Beauty, OOTDs, Personal, Thoughts

La femme en rouge

Let me preface this by saying this is not-standard Kristina daily wear. I’m trying to grow into my feminine side and I think I’m getting there slowly. This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding, hence the pomp and fuss over on Instagram. Despite all my preparation, I can’t help but feel a little nervous when I step out in something precious like this:

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Dress: old Donna Morgan linen pleated dress, Macy’s. (similar from Nordstrom)
Clutch: borrowed from my grandmother (similar)
Shoes: Sofft Gredda in pewter metallic (no longer available)

I have a penchant for muted metallic accessories. I feel like gold/silver looks good on my skin–nude pumps would also be good, but I’ve yet to find a comfortable and tone-correct pair. These heels have been with me for the last 4 years and will continue to do so–I only wear them for special occasions and I’m thankfully not at the point yet where I’d start a heel collection. I would be more of a sneakerhead first. I love brands like Sofft, Ecco, Born because they put comfort first while giving a nod to style. Not too bad for a “grandma” brand, right?

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Makeup:

Eyes: Urban Decay Naked palette–Naked on the lids, Buck on the crease; L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Eyeliner, Wet N’ Wild eyebrow pencil in dark brown
Lips: Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in curviest caramel
Face: Rimmel Matte BB cream in medium, L’Oreal True Match powder in N3

This is basically my “Five Minute Face” upgraded with eyeliner and eyeshadow. And derp-proof lip color in the form of a giant crayon. Why I don’t do this more often, I don’t know, because it really doesn’t take that much longer to schlep on, and I feel very Hepburn-esque (Audrey) with the gamine eyeliner. I think it’s because my eyes get irritated pretty quickly–I avoid mascara because it feels heavy and tends to itch.

Despite my worrying, I actually did OK and was comfortable in my get-up. At some point I did switch out to flats while driving and helping to haul stuff in for the reception, but otherwise, I was fine. Didn’t even drop sauce on me while eating all the yum Chinese banquet foods! Win. Eventually I hope this process gets easier and more natural–I want to be better, not just sartorially, but in all other aspects of my life. One dress at a time, I suppose.

How do you prepare for a formal occasion? Which aspect of your look do you concentrate on the most–dress, shoes, beauty routine? I’m still figuring out a fool-proof scheme so my closet (and supplies) are ready to go at any time.

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Acquisitions, OOTDs, Personal, Thoughts

Home

I’ve been at the beach for most of this week because our temperatures have just been insane. Yesterday, however, the heat and general exhaustion caught up to me and I stayed home to rest. Not that there was much more relief at home–it’s been warm as all get, but the comfort of home allows me to breathe a little more deeply and unwind.

When I step through the door, it seems as if half the tension goes away the moment I kick my shoes off and pad into the room.

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Tank and belt: Target Mossimo
Jeans: hand-me-down distressed Express boyfriend cut jeans
Watch: Casio A158W-1

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I took off some 4-5 inches off my hair (not that it’s immediately visible, but I know the difference) and it feels funny. My ponytail is a fraction lighter, and I’m dealing with less tangles overall, but I miss the crazy navel-grazing mermaid hair I was toting around. It will grow back soon enough, but human nature is fickle and silly. It will grow back sooner than I can even blink (like in three months or so.)

I also am trying out the addition of this timepiece to my daily wear:

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The Casio A158W-1 is another one of my pseudo-streetstyle, hipster purchases (see Carhartt beanie of 2013) with definite #normcore-ish leanings. The everyman’s (and woman’s) unisex watch is available for $19.99 at Target. Chalk this one up to Tumblr and looking at menswear/streetwear blogs. The Apple Watch that was announced a week ago is somewhat clunky looking, and I wanted a simple timer for running and a watch I can take into the water with me. That’s what I tell myself, but this was purely an ego-stroking purchase. I’m not 100% sure yet that the watch will stay; I’m generally annoyed by things hanging off my wrists (bracelets I cannot deal with, I snag them on things all the time. Like my hair.) However, in the last few days I’ve been sporting it it’s been an un-intrusive, dare I say elegant addition to my person, and it survived Huntington Beach just fine thanks to that water resistance rating. We’ll see if the Casio stays; so far, so good.

It’s supposed to cool down starting today, but not by much–temperatures will still be in the high 80s-low 90s in my town. I’m getting tired of wearing the same two skirts and maxi dress, but I don’t even want to entertain the idea of pants until it goes back down to 75F. I hope it will all pass quickly. Have a great rest of the week! Onward and forward we go.

