Blogger Inspo pt. II

It's that time of the month! Well, er, I've only done this once and it was three months ago so... just ignore that first sentence. But it is that time where I look for other fashion bloggers to see what they're doing to get some inspo for my posts. Not copying, but observing that tiny detail that they put in that one post that got them 10 times (more like 1,000 times) as much traffic as I get, but more importantly, gain more interest because it's, well, more interesting. You got the whole spiel in the first infamous "Blogger Inspo™"  where I basically fangirled over the amazing Leandra Medine, or Man Repeller. If you've been reading my posts for the past three months, it's fairly obvious that she's my main source of inspiration (next to my own creative mind); I practically mention her name in every single one of my posts. It's been three months, Natalie. Get over her. Since that's never going to happen, it won't hurt to add an extra dose of inspiration from someone else, someone who is not on every fashion lover's list of favorite bloggers, probably because she's only 23 and doesn't live anywhere close to a fashion city. I give you...

Alyssa Lau. Ordinary People. The next it-girl from the sleepy town of Edmonton, Canada. 

Instead of discovering her through the masses, I discovered her while reading an article from the UO blog, which I hardly ever read but should start doing so more often because they discuss a lot of up-and-coming bloggers, musicians, etc. who would not be known otherwise. I started reading the article and fell in love in that weird blogger-crush way because Lau is probably the coolest fashion-girl I've read about in a while. She somehow was able to become relevant in the middle-of-nowhere Edmonton (I promise I'm not making fun of Canada, my dad was born and raised there) and even created her own shop called New Classics Studios, which is all about the ethical production of its clothing. She's only 23 years old, has a successful blog, and somehow created her own shop that promotes fair trade and all that social/environmental awareness that we don't see in other shops. I've only touched the surface, but based on these general facts, Alyssa Lau is a name the fashion industry should start to get familiar with. 

For starters, she has one of the coolest styles, like, ever. She's able to make the most out of the practically year-long-winter that she has to deal with in Edmonton by using her eccentric fashion sense to keep her warm while looking the lowest temperature of cool. She was even able to make sweats and converse look fashionable, which is definitely not included on my list of talents. She brings this mix of femininity and androgyny to her looks by pairing items like baseball caps or cool-girl sneakers with dresses and that chic bob of hers. Plus, she has a post dedicated to turtlenecks, so of course I have to love her. But it's not just the style that makes me want to be her, it's how she presents herself. Instead of being that robot-fashion-blogger (kinda like how I used to be) that spews out trends, she's relatable. She's unique. She's.... refreshing (I'm pretty sure I described Leandra Medine in my other post this way. Oops.). She's able to make herself like-able in about a paragraph or less, which I'm obviously unable to do (another talent of mine: the inability to stop typing). Instead of filling her posts with thousands of words, she fills them with dozens of quality photos that are arranged in a way that creates this unique aesthetic for herself. I didn't know it was even possible to make posts more interesting just based on the composition of photos, but she proves it to be. Maybe it's because she has her own personal photographer/boyfriend (goals, am I right??), but her strategies definitely seem to be working, at least for me. 

And finally, in the least offensive way, she makes herself ordinary, just like her blog-title states. Ordinary is meant in a positive way in this situation, because instead of being this hot-shot fashion blogger, she admits that she's just like the rest of us (but maybe a little cooler). Instead of being "tough" and wearing bare legs in the cold, she admits that she despises it, even though she lives in what seems like the arctic tundra. She even thinks that what she does [fashion-blogging] is really unusual, because even though it's getting more popular, it's still strange to say in your your resumĂ© "career: fashion blogger". Instead of making her posts more formal than they should be, she brings this friendly, relatable tone to her writing that shows how she's always being herself. And I guess that's reassuring, because it proves how blogging is what she loves to do, not what she does to make a living. I guess we're pretty similar in that sense.

All photos are from her blog or lookbook

Also, I'm a year late to sign up with Bloglovin', but I finally got an account. Follow me  for updates on all my posts (or click on the new button on my sidebar, right below the follow on google+ button)!!

Another note: I'm also a year late to get a Twitter for this account. Follow here!!


Feeling Myself

Happy 10,000 views!! Well, happy 10,042 views, not including the the three months where this blog was exclusively on my tumblr. But due to this achievement, this new step toward greatness, I decided to celebrate today with self-love. And what better way to self-love than through fashion?

