Category Archives: OOTD

Dressing Up An Oversized Tee

T-shirts go with jeans or denim shorts like fries go with ketchup, or ice cream with a cone. (I’m hungry, is anyone else hungry?) Especially now that grungy oversized graphic tees are in fashion, it’s easy to throw on the classic t-shirt + denim + sneaker combo without thinking twice.

Here’s an idea: think twice.

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T-shirts in this style can be boxy and unflattering, especially on a feminine figure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still look fabulous in them! Instead of veering towards the predictable, try branching off of the classic combo to create something that flatters you.

For this look, I knew that denim would look great with this lace-up tee, but instead of reaching for my denim cutoffs, I picked out this unconventional denim skirt. It still fits with the grungy vibe, but adds a feminine quality to the look that a normal pair of jeans might not have. By tucking the t-shirt in, I tried to break up its boxiness and complement my curves.

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Furthermore, a pair of Adidas superstars or another white sneaker would be predictably wonderful with this outfit, but in the spirit of dressing up this look, I went with white heels instead. The resulting outfit might look eccentric, but it draws on the foundations of what is expected, which is something I encourage people experimenting with their style to do.

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Lucky for you, my shirt, skirt, and shoes are currently in stock, so links are at the bottom of this post. I’ve also added some links to other pieces of unconventional denim to assist in your t-shirt styling adventures!

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T-shirt: Missguided ($35), Skirt: Zara ($50), Heels: Topshop ($120), Clutch: Ipsy April 2017 bag, Earrings: StitchFix, Lipstick: Stila

Other funky denim skirts: 1, 2, 3, 4

(Photos by Jane)

How to Dress Your Best in 15 Minutes or Less

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I scheduled a photoshoot with my friend Jane last month, and I spent days planning my outfit meticulously. I had it all laid out the night before, and took my time getting dressed the morning of. Fifteen minutes before I had to leave, I decided to look at the weather…….which was twenty degrees below what I’d been expecting.

Of course, this wasn’t one of those outfits that I could add layers to in order to make it appropriate for fifty-degree weather, so I had T minus fifteen minutes for a full-blown, “back to the drawing board” outfit change. Cue panic and chaos. I proceeded to try on seven different random things in rapid succession, all while I started sweating my makeup off.

In the end, this look that I pulled together turned out miraculously well, even after the five minute swear-word-filled altercation I had with this pair of fishnets. Here’s why.

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Putting together your 15 minute OOTD:

  • [4min] Pick a focus piece: identify something in your wardrobe that is, or could be made, weather-appropriate. (My focus piece: the space print dress)
    • (Bonus [2min]) Imagine 100 other people own this same focus piece. Quickly brainstorm an unexpected way to wear it that most of those people wouldn’t think to try. If you can’t think of something in under a couple minutes, no worries — go with the classic approach.
  • [2min] Not warm enough on its own? Throw on some basics over or under. If you want to keep your look unique or unexpected, either find something in a color that most people wouldn’t pair with your focus piece, or layer in a way that most people wouldn’t think to. (My layer and unexpected addition: black bell sleeved top)
  • [2min] Pick the pair of shoes that makes the most sense with this outfit. Avoid uncomfortable heels unless you know for sure you won’t regret that impulse decision later in the day. (Admittedly, I failed here; these shoes ended up being a poor choice for walking around the city…)
  • [2min] Accessorize! Pair with one or more of the following: scarf, tights, statement socks, hat, statement necklace. (My key accessory: fishnets)
    • Build up on your accessories; after picking one statement accessory, add on a bunch of simpler ones to add complexity to your look. (Add a hat! Instant outfit polisher)
  • [1min] Jacket: Don’t bother overthinking your outerwear — pick something you know will work well with the weather. With 15 minutes to dress, you want to make sure you’re comfortable.
  • [5min] Makeup: keep it simple. Just do your normal everyday look, but if you want to add a pop, go with lipstick in a fun complementary color.

