A Western Girl in Confinement

sabrina sikora by martice milton

After seven years in Hong Kong I have adapted to many things — the summers aren’t as hot as when I first arrived, the bones in foods don’t bother me anymore and the hills aren’t as difficult to traverse as they once were (and in heels!). I have changed the way I speak now using words like liftand queue and ending a multitude of phrases with “lah”. When so many things are same same but different, and usually for the better, why not add in a very old but new-to-me custom?

I’m talking about the practice of not leaving your home for a month and being looked after by a pui yuet, otherwise known as confinement! Many of my Chinese friends have done this and raved about the practice but I didn’t know a single Western girl in my circle who had tried it out. Well, this just seemed like one more thing I wanted to experience in Asia so for the month after my son was born, I was a Western girl confined!

What is confinement?

The practice of confinement is much more than just not leaving your house for the month after your child is born. It stems from the idea that when you give birth, your body loses a lot of warmth and allows wind to enter the body, resulting in health problems later on. The month is a time to restore the warmth and to heal — no cold foods or drinks are consumed, you don’t bathe or wash your hair, you keep covered and away from cool or windy spaces, and you take a variety of Chinese medicines to aid in the healing process. The name actually translates to “sitting the month”.

pui yuet or confinement nanny moves in with you full-time to prepare the foods and medicines, watch after the baby, and help guide you in what it is to be a new mother. Many are certified in a variety of child care classes including CPR, infant first aid, baby massage, pre/post-natal nourishment and Chinese herbal nourishment, to name a few. This first month is also the time when your child is most susceptible to illness so limiting their exposure to the outside world aids in optimal survival. This is not so much a concern now, but when the practice first originated it was very much a big deal!

As a first time mum with my family 8,000 miles away, confinement seemed like the way to go as I could heal, learn and bond with my baby while being very well taken care of by a pro! The challenge was finding a pui yuet that spoke enough English for us to get by, as my Cantonese is laughable (perhaps that will be the next thing I adapt to!). I saw this article on Sassy Mama and contacted every agency on the list. Out of the responses, I found E-Mother to be wonderfully professional and timely with their dealings. Within a week, Melisa set me up with an interview with a nanny that would be available during the time of my delivery. We sat down and asked all the questions we could think to ask and were very satisfied. We signed on to have our pui yuet do full confinement with me for the first month post-baby and then stay on as a night nurse for the following two months (Thank you Grace Lam for this tip! It is genius!).

The Environment 

I thought that I would’ve been bored out of my mind staying home for a month so in the preceding weeks, I stocked up on magazines and knitting projects and saved all my favorite TV shows. Some pui yuets advise to stay away from anything that may strain your eyes such as reading material and all screens (TV, computer, phone, etc.). Thankfully, mine didn’t insist on this so I was free to indulge. Even so, I rarely watched TV or read any of my stockpiled mags as my son was feeding every two hours so I always had something to do. When he finally went down for a nap I would catch up on thank you notes or a few emails or try to have a meal before his little clock registered chow time again.

Plus, we had family and friends over for visits basically every day. Add in the naps that I was ordered to take and the hours and days slipped by unbelievably fast. I left the house only for doctor’s visits and, during the last week, a quick dinner date with my husband (baby wasn’t on a bottle so we only had about an hour). Honestly, the few times we left the house I felt so frazzled between trying to figure out the taxi/car seat situation and managing the baby’s fluids that never seem to stay in his system that not leaving the house was A-Okay with me!

confinement cookbooks by sabrina sikora

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The Food

Our pui yuet was very surprised when I told her that I wanted to go the full on Chinese route. She assured me that she could make Western dishes but I insisted to go traditional. We agreed that if there was something that I really didn’t like that she would do a substitution. We never had to do this. The foods were awesome from bbq pork chops, to ginger chicken with choi sum, to this amazing ginger and soy whole steamed fish. Morning, noon, and night I had animal protein and a veg served with a bowl of steamed rice.

Though fruit and beef are not allowed on the menu, I looked forward to every meal and was never hungry. Many new moms are so busy caring for the baby that they forget to eat. This was not a problem for me. Baby would go down after a feed and I would be told to go eat. I cleaned every plate, much to our nanny’s surprise! The foods were rich and fatty which is good for creating a hearty supply of milk for a hungry tot. Before each meal I would have a bowl of herbal soup to aid in healing and increasing the milk supply. The soups are even tailored to the type of healing you need depending on your method of delivery. In addition to the warm soups, I drank multiple glasses of warm water and an herbal tea, which tasted very woodsy but helped get more fluids in me.

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The Chinese Medicine

The medicines were put into the tea and soups, some more potent than others. The first soups tasted like dates and chestnuts and were easy to sip. The later ones were far too intense for me so I would shoot them like I was back in the ‘Fong! I still got every one down though. The worst of the bunch was given at the end of confinement and contained fish maw and little worm-like things called cordyceps. These are actually parasites that grow on the backs of insects and eventually kill their host. Cordyceps also happened to be the most expensive ingredient starting at around $5,000 for a small pack! This was the first item on the list given to us in prep for my confinement. My husband’s jaw dropped when he saw the list of 20 plus things, assuming they were all were this expensive. Thankfully, nearly all the other ingredients were around the $10-20 range. Three months post-baby I am still taking cordycep soup three times a week (I’m told you can do so for the first 100 days — not something I was thrilled to hear!).

The No Bathing

This is the one thing that most people ask about when I mention that I did confinement. Honestly, I didn’t feel that gross as I was just sitting on the couch all day so I wasn’t working up a sweat. Dry shampoo, applied liberally, did a good enough job of making me presentable to guests. While you don’t take a normal bath or shower, you are allowed to bathe with special ginger water made by your pui yuet.

Around once or twice each week two huge pots were concocted, one more concentrated than the other, and carried to my bathtub. The smell was heavenly and reminded me of Christmas! With the less strong water I was allowed to wash my hair first then wash my body with the stronger version after. I sat on a small stool in the tub and poured the water over me. I found this time so relaxing that I really came to look forward to it and was sad when the month was up and I no longer got to have it. The “heat” from the ingredients in the water made me turn red as a tomato after each bath for around 30 minutes. No one warned me of this so after my first bath I was left running to the nanny declaring that I was allergic to bathing! She laughed and just told me to wait it out.

