Monthly Archives: October 2012

I Have Skeletons in my Closet…but They’re not Secrets

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Since I don’t think my manager would appreciate it if I came to work dressed as a pumpkin, nor would I want to walk out in public dressed as one, I chose something from my old skull-and-crossbones collection to wear to work today. Here were some of my choices…

Urban Outfitters Skeletons with Hearts Cotton Top

Urban Outfitters Skull Trim V-Neck Cotton Top

Urban Outfitters Skull-and-Crossbones Scarf

The mark of a human skull with two long bones crossed below it represents the presences of danger or impending harm. Over time, the-skull and-crossbones have come to reference a number of different things. Pirates were the first to flag their ships with the marking to ward off other vessels in the water. It has also been used to denote the entrances of cemeteries and serves as a warning of poisonous substances. Some secret societies, fraternities, and military forces have adopted the symbol onto their badges as a form of group association.

The emblem synonymous with death became stylish a few years ago and seems to reemerge every year around this time. The ghastly sign is no longer only worn by punk rockers or those who choose to go gothic with their personal style; but now comes in many forms, from feminine to funny, on clothing, accessories, and everything in between.

I think the skeleton cotton top I bought from Urban Outfitters (years ago) is super cute with the tiny red hearts sticking out from the bare bones.

Urban Outfitters Skeletons with Hearts Cotton Top

And my scarf (also from Urban years ago) was most likely a recreation inspired by the famed Alexander McQueen creation.

Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf & Urban Outfitters Look-a-LikeMy Urban Outfitters skull scarf is on the left and an Alexander McQueen skull scarf is on the right.

McQueen was obsessed with the afterlife and made the skull his trademark, which can be found on many of his designs. The iconic designer’s mysterious dark side was often depicted in his flamboyant creations and use of fragile fabrics, opulent detailing, and brazen conceptions. Sadly, the symbolic emblem has a deeper meaning now, after his untimely death, then ever before.

Do you ever sport the ‘stay away’ symbol as part of your personal style?

A Monochromatic Look: Inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey

Since the dress code at my job restricts me to wearing only the color black I often feel like my options are limited…and they are. One of the outfits I sport is a look I like to call “Five Shades of Grey.” Although I haven’t read the explicit novel everyone’s been talking about, I was inspired by the best-selling book, Fifty Shades of Grey, to put together this ensemble that incorporates various degrees of the dark hue. Check it out…

A Monochromatic Look:  Inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey

A Monochromatic Look:  Inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey

What does your dress code require you to wear? How do you feel about it?

Personally, I hate being confined to only one color; and I’ve said it many times before, I hate the color black. But with this look, I figure, as long as it’s a ‘form of black’ it is acceptable :)

A Monochromatic Look: Inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. The handbag – grey is technically a shade of black…with a lot of white added to it
  2. The tank top – legit black
  3. The Free People striped trapeze shirt – faded black
  4. The scarf – legit black
  5. The leather boots – again, a lighter rendition of the color

After reading a short synopsis of the book and researching the tonal translations behind the color gray, I found some interesting similarities between the color theories and the suggestive title. One theory suggests the color gray can be used to describe situations that have no clear moral value; while another approach indicates that the ethical sense behind the meaning of ‘shades of grey’ represents the varying magnitudes of good & bad.

The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy follows the sensual affair between Christian Grey, a brilliant, intimidating good-looking bachelor with progressive erotic tastes and Anastasia Steele, a young, self-doubting girl who is rather reserved. The two find each other’s opposing qualities both intriguing & irresistible and they ultimately become involved in an intense, turbulent relationship.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

Correlation between color theory & content…I think so! I must say, I was intrigued by the book everyone’s been reading and pick myself up a copy of the popular paperback.

Have you read the passionate romance novel yet?         

Such a Busy Saturday: Modern Vintage Chicago & The XX

I must say – I had nice little Saturday for myself this past weekend :) I hit up two separate street markets and a show!

