Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quinn From Ebay

Hi guys. Admittedly, my posts have been a bit spotty this past week or so. I'm just kind of chillin' at my parents' place in the US, and wanted to amass a few thrift store purchases and whatnot before I took to the mean streets of Wisconsin to take pictures. I also wanted to give the bruising from the Toronto Pantcident of 2015 time to subside enough to not be a distraction, which it pretty much has. However, with just a few days of the trip remaining, the threat of returning to the Scottish weather conditions looms and I realize that I had better get a move on as some of these summer looks may not come out again for a while. You never know.

This is the "Quinn" dress by Tory Burch. While it's not a thrifted item, I did get it from Ebay, so therefore it counts. Plus, the shoes are thrifted, so it double counts (Franco Sarto cork wedges for $5.99! Boo-yah!)  The dress is a gauzy cotton material, and no, I didn't iron it, and probably won't. I'm the world's worst ironer; It literally takes me about half an hour to do one shirt. Anyway, I kind of like the natural crinkle inherent in this fabric. Despite the very feminine flounces and whatnot, the material gives it a kind of casual, sumer vibe.  I haven't accessorized much here (I didn't bring much with me on this trip), but I think stacks of artsy bangles and some hoop or chandelier earrings would work really well with this dress.

It's always a little unnerving buying something designer from Ebay sight unseen, but I kind of knew that this dress would probably work, for reasons I am not entirely sure even I understand. Let's just go with it's because I'm getting older and know what works on me and leave it at that.

Don't forget, the Wardrobe Malfunction Essay Competition is going on now through July 31st, so send me your story for a chance to win an awesome gift box!

Tory Burch "Quinn" Dress, similar / Franco Sarto weges (thrifted), similar
This post has been shared with: Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Style Nudge

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Toronto Pantcident of 2015

You guys. Omigod.

I suppose this is well-timed, what with me running the Wardrobe Malfunction Essay Competition right now and all, but I simply must do my civic duty and issue a stern warning to you all.

Remember not so long ago, I fell in love with these palazzo pants from Zara?

Cute, right? Flowy, louche, and easy to wear. Or so I thought. I am writing this from the USA at the moment, where I am home for a visit. I wore these pants on the plane, thinking that I would look awesome and be exquisitely comfortable while doing so. As the day wore on and I had been wriggling in my airplane seat for several hours, the pants loosened considerably, and were riding lower on my hips than when I had put them on.

I disembarked the plane for my changeover in Toronto, and went and had lunch. After strolling the airport for a while, it was time to catch my final flight to Chicago. I quickly nipped to the loo (probably didn't need that last latte) and while in there, heard the final boarding call for my flight. I finished up, and walked briskly out of the bathroom toward my gate...at which point the flowing fabric of my right palazzo pant leg wrapped itself firmly around my left leg, getting caught in the buckle of my left sandal. I walk with a big stride, and was going at a pretty good clip. I felt the catch, and tried to free my left leg, an action that not only did not result in my left leg becoming liberated, but proceeded to launch me into the air.

It felt like I was airborne for a month. I remember having lots of time to think about how I probably shouldn't have had that second glass of wine at lunch (why are the portions so big!?), and that it was a shame I was probably going to die, because I was really looking forward to that cheeseless Chicago style pizza later that night...plus, I was wearing travel underwear, and if I had to go to the ER with a patellar or proximal tibial fracture, or you know, to the morgue, they would probably miss the cause of death on exam because they would be laughing so hard at my threadbare smalls.

Then I was rudely interrupted when I landed... hard. No, hard, isn't even the word.

I totally drilled it.

I made such a splat it made me say "oof", right out loud. This very nice older lady turned around and stared at me in horror, asking if I was ok. I got up faster than I had ever moved in my life, and assured her I was, not giving in to the desire to double over, examine myself for bony tenderness, or quite frankly, retch.

Nobody saw that right?

Just a few people. I'm good.

