ReGeneration X

It’s undisputed fact that fashion trends come around cyclically, and there seems to be a resurgence of 90’s style going on.  Seeing this, I can’t help but feel regretful that I gave my fairly pristine 90’s Doc Martens Mary Janes to charity a few years back.  I said as much on social media not long ago, and a former student in her late 20’s replied that she LOVES hers, and was faithful to a 90’s grunge aesthetic.  The picture she sent made me want to say oh, you poor baby chick.  That’s not 90’s grunge.  A Nirvana tee does not the 90’s make.  But I didn’t, because in her leather and ripped jeans way, she’s attempting to find her style. And isn’t that what your 20’s are all about?

Dr. Martens shoes

Buying my Docs was like a rite of passage for me. I bought them with my birthday money at the Doc Martens flagship store in London. Before my Docs I exclusively wore £5 cotton kung fu shoes from Covent Garden Market. The Mary Janes cost £100, and I thought I would die from sticker shock. However, they were the most resilient and long-lasting shoes I ever bought. They wore in beautifully, were pretty comfortable, and looked great with a floral babydoll dress.

However, the offerings today are pretty great, too. They still offer the classic Doc boot and a take on the Mary Jane, but they’re also offering cute librarian-esque shoes, patterned boots, and even sandals.

ReGeneration X

Maybe instead of mourning for my lost shoes, I should think about a modern upgrade…

With a Sting

I did a post a few months ago about Korean skincare, where I did a vlog demonstrating my Korean skincare routine.  I look at that vlog now, and I cringe.  The difference between my skin now and my skin then is notable.  I had only had a Korean skincare routine for a couple of weeks at that point; now I’ve been using it regularly for a few months.  I think that video was the last time I got a blemish between my eyes, which used to be so regular I joked about having a third eye.  The cystic acne under my chin is almost gone.  When I use a pore strip on my nose, nothing comes up.  My skin is soft and moisturized during the cold and drying winter months.

One of the things I’m a big fan of with Korean skincare is all the natural ingredients in the products–ones you might not imagine.  I have masks that use every fruit and vegetable, caviar, gold, snail slime, you name it.  (Snail slime I’ll have to go into another day, but trust me–the slime is awesome once you get past the mental block.)  To treat my acne, I’ve been using a product with a very interesting natural ingredient–bee venom.

Apparently, bee venom is a more powerful anti-inflammatory than hydrocortisone.  It tears down cell membranes, causing the body to increase circulation in the area and also increase collagen production, meaning quicker healing time and an end to red, inflamed pimples.

I’ve been using Shara Shara Bee Tox Spot Cream. I got it from Memebox–they do themed boxes of Korean beauty products–not for the faint of heart, because you can’t choose what’s inside. (More on Memebox another day–I’m waiting for a box to do a vlog on.) However, this product is worth the cost of the whole box. It smells herbal–it contains tea tree oil–but not medicinal. I don’t have any side effects from using it, even though I have sensitive skin. I put this directly on my spots two times a day–morning and evening.

bee tox

You can buy Shara Shara Bee Tox here. If you’re into K-Pop, the face of Shara Shara is actually a young, fresh-faced man, not a woman as with so many cosmetic brands. I find it kind of hilarious to have L (that’s his stage name) from the group Infinite smiling back from the Shara Shara packaging. Hilarious.

Never separate a KPop idol from his guyliner.
Never separate a KPop idol from his guyliner.

The Holy Grail that is Jeans

I can’t count how many times I’ve pulled my jeans up today.

Since I had the day off, I finally got around to some of the dirty work cleaning around my place.  I wore my “day off” jeans (a step up from yesterday’s “Sunday yoga pants”), which, at their purchase, fit just right.  To the point that I got stopped in a swank hotel once by a woman who wanted to know where I got them, such was their perfection.  But now, even after a good washing, they don’t fit like they used to.

Jeans are the most frustrating, because when they look good, holy mother, they look GOOD.  But it’s alchemy finding the right ones.  Right length, slim around the thighs but not too tight, with a supportive backside that doesn’t droop, with a rise that fits on the waist without cutting off circulation, and a leg that’s slim, but not super skinny.  And it needs to be affordable, to boot.  It’s impossible.

And now I have THE JEANS in mind.  Every now and again I’ll see something, or I’ll get some trigger, where I decide that my life will be incomplete until I own this one piece that I can just picture being the next big thing.  But the retailers haven’t quite caught up to my madness.  And right now, I want jeans with a slim leg and a wide cuff.  Like, super-wide.  Half my calf wide.  I’m having a hard time finding it, though.

