Holiday Shopping Vibes: Philomena & Ruth

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Holy cow, y'all. It's December. This year simultaneously felt like it crawled by and also vanished within hours. Luckily, the end of the year brings the holidays, and for a lot of people, that means SHOPPING. Shopping for others, shopping for yourselves, shopping for Secret Santas in the workplace. I really strive to support local shops when picking up goodies for people, and St. Louis has a huge variety of places for you to hit. Today, we're gonna talk about Philomena + Ruth!

Just across the river in Waterloo, IL, Philomena + Ruth is an eclectic store in a 100 year old building, complete with a pair of shop kitties that will keep you company as you browse. It's a favorite stop for accessories, household items, and more. From hand-rolled incense to eye-catching pins and patches, they've got just about something for everyone. Try to go in that store and not leave with your gift-giving game on point this holiday season, I dare ya. If you can't get to the store, you can order online, and now through December 15th, you can get free shipping on your order with the code NEWFREE at checkout!

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Now, when I say that this sweatshirt from Philomena + Ruth is the softest sweatshirt I've ever owned, I'm not exaggerating one bit. Considering I don't wear a lot of, um, athleisure... I don't have a ton of things to compare it to, except maybe my 8 year old band sweatshirt that I refuse to give up. But this blue, bleach-dyed number takes the cake. I slipped it on and woke my dog up from her nap with a "WHOA." 

I love that it's a little longer in length because my DNA played a cruel joke on me and left me with super short legs and a long torso. This size medium is the perfect amount of snug and roomy, and I'm looking forward to basically vibin' in it all winter long.

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I've been feeling all over the place lately with style and wardrobe choices, and that also bleeds into my makeup and beauty choices. I waffle between wanting to dress in an androgynous manner all the time, but also bend all the "rules" society set in place for presentation choices. I haven't worn nail polish in probably six months, but if I'm gonna go in, I'm gonna go ALL IN. Black nail polish calls for black lipstick, too. If you haven't heard about Lipsense yet, you might be living under a beauty rock because this brand is getting a lot of attention. This lipstick stays on for a long time, and when you want to wear wild colors like black, that's important. My friend Emily is a rep for Lipsense, and hosts a fun Facebook group here that you can join if you'd like more info as well!

Thanks to Philomena + Ruth for sending me along the comfiest sweatshirt in the world! 
And thanks to Allan Crain for the photos. 


Outfit Details: 
Sweatshirt: c/o Philomena + Ruth  |  Jeans: Levi's  |  Dr. Martens: Secondhand
Hat & Sunglasses: Red Fox Vintage, Portland  |  Necklace: May's Place  |  Lipstick: Lipsense

This post was sponsored by Philomena + Ruth. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

On Breaking My Own Big Rules

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The only thing constant about St. Louis' weather is that it's forever, always unpredictable. We just saw a wild November with both cold and warm temperatures, and I had a hell of a time keeping up with my wardrobe. One thing that made it even more difficult: I've officially sized out of a whole lot of my clothes. 

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Jeans are my safe zone, but finding denim that feels good on my body right now can be difficult. I've mentioned a bit of weight gain before on the blog, but I've officially hit my heaviest yet. The thing is: I love my body. I just don't love dealing with finding clothes that feel good on it. Most of my closet is thrifted and vintage clothing, but I'm having a hard time drumming up the right sizes on secondhand shopping trips. 

A rule I've basically lived by for nearly two years is this: I try to, within reason, only purchase secondhand, vintage, or USA-produced clothing, shoes, and accessories. 

The issue, however, is that eventually there comes a breaking point. 
And that breaking point is here. 

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at work and realized the waistband of my jeans was cutting into my middle so badly that I couldn't focus. I kid you not - I unbuttoned those suckers and went about my day. But it had become painfully clear I could no longer depend on my trusty, stretchy Agave skinnies to carry me through whatever the sweet heck my body is doing. 

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Because I'm still ballin' on a budget and desperately needed a pair of jeans FAST, I drove out to the county and purchased a brand new pair of jeans from Levi's at Simon Premium Outlets. I've mentioned the Outlets on the blog before here and here, and since I'm familiar with them, I felt confident I'd find what I needed. This shirt was also picked up new while visiting a Wildfang shop in Portland. I especially knew it was likely I'd find something to fit me at Wildfang as their brand is created for ladies like me. 

