Friday, August 28, 2009

Blank Canvas

Between the furniture assembling, grocering, cooking, scouting for a yoga studio, learning how to do the laundry, and numerous administrative errands needed to be run all to get settled in, shopping has been the only thing keeping me sane. Bereft of my fashiony friends in a city that doesn't put much of a premium on creative dressing, much less does it keep abreast with what's happening in the fashion world, I stock up on items in between classic and out-there, a cautious move as I wait to uncover the innate style and spot the stylish people of Boston.

The white linen oxfords shown above (set against the vivacious pattern of the IKEA desk chair I assembled myself!) were one of my in-between purchases. They remind me a lot of buck shoes:

quite a popular photo by The Sartorialist taken a few months ago

except they aren't made of buck skin. Ideas flooded my mind as I caught sight of them at the store: I could doodle on them with a Sharpie, smear them with paint, dip-dye them degrade, or even stud them with multicolor gems! Or I could just wear them and let them wear out, allow them to naturally get soiled by the earth of a city I have yet to discover.

Friday, August 21, 2009

DIY Lanvin: The Satin-Bow Shoes

I spotted these pin-dotted navy blue suede lace-ups on sale at the local Zara last week, and though I was already at a loss for luggage space, the absurdly low price dictated I had to get them.

I've been eyeing this pair even when it was priced at about 80% higher than what I paid for, the subtle patent piping really went well with the blue suede.

But as I was handing over my cash at the register, it struck me that this pair of shoes would be a great starting point for a DIY version of these green velvet Lanvins laced with black satin ribbons that I previously blogged about:

I was a trip to the gift-wrapping shop away from my very own DIY Lanvins! I couldn't help myself, it just had to be done. Here they are:

black satin and navy, a quietly elegant pairing

As easy as it looks, I wouldn't be quick to naming this the easiest of my DIY projects ever, it takes a little finger-aching manual labor to thread the wide satin ribbons through the little lace-holes, and some common sense to configure the lacing to make the ribbon lines sit nicely atop the shoe, as opposed to having them cross over each other. They're no Lanvins, but they're (partially) the work of my hands!

I went ribbon-crazy at the gift-wrapping shop the next day, purchasing the same wide satin ribbon in four rich hues.

burnt orange, gold, magenta and olive, which one to thread next?

EDIT: Isobel of SeventySomethings suggests binding the edges with sellotape (or Scotch tape as Filipinos would call it) like real laces and then cutting them off after threading them. Future DIYers, please thank her for saving your fingertips from the soreness mine had to go through.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boston + The Mauve and Yellow Chiffon Shirt

Dearest readers, at the exact time this post is being published, I would be boarding the plane bound for the United States. I'll be making a four-day pit stop in San Francisco (to mitigate the aches of having to fly coach long-haul) before flying to my final destination, Boston. This means I'll have little time to go online, let alone blog, so I have scheduled this post and the next, for your reading pleasure.

my new city for the next few months, Boston, in the fall

Owing to the success of my black and white chiffon shirt, I decided to whip up a sibling for that shirt; and when I came across this charming georgette of what looks like pale lemon yellow abstract goldfishes in a sea of grayish mauve, I knew I had found my fabric. Contrast always works; I needed something to cut through the busy-ness of the print, so I went for a panel on the hem out of an off-white, semi-sheer, drapey fabric. Here it is, chiffon shirt #2:

The last of my tailoring projects for now (at least until Christmastime when I come back home), I'm ready to embrace change and find out what other sorts of "dandy" projects I could get my hands dirty with.

My tailor has produced some excellently crafted pieces for me, but reality is, the workmanship couldn't be perfect all the time. He seemed to be quite sloppy with this shirt, giving me misaligned pockets:

(a detail I'm willing to embrace as an endearing quirk)

and a curved hem that just didn't drape so beautifully. Hence I went on to rip the hemming and cut it straight across, leaving the edges raw.

I quite like the effect of random threads sticking out and fraying, and to be honest, I just can't be bothered to go have it properly hemmed.

As you're reading this, I'd probably be knocked-out, curled up, hopped-up on sleeping pills, miles above the ground in an oversize t-shirt and sweat pants. But wouldn't it be nice if we could realistically travel in elegance, immune to what intense discomfort itchy threads or constricting tailoring would bring us when traveling by air? Inspired by Tommy's laid-out-on-the-floor outfit shots on This is Naive (Tommy, if you're reading this, I direly miss your outfit posts!) here's what I'd like to guys to imagine me wearing on the plane, I'd call it my fantasy summer traveling outfit:

Panama hat from Rome, chiffon shirt designed by me, necklace made from a friend's wedding favors, vintage Ray-Ban aviators, YSL Muse briefcase, Zara khakis, sandals from Cyprus

