Meet the Models

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

24-Piece Wardrobe Fashion Challenge!

You guys, I've been so excited about this post all week long! I'm so happy to get to share it with you today, because it was soooooooo much fun to put together. Hang on, because this post is going to be long and VERY picture-heavy! (Also, apologies for the not-so-awesome photography... Tegan's gone home for a couple of weeks, and Elijah and Hannah are in America, so I had to wield the camera!)

My friend Clarisse Wells runs an amazing fashion blog called Clarisse's Closet that I fangirl follow. A couple of weeks ago she shared an incredibly helpful post about how to construct a great mix-and-match wardrobe out of a few key pieces that you can put together without too much difficulty or expense. Clarisse chose 24 pieces, including shoes and accessories, and presented three different 'remixes' of those pieces to create 28(!!!) different outfits. 

I thought this was nothing short of brilliant, and I wanted to see if I could do it too. So I asked 7 of my friends if they would model for me, and then I picked 24 pieces to serve as a mix-and-match wardrobe. I imposed a few restrictions on myself: 

1 -- I had to use all 24 wardrobe pieces in each 'round' of outfits.
2 -- I had to dress all 7 of my friends in each 'round', obviously without adding other pieces. The only exception to this rule was shoes; I only included 3 pairs, so some folks had to go barefoot.
3 -- The outfits that I put together for each friend had to suit their personal styles -- that is, they had to be outfits that that particular girl would actually wear.

With these restrictions in mind, I put together 21 mix-and-match outfits. If I hadn't had to dress all 7 friends each time, I could've mixed the pieces in different ways, but I needed to make sure that everybody was fully clothed! I did find that I could only create a two-season wardrobe out of 24 pieces, and I felt a lot better about this when Clarisse told me she had the same problem. We are thinking that we might try this again in a few months and put together fall/winter wardrobes too. Let me know if you think that would be fun to read about, okay? Okay! Here are the pieces I chose:

(Apologies for the X'd-out dress -- I chose that as my dress before I changed my mind in favour of the black dress, and then I forgot to take it out of the clothes pile, and THEN I put it in the photo. *facepalm*)

