Sep 19, 2014


Ever seen a trend, liked it, but weren't necessarily sure if you could style it in a "you" kind of way? "How We Wore It" will show you how different women braved the trend and played with it until they got it to fit in with their styles- and hopefully that'll inspire us to poke a toe out of our comfort zones and try something new, too! Today's trend will be taking fancy pieces and turning them casual (stemming off of my post where I took an evening gown and made it Wednesday-appropriate ;)). Happy creating!

Click here to tweet!- 10 easy ways to transform your evening dresses into everyday outfits- get more use out of those fancy pants pieces!


Sep 18, 2014


Remember this "What to Wear to a..." post, where I shared my thought process on how to style vintage in a modern, non-intimidating way? Well, I got such a great response from you that I thought I'd keep the series going in that direction! I always get really excited/ proud of you when a reader tells me that they've finally bought their first vintage piece or are finally brave enough to dip their toe in the water. So to keep the inspiration running, here are four outfits created around star vintage pieces and my thought process while styling them. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to play in your own closet!

Click here to tweet!Not sure if you can pull off vintage? Here are 4 ways to style it in a modern, non-intimidating way!






Outfit One:
  1. Poetry for Jane boho fall prairie dress (only $28!)
  2. H&M sleeveless turtleneck sweater
  3. Zara leather bootie with ankle strap
  4. Zara zipped bucket bag
  5. Morrea Seal woodland wide brim hat
Outfit Two:
  1. Whhttt Vintage velour and satin jumpsuit
  2. Zara long flowy studio parka
  3. Bottle Blonde Vintage 60s suede oxford pumps
  4. Topshop cable faux fur beanie
  5. Zara tricolor bag
 Outfit Three:
 Outfit Four:
  1. Hey Viv! Vintage floral dress
  2. H&M mohair blend sweater
  3. Mango peccary leather jacket in cognac
  4. H&M ankle boots

Sep 17, 2014


So, this sweater. I have plans for this sweater and I'm not sure if it's going to end up abominably or not. It probably will, knowing my crafty skills. I got this chunky knit from Goodwill about a year ago and its sleeves were so huge that I could probably cut them off and wear them as a tube top dress. So that's what I did- cut them off, that is. And I absolutely love it as a short sleeve sweater (how cute is it as a layering piece, eh?) but I'm very over the color. It doesn't really go with anything in my new wardrobe and I don't feel very me in it. So the game plan is that I'm going to dye it black and fall back in love with it all over again.

So I bought the dye, I bought the bucket, and I have all the supplies nervously sitting next to my nightstand. For about a week now. The thing is, I suck at anything DIY. Like one time I was turning a dress into a crop top and I- without even a moment's hesitation- cut straight through the zipper, thinking that that would be fine. It was not you guys, it was not. How can you zip a zipper that has no zip? You can't. Imagine my surprise.

So my bucket is waiting anxiously by my nightstand, eyeing me like I'm the angel of death. Because I probably am. Have any of you tried this before- dying a knitted sweater? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


While the sweater may or may not be on its way to the chopping block, this wonderfully retro dress is safe. I got this fun number from the Etsy boutique New Old Fashion Vintage, which is a store full of feminine, minimalist vintage. I know some of you are apprehensive about trying vintage because some of it can feel rather costumey, but this store carries pieces that are timeless and always well tailored. That and Amelia, the owner, is just about the sweetest, most likeable person to boot. So if you're looking to update your fall wardrobe, definitely give her store a try by visiting New Old Fashion Vintage here!

And just to entice you a little, here are a few of my favorite picks right now. That first dress is a maxi turtleneck dress- how amazing is that?



DRESS: c/o New Old Fashion Vintage
SWEATER: Goodwill
SHOES: Old Navy (recent and only $10!)
PURSE: thrifted

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Sep 16, 2014



Confession: I am a sucker for deconstructing fancy dresses. I don't think I ever feel more lovely or feminine than when I'm wearing an evening dress with a broken-in chambray shirt. I don't know what it is about it, but I love feeling the silk whisper around my ankles as I head to the bar and turn the corner, or the way the light from the street lamps gets caught on the satin and makes it blush. I feel like it's the modern equivalent to how Grace Kelly clicks across the marble floor and pauses at the bar in white satin gloves, or how Doris Day smooths down her full skirt and orders a pink champagne. Not many women wear show-stopping cocktail dresses out anymore, so this is a quiet compromise. It makes you feel charming, and oh-so aware of it. 

And saying that, obviously I'm not wearing this to go grocery shopping or leafing through books in the library. I reach for it when it's time to go to a dinner that involves three courses and lots of happy banter, or to some dimly lit bar where one orders drinks in short glasses and scratchy jazz mingles with the late hour. 

Though give me some time and I probably will start wearing this grocery shopping. Ms. Kelly would be proud.  


Click to tweet this!- Who says evening dresses are just for big occasions? Click to see how to style it casually for the every day. #pinkchampagneonweekdays

DRESS: Macy's (ions ago)
SHIRT: Forever 21

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Sep 15, 2014



You guys, it's official. The last of the summer wind has passed by my window and left only a quick promise over its shoulder to return next year as it moved on to its next romance. It's officially fall in Chicago. Sock wearing, jacket shrugging, boot zipping fall. I am not thrilled. All those lovely flimsy dresses have to be packed away into the basement as thick sweaters and clunky shoes make their appearance. And what's worse is, I don't seem to remember how to dress for the season? Everything I'm coming up with seems so...boring and basic. It's a crisis.

