Thursday, August 31, 2006
We had some (one? I'm not sure how many) lucky winners of Benefit products among our readers in the previous round of giveaways, let's hope you have some good luck this time around as well!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I know just two posts ago I said I wasn't going to be able to post too often, but minutes later I ended up posting that Louboutin pair and now here I am again. I think I'm overcompensating or something.

Anyway, real quick.

The Nordstrom site has the most AMAZING shoe selection ever. I've heard only the best things about the shoe department at physical Nordstrom stores, too. Check out The Divine Nine, and Boots Under $100. They probably also have Pumps Below $100 and Flats Below $100 and so on but the selection's so extensive and I'm so lazy, so check it out fully yourself.

Meanwhile, one of the best picks I chanced upon:

Penny Loves Kenny 'Boot Leg' Boot, $129.95, here.
It's not under $100 but it's definitely one of the most reasonably priced boots I've seen especially when it's genuine leather upper and in three amazing colours. Also, you can wear it cuffed like in this photo or not, which makes it even more worthwhile.

Black of course is classic, and white is great if you want to go for a colour that really pops, or if you like the mod trend going on this fall. I would go for the bronze in a heartbeat, because it's so unique but because it's just floating beautifully in between casual and dressy, it's fabulously versatile both in terms of occasions it can be worn to and colours it can be paired with. And they're very similar to a pair of Marc Jacobs boots a couple of years ago and those certainly were nowhere near as affordable as these!

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Lusting after...
Louboutin booties!

There is something so very deliciously seductive about those fire-engine red soles. I also have a weakness for shoes with some cute, whimsical detail on the back, like the bow on this one. Now if only they would cost substantially less than $925.

It does also come with this cute little keyring, but in my humble opinion you don't need no incentive to buy Louboutins, yo. (It's past 1am here, excuse the ghetto moment.) You just need lots of cold, hard cash :) One day, one day.

Also, if by chance they're selling this little keyring by itself for what is probably a lot less than $925, I would be tempted to own a little piece of Louboutin but this is hardly a replacement for the real thing and it doesn't even look like a shoe sole unless you know that it's supposed to be. So if it is available and you're tempted, I suggest saving the money and putting it in a Future Louboutin Fund for yourself instead.

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Apologies and quick links!
Hey girls! I wanted to apologise for being so irregular with the posting -- I think the next few weeks posts from me are going to be quite rare because I'm leaving in a week and all the leaving-related things are taking up ALL my time.

Sooo just wanted to link you up with some good sites to tide you over!

I Am Fashion has a cool feature on school bags. More pricey than my own post on the same topic, but the more options the better, always!

Sharp Lily is always full of cute, affordable finds for various purposes -- from notebooks to purses to incredibly pretty trash bags!

Fabsugar has a great post on weekend bags, which I think are definitely useful for international students like me, and all students are fond of little weekend breaks wherever possible, right? Definitely have a look at these bags.

The Ivy, of course, is a fantastic resource for college students.

Omiru has a lovely idea for a first-day-of-school outfit.

The Stylephile has a feature on boots -- most of them are far from comfortable, but since my own post on boots is long overdue I hope this'll provide a little inspiration in the meantime!

Shoewawa for more shoes, from the cheap to the just-right-affordable to the ridiculously extravagant! They have shoes in the UK as well as US, which is nice for international readers. They also have a huge range of categories. Look for the $48 ruched flats from Urban Outfitters, and $119 Style&Co midcalf boots.

Also, Vera Wang's coming to Kohl's, Abaete is coming to Payless and Behnaz Sarafpour is coming to Target. It's a really good time to be young, impoverished and desirous of great fashion!

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Thursday, August 24, 2006
Designer knockoffs
Hello! I have another question for the readers!

Would you buy a designer knockoff?
I have this anti-knockoff thing. I don't mind if it's inspired by and somewhat similar to a designer bag but when it's a blatant knockoff I really feel rather uncomfortable. It's partly that I don't want people to recognise it as a fake (and inevitably it'd be possible to tell, I myself am pretty good at spotting fakes) and think that I'm some useless person pretending to carry Vuitton and Dior, partly it's that I want to one day buy myself a REAL Chanel/Dior/Vuitton/Chloe/whatever and feel satisfied about it. Partly it's because as a lover of designers and fashion and everything I'd feel unhappy with myself for tarnishing the integrity of a beautiful design. For these reasons, the randomy LV/Gucci fakes that I've picked up in China and Bangkok are all rotting at the very back of my bag shelf.

