A New Way to Wear a Scarf

A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.comA New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com I just got five beautiful new silk scarves from a recent garage-sale-ing trip, and I have been wracking my brain for new ways to wear them, so that I can showcase the gorgeous prints on the scarves. I mean, wearing them as headscarves only goes so far, and only coordinates with so many outfits. Plus, as a headscarf, you can’t see the full prettiness of the scarf. So when I was playing with my outfit this morning, I felt pretty smart for realizing I could wear the scarf like this. I love the way it looks!

Especially with this skirt, which is my new favorite. It’s from Oasap, and it is even better than I had hoped. It’s the perfect length –which is generally a concern with Oasap skirts because they tend to run short — it’s got pockets, which wasn’t said online, and the buttons are snap buttons! Which makes it much easier to put on. Plus, it has elastic in the waist so it will shrink and grow a bit. And it’s fuller than I had expected it to be, too! So in love. A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.comA New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com I felt a bit French with the stripes and the scarf and the red shoes and lips.

We had a tea party today with my cousins, something we do a few times a year, so today had to be a quick hair day. Thank goodness for braids and hairpins with wet hair! I think I prefer my hair braided this way (Two side braids wrapped around the back of my head and pinned) rather than milkmaid braids. I think it’s more flattering to my face.  A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.comA New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com

I just recently discovered that Oasap has a TON of really cute iPhone cases. I’m not really picky about how hardy the cases are (I don’t need a big armored thing) because my current case (the one with the heart on it) is a cheap one that has been dropped MANY times and my phone is still just fine. So to discover so many cute cases for such good prices… yep. I had to get these floral ones. HAD to. And I’m quite happy with them! They’re plastic, and pretty lightweight, but they’ll do what I need them to do, and they’re so pretty!A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com

Well, today was really hot, which was disappointing after the last few days of cool mornings and mild afternoons. I’ve been hoping fall weather would come because I am dying to wear tights and cardigans and my wool skirts, but… nope. Summer is still hot on hand. I felt a little fall-ish though, with the colors of this scarf. A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com And these poor shoes… I really need to renew my shoe closet. In the last week four pairs of shoes have fallen apart — these ones, there are cracks side-to-side all the way through the soles beneath the balls of my feet. My sandals that I always wear, the sole is ripping off, my black flats have holes through the sides… and my beloved t-strap heels died. So I have one pair of wedges from Modcloth that I’m waiting for, and then throughout the winter I plan to slowly rebuild my shoe wardrobe with shoes that are  a little more practical than my stiletto heels.  A New Way to Wear a Scarf | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt and belt, thrifted | scarf, garage-sale | skirt and floral iPhone cases (black, white) c/o Oasap | Wedges, Modcloth | earrings (old) Target

I hope this week has been good so far for all of you! It has been feeling super slow to me, probably because it’s been hot and Asa hasn’t been wanting to sleep through the night (he has a tooth now, by the way!) OR nap during the day, which is tiring.

But it’s one day closer to Friday, when Mr. Owl and I are going to the drive-in movies to see E.T. and Back to the Future, and I cannot wait!

Happy Wednesday!

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6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own

6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.comA few days ago, one of my lovely long-time readers asked what my secrets are for taking good outfit pictures on my own. Most of you probably know that half the time I take my own photos, and the other half, my husband takes them. Secretly, I prefer taking my own outfit pictures — I have more artistic control, I know the shots I want, and to me it’s just fun. Plus then I’m not rushed.  However, taking outfit photos by yourself can be tricky, and I am still learning things after 10 years of taking my own photos. Here are my top 6 tips.6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com

1. Buy a tripod!

Back in the day, pre-fashion-blog, I used to take pictures of myself just for fun. I have always been interested in photography, and I used to wander the farm we lived on, all gussied up in costumes, and take pictures of myself — as well as roping my friends into it. But back then I didn’t have a tripod. I used trees, fence posts, tractors, chairs, stools, books, and many other things to prop my mom’s camera precariously up so that I could take pictures.

