Posted by: alyceinwonderland | October 22, 2009

crochets and knits

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Tightly crocheted with a black base.

Ever check out Etsy.com? It’s a site where you can buy handmade clothes and accessories, mostly knitted and crocheted pieces, from all over the world.

Ever have a friend knit something for you? No, not the mulberry sweater with the smiling duck Aunt Gerdie made you last Christmas. Something you actually want to wear? I do.

My friend Christine crocheted a black and white mini drawstring purse for me this summer. It’s big enough to hold my cell phone, keys, ID card, and a small stuffed animal — in place of that stuffed animal you can pack in makeup, pads, mouthwash, whatever you need to get through your day. It’s not only useful; I think it’s quite gorgeous.

She also just crocheted a nice flower that can act as both headband and hat ornament. Actually, it can probably ornament countless other things as well, except for maybe one’s ankle. Wearing it as an anklet might be a fashion faux pax. Or maybe anklets are that all by themselves.

By the way, it’s Christine’s birthday tomorrow. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CHRISTINE, and thank you!

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It's quite intricate. She should sell her stuff on Etsy.

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The flower is secured to a black headband that's barely visible.

Never thought anything crocheted could give an old, tired hat some attitude.

Never thought anything crocheted could succeed in giving an old, tired hat some attitude.

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Posted by: alyceinwonderland | October 15, 2009

shirt + dress

Picture 4On a day whose temperature drops 20 from the day before, the first thing I think of is this: I wish there was a way to wear my strapless dresses in the fall. Well, alright. The first thing I thought of was OMG IT’S SNOWING IN NEW YORK, and then my mind wandered to other things immediately thereafter. This all occurred during my 3-hour seminar on Urbanism in Paris on Thursday afternoons.

You might say: just don a cardigan. Actually, I’ve never looked good in cardigans — never.  When my order (at right) from New York & Company got lost in the mail, I looked at the piece gracefully draped over that nameless model again and successfully rationalized to myself that I would’ve looked a mess in it anyway. The funny thing is, my speculation was probably correct. (I’m sure it has something to do with the angle of my shoulders.)

shirt_skirtIn any case, my solution is the shirt underneath the dress. I’m taking many cues from Charlize lately, who looks both business-like and elegant in layered shirt, gown, and wrap. It’s relatively easy to pull off on a more casual level.

I used a skirt I bought ages ago at Mandee, every middle school girl’s favorite store. I’ve worn it maybe twice, both times to orchestra concerts whose dress code required floor length black bottoms. Now, I’m seeing everywhere, in New York and at Princeton, girls using the extremely versatile (and originally low-riding) skirt as tube top dresses or as waist-height skirts. Couple it with a shirt, and you have a new fall look.

Me, having some fun on a rare day off:

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Posted by: alyceinwonderland | October 11, 2009

smoky eyes

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I always read about sultry, smoky eyes in magazines but had never done it myself. Again, having single eyelids, I couldn’t follow their instructions exactly. I would sooner look like I got into a violent brawl than look ready to attend a sexy evening get-together like Charlize seems always poised to do.

This time around, I did not curl my lashes or apply mascara. The abundance of black eyeliner would have obscured the thickened lashes, but I do recommend curling the lashes if you have time. Do so before applying any makeup.

smokey_eyes_instructions2First, I lined the top lid with dark brown liquid eyeliner, which does not smudge at all after it dries. Because we’re working with so much shadow later, it’s nice to have an immoveable base. For the bottom, liquid liner is too harsh, so I used my regular Revlon Colorstay liner in black brown. Last time I didn’t touch the bottom lid. This time, for a full smoky effect, I started at both corners and tapered as I drew in toward the center so that the center of the bottom lid has almost no liner at all.

Liner on the top lid should be at least double the width of the bottom line — after all, a major part of applying makeup, especially for those with single eyelids, is to create the illusion of the double eyelid. Liner can create that illusion for you. (In the future, I’ll probably refute the statement that larger eyes are the standard, but for now, let’s just go with it).

