the fashion disciple

Style | Travel | Lifestyle | Taste is having the courage of your own convictions.

Category: My World Beyond Fashion

My Thoughts On: “Why Do You Wear Makeup to School?” (and other stupid questions)

Ah, the number of times that I’ve heard this, either being addressed to me or someone else. It’s in the same ball park as asking “Why do you wear heels?” or “Why are you wearing a push-up bra?” and my personal favourite, “Why do/don’t you shave your legs?”. You just don’t do it.

At least, not if you’ve already made up your mind that their answer is going to be wrong. Ask because you’re genuinely interested in their reasons, ask if you care. Not if it’s coming out of a place of judgement and malice.

Personal grooming is called just that for a reason. It’s personal grooming. It’s not a topic up for public discussion or debate.

It took me some time to realise this, but it really was the same thing as when I asked someone why they wore extra long and colourful socks to school, or why their school pants were so tapered. It’s the same as when I still question why this person uses a branded purse as a schoolbag, or why this other person always wears tank tops on casual dress day. Is it out of vanity? Is it for attention? Guess what––it’s none of my damn business. 

You do you. And I’ll do me. Who am I––who are any of us––to tell people what the “right” way is to be themselves? I’m not hurting anyone by wearing makeup (in fact, I think I might be doing you all a favour by sparing you my morning face), and she’s not hurting anyone by wearing whatever the hell she wants to wear. Unless we think we know them better than they do their own, then we don’t really have a say, do we?

I know that there are tons of girls that can wake up in the morning and not have to put anything on their face, and be straight out the door and still feel completely confident. If that’s you, then great! By all means, pride yourself on the fact that you don’t care, or that you’re happy the way you are. Keep doing whatever you’re doing that makes you feel good about yourself. But don’t put others down for doing the same, just because their way of feeling confident is different from yours. 

I used to wear coloured contacts on a daily basis because I thought my eyes were too small and dark. At that point of time, that was what helped me feel confident. When I didn’t wear them, I would feel mousy and anxious, and insecure. Yet when I did wear them, nobody would really notice the difference. So was it really vain of me to wear them even though the only person that actually seemed to see the difference was myself? Was I really just trying too hard? Perhaps. But that’s for me to judge, and no one else.

So I’ve since stopped using my coloured contacts (for the most part at least) and I’ve never felt better. I still don’t know what has changed, but I’m willing to go with it. And now if someone else does the same thing, I’d understand why and I wouldn’t tell them to do otherwise.

On the flip side, I know of instances where people judge others for not doing certain things; like shaping their eyebrows, or maintaining their manicures. But the same rules still apply.

Something funny that often comes after “Why do you wear makeup to school?” is the infamous “But it’s just school.”

So once we’ve established that it’s completely fine to wear makeup outside of school, you’re deciding that the moment I step into the classroom with some eyeliner and eyebrow tint, it’s suddenly not okay? Because it’s school, and school’s not about looking good. It’s about, well, school. Rules aside (because we all know that both your and my skirt lengths are not of regulation either), is there really a problem here?

The thing is, feeling good about myself and feeling confident is (usually) directly proportional to my mood and thus, how productive I will be. I mean, I can’t imagine being all excited and ready to face the day when I’m in frumpy clothes and my hair hasn’t been tamed, and there’s a shine on my face that a little powder could help remedy. On any normal occasion, feeling good outwardly and inwardly makes me want to go out and smile at people and make friends and get things done. Am I not allowed to achieve the same feeling in school? People find confidence in all sorts of things. Are you going to tell them that it’s conditional?

For some, it may be in posting extra glamorous pictures on Facebook. And for others, it could be in going out and socialising with friends or strangers.

 For me, taking that extra 10 minutes every morning to fix my face or hair isn’t for anyone. It’s about taking pride in my appearance, and feeling primed and put-together. It isn’t about impressing anybody, or being unappreciative of what I naturally have. It’s simply for me. And since I am the one going to the mall, I am the one going to the movies, and I am the one going to school, then why is it your prerogative to say what I should and shouldn’t do?

