my style: the one accessory rule

Yikes, what a week! I feel almost like I'm settled back into the school routine; of course, that just means bigger and crazier things will come up. So I better make sure I get back into my blogging groove now, before things like "homework" start dragging me down!

Now, I am probably not the most stylish person you will ever meet (or even the most stylish blogger you currently read) and I know I probably won't become that. That may seem odd, since I obviously love fashion enough to blog about it, but my problem has always been making an outfit into an Outfit instead of just a series of clothes. I always seem to spy people on the street who look stylish and put together when I just look like I'm wearing clothes--a feat that is seldom applauded in itself. I've recently developed a rule for myself that works wonders to make clothes into outfits. I call it the one accessory rule.

Luckily, I'm not a mathematician or some kind of abstract theorist; the one accessory rule is exactly what it sounds like: wear at least one accessory at any given time. This probably sounds incredibly simple (and probably pretty dumb) to the more stylish among us, but the simplicity is what makes it work. It can be hard to imagine yourself into a fabulous outfit, especially when you're getting ready in a time crunch. If your options are make it to class on time or get yourself utterly fabulous, class (hopefully) wins out. But to put on one accessory is so easy. And I find that once I have one on, others follow. Standing in front of my vanity (it may look like a desk, but to me, it's a vanity) and saying "I need to accessorize" often leads to blank stares at my little Gladware container of jewelry, silently begging my bustier lamp to give me a hint. It's too much. But saying "I need a great pair of earrings" is a more achievable goal. And once I have a great pair of earrings, somehow the right necklace is so much easier to find. And then something to go in my hair...before you know it, I'm festooned in finery! (Do be sure not to festoon yourself too festively; excessive festooning can be detrimental to your overall appearance.) (...festoon!)

Because it isn't a post of mine (it seems) without some lovely Polyvore, have some pretties! As always, everything pictured is under $50.

pick one (or more)

I tried to get a bit of a mix of brighter and more muted colors, since I do love the bright ones, but I've been really drawn to creams and their ilk lately. Cameos and pearls are calling my name, I can't help but answer!

Hey bloggers! I've been thinking about doing a School Style series about different colleges nation/worldwide. Of course, no one knows a campus's style better than someone who goes there! If you'd be interested in writing a post about style at your school to be featured on this blog, please e-mail me! (ficklekitsch[at]gmail[dot]com)


Sorry for the radio silence, folks! I've been packing like a whirlwind of organization to get ready to get back to school. And now I'm here, with even more unpacking/decorating/organizing to do! I'm hoping to have a post up tomorrow night, and not too long after that, I might share some pics of my new apartment! Pretty thrilling, if I do say so myself.

Hope you're staying fashionable!

(I only wish my stuff was so neat and adorable!)

my five: back to school

It's that time of year again: back to school! Some of us (ME) are more excited than others, but none of us can stop that inexorable march towards classes, homework, and friends. The best that you can do is be prepared. Which brings me to our topic for today--another list! Oh yeah, you saw it, it's a top five! Today, my focus is on "back to school" essentials (from a fashion/style perspective). It's the stuff that you couldn't convince me to head back to campus without.

One: Flip-flops

Now, some people are evangelical about their flip-flops. Aesthetically or practically, I'm not their biggest fan, but there is not a single soul who could convince me to go into a dorm bathroom without them on. If I'm taking a shower or need to run outside and don't feel like finding a pair of socks or real shoes, the flip-flop is my partner in crime. For this reason, my money is always on the super cheapies, the $1 pairs you can grab at Target, Old Navy, or anywhere that shoes made of 99% rubbery foam and 1% squelch can be found. And don't let the cost fool you: these things can be dynamite. Just last semester, the pair that had lasted me since freshman year (that's 3 years) busted. I probably could have fixed them but, really? I just ran to the store and picked up another, even cheaper pair.

Two: A killer First Day outfit

first classFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

The first day of classes is a crucial one wardrobe-wise. You want to make a good first impression on your classmates and professors, so a basic shorts + tee is out of the question. But if you look too good, you run the risk of setting the standard too high and looking like a slob everytime you do want to get a little more basic. You wouldn't want your classmates to go "Wow, she looks like crap today" when you just feel like throwing a t-shirt, would you? (Note: the likelihood of your classmates actually thinking that is slim to none, especially considering that half of them will probably be wearing sweatpants. But if you're me, you're thinking that they're thinking it, and that's just as bad and twice as neurotic.)