I walked towards my gate (nothing to see here), blinded by lightheadedness and in a cold sweat, relishing that I could weight bear, and everything felt relatively stable. No fracture then. Probably not.  I'm getting on that damn plane.

It seems I got away with it. Although later that evening and through to the next morning, I thought I had really messed up my posterior cruciate ligament. Luckily,  I was miraculously cured (after a day of hobbling around) by finally remembering to take some ibuprofen.

I got away with it...but only just. I nearly died for fashion. These palazzo pants have a lot to answer for. They have since been sentenced to community service at the local Goodwill for all of eternity. And happily, I was able to go for a run this morning on my crazy-ass blue and green-tinged knee.

So there you have it. Palazzo pants...to be worn at your own peril ladies! Now don't forget that the Wardrobe Malfunction Essay Competition is ongoing through the month of July! Click the icon at the top right of the page for information on how to enter!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Easiest Thing in the World

I mean, if we're being completely bare bones about it, this is really just a big shirt. It's a big ol' shirt with pockets and a string at the waist that cinches it in juuust enough as to give a bit of a hint of the underlying waistline. Like, a visual allusion to a waistline, as opposed to the actual thing. It is really and truly the easiest thing in the world to wear; you're only one thin layer of fabric away from being naked.

In summer (don't be fooled by these photos, summer has yet to arrive in Scotland), I love to wear things like this. Shirt dresses, tunics...basically anything that you can just pull on over your head and go. Great for the warmer weather (whatever that is), and you can travel comfortably in stuff like this and not look like a complete tatterdemalion.

I like to pair anything navy with gold. This shirtdress has kind of a more casual brushed lyocel finish, so I chose a more refined gold necklace and ring to go with it, to kind of balance it out a bit. I'd love to talk more about the look, but with something as easy as the easiest thing in the world, that's pretty much it. Pull it on, you're done.

Okay, there is one more thing. If you look at the photo of my shoes, you can still see the elastic marks on my legs from my running tights. Comedy.

H&M Conscious Collection shirtdress / Dune sandals (old), similar / 14k byzantine necklace (old), similar / gold plated coin ring (old), similar / Target sunglasses

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Call for Submissions: Wardrobe Malfunction Essay Competition

Have you ever looked down at your feet midway through your work day only to find that you're wearing two different shoes? Do you keep an emergency sewing kit in your handbag after inadvertently mooning the entire office Christmas party when your Marc Jacobs skirt decided to suddenly give way? Fret not gentle reader. This is your moment.

It is with great pride that I am announcing the first-ever Highland Fashionista essay competition. The subject? Wardrobe malfunctions. This is your chance to share with the world your tales of woe. Nip slips, cheek peeks - nothing is off limits. Here are the rules.
  • Anyone can enter. Just be aware that those of us who have been on the planet for 40+ years have had that much more time to perfect the art of ripping our pants and falling off of barstools in slippery tights. We've been practicing, so you'd better bring your A-game.
  • Tell your story in 700 words or less, in any way you see fit. Short stories, poems (yes, even Haiku, although if you ask me that's kind of a cop-out), song lyrics...it's all good. 
  • It doesn't have to have happened to you directly, but if you are going to write about something you witnessed, get permission and/or change names to protect the innocent!
  • If you prefer to write under a pen name, feel free. If it's that embarrassing, it's gonna be good!
  • Your piece should have a title. Because titles are awesome. 
  • Submit your masterpiece in an email (either in-body or as an attachment) to highland.fashionista@yahoo.com, with "Wardrobe Malfunction Essay Contest" in the subject line. Please include your name and email address within the body of the email
  • Deadline for submissions is July 31st at Midnight, GMT.
In addition to the international literary fame and global adoration that will accompany having your work published on this site, the winner will receive a gift bag, filled with some of my very favourite beauty products that have been featured right here on the blog.

