Confused It: Justin Beiber in Saint Laurent at 2015 MTV VMAs

Justin-Bieber-2015-MTV-Video-Music-Awards-Style-PictureBefore we begin talking about this outfit, I want to tell you guys that I just watched Justin’s newly released What Do You Mean? video, and it feels so weird seeing him objectify himself and penetrate a girl (okay, there is no actual penetration in the video, but penetration is what it tries to communicate). I know he has grown up and stuff and so it’s very unreasonable of me to expect him to be the same young and innocent boy who sings Baby and not have sex and do drugs, but for reasons I can’t articulate I’m still stuck with his baby-ish image.

Anyway, above is what he wore to the VMAs, and it’s sort of making me confused. The outfit is stylish and wearable and right up my street and if I had to vote it would be one of the best outfits of the night. BUT…I do NOT feel like this is him at all, style-wise; Justin Beiber and Saint Laurent have never mixed in my mind. (FYI, in my mind it has always been Justin and Balmain.) I just feel like with this look he has strayed too far from who he really is. And let’s not broach the subject of his hairstyle/extension because whichever angle you look at it it’s still downright horrible.

[Read more…]

Slayed It: Pharrell in Denim-on-Denim at 2015 MTV VMAs

Pharrell-Williams-Helen-2015-MTV-Video-Music-Awards-Style-PictureWell, I don’t want to resume my ramblings about celebrities on the first day of September with negativity, so let’s talk about one of the few things that is not VULGAR at the VMAs this past Sunday. (Seriously, now the VMAs is the pinnacle of vulgarity. I can’t believe I used to be obsessed with this award show.)

Pharrell nailed this denim-on-denim look 100%, don’t you think? His jeans and boots are seriously legit, the entire outfit is very well proportioned, and most importantly it still feels authentically Pharrell. I believe this is the first time in the history of VMAs’ red carpet that a celebrity went full force on denim and didn’t look like a freaking joke.

[Read more…]

Don’t Be Afraid of These 3 Touristy Attractions in Iceland

Mother Nature is my muse.

I remember vividly the moments my plane descended into Iceland. Pressing my face against the airplane’s window and frantically clicking the camera button of my iPhone, I saw an aerial sight completely unlike anything I had seen before. Instead of trees, rivers, buildings, and moving vehicles, it was an endless blanket of snow. The entire landscape was painted in the most unadulterated white. From 10,000 feet, it looked indescribably beautiful and formidable!

I saw a variety of sceneries during my time in Iceland. But at every stop my reaction would revert to, “oh this is so spectacular and…intimidating”. That, I have come to conclude, is the essence of Iceland. It was exhilarating to see the wondrous things Mother Nature has gifted us but unnerving at the same time because she truly is unstoppable.

Besides the tours of Snæfellsnes peninsula and Jökulsárlón, I went on a Golden Circle tour (as one does when in Iceland) and a horse-riding tour and pampered myself at Blue Lagoon. None of these places is ground-breaking or off-the-beaten path, but I still enjoyed them immensely. I don’t have a lot of photos from each tour because of the weather, so I want to combine them in one post for your viewing convenience 😀

Like all first-timers to Iceland, I had the Golden Circle on my to-do list and chose Bustravel Iceland tour company (the same one that took me to Jökulsárlón and Vik). The Golden Circle is the quintessential tourist circus in Iceland, as its proximity to the capital of Reykjavik and the eclectic sights along the way make for a very nice and relaxing day trip. Every tour company in Iceland offers this tour and it all visits the same attractions and prices are essentially the same across the board, so you can just pick any company to go with.

_DSC0446The first stop of the tour was the Strokkur geyser, one of Iceland’s most famous natural geysers, located in Haukadalur geothermal area. Here is the confession I need to make: Even though I had never seen a geyser before I came to Iceland, Strokkur left me a little cold. Don’t get me wrong, a geyser erupting is a rare and amazing natural phenomenon and you need to see it in your lifetime. But for reasons I can’t explain, my heart just didn’t jump up and down like it always does when I see a glorious sunrise or sunset. I think it ultimately comes down to personal preference because I have friends who look at sunrise, sunset or sweeping view from the peak of a mountain and feel NOTHING. I wonder if the pervasive “rotten egg” odor around the area had a lot to do with my lack of affinity for it. 

