Raw denim journal: 13 months

I know, it’s been a year since the first and last time I published this post on my blog, which was supposed to be the first of many about my raw denim journey. Unfortunately, I totally failed at documenting my jeans month by month. Anyway, this is how my A.P.C. petit standard jeans look like after 13 months and 2 soaks. I used to wear them at least five times a week for an entire year before I decided to start wearing the three pants I own in rotation so as to break out from the style rut. Judging from the fades, I obviously don’t do extreme sports or bike every day because those fades are the result of a very inactive lifestyle and sporadic travels, yet they are the fingerprint of my life lately. And nope, my jeans don’t smell funky or anything, but truth be told they don’t smell like roses either.

More photos and a proper review to come in a year or two, hah.

No boredom


You know that kick you get from putting your hands on an inexplicable desire that you’ve been coveting for so many years, or something that you have been trying to unearth and track down for god knows how long like the most amazing coat ever that you simply cannot live without? Well, buying flight tickets apparently does the same trick. Oh yes! Two days ago I finally booked tickets for my West Coast trip and just received the confirmation today!! Man, I swear that words can hardly convey how frickin’ thrilled I am!! I’ve been dying to go for such a long time and started organizing this whole trip in my mind last spring. I guess that aforementioned kick is also a true indication of a successful investment or buy or whatever you’d like to call it.

The flight tickets were a lot more expensive than what I hoped for, but the prices kept skyrocketing. However, this means that I cannot afford any clothes or knickknacks – I still have plenty of Diptyque candles left to burn – until my summer vacation starts. I always save money for my travels so that I can splurge on food and whatnot. The only way I can afford to maintain my sometimes lifestyle is by being frugal for a while.

Luckily for me I don’t have anything on my wishlist that I need to get pronto. That Céline trio bag I was planning to purchase is out of the picture right now. I can postpone all potential purchases – most of them are merely wants rather than needs. Besides, nothing in particular has caught my attention this season – well, apart from a few A.P.C. pieces as usual. I don’t even have time to go shopping for things I need like a new ruler or socks. Today I went on Net-A-Porter for the first time in months and I was repelled by the sight of clothes, which reminded me of New York and my lack of desire to go shopping for clothes there at all. I haven’t been window-shopping online for a long time. Having too much on my plate seems to be the best buffer against consumerism, so a temporary shopping ban is no sweat as I’m unintentionally and constantly banned from shopping.

Sometimes I wonder if my current attitude towards shopping and clothes stems from the fact that my wardrobe is, by my standards, complete or is it perhaps because boredom (and procrastination) is almost nonexistent in my life nowadays? Hmm… or maybe this whole online window-shopping thing and lust for beautiful clothes has been replaced by hours of daydreaming about the West Coast and the quest for the best cheeseburger? The latter is certainly a way to kill boredom and any possibilities to become a short supermodel.

Top 5 of 2012

I know, I’m really late to the party but I haven’t gotten around to making this post that has been on my mind for some time. So here comes a belated and incomplete list of some of the top 5 things that 2012 had to offer. I could probably go on and on because 2012 was such a terrific year but so far this took me 4 hours to put together and I have to study now…. what a life. Anyway, I’ll update it now and then so that I won’t ever forget the things I loved in 2012!

Top 5 wardrobe investments

1. A.P.C. ‘Petit Standard’ raw denim jeans (this is how they looked like after 6 months of wear and tear)
2. Church’s ‘Burwood’ glossy leather brogues
3. A.P.C. gray lambswool sweater (similar here)
4. A.P.C. leather and cork sandals
5. Acne ‘Canada’ scarf

Top 5 most listened to albums 

1. John Talabot – ƒin
2. Kendrick Lamar – Good kid, M.A.A.D. city
3. Kindness – World you need a change of mind
4. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
5. Beach House – Bloom

Top 5 unpredictable yet successful purchases 

1. A.P.C. denim jumpsuit
2. A.P.C. liberty jumpsuit
3. Nike x A.P.C. navy air max shoes
4. Vanessa Bruno Athé jumpsuit
5. A.P.C. shirt found on eBay

