More scribbles on my relationship with clothes today and if you haven’t read the previous part yet, it’s here:
So let’s dive into the influence of culture and travel on defining our personal style and how we build our wardrobe. From my experience, travel purchases (often on impulse) are the most successful ones because they are unexpected findings and there is a sense of reminiscence of good memories associated with them as well as a story to tell. Care to know my recount on my last buys from France and South Korea? (Get ready, here comes another lengthy post… but more visuals this time)
When I was in France last September, I purchased the Masscob la Coruna tweed jacket you may have come across in my previous post (here) and Instagram (here). This Spanish label, unknown to me at the time, I stumble on it while shopping in a small well curated boutique in Orléans, France named Eranova. Shopping in boutiques allows for a different experience than online shopping by being able to discover new designers and by being able to touch the fabric, feel in the moment, and discuss the new found treasures with people in our company. Trying things on, although a relationship with the fitting room can be a whole other topic in itself, can be a new way of seeing ourselves under a different light (not talking about the ugly dim light of the fitting rooms). Honestly, I am not a big partisan of trying clothes in fitting rooms with the mirrors’ altering body effects in a claustrophobic tiny room which explains why I don’t shop in boutiques often but when I make an effort it’s typically when on alone travel or with my mom/sisters.
When there, I felt an irrational itching need to stand out a bit more by wearing a more eccentric mixed of colors of this outwear (my wardrobe finds a simple navy pea coat, a camel trench, and multiple blazer mostly in navy) so there it is right in front of me urging me to take this baby home. Have I realized how the checked pattern was ever so trendy this season, I would have walked away but the shape and the overall silhouette a bit boxy and masculine by the double breast closure, I could care less about trends and I like this garment to pieces. Love at fist sigh really does exist my friends!!
After a closer look at the pattern, there were running crossing lines of green, red, black, white and yellow no wonder I was mesmerized by the explosion of colors in one piece of clothes indiscernible from an afar looker, so it was a sort of my little secret (not a brown tweed jacket) and a pleasure to pack this beauty on my travels and be its happy wearer. I love the flappy and deep pockets (a must for I don’t carry a handbag often so call me a minimalist to the bone and Silvana @Saisonlune knows this part best). I also enjoy the ‘men’s’ pocket in the interior of the jacket and I wished all women’s outwear could be build the same way. The white cotton lining makes this piece so comfortable to wear and offers enough warmth. And I like to roll up the sleeves to show the contrasting lining but also because it’s cooler that way!
My mom didn’t approve of it initially but after putting it on to show her, she expressed that she was not in favor of the jacket in itself but simply exclaimed that this was me (she meant my style). I like how she does this; the way when she is almost border exasperated by my rebellious side to purposefully provoke her disapproval but then she ought to accept that it’s who and how I am and that she loves me this way hahaha I know I am not the best daughter out there but hey I also love and appreciate that she tries to ‘improve’ or inject some sense of her tailoring perspective in my style and pass well put together outfits onto me (as when I was a child, french mothers deeply care about these things why??!), but I am an adult now (at least I’d like to think that sometimes) and I must find out for myself even if I make mistakes what is me and what suits me best by learning on my own terms (of course keeping in mind her advices is wise). Despite it all, I still love her even when she is so pushy… (She is even more nagging on my lack of wearing makeup so well that’s another story for another time…).
So here are some elements of my last travel in France that influenced my personal style:
- The eccentric element: the colorful checked jacket in masculine shape
- The tailored piece: the sharp suiting separates navy linet Filippa K cropped trousers (read more here). This bottom is unusual to wear for me as the straight legs cut is a bit more oversized style.
Being in Seoul for the first time was quite a unique experience (read more here). There was a perfect blend of modernity and tradition seen not only in architecture and way of life but also on people’s dressing. I spotted countless times familiar pieces like the CdG sweaters on young and old folks as well as the coveted Demi Lune APC bag on so many women shoulders toting around busy streets and subways. My impression of Korean style was that everyone seemed so well put together and chic. But I was also told that they err more on the conservative dressing as formal as business suit attire. So I could see many beautiful silk blouse draped on the Korean’s body paired with A line skirts but no killer stilettos, just humble block or kitten heels and even elegant flats. I am starting to get obsessed with sling backs because of seeing so many cute appeals on them. I was also pleased to see a great blend of casual wear by paring serious tailored outfits with sneakers. I saw many many camel trench and wool coats in oversize shape.
