Marble As White As Milk

winter white by 14 shades of grey

I had to admit, when I picked the sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini as this week’s SIA inspiration, I didn’t know what my outfit would be. I just had some vague ideas about an all-white or all-gray outfit, but that’s about it. Then, I watched the episode about Bernini on Simon Schama’s Power of Art again (amazing series, you guys should really check it out) and was particularly struck by “Apollo and Daphne“, so I decided to use it as the basis for my outfit. My jeans and sweater mimic the texture of the skin and the hair of the two figures, while my leaf-printed scarf is a nod to Daphne’s leafy fingers. The only part I’m not happy with are my white sneakers – they’re too sporty and don’t really go with the look. I should’ve just worn my brown boots and not worried about maintaining the white theme.

winter white by 14 shades of greywinter white by 14 shades of grey

Sweater: Atmosphere, Jeans: local shop, Sneakers: hand-me-down, Scarf: gift


Braving The Rain

blue shirt gray sweater boyfriend jeans brown loafers by 14 shades of grey

We’ve been having pretty heavy rain these past few days. I’m not complaining – it’s a relief not having to water the garden every day – but it does make getting outfit photos a little bit of a hassle. I managed, though, even if I had to wrap a plastic bag around the camera to take these.

blue shirt gray sweater boyfriend jeans by 14 shades of greyboyfriend jeans brown loafers by 14 shades of grey

blue shirt gray sweater cat brooch by 14 shades of greyblue shirt gray sweater boyfriend jeans by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: local shop, Sweater: H&M, Jeans: Charlotte Russe, Loafers: Footglove, Brooch: Singapore boutique

I actually wore this to a book sale with some co-workers. Every year before the Lunar New Year, this publishing house (the same one I work for) would have a huge clearance sale to clear out their stocks, and every year I would come home laden with books. Come to think of it, book sales are the only kind of sale I enjoy. This time I ended up getting a big haul, as usual, and managed to recommend some of my own translations to my co-workers as well.

book haul

These are all in Vietnamese, of course, but from the top – City of Thieves by David Benioff (yes, the co-creator of Game of Thrones. I’m not a big fan of his screenwriting but this sounds interesting), A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (I’ve been wanting to read it), History of the Vietnamese Civil War from 1771 – 1802 (more non-fiction), Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata (recommended to me by someone who works at the publishing house, it’s not my kind of book but I’m willing to give it a try), Black Water-Lilies by Michel Bussi (I literally picked it up because of the pretty cover), and Red Rising by Pierce Brown (also something I’ve been wanting to read.) Not bad for a rainy day. I can’t wait to start on these!


Gone Sailing

blue shirt tweed jacket navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Yes, I’m wearing the same jacket from my Tuesday post. And almost the same jeans. And… uh, almost the same boots. But my shirt is different and my accessory is different, so it totally counts as a different outfit. Look, I’ve been working non-stop since Christmas, so give me a break, OK? No, seriously, do you guys have a spare break? Because I need one. Badly. I’m still trying to make it until the end of next week when the Lunar New Year break starts and maybe I can catch up on work and meet the deadline.

Anyway, back to the outfit. Does this look like a 1980’s Ralph Lauren ad to you? Maybe it’s the ascot. With sailing boats printed on it, no less. You can’t get preppier than that. I don’t usually go for super preppy looks like this, but this ascot/bandana thing is also a gift from my students and I wanted to give it a try. I should have worn my riding boots to complete the look (but it was a bit too warm for riding boots. I doubt I would even wear my riding boots this season at all – there’s the evidence for global warming for you.)

blue shirt tweed jacket navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of greyblue shirt tweed jacket navy jeans by 14 shades of grey

blue shirt maroon scarf by 14 shades of greynavy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: local shop, Jacket & Boots: hand-me-down, Jeans: Mango, Scarf: gift


Old And New

striped top tweed blazer navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

