Thursday, July 24, 2008

Slouchy Ballerina

Sorry for the blurry image today, my camera refused to focus. Last week, Shay from The Ongoing Project had some great suggestions for channelling your inner ballerina. This is my very loose interpreation of the look. I dug out a pink 50s-style skirt I made a couple summers ago to be my tutu, and layered myself with casual neutrals. I'm loving playing around with my grey wrap top from Kyoto...I think next I'll try some Grecian-style draping with it.

T-shirt - Unqilo; Wrap top - from Kyoto; Skirt - made by me; Leggings - from Osaka; Lace x-strap sockettes - Chausettes

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bubble Wrapped

I completely forgot I owned this top, until all the SS08 sheer stuff started floating around. I like to call this my bubble top. I got it years and years ago at a random store in Metrotown. It looks like a tiny doll-shirt when it's all scrunched up unworn, but then it stretches to person-sized. I think I was just looking for an excuse to match something to my green Tabio tights though. I kind of wanted to push the outfit further into mermaid territory, but I didn't have the right shoes so I decided to tone it down with the grey pencil skirt.

Top - store in Metrotown; Cami - Gap; Pencil skirt - United Colours of Benneton; Pleated slipskirt - Tokyo; Tights - Tabio

Saturday, July 19, 2008


As I trawled through seemingly endless shops in Japan, in amongst the cheapo hyper-fast fashion, uber-niche subculture garb, prim office-lady clothes and fascinating but pricey desinger fare, I noticed a quieter trend in a number of similar-looking (and sweetly decorated) shops carrying natural-fibre clothes in relaxed silhouettes. The salespeople in these shops were all fully decked out in the look, consisting of loose, baggy shapes, muted tones, quiet plaids and florals, and linen aplenty.

Like everything in Japan, this "natural look" is not only a fashion trend, but an entire lifestyle concept. There's a line of books dedicated to it, with pretty photos illustrating how to live a serene, natural-themed life. I was pretty taken by the look, and bought a number of items at a few different shops. Not that I want to wear the look head-to-toe, or aspire to adopt the lifestyle, but I thought the pieces would incorporate nicely with my existing wardrobe. Plus, the loose shapes worked well for me since most fitted clothes in Japan were far too small for me. One shop I really liked was bulle de savon, where I bought this khaki-coloured linen cardi/cape. For anyone looking for the shop, there's a location in the fashion wonderland of LaForet in Harajuku. They have a cute blog too (in Japanese).

It's not the trendiest, most cutting-edge thing I encountered in Japan, but it was nice to find a look that appealed so well to my tastes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Secret Garden

I work in boring stripmall/big box territory, but there is one oasis I can escape to on my lunch breaks. It's not really a secret garden, because lots of people go there, but it's a lovely spot to curl up and read a Victorian novel (currently working on Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters), and pretend that I don't hear the traffic passing by. Sometimes I even take a nap...

T-shirt - Uniqlo; Skirt, scarf - random stores in Tokyo; Leggings - tabio; Shoes - Rockport

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Muddling through

I really admire all the bloggers who post daily. It really doesn't take that much from your daily time pie, and there are so many bloggers who are so deftly econimcal with their words and can say a lot in a few well-thought out sentences. Not to mention the beautiful images they post.
I'm going to try and make more of an effort from now on to make time for blogging. There's still so much more I wanted to say about my trip to Japan, but I've been pushing my blog to the side in the face of work, volunteering, family drama, etc etc even if it's just an outfit post, I'm trying to keep the momentum going today!

I received this cool American Aparrel t-shirt as a birthday present. The colour changes to white with body heat to create a cool tie-dye effect (I'm not an AA diehard so I'm sure this is old news to most). I'm also probably the last person on Earth to join the leggings bandwagon. I LOVE tights and wear them constantly, but was never won over by leggings. Usually in the summer I wear nude mesh fishnets with my skirts, but I bought these cute leggings in Japan and I've been casualifying a lot of my outfits.

T-shirt - American Apparel; Skirt - Esprit; Peach lace scarf - gift from Japan; Leggings - a store in Osaka

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kyoto Denim

Kyoto Denim Kyoto Denim

As I ventured from my Kyoto ryokan trying to find Kiyomizu Temple, I stumbled across a boutique and decided to take refuge from the stifling heat. I found myself in Kyoto Denim, where the super-friendly store manager Kazu was more than happy to tell me about designer Toyoaki Kuwayama's vision to bring kimono-dying techniques to jeans, the modern-day staple garment. Kimono literally translates to "thing to wear" - as in clothing, because kimonos used to be everyday garments. Kuwayama sees jeans as the today's equivalent in terms of functionality, and he wanted to keep the traditional art of dying and printing kimonos alive in a modern context. The result is a very lean and feminine jean, made with high-quality denim in pink or red washes with cherry blossom prints and buttons, and colourful stiching. I personally thought the quirky pocket details were really cute. The overall look of the jeans was maybe a bit too girlie for me personally (I guess because usually I want the jeans to be the tough "anchor" in an outfit rather than being the pretty part), but for some reason I always feel heartened to hear about designers trying to preserve and reuse ancient techniques.

Kyoto Denim Kyoto Denim

The other part of the Kyoto Denim store was their local young designer showcase. I thought this silk shirt with interchangeable collars and cuffs was really cute. What really caught my eye was a work of one designer, and unfortunately I can't exactly remember the name of her label. The top I purchased doesn't have a label, and the sign in the picture says "Lagrange" - that may be right, but I remember that not everything on that rack was by the same designer (hers are the ones I elegantly indicated in the photo). Kazu even gave me her business card and somehow I lost it! Sigh...
In any event, I really liked her shipwrecked fairytale aesthetic. The skirt that's second from the left on the rack was all hand-dyed using teas. Apparently she used different brands and types of tea on each "petal" piece to achieve different shades. The top that I bought can be worn forwards or backwards, to either look like a v-neck tank or a wrap vest, and comes with a braided belt. My top and the braided garment in the photo beside the petal skirt were both constructed with no needle and thread whatsoever - the designer tried to imagine how we would make clothes if we happened to be deprived of those things. All very interesting, and a not a bad distraction from my temple hunting!

Kyoto Denim