I remember everything that happened the day this photo was taken, from waking up until my ex-boyfriend and I had to go to a clothing brand’s campaign shoot. I had arranged for my friends in the industry to do the makeup, hair, and wardrobe styling for the models. The owner was also the photographer. Like we always did at the end of shoots, they dolled me up too and we had our own fun session. I remember the music then—Rihanna’s “We Found Love” was just starting to get airplay.
My brain is wired so that a faint smell, a fleeting look, a song, triggers the littlest, most mundane memory back to life. I woke up today in an organizing mood and decided to finally process three years’ worth of files on my old iMac. I found this picture in the midst of sorting and mass-deleting. And I found myself wishing I could travel back in time to hold this girl’s hands in mine, look her in the eyes, and tell her everything.
Hi, Shai. I am you from 2014. I know you won’t be freaked out because you love quantum physics and this sort of thing. I came here to tell you something, and I beg of you to believe me, to listen to me, to do what I urge you, and save yourself a world of pain.
Okay, I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and select, oh, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic “casual corner” where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars in countless jobs.
And so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of “stuff.”
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. One of a few sets of movie lines that I know by heart and could more or less recite word for word. For context, the indomitable Editor-in-Chief delivered the above monologue to Anne Hathaway’s Andrea Sachs for laughing during a styling session in which Miranda’s fashion assistants were choosing between two blue belts that, to Andrea, “look exactly the same to me. You know, I’m still learning about all this stuff.” Suffice it to say the newbie was properly schooled.
I have always loved fashion. Even in school when I was still figuring out my personal style, I would endure moments of taunting and mockery from classmates (and teachers!) for all my fashion faux pas. I was experimenting with outfit combinations that, in the days before the Internet got people warmed up to the idea that there is more than one way to wear something, just don’t work. It was chalked up to different things: being a nerd (because gasp, smart kids couldn’t possibly know about fashion, could they?), coming from the province (San Fernando Pampanga, a really backwards city so far away from civilization), and just having no sense of style.
And then a funny thing happened. After writing, styling, and producing shoots for the country’s top fashion magazines for years, I shifted to television: the News and Public Affairs department of GMA Network where I wrote, researched, and produced segments for TV shows. What was funny? Well, in a sea of shirt-and-jean-wearing folks, I was deemed too fasyón. I was often questioned, for instance, for wearing boots instead of sneakers or flip-flops, or scarves and ponchos to the cold editing rooms instead of a “normal” jacket (isn’t a scarf normal?). I got comments to the tune of “Oh, so you’re not snooty/maarte at all!” or “I’m surprised you know about/can do (insert skill set or field of work here).” I remember one video editor who was substituting for our in-house guy. She asked me what my segments were about. I answered flats and rainy day gear, and she scoffed: “How relevant.”
Reader mail time! I can’t believe two years have passed since I last answered questions and messages publicly. For the most part, it’s been a one-on-one correspondence, along with a few cases of forgetting to send a proper reply (sorry ‘bout that). Now that I’ve gotten my blogging mojo back, I’m gonna be tackling my inboxes with the ferocity of a Hunger Games tribute from here on. Let’s start with this:
"We have this creative pictorial for our yearbook and I still have no idea what to wear. Our theme is stand-out white. I am 4’10. What do you think is the best dress/gown to wear for someone with a petite frame? Thank you so much." —Retsa Crispino via Facebook
White is such an excellent theme, don’t you think? It’s a blank canvas with which you can make a statement that echoes your sentiments, thoughts and personality. For that same reason, since white is plain and basic, standing out can be quite a challenge. I picked out a number of dresses in designs that you can likely find in your favorite stores, but before that, I give you style inspiration in the form of these stylish celebs.
Cut the crop. Lucy Hale plays up the fun and flirty in her bustier top and embroidered skirt. For short girls, cropped tops and peek-a-boo details go a long way (pun intended).
Opaque it ‘til you make it. Black opaque tights worn with a mini dress work to make legs look longer. Best with black heels to add to the illusion. Take it from Rose Byrne in her statement frock.
Get spot on. A white theme doesn’t have to mean you can only wear plains. Olivia Palermo livens up her top and skirt ensemble with this polka-dotted number that matches her shoes.
Go edgy. Interesting prints and details make your cutout dress even more striking, such as this pretty dress with lace edges on Emma Watson.
Maximize. Don’t be afraid to wear a maxi dress or maxi skirt! When done right, it actually helps in making you look taller than you are—make sure your outfit cuts high on the waist, like Zoe Saldana’s. Your top should ideally be form-fitting and short to balance out a long and flowy bottom.
Slit the take. Yes, Emma Watson appears twice because she definitely knows how to wear white. What makes this dress work? It’s one piece of fabric, but the cut gives it so much personality: asymmetrical, one-shouldered, frilled and ruched, with a slit that’s oh-so-subtly sexy.
Sportify. White dresses are usually all about being dainty and girly, but why not go off-kilter for some street-fashion vibe? This crumpled shirt dress from Topshop would have a totally different effect if not paired with these white sneakers. Which brings me to my next tip: styling is everything. Here are some cute dresses I found that you can totally style to make your own.
Hippie - boho, laidback, romantic. All you need is a floral crown.
