The Wardrobe Staples For Black Clothes

74bee823b8b2a94abf3b8eac529f4604It’s rare that no one has at least one item of black clothing in their wardrobe, even if it’s a black pair of socks! Unless of course, you have a colourful rainbow of socks which would be perfect for mix matching. You might have a coat, t-shirt, pants, hat, bag, dress or shoes in black (or all of the above). The great thing about black clothing is that it matches and compliments well with nearly any outfit.

Black pair of shoes come with an endless array of styles from ballet flats, boots, loafers, sneakers to heels, sandals, lace-ons and slip-ons. Shoes like ballet flats and boots are a staple that you wear year after year.

Black Coat is a perfect addition during the colder season. It keeps you warm and looks effortlessly stylish. There’s a black coat to suit each person, just like a little black dress to suit anyone. You can opt for a trench coat, blazer styled coat or leather jacket.

Black pants Whether it’s a pair of sweatpants, tailored pants, crop wide pants or leggings, they can often be one of our go-to pieces of clothing. Pants work well for wearing to work and on a casual basis just by switching from a blouse to a t-shirt.

Black t-shirt and sweater Turtlenecks are perfect in Autumn and Winter, especially because they keep your neck warm! The classic black t-shirt is so easy to match with your clothing, that it’s just one of those staple pieces you can wear again and again.

Black skirt A Black skirt might not be for everyone, just as a pair of denim shorts might not be for everyone. Skirts are great for a wide range of occasions and can be styled in different ways. You can pick a suitable length that you prefer.

Black handbag Similar to Black ballet flats, my first handbag was a black handbag. I still remember I wore it until it started tearing and the zipper broke. It was just one of those bags that matched everything and was comfortable to wear.

The Problem With Casual Racism In New Zealand

screen-shot7-2010-11-17-atI went home during the last semester break, and as my family were walking in the Farmers Market we stopped by a stand selling beautiful wooden bowls. The man at the stand was friendly and talked to my family, and my Dad who has lived in New Zealand for over 20 years, was asked: “So, where are you all visiting from?”, my Dad replied “Warkworth” which is indeed the truth, as I grew up there. These kinds of questions create ignorance and occur often for many of us who have grown up being asked “Where are you from”, joked about or faced racial stereotypes. Although the title reads in New Zealand, I wanted to also add a little of my experience when I was living in Australia.

There are many stories like these, such as people talking slowly to my parents when I was a young girl, or people treating other people differently because of their race, or being bullied at school for your race. Often these experiences are in silence, and that is why we don’t hear about them often, because they have happened so often, and too many times before. I’ve had school friends tell me in a joking manner “it’s because you’re Asian!” which implies that stereotypes are true, and well, they’re not. Maths and science were my worst subjects, even though people would ask me for help in class. I recently watched a video here, and it’s a strong reminder on the harm of racism.

When I lived in Australia, I felt that for some people, part of the humour there often has casual racism disguised as jokes. In a past post I talked about my experiences of being put in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) in Primary school, even though I am fluent in English. When I was in high school, I had a teacher who used my “being an Asian”, as an excuse for my grammatical mistakes in English class. Bearing in mind English was one of my favourite classes, it seemed unfair that when my Caucasian friends had grammar mistakes, they were simply written in red pen with the teacher’s corrections.

I’m a first generation Kiwi who was born and raised in New Zealand, but because of my appearances I will always be asked “Where are you from?” and no one has ever guessed my ethnicity as Taiwanese. When I ask “What do you think my ethnicity is?” I often get the following: Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Malaysian or Thailand. The thing with asking where are you from? is that it gives the feeling that you don’t belong here. It’s more correct to ask “What is your ethnicity?” because that’s often what people want to know. I can’t count a number of times I’ve had someone ask me “Where are you from?” when I’ve just met them, or when I worked at a cafe, and a customer asks me this question and walks off.

As a Kiwi, I feel that a part of our culture is this she’ll be right kind of attitude, which is why racism is not always taken seriously as it should be. Any kind of racism at any level causes separation, builds hatred and causes a divide between people. The problem is that I’ve faced, as many people have, casual racism since I was a young girl. It all started in high school, because of ignorance and stereotypes. The problem with this is that many people who perpetuate it, make it seem that it’s the norm. In terms of Casual racism in Australia, I feel that it does affect job opportunities to some degree for many people, as there is still that level of discrimination in some corporations.

We live in a multicultural society, and in order to have a sense of harmony, we must be accepting of diversity. There needs to be a level of respect, and a treat others how you’d like to be treated way of thinking, for anyone we encounter. It’s not always as simple for these things to change immediately, and it will take time, but I think it’s important that we strive for it and live by fairness. Everyone deserves equal opportunities regardless of their race. Casual racism seems harmless, but if everyone does it, it helps it grow and builds up into a bigger issue. What do you think? What are your thoughts and experiences with casual racism?

