Category Archives: Fashion

London – Part 1: Food & Fashion

Inside the Eurostar

As we lugged our luggage onto the Eurostar, I reflected on how grateful I was that the bf had forcibly compelled me to throw out much of the endless piles of unnecessary “extra” clothing. Of course to a girl a few additional piles of clothing is never enough, but had it not been for him, I would have no idea how I could’ve handled the luggage on my own.

Given how conveniently the Eurostar connects various European countries, it’s quite a favoured mode of transport amongst the Europeans, many of whom have hand-carry sized luggage with them (like mine). Lucky for me, I easily squeezed my hand carry at the compartment above, but the bf had to abandon his luggage at the holding area near the end of the carriage – which didn’t leave him feeling all that secure since our seats were quite a distance from the holding area.

The seats were really comfy, with a flip out table but no entertainment system. There was however, a food / restaurant carriage for those who are hungry on board. Toilet-wise, it was pretty gross.

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The curious thing about London was the unexpected obsession with Indian food. Our hotel had an Indian restaurant, whilst other eateries had curries and the like on their menu. Upon arriving, our first meal Chicken Tikka Masala – we had been craving for something piping hot given the cold weather, and since English food seemed to be rather cold (envision cold sandwiches), we opted for the familiar asian option.

Having heard about the “must-try” high teas in London, the bf and I had taken the initiative to book ahead of time via this great website known as http://afternoontea.co.uk/. Booking is free via the website and they provide both email and sms confirmations. Plus, they have quite a few good deals for many tea places on the site. The tea platter (for 2) was more than we could handle, but I have to highlight that the carrot cake was particularly good. Really moist and delicious. The cream cheese was not as sweet as we have it in Singapore, but it went down very well with the Orange Pekoe Tea I picked.

The thing to note about the sandwiches though… I can’t recall the name of the fillings, but one was REALLY CHEESY and one was horseradish mush. That said, we enjoyed the rest of the items and spent a few hours chatting away. It’s always the great company that matters, right?

fashion london

J.Crew chunky sweater, 73 SGD / Ralph Lauren Blue Label , 530 SGD / Jil Sander pleated skirt, 1,660 SGD / LnA velvet pants, 165 SGD / Wool skirt, 335 SGD / H&M high heel boots, 59 SGD

It’s somewhat of a blogging hazard of mine, but I do like to people watch wherever I go (check out my posts on Fashion in Amsterdam and Fashion in Tokyo), and London was no different. The combination however, was something meant for a taller lady to pull off – I tried the look above in one of the departmental stores, to quite an epic failure. Knee Length skirts for me nearly reach my ankles, so that look is a no-go.

What I did like was that women were more adventurous with colours. Greens and reds and blues… it wasn’t the darker palette of their Amsterdam counterparts and a lot more cheerful!

Sensible, short boots are only logical given the pebbled pavements of London. Walking around on my 2+inch boots, I felt as if I had signed up for a very intense foot reflexology session. Not good. Given the many tourist spots in London, do be prepared to walk for a good part of the day if you want to cover all of them as quickly as possible.

Jason Wu for Melissa

Oh with Christmas hot on our heels, it is time to dress up your pretty feet and this latest collaboration between Jason Wu and Melissa Jelly Shoes has just the thing. I’ve raved about my Free Fish Japan shoes because of their style, comfort and functionality (especially in wet weather. See post here.) but of course, Melissa has got to get ahead of the curve and with its numerous collaborations with top fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexandre Herchcovitch and the Campana Brothers, this is an achievable goal.

