Style update, part deux

(This is an extension of this post, where I mentioned talking about the things I bought to fill in gaps in my closet.)

Wardrobe purchases from start of the year

After culling my closet, going through what remained and analysing my lifestyle, I ended up buying a few things to help fill in the gaps.

1. A dusty pink maxi skirt from Vintage Summer Fashion
I’d been thinking about getting a maxi skirt for over a year now (yeah, that’s how I function, I tend to think about purchases for a while!) and finally decided to get one. I went through several shops in real life, but I couldn’t find one I liked. I also wanted to go for an independent designer over something cheap and mass produced. Luckily, I found Ana on Etsy. This skirt is now one of my favourite things to wear. Fortunately, winters in Sydney aren’t too bad, so I can continue wearing it all year round.

2. Shlomit Ofir jewellery, also found at Ivy and Bird (AU)

Most of the jewellery I had was really big and loud costume jewellery. I realised that I didn’t have anything for times when I wanted to wear something a bit more understated. I thought that Shlomit’s pieces were perfect. I found her designs simple and elegant. And cheap!

3. Black denim jacket by Dannii Minogue
This is probably my “weakest” purchase of the bunch. I realised I needed an in-between jacket for cold winter nights or warmer spring/autumn days… something heavier than a cardigan, but lighter than my trench coats and leather jackets. I was on the lookout for a black denim jacket, and honestly I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t shiny or oversized or cropped or had sequins! Seriously! So I went for it. The cut isn’t perfect on me, but it’s good enough.

My favourite new-old thing!

I’m really proud of this. 🙂 Some of you may have seen me wearing my knee-high Doc Martens. I felt hardcore wearing ’em. It was a different time of my life when I got them — I was a working student at a kinda-startup in a hipster suburb. Now that I’m older and more boring (ha!) I found myself wearing the boots less and less.

So I had them shortened.

Now I have ankle boots!

One of the books I was reading spoke about giving old boots new life by taking them to a proper cobbler and having them shortened. I thought this was a great idea, as I was barely wearing these knee-high ones and at the same time no longer had flat ankle-high black boots. I took mine to Roger Shoe Repairs in Redfern. Roger was amazing — besides chopping my boots (including fixing the zippers that run down the side), he changed the laces, and even stuck the DM labels back on. Total cost? $35.

The interesting thing is, I looked at similar ankle-high Docs and none of them have zippers down the side. So not only do I have one-of-a-kind Doc Martens, they’re also much easier to get in and out of! And yes, I’ve worn them plenty of times since then.

(That’s also the good thing about buying something that’s made of quality — I can easily have them repaired or refashioned and they’re still good as new. ‘Cept for the scuffs.)

Anyway, that’s it for now. Then again, we’re coming into winter, so I might realise I need something else for the colder season!

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In which I kinda stopped drinking

I guess this makes me officially old.

I’ve realised that I can no longer really drink alcohol. I had two glasses of champagne the other week and had to take a sickie the next morning. I woke up in the middle of the night, couldn’t sleep, finally fell back to sleep, then woke up several hours later feeling like absolute crap.

I’ve had a glass or two of red on other nights. While I did fall asleep eventually, I woke up feeling exhausted the next day.

This makes me sad, because I’ve learned that I do like having a drink every now and then.

I still remember my first drink, at a friend’s party. I was 15, a sophomore in high school. Nobody really implemented the legal drinking age in the Philippines. (It’s 18 years. I had to Google it, because it was such a non-issue back then.) Alcohol was always just there at parties.

I don’t think I liked the taste the cheap alcohol I was drinking at that time. But that’s what you do when you’re young and trying to fit in. I did enjoy the slight buzz from having a drink or two. And when we were working on our thesis, during my last year of college, we would end a hard week’s work with an evening of drinking to celebrate. Or mourn at how long we still had left to go. Probably both.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped drinking to get buzzed and actually started drinking because I started appreciating drinks. I would no longer go for the second-to-the-cheapest wine on the menu (ha!) but go for a Shiraz, which I discovered was my favourite. Whites and rose wines had their place every now and then. I spoke with beer brewers and started getting an appreciation for craft beers.

I started cutting down on drinking, though. First, for financial reasons. Then, for health reasons. But I was always up for a drink for a special occasion. Then I noticed that slowly, I was getting tipsy earlier and earlier into the night. My body’s no longer used to it, I suppose.

In summary: this makes me sad. I enjoy a crisp rose on a hot summer’s day, chatting with a girlfriend; or a glass of red with a hearty meal. I can still have some, I guess, but now I have to choose when, and where. And what. There’s no point using up my paltry alcohol tolerance on a bad drink.

So if I have a drink with you, you should know that you’re pretty awesome.

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To tech or not to tech

I had a couple of weeks stuck with my ancient phone. I noticed a few things:

One, I ended up checking my phone a lot less. It was really clunky and slow, and the battery was pretty shot. I couldn’t download some of my favourite apps, because the operating system was too old for the latest versions. I didn’t enjoy using my phone, so I barely checked it.

Two, when I did get my phone back, it had been factory reset, which gave me a good excuse to revamp my apps. I didn’t bother reinstalling a big chunk of apps I’d had. I also switched up a few things. Cheesy as it sounds, it reminded me a bit about life. I’ve long been told that every time there’s a big change or loss – a move to a new country, a change in career or a breakup of a relationship – it’s an opportunity to start over. “Out with the old, and in with the new,” as the saying goes.

