There’s a saying at Ryerson about how you can always tell us fashion students apart from the general crowd. I guess you can call it the fashion vibe. You know when you see someone on the street and think “wow, they look good” even though they’re in jeans and a t-shirt? We’d get complimented on our everyday outfits and whenever we say, “thank you, I study fashion,” the response would be “I had a feeling you do!” So this week, I’m betraying my creed by giving away all of our secrets. Just kidding! But I will share with you my tips on how to look effortlessly put together.
This week’s post is another tribute to the past since I am such a fashion history junkie. If you have not seen the 1964 Film of My Fair Lady, featuring Audrey Hepburn, you’re seriously missing out. In the Edwardian London, Professor Higgins (a rich, but tactless phonetics expert), makes a bet that he can turn Eliza Doolittle (a young woman selling flowers with a strong Cockney accent) into a proper English speaking lady. The two get to work on Eliza being able to pass off as a duchess at the Embassy Ball. It’s witty, comedic, and it will tug your heartstrings. And not to mention the costumes! Oh god, the flamboyant, stunning, ornate costumes!! I can’t event begin to describe them! *ahem* Anyways, here are some modern day fashion trends that I find reminiscent of My Fair Lady.
I’ve been so excited to share this post with you guys!!! (One exclamation mark isn’t enough haha) Keeping active has always been a big part of my life, and it took me a while to figure out how to look good while sweating buckets. With the rise of athleisure, it’s become possible for us fashion girls to kill our style while killing the weights.
Coming from an immigrant family, I grew up very frugal. It wasn’t until middle school when my family started shopping for clothes in actual stores, and even then, we’d only go to cheaper places like Winner’s and Urban Planet (they were pretty ghetto back in the day). So that’s how I’ve become the type of person who thinks $20 for a top is steep. However, I learned that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to look put together. Here are some Holy Grail tips passed from one fashionista to another on how to look fabulous for cheap.
Recently, I’ve done a styling challenge where I put together some outfits with clothes I haven’t worn often. Not only was it super fun, but it seems like you guys quite enjoyed it! Since I’m all about creativity with what you already own, here’s another styling challenge. This time I’ll be working with a little black dress (the timeless essential of Coco Chanel). For each look, I will be using only accessories and black shoes to change it up. Psst, I got my LBD for about $13 from Forever XXI about four years ago and it’s been one of my trust wardrobe savers.
We all have moments when we fall in love with a totally rad garment…until we see the price tag. Yes, I’m talking about those times when we question if $60 for this top is worth it. It’s about investment pieces nowadays. Meanwhile, our inner hoarders will try to convince us that everything is worth investing in. Over the years (and tons of trial and error), I’ve come to make peace with my inner clothing goblin. Here is my wardrobe spending guide- aka. when to splurge and when to save.
As a lover of Fashion History, it’s in my blood to be inspired by designers of the past as well as the present. Earlier, I’ve written about a groundbreaking designer, Rei Kawabuko. This week is a tribute to one of the fairy godmothers of fashion Coco Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel was truly a timeless woman. What she stood for a century ago remains relevant today! As I always say, fashion is not just about clothes. It is expression, art, ideals, and philosophy. It shapes not just our bodies, but how we interact with the world. Here are four keys to live by that every creative lady can learn from Coco Chanel. Continue reading “Keys Learned from Coco Chanel – My Fashion Hero”
It looks like summer is here to stay in Toronto at last! Goodbye three seasons in one day and hello warm weather clothes. Judging by the looks of my wardrobe, it’s quite a tornado’s hit. But it has a system to it! All the cold weather clothes are shoved up on the shelf, blouses are hung on the left, and dresses hung on the right. Oh, and there are sections in the back where I exile clothes I don’t wear often but don’t have the heart to get rid of. We all have those clothes we buy thinking “omg this is totally fetch“….and a week later, we realize fetch isn’t gonna happen. (At least you tried, Gretch) Anyways, I decided to flex my styling muscles and show these forgotten garments some love! Continue reading “Outfit Challenge – Styling 3 Underloved Garments”
Differences from Toronto in Fashion & Lifestyle
I had the liberty of studying abroad in Manchester, England with my best friend (who is still thankfully my best friend after living together). Observing, not in a creepy way of course, Manchester’s street style and how people lived was a huge part of my experience. Fashion is not just about what people wear, but also how they live- how they shape themselves to interact with the world around them. The combination of all these differences is what makes Manchester seem like another universe.
Dressed to impress the cashier
One of the first things I noticed was that a man in Manchester City Center without a suit was a rare sight. It didn’t matter if they were a young professional or a seasoned mogul. They were always dressed to impress in and out of the office. You’d never find anyone caught dead in sweatpants and a hoodie. Needless to say, people living in Manchester take style very very seriously.
