UPTOWN GIRL

 

Hot Child in the City

Vintage shopping is equivalent to waiting in line at the DMV. I might get what I came for... and I might have to come back another day. But when you find the perfect piece, audible screams are heard. Like this kelly green and weathered yellow RAGS #8 jersey I found on a rack from Black Shag Vintage, a shop in East Nashville. 8 has always been my lucky number and I don't know what team has a mascot of the Rags, and I don't care, but hello Team Rag Pepper. One of those golden pieces where you don't care the price, it must be yours.

I love a graphic tee to dress down an outfit (like a silver satin midi skirt and your treasured fire engine red knee-high boots perchance?). Maybe repping MLB, NBA, or a local high school gym is your style. Some people prefer the retro 90s vibe. I always love a good political statement and you can never go wrong with a perfectly preserved band tee.

Below are some options to help you weed out cool strangers with your emblazoned graphic across your chest. I threw in some silver midi and maxi skirt pieces (that matte sequin number though!) and a couple of pairs of statement boots.


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Maybe the best any of us can do is not to quit, play the hand we’ve been given, and accessorize the outfit we’ve got.
— CARRIE BRADSHAW

O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

Siren

Memorial Day Weekend means water, sunshine and alcohol. Followed by exhaustion from hours of the three combined. This outfit is more of a date night / Memorial Day Weekend combo. Red and cargo green are one of my favorite color pairings. Add a stripe and a glitter heel and I am all aboard. This STORETS boat neck one shoulder pullover is perfect to throw over your white bikini or tucked in to your favorite boyfriend jeans.

Cargo pants are my favorite to dress up because no matter what you're wearing (even a glittery gilded heel), you still feel appropriately dressed for any occasion. Thank you Jenna Lyons for marrying utility and femininity on the red carpet and therefore opening the door for us all.

I bought this fish clutch from Beehive Boutique for my trip to the Dominican Republic because like I've said before, I am bound to buy at least one appropriately adorned accessory before I embark on any vacation. Fishy clutch?! I can't pass up that type of perfection. Beehive is one of my favorite curated boutiques. They're based in Texas, but their online shop is full of goodies. Enjoy 15% off on me with the code TAKE15AB at checkout! (*expires June 1st!) Happy Memorial Day! 🏕🍻🇺🇸🌭

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.
— Louisa May Alcott

FLAMENCO

Polka

By the time this hits the inter-webs, I will be hurling through the air nestled in a steel cylinder at a remarkably hasty speed. Followed by: arriving safely (*fingers crossed*) into a country of vespas, breakfast spaghetti, wine as water, and gallons of pesto. Also known as...

ITALY! 🇮🇹

Whenever I have an upcoming trip and start establishing my wardrobe, without fail I end up adding new pieces before I leave. Clearly, still relevant for a whale of an inspiration like Italy. Luckily, this resurfacing polka dot trend is exactly what I was searching for. *Stay tuned for my Italy Travel Diary in the next week or so!

I'm sure a lot of you are like me and assume you can't pull off polka dots as a grown ass woman. The key is to amp the sexy with the silhouette: spaghetti cami, low neckline, off the shoulder, bigger print for a unique spin. I chose my favorite color to keep it sultry. A pair of heels can't hurt either.

As you know (probably? I feel like we're friends), I love marrying dressy with casual. Print mixing with contrasting stripes or floral is another way to keep the dots on the mature side. Besides Italian fulfillment, this polka dot trend should be able to carry you through all of the summer weddings you RSVP'd to. Below are some of my favorite picks of the newest trend!


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There is a shade of red for every woman.
— AUDREY HEPBURN

ZIGGA ZIG AH

Zigga Zig Ah

I'm so lucky I grew up in the era of #GIRLPOWER. The rise of female empowerment is slow building and multi-dimensional. Each era holds its own achievements, and sets foundational steps to those we will overcome in the future. The era specifically I'm referring to is the one that housed the girl band / pop star birth. The 90's. Spice Girls, Shania Twain, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, etc etc. "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends." Not like, literally, don't be dense. "Man! I feel like a woman." I've never seen a more unified group of women than at a Shania Twain concert singing specifically what about men that 'don't impress [them] much.' Sure, Britney and Christina were probably severely exploited, but nothing made me feel more confident as a tween than singing one of their songs in front of the mirror, with a dance routine attached.