Moving on to the shadow. I used a warm palette of black, dark brown, bronze, and a gold yellow in order to strive for the effect of “smoldering” eyes; a cold palette of blues and grays would have accomplished something very different. I started off with dark colors, using black shadow to soften the liquid liner on top and to feather the liner on the bottom. I brought it up along the curve above my cheek bone, and used brown shadow to fade it as I traveled up (illustrated with the red line on the left). I’d recommend always curving slightly upward with both liner and shadow to lift the ends of the eyes — this makes them look more spirited.

The main difference between this method and the other tutorial is the dark contours. Rather than only darkening the curve above the cheek bone, I use brown shadow to darken the curve between the bridge of my nose and the center of my eyelid as well (illustrated with the red curve on the right). Those two areas are the darkest areas of the eye. In the highest part of my brow bone, I use a rich bronze shadow to lighten things up, and then dust in light yellow shadow right beneath the brow line.

By this time, bits of the lighter shadow might have fallen on the darker colors below. You can use one hand to cover the bottom half of your top lid with a piece of paper when you’re applying the bronze and yellow, so that the lighter colors don’t compromise the ones below. But if you’re not quite coordinated enough (like me) I would go over the liquid liner with pencil liner again.

Lastly, because the eyes are so dark and prominent, I defined my brows with dark brown so they can better frame the eyes. As for lips, going nude with a bit of gloss is best for me.

A short photo shoot with eyes at their smokiest (:

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Posted by: alyceinwonderland | October 8, 2009

designer savings

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I apologize for the lag between blogs lately; advisors have been assigned for our senior theses and work is really starting up! There should be some much needed shopping going on this weekend, though, so there will be more updates coming soon.

I wanted to share a few invite-only fashion sites that a friend recently showed me. My main outlet for buying designer clothes — when the occasion calls and when the wallet allows — was mainly Gilt Groupe. I made a few purchases over the summer, but quickly realized how one can go overboard with online shopping; it is way too easy to enter a credit card number and press click because a model looks fabulous in that strapless taffeta dress. And it is also too easy to be disappointed by the product when you receive it and it’s as suffocating as wearing a corset underwater, or you look kind of like you contracted jaundice in that shade of green.

Picture 1My point is: I am first and foremost devoted to shopping in person. You should find the clothes that look good on the rack but look better on you. As the saying goes, don’t let your clothes wear you. This is precisely the reason why the perfect “little black dress” can be a girl’s most reliable piece of clothing while looking like a pile of rags when thrown on the back of a chair; it brings out the best in you. And you won’t know that until you try it on.

However, we all chase after savings, especially when it only requires a computer and a (dangerous) impulse to buy. Here are the sites that offer designer clothing available at boutiques for marked down prices, available for limited periods at a time, by invite only, for both men and women:

Rue La La

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Feel free to comment with your email address for an invitation.

Posted by: alyceinwonderland | October 1, 2009

the fashion of being alone

I’ll bet you thought this was going to be an emo post, huh? Well just give me some time — it might still turn out to be one (;

In college, being alone holds new meaning. I’ve been an undergrad for three years, so I’m no stranger to the concept of independence in all of its hard-won but inconvenient glory — no, it doesn’t just mean being able to romantically hail a cab by yourself while endearingly tripping over Zac Posen (cue Sex and the City theme), it means doing your own laundry, having to blame yourself and not your mother for accidentally recycling that extremely important stack of papers, and all in all being able to whittle away a lot of time (productive or not) by yourself.

runwaySuffice it to say, college often doesn’t offer a ton of free time. But the amount of activities you start doing on your own is quite staggeringly greater. I don’t remember anyone teaching us in grade school how hard it is sometimes to keep one’s own company without becoming bored, lonely, or (if given enough time) batty.

That’s real life. On the other hand, fashion doesn’t know the word alone. Fashion doesn’t do alone because it feeds off of other eyes, other “beholders” which can judge its possession of beauty or lack thereof. What is a Valentino dress without millions of adoring fans and a red carpet to complement it? Back on earth, what is, even, a pressed business suit without an interviewer or boss to impress?

According to that theory, fashion is like light; like the reflections that become color to our eyes, it must bounce off of others in order to feel like fashion is doing us any sort of good. Compliments, subconsciously influenced impressions — they’re the sorts of feedback that drive us to dress well.

But I believe that fashion can exist alone. Of course, its biggest food group is public feedback. But we can certainly dress for ourselves, experiment, create, have fun. When I’m on my own, fashion becomes an art and clothes — my paint.

