Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shop for a cause

Do you think there is such thing as shopping without the guilt? Yes, there is and the answer is charity bazaar. It's like killing two birds with one stone; shop for yourself and shop for charity.

On 14th November, KBU International College, Bandar Utama organised Pink Bazaar. It was an event to raise awareness of Breast cancer and also to raise RM20,000 fund. I went there with my flea market kaki (in other words, friend). The both of us just love bazaars and flea markets.

The bazaar was relatively small with about 20 stalls or booths. There were stalls selling food, clothes, accessories to name a few. I bought a skirt and a vintage brooch at Jumbo sale booth. These two items for RM6 - what a bargain and lucky finds for me!

The skirt is pleated with prints of small polka dots of red and white with black ground. A touch of alteration is needed to give the skirt a new breathe of style. As for the brooch, it is a golden flower with pearl in the middle with some clear crystals on the petals. The design is classic yet elegant. Something new to add into my accessories collection.

Since charity bazaars provide an opportunity to raise fund for a good cause, I believe charity bazaars should be organised more often. How fun shopping can be when you are supporting a good cause.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Malaysia International Fashion Week (MIFA) is one of the most fashionably important event in the Malaysian fashion scene. Local designers especially budding designers can showcase their work on the runway.

On 7 Nov, I was privileged to attend Pretty In White's bridal collection by Celest. The show was held in Pavilion, KL. Models strutted the runway parading beautiful bridal dresses, cheongsams and evening wear. Celest incorporated few influences such layers of ruffles (latin), lace collar (victorian), fringes (cow girl-ish) into her designs. These made the bridal dresses trendy and modern thus suitable for those who wants the most fashionable bridal dress for the big day.

As for cheongsams and evening wear, the designs were contemporary with a twist. Expect the unexpected so to speak. Structural cuts, layers of ruffles, laces are few embellishments featured in cheongsam collection.

After the show, all guests were invited to a cocktail party at The C Club. New friends were made, name cards were exchanged, photos were taken whilst enjoying the delicious food in a modern setting of The C Club. It was an unforgettable yet fun experience.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Halloween is a time to unleash your creativity and to have fun, besides the scary tales and horror movies. Normally, I hardly get invitations to Halloween party. This year, I was fortunate enough to attend a Halloween party organized by The Peak Xperience.

I have no problem with the costume because I have 'Betty Rubble' (from the Flintstones) costume. The costume was made by me two or three years ago for company's annual dinner and dance. It was a fun experience to make the dress.

Other cool costumes are angel (remember Claire Danes in Romeo & Juliet), Greek goddess, Egyptian (think of Cleopatra), 20's flapper lady and perhaps French maid. For something extravaganza, go for Queen Amidala from Star Wars.

After the party and all, Betty costume is kept in wardrobe not sure when it would be useful again. But I will never forget the good time I had whilst wearing it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Living La Vida Chic

When life has become so routine, boredom creeps in slowly. This is the time to take action; to add some spice into life or to let boredom takes over life. Few tiny steps to spice up life through fashion are:

1. dress up for work or any social activities. If you look good, you feel good.
2. change hairstyle
3. purchase new accessories. It's a cheap way to expand your wardrobe/collection.
4. dress up based on a theme or trend at least once a week, eg. you can have a Girlie Day whereby you wear the most girlie outfit you have in your wardrobe. Bring out the girlie side of you which may have been hiding for so long. Enjoy and have fun with it.
5. try new colour
6. try new trend or style that you have been contemplating. Fashion is about experimenting styles.

Whenever I am feeling blah, I will make an effort to dress up a bit - add an accessories into my outfit. I have my session of retail therapies to de-stressing myself after a hard day or week at work. I usually purchase accessories such as necklaces and belts.

I am working on point #4 as I am not sure what theme to try. So far, I've tried vintage dress. Need to parade my purchases from flea market ;-) Will think and plan point #5 and #6. Looking forward to trying them.

I've got a feeling that life will slowly getting more fun in a fashionable way. Enjoy and live life in a stylish way.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back in the shopping scene

I've just realised that I've neglected my blog for quite some time. It's time to make up for the lost time. It's time to blog actively again (keeping my fingers crossed).

Where have I been or why I have gone missing? Started new job in September and have been focusing on the job too much - working late etc. The workaholic in me possessed myself for a while till lately I think I need a break. Any kind of break would be lovely. Retail therapy would be superb.

I've just returned from a short and sweet retail therapy session. My favourite boutique is having 10th Anniversary sale and everything is on 20% discount (better than no discount at all). This time around, I've developed a theory; purchase items that you like the most and one of a kind at 20% discount. Purchase items that you like but can live without them (the ones you have been contemplating and making a long list of pros and cons) at 50% discount. For 70% discount, buy new style clothing items that you wanted to try but have limited budget to buy on full price during non-sale period. This is an affordable to experiment fashion.

