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A 30 something housewife blogging about her love affair with Fashion.....and travelling and food!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ladies who lunch with style!

Today I had lunch with the spouse group of my husband's company. The group meets very often to do various activities all paid by the company. Ain't it wonderful?
Anyway, since it was going to be a good day, I decided to dress up a little. Well, I did not dress fancy, but a bit less casual than I usually do. I call this look Ladies who lunch with style.

Here is what I wore:




Printed scarf (gift from 10 years ago)
Suede jacket (bought in Japan years ago)
New york company shirt (Ross)
Hanes long tee (Walmart)
Green cargo pants (Shimamura)
Mia Brown suede boots (bought in Australia 6 years ago)
Colorful necklace (Joa )

The lunch was nice. And once again I ate a lot. I like having women around. We are all from different places and it is always a learning experience when we meet. I cannot wait for the next activity.

I love these cargo pants. They are wide enough and they have a belt.


I had this jacket for years but I never once worn it in Houston. I am happy that I found it sleeping in my suitcase. I thought I gave it away.

PS: here is what we ate during the lunch



Temaki sushi, salad, , chicken burrito, salmon and cream cheese, bread, cheese ravioli and


These delicious cup cakes....Yummo!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I got my trench coat


I finally got the trench coat I was looking for. I bought it at H&M a few weeks ago. It was on sale for Y3000. It is not like the trench coat I was looking for because it has a hood. And originally I wanted it in military green but they did not have my size. However, I am glad with my purchase. I have been wearing the thing ever since particularly when the temperature would drop below the 20 degrees.

I tried to recreate the Domani fashion shoot without success. I need a professional photographer or at least some tripod because it is a pain trying to take pics of myself with my camera. Anyway, here are the pics




Black turban
H&M trench coat
Zara white shirt
Steve and Barry's jeans
Betsey Johnson pumps 




                                 I bought these shoes to sell but they are so pretty I am keeping them for myself

                                                                    Here is the mustard version

Friend (or Street) style stealer 1st edition: M. 's style

Since I am person who lacks style and elegance ( I think that you have to be born with it), I often get tips on how to dress by looking at people around me, magazines or celebrities on TV. In my other blog: odetofashion.blogspot.com I already started something called Celebrity Style stealer where I mimicked celebrity style. But in this one, I would like to add Friend (or street) style stealer.

Recently I met a woman at my son's school. I will call her M. M. is a very simple beauty with no fuss no muss. And she always has the same style that I absolutely adore. She always wear a plain t-shirt, with cargo pants and pumps or sandals. Sometimes, she adds a pretty necklace. Her cargo pants are all ankle length and vary from green to beige and black. Recently with Fall dropping on us, I imagined that she would have to change her style a bit. Instead, she just added a blue trench coat or a black leather jacket to her style and be done with it. I always wanted to ask her why she was dressing like that but I am not that close to her yet to ask her such a personal question. I reckon that since she is a mother of two travelling more than an hour to come to school every day, she needs something easy to wear. I mean, ain't nothing easier to wear in the morning than a plain tee and cargo pants (except plain tee and jeans: my version). There is no need to iron or prepare before hand. You can just pull them out of the closet and wear them. But that is my imagination, in reality I have no idea how she dresses in the morning.

Anyway, I am reproducing her style today:

- Military inspired vest (Shimamura)
- Hanes plain white tee (Home's)
- Zara pink cargo pants
- Ankle strap pumps (Ross)
- Printed scarf (Gift-had it for more than 10 years)
- Charming Charlie Bib necklace

                                                            Bib necklace and printed scarf

I love everything about the outfit. However, while I was putting it on, I realized that the pumps were a little bit tight. I bought them 4 years ago. That was my first purchase at Ross. I wore them just once during graduation (I was 6 months preggers). They hurt a bit but I thought it was because of all the water I was retaining in my feet. Now, even though I am baby and water free, they still hurt. I guess I will have to sell them or give them away. I love them but they are not worth the pain I guess.



The shoes look like they were made of straw. Plus they have a fake crocodile print around the strap. 



