Am I doomed?
-The Dilly Chic-
Am I doomed?
-The Dilly Chic-
There are lots of times when I was blogsurfing and I was feeling this rush of unknown fluid going through my veins. Those happened for quite some time and on multiple occasions and I started to identify it as blog envy. It’s this feeling that you just suck big time compared to other blogs next door. It’s of course, unhealthy, just like any other envy in life. One of my 2015 resolution is that I’m gonna cut down the blog envy, and other real life envies for that matter.
-The Dilly Chic-
The title almost speaks about everything I wanted to pour out in this writing. But perhaps each and everyone of you had experienced something of such, has such value you diligently follow, or you’ve even constructed a theory (or theories) about it.
The Japanese’s discipline, the Chinese’s extravagant skill of imitation and innovation, Thai’s gender liberalism, Indonesian’s and Malaysian’s conservativeness and hospitality (and I bet some Indo and Malay readers hate that I characterize the two nations with the same word, but face it: we ARE that similar). And those are the nations that I know of. I’m sure more characteristics and values are present within each Asian nation, but those are the ones that are most popular, even with the Western readers.
In general, Asians can be considered as conservative and tradition-oriented. Even though it’s not comparable to the Middle East, but it’s still so. Mainstream globalization and media attacks diminish the effects present within most Asia, but the values are still there, and still standing strong. As you might have heard, South Korea is often known as being extremely unfriendly to individuals with different characteristics than their beauty idols, might that be actresses or K-pop or whatever (this would answer why all girl band members and beauty pageants contestants look alike). But you probably have never heard of their complex cultural traditions that would leave your feet sore and your mind adrift due to the length and complexity.
Image courtesy of alex[a]lexa
But what comes into question is the impact of such values in the modern world. Surely the word lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual, atheism, justice for all, hippie, and such are very familiar to us. Even though those words are very much the same familiar to Asians, they (we) still tend to react rather negatively to such hints. Quite understandable, because they do deviate from the thing we call “the Asian Value”.
How about the women? In such a well-mannered region, surely the men must be treating the women with such great respect. Unfortunately, they don’t. In fact, women are more psychologically suppressed and indoctrinated to act more like… you know, women. Women who don’t cook, drink alcoholic beverages, smoke, and make free choices are considered to be quite radical and not of “girlfriend quality”.
In terms of social manners, sure we talk more politely than our Western counterparts. But with such dilly dally and polite conversations, comes the massive effect of excessive sugarcoating. I’m not an expert in Asian culture, but it is very prominent in my own country and I assume in many other Asian countries (exception for Singapore). Sugarcoating undoubtedly leads to many deep rooted crucial problems that accumulate over many periods of interaction. Asian people (again, with the exception of Singapore and perhaps some more developed regions such as parts of Japan and Hong Kong) are very insecure acting on their own. You will rarely see people in my country going to the cafe or diner alone. Or even the restroom. This dependency is a problem that continues on to be a disregard of individuality.
I’m definitely not saying all Asian Values are bad. The goods are definitely there, but you can’t deny that the sugarcoating sometimes get pretty tiring and you can lose yourself if you’re a social-but-unique person. Difference in ideologies and ways of life is condemned in some parts of the region, but tolerable in other some. But then again, I guess, our culture makes us attractive to westerners, or to other people from continents across even. In any way, if you’re not ready to embrace all these values and habits of Asian, you’ll get lost in it. (no I’m not bitching or being ungrateful, it’s only one of the blissful moments in my life where I thoroughly enjoy melancholy and ranting about it)
-The Dilly Chic-
If you’re a lover of books, you will surely understand the feel when you read a book that’s gotten into you, the quirk you unconsciously formed while reading through heartfelt passages, and just the pure joy of looking at it. This is exactly what happened to me when I got my hands on “Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic”. (no promo!)
This cute book came with my other orders from Shopbop (Amazon offered the same thing for less I found out), but I was just thrilled the moment I got my hands on this. “Holy cheese, this is gonna be my new bible!” was one of my first impressions as I flipped through the first few pages of the book.
With all the nice introduction I’ve made, let’s get right down to business.
THE FIRST FEW GLANCES
AMAZING! The writers’ hate for scrunchies (the velvet hair grips/ hair ties) was my favorite theme throughout the book. (until I bought a velvet headband I thought was cute and hang-out appropriate a few days later). The book also presents images of numerous effortlessly stylish women and beautiful illustrations which easily became my new inspirations. And believe me, you WILL want to be like them.
