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Off-white Blazer with Pink SweaterÂÂ
While riding the bus home from myÂÂ Adobe PhotoshopÂÂ class atÂÂ Santa Monica CollegeÂÂ I saw an attractive man in a brown zippered sweater, beige pants and brown ankle boots on the seat opposite me.ÂÂ
"I like your ankle boots," I told me.ÂÂ
He initially seemed self-conscious then he told me, "They're from a thrift store. I'm an artist, so I can't afford to spend a lot on my clothes."
Wearing an off-white linen blazer I bought fromÂÂ Ticktocker Timeless TreasuresÂÂ awhile ago, a pink pullover sweater from A New Day/TargetÂÂ and a pair of brown corduroy pants fromÂÂ Forever 21ÂÂ I knew how he felt about trying to dress well on a budget, especially in Los Angeles. But with a little time and skill it can be done, regardless of your location, budget or size.
Brown Corduroy Pants with White Sneakers
Inspiration for Today's Outfit: Ease
Happy that the weather's getting warmer, and the flowers are coming out again, this outfit was inspired by the two new books I'd just bought at the book seller's stand atÂÂ Kaiser-Permanente'sÂÂ Magnolia Table, a collection of recipes for gatheringÂÂ by Joanna Gaines andÂÂ You Can Draw,ÂÂ the two magazines I bought with an African-American on the covers ofÂÂ InStyleÂÂ andÂÂ GQÂÂ and my magazine subscription toÂÂ California Apparel News, Victoria, US Weekly, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Fudge,ÂÂ andÂÂ Vanity Fair,ÂÂ and my need for something soft and comfortable following a day spent enduring a long procedure for lupus at the hospital.
Ultimately I realized like art, fashion inspiration is everywhere, and I know L.A. can be the center of it all if you're in the right place at the right time.
Blue and white striped Ralph Lauren shirt and red bead necklaceÂ
Now that I'm embarking on my third week back to school/work at my day job as a Special Education Instructional Assistant forÂ LAUSDÂ I'm more prepared to incorporate my current influences into my daily wardrobe. Over the summer I happily immersed myself in a more "put together" era, through Debbie Sessions' historical 1950s style guides viaÂ http://www.vintagedancer.comÂ and the book,Â The GownÂ by Jo Ellison, I'm reading for theÂ Fashion Book Lovers GroupÂ I'm in, onÂ http://www.goodreads.com. Despite this reality hit, and the hectic initial schedule of the fall semester beckoned, forcing me to contemplate how to wear something comfortable, sturdy, attractive and individualistic.
If I looked at the unofficial dress code for the part of the city I work in, I'd have skinny, pre-distressed jeans, leggings, tight slogan tees, pajama bottoms, short shorts and furry slides to choose from. If I incorporated my new '50s inspirations, however, with the trends I saw inÂ Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and the new magazineÂ FudgeÂ I'd just bought atÂ Kinokuniya Books,Â I could definitely sidestep these overdone trends and come up with something more unique and personalized.
Freudian Book Page Party Decorations
Learning Can Be Fun: Monday Week 1
With that in mind, I combined the old with the new and started my Monday with a brown and white swirl print jacket fromÂ Goodwill Thrift StoreÂ over a red plaid shirt fromÂ RossÂ and a pair ofÂ MossimoÂ jeans fromÂ Target.Â To give it that '50s edge I accessorized the outfit with a yellow and brown retro print scarf tied as a doo rag around my hair, a strand of pearls and a pair of black cat-eyeÂ shades.
FIDM Tote Bag
Settling In: Monday Week 2
Contrasting the form-fitting elan of last Monday's ensemble, my mood became increasingly relaxed as I entered the second week, and I chose to embrace the structured jacket +Â flowy pant look of the fifties, by coordinating a navy-blue blazer with a white button-down men's shirt and orange and white polka-dotted tie-front pants fromÂ Kohl's.Â Accented with a skinny navy-blue polka-dotted scarf, fromÂ FallasÂ I also introduced a touch of Prada into the mix.