As I sip from my homemade London Fog and listen to Daughter's new album (remember how it's my day of self-love?), I write this post realizing I had not planned any of this until about two hours ago, when I connected my "feeling myself" outfit (there's nothing wrong with referencing a BeyoncĂ© and Nicki song to describe your look) I put together in under two minutes with the news of the 10,000 views. But I realize that it works perfectly -- an outfit that is the embodiment of what I need right now. I'm in that awkward phase of wanting spring weather but still craving to wear a turtleneck every day of the week (Turtleneck Tuesday? More like Turtleneck January), so combine those two needs, and voila, my favorite summer tank turns into a winter accessory for my simple white turtleneck. I'd go for the black one if I wanted a more edgy look, but I wanted to try the white one because I haven't worn much white since I dyed my hair. Pair that with my favorite velvet mini  for a look that Jackie Burkhart from That '70s Show would probably wear circa 2016. And I say that I finished the look with red thigh highs to add to the color scheme, but my secret is that I'm only wearing them because I haven't shaved in God knows how long. I mean, it's January, who has?

After hitting 10,000 views, I have come to realize that I dress the way I dress for that boost of confidence, and yeah, because I strive for the mood from the track that is my title for this post. And even though I was planning on wearing a band shirt and jeans, but decided to put this outfit together while rushing to get to school on time, it all counts the same. Self-love comes in many different forms, and I guess it's the easiest for me when I'm dressed to impress (or express??). If only I could have walked around the halls today carrying a boombox playing "Feeling Myself" on repeat.

Tank by Gap. Turtleneck, skirt, and shoes by Asos. 
Photos shot by me

Feel free to share how you self-love, whether it's through fashion or any other aspect of life.


Layering Just Got Real

When the weather drops and the only solution to your problems is to layer a thin collared shirt that hardly protects your skin from the fatal cold under a barely-there sweater with paper-thin jeans and maybe, just maybe you can survive without that heavy coat that is a pain in the ass to carry around -- mission failed. That's what we think winter layering is. But when it's almost freezing with icy pellets of rain falling from the sky with a high chance of snow coming in later tonight, in Georgia, of all places, and the indoors feel like a million degrees and that you just exited an icy hell into the true fiery pits of hell, real layering had to be done. I mean the real stuff where you're wearing more than five articles of clothing, and that's excluding underwear and shoes. The real stuff where a winter coat isn't even necessary because who wants to deal with the hassle of tugging around 10 pounds of down insulation? So I accepted the challenge of making myself comfortable and stylish in this icy abyss of winter, coat not included.

To be quite honest, this was a challenging task. It took me five days to plan this -- I bought the dress on Monday, and since then I've been mentally preparing how I could work the piece into a post about what I like to call the "updated version" of layering (thanks to Man Repeller's recent post, yes, just already hold an intervention for me because I am obsessed). I followed her rules: keep layering until it's impossible to add another piece of fabric on your body. However, I followed a different route -- who says you can't layer for the cold with dresses?  It's best to start with a thin (or thick, but not bulky) turtleneck, preferably colorful or patterned like my striped one above to add some fun to a dull winter day. Then top that with anything that includes a collar -- your favorite flannel, a simple peter-pan collared blouse, or even better, a denim button-up dress that's meant to be worn in the spring but can totally be worn year-round, at least in my book. Outfit complete, right? Nope. Not even close. Bring out those tights, because it's a myth that fashionistas never get cold. Then layer your legs even more by adding your favorite pair of thigh highs, black on black if you want to keep things neutral, or go for red if you're feeling spicy (cue the dearly missed Stefon from SNL saying spicy, we all know the reference). No, you're still not done. Put on your most layerable (I swear that's a word) sweater that matches with everything you've put on, or maybe doesn't, along with your favorite boots (chelsea rain boots for this dreary weather, anyone?) with a breath of relief, because you're done. That was a lot of work, right? 

I'm walking in the freezing rain, feeling my face turn a crimson red and my fingers becoming numb, then I walk inside and my face is still red, but that's because the depths of the frozen tundra became the depths of the blistering sun. I shrug off the problem, strip off my black sweater, and bam a denim dress appears. School girl chic turns into cool girl chic. Layering is definitely convenient, but it sure is fun to surprise people by changing your look with just one article of clothing. 

