Monday, March 2, 2015

Wardrobe Architect: Week 1

Moving has been way more life changing that I ever thought it would be (and I think there will be more changes over this year as we get to know our new home town). When life changes, the wardrobe needs to adapt to keep up. Thus the great closet clean out. Emileigh of Flashback Summer is also overhauling her wardrobe and she mentioned the Colette Pattern's Wardrobe Architect series which started in January 2014. I read through it last winter as it was going along but didn't pay much attention because I loved my wardrobe.

But now my wardrobe needs some work so I've decided to chronicle my journey through the Wardrobe Architect series and see where I end up! There are currently 14 week projects in the series and I'm planning on doing one a week as they were publish. I'm usually an over achiever and would try to do a bunch at once but I really want to take my time and let my style ideas marinate so I can come up with a great niche style that really works for my new life.

Week 1 is about exploring seven areas of your life that affect your personal style. The goal is to look at your life and your style and help you find something that works for you rather than chasing the latest (or in my case, old) trends.

Awkward high school Stephanie (=nerd) with some friends and our AP Physics project.


Growing up, I went to a private school with uniforms from grades 5-8 which definitely put me behind in the fashion department. I was definitely awkward in high school and focused on comfort over style most of the time. Comfort I could wrangle but fashion seemed a bit out of my reach. I was in college when I discovered vintage and I haven't really looked back, until now.

My life is changing. I graduated school just over a year ago and entered the work world so my wardrobe definitely needs some updating in the professionalism department. At 25 going on 26, I'm also looking for a classic wardrobe that will be able to transition into my 30s (which I know isn't old but definitely shouldn't look like 21 either!).

My best friend from high school and I at my wedding rehearsal. Also, this is the longest my hair has ever, ever been.


I try to not talk about religion too much on the blog (because I know you are all here for the pretty pretties) but I'm a rather conservative Christian. Modesty is very important to me because of my faith. I've found that it can be hard to dress modestly when you are as curvy as me because either things fit too well and show everything off or they don't fit well and there's awkward gaping and underwear hanging out of the back of my pants.

Making an effort with some early sewing projects.


I didn't grow up with "fashionable" parents or relatives around. As the oldest, I didn't even have an older sister to look up to. I also heavily invested in the "nerd" identity which doesn't really put an emphasis on fashion. Finally, in my senior year of high school, I tried to be more fashionable but I didn't really figure it out. I just looked like I got dressed with the lights on rather than in the dark.

A newly wed look and trying to be classy at 20.


My husband has very different tastes in style than I do. He personally dresses almost completely in neutrals and avoids colors. He also loves the hippy drippy peasant type skirt and blouse with long flowing hair look. (So never going to happen.) While I don't want to dress just for him, I would like to keep some of his preferences in mind. I also feel like full on vintage all the time can keep people at arms length because it is intimidating. Now, a more extroverted person wouldn't have a problem with that but little old introverted me would rather have people come to me rather than me go to them.

Gardening and my idea of garden wear. Maybe you'll be distracted by the carrots and forget I'm digging in the dirt in this outfit.


I have three birds so wash and wear items are key in my wardrobe. Poop galore! I now live near the beach and walking the beach is one of my favorite activities. Beach wear is going to be key in my new wardrobe. Working in a professional field also means I need to dress like it. Things are more competitive down here so I need to step up my game especially being so young. I also have come to realize that flats are perfect for an active lifestyle no matter how much I love heals. So I'm on the look out for more cute flats.

Walking the beach over dressed.


New location, new climate, new wardrobe.  I definitely need to stock up on light weight options for mid-summer heat and humidity. What I wasn't expecting was the insane levels of a.c. most public buildings have even in the winter! Brrrr! So I need great layering pieces that I can easily lose when I go outside. I also want to keep my pale complexion, so things that cover me from the sun are a plus.

Trying to be fashionable because a button down and a vest say cool and sophisticated.


I am super curvey and it's hard to find ready to wear that fits my curvy figure. I purchase mostly separates because it's much easier to fit when I can have one size on top and another on the bottom. I prefer styles that accentuate my waist but I've been more open to at least trying on other styles lately. Modern "fashionable" shapes look horrible on me. Skinny legs accentuate big hips and loose flowy tops make my waist look thick. This is one of the things that drew me to vintage in the first place.

How do your history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location and body affect your style?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Style Quote Saturday: 2

We all have things we want to do in life. And sometimes those goals seem far away. Or we don't know where to start. I think what you wear has the potential to really help you or hurt you on your way to reaching your goals. Edith Head agrees.

"You can have anything you want. If you dress for it."
-Edith Head

Now, I'm not saying that wearing a fabulous suit with a killer pair of shoes is going to land you your dream job or anything. All of that hard work you've been doing is going to pay off too! But there is a definite connection between how we look and how we feel, especially for women. When we feel great, we want to do great things.

