The Overlooked Style Icon

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What I am about to explain to you needs no justification in my mind. I still feel the need to elaborate so that you might understand where I am coming from when I say what I am about to. I grew up on rock n’ roll. Although my family was more of the Jimmy Buffet and Randy Newman type, I hung around kids that were watching Pink Floyd’s The Wall and The Rolling Stones’ Rock n’ Roll circus. Although I never outwardly dressed like my friends, in their tattered band shirts, ripped jeans, and scuffed shoes, I aesthetically enjoyed the style of all of my Joey Ramone doppelganger friends.

Flash forward several years and here I am. Still listening to much of the same music and knowing the words to every song because I’ve listened to them so many times and it never got old. The only main difference now is that I know more-so who I am. I’m not gritty or rough on the inside; I’m simply a feminine girl who happens to like all things gritty and rough looking. Some of the glamorized aspects of rock n’ roll are a little too much. The debauchery involved in the lifestyle is too much for me to appreciate, or even handle. I choose to admire from afar.

So what is all of this about? This is all about finding inspiration in the places where you would often overlook it. And by overlook, I mean Mick Jagger. When you mention the name, many millennials would simply respond with “who?”, everyone else is too busy either mocking his age or looking at what he is physically doing, not what he’s wearing.

Jagger’s style over the years has remained admirable. He’s been consistently consistent with what he wears, tight black jeans, a button up shirt, and the most important element of any one of his outfits, a killer blazer. Below, as on ode to none other than Mr. Jagger, I’ve compiled exactly what I would wear if I happened to be him.

 

Jagger worthy blazers:

x

 

Where to get them:

1.  Balmain Striped Cropped Blazer

2. Roberto Cavalli One Button Silk Blazer

3. Balmain Woven Tailored Blazer – My FAVORITE!

4. Femme De Rose- Womens Tailored Blazer

5. Just Cavalli Printed Cotton-Twill Jacket

6. River Island White Contrast Collar Scuba Tux Blazer

Who’s your overlooked style icon?

Cheers,

Jillian Ouellette

 

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8 Reasons You Should Start Sewing Your Own Clothes

sewing

Source

Sewing is a thing of the past. The demand for fabric, patterns, and notions for sewing has seemed to decrease in availability in modern times. Giant department stores that once dedicated entire departments to such items would now look you would a dumb founded smirk and say “what exactly is it that you’re looking for?” if you were to ask now. I often hear my friends tell me how much they admire my sewing skills and the garments that I make, my reply is always the same thing; you can do it yourself too.

In order to justify my love and commitment to sewing and why I think that you should do it to, I created a list of some things that I find to be an incredibly important element to sewing for yourself.

1. You get to make a garment that only you have- Often when I am inspired to sew something, it’s because I see something at one of the many stores I enjoy shopping at. If I see something that outweighs the cost of sewing it, I’ll typically buy it, but aside from that, I don’t have many other excuses. I browse runway shows when available and admire from afar, but sewing our own clothes allows us to make a piece that no one else will likely ever have. For instance, my Banana Bustier Crop Top is inspired by Jason Wu’s Spring 2013 RTW collection, I just made it my own. Fabrics and patterns can all be customized to suit YOU.

2. You get to customize sizes to your size- If you go to the shopping and purchase something that a.) fits you every time and b.) you don’t need to pay to have tailored, you are a lucky gal or guy. We all have something that just doesn’t fit us when we purchase it. Mine happens to be pants, so in the end, I simply avoid buying them and make them instead.

3. Sewing is incredibly affordable in the long run- Fast fashion is fast. You wash it two or three times and it no longer has its shape. That means that it’s also cheaply made, but we do get what we pay for. While the initial costs of sewing can be pricey and some good quality fabric might make your jaw drop in cost, making a pair of wool gabardine pants, instead of purchasing 10 million pairs of cheap pants (I might be exaggerating) over 5 years outweighs the initial costs.

4. Your supporting smaller business- I love this about sewing; when you shop at the right places, you are a part of a chain that it directly supporting one another and helping each other learn and grow.

5. Sewing teaches patience- I’m not that patient of a person, but what I have learned through years of sewing is that sewing is a labor of love. Making one mistake requires that undoing of such mistake. Taking a partially sewing garment apart can often feel like pulling teeth, but it requires you to go the extra mile in order to get the job done right.

6. Sewing is a community- If you have a question, there’s always an answer. Communities such as BurdaStyle allow for you to engage other users and share your creations with other users. It is a source of inspiration and support, something we could all use a little bit of.

7. Sewing increases your observation skills- in order to do something right the first time, sewing requires that you pay attention in detail to what you are doing.

8. You get to wear something that you made- sewing is a product of yourself. Just wait until you get your first compliment and then you’ll want to keep going at it!

Ready to start now? Grab a sewing machine, getting a basic sewing pattern, buy some fabric, and share with me what you are making!

Happy sewing!

