September 27, 2014

4th Year!

Hip hip hooray, 4 years of blogging!  I still feel like a newcomer - the one who joined the party late and who still has so much to learn.  I don't think it will be until my 5th year that I start to realize maybe I've been at this for a good amount of time.  And it won't be until the 10th that I finally accept it.

Nonetheless, great things have happened this past year.  Even though I still consider 4 years the tip of the iceberg, I'm honoured to know others recognize more potential in that than I see myself.  Every year, it would be a crime not to thank my friends, readers and supporters (are you sick of it yet?); I feel incredibly privileged to have friends who show me so much support.

And at the end of the day, I am privileged.  Not because I was born with connections or was one to have opportunities come knocking on my door, but because I've had to yank seemingly closed and unreachable doors open myself. I've seen what hard work can do.  I am privileged because I have experienced doubt, adversity and judgement, yet have come out more passionate than ever.  Passion is ceaseless and will always serve you well. Follow your heart because those who tell you to go in other directions will never understand how strongly the fire burns within you.  Prove them wrong.

Happy Birthday, Red-Soled Fashionista.

Image Source: Birthday

September 6, 2014

Blossoming Love

One of my favourite things to do is go to weddings.  You get to dress up, see the bride's dress, eat a lot, and witness the beginning of a wonderful marriage.  I'm a sucker for romance.  I practically burst with joy after receiving an invitation to a wedding this summer, and spent all four months planning an outfit.

The thing about dressing up for me is...I don't have a lot of fancy dresses nor heels.  So to make do with what I had, I came up with a simple look that focused on quality separates.

Dress: Charlie Jade | Heels: Prada | Handbag: Unknown | Necklace: Tiffany & Co. | Tights: Unknown

If you'll recall, this dress is one I bought from Holt Renfrew for $9 (thanks to a gift card), and as for the shoes, I have been dying to find an opportunity to bring out these heels.  For once in my life, I didn't feel short - I felt average height, if not even tall.  I had a great time walking around in these booties, even though, no, they were not painless.  They didn't scratch or rub at all, but height like that doesn't come without sacrifice (no pain no gain, ladies).  The dress was understated, but I felt the artful mixing of colours and slippery silk material were details that elevated it slightly.

As a final note, this particular wedding I went to was one I will remember.  The bride and groom were clearly in love, and not because they were overt, but because they were so subtle.  The tender, silent communication they shared through the simple locking of eyes was palpable. A romantic, I am.

August 11, 2014

Not Without Love

So...yes, this is shaping up to be another summer of me not blogging.  That's not to say I've forgotten about Red-Soled Fashionista; on the contrary, I've had a steady flow of inspiration these past few months, yet time is one thing I don't have.  Partially this is due to a full-time summer job I am so grateful to have landed, but also another opportunity that was miraculously offered to me back in May.

I had planned to find another easy pay-per-post fashion blogging job for some extra cash, but there were slim pickings this year in terms of companies who were hiring.  After about a month of searching, I finally found a job posting from an accessories company.  I almost didn't apply because it required a CV, and I was too lazy to create a fashion-targeted resume. Luckily, I had a niggling fear of missing out on an opportunity, and so I applied.

And thank goodness I did!  A week later, I received an email.  After a surreal phone call with the company, I realized it was my blog and my writing style, both of which I have lovingly nurtured all these years, that made me stand out among the applicants.  Now here I am, working from home as Managing Editor of an American accessories company, getting paid to do what I love.  What seemed like a distant, impossible dream a few years ago has now become a very real possibility.  So, please do forgive me if Red-Soled Fashionista becomes a little bare, but always remember that my heart and soul is in this blog and I will never, ever be without love for it.

