Friday, 26 September 2014

Owning Your Style - A Recap



I've made many on-line friends during my five years of blogging. Some have vanished without trace whilst others, no doubt, tire of my tales of trips to India, festivals and an uncompromising vintage lifestyle and stop visiting. Some, like my friend Janet of The Gardener's Cottage, remain a constant beacon of inspiration in an on-line world that all too often can become awash with sponsored posts, freebies & shameless self-promotion.


A couple of years ago Janet interviewed me for a series of posts she called "Owning Your Style". As I've done little else but buy, sell, wash and repair stock this week I thought I'd repeat the interview for those who missed it the first time round.



To own your style you'll have to find it first. For me this came about by ditching buying retail completely and only shopping second-hand. Buying from fashion stores limits your choice to what the professional buyers consider fashionable (the same shaped trousers and skirts, in-season colours or "it" prints)  whereas second-hand shops are a hotch-potch of absolutely everything and you just have to learn to trust your eye and instinct. After six months of limiting yourself to second-hand shopping you'll soon get a taste of what you're attracted to.


Regularly cull your wardrobe and give away/donate/sell anything that doesn't make you feel fabulous.

 If you have to ask others whether something suits you then it needs to go.


My trademark style includes statement pieces of ethnic jewellery, aged denim & vintage leather or suede and bright colours and loud prints. Including just one of these elements to any outfit means that everything I wear always looks and feels like me. 


Never allow an item of clothing to "wear" you, own it by adding tried and trusted pieces so that the real you shines through.  A necklace fiercely haggled over in an Indian village, a 20-year old denim waistcoat roughly patched together, a tote bag hand-made from a curtain salvaged from a relative's rag bag or a top remade from your boyfriend's old band tee shirt add personality, substance & texture to any outfit I dress in.

Wearing: 1970s polka dot jacket (courtesy of my friend Kerry), Vintage Dereta maxi skirt (Chickadooli Vintage), vinyl bag (charity shop), Lamani tribal pendant (India), Vintage bronze hoop earrings (Pao)
Fashion? All that means is following what is currently popular. Who wants to be part of a herd? Finding your own style means you'll never feel inadequate, out-dated or boring ever again. 

We've got the whole weekend off - watch out pubs of Walsall!
See you soon.

65 comments:

  1. Just what I needed to read - t'internet has lost its lustre for me at least, of late - and its not just owning your style - owning your life is EVERYTHING. I jumped out of the hamster wheel of 9-5 in March and it's like unplugging from the Matrix lol.

    The polka dots and jewellery combo look particularly stunning. Thanks for the inspiration xxx

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  2. you are such an inspiration, you truly are, because of my fascination with you and your blog our daughter is being married in a thrift shop wedding dress, a thousand dollar creation that she picked up for next to nothing, money saved to visit her husband to be's homeland of St.Lucia, would we have thought to so before, maybe, but likely not, remaking i have always done but thrifting is new to us, addictive, you are one of a kind,

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  3. Marvellous post and wonderful style as always. I love that polka dot jacket! :)

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  4. Very inspiring post. When I dress these days I often find myself thinking, 'What would Vix choose?'

    Enjoy your weekend off.

    Oh and I too love the fab polka dot jacket.

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  5. Fantastic advice as always. I think second-hand shopping forces the creative juices to come in to play which then takes us to our unique style. Plus, I love the challenge, the score, and being able to narrow down my desires via ebay searches.

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  6. Oh Wise and Beautiful Vix. I have been following your adventures like the Fan Girl that I am. I never ever get tired of your adventures and fashion and advice. Keep it up!!!!! XXXXOOOOO

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  7. I must have missed this the first time around. It's funny but I've been feeling so disillusioned with blogging lately. It seems so transient. People come and go and relationships change and people disappear without trace as you say. You sometimes wonder who you're blogging to and why! I find your consistency so reassuring. I love that you have a signature style and stick to it. I'm so fickle that my style changes from month to month sometimes. I wish I was more consistent xx

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  8. So true about the fact to let something go if you have to ask others if it suits you or not! love your style and actually I prefer you more not wearing modern stuff like in 2009 (I scrolled back to your beginnings!). I also feel that regular stores sometimes give me the feeling of feeling not fashionable .... what ever that is! So, I'm VERY carefully whether it is really time to let something go or not.

