Life at the bottom of the Fashion Caste

Tips n Tricks

School Daze

 

It has been horrifyingly cold lately, meaning a severe lack of opportunities to be even slightly stylish. En route to a holiday party with friends last month it dawned on me; Wisconsin isn’t known for its fashionistas not because there’s no one in the whole state with a keen sense of personal style, but largely because 6-8 months of the year completely prohibit any opportunity to wear an appealing ensemble. Trust me, any height of heel in three inches of snow just doesn’t work.

Good thing I’ve been keeping busy indoors while ruthlessly pursuing my transfer applications. Breaking news, I will not be attending Central Saint Martins in the fall. Instead, I have my sights set on a slightly warmer locale, but I’ll stay mum until my plans are set (!). Either way, these apps have been draining any semblance of sanity I have retained over the last year so I haven’t had a ton of time to blog. Does this mean I’ve already broken one of my resolutions? Gosh, I hope not.

To keep my spirits up in the midst of this wintry slog, I’m proud to say that I’m working on streamlining my wardrobe. I never thought I would be the kind of gal to desire limits in this area of my life but things are getting out of hand. After an influx of crap clothes from my old dorm in London, I’ve not only run out of hangers but also drawer space. And let me emphasize, I have plenty of hangers and drawers. More than average.

So I’m taking Anuschka of Into Mind‘s advice and planning my Spring 2013 capsule wardrobe. The planning portion has been surprisingly enjoyable. Lot’s of self-reflection, dog ear-ing magazine pages, collaging, and–gasp–pinning. That’s right. I’ve learned to use Pinterest for something other than entering unattainable contests. It’s still in the works, but feel free to check out my board of looks/textures/patterns that are inspiring my SS13 looks.

If you couldn’t decipher the huge range of themes in the board, I hope to aim for two different styles of looks. I love Sarah Rutson’s ladylike-chic style (vibrant tailored trousers, nautical stripes, a-line skirts, sheath dresses, no-nonsense colour combos) but i also have a huge weakness for a bohemian, gypsy woman, carefree, Dylana Suarez kind of style, too (flowy maxi skirts, an excess of paisley, windswept hair, and layers layers layers). Also, add a dash of schoolgirlisms including jumpers, letterman sweaters, and charm bracelets. I know it’s kind of passe at this point but I just can’t get over it.

To be honest, I’m no minimalist. I love trinkets, packed book shelves, and cozy clutter. So I do plan on keeping some stand-out pieces from my current wardrobe for sentimental reasons, even if they don’t fit into either of the broad categories I’m aiming for with my capsule planning.

Also, P took me on a much-needed tour of some of the best vintage shops in the cities recently (more on this to come!). The topmost photos are a preview of our outing! Some of those shops were last seen here.

Anyways, now you’ve been updated! Hopefully I can get out of this school daze long enough to blog again soon!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

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The New Year’s Way

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New Year’s is my favorite holiday of all the holidays! It’s not just a time for reflecting on your previous year but also an incredible opportunity to plan out an entire year of what’s to come.

I’ve been thinking about what I want from this year, and it is packed. I’m starting with a handful of resolutions which I’m sharing here now. Hopefully if they’re written in a place where I’m not the only person who can see them (aka not my journal), I’ll be more likely to actually stick to them. So, here goes.

1. No more ‘fast fashion.’

This includes, but is not limited to, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc. I’ve only realized this fact in the last few months (yes, slow on the uptake, I know) but stores like the aforementioned megashops manufacture their clothing to be on trend (okay, great) but to last for 10 washes max. That is despicable. Think of how many $30 sweaters (or 40, or 50!) I’ve bought from UO or elsewhere. One year of fast sweaters could’ve bought me at least two beautiful, made-to-last, staple sweaters that I could cherish for years to come.

This resolution will be all about control and perspective. I’ll have to remember that just because the price is good, doesn’t mean the product is. And I’ll have to remember that the $20 I take out of my paycheck every two weeks is going toward something that I will really value one day, not just a venti latte. This will also give me an excuse to focus on thrift and vintage stores.

2. Keep blogging.

It’s as simple as that. I know there has been a bit of a holiday-induced hiatus in my writing lately but between work and friends and family I just couldn’t squeeze it in! I’m really excited to stick to this resolution because it’s become so important for me to document my thoughts in a permanent-ish way. One day I’ll be able to look back at these posts and realize how much I’ve changed since way back in 2012. That alone is worth it to me.

