Passionless Fashion

transforming our lives by transforming our wardrobes

Category Archives: inspiration

Day 100 – Wednesday

Ena and Bina - Day 100!

Ena - Day 100

Ena: So today, for the grand finale, I thought I’d show you all something you’ve never seen before – my knees.  Wow.  With the exception of Day 1 which is in its own league of disaster, today has been the most challenging for me.  From the moment I left my house, I have been extremely self-conscious and nervous to the point of light-headedness.  I have also caught myself feeling defensive and confrontational (feelings made worse by the dozens of onlookers present at today’s photo shoot), as though preparing for a fight.  But, as uncomfortable as I am today, this outfit represents a big step for me and I am so glad that I was able to find the courage to wear it by Day 100.

As a segue into this final post, and as a way of elaborating on a point that I was trying to make but had to rush through in order to get to 826LA on time (it was fantastic, by the way – everything I had hoped), I would like to revisit the last paragraph of yesterday’s post.  I’m not sure that I properly articulated my reason for sharing my meltdown anecdote and I don’t want there to be any confusion.  I suppose that learning, especially this close to the end of our project, that I at times still feel directionless, hopeless, and less than satisfied with my life could lead to the assumption that I failed in my mission to become a more happy, successful, and passionate person.  That simply could not be further from the truth.

I am most certainly a happier and more passionate person today than I was prior to beginning this project, there is no doubt about that.  I have found two volunteer projects that I am incredibly passionate about and that I plan to support for many years.  As for success, I may not have achieved all that I hope for yet, but I am now even more confident that someday I will.  My reason for sharing the anecdote was to illustrate that, far from being indicative of failure, Monday’s episode solidified for me the universal nature of momentary meltdowns.  This project has taught me that the brief lapse in sanity I experienced is in no way symptomatic of deficiency, it’s symptomatic of life.

This project has also taught me that I can accomplish anything, that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought.  Not to get too cheesy (or too plagiarize-y), there is a line from the book Eat, Pray, Love that sums up exactly how I feel about what I have learned over the course of this project.  In the book, the author writes, “I remember an old catholic joke about a man who spent his whole life going to a church every day and prayed to the statue of a great saint begging ‘please, please, please, let me win the lottery.’ Finally the exasperated statue comes to life and looks down at the begging man and says ‘my son, please, please, please, buy a ticket.’ So now I get the joke.”  And now so do I.

So, to wrap up, I would like to thank my friends and family for their overwhelming love and support; despite my initial reservations about sharing this part of my life, this project would have been a lot less fun (and challenging, and embarrassing, and humiliating, and…) without you.  I would also like to thank all of our readers (turns out we have more than five after all) for their encouraging comments, and for not judging us too harshly.  And, finally, I would like to thank Bina without whose unparalleled powers of persuasion I would have never, ever, ever participated in a harebrained scheme like this and without whom I would not have become the person I am today.  Thank you all for sharing this journey with me.

Bina - Day 100

Bina: My doubt regarding this blouse began to creep in when I was checking out at the Goodwill. The cashier looked at the tag and asked me, “Did you get this from the pajama section?” Um, no, no ma’am, I did not. Regardless, I took it home and it has been hanging and looking at me from the closet. This morning, it was now or never. The blouse was the base of my outfit today and I tried to build everything around it; I took one last look at myself in the mirror and thought “pajama top” but then thought “to hell with it” and walked out of the house.

As I entered the gate at work, I stole a glance at my reflection in a nearby window; I was startled by a man’s voice, “You look perfect.” Caught in the act, I laughed and said, “Thanks!” to the dude lounging on a cart, and I walked with a little more bounce in my step. I picked out this drape-y blouse because I was enamored with the minty-blue-green color, and the shape reminded me of Kim Basinger’s 80s blouses in 9 ½ Weeks –  remember when I was infatuated with that movie’s looks?  Anyway, here I am, in my Day 100 outfit, and I don’t care if it’s a pajama top or not, I love it.