You know, another thing I’ve noticed is that people loooove to stereotype. Just because it’s easy––certainly not because it’s true.

No, I’m not shallow because I wear makeup to school. She’s not uptight because she ties her hair up every day. She’s not a slut because her skirt is halfway up her thigh and he’s not a douchebag because he spikes his hair up or has a strut for a walk. And no, you definitely do not get to make judgement calls on people’s characters based on what you do or don’t see.

Honestly, I could go on forever. (People ask a lot of stupid questions.) But I feel like it’s something we all can consciously reflect on on our own. You don’t need a blog post to know, truly, when you’re just making an observation and when you’re straight up being mean. A lot of the time, whatever we’re criticising others on, we do ourselves. Maybe just not noticeably in the same manner.

So the next time that someone asks me something like this, I’ll know that I don’t owe them an explanation. And I don’t have to justify anything to anyone. I’ll preserve my right to do whatever makes me happy and make sure that they, too, are aware.

“Because I want to.”

A x

My Thoughts On: The Luxury Label | Why I Don’t Buy from Designer Brands

If you know me in person or have been reading my blog for awhile, you’d know that I don’t buy or wear luxury brands. To be completely honest, in fact, I’m rather clueless on most brands high-fashion. And I get questions–criticism, even, about how I can own a fashion blog when the closest I’ve gotten to high-fashion is probably Project Runway…

To me, it’s more than just a matter of taste and preference.

Perhaps it’s partly of the way I grew up…though I am lucky. No one in my family was born into money, and that includes me. And so I am conscious of how it feels to barely have enough. To have a mom working full-time, two jobs a day (and night) to put food on the table. To be living in a room of a house that belonged to someone else. I try not to take it for granted that I now can live (more than) comfortably.

I think I used to brush off the idea of me ever paying for a branded item like it was dirt on my shoe, never really noticing how offensive that could’ve been.  Maybe I felt guilty for even thinking about owning a bag that was more than someone’s monthly salary. Maybe I thought resisting luxury was in a way humble and modest. Maybe I was just afraid that it would make me look materialistic.

It’s ironic how on the flip side, some of those who boycott luxury brands are the ones with the superiority complex instead.

A family friend once gave a two-toned silver Mulberry bracelet cuff (God bless his poor soul) to a fifteen year old me who couldn’t see the beauty in simplicity of that bracelet and chucked it into a corner of her room. It was rather costly too–he made a point to tell me so…which instead of making me treasure it, for some backward logic, made me reluctant to wear it out. What if I lost it? What if it got scratched? But most of all, why would he pay so much for a bracelet as plain as that?

But now, two and a half years later, it’s one of my favourite pieces of jewellery I own. And I’m proud of its origin.

The price means nothing. Well…it means something. But it’s all subjective; to who is paying, what it’s really worth and the value the buyer has personally placed on it. $100 to someone could be peanuts to someone else.

If I like a dress, I like it. If it’s pricey and I know it’ll make a dent, I won’t get it. There’ll be other dresses. If it’s pricey but I know it’ll be worth it, I will get it. If it’s $5, even better. It’ll look the same–whether I pay a fortune or get it for free.

Every time I splurge in Topshop, it’s good to remind myself that it’s probably more than what my mom would let herself pay for a pair of shoes. But I have an option. And for as long as I choose to relish that option, I will be grateful that I have it.

My dad took me and his family out to dinner at Great World City the other day, at which the bill came up to about $200. He then took us shopping in Royal Sporting House and Zara which collectively added up to another $500.

I asked if he was doing well at his new job. He must’ve been, surely, if it didn’t hurt to spend almost a thousand dollars in one evening. It didn’t hit me until a day later why I was still feeling so bad. Maybe his love for me gave him the illusion that his pockets were deeper than they really were.

It’s a given. Parents just like buying stuff for their kids or at the very least, like to see them have what they want.