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OOTDs, Personal, Thoughts

Workweek 9/8-9/12

And another week comes to a close. I sort of enjoy this casual-OOTD snapping, it’s more true-to-life than setting up the tripod at home after work. A lot of the time I don’t even get home until late because of errands or going to dinner, so it makes more sense to me to capture these clothes as I am living in them.

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Monday: Carhartt beanie, Muji poplin shirt, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch ankle jeans, Nike Lunarglide 4+
Tuesday: JCrew buttondown, Gap striped skirt
Wednesday: Uniqlo AIRism scoopneck tee, Cotton On skirt
Thursday: JCrew seersucker sundress
Friday: H&M Basics maxidress

Monday gave us some freak rain which wreaked havoc on my hair. I guess wearing a beanie in 85F + humidity makes no sense, but my hair was going haywire and I thought slapping a hat on it would tame it–it didn’t. But I always feel cool in my orange beanie, so on it went. Tuesday’s blues were an unexpected fun combo–I will definitely re-wear this outfit to work in the summers, along with the jacquard dot popover variation from last month. I still have my menswear-cravings, but JCrew’s aesthetic isn’t quite where I am anymore. This is a way to keep those pieces in use, and I’m glad I still like this look, though I would only wear it to work now.

The last three days were an experiment–I definitely felt like the temperature was cooler in my white dress (much discovery!) but the seersucker fabric is a little stiff is not as comfortable as the stretchy AIRism and cotton fabrics of Wednesday and Friday respectively.

In conclusion: I have more than proven that I can wear black in the summer. If only white didn’t attract food stains, the world would be perfect.

For those of you heading into the upcoming heatwave with me in Southern California, let us all stand firm–in the shade, with iced coffee. Have a great weekend!

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Acquisitions, Reviews, Thoughts

Uniqlo South Coast Plaza – Grand Opening

Uniqlo opened to a decent amount of traffic in Orange County, CA on September 5, 2014. I headed over to the South Coast Plaza location after work to check out the new space. See a Hyperlapse walkthrough of the store. On this trip I was initially looking for the Ines de La Fressange fall collection, but was pleasantly surprised by the Pure Blue Japan Project wardrobe. Here’s some pictures and anecdotes from both:

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Pure Blue Japan Project women’s section. Overalls, shorts, and an interesting range of slim-fit boyfriend and skinny jeans (some distressed)

Women’s shirting. The striped and gingham shirts are rough-textured heavy cotton shirts. The light white chambray pictured in the close-up shot is soft and comfortable, but the cropped version shown in the item list here features a slightly dropped shoulder that I don’t quite like. Still at first touch the shirts feel really nice and I don’t doubt that these will move quickly.

Women’s Pure Blue Japan slub stripe crew neck half sleeve tees were comfortable, but the sleeve length was a little odd on me (see fit on Instagram) and I didn’t get a picture of the collar, but it was laying oddly across the back of my neck. As embarrassing as this sounds, the fit seemed strained across the chest, fine in the waist, and oddly loose in the neck and shoulders. It may not work on my anatomy, but some of you might fit it really well.

The back wall held the different denim cuts (not photographed) and these shorts in the third shot. I really liked these shorts, but the rear pockets were set a little too low, not to mention the waistband gapped in the back. If I went down one size, I wouldn’t be able to get it around my hips. The cuffs are not sewn; the shorts unroll to a bermuda-like length (mid thigh for me, about 2-3 inches above the knee.)

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Some fits from the dressing room:

1. white rayon long sleeve blouse: bought the black one in XS, $29.99. It will be going back because while the shoulders fit, the button placement causes bra peekaboos. No go.
2. black rayon short sleeve dress: I don’t know why I was expecting it to fit like my IDLF wrap dress (I think because there is a waist tie.) It looks ok here, but it ties at the belly button–not my narrowest area. I may go back to try the XS but I predict that the arms and upper chest will be tight in the XS. We shall see. The rayon items at Uniqlo tend to be cut bigger so maybe sizing down will be OK.
3. IDLF denim long sleeve dress: please click on the link to see the fit on the model. She must be very tall. I am 5’1″. The small fits like a long duster-coat on me. I also got some strong Kinfolk-y vibes wearing this dress and had a good giggle at the ridiculousness. I believe last spring they also released a cotton lawn IDLF dress that was cut as long.
4. gray modal sweat long sleeve blouson: from online I already knew I wouldn’t be a fan of the bat-wing/dolman sleeve going on in this sweatshirt. It’s a darn shame because the modal is so comfortable and stretchy and the arms and waist fit, but I cannot stand the extra fabric around my arm pits. On sale online for $19.99.
5. women’s denim long sleeve shirt: just about everything is ok in XS except for the fit around the hips (too tight.) That last button is straining. Going up a size means the small will be too wide at the shoulders. I have enough of my old shirts from my previous size to approximate the “boyfriend” fit.
6. IDLF cotton twill stand collar long sleeve shirt: gosh, Uniqlo is fond of very straightforward but long product names! excellent fabric feel, but pop-over shirts bug me–are you a button down or are you a pull-over?! At least fit was not atrociously large for the IDLF collection.

