Butterfly Kisses

I have a condition. It's called B.O.P. (Boring Outfit Phobia). Everyone's got something, right? I think I was born with it, and over the years I've come up with strategies to manage it. Constantly recycling and refilling my closets with thrifted items helps. Still, I have episodes during which I spend a ridiculous amount of time obsessing over one piece of clothing that I just can't incorporate into an exciting outfit. I get nervous, start worrying that I made a mistake in buying it, and get frustrated with myself because I can't figure it out. Then, I start beating myself up because I wonder why I care so much. I mean, it's just a t-shirt. Except that for me and others who have B.O.P., it's not. It is a MONUMENTAL problem that must be solved immediately, otherwise an entire reputation as a "fashionista" is ruined. It's totally irrational, but that's the hallmark of a phobia. Please, tell me I'm not the only B.O.P. sufferer out there!

Most episodes awaken my creative juices and end with a sigh of relief, a smile, and a fabulous new outfit planned. If the look still eludes me, it's usually because I'm over-thinking things. I didn't want to make that mistake with my new butterfly tank, so I decided to go with the obvious: pair it with my beloved vintage butterfly purse. Boring? No. Corny? Maybe. But oh-so-sweet? Yes. :)
Top: Rung; Clutch: Retro 101; Jeans: Gordman's; Shoes: Forever 21; Hoops: Claire's

That's A Wrap

I work as a Stock Associate at Rung, which means that I have the fun tasks of organizing, preparing, and processing merchandise when it comes in. (I'm not being sarcastic-I really do think it's fun!) Each day, I sift through donated clothes and accessories, never knowing what hidden gems lie inside. Among a team of strong, smart, and fiercely stylish women, however, there are differences of opinion about what constitutes "fashionable." Case in point: one of my colleagues gave a vintage wrap maxiskirt a dubious look, quietly pondering what lost soul would want to buy it. After all, it has a huge basket of flowers on it. Hello-it has a huge basket of flowers on it. Clearly, that skirt was meant for me. My proclivity towards all things vintage and offbeat has become something of a barometer for "questionable" items. When an item comes in that is seemingly beyond the realm of fashion, the other members of the merchandise team ask, "Would Carmen wear it?" before deeming it un-sellable. (I mean, a neon 80s shoulder-padded dress? There's a market for it. A small market, perhaps. . .) What do you think - is this skirt something you would wear, or would you see it and quickly say, that's a wrap?
Skirt: Neiman Marcus from Rung; Top: Pitaya; Clutch: Gift; Shoes: Kensie Girl; Neckace: Claire's; Shades: c/o Skinnygirl Cocktails

Just a note of caution: when wearing wrap skirts, adding precautionary biking shorts underneath is a good idea. The wind isn't very wrap-skirt friendly. 
How can anyone not love that flower basket? To me, the skirt is fabulous personified. :)
P.S. Rung Boutique is always accepting gently-used women's clothing. You get 20% off your next visit just for donating! Learn more about the charities Rung supports here.

Shirt Kong T-Shirt Printing Party

I can now add "screen-printed a tee" to my garment construction repertoire, thanks to an awesome party hosted by Shirt Kong and Yelp St. Louis. My husband and I got a behind-the-seams look at how graphic tees are made. (Of course, he reminded me several times that it was merely a refresher for him, as he did screen printing in high school. ;) The event was part of Missouri Made, a series of free events to celebrate local businesses. (There's a chocolate-tasting coming up. . .) While trying (unsuccessfully) not to overindulge in insanely delicious cupcakes, guests saw the screens and ink used to create the designs, the manual and electric presses, and conveyor belt used to dry the ink on the shirts. The printing method depends on the amount of colors in the design as well as how many shirts are being made. Shirt Kong will make just one custom shirt for you, or you can get a bunch for a reunion or bachelorette party. I love that they have modern shirt silhouettes to choose from, including adorable onesies. After our lesson, we got to press our own shirts with a pre-made design. Basically, you spread ink across a stencil screen onto a shirt. How cool is that?
Here's my handsome date and screen-printing expert, Brian
Photo c/o Shirt Kong
Here's my hot-off-the-press tee!
In honor of the festivities, I wore one of my fave graphic tees, a thrifted Guitar Hero top. One of the artists informed me that my shirt was probably made with a DTG (direct-to-garment) printer since it's so colorful.
 Tee: Goodwill; Belt: Hot Topic; Jeans: Red Racks; Shoes: Ziezo; Purse: Betsey Johnson from Avalon Exchange
Now, back to the cupcakes. Honestly, some of the best I've tasted. They were sweet and moist without being too rich. Brian gave me a look as I reached for my 2nd (or 4th) mini-cupcake, but quickly clammed up when he tried one. We took as many as we could discreetly eat without looking greedy!
The cupcakes were baked by one of SK's artists, Cassie (cupcakesbycassiestl@gmail.com).
I love JoAnn Houle's t-shirt clad unicorn!
Each guest got a Shirt Kong mug and coozie to take home. 
I first met the talented crew from Shirt Kong during ALIVE Magazine's VIP Blogger Lounge. They provided custom T-shirts for Saint Louis Fashion Week, and even hooked your girl up with a tank that completed my ballerina finale outfit.
Get step-by-step instructions on how to make this skirt right here.
P. S. If you are interested in learning more about heat transfers and printing on shirts, I found this great reference right here on the Joy of Android.

