The blog post that will save your life!

If you see  this girl wearing Jeremy Scott:

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RUN! Or just don’t wear this:

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It’s just not safe. 

Now that I’ve basically saved your life, you should probably return the favor.

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Donate your time, money, or blood to the American Red Cross! Last year I had the privilege of being an official spokesperson for the Red Cross of Oregon, and want to make sure to put in a plug for their incredibly easy text-to-donate program.  10 bucks won’t change the weather, but it will get those who have lost it all in recent tragedies one step closer to normalcy.

Text REDCROSS to 90999.

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And have an awesome and safe weekend, my friends.

xo

Thank you for everything.

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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

What I’ll do 20 years from now when I find this dress in Goodwill Bins

I present the Dorky Chick in Lipstick Decree:

You can always shop on an unlimited budget, as long as you spend within yours. 🙂

(And, yes, smiley faces are totally appropriate in decrees.)

Today’s budget for this girl was 2 bucks for clean clothes, 4 bucks for Numi Toasted Rice Tea and a Clif Bar, and a free seat on my couch with my laptop. Ahh a perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon of luxury shopping (on budget!)

My latest crush is on this midi-length, soldier-print dress by Dolce & Gabbana. It is part of their 2013 Spring collection, so it is no wonder that it has my trend-dar going berserk! The vibrant hues make it a head-turner, while the print makes it interesting, yet, surprisingly not overwhelming. Like all of my favorite things to shop for, it is way out of my price range, but there is always hope that 20 years from now I can buy it at a vintage consignment store…right? *tear* Fortunately for both of us, this dress comes with free inspiration! That’s right! It didn’t cost me a darn thing to get my imagination churning when I saw it. And free is definitely in my budget 🙂

So here is the piece I was talking about!

The Dolce & Gabbana printed silk organza dress on the runway:

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And here is the dress as I would style it! I chose two different looks that really speak to me and my personal style.

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I love clean and classic, and thought that simple sophistication would be a great way of showing off the chicness of the garment. Gold detailing and nude, uncompromising heels give the dress a polished look, while the chunky black shades are an affirmation of confidence. Natural makeup and a sleek bun round out what this look, which is everything I love about being a woman; it is refined, yet has a certain amount of prowess that makes it sexy without being revealing.

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I want to see this dress break some rules with it’s bold reds and contrasting blues. I love the idea of toning the dress down by bulking up with shameless accessories. The studs on the boots suddenly take the dress from high-tea to high-octane, and the layered necklace reinforces that the its not about the dress, but the woman in the dress. I also wanted to find another pattern to play with the print, and thought this Marc Jacobs was so crazy it just might work.  Of course she needs some of that crazy-wave hair and sunnies to keep it bold from head to toe.

A downside to falling in love with this dress is that it will be hard to go out and find a comparable version unless this style of fabric printing can become part of mainstream trends. I know that if I wanted to recreate this by just going to a fabric store and looking for fabric, I’d be hard pressed to find just what I’m looking for, and it would definitely be a challenge to make it original. That is probably good for Dolce & Gabbana, though, because intellectual property doesn’t exist in the fashion world. How do you think I find such good knockoffs?  But, that’s another blog for another day. For now, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that prints like these start trickling down the fashion chain.

Well happy Friday to all! I hope you can get in some luxury shopping this weekend 🙂

xo

 

“Breakfast-Casual” and Hairdryer Glamour Shots

I’ve been busy, busy, busy these past weeks working on projects for my first round of sewing classes at my new design school.  It was a fantastic beginning-level series that was a great refresher, and also added some new skills and techniques to my knowledge banks! In this series, we made the classic A-line skirt, pocketed PJ pants, and a collared, short-sleeved shirt. Last time I made a collared blouse was a failure of epic proportions that was anything but proportionate. This time around, I took my time and focused more, even though there were some ripped seams along the way. 

Wins: 

– used my new machine for buttons and buttonholes

– made a shirt that looks like a real live shirt!! (as opposed to the last one)

– reinforced skills and learned new ones

Notes to future self:

– use better elastic for the pants

– be more gentle with the neck reinforcements.. they look a little rumpled on the inside

– use non-interfaced side for top of the collar… whoops. thank goodness it’s unnoticeable on this project. 

THE BIG REVEAL:

For the shirt and pants, I opted to make a casual breakfast ensemble with a lightweight cotton that boasts a coral, over-easy egg print. This “breakfast cas” motif is so fashion forward and so luxurious, that it actually is featured as an editorial spread in this installment of Dorky Chick in Lipstick’s blog!! 

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Image(Caroline McGowan couture.. price upon request)Image

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To really capture the essence of that just-woke-up-looking-this-good feeling, the creative director of the shoot decided to go for the windblown look, and pulled out a hairdryer.

 

 

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You can look for this spread in next month’s Vogue!

I never said you’d find it…

😛

 

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.