Top 5 concerts I attended

1. Nicolas Jaar @ Sonar in Barcelona
2. Beach House in Oslo
3. Azari & III @ Sonar in Barcelona
4. Kendrick Lamar @ Hove at Tromøya
5. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs @ Hove at Tromøya

Top 5 best tracks chosen randomly
1. Luke Abbott – Modern Driveway
2. John Talabot – When the past was present
3. Todd Terje – Inspector Norse
4. Jessie Ware – 110%
5. Dino Lenny vs Hardrive – A DJ deep inside (Shadow Child vocal)
(6. Kendrick Lamar – Now or Never feat. Mary J. Blige)

Top 5 burgers

top5burgers1. Honest Burgers in London (hand burger)
2. The Bird in Berlin (hand burger)
3. Fil a la Une in Toulouse (foie gras burger)
4. Halifax in Copenhagen
5. Cafe Gavlen in Copenhagen

Top 5 blogs discovered in 2012
1. Empty Emptor
2. Joanna Karenina
3. The Second Renaissance
4. The Log (essai)
5. I Love Fika

Stick to what works

via selectism.com

What is it about A.P.C. that other brands don’t possess? Why do I have such a soft spot for anything that Jean Touitou designs? After I stopped relying on Isabel Marant, who used to be my go-to designer until her design became too loud for my taste and the prices skyrocketed disproportionally to the quality, I instead started putting my money into more clothes from A.P.C. In terms of designers, this has resulted in a very homogenous selection of clothes in my wardrobe. However, whether you like it or not, it’s a fact that most of our choices, especially the insignificant and habitual ones, are based on brands. And yes, we stick to certain brands if they work otherwise we would have to face a myriad of different brands for each and every product that we need and want – and too many options are driving people crazy, not to mention time-consuming . Fortunately, I didn’t had to go through a hassle of hunting in the jungle of designers to find the ones that cater to my personal taste and style.

Whenever I need something feminine, beautiful, effortless yet luxurious, I shop at Vanessa Bruno. Church’s is my go-to brand for well-made quality leather shoes. I depend on REN and Aesop when it comes to skincare and hair products. I only use Moleskine planners because they always work. And I always go to A.P.C. whenever I need or want something new, whether it’s a pair of sandals or just a warm cashmere sweater for winter. Anything else would be too labor-intensive.

So why do I always choose and rely on A.P.C.? Obviously, it’s by all means because the clothes are incomparably simple, understated, and timeless. Even though it’s just a plain sweater that comes at a hefty price for a poor student like me, I could never find anything remotely similar at Zara, COS, or Isabel Marant for that matter – trust me, I’ve tried looking so many times to little avail. There is something about the classic cut that is hard to unearth, but unlike many other designer labels out there, A.P.C. continuously offers their customer classic pieces slightly and subtly altered every season. The quality isn’t bad either, especially if you take good care of the clothes. Besides, the garments from A.P.C. fit me just right, the sleeves hit at the right place, and so on. A.P.C. covers everything that I look for when I shop – design, cut, fit, and quality, all of which are mandatory.

However, a few weeks ago, I finally grasped why I keep going back to A.P.C. and why I’m obsessed with this designer brand. Jane and I visited the little A.P.C. shop in Toulouse. I was trying on a bunch of clothes, among them several dresses and skirts, and since there was no mirror in the dressing room I had to use the big mirror in the shop where everybody could see me. I hate doing that but I’m glad I had to, because otherwise I wouldn’t have figured out why I love A.P.C. so much. The seller told my friend, who told me that I have the A.P.C. body. Then I realized that he’s actually right. It makes a lot more sense to me now as to why everything I try on from this brand looks like clothes made to measure – which has never been the case before when it comes to other designers that I wear. A.P.C. clothes are designed for my body!

