April 25, 2012

Price of Beauty

I'd like to share three situations I came across where I've come to realize something about the way people judge fashion nowadays.

1) I showed my friend the two romantic, pretty nail colours below from Dior's summer collection, and the first thing she said was, "You could easily find cheaper knockoff versions.  Those are very common colours."  Of course, she said it in nothing but a supportive manner.
2) I spent hours shopping in Forever 21 with my friend - those of you who know me know that I have a somewhat irrational dislike for Forever 21- but when I suggested we check out Anthropologie just for fun, she claimed it was too expensive (which I completely respect) and sat in a chair waiting for me to finish.
3) I used to frequent PurseBlog, but I found that the majority of readers would constantly comment on how a bag was simply too expensive.  Quite often, that was the whole basis of their comment.
Maybe you're beginning to see where I'm going with these three instances.  The burning question I have is: when did the beauty of fashion become so dependent on price?

A beautiful bag is a beautiful bag; price only becomes relevant when you have the intent of being a consumer.  Sometimes I find when people judge an item using price as their main determining factor, they don't seem to realize or acknowledge that the item itself is worthy of some praise.  When the price of an item goes beyond what they can afford, they tend to instantly label the item as bad.  But the problem is that the item might actually be exquisite in its construction or innovative in its design, and price just becomes something that is tacked onto it.
After all, fashion is an art form, and art has always been more about creative expression than price.  From time to time, we have to stop looking at fashion from a consumerist point of view, and look at it for what it truly is.  When you limit yourself only to what you can afford, you miss out on some beautiful creations, but more importantly, you miss out on endless opportunities to dream a little. 
I read a lot of fashion magazines full of designer merchandise and enjoy keeping up with the world of high fashion, yet believe you me, I am in no capacity to afford any of it.  But I don't see any problem in appreciating the intricate work of high fashion, and when it comes down to it, price is irrelevant.
We have to stop stressing out over how expensive items are, and just focus on looking at the beauty of the item itself.  Don't let price cloud your perception of something that is inherently beautiful.  In the end, dreaming is free, so why miss out on it?

Image Source: Dior, Anthropologie, Purseblog, Dress, Heels, Bag

April 21, 2012

Flat Out Frightful

Flat shoes on the runway are rare, but when they do make an appearance, it's almost always to an approving audience.
I, on the other hand, spend the entire show cringing.  I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you: flat shoes look bad on the runway.  Runway outfits that look good with flat shoes are few and far between; most of them need that certain sway, height and structure that only a pair of heels can give.  Even the most opulent gown will turn into a dress appropriate for a beach-side stroll if the wrong pair of shoes are worn with it.
And it's not just because outfits look bad with flat shoes that I am so against them.  Few models know how to maintain their runway walk in flat shoes.  My first time witnessing this phenomenon was back in 2009 when I saw a runway show (I can't remember which one) with one particular model who let flat shoes get the better of her.  She walked the length of the runway, stopped at the end, and in an attempt to pose, ended up posing with her feet pointing outward in the shape of a V.  Not very elegant, I must say.
From the front, flat shoes aren't all that appealing either.  With each step taken, you see the sole of the shoe flopping down against the floor.  Almost like a reverse flip flop, if you will.  Even when the model simply stands there, the top of the foot looks flat and wide.  The only way this can be avoided is with sleek flat shoes (à la Chanel, who has done flat shoes successfully many times).
I hope you know I don't have anything against flat shoes.  Even though I prefer all my shoes, even my flats, to have a slight heel, that's only because I find the sound of heels against pavement a horribly addicting confidence booster, and because low heels are generally more comfortable than washboard flat soles.  In the end, flats are an essential part of any wardrobe.  Just a regular day on the streets certainly does not call for a pair of heels.
I cringe all the same when I see a model wobbling and falling on precarious heels, yet despite all the stress, pain, agony and embarrassment heels cause for models, there's no way around it - heels were meant to be on the runway.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

April 17, 2012

You know you're a fashion lover when...

1) ...someone asks you if you know what opium is, and you say defensively, "Of course I know what Opium is.  It's a perfume by Yves Saint Laurent!"
2) ...you hear a group of boys talking about PS1, and the first thing that comes to mind is Proenza Schouler.  Honestly, who would think PS refers to PlayStation?
3) ...you're required to write a personal essay for school on the topic of suffering.  You write about the suffering you went through after the death of Alexander McQueen, and end up getting a good mark on it.
4)...your art sketchbook is filled with drawings of shoes (mostly Louboutins), dresses, models and fashion illustrations, and your art teacher grudgingly accepts the fact that you will never produce art isn't fashion related.

5) ...grocery store aisles are your runway.
6) ... you find every possible way of relating school work to fashion, to the extent two of your final high school research projects were about the physiological effects of perfume, and the question of why we dress the way we do.
7) ...you're given free time in your computer class to do whatever you want on the Internet, and all you can ever think of doing is watching runway shows on Youtube.
8) ...you borrow 13 fashion magazines from the library in one go.  This is the only time the greedy, hoarder side of you comes out.
9) ...walking into Holt Renfrew's shoe department gives you just as much joy as seeing that cute guy on campus.
*All instances are inspired by my own life.  Got any you would like to share?  Let me know and look for it in future posts!

