The Peplum Squad

Back in the day, a guaranteed smile-inducing comment was for someone to describe my style as "trendy." I interpreted that as being fun, fearless, and fashion-forward. (Who knows what the person actually meant by "trendy." LOL) Now, it's an awesome part of my job to know what's "on-trend." Yet, merely being "trendy" is not enough to ensure that I will wear a garment. It took me quite awhile to jump on the peplum bandwagon. (About a year ago, I did attempt to sew a retro peplum blouse. The result was so disastrous that it kinda scared me away from peplum for awhile.) Now that I found a cute lace peplum top, I'm not sure what took me so long! The peplum silhouette, with a cinched-in waist and short, skirt-like fabric around the hips, was popular in the 1980s. It popped up again on the Spring 2011 runways, and quickly found its way into every "trendy" (and not-so-trendy) store. Peplum now happily resides in my closet. And for the record, I still take "trendy" as a style compliment.
Top & Purse: Rung; Jeans: Thrifted; Shades: Leopard Boutique; Shoes: BCBG at DSW
I love how it's like you're wearing a mini, mini-dress.
P-E-P-L-U-M, yay peplum!

Fashion Criminal Minds

Kristen Vangsness AKA Penelope Garcia, loves cardigans and dresses.
"So, it appears we're looking for an UnSub who is a woman, mid-thirties to early forties, single, with no kids," Agent Hotchner addresses the team.

"20 victims in 2 days - she's definitely escalating," Agent Rossi says with a concerned look on his face.

"The last woman was so shaken after the UnSub confronted her, she went home and burned all her clothes. Another woman felt so humiliated that she started undressing in public. Fortunately, her husband stopped her." JJ says, shaking her head. 

"We're probably looking for a woman who's had some sort of fashion trauma in her past - perhaps she wore the wrong outfit to an important event and was ridiculed," Agent Reid pipes up. 

"So now, she thinks she's 'saving' others from that same fate," Agent Morgan adds.

"But the people she's targeting are actually more fashionable than her, which makes her angry and more likely to lash out," Reid continues.

"But writing up fashion citations and buying a fake badge? That's pretty extreme." Prentiss says. "We need to figure out what made her snap." 

Morgan gets Garcia on speaker phone."Baby Girl, we need you to check on something." 

"Hey, Sugar. I was just sweetening up for you," Garcia says with a wink.  

Hotch, ignoring the witty banter, advises, "Garcia, check the records of all recent fashion events in the area. Focus on the ones that were sold out or had a specified dress code. Cross-check that with female guests who are on the lists of multiple events in the same evening." 

"OK," Garcia agrees. "That list is still fairly long. . .the fashion scene in St. Louis is really starting to explode and I've got lots of people who went to multiple events." 

"Eliminate anyone who actually works in the fashion industry - no editors, bloggers, boutique owners, etc," Morgan suggests. "This UnSub is likely someone who was unsuccessful in finding a job in fashion."

"Cross-checking. . .that knocks a lot of people out," Garcia says while typing furiously. "We've got 3 people who fit the profile. One, Classic Carla is probably not our UnSub because she is over 50 and worked as a teacher her whole life. The next one. . .Gothic Gloria works as a tattoo artist and has a scary-but-cool style that doesn't fit the profile either. Bingo! The last one, Bland Barbara is 42, works as a customer service rep, was kicked out of fashion school for her refusal to design using anything other than khaki. Ew. Texting you her address now."

"OK, that's her." Hotch barks, "JJ, Rossi, and Prentiss, you go pick her up. Morgan, you stay and interview the one victim that managed to outsmart her, Carmen. Reid, you stay on the line with Garcia and learn everything you can about this woman. Let's go!"

To be continued. . .

So, I've clearly been watching too many marathons of "Criminal Minds." The upside to this is that I've gotten lots of inspiration from the BAU's resident fashionista, Penelope Garcia.
Her eyewear is my favorite! I wish I had a pair of spectacles to match every outfit. But, judging from the thinness of the lenses, I suspect her eyes aren't nearly as bad as mine. ;)
A Garcia-inspired outfit:

Printed cardigan + A-Line dress + feathery headband = A fab work uniform!

