Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trimmed in Gold on a Shoestring

The dress, scarf, and boots are all from Amazon; the denim jacket is from Gordman's; the gloves are from Charming Charlie; and the bag is from Kohl's. Nothing in this ensemble cost more than $30 and every piece can be mixed and matched with other pieces to create multiple looks - style is not about how much you spend!
This  short-sleeved basic a-line dress in super soft cotton comes in a rainbow of colors and is just $29.99 on Amazon. It's medium weight - somewhere between t-shirt and sweatshirt material, and as comfortable as both. Though it's a bit mundane on its own, simple accessories in a contrasting color turn it into a style statement on a shoestring budget. 
The ruffled infinity scarf makes a statement, but it's very lightweight. Amazon has similar ones available here; The hat came from a little boutique in Austin.
Paired with a voluminous but light weight ruffled infinity scarf, belt, and bag in gold (all less than $20), the maroon all-weather staple becomes the base for a perfectly autumnal ensemble. I've also paired the dress with white, grey, and navy accents, each time creating an entirely new look with minimal effort. Don't discount what you can do with basic pieces and a little imagination, even on the tightest budget!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
I'm linked up with Hat Attack!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Jumping Geometrics

This wide-leg, geometric print jumpsuit was a $29.99 bargain from Amazon Prime, but I took it to my favorite tailor to make it a cropped-length, all the better to show off fun shoes!
Just days ago I was still enjoying bare toes, glorious coat-free Fall weather, and even a few "top-down" days, an usual but welcome late Autumn delight.
These Donald J. Pliner spectator sandals have been a favorite pair for years.
But, alas, a Winter blast confirms it's time to put away my favorite spectators and pull out the boots and scarves.
Velvet and crystal embellished sunglasses by MiuMiu from Revolution Eyes are a year round accessory.
That's okay. I'm thankful for the Indian Summer while it lasted, and I'm also thankful for the change of Seasons that makes me appreciate the beauty of each a little more!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Shoe & Tell! and Hat Attack!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

When in Texas...

I couldn't stop looking at this street art on the side of an abandoned building, and it kept looking back at me... Dress (Modcloth); Hat (Melrose Ave); the bag and boots were Austin finds.
Alright, alright, alright... When I stumbled on a set of bongos in an Austin antique store last week, I couldn't resist channeling a certain handsome Austinite. 
This bag is pure 1970s, made of thick saddle leather with a stag horn clasp and brass horse ornament. I found it at Charm School Vintage.
Unlike the infamous McConaughey incident, however, I kept my clothes on because, well, Red's Shoe Diaries is a fashion blog, after all (despite the similarity in name to that other, older diary about red shoes). 
I used a crystal embellished lace headband from Wal-Mart as a hatband to coordinate with the lace dress; the necklace is from the Limited. The sunglasses were from a grocery store (I've said it before, I'll shop anywhere).
And also because jail time in Texas (or anywhere for that matter) seems fairly unappealing...
The whipstitched leather "brand" on the back of my vintage bag is likely a maker's mark, though it could also be the original owner's initials (or maybe both). I love it!
The bongos wouldn't quite fit in my suitcase, but I did manage to find room for for a vintage, saddle leather bag and new boots. What else would one buy in Texas?!
Who says you can't wear white after Labor Day?...
With three days to wander the city solo, and because I'd been there before, I decided to largely forego 6th Street in favor of scouting vintage stores all over the city.
Allen's boot selection is unreal, and the smell of leather permeates the air in the most delicious way.
I also made a visit to Allen's Boots on South Congress, and it's a good thing my new boots from Old Gringo were made for walkin', because boy did I walk in them. 
The "eagles" on my Old Gringo boots are really hundreds of hand placed swarovski crystals.
No, really, when I say I walked a lot, I mean I walked A LOT, including too many times over the stinky bat bridge (which still reeks of guano despite the fact that bat season is over). Too bad I forgot my Fitbit charger...I guess that means none of my steps counted!
The swarovski crystals are a stark contrast to the weathered, ulra-soft goat leather.
I used this Vintage Guide to Austin as a rough map for my multi-mile scavenger hunt, which yielded the 1970's handmade leather bag, complete with stag horn "clasp," brass horse detail, and large whipstitched leather "brand" on the back, which is likely either the maker's mark or, perhaps, the original owner's initials. 
Bongos. In Austin... who could resist?!
The bag is one of my favorite vintage scores, made from thick saddle leather that has developed a gorgeous patina with age, with visible scratches that just add character. I wish I knew its history, but I'm thrilled to give it new life.
The streets of Austin are alive with artwork, fine dining and, of course, live music.
Wandering off the beaten path also resulted in discovery of a few fantastic restaurants, like The Soup Peddler (try the Mulligatawny if you ever go!) and some stellar street art. Thanks for the memories, Austin!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Visible Monday and Shoe and Tell!


