Blearning Blog! Letter eeeEEEEEE!!!

It’s Monday, which means it is time to put new information in your head and live a fancier and more fashionable life!

BLEARNING BLOG brought to you by the letter E!

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E is for Elizabeth and James!

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You know Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen? They are the masterminds behind this hip label, which they started in 2007. Ashley and Mary Kate went from Full House to powerhouse with their fashion careers post sitcom stardom.

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Elizabeth and James is the second of two lines. It is named after their siblings, and is the younger brand to their luxury line The Row. Here are a few of my favorite looks from the Resort 2015 collection. The good news is that the following eye candy is part of the less expensive label. The bad news: you still may have to “resort” to looking and not touching, because even the midi top is going to cost upwards of a couple hundred bucks.

If MK & A hired me to label these looks, it would go something like this:

The Short, Plump Cartoon Man that Never Was

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The Playground Outfit Not Made for the Monkey Bars

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The Powerpoint Presentation w/ Gun Show Encore

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The Laundry Day Skirt Shirt

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The DIY Sharpie Lab Coat … paired with the Rejected Color Jansport

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Okay okay so maybe I was poking a little fun at these looks, but I think even though they appear to be somewhat mod and stark in the way they have been styled for the photos, there is still room to be playful in these looks because of their creative lines and unexpected pops of pattern and color. The aesthetic is supposed to be a relaxed urban with just enough of a blend of femme and structure that it looks powerful and stays relaxed. I’d wear it because it would make me feel edgy and because the shapes allow for all kinds of pizza to be consumed. I wouldn’t wear it if I wanted to feel like a polished professional or if I wanted to show off my silhouette.  If I were styling someone who had a lax, urban dress code for work, I could definitely see pulling some of these pieces for their wardrobe, otherwise I see most of these pieces as meant for the everyday casual sophisticate.

Speaking of sophisticated, when I realized that today’s Blearning Blog was going to start with “E” I immediately thought of Mini Me from Austin Powers running and squealing, and thought “oh, I should definitely put a clip in my blog of that!”  Here’s what search engines gave me:

Because I said sophisticated and I meant it….  😉  Maybe a good look for my next post?

CheeeeEEEEEEEEEEEErs!

C

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Blearning Blog: d’Orky for d’Orsay

Monday it is! Learn we will.

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Blearning Blogs, for those of you joining us, are where I pick a topic the fashion world assumes everybody knows about, but actually doesn’t, and I write about it for you to read. I like it because we all become savvier without buying a damn thing. Street cred for all! 

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Oh, I should also mention that Blearning Blogs go in alphabetical order. If you want to catch A, B, or C, you can check them out here!

Letter A!

Letter B!

Letter C!  

Letter D! …. Oh wait that’s today…. Check it out!

Today we are learning about d’Orsay style shoes! I have seen these all over, and have heard the word d’Orsay, but have I ever used it in a sentence? Not once.  Let’s take a quick peek at a shoe that is not only everywhere, but it is also historical! Who knew?

If I were your best gal pal describing my new d’Orsay shoes on the phone, I would say something like this:

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“Yah, they’re like a kind of shoes that have, like, a cut out sort of on the middle sides so, like, you can see the arch of your foot, ya know? Like the toes and heels are still covered. Yah, and they’re like so in right now.”

If I were writing about them for fashion research project I might say this:

D’Orsay  (pronounced door-say) is a style of shoe designed originally for men in the 1800’s by Count Alfred d’Orsay, who wanted a better fitting military shoe that would accommodate wider feet.  Women loved the pointed toe, and incorporated it into ladies’ fashion shortly thereafter. The characteristics that make the d’Orsay shoe unique, are the point in the toe and the exposed arch, which comes from an absence of structured fabric between the heel and the toe box. In recent years, d’Orsay style shoes are experiencing a comeback to store shelves and sidewalks. They follow the “cut-out” trend and also offer versatility in that the exposed arch can be incorporated at any level of formality in both flats and heels.

