Thursday, December 29, 2016

Holland is beautiful, 2016 edition

A last look at London Christmas lights before we head to my home country of Holland.

On an average winter day in Holland the sky is heavy and opaque, and in this case the old house on the dunes makes for a perfect scary movie set. The wind on the coast is relentless, which means beach sand in your shoes, your hair, and your bag. I can't imagine fashion is on anyone's mind in winter. That said, there were a great many sequins indoors at Christmas. 

Relentless wind stirs the North Sea. The Norfolk coast in England is about 200 kilometers away.

Waiting for a morning train in the south of Holland.

A second hand jewelry shop in Maastricht has an enormous selection of Rolex watches - but all steel or white gold, see some HERE.

A draw bridge in Leiden

The Fort of Leiden, a medieval fort overlooking the city of Leiden and two tributaries of the river Rhine.

Another pretty old square in the city of Leiden.  Back to Hong Kong tomorrow, sad face.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

This is what I love about London

We arrived at six in the morning, dropped our bags at the hotel and by eight we were taking a walk in Hyde Park only to find that all the queen's horses and all the queen's men were joining us for some exercise.

With just me and the kids in town I am packed for the practical

Harrods is all Burberry in all the front windows

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Friday! 23 days until Christmas

AG jeans
J.Crew shoes
√Čtoile Isabel Marant jacket
Hendrica et Cie silk blouse

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Pastel Christmas

Zara cropped jumper (old)
Gucci bag 
J.Crew trousers (in store now)
Givenchy shoes (very much on sale HERE)

As I will be in Holland for Christmas it is highly unlikely I will be wearing baby blue silk trousers and leopard sandals for the occasion. But then again Christmas wouldn't be nearly as fun without a few weeks of romantic anticipation. I have the perfect song and video to go with this outfit: watch Robbie and Nicole HERE...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Working as a shop girl in Jordan Baker over Thanksgiving weekend

A pretty beach in Perth, Western Australia. This is as close as I'll get - you know how many big sharks are in that ocean? They've even made it into the nearby Swan river.

My brand new Parker Thatch tote becomes my fave bag on day one. From Jordan Baker, Shop 3 Napoleon Close, Cottesloe.

Jack Rogers and Kule at Jordan Baker

The Stylish Life

Jordan Baker in Cottesloe, Western Australia

With Thanksgiving done and dusted it's time for Christmas trees and nostalgic movie nights. Very high on my list every year is You've Got Mail, because in one of my nine dream lives I have a little shop just like The Shop Around The Corner from the film. This weekend in Perth, or more precisely in Cottesloe, I had a chance to act out my shop girl fantasy at Jordan Baker, a shop opened by two Aussie friends. Let me tell you, it's just as much fun as I imagined. If you are in Cottesloe, go and have a look - it's chock full of perfect Christmas gifts.

I picked up some fun bracelets from Kinsley Armelle

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The worst thing about a significant birthday

The wrinkles

You will be wiser

Because frankly, who needs wisdom?  Wisdom only leads to reflection and nostalgia.  And too much thinking in times like these could drive a girl properly insane.

That said... there were two lovely nostalgic stories in the news this morning that I think you should all click on HERE and HERE.

And afterwards let's just go right back to the shallow pleasures of deciding what to wear today.

Gap shirt (way old)
Gap pin (even older)
J.Crew skirt (find it HERE)
Louis Vuitton bag (last season)
Gucci shoes (last season)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The best thing about a significant birthday

you will be wiser

you need to go shopping for frivolous fun party outfits

J.Crew grey cashmere jumper
Zara pink cashmere jumper
J.Crew Collection silk skirt
J.Crew velvet pumps

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!

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.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I am quite fond of this pink Givenchy space bag

Is it a space bag, or a Batgirl bag?  If it weren't for Brexit, I would have very much considered a purchase. 
As it is important the economy doesn't further collapse due to my purchasing-ban, I hope you lovely readers who are not affected by the devastating collapse of the Pound will go ahead and check it out.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Chanel Inspired Casual (Ish) Summer Night City

Chanel classic quilted lambskin bag from 1994
Pearl necklace from the Jade Market in Hong Kong
Gold necklace is old Lanvin
Brooch with black sequins is ancient and from the Gap
Gunmetal necklace is DIY gathered from a Stella McCartney Falabella bag (see HERE)
COS T-shirt (find it HERE)
AG jeans (find them HERE)
Aquazzura Amazon sandals (find them HERE)

Friday, July 29, 2016

New favorite shopping site: Avenue32

Lucky strike, my dream red/navy jacket, very last one found at 70% off in size 38.

