2020 Shopping Insights

Photo one from right to left: Madewell Cotton Scarf, Hermès ‘Kawa Ora’ scarf, Isabel Marant ‘Gemma Dress, Madewell Whisper Cotton Tee, Massimo Dutti Navy suit, Veja Esplar sneakers, Vintage Quilted Purse, Madewell Journey Dress. Photo two from left to right: Vintage Bally bag, Soeur Eden blouse, Gabor Greta Sandals, Jonak patent leather ‘capucine’ booties, Madewell 9” inch rise skinnies, Masscob Norman Jacket , 14k gold drop earrings.

With 2020 being overall a stressful year but not nearly as stressful as 2019, I didn’t so great on the budget front for my shopping. I definitely exceeded my original budget if one includes my beauty shopping by 200 euro -not communal toiletries, just stuff for me. That said, I didn’t surpass the 5% of my income in spending that many economists or personal finance experts suggest for clothing and beauty purchases. I’ve decided for the coming year that 5% is still a good limit to account for lifestyle inflation as my income starts to (hopefully) exponentially increase again. That being noted, I definitely want to limit impulse purchases.

However, I managed to fulfill pretty much my big wardrobe goals.  I still have lingering replacement and wishlist purchases but of course that is for this year.  I also managed to acquire some items that were really reach/dream wishlist items but I ended up finding them for decent prices which I’m very pleased about. I’ve listed in hopefully not too much detail (brevity is not my forté) in this post what are my best and worst purchases this past year as well as some insights on my purchasing psychology.

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On 10 Years of Capsule Wardrobe Dressing

Photo Source

I think I re-started this blog mainly because I started to feel a psychological shift. 10 years ago was the first time I went abroad long-term and while I had already started thinking about a sartorial identity long before… I never thought to streamline it until around this time 10 years ago. Nor did I think the concept of streamlining would pay off long-term dividends.

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Personal Finance Intentions 2021

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Although I’ve seem to never to get myself to blog on the regular except for in 2011-2012 , I’ve been a regular writer. This past year as I’ve been crawling out of the mental black abyss that was 2019, writing has given my life a renewed dimension that I had not seen in a long time. And while 2020 has been nothing but chaotic for a vast majority of people, I’m extremely grateful that I was already in a mental place where I needed to rebuild myself after finally hitting rock bottom.

I’ve also had one of my best financial years in a half decade of me trying to navigate self-inflicted austerity while trying to get a masters. Part of it was coronavirus related situations cutting my expenses and being able to keep my employment so my money went farther.

Another part of it that in my one of my moments of reflection in 2019, I wrote out my intentions. And those intentions manifested into reality. It’s something I did even in my journals as a teenager, I just never really understood the connection until this past fall. So now to continue this momentum, I would like to publish my personal finance intentions here.

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Replacement Dressing: APC Trench

This is part of my replacement dressing series: because sometimes clothes have an expiration date but you don’t want abandon a certain aesthetic.

When I started looking for a new trench around late 2017, my Banana Republic trench had more or less lived a good life, but I think the main thing that prompted me to a new coat was style evolution. My BR trench was still in a way not my ‘forever’ trench. I bought it before I left for S. Korea in 2012 after putting my previous trench – an ancient Zara piece that I picked up in a lost&found pile at one of Oxford University libraries during my summer study abroad program in 2009  with the librarian’s blessing that I eventually passed onto my sister several years later – through its paces. The BR trench was a good as new secondhand find via Ebay and probably a more rushed decision due to my time constraints in retrospect. I remember receiving it and realizing that I wanted eventually a knee-length number as opposed to trench that hits upper thigh.I also wanted a richer camel color like my original Zara number as opposed to the classic light beige that I had now to wear.  

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Wardrobe Reflections 2019: Acquisitions and Sartorial Shifts

I Need Someone To Show Me My Place In All Of This.” – Rey from the Last Jedi

The photo above taken during my trip to Lisbon during Christmas 2019, I feel like this kaleidoscope of tile most reflects my personality, a mix of everything with no rhyme or reason and somewhat distorted but somehow everything fits. I felt a lot like Rey from the New Stars War Trilogy this past year both aesthetically and mentally. Because well… well last year was a blur, and not always in the best way. I had health issues that plagued me for the majority of the last year. And unlike other tough years where I’ve been able to sit with my emotions and write it out in a private or public capacity -#tbt to my livejournal years in middle school- with little interruption elsewhere, my health issues this past year were majorly disruptive on a professional and personal level. Also, my health issues put my psychological state on overdrive…this was overall a very pensive year where I reflected a lot on what should be my new normal and how I should manage my worst impulses. 

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Wardrobe Reflections 2018: Acquisitions and Sartorial Shifts

Items from left to right: muji striped buttondown, grey cashmere/silk blend sweater, L’Oreal x Balmain , black silk camisole, madewell white tissue tee, madewell black tissue tee, Eram tennis shoes, Madewell packable Mesa Hat, Uniqlo jeggings in off-white and black., ‘monoprix’ earrings,  Armani blue sling-back flats, A.P.C leather skirt, L’Oreal , x Isabel Marant lipstick, Mellow Yellow gold heel, Lanvin low wedges with embossed python leather. 


I’ve decided to break down the acquisitions into a numerical format for future reference. This year, I’ve spent (outside of shoe repair and dry-cleaning) 300 euros on clothes.This expenditure only amounts to about 4% of my yearly revenue (based on 2017 estimates-which should be the same if not more this year ). And for full disclosure only 200 of that was actually my money (thanks BF and mom). I currently am under budget for my age demographic in France where the average spend is 359,4 euros annually

As you can see in the collage, I’ve bought around 14 items ( I’ve decided to not include skincare stuff because that is more of a need). I averaged 21 euros for each item, but if we divided my expenditures by month, it would increase to 24 euros. 

