Friday, December 31, 2010

Debuting Presents

I got this white coat from my step-MIL. She always gives the best presents! Did you guys have anything fun under the tree this year? Do you like getting presents or picking out items for yourself best?

Skirt: Self-made
Jacket: Maurices, gift
Shirt: J. Crew via Goodwill
Tights: F21, gift
Boots: Giusti via Goodwill

I liked how my makeup turned out today! You can't really see it that much, but I'm wearing this fabulous purple eyeshadow from Fyrinnae that I am in love with.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Four Ways To Wear Episode 14: Teal Shirt

The Candidate: A silk teal shirt

The Goal: A versatile, comfortable piece that will function in a work setting as well as at play.

The Results:
Shirt: Matty M via Plato's Closet
Skirt: Brass Plum via Goodwill
Tights: F21, gift
Boots: Giusti via Goodwill
Necklace: from a street vendor in Rome
Long sleeve shirt: Energie, gift

Shirt: Matty M via Plato's Closet
Long sleeve shirt: Energie, gift
Tights: Hue via The Rack
Skirt: Self-made
Belt: Goodwill
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill

Shirt: Matty M via Plato's Closet
Pants: AE via Plato's Closet
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill

Shirt: Matty M via Plato's Closet
Belt: Target
Dress: unknown via Goodwill
Shoes: Curfew via Goodwill

The Verdict: I love it! The color and shape work nicely into the rest of my wardrobe, the sleeves add a bit of luxe, and the silk material is divine. I was worried about laundering it--it says Dry Clean Only, which is do-able but not ideal--but after doing some research I think I will be able to handwash it in lukewarm water with baby shampoo and it will be fine. My only concern is how it will wear and if it would be able to travel. However, I scored it for $15 at Plato's Closet and paid for it with a gift card I have been holding for ages, so it was (basically) free! For that, I won't feel too bad using it as a 'test run' everyday wear silk shirt.

This is also replacing two similar shirts that I had previously but in cotton. For some reason, I was under the impression that I wore them frequently, but looking back through my blog I can only find one entry when I wore one of them! You can barely see it, but I wore it when I was showing off the suede Coach bag I won from 365 Fashion Rehab's no-shop challenge. I had two of these shirts--teal, loose-fitting, cotton. I guess they were the type of shirt that I would pull out, think about wearing, and ultimately put them back. I certainly hope that is not the case with this lovely silk shirt!

Do you guys have any tips for silk clothing? Have you handwashed any silk items, and did it turn out well (or not so well)?

Have you ever had any items of clothing that you thought you wore all the time, but it turns out you didn't? (am I the only person this has happened to? See, this is why I like having a blog--it helps support my failing memory!)


Check out my other Four Ways to Wear Episodes!
Episode Thirteen: Orange Tweed Skirt
Episode Twelve: Black Silk Shirt
Episode Eleven: Nude Sweater
Episode Ten: Cognac-Colored Boots
Episode Nine: Watercolor Silk Shirt
Episode Eight: Orchid Silk Dress
Episode Seven: Brown Full Skirt
Episode Six: Black Oxford Flats
Episode Five: Black Poncho and Cream Sweater
Episode Four: Safari Skirt
Episode Three: Red Sweater
Episode Two: Purple Embroidered Shirt
Episode One: Brown Pencil Skirt

The Pieces Are Greater Than The Whole

I debated posting this outfit, but it is, indeed, what I wore today. Something about it just isn't working for me and I can't tell what. Is it that the scarf looks too random, color-wise? There are not very many textures? My hair is looking limp? (this is true, not a question! haha) Today I was just running errands so it didn't bother me, but I can't quite put my finger on this one. I like all the pieces, but I don't think the whole is working. Thoughts? What flaws do you find in your ok-but-not-great outfits?

Dress: Martin & Osa via Goodwill
Scarf: Silk via Goodwill
Shirt: Energie, gift
Tights: F21, gift
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill

I do love this scarf, though!

Winding Up Winter

As my winter break comes to a close, I find myself both scrambling to finish my errands and chores as well as relishing the time to sit and relax. I am in the middle of approximately 34245465 books right now and have spent many an hour sitting in a coffee shop reading.


