Library Day

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High Neck Top with Pleat Detail: ASOS | Black Pleated Skirt: Banana Republic | The Billie Boot: Madewell | Turnlock Tote in Crossgrain Leather: Coach | AMANDA Wide velvet belt with studes: Maje

About every two weeks, Sangbin and I go to the midtown library branch to pick out books to read. I read mostly non-fiction, while Sangbin prefers Science-Fiction. You can check out the books and magazines I’ve read recently on my Pinterest, here.

Today on our way to the library, we saw part of the Pulaski Day Parade on fifth avenue! It makes me so happy to see so many different backgrounds come together and celebrate cultural events like this one. When we got home, I listened to a Curious City episode called, “The Making of Polish Chicago,” while cleaning the apartment.

So…a little bit about this look: I’m really glad that the weather has cooled off because it means I can comfortably wearing long sleeves and skirts again! Sangbin has never really been a fan of this skirt, but I think it’s so fun that I try to find new ways to wear it every year. Admittedly, I usually only wear it once a season, but I want to change that. I actually bought it because it reminded me of a skirt a girl I went to school with wore during a photo shoot we were working on. Her look was almost identical except that the skirt was a little bit shorter and she wore it with black flats and glasses.

I think black and white looks so sophisticated together, but I decided to dress down this look a little bit with my Billie boots and velvet belt.

Sangbin and I have so many exciting things planned for October, so hopefully we’ll have a lot more fun outfit posts in the coming weeks! I’m taking vacation (for the first time this year) later this month and am looking forward to filling all my time with New York adventures!

Hope you are all doing well!

XXXO Maria

LITTLE BLACK DRESS – STYLED 3 WAYS

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Look 1: Dress: BrassTurtleneck: Madewell | Lace-up Flats: Banana Republic Bag: CoachNecklace: Ann Taylor | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Look 2: Dress: Brass | Bag: CoachLeopard Smoking Slippers: Madewell | Vintage Gold Watch: Bulova | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Look 3:  Dress: BrassLeggings: Under Armor | Platform Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Since starting my Capsule Wardrobe about a year ago, I’ve become picky about what gets added into my collection. However, when Brass approached me to feature one of their dresses on my blog I figured it would be a great opportunity to show you guys three different ways you can style their A-Line little black dress.

How I wore it in one week: Twice to work in mid-town Manhattan and once over the weekend hanging out in NoHo.

The good:

  • I was stopped by a stranger (for the first time) who wanted to take a picture of my outfit featuring this dress. I was so surprised I didn’t realize the girl following me yelling “excuse me!” like five times was for me. (p.s. I’m suddenly inspired by her to have a New York street style section on this blog…)
  • The quality of the material is excellent and lays very well. I have no fear that this dress will last season after season. I hate buying a piece of clothing and then having to ditch it after a handful of wears due to poor materials and construction.
  • The pockets are so subtle, but completely functional! (the perfect size for a phone) which is ideal for me because I hate carrying a purse everywhere, but also feel the need to carry like 10 things with me at all times.
  • I can wear this dress in a professional setting and still be comfortable. (I’m talking to you post-lunch food baby)

The bad:

  • I say this knowing that it’s probably just me, but I personally am not a fan of the wide neckline because I’m afraid people can see down the dress when I bend over.  I also feel like if I don’t have perfect posture, the dress makes an unattractive crease in the bust. I compensated for that by wearing a black turtleneck under the dress in Look 1.
  • I got the dress in an XS and it still seemed a little large to me (especially in the sleeves) – not a huge deal because I generally like loose dresses, but I wish it was a little more fitted, especially since I’ll wear it to work so often.

I’d recommend this dress to someone:

  • Just starting a Capsule Wardrobe – you probably need a black dress like this if you don’t have one already, plus it’s a great piece to practice styling in multiple ways!
  • With little children – it would definitely hide most stains and since the material is so durable, it would survive a lot of washes.
  • Who’s great at layering (or accessories) – this is basically a blank canvas for you to work with.

 

If you have this dress (or end up purchasing it) please tag me on Instagram with how you styled it, so I can see!

Lots of love,

Maria xxo

5 STEPS TO BUILD A CAPSULE WARDROBE

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What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A curated collection of clothing (usually consisting of 30-40 items) that can be easily mixed and matched. A Capsule Wardrobe should be personal to your style and contain two-three base colors and one-two accent colors.

5 Steps to Build a Capsule Wardrobe 

1. Inventory what you have already

Set aside some time, put on some good music, and go through your entire existing wardrobe. I’ve been doing this step of the process since I was 14 and always start really strong (as you can probably guess, it’s not too hard to throw all your clothes from the closet to your bed), but then quickly lose steam once I realize how much work it’s going to be going through them. :p

A few tips – it really does help to put some good music or do this with a friend. I once had a FaceTime session with a friend going through their makeup and beauty products…it took forever, but was a lot of fun. 🙂

Once you’re throughly overwhelmed by all of the clothes you didn’t realize you had, remove items that don’t fit you, or don’t make you feel good. Make a pile and add clothes that have tears or flaws that you’re not willing to have fixed or aren’t your style anymore. You should a pile ready to be donated or thrown away now.

