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!

color-wheel

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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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!

spooky sweater | hell bunny review

spooky sweater | hell bunny review

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The first time I saw this sweater, it was kismet. A perfect blend of Halloween and Christmas, ideal for wearing all fall and winter long? I had to have it!

I ordered my sweater from Cats Like Us which no longer has it in stock, but you can find it pretty much anywhere Hell Bunny is sold.

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I ordered the sweater in my usual 2X; it’s wearable, but a bit tight. There isn’t a ton of stretch to the bust where the skull detail is, so definitely size up if you want a looser fit or have a larger bust. It’s also definitely quite short; since I would only ever wear it with something high-waisted, it’s not a dealbreaker.

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The keyhole detail at the neckline is one of my favorite parts – it really gives some extra fun to an otherwise basic shape. The print, of course, is anything but basic. I love the cute little crossed bone ornament details above the skulls. It looks great with all things black and spooky for Halloween, and it’ll be so fun to pair it with red and green for a creepy Christmas look.

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Since I was wearing all black and white, I wanted to go bright with my hair accessories. I felt a little bit self-conscious with this big ol’ Kiki’s Delivery Service bow, but also incredibly adorable. Worth it!


 

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.

1 dress, 4 costumes | glam ghoul’s guide

1 dress, 4 costumes | glam ghoul’s guide

Don’t know what you’re going to be for Halloween? You’re in luck! I have some ideas.

A little black dress is a must for any woman’s wardrobe, but it also makes quite a fabulous costume. When you have a good base piece, all you need to transform it into a costume are some well-placed accessories. So I’ve taken the black Jenny dress from Pinup Girl Clothing and made FOUR (that’s right, four!) different costumes! (Feel free to sub in the black dress of your choosing.)

Note: These sets are just intended for inspiration; apart from the Jenny dress, I can’t vouch for the quality of any of the products contained therein!

 

Glam Witch

 

 

There’s no Halloween costume more classic than a witch! Pick out a statement hat and some stripey socks and accessorize as you choose! I went all black for this one, but purple and green are always great accent colors for witches.

 

Classy Cat

 

If you’re a Taylor Swift fan, you probably already own a cat ear headband and you’re halfway there! A choker-style necklace is perfect to sub in as a collar, and cute touches like mouse earrings helps sell the look.

 

Vampire Vixen

 

A lacy shrug and dramatic corset belt completely transforms the sweet Jenny dress into something befitting a ferocious lady vampire. The batwing boots are a tad on the nose, but I just couldn’t help myself! Definitely go as over-the-top gothic as possible in your accessories.

Wealthy Widow

 

 

How unlucky can you be, to have just lost your third husband? Definitely a great choice for the last minute gal, put on your prettiest jewelry, a hat with a black veil and an unconvincingly sad expression, and you’re golden!

I hope that one of these ideas helped get your creative juices flowing!

Let me know if you’d like to see me do another one dress, multiple costumes piece, or if there’s some other costume theme you’d like to see. I love making inspiration boards like this!


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.

hello halloween harlequin | glam ghoul’s guide

hello halloween harlequin | glam ghoul’s guide

Welcome to Pugoween 2016.

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Here’s a brief history of me and Harlequin prints:

College, just starting to get into pinup: Eh, it’s not really for me.
After getting more involved in pinup and seeing lots of cute outfits: Hmm, idk, maybe.
Upon seeing the Halloween Harlequin: OH GOD GET ON MY BODY RIGHT NOW

So the Halloween Harlequin dress is not only my first harlequin print, but also my first Jenny dress! Shocking, I know. I was always a little intimidated by this perennial favorite; all the talk of boning and de-boning spooked me a bit, I’ll admit it. But this print was too perfect to pass up, so I took a running leap off the dock of indecision and did a cannonball into the glittery black waters of fabulous spookiness.

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There was a lot of sturm und drang about the sizing of this Jenny dress, which didn’t help my nerves. Based on the measurements, I ordered a size up from my usual. I don’t have other Jenny dresses to compare it to, but this was definitely the right choice for me. I’m at the upper end of the 2X, so the 3X has maaaybe just a skosh more room in it than I want, but I definitely wouldn’t have been happy in the 2X. I buy my clothes with the intention of wearing them as part of my everyday life, which means wearing them to work, out and about, sitting, leaping, skipping, etc., so the slight bit of extra ease is perfect for me.

