Late to Breakfast (at Tiffany’s!)

I’ve been late to the party on a lot of movies. I didn’t see “Titanic” until 2006; I didn’t see “Lord of the Rings” until weeks before “Return of the King” came out; I still haven’t seen the complete “Star Wars” series. Since I got my Netflix account a year ago, though, I’ve been trying to fill some of the holes in my “movie education.”

Here at school, every other girl in the dorms has a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” poster. Two of my three roommates have them! After 2.5 years of looking at her pearls, updo, sunglasses, tiara, giant cigarette and whatever else, I finally decided to check the movie out for myself a few nights ago. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very different from what I thought it would be, in a good way. I liked it a lot — I laughed, I got sad, I fell in love with the characters.

And, of course, like every other girl in the dorms, I fell a little bit in love with everything Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly wore. The dresses! The coats! The skirts! The jewelry! She always looked beautiful, but she made it look so effortless. I just wanted to steal her entire wardrobe.

The next morning, I woke up feeling completely inspired. I took a cue from a simple outfit from the movie that I couldn’t find a picture of because you only see it for a short time: the day she goes to the library with Paul in that awesome reddish pea coat, she wears a polo tucked into a pencil skirt. I didn’t quite want to go all the way to a pencil skirt for my campus job, but I at least put on a formal skirt.

It’s a shamefully amateur attempt, I know, but it made me smile, and all of my coworkers loved it, too (“What are you dressed up for?” “Oh, nothing, just saw ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ last night!”). I don’t think anyone would look at this outfit and say, “Oh, totally inspired by Audrey Hepburn,” but I think I got the overall concept I took away from admiring how she dressed: You don’t need to wait for a formal occasion to break out your formal skirt, and even a basic day should be an opportunity to dress up a little. If Holly Golightly can dress up to go to the library, I can dress up to go to class.

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.

Shopping win, and a shoe acquisition

We have several Marshalls stores in my area, but I don’t visit them very often — I’ve always had trouble understanding their organizational system, and stores I don’t understand make me nervous. But I’ve been on the hunt for new shoes, and Jean from Extra Petite posted a few weeks back that TJ Maxx/Marshalls is good for “chic shoes in extended sizes,” so I thought I’d give it a try. Turns out I’m taking Jean’s advice on everything from here on out, because I struck gold at Marshalls. Not shoes, but still gold.

Because I am your standard college student, I live in jeans. Unfortunately, I never seem to find jeans that fit me well. In the past few years, I have found two styles that I’m happy with: Old Navy’s The Flirt Skinny, which no longer exists, and Levi’s 524 Boot Cut, which runs about $46 a pair at Carson’s, a store that doesn’t let you apply coupons toward Levi’s. I thought I had found a great deal Monday, when I found a pair at Kohl’s, where I could use a coupon and get them for $34.

Marshalls today? $16.99. And in a better wash, too. I almost fell over. I bought two pairs, thinking I can get one altered for heels and one for flats.

$16.99 darker-wash pair from Marshalls, left; $46 ($34 with coupon) pair from Kohl's, right.

So yeah, that made my day.

Then, success part 2: I found a pair of shoes at the Famous Footwear next door. My shoe priority was a pair of black shoes that looked nice but were easy to run around in (a.k.a. journalist shoes). I had planned to just get new flats, but I found Oxfords in my size on the clearance rack, and I couldn’t pass them up.

I’ve wanted Oxfords for a long time, and I’m so glad I finally found a pair! Admittedly, I’m not sure how to wear them with anything other than pants, so I’d love some advice there. I want to try them with dress shorts — any tips? Also, I instinctively bought normal black laces to dress them up, but the ribbons are quickly growing me. Should I keep them?

Anyway, I didn’t get around to the hours-long mall adventure I had planned for the day, but I had a pretty successful 2-hour trip. Cheers.

Oxfords: Hot Kiss Oxy in black, sz 5.