Leather Wearin' In The Summertime

Waiting to Exhale is one of my all-time fave movies. Angela Basset/Bernadine's two-timing husband's clothing inferno is classic, but my favorite scene is between Robin and one of her sub-par flavors of the week. A drunk, sloppy Troy shows up 2 hours late to pick her up for a barbecue, wearing a questionable outfit: a leather vest sans shirt underneath and black jeans. After he slurs some choice words to her, a furious Robin fires back,  "Troy, take your drunk-a**, leather-wearin'-in-the-summertime, need-a-shave-a** home!" That scene always cracks me up!
Um, you just cursed her out and called her "raggedy," so I think you know the answer to that one.
Troy's getup was a definite mistake in 1995, but in recent years, leather has become a seasonless fabric. Using modern silhouettes and paired with lighter colors, leather looks cool even when temps are hot. I styled a faux leather sleeveless top with boyfriend jeans for a laid-back, edgy look. Do you wear leather year-round? Can you believe it's been almost 20 years since Waiting to Exhale came out?! Gulp.
Top: Rung; Jeans: Red Racks; Necklace: Claire's; Purse: Retro 101; Shoes: Urban Outfitters; Shades: Thrifted
I had an adorable audience of one as a neighborhood girl watched, fascinated by my photo shoot. Her friend, not nearly as impressed, continued to play on the jungle gym. LOL 

Ladies Who Lunch: Forest Park Forever Hat Luncheon

Whether you're a St. Louis native or tourist, spending time in gorgeous Forest Park is probably part of your spring or summer routine. Forest Park Forever, an organization dedicated to ongoing restoration of the park, hosted the 24th Annual Leffingwell Award "Hat" Luncheon in the World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park a few weeks ago. More than 1100 guests decked out in their finest headdresses attended the lunch, which raised $340,000 for the Park. This made for some pretty amazing people-watching, as I saw everything from vintage fascinators to hats commemorating St. Louis memorabilia. (One table even made food- and restaurant-themed hats, such as using a box of local chocolates. Yum.) Although my hat didn't win any awards, the Stifel Hat Contest was a visual treat. Next year, I think I'll go for a more colorful or original topper - I would love to win the "whimsical" category!

Here are some pics from the event:
The winners for STL250, Best in Show, Best Male Hat, Fascinator, Whimsical, and Romantic categories
Photos from Forest Park Forever.org
I get if from my mama! We're both wearing outfits from Rung. No, we didn't plan that. :)
My coworkers at Rung: Zoe, Sarah, Kirsten, and Christina. Aren't they lovely? 

Paint It, Black (and White)

One of the coolest color combinations is comprised of hues that, according to some theorists, aren't even colors: black and white. For artists, white is considered the "absence" of all color while black is the "presence" of all colors. If colors are thought to be generated by light, then white is the presence of all colors, while black is the absence of all colors. Hmmm. Art history lesson notwithstanding, the opposing ends of the color spectrum look fabulous together. In honor of my achromatic outfit, my husband and I ventured downtown to the "Graffiti Wall" (he calls it a flood wall, which technically, it is). If you've never seen it, it's worth a drive. The kilometers-long concrete canvas is full of colorful spray-painted creations with some unfortunate defacing. The result is a beautiful disaster - the perfect backdrop for an afternoon photo shoot.
My 80s romper was an insanely lucky $1 find from Glam Attic

In the top right, someone actually painted, "Will you marry me?" I hope the person said yes to such an original proposal!
My vintage "pixie boots" from the Spring Fling in the City. Shades and clutch were gifts. (No, that's not my can of paint. I'm artsy, but only to a point. LOL)

