Friday, December 30, 2011

How to: Dress for your New Year's Eve bash

If you're one to be out with the crowds popping some bubbly once midnight hits, you're going to want to ring in the new year in style- literally.  New Year's Eve calls for some extravagance, glitz, sparkle, and shine.  Sure, a typical holiday dress would do the trick, but there's just something special about some sequins, no?  Sequins and sparkles can be a bit tricky to pull off and aren't always for everyone.  But there are a few tricks you can use to glam up your outfit without looking like an overdone Christmas tree (that's so last week!).

1.  Sequin pieces: If full sequin dresses are a little over-the-top for you, try a sequin skirt. Or a sequin top.  Or sequin shorts.  Okay basically, just don't do a full-body sequin outfit then and aim for one sequin piece in your ensemble.  A nice additive to any outfit is a blazer.  It covers up a bit of the sequin for a bit of a more tamed look without taking out too much glitz.  Yup, that's classy.

2.  Adding sparkle to your step:  Oh, you're not a sequin dress/top/skirt/shorts kinda person?  Then the accessories is where you should be aiming.  Sparkly golden heels and silver platforms are definitely the statement shoe to have for NYE to glam up any outfit.  But please, if you're gonna wear a sequin dress, go for a simple black shoe instead- too much sparkle not only boards on tacky, but tends to blind people from across the room too.

3.  Accessorize and shine:  If you're in a last minute rush and don't feel like buying new shoes or a new dress, just a few simple accessories can make that old LBD in your closet shine.  In addition to looking great, accessories also tend to be the more affordable option.  Layer up your necklaces and bracelets and stock up on that silver and gold for a more festive look.  The beauty with chunky layered looks is that it's easy to throw on jewellery that you already own to create this look, even if a bit mismashed.  A statement clutch will also do the trick in adding a small specialty to your outfit.

Happy New Year, all- catch ya in 2012!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Romantic palette

Christmas shopping is the worst. No, not just because I have no idea what to get people. No, not just because it depletes my grocery funds. But because I tend to walk out with more for myself than for others. I lack self-control when I see pretty things on sale. That's why I never go to malls during the rest of the year- the temptation is too much!  I've refrained pretty well so far this year.  Though I've definitely been taking notice to the trends around, specifically in colours.

I am in love with the romantic colour palette.  Pretty pinks, blush, ivory, lace, mint, and chambray? Ohh, I adore the soft palettes.  I tend to shy away from the pastels in the winter though...something about them screams "summer" to me, so it (used to) feel a bit off wearing summery colours in the winter.  But frankly, I live in Canada.  It's winter more than it's summer.  If I see a colour I like, I'm gonna wear it.  Forget waiting 5 months for spring to bloom.

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This is in no way, shape, or form a hint of what to look out for to get me for Christmas.
...sort of.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just doing some mental packing

It's almost Caribbean cruise time, which means that I have started mentally packing.  Yes, mentally packing.  Physically packing takes way too much effort and will be saved for the absolute last minute.  So far, I've compiled a slight list of essentials that work well as staple pieces for mixing n' matching, which is the key to light packing.  The basics need to work for both the sunny beach days, and the nights with fancier dinners.

For the beach and just general nautical lounging, how much more essential can you get than denim shorts, a white tank, and flip flops? Oh, and the sunnies.  Mustn't forget the sunnies.
And to do it up fancier at night, I've got pearls and awesome pewter heels to be super dressy.  A black boyfriend blazer and simple black skirt will also go a long way in almost any outfit.  And of course, a pop of red in the lips for the added touch.

And all the while compiling my mental packing list, I've been bopping about to my beach playlist. Enjoy this cute little upbeat chiller- and look, the music video even has a beach!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The gift of support

No, I'm not talking about charity. Or a bra.  I'm talking about supporting local talent.  What do I want for Christmas this year?  I want something from a local designer/business.  I've met them, interviewed them, friended them on facebook, and gushed about how great their stuff is.  But I have yet to actually own anything from any of the great designers I speak of.  I think it's time to start walking the talk.

