Oct 24, 2014



Hi guys! I have a fun giveaway for you today, hosted by Hey Viv! Vintage! This is a spunky Etsy boutique that's full of fit-and-flair dresses, colorful prints, and quirky styles. If you're a girly-girl then I think you've just found your Mecca! One of my favorite things that Viv said was, "I still get a thrill when I open a box of vintage that's just come in. I never know whether I'll find a velvet dress, a faded beauty hat or a purse with possibilities. " And today you can get that same thrill! Viv is offering one lucky reader three gifts: a pillbox hat (in either black or red), a clutch, and a vintage scarf in a color of your choosing. And to enter is easy. All you have to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Comment with your favorite item from their store and follow them on Instagram
  2. Bonus Entry: Follow them on Twitter
  3. Bonus Entry: Like them on Facebook
  4. Bonus Entry: Follow Messages on a Napkin on Twitter

This is open internationally and will run for a week- good luck!


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Oct 23, 2014



Today I'm excited to introduce you to a gorgeous Seattle based shop called Deja Vintage Boutique! A boutique that specializes in 50's and 60's dresses, they live by the mantra "good things happen twice" and they scour Seattle charity shops and dive head-first into estate sales just to bring you the prettiest of dresses and the cutest of accessories. They literally have collected over a hundred of vintage dresses so there's a special like something for everyone. And today one of you will be able to get a lil sumin sumin- Leta, the owner, is offering one lucky reader a $40 giftcard! To enter is easy, all you have to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Favorite them on Etsy (press the little red heart in the top right hand corner) and follow them on Facebook
  2. Bonus Entry: Comment with your favorite item from Deja Vintage Boutique
  3. Bonus Entry: Follow Deja Vintage Boutique on Instagram 
  4. Bonus Entry: Follow their blog
  5. Bonus Entry: Like Messages on a Napkin on Facebook

That's all! This is open internationally and will run for a week- good luck!

PS- obsessed with these gorgeous, gorgeous photos? Check out their other lookbooks here!

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$40 New Old Fashion Vintage Giveaway


I'm not exaggerating when I say New Old Fashion Vintage is one of my favorite stores ever- I have a bevvy of my top dresses from them. Everything from plaid peter pan collared ones to mustard shift ones. And that's not all they have: they have a stock of riding boots, quilted skirts, structured winter coats, turtleneck dresses- really anything you can think of.  And Amelia, the amazing gal behind the store, is offering one lucky reader a $40 giftcard today! To enter is easy, all a girl's got to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Follow New Old Fashion on Instagram and comment with your favorite item from her store
  2. Bonus Entry: Follow New Old Fashion on Pinterest
  3. Bonus Entry: Follow New Old Fashion on Facebook
  4. Bonus Entry: Follow Messages on a Napkin on Twitter

This is open internationally and will run for a week- good luck lovies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 22, 2014


I like making my closet work for me by never breaking up things into specific sections- there is no "casual wear" and "evening wear"; no "day pieces" and "night pieces". I like to wear evening gowns with chunky knit sweaters during the day, and flannel shirts with sequined evening skirts during the night. The fun contrasts make for some playful, inventive outfits, and it really makes the wardrobe you took the time to curate work for you. So in the spirit of that, I'm starting off a new series called "From Day to Night", where I take a piece of clothing and style it for dramatically different events- like grabbing coffee with a friend at 2 o'clock, and then going to get drinks at the swanky new bar at midnight. 

And today's piece? This New Old Fashion Vintage denim jacket (which I have also styled here). Let's see how versatile it really is!


FROM DAY: Bundle into a fisherman sweater and tassel scarf and pair the look with high waist shorts to juxtapose the chunkier top half. Pair it with some heeled booties to keep the fall vibe going, and add a camel colored hat for some interest and a gold clutch to add a touch of fancy. Then top off the whole look with your denim jacket for a touch of color and an extra layer for both warmth and interest. Now go get that coffee- your friend is waiting!


FROM NIGHT: When mixing fancy with casual it's all about balancing the two different vibes. For example, if you have an elegant full skirt, tone it down with a relaxed denim jacket. To make sure that the denim doesn't take over the look, pair it with a swanky accessory like a gold bauble necklace or a pair of chandelier earrings. Then to balance the extravagant top-half, choose shoes that are more casual like suede booties or a pair of Chelsea boots. That way you have two different forces in your look but an even amount of each. Now that you're all dolled up and ready to go, hail your cab and get ready to sip on pretty pink cocktails under those dim and dreamy lights!

Outfit One:

JACKET: New Old Fashion Vintage
SWEATER: Thrifted
SHORTS: American Apparel
SCARF: French Connection
SHOES: Macys

Outfit Two:

JACKET: New Old Fashion Vintage
SKIRT: Choies (only $25!)
SHOES: Macys

Oct 21, 2014



This week, ohhh this week I have plans. I'm going to listen to Doris Day croon over how stars fell on Alabama the night before as she kissed in a field of white. I'm going to make a home on the couch and open to a well-worn chapter in a favorite book: The Boy Who Lived. I'm going to string Halloween decorations all over the house, dusting corners with spiderwebs and cluttering ceilings with black and orange garlands. I'm going to play Practical Magic on the TV like background noise on a radio, and I'm going to figure out how to make my pumpkin spice tea not taste like shrubbery in cinnamony toilet water. And I'm going to discover that mauve is officially my favorite fall color. I'd never guess it, but here we are.

When first styling this Choies's column dress I was trying to go for a sheer, dreamy look, but this velvet blazer kept catching my eye in the back of the closet. Feeling like I should give it a go, I tried dressing up the color with fall favorite hues: burnt orange, forest green, and a light nude. And, to my surprise, it all came together like a dream. The dark colors helped move this summery shade into fall, and the high necked dress looked like it was made for nippier weather. I'll definitely be repeating this look all season. 

What's a favorite trick of yours to move summer dresses into fall? Other than the usual cardigan + infinity scarf combo.


DRESS: c/o Choies (only $33!) (vintage option: here)
BLAZER: c/o Ellenface Vintage (vintage option: here- in olive)
PURSE: thrifted (vintage option: herehere)
BELT: thrifted
SHOES: Old Navy (only $10!) (vintage option: here, here- as loafers)
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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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© Messages on a Napkin.Maira Gall.