international · music

New Alice Francis Music!

You all recall that last year, I mentioned my love for singer Alice Francis. This vintage-inspired songbird is still a fave, though I hadn’t been checking her YouTube page regularly. I just hadn’t had her on my mind recently.

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Still from Francis’s “Gangsterlove” video

However, I checked out her Youtube a few weeks ago and found she had released several songs in the past few months. My current fave is “Coco Baca Bum Bum”. The Cuban backdrop and vintage fashions are everything! And the song is super-cute, too.

Why don’t you take a listen and let me know what you think? I’ll be back tomorrow!

life curation · style

Using Kibbe’s Metamorphosis to Enhance My Style

One of my passions is fashion, as you all already know. I love shopping and I’m constantly trying to refine and perfect my personal style. Luckily, I am friends with some other stylish ladies that are on the same path: we are all seeking to create the best physical presentation of ourselves.

An absolute angel in a Facebook group I’m part of posted some information on David Kibbe and I started reading it out of curiosity. Imagine my surprise as I discovered the secret to mastering a consistent and impeccable personal style! As it turns out, the best way to style your clothing is to use your body type and facial features as a guide. It’s genius: emphasize your natural curves and lines, and you can’t help but look your best!

I did the Kibbe quizzes linked here, here and here.  The first link is a quick summary of the Kibbe quiz, and the subsequent links are the two-part quiz with photo illustrations. You have to combine the results of Part 1 and Part 2 to come up with an overall score. The quizzes confirmed that I’m a Soft Classic, which resonates deeply with my personal tastes.

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Some Soft Classic staples (from Pinterest)

This revelation both excites and frustrates me a bit. Now that I have a clear idea of what silhouettes will most flatter me, I have to go through my closet and clear out the items that don’t suit me. This will be an ongoing project for the next couple of weeks, but it will be worth it.

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This dress that I purchased from Boohoo is perfect for a Soft Classic

So far, the Truth is Beauty website has been one of the best ones for explaining the Classic archetype and the Soft Classic (Romantic Classic) subtype. I can’t wait to show you all how I factor this new information into my style repertoire!

 

life curation · style

Re-Imagining the Classics, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the Re-Imagining the Classics theme. We continue to look at some of the classic wardrobe pieces and see some suitable alternatives that retain classic appeal but give it a fresh spin.

Instead of a Wrap DressTry a Shirtdress

Wrap dresses have been incorrectly identified as “flattering on every body type”. That isn’t true, though it flatters many different women. Likewise, the shirtdress isn’t for every body, though it looks great on many women. This generally requires more maintenance that the wrap dress (shirtdresses usually need ironing to look their best), but the finished product is more structured and looks crisp.

These shirtdresses from iLover are inexpensive and adorable. They are available in many different colors and designs.

Instead of a Jean JacketTry a Leather (or leather-like material) Jacket

 The leather (or leather-looking) jacket adds edge and coolness to almost any outfit. It also tends to look more polished than its denim counterpart. This material can be designed to fit loosely or to mimic the shape of the body, so there is a leather jacket style for everyone. Bonus: leather substitutes can give you the look of leather without the cruelty, so it’s easy to find beautiful designs made with vinyl or other vegan leather materials.

This genuine leather jacket by BGSD is fitted, edgy and flattering.

This faux leather jacket by Chouyatou is affordable and has a striking, flattering shape

Instead of Ankle BootsTry Riding Boots

When you live in a region that gets chilly in the winter, you want a boot that covers more than just your ankles. Riding boots – both the rugged style and the more refined and elegant rendition – cover most of the calf and can be styled with dresses, pants and skirts.

These BareTraps Riding Boots have a low heel, plain shaft, and strap-and-buckle detail across the vamp, making them a flattering option for a variety of ensembles.

Instead of Black PantsTry Charcoal Pants

Black pants are everywhere, and, to be honest, the look can get a little boring. Instead of reaching for black, why not try charcoal? The shade is still dark and neutral, but it provides a fresh interpretation on the solid pant look. Charcoal gray comes in varying degrees of depth, so it can be a mid-range gray or a shade-above-black hue. In any case, it’s a look that can add a hint of color to your wardrobe.

