December 23, 2012

Festive Fashions, Take 1

The semester is over and done, and the holidays are upon us.  Time to dress festively!  There have been three occasions in the past week that were particularly fun to plan for: a church Christmas party, a theater outing, and a swingin' night on the town.

Occasion: homegroup's annual White Elephant Christmas party
Tunic: thrifted | Jeans: Kohl's | Flats: Target
The sequins smattered on the neckline and cuffs of this shirt are so sparkly, I glitter like a disco ball (and I love it!).  Also, I'm convinced that the color of these mustard-y flats goes with everything.  This was our second year at this 15+-year party, and quite a hoot -- the mister secured for himself "the Khan," a coveted recurring gift, and my contribution of a super dooper reindeer pooper (plus jelly bellies, natch) was fought over, finally ending up in the hands of a precocious preschooler. 
Dress: option C, thrifted | Jeans: Kohl's | Booties: b.o.c., thrifted | Belt: (my favorite!) thrifted | Scarf: thrifted
As an end-of-the-term treat, we got tickets to see The Lion King.  I ended up taking a six-hour exam (ugh -- but, now I'm done with my Master's!) earlier in the day, so being dressed up was a pleasant boost.  The show was amazing, and dinner beforehand particularly notable for a sighting of my little sister's favorite minor internet celebrity at the next table over.

 Occasion: dancing the night away
Lace top: Ross | Bustier: Frederick's | Skirt: thrifted | Belt: thrifted | Stockings: Modcloth | Dancing Shoes: Nature Breeze via db shoes, self-glittered
Thanks for your input for my dance party indecision!  I went with option A, but changed things up a bit: a bustier rather than a tank gave coverage while getting the bombshell feeling that the elf-y version hadn't; taking in the skirt a couple inches let it sit at my waist, rather than below it; new fancy dancing flats (that sparkle!) just make me happy; and those tights...oh, those tights.  Ladies, these stockings are major win -- really good quality, sassy and unique.  I was asked if the ribbons were tattoos, they're so convincing in person.  (And while I couldn't/wouldn't ink so much skin, I have to admit that these would be some pretty rocking tattoos.)  The band was excellent, the venue was perfect, I felt incredible in that twirly, shimmery skirt, and had a wonderful evening [swing]dancing with my handsome husband.  Swanky party = success!

I hope your world is full of so many reasons to celebrate -- may your days be merry and bright!  (And all of you who are actually getting a white Christmas, my heart is with you.  I miss it so much...)

December 16, 2012

Holiday Party - Help!

Here's the deal:

I decided I needed a swanky-fun party to dress up for, preferably one involving [swing] dancing.  Amazingly, I found just such a party, featuring one of our favorite local bands.  Now, I can't decide what to wear.  Help a betty out?

Given the dress code of "vintage, cocktail, or red & green," my need to dance comfortably, and my wish to avoid my more-frequently-worn fancy bits, here's what I've come up with:

Option A:  Black lace blouse, green cami, and a lovely floaty, silky red skirt.  Oh, and that sparkly belt.  The skirt is amazing, but all the red and green makes me feel a little bit like an elf going to a ball.  Maybe a camisole in white or gold instead?

Option B:  The skirt part on this dress is stretchy, so it's great for dancing -- and while twirly skirts may be more fun on the dance floor, nothing makes you look like hot stuff better than a pencil skirt.  It's actually one of my "professional" dresses, but with the sparkly belt it's appropriately festive and retro, right? 

Option C:  Black chiffon and cotton-lace dress, sparkly red belt...I can't articulate exactly how, but this is *such* a lindy-hopper getup.  Even more so with my dancing shoes, which are white keds.   

Option D:  This feels the most vintage-reminiscent, with the black lace blouse under a sweetheart-neckline strapless dress in dark green.  This may also be The World's Most Perfect Bridesmaid Dress, as it has been worn in one wedding, as a guest to another, and for two formal parties.  (Not bad!)  The longer length gives a formality that's at odds with my shoes, though... 

So -- help!?  Thoughts?  What should I wear to my holiday bash?  What are you wearing to yours?

And now, bonus twirling picture:
Told you that skirt was amazing...

December 12, 2012

Winter fashion statements

Due to it being a mind-meltingly difficult week last week, I missed katie's winter challenge.
But better late than never!

Wisconsin is known for its long, hard winters.  Scarves, hats, mittens and thick coats are necessities; sometimes, you can be bundled up well into April.

