July 16, 2017

Giving the Cold Shoulder

A few weeks ago, I needed some me time. I had been planning to take a walk around downtown to snap pictures for a corporate scavenger hunt I was participating in, so thought I might as well stop by the mall while I was at it. Besides, I've been told by a few friends my ratchet changing room selfies are actually their favourite blog posts of mine to read. If that's really the case, y'all are weird.

But here you go.

Topshop Gingham Cold Shoulder Ruffle Top


Cold shoulder and off-shoulder tops have been trendy for about a year now, but this summer, I'd say the trend is at its prime. I have been seeing them absolutely everywhere. Though what goes up must come down, so I'll have my fun trying the trend while it's still hot. A variation on the exposed shoulder top I've been seeing lately is the ruffled cold shoulder. I love it! It's elegant and feminine. This gingham shirt from Topshop struck me as a mix between the ruffled cold shoulder and this Self-Portrait asymmetrical frill shirt I've been noticing in Holt Renfrew's window display. I hoped I would exude the glowing beauty of other girls I've seen wearing tops like these, but the final result was slightly underwhelming. The flared hem and sleeves did not complement the ruffles, and the shirt would have looked better if the silhouette was slimmed down (as I've tried to show in the photo).


TFNC Kimberly Jumpsuit


You might wonder whether there's a method to my madness when choosing what clothes to try on for my blog posts. While obviously I try on items I personally like, I also pick out items I would never actually buy. Oftentimes, these are trendy items, pieces with unusual designs, or things I don't have any occasion to wear. This jumpsuit was of the latter. Although I adore the sophistication of a jumpsuit, I can't fathom any occasion in my uneventful daily life that would necessitate such elegance. Except, well, taking pictures for my changing room blog posts. The lace shoulders on this TFNC jumpsuit were a nice touch, and the legs had a decently slim cut. My only complaint is how the off-shoulder didn't complement the class of the jumpsuit that well. I actually found it more flattering to wear the neckline higher up on my shoulders - like a boat neck.


Topshop MOTO Soft Cold Shoulder Dress


Yes, another cold shoulder. I thought the soft denim on this dress was a trendy companion to the exposed shoulder, and I was interested in how the shoulder hung lower on my arms. But overall, nothing too special. The cold shoulders ended up looking odd from the side; they were too severe for there to be a sense of continuity in the dress.


Topshop Floral-Printed Midi Dress



I picked up this dress purely for the unexpected hook and eye closures running down the torso. Although they reminded me of a corset, I knew the dress was too flimsy for that to be the intended effect. So I was very curious to see how this strange creation would look. After putting it on, I learned it was just as unusual on me as it was on the rack. The deep v-neck leading into the black strip of hooks was not flattering, nor was the square slit running up the front. A mumsy dress trying too hard to be youthful. Basically, I tried this dress on so you don't have to. You're welcome.


Topshop Embroidered Jamie Jeans


In one of my recent posts, I mentioned how patiently I had been waiting for these Topshop floral embroidered black jeans to go on sale. Last week, they finally went down from $120 to $48. And yet after all this waiting, these pants turned out less than stellar. I had been putting these jeans on a pedestal for months, but trying them on with the intent of buying them broke my stubborn obsession and allowed me to see these pants for what they truly were. The floral embroidery: absolutely stunning, but itchy on the inside. The cutting on the ankles: uneven and flared out. (Granted, these jeans are supposed to be cropped above the ankle, so I can understand why the ankle is cut wider.) If the ankles didn't look so weird, I might have whipped out my credit card. But for me, perfection is vital if spending $50 on a pair of jeans.


Topshop Embroidered Jamie Jeans


In an attempt to recuperate from a dashed dream, I picked up another pair of floral embroidered jeans. With mom-jean cutting and rips at the knees, this was a trendier variation of the embroidered Jamie. While the floral detailing was right up my alley, I still had many complaints. The embroidery made the lines of the leg very bumpy on the sides, the crotch was not as fitted as I would've liked, and the ripped knees made the overall look seem cluttered. However, I did walk away with one tidbit of knowledge: ripped knees on tight jeans make bending your legs to sit much easier.


