Alexander Wang X H & M

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At last, the Damsel turns one! To celebrate the best decision of my 21 years of existence, I’d like to commemorate this momentous milestone with the most exiting collaboration of 2014, that’s right folks, Alexander Wang (aka the King of Downtown Cool, aka Creative Director of Balenciaga) x H and M (aka Hennes and Mauritz, aka major power retailer, aka biggest fast fashion brand). Basically, a young fashionista’s (without an expendable wallet) paradise.

It all started on April 13th, when I read the news of this collabo going down via Man Repeller, that I decided I was going to be waiting in line on that lone November 6th night, out in the cold, to get a piece of the covetable. After months of teasing (seven months to be exact) with sneak peaks, campaign shots and Instagram vids, I was stir crazy. Closer to the date, a fashion show took place in NYC and it was impressive: the celebrity endorsement, the surprise live set from Missy Elliott, the runway show was perfection. And it wasn’t even NY Fashion Week. Even though it was a collaboration, Alexander Wang’s sportswear aesthetic was visible in the collection: from the neoprene sweatshirts, to the Under Armour-like Wang’d out separates, mesh oversized tees, down to the gray, black and white hue’d scheme. It was truly a collection after my heart.

Prior to the day of, all was to be done was figure out logistics and do my fair share of research. The H&M website proved to be useful, first off, you can view the whole collection and pre-shop it. Second, it gave helpful information on how the proceedings will go at the store level: the store would open at 8 am, the first 420 in line were given wristbands with an allotted time of 15 minutes to shop. Yes, 15 minutes and that’s it. Initially, I planned on being in line at 4 am, but I considered the fact that this is Alexander Wang and I’ll be in line at the only H and M store that was hosting the exclusive collection in the whole of Washington, Downtown Seattle. And so, it was, I was in line outside of the store by 2 am. I went with my fellow blogger, Jennifer Marie, whom I can talk fashion to no end so I wasn’t bored. Luckily it wasn’t cold to the bone freezing either. In fact, time went by in a flash and before I knew it we were given a 9:05 am wristband.

By 8:50 am, the line migrated inside the store and unfortunately, I was one of the last ones to arrive in the 9:05 am group. Oh, the slick shopping bags with “Alexander Wang x H&M” written across in white that glided by me, their owners smirking with accomplishment (Downtown Seattlites are too cool to jump up and down with joy, apparently). 5 minutes prior to 9:05, my heart was pounding, and I was anxious with the idea that the items I wanted were either not in my size or sold out.

9:05 rolls around and all hell breaks loose, the collection was in a small enclosed square, Jennifer went left and I went right. The first I saw was the AW logo mania crop top I wanted and I pounced on it, my hands shaking as I look for an XS. Viola, found my size! I couldn’t find the matching skirt on my right, I didn’t even have time to panic as I went left and surveyed the rack, found it still fully stocked! Next up on the list was the logo mania knee high socks, nowhere to be found. Neither was the WANG beenie (famously rocked by supermodel Joan Smalls). That’s 2 out 4 items on my list I was still a happy girl. I even surprised myself by not diverting to said wants and buying impulsively cause of all the shopping adrenaline around me. The cashier even asked me “That’s it?” But hey, did I really need more? No. I pre shopped online, knew exactly what I wanted and was out of there in 10 minutes.

I picked the logo mania crop top and skirt set because of their versatility: I can wear it multiple times, multiple ways with endless combinations. Together, worn as a set, they make a statement, I mean look at me, these images speak for themselves. I styled them with basic essentials: black beenie, black knee high socks and wore my buckled bootie, Parleys from Guess for a stylish “going to the gym but not really” look.