Today I saw a very good Fendi B Bag lookalike, and if it weren't a designer knockoff I'd have snapped it up in a second -- Is there any better evidence for the superiority of design over brand name? It was also just 59 Singapore dollars, which is about US$37! Yet I stopped myself because I wondered if I'd ever feel happy carrying a bag which is pretending to be something it isn't really.

Alas, when finances are tight and there is a beautiful bag even if it doesn't bear a beautiful authentic Fendi label, one wonders if integrity should be compromised. It is a conundrum indeed.

Should I buy it? And if I do, should I get it in black, white or red?

Randomly, it occurred to me that if one day someone from Fendi stumbles across this site, my chances at a fabulous job in fashion are possibly ruined. Thus let me add a disclaimer that if I had a couple of million dollars lying around I'd gladly buy lots and lots of genuine designer handbags. I promise, one day I will be a loyal customer to all the big fashion houses that my bank balance can handle!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Upcoming Shoe Posts
Ok so we've received two shoe requests: one for cute 'n' comfy, and another for affordable boots. So we're going to do three posts.

Part 1: Boots
Part 2: Flats
Part 3: Heels

For boots, I'm going to keep prices below US$150 and for flats/heels, below US$100. Hopefully I'll be able to stay really far below these limits!

Look out for these in the next week or so :)

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Hello dear readers,

I just realised that almost all of the pieces I featured in my Bags For School post are not available in Singapore, and it occurred to me that for readers outside the US the same problem might exist. We definitely want to cater to as many of our readers as possible, so I was just wondering if you could possibly leave comments on this post, in which you tell us which country you're from? Apart from it being such an ego trip for us to find out how far and widely we're read, it would be great if we could make sure to include some items which are available internationally! This is especially in consideration of the fact that we're hoping to do lots more 'request posts' in the future!

Muchas gracias in advance :)

The College Wardrobe


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Friday, August 18, 2006
Bags for school [EDITED]
Quick post about bags for school, by request (by the way please keep posting requests, I love the idea of being able to tailor our posts to fit what readers are looking for!)

I think basically when it comes to laptop-carrying, there are two options. So I have scoured my favourite bag blogs and online stores to bring you the following ---

Option 1: One-Bag-Carries-All
Get a large, roomy bag that can carry a laptop as well as charger and books and all your essentials -- a tote could work for this but I personally feel that it will be pretty harsh on your shoulders, so I'd go for a messenger bag style or if you don't mind a backpack, that's the most practical option (there are some rather stylish leather backpacks out there).

In Singapore there's a line of bags called Crumpler, there's a US website but I don't know how readily these are available in stores. These are very practical bags, not very feminine looking but they come in a huge variety of colours and sizes and styles. They're also very decently priced -- in Singapore the most expensive ones come to about US$130.

AcmeMade is very stylish but they have very few of the cute, colourful types of fabrics that I'd like for my bags. Plus they're really quite pricey, but stylish they undeniably are and they come in a host of different styles. The totes (green and pink) can be used like briefcases so they probably fit better under Option 2, but the designs I've picked are cute enough to work on a daily basis. Unfortunately, as I said, most of the other designs are very professional (read: Old) looking. And they're definitely priced to target the salaried woman.

I know I said totes are not a great idea, but these canvas totes from Gap are irresistable! And as you can see, they're HUGE so you can really take everything with you. I love the brown one, the colours are gorgeous.

Target has some cute, functional totes -- I don't know if these are actually good quality since I'm unable to physically check them out myself, but they're quite stylish, very affordable and they serve the purpose. Okay I only actually found two that I might consider buying. By the way Target do also carry some Gyms Pacific laptop sleeves (see below) so you might be able to see those yourself and pick them up at the store instead of ordering online. These are the two totes that might work:
Sorry I had to remove the direct Target link because it stopped working, but go to the section on Electronics > Home Office > Notebook Cases + Bags (under Computers + Accessories) and you'll find their whole selection of bags. Most of the bags are really just of the functional-but-ugly variety, though.