I am not all that adventurous when it comes to online shopping. I have stuck with Net-a-Porter for about nine years, and now that they offer same day delivery in Hong Kong, it's still my first choice for practical items. But Net-a-Porter is now Yoox, and despite the fact that Yoox is the ultimate well oiled and organized online machine, I miss the spirit of Natalie Massenet in the selection they offer.
I am in awe of Massenet, and had a funny experience seeing her at JFK airport a few years ago - read about it HERE.

Avenue32 is more fun, more like a proper boutique shopping experience, full of colorful and interesting designs by designers you may have never heard of. Normally, I am also not courageous with new designers when I have only seen the product online, but the founder of Avenue32, Roberta Benteler (see her instagram @robertabenteler) is so stylish, that I have total confidence in her selections. Check it out sometime.

Irresponsible Infatuation: Dior Embellished Boots

The windows of Dior, Pacific Place.

There is so much embellishment in stores right now! I blame thank Alessandro Michele at Gucci for that, although it must be said that Jenna Lyons at J.Crew has been a steady supplier of embellishment for years now. Michele's designs are not conventionally pretty, however - geek chic comes to mind, and the styling of his shows hint at affection for a kind of Royal Tenenbaums eccentricity. I haven't seen anything this exciting since Tom Ford's Fall 1995 show for Gucci.

On a side note I am devastated that the navy gingham rhinestone encrusted shirt I love at J.Crew has never gone on sale, because I sincerely hoped to celebrate my next birthday in that all that preppy shine. But at $5,000 Hong Kong Dollars, that is unlikely to happen until I turn 75.

Anyway! These distressed patent leather boots with silver and red grommets, suede buckles, crystals, and decorative back zips are not for wallflowers, actually they are slightly ridiculous, but of course I have developed an instant infatuation with them. Whenever I doubt my own fashion sanity, I wonder if Alexa Chung would wear them, and I think she would, with an A-line mini and a T-shirt perhaps. Only the very cool possess the nonchalance needed to get away with so much deliberate design detail.

And that's probably not me. Good night from Hong Kong. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I love the simplicity of Chanel summer make-up

Just a bit of SPF and something to define the eyes - and you're all done.

I normally wear Armani make-up, but when I want SPF I like this Chanel foundation better. I stumbled upon sales girl Hecky Li at IFC Chanel when I went there to buy a birthday present. She suggested this foundation to me, and she gave me great advice, without the urgent need for truth telling one can encounter in Hong Kong at times (you are old, you are fat, you have wrinkles).

In winter I like to play with eyeshadow, but that melts away in seconds in a Hong Kong summer. Chanel's Stylo Yeux Waterproof is much easier to apply than liquid eyeliner, but is just as intense in color and long lasting.

The John Derian tray was a gift from a good friend, and immediately became one of those objects that make a house a home. I have written about my fascination with provenance before (HERE), and this tray will always remind me of my friendship and my time in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I stalked some baby blue Gucci shoes on Queen's Road today

How great is this girl's outfit?  The loose beige trousers and the very casual heather blue T-shirt are the perfect compliment to the more dressy patent leather and pearl Gucci pumps.  And so perfect for a hot summer's day in a rather formal city. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

OOTD on a very hot day on The Peak (34 degrees, but feels like 42 according to the forecast)

Since when did HK get this hot? With T-shirt or without? LMK, please

J.Crew shorts (find them HERE)
Top Shop camisole (find it HERE)
J.Crew sleeveless T-shirt (old)
Prada flats (old)

A last holiday post before life in Hong Kong resumes as normal: San Fran via Carmel and Palo Alto

The beach at Carmel.

Stanford University - I desperately want my children to go here!  I think California has given me sun stroke.

A hilly neighborhood with the Transamerica Pyramid Center in the background.

San Francisco is both very grand and very picturesque.  I visited 20 years ago and didn't love it.  But this time we walked miles and miles, and there is no better way to see a city properly.

Some very pretty houses on Chestnut Street, on our way to yet another Brandy Melville shop in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Fran.  My daughter is properly addicted and spent every cent of the Benjamin we gave her for spending money at the Brandy Melvilles in Newport, Santa Monica, The Grove, and Cow Hollow.  Strangely enough the shop there had T-shirts saying "The Peak, Hong Kong", from where I write to you this morning.

San Fran from the piers.

I was surprised about how tropical San Fran looks.

The famous "Painted Ladies".

The Bay Bridge leading to Oakland.