Be as critical as you financially can afford to be at this stage. If you really hate everything you have, but can’t afford to replace everything at once, just remove as much as you can – sometimes it’s better to build your wardrobe slowly because your additions will be more thoughtful.

2. Look for trends in your existing wardrobe

Review what’s left. Do you notice any trends? Do you gravitate toward certain colors or textures? What do your clothes say about you? Are they mostly appropriate for work, school, or events? Are they a mix of multiple. Is there anything that you need that’s missing from your wardrobe?

3. Build your base

Choose two to three colors to be the base of your Capsule Wardrobe. Typical base colors include: black, brown, tan, gray, and white.These should be colors that can be mixed and matched interchangeably. Your base is what will make getting dressed everyday easier because you won’t have to worry if pieces go together.

It also allows you to focus more on incorporating your accent colors and accessories to your outfit, which in my opinion are way more interesting and specific to an individual.

My base colors are black, light tan, and light gray.

  • Black: I work in an office in Manhattan and most people dress in black at work. I also think my blonde hair looks sophisticated against black clothes.
  • Light Tan: It’s a few shades darker than my complexion and hair color. I like the way neutral monochromatic colors look together. I think it brings out the color of my eyes  and texture of my hair.
  • Light Gray: For days when I don’t want to look as intense as a full black outfit can look on me, I opt for a gray based outfit.

4. Choose one-two accent colors

These should be colors that you are drawn to and make you feel confident.

If you’re not sure where to start, think about people you know who’s look you really like. What colors do they wear? Do they have a smilier complexion or hair color to you? It also helps to pay attention to color against complexion and hair color. I don’t believe there are any definite rules, but you may notice that you feel more confident wearing some colors or cuts of clothing against your complexion and hair than others. Start to take note of what works well for you.

If you’re still not sure, don’t worry about it too much. Seriously, if you pay attention you will figure it out over time.

My current accent colors are sky blue and blush.

  • Sky Blue: I saw a woman in the office wear a sweater in a beautiful powder / sky blue color and decided I had to incorporate it into my wardrobe. I found a dress in that color and was thrilled to discover it looked really beautiful against my hair and complexion, although I actually think the color would be flattering against any complexion. This color also looks great against my base colors.
  • Blush: Ok, so everyone seems to also be in love with this color right now too, but I think it’s because neutrals are so popular right now and it’s basically a really feminine neutral.

5. Invest in quality pieces

Look for stores that sell high quality clothes made from good fabrics and well constructed. This can be really tricky and expensive so be sure to take your time and do what works for your situation. It’s better to take your time and invest in pieces that you love and will last a long time than to haul a bunch of clothes that will fall apart after several wears. Because a Capsule Wardrobe is a refined collection (generally 30-40 pieces) you’ll be wearing the same pieces more often than you’re probably used to.

Tips to building a Capsule Wardrobe:

  • Don’t feel like you have to do these steps in one day. This is a process that is ever changing. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect.
  • Be observant. Start paying attention to what people are wearing and ask yourself lots of questions to help understand what your style is and why you like certain things better than others.
  • Don’t get discouraged! I promise you can do this and keep it up. Give yourself time and think of it as a project rather than something that’s done once.

Style Worksheet #1

Your style is generally just a collection of repeated looks you know how to do and are easy for you to put together. Take some time to think about what you’ve noticed and feel comfortable in. The questions below are an exercise to help you discover what your style is – there are no right or wrong answers. Don’t take it too seriously. Take it several times over several periods of time. I’ve included my answers to help you get started!

What colors look best on you?

Black, light tan, light gray, sky blue, blush

What materials do you like best?

Wool, denim, sequins, chiffon, cotton

When was a time you felt really great in an outfit? Where were you? What were you wearing?

Last Easter, a church with massive stain glass windows, a light blue chiffon dress covered in sequins and beads. Probably wasn’t the best choice for other mass-goers because I was  a human disco ball reflecting light EVERYWHERE. It’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever worn, even more than my wedding dress.

Why do you want to build a Capsule Wardrobe?

Simplify my life. Also…there’s no space for my midwestern wardrobe in New York City.

BROOKLYN

 

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Coat: Zara | Turtleneck: Madewell | Jeans: Madewell | Lace up Flats: Banana Republic

This is a really comfortable look perfect for weekend exploring. I love the high waisted jeans (for some reason they seem so much more comfortable??) because I think they make me look a little leaner. This wool coat from Zara has been a live-saver in keeping me warm (for the most part) on chilly NYC mornings. I absolutely love the way it drapes and how it looks great with my business clothes as well as a pair of jeans. Finally, I think the lace up flats lighten the look up. I love the way I look in all black (especially a turtleneck!) but sometimes I think they make me look a bit too intense. Because this coat seems to be inspired from a classic men’s wool coat, I think have the ballerina-esc shoes makes it seem a little less serious.