In October, I wrote this little post about the uncomfortableness of wearing dresses. But as mentioned earlier, I tried on several dresses and skirts at A.P.C. – which I wish I had done sooner. They all looked perfect on me and completely changed my body image as I finally found dresses that were made for my figure. Thanks to A.P.C. I no longer feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in a frock.

On a different note, I don’t know anything about A.P.C. and the company’s compliance with ethical standards and labor laws. I know that some of the products are made in third world countries and others are made in France and Italy – but the destination for manufacturing doesn’t indicate anything as to the labor conditions. As much as I try to be a conscious shopper, there is a box that still remains unchecked. But then again, the brand meets all of my other requirements. Nonetheless, to be honest, I think I’m just as cynical as the industry is. Would I boycott A.P.C. if it turns out that they do not comply with fundamental ethical principles? How about all the other things we buy and eat? Who has the responsibility – the consumers or the companies? But would boycotting actually improve the working conditions at factories or would the demand for products drop and eventually lead to unemployment?

Anyway, back to where I started. A.P.C. turns out to be the only clothing brand that works for me all the time and I’m happy with it. I believe everything is perfectly designed for my style, taste, and body. It’s no doubt that the brand commendably possesses a strong, consistent style identity that’s never outdated in the slightest. Just take a look at A.P.C.’s looks from 1987 and 2013 – you can’t really tell the difference, am I right? It’s the same silhouettes, the same style… And for someone like me who loathes shopping, knowing that A.P.C. covers everything that I need and little extra truly facilitates the entire shopping process. I don’t have to go through excessively many options and I always find something that satisfies in every sense.

How about you guys? Do you have any go-to brands?

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

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?

Shopping rules of thumb pt. 1

(via italktounicorns.com)

Through trial and error I’ve learned some invaluable rules of thumb to avoid repeating regrettable purchases. That said, I’m not an expert, these are merely tips I am sharing out of experience because both my friends and I find them quite helpful. Here’s hoping that you’ll find them as useful, so enjoy the first part of Dead Fleurette’s shopping guidelines.

When in doubt, size up. 
Go for a size bigger if you’re not sure whether to size up or down, as it’s likely that the clothing will eventually shrink – though it depends on the fabric and cut. After all, slightly oversized clothes look so much better rather than something that looks too small, in which you can barely move. You don’t want to look as though you’re stuck in the 90s or that your metabolism is failing you, right? Also, it’s easier to adjust a garment that is too large, not to mention you might even put on a few extra kilos down the road.

Don’t just rely on your size. Shop for you body and try on other sizes as well.
I know so many people who always opt for their regular size even though the clothes may not flatter their body at all. Of course, I’m too chicken and, thankfully, well-mannered to tell them that a size bigger would do the clothing justice. So p-lease don’t buy S just because you’re considered a size small – size L might look fantastic on you if you give it a try. I always take three different sizes of an item into the dressing room just to make sure that I’ve got the right size.

Size down in leather shoes.
In general, I would buy the correct shoe size but when it comes to leather shoes I always size down, because like any leather shoe they’ll expand over time and mold to your foot a lot. You do want your shoes to fit like a glove after breaking them in properly. However, only size down if the shoes fit well in the length of the size.

Don’t buy clothes for a future, skinnier, taller or an alternate self.
Chances are you won’t wear them.

If you need someone’s objective opinion, ask a guy (or an Asian, lol).
I don’t really trust the sales assistants as they make every endeavor to trick you into buying. After all, it’s what they have to do. I wouldn’t consult a female either because of their competitive nature and mood swings (lol). However, guys rarely beat around the bush when it comes to expressing their honest opinion, and the same applies to Asians – I have noticed, truth be told. In my case, I usually turn to my family, as they are brutally honest!

Try on clothes that look ugly on the coat hanger.
Don’t overlook the clothes that look unappealing on the hanger. Once you try them on, you might discover that they prove the opposite. Remember, not all pretty items are tantamount to looking great on your body. Some of my cherished wardrobe staples are, as a matter of fact, items that I more often than not would totally ignore when searching for new wardrobe investments.

