Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Milan Fashion Week - Review Part I

I'm going to write the comments after the pictures. In that way you can make your own judgment before getting influenced.

Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti deserves a couple of large pictures. With lots of satin and chiffon, Alberta Ferretti is the ultimate place to go for lovely yet sophisticated dresses. The colors are mostly quiet, but the details just look amazing.


We can always count on Marni to wear vibrant outfits in the summer. In this season, Marni used highly saturated blue and lemon colors. The accesorries are still very Marnish and girls just love them. There is nothing new in this collection, but it is well made and it makes you look forward to the hot summer.


I know what you are going to ask. What's the point of dragging the luggage on the runway? "I wanted to go forward by trying to cancel out nostalgia. By canceling out the body," said Miuccia Prada. Does carrying luggage mean leaving for the future? The whole point of nice clothes is to enhance the body not to cancel out the body. Hello! The only legitimate reason of carrying bags in that way is to train the triceps instead of the biceps or the bags are too heavy. Is that what you are trying to do, Miuccia?

I have to admit that there are a few nice pieces though. The outfits shown in the second group remind me Prada's FW '04 collection. That collection is my favorite Prada collection so far, and I am glad that she is making more of the gorgeous skirts. (Although some might argue that she lost the creativity.)

How do you like those collections?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When High Fashion Starts Making Goods Overseas

There was an article in the WSJ about how the European luxury-goods firms have started making products in developing countries such as China. The author talked about how significant it was for the companies to reduce the cost amid the rising Euro and the price resistance outside of the Euro zone, and how consumers react to the "Made in Egypt" Valentino suits. After reading the article, I can't help but asking two questions:

  1. How sensitive are the consumers to the tags?
  2. Will and should the European luxury-goods companies reduce their price?

The first question is straightforward and personal. As long as it is well-designed and well-made, I don't care where it was from.

The second question is not that easy to answer, however. Let's look at Furla, the example used in the WSJ article. Furla cut costs by 30% after moving production to China, which means their profit margin goes up by slightly less than 30% assuming other things remain. Did Furla cut their price by 30%? No they didn't. Instead, they increased the price due to the appreciating Euros. You filthy greedy bastards! Some said.

Where does the money go? To better marketing, (hopefully) better design, to the banks that financed the companies, and eventually to the bottom line of their books. Why don’t they reduce the price? Why should they? A $6,000 Kelly bag will no longer be special if it’s only $1,000. Those companies are smart. The luxury-good market is so price inelastic that the demand will not decrease much when the price increases. Plus, the luxury goods will no longer be called “luxury” goods once the price is moderate.

In short, assuming that the companies are good at quality control and they are willing to teach the Chinese seamstress the best technique in clothes making, the profit margin will be increased significantly yet the quality remains. At the same time, the last thing the luxury-goods makers would like to do is to reduce the price. Therefore, the following things will happen:

  1. The profit margin of the company will be higher.
  2. There will be more Dolce & Gabbanas and Ferragamos entering the market due to the lucrative business and the rising demand in the developing countries.
  3. The European seamstress will lose their jobs. The EU is trying to protect their economy but it's doomed to happen as it did in North Carolina's fabric industry. The Chinese seamstress will lose the jobs some day as well once there are even cheaper labors to use.
  4. The consumers keep paying the high price.

As the price stays high, my only hope is that companies such as Prada goes to IPO soon so that I can benefit from the lower cost by becoming a shareholder.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Our evolving personal styles

My friend S wrote me an email about her style change over the years: she has been more drawn to simple looks and she can no longer take much pinks and pastels. It's funny how the designers have returned to minimalism at the same time, and so my lucky friend S is right at the front of the new trend. Is it just a coincidence? What exactly causes our personal styles to evolve over time?

I rarely wore any colors but black when I was in college studying architecture design. Black is cool, sophisticated, and more durable in a studio full of glue, knives, and water colors. My years in graduate school were the low point of my style: when I had only four to six hours of sleep every day, jeans and t-shirts were the only outfit I could think of.

