July 31, 2007

Office Fashion: Suits I

Ah work clothes. I must say, I've always somewhat dreaded wearing it before- especially business formal. I always thought that it looked more like a uniform, and since my high school uniform, which resembled a prisoner's outfit, I never want to go back to wearing them again. But alas, the real world beckons. So lets take a look into office fashion and start with suit jackets.
Suits. The first thing that pops to mind is Giorgio Armani. As I always say when I write runway reviews about them, these are the things that makes me want to work hard. Don't they just look so sexy and stylish? (Left: Giorgio Armani, Right: Ralph Lauren)
But of course, in the real world, suits are not that sexy. For my first suit, I followed my best friend's lead, and went for the Theory, Hayward (left)(and no, I did not deliberately choose the same cutting, but I found that it fitted me best). Theory isn't Armani, but its pretty good. And the fit is quite good too. But still, for the first few times I wore it, I still felt very conscious of myself, uncomfortable and old. Like I was a poser, pretending to look professional when I'm not. But this summer, having worn it more often (almost like an uniform- changing the shirt of course- such a good investment!), I'm actually feeling much more comfortable in it (maybe I've aged too!). My friend once said that wearing a suit makes her feel sexy and I was confused- now I get it!
Just witness Calista Flockheart in Brothers and Sisters. Doesn't look like an uniform at all! She just looks very chic and put together.
I think the trick to looking good in suits is the fit. So try until you find the right one. Typically, I find one button suit jackets fit the best- for me anyway(note how this whole post is filled with one button suits). They also look slightly more casual, giving it a younger and chic look. (left: Elie Tahari, right: BCBG). My only problem is that my chest is small, so I have to be careful that I don't find an one button suit that is too loose in the chest- disaster! Some cheaper options, from Express (left) and J Crew (right). Who knew J Crew HAD suits? Turns out they have a pretty good selection, so go check it out.
Besides black, I also got one (very cheap from a local store in HK) with very thin stripes. Not quite as bold as these ones from Max Studio (left) and Express (right), but these are quite nice and sharp too. Next I'm looking to get a suit in grey (not sure dark or soft yet!) and beige/white (for summer)....wow, its like a whole new door of fashion has opened up- but all this will probably be when I actually get a real full time job.

Image Credit: Elle, BCBG, Express, Nordstrom, Max Studio and Brothers and Sisters

July 29, 2007

2007 Trend: The Slogan Tees

80's styled, bright-coloured slogan tees are 'in' this year. This unfortunate trend was started by House of Holland, which basically makes loads of this kind of tees. I suppose one of the reasons why it caught people's attention was the cheeky slogans about other designers and models, (such as "Do Me Daily Christopher Bailey" and "Wham Bam Thank You Stam" or somthing like that.) I really didn't mind this trend back when the only people I saw wearing the tees were in magazines and websites. Unfortunately, my local department store has recently started selling them and now I'm actually seeing the tees worn on people and featured in local magazines around me! Bleh, I'm obviously no fan of this look.

And thanks to rising model Agyness Deyn, who is claimed to be 'cool and hip' by various magazines, House of Holland tees are now also considered to be 'cool and hip'. Uh, tacky colours much? (And I mean both Aggy's makeup and the tee, or maybe it's the combination of both.)

If you simply can't resist this trend, consider these very affordable choices by Urban Outfitters (left) and Top Shop (right.) Just because I don't like this trend doesn't mean I'm going to stop you from experimenting. Afterall, fashion's meant to be fun too and I'm sure lots of people out there love this trend!

So ok, I still don't completely get why so many people and supposedly classy magazines like Vogue are crazy for these tees. They're just so... unclassy and flashy. But I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Plus, trends pass by so quickly these days, so why not? What does everyone think about this trend?

