Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dry January Outfit 3

Chanel bag (HERE)
J.Crew cashmere T-shirt (similar HERE or HERE)
H&M jacket (mine is sold out but this one HERE is really great)
Zara skirt (now sold out but similar HEREHEREHERE and HERE)
Gucci sneakers (HERE)

On this last day of 2017 I am wearing my hero outfit for the year.  The Zara skirt was such a good buy - I feel like a million bucks every time I wear it.  If fits well, goes with absolutely everything despite the print, and can be dressy or casual.  Let's hope midi skirts are here to stay for a very long time.

The cobalt blue cashmere T-shirt suits my coloring and brings out the green in my eyes.  I get more compliments on this top than on anything else I own - I think it's the vibrance of the color.

The H&M super light cargo jacket is the easiest thing to throw over anything, and light enough to wear in Hong Kong's humidity.  I have talked about the Gucci sneakers a hundred times, they are still the best high end item I bought in 2017.

The Chanel bag was a generous gift from my mum.  It was bought at the Rue Cambon store in Paris and as such it came in a white box and white dust bag, unlike the usual black packaging from other Chanel stores.  This bag makes a sporty, casual outfit like this one more age appropriate, as it may be obvious that I am not 20.  One day I will give it to my daughter and it's always going to be much more special than any other bags I own.

If you want to see more of my no-shopping dry January outfits, follow me above by entering your email and don't forget to check my instagram (@fashionexpat) for additional pics.  Thank you so much.

Enjoy your New Year's celebrations, dear readers, and I can't wait to see you back tomorrow in 2018.

xxxxxxxxxxx Di

Dry January Outfit 2

Canvas bag (see HERE for my one-off, but another cute green bag HERE)
Isabel Marant Etoile jeans (HERE)
Topshop T-shirt (HERE)
J.Crew tartan shoes, from last year, but similar HEREHERE or HERE

Day two of no-shopping dry January was already hard.  As you can see I already found myself in a dressing room!  I had some time to kill before lunch, so I tried on a pair of faux leather leggings just for sh*ts and giggles.  They looked quite nice but after about two minutes of wearing them I already felt hot and claustrophobic, so I gladly handed them back to the shopgirl.

Phew, no-shopping challenge still intact.

That black T-shirt didn't hide my Christmas spare tyre as well as I hoped it would...  Tomorrow I will go for a long and loose jacket!

good night from Hong Kong!

Friday, December 29, 2017

My First Outfit for Dry January

Tibi velours top, HERE
White jeans, similar HERE or HERE
Very old Zara studded shoes, similar HERE or HERE
J.Crew jacket, now sold out, but similar HEREHERE or HERE
Chanel bag, now sold out, but similar HERE or HERE

There is no way I will stop drinking for January.  A great glass of wine or champagne with dinner is one of life's true pleasures.  As Dr Michael Apstein argues in his article on dry January (HERE):

Some people believe that ‘giving your liver a rest’ by abstaining from alcohol for a month or so is beneficial. In fact, there’s no science to support this practice, nor does it make sense physiologically. The liver can metabolise a small and steady amount of alcohol without difficulty.

If you think you need to take a month off, you’re either drinking too much during the rest of the year or you have a guilty conscience.

My own version of Dry January pertains to shopping, and the good doctor's argument applies there as well:  if you think you need a month off, you've either indulged too much or have a guilty conscience.  That's pretty much the case for me when it comes to buying fashion.

It's a fact that I buy too many clothes and shoes, and I'd like to try and break the habit.

So my plan for January is that I buy nothing at all.  I will post an outfit every day and no doubt I will have more than enough clothes to go around.  I am a tiny bit worried about the end of the month when I will be in London for a week, because the shops there are ridiculously tempting.  But I am going to be strong.