But, I try to stick to my guns as much as possible. Most of my closet is still secondhand. And living an eco-friendly life is still always a main focus. In fact, this perfectly granda-chic cardigan is a vintage gem from a brand spankin' new shop in town over on Cherokee. Thrift Gold has a great little space, with a pleasant variety of clothing and accessories to sift through. I even picked up a ridiculously neon Doritos-branded scarf. 

Being kind to yourself is always important. And while I take my commitment to being kind to my planet seriously as well, being happy and comfortable is just a smidge more important right now. 

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Photography by Dave Moore Photography
Fresh Haircut by Amy Sin at Union Barbershop.

Outfit Details: 
Jacket: Goodwill  |  Sweater: Thrift Gold  |  Shirt: Wildfang
Bolo Tie: Pop & Pop Vintage  |  Jeans: Levi's  |  Shoes: Coach, found at Avalon Exchange

OOTD: A Blazer, Boots & Bowood Farms

It seems that fall weather has finally descended upon Saint Louis for real. It's time to take advantage of my wardrobe fully because I'm a big, big fan of layers. I feel most at home with about 18 different items on my body at any given time - hence why I hate summer and its outfit-killing weather. Another thing I'm a huge fan of is a good, vintage blazer. I've been on the lookout lately for a few to rotate into my daily layers, and this Goodwill find is just the right amount of oversized.

Let's talk a little about transparency for a minute. I've mentioned before that I have moved in a direction where I personally am choosing to only purchase clothing items that are vintage, USA-made, or come from companies that focus on eco-conscious and sustainable efforts. However, that does not mean that my entire closet is full of these items. I have been living under these terms for months now, but there are still items that I wear that were purchased before this direction. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend regarding how we feel as though we must apologize for and acknowledge that a particular clothing piece came into our lives before we changed our tune. I've learned a lot of lessons this year, and one of them is that people will judge you for just about everything and a half. I worry that as I focus more and more on sustainability on the blog, someone will come crying out, "But those jeans you're wearing! You admit you bought them at Forever21!" I should not have to explain that some items are over a year old, and therefore pre-date my current direction. These boots also fall into that category. That does not mean I will cast them aside simply because they came before I woke up when it comes to the fashion industry's issues with sustainability. 

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This fun shoot happened directly after an absolutely delicious brunch at Cafe Osage in the Central West End. The Cafe falls under the umbrella of the Bowood Farms family - all in one location, you can eat an amazing, locally-sourced meal, shop gifts, or pick up plants of all shapes and sizes for your home or garden. I'd like to start being more of a plant lady myself, so you can bet I'll be back to do a bit of shopping. 

Photos: Abby Gillardi


Outfit Details:
Blazer, Sweater & Turtleneck: Goodwill   |   Jeans: Forever21 (old)   |   Earrings: Fable&Lore
Necklace: Thrifted, Unknown   |   Boots: Dolls Kill (old)   |   Glasses: Zenni Optical

OOTD: Secondhand Summer Fringe

Hi, lovelies! It's been a little quiet around the blog, but it's because some new things are brewing. I'm working on a new direction in my personal life that will bleed over into the blog, and although it's not an entire departure from my current ideals, it's going to be a serious focus. I can't wait to get more in-depth with that, but for now, here are some long-overdue photos from my darling photographer friend, Abby!

I'm sure I sound like a broken record when I say I generally avoid dresses, but this little tank dress gets worn pretty often during the summer. I scored it at Avalon Exchange last year, and it has just the slightest hint of acid wash, which speaks to my nostalgic love of '80s fashion. To up the interest factor, I layered this fringe shawl on top, which is just another way to hide peekaboo bra straps (my biggest pet peeve in the clothing world).

You've seen these sandals before, and they ended up being the only pair I've worn all summer. You should see the sweet tan lines I have going on now. I think I might do this every year - buy just one pair of nice sandals and wear the heck out of them. Black and white goes with everything, right? 

My addiction to shopping local comes through with my Fable & Lore necklace and JORD watch. I can't wait to have more Fable & Lore in my life - I plan to keep all my jewelry purchases from here on out from local or small shops. I'll cherish them more, and treat them better than $5 earrings picked up at the mall. 

