Prest-o Change-o: Professional to Party

I think one of the biggest wardrobe mistakes women make is to have too many party dresses. Once upon a time, I had more party dresses in my closet than tops. Now I have 2. It’s not that I’ve stopped going to parties (although I’ll admit that my clubbing experiences look more like a scene from “Neighbors”’ these days), but that I’ve learned the value of being able to mix, match, and accessorize pieces in my functioning wardrobe.

Maybe it’s my skill in rationalization coming into play (on some days I believe it’s my superpower), but it doesn’t hurt so badly to invest in quality everyday pieces when I know that with a flick of the wrist, I can remix them into formidable party outfits.

Here are my keys for turning office wear into party all-stars:

  1. Invest in staples with special details. Impeccable cut, intriguing fabrics, extraordinary details-these are what make a piece easy to take to the next level.
  2. Have a few anachronistic, luxe, or just plain weird accessories on hand. The last thing I want to see at a party is someone looking perfectly respectable. I want to see your personality ringing through loud and clear.
  3. Make use of your skin. I don’t want to see your skin at the office, but once the party starts, show me your neck or arms or legs (just remember-pick ONE. The idea is to live on the edge, not to fall off it).

How to do it:


For work, this spade scarf adds drama to a sweater and textured scuba skirt (see #1) combo. Black boots and tights create a long, lean leg in the absence of skin.


In a matter of minutes, I’m ready for the party with a printed shoe (leopard is my favorite), a “maximalist” bow belt (#2), tsujzed-up sleeves, a vintage brooch from my grandmother’s closet, and fishnets (#3).

Now show me yours!


Black Bubble-Textured Scuba Skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Mustard Sweater, The Limited.

Black Tights, Spanx Assets, Target.

Black Booties, Calvin Klein.

Dotted Spade Scarf, Kate Spade.

Party Accessories

Fishnet hosiery, Victoria’s Secret (in stores only).

Leopard Calf-Hair Pumps, RALPH Ralph Lauren, via TJ Maxx.

Poufy Bow Belt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Antique Brooch, inherited from Grandmother.



The Newbies

After an especially productive consignment shopping trip this weekend, it occurred to me that you might like to see how I decide what pieces to add to my wardrobe (yes, there is a method to the madness).

Most of my clothing choices are made quite deliberately. I’m usually looking for very specific pieces (or at least pieces with a specific vibe).

In preparation for each season, I like to check out my local consignment shops to see what pieces on my wish list I can recycle into my wardrobe. Then I fill in the gaps online and in stores. Not only is it a little more ecologically responsible, it leaves me more money for shoes. 😉

leather skirt before alterations

I have been looking for a leather skirt for a while now, so I was especially excited to find this one. It’s a no-namer that has been worn in quite nicely (I love buying vintage leather and denim-someone else has done all the work of beating them up into perfection for you).

While it’s gorgeous, the length is awkward for my tastes, so I’ll have it hemmed to the knee before autumn.

Pro tip #1: A lot of leather can look software-programmer-at-bike-week really quick, so I like to pair leather clothing with suede or fabric shoes to soften it up (like the grey suede sandals here).

Pro tip  #2: When you thrift, you’ll often find pieces that are nearly perfect. Look for pieces that will be bumped into closet rock star status with an easy alteration or two.

ivory forever21 blouse

This Forever21 shirt still had the tags on it and is in perfect condition. It’s unlikely to be a long-lasting staple (it’s made of polyester, and I really like my summer tops to be silk or cotton), but it’s great for adding a jolt of “new” to the closet. I LOVE ivory and have difficulty finding pieces in that color that I adore, so I jump at any chance to pick it up.

tan blazer express

This camel blazer is from Express. It’s a great stand in for the tropical wool one I hope to eventually own.

Pro tip #3: Any blazer will automatically look more expensive with working buttons on the arm. This one’s buttons are already functional (props, Express!), but if your favorite one doesn’t, it’s an easy fix for your tailor.

Black BCBG party dress

Soooo, yeah. I didn’t really have an excuse for this one (and it was the most expensive piece I bought that day), but it has a glam rock n’roll vibe and is so beautifully cut, I couldn’t help myself.

Pro tip #4: Always go for a marriage of love over reason.

In the end, I spent less than $130 and scored 5 items (I’ll show you my favorite one soon). All four items here came from What’s New Consignment.


Leather A-line skirt, $36.

Ivory blouse, Forever21, $8.

Camel blazer, Express, $4 (SERIOUSLY!).

Black Party Dress, BCBGMAXAZRIA, $50.



Make the Scene at Polk Museum’s Art + Music, Rockabilly Style

It’s about time for a little rock n’ roll around here, which is why I’m really excited about the Polk Museum of Art’s next Art + Music event. To celebrate their exhibit “Rebels With a Cause,” PMoA is hosting a rockabilly-themed party on April 15th (get tickets here). Never wanting to miss out on celebrating renegades of any sort (but especially those of the creative variety), I have already marked my calendar to attend. If you live in the Tampa Bay area, I hope you’ll join me!

One of my favorite aspects of themed parties is getting into the spirit of the theme with my outfit, and rockabilly style is especially fun to try your hand at. A smash-up of rock n’ roll and “hillbilly” style, rockabilly clothing was the official attire of 1950s rebels. It combines several elements of classic Americana with the rock edge of skulls and tattoos, and is loaded with optimism and rowdiness.

Ladies, the easiest way to go Rockabilly is with a dress. My all-time favorite modern Rockabilly dresses are made by L.A.-based Stop Staring. Their style is impeccable, and I adore that most of their dresses are available in a wide range of sizes—from XS to 3XL. It was absolutely painful to select only five from their phenomenal collection, but I chose these because you can take them full Rockabilly and then style them more sweetly throughout the upcoming summer months.

Fitted Strawberry Dress, $139.

Fitted Strawberry Dress



Jennifer Blue Cherry, $179.

Jennifer Blue Cherry


Arebela (available in turquoise or red), $175.

Arebela red


Vega Dress, $175.

Vega black


Marisol, $185.

Marisol blue floral

Bonus: Stop Staring offers 10% off your first order when you sign up for their mailing list!

A little short on bread?

You can pull together a cherry rockabilly look in minutes from items you probably already have in your closet.

This simple look photographed by CJ Bartis encapsulates classic rockabilly style. Throw on a plaid shirt, dark-rinse jeans with wide cuffs, peep-toe shoes, and a bandana, and voila–you’re ready to rock around the clock.


Don’t forget these essential elements of rockabilly style!

  • A flower behind your ear
  • Bangs or pin curls
  • Serious makeup (I’m talking about breaking out the liquid liner AND a bright lip)
  • Pigtails
  • Classic-themed tattoo or a half sleeve
  • Polka dots
  • Black and White Stripes
  • Mary Janes or peep-toe heels


Cool Cats

Guys, I haven’t forgotten you. To cook classic rockabilly threads, keep it simple! Start with a pair of dark-rinse jeans with a wide cuff, a black belt with metal studs or a skull buckle, a vintage western shirt (the one pictured is from Fifi’s Alternative on Etsy) or a classic white tee, and of course, tattoos. Throw on a pair of wingtips or creepers, slick back your hair in a high pompadour, and you’ve got it made in the shade.

fifis alternative mens western shirt



wingtip creepers

Now that you’ve got your look down, you’re ready to dance the night away with me at Rebels With a Cause!