What I Wore: Creatives on Call Happy Hour

Nebula is located at 3407 S. Jefferson Ave.
So, last week I went to another holiday party-yay! It was fun for several reasons. One, I got to wear a cute outfit. (Not that I don't always do that, but party-mode brings my style to a new level!) Two, I sipped on spiked holiday punch from the Fortune Teller Bar in a cool color-changing mug. Three, I got to network with a lively bunch of St. Louis artists.

The Holiday Happy Hour was hosted by Creatives on Call at the innovative work space, NebulaCreatives on Call is the first placement agency in St. Louis specifically for creative professionals-like graphic designers, marketing gurus, writers, and web designers. The company matches talented workers with agencies in need of temporary or long-term employees. (And, not that it matters, but the lead recruiter is a woman. Always a plus for me!) DJ MAKossa kept a funky, festive vibe with his tunes as I chatted and swapped business cards with other partygoers. I even convinced a friendly photographer to pose with me for this animated photo from Smilebooth:
I'm pictured with photographer Brishen of Brishen Lee Photography
The Smilebooth team recommended that we look kinda mean at first and then "explode" in a smile.
Fun, right? (Try not to look at it the photo too long, though-it may hypnotize you.) In honor of the party, I opted to wear a skirt that embodies one of my professional and personal passions.
It's not always easy to match your tattoo to your outfit - this skirt had Carmen written all over it!
Velvet Crop-top: Nordstrom; Skirt: Rung & Sprung; Shoes: Steve Madden
Silver the Cat, AKA Photobomber
Interested in getting placed for a temporary or permanent job? Connect with Creatives on Call via their web site, Twitter, or Facebook! And don't worry if you missed this event - Nebula has monthly happy hours and Creatives on Call has several exciting happenings planned for 2015. Stay tuned!

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Recently, the hubby had a BIG birthday. A milestone. (He's 30 with 10 years experience. LOL). We both got a gift for the night, though: an evening sans Ruby. She is the cutest lil' thang in the world, so her grandparents were more than happy to let her board at their house for the evening. It's rare that Brian and I get to go out together, and even more rare for us to stay out past 10pm when we do have a "date night." We more than made up for lost time with an evening that went well past 3am!

We started the night with a few pals and spicy Mexican food at Las Palmas. Next, we held an impromptu party in the parking lot jamming to Bone Thugs N' Harmony, watching Brian and his friend attempt to drink a 40 ounce. (40 ounces for 40 years, get it?) Despite a valiant effort, most of the drink wound up being poured out, and passersby just looked at us like we were nuts. Actually, one guy looked interested, but his date made it clear that they weren't joining the party.

Our third and main stop was Saratoga Lanes. I love the old-school flavor of Saratoga - you have to score by hand, so my high school bowling classes came in handy. . .at least in terms of scoring. After trying out practically every ball in the place, I must concede that at bowling, I'm, well, terrible. Luckily, our friends are sweet and were too busy having fun to notice. Eventually we were forced to leave the bar (can you believe they wanted to close around 1:30am?), but many of us weren't ready to go home. Going to the "East Side" was discussed (local St. Louisans know what kind of debauchery that usually entails) and quickly scrapped. Instead, we capped off the night with breakfast at Uncle Bill's Pancake House. Yum. We all had a blast!

The party was billed as a low-key, come-as-you-are kind of night, so I planned my outfit accordingly. I started with a rock tee that was free, thanks to a gift card from Target for my bulk purchase of baby food. I added my sister's blazer to dress it up a bit. Socks (necessary for bowling) and booties added finishing touches.

What would you wear for a night on the town with friends?
Jacket: Urban Outfitters; Tee & Socks: Target; Shoes: Gianni Bini; Jeans: Old Navy (with DIY distressing); Ring: Rung & Sprung
I read somewhere that wearing fun socks and exposing them is "hipster." 