Image Source: Deavenue

July 14, 2014

Dressing for the Occasion

I feel good.  Just breathing in the moment, and boy, it smells sweet.  For one thing, I'm wearing a new outfit. In fact, these past three months have been filled with wonderful sartorial adventures, thanks to dressing up for the office.  I was too lazy to take a photo of my outfit today, but use your pretty imaginations: a navy Vince tee with the front tucked loosely into a pair of blue and white floral H&M shorts, a slouchy grey crochet cardigan from Hong Kong, gold snakeskin print Elie Tahari loafers, a maroon snakeskin minibag with gold hardware, and a blue-grey metallic stone necklace.  With an outfit like this, I felt decent enough to hit up Holt Renfrew for an afternoon of shopping.  Here's what I tried on:

Pink Tartan

This dress was in the sales rack, and it was a size 0 - how could I not pick it up.  I adore jacquard detailing, especially when done in sorbet pink, and the fabric had a quality thickness to it.  The bodice fit me wonderfully, but I just didn't have the model-esque figure to pull this off.  The dress landed below my knee (which actually isn't a problem once you have heels on), but the structured A-line slightly overwhelmed my petite frame.  

Needle & Thread

Both my mom and dad ohh-and-ahh-ed over this dress, so I definitely had to give it a whirl. The size 2 bodice fit a bit too snugly around my arms, even though the length was once again past the knee. However, the skirt was less poofy, making the length very chic.  I'm not too fond of the muddy colors, but the floral embroidery was quite pretty.  My parents thought the beading made it wholly worth its $500, and I guess they're right - this is better than any typical $500 prom dress you'd find in BCBG Max Azria.  Obviously I didn't buy it, but I have discovered a new dress label to ohh-and-ahh over.

Miu Miu

I never give up the opportunity to try on a pair of shoes at Holts.  I liked the artful sketch print on the toe of these Miu Miu pumps, although the stark white leather felt somewhat outdated.  The pointed toe added instant glamour to my legs (despite being very painful), but there's something about the shape of these heels that make it "off". I can't pinpoint what it is, but it didn't have the polished contours that a great pair of pumps should have.

P.S.: Managed to catch Germany's winning FIFA goal on a TV in the menswear floor.  It seems like all greatest looking, most stylish guys work on the Holts menswear floor...I should frequent more often.

June 20, 2014

Once Upon a Dream

I can be logical and realistic, but at the very core of my being, I am a dreamer.  That's probably the reason why the fashion world excites me so much.  No matter how my emotions are tested, no matter how my rational mind tells me to expect and accept the mundane, I still dream of the perfect career and of the life I've always wanted.

I won't let myself stop believing that with patience and hard work, things in life will finally click together, and the dreams I've had all these years will prove themselves to have been visions of the future.

Image source: Lucky Mag

May 21, 2014

Rookie No More

I don't know what made me search her up, but girl, it's been years.  Long time no see, Tavi Gevinson.

Boy, time goes by quickly.  In my mind Tavi will always be the miniature girl who took the fashion world by storm with her youthful (but knowledgeable) prose and her penchant for granny chic at such an early age. Admittedly, I wasn't one of those who had jumped on the Tavi bandwagon.  I looked through her blog and couldn't distinguish that beguiling voice that had readers riveted and high fashion designers ushering her to front row status.  She sounded like exactly what she was: a young girl exploring fashion.  Certainly much of her appeal came from the fact that most girls her age didn't care about Chanel, much less Karl Lagerfeld, but I wouldn't say she was more than just a girl having fun with the way she dressed.  I couldn't see that maturity or worldly insight she apparently had.

But while I was personally not swayed by her words, I was inspired by her life (and also a teensy bit...ok insanely...jealous).  Here was a girl who, years younger than me, was already doing everything I had only begun to work towards.  It was Style Rookie, along with Sea of Shoes and The Sartorialist, that inspired me to start my own blog.  I saw how they created their own community around their passions, and I realized that the freedom of being able to speak my mind was something I was missing in my fashion-obsessed life.  I needed a conduit for ideas that were, at that point, simply broiling over in the solitude of my head (a recipe for madness).  Sure, I jumped on the bandwagon late, but at least I caught its tail-end.