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The Baby

My baby boy was taken such good care of during the period of confinement. Between my husband, my mother, our helper, the pui yuet and myself, he was never left in want for anything. Feedings went like clockwork and he slept as much as possible even with his colic bouts. I learned a host of tricks to soothe and comfort him as well as the proper hygiene methods for caring for a little one.

When it was time to feed, our nanny would change his diaper then I would hear “Mommy, stand-by”. I would get my pillow ready and a few moments later a clean, though slightly fussy, baby would be gently dropped off. At night, the bedroom door would open and baby would be placed on my chest for his feeding and then collected after 30-40 minutes. I got as much sleep as possible for a new mum. I was even instructed to take naps during the day, an order that I happily followed.

The Challenges

To be honest, there were not many challenges for me during confinement. Because my baby was constantly surrounded by people, it seemed that he always had someone to hold him. This is great for making babies feel secure but when they will only sleep in someone’s arms it becomes tricky. Our nanny would take him post-feed and put him in the crib to sleep, which took some time to accomplish because as soon as his little head touched the mattress he was awake! After a few weeks of practice, it became easier to put him down for his naps.

The only other thing that I found difficult was trying to enforce a timed schedule with him. He demanded feedings every two hours and our nanny said most other babies were going for four hours. We tried delaying the feeding (much to the dismay of everyone in the building) which didn’t last long, so we ended up feeding on demand which resulted in a much calmer house. Our pui yuet also mentioned that feedings should only last 30 minutes but my little guy would snooze and snack, resulting in 40- to 60-minute sessions. She showed me that I could uncover him and tickle his feet and sides to make him keep eating which worked like a charm.

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The Result

A resounding YES to confinement! I will be doing this with every baby we have in Asia. I have never felt so well looked after and wonderfully nourished. Baby was also quite healthy and happy. There’s so much to learn when you are a first-time mum and having a pro on hand to advise is amazing! I can’t recommend this enough and feel that this was a service worth every dollar spent. Just having the peace of mind at night that baby is in their crib sleeping soundly with expert eyes watching over makes mama sleep better too. And we all know how important that precious sleep is those first few months! This was not a custom that I grew up knowing anything about but I am so glad to have been able to learn about it and experience it in Hong Kong. I cannot recommend this enough to all soon-to-be-mums out there!

E-Mother 

E-Mother also specialises in ‘pui yuet’ maternity nurses.

How much: Contact them for details or enquire here.

Where: 702 Wah Ying Cheong Central Building, 158-164 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong

Contact details: 3583 2543

Gorgeous photos of Sabrina and her baby boy are courtesy of Martice Milton. Check out more of her amazing work at www.marticemiltonphotography.com

Read this and more over at Sassy Mama HK!

Posted in Hong Kong, Random Goodies, Sassy Mama

Trend Watch: Backpacks!

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By now I am sure you have noticed that pretty much every 90’s trend has come full circle and is once again gracing the runways and the store shelves. While I don’t care much for the baby doll dresses, large floral prints, and dare I say it… grunge (eek!), there is one craze that I am happy to get behind. Welcome back, backpacks! Let’s take a gander at a few of this seasons faves and some cool style inspiration for how to wear them!

Beginner

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From left to right: 3.1 phillip lim Pashli Backpack in Black – $6,940Stella McCartney Beckett faux leather backpack – $10,220What It Snakes Backpack – $465Alexander Wang Skeletal Backpack In Sesame With Rhodium – $8,490ALDO Bowie – $660

For those just jumping on the backpack bandwagon I suggest starting simple. Keep your colours neutral, your lines clean, and these simple shoulder sacks will take you anywhere. The 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli was an instant hit at the media preview, with bloggers in near fisticuffs to get their hands on it! If you want to try the look for less, then thisnude faux snake number from NastyGal works wonders (and for only $465 – bargain).

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Treat these puppies just like you would any classic bag and pair them with everything from pedal pushers to pencil skirts, just watch as your outfits are instantly elevated to street chic cool!

Intermediate

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If you feel you have mastered entry level status and want to amp up your efforts then add a dash of colour! With so many gorgeous hues out there you may end up buying more than you originally planned. I have been lusting after this Grafea one for months, but I just can’t seem to decide what colour to get!

 

 

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From left to right: Proenza Schouler PS Large Backpack – $16,670Grafea Sky Leather Rucksack Sky Blue $2,360River Island White quilted rucksack - $395 TOPSHOP Clean Pocket Backpack - $445The Cambridge Satchel Company 11 Inch Leather Satchel Backpack (Apple) - $1,770

Here’s the blue version above, but check their site for all the other options. I am also head over heels for the Cambridge Satchel take on the look. All I need now is a sheer floaty dress and a bike with a bell, and I’m off on my weekend adventures!

Advanced

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Ready to add real flash to your look? Mix your prints and add some zing with relaxed rucksacks in a fun print. Go luxe with the classic LV monogram or Chanel graffiti bag (the only way to do grunge is with Chanel!). Tory Burch brings out your wild side with this sporty leopard number, while the striped Forever 21 knapsack harkens to summers by the beach.

Clearly if you aim for the “advanced” look then you already know how to mix prints like a pro, but if you need a refresher then just remember to stick with the same tonal family and to vary the size of your prints. And, of course, consider leopard a neutral!

