September style

September signals weather on the cusp between a summer exiting and an autumn arriving and blablabla – I’ll spare you the rant about the meteorological conditions (you can thank me later). Some of you have requested more outfit photos on this blog. It struck me the other day that I rarely ever bother posting my non-blog-worthy outfits – even though I run a style or whatever blog –, as I naturally wear the same look day in, day out, and also because the entire process of taking those full body photos and eventually putting them online is, believe it or not, quite labor-intensive. Oh my! Or maybe it’s just me who’s a bit too much of a perfectionist in some areas…

Regardless, here are four looks that exemplify what I’ve been wearing during September, all of which slightly reflect the shift in season. The first photo was obviously taken in the beginning of the month, decked out in A.P.C. from neck to toe. I never thought I would ever put my hands on such a statement piece, but it was love at first sight and I’m also a sucker for liberty prints and jumpsuits. In fact, it’s one of my few successful impulse buys, though I gave in after waiting a day. The second outfit is from my birthday, mid-September, still sockless until last week.

As for the third look, well, it’s one of those boring looks that resembles that so-called “model-off-duty” look apart from that I’m neither a model nor off duty. That said, I love its casualness. The navy merino wool cardigan from A.P.C. has the nicest cut and goes with everything in my closet. It looks good both buttoned and unbuttoned.

The last outfit is a recycled version of this one which was posted more than two years ago. It’s the same scarf, the same shoes, and the same coat. I wish the jeans were the same too but in order to wear them I have to start exercising, and that requires too much willpower and effort than simply getting a new pair. In retrospect, it just evidences that my style hasn’t changed much besides bringing more prints and funny items like jumpsuits, and sneakers into my wardrobe.

On a different note, I don’t think I’ve ever posted a photo of myself without sunglasses here. I’m officially no longer incognito, haha.

1: A.P.C. jumpsuit, cardigan, and tote bag, AiAiAi headphones, Ray-Ban sunglasses
2: Isabel Marant coat, Ettore Adriano lofaers, A.P.C. raw denim jeans, shirt, and tote bag
3: A.P.C. cardigan and raw denim jeans, Isabel Marant boots, Claudie Pierlot linen t-shirt
4: H&M scarf, Isabel Marant coat and boots, Everlane rucksack

The rucksack

Almost a year has passed since I wrote this post about the search for the perfect rucksack. A few months later I posted a follow-up about the agony of choice, yet I ended up with neither of them. At last I found a (temporary) rucksack – arrived today, to be precise – that fits all my needs for less than a quarter of the price of my dream backpack, which I was, in fact, planning on picking up in London next a week.

In the end, I ordered this nice rucksack from online-only e-tailer Everlane, partially because the brand’s egalitarian philosophy and business strategy really appeals to me, the bag is roomy enough for school, and also since I’m trying to save my bucks for my forthcoming travels and monthly expenses. In other words, it didn’t come with a hefty price tag attached. So, if I’m able to tighten my belt here and there, I would do my best to be a frugal shopper and opt for the most inexpensive alternative provided that neither the quality nor the design suck.

I did mention that it’s quite a spacious rucksack, which already holds three textbooks, two notebooks, a binder, chemistry tables, music sheets, a moleskine journal, a calculator, a pencil case, and essential bits and bobs such as a portable umbrella and so on – and there’s even room for a lot more, but my back could never have handled the weight, though. The understated yet cool design blends in with my style perfectly. The backpack also feels quite sturdy and looks like it can take some serious abuse from hauling it around school. And even though it’s utterly functional, thanks to the scores of pockets and a padded inner compartment for a macbook pro, the rucksack doesn’t sacrifice on style at all. Besides, it’s supposed to be of high quality, but only time will tell whether or not it stands the test of wear and tear.

Yep, the quest for the rucksack is over!

