Tag Archives: street style

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.)

Let’s Talk About Sequins

If I had my say, I’d put sequins on everything.

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Sequin blazer from Fox And Fawn (thrifted), Glasses from ZeroUV

Yes, I’m well aware that “all that glitters is not gold,” and that sequins, despite their pure, light-reflecting, innocent and unassuming disk-shaped nature, are often referred to as “tacky” or “gaudy”… but NEWS FLASH (of sequins), people: shiny things are attention-grabbing whether they are twenty thousand dollar diamonds or .005 cent rhinestones.

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Jeans by JBrand, Necklace from NastyGal

I have the attention span of a seven month old Golden retriever puppy, so I’ll be the first to say that I’m distracted by shiny things. Today, I’ve been glancing down at my own blazer in childish glee every forty seconds, because every time I move, the light hits it *just so*.

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Lipstick by NYX

And as if the blazer wasn’t enough, I took today as an opportunity to add on every shiny thing I own.

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Unicorn bag from ModCloth (sold out but available here), Shoes by French Connection ON SALE at Saks Off 5th

… including these incredibly stylish French Connection mules that are, by some miracle, on SALE over at Saks Off Fifth (get it, gurls!), and my honest-to-god, glittery, might-as-well-be-puking-rainbows UNICORN bag.

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More Unicorns, please!

As I like to say, “Be your own unicorn.” You don’t have to be a mythical creature, but the fact that you exist is a miracle in its own right. You are unicorn levels of special! And you don’t even need to drape yourself in shiny things… but they certainly don’t hurt.

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Now go out there and (be)DAZZLE!

 

Black on Black on Black (Halloween costume)

It’s likely your first impressions of me based on this blog are that I’m a Halloween fanatic, and… you’re absolutely right! In this post, I’d like to show you my attempt at the morbid magnificence of Wednesday Addams.

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Dress by Lucca Couture, a steal at $20 from Crossroads Trading, SF!
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Shoes by French Connection from Saks Off Fifth, ON SALE for $90

Truthfully, my personality is the polar opposite of Wednesday’s; I am the type of overtly chipper, naive bringer of optimism that people like Wednesday would incinerate with a single glare.

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An attempt to recreate said glare while showing off these awesome cuffs

However, in the process of wearing Wednesday’s staple uniform (and her deadly gaze in hopes that no one would confuse me with a Pilgrim), I found myself adopting her personality in some ways.

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Wednesday’s don’t smile; they smirk.

No, I wasn’t overcome with homicidal rage or deadly cynicism, but I found myself feeling a certain resilience and strength in character. I wore this to work on a Friday to an office of 60+ employees, all of whom were not in costume, and I felt perfectly comfortable in my skin.

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Purse by Nine West, Knee socks from Nasty Gal

In that respect, perhaps I’m learning to become a little bit like Wednesday Addams after all…

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Liquid lipstick by Beauty Bakerie, Brows by Benefit Cosmetics, Eyeshadow by Clinique

… Minus the murderous tendencies.

Halloween Week OOTD Round-Up

Halloweek is one of my favorite times of the year.

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Bag by Nine West, Skirt by H&M, Boots from Macy’s, Glasses from ZeroUV
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Shirt by ModCloth, Necklace by Forever21

I call it “Halloweek” because it is impossible for me to compress all of my energy and enthusiasm for the holiday into just one day. Every year, I spend the whole week preceding Halloween dressed up in morbidly fun outfits, because…why not?

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Shirt by Black Heart Lingerie, Dress by H&M, Hat from Sak’s Off Fifth, Boots by Necessary Clothing
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Chokers by Guess, Glasses from Ricky’s NYC

I see Halloween as a very empowering holiday. Some use it as an excuse to be someone other than themselves, but I use it as an excuse to be the most outrageous, unconventional, and eccentric version of myself possible.

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Shirt by TopShop, Skirt from a London boutique in Seven Dials, Shoes by French Connection, Glasses by ZeroUV
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Coat by BBDakota, Earrings from ModCloth

I have several pieces in my closet that are just plain weird. As much of my fashionista lifestyle involves adapting these pieces into some modicum of professional wear for my 10-to-6 job, I find that the really spectacularly odd pieces are forced to hide in the back of my closet, waiting to emerge.

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Skirt and Top by H&M, Boots by Nine West, Glasses by ZeroUV
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Hat from Saks Off Fifth

And boy, do I love to bring them out for Halloweek…