Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How To Curb Your Fast Fashion Spending

How To Curb Your Fast Fashion Spending
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
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Over the past month or so, I've been getting quite a few DMs asking for my take on a multitude of things: how to stop buying fast fashion, where to go shopping if the thrift stores around you suck, and how to find your personal style. I have not completely mastered any of those tasks, but I thought I'd share some of the limited insight I have.

First off, I will admit that I have not completely stopped shopping fast fashion but I have limited my spending at those stores immensely within the past couple years. Fast fashion is used to describe stores and brands that have a high turn around rate for their merchandise. To me, this includes Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Zara, and ASOS, among others.

Asking yourself to completely stop shopping at fast fashion stores is pretty ridiculous. There are so many reasons as to why we shop in those stores: money restrictions, the convenience of it all, how the marketing of a store may mislead us, and even the immediate satisfaction you can get from a purchase. The latter is definitely something that I fell victim to especially during my first year of college. I tried to fill the void with clothes but ended up buying too many things I never wore and made the move home that much harder.

And when it comes to finding your personal style, I think it's a similar process to "finding yourself" in the sense that it gets easier as you get older. It's a constant process. For myself, I really began to hone in on what I liked when I was a junior in high school. It started during my tumblr blogging days and really began to become my own once I left home for college. I think the combination of independence, downsizing, and slowly getting your own income affects your personal style.

Keep on reading for the advice I've got for you! I always keep these mantras in my mind whenever I shop.

To combat the thrill of instant gratification you feel...

Be aware of the fabrics you are buying

I feel like this should be a no-brainer, but given the fact that jeggings were once a trend I will state the obvious. Avoid super stretchy materials, polyester, or anything else that makes you want to crawl out of your skin the second you try it on. Not only are pieces like these unflattering for most, but they also are bad for the environment. The quality of the fabric will also let you know how long these pieces will retain their dignity after a few wears and washes.

Many of these stretchy fabrics will get torn up in the wash and can leave behind mircoplastics that eventually end up in our oceans. The question of how to check the sustainability of other materials, like cotton, is one I don't know the answer to. Just trust yourself. Wear what feels right. If it feels like your top is gonna tear or disintegrate in the wash, leave it on the rack. There are so many clothing brands that buying a fast fashion item can feel like it's inevitable, whether you are in-store, thrifting, or even at bargain places like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. So first, focus on the fabric.

Take this outfit for example. These 100% linen pants are perfect for the summer and are such a steal! Though I don't know how the linen was acquired, I know it's going to be a staple of mine long after the summer is over.

Pay attention to the fit of the clothing, not the size on the label

Size is so arbitrary. Depending on where I shop, my size can range anywhere between medium to extra large. This is definitely one of the major factors that have curbed my fast fashion spending. I'm not sure if it's because I'm no longer fourteen, but I feel like Forever 21 and H&M sizes have gotten smaller. I still have some of my old pairs of shorts that fit currently but if I were to try a pair labeled with the exact same size, I don't think I'd be able to fit my thigh in it.

If you think about it, it's really crazy how we've allowed these tiny tags to dictate how we feel about ourselves. You should be buying clothing that fit you well, rather than buying a piece for the size. Take note of the way the piece looks on the mannequin or the model to get a feel for the way the clothing is supposed to fit. Pay attention to the silhouettes. It's also important to dress for the body you currently have. I can't tell you how many times I've bought something with the goal to lose weight to fit into it. Not only is that kind of thinking awful for your mental health, but by the time I would lose the weight the outfit would have already gone out of style.

No one is going to see the label, but they will see how it fits. Be confident in yourself and from there your personal style and specific taste can grow.

Save some money by...

Waiting to invest in high quality staples

Here is a great example of investing in quality staples. To the left is an outfit I wore in October on a visit to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I wore the skirt from a Reformation two-piece with a Playboy bowling shirt and cotton tank. On the right, I wore both pieces along with a loose pinstripe blazer that I thrifted from Goodwill.

