Monday, May 24, 2010

Fashion Good Cop, Fashion Bad Cop

My girlfriend once said to me that I almost never wear a shirt-and-jeans combo. And that was the first time I noticed that yeah, she’s right! I don’t know if I’m fashion forward or backward, but I’ve long realised that being a Muslim girl who wears a hijab I have always had issues when it comes to fashion-
1. Vogue is not entirely reliable. I mean, if the season’s ‘in’ item is a pair of hotpants, that’s not exactly helpful is it?
2. All those beautiful Zara miniskirts and Prada dresses are look-but-don’t-touch items
3. People have fashion muses- Katy Perry, Nicole Kidman, Gwen Stefani etc. How about fashion icons who wear headscarves? None.
But then when I was raised as a child my mother has always reminded me that I should never limit my fashion access just because I am the Muslim girl with certain limitations in terms of dressing codes. Work with what you’ve got. It’s like how Eva Longoria would have to work with her short height, or how Jennifer Lopez would have to work with her extra curves. It’s really just the same concept.
And when you think about it, it’s so much better to not have a fashion muse! It means you don’t need to live up to any expectations. You are now the trendsetter. I have always loved clothes. I would eat friggin instant noodles for weeks if it means getting a dress I like. And why shouldn’t I buy a dress? Improvise. If you get a nice dress alter it shorter so you could wear it with opaque tights or dark skinny jeans. If it’s sleeveless find a cute bolero or a shorter jacket that fits really nicely on you and you’re good to go. The shoes will ALWAYS make the look. Great top, good pants, ugly shoes? Ugh. And the headscarves. As a Muslim woman you wear the hijab just as much you wear your tops so the rule of thumb is YOU MUST HAVE AS MUCH SCARVES AS YOU HAVE CLOTHES. I now own no less than 20 scarves. And no matter what people say you must try to never wear black or white hijabs (unless of course it perfectly matches the top). Those colours read ‘I can not be bothered’. If you don’t care about yourself, why should everyone else care about you?
The most important thing to remember is whether you are a Muslim girl wearing hijabs or a Vegas table dancer, the basic rules of fashion is the same. Here I’m listing down the basic rules and how it applies to scarf-wearing women-
1. When wearing baju kurung, your underwear and bra MUST completely support everything. Bra lines that show on your chest when wearing thin/fine-fabric baju kurung is just downright tacky (and it shows you’re trying to slut it up with the national dress. Have some respect!). And the baju kurung should always cut nicely at your knees or slightly above it, and the armpits should be close to your own armpit measurements, otherwise no one will know where your ass/waist/boobs are and people will think you steal other people’s clothes that are not your size.
2. G-strings are out the window. Wear seamless or boxers instead. Sitting on the floor with your head covered but you butt crack showing and your thong riding up your jeans? Not classy.
3. Nothing good can come, and I repeat nothing, can come from looking like a walking eggplant. That means to say if you’re wearing strong colours like purple, yellow and orange, do not opt to wear them too matchy-matchy (say, yellow pants, yellow top, yellow scarf). Add another splash of colour, like maybe a clashing-coloured handbag or scarves with different-coloured pattern.
4. If you go tight up, go big down. Tight down, go big up. For example flowy capri pants with a nice shirt that fits. Or a hobo flowery blouse with slim fit jeans. It keeps modesty intact, while style is balanced.
5. If wanting to wear a dress, remember that when wearing pants with dresses, the dress must always cut above the knee. Or else it will look like the dress doesn’t belong there.
6. When faced with the sudden sadness that you can never wear that glittery disco sleeveless top, remember that actually, really, there is nothing that you cannot wear. Find a good leather jacket or fitted jacket/bolero, some super high heels and you look better than Ke$ha already, honey.
7. Yes. It is a fact that being a Muslim girl with a love for fashion will always cost more $$$. You will always need to invest on pieces. You can’t just throw on a dress and shake your hair. It will always have to be a combination of dresses, overcoat/jackets, good pants that really fit your body, gorgeous expensive scarves and nice shoes. Face it. Swallow it. Embrace it.
8. When you look at a piece of clothing, don’t think “Ah, I can’t wear that”. Instead think “Okay, how can I wear this to fit MY needs?” Like knee high boots. You can never wear them with mini skirts like Kate Moss, but you can certainly wear them over skinny jeans like Gisele Bundchen.
9. Makeup, makeup, makeup. Solves almost everything.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Paris Je T'aime!

It's 5.43 pm on Saturday. My housemates aren't around, and next door I could hear the construction people working. I've always had this bad fantasy about people breaking in while I'm at home alone, and then I would proceed to hide under the bed and call 911 while whispering 'Somebody's in my house!'. And the cops would take way too long to get here, and I would proceed to have to comfront the bad guy and stab him with my sharp hair pin, and the story goes on and on...

Anyway. So I opened the balcony glass doors wide open, and I placed my cell phone near me so I could reach them. It's raining outside (gosh I love rainy Saturdays!) and the curtains are blowing everywhere. In case somebody breaks in I have decided to knock him out with this laptop. Oh look at that amazing view! This apartment is totally worth spending my paycheck over!

Two days ago a collegue told me she was resigning from work to do her pHD in the UK. The minute she told me about it I felt kind of sad. In December 2009 I dropped out from my Masters Degree. If I had carried on doing it, I would be in Paris by September in its college, studying. PARIS. I mean, people go there for a vacation, but no - I was going to live there for two years!