Heels for default
I was quite delighted to see so many fellow tall gals unafraid of wearing high heels. Even on a regular day, the streets were filled with all sorts of heels- chunky ankle boots, classic pumps, knee high boots, wedges ect. Not even the endless cobblestone paving can stop Manchester ladies from rocking it. However, I never quite mastered the art of not tripping every ten steps.
What’s with the coffee??
It was very jarring to learn that drip coffee I’ve taken as a given is considered an “American thing”. Every single café served espresso based drinks. It felt like a luxurious experience drinking lattés every day instead of my usual black coffee. We did manage to find regular coffee at Burger King.
The colored hair trend
Contrary to the super conservative image of England, quite a lot of people in Manchester sported bright hair. I actually noticed that more people in Manchester had colorful hair than in Toronto at that time. Colorful dyes were even more accessible there! Drugstores there had lines from L’Oreal, Schwarzkopf, and Bleach London that aren’t sold here.
Toronto has always been hectic to me. You’d blink find yourself left behind. Like you’re constantly working and rushing to the next place. Life in Manchester was about consistency. More importantly, it was about breathing. There was a set time when all students had a lunch break. We were told to treat our studies like a full time job and learned to take ownership of managing our schedules. Even when school was its busiest, there was still time to go on trips over the weekend or just lounge for hours. Walking down the street everyday, I’d look up and see ornate architecture in even the most ordinary building. Perhaps the course load there wasn’t as intense, or maybe it was the relaxation of travelling, but I never felt rushed in Manchester as I do here. It was the second city (the first was Toronto) that I fell in love with, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
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So here’s the deal. I live in Canada, the land of winters so freezing that the rest of the world jokes about how we all live in igloos. Some days when the weather outside is -20 degrees celsius, I want to just curl up next to a friendly polar bear. Sadly, there’s no cuddly-wildlife-rental service here (yet), so the next best thing is sweatpants and hoodies. When you’re a busy student , it’s easy to fall into the trap of wearing the most shapeless (but comfortable) clothing in the dead of winter. And the fact that you can still pass as fashionable enough if you wear all black doesn’t make it any better. A few days of sacrificing silhouettes for the sake of productivity doesn’t hurt, but this year, I fell hard into that slump. As someone so connected to style, when I look blah, I feel blah too. You know that saying, “give a woman the right lipstick and she’ll take over the world”? That’s totally me, except I’d accidentally burn down the world attempting to make the largest ever creme brûlée. I’d assume that your mood is influenced by your style too, since you’re reading from the fashion tag. Well, here’s a few simple tricks I picked up to stay reasonably stylish over the rest of winter.
Colourful hair and/or bold makeup
I know that not everyone is in a profession where it’s okay to have crazy hair, but if you are and always wanted to look like a fabulous alien, go for it! Winter is honestly the best time to have bright hair. I’ve been wanting to tone mine silver for the longest time, but I’m sticking with turquoise until winter ends. Makeup is one of the best ways to up your look without even wearing anything fancy. Remember that bit about the lipstick? 😉 It’s virtually impossible to go about your day frowning when you have a bold lip colour on.
Heeled snow boots
But won’t you slip and break something? Good quality heeled snow boots all have traction. Mine saved me from falling on my butt while walking down the driveway this morning. They don’t even need to be 5 inches high or stilettoed. An extra 2-3 inches would be enough to add that oomph to your step, and make your outfit look classier. I recommend thick heels or wedges if you have to deal with a lot of snow (I know I do).
They’re sweaters for your legs! Whoever says you can’t wear dresses and skirts in the winter has never heard of sweater tights. I usually pair mine with a dress since it’s the easiest thing to throw on. But I’ve seen girls wear them with their summer shorts too! No more separating winter and summer wardrobes. Get one in black or charcoal grey as a “safe” colour and also one in an accent colour like wine red or turquoise.
Ditch the black winter coat
This feels like the most no-sh*t-Sherlock thing to say ever, but here it is. In places where a down parka is an essential, there are countless colour and style choices. One girl in my year has this cropped coffee-coloured coat that works insanely well on her, even though it’d make me look like a paper bag. Know which silhouette works for you, and choose a colour that makes you feel energetic. Red is forever my power colour. Bonus: you’ll also be easier for drivers to see at night! Another bonus: you can get away with wearing all-dark bottoms.
Chiffon layered with sweater
One of the styling tips I’d go to the grave with. A flowy chiffon can make any sweater look instantly more sophisticated. And they give that extra back coverage if you’re wearing leggings. You could wear a sleeveless chiffon top if you don’t want to risk the sleeves all getting bunched together. It doesn’t have to be a cropped sweater- chiffon would go with any sweater that is significantly shorter than it. My chiffon goes all the way down to mid-thigh.
But then again, if you’re anything like me and have those days where you can’t be bothered to put in more than minimal effort, there’s always the black jogger.
(Images from pinterest and anajayne.com)