Tuesday, October 18, 2016

OTD: Vintage shorts + graphic tee + LL Bean Boots


It's official: I've become my mother.

The other day I was rooting around in my mom's old clothing, and I discovered a treasure-trove of soft, faded tee shirts she wore back in the eighties. Baggy, vintage, and just my style. Along with them, I uncovered an awesome pair of high waisted jeans, frayed and ripped from years of use, complete with patches on the back. Tee shirt + vintage shorts + mom's old LL Bean Boots = perfect outfit.


This outfit kind of makes me look like a through hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail; there's definitely a just-wandered-out-of-the-wilderness-after-two-months vibe going on here. And I'm not going to lie: I'm into it.

The shirt is from when my mom went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California many years ago. I actually went there once when I was six; I don't remember it of course. But it has otters on it and it's super cute, so I decided it was perfect for this look.


As you can see, these shorts have taken quite a beating. The right hem is torn and hanging at my thigh, and both hems are frayed beyond belief. My favorite part is the patches my mom sewed onto them many years ago. That whale one? Adorable! They're super high-waisted, and--you're not going to believe this--the pockets are over six inches deep. After spending most of my life with itty-bitty pockets (thanks, whoever decided women don't need pockets!) this felt like a real treat. I could fit my whole phone in there! Heck, I could hide a small child!

They're a little big for me, so I looped a belt through them and that did the trick.


For shoes, I slipped on my mom's old LL Bean Boots. These were all the rage a couple years ago, before I had the same size feet as my mom, of course. I love how worn in they are; if you can't tell, the theme of this outfit is "used". 

Not much accessorizing going on here. I'm wearing my usual glasses, along with a pair of swirly, multicolored earrings to add a little flash. I've also got a black and yellow ribbon pinned to my belt loop; last week, five kids my age who go to a high school in my state were involved in a fatal car crash, and today they passed out these ribbons for students to wear in commemoration. 

That's all, folks! Obviously, considering this look is almost 100% vintage, it's impossible to recreate completely; if you're interested in an OTD involving clothes you can actually buy, let me know. And if you, too, are all about the Vintage Mom/Through Hiker aesthetic, I want to hear about it! 

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Saturday, October 15, 2016

DIY Choker Necklaces

choker ribbon
ribbon wrapped twice around the neck, tied at the back
Chokers are my favorite kind of necklace. They're stylish, versatile, and--best of all--easy to make! Chokers are hot right now, which means that they can be unreasonably pricey. Fifteen bucks for a ten inch piece of rope? No thank you! Fortunately, chokers are the most DIY-able necklace. If you learn to use the materials around you, you'll never have to buy one again. Without further ado, here is some inspiration and how-to to get you started.

ideas for materials
First, gather your materials. The list for what can make a choker is endless. Shoelaces, ribbon, old/broken necklaces, leather, wire...you name it. My friend even made me a choker by braiding old pieces of jeans!
Second, figure out how much material you need, and how you're going to fasten it around your neck. If it's something like ribbon or string, you'll need enough to tie a bow around your neck. The braided jean choker on the above left clasps together via a safety pin on either end. If you're using an old necklace or chain, you might need to find a pair of needle nose pliers and an old necklace or bracelet clasp and fasten it on.

jean braided choker
braided jeans! 
The last step is deciding how you want to wear your new choker. If you're using twine or ribbon, consider wrapping it twice around your neck, and experiment with putting the bow in both the front or back (you might need someone else to tie it for you, it you have slippery fingers like me). Also consider wrapping it tight around your neck, and then having the second loop hang down at your chest, with a heavy pendant at the end. Experiment with pendants of all kinds; take them off other necklaces or make your own out of wire and household objects.




That's it! Making your own, stylish choker is seriously that easy. Now when you see a must-have choker in a store window, stop and think for a moment: Can I make that? The answer is almost always yes. Now go forth and create!

leather, weighted down with a bottle of seashells
an old necklace, revamped


L8r sk8r,
Ella

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fashion and the Power of Self Expression

self expression fashion blog

There was a time in my life when my favorite outfit combination was brown capris with white polka dots, paired with a brown shirt with white polka dots. I believed outfits made up of the same pattern in (almost) the same shade was the epitome of fashion, which lead to many years of stars-on-stars, stripes-on-stripes, and polka-dots-on-polka-dots. While I didn't really care about what I wore, I had fun and took pride in picking out my carefully-matched clothing. Life was good and clothing wasn't a big deal.

I've gone through countless style transformations in my 16 years on this earth, whether I was nine and literally just pulling random clothing out of my drawers, ten and wearing a cape to school picture day, or eleven and rocking hot pink, zebra patterned, velvety bell-bottoms. Now I can laugh at the clothes I wore as a child, and while my first instinct is to proclaim that I had "no fashion sense," when I stop to think about it, I realize that, although my clothes weren't "trendy," I was actually embodying what fashion is truly about: self expression. 

Nine and wearing baggy, tie-dye tees and floral shorts, I was portraying the free-spiritedness of my youth, and the carelessness I put into my outfit is a reflection of that. Ten and sporting my wizardly-attire (see above re: cape), I was showing the world a picture of a naive, fun-loving child whose quirkiness was spilling out the edges. I was different, proud, and unconcerned with the world's view of me. Eleven and donning my snazzy matching ensembles and vibrant prints, I projected the image of a bold, slightly clueless pre-teen, unafraid to stand out and be herself.

