Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hiatus until March 1st!

Miss Couturable will be back on March 1st.

Without a runny nose.

Until then, one doesn't need many words to enjoy Milan Fashion Week, bake and eat cupcakes, and fight for a cause.

Miss Couturable

Friday, February 22, 2008

The clock is ticking

"Yeah, I like Stanford. It's pretty nice," I told Mommy after she finally summed up the courage to ask me the paramount question: So how was Stanford?

"YOU DOOOOO?!" she asked me after prancing around my room for a few seconds. "Oh, if you go to Stanford, I can make you delicious meals on the weekends and visit you whenever I like. This is perfect!"

I suppose she forgot that she doesn't cook on a normal basis in the first place. We used to have a cook who would come in a couple times a week to make palatable food, but nowadays we just eat whatever my dad stir-fries together in twenty minutes.

I didn't have the heart to tell her that my college counselor and I were discussing just how much I would probably love going to college in New York City -- "Now, I'm still getting to know you, but I'm predicting that Columbia/Barnard and NYU are just going to take your breath away, with Vassar at a close second. Oh, I'm so glad we've listed Vassar too," my cheerful college counselor said as she beamed away at my blank face, still trying to comprehend the idea that my life could be incredibly different in less than a year.

I never told my mommy the truth: my education and future career plans are more likely to flourish on the east coast, especially in New York City. When she danced around my room in extreme glee at the idea that I actually liked Stanford, I realized that I am going to be breaking her heart in about a year.

What is it like to be an immigrant mother who works 10 hours a day so that her two spoiled daughters can have the life that she never had? What is it like to be alone in this country with no close friends and a broken marriage? What is it like to know that your first-born daughter, the daughter you carried to your labs in graduate school, will be out of your reach very soon? What is it like to spend your life bragging about your daughter's second grade first-place poetry writing awards -- when those same little fingers that scribbled up poems about flowers are typing away on college applications essays?

I'm scared to leave my mommy because my sister and I are all that she has in this country. I'm scared to leave my best friends, the kind of best friends who make you realize that lovers aren't necessary as long you've got some chick flicks, tissues to pass around, and a whole lot of giggles. I know I'm going to meet a lot of amazing and interesting people in New York City this summer and for the rest of life, but I do wonder if any more of these people will be best friends I split my finger open for while baking cupcakes for them. Everyone changes in high school, from the first nervous step onto campus freshman year to the last gaze towards the football field after graduation. Yet, I'm still best friends with the same people as I was with freshman year. Mostly -- sometimes people are yanked away from you.

My eight weeks alone in New York City this summer will test me. I'm still trying to fathom the idea of waking up for work at a big corporate building, riding the subway using a Metrocard with only a transit map as a guide, and going to bed in a small room where my belongings are stowed in a set of luggage. This is what I've dreamed of since I was in middle school -- the fresh teenager in New York City, interning for a huge magazine and gaining new perspectives.

Before I graduate in May 2009, I want my Mommy to know that no closet-sized sterile room will ever replace the home that she provided me. I still have four months of junior year left, and a whole year of senior year left -- but I'm growing and learning. Slowly but steadily.

And if I'm growing and learning, I always want to have a heart ready to love, lips ready to speak, eyes ready to weep, and arms open to embrace and forgive.

Miss Couturable

Overheard: Alexander Wang, here?!

Did I just overhear the alumni office and school administrators chat about possibly involving Alexander Wang, our very own fashion industry alumni, in the school fashion fundraiser next year? Apparently we're in good relations with his brother, who is also a school alumni and used to pick Alex up after school (aww).

It's all very tentative and up for speculation and negotiation, but now I have to be involved in the production of next year's fashion show. Even though Alex might be too busy to be present at the fashion show, perhaps we can sport his collection on our models.

Luckily, Alex's sweet brother offered to take me to meet him this summer when I'm in New York City -- so even if the fabulous fashion show idea doesn't work out, at least I still have another chance to meet the ultra-stylish designer.

Miss Couturable

Thursday, February 21, 2008

NYC housing is finally confirmed!

After constantly calling the housing office for the Brandon Residence for Women over the past two weeks and sending a heartfelt letter to the Housing Director about how much I need the housing, I'm finally approved for my eight week stay in New York City!

I feel so relieved because now I just need my airplane tickets to New York City, and then I'm finally set for what could be one of the most interesting and eye-opening experiences of my life. I'm so excited to do everything from exploring Brooklyn as suggested by Gabrielle and Keely to having coffee with Casey from, who will also be interning at a magazine. I've admired Casey since I was a wee little eighth grader, mesmerized by the idea that a high school girl could be such an accomplished writer like herself.

On the other hand, I receive a lot of comments and emails from lovely readers who are in doubt of my integrity. I also get a lot of comments and emails about my grammar and spelling mistakes. Without further delay, I would like to tell you about myself, to prevent further backlash and to humanize myself in front of your eyes:
My name is Noel and I'm a high school junior at a prestigious and incredibly competitive prep school in California. Indeed, I am interning at Seventeen with the fashion department. I also make a couple typos or grammar mistakes, as many of you have pointed out -- but usually I don't have time to reread my blog entries thoroughly as I scribble these musings and thoughts straight out from my heart. I don't have time because I'm also a straight A student taking 4 AP classes and 3 honors classes, Last Look Editor and fashion writer for Shut Up!, E-business editor and writer for Nolcha Metier, Contributing Editor for, officer for a community service club at my school, officer for the high school leadership council for the March of Dimes (my favorite non-profit in the world!), Varsity cheer captain, member of an outside-of-school competitive cheer team, staff member of my school's award-winning yearbook, and a participant in lots of other minor activities (such as fashion writer for the Spanish Honor Society newsletter).