I, like every other twenty something girl, faced a personal style crisis once I started working: I panicked and I filled my closet with Banana Republic and J. Crew. Looking exactly like everybody else riding the subway, I was bored of the preppy style soon after I gained better knowledge about fashion. Armed with all the major fashion magazines, I started my fashion adventure. I mixed Marc by Marc Jacobs with my pretty outfits to introduce a little twist in my working outfits, and I also wore some pinks and pastels occasionally influenced by the ladylike outfits shown on the runway. I found myself shopping for better made clothes to match with my J Crew basics recently, and I shop all over the places from H&M to Chanel and from Ann Demeulemeester to Hermes. My personal style is now highly mixed with cheap and expensive, avant-guard and classic. My outfits are also so moody that people see a rebellious Jing today and a lady like Jing tomorrow. For me, fashion is emotional and fashion expresses my feelings; the designers, at the same time, bring me new tools season after season.

Some designers express their social concerns with their clothes, and others look forward trying to provide new looks. Designers don't necessarily control our personal styles but provide choices for us to make the outfits "us". Designers set the trends in certain degree yet it is us who decide what to wear and how to wear them. At the end of the day, no matter if we are trend followers, classic chics, or the moody dressers, we all need designers to provide us with new elements to assemble our looks. Our personal styles then constantly evolve with the trends, with our life changes, and with our knowledge on fashion.

I can't help but wonder how my beloved readers' styles have been evolving. Let me know and leave your comments.

Friday, September 23, 2005

THE sale is only two months away

In this winter, I have to face the fact that fashion prices have gone way up and I cannot afford designer pieces at full price. I have to shop strategically.

In fact, I don't plan to make any major purchases before the sale starts. It doesn't mean, however, I stop shopping. I go to stores to complete my "wish list", and I will wait until the price is reduced. At the same time, my dear sales associates have to wait for a little longer to receive their commission. (Sorry!)

I have been shopping for a coat for a while. A coat is my most important purchase for the winter, and it has to be gorgeous. I mean really gorgeous. I tried on a fitted A-line coat at the Louis Vuitton store, and I instantly fell in love with it. But no thanks. I have a mortgage to pay and I want to live decent life after I retire. Louis Vuitton never has price reductions, so the coat will be just living in my dream.

Half of the Yohji Yamamoto Fall '05 runway show was filled with coats. With Yohjiss architectural approach to clothing making, it is almost the best bet to find THE coat. I called the boutique and Megumi, a sweet Japanese sales girl, offered me a service called "on approval". She will send me a couple of coats by overnight mail, and I then I'll simply keep the one I want and return the ones I pass. It is a very considerate service for the people who do not live in New York, and the $35 shipping fee is less than the tax on any of the coats. I was so tempted to buy one of the coats from the collection, but $3,000 is a lot of money, and I will hate myself if the one still exists when the sale starts. After all, the sale is only two months away.

With so much hope on the sale, I listed the following major items in my wish list ordered by priority:

  • THE coat from one of the coolest designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen, Roland Mouret, and Rick Owens.
  • Anything from Ann Demeulemeester (my friend Faust has made me addicted to her clothes. They are just so me)
  • One of the Marc Jacobs short jackets with a Peter Pan collar
  • Slim pants from Balenciaga
  • Anything from Roland Mouret
  • A dress or skirt from Lanvin
  • A skirt or something lovely from Chanel

Let's see how my strategy works out, and we'll revisit my list in December.

People news

People news:
My boyfriend, Rob, and I got engaged last Friday. Rob has been very supportive on my fashion addiction and he takes care of all the technical issues for this webpage. If you want to know more about Rob, please visit his website
I apologize for not being able to announce our engagement earlier but we both have drunk lots of wine since then and the hang over is quite long:-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Form follows function?

I saw a pair of COMME DES GARCONS boots on with a price tag of $129. The boots looked uber cool and the last pair was just my size. I ordered it right away after my friend Faust told me that it was a "collectors' item".

The bad news is that they don't fit. To be accurate, the leather and the "decorations" are so stiff that I can't walk in them in my natural way and the top of the toe box hurts me every time I bend my feet. No matter how cool the boots are, I will not be able to wear them and show people the look. I am sure that there are other customers who purchased the boots and wore them, but I can't help wondering if and how they could wear the boots without suffering and if the "form follows function" rule ever applies to fashion.

A good example of the "form follows function" is my Burberry trench coat. From the belt to the protected pockets, every single detail is designed to prevent water from leaking in. I was caught in a thunder storm on a summer day a couple of months ago and I managed to keep my entire outfit dry, thanks to my Burberry trench coat.