To make sure you don't miss any of my January outfits, enter your email above (thank you so much - I very much appreciate it) and follow me on Instagram, @fashionexpat, where I will be posting additional pictures not on the blog.

xx Dianne

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day 2017... and another Christmas takes a bow

we started with a boozy lunch at the old Mandarin

central appeared totally deserted later in the afternoon

maybe that's because everyone was here checking out the christmas display in the landmark

we moved on to causeway bay for a bit more holiday shopping and a huge mirror outfit selfie

my mum bought this adorable blouse (HERE)

as i had kept my clothes hugely comfortable (my cold got worse and i felt rubbish when i woke up) i panicked just before we left and threw on a bunch of metal - earrings, necklaces and bracelets, not my usual style but who cares, it was festive - and we had a great day

- hope your christmases granted you everything you wished for -
xx dianne 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

My favourite pre-Christmas shopping outfit - a bit of tartan and a classic blazer

I have a cold and my skin and hair looked ragged today.  But the great thing about a blazer is that it always manages to give you a bit of a lift.

The blazer is from Sandro - find it on sale HERE.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday stroll through the neighbourhood: view towards Deep Water Bay from Severn Road

I fail miserably at being cool - that's why I had to return these Tibi mules

These were heart palpitation inducing when I noticed them on Net-à-Porter.  I saw myself walking around being just sooooo cool without having quite figured out the outfit to go with them.

They arrived within hours - Net-à-Porter is simply the very best at the whole delivery and return process - but the 37.5 was a bit small for me, so I knew right away I would have to return them for a 38 if I really liked them.

And I did... but I could not figure out what to wear with them.  Cropped mom jeans and a tucked in jumper?  Yeah maybe, but would that do anything for my appearance at all?  I came to the conclusion that I liked the idea of these mules only.  Ultimately I think I'd rather look attractive than edgy, which makes me undeserving of these shoes.  If you are way cooler than I am (which is easy), maybe they will work for you - find them HERE.

Friday, December 15, 2017

This Christmas you can never have too many...

Lip balms.  Even in Hong Kong my lips are cracked and dry.  Kiss Mix is the very best lip balm I have ever tried.  It's been on my bedside table for years.  Buy it HERE.

Scented candles.  'Tis the season!  My current favorite is Byredo's Bibliothèque, which (to an untrained nose like mine) smells mostly of vanilla but with some fruitiness and leather thrown in. It's beautifully subtle and goes really well with the scent of Christmas trees.  Find it HERE.

Make-up brushes.  During the festive season I like my make-up to match the mood, but as sparkly eyeshadow can clog brushes I use a separate set for glittery shades.  Real Techniques are my absolute favorites because they have a huge assortment of professional products which also happen to be very affordable.  The brushes are made with artificial hair, which makes them super easy to clean.
Find them HERE.

Reading Glasses.  The kitchen, the office, the bedroom - I keep reading glasses everywhere nowadays.  It's been about four years since I can't read anything without my collection of trusty Warby Parkers. 

I go out of my way to avoid buying Luxottica eyeglasses (THIS is why) but aside from that, I just love Warby Parker style.  Micky Drexler is on the board, and we all know how awesome he looks in his retro clear frames. 

These brown and blue specs are my latest ones.  Use a forwarding shipper (Like THIS one) to send them to Hong Kong or make Warby Parker the first stop on your American vacation.  Find them HERE.

Cosy socks.  These cheap and cheerful socks are from H&M, because in our damp cold house without central heating slippers alone are not enough.  H&M carry chenille socks HERE online but these Christmas editions came from the store in Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Three's a charm - I promise I am going to change my bag and shoes tomorrow

Proenza Schouler bag (HERE)
& Other Stories jumper (HERE)
Isabel Marant Étoile jeans (HERE)
J.Crew velvet shoes (from last year but similar HEREHERE, and HERE)

Monday, December 11, 2017

New COS jumper, inspired by Aimee Song

If you are wondering why those red shoes and bag again...  I am not a super glam blogger who has to change outfits completely every day.  So I leave my shoes downstairs when I get in, and once I change my wallet, keys, glasses, and toiletries to a new bag, I usually carry that one around for a while.  My laziness aside, this bag is really practical - the pocket on the back has my key, phone and Octopus card while the three fairly spacious internal compartments hold the rest. 

