THE PRACTICAL POWER DRESSER : A Smart Girl’s Fashion Secrets in a Bad Economy

22 Apr

Since I started blogging, I knew that one day I was bound to write a fashion entry. Fashion talks may seem petty to some, but I tell you dearies, it’s not just about lovely dresses, to-die-for shoes and sparkly accessories that would make even the most proper of girls drool; I’d rather call it power dressing, or projecting a self-image of success through one’s wardrobe.

Power dressing refers to a style of clothing and hair intended to make wearers seem authoritative and competent, especially in professional settings in business, law and government.
                                                                                                                                -Wikipedia

To clarify, power dressing may revolve around clothes and accessories, but there’s more to it than the parade of labels and what-nots. It is more about the attitude of the wearer towards the clothes and the trend itself. Clothes can be tools we may use to project an image: how we want to portray ourselves and how we want to be perceived – but it isn’t about being pretending to like a style when you really don’t, or sacrificing comfort over fashion. If so, you run the risk of becoming a fashion victim. If I may boldly define it in my terms, power dressing encourages you to look into your inner self, evaluate your own sense of style, and bring it out through accents and/or statement accessories to be then paired with classic fashion pieces that would give a timeless and polished impression. It also helps if you have a fashion icon who can be your wardrobe guide to help you come up with your own version. The goal is to transmit an aura of calm confidence, being comfortable in one’s own body, and possessing undeniable flair that will make people around you think: “Damn, this girl is set to conquer the world! She is dressed to kill.”

As in the above definition, the term was originally coined to refer to wardrobe planning in relation to one’s professional career. Power dressing was viewed as ideal for government officials, corporate executives, and head honchos from all sorts of fields of expertise as well as job applicants. However, I believe that power dressing shouldn’t just be a costume to wear whenever one goes to their respective places of business. It should be a lifestyle, a state of mind. Thus, it may also be applied to our everyday lives. I am not suggesting that you should break your piggy banks, go on a shopping spree and start panic buying for a lavish wardrobe; rather, I’m advising that you invest in classic pieces (some of which may already be in your closets), pick out colors that suit you and accessorize in a way that brings out your unique personality while flashing that confident smile. Also, don’t forget to scour for budget finds. Bookmark places with great discount sales. Surely you can be a fashion Princess for less.

My personal fashion icon is Audrey Hepburn and it is very well reflected in my clothing preferences. Audrey popularized the Little Black Dress, an iconic fashion statement that says: elegant and sophisticated, conservative but not prudish- a true classic. It’s also very wearable. Ms. Hepburn, much like Coco Chanel, invested in timeless pieces (which can be worn anytime, anywhere) and in basic colors that are very easy to match with the rest of one’s outfit. Nonetheless, our heroine here isn’t afraid to add a pop of color such as touches of pink wherever she wants it. I personally like red. Red dress, red lips, red bag, red slim belt over a white or navy dress,  red shoes to match a classic LBD/LWD, red scarf, and red nails. Not at the same time of course, but you get what I mean. A hint or burst of red is a surefire formula to brighten my day and glam up my night.

I guess that’s enough talkin, let’s get dressin’.

The Little Black Dress-an every woman must-have, and my absolute favorite. 50% of my closet is populated by black dresses in all sorts of designs and variations. Here are a few of them:

The strapless black dress for cocktails and drinks

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The long sleeved black lace and lycra dress. I got mine on sale for B200 from Forever 21 last March (2013) and I haven’t had the chance to wear it yet.

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I used to have this version of the black lace dress from December 2010. I got it from Greenhills in Manila for Php350.

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The short sleeved black lace dress. I got this from H& M (on sale for B300). Here, the model definitely wore it better than I did.

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City Triangle open back dress (price unrecalled; adorned with pearls, hand-sewn by Jan Jay Espino ) as seen on my engagement photos.

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Vintage black dress (B150) as seen on my engagement photos.

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Vintage black dress (price unrecalled)

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The casual black top and leggings combo ala Mademoiselle Hepburn.