It’s latest collaboration with Jason Wu just blew me away. It’s a simple modification of the Ultragirl shoe but it is so chic. I mean, cute little owl motifs? And bows? Yes. I think you got me good. I’m pretty sure this is something Blair Waldorf will approve. I especially love the shoe in burgundy. It’s festive and appropriate for the season.

jason wu melissa
“It’s a pleasure to work with plastic in an innovative way, exploring different possibilities with a company that has the most expertise in the subject.” – Jason Wu
But the real kicker for me? The sandals. Melissa doesn’t conventionally do sandals. The focus has always been covered shoes, flats and with the Vivienne Westwood collection, some pretty pixie heels. But this, I love the minimalist design and I think it pretty much matches everything. This is definitely penciled in on my wish list for Christmas!
And for those of us who haven’t quite gotten over our Cinderella dream, well, J Maskrey has designed the perfect shoe for you. Make Christmas a star studded affair with a shoe that’s blinged out in Swarovski crystals! It reminds me alittle of Black Swan and ballet for some reason but gorgeous nonetheless.
J maskrey

 

“Since I moved to Paris at the beginning of this year, romaticism took over me and my thoughts … so I decided to create a line both feminine and modern … beautiful shoes covered with crystals that will illuminate the steps of Melissa’s customers” – J Maskrey.

You can see the full Melissa collection here!

Yikes with all these pretty shoes in the market, this cannot be good for the wallet. Need. To. Avoid. Going. To. Town. I hope this is just a shoe infatuation and that it will pass over soon. AHHHH….

Fashion Haunt: Romwe

If you are a secret lurker around Lookbook.nu, well then it is time to step out into the limelight and Romwe is going to give you a helping hand. This online retail store markets itself as a street fashion retailer that turns to real people as their inspiration. So fashion bloggers, Instagram models and Youtube become the driving force behind its advertising of products. For example, Galaxy prints are in vogue and Romwe is riding on this wave by offering an entire Galaxy Collection. It’s a really smart strategy because they are aware of what’s going on at the ground and using the power of the masses to sell their products. I think this is especially useful since social networks and photoblogging is becoming more and more popular.

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Picture Credits: hanna-moura.blogspot.com

What sets Romwe apart from retailers we are used to is probably their eclectic fashion pieces. Like I’ve said before, Modcloth has a distinctively vintage vibe while Young Republic is indie (considering their selling point is that of marketing new fashion designers). I think Romwe being a street fashion retailer, they have more outrageous and quirky pieces because really, the point of street fashion is to be noticed.

So I’m sure we all are familiar with the animal prints trend. I’m not talking about leopard and zebra prints but rather, prints and motifs of actual animals like birds, horses and cats (you can see my previous post here and Ruth’s post about Tibi and the lobster obsession here.) But Romwe basically takes things to another level.

cat
Cat dress, 70 SGD / Cat dress, 61 SGD / Gauze dress, 61 SGD / Black sweater, 51 SGD / Cotton shirt, 71 SGD / Shoulder bag, 75 SGD
Presenting… the cat front dress. Now I’m a cat lover for sure but I don’t know what to say or feel about this. It seems alittle bit over the top and it reminds me of a costume for Halloween as opposed to something to be worn on a day to day basis. But like I said before, it is highly intriguing and it’s bound to get you some stares, comments and oohs and ahhs.
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The models make it look really cute and adorable though. I think the white pullover is still easy to pull off but the black cat dress? I have my reservations. I think you need to be cute and kawaii to be able to pull it off convincingly.
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Picture Credits: Romwe
But I think you catch my drift. If you are into quirky and unique designs, then Romwe is the place for you. I mean, it sells normal-ish looking stuff as well but prices are on the high side (comparable to Modcloth pricing) so I see no point getting a generic design when I can get it much cheaper in Forever21. I would only shop Romwe to buy one-of-a-kind designs that cannot be found elsewhere.
In terms of shipping, well, we are in luck! It ships internationally and the best part? Normal shipping is free though the waiting time is from 5-15 working days. AND to further sweeten the deal, its annual Black Friday sale is on from the 21st to 26th of November so now is the best time to shop cos there are substantial savings especially for those speciality pieces.
Interested to find out more? You can follow Romwe on Instagram , Tumblr and Pinterest. I think it’s a great way to see how clothes are mixed and matched before you commit to buying something (God knows how many times I’ve bought something quirky and found difficulty matching it with stuff from my wardrobe!) Or if you like moving pictures, you can also watch videos off their Youtube Channel that offers styling tips too.

