Saturday, 31 July 2010

Which is only tangentially about print dresses

There's a new TK Maxx on Charing Cross Road! Across from Foyle's where Borders used to be, alas alas. Frankly Foyle's is an immeasurably superior bookshop, and if you're bookshopping on Charing Cross Road you should be checking out the independent places anyway -- the selection's more interesting and the books may be cheaper -- but the sad thing about Borders being gone is that they used to have a decent manga collection, and you could bring them up to Starbucks and spend the afternoon reading manga for the price of a coffee. Never again :(

Still, I'm not one to look a gift TK Maxx in the mouth, and this one is considerably pleasanter than the one on High Street Kensington. Better music and lots of boyfriend chairs (very important when you have a boyfriend who is happy to sit and read forever, but easily depressed by noise). Three floors -- women's on the ground floor, shoes and accessories on the first, and dudes' things on the third.

I tried on a black dress with a painting-like print of grey flowers. The print reminded me of the prints in Prada's pretty '50s-style collection:

Via Vogue

Though the cut was more like that of this charming vintage dress on Oxfam:

Sadly it was missing most of the buttons on its front, which made it gape alarmingly, and it was an XS -- too small for me.

Still, it was fun having a poke through the shop. What I like about TK Maxx is that it's a bit like charity shopping -- it's all about the unpredictability. I stuck my hand into a rack and pulled out this attractive shift dress with sailboat print:

Shift dresses and cute prints are my favourite things! "I wonder how much it costs," I said to myself, and checked the tag. It was Stella McCartney: discounted from £755 to a derisory £130. (Prices approximate, because ridiculous.)

"Eh, it's not that cute," I said, putting it back on the rack. I was totally lying: it was that cute. But who's got £130 to burn on a cute shift dress? I went across the road to Foyle's and bought the latest Scott Pilgrim instead.

- Zen

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Bunny Ears are ♥

Louis Vuitton Fall 2009. $400(£260)

Corea Spring 2010. 3,000krw (£1.60)
My reaction exactly! I actually thought they were scarves because they were unfolded and bent into a bucket, making it seem as if they were scarves. Thinking they were scarves, I asked the ahjussi manning the stall at Myeongdong, 명동 for the price. When he said 3,000krw, 'CHEAP!' flashed right in my brain. I walked over to choose my loot but immediately upon touching them, bells started ringing in my head. These things were not scarves, they were wired inside, like literally not technologically. And I know I have seen these things before. On dramas! That's how they stood up! And I became a happy bunny that night.
Then I went to Hongdae, 홍대 and asked around for their prices. I was even more excited when they were selling them at 5,000krw! Plus, they didn't have as many variety as compared to that ahjussi, who had, I dare say more than a hundred of these things and all of them were very different.
Oops, I swear I had them on, but this picture was one of the least pixelated ones so just imagine the bunny ears ok. Salmon pink top (H&M), Gray satin shorts (Corea, 5,900krw ^^), Belt (Mummy's vintage thrash)
Then I came back to Malaysia and did my weekly blog-window shopping and found them being sold at RM27 (11,000krw) excluding delivery! With only 3 different patterns to choose from! That blog was the very first mover though, they started selling the week after I came back and the lowest I've seen them go for in other blogs is still more than double my original price.
White racer back (F.O.S), Black cotton dress (Corea, 8,000krw ^^)

Bunny ears, that's what we need to finish this look - Marc Jacobs

- Sue (If you wonder why I have so few self portraits, this post explains it all. My home's lighting kills all narcissistic desires to camwhore)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I am amused by the sudden burst of activity on this blog! I think we more or less decided to post independently, but it's like when you're waiting for a bus for hours and then three come along at the same time.

I don't have interesting photos like Sam and Sue do because I work or socialise when the shops are open. But there's always online shops!

If you had to choose one bag of the following two, would you choose this peachy satchel:

Or this perversely jeans-coloured utility bag?

They're both kinda spendy so I'm not sure I'd actually get them. But I can't decide which I'd get if I were going to buy one. I like them both because they're unexpected colours for leather bags. I like the peach one because I love satchels and it's such a sweet colour. But then I like the jeans one because it's big and I like great big bags you can stuff lots of things into.

