The Art of Dressing Boldly at an Older Age

few weeks ago, I stopped by Best Buy on my lunch break hoping to score some excellent deals in their DVD/Blu-ray bins. Sadly, the selection was not up to my tastes, but as I browsed I was stopped by an older woman. By older, I mean about 70 or more just going by appearances, but I didn’t want to describe her as “elderly” for a particular reason: her fashion sense. She was dressed up in a bright floral strapless dress, cinched in at the waist with a flared, almost tutu-esque skirt, and opaque grey tights.

It was the “youngest” looking outfit I’ve ever seen on a woman of that age. (Is this truly abnormal for Southern California, or am I just really sheltered or something?) When she stopped me, she commented with a friendly chuckle, “I think your skirt is even shorter than mine today!”For the record, the skirt I was wearing comes down to my mid-thigh, and I was also wearing tights for modesty’s sake. I laughed along with her, knowing her remark was in good spirits and replied, “Well, we’re both wearing tights so that makes it okay!”The brief encounter with this woman made me think about what my fashion sense, or wardrobe, will be like when I’m an “elder.” Will I ever want to give up my flirty dresses, tights and cute flats? Should I ever have to? Looking back on this random moment, I realize I admire this woman for her bravery – boldly going against what’s supposedly normal for someone her age.I have no idea what I’ll be wearing fifty years from now, but I know one thing for sure: I don’t want to feel pressured to look a certain way just because it’s safe, and acceptable by society’s standards. I bet my style will evolve, growing more mature throughout the decades… but damnit, if I want to wear a floral dress in my seventies, I hope I wear it as fearlessly and cheerfully as she did.

Aspirations: The Good, The Bad, and the Impossible

Aspiration: it can be a great thing for anyone. It can propel you to greatness, provide extra motivation & determination to achieve your goals, or fill you with a sense of purpose. It can also be a bad thing, depending on what you’re aspiring to…

Let me explain. Yesterday, I did a 10-minute Victoria’s Secret body circuit workout; why was I so drawn to this particular video in the first place? It taps into the part of my brain that desperately wants to look like a super model. And although this year I’m making efforts to be healthier in all areas of my life, my main drive for doing this exercise was the desire to have a model’s body.My ideal shape has always been long, lean, and tall. It’s what I fantasized about as a teen, as I ached and wished to grow an extra 5 inches like my doctor promised me I might at puberty. It’s an impossible aspiration, but it’s still there, nagging me.

Rosie Huntington Whitley and Candice Swanepoel - Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

In my twenties, I know I won’t hit another growth spurt, or lengthen my spine by an extra five inches no matter how many pilates or yoga stretches I do. I will always stand at an average 5’5” – unless I’m wearing heels, of course, and it will remain that way until I start to shrink. My calves will always be more athletically built than I’d like them to be (and I have some embarrassing gymnastics videos from when I was 6 years old to prove it).

I realize all of this and am okay with that 90% of the time, yet I still occasionally fall into the trap that if I follow this routine, or eat this way, I’ll eventually look like Miranda Kerr. I’d wager a guess that we’re all guilty of it at some point in our lives. Hell, aspiration to look like celebrities, models, or “it girls” is probably half the reason why fashion blogs exist. (But that’s a bold statement for another blog post some day.)

I guess my point is: Aspire to greatness this year, but be realistic about your expectations. Aspire to becoming the greatest version of yourself rather than a fantasy of having the exact same body as someone else. Because damnit, you are beautiful and you are unique and there will never be someone exactly like you on this planet (even if you’re a twin!). Let’s embrace that this year. Let’s be kinder to ourselves.

Influenster Violet Vox Box: Product Reviews

SoyJoy Dark Chocolate Cherry Bar – Enjoyed with my morning coffee on Saturday morning! I’m not a huge fan of protein bars, and SoyJoy’s taste remind me of a protein bar. However, the tartness and sweetness from the dried cherries balances out the flavor, which makes me wish there was more of those bits in each bite. I also wish the dark chocolate flavor was more intense, as I’m completely coo-coo for cacao.