As I read each section with extreme intensity -too much intensity even, perhaps- I became even more self conscious of the way I dress and the way I see other people dress. This is a book that can get to you and your head quickly. The way it presents sensible styling tips alongside stylish women who almost accurately represent them is a hard blow to receive. But subjectively, I think you’ll love this book because:
1. It gives out tips, concrete styling examples, and alternatives. I mean, how many times have you read books or blog posts that tell you to wear a certain item this way or that way without even showing how it looks like at the end? I could be telling you to wear oversized jumper, a mini skirt, and cowboy boots and it could be super awesome or ultra no-no according to our own imaginations.
2. The interviews offer a different approach and perspective about the fashion world of today. In one interview with Alexandra Senes (the current editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar France), she stated that brands like The Kooples are representative of what is happening in fashion industry; items picked out from magazines and sold at storefronts. That being said, I wonder what her reaction will be when asked about Nasty Gal. In another interview, Christophe Lemaire (artistic director of Hermès‘ womenswear) stated that sexy is the aesthetic of expensive prostitutes.
3. It is light, informative, and logical at the same time. Plus, lots of beautiful photographs and illustrations! That beats out everything else, doesn’t it?
Just like many other how-to styling books, you’ll either love or hate being told what you need to wear and how. But in my own honest opinion, the book is not without some flaws in it. I personally chose to ignore them myself for the pleasure of reading and finishing it, but let me point out in which parts you might find this book a little off-putting:
1. You already have your own staple and perspective regarding your own personal style and therefore you might perceive some of the writers’ opinion as rigid or even vain. But on the other hand, if you’re more of the introspective type, the options thrown by the book might intrigue you to try it out on your own. The interviews they had with the fashion insiders are quite eye opening too!
2. The writers can be quick to dismiss certain clothing articles. Remember what I said about the scrunchy hate? I was on the same term with the writers, so I was chill to the point of laughing when I read about it. There were other quick-to-dismiss items too, such as the crop tops, flip flops, and baseball caps, on which I also share the hatred and therefore pose no inner resistance within me. But if you happen to be a baseball cap and flip-flop collector, you can easily get defensive reading this book. (Like myself when they quickly dismissed cheap shoes. HOW ELSE CAN A NORM LIKE ME GET MULTIDIMENSIONAL LOOKS??!!!)
3. They’re definitely biased toward French women. Yes, I am incredibly jealous of French women, but the book was over-doing it at some parts. It’s something close to a worship of the Parisian women and shunning the rest of the universe. I mean, what if a Parisian lady is incapable of producing the effortless elegance and chicness that have been emphasized multiple times in the book? Will she be doomed and banished to the edge of universe? But then again, a part in the book suggested that other non-French women can portray the symbol of effortless chic better than some of the Parisian themselves (Kate Moss and Diane Kruger were mentioned). I still have mixed feelings about this theme, though.
4. There were some minor inconsistencies in the book. The book specifically said no black pantyhose ever, yet feature multiple women wearing black stockings and pulling them off brilliantly. And if I might put in my own perspective, the book swore off pastel capri pants yet they embrace leather pants and leggings with open arms. In my conscious mind, I simply can’t comprehend why something that is so hard to get into could be considered as effortless.
1. If you’re somewhere near blind or in total oblivion in terms of style, this book is a good reality check to make sure you don’t go down the wrong path (or as the self proclaimed fashionistas call it, faux pas). This could even be your new bible.
2. If you’re aware of your own style but you’re feeling dull and bored of your somehow mundane clothing choices (somewhat like me), this book can refresh your perspective and makes you look at certain items in a new light. (I swore off ballet flats, T-strap sandals, and animal prints long ago, but now I’m SERIOUSLY reconsidering it)
3. I love this book! I studied it quite immensely in search of new inspirations. But as I’ve stated above the book itself is not without flaws. If you choose to indulge in it and not notice them, it’s perfectly fine too. Even if you’re an anti-text person or the content of the text is not for you, the photographs of stylish women will enlighten you one way or another. (Amazon has the cheapest price as far as I know. But if your country doesn’t have its own Amazon and shipping cost is a problem for you, I suggest BookDepository.com)
If you’re a non reader: are you interested in taking a peek at this book?
If you’ve read it: please tell me what you think about it!
-The Dilly Chic-