This Summer

I’m always jealous of the beautiful mood boards that so many graphic designers make and display on their blogs nowadays. Taking a page from Miss Sophie (who else?), here is my amateurish attempt at a mood board for the summer.

Make up for the summer = beach waves + a touch of bronzer + a perfect orange red pout with MAC’s So Chaud. Armed with best white tees ever, you can bet they will be part of my uniform this summer, though I have to say Marlon Brando as Stanley from A Streetcar Named Desire will always be the ultimate god of white tees everywhere. After my internship this summer, I hope to get off the grid to Vancouver Island and spend the rest of my summer bumming on the beach with a lot of books in hand. The Django Unchained (2012) soundtrack will also be on constant rotation (not pictured).

For everything else, I read Gear Patrol.


IMAGES FROM 1, 2, 3.

New In: Everlane

A few days ago my Everlane goodies arrived. You should have seen me skipping my way down to the campus center mailroom. The one showcased above is the Box Cut Tee, which had been high on my want list for spring. I also got the V (neck) White and a zip backpack in Military.

I wasn’t planning to do a post on them exclusively, but Kali expressed interest in reading what I think about them so here you go. I LOVE IT. I know I have been saying that quite a lot, especially after getting my Barbour coat finally but I mean it most sincerely. I think it’s due to planning and thinking about one thing so much that it becomes something of an obsession. Everlane more than delivered, on the account of the huge hype the label has received as of late from the Internet. These are the BEST tees I’ve ever owned, hands down, even compared to my mum’s CK ones and to the ones by Uniqlo (to which I am still a loyal customer). You cannot get better crisp white tees anywhere else, even without regarding Everlane's low price points. If you were wondering why the tee looks rather wrinkled, it’s because I’ve been wearing them nonstop since I got them — my friends can attest to that.

An unexpectedly great thing about Everlane is that they’re made in the USA, namely an entirely guilt free purchase in light of the horrific factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (For reference: I have talked about fashion sustainability issues already before here and Jess just wrote an analysis on this particular instance on her blog.) I suspect is it due to this tragedy that Everlane has revealed parts of their factory process on their website to differentiate their practice from the grand majority of bigger labels out there.

I won’t bother reviewing the V neck as it is pretty standard in the way it looks on me. I am reviewing the Box Cut Tee instead, simply because the fit is more unique than most. I’m 1.71m (~5'7") and usually wear around US size 4. I ordered all tees in M and they were all true to size. I have slightly broad shoulders from swimming as a kid and the shoulder seams sit on the right spot. The length of the cropped tee is shorter than expected, though it does not come as too big a surprise since my boobs are so much bigger than the model of the Everlane lookbook. I don’t mind it so much as it does not reveal anything, however ladies with bigger busoms should keep this in mind when ordering the Box Cut Tee. I like how menswear-ish it is in design, though still constructed with the female body in mind so I get to have the best of both worlds. Hip hip hooray for female menswear lovers everywhere! The weight of the cotton of both tees feels substantial to me. Everlane will now be my one stop shop for all things basic tops. It’s just too bad things go out of stock/on the wait list so quickly. For a review of their silk/cashmere offerings, see Miss Sophie of Les Anti-Modernes.

A big thanks to my friend G for taking these photos. I was not compensated by Everlane in any way for this post. If you would like to sponsor me for the summer, click here for more info.

At Into-Mind

Anuschka of Into-Mind (I have talked about her previously here) has just published the guest post I wrote of my own personal style profile. In many ways it’s similar to my earlier post on basics, except in this one I write a lot more on my background and how I have developed aesthetically speaking over the years to where I am now. It was so much fun collaborating with her — go check it out now.

Here are some of the outtakes that were shot on the same day with my friend A at my school’s botanical garden. I really should go more often. Have a great weekend!

The 411

I haven’t been thinking too much about fashion lately, hence so little long form type pieces on curating as of late. I couldn’t bring myself to give a fffffffffff about Coachella. I bought flowers (for the first time ever, see above) for my friend, who was the piano soloist for my college's spring concert this past Saturday. 420. I started to hit the gym again. I bought tickets to a Youth Lagoon concert next month. I am seriously indulging now that my favourite TV shows are now back on air, namely Game of Thrones and Mad Men. My friend just introduced me to Misfits (how can I hate Ramsay Snow now that I know it’s Simon???) and now wants me to start Netflix’s new show, Hemlock Grove. Trying to stay on top of my school work is going to be a challenge. One that I will readily accept of course.

It hasn't all been fun and games chez Joy. I haven’t settled on an internship yet for the summer. I have been sidetracked by the insane (alleged) Boston Marathon bomber manhunt at the beginning of the weekend. The recent massacre in Syria. The restaurant bombing in Iraq. So much human casualty and blood shed all round.

