Monday, December 31, 2007

Thrifty New Year's Eve

Navy velvet tank dress with beading, thrifted. Navy tights, Hue. Silver peeptoes, BCBG Girls. Chandelier earrings, some department store. Silver purse, thrifted.

I used to post on Style Mob. There, you were encouraged to not only list the source of all of your clothing, but also the price. That’s when I first realized that my shoes usually cost more than the rest of my outfit. I’ve since curbed my shoe spending. In fact, not only were these shoes discounted, the entire outfit is under $70:

Dress, $3.50
Tights, $12
Shoes, $20
Purse, $5
Earrings, $25 (I’m guessing….I bought them forever ago)

Detail of the purse and dress beading.

Casual Black and Brown

Black/brown/white cardigan, Mossimo (thrifted). Black tee, Merona. Brown velveteen pants, Old Navy (swapped). Brown loafers, Me Too. Purse, Nine West.

I get a lot of traffic from people searching “mixing black and brown.” This is an example of a casual outfit, mixing the two colors. You can view the others (mostly business casual), by clicking on the “black and brown” link at the bottom of this post.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Accidental Holiday

Burgundy wrap sweater, Bloch. Green long-sleeved tee, Merona. Green and gold scarf, gifted. Khaki corduroy skirt, London Jean. Brown tights, Target. Brown loafers, Me See (or something like that). Brown purse, thrifted.

Surprise! You get a bonus photo, just because I like you.

I didn't mean to dress in holiday red and green - it just happened that way.

I think this is my favorite look of the season: a mini with tights and loafers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

Black cowl-neck, tunic sweater, H&M. Dark jeans, Express. Leopard obi, Sugadaminka (via ebay). Brown booties, Style & Co. Headband, Claire’s. Drop earrings with brown crystals, Express.

(The thing behind my head is a hanging lamp. I should take it down next time I use this background for photos.)

I’m afraid I won’t be posting regularly, if at all, until the new year. Happy Solstice! (Which, by the way, is today.)

*Edited to add: I'm an idiot! The Solstice is tomorrow, on December 22.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Burgundy velvet jacket, Cami. Black top and gray tulip skirt, Moda International. Patterned tights, Merona. Black pumps, Bandolino. Metal and enamel earrings, World Market.

I’ve long been enamoured with all things Indian. I think it started with the food, but has since expanded to include the music, art, textiles, fashions, culture, literature, and the movies. I haven’t seen many Bollywood films, but that’s only because I’m restricted to the Blockbuster brick and mortar store and they aren’t carried there. Instead, I get my Bollywood fix through repeated viewings of The Guru (which I own) and my Best of Bollywood CD.

Today, this is my nod to India: metal and enamel earrings and a Nehru jacket.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Warm

Pink cropped cardigan, Moda International. Black turtleneck sweater, Charlotte Russe. Gray flannel pants, Express. Black pumps, Bandolino. Opal earrings.

I am burning up! I’m usually a cold person, but not today. Two sweaters, thick flannel pants, and a wool coat had me sweating as I made the hike from my car to the office. We are having some of our usual weird December weather in Cincinnati; it’s in the mid-40s.

Detail of earring and cardigan collar.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Navy swing cardigan, Mossimo. Cream floral lace shirt, H&M (via swap) (see bottom photo). Khaki strapless dress, Newport News. Brown floral tights, Merona. Brown boots, Nine West. Silver mesh floral brooch, thrifted.

I found this brooch during the same thrifting trip in which I found my charm necklace. It was a bit dingy, but I was intrigued by the concept of metal mesh folded into a flower form. A swirl in a mug full of Tarnex brightened the metal considerably. This is a well-loved piece; the stick pin is bent and appears to have been reattached at least once before.

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Shoes

Plaid swing jacket, No Boundaries. Gray skirt with single pleat, Eddie Bauer. Black fishnet tights, Danskin. Black pumps, Bandolino.