These Eddie Bauer pants have a flattering straight leg and come in a luscious graphite hue

Instead of a Knit SweaterTry an Elegant Sweatshirt

Sweaters are lovely, but they normally have to be handled with care (washed on delicate or dry cleaned, air dried, etc.). Why not try an elegant sweatshirt instead? The key to keeping the look from being too sporty is to avoid any designs featuring thick cuffs or heavy ribbing around the neckline. Also check the fit: the more fitted to the body, the most elegant it looks.


This Sarin Matthews sweatshirt fits closer to the body and comes in beautiful deep shades.

That is all of the re-imagined classics! Make sure to check out Part One for additional recommendations. Talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation · style

Re-Imagining the Classics, Part 1

Happy Monday, boos! I hope you’ve had a satisfying weekend and are ready to embrace this new week with ARMS WIDE OPEN! (I’m in an extra good mood, and you’ll find out why in the weeks to come)

I’ve searched high and low on the internet for a guide that gives a fresh spin on some the “staple” wardrobe pieces that women are advised to add to their collection. Women have been given such generic advice on items to add to their wardrobe for the sake of fashion: it’s about time that someone provided some different options. I enjoyed reading Stitch Fix’s clothing recommendations, but here are a few of my own ideas for reimagining some classic wardrobe staples. I’m doing this review in two parts because, why not? It’s easier to write and research pieces if I don’t put them all into one post (which I’m inclined to do, ordinarily LOL!)
Instead of the Crisp White TeeTry a Navy Tee
It can be challenging to keep white clothing bright and fresh-looking. The opposite shade – black- is nice but it can be a bit “heavy” when worn near the face. On the other hand, navy is softer and still looks chic. Navy compliments a lot of different colors and looks excellent with those colors that people traditionally avoiding combining with black (such as yellow and green).

A simple tee by Hanes looks great and is a solid alternative to a white tee

Instead of the Little Black DressTry the Little White Dress
Everyone loves and wears black when they want to look pulled together and polished. But, women with darker complexions look heavenly in white, cream and eggshell. In a sea of black sameness, wearing a little white dress (LWD) stands out and flatters deeper skin tones. Something about the color contrast is especially enchanting. And since this isn’t the kind of dress you’d wear every day, keeping it crisp looking is a lot easier.

 

One of my favorite brands, Black Halo, makes impeccably tailored dresses

The Calvin Klein dress has a beautiful shape in a pristine white hue

Instead of Dark Wash Skinny Jeans Try Pale Gray Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans in dark finishes are always stylish, but for those bored with that look, why not try pale gray skinnies? These pair well with a lot of different colors and are surprisingly well-suited for year-round wear.

The super-tapered hem on these Calvin Klein skinny jeans make this an edgy but polished option. The back pockets are also smaller and placed a bit higher than many other jeans, so they give a “perky” effect.

These skinny jeans by Celebrity Pink have a less-tapered hem than the previous pants, so they have a more relaxed look and feel.

Instead of Basic Black Pumps Try Nude (Skintone) Pumps
Black court shoes are an easy classic and compliment most ensembles. But my favorite pump is the nude pump. Something about the illusion of everlasting legs is so classy and flattering. Not to mention, nude pumps truly can be worn with any color.
Here are some pumps by Riverberry: the company offers several pumps in varying skintone shades at very affordable prices (click on the shoe closest to your shade to see it for yourself)



Instead of a Button-Up Shirt –  Try a Boatneck Shirt

I chose the boatneck for one trait that it shares with button-up shirts: neither design is particularly kind to buxom women. For women that have smaller busts, the boatneck is a fabulous option for a classy, wear-with-everything top. The advantage of boatnecks over button-ups is that the boatneck top usually doesn’t need much ironing to look fresh and stylish. Audrey Hepburn favored a boatneck top: need I say more?

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Audrey wearing the style that has become synonymous with her style legacy (photo from Pinterest)

This Yala top is highly rated and reasonably priced

Merona’s boatneck top is available on both Amazon and in Target stores

 

That’s all for this post! Look out for the second half of Re-imagining the Classics within the next week. Have a great Monday!

life curation

A Word to the Late Bloomers . . .

Happy Monday, beloveds! I want to start off this week with a little encouragement for the “ugly” ducklings that are still trying to find their groove. It’s going to be okay, really it is. You may not know it, but you’re on the cusp of being your best, most amazing self.

