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The Fab 40s Are Princesses For A Day

Of fairytales and princes.

Of happily ever afters (or not).

 

I remember my very first cinematic encounter with an official Disney princess.  Her name was Snow White and the year was 1980.  Throughout the music (who could forget that high pitched voice) and all that animation, one thing stuck in my head.  That I was certainly not going to lay around like a helpless damsel in distress, waiting for my prince to come and set me free.  That I’d rather don my own suit of armour, and rescue myself.

I CAN SLAY MY OWN DRAGONS, YO

As you’d probably surmise, I have no love for Snow White.  In face, her shrill vocal chords set me on edge and I’m instantly overcome by an animalistic urge to pummel.  Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty too are on my hit list of never-evers.

God help me should the day come that I can no longer fight my own battles.

Shudder.  Just shoot me and put me out of my misery when that moment arrives.

Then came Ariel in 1989 and if you suspected that I might be somewhat partial to her (for obvious hair colour reasons) then you’d be right.  And wrong.  I adore the little mermaid, and her willingness to sacrifice all in the name of love.  I mean, I’ve done it myself.  Moved across three continents with nothing but my daughter and two suitcases, to be with the man who holds the key to my heart. And yet, I felt zero affinity with her.

Still on the politically correct trajectory, Disney released Pocahontas in 1992 and Mulan six years later, neither of which appealed to me all that much.  Strange, I know.  Especially because at the time, I was immensely tanned, with waist length jet black hair parted right down the middle, and often used thick eyeliner as well as dark berry lipstick that made my pout look (almost) as full as Ms Helen Folasade Adu.  In fact, I often had little girls staring my way, calling me Pocahontas.

Mulan, never.

Yes she’s Asian and I was raised in a similar situation although I have to say that my father was a lot more open in his mentality than hers (thank heavens).

I'VE ALWAYS FELT THAT I WAS BORN IN THE WRONG BODY

No, it’s not what you’re thinking GRIN as in I was born in the wrong continent.

My thoughts and my views on life and people have always been extremely non orthodox for an Asian.  Long before the term LGBTQ came to be, my closest friends were gays and lesbians.  Even from when I was in high school.  I found myself bonding and connecting so easily with those who sexual preferences were (at the time) viewed as weird.  Abnormal.  Perverted, even.  And with whom I remain close friends to this day, albeit our communication is now limited to the confines of Facebook since we live so far apart.

Different.  Strange.  Odd. 

I stuck out.  Always.

And I don’t think many who called me “different” meant it as a compliment.

That’s why I immediately knew that Belle was my princess spirit animal (even more so now since in the movie, she has a new gay bestie, Lafou, well I’m hoping they’ll become besties although we’ll never know since there’s no sequel planned).  In every possible way.  We are both dorky.  Slightly awkward in social circumstances.  Fiercely loyal and independent.  Hardcore bookworm.  Rebellious.  Unconventional and willing to try anything at least once.  Brave when the need calls for it.  Protective.  Loving.

I'D FOUND MY PRINCESS

Join me now in gushing over my fellow Fab 40 females, in their individual interpretations of what it means to be a princess.

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

I never would’ve put Ann and Princess Stephanie of Monaco together BUT boom baby, it makes so much sense!!!  I remember loving the princess’ rebellious spirit and independent nature, and how everything cool she did raised eyebrows, and how I loved it!!

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The Fourth Floor

My friend Diane here, genius.  Delved into the realm of the telly for her princess inspiration and I shan’t lie, I had to Google the character of Jo Polniaczek from the show Facts Of Life.  Feisty and tomboyish, with a heart of gold, albeit somewhat deeply embedded 😛

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

I needn’t say more, need I?

Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

Curly Byrdie Chirps

A beautiful nod to Pocahontas which, in this instance, is genealogically accurate as well since Mary has Native American blood coursing through her veins.  I love that it’s not costumey either.  And with pops of blue to just add that extra, well, pop.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

So if Princess Elsa was in a grunge band, and had the coolest, edgiest vibe possible, and a pixie haircut, this would be her.  To an oh so fabulous tee.  Sam, you slay.

Veronica, CID Style File

CID Style File

You look amazing, Veronica, in this rendition of Pocahontas.  Just stunning.

For this month, I knew with dead certainty I wanted to ask Michelle of Shelbee On The Edge to come be our guest blogger for March.

Shelbee On The Edge

I’ve long adored and loved this lady for numerous reasons, including her raw honesty and precious ability to so eloquently articulate what I often catch myself thinking.  Is it that obvious that my admiration and respect for Michelle leans towards the vast side of things?  And it extends across her sartorial choices as well.  Today, she’s showing us her idea of Merida.  Free-spirited.  Tempestuous.  Witty.  Gentle.  Spontaneous.  Determined.  Loving.  That about describes Michelle.

I have a surprise for you!!  Although I claim ownership of the theme of fairytale princesses for this month, it was actually Eve who came up with the idea.  And it wouldn’t be right for me to not include her in this post 🙂

The World According To Eve

Does my baby girl not look immaculate?  The dress, so majestic yet completely devoid of frou frou.  A beautifully practical and practically beautiful gown.  The unexpected presence of high tops.  The dainty coronet of braids.  The stained glass rose necklace.  Immaculate.

Red Rose Gown (Willow & Clay) | Lipstick (MJ by Kylie Cosmetics)

And then, there’s me.

Don’t forget to join my link-up here!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

A Different Perspective

Same story, same tale.

Different approach, different results.

