Oscar Sunday!

Happy Oscar night, everyone! One of my favorite nights of the year, mostly because I love seeing the dresses.

I saw six of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, so I had seen enough to have opinions as to who should win. I was pretty happy with most of the results — “The Artist” was my favorite, by far, so I was thrilled that it won.

The dresses were lovely this year! It’s hard for me to remember all of my favorites without looking at them, but the ones I remember most are Jessica Chastain’s, Natalie Portman’s and Ellie Kemper’s (though I had to look her up to figure out who she was!). I don’t remember too many horrendous fails, either, which is good.

I dream of someday snagging an invite to the Oscars, but for this year I contented myself with throwing a party at a friend’s house. I demanded that it be a formal event — my guy friends were told that it was okay if they wore normal clothes as long as they added a tie, but I would love for them to wear actual suits. And you know what? Every single one of the five who came to the party did. How blessed am I to have friends who will dress up to sit on couches and eat cake with me? That’s a better prize than any Oscar.

Practicing my red-carpet pose, with my Oscar for Best Reporter. Someday.

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Necessity is the mother of… fashion?

Okay, lame title, but I actually said that to a friend today after she complimented my outfit. Pretty much everything I wore today was chosen because I needed to make up for something that wasn’t working.

I wore a dress because my jeans are all dirty. I wore Oxfords because it was supposed to snow and the shoes I first wanted to wear aren’t waterproof. I wore my chain-knit black tights because my argyle ones were missing.

Close-up on my ($5 from Walmart!) "chain-knit" tights

I even wore my glasses today because my eyes decided they’ve worked hard enough this week and weren’t feeling contacts. Today wasn’t perfect — I woke up late (again), couldn’t find half my clothes, meant to belt the dress but ran out of time and couldn’t do anything about the baggy sleeves. And yet, apparently by accident, some things went well. Don’t you love it when that happens? Cheers.

How to wear Oxfords? (And a happy ‘first!’)

I’m a shameless complimenter. If I like something a stranger is wearing, I always make a point of saying so. In a restaurant? Sure. Elevator? Why not? Walking across campus? Always. Even if I’m on the phone? Yup.

I’ve been doing it for years, but I’ve never been complimented by a stranger before. Last week, it finally happened! I was walking across our campus quad, and a girl broke off her phone conversation to tell me she liked my outfit. It completely made my day — it was nice to be on the other end of something I always do.

So, the outfit. I bought a pair of Oxfords a few weeks ago, partially because I needed flat-yet-formal shoes to run around in while reporting but mostly just because I wanted a pair. Unfortunately, I did what I always do: I bought a “trendy” item, then got home and realized I had no idea how to wear it. I turned to the internet for help and came up with the outfit below.

Most of the “How to wear Oxfords” articles I read said to wear them with “feminine clothing,” to balance the menswear feel of the shoes. Doesn’t get any more feminine than a dress, right? I added a floral necklace, too, and tights for warmth. I really liked the end result — it was super comfortable, and I didn’t think it strayed too far from my usual look. I test-drove the outfit while I was home on winter break, hence the “in-my-backyard” photo, and wore it on campus for the first time last week. I’ll definitely wear this again.

Last night, I broke out the Oxfords again for a party. I was really tired of wearing jeans and boots everywhere, but it was too cold and raining for a skirt and bare legs, so I went a little crazy and tried to put together a shorts-and-tights outfit for the first time.

I had to send a picture to my sister before I actually wore this out in public (“Is this an outfit?”),  but she approved, and I was decently happy with it as well. I’d go with a fitted t-shirt in the future — this one was essential to the party’s theme — but the concept works. It was great to wear, too — I felt like I was dressed up enough to be at a party, but it was super comfortable, too.

Do you wear Oxfords? I put these outfits together, but I still mostly have no idea what to do. Let me know how you wear yours! Cheers.

Sweater dress and small-town fun

For as long as I can remember, it’s been a tradition in my family for my mom, sister, aunt and I to go out for tea for one afternoon over Christmas break. We live close to Chicago, so we’ve always gone to a fancy hotel in the city, dressed to the nines, and sat in a beautiful room, drinking tea out of delicate teapots and sneaking sugar cubes when Mom wasn’t looking.

