Thursday, January 30, 2014

"We Are Two Ships That Pass In The Night. You and I, We Are Nothing Alike"

 This post features quite an old design of mine, one of the first dresses I ever made without a pattern, actually, before I entered design school in college! It's a simple, strapless dress made out of t-shirt fabric, with lace and button embellishments. It's such a comfortable material that it's like being in a nightgown when you're out at night! My boyfriend happened to see this dress and told me I should wear it again. It's more fun than one would think, to bring out old pieces and wear them again. I accessorized with a Blair Waldorf-style bow headband and a vintage purse. There's so much minimalism lately in fashion, but I prefer to stick to my feminine, girly roots when I put a look together. Always do what feels right for you!

Photography: Benjamin Benson

Style Tip: Girls! You can actually be more comfortable than the guys at clubs in a stretchy or silky dress that fits just right, as long as you don't have killer heels on.

Outfit Highlights: Handmade dress, circa high school and a vintage purse

Song of the Day: "Romance in Boring" by Los Campesinos

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Big Screens, The Plastic-Made Dreams, Say You Don't Want It"

I've noticed that I've started to wear more neutral colors lately, when I used to be much more of a bright yellow and orange sort of girl. I guess not everyone is Zooey Deschanel, and can get away with wearing mustard tights in their 20's and 30's. I'm not sure if this is the case, and my style is 'growing up', or if it's just a phase!

This blogpost is heavily inspired by Emma Watson's style in the music video "Say You Don't Want It" by One Night Only. I was re-watching it the other day, since it's one of the most perfect New York City-themed music videos I've ever seen, and realized I owned a similar outfit that would be fun to feature. I grew up with Emma Watson as a role model, and she's always been one of my style icons. Be sure to check out the music video, which has a surprising and adorable twist! 

Photography: Benjamin Benson

Outfit Highlights: Modcloth tights, Charming Charlie purse, and a vintage fur coat from St. Vincent DePaul in Madison, Wisconsin

Style Tip: Try using a celebrity look as inspiration, but put your own twist on it. Wearing tights instead of pants, for example, is very "me". 

Song of the Day: "Say You Don't Want It" by One Night Only

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Horse and I, We're Dancers In the Dark"

Once upon a time I took horseback riding lessons. As the tallest rider, I was given the biggest and scariest horse named Henry. He ended up being a sweetie and more scared of me than I was of him, and also had a sad illness where he foamed at the mouth. Horseback riding didn't work out for me, as I chose to fine tune other talents instead like sewing and singing, but I'll always have fond memories and think horses are beautiful. Equestrian fashions aren't too shabby, either. I know I talk about Downton Abbey too much, but dressing up like this once-in-a-while let's me feel like I'm out for a hunt with the classic, British folks. These photos were taken by the beautiful Avon Horse Guard over winter break, which I'm lucky to say I get to drive by numerous times whenever I visit home. My new blog name never suits me more than at times like this! 

Photography: Ashley Laurel

Style Tip: If you're feeling in the mood for a theme, go for it! If you're not doing a fun photoshoot or going to a special fashion event, perhaps ditch the riding hat, but wearing an equestrian-themed outfit is chic and fun. 

Outfit Highlights: Topshop Leather Leggings, a velvet vintage riding hat, a handmade necklace by my mother, and tweed and velvet blazer from Kohl's

Song of the Day: "Horse and I" by Bat for Lashes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"These Dreams, Under My Pillow..."

I feel like a lucky gal to own such a beautiful and unique dress from Modcloth by BB Dakota. This paisley, shimmery, pleated frock makes me want to spin around in circles so I can see it flare out before me. When that happens, you know that you've found a great dress! The dress is easy and comfortable to wear, matching my printed Steve Madden t-strap pumps and necklace from Bangles and Bags perfectly. I like the idea that I can wear this dress out for a fancy night with friends, and accessorize it for either day or night time. I would like to sew more clothes made out of brocade and tapestry fabrics, but because the "floats", or threads at the back that make up the prints are so long, they snag in the machine. It's definitely worth it to me to own items that are more difficult to make from stores that will do a better job than I can without proper equipment! 