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  9. That's so true about not keeping things that don't suit. I always see it as charity shop karma: I give clothes away to our local hospice shop and hopefully the karmic cycle will in turn send lovely things my direction. Everyone benefits that way! xxx

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  10. Total harmony with that!.... Can't believe all this time I've known you I've only just figured how to comment on your blog.... Wooow! I'm on a roll today x

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  11. Thanks to blogging I now look at my clothes in a different way and buy very few High St. pieces. Apart from the fact that I do not want to be wearing the same things as every other middle-aged woman in dreary colours, I never get the same buzz as when I buy second hand. I love that red maxi and think I had something similar as a teenager, the handbag is ace too.
    Enjoy your pub crawl.
    x

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  12. I am very glad that you repeated it - I have not read it before. I love how fearless and fierce you are in style! You are a true artist! You had a long journey, and as a result you took of and now are flying freely. My only advice to myself and others who are still in search is to take the time and keep experimenting, not be stuck with formula dressing. Formulas are fine for certain tasks, but to be truly free means experimenting, and it's a very interesting and very personal journey.

    Secondhand hunting is so addictive, in a good way. It's always a challenge to find a beautiful piece which speaks to you in plus size (which I am), especially when hunting for vintage, but I am learning and slowly getting better at it.

    You are fabulous and so very inspirational, Vix! Thank you for being YOU! :) Love xxxxx

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  13. Style, so tricky! I love charity and car boot shopping especially with my son who is so kind when I say, what about this!

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  14. Always good to consolidate learning by recapping on a wise lesson! Yes, owning your style. I have always done this and I am glad. I do like some fashion items but mostly I have things I like!
    You, though, are fabulous!!! Brilliantly original and kind!
    I feel a little sad over blog friends who shun one when once they were really supportive. Obviously people get busy and have other priorities but I like to think I am a loyal blog friend to those who I have followed and interacted with over time and it occasionally can feel a bit one sided. X

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  15. I love this, and you're blooming gorgeous! xx

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  16. You said it, love. I can't imagine shopping in high street shops for my shmutter. For a start, my stuff for work has to be prepared to get messed up so no point in having new. Not to mention all the treasures I've unearthed over the years. All those handmade frocks given a new life, and all the lovely things I've yet to find. I cull and pass on regularly and I do like to treat myself. If I it sings to me (as someone once said!!) I'll have it.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Loves ya.
    xxxxxxxxx

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  17. Fecking LOVE that we both wore the red, white and blue on the same day! This skirt and jacket make me positively MOIST!!! Jus magic.
    This is like a 101 to looking fabularse! Every word a true one. It amazes me endlessly that most are happy to follow the flock; my heart is always won over by those with that little quirk-you could wear the latest fashion and still be entirely you because you have you own, unique ways of making everything special.
    Love Helga XXX

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  18. I read often and rarely post.

    What I do love about your blog is the fact that you don't do sponsored posts or preach at us.

    Style and way of living are all individual choices and you just reinforce that is OUR choice!

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  19. I didn't see the original post on Janet's blog, so I'm pleased you did a recap for us. And you are so right; about personal style, shopping secondhand, being original and individual, but also about the contrast between the consistent friends, and the here-today-pissed-off-tomorrow and self-promoting types!
    I cannot imagine shopping on the high street any more, secondhand is MUCH more satisfying, on so many levels. Stepping away from fast fashion is a step in the right direction, ethically and economically, not to mention that amazing and unique pieces you can find to wear. You're exemplifying this principle beautifully today in those brilliant colours and prints. Love the polka dot jacket (good old Kerry!) and I can even cope with tartan when it comes in the form of a Dereta maxi! (I have a quite similar skirt - need to fix the hem and get it worn!)
    You look elegant, funky, interesting - in short, you look like YOU! And I love that, and you!
    Enjoy the weekend! xxxx

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  20. So true, why would I want to look just like everyone else! :)

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  21. I too never saw the original piece but that doesn't change the fact that I agree with you've said. I certainly don't have a wardrobe as big as yours but I do frequently do a clear out and pass things on. I'd much Esther put my pennies towards the pieces that are keepers and make me smile.

