how to pair tops with skirts

how to pair tops with skirts

A dear friend once asked me, “Have you ever written a post about how to figure out what shirt goes with what skirt?”

“No,” I replied. “Would you find that useful?”

“Yes,” she said. And here we are.

If anyone would know about pairing tops and skirts, it ought to be me since that combination makes up a solid 75% of my wardrobe. As always, fashion has no hard and fast rules, if you like how it looks keep on keepin’ on, but these are the three things I consider when I’m putting together an outfit.

1. Color

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As with any outfit, you gotta consider your colors! I believe it was the venerable Clinton Kelly who said that your clothes don’t have to match, they have to go. When I was little, my mom used to have me perfectly matched from my barettes to my socks. Some people push back against that “matchy matchy” style now, but it still has a warm place in my heart! That said, you don’t want (and probably can’t afford!) to be perfectly matched at all times. Neutrals go with anything, so if you’re nervous you can get started brightly colored/patterned top paired with a black or grey skirt, or vice versa.

Ready to take it to the next level? It’s time to go back to art class…that’s right, the handy-dandy color wheel!

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Pretty! There are lots of places that will cover color theory in GREAT depth, but we’re just here for the clothes, right? Basically what you want to keep in mind are tonescomplementary colors, and analagous colors. Tone-on-tone has been trendy lately and is something I enjoy a lot myself – that’s done by wearing multiple tones/variations of the same color. Complementary colors are across the wheel from each other (like yellow and purple or blue and orange), and they’re always a good idea to pair! Analagous colors are the ones next to each other on the wheel. So green + yellow and green + blue = pretty great. Green + orange = ehhhh. Now, you can definitely rock a look that breaks basic color theory rules and look rad as hell, but if you’re just getting started, those are good guidelines to stick to. Don’t let a patterned piece intimidate you – just pick one of the colors in the pattern to pair with it!

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2. Silhouette & Proportion

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Basically, you don’t want the shape of your top to compete with or disrupt the shape of your bottom (heh heh bottom)…it should all flow nicely together. You usually will want to pair a skirt with a wider sweep with a more fitted top (a blousey one can mimic the sweep of the skirt too closely and look awkward), while slim fitting skirts can work with both fitted tops as well as ones with more volume. Consider your proportions when making an outfit, but don’t forget you can “cheat” those proportions with accessories! I would usually tuck a longer blouse into the waistband of my skirt, since I’m going for that curvy, poofy pinup silhouette and want to accentuate my waist. But I can also leave the blouse on the outside and use a belt to define my waist instead, giving it a different look.

3. Type of Attire

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Casual, Business Casual, Business Professional, Business Formal, Cocktail, Black Tie, White Tie..who even knows what we’re supposed to wear anymore? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. You’ll want to use the same basic ideas of color theory that we discussed above when looking at the different levels of attire – choose two pieces that are either at the same level, pretty close, or total opposites. A nice skirt definitely pairs well with a nice (or pretty nice) blouse, but it could also pair with a casual t-shirt if you want to get a little funky. Wearing pieces that aren’t on the same level of “formality” but aren’t different enough to be deliberately mismatched (another example: converse & prom dresses) can look haphazard.

I hope these tips gave you a little more confidence in making an outfit! At a certain point, it’s all just trial and error – don’t be afraid to put different combinations on and try them out. Sometimes you just don’t know if something is going to work or not until it’s on.

If you have any other questions about mixing and matching and creating outfits from skirts and tops, let me know below!

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top 10 outfits of 2016

top 10 outfits of 2016

I was thinking about what I should blog about this week when I abruptly realized that these will be my last two posts of the year. Yikes. I’ve had so much fun getting back into the habit of blogging again, and the year’s flown by. I never kept up regular posting on a blog for this long before, and it’s definitely thanks to the lovely, encouraging community of vintage fashion enthusiasts that I’ve found ❤

To celebrate the end of 2016 (good riddance!), I decided to pick out my 10 favorite outfits. Going back through all my outfits of the year was so much fun! This was definitely the year that I really feel like I started to get a good handle on bringing my aesthetic to life in my day to day. A lot of my favorite pieces are actually missing from this round-up because I was trying not to pick anything where I just thought the dress or the skirt was great – I wanted to feel like they were full outfits that I’d executed.

So without further ado, here they are!

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Putting them all together, it’s obvious that I need to mix up my posing game next year! Fun fact, I do always take some head-on outfit pics looking at the camera, but I always feel like my expression is weird. It’s just easier to close your eyes!

It was a pretty great year in outfits, and I definitely expanded my wardrobe more rapidly than in any other year. In 2017, I want to continue to push myself to try new things and combine my favorite pieces in new ways.