And did I mention that every item (except for #1) is on sale until Friday?  Not only am I providing you with a fabulous shopping guide, but I'm also giving you a chance to get me something on sale.  What's better than that?

1. Silver High Waisted Skirt from Another Word For Pink (by Breeyn McCarney).  I am in love with this skirt.  I love Breeyn's work in general, but I especially love how she has this diffusion line for normal folk like me to afford her beautiful work. A silver skirt?  Now that's a head-turner.

2.  Red Mushroom Pouch by Demu.  Okay, I'll accept the less expensive version without the spikes, but really, the spikes are really what give the pouch its special edge (literally!).  C'mon, I wanna be badass!

3 4 5 6 7.  MAFIA jewellery.  I've had my eye on their spunky pieces for a while now.  Especially the BANG necklace- it was the first piece I fell in love with.  But I'm totally a fan of vintage phones and gramophones too.

Regardless if you've picked up a little something for me on this list (but you should've), I've picked up a little something for people that I can now cross off my "To shop for" list.  Hourrah! Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to: Dress for the winter and still be fashionable

The first snowfall has arrived! You know what that means- it's time for a greater social acceptability to look like a bundled up snowman that just got out of bed.  Okay fine, it is possible to look good in the winter, but it's a tad harder if you live somewhere that's known for its brutal winters.  So for that one week in Canada where winter is actually pretty, or if you live in a warm enough climate where dressing for light flurries is acceptable, here's a little guide on how to stay trendy in the winter:

You're gonna want a cute coat.  It would probably be something in the camel or black wool peacoat variety.  The coat is important- you're gonna spend most of next season in it.

Stock up on sweaters.  Cardigans, oversized knits, fitted sweaters, whatever!  They're warm- wear them.

Learn to layer.  Ohh, layers.  Admittedly, sometimes I can hardly move with all the layers I'm in.  But if you're gonna wear a coat that isn't the warmest, then layers are definitely the way to go.

Find some waterproof boots.  This is where the practicality (and common sense!) comes in.  I don't care how warm they are, if your UGGs are full of salt and slush stains, that ain't pretty.

Accessorize for winter how you would for any other day.  Y'know, be matchy.  Find something unique and you.  +1 if you can find a hat and scarf that don't make your hair all frizzy.

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And on this first snowfall, I sat in the library in my bum clothes with the intention of studying, but managed to stare out the window and write poetry for hours instead.  Happy haiku hump day!

Monochrome beauty 
Awaken the slumb'ring child
Eyes dance, heart frolics

Sunday, November 20, 2011

That looks like something a mom would wear

I've taken some special inspiration for today's outfit post.  In light of my mom's birthday, I've compiled an outfit on what I think reflects her style and what this young grasshopper has learned from her fashion teachings.  Admittedly, I get a lot of my style from her.  Like any parent, she would buy things for me that would make me roll my eyes, but not in the traditional sense.  Nope, she's called my pre-blogger style "conservative" before.  So this sort of weird attire that blends away from the crowd is definitely her influence.

Mom likes functional fashion. It's cold outside, wear a scarf! There's no reason to freeze your butt off because you think you're too cool to stay warm.

Mom likes classic styles.  See that coat?  Yeah, it's black.  That's not going out of style.  Put your money to good use by buying things that can be worn year after year after year.

Mom likes funky footwear.  I think her shoe closetS are pretty insane.  It's a shame we're not really the same size because she pretty much does have a multitude of different styles and colours.  Conservative shoes are great, but her eyes go for funky prints and ornaments.  Statement shoes, yes?

Mom likes "bling".  Which is what we call anything sparkly or sequin-y.  She's kind of like a little kid with this.  If she sees something shiny in a store, it'll almost always catch her eye and she'll go straight for it.

Mom likes sales.  Another note on the skirt, she watched it like a hawk until the price went down.  Why buy things full price?  They almost always go on sale.  Or you can find a cheaper alternative.

