f there’s one thing I miss about living in HK and not in Toronto is this:
Back when I lived only a five minute drive to the closest Value Village (Canadian thrift store- happy Canada Day!), I discovered the beauty of discarded and unwanted clothes.
Hunting, sifting, sorting, editing, distilling only the best of the rejected is what I love about fashion. I like breathing possibility into the ugly. I like examining the construction of clothes to understand the history of it’s previous owner. I became quite addicted to thrifting, visiting at least twice a week to find dowdy dresses to hem up or discovering vintage Dior brooches or an Escada wool jacket (those were the days to take advantage of the less fashion savvy!). My mom complained that my bedroom wreaked with the odor of mothballs. My dream was always to unearth a vintage quilted Chanel or an Hermes scarf. Alas, no luck… yet!
I came across this top four years ago- it’s one of those pieces I will always wear despite having guy friends ask me “what is that?” at its debut. I think someone sewed this by hand judging by the quality; it’s actually hip-length with a sash secured to the side which I stuffed into my high-waisted shorts. I love it because it’s black and the white punctuated subtly with black sequins. I love it because to achieve the draped back, the creator sewed a pouch with a penny inside of it to let gravity do its job. I love the deep and almost dangerous draped back. As my sewing teacher once said, “your exit should be as grand as your entrance.”
Cute, sexy, funny, smart.
If you saw ‘He’s Just Not that Into You’, you know what the question is. Pick two of the above characteristics that you would like to be perceived as.
Let’s be honest here, who would not pick sexy? I think most women, despite shyly mumbling an answer, do in fact, want to be seen as sexy. It’s not about cleavage, long legs and pouty lips, no- it’s the fact that this characteristic is a mark of a manifestation of physical, psychological and emotional maturity. The media has just hacked it down to a skin-deep level.
It’s sad to see women who hide their sexuality in the name of ‘layering’ (we will not address the other extreme for now). I think that’s what I see here in Hong Kong a lot- the hosiery industry in Asia is booming because girls think their calves resemble tree trunks.
I’ve sort of been there done that- I was one of those girls who thought she dressed in the name of ‘modesty’ because I wanted people to see me for my brains. Years later, I’d look back at photos of myself and all I could see was not me, but all the clothes I was wearing. I looked so… heavy. I only wore bermuda shorts, knee-length flounce skirts and blazers. I looked like I was trying too hard to cover-up, to look acceptable, to look safe. Above all what I realized was that I was that my clothing choice was driven by shame/guilt and not through the acceptance of myself. I want to look effortless and not cumbersome.
Now I dress to celebrate my physique. I don’t try to hide it with heavy layers, I try to use clothes to emphasize both my appearance and my personality. Clothes should be the frame and you, the piece of art. I’ve let loose, partially because of the unbearable humidity here but most of all, to enjoy what I have. In the end the question is not “what is sexy?” for trends come and go, but “what do I love and feel most free to express myself in?”
I should stop talking but I’ll end with this. My general rule of thumb when it comes to dressing ‘sexy’ is:
1.Have one piece that men would find attractive- in this instance the draped back.
2.Throw in a women-pleaser piece (you will find that these tend to be men-repellant such as high-waisted shorts. They do show off legs but they also look like mom pants.)
3.From there I add on things that are uniquely me: a hip-length bag (don’t like shoulder bags) and sandals SANS heels (I like to walk fast).
More photos go here!