It's not easy being a junior. In between studying for SATs (I'm retaking the SAT Reasoning Exam in a week, and I'm going to take a total of 5 SAT Subject Exams in order to show colleges that I do take my academics very seriously), studying for APs (I will be taking 4 AP exams this May), visiting colleges, excelling in academics, devoting myself to extracurriculars, working out my family life, finding time for a social life, and making time for my faith -- Miss Couturable has become an outlet for me to say whatever has been on my mind and hear from lovely readers like you in return.

On a less serious note, I love baking cupcakes and my friends have begun to expect cupcakes for their birthdays. I usually personalize the cupcake's flavor to that particular friend's personality. I have an unhealthy addiction to online shopping and watching runway videos during class -- which I need to correct, pronto. I relax by dancing to Spice Girls in my underwear at night. I'm a huge country music fan, and I'm disappointed when classmates write "EWW1!! iHATEcountryMusiqqq" on their facebook profiles because contemporary country music has a lot to offer to our young generation.

As you can tell, I love to stay busy and I work extremely hard. As a 17 year old, I have a lot to prove to the world (not just the fashion industry) -- but I'm not frightened at all. I know what I want and I will fight for it. I have the most amazing and supportive friends in the world, who are also extremely busy but still make time with me to have dinners at fancy restaurants and stick out like sore thumbs among the young professionals and corporate figures at these eateries.

Oh, and you can see a couple photos of me here.
So cutefaces, hopefully some of you will understand my life more fully after reading this. I must admit, I am a little hurt when I receive attitude on my blog because I love each and every one of you and I do believe in every single of you. As a devoted long-term volunteer for the March of Dimes, I've learned just how special and precious each individual is -- no matter how small, no matter how uncertain his or her future may seem.

When I turned 17, my mommy told me how I was continuously sick for the first year of my life -- so much so that I lived at the hospital. She told me that she expected nothing from me for the rest of my life -- all she wanted from me was to stay alive. I'm hoping to exceed her expectations.

As I believe in you, I hope you believe in me too.

Miss Couturable

P.S. I'm sorry for the lack of daily updates and slow responses lately. With SATs coming up and the flu, I'm very busy and tired. Expect regularity after March 1st!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Simple headbands, simple choices

Today I wrapped my phlegm-infested self in five layers of sweaters, creating the illusion that I had become a human snowball when in fact, I have been losing an incredible amount of weight due to the flu. Later into the day, I became a brethren of Xin Xin the panda as my constantly watering eyes smeared the black Lancome eyeliner that I had foolishly penciled on in the morning. Navigating around school while feeling and looking like death was approaching -- eh, not the ideal way to have spent seven classes.

The only indication that I had any life left in me was the navy blue patent leather headband with silver sequined stripes sparking in my hair -- the only aspect of myself that was shining today. Luckily, my day was made a bit brighter after a guy friend bought me three simple but wonderfully versatile headbands from H&M in Milan.In the past, I've only worn headbands with sparkles, jewels, or bows on them. My logic was that even if I ended up wearing a blazer, a pair of jeans, a pair of ballerina flats, and a dressy blouse all week from lack of creativity, at least my headband would ostentatiously stand out and be admired by all passersby.

However, after Susie Bubble's recent proclamation of love for simple but brightly-colored American Apparel headbands and my friend's thoughtful gift, I've realized that simple headbands can be quite refreshing and perfect when I'm not going for the "porcelain doll" look for once. Sometimes, a solid splash of color or a thin rim around the head creates a bolder statement then a satin bow sticking out from the side.
I'm always welcome to new additions to my beloved headband collection. Without a headband, I would be Cinderella without her glass slipper.

Miss Couturable

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Sunday Six: February 17th, 2008

Waking up at 4:00am in the morning with sweats and a migraine is definitely not a good sign. I'm desperately hoping that I haven't contracted the flu, which is apparently spreading like wildfire. While this past week has been a topsy-turvy rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, I'm full of happy thoughts and love -- love that extends far beyond Hallmark cards and candy bouquets.
(Photo Credit -- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2)
  1. Some of my best friends read my blog, but I never give much credit to how much they mean to me amidst my ramblings. This past week, I discovered just how blessed I am to have friends who wake up at 2:00am to listen to me talk about what a terrible day I had, who reply to my middle-of-the-night emails the moment that they wake up in the morning, who know exactly what to say to make me feel better, who understand my faults and annoying habits -- and still love me. I'm very lucky to have friends who speak four different Asian languages, are award-winning celloists, interned with Rolling Stone before their junior year of high school, attend prestigious art colleges, are straight A students, travel to Italy to sing in choir, and still make time for me. They're the true overachievers -- not me.
  2. Because I love my friends oh so much, I made cupcakes for two of them because of their upcoming birthdays! I'm going to bake cupcakes for each of my friends when their birthday approaches, in fact. One of my friends loves doughnuts (you can catch him eating two at a time -- creme-filled and oil-drenched), but he is the lankiest boy you will ever meet (I'm very jealous). I made him doughnuts and coffee cupcakes -- I changed the recipe a little bit by using whole-wheat flour instead of white flour and making doughnut holes instead of doughnut rings. For another one of my friends, I made her peach and almond cupcakes using Gala's recipe as a base and adding in almond extract and peach juice. I attempted to make them heart-shaped using a marble to make a dent as directed by yumsugar, but only some of them resemble a heart. Ah well, it's the thought that counts -- and the taste. I love baking, as you can tell.
    (Photo Credit --
  3. London Fashion Week makes me feel very uncool. The collections are always very artsy and sometimes avant-garde, so all I can do is admire the photos and wonder if I'll ever become so well-versed in fashion that I can say something interesting about London Fashion Week for once. That said, Erdem's collection is youthful and whimsical enough for me to fall in love with the complex ruffles and jewel-tones. I can actually see myself in his pieces, unlike the many other collections of London Fashion Week that I can only admire distantly for now.
  4. I went to Sacramento for a cheerleading competition yesterday, and my team got first place! I never eat at cheerleading competitions -- when I was in Las Vegas, I survived on sugar-free Rockstars for subsistence for three days. I just get far too nervous to eat.
  5. I was referred by a friend to ideeli, a members-only shopping community where designer goods are sold for up to 60% off. It's completely legitimate (they usually work with the labels and manufacturers) and the prices are amazing ($900 purse for $355!) -- but everything is also sold out very quickly. Please leave your email or email me at miss.couturable at gmail dot com if you'd like an invite to check it out!
  6. I took my first college visits to Stanford University and UC Berkeley this week! It was absolutely fascinating to see how the two rival schools could be so different, and to discover what I wanted in a college. Each institution definitely has its own gems to offer. Still, I have to visit Vassar, Wellesley, Barnard, NYU, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, and University of Southern California over spring break to get a complete idea of every one of my prospective colleges. Should be fun, yes?
What are you looking forward to this week?

