Today’s post is inspired by some recent happenings in my life. First of all, I’ve been coveting every single fur piece that’s walked the runways, and even more so now that it’s begun to snow. However, my boyfriend and I have also adopted an adorable gunmetal gray bunny who has a rare-breed status due to her species being kept for fur. See the conflict?
Then I remembered that faux fur exists and my miniature fashion crisis was over. Read on for the step-on-step instructions for how to create an animal-friendly, faux fur vest:
- Faux fur. The amount to buy depends on how long you want your vest to be; I opted for a more cropped version, so I went with 1/2 yard.
- Measuring tape
- A needle and thread or sewing machine (I’ll also show you a no-sew option!)
- A chalk pencil for marking on fabric
- Something to protect your workspace or a vacuum
To start, you’ll need to take three measurements:
- The width of your shoulder
- The distance from your neck to your shoulder
- The circumference of your arm
A sneaky way I like to do measurements (since sometimes it’s hard to get accurate measurements when doing it yourself or trusting someone else to do it), is to measure a shirt I own that I know fits me like a glove.
Take your measurements, and create this pattern (Sorry its not to scale! Also, apologies for the little bit math involved for the sleeves). The measurements from step one are in marked in purple.
Following this pattern, mark the pattern onto your fabric and carefully cut it out (Warning: faux fur sheds! Protect your workspace or vacuum up later).
To Create a No-Sew Vest:
Make sure your pattern is marked from the exact center of your fabric, as shown in the photo above. Perfect symmetry is important!
If you opted to create the traditional sewn vest, sew the “straps” together (be sure to sew the wrong side a.k.a the underside of the faux fur). Also, make sure to use a thicker needle to sew through the thicker fabric.
Give your vest a good shake to get rid of any loose fur.
And that’s it! Feel free to experiment and customize your vest with how big the arm holes are, how far apart you place the arm holes, or how long you leave the front sections… each will leave a different silhouette and change how the vest fits. Both of my vests shown in this tutorial have “waterfall” openings, but this can be changed simply by trimming off the excess faux fur.
The one pictured here is the sewn version, and it’s shorter and much more fitted than the non-sewn vest (which is shown in the header image of this post). I photographed each vest with a belt, which is a fantastic way to define the waistline and create shape.
What do you think of faux fur? Is it tacky or does it have potential for glamor? Are there any other DIYs you would like to see the tutorials for? Let me know in the comments!
While winter is one of my favorite seasons (Snow! Holidays! Winter break! Michael Buble’s Christmas CD!), I lay a longing hand on my spring skirts every morning before putting on my down overcoat. I miss wearing skirts!
This dilemma is the inspiration for my post this week. Here are two ideas for staying warm while wearing a skirt this season. Now, I wouldn’t recommend wearing these looks in a snowstorm unless you’re truly dedicated (and more power to you), but the idea is that you can layer on your winter coat and gloves, then trek out to a dinner date or class totally insulated.
Twirling Around Town
It is cruel to deny yourself a skirt on special occasions just because it’s below freezing. Here’s my proposed remedy: knit tights, monochromatic cold-weather accessories, and a chunky heel. The skirt is loose enough so that thick tights won’t be fussy or make you feel claustrophobic, and I love how it looks with a cable knit sweater and knit extras.
A faux leather clutch and booties keep this outfit just fancy enough, but if you wanted this outfit to work for class, you could switch out the shoes for winter boots and the clutch for a crossbody satchel. A mid-length pea coat or quilted faux leather jacket are great outerwear options for this look.
Sashaying to Class
For class, I recommend layering up with chunky socks, warm boots, and an adorable graphic sweater (this one is from Lauren Conrad’s Kohl’s line!). Velvet is usually a more formal material, but I love how it looks as a swingy midi skirt. The scarf and sweater give the ensemble a more playful vibe that is totally appropriate for class or a café study session.
If you wanted to transition this look for a more stately affair, switch out these boots for the ones in the first outfit, then add sparkly statement jewelry. A puffer jacket or long pea coat in any color would look fantastic over this getup.
What do you think?
Is anyone an old hand at wearing skirts in cold weather? What are your recommendations? Do you like these outfits? Let me know below, and happy shopping!
Welcome to the latest edition of Looks from Books, which aims to prove that you can look smart, while still being book-smart, too. Fashion inspiration can be found between the pages of your favorite stories, on well-designed book covers, and in your favorite characters… if you read closely enough.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning cover via Amazon
A Series of Unfortunate Events is a children’s mock-gothic book series written by Lemony Snicket (the nom de plume of Daniel Handler). The first book in the series, The Bad Beginning, was published in 1999.
