Category Archives: Dress Up Dress Down

Different ways to wear the same thing.

A Change of Shoes

Sometimes I change the look of my outfit with lots of accessories, styling, and add-ons. Other times, like today, one item changes everything.


Dress: Gifted
Necklace: Fair Trade Winds
Tights: Roots Canada
Boots: DSW

I styled my geometric wrap dress with gray tights and knee-high boots. My mom bought this dress for me when we were in Fremont last year. In exchange, I handed over my vintage DVF two-piece. But don’t worry—the dress will stay in the family. It belonged to my Oma so it’s great that my mom can wear it for a while.


Later, I completely changed the look with a pair of short boots. These are Sinclairs by Nicora. I love Nicora shoes and have several pair. They’re handmade in Los Angeles by skilled artisans and are vegan and environmentally friendly. I’m a Nicora brand ambassador now so it you’re looking for a long-lasting, stylish pair of shoes or boots, contact me and I’ll send you a code for 10% off your purchase.


Earrings: Suite 6 Boutique
Boots: Nicora

I’ll show you the other Nicora Shoes I wear and love in future posts. You might remember that I’ve worn my Sinclairs with a maxi skirt before and my Sallys with paisley pants.


How do you change the look of your outfits?


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Ethical, Fashion

Punked out Plaid

I buy clothing only if I can wear it with pieces I already own. I also want to make sure I can make it look different with my choice of accessories. This plaid dress is an example of how I like to change things up.

plaid dress and boots

Dress: Kara NY
Boots: Hot Topic
Necklace: DIY
Cuff: Boutique in NY

I wore it with bare legs and big boots for a punky look. These are my dancing boots. They’re very comfortable and if anyone steps on my toes (literally), I’m protected. I made the mistake of wearing sandals to a club once and had someone careless fool’s stiletto heel dig into my foot. Ouch!

I made my necklace from a simple chain, jump loop, and fabric store tassel.

tassle necklace

Then I switched things up by adding weather-appropriate tights and a jacket. Totally different vibe! I’m also sporting my Nicora boots. I love Nicora! They’re all vegan, made in LA, and are doing their part to keep the US manufacturing industry alive. We spend billions on footwear in the USA every year but 98% of our shoes are imported. Nicora enables local craftsmen and women to practice their trade. Love that!

dress with jacket and tights

Jacket: Swapped
Tights: Target
Boots: Nicora

I got this jacket at a clothing exchange years ago and I still wear it.

Nicora John boots

Stay warm everyone and have a great Thanksgiving to my US readers! I’ll be sharing a delicious vegan feast with friends and giving thanks that places like Pasado’s rescue turkeys like these two:

turkeys at Pasado's



Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Ethical, Fashion

Lace Pencil Skirt and Message Shirt

I’m a fan of hi-low. Hi-low hems but also hi-low outfits. A lace skirt might seem fancy, but a message t-shirt and boots dress it down and make it more casual. A prefect combination of high and low.

Love Life

Shirt: Herbivore Clothing Co.
Skirt: Brooklyn Industries
Tights: Target
Pleather boots: Diba
Glazed fabric purse: Crystalyn Kae

I like that I can still wear this skirt with heels and a jacket for dinner, but I can get more use out of it my making it suitable for day. This day, more days ago than I care to admit (okay, November), I wore my Love Life shirt with the skirt.

black and burgundy

I like how the color in the skirt is also in the shirt. But best of all, I love the message: Love life, no matter whose. It fits in with my animal-free wardrobe and vegan lifestyle. And it’s a cute, friendly way to spread the love.

shirt detail

A lot of message shirts are short-sleeved, and I like that this one is long. I didn’t even show off the nifty thumb holes on the cuffs. I love this shirt!

lace for day

I’m joining Style Elixir for a link-up. Be sure to check out what everyone else is wearing!

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Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion

Houndstooth Dress Two Ways

I love houndstooth. It’s such a classic pattern I doubt it will ever go out of style.