An investment of a Sony Nex-6 started The Damsel in the Dress a year ago. From there, I have been recognized by internationally renowned retailers such as Nastygal and Guess. I have been approached by photographers, styled my first music video and I’ve also provided my shopping expertise to DJ Shiva, hailing from La. None of that could’ve been possible without the Damsel, and before it was conceived in my brain, a crazy far fetch dream. I cannot wait what the next year will bring because it has been a magical experience so far. awhm48awhm9awhm49awhm37awhm38awhm39awhm13awhm6awhm19

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Caped Crusader

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One of the biggest fashion trends to befall us this season is the Cape. While most Fall 2014 collections featured it as outerwear (even manifesting itself as a poncho), BCBGMaxazria‘s take on the trend was the ingenious Capelet Romper. I was intrigued with the piece, and I didn’t even really want a cape, considering the fact that I’ve inherited my father’s broad shoulders (according to my mother) and did I really want to bring attention to that? I loved the uniqueness of the Caped Romper, and could not resist such an elegant statement piece hanging in my closet that it overcame any frustration I had with my genetic layout. And so I went ahead and ordered it online. It was not love at first fit, to be completely truthful. The fabric bunched up in the back. I also looked like i joined a convent (a very edgy convent though it may be). I was planning on returning, but quickly found out that I couldn’t return e-commerce orders in any of BCBG’s stores (if you are buying from their online shop, you have been warned) and working retail, I am familiar with the long winded process of sending an item back. So I decided to keep it. If anything, I would be the sexiest looking nun out there.

The piece actually grew on me in time. It paired perfectly with my Suede Over the Knee Boots (Dandra’s from Guess). It is the ideal Autumn outfit when your feeling like a stroll down the neighborhood to enjoy the turn of color of the leaves. Not only will the cape keep you warm and insulated, you will also look extremely chic as you do as I do in these pictures. cape20cape3cape5cape6cape4cape17cape9cape7cape10

Grey Hues

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It may come as a shock to most of you all, but sometimes I like to opt for something else other than black. In this case, I may have gone all out and worn all gray instead. I love the hue, unfortunately, its still not color (over my dead body!) but its the closest I will ever get. So feast your eyes, this doesn’t happen very often. You may wonder why I decided to change up so out of the blue, you may even feel refreshed by the alternative, but like adventurous journeys, this outfit has a beginning.

It all started with the boots: gray suede knee high boots, Zonians from Guess. I’ve gone a bit gaga over knee high boots, I own five pairs (and counting…the season’s only beginning!). My obsession, I suppose, stem from the fact that they add instant height to my petite frame. They’re also so practical in these brisk days as they keep your legs warm, but mostly, they make a statement: I am here, now look at me, which is how I always want to make my entrance. I hesitated on buying these boots for weeks since the obvious: they are not black, and I pondered whether or not it really fit my wardrobe; should I take a risk and welcome them into my closet in hopes that it’ll evolve my style into a different direction or will they stay in its box collecting dust. It was not until I impulsively tried on the Dark Coal Off the Shoulder Sweater Dress  that I was sold on the boots. I had to have both or none at all.

But the dress, where do I even begin. For one, they just about hug every curve of my body. This is not you’re typical sweater dress, its ultra sexy, and you wouldn’t even know it just as it is on the hanger. Its a must for fall. I wish it came in black, it must’ve been fate that it didn’t. Otherwise I wouldn’t have opted for this coal color. You can praise the lord for that one.

And I couldn’t just leave it at two pieces, I just had to have these Gray Area Sleeveless Coat by J.O.A. available in multiple retailers: Urban Outfitters, Nastygal, Revolve Clothing and Shop Bop. I purchased mine on Nastygal (#nastygalsdoitbetter after all). I’ve been itching for a wool coat vest to call my own, after the ultimate fashion icon (in my book), Victoria Beckham was photographed sporting one. I love the length and the oversized collar.

Who would’ve thought that all three grays would harmonize so well together. The not so secret is the use of different shades of gray. Its the same idea when you wear all white ensembles: to break up all that monochrome, wear different hues. It makes for a high impact yet stylish look!