Look, we all know I’ve worn some pretty crazy-ass shit to work over the course of this project. But it was totally worth it because I’ve learned so much about my style and myself in the process.  I tried lots of new things – like Tahitian dancing, volunteer dog-walking, reading to children, meditation, yoga. And I revisited some old things – like screenwriting and theatre. I feel a little bit like I just ran a marathon; though, obviously, I know this doesn’t really compare, I feel drained from all of the emotional introspection. I started this blog with a bit of a broken heart and a broken spirit, and I feel extremely proud that I stand here today, wearing the ultimate accessory – a smile. Looking back on some of the scarier days is hard for me, but I think it’s somewhat educational. And I’ve grown and changed so much in the last 5 months. Sometimes now in the middle of cleaning the kitchen, I’ll strike a yoga pose and meditate for a few minutes. To you, that may sound totally granola and hippie, and I agree, it is, but, hey, what’s a girl who is part Buddhist/part Hindu warrior to do?

Did we achieve what we set out to accomplish? In my eyes, yes. I think somewhere along the way this turned into something bigger than I had anticipated. While it started as a way for us to learn about style and try new things, it became something more – a journey of self-discovery, if you will.  Sometimes it was a trip down memory lane; sometimes it was a place to vent; sometimes it was a place to report on our gingerbread house.

I’d have to say one of the most important things I learned from all this is discipline. I learned to commit to something, and I learned to finish something I started. Now, I find myself reinvigorated and inspired – ready to tackle the next thing and finish that, too. And, sometimes, you find inspiration in the strangest places. For instance, last night, in typical Hollywood fashion, I found myself in an intimate screening room with my friend Alexis and Bradley Cooper . . . yadda yadda yadda . . . when I got home, I opened my laptop and got back to work.

*Thank you so much for reading and sharing this time in our lives with us.


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Inspiration: Andi

Bina: Please welcome Andi Teran! (applause break) I met Andi back in the theatre department at the University of TX at Austin. She was a year ahead of me in the program, and I thought she was quite possibly the coolest girl I’d ever seen. Later, I had the pleasure of working with her on a few plays in New York, always admiring her from afar. For as long as I’ve known who Andi was, I have always thought of her as a force to be reckoned with. Her addictive zeal for life, acting, art, movies, writing, and style make her one of the most beautiful, passionate people I’ve ever had the privilege to come across.

We asked Andi if she would mind taking time out of her very busy schedule, which includes contributing to websites such as VanityFair.com and Vogue.com, and writing her own amazing blog, Verbose Coma (check it out, run don’t walk!), to tell us a little bit about what fashion and style mean to her, as well as what motivates and excites her. We love and admire the way that Andi has turned her passions into her career. She is truly inspirational.

Andi!

Andi: To the French poet and neck-ribbon aficionado (a man after my own heart) Charles Baudelaire who once said, “Style is character,” I must state that I firmly believe character is style. Whether innate or learned, whimsical or reserved, style is always a projection of the self. Some believe it to be an art form, others a philosophical statement, but to me, it is both a choice and a way of life. Also, let’s be honest, clothes are just really, really fun.

For the record, I believe that fashion and style are two entirely different peacocks. Fashion is new and now; style evolves over time. Fashion is chosen by a cognoscenti; style is dictated by the individual. Fashion fades; style is eternal. Now, I love fashion and have worked in and around it for years, but what I truly revere, what continues to speak to me when I open my closet doors every day, is my own style. That probably sounds totally pretentious, but it’s taken me awhile to get here. (Also, geez, I started with a Baudelaire quote! Gag me.)

I first learned about style from an Australian woman on CNN. Like every other third grader in suburban Texas, I watched cartoons on Saturday morning. One day, while flipping channels, I came across a woman with a severe black bob and red lipstick. She had on a pretty dress and spoke to me like I was a grown-up. With a backdrop of classical music, the kind I imagined played on loudspeakers all over France, this woman, Elsa, introduced me to designers who made crazy bright colored clothes for models who could punch bullies with their eyelashes. I was enchanted. Elsa went on and on about things like patterns and the importance of a great necklace in this calm, elegant way. It was unexpected, but from that Saturday forward, I stopped getting up for The Smurfs and made sure I was awake for Style with Elsa Klensch.