H&M Frilled Mesh Blouse


I've passed by this sheer blouse multiple times in H&M's window display, and each time, I always think it looks so pretty. That day, I finally took it off the rack to try it on. I love the seafoam colour, and the tight ruffles and ruching are a great feminine touch. The elastic around the waist also helps add flounce and shape to the bottom half. However, what I didn't realize is this top is completely transparent. For wearability, I would have preferred H&M add in their own lining so I wouldn't have to expend mental energy thinking about how to layer this blouse.


H&M Jumpsuit with a Flounce


Another jumpsuit and exposed shoulder! I grabbed this jumpsuit because I found the sleek minimalism and emerald tone to be quite appealing. After trying it on, I noticed how everything was just generally...broad. I struggled with how exaggerated the flounce was at the torso. If the torso was sleeker and the wide-legs were slimmed down into a leaner cut, the shoulders would stand out to make a more sophisticated statement.


H&M Denim Bib Overall Shorts


I found these short overalls in the younger section of H&M, so I knew I would be showing off a more adolescent look here. Overalls have been trendy for a while, but this was actually my first time trying them on. And honestly, I didn't hate them. I liked how hip and casual they were. The ease of just throwing on a t-shirt underneath is quite appealing, and the look can be effortlessly dressed up with funky accessories. The only thing is I wouldn't recommend this particular pair from H&M - the bum is cut pretty flat so your rounded behind will look more or less like a straight line.

June 10, 2017

Fashion Tips & Tricks

If I were one to ride on internet trend trains, I would've shamelessly titled this post "Top 3 Fashion Hacks". I even considered titling it "Dope Fashion Tricks" (wow, hah hah, I'm so funny and clever and not lame), but I'll save myself the public ridicule by just calling this "Fashion Tips & Tricks".

Now, by no means do I have any sort of expertise in providing fashion tips and tricks - the following so-called life hacks are just little discoveries I have made in the past couple of months. I don't expect to impart any sort of valuable knowledge upon you; most likely you will find everything below completely irrelevant or very novice. But hey, I'm just sharing for fun and the minuscule chance you might actually find this interesting.

1. The Practicality of Bandeaus


This one is going to be pretty obvious for most of you out there, so bear with me. Bandeaus and bralettes became popular a couple years back for layering underneath sheer blouses, lace tops, or simply underneath a blazer. Being someone who grew up dressing more conservatively, baring any part of my torso seemed like a très risqué maneuver. So whenever I had tops which were too transparent or low-cut, I felt as if I had no option but to wear tank tops or camisoles underneath. While neither were necessarily bad options, tank tops sometimes looked too casual peeking through sheer blouses, and the square neckline of camisoles cut across the chest in ways which reminded me too much of my preteen years. I needed something a bit more grown up.

That's when I discovered the convenience of bandeaus. With my newfound confidence in dressing, I decided to wear a colourful bandeau under a sheer, low-cut white t-shirt I had. And wow, the freedom was amazing! Not only did the bandeau look cool and quirky underneath, it was perfect for that particular hot sunny day. In the past, I've often found it tedious wearing a tank top under wispy summer shirts, as if I weren't already sweating enough with just one layer of fabric. But now, air ventilation is greatly improve with a bandeau. As well, bandeaus help immensely with low-cut necklines. Because my bandeaus are so tight, there is no risk of my bra showing or any fear I will flash anyone if my neckline slips down or I bend over to pick something up. Beadeaus have given me so much liberty with my summer outfits, and they open doors in terms of being able to wear the looser or more revealing shirts I have.


2. Wearing Random Chains as Jewellery


I am definitely not a person who is good at fashion DIYs, but this DIY is simple enough for even the most amateurish of rookies. Digging through my jewellery boxes one day, I managed to find this random silver chain. I have absolutely no clue where this chain came from, or what it was previously used for - but regardless of its past life, I figured I could reincarnate it as a jewellery piece. Luckily, the chain has a bright, shiny finish that helps it seem less like just some random old chain I picked up, and more like an actual piece of jewellery. I've worn it in various ways, including as a knotted necklace, a layered necklace, a layered bracelet, and even the trendy tied choker look. If you have random material laying around, like chain, ribbon, or a leather tie, you could easily replicate these looks.