Miss Couturable

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Editor's Letter

The first thing I read when my monthly issues of Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, CosmoGIRL!, Nylon, and Glamour arrive in the mail is the Editor's Letter. Ever since I was a little girl, I pondered over Anna Wintour's words of wisdom about the power of fashion and crafted misspelled emails to Atoosa Rubenstein in response to the questions she posed to her readers.

The Editor's Letter, or the Letter from the Editor, is the the voice of the magazine, just as the models posing on the cover are the faces of the magazine. More than that, it's the chance for the editor-in-chief to make a personal connection with each individual reader.

My dream is to become the editor-in-chief of a huge and respected fashion magazine -- but not just because I love fashion. If I only loved fashion, I would be just as satisfied with fashion public relations or merchandising. I would even go into fashion marketing in order to please my parents, who still believe that business is the path to success.

I want to be an editor-in-chief because I understand that there is more to the readers' lives than Marchesa gowns and Jimmy Choo shoes -- and I want to be involved in every aspect of the magazine's culture because of this.

As exemplified through my blog, I don't just want to tell you what my favorite trends for Spring 2008 are -- I want you to know that I read through every single one of your comments and emails and care about each and every one of you.

Sometimes, I giggle with amusement at your comments or emails. Sometimes, I lie in bed for hours on end, haunted by the secrets and fears you confide in me. Sometimes, I swell with pride at your achievements and daydream about all the amazing people I've yet to meet in this world.

The editor-in-chief must be well-versed in all aspects of the fashion magazine, from political coverage to fashion editorials to celebrity interviews. It is his or her job to enchant the readers and promise them a couple minutes or hours of discovery and beauty. I want to be that connection to my readers someday -- someday, I hope that little girls will pick up their mommy's Vogue or Elle or Harper's Bazaar and be able to ponder over my words, and that women of all backgrounds and ages won't be afraid to send me their emails and letters about everything and anything.

Reading Roberta Myer's (editor-in-chief of Elle) March 2008 letter touched me and reaffirmed everything that I believe an editor-in-chief should be -- and who I hope to be someday:

An editor-in-chief recognizes every single one of her readers for their multi-faceted lives -- and this is what makes me happy and what I feel like is what I'm meant to do.

Anna Wintour also teaches us that as editor-in-chief of Vogue, no one -- not even Hillary Clinton -- can dis her work.

Miss Couturable

P.S. FabCrush has just featured Miss Couturable -- what a surprise! The short blurb reads:
Enter the world of a cute, high achieving young cheerleader attending a posh private who knows the difference between actual couture and Juicy Couture. No, it’s not an episode of Gossip Girl, it’s the real life of the author of She may still be in high school but you would never know it by her writing style, which is probably one of the reasons why she landed an internship at Seventeen before she even hit the age herself. On a regular basis she covers what the most influential designers in the industry are doing, gives us a little taste of her every day style, and ties it all back to real life. Her blog is aimed at the younger set, but it easily appeals to those of us who are fashionably young at heart.
I'm very flattered -- I've been meaning to figure out how to describe my blog, and this is just perfect! Thank you!

Matters of the heart

"I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us." -- A Little Princess
As you may have noticed, I ignored the topic of Valentine's Day. Even though I could lie and tell you that this is because I've been extremely busy lately and you would probably believe me (because I have been too busy these days), I'd rather divulge into a topic that I've never covered before. And that is love -- but I won't offer relationship advice or cute date ideas. Spare that for your best friends and Google, my lovelies.

Because I have a cheerleading competition this Saturday, I had cheerleading practice on Valentine's Day. I was expecting half of my cheer team to protest because they wanted to spend a romantic night with their significant others -- but alas, never underestimate one's commitment to cheerleading. Unfortunately, I also encountered about five of my team members tonight who had broken up with their boyfriends/girlfriends today. One girl's ex-boyfriend got extremely drunk and started crawling on top of half-naked girls. One girl sobbed through practice because her boyfriend was talking smack about her. One girl showed me her cuts -- caused by her ex-boyfriend when they were arguing.