Soon after (the result of many impassioned pleas), my mom took me shopping for school clothes and agreed to let me put together an outfit of my choosing. I wanted something with an animal on it because I liked animals, but I also wanted to make Elsa proud. I chose a black, button-up shirt covered in giant orange and white striped zebras paired with Tang-orange baggy pants also covered in zebras, these in black and white—the yin to the shirt’s yang, if you will. I figured it would pass the fancy fashion test because the shirt had buttons (I was used to wearing t-shirts), and it had to be tucked into the trousers. I topped this ensemble with a dark sweater vest, remembering a recent designer on the show who had a penchant for wearing all black, and tipped it out with my favorite brown lace-up shoes. The look was what I considered safari superhero chic, and it made me feel powerful and transformed.

At school the next day, I was christened with a new nickname: “zebra head.” I hid during recess until the bell rang. Even my best friend—who always looked cute in pink and blonde—left me alone. I didn’t understand. My outfit made me feel good and was something I had put together myself. It was a long walk back to class, but somewhere on that dusty road of elementary fashion fallout, something had changed. A kindergartener passed us in the hall, pointed at my clothes and said, “I like your pants! I like zebras!” This restored my confidence. If only one person other than me liked my ensemble, that helped, yes, but I liked it, and this meant everything.

Today, I still wear animal prints as often as possible (leopard is always beatnik-y and classic). I like menswear mismatched with floral shirts and huge plastic accessories. I don’t care about labels but live for good construction. Elsa taught me that all you need is a simple outfit that fits well; you can then trick it out with fantastic accessories. The only things I save for are well-made, comfortable shoes that last (like leather oxfords which go with everything, look cute with dresses, and stand up to NYC concrete). Splurging on a black leather handbag that holds all your everyday stuff or investing in a classic, tailored black blazer is good, too. The one thing I’ve really learned on my own, though, is if it makes me feel fantastic when I put it on, then I know that it works.

I moved to New York City to be an actress (SO many costumes, SO many different people to dress up and be!), but if you’d told me I’d wind up working in fashion, that one day I’d attend fashion week (a lifelong dream) and meet some of the people profiled on Elsa’s show, I’d have passed out right then and there. I’ve seen all kinds of crazy “fabulosity”, but the people who have stood out from the crowd, the ones whose zebra pants I like the best, are always the ones just living their lives in outfits that illustrate who they are inside. Brave women who don’t give a toss if anybody thinks they look pretty or cool, like Isabella Blow and her crazy hats, or Daphne Guinness in feathers and Cruella hair. I’m obsessed with regal lady-bird Iris Apfel, an octogenarian who layers tons of necklaces atop loud tropical prints. I like women who take the time to care, as well as those who look like they aren’t trying at all (hi, Patti Smith). The point is, style begins with you. Never forget to outfit your inner superhero.

Special Guest: Kristin

Three cheers for K-rock. That’s what we all call her, you know, on account of her rocking so much. Since Kristin first learned about our project, she has been nothing but completely supportive and enthusiastic. We have truly appreciated that support from a friend. Kristin is someone you know you can trust, know will empathize with you, and know that you will always have a good time with.  We’re so excited she was inspired by our efforts to write a guest entry about her own experiences with fashion and passion. Thank you, Kristin!

Kristin: So after weeks of procrastinating, here I am, writing a post for Bina and Ena’s fashion blog – never thought I’d see myself type those words! It’s not that I don’t have a sense of style – I definitely have an affinity for pirate boots. (Hey, I like things with buckles!) It’s more that I don’t care, or maybe I should say didn’t care. However, after following these lovely ladies’ blog, I am inspired by their project to awaken inner passion by finding inspiration in what they wear. It’s not a project I would have thought to take on myself. I have always been a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the fashion industry – we’ve all seen some of the ridiculous ensembles that sashay down the runway, blurring the line between fashion and absurdity. After watching multiple seasons of Project Runway, I at least appreciate and respect fashion in an artistic sense. But I always felt that following fashion meant to blindly conform to society’s  idea of what’s hot and what’s not, ultimately stripping away a person’s individuality.

