Spring Pleats in Cold Weather

Spring is in the air! The days are getting longer, the sun shines higher in the sky, and the world feels like it’s smiling on me when I go outside. Even though temperatures here are still flirting with freezing, I’m ready. I feel the energy, the spark, the excitement of spring – this time when the world comes back to life, people leave their homes, and the outdoors become as comfortable as indoors.

I adore this time of year, and it’s making me want to gallivant around in multi-colored tank tops and sundresses. The weather won’t permit this, however, so I’m left to find a way. I want color. I want lighter materials. But I still have to be warm; this pleated skirt provides the perfect solution. I’ve had it for years, but pleats are hot right now, so I guess it’s better than ever.

pleated skirt style

I can still wear it with boots and my super warm tights if I need to, but it has the flirty, floaty spirit of spring time.

pleated skirt style

Originally a dress, I didn’t like the drape of it, so I tucked in the straps and made myself an adjustable waist.

pleated skirt dress hack style

I used to use safety pins, but I got sick of undoing and redoing them every time I took it on or off, so I found two buttons from another shirt I was getting rid of and a little black ribbon from one of those superfluous loops sewn into the shoulder of a shirt, whipped out my mini sewing kit, and sewed it all together.

dress to skirt style hack

I can tighten or loosen it depending on how I want it to hang and how much I’ve eaten or what time of day it is, which I love – I wish clothing companies made adjustable waist clothing for adults like they do for kids.

dress to skirt style hack

dress to skirt style hack

I wear it with the closure in the back because I like the way it hangs, but sometimes – in warmer weather especially – I’ll turn it to the side or over my hip. So versatile, I love it – I’ve even worn it as a dress over a bathing suit! The length is perfect – just in the middle of my calves. Green is one of my favorite colors, and this olive color goes with everything. Since it’s still cold, I’m rockin black, but once the flowers start blooming I’ll get crazy.

dress to skirt pleats style hack

If you want a pleated skirt of your own, go to Zara, H&M, Forever 21 – really I see these everywhere, it’s just a matter of finding one that suits you. Or, if you have a dress that isn’t quite right, try folding the top under and wearing it as a skirt – it might become your new favorite thing.

pleated skirt style

Love, calm, & care –

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Sweatpants. Anywhere.

Who doesn’t want to leave the house in sweatpants? You’re lying if you don’t – they’re a dream. And aren’t we lucky, they’ve somehow become stylish. Personally, I am all in on taking advantage of it. I found this pair at Forever 21 for just ten dollars, and the selection was ample. Jogger sweatpants are so hot right now you could find them at Wal-Mart in exactly the style and color that suit you.

classy sweater comfy sweatpants winter girl style

classy top cozy sweatpants winter girl style

I went for pink. It’s a nice 90s dusty rose kind of shade, which plays nicely with most of my clothes – blacks, burgundies, corals, oranges – and I generally prefer to wear black tops with funky bottoms, although I do have a couple more wild shirts like the brocade you see here.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

As sweatpants, these are powerfully comfortable. They’re also versatile – just wait for the summer post. Still bangin. Here in Siberia, I do have to layer them with leggings or tights to stay warm, but can you even tell?

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

I’ve posted photos before of these paired with a pajama top – my cozy Christmas outfit. Here I’ve got three other options.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Start simple – these pants can sing, so let them. They rock well with a black t-shirt, boots, and a hat – perfect for when you don’t leave yourself enough time to get ready or just don’t feel like putting clothes on but have to go to work and haven’t washed your hair in far too long. This is the ultimate lazy person’s outfit.

t-shirt, hat, sweatpants winter girl style

Next we have this Victorian looking gem – a bit more elevated, like the next one. Something about the casual nature of sweatpants makes me want to class it up on top, and what says classy more than a high necked top made out of brocade?

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

If anything can top the brocade, it’s this sweater – classy as hell, right? Boots in all three of these outfits keep it grounded – comfy, but still utilitarian.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Comfort and class, united in three outfits – what could be better? Sweatpants are now acceptable attire for work, for school, for errands, for life outside the house – with a single caveat. Style them appropriately. If this didn’t help you on that front, I don’t know what will, so now that you’re equipped, bust out those sweats. I hear Chancho has an extra pair. Stay cozy.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Love, calm, & care –

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Cocoon Sweater

I love wearing black in the winter. Excessive color just seems wrong to me this time of year – I take a cue from nature, and let the color fade out of my wardrobe, blanketing myself in cozy neutrals. It’s easy and comfortable, and makes getting dressed a breeze. One of my favorite winter pieces is my big black cocoon sweater.

