Jan 24, 2015

We Never Go Out Of Style

The older you get, the more you realize you need a handful of good, close, tight friends. It’s hard to tell you who has your back from who has it long enough just to stab you in it. You see, true friends are like diamonds – bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style.

 When I started out this blog, one thing that I made sure of was that it was to focus mainly on style. I have said it countless times in interviews and magazine features... but it never actually became as clear to me as it is now. Yves Saint Laurent once said, "Fashion changes, style is eternal." Rachel Zoe once said, "Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." Anna Wintour was quoted saying, "Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others." Diane Von Furstenburg said, "Style is something each of us already has. All we have to do is find it." Even Ralph Lauren had a few words to say about style: "Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever." Everywhere I turn, it seemed, a lot of the fashion industry's big leagues and well-known personalities had something to say about style that I could probably make a book containing my favorite all time quotes and anecdotes of various people regarding "STYLE." 

PS: Scroll down for my funny rendition of Style as it makes its debut... haha! 
(Self deprecation at its finest!)

Now a common question I also get during interviews and fashion features is on how to define my personal style... Back then, I thought it was all about fashion and shopping and clothes so I would usually reply with something along the lines of, "I can't quote define my personal style into one category or type. I am very bipolar, I can wear a studded leather rock star ensemble one day and then a feminine pastel tulle tutu the next day without having to think about it." Of course, that was then and this is now and having spent a couple of years situated front and center of the industry and learning a few life lessons in and away from it, I must say I have a very different perception of style. See, I always associated the word "style" to fashion which was, to be honest, quite silly as it encompasses that and is actually a whole lot more than just that and while people ask me what I do for a living and I would respond that "I am actually Executive Director of an Educational Foundation..." which of course always seems to make everyone pleased to hear that I am such... (I don't know why...) then I add, "Oh... and I'm a part-time fashion and lifestyle blogger." Their gasp of shock over the incongruous paradox that is my life is something I expect and so far, I've had a 99% chance of predicting the blank stares followed by the question, "Oh, so how did you get into that?" as if to save me from humiliation over their very obvious state of shock. I don't really mind it. I have this thing with doing things that I want to do just because I want to and totally ditching those that I don't want to do. I find that it's a damned if you do and a damned if you don't kind of world so I might as well go along with it laughing and strutting in my 6-inch heels. Despite my paragraphs of random musings, ramblings and having an opinion or a reflection or realization or a commentary on practically everything in the world... allow me to remind you, in case you forgot because I've talked too much to the point of no memory, that THIS IS STILL A STYLE BLOG. Seriously.

Now I am having a lot of fun with colors in a lot of outfits I have been wearing and I especially love the combination of cobalt blue and yellow which is why I decided to pick out this pretty white coat over yellow hounds tooth  dress with blue accessories ensemble. It is very unexpected as a color combination, but you know me, I'm always just winging it and if it works, well, "Lucky me!" and if it doesn't, at least I can always say I tried. Everyone always says I look more like a doll than I do a human being so, I have to say I am the most perfect doll that I have dressed with delight and admiration! It's practically play time for me! I always love the word iconoclast as it refers to a person who challenges the norm or cherished beliefs and institutions and I always hoped to be one as I am one to always shake thing up. I hate conforming and I always love to break the rules... even if they are my own rules... and I never say never. It's not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: "This is what you should wear at age twenty", "That is what you must act like at age twenty-five", "This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen." But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are four things admirable for a woman to be, at any age! Whether you are four or forty-four or nineteen! It's always wonderful to be elegant, it's always fashionable to have grace, it's always glamorous to be brave, and it's always fine to create your own rules at any age!

Cream Tweed Blazer  with Gold Buttons:  Zara (also worn HERE)
Hounds Tooth Sleeveless Dress: Fab.ph
Cobalt Blue Sac de Jour Leather Tote: Saint Laurent
Cobalt Blue Suede Akle Strap Wedges: DAS (also worn HERE)
South Sea Pearl Earrings and Necklace: Mikimoto
Crystal Glass Watch: Murano
 Evil Eye Pave Beaded Gold and Blue Bangle: C.Wonder (Also worn HERE)

