Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Make it Sustainable: Restyling Zara

Way back in October of last year, I bought this lacy mesh Zara dress. It was on super sale and I was killing time at the airport (Hong Kong has a Zara at the airport, so that's the only time I ever go in, just to see what all the fuss is about).


So, I bought it. And then felt instant remorse for buying something from a fast fashion store brand new. Needless to say, I made a vow to wear it once a month or so to make it sustainable. I did my research, you see. To make a clothing choice sustainable, you must at least wear it at least 30 times. Read more here. And read about the promise I made here.


If you're a follower on Instagram (@imanorbyah), you'll see that I've made a good faith effort. I used the hashtag #makeitsustainable every time I posted. Okay, so maybe I haven't posted every month; the summer months got away from me. But here is September's restyling.


And, I've got a few more months left in the year to challenge myself.


And challenge, I will. I want to try to incorporate color at some point. All my looks so far have been monotoned. I do have to say, though, I've learned a lot about how to wear an item. It isn't so much how you actually wear it, but more how you view your options. 


If I only considered this Zara dress as a dress, I'd be quite limited. So far, in addition to being worn as a dress, it's been worn over jeans, worn as a swimsuit cover up, worn as a skirt and now worn as a top. It's amazing! Stay tuned over on Instagram if you want to see the remaining ways I'll wear it. Cooler weather is coming (albeit slowly), so that adds a different level of challenge. 

I think I'm up to it, don't you?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Style Minute: How to Make Your Prints Pop

I know I've written a fair bit about print mixing and about my love of prints in general. One particular favorite is African prints. I love the vibrant color combinations and the boldness of the prints.


Over the years, friends who know this about me have generously sent African fabrics my way. I have one friend who gave me some skirts she brought back from South Africa and another friend who gave me whole swathes of fabric she collected when she lived in Ethiopia.


I held onto those pieces of fabric, which were varying sizes, and made use of them in a variety of ways. With one small piece, I lined the flaps of the pockets of a black H&M blazer I have. I also did the same with a denim shirt dress and a different piece of fabric (adding a belt as well).


For the longest time, though, I had this massive piece which I wasn't sure what to do with.  Then I found some inspiration from Instagram when I saw a picture of two women wearing coords made with African fabric. They had alternated top and bottom. It looked amazing, so I asked my neighbourhood seamstress to make one for me.


Now, not having a second coord meant that I cannot alternate top and bottom. This left me thinking about how I might style this set from time to time to make it look different. The first time I wore it, I wore it with heels and a statement necklace, but kept it basically simple. 


When deciding to wear it this time, I thought I'd wear some kind of layer to change it up a little. My initial inclination was to dial down the print and wear it with a more subdued color, a neutral.  But that felt too safe and I didn't want to do that.


I noticed that the shocking blue in this print was nearly identical to the blue of my Goods of Desire x Tangram blazer. Going with my instinct to be bold, I wore these two items together. And for a Fall look, I pulled out my booties. I was glad that I'd gone with my gut because the bright outfit felt much more like me...

So, that's my Style Minute tip: Don't feel like you need to tone down prints, especially when you're wearing a head to toe print. Take a risk and turn up the wow factor with more print or more color. I promise you won't regret it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rug Lane Markets and Vintage Stories

True to most of my vintage pieces, this dress has a story that makes me love it even more. I bought it at last month's Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Markets where I was also selling.


The woman selling it has a son who graduated from my school last year, and she had also popped over and bought a dress from me. Her booth had many amazing treasures she's collected along her way (and having worked in fashion). This dress is a vintage piece she picked up in Paris.


As the story goes, she was rushing to a fashion week show (maybe Hermes) and encountered this dress at a market along the street. Despite running late, she had to stop and buy it. Not only that, she changed into it right away and arrived at the show in this dress instead. I love it.


And, I couldn't wait to style it up for myself.


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the weather has been warm. In fact, I saw on the news that we've experienced the hottest October day in 130 years. No bueno. This global warming shit seriously freaks me out. 


So, needless to say, the turban was not necessary. Heck, the long sleeves on this dress were not necessary, but I wanted to wear it anyhow. And with this turban from my girl Caitlin at Alex & Afton Vintedge (Instagram: @aavintedge). 


I was a good girl at last month's market and managed to sell some of my vintage while not coming home with more than I arrived there with. Here's hoping that November's market is equally successful.  For details about the upcoming Rug Lane Market on November 11th, visit their Facebook page here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dress Code Violation

When it comes to fashion, I'm not one to follow the rules.


Who made them up anyhow? Some stick in the mud person who just wanted to be a mean girl about it and make others feel bad for expressing themselves and doing what they want?


So yeah, that's what I think. No white after Labour Day? Whatevs.


I'm going to wear these white Vans slip ons as long as I like. They're my new fave article of clothing to wear with my vintage. They're more (ahem) comfy or sensible


Besides, I'm a busy mumma. I have kids to keep up with and it's too freaking hot still to try and squeeze my feet into anything else right now.


And speaking of too hot? Ugh, wearing neck scarves is about the closest thing I can get to fall layering right now and even then, I have to take them off from time to time to wipe my sweat!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Style Minute: Wear your Loungewear Out & Links a La Mode, September 28th

If you've followed my blog for a little while (thank you!) you'll know that one thing I continue to struggle with is how to look casual while wearing vintage.


Vintage clothing, by nature, just feels a little more classy and dressed up like the era from which they come. Much of my vintage clothing is made up of dresses and skirts, so naturally I feel dressy when I wear them.


