The Rebel Queen
Impeccable dressed in a salwar-kameez, Punjab’s traditional attire, and accessorized in emeralds and rubies was the Sikh Empire’s last queen, Jind Kaur, youngest wife of the first king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Rather than narrating a whole history lesson of Punjab’s history, of the wars waged and of Great Britain’s reign and dominion, let’s just say, Jind Kaur was lauded for her gallant self. Some brandished her as the Messalina of Punjab while others saw her as the Rebel Queen. Whichever the term, she was one heck of a lady in those times.
So though I essentially do not have a wardrobe dripping with luxurious threads, I do own a chock load of traditional pieces that only see the light of day (or night) at weddings. Instead of relegating them to the deepest pits of a closet, I took them all out and reworked individual pieces into outfits I would wear as I would a pair of jeans.Fashion is remarkably cyclical where crop tops and jumpsuits invaded with a furor so strong it was hard to avoid and then to decline with only the most hardened battling on, regardless of fashion’s forward momentum but then to rise out of the ashes, like a phoenix, at some point inevitably as it all comes full circle, with the circle getting wider and having more points to jump towards if one is not inclined to roll along on a carousel-like route. Got that? Yes.
The same goes with traditional wear, hemlines oscillate up and down and the bottoms either get skinnier or increased in pleats and drapes to induce greater volume. Very much aligned to the skinny and flared pants of the Western world.
And hand-me-downs work beyond wonders here - this salwar (i.e. bottoms) was sewn by my mom for herself when she was in her 30s.
Casual, the new Practical
Somewhere along the lines of day to day dressing up, ‘clowning up’ during fashion weeks and general attempts at looking remotely stylish, efforts began diluting to just being casual. Countless event invites now have the dress code emblazoned as, ‘casual smart’, ‘casual chic’, ‘casual formal’ - is that even possible? Casual and Formal? On which part of the continuum do we pinpoint casual formal?
The prevailing jeans and t shirt combination is no longer saved for casual fridays or described as the quintessential American style, the pairing has gone global. Runways have been strewn with sporty attires, sweatpants and there’s even office-appropriate yoga pants. Yep, the industry went there alright.
Casual is appropriate and ideally comfort dressing should be the norm. There’s no need to dress up for the supermarket (as much as Chanel wants to) or to run errands. But is it appropriate to be casual all the time? That’s the real concern because can we truly eradicate gowns, fancy poofy dresses and suits from the streets?
Normcore thinks so.
Us, milennials have not particularly grown up seeing large members of society impeccably dressed, no matter what the occasion. Thus seeing those who do - in this age - results in brandishing them to an elite group. A group that lives within their own bubble and is hard to break into. In that sense, we could thus view dressing down, whether amongst friends, at dinner or at the office, as signaling inclusivity (rather than elitism from dressing up) with just about everyone. Essentially, any form of dressing is in itself not an issue other than the meanings conveyed through it. The kerfuffle is simple:
Dressing up = belonging to an exclusive group of ‘well-dressers’
Dressing down = creating a comfortable atmosphere for inclusivity
Yet, style and comfort need not be mutually exclusive. So while supporters work around the ‘style’ factor, it’s safe to say the casual phenomenon will continue to reign.
Fashion weeks are not helping casual dressers with their exorbitant price tags, fast fashion is. Fast fashion has created a global craze for low price points and convenience over quality resulting in the 'I can wear once and throw it away without feeling guilty' mindset. But at the same time, appear casual and to some point stylish. Case in point: this outfit features apparels from fast fashion stores bought at a discount (Cotton On, Uniqlo, ASOS, New Look), except for the denim vest (Rachel Roy) but was similarly bought at 90% off. Glory to North America for boxing day sales.
As much as clothes make the person and creates an expression, the person makes the clothes. If we can change our self perception towards the clothes we wear then perhaps, casual will cease to mean sloppy or slovenly and formal will cease to mean superior. Meanings and senses of what we see are constantly changing - as much as trends are. One simply takes far longer and far more effort.
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Hot & Cold | Cruisin’ by a Yacht.
2013 came and went, in a blink. 2014 comes trotting by with another 365 days of waking and sleeping, each time wishing the day would be spent with zeal and purpose. Almost like clockwork, the beginning of every year brings about a greater sense of uncertainty, especially as I inch closer to graduation (i.e. four months) and the foreboding hurdle of looking for a job. So, 2014 will not be an easy one - no cruisin’. It’s instead set to be one with Hot & Cold instances, a rapid roller coaster of ups and downs, where hurling may even become common sight.