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my triumphant return to pants | PUG review

my triumphant return to pants | PUG review

True life: I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn pants in the past year, and never (neverrr) to work. After years of dealing with trying to find jeans, dress pants, or even ponte pants that would fit properly and make me feel fabulous, I decided to say farewell to leg prisons for good. But there was one siren that still called to me…

Ultra. Wide. Legged. Trousers.

I drooled over photos of 1940s ladies in beautifully voluminous trousers. I wanted to feel that Katharine Hepburn vibe. But whenever I happened upon a pair of vintage-style wide-legged pants, they stopped short of my size. I wasn’t even sure they would look good on my anyway, and I had sworn off pants, after all.

Enter the Doris pants from Pinup Girl Clothing. They were beautiful. They were wide as all get out. They came in my size. But still, I was nervous. When I flew out to California for Dapper Day and made a stop at the PUG Boutique, I tried on a pair of Doris pants…I probably would have gone home with them, but I really needed one size up and they were totally out of stock. So Doris went back into the “someday” cardboard box of my mind. There were always (alwayyyys) more things to buy, and it was hard to pull the trigger on the pants.

But LO! I snatched up a pair for a hell of a steal in the Zulily sale, and here is where our review begins:

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First off, these pants are very high quality. They are HEAVY; the fabric is so thick and soft, and they’re actually lined all the way down the leg, so they really do hang beautifully on the body. At 5’9″, these are the perfect (PERFECT) length on me. They curtain my feet without enveloping them and juuuust avoid brushing the ground when I walk. If you’re shorter, you’ll probably need these hemmed to the appropriate length.

I love the feeling of them swishing around my legs when I walk. I only had one minor incident going up stairs, but it’s entirely possible that was due to my own legendary grace & elegance and the pants were completely uninvolved. I feel like a tall, glamorous drink of water in these.

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There is an elastic panel in the back, but I personally wouldn’t size down in these. The measurements for these put me in a 3X; I tried the 2X (my usual PUG size) at the boutique and while I was successful (eventually) at zipping them up, it definitely wasn’t comfortable. If, like me, you’re hoping to wear these to work and sit and eat and all those useful things, I would follow the size chart. Even as it is now, zipping them up can be a little bit of a struggle; it would help a lot to have a clip at the top to hold the halves together so that the zipper wasn’t constantly unzipping itself as you struggle.

Overall, are they worth the money? Definitely. Would I buy another pair? ……I dunno. Honestly, though I’m happy I made my return to the world of pants with these, I just don’t get enough use out of pants to want to spend over $100 on a single pair. They are totally worth the full price, but at that price, they don’t really make sense as a part of my closet. Am I absolutely beyond thrilled that I was able to get a pair for a great deal? YES!!! If another bonkers sale pops up, I would definitely pick up another pair or two. Brown was actually my third choice option for color, but since that’s what was in stock, that’s what I went with. I could definitely see myself rocking black or charcoal, given the opportunity. For now, I’m still investing the bulk of my fashion funds in skirts and dresses, but adding a pair of pants to my wardrobe has definitely upped the versatility of it. Crazy sales are definitely a great way to try something new; who knows – you just might like it!

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pinup staple: high-waisted thrills skirt

pinup staple: high-waisted thrills skirt

To follow up on my How to Dress Pinup in the Workplace post, I wanted to occasionally share some of the staple pieces in my working pinup wardrobe! First up: the high-waisted thrills skirt from Steady Clothing.

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This skirt is the very definition of outfits made easy: pair it with any top or sweater and you’re good to go! Easy to dress up for work or dress down for play, it’s one of the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe. I currently own three: purple, teal, and a specialty skull overlay one that is no longer available.

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A swing skirt, it isn’t as full as something like the Jenny, but as much as I love the poof, sometimes you want to go for a slightly sleeker silhouette. The fabric these skirts are made of is wonderful – it drapes beautifully and is just heavy enough to hang nicely without any underlayers. I’ve found it to be very resistant to wrinkles, which is definitely an important factor in any outfit choice!

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These skirts are available directly from  Steady Clothing as well as under the name “Bugle Joy” on Modcloth. I try to keep an eye out for which site has the best coupon going and scoop one up. Now that I’m on my third, I’m definitely convinced that this is the everyday swing skirt for me, and I’ll hopefully be snapping up a few more colors during upcoming seasonal sales! (Though at $50.99, these are definitely very reasonably priced.)

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The only major downside of the High Waisted Thrills skirt is the lack of pockets. *sad trombone* I definitely do miss them, but I also love the line of the skirt. Sometimes sacrifices must be made! It is, however, machine washable.

