April 30, 2011

Perfect Little Shirt


Over a year ago I came across the perfect white/ivory silk shirt that I couldn't stop thinking about. I have been endlessly searching for something similar ever since. The shirt drapes over the body ever so slightly. It's blousy, but not baggy. There is something about a silk shirt that is refined and sensual. Most importantly, the fabric is a heavy weight that allows for discrete coverage. My searches for silk shirts always ended in disappointment. 

The silk shirt offerings are always too sheer, too shiny or laden with awkward pockets. So rather than settle (I never settle), I saved this picture in my inspiration folder. Upon confirming my travel plans to Hong Kong my mind quickly turned (to be honest it raced) to having this shirt custom made. No trip to Hong Kong is complete without having a few bespoke items made. Hong Kong is known for having many of the world's best tailors. If you have ever owned a custom-made garment, you understand the joy of clothes crafted to fit your every measurement. Having arrived in Hong Kong on a Friday evening I was ready to hit the ground Monday morning. 

Soong Salon De Mode came highly recommended within the industry as an established tailor skilled at crafting garments from a picture. En route to Soong Salon De Mode I passed countless "24-hour tailors" and shop owners asking if I wanted a dress, suit or the shoes I was wearing copied. I was determined to find Soong Salon De Mode. I was instantly put at ease by Philip Cheng, who runs the business and gave me copies of Gap Press to read. I examined the craftsmanship of items awaiting pickup and could see that Philip and his team are talented. I also made sure to confirm that one tailor would be working with me throughout the entire process. For consistency purposes it is best if one tailor oversees the entire process. There were a couple of completed jackets that could have passed for Chanel. Confident that Philip could design my shirt I pulled out a copy of my inspiration image and explained my requirements. We talked about how I envisioned the sleeve, cuff and bottom of the shirt, fit and the weight of the fabric. Philip made a quick sketch of what my shirt would look like. We then turned our attention to fabric. We pulled all of the silk fabric in stock and decided on a heavy momme weight. The hardest decision I had to make was deciding upon the right color white or ivory. There were just so many different shades to consider.

It was then time for my measurements. Meticulous measuring is the mark of superior craftsmanship. We scheduled my first fitting for Wednesday morning. Two days later at my fitting I got a preview of my shirt. One side of the shirt was completed. I tried on the shirt to confirm that the length allowed me to wear it tucked in or out, the shoulders fit and sleeve length was perfect. Philip and his assistant carefully took many measurements again.  The delivery date for my shirts (I had more than one made) was set for Friday pending everything going well at my second fitting. Two fittings was more than sufficient. This shirt is PERFECTION. My shoulders are narrow and pointy, which Philip explained made getting the shoulders to fit perfectly an arduous task. The shirt is sporty with a touch of old Hollywood glamour. A feminine and elegant alternative to my more traditional button downs. My measurements, fabric swatches, sketches and inspiration image are saved under my customer record. Ordering another shirt is as simple as sending an email. 

What was most impressive was the craftsmanship, workmanship and sheer pride that everyone at Soong Salon De Mode has in their work. Tailors in Hong Kong are classically trained and best known for men's tailoring and garments with structure. Pictures just don't do this shirt justice. I would highly recommend a visit to Soong Salon De Mode. If you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, then you are in luck. Philip and Jack Chui are on a business tour during the month of May. Please email me if you are interested in scheduling an appointment. 


* You get what you pay for. Assume that workmanship and fabric will match the price. As soon as you arrive in Hong Kong, visit established tailors and compare craftsmanship and price. 

* Be decisive about what you want. Bring samples- a favorite piece of clothing (I also had two of my favorite pairs of pants copied), sketches or photos. The clearer your  vision, the simpler the entire process will be. Hong Kong is best known for menswear or classic structured garments. Straying from this aesthetic could lead to disappointment. 

* Ask if the work is bespoke (made from scratch) or made-to-measure (based on existing patterns but handmade according to your measurements.