Fall Fashion Must-Haves

In my previous post, I looked at timeless and classic designs for coats because I firmly believe that it only makes sense to invest in a design that lasts for years to come. However, while I strongly advocate that for coats (because it is a rather expensive item in your winter wardrobe especially if you want to get a good quality one i.e. wool or down feather), I think that it is quite fun to experiment and try different trends when it comes to other articles of your outfit. Small items like gloves or scarves which don’t typically cost a bomb are a great way to jazz up the look without adding bulk to your luggage or a hole in your wallet. Sweaters too are a versatile piece of clothing that can be worn even in warmer climates with air conditioning as long as you pick the right fabric and design.

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Let’s start off with the Snood, which as its name suggests is a cross between a scarf and a hood. Otherwise known as the Infinity Scarf because it has no start or end, it is easily worn by draping it over your head. There will be no more pesky loose ends to keep propping up on your shoulder, no more dropping your scarf on the floor or having it accidentally touch your food. The Snood is made to wrap around your neck snugly (depending on how many rounds you decide to wrap around your neck) and to keep it toasty and warm. Alternatively, you could let it drape loosely and use the excess fabric as a hood as seen in the picture. This is great if your head is cold or if there is snow/rain. I also like how this gives an illusion of a cowl neck or a turtleneck. A great way to show your versatility in clothing without actually having to purchase a new top! Modcloth and ASOS have some pretty nice ones!

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This next item is actually quite cool. I found this in Muji and it’s basically gloves that keep your fingers warm while giving you the convenience to fiddle with your smartphone at the same time! The tips of the fingers are made of a different material that mimics your finger’s sensitivity so you can still snap a picture, post it on Instagram and Whatsapp/iMessage/BB Messenger! All without having to remove your gloves. Ingenious.

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I’ve alluded to how much I love versatility in clothing because really, you want to save space in your luggage for shopping so if an item of clothing can be worn 25860784 ways, why not right? Well, the shawl cardigan definitely falls in this category. It’s so effortless. Just throw it on and tie the sash and you are pretty much done! Else, don a belt to cinch the waist or you could always just drape it over your shoulder. Really, it is the Mighty Morphing Power Ranger of clothing. I know Victoria’s Secret has one at a hefty price USD 89+ in assorted colours and perhaps a more affordable version could be found at Uniqlo. Just purchased a shawl cardigan at S$29.90 because it was on offer! I swear Uniqlo is the haven for winter wear. It’s affordable, functional and fashionable. Definitely stocking up on heat tech and leggings!

Fashion Haunt: Blomming

Enjoy shopping new, unique and handmade designs at Young Republic? Like Etsy’s interface? Well these features come together in Blomming. A new social commerce platform that helps sellers set up shop at no cost whatsoever, this is a treasure trove for craft lovers, artists, designers and/or fashion enthusiasts (I guess I’m all of the above!)

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The interface is highly intuitive. Once you create an account, you get to browse and shop with ease. The first page you see will show the featured designer and some of his/her creations, then on the right there are items that are on offer. As you can see, the discount varies. The fun of it all is being able to hunt down the best deal!

What I like about the website is how integrated various platforms are. Unlike Etsy, where it is mandatory for the seller to set up an Etsy online store, Blomming allows you to consolidate and use existing platforms. So, for example, if a seller is already well established on facebook, then he/she can just link customers to their facebook shop while also giving you the option to checkout your items from Blomming. So I guess from the seller’s perspective, it saves alot of hassle and inconvenience.

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Other interface features that make browsing a breeze include Our Picks and Most Liked, courtesy of facebook. You are also able to use buttons to announce your picks via Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ In addition, if you are like me and tend to favour a certain designer then the categorisation of products according to shops and sellers would definitely appeal to you.

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Payment of items are standard. Most sellers offer Paypal, Visa, MasterCard and American Express and international shipping costs will be stated explicitly on the item page. This much is similar to Etsy. I guess the main difference is that Blomming has greater breadth in sales. Aside from craft and fashion, people also sell real estate, games and consoles as well as electronics and services. So it becomes in effect, a one-stop shop for all things. Kind of like Etsy meets Ebay if you catch my drift.