Another good example is the crooked heel design shown on some of the designer shoes. I tried a pair of Louis Vuitton heels on the other day and they are extremely comfortable despite the 3.5" heel. Why? The crooked heels indeed support my heel from a perpendicular direction which is the most efficient angle from a physics perspective.

Don't make any conclusions yet. As I received a Jean Paul Gaultier cardigan from my beloved today, I found that I need to think about that rule a little more. I ordered that cardigan because it looks different. I couldn't tell exactly what it was from the pictures online, but I decided to give it a try because the shipping was free. It came in, and I was in shock.

It is in fact a plain gray cardigan attached with a plain gray short-sleeve crewneck back to back. Yes, I can wear either side yet I have to wear both sweaters together no matter which side I choose. It's an interesting concept, and it is very architectural. The form doesn't really follow the function, but I am going to keep it because I will wear it. I like how Jean Paul Gaultier played with a simple but naughty idea. Therefore, when it comes to fashion, form doesn't have to follow function. However, if the definition of function is simply "wearability", then the rule still applies. In my case, the Jean Paul Gaultier cardigan stays and the COMME DES GARÇONS boots have to go.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What suits you?

I received lots of requests to write an article about suits. It is recruiting season again, so I will talk about interview suits specifically in the article.

You need to look "put together" in an interview, so forget about the idea of wearing a black jacket and a pair of navy pants. The suit has to be one set with the same style and same material. There are so many kinds of black and different material shows different grades of black, therefore, going to one vendor and buying the same batch of suits will save you time to match the colors.

A good suit has to satisfy the following requirements:

1. General rules

Choose conservative colors such as navy or black. Black is my favorite as it looks sophisticated and the separates are easy to match. You should avoid wearing light color suits to interviews. Light weight wool or wool blend is the most versatile material. Polyester and Lycra are normally used with wool to help the suit stay in shape and fit you better. Check for wrinkling before you make the purchase: clutch a handful of the material from the sleeves or pants and release it. There shouldn't be any wrinkles left.

2. Suit jacket

  • The shoulders must be structured but not over-padded. There shouldn't be much room left in the shoulders when you wear a button down shirt underneath.
  • The armholes should be the right size for your arms. They shouldn't be too baggy or too tight. Raise your hands to see if the back gives you sufficient room to move freely and stay comfortable.
  • The hem normally falls to the bottom of the hips. The jacket of a pant suit is normally longer than the jacket of a skirt suit, but make sure the jacket is not too long to look overwhelming on you.
  • The sleeves should fall at the base of your thumbs.
  • There should be some room left at the hips and waist so that the jacket will remain smooth when you sit down.

3. Suit pants

  • Fit. The pants shouldn't be too baggy or too tight. It's normally too tight at the hips if you see crease around that area. Check your rear and you shouldn’t see extra material hanging under hips. Sit down and make sure you feel comfortable.
  • Length. The hem should cover most of the heels without touching the floor.
  • Details. The lining of the pockets should be seamed smoothly. The tailor can take out the side pockets for you if you need extra room there and the hips will look smoother after the pockets are removed.

4. Suit skirt

  • Fit. Fit through hips but not too tight. Avoid a "sexy" look.
  • Shape. Straight skirts look more professional than an A line skirt.
  • Length. The hem should fall to the knee or slightly below the knee.

J Crew is a popular store to buy suits. Their "Super 110" suits are of good quality and conservative enough to pass any dress code test in an investment bank. I also heard very nice feedback on their Gabardine pants. Their sizing is a little awkward to me as the size 0 pants are too baggy and the petite 0 pants are too short.

Theory makes great suits and their cut is better than J Crew suits, but they are way more expensive. Theory's sizing is smart. They provide size 00 with slimmer cut and the same length as other pants. In that way the petite girls can find pants that fit by simply having pants shortened and customers like me can still be satisfied.

After making a phone call to the Theory store located in the Premium Outlet in Wrentham, I knew it would be worth a trip. The store in the Outlet was well organized. There was a suit section with different styles of suits but made of the same material of 60% of wool and 40% of polyester. They provide all sizes including size 00. I picked four styles of pants, two skirts, and three jackets to try on and ended up getting one jacket, one skirt, and one pair of pants. The skirt and the pants fit me perfectly, and the jacket needs to be tailored slightly: the waist and the back need to be taken in a little. The total bill comes to $461.

