Thursday, August 20, 2009

I always imagine "Lisztomania" means making a lot of lists, but that's probably wrong

Since I was en elementary school kid, I've gotten really excited about back-to-school shopping. So excited that I would plan out what I wanted to get, get it, then save the labels in a composition notebook. It's almost scary to think how much I loved collecting labels (not necessarily designer labels, because I was like, nine years old, but actual paper labels) for the love of shopping and cataloging everything. The notebook started in fourth or fifth grade and ended in ninth. Every fall and many shopping trips in between, I'd make pages of labels with notes about the garment's size, color, and style.

Now that I'm getting into my third year of college, it's more about what clothing I *wish* I could buy, rather than the everyday. After all, my notebook would be a collage of the same damn places I can't stay away from (and that I can actually afford): Urban Outfitters, H&M, American Apparel. College, for me, means a wardrobe filled with items from the aforementioned holy trinity mixed with vintage, DIY, and thrift. Don't tell my closet, but as faithful and loving as I've been, I'm secretly longing for everything at Barneys. Sorry. And this is where the blog comes in...

WANT LIST: Saving my allowance, selling used clothes
WISH LIST: Golddigging, selling some plasma and some unnecessary car parts... those exist, right?

1) Silence & Noise Double Breasted Blazer
2) Tights, tights, tights
3) AA leotards
4) Vintage cross-body bags
5) Victoria's Secret bikini (Downside to living in "the OC": less opportunities for proper fall fashion. Upside: Going to the beach every day)

Being a hobbit petite, I've given up on finding good jeans, so I plan on keeping up my current uniform of a top tucked into a skirt or shorts (hence the need for more leotards).

1) Aldo Seace ankle boots (not particularly expensive, but I. Do. Not. Need. More. Shoes. I have to keep telling myself that).

2) Alexander Wang Hanne Zip Boot3) Yves Saint Laurent Imperiale Boot (Psst... Bebe makes a thigh high boot for about $150, not almost $2,000... but hey, YSL is YSL).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer at Parsons/Crop top amazingness

It's been so long since I've updated! I've been so busy with school and finals and moving out of my apartment at school, out of my house at home, and into a new house an hour away. I'm probably even busier right now because I'm at Parsons in NYC doing the fashion design summer intensive program. Yes, they're filming Project Runway. No, I haven't seen Heidi or Tim (yet!) A bunch of my classmates have, though. I'm jealous. Anyway, the intensive program really is INTENSE. It's funny how the fashion people have been staying up ridiculous hours while people in the other programs get to hang out and party a lot more often. I'm so tired and it's only the second week! As crazy as it is here, I love it. I doubt I'd come back to Parsons for another undergraduate degree after UCI because I would have to pay for it myself, but then again, I love New York and I love design, so why choose to go to a school that isn't as good? I guess we'll see how it goes in a few years. In the meantime, I should decide if design is actually what I want to do. Speaking of design, I'm supposed to be making a mood board right now. I just got back from a nighttime gelato run. By "run", I mean taking 2 subway trains to Greenwich Village to arrive at Cones, which closes at 11 p.m., at 10:59, then hanging out for a bit before coming back my dorm in the financial district. So tired! Time to start on this board and get some sleep for the draping seminar tomorrow!

I need to put up pictures at some point, but here's some written DIY construction for a crop top. I found a scoopneck tee at Forever 21 that's made of surprisingly soft cotton for amazing price of $4.50. I found that the best place to start cutting was about half an inch above the little tag on the inside that tells you what the shirt's made of. Step 1: Buy the shirt in large. (I think this project might only work with this top if you're already a size small, actually.) Turn the shirt inside out and stretch it a bit. Step 2: Find that tag. Step 3: Cut a straight line across the shirt. Step 4: Stretch the shirt again and it'll develop a rolled hem on it's own! I'll probably reinforce the stitching on the sides by hand later on.

American Apparel has a crop top for about $17. I'm thinking about buying it for the mossy green color, but if you want a basic color, just make one from a Forever 21 top. You don't need to cut a more feminine neckline like you would if you started with a basic Hanes tee or something of the sort because it's already built in.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More "Suburban Outfitter" and shredded jeans

American Apparel tank, DIY jeans

Close-up of my "Ironic Mustache" necklace (yay for Shrinky Dinks jewelry!)

I've been ridiculously busy these past few weeks trying stay alive and attempting to put together my line for UC Irvine's Fashion Interest Group's fashion show. I have to have TEN outfits ready for Wednesday the 27th. I feel like I *should* be panicking, but because I'm juggling school and my column, I haven't really had the time. I think I'll be sewing for three days straight this Memorial Day weekend. Woohoo! Anyway, here's my latest column about my favorite fashion blogs (which I'm sure you all know about already, haha): 

Personal Style 2.0: Fashion Blogs that Trump the Age-Old Magazine
VOLUME 42, ISSUE 29  |  MAY 18 2009

As much as I love fashion magazines, I often find myself getting frustrated with their content. Photo spreads might as well be pages of a catalog that only sell clothes that a college student can’t afford to dry clean, let alone afford to wear.