Image Source: Opium, PS1, McQueenPainting, Grocery, Perfume, Runway, MagazinesHolt Renfrew

April 13, 2012

Déjà Vu

That classic moment when you realize another girl is wearing the same dress as you at a swank party is basically, as it's commonly portrayed, the kiss of death.  And funnily enough, for once, TV producers aren't dramatizing the moment.  Sure, both girls are all smiles on the outside, but for every girl out there, there's always a split second of indignation.
When we invest so much time into finding that perfect dress, it's unsettling to see someone else wearing it.  That very personal connection you had with your dress is no longer as special as you thought it was.  Even with regular everyday clothes, there's instant tension when you see someone else "stealing" your style, or sporting the top you yourself love so much.  Just like what we want of our significant others, we want our clothes to be faithful to us too.
Yet deep down, we all know it's impossible.  Fashion is so massed produced nowadays there's almost no chance of having a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing.  If you like something, chances are there are other people who do too.  We just pray we'll never run them.  I've come across this problem several times myself - I've had to bear seeing my glasses, sunglasses and tops on other people.  Luckily, I have yet to bump into people with the same shoes.  Knowing the crazed love I have for my shoes, the day that happens will surely be the death of me.
Speaking of shoes, the beautifully studded Valentino heels that you see above were undoubtedly It shoes the season they came out.  I had first fallen in love with the flat version when I saw it on the runway.  The next thing I knew, they were on the feet of numerous esteemed fashion ladies.
Despite wearing the same Valentino shoes, all these women continue to be nothing less than showstopping.  In the end, it doesn't matter that someone else is wearing the same thing as you.  It all boils down to how you style and carry yourself.  But hey, let's just say I still prefer to live in my dream world where there's no such thing as clothing infidelity.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

April 10, 2012

Fame Monster

As we were having a chat one day, my friend brought up the subject of how unfair it is that there are bloggers who become famous because they have connections, and then there are bloggers like me who can blog for years but never have the same amount of recognition.  Her little quip got me thinking.  Sure, I've said before I blog as an outlet for the constant fashion musings that go on inside my head, but then again, everyone says that.  No one wants - or at least, no one will admit - to having started their blog in order to become famous.
I used to follow a number of fashion blogs: The Style Rookie, Sea of Shoes, Style Bubble, and The Sartorialist, to name a few.  They were all great blogs, and I still visit The Sartorialist from time to time.  But the one problem with all the others was an inevitable flaming sense of jealousy.  I enjoyed looking at their amazing outfits, but I couldn't do it without comparing myself against them. 
Jane Aldridge, I love her, she's beautiful and classy, but no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to relate to her.  She makes it seem as if it's normal to wear the most gorgeous pieces everyday, to have time to put so much effort into her looks and to have the ability to model her outfits afterwards.  I'm not rich, I don't own a closet full of stunning designer pieces, and I certainly don't have time to don full fashion regalia and get someone to photograph me.  I'm a university student who would rather spend money on education and family than fashion, I have a lackluster wardrobe of cheap basics, and I grew up with very few, if any, fashion connections.  If you simply look at me, you would never in your right mind think that I'm a fashion lover.  I am completely average.
You'll notice I even emphasize this in my About - I'm an average teenager who doesn't own a single red sole.  When I first mulled over whether I should start a blog, the idea of making my blog a representation of the average fashion lover crossed my mind.  I wanted things to be from the perspective of a truly average person.  Red-Soled Fashionista is a look into the mind of a girl who loves fashion, but does not live in fashion.
And I want to keep it that way.  All of my posts are mine completely and I have no advertisers or designers breathing down my neck.  Yes, I hope to break into the industry eventually, but I want that progression to be reflected on my blog.  I want my blog to reflect the hard work and struggling that is required of an average person to be in fashion.  Even if I never make it, when friends tell me they read my blog, or that they enjoyed a certain post - those moments are infinitely more valuable than anything fame could give you.  So do I want to become a famous blogger?  Well sure, if my hard work takes me there, but never at the cost of losing the fact that I'm just an average girl.

Image source: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4

April 8, 2012

A Study in Pink

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.  Ok, so admittedly there isn't much fashion involved in Easter, but after doing a little feature on bunny ears for last Easter, I racked my brain for another idea this year.  When it finally came to me, it was in fact inspired by an episode of the only TV series I follow:  BBC Sherlock.  The title of an episode and this post is A Study in Pink.  When I think Easter, I think pastels, and what could better represent Easter than pink?  Pink eggs, baskets, ribbons, and Easter bunnies.  Not to mention pink dresses, pants, jackets, tops...
And don't even think about forgetting the bags...
Never has such a girly colour looked so grown up.  Go on.  Add a bit of pink to your wardrobe.  It's not just for kids anymore.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

April 4, 2012

Wang Xiao

At the request of socialitedreams, Wang Xiao is up next on this blog's model feature!
Xiao is a model from China known for her hair, uniquely cut in a boyish, strict bob that not many of us could pull off, yet which she does with a feminine twist.  She started off by signing with Wilhelmina, and within the same year, was asked to be photographed by Steven Miesel.  But her true breakthrough came when she signed a fragrance contract with Calvin Klein One. 
There's always a searing intensity in her photos, even when she dons longer hair and poses with candy.  She draws you in, and there's something about her photos that's slightly disconcerting.
She shows the same kind of intensity on the streets, with her eccentric and edgy off-duty looks:
In an interview with Elle, when asked whether she thinks about anything when walking down the runway, she replies, "No. It’s just a walk. It’s easy for me. I’m never nervous."  Luckily, it shows!  Here's a look at the shows she scored during Spring/Summer 2012:
Luca Luca

Rebecca Taylor
Charlotte Ronson
Yigal Azrouel
Kevork Kiledjian
United Bamboo
If there are any other models you'd like to see featured, just give me a shout if you haven't done so already!

Image Source: Xiao, CK, Bazaar, Spread 1, 23, 4, 5, Street 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Runway