The shoes are available at J.Crew in IFC in a pale pink velvet, although they do have black ribbons that sort of turn them into mary janes.  The jeans are way old straight leg Zara.

The grey jumper inspired this outfit.  I picked it up yesterday at COS - it's oversized and reminded me of a jeans and jumper combo Aimee Song posted recently on Song of Style.  I loooooved the outfit Aimee wore in that post - I don't really know why because it's sort of plain, but fashion can do that sometimes.  Anyway, this COS version is fab.  This jumper is not on the COS website, but there were plenty in store on Queen's Road Central.

A Perfect Day To Wear Pink (Isabel Marant Étoile Mom Jeans)

A quick pic from my living room before I run off to Central.  I hope mom jeans are here to stay!  All muffin top is gone, and the looser fit around the legs is a very welcome relief after so many years of skinnies.  I am off to find some wrapping paper for Santa.

French Connection jumper (HERE)
Isabel Marant Étoile pink jeans (HERE)
Proenza Schouler bag (HERE)
J.Crew velvet shoes (from last year, but I also love THESE and THESE)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

J.Crew and @floralflowerist team up for a wreath making workshop

I won't give up my day job.

Stunning unexpected table setting by @floralflowerist.  The combination of black and white graphic table cloths, stripy linen aprons, and rustic decorations in antique gold cups was extraordinarily beautiful.

If you like flowers or flower arranging, check out @floralflowerist on Instagram. You can take courses, or I suppose you can just buy flowers as well.  I like their take on a modern bouquet.  Making wreaths was such a lovely treat, arranged by J.Crew in their IFC store.

I have been wearing rather a lot of J.Crew again this season.  The dark red jumper below was a perfect purchase from J.Crew in London earlier in the season - I love it so much that I pretty much wear it with everything.  The cobalt blue trousers and the multi-color metallic shoes (both J.Crew although the shoes are from last year) seemed perfect companions.  As I pretty much always find myself trying to tone down all things shiny, I carried a casual canvas bag and was happy as a clam in my super comfortable clothes all day on Friday.

If you don't want to spend a lot on a whole new look for the festive season, get out some of your more colourful clothes and try to combine them in unusual ways. The blue trousers would also go beautifully with bottle green, fuchsia pink, or mustard yellow.  Or if you want to pair a brighter trouser with a neutral, choose a camel or heather gray instead of black.  Then make sure you wear a slightly deeper colour of lipstick or lipgloss - you don't have to go super dark, just a bit more intensity to match your colourful clothes.

J. Crew trousers (HERE)
J.Crew jumper (HERE)
J.Crew rose gold oil slick pumps (last year's, but similar HERE or HERE)
Canvas bag from Shenzhen with pins from the Victoria and Albert Museum (from an earlier post HERE)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

You bought it, now you'd better wear it

Mild but hazy weather in the Hong Kong Christmas season.

We decorated our second (this time real) tree without a plan and without my usual anal symmetrical precision and I love how it turned out.   The house smells beautifully of noble fir.

And now I am trying to figure out what to wear this weekend for a Christmassy birthday dinner at The China Club.

I bought this dress on 50 per cent sale 2 years ago...  was that a good idea?  Probably not.  It was one of those moments where I imagined myself to be a cool New Yorker in my The Row dress, and that somehow my coolness could make this dress not look like 1987 Donna Karan*. 

So now I am trying to shame myself.  You bought it, now you'd better wear it.

It's quite funny, my twelve year old has started to do the same - and when you do end up wearing something your were not sure about, very often your doubts disappear.

Now I have to figure out if I have Spanx strong enough to hold me in.  Then I am thinking some modern earrings (like THESETHESE or THESE kitschy lovelies).

The Row dress, HERE.