When my mom saw this outfit, she commented that the blazer paired with the brooch looks a little too old for me. To which I replied, “What you call ‘old’, I call ‘classic’.” Actually, I didn’t say that. I just shrugged and continued with my breakfast. That’s because I’ve always known some of my style choices are a bit “old lady” (especially the brooches and cardigans), but I always make sure to pair them with more modern-looking pieces (like the striped top and the boots, in this case) to balance them out. Besides, of course my mom would say that the blazer was too old for me. It used to belong to her!

striped top tweed blazer navy jeans by 14 shades of greystriped top tweed blazer navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

tweed blazer navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of greystriped top tweed blazer brooch by 14 shades of grey

Sweatshirt: Earth Music & Ecology, Blazer: hand-me-down, Jeans: H&M, Boots: Topshop, Brooch: local shop


SIA Inspiration: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Welcome to the first SIA challenge of 2017! Technically it was Erin’s turn this week, but she is still in the midst of moving, so we decided to switch orders around a bit – I’ll go first, then Jen, and Erin will be back once she has settled in.

One of my resolutions for SIA this year is to pick more interesting artworks. I just went through my SIA Pinterest board and noticed that it mostly features paintings of women in dresses. Pretty, but not particularly challenging. So, in an attempt to pick something a little off the beaten path but still classical, I present to you the sculptures of Italian master Gian Lorenzo Bernini:

This GIF set is from an episode about Bernini in the documentary “Simon Schama’s Power of Art”. I’m just going to quote the episode here: “No one before Bernini had managed to make marble so carnal. In his nimble hands it would flatter and stream, quiver and sweat. His figures weep and shout, their torses twist and run, and arch themselves in spasms of intense sensation. He could, like an alchemist, change one material into another – marble into trees, leaves, hair, and, of course, flesh.”

I didn’t pick a particular sculpture because to me, this challenge is about drapes and textures rather than shapes and colors, but feel free to pick one that speaks to you and base your outfit on it (here is the full list of his works.) Don’t forget to send me your outfits by next Monday, January 16th. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!


What Day Is It?

gray coat black scarf blue jeans white sneakers by 14 shades of grey

Sorry for the no-show on Wednesday and Thursday; I just didn’t have anything to post. This year the Lunar New Year and the actual New Year (we sometimes call it the “Western New Year” or the “Solar New Year”, to differentiate) are so close to each other – only two weeks apart – so I’m in that weird twilight zone, like the one between Christmas and New Year, when you have no idea what day it is and what you’re supposed to be doing. Not a great feeling for creativity.

I think that translates into my outfit too. Everything is casual and practical, but then you get to the brooch and it’s a total needle-scratch. I have no idea what I was thinking when I put it on. Nothing, probably. Putting on a brooch is now almost an automatic action for me.

gray coat black scarf blue jeans white sneakers by 14 shades of greygray coat black scarf blue jeans by 14 shades of grey

gray coat black scarf brooch by 14 shades of greygray coat black scarf blue jeans white sneakers by 14 shades of grey

Sweatshirt: local shop, Coat: Atmosphere, Scarf: Forever21, Jeans: H&M, Sneakers: hand-me-down, Brooch: flea market


New Year, New Sweater

gray sweater maroon jeans navy scarf black boots by 14 shades of grey

OK, this sweater is not exactly new. It is actually a belated Teacher’s Day/Christmas present from my students, but because the weather had been so warm, I didn’t wear it until now (Teacher’s Day was way back in November, but I didn’t mind that they combined the two occasions – they are students, they’re always broke, so I would’ve been fine with no present at all.)

Clothes and/or accessories are very common gifts in Vietnam, especially for women, but I always feel a little awkward about receiving those, because often they’re not something I would buy for myself, and then I would feel bad about not wearing them. This, though, fits quite well into my closet, which goes to show my students really understand my style (if only they would apply the same amount of thoughts into their work!)

gray sweater maroon jeans navy scarf by 14 shades of greymaroon jeans black boots by 14 shades of grey

Sweater & Scarf: gift, Jeans: Pull& Bear, Boots: Clarks