Trendy, minimal active leggings

You know what I love? Leggings. I retired most of my low-rise jeans two years ago. When high-waist jeans became trendy, I started stocking up on black leggings. Being lucky to work in offices with casual dress codes, I can wear leggings instead of pants. They look just as good with suede high-heeled booties and lace-up boots as they do high-top sneakers. Win win!

Recently I also became more active, doing pole, aerial silk and yoga. The last two require long, form-fitting pants, so I’d been obsessed with hunting for the perfect pair of trendy leggings that fit with my personal minimal style. What I truly hate most about shopping for yoga pants are all the crazy prints, tie-dye colors, and super busy patterns. Why?!?!? Thankfully I was able to narrow down to these two candidates:


Onzie Mesh Leggings

1. Onzie track mesh leggings

Mesh cut-out leggings suddenly became really hot this season. I see them a lot on the street and am inexplicably drawn to them. A few stores carry this style, but the cutouts aren’t always tasteful. This Onzie pair has a large sheer area but is also very streamline. Most importantly they look flattering.

2. Outdoor Voices colorblock leggings

One day I saw a yoga teacher at Sky Ting Yoga (Lower East Side) wear these amazing light grey colorblock pants, and immediately went online to search for them after class! I found a very similar pair online at Outdoor Voices, which turns out to be a boutique store in SoHo.

The funny thing is that I discovered later on that Outdoor Voices merchandise is sold at the studio. So I must’ve found the exact pair the instructor was wearing. This just goes to show that minimal is not always easy. It’s really hard to find a store that offers a design similar to this right now. I’m waiting for the pants to get back in stock so I can splurge on them!

H&M bustier, H&M peplum top, H&M knit sweater

Black is the New Black: H&M Haul

H&M bustier, H&M peplum top, H&M knit sweater

H&M peplum top $34.95 – H&M low-cut bustier $24.95 – H&M knit sweater $24.95

“You know you’re a New Yorker when you need a flashlight to see what’s in your closet” – Dress Monsta.

I admit that since two years ago, I could never get enough black clothes. Everything, from dresses, skirts, blouses to pants, tights and booties, just look better in black to me. Anyway I ventured to H&M the other day to spend my $50 Christmas gift card.

I hadn’t been to H&M for two months (Foursquare told me), which is like 6 months in fashion year. Either this store near Bryant Park has really good stuff or H&M has improved the quality of their clothing. And there wasn’t a huge tourist crowd like usual. Jackpot!!

I found three pieces that must be leftover from previous weeks’ stock. In my size! So style. Much fortune. Wow.

I’ve been on a search for sexy crop tops I can wear in the club. Honestly I have a clubbing uniform, an outfit that consists of skinny pants/tights and a crop top, usually all black in different material. The reason I stick with this is because I feel comfortable and can show off my asset (thin waist). Bodycon dresses, while look good on me, are often too short and rise up when I try to dance or even walk.

1. The peplum crepe top in size 2 is a but snug but it will do. In the back it has three hooks and the peplum part is open. It is quite girly and flirty. I will need high-waist pants to go with it, although you can also style it with high-waist pencil skirt.

2. The bustier I got is actually all black, not pinstriped, and had double straps. Size 4 is pretty snug on me, which MUST be vanity sizing because I am barely a size 4 in tops. To clarify, this top is extremely LOW-CUT. It is even more revealing on me that on the model, and I have AA cups. Hmm, anyone larger than a B cup shouldn’t attempt to wear this in public.

3. This sweater is a coarser, loose knit that has almost of a sheer effect when layered over something else. I got a similar oversize sweater of the same material in burgundy (unfortunately it became fitted after being thrown into the dryer load) and loved it. So naturally I have to get it in black. Size Small was a bit too long in the black, since this has a high-low hem, so I went for XS instead. This sweater can be paired with leggings and easily layered over tank tops or blouses.

This was quite a successful, stress-free shopping trip. Until next time, stay warm and wear black.


Swoon-worthy: Taylor Swift’s Gucci Gown at the 2014 Grammys

Swoon-worthy: Taylor Swift's Gucci Gown at the 2014 Grammys

Agreeably Katy Perry’s musical note tulle gown and Beyonce’s sheer/nude/white organza dress gained a lot of attention. But my absolute favorite was Taylor Swift’s gold sequin Gucci number. It’s a column number with short allusion sleeves. She looks incredibly statuesque and elegant in it with smokey eyes and a wavy ponytail.


Why Nasty Gals Do It Better: An E-commerce Success Story

Sophia Amoruso of Nasty GalNasty Gal had a humble beginning. Sophia Amoruso founded it at the age of 22, after dropping out of a community college where she was studying photography. Nasty Gal carries clothing of an edgy, vintage aesthetic in the $50-100 price range. Arguably it competes with Urban Outfitters but sets itself apart with a sexier, more glamorous appeal. The most notable thing about the business’ growth spurt is that it didn’t employ flash sale, subscription service or celebrity endorsement like many other fashion startups.

Part of Nasty Gal’s success must have been Amoruso’s impeccable taste and talent for curation and styling. She started out re-selling vintage finds on eBay and promoting the store on MySpace. She was able to make the clothes look cute and desirable on “approachable-looking” models, whom she hired out of necessity. Anecdotally, Amoruso turned an $8 Chanel leather jacket from Salvation Army and sold it for over $1000.

Nasty Gal's sexy, retro aesthetic
When demand outgrew supply, she purchased her own domain and began approaching labels with vintage-inspired clothing. Amoruso was also intelligent to have a sustainable business model, growing it without incurring debt. “I put every drop of profit from this business back into it. That’s why it’s successful,” she said.

