2011 (A Year in Review)

Courtesy of Fashion Gone Rogue
This probably is like the umpteenth end of the year, wrap up post for a lot of you and I apologize for the lack of originality here, but I like how it serves as a nice little bow to tie things up neatly. If I had to use one word to describe this year it would be bittersweet: there were many an incredible highs but also terrible lows. Nonetheless everything has been incredibly meaningful and I have to say the best thing I've done this year was to start this blog. Although it is a terrible time sucker and I sure don't need more excuses to stay online, it allowed me to meet some of the most inspiring creative people that I might not befriend or know about otherwise. I will refrain from listing the individuals here in case I leave someone out (by accident!) but everybody more or less knows who they are. Your tweets, emails and comments are invaluable in never stopping to inspire or push me think. So thank you thank you thank you!

To be perfectly honest though for the blog in general, I definitely know it's fashion oriented however there isn't one specific theme/approach that I've stuck with yet. You can tell by the early months after the birth of this blog that I have no idea of what I should be doing (and oh great new readers will now click to the archives ackk!), yet I think ultimately what I love so much about blogging in general that it is an ongoing project where I can constantly learn, update and improve. I'm not too gifted with words but with every post I'm trying. So speaking of resolutions, continuing to develop my skills as a blogger is way up there on my list and you betcha when I say I'm going to funnel even more time and energy into this little side commitment of mine. Here are some posts that I've written that I have been particularly proud of this year:
I hope people have enjoyed my posts and had as much fun reading them as I did writing them! Just out of curiosity though I wonder if people have a preference for more text heavy posts versus more images, or critiques versus wardrobe planning posts versus outfit posts and etc.? Let me know! And before I sign off for the year (well just for the weekend really) I want to announce some small changes to the site. Firstly I have to phase out Svpply since I don't have time to use it at all. I would chuck Pinterest too but I think it will still be useful in the long run unlike Svpply. In its place I've gotten a Flickr account since I have a new camera now for Christmas (and people are now bound to ask, so where are the pictures? Dad didn't bring it with him and left in HK so no purty photos until I'm there, sorry folks). Next I also got rid of my blog supplement simply because I thought I was spreading myself too thin between the inspiration tumblr that I already have, thinking up/researching blog material and social media-ing, whatever that really is and which I don't think I have gotten the hang of yet. Lastly since Google has decided to phase out Google Friend Connect, I decided to make the transition easier for new followers by setting up a Facebook page in its stead. Even though the changes doesn't really affect sites hosted on Blogger such as mine, I will be deleting the widget altogether soon enough at the end of January.

So I guess that is it for 2011 then. I hope everybody will have a fabulous New Year's Eve and I can't wait to see everybody in 2012. All the best and cheers!

L'Air du Temps

Before I was even able to wrap my head around the clothes or Olivier Theyskens, I could already recognize the smell of L'Air du Temps. I basically grew up with the perfume. Mum occasionally dabbled among other perfumes (like the famous No. 5) but she always stuck with and came back to the L'Air du Temps. I distinctly remember there were a period of time in the late nineties that she would have to buy multiples of it at a time since it getting unpopular and hard to find (at least in Hong Kong). I'm so glad that all Nina Ricci perfumes now have gotten a kind of a comeback into mainstream popularity. I don't even mind getting the perfume myself since it smells so––well appropriately––timeless, always fresh and never dowdy, nor is it ever too sweet, too strong or musky. I will be giving a bottle of it to my mother shortly, so Happy Birthday Mum! Stay tuned for an end of the year wrap up/recap over the next two days? What type of perfume did your mum wear?

We're Going to Have a Warm Winter Here

Christmas feels so strange without snow at all, especially when I remember just how much snow there was last boxing day (in NYC––remember that?!). I thought I would be able to post since I have all the time in the world now, but my mind went on vacation mode and all the ideas I had went down the drain. My Christmas came and went quietly as it was celebrated as per usual huddled around the fireplace with cups of eggnog and some old family photo albums (so embarrassing) in hand. Yesterday, I went Boxing Day shopping with the family (Boxing Day sale in Canada is as crazy as Black Friday in the U.S.) and did not buying anything except for this Benefit Eye Brow kit thing at Sephora, which wasn't even on sale. I only bought it after loving how natural it looked on 0000. Otherwise I couldn't care less about what was on sale at all––maybe this shows how I managed to wean myself off from cheap thrills and stick to building my wardrobe? Who knows. On the other hand, speaking of proportions I love the way these jeans taper from hips and hit slightly above my ankles. I thought I was way over distressed anything but I adore how 'lived in' they feel. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christkwanzikah! I promise I'll get at least another post in before the year is out :)

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Guess who's finally done with her exams?! Tonight marks my last night in the US for this year before I catch my flight tomorrow morning to Vancouver. I will only be in Van till Jan 7th before I catch another flight to HK to spend J-Term in someplace warm, but I would love to meet up with any blogger friends in Van :) Like the November post, these are some of things I like from the world wide web this month:
This was unexpectedly long, but I have to go reply to everybody's comments and then pack. The next post will be from Vancouver!

Thoughts on Boy. by Band of Outsiders Pre-Fall 2011

Photos courtesy of Style.com and Boy. by Band of Outsiders
I told myself that I could blog again once I crossed a certain word count on my essay, so here I am. Above are some pieces of the collection just released by Band of Outsiders. The whole collection (total of 18 pieces) can be seen on Style.com. Anyone who is familiar with the nature of pre-fall collection will know the simplicity of the collection is due to the fact that the in-between collections are always more commercial and wearable compared to the normal twice-a-year seasonal collections. The reason why I like this collection is because it encapsulates the label's ability to combine preppy elements and put its own signature quirky twist into it to make it look understated, kempt and fun all at the same time. It's clean in a Euro Miu-Miu/Marni way but still has ounces of Americana to spare. I can't wait to see their F/W 2012 collection, but until then, back to the essay I go...


Photo by the fabulously talented Petra via Rookie

I can't believe I still have finals next week, and since I like to pace myself instead of cramming everything and calling it a day, I won't be leaving for winter break until the 23rd :( Note to self: never take five classes again, esp. when three of them are so quantitatively heavy! Meanwhile, I've been tagged by the lovely Amelia of Le Petit Bruit. Apparently this is how it works:
1. You must post these rules.
2. Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post, and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post.
5. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
6. No tag backs.
7. No stuff in the tag­ging sec­tion about ‘you are tagged if you are read­ing this.’ You legit­i­mately have to tag 11 people.
First off, 11 Things About Me (the most random things possible):
  1. I can eat rice everyday till the day that I die and I'm not even trying to be stereotypically "Asian".
  2. I am always daydreaming/thinking when walking from i.e. point A to point B, so people think I'm mean and am ignoring them even though I'm just lost in a daze.
  3. I managed to get out of all 'sports days' throughout primary and beginning of secondary school, only to be forced to participate in interscholastic sports for all four years of boarding school.
  4. I sneeze after eating at least 70% dark chocolate (apparently this is actually a legitimate thing called the 'photic sneeze reflex', also called colloquially the 'orgasm of the face').
  5. I'm allergic to bananas. 
  6. I can play Big Two (card game), Mah-jong (beat my grandmother once, score!) and Go-Stop (thanks to the many Korean dorm mates in high school).
  7. I speak five languages with varying degrees of fluency.
  8. I am still trying to work my way through the Harvard Classics in my spare time and hope to finish the entire list before I graduate from college.
  9. I'm cheap and like to download books off Project Gutenberg to read them for free.
  10. I can never manage to get the film off the film canisters in the dark room.
  11. I have suffered from a case of bathroom-phobia ever since I was nine, because of this movie. Why did my cousins think it would be a good film to watch during a sleepover?
Questions from Amelia:

1. Which historical figure would you have liked to meet?
As of right now, since I just finished taking a Roman art history class and am watching HBO show Rome while I procrastinate during my finals, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus.

2. Is there a book that has truly impacted your life?
Yes, and it is Plato's Symposium.

3. What is your favorite movie?
Too many to list! I guess for all films released (stateside) in 2011 this year, MMMM, Drive, Midnight in Paris and The Hedgehog.

4. What is your pet peeve?
The smacking sound people make when they eat with their mouths open. Drives me BONKERS.

5. Which era would you have liked to have been born in?
When all Seven Wonder of the Ancient World + the library of Alexandria still existed.

6. What traits do you seek in people?
Trustworthy, reliable, honest, not too easily offended/touchy/defensive, sense of humour

7. What language would you like to learn?
Russian and Arabic.

8. City life or country life? 
I was born a city girl but I've learned to adore the country life, so the country life but with killer internet.

9. What is your favorite quote?
I have three and they're listed down below!

10. When you're sad in what do you indulge?
Emotionally intense movies––it makes my own problems seem so much smaller in comparison.

11. Favorite/the most true piece of advice you ever got. 
My mom gave me How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie during the final year of high school. Maybe she was trying to insinuate something, but basically everything in that book and of course, the last lecture.

And now for my own questions (!):
  1. If you could be anyone for a day (could be fictional/historical), who would it be? 
  2. Field Notes or Moleskines?
  3. What is the last thing you ate?
  4. If you can be anywhere you want right now, where would it be? 
  5. If you could go back in time and change any historical event, what would it be?
  6. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe right now?
  7. Which would you prefer if you had to pick either one, Zara or H&M?
  8. Morning person or night owl? 
  9. What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
  10. Favourite smell in the world? (No perfumes allowed)
  11. Most important lesson learnt in 2011?
I tag: Phara, Jada, Teresa, E'clair, Katrina, Fleurette, Stephanie, Hannah-Rose, Rachel, Lindsey, Hila


I am not going to apologize for not blogging much this month (at least for my decent track record so far) but between finishing papers/third round of midterms, writing for the student newspaper and creating websites for different student orgs, blogging was put on the back burner for a while. Still, all the while I kept up with some fashion-y pursuits, chief among them was trying to learn more about Le SAPE, which stands for en français "Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes". Jonathon Crisman talks a little more about the society and the rules here, should you be interested to go read a little more about the followers of Le SAPE, les sapeurs. Granted the book is not recent (circa 2009 I believe?) and the phenomena is quite old itself, but I only came across these men and their style two months ago through Lin (for which I am thankful for). I was able to get my hands on Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni from the library and I truly am in awe of these men and their style.
There are many reasons for why I am so fascinated by them but I guess firstly just how well executed and put together the men are in general. They do not pale at all in comparison to the men photographed outside trade shows like Pitti. I appreciate the daring boldness of the colour choices and simultaneously am intrigued by the juxtaposition of the abject poverty of their environments to the expensive garments the individuals don. As a romantic idealist myself, it should be of no surprise that what I love most about the men and their style is the purpose behind it all. The clothes seem frivolous but that is part of the point les sapeurs are trying to make, in attempting to maintain high moral standards even in a war-torn country like Congo. How they are able to push for a serious social agenda while still looking so stylish and so full of swagger (in the best way possible), is surely laudable. Whoever said clothes were just 'stuff'?

Friday Favourites VI

Guess what popped up on my Youtube subscription feed? A series of videos featuring some of the most notable actors and actresses of the year. I'm only going to list five of them here, so check the rest out on their channel. NYTimes disabled embedding, but at least you can watch them by clicking on the links? The play buttons won't work :( Enjoy!

