Teen Night @ The High Museum

I've always been a fan of going to art museums. Whenever I travel to a new city, one of the first things I look up is where all the art museums are (next to the best shopping streets, of course). I obviously love the art (if you knew me in real life, you would know that I'm the epitome of an art student), but I also love the people in these museums. Anywhere you go, you can observe the people around you, but at art museums, it's so much more interesting. Maybe it's because I consider myself to be like those other art lovers, but to see the different attitudes and styles of art museum-goers is one of my favorite things to do. With all of this in mind, of course I'm going to go to Teen Night at the High Museum in Atlanta, which is free admission for students to the museum that also includes events like live music, art-making, and a poetry slam. On Saturday, I went down to Atlanta with a few of my friends (yes, I'm blessed to have art-loving friends) to go to the event. I've been twice before in the past, and I remember having a good time, but this one was definitely the best. Maybe it's because I have grown into this self-aware person, but I actually believe that it was planned better than previous years. Apart from the scheduled events, I loved seeing a huge cluster of art-loving people who all happen to be teens. When you're stuck in conservative suburbia where everyone idolizes sports teams, it's difficult to find your crowd. When I went to the High, it felt like I was surrounded by people like me -- people who care about art, their "aesthetic", and even social issues. It's an amazing feeling to be surrounded by people your age who care about the same things that you do. Some say that the youth continues to get more and more inspiring with each generation, and I think that's true (maybe because I'm part of that youth...). Maybe we do care more about what we're wearing than the latest presidential debate, but then we'll connect our clothing choices to a way of self expression, which then leads to even greater social issues. I definitely saw this at the poetry slam -- there were poems about huge issues ranging from rape to police brutality, and there were also poems about smaller, more personal topics that still brought everyone to a standing o. Along with this self-awareness that I love about our generation, teen art lovers usually care about their aesthetic. This could be in terms of hair, clothing, tattoos, body piercings, etc. The thing about art kids is that they want to stand out, and this is usually apparent in their aesthetic choices. This definitely allowed me to fit in -- everyone looked impossibly cool in their own, individual ways, and I wanted to capture all of their looks but it was too crowded to get a good shot. However, I did know from the styles of the other students that my style could definitely fit in with that of an art kid's (even though I already am one). I want to make a statement through fashion, but also do this in my own, unique style.

Dress by Topshop. Shoes by Adidas. 
Photo taken by my wonderful + talented friend Danielle. 

I always strive to self express through fashion, but I definitely wanted to achieve that while being surrounded by other kids who have this exact goal. While I still always like to keep up with today's trends, I try to make sure I'm still dressing for myself, not just for trends. That's why when I shop, I gravitate towards the items that I actually love, then I realize that they fall into a certain trend. That's what happened with the corduroy dress I wore to the High. I've understood that a rustic, '70s fashion is returning in a modern way, and this could include those burnt-orange pieces, button-up dresses and skirts, and fabrics like suede and corduroy. However, when I bought this dress, I knew that I really wanted it just because I knew it could renovate my style with a piece I normally wouldn't wear. That's how the art kids at the High dressed -- they did it all for themselves, even though they looked like they stepped right out of a street style blog. I paired this dress with my favorite sneakers (yes, I still wear them almost every day. I can't resist the comfort) because they somehow match everything and because they fit into my goal of self-expression with my unique style. Usually with this dress, you might see people pairing it with booties, chunky sandals, or even Doc Marten oxfords, but I wanted to make it unique by wearing it with cool-girl sneakers. Finally, I definitely fit in with the rest. Not because I was impeccably dressed, but because I had a chance to dress without listening to the fashion standards that you see at school or simply walking down the street. Everyone was in the same boat as me, so I felt a little bit of freedom that night.