Blogger Holiday Party at NCJW The Resale Shop

NCJW The Resale Shop is located at 295 N. Lindbergh Blvd. 63141

'Tis the season for holiday parties! (Yay!) My first official winter holiday party for 2014 was at NCJW's The Resale Shop. Hosted by blogger babe Jill of Stilettos on Sunday Morning, the special blogger happy hour had light bites and more importantly, the chance to scope out the store, after-hours at our leisure. I'd been there last year and was eager to see what new, affordable goodies they had in store. (That would be lots.) While I restrained myself from buying clothing-shocking, I know-I still scored a few brooches, buttons, earrings, and a couple of ties for the hubbie. And, I saw the most amazing purse EVER!
Due to its upscale, unique beading, the designer purse is $125. Santa will (hopefully) put this under my tree!
I wore a thrifted vintage sweater dress to the shindig that cost an absurd $0.79. For another buried treasure from the "by-the-pound" outlet and helpful hints on shopping there, click here. Unlike the smartly laid-out Resale Shop, the Goodwill Outlet has no organization whatsoever.

Dress: Goodwill Outlet; Tights: Macy's; Booties: DSW
Rrrrr! Another lady at the thrift store gave this dress serious consideration, but as soon as she set it down, I poached it. :) 

Fur-ocious Vest

I find most of my unusual or exceptional garments at thrift or resale stores, like the flowerpot skirt I'm desperately trying to figure out how to winterize. Around 2007, however, I found a total gem at H&M: a leopard-print faux fur vest that has now become a winter holiday tradition. I discovered it on a shopping trip with my mom and much to my delight, it wound up under our Christmas tree. (Thanks, Santa! You know me so well.) I proudly wore it on New Year's Eve that year and sometime in December every year after that. Notably, I also wore this vest on my first date with my husband - before I learned that he, inexplicably, has no appreciation for leopard print. (Good thing my sparkling personality won out!) Its most recent trip outside my closet was to a tasty VIP Happy Hour at the newly opened Mexican restaurant, Cantina Lareda. Check it out:
Which styling do you like better - with the red shoes & black pants (worn in 2011) or with destroyed jeans and a studded blouse? I think I like it with jeans better. . .On a side note, I am definitely losing points for originality with the photo location. Forgive me- it was 30 degrees!
Vest & Blouse: H&M; Jeans: Material Girl; Shoes: Gift; Earrings: Rung & Sprung Boutique
Clearly, I'm not alone in my fur-ociousness:
Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe, Ciara
Dressed up with a dress or dressed down with jeans, the fierce factor of fur vests is off the charts! How would you wear a faux fur vest?

Chairish the Love of Vintage

Whether it's the history, the designs, or the unique, "I'm-the-only-one-wearing-this" aspect, I love all things vintage. (You probably know that by now.) At times it can be hard to know how to wear vintage without looking costume-y or too kitschy (if there is such a thing). The easiest way to give your look a cool vintage flair is to use accessories! Scouring through antique stores and flea markets is one way to score sweet pieces, but I was recently contacted by an online marketplace that has streamlined the process. Chairish allows design-lovers to buy and sell "curator-approved treasures" including vintage furniture, decor, jewelry, and accessories. The team at Chairish asked me to look through their catalog of vintage accessories and create styleboards for holiday looks. (Um, OK, if you insist.)

Here are 3 festive looks featuring accessories from Chairish. You can also check them out on Instagram and Twitter!

Golden Girl
Classy with a hint of sass, a Jackie-O-inspired dress with gold accents is perfect for a daytime holiday shindig. The colorful 1960s carpet bag is super-versatile, and pairs nicely with the gold coin-drop earrings and vintage band.
Shine On
If your New Year's Resolution is to shine in a crowd, sparkling vintage accessories is a surefire way to stand out. The vintage bling, clear glasses, and miniaudiere (don't you love that name?) are blindingly cool. When paired with edgy garments like a ripped jeans and moto jacket, you've got a daring alternative to a little black dress for a hot date.
Something Old, Something New
You don't have to go full-on vintage; mixing older pieces in with your existing wardrobe actually makes your modern-day pieces look more. . .modern. Take a warm sweater in your closet and instead of adding a standard necklace, pin on some quirky vintage brooches. A boho-chic leather clutch and vintage earrings create a fun, flirty look!
Pinko cream sweater / Pleated a line skirt / Madden Girl high heel ankle booties / Shoulder bag / Chanel pre owned jewelry / Vintage broach / Brooch / Floral home decor / Vintage broach