If you've been following me for a while, you know that I have an affinity for stripes. It started out with the basic vertical black-and-white tees and grew into a collection of all kinds of stripes.

Other high quality pieces I like to invest in as of lately have been jeans, basic tees, and outerwear. This step can be kinda hard, especially if you aren't totally supporting yourself yet. However, I always keep in mind how often I wear these pieces and the specific fit I am looking for. (Remember, it's about the fit not the size!) If I spend $100 on a pair of black jeans I know I'll wear at least over 10 times, I want a pair that will keep their shape so I don't have to keep repurchasing. Sometimes I will also invest in more trendy items, especially if I love the trend. My logic is, the better quality the piece, the more I could probably sell it for the next time I'm making my rounds to Wasteland and Crossroads.

DIY pieces you already own

I did this recently with a denim jacket I've had in my closet for forever. It's from Zara and it wasn't getting any love. The last time I wore it out was in October. (You can see the outfit here.) I decided very spur of the moment to shred it up and make it a cropped jacket. Don't be afraid to DIY things you already own, especially if you're not wearing it. If you mess up, you can upcycle the fabric and make it into something else or simply recycle it.

As for this outfit, it's all from ASOS and Zara. I've had the cotton tee for over two years now so I don't think I'll be getting rid of it anytime soon.

When you want to be more conscious while perfecting your style...

Use social media to find cool boutiques and eco-friendly brands

While Instagram is the hub for negative feelings like FOMO and self-depreciation, it can also be an place to discover cool small businesses and boutiques. Sometimes I'm on the hunt for brands and other times the algorithm brings them to me. All my Instagram bookmarks are photos and flatlays from cool brands I wanna keep an eye on.

Support cool businesses that you identify with! Maybe they make high quality goods in a sweatshop free environment. Or a woman of color is at the helm. Or they simply create unique pieces that you love. Disclaimer: Just because it is a boutique label does not mean that they are better for the environment or somehow better than fast fashion. Sometimes boutique brands will just slap their label on a wholesale piece, especially clothing, but those are usually super easy to spot.

This also ties into finding your own personal style. Rather than shopping at stores with the goal to cater to as many tastes and aesthetics as possible, find brands that have a certain look that you admire or want to achieve.  I think it's integral to find brands and pieces that you can identify and are proud to support. One of my favorite Instagram accounts right now is diet_prada. This account focuses on calling out brands that rip off one another and through this I've found some awesome boutique brands as well as been enlightened in ones to avoid.

Find your favorite flea markets, consignment stores, thrift stores, etc.

Like I said, I'm not an expert. My luck in these kinds of stores is dependent on the mood I'm in and what I'm looking for. For example, when shopping with specific events in mind like music festivals or a corporate internship, I have an easier time at the consignment and thrift stores because I am willing to try on most anything within reason. So, whenever you go to these stores you need to be equipped with a positive attitude, a whole lot of energy, and a goal or idea of what you are looking for.

As for choosing these stores, I would find thrift stores next to colleges or affluent neighborhoods. Ones near colleges are super great because students are constantly downsizing and their pieces aren't that outdated. Sometimes it's fun to shop by neighborhood, but other times that can be a bust because neighborhoods with the reputation of good thrift stores (like Melrose and Silverlake in LA) will hike up the prices like crazy. I've honestly had the best luck in the most random places. So if you think the places around you suck, just look again...and again...or look on online second-hand shops.

My major tips for perfecting personal style...

Find inspiration that is not aspirational

I think one major reason why fast fashion is so appealing is because we are constantly wanting the latest thing. We are being sold something on every app and screen we look at. Sometimes these false presentations of how one should dress can get in the way of dressing for yourself.