One of my wardrobe staples is a pair of black, pointy-toed pumps with some sort of detail at the toe. I go through about a pair a year. The last pair is still serviceable, but the heels are chewed up from slipping into the cracks of the Cincinnati pavement and the vamp is starting to tear. I hadn’t begun to actively look for a replacement when I spotted this pair of Bandolino pumps at TJ Maxx a week ago. Hooray.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Potluck Earrings

Green satin blouse and trouser jeans, Express. Cropped vest, Charlotte Russe. Silver peep toes, BCBG Girls. Silver-tone watch, Gucci. Indian silver earrings, Ali’s Boutique.

Once again, my impulsive side overruled my anal retentive nature and I *gasp* put on a different outfit than the one I had selected on Sunday. Today is our team’s annual holiday potluck, so I decided that I wanted a more festive look than I had originally planned.

I guess these are my holiday potluck earrings because I’ve worn them two years in a row. And, evidently, satin blouses from Express are de rigueur too.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Layers of Brown and Yellow

Yellow cardigan, Mossimo. Brown cowl-neck vest, Worthington. Yellow tee, Charlotte Russe. Long khaki skirt, Petite Sophisitcate. Brown fishnet tights. Yellow pumps, Victoria Spenser. Necklace, Xhilaration. Gold-tone earrings, Claire’s. Wooden bracelet, swap. Gold watch, Raymond Weil.

Although I plan my outfits in advance (usually on Sunday nights), they DO sometimes undergo adjustments on the morning I wear them. In this case, I had originally intended to wear the (buttoned) cardigan under the vest (so that only the sleeves showed) and no yellow tee. I was a little unhappy with the result on Sunday night (during Fashion Show), because the overall look was too formfitting and it seemed dull. Inspiration struck this morning; I substituted the yellow tee under the vest and then topped them both with the unbuttoned cardigan. Now, the layers are working for me.

More pictures for you picture fiends!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English Country

Vest (waistcoat for you UK folks), H&M. Light blue sweater, Jacob (via swap). White blouse, Worthington. Skirt, Petite Sophisticate (thrifted). Black tights, Danskin. Black pumps, Bandolino. Charm necklace, thrifted. Gold bracelet, via swap. Gold watch, Raymond Weil.

This skirt is one of those pieces I have trouble styling. I like the colors, pattern, and cut, but the length is a little unflattering. I’ve considered hemming it (like my velvet dress), but I do like having long, lined, wool skirts for cold winter days. I’m undecided. You can read about last year’s trials and tribulations in this skirt here.

I feel as if I should apologize for the duplex photos today and yesterday. Sometimes I just can’t choose which photo I’d rather use – especially when one shot is straight on and the other is at more of an angle. I feel like the “full frontal” gives you a better idea of the outfit’s components, while the angled view shows the fit and silhouette. I hate being indecisive, but maybe my readers LIKE seeing two views of the same outfit. Let me know…

How many photos of a single outfit do you want to see in a post?
As many as you'll give us!
Other - I'll tell you in the comments. free polls

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Cream sweater, The Limited. Coral blouse, Worthington. Suede skirt with laser cut hem, Isaac Mizrahi for Target. Woven leather belt, Wilson's Leather. Faux pearl and bead necklace and cameo earrings (again!), thrifted. Nude tights, Simply Vera. Lime green pumps, Colin Stuart.

It’s a warm day in December (expected a high of 59 degrees), so I’ve brought out some of my lighter favorites – THE coral blouse and this featherweight cardigan. I’m sad to say that I haven’t worn this skirt since last April. Time to get it back in the rotation.

Yes, I realize my shoes don’t match my outfit. I like it that way.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Secondhand Jewelry

Brown shrug, Express. Red oxford bodysuit, Moda International. Striped skirt, George (thrifted). Brown boots, Nine West. Cameo earrings and love/joy/hope pendant, thrifted.

I got the thrifting bug late last week and indulged on Saturday. I didn’t find much in the clothing department (but this skirt). I went nuts in the jewelry case, though. My favorite find is this pendant. Normally, I wouldn’t wear something so maudlin, but I liked the overall design so much I found I could overcome the nausea induced by the trite charms (“hope” bird, “love” hearts, and the word “joy”). I later discovered that the ornaments can be easily removed (I think the pendant was designed as charm holder), but I sort of like the irony. (Not that I'm not hopeful, joyful, or loving. I just have a strong aversion to advertising my softer side.) Next thing you know, I’ll be wearing sweatshirts silkscreened with images of fluffy kittens and socks embellished with puffy clown faces.

