November 30, 2005

My First Black Friday

So having slept through black friday last year, I was very excited about taking part in the festivities this year. I have the image of Veronica and Betty waiting ready to break into the store and charge in my head. This year for thanksgiving break I went to San Francisco, where my hotel was at the prime shopping location a block away from Saks and Macy's and above BCBG-what more does one need?

That morning on the TV, we saw people in NY and other places rushing into stores, fighting over each other to shop, armed with plans on where to shop and all. It looked really exciting! Figuring I had a head start from everyone since we were so close, we sat down had breakfast on the day and went out at 9am. But before we even got out the door we were flooded with hotel guests RETURNING loaded with bags (mostly from Macy's) like the woman above. Except the bags are red and real people obviously do not shop with grace and poise.

So I hurried out to Macy's and was struck by the amount of people. I looked around at the things I'd previously scouted expecting to see a dramatically reduced price tag-and was stopped short. They weren't on sale! Nothing I had my eye on was on sale. What were these people BUYING? Whats the point of braving the crowd when you could've bought these on winter sale on normal days? So I, somewhat disappointedly, scouted other places and ended up with a cashmere pink Ralph Lauren sweater and Coach loafers and heels. But it wasn't anything on mega sale, just the usual winter sale prices.

The best deal I got that day was from the last place I'd imagined- Neiman Marcus! They had this addition 30% off already on sale items. And it was awesome, because they had Marc by Marc Jacobs and all these other really awesome stuff on sale! I managed to get a red velvet jacket from Cynthia Steffe and a purple shirt from Velvet. But again, this happened all weekend long-so it wasn't necessary to wake up too early on black friday to get to it- although sizes and styles DO run out.

Overall my black friday was an interesting experience. A little disappointing due to the lack of mega sales. A little confusing as to why its such a big deal. But very interesting to see so many people out on the streets determined to shop. It is a rare sight indeed.

Oh and one last question. Why is the biggest shopping day of the year called "black friday"??

November 29, 2005

Free People

Two years ago, I bought a pretty pink sleeveless top by Free People. At that time, Free People was still a new brand and actually, I didn't even know it was a brand. As I started to buy more clothes from Free People, I got curious and tried to find its website, but I couldn't since it didn't exist back then. About a year later (last year,) I started to notice that my favourite characters on TV were wearing clothes by Free People, and sometimes even the same clothes! It's just so exciting when that happens.

Anyways, here are some screencaps of the TV characters I adore wearing Free People:

Rory (Gilmore Girls) shows how down-to-earth students wear simple clothes but still look stylish. Tops like these are usually available at Urban Outfitters.
Summer (The OC) looks femininely boho wearing this Free People dress, (although it seems a bit too dressy for school.)
Marissa (The OC) looking effortlessly stylish as usual. The cardigan she's wearing is made of two materials and prints. Free People is fantastic at mix-matching colours and prints in a quirky yet still wearable way.

The good news is that Free People is actually affordable and it has a website now so you can get ideas of how to match outifts creatively.

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Free People makes brilliant knitwear and sweaters. A lot of them are crafty and comfortable to wear. I LOVE this cardigan. The design (the flowers) and materials (pearls etc.) are so pretty and unique-looking. It's versatile in that you can wear it for a dress-proper occasion, and you can also wear it for casual, everyday wear. Fabulous huh?

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Eveyone should own sweaters like this, (not necessarily in pink of course.) They're nice and comfy. I can totally picture someone wearing that when just hanging out with her friends at someone's house or getting cozy with a book at a coffee shop.

Free People clothing is sold at Urban Outfitters and department stores like selected Macys and Bloomingdales.

November 27, 2005

Kerastase In Salon Rituals

A few weeks ago, I suddenly realised the importance of self-pampering. I mean, life is short and I'm not going to be young forever. Ever since dying and highlighting my hair two months ago, my hair has been drier than before. And I'm absolutely freaked of split ends, so I decided that even though it was going to be costly, I deserved to get a proper hair treatment at a hair salon.

