summer breeze (aka ruffle revival)

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Finally, finally, a warm (albeit humid) breeze has hit Chicago, and the summer clothes can make their debut! I found myself wondering whether it was “white skirt” weather…umm, that’s what happens, people, when you have an 8 month long winter. Your brain gets all sorts of confused about clothes. Anywho, speaking of summer. Is there anything more perfect for summer than a breezy white ruffle skirt? While I was enjoying my ruffles revival, I added white pumps and a tied at the waist button down. I haven’t worn a button down tied since the early 90s, so this outfit ended up being all sorts of liberating. I’m in a white skirt! No tights! Tied up button down! White vintage pumps! It’s warm out! Celebrate! It’s a ruffle (and summer spirit) revival. Thanks for coming, summer.

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Top: Nordstrom Rack ($20 marked down from approx $45)

Skirt: c/o Fuchsia Couture by Liliana

Shoes: vintage via thrift ($2, they were $4, but 50% off sale)

Necklace: Charming Charlie’s (approx $10 on sale)

Purse: Kate Spade (gift)

Nail colors: orange polish (dollar store), gold (Frog in my Throat by OPI)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) With the “tied at the waist” button down, this outfit is definitely casual. However, the other way to style the exact same pieces for a more formal look would be by tucking in the button down and adding a short or long sleeve blazer. If you’re going to invest in staples for all season dressing, skirts are a great option. You can always add tights for cooler weather, which makes them wearable all year round. I think this skirt, for example, would look really great with colored tights and ankle boots. 

2) Shout-out to the lovely Liliana who designed and made this skirt. It’s made of out sustainable bamboo fiber and is very breathable for summer. It almost feels like pajamas (and you know how I feel about that), but clearly looks a lot more formal than pajamas.  When I’m looking for skirts, my top requirement is that the skirt fits (of course), but that it doesn’t wrinkle! I’ve made the mistake of buying a couple of skirts that wrinkle quickly; they end up being a lot of work and looking somewhat disheveled halfway into your day (unless you keep an iron in your office).  One way to check and see if a skirt may wrinkle is to pinch the fabric between your fingers and hold it for a few seconds.  When you let go, look at the wrinkle effect. I’m happy to report that this skirt does not, in fact, wrinkle easily, if at all. Check out Liliana via her online shop via: Fuchsia Couture by Liliana . #yougoLiliana
Anyone else have wrinkle tips? I’d love to hear them! Happy Monday, readers! I hope everyone is having a great start to the week!

rocking a frock

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We all know by now that I’m a dreamer who has a borderline questionable relationship to clothing and fashion, so it’s no surprise that when I thrifted this dreamy vintage frock (oh yeah, it’s a frock), I heard it calling out that it wanted to be worn and be loved anew. It’s perhaps one of the oddest prints I’ve seen in a while. The fabric print was dubbed the following: dreamsicle gardens, aboreteum wonderland, neon wee villageland, and polyester pink fairyland by various friends. I’m not sure what this pattern was called back when it was made, but one thing is for sure, this vintage frock lives to twirl another day.

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Dress: Vintage at
Buffalo Exchange resale ($15)
Cardigan: Banana Republic (approx $10 marked down from approx $60)
Shoes: Thrifted ($2, retail for approx $30)
Necklace: Vintage via resale ($6)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) Whenever I shop vintage, I always look at all of the seams and all of the fabric closely. Unfortunately, some places do stock vintage that is beyond repair (at least in my book) with holes that can’t be mended, etc. Holes that are in the middle of the fabric can be tough to repair, whereas a zipper can be an easy fix. Personally, I took for vintage that doesn’t need any repairs, as I have limited repairing skills. I also wash all vintage inside out, on a gentle cycle, and then line dry the pieces. 

2) This dress looked flat-out costume-y on the rack  (especially the sleeves, as they are huge!), but looked a lot better once it was on. Vintage is one of those things that requires trying things on, and thinking of how you might style something to give it an updated vintage look.  I like to think, in advance, about how I might style something. If I don’t think I can figure out a way to style it, it will just sit in my closet unworn! With this dress, modern heels and a cardigan do a lot to add an updated feeling. 

Anyone else have vintage tips? Falling in love with vintage prints? Thank you so much for stopping by, lovely readers! I appreciate it so much!

scalloped, studded, and skipping (aka homage to modern mary poppins)

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Readers, you all know how I feel about a rainy/gray day…I love skipping around in puddles, humming rain themed songs (there’s so many good ones!), and all around enjoying the cooler temperatures. This day was no exception. I was wearing a scalloped neckline dress and studded shoes, and was hanging around with an umbrella as a prop for my photos. With my umbrella in these photos, I sort-of felt like Mary Poppins- minus the giant bag and formal gray suit. …which, of course, brings me to my next point. I also love a good homage. In today’s homage, I honor the lovely and quite talented Mary Poppins. I suspect that if Mary Poppins was out there job interviewing these days, she might have updated her somewhat dowdy suit for a more colorful dress and a nice pair of flats. She would have, undoubtedly, kept her magic umbrella though. This is my best Mary Poppins gone modern in scallops, studs, and skipping in puddles.

