July 27, 2015

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

I used to blog a bit about bridal a couple years ago, but there was only so much a single teenage girl could write about wedding dresses. I'm still not quite that qualified to speak to the world of bridal, but when Weddington Way challenged me to restyle one of their bridesmaid dresses into a summer date outfit, I thought I'd give it a go. Being a girl who tries to make the most of her clothing, I was drawn to the concept of giving further mileage to a dress that is commonly perceived as something you wear only once. Using the Dove & Dahlia Isabelle dress in turquoise sea - which, with its own built-in pockets, is already designed to traverse the line between dressy and casual - this is how I would re-work a bridesmaid dress for a flirty rendez-vous:

Dress: Weddington Way | Denim Jacket: maurices | Handbag: Chloé | Sandals: Rene Caovilla | Necklace: Seaman Schepps | Bracelet: Chloé | Ring: Joomi Lim | Sunglasses: Steve Madden | Nailpolish: Dior | Perfume: Hermès 

A date outfit should certainly be nice, but most importantly, it should be comfortable. I would never be the type to wear short-shorts and high heels on a date, because dressing stylishly comfortable is what translates into killer confidence. So for this look, I aimed to not overwhelm with too many awkward bells and whistles, instead keeping to a comfortable (but still very feminine and pretty) flat sandal. I also find modesty to be a greatly endearing quality to have, which is why I've chosen to both cover-up and dress-down the dress with a cropped denim jacket. I used gold jewellery and pink-tinted aviators to add polish and glamour to the entire look, and for finishing touches, threw in a swipe of blush pink nailpolish and a spritz of Hermès Kelly Calèche (my favourite perfume).

Any item in your closet that you've relegated to 'one-time use only' has the potential to be restyled into an entirely new and inspiring look. After all, where there's a will, there's a way. With a bit of creativity, this bridesmaid dress can now accompany you on your own journey to finding love.

July 20, 2015


I used to blog a bit about the latest fashion trends (check out my Trends tag), but I realized I haven't done so in a while! Coincidentally, this is a great time to take it up again because I have noticed a very ubiquitous trend taking over the streets since last summer:

The plaid shirt tied around the waist.

What's interesting is that this trend isn't quite as new or as old as you might think. Besides being characteristic of the grunge era, I still remember how my mom used to tie her sweaters around her waist out of pure practicality in the '90s. Back then, it was less an accessory and more a way to simply free up the hands.

But this past year, the trend has been revived as a purely decorative piece, with particular focus on plaid button-ups. The first time I saw this trend in action was on a girl who had tied a blue plaid shirt in a breezy, lightweight fabric over a pair of white shorts, white t-shirt and white Keds. With each step, her plaid shirt fluttered in the wind like a skirt. It was very soft and clean, yet still edgy at the same time. She was a great example of downtown polish, and to me, she was oh-so-cool.

Even guys have been getting in on this trend, and major props to those who take that fashion risk (JusReign, I'm looking at you! In addition to being downright hilarious, this guy's style is always 100% fresh).

But, like a good song that's been played too many times on the radio, this trend became stale from endless copycatting. As a university student, I saw this trend EVERYWHERE on campus. And it wasn't even interesting to see how girls interpreted the trend...because everyone wore it the same way. Every girl had a red lumberjack shirt paired with black separates and biker boots. Don't get me wrong - it's a decent look - but when you start seeing the same outfit several times a day, you begin to appreciate those who make the effort to break beyond the mould. Furthermore, I began to feel like people were wearing the trend for the sake of wearing the trend. Thought has to be put into what type of shirt you tie around your waist; I saw too many instances where the shirt was too big, too small, or too forced against the rest of the outfit. My tips: the shirt should frame the hips without being too bulky, and fit with the rest of your outfit either as a statement piece or as a continuation. But you can't wear a trend just because everyone else is wearing it - you have to make it your own. That's when a trend ceases to be just a trend, and instead becomes an extension of your personal style.

I love trends. They are an opportunity to experiment beyond your comfort zone and discover new ideas. But let us never forget that personal style is a craft; it requires an element of authenticity that cannot be satisfied by being a mere slave to trends.

As for me, I might give this particular trend a go. It's petering out towards the end of its lifeline, but perhaps the best time to take up a trend is when no one else is expecting it anymore. I already own a skirt with a built-in sweater around the waist (a gift from Japan, and is what I assume a copy of this 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt), but I may play around with my multicolored Lauren Ralph Lauren plaid shirt made from an airy fabric, a denim button-up, or maybe a sweater or cardigan with interesting texture. I won't be going grunge, but I might take inspiration from the one person I continue to think wore this trend the best - the girl who wafted through the streets in her blue plaid and white Keds, showing us what true confidence and style is all about.

Image Source: Kati-Rose, Aelida, AllWomensTalk

July 12, 2015

What's Up?