Shirt: Energie, gift
Scarf: Silk via Goodwill
Jeans: Martin & Osa via Goodwill
Boots: Steve Madden


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Get The Look of SLR With a Point and Shoot (a Tutorial)

You guys voted that you wanted a photo-editing tutorial (it seems so long ago now) and here it is! I use GIMP, a free photo-editing program you can download. It is comparable to Photoshop...only free, therefore I love it. :)

I will be showing you the basic method I use to get from this:

to this:

Now, I am definitely not a professional! This is just the way that I do. Also, if you have an SLR then you should not need this tutorial--you are already at the 'end' product that I made! I just can't afford an SLR right now, so this is the (long, complicated) process that I do.
*whew* Alright, ready to start?

STEP 1: Choose your photo
I probably take between ten and forty photos of each outfit and cull them until I am left with the top two or three. If I am going to post multiple photos of the same outfit, then the poses need to be sufficiently different for it to be worth it. I also try to post at least one closeup per outfit, although sometimes I have more and sometimes I have less. This is the photo I have chosen for this tutorial.

Notice the unflattering background? The dogs doing their doggy thing on the side? All of that will be going.

STEP 2: Crop the bejeezus out of it!
While the artsy photos are good sometimes, and some blogger make them look fantastic, I am just not there yet. I like a photo that shows my outfit--it is called an Outfit Photo, after all.

STEP 3: Increase saturation
It has been so dark and gray here in Big City that I am automatically upping the saturation on all my photos. This photo was taken around 3:30 in the afternoon and the sun was already going down, so colors were beginning to look washed out. If your camera captures color very well then you may not need this step, but I like it to add a POW to my photos. It's not super obvious here, but it makes a difference later on.

Step 4: Increase contrast
Here is where I want my darks to go darker and my lights to be lighter. Again, this is about developing my photos to be more than just shades of gray. If increasing contrast does weird things to your photo, such as washing out delicate details or making the shadows too dark, try playing around with the Curves feature (available under 'Colors' in the menu). Curves is a way to adjust specific shades of the photo (for example, all mid-range grays, or all bright whites) to be darker or lighter. You can do this independently of the other shades in the photo, which is very convenient. However, for this photo I just needed to up the contrast a bit.

STEP 5: Blur Background
To get the distinctive background blur of an SLR camera, I had to take a few steps.
1. Using the Magic Scissors function (in the toolbox), I 'cut' myself and a bit of the foreground out. The Magic Scissors function is pretty useful--it selects along the point of highest color gradient to 'guess' where the edge is where you are cutting. I select points every so often along the figure and the line 'magically' appears in between. I can then adjust if it 'guessed' wrong. I cut out the foreground as well because it is in the same plane as me, so with an SLR it will be in focus.
2. Once I go all the way around, I click again on the first point to close the circle.
3. Then I click in the middle of the object to select it.
4. Right click and select 'Copy Visible.'
5. Create a new layer and hit paste.
6. Select the bottom layer (the cropped image you started with).
7. Select Filters-->Blur-->Gaussian Blur. I usually blur it with Gaussian blur once or twice.
I know this sounds confusing, but if you practice along with a sample photo it will make much more sense! Basically what you have done is blurred the entire photo, but in the layer above this blur you have the cutout of you (and the foreground) pasted, clear and unblurred.

STEP 6: Blend, Blend, Blend!
Almost done! Now I compress the layers (Image-->Merge Visible Layers). At this point, however, you have a pretty strong line between the blurred background and the sharp foreground.
Out of the Toolbox I select the Healing Tool (it looks like two bandaids), put the opacity at 20% and adjust the scale (usually around 2 makes it the right size for me).
I hit Control and click in the blurred background right above the line between blurred and sharp. Then I smudge between the blurryness and the line. Because the opacity is around 20%, this will create a gradient from blurry background to sharp foreground.

STEP 7: Admire!
Yay, you finished! This might have taken a long time for the first go through, but with practice it will go much more quickly.