Photo credit: http://www.style.com/, http://www.topshop.com/, http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/

July 27, 2007

Revlon Make-Up Eraser Pen

When I first saw the clipping from the magazines for this eye make-up eraser pen, I knew I had to have it. It was like they had read into my mind and knew I was looking for such a product (recall my previous musing on Jane Blog about dabbing a qtip with make-up remover, putting it in my purse and hope it still works later into the night). My friend told me she thought some brands already had such a thing, but still, this is the first time I've heard of it. So holding the $2 off coupon, I rushed out to the nearest Walgreens and picked one up (I was disappointed to find that it was not easily singled out amongst the products, in my mind, it should be placed on a pedestal).What it basically is, is a spongy/felt tip pen that is soaked with eye make-up remover (not unlike my original idea, except they figured out a way that the eye make-up remover doesn't dry out). It doesn't quite magically cleans off eye make-up at a swipe of the pen, but more like it disburses minimal amounts of eye make-up remover and kind of smudges the area. I advised you to wipe the rest off with your fingers or a qtip to get maximum cleaning effect. Even though it is not as magical as I'd hope, so far I am loving it as I've discovered two ways of using it:
  1. To very quickly and effectively get rid of make-up screw ups during application. This is especially helpful when you are applying eye liner and you accidentally make a thicker line than you wanted. Then simply swipe off the extra bits and you'll be left with a perfect eye line.

  2. To get rid of those smudges that inadvertently creeps up after a few hours of application of eye make-up- even when they say its water proof! To avoid smudges completely, I heard using bases, avoiding water/sweating and keeping your lids oil free helps...but good luck with stopping natural body responses to the environment.
Wow, if only I can patent my random thought processes. I'd make a fortune...

Photo source: Revlon

July 26, 2007

Vanessa Bruno FW07 Presentation

Ever since I've noticed the rack of Vanessa Bruno clothes at Lane Crawford (which is like the Barneys of Hong Kong,) I've loved Vanessa Bruno the brand. VB clothes are Parisian chic, cool and classily casual. Plus VB stuff is relatively affordable. It's now a norm for me to get at least one VB item each season. So imagine how excited when Lane Crawford held a little VB FW07 presentation (tonight) and Vanessa Bruno herself was actually going to be there!

The event was a typical one: half an hour of cocktail and a mini runway show. It was a small event so there weren't actually any seats, so thankfully the event was short and started on time.
The presentation is pretty much like it is on the VB website. Even the music is the same!
The first outfit that came out was a lovely trapeze coat that I've liked from the Paris runway back in Feb and have been looking out for. It swayed so nicely along with the model's walk!
This was definitely my favourite dress from the presentation. SO gorgeous! It's so perfect for mild winters (with temperature around 14 degrees Celcius, as in Hong Kong.) The dress is youthful but looks so graceful and pretty. Sigh...
Remember Elyse Sewell from America's Next Top Model many seasons ago? She's been in Hong Kong since then.
And there's Vanessa Bruno in the middle! Spot the light blonde lady in a black skirt and plum-coloured top. She fits in with the models so well.
This collage really shows the style VB's clothes... feminine, light, carefree and pretty. Everyone was invited (err, encouraged) to shop the FW collection afterwards, but I was too tired today to appreciate the clothes I was trying on and decided that I can try on the clothes another day. Also, I'm just not in the mood to shop for FW clothes yet. My sister on the other hand, got a really pretty casual dress. Hmm, I'll definitely have to go back in September for my FW shopping spree!

July 24, 2007

Smooth Legs

Previously for fear of pain and mess, I've always been satisfied with shaving. Upon seeing the very cool Veet ad for their hair removal cream (with the zig zag thing), I'd also given it a try. Alas, I was sorely disappointed when it only worked half way (ads are SO deceiving).
So I went back to shaving. And I was thrilled when they came out with a combination of two of my favourite razors- Venus and Intuition- clean smooth shave with a built in gel thing for those lazy souls out there like me. Naturally I dashed out to get one of these, Venus Breeze and was SHOCKED at the price tag ($10.99)- especially of the cartridges (23.21). But I persevered, convincing myself that each filler probably lasts longer-wrong! Because of the combination of design, the gel bar is very thin, and though it doesn't wash away as quick as the soap, it lasts for about 2 weeks at most. Ouch! Even if the catridge pack does contain 8 thats still quite pricey. (Note: If you still insist on trying it and you already own a Venus, my advice to you is just buy the refill right off the bat, because the attachment is the same. Although it may not fit onto the case anymore, it'll save you a few bucks!)
That, in addition with the recent summer heat and the short shorts trend, I decided shaving, with all its constant need of attention and unflattering stubbles after a day or so, is simply not good enough anymore. And so, I finally decided to brave the pain and go for waxing. Turns out, when it comes to beauty, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. While it was messy and slightly painful at first, I soon got over it. Especially with these Veet wax strips, which makes it even easier (just remember to wipe off the excess with their special wipes or oil). The result were exactly as they had advertised it to be- clean and it lasts for ages! My only complain is that I don't always get everything, but I've found that skill and speed comes with practice.
So I've really tried many different methods of hair removal. Next on my list would be an epilator (above: Braun). But it is kind of pricey and I heard that the pain may be worse (I mean, they are literally pulling hair out one by one instead of all in one quick rip). Has anyone tried it? And how do you all out there keep your legs smooth?