A woman approached us in the subway and told me that her sister had a really similar pair of these shoes back in the 80s that she wore to a bar mitzvah that she originally got at Banana Republic. She was amazed when I told her that mine were from there and that they’re in stores now! Small world. 🙂

Normally, I don’t sleep in too late on the weekends, but this past Saturday I woke up even earlier than normal (5:30am!!)  Sangbin and I had talked about going to the Brooklyn Bridge park the past week and wanted to take a walk at dawn. We live in upper Manhattan, so it takes us ~50 minutes to get to DUMBO, meaning we would have to leave at 6am to make it in time for the sunrise.

Maybe if I had done a little more preparation on Friday night, we could have left at 6am, but that didn’t happen! I usually underestimate how much time it takes me to get ready. It was around 8am by the time we got to DUMBO, but because the days have been getting longer, it didn’t look like morning anymore! It was nice being able to walk around the park with only a few runners.

We grabbed some coffee in DUMBO after taking a walk in the park, but it was still too early for any of the stores to open, so we went to the Flatiron District to walk around.

I had a gift card for Madewell, which I had been planning to use on a new pair of sunglasses (I pinned my favorite ones here). Sangbin tried on glasses with me and picked out a pair for himself as well as he’s thinking about getting contacts!

We went to brunch with a few friends at an Alice in Wonderland themed tea house. Everyone ordered scones, pots of tea, and french toast. Sangbin ordered a burger. 😄

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Maria xx

 

 

 

 

HOW I STYLE OVERALLS

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Overalls: Madewell | Lace Up Flats: Banana Republic | Bag: Fossil | Eyeglasses: Warby Parker

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Overalls: Madewell | Blouse: Madewell | Blush Leather Flats: DSW | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Overalls: Madewell Shirt: American Apparel Backpack: Fjall Raven | Sneakers: Adidas SuperstarSunglasses: Madewell

I got a lot of looks, which I’ll attribute to the overalls since they’re not too common in the city yet. I decided to get a looser fitting pair because it’ll be easier to wear multiple layers making them work for spring, summer, and fall.

Lots of love,

Maria

24

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Dress: ASOS | Coat: Zara | Shoes: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: My dad’s (I think from CVS?)

Growing up I watched a lot of “I Love Lucy,” which I really think was the driver for me shopping at vintage stores and Goodwill in my teenage years. I love how elegant even someone as goofy as Lucille Ball looked in day dresses from the 1950s.

While shopping at vintage stores, I ran into a lot of beautiful dresses, but they were always (1) too big (2) damaged beyond simple repair (3) distinctly musty – which by the way, definitely didn’t stop me from buying and wearing them. I think we all go through an awkward phase in our teenage years with clothes. Mine just had a serious “I just rummaged through my grandma’s closet” feel. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

I share all this to say that when I saw this dress on ASOS earlier this week, I knew it was the dress that Teenage Maria would have died for. It’s a beautiful sky blue color  with a boat neckline and elegant knot tie on the waist.

Unfortunately, I discovered this dress in February and it’s definitely too cold  to wear something like this today when it’s 30 degrees, (you can totally see my leg goose bumps) but I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I’ll absolutely share other ways to style this dress once it gets warmer, because I’m getting tired of strangers coming up to me and asking me if I’m cold. (If you’re cold – I’m freezing!)

In other news, tomorrow is my 24th birthday! After taking pictures in Washington Square Park, Sangbin and I went to Little Italy to have brunch and picked up the most beautiful yellow roses (you can see them on my Instagram). Sangbin’s birthday is a few days after mine, so we usually celebrate them together. No plans yet, but I’m sure they’ll be lots of sweets. 🙂

Maria xx

BRYANT PARK

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Turtleneck: H&M | Skirt: Banana Republic | Flats: H&M | Bag: Coach | Necklace: Ann Taylor

When I was in college I studied photojournalism. One day, I was in the photo studio with a fashion student working on a project and I just fell in love with her outfit. She had a long pleated black skirt, with black tights, and flats and a pair of Chanel glasses. I thought she looked so elegant, but casual at the same time.

This outfit is inspired from her. My skirt is a little longer and my glasses are a different style, but I definitely did feel elegant wearing this in Bryant Park today. The weather was so amazing…I can only imagine how lovely New York will be when it gets a little warmer. 🙂

Originally, we were planning on shooting our Apartment Tour video today, but it was such a grey day that the lighting wasn’t what I wanted it to be for the video. Hopefully, we’ll get to shoot it tomorrow and it should be up in a few days.

Have a wonderful week, friends!

Maria xx