See you in a different time zone!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fall-ing for Robert Geller

A glimpse of the individual pieces of Robert Geller's Fall 2009 collection has gotten me longing for fall, especially now that it's sweltering outside and a yoga session at an open-air room feels like hot yoga. Though I don't see myself wearing every piece in the collection, I do think quite a number of them are very much inspired. As individual pieces, they succeed in evoking that dark, mischievous enigma that we associate with Robert Geller. My top picks:

The degrade shirt with built-in bowtie

This degrade shirt in purple + Malibu pink had already caught my eye the moment it stepped out the New York Fall 09 runway, it was probably my favorite piece in the collection. Seeing now that it's got a built-in self-tie bowtie, I'm lusting for it even more intensely.

the same shirt in black and white, tied

The half-and-half shirt

Geller does a great job at doing dark and deranged with this identity crisis-afflicted top, which I much prefer in the more somber colorway.

I would have wanted to have my tailor do my version of this half-and-half shirt, but alas, it wouldn't make it in time for my flight. (Unless, of course, I could stuff him in my suitcases and take him with me to Boston). Oh the print combinations I could think of! I'd also love to experiment by combining fabrics of different textures and drapes; I'm thinking heavy silk+sheer georgette, or oxford cotton+jersey.

The wide-waistband trousers

These wide-waistband cotton trousers give a nod to the cummerbund silhouette while still maintaining a relaxed feel. The single pleat on each leg is just right.

The furry-collar short jacket

This looks like the perfect fall jacket to throw on over basics. The curved placket, furry collar (Is it shearling? or astrakhan?), and antique brass buttons evoke a restrained opulence.

The big scarf
And lastly, a gracefully chunky oversize scarf for those days when you want to appear detached from the world but the truth is you're saying "Look at me and my dramatically exaggerated neckwear!" And it keeps you warm, too!

It also comes in beige. Now isn't this just dandy?

images from Leon

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Sleeve Wonder

Remember this patterned, band-collar, one-blue-sleeve shirt I designed that I wasn't feeling 100% happy about?

Well, I ended up wearing the shirt for four days in a week, sometimes even impatiently waiting for it to dry on the clothesline (and subsequently wearing it partially wet!). The light, breezy fabric and the generous cut made me want to reach for the shirt as I dressed up day after day.

Ray-Ban tortoiseshell glasses, shirt by me, Cheap Monday jeans, Bottega Veneta moccasins

I fell in love with the idea, but it took time for me to warm up to the idea incarnate. I guess things you design have their way of growing on you.

P.S. Thanks for the congratulatory words on the Mykromag mention, I really appreciate it. Oh and 51 followers now! Thanks for the love, guys, keep it coming!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The DIY Band-collar Shirt

My favorite DIY projects are those that are breezy-quick and easy as peas. I bought this denim shirt from Zara despite it being one size larger than what I usually wear. It looked great in the fitting-room; I even thought it was slightly reminiscent of the Lanvin x Acne collection.

But days passed, and I wasn't getting as much wear out of it as I had hoped. It was beginning to look more to me like suburban soccer mom driving a mini-van than Acne by Lanvin, pardon the cheap rhyme play.

I needed something new to wear one night, so, snip-snip, I completed my quickest DIY project ever in less than ten minutes!

I cut along the line of my intended band-collar, trying to get as close to it as possible but taking caution not to cut into the band-collar as this would ruin the seam and unravel the collar.

I tried to cut continuously for a clean finish, but my nearly infantile motor skills meant I had to go back more than a couple of times to retouch parts I failed to cut close enough.

I was very pleased with the transformation; somehow converting it into a band-collar shirt finally made the slightly oversize proportions work as I had imagined.

a new shirt in much less time than it would take to think of a clever new Twitter message

I reckon this would be a great way to update any old button-down shirt. Most button-downs with standard collars do have band-collars under the "flap", it's just a matter of exposing the band collar. If you don't mind a few raw threads peeking out of the collar edge (I personally think it's quite charming!) this would be a quick and easy way to get the feeling of having a new shirt. DIY is the recession's best friend!

Here it is worn, with the curly quiff I had blogged about earlier:

Ray-ban tortoiseshell glasses, DIY whistle necklace, DIY band-collar shirt, Cartier watch, tailor-made pants, Opening Ceremony suede saddle shoes

Friday, August 7, 2009

Striding in Satin Bows

Some shoe porn for the weekend courtesy of Lanvin, the ever-flowing fountain of things worth lusting for.

It couldn't get any more dandy than emerald velvet oxfords laced-up with wide black satin ribbons.

Another bowed beauty in what appears to be burgundy satin.