Now back to the topic of style, it took me quite a while to get to this point in my life where I've finally made some life altering realizations. If you've followed my blog from the time it started, back in 2007  at Chictopia then you would have a documentary of my style and sense evolution. Ah, the perks of growing up. Well aside from the visual transformation, you will also have a chronological documentary of my belief systems, my values, the events that have shaped me, my relationships and my heart breaks and certain milestones that have made me the person that I am today. I did some back reading the past few days which explains my lack of updates and blog entries and I would like to say that I grew up a lot... and in a sense, since I've made my life quite public and almost like a spectator sport, I actually managed to do that with my readers, fans and followers watching...my life was practically for the world to see! And while as much as I reveal in my entries would only be scratching the surface of me (I have so many facets to me...really...*insert ditzy voice here*). I have so much of myself to share and so much more to learn. But as I visited the ghosts of outfit choices and blog posts from the past, aside from the very superficial "What the hell am I wearing?" question that plagued me especially in the year 2009, I also see how different I am from the person I used to be, how circumstance and time has made me realize how important it is to redefine the relationships I have in my life and how so many little things that used to bother me are actually really so petty and ridiculous when I look back at it. Despite the many changes, I am still the same person I used to be... but perhaps someone better. 

 For one, I've witnessed how cut throat and absolutely competitive some people are in this industry and how I can't stand the back-biting, name-calling and back-stabbing. I am happy to have a group of people who I have met along the way who like me are bloggers but I am happier that I managed to filter out the fake and phony ones from my life. I am also thankful that I have a separate group of people who aren't from the industry who I can talk to on the deepest and most core-shaking things about life and who will actually get me. These people keep me grounded because contrary to popular belief, my life isn't all about blogging...it makes up about 7.5%-9% of it. I also consider myself blessed to have gotten to wean out certain people who I thought were genuine friends but somehow were either using me or seem to have status and money get to their heads. I find that it is a good thing that I was able to filter them out and that my values remained the same and that I refused to be influenced. The good thing about iron-willed, uncompromising and head strong (all euphemisms, I find for the word "stubborn," actually) is that I am not easily swayed and I don't always go along with the herd. I just march to the beat of my own drum. The bad thing about that is that people who don't get it would confuse my non-conformity to brazenness and rebellion. Unfortunately, speaking your mind rather than simply saying what everyone wants to hear automatically categorizes you as a "bitch." It's a sad but very true thing and it's happened to me one too many times. Since I can afford to not be a people pleaser, I can go along and do what I want to do and be who I want to be but then I got to thinking about other people who are shoved to the sidelines simply because they have no choice but to remain silent. I hope that somehow I can speak in their behalf.

 More than that, I also learned that looks can be deceiving... and the same applies to actions. There are some people you'll never see again. At least not in the same way. People will hate you, break you and  berate you and no matter what you do, someone will always have someone negative to say about you. The best gift you can give to yourself is to learn to accept the apology you never got. The second best gift is the knowledge that you do not need to attend every argument you are invited to. Stop explaining yourself because some people are committed to misinterpreting everything you express just to get a rise out of you. For me, the strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about. I don't broadcast every high and I do not hide every low. I am trying to live. I am not trying to convince the world that I have a life. More so, insecure people have to make excuses and put others down (whether figuratively or literally) to feel confident. Confidence is not about walking into a room with your nose in the air and thinking you are better than everyone else.  I learned that it's walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone in the first place.

Lastly, I learned that ultimately, people will forget what you wore, what your haircut was or what the color of your lipstick was. They won't remember what designer bag you have or wore and they will not keep in mind if you looked fat or thin or if you had abs in a photo. Heck, even I forget how I looked like or what my dress size was a year ago... what more others? The one thing people will never ever forget is how you treat them and how you made them feel. They will never forget how real and truthful you are to yourself and how you didn't sacrifice your values in exchange for compensation. No matter how good you look or how many people compliment you, if you aren't real and if you can't hold a conversation without having to pretend,  there's really no success there. If you have to put up a face or play a character when you are in front of people but can't treat the people who you see, serve you and who your spend most of your time with, then it is all for nothing. It's okay to be angry or have outbursts but it is never ever okay to be cruel. If you have the power to make someone happy... what's stopping you from doing it? After some time, I realized that the best portions of my life were the small, nameless moments that I got to do something that made random people smile and show them how much they matter to me. I think above all else, at the end of the day, the character of a person matters the most: the deeds they have done, the person that they are, how they treat others, how they treat themselves, their intentions, honesty, the convictions that they stand by and the integrity they have that is unbreakable...that can't be bought nor paid for. Integrity and being real, for me, is what never goes out of style. If we live our lives with that thought in mind, we never go out of style. Everything else like looks, brands or success matter very little.  

Style is being real enough to admit that it is better to be a diamond with flaws than a pebble without.

Photography by: Celyn Jaravata
xx, JL

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