April 18, 2014

She's Got Game?

From Sports Illustrated  to Vogue.  As a model in both cases, you learn to seduce through the pages - but in different ways.  Kate Upton is the latest model to be touted as having successfully crossed the border from male fantasy to high fashion, consequently exposing the fashion industry to a new body ideal (see: voluptuous). As much as I would like to agree, I'm still skeptical about whether Upton's swimwear allure translates into high fashion appeal.

The first time I saw Upton in an editorial was in Vogue's June 2013 issue.  She was, I'll admit, average. The styling portrayed her as sexy and sophisticated, but it was an editorial I easily moved on from.  Just recently, I encountered her again in Vogue's February 2014 issue, and this time around, I went from being indifferent to being underwhelmed.  Before I proceed, take a look at the photos, which were photographed by Mario Testino for a spread titled "She's Got Game":

In case you jump to conclusions, my skepticism has nothing to do with her body.  I think she has a fantastic va-va-voom figure that both men and women would love to see photographed more often.  What I think she lacks, however, is a seasoned understanding of how to draw a reader in with her face, and a pose that goes beyond the standard hands-on-hips.  Looking at her face in these photos, I see a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes, and an almost forced expression made all the more obvious by her energetic companions. You can't let a leaping Jimmy Fallon overshadow you, especially when you're a blonde bombshell.  I also couldn't sense any frisson of connection between her and those around her, making the reader feel just as awkward and uncomfortable as she looks in the photos.

It's tough being a model, and I don't want to give up on Upton quite yet.  But in order for me to be convinced she deserves a spot in fashion editorials, she needs to mesmerize me with her eyes, radiate her energy through the pages, and draw me into her snapshot in time of a heightened reality.  I need to desire the clothing she wears.  I need to feel like I want to be her.  I need to feel like she's owning it. 

Image Source: Vogue.com

April 14, 2014

This Is the End

What a year.  This was the year I started my business program, and I can confidently say I have not felt such a sense of academic community and camaraderie since my time pursuing an International Baccalaureate diploma.  The experience I've gained in my business program is one-of-a-kind, and I couldn't have been more grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded, ambitious students who challenge me each and every day to think outside the box.

To celebrate the end of a rigorous - and oftentimes stressful - year, our school hosted a banquet.  I was excited for another opportunity to get fancied up so shortly after a fashion show I attended two weeks ago, but was faced with a big problem: I didn't have a dress.  I don't party very often, so eveningwear has never seemed like a worthy investment (as some of you know, I even borrowed my grad dress). However, my fellow fashion friend was generous enough to let me go through her wardrobe and pick out this number:

Dress: eBay (borrowed) | Heels: Calvin Klein
My other friend had actually worn this dress to the fashion show we attended, but I had no problem with that as I intended to wear it differently.  When I tried on the dress, it just felt so right.  It had fashionable elements that made it more than just a typical party outfit.  I absolutely loved the lace sleeves (so me!), and you can't see, but the back had only one layer of lace, subtly countering the conservatism of the long sleeves.  The skirt was a comfortable mid-thigh, and the soft peplum helped elevate the dress from clubwear to eveningwear. My friends and I agreed the look was busy enough without accessories, and so I simply threw on a pair of low-heeled, black pumps to keep it classy.  It was an overall sultry look, but one that was grounded by elements of sophistication.

I received a couple compliments that night, but in the end, I felt confident in what I was wearing and that was all I needed.  Our year-end banquet was, of course, bittersweet.  It wasn't until my cab ride home that it hit me the banquet was the last time I would see all of my classmates together.  As hectic as these past 8 months have been, I know I will look back and realize how this was one of the best years of my academic life.  Time flies when you're having fun.  And so, a toast to an end that signals the beginning of new friendships, new opportunities, and new milestones.

April 9, 2014

Michael Kors Fall 2014 Menswear

"Find your style and invest in a good pair of shoes."  

That was the parting advice one of my professors had for the men in our class, and I couldn't help but smile when he said it.  A man with style earns major points for me.  It's not the idea of caring about looks, but the idea that a guy cares enough about himself to at least attempt to be presentable.

