Shanghai Tang-esque

Finally got around to putting these up!! Two months ago, I got to work with the superbly talented Jun Bin (@hoju_) and we created some Shanghai Tang magic (mostly him tbh)! I loved that we spent the whole morning exploring the grounds of Sentosa and finding hidden gates and openings. It’s the whimsical, storybook sort of adventure I am always enamoured with, the kind that encapsulates limitless time I never seem to have enough of nowadays.

This set completely emulates vacation vibes we all need and embraces the tropical year-long summer Singapore never seems to tires of. The white linen shirt will always be one of the most versatile pieces in my closet. From smart casual, to business formal, to vacation worthy wear, it runs the gamut.

I have this one in a silky material that I got off a street from Bangkok. It’s great worn alone in the face of heat and humidity, or with a coat or a cardigan for a more mellow, formal look. I like to play it down with a pair of printed shorts – the ones I have here are constructed out of batik by my grandma.

Enjoy the visuals – huge shoutout to Jun Bin!!!

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Picnic Aesthetics

I love a good picnic. That encompasses a quiet, vast space of greenery and trees for shade, really good food and a reliable group of friends who will not be complaining about how hot it is/will not bail at the idea of eating amongst a good variety of insects. Growing up in the urban jungle that is Hong Kong, there rarely were open spaces or parks to have a picnic. If you did want a picnic you would have it on a small patch of grass and deal with it. But when I did move to Singapore, the sheer amount of greenery and parks everywhere astounded me, and I immediately declared that we HAD TO have a family picnic.

My Mother said no.

Of course, having a picnic in a subtropical country where the weather is an unpredictable folly is a difficulty. Also getting bitten by a cocktail of ravenous mosquitoes and sandflies is a force to be reckoned with. But if you’re prepared beforehand, having a great time at a picnic is highly possible, highly enjoyable, and will turn out to be one of the most memorable moments of a year-round summer. Here are my tips:

1. Find a good location. As mentioned, there are just so many places to have a picnic in Singapore. Some of my favourite spots include Bandstand, the gazebo at the Botanic Gardens, or anywhere under trees actually.  Fort Canning Park also has a few nicely shaded gazebos and open spaces. The Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park is also another good choice, but it’s mostly surrounded by housing estates so I don’t get outdoorsy, open spaced vibes as much. It can get really sunny, so shade is always important! And since rain is always sporadic and unpredictable, always prepare umbrellas!

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2. Bring primarily finger food. You know, the sort of stuff you wouldn’t need steak knives and three kinds of forks for. Fruits without peels or cores are a good call, such as blueberries, strawberries, grapes. I also like croissants, cocktail sausages, sandwiches, cupcakes, and sushi! Although once unrefrigerated, sushi can go bad, so bring a cooler bag or devour them asap!

3. Bring drinks! Not necessarily the alcoholic kind, but bring fluids because it can get really hot outside when you’re on a picnic in Singapore. Fainting from dehydration would be the last thing we want, would it. The drink pictured here is actually sparkling grape juice that looks fancy, so if you want a touch of picnic glam without blowing money on wine, try sparkling juice. Also, plastic champagne glasses do make everything look more sophisticated, AND they don’t break!

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4. Don’t forget wet wipes. With finger food comes gross hands, so bring along wet wipes or hand sanitizer to clean your hands once you’re done. Chances are, the nearest sink would be quite a walk away. 

5. Bring insect repellent. This is so so important because sandflies and mosquitoes reign supreme at any sort of greenery in Singapore. You can thank me later for this reminder when your legs aren’t spotted like the second coming of chicken pox. However, this does not render your food immune to insects. 

6. And also plastic bags. Bring loads of plastic bags to clean up your trash. There will definitely be junk to throw out when you’re done with a picnic, so do the environment a favour and clean up after! Also, we talked about how sporadic and unpredictable rain can get. These plastic bags will help you stash away all the uneaten food, drinks and mats while you and your friends are scuttling to pack up the aesthetic food party you’ve created on the grass. 

 

Golden State

Shoutout to Zhikuan for helping me shoot this! He is so so talented at this and I’m so stoked to be able to work with him on this!! The weather was blisteringly hot and yet we trudged around Cityhall all the way to Clarke Quay talking and taking photos. We set about looking for dreamy places to shoot and I am loving my really long holiday (NOT loving adult priced transport fares) because it means hours of wandering and wide-eyed exploration.