Meet Brittany Kellerman, Freelance Makeup Artist

Colorful makeup creation by Brittany Kellerman
Photo c/o One Moment in Time Photography
For my makeup routine, I typically stick to the basics: foundation, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara. So, I'm always impressed when I meet people who have actual skill with makeup. Through the wonders of Facebook, I met the talented Brittany Kellerman, a St. Louis-based freelance makeup artist who specializes in creating dramatic, whimsical looks. I'm so excited to share her work with you!

Brittany always knew she wanted to be an artist, but wasn't sure which direction to take until she studied Cosmetology at Regency Beauty Institute. After creating an awesome "Mad Hatter-meets-Queen of Hearts" design for a school salon fair, this avid reader found her niche in Fantasy and Beauty makeup. She continued to excel at school, winning two of her school's salon fairs and receiving an honorable mention at Regency's America's Beauty Show Competition. She was also named Makeup Artist of the Week on the popular site Model Mahem

Although Brittany's personal style tends to be in the jeans-and-sweaters realm, she expresses herself through her makeup creations. She channeled her dark, mood side into pretty macabre looks, such as her Day of the Dead collection. Brittany's fun, carefree spirit is clearly conveyed in the model's makeup for a recent promotional shoot for ProPrintStudio. Brittany also draws inspiration for her designs from artwork, random ideas that pop into her mind, and trusted advice from her mother, a photographer. 

As an aspiring, independent artist, Brittany admits that she can be her own worst critic. "I am always second-guessing myself," she shares. However, she has learned that practice, reading makeup books, and taking coursework helps hone her craft. Her ultimate professional dream is to do makeup artistry for film, television, high-end magazines, and a major Fashion Week. "Never, ever give up!" she advises other emerging makeup artists. Brittany's talent is undeniable, so I hope she takes her own advice! 
This Seasons Shoot is Brittany's favorite work.
Photos c/o One Moment in Time Photography
Photo c/o B. Kellerman Makeup Artist
The lovely Brittany Kellerman herself!
For more gorgeous, colorful examples of Brittany's work, visit her web page here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter!

Sweet Emotion Boudoir Photography

Fellow blogger babes June of geminijunemoon and Laura of Weird Culture invited me to a small gathering to introduce internationally-published photographer, Michael Abrams. He offered to give us a mini-boudoir shoot in exchange for sharing his work. I've never done a boudoir shoot (and wasn't entirely sure what it was) so I happily accepted the invite. I began to have second thoughts, however, when I realized that a boudoir shoot aims to create sexy yet classy images. The wardrobe of choice for most boudoir shoots? Lingerie or nothing at all. Um, no.

The closer the date for the party got, the more anxious I became. Could I really go through with this? I did more research and discovered that boudoir shoots can also be done in "regular" clothing like an oversize shirt or form-fitting dress. The point is to create sexy shots that still leave things to the imagination - all of your major parts are covered. Whew! Knowing I was going the non-lingerie route, I decided on a little black dress with cutouts and stilettos that I've been too shy to wear. (And, sadly, haven't really had any place to wear.)

Having an outfit planned took my nervousness down a notch until I realized one thing: Michael, our esteemed photographer, is a man. Once I met him, it was clear that Michael is very professional. Married with a child, he made all of us feel comfortable and answered every question we had. He does a thorough consultation before every shoot, to make sure everyone is on the same page about how high you want the scorchometer to go. Regardless of how much skin you choose to show, Michael can take pictures that guys think are hot, which may not be the same as what female photographers consider hot. His work is stunning! My girlfriends were right in the other room. . .I decided to go for it!

After getting my makeup done by stylist Kristen Parks, I mustered up my courage and started the photo shoot. I immediately felt confident and kinda like a supermodel. (Hey, no harm in dreaming, right?) Michael gave helpful directions on poses and showed me some of the shots as we went along. He was kind and encouraging throughout the shoot. It was really, really fun!

