Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unisex Cruises

As I watched Tommy Hilfiger's Spring 2013 show, I reveled at how fresh his spin for the preppy brand was. I mean, nautical isn't necessarily groundbreaking, but the show emanated sophistication, youth and that leisurely swing of things perfect for vacationers in Montauk. Perhaps it was the color palette (which bordered on sandy neutrals with a touch of the American trifecta), but my best bet is on the tailoring, the on-trend silhouette (hello wide leg pants for the ladies), and the graphic details of stripes. Those are some mean stripes! These notes, might I add, apply to both the men's collection and the women's collection. Which is quite a surprise since I don't expect a direct translation between genders.

Another observation I had was how unisex the accessories were. See those tote bags with drawstring closure and the portfolio bags and the espadrilles (granted the ones for men don't have a heel on). In any case, I feel Hilfiger's collection is taking a cue from Celine, which is to produce clothes that are staples but feel and look utterly new. After all, nothing's new under the sun so might as well make it look like it is!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Life, New Look

Now that I'm out of school, my head is focused (well, not always) on finding a job. It's funny how looking for work out of college is a full-time job on its own. Good thing that before I graduated, I already knew where I should be headed (the intricate world of advertising!), and it's amazing how I ended up to that conclusion. Which is by accident by the way.

In mid-December, I thought long and hard whether I want to leave the fashion industry. You know how much I love fashion and its reflection to society, but I made my decision. Hey, at least advertising is in the creative realm, which is what I truly appreciated after interning in fashion showrooms.

Congruent to this new direction I have is my winter closet cleaning! It's funny how clothes reflect an individual's lifestyle and preferences at a certain time period. And looking at my closet is no different. Sadly, I have to let go of some really ratty tees, graphic tees (circa high school?) and jeans (they're hard to let go because they're so comfy!) and outdated blazers (those reminiscent of the power shoulder trend in 2008).

The jackets looked right and on-trend four years ago, but I just can't see myself wearing them, to work notwithstanding. Heck, I tried them on before discarding and it just looked wrong. What kind of psychotropics was I on when I bought them?

Zero + Maria Cornejo Bleecker Street store
Now, my emphasis is distilling a collection of versatile clothes that can transition from casual to professional environments. I also want that hint of uniqueness and quality, so I turn to the queen of odd shapes herself, Maria Cornejo.

Cotton poplin shorts from Spring 2010
Zero + Maria Cornejo menswear isn't very popular, so the prices tend to be very, very attractive on sale. My first Maria Cornejo purchase is the drop crotch shorts that are so comfortable and well made. It has a bias cut on the sides, giving the shorts a very interesting silhouette; frankly, I just like it because I know nobody has those same shorts!

Wool jacket from Spring 2010
The most recent Zero + Maria Cornejo piece I have is a blazer that looks pretty, uh, interesting. It's wearable, of course, but there's a touch of quirk that won't be seen in a Zara or a Gap blazer. There are the invisible slit pockets on the side, as well as fabric protrusions (or slouch?) on the sleeve and front opening that invoke shape to an otherwise linear jacket. Also, the fabric is super lightweight despite its heavy wool content. Maybe it's the lack of lining that makes it so. Oh, I don't know--I only wear it!

Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the World Online Shopping

Despite the world not ending on December 21st, some places you ought to check out for sweet discounts on clothes or shoes or accessories:

ASOS - This strictly online retailer gives out codes that allow you to redeem discounts on top of already discounted items. Plus, the ASOS-branded clothes and accessories are really good (meaning stylish and of better quality than those lumpy blue sweaters in clearance bins) for the price. I love shopping here because I get the silhouettes and styles (like those carrot trousers which I ended up altering and wedge sole loafers) I can't find in Forever 21 or H&M or the Gap or other mass retailers. The final reason: shipping and returns are free!

eBay - I highly recommend this site for those aggressive on getting the best deals. The site is chock full of anything you need or want. Case in point the smartphone I acquired over the summer, the Zero + Maria Cornejo bias cut shorts (which I adore because it's so unique!) and spring wool blazer (its fabric is very lightweight and the style very distinct), and the vintage Coach briefcase. Next on my list is a below market price BlackBerry PlayBook.

Aloha Rag - This site is more pricey than my previous recommendations. But, if you have a penchant for luxury goods that are under-the-radar (such as Maison Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons, et al.), this is the site to go. Now, the strategy is not to buy full priced items--that'd be the end of your finances!--instead wait for their end of the year sale, which discounts select items up to 80% off. Another perk is that US shipping is free during the aforementioned sales event, and if you're not in Hawaii or New York, the item is tax free! The only deal breaker is that returns for sale items cannot be refunded; you only get store credit.

Hollister - Now I already blogged about the jeans I bought in this store, and I must say they are my favorite pair insofar. I think the only reason to shop at Hollister (other than getting your fix of dark retail spaces) are the discounts on jeans, considering they're very comfortable and feel reasonably well made. Now, they don't advertise often about the sales, so it's important to check Hollister's website when the seasons change. Sometimes, the discounts online also apply to the brick-and-mortar stores. Which means you get to take advantage of the discounts without paying those silly shipping fees.

Share in the comments for more places you'd recommend for bargain shopping!

Welcoming the New Year

Here in Pacific Standard Time, it'll be 6 more hours until the clock strikes twelve. Before the cheering and the popping starts, I just want to take the time to review what happened throughout the year, and thank God for the accomplishments, the blessings and also the growth that I went through as an individual.

Through thick and thin (and there were a lot of those moments), I am grateful to serve a true and mighty God. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have survived this year without his guidance and lots and lots of help. Which reminds me of this verse from John 10:10, saying "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [pertaining to Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

And "to the full" means just that--He is more than enough!

Things to Be Thankful For:

1. Finally graduating without any loans to pay for! When I started college, the main concern was how am I gonna pay for it? Guess what: God provided for everything; He made sure that my parents can pay for not only me, but also my siblings' college education. How awesome is that?

2. Completing a small business consultation on top of a 9-month long internship. Small business consulting is a royal pain, and don't let anyone make you think otherwise. However, I am very thankful that I went through this rigorous and mind-bending experience because it made me think of what I want to do as a career. My internship also enhanced my personal career "compass" by giving me real-life experience working with accounts, clients, customers, creatives and fellow co-workers.

3. Getting my first paid job as a peer mentor! I've done a year's worth of unpaid internships, and any other paid gigs I had weren't really regular sources of income. So, this experience changes everything. It feels so good to get paid!

4. Reducing my closet clutter and replenishing it anew. I've always put a disclaimer that I am a huge price sensitive shopper. I love looking for bargains if I get the chance. Well, this year (actually just this month) I get to exercise my purchasing power and pamper myself with a shopping spree. Hey, it's a reward for toiling the rest of the year, y'know. Also it feels super satisfying to be able to clean out your closet from ratty clothes that you've been wondering when to replace, and be able to replace them with shiny new (well, not always because I love me some pre-owned items) things!