Thursday, February 25, 2010

Style Crush: Joanna Hillman

Joanna Hillman Harpers Bazaar
Images (from top left, clockwise): Garance Dore, unknown (the Fashion Spot), unknown (the Fashion Spot), The Sartorialist

Joanna Hillman was the former Senior Fashion Market Editor at Teen Vogue, but has since moved onto Harper's Bazaar. I found her via Alltheprettybirds after Tamu mentioned loving her style, so I checked out the Fashion Spot and became a little enamored. Her use of color is quite fantastic - clearly not overdone. She seems to have a knack for using pops of color perfectly. Or wearing a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress perfectly. You know.

Joanna Hillman Harpers Bazaar
Images (from top left, clockwise): The Sartorialist, All the Pretty Birds, Garance Dore, All the Pretty Birds

By the way, I love All the Pretty Birds. So much!

xox Catherine

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is it?

Cardigan - BDG, oversize tshirt - H&M, leggings - Forever 21, boots - Doc Marten, jewelry - antique

It feels later than 6:30pm, but lo and behold, it is. Today hasn't been too exciting or noteworthy. However, it's supposed to snow again, so there's speculation about school cancellations. While I want spring weather right now, I don't think I'd mind because I would have the opportunity to paint. I'm trying to gather images that remind me of the setting of True Blood... the fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana.

Picked this shirt up at H&M over the weekend. Didn't feel like trying it on - I despise trying clothes on! It was $6 so I just went ahead. I think it will be a spring staple. I'm really itching to go to a huge chain thrift store, such as Goodwill. Is it crazy that I've never been there? Probably.

Hope you're well! xox Catherine

F/W RTW 2011

Two favorites so far:

Marc by Marc Jacobs

It's not that I'm not a fan of Marc Jacobs in either of his eponymous lines. But I'm not consistently smitten and I don't consider emptying my bank accounts to purchase clothing from M by MJ too frequently. And while this is no exception (designer pieces I own = 0), there's definitely a cool vibe. I guess the military jacket trend will continue into fall. Which makes me want to purchase one... the one I saw at H&M this past weekend for $50. An investment in my book, especially considering that I already have a "light jacket." But there's room for more. But that's how my clothing obsessions begin. Anyway...

Organic by John Patrick

I usually get the gist of what styles come from which decades. "Scandalous" in the 20's, a little conservative in the 30's, less fabric in the 40's, swingy skirts of the 50's... which brings me to the 60's, which this collection is definitely inspired by. I'll admit that the 60's don't particularly wow me, but this does (as well as his S/S collection!). The dress in the first photo? Lovely. And organic isn't just a trendy word used to describe the inspiration and flow of the fabrics - the fabrics are in fact organic. Being the environmental nerd I am, yeah, these are cool.

Images from

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Cardigan - BDG, dress - Billabong, belt - vintage, leggings - Forever 21, boots - Doc Martens

Probably my new "uniform." I haven't done laundry recently, so instead of being creative, I'm wearing among one of my default outfits. This isn't going to be a long post - handed in applications to two stores which I think I'd like to work at, deposited my last paycheck, had a friend over and made cupcakes, etc.

Look at this and tell me veganism doesn't look delicious. I kid - but there's nothing wrong with "vegan food", especially when it's in the form of cookies and cream cupcakes.

xox Catherine

Monday, February 22, 2010

Interview: Stylish White Female

A while ago Terra from Stylish White Female was kind enough to interview me, and I thought it'd be cool to interview her as well! We found each other through Independent Fashion Bloggers (definitely a site I'd recommend). Basically, I'm totally envious of her hair. And she dresses in a classic way with a modern twist. Terra calls Pittsburgh home - yes, the other side of the state in which I reside. I'll let the whole Penguins vs. Flyers thing go... just kidding, I'm not into sports whatsoever. I'll stop my rambling!