Photo Source: veet and amazon

Thoughts From the Weekend

OK, excuse this very random post. I had lots of little random thoughts over the weekend so I thought I would just group them altogether. First off, I went shopping yesterday and found out that shops are now having their 'Final Sales' (usually 50% off,) so people, this is the time to exert a lot of effort into picking out potential bargains! But remember to never to buy something that isn't up to your usual standards just because 'it's so cheap now'.

Secondly, thanks for everyone's comments on my Tiffany's earrings dilema post last Friday. I ended up buying the first one because it really is the one I originally wanted and is the only affordable choice anyways. I haven't worn them yet but I can't wait -they'll be so perfect for my next night out!

Thirdly, as I'm sure you all know by now, JANE magazine will be folding this month and has just issued its final issue ever. For those of you who've been with us for awhile, you'll know that BG and I guest-blog for JANE. So I just wanted to say bye to JANE here.

Lastly (and possibly most importantly,) what did everyone think of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? 21st July has been one day that I've been really looking foward to in the last two years. After making the rare effort to wake up on Saturday and buy the book, I absolutely refused to leave my house until I finished the book. (Thankfully I finished before dinner because I had to eat out.) I love love love the book! Everything came to a full circle and the writing was fantastic as usual. There was the best of the Potter world -friendship, growing up, witty dialogues, magic, fighting, love and the quest for answers. Even though the ending was a happy one, I felt so sad at the end because that was really the end of the whole adventure. Gosh, I'm going to miss Harry, Hermione, Ron and the whole magical world so much. *Sniff* I really must go reread it again...

July 21, 2007

Revlon Lash Jewels

The first time I saw the ad for the Revlon Lash Jewel in the mags, I thought, "Wow, they really are starting to run out of ideas. What are they going to come up with next?"

Because really, as pretty as the ad looks, why would you want to have drops of crystally things on your lashes. It doesn't really enhance your lashes to make it more dramatic or any longer. In fact, one would imagine that the extra weight will weigh down your lashes!
Despite my rationale however, I decided to give it a try anyway. I mean, who am I to argue against a whole team of Revlon product developers and researchers who probably spent hours and hours working on this product? So I carefully dripped the clear gel liquid onto my lashes trying VERY hard to get even droplets and ...... that sit! Its basically applying clear gel onto your lashes and the gel basically just stays there...like glue. It does not crystallize and shine or anything. Just sticks there like a blob of glue. And if you want it off, you can literally just pluck it off your lashes, like it was a piece of dirt. And my mom told me it looked like a piece of dirt too!

So in conclusion, it was impossible to handle and make even blobs of "jewels" on your lashes AND to top it off, the "jewel" turns out to look like blobs of glue. Needless to say, I am unimpressed. I stand by my initial reaction to this product.

Tiffany & Co.'s Elsa Peretti® Mesh Earrings

When I graduated from high school, family friends offered or actually gave me various little things from Tiffany & Co., half of which were from the Return to Tiffany's collection. Every girl around me seemed to love the collection and I don't think it was possible for me to walk around the city without seeing at least one girl wearing the braclet or necklace. But honestly, I hated it. Mostly because it was just oh-so-typical, but also because I didn't feel the particular need to be tagged "Return to Tiffany's" (even though I appreciate some girls think it's cute or whatever, no offence.) And since receiving said braclet, I've been put off Tiffany's, thinking either too many people owned the items or they were just too boring.

