Styling my first window display for XOXO

As part of my job as Editor of, I was invited by XOXO to view their holiday collection, which was all about restrained opulence. Gold is the color of the season for XOXO, but I think the jackets were the stars of the show. There were Chanel-inspired jackets with bouclé details, zippered ones with leather sleeves, floaty casual blazers with cascading lapels, and one in a fabulous sequined-but-matte asymmetrical design.  Rich, heavy textures and on-trend details aside, XOXO is all about polish and wearability. My colleague, Cat Triviño of Megastyle, and I had a blast mixing and matching the different pieces, noting especially that most of the items were perfect investment pieces for work.

We had so much fun with our looks that we didn’t think twice when XOXO PR Consultant Ria Yap encouraged us to have a go at styling three of the four mannequins in the store’s display window. First, Cat and I tried on some of the pieces to see which worked, then added or subtracted elements to edit the final picks.

We liked the idea of pairing the white leather tuxedo jacket with an off-white pair of short shorts that had the same lining. Originally, Cat chose a beautiful printed yellow and black top with cut-outs in the yoke, but we decided that a solid pop of gold/yellow would bring the look together more. On the mannequin, Cat layered two identical necklaces to maximize impact, and topped off the look with a compact patent purse with a chain handle in matching gold.

We couldn’t miss the snakeskin pants hanging on the rack. Since they are meant to be the focal point of any ensemble, it was all about choosing the appropriate top in a solid color (like black) to balance out the wild print. Thankfully, XOXO had a nice collection of basics and inners to choose from. On the mannequin, we added an armful of bangles and clutch in sexy wine red to draw in the eye.

This asymmetrical bodycon dress can be tricky to pull off because it does draw a lot of attention to the midriff area. If you have the figure and the confidence though, the dress can do a lot to enhance them both! Cat and I really liked the idea of a sequin story, so we went for another sparkly look for the adjacent mannequin.

Since the third look is a glamorous party ensemble, a related sequined outfit would have to convey a more relaxed, casual feel. The ensemble on the right really is something I’d pick out for myself. First, I have to say that the ivory blazer, at a convenient three-quarters length and featuring tiered cascading lapels, was just stunning. It was the perfect piece to layer over a peach sequined tank with a very sexy low back; I would be a little shy to wear the inner piece by itself. The addition of the denim shorts added a rugged touch. We found the most perfect gold necklace with a very light pink detail; it brought out the tank’s pink tones perfectly.

Here’s the overall effect from outside the store. I’m still feeling a tingly little buzz from the experience.

Thanks to Ms. Ria Yap and XOXO at Greenbelt 3 for having us!

Photos by Rinse, Wear, Repeat

Getting through your first major work event

I’ve attended formal events for work before, but these major functions have different demands per industry. Events hosted by my previous company, which was in the consumer goods industry, dealt more with product launches and mall activations. Formal events were mostly reserved for corporate parties. Since moving to my position as Editor of, the digital home of MEG magazine, I’ve observed that the events I attend are of a different scale and nature; there are campaign releases, press conferences, photo shoots, interviews, and, as I learned recently, there are BALLS.

Left: my daily work uniform. Right: fish out of water at the Colours Gala.

Events of all kinds are now part and parcel of my job, so why I usually feel more than a little awkward at the grandest, most formal ones? Recently, I attended the Colours Gala honoring London-based designer Lesley Mobo; this was my first major straight-up dressy event. As much as I wanted to be that mysterious, swan-like creature that glided through the crowd, I’m afraid I was pretty much the opposite. I’m not usually this ungainly. I think it might be the combination of being out of my comfort zone (I traded in my blazer and glasses for a full-length gown) and being in the presence of designers I’ve long admired from afar. I lurked, not lingered, I stumbled, not sashayed, and tripped over a few things, including my own dress.

Talking to my friend and colleague Dazzle Ng later on, I mused that embarrassing moments that come with fish-out-of-water experiences like these aren’t at all unnatural. Feeling out of your element is a good thing. It means you’re navigating unchartered territory, possibly moving further along your career, and there is a lot of insight to be gleaned through quiet observation from the wallflowers’ side of the room (presumably near the wall).