A typical question, but perhaps a good point to start - what made you interested in fashion/what made you want to start blogging?

My mom taught me to sew when I was young. Nothing too extravagant but enough to put together some basic pieces. She would always talk about how, as one of five kids, she had to often make her own clothes when she was growing up. So I guess that's where my love for fashion really started. Knowing what little I did about sewing, I thought it was incredible that someone could conceive of an outfit and then put it together into a finished piece. But then again, as a moderately creative person I'm constantly intrigued by those who are supremely creative.

I decided I wanted to start blogging after I spent the majority of my Thanksgiving break reading back posts of What I Wore. Then I started reading blogs she read. And then I did some searching for Pittsburgh personal style blogs and found there was a relatively open market. I love Pittsburgh and I really wanted to highlight the boutiques and designers that are thriving here so that the next time someone visits, they'll know just where to shop to get the best stuff.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I'm inspired by everyone around me. Of course I'm reading a number of personal style blogs every day. I see gals doing things with pieces that I have in my closet and I think to myself, "I can do that." And then I do. It's been a lot of fun. I've started wearing pieces that have somehow survived the numerous Goodwill purges over the years and I'm back in love with them again. It's very exciting.

How do your days normally run, and how do you dress accordingly?

I work in the marketing department at a private university. So I need to be professional but I can play a little bit. Pittsburgh is just caked with snow right now so I prefer wearing skirts and dresses so that I can jump in and out of boots easily. But once I change out of my boots I'll wear anything. Today I wore peeptoe slingback pumps with black tights and they worked out great! Weekends are a slightly different story. If I'm just tooling around South Side, you'll almost always find me in skinny jeans or leggings with knee-high or higher boots. It's easy, keeps my feet and clothes dry, and still looks stylish.

What's more important to you - comfort or style?

The older I get, the more comfort becomes a priority. But I think trends are magnifying my desire for comfort. Leggings and big billowy tops are a girl's best friend! If I really want to look put together, I'll throw on a belt to give myself a waist. Otherwise, I'm enjoying the elasticized waist!

What was your style like... 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

Five years ago, my style wasn't too much different. I was going out more often so I was wearing more party gear. But I really loved classic cuts and styles, even then. Straight leg trousers and fitted blazers have been a staple for a while. Ten years ago is a different story. I was just out of college and I had yet to work at the Express, which is really where I was introduced to the best way to fit clothes on my body. My style then was really all about what I could afford. I had a lot of men's cargo and corduroy pants, my grandfather's bowling shirts and some hideous party clothes. I was an unfortunate mess!

How has your style evolved?

I've worked for several years to build up the staples in my wardrobe - black trousers, black pencil skirt, khaki trench, go-to jeans, a few blazers, classic blouses and sweaters. Now I'm playing with trends again. I can pull in a cheapie piece that will go out of style next season and punch up a well-made, well-fitting, classic piece for a great new look. By no means do I feel like my wardrobe is complete. There are so many things I'm trying to gather - more tights, shoes and bags are high on the list.

Looking back on where I used to be and where I am, I feel like my taste has become more focused. I know what I like and what I don't like. But I try not to allow that notion stop me from trying something new. I hope my style continues to evolve over time. Could you imagine if I was wearing a backless mini dress when I'm 60? I could only be so lucky!

What are your hobbies?

I have two dogs which I love spending time with. I'm the gal who cries during the ASPCA commercials. Yeah. I'm a sucker. I also love to stay healthy so I spend time with my friends and my husband running, doing yoga, pilates, Crossfit... It's not very sexy but it's good to share fitness with friends! When I have time, I love to sew and this Christmas I picked up knitting a bit. I've been thrifting a lot more lately too.

I've noticed you have some great thrifted pieces - do you have any recommendations for thrift shopping?

