The thing about women is that we invariably tend to link outfits with occasions in our memory-- e.g. "Oh! THAT event, I remember now, you were wearing (insert shoes) and (insert dress)"-- or worse still, have an extremely acute recollection of the last time we wore some item. This condition is particularly accentuated when you have enough pieces to last you at least three years if you wore a different look every day without buying anything new. I know how I tell my mother or D that I have worn something before "three times!" triumphantly, and they'd go "Oh, great achievement huh?". Well, there are people with loads of clothes sitting in their wardrobes still with the tag on from five years ago-- clothes they bought but do not dare to wear out because they have some mental lookbook in their head following the diktats of Latest Trends Everybody Wears, which really defeats the purpose of even buying anything. I maintain that my ethos is still much healthier. Hey, at least the clothes get worn! And as long as I remain the same size (fingers crossed!) it should all be alright. One danger of having too many clothes, though, is that if you suddenly pluck something out and wear it, you'd get questioned "Is that new? I have never seen it before" and a big smile lights up your face whilst you recall how happy you were to discover that piece in some boutique or jumble sale or the oohing and ahhing your best friend and you did over that, whilst doing mental sums and jumping up in semi-fright at how time has passed by.
"No! It was six years ago! I got it for Christmas during the Mango sales, and I picked it up from this branch in__ and. . ." was my latest retort. I was telling the truth. Well, I'll be honest, sometimes I still wear clothes I bought at 12 (err. . they look good still!), which was a bone-chilling twelve years ago. I figured that if Wear History all the time with vintage clothes and pieces from my grandmother and mother, why not old pieces by me. I have a confession to make. Half the time I walk around with no idea what the latest trends are (not that I really care), it is only when I see enough people in a certain Look that it starts to dawn upon me. By which I am even less bothered after being visually desensitised. After all, Latest Faux-En-Vogue (let's face it, loads of them are really ugly and a dime a dozen and often quite boring) always has prices jacked up ridiculously and everybody wears the same thing, the last time I remember wearing uniforms was when I did my ALevels in junior college. Plus I also am attracted to odd stuff-- shiny things, ostentatious decadent looks, curtain prints (yay for wearing curtains!), and humongous jewelry-- way before anyone will start telling me "How are you gonna wear that? It's too __" a.k.a. nobodywearsthem. Well sometimes I am too glad I don't have this StyleDiktatGhoul whispering into my ears as auto-reflex and thus putting the brake on me buying odd stuff. After all, another amazing thing about odd stuff is that if nobody buys them, you'll be guaranteed great bargains during the sales! Well I could write an entire treatise on that. I also have no idea what goes on during the various Fashion Weeks save for the blogs I surf around-- hail blogosphere education!-- and, well, enough confessions for now. Inspired by the lovely stylish Collette of Statements in Fashion's upcoming RE-Style section where she discusses re-wearing clothes bought eons ago and even charmingly labels their ages in a photograph, I thought, why not! I trawled up old photographs of the other times I wore certain pieces-- a way to examine how you've evolved or revisit ways of styling something. My first attempt-- a colourful printed mini I wore recently; and then back in July 2008. Well, actually the only two times I've worn it.
Massimo Dutti turquoise men's jumper; vintage tooled leather belt; Winnie the Pooh pompom socks (haha!); Valleygirl miniskirt; Dolce & Gabana red pumps
Well apart from the fresh face and the relative innocence, I remember I wanted to achieve a harmonious colour look rather than to simply pair bright prints with the ubiquitous choices of black or white. The prints of turquoise, coral and red meant I could work around similar tones. To add a further twist, I wore kimono-print shoes too, which I believe were my first pair of five-inches. This is my mother's knitted top that my uncle bought her on his business trip to HK when she was 21 (she has an Outfit Memory Of An Elephant too), which I love for its colour and the knit details. Plus it's not too hot to wear it in sweltering Singapore, another plus. I think I'm greedy, but I like my stuff to run extra mileage for me. So I refuse to sew anything down to a certain look but make sure they're readily customisable. For instance, this feather-flower-net combination that is supposed to be a hair piece. Sometimes I pin it onto the strap of my dress for a vintage twist. Otherwise to wear it as a necklace, a simple DIY idea would be to take a length of matching satin ribbon and clip it on. Wind your 3-seconds necklace around your neck and tie a ribbon. Voila! Easy peasy :)
mother's knitted top; Valleygirl skirt; Forever 21 ring; Perlinni clutch; Mollini shoes
How to rock your mini!!
