Friday, April 26, 2013

Girl Friday: Melanie

Meet Melanie!
Many thanks to my friend Kelley for introducing us... I'm really loving Melanie's punk-rock'n'roll vintage style -- I think you will too!

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The Twenty Ninth: Tell us a little bit about what you're currently doing.
Melanie: I currently work at a non-profit in Nashville, Tennessee called “Rocketown." The best way to describe what Rocketown is would be a YMCA meets Warp Tour and the X-games. We have 3 music venues. A garage where kids can learn how to work on cars and ride go-carts. An indoor skatepark. A music lab. A computer lab. An art lab. And a coffee bar that’s open 7 days a week for kids to come and just hang out. I work with teens and bands, but the highlight of my week is hosting a weekly “potluck” dinner. We have about 50 kids that come out for this each week. We all bring food, we all eat together, and then we sit around and have a discussion on life, faith, relationships, struggles, issues, and bottom line...sharing in life together! Loving them, encouraging them, and empowering them to live lives of destiny through faith, is the most incredible job ever! It just pays to give back to the next generation!
TN: Describe your style in a few words or a phrase:
M: My style depends on the day! I love vintage class, pin-up girl curls, with a twist of rock n’ roll in there! Some days it’s Converse Chuck Taylor’s, other days it’s cowboy boots, and some nights it’s wearing my favorite pair of Bordello’s! But bottom line: FUN!
TN: How has your style evolved over the years?
M: I started off more into the punk scene. Short bleached hair. Neon 80’s colors. Band t-shirts, thrift-store finds, and JNCO’s. (Yup! We all have our pictures we DON’T hang on our wall, and belong in the shoe box for a reason.) Today, I feel most comfortable in jeans and a tank top, and a bandana.

TN: Any fun/embarrassing clothing mishaps or stories you want to share?
M:  One time in high school I was at the beach with my best friend. My bathing suit didn’t have any padding in it, so I used clear packing tape to “cover the girls." Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that tape doesn’t hold up well in the ocean, and before long the 2 pieces of clear tape were floating in the water beside me. One of the guys we were with (who also happened to be my long time middle and high school crush) picked one of the pieces of tape up and said, “What is this?!” I pretended it was some form of ocean trash, but internally was mortified! He picked up my bathing suit, make-shift padding/tape!
TN: Who are your style influences?
M: Hmmm...I’d have to say women from the 1950’s. They are classy. Modest. And have such feminie allure. I also like to change it up some days and do the 1980’s rock n’ roll leggings, cut up t-shirts, etc... I love aspects of Kat Von D’s wardrobe and shoe collection!
TN: Where's your favorite place to shop?
M:  I love J.Crew, Forever 21, H&M, Black Milk Clothing, and honestly any store that grabs my attention.
TN: How do you pick out an outfit?
M:  I honestly just look at what others are wearing and adapt aspects of it for myself. I’ll copy this... change that... and just try and make it my own. I’m not a fashion trendsetter. I just like to copy and modify!
TN: Which part of your look have you experimented with recently?
M:  I bought this gorgeous mint green, pleated, oversized halter top. It’s so flowy and elegant and it’s the first time I’ve ever worn that color. I’m in LOVE!

TN: What's your favorite thing in your closet to wear, and why?
M: I have a mini black leather jacket that I’ve had for years. Hands down my favorite jacket.
TN: Is there an article of clothing or type of shoes you wouldn't be caught dead in?
M:  YES! Ugg boots and sweatpants with words on the butt! I don’t know where that trend came from but it’s gotta stop!

TN: Do you have a favorite skincare or makeup product, or a favorite perfume?
M:  I LOOOOVE the “Diptyque” line of lotion, candles and perfume. It smells like heaven! The perfume “Eau Duelle” is my favorite! Also, DIOR’s mascara “Diorshow-Extase” is the most incredible mascara ever!
TN: Any shopping tips or fashion advice you'd like to share?
M:  Working at a non-profit means you work there because you’re passionate about the work...but not because of the paycheck. I live on a very tight budget. I look through catalogs, online, Instagram, you name it and just try to modify the expensive look... and make it work with my income. I can’t afford to shop at J.Crew every couple months... but I can look elsewhere, and try and duplicate the look for less.
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Thanks for interviewing, Melanie, and for sharing your inspiring style and life with us!