Thanks! My number one piece of advise is to ignore sizes and give yourself time to try things on. I was always a slave to the sizing and that's so unfortunate. I'm usually a small or sometimes an x-small. But I've grabbed a couple of mediums on my last few outings and they've fit wonderfully! Sizing is so different from label to label and from decade to decade so there's no use in sticking to a size. Just dive in headfirst and go for it.

What is your favorite article of clothing (or any accessory or the like) that you own?

My favorite shirt right now is a striped J.Crew sweater that I thrifted for $4. I had to repair it (it's wool and there were a couple of small holes) so I feel especially attached to it. It's as though I saved it from a permanent existence on a hanger. Now it gets worn... a lot. It looks great with jeans, trousers, a skirt, layered, alone... it's the perfect piece. I'm going to miss it when it gets warm again.

I'm also a big fan of enormous rings. My parents-in-law got me this great gold leaf ring from ModCloth for Christmas. It's just a plastic ring but it covers three of my fingers and it's really shiny. I love it!

Probably another typical question, but what's in your purse?

Oh man, I jump from purse to purse almost every day. The items that I must transfer every time are my enormous wallet, Blackberry, glasses, sunglasses, Lip Smackers, wine-colored lipstick, my university ID, keys, mini umbrella and gum.

Speaking of bags, which do you prefer - shoes or purses?

You're KILLING me here! *sigh* Ok... I'm going with shoes. I seem to have at least 4 times as many of them as I do bags so that must be where my heart lies, right?

Since it's so snowy here right now, my mind is focusing on weather, so which season is your favorite? Why?

Fall, without a doubt. The temperature might be sort of similar to spring, but spring is sloppy with all of the melting snow and the things hidden under the snow and such. You get to wear all sorts of layers in the fall without having to bundle up. It's cool but not uncomfortable. The smells and the colors are brilliant. HALLOWEEN. College football. It reminds me of returning to college each year, which I always looked forward to. I know that sounds goofy but I loved my friends at school so it was always nice to reunite with them. And the anticipation of holiday celebrations is just on the horizon. It's a wonderful time!

This is a little random, but I love your hair! Do you have any hair tips?

Oh you're sweet! It's taken me years to come to terms with my hair. If I do nothing with it, it's neither straight nor curly. It's just an ugly kinky, frizzy mess. Blech.

Here's what I've found works for my hair. First, a good cut. When you find a hairdresser who can work with your hair, hold onto him/her with all of your might. Second, don't shower every day. It's just not necessary unless you have thinner hair. If you see my hair pulled up, it's probably because I didn't shower. (Shhh... ) Finally, don't underestimate the power of appropriate hair products. Mind you, I use Dove shampoo and conditioner, so I don't think expensive equals good. But when I straighten my hair, I use a protective spray (it helps hold the hair and keep it from frying) and a shine serum. They make a world of difference.

If you won a trip anywhere, where would you want to go?

I want to go to Paris. My brother lived there and I've always been in love with the French culture. There is something so fantastic and romantic about the people and their way of life. Ever see Amelie? That's what I think of when I think of France. They make me want to eat bread and cheese and drink wine and read books in a cafe for the rest of my days. If I could move there and not cause my husband too much grief, I would do it in a heartbeat.

What's your favorite way to spend your time?

I'm a firm believer that it's not the place it's the people. I could be doing anything and as long as I'm with the people I love, I'll have a good time. Some of my favorite moments are spent at home heckling the television with my husband. He makes me laugh every single day and in every conceivable situation.

So there you have it!

F/W RTW 2011... and not that.

As you all know, I don't like winter. As much as I enjoy clothes, I find it so much easier to get into spring/summer collections vs. their cold weather counterparts.

So in this post, I'll go backwards - all the way back to...

3.1 Phillip Lim, Resort 2009

I saw this dress before I was interested in style/fashion to the extent I am now, but I think it's perfect. Yes, it's from a long while ago. But I'm trying to get in the mood for spring...

so, some from 3.1 Phillip Lim, Resort 2010

Yes, I'm late. But I want to be outfitted like this all spring. Especially the look all the way to the right. I think a DIY of some sort might be in order.