Photography: Benjamin Benson

Style Tip: When you wear an intricate dress, keep your styling simple. Add one statement accessory, like a big necklace but avoid earrings and bracelets that will take away from the look. Yes, me, the queen of accessorizing is telling you to hold back sometimes! 

Outfit Highlights: Modcloth paisley brocade dress and Steve Madden floral printed shoes

Song of the Day: "White Nights" by Oh Land

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @modernromantic to see other aspects of my life in New York, and my favorite blog shots!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @modernromantic to see other aspects of my life in New York, and my favorite shots from my blog! Also make sure to follow my main and super talented photographer, Benjamin Benson @benjaminbenson

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Life Can Be So Sweet, On the Sunny Side of the Street"

While I myself don't make it to as much theater as I would like to, one show that I do highly recommend seeing in New York City is After Midnight on Broadway. The show's unique blend of dancing, singing, and music from the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars makes for a very high-energy night. This performance isn't quite a musical, but instead a celebration and interpretation of a beloved era with talent including Fantasia (The Color Purple, Americon Idol) and Dule Hill (Psych, West Wing). After February 9, K.D. Lang will replace Fantasia as the star singer.

I had the opportunity to work on the show for a short time as a Costume Assistant with Isabel and Ruben Toledo's team. The stage is filled with exquisite fabrics used in interesting designs to create everything from bird-like dancers, to pimps, to dandies, to a lady "skeleton". This tee-shirt I'm wearing is one of Ruben's imaginative illustrations of a look in the show. I paired it with a look that would bring out some of the colors in his design while keeping the focus on my shirt.

I've gotten the chance to seen the show twice, and would honestly see it a third! I recommend waiting in line for rush tickets before the box office opens in the morning, which are 37 dollars each. My last photo in this post is a photo of me and the amazing Dule Hill. If you get a chance to see the show, have a marvelous time!

Photography: Ben Martini

Style Tip: Pair a T-shirt with unexpected colors, like with a printed blouse from Salvation Army

Outfit Highlights: Corso Como Leather Boots and an official After Midnight tee with illustrations by Ruben Toledo

Song of the Day: "On The Sunny Side of The Street", version by Louis Armstrong

Bonus Video: After Midnight on Broadway Preview

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"She Needs Wide Open Spaces, Room To Make Her Big Mistakes..."

I felt like a country musician when I slipped on this hat with this pair of boots, and I was sad that my banjo was far away, tucked in a corner of my room in my parents' house in Connecticut. I guess that sitting on apartment stairs in my neighborhood doing a photoshoot with a banjo could look a bit cheesy, but when am I not?

This pair of winter white boots with an ensemble made up of purple and green add contrast and color to a cool, cloudy day. I find that as long as my head, hands, and feet are covered well in cozy accessories, I can afford to wear a lighter jacket and sweater combo when it's on the warmer side of winter. After all, they say that heat escapes from your extremities first, so biology gives us a wonderful excuse to accessorize. 

Photography: Benjamin Benson

Style Tip: White boots for winter are my favorite. Mine are from DSW, but I've also seen a ton of great ones from period vintage shops over the years. White boot were especially popular from the 1960's to the 1980's, but the trouble is, my feet are always a couple sizes too big to fit into them. The important thing is, if you can fit into fantabulous vintage boots, please do so for those of us who can't!

Outfit Highlights: H&M purple felt hat and green cargo jacket

Song of the Day: "Wide Open Spaces" by Dixie Chicks

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Why Don't You Go Where Fashion Sits? Puttin' On The Ritz!"

Over winter break, I had a lovely two weeks with my parents and sister. In addition to doing a lot of eating and watching Downton Abbey, as well as the History Channel's excellent series, "The Men Who Built America", I got to do some creative projects! This silver and white brocade skirt was one of the pieces I designed and made. The skirt has an inverted pleat at the front, pleats all around, a wide waistband, and a bow on the front. It was perfect to wear to my mom's birthday tea party we threw her, and will be great to wear out this winter for a fancy night out. A skirt is one of the easiest garments to make if you're looking to become a designer yourself!