The first thing I heard today was when I walked into school and someone said "You really went overboard on the layering today." Well, my dear friend, that was exactly my goal. And it totally worked, no matter how "overboard" my layers were. I fought back with the cold, and a thin shirt and sweater would have never won that war. Thanks to the ol' faithful turtleneck, I survived the cold (I think it's fairly obvious that turtlenecks saved my life). Maybe I was in a mix of icy and literal hell, but eternal suffering is so much more enjoyable when you look cute.

Turtleneck by Aerie. Dress by Urban Outfitters. Sweater by Madewell. Shoes by Sam Edelman.
Photos shot by yours truly

Comment below how you cope with the cold, in regards to fashion, and how you prefer to layer.


Winter Minis

Thanks to me for begging for colder days, I've been freezing my ass off. We've all been. It's so cold that sometimes I just want to throw on my sweatpants, Uggs (I've owned the same pair since 6th grade), and knee-length puffy jacket only reserved for arctic temperatures and call it a day. But I'm the one who prayed for this cold, and I have to learn to live with my wishes. Just call me ungrateful, or whatever, because it's impossible for me to be happy with the weather we have. My extensive collection of turtlenecks might make this easier, but still, every time I step outside I feel like I could cry. I can literally feel the below freezing winds biting me, if that's even possible. The side of me that only cares about my comfort tells me to just wear the same pair of jeans that have gotten me through this harsh weather, but the fashion side of me says anything is possible, even in 18 degrees. So of course, I listen to my more sensible side.

Turtleneck still embracing my neck, I grab my thickest knit-tights and new mini and fight back. Winter won't win this war, even if my angry expression (the bright sun + cold temp make it impossible for me to smile) says otherwise. Many assume that this intricately designed mini skirt with a formal style (and even some sparkle!!) should only be saved for those formal occasions where heels and decent weather is involved, but I went a different route because damnit, I don't want to wait until March to wear this skirt. 

Top by Asos. Skirt by Urban Outfitters. Shoes by Sam Edelman.
Photos shot by me.

The sparkle in the skirt made my freezing ass well, a little more cheerful. Pairing it with the simple black turtleneck and neutral tights, that work to fight off the cold just as well as jeans, toned down the fancy aspect of the skirt, but its eccentric style still brought life to this dreadful winter. My favorite part about this look is that all I have to do to create a formal outfit is exchange the chelsea boots for my new Steve Madden gold heels, tights included. Not that I work a 9-to-5 job where transitioning from work clothes to a night out is necessary, but this skirt is perfect for just that. I always say how winter is my favorite month for fashion, so the whining about this weather is really strange for me. I just had to be reminded with a low temp of how to make the most of these freezing climates. Yeah, it was miserably cold, but at least I can say that I rocked a mini in 18 degrees. 


Pop of Pink

Quick: I give you five seconds to think of your favorite colors to wear. Ok, ready? Black, white, navy blue, gray, dark red, army-green, um, did I already say black? You probably wish you heard ringing of approval in the background with confetti shooting out from cannons surrounding you. And usually I would praise you. Dark is the new black, right? But for purposes regarding this post, you get blaring sirens and obnoxious fire drill esque beeping and a huge screen constantly repeating "WRONG ANSWER" in huge red letters. Nothing personal. But sometimes, we need some color. Even I do (did you notice how the answer in the 3rd sentence was something I would say?). And what's better than color? Color in the cold, bitter abyss of winter where gloomy hues take over the environment. Contrast is key.

Top by J. Crew. Overalls by Madewell. Shoes by Adidas.
Photos shot by me.

A goal of mine for the past few months is to change my style up a bit, and I've been working on it through various methods: stepping outside my fashion box, layering in ways I would have never done before, and the list goes on. I've been fairly successful in this mission of mine, but I wanted to take it a step further. Find some color. Not just any color, but pink. I'm a fairly feminine person, but I haven't worn a true shade of pink since I was ten. Pastels have come and gone for the past seven years, but never has a bright shade appeared in my wardrobe in that period. Time for a change. When I went on my shopping trip to J. Crew in search for the magical tissue turtleneck (thanks to Man Repeller), I had a plan to get a color that was more my style. Maybe army green, or a heather gray. But then this delicious shade of melon-pink appeared, and I immediately found my size and bought it. It was this strange impulsive buy, but instead of letting it sit in the back of my closet for years, I couldn't be any happier with the purchase. First off, Leandra Medine is right when she says these turtlenecks figuratively saved her life. They're super-soft, thin enough to be worn with anything, and come in every shade imaginable -- the options are endless. But the pink shade just made my life, well, a lot more colorful. Something I needed as a pick-me-up for yet another new stressful year.

