Work, B*tch

My sister is stepping in to do a guest blog. Isn’t it cute how she *’s out the “i” in Bitch in her title? Ha – I think she forgot she was writing for my crass, whiskey-saoked blog. Goes to show that we have pretty different, ok … very different styles. Some of you are a bit more classically stylish like she is though, so I always love when she gets a chance to write.

It’s pretty funny she’s the one that’s blogging and that she’s blogging about work, seeing how I’m currently unemployed and technically should have all day to write, but instead I’m … looking … constantly … for jobs. Or watching The Voice. So you know. 

I hope you enjoy this post by her. Especially if you work in an office environment where business casual (is that what this is?) is the way to go. Me? I only find myself looking for jobs now where I have the freedom to wear whatever I want. I’ve been spoiled and won’t ever back! 

Enjoy! Happy Monday! xoxo, Lou

When I first started my office job in the fanciest building on campus at my alma mater, I was Jazzed about wearing Office Clothes. Visions of me dressed like this were dancing in my head:

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Sometimes, I’m not far off this mark. BUT, suits are crazy expensive, and one can only come up with so many clever combinations of suit-top-heels before one gets a little bored with office attire. After only a short time at my office job, this is how I felt about wearing office clothes:

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As previously mentioned, I work in The Fancy Building on campus. The university president works in this building. There is definitely a dress code. (Side Bar: We have actual Casual Fridays and people really do say “T.G.I.F.!” It can make life feel a lot like a quirky sitcom.)

Needless to say, I’m on the younger end of the employee spectrum, and most people in the building tend to walk the conservative line when it comes to work wear. So I realized I had two choices: Fall into the same habits of my coworkers, and try to blend in, OR, be true to myself and my love of clothes, and have as much fun as possible within the parameters of Looking Professional.

I never thought I’d be a Blazer Girl. But I LOVE My Blazer. Investing in a great Blazer is so worthwhile when you need to wear Work Clothes on the regular. It polishes up any ensemble, for example:

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Without the blazer, that outfit is super casual. It’s a cotton turtleneck, relaxed-fit skirt, and some booties. But add the blazer, and voila! Polish.

Another great work staple is the Pencil Skirt. I commute by bicycle most of the time, so this item is reserved for carpool days. Be Forewarned: pencil skirts have a volatile magic. You will probably not open a single door for yourself all day, but it’s likely because the door-holder is enjoying the view:

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It’s easy to fall into Pin Up Girl territory here, so pairing the magic skirt with a simple cotton top and cozy shrug gives it some balance.

Speaking of inappropriate office outfits, I’m pretty sure this dress was way too short for me to wear to work:

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I wore that white cardigan over it and somehow decided that made it more modest, but looking at this picture I’m kinda surprised I didn’t get sent home to change. Hello, legs!

Which is not to say that dresses in general can’t be Work Appropriate. Do you have a spirit animal? I do, and her name is Taylor Swift. One morning Swifty ran into some Joan from Mad Men inspiration to create the following work outfit:

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I really wanted to wear the Ray Bans all day, but they made it hard to see my computer screen.
T-shirts can also make for a good work ensemble, so long as you apply the requisite Polish.

Example One, The Tee / Cardigan Layered Look:

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Example Two: The Button Down / Tee / Cardigan Combo:
(I have no clue what I’m doing in this picture, but I like my outfit)

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It’s important for my office steez to be bicycle friendly whenever possible, so I’ve invested in a lot of good Pants over the last year and a half.  The goal is always slim cut, ankle or capri length, for the ease of hopping on the bike to G-O! These wine colored gems are one of my new favorite pairs (shown with a little daytime sparkle!):

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I also decided awhile back that toothpick cords are completely work appropriate, and no one has ever contradicted me, so:

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(you better work, b*tch)

Clearly we must now segue into Sweaters. It’s fall, and I love sweaters. Let’s enjoy this one again:

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This is what I’m wearing today, and so many people have commented on “the chicken” on my sweater, to which I can only reply, “Chickens don’t wear berets.”

Remember how we have actual Casual Fridays? Well you still don’t want to look like a hot mess, especially when your university prez is on the TLC tip. He don’t want no scrubs.

Casual Friday Example One:

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The shorts were a gamble, but the polish here? Oxfords and a cute, simple sweater. Nautical theme!

Casual Friday Example Two:

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Jeans and some school-spirit red plaid, with more oxford polish.

See? Dressing for work can be – and should be – fun. Even if your office has Professional Polish Parameters (yay, alliteration!) there are always opportunities to be creative. Find your spirit animal and let her shine! Then, if your sister has a fashion blog, you can take lots of mini work breaks by creating a catalog of outfit selfies which will one day become a What to Wear at the Office post. Cheers, Lou!

Fashionably Late

See what I did there? So, a couple of Saturdays back, maybe a few at this point since I’ve been hardcore sick and hardcore procrastinating, I spent the day with my lovely friend, Miss Emily Bolles. She recently started an Etsy endeavor (now on virb.com) to house and sell her own personal picks for best vintage pieces around Portland.

It was a no brainer to help her model some of these timeless pieces, which you can find for sale on her website at: http://sturnellecollection.virb.com/

Here’s a little preview of me showing you what you can buy there.

