Working for a Scarf

To any of the long-time readers of this little blog/confessional/style diary that I have here (and all of my friends), you will know what has been the driving force behind my dreams in fashion for the past five years of my life. A scarf.

Yes, it is a scarf of all things that has been the driving force behind all of my photo shoots, runways, styling, and stressful nights. But it is not just any scarf. It’s an Alexander McQueen skull scarf. McQueen, as I have discussed previously on this blog, was what showed me that fashion and style was something more than just getting dressed in the morning. That is is an outward projection of the inward being we are and are sometimes cautious to reveal. That fashion and what we wear project not only our socio-economic levels, but our dreams, insecurities, fears, and hopes for ourselves– whom we really want to be or who we see ourselves as. Fashion is more of a mixture of psychology and art than it is just clothes.

After five years of watching countless amounts of his runway videos, cutting out editorials from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar that are featuring his latest collection, and convincing my economics class to invest in his stock for our project, I finally decided I was going to purchase an Alexander McQueen scarf before the end of the summer. I picked up a second job to work evenings and early mornings– basically the only times I wasn’t interning– and started to budget every cent I had and what I would be earning in order to purchase this scarf.

To be honest, I could have purchased the scarf sooner than now. I have worked jobs where I could have bought two of his scarves in a month and still would have enough left over for some food. But it was something that I just never thought about pursuing. It was like the green light in the Great Gatsby– it was beautiful from afar but I worried it wouldn’t be as grand once it was in my hands.

But despite all of these concerns and with the positive support from my boyfriend, I decided I was going to save up every cent and buy that scarf for my semester in London (starting in late August). I subscribed to all the discount websites– that I can trust of course– and just prayed for a sale on one of those $300 scarves I had wanted since my sophomore year of high school. I worked late evenings, early mornings, multiple shifts on my “day off” (when I wasn’t at my internship), and as many weekends as I could. I would be the first to respond to the emails about an available shift and I would change any plans so I could just buy this damn scarf with my own money.

And then an email came. It came from Shop To Me and I briefly looked at my phone before going back to work. And then, like a ton of bricks, I realized in the subject line it said that wonderful name: “Alexander McQueen”. I immediately logged onto the site and saw that there was in fact a sale on McQueen scarves and that I was in reach of my dream. After looking through the five that were on sale, I finally decided on a bright orange one with gray skulls, blue and pink hummingbirds, dragonflies, and flowers scattered throughout and little flowers writing out his name in the center. I then placed an order and still didn’t believe I had done it when I got the confirmation of my order in an email. My brain just wouldn’t compute. It didn’t seem real that this item I wanted to bad for so long was going to be in my mailbox in less than a week.

I hadn’t slept the night before it came. I was up all night texting my boyfriend telling him how concerned I was– what if it didn’t feel right, the color was a bad pick, or if it wasn’t unique enough in my wardrobe? All of these thoughts and concerns raced through my brain throughout the night and I just worried about both my money and this scarf together. When I finally was able to pick up the package that afternoon I simply stared at the unopened box for a while, not quite sure what to do. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations and would be a disappointment. When I got back to my apartment I decided to open it. It was wrapped in this cheap clear bag, like how I get underwear from Forever 21, and I was disappointed it wasn’t in something more elegant. That this man and his vision could just be thrown into some cheap-ass plastic bag and then into a box.

I carefully removed the scarf from the bag and box and looked at it. I was confused with the style, length and whether I could really wear it. I felt like the green light wasn’t as cool as I was expecting it to be. I stared at it a while in my room, pondering whether it really was worth it. Was an entire month of late night shifts and no sleep worth this scarf? Was it really?

I decided to just try wearing it in as many ways as I could. I was going to make this work and not give up on this scarf nor him. He had gotten me through so much before, he could help me now too. Maybe it was just time, or finding the right ways to wear it, or just me realizing money isn’t everything, but I grew into loving the scarf. I haven’t worn any of my other ones since and look forward to wearing it in London. Perhaps it wasn’t love at first sight, but I am proud of myself for finally doing it.

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What do you think? Do you have a favorite designer? Or just something you have worked very hard for and it didn’t initially live up to expectations?