Option 2: One-Bag-and-One-Sleeve
Get a bag that can hold all your non-laptop stuff, and then carry your laptop around in a cute laptop sleeve, like these ones at GymsPacific. I love the Motel print on the top right, the pink poppy sleeve would be a fresh burst of colour in an otherwise dull collegiate day (who're we kidding? Collegiate days are always bright, right?), and the Bora Bora Hibiscus at the bottom is, well, not really my thing but it's exotic and refreshing in its own way so it might be attractive to someone else!

The best part is that the non-laptop bag can be any style that you like, because it's entirely up to you what you want to carry in it. This is why Option 2 is what I'm going to go for (evidently this is what I'm interested in considering I've picked so many bags for this option!) I believe Casey, at TeenFashionista, is planning on doing the same. For me the primary reason is that this will mean I can continue to use my current collection of bags instead of having to start a laptop-holding collection from scratch. But even so, nothing's preventing me from just looking at all the gorgeous possibilities available, right?

It has been noted by one reader that this option may make your laptop more vulnerable to theft, and also it doesn't really leave your hands free when you're carrying your laptop with you. Both are valid points, so you should really think about how much you'd like your hands to be free, and how often you're actually going to carry your laptop with you. Also if you get a chance to check out any of the following bags in person, you might very well find that some of them can take your laptop and sleeve and other things in them! Keep us posted, dear readers, about your findings and opinions!

There's this tote by Brooklyn Industries, which comes in a very pretty design and three very pretty colours, plus it's roomy enough to carry all your things. In fact, the dimensions are 18"x11"x6" so you could even consider puttting your laptop inside sometimes if you want to.

There are also these adorable messenger bags from Old Navy, which will probably carry quite a lot of things but they don't look large enough for a laptop, unfortunately.

I just realised that the Target women's section does offer up quite a few possibilities. The ones I've selected are all quite large so they might be able to take your laptop depending on the size. Most come in quite a wide variety of colours. 1. Chloe Edith lookalike, 2. Pretty patchwork tote in deep jewel tones perfect for fall, 3. Pearly coloured tote in a nice comfy shape, 4. YSL Muse lookalike, 5. Skulls-and-roses totes (very edgy, I like!) 6. Beautiful grey faux-suede tote (this comes in a lot of colours but I only really liked this one), 7. White tote with pretty design at the top (also available in orange and black), 8. Gorgeous red - every wardrobe should have a deep red bag, imho - faux leather tote, 9. Perfect tote for hardware-lovers.

Then there are these unique handmade screen-printed sling bags from Luchaworkshop, recommended by Pursueing.

From aGaiN NYC - also recommended by Pursueing - three options: (clockwise from top left) velvet and leather laptop bag, canvas and leather barrel bag, polyester hobo with suede detail. The laptop bag can probably function as a document bag as well - I love the unpredictability of the colours and textures on these bags. Really quirky pieces, though unfortunately rather pricey at around US$150 a pop.

Finally, if you and your finances are up to it, you could go for the to-die-for Jean Paul Gaultier sling bag I posted some time ago, because while it's roomy I don't think I'd want to ruin such sumptuous leather by stretching it out with a bulky laptop!

I'm off for a weekend cruise now, when I'm back I'll try investigating more bags :) You can also check out Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, American Eagle in the meantime -- there are some cute totes and slouchy hobos out there! Please post links to more college-worthy bags if you can find any!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Hi I'm SO sorry I'm doing these giveaway posts almost more often than I'm doing an Actual Post, but I've been running around doing university-related things (which I know, is not as good of an reason as starting university or leaving for university which are what Casey and Nisha are doing currently) -- I never realised that growing up and going to another country to study involved so much preparation! On the bright side, some of it has been shopping, albeit for mundane things like suitcases, new contact lenses and new glasses.