* Carefully consider fabrics. For me this was the most time consuming aspect of the process. You're getting a great deal on the workmanship, so it is worth it to consider splurging on a luxe fabric. Examine fabric on a large scale, as small swatches can be deceiving. When having an item copied, always choose a fabric similar to the original. 

* Be patient while your measurements are being taken. Try to stand as you normally would for the most accurate measurements.

* Be prepared to place a deposit on your piece. Your receipt should detail price, fabric (it should include a swatch), style, fitting schedule and production schedule.  

* There should be at least two fittings. The first for major alterations. Subsequent fittings are for small adjustments. That being said, you shouldn't settle for anything short of PERFECTION. Keep sending your item back until it is right. Bring the proper undergarments, shoes, etc to your fitting, so your tailor can get a true sense of how things will fit. Scrutinize every detail.

* Give your tailor at least a week turnaround time. 

* Enjoy the collaboration process.

April 25, 2011

The Talisman

tal·is·man noun \ˈta-ləs-mən, -ləz-\

1: an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
2: something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects

- Merriam Webster Dictionary 

My Personal Photos

I firmly believe that every woman should have her own talisman. A statement piece that makes you feel charmed from the moment you put it on. This necklace is my talisman. It has seen me through countless  life events and important meetings. Seemingly I'm always wearing this necklace when exciting opportunities present themselves. I believe we make our own luck, but I still relish this little treasure. 

Until recently I never would have considered a piece this bold. I am a jewelry wearer, but my pieces lean toward understated and delicate. Pearl earrings, pearl strands, diamond studs, a locket, and my charm bracelet are the pieces I reach for most. All of my jewelry is intricately intertwined with my story. A few years ago I began collecting vintage and limited edition necklaces from Chanel. Chanel always manages to be ladylike and elegant, but there is a little edge to it that makes it relevant. This is the very first Chanel piece I purchased to commemorate an important step in my career. It's bright, colorful and bold. I associate it with endless professional possibilities. It's a piece that is timeless, so I don't have to worry that I will outgrow it. I can wear this necklace with jeans and a white shirt, but years from now it will be just as appropriate with a tasteful suit. I tone down this necklace with very classic and sophisticated clothing (E.g. a little black dress). If your going to wear statement jewelry, then your clothing shouldn't compete with it. Generally, I gravitate toward silver jewelry so a piece in gold really has to really catch my eye. 

The little details contribute greatly to personal style. Oftentimes, they are the first things we notice. A statement necklace is a little detail that differentiates style. Two people may be wearing the same suit, but a necklace, scarf , or pocket square (bless you male readers) can define a look.  When I get dressed I never forget to consider my jewelry. This necklace is a piece that starts conversation. I have prepped for difficult meetings where  the utmost diplomacy was required only to be disarmed with questions about my necklace. It's fascinating how quickly women bond over a shared love of clothing or jewelry. During awkward moments at events when everyone is glancing at the ceiling for something to say this necklace energizes the conversation. 

Chanel jewelry holds it's value incredibly well and collectors are reluctant to sell, therefore pieces have to be scooped up as they become available. I have literally had my dinner interrupted with offers to buy this necklace right off my neck. This brings me to another point, I only purchase items I love. There's no waiting around for that special occasion or event to wear the 'good stuff' because I'm genuinely excited to break it out. Life is short so why not wear your good things now? 

Do you have a statement piece that acts as your talisman? Do tell!