Another geyser in the area. This one was just resting the whole time I was there.

_DSC0439The surrounding landscape around the area is enchanting, though. 

This is what I call geothermal activity 😀

After we finished with Strokkur, we made our way to Gullfoss waterfall (meaning Golden Falls), probably the most visited waterfall in Iceland. (Now you understand why this route is the most popular among tourists; not only is it conveniently located but everything along the way is Iceland’s most famous.)

Gullfoss was the first waterfall I saw in Iceland, and I was utterly overwhelmed by its size and intensity. According to World of Waterfalls’ website, Gullfoss is special in that “it featured two distinct drops in succession at right angles to each other while spanning the entire width of the Hvítá River. Adding to the scenic allure was that the river flowed wildly and freely so it could be experienced in all seasons as each season would yield very different moods and appearances.” Like Skógafoss, Gullfoss offers gorgeous rainbows when the sun comes out in the summer. Well, I didn’t get to see the coveted Icelandic rainbow, but I was very satisfied with the lingering ice and snow. 

_DSC0490It was a long drive from Gullfoss to Þingvellir National Park, the last stop of the tour. I might have dozed off at some point on the way. However, all that sleepiness disappeared the moment I arrived at the park; the gush of wind almost knocked me down. And then my eyes couldn’t open any wider at the rift valley inside the park. I had never seen anything like it before. Yeah, “I had never seen anything like it before” was the overriding theme of my Iceland trip!

The history and geology of Þingvellir are equally fascinating. It became UNESCO heritage site in 2004. From the website of UNESCO: “Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the National Park where the Althing, an open-air assembly representing the whole of Iceland, was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Over two weeks a year, the assembly set laws – seen as a covenant between free men – and settled disputes. The Althing has deep historical and symbolic associations for the people of Iceland. The property includes the Þingvellir National Park and the remains of the Althing itself: fragments of around 50 booths built from turf and stone. Remains from the 10th century are thought to be buried underground. The site also includes remains of agricultural use from the 18th and 19th centuries. The park shows evidence of the way the landscape was husbanded over 1,000 years.

And if you are feeling extra inquisitive today, I leave you with this website, which does an excellent job of explaining the complex geological features of Þingvellir. Worth a read 😉

 

IMG_5034The most adventurous, liberating, transportive thing I did in Iceland was riding a horse. Imagine it’s your first time ever riding a horse, and you are not riding a horse in a controlled environment. You are actually riding in an open field, going up and down the rugged Icelandic terrain with dramatic snow-covered mountains and glaciers on the horizon. You even cross a moving stream TWICE. Saying it’s a fun experience is a profound understatement because it truly is INCREDIBLE!

[Read more…]

Two Day-Trips You Absolutely Must Do in Iceland

What I am wearing : 2 pants (3 if my Calvin Klein underwear is counted), 4 layers underneath the jacket, 2 scarves and thick-ass wool socks. Oh and a running nose to boot :(

I need to write Instagram an I Owe You soon. No, I am not taking monetarily. I wish it were about money, though, because that kind of letter would be easier to write.

For the last three years, Instagram has taught me more about photography than anywhere else and made me significantly less ignorant about geography. Before using the app, I had no faintest idea about many countries. By that I mean I did not even know that they exist.

(By the way, isn’t it time that we befriend on Instagram? I am confuseddasher over there)

One of those countries was Iceland. And ever since I saw the first photo of it on my feed, I have been crazily obsessed.

_DSC1142My obsession is totally justifiable, right?

I made it to Iceland in April this year. Still to this day, I occasionally pinch myself that I actually went there. It is so far away, so expensive, so unusual of a destination for Vietnameses. My family and most people around me expect me, at this age of 25, to climb the corporate ladder and save as much as possible so that I can buy houses and cars and have a luxurious life later; they cannot understand my desire to travel to countries as unfamiliar as Iceland.

