Hello From Singapore

singapore outfit by 14 shades of grey

Just a quick post to let you guys know my week in Singapore is going well. It’s been raining almost every day, so it’s a lot cooler than I expected. I could’ve worn jeans if I wanted to! Still, I didn’t regret my packing strategy – I have plenty of choices for mix-and-match. The above outfit is a good sampler of what I wear most days (often I would have to add my blazer as well, because like I said, Singaporeans like their AC set to “arctic”.) I actually left a pair of sandals at home – three pairs of shoes are plenty – and I didn’t miss them at all.

I’m pretty busy with my students in classes and on excursions so I won’t be able to post much in the next two weeks, but there will be SIA posts on Monday as usual. See you guys!


Traditional

ao dai black flats by 14 shades of grey

As you can see, this isn’t your typical #ootd. It’s a áo dài (literally “long shirt”), the Vietnamese national costume, something people wear mostly for special occasions. At our school, for example, people would wear it for things like graduation ceremonies and Teacher Day’s celebration. It’s not mandatory, but you’re encouraged to. I’ve gotten away with wearing dresses or skirts on most of those occasions, but I’ve been wanting a set of my own – it’s like a Vietnamese version of the LBD, something you should have in your closet – so I bought this over the Lunar New Year (it was warm enough for me to actually wear this to the Lunar New Year party at our school this past Friday.)

The áo dài has been through many incarnations, but at its most basic, it’s a long tunic worn over pants. In recent years, the trend is tight-fitting, shorter tunics worn over straight-leg or skinny cropped pants, but I prefer a more loose-fitting silhouette, similar to the style of the 1930’s-1940’s (though of course, the traditional style would have a high collar instead of a round one like mine.) And the best part? The pants can be worn separately. Often áo dài’s pants are made of white silk and not meant to be worn with other tops, but these are made just like culottes, so I’m totally going to wear them in the summer.

ao dai black flats by 14 shades of greyao dai black flats by 14 shades of grey

ao dai black flats by 14 shades of greyao dai by 14 shades of grey

Áo dài & Culottes: local boutique, Flats: Vagabond


Fantastic Pants

gray pants gray coat white sweater brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Ever since I wore these pants in an outfit inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I keep referring to them in my head as the “Fantastic Beasts” pants, or, more straightforwardly, my ’20s pants, because somehow I always style them in a ’20s/’30s-inspired manner. My only wish is that they have a higher waist, for a better vintage look. But you can’t have everything, I guess.

So this is the last of my leftover work outfits. I’ll see you guys next week with a couple of outfits I wore for the Lunar New Year celebration!

gray pants gray coat brown booties by 14 shades of greygray pants gray coat by 14 shades of grey

gray coat brooch by 14 shades of greygray pants gray coat brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Pants & Coat: Esprit (hand-me-down), Sweater: Atmosphere, Boots: Topshop, Brooch: local shop


Black Lace

black wool dress lace tights black heels by 14 shades of grey

When I saw the inspiration for this week’s SIA – the woodcut lace design by Isabella Parasole – I immediately thought about my lace tights. Once I had the lace element down, the rest of the outfit came together pretty quickly – black tights layered underneath and a dark gray dress to make the white lace really pop, just like in the print, and a silver brooch and cut-out heels to mimic the intricacy of the lace.

I wore this last week, for my last day at work before the break (I still have a few work outfits left to post), back when it was still cold enough to wear two pairs of tights. Now the sun is back, which is good, but I could never get used to the Lunar New Year without a bit of drizzling rain.

black wool dress silver brooch by 14 shades of greyblack wool dress lace tights black heels by 14 shades of grey

black wool dress lace tights black heels by 14 shades of greyblack wool dress silver brooch by 14 shades of grey

Don’t forget to check out Jen’s blog tomorrow for the full round-ups of all the outfits inspired by this work of art!

Dress: tailor, Tights: Target & Forever21 (I think?), Shoes: hand-me-down, Brooch: Dutch flea market


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


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


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