What We Should Really Be Talking About

Someone you barely know asks you out on the date. You are flattered, but you really aren’t interested in them. So what do you do? After all, if you say “no” they may not handle it well. They could stab you in the hallway, go on a mass shooting spree out of Grand Theft Auto V, or make your life a living hell just because you refused that stupid date. As ridiculous as this may sound, it is and has become a reality for a lot of people, especially women.  

Over the past few years there has been an emphasis on being a strong independent male whom also sees others as equals, not belittling others for the gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion. However, for every few fantastically modern gentlemen, there is an ass who thinks women should be thankful he exists and be opening their legs on command for him. And it is men like this that make it difficult to be a female in the modern world. 

Last Friday in Isla Vista, California, Elliot Rodger, 22, attempted to break into and kill several women in a sorority house on the campus of Santa Barbara City College and then fired arms of ammunition at random people in the streets and in a nearby deli before turning the gun on himself. He killed six people. All because no girl at college would sleep with him and he hated the world for it. He also left behind a 140 page manifesto-diary-confessional thing that explained he felt the way he did and did what he did was because he was a “lonely virgin”– he was angry that women wouldn’t have sex with him and infuriated by men whom were having sex. He felt he had something more to offer than these other men and that if women did not see that, then they deserved to be punished until they did. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPFcspwbrq8

While this situation itself is quite insane, it really is some of the reactions that people have to this that are making it worse. Some men out there are arguing that Rodger’s argument against women was actually accurate and that women should be punished for not accepting all men into their beds. Almost as if women have no choice in regards to their bodies and relationships and that we should be overly enthusiastic the moment the first guy asks us to jump in bed with him. Thousands of people– both men and women– face people like this every day. They manifest through both extreme actions– murder, assault, rape– and more culturally accepted ones– stalking, harassment, “cat calling.” Both some of my female friends and myself have experienced these. I had a guy stalk me for two years because I said I wouldn’t kiss him; I had another guy inappropriately grab me in the library at school to prove he wasn’t homosexual (he later did come out as that) and the teacher tell the administrator that I had “initiated it” by wearing a low cut shirt; I had a guy in high school verbally harass me because I refused to sleep with him and he couldn’t understand why; and my senior year I was told by several male friends that I should have been “flattered” and “over-reacted” to when two classmates secretly filmed me in the hallways and made a video saying how their ultimate fantasy was to rape me. And what did all of these situations add up to in my life? A fear to say no to a guy on a date. I went into a panic attack the first time a guy asked me out in my first semester of college– I worried if I said no he too would harm me and cause more damage to my psyche (it later turned out that he was ok with it and I ended up dating my current boyfriend of a year-and-a-half about a month later, but I got to know him before accepting his offer). 

The media has been blaming it on both his lack of sexual contact– as if a lack of sex will drive you to shoot random people on the street– and his mental disorder. But the disorder was being treated and his family was aware of it (a phenomena in a situation like this). When, in reality, this isn’t the conversation this event should be spurring. Rather, we should be talking about where this all really developed. So where does this overly, entitled masculinity that Rodger’s had develop from? Many people are thinking it comes from society and our acceptance of the powerful male stereotype we place on young boys. Whether it is in “nice story babe now go make me a sandwich” mentality or even in the song lyrics of Aloe Blacc’s hit “I’m the Man”, young men are told to repress their emotions and act with brute force (or even violence) when not given what they want. And while there is an argument that not all men are like that– and that is most definitely true– the fact of the matter is that there are too many men whom think like this. Hell, Elliot Rodger alone was one too many of this type of guy. 

So what should we do about this? We need to change our ways of thinking. We need to stop pushing stereotypes and forced gender expectations. We need to stop allowing adult men to believe they are entitled to women at whim and that if the woman rejects them it is something wrong with the woman and should be changed. We need to stop forcing women into a constant fear of what could happen. And I hate that this is so ingrained into our subconsciouses and culture. I shouldn’t be getting up in the morning and thinking: “Well, my boyfriend isn’t here today so is it safe for me to wear a skirt or shorts today? What would be the hardest for a rapist to get off of me and spare me some time to fight?” My parents shouldn’t have had to give me a bottle of pepper spray for “protection” my first week of college my freshman year. Instead of teaching women not to get raped, let’s just say to everyone “don’t rape.” Why not let guys be able to show emotion and even vulnerability? And why not broaden our horizons when it comes to whom and what qualities make “a man”? 