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Sizing wise, I find the skirts to run  slightly on the snug side compared to other retro brands. There’s no stretch to the waistband, so make sure you’re very careful with your waist measure before ordering. I have skirts in both 2X and 3X; the 2X do fit, but I will probably order 3X going forward for comfort’s sake. The skirts close with a zipper and a button & tab on top; I certainly don’t mind just a zipper, but the addition of the button does add a nice finishing touch.

As you can tell, I’m especially taken with the purple skirt and have been wearing it a lot in my fall ensembles. A perfect swing skirt available in a wide variety of colors is definitely a must-have in any pinup wardrobe!

how to winterize your retro wardrobe

how to winterize your retro wardrobe

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The nights are getting longer, the days are getting colder, and one question is on every fashionable vintage gal’s mind: how am I going to keep looking cute all winter long? I see a lot of women asking about how to wear pinup clothes when the weather gets colder or being sad to put their pretties for the season, but a lot of the time fashion advice comes from Californians  and other warm-weather folk who, bless their hearts, just don’t know (or have forgotten) what Serious Winter can entail. I am a bonafide, true blue, blizzard-battered, polar vortex-surviving Northerner, and I am here to tell you that you do not have to give up on vintage style when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Here are my top tips for dressing pinup in winter.

1. Accept the cold

It’s winter. It’s going to be cold. There’s no stopping it, and anyone who’s hoping for a magic bullet that will keep them toasty warm through the darkest subzero night is kidding themselves. But once you accept that the cold will come, it’s totally possible to stay comfy and cozy and still look cute.

2. Fleece-lined leggings/tights

These were 100% a gamechanger for me, and I credit them entirely with my ability to take a stand against pants, even when temperatures turn for the worst. I actually have to not wear my fleece-lined tights more often than not because I get too warm wearing them all day, but if you don’t run as hot as I do or are planning to be outdoors for any extended period of time, these will save your life.

3. Layers, layers, layers

You can’t just throw on a cardigan and call it layering in the depths of winter. Cardigans are great, but don’t forget about layering blouses and sweaters over or under dresses. Not only does it keep you warm, but it’s a great way to give new life to a dress and extend a spring/summer dress into a fall/winter one. (The Jenny dress is a perfect candidate for this – see how I styled my Halloween harlequin dress with a blouse.) An extra tanktop or t-shirt worn under a blouse or sweater can also help keep your core insulated. Wear an extra pair of leggings (or straight up long underwear) under your pants. Adding a scarf to an outfit can also dramatically increase how warm it is…every time I wear a scarf with a look, I end up taking it off since I tend to run hot during the day.

4. Decide what compromises you’re willing to make

I would be significantly warmer in the winter if I was willing to buy a not-cute puffy coat and wear a hat. But I’m not interested in smushing my hair, and I love pretty swishy coats. That’s a level of avoidable coldness that I accept. On the other hand, there’s no way I’m tromping over the icy death traps that are Wisconsin sidewalks in winter wearing heels. If I want to wear cute shoes, I have to be prepared to bring them along and change whenever I get where I’m going. It’s all about balance.

5. Plan ahead

Something that I’ll wear to a dinner out where I just need to run from my apartment to the car and the car to the restaurant is very different from what I’ll wear if I’m planning to walk to the theater after work (and then be walking back to my car when it’s even colder). Make sure you’re keeping the day’s plans in mind when you’re getting ready.

Follow these easy tips to keep looking cute all winter long! If you have specific questions, I’d be happy to put my Wisconsinite fashion sense to work on some cold weather clothing advice.

 

spooky style round-up

spooky style round-up

The Halloweekend has finally arrived! I already had a casual Hocus Pocus viewing with some fam & friends yesterday, but tonight’s the big night. I’m still working on some DIY parts of my costume, so knock on wood that it will all be ready in time! Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to do a round up of all the spooky outfits I wore throughout October…I was really inspired by all the “31 Days of Halloween” gals to really step up my spooky style this year. I definitely didn’t hit 31 outfits, but I had so much fun showing off my Halloween spirit all month long (and…also in September! What can I say, I got an early start.)

September 21

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I couldn’t wait to wear my Halloween Harlequin Jenny (review here), so my Halloween season kicked off just a little bit early this year…

September 24

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If you got it, haunt it, baby! This pairing of florals & spook is pretty much my #aesthetic. Cute but spooky!

September 26

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What goes better with a bat wall than bat wing sweater clips from Summer Blue Jewelry? (Review here.) This look was a little more low key as far as the Halloween vibes goes…

September 28

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Luckily I fixed that by going FULL SPOOKY with this amazing Christmas skull sweater from Hell Bunny (review here).

September 29

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Skulls and a stripey brooch…what more does a girl need?