What's funny, however, is how little I actually know about menswear.  I had a taste of it when I read Elle Canada's first issue of Elle Man.  Reading Elle Man was like discovering a whole new world.  It was riveting.  It was exciting.  It was like falling in love with fashion all over again.  But otherwise, I'm a newbie. And so in my attempt to become more accustomed with this other side of fashion, I present to you my first time posting about menswear.

I've chosen to shine the spotlight on Michael Kors.  I found so much cheeky humour in this collection - but also some fantastic pieces - that I had to put my two cents in.  Overall, this collection was the definition of luxe loungewear.  There were drawstring sweatpants...but wait, they were double-faced cashmere sweatpants.  The slouchy sweaters were mohair, and those trackpants?  Suiting flannel.

Contrast that against structured coats and blazers, and you get a collection that mocks the uppity world of Wall Street, but closer to home, I saw it as the wardrobe of a stylish college boy.  I just adore the furry mitts above (how fun!), and the socks and sandals combo throughout the collection gave me a good laugh (shoutout to a classmate of mine who proudly worked the socks and sandals look during a group project, and my quick-witted friend who just wouldn't forgive him for it).

I don't really have a verdict for this collection considering the scant knowledge I have of menswear, but it's a collection that made me genuinely smile, and hey, a collection that can do that is worth something, isn't it?

See the entire collection here.

Image Source: Style.com

April 1, 2014

Live. Laugh. Love.

For the past three years, I've had the pleasure of attending an annual fashion show organized by a student club at my university.  I decided to write about it this year because it was such a memorable experience. Not only was the show done differently this time around in a more intimate setting, I had a great time dressing up before the show and attending with six of my good friends.  I'm not actually going to talk about the show - even though it was amazing - because instead, like every typical fashion blogger, I feel the need to blog about what I wore!  Here I am in the centre with two great friends I met this year:

Sweater: From Hong Kong (gift) | Skirt: Handmade by friend (borrowed) | Flats: Town Shoes | Belt: Laura Petites | Necklace: Charlotte Russe (borrowed) 

When deciding what to wear, I knew I wanted a long skirt.  University girls often opt for short dresses, and while many still look wonderfully fashionable, a long, ethereal skirt is more my style.  Luckily, my talented roommate had a handmade midi skirt in a pretty muted pink which she lent to me.  I love that the underskirt is cut shorter, allowing you to show some leg without, well, actually showing leg.  Walking in such a skirt is heavenly; it swishes around gracefully with each step.  Initially, the plan was to wear a lace top to really work the feminine look, but I didn't have one that paired well with the skirt.  And so I went with a black sweater with gold threads my friend gave me, and my new pair of black flats (as I said, future post on those coming up!) to finish off the balletic look.  I would have worn heels but I didn't have a good pair here and comfort was important as I needed to arrive earlier to help with set-up.  My neck felt bare, so I added my friend's statement necklace that I saw her wearing months ago and really liked.  Lastly, this was my second time curling my hair (my first was for grad), and it turned out alright considering I used absolutely no hair product.

Shoes: Town Shoes
Earrings: Betsey Johnson (gift)

And something I rarely do on this blog: beauty!  I wasn't going to talk about these products until I realized they all fit with the colour scheme of my outfit: pink, gold and black.

Nailpolish: Dr.'s Remedy | Perfume: BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline | Lipstick: Elizabeth Arden

I actually received the nailpolish from a giveaway I won, and the lipstick I blogged about in First a Rose, Then a Kiss.  The Bulgari perfume was a free sample I ordered online, and it had been mailed all the way from Italy.  The best part was the bottle in which it arrived:

A gold star to anyone who knows the secret to opening these bottles!  The scent was surprisingly good - very light, feminine and illuminating.  

Overall, I had an awesome evening.  The fashion show was classy, the company I had was priceless, and our "after-party" of McDonalds (complete with coupons) made it a hilarious, ironic night.  When I got home, I sat down, opened my laptop, and did what I do best: write. I was so honoured to have been asked to write an article recapping the show for the club's magazine, but of course, I spent my time writing for another group of people dear to my heart: you.

P.S.: A huge thank you to my friend who unexpectedly gave me a handmade headband as a gift that night.  So sweet of you!

