More or Less

 

Blue shirt2 edited

When I can’t decide whether less is more or more is more, I do less and more. The silhouette and muted colors of this outfit are less, and my rings are more.

Blue rings

 

Unpacked:

Leggings, Zella.

Unravelled tee, Ranemade.

Boots, Brako.

Hat, Brixton.

Necklace, Polk Museum of Art Gift Shop.

Brushed silver ring, Silpada.

Seahorse ring, Mayfair art festival (unfortunately, I have lost the paperwork of the artist).

80s ring, vintage.

Silver bubble ring, Silpada.

Fingerprint charm bracelet, my design.

 

 

 

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#gadfly

Mint Fringe face hide.jpg

Gadfly:
a fly that annoys horses and other livestock
a person who upsets the status quo

Apparently, it can be a little unnerving to have a style blogger for a friend. At a party, someone once confided to me that they get a little nervous when they know they’re going to see me, concerned that I am critiquing every aspect of their attire during our time together.
Rest assured, I do not go around secretly evaluating people’s fashion choices (unless you wear scrunchies. I have a preternatural hatred for scrunchies).
However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little internal leap of joy when I see someone dressed in a way that showcases all the best of who they are. There’s nothing like seeing someone’s essence expressed in art, and if I may be so bold, I consider personal style an art.

grey dress kick

Art Is Personal

In college, I had a roommate whose parents lived in a charming country house not far from campus. My group of friends spent many idyllic weekends at their house, studying in a hammock on the spacious front porch, wandering with the dragonflies and carpenter bees through the gardens, and savoring late breakfasts while watching deer contentedly chew through the daffodil fields.
None of this halcyon lifestyle happened by accident. As it turns out, my roommate’s mother had completely designed the house and its grounds from well, the ground up. Every nook and cranny was intentionally crafted to evoke a particular feeling—from the compact but well-appointed library in the nook at the top of the staircase to the perfectly positioned laundry chute (the laundry went straight from the master bedroom into the washing machine—talk about an efficient process!). Creativity was king, and while some aspects of her home represented significant monetary investment (I can still remember her quite comprehensive set of Wedgewood China in a design run over by wild strawberries), small touches like elaborate and expensive-looking table decorations conjured up from willow branches commanded an equal amount of territory.
In a rundown town where the biggest form of entertainment was people-watching at the Waffle House (closely followed by activating the entire Walmart aisle of then-popular Tickle Me Elmo dolls simultaneously), she had instead opted to dedicate time and resources into ensuring her sanctuary reflected her self perfectly, and it was deeply felt by everyone who darkened the doors. Being in her house or gardens was like getting to know her, and like her home, she was irresistibly intriguing.

 

Mom and Corsten steps

We adore climbing steps.

Defy the Status Quo

My friend’s house so clearly stood out to me as art because its very essence defied the mass production with which our society seems to be so comfortable, not only in buildings but also clothes.

Our yoga pants epidemic is completely understandable; with all the other stuff being thrown at us ALL DAY EVERY DAY, it’s a wonder we remember to leave the house wearing pants at all! However, in my daily travels, I still encounter those brave souls who proliferate joy by expressing themselves through their clothes. At first glance, I may not immediately cognize every aspect of their person, but I do get a pretty good read on who they are (Artist? Minimalist? Drama-lover? Conservative? Whimsical?)

By spurning the path of least resistance, by proclaiming their truest selves instead of sending the message currently approved by the “style authorities,” they are gadflies that remind us how piercingly we touch others when we embody the best version of ourselves.

#Gadfly

In honor of these irrepressible Devil-May-Cares and the joy they bring to my world, I’ll be highlighting them on the blog and GAD’s  Facebook and Instagram feeds, and tagging them #gadfly–a nod to their blithe disregard for whatever anyone else is wearing and also to the name of this blog (see what I did there?).
I’d love to see pictures of the #gadfly’s you encounter, so feel free to use the hashtag yourself when snapping pics and tagging Girl About Downtown so I can pay homage with you.

