Sunday, January 28, 2007
Paris Couture, a little bit belatedly
I know couture is about as far away from the typical college wardrobe as one can possibly get, but this season's shows are so utterly beautiful they just about broke my heart. I am not kidding. It doesn't shame me to admit that the Dior show brought tears to my eyes. I am normally a stone-hearted person, but fashion manages to make a soft weepy woman of me.

I can't imagine what it must've been like actually sitting there and watching the shows. Seeing a couture show - and buying couture, of course - are among my Things To Do Before I Die.

Also, couture is the kind of clothing you preserve forever in beautiful boxes and never, ever throw away. So this is related to the link Nisha recently posted about "fast fashion" contributing to higher carbon emissions -
save the world, buy couture!
If only it were so simple.

Here's the latest greatest article from the NYT, Far From Hollywood: Haute couture is everything the red carpet is not.

Anddd of course what would a post about couture be without pictures?

John Galliano for Dior
In the words of Annie at Blogdorf Goodman, "Galliano gave me beauty and hope yesterday. He gave me a technicolor dream filled with china blossoms, origami and geishas."

The colours were delightful, like candy shop treats, but the frothy white confections were my favourites. The shapes, the sharp origami details (I've always loved origami), the extent of Galliano's imagination - breathtaking. And I loved how each piece was presented like a treasured work of art, just as fashion should always be. And unfortunately, all the other shows really just paled in comparison to this one.

Armani Privé
Japanese for Dior, Indian for Armani. I think Galliano did a better job bringing out the spectacle of geisha culture for the Dior show, but it would have been very un-Armani-like if he had actually brought the culture and loudness of true Indian culture into his show. Instead, he conveyed the influences subtly while maintaining the modern sleekness and poise that are his trademark. I loved how some the perfectly tailored suits have a sort of hoodie look about them, reminiscent of the way Indian women drape their saris over their heads. The dresses were cut beautifully, full of movement and life. Ohhhh to have a kurta by Armani.

Elie Saab
I didn't actually know that Elie Saab showed during couture week, so I was surprised. He's always seemed like the type who made some pretty dresses for the red carpet, but nothing quite so fantastic that it was worthy of the title 'haute couture'. This show didn't really disabuse me of those notions - it was definitely all stuff that I could imagine J Lo and Beyonce and Halle Berry wearing to a glamourous awards show. However, the dresses were definitely pretty, and they helped me get over the shock of that painfully gold Elie Saab number Beyonce wore to the Golden Globes! I liked the tight, controlled babydoll tops with voluminous bottoms, and the baby-blue-and-black colour combination on a couple of the dresses was bold enough to briefly be worthy of haute couture. Then there were lots of shimmering diaphanous pieces which were... pretty, I guess, but quite blah, really. Not my thing.

Jean Paul Gaultier
Dark religious kitsch. Not really my thing, but really quite fascinating. And he achieved the artist's purpose of making his work stick in your mind. Lots of Catholic iconography - halos, modernistic wimples (funny how a simple hood can recall an Indian sari or a nun's wimple), stained glass effects, dramatic make-up that resembled statues of the Virgin Mary. With a sort of ironic spin, like a pale blue dress with a shiny bleeding heart, and naturally the dresses reveal a lot more skin than the church would really approve of. Ironic but not, I think, patronising. I liked it the same way I liked one of John Galliano's shows a year or two ago which was inspired by the French Revolution. Haunting and hard to understand, but a great work of art in its own right. And some of the dresses, taken seperately from the elaborate headdresses, are really beautiful and wearable.

This collection was unexpectedly young, innocent and flirtatious. Quite a departure from the signature red dresses. But I liked it - it was refreshing, light as spring, and some of the more modern pieces (polka-dots, a bold cut, etc) were really nice. The Jackie O-style coats were adorable, and pastel colours are so soothing. In fact, according to the pastel pink coat (second from left, bottom row) has set the fashion world talking and left many frustrated that there wasn't more like that in this collection. There was one hideous flowered dress though. I'm not sure where that came from (bottom left corner). Ah well, apparently Valentino's preparing himself for a whopper of a show for the July couture season. Will look forward to that.

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel
Was rather disappointing. Couture is supposed to show you something new, it's suppose to surprise, excite and inspire but there wasn't much that was particularly inspired about this collection, in my opinion. Some nice proportions going on, but the mod silhouette's been going on for a while already, the mainly black-and-white palette is getting old, and the occasions when Lagerfeld tried to inject colour in seemed quite contrived, frankly. And the dresses with the bits trailing down like shredded paper? I couldn't make sense of them. But there were some ensembles which hinted at the classic Chanel goodness that we've come to expect.
And then there was a grossly unflattering, frumpy, poofy gray dress which just made my jaw drop in horror. It's like a prom dress nightmare from two centuries ago, if that makes any sense to you.
Let's hope next season sees a Galliano-esque rediscovery of genius for Mr Lagerfeld.

Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy - "the metamorphosis of sailors into mermaids"
I saved this for last because I don't usually see great clothes from Givenchy, but this show was crazy, dramatic and outstanding in the way that only a couturier can pull off. Loved the moody atmosphere, the modern shapes and brilliant tailoring. And there was lots of navy blue. Am a sucker for detailed tailoring and navy blue. This collection had a poofy gray dress that was just as unflattering as the one at Chanel, but it was so misguidedly over-detailed that I found it in my heart to excuse it. Oh and the huge hats! What's a good couture show without something ridiculously unwearable playing a central role in the collection?

