Look Book: Boho Victorian Chic

I adore this look. It’s not for me, but it’s a great option for clergywomen, as its both lady-like and super cool. Boho Victorian is hot right now because of movies like “Alice in Wonderland,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Twilight,” and “The King’s Speech” (which is Edwardian but has many similar elements). Look for lace, high necks, long skirts, buttoned boots, cameos, spidery crochet and lots of Romance. Jackets are particularly fabulous in this style.

As always, when you’re looking at a runway look, you’re seeing a high-fashion statement, not something people wear everyday. You look for shapes, pieces. That first long jacket is gorgeous and would look amazing with dressy jeans and a black riding boot and a simple t-shirt.

This is the sort of vintage piece you can sometimes score in great little shops. I’m not sure how I would style this for a client. Maybe with a pencil skirt, tights and chunky pumps. Hair up in a loose knot. For a more formal event, trousers and low chignon. No woman with a bare face or wash-and-go generic hair should wear something like this. It has to be someone pretty striking.


Another killa coat.


Vintage shoes.

Just great.

And two bonus photos just for fun and beauty, Madonna in a 1992 Vogue working an awesome Boho Victorian Chic look:

The first person who thinks I’m suggesting these looks for clergy and gets all outraged about it has to send me a $100 gift certificate to Sephora. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Colorful Librarian Look

Navy cardigan with Old Navy floral scarf in bow at neck. Objective: to keep my neck warm because I have bronchitis.

Long cotton skirt with oxfords and socks. Objective: comfort and warmth after week in bed with flu and cough:

Comfort level = sweatshirt and jeans, or even pajamas.
Colorful and fun level = much higher.

How To Style a Too-Cute Dress

You have a few fun events coming up. You know the kind. The kind that are too Fun to wear clericals to, or your go-to black suit. You don’t have anything to wear: your usual pickings are professional, safe long skirts and such. You need something a step way up from your own vacation togs (things like long cotton skirts, sundresses, that sort of thing). You can’t remember the last time you fit into your Little Black Dress, and that seems so dull anyway. You’d like to, you know, have some FUN. It’s a wedding. Or it’s a big garden party. It’s a graduation. People there will know you’re a minister but you don’t need to work, so you can lighten up.

You find a dress. It’s affordable, it’s a great color on you. It makes you smile. But… you know… it’s a little too cute. Cutesy, in fact.

As I said in the post about being the visionary of your own look and knowing how to assess garments, darlings, you have to squint your eyes and use your imagination and possibly your seam-rippers!

All the cheap chains and pearls in the Developed World aren’t going to make that dress look sophisticated. Take it to your tailor and have them remove the little button placket, and add belt loops. There. You’ve just broadened the horizons of the dress immeasurably. You can wear a slim black belt with it, a fitted black jacket, and a pair of fierce shoes:

You’re all ready to step out in fun style.

No one accessories like our FLOTUS. See how Madame Michelle works the black belt and the dress? Fab.

“Character” Pieces

Sometimes you fall madly in love with a pair of boots because they just make you happy. Flattering or not, they just make you happy. It happens.

I happen to love cowboy and motorcycle and rockabilly-type stuff. It’s a strange weakness and I don’t know where it comes from.

But at least I’m wise enough not to wear more than one piece at a time. Because look how cheezy this would be:

Bad, bad, bad, and also wicked unflattering. I don’t need all that big bulk around my head AND my feet.
Here I’m going to switch to a beret. The beret adds a bit of texture and fun and warmth that I want, and I don’t go around looking like I’m overdoing the Suburban Cowgirl bit.

So like I was saying to a male colleague the other day: do the boots OR the suspenders and maybe the cowboy hat. Do not do all three at the same time. Be judicious in your use of character pieces.