FPWTF: Kristen V.

FPWTF: Kristen V.

I figured I would end this fashion philosophy series with some brief thoughts on my personal style evolution.

Anyone who knows me knows I love fashion. I always have. I think if I could have chosen the outfit I wore out of the hospital at my birth, I would’ve.

In elementary/middle school, I was obsessed with gauchos and platform flip flops and rainbow earrings that touched my shoulders.

In high school, I wore a choker necklace and converse high tops with my private school uniform and I tried so hard to fit that “soft-grunge” aesthetic.

In college, I could count the number of times I wore leggings to class. (Three. Three times. All three because I woke up insanely late and practically walked into class crying.)

I have tried every print, color, and fit of clothing possible throughout the years. And yet I still have a hard time defining my fashion sense. It probably doesn’t help that I tend to completely rotate my closet once every four to six months. I’ll come home with giant Goodwill bags full of clothes, only to find myself making a giant pile to give back to Goodwill the next month.

I love a good vintage blazer with shoulder pads, but I also want to sport a floral sundress with espadrilles. I want to look edgy and girly and simple and extravagant all at once. Sounds about right.

I think the main thing I realized from this series is that fashion is so dynamic and fun. My fashion inspiration can come from anything and everything, making it that much more spontaneous and exciting. Like all of the people that contributed to this series, I find myself seeking expression through the clothes I wear. And whether I’m rocking my leather mini-skirt or my favorite men’s Levi’s, the goal is to feel comfortable with myself. And to look good while doing it.

P.S. Enjoy these cringe-worthy photos of me. Quality content.


If you’d like to see more of my style, check out my Instagram @kristen.v!

Thanks so much for tuning into this series. Hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did! And thank you to everyone who participated. If you would ever like to contribute to my blog, feel free to DM on Instagram or shoot me an email.

FPWTF: Jared Powell

FPWTF: Jared Powell

This series is called “Fashion Philosophies and Where to Find Them.” After spending time in many corners of the world, I constantly come back to how amazed I am at people’s ability to express themselves through something as simple as the fabric they wear. My contributors come from all over the world, and this is how they have shaped their own personal style as it relates to their identity. 


When Photography and Fashion Collide: A Fresh Perspective

I started getting into fashion not long after starting photography actually. As I was doing different creative shoots, I realized that certain types of clothing photographed really well and were flattering on the subject while other types of clothing didn’t present well in picture format. Before each shoot, I started talking with the model and suggest ideal style for the shoots I was doing.

From there, I almost became their personal stylists. I practically chose their outfits. And I started building a mental catalogue of the types of clothing that I thought looked good in pictures. 

When I took a look at my own wardrobe through this lens, I realized many of the pieces I owned wouldn’t look good in a photograph, nor were they particularly flattering. So, I decided to change that.

Virginia-based photographer Jared Powell.

I quickly realized that many of the clothes offered at your local mall or outlet just were not anything special. In fact, very few retailers carry trendy or stylish guy’s clothing. Many of them tend to play it safe and just offer very basic outfits (i.e. H&M).

I turned to Goodwill. I still didn’t know a ton about fashion at this point and hadn’t branched out much before this, so I didn’t know what might look cool versus dated/out of style. However, I didn’t let fear stop me from trying on anything that caught my eye.

The Thrifting Effect

Anything that piqued my interest, I would grab off the rack and sling over my arm. It’s incredible how freeing it can be to go shopping with this mindset. You just let your creativity loose. And you end up making a purchase decision based off how it actually looks on your body (as well as paired with other clothing you may own).

Another bonus to thrifting is you can find unique pieces that no one else is wearing, and oftentimes the quality is so much better than what you would find at a fast fashion retailer. 

Jared’s thrifted outfits are a major part of his style/expression.

Through this process, I have created (and continue to create) what I would consider my personal style.

I like white, black, tan, beige, and grey.

I particularly enjoy making monochromatic outfits out of these colors. I tend to favor beige though.

I love different interesting textures and usually like one piece of my outfit to be more flowing or oversized.

In photos, clothes that are flowy can add interest or movement to the composition.

