Monday, April 26, 2010

Boots into booties

So I've been looking at the thrift stores for some cute black booties with fairly little luck. (I want a pair, but it's too trendy of an item for me to be willing to buy them new.) Then I saw this tutorial on Emme's blog about how to take tall black boots and turn them into small booties. With that, I started looking for boots I could refashion as well.

These boots fit the bill! They were at the dollar-a-pound, so they probably only cost me about $2-3. However, they were pretty ragged, so I didn't feel bad about cutting off the leg.

See that cheap boot falling apart and getting torn up? Time to make that part go away!

Like Emme's instructions, I cut off the tall top (fairly easy as the cheap plastic was falling apart anyway). I hot-glued white ribbon around the now-bare edge, then dressed it up with a layer of lace. But the lace alone looked a bit...girl with a glue gun, rather than "I did this on purpose!" So I tried adding on rosettes made from lace and part of vintage earrings.

And the new booties!

Held together entirely by hot glue...the hot glue gun I got on sale earlier this year seems to have been a good idea. So. I have yet to take these booties for a proper outing...and I'm still in the market for a pair of simple booties, I think, as these turned out rather frilly. (or perhaps "Gothic Lolita," as my brother's girlfriend said when she saw them yesterday).

Joining Me-Made May

I've been following the lovely Zoe of So Zo... for a while, and was especially interested by a challenge she gave herself in March to wear only clothing that she herself had made, every day for a month. So I was excited to see when she posted the idea for a group Me-Made May, where others would take the pledge to wear their own handmade clothes for the month of May, or make their own variations on that idea to challenge themselves.

My version of the pledge will be a "lite" least one item that I wear every day in May needs to be "me-made" or at least refashioned by me. I'm hoping this will push me both to dive into the pile of thrifted dresses I have waiting to be refashioned, and to really start working on some of my fabric stash and vintage patterns. I did start a dress this weekend from one of those patterns (actually, two combined), which was just going to be a muslin for a class project I'm working on with my brother's girlfriend...but the muslin ended up looking pretty good on her, so I'm going to finish it up and make it a proper dress for her.

I've also gotten a bit behind with my daily outfit images. This was what I wore on was sunny and a bit warmer again, so I felt that spring greens would be fun. The top is actually a dress, but the whole thing is a bit frilly for me, so I tried wearing the green skirt over it to tone it down a bit. And then the neckline of the dress is a bit low/gaping so I wore a shirt underneath. I'm not sure what I think of the resulting silhouette, though. (The dress is really a bit too big for me...I got it at Forever21 years ago when I fell in love with the print and they only had one left in an XL.)

Green print dress (worn as top): Forever21
Green skirt: Evan Piccone, thrifted
Brooch: vintage, Ebay
Shoes: Naturalizer, thrifted
Black shirt (under dress): Express

I borrowed the brooch-on-a-waistband trick from Karla of Karla's Closet. She's done this really beautifully in a couple of outfits I've seen, including this and this. to start the week...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Midweek blues

For a theoretically more-relaxing week, it's been pretty busy here so far! Our big demo happened and went well on Friday, so that was really good. The weekend passed quickly. Saturday, I went to a panel discussion then got together with a group of friends for dinner/seeing a show another friend was in/all getting ice cream afterward. Sunday, some errands and such. Monday was a holiday here in MA -- Patriot's Day -- so I only went into the lab for a bit to work on a class project and drop off a draft of my thesis in my adviser's office. Tuesday, the entire day was taken up by a conference at the lab. But now the week's back up to speed and has gotten quite busy with class and projects and meetings.

This outfit is from yesterday. I like the stripes on this top, though they seem pretty bold...not sure if I've got the proportions quite right on me yet.
Tunic: H&M, thrifted.
Skirt: Old Navy, thrifted.
Tights: Hue.
Shoes: Sketchers.
Necklace: Ebay

I've been in a funk this afternoon/evening, though, prompted by the visit of a prospective student to the lab. I feel like my work isn't far-reaching enough, that I don't have big enough goals or aims or the abilities to actually satisfy those far goals or aims, should I be able to come up with them. I don't have a PhD thesis already planned out (though I'm finally in the program). I don't have huge dreams of what I want to see in the world that I'll do everything I can to make happen/that I believe need my skills to happen. Eh. I won't get too terribly emo on the blog, though (apologies for this much already!). I'm where I need/want to be, and I just have to believe I belong here and am qualified to be here.