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Now you have a new fab way to stash your stuff in style. Whether you choose to go ultra-chill for weekend usage, or clean and streamlined to hold all your office accoutrement, you have options a plenty! Plus, as with all backpacks, they leave you hands free so you can do more important things like work and make important phone calls Instagram and sip champers! Buy a backpack and thank me later…

Originally posted at Sassy Hong Kong

Posted in Inspiration, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

J. Crew Opens Two Stores in Hong Kong- Here’s the Sneak Peek!

Jenna Lyons of J. Crew by Sabrina Sikora

Here’s a little preview of the goodies now available at Hong Kong’s hottest new shopping destination- J Crew ! Sassy got the sneak peek of the shop the night before the grand reveal and we were beyond excited to raid the racks! Better still we got to meet the infamous Jenna Lyons (again!) and the main man himself, Mickey Drexler! Click on over to Sassy for more info about the shops and scroll down to view more in store pics by me!

j. crew by sabrina sikora

j crew by sabrina sikora

J Crew by sabrina sikora

Geneva of A Pair and a Spare with Mickey Drexler or J. Crew

Geneva of A Pair & a Spare and Mickey Drexler.

J. Crew by sabrina sikora

 

 

 

 

Jenna lyons by sabrina sikora

Thank you Jenna for taking the time for a quick portrait session amidst all the opening festivities!

 

Posted in Hong Kong, Photography, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

Super Styler: Teresa and Ottavio Missoni

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Sassy is first in all things going on in the ‘Kong (and beyond!) and that includes showcasing style stars both at home and abroad. Teresa and Ottavio Missoni recently stopped by to celebrate the anniversary of their shop in Elements Mall and while there we got to meet up with them. Dervla got the story on their fave shopping scores while I snapped pics of the dynamic duo around the store. Here are the super stylers rocking their looks.

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Read the full interview over at Sassy Hong Kong. All photos by Sabrina Sikora.

Posted in Hong Kong, Photography, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

50 Local Hong Kong Brands You Need to Know

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While I love a mass chain store as much as the next chica, there is something so wonderful about buying local! Not only are we saving cash on shipping and that nasty carbon footprint of getting the goods to us in the ‘Kong, but I love the thought of supporting someone just around the corner who is following their dreams. We’ve rounded up a list of local designers you should have on your radar as well as where to find them (check out our list of local jewellery designers here!). Many of these do not have retail space so the only way to order is online, but be on the look out for pop-up shops, which always seem to be well… popping up!

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A Black Cigarette
Brand new to the HK scene is A Black Cigarette, which uses sustainable concepts and eco-friendly materials for their designs. The clothing, available in a neutral colour palette, can be worn and layered in a multitude of ways so you get your own chance to play stylist!

Available online herewww.facebook.com/ablackcigarette

Aftermath
Pretty pleats and flattering forms are the name of the game at Aftermath. Designer Nina Ricardo founded the brand in 2010 and has since flown around the world and back sourcing fabrics in the US and producing the limited quantities of the creations locally. Designs are feminine and are the perfect answer to HK’s muggy summers!

Available online only herewww.aftermathstudio.com

Aly & Rachelle
With a creative director that has worked for Agent Provocateur and Alexander McQueen you know you are in for a treat with the collection! We are quite keen on the extensive dress range. The designs are effortlessly chic and can take you from the desk to the dance floor.

Available online only herewww.alyandrachelle.com

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As Ada
Flirty floral are the name of the game at As Ada! The frocks are perfect for a garden party or next year’s round of spring weddings that we all know we will be attending!  Be on the lookout for the bridal collection that will soon be launching! (make an appointment with the showroom to view and purchase the collection)

As Ada, 4/F, Wing Fat Building, 3-5 Jervois Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2873 2874; www.facebook.com/as.ada.fashion

Aura
Aura’s creators, Tracey Fenner and Tiffany Bisley, believe that women should be able to express their beauty and empower themselves through all they do, especially when they move their bodies. As an answer to boring old workout wear, they have created this flowing and feminine line to allow us to move freely but still feel gorgeous while doing so. The colourful fabrics are all made in Bali and the designs are intricate yet supportive of movement; most pieces are between $500-800. This is the perfect range of clothing to add to your yoga bag!

Available online herewww.aura-asia.com

Blue Sea Blue
If you are headed on holiday, be sure to check out Blue Sea Blue to stock up on all things resort-worthy! From jewels and bags, to cardigans and kaftans BSB has it all. Our favourite pieces are the comfy cosy maxi dresses which would pair perfectly with sandals, sun, and sangria!

Available online only herewww.blueseablue.com

Book of Deer
This brand gets its name from the oldest book in Scottish lit and the charms of the past are sure to still be found! Vintage-inspired cuts and pretty as a picture prints make up each creation. These are the perfect pieces for the girly girl in us all!

Available only on herewww.bookofdeer.com

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Bubies
With lines that are called “Starter”, “Main Dish”, “Dessert” and “Side Dish”, you know you are in for a unique offering. The different lines offer varying degrees of intricacy and design with the Starter being more youthful and the Main Dish more luxurious for the experienced lingerie connoisseur. Don’t forget to check out the eye masks, garters and other accessories that fall under the Side Dish category!

Bubies, 2/F, 18 Pak Sha Road, Causeway Bay, 2521 8186, www.bubies.hk

Chicameo
This is the line to linger over if you are fan of prints and colour! The two stunning (and talented) faces behind the brand, Pernille and Tale, provide you with the perfect pieces for the jet-set glamorous girl! We love how versatile the 70’s Dress is and love that the cuffs already sport chain detailing so we don’t need to add any jewellery leaving us out the door looking fab in a flash!

Available online here or at Polkadot Boutique, 2/F, 29 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, www.chicameo.com

Christing C.
She’s already known for her on-point blog Fashion Hedonism, as well as her beachy, boho-chic style, but now you can add designer to that list! Scoop up styles that Christing wears herself – but beware that legs will need to be bared! We love the super short shorts and the HK-summer-approved breezy mini dresses. Be sure not to scrimp on the squats at your next gym sesh to look good in one of Christing’s pieces! 

Available online herewww.christingc.bigcartel.com

Daydream Nation
Daydream Nation is far more than just clothing. This creative hub includes theatre, dance, film, and visual arts. They have gained international recognition for their collabs with Peter Jensen, Urban Outfitters, and were even sited as one of Karl Lagerfeld’s inspirations for the Chanel AW09 collection! The clothing, shoes and accessories are meant for the bold that are looking to get style stalked on the streets, so steer clear if you aren’t a fan of catching all eyes as you pass!