3. Fixing Patent Leather Scuffs with Vaseline


If there is actually anything you walk away with today, I hope it is this trick. Being a shoe lover, my heart aches whenever I see a pair of shoes I own getting (inevitably) worn down and used. I try my best to maintain the condition of my shoes by cleaning and polishing them regularly. However, one struggle I have had since high school was maintaining my patent leather shoes. Lately, I have been wearing a pair of super shiny patent Miu Miu loafers and a pair of orange patent Cole Haan oxfords, both of which have been accidentally scuffed in the process.

Thank goodness for Google, because I learned rubbing Vaseline onto patent leather with a clean cloth can help remove scuffing. AND IT WORKS. I thought I was done for when I scratched the orange patent on my Cole Haans against the pavement, but seeing the scuff go away with Vaseline made me burst with glee. Keep in mind, for patent leather which has been rubbed down to a dull finish, Vaseline likely won't work miracles. But if you have a scratch, you might be able to renew the leather. Either way, give it a try!

Image Source: Pinterest

May 10, 2017

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I know I'm picky with fashion, but I had no idea I was an ACTUAL DIVA until it came time for me to go shopping for sunglasses. There were times even I wanted to smack myself upside the head for acting like such a spoiled brat. My sincerest apologies to everyone who had to deal with me these past few months as I searched for a pair of sunglasses.

Let's start from the beginning. Ever since I got contacts last year, I needed non-prescription sunglasses. I have been wearing my mom's obnoxiously massive shades, and although they do endow me with quite the sassy disposition, they don't actually provide much in terms of sun protection. Being someone with eyes sensitive to sunlight, I was in desperate need of sunglasses as the summer months approached.


Over the years, I've come to realize the classic aviator complements my face shape the best. And if you're going to go with aviators, there's really only one way to go: Ray-Ban. I've tried aviators from other brands, but absolutely no one makes them as good as Ray-Ban. The shape, the frame, the lens...Ray-Ban has the formula down pat. So brand was a no-brainer for me.

The issue was colour.

Ray-Ban has a vast array of colour options. They have multiple frame colours, a selection of lens finishes, and a rainbow of lens colours (like literally, they have rainbow lenses). At first, things started off easy. I knew I wanted a gold frame, and I thought I would just choose between the classic brown, green or blue lenses.

Things were supposed to be simple.

Until I actually tried on the sunglasses and all my plans fell apart. The traditional brown, green and blue lenses looked awful on me. They washed me out completely. The lenses were also more transparent than I thought, which I didn't want because I was looking for sunglasses that could hide my eyes (I don't want you seeing my eyes, okay). I suddenly felt like I was dropped into the middle of the ocean - an ocean with an endless selection of sunglasses. I thought for a second maybe I could get bright blue mirror lenses, but I couldn't shake off how they reminded me of snowboarding goggles. Not to mention, it's a bit much for day-to-day. Luckily, my mom threw me a lifeline when she pointed out a pair of Oakley aviators with purple/red lenses. Huh. Purple lenses. I must say I haven't seen a lot of that around.

And you know me, I'm a sucker for things not everyone has (I know, you're rolling your eyes at me). Purple lenses struck me as something a bit more unique. So I went to the Ray-Ban section in Nordstrom, and found they had two purple lenses: a darker violet (left), and a lighter lilac (right). Both came in a mirror finish, which was perfect for shielding my eyes from view.

I just had to figure out which one I wanted. I bounced back and forth between the two numerous times. My gut leaned towards the lilac because it had a more intense mirror finish, and its sweet pastel shade appealed to my feminine side. However, I had to admit the deep violet suited my complexion more, and I did like that it came with a tinge of blue mixed in, which revealed itself in different angles and lighting.

I had my sights set on the violet...and then another curveball was thrown at me. The optical store I usually get my sunglasses from couldn't order the violet lenses with a gold frame. They had a limited selection of colour combinations I could choose from, and if I wanted my particular combination, I would have to custom order it off the Ray-Ban site - thus forgoing the discount the store was willing to give me. Great. Just great.

