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1.22.11 Outfit: Upside-Down Sweatshirt

In Outfits on January 23, 2011 by Naoko Takano

 Upside-Down Sweatshirt: Kai-Aakmann, a recent Gilt purchase
Bird-chain silver necklace: Claire’s
Dark-rinse jeggings: Forever 21
Zipper-Buckle Wedge Booties: (bought at Sharman in 109 in Shibuya, Japan)
Pewter Rabbit Ring Set: ? (bought at mocha, in Shibuya, Japan)
Wedding Rings: Cartier platinum band + Tiffany’s solitaire diamond band

I was so excited to finally wear this sweatshirt – it arrived a little while ago, and it’s been so cold here I haven’t felt able to put it into full rotation.  It looks like I put it on upside-down, which is the whole point of the design.  I’m not really sure how you’re supposed to wear it exactly.  I wore it pulled down (like a tunic, to cover my tummy) – but found that this pushed the batwing sleeves so far down that they connected almost at my waist, and this severely limited arm movement (and meant I couldn’t get my jacket on).  (I’m not sure I really understand the design of this top…)

 Well, it was uncharacteristically warm today, so I guess that’s okay!

Perhaps you’re supposed to wear it gathered up and wear a layer underneath to cover up the belly.  And theoretically one could turn it upside-down and wear it that way too.  You could DIY something like this – just by buying a sweatshirt that has batwing arms (or super-low armscyes), and making a slit on either side of the neck-ribbing to accommodate your hips.  Perhaps a XXXL sweatshirt would suffice?  I shall have to investigate further…

I’ve been taking some multimedia classes at a local community college so I can redo my portfolio and enter the industry here.  Today was the last day of the design seminar – and I realized I should have been photographing my outfits on the other days leading up to this – but it’s been pouring with rain for most of the month, so the photographic conditions outside have just been horrible. 

It’s been great to get out from behind the computer and really interact with other people into design and art – and it reminds me how much I’ve missed this world.  I’ve always wanted to tell stories – I began illustrating my first stories at the age of 3, and dictated them to my mother, who wrote the words below my drawings and stapled the pages together so I could make my “books.”  I loved my own books the most out of all the books I owned!  I wanted first to be an artist, then to be a director (movies), then an actress, then an animator.  But what I was really trying to be was a storyteller – and I never knew that was what it was or what it was called.  And Fashion is just another story – just a different way of expressing ideas and creativity in a physical sense.  I feel it’s all incredibly related…

So in Portland, there’s no work for those who want to design clothing for the misses’ contemporary market unless you create your own line (and I’ve already gone down that road once and I’m not sure if I want to go down it again)…so therefore the logical career path for me to pursue is storytelling – i.e., illustration, animation, film/video, multimedia (since I majored in Film/Video in my undergrad and have 2 certificates in Animation).  But I have to brush up on the software, since in the years since I left school so much has changed…hence, back to school, and networking, and getting feedback for polishing my portfolio.

Telling stories creatively + fashion blogging?  Can I do it both?  It remains to be seen…
 
xoxox
Carly

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30 Days of Outfits: A Look Back

In DIY,Outfits on December 4, 2010 by Naoko Takano

So, my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge is over…where I challenged myself to wear something from the recesses of my closet (that I had pretty much forgotten) every day, always incorporating something handmade or DIY into the outfit.  I had a lot of fun with playing with my closet, which really reminded me that I need to do that more often.  And to wear things I’ve made.  Oftentimes I’ve make something and then forget to wear it, or I just enjoyed the process of making it so much, I never realized it wasn’t really my style.  But that’s good – it’s helped me clean out a lot of items in my closet that aren’t “my style.”

So what is my style?  And how many DIY items did I incorporate into my outfits?

Well, let’s take a look back…(handmade and DIY items are listed and linked where appropriate, from left to right)

Day 1: DIY legwarmer cuffs / handmade Rock Candy ring
Day 2: handmade reversible zip dress / handmade studded ring band
Day 3: handmade reversible studded dress
Day 4: DIY Vice & Vanity Necklace / DIY Pour La Victoire Lace Bodysuit / DIY Swarovski crystal Spike Ring

Day 5: DIY Chanel Fabric Marker T-Shirt / DIY Margaret Nicole knit clutch
Day 6: DIY Convertible Blouson Top / DIY Rhinestone Friendship Bracelets
Day 7: DIY Michael Kors Sleeveless Coat / handmade beaded ring
Day 8: DIY leather-collar blouse / DIY paperbag-waist skirt