When I was an undergraduate, there was a guy in my biochemistry class who always wore slacks, a button up shirt and a tie on exam days. I can't imagine that wearing a tie helped him remember the metabolic pathway for glucose or anything but it did set him up mentally for success. Look good. Feel good. Do good. And I think there is sort of a synergistic effect when you are physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for something.

I use a cleaning program called FlyLady. It's got heaps of great tips to help you organize your housework, declutter your life and keep you from being overwhelmed. One of the things they stress is getting dressed to the shoes every morning. Get up. Get dressed. Brush your hair. Put on some makeup. Lace up your shoes. Then go forth and face the world even if "the world" for today is two kids, a dog and the inside of your house.

In particular, they stress lace up shoes. There's something about a pair of shoes with laces that gets you into that ready for action mode. They remind you that you are supposed to be doing something. So get up, get going and reach your goals.

Now, I don't do this. I hate lace up shoes especially sneakers and I really prefer to be barefoot around the house (And I suspect many of you are not a huge fan of sneakers either), but it just illustrates that connection between how we dress and how we act. So maybe your "lace up shoes" is a full face of make up with a perfect cat eye or a fabulous hair do or just wearing clothes everyday that make you feel amazing.

And guess what.

You can have anything you want, if you dress for it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Less is More: In my Closet

I posted back in January that my motto for this year is "Less is More" and I've been trying to work towards this goal. I've been doing some research into minimalism and started following some minimalist blogs to get some ideas. I doubt I'll ever be a true minimalist because I like stuff but it's been really encouraging me to think about what I have and if it adds value to my life or if it is just taking up space. Trying to buy less also helps too!

So today was the day I finally decided to tackle my closet! I did some reading on the Project 333 blog and one thing I found there was a link to this article which had great tips to declutter your closet as well as other rooms around the house. The article suggested taking all of the clothes out of your closet and sort them into piles-I love it, I don't love it but I still want to keep it for some reason, donate and trash. So I pulled all of the clothes out of my closet and found this:

Oh dear! I do not need this much clothes! And this isn't even everything. Winter clothes were packed up in two boxes in the bedroom. Evening wear was in the guest bedroom closet with the costumes. Outwear was in the hall closet. And there were even a couple of things laying around the sewing room for one reason or another. Plus, I had a stash of things I was thinking of letting go already but hadn't had the guts to say goodbye yet.

So I did a really quick first sort. Alas, the biggest pile was the I don't love it but I still want to keep it for some reason pile. Why did I still want to keep all of this stuff? So I pulled that pile back on the bed and sorted by type of garment and went through it again. It was hard to let go of a lot of me-mades but I'm tired of so much clutter in my life. If it's not working for me, it had to go. Sort, sort, sort. Bye, bye, bye.

Here's the final donate pile. I've been feeling lately that my wardrobe needs a bit of a shift. I still love vintage but especially for work, I really need some nice modern pieces so out went lots vintage me-mades that I didn't absolutely love. I tried to be a bit conservative with the donate pile because a) I've only been in Florida two months so I'm not sure how the rest of the year will make me want to shape my wardrobe and b) I'm sure I'm going to wake up one day and really miss my vintage so I kept more than the in the moment purging Stephanie really wanted to keep.

And, seriously, I'd rather have just a few pieces that I love that I wear all the time rather than a mountain of things I'm meh about that get worn once or twice a year because I have so many things.

Three garbage bags full of stuff to go to Goodwill! Eeep! I also threw a few purses in there but shoes, hats, and accessories didn't even get touched!

Then I got to load all of the keep stuff back into the closet. And I had space for everything! My fall/spring weight jackets got upgraded from the hall closet to the actual closet. Florida appropriate winter clothes got hung up and the in case we visit Ohio in the winter clothes were boxed up and stored in the back of the closet.

This rack contains my more modern work appropriate pieces. Plus, check out all of those empty hangers in the back! Yay!

 Straight in the back are my more casual vintage dresses. Fancy things are still in the other closet because a lot of them have significant sentimental value and I was tired by this point.

On the other side, my hubby has the top rack so I put all of my vintage blouses, skirts and pants.

Ahhh. My closet feels so much nicer now! It's going to be much easier getting ready for work and other functions because everything is sorted by style rather than type of garment. The closet clean out has also brought some gaps to my attention so I'll be working to fill those up and also replace a few things that are getting sort of sad looking.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Life in Black and White

Lately, I've been really inspired by a color palette of black and white. It's so chic and sophisticated. And, of course, it goes with everything! I happen to look great in both black and white and I've been looking to add some more black and white pieces to my wardrobe.

