Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Last Minute NYE Outfit Ideas

It's New Year's Eve. You have been focusing all of your attention on party planning, running errands or stuck working the half day. You get home and realize that you've only got a couple hours to pull together a dazzling outfit for tonight. There are lots of sales going on but your purse strings are a little tight from the holiday spending and frankly there's no way you are getting back in the battlefield of a mall. You approach your closet, dreading moment of realization that you have nothing to wear.

That's exactly how I felt this morning. With some party music on and a drink in hand, I was ready. There was no party dress in sight, but I was determined to put together a few outfits made up of separate pieces that you can easily find in any closet.

Classic black and white cardigan paired with a metallic skirt as a statement piece
{cardigan from H&M; metallic silver skirt from Banana Republic}

Friday, 26 December 2014

Winter Blues

 After days of the festive red and green colour scheme, I thought it would be nice to change things up with some calming blue hues. This has definitely a relaxing few days, with plenty of time to wind down and to spend quality time with family and friends. Having all this extra times means that I can indulge shamelessly in some rom-coms!

 A quote from "Leap Year" hit home for me today. Decklan asks Anna (played by Amy Adams) at one point during the movie, "if your house was on fire and you had 60 seconds, what would you take with you?" At the end of the movie, Anna finally responds, "when my sixty seconds came, I realized that I had everything that I wanted but nothing that I needed." A lot of us are in constant pursuit of "things", both the tangible and intangible, but are they completely essential and do they truly enrich our existence? Our possessions are often tied to the dreams and goals we aspire to achieve, like a beautiful house to a home and friends to a sense of belonging. However, this tireless pursuit can become addictive. We can begin to lose ourselves in the physical and mental clutter and lose sight of what is important. When these objects of desire no longer resonate with our current values and state of mind, perhaps it's time to move on. As many of us go through some decluttering at the end of the year, ask yourself that very same questions "if you had sixty seconds, what would you take?"

By Cecilia Huang

//Black wool blend turtleneck - Banana Republic
//Blue Savannah Skater Skirt - Nasty Gal
//Gold clutch - Coach

Monday, 15 December 2014

Fall Foliage

For someone who is cooped up indoors at work all day, it can get a little depressing getting to and leaving work when it's dark outside. It's nice to wake up to a crisp, sunny day on the weekend for a change. I spent this entire weekend at my dodgeball league playoffs (Here are the links if you are interested - Richmond Dodgeball League & Vancouver Dodgeball League). After playing for a few seasons, I've adopted somewhat of a pre-game routine consisting of: a solid breakfast, a few minutes on my brain training mobile apps, a light stretch and warmup, followed by a few dodgeball videos. This routine has allowed me to be both physically and mentally prepared for the game and at the same time brings a sense of focus and commitment required in a competitive environment. It allowed me to be present and aware at all times. I found that I was no longer focusing on the end result but instead I played each game like it was the only game that mattered. Sadly, we didn't win any championships (*tear), but I had a great time with my team!

I realized that this "routine" is something that should be incorporated to my daily happenings. As we take on multiple demands and challenges at work, school and at home, we need to get our "game face" on to get the job done and excel. It means having proper meals, taking adequate mental breaks, going for a walk/stretch and doing things that you enjoy. As the holidays creep closer, it's getting easier to sit back and relax, but hopefully we can all start off the New Year with a good and meaningful routine!

By Cecilia Huang

Outfit Details:
Black wool coat - Eight Seconds (Korea)
Polka Dot Sweater - Forever 21
Blue dress pants - GAP (similar)
Caramel Clutch - Pull & Bear (Available in white here)
Black woven sneakers - Korea street market (sorry!)

Monday, 8 December 2014

Office Chic: Grey + Red

Grey boyfriend jacket [ZARA]
Black monochromatic sweater [Urban Outfitters]
Gingham patent pumps [Nine West]
Black cordoroy pants with zippers [Forever 21]

Do you ever think about who or what you are really dressing for? Is it to look professional and smart in front of a client/audience? Is it for a job or a promotion? Is it to impress someone that you may pass by during your morning commute? Is it to simply look and feel confident? Or is it really just for yourself, to feel comfortable in your own skin?