The look I created above is a version of my go-to plan: slightly nicer bottoms (a cropped pant or maybe a nicer pair of shorts) paired with a casual top that still has some sort of interesting feature, flats, hair accessory, and a statement ring. I must now confess that, while I've often mentally enthused about the versatility of a statement ring (or cocktail ring), its ability to dress up an outfit without adding an overbearing amount of jewelry, I did not actually own one. No longer! This past Saturday, I adopted a lovely little pale yellow flower into my home and heart and onto my hand. Rejoice!

Three: Hangers

I buy a new pack of hangers every time I go back to school, bring all the hangers I've bought from previous years, but I still never have enough hangers! This might be because my drawers overflow much more epically than my closet, so once there's no more room in the dresser, up it goes! Now, thanks to Mommy Dearest, we all know that wire hangers are entirely unacceptable--they'll warp your clothes. It might not be the best choice, but I'm a student who would rather spend money on clothes than clotheshangers, so I just pick up the megapacks of plastic hangers at Walmart/Target/your favorite big box store.

Four: A great (book) bag

bag ladyFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

You're not in high school anymore, ditch the backpack! (Or, if you are, why not mix it up?) With more variable class schedules, you no longer have to fit everything for every class into one bag at the same time. Show off your style with something much more fun. My biggest warning regarding bags is to make sure you pay attention to the opening size; the measurements may seem perfect, but you can't take advantage of the textbook-sized bottom if you can't get it in.

Another thing to consider is what you do with your bag during class and the location of your school--it sounds silly until you show up after the first snow in October (what, you don't live in Wisconsin?) and realize you'll be setting your beautiful oversized purse directly in all the muddy meltings from your classmate's shoes. For that reason, a no-muss messenger bag or tote is my choice, but if you can fit your textbooks in it and can keep the elements away, a cuter bag can really make going to class seem more fun! (Okay, it won't really do that, but it might make you smile!)

Five: Fabulous yet evolving hair

No pic for this one because this is one of those answers that means something different to everyone. Now, in my estimation, your hair is one of the most personal parts of your style. It's something you have "on" everyday, regardless of whether you want to or not (unless you rock the wigs, in which case, shine on you crazy diamond!)--it is literally part of you. For this reason, you want to have kickin' hair when you show up at school, to impress your friends and awe your enemies and because you just want to feel fresh for the new year.

Now, anyone who has gotten their hair cut in their life probably knows by now not to get it done the day (or the two days, or if you're trying something brand new even the week) before you show up somewhere. Your hair needs a chance to get used to the new look and you need a chance to get used to your hair, figure out what to do with it when it's no longer salon-perfect. And when you're in college, it's pretty likely that you (a) might not have extra funds for a haircut, (b) are wary of going to a different salon (if you have a usual stylist at home), or (c) will be way too busy having fun--uh, studying--to make an appointment for your hair. For this reason, your hair needs to be like a Pokemon.

You have two options here:

Okay, I lied, there are pictures.

You may choose a hairstyle that will start out like the adorable Squirtle and, as time goes on and hair grows, evolve into the totally cool Wartortle, and then again into the BAMF Blastoise.


You may prefer to be like Eevee (a personal favorite) and pick a style that can evolve in an ever expanding number of ways, depending on the changes in your own style and feelings on the matter. This process will often involve hair dye.

Those are the things (or concepts, I suppose. We're pretty loose on the definition of "things" around here) that I would never head back to school without! What are your picks this round?

Also: as you can see in my sidebar, I'm now on Twitter and Tumblr! Follow me to get updates (Twitter) and see some of the pretties that I look at when deciding what to put in my posts (Tumblr)!

i heart etsy: spoonfulofchocolate

This time on i heart etsy, I'd like to spotlight an Etsy seller that I've actually ordered from! Spoonfulofchocolate primarily creates awesome things from books; since I'm obviously an internet warrior, you might be surprised, but I love books. I have every since I was but a baby blogger playing Science Shop With Munker (a fabulous game on 6 floppy disks). The popularity of book crafts both thrills and horrifies me; I can't help but be struck to the very heart at the idea of cutting up poor books, but I would love to display my bookish nerdy side through some fabulous accessories. Luckily, spoonfulofchocolate's creations can be enjoyed without worry: only the covers are used, and the rest of in-tact book is donated to a local refugee center.