1 - Linen trousers (Lorelie Creations): They're cool, easy to dress up or down, and they scream 'summer'. I chose white linen trousers shot through with sparkly silver threads.         
2 - Lace shirt (Upbeat Petites): A lace shirt requires layering, which means you need another piece to go with it, but it adds instant style. It can be worn over camis, vests, or bandeaus, but it can also change up the look of a dress. 
3 - Jeans jacket (Sparrow & Wren Mercantile): A jeans jacket is good for cool evenings, and is a quick way to change up the look of simple pieces. If you have a lot of colour in other pieces, opt for a neutral-coloured jacket. I switched it up and went for this mint-green twill one.
4 - Basic grey vest/tank top (Upbeat Petites): Speaks for itself!
5 - Sleeveless dress (Anick's Boutique): One of the great things about summer is being able to pull on a simple, comfortable dress and look great all day. This dress is a variant of the LBD ('little black dress'), with pink and blue flowers.
6 - Metallic sandals (Lorelie Creations): All the shoes I chose for this wardrobe are sandals. It would probably be good to mix it up a bit more, but in the spring and summer, I just want to be as close to barefoot as possible. Metallic sandals can be dressy or casual, depending on how you style your outfit.
7 - Summer-weight infinity scarf (Purely Splendid): A scarf is a quick way to add a pop of colour to your outfit and give it a put-together look. This one has a variety of colours so that it matches as much as possible.
8 - Sun hat (AG Summer Accessories 2014): Cute, stylish, and practical, a hat is a great summer accessory. I chose a straw fedora.
9 - Bandeau top (QTπ Doll Clothing): Wear this under other tops, layering pieces, or even by itself if you're brave enough to bare your midriff. 
10 - Cropped leggings (Dolls 4 Jessica Designs): Leggings are always comfy, and cropped ones in a bright colour keep them looking summery. You can layer them with skirts, dresses, and long tops or cardigans.
11 - Neutral gladiator sandals (Dollicious Doll Clothes): Clarisse wisely chose knee-length boots for her wardrobe, but when the weather's warm, I think boots are too hot. I chose knee-length black gladiator sandals, which give the presence of boots but the coolness of sandals.
12 - White blouse (Sparrow & Wren Mercantile): Always a wardrobe staple, you can wear a white blouse alone, as a layering piece, or even as a jacket. This one is a cotton dotted Swiss top.
13 - Dark-wash jeans (Liberty Jane): Choose your preferred cut; I opted for a slightly relaxed cut. A dark wash is much easier to dress up than a light wash.
14 - Simple necklace (Lorelie Creations): Wear it with everything for a polished look.
15 - Dressy shorts (QTπ Doll Clothing): A pair of tailored shorts can stand in, when it's hot, for a dressy pair of trousers. You can even look for a shorts suit, which would allow you to mix and match both the shorts and the blazer. I chose these cuffed pleated suit shorts in light grey.
16 - Simple print top (QTπ Doll Clothing): A simple print, like the tiny black polka-dots on this collared sleeveless top, can mix and match with other prints as well as solids.
17 - Layering piece such as a waistcoat/vest (QTπ Doll Clothing): Another good way to change up the look of more basic pieces. Don't be afraid to layer a sleeveless waistcoat with a sleeveless top; it looks great!
18 - Colourful solid top (Liberty Jane): Looks great with any neutral or matching pattern. I chose a casual sleeveless vest/tank. This one is actually reversible, which lets it do double duty in my wardrobe, but I stuck to the fuchsia side for all these looks (I didn't want it to seem like I was cheating!). 
19 - Floral shell top (Our Generation "Play It Cool"): A shell is dressier than a knit vest/tank, and often a bit sheer. It's a great layering piece. This one is opaque enough to wear on its own even without a layer underneath.
20 - Long skirt (Cutie Pie and Me): There are so many ways you could go here! Choose a fun maxi skirt or high-low skirt. This one is very sheer indeed, which limits it to being a layering piece in my wardrobe; you may find it easier to choose one that can be worn alone.
21 - Colourful sandals (AG Weekend Fun outfit): Is there a non-neutral colour that seems to keep showing up in your outfits? Find a pair of shoes in that shade so that you can liven up your feet's wardrobe too.
22 - Knee-length skirt (Clarisse's Closet): Again, you have infinite options on this one -- colourful or neutral, dressy or casual, basic or outfit centrepiece. I had to pay homage to my girl Clarisse and choose this amazing gold and fuchsia sari wrap skirt. (I think I could actually use this inside-out, too, so that only the gold was showing, but I stuck with the sari side for this post!)
23 - Light cardigan (QTπ Doll Clothing): Spring days and summer nights can be cool, so it's good to have a cosy cardigan in your wardrobe. I chose this white knit one with grey textured stripes.
24 - Denim cutoffs (Liberty Jane): These are as essential as jeans in a warm-weather wardrobe. Choose a pair you love and you'll live in them.

Here are the looks I pulled together -- three sets of seven outfits.

Amy Jinn = 1, 3, 6 & 19
Honor = 7, 9, 17 & 24
Reilly Wren = 8, 12, 13 & 21
Vesper = 2, 4, 10, & 20

Rachel = 11, 15, 16 & 23
Quinn = 18 & 22
Eve = 5 & 14

 Honor = 2, 6, 9 & 15
Amy Jinn = 12, 21 & 22
Vesper = 3 & 5
Quinn = 8, 10, 19 & 20

Reilly Wren = 11, 16, 17 & 24
Eve = 7, 13 & 18
Rachel = 1, 4, 14 & 23

Rachel = 14 (though it's hard to see!), 19 & 24
Eve = 4, 10, & 23
Amy Jinn = 7, 11, 15 & 18
Honor = 1, 12 & 20