Young Dork in the Making

This idea may have developed in my impressionable middle school years at a private Baptist school in Texas. First of all, I could never get my bangs to do that late 80’s/early 90’s teased waterfall thing with the curling iron. And I hated the preppy look that all the cheerleaders and rich kids had with their Dooney & Burkes and Cole Haans – future Stepford Wives in the making. I never understood paying hundreds of dollars for a bag with a bunch of colored DB’s all over  it. (But then again, we all know what DB really stands for.) I was the girl that hung with the outcasts and weirdos, pairing my plaid skirt uniforms with Doc Marten imitations (my mom would never buy me the real ones), wearing enormous multi-colored hoop earrings, and listening to The Cult while my counterparts sang in the church choir. Sounds kind of cool and rebellious, right? Well with acne, braces, and a perm gone wrong, it didn’t exactly read Rebel Without a Cause. It was more like Dork Without a Clue. Needless to say, the pictures from those years are locked away in my parent’s closet never to see the light of day. (Mom, I’m talking to you.)

Once released from the clutches of middle school uniforms and prepdom, I went through high school wearing a lot of over-sized flannel (thank you Pearl Jam). I remember once I tried to look cute in some platform heels, but then I fell on my face in a hallway full of seniors my freshman year. These things scar, people! To this day, you will very rarely see me wear anything with heels, the evil contraptions. In college, things did not improve for me fashion wise. More times than I’d like to admit, I had to wake up early from a night of partying and race to make it to class on time. There were a lot of sweats and a tee-shirts in those days, and my hair was short and boyish. It was all about ease and comfort. Sure, there were times I dressed up, usually when I either had a hot date, or was trying to pass for 21 on 6th Street. I had three fake ID’s confiscated from me in college. Needless to say, my attempts were in vain.

My perspective finally began to shift post-graduation, when I met a dear friend while studying Shakespeare at LAMDA. I loved her eccentric and unique sense of style, from her giant fur hats and colorful scarves, to the over-sized granny sweaters she always managed to look good in. When I briefly lived with her and her husband in Manhattan, she would let me rifle through her overstuffed closet for clothing and accessories and marvel at her Prada heels. Knowing full well I would never spend that much on a pair of shoes, it was still fun to pretend – it was a little like playing dress-up. She taught me the correlation between fashion and joy – feeling good in what you wear – strutting down the crowded sidewalks of New York in a grandiose pair of sunglasses, an over-sized bag and a sundress. This, of course, was in the summertime. For the other half of the year, I looked like a Yeti. It’s just too cold to wear anything cute. The only person I know who still managed to rock style during the winters was Alexis. She is truly dedicated.

These days, living in Los Angeles, I can’t use harsh weather as an excuse to get me out of giving a rat’s ass about what I’m wearing. I don’t have a giant floor length comforter with a zipper on it to hide behind.  It’s more competitive out west, with a whole new set of rules. With warm weather nearly year-round, and the beach a stone’s throw away, you never know when you could be forced to don a bikini in a house party hot tub. You are constantly surrounded by beauty, whether it be gorgeous weather, or gorgeous people. After a while, it gets to you. You size people up, compare your waist size to others, analyze your stretch marks, frown at your love handles while trying on bathing suits in the Target dressing room. It’s ridiculous but true. Lucky for me, I have my boyfriend Chris to bring me back down to earth, tell me I look beautiful with no makeup, slumming around the apartment in a pair of boxers and a 15 year old Dare tee-shirt with holes in the armpits. So I’m grateful for that – the support, not the armpit holes.

