Posts from the “Style” Category

A Good Purchase

Posted on March 17, 2018

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A good buy

  1. Words often used to make peace with an indulgent purchase when the item is new and shiny. 
  2. An item bought for a good price.
  3. Serendipitously finding an item you wanted on the second hand market and acting on it.
  4. Saving up and buying a high quality item while resisting the temptations.
  5. Not buying things you don’t need.
  6. An item that give you lot of pleasure and a good cost per wear. 

I am not immune to lust at first sight. Most of my clothes are haphazard accidents that I couldn’t pass up, on the second hand market. I bought these shoes 3 years ago & worn them 400+ times. I think I am now qualified to rave about the product. (This is not a review.) The title of a good purchase is not something I take lightly or bestow upon too many things. But the truth is revealed with time and wear.

A good buy

When a ‘worn in’ blog post is more exciting than the ‘new in’ blog post, you know that it was a good buy. When you cant shut up about all the details that make it special, 3 years after the purchase date, it’s a good buy. 

These shoes were a good purchase. This pair may be the benchmark against which I compare all other ballet flats I will wear in the future. I learnt that it can be done : you can make dainty looking shoes that are sturdy and are made to aide movement. Let me make my case ….

Top Shelf

Posted on March 11, 2018

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Saw an image on tumblr and am impulse blogging. These photos look so much more effortless when French woman do it.

FIRST ROW

Earth Sciences tea tree lavender deodorant.

Dior Balm De Rose lip balm.

Menstrual cup in a cloth bag.

SECOND ROW

Tooth powder

Bamboo tooth brush

Safety Razor

THIRD ROW

Jo Malone Pom Noir Perfume. ( My signature for this decade. )

Molecule #1 ( I dislike it. It was an impulsive fashion victim moment. )

Face oil by May Lindstrom

Jose Maran Sunscreen

DIY toner

SK-II, my dearest.

BOTTOM ROW

Flour exfoliator

Almond oil for the body

Bar soap for face by Drunk Elephant.

A glass container that holds scissors, tweezers and a foundation brush.


I got it all figured out ! ( Wish I could say this about life … ) 

100 Notes on Style & Blogging

Posted on January 5, 2018

Blogging Lessons on To Universe With Love

1. Own your style. That is the best advice I can give myself at this point. This is not an area to second guess / look for constructive criticism / imitate the average person in the room. Its personal. Even if that means that I stray a little from my tribe, I got to do what makes me happy. I know what I like and I have embraced it.

2. The right answer to ‘why are you all dressed up? ‘ is “I felt like it today morning”. Smile after you say those words so that you don’t sound cocky.

3. About fitting in : As long as I am not wearing new outfits all the time and don’t look unapproachable, I fit in. I got it all wrong. Bay Area loves the hoodies and the sneakers. I automatically assumed that I have to wear that dress code to fit in. But they don’t care !! They don’t think about clothes or style or fashion for the most part. The CEO’s walk around in tshirts. There are enough hipsters who talk sustainability and ethical fashion. We are the rule breakers. If you wear the shit out of your old clothes and keep it under stated, you fit in.

4. When it comes to style, we talk too much about the clothes one can buy. But not enough about confidence and attitude to wear them well. I wasn’t born with it. I didn’t grow un in an environment where I could have picked it up. I have been trying to earn it and learn it since.

5. Stop thinking in terms of outfits to create. This happened to me after I did my first few OOTD posts. I am not a model wearing the clothes and posing to make a sale. Making unique outfits/buying garments for a specific look, is not for me. A lot of minimalist bloggers concentrate on ‘look at how many pairings I make with these 33 garments without getting bored’ sort of content. My contribution to the cause will be : I will wear the same clothes in the exact same manner everyday and wont apologize for it. I like this uniform THAT much !

6. Blogging made me ask if I was pretty enough to post an OOTD on the internet. Should I pretend that I don’t have a head and cut it out of all my posts – show just the clothes ? The answer : style has nothing to do with being pretty. Its not only about the clothes either. Its a point of view. We are all entitled to one. We should celebrate out choices. Don’t hide that head which carries the brain. If you are wondering if you should start a blog, DO IT !

7. My style journey didn’t end this year after I declared my closet built. There came a time this summer where I went into my closet and disliked all my clothes. It was a phase. A style rut. A new silhouette in the form of Everlane pants made me content again. I understand that its a part of life to want some change from time to time. As long as its once/twice a year, I am still honoring the pact I made with myself to put sustainability above my greed. I understand that its going to take time to edit my consumption habits. 30 years of bourgeois values aren’t going to un-do themselves in a year or two. I can how ever, try.

Holiday Dressing : My go-to Outfits

Posted on December 23, 2017

Always start with the why : 

For my pleasure. To step out of my comfort zone and try something new. To wear the garments I like but are no appropriate for my day to day life. To be able to dance and not have the clothes restrict me. To be able to eat and not feel corseted. If the night slips into a long conversation, to be able to settle down on to the floor without feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes, our gatherings can slip into planking contests / dance offs. Be ready. To be in sync with the crowd in the room. I don’t need to be the show stopper. I don’t need to compete with the peacocks. I want to be under stated without looking too casual or disappearing into the walls.

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A cable knit for the informal gatherings.

Isabel Marant blouse

This blouse made me gasp out loud when I first saw it. This garment may as well be designed just for me.

Second-hand Isabel Marant finds : Olive green blouse, black eyelet blouse, Ivory crepe blouse, purple pinstripe blouse, embroidered blouse, Rajasthan inspired blouse, white embellished blouse.

red dress

The color red makes the outfit. 

Rules of Holiday Dressing

Posted on December 22, 2017

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Photo Credit : Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair

The Diane Keaton

She wore her own clothes to the shoot. She styled her self exactly as she would on a day off camera. And she smiled.

It comes from a place of effortlessness and confidence. She knows that her presence is enough. She steals my gaze away from the other exceptionally gorgeous women.

This photo captures my take on modern holiday dressing.

Rules  Idiosyncrasies of Holiday Dressing

The anti-rules

Ground Rule :
DRESS FOR YOURSELF

Ignore fashion. Ignore the IT girl of the moment. For a moment, forget the stereotypical party wear women are expected to wear – bandage dresses, high heels, sequins, ‘fun’ prints, catchy colors, leather pants, …..  Ignore the opinions of the average person in the room. Ignore the opinions of the fashion editors who know it all. Channel the boldness of Georgia O’Keefee. She would have worn exactly want she wanted and been comfortable in the rooms she walked into.

To do : Don’t scan the room after you get to the party to see if you are dressed okay. Everyone else is overdressed or underdressed. You left the house wearing what you like. That is all that matters.

Cast your self as the lead role in your movie. Step into it.

Rule 2.

IGNORE THE OLD STYLE RULES. 

Women being out cold. Women in uncomfortable shoes. Women who have a limited range of motion because the garment restricts them. All in the name of an expectation of dressy dictated by some archaic rules of femininity. We can choose if that term is relevant to us in this day and age. We can choose what we consider feminine for ourselves.

To Do: Jeans are okay. Ballet flats are okay. T-shrits are also okay. (Just not all 3 together ). Clothes that you need a special bra that just wont stay put ? There are other garments that are easier to wear. Don’t care for a dress ? Wear the pants with a dressier blouse. A tuxedo shirt looks as good on women as the men folk. Isabel Marant does these stunning embroidered/studded/feminine accented blouses. Wear an evening jacket with trousers and heels. Wear a suit if that is what you want to wear.

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Rule 3. 

NO TO PICTURE PERFECTION.

Evening wear is derived from the way the royals dressed for court, the movie stars dressed for the red carpet and the celebrities dress for the camera. We see enough media images of women with hand held bags, not a hair out of place and faces painted like dolls. There is no need for that. We are good enough the way we are naturally. Red carpet images and celebrity photoshoots are not the standard I aspire to. And if a camera does appear and try to capture the moment, smile and pose. It will all work out in the end.

To do : Keep it simple. No need to erase the scars on the face. No to flat ironing the hair. We do not have to sacrifice comfort for style. Find the balance.

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Rule 4.

IT HAS TO COME FROM A PLACE OF EFFORTLESSNESS 

If something does not sit right on the body, take it off. If something doesn’t feel right, take it off. Nothing is worse than wobbling along the floor or fidgeting or constantly checking in the mirror for faults or standing stiff at a party. They say : before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one accessory off. Subtract. Simplify. Wear clothes in which you can move. No to costumes that are un-necessary and impractical.

To do : Dress up your everyday garments. I also like the idea of wearing my most worn and my most fav garments from the year during the holidays. Sort of like a finale where the MVPs get the center stage.

Rule 5.

CHOOSE SEDUCTIVE.

In the way I dress, I pick seductive over sexy. I am done with wearing those sequin dresses, strapless dresses in the winter, bandage dresses, high heels, … an idea of sexy that came to us from the porn industry. I find the current state of garments labelled sexy, both liberating and objectifying. Liberating because we get to choose what makes us feel sexy and can wear garments that are bold by some old fashioned idea of modesty. Objectifying because it clings to an idea of what women’s body should look like – the right curves accentuated, the tummies tucked in, the right way to do naked, ….  Not something I want to do. I choose seductive over sexy.

To do: A flash of skin. A silhouette. Trousers that make the lines of my legs longer. A red lipstick. Collar bones. Bare skin that glows.

Rule 6.

CHOOSE CHIC.

If my blog was a broken record, it would keep repeating ‘chic’ over and over again. Choose understated elegance. Choose the humble every day beauty.

Rule 7.

CHOOSE WHAT TO SHOW.

A jumpsuit with a pair of heels that shows the long legs.

A full sleeved short shift dress that shows the toned legs.

A dress that shows the the shoulder blades.

A shirt unbuttoned a notch down.

A shirt dress unbuttoned at the bottom to show some leg when you sit down and cross your legs.

A backless dress.

A wispy silk dress that glides on the body and moves as you do.

All covered up but that smokey eye with bold lashes.

Clever use of leather accents – perhaps the straps of the dress or as a belt with a bold buckle or knee high boots polished to perfection …

Clever use of lace.

A long skirt with a slit.

Lingerie that peaks out tastefully.

Rule 8.

MASCULINE ELEMENTS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS THE FEMININE. 

Us women can pretty much wear anything (or atleast if you live in certain parts of the world). But seem to forget it all come next wedding to attend. When going to a fancy party, the pressure of old school femininity usually dictates our choices.

To do : Support the women who choose to not go the traditional route.

Rule 9.

ENJOY THE PROCESS. 

Let there be music. Always get dressed for a party with something breathtaking playing in the background. It sets the mood. Choosing the costume and getting dressed are as pleasurable as wearing the garment for the rest of the evening. No need to hurry into it and throw something on before bolting out of the door. May I suggest Max Richer’s Spring 1 for one of your evenings ? Play it loudly. Try on the garments and check for the lines your clothes make on you in a mirror. Put on the perfume. Put on the jewels. Put on a lipstick. Let the man in your life watch and wait. Take a mirror selfie before you head out. Life can be short, future unpredictable. Savor the moments.

Rule 10.

GET THE UNDERPINNINGS RIGHT. 

For comfort. Or to feeling powerful. There is something about wearing beautiful lace underneath that makes me feel dressed up even when wearing the most understated garments on top.

To do : own a matching set – the most delicate, the one that feels great to touch and looks incredible. Its the first thing you put on and the last garment you take off at the end of the night. It definitely matters.

Rule 11.

AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE AND GLAMOUR. 

I have no idea how. But I have some ideas.

An unexpected shoe ? A red shoe. A pink shoe. Hiking boots with a dress. …. They way Jane Birkin showed up everywhere with her wicker basket. A true original. The way Audrey popularized ballet flats in a time when block heels were the norm. Thank you Audrey.

Glamour ? The jewellry helps. A cape ? A scarf tied in unexpected ways ? An interesting drape. Hair up in a knot with an exposed back ? An overly done face ?

Need to work this out.

Rule 12.

MONOCHROME. 

Think of it as being cast in a Peter Lindbergh’s photograph. We all have our unique features and a natural beauty. Let it shine. No need for all the additional competing details.

To – do : Don’t let them convince me that monochrome is boring. Its poetic. Wear the little blue dress. Accessorize it or not. Wear that turtle neck and with a skirt or trousers. Add that one unexpected accent if possible.

Rule 13.

RED

In what ever dosage. Just the lips. As a blouse. As a skirt. A dress. A gown. A dinner jacket.

To do : If wearing red, try this prance before you leave the house.

Rule 14.

IF YOU WEAR A UNIFORM, DON IT WITH PRIDE. 

No need to wear a costume that is not applicable just to fit in.

Stay true to your style. A true thing, poorly expressed, is a lie.

Have a few go-to combinations/outfits. Repeat them every year for a stress free holiday season.

To do : Learn to say no.

 

 

Some of my favorite looks on Pinterest.

Some festive second-hand finds : Blue blouse by Chloe, Red silk dress by Isabel Marant, Red sweater dress by Jill Stuart, Cocktail ring by Ippolita, station necklace by Ippolita, Silk navy evening jacket. Helmut Lang knows how to cut a red tailored blazer.

 


Question of the Week :

What do these words mean to you in the context of holiday dressing ?

Glamour. Seductive. Sexy. Fun. Daring. Original. Dressy.

They Came Home : 2017

Posted on December 15, 2017

“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”

– Paulo Coelho

End of another year. When doing a yearly round up, I want it to be more honest than dumping a list of things I purchased. The 3 categories and corresponding goals :

Need – optimize

Want – minimize

Fashion victim – avoid

NEED

 

 

 

Replacement to the clothes I wore out. I will not beat myself about it. These are good buys. I will purchase the exact same thing if and when they wear out.

1. Black leggings ( second hand )

2. Navy linen shirt (new )

3. Chinos Black ( new )

4. Navy silk shirt ( second hand )

5. Polka dot shirt ( second hand )

6. Studded blouse ( second hand )

7. Black trousers. (second hand) ( in mail, not pictured )

WANT

 

 

 

These are things that I don’t need but gave me that extra cushion. This is the category where I confess to not buying clothes because of a need, but as an indulgence.

1. Black handbag ( vintage )

2. Chinos – khaki ( new ) ( not pictured ) ( regret )

3. pinstripe wool top ( second hand )

4. Sling backs ( second hand )

5. Cable knit sweater ( second hand ) ( in the mail, not pictured )

FASHION buys

 

 

 

I didn’t know that this garment existed or can work in my wardrobe. I read an article online/saw an influencer wear it/its trending this season/ …… and gave in. These garments are for the days when I am bored with my uniform. These purchases make up the 20% of my wardrobe. Kick me out of the style rut.

1. Mary Jane flats ( second hand ) ( Influenced by AndyHeart. Purchased from her. )

2  Sandals ( new ) ( Influenced by AndyHeart )

3. Classic trench ( second hand )( Influenced by the french woman )  Gifted to my girlfriend over the Thanksgiving weekend. She is a new mom and it fit her really well.

3. Pink Ballet Flats ( new ) ( Bought into the trend )

4.  China dress ( second hand ) ( Immediately thought of Rachel Green )

Misc :

Navy ballet flats ( gifted for review )

Nude A.P.C handbag – ( borrowed from my sister. We swapped bags. )

Burberry trench – Estate sale find. Undecided. Might sell on eBay for profit.

The only words that should accomplish this list :

This is my personal style. This is what I added to my closet. The end.

I could probably add :

P.S : if you want the verbose, read the appendix.

Outfit : Navy Sweater

Posted on November 17, 2017

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Outfit : Everlane sweater. R13 denim (secondhand). Church’s Boots. (secondhand) Vintage YSL scarf

Currently Reading : An Abundance of Less

Mood : Is it the Thanksgiving weekend yet ?

Tune on Repeat : What Heroes Do.

Little Victories :

This is the first year as an immigrant where I am enjoying the chilly outdoors. Cashmere sweaters help.

This is the first November where I haven’t skipped on my exercise routine or scaled it back because of the weather. Jackets and socks help.

Little Pleasures :

A good hot dark dark drinking chocolate as soon as I wake up.

Tea candles in a lavender oil diffuser in the evenings.

Tea.

Camping socks.

A scarf every single day.

Extra sleep under a warm blanket.

I feel rich :

My stack of sweaters. I have 3 !! Red, Navy and gray.

We got a beer advent calendar for the holiday season. The word got around and our friends are dropping by to “check out” the calendar. Cinco, the too-curious-for-his-own-good cat, the cardboard box connoisseur, is not allowed near it.

An upcoming road trip to Joshua Tree National forest and San Diego. We are loading up on our playlists and podcasts for the drive.

Winner of the Cuyana Clutch 

I’ve made many of the mistakes you mentioned and hopefully have learned and trip up less frequently. But…just this past month I got impatient because I couldn’t find what I was looking for and just bought something that neither serves the right purpose, nor makes me feel good. Pants. For the love of all things holly, why are all the pants theses days cropped, stepped and shark bitten, flood water high, cutting the calf in half, ripped, distressed, made to look vintage (thanks very much but I can wear my own damn clothes out over time), released hem, etc. Cropped wool pants? Wtf? I do wear ankle bearing pants in the spring and summer. But in the fall and winter, I want warm ankles. I just want a pair of wool, lined (who am I kidding—even expensive designers send unlined pants to the market!) straight leg pants. So yea, I made the mistake of falling victim to the trends instead of having to really hunt to find something suitable and long lasting. Oh, and no, I don’t live in a big city with access to good thrift shopping or good department stores. Truly, the environment would thank us if we just removed the word “trending” from our vocabulary!!!

– Debi


Question of the week :

Should the outfit/garments NOT be common place for you to derive pleasure from it ?

 

A blog post by The Scarlet Window that puts forth the term ‘mass manufactured with no individuality’.

Is homogenization of personal style same as ‘mass manufactured with no individuality’ ?