How to Wear Denim Cut-offs without Looking Like a Festival-Goer

I feel like I'm known for extremely, almost unnecessarily, long titles, but I think this one may win first prize for largest number of characters in a single post title.

And the abundant amount of words really works with the subject I'm about to bring up -- it took me an entire month to plan this. Well, at least subconsciously.

Whether we like it or not, we're likely to look like festival-goers if we slip on a pair of denim shorts. Not of the knee-length, or even mid-thigh, variety, but the kind that fall from the beginning of your thigh to maybe the 1/3 mark of your thigh. Technicalities aside, they are a festival necessity. Which makes it that much harder to get dressed in the morning without looking #coachellaready.

I tried this a few days ago, and I thought that sequins would make any outfit more formal and festivals are the furthest away from formal. But then the sequined tank I paired with the shorts you're about to see in a few short (pun intended) moments made me look like I was going to Shaky Boots, aka the country music festival in Atlanta that I never ever want to resemble or attend. Attempt 1: failed. In the beginning of this experiment, I wanted to wear one of those Victorian, long-sleeved blouses, maybe like this one by Alexa Chung's new collection, which I desperately need but have not been able to purchase just yet. 2/2 attempts failed. I don't like the sound of that.

Then I thought, maybe, just maybe, if I paired something that one would never wear with shorts, especially of the denim-material, I wouldn't look like a festival-goer. And maybe it should be an item that one would never even think about wearing to a festival because it could a) get destroyed b) have too much excess material or c) cause too much body heat due to previously-stated excess material. Like, a dress, maybe?

Shorts by Gap. Shirt/Dress by Urban Outfitters (or try something like this). Tank by Gap. Shoes by Steve Madden (similar here).

Or just a shirt-dress-type-thing, that is too long to be a shirt but too long to be an actual dress? Even better. I've worn this item hundreds of times, usually under sweaters or dresses or even over a turtleneck and under a sweater at the same time (the things we do for NYC winters...). This piece has gotten me through a lot, so I thought it'd be fitting to bring it back for this fashion experiment I was obviously struggling with. And do I look like I'm going to a festival in this? 

Absolutely not.

Anything that actually travels past the hem of your shorts would just be silly for a music festival, and also, why would anyone want to wear more than two layers (do you see my tank from Gap peeking out through the sheer material?) to an event where you'll probably strip off the top one in the first five minutes? 

A success rate of 1/3 is better than 0. 

The key to this method is to preferably get a dress/long shirt that has buttons all the way from the top to bottom so you can play with tucking in different sides, showing off the shorts, or showing the under layer on top if you'd like. This one from Madewell would also do the trick. I simply buttoned half of the top, then left the bottom unbuttoned so I could tuck in one side to the shorts and leave the other side hanging below my cutoffs. Playing with dimensions and looking like you actually tried further takes away from that care-free festival feel. 

Figuring out which shoes to wear is also a crucial part in making a non-festival look. Stray away from comfy sandals or Adidas or anything that would be comfortable to stand in for ten hours straight. I went for my chelsea boots, and not the kind that also act as rain boots because those would so work for a rainy festival day.

Even though these shorts from Gap have floral embroidery on them, which seems to define festival fashion in one clothing item, the way I styled them created the opposite of festival fashion. I mean, they were covered all day due to the dress, but you get my point. It's a bit funny because I plan on wearing these to Shaky Knees Festival in May and even showcasing them on the blog to show how to wear denim-cutoffs to look like a festival-goer. This is proof that practically every item in our closets can transform into new styles depending on how we wear them. In fashion, it's not the what, it's the how. 

Tip: wearing shorts with dresses makes it possible to jump without accidentally flashing anyone. How practical. 


A Guide to Prom

I'm back!!!!!! I bet I'm more excited than you guys about the end of the Longest Hiatus Ever™. It began as a much needed break (in the Dominican Republic, baby), then a week later it transformed into an I literally cannot post a single time this week because I'm just that busy break. So the Longest Hiatus Ever™ happened to also fall on the Busiest Week of My Life™. I think now is my cue to stop doing that trademark thing and get on with my point.