Anywayyy here are some giveaways to cheer you up :)

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Monday, August 14, 2006
Hot right now: collegiate fashion blogs
I haven't had much time to post lately, especially with it being my last week at home. I've got a lot of packing to do, some last-minute shopping of course, and I've been running around trying to see all my close high school friends before we head our separate ways. However, I've still been popping on the internet everyonce in a while to check CNN (aside from being a fashion junkie, I'm also a news junkie), my email, and all my favorite blogs. One thing I've noticed of late is that, like the College Wardrobe, many fashion blogs targeted at the college-going audience are cropping up all over the place. Here's a few of my absolute favorites, which I recommend to all those fellow college-fashion lovers out there:

The Ivy-written by college senior and English major Jamie, this magazine-style blog has lots of cool features for the fashion-obsessed, such as dorm space-saving tips, "creating an ensemble" features, and more.

Stylelike- an excellent blog written by an anonymous author who describes herself as "just another coed who says 'like' too much." Features tips and tricks for adapting hot trends for campus life.

Teenfashionista (Goes To College)--the first fashion blog I ever read, the one that introduced me to the whole world of fashion blogging and helped me develop my sense of style throughout my senior year of high school, is going to see some big changes! Author Casey is beginning her freshman year at University of Missouri, and her posts have lots of helpful info and tips that fellow college freshmen can relate to.

I think it's fantastic that the fashion blogosphere now includes many college students, too--finally, fashion can work fit the lifestyle and budget of college girls, too!

Happy blogging, everyone- I'm off to continue packing!

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006
New Giveaways!
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Monday, August 07, 2006
Splurge Item
You know how most girls are obsessed with shoes? I'm not really one of them. Before you start throwing stones and rotten eggs, let me state for the record that I know the importance of a great pair of heels, and god knows I've blown hundreds of dollars on shoes in my lifetime thus far, but really, deep down, I'm a bag person. My bag collection probably trumps my shoe collection and I certainly started collecting bags long before I started collecting shoes. I just love a pretty bag.

And when it comes to bags, you know as well as I do that there's nothing wrong with coveting one that's hundreds or thousands of dollars out of your budget. We're all waiting for the day when we'll graduate from college, get our fancy jobs and with the (hopefully first) paycheck, waltz into Marc Jacobs/Prada/Dior/Chloe and coolly hand over the credit card to pay for the season's It Bag. This fantasy, like all fantasies, is of course slightly skewed - in reality most stores don't have It Bags sitting in a row waiting to be picked up; normally such unglamorously earthly obstacles as waiting lists have to be dealt with first. But we're still living in fantasy land so it's okay. We'll continue pretending.

Since we've established that college girls are entitled to fantasy, every once in a while I'm going to indulge in some coveting of way-out-of-budget items on this blog. In terms of style, though, I'll keep them as college-appropriate as possible. Just so that you can be on the lookout for affordable knock-offs :)

So here's my pick for blow-the-budget bag which is also durable and very college-appropriate:

Jean Paul Gaultier Cross Body Hobo

Spotted this on The Bag Snob a couple of weeks ago and only today did I decide that the $995 pricetag is no reason not to post a picture or two here. The toffee colour above is beautiful and chicly casual, but I'm deeply, deeply, DEEPLY in lust with the snazzy, bold red below. And how cool is the strap detail? You can change the look around subtly just by tying it in a knot instead of looping it.

Oh, what would I give to be living in the land of paychecks and credit cards already!

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Sunday, August 06, 2006
Just My Luck!
I'll let you in on a little secret of mine: I hate Vogue. As a self-proclaimed fashionista, I'm supposed to love Vogue and worship the ground Anna Wintour walks on, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I've read only one issue of Vogue in my life. So why, you ask, does this fashion-obsessed college girl hate Vogue?

To put it simply, Vogue lacks practicality. And where Vogue lacks practicality, Lucky makes up for it. I can't walk past a newstand without eyeing the latest issue, and I have especially become a devotee of the September issues. I buy the september issue every year in late July or early August and read it so many times that i practically know it by heart; then, once I have gotten this fall's trends down to a science, I begin the art of back-to-school shopping armed with the insider advice from my treasured September Lucky.

