Blue Suede Shoes

So 2/3 of this outfit are actually hand-me-downs from my sister – only the jeans are mine originally. That’s the perk of having a sister who likes shopping, is the same size as you, and has more or less the same taste as you do. Though I have to say, her preference for V-neck white button-ups is inexplicable. I don’t like V-neck tops that much, yet she tried to pass another one to me when she gave me this pair of loafers. I refused, because I already have one, which, of course, also came from her. But I have an inexplicable preference for blue plaid button-ups too, so who I am to talk, right?

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Black & White

I titled this post “Black & White” as a placeholder, thinking that surely I’ve had another post with that title and I was going to have to change it, but surprise, surprise, I haven’t. And that fascinating anecdote, friends, serves as a perfect metaphore for this outfit too – it’s basic and simple, but it’s also unexpected and… uh… I’m not sure what point I was trying to make here. But suffice to say, I like the outfit and I’m going to wear these pants more during the summer.


I Have Nothing To Wear

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Well, that was an impromptu mini-hiatus. We just had a long weekend too – it was Vietnam’s Independence Day on Tuesday, so we had Monday and Tuesday off – and as usual, I find it hard to get back into the normal routine after a break like that. That and the fact that I’m in a style rut, which is also the usual case at the end of every season.

I think my style rut mostly comes from  being overwhelmed with choices. I have a lot of clothes (I’ve never done a closet inventory, I just know I have a lot) but out of those, I only reach for a few go-to pieces. Which is why at the end of every season I’d get tired of them. And then I’d feel bad about those “closet orphans” and force myself to wear them even though I’m not crazy about them, resulting in overwrought or boring outfits.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to try a capsule wardrobe for the fall/winter season. I’m really inspired by the idea behind Un-Fancy, and I’ve been trying to clean out my closet anyway, so a capsule wardrobe certainly makes sense. Obviously this is going to take some planning, especially given how unpredictable the weather can get in Hanoi. I should give myself some leeway for SIA and my book review outfits too. But I’m pretty sure I can put together something for the three months from October to December. I’ll start planning now and (hopefully) show you my capsule by the end of September, and we’ll see how it turns out.

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Shirt: Mango (hand-me-down), Jeans: Charlotte Russe, Flats: LA Fashion District, Necklace: Lia Sophia


Chicken Girl

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While watching Austenland again to do screencaps for the review (any excuse to watch and rewatch every scene with JJ Feild in it!) I suddenly noticed this little outfit Keri Russel has on during the airport scene and thought, Hey, that looks cute. It’s nothing especially fashion-forward, of course, but it’s still fairly put-together, and just the thing I needed while staying at home catching up on work assignments. Now I just need a “I ♥ Mr. Darcy” tote – or rather, “I ♥ Mr. Tilney”, because honestly, I’m a bit of a Darcy when it comes to social situations, so I’d need Mr. Tilney’s charm more than Darcy’s scowl.

I recently discovered this new location – it’s just some crumbling steps leading down to the chicken-run in our backyard, but it works when the front yard is too sunny. Everybody seemed to like it last time I took pictures here, and here I am again. The only tricky part is the chickens always think I’m bringing food, so it’s difficult to stop them from photo-bombing me (as you can see below!)

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Shirt: Mango (hand-me-down), Cardigan: Forever21, Pants: thrifted, Sneakers: Converse (they are filthy, sorry!), Bracelet: local shop


Student Approved

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The other day a student complimented me on this outfit and said that she really likes my style. It was funny, because she was wearing a similar outfit (white blouse, dark skirt, sandals) only hers was more boho (everything loose-fitting, blouse untucked) and less schoolmarm-ish. I thought she looked way cooler, even though I could never pull it off. If I tried the boho look, I’d probably end up looking more like a hobo. But hey, I’ll take the compliment, thank you very much.

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Shirt: Mango (hand-me-down), Skirt: Banana Republic (thrifted), Sandals: Zalora, Belt: Vietnamese shop, Brooch: vintage


Tomboy

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I’m aware of how ironic it is that I chose a tomboy outfit for a painting called “Woman of Substance“, but I didn’t plan it. I just looked at the painting and thought, “OK, white shirt, my teal pants (because it’s just been raining and I didn’t want to turn into a mosquitoes’ buffet, so no skirt), those oxfords because there’s a bit of brownish orange in the lilies…” When I put all the pieces together, I realized it kinda looks like those 1950’s tomboy outfits, so I added a scarf to complete the look. Of course a true 1950’s tomboy outfit would be a button-up shirt and straight-legged jeans instead of a blouse and skinny jeans, but I feel this is a good interpretation. Like a slightly more modern update on a vintage look. Which of course describes my style perfectly, so I’m happy with it.

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Shirt: Mango (hand-me-down), Jeans: thrifted, Scarf: hand-me-down, Oxfords: thrifted via Buffalo Exchange


What I Read

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My days now are just one long string of almost non-stop reading that I kind of lose track of when I read what. Anyway, the two books I just finished are both amazing, but neither is easy to be interpreted into an outfit, so here are two book reviews with some unrelated outfit pictures.

The first one is “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell. It’s a memoir about the author’s childhood as his family moved from England to the Greek island of Corfu. “Idyllic” is the word for it. The story takes place from mid 1930’s to early 1940’s, not exactly uneventful time in Europe, but time doesn’t seem to exist in this place. It’s filled with amusing stories about the author’s eccentric family and friends (both human and non-human), keen observations of animal behaviors, and beautiful, poetic description of Corfu. I’m not a beach person at all and I still really, really wanted a beach vacation by the time I finished reading it. (If the weather was nicer I would’ve put together a vacation-y look, but as you can see that was quite out of the question.)

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The second book I read is “At Home: A Short History Of Private Life” by Bill Bryson. When it comes to non-fiction and travel books, I pretty much worship at the altar of Bill Bryson, so it’s no surprise that I love this one. I haven’t read A Short History of Nearly Everything (though it’s on the list, as soon as I can get my sister to unpack it from her crates of books and lend it to me), but if that one’s about natural science, then “At Home” is about social science. By looking at his house, an old English rectory, Bill Bryson explores the history of how we eat, how we sleep, how we raise kids, how we live in general. A lot of it focuses on Victorian England, but it goes back all the way to prehistoric time as well. It’s not as funny as his other books I’ve read (though “Damn it, woman, you shall burn” did crack me up), but it is a great read if you’re interested in history and sociology.

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Shirt & Scarf: hand-me-down, Cardigan: Forever21, Jeans: H&M, Boots: Steve Madden (thrifted)