I have not wore this outfit in public yet. I am hoping to break it for a day at the zoo with some other mothers next week. I will surely switch the pumps for a pair of ballet flats. I have been looking for some in pink suede with some flowers on top like these:


                                                               
                                                           Anita Arenberg suede flats (Y2000 @ ryuryu.jp)

So what do you think of M.'s inspired style?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I dream of a Trench Coat


Uchida Kyoko: Celeb (former TV announcer)

I have a secret to share with you: I have a love-hate relationship with Fall. In all the years I have lived in Japan, a country with four seasons, Fall was the only season I could not understand. One thing I could not cope with was the change of temperatures. It can be chilly in the morning, but very hot by lunch time, and then chilly again at the end of the day. It is impossible to know what to wear with such sudden changes. And to add insult to injury, I often catch a cold because my body is not used to shift.

However, I am always looking forward to Fall because of one thing and one thing only: Fall Fashion. I love wearing cardigans over long sleeve tees. I am also in awe at Fall/ Winter accessories such as the muffler, the wool hats, the leather gloves, the suede boots. Moreover, I think that a coat adds class and style to any lady. For these reasons, I am so eager for Fall to start.


Yet there was something that puts my anticipation into obsession mode.


A few days ago, I was waiting for the bus at the station. It was so hot, I decided to go cool off at the convenient store next door while checking the fashion magazines. I found this one called Domani, targeting stylish and elegant women 35 years and older. Inside they had a spread they called : Trench Coat x Shirt x Denim = elegant woman or the battle of how to wear the three items (literal translation from Japanese). The spread was part of a of the following topic: "How 35 years old women wear every day clothes?". They invited Japanese celebrities such as models, actresses, comedians to pose in the three items. The pictures were breathtaking. And they inspired me to get myself a Trench Coat.

Domani Japan
http://fanet.jp/domani/index.html

Here are the pics I took of the magazines
 


Yonekura Ryoko : Model, Actress



Chibana Kurara: Model


                                                       
                                                         Tomochika : comedian

I always loved Trench coats and bought myself several in the past. I had one in black faux leather, one in red and even one in pink. I loved them all. However I never had the chance to find myself a Khaki trench coat. In Japan, the trench coat has always been popular particularly in Spring, where it is showcased in every color of the rainbow. Japanese women would go for every style of trench coat. However, I have noticed that for really elegant women, the brand of choice is definitely Burberry (all the models in the pics were wearing Burberry). Living in Japan, I used to dream of owning a Burberry Trench Coat. However, I have to say that the price tag is not letting me fulfill that dream.

Nevertheless, I have found a way of being among the stylish ladies this year. At H&M, they sell a very interesting trench coat for way less than Burberry. The H&M Khaki trench is perfect for the stay at home mother, frugal shopper that I am. It cost barely 5000 Yen. I have yet to try and buy the beauty. But I touched it and the material looks good enough. I cannot wait for the temperatures to drop to go and get myself the so longed trench. I just hope they will still have my size.

A part from the trench coat spread, they were other interesting topics inside the Domani magazine. The entire magazine was such an inspiration I am thinking of getting a subscription. As I am approaching 30, I may not be their target audience, since it is for the Japanese woman of 35 and above. However, I may get it just to learn about style and elegance. It is a topic that has been on my mind for a while. I imagined that style and elegance comes with age. And when I see women like Mrs Obama or Jennifer Anniston, I cannot help but sigh because they are so elegant and classy. I tell myself that they were not born that way. It took them a long time to figure out what looks good on them and what works with their body. I kept on wishing of becoming like them. But I think now is the time that I stop wishing and start acting. First step: learn about style. And Domani may become my number one school book. (at least until I leave Japan)

Fall is here!

So Fall has finally arrived with a bang. One day, it was 35 degrees, and the next it was 20. The sun disappeared and down came the rain. Ironically it started to get cooler on the 1st day of Fall, August 23rd. Anyway since Fall has finally decided to show up, I am getting my Fall/ Winter clothes out of their suitcases and trying to clean and put away my Summer clothes. I am so excited because I will get to layer my clothes. As much as I love Summer, it is way too hot to know what to wear. You want to be modest without being too covered, which is just an impossible task with the heat. But during Fall and Winter, you can wear as many clothes as you want (without looking like a hoarder I mean). I also have to add that Fall/Winter clothes are much more tailored than summer clothes. Just think how handsome one can look with a wool coat on or a trench coat.
To celebrate the arrival of Fall, I took on a new task I want to call Fall Coordination. I am going to put out all my warm clothes, coordinate them and document them. I got inspired by the Domani Magazine I talked about in a previous post.