I've got a feeling that I will be overspend this month. What the heck. If it is really worth it and I can benefit a lot from these items, I think my money is well spent. I guess, I can't shop next month or the next few months depending my shopping expenses for this month ;-)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Unsung heroines I - boutique assistants

There are many unsung heroes and heroines out there but in this particular entry I would like to highlight unsung heroines in the fashion industry based on my own experience.

In the past I have been very fortunate to work direct or indirectly in the local fashion industry. I worked as a boutique assistant and was lucky enough to experience both fashion retail and couture in well-known shopping malls in Klang Valley and KL.

The most common tasks are serving customers, record sales, stock keeping and housekeeping of the boutique. The difference working in a retail and couture is that couture offers custom made clothes. Working closely with a designer enables one to learn more about the 'behind-the-scene' work which a retail unable to offer such as taking measurements of customers, simple alterations and beadwork.

A boutique assistant's job looks easy but it is not as easy as it seems. A boutique assistant serves many kind of customers from friendly to fussy customers and at the same time to provide equal excellent customer service at all times. One has to memorize and familiarize all the location of the stock in the storeroom inclusive the code of the items and be able to locate and pick up the correct item as requested by the customers. Speed and accuracy are important in this aspect.

Some boutique assistants' job inclusive of beading clothes. Guidance will be given by the designer but most importantly are the interest and patience to learn and to bead. This is a long and tedious work but the outcome of it is undescribable. One can see the transformation of a plain piece to a beautifully beaded piece.

Appreciative gestures such as thanking and be friendly with them are very much appreciated by them. These not only give them more motivation to work but also make their work more enjoyable. Such customers would leave a good impression and boutique assistants would go the extra mile in serving them. I am sure such service would make one's shopping trip more pleasant Go and spread joy and friendliness while shopping!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Is shopping addictive?

It hit me like a 'bam!' couple hours ago - is shopping addictive? Do we shop (especially for clothing items) because of our needs - needing the missing item to complete the ensemble? Or to fulfill our satisfaction of purchasing something - the power of owning something? Or some of us shop to release stress, which is also known as retail therapy?

In my case (still living on a shoestring budget ), there is always a struggle of answering the following questions:-

Do I really need it?
Do I have a budget for it?
Do I have something in my wardrobe to wear with it?
How many times can I wear it? / Where can I wear this to?

Other than the above questions, sometimes I take the design of the item into consideration - is the design one of a kind whereby I would be having problem to find something similar in other stores later?

Since it is not very, very easy to not shop at all. I have cut count down visits to boutiques and the amount of my purchase. For instance, I am allowed to purchase item which is RM20 and below in a month. If I did not purchase anything in a month, the money would be brought forward to next month's budget. What happens when I have over shopped? Well, I can not shop for the next few months (depending on the amount). There is no hard and fast rule here.

I believe to lessen habitual clothing shopping trips is to cut down of number visits to boutiques and malls and the allowed amount to spend. By doing so instead of the drastic step of not shopping at all, it would be effective (if one really sticks to it). I know it is easy to say than doing it as there temptations are many out there. However, if there is a will, there is a way.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How to strut through the recession in style

Temptations, temptations, and more temptations. Sale is almost everywhere. Being jobless and living on a shoestring budget trying to survive each day as it passes, how could I resist such good bargains - 50% and 70% discount?

It feels like a test - how do I manage my finances in this bad economy climate without a permanent job and yet I can strut through the recession in style? Would this be possible?

1. Prepare an inventory - know what I have in my wardrobe is important. Based on this, I know how to mix and match my clothes and at the same know what to add into my collection (when the things are going ok again).

2. Clothes swapping with sister or friends - one of the cheapest way to update wardrobe (in a way) is by exchanging clothes or borrowing accessories etc. Do remember to set some policies or rules to ensure both parties interests are taken care of.

3. DIY fashion related projects - this requires creativity. Give a fresh new look of an old tank top by adding some beads, sequins or appliques. Alter a long skirt to become a short skirt. Check out DIY projects in magazines or on the Internet.

4. Spend wisely - at the moment, I need to plan and budget for retail therapy sessions. I would not hesitate to invest in small purchases such as necklaces and belts (and perhaps shoes at great deal) which are uniquely designed or special piece. Accessories make a difference. It dresses up clothes.

5. Alternative shopping e.g. flea market - since I have no problem purchasing pre-loved items, flea market or bazaar is a good place to find good bargain.

I wonder whether I will pass this test or not. Can I stand firm on my ground and not to give in to temptations? This will be a challenge for a budget fashionista like myself.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Never too late to pursue unfulfilled dream

At some point in my life, I wanted to work in a fashion magazine as a fashion writer or fashion assistant. I applied once but didn't really persistent in it. I ended up working in few fashion boutiques after completion of the short course in fashion design and dressmaking. Perhaps due to this unfulfilled dream, I signed up for a workshop on writing for magazine organised by the NSTP.

Last weekend I attended the said workshop. During the workshop, I made new friends and catched up with few acquaintances from the previous workshop. It was a good experience. I learnt a lot from the workshop especially on how to get an article to be published. The way the workshop was conducted was interesting as well. It was more of a practical/hands on basis which involved group activities, individual activities as well as homework.