If I had all the monies for all the shoes so I could buy them and show them to you,  here are pictures of ones I would buy:

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(Those Pierre hardy ones have blue mink fur around the top… wait, what!?? So drool.)

STOP!  Put the credit card down. Here are three more that won’t break the bank:

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My faves are the Ava & Aiden out of this bunch. These are perfect staples because they are sassy and yet still muted enough to wear with a lot of things. 

D’Or I say we have learned something today??

Ba dum chhhhhh!

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Cheers! Because d’Orsay shoes would look really terrible on men!

Happy Monday!

XO

PREPARING TO BLOW YER MIND…with baby steps

Hello you beautiful people!

After nearly 100 posts of experimental blogs and features, the time has come to narrow down the pack. Dorky Chick in Lipstick is finally going to be on a regular schedule! The random whimsy was great for a beginning project, but I am only a few short posts away from TRIPLE DIGITS on posts. This means there will obviously be a massively massive celebratory 100th post, but before I hit the big leagues, it is time to spruce up. So check it out! These are the features that made the cut!

Monday: Blearning Blogs! That’s right. These are coming back. Each Monday I will post about something in the fashion industry I just don’t know much about and we can learn together. Together we will just be better at life. How bout that?

Tuesday: TRENNNDAYYYYYY! Oh obvi Tues is getting hella trendacious. On Trreennnnndayyy Tuesday be ready for pics of things I’m willing to leave the house in, pics of stuff I would buy if I were swimming in bennies, and tidbits from around the internet I’m loving!

Wednesday: Dorky Chick Diaries! My chance to get real, Dorky Chick Diaries is exactly that– a diary entry. I’ll tell you what is on my mind. You no likey? You no clicky. Capish?

Thursday: Throwback Thursday! I’m so original. There are almost a hundred blog posts in my arsenal, and what better way than to promote sustainability than with resurrecting a post you missed!

Friday: Fearless Friday! What better way to celebrate past adventures and embrace future adventures than a whole day dedicated to getting out of the comfort zone! I love that classic quote “Do something every day that scares you” … Why not give it a shot myself?? This might mean jumping in to a design project, making art and putting my work up for judgment, making moves on the job front, or eating cockroaches Fear Factor style!!! Whoa, kidding. Not that. 

Weekend: VLOGoManiA! Just when you thought I’d forgotten about the videos! My dear friends they are here to stay, and now I just have to figure out what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks I am going to talk about. Expect nothing, so I can impress you with sound effects.

BONUS** Once a month, I will be featuring a Dorky Chick as a “READER FEATURE“! I did this wayyy back when with my dear friend and fashionista, Laura, and would love to spotlight more incredible people that are out there walking around the world in heels! (Or whatever other tasteful shoes you choose ;))

Things to note:

I will not be posting on holidays. That is wrong, and I know you don’t love me that much.

If exciting things come up, I will post about those.

Don’t worry, I doubt any post will be as long as my NYC post. You should read that though, because it took an eternity. Scroll down, I say!

I would love some feedback. What’s working for you on Dorky Chick? Did I skip one of your favorite past features in the lineup?

Some jokes may get reused, and there will be grammatical errors. I feel like if I say it I’ve covered my tracks for the future….maybe?

Cheers! To taking our relationship to the next level 😉

XOXO

C

delusions, resolutions, and now i want ice cream.

Some breeds of dog are known to have their eyes literally pop out of their faces. Literally one minute they will have an eyeball inside their head, and then said eyeball will be on the floor. Typically it is the ones with the ones with smooshed noses, like pugs, who suffer from this dilemma of runaway eyeballs, but if I don’t put my September Harper’s Bazaar away for the night I might just learn what that feels like. I’ve been exhausting my eyes and noggin, stuffing my brain with images of assembled fabrics on airbrushed models, and I’m running out of room between my ears to hold it all. And of course that leads to Pinterest, which leads to self-hypnosis, which leads to the calendar telling you it is Thursday when last you checked it was Monday and now I can’t see anything and it might be almost the weekend again! *breath*

 

Uh… oops?