March 18, 2014

Rags to (Relative) Riches

I'm all about experimenting when it comes to putting together outfits. Sometimes I pull together a winner and feel on top of the world, other times I miscalculate and feel like burying myself into a hole for the rest of the day.  Despite the hit-and-miss nature of outfit risk-taking, it's the thrill of finding that unique look no one else has that I live for.  Part of that process involves looking for pieces in places other people don't think of going to. I've already recounted the time I raided my dad's closet to find an oversized denim button-up (that has surprisingly garnered me multiple compliments throughout the years...click here to see the post), and today, I present to you a new spin on my pajamas.

T-shirt: Random Chinese brand | Shorts: H&M | Bag: Mom's vintage bag | Sunglasses: Coach

Yes, my pajamas.  I've had the above t-shirt for more years than I can remember, mostly wearing it around the house and in bed.  I did consider it among my nicer tops to wear at home; putting on a pair of jeans underneath made it supermarket-ready.  But two years ago, when my friend commented and said it was actually a very "hipster" top, it made me rethink the possibilities this faded rag (or so I thought) could bring me.

To combat the bagginess, I knew I had to roll up the sleeves and partially tuck the ends in. I had considered pairing it with a chiffon skirt, but knew the faded top just wouldn't match the femininity of a skirt. So with my friend's "hipster" adjective in mind, I went hip. Crossbody bag, printed bottoms, and a pair of sunglasses to add a slight V to the neckline.  If I had my complete wardrobe here, I would've thrown in a couple of my punk rings. You can't see here, but either my black pointed toe flats (yes, if you read my Missing the Point post, you'll realize I finally found a worthy pair of black flats...expect a future post on that) or cognac studded ankle boots would've completed the look (although I wish I had a pair of oxfords).

Lesson of the day: take a second look at your so-called "ugly" clothing.  Retain a casual air, but pairing your rejects up with higher quality pieces just might leave you feeling like you're on top of the world.

March 17, 2014

R.I.P. L'Wren Scott

I became aware of the shocking and tragic news through Facebook. "Designer L'Wren Scott Found Dead".

Silence.  Just silence.

Time froze as I recalled what I knew of Scott.  I wasn't a follower of her work, but I knew who she was. I first encountered her in Vogue when she gave a tour of her home, as seen in the above photo. Even through the pages, I could tell she had a presence - that raven hair, those mile-long legs, and that smile. It made you think she knew something you didn't. She exuded confidence.

Throughout the years, I've chanced upon her name several more times in magazines, learning she was a former model, a respected celebrity stylist, an avid vintage jewellery collector, and a designer of glamorous, sensual, and always radiant pieces.

To a talented designer, stunning model, and beautiful woman, may you R.I.P.

Image Source: Vogue.com

March 11, 2014

Chanel Fall/Winter 2014 RTW

Recap: Luxury shopping at its most mundane. Only Karl Lagerfeld could get away with creating an entire collection around l'epicerie chic - complete with sneakers - and send it down the runway of one of fashion's most upscale labels.  Its comment on consumerism aside, this is a show surrounded by humour, fun, and utmost creativity.  Shopping baskets made with Chanel's signature chains, 2.55s redesigned to resemble packaged meat, and purses in the shape of egg cartons.  But it didn't stop there.  As models went about their quotidian shopping, they had the option of buying items 20 or 50 percent higher (darling, Chanel doesn't do discounts), sacs poubelles renamed as sacs plus belles, and a gold chainsaw made with Chanel chains.  As for the fashion, highlights included pieces with childish geometric print, sweaters with perfect slouchy turtlenecks and a splatter of colourful embellishment, tweed coats with built-in bustiers, and pieces with cutouts resembling a shopping basket.

Verdict: Humour in fashion is something critics often refuse to acknowledge. While this collection is more kitschy and possibly against Chanel's image of elegance, the label is also known for its comfort.  Karl brings this concept of comfort into modern day by poking fun at the most amusing runway of all: grocery aisles (Walmart fashion, anyone?). True, Karl could send practically anything down the runway and we'd lap it up and smother it with praise, but hey, he isn't Kaiser Karl for nothing.  He can take risks.  He reminds us that fashion can only ever be one-dimensional without humour and creativity, and that it should never be taken too seriously.

Watch the full show here.

Image Source: Style.com