Friday, April 25, 2014

Stylize: Spring and structured

Top - Necessary Clothing (F '13); Necklace -
Forever 21 (UNK); Blazer - Ruche (Sp '14);
Camisole - H&M (Sp '14); Bottom - AE
Outfitters (F '13); Shoes - Payless (Sp '14)
I would be the first to admit that I'm not the trendiest person on the block. It's not even close. For one, my tomboy roots (one that has eventually bled its way into the profession I have dedicated my adult life to) keeps me from pursuing the craziest fashion choices and styles for the simple reason that where I work, it doesn't work.

For another, I'm generally unimpressed with how quickly 'trends' become trash in our hyper-consumer world, a reality that even I have plead guilty to and often have to mourn when going through the bits and pieces of my closet that I elect to discard, especially after realizing how little use a particular piece got.

So I generally try to stick to the classics, pieces that is easily mixed and matched to create different outfits - preferably an outfit for each day of the week (including weekends!). Seven outfits per piece, at least, is what I sit and strive for.

Otherwise, it turns into a piece that is too easily forgotten.

This is why a number of pieces in this outfit has been 'recycled' (so to speak) from last time.

The printed shirt retains its starring role in the outfit with the camisole and heels making a return statement. But despite the fact that the top and the shoes are back (and worn in the same way even I have to admit) it is pretty striking how two key changes basically changed the tone of this outfit from the last more casual look to this pretty strong silhouette.

Inspired by a number of pins on Pinterest (which you could peruse on my board here) maintained that 'spring is here' feeling by keeping the accent pieces light in contrast to the black chiffon top with a white blazer I spent a solid two months pining for and light jeans that gets a regular work out in my closet. The blazer gives it a really structured feel while the light-wash denim brings it down from super-fancy to something I could wear to my workplace without raising eyebrows or drawing questions as to my previous or future destination.

The big statement necklace from Forever 21 is included to add a just-so touch, but really lacks statement as the pastels blended with the pastels in the shirt. It was given to me by my sister, who became disenchanted with the look and so I salvaged it.

It tends towards the fancy side despite the casual approach, and so would only work on weekdays at work (where life tends to be a touch more structured) or for a fancy night out with friends for me, but that's my lifestyle. I'm sure it'd be great for everyday for some, too casual to go to work in for others.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Stylize: May flowers in April

Top - Necessary Clothing (Fall '13); Bottom - Forever21
(Summer '13); Camisole - H&M (Spring '14); Necklace -
Forever21 (Winter '14); Shoes - Payless (Spring '14)
Note to self: best find some nice gold bracelets to wear. Because I have none.

When I originally bought these jeans from Forever21 last July, I was actually taking aim at a pair of medium green jeans, because that was what the picture for the product appeared to have advertised the colour of these jeans.

Well they weren't a medium green. I got a minty green instead.

Funny how these things work out.

Unbeknownst to my slightly annoyed self at the time (I never did get that desired colour of green jeans ultimately) mint-coloured jeans - or really any piece in that particular shade - has become a huge trend this season what with how popular pastels of any colour is this year.

I can't yet decide if it is a trend driven by an actual fashion consortium several months in advance or it was driven by the fact that this past winter sucked.

And I mean sucked to the point where all of us are likely exhausted by our collection of sweaters in our closet, because that was honestly all we wore the last five months here in Canada.

So needless to say, the changing of the seasons and the fact that I can finally wear something that isn't just knee-high boots (bonus if they're covered in salt stains), jeans and a sweater layered with a long sleeve shirt beneath and a scarf on top has made me gone a little stir-crazy for my closet. Because after a time, I actually missed being able to wear my collection of chiffon blouses (an impossibility for me between the polar vortex outside and the freezer-like temperatures inside my office.

Which is why I pulled out this particular top today.

I actually bought this piece last fall and basically wore twice before the big nasty winter set in and it was too cold to wear this anywhere but in a sauna. I found it in People's StyleWatch magazine and I fell in love the print.