I recently purchased the most indulgent crushed velvet skirt in this beautiful golden shade online. Velvet has blown up everywhere recently, but if not worn right one may either look painfully gaudy, or like a massive piano cover. I decided to give it a shot in the form of a favourite, the midi skirt. Also, I was very excited that this came in crushed velvet because crushed velvet reflects light magnificently in a seemingly random manner, making the material of the skirt seem ‘crushed’. But so much velvet can seem excessive when one is travelling on the train/subway and is getting strange looks from people. Thankfully enduring a good dose of feeling self-conscious did not come to naught when I received the photos from ZhiKuan!!!

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We explored CHIJMES and Victoria Concert Hall, both in the vicinity of Cityhall. Both historic buildings are gorgeous, and both reflect different influences and styles of the past through their stunning architecture. The Gothic style building of CHIJMES is rich in heritage, once a Catholic convent established by nuns from France. The complex has now been preserved and you’ll still see pillars with intricate markings and dreamy spiral staircases around the compound. There’s also quiet, quaint lawn in the complex amongst the buildings and restaurants, just perfect for soaking up some sun or having a picnic.

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The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is also a national monument, but different in style and grandeur compared to CHIJMES. The neoclassical compound had only reopened two years ago after renovation and restoration works and is now every minimalist’s dream. Once a town hall and even a makeshift hospital for bomb raid victims during World War Two, the building now primarily hosts a wide array of concerts and events supporting the arts in Singapore. Even if you’re not here for an event, the complex is open to the public. It is calm and quiet inside, the floors are tiled with swirly pristine marble, and the building has airy, high ceilings.

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Once again big shoutout to the superb ZhiKuan!!

Places You Should Stop By In Western Australia

First post of 2017!! So last December, my family decided to go road tripping together around Western Australia and I’ve never been so surprised. Even though the rides were super long at times, like three or four hours on the road winding through deserted forests and sparse, rolling hills, nobody complained. To be honest, it wasn’t really so bad, we just ate a lot of sandwiches, played trivia and sang very (very) loudly. And because I’m definitely going to be doing this trip all over again because I loved it THAT much, here is a travel guide of my favourite places, knick knacks and tips!!

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

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About 2.5 hours from Perth by car, we visited the Pinnacles at Nambung National Park. The entrance fee is $12/car and basically, there are a variety of routes to drive on to explore different parts of the park. The golden roads are marked out by rocks, which is pretty cool and it’s vast and empty, save for the occasional car. It’s also terribly windy here, but the view is stunning!! There is also a little museum where you can get souvenirs and learn about how these rocks were formed and how this beauty was discovered. Also, many good photo opportunities here!

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On another note, food can get terribly expensive, even at roadside taverns and restaurants you might see along the way during a road trip. We shopped at a supermarket (Woolworths!) the night before and packed our own sandwiches to munch on along the way. This means fewer stops too!

Red Bluff Lookout, Kalbarri

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After the Pinnacles, we continued to make our way up north towards the prettiest, quaint seaside town, Kalbarri. Kalbarri is about a 6-7 hour drive from Perth, and we took the Indian Ocean Drive to get there. The drive itself is so scenic and beautiful, there were hardly any cars on the road during our drive. Being surrounded by the vast expense of sea, rolling hills and immense haystacks, it was like breaking free from the constraints of living on a small island, where car rides rarely last an hour.

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The Red Bluff Lookout is one of my favourite places in Kalbarri. We took a ten minute drive out from town to watch the glorious sunset from here. It’s a cliff overlooking this gorgeous, secluded beach and the red rock of the cliff contrasts beautifully against the cerulean of the sea. The weather is warm and balmy in town, but in the evening it can get really windy and significantly cooler up here, so dress warmer!!

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Hutt Lagoon, Port Gregory

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Hutt Lagoon, without contest, would have to be one of the most jaw-dropping (in a good way!!) locations I have ever visited in my life. The lake is coloured in this bubblegum milkshake pink shade due to the presence of a certain kind of algae, and it is simply amazing to see water bodies on your left and right in this state. Kind of like a giant Willy Wonka strawberry chocolate fondue anyone? We discovered this in a pretty funny way actually. On the way to Kalbarri, we had no knowledge that this lake existed, much less in such close proximity to the town we were headed towards. During the drive, we passed by Hutt Lagoon from a distance and I noticed that with the sun shining down on the water, the lake seemed pink. My family dismissed it as an optical illusion of some sort due to the ‘reflection of light’ but I wasn’t buying it. We googled it awhile later and hence, discovered the pink lake!!

Busselton Jetty, Busselton

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THE SEA HERE IS BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL. The Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the world. It’s so long, they have a little train that runs from the start of the jetty to the end so that you won’t have to walk the entire thing. It’s almost 2km long and just seems endless. You have to pay an admission fee to walk the jetty, but we chose not to. Instead, we took a lot of photos, admired the stunning, crystal clear sea, and walked along the beach. There’s also a weekend market near the beach too, so you can buy some great food and stroll along the pier.