So I looked on the store's website, and the only frame that came with purple lenses was the bronze/copper frame. I'll be honest, it wasn't the best colour. It wasn't shiny like the gold frame; it was a dull, dark bronze. But what could I do. I had to accept my fate. And if you're sitting here thinking this is already complicated enough - guess what? I managed to find three different versions of purple lenses to choose from: Grey Mirror Purple (left), Lilac Mirror (Centre), and Grey Mirror Lilac Polarized (Left). Greeeeeaaaaaat.


















Look, I don't know how Ray-Ban keeps track of their lens colours, because I have no idea where the 'grey mirror' part came in. But whatever. I got the store to order all three for me to sample. Once again, I constantly bounced back and forth between all three. I legitimately got anxious trying to figure out which one I wanted.

To add another variable to the whole equation, one of the pairs was polarized. Polarized lenses are made to block out glare, which can be useful when driving or in the snow. On the other hand, mirror lenses are made to darken all light in general. I thought polarized lenses would probably be better functionally, but turns out they weren't dark enough for my liking. My eyes were actually more comfortable with mirror lenses because the overall brightness of the sun was dampened.

Also, when I tried on the Grey Mirror Lilac, I really didn't like how flat it looked against my skin tone. My pale skin and dark hair just did not work with the solid lilac lens. Objectively speaking, those are gorgeous and unique lenses. I can see them looking beautiful on girls with blonde hair, but unfortunately, I'm not a blonde beach babe.

So I was left with two options. I truly thought I was going to go with the Purple (aka. violet) as I had initially planned. Yet when I wore it, it didn't feel as special or glamorous as the lilac shade. It began to feel typical, and I was starting to be uneasy with how it was more transparent. It still looked good on me and would probably be the most versatile with different outfits, but it just didn't speak to me anymore.

The only pair I developed an attachment to was the Lilac Mirror. When I put on the Lilac Mirror, it felt right. Instead of being a pure solid lilac, it had a bit of blue mixed in and was very reflective of other colours in its surroundings. Out of all three pairs, its colour was the most dynamic. Depending on the lighting, it could range from a pastel lilac to a darker taro. Thankfully, it also turned out to be the best at blocking out the sunlight and giving my perception of the summer sky a warm, comforting overlay. I considered it a great balance and compromise between the other two options.

Ew, a car selfie. I'm ashamed of myself.
In case you're wondering, my shirt says "I Have Nothing to Wear". #relatable

So there you have it. My quest for a pair of sunglasses, which turned into a several month journey through stress, which at least finally turned into a good ending (minus the fact I couldn't get gold frames, but deep breath in, deep breath out...). I feel satisfied with the sunglasses I have chosen, and hey, maybe down the road I'll nab myself a violet pair too. But for now, I'm back to being calm, cool and collected. I'm back in my zen zone.

Just don't tell me you thought they all looked the same.

Image Source: BeLighter,Covering the BasesGlamour-Zine

April 29, 2017

A Mistake Has Been Made...

An update on my most recent acquisition, purchase and, finally, mistake.

ACQUISITION: Gucci Glitter Web Sneakers with Studs

Not too long ago, I was drooling over some cool new kicks Gucci had released, but little did I know, I would soon possess my very own pair. I specify this as a recent acquisition, because they were once again generously handed down to me by a friend. The fact I'm wearing sneakers may come as a surprise to some of you, since I haven't worn anything resembling a pair of runners since high school (around nine years ago!). I swore off the sneaker life, but with the latest resurgence in casual kicks as a trendy option, I've decided there is no harm in getting back on the comfort train.

While these sneakers boast all-over glitter texture, the glitter is actually very fine, which makes the sparkle more akin to a subtle shimmer. The laces are woven through with metallic threads, and Gucci's iconic red and green stripe slashes down the sides. In terms of hardware, there is a line of silver studs along the back, and although you can't see it in this photo, there are silver carved tiger heads on the tongues. As wonderfully excessive as the exterior is, it is really the interior of these sneakers which impress me. The inner is lined in soft red leather. Can you believe it? Incredible. I can't wait to wear these babies out once the weather is warmer and less muddy.