When I want a dose of reality, I forgo the glossy pages filled with impossibly tall models and go online to peruse my favorite fashion blogs. These days, the blogosphere is expanding, with countless bloggers recording their daily outfits, fashion news and musings on the latest trends.

However, there are only a few Web sites that I frequent daily. These bloggers not only show off their unique personal style, but they also demonstrate how the latest trends aren’t solely reserved for the pages of magazines. As real people with real bodies, lives and stylistic visions, they show that you too can work more fashion into real life.

For fashion inspiration and sage advice, visit my favorite blogs of the moment:

Fashion Toast:

Rumi Neely’s popular blog, Fashion Toast, is full of gorgeous photos of the blogger’s effortless yet daring style. San Diego-based Neely is known for her uncanny ability to embody the high-low aesthetic in every ensemble she posts. Take her last post for example: Neely paired a baggy Ungaro hoodie adorned with chains, leather shorts, tights and platform heels in basic black.

Another instance in which Neely mixes a high-end designer piece with wallet-friendly fashion is her mix of an oversize Alexander Wang sweater with cutoff Levi’s shorts and thigh-high stockings from Hot Topic. While these combinations may sound strange in a newspaper, Neely proves how well such random pieces can work together with a chic nonchalance.

Karla’s Closet:

I constantly turn to Karla Deras’ blog for inspiration because of her excellent ability to mix vintage and modern. This Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising student dares to wear eclectic mixes of vintage blazers, frilly skirts and blouses, and lots of American Apparel.

Aside from her many one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, perhaps the element of her outfits that I envy most is her seemingly endless collection of heels. Deras’ sophisticated outfits look perfectly put together, yet they are still edgy enough to remain youthful and fresh.

Style Bubble:

In high school, I was lucky enough to discover Style Bubble, a fabulous blog written by Londoner Susanna Lau, aka Susie Bubble. To this day, I am still amazed by her singular style. Style Bubble is the most informative of the blogs that I frequent because Lau offers her insight regarding the goings-on in the fashion world in addition to spilling the details on her wild outfits.

Lau blogs about boutiques in London and beyond, as well as new designers, fashion illustrators, fashion publications and more. A true trendsetter, Lau exhibits the kind of quirky style and adventurous attitude toward fashion that I would love to see more often in America. She has inspired me to take more risks and be unafraid to experiment with the bold, colorful and outlandish.

Bleach Black:

If you don’t have time to read through lengthy blog posts but you want a taste of what’s new in trends, Do-It-Yourself projects and more, visit The site is basically two blogs in one — two modules side-by-side written by Kristin Reiter and Valerie Killeen, designers for RVCA and Element, respectively. Reiter and Killeen publish short-but-sweet posts that exhibit their Southern Californian style and crafty sensibility; the latest post teaches readers how to make amazing Balmain-inspired spiked heels, for instance. Bleach Black does a fantastic job of posting quick trend reports, such as flowered dresses and crocheted pieces (as you may be able to tell, Bleach Black loves the ’90s).

Face Hunter:

Chances are, if you’re familiar with street style blogs, then you know all about the Sartorialist. I, too, am a fan of Scott Schuman’s snapshots of stylish people perfectly poised on the streets of New York, Paris, Milan, etc. However, I feel that Face Hunter captures another aesthetic in his subjects that deserves similar recognition. While most (if not all) of the Sartorialist’s shots include people in incredibly expensive-looking, chic ensembles, Face Hunter’s subject embodies a more louche and youthful realm of style. After perusing Face Hunter, I am able to see what fashion lovers are wearing in Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest and other countries. Most shots are taken during the daytime and give readers a refreshing view on style around the world — truly “eye candy for the style hungry,” as the site declares. Visit Face Hunter daily to get inspired to shake up your daily wardrobe and break out of the jeans and t-shirt rut.

Whether you’re looking for new trends to experiment with, new ways to wear basics or new gossip and events in the fashion world, look no further than these blogs. Bloggers make it possible to experience what’s new and what’s hot in fashion as soon as possible. All it takes is a few clicks to discover the latest news and the best style tips and secrets for you.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Is it wrong that I want this?"

It happens to lots of us--we see something so tacky, so outrageous, so random, that we immediately want it. These thoughts are often followed by disparaging second opinions that make us change our minds. Sometimes, though, we follow through with our "love/hate at first sight" feelings and buy whatever strange item it may be. In these cases, it feels good to take a chance. Unfortunately, there are those other times when we experience a "What was I thinking?!" moment. Here are a few things that I must admit I'm fascinated by. Will I actually buy them? We'll see...
A sequined bikini that I would wear with the top as a bandeau. Would it even last through a lap in the pool? Who knows. Guess who makes this trashy yet weirdly charming (to me, at least) bikini? The brand that outfits legions of high schoolers in those infamous sweatpants... Victoria's Secret PINK.