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Dress: Filene’s Basement (years ago; I think around $15, marked down from $100)

Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft (borrowed)

Shoes: Rampage via Marshall’s ($16 marked down from $40)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) Here in Chicago, it’s a bit late in the season to still be wearing tights, but you know what that means: this is the best time to buy tights! If you can still find them, grab them up! I’ve noticed that most stores are not stocking tights right now, but many places still have them online. For example, Kohl’s has a lot of tights online right now, most of which are less than $5 a pair. Target still had some in stores when I was last there, but online is a good option as well. 
 
2) This dress was one of those dresses that almost fit like a glove off the rack- almost. I noticed that it was a little big in the waist when I tried it on, but that it fit everywhere else. Luckily, with the black fabric around the waist, I was able to sew and pull in the sides a little without making my amateur tailoring very noticeable. I’m a firm believer that small tailoring jobs can be done by someone who can do basic sewing. However, for bigger jobs or if you don’t feel as comfortable with small jobs, don’t pass up a good find just because it might need a little tailoring. I’ve found that tailoring can be very affordable and can make a piece off the rack look as though it was made for you. If you don’t already have a tailor that you like and trust, you can check out yelp.com for reviews for one in your area. 
Anyone else finding great things off season right now? Any recommendations to what to look for? Thanks so much for stopping by, readers! Happy Monday!

to the max (aka half summer half spring)

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What do you wear when it’s half summer half spring (half fall)? You wear a maxi dress, of course. As you all know, I’ll use just about any excuse to wear anything remotely pajama-like to work, and a maxi dress is no exception. Instead of droning on about how much I like pajamas and how I wish we could all wear sweat pants and yoga pants to work, I’m going to keep it short and simple today. Pajamas, how I love thee. Maxi dress, you are indeed a close second. (Is it weird I talk to my clothes like they are people?) (I’ll save that for a different post, perhaps.)

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Dress: Mimi Chica via consignment ($16, retails for approx $52)
Shrug: Nordstrom Rack (so long ago, cannot remember the price!)
Shoes: Dolce Vita via Marshall’s ($20 marked down from $100)
Long necklace: gift
Short necklace: Fab ($25)

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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) Styling a maxi dress for work can be a bit of a challenge, at least for me! It’s hard to not make the outfit look either too informal or too pajama-like. By adding a cardigan or a blazer, you both cover your shoulders (requirements at my work) and add some formality to the dress.  Additionally, wearing heels with a maxi dress can go a long way in making the dress look more formal.  I last wore this dress with heels, as seen here:
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2) One of the biggest challenges in dressing for work is hot weather. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of cool weather, so it hasn’t been bad in Chicago lately. However, I foresee this coming and am guessing it will be a challenge yet again this summer. As an alternative to traditional blazers and cardigans, I really like using shrugs and short-sleeve blazers in summer to layer over dresses. I find a lot of shrugs at Nordstrom Rack, and places like White House Black Market. I tend to find short sleeve blazers at places like Forever 21 and Old Navy. In my experience, don’t need a super high end short sleeve blazer, as it’s one of those pieces that really only gets limited use in summer months. I’m sure I’ll be posting them as it gets warmer here in Chicago. Stay tuned!
Anyone else have workplace summer styling tips? Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate it!

mad for mod podge (aka occupied by octopi)

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I would say my obsession with Mod Podge is borderline unhealthy. In my quest for knowledge that I don’t really need, I researched the founder of Mod Podge. Who was this brilliant person, you ask? Well, her name was Jan Wetstone and she invented Mod Podge in her garage in the 1960s, after finding traditional decoupage too cumbersome. When testing it, she apparently Mod Podge-d all sorts of things…including a car (picture here).

In what I hope is true Mod Podge spirit, I Mod Podged a plastic octopus toy and made it into a necklace. Ms. Wetsone, I didn’t know you, but I definitely admire you. I hope I did you justice…and btw, I, too, will Mod Podge just about anything in sight. And now that I have the glitter version…don’t even. It’s a 1960s glitter podge party. I’m occupied by octopi, 60s crafting supplies, and Pinterest DIYs.
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Top: J Crew via resale ($6 tags still attached!, retails for $80)
Pants: Gap ($8 marked down from $50)
Shoes: Nine West via resale ($12, retails for approx $100)
Necklace: made it! (cost to make was about $1.50)
Ship necklace: gift
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) We continue to get random spurts of cold weather here, so wearing “spring” clothes is a bit of a challenge. However, I’ve been sticking with light colors and pastels to still give the appearance of “spring” while staying warm. I think button downs are one of the easiest pieces to transition. They can go over dresses, under dresses, under sweaters, un-buttoned, with tank tops, with cardigans, on their own, etc, etc. Whenever I see button downs on sale, I grab them! I particularly love Gap’s selection (great prints and colors), which go on sale very regularly.  If you’re into thrifting, button downs can be found in huge quantities at many local shops. I found this J Crew top with tags still attached at my local resale shop.
2) This necklace was SO EASY, readers. The only drawback was that the acrylic paint I used needed more layers than anticipated, so the painting took a few days between coats. However, while I was waiting between coats, I saw some amazing DIYs that break down how people have made similar necklaces. They can be found here and here. The second link will blow your mind, I promise. This clever blogger made her own DIY Anthro necklaces for about a dollar, compared to the $38 they were selling for…amazing. If you’re just generally interested in Mod Podge finishes, this is a good visual on the different types. 
Anyone else have DIY tips? Button down styling tips? Happy Monday, readers! Thank you so much for stopping by!!

