I'm sure that by now you've all heard of chickdowntown, purveyor of designer clothing for women, and of all the blog and twitter giveaways they're holding, but I for one never sat down to actually look at their lookbook, which Amy (the owner) regularly tweets about working on. (By the way, unlike a lot of other companies with twitter accounts, chickdowntown's actually an interesting user to follow because Amy tweets about her workday as part of the fashion/business industry, so you get an insider's view, not just a bunch of promotional tweets.)

Okay, so the lookbook is huge (I have been clicking for at least fifteen minutes straight now, and the end doesn't seem to be in sight yet), so here are three of my picks from the more recent pages:

WHAT: Formal or party dresses with sneakers. I know some people would call this a fashion faux pas, but I say as long as you look more I'm-can-change-your-motor-oil-and-do-my-eye-makeup like Kristen Stewart than I-hate-fashion-because-it-means-conforming-and-I'm-a-rebel like early Avril Lavigne, go for it! As long as the dress isn't too long and the sneakers don't lace too high, it looks like you know what you're doing.

WHY: Because it reminds me of "A Beautiful Mess" by Jason Mraz ("What a beautiful mess this is / It's like picking up trash in dresses") and Emma Watson, who likes her floral Converse enough to have personally incorporated it into her official website design.

HOW: Chickdowntown offers the dress on the left for $110 as part of their Vintage Collection, but other places to find 80's prom dresses include etsy, ebay, and secondhand stores. As for sneakers, there's always the reliable Converse, although Payless stocks wannabe-Converse for much cheaper (although the toe tends to look too rounded).

BONUS POINTS: If you pair a subdued dress (good luck finding a subdued 80's prom dress) with sequined Converse. Alternatively, you can follow the model on the right and grab something sparkly to go with plain black sneakers.

WHAT: A serious but non-atrocious 90's throwback with the iconic denim jacket, floral print, and cowboy boots.

WHY: Because for all the 90's-referential pieces, the look as a whole works right now. The rolled sleeves make the denim jacket on-trend (rolled blazer sleeves, anyone?) instead of awkward. Plus, the dark wash isn't blatantly 90's. The floral dress paired with cowboy boots should be a nightmare, but keeping the dress, leggings, and boots in the same neutral color family makes the look cohesive. Finally, the boots aren't knee-high, so the look avoids what I remember as the boho-chic vibe of the mid-2000's, aka freshmen year of high school, which would look beyond bland for 2009. (This is probably just me and my bitterness because I've never found a way to make boho-chic work for me.)

HOW: The jacket, leggings, and vintage boots are available at chickdowntown, and Forever21 has some agreeably non-pricey floral dresses (and probably less pricey leggings) to achieve this layered, season-mixing look.

BONUS POINTS: If you affix all your BSB pins to the denim jacket at once! If your dress is short, because the slim leg silhouette looks more fresh with a raised hemline, especially with the half-calf boots already doing their best to visually stump your legs.

WHAT: An autumn/winter look inspired by private schools and academia. (Which makes me think of "Academia" by Sia. "You're a difficult equation with a knack for heart evasion / Will you listen to my proof or will you add another page on?")

WHY: Because your statement jacket doesn't always have to be your whole outfit, especially when you're wearing it for all of fall and winter.

HOW: Chickdowntown has the red coat, white jacket, both plaid skirts, and all three cardigans. I would definitely go for a fatty headband like the model on the left (Forever21 has some fantastically loud ones) in black, regardless of hair color. Ribbed wool tights are a must for braving cold weather in skirts (when you buy, remember they'll probably be a bit more expensive than regular nylon or cotton tights, but they're definitely worth it, and your legs will thank you for the extra protection). And if you happen to have your own statement jacket hanging around already, you can probably try this look with things from your closet! (Cardigan? Check. Skirt in similar color? Probably check? Semblance of tights? Check!)

BONUS POINTS: If you layer cardigans like the model on the left (notice they match so as not to detract from the main red/green contrast). If you limit yourself to three colors like either of these ladies (colors are so important for making an outfit look deliberate). Or (super extra bonus points) if you forgo the plaid skirt altogether and instead grab that plaid button-down in your closet and pull a Susie Bubble cardi-skirt trick.

Agree? Disagree? Yes, but? Which chickdowntown looks would you like to attempt?
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