But a visit to Tiffany's to buy these earrings made my fall in love with Tiffany's. I now totally appreciate Tiffany's as THE place to get simple, quality jewelry. Since I can only afford the simple Tiffany jewelry once a year, I've chosen to focus on the simple shapes, namely the ones from the Elsa Peretti collection. (I can't stress how much I love this collection.)

As a little end-of-year present, I've decided on getting a pair of earrings (because earrings are almost the only jewelry I bother with,) by Tiffany's. I originally was planning to get this pair of gold mesh earrings. While I'm impartial to the little pearls, I like the shape and the way the mesh moves when you move. So last Sunday, I visited a Tiffany's boutique and tried them on. Wow. I've always wondered why people would buy these instead of the ones I see around all the time in much cheaper stores, and now I know why. The quality is amazing. The mesh feels SO smooth and silky.

After deciding the earrings were fantastic, the salesman recommended me this pair of earrings (photo above.) He said they were younger and more attractive. He was right. My mum and sister thought this pair was prettier too. This pair was younger, louder and had a way slinkier shape than the first pair. But I was so shocked by the US$1295 (HK$10000+) price tag that I left the store very quickly afterwards.

Now I'm annoyed. I mean, obviously I would like to get the Mesh Scarf Earrings (the second pair,) but there's no way I'm going to just dish out that amount of money for a pair of earrings, esp since it's not like I even have an income.

The salesman and my mum tell me that no matter which design I choose, the gold ones would last way longer than the silver ones because the silver ones tarnish quickly, whereas gold would last a long time. Another question that I'm trying to answer is that will the current trend of wearing gold jewelry end after this summer? Afterall, gold jewelry has made it's revival from the 80's around 2-3 years ago, and silver has just made it's revival this summer. But now that I think of it, these shapes are such classics I don't think they're really trend items anyways.

The salesman also (nicely and annoyingly) presented this design as an alternative. Thankfully I don't like this design as much as the others so I can quickly discard this design.

So that's my thought process. Right now I'm thinking I should just get the first gold pair because they were the original pair that I wanted and they're still really pretty and (relatively) affordable. Plus, the fact that the second pair has a louder desgin means that it's less versatile and repeatable than the first pair. Which pair would you pick?

Photo credit: www.tiffany.com

July 19, 2007

Too Short

As much as I've been going on and on about how hot short shorts are recently, there is an occasion when I don't find them so hot. And that is when it is worn by guys. I don't mean to be sexist here, but when it comes to short shorts for guys, there is such a thing as being too short.

I thought this was just one of those obvious rules that everyone knows about and adheres to, but apparently not. When I was flicking through the Prada men's catalog for SS07- purely for research purposes of course ;)- I was aghast to see men wearing such short shorts! Call me traditional, but I do not think guys (no matter how good looking they are) should be wearing such short shorts on the streets in public unless they're going to the beach.
Especially not printed short shorts with a printed top. It just seems so inappropriate! I thought that perhaps this may be a phenomena reserved for the runway like some trends are. But my friend assures me that it is not and that one of his friends actually own a pair by Marc Jacobs. So just to reiterate, men should not wear short shorts on the streets no matter what Prada says.

Ps. Who else is jealous that these male models seems to have better and more hairless legs than most women?

Photo Source: Men.style.com

July 18, 2007

My Dream Shoes ATM: Nude-Coloured Shoes

Ever since Hilary Duff started doing promotion for her CD, there have been more and more photos (paparazzi and at events) of Hilary and I really started to notice her clothes. (Yes, I know she's got a stylist who picks out her outfits with her.) The one item that I've really loved and have been inspired to look out for are nude-coloured pumps.

