Bohemian Air

I'm never what you'd call a party animal, but the winter definitely brings the nester out in me. All I want to do is find a cozy place to read and listen to music and watch TV and snooze. On Saturday, I finally went and got a foot for my sewing machine, and Brian and I moved it up to it's permanent home. I hung some of my pictures, and I'm starting to thinking about finding a comfortable chair and ottoman to go up there as well. It would be really nice to have my own little nook that's just mine, decorated in the way that I like and suited to what I like to do. I could have a few books up there, maybe hang some pretty curtains to make it a suitable space to take photos when there's no light outside... It's taken a lot of time to start making our apartment our own, but I think the winter is the perfect time for it.
Of course, I still have to go out some of the time.
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I felt a little bit weird in this outfit. I started out the day in taller black boots, so the pink tights didn't show, but unfortunately they rubbed my feet bloody and I had to buy a pair of emergency shoes. Luckily those only cost about $15 (what up, Aldo Sale Shop), but the effect ended up going a little bit more baby doll than I had intended.
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Good face day, though.
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And really good hair.
I was surprised by the number of compliments that I got about this outfit. I guess it's eye-catching, but I felt like I was LARPing as a lolita or something.
On Sunday it snowed! It was so pretty. It didn't really stick much, but I'm definitely anticipating my first snowball fight of the year.
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I'd almost forgotten about this red wool skirt that I picked up at the thrift store. It really ended up being a perfect find - paired with a peasant blouse I picked up this summer, a floral headscarf, and some sturdy boots, I think it works pretty well as a simple take on the Russian fairy tale inspiration I wanted to bring into my wardrobe.
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My coat may not be quite fit for a Cossack, but I love it nonetheless. It was a fantastic bargain - $16! The buttons had been cut off, but getting some new ones was only a matter of about $5 and 20 minutes of stitching, and it's super cozy. I would have bought it just for the leopard print cuffs and collar.
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I really do have to buy something other than a swing coat sometime soon, though. I love them, but variety is the spice of life.

Speaking of buying things (great segue, I know), I've got something exciting in store for Black Friday. I'm working on a vintage sale master list of sorts, so if you know of any stores that would like to be included, just send them my way! The post will go up one week from today, on Monday the 24th, and will include some really exciting exclusive discounts as well as a list of vintage and vintage appropriate sellers offering bargains. If you're participating in Chronically Vintage's Secret Santa, it might be the perfect time to find a gift for your partner, not to mention for yourself.

Links to Love

It's been way too long since I've done one of these posts. Let's jump on in.

Kim Kardashian Doesn't Realize She's the Butt of a Racist Joke
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I don't know enough about Kim Kardashian to have formed much of an opinion about her as a person. She comes across as tone deaf and oblivious, and she's pretty tacky. Maybe it's my tendency to root for the underdog, but despite (or perhaps because of) all the negative press she gets, I don't really dislike her. However, I found this article about the racial implications of her photo shoot really eye opening.
When I was talking about this with my boyfriend, his response was something along the lines of "there are so many bigger, worse things in the world. Why are we even talking about this?" I think the reason why people get so involved in the whole issue is that these photos didn't happen in a vacuum. Black women are devalued in our society, and the way that they are portrayed sexually plays a huge part in that. These photos are not the same things as black women being targeted by a serial killer who knew their disappearances wouldn't be investigated as thoroughly because of their skin color, but it's a symptom of the same problem. No, Kim Kardashian is not black, but she does have the kind of figure that is typically associated with black women, making the parallels obvious.

A Vintage Nerd - Dell Purse Book 1964: 75 Hairstyles
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Photo taken from A Vintage Nerd
And onto a subject that's a little less fraught. I love this post from Daphne at A Vintage Nerd about the cute little purse book she came across. My hair is getting long enough that I can set it with sponge rollers, so I'm thinking about giving some of these a try this weekend.

Who is the lumbersexual and is anything about him real?
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I was deeply amused by this article. Although I think the actual term is pretty silly, I definitely know guys like this. The Lumberjack look is slowly edging out of Old-Timey Mustache and Pomp look in my neighborhood, but I'm pretty sure none of the guys that used to wax their mustaches to points have picked up any backwoods survival skills in the past six months. Of course, I also know flannel and beard dudes who really could build a log cabin from scratch if they wanted to, so maybe it's just a look.

The Disabled Children Locked Up in Cages
I talked a little bit about the stigma against mental disorders in the post that I put up for Veteran's Day, and this just shows how much worse it can get for people who are considered "abnormal." This is just heartbreaking - it's like baby prison for kids with autism or other disorders that make them difficult to care for.

The Psychology of "It's So Cute I Could Eat It" Phenomenon
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Speaking of things that trigger my cute aggression, head over to She Loves Dresses to wish Jenny a happy birthday. She created an awesome project prompting her readers to send her selfies with a note about something they love about themselves. She also makes me want to squeeze her until she squeaks. Weird.
Into it. Apparently it helps us even out emotionally. The more aggressive you get, the bigger decline you have in positive emotions, bringing you back to a normal base state.

The Wrap Dress
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Diane von Furstenberg didn't invent the wrap dress, but she was the one who brought them to the masses and made them into the wardrobe staple that they are today. According to DVF herself,
"...the V-neck wrap design fit a woman’s body like no other dress: snug around the chest and arms, tied flatteringly slim around the waist, full enough over the legs for a woman to take an unrestricted stride, yet tight enough to show off her bottom."
Hot stuff.


What do you remember learning from Sesame Street?
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I may be the only kid in America that doesn't have fond memories of growing up with Sesame Street. I'm sure I must have watched it at some point, but I honestly don't remember it at all. There was a lot of Warner Brothers in my life that shaped my formative years, though - Animaniacs, Histeria, and anything and everything Bugs Bunny. I'd say irony and hammerspace were worthwhile subjects to discover at a young age...