Sigh. The complete fashion media fast (blogs, videos, magazines alike) this past few days has helped put things into perspective for me. I appreciate the clarity it lends me in my thoughts and opinions about fashion in general, regardless of how depressing some of the news can make me. Thank god the weather is beautiful outside. The effects are much like the experiences gained from imposing a shopping fast on yourself. I strongly encourage you to try it, even if it it means not reading my blog :P

I am slowly picking up the pieces again, first by reading interviews on Jenna Lyons and Tavi Gevinson. I am sure I will later move on to my long list of unread posts on Feedly next. Has anyone else “unplugged” from fashion before? 

Modern Details Nº2

I really enjoyed doing the last Modern Details, so I figured I would try my hand at it again. It is so much fun digging around the wardrobe for the pieces I love, things that get their fair share of wear but otherwise don’t get enough appreciation for their beauty and character.

Now that it’s nice out again, I’ve been alternating between these Melissinos sandals and my white Chucks. I have first heard of Melissinos from my professor, who was with me on the trip to Greece last summer. The final push to shove came from Lindsay, who mentioned them in her post on handmade sandals. I’ve blogged about my trip to Melissinos already but I’ve never shown my sandals in detail. The model of this particular pair is Socrates, while the other pair is Olympia, just so you know.

They were affordable, despite being custom made (I can’t remember the exact price on the top of my head but trust me they were college student budget friendly). I’ve worn them so many times now that the soles have molded to my feet. The leather straps have become soft and supple to touch. I’ve oiled these sandals with olive oil twice only, since I didn’t want them to get too dark. Incidentally, I made the other pair too dark so I will try to get rid of the oil buildup and stain them again from scratch. I have heard from Ask Andy forums that cheap vodka should do the trick. For this pair, I probably should have washed off the salt stains, which has accumulated from the trips to the beaches on the weekends last summer in Greece. However, I’ve grown to like them as they remind me of all the good fun we (fellow classmates on the trip) had mucking around on the shores of Glyfada. What a sentimental sop I’ve become. They are, after all, the marks of something well worn and loved.

In case you were wondering, the nail polish is OPI's Monsooner or Later.

Indulgent Mornings

I went out east this past weekend to visit some high school friends. It’s slowly becoming an annual tradition since I visited during the marathon weekend too last year. My friend overslept due to the Yard Fest this past Saturday, so I bought some magazines to read along the Charles while I waited for her. Out of Town News in Harvard Square has the best selection of international fashion magazines in Massachusetts. It felt particularly indulgent to sit by the river reading alone, with only runners, Canadian geese and the odd rower for company.

The wind picked up and my friend was finally ready, so I turned and headed back towards the Square for brunch. I wouldn’t mind spending most of my weekend mornings like this.

This was written originally for publication Monday morning but then, of course, I fell asleep. I hate to be so US-centric on the blog, but I just want to give my condolences to all the Boston Marathon runners and supporters who were either killed or injured during the explosions.

Modern Details Nº1

I finally got my copy of The Gentlewoman today and devoured it as soon as I was done with my essays. I also highly recommend reading Three Thousands’ interview with The Gentlewoman’s lady-in-command, Penny Martin (found courtesy of Lin). While I enjoy sharing insights into the way I curate and other aspects of wardrobe building, at the end of the day I don’t like being in front of the camera. I absolutely love the Modern Details feature in The Gentlewoman, and while I may never be nearly as witty as Catherine Roux (who is the writer of the feature for the magazine), I can use this format to do my usual show-and-tell without me having to pose. The pieces that will be featured in my own version of Modern Details aren’t necessarily expensive nor are they particularly luxurious by any standard, but they are what defines and gives my wardrobe its personality that renders it unique from other curators’ capsule wardrobes out there. Think of it as series of homages to my favourite details.

The first piece of my wardrobe that I'm featuring is my boarding school hoodie that I bought at the school book store the first day of class freshmen year of high school in 2006. It’s a pretty mundane garment considering it was mass-produced before being stamped with the school insignia and motto but makes incredible sense for me to feature it first, as it is probably the oldest thing I have with me right now in college.

I know I sounded like I absolutely hated the school in my recent birthday post, but while they were many lows, there were also highs. The only reason I thought it was relevant to bring up my high school then was to show that it was during a particular low that led me to fall in love with fashion and all its trappings. So yes, if you were wondering, there were great moments that I still think of fondly now...many of the memories which can be found embedded within this hoodie.

