer Nayanka Bell at a live show. She was also wearing bedazzled shoes like these and that WAS IT— sequins became the highest level of glam one could achieve in my mind, kind of like the Super Saiyan of clothing. I did change my mind since then though, thankfully.
So since sequins are LIT, I am bringing about a quadruple threat of sequined attire today; y’all better watch out! (I mean not really, it just sounded good in the sentence). Sequin mermaid maxi skirts are all over Pinterest and I definitely felt like I needed one in my wardrobe after seeing them featured in some pretty amazing outfits. Plus— sequins have started making their way into weddings too, so I am justifying my purchase by the fact that they will be in fashion for a while more, hence calling this skirt an investment. Boom. See how easy it is to rationalize doubtful decisions? Please don’t be like me.
Let’s hit that sequin extravaganza!
The rocker chic sequin skirt look / Girls holiday bash
This look is for the girl who cannot be too bothered with a super duper glam outfit. She’s cool, will rock a little bit of sequin, but needs to balance the look out with something edgy. I would wear this out to a holiday bash with my girls because, while I love sequins, the leather jacket ups the casual/rocker chic factor and helps the look not cross into “overdressed” territory. Moreover, I am also rocking a tube top here; kinda hard to try any less. Don’t get me wrong, I overdress often and enjoy the heck out of it, but I also find a certain understated elegance in dressing super fancy items down. Truth is, I wanted to wear this look with silver sneakers, but I forgot to change shoes and shot with black pumps instead— which still works.
This look is all about playing with textures, in this case contrasting the fringe with the sequins. I think it is likely the most “haute” look of all four, and I find the result to be very regal; for some reason, sequins and fringe go very well together in my opinion (even though I have seen some less than optimal pairings.) This look is for the girl who is bold, yet calmly confident. While guaranteed to be a head turner, it is also very polished (reminds me of this Marchesa gown a bit.). I would wear this at a fancy holiday party with a dress code from Festive to Black Tie (I learned these for this post, I did not even know Festive existed until 5 minutes ago)
What I am wearing: Top: ZARA- for some strange reason, I can find it nowhere, even though I bought it this season. Here is a couple of similar ones: here and here; Belt, here. Same shoes as above.
The classy sequin skirt look/ Office Holiday Party
This is literally (WAY) the dressed up version of an office look. A sequin skirt has enough drama to stand on its own, so to make it a tad more formal, adding a blazer could be a great move. In this very case, I feel like a jacket with some interesting elements would make the look stand out even more; the blazer I am using features power shoulders, double lapels and a high-low peplum in the back. Okay- that’s a lot, but it works! I also accentuated my waist with a leather obi belt- looks fun and cinches me in, since my jacket is actually one size too large.
Shoe-wise, I would pair this look with simple black shoes- sandals or pumps. I am not a matchy-matchy person (actually, I find the process of matching anything abhorrent), but you guys know black is BAE. I will highlight that Folake from Style Pantry has featured a similar look years ago– check it out! I honestly did not even realize I was channeling her until I had put my outfit together.
What I am wearing: Blazer: Amazon, featured here– it is my favorite blazer; Belt, very old, no idea where it’s from. Similar here and here. Same shoes as above.
The monochromatic sequin skirt look/ NYE Glam Party
When in doubt, just go monochromatic. It elevates all looks to the status of super polished without even trying. I have been really into monochromatic dressing this year (see here, here, and here), and I do not see myself stoppin anytime soon.
I knew I wanted a monochromatic component in this roundup, but I also kind of wanted to highlight my waist (also I do not have any silver shoes, LOL). I ended up breaking the look a bit with a belt, as well as accessorizing the ‘fit with black sleek sandals. As far as purse choices, I bounced back between 2: a simple black clutch, and a sassier silver bedazzled number (graciously offered to me by my friend K. on my birthday). This look is the quintessential NYE look in my mind: shiny, breezy and classy. I can literally see a glass of champagne in my hands in these photos; can’t you?
Alright- a quick roundup of each item, and we’re dunzo.
Skirt: Love it. Had it made to my own measurements in gunmetal by Etsy seller LoveAlanaSparkle. Great experience, but the sequins are sharp as hell and I would recommend hoisery or thin leggings underneath. A plus if it’s cold anyway.