Summer wardrobe planning

I’ve never really had a summer wardrobe. The fact that I don’t even own a white t-shirt pretty much indicates what my wardrobe is lacking. My summer outfits tended to consist of shirts with rolled-up sleeves worn with a pair of shorts or trousers, and suede boots. And yup, this combination is as uncomfortable as it sounds. Looking back, I can’t even get how I survived. Oh well.. Since I’ll be spending a lot of time in the hot coastal Meditteranean weather this summer, I figured that I ought to add a few summery items to my wardrobe unless I’m serious about commiting suicide (read with tongue in cheek, please). Anyway, I’ve realized why I’ve put off buying summer clothes for several years:

1. My taste in lightweight summer clothes was completely undefinable so I never rushed into buying summer clothes that I most likely wouldn’t wear.
2. I mysteriously developed heliophobia in my teens, so I made every endeavour to avoid sun exposure. 

Fortunately, I’ve ultimately overcome the heliophobia. I don’t know how but I guess it was a mixture of maturing, taking physics classes, and jumping on the route of carelessness. And as I conquered that irrational fear of the sun, my summer style emerged as well. Perhaps because I have only been searching and not buying anything remotely summery, so I’ve had plenty of time to digest my potential likes and dislikes. For instance, I found out that I have a thing for rompers, which is a nice man repelling alternative to dresses. Hence no worries about accidental upskirt peeks! Yay!

From left: A.P.C. washed denim romper, Organic by John Patrick liberty romper, Sun-San salt water sandals

For summer, I’ve already got my hands on two rompers, though I know I shouldn’t have ordered them online as I didn’t try them on prior to buying – which would’ve been impossible anyway. Although I ordered both in the smallest size, they turned out to be too big. Well, I wanted the A.P.C. one to be oversized and the size was fortunately spot on, but the size of the liberty printed romper is super misleading. The thing is …. there is a difference between an oversized, loose fit and the wrong size. Vanity sizing? It surely looks like an attempt at inaccurately labeling clothing sizes to appeal to people’s egos. Tsk-tsk…

When it comes to sandals, I can’t even recall the last time I wore a pair. But now I know what I like and I’ve stumbled across so many great pairs that I don’t know what to do. However, I ended up getting a pair of Sun-San salt water sandals for the beach which I’ll be wearing in the meantime, while figuring out which pair of sandals I want. The salt water ones are quite cheap, and rumor has it that they will last for years.

And as for beachwear, I’m also searching for the perfect swimsuit for summer. It’s so difficult to find a simple and flattering one for the beach that doesn’t cost a grand. I’ve checked out the bathing suits from American Apparel but I find most of them overtly sexy. I don’t know with you, but going to the beach solely means swimming in the sea to me, not seduction or sunbathing. Still, I only have ONE bikini that works in terms of style and cut, which I bought when I was thirteen and rebelled against my parents who refused to buy me a bikini instead of professional swimsuits. Eight years later, it still fits me perfectly. The mind boggles…

I’m off to a short and spontaneous solo trip to Mallorca next week, as I’ve got a big two weeks long gap in-between my two exams. Well, it’s totally work-related. Luckily, my purchases, so far, arrived in time for summer and I’m hoping to fill the holes in my wardrobe in Mallorca. If you have some nice restaurant recommendations, please let me know!

Feel free to share your musings on summer style!

Postmortem dissection of last year’s wardrobe curation

(via trendoform)

The annual dissection of last year’s acquisitions is no longer on the back burner. After much delay, it’s definitely high time to scrutinize the nitty-gritty of how my wardrobe curation went in 2011, so that I can surpass myself this year. Last year I posted my shopping resolutions for 2011:

1) Admire certain garments from afar and face the truth that they will never work for me

It took me about six months to realize that some of my purchases turned out to be items that I should just have admired from afar. For instance, short fitted jackets à la the Isabel Marant jackets that I ended up reselling. They’re decidedly pretty and chic but truly downright wrong on me. Maybe they are too feminine for me or somewhat revealing, as I’m more partial towards wearing coats or jackets that cover my back. Or generally more lose-fitting jackets and tops. I feel more comfortable this way. Be that as it may, they didn’t work out both wardrobe-wise and lifestyle-wise, period. No reason to hold on to clothes I won’t wear regardless of how beautiful, expensive, or sought-after they are.

2) Not fall into the list trap

I didn’t really make seasonal lists except for the one summer list, which explains why I made so many regrettable purchases last year. I stopped adhering to lists. Quite liberating indeed, but that also made me fail to keep track of my spending habits.