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  22. A wonderful read , which has given me a lot to think about , as always a fabulous outfit , good weekend Vix xxx

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  23. I'm not sure whether its because you are wearing plaid, or my fave color combo (red white and blue) or just simply because you are one stunning woman but I got chills reading this post. As always, your words, actions and style inspires, and I love how you show proof in pudding that TRUE STYLE isn't got by spending or trending but by being true to what you love, and true to yourself. Aces, the whole package, you.

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  24. I find your life amazing. Wish I had the freedom to travel and interact with people.

    I too cull my closet down to my most wearable enduring pieces. Some items I do keep for more costume purposes on goofy posts.

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  25. I love this message, and I agree so much! Since I stopped buying magazines and reading blogs exclusively, and started only buying items secondhand I've felt so much better about myself and my style. Modern fashions are the dullest thing ever (and 99% of the time not worth the amount of money they charge for it, being made poorly out of cheap fabrics). I love your style and find it so inspiring the way you mix and match and make everything unique. And I love how honest you are and that I'll never read your blog and think "Does she really think that or is she being paid to say it?"

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  26. And some vanish for a while, only to reappear, excited to catch up on what they've missed!
    Excellent post, and lots of truth regarding the state of the fashion industry these days. Thanks for sharing again, as I missed it the first time.
    Lots of love, friend!
    xo, Anita

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  27. Dear Vix: I am so happy you re-posted this! Now that we have wheels I can now go to the second-hand stores (we only have one in walking/biking distance). xox

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  28. Hey Vix,

    I have gone from blogging but have not forgotten my favourite bloggers! I could never tire of your tales of India and I love your style you wear it well.

    Loved the article and so true.

    P x

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  29. LOVE this!!! That outfit is so epic & so totally you... Had to share! THANKS for the constant inspiration Vix. -xo

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  30. Yes, I missed this the first time. Delightful!! I love the way you break it down. Every time Fall rolls around I'm craving black, and maybe navy, brown, and green. But of course I have to have my jewelry, hats, and boots!!! (YAY!!)

    I always love seeing you with your hair up, too. Or down. I just always love seeing you doing YOU. XXXOOOO

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  31. Great post, Vix! It is wisdom that needs repeating often. Is that your friend Janet in the green paisley dress? I am crazy about that pattern and the colours! I wrote but have not yet published, about a similar idea, about thrift shop purchases making your wardrobe more personal and unique. We all have different levels of access to clothing both new and second hand. My local thrift shops do not offer up too many real treasures and I do not have the time or patience to sew my own (I would also have to learn how to alter patterns for my height) but I think that even just combining new retail items with second hand finds helps to bring more personal style.

    When you commented that if you have to ask others if it looks good then it's not true to you, I thought about how for me that also applies the other way around. Sometimes others tell me something looks good on me and perhaps it does but if it doesn't feel right it is not right for me. I might look good in a pencil skirt and heels but that is not me.

    Final thought: What idiots would abandon reading your blog? Surely they must be defective beings or perhaps in a coma.

    Happy Pubbing!
    xoxo

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  32. I love your style and your message. Don't you wish you could shout it from the rooftops to all the automatons down there getting so stressed about fashion and fitting in?!
    I am so glad I found secondhand shopping, and so glad I found you!
    Have a lovely relaxing weekend, and partay!
    Xo JJ

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  33. Your self-owned style is fabulous. I love the Lamani tribal pendant/statement necklace and all your vintage rings and bracelets. Your outfits, your style and you are colourful, fun, and as you noted, never boring. Your 1970s polka dot jacket and Dareta maxi skirt look lovely together.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  34. Ooo! Vix is wearing a tricolor ensemble, too! Says a faithful follower who was energized by viewing Helga's outfit du jour early this morning...

    Not only do I read your blog, Vix, and a few of others I deem the "Survivalists", I've enjoyed reading posts of yesteryear to catch up on what I missed. Now I actually look forward to the festival season and the annual trip to India! And tales of the cats and Jacob, of course.

