Posts in Outfits
Fringe Cape
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Wearing : T by Alexander Wang  s weater   | A.L.C.   pants
Wearing : Guess   cape   | All Saints   pants   | Pierre Hardy   shoes

Wearing: Guess cape | All Saints pants | Pierre Hardy shoes

UNique For Yourself

I first fell in love with winter capes in 2013, but ponchos I started wearing when I was in 8th grade. Wasn't a big hit at the time, my friend's older sister told me I looked like a grannie (lol). That wasn't the only time my fashion taste was critiqued. But here I am, years later and still not giving a damn. I wear what I want. We have the choice to pick and change our style as we want. It's breaking the rules rather than following them that's arguably been the more propelling force in finding personal style. Which brings me to my next post - being unique for yourself. 

My whole life I've been told what I can and can't wear. I've been told my outfit is too tight, not modest enough, too dressy, not dressy enough. I grew up blocking people on social media after being told "Your dress is too short, change your profile photo". News flash - people are tired of being critiqued or even worse being told they can’t wear something. Style criticisms seriously need to go — because no one is ever too old, too young or too fat for fashion. It took daring pants-wearing women risking arrest in the pursuit of freedom to overturn a trouser ban, and this was in 2013. Seriously, the French government just overturned a 200-year-old ban in 2013 on women wearing trousers in Paris. Especially when you’re a woman, everyone has an opinion about how you look. It’s something we learn to endure. There are stories every week about young men and women standing up to arbitrary, sexist dress codes. Women being harassed for their empowering choice to cover their hair in a hijab. There’s an 87-year-old Instagram sensation Baddie Winkle, who chooses to outfit herself in a marijuana-emblazoned, rainbow-colored, midriff-exposing wardrobes. It may not be my style, but she is famous because it's her style and she doesn’t care. Winkle says [to her haters] "You dress the way you want to. I’ll dress the way I want to. We have different opinions, and isn't that nice?" 

If clothes are what you wear, style is how you put it together, and fashion gives people a language to express themselves. In reality, I think we should feel empowered when we see others brave enough to express themselves through their appearance. But more than that, I think it's none of our business. Be unique, be yourself, and don’t let anyone define you.

Last Winter White
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Wearing : T by Alexander Wang  s weater   | A.L.C.   pants

Busyness Business

I have been on a "break" for almost 9 months now (by break I mean not in school and not working). I have to admit at first it was very unsettling. From waking up at 5am every day to work on my thesis project until midnight to suddenly nothing. Well not nothing, but this is a crisis affecting our generation. We have become obsessed with being busy all the time. We moan about it, brag about it, feel guilty when we aren’t. Everyone generally feels the need to live life at a million miles an hour, fueled by a Starbucks Latte and a to-do list so long that it rivals the Great Wall.

It's embedded in my brain to feel as though I need to be busy all the time. Maybe it's in my blood having spent so much of my life in busy cities. We’re all guilty of it; I remember spending weeks complaining about my all-nighters. It was expected and even competed on who could brag about the most hours they had been up. You know what I learned? It's not worth it and not sleeping is nothing to be proud of. 

Sometimes we really are just busy with work and school. I see my sister-in-law working hard in law school, my husband bringing office work home on the weekends. Other times we tell ourselves 'that's life' as a way to excuse the stress we put on ourselves. My mother-in-law can't stop to take a break. If she's not cooking, she's cleaning. If she's not cleaning, she's doing laundry or buying groceries or reorganizing the furniture. It has come to a point where most of us are thinking if we’re not doing something productive or instagramable, was there any point in even getting out of bed today?

Our generation gets bored easily, new songs get old within a week, information is updated in seconds (imagine waiting for AT&T dial-up connection) and relaxing is associated with wasting time. On top of that, we compare ourselves to so-and-so on social media who “Got sh*t done today!!! 🙌🏼😏” and the cycle to "always want to grind" continues. Don't get me wrong, I love to be busy, to make to-do lists and work towards goals. I'm not suggesting we quit our jobs and spend our days lounging by the pool (but how amazing does that sound). I just think we need to balance. We need to learn that a day at the beach or anything pertaining to self-care and wellness can count as productive. It's not worth getting stressed and overwhelmed just because we're not we're sleep-deprived. Or constantly creating unattainable to-do lists and in result beat ourselves up when we can't finish it. 

Yes, we are busy! The reality is that it is impossible to be busy all the time, and beyond that it's unhealthy to stress over it. It took me a long time to learn what my mom kept trying to teach me. That I’d be damn more productive if I took the time to breathe, to sleep a reasonable amount of hours, to squeeze in time for something I actually want to do. Whether that's see a friend or cancel all plans and take a nap

If you constantly make to-do lists, like I do, schedule yourself some time to chill the F out and enjoy the long weekend. 