I'm not big on graphics, but there's something I like about this subtly integrated text on the upper back of a vest that happens to be two of my favorite things: 1) black and 2) studded. What may be surprising is where this vest is from and, better yet, who "designed" it. Don't laugh. It's from a certain 5 ft. 2 in. Canadian (or is she a US citizen now?) who makes guilty pleasure music for 10 year-olds. Yup, it's from Avril Lavigne's Abbey Dawn line at Kohl's. I've never actually set foot in a Kohl's because there are none by my hometown or where I go to school. I assume it's like the now nonexistent Mervyn's? Hmm...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

For you Orange County readers!

My column in UC Irvine's New University paper is back for Spring quarter! :)

Frugal Fashion, Fabulous Finds: Thrift Shopping in the OC
VOLUME 42, ISSUE 23  |  APR 06 2009

When you think of Goodwill, you might think of shelves of used toasters, racks of obscure T-shirts, old stuffed animals, and maybe even the clothing you donated last week, as I have. Don’t let your first impression or the store’s notorious aroma deter you from seeking what could be your next favorite item of clothing. Recently, I found a black vintage jumpsuit, denim jacket, faux-fur stole, and several other pieces to use for fabric at the Goodwill store in Costa Mesa. I’ve learned that if you take the time to sift through the racks, you’re often lucky enough to discover a unique item.

Dee Lux: 1500 Adams Ave, Costa Mesa

I had the best shopping experience at Dee Lux in Costa Mesa. It was clean, organized, well-lit and even had good music playing. With The Shins as my soundtrack, I headed straight toward the vintage dresses. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything in my size, but the browsing itself was enjoyable. Instead of the clothing being crammed into the racks like in other used clothing stores, the pieces were manageable so that shopping could be stress-free. Of course, the less chaotic atmosphere meant that the selection isn’t as large as it is in other stores, but I didn’t mind one bit. I expected a place that was so well-kept to have ridiculous prices. Fortunately, I was wrong. For example, all sunglasses were $12. Most of the dresses were under $20. Of course, Dee Lux is no Goodwill, but finding authentic vintage clothing in such a clean environment makes me willing to pay extra. In addition to men and women’s vintage, Dee Lux has some new clothing, but also sells some American Apparel clothing for less than retail price, like raglan pullovers for $21 and hoodies for $30. I recommend stopping by Dee Lux for clothes, shoes, jewelry and even books and kitschy knick-knacks.

Crossroads Trading Co.: 1835 Newport Blvd #B123, Costa Mesa

Like Dee Lux, Crossroads in Costa Mesa sells used and vintage clothing, but most of the items I came across were used clothing from recent years rather than true vintage from decades past. Another factor that distinguishes the two stores was the sheer chaos of the place. The racks were stuffed with so many pieces that the experience was overwhelming. The clothes seemed to be priced by brand; for instance, two similar blazers differed in price by $13 dollars because one was Wet Seal ($12) and the other was Calvin Klein ($25). I found several pieces from contemporary labels like Marc by Marc Jacobs and Betsey Johnson for a fraction of their original cost, but I didn’t actually come across anything I’d like to wear this season. Overall, it was hard to pinpoint the price range at Crossroads due to the variety of labels for sale. Most tops were under $15 and dresses under $20. The men’s section had a great selection of both new and used shoes, like new Converse sneakers for $16.50 and vintage Doc Martens for $18. Men’s jeans and pants were reasonably priced between $10 and $50. If you have enough patience to sort through the mess, you might find some good-as-new fashion for cheap. Crossroads is great if you’re looking for more contemporary clothing for a low price, but don’t expect to find as much vintage as you would in a smaller place like Dee Lux or Swellegant in Newport Beach.

Swellegant Vintage: 3409 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach

Swellegant Vintage sells clothing that’s truly vintage — think mod dresses circa the 1960s, gaudy sequined evening wear from the 1980s, and more. The selection is great if you’re looking for something authentic for a costume party or even something to tailor to present day. Walking into the store was like entering a time machine; the clothes were perfectly preserved and oldies played on the store’s speakers. Although Swellegant is the smallest of the stores I visited, I think it had the most interesting collection of clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry and home décor. Clothes are marked in sections by time period and style (take their rack of 1980s prom dresses, for example). Like Dee Lux, the store sells a variety of sunglasses for $12 each. Necklaces, my favorites being the chunky safety-pin necklaces from the 1960s, sell for $10. I especially liked the $14 cigarette/ID cases with pictures of pin-ups, Audrey Hepburn and other retro images on the front of each. At Swellegant, clothing is a bit pricier than other used clothing places, but this may be due to the fact most of the items are strictly vintage, with some pieces dating back to the 1950s and possibly even earlier. Swellegant carries an extensive collection of blouses for around $30 and dresses that mostly fell between $30 and $60. At Swellegant, you’re guaranteed to find something that no one else has.

If you want to stand out from the crowd and break free from the mall, visit a used clothing shop, a vintage clothing shop or even a Goodwill store. Once you dedicate some time and patience to your search, you’ll likely encounter a piece that will set you apart from the rest and save you some cash at the same time.