I realized that I needed to write this post after talking to one of my fellow late bloomers. We mentioned how much more fun we would have had years ago if we were aware of the tools that could improve our looks and lives. We live in a shallow world: having advantages in the looks department is powerful. But, we were both late bloomers: awkward, conditioned to “fade” into the background, and constantly grasping for our most confident selves.

It took years of reflection, experimentation, and even some harsh critiques, but we’re both looking and feeling our best. Changing our diets, wardrobes, hairstyles, and perspective has done wonders for both of us. We’re finally “pretty” girls, and this side of life has been wonderful. The best thing of all is that being more confident in our physical presentation has led to us meeting more people, and those people eventually discover that our interior beauty – the beauty that never fades – is the most captivating part of us. The “pretty” packaging draws people to us, and those people can get to experience the inner beauty that’s been there all along.

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The inner beauty is always the most import (from ForHarriet)

 

You all have seen my Boohoo hauls (here and here) but you don’t know that I amped up my hairstyling game, too. I recently started setting my hair in Rita Hayworth-esque waves and curls. The attention I’ve gotten has been mind-blowing, especially since my hair is the same length and color: all that has changed is the curliness. I also pared down my makeup, focusing more on intense eyes and less on matte, full-coverage foundation. Again, the attention I’ve gotten is astounding.

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Current hair inspiration, Rita Hayworth (from Allison Barbera Makeup)

 

My advice to any late bloomers is to continue experimenting and have fun on the journey. Looking like an airbrushed supermodel isn’t the goal: finding a look that makes you feel your best is what you should shoot for. Take care of yourself, and be gentle with yourself. You’ll find your lane, I promise.

style

Additional Boohoo Purchases

I added a few additional items from Boohoo to my wardrobe. Previously, I purchased several dresses from the company and I’ve enjoyed them. But, I needed a few more items with longer sleeves and that are better suited to the cool weather. I ended up selecting four new dresses: Flo Ribbed High Neck Long Sleeved Midi Dress in lilas, Lucy Rose Print Sleeveless Midi DressEva Tie Waist Fitted Dress in fuchsia,  Eloise Gathered Waist Midi Dress in navy.

The grand total for my purchase? $51.

Here’s a look at the dresses I got (as of today, the Flo dress in lilas is no longer available, however, it does come in several other colors).

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Flo dress

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Lucy dress

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Eva dress

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Eloise dress

I’ve worn two of the dresses so far, and, similarly to the other Boohoo dresses, I’m pleased with the fit and construction. I can’t wait to see how these hold up over the next few months!

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Mae West

As you all recall, this month’s book selection is Mae West’s biography. I’ve gotten through the first half of the book and I’m absolutely HOOKED! Mae was quite the dynamo, and her talent, discipline and creativity are inspirational.

Mae’s mix of sexiness, wittiness and charm is one reason why I wanted to feature her words of wisdom. Aside from those things, she was very accomplished and her ability to balance brains and beauty – during a time where women were expected to be one or the other (preferably beautiful), but not both – leaves me awestruck. Here’s some of my favorite Mae West quotes:

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(all pictures from Pinterest)

 

Do you have a favorite Mae West quote that I didn’t include? Make sure to let me know in the comments below!

luxury

Another Vintage Car

I mentioned my love of the Sunbeam Tiger in a previous post. But now I want to introduce you to another car that I love: the Shelby Cobra.

I first learned about Carroll Shelby from one of my friends that was a Mustang fanatic. I found out later that I’d seen Shelby’s designs before, on one of my favorite TV shows, “Get Smart”.

Just for your viewing pleasure, here’s a photo of a 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 Dragonsnake.hemmings1965shelbycobra289dragonsnake(Photo courtesy of Hemmings.com)

 

I’m currently researching some classic car shows that I can attend over the next few months. I’d love to see one of these beauties in person!

 

beauty · style

Classy Looks for Less: Boohoo Clothing

Happy Monday, beloveds! What’s more fun on a Monday than discussing fashion and beauty?

This post is all about a Boohoo haul, and the classy looks I scored for under $75.

I know, I know. The words “Boohoo” and “classy” generally aren’t listed in the same sentence, unless also coupled with the words “is not”. Before you all think that I’ve lost my mind, let me assure you that I’ve ordered multiple times from Boohoo, so I’m aware that the clothing on that site caters to the young, partying crowd. Many of the styles are the antithesis of “classy”.