What do you think of this issue? What do you think of the overall larger issue at play as well? 

The latest single from Rita Ora’s highly expected second studio album, this song “I Will Never Let You Down” is both feel-good and perfect for the summer. I am in love with the music video and the fun style of it. Filled with Moschino, Chanel, Prada and more fun designer fashions, the music video is fun and entertaining both musically and visually.

What do you think of Rita Ora’s newest single? Are you looking forward to her new album? And what song do you think should be the song of the month for June?

Song of the Month: May

Forever Chasing After The Cool Girls: A Style Confessional

People ask me all the time where I get my sense of style. I usually blurt out the same answer I have been giving since I was in middle school– my mom. I remember my mom getting ready in the morning, pulling a vintage Chanel jacket on over her Lilly Pulitzer dresses and sliding her manicured feet into her Dior kitten heels and grabbing her Louis Vuitton speedy before taking me to school. She was always a preppy dresser– an accomplished equestrian rider in high school, sorority girl and cheerleader in college, and a sweet California girl and model before meeting my father on vacation. But even when I would tell people this is where I got my style, it never seemed to make much sense to me in my head– most people would believe it because it was a stereotypical answer. But, like many mothers and daughters, my style has very little in common with my mother. Where she wears Hermes equestrian-printed scarves I wear skull scarves; where she wears kitten heels and patten leather ballerina flats, I wear Converse sneakers of every color and design; where she wears small gold hoops and pearls in her ears, I wear safety pins and bullet earrings. My mother was the one who introduced me to fashion and style, but I don’t think she has been my style inspiration since I was 10. 

So, where did it come from? My parents think it came from my older brother, who was in a phase of wearing oversized black jeans and My Chemical Romance t-shirts when I started to enter into my lets-wear-black-everyday-style. My extended family thinks it comes from my father, who was very much a punk rocker before meeting my mom and kick starting his career. My friends think it comes from fashion magazines and watching too many Alexander McQueen runway videos in high school (which may be plausible). But I honestly think my style comes from something more abstract, something more unattainable. 

I think it comes from the “cool girls.” You know, those girls in New York City or London or Paris in black heeled boots, skinny jeans, funky hair, wearing all black and sunglasses when its cloudy out? Yeah, those girls. I remember being in elementary school and seeing those girls in my visits to New York City and how they seemed to have an energy and aura around them– like they were having fun but didn’t give a damn if you didn’t get it. It was those girls with the quirky accessories, simple yet bold outfits, and modern style that inspired me to throw all my baby doll dresses out of the closet and everything not black, grey, blue, or purple into the donation bin. I cut my hair off and kept it short until high school when I died it brown-red with eggplant highlights. I was always chasing after these girls and their effortlessly cool and edgy style and attitudes. I wanted to be them and their relaxed but confident walks. I wanted to be looking at the world through those dark shades and not caring that it was practically night out. I wanted to be one of those girls so bad. And, though I may not admit it, I still want to be. I want to be one of those girls with the confidence of a model and the style of a designer– I don’t want to be a college student who has an almost-all-black wardrobe and gets looks for wearing metal cat eats, head chains, snapbacks, or flower crowns to history class. I want to be them– a cool and modern adult, not a young kid still figuring herself out and praying to get a job someday. 

But maybe I will never be one of these girls to myself. Whenever people tell me I dress cool or am that I make a weird snort noise and say, “nah, I’m just awkward.” I don’t even look at myself as an adult much– never mind I am turning 20 soon and the official loss of my adolescence makes me want to vomit– and I sometimes wonder if I ever will. It may be a good thing to never obtain the goal of being a “cool girl”– it’s like the green light in The Great Gatsby, after idolizing it and imagining it for so long it may not be as fun or interesting as it was when you couldn’t have it originally. 

So, maybe forever chasing after the cool girls isn’t such a bad thing if it continues to keep inspiring me. 

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Thank you all for making 2013 as great as it was and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for all of us.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Why I Want to be The Wolf of Wall Street: A Movie Review

There have been very few films this year that I have been as excited for as The Wolf of Wall Street– the last film I saw that made me this excited was The Amazing Spiderman (2012). From the first trailer back during the summer, this film had me hooked. The camera work, crude humor, fast-paced tone, excess nature of the characters, an awesome cast, an incredible director, and Kanye West “Black Skinhead” playing in the background, it all made me want to see this movie.