*  And it's not just Donna Karan's clothes that are 30 years out of touch - her take on Harvey Weinstein was quite a shocker (HERE).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Why not bring some colour into your winter (and try out some alpaca while you're at it)

Zara coat HERE
Isabel Marant Étoile jumper HERE
Maison Kitsuné jeans, similar HERE
Saint Laurent boots HERE

Although I love a full black or grey outfit in winter, I live in a subtropical climate, and sometimes all that darkness looks out of place next to the palm trees. 

When it does get cooler in January and February my favourite way to keep some brightness in my outfits is by wearing off-white jeans.  The jumper is from Isabel Marant Étoile, a mix of alpaca and regular wool, in the prettiest pale blue which will go beautifully with my Zara coat.  I wore that coat for four days straight in London last week and loved every minute.  I saw two other girls in it on the King's Road, but I didn't mind at all - one of them walked towards me near the Duke of York Square and we both smiled at each other knowingly.  There are still some left at Zara now - I highly recommend.

Isabel Marant has been using a lot of alpaca wool this season, and I love the feel of it. It's featherlight and doesn't seem to pill very much. I think companies have become interested in alpaca for the past few years because it's reportedly more sustainable than cashmere (read more about that HERE).

Friday, December 1, 2017

How To Make An Easy Wardrobe Lookbook

Find a place with decent light. Pick a category of clothes or accessories to photograph. Take all the photos in a category in one day, without interruption by other photos.

When done, go to All Photos and take a screen shot of all the images you have captured. In this case, 20 photos fit on the screen of my fairly antiquated iPhone 6. 

You can use them as digital images, but I have printed mine out and made them into a binder. A great tool for when you don't know what to wear.

I do it only once a year, and in between lookbook updates new clothes and accessories always get stored together in a separate part of my wardrobe. This system ensures that I don't forget what I have just bought.  

After a year, you may have enough new purchases to fill up more iPhone screens and add to your lookbook.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cheap (but Cheerful) High Street Treasure: Marks & Spencer Velvet Mules

M&S mules, find them HERE in a flower print fabric or find the black ones in store.
(there were also these really pretty velvet slingbacks).

I can't claim to have found these myself, as I have never shopped for shoes in Marks & Spencer.  But these mules are fantastic.  They were 29 Pounds,  combine velvet and grosgrain, and have a super comfortable but pretty heel.  The perfect Christmas slippers to take you to the kitchen and right back again (more champagne).  

These were worn by one of the stylish editors of Sheer Luxe in a recent vlog (skip to 3:54 to see the shoes) and I made a mental note to look out for them.  The M&S at Cardinal Place near Victoria had loads so between these and some delicious Williams pears I had quite a successful shop.  I am pleased with myself for not buying a fancy Gianvito Rossi version (although they were dreamy) which would have been worn once or twice.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Winter Wonderland

As we stood in a crowd of hundreds yesterday, waiting to have our bags searched before entering the carnival, I hoped the ominous clouds above were not a foreboding.  But looking around me at all the Londoners with their children, unfazed by the possible danger of partaking in this huge exposed congregation in Hyde Park, I began to feel more defiance than fear - that's what being among the English does to a person.  The British' refusal to have their lives affected by terror is a contagious life affirming force and our night at the bustling Winter Wonderland fairground was enhanced by it movingly.

I am off to Hong Kong again tonight, always leaving here with a slightly sore heart.

See you on the other side (of the world).

xx Dianne

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Boots!!! Gianvito Rossi

I am in London for my son's boarding school exeat.  How do you like my new boots?  Block heel and pointy toe.  That's a first for me - I've had plenty of pointy heels and pointy toes, and block heels and round toes but never this combo.  I am wearing these as Harry Styles might, with skinny jeans pulled over top.  From Gianvito Rossi at On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong.

Monday, November 20, 2017

No Festival Fashion at Clockenflap

Tinariwen from Mali performed for a large audience - beautiful music.

The Sartorialist's got nothing on me!  I asked this pretty girl if I could take her picture because I loved her hat with LED light flowers.  I am getting the hang of this.