I admit I've never thought of nude-coloured shoes before seeing Hilary in them. I've only recently read that nude was apparently one of the IT colours of the 80's, thanks to Armani. Normally, when I think of versatile shoes, I think of typical black pumps. If you think about it, celebrities have all been wearing black or metallic-coloured shoes recently. So as an alternative to those typical colours, I think nude looks pretty fab. Nude doesn't add much colour to your outfit, and it goes with a lot of different coloured outfits. Look at Hilary's outfits -the nude-coloured shoes go with her orange dress, all-black outfit, and the white and grey outfit. Very versatile and sophisticated. Plus they seem to sort of extend one's legs don't they?

This pair of beige-coloured Christian Louboutin pumps are SO gorgeous. I love the colour and the shape, (although I'm not big on the wooden soles.) Don't they look absolutely perfect with the black dress? The only problem with beige-coloured shoes is that they're extremely hard to find cheap/ affordable ones that don't look cheap. They are definitely on my look-out-for list now!

July 17, 2007

SS07 Trend: Peep Toe Shoes

As I am sure most of you have noticed by now, peep toe shoes are all the rage this season. After many months, I finally hoppped onto the peep toe wagon as well.

Not so much because I was thinking about this trend too much, but more because I was waiting for them to go on sale. As most of my friends know, I've been lusting after this pair of Marc by MJ peep toes for MONTHS, because its so simple and elegant and the height looks just perfect. At some point I was going to give up, because my mom told me that white patent will go yellow after some time. But in the end, I FINALLY caught them at half price and got them. And I'm LOVING them. Except I accidentally dented the heel a bit at the back recently and patent leather is not really fixable :(

For other simple, summery and elegant choices, I am loving these pairs from Aldo (left) and Steve Madden (right). Especially the Steve Maddens. My friend has the similar Marc by MJ slip ons and it looked SO GORGEOUS!

After my shoe drought of the past few months, I started REALLY getting into peep toes...especially with the amazing sales going on around me. I bought a pair of black patent wedges similar to these Aldo (left) ones here with the cross in the front. They are soo cute and very similar to these ones at Chanel which is waaay out of my budget. I love the cross thing because it adds a bit of a twist to the simple wedges, unfortunately though, it also pinches and hurts in the front, so I'm still trying to wear them out. For something just as simple but interesting, I like these flats from Steve Madden (right). Except make sure you get the right size, there is nothing more unflattering then too much feet peeping out at the toe.

For the night, I love these peep toes from Jean-Michel Cazabat (left) and Aldo (right), and I don't even generally like snake skin. But in this instance, they just seem so appropriate for this style!

But alas, I guess I will always go for the classics. I ADORE these pair of sexy black peep toe sling backs by Jimmy Choo (Left). And then there are these gorgeous red heels by Oh..Deer (right). They even have a red sole, so you can pretend they are Louboutins!

Quick question for you working girls out there. Googling up "Business Casual" and "Office Clothes," I found this list of tips from about.com, and it said that "any shoe with an open toe are not acceptable in the office." Do you agree? Does that completely rule out peep toe shoes, even though they look perfectly demure and acceptable to me? i.e. my pair of white Marc by MJ's...

July 15, 2007

Eye Serum Recommendations Please!

During winter, I use a light eye cream every night. But now that it's summer and it's so much easier for my pores to get blocked, I've stopped using any product that is oily. For my eyes, I've switched back to using an eye serum + eye gel routine. The eye gel I'm currently using is the one by Laneige and the eye serum is by La Prairie. The problem is, by little bottle of La Prairie serum is about to run out and I need a new bottle. Not that the La Prairie serum wasn't good, but as usual, I'm on the market for one by a brand I haven't tried before.

After lots of 'research' (surfing on makeupalley.com and various beauty sites,) the first product that became an obvious choice was Sisley's famous Botanical Eye & Lip Contour Complex. Most of the reviews that I've read on MUA and heard from my friends have been very positive. Supposedly, the product is excellent. Unfortunately, after the saleslady tried it out on my hand and made me want the product, I discovered the product was more expensive than I thought. So sadly, I put it down and left.

Now I'm thinking of trying out DDF's Bio-Molecular Firming Eye Serum. Even though I haven't really read any reviews on this product, it is a bit cheaper than Sisley and looks ok. (As you can tell from the tone of my thinking about this product, I'm suddenly less picky because I'm sick of all the over-researching and thinking I do for a skincare product.) Have any of you ever used this product?