And then, she got me a tripod. Oh, heaven. Tripods are the best thing ever; it doesn’t even have to be expensive. Mine was from Target for $15, and after that one broke my current favorite is one we found at Goodwill for $10 or something. Having a tripod completely opens up what you can do so far as the angle and composition of your photos, plus it provides stability where propping a camera in a tree means it might fall out. Not that that ever happened… (ahem.)1

2. Use natural, shaded light as much as possible.

You always hear them say that you should chase the “golden hour” of lighting during the day, but who really has time for that? While golden hour lighting is gorgeous, realistically it’s better to seek filtered light — aka, a shadow at the side of a building, the dappled light through leaves, or light coming through sheer curtains. Use as much natural light as you can, and please avoid taking indoor, artificially-lit photographs unless you’ve got an actual lighting setup! Indoor lighting usually looks pretty bad, but you also don’t want to be standing in full sunlight because it will completely blow out the whites in your pictures. 6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com

3. Be mindful of where the light is.

Once you’ve found your spot of dappled, filtered light, you’ve got one more lighting thing to figure out: the optimum position for flattering shadows. Unless you’re catching golden hour or very early morning lighting, you usually don’t want to be facing the light. Instead, try to make sure that the sun is on the left or right of you, and face ground where the light hits, to create more flattering lighting overall. As an example, take these two photos:

6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com

They are edited completely the same; I didn’t change the camera settings to be lighter or darker. The only difference is that on the left, we have a picture taken while I was facing the 10am filtered sunlight, and on the right, the sun was to my right. Because the sun was above me, by facing it I was creating shadows beneath my eyes and under the apples of my cheeks, making me look tired (I was, ha!) and detracting from the rest of my face. But by turning so that it was on my right, I was then facing a spot of ground that had sunlight on it, which acted as a reflector and threw light up into my face; as well, the sun on the right also lit up my face without creating shadow… and voila! Better lighting.

4

4. Change it up!

Don’t just stand there. Find a place to sit. Find a place to lay down. Twirl. Jump. Turn your back. Pose even if it feels funny. Make sure you’re breaking up your stance, moving your hands, and providing lots of variety in your photos. While you want to keep the scenery similar throughout the pictures, you don’t have to always stay in one place, or do one pose. (Notes: it’s more flattering to put your weight on your back leg while standing, and usually you’ll find you prefer your face from one side or the other. I think the left side of my face is more photogenic, ha!)

As well, try mixing up your composition — take portrait and landscape photos, photos of just your top half, just your bottom half, just your middle. Get details of your outfits and surroundings, and throw them into collages. My favorite blogs are those that mix up their shots and composition to create a visually interesting read. 6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com

5. Interact with the camera!

One of the biggest things to look like you’re comfortable is to treat the camera like it’s just a friend. Be silly for it. Make eye contact. Tell a story with your poses– smile, yell, look away, tilt your head; have a visual conversation with your camera. Two great things to remember if you’re feeling awkward in front of the camera are to relax your hands — you can always tell if someone’s nervous by what their hands are doing — and relax your face. Don’t clench your fists or your jaw, but also, don’t go blank-eyed or limp-wristed. Play with your expressions and your hands, and you’ll start to look comfortable in your photos, even if you feel silly. 6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com

6. And lastly, perfect the focus

This one is right up there with finding good light! When you’re setting your focus, be sure to set it on where your face will be. Try to focus on your eyes, if you can — usually, I have an object that I set where I plan to stand or sit (I don’t have a remote yet, so all of my photos are self-timed), and I try to make sure that my face is the part of me lined up with that spot. It drives me batty when I see pictures that are just out of focus, or focused on something other than the face. People will look to your face first, so make sure it’s clear! (And if you didn’t quite get it, you can always go into your photo editing program — I use picmonkey.com, and paint.net — and sharpen it as a little cheat way to make it look focused.)

6 Tips for Taking Good Outfit Photos On Your Own | www.eccentricowl.com

Kimono and necklace (sold out) c/o Oasap | camisole, Forever 21 | jeans and sandals, Target | vintage headscarf, garage-sale

Most of all, though, just have fun with it. While your lighting, focus, and posing are all really important things in having great blog photos, the most interesting blogs are those where you can tell that the person is enjoying herself (or himself) in the pictures. So don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t expect your first photos to be perfect. It’s taken me 10 years (or more!) to get where I am now, and I’m still learning new things! Jump in feet first, and enjoy the process as you learn!

Happy blogging!

(Bonus: one of my first “fashiony” photos from six years ago. Yep. I had no idea what I was doing.)

P.S. Isn’t this floral kimono gorgeous? I think Oasap is the best at creating garments that have a nice flow to them, and I’m SO happy with this beautiful piece! Plus, the fringe is the non-tangle kind, so no having to brush it out and deal with knots!

