À LA MODEST :: Conservative Indie Fashion Style Blogger - a la modest - a la mode st. - conservative indie style blog blogger

Christa Taylor is closing her store very soon! Although I am sad for her, I am also happy for the excitement around her liquidation sale and especially for her venture into photography which I am currently helping out with (more details on that later). It was not too long ago when I first met Christa at a fashion show around my area, and I guess we haven’t stopped connecting ever since. The girl has skills. You should definitely check out what she’s got in the store before everything gets sold out!

Below, you’ll find photos of some of her old and current pieces.  Obviously, not everything here will be on the site, because everything is slowly being snagged! I just received the Lucy Dress in black, and I loved it. It was classy, feminine, vintage-inspired, and modest—that pretty much sums up her line.

Now on the the giveaway! Christa has kindly donated an adorable, black and white, retro-esque apron for one lucky reader. You will find the photo of the prize as well as the instructions for entering below. Since this giveaway will end very soon (November 5), the chance of winning is great!

Mandatory Entry:

1. Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite item is on Christa Taylor‘s site OR from the photos posted here (store might be closed by the time of entry). Take a look around. You might find something you’ll love!

Bonus Entries:

  1. Join this site via Google Friend Connect and leave me a comment here telling me that you did (3 entries).
  2. “Like” à la Modest on Facebook and leave me a comment here telling me that you did (2 entries).
  3. Follow me on Twitter (@alaModest), and leave me a comment here telling me that you did. Include your user name.
  4. Tweet about this giveaway, and leave me a comment on here telling me that you did. Include your user name and/or a link to the tweet. Copy & paste this to tweet: “Win a Christa-Taylor classy retro apron from @alaModest http://bit.ly/abp7lL #giveaway”
  5. Subscribe to this blog through BlogLovin’, and leave me a comment on here telling me that you did.
  6. Post this giveaway as your status on Facebook, and leave me a comment here telling me that you did. Include your Facebook’s e-mail address. Copy & paste this: “Win a Christa-Taylor classy retro apron from alamodest.com! http://alamodest.com/?p=3838”
  7. Suggest that your friends “like” à la Modest on Facebook, and leave me a comment here telling me that you did and/or how many friends you invited (2 entries).
  8. Follow @ChristaTaylor on Twitter, and leave me a comment here telling me that you did. Include your user name.
  9. Buy something from Christa’s site, and leave me a comment here telling me that you did and/or what you bought (5 entries).

For the bonus entries, I will check to verify if you have done these. If you are already subscribers/followers, indicate that you are in separate entries. Do not forget to leave me your real e-mail address!

This giveaway ends November 5 with no restrictions.

This giveaway is based on random drawing. Remember, the more entries you have, the more chances of winning. Good luck!

While you’re here, would you like to enter Sakura Rose’s giveaway for gift cards and jewelry? There will be multiple nonrandom winners!


The winner is…. #313 : Tina Page!

Links à la Mode

October 28th, 2010

Thanks to Independent Fashion Bloggers again for picking my post for this week! I highly recommend reading friend and fellow modesty blogger Ruby-Eyed Okapi‘s chosen post, too! As usual, please be advised that I do not necessarily approve of the other articles on here. Please practice caution as you go through the links.

Since this post is all about links, let me give a shout out to these wonderful people: Victoria Tiedmann, Christa Taylor, MINTheGap, Jessica Rogers, Sarah, Lisa, Shey, Natasha Atkerson, Krystal, Sweet Veloso, Ally, Katie Dahl, Brittan Salisbury, RJ G, Rachel Galloway, Tawny Nicole, Saidah Washington, Dena Lorenzi, Cheryl.

Before I sign out, watch out for an exciting liquidation sale announcement and a giveaway you don’t want to miss on the next post!


Costume Drama: A Break From All Things Outfit

Edited by: Holier than Now

It’s the Halloween season, when some of us choose to experience the thrill (or horror) of looking nothing like ourselves for a night. For those of you who blog or socially post your outfits, perhaps it’s a chance to take a break from the judgmental eye of the spotlight (consider Love Brown Sugar and One More‘s pieces on the subject) – one night where you turn in “looking good” for looking scary, time period-accurate, or just … a little sexier than usual. Inspired? Find last minute costume inspiration from Tickle Me Chic and more.

