Category Archives: Photoshoot

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.)

Black And White Thinking

The world is not black and white, certainly… but half of my closet is.

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All photos are by the incredible Angie @ AngelitasPhotos. Leather jacket by French Connection (on sale, UK only. Potentially also here, have never ordered from this site). Leather pants by H&M

Dressing in black and white, just like thinking in black and white, is easy. But that said, dressing in black and white is also super chic and fabulous, whereas thinking in black and white can fall hugely short of capturing reality.

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Hat by Kathy Jeanne Saks Off Fifth (on sale). Top from Debenham’s (similar here and here)

Add some color, on both fronts. Wearing black and white? Use your face to add in some color: vivid lipstick, louder blush. Taking photos in a black and white outfit? Find a beautifully vibrant background to enhance the contrasts in your clothing.

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Face: BB Cream in Tan by Tarte Cosmetics, Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal by Becca Cosmetics, Blush in Seduction by NARS Cosmetics, Lip Whip in Raspberry Tiramisu by Beauty Bakerie Cosmetics, Brow Zings by Benefit Cosmetics, Eyeshadow palette in Morning Java by Clinique

If you’re thinking in black and white, do the same thing, but figuratively. Imagine how someone else might be thinking in grey, or in technicolor, and try to step into their shoes. The world is never so simple as to fit into just black and white. We live in a wonderfully complex society, filled with wonderfully complex people.

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Hair: Blowout in style Cosmo-Tai by the Drybar

Some of these wonderfully complex people will likely be at your Thanksgiving table tomorrow. And as wonderfully complex people tend to enjoy talking to other wonderfully complex people, discussions may arise around recent events that have encouraged a comeback in black and white thinking.

So let the color in. Paint with those colors. Speak with those colors. Live and breathe those colors. Encourage and inspire others to do the same.

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But don’t stop dressing in black and white. Because…hello, fabulous.

Have a happy Thanksgiving. ❤

All photos by Angelitas Photos. I HIGHLY recommend her for anyone looking for a tri-state area photographer. She’s super talented and such a joy to work with. Check out her portfolio or @portraitsbyangelita on Instagram.

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