Baby, It's Cold Outside

After approximately three days of beautiful fall weather, winter has decided to stake its claim. Rest in peace, Autumn. We hardly knew ye.
Whatever. Seasons change, and soon enough I'll be bitching about getting slapped in the face by summer heat and humidity every time I step outside. The one nice thing about winter is that if your outerwear game is on point, minimal effort is required to look polished and put together.
Although I have three really nice coats, I feel like I could stand to get a couple more. I think bright colors and bold shapes help keep things interesting when you start defaulting to basic, "I'm tired and have to get dressed in the dark" outfits. 
Yellow Textured Coat
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This sunny yellow would definitely help brighten up your day when it's gloomy out. The relaxed shape makes it easy to layer a chunky sweater underneath.
Polka Dot Dropped Waist Coat
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Admittedly, this one is a little on the light side for a Chicago winter, but the dropped waist and the pretty pattern meant that I had to include it. 
Red Felt Coat
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I love a red coat - it just makes me think of sledding and caroling and roasting chestnuts over open fires. This collarless version would be great to wear with tops and dresses with collar details (assuming they aren't hidden under a thick scarf).
Plaid Mohair Lilli Ann Coat
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This is the kind of coat that you can throw on with boots and jeans and be the best dressed person on the street.
Houndstooth Princess Coat
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I debated about posting this one because I don't want any of you bitches to snatch it out from under me. The shape, the pattern, the colors - freaking love it.
Reversible Wool Wrap Coat
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Wrap coats are having a serious moment this year, and I love that this one is basically two coats in one. 
Deco Inspired Velvet Coat
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Another one that has me not-quite-figuratively drooling. Wouldn't this be perfect for a decadent New Year's Eve?
Burgundy Princess Coat
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This pretty princess coat is perfect for everyday wear with a scarf, full skirt, and a thick pair of cable knit tights.
 
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This Lilli Ann coat is my favorite of the ones that I own. It's ridiculously warm, and you could probably fit an entire other person in there with me, much less a thick sweater. I didn't know as much about vintage when I bought it as I do now, and I feel vaguely guilty for talking the girl who sold it to me down to $60. But not that guilty.

What's your favorite coat? Do you like bolder outerwear choices, or do you keep it chic and subdued?

There's a mouse in my kitchen and he's eating my cheese

There is, in fact, a literal mouse in my house. An entire family of them, actually. Despite what cartoons have taught me about how cute, spunky, and good at cooking mice are, it's fair to say that I am freaked out about this development. I actually had dreams last night about wearing a dress made of live mice. It was not a good one.
We set traps last night and caught a few, but some of them seem to be clever enough to nibble the peanut butter off without setting off the trap. I'm predicting the rise of a race of super mice that will take over first our apartment, and then the world.
Until that happens, I'm having some fun exploring a style era that I hadn't really been attracted to until recently - the mod style of the 60s.
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It's not that I didn't like mod style up until now, but more that I didn't think it was a style that I could wear well. A-line shift dresses, which obscure the waist and place all the emphasis on the legs, are a tough sell on my body. I was also avoiding mini skirts this summer after discovering just how short my big old butt was making them. Now that it's tights season, though, minis are back in the game, and I'm finding that as long as there's some waist definition, I don't have to be totally cinched in to look like I have a shape.
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One of the things that made me revisit 60s styles is the place my hair's at right now. When I came back from vacation, I realized it's long enough now that I can start styling it as a bob. I cut some bangs and trimmed the back, and ended up with something somewhere on the spectrum between flapper and Sgt. Pepper. It's funny how much it's made me rethink styles that I'd pretty much categorized as "not for me."
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Something that I like about mod style is how playful it is with things like color. I felt a bit funny adding these mustard yellow tights into the mix with burgundy shoes, a pink skirt, and a charcoal gray sweater, but I think it's actually fairly coherent.
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This dress was a total impulse buy. I picked it up from The Vintage Mistress for less than $10. The fabric is pretty much the Platonic ideal of polyester - thick, vaguely chemical smelling, and completely lacking in breathability - but it's surprisingly perfect in cold weather. It was something like 35° when I took this photo, and aside from my hands, I was pretty comfortable.
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Feeling like a proper dollybird.
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The print and my pose here are transforming my hips into an M.C. Escher drawing.

I'm enjoying looking at other eras in fashion and seeing how I can make them work for my body and my style. Maybe I'll finally make a drop waist flapper style work for me, possibly with the help of super-intelligent rodents.

Veteran's Day

I feel a little bitter about this holiday. I have nothing but support for veterans - whatever my feelings are about the reasons why we go into some conflicts, their bravery, dedication, and willingness to sacrifice themselves for the safety of their country is something that I can only admire.
The reason that I feel bitter is that I don't think America does enough to support our vets. We're great at big, public declarations about how grateful we are for their service on days like this, but we consistently let them down when it comes to actually putting their lives together and moving on from being a soldier. It's shameful.
We lionize the "warrior," but neglect the actual person. The VA left over 120,000 soldiers who either never got the care they needed, or had to wait far too long to get it. Some died waiting to get a doctor's appointment, and I don't know if we'll ever know just how many.
Soldiers are prepared for danger, but it recently came out that the American government exposed them to dangers they were never made aware of. Although we never found the "weapons of mass destruction," there were degraded chemical weapons caches. Over 600 soldiers were injured by exposure to these weapons, and the scope of the problem was never acknowledged.
Beyond that, returning soldiers face endemic homelessness and mental health issues. They serve, but are never given the tools they need to return to a normal life. Even those that aren't diagnosed officially with PTSD are bound to have some issues after spending a tour of duty in a war zone, but they're expected to have a joyous reunion with their families and their dogs and slip back into society like they never left. Some manage it; some don't. There is a stigma attached to mental health issues that the military must do more to combat. I think a great step would be to require some kind of exit counseling for returning soldiers, and make mental health services both more available and more appealing once they return.
A vast amount of money and resources goes into fighting wars; we need to put significantly more into helping our soldiers once they return.

