Sunny side out.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how my style is now vs how I want it to be. If I had my way, I would look like this or this (Teika is probably my very top style inspiration!) every day; I have always loved that sort of modern interpretation of the 50’s, but I’ve never quite gotten it right. I think part of this is hair and makeup: I have a theory that how you are perceived and how you generally look in fashion has a lot to do with everything on your head. Being me, I have never liked to spend hours doing my hair or makeup, so I’ve always shied away from wearing eyeliners or radically changing my hair’s natural straightness.

But looking at the styles of bloggers I really adore, who generally have that sort of retro look, I noticed that they all tend to either do the classic 50’s cat-eye, or they’ve got that retro hairstyle. So I’ve experemented, and realized it only takes about 15 minutes to get my hair looking like it does now, and I can get retro makeup in ten or less. All it takes is knowing how to easily put on liquid eyeliner, because the rest of my makeup takes five minutes, tops.

So yesterday I decided to try out the whole retro look, and I have decided that this might just be my niche. Although looking at myself in cat-eye makeup makes me feel like I’m looking at a stranger or a doll, I want to look like this all summer long. Despite the fact that hair+makeup takes about 25 minutes. I think I could live with that. I feel like that’s a lot of time to spend getting ready in the morning, but I suppose compared to most of the women I hear of who take 1-2 hours… it’s not too bad. Right?

Besides, Mr. Owl thinks it’s hot. 😉 And that’s what matters, right?

Side note: I am one of those girls who will dress according to what her man likes. I find it sort of… funny when fashion bloggers say “My boyfriend/husband/partner doesn’t like this, but I don’t care!” or say something like “I dress for me and nobody else” because… what is wrong with caring? Mr Owl is not fond of maxi dresses, so I quit wearing them. Not because I feel like I have to do whatever he wants in regards to what I wear, but because he’s my boyfriend and I want him to find me attractive. Who doesn’t want their significant other to think they’re beautiful?

I guess most people– women, especially– feel like dressing for a significant other means that they’re using some sort of manipulative power over you.

But just look at it this way: if he/she thinks you look mighty fine today, you’re more likely to get what you want. 😉 (that was a semi-joke. But it’s also true.) And that means you’ve got the power. Right? 🙂

But in return, he doesn’t comb his hair straight or tuck it behind his ears, because I don’t find that attractive.

Please ignore the fact that my dress still needs a hook and eye and admire how well I altered it to have crossed straps. It took me a little while to fix the bulging that happened in the back due to the crossed straps… you know, cuz me and this dress had a falling out about zippers… but it’s fixed now and we’re back on good terms.

I want to wear this dress every day for forever. I love it that much. I really need to get back to working on the second dress I started, because I so need more cute sundresses like this! Especially  now that summer is here.

Isn’t this crab cute?

… it was dead. I’m sure you all needed to know that. But if you knew me, you’d know I don’t pick up live crabs because I am a total chicken.

{Self Made} Dress: $27
{Target}  Flats:   $5.98 | Earrings: unknown
{Thrifted} Belt: $0.99 | Scarf: $0.50
{Total}   $34.47

Back to the original subject: this summer, I am going to sort of work on getting more into the retro look that I love so much, as well as seasonalizing my closet (via fabric choices and colors), and see whether that makes it easier to dress the way I want to dress. As well, I was trying to think of five words to describe the way I want to look, to help when I’m choosing clothes to purchase, and they are: Retro, feminine, floral, red (yes, red), and lace.

What do you all think of the retro aesthetic? Would you wear it? What five words describe your dream look?

I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!

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  • Sarah Whiting

    You are so beautiful!  I also love retro style, and if I could I would certainly be wearing retro dresses and doing my hair and make up similar to yours, but I do not have 25 minutes to spare in the morning, and my husband does like the way I dress and the hairstyles I do and that truly is what matters most to me. 🙂

    • Mara

      Thank you, Sarah! I can totally see you in the retro style, but especially since you have kids, it’s good that your husband likes the way you dress now because that makes it easier, I bet! 😀 

  • Kelly

    Hmmm…  This year I started swing dancing, so for special events with that I started experimenting with retro style and found out that I really like it!  But I’m so conflicted as to where I want my style to go!  I’m not a really girly girl.  I like dresses and skirts, but I can only wear them every so often or I’ll go crazy!  When I was younger, I was quite the tomboy, but now that I’m older I enjoy being feminine, in an adventurous tomboyish way… if you know what I mean?   My style is part steampunk victorian style, light emo/punk, slight hypster, with a bit of retro thrown in.  I haven’t exactly figured out how it all fits together yet, but once I do, I’ll definitely have a unique style!  But for now, my wardrobe is a mismatch of multiple personalities.  : /  I know some things I really REALLY like … on other people and just don’t feel comfortable in. And some things I just can’t pull off.
    Do you have any advice on how to find a style?    