Day 9: handmade convertible jacket / handmade goldstone necklace
Day 10: DIY turban / DIY Studded Warrior Belt / handmade beaded bracelets / handmade studded ring
 Day 11: handmade chiffon top / DIY J. Crew Rhinestone Necklaces / DIY cropped trousers
 Day 12: DIY plaid shirt / DIY Scribble Tee / DIY Zipper-Detail Jeans

Day 13:  DIY Band Jacket / handmade leggings / handmade whipped cream heart pendant
 Day 14: DIY Happy Ice Cream Face Applique T

 Day 15: handmade crocheted chain necklace / DIY Convertible Button Skirt (tute coming soon)
 Day 16: DIY studded beret / DIY pearl-detail gloves

Day 17:  DIY Miu Miu Scarf / handmade jumble charm kiltpin
 Day 18: handmade frill-detail top / DIY geometric necklace
 Day 19: DIY Studded Cardigan / DIY Lacy Vest-Dress / handmade ACS bean necklace / DIY Shoe Elastics
 Day 20: DIY Fur-Hooded Jacket / DIY T-shirt Tote (tutorial in next issue of Snippets)

Day 21:  DIY pierced rose brooch / handmade pyrite and spike rings / DIY Wrap Curtain Skirt (tute coming soon)
 Day 22: DIY Smock Dress (tute coming soon) / handmade Vinyl & Snaptape Belt
 Day 23: DIY Hybrid Sweater (tute coming soon) / DIY Alexander Wang Stirrup Socks (tute coming soon)
  Day 24: DIY pocket watch necklace / handmade bracelet / DIY ribbon belt / altered dress
 Day 25: DIY Waterfall Knit Necklace / DIY Fur Shoulder Accessory

Day 26: DIY Ring-Detail Hat / DIY Shirt Collar & Cuffs
Day 27: handmade chain earcuff / DIY WORD! Velcro Tee (tute coming soon) / DIY Distressed Cutoff Shorts (tute coming soon)
Day 28: DIY mesh-and-rhinestone earrings (will be in next issue of Snippets) / DIY Bow Tunic Dress / DIY Maribou Feather Clutch (tute coming soon)
Day 29: DIY scarf-bow hair clip / DIY feathered bangles / Refitted Shirt / DIY mailbox number necklace (tute coming soon) / DIY Alexander Wang skirt

Day 30: DIY crystal stud earrings / DIY magazine clutch purse / handmade Swarovski rhinestone cut-out back dress

It’s interesting to see every day laid out like that…It’s also amusing to see my garden and the Fall leaves in full time-elapse glory…and to see me relegated to my kitchen as the weather got progressively worse throughout the month.;-)

So what’s my style?  I sure love black, and patterns that are variations on stripes…gray, white, pink, and blue are some other fave colors…I prefer separates to dresses, I love lots of crazy accessories, high heels, and posing with my legs crossed, staring off to the right…;-)

What does your daily fashion say about YOU?

Though it’s been surprisingly easy to style my outfits (and fun!), the sheer work of the photographing, editing, uploading, and posting an outfit each day was staggering.  Total props to Jessica of WhatIWore or some of the people on Lookbook.nu – because to do this daily is such a huge time commitment!!

Because of doing this daily, this meant I couldn’t do any DIY’ing, and barely had the time or stamina to post any other content on this blog during November.  Plus a lot of my other projects languished during this month, so now I have to put my nose to the grindstone and dive back into them.  And there’s still a pile of DIY’s and projects I’m dying to get to!

So now back to prioritizing…

I hope you guys enjoyed this 30 Days of Outfits and inspired you to pull out some things in your closet you rarely wear and see how you can mix things up!  (Plus add a little DIY to your life…;-)

Thanks for following along!
xoxox
Carly
P.S. I know some of you really liked this…I may attempt this again in the future…when the holidays *gulp* are completely over with;-)

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LAST DAY in my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge

In About Me,DIY,My Clothing Designs,Outfits on December 2, 2010 by Naoko Takano

 Rhinestone Dangle Earrings: Forever 21.  Small Crystal Studs: handmade by me.  Dress with Cut-Out Back and Swarovski Crystal Detailing: handmade by me.  Magazine Clutch: DIY.  Pleated Satin Shoes: Charlotte Russe.