Daydream Nation, 2/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.daydream-nation.com

Daydream Nation, Shop 3 & 4, No. 101, K11, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong,www.daydream-nation.com

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Erbert Chong
Erbert Chong’s pieces feature sophistication with a bit of an edge. The collection includes leather and fur bombers, silk blouses, and elegant evening wear mixing conservative and controversial cuts and fabrics. His style is perfectly feminine while still having a bit of bite to it! Be sure to check out his structured bags fit for any occasion; you can also choose to have its interior tag embossed with any three letters of your choosing! With each piece handmade by Erbert himself, this young Hong Kong designer is definitely a name to watch.

Erbert Chong Studio, 16C King Palace Plaza, 55 King Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong,www.erbertchong.com 

Erbert Chong Showroom, 25/F, Tin On Sing Commercial Building, 41-43 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong,www.erbertchong.com

Glush
Originally known for founder Grace Chan’s grassy clutches, the brand is now boasting some artistic alternatives sure to mow you over! We love the paint-dipped clutches that are the perfect size to keep in a larger handbag during the day and pull out after hours for a night out. Cosmo and Bazaar can’t be wrong as they have both featured Grace’s clutches as carry-all’s for the cool to covet!

Available online herewww.glush.co

House of V
House of V is one of those brands that brings it back to basics to create elegant, simple pieces that will fit seamlessly into your wardrobe. Their staple items use clean lines and high quality materials to create striking pieces that will give you an instant sophisticated style. House of V ‘strives to serve confident women with a keen eye for fashion’… perfect for all you Sassy girls!

Available online herewww.house-of-v.com

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Hulu 10
Featuring flowing, naturally-dyed linen tops in a range of peaceful hues, Hulu is the brand to choose before you head off on your next yoga retreat. The label also has bright, printed options for the kiddies so you can match when you meditate. 

Hulu 10, 10 Glenealy Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2179 5500, www.hulu10.com

Ika Butoni
With even just a quick perusal of Ika Butoni’s website you know you are seeing something special – even better if you make the trip to Mira Mall to see the collection in person! There is an incredible range of styles to choose from, each bearing a look sure to get you noticed. We love the bold tribal prints and rich embroidery from their new collection!

Ika Butoni, Shop 201, Mira Mall, Mira Hotel, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2311 7238; www.ikabutoni.com

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Itsie Bitsie
Inspired by her Asian travels, founder Cristina Wilkinson’s created a line of carefully crafted swimwear sure to show off your best assets. Accessories and wraps are sourced abroad, while the dresses and kaftans are Itsie Bitsie’s own design! If you are headed for some fun in the sun, then Itsie Bitsie should be your first spot to stock up pre-travel. 

Available online only herewww.itsiebitsie.com

Jo’s Ready to Wear
Jo’s Ready to Wear makes for tea parties in the garden and summer picnics! The embroidered pale pink and flowing white skirts beg for bare feet with gingham blankets beneath. Even if you can’t pick fresh blooms in the ‘Kong you can wear these cotton creations while toting your fresh cuts from the Flower Market! 

Jo’s Ready to Wear, 5/F, Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay, 6146 0861, www.josreadytowear.com

Johanna Ho
What happens when you take a classic shape and add just enough of a twist to turn it into a work of wearable art? Well, you get Johanna Ho’s collection! We see her pieces on gallery owners and goers alike – they are that cool and modern! If you want to make a subtle but very cool statement, then slip on one of Johanna’s pieces for instant impact.

Johanna Ho, 13 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.johannaho.com

Jourden
Have a front row seat at an A-list runway show to attend? Then don yourself in one of the hottest local labels around: meet Jourden. This name to know has been on the backs of all your fave fashion editors and has even been spotted in the pages of Vogue! Classic cuts are given new life in a range of standout textures from slick iridescents to knobby knits. Jourden should be in the front of your mind and your wardrobe!

Available online herewww.jourden.co

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Kanchan Couture
Indian influences run though this richly-textured collection, whose vibrant fabrics are sourced in Bangalore and Delhi. We love the bold yellow circle skirt as well as the thick fabric belts that draw all the attention to that taut waist of yours!

Kanchan Couture, 108 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/KanchanCouture 

Kaprice
Designer Kamla Hiranand has been in Hong Kong for more than 25 years, so she knows a thing or two about what the ladies of our city desire. Her line of kaftans is staggering – ranging from simple sheer tops (around $1,500) to the more elaborate bedazzled digital print maxis (around $2,800). You can even do bespoke creations! Set up an appointment at the showroom and be sure to bring your friends, as they are happy to dress everyone in tow. While there, accessorise your new kaftan with one of the incredible bags ($1,500-2,500) or jewels direct from India. 

Kamla International (Showroom), Unit 1906, 19/F Crawford House, 70 Queens Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, 2509 1898 (call to make an appointment), www.kapriceonline.com

Kookii B
Designed by Christina Wan, Kookii B has designer kimonos, lingerie and jewellery with gorgeous intricate detailing, such as lace and crystals. Her prints are inspired by exotic destinations such as Bali and Koh Samui, and we covet them for our next vacay. The colourful bracelets brighten any wrist, perfectly suited for the warm summer months we’re expecting!

Available online herewww,kookiib.com

Kotur
I have no doubt that by now you have read founder Fiona Kotur Marin’s story in Ladies Who Launch! Kotur bags have not only made their place in the HK scene, but also around the world. These high-end beauties, seen on the arms of tai-tais and celebs alike, are sure to spice up your clutch collection. We are also enthralled with the debut shoe collection from the brand and we can’t wait to lace up our tootises in these high-end delights!

Available online here and at Net-a-Porterwww.koturltd.com

Linva Tailor
If you are in need of a qipao for a fab event or just a fancy souvenir from your time in Hong Kong, then Linva is the place to purchase. Tailors Mr. and Mrs. Leung have stood the test of time with a shop that has been in business for more than 40 years. That is incredible in a city that is ever-changing! Custom offerings take about two months to complete but there is an entire range to choose from if you can’t wait that long.