I am not bothering with Christian Lacroix because I never like his couture shows. They all look the same - weird shapes, excessive colours and glitter and makeup. And somehow they just seem to wholly lack originality.

Phew. Long post. Time to get back to writing a Humanities paper!

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Bobbi Brown Violet Palette
Ok I know I said that brown girls should stay far, far away from this Violet palette. This is because an experience I had about 3 years ago, when I was young and didn't know anything about beauty. I got a makeover at Estee Lauder where the saleslady put a really pretty violet on my eyelids - atleast it looked fantastic in the compact - and I blissfully walked away from the counter feeling on top of the world. And then I looked at my pictures from later that night, and decided that never again was I going to let anyone persuade me to put purple on my face because it made me look hideous. Thus the instant prejudice against the Violet Palette, which incidentally looks just as pretty as, if not prettier than, the Estee Lauder colour which screwed me over so many moons ago.
However, the MakeUpGirl has the following to say about this palette:
"Now brown girls, I know what you are thinking..."That's too pink for me..." NO IT ISN'T... Even though the palette is named Violet...I would categorize these colors are warm and rosey. They are very wearable and have no hint of chalkiness whatsoever."

So, fellow brown girls, if any of you give this palette a shot, tell me what you think of it!


Saturday, January 27, 2007
Yeah, I love shoes. Get over it.

Came across these darling flats and had to share -

Embossed leather in three very refreshing, unexpected colours. Perfect to stock up for spring, no? $98 at


Looks To Be Inspired By
I am an ardent reader of - after the New York Times, that's my next stop for Important News Of The Day. Not only do I get the latest scoop on my favourite celebs, but I loooove looking at the Star Tracks pictures, just to see what are the latest and greatest looks being worn by them. They do, after all, have access to some of the best fashion the world has to offer. This is not to say that Hollywood is at the forefront of fashion at all, but I love to be inspired by the Hollywood girls who get it right.

Keira Knightley in a painfully chic trouser suit. I love the widelegged trousers with the fitted jacket. I really don't like KK as an actress, and she's not even normally worthy of a best-dressed prize, but I really like this look on her. Great accessories as well - who would've thought to pair a menswear-looking hat with a bright red clutch? Her friend as well - for an older woman, she knows how to look good.

Rachel McAdams setting off her pink-and-blonde hair with a sexy black dress. Loving the smokey eyes and nude strappy sandals.

This is my favourite - Kate Middleton (okay she's not Hollywood by any means, but she's definitely rising in the celeb stakes and she's developing a very acute sense for fashion. She's one to look out for.) I am on the hunt for a swingy little grey tweed skirt to wear with a blazer, tights and slouchy boots. I wore a black skirt the other day with black tights and my new black slouchy boots, which was pretty cool but a grey skirt with a little bit of movement about it would have been perfect.

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Colour trends: Cobalt

This is one of my favourite colours in the world, and it's popping up all over the runway and the red carpet. In another post I'll find you a bunch of cute clothes in this fabulous colour, but for now check out some great suggestions by the girls at Omiru!


Friday, January 26, 2007
Proenza Schouler for Target
Hey girls,

Go here to check out the collection. If that link doesn't work, go to and enter "Proenza Schouler". Some lucky people, such as Julie at Almost Girl, have apparently been able to actually order a bunch of items, but for some reason when I click on the links I'm just taken to Behnaz Sarafpour stuff. Maybe Target got wise to the fact that their stuff was being sold wayyy in advance of when it was supposed to start selling and very efficiently did something about it. I don't know. So for now I'm just contenting myself with thoughts of that adorable blue silk bustier top and a snappy purple pencil skirt (say that three times, fast.)

Source: ShopDiary

UPDATE: Some, not all, of the links work. But the ones that do take you to a Proenza item on say that the item's sold out. But atleast you get to see nice big pictures of some of the things you can look forward to in a couple of weeks!

Remember -- Feb 4.


Thursday, January 25, 2007
Breaking: fashion is bad for the environment!
I'm a news junkie, so part of my routine when I get up bright and early every morning (I have 8 ams 4 days a week!) is to check the New York Times online- the only news source worth reading, in my opinion (Kristof and Friedman: best columnists ever, I LOVE those guys). Anyways, point here is, I found this article about fashion pollution, Can Polyester Save The World?, both alarming and slightly hilarious. The idea is that low-budget, disposable clothes from such cheap-chic giants as Target, Old Navy, and H&M are contributing to a rise in carbon emissions and worsening the global warming crisis. Sad, but true.

The bad news? The more clothes you own--especially of the cheap, dispose-at-every-season variety-- the more you contribute to global warming.

But the good news? At least now we can justify solely buying Gucci and Chanel--it's better for the environment!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007
This has nothing at all to do with fashion
Is it just me or do Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling bear uncanny resemblance to one another? When I read that Mr Gosling had been nominated for an Oscar, I was like "Yay! That's the guy from The Notebook! Rachel McAdams's boyfriend! I like him! I'm happy for him!"

