Jumping on the Céline bandwagon

celine3london12dag2vogue2In the last couple of months, I’ve been attracted to the idea of getting the Céline trio bag. I’m not going to go into details as to why I should get it other than the fact that I could really use a small purse which can fit only the essentials. I’m not that high maintenance so I’m fairly amazed by how much I tote around. Albeit I love my tote bags, they tend to accumulate a lot of random papers and stuff that belongs to the trashcan, and eventually I’d become a living dumpster.

When I started the quest for the perfect small purse, the Céline trio bag was the first and only one that immediately caught my eye. Funnily enough, it’s been completely off my radar for so many years. I just realized that it’s actually a very popular bag and omnipresent in the fashion blogosphere. I get it. It’s quite exquisite and photogenic. In terms of design, the purse decidedly caters to my taste and style, so why continue searching for something I’ve already found? Well… The catch? The price tag.

Truth be told, I haven’t put that much effort into finding a less expensive bag. Then I remembered the Steven Alan version for a fraction of the price and had a look at it in New York. Turned out I preferred the Céline version. It looked sturdier and felt way more luxurious and well made than the other one from Steven Alan. The decision was easy, far from time-consuming. I’ve settled for the Céline trio bag. I will put my hands on it when I go to Paris in a few months at the Galeries LaFayette, as tourists get 10% off a purchase and then I will get the VAT refund. All of a sudden the Céline bag became a bit less pricey and easier to digest. In the meantime, I have to figure out which color I want. Blah… it’s the agony of choice. Navy? Burgundy? Black? Gray? White? My bet would be navy as I always go for navy but I’m kind of hoping that I will opt for something a little more unpredictable. Looks like I’m jumping on the Céline bandwagon after all.

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!

The agony of choice

Black sandals from Maryam Nassir Zadeh VS tan sandals from K. Jacques

Rucksack from Makr VS rucksack from Ally Capellino

Pleated top from A.P.C. in navy silk VS speckled silk

The title says it all! Choosing is quite painful. In this case, should the choice be based on price, scarcity – the words “limited stock” or “only one left” often make the item more desirable –, or perhaps the brand as it might be an indication of the quality? Right now I have no idea, but the good news is that I’ve finally managed to pare down the options to two. Yup, it’s the agony of choice – the agony of wardrobe planning… and the agony of online shopping.

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?

An intense, inexplicable desire

One of the assets of being a selective consumer is that I just know when something’s just right for me. Take the infamous bator coat from Isabel Marant, for instance. I literally freaked out when I found out it was completely sold out in Paris, and boy did I go that extra mile to track down that jacket like a loony. AIbeit I must divulge that I’m a weeny bit unfaithful at times, it’s one of my best sartorial love affairs. And how did I know that the bator coat was just right for me? As I realized that it’s not available any longer, it just clicked for me right away. It’s like an intense, inexplicable desire.

The same feeling emerged yesterday, and as a picky shopper, I’m more often than not too late to the party. For months I’ve been eyeing this amazing dress from the Brooklyn-based designer Ilana Kohn, and yesterday I found out that I both need and want this dress. It’s perfect for day-to-day wear and just my cup of tea. The design is so understated and verging on minimalistic, but the beautiful print adds an extra element to the simplicity. I’m such a sucker for the cut and the way the textile drapes on the model. And most importantly, this kind of style matches my taste – the boat neck, the waist, the print, and the dropped shoulders. I only have one dress, and even though it’s more of a black tie dress the cut is quite similar with the boat neck, semi-accentuated waist, and so on.

Unfortunately, I found out that it’s no longer made in the original material and print. So I kind of freaked out, again. I’ve been googling and googling for the original dress to no avail. It’s a long shot, I know, but I think I’m going to e-mail the designer and ask if there are any possibilities to track down the original material. And if I ever get my hands on this dress, I’m positive I’m going to wear it day in, day out.

The perfect long weekend bag

I’m turbo picky when it comes to bags. Frankly, I’m somewhat happy that I have quite an expensive taste so that it takes me a long time to save up for a special item, and as time goes by I might get cold feet or change my mind as the saving process gives me plenty of thinking time – this way I’m sure I’m making the right choice.

Early tomorrow morning I’m heading to London. Since I’m staying for only two nights I’ll bring a carry-on, and a weekend bag would definitely come in handy. Of course I don’t own the perfect weekend bag yet, but at least I already know which one I want to bring if I ever am going to divide my time between European cities down the road. I found the perfect one a long time ago and it’s remained on my wish list ever since. It comes in several colors but I’ve already settled on the navy and black combo as it’s more consistent with my color scheme – plus one can never go wrong with navy, right? The bag is from Ettinger and it’s called the Hurlingham bag:

“The Hurlingham, in London, is an iconic English institution where town meets country and sport is an elegant affair. This bag is designed to be big enough to be used as an elegant sports bag but also small enough to pop in just a few clothes for an overnight stay.” (source)

It’s very elegant in a understated way and the design is absolutely timeless. I love the immaculate mingling of leather and textile – it’s just the right dose of leather.

Hope springs eternal that the price will drop a bit at some point, because I’m not sure if the price of this bag is anywhere near justifiable – unless I become super rich – given that it won’t be used on a regular basis. Or perhaps the bag could serve as the means to motivate me to start going to the gym – it would make a very elegant gym bag and totally be worth the expense if it, indirectly, proves to have a good effect on my well-being, haha!

PS: I’m traveling to London like a boho and would love some tips on very reasonably priced eateries. And as much as I’d love to have a piece of the glorious quiche at Rose Bakery, I ain’t going to wait in line for hours. Last time I went there, the top floor of Dover Street Market was jam-packed. Why aren’t Rose Bakery expanding their business in London?