Linva Tailor, 38 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong

LuvMyDress
LuvMyDress is not just dresses but, yes, the dresses are super cute!  Designs are right on trend with colour blocking, embellishments, and architectural elements. The first online launch was such a huge success and sold out in no time. Keep checking the site as new goods are on their way. We can’t wait!

Available online only herewww.luvmydress.com

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Maisha Concept
Your go-to shift just got a lot cooler! Designer Rakhee Shah weaves her Indian and Kenyan heritage into a visually rich collection filled with prints and colours to excite and entice. We promise that you will hear the compliments flood in the minute you step out in a one-of-a-kind by Maisha Concept. We hope that she starts stocking jewellery too, so that we can have the prints and colours wind their way up our limbs as well! Check out our full review here.

Available through Shop Des Createurs; 5 Sun Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong and 3 St. Francis Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.maishaconcept.com

Marie France Van Damme
While the brand isn’t new, this sleek IFC boutique certainly is! Marie France has actually been living and working in Hong Kong since the 90s, but now she has finally opened her first standalone store in the 852 – and this is set to be your one-stop shop if you have glam travel plans in mind. Her luxury resort-wear boasts a wide variety of silk-embroidered kaftans, tunics and sexy swimwear, perfect for lounging by a five-star pool. Be sure to pay special attention to the gorgeous snake print swimsuits – a Sassy fave! There are also several easy jersey dresses and metallic shifts and skirts for your night-time adventures; for glam on the go, grab a metallic tote or a chunky geode cuff to complete your look!

Marie France Van Damme, Shop 3088, Podium 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2882 9088,www.mariefrancevandamme.com

Melissa Bui
Bringing a romantic whimsy to spring, new Hong Kong designer Melissa Bui has produced a collection that comes as a breath of fresh air in a town filled with mostly black and grey clothes. Her debut collection features pieces reminiscent of Oscar de la Renta and vintage Dior – perfect for those of us that love girlie details on a well-cut silhouette. All Bui’s pieces are available by order only, so you’ll have to email her here if you want in on the action. This collection will surely bring out the lady in us all!

www.melissabui.com

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Mer Culture
Mer Culture has a great selection of swimsuits that you can mix and match to suit whatever shape or style you love. We love the one-shoulder options as well as the sexiest tankini we have seen yet! Sizing ranges from XS-XL, so no matter your size, you are well sorted. This is your brand if you want to wow in the waves and smoulder in the sand!

SPECIAL SASSY OFFER

Catch their storewide summer 2014 sale with items up to 30% off! Better yet, Mer Culture is offering us Sassy girls an even further discount of $77.52 ($10 USD) off when you enter the coupon code SASSY10. Simply mention the code and this Sassy article!

Available online herewww.merculture.com

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Mischa
Sassy That Girl Michelle Lai’s brand is only four years old and in that time she has made quite the name for herself and her brand! Busy HK girls who have to do and carry it all flock to the well-priced stunners for hauling their life around. Once you decide on which colour combo you like the best, have it personalised with your initials to ensure everyone knows that the tremendous tote is yours!

www.mischadesigns.com

Mutt Museum
Traditional style qipao’s are revamped with interesting fabrics perfect for a new generation. We love the polka dot version, which lends a playful tough to an elegant cut. While browsing the site, take a gander at the intricately-cut wooden and creepy little puppet-like necklaces, which are all handmade.

www.muttmuseum.com

MVT
Just because it’s a basic doesn’t mean that it has to be simple. This line is meant to be worn in all facets of life. Break the pieces apart and pair them for your casual engagements and your more regal affairs. Sassy faves include the crisp button down shirt with cut-out neck details and piping and the ever-so-sexy LBD with a back cut out! MVT is clothing you will keep and wear for life! 

MVT, Room 306, Yu Yuet Lai Building, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2544 8188, www.mvt-atelier.com

N12H
City dwellers everywhere will scoop up this urban-luxe apparel brand. We love that the clean cut shapes are more than they appear with asymmetrical details, mod overlays and stitching, and mixed materials. Geometric shapes and luxe leather embellishments make N12H a label to surely catch your attention.

Available online herewww.n12h.com 

Nishe
Sugary sweet dresses boasting flowers, kisses, and strawberries are sure to remind of us of our youth. Perfect for the dead heat of summer, these flouncy little numbers will bring out the Lolita in all of us!

Available online only here (with free worldwide delivery – woohoo!), www.nishe.com.hk

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Nude is Rude
Merisa Zeman brings us a line of completely wearable and incredibly comfy jersey pieces that will sneak their way into your wardrobe in no time. With just one touch of these garments, you will be hooked! When you don’t feel like getting dressed, just toss on a little Nude is Rude and you will look totally put together but will feel like you are in your pj’s! How cheeky…

Available online only herewww.nudeisrude.com

Papeete
It’s nearly swimsuit season, so head over to Papeete to update your wardrobe to ensure you’re ready for poolside and beachside lounging. This elegant and contemporary beachwear brand is perfect for Sassy girls who want a touch of glamour at their next resort holiday. We love the bold colours and prints – they’re getting us excited for some sunshine!

Available online here, and at Tiare, 60 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 2540 3380, www.thepapeete.com

Ri by Carrie
Carrie Hare, founder and designer of Ri by Carrie, honed her craft in the Alexander McQueen prints section and later relocated to the ‘Kong bringing with her a wealth of knowledge about how to dress the body to really make the most of what the good Lord gave you! If you love to go bold, then check out Ri’s printed leggings, fringed mini’s, and shocking shifts! A personal fave is the Origami Kimono Wrap Dress which would make the perfect beach cover up!