Retro Pink Cookbook Handbag

How darling is that? Perfect for fans of retro or cooking or books or purses (ooh, me!). I love the pink especially because a lot of the time I feel too Barbie wearing full pieces in pink, but I love the freshness and youth of the color--awesome for accessories!

World Atlas Briefcase Handbag

While the first one was bright and very wink-wink-nudge-nudge bookworm-chic, the best thing about this one (to me) is that it's not obviously a book at first glance. It looks very sleek and professional, but there's that neat twist when you look closer and see it's made from an atlas!

The store also has very sneaky passport holders, shelves made from books, other nifty things, and--something I find really neat--PDF tutorials in case you want to DIY any of her projects. You shouldn't need to DIY, though, because custom orders are totally workable. I wanted a custom passport holder for a Christmas present, and she was immensely friendly, helpful, and responsive. It was something of a rush job, and despite difficulty finding a workable copy of one of the books I wanted, the gift arrived on time (which was very important, since the friend in question was jetting off the far abroad mere days later). The craftsmanship was excellent as well--I heartily recommend spoonfulofchocolate for all your book handicraft needs!

Are you a bookworm? Do you think books-as-accessories is fabulous or sacrilegious?

stop the madness: where rompers can go and why

Romper. It's a word that conjures a veritable steaming cauldron of thoughts, emotions, and vitriol. Is the romper the next great piece of clothing? Is it better off left to those who traditionally have worn it (i.e., babies)? Is it the most hideous thing on the face of this planet? Is it flirty or foul? Cute or crap? Summery or scurrilous?

As a (self-proclaimed) fashion blogger, I cannot in good conscience refrain from comment. I refuse to sit back, sit on the fence, or sit anywhere wearing a romper. I am 100% on the against side in the Great Romper Debate.

Rompers have one big plus going for them that should, by all rights, thrill me. Speaking as someone who most often gets "what do you look so nice for?" comments on days I'm too lazy to put jeans on, I honestly do want to jump all over what is basically a grown-up onesie. I would wear footie pajamas if I could find awesome enough ones (the day that my Beauty and the Beast ones didn't fit any longer was a dark one indeed); I have no problems with getting pre-K up in here. The problem I have is that any ease of wear bonus is eliminated by the issues of wearing just one piece: fit.

I wear a lot of dresses. It's one piece, easy enough to put on, and most importantly, easy to fit (at least in the styles I like). A romper is a top and pants all in one, and the odds of both fitting properly? Slim to none. Now, the fashion industry (particularly the Pants Division) has done its level best to convince me I'm some sort of horribly misshapen beast, but though that very well may be true, friends of all shapes, sizes, and distributions have reported the same: the majority of stuff doesn't fit. I don't know what that one mysterious body type everyone is designing clothes to fit is--my research has shown it's not fat, thin, average, rounded, square, big hips, small hips, no hips, or any discernible combination of the above--but if you have it, congratulations! Feel free to buy anything you like without trying on every pair of pants in the store in three different sizes hoping to find one pair that doesn't look terrible. But for the rest of us, rompers represent that horrible sinking feeling. Allow me to provide an beautiful and instructional illustration:

Art by me.

I tried on a romper for, what else, the lulz and blogging fodder last time I went shopping. These are truths: it was baggy on top, giving the impression my chest had deflated, and tighter than a good pair of Spanx on the bottom, causing both thigh-bulge and stretching across anything in my general abdominal area I might not want accentuated. In short, it was the worst pair of shorts and most unflattering tanktop I ever tried on HYBRIDIZED like a multiheaded hydra of fashion horror.

Secondly...they're just silly, okay? I like to have a touch of silly in everything, be it my beloved computer key earrings or a bottle-cap necklace with Neil Patrick Harris' smiling face inside or a Threadless t-shirt. But rompers are woven from silly as surely as the tapestry of fate is woven from the individual threads of our destiny. You can't take someone wearing a romper seriously. If someone wearing a romper tried to give me advice or directions or something, I would say "Go back to California, Katy Perry, and take your whipped cream with you." And that's the truth.