I’m not done exploring but from my 1 hour of random browsing, my sense is that it looks promising! It definitely has quite a sizeable following and a decent range of products. What do you think about Blomming?

Fashion in Amsterdam

Amsterdam – a picturesque city with intersecting canals, a cosmopolitan population and rather bumpy brick roads.

It’s my first foray into Europe and thus far, the widest extent of my knowledge of The Netherlands has been (I’m ashamed to say), Miffy the Rabbit. Drawn by the dutch artist Dick Bruna, Miffy was said to be the inspiration behind the very well known Hello Kitty of Japan, but of course, Japan does mass production and cuteness so much better.

Miffy the Rabbit

That said, it has been an utterly fascinating experience in Amsterdam so far. The birds are amazing (I saw this polka dotted one), the street food is wonderfully delicious – one should NOT miss out on the Albert Cuypmarkt! Expect to see an amazing array of local food and do sample the street food from the various kiosks. We enjoyed these tiny pancakes, some hot chicken and stroopwaffles. For those who don’t have a sweet tooth, beware though, baked goods and snacks are really sweet here. There were however, two “famous” things we didn’t dare to try – Gouda Cheese and Raw Herrings. both of us couldn’t take the pungent smell! Food prices at the street side kiosks range from 1-3 euros. A little basket of 6 drumlets cost us 2.50 euros. Very reasonable! It was the cheapest (and most fun) meal that we’ve had in Amsterdam so far. Sit-down restaurants easily cost you 10 euros and up for just the main course.

The apparel sold at the market is pretty similar to our local Bugis Street, just more catered for winter wear at the moment. Unsurprisingly, many of the clothings here bear quite a strong resemblence to that of Korean fashion (I suspect many of these are imported from asia) and prices range from 10 euros and up. Not very cheap at all.

Of course, the fashion choices of the dutch are markedly different from that of asians. Here’s one of the most popular combinations I noticed on every other woman out on the streets!

fashion amsterdam

 

Maison Martin Margiela drape jacket, €1.355 / Ted Baker short coat, €325 / Pied a Terre waterproof coat, €345 / Coat, €125 / River Island beige pants, €37 / Vince elastic waist pants, €210 / Tecnica black wedge boots, €390 / Bruno Premi lace up wedge boots, €185 / UGG Australia bootie boots, €205

One particular thing I love about this style is that it keeps the legs looking slim (and warm) but the upper half flows beautifully when they cycle or walk. Cycling is a really huge thing here, so coats are typically belted quite tightly at the waist. Large collars do a great job of accentuating the shoulders and double up as really useful ear covers when the wind gets especially strong.

Boots-wise, I have completely fallen head over heels with the fuzzy ones. It took me sometime to hunt down a good quality yet cheap pair, as prices for shoes here easily go for 39.99 to 200+ euros. I got mine at a little shop on one of the side streets. Interesting thing to note – shops here are mostly self-service and if you want to find your shoe size, they’ll leave it to you to look through the boxes (which thank goodness, are neatly arranged) to get what you want. The same goes for most other shops and I had to give up on a hat because neither the bf nor I could reach it. Curse our short asian statures! hahaha. Well, here’s to me enjoying the rest of my Europe trip! Onwards is London, then Florence and Rome. I can’t wait!

Fashion that Weathers Part 2

In the previous post, we looked at staying stylish despite the rain, focusing on clothes and colour schemes. Well, today we are going to look at the must-have items/accessories to help us all weather through the storm. First off, let’s look at footwear…

waterproof shoes
Tory Burch flat, 155 SGD / mel shoes, 51 SGD / Black shoes, 49 SGD / Boots, 61 SGD / Ankle strap shoes, 55 SGD / Flat sandals, 12 SGD / Bow shoes, 7.81 SGD / mel shoes, 57 SGD / Free Fish Jelly contrast buckle loafer rose black pvc, 59 SGD
I blogged fairly recently about my Free Fish shoes and they are simply amazing in wet weather. God knows how many pairs of shoes have been destroyed by the rain; canvas gets soaked completely and leather grows mouldy so the best material in this case would be rubber. These shoes not only allow for water to run off completely, but rain water actually evaporates really quickly so you’ll have dry feet in no time. So say no more to that icky squelchy feeling and embrace drier feet and shoes that look good as new. And with fashionable brands like Free Fish, Melissa, Tory Burch and Crocs, you won’t have to compromise style for comfort or functionality. Definitely a key tool to have in your wet weather arsenal.
umbrella