I would suggest first by finding the most basic kind of inspiration. Who are people who you think encapsulate the look you're going for? For myself, I have always loved Alexa Chung. (Cliché, I know, but it also explains my love for denim skirts and cat eyeliner.) Most recently, my list had grown to include Bella Hadid, Charli XCX, as well as bloggers like Aimee Song. You yourself have to look past the obvious reasons why the public loves the people you like and find the reasons why you gravitate towards them. So I look past their celebrity and recognize that I love the way each of them dress so differently, but they communicate this feeling that they are all confident in themselves and they don't limit themselves to one aesthetic. The weave different elements and pieces together to create their own. You can do this almost any kind of person or character. Try it out for yourself.

Another way I find inspiration for an outfit is to make up a fake scenario or summary in my mind. This is along the same train of thought as those cringe-worthy captions like, "This is what I would wear if I found out my rich billionaire husband suddenly died and I inherited the entire fortune." So sometimes I wonder, "What would I wear if I was riding down the Pacific Coast Highway in a vintage convertible Mustang with 90's Leo DiCaprio?" before getting dressed to go to the movies. I even did it in my last post when I pretended I was going to the Met Ball...things like that. As you get more creative and outlandish with your hypotheticals, the more fun it is to discover how wild your own style can get. Sometimes these hypotheticals are more tame. If I'm looking at an interior design photo, I'll find inspiration through the color scheme. If I'm listening to a song, I can find inspiration in the music and lyrics I'm listening to.

Finding your personal style is as fun as discovering your sense of humor and your preferred music taste. I hate it when people assume that looking up to someone means trying to copy them-- all the way down to their size measurements. It's all about the essence, baby!

This post should have been called, "How to Become a More Mindful Shopper," but where's the clickbait in that? I hope you found this post to be helpful, especially since many of these tips go hand-in-hand with one another. If you want more let me know on my socials, especially Twitter!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Heavenly Bodies

Heavenly Bodies
Thursday, May 17, 2018
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Reformation dress | Vintage handbag | Fraiser Sterling earrings 

One thing I definitely miss about high school are all the dances. They were the best excuses to get dressed up. Luckily one of the clubs I've been heavily involved in throughout college had a formal. I finally got some film developed from that night and it's pretty obvious that I was trying my best to channel this year's Met Gala theme.

I centered my look around my dress. I got it during Reformation's end-of-summer sale a while ago. I loved the little sayings it has sprinkled around it like, "radiant venus reflected," "one man's devil is another's god," and "put my hands among the flames" in this amazing gothic print. Very edgy. What I love about Reformation is that their clothing is stylish, eco-friendly, and inclusive for most body sizes. (They recently expanded to incorporate sizes 3X and size 22 for some styles.) Usually I find that most boutique labels only go up to a US size 10, which can be discouraging for most. I've always been self-conscious about my arms and my tummy, but I felt like the cut of this dress really kept it all together and made me feel like Juliet from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. 

As for the handbag, I bought it from a vintage vendor at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. It was bit of a splurge at $80, but it's a unique vintage piece. It kinda reminded me of the Alexander Wang chrome rhinestone dust bag from one of his 2017 collections.

Though I love these earrings, I wouldn't buy off the Frasier Sterling site directly. I ordered them way back at the beginning of March in hopes they would come for Coachella, but they just came... and without the rest of my order. (Their customer service is a bit lackluster, too.) Luckily popular sites like REVOLVE clothing carry this brand and other boutique jewelry brands like this if you wanna complete your look. The only upside is that these earrings specifically aren't as heavy as they seem, so they won't be weighing you down. 

 The combination of all three made me feel like I was ready to walk the steps of the Met.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Why I Care About the Met Gala

Why I Care About the Met Gala
Monday, May 7, 2018
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It's the first Monday in May! By the time I'm posting this, the gala has ended and the after-parties and bathroom photos are in full swing. In case you're wondering, "What is the Met Gala?" Let me break it down.