But, as I prepare for college life (less than two weeks left!), I'm heartbroken because even my dear Lucky has failed me in the practicality department. Their annual shoe guide was something I looked forward too; although most of the Manolos and Louboutins are out of my budget, Lucky always managed to sneak in a couple of gems from Old Navy or Target that us mere mortals could afford. However, this year not a single pair of shoes could be found for under $99. The annual fall trend guide was filled with pages of gorgeous looks and luscious clothes, but even the most stylish girls cannot pull these looks off at a Big 10 university in the Midwest. The tweed pencil skirts, high-waisted trousers, 4-inch platform heels, '50s style jackets, and the like are gorgeous, but I'm seriously concerned about the pull-off-ability of any of these on a college campus--especially all at once. One of my pet peeves in fashion is when people layer on too many trends at once. The key to looking pulled-together is being able to mix both casual and trendy pieces, both cheap and designer. It's all about mixing it up.

So in my next post? I'm going to be taking the key looks from Lucky's fall trend report and adding my own take on how to mix them up and make them work for college life.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006
The Endless Bag

Spotted on FabSugar:

This is potentially very very useful. This bag features vertical zippers so you can remove sections to adjust the length. It can carry a yoga mat (which will be useful when I get round to picking up yoga properly - which I plan to in university), it can carry posters or oversized documents or canvas (which would be useful if I were an art student or something) or tripods (if I owned lots of fancy camera equipment) or just function as a small travel purse (if I needed more of those). So, um, it may not really be practical for me but given that it's fantastically multi-purpose, lightweight and it looks quite cute, it could be a very good investment for some college girl out there. Only thing is, yoga mat's not included. Which makes it slightly pricey for a yoga mat bag at $55.95.

If all this works out for you, get it here at the MoMA online store.


Friday, August 04, 2006
V for Versatility
I have officially began packing my wardrobe life up for college, and it's going rather well. I was dreading the "should I bring it or leave it?" process, but my excitement has eased the difficulty.

As try and stay focused on folding and packing (which usually turns into trying on dozens of outfits and wasting hours "styling" myself), I have begun realized the enormous significance of versatility. As my boxes fill up, I have started to weed out clothes by how many places and situations I can wear them in. I'm bringing dozens of polos, and I'm not about to consolidate, because they can worn to class, to stores, to dinner, to parties, to study, and to hang out with a quick change of bottoms, accessories, and shoes. They show serious versatility, season-wise, too. Alone during early fall, under a cardigan for late fall, and layered over a thermal and under and cozy hoodie when that bitter Missouri winter arrives.

Here are five versatile items every wardrobe needs this fall (and every fall thereafter):

The oxford shirt
• Wear alone and leave the top few (more if you're feeling scandelous) buttons undone. Add a killer necklace... or three.
• Add a belt around the natural waist line.
• Layer under a sweater... I would recommend a deep V neck paired with an extra starchy collar
• Dig out your brooches from two seasons ago and cinch the waist.
• Wear under a blazer, over a tunic, with a cardigan, under a vest. Not necessarily at the same time.

The scarf
• Tie around the waist of a cardigan, tee, or tunic for a hip spin and a flattering shape.
• Skip the necklace, and tie it around your neck vintage-style
• Wear as a handband/headwrap (like this floral silk scarf, from Intuition). Very Jackie O. vacationing in Bermuda.
• Wear as a "scarf" top or halter... but you must, must, must skip the minis and opt for skinny jeans, cropped trousers, or something equally covered-up
• Tie on your purse, tote, or satchel strap

The flats
• Flats work with mini skirts, dresses of all lengths, skinny pants, trousers, Bermudas, cropped pants, and cuffed shorts. Did I mention they go with everything?
• The beauty of the flat is that they are as stylish as comfortable (if you shop wisely - flats can be as uncomfortable as the tallest stiletto if they fit wrong). They are the ideal shoe for walking alllll the way across campus without succumbing to the "athletic shoe" or "foam flip flop." Eww.
• Spice up an otherwise average ensemb with a pair of kicky flats... choose catchy patterns, rainbow bright colors, or offbeat details (like these rhinestone-toe flats, from Intuition).

The blazer
• A tailored-to-fit blazer (it doesn't literally have to be tailored, but it should look that way) can be worn as a casual chilly weather topper.
• Layer over a polo or tunic, cuff the sleeves neatly... not '80s style.
• Tie a sash or ribbon around the waist. Adds a femme spin and makes a conservative "office" piece "after" hours-appropriate.