When I hit the ages of 13 and 14, some of that boldness fell away, revealing the insecurities and lagging confidence that comes with being a teenager. I wasn't sure who I was or how I wanted to present myself to the world, and that showed in my clothes. The opinions and actions of those around me began to influence me, and suddenly I wasn't sure how to express myself. Occasionally I found clothing I felt truly good in: my first pair of skinny jeans, my favorite striped shirt, a thrifted pair of black boots that I originally bought purely for a play and ended up wearing often. But most of the time my style meandered, settling on generic pieces that fell flat or that didn't boost my confidence, like a good outfit should. I just didn't know how to express myself through clothes.

Last year I began to truly find my voice in fashion. I started to find outfits that made me feel confident and happy, and that I felt were truly a reflection of myself as a person. One "milestone" I particularly remember is a day last year when I wore a skirt, flowy shirt, and jean jacket, and the girl in my grade who I considered my fashion "inspiration" commented that she liked my outfit. My fashion icon approved of my clothing choices! Mark the day! Even though a good outfit should make you feel awesome without the validation of others, it's always nice to get a compliment, especially from someone whose opinion you value.

This year I feel I've truly found a style I love, which works for me on every level. It's casual but edgy, a mix of street style, grunge, and hipster. It reflects the artistic and creative side of me, which is such an integral part of who I am. When I'm wearing an outfit I love, I feel the most true to myself. I feel confident. I feel unbreakable. And that's how clothes are supposed to make you feel.

Fashion is not about "flattering your figure". It's not about following arbitrary rules. It's not about wearing what everyone around you is wearing just because you feel like you should. It's about being true to yourself and letting your clothes speak for you. Fashion is about simply being yourself.

L8r sk8r, and don't forget to stay true to yourself.

Ella

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

OTD: Mom Jeans + Graphic Tee

It's been a hot minute since I did an OTD (and yes, if you're wondering, I have figured out that the correct acronym is OOTD, but, well...I like my way better). So I thought I'd share with you today's outfit, which is one of my favorite looks at the moment: a generic graphic tee tucked into mom jeans, plus a flannel and, of course, my mustard yellow Converse.

fashion mom jeans fall flannel ootd

I started with a base: cropped mom jeans from Pacsun and a vintage graphic tee that I dug out of my mom's closet. It's actually one of my favorite shirts; I cut the neckline and the sleeves, as well as the hemline to make it sit better on my body. Here, though, I tucked it into the jeans. I've been really into tucking shirts into high-waisted jeans lately. It adds some shape and feels kind of retro.


To pull the look together, I donned my staple Converse, and tied an Abercrombie and Fitch flannel around my waist. A button up at the waist can do wonders to tie an outfit together, and it's great for school days when the heat in every classroom fluctuates randomly; just untie it and slip it on for an added layer. I've definitely been overusing this flannel lately, but hey! It's autumn--flannels are unavoidable.


I got a new pair of glasses last week, pictured here, from Glasses USA, a super cheap online retailer. I was looking for some larger, rounder frames, and these do the trick. In my ears I've got some cool, dangly silver fish, another piece picked up from my mom.

And last but not least, I slung my trusty succulent terrarium necklace around my neck. It goes with so many of my outfits, and I love just picking it up to peer in at the adorable little succulent all throughout the day.

Let me know what you thought of this outfit, and if we're perhaps style twins!

L8r sk8r,
Ella

PS. After over two years, I got my braces off last week! Now Retainer Life starts, however. If you have any sage wisdom for me, feel free to give it.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Sweet Start to October



grinding the apples
apples galore!
Yesterday, I welcomed October by dressing in my fall getup, purchasing an autumnal eyeshadow palette, and pressing apple cider and cooking pumpkin pasta with my best friend.

It was a cool day, the perfect temperature for fall: cold enough that you can wear a few layers of thin jackets, but warm enough that you don't have to zip them up. I started off the day by heading to my local CVS to pick out a NYX eyeshadow palette filled with golds and browns to match the changing leaves. I need to stop spending so much money on makeup, but I just can't help myself.

After glitzing up my eyes, I headed to Marika's house, where we laboriously assembled her apple cider press, hosing off all the wooden pieces and scrubbing them down with soap and bleach. When we had finally put it all together, we fed the apples in, crushing them to pulp and then pressing them until the juices ran free, trickling into the silver pot.


We collected about a gallon of cider, which we carried into the kitchen to taste. It was delicious; so sweet and thick, with a heavenly aroma. For all the labor we put into making it, it was certainly worth it.

What to do next? It was a few hours from dinner, so Marika and I conspired to follow up our autumn drink with an autumn meal. After a few minutes browsing online, we came up with a recipe for pumpkin pasta. It looked delicious and relatively easy. We were just missing two ingredients: parmesan cheese and a pie pumpkin.

Marika has her drivers license already, but she couldn't drive down to the grocery store because her foot is currently in a boot (long story). The store isn't too far from her house, however, so I volunteered to whiz down on my bike and pick up the ingredients. I hopped on my bike, headed to the store, and was back in twenty minutes with pumpkin and cheese in hand.

sweet, fresh cider
From there, we commenced making our fall meal: roasting the pumpkin, boiling the pasta, sizzling up the garlic and chopped pecans. Then we set the table, put out the food, and got to eating. It was delicious, of course. Whenever I go over to Marika's I end up cooking a meal (not that I'm complaining--I've got to start learning to cook for myself).


Needless to say, my October started off on a good foot. As I write, I'm snuggled under flannel sheets while rain sprinkles outside my window. I hope your autumn is going just as well as mine.

L8r sk8r,
Ella