I am always on the lookout for more hints and tricks--does anyone have any great tutorials to point me towards, or any tips I can use? I am constantly refining my photo-editing technique!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vintage Daisy Accent

I felt so pretty in this outfit! I was running a long day of errands and I needed to be comfy, but wanted the energy and confidence of looking great. The boots are a perfect balance of both, and then I just piled on pretty sweaters, cozy tights and a fun pin until I got the right proportion.


I actually feel on top of all of my Christmas shopping--only a few last things to make, nothing even left to buy! This time last year I was scrambling.


How has your holiday season gone so far? Have you had to pile on the layers, or is it still mild where you're at?

My most recent find--a vintage daisy pin at Goodwill! I love the cuteness it will add to my outfits, plus I can use it to wrangle all of my scarves and layers in place.

Skirt: H&M via Plato's Closet
Sweater: J. Crew via Goodwill
Sweater: Unknown via Goodwill
Tights: Hue via Plato's Closet
Boots: Steve Madden
Pin: Vintage, Goodwill

Back With Bangs

Hi everyone! I am back from my (somewhat unintentional) hiatus! I am having construction done on my house and the internet ended up being out for much longer than I had anticipated. However, I am back and I GOT BANGS! They are actually quite a bit different than what I had envisioned, but at least hair grows relatively fast. In the meanwhile, I get to play with a haircut completely different than anything I have had before! :)



Still no Gorillapod, so you guys get to enjoy more of my (dismally unkempt) backyard!


A new silk scarf I found at the Goodwill when I was Christmas shopping! Hehe, I love finding little things for me when I am supposed to be shopping for everyone else...Plus, this is the brown/black neutral patterned scarf I have been looking for!

Dress: Julie's Closet via Goodwill Outlet
Longsleeve shirt: Gap via Plato's Closet
Tights: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill
Scarf: Goodwill
Belt: Chico's via Goodwill

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lost Gorillapod

Readers...I have a confession. I have not posted an outfit photo for almost a week now, and it has been partially due to the fact that it has been POURING rain and very dark here in Big City. However, it has mostly been due to the fact that I cannot find my Gorillapod. I am thinking that it fell out of my purse at the grocery store, or magnetically attached itself to something (the grocery cart? the bottom of my car?) and I didn't notice. I have spent four days looking for it and it is nowhere to be seen, and I have narrowed time the estimated time of loss to a period of about an hour, so I'm pretty sure I didn't just misplace it at home. I am hoping that someone will take pity on me and gift another one to me for Christmas, but as punishment for my negligence I will be without a Gorillapod until at least then.


This loss brings about a very interesting point, however. I functioned without a Gorillapod for many years, and kept up my blog without it for many months. Granted, I think my photo quality has greatly increased with the use of the Gorillapod, but I AM capable of functioning without one. So why did I completely halt my photo-taking during this period? Did I become so dependent on the Gorillapod in our short time together that I could not function without it? Or was taking photos merely the vehicle to use my new toy, the Gorillapod? I'm not sure.

Well, I finally bucked up and took my photos today the old-fashioned way, by balancing my camera on a small shelf and taking the photos in my backyard. They're not as pretty as they have been with my late and beloved Gorillapod, but you can see what I'm wearing today.

I went to a greenhouse this weekend!

Do you have anything you psychologically NEED to do an activity, even if said item is not vital to the activity itself?

Do you have any tricks to finding something that you've lost? Or any stories to commiserate with me? (Mr. P can tell you I have been sad and mopey about my missing Gorillapod for days now!)

On a brighter note--I made this skirt! You might remember this charcoal gray dress I wore a few times. I loved the material (a wool blend) and the pintucks on the skirt near the hem, but the top of the dress was bulky and never would lay quite right. So, I busted out my sewing machine, took out my scissors, and turned it into this cute little skirt. Not only does it change a hard-to-wear item into a very wearable item, but it fills my recent desire for another casual skirt!

Are you a DIY fan? Can you point me to any awesome projects you've done (for inspiration)?


Shirt: Merona via Goodwill
Skirt: Self-made
Tights: Hue via Plato's Closet
Boots: Capelli via Goodwill
Zip-up: Marmot
Belt: Unknown via Goodwill

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fashion Friend Friday: Are you connected?