If you aren’t feeling your best at a major event, like someone’s wedding or a friend’s party, take heart and remember that you’re probably not the only one feeling jittery. Try to fake your confidence so well that you end up believing it, too. Above all, don’t let your nerves or self-doubt keep you from attending these functions and missing out on what could be critical moments in your life. You have to start somewhere. Below are seven things I learned about attending these kinds of functions:

Have a fairy godmother (or be your own)

MAC’s Raf Mañosca created my beauty look for the evening.

When Cinderella’s evil step-family ruined her dress, her fairy godmother stepped in to loan the princess that iconic ball gown. With only hours to go before my own event, I had no dress and no hair or makeup appointment, but I did find fairy godpeople in Mr. Raf Mañosca of MAC cosmetics and Norlie of Basement Salon, who very kindly did my makeup and hair for the evening. You might want to ask a friend who’s handy with a makeup brush or flat iron to help with your beauty look. If all else fails, head to a salon for a quick and easy blowout; if you’re doing your own makeup, stick to a more dramatic version of your basic look by incorporating a bold lip or eye color.

Look for a dress you can rinse, wear, repeat

If you’re on a very limited budget, your go-to dress for formal events shouldn’t be a poufy ball gown that will make it evident that you’re wearing the same thing over and over. It should be a basic, modern piece with clean lines in a solid color, and it should fit you perfectly. My dress’ rich shade of navy could absorb both warm golds and cooler silvers, making it the perfect versatile piece to last me for years. I won’t be buying a new gown any time soon.

…but don’t overspend in the name of the occasion.

It’s tempting to justify dropping ten grand on a gown because the event is so special, but remember that you’ll be living in the real world the day after. You don’t want thoughts of your looming credit card bill to mar your otherwise lovely evening. My asymmetrical navy gown from Trois was going for Php1,699, a good price for a full-length gown; it’s proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to acquire an event-appropriate dress. We can all dream of a designer gown that’s worth tens of thousands, but until that’s available to us, there are tons of options out there. It shouldn’t take you too long to find one–I found mine within thirty minutes at Rockwell.

Spanx yourself in

If you know there are going to be photographers everywhere armed with deadly, heavy-duty cameras, prepare accordingly. If your dress is fitted, invest in one (or two, or more) pieces of shapewear like Spanx to smooth over any bulges and highlight your curves. Make sure they don’t fit so tightly that you can’t breathe! If your dress is a light color, go for nude undergarments, and buy seamless all the way so there won’t be photographic evidence of any wardrobe malfunctions.

Find a friend in the crowd

Even if you look fabulous, you’ll only perform as excellently as you’re feeling, and I know there are few things more intimidating than having to navigate a room filled with people you don’t know.

Thankfully, I spotted college buddy Aren in the crowd.

I arrived very early, so I was by myself for quite a while, but I think that was a good learning experience that pushed me to socialize. Luckily, I spotted a college friend, Aren Pe, in the crowd, which immediately improved the potentially awkward situation.

Speak up and introduce yourself

What if you really, really don’t see anybody you know? At times like these, you have to hang in there, fight through your nerves, and maybe even spot an opportunity to talk to someone new. I know I became really star-struck when I came face to face with Mr. Jojie Lloren, whose work I’ve admired for years. I finally worked up the nerve to talk to him, and he could not have been more gracious and witty! Push past the awkwardness and dive in.

A peek at the Lesley Mobo Spring-Summer 2013 collection

No prince necessary, but you’ll need your friends

Cinderella had her prince, but no one could help me at this event better than the One Mega Group team (Meryll Yan, Suki Salvador, L.A. Ferriols, Cat Triviño, Rain Dagala and Patrick Galang); their presence did a lot to calm me down at my first major formal work function. I remember thinking to myself, you’re at a ball. In a full-length dress. Watching Lesley Mobo show his latest collection. I think I pinched myself a couple of times, hardly able to believe my luck. Despite the mad scramble for a dress, my unfortunate stumble, and way-too-early arrival, I’d made it here anyway. I was witnessing the unveiling of a collection that was so viscerally compelling that it would later provoke reflection on the reason I fell in love with fashion in the first place. If that’s all I had to get through to be here, I know I’d do it all over again.