    Vix, you've claimed your style by staking your turf -- and then putting out a gracious Welcome mat to encourage fellow thrifters to sew patchwork curtains and "make the effort" to brighten the spot on this planet they call home. Thank you!

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  35. I love your blog and I love Janet's blog so it was a great combo!!

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  36. How exciting to wear opposites in colour and pattern and what a result! Since following your blog I have ventured into many a charity shop and found some lovely things - my favourite is my Italian leather belt, brand new, for a fiver. I love to have odd statement pieces that personalise my wardrobe and when window shopping I often imagine I see your reflection behind me saying 'naah' when I look at 'fashion' these days. I think fashion is a stupid word actually and should be replaced by style - everybody can have style and if they haven't found it yet, they can learn how to grow some at your place!

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  37. Like others I missed this post first time round, so thanks for reposting it. You are so articulate and wise, i love it. Yes, i can't imagine buying clothes from retail any more. I've become far too tight for one thing! You are naturally stylish, so whatever you present yourself in, you look fab. I love your hair in a bun today. You manage to look sophisticated and edgy all at one. What would we do without you to keep on inspiring us? Xxxxxxxx

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  38. I have spent so long in charity shop[ping mode now that I don't think I could ever do high street shopping again. I could never pay those prices for a start. I love charity shopping for so many reasons, mostly I love the process, choosing with your instinct as you say. It's not shopping really, it's a sort of creative experience. And you don't need a credit card to do it. I think it's basically the only sane way to clothe yourself.

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  39. Proof that polka-dot and plaid is how to stand out in a crowd. I LOVE this outfit. This is the how-to of pattern mixing.

    I agree that visiting thrift shops really does focus you in on your own personal style. Once you've had a few good scores at a thrift shop it makes you think retail is for sissies.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  40. Brilliantly said!

    I think what most people need to work out is what they don't like and don't suit. Once you've mastered that it makes shopping much easier, as you just discount 90% of what's in the shop (whether high street or second hand). I remember when I shopped only high street feeling completely overwhelmed whenever I went into a shop, wondering 'is that me?' with every choice. I agree that second-hand gives you a built in homing sense! Have fun in the pub. I'm dying for a glass of wine and it's only twenty past two in the afternoon, do you think that's allowed?! x

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  41. how i love that outfit!!!!!
    and you with the top knot and pink lippy - wonderful!
    i did shop for clothes most of my life in 2.hand shops or the storages of my family. high street shopping always felt strange......my style changed, but it was always my very own style. i´m over the moon that i found someone like you who encourages me every day to stay true.
    now over to your friend janet - i´m curious!
    have a great weekend!
    xxxxxx

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  42. Too true! I'm struggling to think of the last time I bought an item of clothing from a proper shop. If you don't count the freebies I get with vouchers, I haven't been shopping on the high street in donkey's years!

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  43. Great interview and advice. Especially about how if you need to ask someone if something works, how "you" can it be?
    I guess I'm one of those people that disappeared from the comments for a bit. Not because I was tired of your shopping/styling/selling adventures but because I'm still trying to find ways to manage my time post-baby while still getting in time for the fun stuff I enjoy including reading my fave blogs and trying to update my own. I'm gettin' there.

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  44. So good that you gave the post a secnond read.
    Polka dots amc checked yeahhhhhhh
    I have been with you from my very beginning, so here to many more years or our own styles.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  45. I do agree with so many things you say Vix, and wholely subscribe to your point of view. But what REALLY struck me was when you said if you had to ask others if something suited you, it was something to avoid. Too true! I don't make a lot of shopping mistakes, but almost every single time I've blown it, it has been because I let someone else influence me in whether or not to buy something.

    Cheers,
    Rosemary from
    www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

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  46. I'm floored by the spotty jacket and tartan maxi combo ... utterly stunning! I can only imagine you bartering for that incredible Indian necklace, my jaw hit the floor at the sight of you wearing it. And yes, YOU are definitely wearing this outfit, actually everything you wear ... I've never known an outfit to wear you and you give some wonderful advice here. Enjoy your wonderful, relaxing weekend!! xoxoxoxox

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  47. I might print this out and take it with me every time I walk near a shop! I am good at culling clothes although I wish I didn't get tempted by crap.