Tube top: I mean , it’s a tube top. Opaque enough, no support if you’re busty. Stretchy spandex-like fabric.
Fringed top: Love it, featuring it in an upcoming post as well. The middle part is t-shirt like, so I would say it’s a little cheaper than I would like, but it makes up for it in pozzazz. Still can’t find the link, options above.
Pumps: Featured several times on the blog (1, 2, 3). I still hate them.
Happy Tuesday, and I hope you enjoyed the weekend and are already killing this week! Are you doing anything fun or major? Let me know in the comments!
I was on Pinterest the other day, and I saw a few pins about unlocking one’s personal style. I already had “Personal Style” inked on my list of things to write about, because it is such an organic and ever-evolving thing. It took me a long time to feel like I nailed mine; shit, I still have doubts sometimes! As far as I am concerned, “Style” really does not have much to do with fashion. I define it as:
Internally: one’s personal philosophy about how they want to look.
To be honest, #2 has to come first, but it takes a while to achieve. It is challenging for anyone to figure out how they want to appear to the world… Moreover, IF they ever achieve that, nailing a consistent aesthetic as a result of it is a tall ask. We were not all blessed with Janelle Monáe’s incredible consistency (the girl has been slaying in her black and white “uniform” for YEARS, veering very rarely away from it). For the bulk of us mere mortals, shopping is really just reduced to looking for items to wrap our bodies in, while optimizing for comfort and cuteness.
Personal style is a very… well, personal journey, but I feel like some overarching rules hold true; let’s explore them below!
1. Forget what you are “supposed” to be wearing. This is about you.
Finding your style means really focusing on what feels right to YOU. That means letting go of other people’s opinions, of what your friends like, of what you momma thinks and even of current fashion. Focus on yourself. What do YOU like, and how do you want to feel in your clothes? It is cool to get inspiration from other people; as a matter of fact, if I was richer, I could literally buy anything Folake from Style Pantry ever wore —with my eyes closed— and be happy. However, make sure to be listening to your own voice a lot more than anyone else’s. It’s the only one that matters here.
2. Find your best assets and show them off (if you are so inclined)
Let me preface this by saying that it’s YOUR decision as to what your best assets are. No matter how much people like a part of your physique, you will not feel comfortable highlighting it unless you agree with them. That said, what do you like about yourself? Be greedy: pick several spots on your body worth showing off (yes, there are several, I promise you) and determine whether you are okay playing them up in your outfits. Side note: playing something up does not have to mean baring it. Jeans highlight legs nicely, and a great blazer can accentuate shoulders while keeping them covered.
If you are struggling with this exercise, take a hard look at your closet and answer these questions:
What items do I like, and what garments make me feel happy? What clothes do I feel the most confident in, and what would I wear if I wanted to look my best?
The items you pick as a result of those questions should serve as the starting point of your style journey, as they likely highlight what you subconsciously believe to be your best assets.
3. Analyze what you gravitate towards, in real life and in pictures.
By now, you should be pretty honest with yourself about what you like or do not like (if you still feel like you are dressing for other people, remember— this is YOUR style journey, mkay?). Now hop on Pinterest (I have a few boards you may like, wink wink ), grab a fashion magazine or just head over to Instagram. Start wildly scrolling and saving/earmarking anything that catches your eye, or anything you could honestly see yourself rocking with excitement. Do not be afraid to be bold either — I mean, we are only browsing photos here. Suits, skirts, dresses, shoes, gowns, freaking bikinis- save them all. After you do that for a few minutes (or hours or days), go back to your gallery and look at your shortlist. What do you notice? Are any items the same? Do they follow a pattern (or several)? How do the outfits make you feel? Which kind of items/colors/dressing styles keep coming back? Make note of all these things, delete the few looks that aren’t quite as exciting anymore and save some more images! We’re getting somewhere!
4. Unearth the connector words.
Okay- now the moment of truth. Look at all those gorgeous outfits. Quick, describe them all in 2-3 words! “Boho, floral, flowy!” or “Monochromatic, structured, sleek!” or “Relaxed, denim, androgynous!” Ta-da, there you go! You have a style profile! *does the happy dance*
Okay, that works like 5% of the time. In case you are still perplexed, try breaking things up by clothing type. How are your dressy outfits? How about your work looks? Any resemblance amongst your casual looks? What color palette or fit do you stick to?