Black Out Poetry by Victoria Moore
Gettin' Real with Gangsta Rap: Monday Week 3
In homage to another one of the books I'm currently reading,Â Original gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, And The Birth Of West Coast RapÂ by Ben Westhoff, and the more rock 'n' roll side of the fifties, I'm wrapping up my third Monday by wearing a black David Dart jacket, black and whiteÂ Straight Outta ComptonÂ tee, and gray corduroyÂ 7 for All MankindÂ pants I found atÂ Council Thrift Shop.
Elegant and timeless, the confidence these tried and true garments gives me during one of the most trying periods of the school year reminds me that although we don't live in an era as coordinated and polished as the fifties we can still learn how to inject as much elan into our current styles and project as much style.Â
#lausd #fifties #debbiesessions #rossdressforless #fallas #councilthriftshcop #prada #style #goodwillthriftstore #kohls #gangstarap
Victoria Moore wearing a pair of dark shades, a white button-down shirt and red bead necklace fromÂÂÂ Kohl's.
A Good Idea: Catalog Inspiration
One of my former classmates at CSULA, where I obtained my B.A. in Fashion Merchandising, told me she loved catalogs because they showed her how to coordinate her wardrobe.
Initially, I thought this was a waste of timeÂÂ until I learned how to use them that way myself. I even discovered that it helped me select the perfect items when I was ready to buy.
ThroughÂÂ our simple conversation, she actually taught me a valuable ÂÂ lesson, "Even if you're on a budget you can still learn how to dress well by looking at beautiful, well-made clothing and accessories."
The other day, when I was examining myÂÂÂ Gorsuch catalog for ideas,ÂÂ I realized I could recreate a lovely layout by staying within a white, beige, brown and blue color story. From my wardrobe, I choseÂÂ an oversized pullover sweater, a pairÂÂ of wide-legged pants, a print boho top, and a pair of jeans. Attractive and unique, my new looks were even more valuable, because all they cost me was a little time.
#catalogs #fashion coordination #CSULA #jeans #budgetdressing #wardrobe #boden #victoriantradingco. #hotterusa #gorsuch #aprilcornell #kohl's
A Colorful Experiment
Two days before the last day of my work/school year, surrounded by my new clothes fromÂ UniqloÂ and my old standbys, I contemplated the choices. Should I shock my co-workers and wear the brightly colored floralÂ MarimiekkoÂ x UniqloÂ tee and burgundy and white print pants I'd ordered online or play it safe with a white button-down and a pair of khakis?
Staving off stress from impending exhaustion brought on by a tough semester I chose the former. In this colorful gear, I hopedÂ I could disappear into its lushness and forget about how challenging it was to struggle dailyÂ in an environment overwhelmed by "achievement gaps" and other issues.
"How do you like my new outfit?," I asked one of the male teachers as I tap danced over to him on the playground where we were supervising our classes. "It's from Uniqlo!"Â
A fellow clothes horse who modeled a pair of light blue denim jeans fromÂ H & MÂ and a shirt fromÂ UniqloÂ for me, the day before, he said, "Wow! It's really cute."
Predictably, the looser fit of both pieces garnered double takes from the other female T.A.'s who favor skin-tight garments, but I just chalked that up to cultural and aesthetic differences and patted myself on the back for my sartorial bravery.
The Next Day
At 4:00 a.m., when I awoke, on my last day I knew it was going to be an arduous six hours of office work, cleaning, and packing up. Something old, stylish, and dark enough to brush off dirt easily was required.
First I chose a black and white polka-dottedÂ H & MÂ shirt I bought atÂ Goodwill Thrift StoreÂ awhile ago, then my black and white pinstriped Norma Kamali blazer and vintage Levi's. Accessorized with black suspenders and a beige, black and white striped silk scarf, I was able to remain chic no matter how hard I labored.