    • Mara

      I think a big part of finding a style is learning to say no to certain things even if you love them. Like, I have always liked the sort of earthy, bohemian look, but maxi dresses and looser styles of clothing really don’t flatter me, so instead I could take a retro-style dress with a more bohemian pattern on it and marry the two styles. I also kind of love the edgier look, but again… it’s not really wholly “me” to dress that way, so instead of going dark and punk I can work maybe velvet or darkly colored lace into my winter styles in a more retro fit. 

      As well, it really helps to have some sort of inspiration board. For me, that’s my Style Inspiration on Pinterest– I have been pinning outfits I love to that board for a while now, and almost all of them have that retro feel. Working elements of someone else’s style into your own really  helps, even if you’re just trying it out and it doesn’t end up working. Like the outfit I’m wearing: it was greatly inspired by that first link of Teika in all red. While the outfit itself isn’t red at all, I still took the headscarf, sundress, and belt and made it my own.

      Also, going through sites like Modcloth where you can make up wishlists… and then just go through the site and start adding things that really appeal to you. Once you’ve added a few things to the list, go look and see if there’s any sort of theme. Usually that helps you find the focus of your style, whether it’s certain colors or the shape of clothing or a certain pattern or fabric. 

      And part of finding your own style is just trial and error. I have worn MANY outfits that didn’t work for me and weren’t my style at all, and it’s taken about two years to start settling more into my style… and I’m still working on it. It’s mostly a matter of trying things and seeing what makes you feel most you, most beautiful, most interesting, most… whatever it is that makes you love what you’re wearing or how you look. I might feel like I’m looking at a doll in the mirror with this makeup, but that’s because I’m not used to seeingt myself as (hopefully this doesn’t sound vain) that beautiful. 

      Anyway. That was longer than I intended! But hopefully it all made sense and helped!

  • Quotation Marks

    Hi Mara,

    I LOVE this dress.  The print, the cut, everything!!  Also, here’s a story that reminds of what you were saying about dressing the way your boyfriend likes…

    Once there was a woman who had a really mean husband.  He was very demanding and always gave her lists of chores that she had to do because she was his wife.  She hated it and was miserable.  He passed away, and years later, she fell in love with someone else and married him.  He was was sweet, kind, and nothing like her first husband.  One day while cleaning out her room, she found one of her old lists tucked away in the back of a drawer.  It was a list that her first husband had made her years before.  As she read it, she realized that she had been doing every single thing on that old list for her new husband… but just because she loved him!

    So I think for some people, dressing for their significant other has a really bad connotation (like a “list”) but for others, it is simply an act done out of a love for a very sweet, kind person!

    • Mara

      That’s very true! A big part of why I like to dress in what my boyfriend likes (other than the fact that my style has always inclined that way anyway) is that I really like HIM, so wearing something he likes isn’t a chore. But that’s a really good point!

  • Elana Katz

    Oh my, I love that dress so much. Tieka is definitely one my biggest blogger inspirations as well! I think it’s so interesting what you say about dressing for your significant other. I’ve always considered myself to be very independent, especially with how I dress, but I find myself wearing what my boyfriend likes me in more often than not. It bugged me at first that I did that, but the more I thought about the more I agree with you- why wouldn’t we want our significant others to be attracted to us? We say that we dress to feel good about ourselves, but I think most women would agree that we feel the best about ourselves when our significant others say they like us in something. 

    Wonderful blog, I just found it and I’m already in love 🙂 

    • Mara

      I think it’s more that it makes me feel good when he thinks I look good… plus, I really do like to wear what he likes ( I mean… my style inclines that way as it is.) I definitely feel best about myself when he especially likes an outfit. 😉 

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like it!

  • Avra-Sha Faohla

    I totally agree with you about dressing for your man. I think it’s very nice and sweet to consider what he likes! My sister once told me that she was at my other sister’s house, and the latter said, “Oh, [husband’s name] is coming home! I better put on makeup!” I think that’s SO adorable.

    By the way, I just saw your new follow buttons and read “coffee.” 😉 Somehow the p became a double e.

    • Mara

      That is really cute! 
      And the “f” got doubled, too. 😉 That’s pretty great! I only arranged them that way so that it would be sort of symmetrical (letter, image, letter, image, letter), but  now that I know people read it as “coffee”, I’m SO leaving it! 😀 

  • Salazar

    You have the perfect look for the retro style (plus that dress really screams retro summer.) Ideally I’d like to be able to dress like that too, but I don’t think it suits me that well, so for now I have to be content with a mix between retro and modern.

  • Amelia Oflaherty

    Oh whattup, Seattle, I love your dress! And from what I can tell it was well done. My sewing skills are still so sub par.

    It’s nice to find another blogging gal from my hood! I’m Amelia, who also drinks too much coffee. Here’s to upholding the Seattle stereotype! 😀

    • Mara

      Well, hello! Haha, my sewing skills are not amazing at all. Seriously. It’s a testament to the pattern that this dress turned out like it did! That, and my mom’s last-minute help. 😉 

      Seattle bloggers do seem to be pretty scarce! It’s good to know there are others out there. 😉 

      Okay, I have to visit the Valley of Roses Boutique now. 