The skinny pants
• A pair of denim skinnies will be indispensable this year. They can be worn [very] casually as easily as they can be dressed up.
• A tunic, belt, and flats is a simple combination that can be put together in minutes. Up the style quotient with a stack of bangles.
• Throw your summer mini dresses over your slim jeans, then top with a cardi or blazer. Voila! Insta-style.
• For a spin on the "jeans and sweatshirt" combination, wear your skinnies (like celeb-favored J Brand jeans, from Intuition)with an embroidered zip hoodie and tunic camisole. Easy-peasy, even at 8 am.

And if all else fails, wear that college sweatshirt with your skinny jeans, a polo, and flats. While I don't necessarily endorse the "popped collar," it looks ironically cool peekie out from a hoodie. Seriously!

originally posted on

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Genius inventions for college fashionistas
So, University Housing sent me the packet of information a couple weeks ago. You know, the one with all that information about the dorms; the rules, such as no coffeemakers (ha!) and no alcohol; your room and roommate assignment; and of course, the packing list. The list is pretty standard at almost all colleges by now, and you can probably figure most of it out - extra long twin sheets, shower caddy, bathrobe, desk lamp, blah blah....but I have spent recent weeks cavorting through Bed Bath & Beyond, Ikea, and The Container Store, and discovered a few helpful items university housing doesn't mention that will make a fashionista's life in the dorms much easier!

A Closet Rod Doubler. I practically jumped for joy when I found this. You hang it from yur closet rod and it hangs halfway down in the middle of the closet, giving you a whole extra rod on which to hang twice as many clothes! Now I don't have to pick and choose which clothes to bring!
The Container Store, $10,

An Over-The-Door Shoe Rack. As my roommate and I have discovered in our phone conversations, we both have a passion for shoes. So to save valuable floor space in our crammed 10 x 15 room, we are each getting an over-the-door shoe rack. this one in particular holds 30 pairs of shoes and is a real bargain at 10 dollars.
Bed, Bath, And Beyond, $9.99,

Garment Deodorant Removers. I think these things are genius. Who hasn't stood in front of the sink trying to get white deodorant stains off their favorite low-cut black top? These sponges make the job easy.
The Container Store, $9.99 for a pack of two

That's all for now. Presently in Chicago we're going through a terrible heat wave so I haven't been able to go shopping...or anywhere, actually. Hopefully once the heat subsides I will be able to hit the stores and FINALLY start my back to school shopping...I've only got two and a half weeks left till I leave! :-)

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006
One college freshman's style journey
Teenfashionista (who has just joined this blog!) posted a link to a wonderful article that is so relevant to college fashion and to the Eternal Packing Dilemma and, basically, everything going through my head when I connect the words 'wardrobe' and 'suitcase' in my head because most of the time I just end up despairing over how it's physically impossible to pack up everything in my room, everything that represents Home, into a couple of suitcases and transport them to another continent.

Here's the article (finish reading before you refresh the page because otherwise you'll have to sign up for membership - which, though free, is a slightly tedious process). Here's the accompanying Tips On Shopping and Schlepping.

"I was worried I would be homesick, worried about making friends and worried about adapting my wardrobe to a new climate and culture.
The only thing I knew about fashion in the Northeast was that I needed to buy a warmer coat."

This is me in two sentences, except replace 'Northeast' with 'Midwest'. And, okay, I guess I know a leeeeetle bit more than that I just need a warmer coat. In fact, that I need a coat at all because I have never in my life needed to wear a coat in Singapore.

"... the first rule of college fashion is that there's something to be said for wearing something that no one else is wearing."
Like in the case of the writer, this doesn't always have good results. But I'm a firm believer in individuality, and I won't ever succumb to a trend unless a) it pleases ME aesthetically and b) it suits the shape of MY body and the colour of MY skin.

So yes, it probably is a good idea to "Wait until you get to school before you blow your high school graduation money on clothes. You'll get a chance to see what everyone is wearing." However, when you do get there and see what everyone's wearing, don't feel under pressure to completely revamp your own style. Take a little bit of the campus style and weave it into your own. Most importantly feel comfortable in your own skin (and that gorgeous vintage coat that nobody else has or ever will have).