My hair has since grown a little longer, but seeing these photos sure make me miss the super-short crop! Will I ever have long hair again? Who knows!  

Photos: A. Gillardi Photo

OOTD: The Truth Is Out There

My sense of personal style has a few perpetual themes (black, funky, vintage), but I often find myself inspired by things I'm studying, obsessed with, or just a fan of. I've always grown up with a fascination for the supernatural and other-wordly. Ask me sometime about my family's resident house ghost, George. I've got stories for days! Recently, I've been powering through The X-Files on Netflix, starting from the beginning. The '90s are super in right now, and I've been eyeballing all the trench coats Scully wears on the show. I coincidentally discovered this gorgeous, lightweight suede trench at Revive Thrift Shop just a couple weeks ago. My oversized SEE sunnies and White Pepper UFO clutch were just begging to assist in making this outfit a fully-fledged X-Filles theme.

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I spied this dress at the recent Green With Indie show, housed inside Parsimonia's mobile truck, Holly. I did a bit of shopping at the event and was trying to be frugal, but I couldn't stop thinking about this cute little number. I contacted Parsimonia's owner, Beth, and popped by to snatch the dress up for myself. It fits like a dream, and it's totally handmade! One-of-a-kind items are the best. It's also light linen, so as long as I have a slip underneath, it will be perfect for spring and summer. In line with more '90s pop culture, this dress reminds me of Wednesday Addams. I've always adored the rebooted movies of The Addams Family, so any chance I'm able to emulate one of the characters, I jump on the chance!

I stumbled across The White Pepper via Instagram, and popped onto their online store several weeks ago. As soon as I saw this bag, I HAD TO HAVE IT. Did you catch my post last week about flying my nerdy flag proudly? This counts. Now, if you watch Ancient Aliens at all like I also have, you'll know they try to attribute ancient writings and wall carvings to aliens on more than one occasion. This handmade choker by local jeweler Fable & Lore is called the "Glyph" collar, which reminds me of those carvings, also often called glyphs. Because even the smallest details don't escape me, I even included my "WTF" ring for good measure. WTF even are aliens? 

All of my stunning photos are taken by Abby Gillardi. You should hire her, too. Duh.
 

Outfit Details: 
Dress: Parsimonia Vintage  |  Coat: Revive  |  Shoes: Nordstrom Rack |  Sunnies: SEE Eyewear  
Clutch: The White Pepper  |  Choker: Fable & Lore  |  Bracelet: Michele Mohr  |  Rings: Various
 

Downtown Dates & Death in the Afternoon

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Happy Sunday, loves! Last weekend I met up with my friends Abby and Andrea for brunch at Death in the Afternoon. I've been waiting for a long time to finally make it to this hot spot - it's especially known for its take on ramen. Now, when I say I'm a fan of ramen, I have to admit that I totally grew up eating the instant ramen that comes in those delectable dehydrated blocks of noodles. This means that I was probably a little too excited to finally get my paws on a bowl of the fancy stuff! 

Death in the Afternoon is a hip joint in downtown Saint Louis, built almost entirely out of windows. It offers a great view of Citygarden, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of my experience. Our server was friendly, attentive, and polite, and took our questions about the food's ingredients in stride. Andrea and Abby both ordered the turnip miso ramen, and I ordered the chicken ramen. Holy moly, they were both so tasty. I'd love a bowl to myself of the turnip miso ramen next time. My few spoonfuls stolen from Andrea's order told me the broth was just the right amount of spicy for a wuss like me! 

After we ate ourselves silly and I downed a fabulously tasty and decorative Bloody Mary, we bopped around Citygarden and the streets of downtown on this unusually warm winter day.

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Citygarden has all sorts of public art for both visual and interactive enjoyment. One of my favorite pieces in the bunch is an unassuming pad in the ground. Dance Chimes, designed by Alfons Van Leggelo, is tuned to a form of scale familiar in folk melodies from across the world. I always stop to stomp on it whenever I am nearby. Andrea and I had a little too much fun making a complete and utter ruckus. 

Our weather this winter has been absolutely batty. The day we romped around after brunch was about 70 degrees, and now it's back to appropriate wintertime temperatures already. It's hard to dress for wacky weather like this, but I've been loving layering this poncho-style sweater over just about everything. Leggings, jeans, you name it! It keeps me just warm enough and I'm a big fan of the comfy-chic vibes. 

