Friday, May 26, 2017

Find Your Style: Boost Your Body Image through Fashion Confidence (A Guest Post)

I'm all about empowering women to be strong and confident here on my blog. I recently had an opportunity to connect with Emma Lawson, an Aussie lifestyle blogger who offered to write an article just for my readers on the topic of body image and fashion confidence. I normally keep the voice on this blog to my own, but when Emma and I communicated about this, it was clear that she and I share some of the same values, as reflected in her article. She likes to stand out in the sea of ordinary things with her unique approach to well known topics. Have a read!

Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live. – Gianni Versace

Fashion is often described as keeping up with the trends, but how is that possible when most of the highly-appreciated names in this branch are speaking of trends as temporary, as opposed to style which is eternal? The truth is that when you find your unique style, you can have confidence both to wear new trends and rock the oldies without even giving it a thought. Since it is never too late to discover yourself, here are some tips that should help you become fashion-confident and be satisfied with your body.

Get to know your body

“Dress for the body you have” is probably the best tip you can get when it comes to fashion. Knowing what goes well with your figure will make it much easier for you not only to choose clothes, but also to feel great when you look yourself in the mirror. This means embracing your best features. Do you have long legs? Show them off. Think you have sexy shoulders? Feel free to wear an off-the-shoulder shirt, and a pair of jeans.

Match the colors with your complexion

Another thing that will have a large impact on how a certain clothing item looks on you is the color of that clothing piece. For example, while jewel tones are perfect for contrasting a pale skin tone, light shades of grey would blend with it too much and make the whole outfit look awkward. Neon shades, on the other hand, would be overwhelming for light complexion.

Love your body

We are not trying to be life coaches, but you will look better if you ooze confidence. Learning to accept yourself the way you are is not easy, but once you accomplish it, you will be much happier. If that requires a change of some sort, such as cutting your hair or opting for high school tattoo removal, why not?

Try out different things

The famous Irish author James Joyce once wrote that “mistakes are the portals of the discovery” and this sentence can be applied to fashion, as well. How can you discover your style if you haven’t look in the wrong places, too? Try out various styles until you finally click with one.

Identify your signature look

If you’ve found a style you can relate to, you can also try to identify your go-to look. This will help you personalize each outfit and to be aware of the things mentioned in the previous paragraphs (colors and cuts that suit you best).

Go for the extraordinary

First of all, forget about the trends! Wear what makes you feel good, comfortable, and why not, sexy. In most cases, the extraordinary clothes isn’t hiding in the window of a downtown boutique. No, you’ll find it somewhere where every piece is different and unique. That can be at your seamstress and local designers, or in vintage shops and second-hand boutiques. This way your style won’t be a copy of something you saw in the latest issue of Vogue, but a reflection of who you truly are.

Be respectful

Fashion affects the environment and humanity in a certain way. So, before you buy a piece of clothing, think about who is making it and at what cost? If the company is known for polluting the environment with chemicals or exploiting workers (sometimes even children), is it really worth buying clothes from them? Following the tips from the previous paragraph will help you be more fashion-conscious, and you should always keep in mind that there is no greater satisfaction than the one derived from doing good.

As Gianni Versace said, you use the way you dress to express who you are, so try to find your style in a good place, and you will definitely feel better about yourself.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Emma. For more articles like this, you can follow Emma on Twitter @EmmahLawson.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Are You Going My Way?

I hope not. I'm all over the place lately. I woke up this morning and realized that while I'm excited for the school year to be done, it means that we have to pack up for summer and get out of here quick. I just want one quiet week here before we fly out. I know I always say this, but I'm usually glad when we get away quickly, too.

It's an odd thing being a teacher at this time of year. We're overwhelmed with end of year duties, emotional goodbyes and change, yet our friends who don't operate on a school calendar are just going about business as usual. 

Where I find that I'm exhausted and ready for change, my friends are digging in for their mid year push. Things are not wrapping up at work for them. They may be starting new projects, getting new colleagues, etc where I'm closing a chapter at work. One more school year done and dusted, one more class of students off to university.

This summer will be an exciting one, to say the least. My youngest sister is getting married and we'll have extended family and friends around, so we've got many reasons to celebrate! We are excited to spend three weeks in NYC and reacquaint ourselves with that amazing city, too.

Summer for a working mum and part time blogger is a time for rejuvenation. I get to switch gears and be a hands on full time mum, while also diving into fun blog projects. I'm not sure how it will all shape up, but I do have one summer collab I'll be working on with Thrifted Sisters, styling a few pieces in multiple ways.

I'm actually thinking about making my summer focus be about thrifting. I know I'll be in some good places to find vintage, but I'm really eager to explore NYC's thrifting scene. 

***Pictures from a few weeks ago after I'd written about socks having their moment. I decided to pull out my old but fun pair of Frida Kahlo socks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Embracing Athleisure

I've made no secret my dislike for the leggings as pants trend that has become entrenched in the way girls dress now. I even wrote a PSA on the topic at the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon. 

