Iris Van Herpen study

Marvle: A Sensitive Magazine

Boutique 1861

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Very interesting read:   Luxury Shopping, from the Other Side of the Register

"My work, truthfully, is not bad, nor are the customers...  But there is something shocking about working in a place like this, especially around the holidays. It is the presence of money—lots of it, more than I have ever seen in one place before—and the ease with which it moves around me."

Something about the state of the economy and just growing older makes me realize more and more the reality of what shopping is - an experience to be bought.  And once you see past the glitz and gimmicks, you know what you really need, and that you can be happy without it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013
Fairisle scarf - Old Navy (very old)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Skin sheet masks (like this one) work wonders, but they can get pricey at $2-5 each, which adds up considering you need to use them at least once a week for lasting results.  Then I found this pack of 100 compressed paper masks on Amazon.  They're basically vacuumed face sheets, but you add the liquid ingredients yourself.  Saves a lot of money and packaging plastic, and it's a good option for routine skincare.  I'm going to save the "sheet packs" for special occasions.

It comes in individual packs that look kind of like mints. 

1.  They're very small, but you can see all the little layers packed in each one.

2.  Pick whatever liquid that will benefit your skin.  We had some ginger tea on hand (chamomile or peppermint tea would also be good to use), so I steeped it and let it cool in the fridge.

3.  Plop the sheet mask in the liquid and it'll plump up right away.  Let soak for a moment.

4.  I got an aloe leaf (can be found at Asian supermarkets), cut off an inch segment, and directly swiped the gel over my face.  Aloe plants are used for healing cuts and burns, and so are a great natural skincare ingredient.  Make sure to wrap the remaining cut end with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later use.

5.  Squeeze out excess liquid from the mask.  Carefully unfurl.

6.  Put it on for 10 minutes or so, depending on how long it takes to lose its "juiciness."  Rinse off any aloe residue and apply moisturizer.

P.S.  Shipping the masks from Hong Kong unfortunately takes around 3 weeks, just FYI.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Okay, Blogger isn't letting me post this video so I'll link it:

Tons of textiles and unwanted clothes are tossed each year - it's amazing how much is wasted from the manufacturing process all the way to individual closets in this fast-fashion, hoarding society.  Frankly, I've been sick of "Made in China" being an adage meaning cheap, poorly constructed, and with exploited hands, so it's refreshing to see that this movement is gaining a following in China itself.

Redress is an organization based in Hong Kong with the goal of promoting sustainability in fashion.  From challenging student scholarship competitors to use recycled fashions, to salvaging parts from donated clothes to produce genuinely fashionable quality pieces, they're finding innovative ways to build a solid reputation. "Ecochic" doesn't have to look hippie or patched together anymore.  It can be the new norm.

One reason why I've perhaps shied away from going into the fashion industry is that it can seem so frivolous and destructive and conformative.  But with groups such as this - where my serious passion for the environment in combination with style (that doesn't have to be sacrificed) - I could seriously consider such a path.  Possibly.  There are all sorts of ways to chip in and save the planet, right?

 Sorting through donated clothes and picking things that are made of quality material to reuse.

An EcoChic fashion show.  You wouldn't have known these were recycled, right?

Liora Lasalle, recent competition winner.  She transformed old worker uniforms in a totally new direction.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today, I dressed somewhat unlike myself.  Sweats, and the color black.  Guess it kind of reflects my mood/mentality nowadays.

During the day (to take the GRE) I wore a pale grey sweatshirt that was free from being on the Bubble staff.  Like, a hoodie without a hood.  Doesn't sound like the most attractive thing, right?  But I didn't want to bother with looking good while taking the 4 hour test.

And for this first-time bible study/hangout at night, I didn't want to "make an entrance" so I went with black.  I hardly ever wear black (discounting some outerwear) because my hair is already black, so it tends to make me feel gothic. 

Got this sweater about a week ago.  It is actually a lot cuter in person.  The slightly metallic gold threads and heavy pattern made it feel less dark and dreary.  Plus a peplum detail and 3/4 sleeves, so I guess it still had my aesthetic, but black is definitely a rare thing to find me in.  It's sort of a "good impression, but no statement" sweater?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sometimes I look at the remnants of my teenage wardrobe and go...

