Tips for Developing Your Style // Closets + Pinterest

January 7, 2014 § 8 Comments

Fine and Feathered

Developing a personal style is one of those things that can take years and years to really figure out. As a teenager I usually found myself just trying to emulate certain celebrities and would look for things in stores that I thought whoever I was copying at that moment might wear. After a while though, I'd realize it wasn't totally "me" and would just move on to another person to copy, usually dumping most of my wardrobe for the change. Then a few years ago I started asking myself "what do I want to wear?" and guess what? I had no idea! It took me a while to really figure out what I really loved, and what made me feel great, but I feel like over the last year I've been very "settled" into my style. I know what I love and I feel more confident in buying things, knowing I'll wear them over and over again. 

Maybe you're still struggling with finding your style. You buy stuff and later realize you'll never wear it. You go into stores and have no idea where to even start – that's okay! You just need to start developing your personal style. I'm not talking about preppy, punk, or business casual. Your personal style should be just that – personal. It doesn't need to be labled, or fit into some box, all it means is that you know what you love to wear, and feel great in. 

(I was going to try to condense all my tips into one blog post, but I realized there's just too much to talk about, so I'll be breaking it up into little "bite size" peices.)

Skonahem via Fine and Feathered

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CLEAN YOUR CLOSET

It might sound like I'm giving you a chore, but really, cleaning out your closet is a great opportunity to learn about your personal style (even if you think you don't already have one!). That dress you bought a year ago and still haven't worn – it's probably time for it to go, but before it does, give it some good in-depth thinking of why it hasn't been worn, and why you bought it in the first place. Be totally honest with yourself. Knowing why you haven't worn something you already bought can help you avoid making the same mistake again. 

Also take some to look through what you kept. Think about what peices you wear over and over again. What is it you like about them? What colors, styles, or shapes of clothing do you gravitate towards, and which ones do you feel best when wearing? Even if you feel like you have no style you still have natural tendencies towards colors or types of clothes, and once you know what you love about what you already have you'll be able to more easily figure out what you should be looking for in stores.

Fine and Feathered
My fall/winter style pinboard

PIN IT!

These days, Pinterest is an amazing tool for helping to develop your style. Maybe you already have a style board, but it doesn't have much on it, well don't be shy – start pinning! If you like it, pin it. I've been told by a lot of my family and friends that follow me on Pinterest that they can always tell what things I pinned. The truth is that it wasn't always like that. I recently scrolled through my style board to organize things a bit, and realized that my first bunch of pins aren't anything that I would pin now – but that's okay! By just pinning whatever I liked it help me to start seeing some of the similarities in some of them and that helped me to figure out what it is I like about some things and don't like about others. Don't overthink it – just do it! (PS. If you're worried about flooding other peoples feed, you can always create a Secret Board – I LOVE them!)

 

I'll be sharing more tips over the next few weeks – if you have any questions or would like to see me talk about anything specific feel free to let me know! :)

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5 Ideas for What to Wear for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2013 § 4 Comments

Fine and Feathered

Even though Autumn doesn't technically end until almost Christmas, it always feels like Thanksgiving is the last big hurrah for Fall anyway. Even though my family has never been one to make everyone get super fancy for the holiday, everyone still always looks nice and I think we all love giving our Fall wardrobe one last great outfit to end with. When Ellen asked me to share some outfit ideas for Thanksgiving I actually got really excited and ended up digging through my archives to get some ideas. To be honest, I don't know what I'm going to wear yet either, so it was great to start thinking about it and get some ideas together! (PS. Just click on the photos to see the full outfit posts they're from!)

Fine and Feathered
Fine and Feathered

A VINTAGE SKIRT

I love a fun vintage skirt. I especially love the plaid wool skirts that always seem to be hanging around the thrift stores, and then there's the more quirky ones covered in animals or other funny scenes that I just can't get enough of. If you're unsure what to pair with one then sticking with a neutral (denim and chambray are some of my favorite neutrals) can be a safe bet, and if you're feeling more adventurous you can take some cues from the colors in the skirt and bring in other complimentary ones too!

Fine and Feathered
Fine and Feathered

PENCIL SKIRTS + FLANNELS

Pencil skirts are great if you're going for a more dressed up feel, and pairing them with flannels and plaids make things feel festive! Also, some orange tights can be fun too:)

Fine and Feathered
Fine and Feathered
Fine and Feathered

CASUAL LAYERS

Not every family gets super dressed up for Thanksgiving, but everyone still likes to look nice! A sweater layered with a button down is a classic, but what about adding an extra button down to the mix? Layering a nice comfy sweater with your favroite leggings can assure you'll be comfy all day and stll look nice too. And of course blazers are great for keeping a casual outfit still feeling more pulled together.

Fine and Feathered
Fine and Feathered

ADD FUN ACCESSORIES

Sometimes you can totally change things up with an old dress for the holidays by adding fun accessories! I made this leaf headband a while back which would be perfect for a fun Thanksgiving outfit. Fun colored tights, unique shoes, hats, and patterned scarves are also some of my favorite accessories.

