13 Ways to FRESH : Pt.2

THE IDEA : minimalist wardrobe with maximalist mindset.

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Continuation of this post.

7. Socks and Shoes

Whatever your style sense is, keep in mind your socks and shoes. Whether or not you match or mismatch, keep it trendy, keep it classy, keep it modern, use ankle socks, no show socks, ballet flat socks, or soccer socks, just maintain some kind of coherency with your overall style. That is, unless you can afford to have a forever changing wardrobe so deep that you find yourself in Narnia – which, if so, let me sneak a peek please. I’m craving some of that good ol’ Turkish delight…

Pro-tip. Keep your ankles moisturized please, particularly for those autumn-winter months. Check any skin that shows if you sit down (beware those rising pant hems!). You don’t want people to think you look perfectly pristine only to notice how parched your ankles are. But, if you’re keeping a routine going as I suggest you should, you needn’t worry about this. Since. You know. It’s routine.

8. Accessorize

All style posts say this. I will say this. This post is saying it. Accessorize. Glamify yourself. Diva it up. Prince-fy yourself. Something -fy yourself.

It’s fun. Honestly. You will go through stages where you don’t know what to accessorize with. Or you might look back and regret your choices. Whatever. It’s fun. Don’t regret. It’s a part of your personal style evolution.

Cross-body bags. Chunky scarves. Floaty scarves. Stone bracelets. Filagree rings. Ribbon chokers. Long Necklaces. Anklets. Ankle boots. Bright sneakers. Ear piercings. Funky ballet flats.

Whatever you like. Just try to maintain overall sense of balance according to your body and limb proportions. Honestly, it’s harder than it sounds. At least, it definitely is for me! I like to shop in shops with large windows. In fact it is THE most important thing to check for in clothing and shoe stores. The best way to self-evaluate is to take pics of the accessories on your body along with your OOTD, either in the mirror or as is. As is, is the best way. Non-reflection shots. Ask whoever you’re with to take a few snaps with your phone. Try to take upper waist and limb shots with jewelry while taking full body shots for everything else.

It helps. A lot more than some might think. Sounds tedious right? Like I said, try to treat yourself as your very own number one VIP client and it should become routine.

Once you find the accessories that flatter your overall image, you’ll find there are inherent qualities and categories these belong to. This will help draw your eye to things that will suit you faster, whilst you shop. Keep a close eye to yearly trends (colours/ shapes/ patterns) that happen to match these qualities and categories you tend toward.

9. Sunnies

Sunglasses are different from accessories. I think everybody needs a perfect or at least a favourite pair of sunnies to get through the day. It’s a signature piece that everybody should have. It shows that you take care of your eyes but also helps reduce under eye circles and wrinkles.

Which takes me to the next enhancer…

10. Sunscreen 24/7 (Srs.)

Just wear it. All the time. Everybody do this. You should be doing this. Anywhere that gets light exposure – including your ears and back of the neck – spritz it. Rub it. Massage it. This is not a moisturizer. I tend to put on sunscreen before I put any moisturizer on. Or I mix them together. I find it works best on most skin types if you layer them however. Play around with the stuff you have at home, see what works for you.

This stuff prevents wrinkles. ALWAYS keep on your under eyes to prevent dark circles. My friend, this is immortality bottled up for our use. Let us take advantage of it. Soak up that sun warrior HP.

11. Talons Trimmed

Keep your nails trim. Keep your nails even. Don’t leave nail polish chipped. They always look better once you’ve removed that old chipped polish. Keep them nails clean. Both on the fingers and toes.

Try new colours and patterns. It’s a fun way to keep up with the season’s colours.

If you’re not a nails person, keep on rocking those natural nails. I salute you. If you like, use a clear coat or a nail strenghtener. Use cuticle oil, or coconut oil for them nail beds.

12. Smelling Good

Use parfums, eau de toilettes, body sprays, colognes, deodorants to smell clean, fresh, sexy, however you like. Just keep away those stinky body odours. Smelling nice is a VERY good way to keep a signature style element consistent for your overall sense.