While, we can plan ahead as much as we want, in essence, we’re floating in a bubble of uncertainty, that only grows bigger. Spending the last 2 weeks of December and New Year’s in Canada was a huge leap of faith (that took an unexpected turn) but nonetheless, it was a good year end treat.
Now, I’m ready to head back to warmer Singapore, where spending a day
on beside a yacht, amidst the summer sun, would be absolutely divine.
Earlier in 2013, I received a glamourous necklace from Flea & Trees which immediately obtained a front and centre spot in my jewelry cabinet, for very obvious reasons. And with glamourous necklaces, one can only pair it with custom made tailored pants from India. Basically, my nifty seamstress of a mom had the luxurious China silk fabric lying around so we took it to India to get it sewn by one their many talented tailors. The finish was flawless and downright affordable, almost too affordable, if that is even possible in today’s fast fashion world? Speaking of affordable, I never knew outlet stores in US were that dirt cheap. A pair of heels for 7.50 and GUESS wallet for 18 - phenomenal.
In case you were wondering, I spent 1 Jan 2014 watching The Conjuring and Drag Me To Hell. Way to ring in the new year?
Images by Fhenny
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Of muted ideals.
After a spate of colour splashes (or clashes), saturated tones and a head-dizzying spectrum of shades, I found solace in a muted, monochromatic embrace. Remember the thesis that I’ve been lamenting on about for months? The submission was two weeks ago and while I’m relieved it’s over, a certain emptiness lingers. It’s a similar lingering thought that exists when you part with a loved one (whether a break up or death).
"Light does not exist without darkness", Dexter quipped in one of his episodes and while that line talks about his inner struggles and harrowing experiences, through which he can finally attain hope, in my case it reflects a state of mutual harmony. Where at times, we engulf ourselves in colour, yet at other times, we seek darkness; time away from the light. They exist together, lightness and darkness, along a continuum, a continuum we hobble along, be it in life or in our sartorial choices.
For now, this is a lull period to scrape away the hostility, the over-expressive crowd and then to finally reveal a shining diamond amidst the dirt. As much as I hate to use the word, ‘the fashion industry’, is exactly that, a speck of dust (sometimes colourful and vibrant but blurry), constantly being polished but struggling to reach a pristine point.
Perhaps, it is inevitable. As much as society aims to rid the world of underpaid workers, overcrowded factories, animal abuse and the like. Perhaps it is the ideal workings of a largely secretive and muted industry. Perhaps.
Images by Fhenny
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Knits & Twists
UK has been experiencing heat waves at 31 degrees (which also means Singapore has been in heat waves for decades, heh) but fortunately for us, rain showers have been offering a decent twist from the sun. Obviously ringing in the perfect opportunity to bust out a beautiful knitted piece you bought but dared not wear in the dreaded humidity. Now’s the time.
The story of the town is that everyone’s embracing all white outfits this season but I still can’t find myself in a sea of lightness, colour is still my thing. It’s a twist from the crowd I’m proud to take. Essentially, I’d be naked without colour, like a skin being ripped off. No one wants to see that (unless you’re a closet Dexter or Jigsaw, hmm).
So, the only thing I’ve surrendered this season are my usual statement accessories for dainty pieces. It’s odd, sure, but in the recent hustle of waking up at ungodly hours I call 7am and making the daily trudge to work, abandoning all chunks of jewelry seemed fair.
The summer break’s close to ending and the summer hasn’t been without twists and turns. From deciding on an internship to planning trips, it’s been a whirlwind alright. Nonetheless, with every turn came an opportunity. There’s no knowing what it’ll be but it’s there, probably hiding in the shrubs, waiting to pounce. Take a brave turn and you might meet the twist in your tale.
I’ll just end here before I start sounding like an assassin.
Guilty of Repetition
In this age of fast fashion, we’re consuming faster than we can use what we buy and often consuming more than we can live to afford. Brand new pairs of shoes are just there, sitting on the shelf, collecting dust. The glossy headlines exclaiming “What’s new!” and “Trending Now!” doesn’t exactly salvage the situation, rather it adds fuel to the already ravaging fires.