 Mom likes purses that actually hold stuff.  Yes, yes, cute little bags.  But isn't the point of a purse so you can throw all your junk in there?  Bags should be actually useful, not just pretty.

Mom says that crimson red's our colour.  A little hard to see in the photos, but in light of this teaching, I'm wearing crimson red lipstick.  The only problem with always going for things that are "your colour" is that I now have a little more red than I need.

Mom says to dress to impress.  Because you never know who you might run into, right?  Then again, she said this before her dog-walking clothing slum started. That's right, I just called you out in public!

What I'm wearing: 
-Black coat from Jacob (stolen from mom's closet) 
-Black sequin skirt from Joe Fresh (thanks, mom for buying it) 
-Black boots from Winners (thanks, mom for buying it)
-Grey striped shirt from Forever 21 
-Black purse from Costa Blanca X
-Grey scarf from American Apparel 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Secret hideouts

You may have seen this necklace before in previous outfit posts of mine here and there.  I'm not only a fan of it because it's a pretty gold necklace, or because it's fashioned as a purse.  I'm a fan because of its functional magnetic flap.  Theoretically, you could actually put something in your necklace!  But realistically, what would you put in a little purse-necklace?  Nothing.  Or at least, nothing that I can think of.  Cheers to the idea though.  Next time, create an oversized pendant necklace where I could at least put a stick of gum in there or something.

There's something funny about how I'm complaining that this necklace isn't functional enough.  The last I checked, necklaces weren't made to be utilitarian anyway.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hipster jeans

I was in a store the other day when I overheard a woman expressing to the sales clerk that she didn't want "hipster jeans".  I didn't stick around long enough to figure out what hipster jeans were, so I was left to make my own guesses.  Now, I may be a tad out of touch these days, but I feel like she was referring to skinny jeans.  Hipsters wear those, right?

*Little edit on this: The woman was having a conversation with a friend earlier about what hipsters wear, so I took in this context, not in the way of jeans that sit at the waist. I should stop eavesdropping, huh. 

Though I haven't seen many people wearing them around, I'm quite a fan of the flare-bottom jeans that act as a nice remedy for the painted-on skinny epidemic.  Being the saver that I am, I managed to dig up my old flared jeans from 5 years ago (that miraculously still fit!).  I'm a bit torn on these jeans though- I mean, yes they're comfier and all, but the flare makes the ends of the pants all tattered.  And they tend to cover up cute shoes.

So I've decided to go for a happy medium between the two- straight cut.  All the comfort of a flare with the chicness of a skinny. 

Skinny jean
Straight cut
Bell-bottom jeans
Flared cut
Images via

What's your preferred cut?

And hey, it's Music Monday!
It's been a little gloomy outside lately, so I've got my gloomy day/lazy Sunday/I-really-don't-wanna-move-and-just-wanna-stay-in-bed-all-day (the three are interchangeable) playlist going.  I know Mondays are usually hectic and annoying, so here- chillax to this tune:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to: Make a duct tape dress

Never designed before? Never sewed?  Never been particularly crafty?  No problem.  This is definitely the beginner's guide to making a duct tape dress (and how NOT to make a duct tape dress).  Myself, I decided not to read guides before attempting this, so everything I did was trial & error (emphasis on the error).  This design requires no sewing, minimal measurements, and almost no skill.  I decided to create the top and skirt as separate pieces so I could experiment with techniques.

What you'll need:
-3 to 5 rolls of duct tape (more if you want a long dress)
-Strong scissors
-Thin cloth, old clothes, or toilet paper

Method A: Using old clothes as a base
If you're a beginner, it might be a good idea to start with this method while you get a feel for working with duct tape and how to mould it to fit your curves.  I started off by using a shirt.

1.  Laying down the material: If you like the look of clean stripes, simply cut strips of duct tape to the width of the garment.  Make sure to stretch your shirt out before you lay down the strips- duct tape has minimal stretchiness. If your strips are too tight, you may need to cut yourself out of the I did.

Alternatively, cut smaller squares and stick them to your clothing base.  I decided to cut them into random sizes, but if you want to align them properly to look like a pattern, that'd look awesome too. I went with this option because I find that the design stretches more, and it's easier to fix up (yay, patchwork!).

