Friday, August 31, 2012

August Lights

Wow. How is it already time for summer's end? I can't believe how this year has flown by. To say it was a like a flash before my eyes is an understatement. I suppose this means we need to start implementing fall colors into the wardrobe. Not a problem for me, even if I initially thought my hair might clash!

The Bay Area is funny. We're still having warm days [70-80 degrees], yet evening can be chilly, even in August. We were walking home recently from dinner and enjoying a beautiful sunset. I really needed my jacket [and wished for tights], even though I'd been really warm in the long-sleeved dress most of the day. I think the nude studded flats give me enough of a summer-early fall vibe so it's not straight out autumnal.

I also got some new glasses! I'd not updated my specs since 2006, I think. I love these frames from Coastal, they were so cute yet afforable! Makes me want to wear glasses more, and contacts less.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend, I know I will.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travel Style: Alaska Edition

Every time I think I have a moment to update with a new entry, I'm heading off to another class. My life as a TIGI colour educator has been full, to say the least. Not that I'm complaining! Last month I had the opportunity to fly to Anchorage, Alaska for two days of colour classes. Because it's 4.5 hours from San Francisco, I had a day on either side of the work days for travel. Let me tell you how lucky I feel to have gone on this trip! The whole city is gorgeous, the massive mountains just looming all around. The week was overcast so the 20 hours of sunlight per day were turned into eery I-can't-ever-tell-what-time-of-day-it-is days. Setting a mood, to say the least. I tried out local coffees, ate at the best rated diners for breakfast, I went to the movies, I even caught a show! The Silversun Pickups were playing at Moose's Tooth, a spot with amazing pizza, and tons of their own microbrewed beer. So awesome.

One morning I set off on a coastal drive, just minutes from downtown Anchorage. I stopped on the side of the road to capture these, I hope you enjoy. [click to enlarge if you so desire]

Jaguar print chiffon dress: H & M
Black faux leather jacket: Topshop
Black studded loafers: Topshop
Heart sunglasses: Target

Friday, June 8, 2012

Style on a Dime

I'm a firm believer that personal style is about how you put things together, not about your bank account. Sure, we'd all love to have designers send us things, or shop without considering price whenever we want. But most of us don't have that luxury of well, luxury. I am always trying to look my best without falling into credit card debt, and most people who admire an outfit I'm wearing don't know I shop with low price in mind. I'm doing what I can to be fashionable [and professional] and still keep the thought of saving for my family's future front and center. This outfit is pretty indicative of that thought process. Some of these items are long-standing favorites, some are newer. The entire outfit cost me $113. Yep, only $113. Care to see?

 It was chilly in the morning, so I needed to layer up. 
Infinity scarf: American Apparel, $28
Black cardigan: Target, $20
 Multi-colored racerback dress: Target, $28
Green skinny belt: Target, $13
Platform faux patent leather ankle strap shoes: a tiny store in Soho, $24
Pink bubble necklace: on permanent loan from my sister, $0
Sterling silver cuff bracelet: Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co, 
gift from a boyfriend 11 years ago, $0
Leopard Timex digital watch: gift from my husband, $0

I didn't set out for this to be a Target-heavy look, but somehow that's how it all came together. The black cardigan I wear constantly, it bunches up perfectly in my bag when I'm flying a lot and need an extra layer. The circle scarf from American Apparel is the second one I've owned, and it's basically a giant tube of fabric. You can double it up for a warmer feel, or singly for a draped look. It doubles as a hood in the rain, too! Another travel staple, I can pull it up over my head when I want to block out annoying fellow airplane passengers. The rest of the look is something I think I can wear easily all through summer and into fall. I'll wear it with a blazer for cooler days, and add some fun tights and booties to warm it up. But for now I'll be enjoying this as is while we have sunshine.

You may think it's "cheating" to say my outfit only cost $113 when I have so many accessories that were free-to-me in the look. But don't we all have those long-forgotten necklaces/earrings/belts that suddenly feel fresh again once we dig them out? These are the items that pull an outfit together, and whenever I travel I bring a bag of belts and jewelry to change up my look on a moment's notice. I hope this serves as some inspiration, and please forgive my silly blogger poses.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sleek + Volume + Volume

Volume is something I adore. A nice puffed sleeve, a bubble skirt, harem pants, you name it, I've worn it. Volume in my hair is something I've been exploring more often since my recent haircut. Today I decided to show you a bit of smoothed out anti-volume with the hair, and double volume with the outfit. Attention to proportion is vital for the success of any look. Too much volume could be disastrous, and too little leaves you with maybe the look of excess form fitting garments, making your not-so-perfect areas up for inspection. The sleek hair was the easy part: blowdry with a paddle brush, then flat iron for that perfect glassy finish. The full cut blouse with the puffy shoulders and tons of fabric was actually a bit more tricky. Tucking in all that fabric and keeping it smooth was a piece of work! The bubble-esque skirt was the topper. I feel gigantic every time I wear it, but somehow it works. Plus pockets in a skirt = instant fave. I think this works because I didn't try too hard. On a usual day I'd pair a voluminous top with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt, or a full, ankle-grazing skirt with a fitted tank top. I think this look proves that sometimes you need to break the rules.