Burberry printed umbrella, 520 SGD / Barneys New York striped umbrella, 160 SGD / Kate Spade striped umbrella, 96 SGD / Cath Kidston , 59 SGD / Cath Kidston flower umbrella, 43 SGD / Floral umbrella, 37 SGD
This next one is a no brainer. These couple of days, it is risky to leave the house without being armed with an umbrella. There’s always a small foldable one in my bag and another full sized one in the office. I love quirky prints on umbrellas and so far I think the prettiest umbrellas actually come from Japan. I bought both of mine from Hong Kong in City Super, a Japanese supermarket. They weren’t cheap but they are extremely durable and the prints are so pretty that I actually get quite happy when it does rain cos it becomes my excuse to use it and show off for abit! One of em even comes with UV protection. Trust the Japanese to think of everything!
waterproof bags

 

Longchamp , 645 SGD / Marni striped tote bag, 425 SGD / LeSportsac ®, 130 SGD / The Cambridge Satchel Company leather handbag
The last thing on the list is to invest in a waterproof bag. I mean think about it. We keep all our important things in it. Our phones, iPads, wallet, documents. It would be absolutely disastrous if all of it got ruined because you got caught in the rain. I can’t live without my Longchamp common as it may be. It’s just such a great big roomy functional bag. Great for travel, great for wet weather. I feel completely assured that my stuff stays high and dry thanks to it. Other possible alternatives would be Le Sportsac, the patented Cambridge satchel to a smaller extent and Issey Miyake’s Bao Bao.
These are some of the items that saved my life during a thunderstorm (but the REAL savior is the car!) What are yours?

Tory Burch Pixie Wedges

So dainty, so pretty, I *need* them on my feet!

tory burch pixie wedge
Tory Burch shiny shoes, 520 SGD / Tory Burch shiny shoes, 520 SGD / Tory Burch shiny shoes, 520 SGD / Tory Burch peep toe high heels, 485 SGD

Prettier than your average shoe, these pixie wedges are just perfect for the holiday season. & if you’ve had many a heartbreaking experience with other expensive, delicate pairs – never fear! The floral appliques are made of hardy PVC with crystal centres in the middle – meaning that these flowers won’t wilt in humidity or rain, nor lose their shape over time (unless you subject that PVC to horrendous heat conditions or forcibly fold them…)

Leather-lined with padded insoles, these shoes will also leave you feeling like you’ve been walking on cloud 9, so if you’ve got a huge end of year bonus, why not buy your way into pixie-dom?

Fashion That Weathers Part 1

The weather has been erratic lately to say the least. It’s hard to predict when it will rain and when it will be bright out. Well, here are some versatile looks that can help us to weather the unpredictable and capricious month of November.

Dancing in the Rain

H&M flare dress, 59 SGD / Jitrois black legging, 2,695 SGD / Stiletto high heels, 245 SGD / Vince Camuto metallic handbag, 125 SGD / Vince Camuto enamel bracelet, 67 SGD / Cz ring, 68 SGD / Banana Republic teal jewelry, 43 SGD / Diane Kordas rose gold jewelry, 1,440 SGD / Umbrella, 28 SGD / NARS Cosmetics , 42 SGD / NARS Cosmetics lip gloss, 29 SGD / NARS Cosmetics, 22 SGD
So the weather has been quite a drag but that doesn’t mean we need to be all doom and gloom about it. The bright pop of yellow adds that much needed cheeriness. Pleather is so in right now and with the weather getting that much cooler, it makes it entirely acceptable to wear pleather leggings in Singapore. Be sure to throw on a casual knitted top to complete the look! And on a random side note, doesn’t that yellow umbrella remind you of How I Met Your Mother? You never know, you might meet the love of your life with a get-up like that!
Walking in rain

Aoi_Kotsuhiroi sheer tank, 105 SGD / Burberry owl umbrella, 1,040 SGD / Vintage eyewear
Black and red is such a timeless combination and you can stay effortlessly chic with this girlish ensemble. I love the playful polka-dotted skirt and its matchy chiffon top. Add a bright red blazer, silver loafers and sardonic black brolly and the look is complete.