P.S. My bag is the L.A.M.B. Elga Crossbody (if you were wondering)

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One Night Abroad

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 A few days ago, a translation tech company, Smartling and I were discussing travel and the means of communication for a foreign traveller. It really got me thinking about what I would do if I were in, let’s say Milan, for example. Would I change the way I dress in order to fit in? What about for a night out? Eating? And what about the language barrier? Obviously, I don’t speak Italian…

I don’t really like to fit in, in fact, I try hard to stand out, why would I want to fit in? I would, however, assimilate myself in Milanese culture by doing my research on Italian common courtesies. Eventhough I am a tourist, I do not want to make it plainly obvious by making errors in proper Italian etiquette and behavior (i.e. I would not be placing my hand on my tummy as it is a gesture of dislike, nor would I be caught chewing gum or slouching in public). As for dressing, I’d stick to what I like to wear, no tourist uniform ( clad in a sun hat, fanny pack, comfortable sneakers and jeans) for me thank you! As per all my travels, I look up the city’s weather and pack accordingly. I usually like to pack my favorite pieces as well as newest purchases. I have day to day outfits but they change as my plans do. For a night out, I would wear an ultra sexy leather dress like Shakuhachi’s Leather Zip Me Up Dress currently hanging in my closet and pair them with simple black stilettos for more vavavoom. The city is known for its fashion so why should I hold back? I am not one for the club scene and prefer a trendy lounge to sip on Italian cocktails such as Sgroppino or Bicicletta and discuss must see and do in Milan with the bartender. I’d prefer to go to places recommended by locals for more of an authentic experience instead of going to the usual touristy overpriced traps. A not so picky eater, I’d want to try traditional Milanese cuisine such as Risotto Alla Milanese. It would be ignorant and arrogant of me to expect that locals would understand English, so I’d learn Italian common phrases and carry a chic little dictionary in my satchel for quick and easy translations. Since Milan is known globally as a fashion mecca, I’d be frequenting shopping centres and sit on cafes to style watch. 

What I’m Wearing:

In these in between Summer and Autumn days, its hard to decide whether to bundle up or don Summery staples. Striking a fine balance and getting it just right is difficult. For me, I like to mix summery tops like this Handkerchief Halter top from Guess with fall staples like these Zara leather pencil skirt. My booties are an easy transition piece, heeled lace up sandals with leather uppers makes it look heavier duty than your traditional sandals. I added a pop of white in the form of a pearl necklace (Zara’s Mini Chain Necklace) and matching ring. I love a mini cross body and could not resist L.A.M.B.’s Elga Crossbody, I love its all black matte exterior, a perfect hint of edge to a chic look.

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I Wear Short Shorts

 

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Look at me, I’m actually wearing something other than black (for once)! Even a person whose signature style is putting together all black ensembles has to pay homage to classic staples such as these blue denim cutoffs from Guess (similar here). They are the epitome of the summer staple but also bode well as a transitional piece in between seasons. Here, I paired the cutoffs with knee high boots. For more of a western vibe, I styled the cutoffs with a white tee (I’m wearing Kill City‘s white tee with leather sleeves) and layered the tailored Tuxedo vest on top. I love the oversized “borrowed from my boyfriend” look of the vest as well as the metal collar which plays a twist on the classic. Silver accessories tie the look together: spider web body chain (similar here), braided Conch Belt, Unif Conch hat,  and the usual suspects of arm bangles. I invested on another pair of sunnies, this time a pair of oversized Cat Eyes which I often style with my casual looks. I am a sucker for zipper details so of course I had to have this clutch, a huge plus is it doubles as a cross body. 

While editing these pictures, I realized how tan I’ve gotten. This summer has been so much fun! Traveling to Michigan then Denver, but I am definitely ready for fall. I am so ready for layers, the turning colors of the leaves and pumpkin spice lattes. It is also the most exciting fashion season, in my opinion. I have actually been shopping for my fall wardrobe in advanced already. Call me crazy, but better to be prepared than to procrastinate on matters such as dressing. 