Hence, my current broke self has yielded a wardrobe built around favourites that I’m soon going to be wearing repeatedly till their expiry.
My long time favourites run from the same old pair of coloured jeans, H&M heels and my trusty studded bag that has been with me everywhere. It may probably be my own twisted fantasy but this studded bag seems to go with just about any outfit and it accounts for the growing rockstar edge burning inside of me.
Lately, I’ve also begun (re) raiding my mom’s accessories drawer, it’s a treasure trove I tell you (and a maze). Indian accessories are such delectable treats, from the intricate designs to the flawless craftsmanship, it’s like wearing a piece of history. Even ASOS thinks so.
• H&M Shirt & Heels/ Thrifted Jeans/ My Closet Lover Studded Bag/ Mom’s Necklace •
Realistically, everyone should wear pieces in their wardrobe more than once (believe me, I know of people of who live by the wear-once mantra). Always put your creativity to the test and re-work them into different outfits instead of constantly scoping out the next in-trend pants or bag. Fashion should not be a burden or a strain on your finances so if you’re on a budget, recurrence is your best friend.
However, do not confuse repetition with becoming too comfortable or you would be living in the same wardrobe past their expected eras. We do not want that.
Time is Everything & then Nothing | Moment Watches
It’s time to put it out there - I’m quite the fan of horoscopes, true or not, I enjoy reading them and finding ‘coincidences’ with the happenings in my life. As an Aquarius (water bearer), it has been said countless times that we love our sleep and we do like the occasional sit-on-the-couch-and-laze-around days. I’ll vouch for that anytime. It’s just that we think too much and if I could dissect my mind for you, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a tangled mess of thoughts whizzing around every second.
Then came a moment where I was bogged down by time, straddling too many hats at a time but Moment Watches came into the picture at the perfect timing. Even my sentences are conquered by time. I clearly needed help.
Moment Watches have a story to be told, an experience to be relished by the wearer. They celebrate the idea of holding such experiences dear, instead of forgetting them in the midst of the chaos of today’s highly time-constrained world. If you notice, everywhere you go, people are connected to their earphones and handphones, hardly looking up to see the world go by. The sheer volume of information available has made us highly plugged in to the world behind screens - whatever happend to experiencing the physical surroundings, noticing what and who is around you?
It’s time things changed.
The whimsical watch gifted to me represents my life perfectly. Whenever I’m running a couple of minutes late, I don’t see what’s the huge fuss so I’m always telling myself, it’s fine, it’s normal, no biggie, you get the drift. To others, 5 minutes late is an unforgivable sin. I. don’t. get. it.
Sure, tardiness is awful but 5 minutes late because I stopped and smelt the roses isn’t. In life, anyone may be late and it’s perfectly fine. As long as it doens’t become a habit or the level of tardiness doesn’t increase exponentially, it’s fine. Seriously, calm down, folks. Spare a little time to enjoy your journey to work and the next time you’re waiting for a late friend (or me?), look down at this watch and smile, or burst into a fit of giggles, whichever soothes the anger.
Now, instead of bearing water, I come bearing gifts! I’m giving away 2 of these watches to 2 lucky readers!
1. Like Moment Watches on Facebook
2. Like Fashstash on Facebook
3. Leave a comment here telling me how you would spend the time waiting for someone who’s running late.
4. Leave your Name & Email Address in the comment as well.
Giveaway ends Monday (22nd April), 11.59 PM. Giveaway open to anyone living in Singapore only.
To everyone else, there’s a 5% discount if you quote the code, W9ST when shopping online.
AND, if you’re a fan on Moment Watches on Facebook, send them a message directly and you’ll be entitled to 30% off the watches.
Trendy Chic | Hotels.com
Unfortunately, I did not get to publicize (for lack of better words) this look because of a little trip out of Singapore last week and relatively weak internet connection. Week 3 of Hotels.com styling gig was on all things trendy and chic. With trends being such a huge part of the fashion industry, this is still relevant, styling gig or not.
Loving a good pair of printed or coloured pants, naturally, I gravitated towards the section in my wardrobe with a stack of printed pants (mostly floral prints). You may fathom that I own a huge wardrobe, what with sections and all but in all honesty, it’s puny.