It is easy to romanticize about the entire high school experience now that I’m no longer there. Fabric paint stains from making crew team t-shirts senior year. A ripped seam from the class clown who wanted to try on a smaller size for laughs. Another small acrylic paint stain from studio painting class junior year. Sharpie marks from making posters for the literary art magazine for club fair. The colour is completely faded from countless cycles in the washer and dryer but it also means that it’s perfectly soft to the touch. The crazy thing is that I’m still able to fit into it seven years later, in a shrunken sweater kind of way.

The best thing most of all is that it can serve as a kind of an ice-breaker, in that a random stranger or two would recognize the name of the school. It’s an odd mixture of alums, alums of rival schools or someone who knows the school from the either of the two aforementioned kinds of people.

I want to thank those who deigned to comment on my more recent outfit posts. I ended them with small critiques of personal style blogs because I had missed the opportunity to comment on personal style bloggers when Suzy Menkes’ article exploded, in that I don’t think I get the right to complain about them if I can’t bring myself to even comment on it. At first, I thought if you’re going to put some serious time in your hobby, then the least you can do is to try and do it well. That was the idealist in me talking. After digesting your comments, I have now come to the conclusion that blogging is a medium that can be taken really in any direction across the spectrum. They don’t bother me all that much really—I can count the number of personal style blogs I read on one hand. Just as there are many less-than-satisfactory blogs out there, there also a remarkable number that continues to delight over and over again. The lesson? To each their own.

Spring Formal

Feeling extra puny on this fine Friday spring morning today—humour is my best defense against stress. Spring is REALLY here and the way the rays of the sun streamed into my room woke me up with a smile. What can I say, I love the sun. Yesterday, I led a group of the most adorable second graders through the school’s art museum, hence the formality of the outfit.

My pair of chinos is going to be a huge staple of my wardrobe come spring and summer. The twill fabric is made from cotton, so it's breathable for the hot humid weather ahead. I also don’t like to wear jeans too much in general—I find it can be something of style crutch to rely on jeans too often. I have nothing against denim per se, but wearing pants made of other materials (ex. chinos in the spring/summer, corduroy in the fall/winter) allows the individual to experiment more with colours and textures. Jeans are so ubiquitous that the simple act of wearing any other material makes you stand out, and makes a basic outfit (such as the one presented here) more visually interesting than it would be otherwise.

This pair of chinos is a relatively new addition to my wardrobe—it’s not the same pair as the one seen in my ‘Cashmere and Pearls’ post from before. The last pair was bought hastily over the internet, and while it fit relatively okay considering the circumstance, it was not 100% satisfactory. If it’s a piece of clothing that you will wear often, I think it’s fine that you should seek better alternatives if you're not happy with it, seeing as its imperfections will annoying you. Every. Single. Time. It's okay to indulge yourself in finding “the perfect _______ ” this way : it's not worth torturing yourself daily (or however frequent you wear this particular piece) over the little things. I have since donated my old pair. I can’t wait to show just how seamlessly this pair of chinos works with other pieces of my wardrobe, to many degrees even better than my current small collection of jeans.

If there is something that bothers me about personal style blogs, it’s not the fact that they are so commercialized per se (though that is still a factor in itself), it’s that the bloggers themselves fail to provide a bigger context and insight as to how they paired the different pieces together. Neither do they provide any sort of examination of their stylistic vision, whether their particular outfit of the day is in line with that thinking or not etc. For a person who can barely cook to save her life, I read a ton of food blogs. I find the very best food blogs (Orangette, Poor Man's Feast, Local Milk, Not Without Salt, Manger, to name a few on the top of my head) not only provides the most beautiful photos or the tastiest recipes, but they all craft such wonderful stories to give you personal insight into their process during which the food is prepared. Of course, they all paint a highly romanticized relationship with food that’s not realistic, but it demonstrates how food can be personal and meaningful.

I don’t see why personal style bloggers cannot adapt the same approach for their blogs, in trying to tell better stories through their clothes. There is so much tradition and meaning behind clothing. If there was none to be found, I highly doubt there would be such institutions such as the Costume Institute at the Met devoted entirely to the exhibition, preservation and research of such stories. Perhaps it is all the more difficult when you are a slave to fashion and to the different mandates of seasonal trends—you’ve never given yourself the opportunity to understand yourself and what YOU really want from clothing. The aforementioned food bloggers and their audiences skews older than your average fashion blogger but the stories and ideas are not bound to age. It’s sad to see so little self-examination in your average personal style blog. Are there stories to be found in H&M and Forever 21? (Edit: I know I sound entirely facetious in this last line but I'm actually quite serious.)

