November 26, 2012

an ode to the vancouver special

Every Vancouverite has mixed feelings about the city we call home. Personally, I enjoy the massive diversity of people, culture, cuisine (so far I still think Vancouver has the best food around); enjoy slightly less the more-often-than-not dismal weather; enjoy immensely our (albeit short) summers that neither too hot nor too cold. We have a weird reputation for being a health-crazed, organic-coffee-sipping, yoga-practicing people who somehow managed to make the list of one of the worst-dressed cities in North America. We took the top spot for the city home to the snobbiest female population, which leads to my opinion (without any hint of self-praise or conceit whatsoever, as I do not currently include myself in this category) that Vancouver is home to some of the most meticulously and immaculately made up Asian girls/women in the world. Nobody does it quite like a Vancouver Special.

First off, it is necessary to explain what constitutes a Vancouver Special for the benefit of our readers who do not reside in our dear city on the west coast: 

van·cou·ver spe·cial /vanˈko͞ovər/ /ˈspeSHəl/ (n.) 1. a young female of typically Asian descent residing in the city of Vancouver 2. heavy patron of clothing chainstore Aritzia and luxury brand giant Louis Vuitton 3. often frequents nightclubs in a Wilfred spaghetti strap tank and pencil skirt 4. sports ashy brown hair with blonde highlights, of which is ruthlessly tamed and teased into submission via straightening/curling irons 5. a wealthy abundance of false eyelashes 6. has a crippling addiction to tanning beds 7. a) a proud owner of breast implants or alternatively, b) a perpetrator of the double-bra technique 8. often enjoys dating men of the underground variety for immediate material benefits 9. in which no.7a is often provided for by no.8 10. rarely found without the company of other like-minded females of similar dress, affect and stature

The running jokes about the Asian Barbie are plenty: the Bump Its, the plus 2's, the generous makeup one could scrape off with a spatula, the uncanny feeling that it is nigh impossible to distinguish individual members from the herd -- all have their unique place and are perhaps infamous and much-loved/detested fixtures of Vancouver's Asian culture. These women are Vancouver's fierce and perhaps overly-enthusiastic answer to the Hollywood stereotype of the tanned, bleached-blonde Californian bombshell. And this particular breed of female is what immediately comes to mind when I hear that Vancouver is one of the hardest cities for picking up women: such an appearance is more often than not accompanied by a holier-than-thou, blasé yet vapid attitude that simultaneously enhances and is detrimental to their appeal. 

With an eerie Stepfordesque uniformality, they wear their teased beehiveish hairstyles like crowns -- I find this isn't simply a principle of aesthetics, but rather an intensely competitive sort of conformism: we must all wear our hair this way, but who has the biggest hair? The most makeup? The shortest dress? The sac-du-jour? Any foray into a Vancouver nightclub packed with these specimens eyeing each other up and down and exchanging overzealous, insincere greetings will attest to my claim.

Making myself up to be a Vancouver Special was exceedingly easy in more than one way. Firstly, there are many similarities between myself and these paragons of immaculate artificiality. Secondly, it was because I used to be one (without the double-bra thing -- I've tried it once before without a trace of the irony employed for the purpose of this post and swore I'd rather remain a breastless phenomenon than to do it ever again). Dark eye makeup? Regular practice for me. The false eyelashes that could easily serve fan duty in hot weather? Those are my "normal" eyelashes. Revealing outfits? Well, they have a special place in my heart (and closet). I am a girl who unabashedly loves skyscraper heels and is irrationally attracted to false eyelashes of gargantuan proportions. To an extent, I still feel that it is not okay to go out without being made up to this invisible standard. My hair is admittedly exponentially less structured as of now and I no longer feel the need to step out in barbie-doll makeup and outfits -- I don't fit in much with that scene, what with my half-bald head and all (which is also responsible for the shitty hair-teasing job you see above) -- but the need to be made up to the nines remains. It's not so much a question of wanting to go out looking a certain way, but needing to go out looking a certain way. Which is kind of counterproductive to the whole idea of self-adornment as a liberating medium of self-expression, I find.

Relax, babes. Let's stick to one bra per doll.

November 19, 2012

only love can dig you out of this

I always get super excited when I find/hear a new song that I know will integrate perfectly into my "sleepy time" playlist. I could listen to these songs all day and all night, and I know the melodies and the lyrical content stir my soul while I'm asleep because I'll wake up thinking -- what just happened?! If you don't understand what I mean, it's completely alright, because you'll get it after you listen to this track by the Lumineers titled "Slow it down" I've only just recently discovered this American folk rock band, much thanks to my friend who told me about their other song "Stubborn Love" (which is apparently up my alley) Anyways, I suggest you go have a listen to it here; it will change you, I swear.

