July 2, 2019 – Fashion, Fascism, and the Blue Danube Waltz (OOTD #524)

I’m a big fan of walking bridges.

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could you tell me the abridged version?

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And I think the Margaret Bridge in Budapest may be favorite yet. It connects Buda and Pest, the two halves of Budapest (clever naming, right?) across the Danube from each other. Walking, I’d say it takes maybe 15 or 20 minutes to cross.

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i see why johann strauss ii wrote a waltz

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The view either way is gorgeous, though I would personally say that looking out at the Pest side from Buda is a particular treat, as you can see both the Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica across the water.

In addition to a lovely walking bridge that stretches the Danube River, Budapest also has the oldest Metro line in mainland Europe (the award for oldest Metro in all of Europe goes to the London Underground), with Line M1 dating all the way back in 1896.

I actually had the pleasure of riding Line M1 for a brief commute with my friend Bilal, as he needed to go from his university in the downtown area to a neighborhood a ways away. Maybe is a quirk specific to me, but I love testing public transportation systems in new cities. I grew up in a city without one (well, I suppose they had city buses, but there were no stops near where I lived so it was irrelevant to me), and so visiting places that have a metro or a train system is super exciting to me.

Budapest’s M1 had such a vibe. It looked more like it came out of the 1960’s rather than the 1890’s, but I can’t pretend that I know exactly what 1890’s public transit design looks like. I feel like most rail systems feel like walking into a time capsule, but this one had an especially strong aesthetic.

The final stop of the day was a monument to the former communist (note the lowercase “c”) Hungarian Prime Minister and leader of the failed Hungarian Revolution, Imre Nagy.

Let me tell you a little about this monument, which I think may have been up there in the list of my favorite things I saw in all of Europe this summer: it’s some spectacularly subtle design. Or at least it was, until it was moved to its current location.

Originally, this statue was located in Liberty Square, a plaza with some highly-political, highly-contested statues and monuments. Among other, less debated pieces, one can find controversial (depending, of course, on your opinion of the subject matter) monuments to the Red Army, to Ronald Reagan, and to the victims of German occupation (which features a makeshift protest installation right next to it) there.

Up until January of this year, Imre Nagy was right alongside the others. He was near the monument to the Soviet Red Army, which is a controversial monument in and of itself. It is the only Soviet monument in Budapest that has been allowed to remain in its original location; all of the others were moved to a park well outside of the city after the fall of the USSR.

Nagy’s original placement near the monument to the Red Army was very intentional. His gaze was fixed on Parliament, with his back to the Red Army. As a leader of the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which attempted to drive out Soviet control following its establishment during the liberation of Hungary from Nazi occupation, this is of course rather symbolic. He looked away from fascism and totalitarianism and towards democratic governance. With his relaxed and non-confrontational but defiant stance, he made a clear political statement through a few purposeful, subtle design choices.

However, Nagy’s statue has been moved to a new location near Margaret Bridge next to the Danube. He still looks towards Parliament, but he no longer has his back directly to the Red Army, and he is no longer so centrally located.

Was his relocation a political statement as well? Did Viktor Orbán himself order the monument’s movement, as one of his many attempts at historical revisionism? I don’t know. I can only say that I don’t like that the statue was moved, as it takes away from its original meaning and artistic intent. It’s an offense to Imre Nagy, to Hungarian history, and to good design.

Anyway, that was more than I meant to say today about historical revisionism and Hungarian politics. In summary: more fashion, less fascism. 

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: The LOFT

Skirt: Forever21

June 13, 2019 – Italian Cinema Star (OOTD #517)

The Notre Dame study abroad cultural enrichment activities strike again: this time, with a tour of Cinecittà Studios.

These little extracurricular tours have been great because they offer me the chance to see something that I likely would not have gone out of my way to see. Everyone wants to see the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain — and so naturally, I did that on my own. In fact, I took a whole day off from work to do that.

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hollywood on the tiber

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A tour of an Italian movie studio is not something I probably would have taken a day off from work to do, unless I had something special in particular to motivate me. I know (well, now I know, thanks to the tour) that Cinecittà has been the filming location for many famous movies over its history, including Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, and Cleopatra. The thing is, I haven’t seen any of those films.

I’m also just not much of a film person. I don’t like sitting still with all of my attention devoted to one screen for so long at a time. I tend to get bored, even in action-packed American films that are meant to keep children entertained for the whole duration. Slower, dialogue-heavy classic Golden Age films are even less captivating. Film, as an art form, just isn’t for me.