Well Hello Again

I think I was a little overly optimistic when I said I'd be back to blogging in the middle of last week. Between my warring desires to be absurdly lazy because I was still off from work, and the necessity of doing things like cleaning and buying groceries, things like blogging kind of fell to the wayside.
But, whatever. Back to work, back to blogging, back to real life.
Halloween was really fun, if a bit low key because we had to catch an 8.30am flight. His former roommates always throw a raging party, and although we didn't want to drink too much because of our early start the next morning, Brian still took the chance to get a bit... silly. I wandered out to a porch at one point to find him in the middle of changing costumes with one of his friends, down to rubbing their faces together to transfer some of their makeup.
Brian was a snooty Frenchman, and I was a deer.
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Kind of a 1920s or 30s cartoon deer, maybe.
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I didn't manage to get any full length shots, but it was mostly about the makeup anyway.
After going to bed at about 2am, we woke back up at 5 to head to New Orleans. I have to say, don't fly Spirit. I was a cheapskate when I was booking, but worrying that they were going to notice our slightly too large personal item and charge us for a carry-on was annoying, as we not being able to sit by Brian on either flight.
Once we got there, though, things couldn't have gone better. Our Airbnb host was really gracious, and we were just a couple of blocks off the St. Charles Streetcar line. It made getting around so easy, and we just bought day passes each day because they were so cheap ($3 a person, good until 4am. Even if you just use them 2 or 3 times in a day, it's worth it).
Highlights of the trip - sitting in Jackson Square, listening to a jazz band play while a tiny little girl chased pigeons; getting dressed up and going out for a fancy French dinner; stumbling across an Anne Rice book signing at a little book store in a random residential neighborhood; catching a rugby match that Brian was really excited to watch in a great Irish pub we just happened to be passing. That, and being pretty much continuously drunk the entire time. Good times.
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From our visit to a city of the dead. It was really fascinating - a lot of tombs were started between 1800 and 1850, but several of them were still in use.
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Jackson Square. On a side note, I love the HDR setting on my phone for shots like this. It looks almost unreal.
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Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee.
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The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel for sazeracs.
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We did spend one day just wandering around in the French Quarter. It wasn't really on purpose - we were trying to catch the street car from there to City Park, and then just never did. We did get champagne at shrimp for dinner at an overpriced restaurant, though.
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Brian was starting to get a bit goofy by our last day there. "I'm just going to lean... over... a little bit..."
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My dress from our fancy dinner out. It's hard to see the details, but it's pretty smoking, and it's from ASOS and cost $30, so I feel pretty good about it.
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Kind of random, but does anyone know what kind of tree this is? We saw them all over, and they are freaking majestic, and perfect for climbing.

So, that's pretty much it. I'd say it was a successful vacation - we spent too much money, drank too much booze, ate too much food that was probably terrible for us, and I don't think we would have had it any other way.

#tbt: The Ghosts of Costumes Past

Somehow, despite the general omnipresence of cameras, I don't have as many photos of myself in a costume as I would have expected. Some pictures that used to be on my Facebook have disappeared, probably because of unfriendings - I'm pretty sure that's why I can't find any pictures of myself from the one year I actually bought a costume and went as "Slutty Raggedy Anne." Little cap with a red yarn wig, more cleavage than I think I've ever managed, and a skirt so short I had to invest in some matching underwear. Good times.
I do have some fun ones, though.
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Me as a fresh-faced college sophomore. We all dressed up and went trick-or-treating. People were not impressed by 20 year olds begging for candy. I'm the one with the fairy wings, if that wasn't obvious.
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This actually wasn't a Halloween costume, but what I wore for a 90s themed adult prom. I was a 90s mall goth. I got prom queen!
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Cleopatra last year. I also went as Siouxsie Sioux using pretty much identical makeup. I miss having black hair.
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At Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year, I dressed up as a doll. I think if I do this again (which I'd like to, it was fun!), I'll amp up the makeup a little bit.

What's your favorite costume that you've ever worn? Do you like to wear costumes outside of Halloween?

Fear Itself

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Horror is such a subjective thing. Slasher flicks with human serial killers might give me jump scares, and body horror films might disgust me, but ghost stories are what really terrify me. I can't quite talk myself out of my belief in ghosts (which, when you think about it, is stupid - there are actually serial killers, and people actually do mutilate other people; why am I so scared of the one that hasn't actually been proven to exist?), and after I watch a horror movie like The Ring, I don't sleep well because I feel like something's going to grab my feet in the night, and wiping the steam off the mirror after a shower creeps me out because I'm convinced I'm going to see something unnatural behind me in the reflection. Conversely, I know some people that found Cabin in the Woods really scary - to me, it was a comedy all the way through.
Of course, what scares us in real life can be very different from what scares us in a movie. You know what stupid ass thing I'm scared of? Moths. That's right, I'm scared of moths. Butterflies are fine, but I've been told that when I was really little, a whole cloud of moths flew up in my face, getting into my mouth and nose and eyes, which apparently scarred me for life. If there's one flying around the house, I feel compelled to kill it. On a more normal note, it's only in the past few years that I can bring myself to kill a spider instead of running screaming from the room the second that I see one. That's only because if I run away, it might hide and wait for me.
I'm not scared of snakes, but I am scared of cows. Snakes are cool. Cows will kick you.
I wouldn't say that I'm scared of heights, but I am scared of falling from them. Frankly, I think that's totally rational. Flying is fine, and looking down from a very tall building is fine, but I don't like standing on the top step of a stepladder.
If you want to talk about real fears, my boyfriend dying is probably at the top of the list. He biked home drunk one night a while back, and I was equal parts terrified and angry at him, and I was mostly angry because I was so scared he'd get hit by a car or something. That might be the worst way to affirm that you really love a person.
So, tell me - what scares you?