Fine and Feathered

A SIMPLE VINTAGE DRESS

Sometimes a lovely vintage dress can speak for itself. A lot of the time all it needs is a pair of tights and some shoes to make a complete outfit. If you're lucky you can find great ones for cheap at your local thrift stores, but nowadays vintage shops aren't just in big cities, but little towns too, if you'd rather go straight to the good stuff!

Of course there's tons of other things that would be fun to wear for thanksgiving (pairing your summer maxi skirt or dress with more autumnal colors and layering pieces would be lovely) but hopefully this helps get your brain moving if you're like me and still haven't decided on an outfit!

Tips for finding your perfect camera

September 18, 2013 § 7 Comments

Fine and Feathered

I was 15 when I decided to buy my first DSLR. I used all the "car money" I had been saving since I was little to buy a Nikon D70s. That meant I drove a hand-me-down 1975 Ford Granada with no heat or air conditioning, but I never regretted my decision. Back then, the D70s was really one of the only consumer-grade DSLRs Nikon offered. Now its a whole different story. There are so many different brands with so many different types of cameras available now that it can be a little daunting to figure out which one is right for you.

Last year I upgraded from that D70s to the Nikon D5100 and am still really happy with my choice. I considered a few other cameras at the time too, but ultimately the D5100 won out and I've learned a few things about how to figure out which one is right for you.

THINK ABOUT HOW YOU'LL USE IT

Most DSLRs these days, even the cheaper ones, still can produce great images. Unless you're looking to set up a real professional photography business, then you have a ton of choices to pick through. Think about how, where, and when you'll mostly be using your camera. Are you mostly taking outfit photos? Family photos? Do you plan to travel with it a lot? Make a list of what you'll mostly be using it for and think of any features you'd use on a regular basis (self timer settings, low light abilities, etc.).

One of the big things that made me pick the D5100 was that it's lightweight and has a closable LCD screen. I always take it when I travel, and even just on little day trips, so the fact that I can throw it in my bag and not worry about the screen getting scratched or the camera being unbearably heavy, is awesome. Some people think of the closable screen as a gimmick-y feature, and I suppose it kind of is, but it's been so useful for me. It doesn't do multiple shots for self-timer, which is one downside, but I always use a remote anyway so it's not a big deal for me.
*update – I was wrong! The D5100 does have multiple shot self-timer.

Fine and Feathered
Fine and Feathered

TRY PLENTY OUT

Because there's so many great brands and models out there, go ahead and play with a few and see how you like their feel! If you're looking at all consumer grade DSLRs. most of them take the same type of memory card, so if you already have one then bring it with you to the store and stick it in each camera you try out. When you get home you can look at them on your computer and see if there's any differences that you do, or don't, like in the image quality. Make sure you play with plenty of the features too, and even think about how it feels in your hand.

One of my friend's dad is a professional photographer and let me play with his D70s for an afternoon before I bought mine, that's how I knew that I definitely wanted that camera. When I decided to upgrade I knew I wanted to stick with a Nikon. I did some research online and narrowed it down to a few models and went to the store to play with all of them. Of course, Frank suprised me and bought me the camera for my birthday, but that was after he knew exactly which one I was planning on saving for:)

Fine and Feathered

THINK ABOUT LENSES

If you're getting a DSLR, the time to start thinking about lenses is the same time you're thinking about which camera to get. A good lens can make all the difference in your photos, so it's worth it to figure out which ones you want, and if you need to save for them.

When I bought my first camera I got the kit which included a Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5 lens. It's a great basic lens, although it seems they don't sell it brand new anymore. I've played with the "basic" one they sell in the kits now (I think it's the 18-55?) and I don't like it nearly as much as mine, so I don't usually recommend the kits for the Nikons anymore. I also bought a Nikon 70-300mm lens when I got my first camera. I used to shoot a lot of photos for bands, and sometimes needed to shoot from farther away so it was great for that, but I found I didn't use it as much in recent years and sold it after I got my new camera. My favorite lens, I bought last year, is a Nikon 50mm f/1.4. All the outfit photos on my blog since I got it have been taken with it. It's just a great portrait lens that gives a beautiful depth of field. It is more expensive then other ones, but I think it's completely worth it!

Not all cameras take all lenses of course (and even within the same brand, not all lenses are completely compatible), so once you decide on your camera, or even just what brand you're going with, you can research which lenses are best to go with it. For those of you who already know what camera you're getting here's some good lists of lenses to go with them…

The Phoblographer's 2012 reccomended lenses for NIkon DSLRs
Nikon's 10 best lesnes from Ken Rockwell
The First Canon Lenses you should buy from The Wirecutter
Best Canon lenses and how to choose your next one from The Camera Labs

Of course, other brands besides Nikon and Canon make good cameras these days, thought it seems to be that most people are still in one camp or the other, but if you're looking at another brand just a quick google search is all you need to find out about good lenses for what you're looking at.

Fine and Feathered

Even though DSLRs are so much more affordable these days, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make sure you're getting one that you can love for years to come. It's really exciting to buy one, and I know you can feel like you just want to run out and get one right away, but if you take your time, and really research what's best for you, then you'll be so much happier in the end!