But at the end of the day, the cliché is true: women dress for other women. I feel like it tears us apart as a species, but maybe that’s just survival of the fittest out here in the wild wild west. It’s a vicious cycle of competition, especially in the “industry,” which is maybe one of the reasons I decided to bow out as an actor, at least for the time being. After years of auditioning, trying you’re damnedest to secure 2 lines on a commercial, smiling and networking until the corners of your mouth ache, walking into a room with 50 other girls who look very much like you and are wearing the exact same thing as you, dealing with some bitter queen-y casting director who obviously needs to get laid – one day I just had enough. It was making me feel like a whore, and not a pretty Julia Roberts whore.  I realized that I had lost my individuality and that I was missing something – ah yes, my soul. And so… I gave up? That is the question I struggle with these days. On one hand, it feels good to be free from the obligations and stress of trying to work as an actor, but on the other hand, something is missing. It’s what I have done my whole life, so now what? Some days I just want to go through life dressed like The Dude, in the big white (and very soft) bathrobe Chris gave me for Christmas last year.  Wrap myself up in a cocoon, drink White Russians all day, stop shaving my legs, and take life as it comes.  It’s a very Zen idea of living.  And very tempting.

It’s been over a year now since I’ve stopped pounding the pavement, and I can’t say that the time away has made me want to go back. Even though I am going through the post-30 “what the hell am I going to do with my life now” phase, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – I occasionally submit myself for projects that actually sound interesting and fun, not because I feel like I have to in order to “make it”.  If I make it, great.  But I’m not going to make myself miserable trying. Life is too short, and I don’t want to go through it feeling like art is an obligation. I relish the things that bring me happiness, that make me feel joyful. Which brings me back to fashion. Today at work, I am making my coworker take a picture of me for the blog, so I dressed up a bit. This has brought an onslaught of comments from nearly everyone walking through the door, which is good but also kind of weird for me.  I don’t like to be checked out or hit on, which is probably why I never dress up. But at the same time, I also feel good about myself.  Hearing the click-clack of my boots echoing down the hallway, listening to the jingle of bracelets and seeing a hint of the feather tucked in my hair – I feel vibrant and alive. I swing my hips a little. I look up and smile. I connect with others. I feel powerful and pretty. It feels good to feel pretty, and to me, that’s what fashion is about. Will I be subscribing to In Style anytime soon? Probably not. I will always be a bit of a tomboy at heart. But I do have an appreciation for the classics: a simple black dress, the perfect accessory, a pair of nylons with a line up the back. I love black, bold color, sound and texture, and a little bit of rock and roll. What I’m wearing today encapsulates who I am, and an outfit my friends have seen me in multiple times, with different accessories – this time with my new peacock feather tights from Etsy that I loooove. Which reminds me, I really need to go shopping. Perhaps we can make a date to go to shopping, ladies? Because it feels good to look good.

Kristin

 

Inspiration: Nicole

This is our friend Nicole.  Nicole is always at the forefront of fashion and has an uncanny ability to discover the next big trend before it appears in magazines and on the internet; she is really quite something.  Nicole is never afraid to take fashion risks and continuously pushes the style envelope, inspiring us with her absolute fearlessness and bold choices.  Thank you Nicole for taking the time to tell us what motivates and inspires you, for your support of our project, and for being something of a fashion icon yourself.  Keep up the good work!

Nicole: I have a secret to tell you; I have a lover that gives me such joy and pleasure, the love that keeps me warm and makes me feel like no other.  Yup, you guessed it, it’s that wonderful thing called Haute Couture!!!  I’m in love with Fashion and I want to scream it from the top of the highest mountain.  This love began early in my childhood, when, at about the age of 5, I began watching my Mom.  I watched her get ready whether it was for work or just a day at the park with me, whether she was wearing knee high brown leather flat boots, a matching trench coat, and a turtle neck paired with a light brown gingham skirt, or just some high waisted jeans with a cashmere sweater.  She is and will always be my fashion icon.  Fashion is in my blood, it’s in my soul.  I have always tried to dress stylishly from Junior High with my Doc Martins and Depeche Mode t-shirt with a blazer and purple hair, to High school with my little fitted black dresses and slip on vans, to today wearing 6 inch heels to work and making sure everything I wear is day to night. I believe women should feel good about themselves and not allow anyone or anything to get in their way.