awesomely eighties

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Being a product of the 80s, let’s face it, I have a love of pretty much all things 80s. And while the 80s trend has kind-of “passed” and now we are onto the 90s, I still can’t let 80s fashion love go (except for shoulder pads. I can let those go). Anywho, I found these white vintage 80s pumps and it was love at first sight, readers. I knew with a little love (alcohol swabs and sanitizer), they would be looking brand new. Well, 80s brand new. You know what’s weird? When I styled them, they looked surprisingly fresh to me. I’m not sure how that really works, but I guess what’s old is new, sometimes, and that many loved pieces can be loved indefinitely…I find that thought very comforting. Thanks, shoes, for the reminder.

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Top: Peter Pilotto for Target ($6 marked down from approx $35)
Pants: Banana Republic ($20 marked down from $90)
Shoes: vintage via thrift ($2, they were $4, but 50% off sale)
Necklace: gift
Bag: Peter Pilotto for Target ($3 marked down from $40)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) There’s still a bit of the Peter Pilotto for Target on the Target website (including the bag featured here). If you go to the Target website, you can find many of the pieces on clearance, if you didn’t get a chance to get them when the collection came out!
2) Resale shops have sales? Yes, they sure do. It’s kind-of surprising, right? The sales vary by store, though a lot of resale shops (especially chains such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc) have email alerts, which allows you to track the sales. You can also ask at the store if there is a schedule for sales, many of which take place on “holiday weekends.” Given that resale prices are often already quite low, you don’t really need to hunt down the sales, but if you are so inclined, I say go for it! 
I know I should have probably cleaned these shoes with something less harsh than alcohol (on the exterior), but I just went for it. The white leather cleaned up really well with the rubbing alcohol.  You can always use leather softener after, if you want to make sure the leather doesn’t turn too brittle/get too dry. For the interior, don’t forget to use antibacterial wipes and/or an alcohol based sanitizer. I’ve read that a lot of people also use an anti-fungal spray as well, so that’s an option too. Best to over clean than under!

Anyone else have resale sale tips? Thank you so much for stopping by, readers! Happy Wednesday!

limitless pattern layering

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We’ve had a few hazy and rainy days here lately, which has led to some cool looking “hazy photos.” You know where I’m headed with this, right? I’m a total dreamer at heart, and I love the hazy/dreamlike pictures my photographer, G, captured here. Hazy rainy days always feel like a day to cozy down and dream. …though, let’s face it, rainy days are normally spent at work. Oh well, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about fashion and photos, among other things (like winning the lottery and buying up the newest Burberry collection). In this hazy and rainy day look, I layered three different patterns, because, why not? Fashion is completely limitless and certainly can involve a lot of dreaming.

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Denim top: H&M ($20 marked down from approx $40)
Pants: Jones New York at TJ Maxx ($17 marked down from $74)
Shoes: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)
Tassel necklace: DIY
Ring: Trip to Venice, Italy, many years ago
Bracelet: (gift)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I used to shy away from trying to find pants at places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, because I feel like I don’t know my size when it varies from brand to brand. However, I’ve found that it’s not really all that hard to go through their pants selection and guess your size range. I usually look through 1-2 sizes up from my “standard” size and 1-2 sizes down, and then pick out pants from there. This may sound time consuming, but I’ve found that you can manage looking through those sizes in about a half hour. I’ve found that it’s definitely worthwhile, because the pant prices there can be really affordable (<$20). So, if you used to be like me, maybe give it another try! I also know many people who shop the “teen” section and find pants that fit adults without any issues- you just need to potentially size up a bit. 
2) Speaking of pants, I love shopping for pants (and basically anything else) at Nordstrom Rack. I received an email the other day about their rewards program and “points days.” Umm, what? So, I looked up their “points calendar” and saw that their point system has special days when you earn additional points. You can find the points calendar here.
Additionally, remember that Nordstrom and Nordstrom Racks are two of the few stores that allow you to have their “card” but you can choose that it’s either a credit card or a debit card, for those who don’t want to open another credit card. You do need to have a card to earn points, but you can open a card via their debit system, which is a great option for those not interested in their credit card. You can find information about both of the cards here.   
Anyone have feedback or tips for shopping for pants at stores that carry a variety of brands, and therefore have various sizes to look through? Thanks for stopping by, readers! I appreciate it so much and love your comments and tips!