So perhaps until the money comes from my own, I’d try my best not to develop a designer bag addiction…

Putting that aside, it’s hard not to take notice of these brands when I’d, in recent years, been among a more affluent community and culture. And I can’t say altogether that I haven’t cozied up to the idea of owning my very own Céline mini luggage handbag or Chanel 2.55, or that I don’t sometimes envy those who do own them.

Still, I don’t find it worth it.

It’s not that I don’t admire the design and workmanship. At times, I really do. But for me, I don’t think it’s ever actually about the bag.

I will admit right now that if and when I were to buy something branded, it will be because it’s branded. Because if it’s the design that I want, I could find it elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

I think I enjoy finding a “meaning” in every tiny thing just as much as the next girl. So what I’ll really be paying for when I finally choose to get one is the feeling of authenticity, exclusivity and maybe even accomplishment or reward.

There’s a certain sense of maturity and sophistication one feels when they are able to (and I mean, truly) appreciate high-fashion. It’s like the gourmet food of fashion. Your taste buds finally agree that red wine and foie gras taste absolutely delightful and suddenly you feel like a class A adult. Or maybe that’s just me…

I’m sure that when you’re paying for the brand, it isn’t just for the brand–and all the glory that comes with owning it. You’re also paying for quality. Quality that perhaps a cheap knockoff you get from a street-side cart could never give you. Forget the tears in fake leather or discoloured fabrics, this authentic, carefully crafted work of art could last you at least a decade.

But then I think about it…

Do I really want this bag for a decade?

Fashion comes and goes. I can barely commit to a hairstyle for more than two years, much less a handbag for ten. If I’m going to pay (or more accurately, make my parents pay) so much for something, I’d want to make sure that I actually use it and not just wear it while it’s hot and then after, leave it in my closet never to be seen again.

I’m seventeen. I change my mind. About everything. What I like to wear, how I like to wear it…hell, my favourite colour changes every year. (Apart from black. I will always love black. So maybe that’s a start.)

 Keeping that in mind, I could live with myself if I got a designer knockoff. I don’t feel that it in any way gives anyone reason to see you as inferior–especially not yourself.

It’s kinda (though not at all close, haha) like getting a temporary tattoo before you get the real deal. That way, if I decide that I don’t like it anymore, damage it or even worse, lose it…I wouldn’t feel the pain of seeing $4000 fly out the window.

Alright, at some point in here, I’ll have to give credit where credit is due. The best designers are known as just that for a reason. They produce beautiful, unique and sometimes timeless pieces of work and there’s no reason not to be successful for that. If I could create something that millions of people wanted to get their hands on, who’s to say it shouldn’t be worth that much?

But, fashion influences fashion; imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? I read this article titled Why Knockoffs Are Good For The Fashion Industry, and if you’re one who’s against buying knockoffs or disapproves of those who do, try chewing on this.

Nonetheless, it’s the time of my life when I’m thinking about my future and what I want to do as a career during which, I’ve come up with 2 things:

1. I want to write. I want to change minds and create sentiment where there seems none.

2. Fashion, music and design will always be a part of my life in one way or another.

That being said, I’m more than keen on learning all I can about the fashion industry in time to come, even the parts that intimidate me; especially the parts that once seemed out of reach. I can’t promise that I’ll be as well-versed in everything fashion as your other bloggers out there, but I can promise that I’ll try my hardest to stay grounded along the way.

And so I shall wait.

I shall wait until I know I’ll take good care of it. I shall wait until I can understand fully how fortunate I am to enjoy things some can’t. I shall wait until I’m sure that indulging in something pretty and waaaay over-priced is not going to turn me into someone different.

But make no mistake, that day will come soon enough.

A x

Australia 2014; Photo Diary & Where-To-Gos

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So I went back yet again this year to Melbourne for a vacation and yet again had the time of my life (apart from a couple of food poisoning attacks which I shall spare you all the gory details of).