Know someone who should be featured on The 29th? Interested in being interviewed yourself? Drop me a line: casey [at] thetwentyninth [dot] com. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wearing Black & Brown Together

via Pinterest

Eleanore asks: 
"Can you wear black and brown together? Lately I've been told "no." I always do and never thought it looked bad at all but my friend who actually is a stylist said it's a "no-no." I don't agree."

Fashion rules are being broken all over the place these days (i.e. no wearing white after Labor Day? Who listens to that one anymore?). In fact, part of what makes revolutionary, unique, up-and-coming, and fashionable clothing stand out is the idea that fashion rules have been broken or altered by trendsetters and the fashion-savvy. I've mentioned it before, but my favorite example of this is The Sartorialist -- the street fashion movement has taken off since the beginning of this blog & photography experiement, and is now heavily influencing major runway shows and collections with its rule-breaking, quirky ideas.
via Small Shop Studio
That being said, I do think there are outfit combinations that look better than others and let's face it, are more acceptable in normal society than others. So my simple rule (which you can feel free to break -- this is just my preference) is that black and light browns (tan, cognac, camel, etc.) work best together. Chocolate browns and black are little more dicey. I mean, you can go for it, but it always looks a little off to me, personally. I think it has something to do with the fact that black is so absolute. So to throw a medium, lifeless, nondescript brown against it makes for a muddled idea that can't fully decide what it wants to be.

If I sound like I'm anti-chocolate brown, it's probably because I OD'ed on it in highschool. Convinced that I couldn't wear black, I settled for brown, and now I tend to hold it at arms length. But I digress. Bottom line is, if you're craving dark colors to wear with chocolate brown, I recommend trying a dark navy blue or a gray.

What do you all think? Is wearing black & brown a fashion "no-no" or a fashion "go for it"?

Also, I managed to use "no-no" in this post like three times, so that's pretty great.
via Pinterest

Monday, April 22, 2013

People Watching: College Campus, Michigan


Over the weekend, I was in Michigan -- freezing, snowy Michigan -- visiting my brother Alex, who's at school up there and was directing his first play, Shakespeare's The Tempest. At the show on Saturday I spotted a girl walking in wearing this outfit, and I immediately knew I had to share it here!

Her cotton trousers were patterned & ombre, from a deep red at the top, down to a light blue around the ankles. (They looked like a really well done DIY, but based on some research, it looks like she got them at H&M.) To ward off the cold, she was wearing a cream, chunky knit sweater. The outfit was finished off with neutral snake skin flats and a big cognac crossbody bag. It was spring-meets-winter, college-meets-high fashion, Saturday-brunch-wonderful, and each piece worked together to create this artistic, unique, and comfortable look. I loved it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Girl Friday: Jenny

This is Jenny!
Jenny's style is a great mix of vintagey pieces, sweet patterns, and unique accessories. She always looks comfortable and able to relax/run around in her clothing (key when you have two little kids like she does!), while at the same time, put together and pretty. She's an amazing photographer, a musician, and an all-around creative, cool person. Hope you enjoy her interview!