I thought I’d style my new dress a couple of different ways so see if I could make my dress look fresh. First, I wore bright blue shoes and a black cardigan.

blues shoes and houndstooth

Dress: H&M
Cardigan: Target
Faux Suede Shoes: Payless
Vegan Purse: Crystalyn Kae

Then, I tried the opposite: A blue cardi and black shoes, er, boots.

blue cardi and dress

Cardigan: Target
Pleather and Neoprene Boots: DSW

The boots help take my dress into fall. Next up: Tights and a jacket. I think I could even wear a turtleneck under this dress and mix up the look even more.


I’m joining Visible Monday for a link-up today. See what all the others are wearing!


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion, Hot and Cold, Thrifty

Palazzo Pants for Day and night

I bought a pair of colorful tribal-print palazzo pants this summer and found a few ways to wear them. These look fun with a tank top in any of the colors in the pants: wine, teal, black or white.

Sometimes a simple white T does the job well. This shirt has a slight cowl neck so it’s not exactly plain.

palazzo pants and a white T

Top: Store in Seattle
Pants: Target
Cuff: Lauren Harkness
Shoes: Novaca
Purse: Crystalyn Kae

On another day recently, I wore a loose, sleeveless shirt with a bit of detailing on the neckline.

black top and palazzo pants

Top: H&M
Necklace: Gifted

Finally, for evening, I wore a fitted black top with loose sleeves.

dressy pant outfit

Top: Swapped
Earrings: Premier
Clutch: Crystalyn Kae

I like getting lots of use of my clothes so I need to make sure I can wear items more than one way. These pants passed the test. Plus, they were cool and comfortable on my trip to NYC. I neat the heat in style, so I consider this a win. I wore these in parks, subways, on the street, and out to eat.

What’s your go-to traveling outfit?


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion, Thrifty

Casual Leopard

One of the best ways to dress down an outfit is to throw on a denim jacket. Denim has a devil-may-care attitude, especially when paired with a dress.

leopard casual

Dress: Ross Dress for Less
Jacket: Swapped
Tights: Target
Boots: MIA
Scarf: Street vendor in Toronto

I dressed down this leopard-print dress with a denim jacket, and I took is a couple of steps further. I added purple tights and a robin’s egg blue scarf. Flat knee-high boots added to the relaxed feel.

denim jacket and dress

Now the dress that was office or dinner wear is ready for a casual lunch with friends. I happened to run errands in this outfit and was comfortable and stylish. Plus, the extra layers kept me warm!

scarf and dress

Do you have favorite ways to dress down an outfit?

I’ve joined Visible Monday and Monday Bloom today. Have a look at what others are wearing!


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion, Thrifty

Dressing Down a Pencil Skirt

I love this lacy, blue pencil skirt but so far, I’ve only worn it in a slinky, evening-out sort of way. This time, I wanted to make it work for work so I added a chambray shirt over a tank and got playful with the colors.

blue lace skirt

Tank: Wet Seal
Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Aerosoles
Tote: Crystalyn Kae
Bangle: The Base Project

I thought the yellow shoes were fun, and complimented the outfit despite not really matching it. This next shot would normally be in the throwaway pile but I kind of liked the misty, moody haze of the morning.

misty morning

You might notice the bag I’m carrying. It’s handmade by Crystalyn Kae. I love her purses and totes. Worth every penny. They’re glazed fabric, look like leather, and are machine washable! I use this one to lug around my laptop.

And the bracelet might look like horn or bone but it’s actually discarded PVC pipe! Artisans in Namibia hand cut and carve them. The project helps artists thrive in their communities and gives them a living wage while learning finance, marketing and communication skills.

close up

I’m enjoying the sun we’ve had lately. Spring in Seattle can feel like fall and winter in Seattle. I just hope I don’t pay the price with a rainy summer!

blue and pink

How do you dress up or dress down certain items in your closet?

I’ve joined the Anything and Everything blog hop at My Thrifty Chic. Be sure to check out everyone else!


