For Those with a Flair for Drama: a spring to summer look book

With Nationals, graduation, and one research paper too many, it seems that spring has breezed right past me. Although the season is almost over, my love for pastels is eternal. So is my affinity for boots, coats, and all things that are wrong for summer. As a good ol’ challenge, I wanted to incorporate long coats, boots, and layers into these three sustainable, spring to summer looks. I mean, what’s not fun about breaking a few rules? For my fellow fashion enthusiasts in a harsher climate, I’m also sharing a few styling tricks with each look below on how to stay fierce without overheating. Here we go!

(alt) Rule #1: A good coat dress is a one-stop statement look that needs absolutely nothing else. A breezy pants-less silhouette means that you can make that statement without sweating up a storm.

Photos by Jacqueline Holben

Photos by Jacqueline Holben

I styled this look with nude fishnets and a pair of funky heels from Neous (courtesy of a friend). Nude fishnets add a pop of texture without the heaviness. I also highly support closet swaps or a look through friends’ closets to find that fresh pair of perfect shoes to complete your look before looking online or in stores.

If you ever heard the phrase “suffer for fashion”, this coat dress is absolutely the piece that makes it worth breaking a little bit of sweat. Vintage-found and reconstructed by the mastermind behind Ultra-Cat, this coat is a whimsical dream with a hue that speaks of summer. Unfortunately, the one-of-a-kind brand of Ultra-Cat means that this coat is…well, one-of-its-kind. But the lesson here is to buy consciously. Look for and invest in those special pieces, the ones that you can see yourself passing down to a daughter, son, or someone close that will love it just as much as you do.

(alt) Rule #2: Keep colors light if you dare to layer. 

Photos by Jacqueline Holben

Photos by Jacqueline Holben

Who says long coats are only meant for winter? For that unbelievable coat you feel must be worn year-round, keep cool in a pair of white jeans and comfy, white chunky heels. Go tonal by finishing with a sea-foam blue top, or any other color on the same spectrum.

This second coat is an example of what I mentioned above. Another Ultra-Cat piece, this coat is one that I pictured wearing year after year; one that will eventually be the most meaningful gift decades later to a daughter, niece, son (if he’s into it!), or a future protégé (who knows haha). This 1970’s vintage coat is real leather and made in the U.S. For those who love both the dramatic look of leather and fur AND ethical fashion, look to vintage and second-hand to minimize further harm.

(alt) Rule #3: Bring out the crop tops, bralettes, and off-the-shoulder tops because they are the perfect new pairings for your favorite jumpsuits. These pieces keep you breezy while balancing out the layers.

Photos by Jacqueline Holben

Photos by Jacqueline Holben

My lilac number is from “local to the bay” brand, Consttant. For a quirky, fun look, I paired the perfect spring overalls with a collared, cropped dress shirt from Behno, another ethical brand. I’ve been loving kitten heels so I finished with a pair of funky, low-heeled boots and just one earring from eco-conscious jewelry brand: Machete. (The boots are actually still available on ultra-cat.com!) For the warmer seasons, go with a lighter color palette for animal prints. They add the perfect touch of drama without disrupting your light spring/summer look.

With that said, I dare you all to look into your closets, pull out a few out-of-season pieces, and turn them into year-round outfits. After all, the key for a limitless closet isn’t buying a new wardrobe every season. The ultimate trick is having a creative mind, staple pieces, and a handful of broken rules.

Comment below with your thoughts on these looks and any ideas you have for taking winter pieces into summer!

Stay fierce,

Viv

Look 1: Ultra-cat coat dress, nude fishnets (30-wear), Neous heels (borrowed)

Look 2: Ultra-cat coat, American Apparel top, Zara mom jeans (30-wear), Zara heels (borrowed)

Look 3: Consttant overalls, Behno top, Machete tortoise shell acetate hoops, Ultra-cat boots

The Art of Layering: a California native’s guide to surviving the Spanish winter

As someone who spent most of my life in the most temperate of climates, finding a strategically survivable place for winter travel is a serious task. Imagine my joy when the place at the top of my travel lists: Barcelona, Spain boasted temperatures in the mid-50’s, just a bit lower than good ol’ San Francisco. With that said, the windy seaside air and my wimpy self still forced me to stack up on the layers and to get creative while I’m at it. So, for the strong souls who are bracing tougher weather out there, I’ve compiled three of my looks while I was in Spain that utilizes the crucial art of layering to keep me warm without sacrificing style.

Up first is a grey scale street wear look that gives a nod to the mesmerizing medieval architecture within the city itself.

This look is all about mixing silhouettes and textures. I started with my trusty grey turtleneck, and then layered on a classic, black V-neck tee to create my own interesting neckline. Tying all of it together and giving me a great fitted waist is my knitted corset from Reformation. I love the additional texture and play of lines this little piece creates to elevate the whole look. And who am I kidding, every extra layer helps when you’re cold! Finishing off, I layered on my favorite lightweight puffer-inspired coat, one of my mom’s old duds, and added faux leather pants and black boots.