I get that question alot. I love minis, and because I have self-imposed a No More By 30 ban, time is ticking short with only six years left (if I change my mind and am still blogging then I'll eat my words. Yum). Garance Doré lauded the micro-mini in one of her posts as the type of skirt that looks more like a belt but makes your legs look 6-feet long. Well, who wouldn't want 6-foot long legs and revel in Legalicious Heaven, and I'm pretty sure that legs are one of my favourite body parts-- another reason to adorn them with lovely shoes ;) . BUT mini skirts can be tricky to maneuver because once you lose that teenage innocence it is quite easy to suddenly look slutty or distasteful in them. As I've watched my body change from 30% Underweight Skinny Ruler (courtesy of eating 5 double cheeseburgers a day, I kid you not, if you want the story let me know lol) to Girl With Some Curves (which I am so happy for anyway, except the tummy but then again it is my fault for having the appetite of a man double my weight and never exercising), have I fathomed the precariousness of the mini skirt. For ease of classification, we'll simply dichotomise into Skinnier vs. Curvier. As common knowledge and some basic observations go, those blessed with skinnier, lankier frames have an easier time. It is simple to throw on a vest, a tank top, even a midriff with it and actually look good. Negotiating heels and mini skirts (which some vehemently declare as a no-no but we can't possibly just live with flats because we wear minis right?) actually looks quite effortless for them. Think runway models who well, look impossibly thin. Everything hangs off them in a rather generic fashion sometimes, but the point is that they don't look slutty. Real women, who eat, don't have time (or motivation) to exercise, and whose careers are not jeopardised by the gain of a kilo in weight, however, have a different time. Some tips, though.
- No tight revealing tops with the mini-- you're already flaunting loads of leg.
- Long-sleeved tops in interesting textures and prints-- think satin, silk, Pucci prints over denim minis-- or 3/4-sleeved tops. Wear them oversized (I like buying men's jumpers in XXL) and belt them up to cinch at the waist.
- Jackets over the top add some visual balance. Somehow I think a cropped jacket or bolero with a mini doesn't work quite as well, it chops your body up into odd sections and you risk looking dumpy.
- Otherwise, button-down cardigans or oversized denim chambray shirts worn as outerwear. Or cardigan left open and belted over. Even better, scarf + cardigan + belted over. Lauren from AsianCajuns executes such a Belt Your Scarf look wonderfully, except without a cardigan.
- For a day look, an oversized bag would look awesome. Plus we all like to carry everything with us including the kitchen sink and laptops. For a night look, a tiny clutch would be gorgeous.
- Socks also add visual balance. Experiment with different lengths to find the perfect ones. Over-the-knee for a slight schoolgirl twist; calf-length ones risk accentuating your calf muscles and stumpifying you; ankle-length ones have a nerdish classic twist about them; whilst I have a soft spot for pom pom socks. Primark does loads of cheap socks and that's the only reason why I visit it from time to time.
- Because I'm a SockAdvocate, socks make painful shoes feel a million times more comfortable, redress your shoes in infinitely different ways, can transform a cheap pair of runoffthemill shoes, and can also help expand the shoes that are a little too tight.
- Wedges are lovely for a day look, whilst booties look absolutely adorable when paired with minis. If you must wear flats, I like the look of classic Oxfords. Lace-up knee-high boots are gorgeous with coloured tights and minis during fall and winter, giving your skirt additional mileage even during the cold season. Personally I dig the look of pumps and mini-skirts but this look must be experimented before walking out of the door. Still, closed-toe is 'safer' then open-toe.
- Wear it with LOADS of attitude-- it's your energy you exude that makes or breaks your look. You can be exquisitely beautiful but bitter and extremely insecure and people pick that up. Besides, always makes sure YOU wear the clothes rather than let them wear you.