Friday, March 21, 2014

Packing For A Short Trip

Packing for trips, even short ones, is a special kind of anxiety for me. I change my mind a lot, so I like to have options. What if I'm feeling crummy and want to wear something loose and comfy, but I only brought skinny jeans and tanks? What if I bring only casual basics and someone wants to go out to a nice dinner? It's always a raging battle in my brain when I'm packing. 

For the last two years, I've lived about 3.5 hours away from my family, which is close enough to visit often, but far enough to not feel like I have to visit every weekend. I'd like to think I'm getting better at packing for a weekend away, but each time I'm back in my hometown I've discovered I've left something important or packed a few things I never end up wearing. The weather is also SO all over the place, so one day the low is 42°F (6°C) and the next day it's a balmy 75°F (24°C)! How the crap do you pack for that?! 

This trip I brought a bunch of my favorite tees in different colors (plus one printed one), some printed button-ups, two styles of jeans, a nice dress, a light jacket, and my trench coat. Since it's entirely "normal" for the day to start in the 70s and end in the 40s, layering is pretty much all you can do. With that in mind, I thought I'd try to demonstrate how I get different looks (and bear a range of temperatures) with just one outfit. 

Join me as I work my way through these layers from the outside in, like a delicious fashion apple! 

This is Scout! He loves to fetch the Frisbee.
First up is my most-used, most-loved jacket: the trench coat! For a style that's been around for so long and never gone out of style, I'm a little surprised (but very, very pleased) by the recent explosion of this style. While there are a thousand different versions you can buy new, there are millions of vintage trenches to be had at thrift stores and Ebay

I'd been eyeing this faux fur collar from Asos ever since it went on sale, and a couple weeks ago, I finally broke down and bought it. It looks great over a lot of my jackets, and just generally makes me feel cozier.

I've had these Gap Sexy Boot jeans for years now, but they've been in storage for ages during the years I refused to take off my favorite skinny jeans. I'm glad boot-cut jeans are coming back around again. I think they lend a good balance for those of us with some extra curve on top. They certainly give a different feel to my outfits... Maybe it's extra swagger? Hard to say.

And just what do you wear with boot-cut jeans? Can't go wrong with boots, that's for sure. I have to wear at least a little bit of a heel with these jeans to keep them from dragging on the ground. I like to have a pair of jeans that just touch the floor while wearing heels; they make your legs look a little longer, which is always a bonus for me.

Under my jacket is this excellent printed sweatshirt/button-up combo. I'm a girl who loves dinosaurs, and gold dinosaur skeletons are for sure a print worth having in my closet. The vintage blouse under it has a tiny heart print! 

I wear this blouse pretty regularly, too. It's big enough to house the girls without pulling at the buttons, it never wrinkles (perfect for packing! This is possibly the only good thing about polyester fabric), and I really like the colors. 

Normally when I just wear the blouse like this, I have the sleeves rolled up... but it was a little chilly, so I conveniently "forgot." 

After that jaunty layer is the tee! I've purchased this particular one twice (on sale) because I lost it and really, really wanted it back. Normally when I buy an item to replace a lost one, the original comes back to me, but so far no dice. It's soft, the sleeves are a subtle gold, and the neckline is just right. I highly recommend StyleMint for classic, basic tees (my size is a 4 or XL).
Sometimes when you're having a not-so-great day and you're feeling a bit insecure, a light jacket or shirt around the waist can be a little security blanket. 

This particular jacket is one I snagged from an Army/Navy store when I was in high school, so this is as legit as it gets. The patches were already sewn on, even! Bonus flair! 

I think I did okay packing for this trip. Here's some basic ideas:
  1. I tried to keep to a similar color palette throughout to maximize the amount of mixing and matching that could be done.
  2. I also brought a ton of accessories (even though you can only see one necklace in this story, I promise I brought loads more) which helps stave off outfit boredom. Plus, they take up very little room.
  3. A couple pairs of flats (one neutral, one bright) and the booties with a heel gives me pretty much all the shoe options I need without over-stuffing my duffle bag.
  4. I brought one bold, patterned dress for going out (bonus points if you can layer it with other pieces in your suitcase!) in an easy-care fabric. That means no wrinkles!
Happy trails to you, followers!

Tee: StyleMint (sold out now). Their classic crew is a favorite of mine for having a looser, more scoop-neck style, like the one I'm wearing.