I found it at a thrift store a few years ago – the tag says 22W, so it’s massively oversized, and that’s what makes is so ideal. I can layer a shirt underneath if it’s really cold, but, even in these subzero temps, that’s hardly necessary. It’s roomy and soft, like wearing a hug, and it works with any pair of leggings or skinny pants in my closet.

cozy black sweater winter style

The sleeves hang low, giving it that safe cocoon feel, and the neck is fitted without being constricting. There’s a little zipper up the back to give it an extra bit of polish – zipping up a sweater feels far more fancy than just pulling it over your head.

sweater neckline zipper

I can throw on my loafers for a pedagogical look –

teacher loafers black sweater winter style

Or boots and leather leggings for a bit more swag –

maroon leather leggings winter style

Or if I just need to run out of my house to the market or something quick, it’s the easiest thing to reach for to be dressed in a hurry. Stay warm!

Love, calm & care –

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Winter Layering with Summer Crop Tops

I’ll let you in on something – I haven’t always adored being female. There are just so many rules! As a kid I ran around in my brother’s hand-me-down basketball shorts all morning and then had afternoon tea in a fake silk ballgown my mother stitched up, but the romantic comedies I watched and the novels I read told me that women needed men in order to be confident, whole people and that, above all else, we’re supposed to be pretty – devoting our lives to finding a mate. This didn’t jive with me even in my adolescence, so I wore ridiculous, ostentatiously feminine outfits – playing dress up everyday with high heels and makeup in an attempt to find clothes in which I actually felt like myself.

And this, my friends, is why I love androgyny – a blending of gender concepts and styles and feelings and traits that allows men to be emotional and women to be intelligent and all of us to wear whatever the hell we please.

Sometimes I feel like dressing like a boy. A boy who has my closet and my tastes and my figure. When the mood strikes, I’ll layer my black summer crop tops over button downs for a comfy boyish sweater vest look. I just love it, and there’s so much variety to be found within it, depending on how far I want to go – necklace or no, silky top or flannel.

close up layering pajama top

I like to balance masculine and feminine elements, so I put the edgy leather leggings with the silky pajama top –

androgynous girl winter layering style

The lumberjack flannel with the beanie, pencil skirt, and bulky boots –

androgynous girl winter style flannel

androgynous flannel girl winter layering style

And the sweet lilac suede with simple black pants, a necklace, and my loafers –

androgynous female winter style

People might do a double take when you step out like this, but so what? What really matters is that your clothes honestly represent who you are. Personally, I find it liberating.

androgynous female purple winter layering style

What are your thoughts on this baby step into androgyny? Not for you? Down to try it?

Love, calm, & care –

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Leather Skirt

Every girl needs a leather skirt, right? A little sexy, a little edgy – pair it with a lace leotard for a party or with a cozy flannel for a day at the movies. The idea of a leather skirt might seem intimidating or over the top, but check out my options below and you might be surprised.

leather skirt styled three ways

White button up, comfy running shirt, layered tees – I’ve got my skirt three ways for you here, and, trust me, there are so many more. That’s the best part of this – I can wear it with anything. And that’s what clothing is all about – versatility.

leather skirt with sweater

I found this skirt at a resale shop for $7. It’s originally from Forever 21, but feels like it’s pretty good quality – as good as fake leather can, anyway. It’s just the right length, has a lining to keep it from getting static-y with tights, and a sleek little zipper up the back. It’s just roomy enough, so I never feel constricted by it, but it stays in place at my waist.

leather skirt white button up style

When I looked online for leather skirts, most of them were skin tight and quite sexy. Personally, what I like about the leather material in the skater style is the combination of sexy and cute – it’s not too much.

winter leather skirt girl style

I found a couple similar to mine – one from from ASOS and one from MissGuided. If the sexy pencil or leather mini is your jam, rock on. But proceed with caution if you’re tryna wear that to teach children or to an office.