PURCHASE: Topshop MOTO Deep Let Hem Jamie Jeans


I have been going to Topshop religiously lately to keep an eye on whether these black floral-embroidered jeans on my wishlist are on sale yet (alas, no), so I wasn't really expecting to come away one day with a pair of blue skinnies. My dad pointed out a pair of Let Hem jeans on the sale rack for $27 (worn in my first picture above). I wasn't immediately into the lighter wash and design of the jeans, but with a price like that, how could I say no? The jeans are made from a soft stretchy denim, so it fits gloriously around the legs, and the length is cut perfectly at the ankles, which makes these pants great for wearing with my aforementioned sneakers. Although I'm still not sure whether the raw let hem necessarily looks good, it is a cheeky homage to my nerdy teenage days, when jeans never fit me and I actually had to fold up my hems and hand-stitch them sloppily into place. The awkward, tell-tale line two inches above my ankle used to make it more obvious I did a DIY job. So these Topshop pants hold some meaning to them, because here I am as an adult, embracing my past by letting my hems down and having all it show.


MISTAKE: H&M Shirtdress

Last year, I bought a shirtdress from H&M for $15. It was elegant and sophisticated with its burnt orange tone, black piping along the v-neck, and gold hardware. My boyfriend liked it (which meant something considering he usually has a neutral opinion of fashion), and I even got complimented on it during an interview by the hiring manager (who, might I say, was quite stylish herself). Nonetheless, I should've known the dollars I saved on the purchase would soon come back to bite me in the bum.

You know my motto for those on a budget: buy affordable items which look expensive. The fabric of this dress passed my test; it was soft and light-weight enough to disguise as something more costly - but I should have listened to the tiny voice in the back of my mind telling me the buttons were too cheap. I liked the look of the gold hardware so much I ignored my intuition. I remember going through the rack to choose the dress with the least damage to its buttons, as if I could somehow sneakily evade this dress' eventual fate. Obviously, the fact the other dresses already had scratches on their buttons should have tipped me off.

So, one year later, after wearing this dress a couple times over the short summer months, looks like the washing machine got the better of it. The fabric remains pretty decent, but two of the five buttons are now noticeably scratched. Sigh. Mistakes will be made in this journey of buying affordable fashion. Luckily I don't regret purchasing this dress because it's still a pretty nice-looking shirtdress, but I will have to get creative and think up a way of restoring the buttons to their former glory.

Image Source: Topshop

March 30, 2017

Ghost in the Shell: Costume Review

*This review may contain spoilers*

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a pre-screening of Ghost in the Shell (2017). Ever since watching Cloud Atlas (2012), I had been wanting to see another good sci-fi fantasy film - and the trailer for Ghost in the Shell looked promising. However, these types of movies are not often done well (ie. Jupiter Ascending (2015)), so I did go in with some reservations.


Please note: I am aware Ghost in the Shell is based off a manga and anime of the same name, but since I have not read nor seen either, I am writing about this film as a standalone piece of media.

After watching the pre-screening, one thing that stood out to me in particular was the costume design.

I had been joking with my boyfriend, who attended the screening with me, that Ghost in the Shell would essentially be Scarlett Johansson jumping around in a nude, skin-tight bodysuit for two hours. If you think about female characters such as Black Widow in The Avengers (2012), Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), or even Ava in Ex Machina (2014), they are all portrayed as attractive and curvaceous, even while mowing down enemies with a gun.


But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Johansson's character in this movie, Major, is not outfitted in such a way. She wears fitted, but not tight, bodysuits in conservative dark shades, and often favours chunky combat boots. Her most embellishing piece is a long, double-slit trenchcoat, which she quickly ditches soon as she needs to dive off a building.


Even her nude armour is built for fighting and not flaunting. It goes from her neck all the way down to her toes, leaving minimal exposed "skin". Her body resembles the female form, but it is not overtly sexualized. Her form is not smooth and perky - it is rough and sturdy. Her short hair is surprisingly limp and stringy, making her very different from a bodacious babe. Even her gait complements her appearance. Her steps are heavy and robotic, and she often sports a combative hunch. Major's costumes focus on what she really is: a cyborg built as a weapon. Nothing is frivolous. Everything is functional.