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April 22, 2011

Dress For Success

Courtesy of Vogue.com

"You can do anything you want in life if you dress for it" Edith Head 
I have a confession to make. I cherish vintage fashion guides. Specifically those written in the mid to late 1960s. I have spent hours unearthing these treasures at my favorite secondhand bookstore. What makes these guides unique is their gentle wit, charm and no nonsense approach to dressing elegantly. I'm not nostalgic for a bygone era, but I find that these style guides provide an abundance of timeless advice for building a wardrobe that will work for every occasion. In addition to their focus on style, these guides also speak to manners and etiquette. Manners and etiquette are intricately related to style in my opinion. The vintage fashion guide is unapologetically ladylike, which I find appealing. 
Many of the best vintage fashion guides had limited print runs. The New York Public Library is one of the best resources for looking at these books. The demure illustrations and humorous tone of these guides can provide hours of enjoyment. If you've read A Guide to Elegance or The Deb's Dictionary then you know how tongue-in-cheek and divine these books can be. While my wardrobe is carefully considered, I do have a healthy sense of humor.
Years ago I began collecting vintage fashion tomes. I have a tendency to collect items that allow me the thrill of a good hunt (e.g. my vintage/limited edition Chanel necklace collection). How To Dress For Success has been on my list of books to source for quite some time. Needless to say I was thrilled to discover that How To Dress For Success has been reprinted. I won't be wearing gloves or hats anytime soon, however I strive to cultivate a wardrobe that is appropriate for all occasions. Edith Head dressed some of the most iconic women in Hollywood (Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn to name a few) and was ahead of her time in many ways. I can't wait to read Head's sartorial musings on the creation of a succinct wardrobe. You can expect a follow up post once I have read this book. 
I believe in dressing for success. In the morning when I select what I'm going to wear, my thought is always 'what is my most formal event of the day?' It's about being ready for whatever meetings or appointments might present themselves. Thankfully I have created a wardrobe that is versatile and  interchangeable. When something works why invent the wheel? There's something nice about having a style that is uniquely yours. Dresses are my go to for dressing for success. Dresses make life easy- Zip it up, throw on a gorgeous shoe, accessorize with a scarf or necklace and I'm out the door. I plan on doing future posts on elements that pull together an elegant look to me. Looking poised and elegant is something to strive for.
PS- The cover of How to Dress For Success features my signature high bun. How could I not adore this book?

April 18, 2011

Little Happy List #1

"Frivolity is the key to eternal youth" Ines de la Fressange 

One of the main reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to share my passion for style, fashion and elegance. Aesthetics are extremely important to me. I relish a beautifully written book, fine art, architecture, dance and fashion. To me these things are significant elements that contribute to the world. Our individual tastes and preferences shape who we become. What would the world be without beauty? 

Some would call taking pleasure in such things frivolity. For a long time I believed this. In some ways my studies conflicted with my passion for fashion. Fashion was something I found great joy in but loved in isolation. 

I believe that the little things in life bring the greatest joy. The key is balance. For me that comes from appreciating all of the little things that make life enjoyable. A few years ago I started making happy lists. A happy list is a little list of simple things throughout the week that make me smile. They are frivolous, but it's my little way of being thankful for the little things. 

So here's to happiness!


Lovely days spent by the sea on the Southside of Hong Kong and at Shek O. The Southside of Hong Kong has gorgeous ocean views that rival Hawaii. The drive out to Shek O resembles the Mediterranean with houses perched on the sides of cliffs and yachts and sailboats dotting the green water.I wish I could bottle the faint scent of Fragipani that scattered the islands. Fresh squeezed juice, a few treasured books (re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird and Lolita) and a Breton tee make for a refreshing day by the sea. 


Pretty little things from Lane Crawford.


The Hong Kong skyline all lit up for the Symphony of Lights. I must say Hong Kong's skyline is impressive. The evening breeze feels wonderful after a long day. 


A painting from the "Home-made Colours" exhibit at The University of Hong Kong's Museum and Art Gallery. The University of Hong Kong's Museum and Art Gallery is a gem. The contemporary Asian art market is currently booming and Hong Kong is full of international galleries featuring established and emerging names. For an art lover this was heaven. 

My Personal Photos

Traditional Chinese brocade from Western Market. I find textiles beautiful and have started a tradition of collecting textiles from countries that I visit and framing them as mementos from my trips. I picked up two exquisite textiles (one for my parents and the other for me) that I will have framed. 

What makes you terribly happy?

