Closet Crushes: C.K. in D.C.

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It’s been forever and a day since I’ve done a proper “Closet Crushes” post- mainly because my usual staples in Fall/Winter aren’t really worth blogging about- but also because it’s hard to find the time to properly photograph an ensemble with my often busy and packed schedule. It’s much easier and time-friendly for me to write about my monthly subscription boxes or bad horror movies than it is for me to jump in front of a camera and hope I’m not pulling an awful face when the timer goes off (spoiler alert: I’m ALWAYS pulling an awful face.)

I had some luck with my recent trip to Alexandria/Washington D.C., however- having loved my choice of dress (and shoes!) to attend a wedding so much that I knew I had to revisit the world of fashion blogging and share it.  There’s something about Spring and incorporating actual colors into my wardrobe that makes me feel flirty and fun- and I think this sky blue Calvin Klein sheath dress- bursting with blooming white flowers- really captures that.

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I love how lightweight this dress is. It was classy enough for the church ceremony but loose-fitting and flowing enough where I could party at the reception and still be comfortable. The blue also compliments my red hair and fair skin- but it a pretty close match to my eye color, too.

When it came to shoes, I paired this dress with matching sky blue pointed toe heels (with a small heel- so that I could look fancy- not alarmingly taller than my date- and still move around!) and carried along a pair of nude flats in my bag in case my feet started to get a little sore as the night wore on. Thankfully, it wasn’t an issue.

I also carried along a white cardigan with me in case it got cold- which it most certainly did as the afternoon wore on. The cardigan did little to block the frigid temperatures as I was maneuvering to/from my rental car- and I owe my friend and date Duncan for being such a gentleman and wrapping his jacket around my shoulders more than once so I wouldn’t freeze to death!

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Since I’ve given up on my hair being anything other than curly and huge at all times (flat-ironing it takes a little more than an hour, maybe two- and I didn’t have that time to spare while I was getting ready since I had to get moving!) I let it air dry after combing some coconut milk serum and mousse through it- and kept my makeup subtle- using soft pink eye shadow, rosy/nude lipstick, and minimal blush to round out my springtime look.

Overall, I loved this entire ensemble- and I have a couple of semi-formal events coming up in the Summer where I’ll be able to wear this again (I’m not one to wear an outfit only once!)

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xx

Inspired By: Penny Lane

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Cameron Crowe’s cinematic love letter to one of the greatest eras in rock n’ roll, “Almost Famous”, was released in 2000. I was 14 at the time, and although I grew up with much of the music that comprised the film’s outstanding soundtrack- I didn’t actually see the movie until my early twenties. As endearing as William Miller, the main protagonist played by Patrick Fugit was, and as seductive and sincere as Billy Crudup’s portrayal of Russell Hammond- the lead guitarist in the film’s fictional band, Stillwater, turned out to be- it was Kate Hudson’s character, Penny Lane, who really stole the show.

With a 1970s backdrop (and the fashion to match) Penny is the leader of the “Band Aids,” a group of women who travel with various bands and their crews and in Penny Lane’s own words, “inspire the music.” Although they vehemently deny being groupies- there’s plenty of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll debauchery going on behind the scenes. Penny and Russell are in love with each other, although neither one will admit it to the other- but Russell’s growing ego and on/off again girlfriend back home complicates things. William is a witness to the shows, the fights, the antics, and even some of the tender moments as he grows and matures while on tour with Stillwater- and writes it all for Rolling Stone’s cover story about the band.

In my early twenties, I could relate to Penny. Not just because she had curly hair like me or because she lived in the city I can’t wait to make my home- San Diego- but because she had fallen madly in love with an up and coming musician who was too proud (and maybe a little bit too selfish) to admit that he cared for her as deeply as she cared for him until it was too late and she had jet-set off to Morocco to start a new life on her own. As someone who once got mixed up with my own up and coming musician for a few years- seeing Penny’s struggles, with the highs and the lows of the rocker and touring lifestyle- resonated with me. She was a mix of strength and vulnerability, charm and compassion- and I will always and forever covet her shearling coat.

