Thursday, 22 January 2015

Naive Navies

Whenever I see the word 'navy', there are a few things I immediately associate it with.

1) Hot navy sailors docking their ships.

2) J Crew.

3) The cute, little, multiple mini stripes across horizontally in t-shirts known as breton stripes tucked into almost anything.

4) Dark hues of denim jeans that reminds me I've yet to purchase one cigarette pair from none other than the fabulous Zara.

5) A proper navy cotton t-shirt I never managed to possess because I don't know why either.

6) Pretty much half of my closet.

I classify the hue of navies under the term naive not only because they are anagrams, but simply because we have overused it till the fact that we have understated the true value to 'navy'. Just like the white t-shirt and denim jeans story, we use and abuse them a little too frequent that we fail to comprehend the true value.

But to what extent have we been exploiting navies without giving acknowledging its significance?

Just a week ago I tapped on the topic of meshing blue (mainly navies) with black. It also made me realize that Parisians are one of the best individuals with styles that could inculcate navies effortlessly, yet proving that navies do hold a great inherent magnitude towards their styles. However for us, navies exists in most of our closets without us even noticing it. Often you can relate and spot the hues in those jeans we purchase. We usually opt for darker shades of denim because they make us look slimmer (the theory of black evokes the illusion of a thinner body whilst white does the exact opposite) and most of us are usually, plebeian and sticking to the safe.

Yet, we don't call them jeans in navy hues. We mention them as dark denim jeans. We seldom mention our Superga of the same shade as 'navy colored sneakers'; we often name it as 'dark blue sneakers'. Are we simply jaded by mentioning the word navy? Or is saying 'dark blue' easier for us?

I put it to the test with my friend. I wore a breton striped muscle tank top out tucked into a navy denim jeans and paired them up with the same shade of slip ons. I literally looked like the epitome of a sailor meets overly obsessed with the sea waters and thus forth wore hues similar to the dark seas out.

'What color am I wearing today?'

'Dark blue', was his response.

Zara breton striped navy tank, H&M denim jeans, Charles & Keith velvet slip ons in navy

Image credits Imran

Friday, 16 January 2015

"Thou Shalt Not Pair Black With Blue", Says Not Me

While I was on my way back in a cab from an early Christmas dinner a few weeks back, the driver questioned us: "What is the utmost essential factor that keeps one propelling?"

"Money", my mum instantaneously replied.

I simply shrugged my shoulders.

"Uhm...", was my brother's response.

"The most important factor that keeps one progressing in life is relationship".

I have to give it to him; without relationship, we are doomed to meet an endless cycle of singlehood that has completely zero chance of matrimony. We also won't be able to have that friend we call 'best friend' whom we could entrust with our secrets and pledge solidarity. We will be stuck with mixing around with people of our similar gender without hopes of forming a platonic relationship. And the most important part is that we won't be able to comprehend what it is like to be deemed as 'not suitable to be in a relationship together'.

That got me thinking. I was still reading 'How to Be Parisian Whenever You Are', and perhaps re-reading the areas that doesn't consist of love and relationships (no pun intended I swear). I stumble across a part where there was a mention about an inconspicuous existence (I have never hear of it before, only when my mum and this book commented on it) of a phrase: "Thou shalt not pair black with blue". It further portrayed Parisians hanging out in a bath tub donned in a simple navy blue v-neck pullover (probably cashmere) and black skinny jeans.

Are Parisians just constant rebels who refuse to abide to the rules? Or do they realize that the combination of black and blue actually meshes well together? Why is the aforementioned color combination even a taboo? Who even invented such an orthodox?

There are things in life that seem rather impossible to coexist with each other because of either their extreme disparity or lack of similar commonplace, but when countlessly and perhaps relentlessly gravitated, they produce the wonders that might just render us going: "Are we stupid to think that they couldn't look good as a couple?" This is why I took this relationship to a test. I meshed blue and black together and I couldn't help but comment: "Are the perpetrators ridiculous?"

Here are two looks of same relationship but of different nationalities. If you could tell, the former is slanted towards the New York meets athleisure style, starting off with a navy Man Repeller x Être Cécile t-shirt and a running shorts from Alexander Wang x H&M. Sneakers are from Nike and worn with a blazer from Zara to dampen the overly sportish look. The latter is nonetheless Parisian (chic) with a Monki navy cotton t-shirt, Zara cigarette jeans and Zara patent loafers.

So how was the rebellion? Are they worthy to be a couple or do you still think that they shouldn't coexist?

Image credits Imran

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Lessons On Layering: Shirts

When it comes to shirts, there are a few considerations we will need to acknowledge. First, the head-scratching, hair-tugging crisis between the options of buttoning and unbuttoning. Next, choosing whether to tuck them in, or have them tucked midway (slot into the pants at the front and leaving it hanging loosely at the back), or having one side of the shirt tucked in whilst having the other side dangling or not even do the tuck at all (no pun intended). Lastly, can we actually layer shirts? With more shirts?