April 13, 2011

Easy Breezy Style

Via Refinery 29

Perhaps it is because I have spent the past two weeks searching for inspiration in markets and fabric shops throughout Hong Kong (more on this soon), but I find myself drawn to Jane Herman's style and position as Gap's Director of Concept. Full disclosure, I'm a bit partial to past and present Voguettes and their ideas on style (smile). I also love a girl with a great art collection. Anyone who knows me can attest that after fashion fine art is one of my greatest loves. Jane works for Gap's Global Design Team and travels the world sourcing ideas. The creative process at all levels amazes me. 

There is something refreshing about having an easy weekend style. I call this weekend style because it's too casual for my professional life. Even on weekends I need to be a bit more formal than this, but a girl can still dream. I love how Jane pairs designer pieces with her Gap pieces and manages to look laid back but elegant. The entire look is delicate and a bit gamine. It's a look that I would like to incorporate into my life. These images serve as inspiration for Lindsay K's emerging off duty look if you will. 

In addition, to the images of Jane's attire, I appreciate when a home is decorated in a way that compliments one's style. Designing a home is no different than curating a wardrobe. It's a means of expressing who you are. I like that Jane's style comes through in the way she has decorated her home. There is something meaningful in the objects that she has found on her journeys. I only wish the photographer had taken a few closet shots. (Closets and bookshelves get me every time). An organized closet is the first step in building the perfect wardrobe.

You can read the Refinery 29 article on Jane Herman here. 

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April 12, 2011

A Girl's Guide

My Delicious Fleurs Tea

I do my best thinking over tea or during long walks... Over tea at Le Goûter Bernardaud I was thinking about the elements that contribute to my personal style. My style essentials are the little things that keep me looking my best and feeling elegant. 

They are essentials because I realize how dependent I am on all of the services below when I travel. Finding each of these establishments is a priority wherever I am living. I guess this would also be the time for me to mention that I'm extremely high maintenance. I love the idea of an easy laid back style, but I'm not ashamed to say that I require a fair amount of effort getting there. 


Alterations- Due to my diminutive size I have to alter everything. There's no getting around it, It pains me and my tailor to alter designer clothing because it devalues it, but it's extremely rare that items purchased off the rack will fit me properly. A skilled tailor can make the right adjustments to truly enhance any figure. What I enjoy most about working with a great tailor is that it is a collaboration. I'll bring in a piece with an idea of what needs to be adjusted and we'll work together to make the proper changes. 

Dry Cleaning- I believe in investing in my wardrobe and dry cleaning goes in tandem with that. A good dry cleaner doesn't just clean clothing, but they are on top of reinforcing buttons, repairing linings, or removing loose threads without you having to ask.

Eyebrow Grooming- Eyebrows truly frame your face. It's amazing how eyebrows can enhance the proportions of your face. Well groomed eyebrows make your entire face seem more awake and fresh. I adore the natural shape of my eyebrows and have always been told not to let anyone mess with this shape, so I'm extremely picky about who touches them. Finding someone who knows how to enhance what's already there is a rare.

Hair Salon- I'm beholden to doing my hair. I frequent the hair salon often (every 1-2 weeks or more if I have an event to attend). Very few people touch my hair. I can count the number of hair stylists I have had in my life on one hand. 

Shoe Repair- I walk everywhere so a talented cobbler is important. If you are going to invest in Isabel Marants, Louboutins or Manolos, then you need a good shoe repair shop. These shoes require extra special care and it never hurts to ask the boutiques who they recommend using. It's important to weatherproof and replace the heels before wearing, which I often don't do because I get overzealous to wear my new purchase. I wish I could say that a good cobbler had extolled the virtues of shoe trees and shoe horns, but it was actually my dad who taught me the importance of these things. Yes, even dads can have sartorial prowess (smile). 