I sat there listening to my teammate's problems, wishing that I could change things. I wished for a Valentine's Day without drama, a Valentine's Day where we could all spend time with the ones we love.

I gave hugs to my girl team mates, but I didn't say anything -- because broken hearts aren't healed with words.

I joked around with my gay friend, and told him that I would be his date tomorrow and get dressed up for it -- so that he could tell his ex-boyfriend that he went straight because of their relationship. He smiled a little and hugged me, but that wasn't going to heal his broken heart either.

After practice, I thought about Valentine's Day for me this year. I've been going through a lot of family problems lately that have been tearing at my spirit -- romantic love was the last thing on my mind. Yet, I recall last year vividly.

Last year, I spent three days making a Valentine's Day present for my (then) boyfriend. I was so excited about it -- I had spent weeks before asking my friends and strangers what I could make as the perfect Valentine's Day present for him. I bought 150 red chocolate kisses, and attached to every chocolate kiss was one unique reason why I loved him: "I love you because you always help me with my math homework even though I never pay attention because I just want to kiss you." "I love you because you have messy bedroom hair." And so on -- every cheesy thing you could ever think of. The chocolate kisses were then placed into a little tin pail filled with silk rose petals -- with an even more cheesier love letter attached. I actually rewrote this letter three times because I wanted it to be as heartfelt and truthful as possible.

On Valentine's Day 2007, he asked me if it was "okay" if he didn't get me anything -- even though I, being me, had hinted at the present I made for him for days. He could sense my disappointment after I replied with an "oh", so later that day he gave me a little box of chocolates from Safeway.

I went home and cried that night -- not because it was a bad Valentine's Day, but because I had expected a cute exchange of cheesy homemade gifts. Later, I found out that getting me something for Valentine's Day never crossed his mind because he was busy registering for college and forgot to tell me -- a college thousands of miles away.

I think my heart shattered at that moment, when the infinity of love became finite digits ticking away in time.

I haven't talked to this boy for quite a while now, and of course it's heartbreaking to know that you've lost your best friend and your first love. I've never had luck with best friends -- I thought this boy was the one. He was the only one I could confide to about how my family problems were chiseling away at my heart. It's one level to sorrow a boyfriend, it's another level to lose a best friend that meant the world to you.

I hope that all of you, my cutefaces, will always remember that you are a princess: a princess with infinite hopes and dreams who might make stupid decisions once in a while, but deserves a chance to prove that she can rule her own kingdom before her Prince Charming arrives.

And this is why I refrained from writing about Valentine's Day for such a long time. In spite of how "inspiring" or "admirable" I seem to some of you, I have a weakness: I have the best girl and guy friends in the world who I would never give up, and I have a wonderful life and a great future ahead of me. Yet, as I come home to a broken household that pretty clothes and good grades can't change, I think about how that boy's voice and a kiss goodnight from him would at least heal my tired spirit, if not my family.

I've been told I'm a very strong person, but my weaknesses are Achilles heels.

Please tell me anything that's been on your mind lately, whether it's about love, school, friends, faith -- anything. Let's be truthful, sweethearts. You know I love you.

Miss Couturable

P.S. Okay, my other weakness is facebook. I just reactivated my account two days ago.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"You'll never be able to claim you made it on your own"

I'm so tired from college visits that my heels have split open from wearing uncomfortable ballet flats and walking around all day -- so I'm very sorry for the lack of updates (I'm soaking my feet in Epsom salts and feeling a little like a granny right now).

Anyway, a reader posted here that I'll never be able to claim that I made it on my own -- and I disagree.

It's true that I'm not scrounging for coins in the back of my couch, but I have worked extremely hard and completely by myself for the past two years. I sleep a maximum of three hours every night -- I'm constantly writing fashion articles, constantly working on my blog, constantly working on networking with editors from Seventeen, CosmoGIRL!, Teen Vogue, designer Alexander Wang, and many other industry professionals. Everything I've done up to the point of paying for housing in New York City is completely my work only -- my parents didn't even know that I had been working in fashion until last summer when I sent out resumes to 40 local fashion designers and finally received one positive response. I pull all-nighters to send out my resume, network with people, write about fashion -- and maintain straight As, perform at least 2 hours of community service every week for the March of Dimes or Key Club (both of which I'm an officer in), work on the school yearbook, and fulfill my duties as Varsity cheer captain (20 hours a week of cheer on two teams).

Yes, my parents have provided financial backing -- but they don't support fashion. Yes, I don't know New York City as someone who lives in Queens -- and I don't claim to. I claim to love fashion, I claim to work very hard to the best of my ability, and I claim to be proud that I know how to make myself happy. I'm sorry Gabrielle that you must leave the city that you love -- but I don't think it's fair that you could assume so much about me, from "not making it on my own" to "sad little girl who made up a fantasy blog".

I'm very tired from 5 hours of cheerleading and college visits today, so I'm going to call it a night. This wasn't the post I was preparing to write, but I will save that for later. Good night, lovelies.

Miss Couturable

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ring around the rosy

If I could be a magazine, I would want to be Lula: youthful with an everlasting innocence, playful without pretension, and expensive ($36.74/issue)! This isn't your typical Safeway checkout stand magazine.

