Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring Pastels

As a self professed lover of color and bold prints and everything bright, I found myself quite at a loss this morning when I was trying to get dressed and looking for pastel shades to wear. First, I was looking for pastels. What? And second, I had none.

Okay, not none. Some. Just not the color I wanted. I have peachy pinks, but lately I want pinky pinks. And lavendary purples and buttery yellows. Or baby blues. BABY BLUES! I've never really loved baby blues. I prefer stronger blues like royal blue. So, this has me thrown for a loop.

And the really frustrating thing is that I don't really have a nearby thrift shop to poke through like I do when I visit the States. At times like this when I long to pick up just a few on trend pieces, I miss being able to pop into Savers or Salvation Army. Or an estate sale. A charity shop! Sigh.

But, this serves as a good reminder that I don't need to rush off and fill my closet with more clothes. It reminds me that there's a good bit of creativity involved in a challenge like this and I remember to shop my own closet. So, I did.

I bought nothing new. I wore what I had. I got my pastel fix. I was able to dig out this lightweight blazer from Vic & Lily and my Thrifted Sisters peachy skirt.

Okay, it helps to have a few new accessories to play with. The sunnies were too fun to pass up, so I grabbed them. The slides are actually from a shop that sells super local, cheap stuff like pegs, hangers, kitchen towels, etc. I couldn't decide if they were super ugly or super cute. Maybe they're both. They came in two colors, red or lavender. 

Sometimes a few fresh accessories make everything feel like new (even when they were never new to start with). Go on, try it. Shop your closet and change things up with some small new thing. It will work, I promise.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Muumuu Love

There is no way to make the word muumuu sound attractive, is there. I don't think so. But I'd argue that wearing a muumuu doesn't have to be unattractive. Certainly, if you refer to a muumuu as a caftan, that helps, but I don't think this one counts as a caftan. I looked up definitions of muumuu and it distinctly says "shapeless", "brightly colored" and "floral print" in many of the results of my searches. A caftan just sounds more exotic, if you ask me.

Wearing a muumuu has many benefits. First, it's shapeless and ladies we all appreciate that, right? It's a great way to just feel relaxed in an article of clothing without worry that something isn't sitting right, or protruding or clinging in an unsightly way. Feeling uninhibited or anxious about fit is really liberating, right? 

Another benefit of wearing a muumuu in our Hong Kong climate is that it doesn't cling to your body. With the humidity making a fast return, I know I'll really appreciate this aspect of the dress.

The trick to making sure I'm not sitting around in a housedress like Mrs Roper is to style up a muumuu with dressy details. I decided this would be a fun dress to wear for my uncle's lauch event for his new book on Hong Kong food called Hong Kong Food City (click title to order a copy).

And as I look back on these pictures, it's the details that made the outfit pop. Black heels with my glitter pink socks, my secondhand Alexander Wang handbag, and of course a hat. I feel like the outfit is equal parts boho and chic which was just right for hanging with some pretty cool chefs and other foodie type influencers. And, of course there were some yummy nibbles,  but I didn't have to worry about my waistline (yet another benefit of wearing muumuus)! I went to this event with my dad which made it all the more special.

I have a sneaky confession to make, though. The dress is not vintage or secondhand. It's H&M. I justified buying it with the coupon I received for donating some clothes for their recycling program. That still makes it a little eco-friendly, right?  Please say yes.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Defining Style: The Culotte Coord, Sport Socks & Velvet Platforms Edition and Links a la Mode, April 5th

Style is always evolving. As such, I find myself in a reflective moment as I make an attempt at defining mine. Oh, you mean you don't do this? Okay, well indulge me this rambling will be akin to my musings about the terms fashion blogger vs. style blogger.

I mean, as I look at these pictures from a shoot several weeks ago, I kind of scratch my head and wonder. How would you describe this look? This sport sock with velvet platforms with a culotte coord and patterned coat look!

When I tell people I blog about vintage fashion, I feel like a certain image accompanies that description, but I'm not sure that really fits me. Yes, I love vintage clothing. I love those vintage bloggers who can channel a decade - from head to toe - to the tee. I'm not that kind of blogger, though. I mix decades and often get them confused. I mix vintage pieces with contemporary pieces.  And, I tend to be inspired by character looks not decades, though I know as soon as I say that, it's not quite right either.

Take this look, for example. I cannot tell you what character I'm inspired by, but I can tell you that I was going through a phase of being super inspired by over the top costume-y clothing, specifically drag queen looks. Velvet platforms, huge sunglasses, velvet, overdone embellishments like faux fur or sequins. Literally everyday, I was incorporating some of these things into my outfits.

Now that it's spring and the weather has changed, those embellishments are harder to mix in. Don't worry, I haven't given up. I'm still wearing them with my spring florals and pastels.  So yeah, not purely vintage, though certain decades provide lots of character inspo. And, I'm mindful of trends, though not driven by them or a follower of them, per se. 

I recently reread an interview I did with Baglady Basics years ago and when I was asked to describe my style, I said "vintage-inspired, eclectic and feminine." I remember saying feminine because at the time, the dress was my go-to article of clothing always. I wouldn't say the same is true now, but I also wouldn't say that how I dress is not feminine. Rather, it's a new way of realizing what feminine dressing is for me. It's bold. It's outspoken. It's unexpected and confident.

So, there you have it. I'm not sure I've quite defined my style, but I have acknowledged it's evolution. And, I've said what it's not, which is as good as definining it in my book.

This post has been selected by Independent Fashion Bloggers for Links a la Mode for April 5th. Have a read of some of the other posts.