I’d only half believed in it because I’m a huge fan of starting over whenever I wanted to. I never procrastinated on my goals, waiting for a Monday, first of a month, or January 1 to begin Day One. “Every moment is a new opportunity to start the rest of your life,” was what I believed in.

But I realised that I was wrong. I mean, yes, I still believe that I can start my goals whenever I want to. But I underestimated how strong inertia is, how easy it is to maintain the status quo, to have loss aversion kick in and prevent me letting go of things. Sometimes, it takes a big shift or forced loss for me to realise that yes, I did need to make room for the things that I really wanted, that I needed to let go. And that when I did it, I felt light and refreshed and got to start over closer to what I really wanted!

The only negative thing about my decreased Internet usage is that I’m horribly out of the loop with news sometimes. This struck me when a friend, knowing I no longer checked social media, asked me if I had heard about our mutual friend’s sad news. I didn’t.

A dear friend had lost her newborn baby after several weeks’ fight. I had been totally oblivious throughout that entire episode. I had greeted her for the baby’s birth – it was right before I stopped checking Instagram – but despite the baby’s premature status, I was sure it would all be okay.

I think that’s the only time I regretted not checking social media. I wish I could’ve been there for her more. I don’t think I’ll go back to checking social media, though – I don’t think that’s the solution for this. I think I will make more of an effort in keeping in touch with people I care about. It’s easy to forget about people when they’re so far away.

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Snippets

Today, someone told me that my style (at least for today!) was “Modern Audrey Hepburn.” I like Audrey Hepburn. 🙂

I generally don’t like reading fiction. It’s not because I don’t like it, but because I get too invested. Characters are going through dilemmas and heartaches and conflicts too close to real life. I always end up an emotional wreck.

There are two exceptions — young adult fiction, and Jonathan Safran Foer. I just finished his latest novel, “Here I Am.” Some say it’s overindulgent, self-important prattle… maybe it is. But what I like about his writing is that it echoes the sometimes incoherent rambling in my head.

There is a sense of melancholy with watching how things fall apart, how people say things they don’t mean and mean things they don’t say. I like thinking about these things, too.

The saddest thing someone told me:

“I regret not making my marriage work.”

From a woman in her 70s. Last Saturday.

I ran into Malcolm. (Also last Saturday.)

I used to volunteer as a dance teacher assistant for adults with mental disabilities. I stopped last year because I couldn’t commit to the regular classes anymore with my work schedule.

“Malcolm! Do you remember me?”

And he looked at me, and nodded his head vigorously, and moved his arms. I knew he remembered me, I could see it in his eyes. And that made me happy, that even if he hadn’t seen me in nearly a year and a half, he hadn’t forgotten me. I chatted with his carer briefly, while he stood in front of me, nodding, telling me wordlessly that yes, he remembered me.

I always wonder, with these random encounters… was it somehow meant to happen? I’m not usually at that shopping centre. But I had to buy some materials, so I was there. I hadn’t meant to go at that time, but I had woken up unexpectedly early and decided to run my errands in the morning instead. Even being at that spot (by the travelators, at the ground floor), at that specific moment had been a fluke. I had already started to leave, but decided to go back to Woolies’ because I thought I had missed one of my bags (I didn’t). Or maybe everything in life is an accident?

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Fitness & style goals update!

It’s been a couple of months since I started working on my 2017 goals, namely, being more fit and being more stylish (hehe). 😛

Fitness

I’ve definitely upped my exercise, what with the new dance and Krav Maga classes. I feel like I have so much more energy. Admittedly, I’m paying a bit more money now, but I realised that it’s worth it for me. Previously, I would do a lot of exercises at home via Youtube videos or a weights program. (I’ve been following “Smart Girls Do Dumbbells” for close to a decade now.)

What I lacked was the ability to push myself. I was way too comfortable doing the same videos over and over again, and not pushing myself out of my exercise comfort zone. I found that I was a lot more likely to push myself in class, when there was a real live person encouraging me, and me getting energy from the people around me.

Of course, I’m still going to work out at home or at the nearby park, but I’m going to seek group environments a lot more.

I’m happy to say it’s been paying off! My neighbour told me last week that I’d noticeably gotten fitter compared to last year (“You’e always been slim,” she’d said, “but now you have a better figure!”) I’ve also gotten trimmer. Whereas I used to always say that I was a standard Australian size 8, some new clothes I’ve bought are now a size 6…

My problem area is still my belly, though. I like sweets and carbs too much.

Style

(Ok, the title of this section sounds so pretentious. But I digress.)

The past few months, I’ve been getting compliments like, “your outfit looks really cute today!” or “you put together your clothes really well!” and even, “oooh, do you have a date tonight?” (HAHA.) I’m not going to say that I’m now some kind of fashionista, but I can tell that I’ve been putting together my “look” better. I just feel more polished stepping outside of my apartment. It only took me waking up an extra ten minutes earlier each morning, and actually considering if my clothes went together with my bag, shoes and accessories.

I’ve finished reading a bunch of style-related books (check out my reading list). I’ve decided to stop reading for now and start applying the concepts I’ve learned. Fortunately, a lot of the books had similar tips — namely, make an assessment of everything I have, get rid of the crappy (whether ill-fitting or badly-made) clothes, shoes, and accessories, be more aware of what remained, and wear outfits that made me happy. I’d already done the bulk of that last year with all the decluttering I was doing, so now my task is figuring out how to put things together.

That’s also helped me identify gaps in my closet, so I went out and bought a few things. (That’ll be in my next post, because I wanted to take photos but left writing this too late, so now the sun has gone down.)

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