I can guess that more than half of my audience would be extremely satisfied to find out that they never have to attend a high school prom ever again (and this is probably a fact for most of you). Even I fall into that category (two proms is enough, thank you), but some of you still dream, or unfortunately obsess, over the single night. The stigma is all wrong. One mishap at prom pictures will not ruin your entire night (unless you let it), and not having a date is actually the new and ~hip~ way to go. So here's how to do prom right:

Dress by Anthropologie. Shoes by Steve Madden. Lipstick by Colorpop. 

My biggest worry about prom, or any other formal/school dance (no matter how cringeworthy a school dance may be) is the fashion, obviously. It's not necessarily a worry, but it's the aspect I care most about. Who needs a date when you can just look like a better version of your average self? I went for a vintage dress by Anthropologie (or go for something more formal like this one). I didn't look for a sparkly, elegant dress that swept the floor and felt like 100 pounds. Yes, being a princess for a night sounds like the dream, but I still felt like a princess with this one. Because everyone was going to care about their appearance, I went for the unconventional route and got a dress that probably isn't supposed to be for prom. Hey, at least no one stepped on my dress on the dance floor.

Then I wore heels for the first time in six months (you guessed it, the last time was at Homecoming), but instead of wearing shoes that are impossible to walk in, I went for gold block heels by Steve Madden. Still difficult, but not impossible. Then I put some loose curls into my short hair for that ~vintage~ look and did a simple cat-eye with a bold dark (and matte) lip and... I'm done. That was easy. 

Going for a simple prom look (or formal look for those non-highschoolers) is easy and just as achievable as buying an $800 dress with ten pounds of glitter and 6-inch stilettos and, the worst of all, false eyelashes (nine years of dance competitions makes me shudder at that word). 

All photos shot by my talented dad.

And no, I did not come to prom alone (I was actually surrounded by 21 others in these pictures). I could say that these are the few that I deem "best dressed" but really I was just too lazy to actually get other pictures with the 18 others that attended. They're just proof that you can do prom really any way and still look flawless -- follow my vintage path, Claire's (right in first image) classic Cinderella style, Lauren's (left in first image, and remember her from here and here??) Elie Saab-esque gown, or Kendall's (bottom image) simple yet stunning jewel-embellished dress.

And then the actual prom: there's not much to worry about, really. Everyone makes it a bigger deal than what it really is. Eat at a nice restaurant before. Dance your ass off at the prom, no matter how terrible the DJ is. But most importantly, don't forget to remember that it's one night of your life. A bad prom night will not affect you any more than a regular bad night. And if it doesn't go well, just know that you probably looked amazing during that hell of a night.

Feel free to share some pictures from your prom (current or past) in the comments below! 


Your Art Matters

Guess what? I'm doing that rarity where I don't talk about fashion. Not even a pinch of the subject. It's time for you guys to get to know me as an artistic photographer, not a fashion writer/connoisseur. 

Lately, I've been rethinking my entire future after I got waitlisted from my dream of five years (it's no big deal...). This led me to thinking the terrible question of am I good enough? Then I realized that of course I am, because I got accepted to more than half of my queue of schools. Then that led me to thinking about my art, even though I only submitted it to one school. Is my art good enough? I feel like all artists ask themselves this question daily, and criticism is healthy until it gets to a point of destructive thoughts. And what does enough mean? Is there a certain threshold of quality that determines the overall greatness of a piece? I've come to realize that all art is good enough if it truly matters to you, which leads me to the cliché One Tree Hill quote of, "Your art matters. It's what got me here." Maybe Lucas said this to Peyton 100 times in season one so they ended up getting married seven years later but in this case it's not about getting the girl of your dreams, it's about getting the artistic mentality of your dreams. 

I don't practice photography because I think I look really cool with a vintage Minolta film camera or because I want to be artistic but paint and I just don't get along. I do it because it matters to me. It gets me through difficult times (which I'm definitely stuck in), and, well, I love doing it. There are really no words to describe it. I wrote an entire essay about it which got me into where I'll probably be next fall, but now I realize it's not about the technique or the methods or the subject matter per se, it's about what it means to others but most importantly, you. 

I use this mindset to create my work, and sometimes I literally call my photos my children. It's borderline creepy but it also explains how much they matter to me. The photos above are all pieces I've made this year, and most of them are going towards my AP art portfolio. The first five are all pieces from my concentration, which is about how an obsession with fears can manifest itself into reality. And I guess that's why I love photography -- I can create a different reality for myself and the people in the photographs. So scroll through those photos, and I hope that they matter to you almost as much as they matter to me.