Polka Dots & Stripes | Stop Playing it Safe!featured

Hey, Mocha Divas!

Don’t you just love the start of a new year? It’s the perfect excuse (or opportunity) to start or stop doing something – good or bad. Well, it’s only befitting that I say, stop playing it safe…in fashion. For as long as I can remember, I have loved mixing and matching outfits. I got it honestly from my Mom. She was always pulling outfits together, and she looked great in EVERYTHING that she wore. She didn’t conform to trends. My Mom knew what looked good on her and she worked those looks. Her style was effortlessly chic, and she knew when to kick it up a notch or two or three. Similarly, my style is not necessarily inspired by trends or certain designers, although I think it’s okay to have some trendy pieces and designer brands in your wardrobe. It’s all about what I like and what I think looks good on me, and usually it comes in the form of classic pieces that I can wear season after season.

The outfit that inspired this post was not something that I had worn before. I’ve actually had both pieces for quite some time and have worn them separately on several occasions, but never thought to wear them together – until the night before my photo shoot (gasp!). Polka dots and stripes…who knew? Well, it’s not a novel idea and I’m not the first to do it, so I’m not claiming that credit. I am using it as an example of how I don’t play it safe (in fashion) and you shouldn’t either. There is something so liberating about putting on pieces that speak to you and feeling so confident in that decision that you aren’t bothered about what anyone else thinks of your choice. It’s reminiscent of the little girl who wants to put on her cowboy boots with every outfit, no matter if it matches or not. She likes her boots, so she wears them. Bravo to the parents out there who allow their girls (and boys) to be free enough to wear those cowboy boots – even in July! I had this conversation with a girlfriend recently whose almost 2-year old daughter is feeling like this about her pink rain boots. We both agreed that if it makes that baby happy, she should be allowed to wear those boots, even when rain isn’t in the forecast! Now, wearing rain boots to daycare on a sunny day is very different from wearing flip-flops to a formal dinner with a potential client. I’m just saying. More about that later.

About this outfit…I have a thing for bow tie blouses. It’s not a new thing either. Imagine my surprise when I found this picture of me wearing a bow tie blouse as a little girl. Isn’t she lovely? 🙂


I want to purchase every blouse that I see with a bow tie, so I have to stop myself. Again, I like what I like and I happen to think that they look good on me, so there you have it. I found this blouse a few years ago at a local boutique (no longer in business) here in Memphis and I had to have it. Not only do I love bow tie blouses, but I also love polka dots, so this was a perfect combination. The blouse is quite versatile – I’ve worn it with jeans and I’ve dressed it up with other skirts.


I found the skirt about two years ago at another local boutique, The Ivory Closet. I knew I had to have it because I have a thing for circle skirts and I love color. I had no idea what I would pair it with, but I wanted it. I’ve paired it with a solid tank a couple of times, but that’s about it. As I was prepping for this photo shoot, I knew I wanted pics of me in the skirt and in the blouse, but not necessarily together as an outfit. Well, as I had them both hanging in the closet waiting for partners, I thought, why not? I kept holding them next to each other thinking, “I can pull this off because the golden brown dots coordinate with the golden brown stripes in the skirt.” Yes, that’s how I think about and rationalize my looks.


Now what shoes would I use to pull this whole look together, because we know it’s all about the shoes, right? I had the perfect shoes in my closet. I had purchased them a few years ago for my birthday. I love them because they are cute and comfortable, open-toe and they have an ankle tie – black with gold accents, perfect.  I can’t remember where I purchased them, but they are Guess brand. I didn’t try the outfit on because I didn’t want to talk myself out of it. Go figure. Hey, I practice what I preach. Not playing it safe over here. Just going for it.



When I showed up for the photo shoot wearing the outfit, my amazing photographer (and fellow blogger bae) immediately commented on it and said how much she liked the combination. She has an eye for style, so I trust her judgement. I had to laugh though because less than 24 hours before, I had no idea what I was wearing. Although I wasn’t sure that I would use the pictures for a “look” post, I asked her to take several shots of the outfit just in case. Based on today’s post, you know I decided to highlight the outfit.

It’s typical for me to mix unconventional pieces or add a pop or two of color. A few weeks ago, a colleague looked down at the tangerine suede pumps that I had decided to pair with the day’s outfit and said, “Your shoes must match your handbag?” Mind you, we were in a meeting, so my handbag was in my office (and it didn’t match my shoes). I laughed out loud and responded, “No, I just wanted a pop of color today.” I clicked my heels and strutted off. Hey, I’m sorry (not sorry), the solid blazer and slacks combo needed a little something extra.

Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color (i.e. shoes, accessories, a blouse, you name it), or mix patterns. Your personal style should speak to you. Everything doesn’t work for everybody, even if it’s your size. Once you determine what does work for you, wear more of that thing. Hold your head up high and strut your stuff.

Let me be clear, not playing it safe (in fashion) is not the same as “it’s ok to be inappropriate.” Can we leave the bonnets and pajama pants in the house where they belong? Although leisure wear has become the new thing, bed-clothes should remain in the house – in the bed (or close to it). Can we all agree to that? Comment below and let me know what other trends you wish would go away?

“A girl should always be two things: classy and fabulous” – Coco Chanel

May this be the year that you choose to wear that which makes you feel good about you, regardless of the trend. Here’s to living your best life NOW!

Live. Laugh. Love.


Photographer: Kim Thomas

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