Monday, July 25, 2011

Around the internet

Check me out over at Mode Moods, y'all!

Guest Post - Melissa of A Working Mom's Closet

I'm cruising the Caribbean this week, but don't worry!  I haven't abandoned y'all!  You're in the capable hands of a few of my favorite bloggers.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do as they share their vacation inspired looks.  

Well hello, readers of Mad Dress Game! My name is Melissa and I blog over at A Working Mom's Closet.

When Miss Frances Joy asked us to guest post while she's on vacation, my first thought was, "Sure! I'm honored!" (Okay technically, my first thought was, "Oh, I'm so jealous!" but whatever.)

My second thought was, "Wait, you want me to write something vacation related? What's a vacation?"

I haven't been on a "real" vacation in YEARS (and by real, I mean one that requires time taken off from work longer than half a day. Typically my "vacations" are long weekends.)

There have been a few times when I've left work at lunch to start my long weekend early. Since that's the closest I've come to a vacation, I figured I'd share my "from work to vacation" outfit!

Now I know there are some people who argue that a maxi dress is too casual for the office. However...since my boss usually wears slacks with a plain tee every day, I don't think a maxi dress is a stretch. Especially because for work, I paired it with a blazer! 

Honestly, this outfit was like wearing PJs all day. I need to find more maxi skirts so I can do this more often.

Those of you who read my blog know that I wear a belt pretty much EVERY single day. I love belts. However, I tried this outfit on with a belt too and really felt like it looked just as nice (and was more comfortable) without it, so for ONCE, I went beltless.

Sure, I felt naked all day with that belt. But that might have been in part due to the comfort of the dress itself. 

When the clock is punched and you're gone for the day, take the blazer off and bask even more in the coolness of a tank maxi dress. What's perfect is that not only is this dress easy for long car rides (yeah, all of my vacations are usually just a few hours' drive away) but when you get there, you're still lookin' good for a night out.

Mostly because the black doesn't show the wrinkles from the car ride. But whatever. No one needs to know ALL your secrets. 

Just let them think you're that gorgeous all the time.

What do YOU wear to go from work to vacation?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pinterest love

Sweater: H&M
Skirt: Target
Belt: Thrifted
Booties: Aldo
Earrings: Kohl's

Y'all, if it weren't for pinterest, I'd probably walk around naked. Or in pajamas. Or in the same boring outfits I always wear. Anyway, I pinned the third image on this post and this is my interpretation of that look.

I don't know if I love it on myself, but I'm glad I tried it. Also, I love these shoes. Have you noticed that? Because I do. I wear them ALL. THE. TIME!

So are any of you on pinterest? If so, can I stalk your boards?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Head scarves and classrooms

Tee: Target
Cami: ?
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Thrifted
Boots: Nine West
Scarf: vintage - thrifted
Leg warmers: Target (and, yes, it's cold enough for leg warmers up this way)
Earrings: Target

So I pinned this tutorial and I've been OBSESSED since. True story, I have worn a head scarf four out of the past five days. Once, I even wrapped a belt around my head. It totally worked.

These pictures were taken at our school, which is also the community center. That's why it's so fancy. By "fancy", I mean pretty much the opposite. It's a big room and a covered porch that we've converted into three main classrooms, a computer table, and a "presentation" area.

Y'all, I may never complain about classrooms and school buildings in the States again. I mean, I think back to the good old days teaching in VA, when I had a classroom (after my first year as a floater), a cubby in the Foreign Language lounge, and a mail box in the main office. So many luxuries, y'all. So, so many luxuries....

P.S. I helped make that whiteboard behind me. Cuz I'm fancy like that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

FFB: Class and all that's thrifty

Sweater: H&M
Dress: thrifted
Shoes: Crocs
Earrings: came with a pair of boots
Scarf: J Crew
Kitten: Pirata

Remember when this kitteh disappeared and I thought she was dead? That was sad. But she's back! I thought that warranted a photo op.
Anyway, it's time for another FFB post, this time about social class.