And in order to allow the above to happen, you need to…

Preparing for the last-minute hustle:

  • Do you have any items that are super hard to wear/make look good, and you have a tendency to forget about this struggle every few months? …So you try them on only to find them unflattering/awkward and remove them? Keep them at the end of your clothing rack so you don’t bother with them during any 15 minute hustles!
  • Have a staple set of layering basics: solid cardigans, blouses, tights, etc.
  • Have go-to pieces of jewelry that are easy to match to, including minimalist rings/chokers/earrings. These types of jewelry take absolutely no effort to throw on to any everyday outfit, but immediately make you look like you put more thought into it.
  • Find your everyday simple makeup look. This is unique to everyone, but for me it’s a lightweight Tarte BB cream (shade: tan), NARS blush, Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, and a fun lipstick to complement my outfit.

Taking these steps and keeping the panic levels down when you find yourself with 15 minutes to get dressed will guarantee you end up out of the house in something that isn’t sweatpants and a “I woke up like this” tee. 🙂

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(Dress and Unicorn Purse from Modcloth, Blouse from H&M, Hat from Saks Off Fifth, Fishnets from Missguided, Heeled sandals from Amazon Prime, Necklace and Rings from Forever21, Lipstick from Beauty Bakerie in shade Raspberry Tiramisu

Photos taken and edited by my talented friend Jane x)

Maximalism, and the Art of Pairwise Matching

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I’m an aspiring maximalist when it comes to fashion.

I realized this when I was getting dressed on the day of this shoot; I had a pair of awesome new embroidered jeans to show off and had to compile the rest of my look around them. I imagined an alternate universe in which I wore a plain white shirt and sneakers and let the jeans speak for themselves.

And then I realized I don’t actually own a plain white shirt.

My closet is filled with patterns; quirky, loud, and sometimes gaudy enough that my mother cringes when I wear them. Some of my favorite patterned pieces, like this top, are from Thailand, a land where, I’m convinced, the absolute strangest patterned fabrics exist (seriously, if you want to find some cheap but incredible statement pieces, go to Southeast Asia).

In the past few years, minimalism has had an upsurge in popularity in fashion, interior design, web design, etc. Aesthetically, I enjoy it tremendously… on other people. For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to properly dress myself in minimalist style; I’ll lay out the skeleton of a possible clean-cut and simple look, but suddenly a technicolor animal print scarf appears and oh, it would look so good with those floral socks, and voila- I’m minimally minimalist.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with dressing like a maximalist. It’s fun, it makes people stop and smile (or occasionally point and laugh), it evokes a reaction (good or bad). On Instagram, my username is @absolutedax, and I’ve never owned up to why: it’s because I wanted to combine my name (Dax) with a mathematical term and chose the maximal point in any function: the absolute max.

Maximalism doesn’t come naturally to everyone, just like minimalism doesn’t come naturally to me.  Here are some tips for achieving a more maximalist look.

  1. You don’t need to wear just one statement piece.
    How many statements do you make, verbally, in a single day? I’d imagine you make several, not just one, so why limit yourself to one statement piece? Don’t make a statement; perform a monologue. Express yourself throughout.
  2. Not everything has to match perfectly with everything else; try pairwise matching for a start.
    I attempt what I call “pairwise matching,” where any one item should match with at least one other item in my outfit. In this look, my lip blouse matches with my lip bracelet, and my studded jeans match with my studded jacket. The blouse doesn’t quite match with the jeans, but I’d like to think it works.
  3. Challenge yourself to approach items in your closet creatively.
    Think through ways to wear a certain dress or shirt unpredictably. Imagine you are 1 out of 100 people who own this very same item; the majority of people will probably wear it in a very similar way. Shirt, meet pants. Dress, meet heels. As an aspiring maximalist, you don’t want to be in the majority. What are things you can do to dress outside of the norm? Try finding interesting accessories or shoes that add to the item in an interesting way. Try adding layers. Try finding patterns that aren’t obvious matches but still have potential.
  4. Don’t fear failure. Unsure of the look? Wear it anyway.
    Life is a very long series of fashion experiments; not all of them are going to be resounding successes. But I’ve learned from experience that the best ones aren’t necessarily the ones I have 100% confidence in. Sometimes (usually because I’m pressed for time after sleeping through my first five alarms) I wear an outfit that I’m not fully certain works, but I trust my instinct. What’s the worst that can happen?