The Division Street market that pops up on my street corner every Saturday is still going on; and although I now have to layer up a little more to go down there and the berries & fresh flowers have been replaced with more appropriate harvest time treats, I look forward to my market…at least for a few more weeks!

Division Street Market

It’s no wonder why people from all over Chicago flock to the green city street markets – to stock up on organic meats, fresh produce, artisan breads & cheeses, flowers and many other goodies they can’t grow themselves. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of floral arrangements, lemon poppy seed bread, and beeswax soap; but something I haven’t had to buy from the market this fall is pumpkins & gourds. Every year my mom sends me a package full of mini orange & albino pumpkins and gourds with goofy growths on them – I love my home grown harvest décor fresh from my mom’s garden!

Pumpkins

After that I headed to Modern Vintage Chicago – an extension of the Randolph Street Market that takes place during the summer months.

Modern Vintage Chicago

The Modern Vintage Market is a smaller than the summer one and focused solely on clothing & accessories; but don’t be deceived…there was still a ton of stuff to look through! Once again, Plumbers Hall was packed with vintage vendors and indie designers sharing their unique finds & new designs to ambitious shoppers looking for something out of the ordinary. Here are some snapshots to give you an idea of all the goods that were on hand…..

Modern Vintage Chicago - ATM on Wheels An ATM truck outside to ensure shoppers have cash to pay the vendors (smart!)

Modern Vintage Chicago - Plumbers Hall An overview of Plumbers Hall – this was the main space, there was also a balcony and basement spaces dedicated to vendor booths. See…I said there was a ton of stuff to sift through!

Modern Vintage Chicago - Sterling Silver Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Cufflinks

Modern Vintage Chicago - Belt Buckles

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago - Jewelry

Modern Vintage Chicago Each of these drawers was filled with vintage broaches, charms, jewelry and hair pieces! From animals, to acorns, to Christmas elves…I swear there was one of everything!!

Modern Vintage Chicago - Furs

Modern Vintage Chicago - Vintage Clothing

And I walked away with…

Modern Vintage Chicago - Sterling Silver JewelryA sterling silver cuff and ring.  I love that the turquoise stone hangs down lower on the wrist, I just think it makes it such a unique piece!

Black Leather Cuff with Center StoneAnd this amazing black leather cuff with a stunning center stone (don’t worry I’ll be elaborating on this more in another post!)

I was strongly considering buying this coral beaded necklace, but ended up passing on it. I couldn’t justify the $145.00 it had attached to it – the necklace was very delicate, and I don’t do well with delicate things. But I did love the bird beads – they were bright & beautifully hand-carved (which you an tell because each of the birds is a little different).

Modern Vintage Chicago - Hand-Carved Coral Beaded Bird NecklaceChances are…if this is there when I go back next month, those birds will be coming home with me :)

And after my afternoon of shopping, I still had a show to see! I went to see The XX perform at the Congress Theatre. I hadn’t heard of the band before so I went into the show having no idea what to expect….and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the English indie pop group. Their distinctive voices, whistling acoustics and lyrics of love reverberated throughout the theatre. We had a perfect spot on the balcony to see the show and be mesmerized by the music. Here’s a clip of the concert and a YouTube video of the song Angels. Some of their other popular songs are Crystalized, Shelter, and Heart Skipped a Beat. Check them out!

The XX - Congress Theatre Chicago

The XX - Congress Theatre Chicago

The xx – Angels – YouTube.

