The Many Sides of A Pencil…Skirt

There are countless articles in the world about fashion, and many of those are trying to provide readers with lists of everything that they absolutely “need” to have a certifiably stylish life. It’s highly doubtful that anyone actually “needs” any of this–after all, if it came down to it, we could all just wear burlap sacks to avoid nudity! Nevertheless, in the world today, many of us are blessed with having “nothing to wear” as one of our life’s bigger problems. If you find yourself facing this quandary, first take a moment for gratitude (although you really should take more than a moment). This is an incredibly small problem to have!

Now that you’ve “finished” feeling both grateful (and perhaps guilty) for your blessings, you can set aside your worries and grab a pencil skirt (ak.a. instant polish).

There are a LOT of ways to wear one of these skirts, and for good reason. A pencil skirt is, of course, a good choice for the workplace–as well as work involving pencils, if you enjoy that kind of humor–but it can also be brought out into the real world for fun (or for impressing people in general). If you’re short on time, here are three basic options for styling the oh-so-special Pencil Skirt:

1) Pair with a graphic or patterned shirt. A shirt with phrases, drawings, prints, or floral patterns will almost always work with a pencil skirt. If you want to wear your Game of Thrones shirt to work, wearing it with this skirt is one of your best chances to pull it off–AND to show people the interesting (phrases), exciting (prints), or sweet (florals) side of you.

2) Pair with a long-sleeved shirt. If you are wearing a particularly form-fitting or short pencil skirt, long sleeves will ensure that your outfit is not too revealing. If the shirt is patterned, even better! If not, add a statement necklace.

3) Go for conservative. This is one of the less exciting ways to wear a pencil skirt, and it’s probably not ideal for “fun” events, but if you ever need to make an impressive and/or businesslike impression, a blazer-and-skirt pairing is a great outfit to use!

The simplicity and flexibility of the Pencil Skirt has made it endure as an essential piece for decades, so slip into your own and revel in the awareness that you are wearing a classic (and that it can actually “go with” virtually any shirt). 🙂

Enjoy!!

Patterns: To Fear or Not to Fear

You are a mystery to every person you meet, and your clothing is one of the only clues they have about your personality and identity. Wearing patterned clothing is one of the easiest ways to enhance your appearance; you can look seductive, sophisticated, or just downright fun in a pattern! However, patterns are also one of the more intimidating plates at the fashion table. If you’re feeling pattern-phobic (yes, I know that’s not the scientific term), read on! Here are some of the most basic–and most important, in my mind–rules to break when wearing patterns.

1) They can only be accents. A magazine article I read taught me to start incorporating patterns just like anything else, especially a “neutral” (being a college student, every academic fiber of my being is telling me to cite this…but I’ve read too many magazines to find the article, and Google failed me). Kudos to whoever thought of it! Bonus: Using patterns as accents and neutrals kills two metaphorical fashion birds with one stylish stone.

2) They can’t be mixed. They can! If one pattern is not enough for you, take two patterned pieces in the same colors, and watch your outfit transform into a look that seems far more complicated than it really is.

3) They require a huge commitment. One of patterns’ most desirable attributes is their versatility; incorporating patterned clothing into your closet does not mean that you’ve signed up for all things argyle, all the time. Patterned shoes, patterned bags, patterned nail polish–you can enhance your look in so many different ways! Not every person you meet will notice your new belt–but the important thing is that you will!

You knew the rules, and now you know how to break them. Kick up your patterned heels, and let me know how it goes! 🙂

Why Am I Planning My Wedding Now?

There is a LOT that goes into the average wedding, but, when it comes down to it, the long, flower-strewn roller coaster leads to a marriage. So why am I, a single college student, planning one with no foreseeable engagement in the future? Because I want a party. That’s all. I just want everybody I love to be in one big room, with pretty pastel decorations, and an evergreen forest in the background, and a really really really awesome cake (I’ve seen Say Yes To The Dress, and finding a cake seems a lot more fun; plus it will have CHOCOLATE). My roommate deigned to ask me if planning a wedding as a single college student was not “jumping the gun”; I like to think that it is. An actual wedding requires me dating someone for years, then an engagement party, bachelor and bachelorette parties, a bridal shower, a ceremony, a honeymoon, and a LOT of money and time. If all of that is a gun, I am more than happy to jump it, and if you need more proof of this approach’s popularity, take a look at your friends’ Pinterest boards. One of them is usually weddings*.

In retrospect, a giant 21st birthday party would probably have been all I wanted.

*while boards on loving marriages seem to be completely lacking…

The Key to Fashion

Although clothing and accessories should be pleasurable mediums for your individual style, the fashion industry can actually be more than a little overwhelming. Should patterns be mixed? Can knee-highs actually be worn outside of a boarding school? Is a bralette acceptable everyday wear? Style is all about perception, and this can make it very difficult to find universal answers. Many people lack the time–or the desire–to search for said answers; however, there is one fashion universal that really can serve everyone’s purposes, and help achieve a style that is both controlled and eye-catching. The answer can be found in one word: balance. Fashion magazines constantly feature juxtapositions, melding different textures and structures to pull cohesive looks out of completely contradictory pieces. This may be the last line some readers need to read, but, for more interested parties, look to the following basic guidelines for stylish–and blissfully simple–fashion statements!