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Wearing this peasant-style top reminds me of a scene in the movie where Penny is dancing to music no one else can hear in an empty auditorium following a Stillwater show. She’s twirling and gliding across the floor barefoot, and it’s the most serene and peaceful we see her. I paired the top with a comfortable pair of denim capris and sneakers- also inspired by another scene in the movie where Penny is sporting a similar ensemble as she listens to William accidentally confess that Russell (after a moment of hesitation) has traded Penny and the other Band Aids to the band Humble Pie in exchange for $50 and  a case of beer. It’s a sharp contrast to the auditorium scene- and it’s also the first time we see Penny’s confident front crack- if only for a moment.

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Some of you may remember my sunglasses from my Practical Festival Wear post a couple of months ago, and although they’re a bit rounder than Penny’s were in the movie, they make me feel like shouting “it’s all happening!” whenever I put them on, anyway.

My makeup was easy. Penny is effortlessly beautiful. She doesn’t need a sharp cat eye or a bold lip to be alluring. She looks natural and radiant in her simplicity. Although the Polaroid effects make it hard to tell- I wore nothing more than a matte-finish foundation, a light pink shimmer blush on the apples of my cheeks, a bit of highlighter around my brow bone, mascara, and a clear lip balm. Quick and easy!

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And finally, to complete my ensemble(s)- I’ve owned this replica Stillwater t-shirt- complete with out-of-focus goodness ($14.99 HERE)– for quite some time, and occasionally like to wear it out and about on my more casual days. I love when other “Almost Famous” fans recognize it. Although I don’t recall ever seeing Penny sporting the t-shirt of her most beloved band- I’d like to think she owned a couple.

I’d also like to think that Penny and Russell eventually had their happy ending. It didn’t happen for me and my own musician all those years ago- but I want to believe true love exists!

Side note: I’m aware my little white Kia isn’t as fabulous as a tour bus named Doris, but it’s how I get around and “tour” the country!

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xox

Closet Crushes: Practical Festival Wear.

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Oh, “Closet Crushes” posts- how I’ve missed you. It’s been well over a year- maybe a year and a half- since I’ve shared some of the contents of my wardrobe on here. With work, travel, geeking out at comic-conventions, and more recently- unpredictable weather- I haven’t had much time or motivation to primp and pose outdoors in some of my favorite pieces in recent months- and the “Closet Crushes” posts sort of fell to the wayside as a result.

But now, with beautiful weather here at last and my closet recently cleaned out and organized from a LOT of Spring cleaning- I’ve been inspired to start them up again- and with the first leg of Coachella wrapping up this past weekend (and the festival fashion recap posts emerging online)– I thought I’d share two of my favorite, practical, but still stylish ensembles to wear for such an occasion.

Here’s the thing about Coachella. Over the years, the festival has become less about music and more about which celebrity can show up wearing the most outlandish, impractical, and uncomfortable looking outfits (sometimes engaging in some cultural appropriation along the way.) How someone can enjoy a band’s set in 75+ degree weather, surrounded by a mass of other sweating, sticky bodies, and trying to decide between succumbing to dehydration or spending $12 on a bottle of water- all while wearing layers upon layers of leather, fringe, suede, feathers, tulle (the worst fabric imaginable,) and three pounds of metal bangle bracelets- is beyond me. That sounds like a miserable time!

I’ve been to a few outdoor music festivals throughout the years, and I’ve always made it a point to dress in clothing that was comfortable and suitable for the elements. Jeans, t-shirts, and waterproof boots in case of rain or puddles were pretty much mandatory- but sometimes the heat and the sun beating down during the day could make me feel like I was roasting- and I turned to more flowing, breathable fabrics that let me stay cool and able to move around (and dance!) freely without looking like an insane person.