If you're considering getting a boudoir shoot, I would say do it. Be sure to research your photographer (looking on Craigslist is not recommended) and find a professional you're comfortable with. It is an investment that may not fit everyone's budget, but having gorgeous, intimate shots of yourself is special. Give the photos to your partner as a gift or just keep them for yourself, to remind yourself how beautiful you are. (Yes, you.) The model-type girls on the web site are just that: models. Michael explained that most of us "regular" gals don't feel comfortable putting pics on his web site, hence, the use of professional models. So don't let those photos intimidate you, because you're a total babe. I'm thrilled with how sweet yet spicy my photos turned out. I plan to do another shoot with Sweet Emotion Boudoir Photography. . .but those photos will be for Brian's eyes only. ;)
black dress with cutouts

boudoir photo

You can see more of Michael's work at www.sweetemotionboudoir.com. You can also connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. If you book a shoot within 30 days (through 4/3/15) and mention The Ruby Zipper, you'll get 10% off your boudoir shoot!

The Hamburger Skirt

At the close of Saint Louis Fashion "Week" (it really felt like a whole month, not that I'm complaining), I wrapped things up with some local and guest blogger babes at a fun girls' night. We started at local boutique CLR-MNSTR. (I always thought it was "Clear Minister" but it's actually "Color Monster.") The eclectic boutique has art, accessories, on-trend duds, and vintage garments. I tried on several things, but landed on a wacky piece that can only be called "The Hamburger Skirt."

Yum. The skirt has a mouth-watering pattern of juicy burgers with all the fixins' like tomatoes and lettuce and a side of fries. Just looking at it makes me hungry. The friendly, uber-cool sales crew told me that there was a matching top to the skirt that had sadly already sold. The staff had been wondering just who would be ______ enough (insert any adjective between "nutty" or "daring," perhaps a bit of both) to buy the last hamburger skirt in the store. That would be moi.

I proudly wore this conversation-starting, tasty getup to the Tribute fashion show last weekend. Getting to hang among St. Louis' fashion community, I figured it would both fit right in and stand out. As they said at CLR-MNSTER, #bethebestordie.

Before the show, my husband and I went out to dinner at Vin de Set courtesy of a gift card from Lookie Lou. The restaurant was incredibly scrumptious, but did I mention it also has vegan options? Yep, I wore a skirt dedicated to the yumminess of cow-meat to a vegan-friendly restaurant (oops!). I guess the burgers on the skirt could be vegan or made with some type of alternative meat, right? Highly doubtful. :)

Let the drooling commence. . .

Top: Nordstrom; Faux fur vest: Material Girl; Skirt: CLR-MNSTR; Necklace & Shoes: Gift
What? Is that a new tattoo? Yes it is! The dress form was inked at Thunderdome. ;)

Thank you, Mood

Have you ever felt your mood change based on what you wear? Are you more productive in an outfit you like? You're not alone - a group of researchers in Queensland, Australia are studying how people use clothes to change or mask their moods. Women especially attach emotions to clothes: an outfit associated with a bad time elicits negative feelings, while a garment that was worn during a special time can draw out a smile. We've all heard the phrase, "when you look good, you feel good." Why is this?

Dr. Alastair Tombs, a lead researcher from the University of Queensland compared clothing to a "photograph," reminding us of memories that bring up certain emotions. I would never dream of getting rid of my Beastie Boys tee since I met my husband while wearing it. But, Dr. Tombs believes that people sometimes use fashion as a "scapegoat." Rather than direct negative feelings towards yourself, it's easier to project bad feelings on an object. Several years ago, I found a floral dress on clearance that I thought was super-cute. One of the first times I wore it, I went on an interview for a job that ended up being a bust. Assuming that was a fluke, I wore it again and got unceremoniously dumped by the person I was dating. The final chance I gave it was on the day my grandfather passed away. Needless to say, that dress wound up in the trash. Very therapeutic, I might add.