The blouse I bought at Jeremys in San Francisco, the skirt is from H&M, the necklace was a gift from my dad's girlfriend, and the gold faux-snakeskin flats were a hand-me-down from my mom I snagged last week. This was a look for me that shows my professional side. Yes, even pink haired, tattooed ladies can get all gussied up! I wore this all day while teaching in salons for TIGI, hence the flats since I was on my feet. I Hope this inspires your own experimentations with volume and proportion!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bask in the Sun While You've Got It

I love sunny weather. It's like a new Nicole comes out to play after so many dreary days. Time to bust out the sleeveless tops and summer sandals.

Fishtail top: Topshop
Purple tank + grey jeggings + blue-grey sandals: Target
Neon yellow belt: Gap
Sunglasses: street vendor, NYC

Friday, April 27, 2012

Something Old, Something New

Remember when I said I was ready for new things for spring? I wasn't kidding. I was in New York recently for a class at the TIGI Advanced Academy and was able to get both my colour reworked [thanks again to Berry Bachen at MAINENTRANCE], and my hair totally cut off by Heath Grout at the Academy. I can't tell you how excited I am to totally change up my look. I know, I know... the long hair was pretty. But I can't stay any one way for too long before I get bored. Today I wore it with extra extra volume and curl, but I've also been enjoying it super straight and wig-like. Trust me when I say this, strong shapes and short cuts are HUGE for spring and summer. I'm wearing an old favorite reworked shirt, an old Sugarcubes concert tee that I modified to make more fitted. I'm wearing a few of my other favorite things, like the jade ring I bought 16 years ago and my white denim miniskirt I refuse to give up even though I just turned 38. [Warning: this freckled skin of mine doesn't get much sun. Skin cancer sucks, so there you go, lily white legs.]

shirt: Buffalo Exchange
white denim skirt: H&M
studded [faux] leather slipper flats: Topshop
sunglasses: street vendor, NYC

I hope you guys love my new hair as much as I do, and it can incite some change in your look. This feels very much inspired by my trip to New York [new Topshop flats are similar to TONS of shoes I saw while shopping there, and my new sunglasses were a street vendor purchase for $5, they feel very summer 2012], while still feeling like 'me'. Same favorite accessories, beloved tee, this is what style is all about, yes? Don't let the trends wear you, you wear them! Incorporate something new into your springtime look, and don't forget to update your hair while you're at it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bang Bang

Since my last post was about a new fringe, I thought I'd delve into that topic. Not everyone calls it a "fringe" here in the US, but most call it "bangs". If you're a client of mine, of course you know it's actually called fringe! For those of you who wondered where "bangs" came from:
"Bangs," the hair style, does indeed come from the same roots as "bang," the sound of a gun, a slamming door, or countless other abrupt noises. The word "bang" first appeared in written English in the 16th century, but is thought to have been known in the dialects of Northern England long before that date. "Bang" comes from an Old Norse word "banga" meaning "to hammer," and is a linguistic relic of the Viking invasions of England beginning in the eighth century. "Bang" at first meant "to strike violently," but gradually the word came to be used for any sudden or violent movement, especially one which caused a loud noise. One of the earliest written examples of this expanded sense of "bang" refers to slamming a door, an apparently universal human action which may yet prove to be as great an instrument of self- expression as the typewriter. Aside from doors, nearly anything could go "bang," from guns to pianos, and "bang" also came to mean fight or beat up. 

"Bang" continued to evolve, and by the 19th century was used to convey suddenness or finality, which brings us at last from Old Norse hammers to modern haircuts. "Bangs" are so-called because they are created by cutting the hair "bang- off," abruptly and straight across the forehead. And finally, at the risk of offending our bang-coiffed readers, I must tell you that "bangs" as a young lady's hairstyle almost certainly originated with the practice of cutting horses' tails straight across, a style known to this day as a "bang-tail."
 I wanted to offer up a few inspirational images of fringes that are hot for this year. There's really one for every person out there.

See what I mean? Every face shape can do it, every length of hair. The key element is finding what works with your hair texture, thickness, cowlicks, and of course lifestyle. Even the busiest of us out there can still take two minutes in the morning to blowdry their fringe in to place, so I don't want any excuses! 

Thus concludes your visual food for thought for the week, I hope you enjoy and take inspiration!