Tuesday, 30 June 2009
The skirt - double tiered circle skirt. The bodice tacked on to my own body for measurement and stitched into place. The straps added on a whim.
And when I walked out into the rare precious hot days of an English summer, a little girl grabbed her mother and said "LOOK mummy, a FAIRY dress!"
Figures. I blame Enid Blyton.
The grey Mary Janes are one of those dream eBay finds. Was it £3? Or 99 p.? I forget. But these leather wedges are more than worth it.
Dress - Handmade. Material sourced from eBay
Belt - Cats Whiskers (RM25)
Dragonfly necklace - Diva (RM29)
Shoes - eBay
Monday, 29 June 2009
Dress - RM10 (after, like, over 80% discount I think), Cats Whiskers
Belt - RM35 (after 50% off), Naf Naf
Shoes - RM50, VKI in Sungei Wang
The minute I clapped eyes on this dress over a year ago, I think, I wanted it. "It's a Carrie dress!" I breathed excitedly to my girlfriends. (I am a Sex And The City fan--clearly!)
They merely raised their eyebrows at me while mumbling something about how it was too....stripey. Loud. What-have-you.
Updated on 30/06:
Gracious me! I got this link in an email from my friend in the States, who was browsing some sites when she chanced upon this:
It's an Anna Sui dress! I'm not sure from which season/year it's from, but hey, an RM10 Anna Sui lookalike? I'm doing the Happy Feet dance with sheer glee.
Friday, 26 June 2009
But the hairband-crush was so bad that I caved and popped into Diva (where Mel bought her hairband) to try and find something that would satisfy the cravings. And I found this lovely which I adore.
First off, it's a headband. And headbands LIKE my head. They make my hair look perkier, and they don't give me horrid headaches. Plus, it makes me feel like I have a fascinator on - something I've always wanted to be able to prance around in.
Now to invent more outfits to wear it with!
Headband: Diva - RM29
I just want to say to the readers of this blog that I'm terribly sorry about not covering the shoes along with the outfit. I thought that I could spin more posts out of my limited wardrobe (well relatively limited... I'm no Imelda) by splitting up the shoes, accessories and dresses. But it's not really fair is it? Because outfits work together. So I promise, from now on, FULL outfits - even if it means there are fewer posts.
These shoes everyone seems to love. Even the young guy in the mamak store who stared at my legs (feet?) awhile and finally screwed up the courage to ask, "Where did you buy those shoes?"
My first thought was, my god are they THAT trannie? But thank goodness he went on, "For my girlfriend....". Sweet guy. Don't we all wish our guys had taste like that?
The shoes, as you can see from my capering about, are not as uncomfortable and precarious as they look. The platform makes it lovely to wear despite it's sky-scraper heels. It also has wonderful rubber soles which gives them excellent grip and the soft straps hold my feet firmly - giving me firm footing.
They make me ten-feet tall with sky-scraper legs, and I love prancing around in them. I call them my "stork shoes".
So ladies (and one guy as far as I know), these shoes are from Cats Whiskers, and they are also available in Salmon Pink and black. Here's something I've learnt from calling around the various Cats Whiskers outlets. The one that's in Damansara Perdana, the one that's directly opposite my office, is the BEST stocked of the lot. It's where all the merchandise comes first before it's sent out. Alternatively you can order online and ask for it to be delivered to you, or your nearest Cats Whiskers outlet.
Shoes: Cats Whiskers - RM99 (bought with 10% discount)
Thursday, 25 June 2009
At the risk of starting this off on a whiny note, I'm one of the unfortunate (for my always precarious bank balance) ones who adores everything. Really.
Case in point, when I started doing the interview rounds in hopes of securing a job? Acting most preemptively in case should all shoemakers around the world decide to suddenly go on strike leaving us all barefoot and at the risk of contracting worms (ahem), I went out and bought, er, nine pairs of shoes.
But anyhoo, this isn't about shoes, this post is about dresses.
At last count, I have about 40 dresses in my possession here in Malaysia--this is not counting the stuff I left behind at my fiance's place in Australia, where I believe I have easily another 10 dresses or so.
I'm also a firm believer in spreading the love, so cousins and friends of mine (who have benefitted from my weight gain over the last few years) have found themselves babysitting articles of clothing I have promised to reclaim should I ever lose the five kilos I've been trying to drop--not for the sake of being model-thin, but for the sake of fitting into those lovely dresses again!
With this somewhat disgusting number of dresses, it would be easy for one to assume that I must be absolutely rolling in cash--this is a myth I simply must debunk immediately! I am a firm believer that looking good doesn't necessarily cost you a fortune.
My primary source of dresses, believe it or not, is my family.
My youngest aunt is an extremely talented costume-maker--in her free time, she also copies designs she fancies in shops and makes clothes for herself. As you can imagine, she had quite a collection of pretty dresses, in the choicest fabrics and top-notch tailoring. As she got older, her taste changed, and I found myself most delightedly pawing through bags of dresses that were now too small for her.
