3 summer fashion hacks I just came up with, and am quite pleased with…

If you’re like me this summer, you don’t have an unlimited budget to spend on updating your wardrobe to follow all of the latest trends in depth.  Even with scoring cool stuff on sale, or by settling for the quality of cheaper stores like H&M or Forever 21, they don’t always suffice in delivering the goods you want fully.  There is always compromising and settling involved when trying to stay current while not breaking the bank!  It is hard, but these are a couple of tricks of modifying clothes that I’ve tried with some success.

My distressed denim hack:

The store I work for part-time, Smartset doesn’t have a jean that is distressed enough to follow this season’s line-up of sporting really wrecked-beyond-hope denim, so I can’t use my staff discount there to save.  My solution?  I had a pair of light greyish blue denim from Smartset last year that was just boring.  They had no distressing, and as a full-length light coloured pant,  they just kept getting gross and dirty at the ankle parts because it was a bit long.  This was not stylish or cool.  So I decided to cut them into crop pants and distress them myself.  I cut off the pant legs past the ankle, hand sewed some cuffs in them and then ripped the heck out of them with different denim distressing techniques I learned online.  I ended up really liking the casual undone look of them, and wrecking them gave me some therapy too!  I saw similar jeans to mine at Urban Outfitters later that week.  I was happy to say I may have saved about $70, doing it myself by recycling unwanted old jeans in my closet.

Feeling like I gave these jeans a face lift by cuffing them into crops and distressing them to fit in with current trends...
Feeling like I gave these jeans a face lift by cuffing them into crops and distressing them to fit in with current trends…

My Strapless Romper Hack:

Such a reasonably priced romper, made with cotton and even had cute pockets.  The only down side was the fact that one pull down and I would be exposed...
Such a reasonably priced romper, made with cotton and even had cute pockets. The only down side was the fact that one pull down and I would be exposed…

Summer isn’t fun without a romper. Why?  Because you can do it all in a romper.  It’s a onesie made for adults!  For those of you that don’t know, a romper is basically a dress at the top, but instead of it turning into a skirt at the bottom, it turns into shorts, all in one piece.  It’s great.  Casual, super cute, and really comfortable.  You get to keep cool this summer, by covering just what you need to cover, and unlike short skirts, you won’t show everything when you move.  Rompers however tend to be expensive.  Don’t know why cuz they seem easy to make and don’t require that much fabric.  I however did find one at Forever 21 that was only $10!  Sometimes you can’t even get a tank top for that.  The one flaw with the romper I found was that it was strapless.  All of a sudden, summer care-free behaviour is restricted in this romper by the fear of it being pulled down by accident.  But it being only $10, I bought it, took it home and sewed on halter straps to keep it from falling down, making it much more functional, for no cost at all!  I even like the look of it with straps more than without!

After sewing on two pieces of drawstrings from another top.  Not my strapless romper is functional as a halter romper. yay!
After sewing on two pieces of drawstrings from another top. Now my flawed strapless romper is a functional halter romper. yay!

Jersey Bodycon dress hack:

Jersey (t-shirt material) bodycon dresses are the best basics.  They fit your body well, can be dressed up or down, great for summer, and they hug your body and show off your feminine curves.  They also are an effortless way to make yourself look put yourself together in two minutes. Add heals and you’re ready for the club, wear with flat sandals and it’s a casual day at the cottage.  The awesome thing too is that because they are simple dresses made out of stretchy jersey material, they don’t cost a lot.  I recently snagged a nice floral bodycon dress from the Smartset were I work.  With my discounts and specials, I got it for only $15!  I was thrilled.  I could possibly match that price at some other discount stores, but the ones at Smartset were so much better quality, and the length was not too short.  The only problem was that the neckline I noticed was not flattering.  It barely scooped in the front.  I noticed it scooped a lot more in the back, so what did I do?  I carefully removed the stitches of the label on the back collar of the dress and then wore it backwards!  The scoop back became the front, and well, now I am liking it more.

This was originally the back of this fitted jersey dress.  Just by carefully removing the stitches on the label in the back, I can now wear this with the flattering scoop neck in the front.
This was originally the back of this fitted jersey dress. Just by carefully removing the stitches on the label in the back, I can now wear the flattering scoop neck in the front.

Remaking clothes that you have or got on sale is great.  It saves you a money in the long run and more importantly, you get what you want for the price that you want it.  🙂  Let me know a hack that you have done to your summer wardrobe to make it your own!