Aside from all that, I’ve got big plans for this little blog in the new year, including a fresh theme and DIY video series! Keep an eye out for my first edition.

3. Keep that New Year’s feeling.

I always feel so optimistic at the start of a new year. Eventually that high wears off, and I land back in the doldrums of my everyday outlook. But this year I will try to keep the excitement and foresight of a new year, or at least try to keep that attitude in mind as often as I can. Sounds cheesy, but my life has taken such a dramatic reversal in the last year, I need to remind myself sometimes to anticipate the future, no matter the unexpected things that may come up.

Also, I made a playlist that I was intending to post yesterday. But I didn’t. So here it is! It’s designed for a night of all-night New-Year’s dancing. But you can dance around your room to it. Find it on 8tracks AND on Spotify!

And with that, here’s to 2013. I hope it’s the best year yet. Yes, the best year of all the years. Ever.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

p.s. Do you have any resolutions? Let me know, I’m always inspired by other people’s goals!


Mawi Sample Sale

Sample Sale Dec 2012

Mawi is having a sample sale! If you’re lucky enough to be in London this coming weekend, get yourself to their East London studio to take a gander at all the incredible pieces they have up for grabs; they span an entire decade of jewelry design. Check out the Mawi London blog post about it here.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Currently Crushing: True&Co

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I learned of True&Co‘s existence. I’d been reading about the company and how it’s been in the works for a long time on the blog Blushing Ambition by the darling Annabel. I thought it would be just your average middle-end boutique that sells nice sleepwear and pretty undergarments. Boy was I wrong. Everyone and their mother, literally, needs. this. website.

Let’s talk breasts. Mine are small. I have struggled since puberty to find the right bra for me. Believe it or not, I’ve worn the same size bra since I started wearing them. It’s a tiny size. Victoria’s Secret doesn’t even carry it in their stores. Even on the off-chance I do find my size, in Vicky’s mind, all A-cups must wish desperately they were DDs. I like my small breasts, I really really do.

So, for the last few years I’ve been ordering 3-10 different bras from online vendors like Asos, trying them all on, and sending 9-10 of the ill-fitting, overly-padded ones back, then repeating the cycle. But not anymore. Thanks to True&Co’s delightfully positive questionnaire that narrows down your best bra size based on your favorite bra’s fit, your dress size, and a few other factors, I have fallen in love with lingerie shopping once again.

Sign up with your email and the site catalogues your information for future purchases and stocks your personal shop with bras tailored to your needs. The big twist on conventional underwear shopping? For a $45 deposit, True&Co will send five different bras (three picked by you from your special shop, two recommended by True&Co especially for you) directly to your house for you to try on. If you don’t like any, send them all back for free. They return your deposit and you can go on searching for that perfect fit. If any of them do tickle your fancy, great! Keep the best ones, send the rest back. Obviously you have to pay for them but the shipping is free!

Check out my True&Co. Gift Guide ripe with recommendations for your sister/girlfriend/gal pal/mom (?).

Holiday Gift Guide: True&Co

Another huge bonus: they have an impeccably edited sleepwear shop as well. Whether for sleep, play, snuggling, or the holidays, they’ve got your lounge time covered with a great selection of labels that truly fit every budget.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


1,000th Post GIVEAWAY

I’ve reached a huge Tumblr milestone: 1,000 posts!

To celebrate I’m sponsoring TTYLUSA’s first ever giveaway. The prize for first place is an incredible piece from Mawi London’s Gypsy Rani line from the brand’s AW06 collection, valued at over $500.

The second place winner will receive a treasure trove of four vintage accessories delivered in keepsake boxes of my own design, seen below.

How do I enter, you may be asking? It’s SO easy! Just follow these three simple steps:

1. Follow TTYLUSA on Tumblr
2. Follow TTYLUSA on Bloglovin’
3. Then leave a comment with your email address at the very bottom of this post!

Two winners will then be picked at random at midnight (CST) Monday, November 26th.

NOTE: This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to the winners, Lacey of My Boring Closet (1st prize) and Rachael H. (2nd prize)! If you weren’t so lucky this time, fear not! More giveaways await 🙂

In the meantime, entertain yourselves with some gems from my tumblr archives spanning the last three years of my life.