In terms of sustainability, half or seven of the items that I purchased were second-hand. Everything else was bought brand new at a discount – except for one lipstick. 

My overall thoughts about my spend amount this year? I’m surprised that I’ve spent as much as I did due to the fact that I moved in with my BF into an apartment ($$$).  I also think this year was still a very conservative spend year for me considering that most of purchases were to replace items in nature which makes me shudder on how much I used to spend where I felt more inclined to follow trends. However, this year was much more spendy in comparison to 2017 and 2016 – years where I can count on my hand the number of items I bought for my wardrobe. 

Sartorial Shifts:

In terms of sartorial shifts, it’s clear that I have assimilated the sartorial codes of a Parisienne wardrobe, i.e lots of neutrals. However, most of my purchases feature some whimsy or extra luxe detail. Most of my purchases feature all natural fibers. Also, some of the items shown in the collage are close approximations of items that I bought. The low wedges have python embossed leather in real life. The navy sling-backs that I have blue sequins at the front. However all the other items are near identical and I think my gold heels, black lacy cami and leather skirt add more ‘pop’ into my wardrobe.

These purchases also reflect somewhat of balancing act of my daily style: with working and now being back in school full time, there are days that my clothes need to be super casual and others when I can happily ramp up the formality factor so it’s imperative that I have items that can function for several occasions. 

How do you feel about your shopping progress this past year? Do you think that there could be improvement? 

Checking in: Fall 2018 edition

Meet Afrodita in our News of the Week

Source: Sézane (can we all please acknowlege that Sézane is killing it this season?!?! ugh) 

Winter is quickly approaching and I’m not really ready for it, mainly because finances (broke student life) are currently put towards living expenses but will be in the clear in a week or two to do some housekeeping such as:

  • Getting my Isabel Marant boots (finally) resoled , I will update the post with the costs but I’m estimating it’s going to be around 30-40 euros. Edit 14/12/2018: I ended up paying 15 euros because the heels only need to be replaced!
  • Re-adding my button to my winter coat. I attempted to do it but I think a rétoucherie (tailor) will be more competent for this task. Hoping this won’t be more than 10 euros.
  • Scouting for new jeans after my beloved black pair of Uniqlo jeggings ripped in the thigh…RIP. My army green version also are finally on their last legs too. Due to this point, find another bottom, such as a cognac leather skirt and jeans (ew, hate jean shopping) has become a priority. EDIT: Currently acquired camel leather skirt from A.P.C.

Besides these main house-keeping duties, I’ve finally received my Madewell tissue tees that seem to run large which is perfect because I was looking for  slightly over-sized tees. After re-arranging my wardrobe, I feel really content for the moment for tops and now it’s just refocus on bottoms.

What are your 2018 fall revelations?

Getting out a Style Rut: Ferragamos Edition

Source: Matches Fashion

Recently, I started wearing my Ferragamo Varas again due to weather changes and I don’t know it felt tired?Or possibly dated (more so for my patent pair than my regular leather version). I have had my two pairs of Ferragamos for about 6 years or so and I’ve sunk too much money into maintaining them to think of getting rid of them based off of a sartorial slump. Thank goodness for google images because it garnered some outfit inspiration such as the picture above from matches fashion. What I love about this image is:

  • Pairing it with a unique blazer. I’m thinking of using my grey Isabel Marant blazer so I have a more of a relaxed feel.
  • Making sure that my pants hit right at the ankle to make things look more current. I think I might roll up my pants to show off my ankle like Matches did. I’m a little bit too picky( and lazy) to start the hunt for the perfect jeans although it’s becoming more of a need as opposed to a want.
  • Wearing a basic tee to make things more casual.

What items have languishing in your closet until recently? Have you lately used pinterest or google to garner up some more inspiration? Do you sometimes feel that your classics in your wardrobe sometimes become dated or you outgrow what was previously a staple in your wardrobe?

Taking Direction

Quai D’Orsay, Journée du Patrimoine 2016

“No I don’t think about my audience when I write…When I teach writing to students, I tell them not to think about the people who are going to read, especially who they know, because you’re going to censor yourself….The self that writes is very different than the self that speaks…and so when I’m inhabiting that self that writes it’s also the self that dreams..it’s a very deeply closed place. When I’m creating and I wish this happened more often…it can feel like being transported-characters take on life. I don’t realize how much time has passed. So in writing fiction I really don’t think about who is going to read it…I hope that people will read it but I don’t think specifically of who I read it because if I did, I would censor myself. “  – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Quai D’Orsay, Paris during Nuit des Idées, January 2018.

Note: I drafted this post up months ago and while it will be published now in August and I still feel very much the same as I do now.

There are many parts of her talk that spoke to me. But this part is what stayed with me…writing for oneself.

Plenty of people have asked me to restart a blog. And admittedly I have lots of ideas about privilege, expat life, learning languages, minimalism, feminism, race relations, travel etc.

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How Korea Made Me Feel Beautiful


When I read Jude’s of Fifty Shades of Snail Post,K-Beauty and Why It Matters To Me, I just had all of the feels. OMG, the feels. While Jude was addressing the normalizing of Asian-Americans in American media discourse, her story of feeling like ‘other’ is so universal that the response was overwhelming. And it was so heartwarming to see the response and it shows how inclusive the Korean beauty blogging community is. I did not really know how to adequately respond at first but I knew I had a lot to say. So much of how Jude felt is also something I can hugely relate to as another minority who felt “ other” and learning how to accept myself in spite of the socialization and internalization of standards imposed in American society.

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