When I finally walked out of the school, at 2:30 p.m., and faced a Summer free of academic drama, I reminisced over the past few months. On one side, I was happy that my second semester inÂ Academy of Art University's Fashion Journalism MA program ended with passing grades, and I'd recently been published in the May/June 2018 issue ofÂ VictoriaÂ magazine, but on the other side I was sad about the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
As I headed into a new chapter of self-discovery, I knew the things I'd learned on this tough road, would help me grow in the future and give me a clearer perspective whether it had to do with how I lived or what I wore.
Lupus Day Collage 2017
When I was diagnosed with lupus in 2008 I never thought the day commemorating its awareness required us to wear purple. Next to pink and orange, purple is my favorite color. Any time I see purple or lavender clothes or accessories, that appeal to me, I buy them. Among my current collection I own a lavender dress from Ross, a purple and white granny square sweater and a pair of purple corduroy pants from Sacks SFO.
Purple Floral Bracelet Set
During the early part of the '80's I wore an over-sized purple Fruit of the Loom sweatshirt, turquoise cords and purple bowling oxford shoes, then in the mid-'80's a purple velvet jumpsuit. And now that I realize the shade is not only lovely it's also meaningful it's even more significant to me.
Purple velvet chiffon jacket
Spirit Day an event created by LGBT support groups in Canada, and sponsored by GLAAD, to advocate anti-bullying and inner spirit, was the first occasion I really went all out as one of my co-workers affectionately called us purple fans, as "a purple people eater," to raise my flag for the color and awareness. Even though I'm not gay, I am against bullying of any kind and support others in whichever way they choose to live their lives so when I was officially asked by the office of the school I was working at to wear the hue, head-toe, I went to Council Thrift Shop, bought a velvet chiffon jacket, then coordinated it with a vintage green, purple and white floral top and my purple cords once I got home, for my outfit.
Lovely Purple Rings
Lupus Awareness Day was a little more personal for me, but every time someone complimented my outfit-a blue floral Kenar blazer, over purple shrug, green and white floral A-line top, and purple cords I felt they were becoming more enlightened and learning that purple can represent something beautiful.
Effective Ways to Wear Purple
Book Slogan Pins
Ever since I was about four years old I've been in love with books, and to this day, I rarely leave home without one or two in my tote bag. As a child I loved the Madeleine and Curious George series and of course anything by Dr. Seuss. Later, in second grade I read The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas (Scholastic Children's Edition) at Baptist Elementary School, then at Manhattan Place Elementary School I read one of my favorite books, Sounder. My teachers noticed my passion, and how even dictionaries and encyclopedias fascinated me, and asked me to tutor other students who were struggling with reading. It didn't matter that I was only in the third grade, they still wanted me to help the fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
In 1973, when I started Orville Wright Junior High the two books that influenced me the most were The Diary of Anne Frank and Summer of My German Soldier. The incident that really brought those stories home to me was when my history teacher's son visited our class and told us about his father's experiences in a concentration camp during World War II. Up until then I'd always thought our teacher was unnecessarily strict, but when I discovered what he'd survived, he and the books became a more significant part of my education then.
In 1976, when I started Westchester High School, we had the choice to read two classics-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Even though I chose the latter, I still read David Copperfield on my own and have a deep fondness for Dickens and his commitment to social reform. At this time I was becoming an active reader and books were really starting to inspire me. When I took a cake decorating class in tenth grade, and we had to make a doll cake, I was reading Gone With the Wind so I decided to make a green and white dress in homage to the one Scarlett O'Hara wore to the bar-b-que at the Wilkes's when she met Rhett Butler for the first time.
Other books that influenced me then was a book my mother lent me, Five Smooth Stones, and Interview with the Vampire. Through my English classes I also developed a love for short stories and fondly remember being shocked and thrilled by the surprise endings of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and A Rose for Miss Emily by William Faulkner.