It was a very busy day…but a very fun one!!! Rarely do I get Saturdays off to do what I please, but after a successful trip to the market and discovering this new music group – I may have to reconsider my work schedule! Then again, the Randolph Street Market’s Holiday Market is coming up Nov. 17th-18th…so I better some earn some extra spending money :)

Randolph Street Market Holiday Market

For more pictures from the Modern Vintage Market check out my Express Thru Dress Facebook page by clicking the link here

When the Flame Goes Out…

When shopping, I’ve gotten into the habit of looking at things and thinking what are all the ways I could wear this? Or, what are all of the ways I could potentially use this? It’s fun to do this when it comes to clothes – seeing if a maxi skirt can be pulled up & worn as a skirt, a blouse could be worn backwards, or if something can be layered on top to transform the way it looks. Here are a couple articles in my closet that I’ve converted in the past –

Free People Charcoal Maxi Skirt & Dress

Anthropologie Ivory Lace Button-Down Top

Urban Outfitters Light Blue Onesie

This can also be done when it comes to buying home décor. I’ve turned newspaper garland into a necklace, doilies into gift decals and old tin TV trays into artwork. But another thing I like to convert is candles.

Instead of buying the cheap convenient store candles that come in an ugly aluminum tin and barely let off an aroma, I like to splurge on the wax in decorative glass jars that you can smell the second you light the wick. Then, when the candles have been burned to the bottom, I reuse the containers they come in. Sure, the candles tend to be a bit more pricey, but the couple extra dollars I spend pay off in the end when I recycle the empty jars and put something else it them. It’s rather simple, when the majority of the candle has melted away, just pour out the wax and wash up the dish.

When washing out the jars, be sure to take note of the color coating on the containers. I scrubbed a little too hard and noticed the orange enamel came off one of my jars. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to use it to drink out of, but it’s great for decor! This was originally a candle I bought from Urban Outfitters a few years ago that I now use as a drinking glass.

Candle Converted into Drinking Cup

And another precautionary note– when discarding the hot wax…don’t dump it down the toilet! This may sound obvious to most, but I myself, was oblivious. After clearing out a couple of my candles this way, I noticed the water in my toilet was coming up…instead of going down when I flushed it. Oops! :) After a visit from my handy man (in which I acted completely unaware as to why my toilet was clogged) I had colorful collection of canisters to store stuff like coins, kitchen utensils and make-up brushes in.

DIY - Candles to Storage Containers

Candles are great in so many ways – After enjoying their fragrant smell you can use their containers to store things in forever! Here are a couple candles I’ll be adding to my collection because I love what the scented wax comes in…

Decorative Candles

What do you do with your candles when the flame goes out? Do you just throw them away? Or do you salvage them and store something else in them?

Oh, and by the way, I blamed all of the goop my maintenance man pulled from the plumbing on some face wash the must have “accidentally” fallen in the toilet and been flushed. I’m pretty sure I didn’t fool him…but I didn’t need him telling me what I did was dumb. I’m well aware of that…now.

A Closer Look: Roses in Reverse

Yesterday I blogged about the high-low hemline trend and today I’d like to get your opinion on one of the outfits I featured in that post. As I said, I’ve been wearing my charcoal floral print open-back dress from Zara all summer long; but now that sleeveless dresses are no longer suitable in this colder weather, I’ve layered the look so I can continue to wear it.

Here I’ve topped the dress with my ivory lace button-front cardigan from Anthropologie. In addition to opaque mauve tights, I wear a pair of tan floral print socks and hunter green suede boots.

Floral Print High-Low Dress with Contrasting Floral Print Socks

Now, if you look close – the charcoal dress is covered with light pink & tan roses with little green leaves. The socks have a similar all-over floral print, except in a slightly different color scheme – they have a tan base with light pink roses and tiny green leaves.

Roses in Reverse - Contrasting Floral Prints

In this case, all of the accessories in this ensemble are the adverse of the floral print found in the dress. The cognac belt and mauve tights (not shown) pull the corresponding colors from the floral. The stockings are essentially the reverse of the dress. And the suede boots, made of the hunter green hue of the leaves found in both pieces, finish off the outfit.

What do you think? Are the contrasting blooms a bit too much? Or in this instance, do opposites attract and up the ante of this ensemble? I can’t wait to hear what you think!