And for those of us who don’t celebrate the witching hour, there’s still a chance to step away from the closet and remind ourselves that great lingerie, shoes, bags, and jewels can make even a white tee and jeans look scary good.

Links à la Mode: October 28th


Shopbop bagsClutches, Hobos, Satchels, Totes, Black handbagsShoulder bags, Women’s Wallets

Plaid and Plath

October 26th, 2010

Sylvia Plath’s dark autobiography, The Bell Jar piqued my curiosity after reading the recent news article about the discovery of her husband Ted Hughes’ “last letter” to Sylvia. If you are a fan of Plath’s work, then you probably know all about her tormented relationship (with the adulterous Hughes), which later led to her suicide. As interested as I am in reading about tragedy as the next person, I do not go through it without feeling some kind of sympathetic pain, and Sylvia’s life’s story is one of that sort. Normally, people like the idea of violence and depression when they are images and stories they feel distant from, but when things get closer to personal reality, they run for the hills the instant it starts to hit close to home. Syliva’s poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song” is one that I am both fascinated with and personally terrified by. I don’t think I have the strength and the sanity to keep reading the autobiography of someone whose solution to life’s problems was suicide. I get vicariously vulnerable when exposed to her estranged personality and critical cynicism, because I know that I would probably have a bent towards being the same way if I were apart from Christ.

As much as I would like heaven to be the quick solution to all my problems, I know that I would never resort to suicide to get there on a fast track. As insignificant as I may think I am, I still need to carry out what I believe my purpose is. I have a big God to serve and specific people to bless, and I shouldn’t be drowning myself in pity and selfish ambitions. Apart from a knowledge of God and a personal relationship with Christ, our sins lead to death. I cannot imagine a life without the faith to believe that there is more to life than our minuscule laments. That would be no way to live, and I wish that Sylvia had had that knowledge before she took her life. She was such an explosively bright and intuitive writer who could’ve helped other women with similar hurts through her poems, but instead she imploded like a black hole.

Thankfully, my husband is faithful and is open to me about his confessions, but The Bell Jar is just adding to the poison in my mind by making me rejoice in tragedy without hope, while feeding paranoia. I think it’s really important for couples to have regular accountability talks in order to pray for and help each other with problems. You might think that ignorance is bliss and would rather not know about other people’s problems in order to not feel hurt or responsible, but that is an incredibly self-gratifying, foolish, and insidiously dangerous philosophy. Shame on people who think that way!

If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2

In case you missed it on my Twitter or Facebook accounts, I revived my old Formspring that I never used. Feel free to ask me anything (anonymous or not), but make sure to keep your questions clean and nice! I’ll try to answer everything as much as I can. You can ask questions there or in the good ol’ comments section if you want.

What I wore: Plaid poncho from Harvé Benard given to me by my mother-in-law | leggings from Burlington Coat Factory | rusty, vintage jewelry from Ebay

The 7 Common Reactions to Style

October 20th, 2010

Although I tend to lean more towards the unconventional (but modest) side of fashion, I do think that there are some things in fashion that take unconventional too far. Everyone has a different threshold for crazy fashion, and mine has gotten pretty high throughout the years. What I used to think I would never wear, I now wear and admire in others.

I came up with the different types of reactions that fashionistas have when they see a particular outfit. Take note that these are types of reactions and not types of fashionistas. Although this list may combine certain personality types with certain reactions, I still think one personality type can react in so many different ways depending on what they’re faced with.