Most everyone else was wearing jeans and sneakers.  It's not quite Coachella yet, but lots of fun nonetheless.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Beautiful Style on Lugard Road

I went for a run this afternoon on Lugard Road, the panoramic road around Victoria Peak, and ran past this lovely couple.

I stopped running immediately and before I knew it I had complimented them on their outfits and asked them if I could take a picture for my fashion blog.

I never do anything like this!  I am always too shy to approach a stranger.  But these people were so kind and smily that I must have sensed it was okay to ask.

How cute is her coat?  The front panel is grey woven wool, while the side panels are a navy blue knit. I love the bare legs and white flats with the fall coat.  And her light blue bag with delicate gold chain complimented the outfit perfectly.  Such a beautiful girl with only a bit of red lipstick on her face. And her friend David looks like such a gentleman in his pinstriped suit.

After we said goodbye and I started running again, I had so much fresh energy.  

David and friend, if you are reading this, I just want to say that I loved seeing you today. You both make the world a more beautiful place with your lovely style and your kind faces. 

xx Dianne

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Time To Take Stock of Your Best Price-Per-Wear Items

After all, the winter sales are coming up and it's a good idea to prepare yourself before you do any serious spending.  I don't care much for the summer sales, but winter sales have coats and boots,  and those are always the best sale purchases.

What have you worn most this year?  For me it's my Gucci sneakers with stars (HERE and HERE). I have worn them fifty times at least, which now has them down to the equivalent of two large Starbucks coffees a day (this would be of course in addition to the actual Starbucks I would already have had, not to mention the price-per-wear of the other clothes and bag I'd be wearing with the sneakers... but you get the idea).

After honest analysis why I wore these sneakers so much I know that I love the combination of ultimate comfort + fashion credibility, and the fact that they literally look amazing with anything you wear.  I have other sneakers I don't wear as much, and I have to admit it's because they are not as current and as recognizable as the Guccis.  I never think of myself as a label whore but in this case I have clearly succumbed.

Conclusion, if there are any Gucci sneakers in the sale, I should pounce.

I have also done some thinking about expensive things I have bought which have not been worn enough.

Price per wear failures:

AG Jodi Crop jeans (HERE)
Isabel Marant Étoile ruffle blouse (HERE and HERE)
Gucci block heel loafers (HERE)

I have only worn the jeans once - they are super cute and I love them but they are too tight.  The loafers are beautiful and I love them too in principle, but I haven't reached for them often - I don't really know why, although I guess that red is not as easy to throw on as a more neutral color and with red shoes I personally do not love a black bag). The shirt is beautiful but also too tight in the waist and I have scores of ruffly blouses this season.  The material is linen, and I associate that with summer so much, that I have ignored it completely since September (despite the tropical heat).

Lesson One for me:  Stop buying things that are tight.  It is never worth it!  Ever!  You are not magically going to lose those 5 Pounds, and you shouldn't be rewarding yourself with new clothes if you haven't even started to try.  

Lesson Two for me:  If you buy things that are slightly harder to style with the rest of your wardrobe, make sure you plan a few easy outfits around the red shoes for instance, so that you never have to think about it in the morning.  Now that I am looking at this outfit, I think it's very nice and I should wear it all the time (although the ruffles, and the flare, and the loafers remind me a bit of Austin Powers).  Bag wise it makes me think I would like to have a nice dark navy bag to go with this and other outfits with red shoes.  One for my winter sale list!

If you are one of my friends reading this and you need help sorting out your wardrobe, ring me now!  I  am cheap - a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit will get me to your house in no time :).  Every time I do this kind of thing I think I should have become a personal shopper, there is really very little I like better than putting outfits together or making new outfits with old clothes.

Have a great Thursday lovely readers xx

Monday, November 13, 2017

Does this ever happen to you?

A month ago you got invited to a Christmas party and you accepted right away and looked forward to it for weeks.  You imagined what you'd wear and even bought a dress.

