simple is beautiful
I am Fashion
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Winter Berets

It snowed this weekend! Luckily, not the scary blizzard painful kind of snow (not yet anyway), but the movie kind, where they gently flurry down and then disappear as it hits the ground. As pretty as it is though, it is also deceivingly cold. In fact, it is officially freezing out there! A great time to bring out your winter hats to protect your ears from coming off.
I was actually excited this year, because I wanted to try wearing out my white popcorn beret (left) which I just bought from Urban Outfitters. I figured that it was very wintery and cute, plus since it is so loose, it won't give me hat hair (or less of it anyway). Apparently I only got it half right. The first two times I wore it, 2 of my friends told me that I looked like a cancer patient... the rest were too polite to comment. Of course I defended myself and told them that they don't know what they're talking about, but if I were to be honest with myself, I do kind of look like a cancer patient. Because unlike the models on top where the beret just sits atop their head, when I wear it, I pull it all the way down to my eyes and ears (such that no fringe escapes) and am fully bundled up from head to toe- hey it's cold out there! Unfortunately, as a result, one cannot see that I have any hair at all and I effectively do look like cancer patient. White was also an unfortunate color choice. The cute popcorn probably look like tumors on me too.
I'd like to think that this "effect" only applies to unstructured berets like the ones above and that if I got a more structured one, like this one from Eugenia Kim, I would look much better, because I'm totally in love with this hat. I love the little buckle and I love the subtly textured tones of purple. It is dark enough to match with many things, but there's still some color to stand out amongst the black hats around.I have a feeling that it might not provide as much coverage and warmth as the ones above, but it looks so pretty!

Or am I just deluding myself into thinking that it will look better?
Maybe I should just stick to a classic newsboy cap that looks good on everyone- maybe in red.

Image Source: Urban Outfitters and ShopBop

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Make It Silver

I like simple things, you may have noticed, and when it comes to jewelry I believe simplicity rules all. And while I do like a bit of gaudiness (that post will come later), I am mostly a strong believer in things that are simple - and silver.

The other day I went into George Jensen just to look (with my jaw on the ground). Their items have always caught my eye, they're just very elegant - there is no other way to put it. You can opt to wear their pieces for everyday, or as a focal point for an outfit. The brooch above is beautiful, it has a sense of both old and new.

The setting of the ring above was one of the first I had seen, it came out around two years ago. After George Jensen came out with this design, Tiffany's was quick to follow (but in my opinion not nearly as unique as Jensen's).

Add something with a little more sparkle. Jensen's designs are very smart, often times there is a choice to pick from to add to a piece of jewelry.

So instead of buying multiples of something next time, find one thing that you think is exotic. Those are the pieces that you'll wear over and over again.

These beautiful photographs were in W's Spring Jewelry edition, 2006.

Image source: George Jensen, W Magazine

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ctrl BG: A Shortcut to Financial News 11/15

This week was actually quite eventful.

It started off with China announcing a $600 billion fiscal stimulus plan effective from now until 2010, to be spent on infrastructure and social projects. Even this Asia powerhouse is not imperious to the global economic downturn, they are expecting growth to slow down to 8-9% as opposed to the double digit growth in the last 5 years. On the plus side, at least they're able to and are doing something to increase the liquidity in their economy.

Over in Europe, things are not so positive. Latvia a small European country, part of the former Soviet Union, just took over their second largest bank, Parex, last weekend. Are they going to be the next Iceland?

Back in the US, American Express got approved to become a bank holding company on Tuesday (just like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley). This way, they'll have better access to capital both from deposits AND from the government, which is probably a good move since consumer loans is expected to hit next and Amex has a LOT of business in that (obviously).

The latest bank in the spotlight is Citigroup. The good news is that on Tuesday, they joint the ranks of Bank of America and JP Morgan to refinance mortgages to help people stay in their homes. The bad news is that Citigroup will be laying off 10% of their workforce (which may add up to 40,000 layoffs!) and doing some serious cost cutting.
People are also not very happy with their (relatively) new CEO Vikram Pandit. He lost the Wachovia deal to Wells Fargo and the share price has gone down from $50 last year to $9 on Friday. The board is now questioning whether he's up for the job after all (granted it really wasn't his fault that Citi is in such deep trouble, he was just called in to fix Chuck Prince's mess). He is expected to be making a huge speech about all this on Monday.

On Wednesday, Paulson announced that they were changing their strategy for the use of the $700bn bailout- now known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. Instead of buying up bad mortgage debt, they are now going to use the remainder of the funds to directly inject capital into financial institutions. They realized that given the current situation, the original plan was becoming cumbersome and it was just easier and more efficient this way to directly inject capital in order to stabilize the financial system and get lending going, which right now they seem to have achieved (temporarily anyway). But then the question becomes, at which point do they stop giving capital injections to anyone who asks?

This question is especially interesting with the current fiasco in the auto industry. The big 3 are now desperately lobbying for a $25 billion financial aid package to save them from filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means liquidation and going out of business. This would potentially indirectly lead to millions of job losses, due to its huge supply chain. Obama and the democrats are all for it, but some of the Republicans are more reluctant. I can actually see where they are coming from. Bailing out the banking industry is one thing, since banks are a huge part of our economy and will still be around in 50 years time. The auto industry on the other hand, is a dying industry. American cars are simply not globally competitive enough to survive on the long term. They are not as luxurious as European cars, they are not as cheap as Chinese cars and they are not as endurable and gimmicky as Japanese cars. They would slowly go out of business anyway. The current economic situation is just speeding up the process.
I'd invest in a Chanel flap bag because I know that it will still be elegant and classic 20 years down the road, but I wouldn't spend the same amount of money on a Coach bag, even if it is limited edition and super luxed up. But I guess the $25 billion will buy us more time to "prepare", so it doesn't add to oil to the current fire. They are also quibbling about where this money should be coming from. The Democrats want it to come out of the TARP money (which makes sense, especially given the "new" strategy) and Bush wants to widen the budget deficit. I believe they're hoping to approve the package this week in the lame-duck session (if anyone is interested in why it is called the lame-duck session, as I was, check it out here).