And I like it.


My boyfriend, who is well-versed in the worlds of anime and gaming (I know, we could not be more different), wishes the costumes were more epic and dramatic, which I can understand. Fantasy films have the opportunity to explore flourishing costume design, and I agree Ghost in the Shell could have been executed with more visual impact. But I don't hate that they stuck with a basic look. It's rare to see female characters portrayed with such honesty, so I'll take the chance to express my appreciation for what this film has done in terms of costume design.

There are obviously many other aspects of this film I have not yet touched on. Luckily, Ghost in the Shell officially opens March 31, so I would love to hear what you think.

Image Source: IMDB

March 18, 2017

Bienvenue à La Maison

This week, Québec-based retailer Simons (La Maison Simons) opened its doors to my city. My friend and I met up to check out the grand opening, which soon turned into one of my favourite activities: trying on dresses. But before I get into some of the dresses I tried on (not all were photo-worthy), let's talk about Simons.

My early exposure to Simons was through my friends. I have a friend (in a different city) who likes shopping there, and another who bought a dress there while in Québec. My first encounter came when I passed by the store during my grad trip in Montréal. Walking through the store, however, I was underwhelmed. The clothing appeared quite basic, reminding me of a watered down version of Hudson's Bay. Nonetheless, I was still looking forward to seeing what Simons would have to offer in my own city.


After exploring the four-story department store this week, I do have a better impression of Simons than before. But to say it is a good impression would be wrong. It caters to what I consider the suburban professional mom. Khaki capris, flowy floral tops, and blazers in various solid colours. The majority of clothing in the store is of poor quality, with a selection of better quality mid-priced items, and one section of incredibly unique, quirky high-end pieces (Leotard with floor-length cape? Yes, please). Despairingly, the shoe and handbag departments were tiny and mediocre. On the bright side though, I was impressed with the offerings in the home section, the decently-priced café, and the two floors dedicated to a wide range of men's clothing. Simons will offer some unique selection for our local market, but overall, I'm left with little reason to shop there.

Though as you know, that doesn't stop me from trying on their clothing.


Twik Floral Choker Dress


What's a huge trend right now? Chokers. And honestly, I'm digging it. So I tried on this dress with the popular choker + v-neck combo. The body of the dress was shapeless, but I appreciated the neckline and the floral print. Definitely going to try copying the trend with one of my own low-cut tops and a ribbon around my neck.


TFNC London Golden Belt Dress


There really isn't anything groundbreaking or special about this dress - I'm just a fan of Grecian styles. This ended up being the only dress that fit me properly, so in that sense it looked flattering. The only thing I would change is how the gold band in the front turns into a black bow belt in the back. I would much prefer a gold waist all around.


Twik Pretty Ruffles Dress


So I didn't realize the straps on this dress were adjustable, hence why it hung so low on my body. My friend tried this dress on with the straps adjusted, and the off-shoulder ruffles did look a lot better. I liked the colour and feminine neckline of this dress, but the cheaply-made body ruined the silhouette. (Interesting to note: the model on the Simons website wears this dress as a regular spaghetti strap, and not an off-shoulder.)


ICÔNE Flower Embroidery Sheer Maxi Dress


And finally, on to my favourite (and more expensive) dress of the day. Not only did I love the sheer white chantilly lace, I adored how there were shorts underneath the skirt. Practical and flirty. The ruffled sleeves were also an ethereal, elegant touch. As for up top, I would certainly need another layer, unless I were to commit to the true fashion life of using double-sided tape to keep deep, risqué v-necks in place. But as my friend suggested, a bandeau would suffice.

Image Source: Daily Hive

February 26, 2017

UGG, Really?

Let's talk about shoes.


ALDO Zusien






























Remember when I fell for ALDO's Digosien boots? I still Google them every once in a while hoping ALDO will bring them back in stock. Yeah, that's how sad I am. However, that's besides the point. I didn't think ALDO would impress me with another pair of shoes so soon after Digosien, but they did. Introducing, Zusien. I first discovered the appeal of strappy, pointed toe, low block heels from Marzia Bisognin, one of my style icons. I waffled for days over whether I wanted to try these shoes on (and potentially fall down the rabbit hole of lust), but finally, I went into an ALDO store and took them off the shelf.