Wardrobe upgrades

Truth be told, it’s been a while since the last time I posted something on my blog, so massive apologies for that unplanned hiatus. A hell of a lot has happened during my absence so I suppose I’ll be updating quite frequently to get this thing current. I’ve also got some incredibly exhilarating news for you soon, but in the interim I have to keep the tidings under my hat. Only 11 days to go – and the excitement is building up, haha.

However, it would have been downright boring for you to read why I’ve been so busy and that my life took quite a different direction, so let’s skip that part and talk a little bit about what’s to the point for my blog’s topic; wardrobe building, personal style and clothes.

Yes, I’ve spent bundles on wardrobe investments since this post. Most of them were scored on sale or sort of bought on a whim, but they have quickly become mainstays of my wardrobe and part of my style. I’ve stopped the excessive wardrobe planning and I no longer try to restrict myself to a particular style or look. Now I’m more open to options I never would have considered otherwise. That’s what I love about personal style – it emerges over time, which is really fascinating.

As for my acquisitions, I found my in-between-seasons transitional jacket in Milan – a navy trenchcoat from Barbour, and it was 40% off. I dragged my family all the way to the Barbour shop in Milan just so I could put my hands on one of those iconic Barbour jackets, but ended up with something totally unpredictable. To quote Edith Piaf: “Non, je ne regrette rien”! I also obtained a pair of Ann Demeulemeester sandals at an outlet store in Milan. And, much to my utter surprise, I even found a lovely, yet quirky LBD at Zara – perfect for dinner parties and slightly formal events. On top of that, I scored a pair of black Dries Van Noten suede heels from one of my readers and favorite bloggers (she’s gone private) for a smidgen of the retail price. In fact, I’ve been trying to track these down for months. In addition, I’ve bought my first pair of jeans in ages, and a new pair of spectacles from Balenciaga. It took me only 4 years to find new eyeglasses, so now I have two poles apart pairs to rotate between. More about them later.

Moreover, I have parted, or am about to part with some of the stuff in my wardrobe – items that eventually didn’t work out somehow. This is how my wardrobe looked like in April, and now it looks like this:

Isabel Marant gray bator coat
Isabel Marant navy elali jacket
Isabel Marant maroon boucle jacket
Vintage gray blazer
Barbour navy trenchcoat

Shirts and blouses
A.P.C. light blue liberty print shirt
Isabel Marant Étoile black blouse
Vintage white short-sleeved blouse
Vintage maroon/purple-ish silk shirt
Vintage light blue patterned shirt

Long sleeve tops 
American Apparel gray raglan pullover
American Apparel navy raglan pullover
A.P.C. breton shirt
Isabel Marant Étoile white linen top 
Secondhand breton top

COS navy pocket t-shirt
COS white sheer t-shirt

A.P.C. striped cashmere knit
Acne black chunky knit
COS black crew neck lambswool sweater
Isabel Marant Étoile black open-back knit
Vanessa Bruno Athé navy wool sweater

Cheap Monday black jeans
Levi’s dark blue jeans
Cheap Monday blue jeans

Trousers and shorts
Isabel Marant black linen trousers
Zara black tapered trousers
Zara black shorts


American Apparel gray tri-blend cardigan

Urban Outfitters black vintage leather skirt

Zara dress

Bianco footwear black pumps
Doc Martens black combat boots
Ettore Adriano black leather loafers
Isabel Marant taupe suede ankle boots
Zara black suede ankle boots

The Kooples taupe ankle boots
Ann Demeulemeester sandals
Dries Van Noten black suede heels

Balenciaga black city bag
Marc by Marc Jacobs black hobo

Evidently, I’m still a nerd! Here’s to a happy weekend everyone! And all of a sudden, it’s summer again.

Fall’11 wardrobe planning pt. 1

I don’t think I need more clothes. To be blunt, it’s a matter of wanting more clothes, by virtue of my partiality for clothing. In spite of that, owning just a small amount of clothes, some of them high-maintenance, has become somewhat a thorn in my flesh – given my schedule, there’s practically no time for laundering or hand washing my clothes. I take good care of the contents of my wardrobe to ensure long life for my items, so I always wash at 30 degrees for instance. If it weren’t for my mom’s ‘indifference’ towards maintenance of clothes, it would undoubtedly have been a cinch to wash my stuff together with my family’s laundry – but they are not to be trusted. However, I will have to waste twice as much water and electricity if I wash clothes one by one, which I refuse to do. By the time I have a hamper full of laundry to wash at once, I don’t have any clean clothes to wear until everything has dried. So, okay, perhaps I do need more clothes to simplify my rather hectic life, especially tops. I can do with only one or two trousers but I seem to always run out of tops before I run out of bottoms.

A normal person would solve this issue by trying the mall to find an adequate amount of new tops. I, on the other hand, am struggling big time with finding tops that I would actually like to wear and bring into my curated wardrobe, which might indicate why my wardrobe lacks shirts. I’m quite particular about what I like, and I am also super fastidious with regards to fabrics and such. Therefore, this season’s mission is to get hold of some more tops, both out of practicality and as a way to create variations in terms of attires.

Anyway, I like to have a clear picture of what I want to integrate into my wardrobe, so here are some inspiration:

My biggest fear is to one day look like Lorelai Gilmore in the one Gilmore Girls episode, in which she had run out of clothes and showed up in the most hideous outfit at Rory’s first day at Chilton. Oh boy, poor lady!

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!