The end look I try to achieve is something sophisticated, well-thought-out and creative, often oscillating between outfits that are eye-catching/fashionable and outfits that are more subtle.


For more of Jared’s style, check out his absolutely aesthetic Instagram @jareddpowell!

Be sure to subscribe to see more from this series! Looking forward to sharing these stories with you all.

 

FPWTF: Lauren McKinney

FPWTF: Lauren McKinney

One year ago I opened my closet door, thumbed through a hodgepodge of florals, ruffles, peplums, and plaids…

and realized that I didn’t love anything. 

My closet was packed, but I still found nothing to wear. 

I labored over each piece, attempting to create cohesion in a haphazard wardrobe that was built on fast fashion and end-of-the-year sales. With no knowledge of capsule wardrobes, I searched YouTube for “effortless fashion” and stumbled on Signe Hansen’s YouTube channel, “Useless.” Her methods were entirely revolutionary to me.

Was it really possible to be stylish and love my wardrobe without having an overflowing closet and a surplus of money? 

Consumerism’s grip on my wallet (and mind) told me no, but Signe’s videos told me otherwise. So I began the process of reinventing my wardrobe. 

One year later and I’ve sold almost everything I reluctantly wore and have funded my new capsule wardrobe almost entirely from those sales. Now I dress myself in no time, everything matches, and believe it or not, this smaller wardrobe has made me more creative and given me way more outfit options. 

The past year has totally flipped my fashion philosophy on its head. Creating a capsule wardrobe has honestly changed my life. It sounds dramatic, I know, but not only do I spend less money on clothes, I also understand the implications of everything I purchase. 

So, what is a capsule wardrobe? 

In short, my capsule wardrobe has three components: an all-year basics component, a seasonal component, and an all-year color scheme. I only keep/buy what I love so my closet is lean, and I like it that way. My basics stay in my closet all year, and I supplement them with two seasonal wardrobes–spring/summer and fall/winter. 

The basic and seasonal wardrobes, once put together, can create endless outfits. Because I follow a color scheme that I love, everything matches everything else. If you’re curious about creating your own capsule wardrobe, Signe Hansen has an entire video on how to start. 

My Fashion Philosophy: CFEE

I never even had a fashion philosophy before I started capsuling, but being intentional about how I shop forced me to create a fashion philosophy. I summarize my fashion philosophy in four words: classic, feminine, easy, and a touch of edge. And ultimately all of these words must nod to the ethical and sustainable

CLASSIC

Channeling Audrey Hepburn’s timeless style is easier than you think!

The concept of classic elegance is something I value so much. Why? Because it’s timeless while at the same time being eternally interesting. Some of the greatest style icons of the Western world dressed in beautifully tailored yet effortlessly simple pieces (think of Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana—I could go on). Today, I’m heavily inspired by the quintessential French woman, and whether or not she actually exists, the concept of having well-constructed pieces that transcend time is one that inspires my closet. 

Jeans, a button-down shirt, and a good pair of shoes will never ever get old.

FEMININE

French Girl Style We Can't get Enough Of - STYLE REPORT MAGAZINE

Much of today’s fashion is androgynous, which I honestly love on other people. It’s cool and Scandinavian. However, I find myself maintaining an air of femininity in my closet. This manifests in the form of flowing silk blouses, pearls, the occasional ruffle or floral print, and of course, pink—I’ll never stop wearing a beautiful pale pink.

Fashion blogger and YouTuber Audrey Coyne does a fabulous job of constructing feminine and timeless outfits. She’s shaped my closet so much. And who can ignore Jeanne Damas? She’s the epitome of French girl fashion.  

EASY

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Ease is essential in any wardrobe created with the intention to last. Whether or not I’m intentionally avoiding the piece, I find that if wearing it makes my life harder, I just won’t reach for it. The paradox is that a truly easy piece probably wasn’t easy to find (in that I couldn’t just walk into the mall and purchase whatever I saw). Ease and wearability post-purchase require research and intentionality pre-purchase. 

