September 26, 2012

2nd Year!

Two years and counting.  I'm proud to say I'm still blogging.  I may be posting less, but I completely intend to keep this blog going for as long as the fashion world continues to intrigue me.  This blog hasn't changed much during these past two years - my posts stay the same, my values stay the same, and the old, basic beginner's layout stays the same.  I'm not out to make my blog look fancy; all I care about is getting across what I have to say.
Thank you to all my friends who have supported my blog since its very first post, and thank you to all my friends who read it today.  I would still be blogging even if not a soul knew, but sometimes it's nice to know that there's someone else on the other side of my words.

Happy birthday Red-Soled Fashionista.

Image Source: Cake

September 21, 2012

An Evolution: The dawning of a passion

While sitting down to have an afternoon chat with a stylish friend of mine, we inevitably started talking about fashion.  People our age are usually talking about the future - what will we do for a living, where will we live, when will we marry, who will we marry.  But my friend asked me a question that took me back to my past - "How did you get interested in fashion?"

Of course that is a question I have pondered over when I'm lost in the depths of my own mind, but I have never really formulated an actual response.  I didn't need to; no one had ever asked me before, and I was quite happy living with some abstract understanding of how I came to fall so deeply in love with fashion.

Eventually, however, ignorance can no longer be ignored, so even though I didn't manage to give a good response to my friend at the time, I will attempt one here.

I can say with certainty that I had no interest in fashion as a child.  My mom used to watch Fashion Television (RIP Fashion Television and Jeanne Beker's legacy) and I vividly remember thinking, "This is so weird.  No one wears these kind of clothes!"  Not a statement usually heard from a fashion lover.  The first time I had a connection with fashion was replete with stress and anxiety.  It was grade 7, the most cliquey year of my life.  I realized that in order to be considered cool or popular, you had to have a certain interest in fashion.  And so that was how I started telling people I liked fashion, and that yes, of course I wanted to be a fashion designer.

But don't worry, this is not as bleak as it sounds.  As I changed schools in grade 8, I was surrounded by a better group of people, and it allowed me to look at fashion from a different perspective.  Although I knew deep inside that I was not cut out to be a designer, I started to realize that I actually did like fashion.  I started watching runway shows on Youtube (as I've said before, Versace Spring/Summer 2008 was the show that started it all), watching Fashion Television, and familiarizing myself with designers.  After having lived through a short, horrible moment of not knowing what I wanted to be, I came across an editor's letter.  In it, the editor was describing the first time she realized she wanted to become a fashion editor.  And it was at that moment that I had the same revelation.

It made so much sense.  Before my revelation, I had begun to discover how much I loved writing and how much it was actually a part of me.  I had my first 100% in short story writing in early elementary, one of my teachers had told me how she could tell I expressed myself better through the written word, and the the first time I was published was in grade 5 (a short quote in the book Dear Teacher).  The joy I get seeing my published name before a bunch of text which I have strung together in a way no one else has is incomparable (writing is almost like a fingerprint, no?).  What could be better than combining my love for fashion and writing?

I've said before that we are always learning in fashion.  After realizing how little I knew about the decades of fashion, I desperately cut out a newspaper article chronicling the different decades and their signature styles.  I stuck it up on my cork board for many years, until the pages yellowed, hoping I would eventually know it by heart.  I finally relegated it to the recycling bin last month.  And there was a time when I decided to upgrade to reading Vogue, only to come out of it completely winded and exhausted.  I was not yet advanced enough to read Vogue.  Although I can and have been reading Vogue for a couple years now, I am nowhere near finished learning.

This recalling of events has gone way beyond answering the question of how I got interested in fashion, but it is all part of a larger evolution.  Each event led to another, and each event had a purpose.  Now when I look back, I see how ever since childhood, I have been making tiny steps towards what I now know as a burning passion.  One small (Louboutin-clad) step at a time.

Image Source: Photo1, 2, 3, 4, 5

September 14, 2012

Young Love, Young Fashion

Before school started (and not to mention the mad, elbow-your-way-through rush of textbook buying season), my family took a small trip to Vancouver as a way to give my summer one last hurrah.  Some of my highlights were:

1) Enjoying my first French cuisine dinner - Watermelon goat cheese salad, AAAAA grade meat, and steak with truffle butter being among the delicious dishes.  I loved how the waiters and chefs actually took care to describe the dishes to us.
2) Walking through The Room at The Bay for the second time in my life.  Mary Katranzou print dresses, Comme des Garçons paper-doll silhouettes and Erdem florals right in front of my eyes.  Unbelievable.
3) Passing by one of the few J. Crew stores in Canada.  Admittedly, I was expecting a grander store front.
4) Seeing the Olympic Oval.  Dreams were made and broken there two years ago.
5) And lastly, finding a pair of coloured denim from Topshop!  I searched and searched for coloured denim all summer, and finally, I found a pair of Topshop Moto High Waisted Kristen jeans in Vancouver for $20.
When I was searching for coloured denim, I knew I wanted either mint green or pale purple.  It seemed to me as if these two colours were the rarest after seeing numerous girls in red, yellow, pink and turquoise jeans.  Initially, I thought this pair of Topshop denim to be slightly darker and edgier than my ideal purple, and to add to was high-waisted.  I hadn't worn high-waisted pants in years.  However, high-waisted pants are coming back, considering all the stores that stock the style now.