My older cousin is a now-reformed compulsive shopper. Having more earning power than me, and having traveled lots more, she too has an impressive collection of clothes. She too, passes on stuff to me if the cutting does not suit her, or if things are too small (she's a UK size 10 on top and 12 bottom, I'm a size smaller overall).
I've also been known to borrow stuff from my younger female cousins--in fact, between my 13 year-old cousin A, 17 year-old cousin H, and myself, we've all worn the same dress on several different family occasions!
So yes, a primary source of pretty dresses for me are swaps, perma-loans or giveaways. I am not bothered whatsoever by the fact that someone has owned a dress before me; in fact I adore how I have a part of their history with me. Imagine what scrapes and adventures they got up to in the same dress I'm in now!
Pity I don't have a nicer, full-length picture of this that doesn't involve me pulling some kind of spastic face at the camera, but it was after my uni ball in 2007 and I was happy! The flower in my hair, by the way, was nicked off the dinner table and presented to me by a charming man friend.
Just a bit of history, my dad's younger sister had this cheongsam made for her wedding over 23 years ago. It was then passed on to her youngest sister who wore it for her wedding, before passing it on to me - still in pristine condition. Now, it's back in the possession of the aunt-who-originally-owned-this-dress's daughter!
Anyway, this leads me to my second-favourite source of dresses: thrifting. It could be through op shops (usually in Australia--they sell second-hand or surplus stock), bazaars, or flea markets--I love finding dresses and things that are more unique and have a sense of personality as opposed to simply buying in-store.
Of course, I am not immune to the charms of a beautiful window display (especially if the words '70% Sale!' are emblazoned across in bright letters). I do adore browsing for new dresses, but unless the price is right or I'm absolutely in love, I am a lot more wary about making regular retail purchases.
In case you were wondering, I rarely spend above RM100 on any given item of clothing. In fact, for me to spend above RM60 on something means I must really really like it.
But it's impossible! I hear you cry, to find decent dresses at bargainous rates! You must be some kind of voo-doo witch.
Nay, dear reader, impossibility is but nothing to me. Not when you have Super Duper Nyonya genes, which by some stroke of luck, Kahani has too, albeit of the northern variety.
For a list of some of my favourite places to shop for dresses under RM100, stay tuned because that post will be heading your way soonish!
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Ok that sounded creepy. I don't really do cutesy too well, you know?
This teal dress (to quote Syen: "It's not blue, it's TEAL". To do it right, use a superior tone and tilt your head a little) comes from that unassuming but continually updated upstairs boutique, Cats Whiskers. On different occasions. The belt (love how it matches the shoes!) is from Paperdoll Boutique in Tropicana Mall.
I wear it all the time now, to work, for play... and even when I'm not, I secretly want to.
Dress: Cats Whiskers - RM63 (after 30% discount)
Belt: Paperdoll Boutique - RM39
Monday, 22 June 2009
You know, good hair day, work is more fun than usual, catching up with mates in a most unexpected way, getting the best hug in a long time from a friend's mum, getting pretty new work clothes at a discount...
These are precious days. Truly.
Dress - AU$30, some shop on Bridge Rd, Melbourne
Enjoy them, because eventually an utterly rubbish day (or week, or month even, eeps) will eventually land on your lap.
To remind myself of this truth, I got a tattoo of the words "This too shall pass" done on my wrist this year on Wesak Day. As a lapsed practicing Buddhist, I thought it was apt, what with the timing and all.
You know, the transience of life. How the bad times won't last forever, but neither will the good.
And no, it didn't really hurt any more than a normal tattoo would. Just remember to breathe ;)
Note: Kahani and I both sport a bit of ink--as you can see in some of her photos, she has an adorable dragonfly on her shoulderblade. I have another one, somewhere on my being. Heh.
I suppose we better add a quasi-disclaimer here that we are in no way encouraging you, dear reader, to get inked--or to don a pretty dress and jump around madly, for that matter.
But if you so feel the need to do so, do it with pride!
It's also my lucky-travel-dress. It's hard to see, but here I'm wearing it in front of the Rialto Bridge in Venice. The picture was taken by Terry an unusually-named Venetian who, together with his buddies, took me on a fun tour of Venice which I was touring "alone". The day ended with drinks in a corner of Venice no tourist would ever find, sipping Spritz cocktails - the native cocktail of Venice.
Before running into Terry, I was offered a free across-the-canal-and-back ride on a gondola by a classic striped-shirt gondolier (yes I took it. Whee!) and had 2 free espressos on bars.
I also picked up 3 roses, two in Milan when I wore this dress out and about. Bless Italian men and their love for girls in pretty dresses.
I was also wearing the dress in Paris (it never needs ironing and washes out easily - perfect travel dress!) when a tour-boat guide I met on his break near the Eiffel tower offered me a free ride.
So here's my travel tip for you. In all that practical gear you're toting around - bring a pretty sundress for a sunny day. It makes people smile - French waiters sweetly teach you the right way to eat escargo, Italian minstrels seranade you, and Englishmen give you daisies.
