Be Mine, Valentine

Whether you call it Valentine’s Day or Singles Awareness Day, February 14th is soon approaching. What will you be wearing besides your heart on your sleeve?

Now before you lament on this Hallmark holiday, let us reminisce on what it meant to celebrate this love filled day as a kid. Do you like me – yes or no? Oh, the excitement of receiving candy grams and cheesy cards riddled with popular cartoon characters! When the card was from the boy I liked, I totally read it with such conviction that he meant those words only for me: “I choo choo choose you.” I have had many a Ralph Wiggum moment.

But we’re all adults here, so before the clothes come off for some brown chicken brown cow, let’s rewind. After all, there is no better way to say, “I love you” than to dress you up in my love, and then undress you. Except I’m doing the dressing myself, because I trust nobody’s styling skills except for my own. Stunning strapless frock or leave-it-to-the-imagination long sleeve shirtdress? Decisions, decisions.

So go ahead and turn to the object of your desire, for whom your pupils dilate, your palms sweat, and your heart races – and ask the all important question: Will you be my Valentine?

I Heart You

A Horse is a Horse, of Course, of Course

Quality time with family, endless eating, exchange of sweets and delectable treats, and envelopes of money? All this can only mean one thing: Lunar New Year.

For those of you unfamiliar with this holiday, it is one of the most important Chinese celebrations, lasting 15 days. Each year is based on a 12-year cycle of the Chinese animal zodiac and 2014 is the year of the horse. Those born under this sign are energetic, independent, great communicators, and love to be in a crowd. Can I get a neigh?

There are a myriad of superstitious traditions that one must perform in preparation for and during the New Year. Homes are decorated with flowers and Chinese calligraphy posters. You must clean your house, get rid of stuff, cut your hair, and shower one last time before New Year’s Day. This is to ensure you get rid of bad luck that you’ve accumulated during the year by literally sweeping it out of the house. In contrast, on actual New Year’s Day, you don’t do any of those things, for fear of getting rid of good luck. The next 15 days generally involve a lot of family time; such paying visits to your relative’s homes, bearing gifts of fruits and treats. Married couples will give their unwed and usually younger family members red envelopes of money. It literally pays to be single – all the single ladies now put your hands up!

There is no horsing around when it comes to ringing in the New Year in style. It is customary to wear new clothes, as they symbolize a new beginning. Avoid wearing black, and instead choose red. Red is highly regarded as a lucky color, and is believed to ward off bad fortune. Add a dash of gold and you’re golden for the New Year.

Here’s to wishing you a wonderful and prosperous Year of the Horse – the animal that puts the “hay” in Gung Haaaaay Fat Choy!

Year of the Horse

The Old Lady by the Seafoam Green

I have a lot of old lady tendencies. I sleep early. I drink warm water instead of ice water. I like to sew. I dress conservatively. Actually I’m just a young lady with an old soul for fresh style. And nothing says fresh as a spring breeze by the sea better than seafoam green.

I picked up this minty fresh 1960s beauty in a dimly lit basement of a vintage shop on my recent trip to Toronto. I was immediately drawn first to the beautiful color of this dress, and second to the chiffon-like material. I admit I felt a bit like a flower girl due to the youthful empire waist, bow at my back, and flowers under my bust, but for only $10, I couldn’t pass it up.

I consider myself a fashionista of sorts, but even so, I was stumped at what to wear with this dress, especially the shoes. Gold or silver metallic? Definitely no black. Perhaps white shoes to go with the white flowers? When all else fails, I stick to a simple nude pump.

I kept the accessories simply light and bright to go with the springtime airy feel of the dress: a single strand of white pearls, sparkly white floral clip on earrings, and one blue floral cloisonné bangle. Easy breezy!

seafoam green dress (similar here and here)

Seafoam Green

Red + Green Holidaze

There’s an elephant in the room and it isn’t white. Because white shouldn’t be worn after Labor Day, duh.

If you’re wondering what to wear to that white elephant party, look no further than your Christmas tree. The red, green, and sparkle that are associated with the holiday’s décor can be applied to your outfits as well. This is the only time of year that you can pull off these color combinations while being appropriately called the Grinch, Santa, or a Ho (ho ho). I’ve been nice and naughty; may I have hot coal with that?

Red and green can be effectively worn together with careful accessorizing. I cheated with this awesome 80s dress that has pops of bright red roses with olive green foliage, purchased at Salvation Army during one of their regular weekend sales (50% off all clothes!). All it needed was some TLC: I removed the shoulder pads, reinforced the buttons, washed, and pressed it. I didn’t think my outfit screamed Christmas until someone at work exclaimed, “What a great holiday dress!”

This dress is an example of 1980’s “power dressing.” As more women started to enter the work force in that decade, the emergence of shoulder pads became in vogue in order for women to feel equal to their male counterparts. The rise in shoulder pad popularity correlates with women’s increasing role in the work place, as evidenced in the 1940s war era as well. In fact, some fads synonymous with 1980s fashion can be traced back to the 1940s.

To soften the power-dress look and stay warm in the frosty weather, I added a vintage knit sweater cape with gold detail buttons that I found at Mercy Vintage. As there are no visible tags, I can only imagine it was lovingly knit by some adorable granny in her rocking chair with a pet cat named Sylvester at her feet. I completed the look with herringbone fishnets and a pair of high platform peep-toe pumps with rhinestone details to keep the outfit from looking dated. All I am missing is a poinsettia or mistletoe brooch on my cape.

Santa, I hope I don’t get stuck with a shake weight this year.

The Grinch