Women are typically well groomed with cute bobs and a relevant amount of make up. The guys I hung out with said that they didn’t like so much of the superficiality seen there in the amount of make up and dare I say aesthetic surgeries (not so sure how you can tell actually but well…). Besides, I must admit that nights in Gangnam, the party city, women turned into somewhat less sophisticated versions from daytime seen in über short dresses and some with fishnet tights and corsets with flashy handbag logos hmmm I was just laughing at the guys reactions as they were in truth as shocked as I was haha…
And so before I headed to Incheon Airport, I needed a thing or two from Korean labels as a souvenir but more from the inspiration found in the K-style day time wear I got to please myself with searching for my sartorial soul and with continuing the quest for experimentation… I hit Galleria (not envious but only had less than an hour to spare and boy I loath the department stores so much) where I could find an ample selection of designers then suddenly I came across two lovely and sweet sale associates who really had a sensible eye for the chic things at System. Without much English in our exchanges, I had no idea how we all managed to gather few ‘typical’ stylish Korean style outfits together and I started thinking that clothes and style are so borderless and the language of sartorial is truly universal or maybe I’m just making stuff up haha but regardless they put different clothes on me …
And what now? I spent like over 2 grands on clothes (not so proud of myself seeing that I need to put away more travel budgets et merde for festivals) but I should make the clothes workhorses for me right… so here is how I interpreted and incorporated the Seoul influence on my personal style:
- The oversized element: a long white coat is according to the sale associates the trend in Korea more than the navy and the camel coat. The color and the shape is definitely outside of my sartorial game so I’m willing to play with this new silhouette. Have I mentioned it was hand made in Korea. The wool is so soft to the touch so I’m so pleased to be wrapped in this coat like a doudou blanket and looking forward to wearing it for more winters to come.
- The wide leg trousers: this style doesn’t make me comfortable enough to wear as I fear of the saggy look so I opted for a high waisted straight leg trousers but not the habitual skinny fit version. This one is cropped from an exquisite thick Japanese wool quality. It has some interesting hem details that stood out which I am fond of.
- The comfortable ribbed knits: this olive green is scrumptious and the shape/cut is totally unusual for me. These puffed sleeves yeah such a statement piece but according to the Koreans, it’s a standard item to own so that gets me thinking outside the box a little. The sweater also has interesting cut out sleeve details.
- The minimalist and monochromatic colors: black, green, and white…
- The chic footwear: I’d pair my outfits with the French label sneakers from Veja
- The simple structured bag: Not very original but I’d carry my Celine trio around
I could use some inspiration from the blog Death by Elocution which I rekindled with here and notice some alluding of Phoebe Philophile. I put together a few outfits with your great assistance and care (who needs a personal stylist nowadays haha). Thanks a lot!!! This is one of the many reasons I continue blogging despite my lack of time and what not, it is because of you so thank you again!!!
As you can see in comparison with the part 1 post here of the recount of the dull style rut girl, there is now a happier woman found in these outfits. Paradoxically, my outfits are converging more on the masculine side. But I have the feeling that I am on the path onto something greater to grasp perhaps due to a sense of maturity, self-care began with self-discovery, being fearless with experimenting, as well as evidently embracing the influence of culture and travel on my personal style journey. I feel more at ease in this style, where the shapes are more fluid and the cut is oversize. I feel more comfortable wearing clothes this way where I can freely move.
And a last note to wrap up this terribly lengthy post, I enjoyed packing lighter and lighter nowadays with just a few pieces of clothes, I can now gather multiple outfits as seen in the pictures you scrolled through and I find this part rather joyful. What do you guys think? Do you like me get influenced by foreign culture and travel? Or do you also feel pressured to follow your mom’s fashion diktat? How do you incorporate these various inspirations into your personal style and shopping? Looking forward to your response!!
PS: Until then, my next coming trip is visiting Arizona’s Antelope Canyons and for the year end break, France evidently but does anyone want to meet up over in Europe (somewhere) because I really last enjoyed meeting many of you guys and cannot wait to write about les rencontres soon. There is vaguely on the plan (as always there are last minutes planning or the lack of), Tel Aviv and some places in Iceland. But for certainty, there is NYE in Japan, which I am so excited about 🙂