All photographs are by Rinse, Wear, Repeat

Update: This piece was republished on on November 6, 2012.

Rinse, Wear, Repeat attends the MEGA Pinoy Pride Exhibit

As a relatively new blogger, I am just beginning to become exposed to the incredible talent we have in the local fashion scene. I was happy to attend the unveiling of MEGA’s Class of Champions exhibit at the Podium as it gave me the chance to come face-to-face with the creations of Furne One, Veejay Floresca, Mara Chua and other alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition.

I happily gave in to the sensory overload that any fashion-lover would experience when presented with a buffet of stunning pieces, heavily featuring MEGA’s first Young Designer of the Year winner, Furne One, and his explosive Mata Hari collection.

Beautiful gown by Furne One. Note the close-up of the detail on the right side.

The items borrowed from his 31-piece collection showcased structured silhouettes, with the gowns looking (and moving) like golden armor yet exuding a sense of regal elegance in stillness. While elaborate and larger-than-life, small details such as the placement of gold spikes and intricate beadwork are always at the forefront.

From a bird’s-eye view, you can make out strong silhouettes and rich textures. Despite the tough overtones, the pieces retain a sense of fluidity. I wish I could have seen them move, the garments must have looked like liquid gold.

I also wanted to share this close-up detail shot of the spirals on the side of Patrice Ramos-Diaz’s glorious structural creation. The gown is so deceptively simple, especially in the bodice, but your eyes are immediately drawn to the spiral pattern towards the side.

Patrice Ramos-Diaz’s hypnotic creation. I could stare at that skirt for hours.

I’m also proud to admit that I love anything unabashedly romantic and ethereal, so I had to stop and admire this textured dove-grey/off-white gown by Mara Chua. Mara’s work is cerebral and there is always a distinct concept behind her art. I’m a huge fan of her body of work, which often hints at the darker, more eccentric side of fashion.

Mara Chua’s work. I can’t wait to see more from her.

I also chatted with new MEGA YDC alumni Oz Go and winner Renan Pacson about fashion’s balance between high-concept experimentation and day-to-day style. While I love theatrical runway shows, it can be challenging to translate experimental pieces to real-life street/office attire. If one is willing to try bolder looks, Renan suggests investing in only one experimental piece paired with basic items in your closets. Statement jackets with embellishments or strong shoulders are great paired with dark jeans and a plain top; if you are uncomfortable then simply take the jacket off. Oz stressed that comfort is key and that how you feel about what you are wearing is the most important criteria in choosing your outfit for the day.

With Renan Pacson (L) and Oz Go (R).

P.S. The dress code was “cocktail-chic”, so I proudly repeated this dress, also worn to a company event in 2011, pictured below. I styled it differently at the time, with very minimal make-up and a simple ponytail. A dress like this gray one-shouldered number with a floral detail is great for when you want more coverage for a dressier occasion, like an awards dinner with colleagues or the opening of a fashion/art exhibit.

With colleagues from my previous job at a special event in January 2011. Same dress, but styled differently.

*This is not a sponsored post; all the photos and content belong to Rinse, Wear, Repeat.

Some Notes on Job Interviews

Since returning from my European sojourn, I’ve also concluded a series of job interviews, including one conducted over the phone. While job-hunting is intense, everyone goes through it at some point and with each one, I learn that much more about communicating with potential employers. While I’m still building my knowledge base, I thought I’d share just three things I’ve picked up based on my recent experiences.

To look and feel your best, go for tried and tested favorites. Here are some of mine (L-R): gray sheath dress with flattering diagonal stripes, green three-quarters length cotton sweater and comfortable chocolate suede skirt, soft wide-leg trousers and peach nautical blouse.

1. Outfits. When I attend interviews, I always proudly repeat outfits that are tried and tested; I rarely go for brand-new articles of clothing that take time to break in, like new shoes or scratchy new pants. When you’re under pressure to deliver a great interview, the last thing you want to be thinking of is how uncomfortable you are. In the photo above, I share some of my repeat outfits this week, featuring some of my favorite pieces. Cotton 3/4-length shirts, soft wide-leg trousers, my sturdy ivory blazer-all of these have proven to work for me. Depending on the dress code of your potential new workplace, you might choose to add one interesting, eye-catching accessory. Try a good-luck charm with a backstory, like a brooch, or take it up a notch with a medium-sized pendant that pulls your outfit together.