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The nude pumps. I admit. Just like the rest of the girls obsessed with Kate Midlleton’s style, I am also enamored with the Duchess’ favorite pair of L.K Bennett sledge heels.

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Sadly, at £49.50 a pop, the elusive pair is way beyond my thrifty fashionista budget. So instead I opted for a fashion steal in the form of Charles and Keith nude peep-toe pumps (originally priced B2, 000 here in Thailand but I got it for B1, 350 in Singapore). See actual photo here https://theglobalfilipina.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/cecille-and-ian-488.jpg

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To further satisfy my Catherine of Cambridge craving, I also availed of Payless Thailand’s opening sale and got this comfy and stylish pair at 50% off (B450).

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This version from Dexter is a nod to Kate’s penchant for wedges.

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A girl should never be without a pair of black stilettos. It’s the safe perfect match to any outfit a woman could think of. A Marie Claire- Paris black sling back (on sale for B200) does the job for me. https://theglobalfilipina.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/30.jpg

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Recently, along with my nude wedges, I got this pair from Christian Siriano for Payless, on sale of course! With a tinge of pink, this black number is the ultimate for killing the dance floor (only when out with the fiancé anywayJ). My new baby is still safe inside its box. I wanted to wear them today but I decided they’d be totally impractical for patient’s rounds and for going inside the O.R.

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Be the Lady in Red. Channel your “womanity” in this bright and bold hue…

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Either at the office party… (Bought from Tin Dayao-Tolentino for Php350)

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A celebration night with the girls…

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Or your birthday

Whatever in White. Simply cool, classic, comfy.

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And all of these stolen from my mother’s closet.

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Luckily for me, I am blessed with a quirky and fashion-forward mother too…unfortunately, I can’t bring my mother’s closet to America. This reminds me of what my future father-in-law said before: As a low-cost shopper, I will surely get sticker shock in the US. I am sooo used to cheap shopping in Asia (especially in Thailand which is the shopping capital of Southeast Asia) that I would probably never go out to the American malls.  I find it ridiculous how Asian-made products become way more expensive after being shipped off to North America. Consumerism at its finest.

 I was never a slave to fashion. I do like having nice things but I’ve always had the good sense to get them for reasonable, if not at absolutely low prices.  When I arrive in the US, I know I won’t be working for a while. With no income in a country where everything is practically, to coin Filipino slang, “dollars*”, how will the fashionista in me survive?

*Dollars- adj. (in Filipino slang) expensive

That’s when I thought of buying in advance for cheap here in Bangkok. Also, since I’m still earning here, I would actually have the means.  I used to joke with my cousins that here in Thailand, you can never be without clothes because they sell them as low as B20!!! That’s less than a dollar. True story.

Some of the stuff I displayed earlier haven’t been worn yet because I actually intend to bring them over to my new home. During my fiancé’s last visit, I asked him to carry some of my stuff to New York ahead of me.  It was actually therapeutic to our longing hearts because it was somehow our way of telling each other that my move to the US is definitely happening. How else would I be able to part with my darling shoes if I didn’t know for sure I’d see them again?! Hehe!

SAMSUNG

Aside from actually “saving by spending” here rather than over  there,  I am investing in shopping because I am very excited to meet Ian’s family and friends for the first time. I know it might sound silly, but of course I really want to give them a good impression of me when they first see me. I want to look well put-together.  I have a feeling they would be pleasant to me anyway, even if I didn’t put in so much effort. Nonetheless, I still just want to put my best foot forward.

The truth is, no matter what one wears, it’s the overall personality that says more about a person. You may be wearing thousand dollar blings or strutting with all of Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen’s creations, but if you are as fake as a counterfeit Louis Vuitton Speedy from Laos, there’s no way you can charm a crowd. So here’s my advice to every lovely woman out there (advice I also so often give to myself):  Be your lovely and genuine self. And as I said earlier, don’t forget to smile and you will definitely win all of them over, fashionable outfit or notJ. Ciao!

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