And then I saw a picture of Ryan Reynolds and I thought "Wait, isn't THAT the guy from The Notebook? So who's the guy who got the Oscar nod?"

To solve the pressing mystery, I turned to imdb for help and discovered that Rachel McAdams's boyfriend is indeed the lucky Oscar nominee, and that Ryan Reynolds shares his name and occasionally his face.

Guess who's who?

Okay I guess the one on top is cuter. But they do look amazingly similar, don't they?
10,000 hits!
Dear friends,

Here's celebrating 10,000 hits, which we made sometime last last night. I am so excited at how quickly this little blog of mine is growing. I love it, and I love you guys for being such great, enthusiastic readers!

Love and kisses,


Monday, January 22, 2007
This is a note I would like to add to the previous post by the lovely Aparna. The question from a reader was about any makeup tips we can offer for Asian/Indian/South Asian women. Aparna did a fantastic job offering opinions and advice so I'd recommend readingher post first--this is just my tidbit addition to her post :-)

I use the same foundation as Aparna--Stila Tinted Moisturizer in Warm. I highly recommend this stuff no matter what your race or skin tone, because it comes in a wide range of shades for everyone, goes on easy, and looks great.

Most Asians and Indians, including myself, have yellowish undertones to their skin, so you should find a yellowish-based concealer. A lot of concealers specifically made for undereyes are yellow-based, so I recommend one of these--most brands are fine to use on the rest of your face also. Don't use any foundation/concealer that has pink or orange-y undertones, because that will stand out against the rest of your skin.

For lipgloss, I recommend Neutrogena MoistureShine. Some of the shades that would look bright on fair-skinned girls actually look perfectly natural on Asians. I like sheer reds and browny-pinks that sort of brighten up brown skin but still look natural. Try Neutrogena MoistureShine in Chic or First Blush,both of which I think look great on Indian skin.

um, that's it. I'm no expert on beauty, I'm just sharing what works for me. check out aparna's post for more ideas!


Make-Up for Indian Skin
Maya left a great comment asking for advice on make-up for Indians. This, I think, is another niche that fashion/beauty blogs need to address, because there are loads of beauty blogs for white girls and there are some great ones catering more to African-American girls as well, ShakeYourBeauty being primo among these. Unfortunately there isn't much advice going around for Asian skin, though the BagSnob, whom I believe is Korean, has just started BeautySnob which looks like it's going to become religious reading for me. But for South Asians, good tips are few and far between.

So. Make-up is really not my area of expertise - I do love reading beauty blogs, but skincare and haircare are more my thing than make-up. Also, my obsession with clothes, bags and shoes doesn't leave that much room for expenditure on beauty products. Still, I have SO MANY lotions and sprays and gels and scrubs and shampoos and conditioners that my mom yells at me and my roommate laughs at me everytime I come back with a new one. I guess I've dealt with acne and frizzy, curly hair for basically my whole life, so I've been quite eager to invest in whatever will help save me. And I can assure you that better products do make for better skin. And before I left Singapore I had a smashing haircut at Toni&Guy, and somehow the price ended up being about half of what I expected to pay which made it even more smashing. Anyway I'm digressing from my point, which was that I do occasionally bother to put some make-up on my perfectly cleansed and moisturised skin, so I can tell you a few things about making up Indian skin.

For foundation, usually I just let the sales assistants help me pick out a shade. I don't regularly use foundation, but my Stila Tinted Moisturiser is in the 'warm' shade and my Laura Mercier concealer is SC-5. For Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, I'm an Almond. By the way the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer is fantastic because it gives you a light and a dark shade that you can mix so it suits your skin exactly. This is great for me because I tan quite easily so I can just work with the same concealer whether I'm deeply tanned or paler than pale.

I use Dallas bronzer/blush by Benefit, which I absolutely love because you can build as much colour as you need and it suits pretty much all skintones. And NARS Orgasm blush would probably work because it's been widely touted as a universal skintone flatterer, though I haven't tried that myself. As for eyeshadow, unfortunately I'm not the best person to ask because I hardly ever use any. I'm desperately attached to my soft black NARS eyeliner which I use to line my lids as well as the inside of the lower eyelid, which is an Indian tradition my mom handed down to me. Usually, that's more than enough eye drama for me so I've never bothered much with eyeshadow. But I'm guessing that as long as you stick to warm tones (since Indians tend to have brown eyes) you should be fine.

For lipsticks as well, avoid the colours with blue and pink blended in them because those are meant for pink-based complexions. Tia Williams of ShakeYourBeauty recently recommended a fantastic shade of Spanish Red by NARS. I don't ever use lipstick (that's more my mom's forte, and she swears by Brownie by Bobbi Brown.) I like light glosses and tinted balms for my lips - Benefit benetint lip balm, for instance, was one of my favourite things ever, until an ornery airport security official took it away from me at the beginning of the no-liquids-and-gels regime. Nowadays when I feel like some colour on my lips I use MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Plum Perfect.

I'd recommend splurging a little more on foundation than on other things because drugstore brands like Loreal and Maybelline do great mascaras, lipsticks and eyeshadows but for foundation I think you really get what you pay for.