Any time I fuse a sporty piece with a sexy or sophisticated partner, I always think of Sporty Spice. Just the two words together embody an aura! This semi-recent athleisure trend begs a reference to Mel C in an almost every Instagram caption. She endorsed women to dress more masculine but somehow lock in all the femininity. I was trying to establish the finishing touches of my own formula consisting of: bell sleeve blazer + color blocked sweatshirt + OTK boots + ??!?!! = 2017 Sporty Spice. I pulled out my (very old) running shorts, tried them on and...

ZIGGA ZIG AH. 😎


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Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
— Gloria Steinem

SOME LIKE IT HOT

 

Some Like It Hot

Rare is a conversation about the history of sex portrayed in the media that doesn't discuss the iconography of Marilyn Monroe. Dark eyebrows, contrasting platinum bob, milky skin, glittering red lips, sewn-on dresses, and that feathered voice. Sure, she is a sex symbol, but how did she get there? How does one just become that? This was before Instagram and contouring, people. I've read several biographies, watched just about every one of her movies, documentaries, films made about her, etc... and honestly? It's absolutely depressing. She was insecure, obsessive compulsive, and depressed. She grew up in foster homes, unsure of her paternity, and wound up married (1 of 3) at 16. Like most of her characters, she was indifferent about the havoc her sexuality caused. And contrary to a lot of her characters, she was not a "dumb blonde". She was a feverous reader and a known good cook. She changed the game, at a very high cost. The most interesting thing I've read thus far is her relationship to the moniker of "Marilyn Monroe". Most know she was born in 1926 in Los Angeles as Norma Jeane Mortenson. It's said that Joe DiMaggio married her expecting her to settle down and retire her symbolism, and that Arthur Miller married her expecting to be sucked in to the alluring tornado of her namesake.

Neither got what they wanted.

There's a scene in My Week With Marilyn where Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) are visiting a high school and run into some kiddies in a back hallway. Monroe turns to Colin and whispers, "Shall I be her?" knowing full well what he, and they, (what we all) came for.

When it comes to my outfit formula, sexy is not normally in the basic foundation. Like many modern women, I struggle with what that word even means to me and how it's represented in my clothing. What I do know is it's not defined by society, men, or even other women--it's defined by me and me alone. Kudos to women like Marilyn who stir the conversation and always keep us on our toes.


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It’s nice to be included in people’s fantasies but you also like to be accepted for your own sake.
— Marilyn Monroe

THE MICK

 

#7

I played a variety of sports as a kid: 9 years of dance, short stint in gymnastics, few good seasons of cheerleading, childhood swimming revisited in high school, 2 uncharacteristic weeks of rugby, and a golden period of pre-teen softball. Softball was #2 in my Myspace Top 8 of youth sports. It was the first time I remember experiencing discipline, pushing my limits, camaraderie, and to be honest, masculinity. I looked forward to dirt and rainbow bruises. The boys from my class would come watch us play and I wanted to impress them on their level. That's great you think I'm pretty but what about my batting average? Impressive, huh? We didn't get baseball pants. We wore the iconic Soffe short in candy colors. No sliding pad, which means rounding home into a plastic, slightly-raised-above-the-dirt home plate, which also means sporting a bruised thigh for the summer. I was sublime.

Around the same time, my mother was researching our ancestors (pre-Ancestory.Com, mind you). Lewis Merriwether, some guy named John on the Mayflower and...

MICKEY MANTLE. ⚾️🌭

Center fielder (me too) and first baseman from 1951-1968 for the New York Yankees. Switch hitter (not me), won the Triple Crown in 1956 (obvi not me), and went to 12 World Series (totally me!). He's a pretty distant ancestor (great great great grandfather's cousin) but I cherished knowing that my love of baseball ran vein deep.

I found this vintage Bugle Boys raglan in a shop somewhere in LA and bought it because it reminded me of MM. I saw these Who What Wear x Target flared track pants and knew they would be the perfect contradiction to a multitude of occasions and outfits. Floppy wool hat to amp the femme and a grey heeled ankle boot to fancify.

No autographs please. I'm a person, just like you, with a moderately famous relative.


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I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
— MAYA ANGELOU

PRIMARIES

Color Theory

Transitions in life generally feel like a layover in an international airport. Too little time to sight see, too much time cemented in trying to connect to spotty wi-fi. Uncomfortable arm rests, seeking familiarity but knowing you're not going to. My instincts tell me to purchase an iced coffee (Starbucks is luckily cherished globally), a fashion mag, some sort of sammy and secure a comfy corner and merely wait it out. Visualizing your end result, realizing how close you are; all the while knowing that transitions are unavoidable, sometimes tedious, and without a doubt emotionally taxing.