Fractured Aesthetic

Many so called "fashion experts" will say that you have to wear things from the same style in a single outfit or it will be deemed unfashionable. I completely disagree with this notion. Obviously, you know me to be the one who hates when people judge what other people wear, and that's one part of this argument. But I also like the idea of mixing styles together -- that's almost where I got the infamous "fractured aesthetic" idea from. As I quoted on my Tumblr when I first started this blog last November, "Fractured aesthetic -- it describes my own style, because my aesthetic is never stable and complete; it is constantly changing, even broken, because it is based on what I like, not based on what other people like. I see fashion as a way to express oneself in any way they desire, and there should be no set of rules to dictate what one should do with their style. Each person has their own unique style, and some may even call it a 'fractured aesthetic'." (For those of you who have only been reading my posts since I created the Blogger account, that's my spiel on my maybe-confusing url.) This applies to my entire style, but also to the idea that mixing up "fashion genres" in outfits is completely okay. I'm constantly doing this -- most things I own are completely different because it's nearly impossible for me to stick to just one style. This was especially relevant in my outfit yesterday, which consisted of three different styles. However, they all combined to create one, unified look that fits me, which is what I do almost every day.

As you should all know, I'm one of those people who does not have one store they always shop at. I do have my favorites, but I'm always going different places for different things. I go to Urban Outfitters for the simpler, even edgy items, Topshop for unique statement pieces, Madewell for the classics (especially denim), Anthropologie and J. Crew for more mature and professional clothing, you get the drift. It's impossible for me to just pick one style from all of these options, so I decide to mix up my wardrobe and my outfits. In this outfit, I paired a mature item with more casual accessories to make it more fitting to my age. Some may say that I dress older than 17, but I still don't want to look like a 28-year-old going on a job interview.

Anthropologie may be one of my favorite (and most envied) stores, but not everything in it fits what a 17 year old would wear on a normal day to school. However, I still immediately gravitate towards pieces in the store, like the longer dress I'm wearing in the photos. Although it's chaotic yet uniform striped pattern can be playful, the shape and length of the dress still need something more to fit my personal style. And to do this, I contrast with styles. I layered the dress with my new, army-green "mock" denim jacket to add edge to a simple look. Then, I wore my Adidas sneakers (which I have worn every day for the past week. No shame.) to add a casual yet cool factor to a professional looking dress. I completely changed a classic Anthropologie dress to a semi-casual and edgy outfit by only adding two items. Contrasting styles in the same outfit can do so much to create a brand new, even trade-mark look. Instead of trying to fit to one specific trend and style, wear what you feel is best on you. Most cannot simply conform to one genre of fashion, so the smartest thing to do is try unique looks with multiple styles, and see what works best for you. I suggest going for the "fractured aesthetic" approach -- I promise that you'll find your signature style.

Dress by Anthropologie. Jacket by Topshop. Shoes by Adidas.
Photos taken by me (self-timers and tripods are a blessing)


How to "Dress Up" Sneakers

In Montreal, the style is completely different than the rest of Canada's laid-back nature (besides the two other major cities, Vancouver and Toronto). Montreal has a style that is almost similar to the unique fashions of New York and London, but of course, it contains a large portion of Parisian style, which brings a certain cool-girl elegance to fashion. But also, the laid-back style of Canada has to enter into this equation, and it definitely does, but in the best way possible. Not in the leggings and T-shirt kind of way, but in a subtle way that somehow combines the three other styles I mentioned above. In Montreal, many achieve this with sneakers. Not by wearing Converse or the typical running shoes (although some can somehow pull off a dress and running shoes), but by wearing the cool and stylish sneakers that everyone either wants or already has (and luckily, I am now one of the people who has them.) Hi-top Vans, Nike Air Forces,  and of course, the classic Adidas Superstars and Adidas Stan Smiths. I used to not be the type of person to ever wear sneakers unless I was working out. I'm usually the person who wears boots year-round, but when I saw this resurgence of "cool-girl" (and guy) sneakers paired with outfits I would normally wear with boots, I thought that I should get a pair. Maybe it's because "everyone wants what everyone already has", but isn't that how all fashion trends work? Anyways, I figured that I could work a comfortable, laid-back, but definitely stylish pair of shoes into my current wardrobe, so I bought the Adidas Stan Smiths in green online, and they happened to arrive the day before I left for Montreal.