Photography: Ashley Laurel

Style Tip: I highly recommend doing your hair in a simple ponytail twist by pulling your hair through itself when it's in a low ponytail. My sister did this style for me, but it's easy enough to manage on your own. It's a more elegant style than just a ponytail, but still quick and easy!

Song of the Day: "Puttin on the Ritz" by Fred Astaire

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Let's Go Down To The Tennis Court, And Talk It Up Like Yeah"

Some days, I just feel like being kind of preppy, classic, and 80's. This look makes me feel like a stylish college school girl, perhaps attending Oxford or Cambridge. But I actually used to wear this fantastic red vintage blazer from Ragstock to football games at the University of Wisconsin-Madison badger games, since our colors were red and white. Pairing the jacket with other simple red accessories and a plaid skirt gives me a fun, polished look that I feel confident wearing out with friends or to work. Thank goodness that Taylor Swift made heart-shaped sunglasses socially acceptable in her music video "22"! 

Photography: Ben Benson

Style Tip: Mix and match plaids for a fun touch!

Outfit Highlights: J. Crew skirt, vintage blazer, H&M blouse, and heart-shaped sunglasses from one of those tacky tourist shop vendors in Midtown.

Song of the Day: "Tennis Court" by Lorde

Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Living In A Movie Scene"

Happy New Year to all of you! I'm excited to reveal my new name and layout. "Modern Romantic" is a better representation of who I am and my personal style, since this isn't just a shoe blog. I am a modern, independent, strong young woman who still loves many of the the styles and ideals of the more feminine, 'olden days'. I'll continue to post twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In this new year I will have even more amazing blogposts for you all!

A New Year is kind of like a birthday. You wake up not feeling any different, even though you're supposed to. I think the point of the whole idea is to make sure you reflect on your life as a whole at least once a year. This past year, I graduated with a dual degree from The University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in Textile and Apparel Design, and from The Fashion Institute of Technology with an Associates in Applied Science in Fashion Design. I'm excited to go into 2014 and have it "all to myself", in a way. It will be the first whole year I haven't been in school, completing exciting projects, silly busy work, or tests and quizzes for my professors. At the same time, I am now working for bosses and don't have the level of creative freedom yet as I did when I designed my school projects, so I find time to work on my own personal designs now and then. Please check out my other website,, for my designs and sketches and connect with me on my LinkedIn page, to view my professional resume.

This coming year, my biggest goal is to costume design an indie film all myself, even if it's something short or simple. I've gained so much experience the past seven months that I've been out of school working for a plethora of amazing costume designers and their teams. While I'm obviously not experienced enough or connected enough quite yet (or even in a union), I won't be in charge of the costumes for some big budget fantasy film. But so many of my bosses have not only showed me different methods for managing a costume team and designing, but also given me advice on where to go from here. While I'll keep assisting and doing Production Assistant work because I have a long way to go, I'd really like to work on a small project all on my own! Hello, Craigslist.

I'm really into writing and singing, which I simply don't do enough of. I also I would really like to join a band this year, but it's hard to meet musicians that you have a lot in common with in terms of musical style, and can work well with. I think that musicians that grew up with their bandmates or met them early on and then got successful, were simply destined to. I hope that this will be the year I can at least do some background, harmonizing vocals for a group! While NaNoWriMo never quite works out for me since I simply work too many weekday hours to write a novel in a month, I hope to do a big chunk of writing. I always have several projects going on, mainly fiction pieces, but lately I've been delving into non-ficiton as well. A true writer never shares their projects until they're completed, but I'll let you know if and when I'm available to read at Barnes and Noble.

Anyway, since this is a fashion blog, I should probably get to that part now. I can't wait to embark on another exciting year of new posts, photos, and style ideas with my amazing photographer and friend Benjamin Benson. Have a great one!

Photography: Benjamin Benson

Style Tip: Keep your styling and hair simple with a bold, sequin dress!

Outfit Highlights: dress by Forever21, shoes by Steve Madden, and a vintage bangle

Song of the Day: "Hollywood" by Marina and the Diamonds