J Crew:
Jackets $228
Pants $118
Skirts $88

Theory: and
Jackets $360
Pants $230
Skirts about $200

Theory outlets:
Jackets $216
Pants $138
Skirts $105

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My favorite looks from NY Fashion Week

While the designers in the "thumbs up" article surprised me by their talent, the following pictures are from my favorite collections and those designers consistently impress me from season to season. (Pictures courtesy of

Roland Mouret.
His beautiful cut makes me speechless. The bright orange, pink, blue, and gray helped Mr. Mouret transition from winter to summer smoothly with his consistent hourglass shape. Aren't they divine?
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Playful as usual.

Marc by Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Marc by Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Marc by Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews Marc Jacobs

An extremely wearable collection. I am amazed by the details and I am looking forward to his Louis Vuitton RTW collection.
Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

American Marc Jacobs

I felt nervous since yesterday before the Marc Jacobs’ show. He surprised me in the FW05 runway, and I wonder what I will get for the new season. As a loyal Marc Jacobs customer, I will defend him no matter what he does. At the same time, I was begging in my mind for no more bright colors in the show and don’t make it too dark.

I visited Marc Jacobs website for the video right after I got up this morning. His show is always integrated with his music, and this time, a marching band and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit".

Nirvana is not surprising to me, but a marching band? Brilliant! The spring collection surprised me as the marching band did. Young, energetic, yet sophisticated.

I see lots of details and shapes that he has been experimenting over the years, but they came with a fresh look. There are pea jackets and pleated skirts, high-waist skirts with white shirts, laidback bows, and his signature cashmere. He didn’t play volume on skirts but he did volumize the trousers and shorts. He brought the lace from winter to summer but came with chiffon instead of cashmere. The shapes are American with a Marc Jacobs twist.

Some of my friends commented that an outfit or two looked like Lanvin. I am not arguing with them, but please look at the back of the dresses and look closely when the trunk show begins to feel the pieces, and I guarantee you they look different. Everytime when I go to the Marc Jacobs trunk show, I am surprised by the details and the cut.

I am not posting any pictures here because you have to look at the complete show. Please go to to look at the video and pay extra attention to the back of the clothes as you will not see them in runway pictures. There are detail shots for the Marc Jacobs shoe and bag lovers on as well. Have a good time, and enjoy the American Marc Jacobs.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quality control in NY Fashion Week?

My first reaction after looking at the latest runway pictures is "so commercial". Let's face it, a fashion show is not a trade show, and when you make the fashion show that commercial, there will be a problem. I was excited for the new designers before the show, but I feel bad for them now: it seems to me that lots of their ideas are not fully expressed. I can even feel the designers compromising to the market as I did in my architecture design (I could no longer take it so I finally quit. I was not good at it). I was expecting creativity and some fresh ideas, but I didn't even see any "must have" pieces from the shows so far.

I also saw some walmart looking pieces shown on it necessary? Why don't those brands just save the money and print some nice catalogues instead? I would rather see less designers in the Fashion Week with more creative ideas.

With that being said, there are still some lovely shows that made my day, and the following pictures will show you some of the nice pieces and disappointment.
Pictures are from and

Thumbs up:
Brian Reyes. Clean and beautiful.

Brian Reyes - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and ReviewsCostello Tagliapietra. Beautiful draping.

Costello Tagliapietra - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Doo Ri. She made my day. The collection is consistant and beautiful. Great details.

Doo Ri - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Doo Ri - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Diane Von Furstenberg. Beautiful and wearable clothes. Apparently she is giving her wrap dress a new look.

Diane Von Furstenberg - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Nicole Miller. I love how she used blue and gold colors. She might be a little late on the bubble skirt trend, but girls will love to wear these:

Nicole Miller - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Thumbs down:
Tuleh. A very inconsistent show.

Tuleh - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Project Alabama. Is it worth the couture price? I appreciate the handwork, but you should at least get the fit right and make them look well designed before thinking about hand work. We need designers, not craftsmen in Fashion Week.

Project Alabama - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Imitation Of Christ. Don't they look like something we can find in Walmart? Scarlett Johanson didn't save the show.