Today's outfit went through a couple of iterations before I settled on this of those days where I knew I wanted to look put-together but also didn't have much energy to play with that.

Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted.
Skirt: Eddie Bauer, thrifted.
Tights: Hue.
Necklace: first gift from boyfriend. :)
Shoes: Naimiai, thrifted.

And I've got a boots-to-booties refashion that I'll post tomorrow, once I get the details finished up...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In the mood for dresses

This was yesterday's outfit. It's been a busy week and late nights at the lab, but now everything's finally ready for the big demo we have tomorrow. I'm especially pleased because the new demo that my coworker and I have been working on this week related to our big opera project really came together, and my adviser's happy with it.

This outfit made me really happy, too. I'd been trying to figure out a way to wear this dress/tunic (if it barely covers my bottom, it's not really a dress in my book), and putting it over a skirt to add some color and detail worked well. Also, the dress has pockets! Really nicely constructed pockets!
Skirt: Toupy, thrifted
Black dress: H&M, thrifted
Belt: thrifted
Shoes: Capezio (character shoes from 8th grade...)
Brown tights: Hue
Flower pin: vintage, Ebay

I love the weave of this skirt. It's so textured and complex...also, has beautiful colors and some great soft wool. I should have taken a picture of the bottom hem...velvet trim and a lace-trimmed underskirt that shows underneath.

This was one of the first couple of vintage brooches I'd gotten on Ebay (in a mixed jewelry lot). Now I have a bit of a collection...I'm like a magpie, I love shiny pretty things!

And this was what I wore on Tuesday. I had a really hard time figuring out this outfit...we were scheduled to take a few publicity pictures related to the opera with one of our major funders, so I needed something that was nice/a bit dressy/still came off as "creative grad student."

Dress: Ann Taylor, thrifted
Lace shirt: thrifted
Black belt: thrifted
Faux pearl necklace: vintage, Ebay
Tights: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Sketchers

I haven't been getting as much thesis-writing done as I'd hoped, but I'm still planning on getting my adviser a draft early this weekend. And then I will take the weekend to relax and do fun things. Though staying at the lab working on cool projects is its own kind of fun. But I've got a concert to see tomorrow night, a friend's show on Saturday, and the boyfriend comes into town tomorrow afternoon. So I think it should be a nice weekend. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Black Monday

Actually it was pretty sunny...but for some reason I felt like wearing this black wrap dress.

This is going to be a very, very busy week. Thesis draft going in by the end of the week, plus some very important visitors on Friday for whom we're trying to get fancy new things ready to demo. So if I'm sparse here for a few days, you'll know why.

Black dress: Lola, thrifted
White skirt (worn underneath): thrifted
Gray tights: Hue
Pink top: Gap, thrifted
Necklace: random jewelry booth in Dulles International Airport
Earrings: Claire's
Shoes: 9 West, thrifted

I wish the shoes didn't have marks on them...I don't think I'd noticed how large they were before I bought them, entranced by the pretty colors. I really like the color palette.

Also, I just wanted to put in a couple of pictures of how amazing the trees by the lab look. I don't know what kind of trees these are. With that day of 90 degree weather last week, they all just burst into bloom simultaneously...I've never seen so many flowers!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Keep on writing, keep on writing...

Pretty much my entire weekend is (should be!) taken up by working on writing my thesis. I need to get a draft done by probably Friday night so I can get it to my today has been a whole lot of writing. Broken up briefly by a trip to the Garment District with my mother. And then more writing. This was my outfit yesterday...

I wanted a slightly dressy outfit because I had a busy day with meetings and various events involving new Lab students. This thrifted slightly stretchy pencil skirt is becoming a fast favorite.
Shirt: H&M, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Skirt: thrifted
Necklace: handmade
Tights: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Sketchers

What's everyone doing this weekend? More fun things than intensive thesis-writing, I hope? Though I'm really making some good progress, I think. And when I get myself in the state where I'm really able to just work on one thing (like writing), I end up getting incredibly focused on it and not really being able to think about anything else. So I'm taking a break until I go to bed, I think...and then back at it in the morning!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And the week goes by...