Now, shall I get to what's new and exciting?...

Rodarte F/W 2011 RTW

I love that these are uplifting and not traditionally "fall." Usually fall=plaid, wool, etc. But it's still not quite spring. I'm feeling this. Rodarte is always a bit out there for my taste - usually I keep it simple. But these colors are magnificent, inspiring, etc.

Charlotte Ronson F/W 2011 RTW

More fall florals. This is tolerable, and doesn't make me totally hate the concept of fall, but it's not necessarily innovative. But that brings me to something I frequently wonder - why must everything push boundaries? Sometimes it's nice to settle into one spot and work it.

All images from

So I've just done what fashion bloggers all over the world have done - give their insight on the latest collections. I suppose I'm just thinking about everything on from a very personal standpoint, which is what I've been doing with everything lately.

xox Catherine

PS More later?


Cardigan - H&M, tshirt - American Apparel, skirt - Target, tights - American Eagle, booties - Deena and Ozzy

So in love with my new shoes. Minimal pain, they're wedges (I've been wanting a pair for so long!), and I have a ton of ideas for spring. I think I'm really going to try to embrace lace.

Today was a typical Monday - not too bad, but nothing special. I'm currently scarfing down crunchy granola bars. They're so good, and they taste like ginger snaps but less autumn-y. And now I'm making popcorn by an air popper - it's almost funny.

I really cannot wait until the weather's nice and I can resume taking photos outside... but my best spot has been destroyed, by snow of course. So I'll have to find a new spot!

Hope you're all well - xox Catherine

Sunday, February 21, 2010


My new wedges... from Urban Outfitters. Yes, it's where I get virtually all of my heels - but the quality is usually decent, I like the styles, some shoes aren't leather, and the prices aren't awful.

I can't wait to wear these with pretty spring dresses.

I Will

Have a picnic this spring.

silhouette girl picnic white dress hat

Image: Tumblr

Not going to lie, my blog has become more "popular" in the last couple of days thanks to being around on photos from the Chictopia10 event. Even though I've been blogging for over a year now, I feel like I'm just starting to learn about aspects beyond posting. I write, yeah. But besides that?

Ah, I suppose that sounds negative. I don't mean to be, despite that I have been a little down lately. The combination of never-ending winter, getting fired from my job, and just life in general have been affecting me. But fear not.

I've been on the computer nonstop lately. It's just something I'm getting really excited about - to the point where I'm writing about my plans in my paper journal that's for my eyes only. Sometimes I do question the validity of blogging, but you know, it is valid. The whole argument between editors vs. bloggers actually makes it seem ironically more valid to me. And despite the time I've spent in the computer chair, I haven't managed to respond to each and every comment, and I feel bad. I don't get that many comments, but it's just difficult to reply on blogger's setup.

Anyway. I have an overload of various tumblr photos saved onto my computer... all of which I forget where precisely they came from. I'm thinking I'll try to redesign my blog layout soon and incorporate some inspirational photos. It's so funny to think I used to know HTML better than I do now - back in fifth grade, I actually had quite a knack for it.

Anyway, some personal/blogging plans for the near future include:
-new blog layout
-applying for jobs at more places
-thinking up features and other ways to schedule posts
-possibly trying to create a media kit so I can attempt to garner sponsors (though I feel that I don't have "enough" readers and I would remain selective because I believe in keeping things relevant)
-trying to get a new perspective on life (though I suppose this isn't the type of thing you can even try to attempt)

It's almost 3AM, and I'm tired, yes. But I feel that I'd be restless should I try to sleep. So here I am.

xox Catherine

PS If you want more photos from the Chictopia10 event, please feel free to email me at and I'll try to send some I think you'd like as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NYC Part 2: 2/14 - photoshoot in Bryant Park and lunch Spice Market

Day 3: 2/14/2010
My day started waking up 45 minutes late, but still managing to be relatively on-time. We then walked over to Bryant Park for our photo shoot, which was really cool. Despite managing to take my own photos pretty frequently, I'm very camera shy. So I'll admit, I was a bit nervous when a real photographer was taking my picture...'