Cheers,

Jillian Ouellette

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The Evolution Of A Brand

Juicy C

Remember the days ol’, where women, young and old alike, laden with big square sunglasses, a sequin bag the size of a water buffalo, and occasionally, a dog inside the bag roamed the streets? Ah yes, but lest we forgot the most important part of this spectacle: the giant “Juicy” encumbered across the rear end of a hot pink velour sweat suit. Although it has been years since such game has been widely seen, we are still somewhat confused as to why the words “velour” and “sweat suit” ever appeared in the same phrase, piled right on top of one another.

Now what the hell is she talking about? You must be asking yourself this. I know you probably are assuming that I am talking about Juicy Couture, but why? I think that the majority of millennial’s have this image seared into their minds, turning into what we should expect from this brand. But it’s been years since the popularity of this trend, perhaps even a decade has passed since this has been a normal sight. But, like any young, naïve, optimistic girl, I have faith that like people, brands can change and evolve into something better. After all, we all like to assume that we are better people then we were yesterday, right? On a rare occasion, this optimistic nature transforms into a reality and personally, I see this validated in Juicy Couture, as a brand.

Every human goes through their awkward tween age years (yes, I did in fact mean “tween”), and at some point, there is a coming of age. Over the past few years, Juicy Couture has done just that. They have moved away from fuzzy fabrics and moved towards more adult, work-place friendly textiles. They’ve gone past full-on PINK, to a color palate that anyone can really wear, and not look like a total drab. Even though there is an overwhelming amount of pastel involved in their marketing, it manages to appear edgy and of-the-moment, unlike in the past, where our patience was wearing thin of what they were offering us. Even since 2012, Juicy Couture’s look books have been published alongside fashion shows by the likes of Stella and Dior, pretty impressive for having such a history.

I love success stories- I love the underdog coming out on top (who doesn’t?) or the person proving that the reputation they have been given is actually wrong. Although Juicy does sell sweatpants to those who refuse to move forward in time, sometimes all it takes is giving something we thought was outdated and cliché a second chance- like LA Gears. Just kidding, don’t give those a second chance.

Is there a brand you love that has had a total turn around?

Bests,

Jillian Ouellette

P.S.- What would change mean if you didn’t give an ode to the past every once in a while? Case in point. Kind of chic though, right?

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Wanderlust: Shanghai

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Shanghai’s Pudong District Along the Huangpu: Source

I love being on an airplane. The anticipation of going anywhere new, interesting, or favored makes me all giddy like a child. That’s why I decided to start sharing with you some of the places I love or simply want to visit greatly, both as a reminder to myself and for anyone who has any interest in it themselves.

China has been a part of my life for quite some time now. I had the opportunity to travel there as a child and when I started school, I had the opportunity to study Mandarin there for one year.  Many of the people in my life don’t quite understand why I love it so much and often times, I find it very difficult to verbalize my feelings towards it. My memories of it are fond and filled with nostalgia and knowing that you can’t live the same memory twice makes it a bit difficult to absorb.

With that being said, why the hell should you go there? The answer: many reasons. The richness of the culture for one. Never have I had the opportunity to be surrounded by people so generous, interested, and welcoming. People, obviously, are the biggest component of any culture. Their gestures and smiles are a massive reflection of character, making or breaking the experience of where you are. China embodies these physical and emotional gestures, adding to the uniqueness of a centuries old culture rushing into a modern world.

One of my favorite things about any culture though happens to be food. This is totally ironic because I am the simplest eater I know. I can eat a bagel for every meal the rest of my life and you probably won’t be hearing much complaining from me. China and cities like Shanghai make this simple for me, because 95% of the time, you’ll really hit the jack pot with dumpling or soup.

The glamour of Shanghai is really unspeakable. Some would call it dirty or musky, but it is truly beautiful. The architecture bears on ode to history and cultural differences and the skyscrapers that tower over the 100 year old housing complexes add contrast to the dynamic nature of a changing city. Boats on the Huangpu River display 30 foot advertisements demonstrating that China and it’s pearl, Shanghai, have what it takes to keep up with a rapidly changing world. That’s what I love about Shanghai, it changes so quickly, forces you to adapt, and for the most part, you end up even better than before.

I’m most excited about the future of it.  The world and its industries are starting to recognize that this is the place, this is especially true for the fashion industry. The CFDA  is merging American fashion with Chinese fashion, and in 2010, Karl Lagerfeld went so far as to throw a runway on the Great Wall for Fendi. Shanghai is a business mecca, and with all it has to offer, it will continue to be for a long time to come.

All I can really say, is that I cannot wait to be a part of all the old stuff, and all that new stuff again someday.

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Funny Feelings: Vintage Swimsuits

swim 11950’s Swimsuit

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1950’s Bikini

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1970’s Bikini

swim 4Inside of 1950’s Swimsuit

I know that the majority of men in my life will disagree with what I’m about to talk to you about. The scantily clad bathing suits that the line the beaches, swimming pools, and wherever the hell else you wear one are not doing women justice. *Gasp*. Of course, modern swimsuits are now made with as little fabric as possible and sold, in many cases, for the highest profit possible. For such a minimal functioning clothing item, we sure do spend a lot of time and money on them, when in the majority of cases, they are not very flattering and we only spend 3 or 4 months a year wearing them (that depends on where you live… I guess). Anyways, here’s a few reasons I think that vintage swimsuits are the jam.