Closet organization

I’m trying to sort out my wardrobe and figured that compiling a list of all the things I have in my wardrobe (apart from my lounge wear) might be helpful. Although I haven’t covered all the essentials yet, it’s evident that my wardrobe is bordering on perfect. Yes, almost p-e-r-f-e-c-t! In order to build the perfect wardrobe, I have to pare down my closet to only things that I truly love.

Purple means I’m considering to re-sell the item, blue means the item needs to be replaced, red means it’s no longer my style/too big/too small and will either be donated or passed on to my sister, green means the item is no longer my style but I’ll keep it regardless because I don’t know what to do with it.

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

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

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


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

Balenciaga black city bag
Marc by Marc Jacobs black hobo

= 35 pieces

Trying to crack the code

(via style.com)

To avoid making regrettable purchases in the future, I study my wardrobe. I have to ascertain why some purchases ripen into unceasing love and cherished wardrobe staples, whereas other items end up languishing in my closet or being donated to charity shops.

Although my wardrobe is nigh on entirely stripped of excess that don’t correspond with my style or body at all, I have evidently retained possession of a couple of items that are nearly unworn or still in its pristine condition. I don’t want to collect items that merely languish in the closet. That said, it took me a while to realize what the problem is; I tend to gravitate towards clothes that look outstanding on my ‘style icons’. However, said clothes ought to be admired from afar. I surely derive style inspiration from people I can easily emulate, as they might have the same body type, height, or taste as me. Howbeit, this is where I’m likely to trip up and fail to distinguish between a bad choice and a blessing in disguise.

It’s not that the clothes aren’t in tune with my style or my figure. The problem lies in the fact that I don’t really feel comfortable wearing those garments, which equals I don’t look nice at all – simply because, as a matter of fact, no matter how great the garments fit your proportions et cetera, clothes only look good on you if you feel bien dans sa peau (hence I rely on my uniforms). I’m aware that I can’t approximate leather jackets à la Geraldine Saglio, or short dresses à la Jeanne Damas, though I’d love to incorporate said instances into my own style. Another issue is that I sometimes don’t know if I’d feel comfortable wearing a certain clothing until I actually buy and wear it at least once. I seem to only learn through trial and error.

I want a wardrobe that consists solely of dearly loved items that give me joy to wear. Objects that I always look forward to wearing – I’m quite sure such a wardrobe is utterly attainable. I would have owned the perfect capsule wardrobe if I gathered only my beloved clothes, aka my Isabel Marant coat and boots, striped tops, et cetera. In terms of shunning blunders and building the perfect wardrobe, cracking the code is essential.

Now, the challenge is to think three times before I try to emulate some of my ‘style icons’. And I just have to continue reminding myself to admire certain items from a great distance. At least keeping a blog helps me curb my appetite to make too many unfortunate buys.

Invest in your wardrobe

(via closetvisit.com)

Two days ago, H&M opened their 18th flagship store in Oslo, – a city of approximately 600 000 inhabitants – and this five-story store is the biggest H&M in Norway. Needless to say, the city isn’t exactly in need of more chain stores. Nowadays the shopping avenues of Oslo unfortunately mirror the consumers’ partiality towards disposable fashion at throwaway prices. Alas, independent clothing stores in Oslo hardly survive the overwhelming increase of fast fashion stores, and only last month the city lost two of its independent gems that were advocates of quality design.

Regardless, a reader tipped me off to this article in the Vancouver Sun. It talks about why one should invest in one’s wardrobe and the unethical and non-eco-friendly aspects of the fast fashion industry that we are irrationally engrossed in these days. To avoid the spending trap, the article also speaks about the so-called ‘cost-per-wear’ formula, – total cost of the item / presumed number of days you will wear it = the cost-per-wear – which is a calculation that unveils the true value of an item.

Be that as it may, I hope this article manages to inspire you to reconsider your shopping habits and your prospective wardrobe.

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