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:

jcrew suit

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:

Photo on 9-16-13 at 9.52 AM #2

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:

Photo on 4-2-13 at 12.48 PM #2

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:

photo (9)

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:

Photo on 7-26-13 at 2.03 PM

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:

photo (10)

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:

Photo on 3-15-13 at 11.19 AM #3

Photo on 3-8-13 at 9.05 AM

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

Photo on 11-28-12 at 8.16 AM #2

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!):

Photo on 10-3-13 at 11.04 AM #2

Photo on 10-3-13 at 11.04 AM

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

Photo on 10-21-13 at 9.22 AM

(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:

Photo on 10-21-13 at 9.23 AM

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:

Photo on 8-30-13 at 9.29 AM

Photo on 8-30-13 at 9.31 AM

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

Casual Friday Example Two:

Photo on 8-9-13 at 12.26 PM

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!

Cheap Wine and Lady Like

God Bless guest blogs. Amirite? This one here is from my sister. She’s a lady. A proper lady with very lady-like fashion, and very lady-like speech. Unlike my cuss mouth. And I’m also pretty sure she wasn’t drunk when she wrote this, although she is a Dwyer, so you never know.
My big sis happens to be poor like me on account of obtaining a stellar, expensive as fuck education. Yay! Instead of crying about it, we like to find ways around it (sometimes we cry about it), which is what she’s here to tell you about. Finding lady-like fashion options all on the cheap. So grab a glass (or bottle) of wine and enjoy!
(PS – like what you see? Check her out here: reallivingbeauty.com)
Style Icons. We all have them, and they exist in a myriad of incarnations. When I think of my sisters, I appreciate how distinct our different styles are. My older sister has a very relaxed yet elegant style, similar to Blake Lively and Jennifer Aniston.

Meanwhile my younger sister – author of this fantastic blog – has, as you can see, a very hip, edgy, bohemian vibe a la Sienna Miller or Nicole Richie.

For me, it’s always been the Classics. The Hepburns, both Audrey and Kate. Jackie O. Grace Kelly. Coco Chanel. Give me pearls and pencil skirts and a-line dresses and cardigans galore! Bows, polka dots, and skinny capri pants rule my closet.

If I could afford it, I would probably never shop anywhere other than Kate Spade and JCrew. But yikes – have you seen their prices?? So how do I dress myself with ladylike flair as a gal of limited means?

Here’s where we talk about one of the most important words in this post: Sale.

Can you remember the last time you bought something full price? I cannot. In fact, it has been so long since I felt justified in purchasing a Brand New item, that I’ve been hemming and hawing over this dress for months now. I have a job. I can afford it, more or less. It’s for a Friend’s Wedding that I am Officiating. I have the Bride’s Approval (xoxo, C!) so what is holding me back?? It’s not on sale. And on sale is the only way I know how to shop. Well, On Sale paired with Thrift Stores and Buffalo Exchange, which amount to essentially the same thing.

Here’s a prime example: I am obsessed with these pants. Obsessed. They look great, they’re comfy, and I can ride my bike in them. Exhibit A:


-Confession: this was for a film shoot and that’s not my bike. I’m wearing a ton more makeup than normal and those lashes are completely fake. But those are my Minnie Pants-

But I can only buy them when they go on sale. In my size. Because $88+ for pants sounds crazy to me. I live on an artist’s salary, people. So at the moment I have two pair, though I must confess, that Vibrant Flame color is begging to be #3…. (Go on Sale, Vibrant Flame Minnie Pants!)

My denim Minnie Pants are the perfect base for Ladylike Casual, and my knit Minnie Pants are perfect for workplace attire. If only they went on sale more often.

When shopping on a budget it’s also key to scour thrift stores and shop at Buffalo Exchange, if you’re lucky enough to have one where you live. Scouring is key. You have to hunt for the gems, so don’t head out to shop expecting instant gratification. Some of my favorite items from such excursions include:


JCrew flats


1950’s vintage party dress


This shrug.* That necklace. And those gloves.

Not a single item featured above cost me more than $30.

Another key word in fancy dress for less: Borrow. Let’s zoom in on those Ah-mazing heels featured in the first photo of me:

These are not mine. These belong to my friend Amelia, who also dresses like a lady but has longer purse strings. Luckily she is also kind and generous, so I get to borrow these shoes.

There are some items though that just remain elusive, in spite of the aforementioned tactics. For example, I’ve yet to find a black, structured, ladylike bag that I can afford, even on sale. I love this bag and this bag, but even on sale they’re too much, and I have found nothing comparable in my price range.

This leads us to, last but not least, a handy little phrase: Save to Invest.

It might seem insane because you are so thrifty, but I promise that if you find something that you Love that is of Very High Quality, it can be worth it to pinch those pennies until you can afford it. Odds are good that if you properly care for such items, they will be with you Forever.

Case in point: When I ended up going to Paris on my way to study abroad in Spain, I couldn’t stop dreaming of Shoes. Shoes in Paris. So I made a point of including a Shoe Budget as I saved up for my trip. In the end I had about $300 to spend on shoes. Which yes, is totally F*ing bananas. But I may never go back to Paris, because I’m too busy paying off the student loans I took out to study abroad in the first place, so there I was living in the moment. And the end result?

These were not on sale, and they were not cheap. But I’ve had them for five years now, I’ve worn them a ton, and they look as great as the day that I bought them. They’re also the only stilettos I own, because they’re the most comfortable stilettos on the planet.

To sum up, think of your quest for affordable lady clothes as your own personal battleship: The SSBS. Save. Scour thrift stores. Borrow. Save to invest.
Class dismissed.

*Yes, it’s real, vintage rabbit fur. And I love it. A bunny may have been killed 60 years ago to make it, but I still love it.

Site Update

The rumors are true. Wait…. there are no rumors? Ok, well, then…you’re hearing it here first. The site is undergoing a bit of a change. SweetBird will be taking a hiatus to get her Portland feet firmly planted. But luckily I come equipped with an arsenal of incredibly talented guest bloggers and photographers to help me maintain the site to bring you only the snarkiest and most entertaining fashion and lifestyle writing from this here city we call home. On the docket:

  • My lovely and talented, wordsmith extraordinaire rooomate Nikki is working on an article for you abour her quest for fake love in Portland. Check her out here: uhhuhcupid.tumblr.com. She’s adorable.

Me and Nik

  • Red hair saga posts. I found this pic of this babe on tumblr and instantly fell in love with her hair. After donning a red wig for Halloween, I thought, why not?! However, I’m currently trying to grow it out. But screw it…I’m gonna start the process now anyway. First appointment to get these bangin copper highlights? Thursday June 7.
  • Remember that babe-a-rella Jordan from my 90’s post? Well she and I are going thrift store shopping. Shopping on a budget! Hooray? Can’t wait to show you what we find.
  • For all the ladies out there. My sister does not have a foul mouth like I do, in fact, she’s quite a lady, but she’s an excellent writer and she wants to tell you about style on a budget too. The difference being, she has very different fashion sense than me  and is far less crass. Like what you read? She has her own blog over at reallivingbeauty.com.

She’s a lady.

  • I have super superior photographer friends. Like, ridiculously talented. We’re cookin up some original shoots for you.
  • I also have a ridiculously talented graphic designer friend. He’s gonna help make the blog look extra purdy.

And then, a whole bunch of misc crap. The same old foul-mouthed, semi fashion-related articles you’ve come to know and love. Just wanted to give you a heads up while also getting you excited for what’s to come!

xoxo,

Lou