1. Fabric- Modern bikinis are composed of spandex and Lycra. Know, I find these fabrics to be incredibly useful at times, but I do have some qualms with them. They are meant to stretch in large proportions, this means that the garments made with them have a lot of leeway when it comes to structure. Sizing is no longer taken into great account because of the freedom given by the fabric. A majority of vintage swimwear is made out of cotton, taking sizing into greater account. Like in picture one, 1950’s Swimsuit, holy moly.

2. Structure- Anyone who purchase, wears, or admires vintage clothes understands that clothes from different time periods are made to fit women in those time periods.  The baggy silouhette of the 1920’s and the nipped waist of the 50’s are all indicative to this gesture. A large portion of vintage swimwear is sewn like an exoskeleton, it keeps everything in place and emphasizes all the good stuff. This is seen in the last photo on Inside of 1950’s Swimsuit on Etsy.

3. Design- I feel that I don’t need to explain myself. The glamour that comes from these suits is enough to make anyone feel about themselves when wearing one of these.

These are some of the things I try to take into account when I sew for myself and I sew for Showboat Clothing.

Feel free to comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Cheers,

Jillian Ouellette

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Black and White and (Maybe a Pop of Color) Allover

FotoFlexer_Photo

For someone who is particularly good with drastic change, I’m a major creature of habit. I’ve gone from living in Reno, NV with a population of 300,000, to living in Shanghai, China, with a population of 19 million, effortlessly. I’ve gone from having amplified red hair for five years, to having blonde the next day without a flinch. But my wardrobe? That’s a whole different story. While my style and clothes are constantly evolving, I tend to stick to similar styles.

For the longest time I was really pushing the black and white stripe/polka dot/ and cheetah print threshold.  Actually, I still am. The other day while shopping, I managed to go into the fitting room with four pairs of black and white pants, and come out with two being winners. I felt like a shmuck having to explain to my mother  “but this one is a trouser and this one is a pair of jeans,” *Ok, Jillian*.  Personally, I see nothing wrong with this, a little redundant maybe, but I remain enthusiastic none-the-less.

I’m becoming a firm believer that having an eye for a specific thing adds for a little more consistency in your life. For the most part, I am a consistent person. My reaction, thoughts, and attitudes towards things are relatively predictable. My clothes and the objects that surround me are of the same bird.  Going outside of my norm is healthy, but only to certain extent. At some point, you’re no longer dressed like yourself, your dressed like some uncomfortable looking doppelganger of yourself that probably shouldn’t have left the house. So perhaps having a wardrobe filled with bold patterns and monochromatic colors adds to my being consistent? After all, a polka dot never hurt anybody, right?

Do you find yourself buying the same stuff over and over?

Cheers,

Jillian Ouellette

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Organized Messes

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_MG_2323 Edit

Aside from being incredibly average in height, I find that I am still constantly wearing skirts that are really not built for a frame such as mine. The skirt above is a testament to such clothing- the Virgin de Guadalupe skirt. I made this skirt in order to acquire more of said unflattering-on-my-frame clothing and will probably continue doing so until I am publicly shamed into wearing only miniskirts and short-shorts to much my physical proportion (because that totally happens, right?).

I love this fabric.  I love this fabric so much that a made a matching bustier to go along with it: Virgin de Guadelupe Bustier Bra Top. The fabric used on this can be deemed as a bit “much,” but a bit much has never really hurt anyone. Yeah, right. Upon trying to envision what I could actually make with this fabric, I immediately thought that it would be almost impossible to pair it with anything other than a solid color. LIES! This fabric kills it with some cheetah print. You probably don’t believe, so I’ll just have to show you at a later time.

I actually was inspired to make this after seeing the Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012 RTW collection (seriously, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since laying eyes on it). I mean, chili pepper repeats on a bustier top and a midi skirt? It’s all so tropical, and I’m not a tropical girl. I’m a “busy city” vacation girl. But when I saw this collection, I thought to myself- Oh the places I would go in that- dive bars, class, or perhaps to a garage sale. After truly putting that into perspective, I decided just to make something somewhat close to it.

On a serious note, did you get the same feeling as me when you saw that? It’s beautiful.

A little more about the making of this skirt, I made this skirt with a pattern made by yours truly.  You can find similar ones by any pattern maker: Simplicity, Vogue etc. If you’re a beginner or new to this whole sewing thing, it’s probably one of the easiest things you could make for yourself. Another tip is to find a bottom of a dress pattern with a gathered skirt, and cut a long rectangle for the waist, add an extra inch to the total waist length for the zipper and there you have it, a skirt.

Last thing- I feel like I really hit the Japanese Purikura photo booth nail on the head with these photos. Black and white polka dots can really make a girl feel like a cartoon, along with a bun that is pretty much the size of my head.

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Fabric Close-Up

Crop top & sandals – Topshop, Skirt – Showboat Clothing

Cheers,

Jillian Ouellette

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