So while I was in the midst of panicking in my underwear in front of my closet, I managed to at least come up with this outfit if not many others. And I have to (begrudgingly) admit, I'm kind of, if just a little, smitten with this one. If more of my fall looks end up looking like this I might warm up to the change. I really like that it's still soft and romantic and uses light colors, but still manages to look sweater-weather-y. I took one of my favorite linen summer dresses and tucked the collar on the inside (i just folded it under) so I could pair it with a sheer billowy blouse to add some sleeves to the look. Then to give it a more autumnal feel, I paired it with suede booties and a brown belt to keep the color scheme taupe. What do you think? Would you wear something like this?


Tweet this! Part of the minority that's not thrilled about fall? Here's an idea on how to wear summer dresses longer! #SangriaOverPSL 

DRESS: thrifted (vintage option: here, here)
BLOUSE: American Apparel (vintage option: here)
BOOTIES: Macys (vintage options: here, here)
BELT: Calvin Klein (thrifted)

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Sep 12, 2014


Weekends are meant for playing and exploring, and when one does that she needs to dress the part. You can't just wear any old dress to that one rooftop bar you were meaning to hit up all summer. And will pants or a jumpsuit work better to that one book reading you heard about last week? In the spirit of that, here's a new series offering you fun ideas to try out this weekend, as well as suggestions on what to wear to them. 

Chicago readers- these are real events happening this weekend. And everyone outside our area, go find these in your own town! I want to read all about it come Monday :)

Six Outfits to Try This Weekend

  1. Try on the last of your summer sheer and head over to Billy Sunday in Logan Square to get your fill of summer drinks while they last. Their most recent concoction is served in a watermelon and meant to be split with a friend, and is whipped together with frozen sake, sparkling wine, and booze-soaked fruits. Patio drinkin at it's finest, eh?
  2. Starting to ease into the fall mood, pop a cable-knit sweater over a pussy-bow dress and head to Avec, where you'll treat yourself to a vanilla ice cream after dinner. But not just any old vanilla ice cream. Next to your dish of the homemade creamy stuff sits a shot of espresso, and when you're ready, the waiter pours the hot liquid over your cold ice cream. Yum. 
  3. Top your chambray shirt with a denim jacket and go to the Malkovich art exhibit in River North. There the artist, Sandro Miller, takes famous photos of Malkovich and alters them by using the styles of famous artists from the past (like Andy Warhol!)   
  4. Pop a collared blouse under a short sleeve dress and go to Bordel in Wicker Park, a bar that's got a 60's era Parisian jazz house vibe what with their spirit cocktails, live music, and swinging dancing. 
  5. Take a sheer, feminine dress and pair it with heavier accessories (like a cargo vest and a dark colored scarf) and head to Write Club. Set up like a boxing match with three rounds, two writers get in the ring and have seven minutes to talk about opposing topics. The audience chooses who wins and who sucks at life. 
  6. Pop an embroidered top underneath your overalls and spend your Saturday night at Emporium, a pinball arcade slash bar, with a foodtruck parked inside acting as a kitchen. Quarter games, tacos, and craft beers? I've found Mecca.

Sep 10, 2014


Ever seen a trend, liked it, but weren't necessarily sure if you could style it in a "you" kind of way? "How We Wore It" will show you how different women braved the trend and played with it until they got it to fit in with their styles- and hopefully that'll inspire us to poke a toe out of our comfort zones and try something new, too! Today's trend will be baseball caps. Happy creating!


Sep 8, 2014


Sep 6, 2014


An open letter to you:

You know all those things about you? The way you get moody when your socks get wet from a puddle of rain, or the way your hair gets when the wind plays with the ends of it? The way you turn quiet when the sun breaks against the window of your train, splintering gold and mingling with your thoughts. How you put your chin on your in-drawn knees and watch the slow-moving boats glide past on the beach. Thoughts as dreamy as the white in the sails, reminding you of bed sheets and the roads to dreams that the rumpled folds and creases map out. The way you're fragile and damaged? The way you're fierce and relentless? How you count the stars during the day and feel the sun behind your eyes at night. How you weave moonlight into your hair when we talk on balconies and how you hate the way your voice sounds. The way that your eyes crinkle in the most wonderful, best possible way when you laugh. You know how you never stay down for too long, even though the world is trying its hardest to break you? There's that fierceness. And you know how you never resent it for its efforts; still welcome an outstretched hand to help you back up. Even though that's the way you got down there to begin with? There's that relentlessness. You know how sometimes your clothes don't fit, sometimes you don't have the right words to say, sometimes you lose the map and don't know where to go? And how the whole while you have light. Light coming right out of you in a way you've never been able to notice?

Well, I love that about you.


I'm all about simple touches with pops of wow. When I found these American Apparel shorts on sale for $15 last week I nearly had a heart attack. Shorts that are high waisted and won't show my butt cheeks? How is this possible? Excitement all around. I decided to pair the linen shirts with one of my most favorite summer tops, and then add a pop of wow by pairing it with a mint-and-gold striped clutch. This clutch is from 9th & Elm, a site that's all about the handmade and independent designers. And you know how I'm all about those. This particular clutch is hand-painted by Alissa, the owner of My a la Mode. While the clutch is wonderful, my favorite part was the tag that it came with. It said "Hello lover of...Travel. Weeping willows. Art. Boho style. Being true to yourself. Painting. A free spirit. Dancing in the rain. Independence." It had me smiling as I put it down on my dresser. If you're impressed with this one, you should see what other creations she came up with. It's seriously like wearing art- it'll add a little something to each look. Check out her other hand-painted designs here!

SHORTS: American Apparel (only $15!) (similar: here
BLOUSE: c/o Honeymoon Muse Vintage
CLUTCH: c/o 9th & Elm

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© Messages on a Napkin.Maira Gall.