Day 30 in my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge: November 30.

Boy, these 30 days have flown by!

I felt it appropriate to end these 30 days in the Dress That Began It All, also known as the Bacardi Limon dress.

No, it didn’t mark the start of my DIY’ing!  (I’ve been making my own stuff since I was 9.)

This dress was officially the start of my Fashion Career.

Rewind to Winter of 2006…I was a stay-at-home mom to a baby just over a year old, and my days were filled from morning to night with bottlesdiaperslaundrycleaningplayingwithbaby / bottlesdiaperslaundrycleaningreadingtobaby / bottlesdiaperslaundrycleaningmakingdinnerforeveryone / bottlesdiaperslaundrycleaningcomfortingbaby etc.  I did have a Mom’s Club meeting once a week, but otherwise that was my life.  It had been so long since I had done anything creative.  It was a very difficult time for me.

I began to have more stamina to stay awake after Lil Tot had gone down for the night, so I would try to catch up on email and surf the web a little.  One night I happened upon a posting about a design competition, sponsored by FashionTribes.com and The Daily – where entrants had to sketch a dress inspired by the flavor of Bacardi Limon.

Now, being a nondrinker, I had no idea what Bacardi Limon even was, but I read the press releases about the new flavor and over the course of 2 evenings or so I sketched 6 designs, inked and watercolored them, scanned them, and then sent them in to the contest.  It was right before Christmas and I had been staying up late trying to get all my Christmas cards written, and instead for two evenings I just immersed myself in what I loved: designing and drawing.

And then I completely forgot about them and the contest and everything.  I just figured I didn’t win.  Life went on, pretty much unchanged.

And then in February I heard the phone ring while I was lying down next to Lil Tot trying to lull him into taking his morning nap (which he refused to do unless I was lying down with him).  I couldn’t answer it and it went to the answering machine.  After Lil Tot finally fell asleep despite the interruption, I went to check on the message.

And was utterly stumped by its contents.  I had to play it a few times to understand it.  Someone who I didn’t know, from some number in a New York area code, calling from a something-Group, wanted me to call her immediately about some competition.  And then I realized what it was, called, and was told  

I was one of the 5 finalists they had picked from more than 300 entries around the United States in that Bacardi Limon design competition!

The dress design that was chosen as a finalist.

A whirlwind ensued.  It turned out that the PR group had picked the dress I had designed that had a cut-out in the back, like a lemon slice, as the finalist entry.  I had to make the dress I designed.  I was being flown to New York to compete in a live “Cut-and-Sew” competition “just like Project Runway” that would be televised and everything.  I made another dress in black to take with me to New York and wear while there.  I went in March 2007.  It was the first time I had been away from Lil Tot so long (I’d only been away from him at the most for 3 hours up until then, since he had born 15 months prior).  I met the other finalists in the competition, some who’ve remained my friends to this day.  I did the live Cut-and-Sew, where I made yet another version of the yellow dress. 

At the live cut-and-sew competition, where we had just about 7 hours to make our dresses again.
At the event after-party.  Photo by FashionWireImage’s Dmitris Kambouris.

I didn’t win, but I returned home determined to make my 15 minutes of fame into something worthwhile.  I parlayed that press coverage and local interest into a great story for me founding a misses’ line of clothing and jewelry.  I hired a party planner and PR whiz who helped me plan a launch party for the line, inviting the who’s who of the fashion elite and helping me with press releases, gift bags, branding, the works.  I hired a patternmaker to make and grade the patterns, a samplemaker to make the samples.  I bought fabric and had it shipped from LA to Hawaii, where I lived at the time.  I produced a line, had a runway show, trotted it to local boutiques trying to sell it.  A few pieces ended up in a few places. 

 The models from the launch party and runway show, myself, my patternmaker, and samplemaker.  Photo by Elliot Takane.

Hub believed in me and allowed me to use our savings for this venture.  I began to produce a Winter Collection and then began to run out of money.  The previous pieces weren’t selling well, there were fit and sewing issues.  Much of it was returned.  I couldn’t pay anyone else to help me and couldn’t do it all myself anymore.  We moved to Oregon in late Fall and I officially closed the line down.  And I also reached out to FashionTribes.com to see if they wanted someone to write content for them, so I could at least stay connected to the world of fashion even if I couldn’t design.

