September 20, 2013

Reality Hurts

Let's get real. Being a girl who has decided to pursue a career path (or should I say an uneven, barely visible dirt road with skidding debris and sharp rocks) in fashion, publishing, and business, I've learnt a harsh truth:

There will always be people better than you.

From sitting in a room surrounded by classmates whose intelligence seems unmatched, to hearing about people my age (or younger) who are already living the career I've dreamt about for years, life ahead appears to be an uphill battle.  I sit quietly in my room wondering, "Am I really cut out for this?"

But if there's another thing I've learnt over the years, it's that I am not a pessimistic person.  If I were, I would never be in fashion.  Fashion is for the dreamer, the believer, the nerdy girl back in Grade 8 who knew she wanted to get into the industry, despite everything around her that made it seem like an impossible dream.

See, the corollary is this: There will always be people better than you, but you will always be better than them at something else.  In fact, let's get rid of this whole "better" business!  Success is defined differently for each and every one of us; success is personal.  I'm not saying it's easy - getting there requires headstrong self-confidence.  I would never be where I am now in fashion if I weren't confident in my own skills and abilities.  I've never had formal fashion training, and have only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of experience, but as they say, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. The moment you become discouraged and let go is the moment your dream dies. No one can stomp down your aspirations but you; your own insecurity is the only thing you have to fear.

So while I may see a fellow 20-year-old travelling the world, witnessing the industry's finest fashion first hand, and parading through numerous high society events, there's nothing out there to say I won't be doing the exact same thing at 25.

Image Source: Wallhere

September 14, 2013

Poppy Barley: Made to Measure

One of my goals this summer was to engage in my local culture scene. I didn't end up getting as involved as I wanted to be, but I did get the opportunity to discover a beautiful art gallery, a fantastic street for boutique shopping, and attend a local fashion and art event. The fashion and art event is what I would like to elaborate on today.

So you know how I'm on the hunt for a pair of pointed toe flats? Well, if I had copious amounts of money, I would buy myself a pair of Poppy Barley Custom Made to Measure flats.  Poppy Barley was one of the vendors at the event, and it had me enraptured the instant I walked towards its booth.

Actually, saying that I would only buy this if I were well-off is a misleading statement.  In fact, at $170 for a pair of custom, made to measure flats, Poppy Barley is an absolute steal!  You pay equal amounts for a pair of flats from Town Shoes, and don't even get me started on how much a pair of designer flats costs.  However, being a broke student means that $170 in itself is too much for anything.  But anyway, let's move on to what Poppy Barley actually is.

Poppy Barley is a company based in Edmonton that produces luxury handcrafted custom footwear (mainly flats or riding boots) for women looking for that perfect fit.  The name comes from the fact that shoemakers traditionally used barleycorns and poppy seeds as measurements for footwear.  Essentially, the process Poppy Barley customers go through includes choosing the preferable style of shoe, picking from swatches of quality leather material, deciding on whether to decorate the vamp with select hardware, and finally, getting their feet meticulously measured to determine the perfect fit.  As with any high quality product, it's all in the details - padded insoles, arch supports, and goat leather lining.  Seriously, all of this costs only $170?!

What drew me to the shoes in the first place was the pure classicism of the shape.  They immediately reminded me of a pair of Tabitha Simmons loafers I had seen in Vogue, which I have subsequently been pining after for some time.  Simplicity at its finest.  On top of that, I could tell from just looking at the shoes that they were well-made, with rich, high quality leather material.  Feeling the shoes...I could feel a familiar warmth of adoration spreading from my heart.

Of course, with the ability to custom design your shoe, I had to check out the Poppy Barley website and visualize what my ideal shoe would look like. This is it (photo courtesy of Crown Photography):

Even though there are limited customizations based on what material and styles are available, I still can't believe how this pair of Mary-Janes is SO ME.  Beautiful robin egg blue paired with shimmer from a gold heel - 100% my style.  I came up with this custom design with such ease!  I had a bit of a debate over what style of shoe I wanted (I honestly love all three styles), but it soon became obvious that the Mary-Jane style modernized with a slight d'Orsay design was the winner.  And from there, it was even easier.  Light blue is my favourite colour, and I'm a fan of sparkle/metallics, so the colour combination was almost a given.  In terms of which colour went where, I always look for a smooth vamp, making it without question that the gold pebbled leather belongs on the heel.  I decided against hardware because I wanted to keep it simple and classic.

As an average girl living the life of a fashion lover, I'm always desiring the unattainable.  If only, one day, this pair of flats could become a reality...

Check out Poppy Barley's website, and create for yourself a pair of shoes that is SO YOU.

Image Source: Poppy Barley 

September 6, 2013

First a Rose, Then a Kiss

I love trying on things when I shop, but doing so under the scrutiny of a stranger whose main goal is to get you to spend money is unnerving, to say the least.  In no other instance does this become more apparent than when shopping for makeup.
I went out shopping for new lipstick last month to replace an old Elizabeth Arden tube I had.  Almost the second I picked up a lipstick to try, a saleswoman popped out of nowhere to assist me, which was fine and dandy until she started recommending all sorts of colours even after I said I would take a look by myself.  Under the pressure to buy, I walked away towards another counter, only to be handed the same experience.  Shopping for someone like me is tough - I have very specific wants and details that I look for, and very few people have success recommending fashions to me.  When I buy something, it means it's 100% something I want: it makes my heart beat faster, my mind whirl with ways to wear it, and my conscience feels completely satisfied that my money is well spent.  With such specifications, really, the only person that can help me shop is myself.

So with such an intimidating lipstick shopping experience, I'm surprised I managed to find a colour!  Presenting Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra in Rose.

Although all the pinks the salespeople kept on recommending were verging on Barbie doll level (do I really look that young...), this pink is less bright, making it more akin to normal lip colour.  Because I've always used Elizabeth Arden, it has become a brand I trust. Furthermore, the reason I gravitated towards Rose was because when my mom was younger, she had already determined that rose was a flattering colour.  This colour gives my pale lips a natural flush, while its beads of shimmer coyly hint that I'm made up.  The formula is so amazingly smooth, with the lipstick feeling almost like a good, thick chapstick.  I never thought lipstick could be so moisturizing!
The price of this was about $30.  Apparently this is considered fairly expensive (I don't normally buy makeup, so I wouldn't know), but the blindingly shiny "gold door" tube in itself is worth it.  I fully understand why women whip out their lipsticks after meals...with a tube like this, applying lipstick is a public affair.  Now I finally have an answer if someone ever asks me what my colour is.  Darling, it's Elizabeth Arden Rose.

Image Source: London Drugs, Beautylish