Why I Shamelessly Shop in the Men’s Section

This article was originally published on popsugar.com.

It started out as an average shopping day; I aimlessly strolled through the mall empty-handed with nothing but Auntie Anne’s cinnamon-sugar pretzel bites in hand. Glancing at window displays and browsing through clothing racks, I waited for something to jump out and grab me. But everything was so darn average and uninspiring.

And that’s when it caught my eye: the dopest, wackiest button-down shirt I’d ever seen. The only problem? It was in the men’s section at PacSun; I’d have to cross the unspoken invisible line thatdivided the store by gender. One quick glance around the store confirmed there were no employees or shoppers nearby, so I took the plunge and beelined it to the shirt.

As I thumbed through the rack to find an appropriate size, a sales associate approached me with a semi-confused look on her face. “Cool shirt, right? Are you, like, shopping for your boyfriend or something?” she asked me. I felt my face turning red, so I fibbed and said, “Yes.” Embarrassed that I was actually thinking of buying the shirt for myself, I put it back, telling the sales associate that it may not suit my nonexistent boyfriend’s style. Aaaaand cue the awkward exit.

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1 Pair of Shoes, 4 Looks: How to Style Silver Oxfords

I locked eyes with them from across the room as they glistened in the fluorescent lights, beckoning me closer. I was browsing through the racks at Zara’s summer sale when I spotted the most beautiful pair of silver oxfords. I thought to myself, “Dang, these would make me look like a rad mix of Michael Jackson and the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. But there’s no way I could rock these…” So I walked away.

That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the shoes, as I imagined the killer outfits I could rock with them. My rule of thumb about shopping is “If you’re still thinking about a pair of shoes (or dress, shirt, etc.) the next day, it was probably meant to be, so just go buy them.” Sure enough, I was still thinking about those silver shoes the next afternoon. So I vowed to go back to the Herald Square Zara in New York City to relive what was quite possible my only love-at-first-sight experience (besides the first time I saw Ramen noodle burgers at Smorgasburg, that is…). I waltzed in and beelined it to the back left corner to reunite with those shiny beauties, practically breaking into a sprint because of my excitement. But when I got there, my heart stopped. They weren’t there. And when I asked a sales associate, she told me they completely sold out the day before. My jaw dropped.

I wasn’t sure I would know how to love a pair of shoes again after that heartbreak, but that was until I discovered the perfect lookalike pair on ASOS.com.

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I decided to style four different outfits featuring these bad boys for any fashionista out there looking for some ~inspo.~ Whether you’re styling silver ballet flats, sneakers or brogues like mine, I hope these looks can get the creative juices a-flowin’ and inspire you to think outside the box when piecing together your outfit in the morning. Photo credz go to my gal pal, Brittany Valencic, who was incredibly patient with my inability to act like a normal human in front of the camera.

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Outfit of the Day: Valentine’s Day

For most single people, today is a nausea-inducing flurry of happy couples smothering you with their affection. They seemingly emerge from the woodwork to flood every coffee shop, restaurant and store to publicly celebrate their relationship, all in the name of love. For me, today has been a day of jamming to Webbie’s “Independent” and treating myself to some of my favorite things (shopping, coffee and Vietnamese food), all in the name of self-love.

As far as relationships go, I’m currently single as a Pringle and totally okay with it. As a senior in college, I’m in a transitional period of my life that doesn’t exactly set me up for romantic success. The “real world” is looming on the horizon, potentially drawing me to a new city to pursue my dreams of working in the print or online media industry. Plus, it doesn’t help that the selection pool of men in my college town is a jumbled mix of STD-carrying, frat tank-wearing asshats and socially awkward recluses. But that’s a whole other story in and of itself.

When I woke up this morning, I decided to get dressed to the nines for Valentine’s Day. I may have only gotten spruced up for myself and the random hipsters sitting near me right now in a coffee shop, but that’s okay. I’m a strong advocate of the adage “If you look good, you feel good.” And man, this outfit has me feeling like the spokeswoman for Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s song “Feeling Myself.”

I encourage all you ~single ladies~ to mop up your self-pitying pool of tears and get out there to celebrate yourself today. Throw on a killer outfit that makes you feel confident, and rejoice in the fact that you don’t have to share your pizza with anyone (except your gal pals, of course)!

DSCN0905Say “cheeeeeeeeese!”

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Outfit of the day: tribal overalls

Okay, so you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What the heck? Tribal overalls? That sounds hideous… Lemme check out this weirdo to see what this is all about.” I will admit that buying these online was a bit of a fashion risk for even me. But I figured that because I love anything and everything tribal printed and because overalls have been my guilty pleasure since I found a pair for $8 at Plato’s Closet three years ago that maybe combining the two trends into one could make for a rad outfit. Even though they’re a little eccentric, I think life is way too short to wear boring clothes. I mean YOLO right?

With Drake’s words of wisdom in the back of my head (like always, duh), I bought my tribal print overalls and finally decided to get some mileage on those bad boys today when I went to Ybor City for lunch. Though many are scared of Ybor because of its reputation for housing a plethora of “sketchy” people, I actually love the place. As the former home of cigar factories and thousands of Cuban and Italian immigrants, it’s rich in Tampa’s culture. I’m not denying its sketchy tendencies — My mom and I were once hit on by a real-life pimp wearing a floor-length purple pimp suit. Plus, I’ve encountered my fair share of transvestites and homeless people. But I can assure you that if you go during broad daylight around lunchtime, you’re golden.