Where do you lie on the minimalist-maximalist spectrum? Let me know in the comments below! I hope my tips inspire someone out there to dress a little louder this week… Wear that monologue, we’re all waiting to hear it!

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(Blouse from Thailand, Jeans from LF Stores, Shoes by Franco Sarto, Leather jacket by French Connection, Lip bracelet from H&M, Lipstick in Mon Cheri by Beauty Bakerie, Sunglasses from ZeroUV

Many thanks to Jane for taking and editing these photos.)

Beach, Please: Why I Love Hawaii

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Roughly two weeks ago, I found myself feeling completely over winter. It was quite timely, then, that I had scheduled within a few days of this feeling an escape to warmer waters.

I’m in Oahu, Hawaii, an island I’ve been to several times already and adore like a second home. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it because of the people, the food, and of course, the beaches. It’s an eleven-hour flight for me, which sounds horrendous, especially to go somewhere within the United States, but to me it’s worth it. Hawaii has a totally different vibe from the mainland United States — much more relaxed, friendly, and filled with that famous aloha spirit.

My top 10 things to do in Oahu are:

  1. Drink: fresh coconut water from road stands on the North Shore
  2. Play: in Lanikai beach, probably one of the prettiest beaches I’ve been to
  3. Visit: Haleiwa town on the North Shore
  4. Eat: at shrimp trucks on the North Shore, especially Dat Cajun Guy & Giovanni’s
  5. Eat: at Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, a beautiful newly renovated collection of Japanese food stalls that immerses you in Japanese culinary culture (chicken katsu curry! okonomiyaki!)
  6. Drive: through Oahu’s scenic highways, including Pali highway, I-H3, Likelike highway
  7. Watch: the gigantic waves at Ehukai beach, famous for the talented surfers that frequent it
  8. Shop: around the island: in Haleiwa town, in Waikiki, at Ala Moana mall
  9. Eat: at Crepes Na Ka’Oi, one of my favorite crepe places in the world
  10. Eat: (TIE) spam musubi at Musubi Cafe Iyasume & coco puffs at Liliha Bakery

What’s your favorite paradise getaway? And what makes it special? I’d love to hear ❤

(Lace dress from American Apparel, Bikini from Topshop, Hat from Ross, Sunglasses from ZeroUV, Phone case by Skinnydip London from Nasty Gal)

Love Your Self (Valentine’s OOTD)

Why do you get dressed in the morning? What makes you pull on your favorite dress, match the tone with the sweep of blush on your cheeks, and put on a chic pair of sunglasses?

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We’ve all dressed to impress someone. The hot barista who whips up a five star latte, the cute coworker in that other department, the bass player in that one cover band, the fellow fashionistas on Instagram.

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There’s nothing wrong with it, per say. But I know that sometimes, that special someone doesn’t take notice, and it’s all too easy to feel like all that effort you put into getting dressed that morning went to waste.

Well I say, it wasn’t a waste at all. It was glorious! Did you see yourself?! How did you feel, walking around in that outfit? Did you feel like a total babe? Did you have an extra pep in your step with each click of your heels? Did you make finger guns at yourself in the mirror?!!

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If you did, you didn’t get dressed for someone else at all, my friend. You got dressed for YOU!

Identify that quality in your outfits that makes you think you’re going to impress someone else, and use it to impress yourself. If an outfit makes you feel cute or sexy, put together more looks just like it so you can feel that way more often. You don’t need to wait for a special occasion or an encounter with your crush to dress your best — everyday is an opportunity to do just that.

So… tomorrow, put on those dancing shoes, wear your favorite lipstick, and remember to LOVE YOUR SELF. And if you don’t have a special someone to share tomorrow with, that means you have a lot of extra love to spare for yourself.

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xx

(Dress was a #StylishSurprise from Modcloth, Turtleneck and Unicorn Purse by Forever21, Silver Harah Sandals by Dune London from DSW, Sheer tights by Victoria’s Secret, Socks and Necklace from NastyGal, Sunglasses by ZeroUV, Earrings from H&M, Haute Flash Lipgloss by Milani)

Selective Memory Loss, or How Each Year I Forget I Hate Winter

You know that feeling you get approximately mid-July, where you yearn for Christmas and winter-time, for rosy cheeks and holiday carols and sweater weather? Each summer, without fail, I find myself deeply nostalgic for the winter-time, and reminiscing about roasted chestnuts and gingerbread chai from winters past.