Back then, none of my clothes really communicated well together.  There was no cohesion or theme of any sort, so mixing and creativity was a problem.  With such a selection, you often feel like you have nothing to wear even if it's overflowing.  I was often blinded by brands and sales, even if quality, worth, or even overall style was lacking.  Hence some things that are too big/too small that were bought because they were on sale, and several ill-fitting, boring Hollister pieces that I would have given away already if it weren't for the original price tag...

Yet, I will give myself the credit for being experimental.  I chose some voluminous jackets and pieces in interesting colors.  It's a continual learning experience in how to shop and how to dress.  And because you constantly change, so does your wardrobe.  Even if life might seem in a bit of a rut, the right clothes can slowly prompt you to get out of it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

If you can't find it or can't afford it, then why not make it yourself?  Moreover, if you CAN make it yourself, why not give it a shot?  After all, designers are essentially the masters of DIY.  Since getting my sewing machine about two months ago, sewing has become my latest obsession.

I might not be able to get down a perfect technique by myself, but eventually I want to be able to create pieces from runway and catalogue looks that I've always coveted.  My Project Runway marathons have certainly been inspiring.  But for now, I'll stick with the basics.

This DIY from Secretlifeofabionerd taught me how to make my circle scarf above.

I've found that a lot of DIYs out there can look, well... DIY, a.k.a. crafty.  Which isn't that great for a grown person.  But these three are super genius.  Favorite Clothing (from scratch, or almost scratch) DIY blogs:

Cotton and Curls, Charity Shop Chic, and Adventures in Dressmaking.

Favorite Youtube How-To sewing channels:

I've found that kid's clothes are a great way to start because they're less cumbersome pieces, simpler fabrics and shapes, and you don't have to be too picky about fit.  Some easy tutorials I started out with:
I made these for my two baby cousins (one who's 5, and the other who's a few months old.)

Patterns* that taught me basic techniques:
  • Baby overall/pantalon/skirt (above): Burda Easy #9772.  Basic facing technique to stabilize necklines, button holes, and simple ruffles.
  • Princess seam light jacket: Simplicity #1699.  Basic sleeve construction, simple darts.  Also comes with a peplum top, dress, and pants pattern.
  • Pencil skirt: Butterick #B5566.  Three different interesting variations (side and top paneled, ruched.)  Teaches invisible zipper insertion.
*Make sure you wait for pattern sales.  No one should pay $15 for a pattern when fabric already costs that much!  Then you might as well just buy the piece at the store.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

(Please note that I don't have experience with any other sewing machines, so my opinion is limited.  But if you're a beginner, this review could help you decide on purchasing your first machine.)

I got the Brother XL2610 (ordered from Amazon here) because the ratings and comments were the best in comparison to price.  It is selling for a discounted $99.  Most basic sewing machines seemed to be around $80-$140, which is reasonable considering all the little intricate mechanics that it's made up of.  I personally thought the pink design was cute and made it feel kind of personalized.

Basic features and accessories:  The XL2610 is a good weight - sturdy, but not nearly as heavy as a metal machine.  It features 25 different stitches, many more than you would need on a regular basis.  Inside the pull-out compartment is a pouch of various other tools - extra bobbins and universal needles, zipper, button, and quilting feet, etc. - great things to get you started when you don't know what you need.

Ease of use:  I was proactive and used a combination of the instructions and Youtube videos to show me how to do the basics.  The manual reads in English and Spanish (in separate paragraphs) but I have no trouble, because the English instructions are first, and bolded.  The steps are numbered and generally simple to understand.

Threading the needle is very straight forward, although I do have to occasionally tweak the automatic threader back into place so that it guides through the needle hole properly.  Threading the bobbin takes a bit of practice, but as far as the machine goes it hasn't jammed the bobbin.  I know in other machines there is a bobbin case that you tuck into the front, but this one is very easy and you just drop it inside the sewing plate.

Some of the Amazon reviews said that their threads were breaking and such, but I'm a total beginner and I have yet to have that happen.  I sometimes "lose" my thread when I first begin sewing because I didn't pull the top thread out enough and it flies back up, so I learned to clasp the top thread with the first two stitches.

The backstitch button is a lightweight push down lever.  It allows for speed with switching back and forth, but sometimes I wish it were a button like on more advanced machines, because otherwise I feel like I need three hands to feed the fabric through and push on the backstitch lever.