So, when the film came out I took the first opportunity I had to go see it. I had already began reading the book (also entitled The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort) and I was ready to see this film. After all, I take a lot of business classes at my college and I have pondered working on Wall Street a few times– I even had tours of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs the last time I was in New York City. But after hearing a few times that this film should have been rated NC-17 rather than R for the incessant drug use and nudity, I was a little nervous about seeing it– I am only a fan of excess nudity in a film or show if it adds to the entire thing and isn’t there just to be there.  And, despite all the nudity and drugs (it’s introduced into the plot literally in the second scene about…..5 minutes into the film), I loved this film from the very beginning.

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I loved the plot, the performances, the music, the cinematography, and the writing. This film follows the life and shenanigans of self-made millionaire Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the cohorts he hires. The story begins when he starts at a firm on Wall Street and gets some……unique advice from a senior broker (Matthew McConaughey)– including to do drugs and “relax” himself at least twice a day in the bathroom. But when that firm closes down, Belfort figures out an ingenious way to make money and make it quickly and opens his own firm with friend Donny (Jonah Hill) and others– none of whom passed their Series 7 exams or are legally allowed to be working there. The entire film follows Belfort, his business, his relationship with mistress-turned-wife (Margot Robbie), and the insane amount of drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes he spends his time and money on. This movie is a mix of Wall Street, Scarface, and Pulp Fiction and is pure movie genius. There are few performances as great as DiCaprio’s in this film– he completely vanishes and you only see Jordan Belfort. There have been many films that he has been nominated for and I have enjoyed his performances, but I must say that this performance blows every single other one out of the water. Such as, in one scene where Belfort and his wife, Naomi, are arguing and she is dumping water on him, I completely forgot that it was DiCaprio.

I cannot more highly recommend this film to people. It is expertly shot and directed and acted. It has some of the best monologues I have heard in years and seriously has some of the best humor I have experienced ever. I only warn that this is NOT by any means a family film– so do not take your child or young teenager or anyone who is not comfortable with nudity or drugs (if they cringed in Don Jon then do not take them to this ever). But if you want a well-written, well-acted, and a film that will be as quoted as Scarface, Good Fellows, The Godfather, or Wall Street, then definitely go.

All I can say is that with the success of this film, the book (it’s in the top 10 selling books on Amazon), and a possible reality show along the way, Jordan Belfort will be paying off his remaining $110 million to the US government much sooner than expected.

Final grade: 10/10

What do you think? Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? What do you think of the film?

Why the Intern is the Most Important Member of Your Business

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Ah, the infamous internship. It’s the first thing most of us have to a “real job” while we are still in college, and it becomes the most stressful thing during our upperclassmen years at college. Despite only being a sophomore in college, I am currently onto my third internship. All of them have been with relatively small fashion brands, and always with their social media/PR and marketing departments, but I have continuously learned how it is the interns at these companies and so many others that drive them forward and make companies develop further. However, some companies no longer want nor use interns.

This past month, Conde Nast, the publishing house that produces Vogue and The New Yorker along with various others, decided to cancel their 2014 internship program due to lawsuits over underpaid internships at and Vogue. And while I agree that it is right for Conde Nast to re-evaluate their internship program, I think they need to restart it soon. A majority of the people who have successfully worked in any industry, especially the fashion industry, have found their beginnings and first jobs via internships. 

Many people don’t realize the impact interns have on their companies. While it can be argued at either free labor or the experience of learning, interns really do a lot of work for a company. Many Wallstreet banks’ interns work on the floor with the analysts and executives; some companies’ marketing and communication tactics are made and developed by interns. My first internship was for an app company for fashion photography and I was a big part of the development process for the app’s current functionalities; my second one, which I am continuing to do while at school, I have been a big part of their marketing and social media plans; and my third one, which I do at part-time, I manage their social media and online marketing presence. I have been told that even though I have played a small role in all of these companies, my work has helped. The intern, who does many times work for free, becomes a player and employee of the company and can make a small to big impact on it. But if those opportunities for people to intern are taken away, then it makes it all the more difficult for people to get into some of these companies and industries. 

What do you think of Conde Nast not having interns for 2014? What do you think of internships in general? Have you interned before? Please comment below.