For a full list of stockists click herewww.ribycarrie.wix.com/ri

Ro & Mo
Ro&Mo is relatively new to the Hong Kong shopping scene – but they’ve already made a name for themselves as thelabel to wear when accessorising for your beach holiday! Hong Kong-based Monica (Mo) and Spanish resident Rosita (Ro) founded the brand, and both spent their youth frolicking in the waves at the beach. They cultivated these memories into a collection that is concise, with three key themes, but well-thought out… leaving you with exactly what you need for packing that perfect stylish getaway kit! We’re talking turbans, bags and wraps in a variety of colourful options, including chevrons, stripes and Afro-fab batiks – so feel free to mix and match your way to holiday perfection.

Available online herewww.ro-and-mo.com

S. Nine
We’ve sung the praises of S. Nine designer Susanna Soo before and here we go again! When you want to go all out, there is no better local designer to wear. Susanna is known for her intricate gathering techniques but we also adore her use of sheer panels and the ultra flattering silhouettes she creates! Make an appointment at her showroom to see and try these beauties for yourself…

S.Nine, 17/F, 37 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2815 0884, (make an appointment to view and purchase the collection), www.snineonline.com

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Sabina Swims
Boasting suits for all stages of life, you can find something to wear when you are ripped, when you want to keep your bits covered, and even those tricky swimsuit shopping maternity days! There are even suits for the little ladies in your life! Our fave? The strapless one-piece Liz Taylor, which comes in a variety of eight (lucky baht) prints and colours! That’s just as many times as dear Liz was married! Coincidence?!

Sabina Swims, Union Commercial Building, 7/F, 12 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong,www.sabinaswims.com

Sarah Lai
Brand new to the HK shelves is Sarah Lai’s show-stopping collection. We can’t take our eyes off the dramatic capes, structured knits, and leather and lace accents. The range works well for the well-suited office crowd and can be broken apart to take on after hours activities. Let Sarah Lai elevate your everyday wardrobe and get ready to bask in the compliments that will surely come your way!

Available online herewww.sarah-lai.com

Square Street
Uber cool Scandinavian designs found right in the heart of Sheung Wan! Here you will find the perfect gifts for anyone who loves the simplicity in life. Clean crisp VOID watches are sparse in distractions but big on style. You can also find bags and wallets designed in-house and made locally alongside prints form local artists! Be sure to check out their very cool and super comfy line of shoes as well!

Square Street, 15 Square Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2362 1086, www.squarestreet.se

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Tabla
Founder Tania Mohan started her shop after being inspired on a trip through India in the late 90’s. Her line of high-end women’s resort wear features delectable silks and intricate hand embroidery of the highest quality. Traditional artisans in India make all of the products you see in store.

Tabla, Shop M31, Mezzanine Floor, Prince’s Building, Central, Hong Kong, 2525 5590, www.tabla.hk

Tangram
Talk to any of the artsy crowd in HK and they are sure to own a piece from Tangram. Designer and Sassy That Girl,Paola Sinsterra has sewn her way into the eclectic hearts of many of this city’s creative power players! These are wearable pieces that make you look and feel instantly cool! Be sure to take a peek at the huge bon-bon necklaces as well as her new lingerie and swimwear lines, too! Will the creative energy that surrounds Paola never cease?

Available online here, and at Shop des Createurs and Polkadot Boutique2/F, Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2521 0636; www.tngrm.net

Tikka
While we love all of the brands on offer at Tikka we are especially fond of the in-house brand Doris Q. These are the clothes for the fashion blogger in all of us. Huge tulle skirts and dresses and pants showcasing sheer elements and the two most classic colours- black and white! Urbanites rejoice because Doris Q has you creatively covered for yet another season!

Tikka, G/F, 18 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong 2884 1111, www.tikka-boutique.com

Twisted Sister aka TwS
Instantly up your cool quotient by sporting a TwS ensemble! Simple yet edgy pieces liven up any look in an instant. Choose from neon pink asymmetrical tops to electric yellow oversize cardis and set off the look with one of the basic black uber cool skirts in the line up. There may be an underlying element of grunge to the look but you will feel anything but grungy!

www.twisted-sis.com

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What the Frock?!
Nearly every Sassy girl I meet admits to owning a What the Frock?! dress or two! Started by two friends, Maria and Lauren, who met in Hong Kong and lamented over the fact that there were no everywhere dresses for a reasonable price point beyond the Zara doors, WTF was born! The line consists of an ever-changing variety of dresses that can take you anywhere you need to be – brunch, beach, boardroom, baby playgroup? Done! Save yourself the trouble and stock your HK wardrobe with these babies!

Available here, by personal appointment and at Polkadot Boutique2/F, Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2521 0636, www.whatthefrock.net

Vaughan
On the hunt for that perfect blouse and always coming up empty handed? No more! Newcomer Vaughan is only in its second season but are turning the heads of everyone in the HK fashion scene! The blouses are mostly classic and named after fab females of the past! But beware… once you have one you will want it in every colour. BONUS: have your top monogrammed with your own initials in the colour and typeface you desire and never get the wrong shirt back from the dry cleaner again!

Available online here and at Polkadot Boutique2/F, Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2521 0636, www.wearvaughan.com 

Zero Noir
Hong Kong summers have just met their match! Zero Noir delivers dresses and rompers full of punch that will have all the girls asking where you got your garment! Personally, I can’t decide if I’m more in love with the flirty floral rompers or the ruffled silk wrap dresses which are all 100% silk! Start RSVP’ing to all those summer bashes because you now have your perfect party wardrobe!

 Available at Polkadot Boutique, 2/F, Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2521 0636 and Dboutique, G/F, 63 Stauton Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, 3483 3499

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Here in Hong Kong, we are incredibly proud of all of our local talent. We hope that you will help keep them around and in business by supporting these brands! We’ve tried to introduce you to a range of prices and styles so that every reader can find something that fits their budget and lifestyle. Have you spotted any other local brands that you think we should know about? Let us know!

 

Check out this and more over at Sassy Hong Kong!

