Friday, June 3, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday: Vacation, all I ever wanted...

Now that summer is in full swing here… and vacations are coming up, let’s talk about what you’re packing to take on vacation.

The Friend Friday group by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and join a friendly community of bloggers.  Join the fun by checking out the  Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group. And don't forget to check out Modly Chic - it's such a great blog.

1.      When it comes to packing for vacation what’s your mantra?

If it fits, bring it. I am a chronic overpacker. I usually end up begging my husband to sit on our suitcase so I can zip it closed. I always curse myself when I arrive at my vacation destination, because not only do I end up not wearing 70% of what I pack, but I bring so
much that there's often no room in my suitcase to buy new things while I'm away.

Yesterday I bought a gorgeous vintage 1950's Samsonite suitcase at an estate sale, and I'm hoping its small proportions help restrain me when packing for a trip.

2.      What are your must packs?

Technically, my must packs are things I know I won't be able to buy at my vacation destination. That included any medication, special books, and my jewelry. As far as clothing goes, for spring and summer I make sure to pack dresses, a pair of cutoff shorts, a few tee shirts, a pair of jeans, a cardigan, and one or two "nice" outfits for evenings out. Throw in three pairs of flat and platforms sandals and I'm off.

3.      What are you happy to leave behind?

Honestly, I'm happy to leave my workout gear at home. Running is a big part of my life, but I strongly believe that unless you're a Kenyan long-distance runner training for a marathon there is not need to pack your sneakers, sports bras and tanks. They take up too much valuable suitcase space, and you're probably going to doing a lot of walking while engaged in touristy things anyway.

4.      Any packing secrets that help you get everything into one suitcase?

When packing, I make sure to pack my heaviest, most bulky garments (such as jeans and sweaters) on the bottom of my suitcase, and layer from there. Rolling shirts prevents wrinkles and saves space, as does laying skirts flat. If I'm packing dresses I turn them inside out - this prevents their zippers from getting caught on anything else in my suitcase. Cosmetics and hair care products always go in Zip-Loc bags in case something spills.

5.      Beach reading… what are you taking with you to read in the sand?

I just finished 22 Britannia Road and thought it would make the perfect beach read. The last time I went to NYC I brought Anthropology of an American Girl along with me, which I can best describe as a blend between Catcher in the Rye and Portrait of a Lady. Both of these books are intense and lengthy, which is exactly what I'm looking for in a book while on vacation.

(Don't miss my giveaway for a TIKKR watch and extra band - so great for summer!)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thrifting 101, Part 19: Dating vintage clothes by era - the 1990's

Four weeks ago in Thrifting 101, I began exploring the history of fashion from the 1920's to the 1950's  in order to help you determine the age of a garment while thrifting. Three week ago, we focused on the 1960's; a week after that, we delved into the 1970's, and last week we examined the 1980's. This week I'll follow the fashion timeline through the 1990's. Understanding more about the history of modern dressing is a great way to figure out when a garment was made.

Missed any previous parts of the series? Up to this point, Thrifting 101 has focused on tips for newbies and those dealing with the squick factor, advice regarding how to shop at a thrift store, thrifting for the clothing snob, recommendations for finding the best thrift and consignment stores, tips for determining what days are the best for thrifting, a post where I explained my love for thrifting, advice regarding thrift store etiquette, tips for cleaning vintage leather, a post of my favorite thrifting and vintage blogs, tips for identifying and cleaning thrifted jewelry, advice for storing vintage and thrifted garments, and tips for shopping for vintage online.

The 1990's

90's style and fashion was heavily influenced by TV, Hollywood and the music industry. Fashion fads of the 1990's took us from looks inspired by Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, to the Grunge style of Nirvana and My So-Called Life. While the 1980's represented a time of exuberant and outrageous fashions in a neon rainbow of colors, the '90s brought a more somber Grunge-inspired note and proceeded forward with flatter hair and a more subdued palette.