Alright everyone, this is my first time participating in Fashion Friend Friday! The topic this week was 'Are you connected.' To see what other bloggers answered to these questions, check out this week's Fashion Friend Friday post on ModlyChic.

I also have one question to pose to you, my lovely readers! What can I do to improve the blogger/reader dialogue on Developing Style?

1. How important do you think reader connectedness is to the success your blog?
I think that reader connectedness is one of the most important pieces of a successful blog. I think that readers need to feel a connection to the blog, whether through a feeling of like-mindedness with the blogger, a good dialogue with the blogger, or something else entirely. When I am choosing a blog to follow, both of those pieces come into play for me.

2. What do you do to draw readers in and create that writer-reader bond?
I usually pose at least one question to the readers, whether it is to express their opinions, tell about an experience, or make a connection to something personal. I also almost always reply to questions and comments readers leave me in the comments on my blog! Finally, I love to participate in the dialogue on other people's blogs by leaving comments and relating something another blogger has said back to my life.

3. What is one way you could improve this connection?
I want to try to explore more new blogs--I have been busy lately and it hasn't been as much of a priority as it could be. I also loved hosting the last poll and would love to host another one to learn more about my readers!

4. Is there a blogger you think does a great job creating that writer-reader bond? Why?
I think that Scholar Style Guide does a fabulous job of talking about interesting issues and then posing thought-provoking questions. I always feel like I'm in a conversation when I comment in their blog. This is facilitated by the fact that they comment on my blog, and they are all so nice! :)

5. What do you do to cultivate new readers? How do you get them to your site in the first place?
I try to find other blogs that are interesting to me (and hopefully vice versa will be true!) and leave thoughtful comments. I also participate in blogging events, such as Kendi's 30 for 30.

Quick Update

Hi everyone! I am having some technical difficulties, so I haven't been able to post outfit pictures these last few days. I'm hoping to resolve my problems this weekend and post some outfits up then!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Featured Artist

This week's featured artists are Ryan and Lucy of Berkley Illustration. I have been a fan of their work on Etsy for awhile now and I wanted to share my love!

Their work is always whimsical, but with a crisp-lined appearance that is very appealing to me. I love the different animals they choose to feature and the relation between the clothing and the animals themselves. Plus, they use micron pens and Prismacolor pencils, two of my favorite art mediums to play with!

Isn't this cat just the MOST AMAZING THING EVER?! Yes, I do think so.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random Plummy Facts

The awesome S. of Narrowly Tailored tagged me for the ubiquitous seven random things meme, so here they are!

1. I love to travel and enjoy going backpacking in foreign countries with my husband. However, don't expect to see outfit pics when I am traveling since I usually just rotate through a few items of clothing for the trip (reason: I am a weakling and physically cannot carry a huge bag when backpacking).

2. I actually enjoy rainy weather...but I hate it when it is overcast and on-and-off drizzly. That is the WORST!

3. My kitten is both mentally challenged and also gimpy--she was hit by a car when she was small, so now she's very simple-minded and has bad vision, hearing, and three legs. But she's my kitty baby!

4. I am sort of a loner. I love hanging out with groups of friends, but think that being in a huge group of people I don't know very well is stressful. I am trying to get over this dislike by being more of a 'yes person.' This also creates an interesting problem given my propensity for travel and moving frequently...

5. I double majored in Biology and French and I love studying, especially studying science (organic chemistry? human genetics? yes, please!).

6. I have an unhealthy attachment to candy corn. And nerds. And coca cola. Besides those items, however, I really don't like sweet foods (besides fruit, which completely doesn't count). I would take plain yogurt over pre-sweetened yogurt, bread over cake, and veggies over ice cream (except sorbet, since sorbet equals fruit and fruit doesn't count! I have my rationalization completely worked out).

7. I am a complete organization freak. I cannot focus unless my space is clean and organized. I am also a huge fan of lists, so this meme works well for me!

A mushroom from a recent hike.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thirty for Thirty Overall Review


Click here if you want to see my review of the first third of the 30 for 30, and click here if you want to see my review of the middle third of this challenge.