A couple years ago, inspired by a ring my mother-in-law give me, I went crazy for cameos. While I didn’t buy many, I spent hours online browsing through cameo jewelry. I ended up with a choker from eBay and a pendant from I found these earrings at the Village Discount Outlet on Pippin. They were only a few bucks.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

TDW Holiday Brunch

Black/brown/white cardigan, Mossimo (thifted). Black sweater, Merona. Red corduroy skirt, H&M. Black tights, Danskin. Black moccasins, American Eagle (via Payless). Red purse, Target (via swap)

Another TDW party today!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holly Jolly

Black tunic sweater with cowl neck, H&M. Dark denim, Express. Love/ joy/ hope pendant, thrifted. Gold clutch, thrifted. Tartan pumps, Charlotte Russe.

I’m afraid this outfit just didn’t photograph well. I tried different backgrounds and lighting schemes, but none of them captured the textures, colors, and silhouette well. Outdoor photography would have been ideal, but daylight is scarce these days.

I’m off to a holiday shindig. I know my outfit isn’t terribly festive, but the tartan pumps and my newly thrifted pendant keep me from looking like a total Grinch.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter White Denim with Fur

Fur poncho, Christopher & Banks. Paisley print blouse, NY & Co. White denim, Gap. Ugly black boots, Life Strides.

I’ll admit that I’m a tiny bit addicted to my blog stats. Most interesting, is checking out where my visitors come from and reverse stalking them. After I’ve exhausted all the referrers, I take a spin through the keywords that brought Googlers here. Most arrive by searching “Kasmira blog” or some variant, but a quite a few also find me by entering “mixing black and brown” and “winter white jeans.” So, for all of you looking for winter white denim inspiration, I’m here to meet your needs again. (And if you’re keen on black/brown mixing, click here.)

Regarding yesterday’s “fat” comment…I want to be clear that I was not fishing for compliments. I do not need you all to reassure me that I am HWP. In fact, I debated making the comment at all because I did not want to appear insecure or set a poor example for the younger, media-bombarded generation. In the end though, I decided that this is my blog and it’s a place for me to not only record my outfits but also how I felt about them. That outfit made me feel fat. I’m wearing something different today (with NO leggings beneath) and feeling comfortable again.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Black silk blend shrug, INC. Army green tank with embellished collar, H&M. Black long-sleeved tee, Merona. Pinstriped pants, Forever 21. Black pumps, Michelle D. Gold bracelet, from swap. Gold watch, Raymond Weil.

I don’t normally complain about my appearance in this blog, but I had a really hard time getting a flattering (i.e. slimming) photo of myself this morning. Because it’s so cold, I am wearing thick leggings beneath my trousers. While I have plenty of room in my pants (gee, that sounds naughty) and the leggings are a slippery synthetic, the fabrics still stick together and my pants cling as if they were too tight. To put it baldly, I look fat.

On the bright side, I’m quite happy with my hair this morning. Cold, dry air means itchy skin, but good hair.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Cozy Gray Knit

Gray cardigan, NY & Co. Sheer green blouse, Forever 21. Tartan jumper, All That Jazz (thrifted and altered by me). Heathered gray tights, Merona. Black patent maryjanes, Xhilaration. Brooch, thrifted. Earrings, Claire’s.

Fall and Winter are my favorite fashion seasons. There always seems to be some take on ladylike style and the cold-weather fabrics (velvet, silk, leather, suede, wool, cashmere, tartan) are just delicious. This season, I was pleased to see not only the dark tights/peep-toe trend, but a resurgence of thick, chunky knits. No longer considered too casual for work, I’ve noticed many of my coworkers bundled up in yummy pullovers, turtlenecks, and cardigans instead of the usual blazers or fine-gauge twin sets. I didn’t want to be left out in the cold!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Photographing Your Outfits - Camera Tricks

I’ve never taken a photography class. I understand the basics of how a camera works and I am a bit artistic, so, through trial and error, I’ve developed the best techniques for photographing my outfits. My bag of tricks includes a tripod, use of camera settings, careful background selection, and manipulation of lighting.