  1. Turtleneck, t-shirt, and pants: Fast fashion pieces from before my lifestyle change, all of which are now staples in my closet.
  2. Jacket and boots: my mom’s from when she was young(er).
  3. Corset: Reformation, an ethical brand focused on creating ethical, transparent, and environmentally sustainable fashion.

Next up, is it even Winter in 2018 if there is no puffer coat involved? Stand out from the trend by playing with interesting lengths and silhouettes with your layers.

Contrast is the name of the game for this look. A floral midi skirt (thrifted) and a retro, ribbed turtleneck (c/o Grandma) balance out the modern, cyber-esque look of the puffer coat. The unique length and flow of the skirt also create interest. Finish with classic black boots and you’re set! *Pro tip for keeping cozy: add a pair of leggings under your skirt, pulled up to mid calf. (Trust me, no one will know.)

  1. Floral midi skirt: thrifted from Wasteland in San Francisco
  2. Turtleneck and puffer coat: oldies from Grandma

The third and final look is made for navigating the streets in style and comfort.

With this look, we’re mixing the highs and lows of streetwear. Staying cozy with my very first layer, I’m wearing my Everlane wool mockneck top. After throwing on a crisp white pair of trousers for making the red pop, I’m finishing with some high socks and the comfiest of sneakers from Allbirds. (The value of a comfy yet chic sneaker is indispensible when you are walking and exploring for seven hours straight.) For the star of the show, we have the outer layer: a vintage Yves Saint Laurent wool blazer I snagged from a local thrift store in Barcelona. (The city has a many second-hand and vintage stores in El Raval and the Gothic Quarter so if that’s your thing, be sure to check those out if you’re ever in the area!) Finish with the warmest knitted hobo gloves and we. are. set.

  1. Blazer: YSL find from Love Vintage in El Bari Gotic
  2. Sweater: Everlane (ethical brand focused on transparency and environmentalism)
  3. Trousers: Behno (a luxury and minimalist ethical fashion brand based in NYC)
  4. Sneakers: 'Wool Runners' from Allbirds (sustainable wool lifestyle shoe brand)
  5. Hobo gloves: a gift, hand-knitted

Thanks for reading through! Drop a comment down below on your favorite look or go-to winter layering strategy to keep us all cozy this season. If you’d like to recreate some of these looks, I’m attaching links to ethical brands with similar pieces below! You can also find very similar pieces of the others at various thrift stores.

One Sweater, Four Ways: first toe to dip in as a slow fashion beginner

When I first learned about the ethical and environmental effects of fast fashion, my reaction was surprise followed by a burning urge to counteract the movement, no matter how small my efforts would be. For anyone who’s interested in learning more, I highly recommend the documentary The True Cost by Andrew Morgan, (also on Netflix) which gives a great overview of the impact your five-dollar t-shirt from Forever 21 can have, halfway around the world.

I’m in no way pushing the blame onto other shoppers, but rather want to begin a conversation on the effortless little ways we can help improve the industry through our consumerist choices. Because, I also own my share of five dollar t-shirts.

As someone who recently began making the shift to shopping less and buying second-hand or from ethical brands when I do, the weight of my faux leather pants from Zara pressed heavily on my heart. However, I soon realized that one of the most sustainable practices of slow fashion lay in wearing and fully using what you already own, no matter what brand they come from.

Making the move towards a more sustainable and conscious wardrobe does not mean throwing away all of your clothes from quote unquote bad brands and buying a whole new ethical wardrobe. By seeing what you already own and creating exciting new looks instead of buying clothes for the sake of new options makes becoming an ethical fashion lover waay less daunting!

So, I’ve come up with four completely different looks combining both my favorite mock neck wool sweater from Everlane, a brand set on high ethical standards and transparency, and several fast fashion pieces I’ve accrued over the years. I’ve never been one to limit myself to a specific style, but rather dressed in whatever I felt like was more “me” that day, whether it is retro, comfy, or something with a bit more “va va vroom.” Take a gander at how different one sweater can become with the looks below.

Photo by Marek Urbanski @urbanm11                       

Look 1: Everlane sweater, Levi's boyfriend jeans (which I live 3/4th of my life in since they're so darn comfy), and embroidered Sam Edelman slip-ons for a bit of funk!

Look 2: Everlane sweater, Reckless Girl faux leather skirt, nude fishnets (subtler than black but with the same pop), and Franco Sarto over the knee boots

Look 3: Everlane sweater, groovy satin joggers from Bebe, and my mom's old boots (bless her fashion sense)

Look 4: Everlane sweater, 70's wide-leg pants from Free People, and Sam Edelman booties

I'd love to hear what you think in the comments!

Stay fierce,

Viv

 

**Additional credits: thumbnail photo sourced from everlane.com