Wearing:  All Saints Sweater | Zara Overcoat 

Wearing: All Saints Sweater | Zara Overcoat 

It's technically supposed to be spring now, but it seems winter wants to stay a while. Today’s edition of Casual Thursday (since tomorrow is Good Friday) is all about the basics of off-white. Finding a great wool cardigan doesn’t come too easy for everyone, but I’m telling you it's possible. I got mine from Zara on sale. There really is something for everyone there, and I especially love edgy basics. But the real star of this outfit is the All-Saints sweater with its asymmetrical lengths. Shop the post below:

Layering Overalls
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SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS REEL

I think it would be fair to say that most of us have a love-hate relationship with social media. It's easy to get lost scrolling through feed after feed. Sometimes assuming that life behind the 'gram is as VSCO-filtered and enhanced as the photos it shows. Truth is sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. I've never actually resented people for their insta-fabulous photos because I learned early on that social media is a highlights reel. It's what we want to show. For starters, we are people - we eat, we sleep, we use the bathroom. We all get insecure at times. We laugh and argue with friends and all the mundane stuff that doesn't make it in our camera rolls. Then there are the other half of people who aren't jealous of the insta-fabulous but instead annoyed at the fakeness of social media. Instagram features the absolute best bits and the reality is that for the most part that’s what people WANT to see. This isn't something new either. How many of us had to say "cheese" as kids during family photos? My abuelita used to see our family photos and assume my cousins and I were happy all the time. When in reality my aunts would be making funny faces, struggling to get whoever was crying to say "cheese".

Being relatable, honest and real are all incredibly valuable attributes but there’s being genuine and being too genuine. Do I expect people to post a photo with their significant others and caption the fight they just had? No. Does that mean it doesn't happen sometimes? Of course not. We fill our heads with #lifegoals or #couplesgoals when in reality these photos are just of regular people, who don't necessarily want to highlight the bad times. Meaning you should never compare yourself, believing other relationships or lives are better than yours. No one is perfect. When we forget the reality behind the photos, it gives this impression that no one has bad times, when that is not true. There are times during my travels when I get lost, or sick, or in the wrong uber. There are times I am asked to delete photos/videos of cool spots for security reasons. Sometimes I change my outfit 6 times because I didn't like the way I looked in the first 5. We're flawed, we struggle, we're human. No life is absolutely perfect, even when our photos seem to be. But perception is reality, right?

I will never be ashamed of how much I appreciate social media. What I love most is how it can, in a way, physically capture my memories for me. A memory I can look at, listen to, and replay. Do you know how many candid videos I have of my beautiful mother because of snapchat? Hundreds. She loved snapchat filters. Yes, she was sick. Yes, we were always in the hospital. But all my videos are us goofing around with the filters. Hysterically laughing when my mom would realize I was recording not taking a photo. I have videos of her dancing in the kitchen and videos of her eating soup. To the outside viewer, it may look perfect. Some may call that fake, others call it the perfect highlights of our lives. 

It doesn't matter what people want to show or how they show it. We are not obligated to show the "real-ness" unless we want to. If you ate some bad food. There's probably a middle ground between "most amazing food ever" (when it wasn't) and the intimate details of just how bad it upset your stomach. With social media, it's all photos of people expressing the way they want their memories and stories seen/remembered. It’s always important to remind yourself that people sometimes post the best version of themselves. Is that bad? I don't think so. Whether you follow feeds that you can relate to and laugh along with, or follow ones that are comprised solely of flashy staged photos that you love to lust over (of people who like to pose in a prom dress, holding balloons, by the Eiffel Tower), or all the gorgeous artsy fartsy ones in between -  it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you never let any app or picture perfect photo make you feel as though you are inferior. 

Wearing : A.L.C   jumpsuit   | Guess   sweater

Wearing: A.L.C jumpsuit | Guess sweater

Layering is my best friend during the winter. I'm actually wearing yoga pants underneath my overalls, and a tank top underneath my sweater. The best thing about overalls is that they go over ALL, no matter the season. I went for a white, black, grey color scheme, but black overalls can go over any color. If you've got a cute chunky sweater just add overalls.

Varsity Style
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Wearing : Revolve  s weater   | Gingham pants | H&M  shoes   

Wearing: Revolve sweater | Gingham pants | H&M shoes  

INSPIRATION VS. IMITATION

For the past few weeks, I've been taking a break from writing. Instead, I’ve been focusing on my architecture portfolio. I even postponed a trip to Puerto Rico just to finish real-world tasks (aka getting a job). Going through old projects, I noticed how much work I needed to fix. As a result, I turned to the world of Pinterest for inspiration (#inspo). During the same week that I was working on my portfolio, an Egyptian-brand started by former high school classmates, Okhtein, had a run-in with a look alike bag. They've dealt with Chinese replicas of their bags, but this time it was Louis Vuitton in question. And it got me thinking: Where is the line between inspiration and imitation? They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I don’t know who they are, but they’ve clearly never been on the receiving end. This happens on all fronts of the design world, whether it's writing, architecture, art, fashion, graphic design, photography etc... at what point does inspiration become straight up imitation? 