On the flip side, a 2008 study found that just thinking of certain items in a wardrobe can give you a boost in confidence. For example, if you have an outfit that consistently earns you compliments, the mere sight of it can elevate your mood. Wearing it again gives you a double-boost: not only do you feel good that day, you also have the residual uplifting feelings from past admiration you received in the outfit. My green vintage dress seems to be a guaranteed-compliment generator, which is probably why I wore it so much last season! On hard days, though, wearing a cute outfit may not change your mood significantly. Nevertheless, it can give others the appearance that you feel happy. The 2008 study report refers to clothing as both a source of "pride" and "anxiety." (Word.)

I definitely feel more efficient, happier, and all-around-better when I'm wearing something that I think looks good on me. What do you think? For more info, read this article.
I can still concentrate in flats, just not as well. Lots of us have that problem.
Top: Mood Fabrics; Cardi: Delia's; Skirt: Target; Tulle: DIY; Tights: Spanx; Shoes: Steve Madden

P.S. - Do you have your tickets to TRIBUTE on November 22 yet? It's going to be a fashion extravaganza featuring some of the nation's top models from Mother Model Management. Just for you lovely readers, use code RUBY for a $10 discount on tickets! Buy them at tributestl.com.

Meet Tiffany Rae: Designer, Stylist, Model

Tiffany Rae, wearing shoes she designed
Photo c/o Mind of A Fashionista
One of the best parts of going to fashion shows is peeping the off-runway looks. At Shan Keith's Boundless show, I spotted a woman wearing a killer pair of heels. Here's the scoop on Tiffany Rae, St. Louis-based designer (of those killer shoes and other incredible pieces), wardrobe stylist, and model:

Tiffany Rae describes the start of her career as "destiny." After photographer Kay Shea saw Tiffany Rae's picture on Facebook, she invited her to a modeling casting call. Curious, Tiffany Rae went to the casting call - and got the job. As her intrigue and experience with the industry grew, Tiffany Rae was motivated to expand into wardrobe styling for models.

This ambitious, self-taught artist didn't want to stop there, though. Inspired by the idea of re-purposing ordinary materials into something beautiful, Tiffany Rae began creating her own designs for models to wear. She crafted her first dress from leftover holiday cardboard boxes. Other design mediums include drinking straws and duct tape. (I think she'd have quite the edge on Project Runway's infamous unconventional challenge.) Tiffany Rae garners new skills and unique memories from each design, and loves the pride that comes from seeing something tangible that she has constructed.

Tiffany Rae's talent has been featured in local and international digital and print magazines, runway shows, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and on local television stations. Most recently, her designs were highlighted in the arts and entertainment publication, Solis Magazine. Although she currently balances a "regular" job with her design career, she knows it is only a matter of time before her professional goals become reality. Tiffany Rae plans to design for celebrities (Lady Gaga being her dream client), movies, and grace the pages of mega-magazines like Vogue. Once her ready-to-wear collection and heels enter stores all over the world, she is poised to "go down in history." You go, girl!

With her signature smile, confidence, and attention-grabbing outfits, Tiffany Rae has met each challenge as an independent artist with drive and a "corny" sense of humor. For other emerging artists, Tiffany Rae's sage advice is to "believe in yourself, let setbacks motivate you instead of holding you back, and create steps to reach your goals." Looks like she's well on her way to doing just that. . .
Tiffany Rae wearing one of her shoulder designs.
Photo c/o Kay Shea
The Cardboard Box Dress
Photo c/o Kay Shea
Drinking Straws Design
Photo c/o Kay Shea
Toothpick Design
Photo c/o Djeneba Aduayom
Eating Utensils Design
Photo c/o Djeneba Aduayom
To see more of Tiffany Rae's stunning work, visit www.tiffanyraestylist.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Instagram!

Liebster Award

Great news - I've been nominated for a Liebster Award by the sweet and stylish Laura of Weird Cult(ure)! Created for bloggers, by bloggers, the Liebster Award is a cool way for bloggers to connect and for readers to learn interesting tidbits about the people behind the computers. Here are my answers to Laura's questions:

1. Why did you start blogging? As a first step to my career transition, I went back to school to study Fashion Merchandising. I did an internship where I wrote for St. Louis In Style and loved every minute of it. When the internship ended, I was really sad until I realized I could start my own blog! I started The Ruby Zipper last year while I was pregnant, which made for, um, interesting outfit posts. :) Being able to hone my craft and share my style with others makes me very happy.