Despite my love for playing dress up, I don’t do it every day. There is one thing I can be self-conscious about when it comes to beauty and fashion: I want to make sure that when I wear make-up or statement pieces or accessories, it is to simply, truly, honestly reflect my mood for the day and be able to express my personality, not compensate for some insecurity or to cover up something that may be perceived ugly.
This weekend I watched the delightful movie “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau, his “Iron Man”co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. along with Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara and John Leguizamo (Sid from “Ice Age”). Jon (who played Tony Stark’s head of security Happy, just in case you were wondering) also wrote the screenplay, and the story is what inspired this blog post.
The movie is about the innovative chef of a prominent restaurant whose career spirals downward when a critic-slash-food blogger writes a scathing review of his menu—a menu that he was planning to get creative with for the review until his boss, the restaurant owner, interferes and forces him to play it safe. The crowd-pleasers, of course, did nothing to redeem him from the harsh reviews. When it goes viral, he is forced to toughen up, quit, endure the ridicule, and rethink his priorities. Just as it seemed it was going to be the worst time in his life, Chef Casper comes across many beautiful truths about his life—truths on loyalty, friendship, family, and genuine happiness.
In dainty pastels for a beautiful ballet show at the Autumn/Winter collection launch of Pandora in Mega Fashion Hall last week.
Taking cues from the current fascination with all things magical and nature-inspired, the beloved luxury brand creates a new magical classic that mirrors the mystique and novelty of fantasy films and TV series, and altogether polishing if off with signature sophistication.
The collection is a creative reimagining of an enchanted forest. Picture the tall, swooping trees lining the woods, or the golden fallen leaves from its branches, the somber moon as it lights up the autumn starry sky, or the mystical florals that bloom in the twilight, a sense of otherworldly wonderment for autumn. Crafted from sterling silver, 14k gold, colored enamel and sparkling cubic zirconia, each piece can be collected, stacked, combined and styled with other pieces.
Echoing the collection inspirations, Pandora brought to life the mystery and magic of the forest through interpretative ballet and scenography with “A Mystical Tale with Pandora,” staged by the Philippine Ballet Theatre. Written by renowned director and playwright Floy Quintos, with costume and set design by Gino Gonzales and narrated by theatre veteran Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, the ballet story is about the journey of a girl, Pandora in search of precious discoveries and valuable moments.
Bringing back an all-time crowd fave. You’d be surprised how easy and quick it is to do! Watch my short tutorial video here.
Request for tutorials via Twitter @lovechicph, Facebook message, Tumblr Ask, or Disqus below. ♥
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We can get so caught up in the dizzying flurry of everything—success, fun, relationships, work, responsibilities, dreams and goals, that it becomes so easy to forget what’s truly important. Perhaps it’s one reason I often write about it, as a constant reminder to keep from getting sucked in by these flash-in-the-pan moments and concerns. Because to lose sight of the essential is to lose ourselves, and no amount of superficial accomplishment can help us find our way back.
Paisley and florals make up this girly colorful look for work or school, grounded by a classic pair of black pumps. Side braid and clip-on daisy optional, depending on the day’s needs.
Transform your cubicle or study area into a mini vacation spot! Here’s how I did mine.
After working freelance for nine years in fashion and media, shifting to corporate required one bit of adjustment: being given my own cubicle where I would live from 9 AM to 6 PM. I’m in the office by seven, so unless I’m traveling or attending an event, that’s 11 hours a day, 55 hours a week.
I would go crazy if I work my butt off every day in this, so I decided to change things up a little.
Because it is, here’s a singing and ukulele cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s lovely song of the same title. It’s been a year since I’ve done anything of the sort but what the hey! :) What I wore, shot by my mom before the rain droplets started to frolic in the air with the streaks of sunlight.
September is a huge month for fashion, owing largely to the slew of designer collections and trend reports from the world’s fashion capitals. With Vogue at the frontline, magazines release what is usually their thickest issue, the fruit of months-long labor and collaboration. And what does it mean to common folk like you and me who can only ogle at fresh-off-the-runway designer pieces, unwilling to part with money that can pay for a semester’s worth of tuition or feed an entire family for a month just to satisfy our trend lust?
It means an opportunity to draw inspiration and hone our style eye. One look I have loved and owned since college is the sweatshirt-as-top. It’s dressier and warmer than a casual shirt, less serious than a button-down. I got this one from the kid’s section so I could pretend it’s cropped and cuffed—an oversized sweatshirt and billowy midi skirt would drown my 5’2” frame. (Fashion Week: Christopher Kane; Love Chic: Forever 21)
No need to wait until they trickle down from the upper echelon that is a designer’s atelier, to the ready-to-wear racks at the local mall. All it takes is some practice. Take a look at these trends that have taken over the past season’s runways. (Fashion Week: Gucci; Love Chic: Binkydoodles and FOF)
No surprise that fashion follows the law of karma: what goes around, comes around. My photos were shot before these collections came out. I wrote this originally for Beautybook's 2014 trend forecast, adding my take on how to make them wearable and I didn't need to style new looks anymore. So first tip—find ways to mix old and new. My “dress” consists of two pieces: a skirt used as top, and a longer one that's been sitting in my mom's closet since I was little.(Fashion Week: Oscar Dela Renta; Love Chic: Sugar Rush and vintage)