Here is what I have realized: when you are surrounded by people who are not fully supportive of what you love to do, you are bound to doubt yourself at some point no matter how resolute you are. I felt guilty of my love for traveling many times; I questioned if I really was nothing but a spoiled brat for slurping a lot of my money on traveling, whose benefits are not as tangible. It was a constant emotional tug-of-war between “growing up and being responsible” by traditional standards (stop traveling and start saving all your money for rainy days, for retirement, for future business endeavors etc.) and allowing myself to travel whenever possible.

But you know what? All that self-doubt completely disappeared when I was in Iceland. Seeing the otherworldly nature and landscape of Iceland, I was overwhelmed and more reassured than ever of this collect-experience-rather-than-materials path. No amount of designer stuff has ever been able to make me feel as alive as seeing the unbelievable Jökulsárlón or Thingvellir National Park did.

_DSC1065When I showed this photo to a friend of mine at home, here is what she said, word-by-word: “If I can see stuff like this in my lifetime, I don’t mind dying.”

****

If you google what is the best way to travel around Iceland, you will notice the renting a car advice comes up most frequently.

It is a good suggestion, but after talking to other fellow travelers I realized it is not always the best way. It only saves you money if you have a few people to split the costs. If there are just you and another person, you will not save anything. Also, if you are the only one in your group who can drive, you are going to be too tired to savor the sceneries. My Italian friend drove for a whole day and said it was exhausting.

So, if you value your privacy more than anything and want to be in total control of your schedule, rent a car by all means. Otherwise, do not rule out tours.

Because I do not know how to drive, I had no other option but to join day tours. It ended up being an excellent way to explore the diverse landscapes of Iceland in the span of a week. Considering that these tours offer only transportation and guide, they are not exactly the cheapest options. But the spectacular visual treats I had in each tour more than made up for its price.

I did four tours, and the two most impressive ones that I whole-heartedly recommend are detailed below. Even when you do not do group tours, these two parts of Iceland must be on your visit list 😉

1. The Wonders of Snæfellsnes (by Reykjavik Excursions, approximately US$141)

This is hands-down the most amazing tour I had in Iceland.

It was epic on so many different levels: the weather was glorious, every single sight was jaw-dropping, there was ample time to take photos, the bus was spacious and clean, the tour guide was delightful, and everyone was punctual and polite. Oh did I mention that there was WiFi, though spotty at times, on the bus?

True to Reyjkavik Excursions’ promise, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the compressed version of Iceland. In just a day, I got to sample all the “specialties” of Iceland: volcanoes, fjords, glaciers, snow covered mountains, black sand beaches, fishing villages and coastlines that seem to stretch into infinity. I am not one for comparing sceneries because the Sahara desert and Cinque Terre are obviously not the same thing. But if I really had to, I would say Iceland (Snæfellsnes in particular) is unrivaled. 

Now, let me show you what I saw in Snæfellsnes :)

_DSC1131The nice thing about tours in Iceland is that they offer complementary pick-up and drop-off; you just need to show up at your hotel’s lobby at the designated time. The first stop after we left Reykjavik was Öxl, below mountain Axlarhyrna. Here we learned a chilling story about Iceland’s most callous killer, Axlar–Björn, who lived in the 16th and was believed to have killed 18 people. He offered travelers accommodation and killed them at night. But one girl escaped and reported him to the authority. These days, Iceland is doing an excellent job; its crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. If I remember correctly, it does not even have that many police officers. 

Then, we headed straight toward Arnarstapi (Stapi for short), a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell. It was an important trading post in the early days, but now does double duty as a harbor and a prominent tourist destination in Snæfellsnes. We had about two hours for sightseeing and lunch, but I skipped lunch entirely to go around and take photos.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I was squealing with excitement the whole time I was there.

THIS PLACE SERIOUSLY DROVE ME CRAZY!

_DSC1147 _DSC1158 _DSC1166 _DSC1211_DSC1181 _DSC1204_DSC1184

The next place on our list was Djúpalónssandur, a rugged and formidable black sand beach surrounded by unusual rock formations and amazing lava fields. It used to be a busy fishing village, but is now uninhibited. I can see why; this area is pretty remote and the weather is not hospitable.