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The Zig Zag Scenic Drive, Perth

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The Zig Zag Scenic Drive is located at Gooseberry Hill National Park and you get the most glorious landscape of the sprawling metropolis. The Zig Zag Drive is named as such because when you drive down the hill, the road is extremely narrow, and there are many hairpin turns down in a zig zag pattern. In addition to cars, you get people biking up and down the drive as well, so it can get a little freaky. But the view makes up for it, it’s absolutely stunning getting a view of the city from somewhere high up and peacefully quiet.

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So there we have it, all my favourite places when I visited Western Australia. I miss the gorgeous cloudless azure skies so much and the vastness of everything, even the supermarkets. Definitely going to be back here again, do check out these places if you’re visiting Western Australia!

 

Thoughts On Humidity, Perfect Summer Days and Happy Songs

I truly despise the humidity because the beautiful bouncy curls I had before I left the house would disappear the instant I step out onto the streets and also any makeup I put on would melt straight away so I haven’t bothered with much (#loveyourflaws #firstworldproblems #ijustifiedmylaziness). I apologise for the real lack of posts due to my exams but I’m so excited to be back here writing on this platform again! Recently I’ve been so flooded with uni apps and interviews but I think it’s thrilling to open up to so the sheer number of possibilities and opportunities. Talking to my friends who are already in university has also made me more motivated to not mess around with my apps and I’m honestly quite pumped with all that’s going to happen next year!

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The weather looked quite lovely outside today so Winna agreed to pop by Thomson to help me shoot and grab an iced coffee while we’re at it. Shoutout to Winna because we were both absolutely melting under the intense heat and it’s always such a blast to spend time with her because we would spend the bus ride reminiscing about people and trading funny stories from the past. Also I really love this outfit because Winna got this top for a few dollars off the streets of BangKok and I got the greatest metallic skirt for only a few bucks off Taobao. Style does not have to cost a bomb!!! The days have been passing by in sleep soaked bliss and Winna, Wil and I would lie around the house playing the guitar, sing, read (mostly me), glug ungodly amounts of coffee milk like it’s ambrosia (also mostly me) and watch television. I think when the past few weeks flew by in such tiring, hurling chaos it’s sweet relief having unplanned days and spontaneous adventures of exploring and taking photos.

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Since this is sort of a life update post I thought I would also share with you guys some songs from my happy playlist that have gotten me by the past few weeks when I was doing my exams. I don’t know the words to most of them and I choose to not know them just so that I wouldn’t be distracted and start singing along while doing work/revising. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Take Me Out, Golden State
  2. Pumping Blood, Sara James
  3. Different Kind of Love, Kid Runner
  4. Crazy For You, Hedley
  5. We Built This City, Starship
  6. This Girl, Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners
  7. Fire To The Floor, Sezairi
  8. Something In The Way You Move, Ellie Goulding
  9. Ex’s & Oh’s, Elle King
  10. Toothbrush, DNCE

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Happy listening!!

Good Vibes

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I’m so excited to be working with Girl’s Girl Club and Expression Tees to bring you guys this post! They sent me the cutest shirt that is all soft and comfy, so a huge shoutout to them! This is such a wonderful initiative to share some love and empowerment, and a great opportunity to share some things that are important to me.

To be honest, I find it really difficult to be personal online. In real life, this wouldn’t be an issue at all because I love getting to know people and sharing stories, but here it’s sterile and unfeeling and I hope I don’t sound insincere or insensitive. ‘Good vibes‘ here is how I want to be seen as a person, someone who radiates joy and positive energy, someone who is bouncy and enthusiastic and so so filled with life. But the past two years have not been particularly smooth sailing, and sometimes life, and people, are not kind. Life can be a cacophony of awful voices yelling from different angles, a tedious, meticulous balancing act to please the people you meet along the way. I struggled with my friendships, my family, my relationship, sometimes all at once, all while trying to figure out how to do school. Sometimes, there’s a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes there isn’t. And many a times you have to figure out what’s worth getting upset over, and what isn’t.

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The thing is, we are all fallible, and a reliance on the people around you for acceptance, happiness and contentment isn’t always going to work out. Only when you learn to respect yourself and to love yourself, good vibes is not simply circumstantial, but a choice. “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” This quote always reminds me that how I feel today is a choice I can make, but over the past two years, I’ve also compiled a mental list of things I could do that would make me happy. Ultimately, these aren’t long term solutions to whatever problem you are facing, but sometimes a coping mechanism can help you from feeling down in the dumps.