Sadly, blogging has now quickly been replaced with Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter - condensed, visceral, efficient forms of information exchange.  Traditional bloggers may no longer have the prominence they once had, but I will never forget those who inspired me daily by taking the time to spill their hearts and minds into cyberspace.

But anyway, back to Tavi.  The purpose of this post was to congratulate her on...everything, basically.  She's a magazine editor, she sings, she's dappled in acting, she's applying to college, she has a boyfriend, she's exploring life outside of fashion, she has a new style...she's growing up.  From an adorable girl in her granny knits and gray hair, to a young woman with Scarlett Johansson's sultriness, Michelle Williams' self-assuredness, and the Olsen twins' cool.  She's a rookie no more.

Image Source: Photo1, 234

May 10, 2014

How Fashion Saved My Life

After my alarm clock rings in the early hours of the day, I have a consistent routine: brush my teeth, attempt to wipe the sleep from my complexion, and turn on my phone to see what messages I missed.  One morning, I received a text from a friend that was a remnant of a conversation we had earlier.  It asked:

"How is it you put together your outfits the night before?  What if you're in a different mood by the morning?"

Good question.  Something answered by the idea it's not my mood that shapes what I wear, rather, what I wear shapes my mood.

Fashion to me is not some superficial "oh that's pretty!" relationship.  Fashion affects me on a much deeper emotional level.  My senses become hypersensitive to every detail of a piece, and I can almost physically feel a bond being formed between me and that which I love so much.  So it comes to no surprise that my mood is shaped by what I wear, not the other way around.

I've said before that fashion has the fantastic ability to transform.  But then the niggling thought arises: are these costumes actually masks?  Are we slaves to fashion; does it control who we become?  No, because no matter what you wear, you will still be who you are at the core.  What fashion does is bring out different facets of the patchwork that makes up who you are, enabling you to explore each inflection of your personality.  How can I be so certain?  Because I can speak to the notion personally.

Ever since I was a little kid, I was shy.  Almost chronically so, I would say.  The thought of speaking in front of people would cause my heart to beat so ferociously I could practically hear it, bring on waves of cold sweats, and leave my throat so dry my voice was a thin, wavering squeak.  I read in a magazine that being shy is having an acute awareness of yourself and everything around you.  It couldn't be truer.  Who's looking at me?  Am I standing weird?  I bet everyone's looking at my flat nose, pale lips and jutted chin.  Are my glasses slipping too low on my nose? Oh my god, that means I have to bring my hand up to push it back up and everyone will notice and think I'm even dorkier than I already am.

But when I started getting into fashion, something changed.  Yes, as I mentioned in I am Not Fashionable, I was under a lot of pressure to "be fashionable" and find my personal style, but when I got it right, boy, did I get it right.  That feeling when you close your eyes, turn up your music, and ride that flushing base to its peak...that overwhelming out-of-body experience of freedom and release of inhibition...that was how fashion made me feel.  A good outfit gave me confidence like nothing else.  It made me straighten out my spine, throw back my shoulders, hold my head high, and walk with purpose.  Fashion saved me.

Melodramatic, surely, but no less closer to the truth.  Fashion saved me from being that girl who would never believe in herself.  And it wasn't just clothing.  When I discovered fashion, I discovered a passion, a skill, a purpose, and a drive that I had never felt before.  After years of feeling insecure and unsure about what I would do with my life, I finally had a direction - and incredible ambition.  Some would call my goals unrealistic, but I've learned to ignore the naysayers.

In some ways, you do succumb to fashion to an extent.  You take a leap of faith with it, throwing aside your reservations to let fashion guide you out into that scary, wide open space.  But the reward is a confidence that empowers you to conquer your fears.  You could call fashion my crutch, but I like to see it as a loved one cheering me on, wanting nothing else but for me to know I am better than I perceive myself to be.  I am still dreadfully shy in groups more than one or two people, but fashion played its part in helping me embrace my self-worth.  Every morning, I don't dress for my mood, because I put on my outfit knowing it will bring out that part of me who has lofty goals, but who will triumph over each and every one of them, one by one.

Image Source: Photo1, 2, 3