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The Twenty Ninth: Tell us a little bit about what you're currently doing.
Jenny: I am a mom to two wonderful and crazy kiddos. Edson is 2 1/2 and Clara is 10 months. I also write music with my husband and play my autoharp a lot. You can take a listen at
TN: Describe your style in a few words or a phrase:
J: My style has changed a lot over the last 10 years. I was home-schooled so I was a late bloomer. But I would like to think I am a mix of vintage inspired and classic utilitarian mom.
TN: How has your style evolved over the years?
J: My husband has been my most harsh and loving critic. I was a total mess of styles when we met. I was living in California and honestly had very few influences. I just hadn't seen much of the world. I had no direction. He has helped me see that I can dress for my own comfort, but still dress in a way that flatters me and brings me joy. Plus he showed me sites like The Sartorialist, and a trip to Europe also helped. A woman we saw in Paris still haunts my dreams. 
TN: Any fun/embarrassing clothing mishaps or stories you want to share?
J: I was home-schooled. So my whole life.
TN: Who are your style influences?
J: My friends, sisters and whatever I find on Pinterest.
TN: Where's your favorite place to shop?
J: Urban, Zara, Madewell, Forever21, thrift stores, and Gap.
TN: How do you pick out an outfit?
J: I just start with a favorite piece or something I just want to wear and go from there.
TN: Which part of your look have you experimented with recently?
J: I have been wearing a lot of skirts and I love them. I also have been trying pattern mixing. I love mixing it up with stripes and florals a lot. 
TN: What's your favorite thing in your closet to wear, and why?
J: I just got a pair of Madewell stack-heeled sandals, and I must say they are amazing. I also love basic tees; they just go with anything! 
TN: Is there an article of clothing or type of shoes you wouldn't be caught dead in?
J: Flip-flops (my husband hates them).
TN: Do you have a favorite skincare or makeup product, or a favorite perfume?
J: I love Benefit and always will.
TN: Any shopping tips or fashion advice you'd like to share?
J: I would say hone your taste, get inspired, and fill your closet with pieces you love. Sometimes cheap is fine, but save and invest in good basics to mix with more trendy stuff.

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Thanks for taking the time to interview, Jenny! I love how you credit and feed off of your husband's input for your style. It's always great to have an ally in a close friend or spouse who enjoys the creativity and art of style as much as you do.

Know someone who should be featured on The 29th? Interested in being interviewed yourself? Drop me a line: casey [at] thetwentyninth [dot] com. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm Guest Posting...

via Fogarty Photography
...on my friend Liz's photography blog today! Liz is an up-and-coming photographer, and kindly asked if I'd be willing to share some tips for dressing for an engagement shoot.

Click here for the post! (And to see more of Liz's amazing photography skills!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clothes for Cheap: Urban Outfitters Glitter Sandals

Let's keep this week rolling with moooore GLITTER!!

Okay -- so while we probably can't 100% sanction all-glitter-all-the-time when it comes to work attire, wearing a dash of glitter on an everyday casual basis gets a resounding Absolutely Yes (from me at least).

Remember when I confessed to you all that I have a bad habit of buying sandals when it's still 30 degrees out? This year, I think I actually might have broken the curse when I bought these babies:

via Target

I wore them this past weekend and with every sparkly step, it was confirmed in my heart that my possibly foolish winter sandal purchase was indeed not foolish, but in fact a very good idea.

And, because I love a deal, I relished finding my sandals' more expensive twins at Urban Outfitters recently:
via Urban Outfitters
Have you found a pair of sandals that you just can't wait to wear? Did you break out any particular pair this weekend? Share! We like shoes around here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Glitter Pumps -- NSFW?

via Viva Luxury
This question is from Lindsay:
"This past winter, I really wanted to buy these silver glitter pumps. They were a great fit and the perfect height for frequent walking -- great for work AND a night out. Struggling with the decision, I asked my husband what he thought. He said they were "too young." My primary goal this year has been to reshape my wardrobe as an adult, not a college student and younger. I put them back immediately without a thought. But, 3 months later, I still wish I had these. I'm wondering about all-glitter heels in general. Are they too "young"? How could these be made "adult"? Are they work-appropriate (I work in a very professional office at UMD, and make every effort to look older than the average college student) or childish? The title for these pumps contain the word "Barbie" -- even more cause for caution! Comments or thoughts?"
The shoes in question, from DSW
Glitter-covered heels are kind of a thing right now, so I think it's safe to say the standard of their acceptability has changed (I mean, if Louboutin makes glitter heels, they've got to have some element of class!). Unfortunately, these types of shoes have a "night at the club" stigma -- one that can be hard to break if you're not thinking carefully about what to wear them with -- so I understand why the idea of them being "too young" came up! However, I've seen some very mature, fashion-forward outfits (and am sharing some below) that feature sparkly footwear. I would say that they can be acceptable for an adult's wardrobe, and even work appropriate... but to help reign it in and stay on the more mature end of the spectrum, consider the following ideas:

Make sure your outfit is very, very polished and put together, and lean toward a more conservative look when wearing them. Keep the color of the glitter conservative:
1  //  2  //  3
Try a different shoe silhouette (like the open toe wedges in the pic below) rather than a classic high heel pump, so you don't evoke that classic Barbie/clubbing association:
via Macy's Tumblr

Try shoes that feature just one glittery part, like the heel or toe. 
Ruffled Blog  //  Chair Affair  //  Bows & Sequins

 What do you all think? I'm still going back and forth on this one!

Friday, April 12, 2013

People Watching: Biking on 6th


Out for a walk around the neighborhood Thursday morning, a girl on a bike rode past in this summery outfit: a bright yellow tee, swingy navy blue cotton skirt, and chambray espadrilles. Easy, comfy, pretty. I like to think she was wearing some gold or leather jewelry, or maybe even a dashing little patterned scarf to complete the look.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ideas for Styling a Denim Vest

My sister texted yesterday morning to tell me she'd scored a denim vest at Target the other day... but wanted help with some ideas for styling it.

Luckily, I've been finding a lot of cute ideas on Pinterest recently for denim vests...

With a maxi dress or tank & maxi skirt:
1 // 2 // 3 // See Jane

With shorter dresses or tops & skirts, in a variety of sleeve lengths:
Frankie Hearts Fashion // 2 // Happily Grey // 4

And with pants -- a great excuse to wear your colored/patterned jeans:
Could I Have That // Girl Crush Blog // 3 // 4

If you have favorite ways to style a denim vest, leave a comment and share with the rest of us!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Clothes for Cheap: Urban Outfitters Maxi Dresses

Urban has a great selection of maxi dresses for this spring/summer... but so does Forever 21! Luckily, they're carrying some similar styles. Granted, Urban Outfitters' offerings are more detailed and slightly more unique (in general, Forever 21 is a great place to find basic maxi dresses in basic colors). But whether you want to splurge or save, you can find something that works between the two stores right now. Plus if you style the more basic garments from Forever 21 well, they can end up just as unique as the dresses from Urban.

This first one isn't a price comparison, but more a "Look what I found!" I've seen the dress below (on the left) pinned and repinned on Pinterest many times. Unfortunately, the original is no longer available... but this dress from Urban might fill that lace chevron maxi hole in your life.
via Pinterest // via Urban Outfitters

These other three are Urban Outfitters vs. Forever 21 pieces, all with a $50-$60 price difference.
Urban // F21

Urban // F21

Urban // F21

Happy shopping!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pants That Work with Chambray

Good morning, readers! Hope your weekend was warm(ish) and wonderful! I just switched out all of my winter shoes with my sandals and summer flats, and let me tell you, it feels good.

Starting the week off with a question from my friend Jessica...
"I got this shirt and then when it arrived, I realized it looked weird with jeans... Now I'm trying to figure out what it might go best with so I can go buy some new pants. Suggestions?"
No problem! The nice thing about denim/chambray is that, like your favorite pair of jeans, it can really go with pretty much anything (even jeans, if you match it up right!). Try the following:

Colored Jeans: Jeans are available in every color of the rainbow these days -- go to town!

Patterned Pants: Because you're going neutral on top, you have permission to party on the bottom! Florals, tribal prints, stripes, polka dots -- it's all fair game.

Leather: Try a coated denim if you're not totally comfortable with the idea of leather pants/leggings.