Cheap Thrills - Etsy Edition

I've been bad. I've got a trip coming up that I should be saving for, and after I splurged a little bit and basically bought all of the stuff that I decided I needed for fall, I said I wasn't going to do any more shopping. It's just soooooo haaaaard not to when people are practically giving clothes away, though. A mere $10 for a cute, mod, 60s dress? Another $10 for a cream colored duster length sweater? $20 for a 50s dress that's a dead ringer for a Birdie dress from PUG? Some things you just can't say no to.

Pickled Vintage
Pickled Vintage specializes in super cute party dresses, and right now the entire store is 35-55% off.
70s Maxi Dress - $18.90
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Not quite my style, but a really cute piece for a bohemian babe.
50s Brown Polka Dot Dress - $60.30
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If this weren't several inches too small all over, this would absolutely be in my closet.
50s Suzy Perette LBD - $81.90
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This sophisticated black velvet wiggle dress would be perfect for any holiday parties.

Capsule Vintage
Capsule Vintage is another store with a beautifully curated selection of dresses. Everything in the store is 20% off through Thursday.
80s Navy Cardigan - $30.40
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This classic cardigan would make a great addition to any vintage wardrobe.
50s Black Floral Skirt - $49.60
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Another selection of the petite lady, this beautiful floral skirt is the sort of piece you reach for day after day all year long.
50s Red Plaid Dress - $51.20
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This cute plaid dress would look so sweet with a pair of boots and tights on a crisp fall day.

Simplicity is Bliss Vintage
Another shop with fantastic dresses. Usually a little out of my price range, but with 30% off most of the store, it makes those beautiful pieces a little more attainable.
60s Mustard Plaid Skirt - $26.60
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Who isn't mad for plaid this time of year? Perfect for adding a little schoolgirl chic to your wardrobe.
50s Novelty Print Dress - $31.50
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This toy soldier novelty print dress will look amazingly cute on someone, perhaps with a peter pan collared blouse underneath.
50s Diamond Print Dress - $47.60
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Bring the diamond print that was so popular this summer straight into fall with this awesome long sleeved dress.

The Vintage Mistress
The clearance section here is off the charts cheap. This is where I found my killer, could-not-pass-them-up deals yesterday.
Persian Lamb Coat - $39.00
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Fuzzy wuzzy was a coat, fuzzy wuzzy was a goat. Wait, no, that's not how that goes. But seriously, this 50s style double breasted coat looks cozy and pettable as hell.
50s Yellow Linen Shirtdress - $9.50
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This sunny yellow dress with cute patch pockets will be perfect once warmer weather hits again, and you really can't beat that price.
60s Black Dress and Shawl Set - $12.00
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Get in on the fringe trend with this amazing dress and shawl.

Jumblelaya Vintage
I think Jumblelaya is a pretty well known store already, and it looks like their well chosen wares are all 20% off.
40s Ivory Blouse - $25.60
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I don't know about you guys, but I've always got my eye out for nice vintage blouses, especially ones that aren't super tiny. Love the collar detail on this 40s gem.
50s Plaid Shirtdress - $62.40
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Didn't I say I was mad for plaid? This just makes me want to go pumpkin picking, or whatever one does at a pumpkin patch.
50s New Look Pink Taffeta Party Dress - $70.40
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Ok, so this one is still a little bit of a splurge, but isn't it just jaw droppingly gorgeous. If I hadn't already spent all my money I'd be all over this baby. Drool.

Other great sales:
HoneyTalk Vintage, 25% off the entire store.
Vacation Vintage, 25% off the entire store
Aiseirigh, 50% off the entire store, including a great selection of Gunne Sax
Rockabilly Raven Vintage, 15% off
Livin' Vintage Shop, looks like 25% off most items, including their great selection of plus size vintage
Edited to Add: I just saw Chronically Vintage is offering 31% off the entire store through November 2nd!
Fly, fly, my pretties! Go buy things before someone snatches them out of your grasp and you spend the rest of your life thinking about that dress that you should have bought!

Shenanigans

I love those days that feel a little out of step with the season they're actually in. Saturday was a perfect example - it's late October, but at 70+ degrees and sunny, it felt more like a perfect summer day. As eager as I've been to put aside my summer clothes, it was kind of nice to bust them out again for one last hurrah.
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I've hardly worn these shoes since I got them. Not only are they suede, which doesn't mesh well with wet weather, they are really heavy. I walked to and from the coffee shop in them, and while they weren't really all that uncomfortable, I had to walk very slowly, turning a 30 minute round trip into a 50 minute one, and eventually my knees started to bother me.
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They are so freaking cute though. Worth the struggle.
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I did my makeup up a little fancy, and even used some false eyelashes just on the outer corners to give me some fluttery lashes. This tree is still killing at as my background of choice.
Saturday was actually a pretty eventful night for me. Some friends came over for a little bonfire, and afterwards Brian and I got all dressed up for a Halloween dance party at a bar in our neighborhood.
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Brian is Dracula. You can tell he's Dracula because he looks just like Brian, but with a cape. I'm some kind of steampunk grease monkey urchin type, which you can tell because I'm dressed just like me, but with a corset, goggles, and eyeshadow artfully smeared on my face like streaks of soot.
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We called these my YA novel cover shots. Seems about right. The light that we're holding in these pictures is actually part of a lamp that Brian and his brother are working on, and I think it's spectacularly cool.
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The Prince of Darkness himself. 
After the dance party, we ended up going to a Mexican bar for dancing. We were definitely the odd ducks out, and although we got some funny looks, people were pretty friendly. I even got asked to dance, and the guy was so sweet about it. "Ok, I turn, then you!" After an hour or so of that, we crashed a party down the block from our house. It was ridiculously fun - everyone was dancing, everyone was in costume, and I don't think anyone realized that we weren't invited. It was probably 4am before we made it to bed, which is why I got up at noon and then spent all of Sunday lazing around in my PJs.
And I've got some exciting news that I can finally share with you, now that I've sprung the surprise on Brian - we're heading to New Orleans next weekend! Sure, waking up early the day after Halloween isn't exactly ideal, but a four day weekend in New Orleans should be worth it. We've been once before, but it was during Mardi Gras and was a total shit show. I think it'll be fun to get a real sense of the city, and I'm looking forward to paying another visit to the Trashy Diva store, as well as other vintage stores in the area. I've also got a laundry list of restaurants and attractions that I want to see, so I hope Brian will be up for some serious walking.