I'm not totally sure if my topic fits under that category, but it's one that's been on my mind since I first stumbled into a Tienda Americana here in Costa Rica. This little dress (which is probably actually a nightshirt, but let's keep that between us, shall we?) came from a tienda americana, which is the equivalent of a thrift store, except different.

See, the americanas here are THE place to get clothes. In my deep and thorough research of Costa Rican malls - and by that I mean the anecdotal evidence I've collected by visiting four malls in different cities at different times - they might as well call them "Centers where you can get stuff for $60 US or more". New clothes are prohibitively expensive here, and this is where the americana comes in.

They sell Goodwill and Salvation Army cast offs at reasonable prices. Sometimes, they're even downright cheap - I managed to snag a neon skirt for about 90 cents. The thing is that this is pretty much THE ONLY place where the average Costa Rican can afford to buy clothes. And there's nothing wrong with that, I mean, I like thrifting. A lot. Probably because I wasn't allowed to as a kid (class issues abound in that statement...). Also, I think thrift stores provide a necessary service.

That said, the fact that a single country can supply another country with clothes from its cast offs raises questions for me. I mean, seriously, the stuff that gets here has already trickled through the system: from the store (new), to the closet (worn), donated to a thrift store in the States, and then donated AGAIN to these stores in Costa Rica. Doesn't that say something about social and economic class at a global level? And in some ways, isn't that just perpetuating some neocolonialist attitudes? (Hi, my name is Frances, I majored in Latin American Studies and then went on to study International Development and I blog about what I wear....)

So here I am, in my tienda americana dress and my fast fashion sweater and my over-priced scarf and rubber shoes (I love you J Crew, but let's be real: your accessories are way over-priced). I'm part of the system, part of the consumption - on both ends, no less - and I don't quite know what to do about that. And I haven't even begun to deal with the can of worms that is the origin of most of these items - in many cases, other Central American countries... In some ways, it's coming full circle.

On a lighter note: I didn't know if I'd like knotting my shirt like it's 1992, but I think I'll do it again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

EBEW: Yellow and a return to my roots

Yellow | Everybody, Everywear

Tank: Target
Cardigan: Target
Belt: Target
Dress (worn as skirt): Target
Flip flops: Ann Taylor
Earrings: Turkey
Bracelet: gift from our intern, A.

Another Everybody, Everywear post, y'all. It was hard to come up with this look - not because I don't have much yellow, but because I love yellow and I couldn't decide what to wear. Apparently it was Target day, though, so I reached for this dress. (P.S. Hey, Target, if you want to sponsor me, we can talk. If not, I accept gift cards....)

I got in touch with my roots today and visited a sugar processing plant. My maternal grandmother grew up in a town that was basically a sugar plantation / processing plant and my great-grandfather and great-uncle worked there in some capacity. I'm not sure of all the particulars, but it was cool to see this thing that was, for so many years, the driving force behind the Puerto Rican economy. And, yeah, we're in Costa Rica (two totally different countries), but it was really cool.

They also process coffee at this place - it's the oldest cooperative in Costa Rica - so we got a tour of that, too.

And yeah, I took pictures while we were on our tour and pretended that no one else could see me. Behind me are the machines that move the sugar cane and break it down into little pieces. And then they squeeze it so the juice comes out. Eventually that thickens to molasses and then they put it in the centrifuge and you get raw sugar. You guys! Sugar processing! It's so exciting!

Or maybe that's just me....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sad story and upcoming vacation

Tee: Target
Skirt: I made it
Belt: Target
Sandals: Chinese Laundry
Earrings: Turkey
Scarf: J Crew
Kitteh: Elefante

True story: late on the evening of the fifth, Pirata, our other kitten disappeared. We live in the country and there are coyotes and big herding dogs that just kind of...roam. One of them must've roamed off with our other kitten.

So, I'm pretty sad about it, and now probably way overprotective of our remaining fur babies, Kiku and Elefante. The irony is that she disappeared on a day when we were all home all day long.