Notes from March


I trolled you!!! MUAHAHAHAHAH. Of course, I can’t say I timed it too well. I should have posted it earlier in the day for maximum troll-age, however I had underestimated the amount of work that I had to do so I couldn’t post till the end of the day. In hindsight, it was probably more believable. :P 

To be honest, I had no idea what to do for April Fools, until I remembered that I took some pictures of my baking sesh with my friend. I did have a première birthday bash (I called it “The Party Beyond the Wall”) so it was grounded in reality. When the comments first trickled in, it was damn satisfying but after seeing how people were genuinely bummed (save for Jess) actually made me kinda sad. Sorry! *Internet hugs* 

Mashable made a great list of all the pranks pulled yesterday. Yesterday I was most fooled by HBO Watch's announcement that Peter Dinklage will be replaced in Season 4. I was also rickrolled through a link to the announcement of the release of the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by G. R. R. Martin later this year. GOD DAMNIT.

Other things I've found of note last month:
  • The Prada Candy perfume promotions (as seen above). Directed by Wes Anderson starring Léa Seydoux, it’s so cute and actually fun to watch.
  • An article on ‘Gucci Addiction’ at GQ. I can’t wait to write about this more in depth on a later date.
  • Bernard Arnault got knighthood. What has this man done to deserve such recognition? (The same can be said for Sir Philip Green of Top Shop fame.)
  • Slate Magazine on Minimalism.
  • Style Terms Every Man Should Know at GQ. Definitely something I do know from years of reading menswear blogs. It's sad to know that I probably know so much more than actual male friends. 
  • A “Talk Ivy” interview at ABSOLUTE DIVINE READ for reasons you know why.
  • The opening of & Other Stories by the same folks behind H&M. Is this the rise of what I term, “smart street” (as opposed to the current “high street”), or no? 
  • Farewell to Fung Wah by The Newyorker on Youtube. SO FUNNY. I will miss it only because I never got a chance to take the perilous bus journey to NYC and always opting instead for the much safer (more expensive) Peter Pan. I'm a wuss like that. 
  • Reinventing Fashion Criticism by Final Fashion. Such a good critique on the current (or rather the lack of) fashion critique within the industry. Meta-critique?! I don’t “cover” fashion week anymore unless it’s something truly worth saying/noting, or if you’re my favourite brands ever (MHL or Carven), but even then I don’t find fashion week in general is all that relevant to what I’m trying to discuss on the blog anyway? I don’t know. Again, mayhap more about this later.
  • Brand Attachment and Judging Ethical Behaviour by Jess of Empty Emptor. Definitely something to keep in mind as I do more research into Uniqlo's practices as promised.
  • Sterling Archer as a Style Icon. Of course he would be, turtle necks and all. Get it, get it, GET IT?
  • Something to note about LA and fashion labels, especially after all the hoopla over Sledi Hedi Slimane's abominable collection for YSL Saint Laurent Paris. 
  • To end on something economic-y, China surpasses US as the number one global trading power. Not surprising at all if you ask me.
The reason for so much posting is 1) the guilt from April Fools and 2) I'm hitting second midterm season in the semester and it's time to get down to business (to defeat the Huns duhhh). I know posting will slow to a bare trickle if any so I'm compensating for it now. I know I'm behind on replying to people's comments so I’ll get on that. Meanwhile I can’t wait to plan for next year's epic prank.

Sansa's Favourite

Did anyone else also catch the première of Game of Thrones season 3 last night? Freakin' epic as usual. If only they were like Mad Men in airing two episodes back to back for their season 5 première. What's novel about watching HBO's hit TV show this time round is that I know completely what's ahead for the most—I finished A Dance With Dragons over spring break earlier. My knowledge of what's going to happen hasn't dampened the suspension and tension of the show much, but it is just rather strange to see story lines still unfolding before you on screen when the books are already deep in discussion on the consequences of said plot lines. I have to admit that I do, on occasion, go on the forums to talk about different conspiracy theories and the interpretation of certain prophecies. You can say I'm perpetually under the nerd glaze.*

For my birthday/première party, I made Sansa's favourite dessert in the books and the show: lemon cakes. These babies are seriously lemon-y. For someone who only ventures into the kitchen on the rarest of occasions (this being the one of them), I'm glad these turned out as well as they did. My friends all gave more than two thumbs up. Wash it down with a good pint of mead or ale and you're all set for a perfect night of epic TV watching (the GoT Blond Ale aren't shipped to my area until next week).

I have said previously that I don't feel all that much different after turning the big 2-0, but now that I've thought more about it, along with so much success in baking, I have decided to stop blogging about fashion and will turn my attention towards writing a food blog. After turning 20, developing my own style and mastering the art of curating my wardrobe, I no longer see a point in talking about curating anymore. I am done with fashion and I plan to retire style blogging. The old style/fashion posts will remain, but otherwise the categories will be revamped to reflect the new direction in content. Thank you so much for following me for the past two years!

The recipe originally appeared on The Inn at the Crossroads.