I wish there was more space in the arm so that larger garments didn't bulk up as much, but you only get that feature with the much fancier professional machines.

Durability:  This has a plastic shell and plastic knobs, bobbins and such, but it feels very durable even when carried around.  There is a "handle" groove in the back specifically for carrying.  I've sewn at least five decently involved projects now, and I am just now thinking that I might need to oil it.

With the universal needle I was able to sew through several layers of stubborn cotton without too much difficulty.  Online reviews said that it handles heavy denim material too.  It makes a bit of a "crunching" sound with thick layers that could be worrisome, but you just have to go slowly.  Sew "by hand" by cranking the handwheel for the difficult areas if needed.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.  Definitely a good buy.

Avoid sewing mistakes that I've made:

Test on a small piece of your fabric.  It is important to tweak the stitch length, width, and tension so that bubbles don't form and that your seams aren't too loose/tight.

- Keep an eye on your bobbin and make sure it has enough thread to finish your next "line."  When it runs out, you'll still have your top thread, but the stitches won't form because they're lacking the bottom thread from the bobbin.  It's troublesome when this happens in the middle of a seam.

- If you backstitch too quickly, your fabric can bunch or jam, or the stitches will bubble or bunch in the back and make it difficult to detach the garment.

- Make sure your needle matches your type of fabric.  For example, jersey is a lightweight fabric that stretches, bunches, and gets stuck in the sewing plate easily.  Switching from a universal to a ballpoint needle keeps this from happening.  The manual has a table on what needles to use for what fabrics.

Hope this helps!

Update Aug. 2, 2014:

After a year of sewing experience, I think my main complaint with this machine is that my buttonholes still do not come out symmetrical, even after following my sewing instructor's directions exactly and trying over 10 holes at once.  One side comes up tight, one side comes up spaced out, even after adjusting the little knob above the wheel.  Apparently that's just how cheaper machines are.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I don't like putting off projects... but I guess school has to come first.  Unfinished work makes me itchy though.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Although I haven't taken a fashion history class or anything, all the mainstream trends as of the past decade have seemed recycled from previous eras - peplums (50's), crop tops and chunky shoes (90's), flowy maxi skirts and jumpsuits (70's), Peter Pan collars (1900's), and even my favorite baggy top and skinny legs silhouette from the 80's (although now it's more flattering, IMO).  On the other side of the spectrum, however, a lot of avant-garde designers push the envelope way out there so that their looks are a lot less accessible, thus aren't as able to change the greater population's wardrobes.  Now I love all the innovative, creative collections that designers dream up every season, but I'm not sure if there have necessarily been any iconic, perpetuating shapes that can be added to the textbooks.  I don't want to wait for my generation's "look" when it's already been 20 years past.

Future talk always turns space age-y, a preparation for harsh environmental changes and the need to re-locate to Mars within the next 15 years.  Then I saw the two looks below and was excited by their "current modern" vibe.  This is what a woman, with a foot in the new millennium, should dress towards. The shapes aren't outlandish, but they're still new and unexpected and hard to describe with old definitions.    They contain elements that we're well acquainted with, but are as much for visual interest as for function.  Nothing's confined to a major reference or pinpointed to an obvious culture.  There are twists to the details - extra panels in the hood and leather mixed with knits in the first, and a semi-caped top with matching pants and low-strap v-cut heels in the second.  Their beauty choices (hair and makeup) were also new but not trendy.

What's more, these women are still very beautiful and feminine.  The female form is neither hidden nor on display.  Without needing to be masculine, there's a vulnerability to the strength and confidence that they possess.  Lastly, the edginess still feels very organic.  It's not in shiny plastics and metals like an astronaut - it's earthy materials and inspirations, reminding us that we can't get further away from nature if we're to survive in the long run.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

After a long personal debate, I finally gave in to looking for Asian-fit glasses because the a) transitions lenses and b) the unflattering look and fit of my old frames were preventing me from wearing them outside the house.  That's a huge problem when contacts run out, or get dry, or if your eyes are just plain tired.

In general, eye frames in the West are designed for Caucasian faces.  That poses a problem for Asians, who typically have lower nose bridges and wider temples, so these glasses need to always be readjusted.  Even if a frame fits "well enough," it can really impact eye sight and even give unnecessary headaches if worn for a long time.  Also, if you want a plastic frame (which I did), it's nearly impossible to find one with those attachable nose pads that they put on metal frames.