They will be performing at the Vogue Theatre on December 3, 2012 in Vancouver, BC -- it appears the concert is sold out..which makes complete sense because they seem like they would be beyond amazing live. This could be bigger than big.

November 12, 2012

destination sn_w

Dané: Tom Ford glasses, Talula Babaton blazer, Madewell shirt, cutoffs from Bangkok vendor, Urban Outfitters thigh high socks, Nine West booties, Archetype necklace and bracelet, Blue Ruby and Tiffany and Co. rings

Vanessa: Ray Ban aviators, vintage sweater, American Apparel bodysuit, American Apparel thigh high socks, Roberto Vianni thigh high boots, Zara bag, Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Rouge Noir

Random sidenote: We did not coordinate our outfits to both include thigh high socks. Apparently we both decided to employ the same common solution for girls who want to wear something short when it happens to be sub-zero temperatures outside. 

A massively hungover me and a comparatively more chipper Dané went for burgers and sundaes before she took off into the young Saturday night. The most mindless dressing is sometimes the most fun. Last night's bag, last night's shoes, thrown together with a thick pair of socks and a massive sweater that somebody once said made me look like a woolly mammoth. I was too hungover to put on makeup and instead decided to be that one douchebag who always wears sunglasses at night/on cloudy days/indoors/anywhere else equally inappropriate and douchebaggey -- and I kind of liked it. Not bothering to shower nor wear pants and recycling last night's accessories may be awfully lazy of me, but more importantly, last night's bag packed with party necessities (read: makeup) leaves me with almost nothing that is useful for a regular outing. But I guess that's okay. If I'm going to walk into Dairy Queen in sunglasses and thigh high stiletto boots, then I might as well wear dark lipstick too. 

November 9, 2012

top ten for margiela x h&m

images c/o H&M, in stores November 15th
view entire collection here

Browsing through all 105 pieces of the Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M admittedly gave us a few wtf moments. I won't sit here and proceed to fall into raptures over the collection because it is generally not my style to dress so avant-garde, and thus I would be supremely lacking in integrity if I did so. However, the more Dané and I perused the collection, the more I found myself defending many of the pieces that were so unworthy of my said raptures. "This is actually pretty wearable," I'd say, or "That might look better on" (this went on for a good hour, much to her consternation). So, I am not going to tell you I love this, but rather that much of the overwhelmingly "high-fashion" details will work for real life in measured increments. What the Margiela collaboration lacks in effortless wearability, it more than makes up for in charisma and intrigue. And doesn't that one strange standout piece make putting together the rest of the outfit super simple? Picture an alien-like jacket thrown over a t-shirt and leather leggings: simple, but carries so much impact. A perverse sort of effortless wearability then, might be a more accurate description. 

 Among items like giant metallic candy wrapper clutches and the slightly eerie lock of hair necklaces hailing from the design house's S/S09 collection, we picked ten of our favorites, which reside on the more wearable end of the spectrum. The lucite wedge ankle boots retain the classic Margiela boot's wide silhouette, but at a fraction of the price -- worth looking into. The guitar case backpack makes for a hilariously cool weekender bag I can see myself lugging about (airplane carry-on!!). The architectural suede jacket, haphazardly/expertly draped red dress and saggy oversized turtleneck are basics with a surreal twist: they can stand out without being outlandish. Dané picked out a faceless watch which strikes me as an edgier rendition of the one in Erin Wasson's Low Luv jewelry line (lower in price too, for a watch that lacks the talent to serve its intended purpose). The men's fair isle knit sweater and red sneakers are things we threw in for the boys -- perfectly wearable winter gear (the dress shirt with the irreverent bow tie is also from the menswear collection, but I had myself in mind when I chose it). And chromed-out leggings? Easy.

November 8, 2012

the outsiders

H&M circle scarf; vintage Gap Blue denim vest; Urban Outfitters flannel shirt; Marciano "skirt"; Urban Outfitters stockings + socks; Aldo combat boots; vintage locket

A slightly threadbare way of dressing is a go to for me when I don't feel like primping it out (which tends to be most of the time). I recently found my denim vest that I used to wear back in grade seven -- who would've thought our luckless romance would resume, and we'd be reunited by my random choice to one day dig through the past (literally). I love how I fit perfectly into this oversized flannel shirt (funny how that works) that I picked up from the guy's section in Urban Outfitters. It's way more than comfortable, but that goes without saying. My "skirt" actually used to be a top, but one day I got sick of the studded designs and chose to re-work it into this skirt type of thing. Destruction is creation after all. I bought these boots about two years ago, and it's like none of my other shoes exist any more; these own me. Loitering is chilly, so I threw on this exceedingly warm scarf.