Personally, I'd still love to get a full-frame DSLR someday (I got to shoot with a D800 this summer and was pretty in love!), but my D5100 has been so great for my needs, and even if I do upgrade oneday I know I'll still hold on to my little guy!

PS. This post was in no way sponsored by Nikon or anyone else. These are all simply my honest opinions.

Tips for taking your own outfit photos

August 30, 2013 § 8 Comments

Fine and Feathered

Lately I've been getting more questions about how I do my outfit photos and any tips that I have, so I thought I'd share what I've learned so far today! About 99% of my outfit photos were taken by me, with just my camera, tripod and remote. A few times I've had my brother or my mom snap photos for me, but I actually tend to prefer to do it myself. I'm a huge perfectionist, and even though I definitely don't always do them perfect, I'd still rather be able to blame myself for them not being quite right.

I certainly don't consider myself any sort of expert on the matter, I'm still learning a ton, but I have definitely picked up on a few important things over the years!

Fine and Feathered

GET TO KNOW YOUR GEAR

I don't think you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy camera to get really nice photos. On the same note, I think even if you do spend a ton of money on really good equiptment, but don't learn to use it properly, then you're wasting your money. With the internet these days you can probably find a dozen in-depth tutorials on whatever camera you have – it's awesome, and everyone should take advantage of it!  If you haven't already, I suggest spending some time reading up on your camera and getting aquinted with things like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Then spend a whole afternoon just playing with all the settings and taking a ton of photos.

I use a Nikon D5100 (prior to May'12 my camera was a Nikon D70s) and I almost exclusively use a Nikkor AF-S 50mm 1:1.4 Lens for all of my outfit photos.

Fine and Feathered

TAKE YOUR TIME

Whenever I'm in a rush and try to take photos I almost always regret it and usually end up just trashing the photos anyway. Especially if you're not doing it everyday it can be a little akward and takes more time to get relaxed infront of the camera. Take your time and take tons of photos. We live in the digital era where you don't need to worry about running out of film or spending money to develop all of it, you can shoot as many as you want and trash the ones that aren't great when you get home. So relax and don't forget to try different angles, and even change your location if it's just not working!

I usually spend 20 minutes doing my photos and take 50-75 photos for each outfit. It's often that I also have to change locations because the first one I picked just isn't working for some reason – I don't let it bother me, I just relax and find a new interesting spot!

Fine and Feathered

FIND YOUR GROOVE

Everyone has their own preference for doing their outfit photos. There are remotes available for most cameras, and almost all also have a few different timer settings. Before you buy a remote you can try out how you like the timer setting and see how it feels to you, just know that you may have to use a prop to focus your camera before you set the timer so you're properly in focus. Finding what works for you is important, so spend some time figuring it out!

I love my camera remote. Most of my skirts and dresses have pockets in them so it's pretty easy for me to hide it once I set it.

Fine and Feathered Fine and Feathered

SETTING THE SCENE

Most of us who take our own outfit photos feel a little shy about doing it right there in public for passersby to see. Not only is it awkward to constantly be asked why you're taking photos of yourself and whether you want them to just take a photo for you, but it's really hard to relax when you feel like people might be watching you. So keep your eyes out for quiet local spots you can take your photos without being oogled at. As for where to take them, it's great to find a space with a little going on, but won't be over-powering. Personally, I'm not usually a fan on having cars in the background, their reflectors and chrome-y bits tend to be distracting. Wherever you take them, just be conscious of what will be behind you. Also, try to change things up and not take photos in the exact same spot all the time.

I've gone through phases where I used the same spot constantly, but now I try to find new interesting spots to change things up at. I also cannot take photos with other people around. I'm very conscious and totally feel "the eyes" on me, which does not make for relaxed looking photos!

Fine and Feathered

Hope these little things help those of you who are maybe new to the self-portrait world, or who are still struggling. I know my personal struggle is still with lighting, I tend to err on the safe side and shoot in shadier places to avoid having to fight with the lighting too much, but I definitely plan to start working on that:)

PS. Click any of the images to see the original outfit post's they're from!

Simple Summer Twist

July 9, 2013 § 4 Comments

Fine and Feathered Hair Twist


I was actually surprised by how many people asked me to share this little hairstyle I've been wearing a lot recently. I've had long hair and side bangs for most of my life and I started doing this a few years ago when my hair was driving me crazy on these hot summer days. It's actually super simple to do, and I love it because all you need is an elastic hair band to do it and it only takes a few seconds. It's definitely something I throw together on those days when I'm half-considering shaving my head (don't worry! That's never going to happen, I'm a big chicken!).

Fine and Feathered Hair Twist tutorial

Start with a small section of hair closest to your part and hairline and twist, as you twist grab more pieces of hair from your hairline and continue to twist down and behind your ear while adding more hair. Once behind your ear you can grab the rest of your hair and twist in. Then just secure your elastic at the base of your head and and you're done! I also sometimes continue to just twist my hair real tight into a bun and wrap my elastic around it a few times to secure it (you can see an example of that over here).

Easy, right? I image it should work for most hair types as long as they're not cut too short!

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