Lula #6 Spring/Summer 2008 features Norwegian Siri Tollerød as photographed by Ellen von Unwerth in fantastic floral hairpieces, dreamy little dresses, and polka-dotted Emilio Cavallini tights. I used to think that floral hairpieces were reserved for luaus where tourists eat roast pig and play limbo, but the Christian Dior Couture and Sonia Rykiel silk hair ornaments on Siri's head are more likely to be found at a chic garden party than a Polynesian tourist trap.

Siri resembles a doll in between Raggedy Ann and a porcelain wedding fixture -- does the heavy eyeliner bring out a more mature side to one-handed trumpet play and eating on a floor dotted with feathers?

I'm now definitely compelled to wear jewel-toned pumps, tiny solid-print frocks, silk floral hair ornaments, and polka-dotted tights at home if I can have a pillow fight, play a musical instrument, and eat pastries on the floor. Maybe I should host a dress-up slumber party.

Miss Couturable

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Sunday Six: February 10th, 2008

I don't know about you, but I'm on February break. Thus, I have quite a few days to catch up on New York Fashion Week, homework, sleep, and the strange antics of Marc Jacobs. I'm sorry if you have class tomorrow -- to be fair, I have a lot of work to do this week, from college campus visits to a cheerleading competition.
  1. I'm at that point in my caffeine-ingesting life where a double shot of espresso no longer keeps me awake. Last Wednesday I had a double shot of espresso, a can of Glacéau Vitamin Energy drink, a glass of Thai iced coffee, and a packet of Zip Fizz -- and I still fell asleep by 10:00pm. Are there support groups for caffeine addicts? Ever since I had my first can of sugar-free Rockstar, I've been thinking about the wonders of energy drinks -- which must be a sign of addiction.
  2. I love Post Secret! This Sunday, the postcards are love themed because of Valentine's Day, but this postcard from weeks ago has been my most favorite. How does it make you feel? It makes me want to take chances with love, go with my impulses, and lose myself until I know exactly what I want.
  3. Happy Chinese New Year! Celebrate with Stephanie because my family doesn't really celebrate Chinese New Year -- even though we're Chinese. I'm a disgrace -- I didn't know it was Chinese New Year until I got money in red envelopes, but that explains why my family went out for sushi, Chinese food, and Thai food three nights in a row. Check out Minnie Mouse's wardrobe -- it's going to be a good year of style for those born in the year of the Rat!
    (Photo Credit -- Christopher Peterson)
  4. Rachel Zoe throws a hissy fit outside the Marc Jacobs show. Classy. She's not exactly setting a good example for her clients.
  5. I don't understand Cory Kennedy and the ridiculous amount of fame that gets her a packed schedule at Fashion Week -- especially after glancing at her text messages. She is not a socialite, because socialites are practically American royalty -- and I refuse to believe that a coked-up 17 year old girl with bad spelling is royalty. She's 17 -- she shouldn't be at parties with visible male buttcracks to touch. I can't help but find her lifestyle absolutely tasteless and a terrible example for young girls who read her blog everyday.
  6. Susie Bubble blogs from New York! It's a fun read -- and her dress is fabulous!
All right, catch up on Fashion Week today if you haven't already -- and maybe homework, because I'm sure some of you procrastinated.

Miss Couturable

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"You look like Minnie Mouse"

"Oh my gosh! You look like Minnie Mouse. You even have cheekbones like her!" said one of my dearest friends last Wednesday. The rest of the group nodded in unison. I was dressed in a pair of white sweater tights, a pair of black patent leather pumps, a navy blue jumper with a ruffled oxford shirt underneath, a cropped black jacket, and a pink and blue headband. I was going for a I'm-speaking-to-state-legislators-about-saving-babies-so-I-better-look- professional-yet-cute look (I went to Sacramento to speak to legislators on behalf of the March of Dimes), but apparently I had accidentally channeled Minnie Mouse into my wardrobe selections.

I covered my cheeks with my white J. Crew wool gloves (which coincidentally look somewhat like Minnie's gloves), blushed and giggled a little, and replied, "Why, thank you." I mean, what else could I have said?

When I got home, I glanced at myself in the mirror and tried to decipher my Minnie Mouse characteristics. My rosy cheeks accentuate my already impossibly prominent cheekbones that are noticeable even when I don't smile, I have paler skin compared to my other Asian friends with similar skintones, my nose is slightly upturned in a cartoonish manner, and there's always a bow in my hair. It's a stretch, but I can understand why my friend compared me to a cartoon mouse.

It's so easy and inevitable to grow up hating your appearance. I've had my own share of "I'm so freakin' obese" and "Why am I another 5'1" petite girl instead of a leggy waif?" moments. I used to be so embarrassed about my upturned nose, and the fact that my cheekbones made me look and feel heavier. I'd stress about every zit that appeared on my face, and I'd burst into tears when the acne medication wouldn't work anymore.

I was extremely frustrated with myself because I wasn't given goddess genes, but the lack of good looks department blessed me with no social life in middle school and straight A+s -- graduating as eighth grade class valedictorian.

It disturbs me when I see middle schoolers who "know" they're "hot stuff", strutting around like they're on the catwalks of Milan. I was the bony Asian nerd who went home right after class in middle school, the ugly duckling amongst future Jessica Simpson lookalikes. I suppose I see in them everything that I wasn't -- it's terrible to see these middle school cliques play on the emotions of the insecure. When I overheard them talking about low-calorie lunches, memories of how I used to skip lunch in eighth grade so that I could be 85 pounds again came back. They're shameful memories, but you don't start loving yourself until you see your mistakes.