Todd Selby of The Selby paid a visit to the Lanvin Homme studio in Paris and took home dazzlingly photographed images of the new accessories (not that the goods need any help).

The wavy burnt gold pattern on these lace-ups is mesmerizing. They're opulent, and, dare I say, beachy at the same time.

A fine specimen of Lanvin's signature pearl beading: iridescent indigo beads on satin, suede, and leather high-tops.

It's been a while since I've seen a bag of this price point that I've wanted as much as this very handy-looking briefcase in distressed patent leather. The deep oxblood will go with everything!

He also posted a hilariously quirky handwritten questionnaire which he had Lanvin menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver fill out. Check it out, it's delightful!

images from The Selby

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Curly Quiff, a Tutorial

Today, a Dandy Project first: a tutorial on how to achieve a curly quiff. I've worn my thick, pencil-straight Asian hair slicked back, in a pompadour, bowl-cut; in essence I've exhausted pretty much every throwback hair do for straight hair and I find myself bored. The thought of going curly has always been in the back of my mind, and now that I've found a relatively easy way of doing it temporarily, I thought I'd share it with you guys by way of a tutorial. You don't see step-by-step how-to's in magazines so much nowadays, do you?

a relaxed, modern quiff on a head of naturally curly ginger locks, from The Facehunter

Mainstream men's magazines make today's guys out to be busy, lazy squares who can't be bothered to spend time and effort on their appearance. It's a notion that I'd like to challenge. Kids today hand-stud their shoes and coats until their fingers bleed, and manually thread old t-shirts and jeans until they go blind---they seem to pull out all the stops for the sake of individuality.

I'm almost completely positive this fellow's quiff is perma-curled. Good stuff. from Drop Snap

I, for one, don't mind putting forth a little elbow grease to make myself look crazier than I usually do, or at the least, different from everyday. So for those as mentally experimental as I am, here's a good forty-minute time-killer that though I don't guarantee it to be the most flattering look on you, at least you'd have the answer to that ever-nagging question, "How would I look curly?"

This procedure is not mine to take credit for, rather, my friend Quan Mai taught it to me by way of a very long Facebook wall post and a couple more follow-up messages. So here it is, married with my own pointers and tips I got from doing the procedure myself:

1. Run a good amount of gel through damp hair.

2. Blow dry hair, but not completely dry, about 90% dry.

3. Take a section of hair, twist until it coils flat on your head, and clip it down with one of those tight snappy clips. The more sections of hair you create, the curlier it will be.

Work out those arm muscles, this 'do can cause serious strain!

4. Leave the clips on for 30 minutes or longer depending on how wavy you want it. It helps to blow the clipped and coiled hair with a hairdryer to heat-set the style, but that step is not absolutely necessary.

Part of me cracks up as I look at this photo and am reminded of a horror doll head, the other part of me is seriously thinking of replacing my current Twitter avatar with it...

Remember that the parts of your head with thinner hair (e.g. just above the temples) will curl more quickly and more tightly than thicker hair, so you might want to leave the clips on for a little less in those areas.

5. Remove the clips and run your fingers through your hair to untangle the coils.

The hair fresh from the clips, wear it like this if you wish...

6. Style as desired, and remember to spray with hairspray to lock the curls in.

...or slick it back clean with the waves adding subtle texture and volume.

I personally went for something in between, slightly pulled together and back, with a couple of curls free to flop about as they wish. Have fun!

P.S. Thanks to Quan for his very detailed instructions. Check out his blog, Geneticboi.
P.P.S. Scroll down a bit and by the right you'd see a few of the blog's greatest hits (my designs, the guide to having things tailor-made, etc.) conveniently linked with pictures for easy access.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dandy Project on Mykromag

In an interview with Robbie Spencer on Mykromag, the painfully stylish Dazed and Confused menswear editor mentions The Dandy Project as one of the blogs he enjoys following. Like a kindergarten boy showing off the star stamp he got for good recitation, allow me to blow up the part of the interview where this blog is mentioned:

He also mentions Style Salvage (congrats Steve and EJ!) among his daily reads, as well as personal blogs of his co-workers at Dazed and blogs by other people in the fashion industry.

Thank you very, very much for the mention, Robbie. From someone whose creative vision, career progression (Dazed menswear editor at 25!) and sense of style I look up to tremendously, it means a lot.

Mykromag is a fashion, art, and music magazine with a penchant for focusing on fresh talent, creating new inspiration, and making people think by instigating dialogue. Founded and edited by Sonny Groo, stylist and fashion week street style mainstay, it is a publication that is sent out to a select few people in the fashion industry and is also available online. I've just added it to my daily reads. Good stuff, do check it out.

Here is the interview in full:

Thanks to Naboonies for telling me about the mention, I'm currently walking on clouds while smiling from ear to ear!

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