2. Who is your favorite designer? Betsey Johnson. I think she loves bows even more than I do.

3. What local boutique do you frequent most? Well, since I work there, I'd have to say Rung & Sprung Boutique. LOL (I would shop there even if I didn't work there though, since the deals and one-of-a-kind clothes are tough to beat.) On days off, my husband and I love The Green Shag Market. The mini-booths of antique and vintage knick-knacks are a blast to sift through.

4. What do you splurge on? Sushi or any take-out. I'm typically very thrifty, but I can usually justify paying for convenience when it comes to food. 

5. What staple is in your closet for fall? A vintage camel leather jacket I bought 18 years ago gets near-daily wears every fall. 

6. Where is your dream travel destination? Hawaii!

7. What was the first concert you ever attended? The night before I started 3rd grade, I went to a Whitney Houston (RIP) concert at the St. Louis Muny with my parents and sister. I wore a denim skirt and blouse with a fruit pattern, an outfit I had planned months in advance. 

8. Provel- yay or nay? On pizza, nay. On salad or otherwise, yay.

9. What is your favorite film? Aside from the obvious (Clueless and Sex and The City Movie), I love under-appreciated horror films like "The Stepfather" and Stephen King's "The Langoliers."

10. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I ate a dog biscuit in high school. It was dry and not very tasty. But then, I'm a cat person.

In the tradition of the Award, I now get to nominate some of my favorite bloggers and generate new questions for them to answer. And the nominees are. . .
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is your dream job?
3. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
4. If you could choose only 3 albums to take on a desert island, what would they be?
5. If you could wear any designer on the Red Carpet, who would you wear?
6. What was your favorite subject in school?
7. Name one of your quirks.
8. Would you rather go back in time or see into the future, and why?
9. What is your favorite hobby (other than blogging)?
10. What are you wearing as you answer these questions?

Thanks again for the nomination, Laura! You all should check out Weird Cult(ure), pronto. With her awesome photos and local event commentary that makes you feel like you were there too, it's no surprise why her blog was named "Best Newcomer" at the St. Louis Fashion Blog Awards. :)

Shan Keith: BOUNDLESS Fashion Show

Project Runway is one of my all-time fave shows, so I was quickly hooked on the spin-off Under The Gunn, featuring teams of emerging designers mentored by past contestants. The early front-runner was Shan Keith, a gifted designer from St. Louis - holla! I felt he should have won solely on the basis of his showstopping sequin top for the "real woman" challenge, but in a shocking twist, his model was allergic to the top and unable to wear it. (Shan insists that the poor woman really did break out in hives). In true Project Runway fashion, he whipped up a substitute outfit in an hour and still won the challenge. Don't ask me why he didn't win the overall show, but it hasn't stopped him from continuing to design amazing garments.

Shan Keith debuted his collection at a runway show appropriately titled "Boundless." Held at the swanky Plush, the men's and women's designs highlighted his signature fearlessness with prints and textures. Check it out:

Always a fan of jumpsuits and rompers, I love the chic accents and gold embellishments on Shan's pieces.
Photos c/o Ced "the Photographer" Scott
Fringe. On a blazer. Enough said.
Left & center photos c/o Ced The Photographer Scott
Animal print has been called the new "neutral" given its widespread appeal - but there's nothing neutral about Shan's take on the trend. That middle sweater has my name written all over it!
Photos c/c Ced The Photographer Scott
Normally, I'm not too excited about menswear. I mean, I am a woman - and a rather girly one at that. But what cool looks! Definitely for a bold, confident man who wants to stand out.
Photos c/o Ced The Photographer Scott
Here are some more pics from the event:
Accessories from Hazina Boutique

Here's what I wore for the evening. My faux fur fit right in!
Faux fur vest: Material Girl; Dress & Socks: Rung & Sprung; Shoes: Gift; Necklace & Clutch: Thrifted