Even the hubby will tell you that I am always overdressed. We're just going to the grocery store, Norbyah, he'll say. I know, I know, but playing dress up is FUN. My girl Beth Jones encourages us to do just this as her motto over on @bjonesstyle.


So what have I been doing to embrace more casual looks and more importantly, what Style Minute tip do I have for you? 


First, just wear pants. I think they generally tend to look more dressed down. I'm really digging these athletic inspired ones I got at a Redress Pop Up a few years ago. 


Second, think about pyjamas or loungewear as appropriate to wear outside. I'm loving the vintage robe / kimono / dressing gown inspired dressing. This lace one from a favorite shop MAHPS Vintage in Brooklyn is lightweight and perfect for layering in our Hong Kong heat.  Also, wear slippers.  I'm seeing them all over, slides, mules, slippers. Whatever you want to call them. It's like stepping right out of bed and outside. Comfortable and dressed down.

I realize this look is all black which inadvertently dresses it up again, but oh well. You get my point.

Links à la Mode, September 28th
HEADS UP! Shopbop’s Event of the Season is HERE. Use code EOTS17 and get 20% off orders under $500, get 25% off orders of $500 or more. Applies to full-price and sale items! Offer ends September 29th, 2017 at 11:59 pm PT. Restrictions apply. See details: https://www.shopbop.com/ci/3/lp/discount-promo-coupon-code.html
SPONSOR: Shopbop MOTHER, Pam & Gela Tops, Alpha Industries Jackets, Reike Nen, Jenni Kayne, Welden, Utility Jackets, Ankle Booties, Long Skirts, Men's Second/Layer

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Easy Breezy: Trying to Survive Hong Kong Humidity & Links a la Mode, September 21st

Have you seen my dewy glow? Want to know what product I use to get that shine? It's not available for everyone I'm sorry to say, but I'll tell you all about it...


My secret is humidity! And, I'm not glowing. I wish I was glowing, but I'm not.


I'm dripping. Ugh. I'm so not glowing.


Hong Kong's weather is always stinking humid at this time of year, but given our rash of typhoons blowing through the area, it's been very hot as well. We've had 'hot weather warnings' nearly everyday and it's been brutal. I keep waiting for our fall breeze to show up, but so far we've had nothing (we don't have a fall season, it's just a fall breeze).


Weather this hot complicates getting dressed quite a bit. Basically, I wake up everyday and think about what clothes I own that won't touch my body too much. If I could stay in my nightgown, I would. If I didn't have to wear underwear, I wouldn't. But, you know...social norms. Hmmpf!


So, how am I surviving this dreadful humidity? In all honesty, I'm not. I'm grumpy every morning as I make my walk to work and beads of sweat drip from my chin. It's so attractive arriving to work a hot mess. 


Seriously, though, it's all about fabric. I'm wearing all natural fibers as much as I can right now. This is ever the challenge as a vintage wearer. Luckily, I've accumulated quite a few cotton and linen pieces over the years. I choose lightweight blousey silhouettes, too. Lots of skirts (so I can billow them and cool myself off).  And, for the first time I think ever, I'm making iced lattes instead of my usual warm ones. Trying to keep my core temperature down as much as I can.

Come on, Fall! I see all you North American peeps and I'm jealous of what you're wearing....sigh.

Thanks Independent Fashion Bloggers for choosing this post in your Links a la Mode for September 21st. Here's a link to some other lovely posts from last week, too!

Links à la Mode, September 21st
SPONSOR: Amazon's Shopbop Levi's, L'AGENCE Dresses, Salvatore Ferragamo Flats, Saks Potts, Retouched, Daniel Patrick, High Rise Skinny Jeans, Shearling Coats, Sneakers, Men's Second/Layer

Friday, September 15, 2017

Language of Flowers

One thing I miss living in Hong Kong is having a garden with fresh flowers. Lilies, peonies, lilacs, crocuses, tulips, hyacinths, hydrangeas... the list goes on. I didn't really grow up having a flower garden in Malaysia, either, but for some reason I just know all about them. I know their names, when to expect them to pop up in your garden and how to care for them.


Part of my appreciation comes from my mother, which comes from my grandmother. My grandmother's driveway was lined with rose bushes and her front door had the most beautiful off white English roses. I remember when the hubby and I bought our first house, my parents came for a visit and my mum and I spent the days weeding and gardening. She bought me my gardening tools and a book about plants (which I still have) and even helped me to plant some new things as well. Being in the garden makes me think of her. 


Years ago, I read Vanessa Diffenbaugh's novel The Language of Flowers which I not only loved, but also taught me that flowers are also used to communicate messages to the person who receives them. Each flower has it's own meaning and how they're arranged can share a person's feelings. It's called floriography and I find it fascinating. 


Needless to say, I love having fresh flowers at home. They brighten up any space, even the smallest corner in the guest bathroom. I used to take time every Sunday to make little arrangements at home, but have fallen out of the habit since being back to work. Bouquets don't need to be sent for special occasions only. I love the idea of sending flowers "just because" and this message is shared by A Better Florist. Just because is reason enough. When they sent me my lovely bouquet of sunflowers, my spirits were lifted almost immediately and the cheery blooms brightened my dining room for the next week.

Don't just take my word, have a look at their lovely arrangements for yourself. They have same day delivery nationwide in Singapore and are now branching into Hong Kong as well. Go ahead, take a peek and make someone's day, just because.


Thank you A Better Florist HK for sending me The Ayla bouquet. How can you not smile when you have this in your home?


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