Finally, it's comforting that she says "it's natural if you're moving away from home for the first time to bring an obscene amount of stuff with you -- it's amazing the number of things that can suddenly attain the status of comfort items as your departure date approaches..." I am already feeling like I need to take 14 pairs of jeans with me because what'll I do if I'm missing that one pair I edited out of the suitcase? What'll I do when I'm halfway across the globe from the jeans I'm craving the most? Sometimes it's so bad that I feel like I'm going to miss my bedsheets - which I obviously can't take because the dorm's not going to have a queen-sized bed - and I briefly consider taking just the pillowcases so it'll feel a little bit like my bed at home.

Basically, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has ever freaked out this much over college fashion/packing issues. I hope that this blog will provide some comfort to fellow and future freshmen, because it's always reassuring to know that you're not alone in your panic attacks.

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Swati Argade
Paper Lily had an article about Swati Argade featured recently on Coutorture. It mentioned that Swati is a South Indian dancer-turned-designer which really intrigued me, because until laziness took me over, I was also undergoing training in classical South Indian dance (bharathanatyam) - and even after I quit the dance classes, I continued with semi-classical performances at school. I actually plan to find a bharathanatyam teacher in Chicago and resume training if possible. Anyway, the point is that I went to check out her website and the designs just won me over absolutely.

These really aren't typical collegey styles, but even college girls need some pretty party clothes, right? I also have no idea how much of a dent these pieces would create in your bank account, but I promise to try my best to check them out physically in New York or Chicago and report back (hopefully with a couple of Swati Argade pieces to call my own!) In the meantime, I'm thrilled just looking at the pictures.

Her collections have beautiful names. S/S05 was called belle khadi - khadi's a type of cotton/silk/wool/mix fabric handspun and hand-woven in Indian villages. It's associated with India's independence struggle because Mahatma Gandhi's clothes were all khadi, and the spinning of khadi was an important source of self-employment in rural India. It also spread the message of not using foreign clothes. This heritage is so precious that the Indian flag is allowed to be made only from this material.

Her S/S 06 collection is called Bengali Girl - Bengal's a part of India with a rich cultural and literary history, and on the fashion front there are some really great up-and-coming designers emerging from Bengal. This collection's full of bright, happy colours.

Fall 06 - Novella, which means a short novel. According to her website this collection "explores Indian historical and Western literary traditions, combining structured tailoring and men’s suiting fabrics with the softness of velvet, corduroy, and naturally dyed cottons."

This seems to be Swati's signature shape, and she has a variation every season. The one on the left is from her Fall06 collection, while the one on the right is from the 2004 collection. It's a really nice streamlined, simple shape. And the strips of fabric do all sorts of incredibly flattering things for your body. I like that although the designer is ethnically Indian, she isn't doing blatantly Indo-Western styling because almost every Indian designer out there is doing Indo-Western alongside their traditional Indian designs. It's very subtle, like the strips of orange zari in the piece on the right, which gives it a special flair.

This is part of her Bengali Girl collection, but it appears to be made of the same khadi fabric which dominated the belle khadi collection. I think it's beautiful that a fabric with this much history behind it, and which is traditionally associated with rusticity and poverty and a hard struggle for independence is being transformed into such modern, empowered, optimistic silhouettes.
This somehow captures the essence of Bengali Girl for me. The shape of the dress - long, with a high collar - is strangely literary, like an educated Edwardian lady. And then there's the flourish of the tie waist, and the orange colour which is just really vibrant and so very Indian because Indians really love their bright colours :)

This, finally, is a college-fashion-worthy piece. Not that these pieces would need to be anything-worthy for me to feature them here; I'd love them regardless. I am in love with her use of colours and the meticulous construction. I only fear that clothes that are so detailed and to which so much thought has evidently been given will be absolutely out of my reach financially.

Nisha mentioned in her last post that a beautiful trench coat is a must in every wardrobe, and this is the most beautifully cut, most pristinely white trench I've ever laid eyes on. Especially worn casually like this with a pair of summery sandals, it's So Sexy.

This is my favourite piece of all. The cut and colour are very streamlined and sophisticated, but the thread-sewn pictures of buildings are so young and whimsical - who can resist? Every college girl ought to have one crazy, whimsical, beautiful coat in her wardrobe.