Opposite-Shade Denim: Opt for a lighter or darker denim than your denim/chambray top, to provide contrast. For even more contrast, try distressed jeans. (Yes. Fashionable holes in the knees. Rough it up a little!)

Chinos, with caution: Unless you're going for a conservative school uniform type of vibe, I'd avoid classic khaki pants. You might be able to get away with skinny or boyfriend chinos in an olive green or gray (or an army fatigue print!), but I recommend staying away from tan pants. Something about that color scheme conjures up Olan Mills portraits from the 90's for me.

What are your favorite pants to pair denim & chambray with? Leave a comment and let us know!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Striped Skirt Styling, Part 2

navy & green stripes

Funny enough, right after I posted yesterday with tips for styling Laura's striped skirt, my friend Stacey emailed asking for advice on how to style her own striped skirt! The navy & green color scheme was tripping her up a little.

As I mentioned yesterday, the same rules apply across the board for styling stripes, no matter the color scheme, but since we're on a striped-skirt-styling kick, I went ahead and addressed the navy & green combo with some specific suggestions.

Keep your proportions in mind like we discussed yesterday, but don't be afraid to match up this bolder color scheme with fun prints and graphics. Since navy & green is a classic preppy combination, classic colors and graphics (i.e. rugby jersey numbers, iconic logos, basic shapes) will work well in general and keep your look cute and clean.  

Hope these ideas help, Stace!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Striped Skirt Styling

Laura just got this swingy black & white striped skirt at Target, and asked for some suggestions on how to style it. You'd think that basic black & white stripes would be a simple thing to match up... but it took me a little while to think of some options! Let's see if we can't get a little more creative than basic bright, solid colors. The suggestions below should work with just about any striped piece -- just alter your color palette to work with your specific colored stripes!

striped skirt styling

Florals: Good old pattern-mixing. Just make sure your floral is bigger than your stripe, or vice-versa. You want to create enough of a contrast with pattern sizes to keep from looking like a crazy mess of prints. The eye should be able to discern where one print starts and another begins.

Graphic Tees & Prints: Black & white stripes provide an almost neutral background when paired with a graphic tee. Pattern mixing rules apply here too: be sure that your top features one big graphic, or a slightly larger graphic all-over print if your stripe is narrow.

Ombre: This trend is everywhere right now! Because of the gradual fade into or out of color, ombre is a great match for stripes, allowing you to add some interest and color to the black & white without going too crazy in the contrast department.

Chambray & Denim: They go with anything. A jean jacket, chambray button down, or even a denim vest with a brightly colored tank top under it would all work well with this skirt. If you're feeling a little bolder, a subtly patterned chambray (like the polka dot one above) could be a fun pairing.

Crochet & Lace: Because of their great texture, a crochet or lace top would work well with the basic striped skirt. They can supply both color and intricacy without too much contrast.

Do you have a favorite way to way stripes? Share with us in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

People Watching: By the Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center
While picking David up at work the other day, I watched as people walked past his building, and to and from the Kennedy Center (right across the way). One girl's brightly colored pants and accessories made her stand out and served as a reminder to the still darkly-clad DC business hordes that spring really is here. She wore slightly faded reddish-coral cropped chinos with a tucked white ruffle-neck blouse, bright blue wedge heels, a gold scarf, and awesome sunglasses. Even her open gray peacoat couldn't detract from the energy of the colors she was wearing.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tennies: Inspiration

They may be as old as walking itself, but tennis shoes have still got it.

I grabbed a pair of basic white canvas sneakers for $10 at Old Navy last year, curious about how much I'd end up wearing them but excited at the prospect... Believe me, these easy throw-on kicks have earned their keep in my closet a hundred times over. They go with anything! I love the girl-next-door vibe that they lend to an outfit.

Because I'm in love with these little shoes, I thought I'd share some inspiration for warm-weather sneaker wearing...

via Madewell
via They All Hate Us
via Pinterest (J.Crew // Summer 2012)
via Remain Simple
Have a favorite pair of tennis shoes? What's your favorite way to wear them?