I only titled this post “Australia 2014” and not “Melbourne 2014” because I spent a considerable amount of time in New South Wales and out on the Great Ocean Road. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about Australia and the rustic charms of her countrysides and spirited allure of her cities that make me feel more at home than I am in my own bedroom.

 I found myself incurably attached to my camera with its black lacey strap wrung around my wrist and my finger perched on the shutter release–just in case something interesting pops up. And so it was…for the entire trip.

Forgive me, for I am still a novice behind the lens.

 You had to be there, because I doubt my pictures would ever do it justice. But then again, it’s hard to take an ugly shot when whatever you’re taking a shot of is absolutely stunning.

Do watch the video that I’ve put together of my trip (which I will put down below) and I really hope you’ll like it!

Anyway, I’m obviously not an expert at all things Melbourne–not even close–but I did come up with a list of places to eat at and visit, just from my own experiences and what I enjoyed best. Hope this could give ideas to any of you that may be traveling there in the near future!

For Food

Like true Singaporeans, we sought out the best cafes and restaurants in the city (with the help of local friends) of which I have 3 recommendations:

1 – Rockpool by Neil Perry
An elegant restaurant by the Yarra River that has a great ambience and reasonable prices given its “celebrity-chef” factor. I tried the seafood pasta here and I can honestly say that that dish alone would be enough to bring me back every time I’m in town.

2 – Conservatory at the Crown Casino
So I dined at this restaurant on Friday evening, when they have a special weekend buffet for about $100 pp. Rather pricey, I’ll admit…but they don’t stinge on the good stuff. Almost everything from sashimi to lobsters, steaks and asian noodles. It’s a definite must-try for me!

3 – The Night Market at Queen Victoria Market
Only on Wednesday evenings, the market is lined with exotic food stalls and quaint hand-made souvenirs and much more. It can get a little crowded, and you may leave smelling like smoked duck and wine, but it all adds to the rustic experience that I love.


For Shopping

And it goes without saying that I went a little crazy… So you all know by now that I’m not really one for exclusive brands and I do enjoy my street and high street fashion stores best. I went to the malls that had all your typical brands and tracked down all the factory warehouses in godforsaken parts of town. And to make your lives easier if you are like me, I’ve compiled a list of the best places to shop at (pre-scoped for you by yours truly).

1 – Bridge Road
One of my favourites because of the “brandless” and unique shops that have all the fashion forward designs for a fraction of the price. It has a similar concept to Haji Lane here in Singapore, or Chapel Street in Melbourne (but Chapel St is more for up-per markets and fat-ter wallets). Along this old-fashioned row of shops was where I found the Cotton On factory outlet that literally had nothing over $30 storewide with shoes selling at $2, and numerous 10DOLLAR stores where (I’ll admit, had some really hideous stuff but) you can pick out two or three items that are more than worth your money and time. You can also find tons of cafes and restaurants that are perfect for taking a break in between credit-card swipes! Sadly, many of the shops are beginning to vacate because the rent is too high and not enough people are aware of this street for it to do well, so go soon (before it becomes just another road)!

2 – Highpoint
It’s my favourite mall, I feel. Kinda equivalent to Vivocity in Singapore. It’s a little out of the way, but has literally everything under the same roof (not to mention a cinema and tons of places to eat). So here you’ll be able to find the usual Topshop and Zara, Australian-originated fashion brands like Bardot and Sportsgirl, as well as cheaper discount stores that are almost always on sale. You could spend days in this building.

3 – Direct Factory Outlet
(at South Wharf & Essendon)
This is where all the rejects go…the clothes, not the people. Samples, end of season’s and faulties all go here to be sold at usually less than half the price. Most of the time, if there is a fault in the item, it’s barely noticeable. You’ll be able to live with it a lot better knowing you paid less anyway. Here, you can find many sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas, fashion brands like Dotti and Bardot, and lower-end, quick-fashion street stores like Factorie. I went to both the DFOs at South Wharf (by the Yarra River) and Essendon (near the Airport). I have to say I prefer South Wharf just because it’s nearer the city, people are nicer, it’s closer to accommodation and closer to food. But it is extremely crowded on a daily basis so if that’s not for you, then Essendon may be better.


