Snow leopard print scarf: Born Pretty
Silver and clear rhinestone heart earrings: Claire's
Black 1980s does 1950s shirtwaist dress: etsy (seller no longer appears to have a shop)
Black and grey bangle bracelets: Assorted sources
Wide white laser cut belt: Born Pretty
Grey 1950s handbag: etsy seller Running Rabbit Studio
Nude stocking with black seam: eBay
White pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Nail Colour: Essie A List
Photography by Tony Cangiano
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Recently I was reflecting at length (to myself) on how I find I sometimes style outfits differently when they involve one or more products from a sponsor, and how I put them together when I'm getting dressed sans these kinds of items. There's a process when I fall in love with a garment or accessory, be it online or person, that my brain usually goes through. Honestly, it’s hard to describe, but in a way I'd say it's a bit like my mind turns into the famous lines of streaming green code in the Matrix, but instead of numbers, it is every other item in my closet that I'm seeing.
If I can picture a piece working with existing garments and accessories, than I know there's a solid chance it's going to end up being a winner. When I receive a product to wear from a sponsor, I always get to choose it (at least to some degree) and ideally will go through the same (very positive) mental process. However, it can still be trickier to style that item once it arrives, especially if that piece wasn't one I was actively looking to enrich my wardrobe with.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very selective with the sponsors I work with and the products from them that I feature, and I feel incredibly grateful for each such gift that a company or individual wants to bestow on me, but, again, at times they can be tougher to style than if I just walked up to my closet and put together an outfit from pieces I've known and already sported for months or years (or featuring an item that I purposed bought because I loved it and/or it filled a void in my wardrobe).
I really felt like that was the case with this chic snow leopard print scarf and wide white laser cutout design belt that I recently selected and was sent to review from the well known online accessories brand Born Pretty.
Typically I don't work with modern accessories companies, but I'd heard primarily positive things about Born Pretty's offerings on my friend Ash's blog, Art Evolve, so when a rep from the Born Pretty contacted me a while back, I took a look around their massive inventory and having spotted some vintage-y looking pieces, decided to partner with them.
Born Pretty sent me two items to review, the scarf and belt in this outfit, which separately didn't pose much of a styling conundrum for me, but together...well, that was a whole 'nother matter. I pondered how to style them as part of the same ensemble in a vintage way for weeks before taking these snaps and settling on the other pieces that I did. I don't wear this black 1980s does 50s shirtwaist dress very often in public because the top has a lot of access volume and ends up making me look as though I'm far wider and more busty on my upper torso than I really am (two things I'm not keen to have happen and proof positive that black isn't always slimming; a well fitting, flattering cut is slimming), but after trying numerous other dresses and separates out, it remained the best suited piece regardless of that fact, so I went with it.
White shoes, to pick up the snow hue in the scarf and the belt, my beloved little grey vintage purse, and some bangles, also in matching hues, were all I added (save for stockings and earrings) to the look. These two pieces are bold, big and more than enough to risk overwhelming my short, curvy frame. In the case of the belt, I fear that it did just that in the end, at least somewhat. Styled with a more boho dress, a 60s or 70s look, or on a taller woman, it likely wouldn't have, but trying to get it to look 50s (as I was aiming for) on my frame, didn't quite happen here, IMO.
As well, after just a couple of hours of wear, the belt started to separate (the white part came away from its brown backing in spots) a little, so I'll have to apply some sturdy fabric glue to it to whip it back into shape. Aside from those two points, I do very much like it though. It's a departure from most of the belts in my closet at the moment and has a great country western meets Summer of Love vibe to it.
The scarf held up great and is my favourite of the two items. It's also available in classic leopard print, measures 48cm x 155cm, and is made of an airy cotton blend, so it will be perfect as a breezy summertime accessory, too. Though pleasing sunny on the recent day when we took these snaps, it was near freezing cold still and very windy, especially right down near Okanagan Lake in Kelowna where we shot these snaps in front of the marina, so I thought it would be fun to try and channel a fifties-gal-driving-in-a-convertible vibe by wrapping it around my head.
The end results, in part because of the wind, weren't quite what I was hoping for, but it still looks cute, I think, and on a less windy day, I'll have to give wearing it again this way a try. Interestingly, had a belt not already been part of this outfit, I would have worn the scarf as one (much as I did for last year's Canada Day outfit).
Overall, for their very minimal price tags (the belt sells, in USD, for $6.73, the scarf for $5.94), these items are perfectly fine (save for the belt coming apart, I mean). They're cute, budget-friendly ways to add some extra pizzazz to an outfit and when worn separately I think I'll have much better luck styling them in the future. Born Pretty's offerings aren't haute couture or anywhere near it, but they are fun, frequently updated, and easy on the wallet, and I could honestly see myself purchasing something with a vintage vibe to it from them every now and then.
If you're in the mood to do some shopping with this jewelry, accessories, beauty product, and stationery powerhouse yourself, please feel free to avail of the Born Pretty coupon code JCAT10 anytime (I wasn't given an expiration date for it).
Not too long ago, my lovely friend and fellow vintage blogger Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments wrote at length at the process of assessing an outfit to determine what, if anything, you might be able to do to improve it the next time you wear it. This is an important element of style and something I do frequently, often not posting a given outfit publicly until I'm not just happy, but thrilled with it. I wasn't with this one and I know that I'll continue to access it and wear the various pieces separately in the future, but doubt I'll combine them all again. I just don't like how top heavy and wide the blousy shirtwaist dress, thick belt, and scarf around my neck look together.
You win some, you lose some, and most importantly of all, you try something new, at least once in a while, with your outfits and that's what I did here. It wasn't a massive winner, but not everything in life is and that's no reason not to still share the results here on my blog, especially since I'm sure many of you can relate to having an outfit that didn't quite pan out as you'd envisioned it would when all was said and done.