mommy's style

mommy's style
mommy's style

kumquat's style

kumquat's style
kumquat's style

shop our closet

shop our closet
shop our closet

introducing: style challenges + product review

Guess what, kids? I have a new toy!

I stumbled across my mom's camera tripod gathering dust (as in, several inches of - gross) behind her bedroom door the other day. I took it out for some exercise yesterday post-work, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

So I was happily snapping away, playing with the angles and heights of the tripod, and I felt like I was getting some decent shots. I took considerably more photos than usual because the tripod made things so much easier. I definitely had more patience and got some more interesting shots than most of my self-portrait sessions.

And then... I did something weird to my camera settings. Or, maybe the weird coloring of some of these photos is because it got pretty cloudy out while I was shooting. Or maybe it has something to do with the interval shooting. Or maybe my eyeballs are going crazy - whatever it was, the photos looked fine on the itty-bitty LCD screen, so it wasn't until I had transferred them to my laptop that I realized the problem. I was about to go out to re-do the shoot, subbing pumps for the flats, when my camera battery died.

Alas. Truthfully, I wasn't too disappointed - I spent a lot of time on the first set of photos, and didn't relish the idea of setting everything up in the wind again. I did take one photo with the pumps (below), and although I liked the way it looked, in retrospect I feel like they didn't mesh with the laid back, summer-cool vibe I was going for. Maybe next time.

Most of the pieces in this outfit were birthday presents from a very dear friend (I did pick them out, but I adore my friend's thoughtfulness nonetheless) that arrived at my office on Monday. I realize that I have accrued a number of "favorite" outfits and pieces over the last few months, but I quickly developed a love affair with this look, and with the blue sundress in particular. The outfit is primarily composed of items from the F21 Essentials line - a sundress in turquoise, a utility shirtdress in a bright coral, flat taupe sandals, plus a vintage straw purse and some gold jewelry, but the light layering gives the outfit some summer-appropriate depth while the colors give it enough pop to be interesting and the patterned head wrap adds some unexpected zing.

There is also no doubt that I am obsessed with this necklace from NastyGal and this textured gold cuff from Charlotte Russe. I generally favor silver and pewter jewelry, but I find myself gravitating toward anything and everything being paired with these two pieces, and I'm not sure that they would have the same appeal if done in any other color.

The best part of this outfit? The whole thing cost about $60 - the most expensive item is the necklace (NastyGal Sunbeam Necklace - $18). 

You'll notice that I photographed it three different ways - while the combinations for these pieces are infinite, these three looks are my favorites of what I've tried out thus far.

  1. The style in the bottom two pictures in this post is ideal for work; the pink dress buttoned over the blue one makes it office appropriate, and the belt over both dresses gives the silhouette definition. 
  2. The style in the photo just below this paragraph, with the pink dress undone and the belt over only the blue dress, is perfect for spring, when the weather is still a tad unpredictable, and can be too warm or too cool at any given moment. It provides an easily removable/replaceable layer for either case.
  3. The blue sundress by itself (third picture from the top) is pretty much how I plan to spend my summer weekends. Minus accessories, it's perfect for lazing about my currently non-air conditioned, sweltering house; all it really needs for going out is a belt at the waist and some simple gold jewelry.

This might just be a me-thing, but it seems as though whenever I finish photographing an outfit and sit down to publish it, I find one thing I regret about the look. Sometimes it's huge, but usually it's just some small detail I overlooked, an accessory I wish I had added or removed, a pair of shoes I wish I had changed, etc. For this outfit, I really wish I had ironed the shirtdress before wearing it. Another style lesson learned - iron your clothes, especially ones that have just been shipped to you.

In an effort to push myself outside of my usual fashion boundaries and get more use out of my extensive closet, I've decided to start setting monthly style challenges for myself. I have a tendency to fall into a bit of a wardrobe rut mid-month, when I start wearing a repeat of the same basic uniform multiple times a week (tank top, jeans, sweater, done); to avoid repeating this cycle in May, I'm challenging myself to wear a noticeably different outfit every day. I can repeat and remix items, but nothing can be styled the same (or a similar) way twice. I need to finish renovating my wardrobe this weekend, so the challenge is starting on May 1st and I'll post some more info about it then. I'll document my efforts daily through Instagram (username :: frayedthreads) and outfit posts, so be sure to follow along and let me know what you think. If you'd like to join me (I'd love to have you!), post a comment to let me know, and be sure to leave a link to your blog and your Instagram or Twitter handle (mine is @fashion_nerd13) so that I can keep up with your progress. Call me a nerd, but I'm really excited about this!

pieces of the puzzle
Forever 21 Essential Belted Shirtdress (find it here)
This dress is meant to be a stand alone piece, but if that is the only way you can see wearing it, I advise against purchasing it. It's available in two colors, cocoa (a tan color) and coral (pictured); I can't speak to the cocoa color (I haven't purchased it yet), but the coral one is a bit see-through and is too short to be worn without something else underneath it, especially for work. The sides especially come up a bit high. It comes with a matching belt of the same material, but I suggest replacing it with a wide or braided one to add some interest and give the silhouette some definition. The quality seems decent, especially for a Forever 21 "Basic". The seams are straight and seem well done, the buttons aren't immediately falling off, and the material lightweight but sturdy. It does seem to run a bit large; I definitely recommend you check your current measurements and compare them to the model's.
In short: I plan to purchase the second color, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a basic, utility shirtdress - as long as you're ready and willing to layer it.

Forever 21 Essential Fit & Flair Dress (find it here)
A better name for this dress would be "Flirt & Flair"; I am completely, utterly, inescapably, head-over-heels in love with it. Empire waisted dresses tend to give me a giant, pear shaped figure, but this piece seems to fit and flow and flounce in all the right places. If I were any taller, I would worry about the length, but I'm 5'7" and it hits my leg in just the right spot for casual wear. For work, I suggest layering another dress on top (like I did here) or adding tights or leggings underneath. A wide belt gives more definition to the waist, though a skinny braided one would maintain the playful vibe of the bright color and flirty fit.
In short: I snagged it in turquoise, but it also comes in tangerine, fiery red and navy - and at $7.80 a pop, I definitely plan to pick up all of the other colors. Be wary of the length if you're any taller than me, but otherwise I say this dress is a must for spring and summer.

NastyGal Sunbeam Necklace (find it here)
This necklace was the most expensive piece of this outfit, which at $18 still isn't exorbitant (although it is more than I usually like to pay for a necklace), but I'm not 100% positive the construction is worth the price. I love the NastyGal shop, and I adore this necklace - my concern stems from the fact that the sunbeam charm is hot glued onto the chain. WTH? The beam parts extending from the circle also feel a bit fragile to me, but I've worn it nearly every day for a week now and it hasn't broken (yet - knock on wood), so I'm beginning to feel a bit more at ease.
In short: I'm torn on whether to recommend it, because I really do adore the design. If it weren't for the somewhat iffy craftsmanship, I would insist that you purchase one immediately. If you have the cash to waste (and a hot glue gun), throw it in with your next order and let me know what you think.

also pictured
head wrap :: forever 21
wide brown belt :: vanity
sandals :: forever 21 (similar item here)
gold cuff bracelet :: charlotte russe (similar item here)
straw purse :: vintage (similar item here)

Fellow fashion bloggers and nerds alike, take a moment to check out this awesome sauce article on IFB: the Top 30 Android Apps for Fashion Bloggers - by yours truly!!!


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