 

There is nothing like the September issue of a fashion magazine to reinvigorate my temporary enthusiasm for the idea of cold weather. The images of jackets and wool fabrics set to flashy graphics on shiny pages somehow erases all memories of cold associated with misery and instead replaces them with elaborate fantasies of crunching leaves under Manolo Blahniks and exchanging alluring glances with fancy men in Burberry trenchcoats. I don’t own Manolo Blahniks, and I don’t think many fancy men live in Portland. That being said, all this eye popping isn’t for nothing. I love the coming of Fall Fashion because it is like New Year’s all over again, except exclusive to style.

 

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Sure, I’ve graduated from the whole back-to-school shopping, but I will never graduate from finding new ways to make the sidewalk my catwalk! So in honor of Fashion New Years, I am making a FNY resolution….. DRUMROLL PLEASE……

 

 

MY FNY resolution is to make 2015 the year of the upgrade.

 

 

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^^move it kid, that’s mine!

 

Maybe I can’t swing Manolo Blahniks on a food service budget, but there are still some fab shoes I can crunch some leaves in, and I am going to wear them instead of those rubber things that were 6 bucks on my family beach vacation! I’m going to wear that shirt I love even though it needs ironing! Forget being cold this year– I’m going to actually have fun with layers!  I’m going to put on some of that jewelry I thought I deserved to buy buy really didn’t! Yoga pants to the grocery store? NAY!

Okay that’s too far…but they at least better be recently laundered.

 

On a serious note, I’d like to try to find a couple garments that I have outworn and give them an update as well. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

 

In the mean time, if you were looking for an excuse to drink tequila and kiss a stranger at midnight, you have my blessing. How my blessing will hold up against the law when said stranger calls the cops is probably not very reliable. So, uh, be careful….

 

XO

 

 

p.s. If you have a FNY Resolution, tweet me @PDXcaroline or if you have an #upgrade, I’m on instagram @PDXcaroline … no pictures of eyes popping out of sockets, please…

 

 

 

 

 

 

READER FEATURE: Meet Laura!

I designed this blog to be a digital bulletin board/keepsake box/public diary of all things that keep me inspired. This includes learning hurdles cleared, industry knowledge acquired, fashion fantasies explored, and officially, now, recognizing those who live fabulously, fearlessly, and fashionably. I want to dedicate a new monthly installment to readers who have kept me motivated and exemplify what it means to DREAM and DO.

Introducing….

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Meet Laura.

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One of my oldest friends, I couldn’t think of a better person to kick off this segment with.  I can just remember sitting in our middle school homeroom class and chit chatting like we were millionaire shoppers. Drooling over Louis Vuitton logos, daydreaming about Betsey Johnson shoes, and always being “in the know” about what was acceptable 8th grade attire…we’ve come quite a ways 🙂  Why I chose Laura is because she is not only is she a loyal reader of my little blog, she is also an integral part of my fashion history. Knowing my love of fashion, she invited me one spring day in 2007 to watch the Central Campus Fashion Show. This fashion show was the end-of-the-year showcase for the Fashion Design and Merchandising students at the downtown, college-level tech school  for high school students, which I would after become a part of.  (You may remember me mentioning this school before in one of my earliest blogs- click here. ) This experience catapulted me into exploring my creative side, allowed me to take a road less traveled, and ultimately has played a part in what has caused me to sit in this chair and type on this blog.

My appreciation for her goes far beyond that invitation, however, and I would say she is one of the more inspirational people I know. Laura is one of those people I would describe as “tightly wrapped”. She is organized, she is accomplished, she makes friends everywhere she goes, and she somehow makes time for it all and then some.  She makes life fun while still working really hard and looking extra fabulous. OH and she can kick your ass.

But I’ll let her do the talking. I had a chance to ask her some questions so you can get to know her, we can learn about her style, and maybe some of her can rub off on us!