Some people dismiss tumblr as a mindless forum hosting a hodge podge of pretty pictures and miscellaneous links. For me, Tumblr has served as an ever-faithful journal of what piques my interest at any certain moment in time. It’s actually been surprisingly fun to sift through the photos, videos, links, and quotes I’ve posted over the years. And it’s been especially delightful to realize how much I’ve changed in that short amount of time.

Want more TTYLUSA history? Check out my archives!

There are so many blogs having giveaways right now, just in time for the holidays! Check out Fashion Ocean for one too, but don’t forget to enter the TTYLUSA GIVEAWAY!

ttyl,
Maria Nichole

Please note that this giveaway is not sponsored by any brand, company or other affiliate. The prize for first place was selected from my own personal collection; the prizes for second place were purchased at vintage shops and markets in London and across the United States. If you have any questions regarding this giveaway, please feel free to email me at ttylusablog@gmail.com.


It’s Vote’n Time

Hey everyone! Just wanted to send out this friendly reminder into the interwebs reminding you to get on out to your local polling place and cast your valuable vote. Only you can do it!

Don’t know where to vote? Check out this website.

Did you miss the last presidential debate? Lucky you, the New York Times uploaded the whole thing to YouTube.

Need a refresher on your local issues up for revision this election cycle? Visit your town’s local news websites to get the full briefing.

Curious about the issues concerning us gals that could be decided by the results of this election? Watch this video (below).

“You Don’t Own Me” PSA -Official from You Don’t Own Me on Vimeo.

Regardless of your political ideologies, it’s more important than ever that women get out to vote. Sorry guys, but you’ve had the power of government on your side for almost always. Consider the points made by former Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles, taken from her November letter from the editor:

“[Women] make up 51 percent of the country’s population but represent only 17 percent of Congress. You do the math….It’s astounding to me that in the history of Congress, only 217 women have held office compared with 11,279 men….if Congress were representative of the population, with 51 percent of seats filled by women, do you think we’d still be debating about contraception? Of course not. We’d be focused on jobs, the economy, education, and the myriad of pressing matters that really need our attention now….Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, having women’s voices heard and represented is something we should all be able to agree on.”

To me, that extremely astute argument is huge. We are leaps and bounds closer to equality in America than when our grandmother’s were our age, even our own mothers, but there is no denying that we still have a long way to go.

I’m not a true blue fan of either party. In fact, most days I have a sarcastic word or two for the political puppet show that massive media makes of our national elections. But I am a fan of my personal voice being heard concerning issues regarding my body, healthcare, gender-equal pay, education, foreign policy, and human rights.

So, I will vote today for the millions of women of the world who do not have the right to vote, and may never live to gain it. I will vote today so I won’t become a statistic of female non-voters. I will vote today in hopes that the world will be a fairer place for my future daughters.

I will vote today, and so should you, sister.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


It’s That Time Again…

Mid-season sale time, that is! For guys and gals on a seriously college-level budget (like me), this is your chance to stock up on essentials and snag that trendy swag you’ve been lusting after all season.

Below is me this summer, on location in San Francisco for a Mawi London piece about our amazing American stockists. I’m wearing a Topshop dress that I scored during their spring mid-season sale. I love it to death, and it’s easily become my most-worn piece of clothing.

I’ve rounded up my top ten picks from Topshop’s sale. Hopefuly I’ll actually be able to invest in some of them but for now it’s just wishful shopping. Have a look below!

TOPSHOP: Top ten picks from the mid-season sale

1. Mix and Match Sweatshirt: For those grumpy/hurried/oops-I-slept-in days where you throw on some black leggings, yank your hair into a topknot and stomp around in your most bad-girl booties.

2. Rib V Jumper by Boutique: For always.

3. Wash Zip Tunic by Boutique: Been obsessed with this dress since I saw Elle Fanning wearing a similar one, also by Boutique.

4. Floral Print Mesh-Backed Maxi Dress: Throw on pick numbers two and ten and you’ve got a perfectly disheveled fall ensemble.

5. Lace Soft Bra: No explanation necessary. Considering going wireless forever.

6. Spike Bobbies:  Spikes are almost too on-trend at the moment but, for the days when your hair could use some edge.

7. Oxblood Calf-Length Wrap Skirt: Not usually one for the lo-high hemline but this one hits the mark. Plus, oxblooooooooood.