You can choose to use technology to your advantage by keeping helpful pictures or brief (less than 30 seconds!) video clips on hand to show your interviewer. Make sure the content is general knowledge and not classified company information from your previous employer.

2. Use technology. In my previous job, I had some spare video clips and photos capturing some projects that I worked on. It was’t too hard to put them together into a quick and very visual slideshow and load them into my iPhone. If your interviewer is so inclined (gauge this by their non-verbal reactions to your answers), you might decide to show it to them. It’s a great way to give life to your interview. Just make sure the videos/photos run for less than 30 seconds, and that they don’t dominate the meeting. Rather, use them to emphasize your successes and the richness of your experience. Make sure you only show images or share information that’s available to the public; remember that very specific figures and some images may be property of your previous company and should not be shared.

3. Nerves. If you are like me and are susceptible to nerves before a big presentation or interview, it really helps to be aware of signs of anxiety and take conscious steps to fight them. My yoga teachers love to tell me to breathe through hard moments, taking the time to fill your lungs completely before exhaling. When you’re nervous or charged, do you feel your throat closing up or your voice becoming high-pitched? Drink some water and mindfully modulate your tone. When you face someone with strong presence, do you feel your posture drooping? Square your shoulders and make steady eye contact (career websites tell you to look at the forehead if eye contact is difficult for you). Finally, when asked a challenging question, take a couple of seconds to really think it over. I’ve learned that pausing for even just a moment helps me collect my thoughts and express myself better, rather than jumping in with an answer just to keep the perceived momentum going. When all else fails, I find that being earnest and sincere can improve an interview immensely.

Wardrobe for Travel: Your Right to Non-negotiables

This is the fourth part in my travel series for proud outfit repeaters on vacation.

In my previous entry, I talked about how to avoid overpacking by leaving unnecessary things at home where they belong; you’re not likely to miss them. This time, I also want to stress the importance of bringing your non-negotiables. There may be one or two things on this list that are less than practical, but I think that’s perfectly okay. It’s a vacation, and we all deserve to bring/wear anything that will make us feel our best. It’s also a great way to combat the inevitable fatigue that comes with all the walking, sightseeing and shopping.

Just for fun, here is my very short list of non-negotiables:

  1. 2-in-1 flat iron and curler. I don’t necessarily straighten/curl every single day (hair usually benefits from a break every few days), but I often use the straightener to touch up messy areas. This way I retain hair’s natural volume, but lightly get rid of frizz.
  2. Full toiletry set, including make-up and skincare. TIP: I like getting random small containers around the house and using them as travel-sized make-up jars to store liquid foundation and primer. For readers from the U.S., the small sample jars offered for free at department stores like Nordstrom make great little containers to bring along. No need to lug around giant glass jars of make-up.
  3. A small arsenal of accessories. This foldable one (pictured below) worth around Php200 (USD 4.65) has small plastic pouches that can store rings, as well as mesh pockets great for flat accessories, and metal rings to keep necklaces and bracelets untangled. TIP: bring jewelry you like, but won’t cry over if it gets lost. Leave all precious items at home; expect to lose a couple of things of varying value on a trip.

    My arsenal of accessories hanging from the window of our hotel room in Madrid, Spain.

  4. Dresses. I’m a dress girl, and as much as I appreciate the versatility of separates, I will choose to pack a dress any day. TIP#1: On vacation, I prefer long-sleeved dresses that end just above or right on the knee.

    Viewing castles in Lisbon and Segovia. Both days were very windy, so I was glad for extra protection from these dresses with longer sleeves. The longer length also wards off wardrobe malfunctions while climbing steep castle steps.

    TIP#2: I also like dresses that will work with or without layers, depending on the weather. Here I am at Fatima, Portugal, which is actually a holy destination as this is where the Virgin appeared to three children. To dress appropriately while viewing the area and attending the Mass, I paired this navy sundress with tights, flats and my beat-up blazer. While sunny, it was also very windy so I was glad to be more covered up. I wore the same dress on its own, with no layers, on a hot day in Madrid, Spain.

