Sunday, December 23, 2012

25 DofC Day 23: Gangs, Dresses and Style Tips

So, remember when I was telling you guys about how I was styling a shoot? Probably not, because I announced it way long ago. But besides my issues with prematurely sharing news with people, I actually have the end product of the shoot today. Get excited!

My good friend, Christina, had been encouraging me to explore the world of styling. I was hesitant because being responsible for how other people look is sort of nerve-wracking. I mean, sure, I wear what I want and hope people think it’s cute, but ultimately I dress for myself, so who knows. Maybe I’m that weirdo who people just patronize with flattering comments?

But because she’s an amazing photographer and person, she presented me with an opportunity to try it out on a real-deal, styled photo shoot. With the help of her equally talented cousin, Nicky, makeup and hair were incredible. I still can’t believe how awesome it looked.

So, with an overabundance of options from Chloe (that girl has an already amazing wardrobe) and her boyfriend, Blake, I was able to piece together outfits that made sense to our 50s teen gang meets West Side Story meets Best Coast’s music video for “Our Deal” theme.

I’ll share a few photos from the shoot below to go with some of the tips I have for trying the trends, but please check out Photo Says Hello, which is Christina’s website. Not only is the entire shoot on there, but also other beautifully captured moments that she manages to somehow consistently photograph. She amazes me!

And, since you’re already on the Internet and clearly have good taste because you’re reading my blog and checking out Christina’s blog, go ahead and check out Nicky’s page, All I Need Is One Mic. I mean, just look at the makeup and hair on Chloe—you need Nicky’s help!

Mixing Prints 
AKA Chloe Wears A Red Circle Vine Print Dress Under A Plaid Button-Down

Photo Courtesy of Photo Says Hello

Mixing prints is tricky, but if you pull it off you end up looking so cool and interesting. And I really mean interesting in its intended definition, not the way you use it when you don’t know what else to say about something clearly awful.

Tips for Trying the Trend:

--Try mixing bolder prints with subtler ones. I like to think of one of the prints as almost a pseudo neutral. In Chloe’s case, the subtle print was the dress. The circle pattern is light and delicate and doesn’t compete too much with the plaid.

--Make sure there’s something that unites the pieces. For Chloe, the color red was what made this outfit look cohesive. The red of the dress was picked up in the red stripes of the plaid.

--Keep it simple. Which seems like weird advice considering I’m helping you go against years of lessons about matching your clothes, but seriously. Chloe only had on two pieces, which kept the outfit clean.

AKA Chloe Wears Button-Downs and Combat Boots

Photo Courtesy of Photo Says Hello

Personally, I’m a pretty girly dresser, but I love this trend. I think it’s adding the “spice” into the “sugar” that is femininity. You can really take it as far as you feel comfortable (think Diane Keaton wearing ties and bowler hats) or just infuse it in small doses. Which is what I did with Chloe.

Tips for Trying the Trend:

--Button-downs are an easy way to baby-step into menswear. I like tying them at the waist as a nod to years past and, well, because it’s cute. If you do tie at the waist, my advice would be to button the shirt either up to the collar or just one button below. With tied button-downs (especially plaid ones) it seems like you’re always one undone button too many away from looking like a western wear ad. We did unbutton a bit for Chloe, but because she was wearing a red dress underneath and not jeans, we avoided the country cliff. Unless that's the look you're going for (which is totally fine, you do you) be aware of the edge you may be line-dancing on with plaid and denim!

--Incorporate feminine pieces in unexpected places. Chloe wore two button-downs for this shoot—the chambray denim and the plaid. For the chambray one, I added sparkle at the collar with a twisted, mixed-metal necklace.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Says Hello
--Combat boots are always awesome. Okay, so maybe I didn’t say that as eloquently as I could have, but seriously. I love them with dresses because I think the mix of soft and tough is effortlessly cool and oddly beautiful. And with skinny jeans, they’re just plain badass. I made Chloe wear those boots pretty much all day. With everything.

Retro Twists 
AKA Everything Chloe Wore

Photo Courtesy of Photo Says Hello

 Okay, so this entire shoot could probably go under this trend, but I’ll focus on the black and white ensemble, and then simply, the red dress with pearls.

Tips For Trying the Trend:

--Beware of the costume. If you want to look retro and chic, you have to wink at the past with your clothing, not take a time machine to the 50s and buy your outfit. For Chloe, each outfit had something that whispered years gone by. The shape of the red dress with its ¾ length sleeves and full skirt, the black skinny pants that channeled Audrey Hepburn, and the boxy, ¾ length sleeve white, lace top that was cropped just enough to look slightly 60s. All pieces tiptoe along the decades without jumping off a cheesy cliff of cliché.

--Shop at thrift stores. I know it may be difficult to find clothing at thrift stores that fits or isn’t so literal, but accessory shopping at thrift stores for retro pieces is essential. Chloe’s layered pearl necklace with the beautiful jeweled clasp? Goodwill. The long, twisted gold chain? Local thrift store.

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