Since you spend so much time in this thick layers, why not use them to make a statement?
Step away from the basic black coat!
Dig out those Nordic patterns!
Accessorize with a brightly colored scarf!

Winter is dull enough as it is.  No need to make it worse by pulling on something ho-hum.  If you need to be battling the elements, best put your best foot forward.

I fully embraced this philosophy in 2010, when I bought this yellow coat on eBay.  It doesn't fail to make me smile, and feel sunshiny on the bleakest days.

Coat:  eBay
Scarf:  H&M, in Germany
Mittens:  Ragstock

Do you have winter accessories that brighten your day?

December 9, 2012

Survival Mode

Finals week: that not-so-wonderful time of year when I obsessively ignore everything except studying.  I have actually told my husband "I have to banish you now" at least twice in the past few days.  Facing down seven(!) exams in four days, it's full-on Survival Mode.

Occasion: treading water

Day when I have to go to campus and pass for a human being have been variations on this formula, but home days have seen me never bothering to abandon the PJs.  However, a necessary run to the post office -- because not only is it finals week, but it's the holiday season, too -- meant reverting to no-brainer basics.  I may not be the most fashionable person in Berkeley, but at least people aren't crossing the street to avoid me, like the other crazies. 

Turtleneck sweater: thrifted | Jeans: hand-me-downs, originally from Gap | Shoes: Marshalls | Necklace: a gift

Bonus: not only did my necklace highlight the layered colors, but it kind of looks like Christmas lights.  So, that's a plus. 

So, how do you get through rough weeks -- psych yourself up and go in swinging?  Stick to a tried-and-true routine?  Desperately tread water?

December 2, 2012

Sick Days

And now, for our very first challenge week at Phenotype: fabulous...winter!  Here by the SF bay, it's been raining nonstop for days, and I've been dreaming about how much delightful snow that would bring if I were back home in colder climes...bundling up for outdoor [mis]adventures, cozying up inside by a fire -- there are so many things I love about winter!  One thing that I definitely do not appreciate, however, is being sick.

Even worse: being sick (and miserable!) on a day that you absolutely cannot stay home.  When all you want to do is burrow under the covers and sip hot tea while re-watching Sherlock but you *have* to go out and be part of the real world, what's a girl to do?

 Occasion: an at-school sick day =/

My approach is to wear clothes that are as comfy as my pajamas but more put-together (trying to get some of that "look good, feel good" going for me).  Here, [adventure] boots that wear like sneakers, leggings and a stretchy skirt, and my cuddliest sweater.  You'd never even know that I felt like I'd been run over by a bus.

sweater: J.Crew, thrifted | skirt: Target | leggings: Target | boots: Kalso Earth

I liked it so much, I'm going to do it again when I'm feeling even better.  What's your go-to when winter's got you down?

November 29, 2012

Fashion Utopia

Winter is my favorite fashion season simply because of the sweaters I get to wear. Sweaters are my favorite clothing item by far. Recently, this sweater came into my life. Even though it's full of holes and therefore dysfunctional on the warmth scale, I find it cute nonetheless.

Sweater: Plato's Closet
Skirt: H&M

One other staple piece of winter clothing I love is tights. Especially with comfy, fuzzy, warm socks. Tights in my opinion work best with boots and occasionally sneakers. Again, I recently bought new white tights (My old one ripped. Sad face.) as well as warm socks. Paired together, My legs/feet were as toasty as can be.

Tights: Target
Socks: Target
Boots: Payless

After the realization that the perfect winter outfit could be successfully formed, I was determined to put together this masterpiece. And was born.

(Yes, I realize this picture is blurry. Deal with it.)

TA DA! This cute sweater paired with my ever-so-fantastic mullet skirt, a warm tights/socks combo, and small heeled boots sent me off smiling.

November 28, 2012

What I've Been Wearing: Fall

Shirt & leggings: Kohls
Skirt:  Goodwill
Scarf & hat:  gifts
Shoes (not pictured):  TOMS

On the cusp of winter, I've been looking back, at my outfits from this fall.
These past few months, I've been gravitating towards:

* Not pants.  At some point in October, I decided I was so over pants.  I still wear them to work, and occasionally when tights seem like a feat, but I really made an effort to wear skirts.  They're just more comfortable, less restricting.  Jeans, especially non-stretchy ones, end up bunching up uncomfortably when you're trying to be cozy.  No thanks.