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Mesh’d Up

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Mesh, it seems, is a viral trend nowadays thanks to designers like Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein whose minimal athletica gave inspiration to contemporary brands like Elizabeth and James, Milly who used the fabric in their Spring and Summer 2014 Ready to Wear collections. Eventually the trend worked its way down the market to fast fashion brands like Zara and Top Shop. I wanted a piece of mesh I can call my own and found two that I liked: sen Raquel Top from Revolve Clothing and Topshop Laser Cut Mesh Scuba tee. Both were more or less $100, which I thought was just too much for such a trendy piece. I have no problem in investing on a piece that I would use time and again, but if I know I like it for its trendy appeal, and more likely than not, wear it once, maybe twice, price comes into question. So I passed on them. Both look like Football Mesh jerseys and so I went back to its origins and bought a boys sized M with its tags still attached at Salvation Army for $4.99. This is the result.

I layered my scuba bralette from Topshop (similar here) underneath the jersey and rolled up its sleeves, tucking it into my Leather Textured shorts from ASOS. Its the chic high fashion equivalent to your work out sweats minus the work out and the sweat. I paired them with Zara’s Bio with Ankle Strap and Buckle. Because they’re made from synthetic, man made leather, I am disappointed to share that the pair are not a comfortable everyday sandal. I did buy them for its clean look and gucci inspired oversized buckle.

These were shot in Good Hart, Michigan. The woods make for some epic nature girl shots.

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l’île de Mackinac

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Who would’ve thought that an island as gorgeous as Mackinac existed in Middle America? This petite pearl is tucked in the center of Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, accessible via ferry. With no automobiles in sight, this place is like stepping back in time, rich in colonial style architecture and famous for its fudge. One quip is the overwhelming smell of horse dung that hung in the air. Lucky for you, the camera cannot capture the odor.

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While most were opting to wear “touristy” casual attire (i.e. sweater, denim and comfortable sneakers) I opted for a classy resort look. I wore the usual suspects of staples/my favorite summer must haves: Wildfox sunnies and Michael Kors Hamilton Mini . To go with the black and gold accents of the bag and sunnies, I paired them with MK’s Calder Leather Sandals, I love its oversized buckle and golden rand on the tip of the front edge. It is so comfortable yet so stylish, I didn’t have to sacrifice one for the other. An alternative to your traditional jeweled statement necklace came in the form of a Choker with Pearls, it adds a minimalistic touch: very simple and very clean.

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I am obsessed with all things pleated this summer. I love how it moves with the breeze. Its movements make for some spectacular pictures. Here, I styled my Asymmetric Fine Pleated Skirt from Zara, with its unhemmed and uneven cut bode well with a formfitting croptop like the Pick Your Poison Top. Its stringy strap attached to both sides of the bottom synch the waist. I was attracted to that detail, since not only is it a new take on a basic crop, the market hasn’t caught onto the trend as well.

 

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From the pictures it seemed as though the island was deserted but it in fact was teeming with people, some buying souvenir shirts, most purchasing pounds of fudge. Since the morning was gray and windy, a not so promising start to the only sunny day out of a week’s worth of rain, I decided to risk it and wear my summer’s best. I was met with “You’re gonna freeze!” told you so’s and offerings of warm sweaters, but my risk was met with reward. The day turned out to be beautiful. In an island that tourists frequent, my all black ensemble stuck out like a sore thumb.

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Uptown

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I promised another collaboration with Me in Film Life photographer, Levi Eugeniu. Here, we shot in Lower Queen Anne.

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I discovered this majestic wall of graffiti behind the restaurants that line up Queen Anne Ave. Standing in front of graffiti’d alleyways has become a signature of mine. I love the juxtaposition of my minimal all black ensembles with its cluttered chaos.