But the Notre Dame Global Gateway in Rome was offering free admission for a tour alongside some other students, and I’m glad I went. Even if I’m not into films of filmmaking, it was cool to see what an active movie studio looks like, especially the fully-assembled set of ancient Rome. The tour gave me an increased appreciation for cinema as an art.

I’m also not one to refuse free stuff — and I’m never one to refuse getting to spend time with other people (especially if they can take my picture with a model of ancient Rome used for production).

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: The LOFT

Skirt: Forever21

May 26, 2019 – Days In (OOTD #508)

Even in the Eternal City, you can have a day where you just feel like going nowhere.

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greetings from the 1930s

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Or maybe you don’t even feel like going nowhere — maybe you do feel like going out, but you can’t muster the motivation to haul yourself out of the house. Maybe the day began by feeling like going nowhere, but by late afternoon, you realized you’d made a mistake. But by then, it was late afternoon, and it wasn’t going to be worth the effort to go anywhere.

Besides, you’re in Rome by yourself. You have no friends to go anywhere with, not yet at least. The best tourist sites have admission fees and huge lines, even on a rainy day like this.

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*dean martin plays in the distance*

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So instead, you content yourself with taking the time to do your hair and makeup as if you’re going out and as if you’re going to have your picture taken in fun locations with your friends. The problem, then, is that after you’ve taken all this time to look nice, you feel like you have to at least take some pictures to document all that hard work you did. To compensate for having a useless day, you should at least go out and scout for some good photography locations.

Oh, and did I mention you still have a partially twisted ankle from tripping on the steps to the metro earlier in the week? 

So instead of venturing off somewhere fun for pictures, you’re stuck in the garden of the place where you’re staying. To be fair — it’s a beautiful garden with a gorgeous view of the Colosseum, and you’d been meaning to get some pictures there at some point anyway. But it doesn’t really satisfy your urge to get out and do something, because ultimately, you didn’t really get outside of the garden gates, and you didn’t really do anything but get some photos.

Also, while you’re outside, you end up slipping in the wet grass and twisting your ankle again, which really sucks.

But that sort of thing has never happened to me, of course. I always start my day with a clear purpose, and I don’t waste whole days sitting around my room doing my hair and makeup when no one’s going to see me. That’s just silly.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Dress: Thrifted

Blouse: Forever21

May 23, 2019 – Sunday School (OOTD #506)

Oops, it looks like I can’t stop taking pictures inside churches.

In fairness to me, there are some spectacularly beautiful churches in Rome, and they are very often mostly empty. If I don’t visit during mass time (which let’s be honest — I almost never do, because I’m not Catholic), and I’m not visiting a major tourist site like San Pietro, the churches in Rome are usually not hopping places.

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alexa, play “take me to church”

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Which to me, is odd, because they’re architecturally gorgeous. The churches I went to as a kid usually had the same artistic design as the average Target — simple, good for holding large numbers of people, and unoffensive. If you were lucky, maybe they had a big cross for decoration near the stage, but there were none of the stained glass windows or elaborate paintings as you see in European churches.

At some point, though, you see so many European churches that they just begin to run together in your head. Admittedly, I don’t think I could tell this particular old elaborate church from an old elaborate church in say, France. I’m sure someone who actually studies architecture could tell me all the ways in which French church design and Italian church design are fundamentally different, but to my untrained eyes, I don’t immediately recognize the difference.

In fact, one of the reasons why I chose to attend Notre Dame was because I visited the basilica on my tour, and I was blown away by the beautiful design. In my daily life as a student, I don’t ever visit the basilica. Like I said, I’m not Catholic, so it’s just not a thing I do. But I had never seen such a beautiful building before (remember, this was a time before I had visited places of worship in different countries), and I didn’t know churches in the US could look different from big box stores. I thought beautiful, gothic-style churches could only be seen in Europe or in films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Turns out, you can see them in the US too, but Catholics have a monopoly on them.

So basically, what I’m saying is I went to Catholic school because I liked the aesthetic.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Blouse: Forever21

Trousers: The LOFT

April 18, 2019 – Sprung (OOTD #496)

“Spring is sprung” is one of my least-favorite spring-related sayings.

Not that I’m an expert on all of them, or anything like that. There’s “April showers bring may flowers” and “In like a lion and out like a lamb” and “spring in your step.” But I find that “spring is sprung” is the most overused of the vernal quips.