Things that surprised me:

In the final third, my most worn item far and away was my pair of black Naturalizer leather flats, and not my black boots as in the first two thirds of the challenge. Why the shift?

How content I am with my wardrobe now. I feel like every piece has proven its worth and deserves a spot in my closet--if anything, I now feel more attached to each of my 30 items, rather than less attached.

I wear skirts 2/3 of the time...I guess that makes sense.

Apparently I can stand to invest a bit more money in cardigans and blazers, since only ONE DAY OUT OF THE THIRTY did I go without one or the other. (how did this happen?!?!)

I also wore a scarf 47% of the time. Hm. I thought it would be over 50% of the time, but I guess not.

I completely did not realize how seldom I wear each piece in my wardrobe. Out of these thirty items, there were quite a few that I only wore twice over the course of the month. When I only had thirty items to choose from! Think of how seldom I wear an item normally when I can choose out of my entire wardrobe, then factor in my seasonal wardrobe (for example, all of my summer-specific items are put away right for the cold-weather months). I wonder if I have quite a few items that are only worn a handful of times in a season.

How often do you think you wear a given item of clothing in a season? How many times do you think you wear each item before you donate it/toss it/let it sit in your closet for ten years and then donate it?

If you participated in the 30 for 30, what surprised you the most during the challenge?

Thirty out of Thirty


Wow. I can't believe this is it. I made it through this month and it seemed so speedy. There were some outfits that just struggled to be put together, such as this one with the blue tights, but there were other outfits, such as the one for today, that just fell together effortlessly. I knew I wanted to wear something fun for the last day of the challenge and I wanted to incorporate this peach J. Crew sweater, and everything else just fell into place.

The review for the last third of the challenge, plus my overall thoughts, will be up later tonight!

Skirt: Preview Collection via Goodwill
Tights: Gray F21 tights layered over Black Target tights
Shirt: J. Crew via Goodwill
Scarf: Unknown via Goodwill
Sweater: Unknown via Goodwill

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Twenty Nine Knuts to a Sickle

This is a backlogged outfit that I wore early last week. I liked how the belt really pulled the outfit together, from defining the waist to balancing the dark legs and feet. As we all have seen, time and time again, I am a chronic belter. What about you guys? To belt or not to belt?

Skirt: I.N.C. via Goodwill
Tights: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill
Shirt: Loft via Plato's Closet
Cardigan: Unknown via Goodwill
Belt: Unknown via Goodwill

Twenty Eight Days Later

I was disappointed this morning when I noticed I had a run in my stockings! These were from Target and have only been worn twice. Actually, the initial idea I had for this post was to talk about how I rarely wear them even though I bought them to be a basic neutral. Anyways, I was so disappointed! Only two wears, and a run on the heel and ankle? I still wore them for today because I was just running errands, but after this 30 is over I will definitely be going through my tights, tossing the ones with holes or runs and grabbing some new ones. I usually go for Hue, but I have also heard some good things about the Spanx tights (just in terms of durability, quality and warmth--I don't care about slimming down!).

Do you guys have any brands of tights you can recommend, or any brands I should avoid at all costs? What other items do you have that don't last as long as you think they should?



Tights: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill
Dress: Martin & Osa via Goodwill
Long-sleeve shirt (under dress): Gap via Plato's Closet
Cardigan: Unknown via Goodwill
Scarf: Self-made

Saturday, December 4, 2010

November: A Month In Review

Despite participating in Kendi's 30 for 30 challenge this month, I still managed to amass several purchases before the challenge started. What can I say, I'm industrious!

Peach J. Crew Knit Sweater: On my way to the fitting rooms at the Goodwill I saw this sweater hanging off the end of a rack. Without slowing down, my hand shot out, picked it up, and for $4 it came home with me. I love this sweater--the peach color is the perfect nude for me. While it's a bit shorter than I would like, I always wear it with a pink camisole (it is a loose-weave) which adds the perfect length.

Black Banana Republic Silk Shirt: This shirt is replacing a few basic black shirts that I have. It is not just a jersey knit, but is instead a silk blend and is luxuriously soft. I love the accordion pleating above the bust and the soft ruffles on the shoulder, and am hoping that it will never pill because of the higher-quality fiber content. It was $4 at the Goodwill (brand new condition too, haha!)