In general I think warm tones are good for Indians. Don't, for instance, get taken in by the utter prettiness of the new Bobbi Brown Violet Face Palette because chances are, the only thing that's going to prettify is the surface of your dressing table.

Personally, my skin colour is sort of like a white person with a slight tan so it's relatively easy to work with. It sort of fits into a "medium skin tone" category that a lot of lines have products for. The thing, though, is that Indians tend to have such a wide variety of skin colours that it's really hard to prescribe shades and even eyeshadows that work. In fact there are some Indians I know who're so fair that cool shades work perfectly on them. So you really need to have a good chat with the sales assistants to help you figure out what works for you.

Ok I'm not sure that really helped, but I hope it gives you some direction. Nisha, please feel free to add anything else - I remember you wearing some pretty nice makeup the day we met, so I'm guessing you'll have much more to offer.

Also, if anyone knows of any good beauty blogs catering to Indian women, please leave links in the comments! Merci beaucoup.


I am normally the first person to brutally denounce Paris Hilton, but how cute does she look in this outfit? Except for the suburban trophy wife hair, I mean. I think the polo minidress with white mary janes is so, so adorable. And you gotta admit, she does have a great pair of legs. Does this girl ever even go to the gym or is she just incredibly genetically blessed?
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Style Obsession: Houndstooth
Between reading every fashion blog and publication I come in contact with and serial-shopping my way through Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, I have come to the conclusion that I am obsessed with all things houndstooth. This classic, clean print doesn't have to be stiff and boring--it can be easily dressed up or down with the right accessories for a fresh, original look, no matter what your price range is. It's a look that is fabulously retro and mod at the same time. Just a couple weeks ago I purchased these fantastic houndstooth flats for only $15:

The key to wearing houndstooth right is to play down the rest of your outfit and let the houndstooth print take center stage if wearing a large piece such as a coat, sweater, or dress. More options for every budget:

Skirt, Isaac Mizrahi for Target, a mere $10.

Coat, Bloomingdale's, $139. bloomingdales. com

Scarf, Marks & Spencer, £18.00,

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Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Clearly, in terms of obsessions I have moved on from bags to shoes. I apologise for the lack of posts lately, my week has been crazier than crazy. And I am suffering from a dilemma - those gorgeous Kenneth Cole boots arrived a few days ago, and they are a bit slouchier than expected, so I'm trying to decide if I should return them. Decisions, decisions.

And I haven't had a chance to wear either pair of my new Bandolino flats, because Chicago has been SO cold. But meanwhile, there are pretty shoes to be admired!

The Lavetta flats by Nine West are utterly, butterly stylish. They look a little bit like moccasins, only prettier. Aren't the colours adorable? $79, at

Also, one of the few good things about Uggs? Their Dakota slipper, $89.95 at Nordstrom. My roommate has a pair in the Tobacco shade, and I am dying for a Coffee-coloured pair. They, are so cute and incredibly comfortable and warm enough even for the miserable weather in Chicago right now.
The above two are out of my price range at present, due to my recent expenditure. However, I may just take TF's advice to scoop up a pair of royal blue patent leather flats at Payless. At $12.99, I can probably get the black ones as well - I have been desiring some black patent leather for my shoe wardrobe for a while, and the price is rather irresistable, even if I am a little suspicious about the comfort levels of Payless shoes. Whatever, I'll probably give it a shot. What do you think?


Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Golden Globes Roundup: Best & Worst

America Ferrerra was absolutely gorgeous in a perfectly cut purple gown and she was just glowing. When she won her award she was so adorable. I love this girl!

Eva Longoria has made some questionable fashion choices in the past but played it safe last night in a gorgeous, flattering navy blue gown.

Felicity Huffman may play a tired, kind of haggard housewife on Desperate Housewives, but she looked gorgeous last night in this flowing gown.

Reese Witherspoon took that stage to present her award and literally personified the statement "Looking good is the best revenge." She. looked. stunning. I bet Ryan Philippe is eating his heart out right now. Idiot. Oh, and the shoes? Amazing. Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, kind of went the opposite direction as Reese (see below).

Evangeline Lily was my favorite for wearing something a little bold. The pale colors are muted but the pattern is different from anything else you might see at such an event and she works it perfectly.


Ellen Pompeo: Um, what the hell. Could you make yourself look any paler, sicker, thinner? The severe hair and draping, unflattering white sack of a gown just made her look ridiculous, drab, and unattractive. Ellen pompeo can be so gorgeous when she tries!! WHY does she keep picking such ridiculous outfits, and WHEN is she going to fire her (clearly high) stylist?!

Cameron Diaz, recently broken up from her boyfriend JT, did the opposite of Reese and showed up to the Globes looking frumpy and weird. This dress is all wrong for someone as tall and thin as her--the layers of ruffles weigh her down and hide her figure and do not flatter. Plus the one sleeve/strap is just odd. I do love the dark hair though.

Chloe Sevigny is supposed to be this supposed amazing style icon and everything, but I thought her dress was just an attempt to look cool, but not executed well. Plus, it wouldn't kill her to lighten up and smile. I couldn't find a picture of her alone so there you have her two co-stars. The shoes smack of bondage fetishes and the whole thing makes her look sort of like a fierce girl being forced by her mom to put on a dress and make nice.