I believe it is a primal instinct to want to play dress-up and to hide in some imaginary character’s skin for a day. I don’t mean to channel the all-too-creepy Mr. Ripley; all I’m saying is that any issue or concept that cannot exist within one person lacks a substantial core.

Whoever said that we need someone to see our lingerie in order to buy it? We like the feel against our skin. Whoever says we dress up to please others? My outfit is my own well-constructed work of expression, and my own masterpiece.

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I’m bored of myself, and there are two of me!

Posted by: alyceinwonderland | September 26, 2009

wine & cheese

On occasion, Colonial Club holds a wine and cheese tasting to take the edge off of our grueling academic workload. It’s certainly appreciated.

The club is one of ten on Prospect Avenue, and owns a massive white, colonial-style mansion constructed in the late 18th century. A maroon carpeted staircase greets visitors at the double door entrance, and winds up to more private quarters. To the right of the entrance is the dining area, and to the left is the emerald colored Elk Room, complete with bar and leather couches. A mounted elk’s head towers over trays of European cheeses and clinking glasses of Merlot.

Typical night of festivity. Colonial hugs the fall and winter seasons when it comes to scheduling its more formal events — and we take advantage of these seasons to don the floor length dresses and the satin ties. This isn’t even one of the more lavish ones.

With a grand piano and golden champagne glasses as props, I decided that this was the perfect time to try my hand at some fashion photography. I’m definitely become obsessed with fashion editing; I love the amazing things that Photoshop can do with ambiance and artificial lighting.

Introducing my beautiful friends:

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Posted by: alyceinwonderland | September 21, 2009

lawnparties in wonderland

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Is Chuck Bass anything like a Princeton student?

Princeton lawnparties. It’s quite the sight to see. The entirety of Prospect Aveue becomes littered with human confetti dressed in the brightest garb. I mean, it’s bright if you take the colors that your pupils are normally receptive to, slide them to the very end of the pastel spectrum, and then push’em off the edge. The Street is more pastel than your senses will ever be used to. It’s actually quite delightful.

Lawnparties happens twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring, at the tail end of the indulgent festivities dubbed Houseparties. (The compound names get kind of complicated.) In any case, lawnparties is really an excuse for Princetonians to dress the part that we’re all stereotyped to play. Considering that the event is sometimes called Dress-Like-A-Douche Day (quite fitting considering we’re #3 on GQ’s infamous list), the stereotype about Princeton kids seems to be that our fathers race prize horses, we play croquet on the weekends (only after a daily dose of Hemingway), and sport animal logos on every piece of clothing except our bow ties.

Of course, it’s a caricature. Princeton’s not really like that, but there is something spectacularly satisfying about poking fun at our image. Or reveling in it — whichever you prefer.

In my opinion, a school’s reputation could be worse than the embodiment of New England prep. Not only does it offer us interesting fashion options, it’s a bi-annual excuse to whip out the craziest stuff you have in your wardrobe and flaunt it. I, for one, am proud of lawnparties. It seems like these kids had fun, too.

Some of the coolest looks on the Street:

No trio has ever looked so good in coral.

No trio has ever looked so good in coral.

Snappy tie and loafers. What a cute headpiece.

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We've got floral print, tight patterns, and solids. Perfect!

We've got floral print, tight patterns, and solids. Perfect!

It ain't lawnparties without argyle.

It ain't lawnparties without argyle.

Boho chic, strappy sandals, and an apparent artiste with a beret. Nothing could be better.

Boho chic, strappy sandals, and an apparent artiste with a beret. What could be better?

The jacket's from his high school row team, a custom-made souvenir from their tournament in Henley, England. You can't make this stuff up!

The jacket's from his high school row team, a custom-made souvenir from their tournament in Henley, England. You can't make this stuff up!

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And my favorite. I don't know your name, dude, but that pose is pretty fly.

And my favorite. I don't know your name, dude, but you are pretty fly.

Posted by: alyceinwonderland | September 18, 2009

scarf season

scarf_greenheadIt’s officially fall! I very much love the fall season because colder days call for more clothing — more clothing means layering, accessorizing, and gives me an excuse to be more creative in general.