#INSPO? 

Within the worlds of Pinterest and Instagram, “inspo” is one of the most commonplace phrases. Wherever we look there are people posting the most amazing things; whether it's a killer outfit, designing a gorgeous architecture diagram (can you tell what I studied?), coming up with catchy music, or capturing the best photographs. The internet is the perfect place to be inspired, and so I often look to Instagram or Pinterest a source. I even started doing the same by showing photos I take, places I visit, and what I wear. If you’re looking for anything, the internet has an answer and a pretty picture to boot. Being inspired by others is a beautiful thing and being inspirational is a truly virtuous quality.

But to what extent do we lose ourselves trying to copy someone else? With my portfolio, I'd find examples everywhere. I'd be drawn to a certain color scheme or diagram angle - that's inspiration. Tracing over the actual "inspiration" - that's imitation. Most of us have probably copied something at one point in our lives, whether it's a friend's homework or Sparknotes for a paper, or even another person’s outfit. The beauty of inspiration is finding a starting point to what you like, but adding your own personal style and twist to it. Something that makes it yours. 

Where is the line?

Over the years I have read about imitation, specifically in the design world of fashion and architecture (maybe because those are my top interests). The point is, is there any room for individuality? Pick anything out and I guarantee you can trace different sources of inspiration. In school, I was taught to look back at Mies, Corbusier, and everyone in class was. The idea was to take their techniques and teachings as inspiration. So I'm pretty sure almost any new design can be traced back to Corbusier or Zaha Hadid. From there it can probably be traced back to even Ancient Roman architecture. More often than not, everyone's drawing from the same sources. What makes it unique, is being ourselves. We are all different people; the way I translate something isn't the same way my friend would. Ultimately we are individual people who share a common passion.

The problem with imitation in the fashion industry is that it relies on trends. You can bet that if Gucci is selling something one day, then Topshop has made a more affordable version the next, and within a week it will be available to the masses through Forever 21. Is that okay? I’m not sure. I've read countless articles of these fashion brands being sued by small artists on Society 6 whose works have been imitated and sold without any recognition or consent. For a brand like Okhtein, one that I've witnessed grow and grow over the years, I'm sure the last thing these girls want, after all their hard work, is someone telling them, "Hey your design looks just like Louis Vuitton's new bag." And the truth is maybe Louis Vuitton didn't draw inspiration from their bag, maybe both designers found inspiration from the same sources and the different final products are just similar. Does it still suck? Yeah it does. When a huge brand looks or sounds so similar to smaller designers (whether in fashion or graphic design, architecture, music) everyone will see the bigger brand over yours. If the work is that great though, I think you're able to stand on your own and make it in the long run. You can't fake or copy true talent. 

Being yourself. 

Even on this website I've started, at the bottom of each post I try to link similar products. The varsity sweater I'm wearing is from 2014, I bought this sweater when I first moved to Miami (and then never wore it in that heat). When you type it in google, almost every single sweater looks the same. I found it at Rag & Bone and it's trickled down all the way to Forever 21. Do I care? No, not really - the more affordable the better. I prefer design and quality over brand, but I'm not the original designer (doubt Rag & Bone is too). I decided to pair it up with the gingham pants & black heel booties to dress it up for my lunch in Soho. Do I care if someone else copies the exact outfit? Again no, it's why I publicly post my outfits, but I still encourage adding your own touch to it. Either adding a scarf, different shoe choice, the way you style your hair, or anything to make it your own. If you’re doing something that makes other people think ‘Wow! I wish I’d thought of that!‘ then I can guarantee that whatever it is, you’re doing it right. Nobody can do you better than you can, and that means that if you’re trying to be someone else then essentially you are always going to be a second version. There is nothing wrong with fitting in just as there is nothing wrong with standing out. Equally, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else’s choices and channeling them into your own too. Most people would probably agree that rarely any of us reinvent the wheel. If I worked 4 months on a studio project design, and the following year someone else copies my exact design - then yeah I would mind. If it inspired them to channel it in their own interpretation, then no I wouldn't mind. Sometimes it's okay to take a moment to feel proud: you've inspired someone who's probably just learning the craft. 

These might seem rather “philosophical” questions. How much of ourselves need to show for it to still count as inspiration? Where does the line between being inspired and imitated blurred? And is it always a big deal?