(Sorry about Amy Jinn's arm on the right side of this photo! I accidentally gave her the wrong instructions of what to put on, and decided I didn't much love her outfit, so I had her change it before I took the photo above this one!)
Quinn = 3, 13 & 16
Reilly Wren = 2, 5, 6 & 8
Vesper = 9, 17, 21 & 22

One thing I hope to do if I try this again is to take more risks with colours. I love wearing lots of bright colours myself, but not everyone does -- Rachel, for instance, almost never wears colours; she just likes black, white, grey, and navy blue best. Since everyone has such different taste in colours, it was very hard to pick a palette that would've suited everyone's preferences, so my wardrobe leans heavily on white, black, and grey, with fuchsia, blue, and mint as the accent colours.

Do you think you could build a summer wardrobe using only 24 pieces? Try the challenge for yourself! I'd love it if you'd share the links to your photos if you decide to give it a go!

If you'd like to see more individualized pictures of each outfit, here you go...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Secondary Colours, Center Stage

As promised, here is the second post of the week! Arpana's look today is a study in the secondary colours. Most people know that on the colour wheel, the primary colours are red, blue, and yellow, right? Well, the secondary colours are the ones you get if you mix together two of the primary colours. So, red + yellow = orange, red + blue = purple, and yellow + blue = green.

When Arpana showed me a new purple T-shirt she'd gotten and I saw how it brought out her hazel-green eyes, I thought it would be fun to put together a look that put the secondary colours on display. It gave me a chance to style a cute, simple, casual look that's quite different from the one Autumn modelled earlier this week.

Really, though, this outfit begins with this incredibly beautiful jewelled hair clip that once belonged to Arpana's mom Rushanara. Arpana remembers seeing her mom wear her black hair pinned up in it when she was little. Because her mom passed away a couple of years ago, the clip is very precious to Arpana. It makes her feel close to her mom whenever she wears it. She keeps it on top of her dresser, so I always see it when I'm in her room. It catches my attention because the shades of orange and green are so warm, but they're paired with cool silver rather than gold.

As soon as I saw this new T-shirt Arpana found, its sparkly silver mandala brought Mrs. Hassan's hair clip to my mind right away, and I wanted to pair them together. The mandala (which means 'circle' in Sanskrit) is a kind of spiritual symbol that you see a lot in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Arpana is Muslim; her family is Bangladeshi. While most people there are Muslim like the Hassans, Hinduism and Buddhism are both major traditions in Bangladesh, which is right next to India. Arpana has a lot of respect for both traditions, and a great love for their artistic styles. The denim cutoffs draw on the dark orange and topaz gemstones in the hair clip by adding another shade in the orange family.

Naturally all the accessories for this outfit had to be silver! I chose this chain-bracelet watch...

...and a pair of barely-there sandals with shiny silver leather bows. This outfit is sure to keep Arpana as cool as possible on these hot summer days.

Arpana's pretty eyes and the green leaves on the hair clip are all the outfit needed to round out the secondary colour palette.

Keep an eye out for a very special post next week, inspired by my fashion-blogger buddy Clarisse of Clarisse's Closet. I'm soooooooo excited about it!!!

Outfit details:
T-shirt: Everyday Dollwear
Shorts: MJs Doll Boutique 18T
Sandals: AG Grace's Sightseeing Outfit
Watch: AG Holiday 2012 Accessories
Hair clip: Vintage (I got it at the flea market in Englishtown, NJ, several years ago!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Old Hollywood Glam

I'm sorry this post is late, everyone! I promise right from the start to post twice this week, in order to make up for the lateness. Last weekend was very busy because it was the Headmistress's birthday, so of course we had to plan a bit of a celebration for her. Then Tegan and Autumn and I tried to get outside for pictures every single day this past week... but we never could, because it's been storming all week long! I was beginning to despair, but then a miracle happened: Tegan's birthday present finally arrived. Tegan's birthday is 25 June, but her mom's gift this year had to come through the post. What was it, you want to know?