Vanessa Williams: Honey, we all have bad hair days once in a while but NOT AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES. That ridiculous hair coupled with that outrageous fur stole just made her look kind of like a '70s cartoon character version of the real Vanessa Williams.

Other things worth noting at the 64th Annual Golden Globes: Eric Dane was extremely hot in a tux as usual but has not yet ditched Rebecca Gayheart, Forest Whitaker won best actor in a drama and surprised everyone (well, at least me), Sacha Baron Cohen's acceptance speech was all about his co-star's testicles, Tom Hanks talked way too long, and Meryl Streep gave a phenomenal acceptance speech. Blah Blah. When are the Oscars again?
Monday, January 15, 2007
Charge It To The Insula.
Another great article from the New York Times - The Voices in My Head Say ‘Buy It!’ Why Argue?

I am fascinated and thrilled to find yet another way to justify my spending habits. Evidently, I have a dopamine addiction, a very responsive nucleus accumbens (I like how that word bears such uncanny similarity to 'succumb', because that is exactly what I do whenever I see a cute coat, bag or pair of shoes) and an incredibly sluggish insula. Given the link between dopamine and shopping habits, maybe I should go to the gym more often in order to improve the health of my bank balance. Exercise releases dopamine, right? Or is that endorphins? Or are they the same thing? Clearly my brain needs a work-out. Or some sleep. I've been staring at my math problem set for the last 4 hours.

I'm sure many of you out there are better at biology than I am! And, since this is, after all, a blog dedicated to university students, I'm sure one or two of you might be interested to read the actual working paper by the behavioral economists at Carnegie Mellon - so you can download a copy of Tightwads and Spendthrifts.

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"Learn to be your own editor."
Sorry for the delay in posting. I just moved back to campus yesterday so the last few days have been extremely busy and my laptop was packed Saturday through Sunday. Now that I'm connected to the world wide web again, I've been meaning to post about the recent FWD article 5 Ways to Make 2007 Determinedly Chic. My take on their five things...

See the Nan Kempner exhibit: of course, I think Nan Kempner is fabulous and would LOVE to see the exhibit. She only possessed the best closet in the history of fashion and was a style icon to all who aspired to be chic, but not all of us can jet to NYC at the drop of a hat nor is it easy to get a copy of one of those elusive exhibition catalogues. However, I think most non-NYC based fashionistas should get points for even caring about Nan Kempner!

Look to non-traditional sources for valid information: well, if you're reading this, you're already doing it. The article suggests reading newspapers and blogs rather than just Vogue/W/Harper's Bazaar. I think most people who are really into fashion do this one anyways, including the people who even read FWD in the first place, so this is a pointless suggestion.

Acknowledge trends, don't become the trends: I totally agree. I think we need more style individualists and less trend-followers.

Shop online: Um, this is 2007. Don't we all?

Follow the shows: because you know we will! "You can learn about trends when they are printed in a magazine or thrown on the back of some red-carpet-walking star, months after designers actually present them on the runways, but why not get more involved and make a point to follow fashion more closely this year?" says FWD writer Erin Skrypek. Hectic schedules make it tough for people who aren't full-time fashion industry professionals to have the time to follow all the shows in all the cities (or at least the major cities), but it's definitely worth the effort! This week, men's lines are debuting in Milan :-)

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Friday, January 12, 2007
Beauty is discipline, artistry, effort
I just read a really great article about what 'beauty' means.

I know if I wanted to be politically correct I should advocate being confident in your body and your looks. However, I think self-assurance isn't justified unless you put a little effort into the way you look. What I mean is that you can't just tell me that looking like a slob is all about being comfortable with yourself. You obviously shouldn't go to the extent of starving yourself (anyway that doesn't count as Effort the way I see it) but you have to put some time and thought into your appearance before you can honestly say that you're happy with the way you look.

"Yes, we are given forms by nature, but how we choose to present them is a matter of our own discretion. Few people are blessed by nature and circumstance with the Golden Mean proportions that seem to be universally appreciated. Thus, in the end, it is more democratic to think of beauty or attractiveness as an attribute that one can acquire, like speaking a foreign language or cooking well. To see beauty as a capacity like any other--the product of educated taste and daily discipline--is to see it as something chosen: to be possessed or left aside, according to one's preference."

The essence of the article is that beauty is a discipline that a woman can choose to pursue. And like any pursuit, it takes dedication and hard work. "A life of artifice is not for everyone. Once we see the effort and hours that go into making a body more appealing, we may decide not to attempt a labor-intensive presentation of the self. We may decide that other things are more important."

The same goes for the clothes and accessories that you choose to put on your body - some people may believe that fashion is slavery to rules that are made up by people who have far more time and money to invest in clothes and shoes and bags and make-up. However, I believe that at a very basic level, an interest in fashion is a decision to be attractive on a consistent basis. And with attractiveness go confidence, self-esteem and success :)

"In contemporary America, becoming thin is a choice that for most people requires rigorous and sometimes painful self-discipline. But so does becoming a lawyer, or a concert pianist. The celebrity press is wrongly decried for giving women false ideals. In fact, it has demystified the relationship between effort and beauty, between discipline and weight. It opens up a path for non-celebrities."