The Met Gala takes place at the Met Museum in New York City and is an annual event to raise money for its Costume Institute. This year, the exhibit is "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination". The exhibit will feature fashions inspired by Catholic texts and images as well as some original artwork from throughout history spread about. However, the exhibition is different from the dress code for the guests. Attendees were told to dress in their "Sunday Best," and judging by the amount of skin shown by the steps, everyone had their own interpretation.

The amount of stars you see among all the donors are all Anna Wintour's doing. Not only does she oversee the guest list, but she also oversees the fundraising and appoints the honorary chairs of the gala. This year they were Amal Clooney, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace. The influence of these women can definitely be seen in the way more guests (attempted to) stick to the dress theme. 

Like award shows, I know so many people think galas are completely unrelated to their lives or inaccessible to them. While it's true that not all of us can afford a $30,000 ticket to the gala, they're always fun to watch. Don't believe me?

My favorite part of the event is all the celebrities. (It's people watching!) As obvious as that may sound, it's even more interesting for me to see who's getting the seal of approval from Anna Wintour. Of course, Sarah Jessica Parker comes out for the Met Gala. She is a staple for the event in the same way Vanessa Hudgens is for Coachella. But, what about Lily Collins and Kate Bosworth? They haven't had anything noteworthy in a minute but they stunned everyone with their ensembles.Or Liza Koshy? Does the YouTuber's presence indicate the possibility of more Internet influencers at the Met gala? It's also just fun to see your favorite actors and musicians in something other than streetwear or character clothing.

 Even if you don't care about celebrity culture, it still has its value. For starters, the whole point of the gala is to raise money for a museum that has become an American Institution. I suggest watching the Netflix documentary "The First Monday in May" to learn more. It follows Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute curator, as he prepares for the "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit. There are even small glimpses into the daily life of Anna Wintour. The also film questions the intersections of high fashion and high art. I watched the documentary on a plane and it truly moved me to tears. (I feel like Reynolds Woodcock from Phanton Thread would share the same sentiment.)

If a movie isn't your style, just look to Twitter for entertainment. Every year when the gala rolls around, my timeline is oversaturated with fashion commentary from anyone and everyone as well as self-depricating jokes about how most of us will never be at the gala much less know what it's like to be decked out in couture and priceless jewelry. 

Check out some of my favorite picks that you might have missed while scrolling through your timeline.
Kim Kardashian West, Chadwick Boseman, and Katy Perry all in Versace
Greta Gerwig in The Row; Diddy; Cassie in Thom Browne; Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier
J. Lo in Balmain; Stella Maxwell in Moschino; Trevor Noah in Balmain
Blake Lively in Versace; Janelle Monae in custom Marc Jacobs; SZA in Versace
Christian Combs, Emilie Clarke, and Nick Jonas all in Dolce & Gabbana
Hailee Steinfeld in Prabal Gurung; Winnie Harlow in Brittny Wood (headpiece) and Tommy Hilfiger; Jourdan Dunn in Diane von Furstenberg 
Sasha Lane in Maison Margiela; Yara Shahidi in Chanel; Alexa Chung in Alexa Chung
Anne Hathaway in Valentino; Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren; Amber Heard in Carolina Herrera
Tessa Thompson in Thom Browne; Solange in Iris van Herpen; Lily Collins in Givenchy
Kate Bosworth and Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Ralph Lauren Collection
Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzarra; Donald Glover in Gucci; Kerry Washington in Ralph Lauren
Lena Waithe in Carolina Herrera; Amal Clooney in Richard Quinn; Tracee Ellis Ross in Michael Kors Collection
Zendaya in Atelier Versace; Bella Hadid in Chromeo Hearts Official; Rihanna in custom John Galliano for Maison Margiela
Did we have any similar favorites? As you can see, it was all about the head pieces and layered gold jewelry. Even though we all can't have a custom couture gown made for us, there are definitely styling techniques you can steal and make your own. 
*All images were taken from Twitter*