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The Power of Modesty

The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.comThe Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com

So today in the parking lot at the grocery store, as I was crossing the parking lot from returning a cart, the van coming at me stopped to let me go past and, as I always do, I waved my thanks and headed straight on. But as I passed the open passenger’s side window of the van, a man’s voice called out “have a nice day!” and I glanced over to see him smiling appreciatively at me.

I was wearing this outfit, minus the cardigan, with flat shoes. Just a regular girl. Oh, and glasses.

And being the person that I am (aka, not rude, and not confrontational), I simply smiled, uttered thanks, and went on my way. But it reminded me of a post on Clear The Way about how female bloggers deal with leering, and progressed to me thinking about how we are treated based on how we are dressed, and the ability we have to influence that.

The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com

To me, the guy in the van was maybe slightly creepy, but polite. That’s the worst I’ve ever gotten ever so far as “leering” or anything like that goes, with one exception on a construction site when I was 16 and the dude was high and whistling at me. But other than that? The worst or most invasive comments I’ve ever gotten have been like that — have a nice day, you look nice, your dress is nice, etc. Nothing rude or sexual or pushing in on my personal space.

But I know many women who have gotten worse. Women who are not overtly showy in the way they dress, women who aren’t what you would consider promiscuous or flirtatious. Normal, jeans-and-tee wearing, everyday girls, who get catcalled and eyeballed and groped and completely violated against their will. And then they are told “well, you shouldn’t have been wearing that shirt. Well, your skirt’s too short. Well, you shouldn’t have smiled that way.”

And I want to take a stand. The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.comThe Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com

I want to take a stand for women. I want to take a stand for “no means no.” I want to take a stand for good men. I want to take a stand for modesty. I want to take a stand for  misunderstood concepts, freedom of choice, unjustly labeled people, and sadly misused words.

When I was growing up, I was taught to be modest. From the time I was small, in very subtle ways, my mom made sure I knew that as a girl, my body was special. I wasn’t allowed to run around shirtless like my brothers, even as a toddler; I wasn’t allowed to wear ruffly little girl bikinis, or short little girl skirts, or low cut tops, and as I grew… I took these things for granted. I, as a girl, as a teenager, as a young lady, as a woman… what I had was to be protected. What I had was beautiful. It was meant for someone special. It should be kept for that one special person, because my body was a precious, lovely, wonderful thing. And perhaps my parents never said that so much in words, but I grew up knowing that as a woman, I was powerful. And the way I dressed was important.

The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com And I always took it for granted that every woman who grew up with Christian parents, as I did, must have grown up with the same view of modesty. (Edit: I don’t mean by this that I thought people who were not Christians could not also hold the same values, but much like you would assume people who took the same class learned the same thing, I assumed that people with my faith learned about modesty the same way I did.) Modesty was a wonderful thing. Why we dressed the way we did was for a good reason.

But I was heartbroken to learn that so many girls are taught horrible things about modesty by churches. They were taught modesty out of shame. A girl has to cover up because she could cause a boy to think bad thoughts about her. A girl has to cover up because she should be ashamed of her body and what it can do. A girl has to cover up because she’s in charge of men’s thoughts, and if she dresses indecently she will cause them to sin. Girls are being taught that they are the sole person in charge of what a man thinks about their body. That it’s their fault if a man lusts after them. That it’s their duty to make sure men don’t stumble.

Oh, my heart. These girls grow up ashamed, afraid, sad, rebellious, damaged, hurt, and utterly, utterly weighed down by the modesty they are forced to uphold. They grow up with the world on their shoulders. My heart breaks for them.

The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com

You see… modesty is not for the man. But then again, it is for the man.

As a woman, I very strongly believe three things:

1. I cannot change the way a man thinks about me, no matter what is on my body. If he is going to lust after me, there is no coverup covered-up enough to deter his thoughts. He is in charge of his thoughts. He is in charge of the respect he gives me. He is in charge of his thoughts, his lust, his sin. His mind, in his body, is something I have no control over.

2. There are good men in the world. Men get thrown into the dirt more often than they should, sadly, and I believe in the goodness of men. I have a good husband. I have good brothers. I have good brothers-in-law, good fathers (father in law…), good guy friends. I know men are not all as lustful and uncontrolled and piggish as most of the world paints them, jokes about, snarks about.