Before coming to Montreal, I had no idea that the sneaker trend would be as big as I found it to be. I figured that they would be a cute yet comfortable way to get around the city, and even if I was the only one wearing them, I'd still feel stylish. But right when I stepped outside the airport, I immediately saw people wearing various types paired with various outfits. I did see the classic jeans
and sneakers look, but I also saw people pairing it with dresses, skirts, nicer shorts, or practically anything that I would wear. I've always known by the street style photos I see on Tumblr and Pinterest that wearing sneakers with dresses and skirts was definitely a thing, but I didn't fully realize it until seeing it in person. So, I was inspired to do the same but also fit into the unique Montreal style. I fit into the Parisian style by wearing my graphic shift dress from Zara with Parisian-styled sketches and sayings. Even though they're in English, the dress only screams French to me. To fit into
the laid-back Canadian style, I, of course, wore the Adidas sneakers. Before I even continue, I have to say that these are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. It's almost strange for me to wear something this comfortable and for it also be fashionable, and that's almost how a lot of the Montreal style is -- stylish comfort. And finally, the combination of the two fit in perfectly with the fashions from New York and London -- a unique combination that pairs the comfortable with the elegant yet quirky and that also subtly uses the monochrome trend. Throughout the day, I continued to see more and more people dressing up sneakers, especially at the fashion events I went to. So that's how to dress up sneakers -- pair them with a dress. There's no complex formula to follow, because I've come to understand that basically everything looks good with these sneakers. You can dress them down with boyfriend jeans, or you can dress them up with a dress or skirt. Whichever way they're worn, they're always bound to make a slightly dull outfit more vibrant.

Dress by Zara. Shoes by Adidas from Urban Outfitters.
Photos taken by my dad

Montreal Fashion Week

I'm in Montreal instead of going to school like everyone else, and I couldn't be happier. Instead of worrying about senior year issues, I'm surrounded by this unique culture of French-Canadians that includes an obsession with art and fashion. And luckily, I happened to be in this city right when Montreal Fashion Week is happening. And no, it's nothing like New York's, London's, Paris's, or Milan's where you have to be important enough to get invited to fashion shows. In Canada, their fashion weeks are more open to the public. It all takes place in just a few squares of Montreal, and only about five shows happen each day, all in the evening. They're all outdoors, and people can just show up to the shows to watch, or even take photos with professional cameras (like I did!). Yes, there were still areas that only photographers with passes could get into, but other than that, it was definitely a very public-friendly event. Of course, I took this open (and free!) opportunity to get close to the stage and take photos of the shows. It has always been my dream to attend, and even better, photograph a fashion show, and my dream finally came true. Maybe it wasn't Roberto Cavalli or Valentino, but the show was just as legitimate as any other fashion show. The main show I saw was for the Joncas twins, these two Canadian designers who have only made it to events like the Canadian fashion weeks. Although they weren't extremely well-known, that did not stop the show from being amazing.

Filled with asymmetrical layers, dreamy colors, and drapey fabrics, this collection may be what gets the twins more recognition.

Each outfit was unique with its color scheme and specific aesthetic, but they all unified with the same, draped material and chunky heels. Yet, isn't that how all fashion collections are? I guess I never truly realized it until I was able to see one in person.

This was definitely a good show to start out with because it still had the universal fashion show setup, but it wasn't as overwhelming as other huge fashion shows would be like. It would be amazing to see Anna Wintour and Alexa Chung sitting a few rows in front of you, but that time will come later.

More Joncas Twins photos:


Before this show, I saw another less formal one at a different stage, which was a collaboration of multiple designers I couldn't get the names of. I wasn't able to get a good spot (and of course I left my zoom lens at home), so I couldn't get any decent photos of the actual show. But because of the "informality" of it all, the models came out after the show, so I could take a few candids of them closeup. 

Another cool thing about this experience is that photographers were everywhere taking photos of everyone, including yourself if you had the right look. I did see a few people taking photos of me, and even if they kept talking to me in French like I knew the language perfectly, I just nodded and smiled, because not everyday are people going to take photos of your outfit.

To be honest, it was one of the best experiences of my life, and it confirmed that working in this industry is still my dream. Maybe it wasn't anything like the huge shows in New York or Paris, but at least it was something, and maybe it's the first step to many more shows to come.


Summer Layers (feat. denim!)