STUDIO LIGHTS! How amazing is that?! Tegan's mom sent her a pair of the brightest, most official-looking studio lights you've ever seen. So of course Tegan immediately set up an amazing photo shoot for Autumn, who's modelling for this post, and Arpana, who's modelling for the one I'll post in a few days. Tegan says the style of photography you'll see in these posts, which relies on the play of light and shadow to create drama, is called chiaroscuro (kee-ar-uh-SKOO-ro). The word is a portmanteau of the Italian words chiaro ("clear, bright") and oscuro ("obscure, dark"). As a painter, Tegan tells me she had in mind old paintings by Rembrandt -- chiaroscuro is also sometimes called "Rembrandt lighting" -- but to me, it looks like a colour version of those beautiful noir photos of glamorous old-Hollywood starlets. Either way, this might be my favourite shoot that Tegan's ever done... and we didn't have to go outside in the steamy heat and rain! Hooray!

For Autumn's outfit, I wanted to choose something that would really contrast in a cool and striking way with her ginger hair. I meant to have this post up shortly after 4 July, American Independence Day, so I decided blue and white would be a good pairing for Autumn's red hair. Well, I missed the 4th, but I'm just in time for 14 juillet -- Bastille Day, a patriotic day for France. Conveniently, their flag is red, white, and blue too (and of course so is our Union flag here in Great Britain!). Isn't this toile-print frock simply smashing?

We pinned Autumn's hair up in a glamourous roll, and wrapped a navy-blue flower around the roll. The flower, of course, echoes the blue roses on the frock, and the rolled hair sort of calls to mind a cosy little nest for the dress's birds.

The pearl at the center of the flower echoes the pearl-and-crystal necklace and bracelet set that Autumn is wearing. I chose this set because it continues that glamourous style, but also because of how the necklace's shape echoes the neckline of the dress. (Seriously, could anyone be more beautiful than Autumn is in this photo? I don't think so! Those green eyes!)

Finally, we chose some navy strappy sandals. I thought about going glam all the way and choosing strappy patent-leather heels... but the truth is, we don't seem to have any at the Bruton School! I found a couple of pairs of kitten heels, but they just didn't feel right. Besides, Autumn said she probably would've fallen in them and broken her neck, and that's really not what I'm going for on the blog, lol. These sandals make this look quite wearable for a day out.

Outfit details:
Dress: Sparrow & Wren Mercantile
Sandals: AG Julie's Patchwork Outfit
Necklace & bracelet: catsandme-isthree on eBay
Flower hairband: That's Lolli
Studio lights: StudioPRO via

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Festival Flowers

So, do you remember how I told you guys a couple of weeks ago that Elijah, Hannah, and Honor were going to the Glastonbury music festival? Hannah modelled her Glastonbury look in that post. Well, the festival was this past week-end, and they did indeed go. They weren't able to get tickets to see Kanye West, but they got to see lots of other people. Some of the performers they saw included Hot Chip, The Libertines, The Charlatans, Parliament/Funkadelic & The Family Stone, Frank Turner, Flying Lotus, Belle & Sebastian, The Staves, and Hozier. I didn't see them on Friday, but when they got in on Saturday night, all three of them were sunburnt to a crisp but happy as larks! They agreed that the festival was muddy and incredibly hot and crowded and stinky and awesome. I had to laugh... it's not my scene, but I'm really happy they had fun!

Before they left on Friday afternoon, I got Honor to model her Glastonbury look for the blog, too. This was her first music festival, so she dressed up a little bit more than Hannah did. She really looked beautiful!

Honor built her look around this floral stretch lace high-low dress. Because it's completely sheer, she wore an aqua tube top and a pair of grey-and-white striped shorts underneath. With all the flowers and sparkly accessories, everything about this outfit says summer!

There's probably nothing that says 'summer music festival style' more than a flower crown. Honor borrowed this dogwood crown from Tamsyn (you may remember seeing Tamsyn wearing it in an earlier post!). For her jewellery, Honor chose a silver and faux pink pearl necklace and a pair of tiny aqua crystal studs. 