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Also, the pockets in this dress are DEEP AS HELL. Deepest pockets ever, I think…I could lose my whole forearm in there.

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I honestly can’t remember the last time I got so many compliments a dress. She’s definitely a showstopper! I did worry a little bit about how much wear I’ll get from this print outside of Halloween, but even if I don’t wear it much through the rest of the year (which I do intend to do, for the record!), it will be worth it for the fun that I have during the season.20160921_080035

I’m still waiting on the delivery of some Halloween jewelry that I can’t wait to share, so I kept it low key with my Hamlet pin (it has a skull!), a cameo necklace, and some subtle spider earrings.

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I also might have had too much fun practicing my “startled Halloween pinup” facial expressions while taking my detail shots!

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Golly, it’s getting awful spooky!

Who else is madly in love with the Halloween harlequin print? Did you snap up this dress (apparently the most popular one in Pinup Girl Clothing history!)?


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.

how to dress pinup on a budget

how to dress pinup on a budget

Back when I was just a simple schlubby college student wearing ill-fitting jeans and hoodies and daydreaming about pretty pinup clothes, cost was definitely a major hurdle between me and the aesthetic I wanted to achieve. At that time, I didn’t think it was one that I would ever overcome, but hey – look at me now! I do wear vintage/pinup attire every day, and I didn’t win the lottery or anything. I’m totally against the predatory lending practices of our modern age, and I don’t carry any debt (apart from my student loans, boo) and pay off my credit cards every month. So here are my quick and dirty tips for achieving vintage style on a budget.

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A caveat: The idea of “budget” means something different to all of us. Things that are easily achievable to me may not be to everyone, and things that are prohibitively expensive to me is nothing to someone else. These are only tips from my own experience.

  • Don’t rush. Sure, we all want to have exactly what we want right now, but you don’t get a trophy for acquiring the most stuff fastest. Be patient, save up, wait for sales. I owned ONE Pinup Girl Clothing dress for many years, and you better believe I loved that dress to death and wore it to every single special occasion. This is definitely one that’s gotten the better of me with all the limited releases lately, so it’s worth reminding myself: slow down.
  • Mix in non repro. Reproduction 40s/50s/60s clothes are a specialty style mostly made by small manufacturers. They’re always going to be expensive. Personally, I tend to buy more skirts and dresses from repro brands and mix in vintage-inspired blouses from places like Target or New York and Company (when they’re having a super good sale) to complete the outfit. We’re lucky that a lot of retro styles (especially pussy bow blouses) are pretty trendy right now. You don’t need head-to-toe repro to be legit – it actually can be more fun to mix in an unexpected piece so you don’t feel like you see yourself coming and going (as my mom would say) all over Instagram.
  • Don’t buy it if it doesn’t fit your aesthetic. If you really want to commit to a ~vintage aesthetic~, stop buying clothes that don’t go with your wardrobe. This is the one tip that I would say really made my full-time pinup/vintage look possible. Obviously you can wear whatever you want, but this keeping this in mind does so much good when I’m tempted by whatever random pretty is on the rack at Target.
  • Consider cost per wear. Yeah, stuff at Forever 21 is cheap. But that’s because stuff from Forever 21 is cheap. If you find a brand you like with quality fabric and solid construction, those pieces are going to last a lot longer. It also makes me happy to know that I’m supporting mostly women-run businesses and ethically produced clothing.
  • Work the accessories/layers. You can really transform a piece with different cardigans, scarves, brooches, etc. One dress (like the Havana Nights, perhaps?) can quickly become several outfits thanks to the power of accessories. I always make sure to add to my rainbow of cardigans when there’s a good sale!
  • Think about your monetary vices. We all have them! Personally, fashion definitely is my major vice. I don’t eat out much, I don’t smoke, I don’t even buy coffee regularly. My “fun” money goes to helping me achieve my aesthetic, because that’s what makes me happy. You certainly don’t have to make fashion your priority – but keep in mind what the other things you choose to spend money on are when you’re feeling like you don’t have the budget for new clothes!

