Oct 19, 2014



Ya see all this goodness here? This is all from Beehive Chicago Vintage Collective, a loft-space turned showroom nestled in East Garfield Park, home to eight vintage stores and a treasure trove to all of the vintage obsessed. Decked out in strings of fairy-lights and clusters of pink tissue pompoms, this loft acts not only as a workspace for the vintage vendors, but also a mini mall come every Saturday, when they open up their doors and invite you to come poke around their loot. 

I went last Saturday with Tom (ready to spend my lunch money on the first plaid dress I laid eyes on) and found myself kind of crushing on the collective, getting more and more fond of them as I went deeper into the loft.  You see, the thing that struck me about them is how wonderfully warm and inviting they all were. Customers were sprawled out on vintage couches, talking and laughing with the vendors as they noshed on free cookies and drinks laid out on the bar. Girls came out of dressing rooms decked out in mod dresses and full skirts- first a little uncertain and unsure- then softened into delighted smiles as the owners topped off their looks with vintage hats, fur stoles, and encouraging winks in the mirror. Some of the vendors were busy dressing models in incredible outfits, getting ready for lookbook photoshoots as customers (well, fine, me) gawked on the sidelines. (And feverishly stole styling ideas for future looks.) 

There was tons to rifle through, and we spent a good handful of hours weaving between rows, thumbing fur coats, testing out barcarts, and trying our hardest not to blow all of rent money on vintage dresses and boots. If you're in the Chicago area, definitely come through one of these Saturday afternoons. And if you're not, scroll to the bottom of the post and visit their Etsy stores and sites!


Beehive Chicago Vintage Collective
  • 2950 W Carroll St, Suite 3S (3rd Floor)
  • Chicago, Illinois 60612
Marthette Vintage RentalLost Girls Vintage
Imaginary Girl
South Loop Loft
Take 2 Vintage
Tweed Creative Vintage

Oct 18, 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- PART TWO  

  1. Pair a chambray shirt with your high-waist denim jeans and head over to the tucked-away Milton Lee Olive Park for some quite coffee sipping under the changing leaves. Like a little oasis in the city, it's tucked between Ohio Street Beach and Navy Pier, surrounded by trees and hiding the city from your view during those much needed breaks. 
  2. Pair a full midi skirt with a turtleneck crop top and add a twist to your brunch by putting it all on a pizza. Stella Barra Pizzeria has everything from french toast pizzas with butterscotch to omelette pizzas with egg whites and bacon, all paired with fun sips like the Coffee Drank, which is basically spiked coffee in your mug. Nom.
  3. Layer a peter pan collar dress or blouse under your pinafore and go meet Ron Swanson in person in Lincoln Park! Nick Offerman will be leading a discussion at UP Comedy Club about his new book Paddle Your Own Canoe and will be signing copies after. I don't know about you, but I'm just going to see that glorious mustache in person.
  4. Pair a cozy poncho with a pair of riding pants and an oversized infinity scarf and go to Essay Fiesta at the Book Cellar, where comedians, writers, and actors share hilarious personal essays inspired from their own awkward experiences.
  5. Planning to be hungover this weekend? Play with patterns with your fall sweaters and summer blouses and make your friends meet you at Dove's Luncheonette in Wicker Park. Dressed up as an old-school diner, this place has a twist on the classic vibes by only serving Mexican-inspired menus. Which is just perf for that Saturday morning hangover. Aaaand put the shades back on over your eyes.
  6. De-fancy your evening dress by putting a chambray shirt over it and choose a seminar to go to at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Over 140 programs, it explores human creativity and thought under a wide array of topics, all centering under one yearly theme. And this year's theme? Journeys. 

Oct 16, 2014


One of my favorite ways to style a look is to take something fancy and deconstruct it into something casual. I just really like the contrast between an evening gown and a cable-knit sweater, or a sequined skirt with a casual chambray top. It's playful and interesting all at once. Which is why my eyes lit up when I saw this full satin midi skirt from Choies. Holy hell did my heart race- there was so much styling potential! Ideas of striped turtleneck crop tops, or rust colored blazers, or thick fishermen sweaters half tucked into the waist instantly came to mind. But today I decided to go with a fall staple instead: the striped cardigan. I like how the navy and mustard colors accent the dark emerald green, and how the casual sweater has a radically different vibe from the full evening skirt. They war with each other, but they work!

And if you want to try out the evening-wear-during-the-day look, be sure to read my 10 Ways to Dress Down Your Fancy Pieces post and my How to Style Formal Wear Casually post. 

SKIRT: c/o Choies
SWEATER: Urban Outfitters (vintage version: here)
SHOES: Urban Outfitters

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Oct 15, 2014



Judging by yesterday's post, I've got layering on the mind. I'm at the point where I can't quite bring myself to put on any more popsicle bright colors, but I can't quite say goodbye to a few favorite summer dresses. So in a semi-desperate effort to keep them around a few more weeks, I've been trying to plot ways to wear them and not catch pneumonia while doing so. Which is why I did a little happy dance in my seat when Amelia (equal parts sweet girl and equal parts amazing Etsy owner) casually mentioned she was curious to see how I'd style a denim jacket for fall. Because ya know I wouldn't be satisfied just popping it over pants or a skirt- there has to be a little summin' summin' extra to the look. So she sent over a vintage Levi number from her store, New Old Fashion Vintage, and the challenge was on.