C: Alright Laura, gimme the basics.

L: I live in the fabulous Scottsdale, Arizona! It’s very much the stereotype that everyone imagines. Eclectic cars and women in 100% matching Lululemon outfits at the gym protecting their new manicures. Sometimes I wonder if these people have jobs or are really doing that well being sugar mamas. If the latter, I need to switch careers. Besides it turning into an oven for 4 months out of the year, I can’t complain about the sunshine and the great tan that I can therefore maintain. You [learn to] deal with the 120 degree hot season for 8 months of 80 degree weather  just by thinking of friends at home [in Iowa] crossing treacherous black ice. I am currently a pediatric intensive care nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It’s amazing, I know. It’s also sad, I know. I get to be the one there for families when their child is in the worst possible state they could imagine. I’m there for the happy times when we’re leaving the ICU, and I’m there for the sad times when that departure wasn’t as positive. All in all, I love what I do! I’m also a Crossfit coach. Nothing about that one is ever sad. I see people improve every day and lift heavy stuff. All in sometimes coordinated Lululemon outfits. I also have a little side job of making homemade almond butter – aptly named after my Crossfit enthusiasm “Nasty Girls Nut Butter.” If you haven’t heard of the Crossfit “Nasty Girls”, Google it. Then try one of my nut butters. You’ll realize after about 30 seconds why they’re appropriately named. The nut butter started as something I just did for myself and has now evolved into something people are bringing me jars back for refills! Check me out on Facebook- I ship!

**side note- Laura was actually on a team that competed at CrossFit regionals. Um.. watch out!!!!!!

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C: How would you describe your style?

L: My style is either scrubs or workout apparel, so pretty darn comfy. I literally have a closet of clothes that I select from for an occasion about every 3 months. However, when these such occasions arise, I’m choosing from a closet of low-maintenance, trendy pieces. I’m usually the one wearing a statement piece of jewelry with a black on black ensemble or the red pants with a basic tee. Standout, but easy. Done.

C: What inspires you?

L: My grandmother instilled in me the love of Coco Chanel. I’ve read three biographies and still have a Chanel-inspired password after five years. The mantra of not taking no for an answer and doing what you feel and not what society dictates is what I strive to achieve as well.

C: Who is a style icon that influences you?

L: Cliché, I know she’s been in the press a lot lately, but I’ve loved Kate Middelton (Dutches of Cambridge, allofherotherreallylongtitles), from the get go. She’s like me, effortless, comfy, and stylish. I also like Reese Witherspoon for her casual day to day outfits and then looking bombshell on the red carpet. Every time.

C: What is your favorite piece in your wardrobe?

L: My favorite piece (such a hard choice) would be a pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans that I have that literally feel like yoga pants. Who likes constricting jeans? Not I. These fit like a dream! I also love my swim covers – because that typically means I’m also wearing a bikini and going to the sun. …..Also, I buy Charles David heels. They’re my one and only. We go pretty steady these days.

C: If you could give one piece of fashion advice, what would that be?

L: My fashion advice would come from my inspiration, Coco Chanel.

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

I love this quote because I don’t ever go for the most avant garde outfit selections. I like things simple, some cleavage if deemed the right event, little jewelry, subtle makeup and fun shoes. Classy. Fabulous.

True to Dorky Chick form, I had to have Laura prove herself in pictures of a “TRRRENNNDAAYYY” outfit… Check it out!

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Laura says: Sooo here’s my outfit! It’s a dress I recently found at My Sister’s Closet, a designer consignment shop. It is Lotta Stensson. This dress still had tags on it that it retails for $350. I got it at the ripe dime of $58. It is also quite risque aka translucent, so I purchased a $28 white Free People slip to throw underneath. $86 investment worth $378; I’ll take it!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, can I get a round of applause for Laura????