What I forget, each year, without fail, is that the winter is not synonymous with December and the holidays. No, winter only really emerges after the holidays, when the chestnuts have stopped roasting and gingerbread is a distant memory; the winter sucks the life out of the first part of the new year and you can’t even cry about how cold it is because your tears will freeze on your face!!!!

One of the most difficult parts of the winter for me is getting dressed. As much as I love fashion, I am far too dramatic about the cold to compromise the stability of my own body temperature for fashion. I never understand how some people in the city can comfortably walk around with bare legs when it’s below freezing! The very thought makes me shiver.

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My winter go-tos begin and end with leathers and sweaters. First of all, leather pants are a winter God-send, and if you don’t own a pair of (p)leather pants with a thick lining inside, you haven’t experienced true warmth. Leather pants are so fabulous and fierce, but what no one knows is that they are actually one of the warmest things you can wear in the winter! Denim? Puh-lease!

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Also, sweaters. I am so thankful that sweaters have made a huge comeback this season, along with jewel tones, because few things in the winter look as effortlessly chic as a jewel toned oversize sweater.

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What are your go-to items for staying warm in the winter? I hate to say it, but apparently Punxsutawney Phil has predicted a dire six more weeks of winter so don’t put any of those winter staples away just yet.

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(Sweater by Express, Leather pants by H&M, Cat clutch by H&M, Cat Eye Sunglasses from ZeroUV, Ultra Satin Lip in Hutch by Colourpop)

Chase Away The Winter Greys

Don’t get me wrong: grey is a great color. It’s neutral, but unexpected. It can take on cool and warm tones. It’s a compromise when all you want to do is dress in black and white. Fashion-wise, it’s wonderful.

Yet there are two circumstances in which I hate grey:

  1. When it works its stubborn way into my own hair
  2. When the winter sucks up the sun and the city looks and feels grey

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I have to admit: it’s been several months now that I’ve been posting an #OOTD daily on Instagram, and the process turned a bit grey for me in this past month. I started fashion blogging in an effort to add color to the world around me and inspire others to do the same, but somehow the colors felt muted by the obligation to release something each and every day. On top of that, the stress of keeping engagement on the increase was washing the colors out even further.

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As a part of my annual January reassessment of my life, I realized that I didn’t want fashion blogging to be an obligation. It’s something I started spontaneously to make each day more fun, and I want to rekindle that feeling.

In parallel, the sunless days of early January were bumming me out, so as I got dressed in this outfit, I thought to myself: “Be your own sunshine.” I donned my brightest shirt and faced the day anew. Then I realized, why not apply that mantra to the other greying part of my life (besides my hair): the daily obligation to provide content on Instagram.

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I’ve decided I’m not going to pressure myself to post on Instagram everyday, and man — the feeling that resulted from this revelation is indescribable… Like anyone who says the word indescribable, I will counterintuitively go on to attempt to describe the feeling.

I feel lighter and happier. I feel better equipped to inspire others. Inspiration doesn’t come on a daily schedule (between the hours of 5pm and 11pm for increased engagement). If it seems like I’m taking a step back, I apologize. It’s true that I’m taking a step back, but not to distance myself, but to look at the bigger picture. I want to bring you guys high quality and inspiring content, but at my own pace. I’m not planning on doing this professionally — I love my career too much — and I’m not going to stress about followers or engagement in other ways.

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So where does this leave us, here on the blog? Better and brighter than ever, I hope! I will continue posting on here every couple weeks in my attempt to create inspirational content! If one person out there is inspired, that’s enough for me.

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To YOU, the kind soul who is reading this post: don’t let the winter months erase the colors from your life. Wear the colors, live the colors, and BE the colors! Like I said before, be your own sunshine. How? My first step is wearing bright colors; the feeling of inner brightness just seems to follow.

xo

(Dress by H&M, Blouse by Rock&Republic, Boots by Nine WestEye Lash Sunglasses by ZeroUV, Rouge Cream Lipstick by Sephora in Valentine-discontinued)