Besides my Mother, some of my other fashion inspirations have been Yves Saint Laurent, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Bridgette Bardot, Alexander McQueen, and, of course, music.  I am inspired every day by my surroundings, my emotions, and my life.  I have always strived to work in the world of fashion where I can talk about it, be around it, and live it. My determination has paid off, and it wasn’t easy but I’m here. Still, it isn’t easy figuring out what my next outfit will be; should I wear a dress or a skirt, boots or heels?  And I also have days when I don’t want to take off my husband’s t-shirt and Juicy velour pants, because I’m bloated or I just don’t feel like it.  But the feeling I get when I slip my clothes on and do my hair and makeup makes me feel so amazing that it’s worth it. My sister (the makeup artist) once told me, “You must do your makeup because you never know who you will run into.”  I take her words to heart every day – I just might run into David Beckham and he just might leave Posh for me because I look so damn good!!!  No, not really.  But, it is true, you never know who’s looking.  At work I always want to look professional because who knows who they are looking at for that next promotion. I know that may sound wrong to some, but have you ever seen someone in a high position wearing Juicy velour pants and their husband’s skateboard t-shirt?  I’m just saying.

When I was younger I didn’t care about trends and styles, I just wore what I wore and that was that. Now that I’m in my thirties – 31 to be exact – I feel like I need to be aware of and up to date on the trends and styles.  I read tons of fashion blogs including nitrolicious.com and retrogirl.com, and magazines like Elle which is absolutely my favorite for women in their late 20’s and 30’s. Trends are hard to follow; not everyone can pull all of them off and some are strictly runway material.  For example, I’m short, so the over the knee leather boots style doesn’t work for me.  But that doesn’t stop me from trying to be stylish; I just look for trends that do work for me. You have to know your body too, and be comfortable with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m totally comfortable with my body, but you have to know it so that you can learn what trends you are comfortable with and take it from there. Read more of this post

Inspiration: Alexis

This is our friend, Alexis. Isn’t she lovely? Alexis pretty much ALWAYS looks amazing. She inspires us constantly with her beauty, her fierce and on-point fashion sense, her baking, her mad-competitive volleyball skills, and her quick-witted humor. She’s what you would call a true Renaissance woman. And from the holiday party to the beach volleyball court, she is dressed to impress at all times.  She was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to send us a couple pics and tell us a little bit about what fashion means to her. Thanks, Alexis!

Alexis

Alexis: I’d like to start by saying how crazy I think it is that I was asked to do this – I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve been labeled an “inspiration,” so that’s pretty cool. Thank you, ladies!

I feel a bit silly using the word “passion,” so let’s start with the one it rhymes with – I LOVE fashion. I absolutely love it. One might even say I have an addiction. I definitely read too many magazines and I definitely have a shopping problem. You know it’s getting bad when you feel the desire to conceal the Nordstroms bag when you enter your door so that your boyfriend doesn’t exclaim (again), “Is that another new sweater?!”

I can’t think of a defining moment or remember when I decided to start caring about how I looked or what I wore. I think it was instilled in me at a young age by watching my Mother get ready in the morning. I’m from Dallas Texas, y’all…and in Dallas, you don’t leave the house without “putting your face on.” My Mother always looked amazing, and still does; big props to my Mom for keeping it together at 61! When not learning to bake, my time with my Grandmothers was spent “playing dress up,” and there are countless childhood photos of me in 40s style hats and gloves mugging for the camera. So, I guess you could say that I developed a healthy sense of vanity at a young age :)

I think I can also trace my love of fashion back to my schooling. I went to a private school K-12th grade, which required me to wear an oh-so attractive plaid uniform. Occasionally we would have “normal dress days,” providing everyone (especially the female population) with the opportunity to show who they really were – their personal style. I remember agonizing over outfits for these days, and exclaiming as an eight year old, “I have NOTHING to wear!” This continued as I got older, and outfits to wear to Friday night football games were scrutinized to the ninth degree.