I think this is extremely chewy food for thought, especially for college girls - most of whom are particularly susceptible to being swayed by the thousands of images of gorgeous, slim celebrities that we're assaulted by. While anorexia and other eating disorders are certainly not the way to go, being healthy and keeping yourself attractive are undeniably worthy goals.

Ultimately, beauty is "something created, a condition to which anyone can have access with the right education and effort. This is a meritocratic ideal, not an insistent, elitist one."


Thursday, January 11, 2007
Random Fun Things
You know I love bags, right?

So I loved BagSnob's posts on the best and worst bags of 2006. I'm still lusting after that Pierre Hardy Besace like my life depends on it. A little bit of Lanvin wouldn't hurt either. But here's a tip for poor little college students like myself -- check out Aldo for cute purses. I've got three bags by them, and all are durable, fun, gorgeous and don't break the bank. The last one was just acquired on Sunday, when I went shopping with Nisha, and it is a delicious black-and-white confection. I've been going through a black-and-white phase lately.

It's this bag, except the red parts are black and the brown parts are white on mine. I kind of like this red version too. I definitely have a weakness for red.

Also, I have a tip about shoes. For insanely comfortable, affordable ballet flats - try the Onthefly by Bandolino. I have them in grey suede which I've been wearing to death because somehow the weather in Chicago has lately been nice enough that I don't have to wear boots all the time, and these heavenly flats just went on sale so I've ordered the red suede and the pale gold leather, for $29.99 each! What a great price for real leather/suede! Incidentally, they look exactly like Steve Madden flats which retail for around $70. I've had the grey ones since Thanksgiving and they're still looking pretty good even though they've traipsed around Chicago, New York and Singapore with me - not to mention airports in three different countries! So they're definitely durable. A deal if there ever was one.

By the way, the best part is that I've been pondering those red flats for a really long time, in fact when I bought the grey ones my original choice was the red but they didn't have my size, and then a couple of weeks ago I decided to check if they had them on the site, and they did but at that point they were $39.99 plus shipping and tax and all that so I was pondering over it for a while. I almost bought them yesterday but I decided to think about it a bit more, and then today when I went back to the site like a girl drawn back again and again to the bad boy, I noticed that the price had changed! With very little hesitation I picked up the red and the gold and I lived happily ever after.

(I find this hilarious, but I just went back to the site to get a picture and I accidentally clicked on the "add to shopping bag" button and it turns out that the red suede is no longer left in my size, which means I bought it just in time!!!)

Oh and I got some fabulous suede boots from They're Tribeca by Kenneth Cole, and on sale right now for $84.99. Plus piperlime has free shipping and free returns. Yessir, I've ordered three pairs of shoes in the last couple of hours.

I've been having some pretty good luck with sales lately - one day in Singapore I saw a gorgeous black coat at Zara for S$450 (US$300) and I thought to myself that it was the most delightful thing ever but that was a little too much at that point to pay for a coat. The next day was the beginning of the Zara sale, I didn't think they'd put such a gorgeous little thing on sale but I went back to show it to my mom anyway in the hopes that she might be feeling generous. Lo and behold, it was marked down to S$265 (approx US$170)! And they had a piece in my size without all the buttons torn off by avid sale-goers. And then the gorgeous black coat was mine.

The end.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Mr. Blackwell's Worst Dressed List
I thought on this lazy morning I would share one of my favorite guilty pleasures: Mr. Blackwell's Annual Worst Dressed List. It's hilarious. And on it are some of our least favorite people, such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Enjoy!

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Monday, January 08, 2007
Love or Hate?
Hey guys! Sorry I've been totally MIA for the last couple of weeks - between packing up my Singapore life to come back to surprisingly sunny Chicago, settling down, fighting jetlag, going back to class, and meeting the lovely Nisha for some fantastic shopping yesterday, I've been busybusybusy!

Anyway, what're your thoughts on these Steve Madden flats, $70 at (UGH Blogger, ever difficult, refuses to let me publish the picture and you know how much I hate posting without pictures, it makes my mind wander too much! Okay I'm just being a drama queen but seriously, Blogger is being a right old pain in the ass.)

I think the stripey, busy flats could be cute to jazz up an otherwise simple outfit, but I won't be pulling out the plastic for this just yet, especially considering that my search for the perfect pair of black flats hasn't ended just yet!

On my wishlist for shoes:
Perfect black ballet flats
Perfect black knee-high boots with the perfect heel - stylish, but comfy enough to traipse around campus

Here's the picture -


Back to School: The Packing Conundrum
As some of us get ready to head back to school this weekend or next weekend, it has dawned n me how impossible it will be to cram everything in my bags and hop a bus back to campus. Coming home in December, I could barely zip my bags shut with all the clothes I was bringing home. But now, after much winter break shopping, I am coming back to school with several more tops and accessories, a couple pairs of jeans I had left at home at Thanksgiving, and four more pairs of shoes than I came home with (I know, I'm horrible!). I'm also very partial to the layering look, which means I always overpack and want every article of clothing with me at school because I might want to layer it with something!