Makeup Studio- For events and benefits (especially ones that I know will be immortalized in photographs and video) I rely on having my makeup done by professionals. There is something liberating about knowing what is best left to professionals. Professional makeup application is a luxurious and calming way to relax before an important event. I like to look and feel like myself for a big night only a little more radiant and confident, so I'm always thankful for the lovely ladies at Bobbi Brown Studio

Spa- Manicures and pedicures are essentials. I can't stand when I look down at the computer and my nails are not perfect  and don't get me started on having toes out without a pedicure. It drives me crazy. In New York there are nail salons everywhere, but I prefer to have my nails done at a spa. I'll admit that I'm a bit germ phobic and in addition to wanting my nails to look immaculate I enjoy the relaxation time. It's one of the few chances I get to relax and not multitask, which I love. 

Voila! My essentials. I'm actually looking forward to heading home and visiting my favorite places. Do you have establishments that you consider essential?

April 7, 2011

Now Coveting

Courtesy of Vogue Paris

Jak and Jill 

"What's wonderful about her shows is that you can't remember what you were wearing before. Once you see it, that's what you want. It's a very utilitarian look but it's done in a way that's very sumptuous, very modern and very desirable at this moment. Every single thing she does seems to look urgent and that's the key to selling fashion right now." - Sally Singer 

I have admired Phoebe Philo's work since her days as a design assistant for Stella McCartney at Chloe. In my mind, there has always been something intellectual about her clothing that went beyond the idea of 'fashion.' In the same manner as Dries Van Noten, Philo's Celine is designed for smart and intelligent women who enjoys fashion. It's a juxtaposition that suits me. After all, one of the greatest things about being a woman is how multidimensional we are.  

One of the most important aspects of building a wardrobe is careful editing. In the same way that a fashion editor sifts through and curates items from the collections, you have to apply those skills to your own closet. Building a wardrobe is a process that takes time. Currently, I am content with my wardrobe. It's filled with items that I love and that flatter me. That being said, a well thought out wardrobe doesn't stop me from coveting an item or two. 

Currently I am coveting a bag from Celine. I find them incredibly versatile and orderly. Celine bags look put together, which is something I strive for. Who doesn't want to look immaculate and well coifed? I think this will be my next big purchase. The funny thing is that my hotel is in extremely close proximity to the Celine store. I am having 'Celine Dreams' because the hotel is connected to the boutique. Thankfully, I am not an impulse shopper. I only bring an item into my wardrobe after careful consideration. 

I always have a list in my head of items I need to add to my wardrobe or replace. Yet, when something is right, I trust my instincts and go with it. Yesterday, I purchased a Claude Pierlot dress at Rue Madame in Causeway Bay (I highly recommend this boutique. The sales staff was extremely sweet and helpful). Another dress was not on my list, but this one is perfect. This dress is extremely flattering and can be worn in a multitude of ways. I adore Claude Pierlot, but it's a bit hard to source in New York. Ah, another reason to travel to Paris. I digress. 

Wardrobe building is about balance and enhancing what you already have. That being said, I'm still pondering adding a Celine bag to my wardrobe. Perhaps only time will tell. What are you coveting? 

PS- I am also having Lanvin dreams. The Hong Kong store has different offerings from the New York store. Slowly I'm starting to forgive Alber Elbaz for the H&M collaboration.

April 6, 2011

Hello From Hong Kong!

Hello from Hong Kong! The last few days I have been busy crisscrossing this wonderful city. I have been trying to orient myself and dive into the pace. So far all is well, with the exception of my establishing a sleep schedule. I frequently go through bouts of insomnia, however I prefer that it doesn't rear its' ugly head when I have meetings to be alert and prepared for. Oh well. 

I have been soaking up the warmer weather  and enjoying every minute of it. I think every New Yorker has been feeling like spring was never going to come! Being in a warmer clime has me starting to plan my spring wardrobe. I will do a spring wardrobe post soon. It feels good to break out my trench coats, stripey shirts ballerina flats and cropped trousers. 

Here are a few pictures are Hong Kong so far. A photographer friend recommended this camera and I had no time to learn how to use it before my trip, so I'm winging it.


A View From High Above

Sparkling water infused with fresh fruits

Lotus Garden at Chin Lin Nunnery

Nan Lian Gardens