Friday, September 22, 2017

Emilia Wickstead's high waisters with E.W. embroidery are everything

Emilia Wickstead, a label often worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

I am in London!  Regent Street looking very British while promoting an NFL event.

The ginormous Prada store on Sloane Street.

The bike share station just behind the Mandarin in Hyde Park. Why only one Love is Love bike?

Fenty make-up is in Harvey Nichols. I can't wait to go back today to have a look.

Few things better than Hyde Park early in the morning.

The best place for beauty products in London.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Let's talk about high waisted jeans

Fashion is changing at lightning speed.  I am not talking about seasonal change and trends, but about the source of fashion and style.

You have undoubtedly heard of influencers and vloggers - but if you are a mum with kids like me and not a 25-year old you may still get your fashion from magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar or Grazia.

(This brings me to a detour for one sec: did anyone buy September US Vogue? I complained HERE last year* about the enormous number of ugly ads in there, but this year the editorial is also disappointing. Even on my tiny blog I feel a little bit afraid of criticizing Anna Wintour, but screw it let me just say what I think: she would make a great ambassador to France, but please Anna step away from my formerly favorite magazine).

Our kids, however, watch vlogs by other kids for fashion and trends, a literal case of fashion by the people for the people. The fashion press are absolutely paranoid about this new world so in the last few years the dilophosauruses old guard have launched some vicious attacks on fashion's new rainmakers (this Metro article sums up the feud brilliantly). But there is no stopping this change and I for one am happy for it.

I love a fresh trend and a bit of seasonal change mostly because participating in fashion is fun, but maybe also because what you wear helps express who you are, and I like to think I am modern and open to change, and not stuck in a rut with my favorite blue eyeshadow.

At the same time I have always carried a smidge of anarchism deep inside my gut and the fact that a few privileged look-at-us-we're-beautiful editors had the power to decide which designers or designs would be the it-thing next season never sat right with me. 

For our kids fashion is far more democratic - young girls sit in their rooms and film hauls, bags full of clothes they like or don't like. Everyone gets to participate. If you hate it you get to say so right away, if you love it you can subscribe and see more of this vlogger's style. One vlogger influences another, and styles and trends constantly evolve and refresh. The influencers behind their laptops have enormous sway over their followers but only the nice kids become really famous in this digital world.

The vloggers with the most followers tend to be regular people who don't pretend their lives are perfect, they are charming and funny, and hard workers too. It's true that some of them aggressively promote their sponsors, but that's no different from every single issue of Harper's Bazaar, where supposed editorial content is conveniently for sale on Bazaar's own website.

The fashion these kids promote is mostly very casual and wearable and it's missing the eccentric aspect you may find in an editorial styled by the lovely Grace Coddington**, although there are a few blogger/vlogger/influencers with so much natural style that they could easily take over an editorship at Vogue. My absolute favorite in this new fashion world is Aimee Song from Song of Style, a gifted stylist who is very open about being bullied in school and her struggle with depression.

(It does help to be really pretty - I think humans are just naturally drawn to beautiful faces - but it's not in any way a requirement, as demonstrated in this video by vlogger superstar Casey Neistat).

So what does this have to do with high waisted jeans?

Well there doesn't seem to be a vlogger in the world who wears anything but at the moment. I've dabbled, but because I am short these jeans often feel too high and I've had to rip off a few waistbands to make them work. However, I have found the most perfect pair for my height HERE at J.Crew, still high waisted but not swallowing my torso completely.

I love tucking in a shirt and throwing on a blazer, wearing some slides and running out the door. No more muffin top, my friends. A nice fitting pair of high waisted jeans does wonders for your posture too. And frankly, it's fun to pretend you're in the know. 

(There are also a number of prominent over 40 vloggers out there but I watched one where the word snazzy came up a few times... as in: if you belt this trench coat it looks real snazzy. Aya, where do I start, that's not what I am talking about here. If you are looking for a highway to hell  freeway to frumpy make sure to use the word snazzy in conversation).

* when I searched for that post to add a link I realized it was not from last year, but from 2014!!! How fast did those three years just pass!

** Grace Coddington seems to be such a lovely person and I don't think she's ever been negative about the new fashion reality.

J.Crew T-shirt (last season but similar HEREHERE or HERE)

J.Crew shoes (last season but similar HERE)

Martin Margiela (very old belt but similar HERE)

H&M jeans (H&M website down when I did this post but similar HERE and HERE)

Parker Thatch bag (mine is from my friend's shop: @jordanbaker6011)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dreaming of Fall (and what to wear with my Saint Laurent boots)

A super sunny afternoon on The Morning Trail, a circular path around The Peak.

I should be grateful but all I can do is think of my two upcoming trips to cold weather.

It's not like I love cold weather but I do really love the clothes.

This is the outfit I envisioned on my 32 degree walk around the mountain.

Saint Laurent ankle boots (HERE)
IRO white shirt (similar HERE)
Isabel Marant Étoile jacket (similar HERE)
AG Jeans (HERE)
Belt from Martin Margiela but probably ten years old
J.Crew x Net-à-Porter faux fur scarf from last year
Chanel studded bag from Summer 2017

I got these at Mytheresa (link above).
Mytheresa is very often more expensive than every other online retailer (except for their Adidas) but I didn't see this gray color anywhere else and I obsessed over how well it would go with the faux fur scarf.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Clinging on to summer in this favorite Zimmermann dress

On my friend's junk boat in South Bay (traditionally junks were wooden sailboats, nowadays Hong Kongers refer to most small recreational vessels as "junks").
Far in the distance are the smoke stacks of Lamma Island's power station.