And here is my first outfit for Fall. I call it Sparkle





Animal Print scarf (Bday present from my best friend hundred years ago, actually for my 18 bday)

Forever 21 Sequin tee (bought in Factory 2 U actually just before leaving the US)
Old Navy cardigan
Skinny jeans
Forever 21 ballet flats (bought them after hurricane Ike for $8)
To be by Agnes B Tote (free gift with the purchase of Non-No magazine 600 Yen)
Beaded bracelet bought in a local market back home

 

To be tote bag (perfect for running errands)



Please do not mind the mask. I am coughing a bit. I am doing like the Japanese by wearing a mask to preotect myself from getting even sicker. I wanted to wear my scarf down but I looked a bit like a Taliban with the mask. So I am wearing it up. We do not want to scare the Japanese, do we?



 

One for my fav ballet flats





I chose bright colors although Fall usually calls for warm earth tones. It was the 1st sunny day in almost a week. I was feeling down lately with all the rain and needed a boost. The Old Navy cardigan was just bright enough. I have to say that before I would never wear a sequin top with a yellow cardigan. I am happy to discover that I have changed, and I hope for the better.


So how did I do in your book of style?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Revamping my shoes

Revamping my shoes: Corsage style

I was watching Japanese national TV: NHK the other day and came across a very interesting program: Kurashi no Patona ( The partner of the living). It is a weekly program during which some expert on sewing or knitting showcases how to make pretty things. That day, some lady was showing how to revamp shoes (or any other fashion accessories) by making corsages. She made it seem rather easy and quick. Her work was so beautiful, it inspired me to do the same.
However since I am on the lazy side, I decided that instead of making corsages from scratch, I would just buy them and stick them to my shoes.
And that is what I did today. I was going to the Daiso in Isezaki Mall (they call it a mall, but it is rather a Shotengai). I saw several cute corsages and bought like 5 of them. I wanted more but had to limit myself. How many corsages a girl really need? Not that many!




My corsages (each a 105Y or $1.30) Two Japanese design, two polka dots and one marine style)

I attached the Blue Polka dots corsages to my rubber shoes and voila:



Before


After

Pretty, isn't it?


I saw the Japanese style corsage (in white and red) at first but for some reason, I just took one, thinking they would not match the rubber shoes. And what do you know, they are even prettier than the polka dots corsage. I guess, I will have to get another one of these at my next trip to Daiso. For those who do not know, Daiso is a chain of 100 Y store, where everything (or almost everything) costs a 105Y.

Anyway, just a reminder before you think of copying me idea: the clip is rather sharp.

The long and sharp clip at the back of the corsage

Therefore if you are crafty, I advice you to get something like Velcro and attach them to both the shoe and the corsage (that is, if you no longer want to use the shoes as they are ). Or get a smaller clip attached to it. As myself, I am going to stick the to the same clip (because, I may use the corsage later for my scarf or clothes) but I will put a band aid where the clip touches my feet to avoid chafing or even scaring.

So what do you think of this revamping your shoes idea?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Flowers(and accessories) that make my everyday look a bit "funner"

It has been so hot lately that I have not put any effort into "dressing up". I usually wear a jean and a shirt or a tube dress to walk (and get on the bus) around Naka Ku. But I wanted to change a bit today. So on my way to city hall (to get my resident card) and China Town I decided to add a few accessories to my outfit.  This is what I wore:


Outfit of the day

Red lace tank- Factory 2 U
White top - Ross
Calvin Klein Jeans- Ross
White scarf with red roses- bought years ago in Japan for nothing
Dollhouse Lomo Sandals- Ross
Hand of Fatimah necklace- bought at home
Japanese design corsage- Daiso Isezakicho
Silver ring- bought in Vivre Yokohama years ago



Red roses scarf



Dollhouse Lomo sandals



Hand of Fatimah necklace and Japanese design corsage



My favorite ring

You ask me what is special about today's outfit (because I wear the same variation everyday, particularly this top) and I would tell you that it is the accessories. I love the scarf for its simplicity and colors. The shoes add a little funk to everything. I like the length and looseness of the jeans but they failed me today because it rained a bit, and the hem of the pants got wet. I managed to wrap up the hem to avoid the pants to get any wetter. By doing so, the ankle strap of the shoes got to be seen.