Every article of clothing has its counterpart: a feminine, soft skirt is complemented by more compact accessories and a form-fitting jacket. A patterned piece can be exciting–but not outrageous–when it is placed with muted colors, like pastels, or solid hues like navy. A long-sleeved shirt can tone down a risque pair of shorts, while a conservative dress can gain a subtle seductiveness with sheer details. When it comes down to it, moderation and balance are just as important in fashion as in everyday life! Yes, there are plenty of risk-takers in the world of high fashion; but, when style’s most basic elements are considered (and you’re going to work instead of a runway), there should always be some balance to be found within the depths of the fabric*.

*Disclaimer: I use “should” EXTREMELY loosely. Your style should be whatever makes you feel good, and there’s no easier way to make a statement than wearing a themed or monochromatic look. My suggestions are just that: suggestions! 🙂 Make your own fashion rules for your own style–or just throw rules out the window completely!

 

The Wasting of Humanity

Before college, my friends and I often enjoyed going shopping together. We were all high school students with fairly low budgets, and therefore we were all extremely cheap. If an item was not on sale, it was unheard of to make the purchase. Yet, in college I have discovered that there are many people who do this. People actually pay original prices for their purchases, tossing money around as if they are recycling disposable cans. One of my roommates did this in particular, and it always left me in a state of bewildered disgust. How can anyone spend something that other people need so badly with such a casual attitude? After her first serving of rice, my roommate would throw out the rest of the pot. This waste of food disturbs me far more than the waste of money, because, while there may be people who do not really value money in the world, everyone values food. Food is a necessity for survival, a miracle of nature, and a critical staple that no one should squander. Humans can be so wasteful, and yet also so gluttonous, that I find myself overwhelmed by my disillusionment. We value material goods immensely, and yet, when our desire leaves the object, we presume that its value to everyone else vanishes too, and we proceed to dispose of it as an object devoid of quality. Such extreme focus on our own desire culminates in a race that has become both distressingly self-centered and alarmingly impatient. We would rather pay extra money for instant gratification than wait for a sale price, and once we are bored, we label the offending merchandise as a castoff for everyone else, simply because the individual does not like it anymore. Such selfishness seems to be the crux of humanity’s failures.

Knowledge: Instinct vs. Sixth Sense

There are many different types of knowledge in this world, and almost all of them involve other people. The first two, interpersonal knowledge and the objective knowledge of another person, can both be considered as some sort of social knowledge. However, there are some types of knowledge that do not really seem to come hand in hand with relationships. Instinct is an excellent example of this; if a human’s socialization is the Internet, then instinct could best be described as that same human’s hard drive, consisting of formulaic automatic reactions to incoming information. If a human encounters a dangerous animal, his or her instinct is to run. The person does not think to his or herself, “Hey, I bet running would be a suitable response to this current situation!”. Instead, the human just does it. Granted, running may not be the best idea against certain predators, but nevertheless, the human body tells us we should do it.

Some people go even farther than instinct, claiming possession of what is commonly known as a “sixth sense”. This kind of knowing is similar to instinct, but it has a tad more subtlety and mystery to it. A sixth sense seems to be more complex than instinct, which consists mainly of simplistic urges. To help distinguish the two, look back at the example with the predator. Instinct is telling the human to run and get far away from the enemy, regardless of the potential consequences; meanwhile, a sixth sense might be telling the human’s dog back home that his owner is in trouble, even if he is too far away to hear or smell the owner’s distress. Dogs are well known for this mystical kind of knowledge, and while humans who claim to have it are often met with doubt, it is still apparent that individuals with the “sixth sense” seem to be aware of things that other people might not know about.

Hope on Horseback

Throughout this semester, I have become more and more disheartened in regards to humanity’s fate.  A poem entitled The Horses, by Edwin Muir, allows me to regain some semblance of hope for our race. Muir emphasizes man’s failures in a parallel to Genesis from the Bible, demonstrating the severity of our mistakes in comparison to the original “Eden” (Muir). In the poem, a war has pulled humanity out of its haze, providing us with a clarity that we lacked before; humans now recognize the negativity of their “old bad world” and yearn for another beginning (Muir). As the mechanical wreckage of this “old…world” stagnates around them, the desired beginning emerges in the form of “fabulous steeds” (Muir). These animals offer themselves to mankind, repairing our “long-lost archaic companionship” with the natural world, a world that technology and materialism took away from us (Muir). Nature gives humanity a chance to prove its value again, a chance to bring back the missing connection; Muir emphasizes this when he declares that the horses’ return is “our beginning” (Muir). At some point in history, we made the error of forsaking this relationship with the natural world, and yet, nature has still not deserted us. The horses approach with an offer of “free servitude”, representing the unique partnership in which men and animals can connect with one another; this is a bond that cannot be destroyed by time (Muir). Time may have broken the connection, but it was never completely gone. Nature’s pact with humanity is as renewable as nature itself, and mankind will have a hopeful future once it accepts the “horses” and revitalizes this relationship (Muir).