2.  Neckline:  Your little pieces of duct can either be arranged diagonally and such to fit the shape of the neckline you want (V-neck, sweetheart, etc).  You could also arrange the duct tape in the same horizontal pieces as before, then just cut the neckline into the shape you want after.

3.  Straps: To measure, you can either be all fancy and use a measuring tape, or be like me and cut the straps off your old shirt and use that as your ruler by stretching the straps a bit and cutting the duct tape along to that length.

Just keep adding patches of duct tape until all the spaces are covered up.
4.  The back:  Approach the back the same way that you would the front.  For the back of my dress, I decided to cut the old shirt to a low back.  To create the dropped back effect, cut four strips of duct tape together that are a bit long than the standard width of your shirt.  Then, stick two together so you're left with two strips of duct tape with the silver side up.

Method B: Creating your own outline
For the skirt, I decided to create its shape myself by laying down a base, then setting duct tape over it.  If you want a sustainable design, I suggest you use some kind of material.  But for the purpose of a quick one-wear piece, I used toilet paper as a actually worked pretty well!

1.  Laying down the base:  You may want to look at some outlines online so you can get a sense of what a flattened out version of what kind of skirt you want is (especially if you're doing something other than a straight skirt).  Take some measurements of your curves, and lay down 1 ply of toilet paper to the lengths you want.

2.  Duct tape surfacing:  I started off by cutting pieces of duct tape and laying them on the top and bottom hemline of the skirt to keep the toilet paper base in place.  Then, using duct tape pieces again, fill in the middle of the skirt.

3.  Shaping the skirt:  Once you have the skirt covered with duct tape, it's time to give your skirt a skirt-y shape.  To do this, I folded the skirt around my waist so I could get a sense of where to seal it and what the end result would look like.

4.  Alterations: If your skirt is too wide or if you're unhappy with the shape, simply find in the sides until you get the shape you want.  To seal your skirt, use a few duct tape strips to first hold it in place, then continue with more strips to match the pattern of the rest of your skirt.

Now that your skirt is done, you can either leave it as a skirt, or tape it to your shirt to have a full dress.

And there you go, a fairly simple, minimal skill...duct tape dress.

Other notes: 
-It took me about 7-10 hours to complete.
-Your scissors are gonna get extremely sticky and difficult to use- either have a spare pair, or wash them often.
-Try not to tape your hands and other limbs together. Believe me, it's not fun.  I speak from experience.

To see more photos of my completed dress, click here.

Happy dress making!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The duct tape dress

It has finally been completed. After about 10 hours, 4 rolls of duct tape, and a few minor duct tape related injuries, the duct tape dress is finished.  Admittedly, the top is rather sloppy since that's the first part of the dress that I was experimenting with, but overall, not bad for a first try.  And I really didn't have the attention span to read any guides on how to do this, so the whole thing was trial & error.

Being the non-crafty person that I am, I didn't use any measurements.  I just guessed, which did get me in trouble once or twice where I had to cut myself out of the dress.  The beauty of working with duct tape though is that I could just fold over the bits that weren't perfect.

As for the back of the dress? Why no, I wasn't just too lazy to finish the back, and it isn't a drop-back just because I fail at measurements. I swear. Really.
...Okay, maybe just a little.

I was inspired by a few of the designers that I've done interviews with in the past. Structure and "doing weird things" seemed to be re-occurring themes for them, so I went with that as my working inspiration. I find alternative fashion interesting- the unconventional creativity without the limitations of commercialism is pretty fascinating. Here, I was going for a sort of 'futuristic gothic doll' sorta thing.

I'm actually pretty satisfied with my results. I'd totally wear this out in public somewhere where wearing duct tape clothing was deemed acceptable. Seriously, what does one do with a duct tape dress now?

Want to know how to make a duct tape dress? Check out my how-to guide here!