My mother, an avid reader then, gave me two books I still adore Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
Sartorially books dictated how I dressed once I went to college. After reading Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein and George Plimpton I immediately started dressing like Edie. Despite being African-American, and middle class, I'm as thin as she is with a small face, so I felt comfortable imitating her mini skirts, tights, pointy shoes and big earrings as I raced from class to class at SFSU and partied at the I-Beam, Stud, Echo Beach and other clubs. Like Edie, I love to dance, so in that way too we're alike. When my best friend, at the time, found out I dressed like Edie in San Francisco, he suggested we dress up like her and Andy Warhol for Halloween. So that night, in Hollywood, I put on my black and white checked mini skirt set, black beret and pointy shoes and hit the L.A. streets as a Superstar once again.
Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin have also affected my look, and I've dressed as both a beatnik and a bohemian writer for Halloween as well. Now, as a Los Angeles-based fashion/feature writer who also works as a Special Education Instructional Assistant for LAUSD my literary taste runs to Children's and Young Adult books, non-fiction, fiction, mysteries for the Mystery Book Club I belong to at Mar Vista Library and fashion for the Fashion Book Lovers Group I belong to on www.goodreads.com.
Currently my taste has been pretty eclectic and I'm reading two mysteries and a non-fiction book-The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Follow Her Home by Steph Cha and A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston.
As my lifestyle, job and interests continue to direct my literary choices the one thing I'll always know for certain is that a book is always a friend and worthy companion.
My Book List for 2017
I wanted to look nice for my last class in the lecture series From the Elegant to the Eclectic Design Icons of the 20th Century at Santa Monica College, so I went to Style X-Press in Culver City, California and bought a spider encrusted rhinestone bracelet and leopard bangle for under $10. I knew I had to be comfortable because it takes three buses to get there and it's a three hour class, so I decided to coordinate the jewelry with a vintage pink blazer I bought at Daniel Freeman Thrift Auxillary in the 1980's, a pink wraparound cardigan sweater I bought at Council Thrift Shop, a light pink tee designer Gina Ellis gave me from her Prayer Haute Couture line and my favorite vintage Levi's that've been distressed from years of wear.To balance the outfit out even more I wore a pair of vintage black men's shoes and a hat.
While I thought I looked comfortable and laid-back, I got so many compliments on my outfit, I knew I'd made the right choice.
Victoria Moore in the 1980's
If I compared retail and shopping to the mid-1980's, when I worked as a salesperson at The Broadway Department Store at the Broadway Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, to today's scene, I'd have to admit the industry has suffered immensely due to a rewriting of the rules that have resulted in numerous store closures, job losses, and a dirge of sartorial creativity.
Despite this economic set-back, I still enjoy shopping and feel hopeful about retail's future.
Hitting the Mall!
My tap shoes
The Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday I decided to treat myself to a movie. Not just any movie, mind you, but one of my favorites, Singin' In The Rain! Dedicated to Debbie Reynolds, who'd recently died, I was sad the character Kathy Seldin would be part of her memorial. Still, "the show must go on", and at 65, I knew everything would proceed as scheduled. When I first started tap dancing, over 10 years ago at Santa Monica College, my first tap teacher Mark Mendonca told the class "Gene Kelly was his idol". As I watched the film all of his signature phrasing came back to me.
The Big Screen
Before Moses Supposes came on, I reached across the empty seat to the woman sitting there and whispered, "I love this routine. It's my favorite." I almost told her learning it is at the top of my bucket list but she shocked me into silence by saying, "I don't know it. This is the first time I've ever seen Singin' In The Rain." "Really? I've seen it about 100 times. I look at it every time it comes on TV," I told her. "I tap and it's a good way to learn new steps." After the final scene ended, I asked her what she thought of it. "It was really cute!," she said.
Homage to a French Girl in Navy-blue and White
Beige trench coat over white button-down shirt and navy-blue wide-leg pants
For the occasion I coordinated a classic, but laid-back outfit, my new wide-leg navy-blue pants, a white turtleneck, and my beige mini trench coat. I'd just ordered the pants, online from H&Mhttp://www.hm.com for Christmas, and as soon as I tried them on I wanted to show them off. At the last minute I changed my mind and replaced the turtleneck with a white button-down shirt, accessorized with a blue and gold French themed scarf and vintage navy-blue beret.