How do you feel about rompers? What piece of fashion makes you go off on enraged semi-coherent tangents, as rompers obviously do to me?

my five: wardrobe essentials

Top Fives/Pick Fives/Five Parties are some of my favorite pieces of blogging (and if no one calls them "Five Parties," well, they should). It's a list, which makes it awesome to begin with, and the restriction of five makes it all so high-stakes, don't you think? I'm always on the edge of my seat to see who/what won't make the cut this time! Okay, that's a lie, but I really like the number five anyway. It's a nice round number, not so short that you could never narrow your list down to that and not so long that you're struggling to think of things to fill it. Five is, in many ways, the perfect number. (My personal lucky number is 7, but I find it sort of unwieldy in blog terms for some unknowable reason. Possibly the inside of my head is just unwieldy in general. Interesting fact: "unwieldy" is one of my favorite words.)

And since this is a fashion/style blog, I know that I won't last too long without an essentials post. I'm pretty sure a fashion blog without an essentials post curls up into a tiny cyberball and then self-destructs in a puff of silicon and data. I wouldn't want that.

One: Cardigans
cardiganpaloozaFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

You may not have noticed, but I love cardigans. I think they're the perfect addition to pretty much any outfit. You can use one to dress up a t-shirt or dress down a dress, cover up some skin without getting too hot (depending on the cardigan. I'm particularly partial to ones with half-sleeves for this reason). A good cardigan is a versatile and indispensible piece of your wardrobe.

Two: LBD

little black dress brigadeFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

The "little black dress" is something of a huge honking cliche now, but in my opinion, it's a cliche for a reason. It's very difficult to go wrong with a black cocktail dress. There's some class and sophistication there, but it can be just as easily brought to a more casual level with flats and chunky jewelry (and, dare I say, a cardigan?). For my purposes, the LBD is more of an archetype than a single entity: everyone should own a nice cocktail dress. Whether or not it's black is up to you; I would, of course, recommend having more than one! But it's pretty hard to look super out of place/inappropriate in black, unless you're at the White Party, so it's a good choice to wear when you aren't totally sure of the formality/style of wherever you're going.

Three: Blue jeans
big bad blue jeansFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

This is really a no-brainer in this day and age, but seriously: jeans. Not jeggings or some other horrific miscarriage of hosiery, jeans. I personally prefer a dark-wash straight or wide leg, but any jeans work. Remember that the darker the wash, the more "formal" they get, which serves my purposes because I go to more plays than rodeos. Ridiculous embroidery is usually a no, though I will admit to having a soft spot for pocket embellishment. The problem with that is that, in drawing a lot of attention to your backside, it...draws a lot of attention to your backside. So no butt-spangles for the faint of heart.

Four: Pencil/A-line Skirts
skirts aplentyFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Okay, this is kind of cheating, but it's my blog and I don't care. The pencil skirt is perfect for looking a little more professional, a little sleeker. I would recommend one in a dark neutral, because I love black, but traditional-made-sassy patterns like houndstooth would also be awesome. Conversely, a flouncy a-line is a must for any summer day, pretty-but-comfy event, or really any time you might feel like twirling. As a bottom-heavy hourglass, a-lines are my favorites because they go straight out from the hips, very flattering.

Five: Shoes
oh my god shoesFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

My final essential is lots and lots of shoes. Honestly, the shoes you "need" depend a lot on your wardrobe, your style, and your preferred comfort level. My own personal "must-haves" are black ballet flats, black boots (knee-high or ankle), neutral heels, a pair of sneakers, and then as many other pairs in as many colors, styles, and patterns as I can get my hands on. A pair of shoes can make an outfit pop or flop, and while the shoes I listed (black, black, neutral) can go with pretty much anything, finding the Perfect Shoe for an outfit is such a wonderful experience. Shoes are also a great way to show your personality, especially when paired with a fairly basic outfit; I have a pair of blue plaid pumps that make my life. I seldom have the opportunity to wear them, but when I do...I feel like a superhero.