Pretty obsessed with this amazing crop top:

Vintage 100% cotton cream colored crop tank $32

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Also awesome: Women’s vintage pastel blue lambswool/angora rabbit hair sweater by Marnie West $52

Did I mention it’s lambswool/angora rabbit hair? So soft, such a pretty blue. Wear this one on a date to the shake shack.
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To the point: Women’s vintage Hathaway blue and white vertical striped long-sleeved button-up collard shirt $38

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And so on and so forth. But before I show you more of her aesthetic, I wanted to talk about the woman behind the scenes – buyer, photographer, …awesome, awesome drinking buddy.

When I met Em Bolles she had a job seating the visitor elite at Portland’s trendy Clyde Common by night and was a babe-a-licious substitute teacher by day – something she still does in between gigs at another new Portland hotspot, Tasty and Alder, and between her time slangin vintage goods for Sturnelle Collection.

The name Sturnelle comes from the latin “Sturnelle Neglecta” meaning Western Meadowlark aka Portland’s state bird. But don’t you dare get all put a bird on this midwestern girl. She’s from Wisconsin (Midwest represent) and has had a love of birds since she was a little girl. So there.

The name perfectly embodies a personal flare and the state she now calls home. It’s also the place she finds the clothing to stock the virtual shelves of Sturnelle Collection.

Palace on SE 34th, Rock n’ Rose on E. Burnside, Magpie on SW 9th, and Good ol’ Goodwill, rank as some of her favorite places to find quality vintage goods that she’s able to repurpose, alongside modern day fashion picks, into relevant looks that, as she says, “won’t cost you a shit ton”.

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Vintage Red Eugene Rodier stretch pencil skirt $40 

Two months after leaving her job at Clyde Common, Emily realized she had more time to devote to creative pursuits such as fashion and photography.

“I got into vintage clothing because of the history, because of the place it takes you when you look at it. Sometimes this can be hard to incorporate into a modern day wardrobe so for me it was a question of, how do I appreciate these clothes? How do I fit this history into now?”

She also admits that the photography involved in showcasing the clothes was a large part of her decision to pursue an online shop.

“Learning to take photos of people – that’s a huge part of it. How do I turn the clothes into a story that the pictures tell?”

What’s not a huge part of it?

“The shopping!” She laughs. “The shopping is probably my least favorite part of it even though I do think I’m good at picking things out.”

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Vintage Pendleton dark blue and grey pinstripe high-waisted 100% wool pencil skirt $50 

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Vintage silk dark brown pure silk button-up long-sleeved blouse $38

I asked her to give me three words to describe Sturnelle Collection. Her hesitation proved demure as she launched into a confident list:

“Classic, Quality, and Fresh.”

Looking at her collection, these adjectives certainly do seem to lend an ongoing theme only bolstered by her residence in Portland. Not only does she have access to incredible vintage clothing stores, she also has connections that sometimes lend themselves to amazing photography locations, like The Cleaners event space at the Ace Hotel , where we had our photo shoot on an unnaturally nice, summer-like day in the midst of Portland winter.

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The Cleaners

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Let there be light!

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Buying her model lunch xoxo

Working with her on a professional level is easy and fun. She’s low stress about her shoots and really seems to work with what she’s got at any given moment. The day consisted of lunch from Clyde Common (which also occupies space next to the Ace Hotel), Stumptown coffee galore (um yep, also right there … this is a really hip block), and plenty of loud ass hip hop to keep us motivated.

At one point, she dragged me to try some shots outside, and yeah, I said it was unusually warm, but it wasn’t that warm and she had no qualms about asking me to double bra and tape my nipples, which yeah I did … all for this top:

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Women’s vintage navy blue sleeveless flawy top $28 This top was comfortable as fuck.

Which can I just say was totally worth it because look at that wall. It was perfect! Perfectly urban too as I was surrounded by like, bum pee and old Wendy’s bags, but that’s what made the day so extra fun. The girl has a knack for finding spots and an adventurous side that leads her to them.

I don’t get the sense Emily is in any hurry to abandon all her days  jobs to focus on Sturnelle, but watching her work, I don’t get the sense she needs to. She has an ease about her business sense that allows her to indulge in the creative pursuit while still holding down jobs that pay the bills … a skill many young people today strive for. And with clothes as cute as hers, she doesn’t need much more than that.

Oh … and did I mention she provides stuff for the menfolks as well?

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Men’s vintage Arrow Bradstreet vertical white and blue striped button-up collared dress shirt $40

At this point, I think we should enjoy a few more photos before I tell you where you can stalk this babe on all the social media sites.

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Remember my jewelry post? And remember when I mentioned Emily has connections? Well check out her custom BLTN necklace and try not to hate her too much for owning such a gorgeous gem.

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Ew – she encouraged me to try fried oysters. I didn’t die. Or barf. In fact it was quite good.

Ok – so do you want to know where to stalk her now???

Here’s where you can buy her steez: http://sturnellecollection.virb.com/

Here’s where you can go “Like”  her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SturnelleCollection?fref=ts

Instagram, of course: @sturnellecollection

And here is where you can look at her fashion porn: http://sturnellecollection.tumblr.com/

My next Portland fashion showcase is the really really beautiful babe that has done most of my tattoos, Olivia Britz. Did I mention she’s a babe? See ya next time for that and until then – go stalk Sturnelle.

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xoxo, Lou