May 23, 2016

What A Push Up

Well, after bashing Freddy WR.UP pants, I thought it was only fair I grant the pants fair trial by actually giving them a go and trying them on. Besides, my curiosity about their magical butt lifting abilities had me gravitating towards the store (yes, so what if I am curious about that bootylicious life).

While the Spring 2016 collection offered some crazy options (tri-coloured ombre?!), I decided to go for a pair of classic denim pants.

At first I was skeptical of trying on an XXS (I don't quite have that teenage physique anymore), but it turned out to be the right size. I don't have a photo of myself in the pants (I rather not have something like that saved for eternity on the Internet), so you'll have to bear with me as I explain.

The first thing I noticed was how incredibly tight the pants are. Luckily, it is made of a soft, stretchy fabric, so putting it on does not require breaking out into a sweat and swearing under your breath, but I was still surprised by how much it looked spray-painted onto my legs. While the waistline fit properly, I did have problems with length, as a significant portion of the pant bunched up around my ankles. 

But of course, Freddys are not about the legs - they're about sculpting that derrière. I must admit, my behind did look rounder. I still found the stitching to be awkward, but I guess once you have the pants on, you are slightly blinded by the magnificence of your new spherical asset. Although, I'm tempted to say part of why you get an instant butt lift is because of how tight the pants are. With jeans glued to your skin, any curvature (no matter how slight) gets brought to light.

At the end of the day, I still prefer my normal rump. I felt a little try-hard in those pants, and I was definitely not a fan of how tight they were. I thought my legs looked like two unappetizing sausages (though the friends I was with told me my legs looked good). Besides, $180 for a pair of denim pants? I understand designer jeans can cost upwards of $300, but Freddys still carry a hefty price tag themselves.

So after all that, maybe I have saved some of you from the embarrassment of having to walk into a Freddy store to quell your own curiosity. Or, perhaps, I've actually enticed some of you to give your own booty a push up...

Image Source: Livify

May 15, 2016

Make Me Look Cool

A good friend of mine recently shared this Buzzfeed article with me. In it, Buzzfeed staff member Chelsea Marshall goes to six different clothing stores and asks each of them to make her look "cool".

My first thought: why cool? Cool is a word inherently based on what is trendy at the time. If you ask a store to dress you "cool", you're just going to get an outfit consisting of the latest trends or whatever the store's brand image is. There is no concrete definition of what cool is, so this article essentially sets out to prove what is already known.

However, despite my initial skepticism with the premise of this experiment, I do like the final message Marshall leaves us with: "If you’re uncomfortable, even the 'coolest' outfit will look terribly uncool." Because you know what's cool? Confidence. It's the backbone of all good outfits. It's the reason why we say designers like Alexander Wang design for "cool" girls. Wang's designs are not intrinsically cool - it's the type of girls he designs for who are. Being cool is more about an attitude than what you wear.

One thing I did notice from the Buzzfeed article is how varied womenswear can be in terms of what is considered cool or trendy. What about menswear? Well, this is where my friend from earlier comes in. He actually decided to carry out the same experiment for his YouTube channel, More Merrick.

As you can see, in all cases, Merrick was given a pair of pants, a shirt, and a jacket. Of course, to the fashion-minded, there are many differences between these three looks, but generally speaking, the formula was consistent across all stores. Variety in menswear is definitely more about the subtle differences. Overall similarity between the looks could also be attributed to the fact these stores are based heavily on following trends (though you could argue Urban Outfitters is the exception, as it does have its own distinctive image). Also, notice how Merrick has to make rules for expanding on and clarifying what "cool" means to potentially confused sales associates, which just goes to show the ineffectiveness of using the word in the first place. I understand "cool" makes for a catchier editorial title, but again, it's a strange way of going about an experiment.

Nonetheless, whether cool, or elegant, or edgy, we have probably all tried to embody a certain descriptor at some point in life. Eventually, we come to realize the most important thing is staying true to ourselves. Who we are may evolve through time (hence the cringing when we look back at our younger selves), but achieving harmony between your inner self and your outer self will leave you with a confidence that carries more weight than any single word ever could.

Image Source: Buzzfeed

May 1, 2016

Are You Listening?

Diversification in business is meant to reduce risk, and some luxury designer labels go to great lengths to take advantage of that theory. Most infamous may be Chanel; from fashion and lifestyle, to sports equipment, to guitars, Chanel has dipped its toes into many industries. While it may be amusing to see all the things Karl Lagerfeld is willing to brand with his interlocking-Cs, his multiple forays realistically boast more style than expertise. Labels are forgoing specialization for ubiquity, and while it is possible for a company to acquire expert knowledge through partnerships, the truth remains: the knowledge is not innate.

Dolce & Gabbana has also been trying its hand at diversifying product lines. For Fall/Winter 2015, the label released ornately embellished $7000 headphones, decked out in materials like Swarovski crystals, pearls, nappa leather and fur. Stylish, indeed - but functional? I decided to share the product page for a pair of D&G headphones with a good friend of mine who is a techie (he's also the one who introduced me to video game fashion) to see how he would react. He acknowledged the visual appeal of the headphones, but as I thought, he quickly wanted to know some specifications. D&G's product description is clearly written with the fashion buyer in mind, focusing on aesthetic offerings rather than technical capabilities. Those looking to learn more about the technology behind the fashion will be hard-pressed to find that information. A bit of Googling revealed nothing.

Of course, the type of people who are going to buy $7000 D&G headphones are probably not too concerned with specifications; D&G has made no mistake in understanding and catering to its customers. I simply find it curious that if someone happens to be interested in how well the headphones perform, that information is seemingly no where to be found. Fashion techies do exist - and D&G is failing to give that niche part of the market the full picture.

A fashion x technology collaboration done with more professional grace is the Apple Watch and Hermès collection, released earlier this year. Two massive powerhouses in their respective industries, coming together to produce an accessory meant to appeal to both the techies and the fashionistas. The product page gives fair weight to explaining the technical and design clout of the watches, making this collaboration a clean and equal partnership.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Two heads are better than one. We all know the exciting possibilities made available from the dynamics of two specialists joining hands. Collaboration with those from diverse backgrounds provides an opportunity to explore beyond one's own boundaries into uncharted territory, but the greatest beauty comes when all parties are given the chance to shine.

Image Source: MegaDeluxe, Yucatan, Engadget