So I made a Sat afternoon appointment at the Charles Worthington London salon. The nice ladies at the salon washed my hair first and sat me down. Then they mixed a little bottle of Kerastase Resistance Concentré Vita-Ciment with a few scoops of Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense Cheveux Epais. The Concentre Vita-Ciment is an intensive, concentrated formula which replaces missing or damaged inter-cellular cement of weakened hair, (see the little green bottle shown below.)
The Kerastase Nutritive Masquintinese Cheveux Epais is this amazing intensive hair mask which restores moisture into unhealthy hair, (see orange jar above.) The salon girl applied the mixture with a brush layer by layer into my hair. Then she used a hair straightener to press through each layer of hair. The reason for this is not to straighten the hair, but to use the heat to help penetrate the chemicals into the hair.
After the salon girl washed my hair and blew dry it, I was completely AMAZED by how shiny and smooth my hair looked. My hair colour totally showed up beautifully and my friends who saw me that day all noticed the shiny hair. And most importantly, my hair felt SO healthy and rejuvinated.

I totally recommend that everyone book themselves an in-salon hair treatment a few hours before your Christmas dinners and parties. It really makes a BIG difference to how your hair looks, plus you get a professional blow-dry. As the L'oreal ads say, 'Because I'm worth it'!!

November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving sales today so......

I hear it's the Thanksgiving Sales in the States today. I am so jealous of the Americans, or anyone who is in the States today. It's SO sad here at London -a lot of sales don't start until very near Christmas, or even after Christmas.

I can't believe it's already the end of November. The signs of nearing the end of the school term are showing -I haven't talked or MSNed Barneys Girl for FOUR days! That's quite a long record for us. She just finished her mid-terms and I just handed in a long essay, so we've been rather busy this week. I don't know whether to be happy that the holidays are starting soon or not. Barneys Girl is probably happily shopping in San Francisco with her mum and aunt now, and I hear The OC Season 1 calling me, so I leave you with this Shopaholic quiz, (just open in new window.) The quiz is a bit too short to be perfect, but don't you think it's rather appropriate for today?

Link to Shopaholic quiz from ElleGirl. Do come back to let us know what you are! It's all good fun. *Muah*

November 25, 2005

Asian Models Update: Hye Park and Du Juan

Remember back in March when I wrote about Asian models? Looking back, I didn't realise it would cause so much controversy -there were a lot of supporting comments but also a few racist ones. I suppose that is to be expected since there are an awful lot of narrow-minded people out there.

I was inspired to write about them when I saw a few Asian models on the FW05 catwalks. And not suprisingly, in the recent SS06 catwalks, even more Asian models were seen. Why are designers suddenly using more Asian models? I'm sure everyone knows that Chinese consumers are aplenty, rich and LOVE designer brands. LVMH and other fashion houses' continuous profit growths are mostly thanks to China, (the Chinese do love their LV and Gucci monogram bags.) And with the recent launch of
Chinese Vogue and the opening of Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, designers need Asian models to show the Chinese (and other Asians) how their clothes can be adopted into their lifestyle.

I've narrowed down to two prominent Asian models here:
Hye Park -An obvious choice. This Korean girl is a favourite Asian model of the designers on the catwalks. And most importantly, she stars in FW05 Roberto Cavalli ad along with five other models. I think she's one of the only Asian model to be featured in designer ads.

The catwalks: Donna Karan and Peter Som SS06

The catwalks: Marc by Marc Jacobs SS06 and Miu Miu FW05

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Roberto Cavalli FW05 campaign

Du Juan -In China, she's most famously known as Miss China 2003. To us, she's the beautiful Chinese girl who graced the first ever Chinese Vogue cover along with Gemma Ward. She was only seen on a few catwalks, but she's got great potential and she really is quite exquisite looking. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her in next season's shows.

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Vogue China Sept. cover -Du Juan is on the far left, (next to Gemma)

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Vogue Paris Oct. cover -From the same photoshoot with Gemma

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On the catwalk in Diane von Furstenburg SS06 -she looks so pretty here!

November 23, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

No matter your age, style or whether you love or hate it, the latest Harry Potter movie is just something everyone must see. From all reviews, it is supposedly THE best Harry Potter movie so thus far-so I was psyched. Many lame movie trailers later, the movie finally began.