I suppose I've grown into my looks by now; I no longer see myself as an ugly duckling. I realized how ridiculous it was for myself to call myself "fat" -- at 5'1" and not even hitting the 100 lbs. mark on my scale, I need to focus on maintaining a toned body, not necessarily cutting calories. I've come to appreciate the perks of being petite -- shopping in Asia was made for short people, after all. And why complain about my own face when it's the only one I'm going to have in this lifetime?

I'm glad I was a complete social outcast in middle school because I got to reflect on how I was going to live the rest of my life. Nowadays, I have the most amazing best friends in the world and I cannot imagine not having parties or dinners to go to. When a sixth grader approached me in December to complain about how everyone was shutting her out of the cliques, I wanted to tell her that everything would get much better. She wouldn't believe me even if I did tell her though, but then again, most middle schoolers don't see past lunch period.

It's possible to change yourself -- you can get better grades, get a better hairdo, lose weight, sleep more, and smile more. Changing your nose (without plastic surgery) isn't possible, but isn't that what makes you beautiful? Cheesy, of course -- but merely pretty girls don't get second glances. Second glances are reserved for the girls who everyone wants to know.

Besides, Mickey Mouse did happen to be my first love and first kiss.

Miss Couturable

Eco-friendly laptop tote

In fourth grade, I wanted a pair of hot pink Converse Chuck Taylors -- they were the it sneakers of the fourth grade crowd and the only pair of hot pink sneakers that I had ever seen. Unfortunately, Mommy and Daddy said no to my shoe proposal because no leather materials are used in the construction of Chuck Taylors. Instead, I settled for a pair of white Pumas and black suede Mary Janes.

I had been brought up as a leather snob since I was young: handbags must be at least high-quality suede, shoes must not contain any faux suede or patent leather, and jackets should at least be trimmed in suede. Nowadays, my flats and heels are a mixture of leather, silk, satin, cotton, and other materials; and I prefer wool coats over anything fringed with leather. Yet until today, I still refused to carry a purse that isn't 100% genuine leather -- canvas totes from mall chain stores are too casual for me. I'm extremely picky about handbags because they define the outfit: perhaps you forgot to brush your hair or your shoes are covered in mud, but at least your chic Balenciaga satchel is flawless.
So as you may guess, I was extremely apprehensive when I received two handbags from Jumeau -- neither of which contained any traces of leather. One handbag was a roomy dark yellow corduroy tote ("Corduroy?!") and one handbag was a spacious dark blue organic bamboo fiber and cotton laptop tote. "What am I suppose to wear with these?" I initially thought to myself. Is it even possible to dress up a corduroy tote?

Turns out, it is possible to wear a cloth tote with a dress. It's not a horribly shapeless bag at all -- it's one of those bags that you grab when you're running out for a last-minute errand, and it's definitely big enough to be a bookbag (more than I can say for my leather totes!).

However, I never knew there were such things as eco-friendly organic bamboo fiber and cotton laptop totes. I never bothered to embrace eco-friendly fashion -- not because I hate the Earth, but because there doesn't seem to be much in this realm beyond the basic.

So I don't know much about organic materials or dressing eco-friendly (have any tips for me?), but my new laptop bag is a good start for me, considering that my high school requires its students to bring laptops to school everyday. Perhaps I can convince some of my peers to replace their black leather laptop bags with a brightly-colored organic bamboo tote.

How have your experiences been with dressing organic?

Miss Couturable

P.S. Excuse the slightly unkempt hair -- it's Saturday morning and I'm making a hair appointment.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Prep school fashion bubble

I've discovered very recently that I live in a fashion bubble. Heels and cocktail dresses are worn to class on a fairly regular basis (weather permitting, which unfortunately has not been the case recently), ballet flats are practically imperative for more "casual" wear, pearl necklaces and headbands are the daily accessories, tailored blazers and peacoats are thrown on when there's nothing else to wear, and no one cares that you spent $400 on a pair of shoes because that cashmere sweater of the girl sitting next to you in English class probably costs just as much.

I used to read posts from teenage girls on certain web forums complaining about the "Hollicrombie" fashion bubble they live in, where Abercrombie jeans and Hollister henleys are the unofficial uniform and Juicy Couture is couture, and seriously could not fathom attending a school like that because my prep school is such a different world from the majority of educational institutions out there.

Fortunately, a recent trip to Las Vegas with some fellow cheerleaders from outside of my school opened up my eyes to the world of teenage fashion that I had never been in contact with. My friends wore UGG boots, Abercrombie polos, True Religion jeans, Tiffany & Co. necklaces, and Northface jackets -- occasionally layering a Hollister laced camisole underneath.

"Wow, you're so private school," commented one of my friends as we were walking along the Strip. I thought it was an insult at first, but apparently it was meant to be a comment of admiration and awe. I chose to wear a black cocktail dress with comfortable patent leather yellow flats and sweater tights underneath -- it was cold outside, after all.

And so I pondered for the next few weeks about what it meant to look "private school" -- and I have a feeling that 'Gossip Girl' had something to do with this perception of appearances. Yet, I scoff at the complaints of certain teenage girls who complain about the "Hollicrombie" fashion bubble they live in, because the other side of the teenage style spectrum is a bubble too. There shouldn't be an elitist attitude between choosing to wear a t-shirt from American Eagle or a t-shirt from James Perse; when you're choosing between Burger King french fries and truffle oil french fries, the taste and quality of the truffle fries might be superior but you're essentially digesting the same number of calories.