Thanks to Michelle CS for the photos!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stay golden

For these photos, I set out with a friend to give her a glimpse of what it's like to be a fashion blogger.  To her surprise, it wasn't just about standing somewhere and taking photos. Let me give you a little look at what I taught her:

1.  Your clothes should match your setting. I'm in golden shorts and rusty orange, which perfectly reflect fall foliage, so I'm gonna go find a background that matches that. Your photos are almost like a story- it doesn't make sense if you're in a pretty dress posing by the back door of your apartment.

2.  Be aware of lighting.  We practically had to run to take these photos before the sun went down.  Yes, photoshop can fix bad lighting a bit, but nothing beats natural light (I find partial overcast to be best).

3.  Try your hardest not to be awkward.  Oh yes, this step takes a lot of getting used to.  It can be a tad embarrassing and rather awkward posing in front of a camera, especially if you're at a place with people or cars passing by.  Ignore it- you're a blogger; just do what you gotta do to shine!

4.  Work the angles.  People like interesting photos that show off outfits, so it's all a combination of setting, lighting, and angles.  You're gonna want full body shots, close-ups of interesting outfit pieces, and even just purely artistic shots that stray away from simple shots where you just stand there in the middle.

BONUS: Find a photographer who's not afraid to tell you you're being ugly.  If you're like me and tend to be awkward, don't know how to pose or work the angles, you're gonna need a photographer that can help you out and tell you how to position yourself.  "Relax...don't make that face- look away from the camera!" Stuff like that can definitely make for a better final result.

And oh hey, it's Music Monday! It feels like a while since I've posted on a Monday. Anyway, here's a song from my autumn playlist, which is essentially a playlist that includes songs that have a line somewhere about changing leaves or summer fading.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dedicated to duct tape

I'm pretty much the most non-artsy person you could know.  I can't draw, my penmanship looks like a five year old's writing, folding paper always looks uneven, and I can rarely draw a straight line...using a ruler.  Have I ever told you about the time I tried to make a paper snowflake and it ended up looking like a pair of conjoined lungs? I kid you not.

So for me to actually want to be crafty, well that's super out of the ordinary.  After struggling with being too cheap to buy a halloween costume, I decided to make one.  Yes, I'm in the process of making a dress made out of duct tape.  It's a long process, but I'm surprisingly enjoying it.  So tell me, how acceptable is it to wear duct tape clothing on a casual day? Because duct tape creations can actually look pretty snazzy.  Here, take a gander at some of my inspirations for future designs.  I swear, if I manage to pull something off remotely like these, I will declare myself a duct tape diva.

via The Outnet

Sneak peek? Just a tad. Don't mind my mangled fingers- duct tape has the tendency to tear nail polish (and flesh) when things go wrong.

I'm still in the midst of making my dress, but I'll definitely keep you updated. That is, if I don't duct tape my hands together...again. Yes, that really happened. 

Oh and hey, here's a haiku for your hump day:
Jaundice skies silent 
Stagnant and without a tear 
Breathes without a sound

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Western hippie(ster)

What do you get when you cross a cowboy, a hippie, a native, and a hipster?
Something along the lines of this outfit, I'd say.

This was just one of those days where I felt like playing dress-up, so I paired a fringed vest with pleated wide-legged pants.  I haven't been brave enough to wear the pants in my typically fashionably conservative city- there's a limit to standing out and being weird, even for me.  This is one of those confused outfits where I'm not quite sure what look I was going for, but it was just fun to throw a bunch of things I wouldn't typically wear together.  The pleated pants, I probably won't be wearing again.  But the fringe vest I'll do once spring rolls around again when I can pair it with a muted outfit.  Unless someone can give me a suggestion of how to pull off fringes under a fall jacket.  I mean seriously, what's up with the awkward look of a long cardigan or vest under a short jacket.

What I'm wearing:
-Fringed vest
-Wide legged pleated Anthropologie pants

Happy haiku hump day! So I do Music Mondays and Tune-y Tuesdays, I wanted a little something for the mid-week too.

Skies chasing dead leaves
Wistful cries echoing through
Laughter of silence

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