I love my shin-length, nude-colored cotton crochet skirt (in the left hand side of the photo above,) which I usually layer with a tank top and a lightweight sweater in case it cools down at all during the day- and my white, cotton crochet dress (right side of the photo above,) is loose-fitting and feminine- making me feel pretty and comfortable. I especially love the design of it’s bell sleeves- which give me some serious BoHo vibes.

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For accessories, I try to keep it simple. Too much dangling from my neck and arms is uncomfortable, at least for me- so I tend to stick to one or two pieces- like a unique and lightweight necklace and one or two chunky bracelets that won’t interfere with my movements too much. I like these pieces since I can barely feel them whenever I wear them.

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Lastly, the finishing touches- my footwear and my sunglasses. I love these faux-leather cowboy style boots year-round, since they’re comfortable and look pretty chic with jeans and dresses alike, regardless of the season (I once paired them with short shorts when I was in Las Vegas- and it looked pretty cool.) Best of all? They keep my feet dry in the case of an unexpected downpour, and are easy to clean should I encounter the dreaded outdoor festival mud pile. Ick.

The sunglasses, large and round- are back in style this season, and have been all but permanently attached to my face as of late. They’re also going to be making another appearance in an upcoming “Inspired By” post!

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And those are just two of my favorite, and practical- outdoor festival looks.

Do you have any practical festival fashion must-haves? Feel free to share in the comments!

Closet Crushes: Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

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Long after Michael Keaton rocked this pattern, and well before Robin Thicke let Miley Cyrus grind against his similarly designed pants , I had my eye on these black and white vertical striped tights. I kept the rest of my outfit simple, and office-friendly, with a black skirt (the tights are see-through, so the extra layer of fabric is necessary) and a black tank top since it’s been pretty muggy out these past few days. When the chillier weather eventually arrives, I’ll probably add a black or white cardigan to the ensemble to keep myself warm while staying color coordinated.

Although I’d never pair these tights with a matching black and white vertical striped jacket the way the aforementioned Keaton and Thicke have done, I DID play them up with my well-worn Vera Wang boots, a chunky black and silver bangle bracelet, a pop of bright pink nail polish, and, of course- my go-to, every day/every occasion accessory- my red curls. I kept my makeup light and neutral since, despite the title of this post, I didn’t really want to fall into Beetlejuice-esque territory. Light brown eye shadow and a soft rose-colored lipstick were more than enough to pull it all together.

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Closet Crushes: Anchors Aweigh.

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AnchorsAweigh1I’m a big fan of nautical, well, anything, really. Clothes, jewelry, prints, posters. You name it. I don’t know if it’s because I love being out on and by the ocean so much, or because I find boats and ships extraordinary, or maybe because I was a pirate in a past life or something. Truthfully, I think it has something to do with my grandfather, who was one of the most fascinating people you could ever hope to meet, and who was in the Navy and fought during WWII. Although my grandfather never talked about the combat aspect of the war much around us kids (for our sake, and I think for his, as well,) he DID talk about the happier times overseas with his comrades, and he proudly displayed photos around the home he shared with my grandmother of him in his younger years in the service.  Looking handsome and very serious (a sharp contrast to the joking, mischievous side we saw all the time,) I used to marvel at his old Navy uniform, and even more so at the idea of sailing to new and foreign lands for weeks and months at a time. The war aside, it seemed like such a thrilling adventure.

In my closet, I have an ever growing collection of nautical pieces. Sailor-esque rompers, navy blue and red dresses- whose precise cuts and embellishments echo the crisp, sharp look of my grandfather’s old Navy uniform- anchor-print shorts, khaki capris, high waist skirts with striped and preppy crop tops. My ensembles vary between classic pinup girl and what I can only describe as a member of a yacht club- and I love jewelry that pulls it all together.

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Today I put together an outfit inspired by this anchor necklace that I’ve had for years now. It’s nothing fancy- just silver and rhinestones, but I love anchors- so much that when I do eventually decide to muster up the courage to get a tattoo- I want to have an anchor incorporated into it.