  1. The mirror-image: “I like it! It’s definitely something I would wear!” – This first category applies to how you might react to the type of outfits that you are currently already wearing most of the time and think you look best in. You’ve defined your distinct style and haven’t moved away from it as much as you want to. You’re the most comfortable and at home with this type of look. My looks can probably be generally defined as vintage chic with 60s or 80s pastels, bright colors, and cute doll-type clothes. I think I look best in this category because I am a pear-shaped petite, so dresses and skirts lace nicely over my figure, and the 60s cat-eye makeup and thick fringe hairdo work best with my face and almond-shaped eyes. The problem with this category is that it only represents a small portion of the type of clothing I like and can pull off. I like a lot of looks, but I do not always have the right items to build another image.
  2. The alter ego: “I love it! I wish I could pull that off!” – This category is where reactions to a lot of your inspirational Tumblr photos would be classified. You are naturally visually gravitated towards certain looks that you do not or think you cannot sport. You secretly envy people who can successfully and effortlessly create outfits with this image. I really like the atmosphere created by steam punk genre. It is probably one of my favorite looks that I wish I could pull off. If I could just build an entire wardrobe kingdom with rusty metallic and dusty worn-out pieces, I could probably do it. I also like the 70s and 80s punk look in general, because punk and its offshoots are probably my favorite genre of music. Think Richard Hell and the Voidoids with needles and pins embellished on their leather jackets, but this time acid-washed and aged to rust. As much as I like wearing bright colors a lot, I really wish I had more dark pieces to complete my goal.
  3. The art gallery: “It looks really nice, but it’s not for me.” – The difference between this category and the alter ego is that in this one, you don’t have a specific goal to meet when you admire a look. You think a certain type of outfit is high fashion or attractive, but you personally don’t consider it your style or something you want to pattern your outfits off of. The way you admire a lot of the looks you “liked” on various fashion community sites may apply to this category.
  4. The pathological egotist: “This can  never compare to my taste. I am my own category.” – While this may be true in some sense, this is like saying you’re completely original and you do not gather inspiration from anywhere else (not even in history) but yourself. You secretly flip through pages and pages of fashion magazines but do not admit that you find inspiration from various sources. I don’t believe anything is completely original and outside the realms of categories if there are strings of words that can define it. The egotist is just a blind, proud megalomaniac who thinks that he or she is superior to any look out there and nothing can even come close.
  5. The elitist: “What a sad excuse for fashion!” – You know what looks you like and are inspired by, so when you come by an outfit that’s considered fashionable, but you don’t agree, or a trend that you think is just stupid, then you react like an elitist. I like a lot of looks that a lot of people do not like and vice versa, so I guess I react like this a lot. I can consider something as attractive but wouldn’t wear it for modesty reasons, but I wouldn’t react like an elitist if I thought the outfit was artistic and could be tailored to my preference. I know a good piece of clothing when I see one (perhaps because of the details or the fabric) even if it isn’t  modest. An example of what I think is a silly trend is the Moschino belt. Unless I can associate it with something significant in today’s or in history’s pop culture, I am most likely not going to wear it.
  6. The blind follower: “Oh, I like all things fashionable!” – This type of reaction is what I most frown upon because a lot of posers’ and copycats’ reactions fit in this category. I know I might offend a lot of people, but I really think people who say they like EVERYTHING that is vintage or EVERYTHING that is indie are just the most vacuous of all people. There is a difference between saying that you “like and wear vintage” or even “wear nothing but vintage” and saying you like EVERYTHING that is vintage. The first part of that statement I am cool with. I admire people who wear a lot of or nothing but stylish vintage, and the majority of my own pieces are vintage as well. Now, if someone says they like everything that is vintage, then to me, that’s like they’re saying they like everything, period. So 20 or so years from now when everything today will be considered vintage, that same person would probably say that they like everything from today’s culture. See how silly that sounds? I know this might just be a little confusing because of the wording, but the two meanings of the phrases are worlds apart. Although, I would give credit to people who like certain decades even if they liked everything from those decades. I just think people need to be a little more specific to prove their avid fandom’s authenticity and to set them apart from the blind follower’s reaction.
  7. The realistic downer: “There’s just nothing good about that outfit.” – If an outfit cannot be considered fashionable, stylish, or  artistic even if it was a little unconventional, then this is the most realistic and common reaction a lot of us have to it. The ironic part of the type of outfit this reaction applies to is that sometimes people who wear this type of un-stylishly cool outfit are doing it on purpose. Knowing how to judge whether an outfit was put together in a “blah” way on purpose to make a statement versus an outfit that was just sloppily put together is hard to tell. This is the kind of reaction I have when I see 90s clothing. Ironically, my husband LOVES 90s clothing, but for some reason, because he thinks it’s attractive, I think it is too but only on him. I find it cute when he wears his large flannel shirts and horizontal-striped “Gator” shirts he used to love wearing as a kid. I just wouldn’t admire  90s clothing or even consider it good on anyone else—I guess unless they explain their admiration of it to me like my husband did. I respect people who can actually put into words what they like about something!