Honor has thick, straight, slippery hair that won't hold a curl no matter what you do to it. She was disappointed when she tried to curl a few pieces at the front and they just fell out straightaway. But she compromised by pulling the side pieces back and clipping them, along with the flower crown's band, with this scrolled silver clip with aqua and green crystals.

Honor said she thought about just wearing a swimsuit under the sheer dress, but she decided she felt too under-dressed that way. Hannah also pointed out to her that, if the dress got itchy or was catching on things too much, Honor could always take it off and just wear the shorts and tube top. I thought that was pretty smart! The sandals are simple, comfortable, and sturdy enough to stand up to a bit of Glastonbury mud.

Not even the summer sun was as radiant as Honor was at Glastonbury this weekend. Hannah, Elijah, and I all agree, she nailed her festival look!

Outfit details:
Lace dress & tube top: This set came from my lovely friend Sabine before she opened her Etsy shop, Moi Aussi Designs
Shorts: Closet 4 Chloe
Sandals: AG Julie's (original) Meet shoes
Flower crown: Fleur18 Studio (I'm so sad she's decided to stop selling her designs!)
Earrings: Claire's Boutique
Necklace: An anklet from JCPenney
Hair clip: Thrift shop

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Peaches and Cream

I love working with my friend Kinneret on posts for this blog. She's an actress, so she's not intimidated by the camera at all. But more than that, I love working with her because I always learn so much. I've mentioned before that Kinneret's style is heavily influenced by the Japanese mori style.  I really don't know much about mori style, but Kinneret is fantastic at putting together outfits that suit her. I know what looks good when I see it, and Kinneret's style always works so well for her.

The big challenge with today's outfit was to put together a look that is mori but not too hot. Mori style tends to employ a LOT of layering, and it also tends to be a fairly conservative style that covers up a lot of skin. In this weather, though, it's just too hot to drape all kinds of stuff all over yourself. What's a mori girl to do?

I picked out the cotton floral sundress -- mainly because I am in love with those pintucks -- and asked Kinneret if she thought she could build a look around it. The answer to the layering dilemma turns out to be lace. Kinneret reminded me that you can layer all kinds of lace, and it's rarely hot, because it's more air than fabric. The knotted-rope sandals continue the natural colour and are made from natural materials.

What you're seeing under the sundress here is a nearly-sheer pleated peach skirt. It looks like a slip, but it's a skirt. The interesting thing is, when Kinneret pulled it out of her closet, I immediately pictured a very Mad Men-era outfit, with a fitted short-sleeve white angora sweater and a mint green silk scarf tied around the neck. I would never in a million years have imagined using it as an under-layer for a sundress. And Kinneret didn't stop there -- under the skirt she added a pair of cream silky knee-length shorts. Everything comes together in a flowy, feminine way, thanks to the pastel colors and all the lace. Speaking of the lace....

I really thought it was going to be overwhelming, having three different lace patterns (with the lace scarf worn as a sash) so close together. But the patterns and scales of them are SO different from each other that, when I saw the overall look, I didn't feel like they competed with each other at all.

For this look we pinned Kinneret's hair up in a very loose messy bun. It may seem like a cream and peach outfit is an odd choice for a girl who has pink hair... after all, pink and peach don't match at all! But somehow... and I can't even explain it... it all comes together into a unified soft, dreamy look.

Finally, I want to acknowledge that yes, Kinneret's earring is crooked in the first picture and the one above. GRRRR. Neither Tegan, Kinneret, nor I noticed that it was crooked the whole time we were shooting, until the very last picture! So, just to show that we did actually fix it for one shot, here is the last photo of the shoot:

Outfit details:
Floral sundress: Maddie's Girls (still available as of this posting!)
Pleated skirt & lace scarf: Peltra's Closet (scarf still available as of this posting!)
Knee-length shorts: Doll Tag Clothing
Sandals: Hannah's Dress Up (still available as of this posting!)
Earrings: 2 Sisters Sew Crafty (still available as of this posting!)