It’s something people recognize you by, especially if its a particular scent – I personally layer mine so the top, middle, and base notes last the way I want to on my skin.

13. Smile

Keep your teeth clean. Not necessarily denture white, but keep those pearls flossed and as white as you can have them naturally be (see, it’s okay if you don’t have regular whitening done, at the dentist or with strips). Just put your best effort forth.

Also, chew on whitening gum or icy mints to keep breath smelling fresh and sexy. Yes, minty icy breath smells that good. Especially after coffee, tea, any kind of meal or drink really. Keep this in mind for those who are the road to eating healthier or getting a better bod. Breath can really stink sometimes – I speak from experience…ngl, I was pretty mortified once I found out through someone else, after spending the entire day on campus.

Shocking. High-key embarrassing. So I’m telling you now. Keep that spare gum or mint pack in your bag for whenever. You’ll save yourself. You will be your own hero.

Stay FRESH.

13 Ways to FRESH : Pt.1

THE IDEA : minimalist wardrobe with maximalist mindset.

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I think everybody has those days where we think we have no style sense or we feel that our overall look is being outdated. Constantly. Every season, every year. New trends keep on popping up, and in two years, your overall look is just … blah.

To keep up with this rapid pace of the fashion industry and still be true to your inherent style sense – i.e. those core concepts which belong to you, and only you – I find that you don’t need to make huge changes or have massive wardrobe overhauls and purges, which can mean money wasted. It’s the overall look you want to refresh, season to season, and  you can achieve sense consistency whilst maintaining natural style evolution in 13 easy, inexpensive steps.

1. Mane Love

To take care of your hair is the most basic thing to do, right? I mean, shower, shampoo, condition is all it takes. Right?

… Not really.

To keep your style up to date, you need to take care of your hair. It’s perfectly alright not knowing what your signature hair cut is. It will change as you grow. So take your time and enjoy the fun in experimenting until you get there. Those bad or unflattering haircuts will help improve your personal style sense. Take them as learning experiences – you will come to realize your hair needs to suit both your body and face shape because of them.

Whatever the hair you have, as of now, you need to maintain it. BEAUTIFULLY. Treat it like you are going to be the new role model for the next Disney live-action remake film. Think : REGAL HAIR CARE ROUTINE. A lot of people take this for granted but it makes all the difference. Even if you don’t wear makeup or you feel your lazy day coming up, nicely maintained hair shows that you take care of yourself.

Oils. Pomades. Sprays. Gels. Primers.

Experiment with your natural hair. Just pour or spritz, use your fingers, brushes, combs, blow dry, towel dry, air dry. Use overnight if its an oil. Make it a habit. And get out the door. You will love the freedom you get, and it signals that though you may be taking it easy that day, you always maintain some kind of routine.

Speaking of routine…

2. Moistened Skin

Take care of your skin. Not only your face, but any skin you’re showing. Whichever season.

Morning and night, your skin should be looking dewy during the cold season and matte during the warmer months. As the day and night go on, your skin tends to get drier (cold) or more oily (warm). This is a rule I swear by. It works on everybody I know. But it depends on whether you’ve found your HG, or nearly-HG products that achieve this texture without irritating your skin.

Like taking care of your hair, taking care of your skin, even if it’s at its absolute worst will show that you take care of yourself. You are the most important person you have ever met. Your number one client is yourself. So show it through your self love.

Body oils. Body moisturizers. Day creams. Night creams. Clay masks. Sheet masks. Face mists.

So many fun ways to experiment and are relatively safe to use on most skin types. If you have sensitive skin or a condition of sorts, always consult your doctor, ask for a dermatologist, and look for reviews with people who have similar skin types to yours. Look for reviews or posts that describe exactly what the formula did to their skin or which formulae works best with their type. Look for similar products. It may help you find a HG skincare product. I found ALL of mine using this method of research.

With good skincare, you can look awesome. It screams style and put-togetherness even if you think it doesn’t. It makes you achieve that je ne sais quoi effect. Why? Because you put in consistent effort on your best client every day and/or every night – yourself. You treat yourself as a VIP, you’ll become the best VIP you know.