3) Give in sometimes to unpredictable finds

This one works like a charm if I don’t dwell upon an item that I’m rather ambivalent about – which usually indicates that it’s just another unsuccessful buy.

4) Go with my instinct more and quell the over thinking

I do trust my instinct but that totally depends on my mood and situation. What I’m trying to say is that I should stay away from shops when I’m a bit down in the dumps, as I haven’t been fully aware that I’m not just an emotional eater but verging on emotional shopper as well. Anyhow, last year’s successful buys were a result of long-term planning and unpredictable finds bought on a whim.

5) Focus more on the basics

Well, I wouldn’t call my clothes just “basics”, because to me basics are underwear and socks. My wardrobe consists of very simple pieces, which, to some people, are basics but to me they are merely clothes and staples and not just a basic thing to wear underneath a non-basic piece of clothing.

6) Not exceed the limit of 15-20 items a year

I undoubtedly blew this challenge. And I suppose it’s partly because I didn’t keep a list of potential purchases each season. It’s a bit funny though, as I managed to buy less than 10 items in 2010. However, I made more money in 2011 as opposed to 2010, and I befriended my nemesis called “MasterCard”. Hence I could afford buying more, which is a pretty bad evolution. For all I know my income will increase every year as I get older. What if I’m rolling in money in five years? Is that a reasonable excuse to purchase five times as much as I did last year? Nope, it ain’t a valid reason. I’ll be more prudent, I promise!

7) Stop settling for second best

I’m almost nailing this one, but I’m still making mistakes now and then.

And what did I end up buying/adding to my wardrobe in 2011? Let’s start with the successful buys:- A.P.C. navy and white breton shirt.
- A.P.C. light blue liberty shirt
- A.P.C. cashmere/merino wool breton sweater
- A.P.C. navy cashmere/wool ribbed sweater
- A.P.C. blue/gray shirt
- Ann Demeulemeester black sandals
- Barbour navy trenchcoat (gift)
- Cheap Monday light blue jeans
- Dries Van Noten black suede heels
- Hope black winter boots
- Isabel Marant Étoile navy peacoat
- The Kooples taupe suede boots
- Mardou & Dean dark blue jeans (gift)
- Sessun liberty shirt
- Zara black dress

No need for explanation. These items have been worn to death day in, day out apart from the black dress from Zara. I don’t wear it often but I save it for special occasions. Actually, I have only worn it three times since I bought it. I’ve also realized that I don’t have to invest in an expensive dress, as I couldn’t rationalize the so-called investment by using the cost per wear calculation. I rarely wear dresses, maybe when I’m getting older I will wear dresses on a daily basis, but alas I’m not shopping for my potential future self right now.

I also got my hands on a few accessories but I don’t count them as part of my wardrobe planning, as these were more or less necessities.

And here are my out-and-out unsuccessful purchases, which I either returned or resold.

- A.P.C. chambray shirt
- Current/Elliott boyfriend jeans
- Isabel Marant Elali jacket
- Isabel Marant Étoile white linen longsleeve
- Isabel Marant black linen trousers
- Isabel Marant Étoile blue shirt

Fortunately, I know why the abovementioned items didn’t work out: Wrong size or fit, not really my style, weight-gain, purchased online.

However, seeing this list of items, I’m at a loss of words. Just from reading all the labels I name-dropped above, I wonder how on earth could I afford all these things in the first place? Well, I did end up reselling the items that didn’t work out, including a few other items that have been languishing in my wardrobe for a while. I also bought several items discounted, through readers, or on eBay.

Nevertheless, last year’s spending habits went a little out of control, so this year I will be more careful as to money management. And perhaps I should start making lists of potential or future buys. I won’t shop online unless I have already tried on the item on beforehand. My style and wardrobe is ever-evolving. It’s an extension of me. So when I’m looking for inspiration, I will look inwards.