_DSC1221 _DSC1269 _DSC1262_DSC1223_DSC1227_DSC1235Now, I have to apologize because after Djúpalónssandur, I stopped taking notes so I cannot tell you guys what these towns are called. All I know are they are gorgeous and put a great end to a day full of breathtaking sceneries. Don’t you just love those vibrant Nordic houses? :)

(If you happen to know what their names are, please sound off in the comment section so I can update this post.)

_DSC1293_DSC1306 _DSC1304 _DSC1308_DSC1296

[Read more…]

Style Inspiration #10: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell-Marries-Helen-Lasichanh-9My heart skipped a fashion beat when I first saw this photo. Can you outshine someone who chooses to wear red plaid suit to his own wedding? No, you cannot. Neither can I. Nor the rest of the human species!

Lately, instead of doing things that add value, I have been contemplating which celebrity I would pick to play me if one day Hollywood decided to make a movie about my life and my style. I have not made up my mind yet, but I know I would not cast Pharrell. I am leaning toward Eddie Redmanye, since we seem to be similar in frame size and sartorially speaking, we are kindred spirit. Also, I believe it would take an Oscars-winning actor to successfully convey on screen the nuances and internal conflicts of my character.

LOL. I know I am being delusional. But fantasizing is all about coming up with scenarios that will never, ever happen, right?

Here is the truth: Even though my personal style and that of Pharrell are very different and will most likely never converge and his music has not always been my kind of jam, I really like him as a person and his sense of fashion. I have a feeling he is the kind of person with whom I can both shoot the shit and share my deepest, darkest secrets.

His style is legitimately eccentric and eclectic, but he is one of the few, if not the only one, who does not look like a nut-job when he wears nutty stuff. Like, let’s be honest, this brown Vivienne Westwood hat is pretty hideous in and of itself. But on his head it kind of edges toward whimsical, right? Try to put it on David Beckham or Nick Jonas, and you would realize its existence is a mistake.

Also, to me, there is something very personal about the way he dresses. It reminds me of things I have in my closet and reassures me that it is okay to wear them in daylight again.

The best thing about Pharrell’s style, however, is its transcendental quality. It is no longer just about clothes, brand names, or setting fashion trends. The messages his style imparts are style is relative and subjective and there is no universal set of rules to dressing well. If you see something you like and find it authentic to your brand, then wear it and just let people respond the way they want to.

In a broader sense, if the underlying motive of everything you do is external validation, you will not live a life that feels like your own.

A few months ago, Pharrell was honored with the Fashion Icon Award by the CFDA. Which is totally cool and deserving. I just think the award should have been called Fashion Iconoclast for once because Pharrell is exactly that, style-wise. He defies the conventional images and/or standards of what a well-dressed male celebrity should wear.

So, if you are a Pharrell devotee and want to dress like him on some level, this post is for you.

A caveat before you scroll down: Some of these are safer to try at home than the others. Be prudent with what you decide to wear, is all I am saying 😀

1. Denim shorts are basically awesome

This photo sums up perfectly how I feel about these three when we discuss fashion. Pharrell is always the most interesting to look at.

Of all the things that Pharrell has ever worn, his denim shorts are what I most identify with. In fact, I am wearing a pair as I type this. I cannot tell you why denim shorts do not get as much love as khaki shorts, but I can tell you that they are awesome and European chic. Americans, give your Old Navy and GAP shorts a break. H&M and Topman make some decent denim shorts, if you are on budget.

Pharrell Denim shorts 2 Pharrell denim shorts

2. Wear suits with shorts if you are feeling audacious

Like Nick Wooster, Pharrell seems to have developed a penchant for suits with shorts. While I will not jump on this bandwagon anytime soon for a variety of reasons ranging from I-still-haven’t-figured-out-who-I-am-as-a-person-yet, I-don’t-have-a-bottomless-bank-account to I-don’t-have-events-to-go-to, I love this quirky style on Pharrell. He has always pulled it off with aplomb!

Besides his attitude, I believe his lean body frame makes it happen. Which means if you have hairy, beefy legs, do NOT even think about trying. You would just do yourself a huge disservice!