Black and Brown Cardigan: I made this out of a crazy, XL grandpa sweater I found at the Goodwill for $5. While I like the color (a mix of black and brown, emphasis on black), the length, and the overall fit, I wish I had waited for a nicer fiber-content. This is acrylic and is already beginning to pill. It's crazy, the difference between this material and some of my nicer materials. I do wear it all the time, but I am hoping to upgrade it at some point. In the future, good fiber-content will be one of my must-haves when buying a new item. It makes such a difference, with all types of clothing! Even my silk scarves are light years beyond the synthetic ones, in terms of warmth and softness.

Black Rain Boots: These were my most expensive purchase this month. Also from the Goodwill, these were around $20 and brand new. I decided to grab them because of a recent wet-feet-when-it-was-raining-SO-HARD incident, when I swore to myself that the next time I saw a good pair of conservative-looking rainboots for a decent price I would buy them. I literally purchased them the night before the 30 for 30 started, but have already worn them several times and am content with my purchase.

Conclusion: Despite being on a no-buy for most of this month due to the 30 for 30 challenge, I still managed to grab some nice items before the craziness began! My total this month was $33, which is good. I think my favorite item this month is a toss-up between my peach sweater and my black shirt. I love how they both are made from high quality material, they fit nicely into my wardrobe, and they are a little bit special. My lesson learned this month is that fabric quality is KEY. It is the reason why I love my favorite items, and it is what holds me back from truly loving my new cardigan. In the future, I will definitely be only buying higher quality fabrics, especially keeping an eye out for wool, cashmere, silk and leather.

I think it's also telling that all four of my new items made it into the 30 items for the challenge and remixed effortlessly. This is what I am hoping all of my purchases will be able to do!

How much do you usually spend on clothing in a month? Are you satisfied with that amount, or do you wish you could spend more/less?
What is the most important deal-breaker point you look for when shopping for clothing?

Interested in seeing other Month in Reviews? Here is October's Month in Review, and here is September's Month in Review.

Deuce Seven (Means Twenty Seven)

I love my hair up like this. I was iffy at first, thinking it would make me more milkmaid-in-Switzerland than I would like, but so far it has been a fantastic way to keep my hair out of my face in an unusual but cute way! TIP: If your hair isn't long enough for the braids to go all the way across the top of your head, make the pigtails start higher--you can see that my braided pigtails start above my ears, so they will be long enough to reach over my head. :)

Do you have any ingenious ways to put your hair up?



Jeans: Martin & Osa via Goodwill
Shoes: Naturalizer via Goodwill
Shirt: Tricot Jolie via Plato's Closet
Cardigan: Re-fashioned from Goodwill find

Friday, December 3, 2010

Twenty Six Cantons in Switzerland

I really wanted to rush through this week, double posting so I could go shopping right away this weekend...but then I decided that it would go against the spirit of the challenge. I have one backlogged outfit I have to edit the photos of, and that puts me at Monday being my last day of the challenge and Tuesday being my first day of freedom.


What is everyone going to do once the 30 for 30 is over? I am definitely going to grab the basic gray Hue tights I wanted to buy but did not, to replace both of my gray tights with holes in them. Then, it's hello, rest of my wardrobe! Funny enough, however, I am not extremely tired of my 30 items. I miss a few of the items that didn't make the cut, but I will not be avoiding these 30 items after Monday.


I will also be making a massive tour of the thrift shops that have been sorely missed this past month--not necessarily to buy anything (this month has definitely taught me that my wardrobe is sufficient) but just as a way to reacquaint myself with some of my favorite haunts. It's weird, but I feel like the 30 has just begun--it's unbelievable to think that it's been a month!

What are your plans?
Has this month seemed uber-long, or has it just flown by for you?
Are you itching to put on anything that is not one of your 30 items? Or would you be content to continue wearing the same items for awhile longer?

Jeans: Martin & Osa via Goodwill
Boots: Steve Madden
Shirt: Tricot Jolie via Plato's Closet layered over Underarmour via Goodwill
Blazer: H&M
Necklace: Spotted Moth via Giveaway