Blouse: Vintage. Ebay's vintage section always has some fun stuff. 

Trench: Besides Ebay, Asos has a lot of fun options starting at $45. You can also buy one by boob size at Pepperberry, or try one with more of a skirted bottom like this one at Romwe.

Jacket: If you can't get to a local Army/Navy surplus store (which I highly recommend for finding lots of cool stuff), Madewell makes a great version, and Forever21 makes a cheaper version with a hood.

Jeans: 1969 Sexy Boot Jeans from Gap. They come in three lengths!

Shoes: New Look from Asos. Very similar version from Madden Girl at Zappos. And here is a wide-fit, chunkier version from Asos.

Accessories: Faux Fur Lapel Collar at Asos is still on sale!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Okay, I Lied. Maybe A Few More #TBTs Are In Order.

I guess I had too much fun going through all my old pictures, and once my scanner was finally set up, I took advantage. Mostly I wanted to share my love of these multi-colored neon leopard-print capris I had as a kid. I'm not sure if you can tell, but there are multiple years between these two photographs, and yet there I am, still wearing the hell out 'em.

In the first picture, we see young Crystal Joy posing with her cousinsister at an airshow by her favorite plane lady. We were trying to mimic her pose, but didn't quite manage it. The sass is there, though! Sass for days. 

I'd like to point out the white jelly shoes I'm rocking. I'm still floored that they're coming back (or are back, depending on your perspective). While the cousinsister has some pretty rad shorts, too, you just can't touch my awesome leggings (because they're too legit, obviously). 

Fast forward several years and we see my sunburned cheeks, a huge stuffed bulldog (a gift from my mom's boyfriend who was trying to win me over--didn't work), cowboy boots, aaaaaand the leggings. Keep in mind that this is in the middle of summer in South Carolina, which means it was definitely hot and humid. And there I am in frigging leggings and boots. I loved those boots, too. The Pittsburgh tee was a business-travel gift from my grandfather, and I loved that, too. 

What I'm trying to impart to you here is that kids just put on the clothes that they LOVE and cannot be bothered with the practicalities of weather or matching. I'd like to keep that ethos with me forever, and I hope that going into the weekend, you just wear something that you really, truly love.

Look out for a new (actual) post coming tomorrow! Happy Thursday!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The First (And Possibly Only) #TBT

Truth be told, I don't have a whole lot of old pictures of outfits in the traditional sense. Shocking, I know, but they're mostly boring ol' snap shots that don't allow you to see much clothing. I didn't get into Capital-F Fashion until I was in my twenties, but before that I was interested in making the clothes that I had be as awesome as possible. My only knowledge and resource for clothes were the mall and thrift stores... and my aunts' closets. Later on there were Delia's catalogs to show me the ways of plaid pants. This is sometime after that.

For a long time my mom didn't want me to get plaid pants because she thought they would make me look bigger, but I didn't care. I loved them. I think these are pretty alright as far as cut goes. I had a basic black polyester blouse from Wal-Mart, some jelly barbed-wire bracelets, and my grandfather's necktie. I know you can't really see the shoes due to the crazy-high contrast, but I'm wearing huge clunker wingtips, also from Wally World. I think I'm also wearing my class ring? I'm pretty sure this is my senior year of high school, which would make this 2001 or 2002.

Again with the super contrast, which I think I can blame on my super pale face. Here you can also see my snazzy metal choker with a nut on it. I made it myself from spare parts I found around my job working at Claire's. Now you know where the jelly bracelets came from.

Also, I really don't remember wearing my hair like this more than one time--for senior class pictures. Yes, my hair is like this in my senior yearbook. I have no idea why. Maybe I wanted to look like an old 60s yearbook picture? I guess I figured it was better than my usual Veronica Mars haircut. I'm also wearing make up, which is another indicator of Something Special. I never wore make up unless my grandmother (Mary Kay lady) made me. 

Happy Thursday!

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Rainy Day Change Of Shoes

Happy Friday! It's been raining here the last few days and everything is so muddy. I really wanted to give my new silver sneakers a spin, though, so I compromised by documenting my outfit with the sneakers, but wearing the boots outside. Non-soggy weather can't come soon enough!

This blazer is another bespoke piece I received as a gift a few years ago. I showed the designer/tailor a picture of J. Crew's Schoolboy Blazer and chose a handsome herringbone pattern that I thought would camouflage any cat hairs. It's no joke that I choose a lot of fabrics for my wardrobe based on how well cat hair will show up on it. For the lining, I chose this deep cobalt. So rich! Oh, and that little tag in my jacket? It's just my name, no biggie. (!!!) 
This jacket rules. I am very lucky to have this piece at all, really.