Can you identify yourself having any of these reactions? Which is the most true to you?

I purposefully didn’t include the types of reactions non-fashionistas have when they see an outfit, simply because it would’ve take too much time to write and also because writing the extras probably wouldn’t apply to anyone reading this blog. If you’re not a fashionista and you’re reading this, I consider you at least interested in clothing, music, art in general, or modesty!

Below, you can watch the bands Flight of the Conchords’ and Talking Heads’ funny and sardonic reactions to fashion:

The scene below is from Talking Heads’ movie, True Stories, where there is a fashion show of purposefully absurd clothing. My “favorites” are the family-matching grass outfits, the cake dress, and the humongous  heart hat that tips the model over and off the stage!

Last weekend had the most beautiful fall weather. It was nice and warm but without the humidity. I opted for an outfit with movement—a peasant blouse, a long and flowing skirt, and a bandana. All three had different patterns, but it was a risk I was willing to take. My husband asked me what I was wearing or what I was supposed to be, and I confidently replied, “Oh, I’m a gypsy!” It might not have been a good idea to walk around commercial establishments proclaiming that I was a vagabond weeks before the holiday of costumes and candy corn… Being dressed as such made me think about my familial connection with haggling. My mother did it. My grandmother did it. The culture I grew up with did it. I think it’s okay to ask the seller to knock off a few cents or dollars once in a while, especially when you’ve only really got a few dollars to spare, but to insistently squabble for a hard bargain just seems unattractive. I get uncomfortable and somewhat ashamed when the older ladies in my family tenaciously insist on a generous markdown and leave the place in a mild hissy fit when they don’t get what they want. It’s all so…. exhausting! Of course, there is an appropriate setting to do this, such as the downtown area with street vendors and flea markets—not at retail stores where it’s obvious that the hard-up cashiers do not control the pricing. Don’t get me wrong about my opinion of haggling in general. I don’t consider myself wealthy nor am I, in a realistic sense, poor. I am in fact blessed but very thrifty, so I think haggling is fine just as long as you don’t get yourself or the seller emotionally distressed because of your behavior. Vendors are probably already being treated like bottom-feeders everyday by hungry, selfish, social-climbing fashionistas/(fascististas) who haggle Louis Vuitton knock-offs of all things. For shame. They’re free to do this in America, but they would probably be outlaws in Europe for buying or selling imitation items. I guess that makes sense, because a lot of these designers getting aped (and style raped) are from Europe!

Here’s a(n) hilarious, satiric scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. It’s extreme reverse-haggling! This would be even MORE stressful:

What I wore: Candie’s chunky-heeled sandals, Forever 21 retro sunglasses

P.S.: I hope this outfit covers the three types of clothing I’ve been asked to show more of in my blog for inspiration—casual, warm-weather, and farm-type clothes.

Thanks to Natasha for interviewing me! Read the interview on her blog.

This Is Vintage…Now.

October 12th, 2010

David Gasten, producer of This is Vintage Now, kindly sent me a message asking to collaborate. In an effort to spread the word about his music compilation, I agreed to have him introduce this wonderful compilation to you all! I am a big fan of both vintage and music, so I thought it’d be appropriate to have him on here. David also shows an outspoken support for good ole’ feminine modest wear—a real-life “Mad Man.” Go ahead and read about his interesting fashion take on the burlesque vs. classy look. Don’t forget to listen to some sample clips from his compilation below.