3. Conversely to the first point, it would seem, as a woman, I believe I have the power to influence a man. I have the power to influence what he thinks of me, how he sees me, how he treats me, how he speaks to me. What I wear can directly affect what he does. My body, a woman’s body, was created to be the most beautiful thing to a man’s eye, and the way I dress it can either positively or negatively affect how I will be treated. I have the power.  The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.comThe Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com

And with that power in mind, I choose modesty. Not to prevent men from thinking about my body, no. I can influence that with what I wear, but I cannot control it. No, I choose modesty because modesty is my power. Modesty is a reflection of my faith. It is to honor God, and to honor my husband. Modesty is a silent declaration that I am taken, that my body is for the pleasure of one man and one man only, that I am to be respected, that I respect myself.

I choose modesty because it is my way of saying that I value what I have. That it is privileged information what lies beneath, that not everyone gets access every time I walk down the street. I dress modestly not because I am ashamed of how someone might think of my body, nor afraid that I might cause someone to sin because of my body, or because I feel I might be a stumbling block for a man who sees my body; I choose to dress modestly because I know that I am beautiful, and I am protecting that beauty to be cherished and admired by the man I chose to share it with.

The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.comAnd I’m not trying to convince you that you should dress modestly. You can wear whatever you want to wear; your body is your own. Your life is your own. I would love to convince you to agree with my faith and my choices, but your life isn’t my business.

But I am trying to tell the girl who grew up in a church told that she’s responsible for another man’s thoughts: you are not responsible for any man’s sins. I am trying to tell you, the boy who was brought up thinking girls should dress modestly for men: you are in charge of your thoughts and actions. I am trying to tell you, the person who doesn’t understand why I won’t flash cleavage or wear mini skirts: I choose to take charge of my body this way because I know it is beautiful.

The Power of Modesty | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt and skirt, Thrifted | Cardigan and heels, Target

I, as a woman, have power in what I wear. I have power in my choice to be modest. You, as a man, have power in controlling your thoughts. You have power in treating a woman with respect. You, as a person, have power in choosing to say yes or to say no. You have power in what you wear and how you act.

So, I choose modesty because I was taught that I am beautiful, and that my choices will affect me positively or negatively, and because they will affect others positively or negatively. I will take charge of what others think of me, in so much as I can, by what I put on my body.* Because I have the power to do so.

And I’m only wearing this cardigan because I thought the outfit looked better with it.

(obviously, I had a different post entirely in mind when I was taking these pictures — I’m sort of channeling a little bit of a Mary Margaret from Once Upon A Time vibe with the cardigan and retro shoes and flowery skirt, and I was totally going to talk about Snow White. But uh… changed my mind!)

;)

Happy Monday!

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*I feel like I should really clarify: just because a girl is dressed provocatively does not mean in any way that she was “asking for it.” I am not in any way saying that if a girl dresses in a low cut top or a short skirt, it’s her fault that a man takes advantage of her sexually. No means no means no means no. Always. No matter what.

Hello, Sweetie

Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.comHello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com

Thursday’s Clara Oswald inspired outfit has started a theme, you guys. Yesterday, I realized that this tunic is sort of reminiscent of what River Song wears in the “Let’s Kill Hitler” episode… and there’s that. I now have a Pinterest board that a friend and I are filling up with outfits from TV shows that we can actually create from our closets, and it’s so fun! You’re probably going to be seeing a lot more outfits inspired by TV characters now. I think this is my favorite thing to do, because it doesn’t have to be an all-out perfect cosplay, and it’s a good jump-start for days when I’m feeling less-than-stylish. Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.comHello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com

I got my husband to be the Doctor for me, and we had a lot of fun posing in Doctor-Who-ish poses. We can totally be in TV, right?

Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.comHello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com

It’s always a lot of fun for me to be the one behind the camera while he poses — although as a filmmaker, he’s not used to actually looking at the camera and making a connection with it, so I have to coax him to get more interactive. I never really thought about it– that’s the thing with fashion blogging, you want to make a connection with the people you’re blogging to, thus looking at/smiling for the camera is a good thing. Whereas in film, you do not under any circumstances look at the camera unless it’s a documentary or interview. I think that his and my photography styles are very influenced by our personal interests — mine in blogging, his in filmmaking.