In The Mood

Fun fact - Glenn Miller grew up in my home town. Fort Morgan, Colorado might be the only place in the country where small children are still familiar with him. In the basement of the public library, there was a little museum dedicated to local history that had an exhibit for him, and there was a button you could push that would play a little bit of In The Mood.
What does this have to do with today's post? Nothing, really, except that I'm in the mood for Halloween (I know, I'm sorry. I'll show myself out). It's funny how it infects my style as it creeps closer and closer. You could argue that my style is always a little costume-y, but when Halloween roles around, I start to feel like I'm playing a different character every day. That, I think, is one of the best things about the season - no one bats an eye if you look like you might be on your way to a costume party, because you might actually be on your way to a costume party.
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It seems fitting that I included an autumn fairy makeup tutorial in my costume post yesterday, because this outfit definitely verges on the same thing. This is probably the second vintage dress that I ever purchased, and I still love the vibrant paisley print.
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This little motorcycle jacket from Modcloth is probably the best thing I ever bought from them. It's very old, and the zipper doesn't work very well anymore, but I feel like the combo of black leather and khaki fabric goes with everything.
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And this is definitely my Coco Chanel costume. I know, I know, I just said that I don't want to dress like a French girl, but... well, I guess I probably just don't want to be told to dress like a French girl.
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These high-waisted pants from Asos are my new favorite thing. They are ridiculously comfy, and while the length means that I have to wear them with my highest heels, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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They're pretty dramatic looking, but they don't feel dramatic. They feel like pajamas. I think these are going to be my traveling pants from now on.
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Brian's getting in on it too. He's got this whole "impoverished dock worker" thing going on. It's pretty hot.

Do you guys take the month of October as license to dress to kill, or is Halloween a one night only thing for you?

Halloween Makeup Tutorials

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday. Any reason to dress up is a good one to me, and it seems that the groundswell of enthusiasm for the holiday has given people license to spend the entire month of October doing it. I've got a couple of costumes in mind for the season, but there are so many great makeup tutorials and costume ideas online that it's easy to find something if you're feeling uninspired, or waiting for the last moment to see what you can put together out of your closet.
Pop Art Girl
I love this straightforward tutorial from Emma Pickles about how to get the look of a classic Roy Lichtenstein pop art girl. It's the sort of look that doesn't require much in the way in materials (black eyeliner is pretty much your main tool), but is definitely a wow look that would make for amazing photos.

Silent Film Star
I'm so amazed by photos that I've seen of other black and white Halloween costumes, and this tutorial makes it look it look easy. My love of the 20s makes this one a no-brainer, and it also offers a good excuse not to talk to anyone at a party. No video, but she lays everything out really well in the article.
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Silent Film Star Tutorial
Fall Fairy
An autumnal fairy would be a beautiful costume, and an easy one to accessorize with a short trip to the craft store to pick up some leaves and fall flowers. The makeup is a little involved, but it's the sort of stuff most of us have in our makeup boxes. A floaty dress is all you really need to complete the fae image.

Zombie
There are more detailed and ghoulish zombie makeup tutorials out there, but I love the simplicity of this one. It would be pretty easy to put this together using items that are either in your makeup box already, or cheap and easy to pick up from Walgreens.

Kim Kardashian
If you really want to scare people, there's always Kim Kardashian. (I kid, she's fine, and a lot of the criticisms of her come across really misogynistic to me.) This video from Alle of XOVain is a hoot to boot.

Fawn
You guys saw my horns in a previous post, so a deer seemed like a natural fit for me this year. I'm really excited to do this easy, pretty fawn makeup.



