28 December 2001

Jane by Design Style Challenge: Task #5

Catching up? Check out Task #1Task #2Task #3 and Task #4.

This is the next challenge that I got from the Jane by Design crew:

Take the white shirt out of your trunk and put it on your dress form. Using accessories from your own collection (or anything else you can think of), show how you would style the shirt for a day at the office. Then, change the look entirely and show me how you would style the same shirt for a dressy cocktail party.

This was a really fun one! 

I was given a plain white oxford shirt (do you have one? Every woman should. Snag an affordable one here or here) and styled it two ways:

For the Office:

A pencil skirt is a classic career silhouette, but when it's done in a bright green lace, it's untraditional and fun yet still professional. A simple black cardi, a structured bag in a black and white stripe, detailed pumps and a slim pop of leopard at the waist strike the perfect balance between polished and playful.

Paired with: Cardigan - Nordstrom (similar here) // Necklace - Gift (similar here) // Belt - Target (similar here) // Bag - Kate Spade (similar here) // Skirt - Beth Bowley via Anthropologie (similar here) // Shoes - Missoni for Target (similar here)




For the Cocktail Party:

A classic white shirt can work at a fancy party if you add glimmer, glitz and bling (and, of course, that ever-present bit of leopard).

Paired with: Top - J. Crew  // Necklace - Target (similar here), Skirt - Thrifted (similar here), Belt - Target (see above) - Clutch - Kenneth Jay Lane (similar here) // Heart Pin - ban.do // Shoes - Target




Do you have any day-to-night styling tips? Post them on the Jane by Design Facebook wall and tell them What the Frock? sent you.

Jane by Design Style Challenge: Task #4

Catching up? Check out Task #1Task #2 and Task #3.

Task #4 was a Christmas-related challenge, but unfortunately, I was traveling over Christmas, so I didn't get to tackle it till last night.

Here is the email I got, outlining the challenge:

Fashion happens when reinvention is combined with exceptional vision.  Look inside your trunk and take out the holiday sweater.  You see something for your grandmother.  Now look again.  What do you see now?  You must use every ounce of creativity you have to turn the holiday sweater into something special.  Something spectacular.  I don’t care if you use scissors or glue, your fat jeans or a slice of stale fruitcake.  Turn that sweater into something fresh & exciting that could be the next big trend for Holiday 2012.

Here is the sweater:


Yikes, right? 

Since Christmas is over, I didn't want to use any of the Christmas-y decorations on the sweater. I wanted to be able to use my creation now, not wait till this time next year.

My inspiration came from our drive home yesterday. It was cold and rainy for our entire 10+ hour trip, and every time we stopped at a rest stop so that I could let the dog do his business, I really wished that I had a hat.

So there - a hat!

I loved the gold trim on the bottom of the sweater, and so I cut a shape out of the back, and sewed it into this cute little beanie.

(Please forgive my appearance. After all day in the car and then tackling this project, I was in no mood to fix my hair or apply lipstick!)

Have you ever created something stylish out of something completely unstylish? Go to the Jane by Design Facebook page to share your story, and please tell them that What the Frock? sent you.

And see another clip of Jane by Design here. Are you getting excited for the premiere?

20 December 2001

Jane by Design Style Challenge: Task #3

Catching up? Check out Task #1 and Task #2.

Ohhhhhh, man. I have to say, this is my favorite task so far. Why, you ask? Well, I'll get to that in just a sec.

Here's the latest email I got from the JBD crew:

I often say you can judge a person based on the purse they carry.  A sloppy bag shows the world that you are a disheveled mess, very likely in need of group therapy.  A matronly purse says you are uptight, humorless and quite possibly spending your nights alone, with only your cat for company.  But the right bag represents you better than any other accessory can. The right bag reveals the best aspects of your personality, winning you affection and admiration wherever you go. 

Now go to your closet.  Find the purse that best represents you.  Post a photo to your blog and tell your readers why this purse conveys the very essence of who you are.  Then ask your readers to share the bags that best represent them here and mention the name of your blog.