But what about the limit? At this point, let’s get back to this one later on as I haven’t completely figured out what to do in 2012 wardrobe-wise. That said I’m all in for quality, not quantity. Quality as in buying things that I will wear to death and hold dear for many years to come. Albeit I added 15 (!) new items to my wardrobe last year, I don’t regret any of them. Yes, that’s hell of a lot but let’s not focus on the amount because I’m content, and that’s what matters!

Speaking of wardrobe editing, how did 2011 go for you?

The October uniform

Presenting my uniform for the last few weeks, which includes three of my most recent sartorial acquisitions. Well, it’s no secret that I have quite a propensity to wearing my new clothes till death, neglecting everything else. It’s like a fresh crush, an unhealthy love affair – falling in love with someone to whom you’re unable stop talking or be away from for more than three hours at a time without having a meltdown. In my case, I cannot stop donning my new Isabel Marant peacoat and A.P.C. shirt and canvas tote bag. On top of that, it seems like my subconsciousness always opts for teaming said items with a similar pair of jeans in a wee bit lighter shade, also from Cheap Monday, and the noted taupe boots from Isabel Marant. When I find a combination that does the trick, I abuse it massively until I fall out of love, and then find a way to rekindle the fling.

Be that as it may, I really adore this uniform. It’s no-nonsense and fuss-free. Seven colors, yet tremendously subdued. No one would take me for a harlequin. I feel completely at ease when wearing this attire, which is supremely vital in terms of style. Who wants to look uptight and forced anyway?

Sartorially speaking, I might lack imagination. But as cliché as it probably sounds, I can’t help but embrace what I love even though I know that I will eventually become fed up with my love affairs. No, I’m not that fickle! I might be surfeited with things I love, but I nevertheless won’t stop loving them – just like a favorite song stuck on repeat for six months. There’s a reason it’s being played over and over again, and I’ll love it as much as I used to when I revive the aural affair after a break from the intense overdose.

Isabel Marant peacoat and boots, A.P.C. shirt and bag, Cheap Monday jeans, Faliero Sarti scarf, Omega watch

Psst! All the technical bumps have been taken care of, so it’s finally safe to add my blog to your reader, bloglovin, etc. Hurray!

On eyewear

(photo: private)

As some of you might have gleaned from reading my recent posts, I have at long last invested in a new pair of glasses. Here they are as promised!

Aren’t these spectacles just glorious? It’s in moments like this that I’m embracing the fact that I’m as blind as a bat without my glasses. They are rimmed in gold and designed by Balenciaga, and more often than not an accessory in itself. Decidedly offbeat, yet timeless and reminiscent of a monocle. It’s no doubt that they add an instant quirk to all outfits, even just enough to repel the opposite sex from hitting on me. Indeed a very bold choice for someone who has been hiding behind a black pair of horn-rimmed glasses since 2007. Yes, it was high time for a change.

John Lennon, Harry Potter, Sigmund Freud, Mahatma Gandhi, or whatever – I’ve never felt more like myself than when I’m decked out in these glasses, haha!

How I’d wear a pea coat

Isabel Marant Etoile Atea coat
I’ve been eyeing this beautifully structured pea coat from Isabel Marant for quite a few months, and now I’m finally able to tick it off my wish list. Hurray! I compromised and went for a very dark navy one, despite the fact that I’ve always had both a black and navy pea coat on my list of dream purchases.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect as it’s started getting beastly cold outside. As with almost every new wardrobe addition of mine, I make collages. Not that I’m breaking any new ground, but it’s a great way to visually pinpoint my taste, preferences and style. I like doing collages with items I already possess and items of which I’m planning to get hold in the future.
Well, I’m aware that there are a lot of different shades of blue in these outfits. I think I tend to wear blue more than black nowadays, or any other color for that matter. And whoopsy daisy, there are oodles of A.P.C. items in the collages below. Obsessed much?

Thakoon cigarette trousersAcne denim shirt, Comme des Garçons Play cardiganChurch’s burwood brogues,
Sofia Coppola x Louis Vuitton bag, Omega Watch

Spring wardrobe planning pt. 4

First off, I have to apologize for my few-and-far-between posts and the lack of response to comments/e-mails these days. No explanation needed (oh, beautiful weather, hello!), though I haven’t felt tingles of inspiration to get back into the bloggy swing of things as of late. Anyway, despite having no time or desire to go shopping at all, I am at long last able to tick off two items from my spring/summer list. Hurray!

