Style: Two Romantic Valentine’s Day Looks

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to indulge your feminine side with pink, frills, and sparkle.

Sweet Pink Valentine's Day

Racerback dress / Mid heel wedge / Heart ring / Earrings / Emi Jay hair accessory /Radiant Cosmetics

This romantic frock, ring, and shoes are all from Ruche, one of my favorite places to online window shop. These earrings from Hovey Lee on Pure Citizen are ethically made using fair trade and recycled materials in LA, and they’ll add some “frosting” to your outfit. The lipstick and blush are both from Radiant Cosmetics, and proceeds fight human trafficking.

Pretty in Peach Valentine's Day Look

Women’s retro, modest dresses / Chain necklace / Earrings / Lucky Brand yellow gold jewelry / Women’s retro, modest dresses

How lovely is this dress from Shabby Apple?! I love the layer of lace, and I love that a percentage of proceeds provides micro loans to women in third world countries. I think this glittery bow necklace (Go Jane), statement ring (Shabby Apple), and pearl earrings (Hovey Lee on Pure Citizen) are the perfect accessories for it.  These shimmery pumps, also from Shabby Apple, are perfect for any special occasion.

How are you planning to spend Valentine’s Day? Even if you’re staying home, I hope you have fun adding a little sparkle and pink to your outfit in celebration of the day!

10 Items, One Month: New Series!

I don’t care much about clothes. I’m not a super girly girl. I prize comfort over style. I’m fine with a simple uniform of a nice fitted tee layered over a coordinating tank top, boot cut jeans, and cute flats.

At least, that’s what I always thought. Then, I actually decided to count my clothes.

I almost had a conniption.* For someone who claims not to care much about clothes, my closet tells quite another story. In fact, it loudly screams “LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!”

354.

That’s AFTER taking two garbage bag loads to Goodwill. And that number doesn’t even include my underwear and sock drawer, which is crammed to bursting.

Who really needs 354 choices of attire? Seriously?

Here’s what really makes me sick: if I spent $10 per item, that comes to $3,540. But realistically, it’s more likely that the average is $20 per item, which comes to $7,080.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-Matthew 6:21

 So I’ve been saying, “I can’t help those people because I don’t have a lot of money,” while investing $7,080 in my closet. Something is wrong with this picture. So I’m wearing only ten items this month because:

  • I’ve got to change. Not just for simplicity’s sake. Not just for my peace of mind or to relieve my conscience. Not just because we’re moving to a smaller place. Because I’m called to something higher, a better way of living that values people more than things.
  • Deprived of the crutch of finding my identity through what I own, I want to learn to lean on my Savior for the things I look for from clothes: happiness, acceptance, and confidence.

But that’s only half the story of why I’m wearing ten clothing items this month.

After hearing two sermons back to back on James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows…”. I think of orphans and widows as being those who are most vulnerable in our society. I used to assume I was neutral towards them,  but then I asked myself the hard question: Am I participating in the exploitation of children when I shop at stores that oppress them by using child labor and forced labor? 

Because Biblically, that’s a big deal. 

I was pretty much terrified to look into it, afraid of what I might
find, afraid of having to change, and really, afraid of the inconvenience the
truth might create. Buying indiscriminately was so easy. However, laziness and complacency don’t mesh well with true
religion, and in the end, my desire to love like Jesus is winning out.
I’m so glad that I’ve taken the time to educate myself about
the issues, because what I’ve found is that it’s not nearly as hard as I
thought to make a difference.

This month, I’m doing a different sort of fashion series. I’m blogging 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom. The goal is to
raise awareness for human trafficking and encourage others to change the way
they shop by providing information, resources, and practical ways to make a
difference, followed by a charity auction of my clothes AND giveaways from several ethical clothing companies. 

Notice the stress on “practical.” Because you know what the research I’ve done on ethical fashion has shown me? It’s not that hard to make a difference.

Are you excited yet?! I’m bursting at the seams to begin! But first, I need to make you a promise.

I promise this is not going to be a big guilt trip. Although guilt can be a powerful weapon, its results aren’t long term. Plus, there’s no point in guilt tripping you, when I’m every bit as much of a mess (or more so!) than you are.

I can’t promise that this is always going to be easy. I can promise that it will be worth it.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Mother Teresa

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Jesus 

Will you join me for 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom? 