Actually, there are many other dilemmas just by handling the topic on shirts, but let us just stick with three otherwise this would be an endless debate.

But can we layer shirts with more shirts? Will we look immaculately creative or will we wind up in an endless mess that brings us back to stripping our entire outfit and succumbing back to our 'Omg I have nothing to wear!' mantra? To be honest, I'm clueless. But we can't deny the fact that this is actually a witty idea. So before you guys think that you'll wind up in an eventual hodgepodge, I'll assure you otherwise. Why? Because I just did it and I personally think I look adventurous mixed with a tinge of ingenuity (just a tinge). I think I just mastered what Man Repeller formal forte was: layering and then repel.

Here's how you do it:

First, I start off with something most of us would feel comfortable in wearing that actually resulted in the plethora of similar hashtag ootds; muscle tank and denim cut-offs. I kicked off those ubiquitous sliders (that actually might instigate me to get one from H&M Spring Studio collection; image cc silksofine) and slip on some actual brogues with bright colored soles inspired from Prada.

I discarded that muscle tank and put on a soft organic cotton printed shirt, which have an uncanny resemblance to mud and forest, which might actually be the key to camouflage in times of war. Talk about looking fabulous when you're out in the battlefield.

Over that mud printed shirt (I just don't know what to call it, lol. But muddy print might be the next 'It' thing, you never know) I put on a denim shirt that has beaded embroidery fastened to its hem. You can actually do the twist to emanate that elusive vibe because the beads actually jingle peacefully when you do that. You can go ahead and try it.

Lastly, I tied a tartan shirt around my waist because, you never know when you might actually catch a cold and that you'll need an extra aegis that isn't overly thick (if you're like me, staying somewhere in the equator) like a blazer, yet substantial enough to suffice from the cold.

Idea seems odd but why not try something new? People are constantly going 'New year, new me' but I would rather prefer 'New year, new variations'.

T by Alexander Wang muscle tank, Topman denim cut-offs, H&M Conscious inner shirt, H&M beaded hem shirt, Topman red tartan shirt tied around the waist, Swear burgundy brogues

Image credits Imran

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Putting an Extra Coat of Warmth

Coats are something that I have always dreamed of sliding my arms into those elongated fabric and having my little hands peek out at its orifices, pushing the shoulder pads up and letting it sit on my shoulders. The lengthy, elaborated piece of either wool, cotton, cashmere or sometimes mixed fabric from the shoulders to its hem is still something that leaves me gagging while I danced in front of the mirror, trying to comprehend how could one garment be so existentially bulky and long coupled with extreme durability.

I spun around (in my room, in front of my mirror) whilst adorning on this violet wool pea coat (see last image) - slightly oversized (because I bought it in a size 10) that subtly procreated an accentuated shoulder padding, noticing how French it'll look if it was in black. But then again, the color reminisces me of Coach FW 2014 ads that I tried to replicate but I think I pale in comparison. But that isn't the point. The point is that I'm obsessed with coats - and only those non plebeian ones - and that I'd actually sleep in one if I got really bored of wearing clothes (that is with the air condition turned on).

If you'd realize, I wasn't in Singapore when I'm putting on these coats. I would've died if I did. I actually almost hyperventilated when I was doing so for my Christmas flight. If you're one who travels around frequently to countries with cold climates, here are five choices I'd suggest to keep you warm.

A) The Leather Jacket

To be honest, who needs a coat when you possess a really good leather jacket? I know mine did me rather good justice (and sufficient aegis from the chills) despite the fact that it is actually new and not yet seasoned (I'm slanted towards the use and abuse and reuse until leather jackets turn supple). Actually, I would put them on in summer too, but maybe you'll find my lying somewhere in a hospital's bed. Leather jacket's from Zara. I wore it with a Uniqlo grey tartan shirt with a semi color matching cigarette jeans from Zara and tweed sneakers from the second installation of Man Repeller with Superga.

B) The Printed Coat

Dries makes one of the most perfect printed anything. I got these 100% cotton babies at a steal from a sample sale. If you're dealing with a colder climate, you might want to replace the cotton and go with something thicker. I'm not exactly sure how you can rethread the entire piece again, but otherwise, you can always just layer. Which is what I did, I layered a COS t-shirt tucked into a Zara cigarette jeans and had a Uniqlo corduroy shirt over the t-shirt before I put on my Dries van Noten coat circa 2012 because if you like something, why bother if it's past season?

C) The Oversized Blazer That Doubles Up as a Coat

Inspired by one of Leandra's looks, I was totally trying to rip every single inch of it (even including that bag, but I don't possess Valentino so perhaps the Margiela x H&M candy wrapper clutch would suffice) until I realized that the look also does justice with denim jeans of similar shade to the denim jacket. Hence I slip up my cigarette jeans from none other than the affordable Zara, wore it with a similar white COS t-shirt, Zara TRF denim jacket and H&M Studio '14 blazer. I actually think I look quite Parisian despite ze New Yorker roots, no?