By the way, right now, Asian skincare is all the rage. And I’ve fallen in love. Not with the amount of products they cram into one routine, but the after-glow their skin just seems to just radiate. I LOVE IT. I’ll write infamously long love letters about this.

3. Groomed ‘Brows

Take care of your facial hair. Eyebrows for both gents and ladies. Upper lip hair is also something to be wary of. Unless it’s part of your style identity – then keep rocking it.

Eyebrows are important to take care of. It represents, to some extent at least, about what kind of style you are going for. Especially if you do groom them already. It means you really take note of your features; and you notice others who do so as well.

Get to a salon and get your eyebrows trimmed, threaded, waxed, shaped. Don’t be too worried about the irritation. Just don’t touch your face. Gents, if you’re shy, buy or borrow some tweezers (make sure to sanitize before borrowing though!). And don’t pluck too thin. Just shape your natural brow line. Unless you’re going for a particular look, then by all means go ahead.

Powder. Pencil. Gels. Combs.

Use these. As a general rule of thumb, use a lighter shade than your natural brow. Trust me, this trick shows you a whole new world.

Get into a brow routine. Practice it for a natural, filled in look. It should take you less than 10 minutes to do. If you’re a pro, 3 minutes should be all the time you need. You’ll feel a million bucks walking out the door if you take the time to do this. It’s all about the VIP routine you give yourself.

4. Highlight

Highlight is not something everybody needs, but I think it just adds an oomph-factor to your image. I mean highlighting makeup here. Think luminizing pens, powders, creams, and liquids. With just neat brows and some highlight, you can look awake and fresh, even if death knocked on your door that morning.

Highlight on your brow bones, centre of your nose, forehead, inner corners of eyes, cupid’s bow, right below the chin, your cheekbones, and those pesky under eye circles. Mattify your skin with a light dusting of powder if you need it.

Also, a surefire way to combat those dark circles is by…

5. Staying Hydrated

Take care of your body’s most basic need. Water. Drink lots of it. Aim for 6 cups a day at least. Drink it cold, hot or warm, sparkling, tap or boiled, naturally flavoured or plain. I drink weak green tea all day along with hot or warm water during the colder months. Just seep one tea bag in a large mug, then when half of the cup is downed, top it up with hot water. Repeat. Easy, and my cold hands get to hug a heated mug all day. In the warmer months, I drink room temperature water as well. Sometimes coconut water too, if I’m feeling particularly parched. Fresh from the shell is best.

6. Back to the Basics

Stick to your basic clothing pieces when you feel you have nothing to wear. Favourite tank top? Shirt? Blouse? Wear that. Next. Favourite jean? Pant? Skirt? Shorts? Wear that. If it’s cold, favourite tights? Jacket? Sweater? Coat? Wear that.

You’re done. You have made your OOTD with your favourite/most worn pieces.  Don’t think too hard about being matchy-matchy. It’ll work out if you have particular reasons about why each piece is a favourite or your most-worn. I truly believe that nobody can tell you anything about your style sense if you love yourself and believe in your clothing choices the most.

Keep all clothes clean. Keep hair strands, lint, loose strands and stains on clothes as close to zero as possible. Make it routine.

By the way, I just adore the Rain. Don’cha? Put your hands up.

Babe, you be looking FRESH.

Read Parte DEUX here.

Let’s Talk Fashion : A SERIES

THE IDEA : media inspired fashion

I have really been loving some Korean dramas last year. I was hit hard with fashion inspiration while watching :

1. Goblin: The Lonely and Great God

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Photo courtesy of dramafever.com

2. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo

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Photo courtesy of dramafever.com

3. The Legend of the Blue Sea

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Photo courtesy of viki.com

These three shows focused so well on its fashion, the style statements themselves were characters in their own right. Like wow, the entire main casts were dressed so appropriately well and created new trend concepts for daily wear. The fashion was of course augmented by the stars themselves, A+ lighting filters, and perfect screen directing/editing.