That said, I am starting to feel conflicted about these new feelings I've been having about the athleisure trend. I do like how trainers can completely change the appearance of an outfit, or how Vans can make a vintage dress seem more fun and casual. I especially like how some athletic pieces like Adidas style pants are being mixed in with heels and dresses. And let's face it, it's really comfy as well. Especially the trainers.

I'd been eager to pull out these athletic inspired pants again to try a restyle. I picked them up at one of the pop up events hosted by Redress a while back and recently had them hemmed to be a bit more cropped. Then I got this cute Monki dress (yes, it's a dress for some) as a hand-me-up from my girl, Akiko (we swap clothes now and again).

I don't know that I'd ever wear this as a dress, so I was trying to thing of ways to layer it up. The dress and pants trend is still a go to for me, even as the weather warms up and I couldn't resist how wild this pairing was. In fact, as I got dressed, the hubby simply said wow, you're really going for it.

Why yes, yes I am.

So, I've warmed up to the athleisure trend. I think I can do it my way. A little more on the dressy side of casual. I'll mix in the heels with the track pants and trainers with the skirts. I've even got Nike and Adidas tees on my list to shop for in thrift shops this summer, but still no leggings as pants for me.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Catching up with Vic & Lily: Vintage Sustainable Fashion

I try not to think about the fact that my girl Vicki is a bazillion miles away in London, but the truth is... she is. Not only is she a fellow lover of cheese and wine, late night shenanigans and tattoos, she was for the longest time, my local vintage dealer. She fueled my obsession with vintage with her fabulous selection of vintage dresses, skirts and blouses like no one's business. And, we even collaborated on a little vintage rescue project, too. Rehoming good vintage pieces is a worthy cause!

Anyhow, she's appeared on my blog before. First with an Etsy Confessions interview, another time when we did a fur coat shoot together and multiple other occasions. I thought it was about time to catch up with her on the blog and let you all know what she's been up to since leaving Hong Kong, especially as it relates to the topic of sustainable fashion and Fashion Revolution (I know, I know...I'm behind in my posts, but so be it. That's life).

I noticed recently that Vicki had changed her Instagram profile to read "Vintage Sustainable Fashion" and I was curious about what brought about the change. As long as I've known Vicki, she's not only curated beautiful vintage pieces, but she's made creative alterations to them (taken off sleeves, brought up hemlines, etc) and even completely reconstructed and upcycled pieces to salvage them. Included in my collection of Vic & Lily pieces are some Vic & Lily originals like the top seen here.

While living in Hong Kong, Vicki had begun to sour on the fashion industry. In her own words, she'd become a little bitter about it. Moving to London, she was ready for a change.

"For a long time I bought and wore vintage (mostly 'cos I was getting better quality garments for waaay cheaper) and that was OK, but I would end up wearing them to death - I miss my classic black silk shirt that I cut off the sleeves. In my last few years in HK I started to shop more consciously, purchasing better quality high street garments to add to the vintage. I still shop like this when I really need something that I can't find in vintage shops or markets. I don't have many things that I don't need, a space saving habit I have kept with me to an extent from HK."

Finding her footing in London was tough. The vintage market is much harder to get into since there is so much choice. It is much more difficult to distinguish herself from others who are selling at the same price point.

Her "aha" moment came to her as she was walking to an interview.

"Walking down Oxford Street researching for an interview project I was just thinking...none of these people really care what we design really, they don't care about the process etc etc. And it was then I decided that I didn't want to be part of that world anymore, fast, mass produced fashion does not share the values that I do."

"I love changing things up using my experiences from designing to help bring a new life to some vintage that isn't either selling or really in a great shape to sell. I believe this is the most sustainable of 'sustainable fashion.' So many clothes are thrown away, but what if they could just be changed into something else? The fabric, once deconstructed, can be used to create something else. It is slightly more time consuming than just buying fabric, and no two garments will ever be the same (unless a whole lot of clothes are the same perhaps) but that makes each piece more special, I think. My shorts for example are all the same style in shape but they are all from a different dress or shirt. I even have a pair myself that was a blouse."

Like me, Vicki has also watched the documentary The True Cost which painfully depicts how our consumption is negatively impacting our environment and garment workers around the world. As a fellow believer of the importance of sustainable fashion, it confirms so much of what we already know. "It made me so mad to be the consumer and I so badly want to make everyone I know watch it with the hope that we can all do something about it."

"Sustainability for me as Vic & Lily and as a person is key to making the world a better place. " 

So, even as I feel a bit sad writing this post and it has made me miss this lady SOO much, I love hearing her muse about her hopes for Vic & Lily. She hopes to make the redesigns to be more of a collection and build up the basic block patterns to become the foundation of the Vic & Lily label. She'll still continue to sell vintage as is "because if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and to get into a few markets and grow a following in London.

