Out of the Sewing Room: Mandarin Collars

michellepham-heelsandsoul-purple-manicure-sewingdress.jpg-7Wear from: dress – michelle pham | earrings – kate spade | shoes - birkenstock | Nails – essie

Hello Autumn! Here in Seoul, the weather is fairly moderate and the faintest whiff of autumn is drifting on by. It’s light cardigan weather and women here are still in skirts. Denim is all the rage here in Korea. Above the knee and mid-calf denim button skirts meet and greet you on every street. The long and flowing trench coat is also in here. Culottes, overalls and sweaters with interesting English slogans are trending here. Guys here love skinny jeans. I was shopping in Dongdaemun with my very good friend Hyewon and her boyfriend. He was interested in trying on some beige chinos, so we asked a merchant to help us find some pants for him. The man brought him some XL chinos. Mind you, Austin is a very fit and lean Asian-American guy. He’d be more of a S-M in USA sizes. At first, we didn’t think that the XL was suitable but upon trying them on, we discovered that XL was actually too tight and small for him. When we asked the owner of the store if he had any larger sizes, he informed us that Korean men like their pants tight.
I haven’t had the chance to sew lately although I have plans to visit the fabric market here next week. Since I’m on the road, the best thing I can do is take everything with my senses. This dress was one of the last pieces to come out of my sewing room before I put a brief hiatus on my projects. Since I work freehand sans patterns, it’s a bit of an experimental trial and error with fit and adjustments. Oftentimes, I will need to rip seams apart and begin again. When I came home, my Mom and Dad tried to teach me how to work with patterns and how to make my own patterns based upon pieces I liked. It is a work in progress… and a lot of math. I’m a humanities person for a reason. Some of my friends say this dress is reminiscent of a country club tennis court vibe. Others say it is acute 60’s diner-esque outfit. As for myself, I was just trying to have fun and learn at the same time. Purple and green are often not paired together because for some reason it is considered a faux pas, but I couldn’t help but think that the business vibes of the purple-white stripe textile would pair so nicely with the translucent, sheer green. Let me know what you think!

Sending you autumnal love from Seoul.




Seafoam Skyscrapers

maisonkitsune-blue-jcrew-skirt-michellepham-heelsandsoul-34maisonkitsune-blue-jcrew-skirt-michellepham-heelsandsoul-21maisonkitsune-blue-jcrew-skirt-michellepham-heelsandsoul-24maisonkitsune-blue-jcrew-skirt-michellepham-heelsandsoul-31maisonkitsune-blue-jcrew-skirt-michellepham-heelsandsoul-25maisonkitsune-blue-jcrew-skirt-michellepham-heelsandsoul-33WEAR FROM: Dress shirt – maison kitsUNé | WHITE SKORT – J.CREW | HEELS - SOFFT

 Before I left Vancouver, I was able to enjoy Gravity Pope’s awesome warehouse sale where I picked up a few pretty things for fall, including this beautiful seafoam dress shirt from Maison Kitsuné. This outfit is the epitome of late Vancouver summers for me. There’s enough of a light breeze that a thin cardigan or button-up makes for nice company in the waning sunsets.

I have now arrived in Seoul, and there will be several posts coming up in the next few weeks on what to do in Korea, my favorite beauty picks from the endless blocks of skincare stores here, good places for day hikes and of course, you’ll be seeing my incessant posts of #ootds. I love this city so far. At times it is a bit overwhelming since all the neon lights and blaring music are overstimulating for the senses. I have to say that the shopping here is incredible. I find myself wanting to bring home everything that I touch. The materials are durable and lightweight. The clothes here are one of a kind in terms of western style. There is a specific and distinctive Korean look that is fairly homogenous. People don’t wear too much color, the style is reasonably minimalistic and no one shows cleavage here. I made the big faux pas of wearing a romper out one warm evening and I was unintentionally the hot topic on the subway. I will have to write a post on the lack of boobs here in Seoul. It’ll be 29 degrees celsius in Seoul and there won’t be a pop of skin on the upper half of a woman’s body. You’ll only see a very, very pale porcelain neck. On the other hand, legs are fair game. Short skirts, mini skirts and tight shorts are all the norm. Koreans have an issue with V-neck tops and tank tops but smooth, doll-like legs are a societal beauty standard here. This country was not made for my assets. It is honestly too hot here for me to wear a full sweater, even though it is autumn in Seoul. Alas, we all play the game the best we can!

I hope you are doing well! Enjoy this lovely season.

Little Black Dress x THII


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White Crochet + Bamboo Forests


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Slow Sunsets


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Cherry Wine


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Industrial Blue and White


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How Have Eurocentric Beauty Standards Affected You?


Photographer Calvin Reedy has put out several exhibitions that use art and photography as a medium for investigating deeper social qualms and the cracks in society’s foundations. When asked to participate in his exhibition on Eurocentric beauty standards and how women of diversity respond to these ideals, I was more than happy to be a part of his project….

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A Band Of Color


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Dresses & Sneakers


As our daily clothing choices are evolving, so is what is in vogue on the runway. It is not uncommon to see women in activewear everywhere on the streets: at the coffee shop, in line at the theaters or on a night out with a few girlfriends….

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