Well, today went back to standard spring temperatures, after we'd hit 90+ degrees here in Cambridge yesterday! It was so amazingly lovely out yesterday (not humid, either) that I ended up just ducking out of the lab after my class ended at 4 and going to play pool/walk around/have dinner with labmates. Did I mention it was a really, really amazing day? I don't know why nice weather makes it almost impossible to focus on work. This is why it's probably a good thing I didn't go to grad school in California!

So this is what I wore today. Yesterday I'd worn the dress I made from vintage strawberry-printed sheets last summer, but my camera ran out of batteries and so no pictures.
Floral skirt: Express
Black shirt: Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Sketchers
Mixed-metal necklace: free

Today was actually quite a productive day as far as the thesis-writing was concerned. I stayed home from the lab in the morning to write, made some progress, and then went into the lab...then came back home in the evening and wrote some more. I'm approaching a draft, though a bit shorter than I want it to be as I still need to flesh out some bits. My goal is to have a draft ready to give my readers by a week from Monday at the latest. I think I can do it, though it's going to be a very busy week at the lab next week with some important demos. I'm going to be doing a lot of writing over the weekend. Anyone have lovely weekend plans?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some thoughts

I don't know if any of you are familiar with Sal from Already Pretty, but I've been reading her blog for a while and really love her positivity and inspirational viewpoint on beauty and self-esteem. I've wanted to talk about her posts for a while, but in particular she had a post yesterday that really floored me. Already Pretty: "The Big Secret" Sal talks about the secret that none of the retailers/makeup companies/diet brands want you to realize: "There is nothing wrong with you. You are gorgeous and glorious and goddesslike right now, today, just as you are. You don't need a lick of makeup, or a pair of Spanx, or towering platform heels. You don't need Botox or the 30-day Shred or Nice 'N' Easy to cover those grays. You don't need Louboutins, or taupe nail polish, or whatever trend is gonna be trendy for the next seven seconds. If you WANT any of those things, then by all means go for 'em. Every sentient human being is entitled to make choices. But you are utterly complete and undeniably marvelous without them." (you should read the rest of her lovely post, too!)

This is a great self-esteem booster about being content with yourself as you are, but I realized that there's more value to me in this paragraph than just the "value yourself" message. Reading this, I realized that Sal nicely cuts through the debate that I so often run into in my head about style/fashion/weight/etc. If I am to believe that I am good enough exactly as I am, if in fact I'm perfect as I am, then I often feel that I SHOULDN'T put as much effort as I often do into my appearance. Isn't wearing dresses and "looking pretty" and trying to lose a couple of pounds just buying into the "you don't look good enough, you aren't thin enough, you aren't attractive enough" trap that fashion magazines and the media are setting? Especially as a feminist (I think I'd call myself a feminist) in a technological field, I'm occasionally worrying that it is a waste of my time and energy and mind to care about what I wear or what I look like, that I've just been brainwashed into thinking that more than basic presentability is important. But there's that other level that Sal points out -- we are entitled to our own choices. If I WANT to put on beautiful shoes or a velvet skirt or a dress that makes me feel like a million dollars, if I want to take joy in my self-presentation and my creative exploration of clothing and my finding beautiful garments at thrift stores...then those are choices that are perfectly good too, and I should, in Sal's words, "go for 'em."

Yes, one can argue that what we WANT may still be (is almost certainly) affected by what we are shown by our culture and the pervasive media that tries to tell us what we should want. (As well as by the others we see in real life or online wearing lovely floral rompers and Jeffrey Campbell shoes.) But it's a very interesting, and satisfying, point of view that we are neither "bad" for not buying/wearing/doing all the things we're told to want, nor "bad" for wanting (and getting/using/doing) things that we actually do want. So, thank you, Sal!

In any case. I should be heading to the lab, but I wanted to put down some of my thoughts here first. (and I've already been working on my thesis for a while this morning). It's supposed to be 85F today, which is staggeringly warm for April!