I love the idea of mixing a solid black or white piece with a patterned black and white piece like her great bolero! 

Black and white are also great because they are neutrals. And neutrals go with everything. This dress is styled with pink accessories but wouldn't it also be great with green or blue or yellow?

Another thing I love about black and white is that it is perfect for every stage of life. It can say sexy, elegant and mature.

Or it can say young, and lovely and fresh!

 And since a lot of vintage photographs are in black and white, there's a lot of black and white to go around. Now this ensemble, I imagine, is actually rather colorful and bright. But in black and white, even a qwirkier print is elegant and classy.

And where would we be without the quintessential little black dress!

Do you like to wear black and white?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Style Quote Saturday: 1

Today I'm launching a brand new feature on my blog-Style Quote Saturday! Periodically on Saturdays, we'll look at a quote about fashion and style and explore how we can embrace that quote in our own lives. For our first quote, we'll look at a gem from Coco Chanel.

This is a fabulous quote that could be applied to many areas of life but let's look at it through the lens of fashion and personal style.

I think we all want to know that we are special, that we have something of value to give to the world. For me, that's one of the reasons I blog. I want to be an inspiration to women who want to be fabulous but maybe don't know how. Being a fashion blogger can feel sort of selfish and narcissistic, but I don't think any of us do it just to have others tell us we look good.

For me, being irreplaceable isn't about being the biggest or best or most popular blog out there. It's about having a point of view and a style that is unique.  It's about having something to say. And you know what. You have something to say too!

My faith in God tells me that He puts every person where they are for a reason. He doesn't make mistakes and He doesn't make carbon copies. Each of us is made from scratch!

I know not all of you share my religious beliefs, but the principle is one I think we all need to hear regularly.

Now, with personal style, I think the same applies. We are each unique and different and our style can and should represent this. When you first start into vintage fashion, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the fabulous bloggers out there. I know that I had several bloggers that I wanted to be just like when I "got there" where ever there was.

But I realize now that what works for someone else might not work for me. I have to be true to myself. I have to work with my body and my personal preferences or I'll feel like I'm putting on a character every day. So I've decided to be different.

It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. I'm going to do what works for me. And today I encourage you to embrace what makes you different because that's what makes you irreplaceable.

What do you think about this quote? Share your Style Quote Saturday thoughts using the hashtag #stylequotesaturday.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Hats of Downton Abbey Season 5

It's been a while since I did a good Downton Abbey post. So it's about time for one! I've warmed considerably towards 20s fashions lately. And I adore hats so hat's it is today.

I've always adored the cute 20s close fitting cloche hats. I think that they are flattering on just about anyone.

Plus they tend to be rather easy to find in modern reproductions. You can always retrim a store bought hat to look more period or to match your outfit.

And, of course, a bob goes perfectly with a cloche!

Don't have short hair? Never fear! Plenty of ladies faked the fashionably bob by pulling their hair into a low bun at the back of the neck. Wear with or without fingerwaves for a smashing 20s look!

While wool cloches were rather popular, straw ones are perfect for summer.

Don't be afraid of fabulous trims! A multicolored ribbon on a neutral colored hat will go with so many outfits.

 Neutrals like black or dark red will go with many different outfits. The idea of a pop of color is not new.

Go with a matching hat for a classically put together look too!

Do you have a favorite hat from season 5?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Closet Clean Out: February

I've been thinking about clothes a lot lately. (When am I not thinking about clothes....) And I've been thinking about personal style vs. fashion. I've come to the conclusion that my personal style needs to take a definite and purposeful path rather than being quite so eclectic. So thinks that do not fit have to go! Some will be donated but some of the nicer pieces I thought I'd offer to you all first. Email me at girlwiththestarspangledheart[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in a piece.

Freddies of Pinewood Norma Jeans*****sold*****

W: 32.5" H: 44.5" $50 + shipping

Vintage 1950s/1960s Yellow Polkadot Dress

 B: 40"   W: 28"   H: free   $40

Includes the original matching belt and features a cute bow tie feature at the neck.

Me-Made 1950s Collared Dress with Pockets*

 *Belt not included

 B: 38"  W: 31"   H: 43"+ due to pleats $35

 This dress features cleverly set in pockets and a huge face framing collar.

Blue Floral Circle Skirt

 W: 28.5"  $25

 Instead of a zipper, this skirt closes with four blue buttons.

Me-Made 1940s Homefront Overalls******sold*****

B: 36" (could fit a slightly bigger bust due to low back) W: 30.5" H" 42"  $40

These overalls feature classic denim top stitching details and is partially lined in a cute blue bird fabric. One of the side buttons is a bit dented but it's purely a cosmetic issue. I am sad to part with them since It was such an accomplishment to make them but overalls are just not me.