November 5, 2012

five for the future

(Clockwise from top)

1. Sisley botanical floral spray mist: Every time I walk past a Sisley counter in a department store, I end up leaving with nothing - this is due to the fact that the price points definitely do not agree with me. Winter is closing in on us however, and i'm sure my dull/dry face would benefit from this fine misty spray. I don't wear much foundation (if any at all), but I'm sure this would help set my makeup if I ever decide to one day cake it on. It seems ideal for a quick and efficient way to hydrate your skin; and I'm all for efficiency. 

2. NARS Andy Warhol self portrait eyeshadow palette: If I said I wanted this just because I was running out of my current smokey eye palette, I'd be flat out lying. The NARS x Andy Warhol Silver Factory holiday collection is nothing short of awesome. Everything from the packaging to the colors are constructed in a way that evokes the intensely expressive brilliance that Warhol embodied. With that being said, I'd make use of this particular palette..I have a limited repertoire when it comes to eyeshadow.

3. Clarisonic Aria sonic skin cleansing brush: The thought of purchasing a Clarisonic intermittently pops up in my I'm thinking I might as well. The Aria cleansing brush kit screams convenience. The charger works as a stand; and did I mention it's travel friendly? USB enabled products rule.

4. Aveda Invati: There is much hype going around about this new line of hair care products from Aveda - I am super curious indeed. I wash my hair everyday (yes, I know it's horrible but it's an OCD kind of thing that I've got going on). As a result, I do find my scalp to be really dry, and I find breakage and splitting to be an issue that I have to contend with on a regular basis. The exfoliating shampoo, thickening conditioner and scalp revitalizer are suppose to work together to reduce all this bad stuff.

5. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: I don't like to change my signature scent (I currently wear and am forever faithful to Chloe Eau De Parfum) but this is something else entirely, and I'm tempted to make the switch. Citrus, floral notes and myrtle is all that comes to mind when I think back on our first encounter. The scent leaves a lasting impression, but light and fresh enough to not make a big deal out of itself.

November 1, 2012

the five of the moment

(Clockwise from top)

1. Olio Di Argan face serum: I rediscovered this facial oil/serum not too long ago, nestled amongst the plethora of products on my bathroom counter. I use this every morning and night under bb cream and it gives my skin a nice dewy sheen for the whole day. It just looks really well-hydrated, if that makes sense. I've also noticed that there are no dry patches on my skin when there usually should be come cold weather time. 

2. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash: Somehow manages to fill in my brows without looking like they're filled in. The color is neither too dark nor too light, has a brush on the other end to brush out eyebrows/blend and doesn't need to be sharpened (!). I  brush a little clear mascara on afterwards to set my brows and it lasts me the whole night (and well into the next morning if necessary).

3. Clinique Even Better Eyes dark circle corrector: Makes the list because every eye cream I've ever tried has consistently given me breakouts in my eye area, except for this one. Enough said.

4. Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze: I've actually had this for a while now, and only recently realized how versatile it is by way of how much I use it. And it's not a weird bronze: it's a quiet, neutral-yet-warm bronze that doesn't look cheap or glittery or clash with whatever ridiculous amounts of makeup (or lack thereof) I decide to wear with it. Lasts forever. I am a self-admitted makeup snob, and not only usually have no expectations whatsoever from drugstore makeup, but have outright trust issues with it. Some of the other colors in this line have a strange, flaky silver glitter in them that I find slightly cheap looking, but this stuff is gold (or bronze, if you must). 

5. Tom Ford lip color in Scarlet Rouge: First off, I'd just like to say that there is the most satisfying-sounding, heavy click when you close this tube of lipstick: the packaging for Tom Ford cosmetics is spectacularly unparalleled in both elegance and quality. I've never waxed poetic about a lipstick container before until I bought this one. Shallow bit over, Scarlet Rouge is audacious, lively and vivid but also manages to have the depth of a warm, rich red. I've actually never noticed how long it lasts because I love reapplying it... yeah. Glides on, has a creamy, slight sheen to finish -- the kind of proper red lipstick that's appropriate to put on at the dinner table.