 

After last week’s incident (read: post) about an oh so blatantly discriminating act I was “blessed” to experience first hand, I made my way to the Emuleos show.  Now, a large part of my love for fashion stems from discovering new talent.  Or being introduced to an upcoming designer with a fresh perspective on silhouettes.  Not that my words wield the might that is Susie Bubble, hardly, but in that it fascinates me to no end when something someone authentically different lands on my lap, and my jaded eyes light up at the sight of originality (which, despite how often we recite the word “cyclical” in conversations pertaining to fashion, is very much sought after).

Utility Jacket (option, option) | Unicorn Sweater (option, option) | Crop Flared Jeans (option, option, option) | Patchwork Boots (option, option) | Sunnies (option) | Lipstick (Rose

FASHION MAY BE CYCLICAL BUT ORIGINALITY IS PERPETUALLY TRENDY

I arrived at Gary’s Loft and took the lift upstairs without much in the way of expectations, if I am to be perfectly honest.  At that precise moment, all I wanted was an out of the humiliating experience of earlier.

A distraction.

Remember what I said last week?

How catty and bitchy Fashiontopia can get?

 

But you know what?  The AMCO NYC team?  The loveliest lot of people one could ever hope to meet.  I was treated with cordiality and respect.  In fact, everyone appeared to be on the receiving end of that very same wave of genuine courtesy.  And, at the end of the day, fancy outfits as well as over-the-top accessories aside, that’s all we want.  During Fashion Week and every second of every day.

Am I right or am I right?

Fairness and impartiality.

That’s what we all expect.  And deserve.

AND RIGHTLY SO

An absence of prejudice.  Of preferential treatment.  A level playing field wherein we’re all accorded the one same level of human civility regardless of what our dress size is.  Or the number of wrinkles on our faces.  That pays no heed to whether we’re part of the Generation X demographics or Millennials.

It’s like what I said last week.  Oneness.

I want to conclude by sincerely thanking AMCO for inviting me to the shows.  And reiterate how much I thoroughly enjoyed Emuleos’ collection.  The garments were soft yet spirited and most definitely sassy.  Satin and lace flirted oh so happily with leather to culminate in pieces that spoke volumes of that eternal contrast between hard and soft.  Feminine and edgy.  I’d say that describes today’s woman rather eloquently.

Agreed?

Don’t forget to link-up now.

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

All Should Be Fair In Style & Fashion

But it ain’t so, baby girl.

And that’s the sad truth about it.

 

Whenever I bring up Fashion Week, I’m typically met with blank stares (all of my family and 90% of my friends aren’t “in the industry”).  On occasion, these looks are replaced with comments along the lines of, “Oh wow, how exciting!!” or “Sounds so fun, can I come too?” or “You have the most glamorous life!!“.  Whatever their responses, it’s always the glossy parts that surface.  The bright, fun, glossy part.  Rarely, if ever, does the not so pleasant, not so pretty aspects see the light of day.

That’s what my post is about today.

And yes, this is what I wore to the first two shows of my very first day at NYFW 2017.  A tried and trusted bomber jacket from the defunct Dereon line, complete with faux fur collar.  A polka dot button down peeking out discreetly from a strapless, bustier dress concocted from vintage fabrics, and festooned with antique, estate finds.  Signature oversized sunnies.  All of which have been thrifted, save for the boots (gift from the man).

In actuality, things aren’t always as “fabulous” as they seem (no duh, Sheela).  In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth.  In reality, I’m madly dashing around from gallery to gallery (in as much as someone with 5″ heels and bad knees can dash), waiting in line to be allowed access into the room, find a seat (or standing area), and that’s if I’m lucky enough to be attending consecutive shows at the same premises.  Which doesn’t happen very often.

INSERT SAD DISGRUNTLED FACE

Throw in trying to master juggling heavy coat, bag, iPhone and, for some us, camera, and it’s one of the most finicky balancing acts ever.  Completely void of glamour, my friend, completely.  Snapchatting away.  Filming insta-stories.  Taking photos for the blog.  Pleading with the batteries of our phones to last just a few more minutes.  Eating whenever (and whatever) we can.  Disclosure: I existed on drinking Coca-Cola throughout my 5 days at NYFW, and my skin is still reeling from the damages (although I did manage to shed 6lbs, I  know not how).  Desperately seeking bathrooms in between shows.  Getting blisters from the heels we’re simultaneously ruining in the snow.

Tres, chic, non?

Do not get me wrong, though.

I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF FASHION WEEK

And I realise it’s a privilege to see the collections as they unfold, and being able to experience their debut in person is one of my fave aspects of this blogging gig, but that’s because I genuinely love clothes.  Not because I love the mad frenzy.  Or the long hours that, more often than not, turn into wee hours of the early morning.  Or the hard-to-fight-off feeling in my heart that my outfit isn’t enough (or that my words aren’t enough, or that my access isn’t enough, more on the latter, later).

This stuff comes with the territory, of course, but very few are talking about it.  As it is with most not-so-happy things in life, it’s just not as well-documented.

Yet another unglamorous aspect of NYFW that doesn’t make it into Instagram feeds how 90% (if not more) of your schedule will be spent sitting in traffic and rushing like crazy from show venue to show venue.  All whilst cussing under your breath.  Or loudly and colourfully, pick your poison.

Gone are the days when shows were all held in the same spot (come back, Mercedes Benz, we miss you).  These days, Fashion Week is naught but a moniker for the most stylish scavenger hunt through New York City ever.

IN SHOES THAT WERE CLEARLY NOT MEANT FOR SCAVENGING

On top of all that scurrying, chances are your wait time for the show to start will be far longer than the duration of the actual show.  Yes, I kid you not.  It’s an absolute given that you’ll wait anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes for the less-than-15-minute runway show to begin.  Anyone else see the irony in that circumstance?