Not photographed:

7. women’s chino ankle length pants: rise was too low to be comfortable and I picked the wrong size (4.) I should be looking at the 2 or even the 0. On my height most “ankle” length pants are full length anyway. The green color is fun for fall though, but I typically wear my greens in outerwear as opposed to bottoms.

What I ended up buying:

8. women’s sweat long sleeve pullover (03 gray): the XS is still a relaxed fit. I’m picky about terrycloth and how the loops feel on skin–I had some Forever 21 cheap striped terry sweatshirts that were super rough on the skin for the longest time until somehow the fibers just wore down. The Uniqlo sweatshirt has been comfy from the get-go: I make it a point to try it on sans layering so I can predict what it feels like against me. Let’s hope it keeps its shape post-wash.
9. women’s ultra seamless shorts (bikini): I’ve always wanted to try a pair of these. I can’t tell if it’s really no-show (eek.) I did notice that the edges around the leg tend to roll when I move around. Will have to wear these on a running or climbing day to see if it’s good for sports (it reminds me of Under Armour tech underwear, but I haven’t tried that yet.)

And there you have a very specific, dare I say overblown account of a Uniqlo opening ever! Visit the Orange County location at:

Uniqlo South Coast Plaza (first floor next to Sears and Forever 21)
3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
877-486-4756

and let me know if you end up getting something! :D

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Inspiration, Thoughts

Uniqlo x Ines de la Fressange F/W 2014

Woke up this morning to an email about the new Ines de la Fressange Fall/Winter 2014 collection. This is relevant to my interests, especially since my local Uniqlo will be opening tomorrow, September 5th. Not sure that the brand-new store will have the released collection available, but I’m planning to check these out in-person when they do arrive.

 

Coat: IDLF Tweed Chester Coat, $129.90
Sweater: Extra Fine Merino Striped Sweater, $39.90
Trench: IDLF Trench Coat, $129.90 (because I want to be just like #fenlock but never will! I can try!)
Sweatshirt: Sweat Long Sleeve Pullover, $39.90

Interestingly the Tweed Chester Coat reminds me a lot of the Lands End boiled-wool coat I already own, at least in cut and length. My coat now is too big for me, so it will need alterations before I can wear it this year.

Have you had a peek at the IDLF fall collection yet? Does anything strike your fancy?

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OOTDs, Personal, Thoughts

Reuse and rediscover.

Kali’s update on her shopping fast is really interesting because I’ve been doing some of the things she’s trying, namely: identifying seldom-used pieces and re-integrating them into the current wardrobe. Two months ago I started with these pieces, and was moderately successful with the breton shirts and olive jacket. This month, I decided to dig out these booties from March to log some miles in them. OK, maybe not quite miles, but at least wear them to work once a week or so. The experiment proved to be successful. Here’s how I put them back into my work closet:

Dress: Uniqlo x Ines de la Fressange rayon wrap dress (on sale)
Pants: Uniqlo Ultra Stretch ankle jeans
Top: old Forever21 split-neck navy blouse, old Target collaboration silver ruffle blouse
Skirt: H&M pencil skirt (similar)

I’ve been surprised by how good I feel dressing so femininely: skirts, blouses, dresses. For someone who’s railed against frippery for most of her teenage and early adult years (makeup, heels, anything I considered “fussy” wear) I’m surprised that I’ve found this level of fancy acceptable, and dare I say enjoyable. Simplicity in clean lines and minimal adornment is where I currently exist.

I also am pleased by the comfort of these shoes. Granted, working in a cubicle implies a sedentary nature, but in the short amount of time I do have to be up and about, these shoes are a dream. I have functional comfort with these booties and I could not ask for more. If Ecco ever makes pointed pumps but with this Sculptured line’s technology I’m buying a pair ASAP. My heels are springy! I think they’re some kind of rubber with a bounce to it, because walking in these are really comfortable–for a heel that is.

I’m not sure how long this phase will last, but for now I will revel in it. I’m not going to deny that I’ve been enjoying the compliments generated by adopting this classical feminine shape. Makes for an interesting conundrum–how much of our image do we manipulate to suit the environment we live in? Am I being true to my perceived self-image if I take external input into account (and apparently enjoy it?) …or maybe I’m just overthinking things and I should just be clothed and happy. I’ll take the latter.

For those of you in the United States, have an excellent Labor Day holiday! See you all next week.

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