This year, we decided to switch it up and take a more laid-back approach to the tradition. One of the nice things about living in Chicagoland is that you can drive an hour one way for a major metro area, and drive an hour the other way and end up in a tiny, quaint town in a farming area. My mom found a cute little teashop in a 5,000-person town, and it was perfect. Casual, but totally charming.

I was still on a dark-color overload after wearing black so many days in a row for the holidays, so I went for my purple sweater dress, white tights and my Missoni for Target flats. I would have been way underdressed for the city, but for where we were, it was just right.

My feet got caught off in this picture, but I like it anyway — love the pink tree, and the shadows are cool. Not bad for autotimer.

After a delicious tea, we went roaming around the town — mostly shopping in Christmas-y, vintage-y shops, but some wandering, too. I could never live in a small town, because I like a bit of hustle and bustle in my life, but they’re always fun to explore for an afternoon. So many cute sights to see, especially around the holidays. Cheers.

Dress: Macy’s (old). Belt: Forever 21 (old). Flats: Missoni for Target (out of stock). Tights: Target (recent — they sell them in stores very cheap in a million colors, and they’re awesome).

Missoni for Target flats! Worn three ways.

I know I’ve been saying that I was working up to a big post, and this is it!

I’m sure you all followed the big Missoni for Target fiasco earlier this week. If not, in a nutshell, the collection went on sale last Tuesday and was basically sold out both in-store and online by the end of that same night. So. Everyone went a little crazy, to say the least.

I had my eye on the collection all summer, and when the lookbook came out I knew that if I got nothing else, I had to have the ballet flats. Missoni is all about bold, bright zigzag knits, and I’m more of a basic solids-and-stripes girl, but I figured I could handle a pair of shoes. Plus, everyone needs a crazy pair of shoes, right? So I had one of my friends, who works at Target, keep an eye out for me, and when the collection finally arrived he was able to snag a pair in my size.

I was so thrilled to get them! The colors were not exactly what expected, and they’re a little more low-cut than I usually wear, but I love them. Also, I had no idea how fashion-savvy my coworkers were until I wore them to work right after I got them and was swarmed by at least four people, much to the bafflement of our male supervisors. That was a good laugh.

Anyway, because colored shoes are so far outside my usual dressing habits, I knew I had to start wearing them right away. I also wanted to try to wear them in as many ways as possible, because a lot of the time things like colorful shoes become items I wear once a month, with the same shirt every time. Ready?

Tuesday, I kept it simple. I had a tank top in the exact color of one of the zigzags, and threw a black cardigan on to keep it school/worksafe, which picked up the black zigzag, too. Opted for cuffed skinny jeans to show off the shoes!

Wednesday was even easier. This plain black dress is one of my favorite items of clothing, because it’s cute and simple enough to be the perfect backdrop for whatever crazy accessories I choose to throw at it. Also, how delighted was I to discover that I had a headband that matched a zigzag in the shoes? So delighted.

Thursday was my most work-friendly outfit with the shoes. Again, I tried to keep things mostly simple up top to balance the shoes. I wanted to wear this with black slacks, but the only pair I have at school right now are tailored for heels, so that was no good. But it still works!

So there you go, one pair of multicolored zigzag shoes, worn three ways. I have several more outfits planned — when I first got the shoes, I thought I would be in trouble because I didn’t think I had many items in appropriate colors, but in the past few days I’ve come up with tons of combinations of what I have, combined with black and white and gray.

I had hoped to wear the shoes at least five days in a row. Unfortunately, I have learned the unhappy lesson that even with its colors and zigzags, Missoni for Target is still nowhere close to Missoni. Check out the soles of the shoes after three days of simply walking around a college campus:

Seriously. It’s disappointing and pretty much unacceptable, and if I didn’t love the way they look I would take them back. But I do, indeed, love them, so after class today I took them to our local shoe repair shop to get proper soles (then walked home barefoot, to the amusement of the repair man). I’ll have them back next Friday, at which point you can expect to see them again. Terrible soles and all, I’m so glad to have them in my closet! Cheers!

Did any of you manage to snag Missoni for Target items? What did you get? What do you think?

Everyone’s a princess today

Everyone’s been asking, “Why is the whole world so obsessed with the Royal Wedding? Who cares?” I’ll admit, it is not remotely relevant to our lives. But I am a huge Anglophile — I have this grand dream of moving to London after I graduate — so I do care. Not enough to get up at 4 a.m. to watch, to be sure, but I care.

