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!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

I keep thinking of our last day in LA

It was sooooo good. We drove to the Silver Lake area of LA which we immediately loved so much that we spent the last two weeks looking at houses online. It's all gorgeously messy and only a little bit gentrified. It would be such a wrong place for us to buy a house, but that's okay because a good holiday should make you dream. And Silver Lake did make us feel a little cooler than we were before.

Vinyl Records at Vacation.

Vista movie theater in Los Feliz.

Does anyone actually need alterations in LA? Wouldn't they just cut their trousers and leave them to fray?


A beautiful drive back to West Hollywood and a mysterious mansion on Fountain Avenue.
(Thru the not so mysterious power of the internet I have found it is La Fontaine, an iconic apartment building built in 1928)

Back in the hotel I got dressed for dinner for the last evening in LA - a dinner with fellow Hong Kongers who overlapped with us for just this night. Nothing like a comfortable evening with old friends in a new place.

One last look towards the hills, and off to dinner we went.

And then it was good night and so long LA.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Two things I hate about Hong Kong

Old Nina Ricci velvet sandals
Old-ish Valentino bag
AG jeans (find black version HERE)
Hendrica silk T-shirt

The pollution and the humidity.

Every time I buy something I think to myself that it'll go so great with jeans. But when do we get to wear jeans in Hong Kong?

N E V E R.  Extreme humidity makes wearing jeans unbearable.

So in this first post under my new name on a 33 degree day I should not be presenting you with a dinner outfit option including jeans, but... I love them so. These are new - the Jodi Crop from AGJeans - fitted through the thigh but then flare out just a tiny bit. Really perfect with pretty sandals.

The sandals are Nina Ricci, from a few seasons ago, and they totally need jeans to balance the drama. The stripy top is from my own tiny little line Hendrica, and is totally (accidentally) on trend with its mustard, blue and pink stripes. I bought the fabric last year because I loved it - and had no idea those stripes were going to be a fall fashion thing. The top is perfect with dark blue jeans. But when do we get to wear jeans in Hong Kong!

Oh and the bag. How cute is that, but let me just say right away it doesn't fit my plain old iPhone 6!

If you are a regular at I LOVE FASHION, I hope you like the new look. For years it has annoyed me that my blog name and url didn't match. I considered bidding on I LOVE FASHION but that only led me to doubt the name.

I have now been an expat for more than half my life and fashion is the most exciting and favorite thing I know after my family. I did this all yesterday, suddenly got a mad burst of energy and when  F A S H I O N E X P A T  popped in my mind I rushed breathlessly to GoDaddy and here we are today.

Thank you very much for reading xx Di

Nina Ricci velvet sandals (sorry no longer in stores but check HERE for some other very lovely velvet shoes)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Update on my BIG Zara blazer

Blazer by Zara (HERE)
Old Cropped Jeans (Point Sur at J.Crew)
Old Boots (Isabel Marant)
Old shirt (IRO)

A big blazer transforms all your old clothes this season. Absolutely the best buy for fall if you ask me. It's also perfect for evening, to hang over your shoulders when you wear a pretty dress.  Zara has many different ones, Tibi has a very nice one (HERE) with a matching skirt, but the very best ones are by Raf Simons for Calvin Klein (HERE). Absolutely beautiful that last one, but quite a splurge.

As an update I add photographic evidence that throwing on this blazer for your milk run can make you look dressed even with bed hair and an old Nike T-shirt and sweatpants.  I say that only because I got an enthusiastic compliment from a fellow shopper at Market Place at 8.05 this morning.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ominous Pre-Typhoon Sunset on 26 August 2017 in Hong Kong

Project Keep Calm

work in progress

I decided as soon as we arrived home from vacation in California that I would make sure this time to hang on to the deeply relaxed feeling that had descended upon me the moment I stepped off the plane in LA. But nothing like sitting in traffic, kids fighting, school starting and bills to pay to find stress and anxiety crawling up my spine back into my head. 

Among other things I am trying stress coloring to keep the peace and so far it's remarkably effective, at least while you are doing it. I was never terribly inspired by flora and fauna coloring books (HERE), but this Vogue Paris version is awesome. The drawing above is based on a David Simms photo from December 2016. The clothes are Givenchy. I am getting to recolor the whole lot on yet another typhoon day in Hong Kong. Serenity Now...

Happy Sunday and keep safe everyone.

Friday, August 25, 2017

What a difference a day makes - Hong Kong after Typhoon Hato

Hong Kong seen from Lugard Road on the Peak

Hong Kong's South Side and Lamma Island, and the East Lamma shipping channel, seen from my bedroom.
Most beautiful place I have ever lived for sure.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eighties Inspiration: Big Blazers

(all pictures taken from my own copies Vogue Paris 1983-1984)

Moon Print Midi Dress at Zara

Dress from Zara, find it HERE

I was about to say it looks quite expensive, but it actually is expensive for usual Zara standards I think. Or maybe I haven't been paying attention. In any event it's made from a nice weight viscose, and the print is quite pretty. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

W A N T E D : Zara Boots - Reward offered

I am only half kidding about the reward.  If you happen to own these in a size 38 I'd be willing to make a convincing offer...

I have seen these on the Zara website for a few weeks paired with other clothes but can't remember ever seeing them for sale. It's possible I just missed them I guess.

Half sock boot, half patent leather, with a sharp metal heel and a square toe - they remind me of the early nineties, of the incredibly stylish Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.