This dress also has a special story behind it. The lovely gals behind The Frisky had a contest a few years ago to win one of ten of these fabulous dresses from French Connection, and I was one of the lucky ten chosen! 

I probably never would have chosen this dress for myself just based on the colors. I mean, the cut is really flattering, and I would never deny the practicality of such wide straps, but I don't have any other fluorescent colors in my wardrobe, and I tend to stay away from them in general. Somehow, though, that gold, pink, and green seem to balance this dress. It might be the classic silhouette, the modest neckline, or the teeny peplum, but the whole damn thing just works. And look at the shape this thing is giving me! No one can complain about a dress that does that.

For reference, this dress is a size 10.
I love a good print, and a really good print (like this one) will hide every extra lump and bump, and make the lovely lady lumps seem uniform. However, with a geometric print, or some stripes, you can tell how each curve is changing the shape of the print and not really helping anyone out. It's all about the organic, changing shapes that keep your eye moving all over the dress instead of settling in one place. 

teeny teeny!
See my teeny peplum? Maybe they're more like fins.
The shirt I'm wearing is another bespoke gift. I feel like I was given a short cut to the dilemma of finding a white button-up that fit me well all over. Now, this isn't the type of blouse I'd ever try to dress down with jeans. This is a capital-S Shirt that deserves a proper place classing up a sweater or under a blazer. 

With a print this busy, I kept the jewelry to only this simple collar. 

Here is a close-up of the shoes:

And here are the boots! This is actually the first time I get to wear these. Word to the wise: Henry Ferrera OTK rainboots are not friendly to muscular calves. Sadly, I had to cut these down the back to be able to put them on. That's what I get for not taking note of calf measurements. I just love the style of these boots so much, I didn't want to find a different pair. 

For months these were just languishing in my closet. I told myself that once I lost weight, the boots would fit and I wouldn't have to modify them. Well, eventually I got bored of that and just sliced 'em down the back a couple of inches. I mean, I got these on Ebay for less than $40. They're mine and I'm making these work.

Blazer: Bespoke. Pepperberry has some nice jackets that you order according to how curvy your boobs are! How cool is that?! This grey blazer looks very professional, but I really like cotton chambray blazer for more casual purposes.

Dress: French Connection. If you're a size 4, you can snag the exact dress on Ebay right now!

Accessories: Thrifted metal choker. Similar version on Topshop for $28 here. Dimpled gold version for less than $6 at Forever21.

Shoes: By Elegant Footwear. The exact version is on this sketchy-looking site, but I found a cool distressed version by Rocket Dog for $27, a shiny one by Qupid for $30, silver AND gold Supergas for $50, and even a fancy silver snake printed pair of high-top Chuck Taylors for $80.

Boots: Henry Ferrera Over the Knee black rainboot

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Currently Obsessed With...

Whenever I realize something is missing from my wardrobe, I go on a wild hunt all over the internet. Sometimes I find it, sometimes it's out of my price range, sometimes the thing I seek just doesn't exist.

Today I've been thinking about brown leather strappy sandals with a thick, chunky heel. I've been searching for a shoe that would give me some height for my longer skirts and dresses while still being comfortable enough to wear all day. 

Here's what I've found so far:

I hear Dr. Scholl's shoes are pretty comfortable. These are the cheapest version of what I have in my head, but extra points for comfort possibility. $29.99 at Bon-Ton.

This one is real leather upper, which is good. $34.99 at 6pm.

These are faux leather, but I like that they're kinda tough. $41.10 at GoJane.

These leather beauties from ShoeMint have a nod to 70s clogs without going all the way there. $89.99 (but $40 off until 3/5!) at StyleMint.

These are also on ShoeMint, also leather, but with a lovely, minimalist design. $79.98 at ShoeMint.

THESE, though, are the creme de la creme! Leave it to Mr. Kors to make something so classy and luxurious without being pretentious. I love 'em, but I couldn't afford 'em. $395 at Michael Kors.

So what do you think? Are you into these?

3/5 UPDATE: I ended up going for the ShoeMint sale and got the Allison shoe. I figured it's the best value, real leather, and it'll go with more in my closet. Hooray, shoes!