This Zimmermann A-line dress is about a year old but they still do many pretty lacy flower prints (HEREHERE, or HERE)
The sleeves on this one are huge and flowy.  It's been my second most favorite thing to wear this summer.

The glasses are the Sam style by J.Crew.

Towel by Naomi Campbell Collection (yes for real - gift with purchase at the biggest Hong Kong supermarket chain...).

Oroton bag from Australia (an old favorite present from Melbourne Fashion Girl, a very well dressed friend from Melbourne).

Very old Havaianas flip flops - the best style (thick straps) and color (white).

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Inspiration Is Better Than Sex

In my previous post I admitted to feeling uneasy and embarrassed about adding photos of myself to posts. So it's a fair question to ask why I do it sometimes (and a bit more often recently).

The simple answer is: I attract a lot more readers when I show who I am.

Although this blog is purely for my own entertainment (there is nothing I like doing more), I do need readers to make it worthwhile. It's such a thrill when I get an email from someone who's been inspired by a post.

I studied fashion design and I worked as a handbag designer but ultimately I think I am better at styling clothes than designing them. The other day a friend told me she bought the Zara dress I showed on the blog (HERE) and that made me totally happy - I was on a high all day.

The embarrassment about selfies comes from the fact that I am not exactly a model. I am a regular mum with a lazy eye, mismatched eyebrows, a crooked smile and muffin top problem. Despite that I think being visible on the blog makes the posts more interesting and more personal.

I have never been able to make a definite tribe choice, instead hoping to combine the life of a New Yorker reading political news junkie with the somewhat shallower life of a fashion loving Hong Kong expat.

It's not my fellow fashion bloggers who will judge my selfies, but my fellow political junkies or my clever friends from uni probably think I am an absolute loon for having a fashion blog. But (I think) I have decided to man up and do what I love.

Whenever I wonder about the purpose of my blog I think of inspiration. How often do you feel inspired? Inspired to read a book, to redecorate your house, to go back to school, to move to another country or to contribute to charity? It may not be every day, but when inspiration strikes it's a rush of positivity, an avalanche of purpose.

Let's face it: feeling inspired is better than sex.

But don't quite stop having sex yet. As the  F A S H I O N E X P A T  I hope to provide a bit of minor inspiration every week. Probably not the life changing kind but maybe I will remind you of an old blouse in your wardrobe that will make you feel beautiful when you wear it again. Or maybe I'll inspire you to buy a pretty dress and ask an old friend for lunch.

In the meantime I will continue posting pictures and writing self deprecating anecdotes while at the same time creating a visual record of my life in Hong Kong.

I am so very grateful that you are reading. Thank you, beautiful girls.

xx Dianne

I found a bit of personal inspiration at Isabel Marant this morning. Both the main line and Étoile are beautiful this season. This is the store on On Lan Street in Central.

I have put these on hold and figured I should be sensible and think about them. Five minutes after I got home I was done thinking.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lunch at Cipriani in my new Liberty print J.Crew skirt

During lunch at Cipriani I am immediately eyeing my friend's new Hermès bracelet.

Pretty decent day in Hong Kong although the ICC building barely peeks out above the clouds on the left.

I am wearing a new J.Crew skirt (find it HERE). The colors are much prettier in real life than on the J.Crew website.

Inside the turquoise bathroom just around the corner from a random picture of Bill Clinton, I am trying for a mirror selfie which never looks a whole lot like me. 

If the selfie looks nice I guess I shouldn't really care about that. But I feel catholic guilt, embarrassment and all sorts of general neurosis about putting myself on this blog.

Despite all that, I am quite pleased with my hair.

FIRST time ever I convinced a hairdresser to cut it straight off, no layers whatsoever. 
Every hairdresser I have ever seen in the past argued that I needed layers.
But not Minna.
She is also not at all concerned when I tell her I don't want the highlights to be natural, I just want them really light and bright.

Zara slingbacks (HERE)

The skirt has an elasticated waist in the back, and pleats in the front. It also has a self belt on the front which I cut off immediately. I don't have the kind of little waist needed to wear anything gathered so I have added a wide belt to flatten the volume of the skirt. The belt is old from Phillip Lim.

My other lunch companion wears a delicately stamped jade bracelet. 
Jade jewelry is everywhere in Hong Kong - I think it represents purity and grace, and is often passed down from mothers to daughters. This one is super lovely.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Like Mother Like Daughter

My mum's on the left, and mine on the right.

My mum Whatsapped me a pic of her new Gucci shoes that she bought at Wellens in Herentals (that's in Belgium). Thankfully her message reminded me of a rather similar pair I picked up at Gucci on Sloane Street in London a few months ago. It's so easy to forget about anything other than flip flops during typhoon season in Hong Kong. Autumn's still a long way off for us.

Of course, my mum is way cooler than me. I went for the safe choice but she's got the cool matching patent logo. Luckily they are my size!