  1. Have a self-appointed dance party, by yourself. So over the years I’ve compiled a playlist of upbeat, ‘trashy’ music I can either dance to, or I know all the words to. Whenever I feel upset, or I just need to be perked up, I close the door and grab my hairbrush or whatever and I have a mini dance party for like, ten minutes. Embarrassing, I know.
  2. Read. Reading has always been one of my greatest joys and my parents got so annoyed at the sheer number of books I would go through in one sitting that they got me a kindle so I wouldn’t have to buy physical copies anymore. I gravitate towards quirky, non-fiction/self-help books now and it helps me take my mind off a lot of issues that are bothering me. Sort of immersing myself into a whole new dimension where you focus on other people’s problems instead of your own, I suppose. Some recent favourites are The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan (SO GOOD) and this little book on how to be mindful.
  3. Write. I write a lot. I keep this list of things that captivate me throughout my day, random thoughts and ideas mushed together in a list, a truly blissful, unorganised mess. Then when I feel inspired, bored, tired or unhappy, I take this list out and turn it into stories and poems and song lyrics. Being all pretentiously poetic does make me feel a sense of satisfaction. Sometimes, I do this thing where I write out what is currently happening in my life, but as a story, where someone else is experiencing these things instead of me. Then I explore what happens down the road in an imaginative, fictional sense that can be quite gratifying.
  4. Draw. I love fashion illustration, I used to do that a lot on the side when I had spare time, but now it’s generally reserved for days when I really do have extra time, or when I need to occupy myself with something other than my thoughts. I would grab my favourite looks from the most recent fashion week, or choose a certain designer’s work to illustrate, then I’ll spend the day with pencils and watercolours till I’m satisfied with my work. Sometimes I experiment with digital illustrations and design, but I’m still exploring that front.
  5. Play music. I would learn how to play a song on the guitar from YouTube, or learn how to play angry, angsty songs on the piano. It really allows a weight to be lifted off one’s shoulders when you express yourself through sound. On one hand, it makes me happier because I learnt something new, and on the other hand it makes me equally happy to channel all my angst into a piece that’s meant to sound loud, so I don’t seem like I’m bashing the piano on purpose. But I am. Even if you don’t play the piano, have a listen to songs like Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor by Chopin or Montagues and Capulets by Prokofiev.
  6. Run. If you’re metaphorically running away from your problems, why not literally run too? Just kidding, but I started running more often this year as a way to cope with stress. It’s a great activity that doesn’t take very long, and helps you take your mind off things to appreciate the greenery and sights around you, or to appreciate how your legs and arms and lungs still work good. Besides, it releases a good dose of oxytocin and endorphins in your body, natural hormones that would make you feel happier or something like that.
  7. Treat yourself. Online window shopping, a cone of ice cream, new highlighters that you don’t really need but they’re in pretty shades of pastel. Cheap thrills exist, and when you’re down in the dumps go treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t do, or eat something delicious.

Not going to lie, there are definitely still going to be days when I don’t want to be rational and I’ll sit there and sulk and wallow in the depths of self-pity. But ultimately, this list always helps me to realise that there is so much more to do, learn and explore than the problems I face then and there. Once again, thank you so much to Girls Girl Club and Expression Tees for including me in this special initiative to inspire and empower girls around the globe through positivity, do check them out!

 

 

Tasselled Shoes

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Tassels, associated with decorative fluff that adorn all extravagant ornamental cushions. Especially if they’re gold, because yknow, gold tassels.

Tassels have bedecked the most hippie chic and bohemian of festival goers, and its ornate feel lends a sense of festivity even when one is not at, and quite frankly, very far away from any festival. With the never-ending heat (I know, I cannot shut up about the heat), sandals are always my go to choice of footwear because they are airy and breezy for the feet! AND less foot sweat. I’ve had these strappy black sandals for a while, it literally has just two straps, and I’ve been pondering over what to do with them. Sure they can fulfill my minimalistic, aesthetic needs, but I felt like they have so much potential to be jazzed up.

I saw this super easy tutorial on Pinterest on how to make tassels, and I immediately went to get some metallic yarn to try it out on my own. It’s really cheap, I got a colour for around a dollar at ArtFriend. The tassels I ended up making were quite mini, but they were perfect for adorning my sandals. You literally only need a fork and yarn to make the tassels (okay and quite a bit of patience!!).

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Here are the sandals:

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And after:

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Basically, I just tied simple knots around the strap of my sandals so that I can wear these shoes with or without the tassels whenever I wish to. Style them with a simple dress or a cool co-ord, and there you go!!