And remember—choose carefully.   An expensive purse might reveal that you are really just a shallow tart.  A cheap purse might reveal that you are a miserly malcontent.  To make it to the next phase of the interview process, you will need to convince me that you are an interesting person with a unique point of view.  If you’re just another sheep following the masses, you’ll stay in the barnyard where you belong.

Watch this video for additional inspiration into this phase of the interview process, and make sure your readers get a chance to watch as well.

So, yeah. The reason that this is the OMGBESTTHING\EVARRRR is because, well, I looooove handbags.

I love them like Britney loves Cheetos. Like Magnum P.I. loves his mustache. Like Ron loves Hermione. Like the Kardashians love themselves.

I'm a frugal shopper to the core, but bags are one of the only things I'll splurge on. Of course, splurge is a relative term. I've never, ever paid full price for a pricey bag - I get them on sale, or on eBay, or with gift cards or promo codes. And I don't have to splurge on them. I've got plenty of bags that were cheapity cheap cheap, too.

I got rid of a bunch of old bags this year. I donated some, and I sold the nicer ones on eBay. Here's what's left:


It may not look like it, but there are a lot of bags there. I'd estimate it at about 35-40 bags left over after The Great Handbag Purge of 2011. This makes it pretty much impossible to just choose one bag that conveys the essence of who I am. So I've chosen three.

1. The Old Standby: Anna Corinna Small City Tote


I've had this bag practically forever. I snagged it off of eBay for a steal many, many years ago and it's been a wardrobe staple ever since. It's not the most fashion-forward bag, the most jaw-dropping, the most luxurious, but it's cute, stylish, reliable, and versatile (just like me?).

Oh, and it's convertible. See?


2. The New Favorite: Clare Vivier Silkscreened Simple Tote



I've only had this bag for about a month, but I can't get enough of it. It's incredibly plain - just a basic, unlined tote in buttery camel leather with no hardware or frills, except for the kick-ass bright pink silkscreened stripe. Sometimes, all you need is one big, bold, but simple feature to get noticed, and this bag embodies my personal style to a tee.

3. The Going-Out Bag: Free People Madam C Leopard Clutch



This is the perfect night-out bag. It's small and can be worn crossbody or on the shoulder. And if you're wondering why it represents who I am, well, just check out my well-documented love of the leopard. 'Nuff said.

So, now you know way too much about my favorite bags, so return the favor! Tell us about your favorite bag. Post about it here (photos are a plus) and tell them that What the Frock? sent you!

19 December 2001

Jane by Design Style Challenge: Task #2

Catching up? See Task #1 here.

I got this email, outlining Task #2:

My name is Jane Quimby and I’m Gray’s assistant.  Nice to meet you by e-mail! Gray asked me to brief you on your next challenge.  Style icons can be an important source of inspiration.  Who is your style icon?  Is it your mother or a favorite aunt?  A celebrity or an athlete?  A world leader or rock star? 

Find the plain white t-shirt in your trunk.  Using items around your house or your office, create a design on the t-shirt inspired by your fashion icon.  Then, put the shirt on your dress form and post a photo of it to your blog, along with an entry that talks about how your design was inspired by your fashion icon.  Ask your readers to tell you about their style icons here and mention the name of your blog. If Gray can tolerate your writing style & appreciates your ingenuity, you will proceed to the next phase of the interview process.

Well, I have a ton of style icons. Check out my entire Girl Crush series. But for this task, I was inspired by the one, the only, Drew Barrymore.


The thing about Drew's style is that it's really hard to classify. She's a little bit hippie, a little bit glam, and a little bit rocker chick. It all comes together for a whole lot of sexy, fun-loving confidence. Drew rocks.

(Who is your style icon? Tell us about it on the Jane by Design Facebook page and tell them What the Frock? sent you.)

So, when I started my t-shirt redesign, I asked myself, WWDW? Something hippie/glam/rocker, no doubt. And then I got to work on a no-sewing-required design. Because I am not crafty. Not at all.

I was going to post step-by-step DIY instructions, but to be honest, I totally winged this. I used dye, scissors, lace trim, fabric glue, and some velvet ribbon and an old brooch that I had lying around. And here's the result:


I hope that Drew would approve.