So…with that said, my passion – ha ha, let’s call it what it really is, obsession – started early and hasn’t ceased. Read more of this post

Inspiration: JP

This is JP.  He is another coworker who inspires us every day with his daring fashion choices, good attitude, and positive energy.  JP has been known to come to work wearing velvet blazers, scarves, cardigans, and Lakers hats (we’ll forgive him that last one), and he never shies away from color, including those colors most men fear, like purple, teal, and bright orange.  Before you even ask, no, he is heterosexual.

Not only does JP inspire us with his bold fashion choices, he rallies us to good deeds with his spirit of giving.  This month he has decided to donate his face to raising awareness about cancers that affect men, committing to the growth of a moustache for the entire month of November as part of the Movember campaign.  This cause is particularly meaningful to JP whose father battled – and survived – prostate cancer.  If you’d like to help JP with this cause, click here and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account.  The money raised will help make a tangible difference to the lives of others, through the world’s most promising prostate cancer research and LIVESTRONG’s programs that support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.

JP agreed to let us take his picture and told us what inspires his style and what dressing well means to him in the hopes that one of the 5 people who read this blog might contribute to his campaign.  Thanks JP, for all the inspiration.  It is truly a pleasure working with you, though it will be more of a pleasure when we don’t have to stare at your moustache.  Good luck!

JP

JP: I was going through a tough time personally which affected my attitude and appearance at work.  I wasn’t happy with myself nor my career; consequently, I didn’t care about my appearance or my dress code. I grew out my hair/beard and wore shorts, sandals, and rock t-shirts every day to work.  Sometimes I would have to interact with execs which made me feel very embarrassed, but because I didn’t care, I wouldn’t make a change.

This lasted about two years.  One day, one of my co-workers told me, “JP you are a very smart guy – what are you still doing here working as an assistant? You have the potential for better opportunities, but let me make you aware that your appearance is not going to get you anywhere.” That’s when I realized that if I wanted to start feeling happy about myself and my career I needed it to start somewhere, and my appearance was the first thing.  I started dressing in slacks, ties, and dressy shirts; I also cut my hair and shaved the beard off.  Since then, my life has completely changed and I can say that I’m in a very happy place now.

It’s always important to be happy with ourselves in order to be successful in life whether it’s in regard to health, richness, or just simply being happy. Success is measured by our own personal standards/goals, but your appearance and the way you carry yourself will be the way people will distinguish you.  Lastly, smiling (you notice I always smile) will release positive energy; you also never know who is falling in love with it.

 

Day 6 – Monday

Ena - Day Six

Ena: Week two!  That’s enthusiasm, something I’m finding difficult to convey in written communication.  Almost immediately after Friday’s post, and over the weekend, I felt that perhaps I was coming off a bit too…negative?  Hopeless?  Defeatist?  It’s true that this isn’t easy for me, but I never thought it would be.  It’s getting easier – no, that’s a lie; it isn’t yet, but it will.  Please, bear with me.

There are some things about this project that I am really enjoying.  No, seriously.  Bina and I have been laughing quite a lot lately and we’re getting a chance to work on our iPhone photography skills, something that’s bound to come in handy later.  Also, it has been nice walking around the office knowing that I don’t look like I just wandered out of hibernation.

Week one made it very clear to me that I am terribly afraid of looking foolish, a major obstacle to taking fashion risks – or risks of any kind for that matter.  Hopefully this project will not only teach me the benefits (both inward and outward) of caring about my appearance, but also help me become more comfortable with taking risks in all areas of my life…all areas of my life except those which involve jumping out or off of high things; I’m going for courageous, not crazy.