Without further ado, please welcome David of This is Vintage Now:

First of all, what is This is Vintage Now, and what do you think sets this apart from all the other modern compilations reliving the musical past?

David: Well, I would kindly, gently say that what makes This Is Vintage Now different is that it doesn’t relive the musical past.  This is Vintage Now is the first ever full-length compilation album that brings together Vintage-style artists that adapt older sounds to today in a way that is true to the spirit of the original sound, but is re-engineered a bit to resonate with today’s listeners.  The artists on the compilation aren’t stuck in this nostalgia trip, and they don’t dilute their music with punk, hip-hop, or techno.  They completely connect with today, hence the term “Vintage Now.”

Ever since the American Graffiti movie in 1973, there have been many, many attempts to revive the cultural Golden Era that ran from the 1940’s through the mid-1960’s.  The nascent Vintage movement had its breakthrough in the UK this year, and I think it will be the biggest and best of all those revivals.  This is Vintage Now introduces the musical arm of the new Vintage movement in a way that is genuinely satisfying and has this electric “What’s going to happen next?” excitement to it.  It’s been a long time since new music has had that innocent, tingly sense of magic to it, and I think I can say that that excitement is back with this compilation!

As far as who is on the album, oh gosh, we have a fantastic roster of artists!  We’ve got a 2009 recording from living Jump Blues legend Big Jay McNeely; we have Dutch chanteuse Caro Emerald, who has gone four times platinum in Holland and is taking the rest of Europe by storm as we speak; we’ve got the modern Exotica group The Waitiki 7; we’ve got the classic jazz singer Beverly Kenney, the Halloween jazz group The Necro-Tonz—it’s just an amazing set of artists all across the board. Who needs the rock star pestilence when you’ve got This is Vintage Now?

You’ve mentioned that listening to music is a different experience for women than it is for men.  What do you think that difference is and how does This is Vintage Now respond to that difference?

David: That’s a big question and a good one too!  It took me a long time to understand this, but I finally figured out that just as men and women shop differently, they also listen to music differently. In shopping, men hunt and women forage.  In music, the guys pick out the music and the girls dance to it.  For girls, music is an emotional experience and is an element of a larger social experience. They don’t really care about all the nerdy nitpickies like release dates and what album what song is on or whatever. If it makes them feel happy or attractive or loved within that larger cultural setting, they’ll be grooving away to it.

Guys are usually the ones that are the explorers. Guys like the group experience too, but they’ll also be the lone wolves that go out and hunt down the rare, unknown music. Also guys are more likely to want to have an intimate understanding of the discography details and the story surrounding the music. It’s kind of like guys’ interest in maps I think. Girls generally don’t care about the map, they want to get in the car with the guy, put the top down, and crank the music while the guy drives them to some exciting unknown destination.

With This is Vintage Now, there’s this sense that guys and girls are coming together in the music.  It gives girls an outlet to be ladies and glamorous and cute and seek attention from guys.  It gives the guys the chance to meet and interact with the girls, but also gives them some depth and a bigger story that they can sink their teeth into on their own time.  The compilation has an even number of lady performers and gentleman performers, so it reflects that 1:1 boy-to-girl ratio that every good dance or cocktail party should have. Atop that, the girls in the compilation are girly and sexy, and the guys are masculine, so you have that affirmation of “ladies and gentlemen” that is a core value of the Vintage movement.

Talking about the Vintage culture in general from music to clothing styles, what can you say about it? Do we do it authentically, or are there still some things badly unrepresentative?

I absolutely love the fact that the ladies are taking the lead and setting the groundwork for the Vintage movement via the fashion/lifestyle blogging and the Vintage resale phenomena.  What I see growing is a really fascinating DIY (do it yourself) fashion trend where ladies are mixing and matching things from different periods without worrying about being a slave to the decade.  The goal for these gals is to put together a great outfit from all these puzzle pieces, which is so much more interesting than looking to the pompous bullies in the fashion industry to tell you what to do—it’s really what fashion should be about anyway. Is it authentic?  In the strict sense, no, but in the sense that it has soul and spirit and carries on with the Vintage vibe in its own way, absolutely it is.