I digress, I paired some bright cobalt blue jeans with a white tank top, some navy flats, and this lovely hooded navy & white zip-up sweatshirt with quarter-length sleeves for a casual day at the office. I would have loved to pair the top part of this outfit with a khaki skirt I’ve been meaning to mix and match with as of late, but it was raining for a while today and I opted for the jeans to keep my legs warm and dry.

I also still have my nails inc. “Baker Street” nail polish on for the next couple of days- which I think was a nice, color-coordinated touch:

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Closet Crushes: American Woman.

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AmericanWoman1Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! Where I am, the sun is shining and there’s only a few clouds in the sky- which bodes wonderfully for this afternoon’s planned cookout at my mom’s house with some of my family. There might also be a trip to the beach afterwards to see some fireworks, but I’ll see where the day takes me.

To celebrate July 4th, I wanted to show everyone this vest, which belonged to my father in the 1960s. It’s one of my most treasured pieces, not only because it was my dad’s, but because even after all these years it’s still in perfect condition. Created by the Great Northern Leather & Tea Co. (which I believe has since closed down. I did a search for the name and for the NYC address printed on the tag with no results), this fringed leather & suede Americana-inspired vest was so coveted by my father that he hitchhiked to New Hampshire to purchase it when he was in his teens.

While both of my parents were the epitome of flower children in that era- my father, who thankfully wasn’t drafted into the Vietnam War, who went to Woodstock and would tell me about waking up to Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”, and who had his fair share of bumping elbows with musicians who would later become rock n’ roll icons while he hitchhiked around the country getting into trouble with his friends (my favorite story that I used to make him tell over and over was the time Jimmy Page came into a bar my father was in after a show in NYC. Jimmy had his guitar on his back, and while he was making his way over to a corner of the bar to have a seat with Robert Plant and some groupies, he accidentally cracked my father in the back of the head with his guitar. My dad proceeded to call him a “fucking douchebag”, only to have Jimmy apologize profusely and buy him a couple of beers as a peace offering,)- my father had the same free spirit that I see in myself. He & I were/are so, so, similar.

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The vest is pretty heavy on me (and my dad was a beanpole when he was younger. I don’t know how he wore this thing everyday), so I paired it with some denim shorts and a thin black tank top underneath. I wore a couple of bead bracelets I’ve collected over the years, and for my hair, to keep up with the hippie-chic look I was going for, I wore a headband designed to look like a crown of daisies.

I kept my makeup simple- just some mascara and a little blush, but I couldn’t resist adding a pop of red to my lips to match the fringed part of the vest.

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Apart from inheriting my father’s free spirit, it seems I’ve also inherited his fashion sense, as well. I love this thing.

Closet Crushes: Boom! Bang! Ka-Pow!

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In my last post, I had briefly mentioned this comic-book-inspired dress I picked up in NYC this past weekend while at the Wizard World Comic Convention. When I saw it on display on a mannequin within one of the vendor booths, I knew immediately that I had to have it. The colors, the cut- it’s just so unique and the material fits me like a glove. I love wild and bold prints like this.

I had every intention of wearing this dress to work, but with the sides cut out in such a way that reveals way more than what can be considered an “office-appropriate” amount of skin, I opted to wear a thin white tank top underneath to keep myself covered without making the dress look frumpy or feel uncomfortable. For these photos, though, I wanted to show how it fit and looked on it’s own without any additional layers.

To accessorize, I wore simple black peep-toe heels, minimal jewelry, as well as minimal makeup (just a thin line of black eyeliner across my upper lids and some coral lip balm). I’m currently sporting a brightly colored manicure and pedicure that fit the color scheme of the print well, but I figured the dress was loud enough- I didn’t need to add to it and overdo it.

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Throughout the course of the day, I was stopped numerous times by people who also seemed to like the dress as much as I do and wanted to get a better look at it or take photographs of it with their cell phones. I almost wish I had worn a cape so I would have looked like a real comic book hero.

I just need a good superhero name. I’m not quite sure “The Amazing Ashley” cuts it.

xx

Closet Crushes: Arachnophobia.