Imitation of Christ - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Shirt Searching II

As I wrote in the last article, it was quite difficult for me to find a nice and inexpensive blouse. When it comes to dress shirt shopping, it only gets harder.

My first dress shirt was bought in an Ann Taylor winter sale a couple of years ago. At the $19.99 price, the shirt helped me get an internship which eventually became my first job after graduate school. No, the shirt didn’t fit. My dirty little secret was hiding the baggy white shirt in my suit jacket hoping the shirttail wouldn’t come up. My look was not fashionable or professional, and I needed a change.

My first “nice shirt” was from PINK. The British maker offers a wide selection of styles and they have two sales every year where you can buy the shirts at about $70 each. The problem is that you can not try on the exact shirt you want. When the fits vary from style to style, you have to wonder if your guess is correct. I never feel comfortable making a purchase without trying the clothes on. I even had a bad experience in their downtown crossing store in Boston. A male sales assistant knocked the door of my fitting room so rudely asking me to hurry up when there was only one customer waiting and I just put on the second sample shirt. I never go back to PINK since then.
Prada Shirt - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
I got a very nice Prada sleeveless shirt during the Saks summer sale. At size 38, it fits me like a sock (shown in the picture). I really appreciate the amazing tailoring and craftsmanship. I paid more than two hundred dollars for that shirt (on sale price), and it’s worth every single cent of it. Months later, I saw a couple of knockoffs in the contemporary department at Saks, but the details are no where close. I wish I could fill my closet with Prada shirts, but I have to save money for the Chanel jacket and the Yohji Yamamoto coat I fall in love with. Back to reality, I still need some inexpensive shirts to wear from Monday to Friday. I simply feel ashamed when our CEO wears an Adrienne Vittadini and I wear a Prada.

One of my colleagues looks so womanly yet professional in her Brooks Brothers non-iron shirt, so I decided to give it a try. The sales girl was very friendly and she handed me a petite size 2 shirt (their smallest size for women). The sleeves were in good length, but they were extremely puffy. With the stiff non-iron material, they looked exactly like two lanterns hanging from my shoulders. I looked ridiculous! The good news was, though, Brooks Brothers would offer tailoring service for women soon. I left my phone number for the sales assistant to call me when it starts.

My last hope was Jcrew. I accidentally got a nice shirt on sale in last year, so I went to the store again. I am so desperate that I don’t even think about waiting for the sale. My professional image is more important (or it is simply an excuse?).

There are Laura shirts ($88 each), Kathryn shirts ($68 each), Kelley shirts ($58 each, 3/4 sleeves), solid oxford shirts ($59 each), and slim stretch shirts ($59.50 each) available. All the styles but Laura shirts come with petite sizes. All the shirts are long enough to be tucked in.

I found Laura shirts extremely flattering in the catalogue. The models looked crisp and professional, full of energy. However, the sleeves were longer than normal and apparently I could not roll the French cuffs on. I am borderline petite (5’4”) and I wear regular pants, but the sleeves fell below my knuckles. The body was also too roomy to be tucked in without looking bulky. I bet girls with long arms would like this fit. I felt a little frustrated and I could not help wondering how they took the slim and flattering pictures for the catalogue. Maybe a couple of pins helped.
J.Crew - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
Some of the Kathryn shirts are stretchy and some are made of pure cotton. I found the stretchy shirts fit better and the sleeves slightly shorter than the pure cotton shirts. The stretchy shirts fit nicely on me and I eventually got the same style in two different colors (shown in the pictures). I was finally satisfied.

Jcrew’s oxford shirts were surprisingly soft. The sleeves were about the same length as the cotton Kathryn shirts.

The slim stretch shirts were slimmer but I found the size bigger than the Kathryn shirts. The shoulders of the Kathryn shirts were perfect J.Crew - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviewsfor me but my shoulders couldn’t fill the room in the slim stretch shirt that I tried on. I ordered a petite version through the catalogue instead.

The sales assistants at Jcrew are always friendly and helpful. The shipping is free if you order through the stores. It was my best shirt shopping experience so far. Jcrew does a good job offering great styles, quality, and service in such price range.

