Don't Dream It's Over(alls)

Shortalls & Clutch: Goodwill; Blazer: Rung; Tee & Choker: Rue 21; Shoes: Ziezo
One of my greatest fashion regrets was donating my beloved, perfectly worn-in overalls about a decade ago. After enjoying "trendy" status throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the new millenium's arrival practically erased overalls from stores and closets. I held on for a couple of years, hoping I could wear them again without looks of confusion or disdain, but eventually accepted that the trend was over. . .right?


Romper: Avalon Exchange; Shoes & Shades: Rue 21; Earrings: Thrifted
I take fashion very seriously, but I also approach it like a challenging, exciting game. I first devise a strategy: I write down what's in my wardrobe to see what I'm working with. (You should try it - it's quite enjoyable, especially during boring meetings.) I then come up with a plan: I select an outfit for each event I have coming up, trying not to schedule the same outfit twice with the same people. I use trial and error: I see how different pieces look together to decide whether I should wear it or forget it. Of course, there are a few misses. (Even a cute dress couldn't remove the lab coat look of this long white jacket I mistakenly bought - I shudder at the memory.) When I have an outfit triumph, I feel positively giddy. Like, finally-beating-that-ridiculous-level-in-Super Mario Bros.-good.

The Girl With The Fringe Earring

Last month, while Brian was tied up with a friend's pre-wedding shenanigans, Ruby and I were having our own "wild" weekend of shopping, music, food, and more shopping. First, we soaked up the sun at the St. Louis African Arts Festival. In between watching impressive double-dutch jump rope and dancing to classics like "Wobble Baby" (Ruby does this cute lean that's just behind the beat, but she's clearly got skills), we wandered around the booths. Gorgeous, colorful African fabrics, hand-carved sculptures, books - lots of temptation. I was on a mission for unique jewelry, though, and found exactly what I was looking for: a pair of leather shoulder-skimming earrings. 

When I got home and tried them on, the two earrings felt like a bit much. Never one to shy away from a fashion risk, I decided to see how just one earring would look. Yes! I used to do the mismatch earring thing in high school and college, and can't believe I forgot how awesome it is. I've already gotten several compliments on my one-earring look, so if you're feeling a bit daring, try it! Just make sure the earring is a "statement" earring (read: long and/or made out of an unusual fabric) so it doesn't look like asymmetry-by-forgetfulness.
Top: Rung; Jeans: Forever 21; Shoes: Goodwill; Purse: Retro 101; Shades: Leopard Boutique
These feathery, delightful shoes were a mere $3. Isn't thrifting fun?
We finished the weekend at the St. Louis Swap Meet, where Ruby greeted other shoppers with a smile and an excited declaration that they each had a "nose." I scooped up a "World's Best Grandfather" plaque for my dad's Father's Day gift that made him smile. (A mini-meltdown courtesy of Ruby made me miss out on an Eazy-E tee, but some overalls from Janet's Vintage Planet made up for it.) All in all, it was a great weekend of mother-daughter bonding. Brian's weekend was fun too, but some of the activities proved to be too much for him, as he fell asleep just as the "entertainment" arrived. Can't say I'm too sad about that. :)

Forest Park Forever's 25th Annual Hat Luncheon

I recently attended the 25th Annual Hiram W. Leffingwell Award Luncheon at Forest Park, AKA the beloved "Hat Luncheon." Over 1100 of St. Louis' finest topped off stylish outfits with fabulous fascinators, fedoras, and fancy hats! I had the pleasure of serving as one of the judges for the best part of the luncheon: the Stifel Hat Contest. There were so many gorgeous headpieces that it was difficult to choose just 3 in each category, but hat's off to the wonderful winning looks!

Romantic: This category is comprised of hats with a sweet, feminine, and nostalgic flair. I fell in love at first sight with that red number.
Winners: Marilyn Gooch-Hill, Andrea Topps, Ashley Parks
Whimsical: Always a delightful category for judges and guests alike, the creativity displayed by this year's winners was quite impressive.
Winners: Marsha Schuman, Anacleta Steffen, Shonte' Moore
Vintage: Of course, I was super-excited to see the vintage hats. I love the ones worn by these ladies! I want to place that floral hat on my head, right now.
Winners: Becky Ulses, Lee Riggs, Merle Freed
Fascinator: These fancy, small headdresses typically made of feathers or flowers and attached with a headband have been gaining popularity thanks to Princess Kate Middleton. I'm pleased that fascinators are having their well-deserved moment in the fashion limelight.
Winners: Valerie Kennedy, Chelsey Oliver, Beth Davis
Silver 25th Anniversary: This year marked the 25th annual Hat Luncheon, so a special category was added to honor the best silver or anniversary-themed hats. Definitely saw some show-stoppers!
Winners: Dianne Isbell-O'Brien, Diedre Gray, Cathy Dunkin
Best Male Hat: This gentleman's hat was beyond dapper. I'd happily wear a feminine version!
Winner: Everett Dietle
Best In Show: This year's winner looked peachy-keen.
Winner: Sue McCollum
Best Table Theme: Although several tables had cute and clever themes, the winners were clear as soon as they sauntered into the luncheon. The Broadway-themed toppers (in honor of the St. Louis Muny) were crafty and colorful. Can you guess which musical each hat represents?
Winners: St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine
For fun, I've also included some honorable mentions:
I really, really wanted to rock a fascinator and/or vintage hat to match the whimsy of my vintage parasol dress. An unusually barren search of my usual thrift stores (and an unusually fussy Ruby) led me to begrudgingly don a straw cloche. (Classy? Yes. Carmen? Not exactly.) I am determined to find a frilly, feathered or floral, one-of-a-kind hat for next year. If you have any suggestions on where I can find such fine millinery, please let me know in the comments!
Dress: Avalon Exchange; Hat: Macy's; Necklace: Gift
As an exciting footnote, the event raised over $400,000 for park restoration maintenance. Want to learn more? Check out the Forest Park Forever website to see how you can help. And, if you want to join me in getting an early start on your search for the perfect hat, next year's luncheon will be held on June 9, 2016.

Please note: All photos are courtesy of J. Elizabeth Photography/Forest Park Forever

The Mod Squad

Psyche from Economy of Style, Yasmin of Bangles & Bungalows, & me
The sixties were dedicated to peace, love, understanding, and totally groovy fashion. I figured it was the perfect time period to channel at ALIVE Magazine's We Heart STL Celebration. So, I selected a vintage playsuit that was sure to make a splash. (On a funny side note, I'd actually been crushing on this ensemble ever since it turned up in a donation bag at Rung Boutique--nearly a year ago. I am very fortunate that it waited for me, as the floral print and whimsical silhouette clearly make us kindred spirits.) The playsuit contains matching shorts and a top, but I pulled up the shorts higher to give it a more mod, mini-dress vibe. I added retro-inspired platform sandals with a modern lug sole. Check it out: