26 April 2010

l is for lisa wong

I had the amazing opportunity to meet with fashion and lifestyle blogger Lisa Wong, the stylish lady behind Solo Lisa. We met at Cafe Artigiano on Granville and had a great time talking about everything from fashion to food, and the future. Lisa was so easy to get to know, and has such a caring demeanor - I find it amazing to converse with other writers because they're so literate, it's incredible. I barely had to edit out any "ums" or "likes!" After talking, we did a little photoshoot outside Holt Renfrew - I'm so in love with the colour palette of her outfit. This interview really captures Lisa's genuine personality and love for fashion - enjoy the insight into her world!

Let’s start off with a little bit about yourself and what you do for a living.

Well, I’m Lisa! For a living, I’m a professional writer at a software company; I write their manuals and documentation. In my spare time, I’m a freelance fashion writer for my blog, Solo Lisa.

Where did you go to school, and have you always had a particular interest in writing?

I went to school at UBC, and my intention at first was to major in psychology – I soon realized that it just wasn’t for me. My strong suit has always been English, so I decided to switch over to my first love and I eventually double-majored in English Literature and International Relations.

What influenced you to start your lifestyle and fashion blog?

In my final year of University I’d bring my laptop to the library all the time. I had a very odd schedule with a huge break during the day, so to fill those hours on campus I began to read fashion blogs. In doing so, I thought it would be great to start my own. I started off focusing on my personal life and pop culture, with a Spanish influence; my blog was called Solo Lisa Y Nada Mas (“Only Lisa, Nothing More”)

Why did you shorten the name to Solo Lisa?

My writings became directed more towards fashion and my personal style, which is when I changed the name, partly to reflect the evolving nature of my blog, and also because people who didn’t speak Spanish found the name quite hard to remember!

The part that I love about Solo Lisa is that you cover everything, from events to food and your personal style. On the topic of events, what would you say your favourites would consist of?

I love events that combine fashion with amazing people and great conversation. It’s beginning to reach events season, which is at times difficult because with a full-time job I’ll miss out on some really fantastic ones. But, I really enjoy Vancouver Fashion Week that comes up each year! * You can read Lisa’s reviews on VFW F/W 2010 here *

From your blog it shows that you love to cook! Where did you learn, and do you have your own specialty meal that always turns out great?

I’m really not a good cook at all! The reason why I started the “From Solo Lisa’s Kitchen” feature is because I’m trying to learn and develop my hardly-used cooking skills. So far I haven’t burned the kitchen down! I know a lot of hard-core foodies so its been causing me to start experimenting. My foolproof recipe is the Roast Chicken which always tastes delicious.

Is there a restaurant that you go to that never fails to deliver amazing food?

For Japanese, Guu and Hapa are always surefire. For Mexican, nothing has come close to Don Guacamole’s! There are so many great places – it all depends on my mood and what I’m feeling like.

Your personal outfit choices are always so well put together – how would you describe your personal style, and where do you get your inspiration?

I guess I would describe my style as classical with a twist. I love whimsical details! For inspiration, I check out street style, magazines, and tons of blogs. Runway slideshows and fictional characters also have a lot of influence, like old movies or TV series!

Any particular movies or TV shows of late that you’ve really loved the style in?

I fell in love with Zooey Deschanel’s wardrobe in 500 Days of Summer. Everything she was wearing was girly, but not too over the top, which suited her perfectly.

For sure, I really admire her as an actress – and she has a beautiful voice too! So what do you feel will be the hottest trend for Spring, and what will your colour palette consist of?

That’s tricky! I think a continuation of what was trendy in the past will come around again – I really don’t believe in treating fashion as something disposable. There is nothing wrong with finding something that really works, even if it was purchased a few years ago! As for colour, pastels are beautiful and are popping up in stores now.

Is there an article of clothing in your closet that you can’t live without?

Probably my black cardigan from Banana Republic! I wear it over everything, and just having a basic to throw over t-shirts or dresses is so essential.

What is on your most-wanted list for spring and summer?

Surprisingly, new bras! I went up a cup size so it’s a great excuse for me to completely restock. Also, a new shirt dress in a solid colour with tuxedo frills, and a crossbody bag as well in a statement colour (see the one she purchased here!)

Are there any stores or designers that are your favourite?

I love Holt Renfrew – so many beautiful things, it’s like a museum! It’s like you can look but can’t touch! For more affordable clothing, I like Forever 21 and H&M. Lately my wardrobe has evolved to include local designers, especially Two of Hearts!

As a well-known blogger, do you have any advice, for people just entering the blogosphere, on how to gain followers, stay relevant, and make connections?

Blogging is a very community-minded pursuit and what you’re doing is great! A lot of people reach out to like-minded bloggers – you can’t just blog from an island or mountain top and expect people to respect what you say. You’re just one blog in a sea of many, so the relationships you make with others is really important! Social media is called social media for a reason!

What are your top blogs that you read each day?

(1) Daddy Likey (2) Wendy Brandes Jewelry (3) The Style Spy

Wrapping it up, how do you see your blog Solo Lisa evolving in the future? And where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I never know exactly how it’s going to develop; your guess is as good as mine! If something changes, it’s because I’ve changed. In the next five years, I hope that I’ll still be doing something that allows me to write, and I’ll hopefully be married and a homeowner!

11 April 2010

k is for kelly campbell

Introducing Kelly Campbell, a Vancouver-based (freelance) designer, and one of my best friends who has a knack for anything to do with make-up, hair and fashion! I had this idea for a while to find someone who would let me photograph them in a cute spring outfit, in the rain, with an umbrella; she was the perfect match! As a recent graduate from the Global Makeup Program at Blanche Macdonald Centre, and with a new job at MAC Cosmetics, Kelly is well on her way to pursuing her dream career.

With an amazing seamstress for a mom, Kelly has been experimenting with making clothes since I can remember. She's made everything from dresses to bathing suits to Halloween costumes - she even made clothes for her dog Nikita! I asked her if she would like to show off some of her designs, and she readily agreed. We braved a cold, wet day and ventured into the park to take some photos, which turned out amazing. Unfortunately, in our rush, I didn't get around to a proper interview; but I've decided to have Kelly as a reoccurring face on Discovering Elegance! Each season I'll be showcasing her new designs, so watch out for bright and girly bathing suits by Kelly Campbell for Summer!

Kelly designed the white dress with ruffled tiers to fit short with a rounded neckline; I'm in love with the open back, a sultry detail! She paired it with peep toe white heels from Le Chateau, and a simple three-strand pearl bracelet from H&M. I had her use my Sarah Jessica Parker pink detailed umbrella which was a fun accent to the girly outfit.

Kelly's cobalt blue lace cami is gorgeous, the colour looks amazing on her! It's a longer fit, which is perfect to wear over top of her black pleather tights and matching bandeau, also handmade. It looks sophisticated paired with sky high black heels from Winners, a great necklace from Juicy Couture, and a black-trimmed bubble umbrella.

Isn't she gorgeous? You can view the rest of her photoshoot pictures here on my Facebook Fan Page, and you can contact Kelly here for any makeup artistry inquiries. Check back in the future for more Kelly Campbell designs!

10 April 2010

j is for jean jackets

Lustworthy Trend: Jean Jackets

I have this uncanny love-hate relationship with jean jackets, but right now it is definitely in the love department. When I was in grade five my mom bought me this gorgeous jean outfit with studs all over the jacket and along the hemline of the pants - I practically lived in it. Now, jean jackets are back in style and I think they are such a perfect addition to a girly spring outfit! I don't think I can justify spending a large sum of money on one (mine was $25) but they are absolutely perfect to throw over a frilly summer dress or with high-waisted shorts. I've been experimenting with mine over top of a blue oxford shirt, and I like the contrast! Here are some of my favourite denim pieces, from a range of prices.

I really like an in-between wash with some fading or detailing. The Vintage Havana style from Jean Co. ($69) has a great distressed look, and this closely cropped style from Forever 21 ($25) would be great paired with neutrals. I'm so picky with wash colours - it definitely depends on your taste!

One thing I would love to invest in is a crisp white jean jacket. They look sophisticated while still casual and comfortable, and they pair amazingly with bright colours! This Guess Co. two-toned jacket ($108) has a funky edge to it, but I am in love with this gorgeous plain white jacket with cuffed sleeves from J. Crew ($98). You can even get away with layering a white wash with dark denim pants!

Then there are the dark washes. This tighter fitted jacket from American Eagle ($40) is classic with a bit of distressed detailing, but I love this cropped number from TopShop ($80). It's a unique wash that is more suitable for nighttime or to dress down a fancy outfit. Will you be jumping in on the jean jacket trend? I'll leave you with an adorable and perfect way to wear this infamous denim-on-top.

08 April 2010

i is for in my closet

A question popped up the other day on a blog that I read asking: What are your staple fashion items? Giving it some thought, I came up with the items in my closet that I wear the most, and feel the best in. Some are new, some I have had for ages - one of the things I love is finding a way to make clothes that I wore years ago different and edgy to fit today's trends. Even though fashions come and go from season to season, there are always those essential wardrobe pieces that you can't do without. On those days (usually Monday's for me) when your hair is frizzy, no time for makeup, and there's nothing cute to wear - I throw on one of these items and I instantly feel better; especially paired with a hot cup of tea before rushing out the door!

Pictured, I'm wearing my amazing Pins & Needles cotton gray dress. It's comfortable and goes with so many shoes and accessories. The intricate back and the lace embroidered front completely drew me in! Fastened with a skinny belt, I actually styled it as a top for class the other day. I love versatility!

Searching through my coat closet I found this amazing Zara trench that I had purchased in Paris three years back. Which brings me to my first staple item: a great fitting beige trench coat. It's feminine and slimming, and it's perfect for our bipolar Vancouver climate! Secondly, is my leather bomber jacket from Danier. I actually wear it with everything, from lululemon tights to the fanciest dresses. It has enough detailing to be edgy, but the softness of the leather leaves a certain delicacy. I definitely recommend investing in one!

Continuing with neutral colours (do I see a trend here?) we come to my essential leg-wear. From quite literally wearing holes into my Rock & Republic dark wash jeans during my senior year of high school, I've shied away from denim as of late. But, a couple of weeks ago I happened to come across these amazing BDG black jeans in Urban Outfitters that hit just above the ankle.They look sophisticated, while actually being even comfier than tights. And of course, beige chinos; I've been searching for weeks now! H&M had the winning pair: a light wash skinny fit that is perfect to wear with spring colours!

There is something about a crisp white oxford that leaves me feeling coy and sexy! I purchased mine at American Eagle a while back and I've worn it everywhere and with everything imaginable. Extremely versatile, collared shirts are great to layer under blazers or over floral dresses. Then there's my 'mon pull' from the Sonia Rykiel for H&M Collection. This hot pink colour brings out my tan, and the soft knit is so comfortable!

Now that you've had a peek into my fashion world, let me ask this: What is the one thing in your wardrobe that you can't live without?


06 April 2010

h is for house of harlow

I've never been a huge fan of Nicole Richie, but with her gorgeous accessory line House of Harlow 1960, I am definitely changing my mind. Inspired by the 60's and 70's eras, Nicole has created historically chic jewelry that is surprisingly affordable. The line, named after her daughter with hubby Joel Madden, takes inspiration from countries like Africa and Asia, but Nicole makes sure that every piece is something that she herself would wear. With a hippie-vintage vibe, the jewelry layers beautifully and adds a certain elegance to a simple dress or jeans. House of Harlow is truly the definition of successful celebrity design.

Nicole does have silver designs, but all of my favourites consist of gold. This Peacock Cuff bracelet ($188) is to die for; with its intricate details, it will definitely make a statement on any wrist. For this season, I am really loving the eggplant-purple colour, and these earrings are gorgeous! Resin-filled with black and gold detailing ($22), they'll add a pop of colour to your spring outfit.

My favourite (and the most popular piece in the collection) is the Black Resin Necklace ($125). It's simple but bold, and black goes with absolutely any outfit. I love the cut-out shapes, which lay great across the neck - it's not too long, but not too short. I am also an advocate of rings, and this vintage-style gold key design ($38) is gorgeous! Nicole's accessories are timeless.

Another extremely iconic piece in the collection is the Three-Strand Gold Shaped Headpiece ($205). It is simply 'Nicole Richie' in every way, which is why I love it and the whole jewelry collection so much. I, personally, don't believe I could pull it off - but what a great accessory to accent ripped jean shorts and a flowy white shirt. It turns into bohemian high fashion! And there's the muse behind the line, the adorable Harlow. She is such a cutie!

Nicole has also recently extended the line to include shoes (ranging from $100-$250) and I'm loving some of these designs! The snakeskin heel and black bootie are my favourite. And, watch out for House of Harlow purse and bag designs for Spring 2010! I can't wait to see this label evolve. You can find House of Harlow in Holt Renfrew and select boutiques (Blubird, etc.) in Vancouver. Experience Nicole Richie's carefree style with House of Harlow.

03 April 2010

g is for gossip girl, jenny

It's time for Part III: Little J, the rags to riches blondie that seems to somehow always land herself in trouble (I do admire her courage to stand up for who she is - I'd be scared of Blair). She's certainly had a style overhaul from season to season; but despite some very out-there outfits, I've taken a liking to her edgy black ensembles, complete with red lips and platinum hair. The poor girl lives in the shadow of Blair and Serena, so she has to stand out somehow. I've chosen to do good girl vs. bad girl with the outfit choices - it's bright colours against all black, headbands taking on leather jackets. So let me ask this question: Which side do you think is the real Jenny Humphrey?

What a difference a couple seasons can make! I will admit, a little attitude suits Jenny well. Even though I am in love with her Valentino coat and bag, plus the deep red Moschino heels are very cute, this gray Loeffler Randall cape coat makes me weak in the knees. Paired with a gorgeous YSL Roady bag and midnight blue bootie heels, Little J is definitely giving her nickname a run for its money.

Battle of the leathers. Although the BCBG chain tank with a Rag & Bone leather vest definitely makes a statement, I can't help but gravitate towards the glittery Missoni trapeze dress J dons for her sweet sixteen (I also just so happened to dress in a gold sequined mini for my own sixteenth!) If anything, she needed some ruby red lips to complete the outfit, but paired with opaque black tights was the perfect offset - lustworthy!

Take a tip from the girl who's all grown up! Reds, strappy shoes and studs are some of her signature looks. I found this amazing chocolate dress with gold stud detailing from Forever 21 ($33). Paired with a nude heel (Aldo, $90) and signature sunglasses in a bold red colour, to go with matte red lips! For a more casual outfit, black skinny's are a must with a flirty, but comfortable tee (Forever 21, $13) and eye-popping Harajuku Lovers red studded heels. ($100) Finish any outfit off with a great headband!

Be sure to check out Part I: Queen B and Part:II Serena for the full 3x G is for Gossip Girl feature!