Pharrell Suit shorts 2 Pharrell suit shorts 1

3. Roll up your trousers no matter what

Alright, I initially felt quite dubious regarding this because: #1. I cannot figure out why he did this to his trousers. It could not have been a last minute fix because he did it many times, meaning it was intentional. If showing off his ankles was what he wanted, why did he not wear shorts instead? And #2. I personally think by doing that, he ruined what could have been glorious red carpet moments. I feel kind of bad for the Lanvin turquoise silk & wool blend double-breasted suit in the second collage; it is so breathtaking.

But after looking at these photos over and over again, I have decided to embrace this tactic. I will roll up my jeans that are a tad too long, instead of putting them in the discard pile.

Pharrell, thank YOU for your brilliant idea!!!

Pharrell Rolled up Trousers Pharrell rolled up pants

[Read more…]

Hot Stuff: Michael B Jordan in Sandro at BET Awards 2015

It recently came to my attention that Michael B Jordan is very handsome and well-dressed. I do not know for sure whether he uses a stylist, but he seems to have a genuine interest in fashion. And I always appreciate a genuine interest in anything, not just in fashion!

(Michael, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I am sorry for having never watched any of your movies. I have been very movie-illiterate lately.)

Anyways, I feel mostly satisfied with the dark teal (am I naming the color right?) Sandro suit he wore to the BET Awards in L.A a few days ago. The color is unexpected and subdued yet still eye-catching and manly. The fit of the pants is great; the shoes are absolutely dreamy. The tie’s color coordinates with the rest of the outfit, too.

However, I remain slightly skeptical about the fit and the length of his jacket. Shouldn’t it have been a tad longer and looser around his broad shoulders?

My initial guess is that Michael’s assistant told him at the very last minute about the event, and so Michael did not have enough time to have the jacket tailored. But I soon realized my guess was way off-base because this is a very well-thought-out, sophisticated outfit. There is nothing last minute about it. So now I think it is because he cared more about preparing for his poignant and timely speech about racism. Which only makes me like him more!

[Read more…]

30 Truly Wearable Coats from Spring Summer 2016 Menswear Collections

DVNStunningly gorgeous Dries Van Noten!

There is one thing I want you to know today: You can always rely on me when it comes to winnowing thousands of coats shown during fashion weeks down to the most glorious and wearable ones. This season is tougher than usual, I have to admit. There are just so many ostentatious and impractical ones. But I am here to serve you all, so here go the best gems of this season.

EZ 1EZ 2These Ermenegildo Zegna coats are hands-down my most favorites. I basically want to live in them forever.

AMIFor effortlessly Parisian chic coats, we can always count on AMI. 

Valentino 1 Valentino 2These Valentino coats are whimsical, but in a way we can relate. 

NBThe truth is Neil Barrett has never stopped making me feel EMOTIONS. 

MMMI never thought John Galliano and the word ‘wearable’ would mix, but here we are. These Maison Martin Margiela coats are down-to-earth and classy. However, the coat on the right side of the photo would require a tall person to pull off. Someone Scandinavian good-looking like Alexander Skarsgård.

[Read more…]

Lust-worthy Alert: Ports 1961 Spring/Summer 2016

21-spring-2016-menswear-street-style-07Milan Vukmirovic, you are one freaking awesome and stylish human being!!!

It is so unfortunate that Milan Vukmirovic and I live so far apart. If we lived in close proximity, I am pretty sure we would be BFF. We have so much in common. We both love health and fitness. We both appreciate the beauty of nature and people and try to capture it with our cameras. We both love fashion, and we truly are on the same page about what menswear should look like.

Before he took creative charge of Ports 1961, I was pretty much indifferent to the brand. Just not my kind of jam. But I am really loving the fresh energy and modernism he is injecting into it. The clothes look super cool yet still timeless. He showed his new spring summer collection last week in Florence, and I am absolutely SOLD!!!

_A2X0062I do not care if you think color block is 2010; I think this coat is perfect. I never say no to beige and black.

_A2X0317This coat touches me, too. But more importantly, what can I do with my face to make it as chiseled as his? 

Oh hi Simon. You are always a delight. I can totally see you pull this off in real life.

I WANT EVERYTHING, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. (Psss, that sounds kind of wrong, but you know what I mean.)

The model’s hair is cracking me up and leaving me confused. Is it intentional styling or it it because of the wind? Crazy hair aside, he has a very effortlessly chic outfit. 