EDGE

The leo flats are out 🐆💥 similar (mainly ethical) options can be found by screenshotting this image and opening it in the @liketoknow.it…

Edge adds an element of interest in a wardrobe that is mostly built out of classic and feminine pieces. Edge keeps me modern. Simple things like wearing a pointy-toe boot, having jeans with a frayed hem and layering jewelry create a subtle coolness that complements the altogether softness of my wardrobe. Signe Hansen and Anine Bing are my edgy inspo. 

A Quick Note About Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion

This capsule wardrobe journey has shown me the importance of caring about where my clothes come from. The documentary The True Cost reveals that the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world; it could easily be the least ethical industry as well. Caring about quality, the earth and people is something that I can accomplish based on where I shop. I’ve purchased 90 percent of my capsule wardrobe secondhand, and when I shop for new items, I always shop ethical brands first. I’m no expert in this, but every small decision makes a difference. 

So…

Building a wardrobe is an ongoing process, even a capsule wardrobe. However, capsuling has made getting dressed in the morning exponentially easier. I highly recommend checking out Signe Hansen’s YouTube channel. Now, I love putting outfits together, and I love talking about how transformative this process has been for me. Fashion doesn’t have to be hard.  

FPWTF: Reagan Perritte

FPWTF: Reagan Perritte

This series is called “Fashion Philosophies and Where to Find Them.” After spending time in many corners of the world, I constantly come back to how amazed I am at people’s ability to express themselves through something as simple as the fabric they wear. My contributors come from all over the world, and this is how they have shaped their own personal style as it relates to their identity. 


There are few things I love more than new clothes. I’ve been that way my entire life. Growing up in the South, there is some strange obsession with appearance and looking your best all the time. The Southern woman tradition is rooted in pearls, seersucker and smocking. I wore lace socks and a big bow to my sixth grade graduation. I never wore pants to church, and I had a new outfit for almost every holiday and special occasion. 

When I moved to Baltimore, the style seemed so backward. It’s like it wasn’t a priority at all. Now, after living in Washington for the last eight years, the trends here are so different from what I grew up wearing. 

Back to My Roots

My love for fashion started early, and I believe I was directly influenced by my Auntie Kathe. She lived in California–a completely different style than I had ever seen. When I was in elementary school, she started making me clothes, buying me really abstract/unique pieces and sending them to me in a huge box a few weeks before school started. It was my favorite time of year because I knew there would not be a single person that had what I was going to wear. 

I always wanted to look different, and I never really worried about what anyone else thought of my clothes. (Side note: once I got to high school, I learned that my friends also looked forward to the first day of school because they couldn’t wait to see what I would wear! I call that a success!)

My summers were spent watching TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” I practically worshipped Stacy London and loved putting together looks for my friends and family. As I got older, I worked at both Buckle and Cache, allowing my love for fashion and fashion merchandising to grow.

My Fashion Philosophy

Now that I’m an adult, a wife and a mom in my 30s, my style has evolved and morphed into something I am really proud of. I’ve been cultivating and streamlining my preferences and philosophy for a while based on career, practicality and trend. 

A classy, simple look.

I live by the motto “Clothes make the man.” Obviously I don’t believe that material things are the most important, but what I wear is important to me. My clothes say “hello” before I do. Before I even introduce myself, shake your hand or hear your voice, what I’m wearing has already done the introduction and given you an impression of me, whether I like what it has to say or not. That’s why I pay close attention to what I put on for every occasion. 

My Closet

Here are some general rules of thumb for my style.

  • My clothes don’t have stains and rips.
  • Tears are strategically placed.
  • I use an iron and wear a belt.
  • My shoes are clean, and my socks always match.
  • I don’t show my bra straps, and
  • I DO NOT WEAR LEGGINGS IN PUBLIC.
  • I buy shoes that I can walk in.
  • I do not own a single pair of backless shoes, (save for Birkenstocks). 

I know, I know. This seems uptight.

I sound like I’m walking into a boardroom executive meeting. 

But hear me out. 

I like being prepared. I’d rather turn down a lunch meeting than show up looking like a slob. I want to make sure if I run into someone I know (or have the opportunity to meet someone of influence), I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed. 

Sporting a classic blue jean + white button down combo.

Living out this philosophy has made me feel confident in any setting. Even if I don’t know what is going on around me, I look the part.