All doubts were later washed away as I heard my mom say the following glorious words: "They make your legs look longer", and my dad dispelling his wise words: "Wear stuff like this while you're still young".  It's true; the high-waist wrapped snugly around my waist to make my hopelessly short legs look just a little longer (ah, fashion mind games...sometimes I wonder if I'm just amusing myself), and there's no better time to wear purple denim than now while I can still pull it off.  To add to that, the price was irresistible.

So far, all my friends back at university who have seen me in my new jeans have commented (shout out to my group of three very stylish friends - you know who you are - thank you!).  I tuck my white lace top in, loop a brown leather belt into a knot (yes, I finally tried out the knotted belt trend.  Love it!), and when I'm feeling dressy, slip on my gold snakeskin loafers.  On second thought, maybe the highlight of my trip wasn't the food, or even the high fashion.  It was finally going out of my comfort zone and buying something not for practicality, but for fun.  Now is the time to experiment, and I'm going to make sure I enjoy every moment of it.

Image Source: Jeans

September 6, 2012

Sartorial Science

In my last post, I posted about a quote from Elle Canada's May 2012 issue, and I would like to continue discussing another interesting tidbit from that issue.  In Noreen Flanagan's Editor's Note, she explains a theory called "Enclothed Cognition" developed by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky.  In their research, 29 students were asked to perform critical thinking tests in white lab coats, and another 29 in their own clothes.  Result: those in lab coats had half as many errors.  In another test, 33 students were in lab coats, 33 others in painting smocks, and the last 33 in their own clothes.  Again, those in lab coats scored highest.  In a final test, a lab coat was draped over a chair in the same room as students wearing their own clothes.  No boost in scores was seen.
So what does this all lead to?  A confirmation of the idea that "clothes influence performance when they have a symbolic meaning and when they're being worn".  Or as Flanagan explains in a more visceral way, "It's more desirable to wear a Jason Wu original than a knock-off, and standing beside a rack of Chanel suits isn't the same as wearing one."
The first half of her quote is something I try to dispel time and time again on my blog to, as I'm aware, ears that don't always agree.  But the second half of Flanagan's quote is something I think any fashion shopper can relate to.  You can sneak as many furtive glances at that gorgeous embellished number as you want, trying to convince your beating heart you can live vicariously through these glances, but you would only be fooling yourself.  Nothing compares to that moment when you slip on whatever has been beckoning you.  You feel like a different person, you stand taller, you look at yourself in the mirror with a flustered smile, and you think, "Wow, so this is what it's like to live."

Image Source: Science, Chanel

September 1, 2012

Words of Wisdom

If any of you have been following Elle Canada throughout the years, you will know that Elle Canada has been going through a, in my opinion, pleasant change this past year or so.  Noreen Flanagan, who took over Rita Silvan in 2010, has made some refreshing changes to the magazine - I gladly expressed my satisfaction through an email to Flanagan, who surprisingly, emailed back!.  If I dare admit, Elle Canada has eclipsed Flare Magazine in becoming my favourite Canadian fashion magazine (don't worry Flare, I still love you!).  I find Elle Canada now has more humour, fun, exciting new features, and thought provoking articles.  One of these new and exciting features is Elle Canada RSVP, a simple introduction that sets the tone for each issue.  There was one RSVP in particular from May 2012 that I would like to share.
Not only was the illustration incredibly pretty (the exaggerated!), there was a gem of a quote from illustrator and associate art director Elena Viltovskaia: "A strong sense of irony is key to being truly fashionable.  Without it, you're doomed to always play it safe, which is so boring.  True fashion is letting your imagination run free!"  After reading this, I literally put my magazine down to digest the truth of this statement.  Viltovskaia could not be more right.  Being stylish might mean knowing what works for you, and always coming out with a look people will no doubt nod their heads approvingly over.  But being fashionable, now that's different.  Being fashionable is taking risks, enduring raised eyebrows and mouths formed into little "o"s over what you've decided to pick from your closet, yet still walking tall and proud amongst them all.  Because hey, you're happy with how you look, and that's all that matters.  Anna Dello Russo and editors alike don't put together an outfit by thinking that, strategically, it should look good!  They put it together by exploring the deep, dark crevices of fashion, and while sometimes this may shock, it garners more respect than anything else.

Image Source: RSVP