Neon & Roses

Things in St. Louis have been rough for the last couple of weeks following the tragic death of unarmed teen, Michael Brown in a suburb named Ferguson, MO. Perhaps Mother Nature is sad too, as the weather has been appropriately gloomy. It's tempting to wear something drab when I'm feeling down. (OK, so I don't really own anything drab, but for me, sweats, mismatch socks, and a ratty tee feel pretty darn drab.) As a teen, I read a book about a girl who said the worse she felt inside, the more outrageous and bright she dressed on the outside. I have no clue what the name of the book was, but I always admired that philosophy. There's a lot of research on how colors impact mood. If dressing brightly can somehow trick your brain into thinking things are great, neon is the perfect antithesis to darkness. What about you - how do you tend to dress on tough days? Drab or fab?
Top: Rung; Pants: Material Girl; Shoes; Urban Outfitters; Jacket: H&M; Necklace: Burlington
Florals always cheer me up!

Rung & Sprung Fashion Blogger Party

Photos by Artkitography
Although I write and talk about Rung Boutique all the time (considering the bulk of my wardrobe now is from there!), many of my blogger friends had not yet had a chance to check it out. A few months ago, I had the idea to host a private event at Rung just for fashion, lifestyle, and mommy bloggers. My hope was that not only could I share this best-kept shopping secret, local bloggers could also share their experiences at Rung with their friends and readers. The rest of the Rung team was totally on board, and last week, Rung & Sprung hosted our first-ever Fashion Blogger Party!

The evening's festivities kicked off with info about the charities Rung supports. Bloggers and friends then whipped out their smart phones to tweet answers to some fun fashion trivia questions. Do you know how the latest styles were shared with the public before magazines? Not sure? Don't feel bad - none of our guests knew the answer either. LOL (FYI, it's fashion dolls, a tidbit you only learn in History of Costume courses.) The first person who tweeted the correct answer to a question got to choose a prize generously donated by Byrd Style Lounge, Ivy Hill Boutique, Leopard Boutique, Bronx Diba Shoe Outlet, and Rung. (Unfortunately, as a hostess, I had to recuse myself from the competition, but my friend Erin of Turn Around To Me won the Ivy Hill shopping party. Score! :)
Photos by David Kilper of Arkitography
Next came the part of the evening I was most excited (and kinda nervous) about: the mini-fashion showcase of fall looks from Rung. I'm proud to share that the fashion show was styled by yours truly, and the looks showcased some of the hottest trends for fall: leopard print, ethereal dresses, navy, 60s silhouettes, and sparkles. OK, I'm not sure sparkles exactly qualify as being a "trend," but when does a sparkly dress not look good? As you can see, the models totally rocked our "runway" wearing fab jewelry from Hyper Haute
From left: Jen, Ashley, Mary, Jennifer
Photos by David Kilper of Arkitography
These incredible pieces of jewelry are from local designer Erica Dunk of Hyper Haute.
Photos by David Kilper of Arkitography
Bloggers and friends finished off the night by sipping on Pinnacle Vodka cocktails, munching on bites from The Dam, and getting their photos snapped by David Kilper of Artkitography. And, of course, guests did a lot of shopping! (The sparkly minidress quickly sold that night, sorry.) The night was a resounding success, and I sincerely thank all my blogger friends-old and new-for coming to the party!

Oh. . .almost forgot - my outfit! A vintage/futuristic number from Rung:
I heart bows. Photos by David Kilper of Arkitography

I'm With The Band

In an effort to display my love for music (and Hello Kitty), I used to frequent Hot Topic. I'd peruse the girl section for an edgy rock tee, find a tepid selection, and look longingly at the significantly-larger and louder selection of "guy" tees. I could never understand it. Alice In Chains does not only have male fans. System of a Down does not only have male fans. Metallica certainly does not only have male fans. Why should female rock fans have to buy an ill-fitting tee and hope for the best? Some bands (it's a good thing I like Fall Out Boy) did have some decent tops for the ladies. But sometimes those tee are too girly:

Left: Guy tee. Right: Women's version. I so prefer the guy one!
Left: Guy's. Right: Girl's. Logos are the same, but I'm not sure I like the lilac. . .