The thing I think is badly unrepresentative is the amount of pin-up and burlesque that you see. Frankly, there’s waaay too much of it and it’s incredibly boring and trite.  It’s so condescending to guys; it assumes that we guys can’t look an inch past our libidos. “Hey, stupid caveman, we know you don’t like Vintage, so here’s some eye candy!  You like?  Good!  Now buy our stuff, dummy!”  And this stupid Bettie Page obsession in particular has got to go. These masses of girls that are all trying to be Bettie Page with tattoos have no idea what clones they are.  What girl in the 1950’s even knew who Bettie Page was, let alone wanted to be like that?  Come on now.  Girls wanted to be like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe or Lauren Bacall, not like some softcore porn model in a creepy men’s magazine.

This is where blogs like à la Modest are so important and needed. We need a much higher representation of the chic, classy, “look but don’t touch” couture that was the real aesthetic of the period. You’ve probably heard fashion designer Edith Head’s quote that dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.  To me, that is so much more attractive than this bawdy, clichéd, self-centered desperation for attention that the nudie crowd is trying to foist upon the Vintage audience.  I personally just yawn and tell them to put their clothes on.

To those interested, where can we find This is Vintage Now?

David: The album is not yet released; we are trying to place it with the right labels in different regions of the world, and are also looking for sponsors that can underwrite some of our promotional and administrative costs. Follow us in the This is Vintage Now Facebook Page and/or our ReverbNation site, and we will keep you updated on our progress.

Right now I have a prerelease download of This is Vintage Now that is only available to bloggers and industry people, so if you are a blogger or write for some other publication and would like to do a feature or review of This is Vintage Now, email me at davidgasten(AT)yahoo and we’ll go from there.  Thanks and keep it Vintage!

Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not responsible for anything that may be associated with This is Vintage Now contrary to the content of this interview, especially in regard to sexual display. This also applies to any of my music reviews and recommendations. You just never know.

Ahoy, matey! I wasn’t really the captain of me volleyball team, but I thought it made sense to combine the Navy theme with volleyball. This was what I wore last Sunday to work. I was working at my husband’s band practice that afternoon serving as a cheerful motivator and a great listener. I have the best weekend job, aye? Yesterday, I got this ad in the mail for costumes, I guess because it’s nearing Halloween and all, and it had adult costumes on the front page and children’s costumes in the back. It just made me sick. Do we let our young girls dress as pixies as kids and expect to see them dressed as pirate hookers (pun intended) when they’re older? Is this the message these ads are trying to get across? Halloween is no excuse to dress slutty no matter how tasteful you think the costume is. Slutty is always trashy. Last year, I was dressed as Cho Chang from Harry Potter (Asian girl with a Scottish accent in a uniform with a big, scary owl and magical wand powers… not too hard) and Rob was dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are. I don’t think we’re going to be anybody this year besides ourselves. I think I should go as one of my multiple personalities (har-har)! I already look like I’m wearing costumes everyday. I think it’s absolutely fun! More people should burst their own bubbles, then we can all blow those bubbles away together. As much as I want to ridicule mini-Halloween costumes on adults (even when they’re supposed to be Minnie Mouse), I’d rather inspire others to be more creative with layering and recreate a past era’s typical or high-fashion clothing without having to go through the burlesque scene, which is totally unrepresentative of vintage. While visiting my folks in Virginia, I picked up this genuine women’s navy hat at their Goodwill. It was in excellent condition! I always had a fascination with uniforms even before the military or band jacket trend came about (I wrote about uniforms and Janelle Monáe). I don’t see imitation or uniform-inspired hats very often, so of course, I was very thrilled to find this number on sale for only $3! It has gotten a little too cold to be wearing just this dress now, but I’m really excited to work with layers as the temperature drops! I think most hardcore stylish girls would agree that layering is a skill. I think it’s absolutely necessary for every woman to know how to do this… tastefully!

Wearing: Vintage Marnie West dress, Women’s Navy hat, Breckbelle’s silver pumps

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