To makeup or not to makeup

I read an interesting pair of articles on Buzzfeed recently. One is by a woman who typically wears makeup who went without it for a week; the other is by a woman who never wears makeup who put on a full face every day for a week. They did the challenges together, just to get both perspectives, and I found what they had to say really thought provoking.
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A pertinent image from an article on TheGloss.com
I'm the woman who never leaves the house without makeup. I guess you could say that I'm not entirely at peace with my looks, even now, but I was deeply uncomfortable with them growing up. I could look in the mirror and see a girl that I thought was cute, but no one else seemed to agree. I didn't date, and I didn't have a lot of friends, and in the way of teenagers everywhere, I thought it was mostly because of my appearance.
My mom didn't wear makeup, so it wasn't like I had anyone to learn from. It wasn't until college, when I could go into a department store and have them show me the ropes, that I started to figure it all out. I looked pretty ridiculous for a while - I would wear mascara, but not fill in my blonde brows; blush was either in poorly blended circles on the apples of my cheeks, or streaked up to my hairline. I had a penchant for very glossy red lips, which I'm sure went very well with the rest of the mess going on on my face.
These days I've got things down pretty much to a science. There are about 10 products that I wear almost every day, and getting them on, start to finish, takes about 30 minutes. It's a significant chunk of my morning, and sometimes I think it would be nice to skip it and sleep in, but even if I was running behind I'd find a way to do some of it.
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Slightly different makeup, drastically different results. At least to me, but I'm way more aware of changes in my face than anyone else is going to be.
Reading those articles made me question the way that I think about wearing makeup. While I have never really thought of makeup as armor, which is how I've heard some people describe it, it is me choosing how I want to present myself to the world. People look at my face all day long, and I don't think I could deal with that if I wasn't wearing concealer, or mascara, or didn't have my brows filled. I am, literally, covering up things that make me feel vulnerable, which I guess is the textbook definition of armor. I wouldn't refuse to leave the house without it on, but my bare face just don't feel like my face.
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Most of my normal makeup, but no eyebrows. I feel like I lose a lot of my expression by not having visible brows.
Practically speaking, the ladies who wrote these articles have hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes that are all the same color, which I don't. Am I just being pragmatic in "fixing" that, or am I giving in to something? Really, if I'm not some hideous troll beast with makeup on, why do I tend to feel like I would be so unattractive without it? And why is being attractive so important to me in the first place? Am I really just doing this for myself, or is my effort directed outward? There are a lot of questions that I really don't have the answers to, even though they're about my own feelings.
On the other hand, I like wearing makeup. I put it on even on days when I don't leave the house. However questionable the reasons are that it makes me feel good, comfortable, and confident in myself, the fact that it does all those things for me is something that I can only regard as good. It may not be the most empowering thing to redraw your face, emphasizing some features and playing down others in order to better conform to some ideal of beauty, but I do find it kind of empowering that we have that ability. 
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Blue lips aren't really what I'd call man bait, unless the man in question is a necrophiliac.
The articles themselves are pretty great, but I did find the end graphics a little glib and trite. Sometimes, makeup does make you a little more beautiful, at least in the sense that things like smooth skin and large eyes and plump lips are considered beautiful. While confidence is a feeling and does have to come from an actual person, wearing makeup so that you don't have to feel bad or worried about some perceived flaw can certainly give your confidence levels a little boost.
I feel like I've been talking about makeup a lot, partly because I just tend to think about it on a regular basis, and partly because it's something that seems to be bubbling up in our collective consciousness. How do you guys feel about wearing makeup? Is it something that you do on a regular basis, for special occasions, or not at all? Do you feel like it changes the way that you see yourself?

HOW to get aWAY with MURDER

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I think the idea of a "guilty pleasure" TV show is a funny one. It's not that I don't have them myself - actually, I don't really have "guilty" pleasures so much as I have "pleasures that I'm vaguely embarrassed about having but will still expound upon enthusiastically to anyone who will listen." The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, basically anything the CW puts out that stars really attractive people having drama and doing sex.
I've heard a couple of people refer to Shonda Rhimes' shows as guilty pleasures. I can't really speak for any of the other shows she's part of, but I started watching How to Get Away With Murder because it's buzzy and because I'm trying to get out of my supernatural teen soap opera box, and it's really a treat. It's a little campy and melodramatic, but frivolous to the point to guilt? Hardly. If the somewhat random caps in the post title don't make sense, just watch the first episode. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Normally I don't go out of my way to avoid spoilers, but this time I will because the show's just getting started and I really want to encourage people to catch up on it with me.
While diversity alone isn't enough to make a show good, or even interesting, it's definitely a major selling point in this instance. Their lead, Annalise Keating, is played by the very talented Viola Davis. They don't make the fact that she is black, or a woman, the sole defining aspect of her life, but it's something that subtly shades her character in the show. The last five minutes of the most recent episode have made a lot of waves, and for good reason - Annalise slowly strips away the layers of her armor, taking off her jewelry, her wig, her false lashes, her makeup, all while maintaining eye contact with herself in the mirror until her natural state is revealed.
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You can read it a lot of different ways in context, but what it comes down to is an African-American woman removing all of the signifiers of assimilation, of whiteness, from her face on a nationally televised show. It's a bold and riveting moment, and it's played completely naturally.
The rest of the cast is just as diverse. There is a great mixture of races, genders, and sexual orientations. Inter-racial relationships are not just present, they're strikingly common, and again, played very naturally. There's more than one scene where the most prominent gay character, Connor, uses his seductive wiles on a chosen target, and holy shit are those scenes hot. How often do you see scenes involving gay men getting physical with each other on network television? How often are those scenes shot with the same sense of forthright titillation as any straight sex scene? Again, what's striking is how naturally all of this treated. It's not gross, or exotic, or other in any way.
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Like I said before, it's a bit campy and melodramatic. Everyone's sleeping around and murdering people, and apparently everything about how it portrays law school is laughably inaccurate. There are two parallel timelines that the show follows - one is current day, in which someone (I won't say who) has been murdered, and a group of college students are trying to cover it up; the other one starts about three months ago, and follows a case of the week and the setup for the mystery of what's going on in the current timeline. The cases of the week vary in strength, but so far I'm finding the central mystery pretty involving. Some characters are definitely better developed than others - Annalise, obviously, is the star in more than just name, and Connor is the only character that I think has been given equal weight - but I expect that to improve as the show goes on.
Any fall TV shows that you guys are excited about? I'm also really enjoying Forever, and I'm also really interested in Jane the Virgin, which I've heard very good things about.