I'm sure I'm not the only one worrying about how to pack up all my stuff without having to leave anything at home, so here's a few helpful packing tips I've compiled for everyone who's heading back to campus soon:

-Start by organizing now. You probably have much more stuff to take back to school this time around, and it probably is scattered all around your house as opposed to your tiny dorm or apartment, so start early by getting eveything together to make sure you don't forget anything. If it helps, make a checklist to keep everything organized

-Pack as you go. If this is your last week of winter break, you're probably busy seeing old friends, spending time with family, and cramming in last-minute errands, so do a little bit of packing everyday so it doesn't overwhelm you. Everytime you do laundry, pack a few more things.

-If you're taking a plane, don't forget the TSA regulations on liquids and gels. You do not want to be the girl who has to throw away her entire makeup bag in the airport.

-Make sure you have an extra-sturdy, cushioned, extra-protective laptop bag. You don't want anything to happen to that precious laptop while in transit.

-Make the most of luggage limits. I'm taking a bus, and the bus only allows one large suitcase to be thrown under the bus, one carry-on, and one purse, which is not really a lot. So I plan to maximize that by taking the roomiest suitcase I can find in my house, stuffing as many little items as I can into the side pockets and extra spaces in my oversized laptop bag, taking a tote as a purse so I can fit more stuff in there, and taking one more carry-on than the bus allows since they never bother me about it. If you're taking a plan, train, or bus, make the most of what you're given! If you've got a car....well, you're a lucky girl!

-Make sure your rolling suitcase has sturdy, high quality wheels. One time on a vacation, one of the wheels broke off my suitcase, making it an absolute pain to drag around. Don't let that happen to you!

Enjoy the rest of your break if you're still at home!

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Madonna for H&M
Okay first of all: who doesn't love H&M? The Swedish cheap-chic giant has been an overnight success since hitting the US a few years ago.

I know this is old news, but I'm thoroughly interested to see the M by Madonna line that Madonna will design for H&M, set to release this March. When Karl Lagerfeld's line for H&M premiered in 2004, all I remember was getting there the day after the line released and everything was sold out already. But then again, that was Karl Lagerfeld. When Stella McCartney's line for H&M premiered in 2005, it sold out equally as fast. When Madonna's little tracksuit experiment for H&M came was not nearly as much of a success. But, H&M is giving Madonna another chance and I'm interested to see what new ideas she'll come up with this time!

Hopefully I'll be able to high-tail it to my nearest H&M this March to check it out in person. Unfortunately I don't have an H&M near my campus, but if the line is any good I might have to make a weekend trip home to Chicago to check it out!

In other really random news, a thought: do you guys read ever read Glamour? You know, the Glamour Do's and Dont's, where they take pictures of people on the street and black-bar them and display their good and bad style choices. Do you ever wish you could do that and take pictures of people you see on the street whose style inspires you...or horrifies you? Aparna and I, while shopping today, sort of...followed...this girl around Forever 21 so we could get a full glimpse of her outfit, which we both absolutely adored (she wore this coat and balanced out its girliness with black tights and flat black leather boots)!! We felt kind of crazy, but you have to admit, it's really interesting to watch people on the street and wish you could blog every wild and interesting outfit you see.... don't you agree?

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Sunday, January 07, 2007
Style Obsession: Herve Chapelier bags
So I went on another day-long shopping trip today. It's okay, because once I get to campus next week I won't be shopping for a very, very long time, since there's no good shopping in the area. So it's justified if I overcompensate by shopping a lot now....right?

However, my favorite thing I bought today wasn't during my shopping trip-- it was an Herve Chapelier tote bag I just got on Ebay for $20! It's the 925N bag in Tarama/Moka.

I love the Herve Chapelier bags because they're fun and cute but also roomy and really practical. The 925N normally sells for $115, so getting it for $20 on Ebay (brand new, with tags still on) is really a steal. Anyways, my point: these are extremely practical for college life because they a)are waterproof and have a ziptop so your stuff will always be shielded form snow/rain; b)have plenty of space for your books and laptop; and c)come in every possible color combination you could dream of. This is definitely going to be my new bookbag for this semester!

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Saturday, January 06, 2007
Style Obsession: Minis with dark tights
I love the minis-and-tights look--it's a fresher, preppier, more hip take on the ever-popular denim-mini-with-leggings look.

Instead of leggings, try opaque, solid-colored tights in rich, dark colors like black, burgundy, navy, or even fuschia. Pair with minis of all different kinds of styles. Instead of the ever-present denim mini, try pencil skirts, wool minis, or minis with bold prints.

Top it off with flats or wedges and a slew of colorful bangles. Or for a really daring, hot-off-the-runway look, try it with ankle boots!

(I couldn't find any suitable pictures online, so the following are shots I took out of the January issue of Lucky, hence the not-so-good quality. sorry! But if you'll notice, the model in the second shot is wearing her tights and minidress with ankle boots that match the color of her tights, a look which I think is great)

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Friday, January 05, 2007
TCW's Best College Fashion Trends of '06
And now, after several months of avid people-watching ("fashion-watching," as I heard it called on some other blog), my absolute favorite trends of '06 as seen on college campuses everywhere. And at the end, a few thoughts on trendiness vs. style.