For All Things Tourist-y

I feel like I’ve done one too many touristy things during all my visits to Melbourne from visiting all the museums in the heart of the city to travelling out to Phillip Island to watch a parade of penguins waddle back to their little penguin families. But there are a few places that I would gladly re-visit–on a vacation or on any ordinary given day.

1 – Melbourne Museum
I do love my museums…and this was a classic, must-see museum if you’re in town. Besides the museum itself that has all the elements that a good museum possesses, the area it’s in is populated with budding musicians busking on the grass with their bands and banjos. The exhibition hall nearby also seasonally houses interesting stores selling interesting things (that are sometimes edible) with street food trucks parked outside–an all round pleasant in and out-of-museum experience.

2 – Immigration Museum
This museum I visited on my latest visit to Melbourne and stuck out to me out of the other museums I’ve been to. It’s interactive, modern and housed in the historical Old Customs House. It showcases stories of Australia’s immigration history in unique and engaging displays.

3 – Melbourne SEA LIFE Aquarium
Though it couldn’t compare to Singapore’s own aquarium in size, I quite enjoyed the trip to the Melbourne aquarium this December. There were a lot of unique displays and viewing areas (that were obviously catered for young children but I relished just the same). The one highlight of the aquarium, I’d have to say, is the massive 18 feet crocodile (approximately 3 times the length of James Franco, Harry Styles, or Brad Pitt–whatever floats your boat) that they had captured not too long ago and affectionately named Pinjarra. Shivers.

4 – Great Ocean Road
So this is about a 2 hour drive outside of Melbourne (depends how fast you drive) and takes about a good day or two if you plan to have a good look-see. I went with a tour company that took us to the 12 Apostles, BBQ lunch by the lighthouse, koala spotting and bird feeding and  down to the beach all in one day. And like the true adrenaline junkie I am, I went for a scenic helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles and Great Ocean Road which, up to date, has been the most fun and amazing thing I’ve done–ever. It made jet-skiing in Batam and water rafting in Phuket and bungee jumping in Africa feel like child’s play (I’m exaggerating, those gave me quite a rush as well). A definite must the next time you visit Victoria.

So that’s about all I have compiled from my visits to Melbourne/Australia. I can’t wait to go back again, though I doubt it’d be anytime soon (because next year is hell year).

I do want to make a special mention to all the buskers that I had the pleasure of watching while I was there who not only impressed but inspired me greatly. And one musician in particular whose music resonated with me and my own ideas of how I’d like the music I make to be–whose gentle guitar sounds and hums pulsed through my head even ages after I’d left the street.

If you like Ben Howard, Bon Iver or Matt Corby kind of music, I’d highly recommend you to check him out. If you don’t, check him out anyways. His name is Max Fotheringham (bought his album off his guitar case on Bourke Street and realised you can’t really find it online).

But he is the lead singer of the band Amber Isles (link below) whose music I also love–and can listen to for free. Their sound mildly resembles (or at least, reminds me of) Vancouver Sleep Clinic and M83.

So I’ve come to the end of my post. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I see you next but until then, have a merry merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!

A

Amber Isles: https://soundcloud.com/amberisles

Australia 2014 Video Diary:

MWBF: FOLK & Fiction

Hey guys, I realise it’s been awhile and I apologize for that!

Sorry to disappoint if you were hoping for a fashion post, but I’ve been crazy busy with school lately and blogging has been…less than convenient, I would say. But here’s a quick post to just enlighten you, my lovely reader, with what I’ve been up to the past few weeks!

For those of you who don’t know, I like to write. Not like “blog post” kind of writing, but the “sit down with a hot cup of tea and let my mind wander off into another realm and then put it into words” kind of writing. So in the little pockets of time that I find in between my (overdue) IAs and econs article hunting, I’ve been writing; some songs, some stories, mostly gibberish.