leather skirt watch ring style

I like wearing varied textures in traditional shapes – they’re understated but still noticeable. And they play well with others. This skirt goes with so many things, I’m sure I’ll post more on it. As for next week – I GOT NEW BOOTS. Get excited.

sporty leather skirt style

Love, calm, & care –

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Cozy Cashmere Sweater

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Harbin it has been c-c-c-COLD. Like below 0. Constantly. Celsius or Fahrenheit. It’s just extra freezing, all the time. The redeeming quality of cold weather – apart from a constant excuse to stay in and read books – is the cozy clothing. Sweater weather. One of my favorite pieces is my cashmere sweater.

girl in cashmere sweater

Soft and roomy, with a pattern and color scheme that match just about anything – it’s a staple. I love having pieces that I can wear with my entire wardrobe, and this is absolutely one of those. It’s great by itself or fantastic for layering. Anytime I don’t feel quite cozy enough in my outfit to go outside, I throw this on under my coat and I feel like I’m wearing a blanket.

winter style girl woman

It’s the adult version of a blanky that I take with me everywhere. Because why does that have to end when you start 1st grade?

cashmere sweater

girl in cashmere sweater

I found this at J. Crew three years ago and haven’t looked back, but I found a couple similar ones online. J. Crew, of course, has a gorgeous one that is currently on clearance, Everlane has a couple mid-range price options, and Uniqlo has an okay one on the lower end. Cashmere won’t be cheap, but I swear it’s worth every penny – it’s warm as shit, and it lasts forever.

cashmere sweater winter style girl

When thinking of getting your own sweater – what are your priorities? I wanted to be able to layer, so I got mine in a bigger size. I wear a lot of black and white with the occasional pop of color, so I wanted something that would go with everything. Take into account the rest of your wardrobe, the type of silhouette you want, etc.

girl in cashmere sweater

And, once you’ve got your sweater, enjoy drinking tea in it and watching the snow fall. Because we still have three more months of this.

girl in cashmere sweater winter style

Love, calm, & care –

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Christmas Spirit

It’s the holidays – the most wonderful time of the year. Parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, caroling out in the snow, etc, etc. But why do we care, and what does one wear?

pattern skirt funky long mid thigh tea length thrift store boots winterOf course we all like to look festive for Christmas parties, throwing on sequins and red dresses – really doing ourselves up. I went to a couple events, and, for the first big buffet I went for a big high-waisted skirt. I found it at a thrift store a couple years ago, and sewed two snaps in the waistband, so it’s expandable. It’s a great deal of material, so I save it for special occasions or when I’m in a particularly flashy mood, but I find that I wear it most around the holidays. I keep it simple with black, my necklace, and my tall boots. A bold lip sets the whole thing off. It’s simple, comfortable, but still interesting enough to merit complements at a holiday party.

bold lip holiday festive necklace black simple

skirt holiday party outfit festive beautiful girl

over the knee boots tall winter gold zipper suede heel

The holidays are a big time – a series of days with high expectations attached. Expectations are a sure-fire way to set yourself up for disappointment, so why do we always insist on having them? Why is it that Christmas must be the most wonderful time of the year? Supposedly you’re with the people you love most, giving and receiving a few thoughtful gifts, eating delicious foods, and all laughing and wearing santa hats like you’re living the reality of whatever Christmas card you sent out. But what actually happens on Christmas, and why are we celebrating?

To many people, Christmas is nothing more than a chore – a day to be around people you call family by blood, not by choice – to eat and drink and try to be merry, to give and receive gifts that not much thought were put into, to attempt to enjoy each other’s company. For others, it’s a break in the monotony of everyday life – something to look forward to, a day to set aside for nothing – for fun. A day to be calm, relax, socialize with people whose company you enjoy, and forget about the rest. We throw parties because we can – here in China no one knows what Christmas means or where it originates – stores put Santa Claus stickers in their windows, and people use the day as an excuse to have a party, to go shopping – to treat themselves. Because they need a reason.