* Neutrals.  I've enjoyed pairing neutrals with a pop of color, or an overall subdued color palette.  In the past, I've written this off as boring.  But, it's more like a challenge.  How can I make this modern?  What will elevate this from boring to classic?  I like adding layers, tights, boots or patterns to make it fresh.

* Digging deeper into my closet, a.ka. "waiting a really long time to do laundry".  I like watching my favorite items go into the basket, leaving me with my more un-used items.  It's a puzzle, trying to pair items, and mix-and-match things.  It's more of a success when you've pieced together a fun outfits with items you don't normally wear.

What has your fashion looked like this fall?

November 25, 2012

Autumn Leaves

The slight fall colors we get in the bay area have been lingering for a while, but the weather has finally shifted from basically summer (such as it is, here) to basically winter (again, such as it is).  This past week, though, provided a lovely combination of bright-but-crisp days and nights that smell of woodsmoke and decay -- that perfect scent of autumn.

Occasion: churching

Pretty standard Sunday fare, around here.  I've had this nubbly plaid skirt for several years now; though it reads as neutral and conservative at a distance, it's all bright golds and rich greens and bold raspberries striping back and forth.  LOVE that.

sweater: Banana Republic, thrifted | skirt: Forever 21, thrifted | belt: Target | tights: Target | shoes: Naya, via db shoes

As we shall surely soon see, I'm rather fond of plaid -- gingham, tartan, lumberjack, I love it all, and it seems especially suited to the fall.  It can be polarizing, though.  So, I have to ask: are you a fan of plaid?  Or, do you have another favorite pattern or texture that says "fall" to you? 

November 15, 2012

stand out.

hey guys. today i felt like standing out.

sweater: rue 21
dress: hand-me-down
tights: target

i paired this bright yellow dress with a sweater to keep warm. my lacey tights matched my lacey sweater in a way i didn't realize until after leaving for school. oh well. i also wore purple sneaker-type shoes. 
this out fit was colorful enough for my love of color but not obnoxious. i like clothes that can help me make a statement without looking silly or totally weird. matching contrasting colors is one way i do this as well as certain patterns that can still go with each other. 
i'm going to adopt charlotte's method and ask a question at the end of my post:

which outfits that you have help you stand out?
what's your favorite way to be original?

November 14, 2012

Oh, the weather outside is weather

It's dipped below freezing.  We had flurries on Monday, and it's only gettin' colder.  Time to cozy up!

Slippers:  Forever 21

Last year (when I took these photos), I bought myself a pair of the most awesome slippers ever:  Yeti feet.  They were designed to be polar bear feet, I'm sure, but I feel more like a Bumble.  They're warm, wonderfully cozy, and look silly when I swing-dance on my kitchen floor.

What are some of your comfy-coziest clothes?

November 11, 2012

Pop Some Tags

Have you heard that new song Thrift Store?  When I first heard it on the radio, I thought it was another offering from DJ Dave (Whole Foods Parking Lot, Daddy Skills, Berkeley Enough, etc...).  Though a little coarse in the language, it's such a fun take on the thrill of the hunt and the feeling you get when you nab something awesome.  All of this to say -- you guys...

Occasion: Saturday

...I HAVE GREEN PANTS.  Green corduroys, no less.  They're a little more dark-limey-apple green than the true crayola they're showing up as in pictures...and they are rocking my world something awesome right now.

I've focused my clothing-acquisitions lately on "professional-able" things -- things that I like, would wear day-to-day, and can be presented as professional enough to pass muster in a white-coat-required clinical environment.  I was out on Friday on a post-block-exams (7 tests in 5 days, gross!) shopping treat at my favorite thrift shop and grabbed these AMAZE-BALLS oh! so! very! green! pants "just to try on."  Once on -- oh, man!  I'd forgotten that, though I am having to make the transition to responsible, professional adult, I don't have to put on that persona or that uniform all the time.  I can wear something just because it makes me grin from ear to ear.  LIKE GREEN PANTS.  =)

Sweater: Eddie Bauer, thrifted | Striped tee: Banana Republic, thrifted | GREEN PANTS: thrifted | Sneakers: Converse All-Stars

So, what are your green pants?  Do you have anything that plasters a goofy grin on your face every time you put it on? 