If that does not work either, how about we split everything by garment type? How are your dresses? Your skirts? Do they all accentuate the same area of the body? Are they mostly minis, midis or maxis? Are your jeans mostly distressed? Dark wash? Skinny or relaxed?
Whether in plain sight or a little hidden, the connection is always there. Just give yourself a large enough sample size in earmarked outfits to be able to see the patterns emerge.
5. Bring it home.
Whew, now that we have done the hard part, we have to adapt your aspirational style profile to your everyday life. Indeed, for example, depending on where you work, “sexy, boho, chic” may be a little frowned upon; however, it could be incorporated in your wardrobe in the form of fun accessories or floral chiffon blouses under your blazers. Alternatively, “Edgy, leather, deconstructed ” sounds like a badass style profile, but it may not work very well in a classroom; that said, a leather cuff and a studded belt may give you just enough of the look to be true to yourself while following rules. You get my point.
Start “adapting” your style profile to your daily life. If all your photos feature sky-high heels, be ready to invest in a pair OR to recreate your looks with cute flats. Same thing for designer clothing and accessories; identify what you like about your picks and recreate the look for less (see here how to score great quality clothing for less), unless you can afford a closet full of Monique Lhuillier- in which case YOU GO, GIRL!
6. Take your brand new style for a spin!
Chances are, you already have items in your closet that match your ideal style. Rock them and pay attention to how you feel in them; create new outfits with the inspiration you gathered from your research; determine whether you want to add new connector words to your description, or remove some altogether; make sure you feel gorgeous and confident; have fun!!!
And remember: at the end of the day, they are only clothes. They come off.
Bonus: My own journey
Putting my money where my mouth is… Below is my own journey through the 6 steps above. I really did use this framework, guys! I may not have known it at the time, but this is honestly how . found my “look”.
This took me a while. I listened to everyone else’s thoughts on what I should be wearing for far too long and in the end, I had no style of my own. It took a minute for me to develop my own opinions.
That was easy. I have a mini torso and long ass limbs, so legs was a no-brainer. More recently, I have also been on a weight loss journey for the past six months (23 lbs so far, woohoo!) so my newfound waist has been making its way up the list as well. I also like highlighting the hourglass figure I do not have.⏳
The color black; jeans; anything that makes me look hourglass-y (so yay peplums/ mermaid skirts); minis; ankara clothes; black pointy-toed pumps; ratchet Instagram boutique dresses; thigh high boots.
“Sophisti-ratchet, monochromatic, ethnic, curve-enhancing”. I love to bare random body parts in a classy (ish) way, I could wear black every day of my life, and I put my legs on display a little bit 😀. I am also a boxier than I would like, so I fake the hourglass shape God didn’t give me by sporting items that nip at the waist and flare out.
I do that every day.
I have solidly been in this wheelhouse for 5+ years, and it somehow never feels boring.
Done! And while all that is cool, we need deets on the outfit!
Top: Twist X Turn high-low eyelet blouse. I fell in love with it immediately. I bought it along with its sister in a checkered pattern– LOVE them both. I cannot see the one I am wearing on the website for sale, even though it is on the homepage- weird. That said, the ties at the waist are stupid- they make zero sense, and I had to play around with them for a while to knot them in a way that worked for me. Still, I like the silhouette, the asymmetrical design and the overall elegant yet surprising feel this top has. Only wore it once so far (for this shoot), but it is comfortable and gorgeous.
Skirt: ZARA. This is a black pencil skirt, but it is fighting basicness by sporting a strip of PU leather and a band of lace. It does not look like much on a hanger, but I like the way it looks on.
Shoes: Steve Madden; worn here, here and here. Still hate them because they compress my feet, but they sure make my legs look a mile long.
Bag: Céline Phantom. This impulse buy was brought to you by poor decision making in collaboration with a long day at work; I am ashamed.
Thanks y’all so much for rocking with me, and please leave any questions in the comments!