Posted in Hong Kong, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping

Karen Millen SS14- Add Some Zing to Your Spring

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Colours are climbing out of the wardrobes and prints are starting to pop… That’s right it’s spring in the ‘Kong! Hide away those drab old navys and blacks for now, because this season is all about the bold and beautiful. Sassy Editor Lauren and I snuck away from the office to have a dress up date at Karen Millen. We tried on a few looks that are sure to put some zing in your spring! Here are our top picks for what’s in stock now…

The Go Anywhere Dress

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Every HK lady knows that she needs a dress that can take her from the office to the after hours scene with ease. These two options do just that. The colour block number Lauren is sporting works great with a neutral pump for the office, but switch it out to a fun neon orange stiletto sandal, trade that big bag in for a clutch and she can meet for girly catch up drinks in a snap. All my jungle dress needs is a cropped jacket and a pump to take it to work. Then you can work it out Beyonce style with a change of the accessories! Both dresses would also work for weekend affairs with cute sandals and a messy ponytail. Now that’s a lot of fun from your funds!

Double Up on the Trends

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Why stop with just one on-trend piece? Double up on the look to really make a statement. I tried the lace on lace, which works wonders when stacked with a simple top. Did you see our Trend Watch about Lace here? Lauren looks fantastic in a matching floral top and pants combo. Wear them together to get the romper effect then break them apart for even more wear ability. She checks off two of our top trends to try with this look – pastels and coordinates (check out our spring trends to try here). How very sassy!

For the Formal Affairs

 

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If April showers bring May flowers then we all know what May flowers bring… weddings! Stop by Karen Millen to grab your gown for all the wedded bliss to come. For the cocktail scene you can try this pleated poppy-hued dress that Lauren is wearing. And when the invite arrives for the nighttime nuptials you know you can impress with this icy blue stunner.

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Grab this bejewelled clutch and some knockout rhinestone pumps and you are ready to rock it on the dance floor all night long!

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Karen Millen also stocks a fabulous array of jewels, bags, and shoes, so you can complete your look head to toe in this one-stop shop.

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Maybe you need an outfit for a specific event or just want a little refresher in the closet? Either way, Karen Millen is guaranteed to put some spring in your step! Happy shopping!

Karen Millen, CENTRAL/CENTRAL, Central Building, 2530 2092, www.karenmillen.com, see all Hong Kong store locations here.

See this an more over at Sassy Hong Kong!

Posted in Hong Kong, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

Trend Watch: Lace

You can feel it, can’t you? That lingering heat hanging heavy in the air. The long Hong Kong summer is on its way, which means your summer holiday plans will be in full swing soon. The good news is that each new season brings an excuse to pick up a stylish piece that can revamp the wardrobe… and your suitcase! But when there are so many trends to try, which one will you give a go? Why not try the ever so lovely lace, that can take you to every city scene with ease? There are so many ways to wear this feminine find! Let’s take a peek at a few ways to style this look at home and abroad.

Los Angeles

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L.A. is a town for the laid back beach-loving folks, so we start with a casual take on the trend. These Migueline Jaya lace shorts from Net-a-Porter will have you strolling side by side with Hollywood’s A-list crowd. Pair them with a basic Free People tee (available at LAB Concept) and some Alexander Wang sunnies to keep your cool. Finish the look with a host of boho chic accessories like this necklace from Asos and this fringe bag from Zara. I can already see you winning in the “Who Wore it Best” feature!

New York

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If you find yourself in the Big Apple, then don a frock that would make Carrie Bradshaw giddy with delight! This one from River Island certainly does the trick! Play up the dazzle with these Shourouk earrings and this little gold anklet from Forever 21. Think of your ankle as just one more place to put jewellery (and we all know I’m a fan of more bling)! To bring it all together slip into a pinky pair of Giuseppe Zanotti stilettos and clutch a cute checkerboard Charlotte Olympia bag for a night on the town with the girls (have you been by her new shop in HK yet?!). As Carrie once said, “Women come to New York for the two L’s: labels and love”.

Paris

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There is nothing chicer for a trip to Paris than a black and white ensemble! Topshop combines the lace and crop top trends into one great petite top. To risk from showing too much skin pair it with this high waist skirt by Oscar de la Renta. By mixing high end and high street it shows that you are truly en vogue! Classic Roger Vivier flats adds a timeless quality, balanced out by the Grafea leather backpack, which injects a shot of youth. For jewels, go for a sleek black watch and bracelet combo and a bangle with a special reminder. You can pick up a similar piece from local designer Carman Chan. Paint your pout with matte rouge and you are tres fabuleux!

Tokyo

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Why leave Asia when there is so much to see and do here? Hit up Tokyo for great shopping, amazing eats, and exciting nightlife! This House of Holland lace skirt can carry to you from shopping in Shibuya to dinner in Ginza with out missing a beat. In Japan, fashion risks are not only accepted but encouraged, so toss on this fantastically floral H&M kimono! Add a burst of colour to the look with this Tory Burch necklace (see my picks for her SS’14 line here) and these J.Crew X Sophia Webster pumps. We hope that the new J. Crew shop in Hong Kong will carry these bad boys so you can pick them up before you get on your flight! Once there, stash your PASMO card in this Kotur clutchthen hit the town knowing you look sugoi!

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Even if you staycation this summer you can still pull off all of these looks. It seems to me that Hong Kong is a place that loves taking a chance and trying a trend. So why not embrace the lace?! You can dress it up or dress it down and it always adds a subtle sexiness to any look. No matter where you shop you are destined to see a lace goody or two, so give it a whirl and see just how alluring you look in lace!

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Find this and more at Sassy Hong Kong!

 

 

Posted in Sassy Hong Kong, Style

Sabrina Sikora Photography for A Pair and a Spare

Anytime I get called up to shoot for Geneva of A Pair and a Spare it is a treat! Not only do I love shooting in her new light flooded studio but I get a sneak peek at creative diy’s that even I could accomplish! Here she shows us how to wrap our way to sandal bliss! Check out the pics I shot for her below and check here for the full tutorial!