It began as Saturnalia – a week-long pagan festival of debauchery, something like The Purge movies – where anything and everything was indulged, and a human sacrifice set it all right at the end; gingerbread cookies started as human shaped biscuits to symbolize the human sacrifice. If you’re curious to know more, I read through this page and found it fascinating. But then Jesus came – supposedly the ultimate [human] sacrifice. He was born, and Christians placed his birth on this day – somewhat arbitrarily – in an attempt to redeem the pagan holiday. Then it became an excuse to persecute Jews – a day to mock them for being wrong about the messiah’s arrival.

art drawing caption love came down

Growing up, we always read the Christmas story straight out of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and celebrated the whole thing as a day of hope – a day when, as the Christian band Point of Grace pointed out on a Christmas album we played every year – love came down. Regardless of why we celebrate, I hope we can all latch on to that phrase. Whatever or whoever love is to you – let it come today. Let it be a day to give, to enjoy, to embrace – to extend love to those you might not naturally extend love to. And let that pervade your daily existence. I think that’s the true spirit of Christmas, and what is there to lose by practicing it? It can bring joy all year round, and it doesn’t even require the trees or the presents or the feasts.

Feasts are a blast, though, and I really got to go HAM this weekend. I took time to care for my body in between meals with a 20 minute yoga vid especially for holiday meal digestion – it’s a gem, especially with all this rich food. For the Christmas day festivities, I wore dressed up pajamas – a second buffet within 24 hours required an elastic waist, and this top literally came from a pajama set at Target. I’ve been incredibly comfortable for games and meals, and I look cool to boot – at least I think so, and that’s what makes it true.

sweatpants pajamas boots winter christmas comfort holiday

sweatpants pajamas comfort function utility christmas style

sweatpants pajama ass sideview girl pretty christmas holiday

What do the holidays mean to you? What do you like to wear for a party or a day of opening presents? Please comment down below, and enjoy your holiday!

Love, calm, & care –

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OOTD: Pretty Punk

I like my look to strike a comfortable balance between masculine and feminine, strong and dainty, casual and fancy, tough and pretty. This is partly why I have short hair – but, as I’m growing out my pixie, I’m having to strike a new balance every day. And while I adore dressing up, it isn’t practical for my lifestyle. I live in Colorado, where people wear workout clothes to meet friends and putting on jeans is considered getting fancy. I walk or ride my bike everywhere, I get sweaty, I’m outside a lot, I like to sit like a man. These are real factors.

I don't own this bike. I wish I did. We just found it in a parking lot.

I don’t own this bike. I wish I did. We just found it in a parking lot.

Summer is tricky because I don’t like to show a ton of skin, but it’s just so hot outside. So, as always, balance is the key. In outfit of the day posts like this, I’ll break it down head to toe.

Headscarf – this is a scarf about three feet long that I found at Goodwill a couple years ago. The color scheme is varied, pulling together the solid colored pieces I’m wearing. I like a headscarf when I’m having a weird hair day. It makes life easier.

Sunglasses – five dollars at Charlotte Russe. After much experimentation, I find that round glass work best with my long oval face. I like the light shade of the lenses and the gold rim.

Top – this was a dress that I found at a resale shop. I tore the bottom off after wearing it once. I like the high neck – it’s a good balance for the bare shoulders and shorts – and the color suits my skin tone – it’s pale without washing me out. I like the delicate touches of lace and the drape of the chiffon.

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Necklace – I got this at Charming Charlie years ago and now it’s nearly the only necklace I own. It used to be bright gold and now it’s this nice tarnished bronzy color, which I really prefer. It goes with everything, and can be helpful when I want some vertical lines in an outfit.

Belt – from Target. This belt has enough holes to fit comfortably around my hips or my waist, and the color goes with everything I own – burgundy is as versatile as black for me.

Shorts – these are from a local place called Topo Designs. They were a bit pricey [~60], but worth every penny. The fit is perfection, and I know they’ll last a while. That olive color plays well with the other clothes in my closet. They’re versatile, too – I hike in these, but I can also wear them like this.

IMG_0826Boots – I found these on clearance at DSW a few years ago. They might be the most complemented item I own. I love the tapestry-ness of the material, the color palette, and the Victorian style. Also, the heel clicks when I walk, which is always a fun feature. These, like the scarf, are great for uniting an outfit of solids.

Backpack – I found this on clearance at a Vans store for 40. I love that color, and its leather that’s perforated like mesh. I’m into interesting textures, and this bag is great for traveling. It’s big enough for all my things, and small enough to carry around town without breaking my back.

Head to toe, that’s me on a Wednesday. What do you think? How do you feel about boots in the summer?

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