Oh dear, did I fall down that rabbit hole. I squealed in excitement as my boyfriend looked on with a confused, yet slightly amused, smile on his face. I think even the salesperson took a hesitant step back. These shoes were so classy. The black is sharp against the foot, emphasizing the d'orsay sides. The toe is perfectly pointed, and the block heel is cute and stout. My mind flashed through so many outfits I could wear with these shoes. Alas, at $60, they were too expensive. I didn't want to spend that much money on a pair of suede shoes that I didn't necessarily need.

Shortly after, these shoes went out of stock. I stalked around ASOS for fun, and saw they had a similar pair, but the toe box and heel just weren't shaped as nicely, making the shoes off-kilter in comparison. In an unexpected turn of events though, I checked ALDO again last week, and it looks like Zusien has been revived for another season with more materials and colours. I hope these shoes aren't here to tempt me again, but frankly, I would trade these in to have Digosien brought back from the dead.


Tod's Chukka Boots












































A while ago, I was given a pair of brand new soft blue (different colour than above) Tod's chukka boots as a hand-me-down (they were never worn by my predecessor, hence why they are still in brand new condition). Over the years, my wardrobe has acquired some designer shoes thanks to the generosity of my friend, but no matter how big the brand name, I have never been as impressed by a pair of shoes as I was with these Tod's. These boots are of absolute incredible quality. The craftsmanship blew me away.

First of all, the suede. The suede is of the softest, most buttery kind. My fingers slid smoothly over the completely blemish-free upper. Shoelaces were the next thing I noticed. The are made of a thicker, stiffer rope, resulting in a satisfyingly secure tie. Overall, the shoe is a feminine and sleek take on the traditional chukka boot. The elongated toe box narrows into a beautifully gentle curve, and the leather sole is done in a clean birch colour - my favourite shade for shoes like these. While short and demure, the heel is still noticeable, adding just enough negative space underneath the arch to lend the boots a sophisticated polish.

I've always known Tod's to have well-made driving shoes, but I am utterly astounded by this particular pair of chukka boots. When my dad saw them, he told me he too was once floored by the beauty of Tod's, yet could not bring himself to pay the price for a pair. I agree with him when he says these are the type of shoes you don't even want to walk out of the house in due to fear you will ruin them. I love how these shoes help my style venture into more masculine territory, so one day, I shall have to muster up the courage to wear these out. In the meantime though, just let me admire them while they're still in pristine condition.


UGG Janney Boots



UGG, really? Yes, really. I've given UGGs a hard time on my blog, though to be fair I'm only opposed to those loaves of bread they call boots. This winter, we were hit with bone-chilling cold weather. In the five minutes it took for me to walk from the train station to work, my toes practically froze over. I knew it was time I took action and wore some better boots. Luckily, I ended up finding some insulated, albeit hideous, winter boots in my closet. Although I cared about warmth, not style, at that point, I've still been low-key on the lookout for stylish winter boots (is there such a thing?).

Today, browsing though Nordstrom's sale rack, I came across these UGG boots. I picked them up immediately to try on. I don't normally go for wedges, but I'm fine with them if they are sleek enough. What appealed to me about these boots were the military-style lace-up and buckle (which reminded me of Burberry Fall/Winter 2010/2011 RTW - a great collection), and the smooth waterproof leather. The boots were nice and lean compared to my chunky winter boots, and I liked how they were slightly bad ass, but in an elegant way. I would have bought them if it weren't for the $160 price tag. I'm not sure whether these boots are practical enough for our cold, messy and slippery Canadian winters, so I need to ponder some more before I lay my money down.

Image Source: Aldo, Lyst, Zappos

February 4, 2017

We Gucci

It's about time we talk about Gucci.