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  48. I couldn't even begin to tell you what's "in fashion" I think the kewl kids are all wearing my 90s cast off's but there's no way in hell I'm wearing all that again...
    I totally agree with you and certainly know my own style to a T, but I do admit its been quite hard letting go of the high street stuff, though a lot of what I buy isn't trendy anyway. more basics and smock dresses. If I had the time an energy (and dosh) I'd probably get to the markets and vintage stores more often but I'm totally trying and replacing that with handmade instead!
    And I am on the verge of a wardrobe clean out! I can do it!

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  49. My real life style icon is me! But I need women in my life like you to help inspire and share our love of clothing with. I think most people are happy wearing what is trendy or current because it's easy. Let them, more vintage for us! I love your style because its authentically you! This outfit is crazy good totally original and so you! I hope the pubs had served you well this weekend! I know they have here!!!! Talk soon
    Xxxooooooolove you!!!!!

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  50. You are very right Vix. Unfortunately I do not have "the eye" and I am pretty sure I will never get it either.
    But I do my best and listen to friends (and the shop assistent if she is good). And sometimes I even have great vintage finds.
    I will have to buy retail as well with my limited styling skills, but I do know what suits me and what not. So if fashion wants me to wear something unsuitable I disregard it.
    You however, have real style and the eye. Lucky you.
    Greetje

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  51. Yes! I couldn't agree with you more. For myself, I don't even thrift shop anymore, just sew. I've got so much stuff, I use it as raw material to harvest fabric, zippers, buttons or whatever I might need. I find it stirs my creative juices to no end. Luv your style.

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  52. That dotted blazer and plaid skirt is MAGIC!!! ...and AMAZING pics, hello! You look like a goddess coming out of an enchanted forest. Hmmm, I wish Vogue had pics like that.

    I love your blog, it brightens my day.

    happy thrifting ;)

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  53. I didn't see the original post either, so I really enjoyed reading this. You completely own your style - it suits your body and your personality, and has become an integral part of your life. I feel like a work in progress, constantly editing what doesn't feel like me anymore, and trying to find pieces that show the best possible me. I never thought about it before, but what you said about having to ask someone else if something suited you meant it wasn't right for you, and that is so true - thank you for reminding me about that.

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  54. I looked for you today at the vintage fayre , did you have a weekend off ? I have become more adventurous of late even today sporting a red cardigan and I found a lovely red leather bag for only £3 at the fayre that I am very pleased with :-)

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  55. polka dots, plaid and chunky ethnic jewelry- that's why I love you!!!

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  56. Yep, like many I missed this post so I'm chuffed you re-posted! finding the pieces that make 'you' you is wonderful, your style is definitive and perfectly you, your polka dot jacket and skirt are a beautiful combination, I'm glad I ditched women's magazines years ago, the 'make-overs' were sanitized, safe and always hid the subject's personality which I always thought the greatest shame, how sad - it's why I love blogs so much, I can admire lot's of women and their own personal style which they own! as you do brilliantly! inspiration is my thing, next step for me is being able to make it - anyhoo! I hope you had a fecking brilliant weekend! x x x

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  57. I love this post! I think I found my style when I ditched following the latest fashions and buying ethical and charity shop clothing. Not really sure I actually own my style yet, perhaps something to keep striving for.Loving your style and confidence to do your own thing and wear the clothes that you want to wear.

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  58. Catching up.....Appreciating this reminder of importance and FREEDOM of finding your own style. Nobody does it better than you, Vix!

    The cemetery walk in another post of yours was solemn and stately. How I admire those romantically-styled engravings! Your outfit brought just the right amount of flair and color to the muted shades of history...

    Your photos are my travelog and I'm richer for having seen them.

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  59. this might be my fav outfit ever!!° spots and plaid. i love it!

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  60. I love this post and that blazer looks polished but fun as well (does that make sense). Also great advice Vix, wear what makes you feel awesome and to hell with the rest! I've been following your blog for sometime and plan to keep on doing so - I love the great outfits and trips to India - but more than that I love your view of the world. Keep being awesome oxox

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