The story follows the three Baudelaire orphans – Violet, the inventor; Klaus, the bookworm; and Sunny, the biter – after they are orphaned by a fire, suspected to be caused by arson, and are sent to live with their strange relative, a distant cousin named Count Olaf. While avoiding the scheming machinations of Olaf to steal their inheritance, the orphans must contend with more and more strange relatives (who usually end up falling prey to their twisted pursuer) as they track down the secrets of their family and who, exactly, killed their parents.
The series totaled up to 13 titles, each containing 13 chapters, up until its final installment, The End, which contained 14, with the final chapter serving as an effective epilogue to the series. The series was known for its many subversions of typical standard book formats, particularly in regards to children’s fiction. For example, one book included a page completely filled with the word “ever,” while another including two pages that were printed completely black.
A Fashionable Literacy
A poster for the 2004 film adaptation || Photo via IMDB
There is already a notable film adaptation of the first three novels in the series, starring Jim Carrey as the conniving Count Olaf and Jude Law as the voice of Lemony Snicket. The notable Scottish actor Billy Connolly played the orphans’ Uncle Monty and iconic actress Meryl Streep was cast as the anxiety-ridden Aunt Josephine.
While the film hit the market accompanied by a video game, movie soundtrack, and board game, as well as options for a sequel, Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures ultimately decided not to pursue the franchise further. (How is this for a throwback: as of December 17th, the film will officially be ten years old!)
Recent development news that has been making the rounds on social media is that Netflix has acquired the rights to the books, with the intention of producing another one of the streaming service’s original series. TV Paramount, the television division of the producer of the 2004 film, is on board for the series as well.
How to Add The Baudelaires to Your Wardrobe
By integrating key elements of the series into your own wardrobe, you, too, can have a look that’s fit for meeting new relatives and adventures to far-off places! (I hear the world is quiet there.)
The Dante Dedication
An easily recognizable mainstay throughout the series is one of the first things you see when you open the book: the dedication made in each installment to a mystery woman named “Beatrice,” in a myriad of macabre and somber ways. While much has been made of the mystery woman in speculation – including the dedications of famed poet Dante, which were directed to a woman he loved, unrequited, also named Beatrice – the answer to her identity is cleverly disguised, with various hints dispersed throughout the series.
Channel the tones with which Snicket dedicates his novels to his dearly departed Beatrice by creating a look that is as dark in tone and romantic in spirit as all those brief references imply, complete with lace, layering textures, and moody colors. A scalloped lace skirt, cutout flats, and a crochet headband are all flirty pieces, while a wide-collar leather jacket, mixed media bangles, and a graphic heart tee provide an edgy counterpoint.
The Adult Adversaries
One of the prevailing theories about the dark tone and grim tidings of the Series of Unfortunate Events books is that they appropriately depict and translate the pressure, uncertainty, terror, and menace of the “Adult World” for their juvenile readers. It’s a dark and scary place out there, especially for a kid, and that’s why the novels so perfectly depict children as independent, autonomous beings who are intelligent and free-thinking, with bumbling adults unable to appropriately protect or care for them.
Integrate this element of social commentary into your own outfit by remixing childlike pieces with trendier silhouettes and stylized design for an ensemble that draws its power from just acting like a kid. A plaid skirt and thigh-high varsity socks are new takes on schoolyard staples, while cluster earrings and oxford wedges are updated versions of old classics. A leather messenger bag and cropped turtleneck ground the look in a darker aesthetic, while a velvet ribbon headband has ties to Violet’s signature accessory.
The Poe Pattern
One of the reasons these novels were lauded as such inventive works of fiction for children were their distinctly dark and sinister tone. They got this, at least partially, from their author’s affinity for the works of a similarly dark author: Edgar Allen Poe. Several characters actually got their names from the iconically grim Poe, most notably the executor of the orphan’s estate, Mr. Poe.
The series’ self-referentially mock-gothic style – a phrase which here means “dark and gloomy in a way that makes you think the author knew he was making things dark and gloomy” – isn’t so much a satire of Poe’s prose, as some might claim it to be, but more of a love note.
Bring the theatricality, inventiveness, and dynamics of Poe’s works into your own look with an outfit that makes a statement with flowy fabrics, dark shades, and exaggerated silhouettes. A full maxi skirt, large floppy hat, and envelope clutch contrast nicely against a pared-down open-front cardigan and striped crop top. Buckle booties and a skinny belt reign in the look.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever read any of the books in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series? Have you seen the Jim Carrey movie adaptation? Are you excited about the Netflix news involving its development? What do you think of the outfits and styling tips? Let me know in the comments below!