And a quick picture of what I wore yesterday. The color scheme of this outfit came from a page in Harper's Bazaar with all kinds of yellow and white pairings...I started with the yellow shirt/tunic (the only one I own in yellow, actually), and added one of my long-time favorite skirts. At first I was going to put the skirt over the top, but that made a strange double then I layered the top over the skirt and added the belt for some shape. I liked this outfit, though the texture was a bit strange with the light jersey over a very textured skirt.

Yellow top: Forever21, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
White skirt: Forever21
White tank top: Express
Sandals: Liz Claiborne, thrifted
Belt: thrifted (dollar-a-pound)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring at last!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I know it was a beautiful spring weekend here in the Boston area...worth taking advantage of. This may have lead to a bit too little work-related activity, but it was worth it (I hope). I spent some time outside, a bit of time crafting (including a couple of things I'll post later), some time relaxing, and some time at the lab and working on the thesis. The boyfriend and I took a long walk down by the Charles River on Saturday, which was just terrific. Spring really is my favorite season, especially this brief spring period when everything starts flowering and it's just warm enough.

So this was my outfit Saturday. Everything is from the dollar-a-pound except the sandals, which are a few years old and showing it...there's a dry torn spot on the top of one foot that rubbed a hole in the top of one of my feet. Sunday I wore the red dress that I'd just refashioned and posted recently.

This was today's outfit, along the lines of that spring thing. It was a busy day today: meeting with my adviser in the morning, coding, group meeting, working on a class project, ending with a demo at 7PM. Plus I've had a little bit of cold-like symptoms since last night, so not sure what to make of that. Perhaps it's just allergies? Though I generally don't get seasonal allergies...

Today also proved appropriate to break out the trench coat! This is the first trench coat I've ever owned...a dollar-a-pound find... and I really love it so far! It's also got some lovely details like a silky pink-and-brown polka-dot piping.

Look! Toenail polish for the first time this year! Ignore the bandaid from Saturday's sandals...

Outfit details:
White lacy shirt: thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Blue polka-dotted skirt: Liz Claiborne, thrifted (dollar-a-pound) and hemmed by me.
White skirt (used as petticoat): Forever21
Shoes: Naturalizer, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Coat: Suzuya, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It's SPRING! Yes, I know I'm still in Massachusetts and we're only in early April and there may still be storms and bad weather and snow. But...the magnolias are blooming and it finally was sunny today and I've decided that it's spring.

I'd had this outfit in mind, or parts of it at least, for a few days now, since I hemmed this floral dress from an unflattering mid-thigh length. I knew I needed to get up the nerve to wear it, and thought it would be an interesting contrast with black tights. Then I'd happened to have the dress next to my purple cardigan and realized they matched (yes, I know I wore the cardigan yesterday. I'm remixing!) And this morning, added the boots, necklace, and hat, after trying to accessorize it in a couple of ways. This look is a bit of a stretch for me, but it was fun to do. Though I admit I only wore the hat to and from work.

Here's the dress without the cardigan. It's got interesting puffed sleeve details, which I'm still trying to decide whether I like or not. Also, the strange face in this picture comes from me attempting to take pictures in semi-public! I was done at the lab very close to sunset and decided to try to find someplace with a bit of light (and an appropriate post on which to rest my camera) on my walk home. I'd missed the late afternoon light on this wall, but these still turned out all right. During this picture, though, there was someone walking by -- and I'm not yet used to the public-picture-taking thing! (or when I do, I usually am having someone else take my picture).

This is with the coat... a very different look when you can't see the floral print!

Floral dress: thrifted (dollar-a-pound), hemmed by me
Boots: thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Hat: vintage, Ebay
Brooch (on hat): vintage, Ebay
Coat: thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Black tights: Hue
Necklace: Ebay

Another quiet day at the lab. Working on the thesis writing, reading a lot about systems of dance notation, getting books from the library, working on a class project. All of my labmates and I are absolutely exhausted for no really good reason...we think it's the rain from earlier in the week? Or some disease going around that just makes everyone sleepy?

Also, did I mention it's spring? I can't wait for the weekend!

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