Four Seasons

Here’s my latest experiment with brooch clustering. It’s the time of transition between winter/spring/summer (because let’s face it, we barely have a spring. Usually it’s just a couple of weeks of horrible humidity before the heat begins), so I thought it would be fun to do a “seasonal” cluster. I was happy to discover that I have all the necessary pieces – the blossoming branch for spring, the bunch of grape for summer, the bird for fall, and the snowflake for winter – and they are all the same color/style too. The rest of the outfit I keep super simple, so the brooches can really shine. All in all, it’s a very cohesive cluster, and probably my favorite so far!


The Black Queen

It’s rare these days that I’d wear an outfit without a brooch or a pin, but I kinda liked the minimalism of this outfit and didn’t want to spoil it with any other accessory. It’s inspired by the costumes of The Queen’s Gambit – another show from last year (other than Normal People) that I watched purely for the fashion. I mean, I know nothing about chess, and just like with Normal People, I find the main character’s tendency to self-destruct irritating and unbelievable, rather than sympathetic. But, like I said, the costumes are fabulous. Beth Harmon never wears anything exactly like this in the series, but the houndstooth skirt is kind of similar to her many chess-themed costumes, so I thought this would be a nice nod.


A Parliament Of Owls

This week’s SIA outfit, inspired by one of the “soundsuits” by artist and sculptor Nick Cave, took me some thinking. The crocheted granny squares on the suit could be a jumping-off point, but I have nothing similar in my closet. In the end, I just pulled out the most colorful and outrageous piece I have – this top – and relied on the accessories to bring in some of the colors and textures of the inspiration piece.

I noticed that there are a lot of figurines of birds, especially owls, on the suit, so I brought out all the owl brooches I own. I have a couple more “bird” brooches, but I wanted to maintain some sense of cohesion in the outfit, so I’m sticking with owls. And for that same reason, I kept the rest of the outfit simple. I guess I could try some pattern-mixing or something more “wild”, but I think it’s more important to keep the outfit wearable than to make it as close to the inspiration as possible.


Golden Bee

I wore this to our school’s film festival, way back before the Lunar New Year break (yep, I’m still working my way through backlogged outfits.) It’s called the Golden Bee Festival, hence my bee brooch. For the rest of the outfit, I wanted to keep it simple while still dressy enough for a special event. It was freezing that day though, so this is the best I could do. It was also my attempt to modernize this skirt a bit – here it looks like it’s from the 1970s, not the 1870s, so at least that’s a success?


Star Student

This outfit is a bit schoolgirl-y, and there are stars on the buttons of my cardigan, hence the title. I’d never been much of a “star” student back in grade school – I did pretty well in school, but I was too quiet, too shy to draw attention to myself. My confidence improved in college and grad school, probably because I was in film schools, where I could be myself. Looking back, though, I’m still surprised that I was better at natural sciences than social sciences and language (my math and chemistry grades were always higher than my English and Vietnamese grades.) I guess that’s because the natural science subjects have clear rules, which for me is easier to understand, while the social science subjects rely too much on memorization and not enough on problem-solving.