As boring as I sometimes think it is for you to read about my shopping adventures, I find blogging about specific fashion items to be a valuable exercise in exposing oneself to fashion's smallest, most fundamental unit of output. At the end of the day, these are the products that end up on the retail floor - these are the products that will have the most direct and intimate relationship with the consumer.

And so without further ado, let me share with you my excitement (and disappointment) over a couple of things I came across while shopping yesterday:

Marc by Marc Jacobs Metropoli Bucket Bag
Walking into Nordstrom, this was the very first item I took notice of. First of all, bucket bags are without a doubt this year's It Bag. I've seen a myriad of versions over these past few months, but this Metropoli Bucket Bag from Marc by Marc Jacobs has a little special something that makes it worth singling out - and that special something is a snap-flap envelope pocket stitched onto the exterior of the bag. While some of you may consider that pocket useful for carrying coins, I devise that it's the perfect size for slotting in a set of business cards. Forget those plain old metal business card holders everyone has. You have to admit that pulling a card out of your $400 Marc by Marc Jacobs handbag is much, much cooler.

Kate Spade Glitter Ursula New York Sunglasses
Remember how I tried on a pair of Kate Spade Shira Glitter Sunglasses last month? Well, I saw this glittery rendition of the Ursula New York, and I just couldn't resist! I slipped them on, and once again, Kate Spade surprised me with how good her frames look. Somehow she makes frames that fit my face perfectly, a rarity for a girl with a flat nose bridge and wider visage. I was pleasantly astonished by how chic, glamorous, and subtly retro the sunglasses were. Kate Spade, please continue to design eyewear because your frames are works of magic!

Freddy WR.UP Pant

Now on to something decidedly...less magical. Freddy is a new addition to one of my local malls, but my first impressions of it left me baffled. Its storefront was dominated by the Freddy WR.UP Pant, which according to the Internet, is a pretty popular product on Instagram and Facebook. The so-called WR.UP technology is said to shape and lift your derrière to epic, curvaceous proportions. If you ask me though, this sure is one unattractive way to achieve a perky behind. It's ridiculously clear that the jockstrap-like seaming is cut to create two exaggerated spheres on your rear-end; I don't quite see the appeal of so obviously declaring that you have to fake it to make it. Not to mention the seaming in of itself looks much too busy, with the bottom seam really just reminding me of visible pantyline. I, for one, am not keen on having my booty look like it's being pinched and pushed through a contraption which, let's be real, resembles a sort of strange wedgie. 

July 7, 2015

Worst Behavior

I've been talking a lot about retailers lately, but the retail landscape is in such an interesting state of change that I can't help but give my two cents. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to vent about a recent development at one of my local malls.

In my city, there is one mall that everyone goes to. It is the ne plus ultra of malls where I live, and people will travel from all ends of the city to shop there. During its expansion and renovation a few years back, Forever 21 became one of the highly anticipated tenants. It was the only Forever 21 available in the city, and it occupied a vast area of square footage (as all Forever 21 stores do). The store was always teeming with women (young and old), and when I went shopping with friends, we'd never fail to take a look inside. If you've followed my blog since its early days, you'll know I'm hardly a fan of Forever 21, but I certainly do not deny it as a strong force in the retail industry.

So when a shocked co-worker of mine appeared by my desk with news that Forever 21 had closed down, neither of us could believe it. We were stupefied. It is unimaginable to think Forever 21 had been lacking in profits. Could it be that the rent for such a large store was too much even for the fast fashion giant? After all, Forever 21 had nearby neighbours of Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Anthropologie, Free People, Michael Kors, Burberry and Nordstrom...only to name a few. Our mall has been working to craft a higher-end image, and perhaps the neighbouring tenants hiked up the cost of rent. But even so, we were not convinced such a highly successful retailer would find itself crumbling. Perhaps it wasn't that Forever 21 wasn't good enough for us, but that we weren't good enough for it?

Regardless, while the loss of Forever 21 does not sadden me, I found myself peeved by the retailer that ended up replacing it: Urban Behavior.

The only Urban Behavior store I've seen before was in one of our dingy malls - one whose only claim to fame is a Walmart. In fact, according to that mall's most current list of stores, it appears even it has ousted Urban Behavior. For all I know, Urban Behavior is basically a struggling retailer. So why is it now occupying prime retail space in our biggest mall?

Clearly, the explanation escapes me. As cheap as Forever 21 is, at least it makes the effort to offer trendy clothing. Urban Behavior, on the other hand, makes poor quality clothing in very typical, uninspiring designs. There is certainly a place in the market for such brands - there are many shoppers out there simply looking for what they call "cheap, cute clothes" - but does a store like Urban Behavior really deserve such a prime retail location? In contrast to Forever 21's bright, gleaming storefront, the Urban Behavior storefront is now dim and gaudy, making it a bit of an eyesore against its higher-end neighbours. In all honesty, I can't deny there is a part of me that hopes I won't be seeing Urban Behavior in that space for much longer.

Image Source: Forever21, Urban Behavior