The Prize Gift Box
Percy & Reed No Oil Volumising Hair Oil - Real Aqua Velvet Sleeping Pack (an awesome night treatment from Korea) - Cover Girl Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara (last seen here) - La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 tinted BB Cream (last seen here) - Lux foaming jewellery cleaner - Boots SkinClear Oil Absorbing Sheets blotting papers - PureDerm Kiwi Yogurt Pack facial mask (Korea) (last seen here) - Pure Derm Lavender Collagen sheet mask (Korea)
and probably some other stuff too...

Need some help getting started? Allow me to make the first move by providing an example. 

Little Miss Hastypants
by Kristin Buchholz-MacKillop

Back when I was in graduate school, my one big financial concession (in a time of relative austerity) was a membership to the fancy local tennis club.  It was a great place, with multiple clay courts, a bar...the works. I played women's rotating league every Tuesday and Thursday morning as a matter of routine, and looked forward to it immensely every week.

On the morning in question, I was running late, and did not want to keep the group waiting. Because laundry was never high on my list of priorities, I ended up running around the apartment looking for my favourite tennis skirt, finally finding it right where I'd left it, in the dryer. In a flurry, I pulled it on, grabbed my racquet bag, laced-up my shoes, and ran out the door. 

We had a lively doubles match that day - a real squeaker. Every game seemed to go do deuce, and it looked like we were headed for the dreaded tie break to settle the second set. Both teams were insanely focused because it was getting to the end of the league season, and our scores each week were being tallied-up for the big final playoff at the end of the season. 

My partner was serving, and I was at the net. It was break point (that's 40-30 to us, in case you don't follow the sport), and I had just hit a running cross-court return that landed just outside the line (yet another unforced error), bringing the game to deuce. 

As I walked back to my position at the net, I noticed a commotion on the other side of the court. The opposing team was pointing at something on our side of the court. 

"Is that yours?" I heard my parter ask from behind me. 

I turned around to look at what by this time, everyone on the court was focused on, and saw my partner pointing to something white sitting in the middle of the court. I approached, and upon closer inspection, recognised a pair of my underwear. And not a cute pair either. An old, white stripey cotton pair that were ancient, and that I usually save for...well...you know. 

Yes. They were mine. But...how!? I could not understand how my underwear had fallen off during our set without my knowing. But they must have, because they were right there. But then, I was wearing a tennis skirt with built-in briefs underneath, making it virtually impossible...but still...

Then it dawned on me. 

The dryer. 

I had pulled-on my tennis skirt straight from the dryer, and the underpants had to have been stuck up inside my tennis skirt the entire time. How this had happened without me feeling them in there is a bit beyond my comprehension, but there it is. They had hitched a ride...all the way to the second set of a really close match. Which incidentally, we ended up losing.  No surprise there. We were too busy laughing during the tie break to make it stick. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I'm Lovin' This Onjenu Jumpsuit!

Without a doubt, when I opened the package containing this bird print jumpsuit from London-based brand Onjenu, it instantly became one of my favourite pieces of the summer. I was already super excited to try something from their line - they make the kind of clothes I love to wear. Their website is awash with lovely prints and colors, and their dresses, jumpsuits, and separates are cut specifically to fit and flatter the female form with stretchy, breathable fabrics that feel great on the body.

I usually shy away from jumpsuits; I find that they're usually made with someone slightly shorter and less long-waisted in mind. However, this specimen proved me wrong. There is enough stretch inherent in the design to make it fit and flatter, yet drape beautifully where it needs to. The waist is very cleverly gathered, culminating in the focal part being smack-dab in the center of your natural waist, the smallest part of your midsection. The deep, plunging v-neck gives it a glamorous, 70's vibe that's 50% Mrs. Roper and 50% Studio 54.  Which is awesome. But the best part of all? This jumpsuit does not have a single snap, button, or zipper on it. It is created simply by clever draping and design, and the use of a fabric that does all the work for you. It is beyond comfortable to wear - to the point where I was considering doing this post entirely in yoga poses to prove my point. However, it's tourist season here in Scotland, and if I start doing headstands in the middle of the road, I'll likely end up as a hood ornament for a tour bus. Albeit a hood ornament in an awesome jumpsuit.