The calming blue skies with the dense and fluffy clouds are what I look forward to in Bali. It’s where you can let your mind loose in the vastness of the skies. Hence, with the sky as my palette, I incorporated printed pants which are the current rage and balanced it with a white top to allow the pants to speak volumes. Complete the trendy look with a pair of sky-high heels and black sling for a stylish day out on the streets of Bali.
If you’ve been on the Internet daily and been subjugated to varied flashes of fashion weeks in your newsfeed or social media, you would have also seen this trend taking over everyone’s lean legs. You either love it or hate it, your call.
Still, do not fear these outrageously bold prints plastering your legs but if you do then go for more subtle embossed prints - it might appear illusory but you can bet your eyes they’re there and will not fail to make a statement.
Be wary to stay away from bright, wacky prints and keep the remaining palette relatively neutral for a toned down look you could take anywhere.
G2000 Top/ ASOS Pants/ New Look Bag/ Aldo Heels/ ASOS Bracelet
Finally. Amidst all the other synonyms, tired is one perfect adjective to describe 3 weeks of styling looks but having Bali as inspiration has got me itching for a beach holiday right this instant. The sun, sand, water and wind - bliss.
Where are you heading to this Summer?
Beach Beautiful | Hotels.com
If there is one thing I love, it’s getting into any body of water and which body of water is better than the vast and limitless sea or ocean?
This week for the Hotels.com Styling Campaign, we were tasked to style a look with the theme, Beach Beautiful. Since, I’m no bikini-bod person, I’ve got other tricks up my sleeve to style it up on a beach in Bali. It works just fine, trust me. Since Bali exudes an effortless cool vibe, an outfit for the beach runs in the same vein. Taking inspiration from the lush green of palm trees and the icy blues of the waves, I paired colourful paisley shorts with a loose fitting bohemian top for a comfortable time on Bali’s sunny shores. Lastly, create a picture perfect look with sandals or flats, shades and a nude lip. Now, sit back and let the win tousle your hair.As with all contests go, there’s an aspect on public votes. Please do me the kind favour of hovering your mouse/ cursor over the links below, pressing down and entering an itsy vote for yours truly.
Vote for me here: http://bit.ly/hotels10plus1lookbook
& if you are on mobile, click here:http://bit.ly/mobilelookbook
Voters also receive a 10% discount code to be used on Hotels.com properties!
The voting period is on till 25th March 2013.
P.S. More cool giveaways coming up on the site, so keep a lookout!
Fox-Out Top/ Montegobay Club Sandals/ ASOS Paisley Shorts/ F21 Shades and Cuff
Hotels.com Blogger Styling Campaign
When the prize is an all-expense-paid overseas trip, I’m sold. I’ll do anything, any-thing, to get myself on an airplane and leave the drudgery for a bit. Just a bit.
Like a perfect 4 clover leaf, hotels.com came at the perfect timing and graciously invited me to take part in their blogger styling campaign - I couldn’t resist. Hence, from International Women’s Day, last friday and for the next two weeks, my looks will be up on hotels.com. Though all three looks are inspired by Bali, Indonesia, each look carries a different theme.
This week, it’s glitzy glam and instead of going full on in your face bling, I turned the notch down a little with a mint sequined skirt, after all, we are in Bali not Vegas.
Inspired by the sultry sunsets of Bali and their blue waters, my outfit features a subtle sequined skirt in mint and a loose fitting purple top to go with the calm breeze of the beach. Comfortable heels coupled with accessories are the essential polish on top for a memorable night out.
Now, this is where you come in and what you’ll have to do is to vote for my looks on the Facebook page and that’ll keep me in the running for a trip. It is that simple and it will mean so much (cheesy e-hug coming your way)! Voters will also receive a 10% discount code to be used on any hotels.com properties.
While I love travelling, it’s unfortunate that I’ve yet to make my way down to Bali. Since hotels.com is offering this amazing opportunity to visit the land of intensely sultry sunsets and heaven-on-earth like beaches, winning this would be a dream, a dream I wouldn’t want to wake up from.
Bali, I’m chasing after you now. Friends of the internet, do your bit and help me chase Bali.
The voting period for this look is from March 13 - March 18 2013.
H&M Top/ ASOS Sequined Skirt/ ASOS Bejeweled Cuff & Bangles from Jaipur, India, Thrifted Necklace/ Heels from Germany
Photos by Pavandeep Singh