But I love a good challenge, and I wanted to refresh my wardrobe without spending too much. After all, I’m still deciding on what clothes should be included in my fall/winter capsule wardrobe.

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(squeals)

I ordered four dresses from Boohoo few weeks ago. The styles I ordered were the Eva Tie Waist Fitted Dress in Cobalt, the Cesca Split Sleeve Detail Wiggle Midi Dress in Berry, the Hollie Fitted Midi Tailored Dress in Silver, and the Karina Tie Waist Midi Dress in Rose.

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Here’s Cesca in Berry (photo courtesy of Boohoo)

Here’s the benefit of these dresses: the styles are classy and perfect for the office. These come in a variety of colors, so if you find a style that is particularly flattering, you can always buy more. These dresses are very inexpensive: Boohoo frequently has sales on their items (when I purchased these, they were 50% off of the advertised price). Also, Boohoo is an eBates affliate, so you qualify for a cashback percentage for your purchase. Every Boohoo purchase gives you the opportunity to get money back on top of the savings you’re receiving by purchasing items during their sales.

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Hollie in Silver (photo courtesy of Boohoo)

The grand total for my four dresses: $64, after all discounts are applied. There were also no shipping fees, so there were no hidden expenses when I checked out.

Disclaimer: as with anything, you get what you pay for. The clothing is inexpensive for a reason: the dresses aren’t lined and the material feels thin. While the items aren’t completely transparent, you will need a slip or camisole to prevent from showing every dimple and fold (if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, then disregard it). I am concerned that these may not hold up to normal laundry cycles, so I’ll be sure to use a lingerie/delicates bag when washing these dresses. Only time will tell if the colors remain true, as well. These dresses have no zippers, which isn’t necesssarily a dealbreaker. However, no zipper means the dresses will have to be pulled off and on over the head, which can lead to stretched out, misshapen necklines.

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Karina in Rose

Overall, I feel that the products I received were worth the prices that I paid. I’m estimating my cost-per-wear (CPW) at 67 cents per dress if I can wear each dress at least 24 times over the next year (averaging 2 times a month per dress). Assuming that these dresses last for 24 wears, I feel that I would have easily gotten my money’s worth. It’ll be even better if I can get these dresses to last beyond 24 wears! In fact, if these dresses hold up beyond 3 washes, they will probably comprise a good portion of my capsule wardrobe. I’ll keep you all posted on how these hold up during the winter (I plan to layer these with cardigans, blazers, leggings and knee-high boots so that I can stay warm during the colder months).

Thanks for stopping by, and make sure you drop by tomorrow, when I discuss one of my recent hotel stays!

beauty · culture

Vintage Video: Why Not Be Beautiful?

I’ll admit: I was expecting to be frustrated with this vintage beauty video. After all, it was created in 1969, and I anticipated a bit of a misogynistic flavor with it. I thought that the entire video would be pushing beauty as a way to “get the guy” and “live happily ever after”.

 

But I was WRONG! I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. This video is filled with so many gems: where should I start?

First of all, kudos for the diversity. There are some modern-day television shows that could benefit from this example. And kindly bypass the terms “Negro” and “Oriental”: at the time this was made, those terms weren’t offensive.

Secondly, there are a lot of quote-worthy phrases thrown in here. Here are some of my favorites from the first 3 minutes of the video:

“Every girl can become beautiful, in the true meaning of the word.”

“Beauty indeed is more than skin deep. The most important part of beauty comes from within: the inner beauty. A healthy mind, being interested in life and the arts … Caring for others and being involved in the issues of the community and your country … Being creative … Being active … The more you’re interested in the world around you, the more interesting you become.”

Fitness as a way of bonding with other women was promoted, and I’m such a fan of that stance. I’d rather take a brisk walk  outdoors with a friend than sweat it out solo.

I’m amazed at how many of the beauty tips are still relevant. The color concepts for increasing and decreasing the appearance of distance between the eyes still works (it’s a trick that I do constantly).

Lastly, I love how there were so many positive comments throughout. I didn’t see any discouraging of a woman’s unique beauty, just encouragement to enhance what’s already there. The video ended on a lovely note (I’m quoting it below):

“Above all remember the beauty that shines through you from within your inner beauty is your most beautiful, most precious possession. Beauty is more than a pretty face, it’s a way of life.”

I hope you all enjoy the video! Let me know what you think in the comments below.