So I wrote for them.  And wrote for them.  And started my own blog.  And wrote for it.  And wrote and contributed to other blogs and websites.  And started to design things again, on a small scale, to sell in my Etsy shop.

And here I am today.

Now all that was a bit of a tangent.:-)  I guess the point of all this is that sometimes the path from A to B is not in a straight line, and what seems tangential is actually useful experience that sets us up for something better.

I still want to design; I love designing but I HATE the manufacturing of clothing, and being financially responsible for all of it.  It’s very scary for a small, struggling family to take on ourselves.  Not a very good idea.  And it’s too much work for a single person to run an entire line by themselves, even with a patternmaker helping out.  Plus I enjoy more working within parameters – maybe not pushing boundaries so much, but working within someone else’s aesthetic or color story or mood board or whatever.

I’m glad I found that out about myself!  Who knows if I ever will get the opportunity to design for someone else…but it’s been a great journey, and I’ve learned a ton along the way.

That’s why this dress is so special: it truly marks the beginning.  (The other yellow dresses I made for the competition were kept by the PR company as far as I know.)

The dress I designed was a boatneck 50’s style flared party dress that I drafted the pattern to.  (For the yellow, I turned the yellow satin inside-out since I liked the matte side better:-)  I added a double-layer of iridescent chiffon to the hem.  The back was a complicated citrus-shaped cut-out with floating bands attached to a central ring, and Swarovski crystal “seeds” suspended in the bands.

I am a much better sewer and patternmaker now than I was then – and the back of the dress was extremely complicated.  I knew exactly what I wanted for securing the Swarovski rhinestones into the cutout, but I couldn’t find elasticized crochet cord sold by the yard.  The back was very difficult to fit properly.

The clutch was made by gluing a magazine cover onto a small clutch from Target with E-5000 glue.  Any flexible glue would work here, though.

30 Days of Outfits – ALL DIY!  What fun it’s been!



Also, if you’re curious to see how others fared, please check out Katarina from She sells sea shells, who’s been doing this Challenge along with me – you can see her last couple outfits here, here, and here.

xoxox
Carly

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30 Days of Outfits Challenge: Day 29

In DIY,Outfits on December 1, 2010 by Naoko Takano

 Scarf Bow (on head): DIY.  Denim Shirt: DIY.  Pinafore Top and Flower Ring: Marc Jacobs.  Feather Bangles: DIY.  Tiered Silk Zipper Skirt: DIY (Forever 21 oiginally).  Tights: Express.  Suedette Booties: Forever 21.

Day 29 in my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge: November 29.

I’ve got to rush out the door, so here it is quick…

DIY IDEAS:

Tie a printed silk scarf into a bow and clip into hair, or secure to a headband.

Add feathers to some metal bangles to jazz them up (my rough how-to is here).

Re-fit an oversized button-down shirt to your size using my tutorial here.

Drill a hole in a metal mailbox number (from the hardware store – I chose #7!) and make into a pendant necklace.

Tutorial coming soon!

Add some stretch jersey to the waistband of a skirt and a zipper down the center to make it into a statement piece.  (My original idea was here.)

Oh, man – I am late!  Better run now….

xoxox
Carly

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30 Days of Outfits Challenge: Day 28

In DIY,Outfits on December 1, 2010 by Naoko Takano

 Rhinestone Mesh Earrings: DIY.  Rainbow Bow Tunic: DIY.  Oversized Rhinestone Ring: Express.  Multicolored Rhinestone Flower Rings: Vintage.  Lacy Shorts and Silver Heels: Forever 21.  Hot Pink Tights: Delia’s.  Maribou Clutch Handbag: DIY.

In the home stretch now, baaaaaby!

I had a friend’s party to attend on Sunday, so I just wore what I was planning to wear to the party all. day.  (I hope there isn’t a law against that;-))

The earrings I made for a tutorial I wrote for an upcoming issue of Snippets from CutOutandKeep.net.  As soon as the issue drops, I’ll be sharing it here as well!

I wore my Bow Tunic backwards since it was looking too circusy with the pink tights and all.  (These are the only shade of pink tights I have so I had to make do!!)  The tutorial for my Men’s Shirt to Bow Tunic Dress is here.

I made this maribou feather clutch by gluing feathered trim onto a thrifted clutch.  I love how fun and feathery it is!

Tutorial for Maribou Feathered Clutch coming soon!