Dress size is nothing but a number

We often hear that age is nothing but a number.  That you can do anything in your 30’s that a 20 year old can do, and that we should not limit or restrict ourselves to such a trivial things as age and such.  We can also be free to date people of all types, of all ages, of all lifestyles, and of all races.  There is encouragement to be ourselves in these matters.  The same should be said about dress sizes.  I work part-time in fashion retail, and I have recently noticed how some of us gals have strange ways of associating some part of our identity through the size clothing we wear.  If we are a size small, we are content…an extra small brings out boastful, prideful personalities.  Medium is a triumph for the more curvy types if they can get into this size label, and large and extra large are okay too, but then just don’t say it too loudly, and hope to fit into the prior.  I myself am guilty of thinking this way a bit, but now I can see why we shouldn’t think like this.

Women's sizing chart.  Why so confusing?
Women’s sizing chart. Why so confusing?

The reason is simple.  The fashion industry is fickle.  They change their measurements daily.  Different stores and different collections have different ways of fitting.  Smartset, the store I part-time in tends to have a larger sizing so that a small there is like a medium at say, Forever 21.  Also, realize that some styles actually look better looser than tighter, it all depends on how you want to style it.  In my wardrobe, I have sizes ranging from XS all the way up to M/L. And it’s nice to think nothing of it. In truth, size is really subjective, and we should not confine ourselves into thinking we are just one size.  We should not be jumping up and down when we fit a small, nor should we be bummed to size up.  Just be happy, healthy and feel great. Don’t let the industry standards have their way with you.  Larger doesn’t always mean fat.  It could also mean you’ve got a bust, and that is a good thing in this culture too.

I know some of my customers get caught up with sizes.  I’ve had skinny ladies complain and whine (in a prideful way) about how they can’t wear our pants because the double 0 just is still too big for them.  I mean, come on?  If you really liked them, they don’t have to stick to your skin for you to pull them off.  I recently lost a few pounds and have just been enjoying the extra room in some of my clothes.  It feels nice to size up too.  I’m more petite than the average woman, and I love to size up on tights.  They fit so much more comfortably, they don’t pull down, and are warmer when not stretched out.  But when we ran out of s/m tights at the store recently and I dared suggest to size up to women my size and larger, their expressions were kind of like I was insulting them!  Clothing size is nothing but a number.  Let it go.

See?  Sizes are just labels.  Don't label yourself.
See? Sizes are just labels. Don’t label yourself.

I’ll end with one last story.  I was helping a middle aged lady the other day with a particular style of sweaters that I knew the sizing ran large.  So I suggested to her to size down from her L to go for a M, medium.  She brightened up immediate with a glow of confidence.  Feeling validated from being able to grab the medium sweater, she smiled at me, and actually asked my size.  “Hey, yes, I can get away with a medium…that’s your size too, no?”  She prodded me.  I felt kind of insulted that she wanted me to define my size, the way she was defining hers in a way to make herself feel better or somehow “equal” to me.  My only reply I could think of is “well, my size, it depends, really.”  She left before I could tell her what it depended on.  I guess she was not interested in an answer that was not black or white.  But our style and personalities are never black or white, so why expect a black and white answer to the matter of dress size?  Just go with the flow and wear what fits.  Ignore the size on the tag.  If it really bothers you, cut it off when you get home and think nothing else about it.  Wouldn’t it be great to focus and put our energies on being a fabulous person instead?  That is what will put fun back into fashion.

Fashion and Make-up during my NYC trip!

Travelling and looking good has always been an obstacle for me because A) I’m short on time during a trip, B) I’m short on energy during a trip, and C) I’m short on supplies during a trip… I wrote about how my last vacation to Florida was mostly a mess earlier this year in an entry, and now I’m am going to write about my recent trip to the one and only, New York City.  I adore New York City, it stands as being the epitome of urban living culture.  From it’s wonderful graffiti lined streets, to its overwhelming skyscrappers on every block, the city makes me feel small and large all at the same time.  I didn’t fuss too much on what make-up and clothes to pack for this trip, taking only the essentials, but I feel I was looking my best.  Why is looking the part so important on vacations?  It’s documented in your photos, and looking good adds to the good memories.   So this is my recap of what I sported during the trip!  I hope this is not too boring!

Day 1: The High Line Park and Chelsea Market

We took the night bus all the way to NYC and was dropped on the corner of 7th Ave and 23rd.  I had taken a sleeping pill on the bus or else I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep.  On the bus, I had no make-up on because I felt that it would be cruddy to wear, however I did hydrate my skin on the bus. When we got there, I only had time to put on a little make-up, so I only put on bb cream and powder and mascara. It was not a glamourous look, but at least I didn’t look like I had just gotten off a night bus.  We went to a really pretty park called the High Line that was build on a previous above ground train line, and then visited Chelsea market for gourmet delights, and a hand made artist market.  I was rocking a natural undone look this day for sure, but at least it matched the activities we were doing!