And today, that’s exactly what I did. I went to lunch at The Bricks of Ybor, my go-to restaurant in the area. Owned by the Skatepark of Tampa, one of my favorite hangouts in town, The Bricks never fails to leave me with a happy tummy and wallet. Even though I usually opt for the pulled pork sandwich, I changed it up today by getting the Bird & Pig — a pulled chicken sandwich with brie, sliced apples, agave and bacon, all pressed between sweet bread (a.k.a. heaven in my mouth). The Bricks is a must-try if you’re into places that serve fresh, cheap and inventive food. Stay around until dark and you’re in for some ~groovy~ tunes and an even groovier atmosphere.

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Outfit of the Day: Not-So-Traditional Kimono

It really blows my mind how Americans have a way of… well, Americanizing things. Let’s take everyone’s guilty pleasure – pizza – as an example. When I had real pizza in Rome back in seventh grade, I was pretty shocked at how different it was compared to the Domino’s I was used to. My initial thoughts were, “Dang, Papa John is such a poser. This stuff is the bomb.com.” Authentic Italian pizza is lighter and less greasy, and the ingredients are actually fresh as opposed to the often frozen toppings that American pizza chains use.

Let’s be real. I could talk about pizza for hours (mostly because I’m having severe separation anxiety without Gainesville’s finest Pizza By The Slice just a mere five-minute walk from my apartment). But let’s bring it all back to the focus of my blog—fashion. A major style trend for the summer is the “kimono,” a lightweight jacket usually made of polyester or rayon. These Americanized “kimonos” are flowy, open in the front and are often used as a layer to add a little ~ooo lala~ to any basic outfit. I think it’s necessary to put quotes around the word when referring to these types of “kimonos” because they’re far from the real thing.

Our American version of a kimono pales in comparison to legit kimonos—floor-length Japanese robes that wrap around the body. According to an old article that I came across on BBC News, new kimonos usually cost nearly $2,000, which is just slightly out of my price range. I personally feel like it’s a bit of a stretch to call these cheaper American versions kimonos. I mean, look at this gal on the left. She’s covered head-to-toe in a killer garment that’s rich in Japanese culture. Though the girl on the right is no doubt stylish, her “kimono” just doesn’t stand a chance in terms of the real meaning of the word.

Image[photo credits: blog.coco-fashion.com and vampirextina.buzznet.com]

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Outfit of the Day: Rockin’ Out

Greetings, blogosphere! Long time no see. This past semester was one of my busiest thus far. I took Reporting (a.k.a. the second most failed class at the University of Florida), which required extensive time and effort every week. I probably could have half-assed it like some of my classmates and gotten by with the minimum grade of a C, but that’s just not my style. I worked my little journalism booty off every week to pump out quality stories, and I ended up getting a B+ in the class! On top of Reporting, I had to deal with transitioning to prepare taking over my school’s chapter of Her Campus. Let’s just say I truly started to understand the diagram below. But in my case, I only had one choice, and that was schoolwork.

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But enough of this mini pity party. After one of my busiest semesters thus far, I’m stoked to have this summer to get my blog back on track! Though I’ve been MIA, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been ~stylin’~ in the meantime. This past semester especially, I noticed that I took more time to plan out my outfits every morning to choose something comfortable and fashionable for running around campus all day. As I’ve mentioned in former blog posts, I’m a firm believer in the adage “Look good; feel good.” When I showed up to my 8:30 a.m. three-hour Reporting lab wearing something cute, I can honestly say that those three hours were a lot more bearable because I felt more put-together and awake. Don’t get me wrong—I also relied on my fair share of caffeinated tea before dashing out the door and nearly sprinting to make it on time to my lab. But wearing cute clothes definitely helped along the way!

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Menswear-inspired outfit of the day

Mother Nature has graced the city of Gainesville with some pretty funky weather lately. Within the past two weeks, I’ve experienced finger-numbing temperatures in the 40s and 50s. What does this mean?

  • For most people, colder temperatures entail grumpy attitudes, Facebook statuses and tweets about the frigid weather, Instagrammed screenshots of the iPhone weather app proving just how shockingly cold it is, an occasional curse word or two targeted at Mother Nature, multiple complaints about not having anything to wear out at night and the desire to skip classes in order to avoid the weather.
  • For me, colder temperatures are like a breath of fresh air that give me an excuse to break out those sweaters and jackets sitting in the back of my closet year round, practically begging for some attention come winter.

Because of the fact that cooler weather calls for multiple layers of clothes, wintertime allows me to further get in touch with my creativity in fashion. Rather than simply pairing a shirt with shorts or a skirt as I do in the warmer months, I can now explore with the mixing and matching of jeans or leggings, flannels, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, scarves, beanies and headbands. It’s a bit more of a challenge to match things and make sure that the layers make for a cohesive outfit. But hey, who doesn’t love a little challenge?

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