October 1

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I kicked off October with brunch with a friend…of course, I had to go in full Fannibal style.

October 3

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Not quite so obviously spooky, but this outfit was my homage to The Shining (red + typewriter? Get it?)

October 7

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The skull skirt is obviously a favorite. I paired it with the Gia top (review here) for my sister’s birthday dinner.

October 9

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Casual ghost style for my part time job.

October 10

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The Halloween Lantern skirt (review here) was definitely a big winner for me this season. I can’t even deal with how much I love Steph Buscema’s fabulous vintage-inspired Halloween print.

October 12

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Preppy witch realness. These Hocus Pocus pins were a gift from my bestie – definitely jewels in my constantly growing pin collection!

October 13

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Is there anything like spiderwebs and a vintage sweater? I wanted to be spooky and chic for a work event: mission accomplished! (Skirt review here.)

October 17

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I’d seen a lot of gals on Instagram and Facebook wearing dresses like jumpers, and it was like a lightbulb going off! What an awesome way to make a whole new look from a dress.

October 18

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I’ve been craving some poison apple accessories all season, and these collar clips from Femme de Bloom fit the bill perfectly.

October 24

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After a brief break from spookiness for a work conference, I returned in full force with a skirt that matches my hair (a thing everyone needs) that I scooped up during the Modcloth Friends & Family sale. (If you’ve been wanting to check Modcloth out, they’re offering 20% off for new customers right now!)

October 25

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I can already tell this mustard sweater is going to be an MVP for fall. It pairs great with the lantern skirt.

October 27

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A gal’s gotta wear her spiderwebs! (Side note: I got so many compliments on my hair, which was pinned up because it was being a Real Pain. Ya never know!)

October 28

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And, finally, for my last pre-Halloween spooky look, I achieved my true Pumpkin Queen form. I don’t usually wear a full crinoline to work since it’s kind of a pain to sit on all day, but it really did make me feel like prettiest witch on the block. Pumpkin necklace & clips are from Femme de Bloom.

PHEW. What a wild ride! This October was definitely the most fun one I’ve ever had, and it was all thanks to the wonderful community of lovely & enthusiastic ladies who always inspired me to try new outfits, do new crafts, and pick up JUST ONE MORE pumpkin to put around my house. Happy Halloween, ghouls! I can’t wait to see your costumes and share mine with you!

light my lantern | PUG review

light my lantern | PUG review

I don’t do pencil skirts. I’m a swing kind of lady, the fuller the better. But I’ve been in love with the Halloween Lantern print since the first preview, and I couldn’t justify buying two Jenny dresses from the Halloween line, especially with a print that really is very holiday specific. So I bit my lip, and I took the plunge.

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I feel a little terrible reviewing these Halloween pieces when they’ve all been flying off the shelves (metaphorically speaking) and you can’t actually buy them anymore, but I also can’t not talk about them! Hopefully some of this advice will be helpful for shoppers looking to buy the high-waisted pencil skirt in other prints!

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First off, Stephanie Buscema’s print is GORGEOUS in real life, as I knew it would be. I love her art, but the way Pinup Girl Clothing uses it in their designs isn’t always too my taste. I love this charming all-over print that’s just the right mix of  cute and spooky.

I sized up from my normal 2X according to the size chart, and I’m glad I did. Like the Little Jun skirt, this pencil skirt has elastic panels along the back to help for a perfect fit. I was tempted to stick with my usual size because of that, but it would have been uncomfortably tight through the hips and thighs if I had.

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Since I knew I was waiting for this skirt to drop, I preloaded my cart with a few extras to get me to the free shipping minimum so I wouldn’t have to waste time when the skirt itself came out. I knew these Splendette bangles would be the perfect match and super versatile for fall!

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And, pin addict that I am, I had to have the limited edition enamel pins featuring art from the skirt that Stephanie was selling in her Etsy. I got them a little while ago, but I saved them for this outfit! My pumpkin earrings from Summer Blue Jewelry were the cherry on the sundae.

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I’ve also been experimenting with lipstick lately! I saw a review of the Urban Decay Vice lipstick palette and couldn’t resist. It’s been a lot of fun to try out colors that I wouldn’t have bought a full tube of…let me know if you’re interested in seeing swatches/a full review of that palette.

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I can’t wait to plan more outfits with my new lantern skirt! There’s a lot of spooky looks to fit in before Halloween rolls around!

(As of this writing, the high waisted Halloween Lantern pencil skirt is still available in XS and S.)


 

glamghoul

Throughout Spooktember and October, I’m sharing everything a vintage gal needs to have the perfect Halloween with costume inspiration, decor, recipes and more! Click here to find all the Glam Ghoul’s Guide posts.