Goody Athletique Ouchless Headwrap – My idea of exercise nowadays is playing Just Dance on the Xbox Kinect (don’t laugh). So I put this sucker to the test during my epic attempt at the “What a Feeling” dance routine on Just Dance. I can favorably report that it keeps your hair back, and away from pesky forehead sweat. This product would be A+ for anyone who has bangs and struggles with bobby pins falling out during exercise.

Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo – Can I just talk for a moment about how much I like the scent of this dry shampoo? Too many dry shampoos out there have this nauseating powdery smell that makes me feel ill throughout the day. This Not Your Mother’s product smells really great, and the scent doesn’t linger around like the aforementioned yucky powdery-smelling ones I’ve tried. On the other hand, dry shampoos as a whole don’t seem to like me and my fine hair. Unfortunately use of this product only made a small difference in my oily roots.

Montagne Jeunesse Clay Infused Fabric Masque – Love face masks! But oh my gosh, Montagne Jeunesse, why is this mask a “one size fits all” cloth with clay on it?  It makes application really awkward, and my boyfriend was too scared to look at me for the 15 minutes it was on, claiming I looked like Michael Myers. I’d be interested in trying a “traditional” mask from this company, where you just spread the product around on your face.

Sally Hansen Triple Shine Nail Polish in Kelp Out – I have a similar color in my collection, but I WAY prefer this Sally Hansen formula in comparison. It goes on very thinly and easily without streaks. Two coats were good for me, but pump it up to three coats for maximum coverage and shine. I tried it only on my ring finger as an accent nail, and everynail is chipping by now except the one I painted with this Sally Hansen color. And I didn’t even use a top coat… impressive!

Hopelessly in Love with… Nishe

Nishe is a brand with designs fit for even the girliest of girls. I have the authority to make such a bold statement because I wear dresses every damn day. I wish I was kidding when I say that my friends all exclaim, “OMG, you’re wearing pants? I’ve never seen you wear pants!” whenever my legs are covered up by a pair of jeans. It would be more admirable if my decision to ban pants was made with the intention of curating a signature style for myself, but really what it boils down to is… I’m a lazy sloth. The idea of wearing pants is fun. In my reality, wearing pants means struggling to put together a coordinated outfit in the morning when I could be using that extra 5 minutes on another snooze cycle. Dresses are much more forgiving. All it takes is throwing one over my head, pulling on my shoes & tights, and it’s out the door for the day. I’ve been particularly in love with Nishe’s designs lately. They have tons of pretty dresses with silhouettes that hug the narrowest part of the waist, and adorable prints. 

Top Picks Tuesday: Revolve’s 10th Anniversary Collection

Emails are my favorite form of procrastination. No matter how many times I tell myself I must stop looking at messages that cleverly entice with promises of the hottest clothing and accessory arrivals, I succumb to temptation. Such was the case this Tuesday morning when I found myself browsing Revolve Clothing’s 10th Anniversary Collection. The online retailer partnered up with 40 brands to bring an exclusive collection to celebrate the occasion. While they also have tons of pieces that would be so fun for spring & summer, here are picks that you can start incorporating into your wardrobe right away (some of which might still require crafty layering). 

Three Floor’s Shades of Black Dress in Black/Nude – Who isn’t in love with this brand already? This lacy number would work so nicely for holiday parties, and looks a little sexy without actually revealing anything.

Ettika’s Crystal Chain Cuff in Black/Gold – Hello, statement cuff. Please follow me into my closet so I can pair you with fall sweaters and bomber jackets.

Indah’s Salju Dress in Cobalt – Wouldn’t this be such a beautiful pop of color for dreary days? I especially like the unique cut at the hem of the dress.

Vita Fede’s Mini Titan Crystal Bracelet in Emerald  – Vita Fede also has striking versions in gold, silver and gunmetal, but I’ve taken a particular liking to this version. We should celebrate emerald while it’s still the color of the year!