The print can be both the centerpiece of an outfit, as it is here, or can be an accent piece under the right kind of blazer thanks to its mostly neutral black base. It is see-through which means unless you mean to show off your undergarments is best worn with a camisole underneath.

And it is honestly the softest chiffon shirt I've ever owned.

Lately I've been having issues with itchy fabric in that it is irritating my skin, and the cheap chiffon you find at most fast-fashion outlets are definitely a big perpetrator. But I can fall asleep in this shirt because that's how comfortable and soft this is.

And it has put me on an eternal search for an equally comfortable chiffon top.

Add on a gold antique locket to match the antique flower print of the shirt with nude suede wedge peep-toe heels that absolutely screams warm weather and this is something I could wear both to work and to hang out with friends at a coffee shop or a restaurant. It is simple, easy but still says a lot. But if you wish to make it a touch fancier, you can further accessorize either with a gold belt (and the shirt tucked in), gold bracelets and a really nice purse. Add the right mix of hair and make-up and this can really make a statement.

Next time I'm going to recycle one of these pieces and make a totally brand new outfit that hopefully exudes a different flavour to this one, although both pieces are honestly easy to mix and match with anyone who has a really versatile closet. I really do want to see how far I can stretch each piece of my existing closet in order to see how many outfits.

And to honestly find a way to justify keeping what clothing I am choosing to keep instead of tossing away.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Bookworm: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Crossposted from Goodreads.

"This book is a work of fiction. I made it up."

There are books that entertains, amuses, distracts and describes.

Then there are books that make you think.

I opened this review not with a quote from the narrative of The Fault in our Stars or even one famously said in the past that may be able to divine the impact of the story. But no, I used a fairly pedestrian quote from his Author's Note; a piece of writing that is sometimes only skimmed if observed at all. It is a fault of the impatient humanity in us all who is less occupied with the art of book-reading than simply getting to Point A in order to advance to Point B.

I had earlier opined that those who skipped or missed the contents of the Author's Note is a fool. I had since changed that opinion, but only because others may not value the thought behind it as much as I did, or else fail to observe the significance I found in it, in which case the Author's Note is therefore rendered meaningless.

Also, it's a young adult's book, and I cannot fault the young who feel, sometimes more than they should.

For me as an adult, in two paragraphs, John Green had forever obscured how I read the book, for better or for worse.

Because from there, I walked the tightrope between becoming emotionally involved and attached as some on GR obviously have based on both the reverent and enraged reviews, while also keeping in mind that the human emotions he was eliciting within us weren't from real people.

This whole world, this whole construct was a study in the abstract art of the seemingly opposite natures of love and death. And while he tried to tread carefully without patronizing or trivializing, from the start he knew that it is not a real interpretation of the real stuff people face every day, that for many it will trivialize or patronize.

But he never attempted or intended to make it such that it was or even could equal reality. Because imagination while powerful is not real.

The pipe is not a pipe. There is nothing here to either get angry at or sad or happy. Of course, you can get emotional with the idea, but then what really are you emotional about? If it is the presumption, there were none.

If it's because the story felt real or unreal to the point of it being an insult on your being, well according to the author, you're doing it wrong.

If the arrogance or maybe the irreverence didn't please you, well I can't help you there.

The book was engaging and simply written and yet exceedingly mature and complicated, the themes moving in-and-out of the fore at such a pace that I often had to stop and consider what I just read. So simply written, complicatedly thought, if you would allow for the visual paradox.

The primary characters were unrealistic is a huge complaint with some and would normally be one of mine. Between the perfect body of the ridiculously named Augustus Waters (Hazel Grace is passable, but barely) and the far too eloquent discussions of things that university students majoring in philosophy would fail to be able to qualify if even produce a counter-argument to.

But it didn't annoy me.