For you readers, here's your opportunity to get to know Vic & Lily if you don't already. She's offering an exclusive discount to be used in both her Etsy and ASOS Marketplace shops. Simply enter VICXNOR25 at checkout for 25% off for the next month. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Links a la Mode, April 27th

Spring has sprung, so it seems. I'm a little slow on sharing this, but the posts linked up here in the Independent Fashion Bloggers round up remain completely relevant.

Spring is a time for rebirth. Or, experimenting with something new. It's a time to reconnect with each other and support one another. There's lots of that happening with bloggers here. Take a time out and read some of these amazing Links a la Mode posts.

Links à la Mode, April 27th

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Glamorous Life of Real World Blogging

 Haha! Tricked you! Real world blogging is so not glamorous. I've got a 9 to 5 and this blogging thing is a part time gig. Actually you can't even call it that because it's not like it pays (at least not in the traditional sense). It pays in many other ways which I'll get into, but it's not like I'm quitting my job any time soon. Or ever.

Okay, so where was I. Oh yes, glamorous. No, it's not glamorous. I'm not sitting in the front row of exclusive Fashion Week events or hobnobbing with celebrities or being asked to do fancy schmancy brand collaborations. Nope.

Some weeks it's a slog. Seriously. I had all these grand plans last week, feeling super motivated about Fashion Revolution week and all the content I was going to bring you (realizing full well how steep a task writing three posts in one week is for a full time working mumma). I did pretty well for the first week, check it out yourself. I had cool plans for this week, too. An update with my good friend at Vic & Lily and an outfit post showcasing one piece three ways.

Then the long weekend came. Four days without the hubby and my big teenage boy with a few things to keep me busy (equal parts mummy duty and mummy fun). And, then I got sick. Pow. Mumma out.

My poor girls were on their own while I was down with the stomach flu (well, I did have my mum to help, thank goodness!) I extended my long weekend by a day, but I wouldn't recommend doing it the way I did. I'd not wish that kind of sick on my worst enemy. So yeah, those posts that I originally planned for this week? They're coming. . . later. Instead, I'll use these outfit pictures from a few weeks ago when I was wearing this amazing MAHPS Vintage gold turtleneck dress on the very last day possible (arguably one day too late). I was sweating my ass off and getting super grumpy that layering weather was over (see, not glamorous).

And, I told you I was going to tell you about the ways this gig does pay, right? Well, that part is what keeps me going. It's the relationships I make along the way. Friendships with people who trust me to collaborate, wear, shoot, style, promote and generally work with them. Oh, and when I say shoot, more often than not I mean two girls with a camera, but that's okay. Being recognized as the vintage blogger in Hong Kong and having people hand me their beautiful second hand items, or gift me their products. Now, that's a privilege! I wouldn't trade this part time real world blogging. At all.

Stay tuned because I've got a few of those collaborations coming this way soon!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day to Night with AUrate New York

AUrate New York is a jewellery company with a conscience. They are currently running an empowerment project in which they challenge women to share how they would style a look to transition from day to night. As a working mum who sometimes heads to events in the evenings, I knew I could do this easily. After discovering AUrate New York, I learned more about the social enterprise they're running, where they've partnered with Philidelphia schools to donate books to economically underprivileged children with each piece of jewellery sold. They call it A Book for your Look and I love this idea and I wanted to share more about it and the brand behind it.

Another part of AUrate New York's story that I love is their sustainable vision and support for local business. All their jewellery is handmade in New York and is sourced ethically. Check their blog for more information here. They are the perfect brand to share on my blog for Fashion Revolution week.

If I know I've got an evening event to go to, I usually pick an outfit that can be easily dressed up and down. I tend to be overdressed for work anyhow, so no one notices if I dress up. Of course I picked something secondhand with this little black dress from French Connection from Rock My Vintage (who I collaborated with here). I thought it was a good look to transition from day to night because accessories can change how it looks very easily.

For day, this LBD can be styled with a cute denim jacket, some brown stacked sandals and a simple gold chain like this Connected Necklace from AUrate. I love the idea of wearing black with brown and denim makes any look perfectly casual and breezy.

Outfit details: French Connection dress from Rock My Vintage, Vintage Prada sandals at Lollipuff, denim jacket from Ebay

For night, this LBD can be easily transformed. The mesh and floral applique detail adds a sexy element to an already sexy wiggle style dress. I would keep it simple and add some more jewellery like these pieces I've picked from AUrate New York along with some sexy strappy sandals and you're good for any date night or fashion event. I love the tassels on these heels as they add such a fun detail. I have a similar pair and when I wear them, I just want to move!

Outfit details: French Connection Floral Cage dress (link above), Strappy Heel with Side Tassel from Angl, Asymmetric Pearl Collar and Long Bar Necklace both from AUrate New York.

Layering jewellery is an easy way to change a look from day to night. How do you transition your look from day to night? Let me know what your tips are, I'd love to hear.

And do check out this brand. I love what they're doing. Read more about them and what they're doing to empower people with co-founder Sophie Kahn

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