Here’s another not so glam tidbit.  Nine times of out 10, you’ll get to enjoy a seat that’s practically on the lap of the person right beside you.  So many egos, so little seating space.  And, as has happened to me several times, if you’re not blessed with a front row seat, good luck attempting to view the looks over a sea of iPhones.  Even my 5″ heels didn’t help.  There were others in equally statuesque shoes, and they were much taller to begin with.

There is a silver lining though.

You can still watch the show on the screen of the phone of someone in the front row.  That’s one to scratch off the bucket list, eh?  GRIN

Now, all these things (yes, even the collective mad dash for the exit as the show ends), I can handle.  What I cannot stomach is an incident which happened when I was making my way to the Milly show.  I’d just come out of the Dan Liu (honestly, I wasn’t in the least bit impressed, I felt I was viewing a line-up of Lolitas parading in clothes meant for ageing starlets, long past their prime) and Hakan Akkaya (one of the strongest collections I’ve witnessed this season) shows.  And as I turned the corner to get in line for the show, I bumped into a blogger friend.  Let’s call her P.  She’s gorgeous, just gorgeous, in her early 20s, and immaculately stylish in a mainstream prep way (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that).  We started chatting and that helped pass the 30 odd minute wait.

We finally reached the door and presented our tickets.  The person/guard/security (I don’t even know what to call him) looked at P’s ticket, smiled and waved her in.  Looked at my ticket, at me, and said, “I’m sorry but we’re at full capacity.  You can watch the show from our TV panels outside if you like” and gesticulated at a trio of couches by the side.  Now, both P and I have identical tickets.  Identical.  Issued by the same PR agency, even.  I was very perplexed.  And as I sat down, I saw the very same guy check the tickets of three more ladies (all PYTs in their 20s) and LET THEM INTO THE SHOW.

I was so pissed I got up and left.

I’ve contemplated writing to the PR agency and officially documenting my sentiments over this blatant prejudice but I haven’t.  I’m not sure what to do, to be honest.  If I do, would I ruin any chances of ever being invited to shows in the future?  And would I even care?  If I don’t, am I being a coward and allowing this horrid biased treatment to continue, unchecked?

What would you do?

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

An Eye Opener

Truth on the runways.

(Even more) truth on the streets.

 

Ah, New York Fashion Week.  The special time that comes around only twice a year, where the finest and most extravagant (and sometimes the most ridiculous) creations are sent down the runway – all to the watchful eyes of critics, buyers, stylists and hoards of eager fashionistas. This season, however, it was less about the outlandish, and more about the political.  No, I stand corrected.  It was completely about making a statement.

SARTORIALLY & POLITICALLY SPEAKING

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In as much as (some) of the designs that walked down the runway took my breath away, it was how designers and models and influencers stood united in sending a message about social and political justice (or perhaps a sad lack thereof) that really stood out for me.

Because let’s face it, people.

Fashion can be one mother of a catty world.

Let’s not attempt to sugarcoat things, shall we?  Catty and bitchy and, more often than not, blatantly cruel and manipulative.  And it is precisely because of this volatile environment that the solidarity presented by its key citizens left such an impression on me.  If they could set aside blog rankings and statistics, and comparing the number of zeros in their cheques, albeit for that one week, perhaps it’s something I can try to emulate on ground level, in my muggle world.

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Although, I must add, those over-the-top, grandiose public displays of unity do beg the question of whether they’re merely acts of grandstanding.  Of posturing and peacocking, purely for the benefit of cameras snapping away.

Cynical, you say?

Somewhat.

Optimistic that I’ll be proved wrong and that these are, in truth, genuine acts of solidarity?  Cautiously very much so.  I want to be wrong.  I want to see people doing things without an agenda.

One thing is undeniable though.

I’m not doing nearly enough on my own.

I’ve always believed that if I stay true to myself and do what I think is right, when presented with a platform, I should speak.  Loudly and clearly, and stand up for what I believe to be true.  And at this particular moment in our history, nothing rings with more clarity than the need to foster sisterhood unity regardless of ethnicity, race, age, size.

O N E N E S S

In the words of Jeremy Scott, “Our voice is the only thing that will protect us.

I’m not sure what it is precisely that I intend to do but I do know I want to do more.  Be it in terms of what I write or the items I clothe my body with, or both.  I’m still thinking of how I can actually contribute towards being a part of the voice of change.  If you’re of the same mind, let me know?  Perhaps we can do something together.

From a fashion perspective, this is what I wore for my first day of New York Fashion Week (one of the coldest days I’ve ever experienced, 9th February).  I wore it to the Tadashi Shoji and Noon by Noor runway shows.  I’m not including a review of the collections because, well, I’m writing this a month later but if you’d like a look at the designs, you can see their individual pieces here and here.  They were both MAGNIFICENT.

On a separate note, I want to thank everyone for your kind words concerning my grandfather.  His demise hit me harder than I’d expected, to be honest. We weren’t particularly close the last few years because of distance as well as the fact that he no longer recognised anyone.  Yet when he passed, there was a big hole inside of me, and I felt empty, unable to write, hence the absence of blog posts.  Thank you again.

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The Fab 40s Create Pop Art

Drawn from popular culture.

Celebrating mundane, everyday things.

 

Pop Art, that is, lauding commonplace objects and people, seeking to elevate these seemingly nondescript things to the level of fine art.  Personally, I wouldn’t put “pop” and “fine” within the same sentence should it pertain to the various categories of art but I’d be the last person to deny how strong an impact the pop art movement has had on fashion and style.

A G R E E D ?

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Campbell’s Soup Cans.

Disney’s mighty Mickey Mouse.

