Lessons from Salsa and Tango

I haven't talked about this on the blog at all, but guess what, I have been learning salsa and tango for a good few weeks now. I'm not really a "dance person" with requisite coordination or grace per se, but I do like learning skills. Despite having lots of fun at this Latin dance club that I went to with friends in Greece over the summer, I remember feeling so stupid and clumsy surrounded by more experienced dancers on the dance floor.

Lately, my instructor for both salsa and tango, Daniel, has been talking a lot about the different gender roles in dance, between the roles of the leader and the follower, the difference between the role of the males and the females etc. I won't go into that too much here (unless you want me to!) since what I found most interesting about his talk in relation to style and fashion, is the social aspect of dancing. The kind of tango we have been doing so far is the Argentine tango, which is different from ballroom dancing in that it is all improvised. Unlike ballroom tango that relies on flair and pizzazz to bedazzle the audience, Argentine tango is mostly about the chemistry between you and your partner alone. The older more experienced couples usually dance only the basic steps (with a trick thrown in from time to time as an "inside joke" between the two), since really everyone and everything else is secondary. What elevates Argentine tango to an art form depends on how "good" your partner feels to you and vice versa. Having spent 20+ years in Argentina perfecting his dance, Daniel has a lot of wonderful insights to share. The first being that in the past, one can expect that most gents could dance a little. Traditionally, people have learnt to dance through their elders and then practiced at social gatherings (both formal and informal). Due to the war and the unstable government that followed (he didn't specify about the latter, but I'm guessing Péron?), a whole generation of men did not get the opportunity to grow up learning to dance. This, coupled with more gender equality and changing ideas on gender roles in modern day society, makes it harder than before to judge whether someone would make a good dancing partner purely based on looks. You would think a seemingly worldly, smartly dressed, older gentleman would make the best dancer, but you could be very off. Likewise, the sloppily dressed younger dude might seem to be a poor dancer, though he could very well dance his pants off. There is no longer a clear signal for who would "feel" good as a partner, despite "looking" the part.

I like how this relates to style and fashion, because I firmly believe in order to look good, you must "feel" good about yourself. You can take this in many ways, whether it is feeling more comfortable in your own skin, a particular piece of garment and how it feels to you, or more literally against the popular beauty mantra of the day: il faut souffrir pour etre belle. Perhaps you feel more confident in wearing heels, or maybe you prefer flats – it doesn't matter. As long as you are honest with yourself, why should it matter to anyone else? It's not that I would like to dance with a complete schlubb (who would?), but sometimes it can be easy to forget what makes us "feel" good in favour of what just looks good. 

Feeding Your Bond Obsession

From reading the comments of my recent Thanksgiving post, it seems that I am not the only one who was enraptured with the latest James Bond film, Skyfall (2012), directed by Sam Mendes featuring Daniel Craig. Because I know too little about the specifics of the tailoring and suits in general, I would be hard-pressed to do a fully informative satisfying post on the sartorial choices of the film. In its place, I've collected a series of articles and relevant readings on not just the fashion but the whole film in general that I hope would help satiate your hunger for all things Skyfall and Bond. There will be varying degrees of spoilerage in each article so please read on at your own discretion:
 GQ's impeccable coverage of the style of Bond in the film is only to be expected:
Last but not least, GQ UK's entire James Bond feature on their website. In fact their whole November 2012 issue is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Bond, which I am now so tempted to get. For a more general review of James Bond's style throughout the times, please revisit the video I posted a while ago. There is also more exciting news to come as there is a sequel in the works (also by Sam Mendes probably). I am on the fence about this because while I am loving this new darker, grittier, almost Nolan-esque development of Bond thus far, Quantum of Solace (2008) as a sequel to Casino Royale (2006) was an utter disaster. Can the same tone and direction of the Bond as of Skyfall be continued without compromising the story line? I guess we will have to wait and see. 

And This is Why I Can't Have Nice Things

As a fashion blogger, you would think that I have something as basic as NOT PUTTING ANYTHING WOOLLEN INTO THE DRYER now down pat. Oh no. You see, as a perpetually stressed out and sleep deprived college student, I absentmindedly took my huge wad of laundry (two and half weeks worth to be precise) down to the basement, thinking to myself, "look how clean and prepared I am for Thanksgiving break! Wouldn't Mom and Pop be so proud of me." I didn't realize anything had gone wrong until I took them out and started to pack. These were my favourite purchases of the season: lambwool sweaters from Uniqlo. *tear* Of course now I am looking up tips to try and stretch them out again. I know they won't exactly be the same as before, but I'd be damned if I don't at least give it a try. Among the tips I am going to try include are About.com's and Ehow.com's. I will update all should I be successful.