Shirts that I tried on (and worth mentioning):
Ann Taylor: inexpensive yet well made shirts. Good for women with curves. Some of the shirttails are not long enough to be tucked in.
Banana Republic: inexpensive shirts with younger looks. The material is not the best and you will see the difference after a couple of washes. Styles and colors are limited.
Brooks Brothers: Roomy sleeves are extremely comfortable but too baggy for slim people. The good news is that they will offer tailored shirts to women soon. Call your local stores for details.
Dolce & Gabbana: sexy shirts for you if you have the curves. Sizing is a little bigger than Prada.
Jcrew: the perfect brand if you have a boyish figure. They offer a decent selection of styles and colors.
PINK: widest selection among shirt makers but the service is not very good. Check out the two semiannual sales that are held in June/July and December/January. The drawback: you can not try on most of the shirts in store.
Prada: best fit. The material and the cut justify their three digit price.
Theory: limited colors and styles but fit well. I found their prices awkward as I would rather pay a tiny little more to buy the perfect fit Prada shirt on sale.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Shirt Searching

I have a “thing” about shirts. I normally buy a couple of them to kick off a new season, and I think they are the perfect items for work. I guarantee that I will buy every single shirt that I like if it fits, but fortunately I have very slim body so most of them don’t fit. Great. Good for my budget.

Now I am on my seasonal shirt-searching journey again. I want one Victorian blouse that compliments my body. I don’t want to buy the ultra expensive Chloe blouse as it is way over priced. No matter how beautiful it is, how soft the silk feels, and how well it is made, I am not going to pay more than $700 for a shirt. I just can't justify that. (For the people who like Chloe shirts such as the one shown in the picture, sells them. Major department stores carry them as well). Chloe Shirt - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews

For a trendy shirt, maybe a one-season shirt, my budget is less than $100. I went to Zara in San Francisco to look for it. The store was new and filled with trendy outfits and sunlight. For this season, Zara came up with a series of Victorian style shirts and it seemed to be the perfect place for me. After searching through the entire store though, I only found two extra-small Victorian blouses: one was a black silk/cotton blend shirt with ruffles priced at $79, and the other was a Zara Basic cotton shirt with ruffles priced at $35.

They fit. For a Victorian blouse, I need to keep it loose fitting and breezy. I am on my way to check out.

Suddenly I noticed something wrong on the shoulders and the collar of the black shirt. The seams were not aligned and there were extra thread intertwined together to a chunky thread ball. It looked disgusting. For a $79 shirt I expect at least decent quality. The sales girl offered alteration but it would take two days. I would return to Boston on the next day. “Can you mail it to me?” I asked. “No, unfortunately Zara does not offer mail orders.”

The white shirt had a serious problem as well. The material at the hem was almost broken . It looked like the material was torn in a machine so there was not even a way to fix it.

I was disappointed. I wish they had more items for each style and I wish they could offer mail orders. I returned to Boston hoping to have better luck at H&M.

H&M is a place where you can find well-made and inexpensive trendy pieces. They have everything. I found a couple of Victorian style shirts and they fit but they didn’t have any silk shirts. Cotton shirts are simply too stiff for this style. I had no luck there, but I found a 100% wool charcoal color turtleneck that fits like a designer piece with very soft material. With a bargain price of $19.99, how could I say no?!

As of today, my mission is not accomplished yet. I am still searching for my Victorian blouse. The good news is that I had better luck with my dress shirts, so I will write about women’s dress shirts in the next article. Stay tuned.
*Picture courtesy of

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fall/Winter 2005 Fashion Must-haves