Style is a funny thing. Sometimes it's a direct reflection of a personal statement and what inspires you. Other times, there are trends and dress codes to follow that seem to delineate from what the sense of eccentricity that we are taught to embrace. Work wear is an example of where these opposing natures exist. We choose our outfits often to project a desired image in order to give off the best first impression as possible. Maybe you throw on those glasses to make you look smart and mature in an interview to gain more credibility. Perhaps you select your colours appropriately (blue is a colour of trust is a tip that I learned from a friend) to give off a certain impression. Maybe you skip the low neckline and stiletto heels because you don't want to look too "sexy", resulting in other people not taking you seriously. On the other hand, we are told that to be successful often means finding ways to set ourselves apart from others - to be unique and find your signature. For some, style is a way of defining an individual trademark - to outwardly express it and at the same time serve as a reminder to self that you really could be who you are.

Having recently visited another country really made me reconsider the essence and necessity of style. What is often associated with aesthetics and vanity has a strong tie to the social, psychological and cultural contexts of being human. I am always very interested in observing the different fashion and style in each city. The diversity is really quite fascinating. For example, I see a group of college students in a certain district who dress in similarly dressy outfits - oversize sweater and a-line mini skirt with pumps. The outfit itself is flattering and has room for personalization, such as colour and detailing. On the other hand, Vancouver is known for its casual West Coast flair and New York has got its fashion-forward cool blacks. Style is a way to fit in and relate to other people around you - whether it's with the same style of outfit or the same type of outrageously different style. Think abut the time when you commented on a coworker's new necklace. Boom, that is how a personal connection is created. Could it be that the feeling of belonging and the search for one's identity can go hand-in-hand without compromising each other?

Next time you are deciding on what to wear to an office party and you just can't seem to find the right thing, remember that you are not there to impress. You are there to connect and to relate, person to person.

By Cecilia Huang

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Emerald City

As some of you may know, I recently went on a vacation to Seoul. I just came back last week and apparently had missed the torrential rain storm in Vancouver (ain't no rain's going to put a damper on my spirit!). With the colourful fall foliage fresh in my mind from Nami Island in Korea (photos to come I promise), I have really come to appreciate the crisp, sunny autumn days here in Vancouver. 

As I unpacked and went through my photos from the trip, I came across these shots from early September that I haven't had the chance to post. Since the weather during that time was so gorgeous, I daresay this outfit was 100% weather-appropriate at the time! Coincidentally, this A-line short skirt + chunky heels is a pretty common outfit combination on the streets of Seoul. It really elongates your legs and make you look taller, especially when it is a high-waist skirt. However, as winter is coming, we will need to add some tights and sweaters to keep ourselves warm while looking fabulous!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Office Chic: Pastels

Many of us spend a majority of our time at work - be it the office or other settings. While I enjoy shopping for pieces that are on-trend, I always consider how I could incorporate them into a work-appropriate outfits. A business wardrobe takes time to build, but there are countless ways to style your favorite pieces in order to look professional and still allow your personality to shine.

With that, I present to you - The guide to Office Chic - which features a series of stylish work-appropriate outfits, with tips on dressing for the job. Let's just say that this is a great way for me to reinvigorate my work wardrobe and to inspire you to do the same!

Office Chic #1 - Pastels
  • I know summer is over, but who says you can't wear pastels?  Soft pink and lavender reflect a sense of caring and compassion, which will make you seem a bit more approachable ;)
  • I am loving the colour-matching trend this season. To elevate this look, mix different textures, such as lace and chiffon, to create more dimension.
Happy Monday!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Falling for Purple

As the remnant of summer intersects with the crisp beginnings of fall, it is difficult not to let that reflect in our style choices during this time of the year. A few of the transitional pieces that are entering my style peripheral are the rich purples (shades derived from the Pantone colour of the year - Radiant Orchid) and some hot suede booties. There is, however, so much more to be excited about - the fiery reds, the many shades of grey, and not to mention, the comeback of vibrant sixties print (that' a cue to hit the thrift store!). Oh and pumpkin spice lattes anyone? That would make a great fall colour combo as well, almost as good as it tastes.
Even though there is much to look forward to during the fall season, we have manage to catch a sunny break here and there. Once that sunshine hit, the layers were off! Instead, I am kicking off the fall season with a purple twist top and suede round toe heels. As for the striped skirt, I have a feeling it will survive through the depths of winter and prove to be an all-season piece. For now, let's leave the cardigans and leggings for another day.