MISS NORMA JEAN BAKER

All these, be they hand-painted or screen-printed, are universally recognisable as juggernauts of the pop art culture.  And what’s particularly interesting to note is that whilst abstract expressionists favoured visually depicting their tormented souls upon canvas, pop artists searched for traces of that very same trauma in the commercial world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large.

To be perfectly honest, I found this challenge quite, well, challenging (gah, Sam, I tossed and turned for quite a few nights, that I did).

Aside from the odd graphic tee (hello Mickey), I’m not much for adorning my person with enthusiastic bursts of billboard colour.  Hair aside, I mean.  My style vocabulary rarely, if ever, includes neon or identifiable prints let alone illustrations remotely falling within the stereotype of “coolly ambivalent“.

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I JUST DON'T SWING THAT WAY

When it comes to colour, I like my solids.  Mostly jewel tones.  Or blacks (that’s still a colour for many of us).  A few prints of the classic sort such as plaid or animal or stripes or dots, with a handful of florals thrown in but still in those rich colours or ebony.  I literally scrolled through my entire Instagram feed and couldn’t find a single outfit or accessory that was remotely pop art.  I did find a wall that was perfect for this month’s theme but that was about it.

I was this close to stepping away from the challenge. 

Really, really.

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And I realised I was really overthinking things.  Getting my knickers all twisted and for naught.  I told myself to stop it.  I did.  I said, “Sheela, get a grip.  It’s just clothes“.  After saying that about twenty times, it (finally) sunk in.  Educators were right.  Repetition does indeed work.

I decided that even if I didn’t individual items that were emblazoned with pop art typography, or garments of the right pop art colour story, I could still make it work (I love you, Timmy).

I remembered owning a Mickey Mouse tee shirt in acid wash colours with a neon green/grey striped back (completely forgot to take pictures of that, so smart).  That began the process of my outfit.  Next, the hoodie with its print of candy in pink and yellow.  Followed by really cool booties.  Seriously, look at the print on those things. Then came the dilemma of what to pair all that with.  My first instinct?  Fluorescent yellow skinny jeans but they were much too obvious for me.

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Hesitantly, I reached for that mini skirt.  I knew it was perfect.  The print was OH SO pop art.  Graffiti at its level best thanks to illustrations of robots and monkeys and hearts, with abstract words penciled in, a perfect ode to the commercial art world from whence many pop art artists hail.  But, you see, this is the first time in 18 years that I’ve worn a short skirt.  It’s hard for me to ignore the one thousand and one scars on my right shin from all those injections I’ve had to have. Or the scars on my knees for surgery.

I WENT FOR IT, ANYWAY

Yes, I suppose you could say that this outfit is a little liberating for me.  I think I’m finally alright with going from a Size 2 to a Size 14, and now to a Size 4.  I’m working on accepting how things have changed, how certain bits aren’t quite what they used to be, and allowing myself to celebrate the body I now have.  Scars and atrophy et al.  Learning to love muscles I never thought I’d have (or even wanted to have at first), and embracing a different physique brought about by exercising.  I’ll never be what I was three years ago but you know, I’m ok with that.

Sam, thank you xoxo

PRESENTING THE FAB 40S IN WEARABLE POP ART

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

Bold and wacky and F-U-N!!  Yes, uppercases fully justified when it comes to Ann’s look and I must confess, I was surprised that she too faced some difficulties with the theme.  In my mind, I thought she’d have it the easiest, to be honest.  Ann has always dazzled with bright colours and heapings of playfulness with loads of quirk and fun, you see.  I think she completely aced it here.  Especially with those kicks.

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The 4th Floor

Diane’s outfit is, by far, the most wearable for me.  It’s something I’d slip over my head and head out with nary a second thought.  Yes, even the sneakers.  I really appreciate the subtle nuances here, the delicate nods to pop art, and how she made it very fresh with the hashtag symbols.  Well done, my friend.

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

THIS TAKES THE ABSOLUTE POP ART CAKE.  I heart everything here, Jennie.  When I saw your photo, this ginormous smile involuntarily spread across my face (I blame you for any resulting wrinkles), and I felt so happy.  There’s something so magical about your outfit.  It’s enchanting and whimsical and completely endearing.  I now feel the urge to purchase hot pink mesh tights.  The desire is so great, it equates the need to inhale and breathe.

Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

Curly Byrdie Chirps

Babe, you make pop art look SEXY as hell.  This is an outfit I’d wear, very happily and frequently.  Whether with the individual components on their own or collectively as you’ve shown here.  Love the duster cardigan (such a fabulous piece) and the gingham dress and that adorable cube bag!!  Absolutely gorgeous, Mary.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

What can I say, Sam?  You look amazing.  Dapper and feminine all at the one same time.  You’re the sort of person I’d see at a party and would work up the courage to say hello to, just so I could ask where you got your clothes from.  Every tiny element in this outfit is so carefully and strategically put to aesthetic use.  I love it.

And now, do join me in welcoming Lisa of The Sequinist, our guest blogger for February.

The Sequinist

I’ve loved Lisa for the longest time, both for her taste in clothes (which mirrors mine in terms of more is more) as well as her writing (so thoughtful), and had the pleasure of working with her myself last August.  So when Sam announced who our guest was for February, I worked myself up to a tizzy, ecstatically looking forward to what she’d wear, and Lisa did not disappoint.

If anyone could make Pop Art look glam, it’d be Lisa.

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Candy Hoodie (Harajuku Lovers) | Mickey Tee (Disney) | Skirt (Alice & Olivia) | Graffiti Art Boots (AmiClubWear) | Rainbow Bracelets (WhatWouldVWear) | Sunnies & Red Glass Ring (borrowed from Eve)  | Lipstick (Rose)

And then, there’s me.

Don’t forget to join my link-up here!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

My New York Moment(s)

New York, New York.

