Fashion musings, Outfits

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One of my favorite nuggets of fashion wisdom came from a magazine (Allure, maybe?) years ago, when a model-of-the-moment was asked for her best piece of advice for looking confident. Her answer? “Never look in a mirror.” It may have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek statement, but what if it were taken literally?

If there’s one thing Paris taught me, it’s that looking effortless goes hand-in-hand with feeling effortless. And after a month of being mirror-handicapped, I think there might be something to be gained from losing the mirror.  I’ve always considered it an integral part of the daily dressing routine–hell, I even named my blog after it. But what I’ve often found is that relying on a mirror is a slippery slope that leads to nitpicking every detail of an outfit, and it isn’t too long before you wind up with the sartorial equivalent of an overly botoxed face.

Now that I’m back in the presence of a full-length mirror, I’ve found that I’ve gone right back to seeking its approval before heading out the door. I’ve kind of even considered getting rid of it. I’ve tried self-imposing a ban on using it, though like a toxic on-again, off-again relationship, I inevitably find myself right back in front of it again. And you know what? My outfits haven’t been that great, or at least I haven’t felt as great in them as I did when I was dressing without a mirror. I think this might be because the mirror shows all of the possible worst case scenarios. Having scrutinized my outfit from every angle, I know all of the things that could go wrong with my outfit, like if my shirt comes untucked here, it’ll look more Hannah Horvath, less Hanne Gaby Odiele.

Dressing in front of a mirror is, quite literally, dressing to be seen. But if style is all about confidence, and confidence comes from within, shouldn’t feeling good in an outfit be enough to take that blind leap of faith out the door? And really, what does a mirror know about style, anyway? Does it have pattern-clashing credentials? Does it even know how to pronounce Balenciaga?  After all, if the end goal is effortless, I can’t think of what action throws caution to the sartorial winds more than saying “To hell with it!” and heading out the door with none of the usual visual affirmations a mirror provides, but with all of the comforts of knowing you feel good in an outfit fully intact.

I trust my gut to make most of my decisions, anyway, so why shouldn’t some of that same responsibility carry over to dressing?

As per usual, this post contained more questions than answers, and now I have one (or two) for you: do you rely on a mirror to get dressed in the morning? Or, have you made like Samantha in the first (and what arguably should have been last) SATC movie and eschewed them from your routine entirely? Tell me–I’m dying to know your morning routine. How you like your eggs, fried or fertilized? 

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Life Interludes

Slowing Down, Catching Up

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ABOVE: Scenes from the summer, as told by my iPhone

After two months, I’m officially stationary, and back in the states (States-tionary?). These past couple of months have been filled with adventure, to say the least.  Starting with a month in Paris, week in Venice for the Biennale, back to Tampa to move out of one apartment and into another in two days, the jet lag in full effect, then up to Maine for some hiking and general nature enjoyment. I even fit in some time to head up to Indiana for a few days and catch some mini deer, see picture above.

This movement also meant giving up the luxury of a closet and instead relying on what could fit into a sub-50lb suitcase for the better part of the summer. So much of it, in fact, that since being back I’ve been in a state of wardrobe panic. I’ve ended up falling back on the same three outfits or so I’d been wearing, give or take a necklace or ring, and my trusty summer fallback fishtail braid. It has also led to a mass closet exodus, which meant finally weeding out the last bits of Abercrombie and, consequently, my middle school wardrobe, items that were long overdue for a toss anyway.

As I write this, I’m back in Tampa, sitting in the comfort of my [air-conditioned] apartment. It’s my first apartment on my own, which is a big step, but it couldn’t be better suited for what I need right now. Spacious, in a good location, and with just the right ratio of new to culled-from-the-dumpster finds. It’s been less than two weeks but it’s already beginning to feel like home.

I also write this about to start out at a new school for the third year in a row now (third time’s a charm, right?). Bringing it full circle back to my original major, graphic design. You don’t know how much something means to you until it’s gone, I suppose. It’s a lot of big changes, which can be scary, but also exciting. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that the fear of something is almost always greater than the thing itself. And so with that in mind, I’m trying to stay focused on the excitement, take in the new neighborhood, and finally try out some things I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, but due to either a lack of motivation or lack of time haven’t had a chance to. For example:

  • Calligraphy, although it’s more like using calligraphy equipment and making up the style as I go.
  • Trying new things in the kitchen–sprouting, pickling, homemade sriracha (HIGHLY recommended), kimchi, and general baking with the expected failures and successes. Next up, kombucha.
  • Biking, for the first time in a decade.
  • Signing up for a second half marathon, and the subsequent training.
  • Catching up on some reading. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a new favorite, as is The Drunken Botanist (recommended for anyone looking to impress at the next cocktail party).
  • Exploring the new neighborhood. It’s incredibly refreshing to be back in a place where I can get most places by foot or bike. There have not been scientific studies to back this up, but I’m pretty sure driving in Tampa is more hazardous to your health than consistently eating one of these every day for a year.
  • Finally, and I mean as in this search has been more than a year in the making now, finding a place in Tampa that makes a café au lait just as good as the ones in DC, and now as good as the ones in Paris. Thankfully, and fittingly, this search has come to an end at Piquant.