    Left: A sunny but very windy day in Fatima, Portugal. Right: Downright HOT in Madrid, Spain.

Packing Tips for Vacation Leave: Repeatable Separates

This is the third part of my travel series, written while on a two-week exploration of Portugal and Spain.  

One thing I do without fail every time I travel is overpack. It’s just the way I’m made; how do I know I won’t need a full arsenal of accessories or ten different pairs of pants while I’m separated from my wardrobe for two weeks? Over the last few years, however, I’ve learned firsthand the travails and consequences of overpacking, especially since you will never have space to pack anything you shop for while abroad. Below I share some simple style ideas for vacation outfits using basic separates, and some tips to avoid overweight luggage and stuffed suitcases:

L-R. Plain white shirt, dotted jeans and low-heeled sandals in the Cromlech, near Evora. Polka dotted top, navy shorts and the same shoes in Evora, Portugal. The same white top, navy scalloped skirt, beat-up gray flats in Avila, Spain.

Clothes: bring separates that are easily repeatable. No one will ever know if you wear the same thing again. A white shirt tucked into a flowing skirt has a completely different effect from wearing the same white shirt tucked into jeans, worn with a blazer. Best of all, you can wear them separately when it’s warm, and layer them on when it gets cold. Some notes on separates:

  1. Choose tops and bottoms that are less likely to wrinkle. For bottoms: lightweight denim, leggings, and tights are great, but avoid satins, silk/silk finish and structured fabrics, as they crease most easily. For tops, choose basic cotton tops with a stretchy blend.  For this trip, I made the most out of my white v-neck, which has made so many appearances on this blog that it’s practically a cornerstone. Also present were my trusty navy shorts, blue skirt, and soft blue jeans.
  2. Repeat, repeat, repeat your tops OR bottoms, but not necessarily both. I don’t really like to think about my tops, so I pretty much rely on my basic black and white v-necks. I do, however, love bottoms, so I brought this assortment with me: 1 lightweight skirt, 1 pair of shorts, 2 pairs of pants, and 2 pairs of tights. This already makes for a lot of combinations.
  3. Do emergency laundry by throwing 3-4 items in the sink and submerging it in a simple bath gel solution (or detergent, if you can find it). Rinse, Wear, Repeat! We were lucky enough to stay in an apartment that had a washer/dryer, so I was able to do laundry. If you can’t, tip #3 is a great way to get clean clothes in a jiff. Just make sure those clothes weren’t too dirty to begin with.

A Quick Aside on Shoes. Bring only two pairs: one matching warm colors (brown, gold, beige or camel), and one matching cool colors (black, silver, navy or gray). If you wear a lot of warm colors, then just bring 1-2 pairs of brown shoes. I think I’ve learned that if you don’t have too many choices, you’re forced to be more decisive when it’s time to pick outfits in the morning.  

Cold Weather Wear for Warm Weather Folks: Porto, Portugal

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, but when we visited it seemed like a sleepy little town. Its location along the Douro river made for some beautiful views, and a few boats can always be spotted going idly by. The cheerful buildings lining the side of the river were a perfect backdrop for some great photos.

It was also freezing. For someone from a tropical country, 15 degrees (with wind) is pretty unbearable–especially if you don’t actually own too many winter coats. So, here are some cold weather tips for warm weather folks. I also wanted to share some photos of the city, parts of which were collectively named a UNESCO World Heritage Site a while back.

  1. If you don’t own too many winter clothes, layering will be key. Bring a lot of basics and wear one over the other. Wear a long-sleeved shirt under a dress over tights to recycle your hot-weather clothes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to wear winter coats even when everyone around you is wearing spring attire, like lightweight jackets or coats. The locals were definitely used to it (a lot of people were eating ice cream), but I shamelessly broke out my furry hat and scarf.
  3. Invest in a pair of thermal undergarments. They’re amazingly thin and light but provide a lot of warmth.
  4. Tights save the day again. Wear a pair under your pants for insulation.
  5. Use your winter coat as extra protection against thieves. As you can see in the photos, I’m wearing a cross-body bag facing inwards, and under the coat. That way no one can grab it from the back or flip open the top from outside.

Wardrobe Tips for Long Haul Flights: Hello from Porto, Portugal!