Fierce Boutique Alert: Leopard

A friend recently invited me to the most ingenious type of event: a private shopping party. (She had me at "shopping," but of course wine and apps are a welcome bonus.) The party was at a boutique I'd been meaning to check out called Leopard. As soon as I arrived, I could understand why the relatively new store is so successful. Not only is the owner, Rachel, a total sweetheart, the merchandise is top-notch, on-trend and reasonably priced. (You all know how thrifty I am, so for me to deem a non-resale boutique "affordable" is quite rare.) Because I have a self-imposed moratorium on clothes shopping (we'll see how long that lasts), I set my sights on the sweet accessories. I tried on a few beaded headbands, chunky bracelets, necklaces, and sunglasses. Many of the clothes had a boho-chic vibe. My new shopping buddies snagged some amazing outfits and your girl found the official deal of the night: a pair of suede pumps on sale for under $15!

Here's a sampling of what the store carries:

Leopard Boutique, 20 Allen Ave. #100, Webster Groves, MO 63119
(314) 961-3220

I'm wearing my new shades and shoes from Leopard. This is my first "selfie." Still not sure about the whole selfie movement. . .
Have you been to Leopard yet? It's the spot. (Bonus points for a cool store name.)

I Heart Sunglasses

I'm obsessed with this unbelievably cute pair of shades, courtesy of ALIVE Magazine from the Cortona at Forest Park Sneak-Peak Happy Hour! They are bold, sweet, and a little whimsical - my favorite recipe for superb style.

I styled them with a classic black-and-white outfit for an extra punch of color. I'd probably wear them with everything if I could get away with it without looking too nutty-or if I didn't need to give my eyes a rest from contacts once in awhile.
Top: J. Crew (found at Rung); Shoes: DSW; Jeans: Old Navy
My future's looking very bright in these. . .
Don't switch the blade on the gal in shades, oh no.

On a side note, do you call frames that protect your eyes from the sun, the old-school term 'sunglasses,' the 80s-cool-kid term 'shades,' or the fashion-editor fave 'sunnies'? Just curious. . . :)

Crochet, My Way

Call it boho, granny-chic, or refreshingly 70s, crochet continues to weave its way onto the runways and "hot trend" lists this season. Oscar de la Renta, Vivienne Tam, Diane von Furstenberg, and Vera Wang (to name a few) featured it in their recent spring collections. Crochet looks were also spotted at Saint Louis Fashion Week. Intricate and super-feminine, crochet can go from dainty to daring depending upon the color and silhouette. I paired my crochet tank with a tribal skirt for a bohemian rhapsody of cute. (Super style secret: the maxiskirt is actually a dress!)  How will you wear crochet this spring?
Look 1: Chloe; Look 2: Oscar de la Renta; Look 3: Diane von Furstenberg

Top: Rung Boutique; Skirt/dress: Urban Outfitters; Shoes: Mia from Macy's; Earrings: somewhere in Mexico?

It's Getting Hot In Here: ALIVE Hot List Party

We may not be a fashion capital of the world (yet), but St. Louis sizzles with stylish, fashion-forward gems for our closets! ALIVE Magazine hosted a scorching party to celebrate the Editor's and People's Choice winners of their annual "Hot List," featuring beloved shops, eats, and nightlife destinations. The shindig was held poolside at the lovely Cortona at Forest Park with fun tunes and tasty apps. (Think: upscale Melrose Place with presumably saner residents and a hot tub.) Thrilled to don my dancing shoes for the first time in ages, I had a blast! I may have even been spotted by the DJ booth jamming to "It's Time for the Percolator." LOL
Goofing around with blogger buddies in the elevator! The wannabe rock star with the Kanye glasses in the back is me.
I was especially excited to be chosen as one of the Hot List Party Blogger Hosts, which meant that I styled a summer look that was displayed in one of the gorgeous units. This entire outfit from resale boutique extraordinaire/Editor's Choice for "Best Place To Shop For A Cause," AKA Rung costs under $70! (Look for it to be appearing on me in the near future.)
A funky and flirty look for summer - perfect for a hot date or night out with friends.
The vintage Harlequin bird necklace adds an extra pop of color.
I went for a similar vibe in a tribal dress from Francesca's Collections.
So, are you ready for summer? I hope so, because it's getting hot in herre. . . ;)

Please note: I received compensation from ALIVE Magazine to style a look for the party, but the opinions in this post are entirely my own.