 

Mom Jeans Hack

Firstly, I just want to thank all you lovely people for reading this, truly!! All your support and encouragement makes me feel all warm and fluffy and pushes me towards the edge of my imagination and creativity! Every single week ,the weekend gets me so pumped up and I’m always so stoked to watch my vision come alive through styling, shooting, editing and writing. Besides, I feel like I’m using procrastination from studying quite productively heh. Feel free to tell me which looks you love, or what improvements I can make, and I’ll be more than happy to listen!

I’ve been quite taken with the slouchy chic look recently, although I don’t think I’m brave enough to venture out into the world of really baggy jeans and oversized outerwear yet. However, I do have a few pairs of jeans always stuffed at the back of my closet, folded nicely, never touched. You see, I’ve never really grown any taller (only fatter hehe) ever since I reached the age of 14, so I’ve had some baggy, boot cut jeans trendy eons ago that I never ever chose to wear. Besides, I think they were hand-me-downs and I couldn’t fit into them properly then.

So thank goodness my mom never threw them out and they just remained at the back of my closet, rotting away for fashion to make a u-turn and revive them. Boot cut still isn’t really in, and mind you even when I wear these jeans now, the hem still touches the floor (short people problems!!). But rolling up the hem a few times tightly around the ankles does wonders, giving you the ‘mom’ jeans, cropped style, slouchy look instantly. I paired them with some brown oxfords/heels, a crop top to balance out the proportions and a light coat to deal with the insane heat-and-airconditioning transitions throughout the day. Wileen, my youngest sister, makes an appearance here too and her style is so rad, wish I was that fashionable when I was her age. Enjoy!

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The Midi Skirt Edit

Hooray for midi skirts!!

Skirts hold a certain significance to me. They mark a time long ago when I was first allowed to make my own forays into the vast world of fashion, the tight rein of my mother slowly loosening. Don’t get me wrong- I love her, but when I was younger she chose all my outfits because she thought getting ready to go out would be a faster process. Looking back, some of her choices could be deemed quite questionable (black and white striped three-quarter leggings as pants, anyone?).

Gradually, my own preferences seeped through her screening process during shopping trips and I got to experiment with style. I remember getting her permission to purchase this deep fuschia, ruffled mini skirt (they had been the utmost rage that summer) and that skirt was the proudest item in my closet for a while. I thought I looked very chic in it! But it was in skirts when I felt a little fancier, a little more twirly and glamorous.

Now skirts are way beyond a rite of passage, but they still make me feel the way I did whenever I wore that fuschia skirt. Of course, nowadays I have a much wider variety to choose from. In the impossibly warm madness I live at, skirts are airy and breezy and just amazing for the year round heat. However, mini skirts can be a bit too short for my liking, maxi skirts are too warm. Hence, I often opt for the glorious midi in different styles for an extra dash of fancy, and the main dash of keeping cool (both literally and figuratively). Here are three ways to style the a-line midi skirt!!

1. FIRST LOOK

Pleated midi skirt + geometric top + sporty sneakers

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2. SECOND LOOK

wide pleats + cami + heels

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3. THIRD LOOK

Floral midi + choker cut top + combat boots

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The Three Way Bandana

The most hippie chic I can ever get?

Grandma decided to go back to her old apartment recently and she took out a few pieces of clothing that haven’t seen the sun in a long, long time. She lugged her loot back home and laid them out on the floor to separate what she wanted to keep and which had had its time. This ‘vintage-y’ scarf caught my eye; it has bright orange edges and beautiful detailing on the inside. This is why I love fashion. Despite the whirlwind turnovers in trends and the seemingly never-ending chase to be in style, specific trends always seem to make an appearance in cycles. The chokers and crop tops that sprung from the 90s have made a huge comeback today, and that beautiful bandana grandma probably got in her younger days is now stylish once again. AND I can call it ‘vintage’.

The neck scarf, the bandana, the neckerchief. It has rocked street styles more recently and it is oh so very versatile. Some pattern and some colour can easily add detail to a basic outfit, or even add a personalized touch to an accessory. Here are three of my favourite ways to wear it!

First Look

Mixed Prints:  Hippie Chic

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Kind of like a bandana crown, pair it with another detailed printed top or a dress, pair it with ginormous gold earrings and there! Hippie queen.

Second Look

Around the neck:  Jetsetter vibes

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The basic white top, denim jacket. Jazz it up with the bandana around your neck, tied or untied.

Third Look

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I wear the bandana like this the most often! Not very garish or gaudy, but just enough of a subtle pop!

Hence, go forth and raid your grandma’s closet! And if you find some great stuff, well, I told you so 😉