Hmm. Imaginary shopping is difficult!

- Zen

Monday, 12 July 2010

Dress StressT_T

Hey I'm back! Haven't blogged in ages>_< Lazy me. I guess I have just as much inertia to blogging as dress shopping.

This week's mission: Get dresses for cousin's wedding. Going in shorts and t-shirt is not acceptable!

Good thing summer sale is still on after my exams. I hit the streets one fryably hot afternoon to look for dresses; need one for church wedding and one for the evening. But I got distracted (amongst other things) by this adorable baby-ele print dress. Too casual for wedding...and I wasn't in the mood for fun-clothes left it-__- Took a picture for Zen cos I knew it would make her squeal a little:D I scouted out Lipsy, Ted baker, Karen Millen and Jane Norman (yes I was quite desperate). Nothing really caught my eye. Since I had no idea what looked good on me and what didn't (this sort of shopping is really out of my comfort zone) so I tried almost everything...behold a pink dress from Lipsy. It was quite hideous in reality, the texture of the dress and the way the toga made my shoulders look really broad...but the photo turned out surprisingly not too bad! I think I have never acutally worn pink before...always thought it made me look like a marshmallow. This dress is too short for back to the racks it went.

Moving on to Darimeya, since Zen suggested that I should look around for "interesting prints", eg. things with animals/food...cos that would make me like a dress instantly.

Darimeya often reminds me of my mum's style, cos she likes prints. This was not too bad, but not really me. (Gah! to me honest I don't think many of the dresses I tried were things I would usually wear. When black was ruled out I lost a major part of my colour palatteT_T)

I acutally quite liked this. But the top white bit was t-shirt prob too casual...goodbye:(

This is another Darimeya dress. I like the musical notes, looks like something from a children's cartoon. But thought it was not worth the price....NEXT!

You can probably tell that this is quite a moody post about the dresses that I failed to find:(

This dress came close,but the colour is perhaps too bridesmaid? My family advised against colours similar to the bridegown colour. I never knew there were so many rules for wedding-attenders. It was only £22 would have been suitable for another occasion...maybe grad or smth...I could throw a blazer over it - easy! Unfortunately, I left it on hold at the cashier's while I browsed a bit more...and by the time I came back it was no where to be found! The shop believed that they may have mistakenly sold it to someone else....last piece....oh was not meant to be....

Hopefully tomorrow I will have better luck. There is one piece of good news though...I did find a dress for the church wedding. A Darimeya one. Found it in Topshop when the mad crowd cleared...30mins before closing time...I shall save picture-taking for when I wear it to the wedding...

Still need an evening dress. Will update with more failed dress attempts unless heatstroke takes me first.


Shoe haul

As the title suggest, I've been shopping around for shoes. They are the easiest thing to shop for personally, just slip off, slip on, admire self in mirror and you start to think, whoa, I cannot leave this place without this, then off you go to the cashier to pay for your item.

Well, to be fair, shopping for shoes in Malaysia is a relatively safe exercise in Malaysia. Not too much money can be purged from the wallet if you practice control . Although I have to say, the quality of the shoes are never guaranteed. The shoes above were purchased within a 6 week period. There's another pair of flats somewhere in the house, but I forgot. I know they are all black but to be fair, most are for work.

For play, these I bought from a blogshop. My second purchase from a Malaysian blogshop. I bought it with another high waisted skirt which is not even worth mentioning. The quality was horrible! Yet I bought it because it was their top seller and they kept restocking. Plus customers kept writing really good reviews on the skirt! I was partly annoyed but thank goodness for the shoes. They were the shop's saving grace.

They are a little on the high side but they are really comfy! Exactly what the seller said. And I love the faux Louboutin red soles. The shoes were definitely a risk that paid off. By the way, Corea does really amazing faux Louboutin red soles but I didn't buy because there was not enough time :(

These. These are for work. I was bored when I was out with my mum so I was just randomly trying shoes, for fun. I didn't even like this pair. I thought it was slightly old looking, and they were like boat shoes, but not. I tired on the tan one and OMG, it was THE MOST COMFORTABLE PAIR OF SHOES on earth. Seriously, I totally fell in love with the comfort. And I was getting excited because damn, I can walk to work in these!