Early 1990's

The early 1990s saw a continuation of 1980s fashion. Women wore tight-fitting stirrup or drainpipe pants with elastic straps, oversized denim shirts, neon colors, straight-leg, high waisted jeans, baggy sweaters in bold colors and patterns, and black leather jackets. Colored tights remained popular, often paired with denim skirts, ankle boots, and short dresses.

Early 1990's Chanel ad

The first new nineties silhouette was the 1991-2 fingertip-length longer line jacket that moved down an inch for every year of the era. It was worn with an above knee skirt or flirtatious circular layered or snappy pleated skirt. Ra-Ra skirts, composed of short frills or net set on a mini skirt were popular in the early 90's.

A short, sleeveless, boat neck shift dress that initially showed about 8 inches of the lower dress under the jacket was seen as a useful business outfit. This last look remained an acceptable fashion for the decade, one which could be dressed up or down.

Also emerging in the early 1990's was the Empire-waisted babydoll dress, in bold floral prints, plaids, and polka dots. These dresses were often accented with lace trim, oversized collars, embroidery, and contrasting stitching, and became easily translated into maternity and plus-size styles. Leggings were occasionally worn under babydoll dresses or on their own with oversized sweatshirts and tees.

A vintage babydoll dress

Casualwear became much more important in the nineties, as a more youthful generation became increasingly influential in popular culture. Structured shapes of the eighties gave way to soft draping and loose-fitting silhouettes. By the edge of the 21st century dressing down in every aspect of life became an acceptable norm. Ordinary retail clothing sales, textile manufacturing industries and stores all declined from a less active more casual marketplace.

As a result of the nod towards casualwear, denim saw a brief reemergence in popularity. Jeans and denim jackets were available in coordinating colors, typically in pastel and dark shades rather than the bleached acid wash of the 1980s. Women began to pay closer attention to brand, often favoring designer labels over fit. Calvin Klein, Guess, and JNCO developed baggier silhouettes with large back pockets. Though women increasingly turned to cargo pants, leggings and chinos, jeans were still utilized in casual looks.


A still from the film Clueless, 1995

The preppy looks of the 1980's continued into the nineties, though through bolder colors and more form-fitting silhouettes. Replacing the penny loafer of the 1980's were white Keds canvas sneakers, often paired with white slouchy socks tucked over chinos or straight leg jeans. It was not unusual to see multi-generations of women wearing similar footwear. Abbreviated tartan skirts in bold colors, polo shirts, Bermuda shorts (often in tartans and flannel) and logo sweatshirts by brands such as Tommy Hilfinger and Ralph Lauren were popular components of the preppy look, along with rugby and oxford shirts, cardigans, chinos, v-neck and argyle sweaters, and knee socks.


The punk trends of the seventies and eighties continued into the nineties through the emergence of the Goth movement. Citing origins from the Victorian era, Goth fashions were focused around black clothing, accessories, and cosmetics. Black velvets and lace, empire dresses, corsets, fishnet stockings, leather garments, ruffled long skirts, and thigh-high boots were signature elements of goth dressing. Brightly dyed hair, an element of early punk fashion, was incorporated as well. Lingerie elements, including corsetry, hook-and-eye closures, and exposed garters were included in many Goth fashions.


Marc Jacobs Grunge collection shown for Vogue, 1992

The developing music scene that emerging from Seattle in the early nineties gave way to the Grunge movement. Strongly anti-commerce, anti-establishment, anti-fame and anti-celebrity, Grunge artists such as Nirvana, Pearl Jame, Courtney Love and Soundgarden embraced a simple, straightforward look completely absent of logos and any trace of corporate brands. Grunge fashion was generally unkempt and disheveled, and communicated a message of shabby poverty through the use of ripped jeans, flannel, thrifted and vintage clothing. Hooded sweatshirts, workboots, babydoll dresses worn with ripped tights, wool cardigans, and combat boots were embraced by college students. Dark colors were utilized in fabrics, including maroon, brown, deep indigo, and spruce green. Hair was often uncombed and shaggy; dark visible roots were preferable on women, as was long hair on men.

