I went on a deleting rampage on my Instagram feed and wanted to reshoot the dress I got while working with Unseen Addiction back in December (check out my feature here). I had been yearning to revisit Balmy Alley and decided my blush tones would complement the scene well.
Setting the Mood
I shot these photos during Women’s Month (March) - just a week or so before the Women’s Protest. I had simultaneously been studying different art and poetic forms in school. In turn, the graffiti and murals had me feeling “some type of way." I was discussing one of the photos with my boyfriend and he said something that struck me, “you’re in an alley, you’re holding onto your bag, it makes sense." The combination of these factors inspired me to write the following poem:
Do you know what it's like to hold on tight?
To fear for your life while walking at night?
And during the day because regardless of the hour- you're hounded like prey
Do you know what it's like to fear the person walking behind you and to your right?
While anxiously holding your pepper spray- gripping it tight
You grip your bag and hide your eyes in disguise
For hopes you won't be recognized
You wish to be invisible- a ghost, but only for a moment
The moment you fear for your life the most
Do you know what it's like to be a modern woman in a patriarchal world?
To be catcalled
And forced to swallow your pride whole
Stripped naked with the male gaze while you're fully clothed?
I am a woman and this is my soul's demise
To always be in the sight of an Evil Eye
I have strong feelings about catcalling and felt that Women's Month was the perfect time to address an issue that is deep rooted between the sexes. When I was in seventh grade, my mother told me, "Honey, it doesn't matter if you wear sweatpants, men are still going to check you out." As an adult, I have learned that her statement is proven to be true.
I despise that in "modern society", I am expected to accept this as a fact of life. I hate that avoiding eye contact and dismissing such behavior still leaves me feeling violated. Sometimes when the mood strikes, I'll say "something," but realistically I cannot confront every strange man that makes me uncomfortable. I have been told that modesty is the best deterrent to unwanted gazes, yet even the times I abide by these restrictions, men still act similarly. It has made me question how to make a larger impact and further prevent this from happening in the long term:
1. Stating it on a large platform, like the internet, is one way
2. Supporting other feminists (personally and business-wise) is another
3. And one day raising my children to think critically about related issues early on
These may seem small or mediocre ways, but a small drop of water can create a large ripple. And perhaps I will think of grander ways in the future.
I love nude midis, but sometimes nude dresses wash me out or aren’t flattering against my fair skin. This style is a high on my list of necessities, yet I am often left with few options. I was delighted this oatmeal shade worked well. I especially love the turtleneck feature and overall length. Recently, I've been attracted to monochromatic looks and decided to style a matchy-matchy outfit around the Lush dress.
A nude palette is one of my favorite's because the illusion creates sex appeal. I balanced out the misleading color combination by bundling with several layers and wearing a dress that falls at the knee. I paired the dress with my blush Shein lapel coat and Restricted booties. A while back, I vowed to add more brown shoes to my wardrobe because I primarily own black. Although these are not a true brown, I still consider these a win. They have some chocolate detailing and aid in lightening up my accessory options which is the ultimate goal.
Today is the first day of spring and it's raining in San Francisco *awkward*
Spring is my favorite season so I am eager for the rain to subside. The flowers I adore won't bloom unless we had these showers, so I will wait patiently. I find ways to fashionably cope during this awkward season transition such as utilizing vibrant and lightweight coats.
I purchased this piece on sale for $35 several years back. I loved the print, pattern, and color combination. The lining is thin which makes it the perfect weight when it's cool in the morning and evening, but warm during the day. It's typically fine by itself, but has enough room for an additional layer in case you need it. The color and pattern transform my mood into a sunny spirit despite gloomy day hiccups. I have linked twenty coats perfect for this season transition under $100 below.
Photos by Rachel Radcliffe
"Posting less and doing more" epitomizes my life right now. I have been so consumed with “real life” scenarios that I have had little time to blog let alone think about celebrating my birthday earlier this month. So, how does 27 feel GRAND?! I feel like every year an epiphany reveals a lasting impression.
In terms of vanessaevelyn.com questions that have been running through my mind in recent weeks are:
What is my blog’s identity?
Does my website even have an identity?
What are my overall goals? and so on…
When I first started blogging, it was simply a hobby. I didn’t realize how fulfilling and time consuming something seemingly so simplistic could be. My primary focus lately has been on school. Not being able to blog every week has brought a few things to my attention. Having space away from this art form made me see what a big a part of my life it is. It has also made me think longer about the photos I take, captions I introduce, and concepts I aim to discuss.
I have some background in advertising and marketing, and an imperative concept I learned during my stint is what makes a brand or business successful is their niche. Initially, I didn’t feel the need to create a niche. I simply saw what I was doing as a casual expression. However, the more time I invest into my hobby the more it has been geared towards a career therefore establishing myself as a brand has become imperative.
I came across another blogger’s caption, the first day of March, which stated a critique his friend made about his Instagram feed:
“A good friend of mine told me that I rarely drop ‘banger’ photos because my edits are different. I get it- I welcome constructive criticism. But my intention is not to drop banger photos. My intention is to post photos that truly represent me. Sure, there are tons of beautiful Instagram feeds out there but guess what… they all look the same. Everyone is too scared to have a point of view because they see so many succeeding with the same style. Ever since I switched my Instagram style up, I’ve never felt more comfortable and happy with my online work” - Denny Balmaceda
I believe most things in life are fluid; and with new direction comes a new plan. I see coincidences like this as a gift. God saying, “There’s your answer Vanessa, Happy 27th Birthday.” I receive critiques and compliments on my work all the time- I have learned to take note of people’s opinions, digest them, but ultimately do what my heart and brain feel is best. I hope you all enjoy the new direction I will be taking and continue to follow my journey.
About the Look:
What better way to celebrate my birthday month and this identity realization than by sporting my favorite color? I am excited to introduce my burgundy duster, compliments of sheinofficial.com. I was introduced to this company by an old friend and immediately fell in love with a combination of traits- including styles, prices, and quality. The products take a while to be delivered, as they come from afar, but I have received three outerwear pieces from them and each have been exceptional. I love the color and length of my new duster. It runs a bit oversized, and is available in an extra small, but I decided to stick with a small. I love the lightweight fabric- it has a nice sheen and is easy to layer with. Can you believe it’s under $20?! Shop yours here.