And what's even more fun that wearing pink? Pairing that cute turtleneck with overalls I would have worn circa 2005. Dressing like the adult version of your younger self is way more fun than it seems, I promise. I'm glad I left out my poorly cut bangs and awkward demeanor from this age from the look, but I still brought that excitement we all felt (and wish we had back) as children. We sometimes take fashion and style way too seriously, and we all need that boost of childish fun in our wardrobes. Maybe that's why this strange resurgence of trends we wore as kids is coming back in full swing. Which brings me back to the color -- add some excitement to your wardrobe. Yes, black is the new black for some, but maybe soft begonia (as J. Crew likes to call it) is the new black.


Fashion Influences

In our lives, we always have those people we just seem to get. Like, being without them just wouldn't make sense. The world would not rotate correctly if they weren't in your life. Not necessarily like soulmates, but close to that. Whatever the friendly version of soulmates is called, that's what I sort of have with my friend Lauren. We both have the same interests in music, art, and of course fashion, and we continue to feed off of each other by inspiring each other in these topics. Like a mutualistic symbiotic relationship, that thing I learned in biology freshman year where two organisms live off of each other to where they both benefit. At least that's how I feel, but that's enough to inspire me in all aspects of life. We've been living this symbiosis for almost four years now, and at our peak of friendship, she of course has to move across the entire country to California. And I guess her news of moving has shown me how grateful I am for her. I probably wouldn't even have this blog if it weren't for her. She wasn't the one who told me to start it (that was my mom and sister), but she and I share this love for fashion that inspired me to do something with my true love. Sometimes simply knowing that someone else loves the same things just as much as you can inspire you to do more with that interest. I bet she doesn't even know the influence she's had on me for all these years, but I'm finally showing her, just days before she moves.

We said our goodbyes by going down to a few places in Atlanta with our group of friends, and of course she brought her best fashion game by wearing a corduroy skirt with tights and black knee-highs (sadly not shown in the image above). Looking back, I'm pretty sure she was the one who influenced me to start wearing thigh-highs. Sometimes I feel like I start wearing things all on my own (or due to street style photos on Pinterest), but now I realize that a lot of my fashion sense comes from her. I started shopping at Topshop because she would go on for hours about how much she loved the place three years ago. That backpack I'm wearing in the picture? All her. And the courage to try the unconventional in fashion and life in general that I now carry definitely comes from Lauren. Maybe her dreams involve art and film-making while mine involve fashion, but she sure as hell carries that same amount of passion that drives me to write all my posts. 

Sweater, overalls, and backpack by Urban Outfitters. Shoes by Adidas. Coat (in first photo) by J. Crew.
Photo above taken by Lauren.

Lauren wasn't the one who told me to get these amazing overalls (who would've thought that velvet overalls could be a thing?), but I now realize that it may have been her who urged me to try the unconventional. It was probably a comment from two years ago that transformed into me subconsciously buying the pair. Long story short, we all have fashion influences in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. And as my going away party to her, I wanted to celebrate by doing what she inspired me to do, even if it was subconsciously. 

Overalls are nothing new in the fashion world, but they definitely follow the unconventional route based on what the average person wears today. I'm the first person I personally know who has worn them, and it felt liberating to have a look that no one else would be using. Overalls may have been seen in the area, but velvet overalls? That just sounds like a fashion dream come true. I loved following that feminine utilitarian style we saw in a lot of the SS16 shows last year with this look, but I also loved going my own way through this outfit (like that one Fleetwood Mac song). And that's exactly what I learned from Lauren. No, I didn't plan this outfit just due to her influence on me. But after spending a full day with her (plus a few compliments from her as well), I have come to terms with the fact that I couldn't be as involved with my passions if I was going through them alone. A lot of my style only comes from my own intentions, but a lot of it is influenced by others, and not just those famous bloggers or fashion gurus. It's comforting to know that one of your best friends carries that same passion and that she'll always be there when you need inspiration, even if she'll be 2,230 miles away from me. I always say to be independent with your fashion endeavors, but it's always better to have someone who can always influence you when needed no matter the circumstances. Keep that independence, but also find that mutualistic symbiosis. Two is better than one, right?