Onjenu is just four years old, and already is garnering a lot of buzz. They have been featured in magazines such as Glamour and Good Housekeeping, and allegedly Helen Mirren, the High Priestess of Looking Awesome at Any Age, is a huge fan. I can totally see why.

Onjenu Leia Bird Navy jumpsuit c/o / Andrea Jovine sunglasses (old), similar / 14k coin drop earrings (old), similar

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Happy Gardening Accident

No, I have not literally had a gardening accident. I've not gotten my hands caught in the gears of a combine harvester or gotten a little too close to my ear with the electric hedge clippers. Allow me to explain.

I found this wool Edun skirt in TK Maxx the other day, and the minute I saw it I knew I had to make it mine. I have been searching high and low for just the right short black skirt - it's been a gaping hole in my wardrobe for some time. I knew I wanted one in a lightweight wool (check). It needed to be slightly a-line, sit a little lower on the hips for practicality and ease of movement , and have a hemline that hits just at the right part of the upper thigh (check, check, and check). This particular specimen also has a few extra little design details that make it just a wee bit more special, without ruining the overall lines of the skirt. It has a double-tiered effect with some box pleating in the front, making it easy to move, and making it something that you don't have to accessorise a lot.

I pulled the skirt on this morning, still wearing the sweatshirt that I had on with my yoga bottoms. My intention was to think about what tops in my wardrobe I wanted to pair it with while considering my closet.  However, when I crossed in front of the mirror, my reflection caught my eye. I liked the way the plain, sporty, dressed-down sweatshirt worked with the skirt. Almost like something you'd wear on the tennis court. Sport chic, completely by accident. That's the accident.

In the summertime, the road behind the house is awash with tourists, who often wonder what this strangely tall American is doing in the middle of the road with camera equipment, dressed like she has somewhere to be. I spend a lot of time waiting for the background to be free of walkers in summer. One such gentleman passed-by today, and as he did, he took stock of my look and said "a beautiful day to do a bit of gardening!"

Eh? Don't get me wrong. I keep about fifteen or so orchids in the house, a few flower beds with lavender and other easy to grow varieties, a couple of tomato plants, but I'm not much of a gardener. While I realise that the gentleman was just opening a dialogue, is this really a gardening look? Gardening? In these shoes? In a miniskirt? No. The only things I will be digging for in this outfit are snacks.

Edun wool tiered skirt via TK Maxx, similar / thrifted cotton sweatshirt, similar / H&M Sandals (last season), similar / sterling silver star earrings (old), similar

Monday, June 8, 2015

Just Tough Enough

Greetings from Scotland, the land that summer forgot...although I'm happy to report that in shooting these photos today, you may notice that it is not raining, and I'm pleased to announce that as I write this, I am still alive, and therefore have not died of exposure to the cold. Sadly, it's not warm enough for me to have even given a second thought to a pedicure yet (a sad state of affairs for June), but still. This is progress, however small.

If you've been reading a while, you'll already know that I can't leave a really feminine piece alone; I like need to add a bit of edge - mess up its hair a little, if you will, in order to make it feel more me.  The last time I showed you this dress, I pretty much presented it as is comes. This time I wanted to try something just a little different, while still paying homage to the lovely, diaphanous drape of the silk material (I still can't believe that I found this Amanda Wakeley dress for £20). I think the toughness of the black leather Obi belt and lace-up sandals (and the black tank layered underneath) provide just the right amount of toughness to make the look a bit more interesting, without being too much. It takes a very feminine piece and makes it a touch more casual...not tailgate party casual mind you, but night out casual. You could throw a denim jacket over this and not look weird, which lately is sort of my standard of measure for how real-life-useful a look is.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Discover Odylique

I was recently sent some products by natural skin care company Odylique with a view to doing a bit of a road test. Odylique is a company completely dedicated to 100% natural botanical ingredients, aimed specifically at providing care to sensitive skins. The company's founder, herbalist and aromatherapist Margaret Weeds, has been creating her own natural skincare products since the 1970s, driven by a desire to find something suitable for the eczema and allergy-prone skin that ran in her family.