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Whenever I am confronted with the question of going with a casual look or dressing up for an event or daily work attire, I choose the latter. While most opt for jeans and a tee as the first thing they scramble to put together in time of desperation when alarms did not go off and tardiness would be eminent if you did not leave the house immediately, mine comes in the form of a dress or a jumpsuit, something quick and easy to shimmy into. Such onesies are sophisticated and elegant yet so effortless.

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I love the Bustier Jumpsuit from Guess because it is such a statement garment yet simplistic in its details: notched surplice neckline and tapered leg. It’ll be a piece that I’ll be able to wear on more than one occasion with endless combinations. To add some much needed edge to such a feminine and classy look, I opted to drape my worn in, wrinkled leather jacket and paired it with black and gold accessories: strappy Leday heeled sandals, my wool sun hat, and fringe cuff.

 

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Along the Tracks

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You may have already seen me pining over this shirred peplum romper aka the Mixtape Playsuit from Australian label Keepsake on my Birthday Wantlist post or have seen me around the city donning the ensemble. I generally am not guilty of being an outfit repeater, but in this case, it is an exception. I have a weakness for all things peplum combined with my penchant for voluminous structure, the romper hit me like a big yellow bus. Since I’ve worn it time after time, its inevitable that it would finally land on my blog. Another one of my favorite Australian brand is Shakuhachi. Leave it to the Land of Oz to take shoes to another level. These neoprene (that’s right the material used in scuba suits) Knee High Boots, featuring a peep toe, feel like a second skin, so lightweight. They bode well to structured apparel. Accessorizing was simple: Octopus necklace and bracelet from Something Silver and my essentials: 3.1 Phillip Lim Ryder mini satchel and Unif Concho Hat.

These images were captured in film by self taught photographer Levi Eugeniu of Me in Film Life. He is one of a handful of photographers of a dying breed. Others prefer its digital counterpart for its efficiency and virtually no wait time. But the wait time was well worth it! I love surrounding myself with people who are passionate about their craft. Not only am I honored, it is also inspiring and motivating. This is only the beginning of my collaborations with Me in Film Life. Hint, there’s more of this coming!

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Bel Air

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It is not a mystery that I wear black, lots of it. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that I would continue wearing black for the summer. Except that it did. Some were actually repelled by the idea, they thought I would smother in my own clothes due to the heat (though this is the Pacific Northwest, it doesn’t get THAT hot).  Everyone is encouraged to wear cool, neutral colors for the warm season, whites especially because it supposedly repels heat, but I find, its the materials and fabrics that make all the difference. Like this Chiffon Ruffle Maxi dress from Guess, a chiffon construction that is lightweight and flowy. The ruffles and high low hem add just the right amount of chic to a breezy day. Eyes follow when I wear this dress, a definite must have in my book!

Finding the perfect pair of sunnies was top priority on my shopping list. I’ve been meaning to invest in a pair for sometime now, and what better time to buy than Summer. My eyes have been ogling Wildfox Couture‘s Bel Air Sunnies, the round acetate frames elevated my features giving me Maleficent cheekbones. I love the gold font on them, they go perfect with my black and gold ensembles that seem to be my go to these days.

An ongoing love affair in my wardrobe has been the use of gold accessories to add a pop to all that black. I just love the combination. To me, gold adds that much needed touch of glamour and elegance. Its presence is so prevalent in this look. The Ornica Platform Sandals with Chain are high, but the platform is constructed to fit your natural arch. 5 stars for walkability and comfort. The chain and metal toe details I love for its unique but trendy appeal. I wasn’t hype on Michael Kors Hamiltons until I saw the Mini. And then I went head over heels gaga. Its so cute! They weren’t exaggerating on the mini though, these can only fit only a couple of my essentials: lip gloss, bare minerals Mineral Veil, mini make up brush, my ID and CC. My phone couldn’t comfortably fit nor my wallet. These are perfect for a night out, lunch dates or soirees as an alternative to a clutch. Despite bad reviews on MK, I would give the mini 5 stars, as it is well constructed from Saffiano Leather, and all in all, good purchase.

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