A quick Google search led me to TC Charton, the only American-based company that makes Asian-fit eyewear.  Now, perhaps the Western market shies away from this niche because it might seem racist to create an ethnically specific product, but I think just like African-American haircare, which has been pretty uncharted territory until recently (as far as I know), there is a clear difference in consumer needs that should be addressed.

I ended up going with the Ana frames in midnight blue (Domo-kun not included.)

Below is a comparison of my old Juicy Couture frames and my new TC Charton frames.  My old ones would always slide down and cut across the middle of my eye, which you can imagine isn't too flattering, and also made vision a little annoying in certain situations.  I think they were not quite wide enough, so the springy arms had a pushed out look.  Plus, the metal just made me feel really serious.

If you look on the inside of the arm, you will see a series of numbers.  The first number (53) refers to the width of the eyepiece.  The second (16) is the bridge size.  With Asians, smaller bridge numbers tend to be better.  The last number (135mm) is the length of the arms.  My old frames were only slightly off, but the change made a huge difference in fit.

I think the biggest factor is the nose pads, however.  They're much more raised than Western plastic frame nose pads.  Because they're part of the actual plastic mould, they have to be custom designed and poured - which companies here just don't do.

As for the color, it looks anything from black to blue-ish purple, depending on lighting.  The inside has a subtle marbling/tortoise-like pattern, which I really like.  These frames fit my personality a lot better - smart, but slightly edgy.  When I'm too lazy to put on contacts, these glasses to the dressing up for me.

(Wearing speckled bubble sleeve boucle sweater from Victoria's Secret)

Tips:  The TC Charton website gives you a list of ophthalmologists that carry the brand in their shops.  I called ahead to the one near my house to a) Confirm that they would accept my insurance, and b) If they had a specific frame in stock.  Although they didn't have the one I had been considering, they were able to order it directly from the company since they're already partnered.  If I wanted to choose another frame after trying them on, they'd just keep the one they'd ordered in store to sell to someone else.  After some back-ordering, I finally got my frames!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Image credit: Wear and Why

When fashion week(s) rolls around, the stylish elite come out to play.  Haute couture and the game of pushing limits in art have always brought about clothes that are questionable to the general public.  But especially since the area of streetstyle and blogging has boomed, many of those that attend fashion shows will don the craziest outfits for which photographers will swarm around to get shots.  Termed "peacocking," this way of dressing becomes a competition of who can get the biggest exposure with images circulating throughout the internet realm.  And in reality, it can really become a stepping stone - or even a means for a career - in the industry.  For example, bloggers such as Susie Bubble and Man Repeller were first known for their wacky looks.  But exhibit A is definitely Anna Dello Russo, editor-at-large for Vogue Japan.

Image credit: Marquis of Fashion
(The first picture with the orange coat and big hat is also a look of hers)

ADR as she's referred to is known for her over the top, elaborated outfits (or costumes??) that often involve fascinators, huge sunglasses, and provocative cuts.  And every single day of fashion week/month she will appear in a new ensemble.  Although some of her looks are definitely cool while still being wacky (such as this bird suit below,) a lot of the time I'm just like "No, please... no."  While she's not alone in the game, she definitely takes the cake.

And you know what peacocking reminds me of?  When I first saw Hunger Games and the citizens from the Capital, my mind immediately clicked back to these elaborate outfits.  Words such as excess, frivolity, hierarchy, all come to mind.  Not the best association.  I would not at all be surprised to see any of these looks on the streets at fashion week.

Image credit: Sweet World of Fashion

Now, I understand that half of fashion is all about having fun, taking risks, appreciating it as an art form and all that... but I think peacocking takes it past that point to a sheer show of how much money you can spend to have a one-time-only ensemble.  It takes away the humanity and turns people into mannequins.  I think there's at least a 2-3 inch wide line between dressing up and ostentation.  Instead of looking into the styling as a reflection of who you are, it's just about being bigger and weirder, getting attention, the spectacle without refinement.  Or perhaps I just have untrained eyes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Previous episode summaries: 5-9, 10-14, and 15-18.