And honestly? Even if you don’t care, everyone should watch it just for how beautiful everything is. Kate was gorgeous, most of the royals were very well dressed, and London itself was just breathtaking in all the shots I saw. I had the privilege of visiting Westminster Abbey when I was in London two years ago, but to see it all polished up and wedding-ready today was a treat.

Anyway, with the wedding on my mind and the most beautiful weather we’ve had in a long time, how could I not wear a dress? I stayed at home for most of the day, so I didn’t want to waste one of my favorite dresses, but even in a simple one I felt pretty as a princess.

The dress has the same story as most of my dresses: Saw it on Forever21.com, thought, “I want that,” and bought it the next time I was in a store. I love the sweetheart neckline and the flouncy skirt, and it ties in the back, too. I wasn’t comfortable wearing it on its own walking around campus, because I’m not a fan of super-thin straps (and exposed bra straps, ugh) in an academic setting, so I tossed on my white cropped cardigan, too. Finish it off with my fave Target wedges and I’m good to go. Looking at it here,  it probably could have used a necklace, but I wasn’t sure — can I wear a silver or gold necklace with pewter shoes? Is combining metallics allowed? Always a struggle.

The one issue with this dress is that it’s super young-looking (My roommate said I looked like a 12-year-old. Thanks.). Any ideas on how I could mature it up? I thought wearing the wedges instead of flip-flops was a good call, but I’m not sure what else to do.

Aren’t those lilacs so pretty? They just bloomed across the pathway from my dorm, and I love walking past and smelling them. Springtime 🙂

I’m not going to have a post tomorrow, because I have a very important audition that’s going to last all day, and I’ll likely just be in shorts and a t-shirt. Wish me luck — see you Sunday!

Petite Fashion Challenge #7: The Little Black Dress

My second Petite Fashion Challenge! So exciting. Last month this was an extremely fun day — I got a chance to ‘meet’ a lot of new petite bloggers, and a lot of people visited Grammar and Style for the first time, too. I love challenge days because they really make you feel like you’re part of a community!

Today’s challenge, hosted by Jessy of The Little Dust Princess, is the Little Black Dress.

A little black dress (LBD) is essential in every woman’s wardrobe. It’s always great for back-up if you run out of outfit ideas for a night out. Adding a pop of colour to your LBD will change up its look and make your dress a little less boring.

For this challenge, add a pop of colour (or two) to your little black dress to change up the look. You could add anything from an accessory to a blazer, or even nail polish!

Be creative anddddd good luck!

I know the Little Black Dress is the classic “night out” dress. Wear one for a night on the town, going to classy places and hanging out with friends. They’re easy to wear, flattering and always in style.

However, sadly, because I am a 20-year-old college student, I don’t really get excuses to wear fancy LBDs. So, here’s something a little different for you: the dressed-down LBD. Still not anything I would wear to class, but simple enough for a day out shopping or a casual dinner.

The dress itself is super basic —  I got it for about $14 at Forever 21 last year. I love the cut of it — the length is perfect, and tie-waist dresses are my favorite. I’m not crazy about the low-cut  front, but, as you’ll see, I generally work around that.

To dress it up, or down, I suppose, I add a colorful tank top under it. The color brightens up the dress and makes it a little less night-out-LBD, and having the extra layer prevents the whole “This feels uncomfortably low-cut” issue, which also makes it more acceptable to wear in a casual setting. I thought the neckline and color plus a necklace would be too much, so I skipped a necklace in favor of flashier earrings.  If I was going out to dinner, I’d throw on wedges or heels, but to wear around all day I’d stick with my flat black sandals.

Tadah! It’s an LBD, but it’s worn simply. Cute and classy but not overdone.

Bonus outfit: My formal LBD. This dress, from Macy’s, was love at first sight. I needed a formal black dress because my school colors are black and gold, so at some point I will be required to wear formal black and gold; I figure a black dress with gold accessories will be the easiest way to do it. I wore the dress to my aunt’s wedding a month ago and was so pleased with everything about it. The cut is fantastic and extremely flattering, and it was comfortable, too.

I stuck with a black belt and black shoes for the wedding, because it was a “Black & White” wedding, but I would love to experiment with it by wearing different accessories. Red belt/shoes? White? Pink? So many possibilities. An adventure for another day.

Can’t wait to see all of your LBDs!

Cheers, MG

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