1. Skinny jeans: This one is almost certainly a love-it-or-hate-it item. I lean far to the love-it side, because I adore how these jeans look when worn properly. I know skinny jeans are not forgiving to many body types, which is understandably unfair and the reason why so many fashionistas despise these. But seriously, don't you think they just look so chic and smart?

2. Big Belts: According to writers at (who also agree with me that Crocs must die!--see earlier post), "A waist is a terrible thing to waste. Get one in patent, satin, or leather to add some cinch to your figure. Do not wear it low slung on your hips. Only female cops are allowed in invest in holsters. " I couldn't agree more, and I loved seeing girls wearing big belts everywhere. If you haven't jumped on this trend yet, there's still plenty of time--big belts are sticking around in 07.

3. Pashminas. I saw a lot of cool scarves, but pashminas (real or not) are suddenly everywhere on my campus at least. I love love love them. I only have a couple but if I could I'd grab up a few more in different colors!

Sadly, those were the only few items in college fashion that I truly loved in 2006. In this post from Style Tribes, the author describes how college is filled with girls who mindlessly copy trends they see in magazines or on Rachel Zoe clones and wear head-to-toe Urban Outfitters or Forever21. Style doesn't have to be about following every single trend just because it's cool (uggs, leggings, crocs...) but rather, about wearing what looks good on you and fits your individual taste and personality. It is rare to see real people (as opposed to celebrities) take fashion risks and wear anything out of the ordinary; most of us just follow trends rather than making them. I read the most interesting post on The Ivy that stated basically this same thing. We don't all have to dress the same and follow the crowd! Dress how you feel and how you look best--don't just be a slave to trends in 2007!

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Thursday, January 04, 2007
Die, Blogger
I want to KILL Blogger right now. Not only has it been refusing to let me upload pictures for the last few days, forcing me to resort to putting pictures in posts the old-fashioned HTML way, but I just spent an hour writing a post I was really excited about that took me an excruciatingly long time (researching, typing, taking pictures and getting them on my computer and getting them hosted online, then inserting said pictures into the post the hard way) and upon hitting the "Publish" button, Blogger gave me a "We are unable to complete your request" message and deleted my entire post. All that work for nothing. Hopefully I will have the motivation to re-write it later when I am not completely dead tired.

Until then: do you hear me, Google guys? the new version of Blogger sucks!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007
TCW loves Lucky!
I think I've probably mentioned before that I'm not much of a Vogue reader--but I absolutely adore Lucky magazine. Everytime I read a new issue of Lucky, or re-read an issue for the millionth time, I feel the burning need to drop everything and go shopping.I consider it the fashion bible (or other scripture of your choice, as necessitated by such awesome congressmen as Keith Ellison!). Anyways. I already love Lucky as it is and find it full of great styling tips, cool new designers, and tons of style inspiration.

The only thing that could make me love Lucky more: their article "Coed Cool" on p. 132 of the January 2007 issue focuses on college fashion!! How fantastic is it that Lucky manages to give a nod to the cool, preppy classics of college wardobes? featured among the items in the article are perfectly tailored skinny button-downs, shrunken corduroy blazers, voluminous knee-length wool skirts (unbelievably hip in an off-beat, '70s sort of way), the most gorgeous, swingy leather purse, and much more. These are the kind of things I love about retro-collegiate style!

I wish I could scan the article, but my scanner is a) not installed on my new laptop and b)extremely low-quality and crappy. But to anyone who doesn't currently read Lucky, I highly recommend it, and I love their college fashion feature!

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Monday, January 01, 2007
TCW's Top 5 Worst College Fashion Trends of 2006

Here's my roundup of the five worst trends in 2006, rampant on college campuses across America. Hopefully, these will all go out with 2006 and never be seen again.

1. Crocs: Okay, this one I never understood from the get-go. When I first saw them, I thought they were something you wear over your shoes in the rain or when you're gardening. then I started seeing people in my dorm wearing them. What possesses people to wear these ugly rubber shoes, I will never know.

2. Uggs: Aparna and I have said this one before and we'll say it again. Uggs were only cool on Paris Hilton in LA circa 2002. I know it takes about two years for a trend to make it from cities like LA & NY to the less-hip suburbs, but still, Uggs were over a long, long time ago. They're not cute, people! Especially when paired with minis or gauchos.

3. Leggings: In college fashion, there's something to be said for wearing something no one else is wearing. And, the reverse is true for wearing something EVERYONE IS WEARING. I've seen leggings under denim minis galore, I've seen leggings under dresses and shirtdresses, I've seen leggings under long t-shirts that are too short to be dresses, and it makes me hate leggings even more. So unless you want to look like yet another mindless college fashion victim or a Limited Too-loving preteen, stay away from this trend!

4. Gauchos: Are these pants comofrtable? Maybe. That's debatable. But are they unflattering, ugly, awkward, and prone to givng the wearer a bad case of camel-toe? YES.

5. Sweats to Class: Ok, I was guilty of this too. But only once! The just-rolled-out-of-bed look is not cool in class. I, for one, am resolving to dress up more for class. Don't you feel more productive when you look and feel clean and put-together?

Look for more posts coming soon on: New Year's Resolutions, the 5 Best College Fashion trends of 2006, style predictions for 2007, and how to transition your winter wardrobe to spring. Happy new year everyone!

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