8. Metallic Lace Flippy Dress: Pastels, check. Lace, check. Metallic? Yes please!

9. Oversized Boyfriend Coat: Been drooling over this since Christmas, literally.

10. Aerobic Hi-Top Trainer Wedges: Because I can’t resist the wedge sneaker anymore! I’ve been trying but, let’s be honest, they are awesome.

What are you sizing up and hunting down during this month’s sale season? Anything specific? Let me know in the comments below!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Getting Cozy

Well last night was the first official frost here in Eau Claire. And, I’ve officially diagnosed myself with a cold.

So, in my self-inflicted couch ridden-ness, I created a polyvore for fool-proof fall coziness, complete with cute fuzzy slippers and immune supplements!

Get Cozy

But seriously, when you’re feeling under the weather and the weather is less than encouraging, take full advantage of these facts and pull out all the stops in the layering sector. No one gets to judge you round this time of year, especially if your sick.

And, if they do say something snarky about your too-hip patterned leggings, you can always threaten to give a hefty cough in their direction.

Tune in next time for the full dish on my brilliant birthday weekend!

Until then, stay warm dear reader.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Follow Me on Bloglovin’

Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that you can now Follow my blog with Bloglovin!


Quilting Quest

Hello all! No, we didn’t die tragically during the Great American Road Trip. We didn’t even get a minor traffic violation. So what’s the deal, you may be asking. Truthfully, it’s a combination of sheer summer laziness and also 80% of the photos from the trip were shot on film and have only just been developed. Keep an eye out for the full scoop coming soon.

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But what I’m really excited about lately is my quilting quest. I’ve always been kind of astounded at the intricacy and folk art of quilts, not to mention the women who make them. Shortly after getting back home from our trip, LoisLouis and I accompanied my favorite grandma Evelyn to the Chippewa Valley Quilt Show at the senior’s center in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it until Evelyn mentioned that she had a keepsake quilt top that my great grandmother had fashioned out of old flour sacks and dresses during Evelyn’s childhood in the 40’s. I couldn’t wait to see it!

After the quilt show (which was much more fascinating that I had originally anticipated), we stumbled upon a mini flea market that was on for Chippewa’s Clear Water Days. Here we found a true treasure trove of astonishingly inexpensive vintage tidbits: silk scarves, 20’s era trims and embellishments, crochet table cloths, and a beautiful but raggedy quilt top from the same era as my great grandmother’s. I snapped up an armload of stuff for a miniscule $8 and our trio headed back to the Nelson homestead.

I’m on a quest to make my great grandma’s quilt top into a fully-functional, wrap-yourself-in-it-during-a-bad-cold-and-sip-some-hot-tea-on a-rainy-day quilt. Once I restore the flea market quilt top (see above photo) using a technique I learned at the quilt show, it will be the backing for my great grandma’s. Keep scrolling for a brief tutorial.

Please note: I am NOT a quilter. My most-uttered phrase when sewing is “Oh, I’m sure that will do.” I was told this is literally the simplest, most fool-proof way to construct a quilt. If you’re like me, then this quilting style is for you.

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Step one: Cut a small square of fabric, any size. Mine was approximately 2.5×2.5″

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Step two: Pin your first square to another sqaure of fabric of the same size. I got so lazy that I didn’t bother cutting the second square and just continued to the next step (trust me, it works).

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Step three: Sew all the way around your two squares leaving a small seam allowance.

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Step four: Draw two diagonal lines from corner to corner onto your sewn squares. Then create a small slit with a pair of scissors. Once you can get the tip of the scissors through, carefully cut along the lines, right to your sewing at the corners of your squares. If that sounds confusing, it’s not. See above photo.

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Step five: Pull apart the newly created flaps and reveal the center of your quilting square! I ironed all of mine flat before continuing to the next step but, I’m sure it would be fine if you just left it as is.

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Step six: Continue to repeat steps two through five until desired effect is achieved. I usually did this two or three times, depending on the size of patch I needed.

Keep scrolling to see more color combos and size variations. You can really go crazy with this pattern, be as matchy-matchy and or devil-may-care as you wish.

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So now you know. Have you ever given this technique a try? Let me know! I’m also dying to see how others have restored heirloom quilts so don’t forget to comment, I’d love to hear all about it!

I got some more inspiration for this project from a recent trip to the Art Institute of Chicago’s American Textiles exhibit. Stay tuned these next few weeks for more on that.

xxx

Maria Nichole