*this post is dedicated to clothing; I will be sharing a post dedicated to hair extensions if people express some interest in the comments.*
Hello fashionable humans!!! I am wishing you a great Monday from London!
I have not visited the city just yet (I mean I just landed yesterday) but I will be popping the travel section’s cherry 🍒soon, with pictures from the city and vague touristy thoughts!
With the holidays around the corner, every blogger worth their salt is about to start sharing cool gift buying guides and shit. Not me;gift giving is hard and I struggle to give meaningful gifts to anyone, even (and especially) to my closest friends and family. So no. Actually, let’s all go look at other people’s gift guides- recommendations are welcome in the comments!
That said, if there is one thing I know how to do, it is to stretch the shit out of my dollars. I have to make my bucks go a LONG way because I stay shopping.Mr. Dafrastar has me on a budget, but that just made me very creative in looking for cheaper ways to buy what I want. That means that Bloomingdales and Neimans aren’t an option for my wallet, so I have to satisfy my “look fabulous” cravings on the low. Enter Amazon, AliExpress, Zara, Boohoo, NastyGal, Poshmark and all of those (albeit small) money leeches.
Anywho, my top 3 money pits *ahem* I mean SAVERS are Amazon, Poshmark and AliExpress. For this post, I will be focusing on the first and last one, as my shopping strategy for them is identical (save a couple of details). Poshmark is hit or miss, and I will be dedicating a whole post to Posh finds someday. Actually, how about a series with bi-monthly finds from Amazon, Ali or Posh??? Hmmm 🤔 I like that (I clearly have a lot of conversations with myself.)
So where were we? Yes- buying clothing on Amazon and AliExpress. Here are the steps I personally follow below. Those have allowed me to be fairly successful in buying from those websites, in nailing my sizing down and generally ending up with good quality garments – at a reasonable cost. (It is worth noting that I am focusing on Asian Amazon vendors in this post; buying from US vendors is much more straightforward.) Oh- also, actually, in a roundabout way, I may help with your holiday shopping, because I may help you save money on gifts. Ta-da!!!!!
1st step: Let go of misconceptions: everything from China isn’t cheap, quality or price wise.
Buying from China has a pretty shitty connotation; it is usually associated with very poor clothing quality and overall pretty comical letdowns. Honestly though, it’s for a good reason: for a good laugh, just Google prom dress horror stories, preferably with juxtapositions of listing images vs. actual products. Some of those are COLD (and, you know, therefore hilarious.)
If you need more proof that buying from China can be risky business, Patricia Bright actually filmed a series of videos ordering from popular (mostly Asian ) websites. Some of the things she received will make you gasp- and then dissolve in fits of giggles. She is so funny about it, you can’t help but laugh/snort your way through her unpacking.
THAT SAID,☝🏿 she did score a few amazing items, which shows that everything is not all bad (she even wore a dress to a red carpet event). I personally scored some of my most prized sartorial possessions from AliExpress and Amazon, so I would say that the key here is research, which we will cover below. There are also some extremely high-quality items on Ali that cost a NICE chunk of change, but you have to look for them.
2- Unless you want to take risks, do NOT order any items with no/very few orders/reviews.
Unless you have ordered from a seller before and are comfortable with their quality, it is a gamble to order an item nobody ordered before, or an item without clear reviews.
After entering my description in the search bar in AliExpress, I usually sort by the number of orders and then look at the most ordered items in descending order.
These items are more likely to have plenty of reviews, and taking the time to comb through, say, the 20 most recent ones, allows me to know what to expect. By the way, reviews can be faked, so I make sure to only pay attention to the ones that are longer than 5 words, and more substantial than “OMG fantastic seller!” 🙄 Also, make sure 5 star reviews are not just complimenting the fast shipping- some people do that, which for the life of me I can’t understand.
On Amazon, the “top” positive and negative review feature helps a lot but it is only a pointer (see below; get to it by clicking the “see all x (number) customer reviews” link). Just like on Ali, reviews can be faked, so make sure to read more than just one positive/ critical one. I personally also make sure to seek out longer reviews, because they likely have juicy details I may be interested in. Also, with some vendors, quality changes over time, so a 5 star item last year could be a 3 today. Make sure to have a decent spread of time in the reviews you are looking at and look more at recent ones.