Photography by Stephen Shore

A Minimalists Journey In Fashion And Lifestyle

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If we go back in time, I was 14 when I started my first job at a cafe, and this meant taking responsibility for buying some of my own things. As a country girl, we would go into the city 2-4 times a month. I remember feeling satisfied with being able to buy my own clothes that I’d worked for. In my first year of uni in 2013, I would buy several items each month, and at the end of the year they were either left in the wardrobe or only worn 2-3 times. This taught me a lesson on choosing wisely, spending your money on clothing that will last and embracing your personal style. Over the years, I noticed the only pieces of clothing that I never threw away were predominantly my black clothes.

 

Our wardrobes should be filled with clothing that we will wear and make use of. In the book L’art de la Simplicité, it talks about how the things we own should have a purpose. This is why it’s important to purchase things that are good quality, long lasting and reflects who you are, in order to be useful. Minimalism doesn’t mean that you need to have the style of only wearing black, white and grey, because well, everyone has a different style. It simply means simplifying your life, not just in clothing materials, but in your lifestyle, relationships, mindset and so on. Decluttering is beneficial in the mind as well as our surroundings, as it sets free unnecessary thoughts and allows a clearer mind.

 

I think it’s important to mention that minimalism doesn’t mean that you only have seven items in your wardrobe, that you wear for each day of the week. It’s a reminder that we don’t need a lot in order to be happy in our lives, and that we should embrace the things we have. Therefore, you create a sense of satisfaction that isn’t attached to materials, and you have an appreciation for what you do have. It gives a sense of cleanliness and keeps your lifestyle simple, creating a space with less stress. Creating a habit of buying things of good quality means you spend wisely and am more thoughtful about what you’ll realistically use or wear for the next several years.

 

For fashion lovers, you should embrace your personal style, because it means you don’t buy something impulsively or for instant gratification. I remember in my teenage years, I used to buy things that in the end were not worn anymore because they didn’t completely connect with who I am. Now, I tend to buy from secondhand stores, choose more carefully or only purchase things that reflect my style. Minimalism in Fashion also ties into our lifestyle and the way we live. We live in a society that often feeds off of our fears and insecurities to make a profit, and unfortunately, we are used to this. However, the materials we own shouldn’t be a reflection of our self-worth.

 

Minimalism lessened my anxiety in my everyday life and made my lifestyle far more comfortable and far more stress-free. Life felt much more meaningful and enjoyable once I let go of toxic friendships, bad habits, unhealthy thinking and letting go of items that I had an emotional attachment to, but didn’t hold any value or use in my life. In The Minimalists, it says Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s most important things—which actually aren’t things at all. 

Discover more about Minimalism:

The Art Of Minimalism And Letting Go Of Materials

Minimalism: Living Life With Less Things

Book Review: L’art de la Simplicité

The Lost Art Of Staring Into Space

tumblr_nbydv01Db41re3kvuo1_500.jpgAs I walk into a space, there is often people with their heads down on their phone, laptop or mp3 player. It makes me think about how we don’t see daydreamers as often as we used to, and if you catch sight of one, perhaps you might make eye contact for a fleeting second. Our eyes show what we focus on or perhaps we might be gazing into the distance absorbing our surroundings. The lost art of staring into space, also suggests the quiet moments where we pause for a moment. The kind of pause that needs no interruption or interaction with our technological devices.

There’s time to take a deep breath, stare into nature and listen to the birds outside. We are all plugged online at some point of the day (hence I’m writing online this moment). However, these thoughts wonder into my mind about how this has become normalised. As I visit Taiwan each year, it’s normal for the whole row on a train to be on their mobile devices and in Sydney, it’s normal for someone to be walking and nearly walk into you while they text their friend and in New Zealand, it’s normal to see someone with their headphones talking to someone about business. But, somehow, it just doesn’t seem normal.

I say this mostly because I rarely use my phone when I’m out and about, or at least I try not to too much. The truth is we don’t need to use our phone 9/10 times, but it has become a habit or a ritual of some kind, that seems natural and we might not think twice about it. Space makes me think of back on the farm when I was younger, I could crouch down and stare at little ants walking past, watch my pigs eat or lie on the grass staring at the clouds moving across the blue sky and time seemed to pass by.  The art of staring into space is also the art of simply doing nothing.