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She is caring for families in their darkest hours, achieving fitness goals and helping others do so as well, starting her own business on the side of ridiculously delicious nut butters, and is still getting out there and loving life. We see that beer in your picture, girl!  What can be learned through Laura is that no matter the circumstance, you can keep on “doin’ you”. For someone who spends most of her time in purpose-driven duds, she does an excellent job of keeping a her attitude stylish. Scrubs at work and spandex at the gym? No matter, because she knows she has fab looks waiting in the wings. Catch her teaching a class and you won’t know what is more impressive- her ability to keep up with the guys, or her adorbs outfit!

Thank you Laura! For letting us get to know how you take the day to day and make it fabulous- and for even getting your “dorky” on for some excellent pics of your Lotta Stensson dress.

Check her out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/NastyGirlsNutButter

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Until next time readers!  Thanks for being patient as I travel across the country. So much exciting stuff to write about!!!!

xo

Are you a fashionista or fashionisto who lives each day with inspiration? Or do you know someone who is? You or someone you know could be next month’s reader feature!   Send in your name, the name of the person you are nominating, and a mini bio to dorkychickinlipstick@gmail.com ! 

My week: fashion show pics and a word on pageant chicks

Currently,  I am sitting on the front steps of my apartment building in a shady spot amongst an impressive amount of potted plants. About two weeks ago, my neighbors decided to add a couple potted plants to our barren front porch, and then they got a little enthusiastic. No matter, however, because I just get to sit here in my own little botanical garden and reflect on what an full week it’s been!

To my loyal readers, I owe you an apology because I am a dirty, rotten liar who said that I would post last week, but then I just started having too much fun! I realized I hadn’t left Portland in 3 months and I’m the type of gal who likes to find an excuse to skip town once a month. Needless to say I didn’t realize how crazy I was going until I started to unplug for Miss Oregon 2013 Pageant Workshop in Seaside. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

REWIND! 

*eeeeerereeeeeeeeereereeeeeerereeeeeee* (rewind noise) … wait, does anyone even know what rewinding sounds like anymore?

TUESDAY!

I went to the fashion show at Produce Row! It was so cool to see the two highlighted designers Brady Lange Rief. But, my iPhone is fired.

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It just couldn’t focus! So I’ll leave it to the professionals and include links to the photos.

I was a HUGE fan of the fearless makeup and the pops of color. Here was my favorite look from Brady Lange :

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It’s modern, it’s trendy, and it takes me right to the tropics! I think it would be best accessorized with a Mai tai….. 😉

And check out this from Rief! 

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Again, those color pops get me every time. The pleated pant is such a wonderfully chic way to be relaxed and adds personality with the tangerine. Those pants were made for struttin’!

There’s more pics where that came from! click here ! 

WEDNESDAY!

Pendleton rounded up a huge crowd at Ron Tom’s and it was so big that it sold out!! I almost thought I was going to have to turn around and call it a night, but the fashion gods saw fit to let me in and it was a perfect way to spend the evening. Pendleton Woolen Mills is famous for their signature bold prints and high quality wool, but in 2011 they broke the mold and developed a line that stays true to their Western inspirations, but brings a bit of city flair. It’s called The Portland Collection. They unleashed their 3rd annual this year at Ron Tom’s on Wednesday and the scene could not have been truer to Portland-chic form. A killer band set an upbeat, yet moody tone and then models began to appear walking down the sidewalk through the floor-to-ceiling windows, in through the front door, and through the maze of people. They stopped on a platform and did their turn so all could ogle the immaculate fabrics, construction, and Portland-worthiness of the Pendleton designs.  

Here are a few highlights! ImageImageImage

For more photos click here! 

For more info on the Portland Collection click here! 

I think that dress/vest look (picture 1) was my fave. Femme, but ready for anything!

THURSDAY!

Firstly, I must announce that my first article was hot off the press today. I covered the Fashion Forward Show from Portland Sewing on Saturday, and had a ball. You can read it here!