Rebecca Minkoff’s Mab Tote Mini – There’s only one handbag in the entire anniversary collection, but I’m glad they picked Rebecca Minkoff to fill that hole. I’m a sucker for blues, can’t you tell? Plus, the inside lining is blue leopard print – awesome!

Jeffrey Campbell’s Supermodel Heel – I always like seeing updates on classics. The sheer plastic detail on the side of the pumps is a fun update to the classic black heel.

Dress the Population’s Kim Sequin Illusion Dress in Silver/Black – This dress is simply screaming “New Year’s Eve!” to me.

Wildfox Couture’s Helena Embellished Short – This is one of the pieces I was talking about that would need crafty layering. But I loved the embellishing details so much, and can definitely imagine it with tights, a cozy loose sweater and big boots before it gets too chilly outside. (Unless you’re in LA. I could wear shorts out during the day and not shiver once, ha!)

What’s your favorite from the collection?

PS. Also in my inbox while procrastinating, I saw that Refinery 29 teamed up with Revolve for a $1000 shopping spree sweepstakes. So maybe these will actually be in my wardrobe soon?!

Don’t Get Mad… Get Plaid

Firstly, apologies for being so dorky with the naming of this article. Secondly, of all the fall trends, I’ve most loved seeing the prominent return of plaid. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia coming from my rebellious ex-Catholic-schoolgirl days, but there’s something so bad-ass about a plaid skirt paired with chunky boots. What are your favorite ways to wear the print?

ASOS plaid backpack

ASOS Backpack in Green/Navy Plaid –  Another thing I’ve loved? The return of small backpacks as an accessory. They always seemed so much more practical than a purse.

Zara Floral Plaid Dress

Zara Floral and Checked Dress – I love this dress because it seems so rebellious to combine a fall plaid with a summary, floral print and strappy design. 

Romwe Plaid Skirt with Leather Trim

Romwe Plaid Skirt with Faux-Leather Trim – My favorite detail is definitely the faux-leather trim on this one. 

Dooney and Burke Tartan Satchel

Dooney & Bourke Tartan Satchel – This satchel looks like it would be adorable and practical for school or work – possibly even big enough to carry a small laptop?

ASOS Denim Jacket with Plaid Trim

ASOS Denim Jacket with Plaid Trim – I love the idea of adding the plaid detail to a classic denim jacket.

Free People Rad for Plaid Dress

Free People ‘Rad for Plaid’ Cutout High/Low Dress – I promise I didn’t pick this dress just for the name, haha. This piece is currently on sale for 50% off, BTW!

6 Fabulously Feline Wardrobe Pieces

6 Fabulously Feline Wardrobe Pieces 1

One of the top 3 obsessions is my life is cats, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. One friend even has me in her phone contacts as “Liz Cat Lady” and instead of being concerned my first thought is “How can I make that name change happen for real?” In honor of National Cat Day, I have been squeeing at Youtube videos and gifs for mostly all of my free time today. On top of all that entertainment, I’ve been browsing for cute cat themed pieces to add to my wardrobe, and figured I’d share for any/all fellow feline lovers out there.

1. Romwe Smiling Cat Face Shirt – From far away, this could pass off as an innocent checkered print. Up close, you get to smile at happy cats all day.

2. Charlotte Olympia Cat Face Slippers – Lusting after these for THE longest time. Fairy godmother, where are you?!

3. Arrogant Cat London Cloche with Ears – A cute, uber-subtle way to hint at your kitten love.

4. Modcloth Feline After Line Earrings – A cat that looks like a librarian? On an earring? I’m reeking of happiness over here.

5. AfternoonCoffee Grumpy Cat Mug – Grumpy cat might be… well, grumpy, but I bet this mug will brighten your mornings.

6. Romwe Lace Cat Print Black T-Shirt – This top looks best suited to snuggling up with a large furry blanket and a mug with hot tea.