While walking in China Town, I even heard a Japanese teenage girl say that I was stylish. It made me happy (Note to oneself: almost anything that foreigners do is stylish for Japanese people, so there is nothing to be thrilled about)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shotengai- Japanese commercial district

In the US, you have the mall; but in Japan you have the Shotengai. (They also have malls)
Shotengai are little commercial district where they sell everything from fresh produce to clothes. It is not necessarily a market because it is usually little shops along one street. Shotengai can be found almost in every populated district. And they tend to senior citizens or housewives. That is why the prices are competitive and the fashion a little suspicious. However like all bargain places, you need to dig a little to find a jewel.

The reason why enjoy Shotengai so much is because you can find pretty much anything you may need. Moreover the prices are affordable. Sometimes, you can even bargain with the shop owner. On top of that, all the shops are in the same area and tiny, so it is fun to take a stroll there. It is not overwhelming like big malls  or department stores where you walk miles, take the elevators to find a specific store.

My first experience with the Shotengai happened in Osaka Minoo. However, I had just arrived in Japan and did not appreciate it. I went straight for the big department stores. After a year in Japan, I began to realize that shopping in department stores would break my bank. Hence, I opted for little shops whenever I would find one. I discovered Gumyoji Shotengai because my best friend was residing there. As the perfect shopaholic she is (Birds of a feather flock together), she showed me around. It was a pleasure checking the little shoe store at the entrance of the Shotengai, the accessories store where I got scarves, the big discount store where I bought presents for my entire family the first time I went back home and the Mos burger (Japanese fast food chain) where I would end my shopping trip. I have to say that during the two years my pal lived in Gumyoji, the Shotengai used to absorb our money and time, till we moved to hipper places.



                                                              Gumyoji Shotengai Entrance
                                (photo: http://members.ytv.home.ne.jp/makiron-i/welcome.html)




A better view of Gumyoji Shotengai

I have not found another Shotengai like the one in Gumyoji. I am still craving that. There are two near my new place: Motomachi Shotengai and Honmoku Shotengai. The first one is 10 minutes walking distance. I went there today but it is a little too old for me. There have drugstores I may need to check for household goods. I am planning to check the second one, which is bigger ans "hipper" I guess. Maybe I will come back from that trip with interesting goodies. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Daily look: Yokohama Mama

I decided to do a daily look post today. There is nothing special about today. I just went out to buy Yakisoba (fried noodles) for lunch at the Lawson 100 store around the corner. Yet, the reason why I decided to do a daily look post is that I bought new shoes. In an earlier post, I talked about Barbie shoes. I stated that I would never get the plastic high heels. Instead, I would get a flat and comfortable one at a reasonable price. I was not really looking for one but I was lucky enough to find it.
 Yesterday, I went shopping at a different supermarket a little far from my flat. I was surprised to discover that on the second floor of the supermarket, they had a fashion section. I went inside and saw that the prices were really cheap. I did not intend to buy anything until I saw some red peep toe rubber flats. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. I was about to purchase them when I saw the same pair but in beige. I already have patent red peep toe shoes so I went for the beige shoes. And get this: they were only 490 Yen ($6)



Beige peep toe rubber shoes

So I call today's outfit: Yokohama Mama. It was inspired by all the young Japanese mothers I see out there. Some of them are really into young fashion wearing short shorts and tee shirts but some other are on the modest side. I imitated the later with my own twist:


- Green scarf - 100 Yen store
- White tee shirt - Ross
- Black tank top - Factory 2 you
- Tie dye skirt - bought in Japan years ago
- Leggings - Dots
- Rubber shoes -  Paseo Maita store

The outfit is loose and need some definition with maybe a belt and accessories. However it is so freaking hot outside, I do not want to add anything to it. It has been around 36 degrees around town in the last couple days. Sometimes, it is so hot I wish I could walk around naked or at least wear shorts. But....