Right: Guy's tee. Left: Girl version. I rest my case.
Nirvana and Rancid got it right. Both are in the "girl" tee section!
My initial idea was to just start my own company. I'd get the baddest-ass logos from hard rock bands and put them on cropped or slim-fit tees - the perfect juxtaposition of hard and soft. Unfortunately, my company never took off (well, it actually never got started), so I continue to be on the hunt for that perfect rock tee. I found a cool G&R one that is now part of my visual mix-tape:
Top: Rung; Pants & Clutch: Thrifted: Shoes: Urban Outfitters; Belt: (where else?) Hot Topic
Perhaps I'll get my company off the ground one day. I could call it. . .Rock Tees By Carmen? OK, so that name needs a ton of work. . .What bands would you want to wear on a tee?

Too Cool for School

3 scholastic-inspired fashions that are far too cool for school:

1. Pencil skirts: This fall, write your own style essay in a curve-hugging, streamlined, versatile pencil skirt. Wanna ditch with the edgy crowd? Pair it with a graphic tee and ankle booties, or try a pencil skirt in denim or leather. Hoping to impress that cute babe from history class? Wear a high-waisted skirt with a cropped top and strappy heels. Planning to join student government? Tuck in a flowy blouse and add round-toed pumps.
Edgy Schoolgirl

School #2School #3

2. Polo shirts: A classic polo shirt may conjure images of style-cramping school uniforms, but with a little ingenuity (and a progressive dress code), a polo graduates from "passing" to "excellent." The trick is to pair the polo with unexpected accents. Ultra-feminine skirt and shoes offset the sportiness. Or, look for a patterned polo shirt and pair with distressed denim.
Polo2Pretty in Polo
3. A-Line skirts: With its universally flattering silhouette of being wider at the hem than at the waist, an A-line skirt earns you an easy A on most fashion tests. But, you will need to study your top: blouses look smart tucked into the skirt, while a short, untucked top is anything but old-school. Your shoes will dictate how casual or dressy your outfit looks, and most A-line skirts look classiest right around the knee.
A-line 2A-line skirt

The White Stripes

My new-to-me pants pack a triple punch of style: racing stripes, black & white colorblocking, and slouchy comfort. The racing stripes are a playful nod to my college days, where I practically lived in my uncle's navy polyester track suit. (That track suit has sadly gone to thrift heaven, but who knows? Perhaps, we'll meet again.) To balance the sophistication of the pants, I donned a sequin-shouldered sweatshirt. My trusty, guaranteed-to-add-rocker-flare wedges and vintage necklace complete the look. The black and white color combo ensures that these pants will get multiple wears. Have any ideas for their next pairing?
Sweatshirt & pants: Rung; Shoes: Ziezo; Ring: Claire's; Necklace: Vintage family heirloom
A 7-nation army couldn't hold me back from these pants.

Sequins are always a good thing. Especially on shoulders and sleeves.

Cornflake Girl

The title of this post is inspired by 2 things. One, my lifelong love of cold cereal. (Seriously, it's probably what I'd take to a desert island - if I could somehow sneak in a refrigerator for a never-ending supply of almond milk.) Two, this is the outfit I wore to the Tori Amos concert at Peabody Opera House last weekend. Though much of my musical taste gravitates towards harder rock, like System of a Down and Metallica, I've been a Tori Amos fan since high school. Her offbeat, emotional, piano-laden songs were there for me through heartaches and triumphs alike.

As excited as I was about going to the show, the question of what to wear was more difficult to answer than usual. Typically, I'd use the genre to dictate my outfit (edgy look for rock concert, boho look for outdoor festival, etc.), but Tori's music is tough to categorize. I decide to go the casual-chic route: feminine top + denim shorts + vintage crossbody bag. My comfy ensemble allowed me to really focus on Tori's incredible handling of the piano. Many of my fave songs from the 90s didn't make the set list, but I was still blown away by how she played two different pianos simultaneuously. What do you like to wear to concerts?
Shelby, my sis Kim, and me outside the Peabody! We didn't intentionally coordinate outfits. LOL
Blouse, shorts, purse: Rung; Shoes: from Spring Fling in the City; Earrings: Mexico

Photo by John Gitchoff (c/o St. Louis Post Dispatch)
2 pianos, 1 Tori. This is not really happening? You bet your life it is!
Photo by John Gitchoff (c/o St. Louis Post Dispatch)