Nasty Gal didn’t need investors’ help to expand until 2012. Amoruso took $50 million funding from Danny Rimer of Index Ventures, an early investor of other e-commerce successes like Asos, Etsy and Net-A-Porter. That year, Nasty Gal made $100 million in sales. By 2013, it was valued at $240 million.

Nasty Gal’s focus on highly curated clothes and avoidance of discount actually helped to keep its margin high. The company sells 93% of its stock at full price in an industry where a third of merchandise is marked down. The company keeps its stock low, which reduced the need for slashing off prices and expensive warehouse square foot. In early stages of the business, there was no advertising. Nasty Gal relied on social media word-of-mouth and listening to customers’ feedback on these channels. “I’ve probably spent more time than any other brand reading every last comment. To listen to people the way you’re able to online is very powerful. I think other companies are just starting to figure that out,” Amoruso said.

Nasty Gal original labelThe social media approach works especially for Nasty Gal because of its youthful, social savvy target market – women 18-24. To date, the brand has amassed over one million followers on both Facebook and Instagram. With the slogan “Nasty Gals do it better,” the company also solicits user-generated content and features it on its blog and Pinterest.

More than that, Amoruso knew how to capitalize on the Pareto principle (or the 80-20 rule) through online traffic tracking. In this case, the top 20 percent customers generate more than half of Nasty Gal’s sales. The top 10% visit the site more than 100 times a month. Identifying this core client is extremely helpful in forming its marketing tactics and expanding the business, one of which was to develop its original label in 2012.

Like Sarah Lacey of Pando Daily pointed out, Nasty Gal is relatable to so many girls because its aesthetic is badass, effortlessly cool and not trying to be perfect. “This is what so many women who try to build apsirational brands — the would-be Martha Stewarts for the Internet generation — just miss. They try to be about perfection. Perfect job in a perfect city with the perfect hair and a perfect man. And that’s why they don’t catch on. No girl can relate to perfect,” Lacey wrote.

Like many Internet entrepreneurs, Amoruso attributed her education and success to the vast universe of free information online: “Google is responsible for this business… When I wanted to know what kind of warehouse shelving to buy, I looked online. I could watch Stanford Business School videos on YouTube. I don’t go to conferences. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t have to. I grew up on the Internet.”

Season for Jumpsuits and Maxi Skirts

New York hit the 70-Fahrenheit mark in the past two days!! I can’t help but be excited about the spring weather coming up. With the change of season, of course, comes a turn in wardrobe.

This year I plan to invest more in fluid, elegant pieces that fit with my style and are good for both work and play. Check out a round-up of my favorite pieces, jumpsuit and maxi skirt, below.

jumpsuit, nastygal, macys, asos, bcbg, max azria
1. Nastygal sweetheart jumpsuit, 2. Macy’s one-shoulder jumpsuit, 3. Asos harem jumpsuit, 4. Macy’s surplice jumpsuit, 5. BCBG tailor jumpsuit

As you can tell, black is my staple “color”. Jumpsuits regularly come in black because of its simplicity and slimming effects (You don’t want to many prints or patterns on a long piece like a jumpsuit). It compliments slim, even petite, frames and those with long legs and/or small waist.

maxi skirt, asos, brandy melville, material girl, macys,1. Brandy Melville Maxine skirt, 2. Tie-dye Maxine skirt, 3. Asos colorblock skirt, 4. Brandy Melville slit maxi skirt, 5. Material Girl slit maxi dress

I prefer maxi skirts to maxi dresses because they can be mixed and matched with my collection of blouses. (Maxi dresses, especially high-low/asymmetrical ones, have their own appeal). I usually go for column or flared shape with a lot of room for walking and aesthetic flow. Because of my penchant for darks and neutrals, I go for black, grey, nude, dark maroon, muted tribal/abstract prints. However, the colorblock Asos skirt above is a nice pop of color.

Do you like or wear these pieces? Stay tuned for a post on footwear to go with jumpsuits and maxis.


Best Trend at the 2013 Oscars: Black & Sparkly

It was so obvious at the 85th Academy Awards that black and sparkly was the most prevalent trend. And here are the ladies who did it impeccably:

Best Trend at the 2013 Oscars: Black & SparklyThe super hot Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan.

Nicole KidmanNicole Kidman in a L’Wren Scott gold and black sequin gown that her husband, Keith Urban, helped to pick out.

Kelly OsbourneKelly Osbourne did very well in this Tony Ward number (Kristin Chenoweth wore the same designer). The asymmetrical straps give her shoulders definition.

85th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsHalle Berry in a shoulder-padded, plunging Versace column gown. She’s such a rockstar/Bond girl.

85th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsMy male best-dressed is none other than Chris Pine in Ermenegildo Zegna double-breasted tux. Isn’t he classically beautiful?

Amanda SeyfriedMy final favorite is Amanda Seyfried in this lacey gold and lavender halter gown by Alexander McQueen.

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Bitch Stole My Look: Tina Cohen-Chang vs. Madonna

Tina Cohen Chang vs Madonna

In the Diva episode of Glee season 4, Tina Cohen-Chang bravely stepped out of her comfort zone to re-enact Madonna’s 2005-single Hung Up. Tina’s rendition of the pop hit was good and she got rewarded – being crowned the winner of Diva week. But the outfit choice, though brave, isn’t as rewarding for her figure.

Her body is heavier on top, short and pudgy. It’s not that I am a fan of seeing Madonna’s buttocks under the leotard either, but her body is more cut out for it. Glee didn’t need to duplicated the look completely. (Rachel & Brittany as Britney Spears was much more visually successful.) Fashion faux-pas!