Tips for #CyberMonday

Top, Lands' End. Jacket, UO. Scarf, Gift from friend. Pants, Lands' End. Boots, L.L. Bean.
I had vowed to myself not to do any outfit posts post-Thanksgiving (aka chubbier) before I hit the gym, which I haven't been going to much lately because of a third round of midterms and finals to come after. Then again since all my #cybermonday purchases has finally arrived, I thought I might share some of the lessons I learnt while shopping online that day. I still don't understand why people would bother camping out for Black Friday when you can shop in the comfort of your warm home without the risk of being trampled on (or worse pepper sprayed).
  • Don't get distracted by the price tag. Even though shirt is now 60% off but is not in the right colour or size, do not try to use the price to justify buying it. 
  • Restrain yourself. The fact everything is now in the affordable price range does not mean you can go lose yourself by clicking 'add to shopping bag'.
  • Keep searching, don't settle. You might have thought you found a great deal, when there might better ones out there for similar products on different sites. Scan the horizon before you go in for the kill. 
  • Unless you have been planning for the sale and gunning for a certain item, try to stick to safer choices. It's very easy to bag eye-catching pieces that are now available to your budget, but the money could be used better elsewhere once the novelty wears off. An accidental impulsive purchase on a safer item would easily to swallow since it's highly probable that you can incorporate it into your existing wardrobe somehow.
  • Stock up on basics. A lot of the sites also offered deals in buying in bulk, so why not take up on the opportunity to get more bang for your buck by stocking up things that you're running low on. 
Tip #5 is one the I found most useful as I tried to buy things I would get tons of wear out of, which include wool skirts, more button down shirts, two sweaters, some long sleeve tissue tees for layering, a pair of wonderfully aged boyfriend jeans and a few pairs of thick winter woolly socks. I should also note that the only part of the outfit that is bought during #cybermonday is the olive turtleneck. And now that the temperature is dropping, I'm able pull out my L.L. Bean boots to see the light of the day. They are surprisingly light, incredibly comfortable while warm at the same time. I have quite narrow feet so I adore how snug they feel. They are great alternative to the clunky Sorel boots I'm starting to see all over campus and I definitely recommend them for the colder season to come.

Designers for Dior

As far as I know, the people at Dior/LVMH HQ has yet to appoint a new head designer after the departure of John Galliano. Some names have been thrown around, but Marc Jacobs is doing well at Louis Vuitton, as Riccardo Tisci with Givenchy so why mess with a good thing and not go look for designers elsewhere? Here are two designers that I would love to see as a new creative director for Dior.

Name: Christian Lacroix
Experience: 22+ years, Christian Lacroix (1988-2009), Christian Lacroix Couture (1987-2009)
Why He's the Man for the Job: With an obvious flair for the dramatics and extensive experience in couture, he will undoubtedly be well adept at designing the fabulous extravaganza that Dior has become known for under Galliano. Daring and adventurous, Lacroix consistently manages to create new exciting collections every season with brilliant uses of colour and different fabrics. Because of his impeccable attention to detail, his pieces are unfailingly infused with a sense of elegance and never comes off as tacky. Lacroix also succeeds in straddling the fine line in RTW, which he has to tone down to make it comparatively more wearable, but it is never seen as completely commercial and still retains an artistic quality to them. I have always thought that Lacroix was a better designer in haute couture when compared to Galliano because he has a delicate sensibility in his approach to clothes that the other designer lacks. His designs are not mere pieces of clothing but works of art.
Availability: Due to the bad economy, Lacroix had to shutter his namesake label although I suspect he will eventually make a come back once he finds the right investor(s). The menswear line continues but it is designed by another designer, not Lacroix. Let's not waste good talent shall we? Meanwhile (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Lacroix should consider doing a high street collaboration. I can only imagine how freaking fantastic that would be. I'll be ready to camp outside the store days in advance on a moment's notice.

And for the other designer they should seriously consider...

Name: Olivier Theyskens
Experience: 14 years, including Rochas (2002-2006), Nina Ricci (2006-2009), Theory (2011-)
Why He's the Man for the Job: The man is the epitome of all things ethereal and romantic. He's an absolute genius at draping and there's something about the way he does it that reminds me of vintage Dior from the old days. RTW is going to be a piece of cake to him, and if anyone had any reserves on whether he can do full blown couture, look no further than his impossibly beautiful dresses. His pieces look deceptively simple, however the devil really is in the details with the careful attention to the different fabrics, textures, draping and the sculptural quality to some of his dresses. His designs are young and refreshing, while still approachable and palatable to older clientele. He can do what Christophe Decarnin did for Balmain in updating the label without completely abandoning the aesthetic and tone set by Galliano.
Availability: Currently, he is the creative director at Theory and while his most recent collection for them was great, he would be a definite darling of Paris Fashion week should he helm Dior. Dior is a much higher profile gig and he would make a lasting mark in fashion history as creative director.

Courtesy of NYMag
Both designers will be utterly fantastic as creative director for Dior. Lacroix is perfect for it, but I don't doubt for a moment that Theyskens will be great as well. Sadly I question whether these two will be picked or not but I'm still optimistic, with my fingers crossed.