SIA: Tempest

It’s a meeting of the black turtlenecks as everybody interpreted John Larriva’s “Tempest” for SIA. I guess it’s a natural choice – the girl in the painting looks like she’s wearing a black turtleneck after all – but the rest of the outfits are as diverse as they come. Let’s get to it!

The first turtleneck of the bunch comes from Jen, in a sharp black-and-gray outfit, with the Puget Sound serving as the backdrop – how cool is that?

Next is Mike. He, too, went all-black, and he added a black cap to mimic the girl’s wind-blown hair:


Erin wore a hat as well – borrowed from her mom while she was at her parents’ house for Thanksgiving. What a lucky find!

Kezzie is another one to wear a turtleneck. I love her blue skirt and her butterfly brooch (does she choose it because of the “butterfly effect”? I don’t know, but it’s certainly appropriate):

 And finally, here’s me and my black turtleneck:

black turtleneck black leather jacket blue jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

And that concludes another successful SIA. Thank you for participating! Remember to check back next week for Jen’s inspiration – incidentally, after Jen’s round-up, we’re going to take a break for the Christmas/New Year holiday, so it’s only to be our last challenge for 2016. I hope it’s a good one!

The Tempest

black turtleneck black leather jacket blue jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

My interpretation for this week’s SIA, inspired by “Tempest” by Florida-based artist John Larriva, is pretty self-explanatory. Black turtleneck and leather jacket for the black top the girl in the painting is wearing, and blue jeans and blue pendant for the blue background – done! But as I was putting the post together, I realized my outfit could be seen as a nod to Shakespeare’s The Tempest as well – the blue to represent the sea and the island where Prospero and Miranda are stranded (my pendant even has some swirls in it like water), and the black to represent the storm and Prospero’s magic. I don’t know if the artist has Shakespeare in mind when he painted this painting (other than the title), but now it has given me the idea to write a modern-day version of The Tempest. Not like Forbidden Planet, which is the sci-fi version, but set in actual modern day, with supernatural elements, sort of like Lost. That could work, couldn’t it? (Sorry, that’s the way my brain thinks, always trying to come up with new story ideas.)

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the full round-up post!

black turtleneck black leather jacket blue jeans by 14 shades of grey

black turtleneck black leather jacket necklace by 14 shades of greyblack turtleneck black leather jacket blue jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Top: Uniqlo, Jacket: Zara, Jeans: Sneak Peek, Boots: Topshop, Necklace: local shop

Day To Night

white lace tee black blazer black pants black pumps by 14 shades of grey

I wore this last Friday, when I had a full day of teaching and went to the theater at night – my co-workers got free tickets to a theater festival in Hanoi, so I thought it would be fun to check it out. I wanted to dress up a bit for the theater, but not too much, because I knew I would have to be in the clothes for 10+ hours. In the end I decided on something simple, comfy, but put-together enough that you could wear on a night out.

white lace tee black blazer black pants by 14 shades of greywhite lace tee black blazer black pants black pumps by 14 shades of grey

black pants black pumps by 14 shades of greywhite lace tee black blazer feather brooch by 14 shades of grey

T-shirt: Banana Republic, Blazer: Warehouse, Pants: thrifted, Shoes: local shop, Brooch: gift (an interesting story behind this brooch – it was made from a piece of rubble from an old museum in Greifswald and sold as souvenir after the building was renovated. My sister just went there for a business trip and bought it for me.)

Completely Vintage

yellow dress black cardigan black pumps by 14 shades of grey

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers! I hope you guys are having a great day, filled with good food and good company. As for me, I wore this for an occasion of good food and good company as well – the staff luncheon to celebrate Teacher’s Day last week. If you’ve seen my review/screencap overload of The Crown, then you’d understand why I’ve been dressing like this – you can’t help it when you’ve been watching the show for two weeks (I supposed I could’ve binge-watched it in a week or so, but I wanted to pace myself.) Sometimes a girl just has to throw subtlety out the window and go for the complete vintage look.

yellow dress black cardigan by 14 shades of greyyellow dress black cardigan brooch by 14 shades of grey

Dress & Brooch: vintage, Cardigan: Target, Belt: thrifted, Shoes: local shop

“The Crown”, Season 1

It’s been a good month for TV. Right after finishing the latest season of “Black Mirror”, I started on another Netflix show which cannot be more different – “The Crown”, about Queen Elizabeth II and the start of her reign. You know I’m a huge Anglophile and a sucker for historical dramas, so naturally, I love this. But I’m not going to pretend it’s anything more than a 1950’s version of Downton Abbey – that is to say, a period family soap opera. To be fair, it is less sensational than Abbey – these are real historical figures after all – but it’s not exactly deep.

To make up for the lack of story, there’s the hugely talented cast – especially Claire Foy, who did a great job of turning a character that could’ve been so dull and characterless (there’s an entire storyline about how characterless QEII is compared to Princess Margaret) into someone engaging and sympathetic, and Matt Smith – he’s not my favorite Doctor (Christopher Eccleston forever) but I think he’s got the right mix of charms and sulkiness here. Most of the actors look a lot like the real persons too (try Googling the real Anthony Eden or Tommy Lascelles and compare them to their show counterparts), which I always appreciate in any historical drama. The one exception is Claire Foy, who looks nothing like the real QEII, but like I said, she’s so good that nobody will notice.

The main draw for me, however, is the costumes and sets. A lot of elegant 1950’s dresses, with cardigans and brooches (it’s basically how I would dress every day if I could), and really authentic, expensive-looking sets. Here, I’ll stop typing and just let you guys feast your eyes on all the gorgeousness:























It took me forever to pick these screenshots, because there are so many to choose from. Basically, it’s a niche show, but an insanely well-made and well-acted one, so check it out!


tree print blouse black skirt black pumps by 14 shades of grey

Last Sunday was Teacher’s Day in Vietnam, so in the week leading up to that, I had to dress up twice, once for a celebration at school, and once for a luncheon with all the professors and staff of our department. The weather is still annoyingly warm, but at least it’s not so humid as it was during the summer, so even though it was in the upper 80’s, I could wear something more seasonal appropriate like this. If a blouse printed with skeleton trees and a leaf brooch are not “seasonal appropriate” for fall, I don’t know what is.

tree print blouse black skirt by 14 shades of greytree print blouse black skirt black pumps by 14 shades of grey

black skirt black pumps by 14 shades of greytree print blouse leaf brooch by 14 shades of grey

Top: Zara (hand-me-down), Skirt: thrifted, Shoes: local shop, Brooch: The Getty Center gift shop

SIA Inspiration: John Larriva

We’ve had some pretty unique inspirations for SIA lately, so I decided to go for something a little simple this time:

This is called “Tempest”, by Florida-based artist John Larriva. I saw the painting somewhere on the Internet and was struck by its sense of contrast. It’s wildly energetic (those brushstrokes!) yet the woman looks so calm. It looks both modern and classic at the same time. She could be a modern woman wearing a turtleneck with her hair blowing in the wind, or she could be an Edwardian lady in a black dress and a large hat. Plus it’s a nicely minimalistic portrait, which always appeals to me.

So, you know the drill – put together an outfit, snap a photo (flat lays and Polyvore sets are OK too), and send it to me by next Monday. Have fun!