Notes of a Fashion Dynasty

Maximalism is a term used in the arts, including literature, visual art, music, and multimedia. It is used to explain a movement or trend by encompassing all factors under a multi-purpose umbrella term like expressionism.

Dear Heart 618 Foster St | Durham Model: Samantha Styling: Donna Orr & Chanell H. Mitchell

Dear Hearts
618 Foster St | Durham
Model: Samantha
Styling: Donna Orr & Chanell H. Mitchell

Me: …but you look so effortless, I want to look effortless

Sis: Well, I’m not effortless … I’ve been planning this outfit for a week.

My sister came to Durham to visit. There will always be the normal  pressure associated with a family visit: clean house, fun things to do, and places to eat, but my family is different.

We have Fashion pressure.

This a pressure that only exist if you come from a fashion dynasty. I am lucky enough to come from one of these families, and cursed to have married into one. I never get a break, there is no side of my family that I can just wear my leggings and a poncho with. It is a constant strive to be hip, inspired, and appears as though I rolled out of bed that way.

leggings and a pnoch

Leggings & a Poncho
T- Shirt Dear Hearts Durham

The fashion pressure begins  Saturday morning we are getting dressed to shop and eat  downtown . We will throw a few outfits together and snap some photos for what was supposed to be a blog about layering.

 Samantha explains or defends her outfit choice.

Sis: See, I was inspired by a vintage kitchen.

Me: I love it!  You look great, what the F#shion am I going to wear?

Sis: Whatever you want… love the cameo shorts; are you going to wear heels? Mom didn’t like this outfit, she said it didn’t match.

Me: I’ve learned that if you want to be in style now a days you have to break all the rules mom taught us to follow.

Samantha and a Vintage Kitchen Sink

Samantha and a Vintage Kitchen Sink


Break Mom’s rule 

We broke all of Mom’s rules today. The outfit we pulled for Samantha from Dear Hearts was inspired by a movement called Maximalism. In fashion it is an over use of colors, patterns, and textures. This is a huge trend for spring 2014.

I know what your thinking

How the F#shion am I going to put all of these things together and not look a hot mess?

Let me start with a very simple way to dress as a maximalist, as though you have been doing it your whole life.


dear hearts-27.jpg

Dear Hearts Vintage


Vintage clothing is often found in many different colors, patterns, and textured fabrics. In modern clothing, you don’t see as many different fabric or texture choices as you might in vintage clothing. Simply by choosing different fabrics you are on your way to becoming a Maximalist.

photo 1.JPG

IN God We Trust
Princess Cuff

 The 80/20 Rule

80/20 at its most basic form is 20% exposed  and 80% covered; if you wear a short skirt it should be paired with a long sleeved top (Cake wrote a song about it). The same rule applies for stellar maximalism : 20% slim or slenderizing patterns,  or exposed skin; 80% oversized clothing, patterns, or fabrics. In order to break these rules appropriately you must have your advanced degree, or be Rachel Zoe.



North Carolina based ceramic and fiber artist’s Martina Thornhil’s work can be found at Dear Hearts

Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory. Coco Chanel


Coco Chanel was a supreme Maximalist, and one of my biggest inspirations; but if I followed this rule they wouldn’t let me into the grocery store because I am a minimalist at heart.  I adapted to Coco’s sage advice by adding an accessory before leaving the house.

Adding layers of scarfs or jewelry will add “weight” to your look. I offset my assets with over sized scarfs around my neck or stacked bangles on my wrist. Keep 80/20 in mind while you are adding accessorize  other wise you will Landslide into Stevie Nicks territory.  Add weight opposite to your natural assets.


Samantha a Super Fly Maximalist

 Samantha’s look:

 Inspired and styled by Donna Orr of Dear Hearts Vintage in Durham. We started with Striped High Wasted Shorts ( Courtshop$ 97) then added a long sleeve pink silk blouse (DHV$ 28) .We added a  vest to keep it feminine and  accent Samantha’s waist,  then we layered brass rings (Verameat $68) and bracelets ( In God We Trust) for some sparkle. A snake skin belt (DHV$ 12)brings the colors together, and a  Ceramic Necklace(Martina Thornhill $52) with a tassel adds softens the square line of the vest. The scarf was the final touch; an indigo dyed organic cotton knit  (local desidner Martina Thornhill $28) we tied the 2 ends together to make the scarf fuller and add a soft weight to the top , balancing Samantha’s Long legs.

 Notes of a fashion Dynasty; a word from Mom

No matter what you wear or how you pair it make sure that you feel confident and comfortable. Trends will come and go, but dressing like a street walker is never going to get you a husband so don’t sell the farm.

Indigo Dyed Organic Cotton Knit Scarf: Martina Thornhill ($28)"Hot Mess" Sweet Nothings Necklace: In God We Trust ($40)Ceramic Necklace: Martina Thornhill ($52)Pink Printed Blouse: Dear Hearts Vintage ($28)Hunting Vest: Dear Hearts Vintage ()Snakeskin Belt: Dear Hearts Vintage ($12)Spine Ring: VERAMEAT ($68)Painters Bow Cuff: Dream Collective ($100)Princess Cuff: In God We Trust ($80)Pippi Double Ring: In God We Trust ($80)Striped High Waist Shorts: Courtshop ($97)LA Gear Tennies: Dear Hearts Vintage ($24)

Indigo Dyed Organic Cotton Knit Scarf: Martina Thornhill ($28) “Hot Mess” Sweet Nothings Necklace: In God We Trust ($40) Ceramic Necklace: Martina Thornhill ($52) Pink Printed Blouse: Dear Hearts Vintage ($28) Hunting Vest: Dear Hearts Vintage () Snakeskin Belt: Dear Hearts Vintage ($12) Spine Ring: VERAMEAT ($68) Painters Bow Cuff: Dream Collective ($100) Princess Cuff: In God We Trust ($80) Pippi Double Ring: In God We Trust ($80) Striped High Waist Shorts: Courtshop ($97) LA Gear Tennies: Dear Hearts Vintage ($24)