And I must say, it wasn't exactly as mind-shatteringly-good as everyone hyped it up to be. I found everything a bit abrupt. One minute they were at the Quidditch World Cup and the next the 2 schools participating in the Triwizard Tournament was arriving. How does that work? I understand that its hard to fit a 700 page book into a 2 hour movie, but it just didn't flow very well.

I also found that many things just didn't fit what I had in mind when reading the book. Take Fleur Delacour for example. She is supposed to be minding-stoppingly beautiful and gorgeous. But I'm sorry, does she look mind-stoppingly beautiful here to you? And what is with their entrance, where the group of girls did this really lame "sighing" thing as they walked into the hall???

Then there was Professor Dumbledore. He continues to not live up to my idea of Dumbledore. He's too skinny. Not stately enough. And well. . too ALIVE. Dumbledore (in my head anyway) is supposed to look like he should be dead, but because he's so amazing, isn't dead. And he's supposed to be calm and the answer to all problems. His anger, confusion and helplessness when Harry was chosen as one of the triwizards just did not work.

Then there was Hermione's transformation for the dance. She's supposed to be so transformed that no one even recognizes her! But obviously we all recognize her as the Hermione we know except with her hair up and in a dress. A dress which by the way is way too frilly. And isn't it weird that suddenly she's accepting a drink from Viktor and then she is screaming at Ron and Harry and crying? She's also not a very good actress. Some bits the expression just blatantly did not match the context. Like when she said, "Boys. . " Also note that her date, Viktor Krum her supposedly amazingly hot quidditch player date is not so hot. .

In fact, now that Oliver Wood has graduated, the only good looking guy on the show- Cedric Diggory- is not even that hot!He has like a weirdly blotchy complexion. AND he dies. So I guess we won't be seeing him again. . .

Other points of interest of a more fashion nature. Cho Chang actually looked really nice at the dance. Her outfit and whole look was very elegantly put together. A little reminscent of Ziyi Zhang.

And entirely random and out of context. This is not a very good picture. But if you've seen the movie, don't you think that the Madame Maxime portrayed in the movie looks like our ever so fashionable Anna Wintour?? Something to do with her bob and style.

Overall though, it was a very satisfying Harry Potter movie and totally worth the wait!

November 22, 2005

How To Wear Skinny Jeans

So a week or so ago, anonymous brought up the interesting question of how should one wear skinny jeans.Skinny jeans are quite "the" thing this season. I myself have bought a pair of skinny jeans a couple months ago. They are by Joe's, entitled the "cigarette leg" and comes with a delightful little necklace with "cigarette leg" emblazoned on it. Can't quite find a picture of them, but they are at the stores.

As to how to wear them, well there is the typical way of wearing them-tucked into your boots. I mean, the design of them does make it amazingly easy to tuck into boots. Flared jeans are such a pain to tuck. When it comes to tucked into boots, I think Miss Sixty does quite a good job of it in their latest campaign. Is it the denim, or does that model on the right really DOES have such skinny thighs?

Then of course, you can wear your skinny jeans as it is with heels. They effect can be fabulously slimming-like this model on the right wearing Dolce and Gabanna. This effect is also can be seen on the mannequin wearing the skinny jeans from the Stella Macartney for H&M collection. The heels don't need to be pointy, this sandal with skinny jeans look from the D Squared runway works very well too.

In fact they don't even need to be heels. They could be flats! The key is that it is slimming in itself. Like these pointy flats above by Franklin Elman. And remember, no chunky sneakers please! Ok, now that we've established the basics-time for some fun!

For that, we look towards the catwalk of the two most fashion forward names in the industry- Alexander MacQueen and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Roll up those skinny jeans-neatly to show off your funky footwear (although this one IS a bit extreme. . ) or -not-so-neatly to achieve a casually thrown together chic.

November 21, 2005

Bag Trend Fall/Winter 2005 I: Tassles

Every season, there are trends that come in as quickly as they go out. Though not exactly what one would call timeless, they ARE however always a lot of fun to mix and match with. This season, the "passing" by bag trend are tassles add ons!

