Thursday, October 6, 2016

On the platform in Shenzhen, China

I noticed this girl on the platform yesterday with the perfect jeans cut-offs. It looks like she has taken a slim-fit bootcut, or maybe even a slim-fit flare, and cut them just above the ankle. She has then made a little slit in the back and sewn a few lines of stitches just above it to stop it from fraying any further.

Perfect proportions. I think I am going to try this for myself. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mirror mirror on the wall

Rushing off to lunch in a taxi yesterday, my son grumbled about being late and not understanding why girls have to put on all that make-up anyway.

Normally, in a rush on our way to lunch in a smelly Hong Kong taxi, I would have probably dismissed his question with a counter question: and why can you never find your shoes when we need to leave? Not this time - in the ten minutes that followed I unleashed a torrent of rhetorical questions on him that he is not likely to ever forget.

Why do we feel we have to wear all that make-up, or any make-up at all for that matter. The short answer is, we think it improves our appearance. Of course the follow-up question is much more complicated to answer: why do girls and women feel the need to improve their appearance when very few men bother with anything other than shaving*.

It's a timely question as well, because who could have guessed four years ago, after we re-elected a true gentleman President, that a future candidate for President of The United States of America would routinely publicly refer to women as fat, gross, ugly, and defend his behaviour without any shame or self doubt.

I have never heard anyone say that male politicians are incompetent because they are pudgy or ugly. No one would go that far, because it would undermine their argument and it is just not a decent or civilised way to behave. Men have never needed to worry about being denigrated solely based on their looks, but for women it is not quite as easy to be indifferent about our appearance, because below a very thin veneer of civilisation sexism and misogyny are dying to burst through the surface, as has become scarily obvious in the last few weeks in America.

In our first world struggle for not just basic, but true equality, we have often had to rely on men's decency to bring about change. Men have more power, and it's the willingness of decent men like John F. Kennedy (Equal Pay Act, 1963) that has slowly effected change in women's lives. I shudder to think what will become of such decency if the Republican candidate brings his personal brand of crass culture to the White House.

Will our daughters feel even more pressure to be pretty and thin than they already do? Will women with a size 16 be branded "massive" as a matter of course? Will it become common practice to hire women based on their looks rather than their abilities?

I don't know what is going to happen. But what I do know is that we all need to make sure our boys understand why their sisters and mothers may feel compelled to enhance their looks with make-up. That way, at least we know the future for our girls will be bright.

* Men did for a little while embrace make-up, at least in entertainment, during the eighties when New Romanticism ruled the pop music scene. The other day I watched a delightful make-up video in which Lisa Eldridge talks to the lovely Yasmin Le Bon, super model and wife of Duran Duran star Simon Le Bon, who according to Yasmin still knows a good eye pencil when he sees one.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

High Street Buy Of The Week: H&M Khaki Jacket

It's unlined, quite oversized, and a great khaki color. This jacket is the kind of layer that makes a plain old blazer more cool and more workable in proper winter weather. It's also great to hang on your shoulders over a black cocktail dress to give it a bit more edge. Or wear it belted over black riding pants and chunky lace-up boots.

Khaki jacket, H&M - find it HERE
Grey blazer, J.Crew - find similar HERE
Blue blouse, J.Crew - find it HERE
Grey lace skirt, J.Crew - find it HERE
Black patent pumps, Jimmy Choo - find them HERE

PS: The most stylish people wear well-worn classic clothes

I love fashion as much as the emperor who wore no clothes, and a new clothes purchase lifts my spirits and provides inspiration like few other things can.  If the emperor had not obsessed over fashion to the detriment of his country's prosperity, I would have relished living in his shallow but colorful empire.

To my delight, excessive vanity is no longer a sin in 2016, proven by the omnipotence of Kim K, whose most obvious talent is taking really good selfies followed closely by being meticulous when picking plastic surgeons.

Moreover, spending and shopping are virtues in today's new economic reality whereas prudence and saving are considered bad for our financial future. Negative interest rates are looming and banks may soon be penalizing savers rather than rewarding them with interest like they did in the days when vanity was still a deadly sin.

