Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Woman

(Sorry for the pretentious title. I couldn’t help it!)

This week’s SIA inspiration, a portrait by South African artist Juanita Mulder, is a challenge for me, because it contains mostly bright, primary colors – red, blue, yellow, with quite a bit of black and white – which I haven’t worn in a while (except for the black and white, of course.) But I’ve never let that stop me before. Either I would find something else in the painting to inspire me, or I would find a way to sell my outfit even if it is only marginally connected to the inspiration at best.

In the end, I went with the bold, graphic quality of the painting (which means lots of stripes) and recreated the colors in darker, more subdued shades – maroon instead of red, navy instead of blue, and brown instead of yellow. At the last minute, I also threw on my leather jacket. The painting doesn’t feature a lot of black, but a leather jacket seems right somehow, because the woman looks so defiant, and to me, that means a leather jacket. I believe the spirit of the painting is there in my outfit, even though it’s not an exact replica (told you I would sell it :P)

Don’t forget to swing by Jen’s blog for the full round-up of other looks inspired by this portrait.

Sweatshirt: Forever21, Jeans: Pull&Bear, Jacket: Zara, Scarf: gift, Boots: hand-me-down


Pond In The Woods

green coat green scarf navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Like I said, this SIA is pretty easy for me – green, blue, brown, black. When I saw the inspiration painting (“Pond in the Woods” by Georgia O’Keeffe, just in case you forgot), I immediately thought of this coat and this scarf. The rest of the outfit came together very quickly. Then I added my ceramic brooch, because the circle shape and the pattern are reminiscent of the painting, and the swirls of colors in the painting look like glazes to me as well. Done, and done.

Don’t forget to check Erin’s blog to see how others interpret this!

green coat green scarf navy jeans by 14 shades of greygreen coat green scarf navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

green coat green scarf navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

green coat green scarf ceramic brooch by 14 shades of greygreen coat green scarf by 14 shades of grey

Top: Uniqlo, Scarf & Boots: local shops, Jeans: Mango, Coat: thrifted, Brooch: vintage


A Forgotten Outfit & A Blog Notice

navy blazer maroon jeans blanket scarf brown booties by 14 shades of grey

I was cleaning out my camera’s memory card the other day when I discovered a set of outfit photos from last December that I had completely forgotten about. And it’s not a bad outfit either (if I do say so myself). Good thing I found it, because I was running out of content to post.

Which brings me to the notice: my Lunar New Year starts from next week. It’s going to be a 3-week break, and after that, I’m going on a 3-week business trip (I’ll post more on that later). That means that for the next month and a half, posting is going to be sporadic around here. I will try to post when I can, and regular features like SIA and book reviews are still going to be up. So don’t worry, the blog won’t be dead, just a little quieter than usual.

navy blazer maroon jeans blanket scarf by 14 shades of greynavy blazer blanket scarf by 14 shades of grey

maroon jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

T-shirt: Uniqlo, Blazer: Atmosphere, Jeans: Pull&Bear, Scarf: local shop, Boots: hand-me-down


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


Happy New Year

white button-up gray cardigan navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Well, here we are, 2017. Forgive me if I’m a little wary of welcoming you. Your predecessor hasn’t been easy on us. I hope you’ll be kinder. If nothing else, at least we have Star Wars Episode VIII to look forward too, right?

Anyway, here’s a simple outfit to bring in the New Year. We don’t really celebrate New Year here (we save our holiday spirits for the Lunar New Year) so it’s back to business as usual. I don’t see my style changing much next year, but I am making a conscious choice to shop a lot less. Except for replacements, I will see if I can stop shopping altogether. I’ve been pretty good in the latter half of 2016, mostly because I’ve been too busy to actually go shopping, so I’m hoping I can keep it up in 2017. I’m not putting any pressure on myself though; if I see something I really like, I would buy it. I just have to remind myself to think more carefully about my purchase, that’s all.

white button-up gray cardigan navy jeans by 14 shades of greywhite button-up gray cardigan navy jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

white button-up brooch by 14 shades of grey

Shirt & Boots: Topshop, Cardigan: Forever21, Jeans: H&M, Brooch: vintage