Decisions in our lives are made out of three things - fear, people around us and the sense of security. Some days I feel sorry I passed on the chance to go live in Paris, my one big fantasy since my childhood. Some days I feel like I did the right thing - I am financially stable, could afford pretty much any handbag I want, and met friends and a boy at work whom, if nothing at all, completely changed the way I look at the world. I wouldn't have gotten all these if I hadn't turned down the Paris offer. Although one could not stop but wonder, what if?

I had once heard a religious saying that it is a sin to regret. I suppose there is a definite logic behind it. When you have regrets you dwell in the past, the things that you should and shouldn't have done, the mistakes etc. The most important thing is who you want to become, not who you were. Everybody screws up in the past, in different ways and in different levels. You're smart if you learn from your own mistakes and try to be better. You're a genius, however, if you learn from other people's mistakes too.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Bachelorette is Nothing Without Her Pad (Bachelorette’s Pad, that is. Not the other Pad)

View from my bedroom window.

It is my first week in my new apartment. My room is empty except for a 700-ringgit mattress (instant noodles for the rest of the month, hello) and piles of boxes of my stuff against the wall. But I LOVE IT. My window has the most spectacular view of the city. It overlooks a large lake, and behind the lake stands the Twin Towers and the rest of the city lights. Late at night when you make yourself a cup of coffee, sit down on the floor and look out the window (my window is large and almost to the floor) with your bedroom lights turned off the view is magnificent. Then you enjoy the lights reflected on the surface of the lake and the tall city towers and you think, ‘It can’t get any better than this!’

My balcony overlooks the large infinity pool and in the morning one could do yoga bathed in morning sunlight while enjoying the pool serenity (Okay, okay fine. And maybe check out those guys swimming around down there).

A few days ago the genius me bought a closet at Carrefour (“oh of course I can put them up myself! It looks really easy!”) And then the three of us, my two housemates and I, spent about an hour putting the closet together. And needless to say I was the most un-useful one, having the role as ‘The Girl Who Held the Nails in The Plastic Bag and Passed Them Around When Needed’.

I finally have my VERY OWN HOME!! I’m so proud. Haha! Okay time to raid the fridge and see what can be eaten without cooking.

Monday, March 15, 2010

SuperNanny Can Kick SuperMan’s Ass On Any Given Day

On Saturday 13th March I undertook Mission Probably Impossible; nanny duty. My Ummi (Mom) had some errands to run and I had to babysit my baby brother and my boy cousin for the day. Solution = Bring them somewhere they could scream, run around and destroy things and it will still be legal. Hence PETROSCIENCE! (note: nothing pumps a kid’s adrenaline like complicated colorful scientific objects in an exhibition. And the singing Dinosaur robot just blows their minds!).

Ask anyone I know and they would say that although God gave me many gifts, babysitting ain’t one of them (To prove this, last month at a street show I accidentally stepped on someone’s child). I woke up early and chose a good outfit – something that hopefully screams sophisticated mature responsible woman on the prowl with well-behaved kids. Not slutty Miss High Heels who looks like a child kidnapper. (another note: wear WEDGES while on nanny duty. They allow you to run around after children while still looking good and under control)

It was fairly easy, though. Pile a lot of sugar in them (waffles, ice cream, candy etc), let them run around in Petronscience, introduce them to your guy friend who looks too cool for school (it’s amazing how young boys always seem to admire the abang (older brothers)) and bring them to Toys’r’us twice on the same day. And for God’s sake buy them some Transformers/Ultraman Taro on the way home.

While I was watching them I realized that children – like me once upon a really long time ago – live the simplest life possible. They’re always so blissfully happy. As innocent as a white cloth. Will never lie to you. See the world as black or white, wrong or right. No drama. The simplest things make them smile. Ignorant of all the bad things the world has to offer. I can’t quite remember the last time I had lived in that phase. It must’ve been good though.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lessons To Be Learned From Movies

House of Wax – If you get to a wax museum where there are no other tourists, promotion pamphlets and a website, run. Also, if you’re that girl from the group with the trashy lingerie running around in the jungle, chances are you probably won’t survive.

Definitely, Maybe – Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you. And keep in mind that it takes some people a few bad relationships, a divorce and a kid to figure that out. So be warned.

Forest Gump – Stay away from that dude who owns the shrimp restaurant. Or you’ll never hear the end of it.

Star Wars – Queen Amidala is how Lady Gaga got the idea to become a freak show. And it is NOT possible to walk around in space without an oxygen tank.

My Best Friend’s Wedding – Shit happens.

Jennifer’s Body – Megan Fox is undeniably steaming hot. If she competes with you for your boyfriend, give up already.

(500) Days of Summer – It is not possible to be wise and in love at the same time.

Lord of the Rings – They lied. An elf is not supposed to look that cute (picture Orlando Bloom here). In fact, an elf is usually really tiny with hideous ears and a scrunched up face, much like a premature baby.

Ocean’s 11, 12, 13 – Again, they lied. Criminals never look this good. If you don’t believe me look at all those mug shots.

Legally Blonde – However lovable the character may be, in real life it is seriously annoying to see a girl in a pink suit tottering around with a Chihuahua.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Don’t be the silly girl who fell in love with a pirate. They’re usually drunk half the time.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall – For goodness sake, Hawaii is the last place to mend a broken heart. Go to Mekah.

Wanted – Oh, who knows what the lesson is about. Let’s face it, we watched it because Angelina Jolie was in it.

He’s Just Not That Into You – If a guy doesn’t give a shit, it’s because he really, really doesn’t give a shit. Love cures commitment phobia.

Talentime – Malaysian movies are awesome sometimes.