Cuffed Jeans

This is the best I can find, but they are 1) mostly too expensive and 2) still not wide enough in the cuff to suit my preferences. I have a mental deadline of March to meet, since I’ll be going to Spain then, and would rather not be pulling my jeans up all trip.

An Unfashionable Age

Sometimes I think bloggers are just out to make me mad.

I read another blog post dictating what you “shouldn’t wear” after 30. I have to reiterate my stance–fashion isn’t dictated by age!

One of my major challenges with aging is finding a role model, because society begins to rule women out at a certain age. Once you’ve reached 30, you need to be a “grown up”, once you’re 40 and beyond, you need to disappear as an individual. Leave fashion behind, especially looking sexy, because you are just too damn old. Remember when Sex and the City was the big empowerment show for women over 30 who wanted to be fashionable and relevant? I read another blog post this past week where some man snarked about how there thankfully would not be a third movie, because nobody wants to have sex with women their age. So let’s all dress in polyester and die together, shall we?

Grandma Yetta

This article, which so incites my ire, needs a whole new title. For most of the items listed, it’s not about age limitations, but rather about being fashionable in general. I can eliminate most of the list this way. Platform flip-flops, booty shorts, tube tops–no one should be wearing these anyway.

Then there are brand names–VS Pink, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch. All marketed towards young girls. As far as Pink is concerned, anyone you’re going to show your underwear to doesn’t usually care about the brand, and if they’re comfortable, wear them. I don’t ever advocate being a label whore, especially if the label is marketed to teens. But if you find a pair of jeans that fit just right, well–that’s a holy grail item right there, regardless of the label. I really didn’t need the blogger’s snarky “Does A&F even FIT women over 30?” comment, however.

And there are some things on this blogger’s list I’d like to actively dispute.

Leopard print

Leopard Skirt

A leopard print pencil skirt is practically a basic–totally appropriate at any age.

Graphic Tees

Graphic Tee

Don’t give up graphic tees! Just pick ones that are more awesome.

Anything Furry


I don’t need to tell you about shearling, right?

Crop Tops

Crop Top

Despite the fact that I can’t pull this of myself, I rather like the crop top and full skirt look that’s been showing up lately.

Oversized Sunglasses

Oversized Sunglasses

Over my dead body.

Wear what looks good. Don’t let age dictate fashion.

Edgy Workwear

“I sometimes wonder what my colleagues think of me.”  I said this to my mother on the phone yesterday as we were talking about fashion.  I was explaining that I always dress modestly, but not always conservatively.  Everything’s covered up–I feel very awkward teaching teenagers with cleavage in view–but I also like to be stylish.  In a profession that un-ironically keeps the novelty sweater business alive, I find that fashion-forward outfits are not the norm.

This year, for autumn/winter, I’m really into leather–real and fake.  I already posted about the triumph that is my oxblood pleather skirt, but I’ve even gotten more, like a zipper cardigan with leather pockets, and a dress with leather accents.  I started to put together some outfits that are conservative enough for the workplace, but still have the edge of leather.

Silver Lining

This laser-cut black leather midi is quite edgy, and could appear hard. Every other detail is soft. Cashmere wrap sweater, dove grey shoes in a vintage librarian style, and a soft acrylic infinity scarf. Juxtaposing the hard and the soft makes it work-appropriate.

Leather Weather

I’m a little obsessed with the Hayden-Harnett leather necklace for a couple of weeks. It’s a perfect statement necklace–the material makes it more casual, while the design is a little over-the-top–just like I like it. The leather here is used as an accent. Skinny ankle pants (not too tight if you’re over 24) and plain flats look casual yet refined–a bit of a grown-up Audrey Hepburn. I’ve provided two versions of this look–straight sizes on the left, plus sizes on the right–because this is flattering to more than one body type.

KooKoo Chanel

I am super crazy for this look. The quilting in the skirt reminded me of a vintage Chanel handbag, so I went with it, using a mass of pearl and chain accessories with big links. It’s cute and cheeky.

Screw what my colleagues think. I look awesome.

Essential Autumn Skirt

This is it.

The one skirt you need for fall.

I’m obsessed with oxblood leather–have been for a while. I think my mother owned boots in oxblood leather when I was a child, so I’ve never gotten over the sentimental attachment. So of course when I saw an oxblood leather skirt, I swooned–HARD.