My personal favorite “budget” brands are probably Hell Bunny and Lindy Bop. These both offer nice quality, fun pieces at a cost that’s more in line with “mainstream” fashion than the more high-end repro brands.

And finally, no clothes are ever worth going into debt over. Make good choices!

What are your favorite tips for being fiscally responsible while also looking fabulous?

guest post: thoroughly tiki emily

guest post: thoroughly tiki emily

Hey kittens! I’m super excited to share a post from the lovely Emily on my blog today! Her enthusiasm for her adorable outfits (and everyone else’s!) on Instagram always makes me smile. Enjoy her petite perspective on the Little Jun!

Hi! I’m Emily of Thoroughly Modern Emily, and today Penny Snark and I are doing a post exchange, because the best thing about blogging is making blogger friends and doing fun things together! She’s over on my blog sharing her tall-girl thoughts on the new tiki Little Jun from Pinup Girl Clothing, and I’m fangirling my little heart out over that same skirt right here.

Like Penny, I’m a fan of all things tiki, so when I saw that Pinup Girl Clothing was releasing the fabled OG tiki print in a new pastel colorway, I sort of lost my mind. When the mint tiki Little Jun skirt made its first appearance on Instagram, I was a goner! Since I’m only 5’2″, I’d been interested in trying out the Little Jun for quite some time, but none of the existing colors or prints really struck me as must-haves. The mint tiki Jun was the perfect storm of OMG I WILL ORDER THIS THE SECOND IT RELEASES. And order it I did!

Photo #1
Clearly it was love at first sight!

 

First things first: this skirt is adorable! I’m a big fan of the now-discontinued Kinky Box skirt, and the Little Jun does a nice job of filling the pleated-skirt hole in my heart. Before ordering, I fretted a bit over what I’d wear it with, since pastels and I have only started getting along fairly recently, but now that it’s here, I am coming up with outfits left and right, and need to restrain myself from wearing it again this week!

Photo #2
Little Juns are perfect for contemplating evolution!
Photo #3
Also perfect for sassy poses!

 

The print is exactly like PUG’s original tiki print, except very slightly scaled up and in cool-tone pastels instead of yellow, orange, and green. As a huge fan of the original tiki print, I’m happy to have another skirt that’s different enough that 1) hopefully people won’t notice that I basically buy the exact same items in multiple prints/the same print in multiple items, and 2) I won’t feel guilty about having a closet that’s overflowing with duplicates.

Photo #4

I’d heard a number of people say that they sized down in the Little Jun, but in the interest of extra German-food-room (#Chicagolife!) I went with my usual size large and I’m quite happy with the fit. Measured down the side seam, this skirt is 24” long, which is perfect because I have short legs even compared to other short gals. The elastic panels at the back make this skirt incredibly comfortable to wear all day, and the curve of the waistband in the front makes it look great without a belt. (Again, this is all about comfort – belts look fabulous, but when you’ve got a beer-cheese belly, they aren’t always comfortable after 8+ hours of sitting at a desk!)

This skirt makes me feel confident and happy – the wide waistband defines my waist/gives me the illusion of a well-defined waist, and the box pleats give me hips that don’t quit. I may or may not have wiggled my hips with maximum sass when I showed my partner this skirt. (Hint: I did.)

The most important thing you need to know about this skirt, though, is that it has massive, forearm-swallowing pockets! Making my hands disappear into my pockets is the only magic trick I know.

Photo #5
oh em gee where is my hand?
Photo #6
Ah. There it is!

For such a busy print, this skirt is actually quite versatile. It looks cute with a crisp white top, basic black, and pastel pink (my Voodoo Vixen top goes especially nicely), but it would also be fun with stripes, black polka dots, and pastel yellow. I’m planning to do a One Piece, Three Ways post featuring this skirt soon, but I have a feeling it’ll be hard to stick to just three outfits!

Photo #7
It was such a treat to do this post exchange with my fellow Midwestern pinup – thank you all for reading! I hope you’ll stop by sometime on my Instagram (I’m @emily.hallock), Facebook, Twitter, or over on my blog, and say hi!