Over a month later, I still adore my fiery hair all thanks to Stephanie at Nova Salon. I had the color refreshed just hours before these photos were snapped, so I'm glad I was able to capture the cut and color in its most new form! Honestly, if you're in need of a new stylist, chase down Stephanie. She's magical. 

Photos by Abby Gillardi


Outfit Details: 
Poncho: H&M   |   Tank Top: maurices   |   Converse: Avalon Exchange   |   Bag: Gift
Leggings: Forever 21   |   Necklace: Rack + Clutch   |   Sunglasses: Dr. Jay's

Winter Wear Inspo: Totally Turtlenecks

'Tis the season to be chilly! Winter weather has finally arrived in Saint Louis, it seems. I've been layering up more and more, but I'm one of those perpetually cold people. I'm always on the lookout for one more way to stay just a tiny bit warmer, and turtlenecks have been on my list of go-tos this season. I've always been in love with them, especially the classic and clean look of the simple black turtlenck, à la Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film Funny Face. The options that rise higher along the neck keep the dread double chin from making too many appearances throughout the day, and the bigger, floppy cowl-shaped options offer an air of casual chic. Wear them tucked in, skin tight, or oversized - there's a silhouette for everyone. 

What do you think of turtlenecks? Are they too snuggly for you, or just the right amount?


Links: 
http://www.elle.co.za/london-fashion-week-street-style/
http://lolobu.com/set/60749
http://www.fashionmenow.co.uk/2015/03/opposites-always/
http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/Easy-Outfit-Ideas-37949068?crlt.pid=camp.nvifDV95TOsD
http://www.whowhatwear.com/spring-outfit-essentials-2014
http://www.tinestrange.dk/black-turtleneck-shirt/
http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/dressed/2015/09/15-fresh-ways-to-wear-a-turtle?mbid=social_pinterest

OOTD: Secondhand From Head to Toe

Last weekend I met up with the darling Michelle of Creature Type for brunch, thrifting, and photos. You might remember Michelle from this post about brunch. Damn. Secret's out. We have an addiction to Saturday brunches. The only treatment is more coffee and mimosas, right?! 

One way to work off the post-brunch blues of mass calorie consumption is to shop. After polishing off our tasty meals from Winslow's Home, we headed east on Delmar to Avalon Exchange. Y'all must know by now that I practically live at this shop. For a while, I was there selling clothes (and then using my credit to take more items home, whoops...) just about every three weeks. I know many of the employees by name now. It's pretty serious. You could say Avalon and I are going steady. Both the shirt and the hat I'm wearing in this post came from Avalon, in fact. 

I promised my friend Abigail that I would start sharing the brands of the clothes that I have thrifted or bought as vintage. You'll see those in parentheses in outfit details unless the brand is otherwise mentioned in the post's body. Thanks for the suggestion. You rock. 

These amazing platforms came to me by way of my designer friend Ryan Moore, who you just learned about in this post from yesterday. When I went over to his apartment to check out his studio, these Jeffrey Campbell beauties were sitting in his basement. I immediately shrieked over the patent leather upper. Ryan said that they didn't fit him and I was more than welcome to them if they were my size. They're slightly too big but I had inserts at home and voila! They haven't left my feet yet. 

As for these mom jeans... well, I originally thrifted them with the intention of cutting them into shorts, but I think I'll be leaving them this length. I find them to be really flattering on my legs, and I love the ankle-length. This shirt is labeled "Route 66," but I have a feeling someone screen-printed this for something else. It's perfect almost a crop top but not quite length, so it's great for tucking in. 

This label-less handbag was thrifted some years ago and it's finally trying to give up the ghost. I've been carrying it nonstop since August and it's falling apart. Goodbye, little leopard buddy!