I’m currently in Porto, Portugal, the first stop in a two-week Europe trip. This is the first of my series on maintaining practical but stylish day-to-day attire while abroad.

It’s very easy to live in sweats, yoga pants and jeans during a trip, because flying for more than three hours can be very uncomfortable. Once you’re living out of a suitcase, you really don’t want it to be a heavy one. Up until I started this blog, I severely overpacked every single time, so I am actually just learning new ways to pack smart without severely depleting wardrobe choices, too.

To kick off the series, I’m sharing what I consider to be a solid “Long Haul Flight”  outfit. Here are some tips I’ve picked up while choosing from my options:

1. Tights are the key to comfort. Perfect for the following:

  • Anyone who is looking for an alternative to sneakers. Sneakers take up too much space in my suitcase; I’d rather use the extra space to pack another pair of cute flats.
  • Anyone who doesn’t like to go barefoot when they make you take your shoes off at airport security.
  • Anyone who likes to move around under their blanket on the plane, and would like to do so without disgracing themselves to a horrified fellow passenger. Much less restrictive than pants, tights will allow you to move into any curled-up position you like. Just make sure you’re covered up by a blanket.
  • Paired under a swingy skirt, tights give you coverage while allowing a greater range of motion. See bullet #3.
  • Thicker tights keep legs warm.  When it gets too hot (for example, if your destination is Cancun), simply remove, tuck into a barf bag, slip into your purse and you’re good to go!

2. Try to pass on accessories. Instead, go for color or interesting patterns to punch up the look. This is to get you through airport security without holding up a line of tired passengers and stern security officers.

3. Go for slip-on flats with no buckles or straps.  See #2.

4. Go for a blazer. Sweaters are a cozy and very tempting alternative, but I think blazers can be just as warm. Plus, they add just an extra layer of polish to the overall look. My beat-up black blazer is such a wardrobe favorite that I think it’s as comfortable as any giant hoodie out there.

Hair and Make-up: 

1. Given the choice, straighten instead of curling hair. Straightened hair from a curling iron will last the entire flight, while airplane/airport conditions and general stress from traveling will probably make curls limp and separate. Straightened hair will also let you sleep on the plane with minimum bed head and frizz.

2. If you’re going to be on the plane for more than five hours, let your skin breathe and wear minimal make-up. Avoid anything that will run, like eyeliner or mascara. Concealer and blush from a stick are favorites.

3. The only thing that’s a must for me is lip balm, because conditions inside the aircraft tend to dry out skin. I usually apply medicated balm on lips and also on the sides of my nose to prevent unsightly flaking in these areas.

No Holds Barred: Great Finds from the Children’s and Teens Wear Department

In the quest to build a sensible, balanced wardrobe, it’s sometimes necessary to shop with no holds barred at the department store’s teens section. The children’s wear department is also a treasure trove of great finds you can use as you see fit. I’ve put together three looks revolving around some pieces purchased from the Little/Junior Miss section. Below, I also share four things I’ve learned since I started shopping here last year.

  • Expect to ask for the sizes on the larger end of the spectrum. As the clothes are made for slighter bodies that still have a ways to grow, adults shopping in this section should be prepared to look for sizes 14-18, or L/XL/XXL. The clothes you’ll wear from here will likely be for tweens and teens aged 12-16.
  • Things found here are likely to be more cost-effective, but fair warning: I’m not referring to big-name children’s wear brands that sell items priced on par with adult clothes. Instead, look for smaller labels or in-house brands that are often the first to be marked down during sale season. For example, a pair of shorts costing Php750 or 650 somewhere else, can run you 350-500 in children’s or teens wear.
  • Sometimes, some items may not cost that much less than a similar one in the women’s section, but are unique in terms of shape and style. I try to find other uses than how they were originally intended. Over a few months I’ve found loose dresses that can work as tank tops, jackets that can work as vests or cropped sweaters, and separates that are very wearable to work and weekend alike. Cute trends like peter pan collars and scalloped hems are often spotted here.
  • Take care to balance the pieces you buy here with more grown-up elements. I try to avoid going head-to-toe teens wear which can lead to saccharine overload. This may be cute for little girls, but no so much on a twenty-something. For instance, I like balancing a cute printed skirt with grown-up accessories like oversized watches and statement necklaces. Usually, I also go for heels.