I managed to snag the lace shorts from Forever 21 when they were selling them last year.  Up until then I had only seen lace bloomers sold in Japan (or on Ebay), so I was really happy when I found them in Forever 21 in an American size.  They’re great to wear under tunics or tops that would just be a little too short without them:-)

I actually used a Bumpit in my hair for this hairstyle!  I bought a pack awhile ago, suckered in by the advertising, and never had occasion to use them.  But I’ve found they’re really fun and they actually do what they say they do.  I think I’m channeling Leslie Hall from Leslie and the Lys today.  I have never, not once in my life, worn my hair like this, in this semi-beehive.  It’s totally ridiculous and I’m loving how silly it is!!

Have any of you walked outside the house knowing your hair looks out of fashion or even- gasp! unflattering and just not cared because you were having such fun with it???!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

xoxox
Carly

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30 Days of Outfits Challenge: Day 27

In DIY,Outfits on November 30, 2010 by Naoko Takano

 Silver Chains Earcuff: handmade by me.  WORD! Velcro T-shirt: DIY.  Ruched-Sleeve Top: Kenneth Cole new york.  Rings: Forever 21, Claire’s, Payless, and handmade by me.  Cut-Off Jean Shorts: DIY.  Tights: ??  Tricolor Socks: Target.  Belted Legwarmers: from Japan, a long time ago.  Sam Edelman Zoe Booties: Amazon.com.

Day 27 in my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge: November 27.

This t-shirt I made last year by attaching some velcro strips to the front, and adding iron-on letters to bits of velcro so I could spell out whatever I want.  I didn’t make enough E’s, though…apparently;-)

Tutorial for WORD! Velcro Tee coming soon!

My shorts I made from a pair of beloved jeans that I wore so much I wore huge, gaping holes in the knees…so I cut them off, added faux pockets sticking out beyond the hems, and distressed the denim with sandpaper and my drill.

Tutorial for Faux Pocket Jean Shorts coming soon!

I fell in love with the earcuffs made by Etsy seller uptights...but being me, of course I made my own version out of some chain and charms I had floating around in my bead-drawer.

My version of the earcuff.

I love the delicate, swingy chains and how they mix in with my hair!  (I may indeed add a spike to the top as a counterbalance, but they’re pretty heavy, so I feel like my ear will get sore after a day of wearing it.)

If you love earcuffs and body chains, definitely check out her Etsy store above!!

I layered a pair of belted legwarmers over a pair of scrunched-down thigh-high socks for extra warmth.  I love these Sam Edelman shoes – I just removed the harnesses for this outfit since I thought the silver buckles clashed with the bronze buckles of the legwarmers.  You could totally DIY these belted legwarmers with a couple of belts, or you could make your own with some vinyl and belt buckles.  Either way, it would be pretty easy!

Pudding is perplexed by me for some reason.

xoxox
Carly

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30 Days of Outfits Challenge: Day 26

In DIY,Outfits on November 29, 2010 by Naoko Takano

 Ring-Detail Hat: DIY.  Convertible Jersey Dress: Norma Kamali. Shirt Collar and Cuffs: DIY.  Puffball Ring: from Japan.  Leather Flower Ring: Delia’s.  Cobalt Tights: Hue.  Lace-up Oxford Suedette Booties: Forever 21.

Day 26 in my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge: November 26.

Stuffed from Thanksgiving…and there’s only 5 more days in this challenge of mine!  I tried out sort of a menswear-inspired outfit for today.

The hat is just a fedora I found at Target…and added a grosgrain ribbon and large silver ring around the crown to…and then added some large silver jumprings along the brim to look like “piercings.”  It’s kind of edgy and fun at the same time.

As all of you probably know, I’ve done a ton of makeovers for men’s button-down shirts.  In many of my tutorials I’ve cut off the collar and cuffs of the shirts, which had found a home in my scrap bag.  But since Miu Miu’s S/S ’10 Collection…and Alexa Chung’s collared-dress snapshots popping up aorund the blogosphere…

and tons of editorials in Vivi magazine featuring removable collars…I decided to pull a couple pieces out of my scrap bag and re-purpose them.  I also added cuffs, which are, amazingly, from the very first men’s shirt makeover (Men’s Shirt to Cute Summer Shirt Dress) that I shared on my blog almost a year and 4 months ago.

The shoes are from Forever 21 and a half-size too small for me (size 7 U.S.)…so I’m going to be putting them up for sale on ShopChicSteals soon if anyone’s interested.

xoxox
Carly

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