My New Year’s resolution was to have more adventures, and it’s certainly held true for the first part of the year. Here’s to hoping the rest of the year brings more of the same.
And if your summer hasn’t been filled with enough adventures, there are still a few weeks left. Take a hike. Make booze popsicles. Put a bird on it.

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Life Interludes

Gettin’ Moody

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Pictures from National Geographic, my sister’s Instagram, Pinterest; collages by me.

Moodboard, that is. I don’t think anyone has more swagger than these guys, circa 1960s Chicago.

2013, though almost halfway over (even writing that and realizing we’re that far into the year is crazy), hit the ground running and didn’t stop until just a few weeks ago. The feel of this past semester leaned more toward feeling like a perpetual finals-week-turned-finals-5-months of sorts, life-reassessing events seemingly being thrown at every turn.

I think it’s important to take time to reflect after a period of crazy activity. After a particularly vigorous yoga practice, the teacher said a line that’s stuck with me for times like these:  “Center yourself; see if you can be still enough after all of that movement to feel your heartbeat.”

During these past few months of constant activity, I was focused more on responding and reacting than on reflecting on how these changes and experiences might affect the bigger picture.  After the activity finally dies down, it’s time to take a step back, figure out how the events fit into or even change our course, and most importantly, what we can learn from them.

It took a vacation back to Maine to finally pause and reflect. Removed from my daily life and thrust into the heart of Maine spring (right after winter and right before mud season and the subsequent and oft-overlapping blackfly season, the ideal time to visit), I took time to stop for a moment and appreciate the simple beauty of the apple blossoms on the tree, kayaking around the pond at our lake, spending time with friends and family.

It led to a lot of inner reflection, which in turn led to feeling more centered, less frenzied. That being said, I think it’s important to take the time every few months to write out a personal manifesto. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the physical act of sitting down and putting pen to paper to realize what’s important in your life, and what other things, maybe aren’t so much. Once you have a clear idea of what your heart(beat) is telling you and you center yourself, everything else will align. And trust me, it’s a lot less stressful on the other side.

And on that note, I’m off to Paris for the month. See you on the other end of Europe!

In the meantime, follow me on Instagram for a good time, @becckitt.

One last thing–a good song to start off summer, wherever your adventures may take you:

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Fashion musings, Life Interludes, Outfits

From Palms to Paris

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Faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of fitting a month’s worth of provisions into one suitcase, all within the confines of the indubitable 50lb weight limit, I decided instead to apply the procrastinator’s motto: Why do today what can be done tomorrow?  [Editor’s note: It is now tomorrow, and my suitcase still has yet to see the light of day.] I then redirected my energy into more present efforts, namely, this outfit.

No, I didn’t go to Coachella, but that hasn’t stopped my outfits from slowly morphing into Coachella look-alikes. Never has a music festival been so relevant to personal style, specifically my own, and this year it seemed particularly pertinent. I would have given an arm and a fringed kimono to go and see the style alone. I’ve even started experimenting with putting jewelry on previously uncharted territory, in the form of upper arm cuffs and knuckle rings. Knuckles and biceps are just as deserving of metal- and jewel-encrusted love too, right?

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Recent find during a thrifting adventure. I still hold that Maine has the best thrifting/antique selection of
any place I’ve been.

These past few weeks have been eventful, to say the least. It’s been a period of old endings, new beginnings, and plenty of adventures, and with any luck, it looks like my next few months will be filled with the same. It’s been time to reconnect with the past, and, equally as important, reconnect with the present. My new year’s resolution this year was to have adventures, and it’s shaping up to be a year filled with them. Change is in the air and I’m not complaining. It’s spring, baby, and I’m alive.

Alt-J has been on repeat for a solid week now, and they’re rapidly becoming the main (well, and only) artist on my pre-summer playlist. Check out their song Taro with a s-s-sick video below:


And with that, I’m off to Paris for the month, though I may pop in for one last post before I leave. Although I foresee a photo diary of sorts upon my return, if you’re looking for more immediate gratification, follow me on Instagram @becckitt. Expect copious pictures of macarons.

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