And how did I accept it? In a few easy steps: First, I popped a turtleneck under my dress for both warmth and an extra layer to add interest. Second, I rolled up the sleeves of the jacket and then only buttoned it at the collar, so it could bring attention to the turtleneck. And third, I cut a long ribbon piece (making sure it reached at least the second to last button) and tied it into a bow around my denim collar. And there ya go: a summer dress that's all fall appropriate now. 

What do you think- would you try this? How do you like to wear your denim jackets? 


New Old Fashion Vintage is a clean-lined and unapologetically feminine Etsy boutique in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, run by the ever-sweet Amelia. She runs the shop on the sunny third floor of her 1800's era house, where she curates vintage and hangs out with her dress form, Dolly. When Dolly becomes boring company she (using chicken tacos as a bribe) convinces her younger sister to play in vintage with her and model her pieces. If you'd like to support Amelia's store or are just in the mood to window shop, pop over to New Old Fashion Vintage here and say hello! Messages from vintage-lovers and admirers are just the best to get on a Wednesday afternoon :) 

And to give you an idea on what kind of vintage she has, here are some favorite picks. How great is that cape coat (#3)?
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SHOES: Urban Outfitters
TURTLENECK: Banana Republic

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Oct 14, 2014


Now that fall is in full swing and Starbucks has officially stolen a good chunk of my income with their Pumpkin Spice Latte siren song, it's time to bust out the chunky sweaters and the ankle boots. The only trouble is that once the temps start dipping beneath the 50's, it's hard to stay motivated to dress interesting. We fall back onto the usual fisherman sweater + jeans combo and call it a day as we shiver underneath our coats. So to keep the inspiration alive, here's another installment of Layering 101: Fall Edition! Which one is your favorite look? And feel free to share some looks/ ideas you've been wanting to try in the comments below!


If you'd like to see more layering tip posts, feel free to check out: Layering 101: 10 tips on how to layer for fall, how to take vintage summer dresses into fall, and this "what to wear to a..." fall edition

Oct 10, 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 fall. 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-part-one
  1. Pair your summer midi skirt with a dark hued turtleneck to give it a more fall-feel and go see The Kate's perform this Friday in their all-female stand-up act. They do everything from storytelling, to stand-up, to musical numbers, so there's a little summin' summin' for everyone.
  2. Layer a chambray shirt under your summer maxi dress and head over to Beer Hoptacular, Chicago's largest beer festival this Friday and Saturday. Sample beers from over 60 different brewers with your buzzed friends and participate in shenanigan like the BeerHop Derby, the Homebrew Challenge, and the Beard Hoptacular, where you vote on the best facial hair in the Aaragon Ballroom.  
  3. Add a fall touch to your pinafore and summer florals combo with a braided scarf and go on the Open House Chicago tour hosted by the Chicago Architectural Foundation. For one weekend a year, they open up mansions, old theaters, hidden rooms, private clubs, and sacred places that are usually off-limits and now open for you to explore. And all for free! 
  4. Layer up by popping a turtleneck under your crew-neck blouse and choose which lecture you want to attend at Chicago Ideas Week. Seven days full of inspirational talks, you can choose to attend seminars on topics like the future of tech, the science behind creative processes, the amazingness of 3D printing, and even talks on how to brew the perfect beer (nomnomnom). 
  5. Pair your maxi dress with a long cardigan for interesting proportions and watch dogs and their owners dress up in Halloween costumes at the Spooky Pooch Parade! Cuteness guaranteed. 
  6. Pair your lady-like midi skirts with sheer, loose blouses for a playful contrast and head to the Joffrey Ballet's modern rendition of Swan Lake. Full of fantasy, lavishness, and drama, I'm curious to see how they'll make this classic into a modern piece.  

Oct 9, 2014



There is nothing more beautiful than a kitchen at 5 AM. When you’re the first to rise and the floors creek underneath you, their sighs going in tandem with the rustling of sheets and the quiet ending of dreams. The way the darkness whispers through the small kitchen window and pools in silver light on the floor. The way it catches and snags against the lace of the curtain and spills down over the empty coffee mugs in the sink. The steam from my coffee yawns and stretches towards the ceiling, its quiet climb the only sound in the room as I fold into my chair. Eyes still heavy with midnight, I put my chin in my palm and look out the window towards the grey sky, watching the stars being snipped from their strings one by one.

And think of you.


PS- have you signed up for my poetry newsletter? Pretty notes sent to your inbox every other day- sign up here! And if you already have, make sure it's not going to spam. I've already had a few issues with that- le sigh.


JUMPSUIT: Urban Outfitters (vintage similar: here, here)
BLOUSE: American Apparel (vintage similar: here)
PURSE: thrifted (vintage similar: here, here)
HAT: thrifted (vintage similar: here)

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© Messages on a Napkin.Maira Gall.