In the end I got the black pair because brown shoes are hard to pair with work clothes imho. These were slightly above my budget but they are made from leather and uber comf, so that justifies the price. Plus they were on sale so that's good.

Then the others which are slightly boring. The usual classic pumps and the pussy bow peep toe. The peep toes are slightly iffy for work though, so that's still a play shoe. I highly suggest going to nice looking shoe shops during sale time. The peep toes are from the Sembonia boutique and they were half off. At less than RM50 a pair the quality is 2 times better than the other 'Malaysian high street' shoes shops.

I meant to write this before I left for Corea by syaing that my next goal was to look for nude pumps or heels in Corea, but alas. Shopping in Corea is really fun but at the same time not so fun when they don't place price tags. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I did most of my shopping on the first day. So I was a bit cautious with the shoes because most of them had no price tags. I was afraid they'd slaughter me because I was a foreigner. I would have to say you should expect to pay slightly more than say £10 for a pair of nice pumps. What you pay is what you get because the quality is brilliant. And for the variety, you really get your money's worth.

Thankfully, I walked past a shoe shop in their underpass that advertised their shoes going for 20,000 won. That's around £11.

Aren't they lovely?

I love how the bow accessory is made of metal and coated in gold. The best thing about shopping in Corea is the service. The shoe was actually slightly big for me and I almost refrained myself from buying it for that reason but the guy immediately handed me a sole to try on. I thought, oh, okay if it fits with a sole I can use my soles from home. So it did and I bought it. But the guy actually helped me insert the sole into the shoes, hidden from all to see! So now I can just slip my foot in without any trouble! I was like, whoaaaa, this was not a high end shop. It was just a normal tiny shop filled with shoes. In fact it was bursting with shoes but still organised according to your size. And they polished my shoes for me before handing them over. I was definitely impressed.

Shoe shopping in Corea checked. Next up, clothes, accessories, bags and why shopping in Corea is so much fun!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Browsing not buying

I like this dress!

Pretty pretty. Though goodness, original price is expensive. Why? It's just a cotton dress.

Saw a lady wearing this at the park today:

I've been quietly coveting the ASOS Africa dresses for a while, but seeing this particular dress in person successfully quenched my desire for it. Not because it was hideous or anything, but it just wasn't amazing. Plus the top was loose on the woman wearing it, and considering she had boobs and I don't really, that doesn't seem that promising. Instead I shall equip myself with £25 one of these Sundays and trot down to Spitalfields Market to buy one of the very charming African print shift dresses sold at a stall there.

Still secretly want these shorts, though.

In orange/pink. Excellent.

On a more unattainable note, Minimarket really caught my eye in this most recent browse of ASOS.

Find these dresses very appealing for some reason. They're minimalist and just slightly left off centre, and the shapes and textures used are strong and unexpected. Like it!

- Zen

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Back from Corea!

See that lovely brown bag up there? I was this close, -> || to purchashing it. Instead, I left the shop in Hongdae 홍대 empty handed and regretted it. I consoled myself with hopes that I can find the same bag at Migliore in Dongdaemun 동대문. I did find a similar substitute at a lower price but the quality is not as good and it's a different colour. Now that I see that bag on Son Ye Jin, I am furious that I didn't get the bag because I wasn't sure how much bags cost in Corea. ㅜㅜ

Next time, I am going with my gut instincts and not my brain which tries to rationalise with my heart.

That aside, I will be posting a major shoe haul pre Corea trip and clothing haul + shoes + bag post Corea. Shopping in Seoul is so awesome that I actually went broke in won. Like seriously, if Disney World is your happy place, Seoul is mine. :)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Stealing from Sleeping Beauty's wardrobe

I failed to mention yesterday that this weekend's poke around the charity shops was in Pimlico, not on Goodge Street. I used to live very close to the cluster of charity shops in Pimlico and I'd go there of an afternoon when I didn't have any classes nor anything to do. I hadn't been for a while when I went yesterday, and I'd forgotten how much fun it was to browse these shops! I especially recommend the Fara shops and the Crusaid there. Crusaid stocks things that are often too expensive for me anyway -- yesterday I saw a Banana Republic white shell, perfect for work and pretty enough for other occasions, for £25 (too much for a thrifted top), secondhand Jimmy Choos, and a brand new Moschino dress for £50. But they have bargain bins outside where you can luck out and get something for a decent thrifting price -- I got my Swiss Cross Army bag there, for instance.