There’s something about you.

 

So at the time of writing, I’ve been home from New York Fashion Week for precisely slightly over a week.  I spent survived 6 days in the city during one of its most crazy times.  New York Fashion Week.  Ahhh.  What an experience.  There was the good, the not so good, and the downright ugly.  When things were good, they were very good.  The not so good wasn’t too detrimental, nothing a bruised ego couldn’t recover from.  But when they were ugly, they were really ugly which, thankfully, were few and far between.

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Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing all my New York Fashion Week tales with you.  Hopefully they won’t bore you too much, and yes, expect a gallery of those mandatory “what I wore to NYFW” photos, whilst regaling how I speed-changed my way in between shows!!!

G R I N

But today is not about that.

Today, we’re talking about Project Sister Act.  You know, that monthly gig wherein five to six of us women come together in the name of style.  Standing united in showcasing that style knows no age boundary.  That style is indeed an expression of one’s personality, no matter if one’s a product of the 70s or 90s.  And that the one same motif can be stylish on any and every woman, regardless of the year she was born.

Over the past 12 months (yes, Project Sister Act turned one this month, woohoo), I’ve been SO privileged to share the stage with some incredibly spectacular women as we presented our individual interpretations of themes running the gamut from sequins and sneakers; flower power; simple white tee; the maxi dress; and, one of my faves, the uber cool avant garde theme.

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I must admit.  I’ve been stumped a few times here and there.  For instance the sequins and sneakers outfit.  Wow.

That. Was. Really. Hard.

Equally challenging was when we undertook the “cold shoulder” trend.  Oy.  And let’s not even start dissecting that time when I (madly) chose the 70s as the theme.  I honestly do not know what I was thinking.

There was also that time when I oh so ambitiously planned for two Project Sister Act posts within the one same month.  My birthday month.

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The first installment featured stripes.  Stripety stripes.

And the second?  Growl power.

I’m well aware this post borders on the nostalgic.  It has been a full 12 months since Project Sister Act was born, and I truly do feel very passionate about what it stands for.  Many of us, throughout our lives, have been told to look a certain way, dress in a specific fashion, and behave in a manner that is “becoming of our age“, whatever the hell that means.  Whilst it’s very true that common courtesy and respect towards our fellow human beings takes precedence, everything else is fair game.  We dress for us.  We put ourselves together to look the way we choose to, not as dictated by (irony of ironies) some blogger or influencer or editor.  No one tells us how to behave and, worse, to act our age because, you know, when you hit a specific number, you’re apparently expected to sit in a corner, waiting to wither and die.

SUCH BULLSHIT

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Yes, I (clearly) feel very strongly about this topic, and that will never change.  I hope you share my sentiment, friend, so together, we can focus our energy, our determination, our zeal, on living a full life.  A life overflowing with people we love, doing the things we love, and most definitely not a life in which we do things merely because they’re “expected” of us.

That’s not living. 

That’s existing.

Welcome to Project Sister Act for February 2017.  It was only fitting that this month’s theme be Red.  Come, meet four amazing women (plus myself) and tell me what you think of our outfits.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

The World According To Eve

I just can’t.

Roxanne, 20s (glass of glam)

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Everything about Roxanne’s outfit screams plush and rich, albeit the focal point is a darling button-down shirtdress.  A perfect example of how accents can utterly bring one’s outfit to an entirely new level.  So much in love with her coat.  Really, really.

Ashley, 30s (le stylo rouge)

Le Stylo Rouge

I’m simply fascinated with how Ashley has taken the seemingly opulent theme of “red” and made it hers.  Signature plaid shirt, with signature jeans.  Perfectly modern and fresh.  A hybrid of tomboy chic meets girl-next-door.  And do you spy those fishnets?  I heart.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

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This red lace dress is one of the prettiest pieces I’ve ever worn.  A little too dainty but I feel that jacket does quite well in saucing things up a smidge.  As you can tell from the hair, it was an immensely blustery day out, so much so that I had not one but several narrow escapes from doing a Mary Poppins.

Cherie, 50s (style nudge)

Style Nudge

I don’t know if I’ve ever told her this but I’ve always thought of Cherie as being one classy dame.  And can you blame me?  Just look at her.  She looks like a million bucks and I mean that quite literally.  The coat is heavenly.  The pants have so much movement, I die.  And her bag.  Oh oh oh, my heart.

Do join in the Link-Up?

It would mean ever so much to me.

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The Fab 40s In Leather & Lace

Hard versus soft.

Delicate versus not so delicate.

 

When I wrote this post, my initial thought was to develop something along the lines of contrasts.  You know, the juxtaposition between hard and soft.  Between leather and lace.  That beautiful attraction of opposing textures.  But the more I started reading the headline, the more I began seeing how this could also be interpreted as a gender issue.

LET ME EXPLAIN

Some time back, I shared my views on Belle’s Emma Watson’s inspiring speech.  My takeaway from her words was a new perspective on how men too are treated.  With bias.  And I’ve maintained that same thought process to this day.  How both genders need to rethink the way they view each other and perhaps, just perhaps, we might get along a little better.

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Think of it this way.

Men are expected to be in possession of their emotions.

AT ALL TIMES

Generally brought up in the falsehood that showing empathy or vulnerability is a sign of weakness.  That “real” men are tough beasts who never ever display anything but the facial expression of a seasoned juggernaut.

Ever heard of the expression, “Real men don’t cry??

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Women understand all about bias and prejudice.  And being judged.

If we’re successful, we must have slept our way to the top.  If we’re strong, confident, empowered, we’re bossy and bitchy.  Oh and most definitely butch.  It’s inconceivable that we might have attained all those accomplishments on our own merit.  We are visually assessed, mentally labelled, and deftly compartmentalised based on how we dress, how we look.