 

Bunny tail

I have an “audience” for nearly all my photo shoots.

Unpacked:

Pleated Tunic, Ya Los Angeles via friend’s closet sale (I replaced the shell buttons with glam glass ones for a totally different look!).

Over-the-knee boots, Michael Kors via Zappos.

Tiger’s Eye earrings, Sorrelli via Anna’s.

Tiger’s Eye pendant, Polk Museum of Art Gift shop (unfortunately, I lost the paperwork naming the artist).

Mint Fringe bag, gift from my BFF picked out by my adorable Goddaughter.

Silver Fingerprint Charm bracelet, custom-made gift from the two handsomest men in my life. 🙂

 

Casual Cashmere

 

navy cashmere

Break the mold, not the bank.

You might assume that since I’m always preaching the gospel of buying fewer articles of clothing made of the highest quality that I advocate racking up zaftig credit card bills in chi-chi boutiques.

NONSENSE!

Interior designer Vincente Wolf said,

“Glamour doesn’t have to break the bank, but it should break the mold.”

(I love this quote so much I framed it on my bookcase).

I scored this navy cashmere classic v-neck sweater at a consignment store for $10 several years ago. I bet the cost-per-wear of this baby is something like 3 cents.

I love the way this sweater “breaks the mold” with its details. Upon close inspection, it appears to be sewn inside out with longer ribbing at the wrists and the perfect balance of slouchy and fitted cut. A classic item that has carefully thought-out details will become a cherished find; train your eye to look for exceptional details (have I impressed upon you the importance of “detail” enough yet?).

The key to scoring great items like this on consignment is to shop with a supremely critical eye and buy items that have a classic shape or can be altered easily. Don’t shop when you’re under pressure to procure something specific (ever!). Also, be ready to be pleasantly surprised by your finds–you never know what gem you’ll uncover!

 

Unpacked:

Cashmere Sweater, Aqua via What’s New Consignment

Skinny jeans, Level 99 via Hattie’s Branches

Over-the-knee boots, Michael Kors via Zappos

It’s Fall…Kinda?

Pumpkin Silk

Fall is here–my favorite sartorial season! Host a bonfire! Mull some cider! Put a pumpkin on your porch! Pull the sweaters and boots from the back of the closet–er, wait–hold up on that last one for a minute. You see, I live in Florida, and the temperature still rises to 80 degrees by 10 a.m. here.

Understandably, many of my fellow Floridians reach for their knee boots at the first whiff of a 60-degree morning. Why should our northern neighbors have all the fun? We want fall, too, darn it! But while initially gratifying, those boots can be a little warm when the clock strikes 2 p.m.
But if we can’t don a sweater in October, how can we get into that pumpkin spice latte mood?
Here are my tips for weathering the Florida fall weather elegantly without looking like you’re holding on to your summer clothes:
  • Wear autumn colors in transitional fabrics. Instead of looking for fabrics traditionally associated with autumn (leather, suede, fur, wool), look for pieces in fall colors rendered in lighter fabrics. (Silk Pumpkin blouse)
  • Wear heavier fabrics sparingly. A wide leather belt, suede heels, or a light bomber jacket can bring a feeling of fall to any outfit without overheating you. One of my favorite tricks for lightly tripping into the season is to switch out my pumps for ankle booties; I get the look and feeling of wearing boots without the sweat of wearing knee boots.
  • Dress in light layers. That way, when the sun appears later in the day, you can shed the jacket or cardigan and remain comfortable (a little more difficult if you’re wearing a chunky fisherman’s sweater).
  • Add autumn colors to your beauty routine. A swathe of wine nail polish or lip color can make you feel more “fallish” even when your sweater is short-sleeved.
I’ve posted a bunch of examples of these on Girl About Downtown’s Pinterest board “Autumn in Florida.” Check it out now for a few wardrobe inspiring ideas!
Now tell me in the comments–what do you do to stylishly participate in fall in a climate that doesn’t seem to want to take part in the festivities?