What? You really want the instructions? Well, okay, if you insist!

Materials: a white tee, grey fabric dye (I used Tulip brand in grey), fabric glue, lace trim, black velvet ribbon and an old brooch.

How I Did It: 
  • First, I dyed the tee per the package instructions. I purposely didn't stir it that well and didn't leave the in the dye as long as I was supposed to, because I wanted the tee to be kind of blotchy and distressed-looking.
  • After the tee was dyed, washed and dried, I cut it into a one-shoulder shape.
  • I cut lengths of lace trim and used fabric glue to attach it to the tee. I didn't feel like measuring, so I just eyeballed it, but it came out pretty even.
  • After the fabric glue dried, I attached a vintage brooch and some lengths of ribbon for an extra embellishment on the shoulder. But it's completely removable.
And that's it! Easy peasy!

I hope that I make it to Task #3. These challenges have been, well, challenging, but I'm having a blast!

P.S. Check out another sneak peek of Jane by Design!

18 December 2001

Jane by Design Style Challenge: Task #1

So, this is really cool.

There's a new show called Jane by Design that will be premiering on ABC Family on January 3rd.

To promote the show, they've selected a group of bloggers, yours truly included, to participate in a series of style challenges leading up to the series premiere. It's really fun - we've been invited to "interview" for a blogging position at Donovan Decker, the fictional company in which the show takes place. The winner of the "position" gets her blog mentioned on an episode of the show!

After accepting the challenge, I got a giant trunk in the mail from Donovan Decker, full of a bunch of cool things that I'll be revealing as the challenges go on. A few days later, I got an email from Gray Chandler Murray, telling me about the first task:

By now you should have received the trunk I sent you and you should be ready to begin the interview process.  The blogger we are looking for at Donovan Decker must have a sparkling personality, impressive creativity and the ability to influence the masses.  You must also be an expert shopper with a trained eye for what’s new & unique.  For this phase of the interview process, take the $50 gift card I sent you and go shopping.  When you return, shoot a video of your shopping haul and post it to your own blog.  Then show me that you can engage your readers.  Tell them to share their own haul videos here and mention the name of your blog.  Impress me with your originality.  A video of what you bought at the most fabulous boutique could bore me to tears. A video of what you bought at the grocery store could fascinate me.  Or bore me to tears.  I shop around the world from Mumbai to Tokyo to Sydney looking for inspiration, and sometimes I don’t know what I’m looking for until I see it.  Do you have what I’m looking for?  If you do, my assistant Jane will contact you and you’ll proceed to the next phase of the interview process. 

FUN FUN FUN!

So I took my $50 gift card to the place where I knew I'd get the most out of it: Goodwill. And while Goodwill is often hit-or-miss for me, I made out like a bandit, you guys. Check it out.


Even more fun - they want you (yes, YOU) to share your own shopping inspiration on their Facebook page. Share a video, a photo, or just tell them about your favorite recent purchases. And don't forget to mention What the Frock? in your posts.

Stay tuned, because I'll be posting a whole slew of tasks in the next few weeks! Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #JBDStyleChallenge and learn about the show at @ABCFJane.

Here is more show info from the official site:

"Jane By Design follows Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher), a quirky teen with an eclectic chic fashion sense, who lands a job at a hip design studio when they mistake her for an adult. Torn between her love of fashion and the need to finish high school, Jane conceals her true age to assist the demanding, but talented Gray Chandler Murray (Andie MacDowell), who travels the world in search of the next big style trend. Jane quickly learns that working for a successful executive in the cutthroat world of fashion is not as glamorous as she once thought. But with help from her best friend Billy Nutter (Nicholas Roux), Jane tries to keep up appearances as she toggles between two lives and guard her secret. Even with Billy’s support, will Jane’s ruse be a passing fad, or will she be able to fashion a career in the design business?"

Here's a clip of the show, if you're interested (and you should be, it's totally cute)!

By the way, this is not a sponsored challenge, and I've received no compensation for this post beyond the trunk full of goodies that ABCFamily sent.