I wish I could say I was the creator of this ensemble, but I copied it from an ultra-chic French girl who was in a fashion illustration class (FASHN 9A) I took last summer at SMC. Overjoyed by this reintroduction to the world of fashion , most of my fellow students dripped with so much elan I was continuously inspired. Among the plethora of artistic offerings the signature floor-dragging men's pants and over-sized button-down's of this fashionista attracted me the most. At around 5'6", model thin and wonderfully disheveled I immediately noticed how elegant she appeared in contrast to the hyper sexualized jeans, leggings and tight tops I see on a daily basis.
Beige and white outfit with sketches and sticks that were used as inspiration
To top off my excursion I stopped at Forever 21 before catching the bus home. Lured in by a large yellow 30% off Sale sign I ran to the Sale rack and found the black, beige and burgundy bomber jacket I'd been eyeing online priced at $15.99. With the further mark down the total, before tax, was $12.59. While meandering through the accessories I also found a jeweled owl ring, rainbow pin and retro looking emerald, purple and gold butterfly pin, for under $20!
Slowly making my way home, after another satisfying day at the mall, I was happy I could contribute to the further success of retail with my purchases and support.
Illustration of Victoria Moore in sleeveless pink and orange Giraffeeey print shift dress. Illustration drawn by Victoria Moore
From the moment I saw the ad for Lilly Pulitzer for Target in Vogue magazine I knew I had to go down to my local Target and score some Lilly.Bright, vibrant and as fun as I remembered from my childhood in the 1960's and 1970's, when I originally fell in love with her, the thing I most enjoyed was being able to purchase her merchandise at an affordable price.
Previously, when Prabal Gurung designed dresses for Target, I went to their Sale department and bought three of them. Recently I also added a Marimekko for Target Kukkatori floral tunic and a set of decorative blocks and Adam Lippes' wonderful red and beige plaid poncho, blue and white checked short-sleeved blouse and knit men's cap to my collection, when he was their collaborative designer.
Despite Gurung, Marimekko and Lippes, my Lilly experience became a part of modern retail lore that I never thought I'd live to see. The fact that it included practically all the seven deadly sins and good old-fashioned generosity and sympathy made it profoundly memorable.
Lilly Pulitzer for Target halter top in Sea Urchin for You print
My Shopping Wish List
Advertised as an event that you had to RSVP to online, I prepared my shopping wish list a couple of days before and wrote down everything I wanted to buy before xeroxing out the pictures and adding short notes and prices, that would help me purchase my selections once I got to Target. The pieces I wanted most were:
After preparing my list I carefully chose a comfortable, but stylish outfit to wear to the event, a gray DKNY tie-front cardie over a gray short-sleeved top and black and white checked leggings.
Victoria Moore in the halter top and a blue A-line denim skirt. Illustration drawn by Victoria Moore
Even though I live close to my local Target, and it only takes one short bus ride to get there, I'd rarely visited before my Lilly journey. Departing around 10:00 a.m., when I assumed the store opened for business, I arrived around 10:30 a.m. anticipating a swanky fashion shin dig knee deep in Lilly clad guests and racks of freshly unpacked merchandise. When I went to the Women's Department to inquire about it I was told the only thing left, after the store opened at 8:00 a.m., was a pink and white bikini hanging in the dressing room area.
Saddened and frustrated I complained to the clerk and a couple of customers, waiting by the dressing rooms, about how fast everything went. Whether they were saints in disguise or just compassionate fellow shoppers, a mother and daughter I befriended during my tirade, graciously let me have a white top accented with colorful embroidery, an orange boho top, two print makeup bags and a travel case in the blue, pink and white My Fans print.
"You look just like one of the Lilly Pulitzer models she used in Florida," the mother told me. "They were all tall and thin like you."