While I was walking there yesterday in the sunshine, dodging the tourists around Parliament Square, I saw a girl in a military green jacket and a white skirt through which the sun shone, turning it sheer. Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if I could find a semi-sheer skirt I could wear in the sun, with my legs just faintly (but not scandalously) outlined against the fabric ...

So when I saw this ridiculous vintage nightgown in a charity shop, I knew what I must do.

It is so peach and sheer and ruffled! Emphasis on the sheer -- it's not as ridiculously see-through here as it is in person, but even here you can see that it doesn't do much in the way of covering up. I put on high-waisted short shorts and a tank top underneath it for the purpose of taking this photograph, 'cos otherwise it just wouldn't have been decent.

I'm not usually very fond of nightgowns as sleepwear but this is so soft and ruffly and long! It swishes in the most pleasing way. I'd be okay with just wearing it to bed and not ever doing anything else with it, but what tipped me over into buying it was putting a blazer over it and wondering if I'd dare wear it outside ...

Putting a belt over it gives it a pleasing empire waist.

T-shirts over it goes some way towards solving the problem of its scandalous sheerness.

Though, er, that doesn't solve the problem of the bottom half. I'm thinking a) leggings/tights underneath, b) skirt over, or c) short shorts and shamelessness.

Or d) stick with longer T-shirts!

Slouchy/sweet boudoir look.

It's certainly not the most practical purchase I've ever made, but it's like white shoes -- their prettiness outweighs considerations of practicality.

And it's fun trying to figure out ways of wearing it without, er, revealing all. In the meantime, while I work up the courage to wear it outside, I shall wear it to loll around in bed -- something I do a lot of. So in a way it is a sensible purchase after all!

- Zen

Saturday, 17 April 2010

A loooong post

The past couple of weekends I've had more time than I usually do to have a wander around the charity shops. This is one of the things I miss when I'm in Malaysia -- you have to be in the mood for it, but there's a peculiar joy in thrifting that you just don't get from your standard stroll along the high street. You never know what you're going to see.

This year I'm living fairly close to Goodge Street, so that's one of the places I like to go of a sunny Saturday afternoon. Of course the highlight of Goodge Street is Bang Bang Clothing Exchange, which is hardly a charity shop but offers the same delights of unpredictability albeit with slightly more shocking price tags.

Would you buy this pair of stripy flip-flops from Chanel for £80?

I mean, I imagine £80 is a bargain for Chanel shoes, even if they are dreadful flip-flops. (I say "I imagine" because once any sort of fashion product goes above £200 my eyes start to glaze over and all the figures look the same. Marc Jacobs bags seem pretty much as expensively unattainable as Proenza Schouler's to me, even though there's hundreds of pounds' difference between the price tags.

Below £200 things still seem expensive, but at least they are differently expensive.)

But bargainous as it may be to get Chanel for £80, would you???

I was more tempted by this silver Oasis dress, but felt £18 was a bit much considering you can get Oasis stuff brand new for about the same price or only slightly more via their sale. It just feels odd to be buying secondhand if it's not that much of a discount and it's not something a little rarer than high street clobber. (Though I do like Oasis's high street clobber ... as long as it's on sale.)

Also a) I didn't need it and b) nor did I feel that zing! that you ought to feel if you are going to pay money for something, when you are shopping for fun. If you are shopping for boring necessities like work clothes then you don't need to feel that zing!, but if you are going to buy something superfluous you do need to feel a certain thrill in it. It's not enough to say to yourself, "This fits quite well" and "Yes, I'll certainly wear it." Zing! is mandatory.

(In fact I do feel I prioritise zing! slightly too much sometimes. These purple oxford wedges, for example. Definitely zing! purchases, with nothing to back up with the zing!. I love them and am glad they exist in my closet, but I basically post with pictures every time I wear them because it is such an uncommon event.)

Fortunately there is both zing! and practicality to this weekend's purchase -- grey wedges from Kenneth Cole Reaction, bought for £12 from a Trinity Hospice charity shop.