Unfortunately, I was unable to make Thursday’s show of mystery designers. I had textiles class, and a girl can only fit so much fashion into one day!!! The textiles class is truly fantastic, and I’m learning more than I can retain. It is so crazy to think that cloth is one of the oldest materials known to man, and is a definite blogspiration. I won’t go on a textile rant today, but keep an eye out because it may be one of the more relevant topics I cover in the near future. 

FRIDAY! (and SATURDAY! and SUNDAY!)

After a week of cramming Cartesian philosophy, I took a midterm and promised myself a mani/pedi to relax before a weekend of pageant mayhem! And let’s face it, sometimes the best thing you can do is just paint your fingernails bright purple. 

Being a retired Miss Oregon, it is really important to me that I continue to give time and effort to the girls pursuing their Miss America dream. I learned so much from the formers during my journey, and really got to experience this fun privilege for the first time on the other side! A huge part of preparation takes place 5 weeks before the annual competition week and consists of a 3 day workshop in Seaside. It provides the girls with bonding time with the other contestants, critiques to motivate and educate them on their potential, and everyone (parents, volunteers, and contestants) gets to learn more about the current Miss Oregon and how she has worked not only to win, but to earn her title as “role model”. (And Nichole has done all that and more!!)  It’s an intense weekend, but it was an incredible recharge! But I might still be on a sugar high…. the best candy on the coast also happens to be the livelihood of the pageant directors who double as my Oregon parents 🙂 nom nom nom… I came away from the weekend feeling reenergized and with new purpose. It is so uplifting to put a microscope on a human experience and be reassured that we are all just people with the common goal of living life with intention. For the women immersed in the Miss Oregon program, their intentions are such good ones. Regardless of hairdo, gown, shape, size, or background, each one is so excited to give fearlessly. It’s an awesome reminder of how I’ve come to be the woman I am today.

I’m rambling, but I think you get the point. I left feeling like I had just been plugged back in. To see these women pursuing their dreams with such devotion reminds me that no goal is too big and hard work will absolutely pay off, even if it takes you on a different path. I’m no longer gunning for a crown, but I’ve got some big, fashionable fish to fry! Thanks, ladies, for inspiring me so much 🙂

One of the cornerstones of the Miss America Organization is “style” along with “scholarship, service, and success”. Style? I like style! So you can imagine that I’ve really been buzzing about how I can lend an eye and some advice in this department. Another blogspiration  for another day, but I definitely have the wheels turning. 

Alas it’s MONDAY!

Other than a little education and catching up with the blogosphere, I dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed, washed, folded, and of course also popped n’ locked it in my kitchen. Twerkin’ n workin’. 

Insert a mental picture here.

Whatever you do, don’t Google that. 

 Lots to come this week! Keep in touch 🙂

xo

And in the beginning there was Burger King: a long a** look at my design history

*disclaimer* this got a little lot long, but it is the kind of thing you only write once. It’s good to reflect on where you come from sometimes, and remember why you are who you are.

When I was about 13, I inherited a beautiful sewing machine, easily from the first half of the 20th century. I didn’t know what to do with the thing, but was mesmerized by the sparkly, mint-green lacquer and the sturdy curvature of the body. I started taking sewing lessons from an old lady named Elizabeth in the basement of her home. We did the basics. A pincushion. An apron. Decorative pillows. Then high school happened, I started finding less time until I attended the annual fashion show at a place downtown I’d not really heard of before called “Central Campus.” Turns out, it was a Des Moines Public School hub for high school students with trade/technician education, advanced placement courses, childcare education, and fashion design. I went with my good friend Laura and I think I drooled my braces off.

There were bright colors, loud music, creative outfits, and cool older girls modeling their own designs!

Yes, please!

My mom helped me find out how to get into the 2 year program, I interviewed, and was accepted.

I vacillated for a couple weeks, realizing I would be facing giving up my one true love of show choir for all of my junior year…

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Check out that pouf, y’all. #glorydays

I digress! Anyways, I said a sorrowful “see ya later” to my sparkles and heels and I went for it, and never looked back.