This is not your black leather biker pencil skirt. (Yes, I once owned one of those. The leather was like BUTTAH. But I wouldn’t wear it anymore, even if I still owned it.) The shape and the color make it fresh and work-appropriate.

Faux Leather

I envision this as a fall staple. Wear it with a button-up and a blazer or a soft cowl-neck sweater and boots. For my own styling suggestions, I would say keep it long-ish (I’ve seen some great midi versions) and avoid black. A nice camel color would work, too.

Now if you’ll pardon me–I found one of these on sale and must go buy it…

Accept No Substitutes

If you’ve been following along VERY CLOSELY (or even casually, because I’ve obsessively talked about this), you’ll know I’m all into Korean beauty products these days.  As I mentioned in my vlog post, I started with sheet masks and worked my way up to a full-fledged beauty routine.  Some of the Korean sheet masks I’ve tried have been absolutely amazing, others good, and only one bad.

As I was standing in line to purchase some cheap accessories from Forever XXI (when Arabic numerals just won’t do), I gave in to the temptation to buy a sheet mask that was in the bins in line.  It was cheap–99 cents–so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.  I went with the cucumber mask for sensitive skin, thinking it was a safe bet.

face mask

The other night, my air conditioner went out, and I was feeling hot and sticky and annoyed. I decided it would be a great night for a cucumber sheet mask–it sounded cool and refreshing, and just the thing to go with my cool bath.

To be frank, it was horrible. The mask was too big for my face (which admittedly was an unusual problem, as I occasionally have problems with the Korean ones being too small for my Scandinavian bone structure). It was nearly dry–I’m used to sheet masks having loads of essence to tap into my skin. And worst of all, it made my face sting! If this is what passes as sensitive skincare, I want none of it! I couldn’t believe that it actually aggravated my skin.

calming and relaxing

Instead of the cheap and painful sheet mask, I wish I had been able to use an Etude House Skin Note Calming & Relaxing mask. This I can recommend wholeheartedly as being cool and refreshing, and the perfect thing to relax from a busy day. There are no cucumbers, but it does have aloe vera and glacial water. It will be a while before I try to substitute the good stuff for cheap imitations.

Fit For a Germaphobe

More goodness from Korea!  Today’s little piece of cosmetic awesomeness comes from a brand called Chica Y Chico, which is a very un-Korean sounding name, but the English description on its website is so very Google Translate:

The Powerful Cosmetic Germ Killer Spray

Take just 10 sec. everyday for your clean make up pouch.

Don’t let the make-ups uncleaned anymore!

They threaten your health as well as beauty.

Seriously, people.  Don’t let the make-ups uncleaned.


Of course, we clean our makeup brushes semi-regularly, but we can’t actually clean our makeup.  Alcohol can change the color or texture of some makeup, and water doesn’t work either.  But OMG Spray It (yes, that’s the actual product name) cleans both tools and makeup.  It dries in ten seconds, smells a little bit like fresh limes, and doesn’t damage the color or texture of your makeup at all.  If you’re ever concerned about the cleanliness of your makeup, this is the perfect product.  Even bacteria-laden mascara wands can be cleaned with this spray.  

Bacteria is responsible for a variety of problems from breakouts to pink eye.  You definitely don’t want to be applying it directly to your face every morning with your eyeshadow.  OMG! Spray It! can eliminate those worries.  It’s available in a two-pack exclusively through Wishtrend.

Turning Towards Autumn

For the teacher, when school starts, summer is officially over. The calendar may still acknowledge additional days of summer, and the weather may still be balmy (I’m fanning myself on a humid evening as I write this), but it’s fall. That’s all there is to it.

When I shop for work clothes, I don’t shop for summer clothes. I have a much larger wardrobe for winter than for summer. The best pieces I have are transitional, and I find myself looking for pieces that will go from summer to fall with a few tweaks.

Skater/Fit and Flare dresses

Last year I bought a skater dress in grass green, and now I have one in teal as well. I’m kind of obsessed with this as a transition piece, since you can wear it on its own or with a small shrug in summertime, or with a sweater or blazer in fall. A bright solid is perfect for late summer and fall, as it doesn’t seem too frivolous or summer-y. You can wear this dress with sandals in summer, knee-high boots as the weather gets colder, or flats in a bright (not necessarily matching) color anytime.

When it comes to skater dresses (or fit and flare dresses, or a-line dresses–whatever you want to call them), you really can’t beat ModCloth for selection. I love that site so much.