What are the must-haves in the coming fall and winter? How can I wear them? Where can I find the trendy pieces without breaking my budget? How can I make a good plan before I rush into the shops making lots of impulsive purchases? You will find the answers here.
There is also a table at the end of the article with the ten must-haves along with the web links to help you shopping. The web links will bring you either to the exact items or the designers’ website in case they do not offer online shopping. The table is also organized by price range so that you can pick and choose based on your budget. There are rooms on the right hand side of the table for you to fill in the number of the items and the price of them, and you can use it as your little budget book.
One last thing: remember to leave some room for the impulsive shopping! We girls do that all the time, don't we? Enjoy!
  1. Prada - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and ReviewsBlack
    As seen in Prada
    Style tips: Everybody is saying “Black is the new black”, but don’t interpret it literally. In this winter you need to wear something somber but not sad. If you have to wear black head to toe, try to reveal a little skin or change the texture of the material. Feel free to pair black with brown, navy, or other rich and dark colors for a more relaxed look. No new purchase required if you already have lots of black in your wardrobe.
  2. Boots
    · Lace up boots
    As seen in Michael Kors and Dior Christian Dior - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
    Style tips: They are always the “trend’ in every winter, so everybody needs them. If you got a pair from the past seasons, congratulations. Watch out your whole outfit to make sure it is not too much – you might end up looking like the actress in the Matrix!
    · Slouchy boots
    As seen in Marc by Marc Jacobs and Chloe
    Style tips: Most of the slouchy boots come with very high heels (at least four inches). Make sure you can walk in them before you hand in your credit card! Look at the Marc by Marc Jacobs runway pictures - how important the tights are! Slouchy boots are nice for the day and relaxed events, but they are not polished enough for a nice party. Try to wear croc boots or velvet boots instead.
  3. Chain bags
    As seen in Chanel 2.55 reissue and Marc Jacobs
    Style tips: Don’t buy cheap chain bags as the cheap chain will destroy your whole outfit. Chain bags are normally heavier; so make sure you are comfortable with it.
  4. Coats Balanciaga - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
    · Loose fitting
    As seen in Marc Jacobs
    Style Tips: Avoid it if you are petite. Definitely clinch your waist to avoid a boxy look.
    · Military style coats
    As seen in Balenciaga and Michael Kors
    Style tips: Make sure the shoulders fit. You might not be able to move freely if the armholes are too high. Wear with skinny pants to give it a leggy look. Check the whole outfit and make sure you don’t look too tough.
    · English style
    As seen in Burberry.
    Style Tips: Some people tend to be overwhelmed in tweedy English plaids. For petite girls, the length is the key. The hem should fall above the knee. For curvy girls, the contrast between the shoulder line and the waistline will show your feminine curves.
  5. Lady like suits Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
    As seen in Alexander McQueen and Roland Mouret
    Style tips: The suits in this season are a lot more constructed. If you don’t want to look too serious, wear separates and mix & match with other pieces. Definitely wear the lady like items from last year, but don’t look too sweet: even Marc Jacobs gave up the candy pink! When you shop for pencil skirt, make sure it fits yet comfortable. Try to sit down to make sure it gives you room on your stomach and butt. Walk for a while to make sure you can walk in your natural speed. A well-constructed designer suit will last for years, and the fit definitely looks superior to mass-produced brands.
  6. Pants Chloe - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
    · Skinny pants
    As seen in Balenciaga
    Style tips: Wear with your highest pumps.
    · Slouchy pants
    As seen in Chloe and Proenza Schouler.
    Style Tips: Avoid it if you are petite. Call for fitted tops such as a shirt, a turtleneck, or a sharp v-neck sweater. Wearing matching jacket will give you a Hepburn look, but make sure to wear a pretty scarf or a Victorian style shirt to add a little feminine feeling.
  7. Flats Marc Jacobs - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
    As seen in Marc Jacobs
    Style Tips: The new flats have more sophisticated looks. Marc Jacobs used Python skin in the latest flats with extra padding as insole. The new flats are more comfortable than ever. Besides wearing with skirts and dresses, skinny jeans & flats are the new trendy combo as well.
  8. Velvet.
    As seen in Peter Som
    Style tips: Velvet has been popular in last winter because the jewel tone helps you to look polished and refined. A velvet suit or dress will make you stand out in your evening events. Pay attention to the material when you shop for velvet. Silk velvet with good quality is a lot more expensive than cotton velvet but it feels softer, looks richer, and lasts longer.
  9. Victorian style blouse Oscar de la Renta - Jing's Fashion Review - Fashion Commentary and Reviews
    As seen in Chloe.
    Style tips: You can wear it with a blazer, a waistcoat, or just the blouse. The silk or silk & cotton shirts are more breezy and they tend to fit better. Pure cotton shirts might be too stiff for this style. If the blouse is see-through, add a nude or creme color camisole underneath.
  10. Wide belts
    As seen in Yves Saint Laurent and Proenza Schouler.
    Style tips: The belts in this season are wide to make a stronger definition and add more power in your lady like looks. Some designers also showed sashes, but it is not that easy to pull off for the day.

I made a table to help you shopping. The table will help you locate your must-haves and work as a budget book for you. Click here for the Excel table (with hyperlinks) or click here for the PDF table.