Photos: Michelle Volansky

Outfit Details: 
Jeans (Vintage Gap): Thrifted  |  Jacket (Norton McNaughton): Thrifted  |  Vest (No Label): Parsimonia 
Platforms (Jeffrey Cambpell): Gift  |   Belt: STL Swap Meet   |   Hat, Bolo Tie, & Shirt: Avalon Exchange
 

Fall Transitions: Comfy Leather Luxe

I love, love, love clothes, but comfort level is also really important to me. When the darling Katharyn of the mobile boutique Kat's Closet reached out to me about sponsoring a few posts, I said yes please! I love supporting local ladies following their dreams, especially when they're in line with mine (fashion, fun, etc!). Cozy knitwear has always been a staple in my wardrobe, and this slouchy v-neck sweater from Kat's Closet is having a major moment in my life. I think the first few weeks I had it, I wore it about five times. It's soft and warm, but not too heavy. When I'm feeling a little sassy, I can pair it with a leather mini and just a bustier. For a more casual look, I've worn it off the shoulder with a black tank top underneath, skinny jeans, and black knee-high boots. 

I wear a lot of leather, but about 90% of it is second-hand, and it often gets all worn at the same time. I had been hunting for a pair of black leather, Western-style ankle booties for a while, and happened across these while thrifting. Jackpot! I love the pointed toe and sleek silhouette. They pair so well with this skirt Sarah of The Wicked Wallflower handed down to me last year!

We shot these images in Lafayette Square Park, which is a check-in point for the #STL66 campaign I'm a part of! Isn't it gorgeous?! I had no idea it was so pretty and had such a cute little pond. We had to fight off a bazillion other photographers that day, though!

Photos: Abby Gillardi
This post was sponsored by Kat's Closet. All opinions are my own.

Curious about this whole #STL66 thing? It's a rad contest with awesome prizes! Learn more:

Head on over to http://66reasonsstl.com/ to see the entire list of participating businesses, neighborhoods, and landmarks. After you’ve spotted your usual hangs on the list, pop on over to them and post about them on social media using the hashtags #STL66 and #contest to be entered to win 66 Months of Free Gas + The Ultimate St. Louis Experience. That’s FIVE YEARS of free gas! Holy smokes. The Ultimate St. Louis Experience includes all sorts of goodies, passes, and coupons to the best entertainment and food Saint Louis has to offer! Find all the details on the contest here: http://66reasonsstl.com/contest.html

Outfit Details:
Sweater: c/o Kat's Closet Boutique   |   Skirt: Secondhand from The Wicked Wallflower
Booties: Thrifted   |   Bustier: Victoria's Secret   |   Necklace: Thrifted   |   Sunglasses: NYFW freebie

Ridin' the Lightnin' in STL Summer Heat

Summer seems to have finally settled in around Saint Louis. After weeks of rain and otherworldly weather, the heat has arrived, and I find myself scrambling to find ways to not wear denim every day. I'm a jeans girl through and through! A look I've been loving lately is an oversized tee so long it can look like you're wearing nothing underneath, which means shorty-shorts are necessary. As you might remember from a previous post back in April, I've been narrowing down my personal look to a sort of loose homage to rock 'n roll style. What better fits into those parameters than a classic band tee? This secondhand superstar of a shirt is one of my favorite latest finds. I can't put a date to it, but a Google image search makes it appear less common than other Metallica shirts. Oh well, it's mine now! Metallica is one of my favorite groups. I remember hiding in my college dorm room, my headphones' level turned up to max, headbanging along to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" while working on some art school project or another.

One of the best parts of thrifting is finding something from a company you absolutely never shop at for a super amazing price. These slip on flats fall into that category - they're Lucky Brand and were $6 at Goodwill, practically brand new! This necklace is also a thrifty find - I still haven't decided if it's a bullet casing, or a weird lipstick pendant. At any rate, I like the way it looks paired with my mixed-metal earrings from local maker Sahgol Jewelry

You might have noticed that my hair is a little bit different. The last time I visited my magical hair mistress, Stephanie, at Nova Salon, we tried something new with my color. The hue is supposedly blacklight-reactive. How is that a thing?! I haven't had a chance to try out the claim, but I'm pretty curious. I'll be coloring it again in about a month because it needs to be looking fresh for NYFW! I'm actually coming up on 3/4 of a year of having blue or green hair. That's an accomplishment for me! I used to be so fickle with my hair color, and changed it about every three months. Maybe I'll keep this hair style forever. Who knows. 

Are you a band tee wear-er? Do you have any that you value more than others? 
Thanks to Allan Crain for the sweet snaps! 
 

Outfit Details:
Metallica T-Shirt: Rumors Boutique   |   Shorts: maurices
Earrings: Sahgol Jewelry   |   Necklace: Thrifted   |   Shoes: Thrifted