But let’s be real. It’s not always glamorous. I’m sitting in a Starbucks in a sweater, ripped jeans and high top Converse.

But still, what I am wearing today is comfortable to me. I feel confident and put together.

My Style Evolution: Classic, with a Twist of Lime

I like to say that I peaked in the age of emo. (Funny how music plays into fashion choices.) I played the bass guitar, listened to Evanescence and wore the thickest black eyeliner. I’d call myself a rocker, but deep down my love for a clean, classic look was always present. 

I have since called myself a mixture of Joan Jett, Kate Spade and a little Jackie O. Classic, with a twist of lime.

Grunge chic.

I love a good band tee, shredded jeans and Docs, but in the same breath, I’ll take an empire-waist, knee-length, sleeveless silk dress and pair it with stilettos. 

I would not necessarily say that I’m a trendy person. I like what I like and don’t really care if it’s on trend, goes with the Pantone color of the year, or if it was on runways during Fashion Week. I like pieces that will last a long time. Tried and true shapes and colors.

Sleek and stylish.

I’m a sucker for a white button up and crisp jeans with loafers or pumps. I tuck almost everything in. I like to mix textures. I love feminine and masculine paired. 

I have lived in Washington State for the last 8 years. The culture shock was real. I came to the state with flare, super low-rise jeans and Birkenstocks. When I looked around and saw every single female (maybe even male) with black leggings, t-shirts and flannels around the waist, paired with Doc Marten’s and a beanie, I went right back to my high school days. It was comfortable for me in more ways than one, but not “me”. When we would visit Tennessee, people would stare at us. I could just hear their eyes say “Y’all ain’t from ‘round here, are ya.” And I wanted to say “Yes, ma’am, we are. We just found another way!” 

I grew out of that phase really quickly. Almost immediately actually. My first Easter here, everyone wore black and jeans. It was then that I realized I couldn’t just conform to this fashionably laid back society. My Southern roots were still there.

The following Easter, I wore a green dress from the Limited and our little family of 3 was matching.

Picture perfect. 


To see more of Reagan’s style, visit her Instagram @reagan.perritte.

Be sure to subscribe to see more from this series! Looking forward to sharing these stories with you all.

Life Moves Too Slow

Life Moves Too Slow

I walk very quickly.

It’s almost impossible for me to walk at a normal pace.

I bustle through my tiny town like I’m rushing through the streets of New York trying to get on the subway before rush hour.

But I’m just going to the post office.

I can’t slow down. Ever. Even when I try to sneak off to the beach for a quiet moment or two, my mind is always right there pestering me with a thousand thoughts.

What needs to be done this week?

What are you cooking for dinner?

Have you gone to the grocery store recently? Wait, what do you need?

Do you have a to-do list?

Should you reach out to him/her? Why haven’t they contacted you? Do they even care?

This week on my way to work, I was deliberately trying to walk slow. It took everything in me. Literally. I clenched my fists. I strolled and sighed as I realized how much I missed out on by moving so quickly. I felt the crisp November air and smiled. November was a rough month, which is somewhat amusing because last November was one of my favorite months. I boldly determined it was the best month of the year. I was wrong.

It’s funny–in a somewhat melancholic way–how things change so quickly. You go from snuggling warm bodies and filling your days with laughter to walking alone on a windy, dreary day surrounded only by the company of the cars passing by.

The change of scenery and pace, however, was necessary for me. Had I stayed where I was, I would have become a shell of myself. My potential would have been trapped under the weight of former obligations. My new obligations, though exhausting sometimes, are nowhere near as daunting as dealing with the looming cloud of the former.

So, maybe life doesn’t move too slow. Maybe it moves at just the right pace, but I sometimes move too fast to appreciate that.

Five Things You Should Know Before Visiting France.

Five Things You Should Know Before Visiting France.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve been a Francophile. I grew up dreaming of going to Paris, decided to study French in college, and I currently call this beautiful country my home.

But if you’re planning on taking a trip here, there are some things you should know.

1. France isn’t Paris.

This seems simple, but the amount of times I’ve had someone ask me “How’s Paris?” when I live nowhere near the city is… astounding? Sad?