I admit.  I’m often guilty of doing just that myself.

Looking, assessing, judging.

Sentencing and passing down verdict without evidence.

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If she’s pretty, there’s no way she’s smart too.  Or god gave her an amazing supermodel body because, c’mon, let’s face it, there’s really nothing but vacant space between the left and the right ears.  And her face isn’t precisely Miss Universe material.  I know.  I’m fully aware of how fucked up all that sounds.  Trust me, I’ve kicked myself in the ass enough times, and I doubt I’d be stopping the self-berating anytime soon. I am very ashamed of myself.  It’s taken me a long time to recognise that I too was doing unto others the very thing I’ve written publicly to fight against.

The same mentality of generalisation applies to men.  It wasn’t too long ago that pastel shirts were a definite “no no” for the male species (it only took me 6 years to get my man in a lavender button-down), and heaven forbid if they showed any interest in grooming.  Oh no, taking care of oneself was effeminate and reserved exclusively for sissies.

If a man were to actually get his hair cut and styled, wiggle wiggle go the brows.  Imagine the gasps of horror, sorry, snorts of disdain should he invest in something as unmanly as a tailored suit or adopt a skincare regime.

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So in all this, the point I’ve been trying to make is – no matter your gender, stereotyping exists.  It abounds.  It torments.  It.  Is.  Out.  There.  And it’s up to us to change it.  Sweeping generalisation of both the male and female species.  It has to stop.  It needs to stop.

Men need to be able to let their vulnerability show.  To understand it’s part of being human, you know, letting the world see your softer side.  That it doesn’t take anything away from your masculinity or your manhood.  Women, on the other hand, need to be able to present their fierce and driven sides without immediately being branded as intimidating, scary, bitchy.  I’ve had all three words shoved in my face and stabbed in my back throughout my career far more times than I’d like to count, to be honest (and yet I still think those thoughts of other women, right?).

As I said, it needs to stop.  And from here, from today, I’m going to work on it stopping with me.  With my fast-to-judge thoughts.  It stops right here, right now.  I’m actually going to try to be that champion of women (and men) that I’ve been portraying through my blog posts.  Make it real.

Here is also where I apologise from the very bottom of my heart to my fellow Fab 40 friends.  For being SO stupid late with this post (this was scheduled for January) due to technical issues and then brand commitments and just an overall lack of organisational skills.  I’m working on that too, my friends, forgive me?

PRESENTING THE FAB 40S IN LEATHER & LACE

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

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Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

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Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

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Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

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Sam, Fake Fabulous

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Veronica, CID Style File

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Please join me in welcoming Kim of The Haute Life Now, our guest blogger for January.

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Beautiful and exquisite are the two words that come to mind when I look at Alison’s outfit.  The details contained within that airy fairy, ethereal confection of a top contrasting wonderfully against that tailored high waisted pant.  Delicate meets hard personified.

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Blush Leather Jacket (DKNY) | Black Lace Skirt, worn as dress (c/o StyleWe) | Necklace (Mirina Collections) | Black Combat Booties (Bakers) | Spiked Rose Gold Bangle & Ring (c/o Happiness Boutique) | Sunnies (Poshmark) 

And then, there’s me.

By the by, this marks precisely one year since I (a) worked with a professional photographer (b) ventured outside of my backyard to do shoots (c) posed awkwardly in the presence of others.  My first location shoot had me in a sunny side up and creepers, remember?

Don’t forget to link-up now!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Third Wheel & A Link-Up

Odd (wo)man out.

An extra person or element.

 

This entire week, my lady friends Jodie, Nancy, Charlotte, and baby girl Eve, have been showcasing our interpretations of combining red with gold, plus a little somethin’, somethin’.  For instance, on Monday, we kicked things off to a glam start with, well, a touch of opulence to our red with gold garments.  This was promptly followed up with introducing print to the pairing.  Yes, red with gold and a touch of pattern on Wednesday.  And today?  Well, this day, the fifth day of the week (can I get a YAY??), we’re showcasing red and gold with a certain odd fella.  You know.  The odd man (or woman) out.  That third wheel, otherwise also known as the third colour into the mix.

THIS IS GOING TO BE A SUCCINCT POST

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IT'S BEEN VERY HECTIC IN NEW YORK

Whilst I won’t be attending shows until Friday (wait, that’s today), since I arrived on Wednesday night, I’ve spent 3 hours with the Zotos team (working on a very special collaboration coming soon), experienced a blizzard and being snowed in, attended two meetings with separate agencies to review the possibility of being represented (so thrilled and hoping for only good juju), and met up in real life with someone I greatly admire on Instagram (Creative Director of The New York Times up until 6 weeks ago when he retired).

Don’t misunderstand, please.  I am incredibly happy and blessed to be presented with these opportunities which, a year or two ago, I’d never in my wildest dreams ever even thought possible.  I’m just a tired old lady ranting.

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Also, up until now, I’ve always been fascinated by snow and loved the cold.  I love low temperatures and cool winds but let’s be real.  When you’re trudging through a foot of snow (and trying to not do an Atkins in the process), with snowflakes falling all around and over you, blustery winds doing their damn best to recreate a Mary Poppins scene, and you’re doing all you can to stay upright, it gets challenging.

And wet.

Very, very wet.

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Snow doesn’t look quite as appealing when it’s an icky shade of sludge gray.  And if I’m being completely honest, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to look stylish when warmth is a key consideration.  Respect goes out to those women who make it look so incredibly effortless.  Bundled up and toasty without appearing in the least bit bulky and clumsy like a travelling wanton.

