Casual Ruffles

green gingham shirt ruffle dress black flats by 14 shades of grey

I was so inspired by this week’s SIA inspiration, “Blackboard” by Winslow Homer (such a New England name, isn’t it?) that I actually put together two outfits for it. One I wore to work on Friday, which I’ll post that one along with the round-up tomorrow. This one is closer in shapes and colors to the original painting, but it’s a bit casual so I just wore it around the house on Saturday. I added the initial necklace to keep with the classroom theme. Of course, I had to be a total bonehead about it and put the necklace on backwards the entire time. If I wanted to be really literal about it, though, I would’ve worn this necklace or this one, to echo the geometric shapes on the board ๐Ÿ™‚

By the way, this outfit is almost an exact replica of this, except with a different shirt. I find that it’s the only way I could wear this dress, it has way too many ruffles for me.

green gingham shirt ruffle dress black flats by 14 shades of grey

green gingham shirt ruffle dress by 14 shades of greyruffle dress black flats by 14 shades of grey

green gingham shirt initial necklace by 14 shades of greygreen gingham shirt ruffle dress by 14 shades of grey

Dress: H&M (hand-me-down), Shirt: Gap (thrifted), Flats: Vagabond, Necklace: gift


Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

green gingham shirt white jeans brown loafers by 14 shades of grey

Do you guys remember that part in Forrest Gump when Forrest, “for no particular reason”, just starts running? And then he meets a bunch of people and has a bunch of revelations about his life? “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”, by Rachel Joyce, is kind of like that, except instead of Forrest Gump, you have a British retiree, Harold Fry, who, on a whim, decides to walk from one end of England to the other, with nothing but his wallet and the clothes on his back, because he believes his walk will save a friend who’s dying of cancer.

This book couldn’t be further from my wheelhouse (it’s more like something my mom would read), but I picked it up because 1) I like road trip books/movies, and 2) this is a British road trip, which of course appeals to the Anglophile in me. In fact, this is a very British book, period. From the characters to the settings, it’s so British you can almost taste the Earl Grey and digestive biscuits from the pages. The story gets a little sentimental at times, but it’s also heartbreaking and beautifully written in simple language, and a fairly quick read, so I really enjoyed it.

As for the outfit, Harold is walking in his everyday clothes and his yachting shoes, which I choose to interpret in a casual outfit + loafers. Basically the worst outfit you can wear if you’re walking the length of a country. I added the necklace because Harold buys a rose quartz pendant as a present for his friend, and this is the best I could do to imitate that. An actual rose quartz pendant would be nice though.

green gingham shirt white jeans by 14 shades of greygreen gingham shirt white jeans by 14 shades of grey

green gingham shirt white jeans brown loafers by 14 shades of greygreen gingham shirt amber necklace by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: Gap (thrifted), Jeans: Calvin Klein, Loafers: 5th Avenue, Necklace: my mom’s


SIA: The Milkmaid

mustard cardigan navy skirt red heels by 14 shades of grey

For this week’s SIA, inspired by Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”, I only had two options: either blue cable-knit sweater + red pants + mustard scarf, or mustard cardigan + navy skirt + red heels. In the end I went with the second choice, because even though this skirt is not the rich shade of royal blue like the milkmaid’s apron, it allowed me to layer my green gingham shirt underneath to mimic the green sleeves of the milkmaid’s bodice. We’re nothing if not exact here at SIA ๐Ÿ™‚

Remember to check out Animated Cardigan to see how others interpret this classic painting!

mustard cardigan navy skirt red heels by 14 shades of greymustard cardigan navy skirt by 14 shades of grey

mustard cardigan navy skirt by 14 shades of greymustard cardigan green gingham shirt by 14 shades of grey

mustard cardigan navy skirt blue belt by 14 shades of greynavy skirt red heels by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: Gap, Cardigan: Target, Skirt: Banana Republic, Heels: Steve Madden (everything thrifted)


Avocado And Papaya

green plaid shirt coral jeans heeled loafers by 14 shades of grey

I was going to title this post “Spring, You’re On” because it’s the first spring-like outfit I’ve worn. But then my sister made some avocado smoothie and I realized my shirt was almost that exact color (we usually eat it sweet rather than savory here. Avocado smoothie is just avocado blended with some sweetened condense milk, but it’s so good.) So it’s “avocado and papaya”, to keep with the whole tropical fruit theme. But then I guess the color of my jeans can be categorized as “salmon” too, and salmon and avocado would make a great sushi roll… OK, I’m hungry now.

green plaid shirt coral jeans by 14 shades of greygreen plaid shirt amber necklace by 14 shades of grey

coral jeans heeled loafers by 14 shades of greygreen plaid shirt coral jeans heeled loafers by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: Gap (thrifted), Jeans: Wet Seal (thrifted), Heels: Payless, Necklace: self-made, Belt: no idea


Book Review: Matched

plaid shirt polka dot skirt red flats by 14 shades of grey

I first heard about Ally Condie’s novel “Matched” from my friend Debbi, who read it for a production company who was looking to adapt it into a movie. They eventually passed on it, but Debbi gave it a glowing review, so I decided to check it out myself.

The story is quite standard for the YA dystopian genre: 17-year-old Cassia lives in a world where everything from what to eat, what to wear, poems to read, paintings to look at, even who you marry and when you die, is decided by the totalitarian Society. At the beginning of the book, Cassia just finds out that her future husband (her Match) is her best friend Xander, and everything seems perfect, until she sees another boy’s face pop up as her Match. The problem is, this boy Ky, is deemed to be a second-class citizen (an Aberration) and not eligible to be matched. Encouraged by her grandfather, Cassia begins to wonder if the perfect system of the Society is so perfect after all.

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I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for “Matched” when I read the first book. Ally Condie has conjured up a great dystopian world, in the sense that the audience would rather die than live in it (imagine that there are only 100 songs/stories/poems/paintings that are approved by the Society, the rest get destroyed so thoroughly nobody even knows they exist!) The story is a little slow though, as it mostly centers around the love triangle (I’ve had enough of that withย The Hunger Games, thank you very much), and I was exasperated by Cassia’s naivete.

polka dot skirt red flats by 14 shades of greyplaid shirt polka dot skirt by 14 shades of grey

However, the story improves greatly with the sequels (of course it’s a trilogy. I think it’s like a requirement for YA novels now.) Cassia becomes a much stronger, much more engaging character. The romance becomes believable as Ky and Xander get developed more (the second book alternates between Cassia and Ky’s points of view, and the third adds Xander’s into the mix) and we can see why Cassia prefers one over the other. The love triangle is executed very well, it’s integrated seamlessly into the plot rather than being just there. There are a lot of internal stuff, so don’t expect big action sequences, but I actually like that about these books. It makes for more interesting writing than your average YA novel, especially with the recurring motif of three – the trio of main characters, the roles they play in the plot, and even in the colors (green, blue, and red – which I recreate in my outfit here) that become a sort of symbol for their journeys.

plaid shirt polka dot skirt by 14 shades of grey

So “Matched” may not be the the next Hunger Games (I know Divergent is supposed to be that, only the synopsis I read on Amazon seems way too convoluted), but if you want something a little more thought-provoking, check it out.

plaid shirt polka dot skirt red flats by 14 shades of greyplaid shirt house necklace by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: Gap (thrifted), Skirt: hand-me-down, Belt: thrifted, Flats: Caprice, Necklace: borrowed from my sister