David Gandy will wear this better than any human being on this planet ever will.

I believe that this is called romper in fashion. It is ridiculous, especially from a functional point of view. I hate everything that makes the act of peeing difficult. Also, call me perverse all you want, but that thing on the chest looks like a penis to me. I can see that there is a camera, a star, and something long and slender. But together, from afar, it resembles a penis. 

This military green romper is ridiculous, too. But somehow Nick Wooster wears it extremely well. He just has this innate ability to wear things that no one else can. Bottom line is I do not want to see this on anyone but Nick. 

_A2X0835Hi Eugune Tong, I love your style. I know you are going to buy all of this as soon as it hits the rack in 6 months. Or maybe Milan has already gifted you everything to say thank for walking his show? I just want to say that I am sorry I have not talked about you on this site. I will very soon, I promise!

[Read more…]

7 Best Designer Sneakers On Sale Right Now

1. Paul Smith Navy Embroidered Terrycloth Sneakers (now $275, originally $915). SICK!!!

My addiction to footwear is well-documented on this site. I am able to resist buying clothes, but I always succumb when it comes to eye-catching, good-quality shoes. However, you may have noticed that I have not talked about shoes in a long time.

The reason is I was trying to curb my addiction. I am naturally very non-confrontational and cowardly; I would rather avoid thinking and talking about my problems than confront them heads-on and solve them once and for all. I presumed the only way for me to overcome my shoe addiction was to refrain from talking about shoes with you guys.

It worked for a while, but I am so sad to report that I have relapsed. I bought TWO freaking pairs of shoes yesterday! The recent influx of summer sale emails does not help, either. The 50-70% discount subjects are too tempting not to click.

Here is what I have realized: There are some really nice sneakers on deep discount on SSENSE right now. I want to alert you guys because #1. you all deserve a new pair of shoes and #2. now is the best time to scoop up designer shoes. So without further ado, here are the best-looking sneakers you might want to bag this sale season.

2. Alexander Mcqueen White And Red Leather Colorblock Sneakers (now $264, originally $440)

3. Ami Alexandre Mattiussi Yellow Panelled Sneakers (now $135, originally $270)

4. Krisvanassche Indigo Denim Sneakers (now $333, originally $665)

5. Thom Browne Tri_color Grosgrain Basketweave Sneakers (now $630, originally $1050)

6. Comme Des Garons Shirt Blue Striped And Quilted Sneakers (now $111, originally $370)

7. Acne Studios Brown Triple Low_top Sneakers (now $250, originally $500)

[Read more…]

Over-laced Alert: Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2016

_ARC0071I cannot explain why, but I am associating this brown suit with Robert Pattinson. 

I am not feeling particularly attached to what Christopher Bailey sent down the runaway last week at London Collections: Men. This feeling rarely happens, as I really dig the whole classic British style with a twist concept Burberry has been trying to communicate. My main issue is the inordinate amount of lace and sheer; I am doubtful of their ability to resonate with the masses. The only men who can legitimately wear these, in my opinion, are celebrities. Let’s style our favorite celebrities!

_ARC0243I would take the blazer and the pants in a heartbeat, but the lace tank top…well, let just say I am willing to wear it in my house when no one is around. I have body image issues, specifically my nipples.

_ARC0467I swear Harry Styles is going to wear this at some point. He and animal print and entirely sheer clothing have a history. 

_ARC0521I am not going to give this outfit to anyone because it has my name written all over it. Top, scarf, coat, pants, shoes, and bag…come to me. We belong together!!!

The upper part of this outfit reminds me of what Ryan Gosling wore to Cannes several years ago, so let’s put it on Ryan. I do not know about the sweatpants, though because I rarely see him wearing sweatpants in public.

_ARC0775The silhouette and the color are very Eddie Redmayne. Burberry, send this to Eddie and see if he wants to try. 

_ARC0999Nick Jonas, I know you love fashion and are not afraid to take sartorial risks. So, how about this statement-making blazer? Just don’t take the lace top. Your buff body deserves something more masculine.

_ARC1011Hmm, zebra print coat and adorned white laced shirt…Lenny Kravitz, what do you think? Don’t take the lace shirt, though. You are too muscular for it. 

[Read more…]