1) An in-between-seasons transitional jacket
2) A pair of sandals
3) Wide brim sun hat
4) Ray-Ban sunglasses
5) Tailored shorts
6) A black pouch

My most recent investment piece arrived just in time for the festival season. As a ridiculously super-picky gal, it’s no surprise that it took me months to settle on a pair of sunglasses. I am, however, very appreciative of my picky behavior at times, as it seems to pay off in the long run. Although I’d love to possess a couple of frivolous shades, it’s not really an option as I’m rather nearsighted and need prescription lenses because I won’t consider contact lenses. Price isn’t much of an issue – quality is. Apparently, I settled on the Clubmasters from Ray-Ban, and I’m absolutely content with this investment. There is a bit of kookiness and nonchalance in the look of the sunglasses, to which I’m quite partial. Decidedly, the Clubmasters are offbeat and classic at the same point.

As for the hat, it is by no means a sun hat or what I had in mind, but I am literally fed up with searching for hats – though I have only gone hat hunting in five shops. In other words, I’m not much of a keen hat hunter. Thanks to my friends’ providential moving-out-sale yesterday, I ultimately scored a bargain of a hat, which I bought from Maja. Fortunately, the brim is wide enough to somewhat keep the tan away, and I look kind of cute, eccentric and schizophrenic, style-wise, when wearing it. Anyhow, I’m just a tad concerned that this hat might be too warm on unbearably hot summer days; hence I’m still searching for a summery straw hat. There is nothing more repellent than hair soaked in sweat by virtue of unbefitting headwear. Any suggestions are welcome!

Beauty investments

Malin + Goetz jojoba face scrub, Kiehl’s ultra facial cleanser, toner and midnight recovery concentrate

Lately I’ve found myself obsessing over skincare and beauty products. Into The Gloss is partly to blame for the abnormality in my behavior. For me, beauty products are a little bit of inevitable everyday luxury, especially if they work wonders for my skin.

Anyway, I received my most recent beauty investments today. The Malin + Goetz face scrub is totally new to me and I can’t wait to integrate it into my skincare routine. The other Kiehl’s products are absolutely essential part of my day-to-day routine. As for the midnight recovery concentrate, I can’t stress enough the fact that it is a miraculous sleepless night savior. On top of that, Kiehl’s products always look good on your vanity table (I have a perennial penchant for nice, apothecary packaging).

The much coveted boots

I fell head-over-heels in love with these boots by The Kooples – a French hipster brand – in 2008 and nearly got them out of my system until I started adding them to my collages last fall (examples here and here). I’ve always considered these shoes as the epitome of la street spontanéité and they are somewhat reminiscent of the infamous Isabel Marant ‘dicker’ boots. They’re almost the same, but not quite.

My penchant for these shoes was completely revived during my last trip to Paris, largely because I saw how fantastic they were in real life when Jeanne wore her own pair of The Kooples boots to her party. Imagine my materialistic delight when I ultimately won the auction after having stalked these tidbits for months on ebay. Initially I wanted the black version, as I already own a pair of taupe boots. However, because these boots are tremendously hard to track down, let alone the complicated process of convincing French ebay sellers to ship worldwide or to a friend’s address in France (thank you Stephanie!), I decided to put my hands on this find.

Anyhow, I received the highly coveted boots today. Much to my disappointment, these particular boots are too large for my feet despite I bought them in my size. I suppose they are about one size too big. Wearing these boots with insoles and socks help a bit, but they are still too loose around my ankles, as evidenced by the photo above. Yet I’m going to wear them for a day or two to see whether they are good for my feet or not. On a different note, these boots truly elongate my legs. Boots like these are hard to find, so I hope I can keep this buy.

So far, I’ve bought 7 pieces. That’s a lot but I’m in the process of rebuilding my wardrobe. My Isabel Marant boots are a tad weary nowadays, so I hope these ones will work out, as I really need to rotate my shoes if I want to extend their life. Haha!