I'm ashamed to admit that while I consider myself a young burgeoning connoisseur of everything related to fashion, I do not know much about typical teenage fashion. I'm blessed to attend a school where I can dress up as much as I want and wear anything I so please, where individual expression through fashion is fabulously prevalent. I've become so indulged in "high fashion" that I don't realize that most of the American teenage population doesn't dress like this. Blair Waldorf from 'Gossip Girl' would absolutely love my school, if she decided to leave the Upper East Side for California.

Yet, style is something we must cultivate on our own -- no matter which bubble we live in. After all, even "fashionable" prep schools have fashion mishaps of their own. Fellow student walking past me, I know those purple-fringed heels cost at least $200, but $40 Ked flats would look so much better with your beige corduroy pants.

Miss Couturable

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Three more reasons to love 'Gossip Girl'

(Photo Credit -- Out Magazine)
I had never been lost for words until I came across Fashionista's post about the heartthrobs from 'Gossip Girl'.

After seeing this photo from the upcoming issue of Out Magazine, I just want to take Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, and Ed Westwick and... Okay, let's just leave it at that.

Well, a picture's worth a thousand words, and words aren't necessary in this case.

Miss Couturable

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Big bold bows

I don't care if the bow is bigger than my face -- Proenza Schouler Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear is the culmination of my obsession with bows. From zebra print hairbows at cheerleading practice to bows on my headbands to polka dot bows on my high-heel pumps to my Erin Fetherston for Target cropped jacket with the giant bow, it's evident to family and friends alike that I cannot resist bows on any article of clothing. Even my white leggings have three ribbon bows on each leg.
I've also always had a penchant for the giant hair bows in the Juicy Couture perfume advertisements. The company definitely needs to start selling these floppy satin hair bows instead of their Pop Royalty Tees.

Note to self: Think big this fall: flashy sequins, sleek over-the-knee socks, and floppy satin bows. I'm already planning outfits in my head.

Miss Couturable

Monday, February 4, 2008

Barbie dolls to Barbie girls

As Susie Bubble pointed out, there's always been a fascination with young children in the fashion industry. Their childlike innocence and ability to pull off anything has made them a formidable advertising tool, from Dakota Fanning in Marc Jacobs to the latest editorial in Pop Magazine scanned by Susie Bubble. Everyone in fashion seems to be young these days -- 15 year old Ukranians are uniform on the runway, Kira Plastinina is a freshman in high school with over 30 stores to her name, and Cory Kennedy (isn't she my age?) writes her own column in Nylon Magazine.

A year ago while prom dress shopping, I came across two eight year old girls in matching Abercrombie Kids miniskirts, Chanel tote bags, UGG boots, and Lacoste polos -- looking for dresses with their mommy, who was also carrying a Chanel tote. I thought about when I was eight -- dressed in bright red jumpers, polka dotted pants, rainbow-colored braids, and princess tiaras everyday. I enjoyed dressing up as a child for the longest time -- and I still have a tendency to pick out "little girl" dresses, as my mommy puts it.

So it blew my mind away that little girls nowadays are more aware of the clothes on their back than ever before -- and the fashion industry has caught on to our fascination with ephemeral youth. I'm not too pleased with the idea of little girls in "grown-up" clothes.
(Photo Credit --
While skimming through the Charles Nolan Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear Collection, I was both pleased and surprised to find this photo. This little sweetheart, in a pair of white Mary Janes, black tights, and lime green peacoat almost as big as herself, is a perfect example of the beautiful innocence and playfulness in children that we shouldn't exploit and cover up with garish paint.

I mean, I still eat peanut butter straight of the jar and sleep under Disney princess blankets.

Miss Couturable

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Love is, as defined my parents

I used to think my parents had a pretty terrible relationship. They'd bicker constantly about financial matters (and still do), swipe insults about each other's families, and find ways to prove their own superiority. Too much hot-blooded pride and miscommunication, I thought to myself after huddling under the sheets after a late-night argument downstairs.

From the first big fight that my parents had and onward, I promised myself that I would marry someone who I could have a relationship with that was the complete opposite of my parents' relationship.

My parents' relationship has gotten a lot better now -- they still bicker, they're still the same people they've always been -- but they've finally learned to understand each other and to love each other after 18 years of marriage.

I have a lot to learn about love -- but from what I know now, love is a lot of small things.

Sitting in car with my parents on the way home from grocery shopping, I decided that love is making a mix CD for your wife -- and knowing that the first question she'll ask after receiving it is, "Is the Titanic song in there? That's my favorite!"

While listening to the mix CD in the car with my parents, I decided that love is listening to your wife sing a Tibetan rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion while the song is playing and loving every minute of it.

As I was carrying the groceries into the kitchen, I decided that love is jokingly mimicking the annoying habits of your husband while the both of you know that he'll do the same to you a few hours later.

And then as I'm sitting here thinking about what love is, I've decided that love is every single imperfection that makes that person perfect for you.