After the pair gave me my new swag they advised me to search the store for discarded Lilly's because that's where they'd found most of their stuff. I then looked throughout the entire store twice, without success, so I headed to the check-out counter with my items, and another chapter for my retail story of woe. When it was my turn to pay, I repeated my misadventure to the cashier, who said, "I almost forgot, I have this stuff back here," and showed me a sleeveless pink and orange Giraffeeey print shift dress, a blue and white Sea Urchin for You print halter top, a gold seahorse necklace, a set of dishes and a lamp. Another clerk then brought over a print wristlet purse she thought I might like. Feeling blessed and immensely lucky with my effortless hunt I decided to buy the dress, halter top, and seahorse necklace, and leave the rest for another Lilly fan.
Lilly Pulitzer for Target makeup and travel bags
Lilly Pulitzer for Target Seahorse Necklace
The Real World of Lilly
Unfortunately all of the consumers looking for Lilly's weren't as magnanimous as these wonderful ladies because some used this choice retail opportunity to profit further by re-selling their items for exorbitant prices on ebay. While talking to the mother and daughter in the dressing room area, a customer who later joined us said, "I overheard another customer saying I'm going to re-sell my dress on ebay for $100.00."
I didn't want to believe it of my fellow budget fashionistas, but when I got home and logged onto ebay, I was confronted with the ugly truth of Lilly Pulitzer for Target merchandise listed for twice of what they cost at Target initially. My dream of seeing the same type of beautiful, accessible and stylish separates I remembered from the 1960's to the 1980's offered to every woman at an affordable price could've been dashed if I hadn't met so many fabulous people who made my dream come true that day. I hope this is a pattern that will be repeated often on my future shopping trips.
Together the colors, shapes and silhouettes make a lovely view
Victoria Moore in black and white striped mini dress and black short pants accessorized with pink and blue Hello Kitty socks and beige sandals
Illustration by Victoria Moore
Knox in box. Fox in socks.
-Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
Ever since I was in junior high, and wore a pair of multicolored toe socks with open-toed sandals and cuffed jeans, I've been in love with the "sock and sandal" look. Now that it's so mainstream it's no longer unique the trick is to make it one's own without looking like you're trying to hard. During Read Across America Week, where the school I subbed for requested we all "wear our craziest socks" to celebrate Fox In Socks by Dr. Seuss I got the chance to do just that.
Fancy Sock Set
My first choice, a swanky three-piece sock set I bought at Ross looked passable and would've worked okay, if I hadn't been more convinced to wear a pair of vibrant turquoise, pink and white Hello Kitty socks I'd bought at "Forever 21," by a young student I'd bonded with over the icon. One day, after showing her a I book I'd made, called Hello Kitty's Day for ECE 4 (Language and Literature for the Young Child) class I took at Santa Monica College, she proposed that we both wear our Hello Kitty socks on Fox On Socks day.
Hello Kitty Socks
Now that I had a brand new plan I had to coordinate an outfit to offset my socks and make then the star. I started with a very preppy, and slightly retro, black and white v-necked mini dress that I belted with a decorative cinch belt then I paired it with a pair of short knee-length black pants. To bring out the pink and blue of the socks I accessorized my look with a turquoise beret, large flower pin attached to my fitted denim jacket, two heavy gold chain necklaces and a pair of beige suede sandals.
Sober, with a hint of whimsy, I enjoyed sharing my love for Dr. Seuss and funky socks on such a productive and wonderful day.
Five Facts About Fox In Socks:
Navy-blue and white print sock set
Tips for Wearing Socks with Open-Toed Sandals:
Neon and black sock set
Good Places for Buying Socks:
*Victorian Trading Co. (www.victoriantrading.com)http://victoriantrading.com
They have the best socks for romantics including lavish lace socks in black, burgundy and pink, swiss dot socks, cozy rag socks in oatmeal and heathers, lazy slouch socks in black, white and ecru and rosy posy socks are for under $50.
*Ross Department Store