While Margaret has been making her own skincare products for decades, it was in 2003 that Odylique (originally named Essential Care) was born as a family company. The company is now run by both Margaret and her daughter Abi, and is based in their Suffolk workshop. It is there that they create and package everything that they sell, thus ensuring the quality and integrity of their products.

Odylique has won countless awards for their products, including a 2014 Beauty Bible award, a 2013 Eco Beauty Award, and several Natural Health Magazine awards.The three products I tried were the Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie cream, the Coconut Candy Body Scrub, and the Timeless Rose Moisturiser.

Coconut Candy Scrub £25 
I've never been a person to go out of my way to use a scrub, opting instead for an exfoliating cloth or mitt that does the job without having to add any extra product. While I am still very much in the "less is more" camp when it comes to products, I make exception for this Coconut Candy Scrub. The delicious smell alone was enough to bring me on side, and while the size of the grains are large and upon first glance look rather unseemly (poppy seeds, fair-trade sugar in cocoa bean butter and coconut oil), when I used it, it developed a creaminess that felt luxurious, and left me feeling silky smooth all day long. 

While I never thought I have what would probably be classically categorised as "problem skin", the Coconut Candy Scrub left me wondering just what I may have been missing. Have I been walking around all of this time with what I considered an acceptable level of scaly dry skin, when all of this time I could have been buffing it away in a luxurious cloud of coconut-scented loveliness? Okay... I get it now. 

A good moisturiser that ticks all parts of my checklist is something that I am always on the lookout for. I like something that soaks in (but doesn't do so at the expense of moisture delivery), has antioxidant benefits (without being too oily or sticky as to make makeup slide off), and definitely does not sting, have excessive amounts of fragrance, or clog my pores. I don't ask much, do I?

While I don't suffer from any inflammatory or allergic skin complaints, I do spend a lot of time out in excoriating winds (Scotland), and occasionally use exfoliating products whose side-effects often include a little residual redness. What I first noticed about this moisturiser, was how soothing it felt going on. This would be a great companion product to anyone who suffers from rosacea, or even just uses something like Retin-A.  Best of all? This moisturiser not only boasts some great antioxidant and regenerative qualities that my current organic moisturiser does not, it has a much more luxurious formula, making it easier to spread and therefore using-up less product.  It also happens to be about £15 cheaper than my current brand, making it a much better value for the money. Yes, please.

Of all of the Odylique products that I tried for this post, this one was my hands-down (pun intended) favourite. Although my day job requires me to wash my hands approximately 700 times during the day, I've never been a fan of hand creams. I've always found them greasy versions of your favourite body lotions that instead of moisturising, sort of sit atop the skin, mocking you. 

However, this hand lotion is nothing short of amazing. It soaks in completely almost immediately after application, leaving behind a silkiness and a light, refreshing scent that is a joy to behold. Hours later, I can still feel it working for me as I type this, and even the scent, while very subtle, still lingers in an unobtrusive, botanical sort of way.

My overall impression? If the rest of the line is as luxurious and effective as the three products I road-tested, I may well have found a new go-to skincare company. Not based in the UK? Don't worry. Odylique delivers all over Europe and North America. Sample sizes of some products are also available on their website, if you don't feel like jumping in with both feet. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Please Stand By

Greetings fashion fans. Please excuse the short lull while I am enjoying a brief trip to the Isle of Lewis, one of the Outer Hebridean Islands off the West coast of Scotland. In the meantime, please be entertained by this photo of a Highland cow scratching itself.