I’ve noticed that my photos are usually brighter, a little more exaggerated in color, and his are darker and more saturated, perhaps more true to the lighting at the time. For contrast, he set up the camera for this shoot, while I did my own photos for The Impossible Girl post. You can see the difference, right? I’m kind of fascinated by it.

Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com

Of course, my hair is nowhere near voluminous enough to really be River Song — seriously, I spent over an hour curling my hair, and teasing it, but my hair has never liked to hold a curl, so just half an hour after I was done, it relaxed to waves. Oh well. This is just inspired, not exact! If ever I were to do a River Song cosplay, I’d have to get a wig!

Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com And this is where we all imagine what if River and the Doctor had more interaction with each other. To be honest, I didn’t really like River when we first met her, although I can’t really say why. But as the show went on, and we learned more about her and she began to interact with the Doctor more, I started to really love her.

Now I really need to watch Doctor Who all the way through again. I am forgetting some of the episodes! Like… why she had a banana in the “Let’s Kill Hitler” episode. It’s in a bunch of the pictures, and I cannot for the life of me remember why. Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com

One thing I’ve noticed while looking for style inspiration pictures: all of the companions seem to really love tights. There isn’t a whole lot of bare leg going on, it seems. Which is perfect for fall! I’m going to start combing the internet for style from Once Upon a Time, too; I especially love Belle, Snow, and Emma’s style. Sometimes, I wish I could just be a stylist, or a personal shopper, or a makeup artist, or… a costume person. I love doing it all. Hello, Sweetie | www.eccentricowl.com

Target cardigan (old) | Thrifted top (from H&M) | JC Penney boots | Forever 21 leggings
On him: JC Penney smoking jacket | Handmade bow-tie | H&M pants and suspenders | Kohl’s boots and shirt

I hope you are all having a good weekend! We went garage-saleing today, and I scored 6 scarves, a cute belt, a book, and a shirt for $13. To be honest, I paid more for the shirt than I normally would at a garage sale, but the lady selling it was super nice, gave Asa a toy for free (good selling tactic), and the shirt has never been worn and was going for $12 (and was originally $25) but she gave it to me for $8. So, y’know. I’m happy with it, and it will be very versatile this fall and winter!

Happy Saturday!

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The Impossible Girl

The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.comThe Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com So one of my friends posted a link to this awesome cosplayer on Facebook this morning, and after seeing one of the cosplayer’s Clara Oswald cosplays, I decided… today, I had to be Clara. It’s based on this outfit, from the Christmas Special, and while it’s not perfect… I’m actually pretty happy with it. I made do with what I had, and I like how it turned out! I just wish I had an actual white blouse instead of a gray tee shirt, but oh well.

The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com

I have been meaning to do a Clara inspired outfit (or cosplay) for quite some time, but I never felt like I had the right pieces until I saw the Christmas Special outfit and remembered I have this skirt in my pile of things to sell (I might not be selling it now…). It was the perfect inspiration to get up and get dressed today, since I’ve been trying to get dressed every day (being a work-from-home, stay-at-home mom without a car doesn’t help my drive to be dressed every day, haha!) and today I nearly stayed in my yoga pants. The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.comThe Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.comThe Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com Now that I’ve done one inspired outfit, I might just have to do a few more. And maybe an actual cosplay. My friend Kristi does a ton of awesome cosplays, and she’s just making me itch do to a good one. But it’s harder to find cosplays that can easily be done from things I have at home, so for now I’ll  stick to inspired-by outfits, and maybe next year for the Renaissance Faire, I’ll be Arwen. My hair should be long enough by then! The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.comThe Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com One thing I love about Clara — her makeup and hair are super, super easy to do. Longer layers (her hair is mostly shorter than mine) with a side part and curled up ends? Check. Natural makeup with a bit of brown liner and pinkish lips? I can do that! So easy. I should just be Clara every day. And I’ll make Mr. Owl be Doctor 11.  The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com The Impossible Girl | www.eccentricowl.com

Cardigan, tee, and heels thrifted | Vintage skirt | Target tights | Forever 21 necklace

I’ll tell you a little secret: it was cool enough for tights and a cardigan this morning, but by the end of the pictures I was sweating. So off they came! I cannot wait for the days to be crisp enough to keep it all on all day.

Also, Asa is seven months old today. ALREADY. He is now closer to one year old than he is to the day he was born, which means soon he’ll be crawling all over the place. It seems crazy that he’s this big already!

I hope you are all having a good week!

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