So what's wrong with a closet full of brand new trendy clothes (or box-fresh sneakers)?  Nothing at all is the answer, but the most stylish people wear well-worn classic clothes.  Well-worn clothes have gathered memories, absorbed perfumes, offered protection from cold, and have become trusty fallbacks in moments of doubt;  the comfort and ease with which the wearer carries them exude a certain confidence, a confidence which enhances style in a much more profound way than the most beautiful handbag ever could (and such a handbag would certainly be much easier to procure).

Well-worn clothes are by definition good quality clothes, because only beautiful cloth and leather can age well. The chic nonchalance associated with well-worn clothes has made Ralph Lauren a super power, and has made brand new ripped jeans a money-spinner for denim retailers everywhere.

So on this Sunday I celebrate the French (for adhering to the principle that fewer clothes of great quality are the only way to achieve true personal style) and the British (for inventing some of the best classic clothes still universally loved today: tweed hacking jackets, mini skirts, and the mackintosh, just to name a few).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A few steps towards fall in my favorite high street designer - JCrew of course

Velvet shoes, wool blazer, and wool and lace vest, all J.Crew, all in store now.

I am still furiously busy with house work (because I am rubbish at it), but that is not the only reason I haven't been posting. A few weeks ago I asked advice (which I never ever do because I am not good at or keen on imposing) on where and how to promote this little blog better, and the reply, well, it made me ask some hard questions of myself.

But while I think, I am offering up some pink.  Have a great day!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hong Kong without a helper

I write this blog from Hong Kong, but I have always been reluctant to really talk about Hong Kong.

Because what's normal in Hong Kong is not exactly normal anywhere else.

In Hong Kong, every apartment or house I have ever been in has a purposed built (tiny) room for a live-in housekeeper. We call these housekeepers "helpers". They often are from the Philippines or from Indonesia,  and they help us with everything around the house: cleaning, laundry, child care, cooking, gardening, grocery shopping.

So for the last seven and a half years, I haven't had to do laundry ever, and I haven't had to iron anything either. If my helper was away, my incredibly sweet and lovely driver would take over and with a pride I have hardly come across before, he'd fold my laundry in incredibly neat and pretty piles.

But then last week my helper and I parted ways, and as she left for the Philippines a rather strange feeling came over me. I was going to be responsible for my own house again.

So let me tell you what I have been wearing for five days straight: jersey. Because if you wear a crisp white shirt, you are going to have to first soak it in Vanish, and then after you wash it, you are going to have to iron it properly (and no folds on the sleeves either).

I am off ironing now - I hope you will forgive some old pics because I have been too busy for blog fun (but I feel properly accomplished every night when I go to bed with the house not in total chaos).

in the early days of this blog I still used a camera! 

a old post about 10 favorite things - the Christian Louboutin shoes, the gold Phillip Lim jacket and belt, and the Jamin Puech bag are still favorites today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Awesome view from Exchange Square

you have to click on this after you find the biggest screen in your house

a lunch so close to IFC has to be followed by a peek in J.Crew - and it did not disappoint - what is disappointing is that I bought that jacket in a brighter pink version last season, and now I like this one even better

On this lazy day of summer I read an article about Winona Ryder in New York Magazine, and immediately after re-watched Reality Bites, a movie directed by Ben Stiller in 1994 about twenty-something Gen Xers and their first world problems.  It's made me nostalgic for the year I was 26, without much of a worry at all, going to work every day, walking to the 72nd Street subway station on cold sunny winter days, convinced that life was never going to be as perfect as right there in my very own footsteps on top of New York city pavement. 

Thankfully I have had that thought again quite a few times.  Standing on a rock halfway between the Gornergrat and the Riffelberg in Zermatt, overlooking the glacier of the Monta Rosa;  or driving down from the Peak in my red Mini on a really clear Hong Kong day, catching the first glimpse of the city below.  Come to think of it, this kind of exhilaration often follows confrontation with overwhelming scenic or urban beauty.  Maybe it's not time that heals all wounds, maybe it's a room with a view.