Working for the weekend

I am so freaking tired lately. I get up before 6am most mornings, and this time of the year the sun isn't even up then to help me out. It seems like Brian is having an even harder time, and I've started gradually turning on the lights for him when I get up to help him wake up easier.
My weekends aren't usually super exciting, but it's so nice to be able to take my time with things. I sleep in a little bit. I get up and make myself a breakfast that's not just fruit and yogurt. I take a long shower, and I do my makeup with a little more care than I can take on a normal morning. I usually walk down to the coffee shop and drink coffee and read for a couple of hours. I'll catch up on a little TV (Supernatural and Twin Peaks were the programs of choice this weekend), do some cleaning and some laundry, maybe work out a little bit so I don't feel quite to bad about all of the couch sitting. There might be a nap, because all that relaxing makes me sleepy.
With the days already getting so short, it's kind of tough to get good photos for here. I sort of like the dim, moody lighting of dusk on an overcast day, but it's not great for picking up details. This weekend was lovely, crisp and sunny, so it was nice spending some time out in the yard getting some good shots.
This may have been a very roundabout way to say that I took a lot of pictures this weekend. Check me out, y'all.
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This sweater is Brian's, and I may have to steal it from him. Oh, and I bought a beret. Does that invalidate my rant about not wanting to dress like a French girl?
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I haven't worn an outfit like this in a while, but I used to dress like this pretty much all of the time. Over-sized top, leg-baring mini, tights, boots - that was pretty much my fall uniform. It's kind of nice to fall back into old habits once in a while, but I don't think that'll ever really be me full time again.
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I was taking makeup pictures by the door when I realized that there was a much better backdrop right next to me.
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The leaves on the tree are this brilliant shade of chartreuse. I know people say that taking photos all the time distracts us from really experiencing the moment, but I think taking pictures actually helps make you aware of things you might not have otherwise noticed.
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So this hat is probably my favorite of all the ones that I own right now. I saw it at Vintage Underground, passed it over, and then spent a month thinking about it. There's just something so flamboyant about the broad brim, the bright green color, the gold braid that practically drips from it.
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It's different from anything else that I own, which is probably why I love it so much. It does have the unfortunate tendency to go flying off my head at any stray gust of wind, but there's a strap to keep it in place. A little dorky, but no dorkier than chasing your rogue hat down.
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It makes me feel like a bullfighter, or at least the hostess at an Argentinean steakhouse. (I should note that I don't really know what bullfighters do, other than swirl their capes dramatically. This might have already been obvious.)
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Some details. 
Brian's parents did take us on a tour for part of Open House Chicago, which is a pretty interesting event. Different buildings and companies open up for free tours, and the one that we went on was of a concrete factory, which was surprisingly interesting. I'll be putting some photos of that up on Instagram, if you want to check them out. 
And Halloween is just 11 days away! I'm definitely going to have some costume ideas popping up on here before the big day.

Leopard is a neutral

You know what's weird? I felt like I had so many hats until I started wearing them every day, and now I feel like I need more of them. Just a fun, colorful one. And maybe a cute cloche. And a gray one. And maybe a leopard one...
Obviously, at a certain point, I reach maximum hat density, but it could take a while.
I'm starting to feel like hats both are and aren't accessories. It's sort of like shoes - sometimes you just grab your black flats that go with everything, and sometimes you have to build an outfit around a particularly interesting pair. I'd say most of the hats that I bought so far fall into the interesting category, so I've found myself reaching for sleeker, more modern, more subdued items in my wardrobe to let the hat stand out.
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Well, sort of. I don't know if two tone shoes, bright blue, and leopard really count as subdued for most people, but hey, I'm wearing plain black pants! That never happens!
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Something about this outfit made me feel like Michael Jackson. Maybe the shoes. I just felt like I had to try and dance around and get up to antics.
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 I don't really have a good enough camera or sense of timing to capture said antics, but you get the drift.
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I'm bending over backwards (well, sideways) to get good pictures!
This is actually the hat that Brian bought me that sparked my interest in vintage hats. I don't wear it very often, just because it is such a HAT, but I found it really fun with an outfit like this.
I love the combination of yellow and gray, and I think these photos turned out pretty well, but I would probably not wear this outfit this way again.
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I don't know what it is, but I'm just not totally happy with it. This hat, I believe, is from the 30s, but there's a slightly Edwardian feel to it that I don't think meshed as well as it could have with the rest of the outfit.
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For someone who usually is like "fuck rules, fashion should be fun!", I'm actually kind of weird about matching my tights to my boots. These tights are just slightly bluer than these boots, and it drives me crazy. I actually own a few pairs of gray tights because last winter I kept buying them, trying to find a perfect match. Seriously, how hard is it to find mushroom gray tights?
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I'm still going to be in hat wearing mode this weekend, so hopefully I have something fun to show you guys on Monday. It might be a new hat. You don't know my life.

Some of my favorite hat wearing, vintage loving bloggers

I love looking to other bloggers for style inspiration, and accessorizing is one place where I need a lot of it. Although I'm sure I'd still own some hats if I didn't see them in the blogosphere, the aplomb with which these ladies wear their varied and stylish chapeaux has definitely inspired me to step up my game.
Oh, and I don't own any of these photos, they are the sole property of their creators. Just FYI.
Solanah, Vixen Vintage
Come on, what list would be complete without her? She's gorgeous, she's got a killer hat collection (or at least, she did; I know she's moved away from vintage blogging a little bit), and her outfits are so varied and expressive of her personal style that she can't be imitated. Vixen Vintage is one of the first vintage blogs I ever read, and she pretty much tops my inspirational style list.
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Tanith, Tanith Rowan
This Aussie milliner's blog is amazing. She not only creates amazing modern and vintage style hats, she's a great educational resource, and has done a whole series of posts on hat trends of the past. I really like to go back and reference them when I pick up a kind of random new hat that I'm not sure how to wear, since the vintage photos are a great reference for accompanying hairstyles and accessories as well. She's also hugely, adorably pregnant, so help put her baby through college and go buy one of her hats.
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Jessica, Chronically Vintage
You guys all know Jessica, so I'm sure it comes as no surprise that she's a mad hatter after my own heart. And she's got an awesome name, so there's that. One of the things that I admire most about her style is her knack for accessorizing, and her amazing Etsy shop is beautifully curated and reasonably priced. I seriously want half the stuff in there.
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Laura, Paper Mothball Vintage
Laura's got a little bit of a leg up in the "wearing things and making them look awesome" race, since she's actually a professional model. However, she's also an excellent writer, an even better photographer, and a seriously talented designer, so you'd be mistaken if you thought she was just another pretty face.
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Just Another Wardrobe Experience
I think what I love most about this German blogger is how naturally she wears everything. She can be dressed head to toe in 40s gear, but she never looks like she's wearing a costume. The casual elegance with which she incorporates her hats into her wardrobe definitely inspire me to pop one on myself.
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This, obviously, is not a complete list of all of the vintage bloggers who wear hats, or all of the vintage bloggers who wear hats that I like. It's really just a few of the ladies out there who consistently make me stop and say wow every time I check out their blogs. If you know of any other hat-crazy bloggers out there that I didn't mention, please give them a shout out in the comments. I could be that I haven't heard of them, and it would be awesome to find a new favorite.