Make your own wrap gladiator sandals www.apairandasparediy.com

Wrap Make a pair of simple wrapped gladiator flats www.apairandasparediy.comgladiator flats

Make a pair of simple wrapped gladiator flats www.apairandasparediy.com

Posted in Photography, Style

Shanghai Tang SS14- “Re-orient Yourself”

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Seven years ago my boyfriend made a trip to Hong Kong, and the souvenir he brought me back was a hot pink qipao from Shanghai Tang. I remember the lime green box it came in and how beautifully it smelled when I opened it. The cut and colour were both so bold and different compared to what I typically ran around New York in – I couldn’t wait to show it off. Later he brought up the idea of moving to this Asian city and before you can say “xiao long bao” I had agreed!

I envisioned being able to wear my new fuchsia frock out and often, but once I moved here I realised that was not the case. It turns out that wearing such garments screams ‘tourist’, and that is not the message I wanted to send. I was an expat after all! So how does one wear these pieces without looking like you just disembarked the cruise ship? I popped by Shanghai Tang with fellow fashion blogger and former That GirlJasmine Smith, to see if we could clear this query up. Let’s take a look!

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Jasmine and I both wanted to try this bamboo print on for size. The bamboo is a nice nod to Asia and when done in a modern cut and luxe fabric, it seems fresh and new… instead of like something you would see in Stanley stalls!

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Jasmine tossed on a velvet coat over her dress to add a bit of drama, while I chose to go street style with my skirt pairing it with a tied up tee and blazer. We both felt completely comfortable and ready to take on a fashionable day! The addition of a few fun accessories like these limited edition Shanghai Tang sunnies and my twostatement necklaces from Alexander McQueen and Caty Jewellery added edge and allowed the look to feel more current.

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One easy way to wear a more traditional cut is to keep it sleek and simple in clean black and white. Classics are classic for a reason!

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These basic tones allow the details to really pop like the floral appliqués on this white coat and the stitching on the silk blouse.

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Notice how cool Jasmine looks in this leather topped dress and how beautifully it shows off her face and frame. Toss on an interesting necklace and you are set to impress no matter what country you reside in!

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Never one to stray too far from her signature leather clad style, Jasmine elevated a figure flattering dress with a simple bomber and jade accessories. Here’s a look that gives a nod to the old but looks very new!

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I, on the other hand, am a sucker for colours and prints! As soon as I saw this floral embroidered coat I had to try it on. More is more in my book, so the matching dress was an easy pairing. The smattering of colour around the face draws the eye up and can hide a slew of sins beneath! While the set looks great together, I would love to break it apart and put this coat with a slouchy tank, cuffed boyfriend jeans (here’s a few more tips on how to wear this trend), and some flashy J. Crew heels (the brand lands in IFC and On Lan Street in May).

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Sure, Shanghai Tang is a must stop shop for tourists in our town, but locals can sport the look too with ease. The trick is to break apart the pieces and pair them with casual basics and interesting accessories. It’s nice to be able to tip your hat to the traditional styles of the region while still looking fresh and fabulous! Stop by Shanghai Tang to try on these looks from the SS’14 collection and be sure to try your hand at mixing and matching your own creation. As the brand says, it’s time to “Re-orient Yourself”!

www.shanghaitang.com

Click here for a full list of stores

 All amazing photos by Inga Beckmann, see more of her work here!

Posted in Modeling, Sabrina's Style, Sassy Hong Kong, Style

Tory Burch SS14- A Girly Garden Party

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Though we’re constantly dodging puddles and keeping our umbrellas with us at all time, we can still dream of spring. Spring is a loose term in Hong Kong anyway. It roughly refers to the time when you can still wear jeans and not melt and when the Sevens rolls around! Well, this year why don’t we instead dream of garden parties and mint juleps rather than Pimms and Katy Perry costumes? Thankfully, Tory Burch is here to make all our ladylike spring dreams a reality!

It was only a few months ago that Tory Burch was in town, and while here she must have felt our need for a departure from leather and studs. This season, she dazzles us with pale hues, embellished necklines, and crisp cuts sure to please any Jackie O wannabe. It’s like she heard that we needed more refined items to wear to all those tea times that this city offers!

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I was particularly taken with these jackets! The beadwork around the collar and cuffs is fun yet refined, and perfect for dressing up a pair of boyfriend jeans for more relaxed settings. Check out this laser cut leather jacket and matching skirt, which is a great way to get your leather love in while lightening the load for spring! And the white is so refreshing from all the heavy winter hues we’ve been sporting these last few weeks.

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Tory has the greatest knack for taking the simple shift that you know and love and turning it into something show stopping! Whether it’s with beadwork, embroidery or crochet, these dresses will surely draw eyes and compliments your way. I’m seeing a need for little loafers, vintage sunnies, and possibly a bike with a basket full of fresh cut flowers!

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My favorite creations are indeed the ones that go to great lengths to impress. While I might not have an immediate event on the calendar to wear one of these to, you never know when a 60’s-themed gala may present itself! Until then, perhaps these dresses would be great for any wedding festivities? How chic would the bride-to-be look in this two-piece embellished number for a rehearsal dinner?

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Not only does she offer a gorgeous range of garments to don yourself in for warmer weather, but she is also making sure our wrists, necks, arms, and toes are well accessorised too!

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This is nothing new though, as most ladies over the age of 19 can testify to how wonderfully her flats wear! This season try one of her sling back loafers in either metallic or snakeskin for a show that can take you anywhere and everywhere in comfort and style.

bags

The bags… oh the bags! These classic shapes with a refined appeal will spruce up any look. I kept hearing little gasps of desire for the brown leather belt bag at the preview (note – we are NOT calling this a fanny pack!). The little metal clutches hark back to old fashioned cigarette cases, though they are sure to encase things far healthier… that is if you think your iPhone addiction is a lesser evil!

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There you have it. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a lady you can now play the part thanks to Tory Burch! Feel free to accept those yachting invites and garden party socials, but don’t forget to bring along your dear Sassy friends! After all, we want to have an excuse to wear these polished looks too…

Tory Burch  Shop 2065 IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
2234 7282  www.toryburch.com/…

Read this and more at Sassy Hong Kong!

Posted in Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style