Like how I’m convinced I look on a New York Winter’s day.

G R I N

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And now, behold before your eyes, the concluding part of our adventures in pairing red and gold with different elements.  As mentioned in the beginnings of this post, today, we’re bringing in a third party.  A third colour into the mix.  Had I seen this prior to shooting the outfits for this collaboration, I would most certainly have attempted to infuse some measure of hot pink.  You can be quite certain the palette of red + gold (or animal print in gold hues) + fuchsia will be making its debut on my blog and soon.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

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A classic composition of red with gold and some good ole rock n roll denim.  This pair is pretty edgy and different, with the darker denim patch and top-stitching mimicking that of a Tim Burton raggedy doll.  And I love how the sequins on Eve’s high tops come together to create a snakeskin pattern.  So brilliant.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

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In the shoe department, it’s a like daughter like mother situation 🙂 my metallic gold snakeskin booties proffer the gilded element to this ensemble of red meets grey meets a Titanic scene.  I was truly despairing when this photo was taken because I’d come to the harsh realisation that I have, in my possession, very few items of clothing in red and gold.  A situation I must rectify and promptly.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

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Look at Jodie go.  Not only has she introduced the third wheel colour into her outfit, there’s not one but two elements of seemingly clashing prints.  The shoes.  The bag.  Clever Jodie.  And beautifully played too the textural contrast of that duster cardigan.  I heart, Jodie, I heart.  I do think this is my fave outfit from you for this particular project.  Wait.  I did also adore the one you wore for Monday’s post.  It’s a very close tie.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

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Opting for a more casual, subtly athleisure look is Nancy in her red hoodie and darker gold top (look the texture of that) paired with the crispness of sleek white pants.  And those adorable flats, with the embellished toes.  I have a thing for embellished toes.  They get to me each time.  I really like how she’s kept everything clean and simple yet this is an outfit with immense potential for versatility.  Do you see that too?

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

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What a stunning blazer, Charlotte, with its Chinoiserie vibe and riotous explosion of colours.  I hadn’t noticed this before but are those sleeves lace?  How cool is that?  And the subtle hints of gold arising from her top (or is that a dress?) echo the glint of the necklace as well as those earrings.  Perfectly complementary.

And there you have it.  Five women taking red with gold by the horns.  Which part of this collaboration has been your personal fave?  With a touch of glam?  Or a print?  Or today’s as we each introduced a third colour into the story?

Which would you do?

And don’t forget to join the Project Sister Act Link-Up.

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Love Thyself

Self care, self love.

You seriously owe it to yourself.

 

Valentine’s Day happens next Tuesday.  A day for couples and singles alike.  For best friends.  Or just good friends.  A day to celebrate that crazy little thing called love and the act of loving.  Why is it then that we always forget one very vital thing?

To love ourselves?

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Self care, self love.

It’s a divine responsibility.

It’s what you owe yourself, regardless of whether you’re a child of God.  Global citizen.  Wife of John.  Husband to Lily.  Mother of Samuel.  Brother to Kate.  You have a divine responsibility to take care of yourself.  I’d even go so far as to say that you’re honour bound to love yourself.

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

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Granted, those weekly massages or monthly manicure are wonderful treats but that’s not the sort of self-indulging I’m talking about here.

It’s about knowing when to say “no“.  And not feeling guilty as sin for uttering that word.  Taking the time to recover, recharge, reboot.  Allowing yourself that moment to step away, inhale, exhale.  Investing in wee sabbaticals to clear your mind, to set the course, to forge forwards.  It’s also about leaving.  Staying.

Saying “thank you”  as well as “no, thank you“.

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Self love is about asking for more without being apologetic for it.

Rooting for yourself (no, that’s neither bitchy nor selfish).  It’s about listening and investing in yourself.  It’s about being protective and tender and compassionate with yourself.

A L W A Y S

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Does it not make sense that in allowing yourself to love yourself, it only serves to increase the capacity within you to love those you hold dear, even more?  Even better?  Self love is indeed a divine responsibility and you do yourself a grave injustice if you elect to decline that option.

On a far less sombre note, please do visit the blogs of these individual ladies to see how they’re intending to dress up for Valentine’s Day.

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SHEELA from Sheela Writes

“Love must be celebrated on a daily basis. And not just for your other person but expressed towards everyone you love.  Corny, I know, but really really true.  It just makes life all that much better.”

MONICA from Jersey Girl, Texan Heart

Hey Everyone!  I’m Monica from Jersey Girl, Texan Heart.  First and foremost, thank you Ada for this awesome collab!  I decided to keep it a little simple and mysterious for Valentine’s Day.  Of course I love dressing up, but sometimes I want to be a little more casual.  OTK boots, a whole black outfit with a pop of red is my way to go this year!

LINDA from A Labour of Life

Valentine’s Day in the North calls for innovation in the outfit.  Luckily my New Chic skirt arrived in time to inspire a winter ballerina look.”

ADA from Elegance and Mommyhood

“My Valentine’s day will consist of a half day of work – enter this Rose Quartz (or blush) Midi Dress for a subtle festive pink, which I paired with some fierce black pumps – and spending the rest of the day with my daughter, since my husband is currently not in town. Vivian and I will probably go for a play-date at Chuck E. Cheese, which for that I will be dressed festively comfortable. Happy Valentine’s Day to you! It is a day to celebrate love and not just with your significant other.”

LEE from Wine & Couture

Wine and Couture is a Life and Style Blog that I started over 4 years ago.  It has grown and changed over the years into a fun and amazing place to style and restyle your clothing as well as investing in classic pieces.  Today I am sharing some ideas on what to do for Valentine’s day that is low key.  Some of these are things my husband and I have done in the past.  Stop by my blog to read more and please leave a comment.”