Ironically, the fashion industry marketed "grunge fashion" to consumers, charging premium prices for items such as knit ski hats. Designers such as Marc Jacobs and even Chanel incorporated an element of Grunge fashion into their collections, whether through the use of plaid, flannel or distressed finishes. Critics asserted that advertising was co-opting elements of grunge and turning it into a fad. Entertainment Weekly commented in a 1993 article, "There hasn't been this kind of exploitation of a subculture since the media discovered hippies in the '60s." The New York Times compared the "grunging of America" to the mass-marketing of punk rock, disco, and hip hop in previous years.



Chanel 1991 runway, showing a strong hip-hop influence

 In the early 1990s, pop rappers such as The Fresh Prince, Salt and Pepper, Kid 'n Play, and Left Eye of TLC popularized baseball caps and bright, often neon-colored, clothing. Hip-hop stars wore clothing items such as brightly colored name-brand tracksuits, sheepskin and leather bomber jackets, throwback pullover baseball jerseys, graphic-print t-shirts and neon-colored sneakers. Oversized bomber jackets, bold gold jewelery, baggy carpenter jeans and overalls were popular among young men as casual wear. For women, TLC popularized oversized pants paired with a tight shirt and  a sports bra underneath. Door knocker earrings, flashy chains, and gold belt buckles were also embraced by female hip-hop stars.

The sagging trend became a popular element of hip-hop culture beginning in the early 1990's. According to Wikipedia, Lee D. Baker, Dean of Academic Affairs at Duke University, states that it is widely believed sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are prohibited. Belts are sometimes prohibited to avoid suicide by hanging oneself, or to avoid being used as a weapon in fights.The style was later popularized by hip-hop artists and trickled down into mainstream black culture.


Calvin Klein spring/summer 1995

In the late 1990's fashion began to move towards silhouettes with influence in minimalism. Designers such as Calvin Klein and Prada created clothes with no embellishment in a dramatically stark, dramatic palette of colors. Basic black, gray, and white pieces in the form of slim cigarette pants, v-neck sweaters and tee shirts, silk slip dresses,  a-line skirts and shift dresses were worn. American designers such as Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors showed sleek, elegant clothes, typically paired with no jewelry, extremely natural looking makeup, and sleek hair parted in the middle.

A group of designers known as the Antwerp Five came to prominence in the late 1990's, and further developed the minimalism trend. Three influential members of the group were Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, and Walter Van Beirendocnck. Fluid, streamlined designs in exquisitely tailored pieces managed to be both classical and original. Utilitarian touches such as buckles, grommets and exposed zippers defined the modern, austere aesthetic.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Giveaway - Win a TIKKR watch and extra band!

One of the highlights of attending the Texas Style Council Conference back in March was the amazing TIKKR watch given to all attendees. I absolutely love mine, and wanted to share my love with you!

The winner of this giveaway will receive a TIKKR watch with both a white and a pink band!

To enter, simply do the following:
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect;
  • and leave a comment at the end of this post with your email address! Comments left without a valid email will not be counted as entries.
  • For an *extra* entry, follow me on Twitter @dresscourage and tweet the following about the giveaway: I just entered the TIKKR watch giveaway from @dresscourage! 
Good luck! The winner will be chosen on June 25th!

About Me - Part 2

Nah kalo sebelumnya gue udah pernah ceritain hal2 yang gue SUKA, kali ini gue maw share 15 hal yang gue GAK SUKA :
  1. Gak suka seofood apalagi Cumi-cumi. Paling anti bgt ma si jelek menjijikan cumi hehe. Gue bisa makan ikan taapi yang tertentu aja. Klo jenis seafood yg lain gue jijik bgt. Kayak bau amis gitu deh...
  2. Jijik liat kawat gigi, geli bawaannya
  3. Takut liat orang "alis botak"
  4. Jarum Suntik
  5. Bau Rumah Sakit
  6. Liat darah bisa bikin mules
  7. Gak suka lagu melayu dan dangdut
  8. Cicak dan semua binatang melata
  9. Bau asap rokok
  10. Stresor gue yaitu klo KEPANASAN
  11. Gak suka kalo macet, bisa bikin BETE
  12. Paling gak suka dipaksa melakukan hal yg gak gue suka
  13. 'Gerah' liat orang mubafik dan sok manja
  14. Pusing klo berada disuatu tempat yg penuh sesak ma orang2
  15. Anti ma baunya minyak tawon
xoxo, Jazz

Outfit post: Inspiration or copycat?