(it is so hard trying to take a pic with the timer)

So what do you think?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Barbie shoes

Barbie Pink Shoes


Since I have been back in Japan, I have been so busy that I didn't have time to window shop (plus I am temporarily living in a not so hip part of town). However my daily trips to the supermarket and family restaurants made me notice something interesting/ strange I would like to call Barbie shoes.
I think every girl my age or younger living in rich or somehow developing countries knows what a Barbie doll is.I used to dream of owning one after I saw my cousins who came back from the US having a box full of them plus accessories/ I finally owned several of them including one of my favorite: a black Barbie. Anyway, remember the Barbie rubber shoes? They used to be in rubber and in pink color? Well, I saw the exact same thing one some Japanese woman's feet just a few days ago.
Now Barbie shoes are different from your usual rubber shoes or jelly sandals. They have heels and the pair I saw was bright pink. I wanted to learn more about the shoes. Therefore, I went online. On one of Japan's biggest online site (Rakuten), I discovered that they were several brands that offer the Barbie shoes but the one that caught my attention was one called Melissa.  It is a fashion house located in Brazil that designs plastic shoes. However, Melissa sees plastic as something that can be morphed into art. I am not sure I agree but their shoes are very pretty. They even design for Vivienne Westwood.


Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon (about $300 @ Rakuten)


I do not mind wearing rubber shoes such crocs (now that they are prettier) or jelly sandals but I draw the line at Barbie shoes for the following reasons:
1- Although back in the days, I dreamt of being a Barbie (and finding my Ken) . I know now that it is physically impossible. Therefore, I do not need to borrow her wardrobe.
2- How comfortable rubber shoes with heels can be? I have not tried them, but with this heat, I can feel blisters forming themselves on my feet.
3- I am not crazy or fashion forward enough to go for Barbie shoes, as cute as the can be.
4- Last but not least: they are effing expensive ( excuse my French!) A pair can cost between 5000 Yen to 10.000 yen and more (between $56 and $114)

If I were to get rubber shoes, these I would consider:

Aco Design Rubber Shoes with flowers




Rubber shoes with Camelia flower

These shoes will only set me back for $12.

For more info about:

Melissa shoes
http://www.melissaplasticdreams.com/home
Rakuten
http://en.rakuten.co.jp/

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tadaima (I am back)


photo stolen from http://tokyo.metblogs.com/?s=ferris+whee+1+

It has been too long. I spent 4 years away from this marvelous place where I met the greatest people, had the most fun in my adult life: Japan.

Now, I am back; and not exactly where I used to live but in a better place: Yokohama.

Yokohama is such a beautiful place with the sea near by, many parks, shopping malls. There are also many foreigners so the lifestyle is not necessarily Japanese. I used to go to Yokohama to visit my best friend who lived and worked there. On weekends, I would also go for a stroll with the hubby.

I have been back fairly 3 days and I am already in a mood for shopping. I went to one of my favorite place: World Porters to happily realized that things have not changed much. However, a walk around the neighborhood helped me see that they were new additions. I was happy to discover that international shops I so wanted to check but could not in the US were now present in Yokohama. I am thinking about H&M, Kitson and Topshop. As a matter of fact, I already check them all out. H&M was having a crazy sale with items ranging from 300 Yen ($4) to 3000 Yen ($40). I could not resist and bought myself this beautiful and very comfy coral pair of flats (for $22).



H&M Coral ballerina


So far, I have been happy to be back. Walking around the streets of Yokohama is such a delight. I get to see the crazy fashion sense of Japanese girls. It is so inspiring how they dress. And to think that I used to hate it. Now I see it as a form of art. I so want to shop some more for interesting items that I see on the streets. But I was planning to enter a 365 days without shopping contest. The plan was to stay an entire year without shopping in order for me to save money and learn more about myself. However, after a week back in Japan, I have the feeling that it will be hard for me to stick to the challenge. I may have to shop a little bit before I start it just to get the shopping itch out of my system.

1- World Porters: http://www.yim.co.jp/foreign/e_index.html

2- H&M Japan: http://www.hm.com/jp/

Store in Yokohama: Landmark Plaza 1F next to Sakuragicho station

3- Kitson Japan: http://shopkitson.jp/

Store in Yokohama: Colette Mare department store 1F next to Sakuragicho station

4- Topshop Japan

Store in Yokohama: Colette Mare department store 1F next to Sakuragicho station
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