Anyway, we're on our short school vacation here in Costa Rica. We're off until the 18th, and then we leave for our real vacation on the 24th. I. Am. So. Excited! Development work requires even longer hours than teaching, and I'm doing both, so, long, busy days. But! Vacation is in sight.

And vacations make me do the happy dance. Oh, yeah! Even if it's a little tempered by the loss of our sweet kitten.

ETA: Pirata came back on the morning of the 8th. I walked out to feed Elefante, and there she was, meowing away as if I'd run away.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Tee: Ann Taylor
Jeans: J Crew
Wedges: Nine West
Bangles: gift from my uncle and aunt
Earrings: Turkey
Sunnies: Puerto Rico

This is the kind of outfit I could only wear while coming off the high of Dress Your Best Week. I think I'll be celebrating my body in a slightly less intentional way this week because I'm feeling so confident and in love with the body I have. And it's weird to think that and type that because I'm not the kind of woman who likes to draw attention to herself (even though I share a lot of stuff with the Internet).

But yeah, I put this on expecting it NOT to work, but it did, and even though I was a little afraid of all the body-hugging pieces, I went with it. And then to top it off, I let my hair do the 1960s-meets-1980s thing it was doing all by itself. Because if I'm going for it, I'm going all out. Go big or go home, baby. That's how we roll in our house.

And these shoes? I love them. They're so old, y'all. I've had them for five or six years - maybe even longer. They remind me of some shoes that my mom wore in her engagement pictures with jeans a lot like these. Honestly, I kind of felt like I was channeling my mom circa 1981 in this outfit.

I wore this to go out on a date day with B. We went to the farmer's market down in the nearest city (15 plantains for $2? Yes, please), then off to the mall for a cheap lunch and some bookstore browsing. Then we wandered through the streets of Alajuela where we did a little thrifting (we scored some amazing pieces) and enjoyed ice cream cones. I love our date days.

Oh, and Happy Fourth, to all of you in the States (and my fellow expats). I'll be celebrating on the beach.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dress Your Best Week - Day 5: To lean on

Tee: J Crew
Skirt: Target
Belt: Target
Booties: Aldo
Bracelet: gift from A
Earrings: Turkey
Sunnies: Puerto Rico
Hair: courtesy of this tutorial (though I couldn't quite get the video to load, so I improvised.)

I will admit that I had a hard time deciding on the fifth feature to highlight this week. I was torn between my wide hips or my equally wide shoulders, and in the end I decided there's a lot of similarity between hips and thighs, so I decided to go with the shoulders.

I've often said that I have linebacker shoulders. I don't really know what a linebacker does because I prefer my football spelled fĂștbol, but I've heard they have broad shoulders. I do, too, especially for a woman of my stature. My mother is so tiny up top, with delicate little shoulders. My shoulders, however, come from my dad's side of the family. There is nothing delicate about my shoulders - they're wide and strong.

And while I've often been self-conscious about most of the other features I've talked about this week, I'm strangely proud of these shoulders. So I decided to play them up with a scoop neck top that's just a little ill-fighting in precisely that area - no scarf to draw the eye down, no necklace to serve the same purpose, just me and my shoulders in a simple tee.

Everyone says I look like my dad - la misma cara (the same face) - but I just don't see it. I do see him in these shoulders, my calves, and my bellybutton, though. (Yes, I know the last one is especially weird, but it's totally true.)

And I love that, because I love my daddy. I see him in my penchant for travel, in my work ethic, in my perfectionism (though I've got that coming from both parents), in my love of music, and my need to dream big. I feel like I talk a lot about what I've learned from my mom here on the blog, and she's really taught me a lot - a whole lot - but so has my dad.

My dad taught me to fight for things, that good things are worth making a sacrifice, that sometimes peer pressure works for the best, that I should demand the best treatment in every situation and relationship, and that I should let myself be led while dancing.

So thanks, Daddy, for all those lessons and for these shoulders. Oh, and I didn't drop anything, I just don't like looking at the camera. ;)