Unfortunately, making riskier fashion choices requires one thing that I just don’t have – money.  I need more clothes.  Bina was kind enough to help me sift through the contents of my closet which are so boring the task almost put us both to sleep.  Now that I know what I’ve got – and more importantly, what I need – the next step is filling in the holes (figuratively and literally, as most of my clothes have actual holes) with tons of cheap and chic clothes.  Easy.  Well, we’ll see…just as soon as I get paid.

Bina - Day Six

Bina: This weekend, I attempted to work a little on the Passion side of things while I gave my wardrobe a rest.  Oh, the comfort of a white t-shirt and faded jeans – what bliss!!! Okay, I’m getting carried away.  Anyway, since this is all about transforming our lives, I decided I needed to try to do a couple things for my heart.  I went for a hike. I went to brunch.  I went window shopping and saw 127 Hours with a friend. And I volunteered for Operation Gratitude. All of these things fed my soul. And OMG, I highly recommend 127 Hours.  Talk about passion. Jiminy Christmas.

I also cleaned out my closet.  Always a cathartic experience.  So now I have a better idea of what is going on in there. And it’s not too bad.  Now I am mostly coveting some new shoes, belts, and cozy cardigans to spruce things up.

As for this morning, my body decided to wake me up at 3:30am. And not go back to sleep. So that was fun.  I laid there for a long time, then I watched a couple of episodes of My Boys on DVD, and got up and into the shower at 7:15.  I think I’m getting the hang of the whole hair and make-up routine.  An interesting tidbit since I began this experiment – I am much more punctual to work. Go figure.

My Mom and I had a great conversation on the phone last night about this experiment. My mother is the kind of woman who always looks fabulous – she wouldn’t leave the house any other way.  She’s always tried to get me to be this kind of woman – and while I can get dolled up for special occasions like a semi-pro, I struggle with the day-to-day upkeep.  And when I look around at most women, at work or at the mall or wherever, I mostly see women who don’t give a shit how they look.  Like me on most days, they look like they rolled out of bed and grabbed whatever comfortable albeit ill-fitting pieces of clothing were nearby and said “fuck it.”  I have no problem with this, as long as you’re happy.  However, my mother says that it’s much more charitable to society as a whole if we all make a little effort and give each other something pretty to look at.

Anyway, I wanted to wear this dress today because my mother gave it to me from her last visit to Japan and I very aggressively talked her into giving me the trench coat. Thanks, Mom!

Inspiration: Renah

We thought that it’d be nice to use this blog to give props to the people in our lives who inspire us everyday with their own fashion or passion…or both. The one’s who’ll let us take their pictures, that is.

So, here is our wonderful co-worker Renah (yes, Ena, Bina, and Renah – deal with it) who has inspired us daily over the past two years with her amazing style. Renah comes to work every day looking completely put-together; well dressed, well groomed, fashion forward and always stylish. No kidding, every day. We often comment –in slightly envious tones – on how great she looks, and she is hands-down one of our biggest inspirations.

After explaining our project, we asked Renah to write a bit about her personal style, her motivations, and what looking good means to her. Thank you, Renah, for your endless inspiration…and for saying yes!

Renah

Renah: I’ve always loved fashion but I wasn’t always as put together as I should’ve been.  I grew up with a very stylish mother who made sure her clothes were always ironed or dry-cleaned and never had a hair out of place.  She didn’t allow us to leave the house “looking a mess” as she would say.  Our hair had to be combed and our clothes had to be clean.  Our clothes were always modest but for special occasions my mother made sure we looked top notch. For us looking good had nothing to do with fashion labels but just having the sense to do so.

Personally, for the longest time I didn’t consider myself to be “pretty” so I kept it simple. Baggy jeans, tees, sneakers, pony-tail, backpack, and baseball cap.  It wasn’t until college that I began to be more conscious of my appearance after my first real boyfriend love broke up with me.  I got a new hairstyle, bought a few new outfits and I felt better.  My logic was that although I may not feel great at least I can look good. But being in college sticking to this wasn’t always easy running from class to class and then dashing off to work afterwards made it harder to be consistent.

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