The question I have for you is, do you have any eye serum recommendations? Please help!

Photo credit: www.laprairie.com, www.sephora.com, www.strawberrynet.com

July 12, 2007

The New Seven Wonders of the World

So today I am going to talk about the New Seven Wonders of the World, because fashion is a lifestyle and travelling is definitely a LARGE part of lifestyle-jetsetting! Anyways, on July 7th, the new seven wonders of the world was announced and in no particular order they were:The Great Wall of China: This was definitely on my list when I voted a few months back. And I think its on there for obvious reasons.
Petra, Jordan: On the edge of the Arabian Desert, Petra was the glittering capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV all the way back in the days. And it is famous for structures built within the stones. I'm not much of a traveller of going to the middle of nowheres, but this is definitely something I want to see for myself- its mysterious, exotic and ancient!
Christ the Redeemer: Atop the Corcovado mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro, it was inaugurated on October 12 1931. I can see how it represents Brazil and everything and I do hope someday to see it. But I'm slightly confused as to how it made it onto the new 7 wonders list. I guess I'm just being traditional thinking, but I always had the preconception that the 7 wonders should be old and 1931 is not THAT old comparatively.
Macchu Picchu, Peru: The lost city of Inca. In the 15th century, the city was built in the clouds on the mountain known as Machu Picchu. It lies halfway up the Andes Plateau, deep in the Amazon jungle and above the Urubamba River. This is yet another exotic place I'd like to visit once in my life.
Chichén Itzá, Mexico: The most famous Mayan temple city of the Mayan Civilization. I don't have too great an urge to see this one, but some of my friends have been and they say its quite worth a visit. Another plus, is that this is definitely one of the more accessible places to visit as a student..spring break anyone?
Roman Colosseum, Italy: The ONE thing on the list I've actually been to! Albeit it was a long time ago. I remember wondering why there were so many holes on the walls, because they never show up in the pictures i.e. here. But as a 11 year old I was not too impressed by it, but I probably just was not able to appreciate it then. Maybe I should take another trip to Rome just to refresh my memory....
Taj Mahal, India: Another place I've always wanted to go to, just because it looks sooo cool and mystical and I want to see it before the marble structure gets erroded away by acid rain. In fact, if it wasn't for wikipedia, I would still be thinking that it IS one of the original 7 wonders of the world.

So that was the popularly voted new 7 wonders of the world. But I wonder how close the votes were, because there were quite a few places that I thought deserved a place on the list too that is not there.

Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt: My first reaction, was to wonder why the Great Pyramids of Giza was not there. As the one and only surviving structure of the original 7 wonders of the world, one would think it would deserve a place on the new list, if not for all the history, mystery and culture of the Ancient Egyptian civilization it represent then simply for surviving! But I want to see this too. I'd even risk the smelly camels...although I hear that they've evolved to jeeps by now.

Acropolis, Greece: Then there is the Acropolis in Greece, which represents the other great empires of history- the ancient greek civilization. Just looking at the picture makes me want to read all the greek myths and go there and imagine what it was like back in the days. Hagia Sophia, Turkey: The other thing on my list that didn't make it. I studied it in Medieval Arts class. Originally built as a Christian church in the Byzantine empire, it was converted to a mosque when it was conquered by the Ottomon Turks in 1453. The main dome structure is supposed to be an amazing piece of art and architect and I'd LOVE to experience the mystical quality of the light that reflects into the interior of the church from the dome windows for myself.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany: Not actually on my list. But I was definitely considering it for the magical, mystical and fairy tale quality of it. Plus, I heard that is where Disney got their inspiration from for their castle. And where the magic starts, I want to go.

Timbuktu, Mali: And I thought I'd throw this in, just for existing, because I'm embarassed to say that before voting for this, I'd always thought that Timbuktu was a figure of speech (I think I heard it in Anastasia...). Turns out that it was the crossroad of the four most important caravan paths supplying the Arab world in the 12th century. Well, we learn something new everyday....

Wow, looks like I have a LOT of travelling to do....