November 8, 2012

how to work stripes part 2

more stripes and skirts!
i guess that's my thing?
i don't really know.
well anyways, here's my outfit.

tank top: target
sweater: H&M
skirt: target
i love the little bow deatil on the pockets of this sweater. i don't wear it frequently cause i like big and comfy sweaters more but this outfit needed it. i would have been too cold just wearing that tank top or even just a shirt with my skirt.
this skirt is my new favorite piece of clothing. it's super comfy but still girly and also easy to wear. love it!
matched with the hat below, i would say this outfit will be worn again.

hat: hand-me-down, originally from Forever 21

November 7, 2012


Since katie and lyn have both posted about working colors into their outfits, I thought I should chime in.

FACT:  I have only recently been opened up to mixing colors.

Excluding my 90's-era elementary-aged "fashion" (I rocked the oversized sweatshirt like there was no tomorrow), I've stayed within normal color parameters.  I knew what matched and what didn't, and stayed far away from the didn't.  Black and brown, mixing bright colors, even introducing a new color into an outfit:  no. no. no.

Honestly, it was Fall Fashion Week that really helped me explore new fashion choices.  The women who participated were so encouraging, supportive and creative that I felt inspired to make new fashion choices, one of them being colors.

Shirt:  hand-me-down
Skirt:  Forever 21
Leggings:  Kohls
Socks:  Smartwool
Boots:  Merrell, from REI
Hat:  Gift, from Forever 21

As this outfit shows, I'm still fairly moderate with my color mixing.  But only a year or two ago, I would have never thought purple and green would be in my outfit, at the same time!

Have your fashion choices changed in the past few years?

November 4, 2012

[Student] Doctor Kate

A few times a month, we have labs (or in this case, an exam!) where we have to dress up, don our white coats, and act as the physicians for actors who come in to play the roles of our patients.  My nametag has my given name on it, while "katie" is my handle in daily, informal situations, but I have taken to mentally calling myself "Kate" when in professional garb.  "Kate" is my alter-ego, my ideal professional self, who stays cool under pressure and can pull together clinical know-how while staying present with and attentive to the patient.  

Occasion: pretending to be a doctor

I've got a long way to go before the real me is close to the Kate that I hope to be, but until then I can still dress the part.  Professional attire in my cohort is oh-so-conservative -- I haven't seen any of my other classmates don colored tights, but I do like that rich jade green and with everything else in inoffensive black and grey, why not?

Dress: thrifted | Cami: thrifted | Belt: Target | Tights: Target | Shoes: Naya via db shoes | Earrings: gift from the mister | Necklace: Kohls | White coat: courtesy of OPSC

Kate katie

November 1, 2012

healthy addictions.

winter is coming. dun dun duuuuun.
i personally like winter, though, for these two reasons: i get to wear scarves and sweaters.
like this:

sweater: H&M
scarf: Studio 890 Hair Salon
tank top: Target
jeans: Delia's
this sweater is super soft and remind me of ron weasley from harry potter. he wears maroon quite frequently. this scarf is also super soft and i basically wear it every day.
comfiness (and yes, that is a word) is my main priority with clothing. why would you want to wear something that doesn't make you feel good?
i also have to admit, i have a problem.
i have a shoe obession. and guys, it's bad.
but how can i pass up the opportunity to buy these cute shoes?

shoes: Wet Seal

i mean, come on. polka dots with wicked green laces? i have no regrets.
hope you have had a happy halloween and stay warm!

October 31, 2012


A few weeks ago, I was playing "truth or dare" poker with Jordan and some friends.  I don't remember exactly how the question was phrased, but one of my friends basically asked me to describe the outfit that make me feel the most confident.

T-shirt & scarf:  gifts
Jacket & skirt:  Goodwill
Tights:  Target
Boots:  Charlotte Russe

I love stepping out in this outfit.  I draw from the bravado of the character it's inspired by.  I hold my head high.  Self-confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy:  feeling like you look good makes you look better.  Isn't that a beautiful thing?

Also, as I was thinking of my answer, Jordan (my husband) quickly chimed in with, "high heels!"  So, apparently I give off a certain confidence when I'm a few inches taller as well!

Share what outfit - or pieces of an outfit - you feel most confident in.

October 28, 2012

Exercising Opposites

I am not entirely sure about this outfit.  I really the combination of opposite colors -- that deep, grape-y violet and mustard yellow -- and I like the silhouette, but I don't think it wore as well as it looked.

Occasion: a Friday (ie. short day) of lectures

The dress is a slight a-line and would be fine on its own, except that it hits me about two inches higher on the leg than I feel comfortable with for school or professionally.  I've worn a black skirt under it as an extender before, but I wanted more color this time.  This yellow skirt,'s so full.  I know petticoats worked that way, but all that fairly stiff material (almost like denim) under a much lighter-weight, narrower dress was just awkward.