I've talked about fall and winter layers several times, and I've even talked about spring layers. But what about the summer, when it can be 80 or 90 degrees all day? For me, I hate being hot. I dread the summer, and sometimes, I dread picking out fashion choices for this season. Fall and winter come so easily to me. The colder it gets, the more layers you add. Pretty simple. But with summer, it's hard to create diversity in your wardrobe when wearing more than a tank top and shorts will only cause a sweaty mess. Yes, there's always dresses, but only very few people own a dress for every day of the summer, and I'm not one of those people. Some will use this hot weather as an excuse to just give up this season, even when lazy lake days begin to vanish and we have to actually do things with our lives. But for me, I'm too driven with fashion to give up. I use every day as a means to grow in fashion, and sometimes it will result in experimenting, which led me to this -- summer layers. It's basically a paradox, but I know it's possible. The best thing about some layers is that you don't have to keep them on all day. That's the choice that is forced to be made in the summer -- find layers that can easily be removed, but that can still add diversity to your wardrobe.

As you all should know by now, denim is my favorite staple. It's so versatile, can be worn year round, and makes any outfit just look 10 times cooler. The denim jacket is probably one of the best ways to layer in the summer, maybe next to the chambray shirt, which is a lighter alternative, but that's about all I wore this summer. I wanted to mix things up, so I went for an unlikely combination. I paired the preppiest piece of clothing I own, which is the striped T-shirt dress by Fred Perry, with a staple item
that completely contrasts with the stripes -- the jean jacket. This dress is probably one of my favorites, so I've worn it hundreds of times, usually in the same way. It got to a point to where I had two options: stop wearing the dress, or start wearing it differently. Because it's my favorite summer item, I had to go with the second choice. I started to think that there was absolutely no way I could wear it in a unique fashion because my go-to for "outfit diversity" is layers, and I thought layers couldn't work in the summer. But then I thought again -- maybe they could. I grabbed the vintage denim jacket and completely changed the "Parisian preppy" look to a cooler, more stylish version, because that's the magic that denim holds. Only once did I have to take off the jacket because of the heat, and that's when I sat outside for lunch. Denim seems like a heavy fabric, but in reality, many forms of the fabric are super light, like the jacket I wore in this outfit. Some say that the jean jacket is the warm-weather version of the leather alternative, and that's completely true. Stop trying to force layers with bulky sweaters and flannels in hot weather. Layering is simpler when denim is involved, but isn't it true that denim makes everything better? It's obvious by now that I'm a huge denim enthusiast, but it's just one of those fashion things I'm going through, like how I went through a "collars peeking out under sweaters" phase last winter. When winter comes, leather and heavy knits will be taking over. But for now, I'll stick with the magic fabric.

Dress by Fred Perry from Urban Outfitters. Jacket is vintage Juicy Couture. Shoes by Topshop.
Photos taken by me (as always!)


"Simple" School Chic

With school, comes normal routine. And with normal routine, comes regular, scheduled posting. Finally. I'm not the biggest fan of going back to school, but at least it somehow gives me more inspiration for everything. My writing, my photography, and of course, my posts on here. I thought I would celebrate (or maybe dread) the first day of senior year with an outfit that exemplifies some sort of "school chic" aesthetic. I did not plan this at first, but after taking photos for this post, I realized that it really worked. And don't worry, not in the plaid skirt, knee highs, and blazers way.

The typical "school chic" look always consists of one thing: collars. As a huge collar enthusiast, this made my work fairly easy. I own several tops and dresses that consist of collars, and all of them would work for this aesthetic I was trying to reach (well, I technically didn't realize I reached it until the day was over... but that's beside the point). I decided to wear my new collared and sleeveless dress I got from Lou & Grey a few weeks ago. What's even better than collars? Sleeveless collars. What's even better than sleeveless collars? Denim sleeveless collars. Yes, this dress is deceivingly made of denim. Maybe it's a softer, bleached out type, but that makes the denim approach more subtle. The sleeveless collared nature of the dress made it a traditional school outfit, but the denim fits in with a more modern style, making my "school chic aesthetic" not ordinary. I completed the school look not by pairing the dress with the typical penny loafers you would see paired with knee highs, but with the more cool-looking shoes that are still worn with school uniforms -- the Doc Marten oxfords. I changed the bare-eye and bare-lip tradition by wearing subtle eyeliner and pink lipstick to, once again, fit with my personal style just like I did with the denim. School girl chic is a thing, but there's never a reason to go full out, unless you're dressing up as Cher from Clueless for Halloween. 

Dress from Lou & Grey. Shoes by Doc Marten. 
Photos taken by me (and sadly, not outside. It was raining.)