Links à la Mode, April 5th, 2018
SPONSOR: Shopbop, Moschino, Rebecca Taylor Dresses, Kate Spade Swimwear, BaubleBar, RHIE, DONNI, Raw Denim, Flare Pants, Army Jackets, Men's Polo Ralph Lauren

Monday, March 26, 2018

Styling The R Collective

When my friends from Redress asked if I would style up one of The R Collective upcycled blazers, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. These blazers all have fun cut outs on the back and I thought how interesting it would be to showcase that detail by wearing it backwards.

So, that's exactly what I did.

Most outfits I post are real outfits that I actually wore, but I have to be honest, this one was perhaps a bit to avant garde to wear to work.  I love it, though.

Because wearing the blazer backwards is already outrageous, I thought playing up the accessories would be fun. Big tassel earrings, a flower pin, fishnet socks with faux pearl trim and these wacky Zara mules. 

I'd wear this on a night out with the hubby. Some kind of date night, for sure. He'd probably roll his eyes at the fact that I'd be wearing my blazer backwards, but love me all the same.

I love how wearing it backwards creates a kind of sexy back detail. To play that detail up, I made sure to wear my tube top. It also helped with the horizontal cutouts at the back (styled in front) not be cluttered with other layers. 

This blazer is designed by Redress Design Award winners Kevin Germanier and Victor Chu and made from rescued luxury fabrics as part of The R Collective's first Trailblazer Collection. Currently, The R Collective also features some lovely knitwear from most recent winner Kate Morris. 

Submissions for the next cycle of the Redress Design Award just closed this month and I'm already looking forward to seeing what sustainable fashion designers emerge. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Yellow is Not for the Faint of Heart

While you see me here in one of my back alleys of Stanley Market, I have to confess that I'm strolling in different alleys this week. I'm really in Morocco. Actually, I'm writing this before I leave, but I'll publish while I'm there. I have to pinch myself, though, Morocco is a dream destination for me. You can follow along on Instagram (@imanorbyah) to see my wanderings.

But, onto the topic of this post. Yellow. It's a color that can be so right, but at the same time so wrong.  More than any other color, this one must be the right shade. I love bright yellow, but it can't be like a highlighter yellow.

I also love mustard yellow or maize. It's a little more muted and can easily be styled with just about anything. I'm fortunate that my skin tone lets me do any of these shades of yellow. On the runways this spring, there is a lot of buttery yellow making it's appearance. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for that and then hope that I can carry it off as well.

So what are my tips for trying this color? Well, I have to be honest, if you're even a little uncertain then it may not be the color to try. There's just no subtle way to introduce it into your wardrobe. But, if you're willing to take a risk and be compared to a banana, then I say go for it. It's yellow, after all. It doesn't matter how little the piece is, it makes a statement. 

Case in point, my latest yellow acquisition is this coat. I mean, outerwear is a serious commitment.  I'm going to bring this coat with me to Morocco, so you can see it on my adventures as well. Yellow just goes so nicely with blue and I'm headed to Chefchaouen, the blue city of Morocco.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I am Woman, Hear me Roar

The only thing positive that I can say about the last American election cycle and the eventual outcome of said election cycle is that it has awoken a Women's Movement.

And it's no flash in the pan, trending movement, either. It's a legit rise up, we're here to be seen and heard, and our time is now movement.  It's an exciting time to be a woman.  It's an exciting time to be a mother raising my girls (but also my boy).

I realise more than ever that my messages to my kids are messages to empower them to be strong and to be resilient.  They're messages about character and of hope for change. When my girls come back from school or from playing with neighbourhood kids and share stories of typical childhood conflicts, more and more I find myself telling them that their inaction doesn't teach the other kids how they want to be treated. It's not good enough to hope and wait for them to be better, instead they must demand better.

I find myself telling friends and colleagues the same as well, especially my women friends and colleagues.  If we notice that something isn't right, rather than to just accept things quietly I'm encouraging them to speak up. Only then will people listen.

Too long have women been silent. Too long have we been talked over. Not any more. Even the slightest infraction needs to be addressed, and it doesn't have to be confrontational. It just has to be acknowledged. Only then can we recognize how to be better.

 Our school is recognizing International Women's Day, for the first time that I can remember since I started work here. Normally we're on a week of school trips, but due to a change in calendar we happen to be here. After spending Women's Day in Mongolia last year, I realized that it was a larger day than a protest organized by the Women's March. It is actually a day that many celebrate around the globe, only I had never been in a place where that had happened. I feel proud this year to be a part of the celebration recognizing the accomplishments of women. I hope that it will become something regular so that my girls will grow up knowing that their voices will be heard, too.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Ooh La La: Styling a Beret

When we had our cold snap a month ago, I fell completely into a sartorial funk. It was so cold, I couldn't think about what to wear. I know, I know. I sound like a broken record, so I'll stop.

The reason I bring up the weather, though, is that in the cooler months my style incorporates a lot of hats. I love hats as you may have noticed both on here and on my Instagram profile.

Hats, like scarves, have a way of completing an outfit for me. When I'm getting dressed and something feels a bit off, it's usually a hat that I reach for first. They give any outfit that extra oomph to make them pop.

It took me a while to embrace the beret look, though. In truth, this one was bought for my daughter who needed it for her poetry cafe in fourth grade, two years ago now. She needed something that made her look like an artist. When she wore it, she said she felt French. Ha!

I'm not sure why I hesitated.  Maybe I felt a bit like I was trying too hard? I don't know. Whatever the reason, I really love the beret look now. A while back, I discovered a blogger new to me who styles a beret like nobody's business. Amy of A Fashion Nerd is worth clicking over to say hi. Then I started seeing them more and more on other blogger friends and I was hooked. The best thing is, you can find plenty of thrifted or vintage versions. 

So there you have it. While the weather remains cool enough to wear hats, I'll be throwing berets in the rotation. 

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