First up: tassles. They are absolutely EVERYWHERE. Most adorably brought to us by the trendsetter himself, Marc by Marc Jacobs. There is a whole collection of these tassled-up Marc by MJ bags out there.

Like poms poms to a cheerleader, these tassles is a really cute addition. Added to a simple clutch, like this one from Ted Baker, it just adds life and well. . cheerfulness to the whole bag. So now we have tassles on bags as decorations, tassles on zips

And then there are tassles on the ends of drawstring bags- by Juicy Couture (which is cute)and . .

By Anthropologie (which is not so cute). Its easy to see why this will only be a passing phase. Apart from reminding one of pom poms, it also brings up the image of curtain decorations, both as the rope holding the curtains up and the decorations hanging from the trims. Especially this one from Anthropologie, its looks like they had too much material left from the new curtains in their office and decided to use it to make bags. It really is a thin line between carrying extra curtain materials and a cute trendy bag. . .

November 20, 2005

Juicy Couture Accessories FW05

Usually I think Juicy bags are... well, ugly and poorly designed. Seriously, only very unstylish preppy kids carry those candy-colored bags. This season, Juicy is going way out to create new accessories. And the suprising thing is that some of these designs are actually stylish!

The bags and jewelry designs have been highly improved -I see bags without 'Juicy Couture' plastered all over them; I see jewelry that can be worn with non-preppy outfits; and most importantly, I see some great accessory designs that are youthful, casual yet still chic without being tacky.
This is such a cool, everyday bag. It reminds me of Kate Spade bags but in a more casual, trendy way.

OK, so this bag is pink. Very pink. But its perfect for a casual dinner out. The golden chains are much classier than typical Juicy stuff.

This Juicy clutch is actually elegant! It still says 'Juicy' on it but in a subtle manner. I can totally picture someone wearing a dress for a nice night out holding this clutch.

Dangly sparkly horseshoe earrings. (Horseshoes are just so trendy nowaday.) Perfect with the little black dress.

Love this ring. It's like a mini belt on your fingers! And the platinum-gold color is just perfect for next year's trend!

November 19, 2005

Hairstyle Trend Fall/Winter 2005 II

A few weeks ago, I talked about one of this season's trendy hairstyles -the 60s big volume hair. Today I'm going to talk about a hairstyle which is super causal. Actually it looks so casual you might not even realise it's actually considered a 'hairstyle'! This hairstyle is the single-sided ponytail.

You're thinking huh? That's right, the single-sided ponytail made an elegant appearance in the FW05 catwalks and it's legally fashionable to wear it now. I love this hairstlye because it is so great for everyday-wear. It gives off the effortlessly cool vibe when worn with the 'bum' look, (the big sweater with loose pants look when you laze around;) it also transforms into a graceful, chic hairstyle when worn with more intelligent-looking clothes.

The catwalk show that brought upon this trend: Miu Miu FW05

Seems amazingly effortless stylish right? Actually since it's on the catwalk, you can guess it's not so effortless. First, make sure your hair is straight and shiny. Side part the front half of your hair, and comb back the back half. Tie your hair loosely to the side with more hair. Spray a bit of hair spray onto the crown of your hair and backcomb to give it some volume. Lastly, organise the front side parting of your hair is nearly covering one of your eyes. (You might want to spray some hairspray here too.)

So how do you wear this seemingly simple ponytail in real life? See our always fashionable Marissa (The OC) here:

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See how cool it is? Totally laid-back and pretty. For a variation, braid the ponytail:

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November 18, 2005

Petro Zillia

I first noticed Petro Zillia on Marissa in the OC and then she propped up again last weekend when I randomly bought a t shirt from them at Billion Dollar Babes- I was intrigued.

Looking at Nony Tochterman's collection, its no wonder! Her designs are feminine in an edgy kind of way. They are all very unique and different from what you'd find elsewhere. In fact, they're really "out there."

Naturally, not head to toe Petro Zillia. That would be way too out there. I'm saying to take a piece from Nony's collection and match it with the basics. Like the floral shirt in the first row middle. It would look awesome with jeans. Of course, this is not a brand for everyone. This is a brand for girls who are confident and girly, but want to be different.