What are your wardrobe essentials?

fictional fashion icons: penny

I'm back! I've been on staycation for the past couple days, but that just means I'm raring to go with lots of new content and inspiration!

I thought for my first return post, I'd try something I hope could become a regular theme for posts here. Everyone loves a good fashion icon post, but after a while they can get a bit stale. Sure, I love Audrey Hepburn's classic chicness and who doesn't want to look at more pictures of Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren? But we all know they're icons, and I'd like to do something a little bit different: fictional characters. Who has watched a movie/show/special and gone "Oh man, I need her boots/top/whole dang outfit!"? Let's raise our's not just me, right? Even if it is, all the more reason for me to share!

The first character whose wardrobe I covet is: Penny (Felicia Day) of the internet smash Doctor Horrible's Singalong Blog WARNING: this post contains MAJOR SPOILERS! If you have not yet watched this fabulous piece of online cinema, do that and then read this post (come on, it's only 45 minutes). Also fair warning: these pictures are WIDE. I downsized them a lot, but I don't want to make them any smaller and lose detail/quality, so...oh well!

First off, I'll just say that, much like Dr. H himself, love her hair! I've tried often to recreate the same color and I'll just say that my results have been less fabulous than hers. I picked Penny because her style is very boho/shabby-chic and quiet; it doesn't look like she puts a lot of effort into how she looks, but she looks adorable nonetheless.

I love this hoodie. The little floral detailing on the sleeves and scrollwork on the breast is so cute; it's a perfect combination of slouchy/comfy and adorable. I'm digging the tunic too, though I've never been able to make a tunic look like anything besides a woefully badly fitting shirt in the harsh light of the dressing room. Tips?

I am just going to say right now that I have a deep and passionate love for cardigans, and that is the cardigan of my heart. At first glance, you think "oh, a lovely little floral!" but you're WRONG, because it has gorram birds on it! Birds! Plus: the little sleeve! Quite frankly, I'm in love. Also loving the top/skirt combo...I always have trouble with colored skirts/pants/what have you. I worry that I won't be able to match them to anything, so I end up with lots of neutrals (black, gray, brown) on the bottom. This skirt is a lovely color, but it also seems to work as a neutral here? Maybe I'm insane.

Another cardigan, glorious! And I know, this is the saddest thing ever, but I had to include the cap because...I love her shoes. Love them. Every time I watch DH, I'm distracted from my tears by "ooh, look at those." It's something of a comfort to me. Also really enjoying the blue dress with the deep red hair. It's a lovely contrast.

There you have it! The fabulous outfits of poor homeless-loving vegetarian Penny. My next fashion icon will probably be a little more out-there...less everyday cute and more glitz. That's all I'm saying for now!

All images are from In a Dream Caps

i heart etsy: untamed menagerie

Etsy is such a darling of the fashion blogosphere (and internet at large) that it seems like a foregone conclusion, but every time I mention it I find new people who have never been there. So I feel it's part of my solemn duty to mention it as often as possible so everyone can go buy adorable accessories, outfits, crafty things, and gifts of all types. I buy gifts almost exclusively from Etsy; it's the only place I can find something individual and quirky for all of my friends that won't break the budget. Plus, supporting independent creators is always awesome. I secretly dream of opening my own Etsy shop to sell all of the beautiful yet quirky handcrafts I make in my big airy studio (with a dressform in it), skipping around thrift stores and flea markets in a cute vintage jumper dress to collect bits and pieces to twist into wonderful things. Unfortunately, I don't make...anything, really. And I don't have a studio...or a jumper. All tragedies that will one day be corrected, I'm sure. But for now, I'll have to support other fabulous Etsians.

I first found UntamedMenagerie last Christmas in my search for Psychology-themed jewelry. I didn't end up purchasing the inkblot necklace I found there, but I kept it in my favorites and stumbled back to it today. In the half a year since I viewed the shop, it's either gotten even more awesome or I forgot how awesome it was to begin with in order to preserve the "buy things for other people" spirit of the holidays.

Needless to say, I'm in love.

Carpe Noctem

It's a girl with a bat on a leash. How is that not amazing? Look at those pigtails!

Marine Antoinette

Seriously. Who in their right mind would not want to wear these zany, beautiful things around their neck?