Which is all just my way of saying I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog — and so I resorted to using a portion of an expression that I don’t even like. Creativity is hard. One might say it doesn’t always spring on me easily.

Can you believe that this gorgeous spring jacket was a thrifted find?

Actually, I can believe it. You can’t tell in these photos (or at least, I hope you can’t), but it’s actually not that nice of a quality. It’s made from thin polyester, and the stitching, especially at the buttons, is clearly not very well-done. I’m pretty sure whoever donated it to the thrift shop just bought it online on some Chinese website.

But that’s okay, since I only bought it thrifted. That’s the remarkable fun about thrifted clothing — since you’re buying so cheap, you can afford to take risks on crazy patterned spring coats that are more about the statement than the substance. If it falls apart after a few washes, it’s no skin off my back.

It’s the perfect kind of purchase to just spring into without deliberation.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Coat: Thrifted (Clothes Mentor)

Top: Forever21

Skirt: J. Crew

April 11, 2019 – A Very Blustery Day (OOTD #492)

You’ll have to excuse me if this outfit looks familiar; I seem to have developed an affinity for wearing this scarf and this coat a lot recently.

Mid-April in South Bend can still get pretty chilly, but thankfully; it’s not so cold that I need to wear my full formal winter coat (or my even warmer parka). I have a nice selection of lightweight spring jackets; but this one seems to be my favorite. Maybe it’s because it looks so similar to my camel winter coat?

I’ve actually had this jacket for several years, but only recently have I begun to wear it more frequently. It was a Forever21 purchase that I got for style rather than function back in high school — but recently, I’ve been choosing it because it is so perfectly functional. It’s just the right weight for spring in South Bend — warm, but not too warm.

And this scarf is one of my favorites to pair with it. As you can tell from these pictures, it can get pretty windy — which, paired with the colder temperatures we often get in the mornings, makes a scarf necessary. I like this one because of its heaviness — it’s both warm and functional, and structural and stylish. It’s great for tossing over my shoulders or piling up around my neck.

Plus, it’s yellow and if you’ve been reading this blog lately, you’ll know that mustard yellow is one of my favorite colors to wear. I’m still on the lookout for some yellow gloves to pair with it, and then my transformation info a duckling will be complete.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Coat: Forever21

Dress: Brandy Melville

April 9, 2019 – Architectural (OOTD #491)

In other news, we’re back to straight hair after four days of having it curly. I guess nothing lasts forever.

I don’t know how I feel about this blouse. I love the design — it’s architectural (which is funny because I also happen to be standing in front of the old architecture building here) and unique, and very much unlike your typical H&M find. What gets me though is the weird line drawing face. Like…why?

In one sense, I actually really like how weird it is. Nothing about the blouse’s design calls for half of a lady’s face to cover my left boob, and yet there she is. You’d think the blouse already has enough going on with the off-the-shoulder, structured-yet-billowy thing it has going on. There’s no reason to add a print; prints are for simpler designs.

But like I said. I actually kind-of enjoy how cheeky and bizarre it is from a design standpoint. I actually got it at H&M for super cheap, maybe $6, thinking that it probably wouldn’t get much wear but that I was okay with that for the price. In reality, though, it’s gotten way more weartime (get it? like airtime) than I ever thought it would — in fact, I can think of at least three outfits (here and here and here) from the last year that featured this top.

I think this blog’s interpretation of the blouse is my favorite of the four, though. I’d never thought to pair a jacket with it before because I thought it would detract from the blouse’s design, but as it turns out, it’s quite friendly to layering. I’m thinking I’ll try a bralette under it next. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Jacket: Forever21

Blouse: H&M

Skirt: Express (thrifted, Goodwill)

April 5, 2019 – The Coat (OOTD #486)

Should I just start titling my blogs as though they’re Seinfeld episodes?

You know, in the format of “The [noun].” It would make my life so much easier. You’ve read how much I like formulas for creating outfits on the fly — maybe a formula for blog titles would help too.

This coat has slowly become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. I’ve actually had it for several years — I can’t necessarily pinpoint when I purchased it at Forever21, but I was definitely still in high school. When I first bought it, I assumed it would only be worn for fashion and not really for warmth, but in the frozen cornfields of Northern Indiana, suddenly everything has to be worn for warmth.

