How to mix dressy and casual.

Chinese talk out order.

When I lived in China I went to university to become a teacher. My major was Education with a Minor in Political Science. After graduating, I worked for a time in as a teacher in my hometown. When I moved to Shanghai I left teaching for work in the corporate world. After I came to America I decided to give teaching another try. As you can imagine, learning PolySci in the People’s Republic of China was a very different experience than it would be at an American university. So I figured teaching government or history would be a big problem for me. What to do? Luckily it was starting to become more and more popular to offer Chinese in some of the local school districts. That sounded like the job for me! My first task was to get my teaching degree recognized here in Michigan. Lots of paperwork, money, contacting my college in China, money, official transcripts and translations, money, applications and money later and I got a decision. Yes, I could teach in Michigan. But ONLY Political Science! Even though I had been born and raised in China and grew up speaking, reading and writing Mandarin, the Department of Education decided I wasn’t qualified to teach Chinese! BUT, if I wanted to take some classes, take some tests and, you guessed it, paid some money I could become certified to teach my native language! The one thing I am sure I learned is that governments are pretty similar all over the world; they LOVE their paperwork!

How to mix dressy and casual
How to mix dressy and casual

As in my job, I’m challenging myself to go in a fashion direction that I don’t usually go. My outfit today is a bit out of character from my usual comfort zone. I don’t like to be locked into a single style or theme and try to mix it up a bit. This long flowy black skirt with gold sequined vertical stripes is very feminine and fancy. It’s a perfect party skirt but there’s only one problem with that. I don’t attend a lot of parties! Even though I don’t go out on the town often I didn’t want to leave such a beautiful piece wasting away in my closet. So I found a way to still wear it by using the rest of my look to dress it down. The first thing I did was get my leather and shearling bomber jacket back into action. This coat had been biding it’s time just waiting for the chance to answer the call of duty.

Bomber Jacket and dressy skirt
Bomber Jacket and dressy skirt

I could have gone with a safer black or gold coat but this time I wanted to climb a bit further out on the limb. This coat is very warm but also very casual. Most people would probably pair this type of outerwear with their favorite jeans. Swapping for the high style long skirt paid dividends though. This length of skirt can be more challenging for a petite (read short) person and emphasize their lack of size. To compensate I stepped into my high heel leather and leopard booties. This not only added height but by staying in a similar color palette, really anchored the outfit nicely. The next step was to add some colorful accessories to bring some playfulness to the whole outfit. My bright green leather cross-body bag really pops and rocks. Greens and blacks play well together so I topped everything off with my teal wool hat to keep the balance between casual and formal just right. Class dismissed!

Teal winter wool hat
Teal winter wool hat
Bomber Jacket
Bomber Jacket
Black long skirt
Black long skirt
Leopard booties
Leopard booties

Wool Hat @Lord & Taylor
Bomber Jacket @TJ Maxx
Green Leather Bag @Michael Kors
Skirt and Booties @Nordstrom Rack
Cheers!

Grace

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How to style dressy shorts in winter

Start bailing out that bucket list!

My husband and I started putting together our travel bucket list about a year ago. We’ve knocked a couple things off in 2014 but this year we will have to slow it down a bit. I think we’re still getting bills from last years trips! Or maybe those are just the leftovers from the holiday gifts. Either way we plan to probably stay a bit closer to home this year. That’s not to say we won’t still check off a destination or two. Gas has been at its lowest price since I moved to America in 2007 so we plan to take advantage of that. I’ve delegated to my husband the task of planning the great road trip of 2015! My only requirements were it must be warm and there must be a beach involved! I’m pretty pumped for the great opportunities this will give me for future outfits, posts and photo shoots! My biggest worry is that without the baggage limits from the airlines or dollhouse sized storage on a cruise ship I may “accidentally” pack a few too many clothes! Stay tuned!

A dressy shorts are the fun piece for winter layering
A dressy shorts are the fun piece for winter layering

Today I’m in a bit more playful mood and wanted my outfit to reflect that. I thought I would add a bit of youthful fun to my outfit. And what article of clothing says young better than shorts? Once the theme was set all I had to do was go to work, or play as it happens. My foundation piece would be a cool and sculpted pair of shorts. Not just grey but a shimmery, scaly snakeskin pattern. These shorts have great lines with an irregular hem shape and overlapping layers. I’ve actually built other outfits from these shorts but they didn’t quite meet my quality standard. You would probably be surprised by how many outfits I’ve tried that just weren’t good enough for me to present to you! It’s just one more way that I’m working hard so you don’t have to! Shorts are always a great choice for anyone with a petite frame. They help to create the illusion that I’m a taller figure than I really am.

How to style dressy shorts in winter
How to style dressy shorts in winter

To help with this deception I kept everything below the shorts in the same color family. When you have a strong contrast it can have the effect of visually cutting off my legs. And NO ONE wants that! My black tights and tall black suede boots were a natural extension of the grey in the snake skin. These charcoal tones can go with just about any part of the rainbow. For today’s look I paired with a rich, deep burgundy color sweater. This top not only keeps me warm but by featuring a dark blue polka dot pattern it kept right in line with the tone of the day. The polka dot pattern is great as it’s chic but without being too busy. The burgundy in the sweater had plenty of company with similar hued large leather purse and wool hat. The blue in the dots matched the band of the hat and gave me my inspiration for my next layer. That is where I let my timeless jean jacket contribute its share to my relaxed playful mood. Last but way far from least is my super cool go to black and white faux fur vest. This not only kicked everything up a notch but helped to unify the whole look from head to toe. Or is it from fangs to rattle?

Purple pok dot sweater
How to style dressy shorts in winter
Black high heel boots
How to style dressy shorts in winter
Black and Whit faux fur vest
How to style dressy shorts in winter
Wine leather crossbody purse
How to style dressy shorts in winter
Wine leather crossbody oversize purse
How to style dressy shorts in winter

Hat @Saks 5th Avenue
Faux Fur Vest @Neiman Marcus
Jean Jacket @White House/Black Market
Polka Dot Sweater @Ann Taylor
Snakeskin shorts @Express
Leather purse @TJ Maxx
Suede boots @Lord & Taylor

Cheersssssssss!

Grace

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