Then the party day arrives - you didn't sleep well, your hair looks a mess, it's cold and pouring outside and your new dress now feels rather snug.  Suddenly you wish you could stay home with a cup of hot tea and watch romantic comedies you've already seen twenty times.

Does that ever happen to you?

Me too.

But you can't be a flake, your hosts are counting on you.

I firmly believe if you are not feeling great and you don't know exactly if you feel like getting dressed up, you should keep your outfit as simple as possible.

Navy satin bomber jacket, from Shenzhen, similar HERE.
White Zara T-shirt, similar HERE or HERE.
J.Crew dark red pants, find them HERE.
Anya Hindmarch glitter clutch, similar HERE.
Tabitha Simmons shoes with crystals, similar HERE and HERE.

These J.Crew pants are super flattering, and constructed from the most comfortable fabric ever.  J.Crew calls it four-season stretch and they are definitely onto something.  The material looks like wool, but it's actually a polyester, viscose and elastane mix.  If you have these pants in your closet, you're going to make it to all your Christmas parties without a hitch.  Rain, sleet, snow - no matter, you will be warm and cosy while still looking gorgeous and genuinely effortless.

Then put on some large and glamorous earrings (I really love THESE and if you've got money to burn THESE are amazing. Basically, unless it's black tie these trousers will take you anywhere.

And you know what else always happens to me?  Once I do actually make it to the party, I always have a really good time.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Three Great Gift Books

Christmas at Lane Crawford in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

This book is beautiful.  Full of gorgeous fashion illustrations while at the same time a guide to Paris.  Buy it HERE.

I bought The Life Plan at a Kikki.K store while shopping with my twelve-year old a few months ago.  It was a special Kikki.K edition (HERE) and the original version is HERE.  I have just had another annoying birthday, and every year I wonder how I can still be this unproductive and disorganized at my age.  This book is great,  and it's answering that question rather effectively so far.

It's a rainy Sunday today - some tropical depression in between here and Vietnam at the moment.  I am finally sitting down to finish The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes (HERE), a relative of Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey.  It's such an enjoyable read.  Beautiful language, descriptions of London and England in 1920, set at the childhood home of the notorious Mitford sisters.  A perfect stocking filler.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's Already Christmas In My House!

I saved these candles (a gift from my gorgeous friend Fi) for a long time - I don't know what I was waiting for, some special moment?  I do that all the time with shoes and clothes too.
Ever so often I yell at myself:  Dianne, your life is right now!

Taking this to heart I am even sitting around in this new J.Crew jumper which I only bought on Tuesday.

It is so soft and perfect for lounging around. This may be one of my favorite purchases of the season (find it HERE). I just throw on any old pair of leggings and I'm ready for hot chocolate wine and candles.  The scarf is also from J.Crew (HERE).

Now all I need to do is turn up the air conditioning to arctic and pretend it's winter in Hong Kong.
Just kidding, I'm not that irresponsible.
Even though it's not exactly cold yet, Hong Kong houses are very damp and in older colonial era buildings there is often no central heating, so it feels quite cold inside once the sun goes down.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Busy Weekend So I Am Reposting A Fave Outfit From Last Year

The very old jumper is from Zara, it also has some metallic threads running through.

Equally old COS slim black trousers.

Miu Miu shoes, I need to wear these more.  I do love a neutral grey and black outfit with red shoes.

Karma slapped me right in the face with the little silver bag. It was a lookalike bag, and it got ruined by one of the silica gel packets we hang in our closets here to keep tropical humidity at bay.  The packet leaked and literally melted half of the bag.  Be careful with those things.

Government House in Hong Kong, which was the official residence of Hong Kong's Governors during the colonial era from 1855 until 1997.  Hong Kong's first Chief Executive after 1997, Tung Chee Hwa, refused to live in the mansion.  

Strangely I actually have seen a fair amount of Tung Chee Hwa since I have lived in Hong Kong, as his grandchildren are my neighbors.  Funny this expat life.