Instead I wondered if in creating the abstract, he allowed himself to write as if these teenagers did not suffer from our verbal impreciseness and poor grammar and was able to communicate as the voice in our head does, which is mostly far more intelligent than our mouth would ever be.

(Trust me, I do not communicate this articulately in real life.)

Additionally, with less than half the book to go, I started seeing that the stupid name(s) in addition to the 'body of the Adonis' (if you'd forgive the Twilight reference) was less so an attempt to ingratiate the romantics but more to make sarcastic reference to a common romance book trope, while additionally stressing how unreal this book is supposed to be.

(Nevermind the significance of an ellipses and when and where they are used in this book)

The book had its surprises, but none that stopped the heart and made you question the authority of the book: predictable and yet not without its thematic significance at every corner.

Predictable because it is a book about death and dying. Death is predictable because eventually everyone dies. It is life that is unpredictable. And yet it is a book directed at a crowd that for the most part does not know dying, cannot see death in their window or at their doorstep; those who are just starting life.

But it is also about love. And nothing is more unpredictable than that, without waxing philosophical on it.

Together they are two competing events, both tragedies and triumphs that are abstract opposites and yet strikingly similar things.

All this thinking did not stop me from feeling however. I did laugh, I did tear up, and I did get upset at times. Because my emotions were real, even if emotions were just as abstract as the novel itself.

Perhaps I am reading too far into this book, creating thought where there is none. Sometimes things are written because they just are and I am just a reader who fabricates and divines how to interpret it for myself and others, therefore making this story more than what it is supposed to be: made up.

I didn't have a fiction shelf on GR, largely because as a consumer of fantasy, the majority of my books are inherently fictional and so would turn out to be mostly redundant and frankly of little use.

Out of respect for the subject matter within this book however, and the characters and emotions that belong within it, I created a fiction shelf where this will reside.

Perhaps there will be others to join it. Life is unpredictable like that.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wearing it more than once

So I own a lot of clothing. And while I certainly try my best to donate as many pieces or more as I happen to purchase, the reality is that after awhile, the stuff in your closet tends to build up over time no matter what your do.

It's not even that I have a messy system or closet set up. Actually, all my stuff has its place and designated spot and if I find I'm running out of room, that's when I start ditching clothes. So there is a system in place to keep the clutter under control. 

(Of course, that's assuming I put everything where they should go. Which I do, but more often than not they can be an unfortunate casualty on the floor of my bedroom)

But still, just based on the loads of laundry I have to do, I have a LOT of clothing.

It's actually gotten to a point that I have to actively wear a different outfit with different pieces every day simply to make use of as many items as I can so as not to feel like I'm wasting my time buying new things or keeping old ones.

And it's a bit of a vicious cycle too, buying something new and trying to work it into your closet while at the same time trying not to wear certain pieces more than once at any given point and time or reproducing an outfit you already wore earlier in the week but with different items. 

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this. 

Really it was sparked by the perplexed and slightly annoyed realization that a lot of fashion bloggers (at least the popular ones) don't recycle their pieces in their blog posts. A lot of them are kind of one-and-dones unless they actually do recycle a piece strictly as part of a gimmick.

Even the basic pieces don't get seen more than once.

And it kind of annoyed me that these are supposedly normal people who live regular lives like us can have that kind of unlimited wardrobe where almost every piece is brand new and only ever photographed once in a full year. I mean, where does all that money come from where they can keep buying all these clothing? I shop cheap and even I struggle to keep up.

Also, I think part of this is just me trying to avoid picking up my clothing and putting away laundry in addition to formally making the changeover from winter to summer wardrobes. And me wondering precisely why I have so much freaking clothing anyway.

Ultimately, I want to see where I could go with each of my pieces. I think I've built up enough of a stable set of classic pieces (minus perhaps the LBD, because I never found a style I really liked in it) to really start focusing on recycling my clothing. And possibly decide if some pieces aren't worth keeping beyond the fashion expiry date.

My closet deserves the workout anyway.