I was the only one from my high school, which sits on a comfortable part of town. At Central Campus, I was attending with students from all over the Des Moines metro area. My class was entirely girls, which was fun, and I got to know some incredible talent and genuinely warm personalities. Half the day, everyday, we would sew, listen to top 40 or country music, cuss like sailors, and laugh for hours.  (Cuss like sailors? I didn’t say that, I’m a lady…) 

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I learned how to sew clothes. We started with the basics: boxer shorts and standard shirts, dresses, and pants. My patience has always been a problem, and the learning curve is steep, but I got the ability to at least produce things to prevent myself from getting public nudity charges.

During the first year, we worked from patterns, and showed off an item of each category at the year-end fashion show. Categories were casual wear, evening wear, sleep/loungewear, children’s wear, avante garde, and one other category I am totally forgetting right now.  Many pics have been lost from the first fashion show, but here the only pics worth your time:

Ill-fitting funeral wear:

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Awkward prom:

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And, my favorite, BK Loungewear:

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Senior year was when the real fun began. We were given more challenging projects such as working with a partner (which anyone working in design knows takes extra effort) to take ugly fabric and manipulate it to make it look decent:

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(The only way out was to make our own pattern on top of the nasty floral. You can’t even see it…haha)

Deconstructing an awful old dress and making it into something new:

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(I’m heartbroken I don’t have the picture of this transformation, but it began as a poofy-sleeves eighties short dress that was black with a fluffy skirt and spits of pink, turquoise, and purple meshy netting. The collar was my favorite part, and you can’t really tell but the back is a whole bunch of 4 petaled flowers simply tacked in the center. The edges were left raw for texture.)

The most exciting part of the program came at the end of year two: senior collections. So skipping ahead 12 months, I presented my collection: Personal Day Couture.

Inspired by sunny days, femininity, natural fibers, and a touch of elegance, I developed a collection designed for a style-loving lady breathing in the fresh, spring air.

The requirements:

Must create 5 looks, and draw them on croquis figures

Must have designed and constructed one garment for each look. (Some items were aloud to be purchased for the sake of time and cost. Before you are less impressed, keep in mind these are high schoolers with extra curriculars, home school requirements, jobs, and varying incomes. Plus most designers don’t make their own stuff!)

Develop patterns

Create cost reports

Find coordinating music for their show

Recording a video talking about the collection

and select models (from the class)

I give you the highlights- complete with hammed-up commentary:

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Wouldn’t be complete w/o high school hair…

Here we have the lovely Alexandra wearing a lightweight seersucker button-down tank with elastic at the bottom hem to give it that “bubble” look. Belt made of a cotton khaki-colored fabric with sparkles to give it that “couture” pow. 

**A note on those buttons. There is/was (I’m not sure) extremely cool and very small button shop in downtown Chicago that my mom and I stumbled upon during one trip. I found a 3 inch diameter wooden button that screamed of flair and bought a couple for the hell of it. They were part of my inspiration for my collection, and my fashion peer and friend, Shelby’s, grandfather heard I was looking for more and volunteered his time to make me a whole bunch to use! They were perfect and absolutely beautiful!! My mom wants them but I’m saving them for my next collection  ;)**

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Next the ultra-chic Alyssa wearing a tailored tube dress with pre-frayed hem and floral neckcessory complete with custom wooden buttons. Vintage shoes, but she’s makin’ em look fuh-reshhhh.

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Monet is looking sassy in these lightweight sparkle khaki shorts. The drawstring, deep pockets, and elastic, bubble hem on these bottoms makes Monet look ready for a playdate in the sun. Shirt was an awful denim mens shirt I altered for this outfit. Shoes from her personal wardrobe.

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Here’s Rachel, and that stance means business. Unfortunately, this is probably one of my better pieces in the collection, but you can’t really see it. It was a navy blue sweater/jacket made from a stretchy knit. Again, it had the bubble bottom but was not fastened in the front and was lined with the same material. Sleeves also had elastic so she could wear it anywhere on her arm. The pearls gave a little polish to this unstructured garment.