But beforehand...

Above: Lydia's awesome purple boots... and a little bit of her neon green tights. I really admire how she puts together colors.
Below: I was kind of lurking on Erin from Calivintage having her photo taken, how cool is that dress?

Bryant Park white ruffle dress
Above: Brittany having her photo taken in a breathtaking dress that her friend made, isn't it incredible?
Below: Annie with Lydia in the background... this was entirely candid.

Bryant Park Chictopia
Above and below: standing around in Bryant Park
Chictopia Bryant Park
Chictopia Bryant Park

Below: photos from Spice Market, the restaurant we ate at for lunch, planned by the girls at ModCloth. I literally fell in love with everything there - the decor was lovely and the food was so delicious. I always worry a little bit before going out to eat because of my veganism, but they were really cool about it and had options for me (finished with the best sorbet I've ever had - definitely trying to go back if I ever have the chance).
Spice Market meatpacking district
Spice Market meatpacking district
Spice Market meatpacking district
Spice Market meatpacking district

And my last photo from the trip...
NYC new york street art meatpacking district
Street art in the Meatpacking District (right across from Spice Market). I really did fall in love with this area - a little ironic, I guess, because one would think that the name of the neighborhood would indicate meatpacking takes place there.

I still have outfit photos to post, but this basically wraps up my observations of the trip. It was so much fun, and as I mentioned before, all of the people I met were really awesome. I definitely hope that this won't be my last trip to NYC for fashion-related events (during fashion week).

A huge, huge thanks to Chictopia! I feel that this was such a positive experience, and I really wish they continue this in the future for other bloggers.

xox Catherine

PS If you're in any of these photos, feel free to snag them (while giving me credit of some form, I'm not too picky about how you do so)! I do have more saved on my computer that I'd be delighted to send if you think there were some that I missed, so just ask!

NYC Part 1: 2/12 to 2/13 - Chictopia10 conference and after party

Day 1: 2/12/2010

Only photo I have from the day, which consisted of lounging around and reading magazines then deciding to leave my hotel room to go on a journey since there were so many pieces in the magazines that specified were available in "NYC."

I didn't go shopping... instead I took the subway down to Greenwich Village (I believe) to go to the vegetarian restaurant Red Bamboo. I definitely would have taken some photos, but I didn't take my camera.

After I arrived back at the hotel, I waited around until we all met in the lobby for our orientation. It was kind of surreal - seeing "computer people" in one room! Any bit of nervousness I had disappeared once I talked to everyone - they were all so sweet!

Day 2: 2/13/2010
I started the day by going to a diner to get breakfast with Annie and Pauline, which was followed by me running back into my hotel room to get changed for the conference. So we all headed over to the conference together...

Above: Lydia, Pauline, and Brittany; Below: Annie and Lydia

Above: Taghrid, Liz from Late Afternoon, and Danny from Igor+Andre (I developed a crush on him! He's so cute!)
Below: Rebecca from the Clothes Horse and Judy Alridge from Atlantis Home

Above: Annie while taking her outfit photo; Below: Jasmine (the first prize winner!)

Above: the crowd at the event!

Models from JCheikh... all of the clothes were so wonderful, not to mention the gorgeous models.

Alexandra Greco (below) and her model (above). Her designs were so pretty - I'll definitely keep an eye on her!

Alyssa Nicole from Alyssa Bird... she was so cute and I fell in love with the dress her model was wearing! Another designer I'll make sure I watch!

Above: 41 Greenwich Ave; Below: a few shots from the party (I didn't get that many good ones, though I'm sure my flash did blind a few people... sorry!)