I was delighted to find this dress in the children’s section of all places. I’m wearing size 18, the largest size, but the garterized waistband and a-line shape will be friendly to a lot of shoppers with a similar build. Because of the length of the skirt, which falls slightly above knees, Look 1 is wearable almost anywhere, even to work (just throw on a blazer or a cardigan). I chose to style with dainty pink accessories like these oyster-hued peacock earrings, pink headband, and pink studded cuffs to avoid the sweetness overkill I mentioned earlier. Neutral wedges finish the look.

The top in Look 2, a sleeveless blue number with a triple scalloped ivory hem, is also from children’s wear, and also a size 18. I use it only to wear tucked into skirts and pants, because on its own it is very short, with its hemline ending just past the navel. Here I styled it with a very grown-up pair of tailored navy pants (so worn that they are quite faded) and the same wedges as in Look 1. To ensure that I look my age, I also added a textured statement  bracelet featuring different shades of blue and ivory, which really anchor the outfit and give the eye something to focus on. I can also see this paired with an ivory blazer. Strong eyeliner and loose waves complete the look.

These shorts in Look 3 are from the teens section, size XL. I was immediately taken with the nautical design and styled it with a neutral gray shirt and some fun accessories, like my Stormtrooper bottlecap ring, tri-color bangle, and rose pendant. I also added just a touch of toughness via the black gladiator flats. This look is probably appropriate for anywhere you will be doing a lot of walking, as the shorts are very comfortable. I recently wore them on a flight as they don’t pinch when you are seated for a long time.

*All the items are still available now in the stores, but if you would like to know exactly where I bought them, please drop me a note at!

Summer Series Part 2: Wide Leg Trousers

Fitted pants are a staple in my closet but they are most challenging to wear in the summer because they can be very sticky and confining. Wide leg pants are a great alternative, but there are a great many varieties and not all of them are easy to wear. I’ve scoured many shops, including bazaars and online stores, in search of a good, dependable pair like this buttery beige number from Details. I’ve put together three wearable, everyday looks to show how these pants can be very useful, but I also wanted to share some tidbits I picked up on choosing the right one.

  1. Try not to choose pants with too much material in the legs. The intention of wearing palazzo pants is often to appear flowing and swingy, but donning one with too much material will overpower most body types. Instead, choose a pair whose legs will create two straight lines coming from the hips. This will create a very streamlined, polished effect, and won’t bunch up around the thighs and highlight that particular area.
  2. Go for pants that have a higher waistline and zip up along the side instead of in front. A higher waistline will cinch in your middle in the smallest part, and having an invisible zipper along the sides will make the hourglass shape that much more evident.
  3. I’m sure that rocking flats with wide leg trousers is doable, but I always prefer to pair mine with high heels. They unobtrusively add height, and having the pants float gently around my feet makes me feel like Galadriel from Lord of the Rings.

Look 1 is a clean, structured look that I imagine would be a breezy summer ensemble perfect for strolling along gardens or an outdoor mall. I tried to give this oversized dress shirt some shape by tying it in a small knot around the waist, which yields the same effect as tucking it into the waistband. A long gold necklace with a coin pendant subtly peeks out from the top. I added three cute rings and a tri-color bangle for a small pop of color. I think this would also work as a Casual Friday look at the office, depending on how relaxed the dress code is at your workplace.

Look 2 is a more relaxed look that is wearable to almost any casual event. There is a lot of “neutral” going on in the pants so it’s good to punch up the look with a solid color like this green tank. These long gold necklaces, a gift from a beloved cousin, glint cheerfully against the top’s glowing color.

I went for a more refined, feminine approach to Look 3, where I attempt a fresh office look. This light peach top has navy striped accents on it, and the strong details on the shoulders firmly keep the outfit from being too washed out or pale. To keep the look light and airy, I went with a satiny headband to keep hair away from the face, and finished with two bracelets: a dainty textured one featuring faux pearls, and contrasting tough-edged cuffs with gold studs. Finally, these earrings in the shape of happy toast slices never fail to make me smile. Note the little pieces of butter on their happy faces! Peachy make-up and strong eyeliner finish the look.