 

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I’ll be honest.  This dress I’m wearing?  It was styled specifically for this collaboration (thank you, Ada, for having me!!).  My man and I are fully intending to stay home on the 14th, and call for takeout.  For reals.  We feel very strongly about celebrating love and the one you love every single day.  And firmly believe that expressions of the heart ought not to be restricted to a mere 24 hours every 52 weeks, dependent upon the flights and fancies of giant marketing machines 🙂

Don’t forget to link-up too now!!!

Project Sister Act Friday Link-Up will be back this week too.

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The Radness Of Red Continues


Red is the colour of my heart.

And the shirt I’ve got on my back.

 

I promise.  I really was trying to come up with something fancy for the header but that’s all I could manage, forgive me.  It’s been a long week.  Planning for Fashion Week in New York.  Getting things together.  Packing at the 11th hour, but of course (I mean, were you really expecting anything different?).  Desperately trying to juggle work and home and blog commitments.  And failing quite dramatically, to be honest GRIN.  If you’ve seen my recent Instastories, organisational skills aren’t really my superpowers.

In support of this claim, I offer up as proof the fact that I’m currently typing this at Gate 19, Terminal E.  Yes, the airport.  Yes, I realise this post was meant to have been completed way before now and gone live this morning.  But as I stated, being organised and staying ahead of the game are simply not quite prevalent in my life skills vocabulary.

END OF CONFESSION

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Wait.

Another bit to confess.  I’m absolutely petrified thinking of what lies ahead.  Honestly.  I’m currently experiencing an odd state of outwardly-calm-inwardly-full-blown-panic.  If you look at me now, it’s all chill as I wait for a plane that does not appear to want to appear.  But really, the prospect of 13 shows in 3 days, 5 production meetings with brands and agencies, 2 photo shoots, and meeting friends in between all that.  Let’s hope these shoulders (and the banged-up knees) can carry the load (without too much fuss, I mean, there’s always anti-inflammatories but still).

The aim is to appear cool and calm and collected as I strut around, in my finery, determined to make a statement and stand apart.  The reality is a frenzied bundle of nerves desperately hoping for zero wardrobe malfunctions, minimal blisters, and sufficient gym pre-conditioning to make it through the upcoming sartorial marathon.  That was a mouthful.

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Today is the 12th day of Chinese New Year. 

Wow. 

I didn’t even feel those 11 days pass zoom by.

I’d like to share a few cultural things my family subscribes to, when Chinese New Year comes along.  Now, I don’t know if these are specific to Sarawak or something a particular dialect group practices, or they’re merely superstition-based, and passed down through generations, evolving into customs, traditions over time.  Some are going to sound really ridiculous.  Others interesting and quirky.  At least I think so.

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There’s this thing about sweeping the floor.  Or rather, not sweeping the floor.  My maternal grandmother believed this to be bad luck.  Seriously bad luck.  As in sweeping away the good fortune of the new year.   Which, during this time, is challenging because floors get oily and dusty from all that cooking and merry-making. And front porches are literally drowning in a sea of red.  No, not blood, but rather, paper remnants of firecrackers.  A generous sea of red.

My mother would promptly ignore my grandmother and just proceed to sweep all the stuff away HAHAHA the former turning a blind eye to fumigating stares and a deaf ear to mutterings of impending doom and gloom from the latter.  It was hilarious.

In retrospect, there was absolutely no truth in this superstition so you go, Mum.

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LAUGHING WITH ME YET?

Yes?  Good.

Showering.  Let’s talk about that now.  I had an ex-boyfriend whose mother insisted showers be taken at the stroke of midnight on the eve of Chinese New Year.

Wash away bad luck and ill omen of the previous year, allowing for just the opposite to happen on this new year.  And precisely at the stroke of midnight, which was a physical impossibility given that there was 5 of them in the family, with just one bathroom.  Naturally, this particular circumstance never unfolded quite to his mother’s liking and she would always work herself up to a tantrum.  Suffice to say that after several years of this madness, we broke up GRIN

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I have several more “incidents” to share but I’m going to leave them for Friday’s post, the culminating edition of our red endeavours.

But for now, thank you for joining us in this second of a tri-part project between Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself.  Today, we decided to push the status quo a smidge and work in a print into the already statement pairing of red with gold.  Go big or go home, yes?  Tell me what you think.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

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A satin tuxedo blazer in a pretty print works wonderfully with that bold red tee and jeans.  Throw in some glitzy gold sneaker wedges and kickass sunnies, and baby girl’s poised to, well, kick ass.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

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Open toed heels in Winter. Only in Houston, baby, with floral Tropicana pants, engine red shirt and a fave Gold Leather jacket.  I think this is my fave outfit in the collaboration. 

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

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The epitome of fresh and fun and flirty, Jodie is.  Those ear muffs are especially tugging at my heartstrings, as are her superheroine boots.  Quite loving the subtle print of her skirt, those little nuances that Jodie’s very much a master of.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

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A slightly more subdued interpretation of the theme this time from Nancy.  Subdued but still impactful.  That animal print twinset is no wallflower and red pants aren’t fading into the background any time soon. Love.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

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Interesting that Charlotte chose wide-legged pants for this look.  An unusual pairing.  I’m really appreciating the varying shades of gold in her outfit, the gradience making for a delightful vision.  But if I’m to be completely honest, those boots.

Come see us on Friday when we add a third Colour to the already explosive pairing of red with gold.  I do hope you’ll also join the discussion and leave me a comment too, because many of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel.

Oh and visit tomorrow too?  I have a very special Valentine’s Day collaboration with the lovely Ada.

So, do you do red with gold and print?

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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