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There’s Mel! I love this sassy lady. She is werkin’ a skirt made of the same material as the sweater above. It had tucks in addition to the bubble skirt to give it extra body. Her button is on the back of the custom hat band.

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And here I am! The designers always came out in their final outfits, and it was typically their “baby” of the collection. This two-piece motif is a white stretch tube dress underneath a denim over-dress (is that what it’s called? like an overcoat but it’s a dress? still don’t know) I used differing shades of denim to maintain the relaxed feel of the collection and gave it an edge with an exposed zipper. This outfit is ideal for picnics that involve caviar.

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Always one to love back detailing, I lined the spine with the signature wooden buttons.

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And there you have it! I was awarded “Most Cohesive Collection” for my consistence in shape, color, and texture. I’m quite critical of it, but for what tools I was given, I think it is an immense jump start, at least, to using my mind.

That’s where I left off.

I moved halfway across the country from my sewing machine and had some living to do. I took a break from fashion, not feeling that I was competitive enough to make it in the industry. I wasn’t mentally dedicated or prepared enough to spend umpteenthousand dollars on art school. So I did some things on my bucket list:

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You know… life stuff.

I did get my hands on a sewing machine once to design a Lady Gaga costume for a sorority sister in a fraternity spoof pageant:

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(she won, of course 😉 teehee)

But other than that, life took off. I didn’t sew. My closet over this period of time consisted of windbreakers, college sweats, overly-mature business attire, and some sparkly pageant gowns. All of these are wonderful on any given occasion, but were worn with the intention of fitting a bill; meeting a requirement.

The turning point happened this last winter. In cold, snowy Iowa over Christmas break, I was back with my beautiful green sewing machine. It looked so pristine next to the window against the white backdrop that it screamed “COME PLAY!” I needed an outfit to wear out on a special night out with friends, and nothing in my wardrobe or in stores was satisfying my style appetite. So I got to work; running to the fabric store, looking up outfits I wanted to recreate, draping, cutting, pinning. I was caught in a time warp, and had melted into my project. I felt great— no. I felt electric.

The inspirations:

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The result:

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This, which boasted faulty construction, raw edges on the inside, a slightly askew zipper and makeshift cups to contour. Not to mention an unforecasted red velvet snowfall all over my bedroom.

Wearing it was a total blast. It was mine, it was an expression of my inspiration and not just something from the mall that sort of captured my ideas. I had, as Oprah would say, an “ah-ha!” moment. I realized I hadn’t been exercising my creativity muscles. I missed the touch of the fabric, the whirr of the machine, and the first breath of fresh air when a project is completed. What I loved the most was the pressure of integrity; I knew what measures I had to take to make the physical creation as thorough as my concept, and that takes perseverance.

Now, I’m taking a few steps back, but already feel like I’ve taken twice that many leaps forward.  I’ve got a new machine, am taking new classes, am meeting people with shared interests, and I hope to meet more. I’m reaching out to share an experience that I’m ecstatic to jump into. I’m retracing my steps under new guidance to fill gaps in my knowledge, and to patch together my skill sets so that I can continue to reap these ideas I continually sew(oh no not a pun! , even if that means making yet another introductory pair of pajama pants…

And now we’re back at the beginning. We are back where I found you, and back where I welcomed you to my journey. Perhaps it makes more sense now why I have chosen to spend my time on a “fashion” blog. I’ve had to ask myself: in a sea of trend-seeking, aspiring e-starlets, what’s one more blog with pictures? And this is why I chose to write this long a$$ blog post. (Pardon my French.. s’il vous plait) I needed to answer that question for myself, and I wanted to share my diary pages, as promised.

I’m going inside, looking at my own mismatched seams and raw edges, and saying

ah-ha!

For now, they are right where they belong.