It’s been so incredibly busy at school and classes have barely begun! The weather is definitely starting to cool down though — I actually said it was “freezing” yesterday although it was just a combination of dreary rain and a new low of 55 degrees during the day — so it’s time to pile on those scarves, hats, and high boots! I’m not complaining. Note: It seems like knee-high and thigh-high boots are trendy this season, although I can’t help but wonder how one bends their legs in thigh-high boots. I’ll have to try them out sometime.

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In my mind, fall also equals SCARVES. A few months ago, a friend of mine sent me an online booklet of various ways you can wear scarves. It ran the gamut, from tying them around your waist to fancy knots to (get this) wrapping it around your body so it looks like a top. The girl was only wearing a scarf. I hope she Krazy-glued that thing to her body. Pitiful waste of a scarf, though.

Some of the following photos reference that booklet; some are my own improvisations. I found out that it is quite pretty to mix your jewelry in to add some complexity and shine to a solid colored scarf. It’s also a creative way to make use of all your chunky long necklaces from the summer.

In any case, it’s a wonderful season to be a girl (:

P.S. If anyone wants the link to the booklet, just comment!

scarf_headpink scarf_white scarf_wrap scarf_jewelry

Posted by: alyceinwonderland | September 13, 2009

officially senior

room_headband2I’ve moved into my room at Princeton! It’s the first room I’ve had in four years that is larger than 120 square feet, so regardless of the rest of the amenities I should be all set. But it’s quite beautiful. It’s a 200 sq ft room in the corner of a building with windows on two sides that lets in plenty of light. Because it’s the first room that doesn’t make me feel like I’m living in a cave, I’ve actually spent some time decorating as well — thanks to the one-and-only dorm resource (:

Since this orientation week will be incredibly hectic — and involves me waking up before noon (oh, goodbye summer) — entries will be shorter in general. But they’ll keep coming!

I’ve been pouncing on headbands lately, and it’s been quite some time after Blair Waldorf first sported her uber-preppy crimson bands on the Upper East Side. This is a quick trick you can do with a long necklace. The necklace has to be able to double up around your head. Tighten the necklace to fit snugly and you might even have some left over. I personally like the piece dangling by your ear, almost like a faux earring.

I’ve had some help from two of my friends with this shoot. They’re crazy. (Props to Jeremy for getting my face in the mirror!) But they’re helping me model my many stuffed animals, so I owe’em one.

These pictures aren’t really fashion related. What the heck!

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Posted by: alyceinwonderland | September 10, 2009

casual for less

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Sweater: $10; Vest: $25; Skirt: $15; Belt: $20; Total - $70

By request, I’m putting together a casual outfit that is in total under $75 (excluding shoes). The point is, you don’t have to spend loads of money on your clothes; a little mixing and matching go a long way. It’s also about time that I posted an outfit that I would wear out of work and out of the city. So far, a lot of the pieces have been pricey because I’ve been gaga for the business-casual style. But most of the time, to keep within my college student budget, I have to dress down from what I’ve posted.

The sweater with elbow-length sleeves I bought from Marshall’s ($10). Recently I’ve been trying to layer more, and as a thin knitted top it’s light and incredibly versatile. The shirt vest was on sale from Express ($25), and I’ve had it around since before college. Here’s to hoping that shirt vests never go out of style!

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The real feature here, though, is the chiffon shirring skirt. It’s layered, has ruffles, and has a great heavy swing to it. This was a steal, from Daffy’s, for $15. The reason why it was so cheap is because the waistband is quite unattractive. Most people would have been extremely put off by the cheap looking satin and corset-like tie. But who says you need to show it? Covering it up with a longer shirt only reveals the brilliant chiffon that it’s made from.

The indigo velvet belt was on sale, and with a coupon, it was $20 from Banana Republic. Flats were $30 at Nordstrom Rack, an off-price sibling of Nordstrom that sells off-season items.

It’s amazing how much fashionable, and even designer, clothing one can find at discount stores like Marshall’s, Daffy’s, and Filene’s Basement. They slash up to 60% off of department store prices, and although their set up is often a mess, there are definite gems in the haystack. You just have to have the patience to carefully comb through each rack and pick the good ones out. Happy searching!

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