Day 2:  Soho, Chinatown and Times Square

No time for too much primping our second day in NYC, as it was going to be an active walking and shopping day!  So what better to wear than a comfy athletic skater dress.  Its made more feminine with the floral print and had a cut-out in the back for circulation during the hot and stifling late summer heat.  I wore them with my simple jelly shoes.  For make-up I worked with simple plum and purple shades, after only bringing one Stila palette with me for ease of packing.  But it had all the face colours I needed in that palette, I also brought a liner pen, my bb balm and my own handmade setting powder.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!  I made my own with cocoa butter and zinc oxide, and it was a dream to use during this trip.

On the way to Soho.  Just another city block in downtown Manhattan.
On the way to Soho by foot from Chelsea, what a long walk! On a typical block corner in downtown Manhattan.

Day 3:  Late rising, the MET, Central Park and Koreatown

While traveling it’s always tempting to want to cram everything into the day.  It’s actually not a good idea, even though you’re excited and want to see and do a lot of things.  You will get fatigued, and then anything you do will not be fun.  So on Day 3 we slept in and took our time to leave the hotel.  And well, ultimately that meant less time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, even though that place could take a week to see–we had two hours!  What a sacrifice for extra rest…After it closed we set out into Central Park to enjoy the beauty of the evening in natural surroundings.  Then when night hit, we left for Koreatown for BBQ.  It was yummy.  I was wearing pastel silver purple shadow, and a clean face, with liquid liner and pencil.  My choice of dress was a flow-y lavender shirt, and crochet shorts.  I feel it fit the overall natural and cultural theme of the day.  Too bad that when we got to Koreatown that night, all the make-up stores were shut, as I am quite the fan of Korean make-ups.

Sorry, my expression here isn't the best, but I wanted to show the plum make-up palette that I sported through most of the trip!
Sorry, my expression here isn’t the best, but I wanted to show the plum make-up palette that I wore.  This was a romantic feeling day, central park was just like in the movies.

Day 4:  Really late rising, Statue of Liberty, Wall St.

So this day was a refuel for us.  Everyone needed to shower, and I needed to shampoo, and all in all, we didn’t reach the Statue of Liberty until 3:30, after stumbling around to find the ferry and boating our way there! (Something I am proud of this time around was I asked for minimal directions in the city.  I just fumbled a bit and made a few tiny error, but work it to blend in with the locals!) Educational and epic, no trip to NY is complete without a trip to the statue. I had my hair up in a bun,  as it was a really hot day, and I wanted to keep my freshly washed hair clean.  When night hit, I let my hair down, and because it had been a touch damp when I put it up, it had pretty amounts of wave to it.  On this day I was a bit more girly, opting  for a strapless summer dress in muted colours of grey, pink and blue.  I guess this fit the over all theme of the day, since the concept and notion of “Liberty” can be seen as ladylike and delicate.  Or it was just one of those days I felt like primping up…after the statue tour we wandered around Wall Street as the sun set, and watched the last of the hectic suited workers straggle home on the iconic street of commerce.

Day 5:  East Village, Greenwich Village, Washinton Square Park

Our last day was a laid back and funky one, as we visited the more “fringe” neighborhoods in Manhattan.  There was East Village, my ideal spot to live if I were to move to NY, for its pretty, quiet streets and interesting vintage shops.  Then we went over to Greenwich Village, famous for being a  bohemian, and political hotbed.  Was it radical or edgy? Maybe back in the “hey days”.  They were filming an ad in Washington Square park, very far from the image I expected to find of protesters and artist raising up arms.  Well, it was still a beautiful iconic park.  For this last day, comfort was key, but I didn’t throw on just any ratty shirt and shorts.  I had on my floral printed tights, two tank-tops trimmed with lace layered on top of eachother, and some bright purple sneakers that I had bought at Century 21, near wall street, the previous night.  I was comfortable, but hopefully not boring, with a laid-back style that was still girlie at heart!

East Village.  Beautiful laid back side streets filled with vintage shops and edgy quirky fashion items.
East Village. Quiet, laid back side streets filled with vintage shops and edgy quirky fashion items.

This sums up my New York vacation.  When I got back home, I was very tired for a while.  Maybe my age is catching up to me because it was only a short vacation that I bore.  But boy, was I exhausted for days!  All in all it was successful in terms of looking my best, and enjoying the sights…the most rewarding part was knowing that I didn’t fuss over any outfit or make-up while I was there.  It just all fell into place, because when you’re winging it, and just trying to have fun, things tend to go well.  So don’t be one of those peoples that packs the world whenever travelling.  Choose to bring fashion and make-up essentials that you like and are functional enough, and you’ll find that you feel a lot lighter and the trip will be more memorable!