These dramas were so hashtag AESTHETIC, I shed a few tears. I am in love.

So, the start of a new series is born! I talk/rant about fashion inspiration from media. Think : entirely written, discrete, widespread, and long-term forms of a picturesque collage.

I think I’m going to use this line in my About page. It’s a pretty good metaphor. It’s a metaphor right?

This will be an ongoing series and not just limited to television. I’m definitely open to makeup analysis as well. So keep an eye out. Please, any and all requests are welcome. Just comment down below.

Style : THE DAILY GRIND

THE IDEA : comfort for the daily grind

STYLE : The Daily Grind

 

Definitely inspired by newer trends, I mix in funky sweatshirts that match my skin-tone as well as ‘pops of color’ aesthetic. Note that I still keep my wardrobe to a minimum. As in, this looks like half of my wardrobe.
I have my base style concept – similar (and high quality) sweaters that match most of the regular pants and jeans I own. I then throw on a pair of sunglasses, a baseball cap, a watch, and a classic-with-modernday-twist cross-body bag. Hands-free is important day in, day out. Finally at the finish line, I simply mix and match shoes and other accessories depending on my mood.
Makeup is not always worn. Important : face-body sunscreen and lip balm with SPF. ALWAYS. I recommend layering Jack Black’s lip balm over a Burt’s Bees lip balm. Works wonders.

Glo-Up : LET’S ILLUMINATE

THE IDEA : your daily glow-up

Highlighting, aka. luminizing. This is a top of the line way to add some healthy glamour to your face. It can do no wrong. Anybody can wear it. How much you layer is key – it can take you from a natural sunlit glow to a glittery seventies disco glow, so keep aware of your face during application.

Pro-tip. Try doing makeup in as natural of a lighting as possible. It’s in that light people will see you in during the day. The sun is your metaphorical critic. Put’s a whole new light on the phrase “everybody’s a critic” don’t you think? Ba dum tshh.

Bad puns aside-

1. Dior Shimmer Powder in 002 Amber Diamond (Discontinued)

My crowning glory. Shimmery and buttery, it really goes the distance. This powder is warm-toned but can flatter cold-toned beauties as well. It is the best highlighter I have ever tested and still use to this day. Can be worn subtly for a natural sheen or can be layered up for that high-key strobe effect. Can be used as quick fix eyeshadows as well. Photographs BEAUTIFULLY.

(From the left) I use the first two strips for highlighting the tops of my cheekbones, my forehead, down the centre of my nose, and my cupid’s bow. I also use these for inner corners of my eyes and sometimes brow bone. The next two are for contouring the hollows under my cheekbones. I use these as neutral brown eyeshadows too. Use the lighter one for all over shadow and the darker one for creases + outer corners. The last strip is only used for an evening look and I normally blend it alongside a plummy blush. First add blush, then blend the highlight over it. Just amazing.

These kinds of methods can be used with similar products. You just gotta be a little creative with the stuff you have, know what I mean? This was the first highlighting product I bought so it’s something I’ve experimented with when I first started playing around with makeup. The beginnings of a beauty addict (I’d like to think ‘guru’ though, it’s a kinder name for the affliction)…

2. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat – Radiant Touch in 4.5 Luminous Sand (0.1 oz/ 2.5 mL)

If the first is my crown, then this is my golden sceptre. Umm, quite literally actually. I love this little magic stick and only break it out when I look like I’ve arisen from the dead. I know some may find this product useless but I feel it makes such a huge difference on your face. Truly, it is a handy magic wand.

Pro-tip. Try to use this product in the last stages of your makeup routine. Powder over the top very, VERY lightly. Translucent powder is best. Use a quick hand, swipe then stipple.

If I were asked to describe what precisely the Touche Éclat effect is, I would say something akin to “subtle brilliance”. I find this product fits men quite nicely as well, unlike the Dior shimmer powder. It’s more in line with their (talking the majority here) preference of makeup – natural upon application, minimal glimmer. It’s fitting for everyday looks on everyone.