What are some transitional pieces you are loving right now?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Easy Breezy

Happy Saturday! The end of this glorious season is finally upon us. This is the last chance to bust out the rest of the summery attire that have not yet seen enough daylight. My weekend uniform lately usually consists of a flowy, light-weight top paired with comfy pants. It's super functional since I run lots of errands over the weekend and after a good workout in the morning, my pores would really appreciate something that's not tight and constricting (just think...after bikram yoga..muhaha sweat galore!).
What's your weekend uniform?

Sunday, 31 August 2014

DIY Date Night

 Happy long weekend! Lately I feel like I have been living from one long weekend to another, so the extra day is definitely much appreciated. I spent the majority of the today working on this post in the hopes to bring you something refreshing and different. Having a blog is about sharing and inspiring, so I wanted to start sharing other passions in my life. As some of you may know, I work as an event planner in the nonprofit industry. Not only is it part of my job, it also serves as a creative outlet during and outside work. Hopefully I can bring a bit of my love for events and decor here.

Now, just because I love being organized and making things look pretty, sadly I can't say that my home is even close to being in that state. That's why I decided to do something special for our anniversary and set up a DIY dinner date at home. "Whoa I didn't think our dining room can look like this!" - that's what he said. Normally, I am not a huge sucker for romance, but I gave it a good try!

One thing you learn from planning events is that not everything ever goes to plan, but sometimes the best things happen when it's spontaneous. That's exactly what happened here. I started out with an OMBRE + GOLD theme, which eventualy worked out. The polka dot and gold wrap-around was a spur-of-the-moment inspiration at, believe it or not, a dollar store. The roses were exactly what I was looking for - a few stems of each colour - which were purchased from the supermarket. It required some trimming and rearranging to create the gradient of colour. The short fresh cut flowers were a quirky complement to the long-stemmed bouquet. Like I said, sometimes good things happen when they are unplanned. Now, the final steps. Somehow, I discovered some red polka dot notecards in my cupboard, so I created mini cards with a hand-written note as a personal touch. This was not so much about asthetic perfection, but more so about the happy and joy this may bring.

VOILA - a DIY date night is completed.

P.S. Oh and the pasta matched the theme - totally unintentional I swear1


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Stay with Me

Dear Summer: Oh won't you stay with me. I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand.

I meant to get these photos up earlier but didn't have a chance until today. Who knew the sunny days would feel like such a distant memory after a day of rain? Only last week was it so hot that a yoga top and overalls would have sufficed. Of course, let's not forget the cup of iced teas from David's Tea and a Lucky donut.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Maxi Heat

It's hot hot hot potatoes outside! The heat calls for a one-piece maxi dress and flip flops - nothing more. Sometimes I wish I could just wear pjs or bathing suits out but that's just not quite socially acceptable or professional. I can't be the only one right? A maxi dress on the other hand is a key summer wardrobe essential. It's easy to throw on for an inner city stroll or for a weekend getaway at the beach. Add a cardigan and it can double as work wear. Another useful tip for petite girls? Look for a maxi dress with an empire waist to help accentuate your waist and elongate your body, giving you a visual boost in height. That's right...#PetiteGirlProblems.

Happy Summer,

Friday, 11 July 2014

As Simple as Black and White

It's getting to be one hot summer. While the sun calls for light-weight summer tanks and dresses, I have been relying on pants and layering to survive in the office. Pants are necessary because while it's blazing hot in the sun, my office has decided to become freezer. To that, I offer two tid-bits:

1) Layer up: Think more than just cardigans and scarves. Vests are great ways to add character to your oh-so-simplistic tshirt while keeping your "core" warm.

2) Vouch for "Viscose": Check the label for viscose or viscose rayon. It's a super comfortable fabric with high absorbancy, even more so than cotton. It  wicks perspiration from the body, allowing it to evaporate and keep your skin dry.

There you have it, some food for thought. Now excuse me while I go grab some free 711 slurpees.  Have fun in the sun this weekend!


White cropped top //  H&M
Black utility vest // H&M
Black and white graphic print pants // Jacqueline de Yong {8th & Main Boutique}
Brown peep toe cut-out shoes // Jeffrey Campbell

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