D) The (Faux) Fur Coat

How can we welcome winter without a little fur? This was the day I wore (faux) fur to McDonalds' for breakfast. The result? Fabulous. The utilitarian hue fur coat is from H&M Studio '14, paired with a black COS t-shirt and Topshop embroidered khaki shirt (which both could not be seen here but trust me, I did wear both of them) and cigarette jeans from Zara as usual.

E) The Color Coat

So I took this liberty to be less French, more Coach because I really loved their new ad for Fall 14. Actually I tried tucking the coat in and having the bag hanging out, but it turned out horrendously. So I thought, "Why not go with the conventional coat over shoulders look?" The deep violet wool coat is from H&M, black t-shirt from COS, Zara cigarette jeans (LOL basically all my cigarette jeans are from Zara) and Nike Air sneakers.

Images done by my brother, Daryl, using iPhone 6

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New Year's Resolution

As we move past 2014 and hit a brand new year of 2015, we often find ourselves performing something we seldom do - A reflection of the past year that includes everything (*most; since we have a tendency to forget) we have done: our actions, our successes, our mistakes, our downfalls, our purchases, our achievements, etc. By reflecting, we learn from our past mistakes and grow from them, or we'd learn not to be complacent if we are reviewing from our accomplishments. We often believe that by reflecting on something significant - especially in this case, since it is a whole series of activities that lasted a year long - is a form of exhibition of us being responsible and mature. If we fail to do so, it proves that we are child-like and immature.

However, not all of us does a daily reflection or keep a religious journal routine. We are often packed with schedules and duties and other responsibilities of more significance that we fail to reflect on a daily basis. Does this simply prove that we're childish? If so, why are there tons of mature individuals out there whom I believe, do not have the luxury of time to be reflecting every day?

Maturity, similar to beauty, is subjective. One can believe that jealously is a form of maturity, whilst for others, it is just plain childishness. People are different. We cannot expect everyone to have a synonymous understanding of every single aspect in life. So to what extent can one be deemed as matured enough in handling difficult situations? By gauging on our times of reflecting? Or do those mature individuals have that inherent capability of knowing a handful of 'basic necessities': right timing, self respect and social responsibility?

I have to admit, I don't necessarily reflect on my actions all the time. I have more worries in life (like planning on my first visit to New York, how to save up for my first Manolo Blahnik, emulating Carrie Bradshaw, etc etc. Lol, jk.) that inadvertently shrouded my ability to do so. Yet, when the year ceases and reopens with a new chapter, I often find myself looking at my previous year of activities and performances. Got a hell ton of new bags, got into a relationship, broke up, got sponsorship from my favourite e-commerce, met new friends, etc. With all these experiences, I learned how to grow as a person. I learned that success and joy is what often demarcates the mature ones from the crowd. When you're achieving a sense of accomplishment, others are bound to be envious. When they're envious, they start to bring you down with nasty remarks. And when you're hit with such nasty remarks, you start to question yourself about your achievements.

So how could we stop questioning ourselves of our well deserved achievements? I believe the answer to that is attitude. If we choose to get affected by the nasty responses and implications, we are bound to get tied down by those and thus, giving a stepping stone to our haters. Maturity is a form of attitude. If we are not able to change the attitudes of others, why couldn't we change ours? If we could alter our attitude in seeing things, we can skip our mandatory reflections and still be sufficiently mature.

I've also learned that, in reality, love does not conquer all. Happily forever afters and till death do us parts are, de facto, stories that we concoct to instil hope and faith in ourselves, that maybe one day, we could find our true love out there. Changing yourself to fit into your other halves is not going to work. It is like a special allosteric regulation. There is a factor driving that allows you guys to temporarily coincide. Once that factor is gone, it's back to square one. You'll need to find something similar to the lock and key hypothesis: different but mesh perfectly together.

Love. Do I still believe in it? Yes. No. Maybe. The answer to that is I don't know. Maybe I already am equipped with the answer, just that in the midst of changing and actions and mistakes that we have made, the answer I once had seemed a bit vague. Maybe, that one fine day, a Big, strong wind might drop by and drive those haze away.

And as we put down our egos, displeasure and constant berates, I suddenly had an epiphany. Maybe I wasn't clouded by anything that requires a Big wind to eradicate it. Maybe I was shrouded by something that I have erected myself. Maybe only I have the capacity to clear the fog away.

And that is to hope again.

In our ongoing cynical lives, a little hope is what we need to keep us propelling. Hoping that we could fulfil our dreams. Hoping that we could attain and accomplish our goals. Hoping that true love still exists. Hoping that one day, we could find the love we think we deserve, and that it is sufficient enough for us to write our own happily forever afters and till death do us parts.

So to everyone out there, it is a new year. Leave everything in the past behind and dress yourself well with a new attitude. And to those single individuals out there, continue to hope. Hope that one day, your Mr Big would come by.

Images all over the web using Google.