Equipment. My camera is a Canon PowerShot A95. It’s a few years old, and you can no doubt find one today that is far superior for the price I paid. If you’re looking for a new camera, the key features I use on mine are: the flash (super bright), indoor setting, outdoor settings, adjustable exposure, and the timer. The next camera I get will have all these features, and a remote!

The other key piece of equipment is a tripod. It will only set you back $20 and you no longer have to worry about your camera slipping off that tower of precariously stacked CD cases. My tripod is a basic model with adjustable legs and a level. I find the level handy when I photograph outside, on bumpy ground. You may want to consider a Gorillapod. The three short legs wrap securely around just about anything. I may purchase one for travel.

Camera Height. Camera height is a personal preference. Whatever feature is at lens level will be emphasized. I like to position my camera as high as possible (within the tripod’s limits) because that most closely approximates the view I see in the mirror. It ends up being roughly chest height. (As I’m rather small on top, a boob-height camera is a plus.) Placing a camera above your head (as shown left) makes your head look big and your body small. This is an interesting technique, and it places a nice emphasis on the eyes, but it’s difficult to see outfit details. Many people on Wardrobe Remix place their cameras at about 36” off the floor. For anyone self-conscious about their hips, this can place an unwanted emphasis on the butt and thighs, but it does make your legs look longer. A camera placed at a height of below 36”, will make the average person look like a looming giant.

Another note on camera height (and very closely related to posing, the subject of my second Photographing Your Outfit post), is that you will also want to consider the positioning of your head relative to the lens. I dislike the way my face looks when photographed from below, so I tend to tuck my chin so that my face is straight on to the chest-height camera. If you have any fat at the jawline, though, this can create a double chin. Your aim is to photograph your outfit, of course, not your mug, but vanity causes most of us to want our face to look good too. I advise experimenting with different head positions and camera heights until you find a combination that pleases you.

Flash. The flash is almost always your friend. True, your clothing will photograph its truest outside, in even, natural light, but that’s hard to find. Even on a perfectly overcast afternoon, you will have some shadows (and they are usually on your face). For the amateur photographer, taking indoor photos, I recommend using the flash every time. It brings out sparkle and colors and, best of all, blasts wrinkles, blemishes, and dark spots from your face. I sometimes even use the flash outside, during the daylight. I go through a lot of batteries, but it’s worth it. Experiment with your camera to find the best distance to stand from the flash. You want to be illuminated, but not obliterated. If you’re still unhappy with the way the flash renders your outfit’s clothing or texture, consider taking detail shots without the flash.

Special Settings. Again, I don’t claim to know the intricacies of my camera’s innards, but I do know how to spin the magic dial at the top to get the best photos. Indoors, I use the indoor setting and the pictures mysteriously come out better! I’m savvy enough to know that the camera shutter is left open longer on the indoor setting, to account for the reduced light, but otherwise, the working of the setting really is a mystery. Outdoors, I use the setting with a picture of a mountain and a cloud. I assume this is some sort of outdoor setting – and it allows me to adjust for things like daylight and cloud cover.

Timer. Unless you have a photographer or a remote, you simply cannot take decent pictures of yourself without using the timer. I see many “in the mirror” shots on Wardrobe Remix, but they are always inferior to non-mirror shots. Using my timer and tripod, I frame the shot, press the shutter, and run to position myself while the timer beeps. After each shot, I run back to the camera and check the results. I usually have a head or leg out of the first attempt, but adjust by the second. My timer can be set for 2 or 10 seconds. I prefer the 10 seconds so that I can do things like readjust my jewelry (it falls askew when I lean over the camera, inspecting the last shot), fix my hair, and shoo the kitties away before the shutter clicks again.