Growing out a pixie cut

Since this week I'm talking a lot about what's going on on my head, I figured I'd do a little update about the stuff that's growing out of it as well. I've got a lot of pictures of my face, so, um, sorry? Or possibly you're welcome?
You might remember that back in May, I chopped off pretty much all of my hair. I went from shoulder length with bangs to a Jean Seberg inspired pixie cut, and I was (and still am) really happy with the decision. So much dye, so much heat styling, so many products - my hair was pretty fried, and the big chop was a necessary step.
One of the things that I was concerned about before I did it was the lack of styling options that is inherent in having very short hair. When I had a pixie cut before, I was very much in a wash-and-go phase, so I never really even attempted to explore different short styles. This time around, I was looking for them, and they're definitely there.
If you're contemplating a cropped cut or thinking about growing yours out, I do have a couple of pieces of advice.
1) Buy a tiny curling iron.
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Very similar to the one that I own, but somewhat nicer since it has settings other than hot and really hot.
I ended up owning a curling iron that I think is 1/2 or 3/8 inch in diameter because it came free with the larger barrel curling iron I actually wanted to buy. When I had longer hair, I pretty much forgot that I had it, but it comes in so handy with my shorter hair. Things like texture and the placement of your part might be the only things you can really change when you have very short hair, so appropriate tools can feel like a lifesaver when you're having a bad hair day.
2) Embrace a little shagginess...
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A really sharp, crisply cut pixie is a thing of beauty, but if you can't get to the salon every month (or can't afford to go every month), learn to love the growth. I'm actively trying to grow my hair out, but even if you're not, the softness of a slightly overgrown cut can be really pretty too.
3) ...but shave your neck.
I mean, if you want a mullet, that's cool, you do you, etc. But assuming you don't, regular neck trims are a must. If you're maintaining short hair and don't have the time or money for a full trim, it's the fastest way to look sharp if you're getting a little unkempt. When I was growing my hair out the last time I got a short cut, the best thing my stylist talked me into was getting an undercut at the back of my neck once I hit my awkward, not-a-pixie-not-yet-a-bob stage. It gave the rest of my hair time to grow out, and helped make the transition a little more graceful.
4) Take time to play.
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Freshly washed, no products, no styling. Still not my favorite look, although I'm a little more accepting of it now than I used to be.
I had a period not long after I cut my hair where I was kind of cursing the decision. My natural hair texture is very straight and rather fine, and short hair that just lays against my head isn't really a great look for me. It was a really good thing to me to realize that, oh hey, maybe the reason I don't like my hair is because I'm not doing anything with it. It can take some time and effort to find ways to style your hair when you don't have much to work with, but they are there. Products, curling irons, flat irons, hair pins, pin curls - all of these things are your friends.
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I did this on kind of a whim because I didn't want the front of my hair to just hang limply out from underneath my scarf.
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When I took the pincurls out, this is what I ended up with, and I really like it.
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It's become my go-to style lately, because it's very easy to recreate with a curling iron and takes about 10 seconds to do.
I know that I've said this before, but it's actually a pretty fun process going through all of these stages of growth, and it was one of the reasons that I opted for such a short cut. Sometimes I'll find a style that I love, but it will only work for a week or two before my hair grows just enough that it won't curl the same way, or lay the same way. It makes me feel oddly philosophical - it's a follicular reminder to live in the moment.
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Yesterday's hat. Why are bathrooms the perfect place to take a selfie? I never get the lighting and angles right outside of one.

Bad Hattitude

I mentioned yesterday that I'm trying to justify the slightly ridiculous number of hats that I own by actually, you know, wearing them. I fall in love with them when I see them at the store, but when it comes to incorporating them into my every day life, I either forget that I have them, or put them on, decide they're too outlandish, and take them right back off. Hence, this project where I make myself choose a hat to wear every damn day for the next week. I'm actually considering extending it for two weeks, just because I realized I have that many languishing in a big pile o' hats, sad and unworn.
Of course, human beings have a long and storied history of wearing crazy shit on their heads.
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This one is actually pretty simple, by the standards of medieval noblewomen.
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And this caricature of Marie Antoinette is certainly a little exaggerated, but only a little.
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Hats didn't really get any saner when we hit the start of the 20th century either.
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You guys know I love Carmen Miranda, but the woman was not a minimalist.
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Shoes on heads and vagina flowers in the background. Tres chic.
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Beautiful, and comparatively simple, but this would require some serious hat pins (and possibly some super glue) to stay in place.
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This hat may be the least complicated thing that she's wearing, actually.
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Compared to all these other fabulous ladies, I'm feeling a little plain Jane. (By the way, I'm not saying I took this picture while sitting in my bathtub, but I'm not saying I didn't take it there either.) It's good to get a little perspective about what really constitutes an outlandish hat.