This is also the reason why I am abstaining from #CyberMonday today. I have browsed through certain sites and have taken note of few items, but really I don't need anything new in my wardrobe. Save for some formal office wear-type clothing for interviews later on the school year for internhips and schtuff however I am not in a rush to get them and I would like to try the tailored pieces in person to make sure they fit well. SO DON'T YOU DARE LOOK AT THE CASHMERE TURTLE NECKS THAT IS ON SALE AT UNIQLO JOY. It really doesn't help now that Uniqlo has an e-Commerce site (about damn time too might I add). Also I forgot to mention that I had torn a small hole in my pair of black denim from climbing onto the roof of a school building in the middle of the night the week before Thanksgiving break. Not advised kids! I know this all sounds badass and rebel-y but in reality I am a mild mannered goody two shoes. Thankfully this can easily be fixed with a needle and thread. I am going to cry myself to sleep now, first mourning what potentially could be the death of my newly shrunken sweaters *more tears* and secondly, no chic black turtle necks for me. If you guys get anything cool this Cyber Monday, please do share.

Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday I went to Franklin Cider Mill with high school friends I haven't seen in three years. It was amazing. Best apple cider and apple cinnamon spice donuts ever! I also managed to watch Skyfall and I absolutely LOVE Adele's theme song so much that I have been playing it on repeat. More on that later. For a more wordier post of thanks to you dear friends and readers, please visit my post here. Spend the day with family and friends and eat lots and lots for me ok? :)
Happy Thanksgiving.


As someone who prides herself on her mad skillz in curating, finding out what I like and what I don't like (it's a two way street), I am far less susceptible than your average consumer over being easily swayed by mere pretty things. In spite of all of that, I must say the new Louis Vuitton Fall "L'invitation au voyage" campaign featuring my favourite model by Inez and Vindoodh is incredible. I'm not even going to fight loving this, as a huge art lover (the Louvre being the locale of the shoot) with Arizona Muse of all models. Haven't loved a big fashion campaign this much in a long time (aside from lookbooks of much lesser known brands). The only issue I have with the video campaign is the overtly suspenseful music. You hear it in every thriller and I won't be surprised if even iMovie has it as one of their sound effects tracks. No one's gonna killed anytime soon here so quit being so serious over handbags? Awesome huge high quality photos behind the jump.

Columbia Media Conference

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Columbia Media Conference on behalf of my own school's student newspaper. We were invited by the staff of the Spectator (Columbia's daily), who were by the way super nice. Though I only write for the my schools newspaper as a hobby without any journalistic aspirations at all whatsoever, I still loved hearing the speakers since I am total news junkie. It was almost surreal to see the people I read daily online appear in the flesh before me.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Now that it's getting cold again, I sure do miss the feel of the sun on my bare arms and legs. Thank god Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) became available on HBOGo so I got to revisit the nostalgia of summer warmth again. It's not bitter cold in MA yet though it sure will be in MI where I plan to go visit some friends for thanksgiving. Brrr I still have mixed feelings between feeling excited to go visit friends I haven't seen since high school and dreading the horrible chills and W-I-N-D-Y weather the glorious Midwest is known for. It's my first time seeing Elizabeth Olsen on screen (MK and Ashley's little sister FYI) who was absolutely fantastic in her film debut, and of course it was neat to see John Hawkes again after his great performance in Winter's Bone (2010). There are no major spoilers here so please feel safe to go ahead and read.

The End of Rugby Ralph Lauren

Have you heard? There's a rumour in St. Petersburg. Gahh I don't know why that song popped into my head. It has nothing to do with St. Petersburg and it's not even a rumour – it's confirmed. You've read the post title right: Ralph Lauren will be shuttering its Rugby line. To be perfectly honest, it did not come as a surprise. I've always thought its clothes were way too campy that not even die hard blue blooded preps will dress in it from head to toe. The only good thing about the line is their fabulously decorated Soho menswear-only store in NYC that people should definitely check out. The details of the decor down to their fabulously dressed salesmen is something to gawk at. Nevertheless, I've never been tempted to buy anything from the line. It's way too overpriced and overdone. It tries too hard, which is never a good look. For an example of neo-prep/Trad well done, check out Gant. I will miss the Tweed Runs though (hope they'll keep it).

Tomorrow is Election Day! I'm pretty darn sure Obama will win but the wait is making me nervous.