Been Procrastinating? Last-Minute Halloween Costumes to Ease Your Anxiety

It’s time… We’re rapidly approaching the weekend prior to Halloween proper; this is THE weekend that mostly everyone is likely hosting their ghoulishly themed parties and events. If you’re a lazy slacker like me who’s had other things on her mind, this can incite panic greater than watching a horror movie. For my fellow procrastinators, I’ve quickly thrown together a few last-minute Halloween costume ideas using pieces that you either already have in your closet, or will be able to wear long after Halloween is over.

Been Procrastinating? Last-Minute Halloween Costumes to Ease Your Anxiety 2

Mary Poppins!: Let’s face it, you probably already own some form of a white button-down blouse, as well as a black skirt. Not to mention, you should have black tights and a pair of black heels nestled somewhere in the realm of your closet or drawers (if you don’t – well, you should!) To complete the look, simply throw your hair into a quick up-do, slap on some red lipstick, with a red bow-tie, black hat & umbrella. Bonus points for: Gluing or pinning flowers on your hat, and somehow managing to attach a parrot head to the handle of your umbrella.

Been Procrastinating? Last-Minute Halloween Costumes to Ease Your Anxiety 3

Stepford Wife: This idea was suggested by one of my greatest, most creative friends, Bekka, in my own moment of fright as I realized a Halloween party was one day away & I was without costume. Really, if you wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty of this, all you need is a floral or pastel dress and a liberally hair-sprayed into place 50′s-inspired ‘do, with an unsettling constant smile and perfect manners. Bonus points, though, if you include: pearls, gloves, a floppy hat, or if you bring a platter of freshly baked goods to the party.

Been Procrastinating? Last-Minute Halloween Costumes to Ease Your Anxiety 4

Morton Salt Girl: Pull a yellow dress from your closet, and add: white socks or tights, your comfiest black flats or Mary-Jane’s, an umbrella, and carry around a giant Morton Salt contained with you all night. (I always have the aforementioned giant salt container around the house, but I’m not ready to admit if that’s normal or not.) You can basically gauge how cool the new people you meet are based on whether they “get it” or not. Bonus points for: braids on each side of your head, with red bows tied neatly at the ends.

Featured Photographer: Sisilia Piring

When I created Casual Concern, I immediately knew I wanted to feature some of my favorite fashion photographers’ work. Even before I started dabbling in photography, fashion photos and editorials were a huge source of inspiration to me. Not only did editorial images begin my interest in fashion as a whole, but influenced my personal style and even provided a source of inspiration for fictional writing. I think most of us can tell that fashion photography is more than just taking a photo of a pretty girl in designer clothes – many of my favorite editorials are ones that create a whole character and a story surrounding the model, and series with that concept in mind are most inspiring.

To kick off my Featured Photographer series, we have one of my favorite Los Angeles fashion and lifestyle photographers, Sisilia Piring. From her “About Page” she writes:

Sisilia Piring is a freelance photographer based in Los Angeles. She first started photography in the 8th grade and fell madly in love with film and the darkroom. It wasn’t until 2010 that she passionately pursued photography and it became her life. Since then Sisilia has been published in several publications both online and in print including Refinery29, Blink Magazine, Ben Trovato, Urban Outfitters Blog, VSCO and more.

My favorite quality about her work is that it’s very intimate and effortless-looking – even though I’m sure lots of planning went into each shoot (as almost all shoots do require), but she pulls off the shots in a way like she’s a fly on the wall or good friend who happened to catch the model in a natural moment. Check out my favorite photos by Sisilia below, and be sure to go view her Flickr, and website for more work!

Photo Series: Cherry Blossoms Barely in Bloom

It’s been so long since I’ve posted a photo series that even almost forgot that I’m a photographer! Kidding, kind of… while I don’t shoot nearly as often as I’d like, back in March I explored a local park with model Ali Griner. The park, located in Encino, is infamous for its cherry blossom trees that start blooming right around springtime. Sadly, during our shoot, the cherry blossoms still weren’t abundantly blooming, but that didn’t stop us from walking all around the park and getting some good shots!

Photo Series: Cherry Blossoms Barely in Bloom 5