Such a cheeseball face, but it shows off that lovely necklace a bit better, and the interesting texture that the tone-on-tone stripes add.  I really do like these colors together, so I'm sure I'll give this pairing another shot at some point.

Now, while we're on the subject of cheeseball...

hbMq_n on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

Dress: H&M | Skirt: thrifted | Shoes: Target | Necklace: a gift from the mister


October 25, 2012

how to work stripes

introducing: me! i'm a student in high school who likes to dress nicely. some might say my style is too fancy for school but i say, why not? if you like your clothes wear them! i don't mind wearing skirts or dresses to school.

this is my mullet skirt. (it's actually called a high-low skirt but's a mullet. business in the front and party in the back.) my tights are lacey and white and my shoes are black army-style boots.

i wore this shirt with the skirt cause it's a tighter t-shirt. i like to balance tighter clothes with baggier clothes, like wearing t-shirts with boot cut jeans or skinny jeans with a loose shirt. my headband is also white and lacey. i love love love this shirt cause it promotes originality. that one zebra in the middle has a keyboard instead of stripes, a blue mohawk, an earring, and sunglasses. he doesn't care about what everyone else does and rocks his own style. i respect you mister zebra.

usually i don't match this much (like with two white lacey things). i don't mind mixing patterns (except for stripes and plaid. never.) but i don't like mixing unmatching colors. that just doesn't work.

i'm new to blogging but i'm super excited about it! tune in next week for more fashion fun.

October 24, 2012


Almost a month ago, Ronnie posted about how she wears an outfit for 1-2 weeks at a time.

This blew me away.  Which got me thinking... why?  Why does this surprise me?  Where did I get the idea that I need to change my clothes everyday?  Would I feel awkward if people saw me in the same outfit?
I took Ronnie's habit and made it my challenge:  how long could I wear the same outfit?  (Excluding undershirts and such things.)

I made it about two and a half days.

Partially, I was limited to weekends, since I don't feel comfortable wearing the same outfit to work several days in a row.  But also, it just got to a point where it felt uncomfortable.  I felt like I smelled iffy.  The clothes got stretched out and didn't fit quite right.  The issue wasn't that my friends would see me in the same outfit - I doubt they would care - but that I felt like I needed to change.

One of my repeated outfits:

Dress:  thrifted
T-shirt & leggings:  Kohl's
Sweater:  Goodwill
Boots:  Merrell, from REI

I don't think the challenge was a failure, as I learned more about my fashion choices.  It's made me more conscious of what I wear, and I'm further challenged to wear repeat outfits, especially if I find an especially cute outfit!

What about you?
How often do you typically repeat your outfits?

October 21, 2012


Welcome!  You have found Phenotype: fabulous, an experiment in nature vs. nuture, self-expression, and sartorial sisterhood.  We are students, teachers, dancers, healers.  We are challenging ourselves and others to love and care for the bodies we've got, and to look and feel great doing so.

Occasion:  a full day of lectures, and volunteering at a free clinic in the evening

I like schooldays that consist only of lectures without labs, because they are free of the dress code requirements imposed by the various lab activities.  Unlike undergrad, where I not infrequently donned the college uniform of sweatpants or other glorified pajamas (to my credit, I usually did wear real clothes on days when I had class later than 9am), in medical school I feel like dressing with intentionality helps get me in the right mindset to learn.  This is a professional degree program; hence, I am a Professional Student (truer words never spoken...).  Might as well look the part.

These jeans make me happy -- I really like the way they fit, the way they feel.  They're fairly high-waisted (nearly up to my umbilicus belly-button) and a narrow bootcut.  The cherry on top?  I found them in perfect condition at a thrift shop.  In fact, everything (except underpinnings) in this outfit was second-hand, and the [oh-so-wonderful!] socks were a gift.

Orange sweater: thrifted | Grey sweater: Kimchi Blue, thrifted | Belt: thrifted | Jeans: BandolinoBlu, thrifted | Shoes: b.o.c., thrifted | Socks: REI merino hikers

It's been my pleasure to introduce Phenotype: fabulous to the world.  Our other lovely contributors will debut throughout the week.  However, I do want to take this opportunity to give a shoutout to one: my little sister, who is turning 18 today.

Happy birthday, 'doodles!  Hard to believe that 18 years ago you came into this world, and subsequently I almost missed the school bus for the very first time.  You're a goof, you're a doll, and I'm so proud of the young woman you are becoming.