Haha but ever so rarely, when I find that I’m actually content with what I’ve written, I put it up. The short story below, I actually wrote about two years ago. But I’ve only just dug it back up and re-written it a few days ago. Do check it out as well as my other stuff and let me know what you think :)

The Thing About Silence

Link to my Wattpad account: http://www.wattpad.com/user/aprillexilee

Also, I’ve been really into making playlists on 8tracks recently. Most of the playlists I create are for myself or my friends, but I have no idea how one of them ended up getting discovered (I feel it’s the biggest compliment ever when people like your taste in music, it’s like saying they like your soul). YAYERZ. Check this out if you’re interested too :)

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Link to my 8tracks: http://8tracks.com/aprillexilee

I’ve also been getting more into making music lately. Been jamming with different people and getting into different genres of music (far from what I’d usually listen to). And by a random fluke, I ended up singing for this SMU event at the YMCA rooftop, though it was unrehearsed and raw, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

And the icing on the cake, I took part in my school’s talent competition last week. To be honest, the entire initiation and preparation process was messy and we were still changing things (like band members, song arrangements and equipment needed etc) up to the night before the performance.

But all went well in the end and I’ve to say that the band I ended up going on stage with (FOLK) was beyond amazing on and off stage, and I’m so glad I got to work with them. I can’t say that we had it all pulled together or that we were extremely rehearsed, but I can say that it was truly a humble effort.

Here’s a recording of our performance live from Acstraodinaire, hope you guys enjoy it :)

Link to my soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/aprillexilee

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I really hope to be doing more fashion posts soon! Still have that Kylie Jenner LookBook I promised you guys. Thanks for reading :)

MWBF: Africa 2014

So I departed from Singapore in the early hours of the 26th of last month along with 40 odd more students and teachers from my school. It took us about 11 hours, a little bit of turbulence and an even little-r bit of sleep (at least in my case) to reach Johannesburg, South Africa. I don’t think I’ve felt days pass quicker than while we were there, but I enjoyed every share of it.

The people, both whom I went with and whom I met there, have all intertwined themselves sweetly and hauntingly into my consciousness. I don’t expect myself to remember every incident that happened while I was there but I won’t forget the interactions I’ve had with the people and their brushes, no matter how small, with my African experience.

The road trips, and hours and hours of blasting music in the bus with the windows open and shades on; the dozens of empty soda cans and chip packets. Travelling from country to country and crossing borders sometimes meant that we would spend an entire day on the bus but I can happily say that my bus mates always made the best of our time on board. Never thought that I would actually develop an emotional attachment to a vehicle, but in the case of our bus, arbitrarily named Yousouf, it was almost a tearful goodbye.

The camping, swatting insects in our tents and constantly feeling sandy; eating out of the bus and spraying copious amounts of dry shampoo into our hair. I think we’ve all become pros at pitching and un-pitching tents in under 10 minutes and grown immune to the presence of bugs in our sleeping quarters. I learned to appreciate at least 3 simple things that I so often took for granted back home:
1 – my bed
2 – my nightlight
3 – my toilet bowl
I must’ve given up on feeling clean within the first 2 days, but it was great fun with even greater people.

The wildlife, weather and culture. There couldn’t have been a better place more unlike home to escape to. I remember constantly switching between my beanie and sunglasses and hoodie-whoring the whole trip. Driving past countless wild horses, cows and occasional elephants grazing by the side of the road, waving at random strangers out the window and have them wave back. The up-close-and-personal encounters with the animals (both planned and unexpected), and the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets we had the pleasure of witnessing every day.

There are waaaaay too many memories for me to regurgitate onto here, and I don’t think that my vocabulary is diverse enough to even do them justice… so I shan’t try any further. Enjoy the pictures (some were taken off Facebook so credits to the respective photographers) and the videos that I put together. I’ve also made a playlist on 8tracks of the songs that remind me of the trip and mashed up 2 of the songs so do check that out if you’re interested! :)

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