Exposure. I’ll admit, I was afraid of the exposure settings at first. Only real photographers adjust the exposure and I’m just an amateur. After some dismal results, though, I learned to manipulate the exposure. There are two instances where I find it necessary. The first is with very dark outfits. I usually turn the exposure up (sometimes as high as +1) to better capture the details of a dark or all black outfit, like the photo to the right. This means my face is over-exposed, but, despite my vanity, the outfit comes first. I’ll also adjust the exposure when I take a photo of a dark outfit against a light background or a light outfit against a dark background. Because I use the timer, the camera will automatically set the exposure to the scene without me in it. If I don’t manually adjust it, I’ll end up glowing against a dark setting or smoldering against a light. I usually take a few photos, with varying exposures, before I get it right. If I had a remote, I wouldn’t have a problem stepping into a contrasting background.

Background. So, if I have so much trouble with the exposure when I stand against a contrasting background, why do I do it? Because taking a photo of your white outfit against a white background is not going to show your clothing off well. I have four walls in the house that I generally take photos in front of: white (corner), purple, orange, and green. For most outfits, I use the white corner. If I’m wearing any white, though, I tend to use the green or orange walls. If I’m in all black, I prefer the purple wall because, when I turn the exposure up, the wall will not “glow.” I often pose in front of the orange or green walls to contrast with the colors of my outfits or, alternatively, to pick up colors that might be more subtle in the white corner.
- White corner: most outfits, never white
- Purple wall: all black, some black, contrasting outfits
- Orange wall: light colored outfits, contrasting outfits, outfits with some orange in them
(I should also note that I like using the orange wall because the surrounding orange walls [it’s a hallway] make the light a flattering, warm color)
- Green wall: light colored outfits, contrasting outfits, outfits with some green in them
Admittedly, the lighting is best in the white corner (because the light bounces off the white walls AND the mirror), but I sometimes need to mix it up to capture the outfit’s details.

Outside, I’d love to use more locations, but the deck has been the only place with the privacy and level surface I prefer. I can get a variety of backgrounds there, from the dark overhang to the brightly lit yard.

Lighting. I love the flash, but it works even better if the location is already adequately lit. I turn on every possible light that might influence the shot. The white and purple walls are both in our guest bedroom and the overhead fixture lights the room well. The orange (hallway) and green (dining room) walls are not well lit, so I turn on lights in adjacent rooms to brighten the shot as much as possible. The flash should assist the lighting of the picture, not be the sole source of illumination.

Sometimes, I take shots without the flash because I don’t like the way the colors or textures turn out. I took this picture in a room with an overhead light and a halogen light placed on the floor. My face is unattractively shadowed, but the outfit’s subtleties are properly rendered. Our attic bedroom is lit with a strip of halogen lights. With one of them aimed at me like a spotlight (see left), I have absolutely no need for a flash!

Outside, an overcast day provides the best illumination. It is an even, gentle light. If the day is sunny, take your photo in the shade. You may have to adjust the exposure, but the result will be truer than a photo taken in the blinding sun (and you won’t be squinting). If taking a photo in the shade, be sure that you don’t have a sunny patch in the background. You’ll just end up as a silhouette.

For all of you who, like me, photograph your outfits on a regular basis, I hope I’ve been a help. The key is proper equipment and a willingness to experiment. I didn’t start this blog myself until I finally had a tripod. Many of my early photos were awful, but I learned by doing until I was happy with the results. Happy photographing!

Expect a follow-up post, Photographing Your Outfits – Posing, soon!

Bargain Missoni

Black turtleneck, Merona. Missoni-esque faux wrap dress, Lipstick. Black tights, Danskin. Aqua peeptoes, Wild Diva. Moth medallion necklace, Anthropologie. Headband, Scunci.

This $8 dress from Body Central is turning out to be one of my favorites, all year long…

What a shame I didn't wear it in July, October, or November!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Express Purple

Striped blazer, Merona. Purplish turtleneck sweater and tights, Express. Khaki strapless dress, Newport News. Brown boots, Nine West. Green belt with leaf closure, H&M. Leaf tracery earrings, Claire’s.

I keep telling you I hate purple, and yet I end up wearing it. In my defense, when I bought this sweater three years ago I thought it was more of a burgundy shade. The tights (new) also seemed more red than purple when I bought them. It must be the lighting in Express.

Detail of the jacket pattern and belt.