...or on their finger? It's a bird!

The designs are either stainless steel or black acrylic, as far as I can see, and make sure you read the listing carefully to see whether the pendant you're ordering comes with a chain or not (chains are also available for purchase in the shop). These are gorgeous, strange, and insanely well-priced; I suspect one or two will end up en route to my school mailbox not too far in the future.

the right stuff: perfect outfits of my imagination

With only three weeks (from today!) until classes start again, I'm getting myself back into school-mode. This year is especially exciting for a number of reasons: it will be my last year, I'll have an apartment to share with some special friends,'s my last year. I always have grand ideas of what I'm going to wear; this year, I'll become stylish. This year I'll put the effort into my outfits that I wish I would. There's no way to tell whether any of that will actually come to pass (though I have a feeling that this is the year), but making outfits on Polyvore is a lot easier than actually getting dressed and much cheaper, so I've developed a few of my dream outfits to share with you. Please note that none of these items costs more than $50.

Who wouldn't want to go to class like this? A slouchy cardigan to keep comfortable over a cute patterned tank. I have an incredible weakness for cameos and cute little headbands (to be honest, I resisted putting a cameo in all the outfits). But it's class, so a nice pair of straight-legged jeans and ballet flats finish off the ensemble.

Getting off campus is always fun, for a little coffee date (I don't drink coffee, but there's never a shortage of hot cocoa or smoothies) or something else fun and cheap. I love military themed clothing, and I love vests, so this one has sort of captured my heart. The starkness of a military theme with a pretty ruffley blouse and a foofy skirt, and some bangles. Two-toned flats (a neutral pump would be awesome too, but I have to walk down a pretty steep hill to get off-campus, so I would probably save my feet for this) make it perfect and tie it all together with a little twee bow.

I adore these shoes. They might not be the absolute perfect choice with the rest of the styling, but I couldn't leave them out. The dress is simple enough to let the color do the work, and leaves it open for plenty of styling options. Like that precious cardigan and awesome ring. And how unbelievably cute are those tights? A little splash of cuteness in an unexpected place will always charm me. I would wear this to a more formal event, like a gallery show or to the theater. I don't have a lot of formal opportunities at school, but I think I have to make more. I love a pretty dress.

If only I owned more pieces like these...this post has kind of become an accidental shopping list for me! If nothing else, I know that I'll be wasting many more hours creating beautiful looks on Polyvore; does it count as wasting if I share them with you, beautiful bloggites?

i bought it: buxom big & healthy lip stick

I turned 21 on Saturday (and had a great yet fairly staid time. My idea of a party generally includes more dip and less malt beverage than the average college student), but this is not an entry about me. It's about my lips.

Recommendation posts have tentatively been named "I Bought It (And So Should You)," and I had some general ideas about awesome things I've used in the past that I'd want to share. But in putting my face on for my birthday, a new contender jumped to the forefront!

I don't know how it goes for the rest of you, but when I buy new makeup, it usually ends up sitting in my bag for a while until the proper moment comes along and I go "AHA!" My AHA for Saturday was Big & Healthy Lip Stick from BareEscentual's Buxom line.

Snazzy! I got mine from Sephora

First off, it has all kinds of like, vitamins and minerals and all that stuff, so this is totally awesome for you and should be included as a health purchase not a beauty one (it even has "healthy" in the name!) Next, this thing lasts. I knew I was tempting fate a bit going with a bold red lip when I'd be out and about and maybe not have time to retouch. But I slapped it on and threw it in my purse anyway. I did not have to retouch once. This stuff lasted through eating, drinking (from bottles, glasses, AND straws), and the general wear and tear. It was a tiny bit faded at the end of the night (6 hours later!), but not noticeably; I have Barcelona ("scarlet apple") and it's a very deep red on me, which I love, but it just faded into a slightly lighter but still totally wearable red. No feathering, no "eaten off" look on the inside. Definitely an A+ in lasting.

And, finally, Big & Healthy is awesome's like a big crayon for your face! You get to line your lips with it, then color them in! It's totally fun, and there's a built-in sharpener in the bottom so you can keep the point nice and fresh. I will definitely pick up several more colors of this when I next refresh my makeup collection.


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