Monday, November 14, 2016

The Little Red Dress Party!

Visions of Sun King and bling rings dance in his head... Put on your favorite red dress and join me on Friday, December 2nd for Tots & Paws - a fundraiser for the Hamilton County Humane Society and Toys for Tots! 
I make a point not to get political on this blog. It's a style blog, after all, not the New York Times. But, it's hard to ignore the past several weeks have been tough on this country. Recent events have otherwise perfectly reasonable, decent people at each others' throats, with some seeing red; others wearing red; some feeling blue; others wearing blue, and any combination of the foregoing. 
Red dresses, I've got a few... Everyone should rock a red dress, and Tots & Paws is the perfect excuse to put on yours! Get the details on these looks (from left to right) here, here, and here.
Politics and hurt feelings aside, I've got a reason for EVERYONE to put on a red dress (or tie, or socks, or porkpie hat) and beat the blues for a cause we can ALL get behind! Seriously, I'm talking about puppies and little kids, people! Who can argue about puppies and little kids ... so if you're local, put on your most festive red garb and join me at the District Tap on Friday, December 2nd for the second annual Tots and Paws Little Red Dress Party!  
Your red dress doesn't have to be "fancy" - wear what you love, whether its formal or just plain fun! Get the details on these looks (from left to right) here and here.
Tickets to this Friday night dance party are only $30 per person or $50 per twosome, with proceeds benefiting the Hamilton County Humane Society; and we'll be collecting new, unwrapped toys that will be donated to Toys for Tots. Did I mention the savory appetizers from District Tap; the complimentary tastings from Hotel Tango and Sun King; the hot DJ; and the raffle prizes and bling rings?! Get all the details and reserve your spot here - I'd love to see you!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Haunt Couture

All photos by Faith Blackwell Photography
I can't think of a better place to capture a few spooky photos of the latest in "Haunt Couture" than Crown Hill Cemetery.
The historical graveyard, founded in 1864, is the final resting place of luminaries like Booth Tarkington and Benjamin Harrison (the 23rd US President), as well as the notorious bank robber John Dillinger.
It's also on the way to Clowes Memorial Hall, the site of this year's L'Opera Ball, so we made a quick detour en route
The Indianapolis Opera's annual black-tie, costumed fundraiser on Halloween weekend inspired me to create this elaborate Dia de los Muertos look for two.
Most guests opted to complete their black tie ensembles with masquerade-style masks. I do love a masquerade, but masks are hot, and often interfere with your peripheral vision. 
My favorite, elaborate Venetian-style masks also interfere with eating and drinking...not ideal for enjoying an extravagant four-course meal.
Our Day of the Dead look, on the other hand, stayed put all night without discomfort. Well, maybe there was a little discomfort when it came time to remove it...I may have underplayed that aspect of our painted faces to KDef when he agreed to do it.
If you follow Red's Shoe Diaries, you know I'm all about the details. So, our sugar skull faces weren't the only skeletal elements in our ensembles.
The skull motif was repeated in my crystal ring and KDef's cufflinks. 
I also embellished my vintage 1940s hat with a skeleton hand broach creeping over my right eye; and a pair of burnished silver skeletal arms and hands (which began life as a necklace) cradled my updo.

One of my favorite elements was KDef's one of a kind scarf, which local designer Nikki Blaine made using fabric I designed myself on Spoonflower.com. I used an x-ray to create the subtle, repeating pattern.
Blood red satin on the back of the scarf complemented the pops of color in our shoes; my hat; fingernails; and lipstick (not to mention my hair). 
To be honest, I originally envisioned an all black and white look, but black lipstick is incredibly hard to keep fresh unless you avoid food and drink altogether.
So, the crimson accents were actually the result of my desire to do a practical (and Red's Shoe Diaries signature) red lip.
I was really happy with the end result, and think the color added a perfect pop of drama befitting the theatrical setting for the evening.
...And when I say theatrical, I mean that in the most literal sense. Eschewing the standard blase hotel ballroom, we partied instead on the stage at Clowes: eating, drinking, dancing and gambling late into the evening. A hauntingly defrightful night, indeed.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Hat Attack and Shoe & Tell!