Somehow I doubt any of this would have happened if I was dressed in combat gear with a bulgy backpack strapped to me. So wear a pretty dress and a happy smile. People are nicer.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
As soon as a lady walked past in a lovely floral dress, I grabbed mom's hand excitedly, pointed and said "LOOK Mummy! Pretty!". Then I looked down at my dungaree'd-self and said sadly, "Not pretty". Pointed at mom and said, "Not pretty".
She got the message.
Sure you can't go through life wearing dresses all the time. Skirts, jeans, shorts... etc all play a part. But nothing beats the swishy feeling of a flirty dress as you cavort through life. As Anne of Green Gables once said, "It's so much easier to be good if you know your dress is pretty".
When I look into my closet of dresses, I see memories. I toured Oxford in a dress, and raised a pint with some Americans I met in CS Lewis and Tolkien's pub - The Eagle and Child:
I celebrated the eve of the Dutch queen's birthday in Amsterdam with mad orange-wigged classmates in a dress:
And of course, one cannot go to a fantasy fair held around a castle in Haagen, Netherlands in anything BUT a dress:
I won't tell you more about these frocks now. You'll hear about them later as the blog progresses. Well, maybe not the elf-dress. I don't see myself wearing it to work for Meldee to photograph. Not anytime soon anyway. ;)
Bought: In a costume shop in Amsterdam
Material: Black velvet with gold overlay
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Being quite long out of the blog scene, I’m back thanks to the excited babblings of Kahani who has enthused repeatedly over my dresses (and I over hers).
As a journalist, it is important to dress for comfort and practicality. And so as to not offend anyone with unsightly up-skirts or too much bare skin, one also needs to dress somewhat conservatively.
Well, dressing for work doesn’t always have to be boring.
Dress - AU$ 15 from Valleygirl, Aus
Observe, exhibit A: Self, furiously taking notes and discussing journalisty things with fellow member of press pack at a student demonstration not too long ago.
It was a serious issue, mind you. But that didn’t stop me from trying to lend a dose of kitsch to the whole thing in a little black (polka-dotted) dress—at the risk of sounding like a total airhead (which I am not really, by the by!).
But it just goes to show I guess that one does not need to be fusty, dusty or musty even when one is doing Serious Things, like Earning a Living.
I am a firm believer that life is that little bit more enjoyable when one feels pretty—and it also gives one something to look forward to in the morning—picking out the day’s outfit, sometimes hurriedly flipping through fashion mags for some inspiration!
Here’s to a long and illustrious career for all of us, while proudly rocking the frock!
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Lately I've been cheerfully running around in pretty heels that would normally have me limping by the end of the day. While I won't lie and pretend that these are as comfy as flats - they're not - they're still pretty darned comfy! Once I'm through with them that is. Here are some tips on geting more use out of those pretty frivolous sky-high heels you usually only wear when you know you'll be sitting pretty.
Scholl High Heel Insoles: These are a must have! They're slim and slip straight into shoes with no slipping. Their moleskin uppers are comfy and cushy on your feet, and even better, the cushion stops before your toes start. It may seem like a small thing, but toe space is usually at a premium in shoes, and these allow your toes all the wiggle room they need! A pair retails around RM10 (will check) and they are removable, washable, reusable... go get a pair!
Cushioned toe-socks: The other thing that has me dancing on air, is this lovely little invention. These stockings that only cover your toes are almost invisble when on, help keep your toes dry instead of sweaty, and minimise friction in the shoe. Even better, the added cushioning under the ball of your foot, combined with the Scholl inserts, makes for some pretty happy feet! I wore those 3.5" red heels for 16 hours straight on Friday, and wasn't a limping moaning wreck at the end of it. These from Guardian retail for under RM8, while Susoku's offering (also available at Guardian) is priced closer to the RM9 mark.
Bathroom non-slip appliques: Yep you read right! Rather than splurge on these (admittedly cuter) Heartstoppers, pick up a roll of this white non-slip tape at Ace Hardware for RM25. It's essentially the same thing and so far my slippery shoes have been much improved by this. They won't give you the same amount of grip as a pair of sneakers (as a tumble on the stairs of Ole Ole Bali will testify. Be careful at the one in Solaris, the stairs and upper floors are SLIPPERY!), but they sure help. I'll admit i'm looking for cuter alternatives for bathtub appliques though.
Silicone strips and patch stickers: Once the sole purvue of Scholl's wonderous Party Range (really I thank them for it, they are such a god-send!) these silicone strips, patches, and party-feet soles are now produced by just about everyone. Guardian and Watsons included. But having used both, I have to say that if you really need it to work all day, and not slip or get bent out of shape. Scholl is the way to go.
But guess what? If you can make something pretty to wear, you immediately get a high. And that high is repeated everytime you wear the dress.
I still get a high from this one. =)
The girls at Shiny Media were so impressed with the dresses I sewed for myself that they asked me to write a post about it on their craft blog, Crafty Crafty. Just wanted to blow my horn a little. =)
Material - £2
Design: One Seam Convertible Dress by Rostichery