Pro-tip. Don’t use this as a primary concealer. Use it as you would a cream to powder highlight. Apply to centre forehead, cheekbones, and cupid’s bow. Blend well. I use this the morning after bad-sleep nights and for those special occasions, combatting my dark circles after using a thicker concealer, and it does a good job of upgrading me to human.

3. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Buff

I have been using this product for over the last five years. I don’t often leave the house without it. It’s like the YSL Touche Éclat (TÉ) pen, but way cheaper. Hoorah! I think it’s a good dual product – it does most of my skin’s heavy lifting.

Difference between the two : YSL’s Touche Éclat is primarily a highlighting pen, a thin cream formula (the very best, la crème de la crème) while Maybelline’s Dream Lumi is primarily a concealer with highlighting benefits, thicker, more similar to a liquid concealer (truly living up to its marketing pitch – that it “illuminates as it conceals”).

I use this as a primary under eye concealer, then set it with a good powder on top.

To come clean though, this concealer actually takes up half my ‘natural’ skin routine. That’s right, HALF of my daily skin makeup routine is thanks to this wallet-friendly product. Put this all over your forehead, along the nose bridge, over any darkened scars or new irritations, middle of the chin, and your cupid’s bow. Brush on a light powder (I use a compact powder foundation) to set it in place. Ta-da! Almost finished.

All hail drugstore HG products. They are the MVPs for this game round.

 

Those Brows Be Slaying

THE IDEA : brow game on fleek

Brows frame your face. They can make or break your look.

Get to a salon and get them waxed. Or pluck them yourself with a pair of tweezers. Try to follow the natural hair line. If they are thinned out, keep the hairs you want and pluck outside the general brow line you want.

Pro-tip. When choosing a product to match your brow colour, look for a product that is a shade or two lighter than your natural brow hairs.

Brow Products

For example, I have black eyebrows but I have been using dark slate grey pencils to fill in my brows, the last three years. Only a few months ago, I have been testing a dark brown pencil, and it really makes a difference on your face.

Extra eyeliner pencils can be used just as well. At the moment I’ve been alternating between :

  1. Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kôhl Liner in Sumatra (brown) (0.01 oz/ 0.28 g)
  2. Bonnebell Eyedefiner Eye Pencil in Slate (0.04 oz/ 1.1 g) (but in lieu of a lighter colour, I’d replace with Pebble – the formula is great and bonus, it’s cheap)

Higher-end products I might suggest (due to brand popularity, word of mouth, marketing), that I have tried in shop but haven’t purchased yet (so I can’t recommend them to you just yet) :

  1. Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill in Medium 04 and Deep 05. (0.01 oz/ 0.28 g)
  2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil in Auburn and Dark Brown (0.034 oz/ 0.85 g)

Brow Routine

I generally do my brows last. That’s right. After all my makeup is done, I do my complete brow routine.

  1. Comb the hairs upward and to the side (angle the hairs up and out).
  2. Start drawing quick thin lines in the direction that I’ve combed them in. I do not outline my brow shape unless I want to make some sort of statement with my face. Even the tiniest hints of makeup makes my face stand out easily (I have strong features I think) so I do try keep my skin natural, eyes defined, and keep the brows looking soft yet stated. Not brave enough to try include pomades in my everyday routine.
  3. Now comb the hair up and in. Your brows will look a mess because the product might make the hairs stiffen. Draw quick thin lines in this direction now, straight and in.
  4. Use the comb to brush the hair back in place, up and out, keeping the hairs straight then angling down and out once you hit your arch.
  5. Wrap a standard double-ply tissue around either a pointed fingernail or stiff brush.
  6. Clean up the edges of your brow outline. Yes, this will remove a little of your makeup.
  7. Use a pen or cream highlight to precisely line the tops of the brows. Blend it a little. Then reapply the highlight you used on your brow bone during your eye makeup process.

Ta-da! You’re done.

Pro-tip. Have any mascaras you hated the formula of? Were just bored of? Average ones that you don’t really use? Try using this on your brows. I use sample mascaras that I dislike as a brow gel. It works pretty well but try to get one that matches the shade you want your brows to be.