So far with the knowledge I've gained from the two workshops, I think I have the basics to work on for my fashion projects - fashion blog or article on fashion. Now, I need an action plan and to work on it diligently.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't neglect your intimate pieces

Buying properties or investing in funds are automatically linked as forms of investments. But what is an investment to a fashionista? An LV bag? A pair of Jimmy Choo's? Yes and yes - but some may see this as indulgence. Whatever you may referred these purchases as, you purchase based on the quality and price you can afford (or save some money if you need to before purchasing any item). No matter how many beautiful clothes you have in your wardrobe, there is one thing that you should not neglect - intimate apparels. And you need to invest in them as well (maybe at least a few).

Why? I read a chapter on Lingerie in Instyle: Secrets of Style and it mentioned that lingerie is the foundation of an outfit. It can make the clothes look better. Furthermore, a good fitting bra will do more for your figure than anything you might wear over it. Therefore it is equally important to buy good quality lingeries to complement your wardrobe.

My first lingerie investment was the endless possibilities bra from Pierre Cardin. The straps can be adjusted accordingly and additional straps are given for other styles or ways. I have been searching for it in KL but finally found it (the right colour and size) in Ipoh. This was a good investment even though I am on a shoe string budget untill I get a new job. In the catalogue, it shows over 10 different ways of wearing the bra but I guess it also depends on the wearer's creativity. Must be fun to experimenting the bra.

I guess I will be building my lingerie collections soon as I know what is my next purchase. It looks like shopping trips are never ending. There is always something to buy to add on to current collection.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Half full or half empty?

With the recent unfortunate dismissal (maybe due to bad economy, redundancy, or whatever the management wanted to claim), I guess it is time for me to take a break and think about or reflect on my life. The last time I did so was in 2003 (if I am not mistaken).

I worked in a local publishing company specializes in primary and secondary school books. Whilst working there, I had turned myself into a workaholic - worked long hours, over the weekends and stayed over night in the office just to rush for deadlines. Then, I had decided to take a break from work and enrolled myself in a short course on fashion design and dressmaking in one of local fashion schools. This was a turning point of my life. I learnt a new skill and made some incredible friends, whom I still keep in touch with until today.

Let's fast forward to 2009. I am jobless at the time of making this entry but how do I view this? Half full - it's time to take a break and think about what I want to do for the next few months or maybe years. Or half empty - I would not be able to find a better job as what I had previously or the economy is so bad that I don't think I will find a job soon enough etc.

Despite all the worries on how to move forward, how to survive etc, it teaches me to be strong and be positive. I am glad that I took the short course in fashion design and dressmaking. Now I can develop my sewing skill and make good use of it. I am planning one or two fashion or dressmaking projects. As my previous boss, Steve, mentioned to me; in difficult times lie an opportunity. Maybe this dismissal is a blessing in disguise, who knows ;-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To buy or not to buy

Despite the bad economy (as almost everyone worries about it) and the downsizing of my work place, I am in the situation whereby I should spend my money wisely. But being someone who loves fashion and likes to shop occasionally (does almost every weekend count as occasionally?) can resist such good offers by boutiques or departmental stores. Good offers I am referring to here is 70% discount.

Before losing my job, I shopped a lot. I was building my empire of necklaces - different types of styles and designs. Besides this, I bought some dresses, tops and bottoms. All these were bought during sales at one of my favourite boutiques, Cats Whiskers. I have shopped from outlet to another outlet.

This week itself, I bought one top after discount price was RM10.50 and one dress after discounted price was RM23.70. Still a good bargain, right? And how could I resist this? I love my sister's philosophy of shopping during sales; "It is about how much you have saved and it is not about how much you have spent". Let's say you bought a dress at 50% discount, it means that you have saved half of the price that you need to pay. Always think of how much you have saved. Such a great philosophy, don't you think?

However, at the end of the day, it is you who decide to buy or not to buy. In my case, because I have a part time job as a financial back up whilst finding a job, I invested in those two items. Furthermore, during this so called difficult time, I needed something to comfort myself (hhmm... you must think this is an excuse to shop!) to go through the emotional-financial roller coaster at the moment. Life goes on and I would like to go on with style.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Getting started

"Hah? You attended a workshop on 'Writing blogs'? That was the impression of one of my friends when I told her what I did on Saturday. I guess for her or maybe some others that writing blogs is easy peasy. Why do you have to spend your weekend and pay few hundreds for a workshop on an easy topic such as this?

The reason I attended this workshop was because I have been planning to have my own fashion blog, where I could show my creations and share fashion knowledge. In fact, the said blog is in infancy stage. Before I really started to work on it, I felt like I needed more info on blogs and blogging especially on legal part. The workshop organised by NSTP was very informative and beneficial. I am glad that I've signed up. No regrets.

Now, with that knowledge, I can start re-plan on the content and approach of my fashion blog. Looks like this will keep me busy for a while.