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ArachnophobiaBangle1Perhaps this should be called a “Jewelry Box Crush” instead of a closet one, but during a recent organizing spree of some of my clothes and jewelry, I found one of my favorite, and creepiest, accessories tucked away in my bracelet & bangle drawer. I fell in love with this bangle, a limited edition piece by Betsey Johnson for a Halloween-inspired collection, a couple of years ago- despite my overwhelming (and borderline irrational) fear of spiders- and had to have it.

The bangle is a little heavy, but it definitely adds an interesting twist to even the tamest of ensembles, and the crystal-encrusted body of the spider gives a really great sparkle in the light. Every time I’ve worn it, I’ve been stopped by people who want to get a closer look.

My only gripe with the bangle is the design of the fastener. A simple magnetic strip, it tends to open easily and fall off whenever the bangle or the spider is bumped against anything (which, in my case, happens quite frequently), so I find myself removing it occasionally throughout the day to avoid misplacing it while I’m busy working or running around.

Other than that minor inconvenience, though- it’s a great, unique piece.

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Closet Crushes: Orange Crush.

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OrangeCrush1Back in February, I had raved about my love for Bettie Page Clothing and their lovely staff at the Newbury Street location. I had purchased a beautiful high-waisted skirt with a simple, lovely print during my first visit that I’ve been longing to wear ever since, and even though today was a little chilly and breezy, I put it on anyway and couldn’t help but do a little twirl (or two) before I headed to the law firm. It’s just such a perfect fit. It accentuates my figure without sacrificing comfort, and the lining means no embarrassing see-through moments- which is a problem I’ve had with lighter colored skirts in the past.

I decided to play up the orange print of the skirt with a matching colored tank-top with a hint of lace along the neckline and straps, an intricate multi-colored beaded bracelet, and a big, bold ring. I kept my shoes (the same open-toed braided heels from my last Closet Crushes post) simple, and my nail color and makeup very neutral and minimal- some light blush, a little mascara, and some clear lip balm. I have a coral/orange matte lipstick by Clinique that I was tempted to wear, but I decided to let the skirt, and the accompanying jewelry, make a statement all on their own. I didn’t want to overdo it.

This was a great outfit for work, because while it was playful and even a little fresh, it was still very office-friendly. If baring arms isn’t appropriate for work, or in cases like today where there’s a nip in the air- wearing a basic white cardigan sweater would still look professional and pretty. Thankfully, my boss is lenient in letting me show off the guns (which aren’t really guns at all.)

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Closet Crushes: Hint of Mint.

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HintofMint1Greetings from San Diego! I’m taking a break from soaking up the sun and visiting friends to share the outfit I put together for a date I have a little later on tonight. Feeling inspired by the beautiful weather here, which feels more like Spring than back home does, I decided to incorporate a little pastel into my wardrobe- specifically a really soft, fresh mint tone. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I made these lovely cuffed lace shorts, which I picked up for under $20 at Forever 21 (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE) the focal point of the ensemble, keeping it subdued by pairing them with a basic white top and brown, braided heeled sandals from ALDO (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE). I like my legs, and these shorts are a perfect cut and fit to show them off a little.

I’ve also added a couple more pops of mint color with my jewelry and my nail polish. I’m loving this bold, chain-style plastic necklace, which matches the color of the shorts perfectly.

For my makeup, which I haven’t applied yet (because I want to look impossibly fresh-faced when my gentleman caller arrives), I plan to keep it simple. Rosy cheeks, subtle nude-eye shadow and a sheer pink lip balm- however, I will also be lightly lining my eyes with Chanel’s Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in “Jade” (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE). Don’t be fooled by the name. The color isn’t the traditional dark green typically associated with jade. It’s a beautiful, long-lasting aquamarine tone that will compliment this outfit perfectly and really makes the blue in my eyes stand out.

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Now that my outfit is all set, I’ve got to go get my face ready, spritz on some perfume, and continuously nibble on some breath mints- just in case.

Talk to you all soon!