The other day I stood in front of closet, index finger tapping my forehead impatiently, and could not come up with something to wear. It was a stiflingly hot day and I longed for an outfit that was cool and comfortable. I also had some rather Picasso-like abstract tan lines around my shoulders I needed to conceal. I wasn't feeling especially confident about my body, and didn't want to reveal too much skin. Furthermore, my family and I were going out to dinner, and my clothes needed to be appropriate for public viewing. So I did what has become habitual when I'm struggling for style inspiration: I turned on my laptop, cruised a few blogs that I follow, and duplicated an outfit right down to the style of shoes and amount of jewelry.

Initially, I felt fantastic - stylish and attractive. Even - dare I say it? - hot. But as the day wore on I became increasingly uncomfortable. I couldn't keep my shirt tied at the waist like my favorite blogger did. I became self-conscious of the amount of jewelry I had piled on. My skirt felt too short, heels too high, and top itchy and tight. And, worst of all, I felt as if I had betrayed my own sense of personal style. As soon as I got home I ripped the entire outfit off, sat on the corner of my bed, and tried to figure out what went wrong. I had long admired the blogger whose outfit I had duplicated. We had similar senses of personal style and common pieces in our wardrobes. Her outfit photos showed a confident, stylish woman, one many would want to emulate just as I had. So why did I feel so uncomfortable and traitorous? And then a scary thought hit me. Was I a copycat?

So many of us turn to magazines, blogs, and even catalogs (wave to the whimsically layered J Crew outfits) for style advice and instruction. In the aftermath of my style fail, I was left wondering about the difference between being a copycat, and being inspired by a certain look. We all take inspiration from the things we see around us, but at what point does inspiration become copying?

The Free Dictionary defines a copycat as this:

One that closely imitates or mimics another.
To act as an imitator or mimic.
To imitate closely; mimic.
Closely imitating or following another: a copycat version of a successful product; a copycat crime.

We are all living in what Lawrence Lessig calls "remix culture." It is a time when there is literally nothing new under the sun. You're very seldom going to get an opportunity to do something that does not build on some cultural, artistic, or technical precedent. Copying is what you're going to be accused of it you produce a design that differentiates only in small or superficial details from someone's work. I personally define copying as creating something absolutely identical to what already exists.

Here’s the problem with copying: Copying skips understanding. You have to be able to understand something in order to personally relate to it. When you copy it, you miss that. You simply recycle an idea which someone else generated, based on their own personal life experience. You have no real connection to it, and will always be removed. For this reason, the copy typically lacks depth and detail. It’s usually pretty close, but there’s something not right about it. Which explains why I felt so uncomfortable in my duplicated look.

Inspiration is when you see possibilities no one has seen before. Inspiration comes when we translate a certain concept into something unique and individual. Developing a style further through the use of different accessories, colors, material, and even proportions immediately makes it personal. When you're inspired by a certain design, look or object, your creativity rises. You have energy to put your own twist on it, and make it your own.

At this point in fashion, so little is truly new or original. In order to be unique, you need to exercise your creative muscles and test the boundaries. This might mean branching out from your usual style and trying new looks. While I forgive myself for being a copycat, that doesn't mean I am forbidden from being inspired by other bloggers.  I simply need to have the courage to blend their style with my own perspective, in order to create my own look.

How do you define the difference between inspiration and copycatting? How strong an influence do other fashion bloggers, magazines and catalogs have on your own style? Do you ever feel like a copycat? 

Vintage thrifted white shirt; vintage thrifted denim skirt; vintage thrifted petticoat; Old Navy espadrilles; eBay bracelet

This outfit made me so, so happy. It feels like me. And the petticoat made twirling a requirement.