MY NAME IS AMBER AND I AM IMPATIENT. 🙋🏼

Tennessee weather is having a rough year with transitions. We're talking 30 degree difference between morning and dusk most days. This makes getting dressed very laborious, damn near annoying! I've been coaching myself to mingle winter and spring basics: black tights capped with cut-offs, collegiate collared shirts unbuttoned beneath airy coverall trenches, etc. Just adapting the best way I know how by grabbing all the statement I need in these reliable primary Golden Goose sneaks.

Can't wait to attend Nashville Fashion Week April 4 - 8th! So much emerging talent right here in my home town and I cherish watching Nashville grow in a number of ways--It's an adventure to keep up with. 2017 is a year for me to challenge myself in networking intently within my city and harmonize any local magic. ✨


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MADEWELL ABROAD TRENCH COAT (30% OFF WITH CODE 'NOTKIDDING'--ENDS TONIGHT!)

J. CREW COTTON POPLIN DRESS SHIRT (25% OFF $150+ AND 30% OFF $200+ PURCHASE WITH CODE 'MOREISMORE'--ENDS TOMORROW!)

URBAN RENEWAL RECYCLED LEVI'S DESTROYED SHORT

GOLDEN GOOSE DELUXE BRAND SNEAKERS

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG AVIATOR SUNNIES IN ROSE GOLD (20% OFF!)

DANIEL WELLINGTON CLASSIC SHEFFIELD WATCH IN ROSE GOLD

After all, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.
— Ann Richards

BLACK WATER

Dixie

My nature can often times be self-deprecating in overloaded and taxing times. Instead of docking for downtime, I'll hastily load up a rocket ship onward. In November of 2016 I was working on a television show (the best!) that drained about 60+ hours of my week; leaving hardly any time to pursue Rag Pepper with meaningful intent. I pushed through a few weeks with the bulk of content being created out of my stifling expectation and not necessarily with the pride and open-minded journey I began with.

So, I pressed pause for once. I cherished Rag Pepper and wanted to prevent the inevitable burn out I've experienced with many other endeavors. I removed the pressure and prepped to resume when the show wrapped.

👋🏻 HELLO #RAGPEPPER, MY OLD FRIEND.

After hours of groundwork and conceptualizing, I curated my newly minted machine, sought out a visual magician (hi Catherine!) to boost the recipe, and ran back to Rag Pepper on heels of fire.

I'm all about curating a "go-to" outfit formula. Strings of femme brought to you by classic color-blocked Chanel + edgy lacquer polish courtesy of Topshop + a soupçon of French simplicity via powdered blue Zara = ¡BREAKING! Efficiently prepared, notably comfortable, everyday glamour! A closet of contradictions! Outfit equivalent to a Long Island Iced Tea! Ensemble nirvana! Any way you print it, I'm happy to be back. So thank you, come again.


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Bitches get stuff done.
— Tina Fey

SUNSET STRIP

Photographer: Samantha Hearn

Paraphernalia

Colorblocked items that I can structure an outfit around are the golden tickets to my wardrobe-building (chocolate) factory aka my closet. I spotted this H&M striped dress and purchased it immediately. The colors were so understated and simulated a sunset (and this emoji — ⛵️); I had to own it. Slits in the long sleeves and the side seams make it adaptable and the lightweight knit made it foolproof for fall.

When enamel pins started making their way back in style, this time with millennial nostalgic references, I feverishly combed through Etsy for the ones that embodied my childhood or badges of my values and hobbies to represent me. I then collected too many too rapidly and my denim jacket was hella heavy.

Throwing my paraphernalia-ridden jacket over this midi dress kept my outfit laid back. I sought out a low-heeled pointed toe black boot for fall/winter and I am so in love with these Marc Fisher crocodile Chelsea boots. I wear them with black skinnies and one of my boyfriend’s t-shirts mostly just for errands and work …and wisdom teeth removal surgery …and voting for the President …and okay, everything. I seldom take them off.

Below are some links to my outfit as well as some more options, seeing as some have sold out already! I included some of the most clever pins and patches found via Etsy. I love supporting incredibly inventive small businesses. 🦄

Do you wear pins/patches/graphic tees/etc. to speak for you? Something different entirely? Let me know! ✗ A

 

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