Outfitting: Modern Vintage

This dress cost me, no joke, $5 HKD, which at the time roughly translated into about $0.75 USD. And it wasn't even used. I'd heard stories of the fantastic shopping to be had in Hong Kong, but I don't think I was a believer until this. I was wandering around the stalls of the famous Ladies Market at Mong Kok, rifling through racks of cheap imitation handbags, sunglasses, etc. I don't really know what possessed me to go through the stalls to the physical storefronts that lined them on either side. There I found roast ducks hanging in the windows of greasy-spoon eateries, and electronic shops blaring loud Cantonese music, and a couple of nondescript stores with crude handwritten signs atop plastic clothing carousels. 

I think I saw the sign for $5 HKD first and blinked, and looked harder. At first glance it seemed the stuff on the racks was as junky as the price. But when I looked closer, I saw quite a few pieces that were actually pretty cute, and when I reached out and touched them I realized they were made of some quality material. I grabbed one, then two, and before I knew it I had a dozen dresses in my arms, all different shapes and colors, none costing more than about $15 HKD. I tried each one of them on, which took forever.

The dresses were old-timey, very old-fashioned in their cut, but somehow charming in their little details, fabric, and style. I couldn't resist. As it turned out, the store gathered overstock from Japanese clothing manufacturers and sold it for dirt cheap on the streets of Hong Kong. And knowing the Japanese, that helped explain the attention to detail and quality of the clothing.

I walked away that day with about 6 dresses and 2 shirts for about $15 USD.  Not bad for a day's work!

  • Thrifted vintage-inspired dress
  • Random grommet belt I got for $3 on Canal St. in NYC
  • Tommy Hilfiger wedge sandals

Outfitting: Urban Cowgirl, sort of.

I fell instantly in love with these MizMooz cowboy boots that were on sale at ModCloth. When I got them, I was so pleased with their quality, durability, color, etc. It took me a while to figure out how to wear them, but I was glad to find these super colorful socks I bought on a whim at like, Express, maybe 5-10 years ago, and how well they worked with the deep teal of the boots.

For some reason I got a lot of comments also on the yellow top, which I didn't think was anything out of the ordinary (esp. compared to the boots!), but apparently people really liked it.

Hot or not: Everyone is getting on this hiking booties trend!

I thought I heard wrong the first time I heard about these. I thought people were going crazy. High heeled hiking boots!? When you think about it, it's really absurd, especially for those who actually like to hike. It's clear these kinds of shoes are absolutely the LAST thing you need for a trek up the mountains carrying many pounds of equipment. It's like this ridiculous, completely impractical product of the modern age, wholesale vanity at its purest.

That all said, the style is really growing on me! I can't believe it, but I can't help myself either. There's something about the blatant ruggedness, the impracticality, the sheer audacity that I love. Not to mention the cool details and don't-mess-with-me vibe they give off. So of course I spent a few hours scouring the interwebs for some of the finest examples of these walking oxymorons (which are still within reach). Pictured above are Topshop's 'Arella' booties lined in shearling.

I was so disappointed to find out that the Dollhouse 'Rogeri' style, which are my favorites, have long sold out on sites like Endless.com. I found some other black hiking boot styles that are pretty cool, but none of them have quite the chunky weight of the 'Rogeri.' And lastly are some examples of hiking booties in other colors. The ones from Tambukiki (below) are only about $32!

Outfitting: Navy brown and white

Not much of a story here. The crocheted miniskirt is a new addition from my last ModCloth order, and I haven't worn these beloved Cydwoq shoes in forever and a day. I thought the skirt might be too short, but I felt surprisingly comfortable in it. It was generally a welcome return to my usual neutral palette.

A closeup of these extraordinary Cydwoqs, and also of my Tova agate pendant necklace.

Outfitting: Stepping in Time, a.k.a. the most expensive pair of socks anyone ever bought, short of Rodarte.

A few of you may remember the drawn-out drama of acquiring these MaxMara 'Amelie Rio' stockings. I first saw them in the window of the MaxMara at South Coast Plaza, and subsequently tracked them down at the Moxie boutique in Boston. In the past two years, I think I've maybe worn them twice. Until now.

Do I regret the purchase? Not in the least. Did they have the life-changing effect I thought they would have on me? Not exactly - at least not the way most people would define 'life changing.' But it was significant, the first real item of luxury I bought for myself. And in that way, they were a bit of a gateway drug; they allowed me to consider things heretofore outrageous, to be within my scope of acquisition. They allowed me to pamper myself, which I'd never really done much before. And they are, quite simply, gorgeous, and I enjoy their beautiful craftsmanship and general loveliness every time I think about them.

So I guess in that way, yes, they were life-changing after all. I had a heck of a time finding something in my wardrobe that would work with them, and all the people who told me that they would fall down were absolutely right - I had to buy a garter belt just to hold them up.  And I kind of laugh because the bottom half of this outfit is very expensive, but the top half cost barely anything at all.  After all, the stockings were worth it - and this love story had a happy ending.

Contrary to run-of-the-mill jewelry: we can't get enough of these delightful charm necklaces!

Thanks to Netta for the tip. My friends and I are in a tizzy over these lover-ly little necklaces by Contrary on etsy, especially the badass necklaces that double as pocket knives and retractable scissors. So keen to have jewelry that hides a defense mechanism, or a useful tool. I like how they are photographed like characters in a stop-motion film.

I also love some of the stationary charm necklaces in Contrary's shop, like this adorable birdcage charm, and the whimsical silver tooth and pine cone. 

And here are some neat utilitarian necklaces for the practical among us:

Outfitting: Cool Runnings

This dress has been sitting in my closet for like 6 months. I originally ordered it custom-made from Liza Rietz on etsy, but had to send it back because it was way too large on top. When she sent it back to me, it was still huge (and unflattering... I was swimming in it!). I thought it was a lost cause until I found a dressmaker in LA who really knows what she's doing. For $10 (the original dress cost $210 on sale), she figured out that at least 2-3 inches needed to be taken from the back, and voila. She also shortened the runner that goes down the middle; it was comically long originally. 

Never underestimate the power of a well tailored dress! I'm so glad I was able to save this one.
  • Liza Rietz kimono dress
  • Gap woven belt
  • Fluevog 'Aquarius' sandals