What I’ve found I love most about it is how versatile it is — just like my normal camel-colored winter coat which you’ve probably seen featured in a lot of recent OOTD posts, it goes with a lot. For something that I throw on top of whatever I’m wearing in order to protect against the chilly South Bend winds, it’s crucial that it go with whatever I’m already wearing. I can’t choose my outfit based on what coat I’m going to wear that day (with some exceptions); I choose my coat based on what outfit I’ve already put together.

Camel, as it turns out, is a very versatile color and one that I like to wear a lot. Like I said, my go-to warm winter coat is camel-colored, and black/navy and camel is one of my favorite color combinations. It’s a neutral, but one that stands out in a crowd full of black and grey and navy. It’s the perfect color for a coat that you have to wear a lot — it stands out without upstaging the outfit itself.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Coat: Forever21

Turtleneck: Amazon

Dress: Fossil (thrifted, Clothes Mentor)

Scarf: A street vendor in Kathmandu, Nepal

March 28, 2019 – Welcome to the Sixties (OOTD #484)

Hey, remember when these blogs actually somewhat aligned with the real calendar date? Me neither.

So I’ve sort-of fallen behind. I hope you (and by you, I mean all three regular readers I suppose I have) don’t mind. I do actually really like to have a little bit of space in between the actual day the blog is supposed to be about and the date of that blog’s publication, but  three months is a little ridiculous; even I can admit that.

Regarding March 28’s outfit, though — it’s one of my favorites from March. I mean, I like the majority of my outfits — hence bothering to keep a fashion blog at all — but I’m particularly proud of this one.

Ever since I bought this retro disco dress at a vintage shop in Chicago, I’ve struggled to figure out how to wear it in new and interesting ways. It’s a great dress, don’t get me wrong — I love how blatantly 60s it is, it’s practically something I could have purchased at a Halloween shop with a Brigitte Bardot wig. However, that also poses problems — how do I wear it without looking like I purchased it at a Halloween shop?

It’s not exactly a dress I can throw a denim jacket over. It’s a deceptively simple dress; there’s very little to its design, but because of its bold pattern that immediately dates it to the 1960s, I have to be careful with how I accessorize it. Anything that seems more modern than the 60s, such as a denim jacket, would look silly when paired with it.

I thought this sweater was a good compromise. It’s got something of a vintage vibe to it as well, no?

I love this sweater — I honestly probably wear it way too much. For a cheap Forever21 purchase, it’s certainly lasted me a long time. It also happens to be my new favorite color to wear — yellow. Seems like a double-win for me.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com


Dress: A vintage shop in Chicago

Sweater: Forever21

 

 

March 26, 2019 – Work (OOTD #482)

I like this outfit a lot.

Granted, I like most of the outfits I wear — hence having this silly little blog and posting about the outfits I wear on a semi-regular basis (emphasis on the semi). There are outfits that I wear that I don’t particularly like, that I either don’t post about or do post about and regret it later (hint: basically anything from spring semester freshman year).

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instagram vs reality

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Sometimes, though, I put together an outfit and it just really clicks. Some times, it might not be anything I’d really put a lot of thought into; other times, it might be an idea that I’d been tossing around in my head for weeks. At any rate, I put it on in the morning, and it just works. 

I don’t like to use the word “work” in the America’s Next Top Model, RuPaul’s Drag Race sense — like, oh, I’m really working this outfit. It just sounds silly and narcissistic to me. But if there were an outfit that I thought I worked — and not just that the outfit worked on me, but that I worked the outfit — I guess this would be one of them.

I think maybe this had to do with the fact that this was one of the warmest days we’d been graced with in South Bend for quite some time — even though we were in the post-spring break stretch, it had still been pretty chilly.  The actual sun came out for a few hours in the afternoon and honored us with her presence. I don’t think she’d visited our cornfield patch of the Midwest in weeks.

And by warm, I mean, I still had to wear a hat, coat, and long socks. It wasn’t warm as in “spring’s here;” it was warm as in “winter’s still here and isn’t leaving for another month but at least it’s not -40 windchill anymore.” We really don’t even get to experience real spring but for a week or two at the very end of the semester (and so honestly, why do we even call it “spring semester?” Spring in South Bend is fake), so this is about as “spring” as it gets.

Happy spring, everyone!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com


Coat: Forever21

Dress: Vintage (some boutique in Chicago)

Hat: Amazon.com |NYFASHION101 French Style Lightweight Casual Classic Solid Color Wool Beret