*This word does not mean what I thought it meant. Its not “heart attack,” but apparently, a fit of emotion?! Who knew?

Week 1: Be Informed
1. 10 Items, One Month: New Series! 

Week 2: Take Action

3. The Fair Trade Difference

Week 3: Where to Shop

Five Fall Fashion Trends, Yay or Nay?

I picked up a couple magazines in the airport for some light reading, and caught up on the fall fashion forecast while I was traveling back and forth to Iowa. Here’s some of the “in” looks we can expect to be seeing as September approaches, along with my rating (and yes, I’m aware that it should be “yea” and nay; the pun is intentional!).

Yay: Reverse French Manicure

Photos take by me of InStyle Magazine August 2012

I don’t know why this has never occurred to anyone before! Basically, switch out the colors of a typical French manicure with a dark base color and a metallic tip color. Another variation I’ve seen online is to paint a light colored half-moon shape at the base of the nail, instead of the tip.

I vote “yay” on this trend, because it’s a great way to incorporate another trend for fall: metallics, in an easy, fun way.

Nay: Wine-stained Lips

Photo taken by me of InStyle Mag, August 2012

Ok, folks. Apparently, fashion bloggers everywhere think this is AMAZING, but it’s one trend I’m definitely going to pass on. The “wine-stained lip” look is achieved by putting on a rich, dark lipstick and then blotting it off in the middle, achieving that oh so classy, I-just-ate-and-need-to-reapply-lipstick look. Except you don’t reapply lipstick.

The good thing about it is, that if your lipstick does wear off after dinner, you don’t have to bother reapplying because you’re right on trend! Last week I actually saw ladies at my farmer’s market sporting this look, whether intentionally or not, I’m not sure.

Another positive for this look: it’s perfect if you want to be a vampire for halloween.

Yay: Colbalt

Photo taken by me of RealSimple September 2012

I love any hue of blue, so I’m happy to see that cobalt is an “in” color this fall. Jewel tones are not only flattering colors for pale skinned people like me, but they’re also elegant and warm, perfect for fall.

Yay/Nay: Burgundy and Oxblood

Photo: SydneStyle.com, who got it from Style.com
I learned a new color term to add to my vocabulary, just like last year I added “camel.” This year’s term to know is “oxblood,” formerly known as burgundy. 
I haven’t made my mind up about this color yet. The last time I remember wearing this color was when I had a burgundy velvet jacket and culottes, somewhere between the ages of five and seven. I’m going to wait until it’s in stores and try it on, before I make a verdict. 

Yay: Equestrian

Photo taken by me of RealSimple

Equestrian is right up my alley: riding boots, plaid, structured, classic lines…what’s not to love?! RealSimple says that designers are inspired by the English Countryside, perhaps a natural result of the attention all things British are garnering because of the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. For more British inspiration, visit my British wonderfullness in pictures post.

I can’t wait to dust off my English riding boots I bought last winter at Target, and my burgundy leather cross-body bag from PB&J Boutique. I’m always a fan of mixing up what you already have to make trends affordable. If you’d like more ideas for affordable fall style, most of my tips from that post are still completely applicable.

What’s your vote on these trends? Yay or nay?

How to Find Your Style Personality

Welcome to Fashion 101! This week one of you lucky ladies will win a lovely accessory, courtesy of Handmade and Lovely. More about that at the end of today’s lesson!

I don’t usually think about my clothes as having personality. I just buy what I feel like in the moment,  or what I like or need, or deals too good to pass up. Maybe you’re like me. If you are, you don’t often consider that your clothes are talking about you, much louder than you words are, to everyone within  earshot eyesight!

Your clothes are an expression of yourself. They should express your personality, your tastes, and even your priorities. You can tell a lot about someone based on what they wear, and I don’t mean just what their favorite color is or what they ate for lunch.

There’s even some “science” backing up why people gravitate towards certain clothes. Studies show that certain personality and character traits tend to like similar colors, patterns, textures, and styles.

There are roughly six different clothing personality types. Sometimes they’re called other names, and sometimes there are only five listed, but I think this covers the bases best. They are Classic, Dramatic, Romantic, Ingénue, Natural, and Gamine.

Note: you might not fit perfectly in one category. In fact, you probably won’t. You are a unique and multi-faceted being! Read through the following descriptions and notice the images. What fits you best?

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