We are a culture that praises busyness because it ties in with the idea of productivity which also suggests motivation. Busyness is always trending, as a memory seemed to pop in my head of how many times we may have said we’re doing nothing, but people seem to need to feel sympathetic when there’s no need. It’s nice to do nothing. Back in high school, when I was bored I would always daydream, but nowadays when someone is bored they may whip out their phone or listen to music on the streets. Comfort in being alone is important, as it means we are able to disconnect from the world.

I found when we were younger, there was a sense of creativity that we build in our moments of space. If we didn’t know what to do, we’d find something to do or imagine what, where and who we might be. The curiosity of noticing the things around us invites excitement and experiences into our lives. They make us more aware individuals and more engaged in the present. There is so much beauty in quiet moments, that we forget it if we surround ourselves with a noisy environment. Take those moments where you look around, people watch and feel the world around you.

Space gives us the ability to develop creativity, awaken curiosity and allow critical reflection and thoughts to wander. The lost art of staring into space reminds us to see the world offline, without our screens in front of us. It allows us to see the reality around us through the lens of our own eye. It reminds us that we don’t always need to be switched on and that we need time to be in a quiet and peaceful state of mind. A wonderful article here, talks about the ability to switch off and the true joy in leisure.

The last few paragraphs from the article: We’re either working, or preparing and commuting to work, or recharging our batteries for another round of work. Otherwise, we’re just flopping out in front of a screen. And many of the activities that we deem as leisure are in fact just another version of toil, argues Skidelsky. Jogging to lose weight, hosting parties in order to ‘network’, learning yoga to be an instructor, these activities are undertaken instrumentally with a specific goal in mind. Leisure, on the other hand, is done for no other sake than for the sheer joy of immersion. 

image via

Style File: Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen

920e9f1b0cbe66a98a0e1fbf9d3904d8.jpgMary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are the designers for the luxury fashion brand, The Row, which was established in 2006. The brand includes a range of ready-to-wear, eyewear, handbags, and footwear. In 2012 and 2015, The Council of Fashion Designers of America named Ashley and Mary-Kate as Womenswear Designers of The Year. In 2014, they were awarded the title of CFDA Accessory Designers of the Year. They wear black effortlessly and embody structural designs that compliment the figure. They wear printed fabric and detailed patterns, but are known for layering and wearing a minimal style that proves less is more.4e55d2edfb55764eb4d627e0f51b61d4.jpg01220302000004101_1.jpgc868a8b265bfeecdffb2bcca079ab7a3.jpg8d3893af4de5461e87044a49a37fc57d.jpg8bf5394e47c817826342cdcf0a9b389d.jpgolsen

Wynn Hamlyn ’17/18 Collection

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Wynn Hamlyn Crawshaw’s is the designer of Wynn Hamlyn and has featured in NZFW, impressing the audience with his skirts, merino knitwear, polo tops and midi dresses. The collection features silk textures, and a splash of colours such as gold, red and deep green. There are tops and dresses in one of a kind colours and masculine cut jackets and coats. The collection also features denim, cable knitwear, suits and cashmere coats. There’s a relaxed element with the tailoring and silhouettes. The colour palette is bold and there’s a diverse range of fabric and textures.

Photography by Sarah Adamson

May Monthly Wrap Up: Events, Life And Cats

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This month has been wonderful, even when the wind was wild and the nights were chilly. The start of the month was the launch of Chinese Eye Magazine, and it was an amazing event. I went with my lovely friend Sabina. The goodie bag had a rose inside each one that it almost felt like Valentine’s day. There were delicious dumplings cooked by House of Dumplings and stylish decor from Matisse.

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Miss FQ had an event to celebrate the launch of Juicy Couture’s new Viva La Juicy Sucré Fragrance. The scent is quite sweet and reminds me of lollies and cupcakes. The gift bags included one bottle of the new fragrance and an edition of Miss FQ. There was a dessert ATM where cupcakes came out. They were so delicious and sweet – perfect for a sweet tooth!

The Cat Lounge is the first cat cafe in New Zealand and my second cat cafe experience. The black cat had an instant fondness for Mr Penguin, and some were sleeping peacefully while others were wondering around. There’s something mysterious about cats, but they do love to lie in the patches where the sun warms up the ground. There was a beautiful large Maine Coon and a sleek grey and white cat, otherwise they were all little darlings.

May meant turning 21 and reflecting on how much I’ve grown as a person, and how much there’s still to learn. It meant saying goodbye to long distance and embracing the beautiful journey ahead. Uni has been great this year, and the beautiful view from work makes Winter look like Spring. Sometimes the little Sparrows will visit and sit on a branch. Lunch breaks were filled with reading Eye magazine, and early mornings meant listening to music to wake me up.

Cherish each moment, be grateful for everything and enjoy the memories.