  • annebeth

    I have actually always thought you to be a Tieka sort of girl, stylewise and lookswise 🙂 you have that sweet, pretty girl next door look to you and you always look feminine/girly and slightly retro 🙂 You look ultra lovely!

    about dressing for your significant other: I’m a bit in between the two positions you described. I don’t dress with my boy in mind, because I’ve always wanted to express myself in my dress rather than please others (this was also the case when we met, so I imagine him liking this quality in me), but on the other hand I dislike it when he tells me he doesn’t like a certain outfit or piece. I want to do me, but I want him to like it as well! Not that I’ll stop being me if he doesn’t like it, but I’ll get cross with him if he doesn’t “get” it! 😀 haha

    • Mara

      Awww, thank you! That makes me happy. 

      Yeah, hopefully I didn’t make it sound like dressing for yourself is a bad thing, because it totally isn’t! And I’m lucky because my boyfriend has always liked my style, and thinks I’m beautiful even if I’m in jeans with no makeup and messy hair. And, y’know, my style inclinations go towards what he likes the best anyway, even before I met him. Which is nice. 😀
      Hah, I hate it when he tells me he doesn’t like something! Maybe because usually he’s right that it’s not the most flattering thing I’ve ever worn, and I don’t want to be wrong. 😀 

  • Catherine

    I love how you’ve styled this dress with the retro-inspired hair and makeup! I’m still waiting for my hair to get long enough to actually style, but soon enough!


    • Mara

      Thank you!
      Ah, I am always so impatient for hair to grow faster! My hair isn’t too much longer than yours, though (I just hopped over to your blog 🙂 ), so hopefully yours will be long enough to style soon! 🙂

  • Violet

    Oh my goodness, I’m so in love with that dress!  You have a wonderful style yourself.  Modern-retro really suits you. 

    My husband is a bit clueless when it comes to fashion.  There are times where I specifically dress up for him, and he comes home and I do a little twirl (usually when I dress up there’s a skirt involved), but he honestly doesn’t notice the effort I put in.  More often than not, though, I get the random sincere compliment when I’m not even trying.  When I ask him what about my particular outfit he likes, he shrugs his shoulders and says, “I dunno.  You just look especially pretty.”  And who could be frustrated with that?

    It’s always good to have words to describe your fashion aesthetic.  I worked hard on what I like to call my “fashion mantra,” the words I check myself against before going out the door.  It’s more than five words though.  It’s “sophisticated and colorful with a little bit of quirk.”  If I’m missing any one of those elements, I don’t feel complete, and I don’t feel like me.

    I love your blog and can’t wait to read new posts!  🙂


    • Mara

      Thank you so much! 

      Haha! I’m blessed to have a boyfriend who notices when I try harder. 😉 But at least with your husband, then you can get away with just about anything! 

      Having a fashion mantra is another great idea! I should come up with one for myself, since obviously I’m not going to go every day wearing something that fits all five of the words that describe my desired style. 😉 

  • Beth Woody

     Oh, sweet summer! I love this look for you!! I love your hair! I love your makeup! And 25 minutes is not bad at all, especially if you know how long it takes and can leave that much wiggle room before getting ready for your outing, photoshoot, or whatnot. Eyeliner is always a tricky business, but I’ve found for a less pronounced look, a two-in-one eyebrow pencil/eyeliner works well to define the eyes. I use that (and Maybelline’s eye studio gel liner with a brush applicator) because it’s so much easier to apply than a liquid. I recommend Maybelline’s eyeliner highly. And because it’s easier to put on, I don’t need take as much extra time before work to get pretty. ;P

    I would absolutely do the retro-look! Especially when I keep my short bangs, because it just takes a little scarf in the hair, and viola!

    Just five words, eh? Well, let’s see… Zooey Dechanel, fluttery, girly, drapey. If the fabric flows and feels soft, I’m in. I splurged on a 75 pound flowy shirt in England made of PURE silk. I wear it as a nightdress, but only when everyone else has already gone to bed because it’s quite… revealing. 😛 But it’s gorgeous and makes me feel like a princess. 😀

    Now I feel like making a post on my favourite looks to imitate…

  • Meanz Chan

    This is a great retro look! I’ve been wanting to try harder to do my hair more often. I just have been doing too much in the morning though! Maybe tomorrow. Anyways I still am in love with this dress. Glad to hear that it’s mostly fixed because I think it looks amazing and I thought so the first time I saw it too! I can’t wait to see what retro looks you come up because you look so fabulous!

  • Raj Thandhi

    So many things to say about this post!
    1. Amazing dress…love the print and you’ve finishe the straps beautifully
    2. The retro looks great on you, some how I imagine you as an old soul anyway
    3. I’m addicted to liquid eyeliner and have been wearing it for so long I only need about 30 seconds per eye now.
    4. I think it’s cute that you like to dress for your man:)
    Phew…that’s a lot of points. So glad to have stumbled on your blog today!

    Pink Chai Style

  • Karen

    I love love love your dress!!! You look awesome.
    I can’t say I really have found my style yet. I like to reinvent myself!
    I love retro, vintage looks. But I also love clean modern details.
    I just like having fun!