Episode 19:

Ever since their parents called off their engagement, Joon and Hana still have to fight against the disapproval of Joon's mother (seriously, she is one of the worst characters I've watched in awhile.)

This was a lovely detail shot of the textures and patterns of their clothing.  Joon's window pane blazer was fresh against different tones of grey, and Hana's soft chiffons and nubby knit work for her because she's young.

Love the flutter sleeves, lace and dainty jewelry.

A bit of a departure for Hana.  The high, Victorian-like neck is sophisticated, and her floral skirt is more streamlined and structured.

Mi Ho's tiny braids and charm necklace here are very cute.  Her oversized blazer is still flattering because the lapels join further down to create a slim triangle shape, and the sharp shoulders balance out the volume on the bottom.  Love the pattern underneath as well.  I just can't criticize Mi Ho, ever.

Sun Ho is looking a lot sharper too!  We've seen this double-wool, raised collar blazer on Joon before, but I think Sun Ho pulls it off just as well.

Episode 20:

The finale, where pretty much every outfit was spot on.

The outfit that Hana is wearing here is actually a dress with a pretty scallop skirt tromp l'oeil effect.  The skinny leather belt ties it together, and coordinates with Joon's belted and pastel look. 

Their styles are becoming more and more similar (though Hana's is the most changed, in my opinion.)  She stays away from those busy textures from before, and chooses voluminous but more figure flattering, womanly looks.  I like how the button placket of this striped top cuts vertically and offsets the horizontal line.  She pairs it with a polka dot skirt, a subtle mixing of prints.  Joon's looks have become a little more masculine, perhaps a reflection of his growing responsibilities and commitments in their relationship.

Hana went to America for two months to take care of her mother, who had to have eye surgery (a side effect of the TB treatment she underwent in the 70's at the very beginning of the story.)  That short stint in America sure changed her.  Personality wise, she's a little more outwardly sassy and confident, and challenges Joon in his place (though gently.)  And style wise, she's a TON more fashionable I don't even know what happened.  It's all still very "her" with the florals and collars and whatnot, but updated and mature and classier.

I loved the layers of scalloped edges of her black-collared shell, and the slim floral blazer.  Black skinny jeans, on-trend bags and arm candy equal cool girl.

Even her overalls are slimmer and flattering, and her sweater is fitted and graphic.  I admit her voluptuous hair adds a lot to how she pulls off the look, but that is a reality with anyone.

Sun Ho is back to his khakis and a little happier, even though he still has some lingering feelings left for Hana. T__T

Our last glimpse of Mi Ho, because she is leaving to model in Paris on her own volition, showing that she's grown up a lot too.  The handkerchief dress here is lovely but still cut very well to emphasize the lines in the print.  A+ style award for Mi Ho.

Of course some things don't change, and Hana tires out from shopping faster than Joon.  Her bag here is gorgeous.  We don't see a lot of black with her.

I realize that shoes haven't really taken the center stage with most of the characters' outfits until this scene.  These strappy, stacked heels are gorgeous and Earth toned, so they still fit Hana's aesthetic.

Joon proposes!  The candles, projection with pictures of their journey, and string lights at the very end were simply but thoughtfully done.  Plus he held it in Hana's beloved garden, which shows that he knows her well.

These are some of the simplest looks to date, but this reflects that they love each other even as their very basic, unadorned selves.

A lovely sheer long top that she half-tucks into her shorts.  The stripes deliberately stand out.

Very similar formulas here - jacket color matches the accent color of the white layer underneath.  At this point, things are pretty much settled for them as one unit.

Then finally... the wedding!  I love the flower appliques on the bodice and her flower crown.  But she keeps it from being too ethereal by choosing deep ruffles and a high-low hemline.  A dress that few people could pull off, I'd say.  Her chunky braid is lovely and balances the strapless bodice.

And Joon's look is kind of retro, but of course we would expect him to take a risk on the biggest day of his life.  I think if he had chosen a normal black tux, it would have clashed too much with Hana's goddess look anyway.


A happy ending to a short but sweet drama, with lots of fashion looks to inspire.

Popular Posts

About Me

Atlanta/Seattle, United States
What is most interesting is fashion when it's living. I find it inspiring when people dress well - but in their unique interpretation. Searching for people who enjoy having fun with their style and make their own statements. If you want your picture removed, don't hesitate to contact me!
View my complete profile