You will guess from their heeled nature that I am hoping to wear them to work. (I don't really bother buying heels if I don't hope to wear them to work, 'cos I know I ain't gonna be wearing them anywhere else. Oh, unless zing! prevails, of course. You can never account for zing!.)

What do you think? I know they are quite informal, being wedges and a light colour, and that vaguely crocodiley strap doesn't help. They're certainly not the irreproachable black stilettos of the ideal businesswoman. But the department I'm currently in isn't excessively formal, so I think it should be OK. The irreproachable black stilettos will have to wait for the day when I don't mind excruciating footache.

I don't know why I think informal heels will be better for work than informal flats, but I somehow do. But then again, if you consider the current range of shoes I have available for wearing to work right now, and the shoes I do wear, perhaps it is not so surprising that I leap on anything that looks vaguely acceptable with desperate enthusiasm.

What I bought to wear to work
- Charles & Keith black patent heels with suede detailing: winged their way to the nearest charity shop after I discovered they were unwearable when I had tights on, because they slipped off at every opportunity, i.e. every time I took a step. They weren't that good when I wasn't wearing tights, either.
- Vincci black patent wedges: I should really just stop buying Vincci shoes and expecting them to be wearable for more than five minutes at a time, but hope springs eternal, I guess. I wore these and walked around and around the shop in 1 Utama for about 20 minutes while salesgirls stared balefully at me, and they felt OK then. But they still turned out to be too painful to walk in for more than five minutes. Damn it! These are sitting in my wardrobe while I decide whether I want to try them when I'm wearing tights. Perhaps they wouldn't bite as hard as they do on bare feet.
- Black suede Mary Janes with gold buckles and rubber soles: I must've worn these for half an hour in the department store while trying them on. I literally jogged around the accessories floor of Metrojaya to make sure they were OK! But they hurt like hell at the end of the day when your feet have expanded; I've stopped wearing them because the blisters mean my feet hurt even when I switch to other, more comfortable shoes.
- Next black and white patent shoes with block heels and bow detail: the height is great on this -- it's not flat-flat, not a kitten heel which I dislike the look of, but not actually a high heel either -- but again, they are too large for me when I wear tights, and the smaller size would be too small for me when I'm not. The patent material also means they are not kind on the feet. (Note to self: stop buying patent heels.)

What a sorry tale! Compare the shoes I actually wear to work:

- Franco Sarto black patent flats with knot detail from New York: despite being patent, these were actually wearable. In fact they were so wearable that they are now dead -- they were getting pretty gross and scuffed, and then one half got a hole in the front where the toenail of my big toe pushed into the shoe. I felt holey shoes were less than professional, so they got dumped, leaving me without any black flats.
- Nose black and white sequin round-toe flats: black and white round-toe flats have a nice classic look which is fine for work. Sequins, on the other hand ...
- Bright red patent Mary Jane flats from Clarks: from Clarks, therefore eminently wearable and comfy. Nicknamed "my Dorothy shoes", so not exactly conducive to looking like a grown-up.
- Increasingly weatherbeaten tan oxfords: I wore these incessantly over the past couple of years -- these are the shoes that are so great that a random stranger on the street actually said to me as he passed, "Those are great shoes." The fact that they are looking increasingly worn (in a cool way) does seem to make them inappropriate for the workplace, though? Plus I don't like wearing them with black tights; I worry that I am breaking a Work Fashion Rule.

So the work shoe situation is not ideal! I should really just give in and go buy a bog-standard, reliable pair from Clarks. But perhaps these Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes will do the job? Only time can tell.

I suppose even if they turn out to be impossible to walk in and/or not professional-looking enough, they are nice for days off. I wore them to a shared birthday dinner with my sister at Yauatcha today with a print dress and my primary schoolteacher polka-dot cardigan.

The necklace is a gift from a dear friend. I'm keen on it, all the more so because it's something I would never have chosen for myself -- upon first consideration I would think the colour unwearable. But it goes -- or clashes pleasingly -- with a surprising number of things, and I'm always pleased to have a chance to wear it.

Sorry for the long post, dear readers, if you managed to read to the end! But after all, what's a fashion blog for if not lots of waffling about shoes?

- Zen