At the beginning of 2015, Alessandro Michele was named Gucci's new Creative Director after Frida Giannini announced her departure from the role. Giannini had memorable collections throughout her 12 year tenure, including a powerful 2011 season that swept the industry with its colour blocked glamour. However, as an old classmate of mine once put it, the brand became irrelevant thereafter. In the years ensuing, nothing Gucci put out could quite rouse the hearts of the industry like it once had. It became bland and repetitive. Looking back at my own blog, I stopped writing about Gucci after 2011. The brand likely dropped off my radar completely, which is why I don't have much recollection of Gucci's later works.

But when Michele arrived, he wasted no time hitting us with his new vision. His vision is inventive, unapologetic, and most importantly, exciting. 2016 was a good season for Gucci - that's when Michele really found his stride.

Gucci Resort 2016
I first took note of Gucci again with its Resort 2016 collection. I came across the collection's short film, which tells the story of guy-meets-girl (in a long chevron midi-dress). There was something so enchanting about how the richly textured seventies designs popped in their bold, saturated colouring. Compared to how things were before, this was an acid trip. Michele firmly reminded us that fashion, and particularly Gucci, can be fun.

Gucci Spring/Summer 2016 RTW
Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 were also joy rides. Wild motifs decorated sheer dresses and shimmering fabrics. Sporty, retro, glamorous...Gucci is the eclectic flower child of the 21st century. Fashion influencers had Gucci's fur-lined loafers on their wishlists. Magazines scrambled to showcase the gossamer floral motif dresses. Its green embroidered duchesse bomber jacket was the epitome of all bomber jackets. In short, Gucci became relevant again.

Gucci Fall/Winter 2016 RTW
With that, though, I must say I am less enthralled by Spring 2017. The runway was awash in a smokey red glow, similar to that of an opium den. The drugged-up, hedonistic aura was intensified by blank-eyed models walking past in awkward stumbles and confused dazes. It appeared this was where forbidden desires became fulfilled. The show was a rose bearing its thorns.

Gucci Spring/Summer 2017 RTW
While the premise is delightful, the surrealism became excessive in a way that seemed garish. Ruffles were blown out of proportion too deliberately, the styling was unsettling for the sake of being weird, and thematic elements seemed recycled from previous seasons. I hope Michele does not get caught up in what the industry wants Gucci to be. I hope he stays in touch with his inner sentiments so that his collections always come from a place of authenticity. But so far, Gucci has been revived, and I look forward to what more it has to bring.

Image Source: Vogue

January 1, 2017

2016: A Look Back

In the past, I used to recap the biggest fashion news stories of the year in a series I called A Look Back. Unfortunately, this practice only lasted for two years. This year, to close off 2016, I want to bring back the series - not because it has been a significant year in fashion, but because it has been a significant year in my personal life.






























My year started off with heartbreak. But in the process of learning how much the heart can ache, I discovered the love of my closest friends. I experienced spiritual growth and embraced independence. Yet, just when I felt stronger, I got held down again by the difficulty of finding a job in the depressed economy. Having a career has been my driving force for the past 10 years, and I felt distressingly lost in those months I kept struggling to stand out in the job market. I took reprieve from it all when I went on a family trip to celebrate my official graduation from university. Upon my return, things turned around immediately. I was offered a position that suited the education and experience I had. My family and I moved to a new condo downtown. I began volunteering for local fashion and entertainment opportunities. I spent more time with my friends. I reconnected with someone very special to me, and started a relationship with him. I met new people and tried new things. I'm close to paying off all my student loans. I'm learning new things by taking online courses. I feel more confident and satisfied with my personal style than I ever have before. I'm spending my spare time working on an upcoming fashion project.

Life isn't perfect, but it's not meant to be. It's meant to challenge you and break you down so that you can build yourself back up to see the beauty of it all.

Although my year had its ups and downs, I reached many milestones and realized everything has a purpose towards the better. Many people consider 2016 to be a pretty bad year. It was punctuated by violence, division and loss. However, with every shade of darkness comes a glimmer of light. Even in the bleakest depths of the shadows, there is hope - you just have to find it and follow it. Don't forget the happiness of the year. Don't forget the kindness, the successes, and the love. 2017 is a chance for us to pull ourselves, and each other, back up and towards that glimmer of light.

Happy New Year, everyone.