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Ethical, Fashion, Thrifty

Red Wedges for the Conference

I’m usually a light packer. Carry-on restrictions force me to edit my travel wardrobe. But this past weekend I didn’t have as many limitations. I drove to Portland for a vegan bloggers conference. I might have packed five pair of shoes but I’m not admitting to anything!

stripes and khaki

Top: Swapped
Pants: Swapped
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: The Vegan Woman
Bracelets: Boutique on Bainbridge Island
Tote: NARN

Part of my wardrobe dilemma was weather. Rain, sun, warm days, cool nights. It’s hard to pack for all that. I packed heels for a gala, flats to go with my capris, boots for rainy days and well, the wedges were not at all necessary, but I like them.

neutrals and red

In the end, instead of packing “outfits,” I packed various items that all went together so I could assemble them on the day of, depending on the weather. A tank top, t-shirt, cardigan, and light sweater covered the bases for my tops. Jeans capris, cargo pants, and a maxi skirt gave me variety for the bottoms. A denim jacket was the perfect evening piece and worked with everything but my jeans (that’s just too much denim!).

I wore my new “vegan” necklace too (and packed a cute empty cage necklace by The Sapphire Bee). I thought they were a good fit for the theme of the conference.

vegan necklace

You can read about the pre-conference (my first day in Portland) on my other blog. I had great luck with airbnb, and I found cute shops and vegan bars. What’s not to love?


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Events, Fashion, Thrifty, Travel

Backwards Top for Work

I put together an outfit for work recently and after taking the first shot for this blog I realized I wouldn’t be wearing the top to the office. As much as I like it, this is not a neckline for reaching across desks, grabbing paper off the copier, or picking errant pens off the floor (all of which I seem to do on a daily basis).


Top: H&M
Skirt: Una
Socks: Fred Meyer’s
Shoes: John Fluevog
Necklace: DIY
Cuff: Greenbelts

So I ran inside and flipped the shirt around. Now the neckline is more suited for a place of business. I’ll leave the low-cut tops for date night.


Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a fan of modesty*, and I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I look like. But at work, I like to be professional and focus on my job.

low back

* I don’t like the term modesty because I feel like it blames women for how they look and makes them responsible for how others perceive them. It puts the onus on us to “protect” men from temptation. That said, I like to class it up, not down, and make style more about the way I put clothes together, not how much skin I show. I could go on and on, but that’s a post for another day.

I’ve linked up with Transatlantic Blonde for WIWW. Check out what the others are wearing!


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion, Feminism

How to Wear Leopard

If you follow this blog, you’ll know I love animal prints and wear them a lot. Sometimes animal prints can be daunting. So when Pretty Grievances challenged me to share how I style leopard for Jungle January, I jumped on it. Here are a few tips on how to wear leopard–both subtly and boldly.

Shoes are a great way to try animal print. They won’t overpower your outfit and you can choose from a lot of styles.

Ballet flats or loafers are perfect with jeans–skinny, boyfriend, brights–they’re casual and comfortable.

ballet flats

Cardi: Thrifted
Tank: Target
Jeans: Just USA
Bracelets: Claire’s
Shoes: Payless

To take it up a notch, try a heel. They add va-va-voom to a simple look.

high heels

Top: Thrifted
Jeans: Earnest Sewn
Shoes: Two Lips
Purse: Crystalyn Kae

If shoes are too much of a commitment, a belt, scarf, or purse is a great way to dip your toes in the animal print pool. I’ve been known to do that, as you can see in the links to my other posts.

Feeling brave? Try a top. Leopard doesn’t have to be in real-life, typical leopard colors. Here, I went for a business look in gray and black. The cami underneath keeps things appropriate for the office.

business look

Shirt: Goodwill
Pants: Express via swapped
Shoes: Payless
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Tote: Victoria’s Secret

Then, I changed the look completely with the same top. But instead of slacks, I wore red skinnies and chunky heels. I’m ready for girls’ night out! On a hot date, I might skip the cami.

red pants

Shoes: Cole Haan via thrifted
Watch: Emily the Strange

Go from tabby to tiger by donning a dress. There’s nothing subtle about that, but there are different looks you can create. Here’s a dress that steals the spotlight–especially with hot pink pumps.


Dress: Ross Dress for Less
Blazer: Thrifted
Shoes: BCBG via consignment

But add tights, a scarf, and boots, and the dress goes from date night to shopping with friends. I love adding a denim jacket to a dress. It makes even dressy looks versatile and approachable.

dress and boots

Jacket: Guess via swapped
Scarf: Gifted
Tights: Marshalls
Boots: Khrio

How do you wear leopard? Are there any looks you haven’t tried and want to?


Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Fashion