Miss Couturable

The Sunday Six: February 3rd, 2008

Happy Super Bowl Sunday -- that is, if you watch football or the commercials or the half-time show! Perhaps I'll catch a commercial or two, but personally the real highlight of this week is New York Fashion Week! So happy Fashion Week, my lovelies -- who needs commercials when you have real-time blogging at New York Fashion Week from the editors of New York Times Style Magazine?
  1. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for Miss Couturable as best teen weblog in the Eighth Annual Weblog Awards! Voting has closed -- results are anticipated in March. I'm crossing my fingers.
  2. Pink Rock Candy, Style Bubble, and The Daily Obsession are in New York for Fashion Week! Check out their blogs for the going-ons around Bryant Park -- are you malachite green with envy yet? I know I am.
  3. Aspartame can cause memory loss? Perhaps it's time to renounce Diet Cokes. Luckily, sugar-free Rockstars use sucralose -- so I still have my late-night, should-have-started-this-project-earlier drink options open.
    (Photo Credits --
  4. Thanks to Sass & Bide Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear, I really want a pair of black over-the-knee ribbed socks with fishnet stockings -- as well as lots of bright hairpieces, metallic sparkle embellishments upon black minidresses/skirts/tops, ruffled shoulders, sleek black satin skinny pants, and pins. Oh my, big sequined round pins in gold, silver, and rainbow. It's one of few accessories that I can actually DIY. This fall, I want to sparkle.
  5. Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port are working in fashion PR under Madhouse Revolution, according to New York Magazine. I sort of like Whitney, but I've never finished an episode of The Hills in the first place. Lauren's going from interning for Teen Vogue to designing her own line to working in fashion PR -- what direction in fashion is she headed in, anyways? Hopefully, not magazine editor -- that makes the two of us and millions of others vying for the same job.
  6. I've officially begun my college search, and in April I'm going to the east coast for college visits. Are there any college visit tips that you'd be interested in sharing? Is driving from college to college along the east coast my best option (flying around everyday would be a hassle)?
Eat lots of seven-layer bean dip and buffalo wings if you're watching the Super Bowl today. I think I'll multitask -- Super Bowl and Fashion Week at the same time.

Miss Couturable

Saturday, February 2, 2008

But this is not just a fashion blog

A lovely anonymous reader of my blog posted a comment under one of my entries -- you may read it if you choose but the gist of it is that I appear to be "pretentious", "spoiled", "obnoxious", and am accused of not being a "fashionista".

I did start out my blog many months ago as a fashion blog -- nothing else. Slowly, I began to develop my own writing style, my own topic preferences, and my own niche in the blogosphere. My blog has become part style blog, part personal blog, part fashion industry blog, and part anything-I-want-to-say-to-my-lovely-readers blog.

I don't need to be only a blogger solely focused on the latest trends -- there are plenty of fashion blogs on my blogroll that do this magnificently. If one doesn't find my blog interesting or informative enough, there are plenty of pure fashion, beauty, and shopping blogs out there that I can recommend!

As I will repeat from my reply to my anonymous reader's comment: Yes, I am proud -- you are right about that. And I will even admit that I am spoiled -- but I'm no spoiled brat. I know that I have a lot and am blessed, which is why I work very hard and never take anything for granted. I am proud not because I have money or well-off parents, but because I can overlook this and be proud of myself for who I am and what I am doing with my life. I've learned to treat everyone with respect, I always remember my "p's and q's", and I am full of amazement at the wonderful people that I meet in my life. I am in awe of the world, and I'm sorry that I come off as "pretentious" and "obnoxious" to my anonymous reader and perhaps other anonymous readers.

However, I will not deny who I am. I cannot dumb myself down, nor can I pretend that I am not as lucky or as blessed as I am. I do not claim to have the perfect life -- I have made plenty of terrible mistakes in my life that I have learned from and still wish I could apologize profusely for. Miss Couturable never claimed to be a purely objective fashion blog -- otherwise, why would I call my blog Miss Couturable? I blog, I write, I muse, I think, I wonder, because this is the life I live.

Miss Couturable

White-gloved women's residences

In the first half of the 20th century, New York City had a number of white-gloved women's residences, such as the Barbizon Hotel on the Upper East Side, which once housed the likes of Grace Kelly and Sylvia Plath -- before they got married to high society and moved out. Yes, these were the society establishments for glamorous working women who hadn't found proper husbands yet, but eventually the feminist movement began to wither the activity of these residences.

I finally mailed in my Brandon Residence for Women summer housing application this morning -- $1.14 in postage because of the 3-page application, the character-reference letters from two professors, the signed statement from my daddy granting me permission as a minor to reside there, the signed statement from my editor from Seventeen proving that I am indeed interning there full-time, a copy of my passport for photo identification, and a $50 check for the application fee.

The Brandon Residence for Women in the Upper West Side is one of the few girls-only establishments left for young professionals, students, and interns in New York City. They take care of their young motivated residents -- breakfast and dinner is provided in the extremely low monthly residence fee, maid and linen service is available, social events are organized on a regular basis, communal rooms include piano rehearsal rooms and reading rooms, and the front desk and elevator is staffed at all times. It is the perfect living environment for young independent women who are not completely acquainted with the city yet -- and have come to the city to focus on their careers.

I will be calling the residence on a weekly basis, in hope that my carefully thought-out application will be approved. I could always stay at a college dorm in NYU, but I hope to join the legion of women's residence boarders that include Grace Kelly (pre-Princess of Monaco) and Edith Bouvier Beale. That in itself, is a sample of New York City society history.

Miss Couturable

Friday, February 1, 2008

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend" cocktail dresses

The only dresses I like to wear for formal events are cocktail dresses -- I made a terrible fashion faux pas for 8th grade graduation with a lime green ballgown, and since then I've always found cocktail dresses to be much classier and perfectly suited for my petite 5'1" frame -- not to mention how wonderfully they show off my toned calves!

I like my cocktail dresses with '50s vintage silhouettes (crinoline enhanced skirts and bodice-hugging tops), and Elie Saab Spring 2008 Couture with its "diamonds are a girl's best friend" embellishments and flouncy chiffon just reminds me of oh, just how wonderful it is to be a girl in dresses worthy of royalty and lots of sparkle.

Miss Couturable