Ain't no mountain high ebough to keep me from you babe...lol jk have you seen the Everest?

Toast shrug cardigan, 320 SGD / Velvet cropped shirt, 190 SGD / Kelly Bergin leather shorts, 320 SGD / H&M cable tight, 9.74 SGD / Miu Miu heels, 850 SGD / Linea, 39 SGD / philosophy, 24 SGD
If you are into something alittle more muted then a white-grey palette would suit you. I am really feeling shrugs lately. It’s so cosy and big that it is bound to keep you warm when the weather turns chilly. With that as the main focal point of the entire outfit, be sure to keep everything else simple. It’s so stylish yet so easy to throw on. Easy peasy.

So as these polyvore collages show, it is possible to look incredibly put together despite the rain. So take up the challenge this week! Don’t be a slob, be rain ready and weather the storm in style!

Zhai Eco Collection

I was walking around i12 Katong and something caught my eye. I saw this little open concept store at B1 and it featured a clothing line made entirely of bamboo fibers. Curious, I took a closer look. Then I felt the fabric and boy was it smooth and comfortable! Even more so when you try it on.

Since then I was hooked. I always knew that eco-fashion was the new rage but in my mind I somehow always associated this with rough, coarse materials like burlap. I didn’t quite reconcile the image with cotton or softer fabrics which on hindsight is so silly of me because organic cotton especially Egyptian cotton is supposedly one of the most comfortable fabrics around.

Upon some deeper inspection and research, I found out that Zhai is actually a local brand that specialises in Bamboo clothing. You must be wondering how a hard piece of bamboo can be turned into fabric. Well, apparently bamboo isn’t a kind of tree, but rather, it is a type of grass and it takes only 3-4 years to fully mature compared to other plant species. As a result, it is a resource that continually regenerates so it makes sense to harness and harvest this resource because it is renewable.

Other wonderful benefits to using Bamboo in manufacturing clothing include:

  • Anti bacterial and anti fungal
  • Absorbs moisture and keeps skin breathable
  • Odor Resistant
  • Regulates body temperature; cools the body by three degrees
  • Anti-static; prevents uncomfortable clinging of fabric to your body
  • Biodegradable
  • Aids in UV protection
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Wrinkle resistant, light weight, dries quickly
  • Greater longevity compared to cotton clothing

Aside from the long list of benefits, I actually like Zhai’s clothing because it is so minimalist in its design. I bought a pair of pants because it is so figure flattering and so comfortable. The perfect pants to wear for Pilates because it allows for ease of movement yet it remains odor resistant and breathable. And because the designs of their clothes are so simple and unassuming, it actually makes layering clothes a real dream. Mixing and matching clothes is also a breeze.

Some people might gripe over the lack of colours available (typically the collection comes in only 3 colours: black, grey and oatmeal) but I think that the neutral palette is in keeping with the naturalistic feel of eco-fashion. The other question is probably price. Eco-fashion does not come cheap and for some of its more basic designs eg. scoop neck t-shirt, $55 might seem like too steep a price to pay. But I guess there has to be a premium for cutting edge technology that seeks to balance monetary gain with environmental sustainability.

The key I think, is to pick something that is versatile to wear over and over again. My choice pick would be the Short Cardigan which has a shorter hem line at the back but a nice long waterfall drape in front. I can imagine the countless wardrobe permutations with this cardigan. Plus, with the weather getting chilly, $89 seems like a rather good investment.

So what are your thoughts on Zhai or Eco-fashion in general? Love it or hate it?

All photo credits to Zhai. Zhai has an online store offering free shipping in Singapore. For more information about Zhai Eco Collection click here.

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