The G20 also had a meeting on Saturday
to discuss the world economy. There weren't any specific guidelines, but they agreed to join their efforts to achieve common objectives, like to improve the regulations and functioning of the financial markets. It's a start. And the power of 20 is definitely more powerful than that of one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wedding Gifts

So next weekend, it is my first cousin's wedding in Sydney. He is the first in my "generation" to get married, so it's kind of big news. Unfortunately I cannot make it to his wedding because I can't take any days off and frankly, there didn't seem to be any point to fly 36 hours to and back for the weekend and spend 12 hours there (as much as I LOVE the excellent seafood in Sydney). So in my stead, I was thinking of sending them a gift. This is my wedding first wedding gift, so here are a few of my ideas (for a couple who has everything, and did not register in any stores- they really should!):
My first thought was to turn to Disney, because they absolutely ADORE Winne the Pooh. Unfortunately I googled up the story and it turns out that there is absolutely no romance in Winnie the Pooh (for maybe 5 seconds, I thought maybe Pooh and the Piglet were a couple, but the I realized that Piglet was a boy- as I'd originally thought), so it didn't seem appropriate to give them a Pooh snow globe. So I'm left with the two snow globes above- you can even personalize the plate! I'm thinking Cinderella, since Mickey and Minnie are an acquired taste. Unfortunately they don't sell these at the store and the delivery cost is the same as the actual globe!
So I tried looking for other super cute couply stuff to get. I quite like this block building photoframe (left). Very clean and meaningful of a relationship, no? And if cutesy is not their thing, there is always a simple personalized silver frame to fall back on (right).
If they actually needed more knick knack around the house, I thought these rabbit design kitchen ware were kind of cute (left). And I love these modern looking vases (right)!
And a bit outside the box, there is this cute pair of pillow cases with a bride and groom (left)! Isn't it adorable? Has anyone seen the pillow cases of a couple and it's connected with a string? That is super cute too. Or more practically, you can always get them stock certificate for shares in Tiffany or other companies. They apparently sell them framed on

Maybe I'll go back to the globes. You'd think it should be easy to find super sweet couply gifts online....apparently not. Any other cute wedding gift ideas? What do people generally give to other people on their weddings? Tips on what to write inside the card would also be appreciated. Is it congratulations and best wishes? I remember vaguely on Gilmore Girls that it is congrats to the groom and best wishes to the bride?

Image Source: Disney and

Weak In The Knees

I'm in love.

Loeffler Randall captured my heart early last year when I saw a sunshine yellow ruffled bikini. This Fall she has me tied around her finger with her seemingly simple looks, but plays with my emotions with her excruciatingly incredible detail. Yes, her designs are so absolutely amazing that it hurts.

I don't know what to do with myself. Look at how immaculate everything is. And this dress below, Loeffler, you had me at the pleats (and then she added ruffles).

Who knew something as ordinary as black and white could result in the above.
...and then there are her shoes.

All I can do is lust after these treasures, as my paycheck will probably let me buy around... perhaps a sleeve of that pink dress (not even). So I turned to Etsy, my online heaven of everything crafty and creative, and found this lovely little designer, LEMONSTORY by Kimenna. Pleats and ruffles, ruffles and pleats all over again - at a more affordable price. My heart is hurting, but my love endures.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MINT Jodi Arnold

Remember this absolutely darling gray and yellow block dress from this summer?
Well the makers of it, MINT Jodi Arnold, are having an online sample sale taking 60% off more genius pieces from today until the end of November. Frankly, we get a lot of emails about these online sample sales etc and we usually whiz pass them, just because there are so many and because they're not always designs that we endorse. But MINT caught my eye (because it reminded me of the block dress above) and I spent a bit more time looking into it and I LOVE the collection.
Especially these two dresses which are absolutely refreshing, youthful AND flattering to wear too. They are just so different from the dresses on the racks in stores, one is artsy, pop and cool (left), while the other is feminine and romantic (right).
Then they have more usual designs with a twist. I am loving the asymmetrical shoulder of the gray dress, this model does not do the dress justice. And this sequins dress is very reminiscent of the FCUK dress from last year, but the neckline jazzes it up.
The silhouette of this strapless dress with the folds at the bodice is just darling. The thin gold belt also brings a bit of the holiday spirit to it. And I just love the details on the collar of this coat!

So if anyone is interested. From now until the end of the month is a good time.

Image Source: Mint

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The New Perspective

I never used to like Mango. I could never find anything that fit properly and just didn't understand the craze (
everyone in my high school wore something by Mango). But today I've gained some new found respect for the store. I ventured into the store as a last resort trying to desperately find a dress for a wedding. I came out surprised and happy, it was absolutely perfect. I couldn't believe it: I actually found something I liked, and I liked it a lot.

And while Mango has been around forever, it seems so new to me and I'm finding numerous pieces that I preparing to purchase. You see, I'm stubborn and once I don't like something, I hardly ever go back. But good job, Mango. You changed my mind.

These two dresses are beautiful! Especially the first one. I love those frills on the neckline! You could definitely make it casual by adding a pair of skinny jeans and converse/flats. You could also just wear it with a pair of pumps for the evening. And in winter...tights with legwarmers and boots! I just loved the silver dress, ever so elegant and very simple.

Image source: Mango, Mango Shop