For anyone still confused, here’s a map of France.

Map courtesy of Mapswire.

See that little star? That’s Paris.

Mainland France has 96 departments, so there’s definitely a lot more to see than Paris. The French often consider the countryside more “French” than the city anyway. So there’s that.

2. The French are very kind.

Contrary to popular belief, the French are not rude. They just don’t like tourists. It’s nothing personal, really.

If you are planning to take a trip to France, simply avoid looking like a tourist. This means no super bright colors, no crossbody Kavu bags, and yes…no Chacos.

Oh, and maybe learn a couple French words to at least prove you’re trying. Knowing simple words like bonjour/s’il vous plaît/merci can go a long way.

3. When it comes to restaurants/touristy stuff, you pay for the environment.

Unlike the Americans chugging their Venti Starbucks as they rush out the door, the French prefer to take things slow.

But it comes at a cost.

Getting a meal à emporter (to-go) is cheaper than staying sur place. For example, a coffee could be 1 euro, but it will be 2.50 if you stay to drink it.

I’d recommend indulging the extra euro and just staying to enjoy the atmosphere. There’s truly nothing better than people watching outside of a café as you sip your tiny expresso.

4. Public transportation is your best friend.

Typically when I envision public transportation, I think of Elaine Benes stuck on the disgusting NYC subway and having a mild panic attack.

But in France, the majority of people use public transportation. It’s actually clean (yes, even in Paris). It’s also pretty affordable if you’re a young adult. Anyone under 26 is considered a youth in France and receives discounts on pretty much any public service (museums and movies included).

So don’t be afraid to hop on the bus, metro or train!

5. Prepare for late nights.

The French love their soirées. They typically don’t eat dinner until around 8 p.m. and meals last two (or more) hours. They eat and talk and eat more and talk and eat and are still somehow super skinny…

In short, don’t plan on the next day’s itinerary being jammed pack if you’re eating dinner with a bunch of French people the night before. After dinner and drinks are all said and done, you’ll probably be getting home around 1 a.m.


French culture is fun and wildly rich, so try to enjoy it in as many nonconventional ways while you’re here! Bonne chance!

Got more travel questions? Leave a comment below. I’d love to start doing some travel blog posts, so tell me what you want to know!

A Mini Rant That Could Probably Be a Twitter Thread.

A Mini Rant That Could Probably Be a Twitter Thread.

I don’t like ranting online. Mainly because my words are stuck here forever, and if I say something stupid, it will most likely come back to haunt me. But here goes nothing.

I’m seeing a lot recently about news media and news outlets not “letting us know” about things that perhaps should be talked about more.

Example: this morning, I got on Twitter and saw where a police officer from my hometown reached a plea agreement in admitting to raping three women who were in his custody. Disgusting, horrible, etc. BUT the person who tweeted the story said, “Why am I just now hearing about this?!”

That’s a great question. Why are you just now hearing about it? I heard about it last year when the investigation started. I read articles about it, even on Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the media has a great responsibility and power to choose the stories that get covered in the news. It is crucial that journalists are precise and balanced in their coverage of topics. It does matter.

However, I’m in the school of thought that we each have a personal responsibility to seek out knowledge and information, even when it may not be convenient or “available.” Because let’s face it: in the Information Age we live in, we have so much stuff at our fingertips. Save for classified government documents (and even those sometimes get leaked), you can research pretty much anything and find it. Public records are available all across the internet. We can even diagnose ourselves with some life-altering disease on WebMD in minutes. (Okay, that last part was a joke. But we all know some of us do that).

People just don’t look for information partially because we are lazy and partially because it is so overwhelming to sift through all of that.

Hence, journalists. We come in, find the information and sift through it, find the holes and where things don’t line up, and attempt to reconcile all of that into one cohesive story. We are not perfect. We don’t always get it right. But we don’t sit around trying to cover up certain “types” of stories. It’s more so a matter of determining how often to cover stories/investigations and where they are placed in the newspaper (and online).

In short, I guess my point is this: don’t blame journalism/reporters/news media for your complacency in seeking out information.