3- Pictures in reviews: Use them. Steer clear of items that do not have image reviews.
I use images for different purposes on AliExpress and Amazon: on Ali, they serve as a quality check on the garment, and on Amazon they help more with the fit. Make sure to look for plenty of people with the item on in different situations (just trying on, at a party, after a day of wearing) and pay extra attention to those reviews; people often say how they felt in it, whether they received compliments on their outfit, whether things fell apart, etc. Pictures will also show defects in the clothing, so make sure to browse through them.
4- Even if you do nothing else, please do this: Know your measurements.
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Asian sizes are tricky; an average size M in US sizing could be a fucking size 2-3X in Asian sizing. To make that even worse, it seems that many vendors use their own sizing systems. 🙄
However, they usually offer a measurement scale as well (often in centimeters) which will let you know which size fits what measurements, and that scale is generally quite accurate. It is usually hidden somewhere in the item description on AliExpress; on Amazon, it is sometimes in the pictures, or in the item description as well. I also THINK that if the seller(s) get(s) enough flack because people keep ordering the wrong size (especially on Amazon), they sometimes even switch to US sizing, so make sure you know which size is being referenced in the listing.
The way I personally get around all this nonsense is that I know my measurements by heart. I retake them once a month (for other reasons than shopping, lol), so they are pretty accurate at all times. The most important measurement for tops is obviously “chest”; for dresses, I usually focus on “hips” (mine are round, so they are the body part I have to accommodate for) and factor in any stretch to know whether I can size down to match my chest. “Waist” and “Hips” are obviously very important for skirts and pants, etc.
Rant Tangent– DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON PEOPLE WHO USE THEIR WEIGHT IN THEIR REVIEWS. WHY???? Like- “I am 150 lbs, I got this dress in Medium and fits like a dream!” Wait- HOW DOES THAT HELP ME, OR ANYONE??? There are many photos floating around the web showing women with the same weight and wildly varying sizes. See below- I have receipts!
I personally weigh more than most people my size (I am 176 lbs as of right now, I think), but I am a sz 8 with a 29” waist. So thanks, Jane Doe, for telling me how amazing this dress is on your 150 lbs frame, but I literally have no idea how knowing your weight helps my shopping experience or even gives me any good frame of reference. Heck- even assuming we are the same waist size, I could be a bit hippier than you, or a bit bustier. So please please please, if there is anything you get from this post,it should be to use your measurements in reviews, or at least your usual clothing size; not your weight, ma’am. *end rant*
Hint: for the pic above, they all weigh 154 lbs. Told ya!
5- Do not be afraid to contact the seller or ask questions to the community if you’re still confused.
On AliExpress, it is very easy to contact sellers via the listing to ask questions. I often ask for pictures of the item by itself (not on a model), ask any sizing questions I need to, and even ask whether they have sales coming up. They are pretty good at replying within a couple of days- usually less than a day even.
On Amazon, I first browse existing questions to find any answers I may be looking for, in case I couldn’t make a decision based on reviews only. If my question was not asked (for example, whether some pants would be long enough for my 36″ inseam), I just ask it to the community.
Sellers are usually keen on answering questions because that creates a knowledge base, which in turn saves them from answering the same question ever again. The community is also pretty fast; people love talking about shit they bought, myself included! I would say I get answers to around 75% of the questions I ask on Amazon, and I always answer questions on items I boughtif I can.
This dress is available here. Listing changed for some reason, it had a lot more reviews and pictures.
6- BONUS: if you can, contact previous buyers to ask how the item is holding up.
It is not a common occurrence, but on either Ali or Amazon, every once in a while, a reviewer may leave their Instagram account in their review or have a watermark on their photo. I contacted a couple of people via DM on Instagram, and they were usually very open to sharing their experiences. I actually do that A LOT on Etsy (it’s easy to contact other members) and for purchases from Instagram stores.
FINALLY, DASSIT! If you read so far, you are a trooper and a champ and you deserve to score the very best deals on AliExpress and Amazon for the rest of your life.
Please let me know any questions you may have – as evidenced by what must be the 2,000 words above, I can talk about shopping on Ali and Amazon all day!